Tag: First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday – 14/01/2022

Hello and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular series in which I take the opportunity to share the opening paragraph from a variety of books. These may be books I’ve already read, are looking to read, or am even just a little bit intrigued about! Sometimes I set myself a challenge for these posts, but other times I leave it open to feature whatever catches my eye. 

For today’s post, I set myself the challenge of featuring a non-fiction book. At first, I was going through my list of non-fiction books on my TBR to find one to feature, however, today’s book is one I discovered in Goodread’s lists or recommendations whilst I was browsing around.

Can you guess what today’s featured book is?

 

There would be plenty of time for questions later.

For now, the nurses and security were intent upon breaking the lethal nine-hour barricade inside the little corner of hell that resident murderer Robert ‘Bob’ Maudsley had created. Bob and his companion, David Cheeseman, had sealed themselves inside with a third patient, David Francis, a known paedophile. He had apparently riled Bob and David Cheeseman by conducting a homosexual attack on one of their friends. Inside sources had a reason to believe, though, that their preference if opportunity had presented was to ‘go for a member of staff’.

 

 

Inside Broadmoor – Jonathan Levi & Emma French

Goodreads – Inside Broadmoor

Broadmoor. Few place names in the world have such chilling resonance. For over 150 years, it has contained the UK’s most violent, dangerous and psychopathic.

Since opening as an asylum for the criminally insane in 1863 it has housed the perpetrators of many of the most shocking crimes in history; including Jack the Ripper suspect James Kelly, serial killers Peter Sutcliffe (the Yorkshire Ripper), John Straffen and Kenneth Erskine, armed robber Charles Bronson, gangster Ronnie Kray, and cannibal Peter Bryan.

The truth about what goes on behind the Victorian walls of the high security hospital has largely remained a mystery, but now with unprecedented access TV journalist Jonathan Levi and cultural historian Emma French paint a vivid picture of life at Broadmoor, after nearly a decade observing and speaking to those on the inside.

Including interviews with the staff, its experts and the patients themselves, Inside Broadmoor is the most comprehensive study of the institution to-date.

Published at the dawn of a new era for the hospital, this is the full story of Broadmoor’s past, present and future.

 

My Thoughts…

Doesn’t that extract draw you in straightaway? Now, I appreciate that today’s snippet is quite short, however that is deliberate. Something unpleasant happens to David Francis next, and in the interest of keeping my block neutral and not risking upsetting anyone with graphic scenes, I’ve left the rest out. So there is a warning to you – if you’re not squeamish and you want to find out what happens next then you’ll have to pick this up for yourself!

Obviously I have read it and although it’s unpleasant i’m not sensitive to things like this. Naturally growing up you’ve heard of Broadmoor. When studying performing arts in high school one of our plays involved a child who had links to Broadmoor. That said, I wouldn’t say I know that much about the institution or about the people incarcerated there. The thing I like about non-fiction is that it gives you the opportunity to learn something new, and I have much to learn here. As a former student of psychology as well I am interested in the people involved from that perspective as well. Every day is a school day, so they say!

Have you read Inside Broadmoor, or anything like it? Let me know in the comments!

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First Lines Friday – 17/12/2021

Hello and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular series in which I take the opportunity to share the opening introductions of a multitude of books. These may be books I’ve already read, are looking to read, or am even just a little bit intrigued about.

For today’s post, I set myself the challenge of featuring a book set in winter. I must admit at first I was wracking my brains trying to think of one interesting enough to share. It’s a bit of a bizarre topic to go hunting for books around, but having gone back to the subject it almost hit me at once. It was not a hard choice and if I think it’s one that you have a good chance of identifying straight away from the introduction.

Can you guess what today’s featured book is?

 

Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids. They were sent to the house of an old professor who lived in the heart of the country, 10 miles from the nearest railway station and 2 miles from the nearest post office. He had no wife and he lived in a very large house with a housekeeper called Mrs Macready and three servants. (Their names were Ivy, Margaret and Betty, but they do not come into the story much.) He himself was a very old man with shaggy white hair which grew over most of his face as well as on his head, and they liked him almost at once; but on the first evening when he came out to meet them at the front door he was so odd-looking that Lucy (who was the youngest) was a little afraid of him, and Edmund (who was the next youngest) wanted to laugh and had to keep on pretending he was blowing his nose to hide it.

