Tag: Book Beginnings (page 1 of 7)

#BookBeginnings A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Today we’re looking forward to starting the next book in The Bestseller Code 100 challengeA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan 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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A Visit from the Goon Squad* by Jennifer Egan

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Summary:  Written like a collection of loosely-knit short stories, the novel centers on a two characters, a recording executive named Bennie and his employee, Sasha. The stories move through different times and settings.

First Sentence:

It began the usual way, in the bathroom of the Lassimo Hotel. Sasha was adjusting her yellow eye shadow in the mirror when she noticed a bag on the floor beside the sink that must have belonged to the woman whose peeing she could faintly hear through the vaultlike door of a toilet stall. Inside the rim of the bag, barely visible, was a wallet made of pale green leather.

Discussion:

Do you think she’s going to take the wallet or not?

While in a therapy session, Sasha reveals that not taking the wallet is a bigger challenge than stealing it.  Showing her unusual response to what is essentially an everyday occurrence gives the reader a deep insight into her character right at the start.

I can see why Jennifer Egan won the Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for this novel.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Or have you already read A Visit from the Goon Squad?

#BookBeginnings American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

Today we’re starting the next book in The Bestseller Code 100 challengeAmerican Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld 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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American Wife* by Curtis Sittenfeld

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Summary:  When quiet school librarian Alice Lindgren meets Charlie Blackwell, the charismatic son of a powerful Republican family, she doesn’t think they have much in common. That doesn’t prevent her, however, from falling in love and marrying him.  Before she knows it, he’s governor of their state and then president. As first lady, she must decide how to cope with the challenge of loving her husband, but disagreeing with many of his beliefs and actions.

According to a preface in the book,

“American Wife is a work of fiction loosely inspired by the life of an American first lady. Her husband, his parents, and certain prominent members of his administration are recognizable.

Although not identified by name, the protagonist is apparently modeled after Former First Lady Laura Bush, who was recently in the news.

First Sentence of Prologue,  American Wife :

June 2007, the White House

Have I made terrible mistakes?

The paragraph that follows goes on to tell the reader how Alice deals with her husband’s snoring. She admits she has difficulty sleeping for other reasons, too.

First Sentence, Chapter One

In 1954, the summer before I entered third grade, my grandmother mistook Andrew Imhof for a girl.

This sentence is intriguing. It makes me wonder what this has to do with Alice’s future.

What do you think? Have you read American Wife? Would you like to read it?

#BookBeginnings The Temptation of Forgiveness by Donna Leon

Today we have The Temptation of Forgiveness: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery by Donna Leon 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 Temptation of Forgiveness: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery by Donna Leon

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Summary:   A friend of his wife’s implores Commissario Guido Brunetti to look into her son’s drug use, but before he starts the woman’s husband is found with a severe head injury. Brunetti must find out if the two problems are connected.

This is the twenty-seventh novel in the Commissario Guido Brunetti  police procedural series. The novels are set in Venice.

First Sentence:

Having left the apartment smack on time so as to arrive at the Questura on time for a meeting with his superior, Brunetti found himself seated towards the rear of a Number One vaporetto, glancing idly through a copy of that morning’s Gazzettino.

Discussion:

I like how the novel starts with the beginning of Guido Brunetti’s day. It is relaxing, but with a hint of things to come.

Donna Leon adds a few specific words that establish both the tone and setting. The Questura is the police station in Venice. The vaporetto is a water bus, which is something so specific to Venice. Plus, the newspaper is called the Gazzettino.

Whenever I read this series, I just want to hop on a plane to Venice.

What do you think? Have you read anything by Donna Leon?

#BookBeginnings Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good

Today we’re starting the next book in The Bestseller Code 100 challengeSomewhere Safe With Somebody Good by Jan Karon for Book Beginnings on Friday.

