• Book Review: The Successful Novelist by David Morrell

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    David Morrell is a genius.

    There’s no getting around that fact. After reading this book, I am more than convinced that this man has more writing talent in his pinky than I do in my whole body.

    I digress.

    When I mentioned on Twitter that Stephen King’s On Writing is one of the most influential books about writing that I have ever read, someone suggested that I look up David Morrell’s book The Successful Novelist: A Lifetime of Lessons about Writing and Publishing.

    I’m delighted I did.

    This book, like King’s, provides a veritable treasure trove of knowledge regarding the craft and the business of writing. However, Morrell takes a much more practical approach, giving out advice for you to use in your daily writing sessions. King’s book is largely memoir with some practical bits sprinkled in. On the whole, Morrell seems so much more approachable.

    The Successful Novelist is suitable for writers of all skill levels. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been writing for ages, this book is for you.

    It’s also short, succinct, and easy to read and understand. What more could you want?

    Go out and pick up your copy today. This book will change your life.

    Have you read this book? What did you think of it? What book would you like to see me review next?

    P.S. Book Review: Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown.

  • Book Review: Morning Glory by Allison Blanchard

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    Having read Allison Blanchard’s debut novel Forget Me Not, I was thrilled to have the chance to read and review the sequel. Morning Glory continues the story of Adeline, a high school girl whose ordinary life is turned upside down when she encounters a boy named Cole and his native traditions. Blanchard’s new novel is the perfect blend of depth, drama, and romance. Her stellar cast of characters, dedication to narrative, and attention to detail make Morning Glory an even greater success than Forget Me Not. This book is fantastic.

    Fans of the first novel’s protagonist Adeline will not be disappointed by her portrayal in this sequel. Blanchard stays true to Adeline’s character throughout this novel, and I had a difficult time finding anything that did not feel true to character. My other two favorites, Cole and Emma, are given an equally respectful treatment. The relationships established in the first novel are deepened and explored further in this sequel. Because fiction is about people, I loved Blanchard’s depth of characters and exploration of family, friendly, and romantic relationships throughout her new book.

    Another quality that makes this sequel worth reading is Blanchard’s dedication to the established narrative. Blanchard reminds the reader of the legend established in Forget Me Not while adding details that enhance the realism of the mythology. She also does an excellent job of keeping up with her characters’ histories and backstories (I’d like to know how she does it because I could use a few pointers).

    With a whole mythology to look after, it’s impressive that Blanchard does not slack off when it comes to her attention to detail. As with the backstories, Blanchard makes certain that every part of the legend exists for a reason–that is, every seemingly-insignificant detail coincides with something that happens in the story. Nothing happens unless it needs to. This level of attention is something that I have the utmost respect for.

    My only complaint about the novel? At times, it seemed that there was too much convenience. Certain events felt contrived rather than inevitable. Without giving too much away, I had a hard time believing the identity of the man who pulled Adeline from the river. Even then, Blanchard did her very best to convince me, which is why I am reluctant to list this single grievance.

    This sequel is as good as, if not better than, its predecessor. I enjoyed every second of the book and found it difficult to put down. If you loved Forget Me Not, or if you’re in the market for a new kind of paranormal romance, you need to check out Blanchard’s work.

    You can purchase Blanchard’s debut novel on Amazon. She also has a blog that you can view here.

    Want me to review your book? Comment or send me an email! I’d love to get in touch with you.

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  • Book Review: Oleanders in Alaska by Matt Thompson

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    I’ve read and reviewed plenty of books in my time. Some of these books have been written by individuals that I have not known personally (the vast majority. in fact). However, some of these books have been written by friends or colleagues with whom I am well-acquainted. When reviewing these books, I have to be careful to stay objective. I usually pretend that the book I’m reviewing was written by someone else entirely, someone that I don’t know, in order to give the review the emotional distance it deserves.

    And if the book is bad (oh, God forbid it), then I lie. When my friend or neighbor or loved one asks me what I thought about the book, I spit half-truths through gritted teeth. This approach takes a great deal of energy and usually results in me feeling exhausted and unfulfilled by the conversation.

    When it comes to Oleanders in Alaska by Matt Thompson, though, I’m happy to say that I do not have to lie. This book is fantastic. Let’s talk about it.

    Here’s the book description from Amazon.com: “Not all lives seem connected, but when a storm hits in St. Laurent’s, Alaska, the lives of many are thrown together. They find that their lives weren’t really so far apart to begin with, but quite the opposite.”

    Throughout the novel, the people of St. Laurent’s, Alaska interact and develop relationships with one another. Thompson handles their backstories with a masterful touch, revealing details only when they are relevant to the present action. Although the novel is short, it contains a great deal of emotional and psychological depth and character growth. The prose in and of itself is an absolute delight.

    Thompson’s latest novel is a treat. Oleanders in Alaska presents the struggles, triumphs, and journeys of the citizens of a small Alaskan town. It is a pleasure to read and even more so to review. If you love literary fiction, you should consider this novel your next must-read.

    Want me to review your book? Email me or leave a comment!

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  • Book Review: Adulting By Kelly Williams Brown

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    I am a closested self-help book-lover. I love to read and reread books that promise to help me better myself, even if they never actually come through on that promise. After all, can’t we all stand to become a better person?

    Sometimes, a self-help book exceeds my expectations. Sometimes it’s everything that I wanted it to be and so much more. Such is the case for Kelly Williams Brown’s book Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 486 Easy-ish Steps. Brown’s book is based off her popular Tumblr blog, found here. If you don’t want to read the book (which you should after reading this review), you should definitely follow her.

    Adulting has the potential to improve many aspects of your life, no matter what your age. If you’re a twentysomething who, like me, often feels lost and confused when faced with real-world problems, this book is a must-read. In her book, Williams covers topics such as cooking, cleaning, relationships, work, and hospitality. Her style is entertaining yet educational. It’s like having a sassy, worldly friend give you life-changing advice. And while this book won’t necessarily cause you to have a soul-cleansing epiphany, it should at least make you think twice about your immature attitudes.

    If you’re looking for an informative read that’s also enjoyable, look no further than Adulting. While you’re at it, be sure to visit Kelly Williams Brown’s blog, full of even more advice and tips for finally growing up. And if you do read the book, please let me know what you think! I’d love to hear about it.