BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE GOOD SON”

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 Good Son, by Jacquelyn Mitchard.

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Book Beginning:

I was picking my son up at the prison gates when I spotted the mother of the girl he had murdered.

Two independent clauses, ten words each, joined by an adverb, made up entirely of words that would once have been unimaginable to think, much less say.

***

Friday 56:

I called Keith and left a contrite message:  Yes, I would ask for a sabbatical.  Could we make a lunch date?  Suddenly I couldn’t wait to be away from my campus, my second home.

***

Synopsis:

What do you do when the person you love best becomes unrecognizable to you? For Thea Demetriou, the answer is both simple and agonizing: you keep loving him somehow.

Stefan was just seventeen when he went to prison for the drug-fueled murder of his girlfriend, Belinda. Three years later, he’s released to a world that refuses to let him move on. Belinda’s mother, once Thea’s good friend, galvanizes the community to rally against him to protest in her daughter’s memory. The media paints Stefan as a symbol of white privilege and indifferent justice. Neighbors, employers, even some members of Thea’s own family turn away.

Meanwhile Thea struggles to understand her son. At times, he is still the sweet boy he has always been; at others, he is a young man tormented by guilt and almost broken by his time in prison. But as his efforts to make amends meet escalating resistance and threats, Thea suspects more forces are at play than just community outrage. And if there is so much she never knew about her own son, what other secrets has she yet to uncover—especially about the night Belinda died?

***

Would you keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “FIND 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 one of my new books:  Find Me, by Alafair Burke.

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Book Beginning:

Hope Miller shifted her gaze from the gas nozzle to the pump.  When the gallon counter hit twelve, she scolded herself for not filling up before her trip into the city.  She couldn’t risk an empty tank.

***

Friday 56:

Once she found out exactly how he had “messed it up,” she couldn’t unknow it.  Lindsay’s reluctance to take even that initial leap had nothing to do with Hope and everything to do with Scott. (p. 56).

***

Synopsis:

Some pasts won’t stay forgotten . . .

She calls herself Hope Miller, but she has no idea who she actually is. Fifteen years ago, she was found in a small New Jersey town thrown from an overturned vehicle, with no clue to her identity. Doctors assumed her amnesia was a temporary side effect of her injuries, but she never regained her memory. Hope eventually started a new life with a new name in a new town that welcomed her, yet always wondered what she may have left behind—or been running from. Now, she’s leaving New Jersey to start over once again.

Manhattan defense lawyer Lindsay Kelly, Hope’s best friend and the one who found her after the accident, understands why Hope wants a new beginning. But she worries how her friend will fare in her new East Hampton home, far away from everything familiar. Lindsay’s worst fears are confirmed when she discovers Hope has vanished without a trace—the only lead a drop of blood found where she was last seen. Even more ominously, the blood matches a DNA sample with a connection to a notorious Kansas murderer.

With nowhere else to turn, Lindsay calls NYPD homicide detective Ellie Hatcher, the daughter of the cop who dedicated his life to hunting the Kansas killer. Ellie has always believed there was more to the story of her father’s death twenty years earlier—and she now fears that Hope’s recent disappearance could be related.

In pursuit of answers, the women search for the truth beneath long-buried secrets. And when their searches converge, what they find will upend everything they’ve ever known. 

***

Would you keep reading?  I love this author, so I’m in.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “LUCY”

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:  Lucy, by Ellen Feldman.

Book Beginning:

(1947)

“It is a story which reminds us of the code of another day, of the complexity of human relationships, of the human problems of statesmen bearing the heaviest responsibilities and of the capacity of mature people to accept the frustrations of life and, perhaps, to make of frustrations a sort of triumph.  Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lucy Mercer all emerge from the story with honor.

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Friday 56:

The orchestra started up again in a ragtime beat.  Franklin’s arm went around my waist.  I looked at Eleanor.  Her eyes held mine.

***

Synopsis:

On the eve of World War I, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt, fiercely ambitious and still untouched by polio, falls in love with his wife’s social secretary, Lucy Mercer. Eleanor stumbles on their letters and divorce is discussed, but honor and ambition win out. Franklin promises he will never see Lucy again.

But Franklin and Lucy do meet again, and again they fall in love.

Ellen Feldman brings a novelist’s insight to bear on the connection of these three compelling characters. Franklin and Lucy did finally meet, across the divide of his illness and political ascendancy, her marriage and widowhood. They fell in love again. As he prepared to run for an unprecedented third term and lead America into war, Franklin turned to Lucy for the warmth and unconditional approval Eleanor was unable to give.

