First Lines Friday (and a Grab Bag-o-Books Giveaway)

Let’s try something new today! I love to go into bookstores (there are still some bookstores open, right?), open a book, and read the first few lines. I think you can tell a lot about a book from those opening lines—the author really tries to get a hook for the story and a voice for the prose in them.
So here are some opening lines—sometimes a sentence, sometimes three—from books being released this month. At the end, share the first few lines from what you’re reading! I’ll pick one commenter to win a grab-bag o’ books from my stash—you can choose whether you prefer YA or adult or a mix. All will be urban fantasy, scifi, fantasy or paranormal romance. Let’s play!
The Vampire Diaries—The Return: Vol. 3, Midnight, by L.J. Smith
Dear Diary, I’m so frightened I can hardly hold this pen. I’m printing rather than writing in cursive, because that way I have more control. What am I terrified of, you ask? And when I say ‘of Damon’ you don’t believe the answer, not if you’d seen the few of us a few days ago.
Steel, by Carrie Vaughn
Jill shook her legs out one at a time. Rolled her shoulders. Loosened up. Rearranged her hold on her weapon once again, curling gloved fingers around the grip. It nestled into her hand like it had been molded there, the epee blade becoming an extension of her arm.
Demonglass, by Rachel Hawkins
At a normal high school, having class outside on a gorgeous May day is usually pretty awesome. It means sitting in the sunshine, maybe reading some poetry, letting the breeze blow through your hair…At Hecate Hall, aka Juvie for Monsters, it meant I was getting thrown in the pond.
Darkest Mercy, by Melissa Marr
Niall walked through the ruins of the tattoo shop. Shards of painted glass crunched under his boots. The floor was strewn with vials of ink, unopened needles, electric apparatus he couldn’t identify, and other things he’d rather not identify. The Dark King had known rage before, known grief; he’d felt helpless, felt unprepared; but he’d never before had all of those emotions converge on him at once.
Chime, by Franny Billingsley
I’ve confessed to everything and I’d like to be hanged. Now, if you please. I don’t mean to be difficult, but I can’t bear to tell my story. I can’t relive those memories—the touch of the Dead Hand, the smell of eel, the gulp and swallow of the swamp.
This Side of the Grave, by Jeaniene  Frost
The vampire pulled on the chains restraining him to the cave wall. His eyes were bright green, their glow illuminating the darkness surrounding us. “Do you really think these will hold me?” he asked, an English accent caressing the challenge.
Moon Over Soho, by Ben Aaronovitch
It’s a sad fact of modern life that if you drive long enough, soon or later you must leave London behind. If you drive northeast up the A12 you eventually come to Colchester, Britain’s first Roman capital and the first city to be burned down by that redheaded chavette from Norfolk known as Boudicca.
Demon Song, by Cat Adams
You can’t turn off intuition after you’ve spent years developing the sense, honing it to a razor’s edge. I could feel something gathering among the seemingly innocent racks of clothing. The voices of my two best friends in the world faded into a background buzz, and I found myself shifting the way I was holding the shirts I’d planned to take to the dressing room so that I could use my hands if needed.
Dead Streets, by Tim Waggoner
That night, working security at Sinsation, I learned something new. Just because you’re dead doesn’t mean you can’t hurt.
What’s your current read’s first line? Leave a comment to enter for the book grab-bag: +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for Tweet or RT. Go!
This entry was posted in Blog by Suzanne Johnson. Bookmark the permalink.

About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

48 thoughts on “First Lines Friday (and a Grab Bag-o-Books Giveaway)

  1. If this was The Lord of the Rings and I had a smart British voice like Cate Blanchett, I could tell you the background of the events of that fall in a really suspenseful way. And you’d be straining to hear the rest.

    blog and twitter follower

    Nicole.Zoltack AT

  2. “The dream was as familiar as always, but that didn’t keep my heart from practically beating out of my chest from the anticipation of seeing him again.”

    “Meant To Be” by Tiffany King

    +1 comment
    +1 twitter follower
    +1 GFC follower

    Fun contest, Suzanne! 🙂

  3. A ha! You’ve got Moon Over Soho on your list already (that’s the one I’m reading right at this moment). Here’s the next book in line, though:

    A Winter Haunting by Dan Simmons

    Forty-one years after I died, my friend Dale returned to the farm where I was murdered. It was a very bad winter.

