Tag: First Lines Friday

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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First Lines Friday – 14/05/2021

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

Today’s featured book is a non-fiction memoir, quite unlike most of the books on my TBR at present. That said, I’m looking forward to trying something new and I think there is a lot I can take away from this particular book.

Can you guess what it is from the excerpt below? Here is today’s First Lines Friday feature: –

Having been born a freeman, and for more than 30 years enjoyed the blessings of liberty in a free state-and having at the end of that time been kidnapped and sold into slavery, where I remained, until happily rescued in the month of January, 1853, after a bondage of 12 years – it has been suggested that an account of my life and fortunes would not be uninteresting to the public.

Since my return to liberty, I have not failed to perceive the increasing interest throughout the northern states, in regards to the subject of slavery. Works of fiction, professing to portray its features in their more pleasing as well as more repugnant aspects, have been circulated to an extent unprecedented, and, as I understand, have created a fruitful topic of comment and discussion.

I can speak of Slavery only so far as it came under my own observation-only so far as I have known and experienced it in my own person. My object is, to give a candid and truthful statement of facts: to repeat the story of my life, without exaggeration, leaving it for others to determine, whether even the pages of fiction present a picture of more cruel wrong or a severer bondage.

 

 

Twelve Years a Slave – Solomon Northup

Twelve Years a Slave – Goodreads

Twelve Years a Slave, sub-title: Narrative of Solomon Northup, citizen of New-York, kidnapped in Washington city in 1841, and rescued in 1853, from a cotton plantation near the Red River in Louisiana, is a memoir by Solomon Northup as told to and edited by David Wilson. It is a slave narrative of a black man who was born free in New York state but kidnapped in Washington, D.C., sold into slavery, and kept in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana. He provided details of slave markets in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans, as well as describing at length cotton and sugar cultivation on major plantations in Louisiana.

 

My Thoughts…

Slavery is seen as an old practice. Barbaric, cruel and utterly unspeakable and yet to say that slavery does not exist today would be false. Whilst I would like to think that stories such as Solomon Northup‘s do not happen today, I’m not very optimistic. It is only by educating ourselves that we can prevent history repeating itself.

Twelve Years a Slave is a classic, non-fiction memoir – a combination I don’t read very often. However, it is for that reason that I am excited to pick up this book! Will it be an easy read? Doubtful. But still, I don’t intend to shy away from it either. I read for fun and I can read to be challenged and I think there is a lot I can learn about the truth of slavery and racism from this book.

Have you read Twleve Years a Slave? Did you enjoy it, and did you learn from it? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experience of the book so please let me know in the comments!

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First Lines Friday – 23/04/2021

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

I’m back to posting my First Lines Friday feature on a regular basis and I am thrilled to be sharing today’s featured book with you. Today’s feature was actually inspired by the conversation I had at work today. We have just come out of lockdown this week and I’ve enjoyed being back in the office and able to have a chat with my colleagues. I quite often end up having bookish chats with my boss. It’s quite a small company and we all know each other really well. He knows about my blog and how much I read and we often talk about our current reads or compare notes on books we have both read.

Today we ended up talking about a book series we are both part way through. It’s written by a very well-known author. The conversation reminded me of how much I am enjoying the particular miniseries of which today’s featured book is a part of. We both enjoy the series as a whole for it’s lightheartedness and satirical nature. I love the silliness and laugh out loud humour, particularly from the characters introduced in the below quote.

Here is today’s First Lines Friday feature: –

 

The wind howled. Lightning stabbed at the Earth erratically, like an inefficient assassin. Thunder rolled back and forth across the dark, rain-lashed hills.

The night was as black as the inside of a cat. It was the kind of night, you could believe, on which gods move men as though they were pawns on the chessboard of fate. In the middle of this elemental storm a fire gleamed among the dripping furze bushes like the madness in a weasel’s eye. It illuminated three hunched figures. As the cauldron bubbled an eldritch voice shrieked: “When shall we three meet again?”

There was a pause.

Finally another voice said, in far more ordinary tones: “Well, I can do next Tuesday.”

Through the fathomless deeps of space swims the star turtle Great A’Tuin, bearing on its back the four giant elephants who carry on their shoulders the mass of the Discworld. A tiny sun and moon spin around them, on a complicated orbit to induce seasons, so probably nowhere else in the multiverse is it sometimes necessary for an elephant to cock a leg and allow the sun to go past.

Exactly why this should be may never be known. Possibly the Creator of the universe got bored with all the usual business of axial inclination, albedos and rotational velocities, and decided to have a bit of fun for once.

Wyrd Sisters – Terry Pratchett

Wyrd Sisters – Goodreads

Kingdoms wobble, crowns topple and knives flash on the magical Discworld as the statutory three witches meddle in royal politics. The wyrd sisters battle against frightful odds to put the rightful king on the throne. At least, that’s what they think…

 

My Thoughts…

I love Terry Pratchett. And it was actually his Discworld novels that got me into reading regularly and ultimately into blogging as well. His satirical writing style was something that I came to depend on at that time.

The witches series is my favourite, with the death series not far behind. Truth be told, there aren’t many that I haven’t enjoyed. They all have their good elements, although some shine brighter than others and this can definitely be said of the witches series in my opinion.

The antics they get up to are hilarious, but probably the thing that draws me to the stories the most is Granny Weatherwax herself. I absolutely love her character! She is hilarious, sarcastic and truth be told a bit of a bossy boots, but she is a real driving force to be reckoned with. I wouldn’t like to cross her, put it that way!

I hope you enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday feature! Have you read Wyrd Sisters, or any of the other Discworld novels? If not, does this intro entice you to give it a go? Let me know in the comments!

