Times where the first page clinched it for me.

If I live to be three hundred I will probably still have books I want to read and haven’t gotten to.  I have over a thousand eBooks and a well loved two book shelves that I am particularly picky about because of space constraints.  Still, there are thousands of books that I want to read- or would if I knew about them- and more coming out all the time.  You have the classics that you swear you’ll get through eventually and your just-for-fun books.  You have the books that make you weep, and the books that make you think.  How is a gal with limited time and even more limited funds supposed to pick one?   I will admit there are times where the cover has been so breathe-taking, so compelling, that I could not resist.  Then there’s the times when the blurb won the day- looking at the description on Goodreads or Amazon, I could not resist.  Other times I will be on the fence forever, poring over book reviews and Litsy, waffling on the merits of a book, until I read the first page.

That’s what I want to talk about today- times where the first page swayed me in favor of the book.  Some of these were read-for-reviews I was skeptical of, and some are books that I kept telling myself that I did not need…. and yet they won.  I am going to put the cover, lines, and link to my reviews below for each of these gems.

  1. Reincarnation Blues, Michael Poore:

reincarnation bluesFlorida Keys: 2017

This is a story about a wise man named Milo.

It begins the day he got eaten by a shark…..’

Wait… what?  I had to read this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Turtles All the Way Down, John Green:

turtles all the way down‘At the time I first realized I might be fictional, my weekdays were spent at a publicly funded institution on the north side of Indianapolis called White River High School where I was required to eat lunch at a particular time between 12:47 and 1:14 pm by forces so much larger than myself  I couldn’t even begin to identify them…’

     And now I knew that my narrator and tour guide for this ride was a bit OCD, nutty and oddly hilarious.  Hot damn, I’m in! 

Oh, I had told myself all the normal things a bibliophile does.  I already spent too much on books, it isn’t really in the budget.  I can borrow it at the library if I just wait for the 58 people in line in front of me to be done (this, by the way is no exaggeration, but my place in line when I tried to put the eBook on hold before it came out).  I already had books, etc.  Then I perused the book isle at work- usually safe as they never have any of the can’t-live-without books…. and there it was- fairly cheap and signed no less!  I opened to the first page and was nearly late coming back from my 15 minute break!  I rationalized the purchase as this obviously being a “to-share” book and I would need a hard copy eventually- can’t share eBooks or Audible.  I was right- it’s fantastic, and it’s loaned out with at least two people waiting their turn.

3.   The Hidden Oracle, Rick Riordan

the hidden oracle‘My name is Apollo.  I used to be a god.  In my four thousand six hundred and twelve years, I have done many things.  I inflicted a plague on the Greeks that besieged Troy.  I blessed Babe Ruth with three home runs in game four of the 1926 world series.  I visited my wrath upon Britney Spears at the 2007 MTV  Video Music Awards.

   But in all my immortal life, I never before crash landed in a dumpster.’

I waffled on this series forever- let’s face it, Apollo is not my favorite character and I could not see this being on of my have-to-have series.  And yet I read that in a Walmart and started grinning.  Why not?  The next book was the same for me and if I don’t know if I want to continue next year, the first page will no doubt bring me back again.  I do, after all, love Riordan’s writing style and world building.

 

  This is just a few of the books where page one made all the difference.  Are there books like this for you?  What are your favorite starters?

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City Of Lies, Victoria Thompson

 

city of lies.jpgspolier alertTitle:  City of Lies

Author: Victoria Thompson

Pages:  304

Genre:  Historical fiction, YA

Is this part of a series?  Yes, book one of the Counterfeit Lady series.

Publish date: November 7th, 2017

 

Summary:

After a con goes very badly, grifter Elizabeth watches her brother Jake beaten, then has to escape the same fate if not worse.  Running for her life, she slips into the picket line of women’s suffragists in order to evade the men chasing her and shares their fate- jail.  Pulled into the women’s stories and lives, she finds the one thing she never knew she wanted- friendship, admiration and trust.  One girl especially, Anna, brings out warm and protective feelings she never knew she had.

