BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE DRY”

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Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  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!

A recent download is my feature this week, and I can’t wait to dive into this one.  The Dry,  is an atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery by award-winning author Jane Harper.

 

 

 

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Beginning:  (Prologue)

It wasn’t as though the farm hadn’t seen death before, and the blowflies didn’t discriminate.  To them there was little difference between a carcass and a corpse.

(Chapter One)

Even those who didn’t darken the door of the church from one Christmas to the next could tell there would be more mourners than seats.  A bottleneck of black and gray was already forming at the entrance as Aaron Falk drove up, trailing a cloud of dust and cracked leaves.

***

56:  Falk braced himself for an outburst, but instead a look of confusion flashed across Deacon’s face.  He shook his head slightly, the loose chicken flesh on his neck rubbing against a dirty collar.

“Why are you back?”  Deacon’s voice was slow and raspy.

***

Synopsis:  After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.  Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.

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I have heard such good things about this book, so I am eager to begin.  What do you think?

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REVIEW: LAST NIGHT AT THE VIPER ROOM, BY GAVIN EDWARDS

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His life began on August 23 in a pivotal year: 1970. River Phoenix was actually born River Jude Bottom, but he changed his surname later, as did the rest of his family.

John and Arlyn Bottom met when they were each on the road in the 60s, and continued their journey together as hippies, bent on changing the world and teaching the children they would eventually have a different, better way to live. They lived in Puerto Rico, among other distant places, but eventually settled on a compound in Florida after River’s movie-making success. River was the eldest of five children that included Rain, Joaquin (once called Leaf), Liberty, and Summer. All of the siblings performed musically and/or in film. But River took on the role of the family provider.

As I read Last Night at the Viper Room, my memories were rejuvenated with each mention of a movie River had made that I had enjoyed, like Stand By Me and Running on Empty. Other movies had a familiarity about them, but they did not resonate much with me, so it was interesting to learn more about how each film came to be cast with River, and how he seemed to have something unique and special that made him shine on the screen.

Until he no longer had that special ingredient due to drinking and drugs.

He had the ability to clean up his act periodically, enough so that his denial of a problem seemed credible. But those who watched and did nothing were certainly also in denial. That fatal night when River died in the early hours of October 31, 1993, would shake many of them to the core. But life went on, and even more celebrity deaths would take place in due time.

A sad story of a life cut short needlessly was also full of tidbits about other young actors from this era and what became of them, like Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samantha Mathis, and Martha Plimpton. As soon as I started reading about his life, his struggles, and his movies, I pulled one of my favorites from my shelves (Running on Empty)…and I’ll be watching it tonight. 4 stars.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE GIRL BEFORE”

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Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  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 an e-ARC from NetGalley with a release date of 1/24/17.  The Girl Before, by J. P. Delaney, is an enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune, and another woman’s mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception.

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY RON HOWARD

 

 

 

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Beginning:  (THEN:  EMMA)

It’s a lovely little flat, the agent says with what could almost pass for genuine enthusiasm.  Close to the amenities.  And there’s that private bit of roof.  That could become a sun terrace, subject of course to the landlord’s consent.

Nice, Simon agrees, trying not to catch my eye.

***

56%:  (NOW:  JANE)

“I have to go away.”

“So soon?”  It’s only been a few weeks since Edward moved in.  We’ve been happy together.  I know it in my heart, but I also know it from the metrics, which Edward has been doing along with me.

***

Synopsis:  Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

EMMA
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

JANE
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

***

What do you think?  Do these lines grip you, draw you in?  Would you keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE OTHER WIDOW”

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Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  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 I am excited about one of my new downloads:  The Other Widow, by Susan Crawford.  The author of The Pocket Wife explores the dark side of love, marriage, and infidelity in this sizzling novel of psychological suspense.

 

 

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Beginning:  (Dorrie)

The Audi skids on a slick street.  Black ice.  Dorrie bends to sip hot chocolate from a Starbucks cup.  Too hot, it burns her tongue, and she jerks the cup back, sloshing several drops across her coat.  “Sorry!”  She feels around his seat, wipes the spilled drink with her sleeve, glancing at Joe with his hands tight around the steering wheel.  He looks angry, his jaw rigid in the disjointed, nearly absent light, the scraps from the streetlights hazy and distorted as snow starts to fall sideways on the wind.

***

56:  She misses him a hundred times a day, laments the shocking death—the snow, that fucking ice.  Cruel of him, she thinks, to die the way he did, with another woman there beside him in the car.

***

Synopsis:  Everybody’s luck runs out. This time it could be theirs . . .

It isn’t safe. That’s what Joe tells her when he ends their affair—moments before their car skids off an icy road in a blinding snowstorm and hits a tree. Desperate to keep her life intact—her job, her husband, and her precious daughter, Lily—Dorrie will do everything she can to protect herself, even if it means walking away from the wreckage. Dorrie has always been a good actress, pretending to be someone else: the dutiful daughter, the satisfied wife, the woman who can handle anything. Now she’s going to put on the most challenging performance of her life. But details about the accident leave her feeling uneasy and afraid. Why didn’t Joe’s airbag work? Why was his car door open before the EMTs arrived? And now suddenly someone is calling her from her dead lover’s burner phone. . . .

Joe’s death has left his wife in free fall as well. Karen knew Joe was cheating—she found some suspicious e-mails. Trying to cope with grief is devastating enough without the constant fear that has overtaken her—this feeling she can’t shake that someone is watching her. And with Joe gone and the kids grown, she’s vulnerable . . . and on her own.

Insurance investigator Maggie Brennan is suspicious of the latest claim that’s landed on her desk—a man dying on an icy road shortly after buying a lucrative life insurance policy. Maggie doesn’t believe in coincidences. The former cop knows that things—and people—are never what they seem to be.

