CURL UP WITH “THE FUTURES”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s featured book is The Futures, by Anna Pitoniak, is a dazzling debut novel about love and betrayal, in which a young couple moves to New York City in search of success-only to learn that the lives they dream of may come with dangerous strings attached.

 

 

 

Intro: (Prologue – Julia)

It was a story that made sense.  An old story, but one that felt truer for it.  Young love goes stale and slackens.  You change, and you shed what you no longer need.  It’s just part of growing up.

I thought I had understood.  It seemed so simple at the time.

We moved in on a humid morning in June.  Our suitcases bumped and scuffed the walls as we climbed three flights of stairs, the rest of the boxes and furniture waiting unguarded in the foyer.  The locks were clunky and finicky, resistant on the first few attempts.  Sunlight streamed through the smudged windows, and the floorboards creaked beneath our weight.  The apartment looked smaller than it had before, on the day we signed our lease.  “I’m going down for some boxes,” Evan said, holding the door open with one foot.  “You coming?”

***

Teaser:  I was silent.  I waited for him to look up at me, but he wouldn’t.  He kept his palms pressed up against his eyes, like a child willing a monster to disappear.  After a minute, he said it again.  “Julia.  What should I do?”

***

Synopsis:  Julia and Evan fall in love as undergraduates at Yale. For Evan, a scholarship student from a rural Canadian town, Yale is a whole new world, and Julia–blond, beautiful, and rich–fits perfectly into the future he’s envisioned for himself. After graduation, and on the eve of the great financial meltdown of 2008, they move together to New York City, where Evan lands a job at a hedge fund. But Julia, whose privileged upbringing grants her an easy but wholly unsatisfying job with a nonprofit, feels increasingly shut out of Evan’s secretive world.

With the market crashing and banks failing, Evan becomes involved in a high-stakes deal at work–a deal that, despite the assurances of his Machiavellian boss, begins to seem more than slightly suspicious. Meanwhile, Julia reconnects with someone from her past who offers a glimpse of a different kind of live. As the economy craters, and as Evan and Julia spin into their separate orbits, they each find that they are capable of much more–good and bad–than they’d ever imagined.

Rich in suspense and insight, Anna Pitoniak’s gripping debut reveals the fragile yet enduring nature of our connections: to one another and to ourselves. THE FUTURES is a glittering story of a couple coming of age, and a searing portrait of what it’s like to be young and full of hope in New York City, a place that so often seems determined to break us down–but ultimately may be the very thing that saves us.

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

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LET’S CURL UP WITH “THE GOOD NEIGHBOR”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

My feature today is a recent download:  The Good Neighbor, by A. J. Banner, a book that will forever change the way you look at the people closest to you…

 

 

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Intro:  (Prologue)

I’m drowning.  The river’s current is tearing me apart.  I’ve kicked off my boots, but my heavy jeans cling to my legs.  My chest burns with the need for air.  Where is she?  I’ve lost sight of her—no, there she is, too close to the falls.  Her head bobs to the surface, her pale face upturned.  Her lips are blue.

I strike out after her, but the current yanks me under; I swallow mouthfuls of water.  I fight my way upward, break the surface, spitting out mud and silt.  The rumble of the waterfall rises to an earsplitting roar.

***

Teaser:  Now, as we waited for Eris to answer the door, I could almost believe our lives were normal, that we were on one of our casual social outings.  I’d donned dark jeans, a brown knit sweater, and Rockports.  Everything new, except the gold necklace I’d found in the rubble, which I wore beneath the sweater, where nobody could see it—a reminder of my past life. (p. 66).

***

Synopsis:  Shadow Cove, Washington, is the kind of town everyone dreams about—quaint streets, lush forests, good neighbors. That’s what Sarah thinks as she settles into life with her new husband, Dr. Johnny McDonald. But all too soon she discovers an undercurrent of deception. And one October evening when Johnny is away, sudden tragedy destroys Sarah’s happiness.

