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Well, hello there and welcome to another edition of Book Beginnings.  Today, I am bringing you the first lines from “His Majesty’s Hope” by Susan Elia MacNeal which is the third in the Maggie Hope mystery series.

“Wannsee-Berlin, April 1941

The urn the ashes came in was beautiful-shiny and black, with an enamel swastika on one side.  It was small, so very small, Jens Hartmann thought.  How could is possibly hold the remains of his son?”

I read the first Maggie Hope book on a whim and really liked it so, of course, I had to keep reading.  Ms. Hope is a mathematician turned spy by way of being Winston Churchill’s secretary.  In this book, we learn the reason that Maggie’s bosses wanted her to become part of a secret intelligence group during World War II and there are so many twists and turns to her story. 

Ms. MacNeal weaves a great tale of the fictional spy with historical facts, locations and characters.  I can’t wait to read the next one!

Please join me at Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings.

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Today, I bring you “Insurgent” by Veronica Roth which is the second in the Divergent trilogy.  Here are the first lines:

“I wake with his name in my mouth.  Will.  Before I open my eyes, I watch him crumple to the pavement again. Dead.  My doing.”

This is Tris speaking of what happened at the end of the first book.  She did, indeed, kill Will during the simulation while he was being controlled by the Erudite faction.  The Erudites were trying to steal important information from the government or, at least, that is one of the possibilities of their actions. 

“Insurgent” continues the story of Tris who is a Divergent and doesn’t really fit into any of the government factions which makes her a dangerous and valuable commodity.  She must deal with fear, grief, and unknown enemies to help save the remainder of her family and friends.

Please join me at Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings.

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Maybe it is because I am Southern myself, but I feel that certain Southern authors have a way of putting words together that are kind of like the South itself: warm, smooth, and colorful all at the same time.  One of my favorite contemporary Southern authors is Joshilyn Jackson and I highly recommend all of her books.  Today, I am bringing you the first lines of “Someone Else’s Love Story”:

“I fell in love with William Ashe at gunpoint, in a Circle K.  It was on a Friday afternoon at the tail end of a Georgia summer so ungodly hot the air felt like it had all been boiled red.  We were both staring down the barrel of an ancient, creaky .32 that could kill us just as dead as a really nice gun could.”

These are the opening words of Shandi, a 21 year old young woman trying to raise her three year old genius son.  Ms. Jackson has such a special way of developing her story and characters and the characters of this book are no exception.  From Shandi, her son Natty, her mother, her father, her best friend Walcott to William Ashe and his best friend, Paula, all of these people have flaws but care about each other in such special ways.

Please join me at Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings.

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Please join me today over at Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings.  Feel free to join in with all of us book loving bloggers by sharing the first lines of a book you have read and your opinion about it.  My book today is “Moon Over Manifest” by Clare Vanderpool:

“Santa Fe Railway

  Southeast Kansas

  May 27, 1936

The movement of the train rocked me like a lullaby.  I closed my eyes to the dusty countryside and imagined the sign I knew only from stories.  The one just outside of town with big blue letters: MANIFEST: A TOWN WITH A RICH PAST AND A BRIGHT FUTURE.”

This is one of my happy accidents that I found on our library’s eBook page and I was drawn in by the description.  I think it is actually a young adult book, but that doesn’t matter because it includes rich storytelling that pulls you in. 

It tells the story of Abilene Tucker who is sent by her father to live with a friend of his while he searches for work.  In meeting the people of Manifest, Abilene is able to draw out their stories and mend a long of broken hearts along the way. 

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As y’all well know, I am not a huge fan of Young Adult fiction.  I guess I had enough teenage angst while I was actually a teenager, but there are a few series that have drawn me in.  The Hunger Games trilogy and Harry Potter series are amazing reads and would stand up against any other fiction books out there. 

I had heard a lot about the Divergent series by Veronica Roth and decided to give it a try.  Here are the first lines from the first book, “Divergent”:

“There is one mirror in my house.  It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs.  Our faction allows me to stand in front of it on the second day of every third month, the day my mother cuts my hair.”

Thus begins the story of Beatrice “Tris” Prior who is at the age to be tested and pick a “faction” to which she will belong the rest of her life.  Things don’t go quite the way she expects when she learns she is a “Divergent” during her test. 

What does that mean exactly? Well, you will have to read the book to find out and I hope you do. 

Please join me at Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings.

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Along with thousands of other readers, I am a huge fan of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  While impatiently waiting for “Written In My Own Heart’s Blood” to come out, I read her novella “A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” which tells the back story of Roger McKenzie’s parents.

It was two weeks yet to Halloween, but the gremlins were already at work.”

Roger’s father, Jerry, is a Royal Air Force pilot during World War II and the “gremlins” are hard at work on the plane he is flying.  This short story is a great addition to the Outlander series and fills in quite a few blanks about Roger’s life.  It just wasn’t long enough!

Please join me at Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings.

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C & I both love to read and absolutely LOVE checking out eBooks from our local library.  Many books I have read in the last year or two were happy surprises I found while browsing the online selections.  Today’s book is one of those and it is “Mr. Churchill’s Secretary: A Maggie Hope Mystery” by Susan Elia MacNeal.

Here is the first line:

“Half an hour before Diana Snyder died, she tidied up her desk in the typists’ office of the Cabinet War Rooms.”

This book is set in England during the Blitz of World War II and tells the story of an extremely intelligent woman, Maggie Hope,  stuck working as a typist to do her part during the great war.  Needless to say, Ms. Hope finds herself in the middle of a mystery while working as Winston Churchill’s secretary. 

I am a sucker for historical fiction whether it is set in the 1740s, 1840s or 1940s and this was a great book.  This is also a series (Yay for series!) so I plan on reading more of the Maggie Hope books.

Please join me at Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings.

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