Tuesday, September 18, 2018

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - The Lonely Witness; William Boyle

Each Tuesday, Vicki, from I’d Rather Be At The Beach hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where  readers post the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book that they are reading or plan to read.

The Lonely WitnessWilliam Boyle
Pegasus Books - 2018

"When Mrs. Epifanio opens the door, Amy can tell right away that something's wrong.  Monsignor Ricciardo had told her a few months ago, when she started doing this, that Mrs. Epifanio was prone to fits of dementia, that some days she'd probably seem very confused about where she was and what year it was and who was dead or alive.  But Amy's only seen that side of Mrs. Epifanio once or twice.  She's usually cheery and bright-eyed in the morning, so lively for a ninety-year-old, standing with her shoulders hunched, her bobby-pinned, rose colored hair wild, her taped on-the-bridge-of-the-nose glasses hanging restlessly around her neck."

What do you think about this first paragraph?  (I just started this one and, am really enjoying the writing so far.)

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Wife Between Us; Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

AUTHOR: G. Hendricks & S. Pekkanen
PUBLISHER: Macmillan Audio and St. Martin's Press
PUB. YEAR: 2018
FORMAT:  - audio and eGalley
RATING: 4.5/5 stars

When you first meet Vanessa, it seems plain as day that she is a disgruntled ex-wife, who will do whatever it takes to prevent her replacement to be, Nellie,  from marrying her former husband, Richard.  Richard is a polished, handsome and controlling hedge fund manager in NYC.  Now Vanessa has been tossed aside, where she once had a Mercedes, she now lives with her aged aunt and works at Saks while Nellie, a beautiful, young nursery school teacher has been planning a future with Richard.

As Vanessa begins to stalk Nellie and get to her a bit, Nellie begins to rethink her relationship and whether marriage over her fun single life in Manhattan is what she really wants, and so the plot thickens.

As I listened to this, addictive, yet sometimes confusing, psych thriller, it took a while but soon became clear that in this story, nothing is as it seems. We never know who is telling the truth and who might be a little whacked.  It's a story that has plenty of twists and I never had it figured out until I listened to the epilogue twice.  Fun read for sure.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Something in the Water; Catherine Steadman

AUTHOR: Catherine Steadman
PUBLISHER: William Morrow
PUB. YEAR: 2018
SETTING:  London and Bora Bora
FORMAT:  - eGalley
RATING: 4.5/5 stars

From the very first paragraph of this thriller, Erin, the narrator asks -- 

"Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave? Wonder no longer. It takes an age.  However long you think it takes, double that."

So right from the start you wonder whose grave our narrator has dug?

Erin is a documentary filmmaker who is planning to marry Mark, a handsome investment banker. They plan a spare no expense, 3-week honeymoon to Bora Bora.  Just as all this is about to happen, Mark loses his job but, the couple is madly in love and they decide go ahead with their special honeymoon plans, knowing they'll have to cut expenses when they return until Mark finds another job.

In Bora Bora while scuba diving the couple discovers a private jet on the bottom of the ocean floor along with several bodies on board. They also find a locked duffle bag belonging to someone on the downed plane.  Dragging the bag out of the water, the couple must make a decision, tell no one or report what they discovered.  The decision they make sets off a dangerous chain of events.

This was a past paced, psych thriller that had me hooked from that very first paragraph.  The story was far from perfect, but I loved that it never lost its momentum. Yes, the couple makes some stupid mistakes along the way, but, I just really enjoyed wondering what would happen next. It made me wonder what I would have done when I was young and feeling invincible, had I faced this same temptation. Psych thriller fans should try this one.

I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections; Nora Ephron

AUTHOR: Nora Ephron
PUB. YEAR: 2010
SETTING: unsure
FORMAT:  - my shelves
RATING: 4/5 stars

In this collection of some (23) essays, the late Nora Ephron (2012) writes on a variety of subjects; past, present and future. One story,  "My Aruba", is an essay that Ephron names after her cowlick, a bald spot on the back of her head. In "My Life as an Heiress", she talks about family and how she was not from a close-knit family. She resented that her brother Hal got to attend Columbia while she had to go to a public college. Then in another short reflection simply titled, "Teflon" she made me smile once again. Her reflections are often funny, sometimes downright quirky, and other times insightful and though provoking.

The author wrote this collection when she was dealing with leukemia which most of her followers were not even aware of at the time.  Her fans were naturally shocked to learn of her passing in 2012 at the age of 71.

I thought this was a nice collection after, I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, a book that had really resonated with me when I read it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Cabin at the End of the World; Paul Tremblay

AUTHOR: Paul Tremblay
PUBLISHER: William Morrow
PUB. YEAR: 2018
SETTING: New Hampshire
FORMAT:  - Library
RATING: 3.5/5 stars

Andrew, Eric and their 7 year old daughter Wen are vacationing at a remote New Hampshire cabin near the Canadian border.  Hoping for a peaceful vacation away from it all, there isn't even any cell service or internet.  As the two dads relax on the back deck, Wen, their curious, daughter, who the couple adopted from China, is busy collecting grasshoppers and naming them in the tall grasses in front of the house.  Suddenly, a big man, with a friendly face appears. He tells Wen his name is Leonard and begins helping her catch grasshoppers. Wen knows about stranger danger, but Leonard is so kind and helpful but, yes, he has another agenda. Soon Leonard tells Wen, 

"None of what’s going to happen is your fault". Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: "Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world."

All the above happens within the first 20+pages of this gripping, at times heart-pounding, novel.  The remote setting, a home invasion, and what follows had me quickly turning pages, even though it became clear, early on this was a book that was making me uncomfortable and, yes,  there are aspects of the story that were quite disturbing, I had to see how the story played out.  Can't say I'm sorry I tried this one but overall, I did have my issues with this one.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Something in the Water; Catherine Steadman

Each Tuesday, Vicki, from I’d Rather Be At The Beach hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where  readers post the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book that they are reading or plan to read.

Something in the Water; Catherine Steadman
Ballantine Books - 2018

The Grave

"Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave? Wonder no longer. It takes an age.  However long you think it takes, double  that."

What do you think"?  (I just started this and read over 100 pages in a blink of an eye - very addictive story)

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Perfect Couple; Elin Hilderbrand

Erin Bennett (narrator)
very good

AUTHOR: Elin Hilderbrand
PUBLISHER: Hachette Audio
PUB. YEAR: 2018
SETTING: Nantucket, MA
FORMAT:  - Library
RATING: 4.5/5 stars

The Otis-Winbury wedding at a fabulous oceanfront estate on Nantucket Island was sure to be the wedding event of the year, until the unthinkable happens.  Just hours before the wedding was to take place, the body of Merritt, the maid of honor-to be, is pulled from the harbor.  Was her death an accident or was foul play involved?

I've read quite a few stories by this author, but this one, by far, was a favorite.  I loved the mystery element of this story. The characters were great and I loved the way the story unfolded with little flashbacks into each of the main characters.  The contrast between haves and the have-nots was well done and the island setting was so descriptive that you could imagine being there.

A very nice summer read, part mystery, part family drama, part love story. The Perefct Couple unfolds at just the right pace to keep you reading (listening in my case).  I really enjoyed this one.