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Posts Tagged ‘Books’

  1. A difference of opinion

    December 15, 2014 by Suzi

    I know two people can read the same book and have different opinions about it. Some love the writing, others will think it sucks. Some think it’s an original story, others think it’s cliche. I’ve read enough book reviews to see that. There’s many reasons why people look at books differently, including simple things like their tastes or deeper things involving their history and lookout on life.
     
    Yes, we’re all different, so we see things differently.
     
    But sometimes I question a reviewer’s take on a book–it just no sense to me. Just recently I finished Flawed by Kate Avelynn. I enjoyed the story and after finishing, read through some one and two star reviews to see what the people who didn’t like it said.
     
    And I read something that kinda shocked me.
     
    Spoiler alert. If you don’t want to know the ending, skip ahead to where I say spoiler end.
     
    The reviewer was unhappy because the MC had a HEA. And I was like, huh? A happily ever after?
     
    -The MC’s mother died during the story.
     
    -The MC will have to deal with the affects of her father’s abuse for the rest of her life.
     
    -The MC’s brother killed her boyfriend, who was also the brother’s best friend.
     
    -The MC’s brother, whom she deeply loved, also killed himself.
     
    That is nowhere near a HEA to me. I guess the reviewer wanted the MC to either be physically hurt or killed and anything other than that was a happy ending.
     
     
    Spoiler End.
     

    So obviously, me and that reviewer have drastically different definitions of happy. :) I can understand people view stylistic things differently, but this difference of opinion seems big. And honestly, it makes me wonder about this person. What they are like and how they generally view life.
     
    Have you ever had a similar experience reading a review, not just a difference in opinion, but something that makes you curious about the reviewer and what it was in their lives that helped shaped their outlook, and hence the review you just can’t understand. (Sorry, that’s kind of a mouthful.)


  2. Lying is the in thing

    November 30, 2014 by Suzi

    Recently I finished Gone Girl. For those who haven’t read it, neither of the main characters are likable. Interesting maybe, but not likeable. But what intrigued me with the story was the whole unreliable narrator thing.

    Image courtesy of
    Stuart Miles
    FreeDigitalPhotos.net


    Unreliable narrators can’t be trusted. They maybe lie, with-hold information or misrepresent what’s happening, but we the readers might not realize it until we get further into the book.
     
    It’s an unusual concept to me, and I was curious about other books with unreliable narrators.
     
    When I did a Google search, some of the well-known books that pop up are Lolita, American Psycho, and Fight Club—none of which I’ve read.
     
    There were a few on the lists I have read: Catcher in the Rye and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but I read those so long ago, I don’t really remember much about them.
     
    I’m curious though, and plan to read more about these scheming and deceitful characters. As a writer, I want to know what those authors do to make these liars likeable. From what I’ve seen, it’s not an easy thing to do.
     
    And I’ll probably start with Fight Club—I loved the movie after all.
     
    Have you read any books with unreliable narrators that you really enjoyed? Do you like the whole unreliable narrator concept?


  3. A useful tip

    November 16, 2014 by Suzi

     
    Right now I’m reading a big book. It’s just over 700 pages long. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it?
     
    Well it isn’t. Cause it’s a large print. According to Amazon, Gone Girl is 432 pages, which isn’t exactly low, but it’s not 700. As most everybody knows, Gone Girl is the big rage now, especially because the movie is out. Which means that the book is hard to find at the library.
     
    There are 22 digital copies available through our library, and if I wanted to put a hold on it, I’d be number 185.
     
    Yes, that’s the 185th person waiting to check it out.
     
    I’m sure the hard copies have a big waiting list too although I don’t have that exact number.
     
    But I found a faster way to get it.
     
    Which is why I’m reading a 700 page book. When I first checked the book’s availability a while ago, the large print book was checked out, but nobody had put a hold on it. So I did.
     
    Reading a 700 page hardcover book is kinda a pain. I might end up with carpal tunnel syndrome, but it beats waiting.
     
    So remember that tip. If there’s ever a book you want to check out, more likely one that’s gotten pretty popular, check to see if there’s a large print edition because you might get lucky like me.
     
    Do you ever read large print books?
    Have you read Gone Girl? Seen the movie?


  4. Skipping ahead or leaving it all behind

    November 10, 2014 by Suzi

    Not long ago I finished reading a book. And by finished, I mean I read the last few chapters. But I didn’t read ALL the chapters.
     
    This book is by a popular author but I never connected with the characters, didn’t find the story all that interesting either.

