BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE THINGS WE WISH WERE TRUE”

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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 better way to spend a Friday!

Today’s excerpts are from The Things We Wish Were True (e-book), by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen.

 

 

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Beginning:  Memorial Day Weekend, 2014  (Cailey)

Cutter and I were there when they opened the Sycamore Glen pool for the summer.  So I actually saw, with my own eyes, the spider web that was woven across the gate, keeping all the people from just walking right on in like they’d done every year.  Our new neighbors shuffled their feet and sighed real loud as they waited for the lifeguards to figure out what to do.

***

56:  She glanced over at Bryte, who was obliviously gathering her things.  She wasn’t gone yet.  That was good.  “I was rushing to speak to my friend.”  She pointed in Bryte’s direction.  “I wasn’t watching where I was going.”

***

Synopsis:  In an idyllic small-town neighborhood, a near tragedy triggers a series of dark revelations.

From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house.

Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel.

During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?

***

My kind of read!  I love those long-buried secrets.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE BEAUTY OF THE END”

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 featured book is an ARC from Amazon Vine:  The Beauty of the End, by Debbie Howells.

 

 

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Beginning:  I want to live forever...We were standing on top of Reynard’s Hill, where the ring of trees seemed to reach up, their branches tangling with the sky; where you could breathe, April said, as though air alone was not enough for her.

***

56:  (Ella) – We weave the first strands of friendship like a spider’s web.  For a therapist, she’s cool.  But then I get caught.

***

Synopsis:  “I was fourteen when I fell in love with a goddess. . .”

So begins the testimony of Noah Calaway, an ex-lawyer with a sideline in armchair criminal psychology. Now living an aimless life in an inherited cottage in the English countryside, Noah is haunted by the memory of the beguiling young woman who left him at the altar sixteen years earlier. Then one day he receives a troubling phone call. April, the woman he once loved, lies in a coma, the victim of an apparent overdose–and the lead suspect in a brutal murder. Deep in his bones, Noah believes that April is innocent. Then again, he also believed they would spend the rest of their lives together.

While Noah searches for evidence that will clear April’s name, a teenager named Ella begins to sift through the secrets of her own painful family history. The same age as April was when Noah first met her, Ella harbors a revelation that could be the key to solving the murder. As the two stories converge, there are shocking consequences when at last, the truth emerges.

Or so everyone believes. . .

Set in a borderland where the past casts its shadow on the present, with a time-shifting narrative that will mesmerize and surprise, The Beauty of the End is both a masterpiece of suspense and a powerful rumination on lost love.

***

What do you think?  Do the excerpts draw you in?  Do you want to keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “SWEETBITTER”

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 book is one I’ve recently downloaded, a book I’ve had my eye on for months.  Sweetbitter, by Stephanie Danler, is a lush, raw, thrilling novel of the senses about a year in the life of a uniquely beguiling young woman, set in the wild, seductive world of a famous New York City restaurant.

 

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Beginning:  You will develop a palate.

A palate is a spot on your tongue  where you remember.  Where you assign words to the textures of taste.  Eating becomes a discipline, language-obsessed.  You will never simply eat food again.

***

56%:  I knew he was down there.  He had just told Nicky he was going down to find a bottle of scotch, even though I had told him, for over a week, that we were out.  I’d even asked Howard about it, and he’d told me it was back-ordered at the distributor.  And yet Jake refused to believe it.

***

Blurb:  “Let’s say I was born when I came over the George Washington Bridge…” This is how we meet unforgettable Tess, the twenty-two-year-old at the heart of this stunning debut. Shot from a mundane, provincial past, Tess comes to New York in the stifling summer of 2006. Alone, knowing no one, living in a rented room in Williamsburg, she manages to land a job as a “backwaiter” at a celebrated downtown Manhattan restaurant. This begins the year we spend with Tess as she starts to navigate the chaotic, enchanting, punishing, and privileged life she has chosen, as well as the remorseless and luminous city around her. What follows is her education: in oysters, Champagne, the appellations of Burgundy, friendship, cocaine, lust, love, and dive bars. As her appetites awaken—for food and wine, but also for knowledge, experience, and belonging—we see her helplessly drawn into a darkly alluring love triangle. With an orphan’s ardor she latches onto Simone, a senior server at the restaurant who has lived in ways Tess only dreams of, and against the warnings of coworkers she falls under the spell of Jake, the elusive, tatted up, achingly beautiful bartender. These two and their enigmatic connection to each other will prove to be Tess’s most exhilarating and painful lesson of all.

***

What do you think?  Have you read this book?  Would you keep reading?

***

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.

***

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

***

BOOKISH FRIDAYS: EXCERPTING “THE BLUE BATH”

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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 better way to spend a Friday!

Today I’m featuring a book I plan to read soon:  The Blue Bath, by Mary Waters-Sayer.

