FROM THE INTERIOR: “THE GUEST ROOM”

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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 feature is an e-ARC that I am eager to dive into.  It will be released on January 5, 2016.

The Guest Room, by Chris Bohjalian, is a spellbinding tale of a party gone horribly wrong: two men lie dead in a suburban living room, two women are on the run from police, and a marriage is ripping apart at the seams.

 

 

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Intro:  Richard Chapman presumed there would be a stripper at his brother Philip’s bachelor party.  Perhaps if he had actually thought about it, he might even have expected two.  Sure, in sitcoms the stripper always arrived alone, but he knew that in real life strippers often came in pairs.  How else could there be a little pretend (or not pretend) girl-on-girl action on the living room carpet?  Besides, he worked in mergers and acquisitions, he understood the exigencies of commerce as well as anyone:  two strippers meant you could have two gentlemen squirming at once.  You could have two girls hovering just above two sets of thighs—or if the girls saw the right combination of neediness and dollar signs in the men’s eyes, not hovering but in fact descending upon each of the men’s laps.  Richard wasn’t especially wild about the idea of an exotic dancer in his family’s living room:  there was a place for everything in his mind, even the acrobatically tensed sinews of a stripper.  But that place wasn’t his home….

***

Teaser:  “No one knows what we look like.”

“The men at the party do!”  I told her, and I thought of the faces I could remember.  I thought of the bachelor’s brother.  Richard.  I thought of the bedroom upstairs where we went. (68%).

***

Blurb:  When Kristin Chapman agrees to let her husband, Richard, host his brother’s bachelor party, she expects a certain amount of debauchery. She brings their young daughter to Manhattan for the evening, leaving her Westchester home to the men and their hired entertainment. What she does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, her husband sharing a dangerously intimate moment in the guest room, and two women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night.

In the aftermath, Kristin and Richard’s life rapidly spirals into nightmare. The police throw them out of their home, now a crime scene, Richard’s investment banking firm puts him on indefinite leave, and Kristin is unsure if she can forgive her husband for the moment he shared with a dark-haired girl in the guest room. But the dark-haired girl, Alexandra, faces a much graver danger. In one breathless, violent night, she is free, running to escape the police who will arrest her and the gangsters who will kill her in a heartbeat. A captivating, chilling story about shame and scandal, The Guest Room is a riveting novel from one of our greatest storytellers.

***

What do you think?  Do these lines capture your interest?  Would you keep reading?

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FROM THE INTERIOR: “THE SPECTACULAR NOW”

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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, after flailing about and picking up one book after another, I finally settled down with The Spectacular Now, by Tim Tharp, a book that I downloaded in February 2014.  I had seen the movie and was eager to read the book.  So now I’m galloping along through it, wondering why it took so long to start reading it.

 

 

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Intro:  (Sutter) So, it’s a little before ten a.m. and I’m just starting to get a good buzz going.  Theoretically, I should be in Algebra II, but in reality I’m cruising over to my beautiful fat girlfriend Cassidy’s house.  She ditched school to get her hair cut and needs a ride because her parents confiscated her car keys.  Which I guess is a little ironic considering that they’re punishing her for ditching school with me last week.

Anyway, I have this sweet February morning stretching out in front of me, and I’m like, Who needs algebra?  So what if I’m supposed to be trying to boost the old grades up before I graduate in May?  I’m not one of these kids who’s had their college plans set in stone since they were about five.  I don’t even know when the application deadlines are.  Besides, it’s not like my education is some kind of priority with my parents.  They quit keeping track of my future when they divorced, and that was back in the Precambrian Era.  The way I figure it, the community college will always take me.  And who says I need college anyway?  What’s the point?

***

Teaser:  (The night Sutter meets Aimee Finecky).  It takes about another hour to finish throwing her papers, and I keep her spirits high most of the time, but both of us lose a little enthusiasm toward the end, mostly because we know time is running out.  She’ll have to go back to her empty house, and I’ll have to go back to meet the wrath of Mom and Geech. (p. 76).