 

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis

Goodreads – The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

Narnia… the land beyond the wardrobe door, a secret place frozen in eternal winter, a magical country waiting to be set free.

Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor’s mysterious old house. At first her brothers and sister don’t believe her when she tells of her visit to the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund, then Peter and Susan step through the wardrobe themselves. In Narnia they find a country buried under the evil enchantment of the White Witch. When they meet the Lion Aslan, they realize they’ve been called to a great adventure and bravely join the battle to free Narnia from the Witch’s sinister spell.

 

My Thoughts…

Why it didn’t occur to me to feature this book for today’s First Lines Friday post when I set myself a challenge last Sunday is beyond me. I read this book fairly recently (and in one sitting too) so it should have popped into my head straight away! Granted, it doesn’t all take place in winter… however Narnia is iconic for its wintery setting and so I felt it an obvious choice for today’s post.

I really enjoyed this short story. It’s probably more targeted and suited to a younger audience, however since I didn’t actually read it in my childhood (insofar as I can remember anyway) I wanted to rectify that now that I’m older. It was nice to read because it was a little bit simpler and shorter. It made a break from the usual reads I pick up and it was a refreshing change.

Were you able to identify today’s featured book from the introduction? Have you read this book and any others in the series? Let me know in the comments!

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First Lines Friday – 26/11/2021

Hello and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular series in which I take the opportunity to share the opening introductions of a multitude of books. These may be books I’ve already read, are looking to read, or even just a little bit intrigued about. Having taken a few weeks break from these regular features I am back once again!

For today’s post I decided to keep the featured book an open selection. Having set myself a challenge for this post recently, I thought it would be refreshing to have a clean slate to choose from.

I hope you enjoy today’s feature!

 

Pretend, just for a moment, that you have attained your most deep-seated desire. Not the simple, sensible one you tell your friends about, but the dream that’s so close to your heart that even as a child you hesitated to speak it out loud. Imagine, for example, that you had always yearned to be a Greatcoat, one of the legendary sword-wielding magistrates who travelled from the lowliest village to the biggest city, ensuring that any man or woman, high or low, had recourse to the King’s Laws. A protector to many – maybe even a hero to some. You feel the thick leather coat of office around your shoulders, the deceptively light weight of its internal bone plates that shield you like armour and the dozens of hidden pockets holding your tools and tricks and esoteric pills and potions. You grip your sword at your side, knowing that as a Greatcoat you’ve been taught to fight when needed, given the training to take on any man in single combat.

Now imagine you have attained this dream – in spite of all the improbabilities laid upon the world by the I’ll-intentioned actions of Gods and Saints alike. So you have become a Greatcoat – in fact, dream bigger: pretend that you’ve been made First Cantor of the Greatcoats, with your two best friends at your side. Now try to envision where you are, what you’re seeing, what you’re hearing, what wrong you are fighting to right –

“They’re  f***ing again,” Brasti said.

 

 

Traitor’s Blade – Sebastien de Castell

Goodreads – Traitor’s Blade

Falcio is the first Cantor of the Greatcoats. Trained in the fighting arts and the laws of Tristia, the Greatcoats are travelling Magisters upholding King’s Law. They are heroes. Or at least they were, until they stood aside while the Dukes took the kingdom, and impaled their King’s head on a spike.

Now Tristia is on the verge of collapse and the barbarians are sniffing at the borders. The Dukes bring chaos to the land, while the Greatcoats are scattered far and wide, reviled as traitors, their legendary coats in tatters. All they have left are the promises they made to King Paelis, to carry out one final mission.

But if they have any hope of fulfilling the King’s dream, the divided Greatcoats must reunite, or they will also have to stand aside as they watch their world burn…

 

My Thoughts…

I really wanted to feature this book today as I’ve recently started listening to the audiobook edition of this book and I’m really enjoying it! This is the first book I have picked up by this author and it’s fantastic. I tend to listen to audiobooks on and off. This book has got me back to listening to them again.

