Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Teaser/Intro Tuesday: Last Seen Wearing

This is my first Teaser Tuesday in quite a while. And this time my teaser lines come from Last Seen Wearing, the second book in Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse mystery series. I've been reading this in a Kindle edition containing the first three Morse novels, and these lines come from Location 5408:
"It's just not my sort of case, Lewis. I know it's not a very nice thing to say, but I just get on better when we've got a body — a body that died from unnatural causes. That's all I ask." (Chapter 16)
Well, when it comes to whodunnits, that's the way I feel about it, too!

If you'd like to see more Teaser Tuesday offerings, or do some teasing yourself, just head on over to The Purple Booker and leave your link.

And today I'm joining in on First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, hosted by Vicki of I'd Rather Be At The Beach, so here's the book's first paragraph:
He felt quite pleased with himself. Difficult to tell for certain, of course; but yes, quite pleased with himself really. As accurately as it could his mind retraced the stages of the day's events: the questions of the interviewing committee — wise and foolish; and his own answers — carefully considered and, he knew, well phrased. Two or three exchanges had been particularly satisfactory and, as he stood there waiting, a half-smile played across his firm, good-humoured lips. One he could recall almost verbatim.
So, would you keep reading? I'd love to hear what you think. And please feel free to leave me a link to your Teaser or Intro posts in your comment here.

Monday, October 15, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Since this is my first post on this blog for a while, I want to say first thing -- I hope all of you in those parts of the US affected by the recent hurricanes are safe and have shelter and power and all your loved ones safe and accounted for. We've had some pretty nasty weather in our area (central Texas) during the last couple of months, but nothing like what's going on further east of here. Honestly, it seems the weather has gone completely nuts lately, doesn't it? I was really hoping that by this point in time we'd be a little bit further along in controlling all that stuff. Obviously I was reading too much sci-fi.

And now that I've mentioned reading -- I have to admit I haven't been doing as much of that as I'd like. Lots of reasons -- but mostly just real life getting in the way. So I haven't had much to report this last couple of months.

Only finished two books in September:

• Call for the Dead, by John le CarrΓ© - The first of his George Smiley books.

A Morbid Taste for Bones, by Ellis Peters - First book in the long-running Brother Cadfael mystery series.

I enjoyed both of those, and hope to get reviews up this week. Well, soon anyway.

So far in October I've finished one book...

The Night She Died, by Dorothy Simpson - First entry in Simpson's Inspector Thanet series.

...and this week I'm reading a couple of ghostly tales, perfect for this time of year:

A Shadow on the Wall, by Jonathan Aycliffe

Dead Lake, by Darcy Coates

So now if the rainy weather blues don't get me down and I can manage to avoid another migraine, I'm looking forward to getting some reading done!

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.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Book Beginnings: The Night She Died

The Night She Died, by Dorothy Simpson (first published 1980). First book in Simpson's Inspector Luke Thanet mystery series. This is the first sentence of Chapter 1:
It was half past nine in the evening and Detective Inspector Luke Thanet was stretched out on the living-room carpet, staring at the ceiling.

About the Book:
Julie Holmes had always enticed men — a famous broadcaster in London, her husband, and now her new boss in Kent. Still, it is surprising that Julie would end up stabbed in the front hall of her own home, cut to the heart right through her tweed overcoat just minutes before her husband returns from evening class to find her dead... or so he says.  
In the first of the series, Inspector Thanet is pointed towards a foggy November evening twenty years ago when the three-year-old Julie may have witnessed a dreadful crime. Did her haunted past return to give her more than the occasional nightmare? (— GoodReads) 
Initial Thoughts:

First thought, of course: why's he on the floor? Well, you find that out pretty quickly — the Inspector has a back problem. Fortunately, it doesn't bother him as much when he's in the midst of an investigation, and the author gets him involved in a case right away. I like that — not too much scene-setting and a mystery that gets started in the first few pages.