Dazed and stricken with grief, she and Johnny begin to rebuild their shattered lives. As she picks up the pieces of her broken home, Sarah discovers a shocking secret that forces her to doubt everything she thought was true—about her neighbors, her friends, and even her marriage. With each stunning revelation, Sarah must ask herself, Can we ever really know the ones we love?

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What do you think?  Do the excerpts grab you, make you want to keep reading?

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LET’S CURL UP WITH “SEND IN THE CLOWNS”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s feature is the fourth book in the Country Club Murders series:  Send in the Clowns, by Julie Mulhern.

 

 

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Intro:  (October, 1974, Kansas City, Missouri)

I’ve tripped over a body.  I’ve run over a body.  I’ve even swum into a body.  I never imagined one would fall on me.

Then again, wandering around a place called The Gates of Hell, what did I expect?

How I came to be at The Gates of Hell is a story in itself.  The short version is that my daughter, Grace, missed her curfew.  It was a school night and she’d sworn on a stack of Emily Posts that she’d be home by ten.  When I called her friends’ homes, I learned that each thought she’d gotten a ride home with someone else.  She’d been left behind.  At a haunted house.  In a neighborhood best described as sketchy.  “Omigosh, Mrs. Russell I don’t know how this happened,” spoken in a breathless, apologetic voice didn’t help.  Not when Kim said it.  Not when Peggy said it.

***

Teaser:  The building was purple—a deep violet shade.  Bamboo grew out of pots flanking the door.  The windows—there were two—had peace symbols painted on them.  The sidewalk was cluttered with a mismatched assortment of tables and chairs. (63%).

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Synopsis:  Haunted houses are scary enough without knife-wielding clowns. Especially murderous knife-wielding clowns. So thinks Ellison Russell, single mother, artist, and reluctant sleuth.
Now death wears a red nose and Ellison is up to the blood-stained collar of her new trench coat in costumes, caffeine, and possible killers. Who stabbed Brooks Harney? And why? Money? Jealousy? Drugs?
With Mother meddling, her father furious, and her date dragged downtown for questioning, turns out Ellison’s only confidante is Mr. Coffee.

***

What do you think?  Does this one grab you?  I know that I’ve loved the three previous books in the series, so I’m eager to enjoy this one.

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CURL UP WITH “A MAN CALLED OVE”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s featured book is one I hope to read this week, but it’s been on Pippa since July 2015.

A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman, is a feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand; it is about the angry old man next door, a thoughtful exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.

 

 

 

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Intro:  A MAN CALLED OVE BUYS A COMPUTER THAT IS NOT A COMPUTER

Ove is fifty-nine.

He drives a Saab.  He’s the kind of man who points at people he doesn’t like the look of, as if they were burglars and his forefinger a policeman’s flashlight.  He stands at the counter of a shop where owners of Japanese cars come to purchase white cables.  Ove eyes the sales assistant for a long time before shaking a medium-sized white box at him.

“So this is one of those O-Pads, is it?” he demands.

The assistant, a young man with a single-digit body mass index, looks ill at ease.  He visibly struggles to control his urge to snatch the box out of Ove’s hand.

“Yes, exactly.  An iPad.  Do you think you could stop shaking it like that…?”

Ove gives the box a skeptical glance, as if it’s a highly dubious sort of box, a box that rides a scooter and wears tracksuit pants and just called Ove “my friend” before offering to sell him a watch.

***

Teaser:  She believed in destiny.  That all the roads you walk in life, in one way or another, “lead to what has been predetermined for you.”  Ove, of course, just started muttering under his breath and got very busy fiddling about with a screw or something whenever she started going on like this.  But he never disagreed with her.  (p. 71).

***

Synopsis:  Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

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What do you think?  Does this sound like a book you would keep reading?  I am hoping to be delighted by the curmudgeon that is Ove.

