Tag: Book Beginnings (page 1 of 9)

#BookBeginnings The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Today I’m reading the next book in The Bestseller Code Challenge, The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, 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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The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

 


(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary: Westish College baseball star Henry Skrimshander is destined for the big leagues. That is, until he messes up an easy throw which leads to disaster. With his future in jeopardy, can Henry overcome his crippling self doubt?

The Art of Fielding is a work of literary fiction.

First Sentence:

Schwartz didn’t notice the kid during the game. Or rather, he noticed only what everyone else did — that he was the smallest player on the field, a scrawny novelty of a shortstop, quick of foot but weak with the bat. Only after the game ended, when the kid returned to the sun-scorched diamond to take extra grounders, did Schwartz see the grace that shaped Henry’s every move.

Discussion:

Baseball and literary fiction seem like an odd combination, but I like what I’ve read so far.

What do you think? Would you read The Art of Fielding?

 

#BookBeginnings The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

Let’s take a look at the young adult novel The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett 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!

 

book-beginnings-Gershkowitz

The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

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Summary:  A student at Arkwell Academy for magic, sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses at night. She doesn’t, however, break in to steal possessions. Instead she enters the dreams of sleeping people, feeding off their energy. When she sees the murder of a fellow student in a boy named Eli’s dream, Dusty teams up with Eli to try to figure out who killed the girl and why.

First Sentence:

Breaking and entering wasn’t as easy as it looked in the movies. Especially not from the second story of a house in the suburbs, Yet there I was, perched on the ledge by my tippy toes and tugging on the stupid window that refused to budge even though I could see it wasn’t locked. My feet were starting to cramp.

Discussion of The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

Some other regulars at Book Beginnings have featured books by Mindee Arnett, so I was eager to read the first in her Arkwell Academy trilogy.

So far I really like the first person voice of the protagonist. She sounds like a teenager, which is appropriately young adult. I also like that it seems to meld fantasy with a bit of romance and a good mystery.

What do you think? Have you read any of Mindee Arnett’s books? Do you think you’d like to read this one?

#BookBeginnings Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Time to start the next book on The Bestseller Code challenge list, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer 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!

 

book-beginnings-Gershkowitz

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

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Summary:  Nine-year-old Oskar Schell’s father died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. When he finds a key, he thinks it is part of a scavenger hunt game he and his dad played, so Oskar goes on a quest to find out what it fits.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is a work of literary fiction.

First Sentence or Two:

What about a teakettle? What if the spout opened and closed when the steam came out, so it would become a mouth, and it could whistle pretty melodies, or do Shakespeare, or just crack up with me? I could invent a teakettle that reads in Dad’s voice, so I could fall asleep…

Discussion:

Oskar Schell obviously isn’t a regular nine-year-old boy. He has a big imagination.

Below is the trailer of the movie based on the book. For some novels I don’t want to see any part of the movie before I’ve read the book because I want to envision my own characters in the role. (I have to admit Daniel Radcliffe has taken over for whomever I had envisioned as Harry Potter, but Tom Cruise will never be Jack Reacher ). In this case however, I wanted to have some idea what was going on, so I did watch the trailer.


What do you think? Have you read Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close? Have you seen the movie? Did you like them? Do you have any opinion which should come first?

#BookBeginnings The Girl Who Drew Butterflies

For something different, I’m reading a middle grade/young adult nonfiction title The Girl Who Drew Butterflies by Joyce Sidman 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!

 

book-beginnings-butterflies

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies by Joyce Sidman

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  A biography of seventeenth century artist, adventurer, and scientist Maria Merian.

In another life, I review children’s books at Wrapped in Foil blog. The last month or so I’ve been a round one judge for a children’s book contest, Cybils and along with a number of other judge’s I’ve read 130+ children’s books (this is one of them.) It has been a challenge, but a fun and educational one.  By the way, if you  are looking for gift ideas for kids, the Cybils nomination lists are a great way to find new books (published in the last year) already sorted by age and genre.

First Sentence:

A girl kneels in her garden. It is 1660, and she has just turned thirteen:  too old for a proper German girl to be crouching in the dirt, according to her mother.

Discussion:

This is a beautiful book. Between Maria Merian’s gorgeous paintings of flowers and insects, and Joyce Sidman’s lovely photographs, it is hard to tear your eyes away to read the text. But Maria’s story is pretty fascinating, too.

