Thursday, July 15, 2010


Of all the diversions of life, there is none so proper to fill up its empty spaces as the reading of useful and entertaining authors. ~ Joseph Addison

Twice in two days I've started reading books that I ended up putting down after just a chapter or two. While it's a shame these books didn't have better editors -- editors who would tell the authors what NOT to do and help them fix it (because I think both stories had potential) -- reading poorly constructed books really helps me write my own stuff. It's always easier to see errors in other books.

The first book was chock full of telling. I remember when I first started writing, I didn't understand what people meant when they'd say, "SHOW, don't TELL". I had to have it spelled out for me (very slowly and using one syllable words). Now, though? When I come across it, especially when it's as blatant as this book (which surprised me, honestly, because the publisher usually sends out good stuff), it drives me wonky.

In this case, we'd see something like the H/H having dinner. Sexual tension sparks are flying back and forth despite their distrust of each other -- all nicely written and SHOWN. And then, in case we're too stupid to get that, the author would write something like, "Martha was terribly attracted to Jed, but simply couldn't trust him because of his job."

If this had only happened now and then, I probably could have overlooked it. But it was constant and I finally couldn't stand being hit over the head with the obvious any more. Book was closed and deleted from my Nook.

The second book, a romantic suspense novel, had great potential The author is clearly talented with wordsmithing, which is the only thing that kept me reading past chapter two.

In chapter one, we start with a bang. It's interesting and exciting as a good suspense should be. It introduces the Big Evil -- in this case a wacko stalker -- and it all takes place in the dark which really made it even scarier.

Then came chapter two. This one? A day in the life. La-de-da. She did this, she did that, got a Christmas tree, put it up, decorated while listening to music. The next chapter? Her friend shows up for Christmas. They have a snowball fight. The go out for dinner. ... ...

:::bangs head on keyboard:::

I kept waiting for something to happen. Oh, the heroine would occasionally think she saw something in the shadows, but that would take one line and then be gone and we'd return to a moment by moment run down of her very average day.

Broke my heart, because I really wanted to like this book.

IMHO, in a suspense book you need to keep the tension high. Maybe you don't have to have it front and center on every page, but it needs to be just behind everything, poking now and then, rearing its ugly head and keeping you waiting for the bogeyman to leap out of the shadows.

So, this book was closed and deleted from my Nook.

Why has a book disappointed you recently? And, any good newly released romances you can recommend for my reading drought?


All is quiet in Pillar Place: Monarch. Well, actually, it's pretty noisy -- they're LOUD when they eat! -- but not much is happening except eating, pooping, and growing. Just like human babies. *G*


You Are Brilliant

You see patterns and meaning where other people see nothing. You have an amazing mind.

You are often the smartest person in the room, but you don't let it go to your head. You are quite humble.

You like to think, analyze, and challenge. For you, there's nothing more boring than people not open to ideas.

You are always changing your beliefs and theories. Your brain is extremely flexible.

Hmmmm... That's about 60% right. At least that's the number my amazing mind came up with. *G*



Dru said...

Do you delete your books from the nook or archive them? I've done both.

I recently had a book that everyone said was good new debut series and after reading a couple of pages, I just couldn't finish.

You Are Tranquil

You are able to stand back and really appreciate the ebb and flow of life. You find peace even in troubled times.

You know that all bad things eventually pass, and you have a broad perspective that others yearn for.

You focus on the present as much as possible. You aren't weighed down by thoughts of the past or future.

You seek balance, and with that balance comes bliss. You have found your happy place, and you're content to stay there a while.

Wow, so true.

Have a good Thursday.

MJFredrick said...

Have you read Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey yet? I really enjoyed that one. Or any of Stephanie Tyler's Blazes? Suddenly One Summer by Barbara Freethy.

groovyoldlady said...

No recommendations right now. I actually read very little romance, per se.

You Are Spirited
You have an enthusiasm for life that can't be toned down. You are constantly jazzed.
You live boldly and without fear. You try not to overthink anything. You prefer action!

You are open to any and every experience. You don't try to predict how something will be.
You don't have time for worrying or anxiety. You hope for the best and can deal with the worst.

Marianne Arkins said...

Dru, I delete the books I know I'll NEVER read again. I archive the ones I might, but don't want them to clutter up the Nook itself.

