Tag: Book Beginnings (page 2 of 7)

#BookBeginnings The Dry by Jane Harper

I’m supposed to be reading our next challenge book, but instead I’m reading The Dry by Jane Harper 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 Dry
by Jane Harper

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:   Aaron Falk returns to his former home town for the funeral of his best friend from childhood. He intends to drive back to Melbourne and his job as a Federal Agent immediately afterwards, largely because the bad feelings that caused his family to leave are still lurking under the surface.  His plans change, however, as he learns more about his friend’s death and discovers it may have been murder. What really happened and is it all linked to the secrets of the past?

This is Jane Harper’s debut novel. The paperback just came out last month.

First Sentence of the Prologue:

It wasn’t as though the farm hadn’t seen death before, and the blowflies didn’t discriminate. To them there was little difference between a carcass and a corpse.

Discussion:

I’ve never seen a prologue written from the point of view of blowflies before.

What I’ve read so far is well written and quite gripping. Although the main character is on leave and is a federal agent who investigates financial crimes rather than murder, the novel still falls in the police procedural category, which I enjoy.

It is set in Australia in an area that is experiencing a severe drought. The drought itself adds another layer of tension to the story.

Have you read The Dry? Do you think you’d like to read it?

#BookBeginnings The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Today we’re starting the next book in The Bestseller Code 100 challengeThe Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted at 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 at the link above. Hope to see you there!

 

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Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Fourteen-year-old Susie Salmon watches from heaven as events unfold after her rape and murder.

First Sentence:

My name was Salmon, like the fish: first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.

Discussion:

What a beginning. That first line reveals so much character in just a few words.

Published in 2002, this is one of the older books on our challenge list. It is Alice Sebolt’s debut novel, although she had already published a memoir, Lucky. In the memoir, she revealed she had been raped as a college freshman, which explains the subject matter.

With the violent events that led to Susie’s death, it would seem like this would be in the thriller/suspense/mystery genres, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. It won a Bram Stoker award, which honors horror novels. The story, however, is also about family and relationships. It seems like this novel defies categorization.

There is a 2009 movie based on Lovely Bones. I wonder how well it follows the book. The movie trailer is here.

What do you think? Have you read this novel?

#BookBeginnings The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz

Today we’re starting the next book in The Bestseller Code 100 challengeThe Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz 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 Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:   Amy Redwing has devoted her life to rescuing golden retrievers. When she puts herself in danger to save Nickie, she develops a special bond with the dog. But now someone is after Amy. Who is going to rescue whom?

 

First Sentence of Chapter One:

Behind the wheel of the Ford Expedition, Amy Redwing drove as if she were immortal and therefore safe at any speed,

Discussion:

Dean Koontz is throwing us right into the action with this first sentence.

I was curious about the photograph on the book jacket of Dean Koontz and a golden retriever, so I went to his website. It turns out that he had a golden named Trixie. She died in 2007, the year this book came out. He says he couldn’t write for a month after he lost her.

Knowing this will probably change how I look at this book. Obviously this is going to be a very personal story, even though it is fiction.

Are you a Dean Koontz fan? Have you read this one?

 

Public domain photograph by Karen Arnold

#BookBeginnings The City of Brass

Today we’re reading The City of Brass: A Novel (The Daevabad Trilogy) by S. A Chakraborty 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 City of Brass: A Novel* (The Daevabad Trilogy) by S. A Chakraborty

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:

Living in eighteenth-century Cairo, Nahri is a multilingual con woman. She has never had a reason to believe in magic, at least not until she accidentally summons a mysterious djinn warrior named Dara during one of her scams. Now Nahri is forced to reconsider both her beliefs and her place in the world.

This is S. A Chakraborty debut fantasy novel. It is the first of The Daevabad Trilogy.

First Sentence of The City of Brass:

He was an easy mark.

Nahri smiled behind her veil, watching the two men bicker as they approached her stall.

Discussion:

I really like the main character’s voice so far. She’s quite smart and cunning. It’s also set in an interesting time and place, at least at the beginning.

I don’t read a lot of fantasy, but a friend who loves books lent me her copy (Thanks, Shan.) I’m looking forward to reading more.

What do you think? Have you read The City of Brass? Do you think you might enjoy it?

#BookBeginnings Cross Roads by Wm. Paul Young

Today we should be starting the next novel in The Bestseller Code 100 challengeCross Roads by Wm. Paul Young for Book Beginnings on Fridays.  (We’re both still reading The Goldfinch).

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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Cross Roads by Wm. Paul Young

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Tony Spencer does whatever it takes to be a success. When he falls into a coma, he has an experience that allows him to re-evaluate his past behavior. Will he act on his revelations?

Cross Roads is considered to be Christian fiction. From the back, quote from Chapter 6:

Jesus reached over and took Tony’s hand. “On this journey, you can choose to physically heal one person, but only one, and when you make that selection, your journey will end.”

First Sentence:

Some years in Portland, Oregon, winter is a bully, spitting sleet and spewing snow in fits and starts as it violently wrestles days from spring, claiming some archaic right to remain king of the seasons — ultimately the vain attempt of another pretender.

Discussion:

I like the alliteration of splitting sleet and spewing snow. I was a bit confused about the last part.

It continues:

This year was not like that. Winter simply bowed out like a beaten woman, leaving head down in tattered garments of dirty whites and browns with barely a whimper or promise of return. The difference between her presence and absence was scarcely discernible.

