Tag: Book Beginnings (Page 1 of 15)

#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?

#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!

 

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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.

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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 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?

#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!

 

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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.

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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.

 

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?

#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!

 

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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.

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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.

 

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!

 

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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.

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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.

 

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?

#BookBeginnings Encounters with Chinese Writers by Annie Dillard

 

I don’t usually share the nonfiction I read, but this week I’m making an exception with  Encounters with Chinese Writers by Annie Dillard 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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Encounters with Chinese Writers* by Annie Dillard

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:

In the spring of 1982, Pulitzer-prize winning author Annie Dillard traveled to China with six scholars and writers in an exchange program. Soon afterwards, a group of Chinese writers came to visit the U.S. The book is a collection of stories about their interactions, both humorous and insightful.

First Sentence:

We are being feted at a banquet in Beijing, in one of the restaurant’s many private banquet rooms. The room is drab and charmless; the food is wonderful.

Discussion:

I like how she chose to use the present tense to make the scene more immediate, even though the event was from the past.

I’m also always impressed by someone who is confident enough about grammar to use a semi-colon properly.  😉

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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.

Although we’re not really supposed to include context, it helps to know the group has just been asked which American works should the Chinese translate as prime examples of our literature.

And what, pray tell can we answer? Which writers, which works? I like Updike: Pigeon Feathers, Rabbit is Rich. A Toyota dealer and his wife make love on a bed of gold coins. A major American novel, out of the question. I like Marilyn Robinson, Housekeeping. A young girl in Idaho gives in to sloth. What would they make of Pynchon’s V? The room in which a Chinese reader lives may, or may not, have a single twenty-five-watt bulb. China has little paper, for printing books or anything else. I think of those trees in afforestation plots by the river, by the tracks, those trees one man or woman plants by hand, pats a cone of mud around, digs a ditch beside, waters…they’re virtual houseplants, these trees; they’re pets. How many trees should they fell to print what and why?

Although this was from 1982, it is still a question. What books would you translate? What books would you take with you to a desert island? I think one or two of Annie Dillard’s might make the cut.

What do you think? Have you read anything by Annie Dillard?

#BookBeginnings Perilous Passages

 

Today I’m featuring a writing friend’s debut novel, Perilous Passages by P.A. Lynck 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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Perilous Passages by P.A. Lynck

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

This historical fiction novel is as grand as its subject, the Queen Mary.

Summary:  In 1939, with the threat of World War II soon to become a reality, the luxury cruise liner the Queen Mary is dramatically transformed into a wartime troop transport ship. Those caught up in the life-changing events include a young Boston doctor Ben Stuart, distraught over a nightclub fire and questioning his future; a British ship captain James Hawthorne who accepts his wartime assignment on the Queen Mary; and his strong-willed daughter Kate, who is passionate about contributing to the war effort and talks her way aboard.

Meanwhile in Lithuania, the Japanese Ambassador, sympathetic to the persecution of the Jews, places himself in harm’s way to help them. A Jewish engineer and his wife in Vilna, Lithuania attempt a harrowing escape from “the pit”, just the beginning of their long and dangerous journey.

These lives are all connected by one voyage of the legendary ship, the Queen Mary. With German U-boats hunting her, a catastrophic collision, a fierce storm and a Nazi bounty of $250,000, this marvelous British ship, the Queen Mary, zig-zags a path through their lives.

First Sentence:

New York, NY
Mid-July 1939

The noise of the colorful crowd clustered on the wooden New York pier, the taxicabs rumbling over it unloading their fares, and the dockworkers calling to each other as they prepared the Queen Mary for her voyage, filled the morning air.

 

You can feel the excitement and bustling energy as new doctor Ben Stuart and his mother prepare to board the Queen Mary for a well-earned vacation.

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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 look on the Captain’s face was troubling and the words he delivered to Ben were dire. “You’re very perceptive, Ben. Yes, a cruise ship has been sunk. Three hundred lives lost.”

 

Discussion:

In the previous section we learned what passengers experienced aboard the Queen Mary when it was a luxury cruise liner. In contrast, this section shows one of the perils of being on the ship during the war. Danger was always present because German u-boats were likely to attack at any time. The soldiers and sailors took many precautions to avoid attracting the attention of the enemies, such as making sure no litter went into the water and running in complete darkness at night. Even radios were forbidden. It is these historically-accurate details of life aboard the ship that make the story come alive.

What do you think? Do you enjoy historical fiction set in WWII?

#BookBeginnings The Searcher by Tana French

Let’s explore The Searcher by Tana French 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 Searcher* by Tana French

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

 

Summary:  Former Chicago police detective Cal Hooper moves to a quiet, rural Irish village after retires, where he plans to fix up a run-down house and do a lot of fishing. Before long, however, he is drawn into investigating the disappearance of a local teenager who no one misses except his family — particularly his sibling, Trey. Can Cal unravel the truth among the tangle of village secrets ?

First Sentence:

When Cal comes out of the house, the rooks have got hold of something. Six of them are clustered on the back lawn, amid the long wet grass and the yellow-flowered weeds, jabbing and hopping.

Discussion:

Tana French’s novels have been described as literary suspense. Literary works can be defined in part by beautifully written descriptions, and French’s description of the rooks’ behavior in the beginning of Chapter One gives me chills. If you know birds, it rings true, but it also works to set the tone and establish setting, among other things.

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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.

 

Leftover raindrops tick in the hedges; small birds hop and peck in the grass. Cal saws, measures, chisels out dadoes and grooves, and gives Trey the fine sandpaper when he’s done with the coarse one. He can feel the kid glancing at him, the same way he was glancing at the kid, assessing.

 

It was harder to notice in the first quote, but the novel is written in the present tense. However, nothing in a Tana French novel is simple. She plays verb tense like a first chair violinist plays classical music.

Overall, the literary flavor might not appeal to readers of genre suspense and mystery who prefer a tightly-written plot. Tana French’s novels tend to wander through  the woods, allowing you to soak up the atmosphere.  Wanderng can be enjoyable if you know what to expect and that’s what you want to do, but maddening if not.

What do you think? Do you like literary fiction? Have you read any novels by Tana French? Would you read this one?

 

A rook is a type of crow (Public domain photo from Wikimedia)

#BookBeginnings A Song for the Dark Times: An Inspector Rebus Novel

Let’s take a look at  A Song for the Dark Times: An Inspector Rebus Novel by Ian Rankin 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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A Song for the Dark Times: An Inspector Rebus Novel* by Ian Rankin

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  John Rebus has retired from the police. Therefore, when his daughter calls to tell him her husband is missing, he can drop everything to go stay with her. Once he arrives, however,  he has to walk a fine line between being a father and being a police detective who might not want the truth uncovered.

First Sentence Prologue:

Siobhan Clarke walked through the emptied flat. Not that it was empty; rather the life had been sucked from it.

First Sentence Day One:

Siobhan Clarke woke to a text from Rebus. She decided it could wait until she made coffee.

Discussion:

I haven’t started reading yet, so I’m not sure how Siobhan Clarke fits into the picture. Rebus’s daughter is Samantha.

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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.

Day Two

Rebus had awoken on the sofa to find a pair of eyes watching him intently.

“Where’s my daddy?” Carrie asked softly.

 

What do you think? Have you read any of Ian Rankin’s John Rebus books?

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