Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (February 20)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

This week my opener comes from another book that is waiting patiently on my TBR; And The Birds Kept On Singing by Simon Bourke.

Blurb

Pregnant at seventeen, Sinéad McLoughlin does the only thing she can; she runs away from home. She will go to England and put her child up for adoption. But when she lays eyes on it for the first time, lays eyes on him, she knows she can never let him go.

Just one problem. He’s already been promised to someone else.

A tale of love and loss, remorse and redemption, And The Birds Kept On Singing tells two stories, both about the same boy. In one Sinéad keeps her son and returns home to her parents, to nineteen-eighties Ireland and life as a single mother. In the other she gives him away, to the Philliskirks, Malcolm and Margaret, knowing that they can give him the kind of life she never could.

As her son progresses through childhood and becomes a young man, Sinéad is forced to face the consequences of her decision. Did she do the right thing? Should she have kept him, or given him away? And will she spend the rest of her life regretting the choices she has made? Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Manchester, 1984

“This is not the kind of thing you should face alone, love. Is there someone you could ring? A friend?”
The nurse scanned the patient’s face in search of an answer, but was met with the same blank expression the girl had worn since admission.
“No one?”
A slight shake of the head, a mumbled response, and then back to staring out the window.
“Very well,” the nurse muttered, scurrying off to find someone more worthy of her attention.

I just realised quite how rare it is for a book to launch straight in with dialogue. I’ve read many great reviews of this book and so, despite being warned there may be tears involved, I’m looking forward to finding out how the two stories end up for myself.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in The Classic Club, Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (February 13)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

This week my opener comes from Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton which is one of the books on my Classics Club list.

Blurb

‘He seemed a part of the mute melancholy landscape, an incarnation of its frozen woe, with all that was warm and sentient in him fast bound below the surface’

Ethan Frome works his unproductive farm and struggles to maintain a bearable existence with his difficult, suspicious and hypochondriac wife, Zeena. But when Zeena’s vivacious cousin enters their household as a ‘hired girl’, Ethan finds himself obsessed with her and with the possibilities for happiness she comes to represent. In one of American fiction’s finest and most intense narratives, Edith Wharton moves this ill-starred trio towards their tragic destinies. Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story.
If you know Starkfield, Massachusetts, you know the post-office. If you know the post-office you must have seen Ethan Frome drive up to it, drop the reins on his hollow-backed bay and drag himself across the brick pavement to the white colonnade: and you must have asked who he was.

Well I’m not sure how much of a taste you get from that but I know I’m looking forward to the tragic destiny part!

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (February 6)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

Every now and again as any good bookworm knows you spy a book that you know you simply HAVE to read. My excerpt this week comes from one such book – Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading by Lucy Mangan which will be published on 1 March 2018.

Blurb

When Lucy Mangan was little, stories were everything. They opened up new worlds and cast light on all the complexities she encountered in this one.

She was whisked away to Narnia – and Kirrin Island – and Wonderland. She ventured down rabbit holes and womble burrows into midnight gardens and chocolate factories. She wandered the countryside with Milly-Molly-Mandy, and played by the tracks with the Railway Children. With Charlotte’s Web she discovered Death and with Judy Blume it was Boys. No wonder she only left the house for her weekly trip to the library or to spend her pocket money on amassing her own at home.

In Bookworm, Lucy revisits her childhood reading with with, love and gratitude. She relives our best-beloved books, their extraordinary creators, and looks at the thousand subtle ways they shape our lives. She also disinters a few forgotten treasures to inspire the next generation of bookworms and set them on their way.

Lucy brings the favourite characters of our collective childhoods back to life – prompting endless re-readings, rediscoveries, and, inevitably, fierce debate – and brilliantly uses them to tell her own story, that of a born, and unrepentant, bookworm. Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

As this is a non-fiction book it seems fitting to take the first paragraph from the introduction

I still have all my childhood books. In fact, I have spent some of my happiest hours in recent months arranging them on the bespoke bookcases I had built under the sloping ceiling of my study for their ease and comfort. I may no longer imagine them, as I did thirty years ago, whispering companionably together at night when I have gone to bed, but I love them still. They made me who I am.

