At the beginning of the month of January, I created a reading list to finish three books by an author I dislike, James Patterson. It’s now a little halfway through the month, and I have now just completed “The Midwife Murders”. This is the second book I’ve completed a review on, and if you want to hear my thoughts on “Hush” I’ll link that here for your merriment as well.Continue reading My Thoughts on “The Midwife Murders”
Hey guys what is up? I figured we’d start off my first reading list of the new year a bit differently compared to what I’ve posted before in the past. The past few monthly reading lists I had made felt really scattered and thrown together; mostly in part because I was just finding myself again on a writing platform (this blog) and I wasn’t exactly sure what I was doing. I also just started getting back into my love of literature and books, so I was just reading and posting about books that I thought would be interesting to read or ones I had started off earlier in the year I had intended to finish reading.
Although I still have a few books even on my December reading list I would like to finish off in 2021, I want to make these reading hauls a little more interesting and cohesive by creating a theme each month and focus my reading around said theme.
This month I decided to start off January on a good note by reading books by authors I dislike, because I figured that would be a good way to start off the New Year on a positive note.
For this Christmas, my father decided to buy me a bunch of James Patterson books. My father is not a very bookish man and had no way of knowing that I’m generally not a James Patterson fan and the gift was all around sweet and very thoughtful so I’m still planning on reading the books he gave me.
Oh boy, okay. So right off the bat, my first impression is the usual ones I have whenever I see a James Patterson cover. There’s my boy James’s name almost as big as the title and then his co-writer’s name is stuck on the bottom as an afterthought. The cover is pretty simple paperback cover with what looks to be a woman standing down the end of a dark tunnel facing a light.
The back doesn’t tell me much in the way of the story except James Patterson’s review of his own book and USA Today and TIME telling me this book is not one you want to miss out on. It looks like this may be an installment in a series, so I may have to get a few other books before reading this one. It appears to be a thriller about a detective who’s trying to right a wrong by proving the innocence of a woman who’s been wrongfully jailed.
My first impression is still the same as the first book when it comes to the font. James Patterson’s name is listed at the top in large font just as big as the title, and then another author thrown in there below. I turn it over and the back isn’t a quote he has written instead of a synopsis so that is good. Instead we do have a small synopsis about the presumably main character David Shelley and his background. It appears this will be another suspenseful novel. Shelley is a former SAS soldier and bodyguard, and the daughter of the family he used to bodyguard for has presumably committed suicide. The family have a hard time believing their daughter would do such a thing, so they ask their former bodyguard for help in finding out what really happened.
I’m curious as to why a family would ask their bodyguard for help in doing investigative work. Obviously Patterson isn’t above a detective story, so there has to be a reason behind it. I’m hoping it’s not just because he wants a bodyguard in place of a detective because it’ll make it more fun to read.
The Midwife Murders
First impression: his name for once doesn’t appear to be as big and flashy as the book title. Perhaps because the blood red title finally contrasts from Jame’s silver name title just above it. The paperback cover is blue, with a woman wearing a dark blue coat running down a flight of concrete steps. I cannot tell which era she is from, although I’m pretty sure I’ve never read a historic James Patterson book as of yet, although I’ve only read one of them.
The back synopsis I had to read a couple of times because it just sounds like gibberish nonsense. Lucy Ryuan is a senior nurse who doesn’t see pregnancy as a condition but her life’s work. Yet, when two kidnappings and a viscous stabbing happen on her watch, she decides to be the one to try and change things.
The wording just sounds really awkward to me, and at this point I wouldn’t put it past whoever does these back synopsis on these books just going “what the hell? Let’s write out whatever we feel like! Nobody cares, they’ll just read whatever we print out.”
Okay, so it appears I have my work cut out for me this month. I would honestly hope to be surprised, but I know we’re just going to have to wait and see. I also have “Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King that I will like to be reading as well this month, but I have a lot to say about Stephen King so that’s going to be its own kettle of fish.
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“Hush” by James Patterson
Okay, folks. The moment I think we’ve all been waiting for has come to an end. I am a quarter way through my January Reading list, which means I have now read my first book by James Patterson for the year 2021. For this month I had decided to read the books my father had gifted to me at Christmastime by an author whom I don’t typically enjoy the writing style of.
My first impressions of the book prior to reading was that he is a attention whore on the front of the book. He takes all of the attention off of his co-writers and it seems to be all about him. On the inside of this book, I quickly catch onto the rhythmic format that is the chapter layout. Chapters are very short, about 1-3 pages long with the longest chapter being 6 pages in length. It’s almost as if someone in his public relations board said “hey, the span of the average reader is about seven minutes long. We have seven minutes to write something important before the reader loses interest.” Which I guess would make sense for the mass publishing industry, but this is what I think before I’ve researched anything about James Patterson’s publishing company or writing style.