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CURL UP WITH “THE EMPTY HOUSE”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s spotlight is on a recent download from a long favorite author.   The Empty House, by Rosamunde Pilcher, was first published in 1973, and then released as a Kindle version in 2013.

 

 

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Intro:  It was three o’clock on a Monday afternoon in July, sunny and warm, the hay-scented air cooled by a sea breeze which blew in from the north.  From the top of the hill, where the road wound up and over the shoulder of Carn Edvor, the land sloped down to distant cliffs; farmland, ribboned with yellow gorse, broken by outcrops of granite, and patchworked into dozens of small fields.  Like a quilt, thought Virginia, and saw the pasture fields as scraps of green velvet, the greenish gold of new-cut hay as shining satin, the pinkish gold of standing corn as something soft and furry, to be stroked and touched.

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Teaser:  As they spoke, Virginia looked about her, terrified that anything in this marvellous room should have been altered, that Eustace might have changed something, moved the furniture, painted the walls.  But it was just as she remembered. (p. 65).

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Synopsis:  At twenty-seven, Virginia Keile had been through the most intense experiences life had to offer–a magical first love ending in heartbreak, a suitable marriage, motherhood, and widowhood. All she wanted now was to take her daughter and son to a seaside cottage in Cornwall and help them recover. But Virginia’s true love was there, waiting, hoping, praying that this time she would be strong enough to seize happiness, in The Empty House.

When you read a novel by Rosamunde Pilcher you enter a special world where emotions sing from the heart. A world that lovingly captures the ties that bind us to one another-the joys and sorrows, heartbreaks and misunderstandings, and glad, perfect moments when we are in true harmony. A world filled with evocative, engrossing, and above all, enjoyable portraits of people’s lives and loves, tenderly laid open for us…

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  I haven’t read anything by Pilcher in years…and this one is a book I missed along the way.

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LET’S CURL UP WITH “NOVEMBER 9”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s featured book is a relatively new download for me, and a novel that has been getting quite a bit of positive attention.  November 9, by Colleen Hoover, is an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

 

 

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Intro:  (Fallon)

I wonder what kind of sound it would make if I were to smash this glass against the side of his head.

It’s a thick glass.  His head is hard.  The potential for a nice big THUD is there.

I wonder if he would bleed.  There are napkins on the table, but not the good kind that could soak up a lot of blood.

“So, yeah.  I’m a little shocked, but it’s happening,” he says.

His voice causes my grip to tighten around the glass in hopes that it stays in my hand and doesn’t actually end up against the side of his skull.

***

Teaser:  (Ben – Second November 9)

So…where the hell are you, Fallon?

She’s almost two hours late.  The waitress has refilled my drink four times.  And five glasses of water in two hours is a lot for my bladder, but I’m giving myself half an hour before I go to the restroom, because I’m worried if I’m not sitting here when she walks in, she’ll think I didn’t show and she’ll leave. (28%).

***

Synopsis:  Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon—and simultaneously his novel—be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?

***

What do you think?  Would this story capture your interest?  Would you keep reading?

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CURL UP WITH “HERE, HOME, HOPE”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

My featured book today has been languishing on my Kindle since December 2013, so it’s about time to bring it out, don’t you think?  Here, Home, Hope, by Kaira Rouda, will surely appeal to readers of chick lit and other women’s fiction titles who are ready to transition into something new in their own life.

 

 

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Intro:  Here’s how I knew something about my life had to change.

I was sitting in the dentist’s chair, waiting for the topical numbing goo to take effect on my gum so the dentist could jab a needle into the same spot.  My only choice for entertainment was to stare at the light blue walls surrounding me or flip through the channels available on the television suspended on the sea of blue.  I chose the latter and discovered an infomercial:  Learn to preach in Spanish.  The sincere narrator promised to tell me how many souls needed saving, and what an impact I could have, after I took their course, of course.

