Today’s post is going to be a little different than most, because I have a request to make of you. Though I could ramble on and on about nonsense to pique your interest even more, I’m just going to put it out there:
If you’d like someone to review your materials, I’d love to be that person.
What does this mean? Well, let me share with you guys. Over the past few months, a few of you have sent me your books, and I’ve loved every moment of reading and reviewing what you send. So…
For the people of you who want feedback, send me your books, poetry, etc. I’m not a full-fledged editor or anything, but I really do enjoy getting to know you more through your writing.
What I’m offering is simple: I’ll read your work, offer a review on Amazon/this blog/wherever, and let you know what I think. Why am I doing this? Because I want to. In the midst of wild life, this blog has been a source of escape for me, and you guys transport me to your worlds. You have that kind of power as a writer!
So if you’re down to share with me, I’m down to share in response.
This was a short and sweet little post, but I am super excited to write more in the next few weeks. This blog has grown so much in the past few months, and I’m super excited to see where it goes next. The sense of community here is amazing. Truly amazing.
A blog post from yours truly! Thank you so much for reading this and supporting my blog, as you guys are such a joy in my life. It means so much to see views from all over the world. ❤
Today’s post is going back to my roots, when I shared my thoughts on certain books and movies I’d recently read and watched. Thanks to Goodreads, I’m able to easily remember the latest books I’ve read (considering I would not remember otherwise), and I really recommend this website/app to those who enjoy books. Goodreads is a way to keep track of what you’ve read and what you want to read in a user-friendly model.
So let’s jump in already!
1. THE ROSIE PROJECT by Graeme Simsion
A romantic comedy set in modern-day Australia, The Rosie Project is an easy, enjoyable read for those who enjoy the genre. When Don Tillman, an analytical professor who isn’t the best in social situations, creates the Wife Project in order to find the perfect match, his world is tilted upside down with the introduction of Rosie Jarman, the opposite of what he’s looking for.
The Rosie Project has a unique point-of-view that cements the story. While rom-coms are hard to pull off in the realm of originality, Simsion’s Tillman is such a well-written and believable character that the book really revolves around his social awkwardness. These awkward encounters further promote the book’s comedic moments.
However, the book is rather predictable. Boy meets girl, and they fall for each other, get engaged, etc. As a romance writer myself, I’m just as guilty of satisfying what the reader wants (a promise of happily-ever-after, right?), but this book seemed to drop off at the last fifty pages or so. The first two hundred pages, I was really unsure what would happen for Don and Rosie, and I think Simsion got caught up in just getting the book done rather than tying the plot together at the end.
That being said, it was enjoyable, and a good weekend read during endless Tennessee thunderstorms.
Rating: ♥♥♥ (out of a possible five)
2. REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier
A classic that defined the mystery genre for decades, Rebecca is Daphne du Maurier’s legacy. It’s a spell-binding story that was groundbreaking in its day for its dark themes. When Maxim de Winter brings his new wife, the second Mrs. de Winter, to his grand estate, Manderley, secrets of his first wife’s mysterious death are brought to life.
You may recognize Rebecca by its perfect opening line: Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. Supposedly there was an incredible Hitchcock adaptation of the book (though I would disagree, as I only got through five minutes of it), but the book is pretty incredible. It centers on the shy Mrs. de Winter, who learns to push back against Manderley’s evil housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, who is obsessed with Rebecca, even after her death. Slowly, Mrs. de Winter discovers the truth behind Rebecca’s death, and I refuse to spoil this. You’ll have to read for yourself to figure it out.
Rebecca relies on suspense, and du Maurier is a pro at this. She knows how to hook you into the plot, despite its faults, and leave you curious as to what will happen until the very end. Du Maurier is incredible at description, and Manderley is the perfect backdrop for her creepy tale. While these elements grounded me in the story, I do believe that reading this book in 2019 is very different than reading it in the 1930s, when it was published. Mrs. de Winter is a let-down character, a weak woman who suddenly becomes strong at the end of the novel, and her husband, Max, is overly brooding and boring. The shift of the novel that changes how readers perceive the de Winters is a bit unbelievable and anti-climactic in comparison to the discovery of Rebecca’s death.
I still recommend this book to those who like twisted suspense stories.
