My Friday Post: Book Beginnings & The Friday 56

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

This week I’m featuring one of my library books, Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver.

‘The simplest thing would be to tear it down,’ the man said. ‘ The house is a shambles.’

Barbara Kingsolver, who has been one of my favourite authors ever since I read The Poisonwood Bible and these opening sentences certainly drew me into the book.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.

Page 56:

Willa’s mother had always promised Tig would ‘settle out’, but she hadn’t survived to see it, and now Willa wondered who among them would live long enough to stop being flabbergasted by the girl.

Set in Vineland, New Jersey, this is a dual timeline novel, about two families living in the same house – one in the present century and the other in the nineteenth.

From Amazon:

Meet Willa Knox, a woman who stands braced against a world which seems to hold little mercy for her and her family – or their old, crumbling house, falling down around them. Willa’s two grown-up children, a new-born grandchild, and her ailing father-in-law have all moved in at a time when life seems at its most precarious. But when Willa discovers that a pioneering female scientist lived on the same street in the 1800s, could this historical connection be enough to save their home from ruin? And can Willa, despite the odds, keep her family together?

My Friday Post: The Beekeeper’s Promise by Fiona Valpy

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

This week I’m featuring one of my library books, The Beekeeper’s Promise by Fiona Valpy.

Eliane; 2017

She knew this would be her last summer. The warm caress of the late-spring sunlight couldn’t roll back the fog-like weariness that crept through her bones these days. But then there had been so many summers. Almost a hundred.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.

Page 56:

That night, as the girls lay in their attic bedroom at the mill listening to the owls softly declaring their territory in the darkness, Mireille whispered, ‘Eliane? Are you awake?’

‘Yes,’ came the reply from across the room.

‘It’s been a good Easter, hasn’t it?’

There was a pause. ‘One of the best.’

Set in France at the Château Bellevue, this is the story of two remarkable women, generations apart, who must use adversity to their advantage and find the resilience deep within.

My Friday Post: The Dressmaker by Beryl Bainbridge

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

My book this week is The Dressmaker by Beryl Bainbridge, one of the books I’ve just started reading, and also one of my 20 Books of Summer. It’s not long – just 160 pages.

It begins:

Afterwards she went through into the little front room, the tape measure still dangling round her neck, and allowed herself a glass of port.

This opening sentence makes me wonder -after what?

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.

These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. If you have to improvise, that is okay.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
  5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.

Page 56:

She didn’t know how to remedy the situation. Rather like her Aunt Nellie who could never say she was sorry. She twisted her hands together and gazed helplessly at his hostile back.

Description

Wartime Liverpool is a place of ration books and jobs in munitions factories. Rita, living with her two aunts Nellie and Margo, is emotionally naïve and withdrawn. When she meets Ira, a GI, at a neighbour’s party she falls in love as much with the idea of life as a GI bride as with the man himself. But Nellie and Margo are not so blind…

The Dressmaker was runner up for the 1973 Booker Prize and also for the Guardian Fiction Prize. The Sunday Times, is quoted on the back cover: ‘ Like the better Hitchcock films Miss Bainbridge suggests a claustrophobic horror … An impressive, haunting book.’

My Friday Post: Mrs England by Stacey Halls

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

My book this week is Mrs England by Stacey Halls, a book I’ve borrowed from my local library through Borrow Box.

It begins:

Chapter 1

London, August 1904

I took Georgina the usual way home, east through Kensington Gardens towards Hyde Park. She had fallen asleep with a fistful of daisies, and I pushed the pram along the bridleway, nodding at the other nurses.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.

These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. If you have to improvise, that is okay.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
  5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.

Page 56:

The room was dark; the curtains closed. In the shadows playing at the edge of the light I caught glimpses of iron bedsteads and wooden floorboards, white sheets and lumpen shapes beneath them. In the far corner before the window, at the foot of an empty bed, was a cot, covered by a length of lace suspended like a veil.

Mrs England is historical fiction about Ruby, a Norland nurse who moves to Hardcastle House in Yorkshire to look after the children of Charles and Lilian England, a wealthy couple from a powerful dynasty of mill owners. It’s described as ‘a portrait of an Edwardian marriage, weaving an enthralling story of men and women, power and control, courage, truth and the very darkest deception.’

I think I’m going to enjoy this book. What do you think? Does Mrs England tempt you too?

My Friday Post: Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

My book this week is Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay, one of the books I’m reading for this year’s 20 Books of Summer event. This book has been on my wishlist for years ever since I read about it on someone’s blog – sorry, I can’t remember which blog.

On St Valentine’s Day in 1900, a party of nineteen girls accompanied by two schoolmistresses sets off from the elite Appleyard College for Young Ladies, for a day’s outing at the spectacular volcanic mass called Hanging Rock. Some were never to return. The picnic, which begins innocently and happily ends in explicable terror …

It begins:

Everyone agreed that the day was just right for the picnic to Hanging Rock – a shimmering summer morning warm and still, with cicadas shrilling all through breakfast from the loquat trees outside the dining room windows and bees murmuring above the pansies bordering the drive.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.

These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. If you have to improvise, that is okay.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
  5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.

Page 56:

The police, said Bumpher, were doing their utmost to clear up the mystery and in his opinion and that of Detective Lugg, it was essential that Edith as a key witness should be confronted with the actual scene as a spur to memory.

There’s an intriguing note at the beginning of the book:

Whether Picnic at Hanging Rock is fact or fiction the readers must decide for themselves. As the fateful picnic took place in the year nineteen hundred, and all the characters who appear in this book are long since dead, it hardly seems important.

My Friday Post: Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

My book this week is Casino Royale by Ian Fleming, a a Kindle Daily Deal e-book I bought for 99p this week, the first James Bond novel.

