Book Review: 2k to 10k

My son bought me this book for my birthday but I wasn’t able to get to it until my August vaca. 2k to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What you Love by Rachel Aaron was a quick and easy read I enjoyed with an umbrella drink. Luckily, I was reading on my kindle and so could highlight lots of bits as they appealed to me.

Basic Summary (Courtesy of Amazon):

“Have you ever wanted to double your daily word counts? Do you feel like you’re crawling through your story, struggling for each paragraph? Would you like to get more words every day without increasing the time you spend writing or sacrificing quality? It’s not impossible, it’s not even that hard. This is the story of how, with a few simple changes, I boosted my daily writing from 2000 words to over 10k a day, and how you can, too.”

Expanding on her highly successful process for doubling daily word counts, this book–a combination of reworked blog posts and new material–offers practical writing advice for anyone who’s ever longed to increase their daily writing output. In addition to updated information for Rachel’s popular 2k to 10k writing efficiency process, 5 step plotting method, and easy editing tips, this new book includes chapters on creating characters that write their own stories, story structure, and learning to love your daily writing. Full of easy to follow, practical advice from a commercial author who doesn’t eat if she doesn’t produce good books on a regular basis, 2k to 10k focuses not just on writing faster, but writing better, and having more fun while you do it.

My thoughts:

I did highlight rather a lot but honestly much of her advice is the same ole, same ole you hear from everyone who speaks on writing.

Example: You can up your word average by eliminating the days you don’t write.

In other words, write every day. LOL. Ground breaking.

Her big secret to writing 10K a day — write for 6 hours a day. She gets her best numbers at the end of the 6 hour session often writing 1500 words that hour.

Ahhhhh….and that too seems super obvious. If only I had 6 hours a day.

The book is inexpensive on Amazon kindle. And she does a good job of correlating lots of advice you might have heard other places and using relevant examples.

Book Review: Take Your Pants Off!

Get your mind out of the gutter. Take Your Pants Off! by Libby Hawker is not smut. It’s writing book.

Basic Summary (Courtesy of Amazon):

When it comes to writing books, are you a “plotter” or a “pantser”? Is one method really better than the other? In this instructional book, author Libbie Hawker explains the benefits and technique of planning a story before you begin to write. She’ll show you how to develop a foolproof character arc and plot, how to pace any book for a can’t-put-down reading experience, and how to ensure that your stories are complete and satisfying without wasting any time or words. Hawker’s outlining technique works no matter what genre you write, and no matter the age of your audience. If you want to improve writing speed, increase your backlist, and ensure a quality book before you even write the first word, this is the how-to book for you. Take off your pants! It’s time to start outlining.

My thoughts:

I did take rather a lot of notes while reading this. I don’t want to give away Hawker’s plotting device as that would defeat the purpose of her book. But I will say this, she makes a good arguement for using her method and presents it in a logical step by step way.

I haven’t started using her method and probably won’t. Perhaps my books are just destined to be lower quality. But her method involves character, that’s all I’ll give away, and my characters spring fully formed and let me know where they are going. That is never my problem when writing.

I think however there were a number of good strategies I will broach with my creative writing class this year.

Book Review: Midnight Snacks are Murder

I read the first book in the Poppy McAllister series by Libby Klein earlier this year and adored Poppy. She’s mid life, mid spread, and trying to function with too many people who want to tell her who she is and should be. cough cough. Nothing like me. LOL

Basic Summary (Courtesy of Goodreads):

Between trying to get her gluten-free baking business off the ground and helping her aunt remodel her old Victorian into the Butterfly House Bed and Breakfast in Cape May, New Jersey, Poppy is ready to call, “Mayday!” And now Aunt Ginny—who’s a handful wide-awake—is sleepwalking on her new sleeping pill prescription and helping herself to neighbors’ snacks and knickknacks.

Even more alarming, a local humanitarian who worked with troubled teens is found murdered, and the police suspect the “Snack Bandit.” Other than a bad case of midnight munchies and some mild knickknack kleptomania, Aunt Ginny is harmless. Someone’s trying to frame her. Poppy will need to work tirelessly to uncover the killer and put the case to rest—before Aunt Ginny has to trade in her B & B for a bunk bed behind bars . . .

My thoughts:

It’s a fun cozy. Lots of lying. Lot’s of chatting with people over and over to get them to fess up to their lies. Lots of Poppy figuring out what really makes people tick.

There’s a romance or three a brewing. And lots of good espresso.

And you have to love a woman who shakes off the ashes of her previous life and attempts to build something for herself a new.

Book Review: The Dark Angel

Ah Elly Griffiths, you always entertain me. The Dark Angel was no exception… while I was reading it. More on that in a bit.

Basic Summary (Courtesy of Goodreads):

Dr Ruth Galloway is flattered when she receives a letter from Italian archaeologist Dr Angelo Morelli, asking for her help. He’s discovered a group of bones in a tiny hilltop village but doesn’t know what to make of them. It’s years since Ruth has had a holiday, and even a working holiday to Italy is very welcome!

