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.

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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?

***

 

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?

***

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.

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