When I heard that I’d been “tagged” by Jennifer Talty, my first thought was to check my big toe. I thought maybe I was making a guest appearance as a victim in one of her books. But, no, she was talking about “tag” as in a game. Here are the rules as posted on her blog [ http://jen-t.blogspot.com/ ]:
So what you do is grab the book closest to you, go to page 123, go down 5 sentences and post the next 3 sentences on your blog with name of author and title of book.
Right. Jen, that is way too much work. And you know damn well that I do not follow rules happily.
So you want to play? I can play. Ah, but you used five books instead of just one. How could I do less? I decided to use the last four books I checked out of the library — just today as a matter of fact — and the last one I purchased at the book store. And then I added one more. Just because.
When I opened up these books and checked page 123, sentences 6-8, I discovered several things: a) important plot stuff was given away; b) some of the sentences there were not appropriate for posting on this blog (hey, my mom sometimes reads this); and c) some of it was so out of context I’d have to quote huge chunks to avoid misrepresenting the work.
So I made up my own rules. What a surprise. And since I’ve been thinking about opening hooks lately, this was a good exercise. I decided to quote the first few sentences and the last few sentences of the first chapter. The words that hook you and the words that compel you to read the next chapter.
Here they are, in no particular order (any typos are my fault entirely and I apologize to the authors):
A Marked Man, by Stella Cameron
The moon was a thin white wafer with a big bite missing.
Walking silent streets at night–alone–could be a bad idea. Staying in bed, half awake, half asleep, sweat stinging your eyes, sticking hair to your face, while the monster panic ate you up could be a whole lot worse idea. Nothing bad ever happened around here anyway.
“Don’t jump,” a man said behind her.
Annie screamed. She screamed and shook her head, and staggered backward against him. Sweat stuck her clothes to her body. That woman she had seen in the nightmares was her, Annie. Premonitions, not nightmares. They were coming true. The gagging sounds she heard were her own.
“Annie, it’s me, Father Cyrus. People are lookin’ for you.”
Vicious Circle, by Robert Littell
The setting sun scored the navigator’s line between sky and sea, drawing blood, flinging long shadows inland on the flat Levantine coast. Flecks of last light chipped off the gold leaf of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. Not far away, a panel truck with the hand painted logo “Kosher Pizza” and “We Deliver” written in Hebrew on both sides crawled along a street on the French Hill, a small Jewish neighborhood built on the north-eastern slope of Jerusalem after the Six Day War.
The men in the back seat exchanged looks. “What must we never forget?” Dror asked quietly.
Elihu could have been speaking to himself. “That we live in a corner of the planet where absolutely no one, least of all the hundred million Arabs around us, respects weakness. Which is why, when the last verse of the Pentateuch is read, we chant: Hazak, hazak, ve-nit’-hazak — Be strong, be strong, and we shall be strengthened.”
Mistral’s Kiss, by Laurell K. Hamilton
I dreamt of warm flesh and cookies. The sex I understood, but the cookies . . . Why cookies? Why not cake, or meat? But that’s what my subconscious chose as I dreamt. We were eating in the tiny kitchen of my Los Angeles apartment — an apartment I didn’t live in anymore, outside of dreams.
I drank from the horn and found it full of the sweetest mead I had ever drunk, thick with honey, and warm as if the heat of the summer itself slipped across my tongue, caressed my throat. I swallowed and it was more intoxicating than any mere drink.
Power is the most intoxicating drink of all.
Manhunting, by Jennifer Crusie
“Planning on jumping? I wouldn’t. Blood’s hell to get out of silk.”
“I’m just checking the weather,” Kate Svenson said patiently and continued to stare out her apartment window, knowing that Jessie would lose interest and go back to her newspaper if she ignored her long enough.
The phone rang again.
“Concentrate on getting married and resuming your regularly scheduled life,” Will said on his way back inside. “Who knows? Maybe this is your future bride calling right now.”
“Like hell,” Jake said and went back to the sunrise.
Harbingers, by F. Paul Wilson
“Hey, Jack, can I bother you a minute?”
Jack sat at his table in the rear of Julio’s. He looked up from his coffee and saw Timmy O’Brien, one of Julio’s regulars. A fiftyish guy, thin, hangdog face, watery eyes, and wearing a Hawaiian shirt in Janaury.
“No promises, Timmy, beyond making the calls. It’s a long shot.”
Timmy grabbed his hand and squeezed.
“I know, but you’re all I’ve got right now.”
Jack waved good-bye to Julio and stepped out into the cutting January wind.
Long shot? Who was he kidding? More like hitting a dime at a thousand yards with a Saturday night special.
Tangled Webs, by Katherine James
Eugenia Westbrook was more than a little put out, to put it mildly. She stared at her tightly knotted fist and the edges of the crushed note that stuck out from the sides. She didn’t see the wrinkled, age-spotted skin and had she noticed the slight tremor of her hand she would have attributed it to rage rather than age.
As she turned to leave the room, she couldn’t decide whether she was more offended by the implication than she was enraged by the not-so-subtle threat. It was time to consider her options and plan a course of action.
Whoever had chosen to poke this old, tired bear would do well to remember that she was, after all, still a bear.
So there you have it. That’s what I’ll be reading next. Do I recommend you read them too? Sure, why not? I certainly intend to do so, why shouldn’t you? Will they be any good? Will I recommend them after I read them? Well, I guess I could tell you that after I read them. Or you could read them and tell me what you think.
What have you read lately that you would recommend?
Oh, and Kari? I know a LOT about you, darlin’.