Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (November 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.

As regular readers to Cleopatra Loves Books are aware I have been making a huge effort in 2018 to clear some of those books that have been forgotten about on the TBR – and so as the year draws to a close I am having one final push to read some of the older entries – Today I’m sharing a book that I bought back in 2014 and The Lie of You by Jane Lythall has sat forgotten on my kindle pretty much ever since!



Blurb

One woman’s fear is a another woman’s weapon…

”When I look back on my relationship with Kathy I marvel at how naive she was, how little she knew.
But then, she always thought she had everything: the job; the baby; the friends; and him. She thought she was safe. She thought that nothing could touch her perfect world.
She should never have trusted me.”

A woman sets out to destroy a female colleague in this chilling psychological thriller. Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Heja

April

Kathy thinks she has everything: the job; the baby; the friends and him. But she does not have my will. It is all surface with her. She has no hidden places. She does not know about her dark side, or about others’. She always believes the best of people

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Now that doesn’t give too much away does it? But, combined with the synopsis I’m hoping that this will make me love my job, and colleagues, even more than I already do 😉

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (November 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.

My opener this week has been chosen from what for me has been a long awaited book; The Wych Elm by Tana French.

Blurb


‘For me it all goes back to that night, the dark corroded hinge between before and after, the slipped-in sheet of trick glass that tints everything on one side in its own murky colours and leaves everything on the other luminous and untouchable.’

One night changes everything for Toby. He’s always led a charmed life – until a brutal attack leaves him damaged and traumatised, unsure even of the person he used to be. He seeks refuge at his family’s ancestral home, the Ivy House, filled with memories of wild-strawberry summers and teenage parties with his cousins.

But not long after Toby’s arrival, a discovery is made: a skull, tucked neatly inside the old wych elm in the garden.

As detectives begin to close in, Toby is forced to examine everything he thought he knew about his family, his past, and himself. Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

1

I’ve always considered myself to be, basically a lucky person. I don’t mean I’m one of those people who pick multi-million-euro lotto numbers on a whim, or show up seconds too late for flights that go on to crash with no survivors. I just mean that I managed to go through life without any of the standard misfortunes you hear about. I wasn’t abused as a kid, or bullied in school; my parents didn’t split up or die or have any addiction problems or even get into any but the most trivial arguments; none of my girlfriends ever cheated on me, at least as far as I know, or dumped me in traumatic ways; I never got hit by a car or caught anything worse than chicken pox or even had to wear braces. Not that I spent much time thinking about this, but when it occurred to me, it was with a satisfying sense that everything was going exactly as it should.

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Well I was already looking forward to this one but opening the cover and remembering just how quickly Tana French can grab my attention, even when scene-setting, merely underlined the point for me.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (October 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 first chapter comes from a book I hope to read very soon; The Lies We Told by Camilla Way a book I purchased after previously enjoying another of the author’s novels, Watching Edie.

Blurb

DO YOU PROMISE NOT TO TELL?

A DAUGHTER
Beth has always known there was something strange about her daughter, Hannah. The lack of emotion, the disturbing behaviour, the apparent delight in hurting others… sometimes Beth is scared of her, and what she could be capable of.

A SON
Luke comes from the perfect family, with the perfect parents. But one day, he disappears without trace, and his girlfriend Clara is left desperate to discover what has happened to him.

A LIFE BUILT ON LIES
As Clara digs into the past, she realizes that no family is truly perfect, and uncovers a link between Luke’s long-lost sister and a strange girl named Hannah. Now Luke’s life is in danger because of the
lies once told and the secrets once kept. Can she find him before it’s too late? Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

1

Cambridgeshire, 1986

At first I mistook the severed head for something else. It wasn’t until I was very close that I realised it was Lucy. To begin with I thought the splash of yellow against the white of my pillow was a discarded sock, a balled-up handkerchief perhaps. It was only when I drew nearer and saw the delicate crest of feathers, the tiny, silent beak, that I fully understood. And suddenly I understood so much more: everything in that moment became absolutely clear.