The narrative and backstory of Traitor’s Blade is really interesting. I’m already a third of the way through in just less than a week. That’s pretty unheard of for me. However, as I’m interested in it I’m making the effort to listen to it. Listening to audiobooks is a great companion to other hobbies I have, so it works really well for me.

Have you read or listened to Traitor’s Blade, or any other books by Sebastien de Castell? Does today’s First Lines Friday post make you want to pick it up for yourself? As always I would love to hear from you!

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First Lines Friday – 05/11/2021

Hello and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! This is a regular series in which I take the opportunity to share the opening introductions of a multitude of books. These may be books I’ve already read, are looking to read, or am even just a little bit intrigued about. Having taken a few week’s break from these regular features I am back once again!

Sometimes I set myself a challenge with these posts, and to keep things interesting I set myself a challenge in this post to feature the opening lines of a book I read before I started blogging. I’ve thought long and hard about the books I read in my teenage years as I want to feature one that I loved back then.

I hope you enjoy today’s feature!

 

He had many names. Although yet to reach his thirtieth year history had seen fit to garner him with titles aplenty: Sword of the Realm to the mad king who sent him to plague us, the Young Hawk to the men who followed him through the trials of war, Darkblade to his Cumbraelin enemies and, as I was to learn much later, Beral Shak Ur to the enigmatic tribes of the Great Northern Forest – the Shadow of the Raven.

But my people knew him by but one name and it was this that sang in my head continually the morning they brought him to the docks: Hope Killer. Soon you will die and I will see it. Hope Killer.

 

Blood Song – Anthony Ryan

Goodreads – Blood Song

“The Sixth Order wields the sword of justice and smites the enemies of the Faith and the Realm.”

Vaelin Al Sorna was only a child of ten when his father left him at the iron gate of the Sixth Order. The Brothers of the Sixth Order are devoted to battle, and Vaelin will be trained and hardened to the austere, celibate, and dangerous life of a Warrior of the Faith. He has no family now save the Order.

Vaelin’s father was Battle Lord to King Janus, ruler of the unified realm. Vaelin’s rage at being deprived of his birthright and dropped at the doorstep of the Sixth Order like a foundling knows no bounds. He cherishes the memory of his mother, and what he will come to learn of her at the Order will confound him. His father, too, has motives that Vaelin will come to understand. But one truth overpowers all the rest: Vaelin Al Sorna is destined for a future he has yet to comprehend. A future that will alter not only the realm, but the world.

 

My Thoughts…

I remember really enjoying this book when I read it as a teenager. I couldn’t tell you exactly how many years ago it was because it has been a long time! It was great though!

My only fault is that I didn’t continue the series at the time. I did try to pick up the second book at a later date, Tower Lord, but as I’d left it quite sometime since starting the series I struggled with recalling the events of the previous book. Ultimately I didn’t finish the second book, but in writing this post I’ve reminded myself that I would like to revisit the series. Consequently, I’ll have to start from the beginning again. But, as the first book left such a great impression I have no doubt that re-reading it will be just as good as the first time.

Have you read Blood Song or any other books by Anthony Ryan? What did you think if you have? Does today’s First Lines Friday post make you want to pick it up for yourself? As always I would love to hear from you!

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First Lines Friday – 08/10/2021

Today I’m sharing another First Lines Friday post with you! If you are new to my blog, and this is a regular (fortnightly) series in which I take the opportunity to share the opening introductions of a variety of books. These may be books I’ve already read, are looking to read, or am even just a little bit intrigued about.

Sometimes I set myself a challenge with these posts, however this week I decided to leave it open. Sometimes it’s nice to have full creative freedom with my choice, and I hope this week’s featured book does not disappoint!

Shall we get into it?

 

Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the contest. I was sitting in my hideout watching cartoons when the news bulletin broke in on my video feed, announcing that James Halliday had died during the night.

