BOOKISH FRIDAY: “NOT A HAPPY FAMILY”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday.

Today’s feature is a new book:  Not a Happy Family, by Shari Lapena.

Book Beginnings:

(Prologue)

There are many expensive houses here in Brecken Hill, an enclave on the edge of Aylesford, in the Hudson Valley. Situated on the east side of the Hudson River, about a hundred miles north of New York City, it’s like the Hamptons, but slightly less pretentious.

***

Friday 56:

They talk briefly—Catherine telling her to meet them at Dan’s—then Jenna gets out of of bed, throws on some clothes, and goes into the kitchen to leave a note for Jake. But he’s already left one for her.

***

Brecken Hill in upstate New York is an expensive place to live. You have to be rich to have a house there, and Fred and Sheila Merton certainly are rich. But even all their money can’t protect them when a killer comes to call. The Mertons are brutally murdered after a fraught Easter dinner with their three adult kids. Who, of course, are devastated.
 
Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their vindictive father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of the siblings is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did someone snap after that dreadful evening? Or did another person appear later that night with the worst of intentions? That must be what happened. After all, if one of the family were capable of something as gruesome as this, you’d know.

***

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE STRANGER IN THE MIRROR”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday.

Today’s feature is The Stranger in the Mirror, by Liv Constantine.

***

Book Beginning:

(Addison)

I’d like to think I’m a good person, but I have no way of knowing for sure.  I don’t remember my real name, where I’m from, or if I have any family.  I must have friends somewhere, but the only ones I recognize are the ones I’ve made in the two years since the new me was born—every memory before that has been wiped away.

***

Friday 56:

His expression was serious, and she worried that something was wrong.  “Of course, come in.  What is it?  Are you okay?”  she asked, her heart in her throat, as he took the seat opposite hers.

***

Synopsis:

Addison’s about to get married, but she’s not looking forward to the big day. It’s not her fiancé; he’s a wonderful man. It’s because Addison doesn’t know who she really is. A few years ago, a kind driver found her bleeding next to a New Jersey highway and rescued her. While her physical wounds healed, Addison’s memory never returned. She doesn’t know her real name. Or how she ended up injured on the side of a road. Or why she can’t shake the notion that she may have done something very, very bad . . .

In a posh home in the Boston suburbs, Julian tries to figure out what happened to his loving, caring wife, Cassandra, who disappeared without a trace two years ago. She would never have left him and their seven-year-old daughter Valentina of her own free will—or would she? 

As these two lives intersect, The Stranger in the Mirror hooks readers with riveting drama, told with Liv Constantine’s hallmark blend of glamour, tense psychological thrills, and jaw-dropping twists.

***

Would you keep reading?  I am definitely curious.

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “KILL ALL YOUR DARLINGS”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday.

Today’s feature is one of my new books:  Kill All Your Darlings, by David Bell.

***

Book Beginning:

Connor – Present

Grendel doesn’t bark when my key hits the lock.

That’s when I know something is wrong.

Grendel, an eleven-year-old beagle mix, still barks at the mailman, the neighbors, squirrels, cats—any strangers at all, despite his age and flagging energy.

***

Teaser:

“The boyfriend or the husband is always the prime suspect,” I say.  “That’s true in real life and in every thriller.  I don’t know why you’re here—“

***

After years of struggling to write following the deaths of his wife and son, English professor Connor Nye publishes his first novel, a thriller about the murder of a young woman.

There’s just one problem: Connor didn’t write the book. His missing student did. And then she appears on his doorstep, alive and well, threatening to expose him.

Connor’s problems escalate when the police insist details in the novel implicate him in an unsolved murder from two years ago. Soon Connor discovers the crime is part of a disturbing scandal on campus and faces an impossible dilemma—admit he didn’t write the book and lose his job or keep up the lie and risk everything. When another murder occurs, Connor must clear his name by unraveling the horrifying secrets buried in his student’s manuscript.

This is a suspenseful, provocative novel about the sexual harassment that still runs rampant in academia—and the lengths those in power will go to cover it up.

***

Would you keep reading?  I’ve been eyeing this one for a while.

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “SURVIVE THE NIGHT”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday.

Today’s feature is one of my new books:  Survive the Night, by Riley Sager.

 

Book Beginning:

Staying isn’t an option.

That’s why Charlie has agreed to get into a car with a perfect stranger.

She’s promised Robbie—promised herself as well—that she’ll bolt if anything about the situation strikes her as shady.

***

Friday 56:

It was the tooth that led police to conclude the worst:  Maddy was another victim of a man who had struck twice before.

The Campus Killer.

***

Synopsis:

Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it’s guilt and grief over the shocking murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it’s to help care for his sick father—or so he says.

The longer she sits in the passenger seat, the more Charlie notices there’s something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn’t want her to see inside the trunk. As they travel an empty, twisty highway in the dead of night, an increasingly anxious Charlie begins to think she’s sharing a car with the Campus Killer. Is Josh truly dangerous? Or is Charlie’s jittery mistrust merely a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?