Well what do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (October 9)

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.

Today’s opening paragraph comes from Murder by the Book by Claire Harman which will be published later this month by Penguin Books UK and with a historical true crime with a literary twist, one that is highly anticipated by yours truly.



Blurb

Early in the morning of 6 May 1840, on an ultra-respectable Mayfair street, a footman answered the door to a panic-stricken maid from a nearby house. Her elderly master, Lord William Russell, was lying in bed with his throat cut so deeply that the head was almost severed.

The whole of London, from monarch to street urchins, was gripped by the gory details of the Russell murder, but behind it was another story, a work of fiction, and a fierce debate about censorship and morality. Several of the key literary figures of the day, including Dickens and Thackeray, were drawn into the controversy, and when Lord William’s murderer claimed to having been inspired by the season’s most sensational novel, it seemed that a great deal more was on trial than anyone could have guessed.

Bringing together much previously unpublished material from a wide range of sources, Claire Harman reveals the story of the notorious Russell murder case and its fascinating connections with the writers and literary culture of the day. Gripping and eye-opening, Murder by the Book is the untold true story of a surprisingly literary crime. Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

1. A Last Walk

At six o’clock on the evening of 5 May 1840, a spare old gentleman of medium height and distinguished but unshowy appearance could have been walking a large white dog along Norfolk Street in Mayfair, just a few yards away from Hyde Park’s northeast corner. He didn’t go very far, nor proceed very fast. Lord William Russell was asthmatic and suffered from a hernia that made walking difficult. He was heading towards a house just off Grosvenor Square, to combine a message for an upholsterer, Mr Barry, with his routine airing before dinner.

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Well this starts well I think, a good setting of the scene with the soon to be murder victim taking his routine airing… It’s nice to meet him ‘before’ as I’ve found most in this genre seem to greet us with the corpse.

What do you think? Would you keep reading

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (October 2)

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 paragraph comes from one of my Classic Club reads, Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan which I plan to read at some point in October, after all something that managed to scandalise the French must be worth investigating, mustn’t it?

Blurb

The French Riviera: home to the Beautiful People. And none are more beautiful than Cécile, a precocious seventeen-year-old, and her father Raymond, a vivacious libertine. Charming, decadent and irresponsible, the golden-skinned duo are dedicated to a life of free love, fast cars and hedonistic pleasures. But then, one long, hot summer Raymond decides to marry, and Cécile and her lover Cyril feel compelled to take a hand in his amours, with tragic consequences.

Bonjour Tristesse scandalized 1950s France with its portrayal of teenager terrible Cécile, a heroine who rejects conventional notions of love, marriage and responsibility to choose her own sexual freedom. Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

1

This strange new feeling of mine, obsessing me by its sweet languor, is such that I am reluctant to dignify it with the grave and beautiful name of sadness. In the past the idea of sadness always appealed to me, now I am almost ashamed of its complete egoism. I had known boredom, regret and at times remorse, but never sadness. Today something envelopes me like a silken web, enervating and soft, which isolates me.

That summer I was seventeen and perfectly happy.

Well what do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (September 25)

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 opening paragraph today comes from Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty which is due to be published on 4 October 2018.

Blurb

The retreat at health-and-wellness resort Tranquillum House promises total transformation.
Nine stressed city dwellers are keen to drop their literal and mental baggage, and absorb the meditative ambience while enjoying their hot stone massages.

Miles from anywhere, without cars or phones, they have no way to reach the outside world. Just time to think about themselves, and get to know each other.

Watching over them is the resort’s director, a woman on a mission. But quite a different one from any the guests might have imagined.

For behind the retreat’s glamorous facade lies a dark agenda.

These nine perfect strangers have no idea what’s about to hit them . . . Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

1

Yao

‘I’m fine,’ said the woman. ‘There’s nothing wrong with me.’ She didn’t look fine to Yao. It was his first day as a trainee paramedic. His third call-out.
Yao wasn’t nervous, but he was in a hyper-vigilant state because he couldn’t bear to make even an inconsequential mistake. When he was a child, mistakes had made him wail inconsolably, and they still made his stomach cramp.

