RAINY DAY EXCERPTS: “GONE SO LONG”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a recent acquisition:  Gone So Long, by Andre Dubus III:  his first novel in a decade is a masterpiece of thrilling tension and heartrending empathy.

 

 

 

 

Intro:  My father’s parole officer had an office above a shoe store in Lawrence, Massachusetts.  The street was a wide two-lane of sparse traffic, cars parked in front of parking meters built in the 1950s, and the buildings on both sides were made of the same red brick as the mills along the river.  There were rectangular blocks of granite above each window, the roofs flat, and on the first floors were one shop after another, leather goods and a bakery, an office supply next to an Army and Navy outlet next to a jewelry store, its display window a dusty glass case whose shelves held little.

***

Teaser:  The dealer’s shop is in an old warehouse on the river, its parking lot half asphalt, half rain-rutted gravel, and Daniel stays on the asphalt as he backs his Tacoma slowly into the bay.  The dealer steps out of his small office. (p. 142).

***

Synopsis:  Daniel Ahearn lives a quiet, solitary existence in a seaside New England town. Forty years ago, following a shocking act of impulsive violence on his part, his daughter, Susan, was ripped from his arms by police. Now in her forties, Susan still suffers from the trauma of a night she doesn’t remember, as she struggles to feel settled, to love a man and create something that lasts. Lois, her maternal grandmother who raised her, tries to find peace in her antique shop in a quaint Florida town but cannot escape her own anger, bitterness, and fear.

Cathartic, affirming, and steeped in the empathy and precise observations of character for which Dubus is celebrated, Gone So Long explores how the wounds of the past afflict the people we become, and probes the limits of recovery and absolution.

***

What do you think?  I loved a previous book by this author, House of Sand and Fog, so I was eager to delve into this one.

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RAINY DAY EXCERPTS: “THE FAMILY AT NO. 13”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a book I have had for a while:  The Family at No. 13,  by S.D. Monaghan, a twist-filled thriller with an ending that will shock you to the core. Perfect for fans of The Couple Next Door, Lies and Behind Closed Doors.

 

 

 

Intro:  (Connor) (The Day of)

The blood welled up as a desolate cold crept into the wound like a ghost.  Connor stared down at the corpse.  It had a face he recognized; a face he knew too well.  Then he nodded, his shocked body agreeing with his composed mind that—yes, a knife will do this to flesh.   Connor gripped the camouflage-green handle, looked at the steel and then down to the injury as if finding it difficult to believe that this same tool had only moments before knifed spinewards through reefs of ribs.

***

Teaser:  Fergus bristled at the words, the implication that the money he’d made, continued to make and would always make was somehow worthless to Connor.  His eyes had already dried. (p. 67).

***

Synopsis:  Mary has everything. Beautiful and rich, she lives on an exclusive street in the heart of the city, in a house with gorgeous views and an immaculately maintained garden. Her life looks perfect.

But behind closed doors the truth is very different. Her husband Andrew barely speaks to her, spending his days down in the basement alone. Her teenage nephew is full of rage, lashing out with no warning. Her carefully constructed life is beginning to fall apart.

And then someone starts sending Mary anonymous notes, threatening her and her family…

Everyone has secrets. But is someone at number 13 hiding something that could put the whole family in danger?

***

What do you think?  I’m not even sure about this one, but I’m curious.

***

RAINY DAY EXCERPTS: “HEAVEN ADJACENT”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a recent download: Heaven Adjacent, by Catherine Ryan Hyde, a bittersweet novel about healing old wounds and finding a new place to call home…

 

 

 

 

Intro:  (Three Months After the Move)

(When Somebody Hands You a Fish)

Roseanna was standing under the barely warm water in her tiny, cold makeshift shower when the bell at the gate began to clang.

She cursed to herself a few times, under her breath but out loud, rinsing off more or less all at once and grabbing a towel.  She stepped out into her shabby and small add-on bathroom, toweled her hair briefly, then wrapped the towel around herself.

***

Teaser:  “That might be a bridge too far,” Roseanna said, almost without considering her words.  Then, remembering the feeling of freedom everywhere, she added, “But I guess I could think about it.” (p. 56).

***

Synopsis:  Roseanna Chaldecott spent her life as a high-powered lawyer in Manhattan. But when her best friend and law partner dies suddenly, something snaps. Unsure of her future, Roseanna heads upstate on one tank of gas and with no plans to return.

