What Am I Reading? Raven Black

I am currently reading my first Ann Cleeves novel. I love the PBS show Vera which is based on one of Ann Cleeves’ book series. This book, Raven Black, is the first book in Ann Cleeves’ Shetland Island series. Have you read any of her books or watched the TV series?

Here’s the first paragraph:

Chapter One

Twenty past one in the morning on New Year’s Day. Magnus knew the time because of the fat clock, his mother’s clock, which squatted on the shelf over the fire. In the corner the raven in the wicker cage muttered on the shelf over the fire. In the corner the raven in the wicker cage muttered and croaked in its sleep. Magnus waited. The room was prepared for visitors, the fire banked with peat and on the table a bottle of whisky and the ginger cake he’d bought in Safeway’s the last time he was on Lerwick. He could feel himself dozing bur he didn’t want to go to bed in case someone should call at the house. If there was a light at the window someone might comer full of laughter and drams and stories. For eight years nobody had visited to wish him happy new year, but still he waited just in case.

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?


firstparagraphEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.

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A Look At My Week

Hi everyone. Thanks for joining me. I’ve had a super-busy reading week. I read three books plus half of another book. They are all by the same authors, Catheerine Coulter and J.T. Ellison. I got myself into this whole reading mania by not paying close attention when choosing a book on NetGalley. I saw The Devil’s Triangle by Catherine Coulter and the discussion about it being a part of the “Brit in the FBI” series. I saw this as the beginning of a series. Imagine my surprise when I learned this was the fourth book! Since I’d already agreed to read The Devil’s Triangle I started in on it. Right away I really liked it so I decided I’d pause and go back and read the first three books. I’m really glad I did. Let me tell you about them.

The “Brit” in the FBI is Nicholas Drummond, a Scotland Yard Detective Chief Inspector. He’s quite the dashing dude, often compared to James Bond. He is paired with Michaela (Mike) Caine. Mike is not a wimp. She’s the female version of James Bond. Nicholas and Mike are good partners and there’s a hint of a spark between them. They are the main characters in each novel, but there are a couple of other FBI agents from Ms. Coulter’s previous FBI books that show up occasionally. Here’s a summary of each of the first three novels:

The Final Cut introduces Nicholas and Michaela. They meet each other in New York and work together when the major diamond in the Queen’s crown is stolen. It’s on loan to a New York museum. Its an intricately planned theft. In addition there’s an ancient story and a subplot involving the history of the diamond and features all the thieves. Very interesting. The two FBI agents find themselves up against a very crafty thief, the Fox. At the end Nicholas is asked to join the FBI.

The Lost Key  reads like a complicated spy novel with plenty of action. It all starts with the killing of a simple ancient-book seller. It turns out that was just a cover. The man was part of a secret international cartel of highly placed men. Their goal has been to find a sunken U-boat that is hiding gold bullion and a secret scientific formula that could lead to someone’s world domination. There’s also a super-evil guy who has no qualms about taking advantage of all of this.

The End Game is just plain scary because it involves the bombing of U.S. power grids and oil refineries. One group is responsible, but the FBI is having a hard time zeroing in on them. Fortunately Nicholas is a world-class hacker whose skills are well known among other key hackers. That and good detective work will hopefully help the FBI stop them before a rumored big job is launchrd and the Vice President is assassinated.


In addition to all that reading, I watched the fifth season of Vera staring Brenda Blethyn. I borrowed the Dvd’s from my local library. Someone at the library must be a big Ann Cleeves fan because the library has purchased quite a few copies of Ann Cleeves books (the two main series) and Dvd’s for the two TV shows based on Ann Cleeves books.

The stories for Vera are always terrific – complicated and creative, but there are two things I really love: the North Umberland scenary and the amazing Brenda Blethyn. She has such a unique way of getting suspects to open up to her. It’s hard to believe she is the same actree who played Mrs. Bennet in my favorite movie version of Pride and Prejudice (the 2005 version with Kiera Knightly). There are two more seasons of Vera, according to IMDb, but I’ll have to wait for those. The library doesn’t have them. Does anyone know if they’re been shown on PBS yet?

That’s what my week was liker. What have you been reading and/or watching? Anything you canrecommend?

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Wondrous Words #387

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

While reading The Atlantic Monthly I saw these new words:

1. illiberalism: The preconditions are present in the U.S. today. Here’s the playbook Donald Trump could use to set the country down a path toward illiberalism.

I figured I knew the meaning of this word, but I wasn’t sure. I checked the dictionary and found that illiberalism (i(l)ˈlib(ə)rəl) means opposed to liberal principles; restricting freedom of thought or behavior. Now that I think about it, I should have known it.


2. kleptocracy: Viktor Orbán of Hungary, the late Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, and Jacob Zuma of South Africa all turned their countries away from liberal democracy and toward kleptocracy.

Kleptocracy is the type of government that uses power to steal the country’s resources.


That’s it for me this week. I hope you found some words worth celebrating. Feel free to join Wondrous Words Wednesday. Be sure to visit Kathy for the details.

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What Am I Reading? The Devil’s Triangle

Right now I’m on a marathon-read of Catherine Coulter’s latest series: A Brit In the FBI. The books are quite good mystery/thrillers. I’ve read the first two books and am now on Books #3 and #4 – The Devil’s Triangle.  There’s a connection to something by Leonardo DaVinci. The opening features one of the world’s best jewel thieves, although I suspect she’s now focusing in on the DaVinci item:

Chapter One

Kitsune stood on the Rialto Bridge and watched the sun flash against the waves of the lagoon. She enjoyed the early mornings in Venice, before the summer crowds flooded into the city. She watched pigeons peck the ground for yesterday’s crumbs, watched a row of tethered gondolas bob in the heavy sea swell. There would be a storm soon—she tasted it in the air. She looked at her watch. It was time to go. Her client had instructed her to take a water taxi to the San Zaccaria dock, then walk to the house.

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?


firstparagraphEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.


Posted in First Paragraph | 12 Comments