Posts filed under books

elora reads - the novelist

I'm starting something new here - elora reads. Books are something that get me through the day, and sometimes I'll stumble on one that catches my breath and makes me want to write again. These are the ones I'll share.  4105sIsdsYL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_

"There was always the possibility of being a different kind of creator, more like the one pictures in the old stories of Genesis. A being who hovered over chaos, to bring form and light. A being who could play in the dust and breathe something astonishing into body and soul" (p 71).

I found The Novelist: a novella through Story Cartel. I downloaded it, thinking the reviews (even if they were personal friends) were good and from what others were saying, this wasn't a simple read. It held substance - style - poetry.

Guys. Seriously? Get this book.

It's been awhile since I've read something that captured me so completely despite the lack of forward movement in the plot. It reminded me of the plays I would read in graduate school - the ones with unity of place where so much of the action happens in a singular room or setting. For Barkat's book, much of the story happens in the kitchen of Laura's home - outside of what she remembers as she's thinking of answering a challenge from a twitter friend and writing a novel.

What I Liked - 

Barkat includes social media within her novel and it doesn't seem forced. There's references to hashtags (#amwriting) and real people grace her pages. It's an all-together different kind of verisimilitude. I also appreciated that her ending was a natural occurrence. At no point did it feel contrived or loosely written.

What I Loved - 

The literary allusions. Mary Shelley. Tim O'Brien. Story-truth and literary history and snippets from poems...even a snarky mention of a review from one of her own books. These were the glue of the story I believe - what pushed Laura (and the author) into a new scene and further understanding of the plot.

What You Should Know - 

It's a novella, so it's shorter than most books but it's still worth reading. Also, if you're one for endings that wrap up neatly with a bow, this may not be for you (but you should probably still try to read it anyway).

 

Tell me :: what books have you read lately? Will you check out LL Barkat's novel? 

Posted on December 18, 2012 and filed under books.

in which i have a writer's crush

I should be writing my novel. Either one of them would do - both have words clanging around in my head and I just can’t sort any of them out right now. And don’t tell me just write! It’ll come! Why do you think I’m writing a blogpost instead of participating in my wordcount for NaNoWriMo?

Anyway.

I thought since the words aren’t really coming, and I will probably have to trick them into appearing by doing some sort of silly this is what I want to write exercise circa Natalie Goldberg, I figured I could share with you an incredible read I just finished.

I suffered through a cold last week and when I am sick there’s really nothing I can do except read and watch trashy TV. Since I wasn’t really feeling the Dawson’s Creek vibe and I had Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) handy, I figured why not?

OHMIGOSH.

OH. MY. GOSH.

You guys. These books are good. And noticed I said books - plural - because I finished the first one in a day and a half and started reading the second one over the weekend while in Plano for my book signing. I wasn’t sure what I would think of the book because it’s paranormal fantasy and deals with angels in an interesting light. But holy cow Taylor’s writing is so impeccable.

I would find myself getting lost in the story and studying how she builds the characters and incorporates so many twists I never anticipated. I kicked myself numerous times because a few weeks ago, I went to her signing at BookPeople and hadn’t read the books yet. They captured my attention from the moment I saw them on Barnes and Noble’s site, but time and words and other books kept getting in the way and I really wish I would have read them before now so I could have gushed about how much I appreciate her writing.

Because, that wouldn’t be weird, right?

I wanted to let you know, though - these are books you need to check out soon. I have a feeling they’ll probably be made into movies, and you’ll want need to read them before you watch this story unfold on the big screen. And no, I’m not going to really tell you what the books are about because I want you to read them. Just think: quirky characters. Angels. Chimaera. Oh and wishes. Wishes are important, too.

Finally: I don't give reviews. Meaning, if I agreed to do every single review from every single author who contacts me, I wouldn't have a blog in which I could jot down my other thoughts pertaining to things un-bookish. That being said, for me to spend an entire post on one book, you know it's good.

The link to Amazon in this post is an affiliate link. If you purchase the book (and you should!) I'll receive a small percentage that will in turn go toward keeping this site running. 

Posted on November 20, 2012 and filed under books.

stress point :: a review

I turn 30 on July 26. I was watching a movie the other day where a character was facing her 30th birthday and she lamented about being old. Don't mock me, she said when another character told her he thought she was beautiful. I'm wasting my life away...was her response.

For me, whenever people ask how old I am, I gladly share. Probably because I'm so ready to leave this decade behind. 

The 20's are hard. On the cusp, they seem romantic. Posh, even. So much potential and possibility await you. Oh but the drama that's really there - just waiting to grab you. My 20's held a huge learning curve. It was a decade of adventure, growth, story and impossibility.

But I can't wait to dive into my 30's.

And this? This is why I didn't hesitate when Sarah Martin asked me to read her book Stress Points. Even at 29, her words were calming to a heart still recovering from a few harsh years of doubt, upheaval, excitement and fear.

Know this :: if you are in your twenties, or you are about to be, you need this book. 

For twenty somethings, Sarah is the older friend - the one who's been there and done that and will guide you through whatever you're facing with clarity and sound judgment. One of the reasons I love her book is that it practically drips Scripture and constantly points us back to what matters :: our relationship with Christ.

She covers everything :: dating, self-image, money, friendships, career...I mean...everything. I'm not joking when I say I really wish I had this book when I was younger. In every chapter, she asks pointed questions and gives you the space for response. With grace and vulnerability, she offers up personal stories of how she's worked through {or struggled with} each issue. I appreciated this approach, as well as the added bonus of the videos at the end of each chapter. This isn't just a book you read and are left hanging in the end - the whole time she holds your hand and reminds you of another attribute of Christ and how we can cling to Him during the decade of growing up, learning life and finding our own footing.

