#BookBeginnings Gone the Next

Let’s look at Gone The Next (Roy Ballard Mysteries Book 1) by Ben Rehder 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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Gone The Next by Ben Rehder

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Roy Ballard’s job is to video people who might be falsely claiming injury disabilities, but instead of catching a fraud he spots a young girl that matches an Amber Alert. When he reports his sighting, law enforcement doesn’t take him seriously, partially because of his past and partially because they have gotten a flood of tips. Roy alone must find out the truth.

First Sentence:

The woman he was watching this time was in her early thirties. Thirty-five at the oldest. White. Well dressed. Upper middle class.

Discussion:

Whoa. Talk about a creepy stalker-ish guy.

I like that you don’t know whether the watcher is the main character trying to catch an insurance cheat or a kidnapper checking out the woman’s daughter.  Which do you think he is?

56

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice.

The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

As I approached my van, I noticed that I had a flat tire. Then I came to a full stop. It wasn’t just one tire. All four were flat.

At this point I’m not sure what is happening. I do like the short, concise sentences. They add tension.

By the way, this older book is available for free on Kindle right now.

What do you think? Would you keep reading? Do you like short sentences?

#BookBeginnings In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn

When friends and relatives rave about a novel (thank you Shan and Karen) you know you have to read it, which is why I have In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn 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 An Instant* by Suzanne Redfearn

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  After she perishes in a car accident, sixteen-year-old Finn Miller finds she can not leave her suffering, grieving family and move on. She watches helplessly as they struggle, knowing she needs to go, but unable to do so with their lives in crisis.

****

The premise made me think of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold because it is also narrated by a teenager who has died (my review with huge spoilers).

First Sentence of Prologue:

Mrs. Kaminski knew.

Before it happened.

Discussion:

And now I need to know what she knew.

56

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

My mom, Uncle Bob, and Kyle are shaking badly when they climb back into the camper through the door that is now the ceiling.

This immediately makes me think of Winnie the Pooh when Owl’s tree falls over because Milne describes the walls becoming floors, etc.  Probably not what the author intended…

What do you think? Would you continue reading?

 

#BookBeginnings The Last Sister by Kendra Elliot

 

 

Today I’m reading The Last Sister by Kendra Elliot –thanks to a giveaway at Bea’s Book Nook — 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 Last Sister* by Kendra Elliot

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:   When Emily Mills discovers a man dead hanging in a tree, she is disturbed by the memories of finding her own father hanging under similar circumstances twenty years before. Her phone call to report the crime to the FBI brings special agent Zander Wells with his partner special agent Ava McLane to the scene. When Zander begins to investigate her father’s death to see if the crimes are related, Emily wonders about her older sister’s involvement and what she really witnessed all those years ago.

First Sentence:

She wrapped her shaking fingers in the hem of her sweater to avoid damaging any fingerprints as she slid open the rear patio door, following the trail of blood.

Discussion:

That beginning makes me shiver, but I also want to find out what is going on.

Friday 56

Let’s join The Friday 56 hosted by Freda’s Voice, too.

The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

“Looks perfect,” said Ava. She already had a fluffy bite on her fork, headed for her mouth. Her blissful expression after her bite reminded Zander why he’d once been half in love with her.

This scene reveals glimpses of the private lives of the two agents without getting bogged down in back story.

What do you think? Would you keep reading Kendra Elliot’s The Last Sister? Have you read any Kendra Elliot novels?

#BookBeginnings The Tony Hillerman Memoir, Seldom Disappointed

I’m reading a book a friend gave me last week, Seldom Disappointed:  A Memoir by Tony Hillerman 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

Seldom Disappointed:  A Memoir* by Tony Hillerman

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

My husband and I are both fans of Tony Hillerman.  However, because I started this blog after we had read his books, I’ve never featured them here. I’m looking forward to reading this because always curious about the lives of my favorite authors.

Summary blurb:  Tony Hillerman looks at seventy-six years spent getting from hard-times farm boy to bestselling author.

 

First Sentence:

Outside on this New Mexico morning the dandelions add festive color to our yard while I sit inside casting back in my memory for autobiographically useful material. I intend this to be a recitation of good luck and happy outcomes but my mind turns up only fiascos and misfortunes.

