Book Review: Telling Lies for Fun & Profit

I hear this book has been around for eons and is a mainstay of writers’ canon. Shrug. Who knew? LOL. Not me. Not until Norwescon this past year when one of the panels referenced Telling Lies for Fun & Profit by Lawrence Block.

I very much liked this book. It’s broken down into section about the market and craft specific things. I found some of his market information and opinions felt very out of date. But his comments on craft were spot on. I took a ton of e-notes, 7% of the book in fact or so the rights management software informed me. (The book allows 10%.)

One of my fave stories he used to demonstrate the importance of close first person narrative with some story lines. He talks about how in the story you are right there with a band of rebels. Their country has been taken over by a neighboring country. They develop a plan to kill the dictator in charge in the hopes of gaining their freedom. The story is told so close in that as a reader you are rooting for the assassin to kill the dictator. Rooting for the rebels right up til the moment when the assassin kills the dictator and you see it’s Abraham Lincoln he’s killed to your cheers.  That story line would never have flown told from a distant omniscient third person POV.

Maybe that’s what makes this book so much fun and informative, the great stories Block tells to demonstrate his points. The chapters are short and the reading easy.

℘℘℘℘ – Four Pages. I have to be honest, I’d never heard of this guy or read any of his fiction works, but if he’s as funny in fiction as he was in non fiction…I’ll definitely check him out.

 

Book Review: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I breezed through the life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo during a sick morning on the couch. It was an easy read. Kondo cycles back through most of her ideas more than once, so if you don’t catch them the first time, you’ll have nine more opportunities on average. LOL.

The basic tenant is that you should LOVE and find JOY in everything in your home. Discard or donate everything that does not fall in that category. Hrm, that sounds good but I don’t know. What about my running shoes? I don’t love them. They don’t bring me joy, but walk/jogging the dog 15 miles a week would be rough without them.

But I thought the idea was intriguing enough to give it a whirl. And Kondo stresses starting with your clothes. Which I have been desperate to purge and reorg for a while now. Ok, why not. Yeah, five hours later. Ugh.

I have to admit my closet is beautiful now. And things are organized nicely. But I’m not sure how maintainable her “standing clothes” organization is going to be. I’ll give it a few weeks to see how it goes.

Now then….the rest of the house…sigh…that is going to take a bit longer. Her second step is your bookcase. But I actually just did that in the manner she suggested a couple of months ago when we moved the bookcases down to the front room so the little man could have a play room upstairs. (Lego explosion on only one floor of the house, thank you very much.) We had to empty every shelf, bring the cases down, then figure out what to keep as we purposely wanted to go from 3 cases of books to 2.

I get to skip the paperwork one as well as the hubs handles that.

Which brings me to the “stuff” portion of the book. sigh. We have so much stuff. And the stuff is not helped by my FIL who spent the year after my MIL’s death, bringing truck loads of things to my house and putting them about. Yeah, seriously, the man redecorated my house, with my MIL’s things. Don’t get me started on that. It’ll be a while. In fact, I plan to spend the summer on “stuff.” LOL

℘℘℘℘ – Four Pages. Easy Read. Liked what she had to say but I am not sure I bought it all. I plan to read a couple of other organization books on my TBR list. Maybe I’ll upgrade her rating after that. LOL

Book Review: War and Peach

Ok I admit it, I was sucked in by the cutesy name. I was. War and Peach by Susan Furlong is the third book in her Southern Girl series. I call it than by the way because she starts each chapter with a Southern Girl Secret, most of which were pretty funny.

“There are inly two reasons someone new comes into your life. They’re either going to be a blessin or a lesson.” 

Ain’t that the truth. LOL

or “If someone’s tryin to bring you down, it’s just cause they know you’re above them.”

ROFL.

Or my personal favorite. “Don’t be one of those women who follow their hearts and forget to take their brains with them.”

So, standard cozy mystery set up. Murder. Someone important or friends with the protag is suspected, so they get involved to solve the case and end up almost getting killed for their trouble but getting credited with solving the mystery by the town folk at large.

℘℘℘ – 3 pages. It was fine. I might pick up another one if I’m bored but I decided to devote the summer to emptying my TBR shelf above my desk and my virtual one at the library, little boredom to be found I hope.

Book Review: Cut, Crop, & Die

Why, why do I keep trying to find cozy mysteries that are worth my time. I have 2, count them 2 authors on my list, that write cozy mysteries that never disappoint  me. Maybe this is my own personal 2nd person point of view. LOL

Cut, Crop, & Die by Joanna Campbell Slan was ok. Heavily ok. I’m not into scrap booking, but there wasn’t an overkill of scrap booking description so that was fine. I think, I just never cared about who killed the victim. She was a horrible person. And she died horribly. Seems balanced to me. LOL.

