The first Wednesday of every month is officially IWSG day. Members post about their doubts and fears, discuss struggles and triumphs, and offer words of encouragement to others who are struggling.
Thanks, as always, to Alex Cavanaugh, founder and Ninja Captain extraordinaire and our awesome co-hosts.
The IWSG monthly question can be found under the IWSG Sign-up tab on the Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog. Remember it’s optional.
January 6 question - Being a writer, when you're reading someone else's work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people's books?
For the most part, if my interest wanes. I like a
book to grab me from the beginning and keep me turning pages. And while good
descriptions and backstory are necessary to pull a reader in, I want them tight.
A couple of sentences usually does it for me then I want action. I like a succinct
story without wasted verbiage and want each word to count. Do I always practice what I preach? Uh, no.
December/January Reviews in no particular order.
ARRANGING A DREAM by J.Q. Rose
I don’t normally read memoirs but I had the privilege of reading the author’s ARC and loved it. It held my attention the entire way through. Knowing the author and being fascinated by the flower industry kept me turning pages. She was even kind enough to throw in free information about floral arrangements including ‘flower water buckets are always cleaned and bleached between each use’. Who knew? ARRANGING A DREAM is a fascinating true story of a young couple on a journey to find and realize their dreams.
WHAT’S IN A NAME by Sally Cronin
This book is filled with fascinating short stories, each one based around the named character of the book. Each story is different and might revolve around a child, an adult--young to old--or even a ghost. What they all have in common is the emotion they bring to the story. The scenery is detailed and pulls you into the location and the characters are relatable. I enjoyed these stories and think you will too. So, grab a cup of coffee or tea, put your feet up, relax and sink into these stories.
CAVE by D. L. Finn
I’m a D.L. Finn fan and try to read everything she publishes. This is her best story yet.
The storyline is strong. It hooked and held my attention from the beginning.
The characters are wonderful. I found myself rooting for Coral, hoping she would find her parents.
The romance is subtle, just the way I like it. And her love interest is, well, lovable😊
This is a YA fantasy based around a young woman who, on the death of her parents, has a reoccurring dream that she always wakes from before she can find them. DOLPHIN’S CAVE is a YA that will appeal to adults as well. I really enjoyed this story and think you will too.
THE WICKED WITCH ANTHOLOGY by Judy and Keith
I thoroughly enjoyed these shorts. They were intertwined and where one left off, the other picked up. Two young brothers, William and Graham, help the good witches --the treasurer fairy, the blind fairy, the good fairy and the tooth fairy--in their travails with the wicked witch. Now the wicked witch might be ugly and mean spirited, but she's always thinking, especially when it comes to cooking up mischief, and keeps the good fairies and the boys hopping.
These short stories are a delight. The perfect length for several nights of bedtime reading. This little book will be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
LONG ROAD TO MERCY by David Baldacci
This is the first in the Atlee Pine thriller series. I enjoyed it. Baldacci's characters are good, moral people that carry emotional baggage. In this story, Atlee's twin was kidnapped when she was six and Atlee never completely recovered. Now she's with the FBI and getting the bad guys. This story was scary, because it dealt with political corruptness and how peoples lives hang in the balance. If you like thrillers, I recommend this one.
Thanks for the reviews! Have a great day, hugs, Valerie
Happy New Year and thanks for co hosting. I agree, a story has to grab you and keep you interested. I'm eager to read the first book you reviewed - sounds fascinating, thank you for bringing my attention to it.
Happy New Year Sandra, wonderful reviews and some great reading ahead.
I love your honesty :) Happy IWSG Day and Happy New Year.
Happy New Year! Thank you for co-hosting this month!
A book doesn't have much time to grab.
Thanks for co-hosting today!
I usually rely on the first sentence to get me. If it does, I read a few more and usually can tell the book will entertain. As for tightness, I just went through a draft of my current project and consciously tried to removed one word from each sentence in order to tighten things up. It's amazing how much fluff one can find. Thank you for co-hosting this month.
I never thought about it, but I guess a book has to do that to me, too. I usually know within the first few minutes if I like a film, or not, so now I can use that concept as a guide in the future when I judge a book, too.
I LOVE that favorite paragraph. It was the best to date (grin).
Thank you for co-hosting. I love that you include reviews in your blog. I am going to make that my goal this year!
Hi and Happy New Year!
I have JQ Rose's book. Got it January 1.
I will check out the one by D.L. Finn. I haven't read anything from her yet.
Thank you for co-hosting and have a great year.
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange
Thanks for co-hosting. I like stories to not be too wordy too. I find they usually have faster plots that keep me turning the page. Thanks for sharing what you've been reading too.