***

Blurb:  This National Book Award Finalist is now a major motion picture — one of the most buzzed-about films at Sundance 2013, starring Shailene Woodley (star of The Fault in our Stars and Divergent) and Miles Teller (star of Whiplash).

SUTTER KEELY. HE’S the guy you want at your party. He’ll get everyone dancing. He’ ll get everyone in your parents’ pool. Okay, so he’s not exactly a shining academic star. He has no plans for college and will probably end up folding men’s shirts for a living. But there are plenty of ladies in town, and with the help of Dean Martin and Seagram’s V.O., life’s pretty fabuloso, actually.

Until the morning he wakes up on a random front lawn, and he meets Aimee. Aimee’s clueless. Aimee is a social disaster. Aimee needs help, and it’s up to the Sutterman to show Aimee a splendiferous time and then let her go
forth and prosper. But Aimee’s not like other girls, and before long he’s in way over his head. For the first time in his life, he has the power to make a difference in someone else’s life—or ruin it forever.

***

What do you think?  Do you want to keep reading, just to find out what happens to these two lost individuals?  I know I can’t wait to keep going.

***

FROM THE INTERIOR: EXCERPTING “DRIVING LESSONS”

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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 featuring my current read, an e-book that has been on Pippa since April 2014.  Driving Lessons, by Zoe Fishman, is a story about family and unexpected life changes.

 

 

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Intro:  (Intersection:  any place where one line of roadway meets another)

“Sarah, what the hell?”

From above, I peered down the three flights of stairs to Josh below.  He stood over the flattened cardboard box filled with now-broken picture frames.  Even as I had balanced that box on the banister for just one second—just one second!—while I knelt to retrieve what looked like an integral screw from the bed frame that Josh and Ben had just hauled down the stairs, I had known that the aforementioned second would be its last.  Still, I did it—tempting fate and physics out of sheer exhaustion.  Naturally, the box had toppled over almost immediately, and I had watched its graceful descent with surprising ease.

“Sorry!” I yelled down.  Josh gazed up at me, his face an accordion of annoyance.  “That was stupid.”

“What was in here?”

“Picture frames, I think?”

“Great.”  He sighed heavily.  “Are you okay?”

***

Teaser:  We were headed to a faculty drinks night at a bar near campus.  As far as ambience went, I did not have high expectations, but I was looking forward to some human interaction (p. 59).

***

Blurb: Sometimes life’s most fulfilling journeys begin without a map

An executive at a New York cosmetics firm, Sarah has had her fill of the interminable hustle of the big city. When her husband, Josh, is offered a new job in suburban Virginia, it feels like the perfect chance to shift gears.

While Josh quickly adapts to their new life, Sarah discovers that having time on her hands is a mixed blessing. Without her everyday urban struggles, who is she? And how can she explain to Josh, who assumes they are on the same page, her ambivalence about starting a family?

It doesn’t help that the idea of getting behind the wheel—an absolute necessity of her new life—makes it hard for Sarah to breathe. It’s been almost twenty years since she’s driven, and just the thought of merging is enough to make her teeth chatter with anxiety. When she signs up for lessons, she begins to feel a bit more like her old self again, but she’s still unsure of where she wants to go.

Then a crisis involving her best friend lands Sarah back in New York—a trip to the past filled with unexpected truths about herself, her dear friend, and her seemingly perfect sister-in-law . . . and an astonishing surprise that will help her see the way ahead.

***

So…even though I certainly waited long enough to start this one, I am intrigued.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

***

FROM THE INTERIOR: EXCERPTING “SOME LUCK”

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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 feature is a book from an author I have enjoyed:  Jane Smiley.  Some Luck is a family saga and part of a trilogy.  Subsequent books:  Early Warning and Golden Age.