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Once I got over my jealousy that Lucy Mangan not only has her childhood books, but that they get to sit on bespoke shelves, I concentrated on that very last sentence of the first full paragraph – that is how I feel about my childhood books too.

So what do you think? Do the titles mentioned in the synopsis bring back vivid memories to you too? Would you like to read on?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (January 30)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

This week my opening comes from The Girl in the Woods by Camilla Läckberg which will be published on 22 February 2018. This book is the tenth in the Patrik Hedström and Erica Falck series.

Blurb

A missing child
When a four-year-old girl disappears in the woods just outside Fjällbacka, the community is horror-struck. Thirty years ago, a young girl went missing from the exact same spot, and was later discovered, murdered.
A murder
Back then, two teenage girls were found guilty of the killing. Could it really be a coincidence that one of the girls – now a world-famous actress – has just returned to Fjällbacka? Detective Patrik Hedström starts investigating, with his wife, bestselling crime writer Erica Falck, by his side.
A community torn apart
But as Patrik and Erica dig deeper, the truth becomes ever murkier, because it seems that everyone in the tight-knit community is hiding something. And soon, the residents must confront the fact that they could be harbouring a murderer in their midst… Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

It was impossible to know what sort of life the girl would have had. Who she would have become. What kind of work she might have done, who she would have loved, mourned, lost and won. Or whether she would have had children and if so who they might have become. It was not even possible to imagine how she might have looked as a grown woman. At the age of four nothing about her was finished. Her eyes had changed from blue to green, her dark hair she’d had at birth was now light, although with a touch of red in the blond, and no doubt the colour would have changed again. That was especially difficult to determine at the moment. She was lying face down at the bottom of the lake. The back of her head was covered with thick, congealed blood. Only the strands floating outwards from her skull revealed the subtle hues in her fair hair.

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Now I’m sure I will love this one as much as I have enjoyed the previous books in this series which typically use events from the past in a current murder investigation in the Swedish fishing town of Fjällbacka where writer Erica Falck assists her Detective husband Patrik Hedström as he investigates.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (January 23)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My excerpt this week comes from The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, a book marketed as an original high concept murder mystery written by Stuart Turton which will be published on 8 February 2018.

Blurb

‘Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder and so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out.’

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath… Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Day One

I forget everything between footsteps.

‘Anna!’ I finish shouting, snapping my mouth shut in surprise. My mind has gone blank. I don’t know who Anna is or why I’m calling her name. I don’t even know how I got here. I’m standing in a forest, shielding my eyes from the spitting rain. My heart is thumping, I reek of sweat and my legs are shaking. I must have been running but I can’t remember why.
‘How did – ‘ I’m cut short by the sight of my own hands. They’re bony, ugly. A stranger’s hands. I don’t recognise them at all. Feeling the first touch of panic, I try to recall something else about myself: a family member, my address, age, anything, but nothing’s coming. I don’t even have a name.

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I’ll be honest, I’m not sure whether or not I will find the repeating of the day in order to find the murderer innovative or annoying, but the opener definitely has me wanting to find out.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (January 16)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My extract today is from The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths a book that will be published on 5 February 2018 and the tenth in the Dr Ruth Galloway series of which I am a big fan.

Blurb

Dr Ruth Galloway is flattered when she receives a letter from Italian archaeologist Dr Angelo Morelli, asking for her help. He’s discovered a group of bones in a tiny hilltop village near Rome but doesn’t know what to make of them. It’s years since Ruth has had a holiday, and even a working holiday to Italy is very welcome!

