Friday, June 28, 2013

The One Hundred (100) Page Rule

The One Hundred Page Rule

Never judge a book by it's cover, but by the first 100 pages

Long gone are the bookstore days for me, sadly, unless you are privately owned. I very rarely enter Books-A-Million after my heartbreaking loss of Borders Books and Music, only because it just simply isn't the same. Sure BAM is in the same spot as Borders, same set up, and well...has the same content inside; I just can't escape how many memories I have in that bookstore. I escaped to the cafe often, became a woman in the 'grown up' section, and ultimately--met my husband. (An employee at the time.) I mourn what once was, and frankly just can't let go.

Also BAM totally wouldn't honor their online price of a new release (8.00 savings), and out of pure spite I purchased the book at Kroger for Godsake. KROGER! But that makes me sound cheap doesn't it?

I like millions of america do most of my book buying at A few birthdays ago I was given a Kindle because reading on my ipad late at night interrupted my sleep. Upon doing so, I finally gave into the whole e-books thing (after fighting it for so long) and man am I glad I did! I found a whole WORLD of independent books!

Like many of you, you question whether to trust the little paragraph description they say about THE MOST AMAZING BOOK IN ALL THE LAND, so I rely heavily on the reviews of others. I weigh in the stats of it all, "out of four hundred reviews so many are 5, the other are 4 and there is only one 1? Must be good, or at least worth the shot" But often out of curiosity I click that little one review and start there.

You see, I review books often. I'm very outspoken, and feel I voice what I can fairly. For me to give you, a hard working author--someone who has spent countless hours--blood--tears writing this book, one star...that is saying something. My husband refers to me as a very good movie critic because I'm so damn ADHD that if you can keep me entertained for 2 hours, it deserves an oscar. Plus, I'm a Gemini, I can find the good and bad in everything.

Books are the same way. If you can't grab my attention by the first 100 pages (rule sometimes ignored during book club books) then I'm sorry, It's probably not going to get a very good review. (and by good I mean fair and just, not just 5 stars) To me, I feel that the story should start happening by then, you can totally set up the world--character--plot enough to push me through the rest. With Daughter of Smoke and Bone it was somewhere around page 80, and I remember myself going:

"Ok get there faster, get there faster, you are losing me....Holy Shit, that just happened! OMG THIS AMAZING."

And the rest was history, book was finished, review was rounded (on good reads) and I even picked up the second one! So needless to say, I am curious as to what other people think, and sometimes I don't like what I find. Not because of the book bashing (everyone is entitled to their own opinion) and as the amazing Rae Carson told my friend on Twitter.

No book is universally loved.

So let's just dive right into this.

Captive Prince by S.U. Pacat
Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos, but when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Beautiful, manipulative and deadly, his new master Prince Laurent epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country.
For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else . . .(see: for more information)

Captive Prince...oh Captive Prince, an amazing, epic, that I highly recommend. Especially if you are a fan of Game of Thrones, and just stories that build into this amazing story that kept you on your toes. It wasn't like anything I've ever read in the genre, it was different and unique. You hear the word 'Captive' and think this is just another BDSM novel, but it's's amazing! You are thrown into this very delicate beautiful kingdom that has a very savage pastime like the Romans, but instead of men fighting each other...they well...they wrestle to who gets to be on top. ;) (Trust me, it's not exactly like it sounds, and totally works) However, in saying this I understand that maybe this wouldn't be what someone expected...or even gets upset that "hey...I wanted a story about sex, this is like Lord of the Rings type shit." I get it. I do. 


Again, authors put so much work into their books (or at least they should) and marking that one little star is pretty much sealing the deal for those of us that really don't know what we are getting into. In this case, I of course wasn't turned away, but just overall appalled that my little buddy here didn't give it the 100 pages that every book at least deserves. Heck, he didn't give it 10 pages! Those one star reviews sometimes can be a life saver like, "Oh man this shit is fraud" or "The book sucked because the pages are missing". You had the chance to be a hero there! 'S' on your chest and everything, but instead you blew it away. Calling anything LGTB Yaoi or Slash also kills me on the inside, but whatever. We all started there.

I can't respect this review, therefore ignore it while making my selection, but if you are going to put down someone's work at *least* give them the courtesy of reading the first one hundred pages.

Make your opinion count, and don't be just something most of us roll our eyes at. I want to hear your thoughts, and understand your point of view. Maybe it will help me reach my own. Understand that sometimes authors (especially new ones) take that long to find their voice. The overuse of words falls away when the story picks up

I always tell my daughter, that an educated opinion is by far most important thing someone can have when debating or voting. Her great grandmother voted for Ronald Reagan because his favorite ice cream was her favorite too! ICE CREAM! Therefore she became a republican be default, and has voted the same ever since. When I questioned her why, as they were small business owners and what President Bush was leaning towards at the time was a huge tax raise for the middle man, she looked at me like I was insane and growing a big purple horn in the middle of my forehead. I had to remind myself that ICE CREAM was what started her theory on politics.

So let's relate that here. That one little star could have made me not purchase something therefore not support an author who in this day and age struggles to put food on the table by little 3 dollar books. In turn they may not write again, forced into the working grind, and I won't get my happy little release into one of their books.

Take care into what you say about something, make your opinion matter, and give someone who worked very hard on something at least the courtesy of 100 Pages. If you don't like it by then, can at least say you tried, and I can respect that.

Also, for the record, President Obama worked at Baskin Robbins growing up and now can not stand ice cream. I still voted for him, and I happen to clearly like ice cream.


~Momma Owl

For more information on the Captive Prince series please check out S.U. Pacat's live journal. Also you can totally read them there for free, but purchase the kindle version! It's worth it. I promise!!!!

