Category: Book Beginnings Meme (Page 1 of 14)

#BookBeginnings The Secrets They Left Behind

Let’s take a peek at The Secrets They Left Behind by Lissa Marie Redmond 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

The Secrets They Left Behind* by Lissa Marie Redmond

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Summary:  While on Christmas break, three college freshmen disappear, leaving  their cell phones, coats, and purses behind. When the investigation grows cold, twenty-three-year-old Buffalo police officer Shea O’Connor goes undercover, posing as a freshman. Will she get the evidence she needs to find the young women or will she become a target herself?

First Sentence:

Monday, February 20th

If I had known the best thing that was going to happen to me that day was a black eye, I would have called in sick.

 

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.

 

“Joe, this is Shea Anderson. She just moved here from Buffalo,” Kayla said in a disgusted voice, as if he smelled particularly repulsive that day.

“Shea Anderson? You sound like a French restaurant.”

“Good one,” I joked. “I’ve never heard that before.”

I recently finished a really dense 466 page mystery by P. D. James, so I’m looking forward to something more straightforward and this looks like just the thing.

I like the tough cop voice in the first sentence. I’m not so sure about the immature college freshman dialogue in the later quote, but I guess it is age appropriate.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Murder in Pigalle by Cara Black Review

A few weeks ago I read Murder in Pigalle by Cara Black for an online book discussion at my local library. It’s time to write my review.

Murder in Pigalle by Cara Black

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Although she wants to slow down her hectic life because of her pregnancy, private investigator Aimée Leduc still rushes to find the missing thirteen-year-old daughter of a friend. She’s afraid the girl’s disappearance may be related to a serial rapist terrorizing the Parisian neighborhood of Pigalle.

Positives:

Setting:

The Paris setting met and exceeded expectations. I was not surprised to learn that  author Cara Black actually tests the routes she writes about in the book. The details about places felt very real.

Protagonist:

Aimée Leduc is half French and half American. In this novel she is expecting her first child and her relationship with its father is complicated, to say the least. I had never read a book with a pregnant protagonist before, especially a private detective. It adds an interesting dimension to the story.

Premise:

The crime is heart wrenching and I really wanted Aimée to find the criminal.

Negatives:

Almost everyone in the discussion group commented on how difficult it was to remember the cast of characters. I finally had to write down a list of names and their roles to keep them straight. Part of the problem might have been that this is book #14 in the series and the author may have assumed we had read the earlier books and didn’t need to be introduced to recurring characters.  All I can say is that other authors have pulled this off much more successfully.

Big Spoiler Alert:

Don’t read any further if you want to read the book. 

Although this book looks like a traditional mystery, it is set up more like a suspense novel. It was disappointing to find out that the perpetrator was briefly introduced on page 193, about two thirds the way through the book. He was not a major character and most of the members of the discussion group admitted that after he was revealed, they had to look back through the text to figure out who he even was.

Conclusions:

Although I liked the Paris setting and the vivacious main character, the flaws in the novel make it unlikely that I will seek out any more of this series.

 

Public Domain Image by Michelle Diagle

#BookBeginnings Among the Shadows by Bruce Robert Coffin

Today I’m reading Among the Shadows by Bruce Robert Coffin 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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Among the Shadows by Bruce Robert Coffin

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Summary:  When a retired cop is murdered while in hospice, Detective Sergeant John Byron struggles to find a motive. Why would someone kill a man already so close to death? When second ex-Portland police officer is killed, Byron realizes the cases are linked and that if he doesn’t solve the murders quickly, more cops might die.

First Sentence:

The bitter stench of urine and impending death permeated the small dingy bedroom. Hawk stood next to the bed, looking down at O’Halloran.

Thoughts: 

I have to admit that first bit made me feel a bit squeamish. What about you?

Because we meet the victim and the killer pretty much in the first sentence of the book, this is not a traditional mystery. The publisher calls it a thriller.

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.

 

Retired Detective Ray Humphrey, one of Byron’s oldest and dearest friends, had always said:  “If you find your train derailing during the course of the investigation, the best thing you can do is go back to the beginning.”

Discussion:

I recently watched a webinar featuring Bruce Robert Coffin, who — like his fictional protagonist –is a retired detective sergeant from Maine. I was impressed by what he said during the talk, so I picked up his first two books.  If you like police procedurals,  this is a good choice. You can tell the guy knows his stuff and isn’t afraid to put it on the page.