So Ruth travels to Castello degli Angeli, accompanied by her daughter Kate and friend Shona. In the town she finds a baffling Roman mystery and a dark secret involving the war years and the Resistance. To her amazement she also soon finds Harry Nelson, with Cathbad in tow. But there is no time to overcome their mutual shock – the ancient bones spark a modern murder, and Ruth must discover what secrets there are in Castello degli Angeli that someone would kill to protect. Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

This book has a prologue which I will give a taster of before moving to Chapter One.

PROLOGUE

‘This grave has lain undisturbed for over two thousand years.’ Professor Angelo Morelli speaks directly to the camera. The countryside has been the scene of invasion and battle from the Neolithic times until the Second World War, when the German troops fought Italian partisans in the Liri Valley. In all that time, this body has lain under the earth. Now, we are going to exhume it.’

CHAPTER 1

The confetti is still blowing in the street. Ruth watches as Clough and Cassandra get into the white Rolls-Royce – Cassandra laughing as she shakes the pink and yellow hearts from her hair – and drive away.
They’re an unlikely pair, no-nonsense policeman DS Dave Clough and beautiful actress and daughter of local aristocrats Cassandra Blackstock – but they met in the course of work and fell in love. And to prove it, they are getting married. Bully for them, thinks Ruth, although that sounds bitter even to her own ears.

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Well talk about wildly different pictures being painted from prologue to chapter one here – although it’s good to have a bit about Clough before the adventure switches from Norfolk to Rome.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (January 9)

First Chapter
Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

Today I’ve chosen the opening from a book I will be reading soon; The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin which will be published on 1 February 2018.

Blurb

We have no need to protect ourselves from the bad sort
because we ARE the bad sort . . .’

Down the murky alleyways of London, acts of unspeakable wickedness are taking place and the city’s vulnerable poor are disappearing from the streets. Out of these shadows comes Hester White, a bright young woman who is desperate to escape the slums by any means possible.

When Hester is thrust into the world of the aristocratic Brock family, she leaps at the chance to improve her station in life under the tutelage of the fiercely intelligent and mysterious Rebekah Brock.

But whispers from her past slowly begin to poison her new life and both she and Rebekah are lured into the most sinister of investigations, dragging them into the blackest heart of a city where something more depraved than either of them could ever imagine is lurking. . . Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

The Morning Herald

Tuesday 13 September 1831

SUPPOSED DISAPPEARANCE IN THE BELVEDERE ROAD

This newspaper has taken note that the past month has been remarkable for the prevalence of cases where men, women and children are declared missing. Scarcely a week passes without the occurrence of an incident of this type

Such fears may indeed be well-founded and made but too evident by the following account, the particulars of which we are about to lay before our readers.

We study the tale of an unfortunate, known familiarly by the name Jonnie Hogget.

On Tuesday afternoon of the 6th inst. between five and six o’clock, Jonnie Hogget, fourteen years of age, was making his way from his place of industry at Mr Sturtevant’s, the soap boilers.

Master Hogget had been seen for some time loitering in the region of the Belvedere Road and it was in this quarter that the lad was last witnessed and then seen no more.

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I’m one of those people who have got lost for hours reading historical newspapers so I love this opening, the language and phrasing absolutely setting the murky scene that is about to unfold.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (January 2)

First Chapter
Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

Well it’s a while since I’ve joined in with this meme!

This week I’m featuring a book I will be reading later this month; Hell Bay by Kate Rhodes will be published on 25 January 2018. This is a new series from this author whose previous Alice Quentin series was a huge hit with me.

Blurb

DI Ben Kitto needs a second chance. After ten years working for the murder squad in London, a traumatic event has left him grief-stricken. He’s tried to resign from his job, but his boss has persuaded him to take three months to reconsider.

Ben plans to work in his uncle Ray’s boatyard, on the tiny Scilly island of Bryher where he was born, hoping to mend his shattered nerves. His plans go awry when the body of sixteen year old Laura Trescothick is found on the beach at Hell Bay. Her attacker must still be on the island because no ferries have sailed during a two-day storm.