A single bead of perspiration rolled down the woman’s face, leaving a snail’s trail through her make-up. Yao wondered why women painted their faces orange, but that was not relevant.

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Well having enjoyed six, yes six, books by this author I am pretty sure I’m in for a treat with this one but what do you think?

Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (September 4)

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 opening paragraph today comes from The Lost Letters by Sarah Mitchell because I have a longing to read a good dual time-line novel and this sounds like it fits the bill perfectly.

Blurb

What if keeping your loved ones safe meant never seeing them again?

Norfolk, 1940: Sylvia’s husband Howard has gone off to war, and she is struggling to raise her two children alone. Her only solace is her beach hut in Wells-Next-The-Sea, and her friendship with Connie, a woman she meets on the beach. The two women form a bond that will last a lifetime, and Sylvia tells Connie something that no-one else knows: about a secret lover… and a child.

Canada, present day: When Martha’s beloved father dies, he leaves her two things: a mysterious stash of letters to an English woman called ‘Catkins’ and directions to a beach hut in the English seaside town of Wells. Martha is at a painful crossroads in her own life, and seizes this chance for a trip to England – to discover more about her family’s past, and the identity of her father’s secret correspondent.

The tragedy of war brought heartbreaking choices for Sylvia. And a promise made between her and Connie has echoed down the years. For Martha, if she uncovers the truth, it could change everything… Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

ONE

CANADIAN AIRSPACE, RECENTLY

‘… seven, eight, nine…’ Martha Rodwell is counting under her breath. On ten she opens her eyes and her left hand – freckled, slim and workmanlike – slackens its grip on the arm of the airline chair. Little by little the slope of the gangway begins to level and the grinding whine of the engines slows to a growl.

‘Well,’ she murmurs, ‘I guess we can all breathe again now!’ The man in the seat but one from her own lifts his head from the well of a ring binder, spearing her with his light blue eyes. ‘I’m sorry?’ he says. ‘What did you say?’
‘Oh!’ – Martha laughs awkwardly – ‘I… Well, I just… Oh, it was nothing…’

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Well I am hoping the man with the spearing eyes appears more often!

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (August 21)

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.

Well I don’t know about you but this year seems to be rattling by and I am now looking at my superb selection of books due to be read in September – one of the ones most eagerly anticipated is Gallows Court by Martin Edwards which is due to be published on 6 September 2018.

Blurb

LONDON, 1930.

Sooty, sulphurous, and malign: no woman should be out on a night like this. A spate of violent deaths – the details too foul to print – has horrified the capital and the smog-bound streets are deserted. But Rachel Savernake – the enigmatic daughter of a notorious hanging judge – is no ordinary woman. To Scotland Yard’s embarrassment, she solved the Chorus Girl Murder, and now she’s on the trail of another killer.

Jacob Flint, a young newspaperman temporarily manning The Clarion’s crime desk, is looking for the scoop that will make his name. He’s certain there is more to the Miss Savernake’s amateur sleuthing than meets the eye. He’s not the only one. His predecessor on the crime desk was of a similar mind – not that Mr Betts is ever expected to regain consciousness after that unfortunate accident…

Flint’s pursuit of Rachel Savernake will draw him ever-deeper into a labyrinth of deception and corruption. Murder-by-murder, he’ll be swept ever-closer to its dark heart – to that ancient place of execution, where it all began and where it will finally end: Gallows Court. Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

 

There is a prologue which I am skipping dated 30 January 1919, not because it isn’t relevant, it is, but because I decided the main body of the book would give a better flavour of what is to come…

1

‘Jacob Flint is watching the house again.’ The housekeeper’s voice rose. ‘Do you think he knows about…?’
‘How could he?’ Rachel Savernake said. ‘Don’t worry, I’ll deal with him.’
‘You can’t!’ the older woman protested. ‘You don’t have time.’
Rachel adjusted her cloche hat in front of the looking glass. A demure face returned her gaze. Nobody would guess her nerve-ends were tingling. Was this how the judge felt when he put on his black cap?

