Tag: Book Beginnings (Page 1 of 16)

#BookBeginnings The Woman in the Library

Today I have The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill for Book Beginnings on Fridays, which ironically I picked up at the 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!

 

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The Woman in the Library* by Sulari Gentill

(*Amazon Affiliate link- As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Summary:   The Woman in the Library  is a complex story told in the form of metafiction.

First Sentence:

Dear Hannah,

What are you writing?

I expect you’ve started something new by now.

The Woman in the Library starts with a letter that is part of an ongoing correspondence between two writers, from Leo who is in Boston to Hannah who lives in Australia.

Chapter One is the beginning of Hannah’s manuscript, a novel within a novel.

Writing in the Boston Public Library had been a mistake. It was too magnificent.

The narrator is a young Australian in Boston for a writing program. She meets three others under strange circumstances at in the Reading Room at the Boston Public Library.  When a woman is killed at the library, they are drawn into the mystery.

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

 

Detective Kelly asks us to come into the station to give our statements.

This is from Hannah’s novel. As you can see, it is written in the present tense.

Notes:

At first I was a bit confused about what was going on with the alternating letters and manuscript, but by the end of Chapter One I was all in.  This book is a wry bit of metafiction that will keep readers highly entertained, particularly readers who are also writers.

To me, the chapters which were supposed to be the “manuscript” seemed the most real. It was easy to get caught up in the story and the characters, more so than the “letters”.

The Woman in the Library offers a lot to think about on many levels.

What do you think? Do you enjoy metafiction? Have you read a novel by Sulari Gentill?

#BookBeginnings Razorblade Tears

 

I’ve been hearing a lot of praise for S. A. Cosby’s Razorblade Tears, so I thought I’d share 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!

 

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Razorblade Tears*by S.A. Cosby

(*Amazon Affiliate link- As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Summary:  When someone murders Isiah Randolph and his husband Derek Lee, their fathers Ike and Buddy join forces to find out who killed them. Both ex-cons, Ike and Buddy must overcome their prejudices about not only their sons, but also each other in a quest for revenge and possibly redemption.

First Sentence:

Ike tried to remember a time when men with badges coming to his door early in the morning brought anything other than heartache and misery, but try as he might, nothing came to mind.

Discussion:

Wow, that first paragraph grabbed me and I couldn’t stop reading until I got to the bottom of the page.

I’ve been holding off reading this book because it contains violence, perhaps more violence than my normal reading comfort zone. I wasn’t the only one with concerns. There’s a question on GoodReads, about the level of violence, too.  Everyone says yes, there’s graphic violence, but thus far the consensus is that it’s a good book anyway. I’m beginning to see what they mean after only reading the first page.

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

 

Essential Events Bakery was housed in a cavernous building with high ceilings and multiple skylights tinted a light green…Ike could taste sugar in the air and smell bread baking.

Cosby sneaks some beautiful writing in between the action scenes.

Maybe I will concentrate on those and skim the gory bits

What do you think?  Have you ever skimmed the gory parts of a novel that you liked otherwise?

#BookBeginnings Exit Strategy by @LindaLRichards

Today I’m reading Exit Strategy by Linda L. Richards 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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Exit Strategy* by Linda L. Richards

(*Amazon Affiliate link- As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

This novel is a sequel to Endings. It just came out this week.

Summary:   A killer for hire is rattled by her most recent hit, and therefore her handler assigns her to do something new. Her job is to protect Virginia Martin, who is about to change the world with an invention that turns garbage into energy.  Can she  make the transition from being a hitwoman to being a bodyguard?

First Sentence:

He proves to be a genial companion. I never doubted that he would.

Discussion:

The poor guy is on a date with a killer for hire? Uh oh. I have a feeling he’s in real trouble.

The book is written in first person –from the point of view of the hitwoman– and present tense. By in large the sentences are short and packed with action verbs. Those choices make it a compelling book to read.

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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 I leave the salon, I am beautiful. I can feel it. My hair bounces around me …I feel my hair springing around me as I walk out of the salon and all I want to do is cry, reminded of what was long lost.

 

What an abrupt change in her mood.  I’m not sure what is going on. Perhaps I should have started with the first novel in the series.

After reading:

In many thrillers, the protagonist has a flat character arc, that is, his or her job is the change the world rather than being changed by it. In those kind of books, it is easier to simply pick them up in any order. Lee Child’s Reacher series is a prime example.

In Exit Strategy, the protagonist is definitely on a journey that is changing her.  Because that journey started in the first book of the series, Endings, I recommend reading it first.