 

 

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Intro:  (1920)

Walter Langdon hadn’t walked out to check the fence along the creek for a couple of months—now that the cows were up by the barn for easier milking in the winter, he’d been putting off fence mending—so he hadn’t seen the pair of owls nesting in the big elm.  The tree was half dead; every so often Walter thought of cutting it for firewood, but he would have to get help taking it down, because it must be eighty feet tall or more and four feet in diameter.  And it wouldn’t be the best firewood, hardly worth the trouble.  Right then, he saw one of the owls fly out of a big cavity maybe ten to twelve feet up, either a big female or a very big male—at any rate, the biggest horned owl Walter had ever seen—and he paused and stood for a minute, still in the afternoon breeze, listening, but there was nothing.  He saw why in a moment.  The owl floated out for maybe twenty yards, dropped toward the snowy pasture.  Then came a high screaming, and the owl rose again, this time with a full-grown rabbit in its talons, writhing, going limp, probably deadened by fear.  Walter shook himself.

***

Teaser:  On the front porch, sitting up (he had just learned to sit up) on a folded blanket, Frank Langdon, aged five months, was playing with a spoon.  He was holding it in his right hand by the tarnished silver bowl, and when he brought it toward his face, his eyes would cross, which made Rosanna, his mother, laugh as she shelled peas. (p. 5).

***

Blurb:  On their farm in Denby, Iowa, Rosanna and Walter Langdon abide by time-honored values that they pass on to their five wildly different children: from Frank, the handsome, willful first born, and Joe, whose love of animals and the land sustains him, to Claire, who earns a special place in her father’s heart.

Each chapter in Some Luck covers a single year, beginning in 1920, as American soldiers like Walter return home from World War I, and going up through the early 1950s, with the country on the cusp of enormous social and economic change. As the Langdons branch out from Iowa to both coasts of America, the personal and the historical merge seamlessly: one moment electricity is just beginning to power the farm, and the next a son is volunteering to fight the Nazis; later still, a girl you’d seen growing up now has a little girl of her own, and you discover that your laughter and your admiration for all these lives are mixing with tears.

Some Luck delivers on everything we look for in a work of fiction. Taking us through cycles of births and deaths, passions and betrayals, among characters we come to know inside and out, it is a tour de force that stands wholly on its own. But it is also the first part of a dazzling epic trilogy—a literary adventure that will span a century in America: an astonishing feat of storytelling by a beloved writer at the height of her powers.

***

I have loved some of this author’s novels, especially A Thousand Acres, another novel that features Iowa and farm life, zeroing in on those family issues that sometimes threaten the core of a family.

I have had this book for a while, and I’m not sure why I haven’t read it yet—perhaps I am afraid I won’t love it as much as A Thousand Acres—but now I am ready to dive into it.  Soon.

What do you think of the excerpts?  Would you keep reading?

***

FROM THE INTERIOR: EXCERPTS FROM “CATCHING AIR”

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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.

Let’s have some fun!  Today I am spotlighting a book from an author who is rapidly becoming a favorite:  Sarah Pekkanen, and her book Catching Air, a story that turnings an unflinching eye on the tangled relationships of two pairs of thirty-somethings.

 

 

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Intro:  Dawn Zukoski was scared of lots of things—spiders, lightning bolts, the way New York cabbies drove—but only once in her life had she known true terror.

She was eight years old back then, and visiting her elderly neighbor.  Mrs. Rita’s home was cluttered with gold-framed photos of her long-grown children and towers of Reader’s Digest magazines, and it smelled of dog pee from her two yippy terriers.  But Dawn loved going there because the cookie jar was stocked with Nilla wafers, and the television was always tuned to game shows.

Lacy curtains over the windows hid the sight of other kids on the street playing kickball or hide-and-seek on summer mornings, but Dawn could hear their shouts and cheers.  She didn’t care, though; she and Mrs. Rita were busy competing in their own games of Plinko or One Away.

***

Teaser:  Then Mrs. Rita let out a whoop and clapped her hands sharply—”He landed smack-dab on the one dollar!  Did you see that, Dawn?”—and at the sudden noise, the spell was broken and the dogs charged.