I know they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I really like biographies written for children, particularly picture book biographies. Author’s of picture books have distilled an entire life to fit into 32 pages. That is amazing to me.

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies is technically a middle grade level book, but I think it could easily work for older kids, too.

What do you think?  Is it something you might be interested in reading?

#BookBeginnings Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

After being on hiatus  for a few months Karen and I are going to resume reading The Bestseller Code list, starting with number 53, Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, 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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Beautiful Disaster* by Jamie McGuire


(*Amazon Affiliate link)

 

Summary: When good girl Abby Abernathy meets bad boy Travis Maddox, she resists his charm because he has the reputation for one night stands. Her keeping him at arm’s-length makes Travis want Abby even more. To get closer to her, he proposes a bet. If she wins he must refrain from sex for a month or if she loses, Abby must move in with Travis for a month.

This novel is a defined as a “new adult” romance. It is followed by a loosely linked series featuring the Maddox brothers, including Beautiful Oblivion, Beautiful Redemption, and Beautiful Sacrifice.

First Sentence:

Everything in the room screamed that I didn’t belong. The stairs were crumbling, the rowdy patrons were shoulder to shoulder, and the air was a medley of sweat, blood, and mold.

The first paragraph drew me right in. I wanted to know who was narrating and where they were. What is going to happen?

The second paragraph made me cringe.

“Keep your cash in your wallet, Abby!” America called to me. Her broad smile gleamed even in the dim light.
“Stay close! It’ll get worse once it starts!”

Notice anything about the second paragraph?

Exclamation points! Five on the first page! Ten by the end of the second page! Fifteen by the end to the third page!

If you have ever taken a writing course, you know that overuse of exclamation points is a common writing  mistake. Helping Writers Become Authors website has a clear discussion why you should avoid using so many.

By the way, I tend to call them exclamation marks. Maybe I read too many British mysteries when I was younger? Do you call them marks or points?

I haven’t read a good romance in some time, so I’m going to stick with it. I suspect I will not notice them so much once I get into the story.

What do you think? Do exclamation points stop you when you are reading?

Have you read anything by Jamie McGuire?

#BookBeginnings Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly

Let’s take a look at Michael Connelly’s Dark Sacred Night 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!

 

book-beginnings-Gershkowitz

Dark Sacred Night* by Michael Connelly

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  When Detective Renée Ballard, who works the night shift in Hollywood, runs into retired detective Harry Bosch rummaging through department case files she tells him to leave. Curious, she opens the files and discovers he was digging into in an unsolved murder of a teenage runaway.  What she reads about the case hooks her and soon she reluctantly joins Bosch in  the investigation

First Sentence of Dark Sacred Night:

The patrol officers had left the front door open. They thought they were doing her a favor, airing the place out. But that was a violation of crime scheme protocol regarding evidence containment.

Discussion:

Connelly introduced Renée Ballard as a stand alone character in the novel The Late Show last year.  Now he’s teamed her up with the character of his longest running series, Harry Bosch. I have a feeling sparks are going to fly between the two detectives, but not the romantic kind.

My stepfather introduced me to Michael Connelly. His books stand out as police procedurals because he obviously does his research to keep up with the latest crime fighting techniques.

What do you think? Have you ever read a mystery/police procedural by Michael Connelly?

#BookBeginnings The Operator by Howard Gershkowitz

Today I’m reading a friend’s debut novel, The Operator by Howard Gershkowitz 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!

 

book-beginnings-Gershkowitz

The Operator*by Howard Gershkowitz

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Summary:  Harold Russell takes his wife Laura to an historical hotel in Prescott, Arizona for a much-needed vacation.  While admiring an antique switchboard, a young switchboard operator using a brand-new version appears and talks to him. Because his wife can’t see or hear her, Harold wonders if he’s seeing ghosts. Another encounter with the young woman, whose name is Talia, in the middle of the night leads him to realize he’s traveling back in time to 1929. Using his knowledge that the Great Depression is imminent, he and Talia hatch a plan to prevent it. Arriving back in 2017, he finds the plan has failed, but Talia has left him a fortune and another plan to prevent an even bigger catastrophe.