I’d heard of Halliday, of course. Everyone had. He was the videogame designer responsible for creating the OASIS, a massively multiplayer online game that gradually evolved into the global network virtual reality most of humanity now used on a daily basis. The unprecedented success of the OASIS had made Halliday one of the wealthiest people in the world.

At first, I couldn’t understand why the media was making such a big deal of the billionaire’s death. After all, the people of planet Earth had other concerns. The ongoing energy crisis. Catastrophic climate change. Widespread famine, poverty, and disease. Half a dozen wars. You know: “dogs and cats living together… Mass hysteria!” Normally, the newsfeeds didn’t interrupt everyone’s interactive sitcoms and soap operas unless something really major had happened. Like the outbreak of some new killer virus, or another major city vanishing in a mushroom cloud. Big stuff like that. As famous as he was, Halliday’s death should have warranted only a brief segment on the evening news, so the unwashed masses could shake their heads in envy when the newscasters announced the obscenely large amount of money that would be doled out to the rich man’s heirs.

But that was the rub. James Halliday had no heirs.

 

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

Goodreads – Ready Player One

IN THE YEAR 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

 

My Thoughts…

Did you recognise today’s feature? Whether you’ve read the book or watched the recent film made based on it, you may recognise it.

I’ve personally heard of Ready Player One, and based on the synopsis and the intro this is definitely something that would appeal to me as a reader. I’m in love with science-fiction right now, and the premise is an interesting one.

Not only does it have good reviews, but a couple of trusted book reviewers I follow have also read and highly-rated this book. If the premise wasn’t enough then their views lend a hand into convincing me to pick this up someday.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday post! Have you read or watched Ready Player One? What did you think? Let me know if this is something I should add to my TBR!

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First Lines Friday – 24/09/2021

Welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post!

I’ve gotten back into the habit of sharing one of these posts every couple of weeks, but what makes today’s post a slight exception is that I have set myself a challenge. In today’s post, my challenge is to feature the opening paragraph of a non-fiction novel. I don’t feature non-fiction very often, however that is something I am looking to change very soon. With that in mind I decided to start here and feature a non-fiction novel as part of this series.

 

Sometimes, even when you are a case-hardened professional, you see history differently. I had one such moment when I first visited the Great Hall of the National Archives in Washington. I was faintly shocked by the way in which the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were displayed, like Arks of the Covenant, on a dimly lit altar and between American flags and impossibly upright American marines.

But what really struck me was the presence of a copy of Magna Carta. It was, as it were, in a side chapel. Nevertheless, here it was, this archetypically English document, in the American archival holy of holies.

It was placed there out of the conviction that it was the ancestor, however remote, of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. And its presence set me thinking. Was this assumption correct? Does it help explain current concerns – like Britain’s, or England’s, reluctance to be absorbed in the European Union? Does it mean that there is an Anglo-Saxon way and European way, as the French undoubtedly think? Does the difference derive from the contrast between Roman law and English Common Law? Is it, finally, England versus Rome?

 

Crown and Country – A History of England Through the Monarchy – David Starkey

Goodreads – Crown and Country

An exploration of the British monarchy from the retreat of the Romans up until the modern day. This compendium volume of two earlier books is fully revised and updated.

The monarchy is one of Britain’s longest surviving institutions – as well as one of its most tumultuous and revered. In this masterful book, David Starkey looks at the monarchy as a whole, charting its history from Roman times, to the Wars of the Roses, the chaos of the Civil War, the fall of Charles I and Cromwell’s emergence as Lord Protector – all the way up until the Victorian era when Britain’s monarchs came face-to-face with modernity.

This collection of biographies of Britain’s kings and queens provides an in-depth examination of what the British monarchy has meant, what it means now and what it will continue to mean.

 

My Thoughts…

I will be the first person to hold my hands up and say that my knowledge of the British monarchy is terrible. I could name a few, but could I tell you which order they came in or what order they reigned in? Not really. Aside from the infamous Henry the eighth, I couldn’t even give you an estimate timeline.