Dawn fell backward, cookies spilling all around her.  “No!” she could hear Mrs. Rita yelling from what seemed like a great distance away.  Dawn thrashed and screamed, but every time she pushed one dog away, the other found its way forward, raking her face with its teeth.  The attack seemed to go on forever. (p. 2).

(I just had to include a couple of paragraphs to convey the frightening situation in its entirety).

***

Blurb:  A chance to run a B&B in snowy, remote Vermont—it’s an offer Kira Danner can’t resist after six soul-crushing years of working as a lawyer in Florida. As Kira and her husband, Peter, step into a brand new life, she quells her fears about living with the B&B’s co-owners: Peter’s sexy, irresponsible brother Rand, and Rand’s wife, Alyssa…who is essentially a stranger.

For her part, Alyssa sees taking over the B&B as the latest in a string of adventures. Plus, a quiet place might help her recover from the news that she can’t bear children. But the idyllic town proves to be anything but serene: Within weeks, the sisters-in-law are scrambling to prepare for their first big booking—a winter wedding—and soon a shy, mysterious woman comes to work for them. Dawn Zukoski is hiding something; that much is clear. But what the sisters-in-law don’t realize is that Dawn is also hiding from someone…

Relatable and dynamic, Catching Air delves deeply into the vital relationships that give shape to women’s lives.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  I am eager to find out what happens.

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FROM THE INTERIOR: INTROS/TEASERS – “MY SUNSHINE AWAY”

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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 feature is a book I just started reading, from Pippa, my Kindle.  My Sunshine Away, by M. O. Walsh, is a story about the summer that everything changed.

 

 

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Intro:  There were four suspects in the rape of Lindy Simpson, a crime that occurred directly on top of the sidewalk of Piney Creek Road, the same sidewalk our parents had once hopefully carved their initials into, years before, as residents of the first street in the Woodland Hills subdivision to have houses on each lot.  It was a crime impossible during the daylight, when we neighborhood kids would have been tearing around in go-karts, coloring chalk figures on our driveways, or chasing snakes down into storm gutters.  But, at night, the streets of Woodland Hills sat empty and quiet, except for the pleasure of frogs greeting the mosquitoes that rose in squadrons from the swamps behind our properties.

***

Teaser:  So the act took place in darkness, in near silence, in heat, and Lindy Simpson remembered little other than the sudden appearance of a rope in front of her bicycle, the sharp pull of its braid across her chest.  Months later, and after much therapy, she would also recall how the bicycle rode on without her after she fell.  (p. 2).

***

Blurb:  It was the summer everything changed.…

My Sunshine Away unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson—free spirit, track star, and belle of the block—experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too.

In My Sunshine Away, M.O. Walsh brilliantly juxtaposes the enchantment of a charmed childhood with the gripping story of a violent crime, unraveling families, and consuming adolescent love. Acutely wise and deeply honest, it is an astonishing and page-turning debut about the meaning of family, the power of memory, and our ability to forgive.

***

What do you think?  Do the excerpts grab you?  Would you keep reading?

***

FROM THE INTERIOR: INTROS/TEASERS – “GOLDBERG VARIATIONS”

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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 has been on my TBR stacks for just a short time, which is an encouraging sign, right?  A sign that the stacks are gradually dwindling.

Goldberg Variations, by Susan Isaacs, is one I’m looking forward to, as I have been a fan of this author for many years, and the author of the thriller Shining Through.

 

 

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Intro:  (Gloria)

I am not one of those tedious people who feel compelled to speak in smiley faces.  Like:  Whenever a door closes, a window opens.   Of course they can never leave it at a lone, bubbly sentence.  No, gush must follow:  Gloria, truthfully, deep down, aren’t you thrilled it turned out this way?  You know, it’s always darkest before dawn.  But this…Oh, God, this is your moment!  You get to choose which of these three darling young people is worthiest to inherit your kingdom!  Isn’t it like some fairy tale come to life?

Don’t ask.

Okay, ask.  Here I am, pacing from room to room to room—and I am a woman of many rooms—trying to prepare myself for the onslaught.  A limo will be here any minute bringing three virtual strangers to invade my house.  All right, they are my grandchildren, but I barely know them.  Goldberg, Goldberg, and Goldberg.  Sounds like some shtick in a Marx Brothers movie.