In the foothills of the Adirondacks, Roseanna discovers the perfect hideout in a ramshackle farm. Its seventy-six acres are rich with possibilities and full of surprises, including a mother and daughter squatting on the property. Although company is the last thing Roseanna wants, she reluctantly lets them stay.

Roseanna and the young girl begin sculpting junk found around the farm into zoo animals, drawing more newcomers—including her estranged son, Lance. He pleads with Roseanna to return to the city, but she’s finally discovered where she belongs. It may not provide the solitude she originally sought, but her heart has found room for much more.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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RAINY DAY EXCERPTS: “UNDER MY SKIN”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is Under My Skin, by Lisa Unger,  an addictive psychological thriller about a woman on the hunt for her husband’s killer.

 

 

 

Intro:  (Prologue)

I like him.  I do.

But.

There’s always a but, isn’t there?

He’s talking and I should be listening.  I’m not.  Does he see it, that I’m scattered, distracted?  Doubtful.  He doesn’t seem especially observant, has that way about him that people do now.  As if they are putting on a show of themselves, as if the moment is being watched rather than lived.

***

Teaser Tuesday:  The sun is dipping low when I find myself back in front of my apartment building.  My reflection in the glass doors stares back at me, and I must confront the fact that I have no memory of the last couple of hours. (66%).

***

Synopsis:  It’s been a year since Poppy’s husband, Jack, was brutally murdered during his morning run through Manhattan’s Riverside Park. In the immediate aftermath, Poppy spiraled into an oblivion of grief, disappearing for several days only to turn up ragged and confused wearing a tight red dress she didn’t recognize. What happened to Poppy during those lost days? And more importantly, what happened to Jack?

The case was never solved, and Poppy has finally begun to move on. But those lost days have never stopped haunting her. Poppy starts having nightmares and blackouts—there are periods of time she can’t remember, and she’s unable to tell the difference between what is real and what she’s imagining. When she begins to sense that someone is following her, Poppy is plunged into a game of cat and mouse, determined to unravel the mystery around her husband’s death. But can she handle the truth about what really happened?

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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RAINY DAY EXCERPTS: “THEY ALL FALL DOWN”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a recent download:  They All Fall Down, by Tammy Cohen. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest meets Orange is the New Black in this new psychological thriller, where a new patient suspects that women at her high-risk psychiatric clinic are being stalked by a serial killer . . .

 

 

 

Intro:  (Hannah)

Charlie cut her wrists last week with a shard of caramelized sugar.

We’d made the sugar sheets together in the clinic’s kitchen earlier in the day, under Joni’s beady-eyed supervision.

‘Yours are thick enough to do yourself an injury,’ I’d said to Charlie, as a joke.

***

Teaser Tuesday:  It had been such a relief when Hannah announced they were giving up on the whole idea.  And then she’d got pregnant naturally.  It had seemed like a miracle. (p. 60).

***

Synopsis:  Hannah had a perfect life in London—a loving husband, a great job—until she did something shocking. Something that she doesn’t quite understand herself; and now she has landed herself in a high-risk psychiatric unit.

Since Hannah has been admitted, two women have died, including Charlie, one of her closest friends in the institution. It’s a high-risk unit, the authorities say. Deaths happen. But Hannah knows Charlie wouldn’t have killed herself. She is convinced there’s a serial killer picking off the patients one by one, passing their deaths off as suicides. But why? And who will believe her?

Corinne, Hannah’s mother, is worried sick about her eldest daughter. She hates that she’s ended up in the unit, though she knows it’s the best place for her to get the treatment she needs. At first, Corinne assumes Hannah’s outlandish claims about a killer in the unit are just another manifestation of her psychological condition, but as she starts to uncover strange inconsistencies surrounding the unit’s charismatic director, Dr. Roberts, she begins to wonder if her daughter might have stumbled upon the truth.

But who can Corinne trust, when she doesn’t even trust her own daughter?

***

Do the snippets grab you?  Would you keep reading?

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RAINY DAY EXCERPTS: “LEFT: A LOVE STORY”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a recent download:  Left (e-book), by Mary Hogan, an unforgettable tale about life’s aching uncertainties—and a woman who discovers that somewhere between hope and reality, an unexpected future will find its way forward.

 

 

 

Intro:  I never meant for it to happen.  Though, isn’t that what they all say?  My heart was at the wheel; my mind and body were buckled, helpless, in the backseat?  Lola was along for the ride, of course.  Best friends like her appear only once or twice or maybe three times in a lifetime.

