Author: Roberta (Page 1 of 44)

#BookBeginnings The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

 

Today I’m catching up with The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides 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 Silent Patient* by Alex Michaelides

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  After Alicia Berenson shoots her husband Gabriel five times, she gives no explanation. In fact she doesn’t speak at all. Criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber is determined to unravel the mystery and begins to visit Alicia at the psychiatric hospital where she is held. Will he be able to reach her?

First Sentence Prologue:

Alicia Berenson’s Diary

July 14

I don’t know why I’m writing this.

 

First Sentence Chapter One:

Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband.

Discussion:

I’ve been hearing about this book all over and now that the author has another book out, perhaps it is time to see what all the fuss is about.

The set up is pretty compelling. I want to know what happened.

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.

 

From the diary:

I bought an electric fan yesterday. I set it up at the foot of the bed on the top of the chest.

Gabriel immediately started complaining, “It makes too much noise. We’ll never sleep.”

If one of your main character’s doesn’t speak, I guess having a diary is about the only way to reveal her side of things? It does give a sense of what her life was like.

Have you ever read a novel where a portion of the story is told in diary entries or letters?

What do you think? Have you read The Silent Patient or Alex’s newest, The Maidens?

#BookBeginnings Conviction by Denise Mina

Today I’m reading Conviction by Denise Mina 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-Mina

Conviction* by Denise Mina

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Anna McDonald listens to true crime podcasts to distract herself from her personal problems. When she realizes she has a connection to one of the crimes and that she might be able to solve it, the stars align to send her in search of the truth.

First Sentence Prologue:

Just tell the truth. I’ve said that to my own kids. What a ridiculous thing to teach children.

Discussion:

I like that opening. Sentence one. Sentence two. Okay, I know where this is going… Sentence three – bam! The author flips things 180 degrees from expected.

First Sentence Chapter 1:

The day my life exploded started well.

Discussion: 

What a hook! So far I like the first person voice.

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.

 

The screen blacked out. The narrator, Trina, delivered a trigger warning:  basically, don’t watch this. Don’t watch if you’re too young or old or nervous or squeamish,

 

Have you ever listened to true crime podcasts? Seems like they are pretty popular. I’ve read two novels (fiction) lately that have true crime podcasts as a central, crucial element.

What do you think? Have you read anything by Denise Mina? Would you continue reading this one?

#amwriting Mystery with a Pinch of Humor

Do you love your mysteries with a dose of humor? Want to find more about how to write them?

This week I discovered a wonderful webinar called Mirth & Mystery with Diane Kelly at Triangle Sisters in Crime.

 

 

First Diane sets the stage. As she explains, humor often doesn’t get as much respect as other genres, even though it is incredibly difficult to write. There is only one award for humorous mysteries, the Lefty (the archives is a great place to find books to add to your reading list).

That doesn’t mean it is impossible. Diane gives the names of several popular mystery authors known for their humor. Of the authors on her list, my husband is a huge fan of Carl Hiaasen, I love Janet Evanovich’s  Stephanie Plum series (previous post), and my son is a mammoth Dave Barry fan. What does that say about our family?

Next she delves deeply into the numerous ways that humor can improve your writing, from making your manuscript stand out to agents and editors, to  adding to the emotional range. If you have your readers biting their fingernails with tension, rather than charging forward with more,  provide a bit of relief via a lighter, comedic moment.

I’m not sure how long the video will be available, but this webinar is a gem. Seriously.

Here are Amazon Affiliate links to the two humor writing books she recommends (mainly so I remember to pick them up).

The Comic Toolbox: How to Be Funny Even If You’re Not by John Vorhaus

The Eight Characters of Comedy: Guide to Sitcom Acting And Writing by Scott Sedita

 

Then a few days later I found a webinar by mystery author Kathy McKintosh on “Humor in Mysteries.”  Is the cosmos trying to tell me something?

Look for it at Bear Canyon Library on YouTube (link).  Unfortunately sharing was disabled, so you will have to click through to watch it.

Do you have a favorite mystery author who incorporates humor in their novels? We’d love to hear about it!