Here's some exciting news :: I'm offering a giveaway of her book! All you need to do to enter is leave a comment on why you'd want to read it and you'll be entered! I'll announce the winner on Monday.

Find the book here and connect with Sarah on twitter or her blog, Live it Out.

Posted on June 7, 2012 and filed under books.

heroes & monsters

Sometimes, I read a book and immediately know I'll never read it again. Other times, when I get to the last page, I feel I've met a friend and know I will stumble across its words numerous times in the future. Perhaps it's the strange style of prose that seems to reach up and grab the reader, perhaps it's the way Riebock tells a story, perhaps it's the all-together humannness of Jack {you'll meet him in the book} that reminds me of a mixture of Steinbeck and what Charles in East of Eden would write if he ever were to get in touch with his emotions and write a book.  From the minute I began reading Josh Riebock's Heroes and Monsters, I knew it would be a go-to book in my library. Once I finished it, I immediately wanted to go back and read it again. It's just that good.

From the scene in the cornfield where he meets Jack, to the restoration of some of his relationships, to quitting his day job in order to write, {um. hello.} this story never reveals itself as untouchable. In fact, there were many times some of the scenes were so closely knit to my own experiences and heart I found myself taking a deep breath of relief - you know the one - the oh good. Someone put into words what I feel type of relief.

Since I bought it on kindle not knowing what to expect, I'm kicking myself for not getting the flesh and bones copy. i'll probably buy it anyway.

I don't want to give away any more of the story, because it's all too powerful on its own, but please...get this book. It's gritty, it's redemptive, it's funny...

...and the scenes of Jack and Riebock just about do me in emotionally.

From the book description :: Every one of us is both a hero and a monster, and the world we inhabit is both beautiful and twisted. We are shaken by changes, losses, gains, insights, desires, mistakes, and transitions. And just when we've gotten settled back down, things get shaken up again. This is the life we've been given. So how do we make sense of life's unexpected nature, find a way to embrace the tension, and live with a sense of peace despite pain?

And one of my favorite quotes :: Since I can remember, I've always had a bit of a crush on words, admired them, envied them, the way they can come together as the ultimate team, the ultimate organization, elastic in every way, capable of so much, capable of anything. Words can walk through walls. They can make things disappear. They can raise the dead. Words are giants, able to lift people up, carry them to the stars, and tear planets apart, grinding even the strongest person into dust. These are things I've known for a long time. I come from a family of storytellers, so it's a part of me, my bones made of paper, ink rushing through my veins. Words, stories, imagination--they've sustained me. They sustain all of us. 

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Just in case you're wondering, this review is not in exchange for anything. I don't write about books often unless I've received an advanced copy, but this book moved me so much I needed to let you know so hopefully you would take a chance and read it as well. What book have you read lately that has stopped you in your tracks and made you wanna tell everyone about it? Let me know...

Posted on May 23, 2012 and filed under books.

a review: every writer's dream & before your first book

when i wrote my eBook this summer, i knew i needed to get it in the hands of a few people who could help me promote it. i immediately offered to send it free to those who would look over it and give me feedback, and then i purposefully messaged or e-mailed those i wanted to read it because i trusted their wisdom. i did one of the things jeff goins talks about in both of his eBooks - i asked.

however, i didn't do another thing, and because of this i wish i would have read every writer's dream before i wrote my eBook and decided to shelf it for a few months.

i didn't follow through.

sure there were a few e-mail exchanges between me and readers. but it wasn't purposeful. i let my fear get in the way of "shipping it" as seth godin says and i didn't publish.

i waited. my book waited. the readers waited.

i'm not sure what would have happened if i would have taken the opportunity to fully use my contacts or if i would have taken the step of faith and published my eBook then instead of this past week. i'm a firm believer in timing and when i didn't feel peace about releasing my words, i backtracked severely.

what i do know is that jeff's wisdom is needed in the world of publishing - especially now when anyone can publish their work.

i'm learning from my mistakes. i'm learning to trust my instincts {and my voice} and i'm slowly building a community of people i can turn to for help. but one of my biggest assets is this {it's a secret} -

i love writing. 

i do. i adore words and how phrases fit together into sentences...and even if i'm never published again, even if my platform is my measly bookshelf e-store on my website, i'll be okay. because i love it. 

writer, this is your weapon. do not let the love die.

if there are stories inside you - if you are burning with ideas of articles - you need these resources. reading the first book, every writer's dream, i wanted to create something great. it encouraged me and challenged me and pointed a finger at my blank page while reminding me that writing is the same as bleeding.

and then jeff follows this with a second book, one that forces us to pause.

if you write, you know one thing: it's difficult to pause. 

but with reminders about brainstorming and examples of pitches and differentiating between content and relationship, he offers something huge for writers of all backgrounds - a nod of understanding.

writing takes every fabric of who we are as humans. thinking back over my last eBook, i can see things i would change. looking forward to the next one, i now have a guide to help me make it as successful as possible. to me, this is invaluable.

grab these two books here and do something big.

the world's waiting for your story.

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disclaimer: although i was given free copies of these eBooks to review, i wasn't expected to write positive feedback or encourage you to buy a copy. i just think it's that good. 

Posted on January 24, 2012 and filed under books.