You can’t tell from the excerpts, but the Portland, Maine setting adds a dimension to the story, too.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

#BookBeginnings Murder in Pigalle

It has been way too long since I’ve been able to join  Book Beginnings on Fridays. Today I’m reading Murder in Pigalle by Cara Black for an online book discussion on Monday at my local library.

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

Murder in Pigalle by Cara Black

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Although she wants to slow down her hectic life because of her pregnancy, private investigator Aimée Leduc still rushes to find the missing thirteen-year-old daughter of a friend. She’s afraid the girl’s disappearance may be related to a serial rapist terrorizing the Parisian neighborhood of Pigalle.

First Sentence:

Paris, June 1998. Monday 1:15 P.M.

Stepping into the shadowed cool of Passage Verdeau, Aimée Leduc welcomed the reprieve from the late-June heat — but not the barrel of the Uzi blocking her way. Stifling a gasp, she clutched her stomach, felt a flutter,

Discussion:

Do you like this beginning?

I do. It gives a sense of the place, the person, and set a tone for the novel, all in a few words.

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.

 

She had a little life stirring inside her. Part of her wondered what she would do to protect it. And it scared her.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with a pregnant protagonist, especially a private detective. It adds an interesting dimension to the story.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

#BookBeginnings The Janes by Louisa Luna

So excited to be able to join Book Beginnings on Fridays. I’m reading The Janes by Louisa Luna today.

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 Janes* by Louisa Luna

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Summary:  The second Alice Vega novel travels to the San Diego area where the bodies of two young women have been found. Lacking identification, one of the girls is clutching a slip of paper with Alice Vega’s name on it. She calls in her partner from a previous case in Pennsylvania, Max Caplan, and together they begin to piece together what happened to the girls while trying to prevent anyone else from meeting the same fate.

First Sentence:

Meet our girl:  seventeen, arrived here a year ago from a rough and dusty town in Chiapas, considered pretty by most standards because she is young, her face unmarked by scars or wrinkles, her body boasting the tender snap of fresh muscle.

Discussion: 

Did you notice the way the author used “our girl” for the victim? It continues throughout the scene, not just in the first line.  I wasn’t completely sure whether it made the reader empathize with the girl or if it created the impression that she was being described by someone who treated her like a possession.

How did it strike you?

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 wife tilted back on her heels and then steadied herself. She struggled against the doctor for a moment but then didn’t fight.

In this scene, Cap is watching a couple of suspects.

What do you think? Have you read anything by Louisa Luna?

#BookBeginnings Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna

Today I’m looking forward to reading Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna 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

Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:   Two young sisters disappear from a parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town and the police aren’t making any progress. Desperate, their mother hires a bounty hunter named Alice Vega, to search for the girls. Vega enlists a local PI, Max Caplan, to help her. Will the pair be enough to find the girls in time?

First Sentence:

Jamie Brandt was not a bad mother. Later she would tell that to anyone who would listen:  police, reporters, lawyers, her parents, her boyfriend, her dealer, the new bartender with the knuckle tattoos at Schultz’s, the investigator from California and her partner, and her own reflection in the bathroom mirror, right before cracking her forehead on the sink’s edge and passing out from the cocktail of pain, grief, and fear.

Discussion:  A first glance, this seems like a pretty straightforward beginning. When you look closer, however, you begin to notice there’s a lot of information. She has a boyfriend, so she is a single mother. She has a dealer and knows a bartender, so she might have addictions. Plus, she is in a lot of pain.

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.

 

Cap truly believed there was nothing harder than being a kid. You were always an alien trying to learn the earth rules.

Actually, this is just a random quote that I liked.

I heard good things about this series, so I’m looking forward to giving it a try.

What do you think? Do the quotes draw you in?

What are you reading this week?

#BookBeginnings The Lucky One by Lori Rader-Day

Let’s take a look at The Lucky One by Lori Rader-Day 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 Lucky One by Lori Rader-Day

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Summary:  Alice Fine works in a construction office with her dad by day and volunteers with an online group that matches unidentified bodies (“Does”) with missing persons at night. Unlike many of the other members of the group — who started because they have missing relatives — Alice was drawn to the work because she herself was a missing person when she was very young. She was rescued in less than a day, but her kidnapper was never caught. When Alice recognizes a man from a photograph on the missing persons website, she soon realizes he is the one who kidnapped her so long ago. With the help of other volunteers, Alice delves into the mystery of who he was and why he took her.

First Sentence:

Audrey89:  RE: RE: RE:…This thread is getting long and tedious already and you jerks are starting to repeat yourselves.

Discussion:

Oh yes, I’ve been on forums that were like that.