I did a little research into looking into Patterson’s history in an attempt to explain his advertising campaign, and it’s just as I expected. Patterson was a advertising executive for J. Walter Thompson until 1996 when upon retirement he became a full-time writer. This makes me understand a little bit more of his background, and it gives me a bit more respect for his advertising campaign for his book since he knows what he is doing when it comes to marketing.
This book is not the first one in the series, but it was easy to follow as just a book I happened to read on a random whim. The main character, Harriet Blue, is a rogue detective with her partner Whitt and other partner Tox. This tagalong team is asked by a county commissioner who despises them to find his missing junkie daughter and his granddaughter. This trope feels very overdone to me in the detective mystery genre. I do not like the county commissioner always being talked up as being this biggest tool and then asking the rogue cop baddies to halp him out because the bad guys have captured AB or C from him. The entire rogue cop detective thriller is overdone for me, but once again I’ll admit up to this genre not being my biggest cup of tea.
Harriet Blue decides once she’s out of prison to continue helping her cellmate Dolly from the outside when Dolly is wrongfully accused of the murder of a beloved prison doctor, Dr. Goldman. This happens to take place the same day Harriet is being discharged from the prison, so they do not come into contact with at all. How very convenient.
Harriet has to go live with her retired chief detective Pops because she has no place to go. Pops owns a at home gym where he trains troubled youth, and I get a whole Rocky’s mentor from this guy. Harriet’s first thing she does outside of meeting up with her old crew is get laid. One thing that is inked through this book quite heavily is the romantic partnerships of the ragtag team of main characters, which you don’t see build up much in this book. Tox is seeing a doctor whom has saved his life in one of the previous books. Whitt has a thing for Harry, and Harry is out getting dick like a champ right out of prison.
There is a plot twist mentioned at the beginning of the book, but honestly there’s a very short list of suspects and a few automatically stand out the moment they are introduced to the audience, at least in my opinion. The build up fizzles out quite quickly with the most suspenseful part being Tox jumps off a highway bridge to save two little girls out of a car. There is a lot of running around for clues and a few suspenseful moments, but that’s just about it as far as this book goes.
I think what makes Patterson’s books so enthralling to read are his short chapters. Having chapters so short made it easy for me to get reading done in multiple sittings since I usually like to read whole chapters in a sitting. I feel like he sums up what he’s getting across in just a single chapter here and there, so all of the other chapters came across as fillers to me. I would have appreciated a more suspenseful punch from the world’s best selling author, but in some cases I think we’re going for quantity instead of quality and I believe this goes in the case of James Patterson’s writing.
I would question whether or not Patterson writes any of his own material at this point or if he just has a board of writers that sit down and do the dirty work for him underneath his pen name. He has been criticized many times by others within the industry considering the short span it takes for him to come up with a new book as well as his habit of reviewing his own literary fiction. How can you give an honest review of your own fiction if you were the one who supposedly wrote it?
Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars, and I’m going to say this book was a job done okay by Candice Fox, surely the unsung hero behind the computer screen. This book was impressively easy to follow despite being in the middle of the series, and I do like Harriet Blue as a character despite how generic this book was feeling to me at the start of reading. There was a few spelling errors like a misplaced ‘S’ here or there which I’m disappointed wasn’t picked up by the editing team, but I’m sure it’s more to do with the need to meet a deadline as opposed to anything really wrong within the editing process.
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Today I figured I’d be a little controversial in talking about books I dislike and the authors that wrote them. Let me start off by saying that I can appreciate what I dislike, and most of these authors are widely popular with a large fanbase– more popular than perhaps I could ever dream of. Just because I dislike what they’ve written doesn’t mean I’m throwing shade; their writing just doesn’t happen to be my cup of tea for numerous reasons and that’s OK.
Without further ado, my list:
Anytime someone gets paid by the word back in the 17th century, you know it’s going to waste your time. This is exactly what Dickens does–wastes everyone’s time by running onwards because he gets paid by the word. Honestly, I can’t blame him. If I was getting paid by the word I’d probably write lengthier articles than I do.
If you’ve never been forced to read “Brave New World” consider yourself lucky. This book uses words like “orgy-porgy”. I know it’s supposed to have a message about society in this book, but I kept on getting distracted by the odd breeds of humans and the random sex comments, but maybe I’m just too childish for this book. Either way, this book was forced on me one too many times in college enough to get me to dislike the author.