Lola—leggy, striking, indifferent—was standing a few feet back when love broadsided me.  More precisely, when lust hit in a T-bone collision.  Because that’s what it was.  Blind and combustible want.  A longing so fiery I felt like a flushed teenager.  As if I would incinerate if we didn’t connect.

***

Teaser:  I waited for feelings of love to creep back in like a fog.  The way they always did after a fight.  Always had, before my husband of two decades became a man I didn’t recognize (p. 58).

***

Synopsis:  It started as a dream vacation in Spain, with Fay and Paul Agarra enjoying all the delights of a European holiday. A respected New York City judge, Paul has always been the man Fay can rely on, no matter what. When he inexplicably disappears from a Barcelona street corner, Fay knows something is terribly wrong. Once reunited, Paul shrugs off the episode as a simple misunderstanding—but Fay suspects her almost perfect life has taken a dark and sudden turn.

Soon there are more signs that Paul is beginning to change. Bouts of forgetfulness lead to mistakes in the courtroom. Simple tasks cause unexplainable outbursts of anger. Fay’s worst suspicions are realized when she learns her husband—her rock, her love, her everything—is succumbing to the ravages of dementia.

As her husband transforms before her very eyes, Fay copes with her fears by retreating into a fantasy life filled with promise instead of pain. In Fay’s invented world, she imagines herself living a glamorous life free from heartache, with a handsome neighbor she barely knows rescuing her from a future she can’t accept.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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RAINY DAY EXCERPTS: “SHADOW DANCING”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a NetGalley ARC to be released on 6/19:  Shadow Dancing (e-book, Country Club Murders #7), by Julie Mulhern.

 

 

Intro:  (February, 1975, Kansas City, Missouri)

“You are surrounded by death.”

Oh dear Lord.  Libba’s “medium” sat on one side of a small table.  I sat on the other.  I tugged against her vice-like grip on my hand.

When Libba had said “medium,” I’d imagined a woman in a turban (royal purple or turquoise) and long, flowing robes who was surrounded by the scent of patchouli.  Someone who spoke with a foreign accent.

***

Teaser Tuesday:  Mother snorted.  Mother never snorted.  Then, like any good general who sees a battle being lost, she changed strategies.  “What is Detective Jones doing here so early in the morning?” (59%).

***

Synopsis:  Visiting a psychic is outside the norm for Ellison Russell. Finding bodies is not. Unfortunately, the psychic’s crystal ball says she’ll soon be surrounded by death. Again.

Drat.

Now there’s a corpse in the front drive, a witchy neighbor ready to turn Ellison and her (not so) little dog into toadstools, and a stripper named Starry Knight occupying the guest room.

How did 1975 go so wrong so quickly?

Ellison must handle Mother (who’s found a body of her own), make up with a certain handsome detective, and catch a killer, or the death surrounding her might be her own.

***

I have loved every book in this series so far.  What do you think?  Read more…or not?

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RAINY DAY EXCERPTS: “THE PERFECT MOTHER”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a recent download:  The Perfect Mother, by Aimee Molloy, is an addictive psychological thriller about a group of women whose lives become unexpectedly connected when one of their newborns goes missing.

 

Intro: (Prologue, Mother’s Day)

May 14

Joshua.

I wake, feverish.  The skylight above me pulses with rain, and I spider my fingers across the sheets, remembering I’m alone.  I close my eyes and find my way back to sleep, until I’m woken again, engulfed by a deep, sudden pain.  I’ve been waking with a sick feeling every morning since he left, but I know right away this is different.

Something’s wrong.

***

Teaser:  I need to get ahold of myself.  The best thing I can do right now is figure out where we’re going next, and hurry up and leave.  We obviously can’t stay here any longer.

Not with what I’ve just done. (52%).

***

Synopsis:  A night out. A few hours of fun. That’s all it was meant to be.

They call themselves the May Mothers—a group of new moms whose babies were born in the same month. Twice a week, they get together in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park for some much-needed adult time.

When the women go out for drinks at the hip neighborhood bar, they want a fun break from their daily routine. But on this hot Fourth of July night, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is taken from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but her fellow May Mothers insisted everything would be fine. Now he is missing. What follows is a heart-pounding race to find Midas, during which secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are destroyed. 

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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RAINY DAY EXCERPTS: “THE FEMALE PERSUASION”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a book I’m eager to read:  The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer, an electric novel not just about who we want to be with, but who we want to be.