What do you think? Have you read a novel by Linda L. Richards?

#BookBeginnings Scot Free by Catriona McPherson

This week I’m reading Scot Free by Catriona McPherson 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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Scot Free* by Catriona McPherson

(*Amazon Affiliate link- As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Summary:  In the first novel  in the Last Ditch Mystery series, marriage counselor Lexy Campbell had fallen in love with a dentist and moved from her native Scotland to California. After discovering her husband’s true motivations, she divorces him and is about to fly back to Scotland when she’s embroiled in the bizarre death of one of her clients and has to stay longer than expected. Can she solve the murder so she can get on with her life?

First Sentence:

Outside my windows, mortars fired rockets into the darkness and the night was rent by the crack of gunpowder and the screams of children.

Discussion:

Let’s just say the author is playing with us a bit.

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

 

A tall, slim, kind of catalogue-modelly man in overstarched casuals came out and stood frowning on the doorstep. “Call me Bang-Bang,” he said. His shirtsleeves and chinos crackled as he moved towards me and shook my hand.

Although it falls into the cozy-mystery genre, this series has an edgier feel than most cozies.

Like her protagonist, author Catriona McPherson moved from Scotland to Davis, California to be with her husband. The novel is full of wry humor as she deals with the mistakes and mishaps that occur when two cultures collide.

What do you think? Have you read any novels by Catriona McPherson? Do you like humorous cozy mysteries?

#BookBeginnings Closed Circles

Have you ever read a novel because you liked the TV show or movie? That’s why I picked the Sandhamn Murders series by Viveca Sten 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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Closed Circles by Viveca Sten and translated by Laura A. Wideburg

(*Amazon Affiliate link- As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Summary:  When Oscar Juliander, lawyer and deputy chairman of the prestigious Royal Swedish Yacht Club, is killed during a regatta, police detective Thomas Andreasson and his childhood friend lawyer Nora Linde  investigate.  The going gets tough when the rich and powerful close ranks.

First Sentence:

The woman’s voice slowly counted down over Channel 16 on the marine radio: “Ten, nine, eight…”

Discussion: 

As with many mystery novels, chapter one starts with the murder scene. The victim is killed during the beginning of the yacht race.

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

 

This special friendship with Nora had existed for a long time. [His ex-wife] Pernilla had never questioned it, unlike Nora’s husband, Henrik.

These are police detective Thomas Andreasson’s thoughts.  You can read different meanings into this sentence. Was Pernilla — Thomas’s ex-wife — more mature and secure, which is why she wasn’t jealous of her husband’s childhood friend? Or did she not care as much as Henrik? We learn more about Nora and Henrik’s relationship before the end of the book and things become much clearer.

I’ve already read Still Waters, which is the first in the series. The layout is unique because the sections from Nora’s point of view are so different in pacing. Her story line reads like domestic fiction. The sections that feature Thomas are fairly straightforward police procedural. The combination of the two works better than you might think. It is actually quite compelling.

There are two television series based on the novels, a Swedish television series named Sandhamn Murders and a Polish version, set in Poland with Polish actors called The Crime (Viveca’s website). Both television series paralleled the story line, but changed enough plot points so there weren’t too many spoilers.  For example, in Closed Circles the victim was killed during a horse race instead of a yacht race.

Still Waters by Viveca Sten and translated by Marlaine Delargy


Have you read any mysteries by Viveca Sten? Have you seen either television series?  Do you think you would like to?

#BookBeginnings #mystery The Man Who Died Twice

 

I found the first novel delightful, so I can’t wait to read The Man Who Died Twice: A Thursday Murder Club Mystery by Richard Osman 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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Summary:  Amateur sleuths Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim return in this sequel to the hugely popular novel, The Thursday Murder Club. This time Elizabeth’s ex-husband arrives on the scene with a wild tale about being accused to stealing diamonds from some ruthless criminals.  Before long people are found murdered. It is up to the retired foursome to put things right.

First Sentence:

Sylvia Finch wonders how much longer she can do this. One foot in front of the other, her suede shoes darkening in the autumn puddles.

Death hangs about her like a fine mist.

Discussion:

It’s hard to define this first page. It is set apart with only a few lines. It feels like a prologue, but isn’t labeled as a prologue. None of the main characters are in it. I guess we’ll have to see how it fits.

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

 

“So you need us to look out for him?” asks Joyce. “Like bodyguards?”

“Hardly bodyguards, Joyce,” says Elizabeth.

“We’re guarding his body,” says Ron.

“All right, bodyguards then, Ron, as you wish.”