3. ON WRITING: A MEMOIR OF THE CRAFT by Stephen King
Stephen King is arguably one of modern American literature’s best writers. The unarguable king of horror, King has been a withstanding symbol in writing for decades now, and he remains as popular now as he was when he first came onto the scene. On Writing remains one of the my favorite memoirs, in my opinion, though it also acts as a manual for aspiring writers.
The book is split into two perspectives. King gives a peek into his childhood that inspired his writing that would eventually propel him into legendary status. The other perspective is his professional guidance on the writing front, in which he gives awesome tips that I am using now. (One of my personal favorites: Get rid of superfluous adverbs, such as, I was walking quickly.)
The way King writes is gold. He says things simply and magically, and this is really hard to pull off. However, I don’t think of King as a cocky writer; instead, he wrote this book as a response to a traumatic car accident that left him almost dead. And he knew he wanted to pass on his tips to future generations of writers, and this is quite admirable, in my opinion.
You don’t have to be a writer to enjoy On Writing. It has enough material to showcase how King went from a struggling teacher to one of the most successful writers known today.
4. THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas
The most controversial book on this list (and I will explain more later), The Hate U Give is the debut novel of young adult writer Angie Thomas, a native of my second-favorite state, Mississippi. Thomas is an honest, natural storyteller, and The Hate U Give radiates as a result.
For those of you who are not familiar with the idea of police brutality in the United States, Thomas offers her opinion on the subject through this fictional portrayal of sixteen-year-old Starr Carter, who witnesses the murder of her friend when they are pulled over for speeding. The book is unafraid to be itself, and I appreciate this.
While I expected the novel to be very politically charged, I was happy to realize it wasn’t as much as I thought it was going to be. (While I do not want to go on a rant, I enjoy books that are not political. To be honest, I would not have read this book unless it hadn’t been required for a creative writing class.) However, Thomas does a good job of showing a society she sees as flawed while respecting others’ viewpoints on the issue.
That being said, the story itself was not my favorite. I’m not a fan of young adult fiction or teenage characters, and I haven’t ever been. I’ve always been a person to read adult fiction, as I like adult perspectives. Therefore, this story, though serious in nature, was not as interesting to me. You don’t have to agree with my opinion, but I hate love triangles and petty teen drama, and I did not understand why I was reading this book in a college classroom.
The book is important, and I won’t argue that. But it’s not my favorite.
5. SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES: AND OTHER LESSONS FROM THE CREMATORY by Caitlin Doughty
A total shift from young adult and romance, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is a book I’d NEVER thought I would A) read, or B) enjoy. However, Doughty is an incredibly interesting person and writer, and this shines through her memoir/informational guide on funeral homes.
What in the world? you are probably asking. I asked the same thing before I dived into this book.
Caitlin Doughty is a mortician who specializes in cremation, and she is unabashed in her approach to the United States’s funeral home practices. She offers historical background, witty opinion, and clever stories that inform her readers on the misconceptions of mortuary work. Now this book is not for people who are uncomfortable around death, as the entire book revolves around it. What I love is Doughty’s direct and honest perspective, and it’s a unique career path she chose.
Read this book if you’re curious as to what morticians do. Hey, maybe I liked it so much because it wasn’t required for class or written for teenagers. Sue me.
So, if we’re being honest, the past books I’ve read are… In, my opinion, average. Though I am a very critical person, I do know a great book when I’ve read one, and I’m hoping to be impressed soon!
What are some of the books you guys have read recently? Do you have any recommendations for me? I love when you tell me what you enjoy, as you are exposing me to authors, novels, and genres with which I would not otherwise know. 🙂
Lately I’ve been on a serious publishing kick. It’s only been a few weeks since I self-published The Forever Optimist, my attempt at chick lit. However, only a few days passed, and I was bitten by the bug once more.
So, without further ado, I’m announcing the self-publishing of my novel, Dark Descent, my first true attempt at the science fiction-horror genre. I wrote it around a year ago, and it has just been sitting around, collecting dust, and that’s not what I write for. I want people to read what I have to say, and I’m super excited to hear the reaction in comparison to my lighter, happier novels.
To celebrate, I thought I would answer a few questions about the book and its relevance in my life right now. Now, again, I don’t normally write as dark as, well, Dark Descent, but I think this is one of my best books. I really like it–and I hope you do too!
