Category: Book Beginnings Meme (page 2 of 3)

#BookBeginnings The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest

Today we’re highlighting Stieg Larsson’s third book, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest,  for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

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(*Amazon Affiliate link)

 

Note: this post doesn’t reveal anything that isn’t on the dust jacket, but could be a potential spoiler for the second book in the trilogy.

As you may know, we have been reading through the list of the 100 bestsellers picked by the computer algorithm as revealed in The Bestseller Code by Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers. Book number 94 on the list, Hornet’s Nest is actually the third in a trilogy featuring flawed genius Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist. We decided we needed to read all three to understand why the third was chosen for the list. We talked about the beginning lines of the first two books last week.

Summary:  The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest starts where the second (The Girl Who Played with Fire ) left off, with Lisbeth headed to the hospital with a bullet in her head. She’s been accused of murders she didn’t commit. Will she survive long enough to be able to prove her innocence?

First Sentence:

Dr. Jonasson was woken by a nurse five minutes before the helicopter was expected to land.

Discussion:

Since I began participating in Book Beginnings, this is the first time I’ve had the urge to rewrite the sentence.  You see that passive voice? Why didn’t Stieg Larsson make it active? “A nurse woke Dr. Jonasson…” Was it so the first name the reader sees is Dr. Jonasson?

What do you think?

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#BookBeginnings Comparing Two Books by Stieg Larsson

Today let’s compare the beginning lines of two books by Stieg Larsson for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. After you’ve published, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

book-beginnings-button-stieg-larsson

We start reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest next week for The Bestseller Code 100 challenge, which means the computer algorithm picked the third book of a trilogy as the best. Karen and I decided we should read the books in order, so we will be reading three books this time.  Wish us luck!

Book 1:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo*

(*Amazon Affiliate links)

Summary: This is the first book in the trilogy. Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist and prodigy Lisbeth Salander team up to investigate the disappearance of a woman forty years before.

First sentence of the Prologue:

It happened every year, was almost a ritual.

First sentence of Chapter 1:

The trial was irretrievably over; everything that could be said had been said, but he had never doubted that he would lose.

 

 

Book 2:

The Girl Who Played with Fire* by Steig Larsson

(*Amazon Affiliate links)

Summary: In the second book in the trilogy, Mikael Blomkvist tries to clear Lisbeth’s Salander’s name after she is implicated in a murder.

First Sentence of the Prologue:

She lay on her back fastened by leather straps to a narrow bed with a steel frame.

First sentence of Chapter 1:

Lizbeth Salander pulled her sunglasses down to the tip of her nose and squinted from beneath the brim of her sun hat.

Discussion:

Looking at all the first lines, I was struck how different they are from one another.

Between the two books, it looks like the first chapter has shifted focus from Mikael Blomkvist (the reporter) to Lizbeth Salander.

What do you think of the first sentences of the prologues versus the first sentence of chapters? Should the first sentence of a prologue “hook” for the reader or should it be the first chapter, because some readers skip the prologue?

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What are we reading next for the Bestseller Code 100 Challenge?

If you ever have questions about what we are reading next or when we’re starting the next discussion, check the 100 Book List tab in the navigation bar at the top of the blog.

The next book is number 94 on the list, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest by Stieg Larsson (Third in a series, originally published in 2007) -Discussion begins January 30, 2017.

#BookBeginnings Rough Day by Shelley Coriell

Today we’re reading a collection of short stories, Rough Day by Shelley Coriell for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. Then add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

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Rough Day: Detective Lottie King Mystery Short Stories*

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Author Shelley Coriell introduced Detective Lottie King as a minor character in the first book of her Apostles series, The Broken (reviewed here).  Lottie was so popular, Shelley decided to write more about her. By the way, Shelley is a bit of a foodie and she includes some Lottie-inspired recipes in this volume, as well.

The stories range from Lottie working with her granddaughter’s Girl Power group to solve a locked room mystery, to helping a twelve-year-old boy find his missing grandfather.

First Sentence:

Forty years ago Lottie King buried a Smith and Wesson 9mm under a peach sapling in her back yard.

Discussion:

Given that Lottie is a police detective, we have to wonder what’s going on here. What else has the author told us about Lottie in a subtle way?

I started this book last year, but other obligations got in the way and I never finished it. How many books do you read at once? Do you think collections of short stories are easier to put aside than novels?

#BookBeginnings Darcie Chan’s The Mill River Recluse

Today we’re starting to read the next book from The Bestseller Code list of 100 best of the bestsellers – The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan – for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a wonderful meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. The premise to share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it.

