Tuesday, May 21, 2019

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph

It's Tuesday . . . time for . . . 

                                                      
 

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, now hosted by Vicki at I'd Rather Be At The Beach, where bloggers post the first paragraph(s) of a book they are currently reading or planning to read sometime soon. 


Today I'm featuring an upcoming read, Crossbones Yard by Kate Rhodes. The excerpt shared is from a trade paperback version I recently purchased.  


Prologue

Your mother is holding your hand too tightly.  You whimper and cling to her dress, because you know what will happen next.  She stares at you, as if she's forgotten how to blink.  There's one last glimpse of her face before she bundles you into the cupboard under the stairs.  "Don't make a sound," she hisses, "don't even breathe."  Darkness smothers you, cowering to the floor, between the broom and floor mops, a stack of wellington boots.


What do you think?  Would you continue reading?
Given the frightening opening, I'll read on to find out more, perhaps holding my own breath as I do.



This First Chapter ~ First Paragraph post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog, bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter with appropriate recognition is appreciated.

 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 and Book Beginnings


16



It's Friday . . . time to share book excerpts with:
  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.  
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an eBook), find one or more interesting sentences (no spoilers), and post them.

Today I'm featuring my current read,I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney.  The excerpts shared are from a hardcover version I borrowed from the library.
 

Beginning: One
London, 2017

I'm that girl you think you know, but you can't remember where from.


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Page 56:  The water is freezing and it makes me gasp for my breath, like when I fell out of the fishing boat once at home and the cold black sea tried to swallow me.
********************


My thoughts:  Alice Feeney's sophomore novel (her debut was Sometimes I Lie) is a gripping read about a troubled marriage.  When actress Aimee Sinclair's husband Ben goes missing, her life quickly unravels.  Told in chapters that alternate between her current situation and her childhood, Feeney keeps readers guessing as to whether Aimee is an unreliable narrator losing her grip on reality or a woman whose life is being cruelly destroyed by outside forces.  Filled with psychological twists aplenty, this story is a first-rate page-turner.



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From Goodreads:  l Know Who You Are is the brilliant tale of two stories. One is about Aimee Sinclair—well-known actress on the verge of being full-on famous. If you saw her, you’d think you knew her. One day towards the near-end of her shoot on her latest film, Aimee comes home from filming to find her husband’s cell phone and wallet on the dining room table. He never goes anywhere without them. But he’s nowhere to be found. She’s not too concerned—they had a huge fight the night before. They both said things they didn’t mean. He might have done things he didn’t mean, things she can’t forget. Even though she has a history of supposedly forgetting. After all, she’s a very good actress.

The next morning she goes for her morning run and then goes to her favorite coffee shop. But her card is denied. When she calls the bank they say her account has been emptied of $10,000. She immediately suspects her husband. But they say no, it was Aimee herself who closed out the account. And thus begins a bizarre rabbit hole into which Aimee finds herself falling where nothing is at it seems.

Alternating with Aimee’s story is that of a little girl who wandered away from home. We always tell our kids not to talk to strangers or bad things will happen. Well, bad things happen.

In I Know Who You Are, Alice Feeney proves that she is a master at brilliantly complicated plots and twists after twists.
 


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This Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog, bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter with appropriate recognition is appreciated.



Tuesday, May 14, 2019

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph

It's Tuesday . . . time for . . . 
                                                      
 

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, now hosted by Vicki at I'd Rather Be At The Beach, where bloggers post the first paragraph(s) of a book they are currently reading or planning to read sometime soon. 


Today I'm featuring an upcoming read, Brain Storm by Elaine Viets. The excerpt shared is from a trade paperback version I borrowed from the library.  

 

Chapter 1
June 11, 2016

The doctor who nearly killed Angela Richman was buried today, and the Missouri medical establishment turned out to honor him.  The eulogies were heartfelt: doctors, nurses, and patients praised Dr. Porter Gravois's compassion and skill as a neurologist.  Their tears were genuine.  His funeral cortege was nearly a mile long on the road named after his powerful St. Louis family.  Everyone called him by his nickname, Chip, as if they were all part of his inner circle.  Chip made them feel that way.