 

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Beginning:  (Prologue)

Entering the front hall, Kat saw it coming, but could not stop it.  The swift and silent arc of the sledgehammer came to its own abrupt end as it smashed through the smooth plaster wall.  She squeezed her eyes shut, momentarily stunned by the force and the sound of the impact.  In the loud silence that followed, Kat peered through the dust swirling in the sunlight and stepped closer, her shoes crunching on bits of atomized plaster.

***

56%:  Opening her closet, Kat was surprised to find that one of her gowns had been steamed and left out, as well as shoes and accessories to go with it.  The housekeeper must have done it that morning.  There beside the long jade-green dress was a neat list—gown, jewelry, shoes, bag—in her own handwriting.

***

Synopsis: Kat Lind, an American expatriate living in London with her entrepreneur husband and their young son, attends an opening at a prestigious Mayfair art gallery and is astonished to find her own face on the walls. The portraits are evidence of a long-ago love affair with the artist, Daniel Blake. Unbeknownst to her, he has continued to paint her ever since. Kat is seduced by her reflection on canvas and when Daniel appears in London, she finds herself drawn back into the sins and solace of a past that suddenly no longer seems so far away.

When the portraits catch the attention of the public, threatening to reveal not only her identity, but all that lies beyond the edges of the canvases, Kat comes face to face with the true price of their beauty and with all that she now could lose.

Moving between the glamour of the London art world and the sensuous days of a love affair in a dusty Paris studio, life and art bleed together as Daniel and Kat’s lives spin out of control, leading to a conclusion that is anything but inevitable.

***

What do you think?  Do the excerpts and the blurb pique your curiosity?  What are you sharing?  Please come by with your thoughts and links.

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE ORPHAN CHOIR”

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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 better way to spend a Friday!

Sophie Hannah has brought many delightful books to me library, so I’m thrilled to showcase The Orphan Choir, a darkly suspenseful investigation of obsession, loss, and the malevolent forces that threaten to break apart a loving family.

 

 

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Beginning:  It’s quarter to midnight.  I’m standing in the rain outside my next-door neighbor’s house, gripping his rusted railings with cold, wet hands, staring down through them at the misshapen and perilously narrow stone steps leading to his converted basement, from which noise is blaring.  It’s my least favorite song in the world:  Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.”

***

56:  Joseph has always been a brilliant sleeper: seven thirty at night until seven in the morning, however light, dark, loud, or quiet his surroundings.  Other mothers think I’m lying when I say this, but it’s true:  he has slept all night every night since he was four weeks old.

***

Synopsis:  A MOTHER WITH AN EMPTY NEST IS BEING HAUNTED BY A GHOSTLY CHILDREN’S CHOIR. ARE THEY GIVING HER AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE THAT ONLY SHE CAN HEAR, OR ARE THEIR MOTIVES MORE SINISTER?

Louise Beeston is being haunted.

Louise has no reason left to stay in the city. She can’t see her son, Joseph, who is away at boarding school, where he performs in a prestigious boys’ choir. Her troublesome neighbor has begun blasting choral music at all hours of the night—and to make matters worse, she’s the only one who can hear it.

Hoping to find some peace, Louise convinces her husband, Stuart, to buy them a country house in an idyllic, sun-dappled gated community called Swallowfield. But it seems that the haunting melodies of the choir have followed her there. Could it be that her city neighbor has trailed her to Swallowfield, just to play an elaborate, malicious prank? Is there really a ghostly chorus playing outside her door? And why won’t they stop? Growing desperate, she begins to worry about her mental health.

Against the pleas and growing disquiet of her husband, Louise starts to suspect that this sinister choir is not only real but a warning. But of what? And how can it be, when no one else can hear it?

***

What do you think?  Would you grab this one off your shelf?  Would you keep reading?

***

BOOKISH FRIDAYS: “I LET YOU GO”

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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 better way to spend a Friday!

My pick today is a recent download, and a book I hope to devour soon:  I Let You Go, by Claire Mackintosh, “a finely crafted novel with a killer twist.”

 

 

 

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Beginnings:  (Prologue)

The wind flicks wet hair across her face, and she screws up her eyes against the rain.  Weather like this makes everyone hurry, scurrying past on slippery pavements with chins buried into collars.  Passing cars send spray over their shoes, the noise from the traffic making it impossible for her to hear more than a few words of the chattering update that began the moment the school gates opened.

***

56:  “Come on!”  Ray bellowed up the stairs to Tom and Lucy, looking at his watch for the fifth time in as many minutes.  “We’re going to be late!”

***

Synopsis:  On a rainy afternoon, a mother’s life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street . . .

I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.
 
At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them. Elizabeth Haynes, author of Into the Darkest Corner, says, “I read I Let You Go in two sittings; it made me cry (at least twice), made me gasp out loud (once), and above all made me wish I’d written it . . . a stellar achievement.”

***

I can’t wait to read this one, having heard so many good things about it.  Just what I need:  another thriller.  What do you think?

***

BOOKISH FRIDAYS: EXCERPTING “THE OTHER TYPIST”

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!

