TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “DEAD OF WINTER”

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 feature is a recent download:  Dead of Winter, by Wendy Corsi Staub, a Lily Dale Mystery.

 

 

Intro:  Belle Jordan squints and takes aim.  Just as she presses the trigger, a voice bellows, “Mom!”

Jolted, she misses the target.

A fat white blob lands in the middle of a newly installed tile instead of in the seam along the countertop.  With a sigh, she sets aside the caulk gun and grabs a rag.

“Mom!”

“What is it, Max?”

Her six-year-old son offers an unintelligible response from the small TV room off the front parlor.

***

Teaser:  Calla turns away with her phone.  It doesn’t allow her any more privacy, because every word on her end is still audible, but they can’t see her expression.  Still, Misty can hear the trepidation in her voice (50%).

***

Synopsis:  Just as a murderer dumps his corpse into the lake across Valley View in Lily Dale, Bella Jordan happens to be at her window, not quite realizing what she’s seeing. Unbeknownst to her, the killer spots her silhouette and prowls straight to her door. That is, until he’s interrupted by a black cat. A superstitious gambler, he takes off, but Bella’s seen too much, and he vows to return.

Jiffy Arden, a neighborhood kid looking for the black cat and stumbling across the killer, begins to have premonitions of being kidnapped during the season’s first snowstorm. Sure enough, when it strikes, he vanishes, never arriving home from the bus stop. While her son, Max, believes Jiffy has been kidnapped, Bella is convinced he’s just wandered off as he typically does… until a body shows up in the lake.

Now everyone is pulling out all the stops to find the missing child, identify the victim, and collar the killer. And fast, because he’s coming for Bella next in Dead of Winter.

***

What do you think?  Do you want to know more?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “WONDER VALLEY”

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 feature is a new download:  Wonder Valley, by Ivy Pochoda, a swirling mix of angst, violence, heartache, and yearning—a masterpiece by a writer on the rise.

 

 

Intro:  (Prologue – Los Angeles, 2010)

He is almost beautiful—running with the San Gabriels over one shoulder, the rise of the Hollywood Freeway as it arcs above the Pasadena Freeway over the other.  He is shirtless, the hint of swimmer’s muscle rippling below his tanned skin, his arms pumping in a one-two rhythm in sync with the beat of his feet.  There is a chance you envy him.

***

Teaser:  Patrick stood and caught Owen as he lurched forward, his son’s blood streaking the front of his faded polo shirt.  Patrick gently peeled Owen’s arm away from his body, turning it toward the firelight. (57%).

***

Synopsis:  From the acclaimed author of Visitation Street, a visionary portrait of contemporary Los Angeles in all its facets, from the Mojave Desert to the Pacific, from the 110 to Skid Row.

During a typically crowded morning commute, a naked runner is dodging between the stalled cars.  The strange sight makes the local news and captures the imaginations of a stunning cast of misfits and lost souls.

There’s Ren, just out of juvie, who travels to LA in search of his mother. There’s Owen and James, teenage twins who live in a desert commune, where their father, a self-proclaimed healer, holds a powerful sway over his disciples. There’s Britt, who shows up at the commune harboring a dark secret. There’s Tony, a bored and unhappy lawyer who is inspired by the runner. And there’s Blake, a drifter hiding in the desert, doing his best to fight off his most violent instincts.  Their lives will all intertwine and come crashing together in a shocking way, one that could only happen in this enchanting, dangerous city.

***

Would you keep reading?  Do the snippets grab you?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “CARDINAL CABIN”

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 feature is a review book I’m just about to start reading:  Cardinal Cabin, by Joanne DeMaio, a heartwarming novel as merry and bright as a red-feathered cardinal taking flight.
 

Intro:  “What’s it all for, anyway?” Frank Lombardo asks.  With a wool cap on his head, and his tan canvas jacket zipped up tight against the chill wind coming off the river, he lifts a string of twinkling lights.  The question was meant only for himself, standing on the top rung of a ladder perched against the roofline.  But of course, his hovering sister picked up every dismal syllable.

“What do you mean?” Gina asks from down below while giving him yet another string of lights.

“All this fussing and decorating.”  His gloved hand motions to the grand two-story Addison Boathouse, with its vast deck and, on the roof, a white cupola with paned windows.  The boathouse rises from the banks of the river, and his ladder’s been propped against the building for hours.  “All these lights.  And wreaths.  And ornaments.  For what, really?”

***

Teaser Tuesday:  But when one song in particular begins, a slow song, Frank stops stoking the burning logs, sets down the wrought-iron tongs and walks to her.  On the way, he shuts off both table lamps.  The only sound in the room is Sinatra singing promises of home and snow. (p. 113).