What do you think?  Would you continue reading?
The first paragraph is intriguing.  It presents a portrait of a recently deceased doctor who was apparently well-regarded; yet, it also begs the question: what went wrong with his patient Angela Richman?  I definitely need to read more to find out.





This First Chapter ~ First Paragraph post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog, bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter with appropriate recognition is appreciated.








Thursday, May 9, 2019

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 and Book Beginnings

16

It's Friday . . . time to share book excerpts with:
  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.  
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an eBook), find one or more interesting sentences (no spoilers), and post them.

Today I'm featuring my current read, The Department of Sensitive Crimes by Alexander McCall Smith, the first book in his new Detective Varg series.  The excerpts shared are from a hardcover version borrowed from the library.


 

Beginning: Chapter One
Free Association, Charged at Normal Rates

"Soren," said Dr. Svensson, gravely, but with a smile behind his horn-rimmed glasses; and then waited for the response.  There would be an answer to this one-word sentence, but he would have to wait to see what it was.

********************
Page 56:  "A boyfriend!" exclaimed Signe.  "I never thought you'd manage it."
********************


My thoughts:  Alexander McCall Smith is an accomplished author of popular fiction with many series and stand-alone novels.  I am a reader of his 44 Scotland Street and Isabel Dalhousie series, and am excited to begin another of his series with this book. His trademark humor, quirky characters, and amusing scenarios are making this a lighthearted and delightful read.  

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From Goodreads:  In the Swedish criminal justice system, certain cases are considered especially strange and difficult, in Malmo, the dedicated detectives who investigate these crimes are members of an elite squad known as the Sensitive Crimes Division. 

These are their stories.


The first case: the small matter of a man stabbed in the back of the knee. Who would perpetrate such a crime and why? Next: a young woman's imaginary boyfriend goes missing. But how on earth do you search for someone who doesn't exist? And in the final investigation: eerie secrets that are revealed under a full moon may not seem so supernatural in the light of day. No case is too unusual, too complicated, or too, well, insignificant for this squad to solve.

The team: Ulf 'the Wolf" Varg, the top dog, thoughtful and diligent; Anna Bengsdotter, who's in love with Varg's car (and possibly Varg too); Carl Holgersson, who likes nothing more than filling out paperwork; and Erik Nykvist, who is deeply committed to fly fishing.

With the help of a rather verbose local police officer, this crack team gets to the bottom of cases other detectives can't or won't bother to handle. Equal parts hilarious and heartening, The Department of Sensitive Crimes is a tour de farce from a true master.

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This Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog, bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter with appropriate recognition is appreciated.



Tuesday, April 30, 2019

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph

It's Tuesday . . . time for . . . 

                                                      
 

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, now hosted by Vicki at I'd Rather Be At The Beach, where bloggers post the first paragraph(s) of a book they are currently reading or planning to read sometime soon. 


Today I'm featuring a recent blog tour read, Wed, Read & Dead by V.M. Burns. The excerpt shared is from an eBook version I received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  
Wed, Read & Dead (Mystery Bookshop, #4) 
Chapter 1

"If you don't get your fanny out of that dressing room in the next thirty seconds, I'll come in and drag you out."  

I recognized the tone in my grandmother's voice well enough to realize she meant business.  Three hours of trying on every bubble-gum-pink bridesmaid dress in South Harbor's one and only wedding shop had left all of us in a foul mood.  I took one last look at my reflection in the mirror and resigned myself to my fate.  The hoopskirt under my ballroom gown was so large I had to turn sideways and wiggle to get through the dressing room door, but given this was the seventh or eighth dress I'd tried on, I had mastered the technique fairly well. 



What do you think?  Would you continue reading?
This is V.M. Burns's fourth Mystery Bookshop Mystery book.  The series features an inviting bookstore setting, many laugh-out-loud moments (like the one above), and a group of close-knit family members and friends who become more endearing with each new installment. 

You can read my full review of Wed, Read & Dead and enter a contest for an Amazon gift card by clicking this link. My review of the first book, The Plot is Murder is here.







This First Chapter ~ First Paragraph post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog, bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter with appropriate recognition is appreciated.
 
 

Great Escapes Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway: Wed, Read & Dead by V.M. Burns

 

Today is publication day for Wed, Read & Dead and my turn to participate in the book's Blog Tour.  In this post you'll find book and author information along with my review.  And don't forget to enter the giveaway via the link in this post.