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Well now I’ve read the first page I’m looking forward to this one even more. I love historical crime fiction and I know I can rely on Martin Edwards for a good plot.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (August 14)

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 choice of opening comes from Murder Mile by Lynda La Plante which is the fourth in the series of books that takes us back to Jane Tennison’s life in the 1970s, that is before Prime Suspect.

Blurb

February, 1979, ‘The Winter of Discontent’. Economic chaos has led to widespread strikes across Britain.

Jane Tennison, now a Detective Sergeant, has been posted to Peckham CID, one of London’s toughest areas. As the rubbish on the streets begins to pile up, so does the murder count: two bodies in as many days.

There are no suspects and the manner of death is different in each case. The only link between the two victims is the location of the bodies, found within a short distance of each other near Rye Lane in Peckham. Three days later another murder occurs in the same area. Press headlines scream that a serial killer is loose on ‘Murder Mile’ and that police incompetence is hampering the investigation.

Jane is under immense pressure to catch the killer before they strike again.Working long hours with little sleep, what she uncovers leaves her doubting her own mind. Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

CHAPTER ONE

Jane Tennison, recently promoted to sergeant, looked out of the passenger window of the CID car at the snow which was falling too lightly to settle. It was 4.30 on a freezing Saturday morning in mid-February 1979 and recently the overnight temperatures had been sub-zero. The weather reports were calling it one of the coldest winters of the century.

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Now I’ll grant you that isn’t the most exciting of opening paragraphs but I think that there are some authors who can write about the most mundane of subjects, and us British are famed for our endless conversations about the weather after all, and yet somehow I feel I’m going to be put under the author’s spell. Although coming relatively (ok, really) late to her writing, I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style in Good Friday, the second in the series and I love the 1970s setting.

Well what do you think, would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (August 7)

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 I’m sharing the opening paragraph of Flying Shoes by Lisa Howorth which was given to me for my birthday and graces my 20 Books of Summer 2018 challenge list.

Blurb

Thirty years ago, on Mother’s Day, Mary Byrd Thornton’s nine-year-old stepbrother was murdered. His killer was never found. At the time, Mary Byrd had been fifteen: in love and caught up in the excitement of the Sixties, but when Stevie died, her family and her life fell apart.

For years she has struggled with the knowledge that the murderer is still out there, as well as her own nagging guilt over Stevie’s death. Yet she has built a life for herself in Mississippi: she has married a Southern gentleman and has two children she adores. With her ramshackle house, her teeming garden and her menagerie of animals, she is immersed in a comfortable, if somewhat eccentric and occasionally restless day-to-day existence.

When a journalist chances upon the mystery of Stevie’s death and begins to dig into it, Mary Byrd suddenly finds herself on a reluctant journey back to her childhood home in Virginia. Along the way she encounters help from unexpected quarters and finds herself confronting not only her family’s story but the stories of many others – both the living and the dead.Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro


One

Mary Byrd Thornton knew that breaking things was not a good, adult response to getting sudden scary news about a terrible thing in the past, a thing buried with the dead and kicked to the curb of consciousness; but that was what she had done anyway.

She’d been unloading the dishwasher, killing time until school let out and half-listening to NPR. The IRA had broken a truce and bombed London, unwanted rape-babies-“enfants mauvais souvenir,” NPR called them – from the massacres in Rwanda over the past two years were abandoned and dying, some scientist was predicting global chaos, calling it Y2K – planes would be falling from the sky and subway trains colliding in the year 2000. Basically it was the usual news; what she and her brothers called every new day’s headlines; More Dead Everywhere. It always seemed like the world was a kitchen full of leaking gas, just waiting for the careless match.

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I know that was two paragraphs but I do like the tenor of this opening and I think the second paragraph sets the time period very neatly. I remember the anxiety over Y2K as if it were yesterday!

So what do you think? Would you keep reading?