LET’S DISCUSS…ARE “TWISTY” PUBLISHING BUZZWORDS STILL HOT…OR NOT

MY THOUGHTS…

I feel a change in the air…the publishing air that is…and it involves the ever-present marketing blurbs for books. Those hook-the-reader tantalizers that have, since the publication and sky rocketing popularity of Gone Girl in 2012, inundated us with buzzwords like “twisty,” “unreliable narrator,” and psychological (fill in the blank). It would seem that readers and publishers alike couldn’t get enough of the “girl” who…lost her memory, had her child kidnapped, killed her husband, drank too much, lied about her identity…and on and on. We get it, she’s unreliable and can’t be trusted. But is she on her way out?
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This premise has been so popular that an entire publishing subgenre exists based on it. But…there seems to be a subtle shift happening among readers (well, at least me and maybe a couple others), one involving reverse psychology if you will. I, for one, have learned the hard way to run (metaphorically speaking) the other way when I see any of the above mentioned buzzwords in a book’s blurb. Let me give you an example. A book is compared to Gone Girl which yes I really enjoyed and/or said book is touted as having “twists I won’t see coming,” and that’s it, I was hooked.  I must read this book and be dazzled off my feet by the very best plot surprises I never saw coming.

Then,  I read it and find out that there are no twists or that I could see them coming from a mile away.
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Disappointment ensues. I’ve went round and round this “twisty” curve one too many times that now I’m at the point that if I see those words in a book’s marketing I decide NOT to read it. I know, this may seem harsh, what about all the potentially amazing books I’m missing out on? I’ll take my chances. I don’t think I’m alone, however, because I’m hearing whispers among my reading friends and fellow book bloggers who’re taking the same stance.

But wait, there’s a publishing light at the end of this twisty tunnel I believe and it involves letting a book stand on its own…no Gone Girl comparisons, no use of the word “twisty” or “unreliable narrator”. Sound too simple? It’s not. It’s pure genius in my opinion and it’s working its magic. I recently read and loved Laura Lippman’s new book Sunburn and Sally Hepworth’s The Family Next Door that made no mention of those trendy buzzwords in either book’s marketing but absolutely turned out to be full of unexpected surprises and narrators who were rather untrustworthy. Yes, I think the tide’s a turnin.

What do you think? Am I the only one with these thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts about whether these publishing buzzwords still pull you in or drive you away?! 

 

IT’S MONDAY WHAT ARE YOU READING?

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Hi all, I know it’s been a little quiet on the blog this past week but I was on vacation in sunny Cancun, Mexico! I didn’t even take my laptop so I could just focus on reading and while I missed doing a little blog hopping, I thoroughly enjoyed all my reading time in the sun…it sure beats the 30 degree gray weather I came back to.  However, one very exciting thing to come back to was the return of Homeland last night! I think we saw glimpses of old Carrie which could spell trouble for her but I loved the season opener, it had a very domestic feel compared to the typical international happenings of years past.

RECENTLY READ… 

I finished The Great Alone on the flight to Mexico and have to say that overall I really liked it. For the first 70% (kindle reading) I actually would’ve said I loved it, but the last 30% changed things a little for me. I’m working on a review which I hope to have up this week.  Sunburn was interesting…it’s described as a cat and mouse story and it was but it also had a bit of mystery. This one was a SLOW BURN though and at times had me wishing the pace would pick up. I’ll have a review up soon but I think this will appeal to lots of readers. I’m on the blog tour this month for Killed which is the final book in the Henning Juul series. This was one of my most anticipated sequels for 2018 and it didn’t disappoint. If you like Nordic Noir I recommend giving this series a try, my review will be up next week.

TRIED BUT WASN’T FEELING….

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I was really looking forward to this one after loving Me Before You but then barely liking After You. I was hoping Moyes would do a turn around for Lou and we’d see a different side, more of the old her from Me Before You, plus it’s set in NYC which was a major draw for me. I got to about 15% and wasn’t at all feeling Lou or the writing. There were pages of details about the apartment Lou was staying in, her walk around NYC, etc without anything happening and it just didn’t appeal to me. I doubt I’ll be tempted to pick it back up

CURRENTLY READING….