Maybe this was the answer to the problem I couldn’t name, the cause of the sadness I felt just under the surface of my life?  I could become a successful Spanish missionary.  I stared at the screen transfixed until Dr. Bane appeared to administer the shot of Novocain.

***

Teaser:  It was odd that I’d ended up this way:  a vintage housewife living in a modern world.  My mom had been a stay-at-home mom, a model of domestic perfection.  Perfect house, perfect kids, perfect meals.  And then poof!  My dad ran off with a neighbor. (p. 66).

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Blurb:  Kelly Mills Johnson becomes restless in her thirty-ninth year. An appetite for more forces her to take stock of her middling middle-American existence and her neighbors’ seemingly perfect lives. Her marriage to a successful attorney has settled into a comfortable routine, and being the mother of two adorable sons has been rewarding. But Kelly’s own passions lie wasted. She eyes with envy the lives of her two best friends, Kathryn and Charlotte, both beautiful, successful businesswomen who seem to have it all. Kelly takes charge of her life, devising a midlife makeover plan.

From page one, Kelly’s witty reflections, self-deprecating humor, and clever tactics in executing that plan—she places Post-it notes all over her house and car—will have readers laughing out loud. The next instant, however, they might rant right along with Kelly as her commitment to a sullen, anorexic teenager left on her doorstep tries her patience or as she deflects the boozy advances of a divorced neighbor. Readers will need to keep the tissue box handy, too, as Kelly repairs the damage she inflicted on a high school friend; realizes how deeply her husband, Patrick, understands and loves her; and ultimately grows into a woman empowered by her own blend of home and career.

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What do you think?  Do the excerpts grab you?  Intrigue you?  I’m hoping that, after all this time that I’ve had the book, it will be worth the read.

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CURL UP WITH “THE PERFECT STRANGER”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today I am spotlighting a book I downloaded in 2014, from an author I have enjoyed.  The Perfect Stranger, from Wendy Corsi Staub sounds like a really frightening book.  It is a story of one woman who connects with a bunch of bloggers, and now she may regret it.

 

 

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Intro:  (Prologue)

When the doctor’s receptionist called this morning to say that they had the results, it never dawned on her that it might be bad news.

“Hi, hon,” Janine said—she called all the patients “hon”—and casually requested that she come by in person this afternoon.  She even used just that phrasing, and it was a question, as opposed to a command:  “Can you come by the office in person this afternoon?”

Come by.

So breezy.  So inconsequential.  So…so everything this situation is not.

What if she’d told Janine, over the phone, that she was busy this afternoon?  Would the receptionist then have at least hinted that her presence at the office was urgent; that it was, in fact, more than a mere request?

***

Teaser:  Landry’s cell phone rings as she again paces the length of the master bedroom with it in her hand.

It’s about time.

Over an hour has passed since she e-mailed her number, along with a link to the Cincinnati newspaper article—LOCAL WOMAN MURDERED IN APPARENT HOME INVASION—to the three remaining online friends with whom she communicates most regularly:  Elena, Jaycee, and A-Okay. (p. 61).

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Blurb: In New York Times bestselling author Wendy Corsi Staub’s new thriller, one woman finds herself in the crosshairs of a twisted predator who might just be masked behind a familiar screen name . . .

During the darkest period of her life, Landry Wells found solace in a group of bloggers who had been in her shoes and lived to tell the tale. She’s shared things with her online friends that even her husband and children didn’t know. Things that now, looking back, make her uneasy.

One of the bloggers is dead, victim of a random crime—or was it? Did she trust too easily; reveal too much? At the funeral a thousand miles from home, Landry is about to come face to face at last with the others. These women are her closest confidantes in the world: they understand her; they know everything about her—and one of them might be a cold-blooded killer . . .

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What do you think?  Does this one grab you?  Would you keep reading?  I know I’m ready for something that totally engages me.

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CURL UP WITH “A PLACE WE KNEW WELL”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s spotlight is shining on an ARC from Amazon Vine:  A Place We Knew Well, by Susan Carol McCarthy.