British history was rather lacking at school. Yes, we learned vaguely about certain topics, but my later years in the subject, which were studied more seriously, was focused on the world wars, the Cold War and the economic boom and bust of the 1920s and 30s. When I added this book to my TBR it was to rectify this lack of knowledge on my part.

Not only does this fulfil the desire to learn more in general about British history and monarchy, but I also like that this book features biographies from reigning Monarchs. If there was a better book to gain insight of how Britain used to be, then I haven’t met it yet. I’m really excited to pick this one up and give myself the opportunity to learn more about more local history!

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday post! Did you learn about British monarchy at school? How does your knowledge compare?

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First Lines Friday – 10/09/2021

Hi guys and welcome to my First Lines Friday post!

I was supposed to share a First Lines Friday post with you a couple of weeks ago. However, I got busy and before I knew it, it was late on Friday evening and I hadn’t even started planning the post. Well, never mind that now – because I’m here today to share with you a fantastic book that I think you will love! It is written by an author that I have come to love and has just been published within the last couple of days. If you read my blog and are familiar with recent releases, you may be able to guess today’s book.

Even if you don’t recognise it from the clues above, I hope you enjoy today’s extract.

 

“It all started with a rabbit hole,” Gabriel said.

The Last Silversaint stared into that flickering lantern flame as if into faces long dead. A hint of red smoke still bruised the air, and he could hear each thread in the lanterns wick burning to a different tune. The years passed between them then and now seemed only minutes to his mind, alight with rushing bloodhymn.

“It strikes me as funny,” he sighed, “looking back on it all. There is a pile of ash behind me so high it could touch the sky. Cathedrals in flames and cities in ruins and graves overflowing with the pious and wicked, and that’s where it truly began. He shook his head in wonder. Just a little hole in the ground.

People will remember it different, of course. The soothsingers will harp about the Prophecy, and the priests will bleat on about the Almighty’s plan. But I never met a minstrel who wasn’t a liar, coldblood. Nor holy man who wasn’t a …”

 

Empire of the Vampire – Jay Kristoff

Goodreads – Empire of the Vampire

From holy cup comes holy light;

The faithful hands sets world aright.

And in the Seven Martyrs’ sight,

Mere man shall end this endless night.

It has been twenty-seven long years since the last sunrise. For nearly three decades, vampires have waged war against humanity; building their eternal empire even as they tear down our own. Now, only a few tiny sparks of light endure in a sea of darkness.

Gabriel de León is a silversaint: a member of a holy brotherhood dedicated to defending realm and church from the creatures of the night. But even the Silver Order couldn’t stem the tide once daylight failed us, and now, only Gabriel remains.

Imprisoned by the very monsters he vowed to destroy, the last silversaint is forced to tell his story. A story of legendary battles and forbidden love, of faith lost and friendships won, of the Wars of the Blood and the Forever King and the quest for humanity’s last remaining hope:

The Holy Grail.

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Nevernight Chronicle, Jay Kristoff, comes the first book of an astonishing illustrated dark fantasy saga.

 

My Thoughts…

As a general rule, I wouldn’t say I’m a massive fan of vampire-related novels. However, I have read a couple of good ones and I’m certainly prepared to make an exception for Mr Kristoff!

I fell in love with his Nevernight series instantly and so I have high expectations for this book as well. It’s dark fantasy, which I love the idea of considering he pulled off Nevernight so well. He’s also indicated that it is definitely not a book for children. I like that it’s aimed at a more mature reader, although I know there’s going to be at least one scene in it that I’m not going to be a huge fan of. That being said, I’m willing to overlook it because I don’t want to miss out on the rest! You may have noticed that I’ve even omitted a word from today’s extract. For the sake of keeping my blog PG I’ve taken it out… but let’s just say it’s a certain four letter word beginning with C.

You know the one. If you don’t, you’re probably not meant to yet!

Some people might be put off by such language, but as someone who grew up learning the vocabulary of a sailor from a very young age, I certainly have no issues! I personally quite enjoy the crassness of it!