I love how you can see differences between the characters even in this short piece of dialogue, complete with banter.

Also, it is written in present tense. Present tense gives a sense of immediacy, but keeping the verb tenses consistent can be tricky indeed.

The Man Who Died Twice: A Thursday Murder Club Mystery*by Richard Osman

(*Amazon Affiliate link- As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

The previous novel:
The Thursday Murder Club: A Novel by Richard Osman

 

 

Have you read any of the Thursday Murder Club mysteries? What do you think?

#BookBeginnings One Step Too Far #Mystery

Let’s take a look at the brand new mystery One Step Too Far 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!

 

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One Step Too Far* by Lisa Gardner

(*Amazon Affiliate link- As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

 

Summary:  Frankie Elkin is a regular woman with one superpower:  she can find people who are missing. In this case, she joins a party looking for a young man who disappeared in the wilderness five years before. They are going to hike deep into the forest to one spot that has never been searched because it so remote. A novice to hiking and camping, Frankie has to be careful or she might just be the one who ends up missing .

Note:  Before She Disappeared is the first in this series (previous post).

First Sentence:

The first three men came stumbling into town shortly after ten A.M., babbling of dark shapes and eerie screams and their missing buddy Scott and their other buddy Tim, who set out from their campsite before dawn to get help.

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

 

“Your idea of self-defense in an urban environment is a whistle? Are you trying to die?”

 

The first part, which happened five years prior, was in past tense. This part, with Frankie as the narrator, is in present tense.

I follow Lisa Gardner on Instagram and she spends a lot of time hiking. Her first hand experience gives a strong sense of reality to the story.

What do you think? Do you like books written in the present tense? Are you a fan of Lisa Gardner?

#BookBeginnings Girl Gone Missing by Marcie R Rendon

 

Looking forward to reading Girl Gone Missing by Marcie R. Rendon 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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Girl Gone Missing* by Marcie R. Rendon

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Nineteen-year-old Cash Blackbear goes to Moorhead State college during the day and drives trucks delivering crops at night. She has little time to connect with classmates. That is, until she begins dreaming that the blonde girls who have recently gone missing from campus. Her dreams show they are trapped and trying to escape. What is going on? Can she help them?

First Sentence:

Cash pulled herself up and out of her bedroom window. Her heart beat in her ears and she shivered uncontrollably. She took off running barefoot, zig-zagging across the damp ground.

 

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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 truckload of beets weighed a lot more than corn or wheat, probably because the beetroots were water dense. They also tended to have field dirt clinging to them even though the newer machines were better at cleaning the large clumps off the root before they were ever loaded on the trucks.

It was hard to find a place to start and stop the quotes. In the sections I have read so far, the words flow like water. They keep going, moving forward, tumbling to the next and to the next and to the next, pulling you right along like you are being swept along. It is hard to put down.

Neither of the quotes show you Cash, an Anishinabe woman who is smart and mature beyond her years. This is the second in a series. The first was Murder on the Red River, which I have not read.

What do you think?  Are you in the mood for an amateur sleuth mystery?

#BookBeginnings Careless in Red

I’m reading Elizabeth George’s nonfiction book about writing, Write Away. To see how she uses the techniques she writes about,  I picked up one of her novels, Careless in Red, 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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Careless in Red by Elizabeth George (2008)

(*Amazon Affiliate link- As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Summary:  Grieving over the murder of his pregnant wife, former Detective Superintendent Thomas Lynley has been on a long solo walk along the coast of Cornwell when he stumbles onto a body. Although the young man appears to have fallen accidentally, it becomes apparent his death is a murder. Usually the lead investigator, this time Lynley is a witness or even a possible suspect.

First Sentence:

He found the body on the forty-third day of his walk.

Discussion:

In the previous novel, Lynley had resigned because of the death of his wife. As a fan, I want to know will he go on with his life or will he return to Scotland Yard? Finding a body is promising that he will return in some capacity. Can’t wait to delve into this one.

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

 

Thomas Lynley returned to them then…He handed over the clothing the DI asked for. It’s absurd, Dairdre thought. He’s going to catch his death if he wandered round like that:  no jacket, no shoes, and just a thin white boiler suit of the type worn at crime scenes to ensure that the official investigators did not leave trace evidence behind.

Apparently a boiler suit is a pair of white coveralls.

Although Elizabeth George is an American who lives on the West Coast, she writes mysteries set in Britain with accurate details like this. I can’t imagine how she writes the setting and vocabulary so authentically.

What do you think? Have you ever read a novel by Elizabeth George? Would you like to give this one a try?

#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!

 

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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.

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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?

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