 

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The Mill River Recluse: A Novel* by Darcie Chan

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary: Widow Mary McAllister lives in a white mansion on a hill outside of the town of Mill River, Vermont. Past circumstances have left her with severe social anxiety — among other issues — and she has been a recluse for many years. No one knows her story except Father Michael O’Brien, who is her only friend and confidante.  Will the residents of Mill River find out about her secrets?

First Sentence:

As she gazed out the bay window in her bedroom, Mary McAllister knew this night would be her last.

Darcie Chan has given us a lot to wonder about in the very first sentence. We wonder what’s going to happen to Mary and how does she know?

I was also wondering about what genre this novel belongs to. Some of the blurbs call it a “genre-breaking thriller with romantic overtones,” but what I’ve read so far doesn’t seem to fit my idea of a thriller. It just doesn’t have that level of suspense. It doesn’t really feel like literary fiction either. Have you read this book? Do you have any insights?

Intrigued? Pick up a copy of Darcie Chan’s The Mill River Recluse and join our discussion which starts next week.

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What are we reading next?

If you ever have questions about what we are reading next or when we’re starting the next discussion, check the 100 Book List tab in the navigation bar at the top of the blog.

The next book is number 94 on the list, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest by Stieg Larsson (Originally published in 2007) -Discussion begins January 30, 2017.

#BookBeginnings Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz

Today we’re highlighting another thriller,  Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. The premise to share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it.

 

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Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X*

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

 

When I read Deborah at debbish dotcom blog had this on her list of seven favorite books from 2016, I remembered it was in my TBR pile. What a find!

Summary:   Evan Smoak was recruited as a child and trained to become an assassin for a special top secret agency called the Orphan Program. Known as Orphan X, he did everything they asked until they ordered him to kill someone he knew. Going into hiding, he decides to use his unique skills to help those in need, especially those who need protection. Will his projects expose him to those who want to silence him? Will his past come back to haunt him?

Gregg Hurwitz discusses Orphan X in detail at the Poisoned Pen bookstore. As a treat, author Michael Koryta interviews him. If you have a few minutes, it’s worthwhile.

It turns out, the book is the first in a series featuring Evan Smoak.

First Sentence of the Prologue:

Evan’s twelve-year-old body is stiff in the cushy passenger seat of the black sedan as he is driven in silence.

Discussion: 

The author chooses to introduce the main character in the first sentence. Because he’s a child, I assume this is backstory.  What is up with the contrast between the stiff child and the soft luxury of the car?  What about the silence? Is it threatening or is it peaceful?

What do you think?

#BookBeginnings The Last Child by John Hart

Today we’re highlighting The Last Child by John Hart for Book Beginnings on Fridays. Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. The premise to share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it.

 

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The Last Child* by John Hart

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Johnny Merrimon’s twin sister disappeared a year ago when she was seen being dragged into a van. Now everyone seems to think she’s dead. Thirteen-year-old Johnny can’t give up on her, though, so he decides to start a search of his own.

First Sentence of the Prologue:

Asphalt cut the country like a scar, a long, hot burn of razor-black.

Discussion: 

Doesn’t it sound like this book is going to be intense?

I recently read A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard. which is her memoir about how she was dragged into a van and held many years by a sexual predator. It will be interesting to see if there are any parallels in this novel.

Did anyone else notice that John Hart named his main character Johnny? Do you know of any other books where the main character has the same or a similar name to the author?

I’m also curious about the protagonist being a thirteen-year-old boy, which is a bit unconventional for an adult novel. Young protagonists are more common in middle grade and young adult fiction.

There is a police detective working on the case, too. I wonder how the two will interact. Is Detective Hunt a mentor? What about a detective who is searching for someone being named Hunt? Sounds like John Hart is a bit playful when it comes to naming his characters.

Can you tell I’m excited to be reading this one?

What do you think?

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What are we reading next for The Bestseller Code challenge?

If you ever have questions about what we are reading next or when we’re starting the next discussion, check the 100 Book List tab in the navigation bar at the top of the blog.

The next book is number 96, The Last Child by John Hart (2009) – Discussion begins January 2, 2017

#BookBeginnings Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Today we’re participating in a fun meme hosted at Rose City Reader called Book Beginnings on Fridays. The premise to share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it.

 

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We are reading  Little Bee: A Novel* by Chris Cleave (Also published as The Other Hand.)

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary: The novel explores the relationship between a young Nigerian refugee and suburban Londoner who was recently widowed.

First paragraph:

Most days I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl. Everyone would be pleased to see me coming. Maybe I would visit you for the weekend and then suddenly, because I am fickle like that, I would visit with the man from the corner shop instead — but you would not be sad because you would be eating a cinnamon bun, or drinking a cold coca=Cola from the can, and you would never think of me again. We would be happy, like lovers who met on holiday and forgot each others names.