Another book that I was forced to endure in my high school English class was “Heart of Darkness”. I have known many people that enjoy “Heart of Darkness” and I know a lot like me that do not. I do believe it has a great societal message, but I wasn’t a fan of Joseph Conrad’s writing style enough to make this one of the driest writers I have ever read. I’ve had to read a few of his other works over the years, and I still think I am not a fan of his writing style.
This young adult author’s books didn’t age well with me. I disliked the main character back then because she always hid everything from her friends and seemed to have more boy problems than anything else. I still have this view now and I would also add the way this author wrote about POC characters was offensive, and tried to make up with it by throwing in a token black character who’s boring and lacks a character arch, and a gay boy who’s main character trait is gay.
Love her ideas, but have yet to find any of her stories enough to keep me on the edge of my seat. Writing style and voice seems to vary depending on the books, but I still have hope I will one day read one of her books and like it because I really want to like it.
I tried to read Nicholas Sparks a few times and the only book I’ve liked from him was “The Wedding” because it felt very heartfelt after reading “The Notebook” the week before. However, most of his romances come off as being very shallow.
50 Shades of Grey. ‘Nuff said.
Some of the other authors on this list I’ve tried to read multiple times, so perhaps putting Lucado on this list after one book I dislike is unfair. Anxious for Nothing is a self-help book using Christian themes to help the reader through troubling times. I am okay with reading Christian self-help books, however, this book didn’t bring any new and enlightened ideas to the dinner table for me. This book felt very generic, enough for me to put this writer down as one I don’t plan on reading from again. There are so many other self-help books out there that can sum up the same points and then some.
I’ll be writing a whole article on the master of horror later on, but it feels worth mentioning him on this list. While I can appreciate what he’s brought to the horror genre, Stephen King is a writer I’ve tried multiple times to read but still have yet to be able to warm up to his writing. His books seem overly generic and that could be because I’ve read so much horror probably inspired by King over the years that when I’ve sat down to King’s books all I’ve had leftover is a yawn. I’ve read about houses with poltergeists and dogs with rabies. I want the next step beyond what I’ve read from his books.
This author I’ll be covering the month of January, and I still have multiple things to say about him now that I’ve just finished another book of his. The author writes quick flash fiction of the thriller/mystery genre. For an author who has so many titles under his belt, I can’t seem to find a single book I was enthused about.
What is up my dudes! I hope you are having a lovely day.
Whew, this week was emotional for me. On top of completing my manuscript for National Novel Writing Month this week and testing Negative for COVID-19, I crossed this book off of my want to read list of November.
This book…wow you guys. I burned through this book within a few days. Yes, it was one of those books that you get hours lost wandering through the pages wondering what’s behind every door you pass. I do want to warn you guys, there are spoilers ahead! These are my thoughts after I have finished reading the book. I also would like to take this chance to warn you that there’s sexual assault and rape in this book, and some explicit content that may be triggering to some readers.
“Mexican Gothic ” is the second book by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I believe this book came out June of this year. I had received it as a part of my Book of the Month subscription box, but didbn’t get a chance to read it until now. Going into this book, I didn’t know much about it. My first impression from the front cover was that some sort of horrific event was going to happen. The woman on the front cover is in a burgundy dress with a bouquet of roses in hand and a glowing green backdrop is behind her. The burgundy dress and the bouquet of flowers had me infer that some sort of wedding was to take place. The contrast the green background surrounding the woman in red had me relating it to some sort of toxic relationship or toxicity when it comes to the woman.
Now, let me get into what I liked and disliked about this book, starting from the top.
CHARACTERIZATION & THEMES
Two things that I enjoy immensely of this book is the characters and the themes the author has going on in her book.
Usually novels in which the author feels the need to include a description of what our main characters are wearing almost each and every time we see them are not the novels you want to be reading. This is not the case in this book. Naomi will know what she’s wearing every day when she gets up because she wants you to notice. She notices every character by what they are wearing because she is Naomi Taboada.
Every character has a purpose, and every character is motivated by different things. Even though Catalina isn’t a character that is seen through most of the story I still know what purpose she has to the plot.
We need to also talk about Howard.
Howard is the epitome of social darwinism and what happens when you keep on forcing marriages on your neices and other relatives multiple times and expecting that they won’t grow to hate you as you continue to shove your indoctrination down their throats. That is not how science works, Howard; it just makes talking at the dinner table very awkward.
However, Howard still plays a role to the plot. There are different themes to cover in this book, and one most importantly is colonization. Moreno-Garcia uses all of the reader’s senses to delve deeper in using metaphors to represent colonization; from the musky smell of sports mushrooms growing on mildew-laden portraits and buzzing of bees the reader is surrounded by a colony at all times.
