BOOKISH FRIDAY: “56 DAYS”

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 and my current read:  56 Days, by Catherine Ryan Howard.

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Beginning:

(Today)

It’s like one of those viral videos taken inside some swanky apartment complex, where all the slim and fit thirtysomething residents are doing jumping jacks behind the glass railings of their balconies while the world burns.  But these ones stand still, only moving to look down or at each other from across the courtyard, or to lift a hand to their mouth or chest.

***

Friday 56:

That’s what had started the wheels turning.  He wondered:  Why had he never seen any other blue-lanyard-wearing employees in these aisles?

***

Synopsis:

No one even knew they were together. Now one of them is dead.

56 DAYS AGO

Ciara and Oliver meet in a supermarket queue in Dublin and start dating the same week COVID-19 reaches Irish shores.

35 DAYS AGO

When lockdown threatens to keep them apart, Oliver suggests they move in together. Ciara sees a unique opportunity for a relationship to flourish without the scrutiny of family and friends. Oliver sees a chance to hide who—and what—he really is.

TODAY

Detectives arrive at Oliver’s apartment to discover a decomposing body inside.

Can they determine what really happened, or has lockdown created an opportunity for someone to commit the perfect crime?

***

What do you think?  Does this one seem particularly timely these days?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE DOWNSTAIRS NEIGHBOR”

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 my current read:  The Downstairs Neighbor, by Helen Cooper.

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Book Beginning:

(Emma)

If it hadn’t been for a disruptive hamster and three nights of insomnia, Emma might not have found herself crouched in her understairs cupboard that night.  She might not have heard the fear-pinched voice from overhead.

***

Friday 56:

(Kate)

I know it’s not the right moment to bring it up, but Nick’s been here all weekend, so this is the first time I’ve managed to get Mum on her own.  As she’s flinging things into her handbag, I ask, “Were you ill last week?”

***

Synopsis:

One House. Three Families. Countless Secrets.

From her downstairs apartment in suburban London, Emma has often overheard the everyday life of the seemingly perfect family upstairs–Steph, Paul and teenage daughter Freya–but has never got to know them. Until one day, she hears something that seizes her attention: Freya has vanished and the police are questioning Steph and Paul about their life. Do either of you have any enemies? Anyone who might want to harm or threaten you?

The effects of Freya’s disappearance ripple outward, affecting not just her parents, but everyone who lives in the building, including Emma and local driving instructor Chris, who was the last person to see the teenager before she went missing. Each character’s life is thrown into sharp focus as devastating mistakes and long-held secrets are picked apart and other crimes come to light–including a child gone missing twenty-five years earlier, and a shocking murder–that make clear that the past never stays where we leave it, and that homes can be built on foundations of lies.

***

I am almost finished with this book, and I’m loving the alternating narrators and short chapters, keeping up a nice pace.  Would you keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “SURFSIDE SISTERS”

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 my current read:  Surfside Sisters, by Nancy Thayer.

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Book Beginning:

Two different kinds of people exist:  Those who wade cautiously into the shallows and those who throw themselves headlong into the roaring surf.

At least, that was what Keely and Isabelle thought.

***

Friday 56:

Keely sat up straight.  She wiped her eyes and gave a quavering smile.  “I guess I understand.  Anyway, I don’t want to fight over any stupid male.  Our friendship should mean more than that.”

***

Synopsis:

Keely Green always dreamed of leaving the beautiful shores of Nantucket to become a writer. Now she’s a bestselling novelist living in New York City, attending glamorous cocktail parties and mingling with the literary elite. Keely is also dating a charming, perfectly fine pediatric surgeon who looks good on paper but isn’t “the one.” She just can’t bear to break it off—until he declares his desire to settle down. Then Keely’s editor rejects her latest novel. With her personal and professional lives suddenly in shambles, Keely longs for the soothing island way of life.

Growing up, Keely and her best friend, Isabelle, were inseparable. Nothing could come between them—except, as it turned out, Keely’s high school boyfriend, Tommy. Returning home would mean facing Isabelle’s bitter betrayal and seeing for herself the family Tommy and Isabelle have created, the life that might have been Keely’s.

But when Keely’s mother falls into a deep depression, Keely knows what she must do, even though she is reluctant to face her estranged friend. And encountering Isabelle’s older brother, Sebastian—Keely’s longtime crush—only complicates things.

In one incredible summer, Keely must confront the mistakes of the past if she has any chance of finding true happiness in the place she will always call home. Nancy Thayer shines yet again in this uplifting tale of forgiveness and self-discovery.

***

I am enjoying this book!  What do you think?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “LIE BESIDE 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 new book to my shelves:  Lie Beside Me, by Gytha Lodge.

***

Book Beginning:

(Prologue, Louise)

I felt cold.  Cold in the way of night sweats.  In the way of a slow waking to damp sheets that stuck to my skin.  It was like that time when I thought I had lymphoma but was, in fact, falling to pieces mentally instead.

***

Friday 56:

I was aware, though, of a growing disconnect between Drunk Louise and me.  I would occasionally be alarmed at things she’d done.  Like the time she talked you into getting sexy in an office at your work Christmas party.

***

Synopsis:

Louise wakes up. Her head aches, her mouth is dry, her memory is fuzzy—but she suspects she’s done something bad.

She rolls over toward her husband, Niall. The man who, until recently, made her feel loved.

But it’s not Niall lying beside her. In fact, she’s never seen this man before.