Opinion:  I have to admit I had to read the first sentence twice because it struck me as odd. Once I grasped it, however,  I thought Chris Cleave does a lot with the first sentence. He introduces one of his main characters and reveals a little bit about her. He shows she’s imaginative, playful and at the same time insightful. Plus he entices the reader to ask why she is saying she’d rather be money than a girl.

Would you be interested in reading more?

#BookBeginnings Downfall by J.A. Jance

Let’s look at the first paragraph of J. A. Jance’s Downfall  for Book Beginnings on Fridays, hosted at Rose City Reader.

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Downfall* by J.A. Jance

(*Affiliate link)

Summary:

Cochise County Sheriff Joanna Brady has recently lost her mother and stepfather. Now she must investigate the death of two women at a local landmark, while at the same time running for re-election for her job.

First Paragraph of Prologue:

Sheriff Joanna Brady pulled into the parking place in front of Higgins Funeral Chapel, put her Buick Enclave in park, and then sat staring at the storefront before her, only vaguely aware of her surroundings. Lowering clouds blanketed the Mule Mountains in southeastern Arizona. It was the last day of August. The summer monsoons had arrived early and stayed on, leaving the desert grassland valleys of Cochise County lush and green.

 

Discussion:  As we can see, Jance describes the weather in the first paragraph, along with introducing the main character and setting. In his famous essay for writers, Elmore Leonard says the first rule of writing  is never to open a book with the weather. Is there a bigger cliche than, “It was a dark and stormy night…”?

Of course rules are meant to be broken, and in this case the weather helps define the setting. In Arizona the summer monsoon marks a season of humidity and violent thunderstorms. They are unique to that time and place.

As a reader, what do you think of books that start with a description of the weather?

Do you read on, skip it, or put the book down?

 

saguaros

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Related:
Recent post about J.A. Jance

#BookBeginnings Joe Klein’s Primary Colors Starting Soon

As you may know, we are hosting a challenge to read through the list of 100 bestsellers recommended in The Bestseller Code by Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers. Primary Colors by Joe Klein is number 98 on the list, and we’ll be starting the full discussion on Monday.

Today we’re participating in a fun book meme hosted at Rose City Reader called Book Beginnings on Fridays. The premise to share the first sentence or so of a book you are reading and your thoughts about it.

 

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Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics* by Joe Klein (Previously published anonymously)

(*Amazon affiliate link)

Background:   Primary Colors is an older book. It was first published anonymously in 1996, but later journalist Joe Klein admitted he was the author. A political novel, it follows an aide to a governor who is running for president.

It was made into a movie starring John Travolta in 1998. Movie trailer:

First paragraph:

He was a big fellow, looking seriously pale on the streets of Harlem in deep summer. I am small and not so dark, not very threatening to Caucasians; I do not strut my stuff.

Would you keep reading?

Discussion:  Klein has packed quite a bit into this first paragraph. He has chosen to start the book at the exact moment main character Henry Burton meets the governor who potentially will be his boss. In the first sentence  we learn Henry’s first impressions of the man, as well as the setting. In the second sentence, Henry introduces himself.

Opinion:  I found Henry’s description of himself confusing. The first part, “I am small” seems to be comparing himself to the “big fellow,” yet how could he be “not so dark” compared to someone who was “seriously pale?” I suspect he is exhibiting a bit of subtle humor?

What do you think?

Have you read this book? Did you see the movie?

#BookBeginnings Barry Eisler’s First Novel

Today we’re participating in an awesome book meme hosted at Rose City Reader called Book Beginnings on Fridays. The premise to share the first sentence or so of a book you are reading and your thoughts about it.

 

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Our book today is A Clean Kill in Tokyo* by Barry Eisler (Previously Published as Rain Fall).

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

First sentence:

Harry moved through the morning rush-hour crowd like a shark fin cutting through water.

Would you keep reading?

Book Blurb:   Assassin John Rain has his own set of rules. Things get complicated when he breaks one of them and becomes involved with a young woman who just happens to be the daughter of the last man he killed. What could possibly go wrong?

Discussion:  This was author Barry Eisler’s first novel, published under the title Rain Fall in 2002. Many parts of the novel read like nonfiction because Eisler was once with the CIA and has a black belt in judo, plus the story is set in Tokyo where he once lived. In fact, it seems unfair that he was all that direct experience and can tell such a captivating story, too.

Although this sounds like it is written in the third person in the first line, it is written in the first person. Harry is not the main character.

Do you like spy thrillers with a realistic feel?

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Currently we are hosting a challenge to read through the list of 100 bestsellers recommended in The Bestseller Code by Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers. State of Wonder is number 99 on the list, and we started the discussion on Monday November 21, 2016.

 

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