First Grave on the Right

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1)The story

First Grave on the Right is the smashing, award-winning debut novel that introduces Charley Davidson: part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper.

Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e., murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life…and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.

This is a thrilling debut novel from Darynda Jones, an exciting newcomer to the world of paranormal romantic suspense.

First Grave on the Right is the winner of the 2012 Rita Award for Best First Book.

My take on it

So finished the book yesterday and had to get the next one right away. I feel a bit conflicted as to how well I liked it. On the one hand, it seemed to be shallow in parts where the author could have gone into more depth but on the other hand, it read really really fast because of it. I liked the level of excitement, I certainly didn’t get bored at any stage.

Not sure if this is a spoiler so I’ll use the tag just to be on the safe side 🙂

(view spoiler)

Thankfully the sex scenes were steamy rather than embarrassing. That’s always a huge problem for me when sex scenes are so cliche that I feel like face-palming myself. Shudder. I don’t like to fall out of my reading zone because the author screwed up a sex scene, I’d rather it weren’t there at all 🙂

I loved Reyes. At times it felt like he was a bit of an excuse to get Charley out of a tight spot, but I have a soft spot for hot tall mysterious strangers.

The dead characters are fascinating. I always like having well fleshed-out secondary characters and some of them are hilarious.

So all in all, I really enjoyed the read. It was fast and furious, funny and sexy and so far, the second book is equally good.

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Do you agree? Did you like it? Share your thoughts and comments below!

How to Fix Your Novel

 

How to Fix Your Novel by Steve Alcorn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How to Fix Your NovelThe Story

Have you started a novel, only to get part way into the manuscript and find yourself stuck? Or do you have an idea for a novel, but aren’t sure where to begin? Have you completed a first draft, but feel it doesn’t quite have the luster of professional writing?

In this lively and fun-to-read guide, Steve Alcorn shows you the remedies you need to achieve success. Step by step, you’ll breathe life into old manuscripts, create new novels that read like bestsellers, and put the spark back into your writing life. Topics include:

Story Structure
Character Building
Viewpoint
Tense
Voice
Setting
Conflict
Suspense
Mystery
Dialogue
Writing Big
Beginnings and Endings
Getting Published

Whether you’re a first time novelist still planning your story, or an experienced author looking for ways to bring your fiction to life, How to Fix Your Novel is the ideal prescription.

Steve Alcorn is a theme park designer, author and teacher. His novels include mysteries, young adult stories, historic fiction and romance. During the past decade Mr. Alcorn has helped more than 10,000 aspiring writers fix their novels and polish their manuscripts, through the online learning programs of 1500 colleges and universities worldwide. Now you can learn those same techniques in this fun and easy-to-use guide.

My take on it

It’s taking me a long time to read this book, not because it’s unreadable but because I am putting each point into action as I go along. Steve has managed to break down the act of plotting and writing a novel into logical, easy to follow steps. I’m finding it hard to grasp the concept of scene and sequel, but I think that’s more my shortcoming then Steve’s.

All in all, I would recommend this book to anybody thinking about writing a novel. Preferably before you even begin to plot!

Do you agree with my comments? Let me know and post below 🙂

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Great info on writing short stories

I decided to maybe take a break from writing my novel, but write a quick short story instead which will go more into my character’s backstory. It’s been quite a while since I last wrote a short story so I thought I quickly google and see what I could find. There are some great resources out there, but for my purposes this site hits the spot:

Write a Short Story in 2 Parts with examples. 

I hope you find this useful! I did 🙂

Author 2.0

 

Author2-0 J.F. Penn

Author 2.0 Blueprint by J.F. Penn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read through this quickly. Then spent 3 x the time following the links in the book. There is so much information on how to write, how to self-publish, how to market yourself and your book. Great and free! Thanks so much, Joanna!

Do you agree with my comments? Let me know and post below 🙂

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Rest well, Terry Pratchett

The Colour of Magic

Sir Terry Pratchett passed away yesterday. I hadn’t realised how sick he’s been and I was so shocked to hear the news. Somehow this author had become a part of my life since “The Colour of Magic”. I remember buying as many of his books as I could afford in the 90s and reading them until they fell apart. “Witches Abroad” (a McBeth parody) I loved so much, I kept giving it as presents to friends.

witches-abroad-2

There are so many many characters that made his work unique. The Orang-Utan librarian who would hit anybody who called him a monkey, Rincewind the cowardly wizard, the witches who practiced a mix of actual magic and common sense, the Oh God of Hangovers who never got drunk but always woke up with a hangover, Teatime the assassin who tried to kill Santa Claus, Death who tries so hard to understand the mortal world. There are so many many more, it just beggars believe that all this came from the mind of one man.

His coat of arms reads: “Noli Timere Messorem (Don’t fear the reaper)” and what better words to end an amazing life.

Rest well, we’ll miss you so very much.