I rarely read books I don't finish but sometimes I wonder why I'm reading it. I think what gets me most (you'll see this in my next post -- book check in for 2020) is research that doesn't gel with more reliable research I've read on a topic I know a good bit about. And I am done with fictional biographies. Well, I probably will be, but I am eager to read Hilary Mantel's last in the Cromwell series but I will view it as historical fiction, though I know her research is impeccable.
We often make those same mistakes in our own writing.
LOL on the Revision Angst cartoon! YES! I need to be pulled right in, too. I'll be more forgiving if the book is written by someone I know or if I paid big money for it (hey, sometimes Big Sellers stink!). Thanks for co-hosting this month, Sandra!
Happy New Year Sandra. Loved the books you have posted :)
I rather like a nice bit of description – but it has to be woven into the story, not put a halt to it.
I love the gif at the bottom. I once had to shelf a complete manuscript. That hurt for awhile. Congratulations to all the new releases. I've had the pleasure of reading Janet's memoir. Wonderful book. Happy New Year, Sandra.
Thanks for co-hosting this month. Love the cartoon! I'm about to enter my own revision angst phase. Actually, I enjoy that phase more than the first-drafting phase. Weird, huh? Happy 2021!
Hi Sandra - great list for us to read. All the best for the coming year - Hilary
We're all "guilty" of making mistakes in our writing. All we can do is our best.
Here's to another year of doing our best.
Good book selection--and I love Debbie. She is so funny.
Thank you so much again Sandra for the support and wonderful to be mentioned with these authors.. I am a fan of Baldacci, and will be exploring Denise's books in the near future.. much appreciated and enjoy the rest of the week.
I used to read more of Baldacci. Missed this one. I'll have to check it out!
Thanks for co-hosting this month!
Mary at Play off the Page
Thanks for including my memoir in your list of book reviews. That is an awesome and diverse list of stories. Thank you for co-hosting.
Thank you, Val.
Hugs received and returned.
Arranging a Dream is wonderful.
Thanks for sharing!
Fun reviews. I'll have to check out D.L. Finn for my daughter. She's 10, but starting to move past the middle grade books. Thanks for co-hosting!
'K, I'm loving that last image you shared! So very true. Thank you for co-hosting!
I agree on things needing to be tight--get me where I am, with who, and what happened in a few lines, and I'm great!
Happy new year to you
I notice that a lot of us have no patience w/ overly wordy description. You made me chuckle w/ the practice what you preach comment - same!
I so agree that that action needs to happen within the first few sentences!
Yeah, you're right about practicing what you preach. Sometimes it's far more easily said than done.
Tossing It Out
That's so nice to showcase other people's work and I believe they grabbed your attention right from the get-go. Now let's hope no one gets hurt in D.C.
I need to keep things tight when it comes to writing! Good advice. Get to the point!
I love the short and sweet review format! It ties in neatly to the succinct backstory point as well. LOL! Thanks for co-hosting this month, and happy new year.
“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” —Thomas Jefferson :-). @samanthabwriter from
Happy New Year, Yvonne.
Ours is shaky right now.
Indeed she is.
Happy IWSG Day and Happy New Year to you.
Buena suerte a los escritores. Parece un buen grupo. Te mando un beso
Thanks for co-hosting today, Sandra! And thank you for sharing your book reviews. I love when authors review books of other authors. Have a great 2021!
I'm with you on the too much description! That is one of my pet peeves, and funnily enough, I often have critiquers tell me I need more. There must be a balance.
Thanks for co-hosting! I really enjoyed your reviews. Dolphin's Cave sounds especially good.
Good answer to the question.
The cover of Dolphin's Cave is really pretty.
I hope your New Year is going well. I only read and reviewed 23 books last year, but my goal for this year is 30. My other goals are to publish another fiction book in 2021, do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge in April, and increase the number of authors helped by Operation Awesome.
Thanks Loni:) It's on the high end of middle grade.
Thanks Sally :)
Thanks, Pat ;)
Thanks for your review of Dolphin's Cave, Sandra! They all sound like great reads and I added to my reading list!
I want a book to grab me at the very beginning. No lengthy descriptions, no casts of thousands, no backstory dump. Thanks for cohosting this month.
You're most welcome, Cathrina.
Happy New Year.
It sure doesn't and you are most welcome:)
I love that you go through and look to remove a word from each sentence. Good job!
Isn't that favorite paragraph a hoot? And oh so true:)
You've read some interesting books! Nice, concise reviews.
Thanks for co-hosting!
I can so relate to the “revision angst” cartoon. But there is a moment (and I’m happy I eventually reached it) where you just have to focus on cutting and then keep cutting until the finals! :-)
Thank you for these lovely reviews. “What’s in a name” by Sally Cronin is on my TBR list.