***

Synopsis:  Frank Lombardo’s never been spontaneous. The closest he’s come was accepting a side job chopping firewood for a lakeside community of rustic cabins. But with another lonely holiday season imminent, Frank’s sister urges him to be spontaneous because, seriously, who does he ever expect to meet out in the woods?

With a suitcase in hand and a bit of reluctance, too, Penny Hart arrives at Cardinal Cabin on Snowflake Lake. It’s only for a brief stay, though nobody knows where she is. Not her boss, not her friends…

Only Frank Lombardo. As the two unexpectedly meet at Addison’s hidden hideaway, a spontaneous kiss sets everything amiss. But can the magic of this quaint New England town keep these snowy sweethearts together?

***

What do you think?  Do you want to keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “OUR SOULS AT NIGHT”

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 feature is a recent download, a book I’ve been wanting to read before the movie comes out at the end of the month.  Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf, the perfect final installment to this beloved writer’s enduring contribution to American literature.

 

Intro:  And then there was the day when Addie Moore made a call on Louis Waters.  It was an evening in May just before full dark.

They lived a block apart on Cedar Street in the oldest part of town with elm trees and hackberry and a single maple grown up along the curb and green lawns running back from the sidewalk to the two-story houses.  It had been warm in the day but it had turned off cool now in the evening.  She went along the sidewalk under the trees and turned in at Louis’s house.

***

Teaser:  Well, Diane stayed herself anyway, Louis said.  Throughout.  As I say I can appreciate that now.  I didn’t then, at the time.  But we didn’t know anything in our twenties when we were first married.  It was all just instinct and the patterns we’d grown up with.

***

Synopsis:  In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf’s inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s wife. His daughter lives hours away, her son even farther, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in empty houses, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with. But maybe that could change? As Addie and Louis come to know each other better–their pleasures and their difficulties–a beautiful story of second chances unfolds….

***

What do you think?  Do the snippets tempt you to keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE BURNING GIRL”

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 feature is The Burning Girl, by Claire Messud, a bracing, hypnotic coming-of-age story about the bond of best friends, from the New York Times best-selling author of The Emperor’s Children.

 

Intro:  You’d think it wouldn’t bother me now.  The Burneses moved away long ago.  Two years have passed.  But still, I can’t lie in the sun on the boulders at the quarry’s edge, or dangle my toes in the cold, clear water, or hear the other girls singing, without being aware the whole time that Cassie is gone.  And then I want to say something—but you can’t, you know.  It’s like she never existed.

***

Teaser:  The path, such as it was, would seem to come and go, and the greenery overhead became more dense, the sun more obscured, as if we were going ever deeper into the woods.  I tried to trace a mental map—we turned right at the broad rotted stump, we bore left where the two maple trunks had grown intertwined, we kept the water behind our left ears and its gurgly sound came near, and retreated, and came again. (p.58).

***

Synopsis:  Julia and Cassie have been friends since nursery school. They have shared everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts. But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge and Cassie sets out on a journey that will put her life in danger and shatter her oldest friendship. The Burning Girl is a complex examination of the stories we tell ourselves about youth and friendship, and straddles, expertly, childhood’s imaginary worlds and painful adult reality—crafting a true, immediate portrait of female adolescence.

Claire Messud, one of our finest novelists, is as accomplished at weaving a compelling fictional world as she is at asking the big questions: To what extent can we know ourselves and others? What are the stories we create to comprehend our lives and relationships? Brilliantly mixing fable and coming-of-age tale, The Burning Girl gets to the heart of these matters in an absolutely irresistible way.

***

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

***

TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “A STRANGER IN THE HOUSE”

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 a recent download.  A Stranger in the House, by Shari Lapena, is a domestic thriller packed full of secrets, and a twisty story that never stops—from the bestselling author of The Couple Next Door.

 

 

 

Prologue:  She doesn’t belong here.

She bolts out the back door of the abandoned restaurant, stumbling in the dark—most of the lights are burned out, or broken—her breath coming in loud rasps.  She runs like a panicked animal to where she parked the car, hardly aware of what she’s doing.  Somehow she gets the car door open.  She buckles up without thinking, wheels the car around in a screeching two-point turn, and peels out of the parking lot, swerving recklessly onto the road without even slowing down.  Something in the strip mall across the street catches her eye—but she has no time to register what she sees, because she’s already at an intersection.  She runs the red light, picking up speed.  She can’t think.

***

Teaser:  Tom wants more than anything to take a swing at the detective.  But he doesn’t.  As they take their leave, Tom stands up and watches them go.  He has to stop himself from slamming the door behind them in fury.  (p.155).

***

Synopsis:  Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate New York, they’re practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind.