Upon release, Elizabeth wants to get away in order to find her brother and evade her last mark…. but how can she leave Anna?  Then there’s Gideon Bates, the far too honest lawyer that makes her crazy and intrigues her like no other.  Can she protect herself from her past and create a new future?  Or is she just conning herself?

My thoughts:

    Shout out to First to Read for allowing me an advanced copy of this book- it’s one I would have been on the fence on for far too long and I fear I would have missed out on a fantastic read.  I adored the story, and seeing Elizabeth transform and grow.  Each of the characters were interesting and well developed, easy to love.  The plot was fairly believable, and I like that the author took tiny bits of real history and wove them into the dilemma.   The only pet peeve I really have is the cover.  Who is the girl?  Elizabeth is described as having black hair and light blue eyes and Anna as being blonde.  I know it’s odd, but I hate when covers don’t match characters.  Still, this was a great, fast paced read that I loved and I can’t wait to see where this goes from here.   Five stars!  Five Stars

On the adult content scale, there’s violence and coarse language, but not much else.  I already have  a list of teens that need this in their stockings.  I give this one a three.

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The book comes out 11/07/17.  Who’s ready?

Link to book:

Amazon

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Weekly Wrap up! October 21st- 28th

Personal life:

This week leads up to my favorite holiday working retail:  Halloween!  Having always adored dressing up and playing make-believe as a kid I love to see all the little ones in their costumes- they are so proud and excited.  Plus they are just so cute!!!!  I usually work well after dark falls in hopes of my coworkers that are parents getting to go home and take part in their kid’s trick-or-treating run.  Once home, we put on Nightmare Before Christmas or Kiki’s Delivery Service and see if we get any trick-or-treaters.  If I dress up at all it’s something comfy- last year I wore my Wonder Woman onsie and this year I have a Batman shirt and cape that will probably do.  I  want to be warm, comfortable and modest at work.  I had been looking at the google image stock photos (be sure to check for usage rights!) when I found the above beauties.  I really liked them.

Bookish life:

I got another check from the eBook settlement- this one was small but still reminds me that I have bought far too many books in the past- and won’t be stopping.   There are, after all, worse addictions.  I also got credit in my Barnes and Nobles account.  Now, last time I tried to argue with them and get them to send me a check because I no longer do business with them (they force you to have a card on file in order to access your books- claim it’s for security…. my point is, I already bought the book!  Once they took money out of my account without my consent and refused to make it right I got a different tablet- had been on a Nook and building a library of literally hundreds of books using them exclusively for years- and went to Amazon).  They refused and I bought some eBooks.  (I hate them now, but if I don’t use the credit they get to keep it… how does that hurt them?)  This time I bought several paper books- Gareth Hind’s graphic novel rendition of Beowulf, Learning to Swear in America, by Katie Kennedy and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.  I have already loaned out Learning to Swear… because I also have it in eBook and wanted a “to share” copy.  My copies of Poe, Turtles All The Way Down and The Little Prince are also out right now.

I have also gotten halfway through Outlander on audible.  I love certain aspects and loathe others- for instance, why is everyone fixated on raping Claire?  Even without all that there’s a lot of sexual content and I listen to this in the car sometimes…. I know the other cars can’t hear but it’s embarrassing!  Am I being silly?  What kind of books do you guys listen to?

Well that’s me for the week.  What’s up with you?

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Mini Reviews- Magical Cats Series #’s 4-7, Sofie Kelly

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Cat Trick (book 4):  A group of business people have convinced Legacy Tours to consider Maryville Heights as one of their stops.  Mike, who lived there once, has come to set up a tasting in order to show what they can offer.  Argumentative and  over opinionated, Mike’s a bit of a nightmare to work with- and has gathered the wrath of several people.  When Mike turns up dead, there’s no shortage of suspects.  Kathleen and the cats are on the trail to find the real killer.

Final Catcall (book 5): When a theatre troop comes to town, they seem to bring their bad luck with them.  Marcus has ended their semi-relationship and ex-fiancé, Andrew is in town to win back his girl.  There’s more than enough drama between the boys and the troop to keep this librarian busy.  When director Hugh Davis is found dead, Kathleen and her furry team are caught in the middle again, trying to solve the mystery to keep someone they care about safe.