 

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First Lines Friday – 02/04/2021

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

I’m back to posting my First Lines Friday feature on a regular basis and I am thrilled to be sharing today’s featured book with you. It will probably surprise you that this is something I have read and enjoyed previously, as it doesn’t fall into my typical genre choice. I’m not a big reader of chick-lit, however this book is absolutely hilarious and I loved it! I first picked this up as a young teenager from my school library. Although I didn’t finish it all before I handed it back, it stuck with me enough to make me get myself a copy and read it again later. I hope you enjoy today’s opening lines as much as I did!

Do you recognise this introduction, or more likely, can you relate to it?

 

1:37 am: How did I get here? Can someone please tell me that? Not in this kitchen, I mean in this life. It is the morning of the school carol concert and I am hitting mince pies. No, let us be quite clear about this, I am distressing mince pies, an altogether more demanding and subtle process.

Discarding the Sainsbury luxury packaging, I winkle the pies out of their foil cups, place them on a chopping board and bring down a rolling pin on their blameless, floury faces. This is not as easy as it sounds, believe me. Hit the pies too hard and they drop a kind of fat-lady curtsy, skirts of pastry bulging out at the sides and the fruit starts to ooze. But with a firm, downward motion – imagine enough pressure to crush a small beetle – you can start a crumbly little landslide, giving the pastry pleasing home-made appearance. And home-made is what I’m after here. Home is where the heart is. Home is where the good mother is, baking for her children.

I Don’t Know How She Does It – Allison Pearson 

I Don’t Know How She Does It – Goodreads

Delightfully smart and heartbreakingly poignant, Allison Pearson’s smash debut novel has exploded onto bestseller lists as “The national anthem for working mothers.” Hedge-fund manager, wife, and mother of two, Kate Reddy manages to juggle nine currencies in five time zones and keep in step with the Teletubbies. But when she finds herself awake at 1:37 a.m. in a panic over the need to produce a homemade pie for her daughter’s school, she has to admit her life has become unrecognizable. With panache, wisdom, and uproarious wit, I Don’t Know How She Does It brilliantly dramatizes the dilemma of every working mom.

 

My Thoughts…

Having read I Don’t Know How She Does It, I can only look to role models like my mum and marvel at how they managed so well. Now that I’m a twenty-something-year-old woman I would like to say that I’m a bit less of a burden on my parents… Although perhaps not. I’m not going to ask! The prospect of having to spend so much time and energy keeping my head above water as a working mum is daunting. However, it is something I would like to do one day if I can. I think children are a reward in themselves – even if they can be trying at times (sorry mum)!

I don’t think I could not go to work, at least not for any length of time. But still, it’s a lot to manage and if anyone ever needs convincing of that I honestly stress you need to pick up this book. Kate Reddy deals with all these trials and tribulations on a daily basis. Her sense of humour is absolutely fantastic and it is because of the humour that I love this book! As I said, chick-lit isn’t normally something I would pick up and read. However, I’m glad that I made the exception for this one!

I hope you enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday feature! Have you read I Don’t Know How She Does It? If not, does this intro entice you to give it a go? Let me know in the comments!

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First Lines Friday – 19/03/2021

Hi guys and welcome to today’s first First Lines Friday post for a number of months!

It has been a long time since I posted this series in any regularity and that is something I’m looking to change. I really enjoy featuring these posts as they great fun to write (I confess they’re also quite easy to write!) But most of all give me the opportunity to allow the featured book to speak for itself!

For me, the first impression of a book comes from the opening pages. More important than the cover, the blurb and even the author who wrote it; the opening paragraph will make or break a book for me. I can’t get on with the narrative voice that’s a significant problem. I’m open to trying a lot of new things and so it’s all the more reason why the first impression counts.

Today’s featured book really does speak for itself and paves the way for a fantastic series I have come to love. I’m sure there are many people out there who also will have read and loved the series, but if you haven’t, it’s a pleasure to introduce you. So, without further ado, here are the opening lines to today’s featured novel.

 

People often shit themselves when they die.

Their muscles slack and their souls flutter free and everything else just… slips out. For all their audience’s love of death, the playwrights seldom mention it. When our hero breathes his last in his heroine’s arms, they call no attention to the stain leaking across his tights, or how the stink makes her eyes water as she leans in for her farewell kiss.

I mention this by way of warning, oh, my gentlefriends, that your narrator shares no such restraint. And if the unpleasant realities of bloodshed turn your insides to water, be advised now that the pages in your hands speak of a girl who was to murder as maestros are to music. Who did to happy ever afters what a sawblade does to skin.

She is dead herself, now – words both the wicked and the just would give an eyeteeth smile to hear. A republic in ashes behind her. A city of bridges and bones laid at the bottom of the sea by her hand. And yet I’m sure she’d still find a way to kill me if she knew I put these words to paper. Open me up and leave me for the hungry Dark. But I think someone should at least try to separate her from the lies told about her. Through her. By her.

Someone who knew her true.

A girl some called Pale Daughter. Or Kingmaker. Or Crow. But most often, nothing at all. A killer of killers, whose tally of endings only the goddess and I truly know. And was she famous or infamous for it at the end? All this death? I confess I could never see the difference. But then, I’ve never seen things the way you have.

Never truly lived in the world you call your own.

Nor did she, really.

I think that’s why I loved her.

 

Do you recognise this intro at all? If not, here are the details of the book! 

 

Nevernight – Jay Kristoff 

Nevernight

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff | Goodreads

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

 

I hope you enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday feature! Have you read Nevernight? If not, does this intro make you want to pick up the book? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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