Author: Roberta (page 2 of 36)

Happy New Year! Celebration With A Dance

In celebration of 2020, let’s dance.

 

This dance is mesmerizing to me for a number of reasons.

I love how the costumes and movements play with gender. If the male dancers all had long hair (or the females short), it would be difficult to tell them apart. The dancers’ muscles ripple in the same way when they move, etc. Also, at one point the male dancers leap into the female dancers’ arms in a blatant role reversal. It makes me smile as well, however, because based on the occasional close up glimpse of female-specific body parts, I suspect the camera person didn’t get the gender-neutral memo from the choreographer.

As a biologist, I also noticed that many of the movements mimic bird courtship behaviors. Amazing.

What do you see in this dance?

 

 

#BookBeginnings N. K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season

Today I’m reading N. K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season 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 Fifth Season* (The Broken Earth #1) by N. K. Jemisin

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Won the Hugo Award in 2016

If you’ve read this book, you realize it is hard to summarize without spoilers. Here’s my best attempt:

Summary:  Against the backdrop of a earthquake that rips apart the world called Stillness, Essun finds that her own world is shattered as well. Her husband has killed her son, and he and her daughter have disappeared. How will she survive?

First Sentence Chapter 1:

You are she. She is you. You are Essun. Remember? The woman whose son is dead.

Discussion:

I like the short sentences at the beginning. To me, the brevity gives it a primal feel.

What do you think? Have you read any books by N. K. Jemisin?  Have you read this series?

 

#BookBeginnings The Ice Dragon by George R. R. Martin

Today I pulled out The Ice Dragon by George R. R. Martin 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-George R. R. Martin

The Ice Dragon* by George R. R. Martin and illustrated by Luis Royo

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  When the fiery dragons swoop in and threaten Adara’s community, she has a secret — in the form of an ice dragon — that could help stave off destruction.

First Sentence:

Adara liked the winter best of all, for when the world grew cold, the ice dragon came.

Discussion:

If you’ve never heard of The Ice Dragon, be prepared that this is not George R.R. Martin’s usual giant tome. Instead it is a wisp of a novella; it is short and sweet.

I have read this before and it really moved me. That’s why I like to pick it up again once in awhile.

My thoughts:

I absolutely love, love the illustrations. They are breathtaking. The way the words flow has a special quality, too.

I also love that the story has flaws. It reminds me of a really old pane of glass, one that is full of bubbles and is so wavy your view through it is a bit distorted. If you expect a piece of glass to be clear and straight and perfect in a modern way, then you will be disappointed. But if you appreciate that not everything needs to be perfect to be beautiful, then this is the book for you.

Here’s a snippet to help you decide.

What do you think? Have you read The Ice Dragon? Are you a George R. R. Martin fan?

 

 

#BookBeginnings Chase Darkness With Me By Billy Jensen

Let’s take a look at Chase Darkness with Me: How One True Crime Writer Started Solving Murders by Billy Jensen 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/book 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-Billy Jensen

Chase Darkness with Me: How One True Crime Writer Started Solving Murders* by Billy Jensen

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Tired of writing about unsolved murders, journalist Billy Jensen decided to use his investigative know-how to solve cases. In this book he reveals how he uses social media to hunt down killers.

First Sentence:

It starts with an overhead shot — in color, but with no sound — of a man walking into a 7-Eleven. It’s late, well past 2:00 a.m., but the scene is glowing, the streetlamps working with the store signs to give off a glimmer you don’t usually see on the typical nighttime surveillance video.

Discussion:

Billy Jensen first came to my attention when I read I’ll Be in the Dark by Michelle McNamara (my post). Michelle passed away before finishing her book , so Billy Jensen and Paul Holes pieced the story together and finished it. I’m looking forward to reading more about him.

What do you think? Do you read true crime? Would you give Billy Jensen’s book a try?

 

____________________

Side note:  If you have clicked on my blog over the last week or so, you have probably noticed it has been out of service. The switch from http to https has not been a smooth one.  Hopefully I’ll get the bugs out soon and participate more regularly.

Thank you for visiting.

 

#BookBeginnings Never Tell by Lisa Gardner

Let’s take a look at the novel Never Tell by Lisa Gardner 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-Lisa Gardener

Never Tell*by Lisa Gardner

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

 

Summary:  When a pregnant woman named Evie Carter is found next to her dead husband holding a gun in her hand, Detective D.D. Warren realizes she has encountered Carter at a prior crime scene. Years before Evie confessed to accidentally shooting her father. Was the previous case actually murder? Is  this case as open and shut as it appears?

First Sentence:

By the time I pull my car into the garage, my hands are shaking on the wheel. I tell myself I have no reason to feel so nervous.

Discussion:

Evie is the narrator of the first scene. It really grabbed me and made me want to know what was going on. Including the viewpoints of those caught up in the crime — not just those investigating — is one of Lisa Gardner’s strengths (see previous review of Hide).

I picked this novel up at the airport because I’d already finished the novel I had intended to read on the flight. I’m glad I did! It was engrossing enough to make the time fly (pun intended?), but wasn’t so complicated that I’d lose track of the plot whenever I got interrupted. I would call this the perfect airplane read.

What do you think? Have you read any of Lisa Gardner’s novels?

