Books, Critiques, and Writing

I’ve found I spend the majority of my time critiquing other writers’ stories’ chapters via the online writing group of which I’m a part. I do count those as “reading books”.

I sporadically write and revise my stories with no particular schedule or pattern. Although, I do write pretty regularly, just not every day, that’s probably not the best approach.

If you’re a writer and wondering about writing daily or whenever, I’m not the best example. ha ha.

I’ve read you should write every day at a particular time to discipline yourself, but I’ve also read you can write when the mood hits you. The important thing is being able to finish what you’ve started, and I usually do–more than not!

Because of the activities I just mentioned, reading physical books takes me quite a while to get through. I get through a few pages then set it aside and go back to what I mentioned above.

While browsing blog posts and Facebook groups where people talk about their favorite books for the year or at any point in time, I thought it would be nice to write down the few books I’ve read over the past couple of years that I found extremely good reads.

Warning: It’s a very small list. Oy

The Witness by Nora Roberts — This book was incredibly good with regard to the suspense, storyline, and characters. It really kept me engaged, and it seems difficult these days for me to keep engaged in most books, which is very odd since I’m an author! Well worth the read. FOUR STARS

The Girl Who Lived by Christopher Greyson — One of the best thrillers I’ve read in ages. I read one before this, and it was overall lacking any type of thrill or suspense. But this one had me on the edge of my seat, gave me the chills, and had me worried about what was going to happen to the main character. Excellent character development, extremely exciting, suspenseful scenes, and amazingly, a pretty clean book. The only hiccup for me was the outcome. It seemed a bit of a letdown, but because the rest of the story rocked, I could excuse that. Well worth the read. FOUR STARS

House Rules by Jodi Picoult. I read this several years ago. The best Picoult book I’ve read. Its storyline was fascinating, characters intriguing, and the plot had a bit of suspense in it. Really enjoyed this read. FIVE STARS

The Great Alone — Nothing I’ve read in the past several years has topped this book. It is one of my all-time favorite books. I was totally sucked in, engrossed, and a part of the characters’ lives. The suspense and that sense of something sinister looming ahead carried me through the chapters with angst. I also cried four times in different sections/chapters of the story. AMAZING READ. FIVE STARS.

And there you have it. My short selection. Hope there are some good reads for me in 2021.

Incidentally, my novel, What She Didn’t Know will be out in mid-February to late March 2021. I’ll have a solid date in the coming weeks.

Hope you consider my book while compiling your to-be-read list.

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The Not-So-Stellar Book Reviews

open white pages book

Today, I received a two-star rating on my debut novel, Passage of Promise. It was my first two-star review out of twenty that have been mostly five and four stars.

As a newly-published author, I expected to receive some ratings that judged my work mediocre. It is part of the life of an author.

Even top, best-selling authors get one-star and two-star reviews, some, unfortunately, with a few nasty remarks. It’s par for the course in the realm of the author’s world, as I said.

Experienced authors have always given the advice to newer authors that they must grow thick skins and not take reviews that aren’t spectacular to heart.

I found the two-star anonymous reviewer’s comments pretty fair. Not everyone is going to like my storyline or my writing style.

This is natural.

As a reader myself, I too, pick up books to read, and come to the same conclusions. Although, if I don’t like the writing style, I don’t buy the book, so I may be even more picky than my two-star reviewer!

The latest book I bought and am having a struggle getting through, I read the first few pages on Amazon and tended to like it because I thought the writing style was pretty good.

But I admit now that the storyline so far has been dragging, and I’m finding it easy to set down the book. The story just isn’t drawing me in to the point where I feel compelled to keep reading it.

Therefore, I understand everybody’s tastes are different, and that each author has her/his niche readers. And that’s good enough for me.

New writers out there and newly-published writers, don’t be discouraged if or when you may get a negative or lower-starred review. Count it as a good thing.

There are three things good about even two-star reviews that are somewhat negative, especially the one I received:

  1. The comments weren’t really insulting.
  2. The person took the time to leave a review.
  3. You learn what each reader gleans from your novel.

For someone who doesn’t really have a high self-esteem, I do know my writing is good, that my stories are worth sharing, and I appreciate the feedback.

Newly-published writers, keep writing and keep publishing your work. There are enough readers out there for each of us.

 

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