    Image courtesy of Traffic Barrier by mapichai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


    Because of some busy times a few weeks ago, I put the book down at about the 60% mark, and I could’ve walked away. Would’ve never given it another thought, but I wanted to read the ending—which I’d sorta heard about anyway, but didn’t know the exact details.
     
    So I did something I haven’t really done. I just skimmed a few chapters and jumped to the end.
     
    The ending didn’t change my mind about the story, by the way, and I didn’t regret skipping 1/3 of the story.
     
    Usually, if I quit a book, I quit fully. I don’t look to the end to see what happened. I just stop. (Of course, I normally stop before the 60% mark though too. And really, the only reason I read that far was because it was going fast and I kept wanting to like it like everybody else did.)
     
    So I was wondering what others do. If you give up on a book, do you jump ahead to the end to see what happens? Do you read spoilers in reviews to get an idea? Or do you just walk away and forget it?


  5. Soulless

    October 27, 2014 by Suzi

    I’ve got Crystal Collier here to celebrate the release of her newest novel, Soulless. The sequel to Moonless, released last year. One of the interesting things about this series is where it akes place and the time period.
     

    I was curious about why she chose that time and location, and now she’s here to answer my questions. Welcome, Crystal. So my first question, as I said above, is how you chose England 1768 as the location for this series.
     
    About the time I penned out the first draft of MOONLESS, I was working on a musical based in 1798, England. (It may have slightly influenced my writing.) I knew the time period for MOONLESS had to reflect England’s most prideful hour—a time when aristocracy was at its height, before the American revolution and industrialization. This story has been in my brain for a LONG time, and the nation/time period was very strategically placed to accommodate the entire series arc.

     
    Did you have previous knowledge about this period in time or did you have to research everything?
     
    The musical prepped me, but I seriously spent about five years reading articles, essays and books based close to the time period, not to mention studying fashion, technology, maps and anything else I could get my hands on. The greatest challenge of writing historical fiction is understanding how people thought in a different era. There are so many anachronistic social expectations we embrace (that I had to wipe from early drafts). Gaining an authentic cultural mentality was like learning a new language. And becoming an anthropologist.

     
    Wow. Five years. That’s a lot of prep work! :)
     

    One thing I was curious about. Did you have to revise any details from the story because you discovered they didn’t fit with the time period?
     
    Contractions (can’t, doesn’t, we’d, etc.) are modern inventions. That’s not to say people didn’t slur their words together in 1768, but they would never have written or spoken that way in polite society. That made for a bit of a rewrite…
     

    Clocks had just been invented, and only the most modern of men possessed a pocket watch…which set back my method of explaining time. It was a transitory period, going to from candle-marks, moon cycles and season to hours, minutes and seconds. Another tricky one.
     

    John is a smoker, but not a pipe kind of guy. Turns out the story takes place RIGHT at the time when cigars made their debut…or I may have fudged that one by a couple years—because I can.
     

    I had a writing coach who absolutely adores my time period, and a literary agent mentor who was kind enough to point out some of my early, erm, foibles, but mostly I corrected myself while studying. For instance, in 1750, King George the first established new marriage laws that dictated the legal age of marriage as 21. (Our equivalent of 18.) In early drafts I wanted to call “coming of age” 16. Major no-no.
     

    Definitely good to do your research. That is one of the things that scares me away from writing historical fiction. Do you get nervous about people bashing you for not being historically correct?
     
    I’m such a perfectionist. Seriously. The only way to conquer your fears is to face them, knock them down and grind your heel in their face. I listened to all the bashers in beta readings (probably went overboard in how many betas I used for MOONLESS) and studied my guts out. I even went so far as to research every word and phrase for its historical accuracy. It really was like learning a foreign language, but the more you use that language, the more fluent you become. After all that, I came away rather confident—no matter whether people might rip or not. (Which they haven’t—even the mean ones—so I must have done okay.)

     
    Thanks so much for sharing with us, Crystal, and congratulations on the release of Soulless. And now you can find out more about Crystal’s book and have a chance to win some special prizes.
     
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

     

    Soulless by Crystal Collier
     
    The Soulless are coming…
     
    Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she’s forced to unleash her true power.
     
    And risk losing everything.
     


  6. (Never) Again Giveaway

    October 22, 2014 by Suzi

    Just recently was the first year anniversary of (Never) Again, by my good friend Theresa Paolo, and to celebrate her publisher is giving away 5 copies. FIVE!

    Enter below for your chance to win! (*You have to be a member of NetGalley in order to win. If you’re not, sign up is free and super easy.)

    http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/984c05ae9/” rel=”nofollow”>a Rafflecopter giveaway

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