Follow me on Twitter @StarryOwlEyes!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Review: Something Like Summer

Review: Something Like Summer

So remember that one time that I put all this work into this blog to post my book reviews and the like? Well let's just revive this a tad for this one. 


Love, like everything in the universe, cannot be destroyed. But over time it can change.

The hot Texas nights were lonely for Ben before his heart began beating to the rhythm of two words; Tim Wyman. By all appearances, Tim had the perfect body and ideal life, but when a not-so-accidental collision brings them together, Ben discovers that the truth is rarely so simple. If winning Tim’s heart was an impossible quest, keeping it would prove even harder as family, society, and emotion threaten to tear them apart.

Something Like Summer is a love story spanning a decade and beyond as two boys discover what it means to be friends, lovers, and sometimes even enemies.

Read more here:
Something Like Summer by Jay Bell

My Review:

Words can not express properly the love that I had for this book, but let me fill you in a little bit going on in my life. Struggling with infertility as I have been, and the realization that I have in fact officially grown up has hit me a tad harder than I ever expected. With my daughter's anxiety issues, a great deal of pressure from the opposing party, and clearly no longer her favorite parent it's been very hard for me to wrap my mind around anything. A Girl Scout leader, a softball mom who didn't miss a single game, and a part time photographer who also works full time as a paralegal, I don't have time to devote to over zealous books that read like a textbook. (i.e. Anne Bishop's Daughter of the Blood, which we read for Book Club and I hated) So when I read a book, I don't want to think, I want to be swept away.

Like watching TV, I want the images in my head to be nice clean and simple, and the story to flow so that it can keep me interested. I want to laugh, I want to cry, I want to feel good inside, and most of all I want the story to be something that stays with me. As books (for many reasons) are accomplishments that I keep trophies of on my shelf.

Something Like Summer is that book and more.

It was my birthday yesterday, one that I shared all my life with my mother's only sister who passed away 8 years ago from cancer. I often shut myself away, refusing to answer my phone or hang with friends. We always celebrated together, dinners with our small intimate family that I cherished as a child. With her gone, I honestly just want to be left alone.

So I started the book in the morning while my husband and fuzzy cat slept beside me, moved to the couch and eventually after hours I realized I would have to surface to feed. I grabbed my kindle, keys, and headed out to my favorite spot for lunch where I read for the next four hours. With my hair down, a summer dress, and a bright open blue sky I settled down to continue.

Hours later, I didn't care that people heard me laughing, as I giggled to myself through funny moments or watched me blush as the very well written inmate scenes made me wish I was in fact back in bed with fuzzy husband, but as I realized I had been hogging this table for well over half the day I figured it was time to make one more purchase just to cement my spot. 

A loyal shipper you see, I keep to the same couple, and though this one kept me on my toes. It took a man holding his cat in his sleep to help me ease into the idea of another. I'm a loyal creature, who can count her sexual partners on one hand, which for my generation and location is pretty unheard of. It was hard for me to let go of the idea of the build up of another pairing when I so helplessly wanted to cling to another. But you see, I too have a man who loves a cat, and that cat--Like Jace's cat, is perhaps the only thing we will ever have as a child together, or so the doctors say. 

So I fell in love again, and a few hours later while I was sobbing into my mug to help hide my embarrassment (I'm not a pretty crier) I'm glad that I did. To me, those tears that I shed for this book were cleansing in more ways than I could count; as they helped me let go of so many pent up emotions, and be carried away. 

It wasn't until finally dinner rolled around and my husband and best girlfriend met me downtown for dinner, I was made aware of the chocolate I had on my face (like my eight year old after ice cream). Ann made the comment that I seemed lifted, relaxed, and renewed. She was right, because I most certainly was. 

And I have a little friend named Benjamin Bentley to thank for it. 

Let's Get Technical: 

I picked up a book once by Jay Bell (who totally shares my last name) called Language Lessons and I remember not being that impressed. It felt rushed and dry, as often short stories do, but I'm going to have to go back and re-read it again just to make sure I even finished it to be fair. So let's skip this part and go right into Something Like Summer. 

Now I may not be the most educated person, but I certainly didn't see any misplaced commas or typos that jumped out at me. Nothing made me stop the book and go "Oh, note this for a review that totally didn't need to be there", everything flowed so perfectly. 

I really appreciated how he made time jump, by real quick little paragraphs about how things were moving along and what was happening. I also really really really appreciated how vivid the background of the story was. I'm not a huge Texas person, but this Woodlands place? I could dig it.  

I'm working through the second book in this series now, Something Like Winter, so I'll refrain writing the one thing I did have negative to say about the book as I think this will fix it, and just make my closing statement. 

To Sum It All Up:

On my kindle now I have part two going, and in the beginning Jay Bell writes a bit of a....warning to his readers in his Author's Notes, and I quote: Happy couples are boring, and I refuse to write boring stories. -Jay Bell, October 2012

Well Jay, you certainly held true to your word in Something Like Summer, I certainly wasn't bored, and for a Gemini born with a horrid ADHD problem and given the big ole 'learning disability' title, (who sat through Superman going OMG END PLEASE) this book held my attention from beginning to end. It was a pleasure to read, and a beautiful tale about growing up, falling in love, and realizing just how important the people around us truly are. It stayed with me through the day, and made my birthday an absolute pleasure for the first time in a few years.

I needed this book, more than words can truly express.

Thank you.

Also, Happy 150th Birthday West Virginia, we've shared that same date for a few years now (you more so than me). I am very happy to call you home, and my beloved Mountain Momma. Here is to 150 more! 

~The Appalachian Owl