Thursday, September 15, 2022

Book Beginnings: Stay Awake


Stay Awake
by Megan Goldin
St. Martin's Press, August 2022


Opening Lines
Wednesday 2:42 A.M. 
Starbursts blink from streetlights like they're sharing a secret as I wake to find myself slumped in the back of a cab, without any recollection of how I got here, or where I'm going. 
 
About the Book

Description from GoodReads:
 

Liv Reese wakes up in the back of a taxi with no idea where she is or how she got there. When she’s dropped off at the door of her brownstone, a stranger answers—a stranger who now lives in her apartment and forces her out in the cold. She reaches for her phone to call for help, only to discover it’s missing, and in its place is a bloodstained knife. That’s when she sees that her hands are covered in black pen, scribbled messages like graffiti on her skin: STAY AWAKE.

Two years ago, Liv was living with her best friend, dating a new man, and thriving as a successful writer for a trendy magazine. Now, she’s lost and disoriented in a New York City that looks nothing like what she remembers. Catching a glimpse of the local news, she’s horrified to see reports of a crime scene where the victim’s blood has been used to scrawl a message across a window, the same message that’s inked on her hands. What did she do last night? And why does she remember nothing from the past two years? Liv finds herself on the run for a crime she doesn’t remember committing as she tries to piece together the fragments of her life. But there’s someone who does know exactly what she did, and they’ll do anything to make her forget—permanently. 

 

Initial Thoughts

I was attracted to Stay Awake because that storyline reminded me a bit of the movie "Memento" (2000, Directed by Christopher Nolan), which was about a man with short-term memory loss trying to investigate his wife's death. I enjoyed the movie, but I'm happy to report that beyond that basic similar plot device, the stories in the book and film are (thankfully) completely different. 

Following the thoughts and actions of a central character who keeps forgetting what happened to her just a few paragraphs back is challenging. It's an interesting exercise that works sometimes, but sometimes just becomes irritating. 

I'm hoping to stay interested enough in this one to finish it, since I've started and abandoned several other books recently. And I really do hate to keep adding books to that "Did Not Finish" pile. 

Have a good weekend, everyone.
And happy reading!


Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday. As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


Thursday, September 01, 2022

Book Beginnings: Small Angels


Small Angels
by Lauren Owen
Random House, August 2022


Opening Sentence
Tell it to the trees.

 

About the Book
Description from NetGalley: 
Lucia and her sisters grew up on the edge of Mockbeggar Woods. They knew it well—its danger, but also its beauty. As a lonely teenager, Kate was drawn to these sisters, who were unlike anyone she’d ever met. But when they brought her into the woods, something dark was awakened, and Kate has never been able to escape the terrible truth of what happened there. 
Chloe has been planning her dream wedding for months. She has the dress, the flowers, and the perfect venue: Small Angels, a charming old church set alongside dense, green woods in the village that her fiancĂ©, Sam, and his sister, Kate, grew up in. But days before the ceremony, Chloe starts to learn of unsettling stories about Small Angels and Mockbeggar Woods. And worse, she begins to see, smell, and hear things that couldn’t possibly be real. 
Now, Kate is returning home for the first time in years—for Sam and Chloe’s wedding. But the woods are stirring again, and Kate must reconnect with Lucia, her first love, to protect Chloe, the village, and herself. An unforgettable novel about the memories that hold us back and those that show us the way forward, this is storytelling at its most magical. 

 

Initial Thoughts

When I read that opening, I couldn't help thinking of the old phrase, "Tell it to the Marines!" Maybe it's all those World War II movies I watched as a kid. 

And no, I wasn't around during World War II. (Well, almost but not quite.)

Not that there would be anything wrong with that. 

I just watch a lot of old movies.

But back to Small Angels. I'm about three-quarters of the way through the book, and it seems like I've been reading it forever. It's not that I haven't been enjoying it, but I do think it's much too long. Hoping to finish it up tonight, although it's one of those books you might not want to read at bedtime. 


Have a good weekend, everyone.
And happy reading!


Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday. As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.

Monday, August 08, 2022

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


I keep trying to bring this blog back to life, but I don't seem to be having much luck. This has been a really hectic summer around here, and I haven't had much time for reading or blogging. Yeah, I know — excuses, excuses.....

And since I haven't had a huge amount of time for reading, I've mostly been looking for quick reads that don't challenge my brain too much. Mostly whodunnits, thrillers, and lots of children's books. Comfort reads. Here's what I've finished in recent weeks:


Chrysalis
by Lincoln Child
(Jeremy Logan series, Book #6),


Death by Beach Read
by Eva Gates

(Lighthouse Library series, Book #9),

And the kiddie lit:

by Peggy Parish
illus. by Fritz Siebel
(First book in the series)

by Quentin Blake

by James Thurber
illus. by Louis Slobodkin

by Janet Taylor Lisle

This week I'm finishing up yet another book for young readers...


Howliday Inn
by James Howe
(Bunnicula series, Book #2)

...and another thriller...

by Steve Berry

So far, it looks like not much is going on this week, and it's way too hot to try to do anything outdoors. Maybe a good time to get some reading done. I've got my fingers crossed! (Not really — the arthritis put a stop to that years ago.)

Happy reading, everyone — and have a great week!



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. If you want to let the world know what you're going to be reading this week, head on over to her blog and leave your link. It's also a great way to discover new books and new blogs. 

Friday, July 08, 2022

Book Beginnings: Dream Town


Dream Town,
by David Baldacci
Grand Central Publishing, April 2022


Opening Lines
It was New Year’s Eve, 1952.
Aloysius Archer was thirty years old, once a decorated soldier, and next a humbled inmate. He was currently a private detective with several years of intense experience trolling the darker side of life.