56

I’ve been meaning to join The Friday 56 hosted by Freda’s Voice forever. Perhaps it is time to catch up.

The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

I had learned in my first tenure on the A&M campus that starved-out civilian freshman boys were simply invisible to coeds looking for more promising males. Now we were visible, but were looked upon with scorn.

 

He seems to be channeling his younger self pretty well, but I’m not sure this was quite what I expected. I’ll be interested to see how his voice and perspective changes as he writes about his older self.

What do you think? Would you keep reading? Would you read a memoir by one of your favorite authors?

 

#BookBeginnings Beneath the Surface

Let’s take a look at  Beneath the Surface: An Inspector Tom Reynolds Mystery by Jo Spain 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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Beneath the Surface: An Inspector Tom Reynolds Mystery* by Jo Spain

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary: In this police procedural set in Dublin, Ryan Finnegan, a senior advisor to a government official, is murdered. Inspector Tom Reynolds has to figure out if the motive was political or deeply personal.

Prologue:

The Death
I am going to die.
I know this as surely as  I know I don’t want to.

Chapter 1.

The Investigation
Friday, 11:30 p.m., Dublin

Well, that had been a total and utter disaster.

Discussion:

Oh my, I just started reading this and can’t wait to get back to it. A police procedural set in Dublin is candy to me.

I can already tell Jo Spain is a screenwriter as well as author. The text is pretty dialogue heavy so far. However, I don’t mind a lot of dialogue. It can make a novel fly by.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Do you like novels with a lot of dialogue?

Calendar of Crime 2020: February Fever by Jess Lourey

Today’s review of February Fever by Jess Lourey is part of the reading challenge called Calendar of Crime 2020 hosted by Bev at My Reader’s Block. 

Month: February

 

February Fever: Hot and Hilarious* (A Mira James Mystery) by Jess Lourey

(*Amazon Affiliate Link)

 

Summary:  In a sly nod to Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, a trip to a conference for private investigators in Portland leaves Mira James trapped on a train with a murderer on board. It is soon apparent that some of the passengers are hiding their true identities. Will she be able to figure out who the killer is before someone else dies?

Check out my discussion of the first scene for Book Beginnings.

Review with Possible Spoilers

Lourey has a deft touch with character development. Her main character, Mira, is bright and curious with just the right amount of self effacement. Mira’s sidekick Mrs. Berns is a hoot.  Although she is impulsive and spews one liners, she’s also believable and her quirks are never too much over the top. You probably know someone like her.

The plotting/pacing of the novel isn’t quite as strong, or perhaps just didn’t conform to mystery norms. For example, typically with a mystery, the crime is often revealed near the beginning of the book. In this novel, the story had moved along before the mysterious death. I got so hooked on the characters, however, I was willing to plow through the slower, longer-than-expected set up.

Even though I picked this novel purely because it had February in the title and it fit the challenge criteria, I enjoyed it immensely. I am going to find the rest of the series, and — although this worked perfectly as a stand alone — I’m going to start with the first, May Day.  Maybe that will be my challenge book for May.

In the video below Jessica Lourey reveals why she started writing these novels (be prepared, it is heart wrenching), and encourages others to write as well.  She calls it using fiction to rewrite your life.  Wow. Well worth the few minutes to watch.

 

 

This amazing story is already way more than I expected to get out of the reading challenge.

What do you think?

 

#BookBeginnings February Fever: Hot and Hilarious by Jess Lourey

Let’s take a peek at February Fever: Hot and Hilarious by Jess Lourey 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!

 

February Fever: Hot and Hilarious* (A Mira James Mystery) by Jess Lourey

(*Amazon Affiliate Link)

 

Summary: In a sly nod to Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, a trip to a conference for private investigators in Portland leaves Mira James trapped on a train with a murderer on board. It is soon apparent that some of the passengers are hiding their true identities. Will she be able to figure out who the killer is before someone else –possibly Mira herself — dies?

 

First Sentence:

The upright bass strings resonated, the notes deep and husky. In the background, the finger-snapping began. Peggy Lee’s voice threaded over the top of the rhythm. It was playful, hot, and full of delicious promise.

Discussion:

See the Hot and Hilarious subtitle? The novel starts with a steamy scene between Mira James and her boyfriend, giving the hot part.