As the fates of these three women become more tightly entwined, layers of lies and deception begin to peel away, pushing them dangerously to the edge . . . closer to each other . . . to a terrifying truth . . . to a shocking end.

***

Ooh, I can’t wait to read this one!  What do you think?  Does it grab you?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “UNTETHERED”

Married to Books-BOOKISH LOGO

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  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 better way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is from an Amazon Vine ARC called Untethered, by Julie Lawson Timmer.

 

 

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Beginning:  Char slumped low in the pew, fretting about the casket.  It took her brother, Will, a moment to realize what she was doing.  Like everyone else, he had risen with the priest’s invitation and was waiting, a hand extended, to help her up and walk her to the social hall.

***

56:  Char gasped and covered her mouth with one hand while she reached out with the other, holding the towel to Morgan.  Morgan snatched it, wrapped herself in it, and ran to the bathroom.  As the bathroom door closed, the sound of the teenagers’ voices and footsteps rose from the staircase.

***

Synopsis:  When Char Hawthorn’s husband dies unexpectedly, she is left questioning everything she once knew to be true: from the cozy small town life they built together to her relationship with her stepdaughter, who is suddenly not bound to Char in any real way. Untethered explores what bonds truly form a family and how, sometimes, love knows no bounds.

Char Hawthorn, college professor, wife and stepmother to a spirited fifteen-year-old daughter, loves her family and the joyful rhythms of work and parenting. But when her husband dies in a car accident, the “step” in Char’s title suddenly matters a great deal. In the eyes of the law, all rights to daughter Allie belong to Lindy, Allie’s self-absorbed biological mother, who wants to girl to move to her home in California.

While Allie begins to struggle in school and tensions mount between her and Char, Allie’s connection to young Morgan, a ten-year-old-girl she tutors, seems to keep her grounded. But then Morgan, who was adopted out of foster care, suddenly disappears, and Char is left to wonder about a possible future without Allie and what to do about Morgan, a child caught up in a terrible crack in the system.

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What do you think?  Does this family novel with its complex issues resonate with you?  Do you want to keep reading?

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REVIEW: THE PERFECT GIRL, BY GILLY MACMILLAN

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At fourteen, Zoe Guerin, a musical prodigy, was bullied by the kids at the school she attended as a scholarship student. In an attempt to fit in, she reacts to a dare and takes the driver’s seat after a party. An accident, with Zoe driving, led to the deaths of her three teenage passengers.

Now, three years later, she is performing in a new venue, trying to thrive in her Second Chance Life, with her mother Maria and stepfather, a step-brother Lucas, and a baby sister Grace. Chris, her stepfather, does not know about Zoe’s life in Devon. In the new life in Bristol, with her new name, Zoe Maisey, she has another chance.

But somehow, secrets always have a way of getting out, and something happens that night during the performance that will bring Zoe’s secrets to light. And before the night is over, her mother will be dead.

The Perfect Girl was a multi-layered tale of the various secrets, lies, and hidden moments that make up the lives of the characters. Multiple narrators show us each character’s particular view on events, including some of what actually happened to cause Zoe to crash that car. Why did her blood alcohol test high when she didn’t recall drinking anything? And how did the testimony of the bullies seal her fate?

Most of the characters had flaws and some were quite unlikeable. I felt more sympathetic toward Zoe, but just when I wanted to root for her, she would do something questionable, or her mind would follow some pathway that would make me doubt her. In the end, a decision she makes changes everything; can something wrong make a right?

I definitely disliked Chris, with his attitudes, his cold eyes, and the mean words he shouted. How did a script written by his genius son Lucas convey something meaningful, that Zoe would read and come to use to help make a decision? What would be the significance of Zoe’s conclusions about the script in light of what happened to her mother?

Other characters, like Tessa, Maria’s sister; her husband Richard, with his alcohol problems; and Sam, the solicitor who helped Zoe with her case…all added something to the story, making it impossible to put down. A book that made me think about family dynamics and the issues that can lead to wrong choices, and what must happen to turn things right again. 5 stars.

BOOKISH FRIDAY: EXCERPTING “INTRUSION”

BOOKISH FRIDAY LOGO

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  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 better way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature, one of my Kindle Prime freebies, Intrusion, by Mary McCluskey, is about a loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, who find their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives.

 

 

 

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Beginning:  The narrow hotel bar, with its dull, disguising light, ran alongside the crystal ballroom.  Kat Hamilton, seated on a barstool at the far end of the room, sipped her fourth gin and tonic and wished that she could fade like a ghost into the wall.  The formal attire pinched.  She had worn only casual clothes since the funeral; on bad days she wore her nightshirt all day.  On this evening, the classic black dress chafed against her skin, like a winter sweater on sunburn.

***

56:  Kat remembered the three-hour test, the interview in front of a committee of middle-class governors.  She could still visualize the chairwoman:  a terrifying woman with shaded equine teeth.

***

Synopsis:  Kat and Scott Hamilton are dealing with the hardest of losses: the death of their only child. While Scott throws himself back into his law practice in Los Angeles, Kat is hesitant to rejoin the workplace and instead spends her days shell-shocked and confused, unable to focus.

When an unwelcome face from Kat’s past in England emerges—the beautiful and imposing Sarah Cherrington—Kat’s marriage is thrown into a tailspin. Now wealthy beyond anything she could have imagined as a girl, Sarah appears to have everything she could need or want. But Sarah has an agenda and she wants one more thing. Soon Kat and Scott are caught up in her devious games and power plays.

Against the backdrops of Southern California and Sussex, in spare and haunting prose, Mary McCluskey propels this domestic drama to its chilling conclusion.

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I’ve been eyeing this book for a while, so I’m eager to dive in.  Have you read it?  Would you keep reading?

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