    (I’m a blog follower)

  4. This is from Paranormalcy by Kiersten White.

    “Wait-did you- You just yawned!” The vampire’s arms, raised over his head in the classic Dracula pose, dropped to his sides. He pulled his exaggerated white fangs back behind his lips. “What, imminent death isn’t exciting enough for you?”

    Had to write all of that in. 🙂
    If I win, I would like a mix of both adult and YA.

    +1 Comment
    +1 Twitter follower – @dimitribelikov
    +1 Blog follower – dimitribelikov
    +1 Retweet –!/dimitribelikov/status/48786258817859585

    Thank you for such a great giveaway!


  5. Labyrinth by Kat Richardson

    Maybe he should have been more worried about the ghost detector going off. At the time it had seemed pretty exciting to have it work at all, but afterward it seemed as if the squawking of the alarm had presaged something much worse than a pack of ghosts. After Harper left town, things went to hell.

    +4: comment, follower, follower, retweeted.


  6. Hey Suz~~

    I had to share this one with you…

    They ate Eidelberg.

    Dammit! Neeta thought, I was still training him.

    From: Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator by Karina Fabian

    And this one…

    Just because you’re not paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

    From: Demons Not Included by Cheyenne McCray

  7. “Sovay stood to her feet, reaching for the cloud-speckled sky, letting out a long moan as the stiffness stretched from her lean body. Turning in a slow circle, her deep green eyes searched the boundaries of her world, drinking in the landscape she had memorized since birth.”
    ~ Escaping Destiny by Jeffrey Pierce

    Following blog and Twitter 🙂

    … And thank you for the list! My teen and I often share books, and that adds a few to my “to-read” list!

    ~ Briana

  8. I’m reading halfway Hexed by Kimberly Frost.

    The reason I don’t normally bother to plan my schedule is that something unexpected always seems to come up and throw it off. That Friday when I got kidnapped was a prime example.

    +1 comment
    +1 blog follower
    sgiden at

  9. “There are days when I believe I have given up hope of ever seeing you again, of ever being free, or master of my own fate.” (+1 comment)

    I am a follower on both GFC and NetworkedBlogs. (+1 follower)

    I am a twitter follower, @kdaze10 (+1 twitter follower)

    I retweeted the giveaway on my twitter. (+1 RT)


  10. From Cherie Priest’s Bloodshot:

    You wouldn’t believe some of the weird sh*t people pay me to steal.
    Old things, new things. Expensive things, rare things, gross things.
    Lately it’s been naughty things.

    +1 for comment
    +1 for blog follow
    +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson
    +1 for Tweet or RT.

  11. “I was born on the night of samhain, when the barrier between the worlds is whisper thin and when magic, old magic, sings it’s heady and sweetsong to anyone who cares to hear it”

    +1 for comment
    +1 for blog follow
    +1 for twitter follow (@CaitLomas)
    +1 for RT

  12. From Yours For The Taking by Robin Kaye:
    ‘Karma Kincaid, will you marry me?’

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

  13. From Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead:

    “I dont like cages.”

    +1 comment
    +1 follow blog
    +1 follow twitter (andrealynnt)
    +1 retweet

  14. For a Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang:

    “Cat piss and cabbages.”

    +1 comment
    +1 blog follower
    +1 twitter follower


  15. From The Dangerous Viscount by Miranda Neville:
    “It all began with a glimpse of stocking.”

    +1 comment
    +1 blog follower (Mariee)
    +1 twitter follower (marieimy)
    +1 RT

    marieimy (at) gmail (dot) com

  16. I’m currently reading Hallowed Circle (Persephone Alcmedi #2) by Linda Robertson.

    First sentence…..

    “What do you mean, you nominated me?” I held my breath. (The ‘I’ is Persephone speaking.)

    I’m about halfway through the book. I like the series so far.

    +1 comment
    +1 blog follower
    +1 twitter follower (@lyssad87)
    +1 retweet



  17. From The Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer:

    spiraling down
    Into. The. Sea?
    spiraling slowly down and crashing into the open sea?

    Morning, and the voice has already begun. It was speaking even before I awoke. It has never stopped.

    I love the book so far!!

    Thanks, Suzanne.
    +1 comment
    +1 blog follow
    +1 twitter follow

  18. “Wanting her was dangerious.”
    from A Werewolf in Manhattan

    +1 comment

    Kasuranna at yahoo dot com

  19. First 2 lines from The Help by Kathryn Stockett:

    Mae Mobley was born on an early Sunday morning in August, 1960. A church baby we like to call it.

    follower (She)
    twitter follower (smg5775)

  20. The first line of the book I am reading is:
    A camera winks at me from high in the bleachers like we’re sharing a secret.

