Top Ten Beginnings/Endings

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week she posts an idea for relating to books, and encourages other book bloggers to respond with their own “top ten” list.

This week’s topic is top ten beginnings/endings in books. Both of these are incredibly important: one is the first impression that you’re given of a story, the other is what will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. There have been so many times when a book has failed to capture my attention at the beginning or has let me down in terms of the ending, whether it was rushed, there was no resolution, or it just wasn’t as well-written as the rest of the book. Here are some of the books that got it absolutely right:

Best Beginnings

2b2
“The circus arrives without warning.

No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

3b“To say I’d been kept prisoner my entire life in an attic wasn’t quite true. It was only fifteen years out of eighteen, and I was allowed to walk in the gardens for a half-hour some days.”

4b
“Once upon a time, there was a girl who was special. Her hair flowed like honey and her eyes were as blue as music. She grew up bright and beautiful, with deft fingers, a quick mind and a charm that impressed everyone she met. Her parents adored her, her teachers praised her, and her schoolmates admired her many talents…

This is not her story.

Unless you count the part where I killed her.”

7b
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.

It did not end well.”

5b
“You saw me before I saw you. In the airport, that day in August, you had that look in your eyes, as though you wanted something from me, as though you’d wanted it for a long time.”

Best Endings

1b
“The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.”

6b
“A LAST NOTE FROM YOUR NARRATOR. I am haunted by humans.”

8b
“For the living and the dead, she would make herself a reckoning.

She would rise.”

9b
“I do, Augustus.

I do.”

10b
“And if the Thames that ran beside them, sure and silver in the afternoon light, recalled a night long ago when the moon shone as brightly as a shilling on this same boy and girl, or if the stones of Blackfriars knew the tread of their feet and thought to themselves: At last, the wheel comes full circle, they kept their silence.”

What are some of your favourites? Leave a list or a link to your post in the comments below.
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ARC Review: The Wrong Girl by C.J. Archer

1It’s customary for Gothic romance novels to include a mysterious girl locked in the attic. Hannah Smith just wishes she wasn’t that girl. As a narcoleptic and the companion to an earl’s daughter with a strange affliction of her own, Hannah knows she’s lucky to have a roof over her head and food in her belly when so many orphans starve on the streets. Yet freedom is something Hannah longs for. She did not, however, want her freedom to arrive in the form of kidnapping.

Taken by handsome Jack Langley to a place known as Freak House, she finds herself under the same roof as a mad scientist, his niece, a mute servant and Jack, a fire starter with a mysterious past. They assure Hannah she is not a prisoner and that they want to help her. The problem is, they think she’s the earl’s daughter. What will they do when they discover they took the wrong girl?

My Rating: 3.5 cupcakes

Self-published books always worry me a little bit, since a lot of the ones that I’ve seen have read like unedited first drafts. Thankfully, The Wrong Girl does not fall under that category. Archer’s writing is strong and descriptive, and the book is filled with so many beautifully written quotes.

To say I’d been kept prisoner my entire life in an attic wasn’t quite true.

With an opening like that, it’s easy to understand why I was so quickly drawn into this thrilling Victorian tale. The pacing was excellent, and kept me curled up in bed for the majority of the day, as I really did not want to put it down. Throughout the story, the many plot twists raise more questions than they answer, which has me eagerly anticipating the sequel.

All of the characters had unique voices, and I was simultaneously intrigued by and in love with the main cast. Hannah is immediately painted as a sympathetic character, with her strong desire to protect Violet at any cost and the glimpse we’re given of her “normal” life in the attic. Her determination and never-ending stream of questions made her stand out in an era where there were many social expectations surrounding women – a contrast which was emphasized by Sylvia’s strong sense of propriety. Jack is a bit of a mystery; he’s kind-hearted, sarcastic and headstrong with a past surrounded in secrecy. As the story unfolds, some of these secrets are revealed, increasing the depth of both his character and my love for him.

I really liked the hint of romance that was shown. Although it was quick to build, it was sweet and took a backseat to the more pressing plot points.

Also, can I just say how much I adore the cover? Sure, the girl on the front doesn’t match Hannah’s description at all, but it perfectly captures the Gothic feel of the book and it’s gorgeous. This is definitely going to be displayed on my bookshelf as soon as I can purchase a copy.

Overall, The Wrong Girl was a thoroughly enjoyable read. I can’t wait to get my hands on Playing With Fire!

Thanks to C.J. Archer, Patchwork Press, and Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.