This section isn’t labelled as prologue, but it begins in front of Chapter One. Throughout the text, the author sprinkles in online discussions, emails, etc. between regular-length chapters.

The idea that a victim can investigate the crime really works.  It is done in a believable way. The online group is based on an actual organization.

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.

 

When Merrily jolted awake from strange dreams, her mouth still tasted weird.

Technically this is from page 57, because page 56 was an email.

Hum, wonder what Merrily was up to before she fell asleep.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

#BookBeginnings Upon a Dark Night by Peter Lovesey

Today’s shelf find is Upon a Dark Night by Peter Lovesey 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

Upon a Dark Night* by Peter Lovesey

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Summary:   Detective Inspector Peter Diamond of the Bath homicide squad is working two cases:  the death of a woman who fell from the roof of a local landmark, and that of an elderly farmer who shot himself. He has no time for the mystery of a  young woman dumped in the hospital parking lot, injured and without a memory of who she is or what happened to her. He will leave that one to someone else. That is, until it becomes apparent that the cases may be linked in some way.

First Sentence:

A young woman opened her eyes.

The view was blank, a white-out, a snowfall that covered everything.

 

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.

 

He said, “I like chocolate chip cookies. I like chocolate chip cookies the best.”

I chose this quote because I like chocolate chip cookies, too.

Although the sentence seems like it might be filler dialogue, it turns out later in the page that it is actually a clue. A tiny clue, but a clue nonetheless. It’s great when chocolate chop cookies can be a clue.

When a friend gave me some older mystery novels a few months ago, based on the cover I thought this was one Lovesey’s historical novels. I put it away on a shelf. Last week I saw a Lovesey mystery featured on Shiela’s A Quiet Georgie blog and realized the Detective Inspector Peter Diamond  series is contemporary (well, as contemporary as the 1990s can be).  Another awesome shelf find!

What do you think? Would you pull out some chocolate chip cookies and read a Detective Inspector Peter Diamond mystery?

Are you finding any gems hidden on your shelves?

#BookBeginnings Live to Tell by Lisa Gardner

Today I’m reading Live to 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

Live to Tell* by Lisa Gardner

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Summary:  When four members of a Boston family are murdered and the father is barely alive in the hospital, everything points to a murder-botched suicide. Police detective D.D. Warren isn’t convinced that things are as obvious as they seem, however, and begins to dig more deeply.  Does the case have anything to do with another tragedy from decades before?

First Sentence, Prologue:

Danielle

I don’t remember that night much anymore.

 

First Sentence, Chapter One

Thursday night. Sargent Detective D.D. Warren was out on a date. It wasn’t the worst date she’d ever been on. It wasn’t the best date she’d ever been on.

Notice the switch from first person to third person?

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.

 

D.D. slept until seven the next morning, an unusual luxury when working a high-burn case.

Actually this is page 57 because 56 is blank.

I have four Lisa Gardner novels in my TBR pile. I decided to start with the oldest one in the D.D. Warren series because I had already read the first two.

Lisa Gardner is prolific, so I also have one from the FBI Profiler series, and one from the Tessa Leoni series. I don’t know why I have waited so long to read these. I enjoy her books.

What do you think? Would you read Live to Tell? Have you read any novels by Lisa Gardner?

#BookBeginnings A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

 

Am I crazy to be reading A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles 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

A Gentleman in Moscow* by Amor Towles

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Summary:   Russian aristocrat Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in 1922. Not allowed to leave a hotel across from the Kremlin, Rostov lives vicariously through the people who live in the hotel or who he can see on the street. But does he have more to offer from his vantage point than he thinks?

First Sentence of Book One:

At half past six on the twenty-first of June 1922, when Count Alexander Ilyvich Rostov was escorted through the gates of the Kremlin onto Red Square, it was glorious and cool. Drawing his shoulders back without breaking stride, the Count inhaled the air like one fresh from a swim.

 

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.

 

Having lived in the Metropol for four years, the Count considered himself something of an expert on the hotel. He knew its staff by name, its services by experience, and the decorative styles of its suites by heart.

This novel is 462 pages long, so the 56 quote is still close to the beginning. So far the writing is incredible, although I wonder about the author’s choice of calling his main character ‘the Count.” Do you think it seems distancing?

I’m hoping it will not be too difficult to read a novel about someone trapped in a hotel while being more or less trapped at home.

What do you think? Would you read A Gentleman in Moscow right now?

 

(Public domain photograph of the Kremlin by Svetlana Tikhonova.)

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