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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Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good by Jan Karon (2014)

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Summary:   Father Tim Kavanagh has returned to (fictional) Mitford, North Carolina with his wife Cynthia. He’s retired, but feels his life is missing something. Will he figure out what it is?

This is the twelfth  novel in the Mitford series, which features the multiple generations of the Kavanagh family. The fourteenth novel in the series came out in September, 2017.

First Sentence:

His wife was determined to march him to the country club this Saturday evening. Worse, he’d have to stuff himself into his old tux like a sausage into a casing.

Discussion:

For the rest of the first page, the husband and wife go about getting ready. In the meanwhile, we find out his first name is Timothy and he’s a priest (actually an Episcopal priest.) They’ve also just returned from County Sligo, which is in Ireland.

Karen and I are always concerned when The Bestseller Code computer picks a novel that is later on in a series. A couple of the reviews I read, however, suggested it was safe to read them out of order. Each novel apparently does work as a stand alone. We hope so.

What do you think? Have you read any books in the Milford series?

#BookBeginnings The Next Always by Nora Roberts

Today we’re starting the next book in The Bestseller Code 100 challenge, The Next Always by Nora Roberts 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 Next Always by Nora Roberts

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Summary:  Clare Brewster returns to her hometown of Boonsboro, Maryland after losing her husband. Running a bookstore and taking care of her three sons keeps her busy, but somehow she finds time to check out the renovation of a local inn, and also the architect in charge of the project, Beckett Montgomery. He is also a busy man, but not too busy for Clare.

This novel is book one of the Inn Boonsboro Trilogy.

Curious, I looked up Boonsboro, Maryland. Turns out not only is it a real place, but also there’s an actual Inn Boonsboro owned by Nora Roberts and her husband.  Wow!

First Sentence:

The stone walls stood as they had for more than two centuries, simple, sturdy, and strong.

Discussion:

When I was writing the summary, I kept thinking the plot sounded very familiar. The book came out in 2011. Nora Roberts is a prolific author, so perhaps I picked it up at an airport or read it while on vacation. It will be interesting to see if it turns out to be what I remember.

One reason I started this blog was so I’d have a better record of the books I’ve read. Perhaps I should have started sooner.

Have you read The Next Always? Have you ever picked up a book and realized you’d read at least part of it before?

#BookBeginnings After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

Today I’m starting After Anna by Lisa Scottoline 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-Lisa Scottoline

After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

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Genre:  Domestic thriller

Summary:  After Maggie Ippolitti marries Dr. Noah Alderman and becomes mother to his young son Caleb, she is surprised when she gets a call from her long-lost teenage daughter, Anna. She and her husband are happy to welcome Anna into their family, but things do not go smoothly. Before long someone murders Anna and the police accuse Noah. Maggie must put aside her grief and search for the truth about what really happened.

First Sentence:

Dr. Noah Alderman watched the jurors as they filed into the courtroom with their verdict, which would either set him free or convict him of first-degree murder. None of them met his eye, which was a bad sign.

Discussion:

The chapters skip back and forth in time. This one is labelled “Noah, After.” The next is “Maggie, Before.”

I hope this is a fast read. I signed up to attend a conference in the fall and, because I want to to read a novel written by each of speakers, my TBR pile just became a TBR skyscraper.

Have you read anything by Lisa Scottoline? What do you think?

#BookBeginnings In The Woods By Tana French

Today we’re looking forward to starting the next book in The Bestseller Code 100 challenge, In The Woods 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!

 

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In The Woods* by Tana French

Reprint cover:

My paperback copy has this cover:


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Which cover do you like better?

Summary:  Twenty years before, three young children disappear into the woods that surround their Dublin neighborhood. Only one survives, and he can’t say what happened. Now he’s a police detective faced with investigating the murder of a young girl in the same woods.

This award-winning novel is the first in a series of six featuring the Dublin Murder Squad.