 

 

 

Intro:  Greer Kadetsky met Faith Frank in October of 2006 at Ryland College, where Faith had come to deliver the Edmund and Wilhelmina Ryland Memorial Lecture; and though that night the chapel was full of students, some of them boiling over with loudmouthed commentary, it seemed astonishing but true that out of everyone there, Greer was the one to interest Faith.  Greer, a freshman then at this undistinguished school in southern Connecticut, was selectively and furiously shy.  She could give answers easily, but rarely opinions.

***

Teaser Tuesdays:  There was a dreadful suspension of time and a quick sequence of facial expressions he’d never seen on Greer before, and then she said, “You have got to be kidding me.”

***

Synopsis:  Greer Kadetsky is a shy college freshman when she meets the woman she hopes will change her life. Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant at sixty-three, has been a central pillar of the women’s movement for decades, a figure who inspires others to influence the world. Upon hearing Faith speak for the first time, Greer- madly in love with her boyfriend, Cory, but still full of longing for an ambition that she can’t quite place- feels her inner world light up. And then, astonishingly, Faith invites Greer to make something out of that sense of purpose, leading Greer down the most exciting path of her life as it winds toward and away from her meant-to-be love story with Cory and the future she’d always imagined.

Charming and wise, knowing and witty, Meg Wolitzer delivers a novel about power and influence, ego and loyalty, womanhood and ambition. At its heart, The Female Persuasion is about the flame we all believe is flickering inside of us, waiting to be seen and fanned by the right person at the right time. It’s a story about the people who guide and the people who follow (and how those roles evolve over time), and the desire within all of us to be pulled into the light.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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RAINY DAY EXCERPTS: “HER EVERY FEAR”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s featured book is one I got from the library via Overdrive:  Her Every Fear (e-book), by Peter Swanson, an electrifying and downright Hitchcockian psychological thriller—as tantalizing as the cinema classics Rear Window and Wait Until Dark—involving a young woman caught in a vise of voyeurism, betrayal, manipulation, and murder.

 

 

Intro:  The fastest route from Logan Airport to downtown Boston is a mile-long tunnel called the Sumner.  Dark, damp, and low ceilinged, the Sumner feels as though it were built a hundred years ago, which it very nearly was.  And on Friday,  April 24, a warm spring evening, a Boston University freshman ran out of gas halfway through the tunnel, reducing rush-hour traffic to just one slow-moving lane, instead of the usual two.  Kate Priddy, who had never been to Boston and had no idea she would wind up in a tunnel under Boston Harbor, sat in the back of a stopped taxicab and began to panic.

***

Teaser:  Alan turned cold.  He took another step backward.  His binoculars were on the end table next to the couch, and he went and got them, continuing to watch from deep within his apartment. (p. 58).

***

Synopsis: Growing up, Kate Priddy was always a bit neurotic, experiencing momentary bouts of anxiety that exploded into full blown panic attacks after an ex-boyfriend kidnapped her and nearly ended her life. When Corbin Dell, a distant cousin in Boston, suggests the two temporarily swap apartments, Kate, an art student in London, agrees, hoping that time away in a new place will help her overcome the recent wreckage of her life.

But soon after her arrival at Corbin’s grand apartment on Beacon Hill, Kate makes a shocking discovery: his next-door neighbor, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police question her about Corbin, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own—curiosity that intensifies when she meets Alan Cherney, a handsome, quiet tenant who lives across the courtyard, in the apartment facing Audrey’s. Alan saw Corbin surreptitiously come and go from Audrey’s place, yet he’s denied knowing her. Then, Kate runs into a tearful man claiming to be the dead woman’s old boyfriend, who insists Corbin did the deed the night that he left for London.

When she reaches out to her cousin, he proclaims his innocence and calms her nerves . . . until she comes across disturbing objects hidden in the apartment—and accidently learns that Corbin is not where he says he is. Could Corbin be a killer? And what about Alan? Kate finds herself drawn to this appealing man who seems so sincere, yet she isn’t sure. Jetlagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination full of dark images caused by the terror of her past, Kate can barely trust herself . . . So how could she take the chance on a stranger she’s just met?

Yet the danger Kate imagines isn’t nearly as twisted and deadly as what’s about to happen. When her every fear becomes very real.

And much, much closer than she thinks.

***

I am eager to start reading this book, which sounds so tantalizing.  Would you keep reading?

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