First Sentence:

Journal Entry
December 21, 2016
7 a.m., Starbucks Dobson and Frye, Chandler, Arizona

It’s been a long time since Laura and I have gone away together. I don’t know if it’ll do much good, but it’s worth a try.

Discussion:

I met Howard Gershkowitz at a writers group at our local library a few years ago, so I’ve had glimpses of this novel coming together. It is exciting that it is finally published. He never revealed the ending to our group, so we finally get to learn what happens.

The novel mentions a number of real places in Arizona, which is fun for locals to read.

What do you think?

#BookBeginnings Justice Denied by J.A. Jance

My husband has been reading through the J.A. Jance’s J. P. Beaumont series, so I thought I’d join him with Justice Denied  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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Justice Denied by J. A. Jance

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Summary:  When a former drug dealer and ex-con is murdered, J.P. Beaumont expects the perp is another drug dealer taking out the competition and wonders why his boss wants the investigation kept confidential. At the same time his detective lover is asked to keep her investigation of the deaths of registered sex offenders quiet, too. As they begin to realize the two cases are related, they discover their assignments are leading them into something much more sinister than they had first suspected.

First Sentence:

LaShawn Tompkins saw the sole white woman, a nun, huddled under her umbrella in the pouring rain as he turned the decrepit Windstar van off Rainier Avenue South onto Church Street.

Discussion:

The Beaumont novels are set in Seattle, which explains the rain. I just looked it up, and Rainer Avenue is an actual street in Seattle. Those details give the reader a strong sense of place. What other words catch your attention?

J. A. Jance is a well-known author here in Arizona. I’ve seen her speak a number of times and have enjoyed both her Detective J.P. Beaumont series and her Sheriff Joanna Brady novels, which are set in Bisbee, Arizona.

Have you read anything by J. A. Jance?

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

#BookBeginnings The Likeness by Tana French

Let’s take a look at The Likeness by Tana French 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!

 

book-beginnings-button-hurwitz

The Likeness by Tana French

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  In this follow-up to In The Woods, Detective Cassie Maddox is no longer with the Dublin Murder squad. When a young woman whose name is Alexandra Madison is killed, however, the squad calls her in. They realize that the victim looks like Cassie and Alexandra Madison is one of Cassie’s past undercover aliases. While she searches for the killer, Cassie must figure out whether she was the intended target.

First Sentence of The Likeness Prologue:

Some nights, if I’m sleeping on my own, I still dream about Whitethorn House. In the dream it’s always spring, cool fine light with a late afternoon haze. I climb the worn stone steps and knock on the door — that great, brass knocker, going black with age and heavy enough to startle you every time — and an old woman with an apron and a deft, uncompromising face lets me in.

First Sentence Chapter 1:

This is Lexie Madison’s story, not mine.

 

Discussion:

I read Tana French’s In The Woods for a reading challenge (review) and enjoyed the elegant writing, so I’m eager to delve into this one. It feels like one of those books that deserves to be read at leisure over a long, quiet weekend. Not that I’ll get one of those.

One thing I am struggling with is that I have a good friend named Cassie. I keep visualizing her when I read the name of the character in the book and they aren’t much alike. Have you ever read a book with the name of a close friend, family member, or even your own name? Was it difficult?

What do you think?

#BookBeginnings A Season to Lie by Emily Littlejohn

A Season to Lie by Emily Littlejohn caught my eye at the library this week 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!

 

book-beginnings-button-hurwitz

A Season to Lie by Emily Littlejohn

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:   Gemma Monroe has just returned to her job as a police officer after twelve weeks of maternity leave. For her first case, she heads out into a blizzard on what should be a routine check for a prowler at a local school. Instead she discovers a dead body and launches into an investigation that proves to be far from routine.

First Sentence of Prologue:

On a cold and bitter night in February, twelve weeks after giving birth, I returned to what I know best:  death.

First Sentence Chapter One:

I stepped into the central squad room of the Cedar Valley Police Department and then stood still for a moment, taking in the familiar sights and smells.

 

Discussion:

I like police procedural mysteries, and the snowy Colorado setting caught my attention. So far it hasn’t completely lived up to expectations, but it is pleasant enough.

I believe someone else featured this novel recently for Book Beginnings, but I couldn’t find the post. I’d love to hear what you thought of it if you’ve already read it.

What do you think? Have you read any novels in the Gemma Monroe series?

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