Drawing on recently discovered materials to re-create the voice of a woman who played a crucial but silent role in the Roosevelt presidency, Lucy is a remarkably sensitive exploration of the private lives behind a public marriage. Reading group guide included.

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What do you think?  Are you intrigued?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “LAYLA”

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 that has been patiently waiting on my Kindle:  Layla, by Colleen Hoover.

Beginning

(The Interview)

I placed two layers of duct tape over Layla’s mouth before I came downstairs, but I can still hear her muffled screams as the detective takes a seat at the table.

***

Friday 56:

I know she thinks this is probably some fantasy of mine—I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t-–but not right now.  Not after she just came down from a panic attack.  It feels wrong.

***

When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.

Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.

***

Would you keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “CHRISTMAS DESSERT MURDER”

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: Christmas Dessert Murder, by Joanne Fluke.

***

Book Beginning:

(Prologue)

The dining room at the Lake Eden Inn was festive with corn shocks, hay bales, pumpkins, and giant beer steins made of paper mache.  It was clear that the owners, Sally and Dick Laughlin, were getting ready for their Oktoberfest celebration over the weekend.

***

Friday 56:

Lisa slid onto the stool and ordered a hot lemonade.  It had just arrived when the waitress tapped Hannah on the shoulder to say that their table was ready.

***

Synopsis:

CHRISTMAS CARAMEL MURDER
Hannah and her good pal Lisa have agreed to provide all the goodies for the town’s annual production of A Christmas Carol. But before anyone can say “Bah, humbug!” the actress playing Mrs. Claus exits stage left for good. As murder suspects pile up faster than snowdrifts in a blizzard, it might take a visit from ghosts of Christmas past to wrap up this mystery in time for the holidays . . .
 
CHRISTMAS CAKE MURDER
Hannah’s life matches the hectic December hustle and bustle of Lake Eden when she agrees to help recreate a spectacular Christmas Ball in honor of Essie Granger, an elderly local in hospice care. But instead of poring over decadent dessert recipes, Hannah’s surprised by Essie’s secret talent for penning crime fiction. She’s even more surprised when the story turns real. It’ll be a true miracle if she can prevent another Yuletide disaster by solving a mystery as dense as a Christmas fruitcake . . .

***

What do you think?  I am eager to enjoy the goodies and the Christmas events.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “WHAT HAPPENS IN PARADISE”

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 that has been on my Kindle since 2019, the second in a trilogy:  What Happens in Paradise, by Elin Hilderbrand.

***

Beginning:

(Irene)

She wakes up facedown on a beach.  Someone is calling her name.

Irene!”

She lifts her head and feels her cheek and lips dusted with sand so white and fine, it might be powdered sugar.

***

Friday 56:

He’s almost more nervous about calling her than about calling the FBI.  He is more nervous about calling her because he has no idea how the conversation will go.

***

Synopsis:  A year ago, Irene Steele had the shock of her life: her loving husband, father to their grown sons and successful businessman, was killed in a helicopter crash. But that wasn’t Irene’s only shattering news: he’d also been leading a double life on the island of St. John, where another woman loved him, too.

Now Irene and her sons are back on St. John, determined to learn the truth about the mysterious life—and death—of a man they thought they knew. Along the way, they’re about to learn some surprising truths about their own lives, and their futures.

Lush with the tropical details, romance, and drama that made Winter in Paradise a national bestseller, What Happens in Paradise is another immensely satisfying page-turner from one of America’s most beloved and engaging storytellers.

***

I have read the first book in this trilogy, and the second and third are still waiting.  Should I keep reading?  Would you?

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE NEW WIFE”

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 New Wife, by Sue Watson.

***

Book Beginning:

(Prologue)

I’ll never forget the way she looked—the sun behind her like a halo, the fitted, ivory satin gown, long, glossy blonde hair coiled and twisted down her back.

***

Friday 56:

Suddenly, there was something in the road, a moorland sheep wandering into the lights of the car.  I yelped and jumped on the brakes, my chest pumping.

***

Synopsis:

My darling son, Sam, is marrying his childhood sweetheart and I couldn’t be prouder of the man he’s grown into. Walking out on his abusive father all those years ago was the best thing I ever did. And today he stands, tall and handsome, saying ‘I do’ to my dream daughter-in-law. If I hadn’t pushed them together all those years ago, he might never have found a girl as perfect as Lauren. It’s true what they say, mother always knows best.