A Midwinter’s Tail (book 6): Winter in Maryville Heights is busy with all sorts of things to do.  The benefit for Reading Buddies has come up and Kathleen has to be sure everything goes well.  Dayna Chapman enters town after forever and old rumors and feelings are coming back up.  When she dies at the benefit after eating a chocolate it seems pretty cut and dried- but things don’t add up for Kathleen.

Faux Paws (book 7):  An art exhibit has decided to come to Maryville Heights- the library.   An overbearing curator and high tech security system are the down sides of having the exhibit- but they are adding local art and it would be good for businesses in town not to mention the artists.  Kathleen can handle a bit of disruption…. but when the curator is found dead and a piece of the exhibit missing, well, it’s time to find out what’s going on.

Paws and Effects (book 8)  A proposed development plan has the citizens divided and Kathleen’s new family just a little crazier than normal.  When the environmentalists that arrive in town to stop the project turn out to be old friends of Marcus’s, Kathleen feels like she might get to know more about her beau’s past- something she doesn’t have a lot of information about.  It seems one of them has a romantic past with Marcus, and that there’s some angry feelings around that- but not from Danni and Marcus. When Danni is found dead all evidence points to Marcus.  To protect the man they care about, his partner Hope and his father Elliot join with Kathleen to find out what’s really going on.

 

My thoughts:

   First, there’s a heck of a lot of deaths in this town.  I love this series with it’s quirky characters and warm friendships.  The descriptions of the town, and the plots are great.  These make for fantastic quick reads.  I loved getting to know the characters better, especially Marcus.  I also enjoyed meeting Andrew, who is a great character but not for Kathleen.  Elliot Gordon was an interesting Character  (Marcus’ father), though is it awful that my favorite parts were where he was drunk?  It is much easier to love Burtis’s buddy “Ellie May” than the arrogant lawyer he usually shows the world.   These stories give you cozy mysteries and some heartfelt stories.  I loved the cats, full of attitude and charm.  These books have actually gotten me to want more such cozy mysteries and furry sidekicks.  I have started her other series now that I have read all these (I accidently read the newest book first and that’s how I found the series).    For me these were five star books!  Five Stars

On the adult content scale, there’s violence, light language and some off color jokes.  I don’t think any of it is too questionable and would still let my niece read this.  I give it a three.  Parental Guidance

The books are out  now- have you read them?

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The Whole Cat and Caboodle, Sofie Ryan

the whole cat and caboodlespolier alertTitle: The Whole Cat and Caboodle

Author: Sofie Ryan

Pages: 336

Genre:  cozy mystery, contemporary

Is this part of a series?  Yes, book #1 of the Second Chance Mysteries.

Published:  April 1st, 2014

Summary:

After loosing her radio talk show  Sarah Grayson has returned to North Harbor, Maine to be with her Grandma and her friends.  She started Second Chance, a shop for refurbished/ repurposed items that she mans with two of her grandmother’s eccentric friends, Avery, Mac and her furry sidekick Elvis.

When Maddie’s gentleman-friend winds up dead in her backyard, all signs point to her as the culprit-especially since she may have had motive.  The other women aren’t having it, and join forces to become the geriatric Charlie’s Angels in order to investigate the crime along with the oldest hacker in history and an unwilling Sarah.

My thoughts:

This series is from the same author as the Magical Cats series.  I enjoyed getting to know Elvis, the Black beat-up stray that chose Sarah as his human.  The friends of her grandmother’s: Liz, Charlotte, Rose and Maddie were great and I liked the guys in Sarah’s life- no boyfriend but one that everyone says likes Sarah (Nick), a lawyer with a past friendship with Sarah (Josh), and Second Chance’s handy man Mac.  Personally, I am team Mac at this point as he seems to have the best connection to Sarah.    The characters are charming and well developed, and I loved the description of the area.  As with all her other books, this was a fun light read that left me feeling refreshed.  I enjoyed Elvis’ little habits (Jeopardy!), and attitude.  For me, this was a five star book.  Five Stars

On the adult content scale, there is a brief (and mild) nudity incident- more funny than anything.  There is also mild violence and very mild language.  I would let anyone read this.  I give it a one.