Ok, let me get serious here. There’s some romance. There’s some life can be complicated stuff. There’s some deduction, although definitely less deducting than anything else. There’s some improbable bits. And it’s really clear who dun it, long before the main character figures it out.

℘℘ – Two pages, maybe 2.5. I mostly finished it out of stubbornness and a large dose of boredom. The kiddo was taking forever to do his home school work and since he still wants mom right there, I read most of this while answering which coin is a quarter for the 900th time.

Book Review: The One & Only

I really like Emily Giffin. I’ve read most of her books. Really liked most of her books. I’ve read books by other authors because she endorsed them and liked those too. But…

The One & Only makes me angry. I’ll explain why but first a bit about the book.

Shea is a college town girl, who grew up loving one thing. Walker football. Her best friend was the coach’s daughter. She went to every game. She went to college at Walker and wrote about them for the school paper. She took a job with the college, in the sports department after graduation. Her life is ALL Walker football. Even her boyfriend at the start of the book used to play for Walker.

But someone influential in her life dies and she starts to think she should make some changes. So she cuts loose her slacker boyfriend, gets a new job writing for a Dallas paper, covering…can you guess…the Walker football team.

She gets a new boyfriend. Starts to repair her relationship with her own dad. Things are really looking up. Of course, the problem is she’s secretly in love with the coach of the Walker football team.

Fine, it’s trite, but ok. Let’s let it roll.

The problem for me is she lies to everyone. Her best friend, her mother, her boyfriend, throughout the whole book. She stays with the boyfriend even though she doesn’t love him, lies and says she does though, because hey, he’s a quarterback of a pro-team, used to play for Walker, and it’s not like Coach would ever like her anyway.

There’s been this trend in books I see on the pop shelves lately, female lead books. The women lie, cheat, use people – and then poof get what they want. I hate it. If books are meant to be our role models then all I am learning is that it’s ok to do whatever you want, to treat people however you want, in the last 2 pages of the book an invisible magic fairy will give you everything you ever dreamed of. I’m tired of it. What happened to actually working for what you want? Women protest for equal rights and then publish books where the man gives the woman everything she wants. The job at the Dallas paper, gift from Coach. And when she gets fired from that job Daddy offers more prestigious jobs.

I won’t give away the absolute end but suffice to say it’s enough to make you want to throw your kindle.

℘℘ – Two Pages. I finished it but I’m angry as all hell. And I might not read any more Emily Giffin if this is the way her books are going to go now.

Book Review: Scratch

I was at the library with four kids, waiting for my friend to pick up her three. She had just arrived and we were chatting quietly, our three minute catch up on our lives, when mid sentence Scratch edited by Manjula Martin caught my eye. It has a big pen on the front. LOL. I grabbed it and took it home, where it lingered unread(unloved) for some weeks while I read other things. What a mistake.

When I finally opened it, I found a magical world of writers. Martin interviewed and persuaded various authors to write or talk about the art of writing. Mostly she was looking to break the silence on how much people actually get paid, when she argues we must talk about or writers will continue to be paid a mere pittance. But what was revealed was so much more.

I could highlight all day. It’s the raw, honest truth behind a public success or failure. Big names baring their pain at being consider a trash writer because they are popularly successful, not literary. That hurts. I always thought being widely read was the make or break for me. Oh well, I’ll wait til I’m in her shoes to make that call.

People I have never heard of sharing how their impossible novel got picked up. I have new books to read now.

℘℘℘℘℘ – Five Pages. I have never read a non fiction book so rapt. I wanted to read faster. I was irritated at distractions.

 

Book Review: The Kick-Ass Writer

I  special ordered The Kick-Ass Writer: 1001 Ways to Write Great Fiction, Get Published, and Earn Your Audience by Chuck Wendig because Allison was talking about it and I always want the next good craft book. If I’m not learning, I am empty.

There were some really beautiful gems in this book. Some tidbits of information that just made me stop and think because Chuck explained it so well. Like his comment on originality. He likened it to a box of Legos. You can give everyone the same exact box of Legos and will get a different build from each of them.  We all bring something different to our writing, so even if a plot or theme has been done before, you will do it different because you bring you to the table.

On the other hand, I was frequently irritated. He would start off talking about something I wanted to know more about and then spend the second half of the paragraph making a lame joke. Since he spends only one paragraph per item, it was quite disappointing.

On the other, other hand, I found myself laughing to tears more than once at his jokes. So there is that.

To sum it up I would say this book is 25% humor, 25% wow I wanted to know more about that, and 50% stuff I already knew about writing, editing, publishing.

℘℘℘ – Three pages. Quick read. If you are new to writing, editing, and publishing this could be right up your alley. If you need a refresher on any of those things, this could also be right up your alley. If you need a book to spark you into researching specific subjects, this book is right up your alley. Huh. Maybe I should have given it four pages.