Friday, January 14, 2011

Top 5 opening lines from books randomly grabbed from my to-be-read pile

"Establishing goals is all right if you don't let them deprive you of interesting detours."
- Doug Larson

Getting to the bottom of my TBR (to-be-read) pile is, and isn't, my lifelong goal. Have I actually achieved something if I manage to magically read everything in it? Or am I more successful if I keep adding to it? After all, adding to the list and shaving a few off the top is all an interesting detour, right? How I decide which of the many to start on next is sometimes half the fun :) It can also be incredibly confusing to anyone watching because there is no rhyme or reason to my end choice of book. I will heap them all together and assess the titles (are they too obvious? Not obvious enough? Funny? Ridiculous? So stupid it's begging to be read/chucked out the door - sometimes both?), the covers (does it match the title? Should it match the title? Is the artwork dodgy? Is it too posed? Is it unintentionally hilarious - in which case it'll move to the head of the list?), the synopsis (is it too long? Too short? Much like a bad movie where all the best bits are in the trailer - and therefore leave you feeling horrifically shortchanged?), the closing line of the book (is it too 'twee'? Not 'twee' enough? Does it seem even vaguely realistic - in which case I will probably throw it back because hey, who needs realism, right?) and the opening line. Oh yes, the opening line. Depending on my mood, the opening line can make or break a book, as far as I'm concerned, which doesn't seem wholly fair, does it? Especially considering my mood is as changeable as the weather. Fair warning, dear authors, if your title doesn't do it, and neither does your cover then the only chance you have left to grab my attention is the opening line. For this post I do nothing more strenuous than randomly grab 20+ titles from one of my TBR piles and play favourites with opening sentences. The things I do for your (and my own) amusement, people!

Honourable mention
* The Greyfriar by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith 'Your Highness would be safer below' - why?
* A garden of vipers by Jack Kerley 'Are you sure he ran this way?' - who? And why? And how come he was running?
* The empress's new lingerie and other erotic fairy tales: bedtime stories for grown-ups by Hillary Rollins - 'Once upon a time...' - all of the fairytales of my childhood started with once upon a time although, admittedly, they were *not* of this nature

When Harry met Molly / Kieran Kramer (Historical romance)
"Dashing Lord Harry Traemore is perfectly content to live out his days in the pursuit of pleasure. But when he's named by the Prince regent as one of society's 'Impossible bachelors', Harry is drafted into a ribald romantic wager. The rules of engagement are scandalously simple: the bachelor whose mistress wins the title of 'Most Delectable Companion' gets to remain unmarried. Harry is utterly unconcerned about his status...until his latest lightskirt abandons him. Enter Lady molly Fairbanks. Harry's childhood friend actually, 'foe' is more like it - is the most unlikely companion of all. She's attractive but hot-headed, and in no mood for games. Besides, what could the self-indulgent harry possible know about what makes a woman delectable? It's time for Molly to teach him a lesson once and for all... but will lead to 'happily ever after'?" -- Publisher's description.

Opening line: Thirteen-year-old Lady Mary "Molly" Fairbanks, daughter of the widowed Earl of Sutton, seethed with emotion on a daily basis, whether she was cleaning her teeth, breaking the shell on her morning egg, or riding her favourite mare.

On monsters : an unnatural history of our worst fears / Stephen T. Asma (Nonfiction)
"Stephen Asma's On Monsters is a wide-ranging cultural and conceptual history of monsters - how they have evolved over time, what functions they have served for us, and what shapes they are likely to take in the future." -- Publisher description.

Opening line: Ever since I was a small boy I've had phobia about deep murky water, or more accurately, a fear of what might be living in such waters.

Trust me / Jeff Abbott (Adventure fiction)
Luke Dantry's helping his stepfather Henry profiling extremists. When Luke is abducted in bizarre circumstances, Henry is unable to help because he is in way over his head. So Luke has to make his own escape from the fanatics on his tail, the authorities who think he's a wanted man, and mysterious organisations who are missing ten million dollars.

Opening line: The old man had spent his entire life surrounded by unimaginable power and wealth - except for today.

Before the scandal / Suzanne Enoch
Colonel Phineas Bromley is a legend - on the battlefield and in the bedroom. Though he's won many wars, and even more hearts, nothing could prepare him for his new life. When Phin discovers that someone has been pushing his family toward ruin, he assumes the role of a legendary highwayman. Riding out in the middle of the night, hidden behind a mask, Phin heads straight into trouble... and into the arms of the ravishing girl next door. Coming face-to-face with a masked man did not frighten Alyse Donnelly as it should have. Instead, she finds him rather dashing. But her foolish heart has led her into trouble before, and helping a fugitive may mean jeopardizing her own plans, no matter how enticing his kisses. Now, as the danger grows, Alyse must make a choice between freedom... and the chance for true love.

Opening line: Lieutenant Colonel Phineas Bromley didn't expect paradise.

Bedeviled angel / Annette Blair (Paranormal romance)
At the Works Like Magick employment Agency in Salem, Massachusetts, matching clients in need with magical temps is a piece of cake, especially since sexy Chance Gordricson also happens to be heaven-sent. He's Kenya Saint-Denis's guardian angel. And when he's hired to keep an eye on her and the two surrogate children she's become saddled with, he just might fall prey to temptation.

Opening line: How could you die at a time like this?

My 'this-time-around' discard pile
* Kade: armed and dangerous by Cheyenne McCray (Contemporary romance)
* The princess in his bed: a fiery tales collection by Lila DiPasqua (Historical romance)
* Seduction becomes her by Shirlee Busbee (Historical romance)
* Tempt me, taste me, touch me by Bella Andre (Contemporary romance)
* Scandal becomes her by Shirlee Busbee (Historical romance)
* After the kiss: the notorious gentleman by Suzanne Enoch (Historical romance)
* Sweet swagger by Mike Warren (Gay fiction)
* Untraceable by Laura Griffin (Contemporary romance)
* Pemberley Ranch by Jack Caldwell (Historical fiction)
* And thereby hangs a tale by Jeffrey Archer (Short story fiction)
* Twelve by Jasper Kent (Horror/historical fiction)
* Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander: a novel by Ann Herendeen (Historical romance)
* Worth dying for by Lee Child (Adventure/crime fiction)

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