A Vastly Underrated First Line Friday

One of my favorite writers of all time is Daniel Handler. Like many people who say this about an author, I’ve read pretty much everything he’s ever written. As a kid, I fell into his unsettling and extremely popular A Series of Unfortunate Events thanks to a suggestion by a well-placed librarian. As an adult, I’ve devoured his novels, like The Basic Eight, and short stories, including those collected in Adverbs. But with an author who’s so prolific, there’s bound to be a few books that don’t quite garner the attention as his most popular ones. So for today’s First Line Friday, I’m sharing an opening from one of his books that I feel is vastly underrated.

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Peachy Scream by Anna Gerard

Nina Fleet is happy to welcome a troupe of Shakespearean performers into her bed and breakfast—mostly because she didn’t realize Harry Westcott, her sometimes enemy, serves as their director. As the campy group settles in, though, Harry quickly becomes the least of her worries. Backstage drama, personal squabbles, and a series of pranks regularly derail rehearsals. However, the production is stopped cold when the lead actor is found murdered. But the show must go on, and it’s up to Nina to find the killer among a reticent cast before she’s forced to make an untimely exit herself.

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Can’t Wait for … Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Cozies. Cozies. Cozies. I feel like cozies are taking over my life this week. Whether I’m reading them, writing about them, or talking about them—they’re everywhere. But honestly, how can I complain about that when there are so many great upcoming releases? I’m constantly on the lookout for new series, because I really enjoy starting cozies right as the first book comes out. Sure, I also have no problem speeding through twenty books in anticipation of a future, interesting-looking sequel, but there’s some benefit to actually hopping on the cozy train right at the first stop. And this week? I’ve found the start to a new series that I just cannot wait to read.

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There’s Been a Murder! Twenty-Two Autumnal Cozy Mystery Covers

Leaves are changing. Night is falling faster. Pumpkin are finding their way onto porches. It’s finally cool enough that I can open my windows and let some fresh air into my home. Yup, fall is definitely on its way, which is why my TBR pile is currently being stacked with cozy mysteries. For me, there’s nothing like wrapping myself in a blanket and dipping into a cozy novel on a cool fall evening. So for this Top Ten Tuesday, here are some cozy covers that put me right in the fall spirit. As it turns out, though, it was hard to weed items down to only ten, so this week’s list is a double dose (and then some).

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Home for the Holidays by Sara Richardson

If the Buchanan sisters can agree on one thing, it’s their love for Juniper Inn. Their childhood memories are filled with them baking cookies, playing in the snow, and having fun with their dear Aunt Sassy. So when each receives a letter from Sassy, asking them to spend one last Christmas with her, how can they say no? However, a lot has changed in the fifteen years since they last visited the inn—and not always for the better. Though their reunion stirs up old drama and new feelings, with family, love, and a hint of Christmas magic, each sister might just realize exactly what they need in their lives.

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Love Me Like You Do by Aimee Brown

It was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, but when her fiance leaves her at the alter, Parker walks right out the door … and straight into traffic. Thank goodness Liam, a good-looking stranger with a southern twang, was there with his Jeep. Sure, he wasn’t exactly planning on whisking a woman in a wedding dress off to the emergency room, but Liam feels strangely taken by her—and she might just feel the same way about him. If the two can navigate broken hearts and guarded pasts, they just might turn a chance encounter into a beautiful future.

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A Regrettable First Line Friday

Is there anything better for tension in a book than when a character thinks they’ve made the wrong decision? That moment when they realize not everything is going quite according to plan and they’re put in a difficult, sometimes seemingly impossible, situation. For today’s First Line Friday, while Serafina might be having a moment of regret, I didn’t regret one second of reading these lines—or the rest of the book, for that matter.

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Can’t Wait for … Aunt Dimity & the Enchanted Cottage by Nancy Atherton

Last year, I began reading the Aunt Dimity series of cozy mysteries by Nancy Atherton. I had been hesitant to check out the first book, Aunt Dimity’s Death, not because I thought I wouldn’t like it, but because I thought I’d love it. Atherton has been dreaming up adventures for Lori Shepherd and her otherworldly journal since 1992, and twenty-four books later, she’s still going strong. Knowing me, if I liked the first book, I’d want to read them all—and quickly. Well, I adored the first one, and, almost a year later, I’m about halfway through the series. But thanks to a new release coming next year, it looks like I might have to pick up the pace.

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Little Bookshop of Murder by Maggie Blackburn

Summer Merriweather thought she was done with Brigid’s Island, North Carolina. Embarrassed by her mom’s beach-read themed bookstore, she’s spent her adult life toiling in real literature and building up her reputation as a Shakespeare scholar. However, when her mother, Hildy, dies of a suspected heart attack, Summer rushes back to the island for the funeral with plans to leave as soon as possible. But while looking through her inherited bookshop with thoughts of selling, Summer comes across a note: “Sell the bookstore or die.” Could Hildy have actually been murdered? Summer quickly discovers there are more than a few possible suspects, and she’ll have to crack the case unless she wants to become the starring character in a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.

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