Spooky October Reading

Having never been a “theme” based reader before, I decided this year that October should be a month for reading spooky, scary stories. I am not a huge fan of horror movies I just can’t seem to get my head around them. However, when it comes to scary books I am less of a chicken. Having said that I still occasionally gaze over the top of my book to see if I am alone.

I have so far in 9 days managed to read 4 books. Three of them were from my own collection and one was a book I was given from Netgalley. For me, this is a record in itself. I have never been a fast reader but reading books with the purpose of providing a review has seen my ability to finish a book in a few days compared to a week or so in the past.

But I have strolled from my point.

As I stated above, I have finished 4 books, I was expecting by now to be scared out of my wits and want to read only children’s books for the rest of my life. But the opposite has happened. Sure some of the books have creeped me out slightly but, in general, what I have found are stories that whilst have a scary edge to them, they offer something more. Characters that find a way to get through dire situations or solve a mystery and storylines that are both interesting, confronting in some circumstances and heartwarming in others.

I am so pleased that I decided to do this whole themed reading idea so I have discovered some great stories that have been sitting on my bookshelves waiting patiently for me to realise how great they are. Hopefully, before the end of October, I will have discovered many more.

 

Books read so far:

The Hoarder – Jess Kidd (Netgalley)

Creepers – Joanne Dahme

The Greatcoat – Helen Dunmore

Red Hill – Jamie McGuire

 

Twilight…on the inside.

Now that I have become one of the thousands if not millions of people to read the Twilight series I thought I would share my thoughts.

Years ago when my sister asked me to read the books I flat out refused, I told her the idea did not interest me. The idea of my brooding dark vampires was completely at odds with the whole idea of sparkling vampires. It took me a few more years and a lot of not so polite reviews on social media for me to get the courage to read them. When I mean courage, I wasn’t scared of reading them and being seen as a nerdy person who read “those” books. I mean I didn’t really think I would like them and I needed the courage to not be a book snob about them.You can imagine my surprise and shock when I come to realise that these books are not just a love story between a vampire and a teenage girl.

They go much, much deeper than that. There are so many aspects to these books and so many important life issues are addressed. You are not just reading about a teenage girl swooning over a vampire and a wolf. What unfolds is something far deeper and stranger. What you are really reading without realising it until the very end is, the story of Jacob Black. People will argue that I am wrong but really when all is said and done, Jacob Black is the central character all the rest are merely along for the ride. If you have not read the books, then I hope this intrigues you enough to delve into them.

The books are as true to life as you can get, life is messy. They prove that time and time again. Yes, they are set in a world of magic and creatures that most only believe exist in the imagination of writers and in myth. They are people dealing with real problems underneath all that. You deal with feeling like you do not belong (Bella), peer pressures and angst (Bella’s school friends). Marital break down (Bella’s parents) and the biggest of all sacrifice which nearly every character deals with. Carlisle when he explains why he turned all the members of his “family”. Edward when he leaves Bella, he is sacrificing his and her happiness to try to do what is right by them both. Was he wrong? Yes but when you love someone and you really want the best for them sometimes you do the wrong thing thinking it is the right thing.

So after having reading them and seeing for myself what they are like I  am stumped as to why people want to rubbish them. They are not classics but, they never claimed to be and the author has never said they were. The trouble today is we want books that are written a certain way, anything outside our comfort zone is seen as wrong by some. I personally do not like Jacob for his possessiveness and childish behaviour. I thought Bella’s obsession with being too old when still being a teenager was annoying but that did not stop me finding the books interesting and enjoyable to read.

The book snobs in this world complained about the books being badly written, they were not. There were some parts that could have been edited to make the writing a lot tighter but they were not badly written. As a reviewer, I have seen badly written books and these are not. When you read a scene where the writer describes the “lightening” flashed across the sky, you are dealing with bad editing. It really pains me that so many people want to hate these books just because they can.

When reading a story I try to relate to one or more of the characters to feel what they feel. I just wish that people would read that way, put themselves in the shoes of at least one character in a book and see life through their eyes. Don’t have a preconceived idea about a book (like I did to start with) but go with the flow and see where the story takes you. I was lucky enough to put aside my book snobbish side and give the books a chance. They made me angry, they made me laugh and sometimes they made me cry. The most important thing is they made me feel something.

If you have not read the series, then I ask as a person who said they never would, please give them a try. You will either hate them or like them but at least you will have made that judgment for yourself.