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So far I’m really enjoying this thriller! The main characters Dante and Columba make a great team and are well developed but still both somewhat remain a mystery to the reader. I love that the story starts off with action (terrorist attack) and really doesn’t let up but it’s also a mystery at it’s heart. The Italian setting is the perfect backdrop for this type of story. One thing I will say about Dazieri’s writing…it’s dense and you MUST pay attention or you’ll likely miss important details. This isn’t a book you can skim or speed read. I’m not even bothering trying to figure out what’s going on, I’m just enjoying the ride.

PODCAST I’M LOVING….

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In true book nerd fashion, I’ve discovered this podcast and have been completely binging all the episodes. This is hosted by writer Kelton Reid and I absolutely love hearing from the authors he has on as guests. He asks informed questions about their writing process, story development etc, all the behind the scenes makings of how the authors develop and write the stories we love. There’s also helpful writing and productivity hacks that would apply to bloggers as well.

UPCOMING READING POSSIBILITIES….

I’m seeing so many positive reviews for The Storm King and the blurb has buzzwords like dark secrets and unsolved mystery which make it a must read for me. After reading and loving Distress Signals last year, I’ve been eagerly anticipating Howard’s new one. I hope it’s as good as her debut!

That’s it for me, what have you loved reading or listening to lately?   

HAVE A GREAT READING WEEK!!

 

 

 

IT’S MONDAY WHAT ARE YOU READING?

cheers!

Hi everyone! I haven’t done a Monday post for a couple of weeks because my reading has been spotty but last week things began looking up. While I have way too many ARCs to get through I’m still finding time for some backlist reads which allows me to keep reading my new favorite author Kristan Higgins. I’m just loving her books. On the movie front, we saw 12 Strong which was fantastic and yesterday Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri which I loved but my husband, not so much. In fact, he gave it 2 thumbs down; whereas, I give it 2 thumbs up so go figure. It happens, we’ve agreed on all the other movies we’ve seen in January so a disagreement was due:)

RECENTLY READ….

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Well I tried to hold off until March 6th, pub day for Bachelor Nation, but it was just too tempting! I started it late Thursday night and finished it Friday evening so…super fast read about my absolute favorite guilty pleasure show. I’ve watched The Bachelor since Trista started as the Bachelorette and I’ve only missed one season- Sean Lowe- he just really bugged me so I opted not to watch but I learned from Bachelor Nation that he was apparently the one Bachelor who had his shirt off the entire season…huh, who knew? For all you Bachelor fans, you won’t be disappointed and suffice it to say I’ll be watching the show with a new found perspective moving forward. If You Only Knew was my other read last week which I loved and featured on my Throwback Thursday post as well. That book would make a perfect book club book and Kristan’s writing is a cut above most other women’s fiction I’ve read in the past year. I’m planning on reading more of her backlist and anxiously awaiting my netgalley approval (hopefully) for her upcoming summer book Good Luck With That. 

TRIED BUT WASN’T FEELING….

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The premise of this upcoming release (Feb 6) was intriguing and I’ll admit I fell for the marketing promotion comparing it to Tana French but the writing style didn’t click with me and then I checked a couple Goodreads reviews and I wasn’t comfortable with the relationship that apparently develops in the story so I put it down

 

CURRENTLY READING….

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Can I just say I’m in awe of Kristin Hannah’s storytelling ability! I’m about 40% through this and I literally can’t put it down…I didn’t even want to stop reading to work on this post…it’s an amazing story and I’m not even halfway! I hope I can finish and have a review up for pub day this Tues Feb 6th but if not I’ll have it up soon.

UPCOMING READING POSSIBILITIES…..