About the book . . . 
 

Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Kensington (April 30, 2019)
Paperback: 272 pages
ISBN-10: 1496718291
ISBN-13: 978-1496718297
Digital ASIN: B07G6RDBRV


Synopsis . . . Bookstore owner Samantha Washington sells and solves mysteries in North Harbor, Michigan—including the murder of her mother's wedding planner...

Sam's mother can't wait to wed her wealthy beau, Harold Robertson. The big mystery is how they're going to pull off a lavish wedding in three weeks. Harold's snobby sister-in-law proposes a solution: engage flamboyant wedding planner Lydia Lighthouse. But their beacon of hope quickly sends everyone into a blind rage, most of all the groom-to-be. So when the maddening micromanager is strangled with her own scarf, it's a shock, but not a surprise.

It's a case of art imitating life as Sam pens her next historical mystery set in England between the wars. Lady Daphne Marsh insists on marrying Lord James Browning on Christmas Eve, three weeks hence. But when the fop planning their wedding ends up with a knife in his back, she vows to nab the backstabber before she walks down the aisle.

Meanwhile, when she's not writing, Sam and her beloved and boisterous Nana Jo rush to shine a light on Lydia's killer
—so her mother's new husband won't spend his honeymoon behind bars...

 
My review . . . In Wed, Read & Dead, the fourth book in the Mystery Bookshop Mystery series, bookstore owner and author Samantha "Sam" Washington is juggling the holiday shopping rush at the bookstore and the upcoming wedding of her mother, Grace Hamilton to Harold Robinson, a member of one of Southwestern Michigan’s wealthiest families. With just three weeks until the nuptials, a wedding planner is hired to orchestrate the special day.  But Lydia Lighthouse, touted as the wedding planner to the elite is in reality a planner-zilla intent on staging an extravagant, outlandish affair, steamrolling over the bride’s wishes for a private, elegant wedding.  Harold is outraged by Lydia’s bullying behavior toward his beloved Grace and the mounting wedding expenses being incurred—and tells Lydia so in a very heated public conversation.  It is thus no surprise that Harold becomes the prime suspect when Lydia is found murdered soon thereafter.

With no time to waste, Sam—together with the formidable Nana Jo and her group of Sleuthing Seniors—springs into action to clear the prospective groom’s name before the wedding.  Implementing both the standard and non-conventional research methods they’ve honed through previous investigations, the resourceful team unearths a treasure trove of information, revealing a number of suspects with axes to grind against Lydia.  But who among these persons of interest is the killer?

While the Sleuthing Seniors work their connections to dig up dirt on the suspects, Sam once again takes to writing to help her process her thoughts. The latest British cozy mystery novel she’s working on features a plot similar to the crime at hand.  Through writing, Sam focuses her attention on connections between the clues, leading the way to resolutions in both “real” life and the novel she is creating. 

In the Mystery Bookshop series, Burns has established an inviting bookstore setting and team of close-knit family members and friends who become more endearing with each new book in the series.  Their laugh-out loud antics and loyal devotion to one another are delightful to behold.  Rounding out the cast of characters are Sam's two faithful poodles, Snickers and Oreo, who appear on the series' book covers.

Also of note is Burns’s "novel within a novel" technique, which has Sam writing cozy murder mysteries set in England between the two world wars.  It is thus that readers are actually following the developments in two murder mysteries—one in the present day and one in the last century. I've read three of the four books in the series (note to self: track down and read book #2), and am of the opinion that Burns’s novels demonstrate cozy mystery writing at its very best.


Giveaway . . . Enter the Wed, Read & Dead contest to win an Amazon gift card by clicking on this link.


About the author . . .   
 
V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of  Sisters in Crime.


Author links . . . 
Website:  http://www.vmburns.com/ 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vmburnsbooks/
Twitter:  @vmburns



Purchase links . . . 
Amazon    Barnes & Noble    IndieBound  
Books-A-Million   Hudson Booksellers



Blog Tours 

Tour participants . . .
April 23 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
April 23 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
April 24 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
April 24 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
April 25 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
April 25 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
April 26 – Carla Loves to Read – REVIEW
April 27 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW
April 27 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
April 28 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
April 29 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
April 30 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
April 30 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW
May 1 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW
May 1 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
May 2 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT  
May 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT

 




Note . . . I received a complimentary copy of Wed, Read & Dead from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



 
This Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog, bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution.  Sharing this original post on Twitter and/or other blogs with appropriate recognition is appreciated. 