So Ruth travels to Fontana Liri, accompanied by her daughter Kate and friend Shona. In the town she finds a medieval shrine and a dark secret involving the war years and the Resistance. To her amazement she also finds Harry Nelson, who is enduring a terrible holiday at a resort nearby. But there is no time to overcome their mutual shock – the ancient bones spark a modern murder, and Ruth must discover what secrets there are in Fontana Liri that someone would kill to protect.

My thoughts:

Harry is not enduring a terrible holiday at a resort nearby. He comes to Italy for Ruth and Kate because of an Earthquake. What balderdash.

Anyway. The mystery is slow and languid which is typical for Ruth Galloway novels. I like that. As usual it’s complicated beyond all reason. Love that.

My bone to pick is this. The whole who’s the baby daddy, will they won’t they thing…gone on way too long. I like the series just fine when Harry was with his wife and Ruth was doing her thing and the focus was the incredibly complicated crimes. But now this is the third or fourth book where the focus is shifting more and more into will they/won’t they. Bring back the crime!

Still plan to read every book she puts out in both series. LOL

Book Review: Ghosted

I’m not sure who recommended Ghosted by Rosie Walsh to me but I put it on my wishlist and it eventually arrived.

Basic Summary (Courtesy of Goodreads):

When Sarah meets Eddie, they connect instantly and fall in love. To Sarah, it seems as though her life has finally begun. And it’s mutual: It’s as though Eddie has been waiting for her, too. Sarah has never been so certain of anything. So when Eddie leaves for a long-booked vacation and promises to call from the airport, she has no cause to doubt him. But he doesn’t call.

Sarah’s friends tell her to forget about him, but she can’t. She knows something’s happened–there must be an explanation.

Minutes, days, weeks go by as Sarah becomes increasingly worried. But then she discovers she’s right. There is a reason for Eddie’s disappearance, and it’s the one thing they didn’t share with each other: the truth.

My thoughts:

I remember this being described as a mystery to me with a smidge of a love story. It’s not. It’s a sappy love story with a case of “nah-nah, I’m not telling you something.” The something is quite obvious though.

I read the whole book. But the entire time I was waiting for something more. It wasn’t there. It never materialized. It was bread that failed to rise.

Many, many people loved this book. She has a long list of kudos from popular authors. This book was  a NY Times best seller. So many people must enjoy have enjoyed it.

I really didn’t. It was bland with a lot of sadness.

Book Review: After the Cure

I grabbed After the Cure by Deirdre Gould eons ago when it was free on Amazon as a kindle. It hung about on my kindle for months until I went on vaca. Ahh, sweet time to read.

Basic Summary (Courtesy of Amazon):

Eight years ago the December Plague swept through the human population of earth. The Infected were driven mad by the disease, becoming violent and cannibalistic, killing even those closest to them without hesitation.

Six years ago, the tiny surviving community of Immune humans found a cure, and the Infected began to wake up and realize what they’d done. And what had been done to them.

Over time, society began to rebuild itself. Now it is ready to judge those responsible for the Plague. Nella Rider, the court psychologist, and Frank Courtlen, a defense attorney, are trying to establish the truth. But more depends on it than they know. They race to find the answers they need before the fragile remains of humanity vanish for good.

My thoughts:

I really liked this take on a zombie apoc book. The crisis is over. Everyone is back to human. All that’s left is to live with the memory of the things you did. What can I say, I love a good psychological thriller. And this was.

The pacing was a little lacking for me. A bit repetitive and sometimes felt illogical. But it wasn’t bad enough to make me stop reading. I did like the characters. I liked some of the things casually mentioned and wished they had been explored more fully.

I wasn’t really all that shocked by the twist. It was obvious but at the same time I wasn’t disappointed either. Perhaps the writer wanted you to know. If so, well done. LOL

Then we get to the end. And the whole thing was ruined for me. It was a fab book. But she jams in the teaser for the sequel. Which makes everything the two main characters just managed to pull off worthless. The whole book was for nothing. Why did I read this exactly?

I get it. Every indie and small press, heck even medium press author is being told “think series, that’s how you get and keep readers.” I feel the pressure too. In this case, it smacked of marketing ploy and defeat. I hated it. Made me not want to read the rest of the series.

Perhaps if you read this book, stop before the last chapter. LOL

Book Review: One of Us is Lying

This is another book someone recommended to me and I put on my wait list. Lucky me, it arrived right before I left for vaca. I had lots of reading time. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus was a delightful beach read. (fruity umbrella drink not included)

Basic Summary (Courtesy of GoodReads):

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

My thoughts:

I grew up with Breakfast Club, I’m a child of the 80s. And yeah, this book has a similar premise. Five very different kids go to detention. But almost anything described in a short sentence premise can sound like several other things. The two stories are really very little alike.

I’ll be honest. I LOVED this book. I did. It was funny. It was real.

But it was also madly predictable. I was never shocked. There is no suspense. Probably because I knew who done it like a third of the way in. So every “shock” value action after that made sense to me because I knew who was pulling the strings.

But I still LOVED it.