@DesertSleuths anthology SO WEST: LOVE KILLS Coming Soon

Interested in mysteries? Like to read anthologies?

A short story I wrote is featured in the latest Desert Sleuths anthology, So West:  Love Kills*, arriving 9/10/2021.

(*Amazon affiliate link)

Here’s the blurb:

Betrayal. Deception. Greed. Love Gone Wrong. Brothers and sisters. Lovers and liars. Fathers and daughters. Mothers and sons. From the wilds of Arizona’s Rim country to its dusty lowland deserts, you’ll find it all within the pages of So West: Love Kills. Bonds forged and broken. Covenants kept and cast aside. Love nurtured and left to rot. Not everything is as it seems. Not everyone can be trusted. But one thing is for certain—love hurts. Sometimes it even kills!

 

Contributing authors:

  • Shannon Baker,
  • Mysti Berry,
  • Meredith Blevins,
  • Patricia Bonn,
  • Lauren Buckingham,
  • Susan Budavari,
  • William Butler,
  • Patricia Curren,
  • Meg E. Dobson,
  • Beverly Forsyth,
  • Denise Ganley,
  • Roberta Gibson,
  • Katherine Atwell Herbert,
  • Tom Leveen,
  • Susan Cummins Miller,
  • Charlotte Morganti,
  • Julie Morrison,
  • Claire A. Murray,
  • Kris Neri,
  • Karen Odden,
  • R K Olson,
  • D.R. Ransdell,
  • Kim Rivery,
  • Elena E. Smith.

 

Lead Editor: Maegan Beaumont.

Co-Editors: Deborah J Ledford, Susan Budavari, R K Olson, Shannon Baker, Meg Dobson

Cover Designer: Maegan Beaumont.

E-books available for preorder now. I’d love for you to check it out!

#BookBeginnings Déjà Dead by Kathy Reichs

This week let’s revisit the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs starting with Déjà Dead, 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

Déjà Dead* by Kathy Reichs

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  In the first book of the series, forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan has left behind a shaky marriage in North Carolina and moved to Québec. When a female corpse is discovered meticulously dismembered and stashed in trash bags, Temperance detects an alarming pattern that sends her on a search for a killer. But her investigation is about to place those closest to her—her best friend and her own daughter—in mortal danger…

First Sentence:

I wasn’t thinking about the man who had blown himself up.

Discussion:

That first line is a stunner.

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.

 

Birdie was waiting when I got home. He watched me from across the entrance hall  his white form reflected softly in the black marble floor. He seemed annoyed. Do cats feel such emotions? Perhaps I was projecting. I checked his bowl and found it low, but not empty. Feeling guilty, I filled it anyway,

If you are owned by a cat, you totally can relate to this.

I appreciate the bit about the cat’s white reflected on the black marble. It reveals both his color and what her home is like in a few brief words. Clever.

What do you think? Have you read any novels in this series? Have you seen the TV show Bones that is based on the novels? Did you enjoy it?

Author Post: Kathy Reichs

After seeing this incredible ZOOM video, I knew I had to get started reading Kathy Reichs novels again.

Wow, she had the manuscript for her first novel accepted after her very first submission to a publisher. That never happens!

Years ago I read several of the series from the library, but I didn’t keep a record of which ones. It is time to start over.

The Temperance Brennan series

1. Déjà Dead (1997)
2. Death du Jour (1999) -shelf
3. Deadly Decisions (2000)
4. Fatal Voyage (2001)
5. Grave Secrets (2002) -shelf
6. Bare Bones (2003)
7. Monday Mourning (2004) -shelf
8. Cross Bones (2005)
9. Break No Bones (2006)
10. Bones to Ashes (2007)
11. Devil Bones (2008) -shelf
12. 206 Bones (2009)
13. Spider Bones (2010) (Also published as Mortal Remains)
14. Flash and Bones (2011)
15. Bones are Forever (2012)
16. Bones of the Lost (2013)
17. Bones Never Lie (2014) -shelf
18. Speaking in Bones (2015)
19. The Bone Collection (2016) – A short story collection including First Bones (a prequel to Déjà Dead), Bones in her Pocket, Swamp Bones and Bones on Ice.
20. A Conspiracy of Bones (2020)
21. The Bone Code (2021)

 

Note:  Kathy Reichs also co-wrote a MG series with her son Brendan Reichs, which you can see on his website.