What is your favorite airline novel?

#BookBeginnings Louise Penny’s A Better Man

Yay! I scored a copy of Louise Penny’s newest, A Better Man, from the library for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

book-beginnings-Louise Penny

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!

 

A Better Man by Louise Penny

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:   Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is back at the Sûreté du Québec, but it hasn’t been an easy return. He’s under attack in social media, he’s in a delicate position because he’s been given equal rank to his own son-in-law, plus spring floods threaten. An assignment to look for a young woman who is missing seems like it might be a welcome respite from his problems. Or is it?

First Sentence:

The novel starts with two apparent tweets:

What’s happened to Clara Morrow? She used to be a great artist. #MorrowSucks

Are you kidding me? They let him back in the Sûreté? #SûretéSux

Discussion:

The tweets are part of a theme of this novel. Throughout Louise Penny raises awareness of the impact of unkindness of social networks, perhaps in response to some readers who have posted not so pleasant tweets about herself or her books? Let’s hope the studies that show reading novels increases empathy have some merit.

Penny always has strong settings, but in this one man-vs-nature comes into play in a big way in the form of floods.

What do you think? Would your keep reading?

#BookBeginnings My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

My novel today is My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

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!

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

 

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Korede’s spoiled and beautiful sister Ayoola has a habit of killing her boyfriends. Up to now Korede has dutifully cleaned up her sister’s messes. When her sister catches the eye of the handsome doctor Korede has a crush on, however, she begins to question where her loyalties lie.

First Sentence:

Ayoola summons me with these words — Korede, I killed him.

I had hoped I would never hear those words again.

Discussion:

I picked up this novel because it is the title the Writer Unboxed Facebook group plans to dissect on Oct. 24-27.  Writer Unboxed is a long running and highly informative blog for writers.  The Facebook group reads a novel together and discusses it from a writer’s perspective.

Plus, I have to admit the title made me curious.

What do you think? Would read about a character who covers up for a serial killer?

Poetic License (Plates)

Time to take some poetic license.

If you spend way too much time in the car like I do, you probably see vanity license plates every day. Here’s a challenge:  Assemble some of those license plates into haiku-like poems.

For example, these actual vanity plates

  • LEOPARD
  • FLAWLESS
  • SILENCE

can be rearranged to become the poem

Flawless leopard
Stalks its prey
Silence

In a similar theme, the license plates

  • X3X
  • ANCHOVY
  • FORTUNA

with a little “poetic license” become:

Three anchovies
Four tuna
X anchovies
X tuna

Think about it.

One day I saw in the same parking lot

  • 1Run100
  • GOOD4EWE

I run 100 K
Good for you

That is a a nicer pair than:

Be a duck…
Kabob

UBETCYA

 

 

Have you seen an poetic license (plates) today?

#BookBeginnings J. Todd Scott’s This Side of Night

Today I’m sharing  This Side of Night 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!

book-beginnings-Gershkowitz

This Side of Night by J. Todd Scott

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

This Side of Night, the recently-released third novel in J. Todd Scott’s series set in the Big Bend area of Texas, starts with a brutal attack on a busload of students in Mexico. Soon the violent event sends repercussions across the border to where Sheriff Chris Cherry and his deputies America Reynosa and Danny Ford are investigating the deaths of five men found along the river, and at the same time fending off the suspicions of El Paso DEA agent Joe Garrison.

By the way, the author knows his stuff. J. Todd Scott works full time as a senior supervisory agent for the DEA and writes novels in his “spare” time.

First Sentence of the Prologue:

When they shot Castel in the face, Chayo knew they were going to kill them all.

The prologue sets the tone. This is going to be steely crime fiction.

First Sentence of Chapter One:

It started with two eggs and an iron skillet, and went downhill from there.

 Scott can be as deceptive as his characters. Just as you are expecting a written-by-a-law enforcement-specialist flavor, he slips in some witty or vibrant prose that says “literary master” and takes your breath away.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

I snagged this book at a signing with the author. Check it out:

 

Boot-Rock-J. Todd Scott

Public Domain Photograph, Big Bend National Park.

#BookBeginnings A Yummy Memoir: Save Me the Plums

Today I used my birthday month discount at Changing Hands Bookstore to snag a signed copy of Ruth Reichl’s delicious memoir Save Me the Plums 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

Save Me the Plums* by by Ruth Reichl

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Ruth Reichl had started reading Gourmet magazine at eight years old, so when the management called many years later (1998) to offer her the position of editor in chief, of course she turned it down. But like re-connecting with a childhood sweetheart, once she accepted the magazine job, it transformed her life.

First Sentence:

I was eight years old when I first found the magazine, sitting on the dusty floor of a used-book store. My father was a book designer who enjoyed the company of ancient volumes and he often took me on book-hunting expeditions around New York, leaving me with a pile of vintage magazines while he went off to prowl among the dark and crowded shelves.

Discussion:

Who wants to go to New York and visit this bookstore right now? What a fun upbringing for a writer/editor!

This is a yummy memoir. I started devouring it this afternoon and couldn’t stop. The sensory descriptions of food are incredible. Plus Reichl knows how to capture the reader as only a master storyteller can.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Do you like to read memoirs?

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