Guilty Pleasures

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Guilty PleasuresThe story

Published over ten years ago by Ace, Guilty Pleasures marked the debut of a series that was destined to grow from cult favorite to a major New York Times bestseller. Now, for long-time Anita Blake junkies and newfound fans, Guilty Pleasures makes its trade paperback debut. Readers will learn how Anita Blake started raising the dead-and killing the undead. And how she met Jean Claude, the master vampire destined to become not only her biggest nemesis, but her greatest lover…

My take on it

Wow. This book had me from the beginning. The story is set in Missouri during the summer. The atmosphere is rich and sticky. I love the way the author makes us feel like we’re right there. I’ve never been to Missouri but I can see and feel the place in my mind. It gets even better when Ms Hamilton introduces us to the first character, as she puts it: “Willie Mac Coy had been a jerk before he died. His being dead didn’t change that.”

The characters are rich and plausible. Amazingly fast-paced yet in-depth. As a one-off, it would have been skimming over certain plot threads but since there are lots more novels to follow in the series, I can’t wait to see what Jean-Claude is up to.

All the characters are so well developed, even the secondary ones. I was surprised how much I liked Phillip and Anita is just amazing. Tough yet vulnerable, sexy yet insecure. Great complex heroine!

I love the fact that the author uses short, pithy sentences to characterise the interior monologue. The reader gets into Anita’s mind and that makes the character even more realistic.

I went and bought the second Kindle-book immediately, it was that good.

Do you agree with my comments? Let me know and post below 🙂

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FanFiction vs. Source Material

Derek Hale

So this is what usually happens: I watch a show like TeenWolf, then totally fall in love with a character such as Derek Hale, werewolf supreme. Then things happen. The story becomes flat or doesn’t develop the way I want it to. Or maybe I just would like to find out more about the backstory of the character. Anyway, that is usually my trigger to visit FanFiction.

And now the character becomes 3-dimensional and so much more interesting than in the original TV version. In my world, Derek Hale is Alpha and gets together with Stiles Stilinski, Spark extraordinaire. The stories have everything: very often amazing writing, they’re sexy, witty, exciting and some are novel-sized with 100k words and more.

http://daunt.tumblr.com/image/49449468535

And if I have trouble imagining the characters, sites like DeviantArt help me visualize, because some of the fanart is mind-blowing.

I particularly like the idea of Stiles being a weak human who runs with wolves. His relationship with Derek is very fractious at the beginning. Derek has been hurt terribly in his life and he won’t let anybody close to him because of his traumatic experiences. Stiles is this annoying teenager that never shuts up. He’s also human and therefore prone to injuries and in danger of getting killed by out-of-control wolves.

http://twmen.tumblr.com/post/62897984043/aeroplaneblues-reminiscing-i-miss-teen

Over the years, the two of them gain understanding of each other. Derek learns to trust Stiles and Stiles grows up. Plus he gains magical powers. Which is really really cool 🙂

Stiles is an integral part of the pack and his humanity allows him to do things the wolves can’t, even though they’re are outwardly stronger and faster.

Are you telling me

And the best thing is how he learns to stand up to Derek. Stiles goes from an obnoxious teenager with only one friend to a self-confident member of the pack who has no problems setting his Alpha straight.


Sterek

In my head, Derek and Stiles are together and fighting side by side to keep Beacon Hill safe. As it should be. Oh yes, and nobody dies! Scott and Allison are together (with Isaac), Boyd and Erica are fine, Danny and Ethan are happy! So there 🙂

My First Goodreads Review!

Just posted my first review on Goodreads. Wow, what a playground for readers and writers! I have to say that reading has become a lot more difficult in 2015 because there is just soooo much going on. Still, I can always pretend it’s research as I dig into so many writers’ books that I didn’t even know existed (Hi, Laurell K. Hamilton)!

BearthleteBearthlete by Terry Bolryder

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Good points first: not boring, good pace, grammar and spelling perfect. Story is sweet as well.

However. This was my first book in this genre and I really didn’t like it. The characters were just so one-dimensional. And as an overweight woman myself, I really resent this idea that fate/destiny/my scent makes a guy love me. Not my personality, not my spark, not my character. It’s just an easy way out and so escapist, that it broke through my reading cocoon. I just couldn’t follow the premise that no guy ever looked at this gorgeous woman until a shifter came along.

The sex scenes were okay – personally I like them a little steamier, although kudos to any author who writes them. I get way to embarrassed in my own writing 🙂

To conclude: I finished the book, the writing is good enough to have kept me engaged for most of the story, but the characterisation wasn’t great. I probably won’t read anymore of this author, sorry.

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And so it begins!

I’m really delighted to finally have managed to create my own page. It involved purchasing domain names, pointing them in the right direction, figuring out how to host my site, negotiating the labyrinth of cpanels – really not that easy! But I managed it! I’m actually quite impressed 🙂

So I’ll be sharing my thoughts on writing in general and my books in particular. I really hope to make this blog interesting and that many readers will engage with my thoughts and ideas.