July Reads

                Wow, July seemed to fly by. But I still managed to do my reading, coming in right under the wire again like last month. This time wasn’t due to procrastination or being busy, however, it just came down to the length of two of the books I decided to read. One of which was a book I could mark off my overall reading list. Also, the last book I read ended up being a DNF. I would have finished it in time for the month cut off, if I’d been able to get past page 50. But I just couldn’t do it.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

                I became attached to Lyra very quickly. She’s a very spirited little girl that seems like she’d be so fun to be around. I love that she speaks her mind, even if it’s going to get her in trouble. And speaking of trouble, everywhere she turns she seemed to get herself into a tight spot. Lucky all the time though, she managed to pull through.

                My only real problem with the book is how often a section ended with “presently she…” Just one of those things where I feel like I would have noticed that I over used a word. Other than that, it was beautifully written. Colorful descriptions really showed off the world to the reader. The way people talked jumped off the page without being too overbearing. Accents were done just right, letting us know that people were from different places or classes. But it wasn’t to the point where we couldn’t understand what was being said.

                The story is exciting. Even if you can tell Lyra is always going to make it through each difficulty, it isn’t always clear how. Nothing is completely revealed until necessary and we’re left with several questions at the end in order to be pulled into the next book of the series.

                All the characters in Lyra’s life are also brilliantly written. She loves, hates, or fears them so deeply that we feel the same as her. It’s also very realistic how she can simultaneously hate and admire Mrs. Coulter or fear and love Lord Asriel. We feel her pain and empathy alongside her. The characters are very well developed. They were fun to go on this adventure with. Couldn’t wait to read the next book.

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

                This second book in the series has struck a different chord emotionally. I’ve become so attached to these characters that I feel more strongly about what’s happening to them. And we meet Will, another child destined for great things, and you can’t help but feel for him right off the bat. The problems with his mom and the men after him throw you right into his chaos and you just wish you could help him.

                Just gonna say this once more… he does the “presently…” thing again :l But it’s fine.

                The second installment fills in a lot of blanks, but also give us more questions that need answering. It also shows more about what the whole story is really about. I’m on the edge of my seat getting ready to read the final book. I need to know what happens.

                The characters continue to be amazing. We see old ones, meet new ones and both are fantastically written. It’s also clear that each one of them have a purpose. There aren’t any used as fluff.

                I also enjoy how the dialogue is used purposefully. Nothing is said or thought without reason. Nothing is given away too soon and nothing is overdone.

                Overall, amazing. Can’t wait to get to the third book.

-Will not title or name names- (Did not finish)

                I was hoping there was a good story in there somewhere. I really wanted to love it. I wanted to tell this acquaintance that their book was phenomenal. But I just can’t. Which is why I will not reveal what the book was or who it was by. I don’t want to talk bad about anyone. The only explanation as to what could have happened with this book was the writer deciding against hiring an outside editor before self-publishing.

                I couldn’t get any further than chapter five. I tried.

                The descriptions and adverbs were overwhelming. I couldn’t focus on what was actually being said. I felt like the characters’ entire lives were dumped on me in one paragraph and I couldn’t keep track of which details were important. It was hard to even keep track of which character the details were for because the author kept head jumping. One moment we’d be in H’s head and the next it would be M. Plus there were the character relationships that kept confusing me. In each paragraph the dynamic would change. Do they hate each other or love each other? Is she a mother figure or are they best friends? On top of all that, I kept getting dropped into flashbacks without warning that didn’t seem relevant.

                I’m sorry. I tried. Time with a great editor and I’m sure the story would have shown through. I just couldn’t follow.

Rise of the Machines by Kristen Lamb

                My technical book for the month was by one of my favorite authors and bloggers, Kristen Lamb. In all honesty, she’s the entire reason I have a blog at all. I was gifted her book We are Not Alone a few years ago and since then I’ve developed my platform into what it is today.

                This book was even more amazing than the first one that I read.  It’s full of tips on how to sustain your author platform, how to come up with ideas on what to talk about, and how to stay on the audiences’ good side. After reading it, I’ve decided to revamp my blog and my presence on other social media sights. The changes should go live on September 1st.  I owe so much of what I’m doing to Kristen.

                What have you been reading lately?