I would go into the deeper themes and topics covered throughout this book, but I don’t want to be writing this blog entry too much like a book report. But this book covered a lot of current topics in regards to women’s rights and racism. There is also a lot to be said on how “Mexican Gothic” could be compared to “Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gillman.
The setting is of High Place and its grounds for the majority of the story. Everything the author talks about she brings to life. She makes the pathway to High Place foreboding, and the mansion has me trying to guess what’s going to happen next without getting the twist right in the end.
The romance between Francis and Naomi is on the cutting edge of acceptable to me in the way of character motivation. Naomi at first likes both Virgil and Francis for very separate reasons at one point. This, and her mentioning her other gentlemen suitors back at home tells me she likes attention moreso than genuine feelings towards any of these men. I expected she would have left sooner if it wasn’t for her wanting to protect Francis so I do find it more believable that this relationship was meant to tie her to High Place for a longer period of time.
This book is definitely worth a read as long as you have enough time to finish it within a few days. It is just the right amount of dark and the underlying romance wasn’t distracting to me whatsoever.
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Did that just really happen? Yes! Yes it did! I finished writing 50,000 words 13 days ahead of schedule.
I never in a million years thought I would be able to type my own work of fiction in under 30 days. This is so unbelievable. Of course, I have been working part-time and I have been able to spend a lot more time dedicated to writing this year than any other.
The rest of the month will be spent on polishing up the work I’ve just written. I have hopes on getting this book traditionally published if I can. I’ll walk you through the rest of this process if you want me to.
I’m so exhausted but so happy it hurts. I can’t stop smiling.
Hey guys! I hope everyone is having an awesome Saturday. Today I’d like to talk about 5 books I hope to be reading this month:
“Untamed” by Glennon Doyle
The more I read about this book, the more I realize I need to read it. I’ve seen it in Barnes & Noble plenty of times on its own side panel, so I really can’t wait to delve into this book. I know this book has been labeled as thought-provoking by critics; othes have called it a wake-up call by the femenist and LBGTQ communities. I want to find out what all the fuss has been about.
“Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer
This is another book I am currently reading and I hope to finish up after I’m done with “The Girl On the Train”. This is one of the books I started reading after coming off as rude on a Facebook page 🙃. I did learn a few things from this book, so I am happy now that I was recommended to read more on this topic.
“The Girl On the Train” by Paula Hawkins
I am actually in the process of reading this, and I hope to finish it shortly, in which time I may update you on if it was any good or not. Thus far, having an unreliable narrator has been a twist on an otherwise dull plot, and that is me being nice. However I may make my call based off of who’s the actual killer. There’s supposed to be a twist.
“Mexican Gothic” by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia
I keep on seeing this pop up in my Kindle recommendations. What keeps on drawing me in is this front cover. I adore the contrast between her red dress and the green background. Having not read much on this book, I would have to say it will be about a wedding gone extremely wrong. Perhaps the girl on the front cover is in mourning for her husband.
“Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng
I’ve had this book sitting in my closet for a while. I really need to finally get this book’s money’s worth. I’ve heard many good things about both this book and the author and have been finding it hard to find Youtube videos to watch within 2020 that does not include “Everything I Never Told You” on it’s list.
7 Days Before November
I should be putting the finishing touches on the article I had chicken scratched down this weekend. My new publishing schedule for this blog had indicated to put time away to do that right after I had cleaned out my inbox that has way too many emails in the main box. I’m not very good at cleaning, and my emails seem to back up until I clean them out towards the end of the year. In this conglomerate I find an unopened email dated a couple months ago from the National Novel Writing Month website.
The hellish writing triathlon I used to participate in on a yearly basis. Why had I ever stopped? I would assume it had correlated with leaving my parents house the first time in 2015 and I had to face the responsibilities that would entail. I had remembered how I had once spent almost an entire Saturday in high school trying to catch up to my writing timeline after spending 4 days not writing a single word of my story. I felt accomplished after completing my word count for that week. I was a superwoman when I had written over my goal. I completed my word count one year a few days ahead of time and yet I still kept going, only for the sheer enjoyment that meeting my goals had given to me.
I want that thirst.
I want to create again for the sheer enjoyment of madness.
Despite everything else that’s going on in my life right now, I’m going to try once again to compete in National Novel Writing Month. I have outlines out the wahzoo. Working part-time has left me with the most time that I’ve ever had in my adult life to plan and structure my days out the way I want them. Let’s do it.
I’m going to try to keep a diary of my progress on my blog to keep a continuous update on how I’m doing. I created a new account, feel free to follow my progress on the NaNo site by clicking here. If you’re planning on participating as well, feel free to add me and we can become writing buddies.
I appreciate you. Happy writing.