I read a couple of the Inspector Thanet mysteries back in the late '80s or early '90s and enjoyed them very much, so I thought I'd go back and see how it all started, with this first entry in the series. So far, I'm liking it just as much as the later books. And since it's relatively short, I should be able to finish it up pretty quickly.

Happy Friday, everyone! And have a lovely weekend.

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.

The Cottingley Secret, by Hazel Gaynor

William Morrow, 2017
383 pages

In The Cottingley Secret, Hazel Gaynor reimagines the true story of cousins Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright from Cottingley, England, who claimed to have photographed fairies in their garden, back in 1917. The girls and their photos caused a sensation in post-WWI England and even convinced Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of their validity. Gaynor alternates the tale of Frances and Elsie with that of present-day bookshop owner, Olivia Kavanagh, who discovers an old manuscript containing the hint of a connection between her family and the girls who photographed fairies.

Another book I read earlier this year, and I really thought I'd already reviewed it. But a little survey of the blog tells me that was not true. Brain fog, I guess.

It took me quite a while to finish this one. Couldn't get into the back-and-forth rhythm of the two different time periods, and ended up reading the last half of the book several months after starting it. But I did enjoy it, for the most part — had a little trouble with the "magical realism" of the story (it required a little more suspension of disbelief than I was prepared for). Overall, I thought it was a very intriguing take on the "fairy photo" girls and their story. I was impressed with the amount of research the author did and how she managed to tie it all in so creatively. And while I was at first put off by the present-day story of Olivia and her wedding angst, I actually became very fond of her as I got deeper into the book. Hazel Gaynor is a new author for me, but one I hope to meet again.


(Note: I received my copy of this book from the publisher, free of charge, through Library Thing's Early Reviewer program. No other compensation was received, and no one tried to influence my opinion of the book.)


Qualifies for the following reading challenges: Historical Fiction 2018; Mount TBR 2018.

Tailspin, by Sandra Brown

Grand Central Publishing, August 2018
432 pages (Kindle edition) 

In Sandra Brown's latest romantic thriller, Rye Mallett is a fearless "freight dog" pilot charged with flying cargo to far-flung locations. He'll fly anywhere, in any weather, under even the direst conditions, and he's not big on following rules and regulations that might keep him from meeting a deadline. So when he's hired to fly into a completely fogbound northern Georgia town and deliver a mysterious time-sensitive black box to a Dr. Lambert, he doesn't ask questions. But as he nears the isolated landing strip, his plane is sabotaged and he just barely survives the crash landing.

After climbing out of the hopelessly damaged plane, he's met by the strikingly lovely (well, it's a romance novel, right?) Dr. Brynn O'Neal who claims she was sent by Dr. Lambert to retrieve the black box. Rye is immediately intrigued by the mystery surrounding his cargo, and by the attractive Dr. O'Neal, and before long the two are dodging law enforcement officials and some pretty scary hired thugs in the race to deliver the box before time runs out.

I read this one back in July and it was perfect for summer, although a bit out of my comfort zone — I generally don't read romance novels. But I was offered an advance readers edition by NetGalley, and since I'd never read anything by Sandra Brown I decided to take a chance. And I have to say it was pretty good — a bit formulaic, but I was expecting that. I liked a lot of it, especially pilot Rye Mallett (terrible name, but a really intriguing character). And even the breath-taking Brynn wasn't too annoying. But I could have done with a lot fewer steamy sex scenes. Yeah, I know — that's what Sandra Brown is all about. Just sayin' — after a while, it just gets silly and kind of boring.

But even with all the gratuitous coupling, most of the book was very enjoyable — just not enjoyable enough to turn me into a romance reader. I'm very grateful to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me the chance to read the book and say what I think.


(Note: I received my copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher, free of charge, in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was received, and no one tried to influence my opinion of the book.)


Qualifies for the following reading challenges: Cloak and Dagger 2018 .