One thing is certain—Charlie has nowhere to run and no way to call for help. Trapped in a terrifying game of cat and mouse played out on pitch-black roads and in neon-lit parking lots, Charlie knows the only way to win is to survive the night.

***

Would you keep reading?  I love this author’s books.

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE THINGS WE CANNOT SAY”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday.

Today’s feature is a book I’ve had on my shelf for a while:  The Things We Cannot Say, by Kelly Rimmer.

***

Beginning: (Alice)

I’m having a very bad day, but however bad I feel right now, I know my son is feeling worse.  We’re at the grocery store a few blocks away from our house in Winter Park, Florida.  Eddie is on the floor, his legs flailing as he screams at the top of his lungs.  He’s pinching his upper arms compulsively; ugly purple and red bruises are already starting to form.

***

Friday 56: (Alina)

When I passed the little bundle back through the window, I wanted to say something—anything.  I wanted to apologize and to beg their forgiveness, not for anything I’d done wrong, but for all that I hadn’t done. (56%).

***

Synopsis:

In 1942, Europe remains in the relentless grip of war. Just beyond the tents of the Russian refugee camp she calls home, a young woman speaks her wedding vows. It’s a decision that will alter her destiny…and it’s a lie that will remain buried until the next century.

Since she was nine years old, Alina Dziak knew she would marry her best friend, Tomasz. Now fifteen and engaged, Alina is unconcerned by reports of Nazi soldiers at the Polish border, believing her neighbors that they pose no real threat, and dreams instead of the day Tomasz returns from college in Warsaw so they can be married. But little by little, injustice by brutal injustice, the Nazi occupation takes hold, and Alina’s tiny rural village, its families, are divided by fear and hate.

Then, as the fabric of their lives is slowly picked apart, Tomasz disappears. Where Alina used to measure time between visits from her beloved, now she measures the spaces between hope and despair, waiting for word from Tomasz and avoiding the attentions of the soldiers who patrol her parents’ farm. But for now, even deafening silence is preferable to grief.

Slipping between Nazi-occupied Poland and the frenetic pace of modern life, Kelly Rimmer creates an emotional and finely wrought narrative. The Things We Cannot Say is an unshakable reminder of the devastation when truth is silenced…and how it can take a lifetime to find our voice before we learn to trust it.

***

What do you think?  I have put this one off for far too long.  I’m eager to start reading it.

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “SIX WEEKS TO LIVE”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday.

Today’s feature is a book I am reading and loving:  Six Weeks to Live, by Catherine McKenzie.

 

***

Book Beginning: 

“I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Jennifer, but you have a primary glioblastoma in your brain.  That’s—“

“Brain cancer,” I whisper, the words a rasp in my throat.

***

Friday 56:

I spend most of the week after my diagnosis in mourning.

I mourn for the loss of my own life, and everything I’ll be missing from now until when I should have died.  Forty years from now, or longer if my grandmother’s any guide.

***

Synopsis:

Jennifer Barnes never expected the shocking news she received at a routine doctor’s appointment: she has a terminal brain tumor—and only six weeks left to live.

While stunned by the diagnosis, the forty-eight-year-old mother decides to spend what little time she has left with her family—her adult triplets and twin grandsons—close by her side. But when she realizes she was possibly poisoned a year earlier, she’s determined to discover who might have tried to get rid of her before she’s gone for good.

Separated from her husband and with a contentious divorce in progress, Jennifer focuses her suspicions on her soon-to-be ex. Meanwhile, her daughters are each processing the news differently. Calm medical student Emily is there for whatever Jennifer needs. Moody scientist Aline, who keeps her mother at arm’s length, nonetheless agrees to help with the investigation. Even imprudent Miranda, who has recently had to move back home, is being unusually solicitous.

But with her daughters doubting her campaign against their father, Jennifer can’t help but wonder if the poisoning is all in her head—or if there’s someone else who wanted her dead.

***

Would you keep reading?  I can’t put it down!

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE PHOTOGRAPHER”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday.

Today’s feature is one of my new books:  The Photographer, by Mary Dixie Carter.

 

***

Book Beginning: 

I caught a glimpse of Amelia Straub through the front entry glass.  Then the door swung open, and I stepped inside.

“Delta, darling!”  Her large brown eyes landed on me with commitment.  “I’m so grateful you made it here in this—she gestured dramatically in the direction of the storm outside—“this tempest.”

***

Friday 56:

As I was waiting for my car, Amelia’s name came up on my phone.  I felt a rush of exhilaration until I read the entire text.  She explained that they were leaving town for two weeks.

***

Synopsis:

WHEN PERFECT IMAGES

As a photographer, Delta Dawn observes the seemingly perfect lives of New York City’s elite: snapping photos of their children’s birthday parties, transforming images of stiff hugs and tearstained faces into visions of pure joy, and creating moments these parents long for.

ARE MADE OF BEAUTIFUL LIES

But when Delta is hired for Natalie Straub’s eleventh birthday, she finds herself wishing she wasn’t behind the lens but a part of the scene—in the Straub family’s gorgeous home and elegant life.