There’s a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.

The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good.

Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something’s been moved. Something’s not quite right. Someone’s been in her house. And the police won’t stop asking questions.

Because in this house, everyone’s a stranger. Everyone has something they’d rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet.

***

I’ve been eager to get my hands on this one for ages!  What do you think?  Do you want to keep reading?

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CURL UP WITH “THE SLEEPWALKER” – EXCERPTS

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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 Ambrosia, at The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is an e-ARC from NetGalley:  The Sleepwalker, by Chris Bohjalian, to be released on 1/10/17.

 

 

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Intro (Chapter One)

Everyone in the county presumed that my mother’s body was decaying—becoming porridge—at the bottom of the Gale River.  It was the year 2000, and we were but three seasons removed from the Y2K madness:  the overwrought, feared end of the digital age.  It was a moment in time when a pair of matching towers still stood near the tip of lower Manhattan.  Fracking and photobomb and selfie were years from becoming words, but we were only months from adding to our vocabularies the expression hanging chad.

I was twenty-one that summer and fall, and my sister was twelve.  Neither of us fully recovered.

***

Teaser:  “I keep meaning to stop by the house and check in on all of you,” Marilyn said, and she shook her head and smiled in a way that at least hinted at self-loathing.  Disappointment in herself.  I hadn’t seen Marilyn since the very first days after my mother had disappeared.  Marilyn, like most everyone else, had moved on. (42%).

***

Synopsis:  When Annalee Ahlberg goes missing, her children fear the worst. Annalee is a sleepwalker whose affliction manifests in ways both bizarre and devastating. Once, she merely destroyed the hydrangeas in front of her Vermont home. More terrifying was the night her older daughter, Lianna, pulled her back from the precipice of the Gale River bridge. The morning of Annalee’s disappearance, a search party combs the nearby woods. Annalee’s husband, Warren, flies home from a business trip. Lianna is questioned by a young, hazel-eyed detective. And her little sister, Paige, takes to swimming the Gale to look for clues. When the police discover a small swatch of fabric, a nightshirt, ripped and hanging from a tree branch, it seems certain Annalee is dead, but Gavin Rikert, the hazel-eyed detective, continues to call, continues to stop by the Ahlbergs’ Victorian home. As Lianna peels back the layers of mystery surrounding Annalee’s disappearance, she finds herself drawn to Gavin, but she must ask herself: Why does the detective know so much about her mother? Why did Annalee leave her bed only when her father was away? And if she really died while sleepwalking, where was the body?
Conjuring the strange and mysterious world of parasomnia, a place somewhere between dreaming and wakefulness, The Sleepwalker is a masterful novel from one of our most treasured storytellers.

***

What do you think?  Do you want to keep reading?  I’ve been eagerly awaiting this book for months.

***

 

 

LET’S CURL UP WITH “MOST WANTED”

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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 Jenn, at Books and a Beat.

Today’s featured book is one of my eARCs from NetGalley:  Most Wanted, by Lisa Scottoline.  Release Date:  April 12.

 

 

 

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Intro:  Christine Nilsson walked to the closed door with anticipation.  She knew everyone was waiting for her inside the teachers’ lounge, ready to surprise her.  She’d guessed what they were up to, leaving their classrooms after the dismissal bell, then her principal summoning her for a “quick meeting,” even though there was no such thing at Nutmeg Hill Elementary.  It was sweet of them to throw her a good-bye party, especially on the last week of school when everybody was crazy busy.  She felt grateful and loved all of her fellow teachers, except Melissa Rue, Resident Blabbermouth.

***

Teaser:  “There’s something I need to tell you.”  Christine braced herself, pulling out the tall cherrywood stool at the kitchen island, feeling that she had to sit down.  She flashed on those scenes in the movies, when the person with bad news says to the person who doesn’t know, “you need to sit down,” but the truth was, she was the one who needed to sit down.

***

Blurb:  Christine Nilsson and her husband, Marcus, are desperate for a baby. Unable to conceive, they find themselves facing a difficult choice they had never anticipated. After many appointments with specialists, endless research, and countless conversations, they make the decision to use a donor.

Two months pass, and Christine is happily pregnant. But one day, she is shocked to see a young blond man on the TV news being arrested for a series of brutal murders—and the blond man bears an undeniable and uncanny resemblance to her donor.

Delving deeper to uncover the truth, Christine must confront a terrifying reality and face her worst fears. Riveting and fast-paced with the depth of emotionality that has garnered Lisa Scottoline legions of fans, Most Wanted poses an ethical and moral dilemma: What would you do if the biological father of your unborn child was a serial killer?

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  I’ve been eagerly anticipating this book.

***