It begins:

The scent and smoke and sweat of casino are nauseating at three in the morning. Then the soul-erosion produced by high gambling – a compost of greed and nervous tension – becomes unbearable and the senses awake and revolt from it.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.

These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. If you have to improvise, that is okay.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
  5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.

Page 56:

‘My name’s Felix Leiter,’ said the American. ‘Glad to meet you.’

‘Mine’s Bond – James Bond.’

Blurb:

Le Chiffre is a businessman with expensive tastes, and SMERSH’s chief operative in France. But as his dissolute lifestyle threatens to ruin him, his only hope is to risk his paymasters’ money at the card table.

James Bond, the finest gambler in the service, has a deadly new mission: to outplay Le Chiffre and shatter his Soviet cell.

Amidst the opulence of Casino Royale, the two men face each other for a game with the highest stakes of all.

My Friday Post: The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

On Fridays I often join in with two book memes:

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. 

This week I’m featuring The Radium Girls: They paid with their lives. Their final fight was for justice by Kate Moore, one of my TBRs. It’s the true story about dial-painters, girls and women who painted the numbers on clocks, watches and other instruments using radium-infused luminous paint in the 1920s and 1930s. The girls shone brightly in the dark, covered head to toe in dust from the paint. 

The scientist had forgotten all about the radium. It was tucked discreetly within the folds of his waistcoat pocket, enclosed in a slim glass tube in such a small quantity that he could not feel its weight.

Also on a Friday The Friday 56 is 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.

56%:

‘Every week there seemed to be some emergency order that required an extra pair of hands. Then Catherine would slip her brush between her lips, dip it in the powder and paint; the girls all still did it that way at Radium Dial, for their instructions were never changed.

My Friday Post: The King’s Justice by E M Powell

On Fridays I often join in with two book memes:

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. 

This week I’m featuring The King’s Justice by E M Powell one of my TBRs. It’s the first in her Stanton and Barling medieval murder mystery series, set during the reign of Henry II. Aelred Barling is a senior clerk to the justices of King Henry II, and Hugo Stanton, his assistant are sent to investigate a brutal murder in a village outside York.

The City of York, 12 June 1176

Pit or punishment: Hugo Stanton couldn’t tell which excited the folk of these hot, crammed streets more.

Three men accused of vicious murder but who would not confess. Innocent, they’d claimed to King Henry’s travelling justices, sitting in the court in the high keep of the city’s castle.

The men were to be judged by water: lowered into a pit of water if they sank they were innocent, if they floated they were guilty and strung up on the gallows to die.

Also on a Friday The Friday 56 is 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.

Page 56:

‘The glow of the setting sun fell on his face. A glorious evening, one for lying in the long grass with his lost, beautiful love. Not standing facing a circle of angry, shouting people, people who wanted to take a man’s life. And wanted to take it now.

My Friday Post: Th1rt3en by Steve Cavanagh

On Fridays I often join in with two book memes:

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. 

This week I’m featuring Th1rt3en by Steve Cavanagh, one of my TBRs. I remembered I’d got this book when I saw the author on Pointless last Saturday.

It begins with a Prologue:

At ten after five on a raw December afternoon, Joshua Kane lay on a cardboard bed outside the Criminal Courts Building in Manhattan and thought about killing a man.

Also on a Friday The Friday 56 is 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.

Page 56:

‘There’s no real security here, Mr Flynn. I’ll be outside for tonight. In the morning I’ll arrange for a safe to be delivered to your office. The laptop is to be kept in this safe when you’re not in. That okay with you?’ said Holten.

Blurb:

THE SERIAL KILLER ISN’T ON TRIAL. HE’S ON THE JURY…

To your knowledge, is there anything that would preclude you from serving on this jury?’

Murder wasn’t the hard part. It was just the start of the game.

Joshua Kane has been preparing for this moment his whole life. He’s done it before.

But this is the big one.

This is the murder trial of the century.

And Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house.

But there’s someone on his tail. Someone who suspects that the killer isn’t the man on trial.

Kane knows time is running out – he just needs to get to the conviction without being discovered.

~~~

This is the fourth Eddie Flynn novel and I haven’t read the first three, but apparently they are standalone books that can be read in any order, so that’s okay. The description reminds me a bit of John Grisham’s books. What do you think?

My Friday Post: Prophecy by S J Parris

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

This week I’m featuring one of my library books, Prophecy, It’s the second in S J Parris’ Giordano Bruno series set in the reign of Elizabeth I. Bruno was a monk, poet, scientist, and magician on the run from the Roman Inquisition on charges of heresy for his belief that the Earth orbits the sun and that the universe is infinite. In this book set in 1583, Elizabeth’s throne is in peril, threatened by Mary Stuart’s supporters scheme to usurp the rightful monarch.

It begins with a Prologue:

Mortlake, House of John Dee
3rd September, Year of Our Lord 1583

Without warning, all the candles in the room’s corners flicker and feint, as if a sudden gust has entered, but the air remains still. At the same moment, the hairs on my arms prickle and stand erect and I shudder; a cold breath descends on us, though outside the day is close.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.

Page 56:

‘Treaties be damned!’

Henry Howard throws back his chair and pounds a fist on the table, so suddenly that again we all jolt in our seats. The candles have burnt down so far that his shadow leaps and quivers up the panels behind him and creeps over the ceiling, looming like an ogre in a children’s tale.

Lord Henry Howard, was a devout Catholic and a dangerous man, the head of the most powerful Catholic family in England. He took part in the 1583 Throckmorton Plot, one of a series of attempts by English Roman Catholics to depose Elizabeth I of England and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots, then held under house arrest in England.

Candles flickering, shadows cast and a feeling of dread and suspense in both these extracts set the scene for a thrilling story!