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The book is out- have you read it?

Link to book:

Amazon

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In The Midst of Winter, Isabel Allende

in the midst of winte3rspolier alertTitle: In The Midst of Winter

Author: Isabel Allende

Pages: 304

Genre: historical fiction, contemporary fiction

Is this part of a series?  No

Publish date: October 31st, 2017

Summary:

        A severe snow storm in Brooklyn makes for unlikely friendships and love when three people- two women, both immigrants, and a dour professor are thrown together by chance.  They tell their stories as time and situation keep them together.  A story filled with pain, but also compassion; guilt and forgiveness.  Two people, in the winter of their lives, will find a love that could complete them.

My Thoughts:

I have loved Allende ever since I first read Eva Luna when I was fifteen.  This is still what I consider to be the gold star for magical realism.  With her way with descriptions and her beautiful characters, she can get me out of myself better than any other author.   I now own the book in paper (my eighth copy) and eBook…. and I eagerly await an audible edition (in English please).  When I saw that Netgally and Atria books was offering her newest novel…. well, I had to have it.  Many thanks guys, please know that  I will be buying the audible edition for myself and at least one hard back for Christmas presents.

Now, this book was spectacular to me because of the time she spent introducing each character- fanning them out and breathing life and pain into them.  Their stories broke my heart- Allende has a gift for making things real and terrifying with just a few words.  I feel that this is important, especially now when so many (POTUS) try to use immigrants- both legal and illegal- as scapegoats for issues that they don’t want to take a deeper look at.  Seeing the stories of where these women came from humanized the issues faced by so many- though hopefully not to this extent.  This is not a quick read for me- I had to take my time, breathe it in and take breaks; but it was worth it.  I loved this book so much!  Five stars!!! Five Stars   

On the adult scale, there’s a lot.  Violence, language, alcoholism, light sexual content, rape….. this is one that while I would let my niece read, there would be a discussion later- there are, after all, some very heavy hitting content.  I give it a seven.  Parental GuidanceI end this with a plea to Allende and publishers- make eBooks of the older books, please!  Your fans would buy them!!!

The book is out on Halloween- go get it!!!!!

Link to book:

Amazon

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Dangerous Minds, Janet Evanovich

dangerous mindsspolier alertTitle: Dangerous Minds

Author: Janet Evanovich

Narrator:  Lorelei King

Pages:  319 (I got it on Audible, and I think it was roughly seven hours of play.)

Genre: humor, mystery

Is this part of a series?  Yes, book two of the Knight and Moon series (I highly recommend reading in order)

Published: June 20th, 2017

Summary:

Our mismatched duo is back.  Emmerson’s old friend, a monk named Wayan, has lost his island- literally.  These things don’t just disappear….. and yet one did.  As Emmerson tries to get answers and Riley tries to reign in the crazy they come upon what could be one of the biggest cover-ups in history.  Needless to say conspiracy theorist extraordinaire Vernon is all in.

My thoughts:

First thing’s first…. There are a lot of people complaining that the book was too ridiculous and over the top.  That’s basically Evanovich’s m. o.  Honestly guys, after reading the Stephanie Plum series I knew this was going to be hilarious, but not at all grounded in reality- besides, the missing island should have clued you into that.  I mean, I read these for the lols.

The series is a bit (ok, a lot) more ridiculous than Plum’s, so be prepared for that.    I was on the fence about reading it myself, as book one hadn’t pulled me in completely.  I am glad I did though, as I enjoyed this one more than Curious Minds.  The characters are well developed and loveable if crazy.  I enjoyed the play between them all.  This is a quick, hilarious read that is just a lot of fun.  Just don’t try to take it too seriously…. For me this is a four star book.  Four Stars

On the adult content scale, there was violence, language, sexual innuendo and nudity.  I would still let my niece read it…. but be aware.  I give it a six.Parental Guidance

The book is out now- have you read it?

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