Readers might expect the rest is going to be a steamy romance novel. It turns out, however, this is only an attention-grabbing hook. It doesn’t truly reflect the rest of the book, which is a solid mystery with some threads of humor and at times downright wackiness.

Have you read any novels where the hook pointed to a different genre than the rest of the book? Did you feel like it was a bait-and-switch device or did it work for you?

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

 

Dear Blogger Friends, 

For some reason, I can not leave comments on Blogger blogs. Any comments I add disappear when I hit publish. I have tried many different fixes, but nothing has worked yet. I want to let you know I’m still reading your posts. 

Roberta

#BookBeginnings Trace of Evil by Alice Blanchard

I just picked up Trace of Evil by Alice Blanchard 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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Trace of Evil* by Alice Blanchard

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Rookie police detective Natalie Lockhart wants to find out who killed Daisy Buckner, a schoolteacher whom everyone in their small Upstate New York community loved. The good news is Natalie has a suspect. The bad news is that the suspect lapsed into a coma right after Daisy’s death. Has she solved the case or is Daisy’s death somehow linked to the mysterious disappearance of nine transients?

First Sentence:

Detective Natalie Lockhart pulled into the cemetery and parked in front of a run-down church covered in ivy and twining vines, her hands tightening on the steering wheel. This part of the weed-choked graveyard was isolated and neglected.

Discussion:

The cover intrigued me, so I grabbed this at the library today. The premise indicates it is a police procedural novel, which I usually enjoy,  plus I wanted to find out more about the Upstate New York setting.

Why do you think she is visiting an old graveyard? Would you keep reading?

Calendar of Crime 2020: Jeopardy in January

Today’s review is part of the reading challenge called Calendar of Crime 2020 hosted by Bev at My Reader’s Block. 

Month: January

Jeopardy in January* by Camilla Chafer

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Category:  I chose a mystery with the month in the title.

Summary:  As the head of the Calendar Public Library, Sara Cutler is fighting to keep the lovely old building from being torn down by a real estate developer named Jason Rees. When she discovers her assistant dead in the rare books section, handsome Rees is on hand to keep Sara safe. Soon Sara’s life becomes complicated as she must solve the mystery of her assistant’s double life, save the library, and figure out what to do about Rees.

Review with Spoilers

At times I’ve been known to compare a book to food. In this case, I was looking for something light, such as the cozy mystery version of a salad. Jeopardy in January turned out to be a salad, but one of those iceberg lettuce versions you get in diners sometimes, the ones with a few hard, tasteless tomato wedges and perhaps a carrot shred or two. It is a salad, but you are disappointed the creator didn’t put in a tiny bit more effort, like adding some new ingredients or at least better lettuce.

In Jeopardy in January we are offered two men who serve as both love interest and potential killer. Two.  No red herrings, no non-love interest bad guys, no bad women, just those two.  That pretty much takes the joy out of the mystery.

I also expected a head librarian to talk about books once in awhile. Granted, she’s upset about the library being threatened and her assistant being killed, but when the readership is filled with book nerds, throw them a bone. Or because we’re doing salad, a bit of cucumber at least.

There are a few other things I noticed, but perhaps I’m being too harsh. On the whole the main character, Sara, was spunky and resourceful, plus the small town setting sounded delightful.  So, let’s say I was actually in the mood for coleslaw instead of a salad. Either that, or this review is sour grapes because I really wanted the harried police detective to get the girl in the end.

Public domain image by Marina Shemesh at Publicdomainpictures.net

#BookBeginnings Jeopardy in January by Camilla Chafer

Let’s take a look at Jeopardy in January by Camilla Chafer 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

Jeopardy in January* by Camilla Chafer

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  As the head of the Calendar Public Library, Sara Cutler is fighting to keep the building from being torn down by a real estate developer named Jason Rees. When she discovers her assistant dead in the rare books section, handsome Rees is on hand to keep Sara safe. Soon Sara’s life becomes complicated as she must solve the mystery of her assistant’s double life, save the library, and figure out what to do about Rees.

First Sentence:

Discussion:

I love novels set in libraries, but after reading this first paragraph I have to admit I was a bit disappointed.  The protagonist sounds young and immature rather than what I would expect for a head librarian. Hopefully it gets better.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

This novel is part of the Calendar of Crime 2020 challenge.

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