First sentence of Prologue:

Picture a summer stolen whole from some coming-of-age film set in small-town 1950s. This is none of Ireland’s subtle seasons mixed for a connoisseur’s palate, watercolor nuances within a pinch-sized range of cloud and soft rain; this is summer full-throated and extravagant in hot pure silkscreen blue.

First sentence of Chapter 1:

What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with truth is fundamental but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass.

I am so looking forward to reading this book. The first person narrator in Chapter 1 is intense. I’m also intrigued that it is set in Ireland.

Have you read In the Woods? Any of the others in the series by Tana French? What do you think?

#BookBeginnings High White Sun by J Todd Scott

Today we have High White Sun by J. Todd Scott 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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High White Sun* by J Todd Scott

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Summary:  A sequel to J. Todd Scott’s debut novel The Far Empty,  Chris Cherry is now sheriff of Big Bend County and America Reynosa is one of his new deputies. With Ben Harper, a retired detective who signs on as a deputy as well, they investigate the murder of a local river guide, only to find themselves swept up into something much deeper and much more dangerous than they ever expected.

J. Todd Scott currently works as an Assistant Special Agent in Charge for the DEA, but also manages to find the time to write exceptional novels set in west Texas. He is a local Arizona author and masterful storyteller.

First Sentence:

Goodbye stranger…

He had the radio up too loud, singing along with the words he knew, blasting down Texas 70, when he saw the girl standing on the side of the road waving him down.

Discussion:

I like the eeriness of “Goodbye stranger.” At one level it likely refers to the lyrics of a song by Supertramp, but also the reader gets the feeling that perhaps either the man driving the car or the girl standing on the side of the road might experience some trouble in the near future.

What do you think?

#BookBeginnings The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

Today we’re starting the next book in The Bestseller Code 100 challengeThe Choice by Nicholas Sparks 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 Choice* by Nicholas Sparks

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Summary:  Travis Parker is happy being a bachelor. However, when he meets his new neighbor Gabby Holland, his life might just turn upside down.

The Choice was made into a movie that was released in 2016.

First Sentence of Prologue:

Stories are as unique as the people who tell them, and the best stories are those in which the ending is a surprise. At least, that’s what Travis Parker recalled his dad telling him when he was a child.

Do you agree that the best stories are those with a surprise ending?

I like a surprise ending that is an interesting twist, but I don’t like a surprise ending where nothing is as I thought it was.

Nicholas Sparks’s first published novel was The Notebook. In it a man reads stories from an old notebook. Does it seem like stories are a theme with Nicholas Sparks?

First Sentences of Chapter One:

“Tell me again why I agreed to help you with this.” Matt, red-faced and grunting, continued to push the spa toward the recently cut square at the far edge of the deck.

It is interesting that the first person introduced in Chapter One is not the main character.

What do you think?

#BookBeginnings Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

Today we have the next book in The Bestseller Code 100 challenge, Me Before You by JoJo Moyes 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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This post does not contain spoilers.

Me Before You* by JoJo Moyes

 


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Summary: When Louisa Clark takes a job as a companion for Will Traynor, she learns he had an accident that left him in wheelchair. Can she convince him that life is still worth living?

First Sentence of Prologue:

When he emerges from the bathroom she is awake, propped up against the pillows and flicking through the travel brochures that were beside his bed.

As to be expected, the prologue reveals a glimpse of Will Traynor’s life before the accident that left him paralyzed. We’re not sure who the “she” is.

First Sentence of Chapter 1, Me Before You:

There are 158 footsteps between the bus stop and home, but it can stretch to 180 if you aren’t in a hurry, like maybe if you’re wearing platform shoes.

This could be interpreted at least  two different ways. The first –I think what the author meant — is that the route is so familiar and traveled so often, that Louisa Clark even knows the number of steps it takes. Counting steps, however, could also indicate that she is a bit obsessive-compulsive. We will have to see which the author intended.

What do you think?

As with many of the novels we’ve read for this challenge, this Me Before You is also a movie. Trailer:

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