    It’s from Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler.

    +1 comment
    +1 follower katieb206
    +1 twitter @katieb206

  21. First three lines from My Soul to Keep by Rachel Vincent.

    THE WHOLE THING STARTED with a wasted jock and a totaled car. Or so I thought. But as usual, the truth was a bit more complicated….

    +1 comment
    +1 twitter follower


  22. “Welcome to Morganville. You’ll never want to leave.”

    Ghost Town by Rachel Caine

    +1-Blog Follower
    +1-Twitter Follower


  23. When Elena told people she was a vampire hunter, their first reaction was an inevitable gasp, followed by, “You go around sticking those sharp stakes in their evil putrid hearts?”

    Angel’s Blood by Nalini Singh

    +1 for comment
    +1 for blog follow
    +1 for Twitter follow (tialessa)
    +1 for Retweet

    tialessa [at] yahoo [dot] com

  24. “It’s time.” The voice was clear. Smiling to herself, Camille felt a sublime relief as she finished pushing the last small button through its loops. She stared at herself in the tiny mirror and adjusted her veil.”

    Devious – Lisa Jackson

    +1 for comment
    +1 for blog follower
    +1 for Twitter follower
    +1 for Tweet –!/DonnaS1/status/48977804712357888

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  25. Benny Imura couldn’t hold a job so he took to killing.

    I’d love the YA books please.

    +1 blog follower
    +1 comment
    +1 twitter follower @Brittleblue


  26. “Daddy said, “Let Mom go first.”
    Mom wanted me to go first. I tink it was because she was afraid that they were contained and frozen, I’d walk away, return to life rather than consign myself to that cold, clear box. But Daddy insisted.”

    Across the universe by Beth Revis

    awesome giveaway! 😉

    +1 Comment
    +1 Blog follower
    +1 Twitter Follower (@thejay2xa)
    +1 tweet:!/TheJay2xA/status/49062424774590464

    email: fallendream03(at)gmail(d0t)com

  27. IWAS DRAPEDover the arm of one of the most beautiful men I’d ever seen, and he was staring into my
    Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris.

    I am a follower via GFC as Diana
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    artgiote at gmail dot com

  28. From Charlotte Brontë’s JAYNE EYRE:

    “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. We had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but since dinner (Mrs Reed, when there was no company dined early) the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so penetrating, that further outdoor exercise was now out of the question.”

    Awesome post. ; D Just came across your blog on SavvyAuthors.

  29. “Elena gripped the balcony railing and stared down at the gorge that fell away with jagged promise beneath.”

    +twitter follower

  30. Ooh cool idea and awesome contest! The first lines from all these books have me lusting to get my hands on some 🙂

    This is from Falling Under by Gwen Hayes:

    “Everything changed the night I saw the burning man fall from the sky.

    I’d been reading well past a reasonable hour, the white eyelet quilt tented over my iPhone to block any escaping light even though my father was already tucked away in bed dreaming of ways to make me safer.”

    +1 Comment
    +1 Follower
    +1 Twitter @peacelovebooksx
    +1 Tweeted –!/peacelovebooksx/status/49796832624246785


  31. “Welcome, dear reader, as you plunge into the thrilling pages of our melodrama where you will find adventures of which you never dreamt! If, like any reasonable person, you believe that time is a river sweeping away all that is born towards the darkest shore, in these pages you will discover that the past can be revisited, that mankind can retrace his footsteps thanks to a machine that can travel through time. Your emotion and astonishment are guaranteed.”

    from “The Map of Time” by Felix J. Palma (ARC) – A riveting, and thrilling, book about Victorian London incorporating an amalgamation of interesting characters such as H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Jack the Ripper and Joseph Merrick (Elephant Man).

    +1 Comment
    +1 Blog Follow: Enamored Soul (GFC)
    +1 Twitter Follow: @inluvwithbookz
    +1 Tweet:!/inluvwithbookz/status/52252117049683968

    Thank you so much for this amazing giveaway! 😀

    Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com
    Twitter: @inluvwithbookz

  32. “I would have never followed this path all the way down to its inevitable conclusion if it weren’t for two questions.”–Homemade Haunting by Rob Stennett

    +1 Comment
    +1 Follower (GFC-Amy Sondova)
    +1 Twitter (@amysondova)

    Amy // artsyrockerchick at aim dot com