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Dark Descent is not your typical Katie George novel. I don’t want to ever stereotype my writing, because I love bending genres and writing what I want to write. There are some months where I want to delve into serendipitous romance, and others when I want to examine gritty drama.
This novel, therefore, is what happens when I up and move two thousand miles away from home, away from the people I love most in the world. The truth is that what I write and the tone with which I write can be traced back to my subconscious. When I read Dark Descent now, I can see how upset and homesick I was. And though California isn’t necessarily Argentina (haha), a Southern girl like me was experiencing some tremendous culture shock in a state about as polar opposite as Tennessee.
When I moved to California, I expected happiness and sunshine and kismet and palms and, of course I can move two thousand miles away, no problem. Except that I’m very close to my family and friends in Tennessee, and it kills me when I am away from them.
So, I was a little angsty and a lot inspired, and to compare my writings at the beginning of freshman year and the end of freshman year–there are some differences. I started class in September, and I completed The Forever Optimist in October or November of 2016. Ironically, my optimism was severely dampened, and I became a bit of a pessimist.
I wanted to write something dark, something that played with my mind, and I wanted it to reflect my mindset.
Dark Descent was born. It is a novel about senseless wealth and greed. It is a novel about what love really is, and what it isn’t. It’s about friendship and boredom and horror and shallow humanity. It also dives into the strength of the human heart.
Two college girls are supposed to be having the time of their lives in Malibu, California, but there is a catch: Something has been watching them the whole time. Something sinister waits for them in one of the crusted-out canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains. And when things start to unravel, somehow these two are forced to seek refuge at an opulent oasis to survive the night.
Is it apocalyptic? Maybe a little. Is it symbolic? Totally, one hundred percent. Is it my best book? No, but I think it has a solid nucleus. I am proud of it because I was being as honest as I could be as I was writing it.
A LITTLE INSPIRATION…
So, yes. I wasn’t having the best time when I wrote it. I felt suffocated as a writer as I lived on-campus. To write, I need space and time and dedication, and I would have to track down an empty closet to clear my head. Most of the book was written in a roach-infested closet, and it wasn’t the most therapeutic experiences of my life, but it produced some interesting results.
I remember calling my dad constantly, asking for his opinion on the novel’s direction, and how I could better improve it. I wanted to impress him with the book, and I knew something like Dark Descent would appeal more to male readers than my previous romances. Therefore, I was excited to showcase my ability to write for both men and women, and I want to constantly push myself into different genres, for different viewership, etc.
WHY PUBLISH IT NOW?
So, it has been about a year since I’ve written the book. I went ahead and sent it to a few literary agents after I completed it, because I wanted to see if there was a chance I could see my book in writing. However, I didn’t send it to many agents, and I don’t think this book should be traditionally published. While I think it is one of my better books, I still have a long way to go as a writer, and deep in my heart, I want my first real novel to be something extraordinarily important, something that pushes boundaries and creates true beauty.
This novel is not that.
This novel is for hard times, and it’s not a feel-good book. It’s creepy and weird and fits how I felt at one point in my life. I will always be able to look back and judge how I felt at a particular point in my life solely based on how I wrote during that time period.
I published it because I don’t want it to collect dust any longer. I want people to read it and give me their feedback, especially if I choose to return to the science fiction genre in the future. 🙂
SOME THANK-YOUS ARE IN ORDER!!
I would love to thank you for reading this post and all my other posts as well. As you know by now, I’m writing all the time, and I’m not interested in making money from this. (I mean, it would be great, but when you love something, you love something). Therefore, you’re part of my life as an undiscovered writer. Maybe, one day, we’ll both be able to look back at this and remember when I wrote on a blog that I barely can remember to write, but who knows. This world is crazy and amazing and sometimes fair and others unfair, and I’m just happy that I can write. I’m happy that I can type out a bunch of words five thousand miles away from home, and still count on being heard in my home country. I can be count on being heard in new countries around the world.
I’ve seen views from Poland, South Korea, Canada, Argentina, etc. That is insane to me. How incredible that I can write this blog, and people literally from around the world can listen to me. That is amazing!
Thank you again. I really appreciate your reading this, and I hope you can enjoy my books as much as I enjoy writing them. For the fans out there… I plan on writing more. Lots more. 😉