 

A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest

a shade of vampire

Story Outline:

On the evening of Sofia Claremont’s seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake.

A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood.

She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine.
An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains.

Sofia’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince.

Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.

Will she succeed? …or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?

 

My Review:

I really enjoyed the dueling POV in this book, but I am not sure that I will read the rest of the series. It was interesting and a lot of background information was given to give the reader an idea about why “The Shade” was created for the vampires. I just did not really connect with any of the characters which is rare for me.

Would I recommend it to others? Yes, if you are a fan of vampire fiction, please check it out.

Not team Jacob…Are you?

I do not normally write posts about characters in a book when I am still reading them but I can not bottle this up inside me for one moment longer. I am not a fan of Jacob.

I am currently 365 pages through Eclipse (for those of you that are huge fans of the books, yes that is the beginning of Chapter 17. Alliance). So far I have tolerated Jacob and his wish to see Bella happy but REALLY how can people like him? Sure he didn’t leave Bella and rip her heart out in the process but he is mean, forceful and just downright pushy.

So here is what I need to find out…are you a fan of Jacob? If you are then please tell me what it is about him that you find so appealing? I am really struggling to find anything redeeming about him at all and it is driving me nuts. I nearly cheered when Bella punched him.

 

Bad Book Reviews…

 

What is the ONE thing that drives me crazy?  Bad book reviews.

It breaks my heart to see a book/author being slaughtered on social media. I know a few authors and I have tried writing myself. It takes courage, guts, and determination to put words on a page and then show it to the rest of the world. I take it as a personal insult when I see this happening to any author whether I know them or not. I think it is only fair that any reader should put themselves in the shoes of the author and try to understand them.

Sure there are books I dislike or could not finish. Instead of the all out attack that some deemed to think is the smart way to go. I state why their book was not for me. I give suggestions on how the story might be improved in a constructive and friendly manner.

Some might think that is short-sighted of me, that I need to get a thicker skin but the days of defending someone is not dead and buried. If an author doesn’t write a book you like, it is not the end of the world. I see a lot of people read books in genres they do not like so it is an easy cop out to give a nasty review or bash the author. If you know your genres stick them. If you want to try new genres but you discover that it is not for you that is fine as well but never blame the author. The author doesn’t shove the book in your hands and tell you to read it and you will love it. You choose the book; you make the decision to read the book so it is your responsibility review the book in a way that is helpful and considerate. Be more descriptive. If a reviewer likes a book, we will find out why because a review will give us all the reasons. On the other hand, if someone hates a book they normally just write they hated it. There is usually no in depth reason for the hatred, just the hatred.

Am I too opinionated on this subject? Maybe but I also believe that authors deserve support and encouragement. If we want to read books that will take us to another place or make a us feel something, we have to encourage authors to take us there. If they are constantly ridiculed and attacked, they will not write at their best or even write at all.

So before you write a review think about the author, what they went through to write the story and be kind. Reviews, like books, have power, they can help or hinder us if you are a book reviewer the choice is yours.

Politics and the author….Does it makes for disgruntled readers?

Being an active social media user I have been noticing a worrying trend. Authors using their author’s page to push political subjects. Now I might cause an all out war here but it is a subject that I thought I would touch on.

As a reader, have you ever thought this yourself when you have gone to check out what your favourite author is up to?

It is something as a reader that I find to be very unsettling. Authors page’s should be for their books, whether it be promoting, chatting to their followers about their books or even sharing reviews that people have written. The one thing that can make me donate a book quicker than a speed reader can finish a book, is seeing an author going on about politics on their authors’ page, or even worse, engaging in trolling their followers if they dare to disagree with their opinion on the subject.

I am no stranger to political discussion, but to me, if you are an author and you want to discuss matters non-book related, create a personal account where you can discuss any political party or politician to your heart’s content.

Is that wrong of me to think that authors should find another platform for this subject?

Most would scream YES!!!! and tell me that they are entitled to say/write what they like. The problem I have is with the platform they use, not their opinions or views.

It might sound old fashioned, but there are still some of us out there who want the mystery of who authors are to remain. Even though I can find out the most minuscule of details about any author any time, there are just some things I do not wish to know. Yes, I know they are ordinary people who have feelings, opinions, and views just like the rest of us, I do not and have never denied this. For me, they just need to know where to draw the line.