 
 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings

16

It's Friday . . . time to share book excerpts with:
  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.  
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an eBook), find one or more interesting sentences (no spoilers), and post them.

Today I'm featuring Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson, a book I received at a recent Book Club Girls' Night Out at HarperCollins headquarters in lower Manhattan.  The author recounted stories about growing up at West Point in New York's Hudson River Valley, which served as the inspiration for her novel.

Beyond the Point 


Beginning: Winter 2000 // Columbus, Ohio
From the beginning, Dani McNalley wanted to be known for more than basketball.

********************
Page 56:  She wiped her dirty hands against the legs of her green and brown combat uniform and let her platoon mate help her up.  Eighteen, with dark hair buzzed completely to the scalp, Tim Nesmith had quickly become Dani's favorite person in their platoon, and one of the few reasons she hadn't quit.
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My thoughts:  I'm looking forward to reading this fictional account of three female cadets whose friendship is forged in the predominantly-male world of West Point.

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From Goodreads: Three women are brought together in an enthralling story of friendship, heartbreak, and resilience. Set at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, this is an amazing debut novel.   

Duty. Honor. Country. That’s West Point’s motto, and every cadet who passes through its stone gates vows to live it. But on the eve of 9/11, as Dani, Hannah and Avery face four grueling years ahead, they realize they’ll only survive if they do it together.

Everyone knows Dani is going places. With athletic talent and a brilliant mind, she navigates West Point’s predominantly male environment with wit and confidence, breaking stereotypes and embracing new friends.

Hannah’s grandfather, a legendary Army general, offers a stark warning about the dangers that lie ahead, but she moves forward anyway, letting faith guide her path. When she meets her soul mate at West Point, the future looks perfect, just as planned.

Wild child Avery moves fast and doesn’t mind breaking a few rules (and hearts) along the way. But she can’t outpace her self-doubt, and the harder she tries, the further it leads her down a treacherous path.

The world—of business, of love, and of war—awaits Dani, Hannah, and Avery beyond the gates of West Point. These three women know that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But soon, that adage no longer rings true—for their future, or their friendship. As they’re pulled in different directions, will their hard-forged bond prevail or shatter?
 

Beyond the Point is a heartfelt look at how our closest friends can become our fiercest battle buddies. After all, the greatest battles we fight rarely require a uniform.


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This Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog, bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter with appropriate recognition is appreciated.  

Thursday Thoughts: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent PatientThe Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Alicia Berenson is confined to a psychiatric hospital after brutally murdering her husband Gabriel. She has been silent and withdrawn since the horrific incident, despite therapeutic intervention. What happened leading up to the murder--as well as Alicia's motive--remains a mystery.

When psychotherapist Theo Faber takes over her case, he is determined to break Alicia's silence and make progress in her condition. But deep, destructive secrets lie buried below the surface, and exposing them will bring the dangerous truth to light.

This dark and twisty psychological thriller is a pulse-racing page turner guaranteed to send a chill up the spine. Alex Michaelides's debut novel is an impressive addition to the genre.



Tuesday, April 23, 2019

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph

It's Tuesday . . . time for . . . 

                                                      
 

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, now hosted by Vicki at I'd Rather Be At The Beach, where bloggers post the first paragraph(s) of a book they are currently reading or planning to read sometime soon. 


Today I'm featuring my current read, The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. The excerpts shared are from an eBook version I borrowed from the library.  


The Silent Patient 

PROLOGUE
Alicia Berenson's Diary 
 
July 14
I don't know why I'm writing this.
 
That's not true.  Maybe I do know and just don't want to admit it to myself. 
 
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
 
PART ONE
CHAPTER ONE
 
Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband.
 
 
 
What do you think?  Would you continue reading?
Both the prologue and opening line of the first chapter hooked me.  I'm half-way through this debut novel and am racing through the pages to find out why Alicia killed her husband and what her ultimate fate will be.
 
 
 
 
 
 
This First Chapter ~ First Paragraph post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog, bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter with appropriate recognition is appreciated.