And he’s not breathing. . . .

As Louise desperately struggles to piece her memories back together, it’s clear to Jonah Sheens and his team that she is their prime suspect—though they soon find she’s not the only one with something to hide.

Did she do it? And, if not, can they catch the real killer before they strike again?

In this gripping novel, a young woman finds that trying to make sense of her life’s bad choices might prove the most dangerous reckoning there is.

***

Spooky, right?  I can’t wait to see what will happen in this one!

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE LAST HOUSE ON THE STREET”

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 NetGalley ARC that will be released on January 11, 2022:  The Last House on the Street, by Diane Chamberlain.

***

Book Beginning:

Kayla – 2010:

I’m in the middle of a call with a contractor when Natalie, our new administrative assistant, pokes her head into my office.  I put the call on hold.

“This woman is in the foyer and she says she has an eleven o’clock appointment with you, but I don’t have her on your calendar.”

***

Friday 56:

He studied me from behind his glasses, then shook his head. “No, Ellie.  Uh-uh.  I believe you’re the real deal.  You and the other freedom fighters…nobody stays in a house with a damn outhouse unless they’re serious about this work.” (56%).

***

Synopsis:


1965

Growing up in the well-to-do town of Round Hill, North Carolina, Ellie Hockley was raised to be a certain type of proper Southern lady. Enrolled in college and all but engaged to a bank manager, Ellie isn’t as committed to her expected future as her family believes. She’s chosen to spend her summer break as a volunteer helping to register black voters. But as Ellie follows her ideals fighting for the civil rights of the marginalized, her scandalized parents scorn her efforts, and her neighbors reveal their prejudices. And when she loses her heart to a fellow volunteer, Ellie discovers the frightening true nature of the people living in Round Hill.

2010

Architect Kayla Carter and her husband designed a beautiful house for themselves in Round Hill’s new development, Shadow Ridge Estates. It was supposed to be a home where they could raise their three-year-old daughter and grow old together. Instead, it’s the place where Kayla’s husband died in an accident—a fact known to a mysterious woman who warns Kayla against moving in. The woods and lake behind the property are reputed to be haunted, and the new home has been targeted by vandals leaving threatening notes. And Kayla’s neighbor Ellie Hockley is harboring long buried secrets about the dark history of the land where her house was built.

Two women. Two stories. Both on a collision course with the truth–no matter what that truth may bring to light–in Diane Chamberlain’s riveting, powerful novel about the search for justice.

***

What do you think?  I always enjoy this author’s books, so I am eager to start reading it.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “CUL-DE-SAC”

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:  Cul-de-sac, by Joy Fielding.

***

Book Beginning:

(Prologue) It’s normally such a quiet street.  Small, unassuming, solidly middle class.  Not the sort of place one usually associates with the shocking events of that hot July night.  Ask any of the residents and they will agree that none of their neighbors seemed capable of committing such a cold-blooded, heinous act.

***

Friday 56:

Craig grabbed her arm, forced her back into her seat.  “We just drove an hour and a half to get here, and it’s not our car.”

***

Synopsis:

Someone on this quiet, unassuming cul-de-sac will be shot dead in the middle of a sultry July night.

Will it be Maggie, the perfectionist wife, or Craig, the husband who can’t quite live up to her expectations? They’ve packed up their two children and fled their life in California, hoping for a fresh start in Florida, only to find the demons of the past hovering on their doorstep.

Maybe it will be Nick, a highly respected oncologist, or his wife, Dani, a successful dentist, both with well-kept secrets of their own.

Or perhaps the victim will be Julia, an elderly widow, whose troubled grandson has recently moved in with her, introducing unsavory habits and even more unsavory acquaintances into her formerly quiet existence.

Then there’s Olivia and her husband, Sean. Having lost his job at a prestigious advertising agency, Sean is depressed, resentful of his working wife, and drinking heavily. He is also prone to increasingly violent fantasies.

And what of the newlyweds, Aiden and Heidi, whose marriage is already on the rocks, due to Aiden’s reluctance to stand up to his intrusive mother? Matters aren’t helped when Heidi befriends Julia’s grandson, setting the stage for a major blowup.

***

This book caught my interest a while ago, primarily because I enjoy this author.  The blurb also grabbed me.  What do you think?

***

 

 

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE GUILT TRIP”

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 acquisition:  The Guilt Trip, by Sandie Jones.

Book Beginning:

The policeman, with his slicked-back hair, stands at the bottom of my hospital bed, staring at me intently.

“So, can you confirm you knew the deceased?” he says, in heavily accented English.

I nod, but even that hurts.

***

Friday 56

It wasn’t as if she’d been invited to join them, exactly.  It had been made to look like Rachel had just happened to be in the same place they were, so she could check Paige out.

***

Synopsis:

Rachel and Jack. Paige and Noah. And Will. Five friends who’ve known one another for years. Then along came Ali, Will’s new fiancée.

The three couples travel to Portugal for Ali and Will’s destination wedding. The weekend away at the gorgeous cliff-top villa is a chance to relax and get to know Ali an little better. She seems perfectly nice—and Will seems happy after years of bad choices.

But when Rachel discovers a shocking secret about Ali, everything changes. As the wedding weekend unfolds, the secrets each of them holds begin to spill, and friendships and marriages threaten to unravel.

In Sandie Jones’s explosive new suspense novel, jumping to conclusions can become the difference between life and death.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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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.

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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.

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