 

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Intro:  (10:47 a.m., Wednesday, March 11, 2009)

As I wheel right into Dad’s driveway, a six-foot chain-link fence jumps up out of nowhere.  I stomp on the brakes.  My car heaves to a stop within inches of the padlocked gate.

My hands, shoving the gearshift into park, switching off the ignition, are shaking.  I rest my head against the wheel, my heart still skidding inside my chest.  Stupid, stupid!  I think, only now remembering Clem’s phone call two weeks ago.  “DEP recommends it, Charlotte,” Dad’s attorney told me, asking my okay for the expense of the fence.  “Plus, it’ll secure the property against vandals.  Or vintage collectors looking for a five-finger discount.”

But the sight of Dad’s station turned ENTRY RESTRICTED fortress, flanked by the tall fence lined with green sight-blocking screens, is still a shock.

***

Teaser:  (October 1962)

The lobby of the State Bank was packed with a long, snaking line of locals withdrawing cash.  Avery noticed the rise in the communal pulse, the rapid shifting of eyes and feet, the nervous jingling of pocket change, and the odd tendency to grab the cash envelope without comment and stalk directly out the door.  (p. 68).

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Blurb:  Late October, 1962. Wes Avery, a one-time Air Force tail-gunner, is living his version of the American Dream as loving husband to Sarah, doting father to seventeen-year-old Charlotte, and owner of a successful Texaco station along central Florida’s busiest highway. But after President Kennedy announces that the Soviets have nuclear missiles in Cuba, Army convoys clog the highways and the sky fills with fighter planes. Within days, Wes’s carefully constructed life begins to unravel.

Sarah, nervous and watchful, spends more and more time in the family’s bomb shelter, slipping away into childhood memories and the dreams she once held for the future. Charlotte is wary but caught up in the excitement of high school—her nomination to homecoming court, the upcoming dance, and the thrill of first love. Wes, remembering his wartime experience, tries to keep his family’s days as normal as possible, hoping to restore a sense of calm. But as the panic over the Missile Crisis rises, a long-buried secret threatens to push the Averys over the edge.

With heartbreaking clarity and compassion, Susan Carol McCarthy captures the shock and innocence, anxiety and fear, in those thirteen historic days, and brings vividly to life one ordinary family trying to hold center while the world around them falls apart.

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Would you keep reading?  I know I am eager to do so.  Perhaps those of us who were around back then & vividly recall those two weeks—those poignant weeks—the urge to continue reading is very strong.  I can still see my college professor’s face that fall as he shared his thoughts about the unfolding events.

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CURL UP WITH INTROS/TEASERS: “PRETTY GIRLS”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s featured book is an ARC from Amazon Vine:  Pretty Girls, by Karin Slaughter.

 

 

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Intro:  When you first disappeared, your mother warned me that finding out exactly what had happened to you would be worse than never knowing.  We argued about this constantly because arguing was the only thing that held us together at the time.

“Knowing the details won’t make it any easier,” she warned me.  “The details will tear you apart.”

I was a man of science.  I needed facts.  Whether I wanted to or not, my mind would not stop generating hypotheses:  Abducted.  Raped.  Defiled.

Rebellious.

That was the sheriff’s theory, or at least his excuse when we demanded answers he could not give.  Your mother and I had always been secretly pleased that you were so headstrong and passionate about your causes.  Once you were gone, we understood that these were the qualities that painted young men as smart and ambitious and young women as trouble.

***

Teaser:  Claire had no doubt these movies were obscene.  Maybe she’d been right about Agent Fred Nolan yesterday.  The FBI had tracked the downloaded files to Paul’s computer.  Claire had seen a 60 minutes story where a government whistleblower had said connecting your computer to the Internet was tantamount to jacking yourself directly into the NSA.  They probably knew that Paul had looked at the movies. (p. 92).

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Blurb:  Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

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I am excited about this book.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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