I would love to make you change your mind and general feeling about reading memoirs... I think you’ll enjoy my debut travel memoir (“Plunge - One Woman’s Pursuit of a Life Less Ordinary”) as it draws readers right in and is written pretty tight with a unique voice. Let me know if you’re interested in a potential “a book for a review exchange”. :-)
Thanks for co-hosting this month!
Thanks, Steph, and good on you for considering reviews on your blog.
They're both great reads.
You have a good year too, Pat.
And that's why you like YAs:)
My pleasure. All are solid, enjoyable reads.
Several blogs I visited mentioned iffy research.
Enjoy your reads.
Happy New Year.
Innit the truth?
Agreed. Don't you hate putting out big bucks and the book doesn't measure up? Yikes.
My pleasure, Nancy.
Thanks, Rachna. They're all wonderful reads.
Good list of reasons Sandra! You've been busy reading! Thanks for the reviews! Big Hugs!
I like description weaving:)
Oh my gosh. A whole manuscript. Clutching my chest and reeling.
Isn't Janet's memoir wonderful?
Happy New Year, Joylene.
I agree with you. I find the first draft the most stressful.
You are most welcome.
Great reviews! And some cute book covers. Especially the dolphin one.
Thanks Sandra for your book reviews. More books to discover ! Happy new year of writing. Take care.
Thanks for co-hosting this month, Sandra. I reviewed Sally Cronin's What's In A Name? last month too, and thoroughly agree with you!
Happy new year!
You are so welcome and right back at ya.
Yes, Baldacci is good:) I'm currently reading the second in the series.
I loved Denise's Dophin's Cave. It kept me turning pages.
You are most welcome.
Let me know what you think of Mercy.
Thanks so much for stopping by.
Great books one and all.
Thanks, Hil. May the coming year be kind.
You bet, Cuz. And Arranging is certainly part of the awesome and diverse:)
Entirely my pleasure, Christine.
Denise has several books out for young people. I enjoyed every one.
Thanks for stopping by, Loni.
Many thanks for the reviews here Sandra.
Wishing you and yours have a happy 2021.
All the best Jan
For sure. Heh. Been there. Done that.
Hosting was my pleasure. Thanks so much for stopping by, S.A.
Right there with ya, Marie:)
Thanks for stopping by.
Thanks, Adam. Once we get through January I'll feel a whole lot happier about the year:)
Good on you:)
I loved Dolphin's Cave. My favorite D.L. Finn story.
Isn't that cover great? And it catches the story line purrfectly:)
You've got some great goals for 2021:)Hope your muse is smiling and the words are flowing.
I think we all don't always practice what we preach lol
Thank you, Jan.
Hope your 2021 is indeed happy.
Innit the truth?:)
And let me just say your book I read grabbed me at the beginning and held my attention:)
It was my pleasure to co-host.
Take special care.
Thanks for stopping by, Nicki.
It helps grab our interest, doesn't it, Lynn?
Thanks for stopping by.
Yes and yes:)
Thanks for stopping by, Arlee.
Thanks, Birgit. All great books. All great authors.
DC turned into the American nightmare didn't it?
Good on you, Jemima! That's great.
My pleasure. All good reads.
Thanks for stopping by, Susan.
Isn't that a lovely cover?
Thanks for stopping by, Shannon.
Too much description can make a book drag. I always try to make description do double duty and offer up insights into the characters as well as setting the scene.
Lots of good books out there:) Thanks for stopping by.
It's not always as easy as we'd like it to be, is it, Jennifer?
Thanks for stopping by.
Thank you, Diedre. They were interesting. I appreciate you stopping by.
Thanks, S.E. Glad you stopped by. Happy New Year.
J.Q. Rose's book sounds great. So does Long Road to Mercy.
Thanks for co-hosting. I'm tardy because I was helping my mom move last week.
I love that you included this quote. I'm currently reading about Adams and Jefferson:)
Thanks for stopping by.
I know the writers appreciate that.
I'll send you a hug.
Here's hoping 2021 is great.
I like that!
Thanks for stopping by, Kate.
Both are great reads.
Good on you for helping your mom move.
Thanks for stopping by, Melissa.
Oh good. I'm sure Sally will be thrilled to hear that.
Wishing you much success with Plunge.
Feel free to shoot me an email.
Thanks, Sandra. I'll keep that in mind for when I'm a tad less busy with interviews and such.
I love a book that grips me in the first page or two, and I know that those books are the ones I will fly through. If I start taking too long over a book, I need to start recognising why that is and do something about it.
Those first pages are key, aren't they, Heather?
Thanks for co-hosting! I do need to be hooked somewhere in the first hundred pages. I haven't gone much further in all but maybe one book, and that was The Lord of The Rings. They were still in The Shire 200 pages later! :o
Ronel visiting for IWSG day Why You Need Reader Reviews
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