Mary, interestingly enough "Exclusively Yours" is the next book on my Nook's TBR! It sounds really cute and I can't wait to dive in. I'm glad to hear that I probably won't be disappointed. I'm not a big Barbara Freethy fan, but will have to check out Stephanie Tyler.

Groovy -- your quiz results sound RIGHT ON :-)

Maria Zannini said...

Ref: --reading poorly constructed books really helps me write my own stuff.

Just goes to prove that even poor reads are useful.

Though I get a little annoyed if I spend good money on something and it turns out to be a book I can't finish.

MaryC said...

Okay, I know I posted a comment here earlier. I wonder if blogger is acting up again.

The condensed version is I have nothing to recommend at the moment because I've been in a weird, unsettled place with my reading - unable to concentrate on any one thing. Very unusual for me.

I have become a really big fan of reading preview chapters on my Nook or on my iPod with the Amazon Kindle app. Bad news for authors since I'm much more apt to pick up a book on impulse in the store and apparently less so after I've actually read a chapter - but better for me in terms of not wasting money.

Brandy said...

Hmm, does Karen Rose count as romantic suspense? I just finished Silent Scream and enjoyed it.
Sorry to hear the two books were poorly received.
And good golly, I've the Kindle App on my iPod and never thought of preview chapters!

Re the quiz: I am Tranquil. Um, not right now I'm not.

I hope you have a nice day.

Tori Lennox said...

I hate buying books that seem fun and turn out to be otherwise.

Kristina Koutsouvilis said...

Right now I've begun reading Windows 7 for Dummies, a little something to chew on before I take a computer class next month. This is probably not something on your reading list, but I read some of these for informational purposes only. If only it wasn't 50% crap. The writer tries to be funny as you're reading the four hundred page annoyance in search for what you actually want to learn.

Ceri Hebert said...

I don't know if you'd consider it new, but I recently read and loved "What I Did For Love" by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. It was the first book I ever read by her and I'll go back for more.

I picked up a 2nd hand book by an author I really didn't like the first time around. I believe in second chances, but her first book seemed so amateurish. And she's supposedly a NY Times best seller. Um, okay.

Marianne Arkins said...

Maria, re: wasting money on books I don't like.

I've gotten to where I seldom buy books from an unknown author without reading them first. I'm a big fan of having a large "keeper" shelf, but I borrow from the library first -- then if I like it? I buy it for my keeper shelf.

The exception is eBooks, but like MaryC says here, I have an advantage with my Nook -- at home, I can download the first chapter and read it before I buy. But even better? If I go IN to a Barnes and Noble store? I can read any eBook they sell for an hour for free. I don't usually need an hour to know whether I like something ... 15 - 20 mins will let me know. It's a great thing (and just what I'd do with a paper book in the Barnes and Noble store, so IMHO it's a very smart move on their part).

Have I mentioned how much I love my Nook?

Marianne Arkins said...

MaryC -- I've started copying my comments for Blogger before I hit enter, because I've been getting errors lately. Ugh.

And I commented on your comment about the Nook in my response to Maria Zannini (above) because you made a great point.

Marianne Arkins said...

Brandy, I love Karen Rose!! But, she's so intense, and I've been craving light and fluffy lately. Still, I didn't realize she had a new book out, so have added to my wish list. Thanks!

Marianne Arkins said...

Tori, that's why I tend to try before I buy, except with proven authors (although I've a few who used to be auto-buys and aren't any longer because their last couple of book have been so disappointing).

Marianne Arkins said...

Kristina, LOL ... I actually have three computer books I'm working through right now, so completely understand! My DH is actually studying for his MS Windows 7 certification test, so we have a VERY thick book sitting on our living room table. UGH.

My favorite series of computer books are from O'Reilly -- I like the Headstart books and also the Dynamic Learning ones. Good stuff and makes it easier for me to learn.

Marianne Arkins said...

Ceri, Susan Elizabeth Phillips is AWESOME. I can't believe you haven't read her before (and she's giving away a Kindle on her website contest ... you should check it out). *G*

Dru said...


I haven't tried out the lend feature yet on the nook and btw, I love my nook, but perhaps there's a book that you would like to read that I might already own and I could lend it to you.

Marianne Arkins said...

Ceri, sorry about the mis-information about SEP. It's actually Eloisa James and she's giving away a Nook on her Facebook fan page. Could I have been more wrong? LOL...

Dru, the books have to have the "lend me" function, and not all of them do but I'd love to see what you might have that DO have that option. Same goes for you BTW.