1. From Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons: "There would have been no end of ersatz agony and preening."
Ersatz [er-zahts, -sahts] –adjective
serving as a substitute; synthetic; artificial.
2. From Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons: "The air was plangent with silent laughter."
Plangent [plan-juhnt] –adjective
resounding loudly, esp. with a plaintive sound, as a bell.
3. From The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny: "You wouldn't know it, but there's burled wood under there. You have to know what to look for. The tiny imperfections."
Burled (adj.) having burls that produce a distorted grain: burled lumber.
Burls - a dome-shaped growth on the trunk of a tree