 

About the Book
Publisher's Description: 
1953 LA. Private investigator and World War II veteran Aloysius Archer intends to ring in the New Year with old friend, aspiring actress Liberty Callahan. Screenwriter Eleanor Lamb interrupts to hire Archer.
After events escalate — mysterious calls, the same car outside her house, and a bloody knife in her sink—Eleanor fears for her life. First a dead body turns up inside of Eleanor’s home . . . and then Eleanor herself disappears.
To find both the murderer and Eleanor, Archer enlists Callahan and his partner Willie Dash. The investigation takes him from mob-ridden Las Vegas to glamorous Hollywood to the darkest corners of Los Angeles—a city where beautiful faces belong to cutthroat schemers, cops can be more corrupt than criminals . . . and powerful people who took his client will kill Archer on their trail. 

 

Initial Thoughts

This is not the book I'm currently reading. Actually, I'm still reading the same book I've been reading for the last couple of weeks. Just can't seem to find much time for reading these days. So I thought I'd preview one of the books I've been planning to read. Or maybe I should say hoping to read. 

Dream Town is the third book in David Baldacci's series of mystery novels centered around private investigator Aloysius Archer, set in the 1950s. I haven't read either of the earlier books, but I've been curious about them for quite a while. I have read other books by Baldacci, and I know he's a great story-teller. So even though I haven't started this one yet, I think it's moving up to the top of my Read-Right-Now! pile. 


Have a good weekend, everyone.
And happy reading!


Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday. As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.

Monday, July 04, 2022

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


I'm a little late getting this posted. I'd like to say I've been so busy with holiday fun, I just haven't had time to read or blog today. But that would be a bit far from the truth. I've mostly just been sitting around, watching Wimbledon on TV and playing with the NY Times Spelling Bee word game. So, not a lot of excitement around here on this July 4th. Which is OK — I like a quiet life. 

Haven't done a great deal of reading lately, anyway. Universal forces seem to be conspiring against me this summer — whenever I settle down with a good book, something else crops up that needs tending to. But at least it keeps me moving and prevents total stagnation. And at my age, you do need that push. 

Since my last update, I've only finished two books...

(Nero Wolfe #9),
by Rex Stout

and...

by Robert Thorogood

Both of those were very enjoyable, and would have been quick reads without all the real-life interruptions. 

This week, I'm hoping to finish this one....

(Lighthouse Library Mystery #9),
by Eva Gates


Then, I might get back to one I had to put aside for other things last month...

by Steve Berry

That should be enough to keep me occupied for the next few days. Happy 4th of July to everyone here in the U.S., and...

Happy reading, everyone — and have a great week!



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. If you want to let the world know what you're going to be reading this week, head on over to her blog and leave your link. It's also a great way to discover new books and new blogs. 

Friday, June 03, 2022

Book Beginnings: The Marlow Murder Club


The Marlow Murder Club,
by Robert Thorogood
Poisoned Pen Press, May 2022


Opening Lines
Mrs. Judith Potts was seventy-seven years old and entirely happy with her life. She lived in an Arts and Crafts mansion on the River Thames, she had a job she loved that took up just enough of her time and no more, and best of all, she didn’t have to share her life with any man.

 

About the Book
Publisher's Description: 
Judith Potts is seventy-seven years old and blissfully happy. She lives on her own in a faded mansion just outside Marlow, there’s no man in her life to tell her what to do or how much whisky to drink, and to keep herself busy she sets crosswords for The Times newspaper.
One evening, while out swimming in the Thames, Judith witnesses a brutal murder. The local police don’t believe her story, so she decides to investigate for herself, and is soon joined in her quest by Suzie, a salt-of-the-earth dog-walker, and Becks, the prim and proper wife of the local Vicar.
Together, they are the Marlow Murder Club.
When another body turns up, they realize they have a real-life serial killer on their hands. And the puzzle they set out to solve has become a trap from which they might never escape…

 

Initial Thoughts

I was originally attracted to this book because of that main character. A 77-year-old woman who lives happily on her own, swims in the Thames, and solves mysteries! How could I not love that? Especially since Judith Potts isn't a great deal older than I am. Not that we're terribly alike otherwise. I'm extremely happy that I do have a man to share my life. I don't drink whisky. And you'll never catch me swimming in the Thames. Still, I found her just really intriguing. 

It's not the book I thought I'd be reading this week, but when I discovered that the author, Robert Thorogood, is the creator of one of my favorite British TV series — Death in Paradise — I just couldn't resist. I'm about a third of the way through the book, and it keeps surprising me. I love that. Definitely enjoying it, so far.  


Have a good weekend, everyone.
And happy reading!


Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday. As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


Sunday, May 29, 2022

Reading Update - 30 May 2022


I haven't posted a reading update for quite a while. As usual, the year seems to be getting away from me — here we are at the end of May already. And I ask my usual end-of-the-month question: How did that happen?

In the last few weeks I've finished several recently-published books...


The Hidden,
by Melanie Golding


The Christie Affair,
by Nina de Gramont

(Alex Delaware #37)
by Jonathan Kellerman

by Jennifer McMahon

by Randy Susan Meyers
and M.J. Rose

...and a couple of vintage mysteries...

(Perry Mason #17),
by Erle Stanley Gardner

(Lew Archer #1),
by Ross Macdonald

All were enjoyable. Some more than others, of course. Hope to get some reviews up this week. 

At the moment, I've got three or four books going. This week, I'll be trying to finish The Omega Factor, a new thriller by Steve Berry, coming out next month.



Happy reading, everyone — and have a great week!



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. If you want to let the world know what you're going to be reading this week, head on over to her blog and leave your link. It's also a great way to discover new books and new blogs.