But weeks later, Lauren is dead and police cars fill the driveway of their idyllic countryside home. As they question Sam, I sense he’s hiding something. Why won’t he look me in the eye? And who does he rush off to meet as soon as the police are gone?

Desperate, I do what every good mother would do: I let myself into Sam and Lauren’s bedroom. What I see, I will never be able to forget. My son’s beautiful new wife was hiding a dangerous secret. Can I clear my son’s name? And could my life be in danger now too?

***

Would you keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE WAY WE WEREN’T”

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 downloads:  The Way We Weren’t, by Phoebe Fox.

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Book Beginning:

(Before)

It’s his hands that let her know everything is going to be okay after all.

***

Friday 56: (Marcie)

Marcie pressed her left hand, the phone still in her right, up against the side of the weathered gray building until she felt splinters pierce her skin.

***

Synopsis:

Marcie Malone didn’t think she was either, but when she drives from Georgia to the southwestern shore of Florida without a plan and wakes up in a stranger’s home, she doesn’t seem to know anymore. Despondent and heartbroken over an unexpected loss and the man she thought she could count on, Marcie leaves him behind, along with her job and her whole life, and finds she has nowhere to go.

Herman Flint has seen just about everything in his seventy years living in a fading, blue-collar Florida town, but the body collapsed on the beach outside his window is something new. The woman is clearly in some kind of trouble and Flint wants no part of it—he’s learned to live on his own just fine, without the hassle of worrying about others. But against his better judgment he takes Marcie in and lets her stay until she’s on her feet on the condition she keeps out of his way.

As the unlikely pair slowly copes with the damage life has wrought, Marcie and Flint have to decide whether to face up to the past they’ve each been running from, and find a way to move forward with the people they care about most.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “WHAT TO DO WHEN SOMEONE DIES”

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 newest books:  What To Do When Someone Dies, by Nicci French.

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Book Beginning:

Moments when your life changes:  there will always be a before and an after, separated, perhaps, by a knock at the door.  I had been interrupted.  I was tidying up.  I had cleared up yesterday’s newspapers, old envelopes, scraps of paper, left them in the basket by the grate ready to make a fire after supper.

***

Friday 56:

“There’s nothing to tell,” I said, as I sat in the chair he pulled out for me.  “There wasn’t anything strange.”

***

Synopsis:

Ellie Falkner’s world has been destroyed. Her husband, Greg, died in a car crash—and he wasn’t alone. In the passenger seat was the body of Milena Livingstone, a woman Ellie’s never heard of. But Ellie refuses to leap to the obvious conclusion, despite the whispers and suspicions of those around her. Maybe it’s the grief, but Ellie has to find out who this woman was—and prove Greg wasn’t having an affair. And soon she is chillingly certain their deaths were no accident.

Are Ellie’s accusations of murder her way of avoiding the truth about her marriage? Or does an even more sinister discovery await her?

***

I love this author, so I’m eager to dive in.  What do you think?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “FORGIVE 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 a book I purchased in January 2021: Forgive Me, by Susan Lewis.

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Book Beginning:

(Prologue)

You know how it goes, some people you like and some you just don’t.  I can tell you this much, you’re not going to like me. No one does.  I don’t even like myself, especially not after what I did.  Not even before it, really.

***

Friday 56:

Disappointingly she was bumped through to voicemail, so she left a message.  “Hi, my name’s Andee Lawrence.  Leanne Delaney gave me your number.  I was hoping to talk to you about some drapes that I need made in a hurry….”

***

Synopsis:

In prison, Archie Colbrook spends his time writing letters. Letters addressed to a person against whom he committed terrible, nameless harm. Archie knows he doesn’t deserve forgiveness. Yes, he didn’t mean to hurt anyone, and sure, he was only following orders. But does that matter? He still did it.

In a small coastal town of Northern England, Claudia Winters hopes to feel safe for the first time in years after fleeing from her abusive husband with her mother and daughter. Their new life is supposed to be a fresh start. But Claudia knows the past won’t stay hidden for long—and she can’t help but feel that someone is watching her. And that something terrible is about to happen.

Linked by one irrevocable act of violence, Archie and Claudia’s lives intertwine. Claudia can’t overlook what Archie did to her family—but is forgiveness the only way to truly move on?

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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