***

Teaser:  So you don’t have to waste time reading between the lines, let me be up front about what my Tragic Flaw is.  It is losing control and saying what I truly think.  And the worst part of it is, I know how dangerous and potentially destructive honesty can be for me.  (p. 10).

***

Blurb:  At seventy-nine, Gloria Garrison must plan for the future of Glory, Inc., the beauty-makeover business that she has grown from zilch into an eleven-million-dollar-per-year bonanza. Gloria’s never been big on family, but she’s forced to contemplate her three grandkids as objects of her largesse.

There’s Daisy, a story editor for a movie studio; her brother, Matt, who does PR for a New York baseball team; and cousin Raquel, laboring away as a Legal Aid lawyer.

When Gloria sends plane tickets and a weekend invitation to Santa Fe, the cousins couldn’t be more surprised. But the visit holds an unexpected twist for Gloria, too. Always sassy, smart, and wickedly witty, Susan Isaacs is at her formidable best in a novel that is both hilariously funny and a deeply moving tale of family, faith, and discovery.

***

What do you think?  Does it pique your interest?  Make you want to read more?

***

TUESDAY JOURNEY: INTROS/TEASERS – “YOU CAN TRUST ME”

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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 Should Be Reading.

Today I’m featuring an ARC called You Can Trust Me, by Sophie McKenzie.

 

 

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Beginning:  (Chapter One – Four weeks earlier…)

The text arrives as I’m getting out of the car.  I’m so anxious about the evening ahead that I barely register the beep.  The setting sun is casting soft swirls of pink and orange across the Exeter skyline, thinning and sharpening the tops of the cathedral towers.  The air is warm but I’m shivering, my heart beating hard and loud against my ribs.  Will throws me a worried glance.  I pull my phone from my bag, wondering vaguely if the text is from the babysitter.  But it’s Julia’s name that flashes up.  For a second my anxiety eases a little.  Whatever my closest friend has written is sure to be an offering of support, expressed in Julia’s customary style:  big and bold and full of feeling.  But when I open it, the text is short and terse.

PLS CALL, I NEED TO TALK TO YOU.

***

Teaser:  Life slips back into its old groove:  I ferry the kids around, shop for groceries, and pay bills.  And yet, even as everything remains the same, it is all different. (p. 37)

***

Blurb:  On a quiet, gray, Saturday morning, Livy arrives at her best friend Julia’s flat for a lunch date only to find her dead. Though all the evidence supports it, Livy cannot accept the official ruling of suicide; the Julia she remembers was loud, inappropriate, joyful, outrageous and loving, not depressed. The suspicious circumstances cause Livy to dig further, and she is suddenly forced to confront a horrifying possibility: that Julia was murdered, by the same man who killed Livy’s sister, Kara, eighteen years ago.

Desperate to understand the tragedies of her past and hold her unraveling life together, Livy throws herself into the search for Kara and Julia’s killer, who she now believes is someone close to her family. But if that is true, can she still trust anyone? Damien, the man Julia was secretly dating? Leo, her husband’s boss and a close family friend? His son Paul, her husband’s best mate since college? Or even Will, her own dear husband, who has betrayed her perhaps one time too many?

And when Livy finally faces her sister’s killer, and he traps her with one horrible, impossible choice, she must finally decide: is she strong enough to trust herself?

Get lost in the dark, gripping pages of You Can Trust Me.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  I know I can’t wait to find out more.

***

FROM THE INTERIOR: INTROS/TEASERS – “SAVING GRACE”

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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 Should Be Reading.

Today’s spotlight is shining on an ARC from Amazon Vine:  Saving Grace, by Jane Green.

 

 

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Intro:  There are only so many hours Grace can stay away from home.  Her husband’s car is still in the driveway when she pulls in, her heart sinking at the sight.  As if she should be surprised.  Where did she think he’d be going at six o’clock in the evening?  It was the triumph of hope over experience, she thought to herself.

