Category Archives: first thoughts
I am one of the many adults who reads YA books and even middle grade books. (Out of all YA book buyers, 55% are older than 18 years of age and out of that 28% are aged 30 to 44 years old. I’m perilously close to being part of the second group.) It doesn’t matter to me what the so-called target audience is. I read books for the story. I read mostly fantasy books because reading is an escape for me. The further away from reality I can get with a book, the more I will like it. Young adult books have an abundance of fantasy, paranormal, and sci-fi elements that attract me to those books.
But, I have a pet peeve. It’s a peeve I can’t seem to get away from either. It appears in both young adult and adult books and it drives me slightly crackers. That pet peeve is less than stellar romance. A good romance should be fluid and evolving and include all the traits and pieces of a real relationship. It should not consist of the so-called love interest being cute/hot/mysterious and some weird reaction of the main character’s body. Have you noticed that? The main character always has heart palpitations or some sort of stomach upset when around their love interest. That’s not romance, that’s something you need to see your doctor about. It’s cliché.
Since a good 90% of young adult books have female main characters, I’ll continue with that for the sake of the argument. In the beginning, the girl never likes the boy. He’s either stand-offish or just a plain jerk. But that doesn’t matter because whenever he’s around the girl’s body suddenly gets hot flashes. There is medication for that. A romance should not be where the girl doesn’t really like the boy but that’s okay because he has a nice face. That’s crap. That is not romance; that is lust. And it can be taken care of with cold showers or just by doing each other already. Stop making me read your train wreck.
My kingdom for a romance that develops naturally. Maybe it’s just the easiest pattern to follow in YA books. It’s a rut. A stereotype. It’s my pet peeve. Romance should involve talking and spending time together and discovering you both hate Jane Austin and love shrimp and like the color blue. That little thing called compatibility? It’s a major part of developing a relationship and it’s what makes romance worth it. There is a difference between genuine romance and just plain lust. The romances in YA books are one-dimensional and, in my opinion, degrading to females. It makes it seem like we will overlook any personality flaws as long as the guy has a hot body. That is not how it work, readers.
How about you? Do you have a romance that actually seems well-developed and between two people that actually have a snowball’s chance in hell? What’s the worst book romance you’ve read?
The Wicked Wildfire Readathon starts tomorrow and I really need a readathon to get caught up on some books. After my trip to Main Street Books a few weekends ago I have a pile of to be read books that are giving me the hairy eyeball. I don’t usually have books sitting around waiting, since I really prefer getting books from the library, and I need to get these books read. (I won’t allow myself to buy new books unless I’ve read the books I’ve already bought. Bookshops are dangerous places. There must be rules or all else is chaos.)
The readathon starts Wednesday, June 20th and runs through Sunday, June 24th. It’s a long readathon. My last readathon during winter was only three days. I hope I can keep up for five days!
My plans are to finish reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern first. I’m on page 150 at this moment but the book is so slow that I’ve been reading it in fits and starts for the past couple of weeks. I’m hoping that a concentrated read will haul me over the imaginary hump and get that book read.
(Exactly what are my problems with The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern? Here are my first thoughts on the book. One, it is much too slow. I’m already 150 pages in and we’ve only dipped our toes into the night circus. By this point things should be happening and they just aren’t. Two, so far the book has been driven by imagery more than plot. Very pretty but without any substance. Three, there are too many characters. We are being yanked through too many views and too many side plots. The main characters should be Marco and Celia and they just aren’t presented that way.)
I think three books is a good goal. I can’t see myself reading much more, since I’ll be working during the week. I’m hoping to knock out these three books but I’ll be happy if I get done with The Night Circus. All I have to do is stay off the internet and I should be golden. (I’m doomed.) Happy reading everybody!
I’m attempting to read Mordred, Bastard Son by Douglas Clegg because my Arthurian legend obsession is still going strong but I’m having a hard time getting into it. I’m about 30 pages in and I’m already annoyed with the dialogue and writing style. I can understand when an author wants to immerse the reader into an era, like the dark ages, but then there is using dialogue that is really just irritating. It’s rather like reading a Shakespearian play and I just want to shake people until they stop talking like that. Then the writing is really choppy, with breaks all over the place, and it really ruins the flow. I’m just not able to sink into it. I’ll keep up with it for a little bit more but I might have to abandon it if it doesn’t catch me soon.
I just cracked open Wisdom’s Kiss by Catherin Gilbert Murdock. I’m literally like 5 pages in. It’s letters and bits of journals and such and you all know how I feel about books written in letter form. I can already feel my eye twitching. I’m apparently not doing too well with my first choices of books after my mini-hiatus. I was hoping to have a review ready for the beginning of next week but I’m beating my head against a wall here. Ugh. My kingdom for a good book?
I don’t have a lot of extra time on my hands right now because I’m moving next week. Please be patient with me while I’m surrounded with packing boxes and a general mess. I’m still reading The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston and I also picked up The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brain Selznick . The Book Smugglers reviewed it a few days ago and I wanted to see what it was all about. It’s about 30 pages of short text and the rest of the book is badly drawn sketches and grainy photos. The only great thing about The Invention of Hugo Cabret is the original concept of combining two different medias, words and pictures, to tell a story but it’s badly done. Good idea, bad execution. It’s a huge book, so that is a lot of bad to be faced with.
I’m taking the whole of next week off to move and get settled in my new apartment. Hopefully this extra time will afford me a few evenings curled up with a book and a cup of something a bit stronger than tea. Where and when did I acquire so much crap? Ugh!
Angel in the Front Room, Devil Out Back by Stanford Diehl
I’m not usually into contemporary fiction. I’m much more a fantasy / sci-fi girl. I can’t remember how I even found this book (I have a bad habit of just clicking through Amazon and just writing down titles) but the summery was half-way interesting. So I picked it up at the library last weekend. It’s a big book, 420 pages long, and I might not even finish it if the characters don’t settle down soon. I’m only 80 pages in but I’ve already come to two conclusions; everyone in Solomon’s Rock, Georgia is evil and Jackson Moon has a split personality.
Twenty years ago something bad went down in Solomon’s Rock, something so bad that it scared Jackson Moon into running. Now, years later, he’s back in his hometown to find some answers. Too bad he can’t decide whether to be the hero or the coward in this book. During one confrontation with a person from his past, now the commissioner, he is cowed by the man telling him to keep his nose out of the town’s business. But only a few pages later, in a confrontation with a judge, Jackson Moon plucks up the courage to sass back to the other man. Jackson held the judge’s gaze. “If I can’t dig up any bodies,” he said, “maybe I’ll have to bury some.” It’s like we’re dealing with two different people.
There are a lot of characters in this book and more are coming out of the woodwork on every page. We’re still figuring out where everyone fits and slowly learning what might have happened in Solomon’s Rock, Georgia 20 years ago. Right now I think we’re still stacking the deck with the cast and I’m hoping that the book picks up after the next few chapters. The reader doesn’t know much at this point and the protagonist appears to know even less.