If you’re interested to read my thoughts on books I have already read by Jay Kristoff (his Nevernight series), you can check out my review of Nevernight here. Reviews for the later books are also available, but so I don’t share any potential spoilers accidentally, I’ve just linked my review to the first book of the series.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday post! Are you excited for Empire of the Vampire?

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First Lines Friday – 13/08/2021

Hi guys and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post!

Today’s feature is a book that I read in my teenage years. I didn’t go on to finish the series, however, the first book made a distinct impression on me! If I’m honest I think I felt I had outgrown series by the time I had gotten a few books in. It may just be that I got a little bored of it; I wouldn’t rule out picking this up again! Put it this way, I loved it so much that I frequently spent my break time “monitoring” duties (making sure the younger kids in school behaved) reading at every opportunity.

Here is today’s opening. Any ideas as to what the book might be?

 

Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world. A tall Shade lifted his head and sniffed the air. He looked human except for his crimson hair and maroon eyes.

He blinked in surprise. The message had been correct; they were here. Or was it a trap? He weighed the odds, then said icily, “Spread out; hide behind trees and bushes. Stop whoever is coming… or die.”

Around him shuffled twelve Urgals with short swords and round iron shields painted with black symbols. They resembled men with bowed legs and thick, brutish arms made for crushing. A pair of twisted horns grew above their small ears. The monsters hurried into the brush, grunting as they hid. Soon the rustling quieted and the forest was silent again.

The Shade peered around a thick tree and looked up the trail. It was too dark for any human to see, but for him the faint moonlight was like sunshine streaming between the trees; every detail was clear and sharp to his searching gaze. He remained unnaturally quiet, a long pale sword in his hand. A wire-thin scratch curved down the blade. The weapon was thin enough to slip between a pair of ribs, yet stout enough to hack through the hardest armour.


Eragon – Christopher Paolini

Goodreads – Eragon

One boy…

One dragon…

A world of adventure.

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.

Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.


My Thoughts…

Despite not finishing the series at the time, I did enjoy this book. I’ve rated it 5* on Goodreads. In particular, I think this introduction captures our attention. Who are these creatures and who are they after? Why are the stakes so high?

If you are a fan of fantasy novels then I hope this appeals to you. There are some very common fantasy tropes in these books but the nature of the genre is you can’t get away from these very easily. As I’ve grown older and read a lot more of the genre, I find that I can only stand there being two or three common ones. Any more than that just makes the story feel regurgitated and uninteresting. If you like this then it definitely won’t be an issue for you but is something to bear in mind.

If you have read them already then I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on the series as a whole. Is this something I should pick up again? I think my problem was that I tried to binge read the lot all in a reasonably short time. There are elements of the story that I felt real little immature and combining that with reading them or ones, I think I just lost interest.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday post!

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First Lines Friday – 09/07/2021

Hi guys and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post!

Today’s featured book is another book on my TBR. Before I started drafting today’s post, I had absolutely no idea which book I was going to feature. I’ll admit that today’s selection was a random scroll and finger-point on my TBR list; I think I landed on a good one too! I really like the sound of the opening lines below as an introduction to the novel.

Do you recognise this opening at all?

 

I squint at him. The Sun is in my eyes and he looks like a shadow monster.

‘I can’t’, I tell him. ‘I’ve got to get home. I’m only meant to be getting sweets from the paper shop, then straight back.’

He crouches in front of me. He is wearing a woolly hat, which is funny as it’s really warm today.

‘But your mum asked me to fetch you.’ His eyes crinkle at the corners as he smiles.

I fold my arms. When I told my head, his face blocks out the Sun.

‘You might be lying,’ I say. ‘Mummy warned me about men with sweets and puppies.’

The man laughs like Gramps does when he’s Father Christmas.

‘I know’, he says. ‘What’s she like? She is such a worrywart.’

He’s right: she is. I drop my arms to my sides.

 

 

99 Red Balloons – Elisabeth Carpenter

99 Red Balloons  – Goodreads

Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?

When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.

What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?

Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…

 

My Thoughts…

I love the sound of this book! I enjoy a good mystery and what makes it all more harrowing is that it involves children. For some that might not be an easy subject to read, however it doesn’t bother me at all. From the synopsis, there seems to be a lot to this story to sink my teeth into. I like these types of books because you’re forever guessing and second-guessing everyone’s actions and motives. It’s the kind of story that keeps your brain going long after you close the cover.

I haven’t read a book like this for quite some time, so I’m definitely looking forward to it! The last type of story I read like this was a complete hit with me and made it to my Top Reads of 2020 list. I really hope 99 Red Balloons lives up to the same expectations!

As always, I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday post! Have you read the book, or is it on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

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First Lines Friday – 04/06/2021

Hi guys and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post!

Today’s featured book is on my TBR and honestly, I cannot wait to pick it up! I’ve been holding off picking this up for various reasons explained below. But I don’t want to bore you with the preamble – shall we get into today’s featured book?

Can you guess what it is from the first lines below?

Jasnah Kholin pretended to enjoy the party, giving no indication that she intended to have one of the guests killed.

She wandered through the crowd feast hall, listening as wine greased tongues and dimmed minds. Her uncle Dalinar was in the full swing of it, rising from the high table to shout for the Parshendi to bring out their drummers. Jasnah’s brother, Elhokar, hurried to shush their Uncle – though the Alethi politely ignored Dalinar’s outburst. All save Elhokar’s wife, Aesudan, who snickered primly behind a handkerchief.

Jasnah turned away from the high table and continued through the room. She had an appointment with an assassin, and she was all too glad to be leaving the stuffy room, which stank of too many perfumes mingling. A quartet of women played the flute on a raised platform across from the lively hearth, but the music had long since grown tedious.

 

Words of Radiance – Brandon Sanderson

Words of Radiance  – Goodreads

Words of Radiance, Book Two of the Stormlight Archive, continues the immersive fantasy epic that The Way of Kings began.

Expected by his enemies to die the miserable death of a military slave, Kaladin survived to be given command of the royal bodyguards, a controversial first for a low-status “darkeyes.” Now he must protect the king and Dalinar from every common peril as well as the distinctly uncommon threat of the Assassin, all while secretly struggling to master remarkable new powers that are somehow linked to his honorspren, Syl.

The Assassin, Szeth, is active again, murdering rulers all over the world of Roshar, using his baffling powers to thwart every bodyguard and elude all pursuers. Among his prime targets is Highprince Dalinar, widely considered the power behind the Alethi throne. His leading role in the war would seem reason enough, but the Assassin’s master has much deeper motives.

Brilliant but troubled Shallan strives along a parallel path. Despite being broken in ways she refuses to acknowledge, she bears a terrible burden: to somehow prevent the return of the legendary Voidbringers and the civilization-ending Desolation that will follow. The secrets she needs can be found at the Shattered Plains, but just arriving there proves more difficult than she could have imagined.

Meanwhile, at the heart of the Shattered Plains, the Parshendi are making an epochal decision. Hard pressed by years of Alethi attacks, their numbers ever shrinking, they are convinced by their war leader, Eshonai, to risk everything on a desperate gamble with the very supernatural forces they once fled. The possible consequences for Parshendi and humans alike, indeed, for Roshar itself, are as dangerous as they are incalculable.

 

My Thoughts…

If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that Brandon Sanderson is one of my most read authors to date. Having said that, I’ve been deliberately trying not to touch this series too quickly because he still has a lot of it to write!

I read The Way of Kings a couple of years ago now, I think, and I’m itching to get back into it. So far I think he has written 4 out of 10 books in this series, so I think I can indulge in number two soon. I really love how he creates elaborate magic systems and full plotlines without confusing us as readers. For me, these books take all the boxes and reading today’s extract in preparation of this post has reminded me of that all the more!

Brandon Sanderson has a way of drawing you in, which you may have gathered from the opening line of Words of Radiance above. I didn’t really need convincing to pick this up, but for anyone who hasn’t experienced his writing before, I hope it does. He is honestly one of the best fantasy writers out there in my opinion and I hope you can give him a chance!

Have you read any books by Brandon Sanderson? Have you started the Stormlight Archives series? Let me know in the comments!

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