First Sentences Friday (and a Five-Book Giveaway)

I haven’t done a First-Sentences Friday in a while, and I have a backlog of books, so…you know what that means!

I’m a big fan of first sentences. I don’t judge a book by its first sentence–that’s too much pressure to put on a dozen or less words, after all. But I appreciate a grabber of a first sentence when I see it.

These books aren’t all first-sentence grabbers…but they’re good reads, and a big variety of reads. And I’m giving a commenter his or her choice of any five of these. Comments through midnight tonight only, so don’t dilly-dally!

So, what’s in the grab bag today….?

1–“Wellington Thornhill Books, Esquire, had never heard an explosion that close before. Considering the ringing in his ears, he would most likely never hear another one like it again.” — Phoenix Rising, by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris (steampunk)

2– “The fairies flew suspended on wires, despite their tendency to get tangled together. Beatrice Shakespeare Smith, busy assessing her reflection in the looking glass and thinking perhaps she shouldn’t have dyed her hair blue on this particular morning, turned to glare at them when they rocketed past the end of her nose for the third time in as many minutes.” — Eyes Like Stars, first in the Theatre Illuminata series, by Lisa Mantchev (YA)

3. “My name is Veldmr. I understand that in your language it is not a beautiful name, but in my ancient language, now sadly lost, it had a particular musicality to it.” —The Infinity Gate, by Sara Douglass (fantasy)

4. “It had been a long drive from Rochester. Despite the fact that Paige had made longer trips in a much crappier car, she felt every mile as if each one had knuckles to rap against her temples.” —Skinners: The Breaking, by Marcus Pelegrimas (urban fantasy)

5. “Imagine shoving a cattle prod up a rhino’s ass, shouting ‘April Fool!’ and hoping the rhino thinks it’s funny. That’s about how much fun it is hunting a vampire.” — Kill the Dead, by Richard Kadrey (and are those awesome opening sentences, or what!) (urban fantasy)

6. “Howls fill the night. The blasted hills smoked and the stench of char filled the air.” —At the Gates of Darkness, by Raymond E. Feist (fantasy)

7. “There was a naked woman on his boat. Logan Hardington shook his head and rubbed his eyes, but the picture didn’t change.” — Chance of a Lifetime, by Judi Fennell (paranormal romance)

8. “Without warning, all the candles in the room’s corners flicker and feint, as if a sudden gust has entered, but the air remains still. At the same moment, the hairs on my arms prickle and stand erect and I shudder; a cold breath descends on us, though outside the day is close.” —Prophecy, by S.J. Parris (paranormal literary fiction)

9. “I was sitting outside the Commodore’s mansion, waiting for my brother Charlie to come out with news of the job. It was threatening to snow and I was cold and for want of something to do I studied Charlie’s new horse, Nimble.” —The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick DeWitt (weird west)

10. “Mr. Dunworthy opened the door to the laboratory and his spectacles promptly steamed up. “Am I too late?” he said, yanking them off and squinting at Mary.” — Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis (time-travel sci-fi)

11. “‘Where do you want it?’ Hot vampire lips caressed my shoulder in a fall of sweaty nightblack hair, and his salty breath burned me.”–Blood Cursed, by Erica Hayes (urban fantasy)

12. “Sly Fores overheard an argument emanating from a nearby alley. His inner vigilante vampire paid attention.”–The Vampire Next Door, by Ashlyn Chase (paranormal romance)

13. “My sister Justine always believed that the best way to deal with your fear of the dark is to pretend it’s really light. Years ago, she tried to put the theory into practice as we lay in our beds, surrounded by blackness.”–Siren, by Tricia Rayburn (YA)

14. “Bree’s fingers tightened around the metal disk as she ran through the graveyard, zigzagging past leaning headstones. Her lantern swayed, throwing shadows on the crypt looming before her, its stone walls the color of bones.”–Awaken the Highland Warrior, by Anita Clenney (paranormal romance)

15. “It took the world just sixty days to end. And we were there to account for it–our omissions, our arrogance…” —The Fall, by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan (dystopian urban fantasy)

So…which five would you like to try? Post a comment with the five numbers. Note that some of these books might be ARCs (advanced review copies) and some are final copies. All are new copies, however. As always, +1 entry for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for a tweet or retweet. Start picking! Tweet

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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).

41 thoughts on “First Sentences Friday (and a Five-Book Giveaway)

  1. Suzanne,

    What a great giveaway! Thanks for the opportunity to read each book’s first sentences. Lots of awesome choices, but I finally picked books 5, 6, 7, 14 & 15. Your post should be Fantastic Friday’s First Sentences!!! =D

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


  2. Thanks for the giveaway!
    2, 12, 14, 15, 13

    GFC folllower as Diana
    Twitter as @artdem83

    artgiote at gmail dot com

  3. Here’s my list: 1, 8, 9, 10, 15.

    It was a hard choice. There are some good first sentences there.

    +1 comment
    +1 Twitter follower (dulcibelletwo)
    +1 blog follower (dulcibelle)

  4. Thanks for the giveaway! I’d love to win #1, 2, 8, 10, and 15.

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower @SusieBookworm
    +1 twitter follower @SusieBookworm
    +1 retweet (direct links aren’t working right; tweet is @SusieBookworm)

    susanna DOT pyatt AT student DOT rcsnc DOT org

  5. Oh that was fun!
    Ok here are my numbers:2,5,13,12,11

    +gfc Teril
    +twitter @TeriCrusley

    terihack at gmail dot com

  6. Those are some great snippets!
    Here are the ones that looked great to me: 15,14,13,12,11,8

    thank you!

    kasuranna at yahoo dot com

  7. Suzanne,
    I like “First-Sentences” & “Page 99 test”.
    Two of these are on my “Maybe list”.

    Darn I have too many lists]

    My TBR list has me hostage…

    +1 Comment

  8. I would like to try 3, 7, 11, 13 and 14.

    +1 comment
    +1 gfc blog follower

  9. I’d love to play for #2, #5, #12, #13, #15 please.

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower
    +1 Twitter follower @Brittleblue


  10. Great post. I’d like 1, 5, 11, 12 and 14. Thanks for the contest. 🙂

    +1 for comment
    +1 for follower


  11. O.O Sooo many choices…. Hmmm… I would like 13, 14, 1, 12, and 2 the most. 😀

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    +1 comment
    +1 blog follower
    +1 twitter follower
    +1 retweet



  12. I’ve been told that the first sentence should reflect the entire book, and I try to do that, but it’s very hard. Love those openings.

    #4, 5, 7, 11, 12


    Thanks, D

  13. Ooh, I’d love 1, 4, 7, 11, and 13! What a great way to give a little taste of each book. 🙂

    I’m following via GFC as Jasmine1485

    I’m following on Twitter as NTFancy

    Thank you!

    kate1485 at

  14. I pick 2,3,11,12 and 7.

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower-Janhvi Jagtap
    +1 twitter follower-@justjanhvi

    I hope I’m in as I’m an int follower and my timeline is different:)

    justjanhvi at gmail dot com