Luck is not on her side today.  It wasn’t on her side this morning when she woke up to hear a door slamming downstairs and her husband bellowing her name, and it isn’t on her side now.

Although perhaps it is, she thinks, gingerly pulling up alongside his car and steeling herself for whatever might meet her inside.  Perhaps his mood will have changed.  Perhaps he will be the loving attentive husband the rest of the world sees, as long as they don’t get too close.

***

Teaser:  The stack of bills have been piling up for weeks.  Last night, when the phone rang and it was an automated message saying their cable was about to be disconnected due to nonpayment of bills, Grace realized how disorganized things had become. (p. 73).

***

Blurb:  Grace and Ted Chapman are widely regarded as the perfect literary power couple. Ted is a successful novelist and Grace, his wife of twenty years, is beautiful, stylish, carefree, and a wonderful homemaker. But what no one sees, what is churning under the surface, is Ted’s rages. His mood swings. And the precarious house of cards that their lifestyle is built upon. When Ted’s longtime assistant and mainstay leaves, the house of cards begins to crumble and Grace, with dark secrets in her past, is most vulnerable. She finds herself in need of help but with no one to turn to…until the perfect new assistant shows up out of the blue.  To the rescue comes Beth, a competent young woman who can handle Ted and has the calm efficiency to weather the storms that threaten to engulf the Chapman household. Soon, though, it’s clear to Grace that Beth might be too good to be true. This new interloper might be the biggest threat of all, one that could cost Grace her marriage, her reputation, and even her sanity.  With everything at stake and no one to confide in, Grace must find a way to save herself before it is too late.

Powerful and riveting, Saving Grace will have you on the edge of your seat as you follow Grace on her harrowing journey to rock bottom and back.
***
What do you think?  Do the excerpts grab you and make you want to keep reading?  I know I am eager to continue…
***

THOUGHTS FROM THE INTERIOR: INTROS/TEASERS – “CAMBRIDGE”

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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 Should Be Reading.

Today I’m spotlighting one of my Vine review books:  Cambridge, by Susanna Kaysen.

I am coming in late today, but I couldn’t resist posting anyway.

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Intro:  It was probably because I was so often taken away from Cambridge when I was young that I loved it as much as I did.  I fell in love with the city, the way you fall in love with a person, and suffered during the many separations I endured.

In the summer before our October departure for England, the screen door to the backyard broke and had to be replaced.  The new door had a hydraulic canister that hissed when it opened or closed instead of smacking, thump, thump, the way the old door had.  I didn’t like this.  Neither did my cat, Pinch.  Cats and children are conservative.  Pinch would use the new door to go out of the house, but she refused to come in through it, and she’d sit by the front door waiting for someone to notice that she’d decided it was time to come home.  After three weeks in England, I felt the same way:  Okay, let’s go home now.  It’s time to go home.  But my parents, looking out their new, hydraulic door in England, didn’t notice me, and, like Pinch, I had to sit there hoping and hoping.

***

Teaser: (In Greece)  My mother was as chic as her cigarettes.  This had happened in Italy, too.  She was a chameleon.  She took on the prevailing look.  (p. 184).

***

Blurb:  “It was probably because I was so often taken away from Cambridge when I was young that I loved it as much as I did . . .”

So begins this novel-from-life by the best-selling author of Girl, Interrupted, an exploration of memory and nostalgia set in the 1950s among the academics and artists of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

London, Florence, Athens: Susanna, the precocious narrator of Cambridge, would rather be home than in any of these places. Uprooted from the streets around Harvard Square, she feels lost and excluded in all the locations to which her father’s career takes the family. She comes home with relief—but soon enough wonders if outsiderness may be her permanent condition.

Written with a sharp eye for the pretensions—and charms—of the intellectual classes, Cambridge captures the mores of an era now past, the ordinary lives of extraordinary people in a singular part of America, and the delights, fears, and longings of childhood.

***

What do you think?  Nostalgic?  Do these excerpts bring back memories for you?