My pick today is a recent download, and a book I hope to devour soon:  The Other Typist, by Suzanne Rindell, is a haunting debut novel set against the background of New York City in the 1920s…

 

 

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Book Beginning:  They said the typewriter would unsex us.  One look at the device itself and you might understand how they—the self-appointed keepers of female virtue and morality, that is—might have reached such a conclusion.  Your average typewriter, be it Underwood, Royal, Remington, or Corona, is a stern thing, full of gravity, its boxy angles coming straight to the point, with no trace of curvaceous tomfoolery or feminine whimsy.

***

56:  I always assumed my notes were patchy and sporadic at best, but reviewing them now, I see I was quite thorough.  There are a great many more entries in my notebook—as I said, the ones I’ve included here only represent a sampling.  But there is no great anomaly in my interest, only in my methods.

***

Synopsis:  Confessions are Rose Baker’s job. A typist for the New York City Police Department, she sits in judgment like a high priestess. Criminals come before her to admit their transgressions, and, with a few strokes of the keys before her, she seals their fate. But while she may hear about shootings, knifings, and crimes of passion, as soon as she leaves the room, she reverts to a dignified and proper lady. Until Odalie joins the typing pool.

As Rose quickly falls under the stylish, coquettish Odalie’s spell, she is lured into a sparkling underworld of speakeasies and jazz. And what starts as simple fascination turns into an obsession from which she may never recover.

***

What do you think?  Intrigued?  I know that I now can’t wait to read this one, a book I eyed years ago, but forgot to download.  Now that I’ve read another book by the author, I know I will enjoy this one.  And I read that there is a movie coming, too.

***

BOOKISH FRIDAYS: EXCERPTING “THREE-MARTINI LUNCH”

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 featured book is an ARC from Amazon Vine.  I’ve been reading it regularly today and, while it started a little slow for me, I’m really into it now.  Three-Martini Lunch, by Suzanne Rindell, is an evocative, multilayered story of ambition, success, and secrecy in 1950s New York.

 

 

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Beginning: (Cliff)

Greenwich Village in ’58 was a madman’s paradise.  In those days, a bunch of us went around together drinking too much coffee and smoking too much cannabis and talking all the time about poetry and Nietzsche and bebop.  I had been running around with the same guys I knew from Columbia—give or take a colored jazz musician here or a benny addict there—and together we would get good and stoned and ride the subway down to Washington Square.

***

56:  (Eden)

Bobby grinned in an extremely charming, lopsided way.  He was tall and very good-looking, with the kind of relaxed, slouchy posture that suggested he was very reassured about how good-looking he was, too.

***

Synopsis:  In 1958, Greenwich Village buzzes with beatniks, jazz clubs, and new ideas—the ideal spot for three ambitious young people to meet. Cliff Nelson, the son of a successful book editor, is convinced he’s the next Kerouac, if only his father would notice. Eden Katz dreams of being an editor but is shocked when she encounters roadblocks to that ambition. And Miles Tillman, a talented black writer from Harlem, seeks to learn the truth about his father’s past, finding love in the process. Though different from one another, all three share a common goal: to succeed in the competitive and uncompromising world of book publishing. As they reach for what they want, they come to understand what they must sacrifice, conceal, and betray to achieve their goals, learning they must live with the consequences of their choices. In Three-Martini Lunch, Suzanne Rindell has written both a page-turning morality tale and a captivating look at a stylish, demanding era—and a world steeped in tradition that’s poised for great upheaval.

***

I am really enjoying the setting and the era of this book.  What do you think?  What are you sharing?

***

BOOKISH FRIDAYS: “THE OBSESSION”

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 I’m getting a late start, as I had to go to the lab for a routine blood draw…and wasn’t sure I’d even have time to post anything.  But while I waited, I started reading The Obsession, by Nora Roberts, on Pippa…and kept reading it while I had breakfast afterwards.  Wow!  Now I can’t wait to read more.

 

 

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Beginning:  (August 29, 1998) (Naomi)

She didn’t know what woke her, and no matter how many times she relived that night, no matter where the nightmare chased her, she never would.

Summer turned the air into a wet, simmering stew, one smelling of sweat and drenching green.  The humming fan on her dresser stirred it, but it was like sleeping in the steam pumping off the pot.

***

56:  Shocked, she grabbed Mason’s hand.  “You never told me.”

“Some shit you don’t tell your sister.  At least when you’re eight.  He scared the crap out of me—you, too.  We just got used to being scared of him, like that was normal.”

***

Blurb:  “She stood in the deep, dark woods, breath shallow and cold prickling over her skin despite the hot, heavy air. She took a step back, then two, as the urge to run fell over her.”

Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous. No matter how close she gets to happiness, she can’t outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes.

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, a rambling old house in need of repair, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kindly residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton.

Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But the sins of her father can become an obsession, and, as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.

***

I’m glad tomorrow is the Read-a-Thon, the first I’ve participated in…because I can keep reading this all day, along with more books that are calling to me.  What do you think?  Want to read it?

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