THE TRUTH WILL BE EXPOSED

That’s when Delta puts her plan in place, by babysitting for Natalie; befriending her mother, Amelia; finding chances to listen to her father, Fritz. Soon she’s bathing in the master bathtub, drinking their expensive wine, and eyeing the beautifully finished garden apartment in their townhouse. It seems she can never get close enough, until she discovers that photos aren’t all she can manipulate.

***

Would you keep reading?  I know that I am intrigued.

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “HOME FIRES”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday.

Today’s feature is a book I have had for a while:  Home Fires, by Fiona Lowe.

***

Book Beginning: 

The scent of the rainforest—leaf mulch, mud and a spritz of eucalyptus—prickled Claire’s nostrils.  A fine mist settled over her, the chill sneaking around the tops of her woolen socks and skating along her bones.  Beside her, Matt pulled his hat down low before crossing his arms and shoving his hands under his armpits.

***

Friday 56:

“I’m glad we’re on the same page.  Listen, Josh, I’ve got a bit of a favor.  There’s a job needs doing on Monday.”

***

Synopsis:

When a deadly wildfire tears through Myrtle, nestled along Australia’s breathtaking Great Ocean Road, the town’s buildings — and the lives of its residents — are left as smoldering ash. Eighteen months later, Myrtle stands restored, shiny and new. But is the outside polish just a veneer?

For four women in particular, the fire fractured their lives and their relationships. Julie thinks tourism could bring some financial stability to their town and soon prods Claire, Bec and Sophie into joining her community group.

But the scars of trauma run deep and as secrets emerge and each woman faces the damage the wildfire wrought, a shocking truth will emerge that will shake the town to its newly rebuilt foundations…

***

Would you keep reading?

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “YOU WILL REMEMBER ME”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday.

Today’s feature is You Will Remember Me, by Hannah Mary McKinnon…

***

Book Beginning:  (The Man from the Beach)

Cold. Cold was the first word that came to mind.  The first thing I noticed when I woke up.  Not a slight, uncomfortable chill to give me the shivers, but a cramp-inducing, iced-to-the-bone kind of frozen.

***

Friday 56:

(Maya)

I couldn’t believe Ash was here, or that the girl from the gas station had actually called.  I’d found him.  I’d finally found him.  Ash was home.

***

 Synopsis:

Forget the truth.
Remember the lies.

He wakes up on a deserted beach in Maryland with a gash on his head and wearing only swim trunks. He can’t remember who he is. Everything—his identity, his life, his loved ones—has been replaced by a dizzying fog of uncertainty. But returning to his Maine hometown in search of the truth uncovers more questions than answers.

Lily Reid thinks she knows her boyfriend, Jack. Until he goes missing one night, and her frantic search reveals that he’s been lying to her since they met, desperate to escape a dark past he’d purposely left behind.

Maya Scott has been trying to find her estranged stepbrother, Asher, since he disappeared without a trace. Having him back, missing memory and all, feels like a miracle. But with a mutual history full of devastating secrets, how far will Maya go to ensure she alone takes them to the grave?

***

Would you keep reading?

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE BREAK-UP BOOK CLUB”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday.

Today’s feature is a new book from a favorite author:  The Break-Up Book Club, by Wendy Wax.

***

Book Beginning:  (Judith)

Favorite book:  The Red Tent—yes, still!

I read somewhere that the very first “book club” (female discussion group) took place in 1634 on a ship sailing to the Massachusetts Bay Colony when a “religious renegade” named Anne invited a group of women—no doubt exhausted from the voyage and in dire need of a break from their husbands and children—to talk about (and apparently critique) the sermons given at weekly services. (Which was nowhere near as relaxing as, say, a conversation about Bridget Jones’s Diary or Where the Crawdads Sing.).

***

Friday 56: (Sara)

Having Mitch home for the whole week of Christmas reminds me just how much I’ve missed him and our life before Dorothy’s surgery and his new position in Birmingham. I’ve spent the last several months telling myself I’m fine on my own.  But the truth is, life is so much better and brighter when he’s here.

***

Synopsis: On paper, Jazmine, Judith, Erin and Sara have little in common – they’re very different people leading very different lives. And yet at book club meetings in an historic carriage house turned bookstore, they bond over a shared love of reading (and more than a little wine) as well as the growing realization that their lives are not turning out like they expected.

Former tennis star Jazmine is a top sports agent balancing a career and single motherhood. Judith is an empty nester questioning her marriage and the supporting role she chose. Erin’s high school sweetheart and fiancé develops a bad case of cold feet, and Sara’s husband takes a job out of town saddling Sara with a difficult mother-in-law who believes her son could have done better – not exactly the roommate most women dream of.

With the help of books, laughter, and the joy of ever evolving friendships, Jazmine, Judith, Erin and Sara find the courage to navigate new and surprising chapters of their lives as they seek their own versions of happily-ever-after.

***

Would you keep reading?  I never miss a book by this author.

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