 

 

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About Author Posts:

Because I read a lot of mysteries, I’ve been trying to come up with a better system to keep track of which novels I’ve finished. I thought blogging would help, which it does, but I don’t always review everything I read. To get more organized, I’ve decided to create a series of author posts with lists of novels and links to my reviews. I plan to edit these pages as needed.

#BookBeginnings : The Mouthwatering #Cozy #Mystery Arsenic and Adobo

 

Let’s take a peek into Mia P. Manansala’s Arsenic and Adobo 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

Arsenic and Adobo* by Mia P. Manansala

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

 

Summary:  When her ex-boyfriend writes critical reviews of her aunt’s struggling restaurant, Lila Macapagal is irritated. When he eats at the same restaurant and then dies, she is forced to prove she wasn’t the one who was out for revenge.

First Sentence:

My name is Lila Macapagal and my life has become a rom-com cliché.

Not many romantic comedies feature an Asian-American lead (or dead bodies, but more on that later), but all the hallmarks are there.

Discussion:

Mia P. Manansala has been a featured speaker in several author events I’ve attended lately, so I had to read her book.

I love the light and humorous voice of Lily.  The rest of the page sums up her back story in a few funny lines.

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.

 

I checked my watch and saw I had a couple of hours to kill before calling on Ninang June. There was only one thing I knew would get me out of this funk, so I hopped in the car and headed home.

It was time to bake.

There’s a protagonist after my own heart!

On the next page she bakes a calamansi-ginger pie. If you aren’t familiar with some of the terms, no worries. The author has included a Glossary and Pronunciation Guide in the front and recipes in the back. Calamansi is a type of citrus. It is also called a Philippine lemon.

Now I’m hungry.

What do you think? Have you read Arsenic and Adobo? Would you like to give it a chance?

#BookBeginnings The Deep, Deep Snow by Brian Freeman

 

This week let’s listen to The Deep, Deep Snow by Brian Freeman 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 Deep, Deep Snow* by Brian Freeman

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

The Deep, Deep Snow is a standalone novel. Because I received a free audiobook, I listened to it rather than read it.

Summary:  When Deputy Shelby Lake was abandoned as a baby, she was saved by a stranger who found her on his doorstep in the freezing cold.

Now, years later, a young boy is missing. The only evidence of what happened to ten-year-old Jeremiah Sloan is a bicycle left behind on a lonely road. Can Shelby find the boy as her adopted father once did for her?

First Sentence Prologue:

The first thing you should know about me is that I believe in signs. Omens. Premonitions. I grew up believing that things happen for a reason.

First Sentence Chapter One:

On the day that Jeremiah Sloan disappeared, I was teasing Monica Constant about her dead dog.

Discussion:

Listening to a book is such a different experience than reading it, but both these first lines made me want to continue.

It turns out Monica’s dog is a running joke.

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.

 

His booming voice scared a few birds, but that was all. There was no answer. That didn’t stop him from hollering again. He was a handsome park ranger with the strong physique of a lumberjack, and strong men always labored under the illusion that they could solve any problem if they swung a little harder, talked a little louder, or ran a little faster. Life didn’t work that way.

 

I really enjoyed this book. At one point it skips ten years ahead in time, which allows the reader the see who changed substantially and who didn’t change much. There’s also a subplot that explores memory loss that I found poignant.

Aside:  Do you regularly listen to audiobooks? I don’t and some things surprised me. For example, I usually skip or skim long descriptions when I read  — as a matter of habit. Having to listen to every word made me realize  am missing a lot of setting and mood by skimming. In the same vein, I also tend to skim or skip sections that are too emotional or too frightening, which allows me to control how I react to it. Again, by listening, I felt the impact of every word.

Although I said I hear every word, there were a few times when environmental noise made me miss something and it isn’t easy to go back a few lines, at least not on the phone.  Has anyone figured out a solution for this?

What do you think? Have you ever read a book by Brian Freeman? Would you continue reading this one?

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