Everyone on the island is under suspicion. Dark secrets are about to resurface. And the murderer could strike again at any time.

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Laura steals out of bed while the rest of the island sleeps. By 6 a.m. she’s in the kitchen, cramming toast into her mouth, staring out at the late winter darkness. North wind batters her face as she leaves the cottage, a whiplash of blonde hair streaming across her shoulders. All of her sixteen years have been spent her; she only has to glance at the sky to second-guess its moods. A line of pink is gathering over Gweal Hill as she climbs its sharp incline, careful not to snag her tights on the bracken and coarse grass.

Excerpt taken from an ARC

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Personally I think that sets the scene very well indeed in conjunction with the synopsis, already in just a couple of sentences I have a feel for Laura’s world.

So would you keep reading?
Your thoughts in the comments box are always gratefully received.

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (December 5)

First Chapter
Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

This week I’m my opener as it is the season to be a bit more jolly I thought I’d choose one with the tag-line hilarious, and then I read the synopsis more closely…Faking Friends by Jane Fallon which will be published on 11 January 2018.



Blurb

Amy thought she knew everything there was to know about her best friend Melissa. Then again, Amy also thought she was on the verge of the wedding of her dreams to her long-distance fiancé.

Until she pays a surprise trip home to London. Jack is out, but it’s clear another woman has been making herself at home in their flat.

There’s something about her stuff that feels oddly familiar . . . and then it hits Amy. The Other Woman is Melissa.

Amy has lost her home, her fiancé and her best friend in one disastrous weekend – but instead of falling apart, she’s determined to get her own back.

Piecing her life back together won’t be half as fun as dismantling theirs, after all. Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

PART ONE

‘Why are you ringing me at half past five in the morning? Is everything OK?’

I can hear the concern in his voice. Even though he’s three years younger than me my bother has always been the protective one.

‘I’m in London, remember?’
Thankfully he does. ‘Of course! The big surprise. How is it? Are you having a lovely time?’
‘Not really,’ I say. I don’t know how to begin to tell him that I’m currently sitting on my bed looking at a suitcase full of another woman’s clothes. That I found unfamiliar toiletries in my bathroom. That a week ago I had both a job and a boyfriend that I loved and now I don’t seem to have either.

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So as you see, not a particularly hilarious opening but knowing Jane Fallon’s style things will begin to get funnier once the dust settles on this scene.

So would you keep reading?
Your thoughts in the comments box are always gratefully received.

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (November 28)

First Chapter
Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

Having recently read a novella called Blackwater Lake (review to follow) by this author I thought I’d try one of her books which has been sat on the TBR since 2014, so my opener is selected from His Kidnapper’s Shoes by Maggie James, a novel full of psychological suspense.



Blurb

Daniel is my son. He has always been mine. And he always will be.

On some level deep inside, Laura Bateman knows something is wrong. That her relationship with her son is not what it should be. That it is based on lies.

But bad things have happened to Laura. Things that change a person. Forever.

For twenty-six-year-old Daniel, the discovery that his mother is not who he thought comes close to destroying him. As his world turns upside down, he searches for sanity in the madness that has become his life. Daniel is left with nothing but questions. Why did Laura do something so terrible? Can he move past the demons of his childhood?
And the biggest question of all: can he ever forgive Laura? Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

1

JUDGEMENT DAY

My body aches. The wall against my back grinds into my bones, as does the bench under my bottom; however much I fidget, I can’t get comfortable. I guess they don’t build police cells with such considerations in mind. There’s no clock and I’ve lost track of how much time I’ve spent in this place. Two, maybe three hours? I wonder – why, I don’t know – how much longer they’ll keep me here. I remind myself it doesn’t matter. I feel strangely disconnected from such things. All I can think about is my son.

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Well the writing certainly bought that scene to life for me, I could almost feel the discomfort but most of all I want to know what happens next.

So would you keep reading? Have you read any of Maggie James’ other books

Your thoughts in the comments box are always gratefully received.