The Bestseller Code Challenge is definitely introducing us to a wide diversity of books. This is so different from The Goldfinch. It will be interesting to compare the two novels to see how they both ended up on the same list.

#BookBeginnings The Curse of La Fontaine by M. L. Longworth

Today we’re reading a slow-paced mystery, The Curse of La Fontaine by M. L. Longworth 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 Curse of La Fontaine by M. L. Longworth

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Set in Aix-en-Provence, France, newlyweds Verlaque and Bonnet are drawn into investigating when a new restaurant in the neighborhood tries to expand and runs into a historical mystery.

First Sentence:

Antoine Verlaque liked die Corallini so much he almost regretted that his wedding was going to be so small.

Discussion:

M. L. Longworth continues on with a discussion of the history and architecture of the church.

I picked this up as an impulse at the library. It is part of a series. The French setting was what drew me to it, and it seems like that is going to be a big part of the book.

Have you ever picked up a book to transport yourself to another place?

Do you have a favorite book that immerses you in a novel setting?

#BookBeginnings The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Today we’re starting the next book in The Bestseller Code 100 challenge, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt 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 Goldfinch* by Donna Tartt

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

The blurb:  Thirteen-year-old Theo Decker survives the accident that kills his mother. Because his father left him, the family of a friend takes Theo in. Struggling with his grief and the changes that have occurred, the teenager clings to a small painting that reminds him of his mother. But there’s more to the painting than anyone suspects.

The Goldfinch took Donna Tartt a decade to write. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013.

Public domain image from Wikimedia

First Sentence:

While I was still in Amsterdam, I dreamed about my mother for the first time in years. I’d been shut up in my hotel for more than a week, afraid to telephone anyone or go out; and my heart scrambled and floundered at even the most innocent noises:  elevator, rattle of the minibar cart, even church clocks tolling the hour, de Westertoren, Krijtberg, a dark edge to the clangor, an inwrought fairy-tale sense of doom.

Discussion:

Apparently the narrator is an older Theo, not the teenager.

I included two sentences to give a feel of the complexity of the writing. No wonder the book is 771 pages long.

 Have you read The Goldfinch or any other of Donna Tartt’s novels? What do you think?

The goldfinch in the painting is the European goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis. Here’s a short video about the famous painting behind the novel’s  title:

 

#BookBeginnings Don Winslow’s The Force

The Force by Don Winslow is making a lot of best of the year lists, so let’s take a look at it 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 Force by Don Winslow

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Denny Malone is a renowned and decorated NYPD detective sergeant. A hero, he is considered to be part of the law enforcement elite. The only problem is that he has a dirty little secret. He and his partners have stolen some money and drugs during a raid. Will he get caught, and if he does, will he take down all the other dirty cops and politicians with him?

First Sentence:

The last guy on earth anyone ever expected to end up in the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Park Row was Denny Malone.

Discussion:

Don Winslow has worked as an investigator and anti-terrorist trainer, plus he’s written a number of bestsellers. So far this story has a gritty, authentic feel. In fact, I had to check to make sure it wasn’t nonfiction.

I’m only a few pages in, but it seems to be told from a omniscient point of view, which is unusual these days.

 

What do you think? Have you read anything by Don Winslow?

#BookBeginnings The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

We’re starting the next book in The Bestseller Code 100 challengeThe Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz 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 Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

This novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008, along with many other major awards.

Summary:  We follow the story of Oscar Wao, a young man of Dominican Republic descent who lives in New Jersey. All he wants to do is find love and write like J.R.R. Tolkien, but will his family’s curse destroy his dreams?

First Sentence:

They say it came first from Africa, carried in the screams of the enslaved; that it was the death bane of the Tainos, uttered just as one world perished and another began; that it was a demon drawn into Creation through the nightmare door that cracked open in the Antilles.

Discussion:

I have been playing catch up all week, while I put out fires and dealt with emergencies. Our last book, The Bourne Betrayal was a perfect choice for that kind of week. I’m not sure this one, which I can already tell is going to require some heavy lifting to read, is going to be as good a fit. Maybe things will be quieter next week and I’ll be able to concentrate on it.

And off I go again…

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Have you read anything by Junot Díaz? Have you read any of his short stories?

#BookBeginnings The Whispering Room: A Jane Hawk Novel

Today we are featuring  The Whispering Room: A Jane Hawk Novel by Dean Koontz 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)

Even though Dean Koontz is a super popular author, I haven’t read anything of his before. When I saw a review for his most recent publication, The Whispering Room: A Jane Hawk Novel, I had to pick up a copy.

Blurb:  Jane Hawk is an FBI agent who has uncovered evidence of an evil organization which is brainwashing innocent people and forcing them to carry out crimes. Things go wrong when she tries to expose their plot and she becomes a fugitive from the law.

First Sentence:

Cora Gunderson walked through seething fire without being burned, nor did her white dress burst into flames.

Discussion:

Does this sentence seem a bit awkward? I think it jolts because I’m expecting a parallel sentence structure, like:  “She walked through the seething fire without being burned and without her white dress bursting into flames.” I wonder why he doesn’t use the same verb form throughout?

The image is still compelling to me. I want to know how this is possible and what is going to happen.

What do you think?

Are you a Dean Koontz fan?

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