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Both of these are Feb 20 releases but I’m leaning more toward reading Kill The Angel first since it’s the sequel to Kill the Father which I loved and I’m anxious to get back to those characters. I have a busy week ahead so I may not be posting or blog hopping as much as usual. If that’s the case, I’ll catch up next week. I hope you all have a great reading week!

What books are YOU looking forward to this month??

 

 

 

REVIEW: AMERICAN RADICAL By Tamer Elnoury with Kevin Maurer

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Published Oct 23, 2017 by Dutton Books 

It’s no secret that federal agencies are waging a broad, global war against terror. But for the first time in this memoir, an active Muslim American federal agent reveals his experience infiltrating and bringing down a terror cell in North America.

Due to his ongoing work for the FBI, Elnoury writes under a pseudonym. An Arabic-speaking Muslim American, a patriot, a hero: To many Americans, it will be a revelation that he and his team even exist, let alone the vital and dangerous work they do keeping all Americans safe

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This is one of those books that happened to catch my eye when I was recently Christmas shopping for my dad who only reads nonfiction. It has two of my favorite buzzwords in it…Undercover and FBI….so I couldn’t resist reading it when it arrived. I’m so glad I did because I loved it! Not only is it the most fascinating book I’ve read in a long time, it’s also a very uniquely written memoir in that it reads like a page turning novel. In fact, as I mentioned in my Monday post, it very much reads like an episode of Homeland. There were times I had to remind myself the difference is that this story is actually true which in my opinion made it all the more terrifying.

As stated in the blurb, Tamer is a pseudonym for an undercover counterterrorism agent in the FBI. I thought he did a fantastic job sharing as many details as he could about the world of an undercover agent, how they train, how they live their “legends,” and the extreme emotional/psychological stress it takes on their psyches. Especially when dealing with the warped and twisted minds of the radical Islamic terrorists he worked to bring down in this story. I appreciated how well he explained who these terrorists were, where they came from and how they came to believe what they do. I hung on every word as he described conversations in which the terrorists laid out detailed plans to kill as many Americans as possible…it was scary to read and I don’t think most of us understand what is happening in our own country on a daily basis.

The first person narrative structure of the story worked brilliantly in that I felt like I was a fly on the wall watching each scene unfold. The pace was steady although I will say I thought it dragged a little in the middle but the last third made up for it and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out how it was all going to unfold. I love the way the authors created such a suspenseful storyline while also providing behind the scenes details of the operations. I’ve been recommending this book all week to people, especially to my friends who love Homeland so if you enjoy page turners that are timely, current, and so relevant to our world right now I encourage you to give this a try!

 

 

 

IT’S MONDAY WHAT ARE YOU READING?

cheers!

The holiday season is in full swing and while I still can’t believe it’s not summer…it seemed like just yesterday it was August…I’ve decided to get a jump on my shopping and as of now I’m almost done:) I actually went to the mall on Black Friday which I NEVER do and now I realize why…I’ve never seen so many people and such long lines there before!! In the end, I really only got amazing deals at 2 stores (Macy’s & Joseph A Banks in case you’re wondering) so I’m not sure it was worth the crowds. However, I stayed up super late last night shopping for cyber Monday, that’s why this post is so late, and the deals were incredible! Now I know why so many sizes are already sold out on Monday…deals started last night and things were selling out while I still had them in my cart. It was crazy but I stayed up and got SO many deals! What has all this meant for my reading lately? Well, I haven’t done too much but I’m planning on getting back on track this week

 

RECENTLY READ….

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Although I hate this cover, I have a reading friend who’s been suggesting this book to me for SO long and I don’t know why I resisted reading it because it was great! It was an addicting read that I flew through in a couple days…look for a mini review soon.

TRIED BUT COULDN’T GET INTO….

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It pains me to say that one of my most anticipated reads of 2018, The Hush, was a DNF for me after 70 pages. I absolutely loved The Last Child but this wasn’t similar in tone or plot and I found myself bored.  I’ve loved several of John Hart’s books and always thought his writing was outstanding but in this one I felt the language was too flowery at times and for me it felt bogged down in descriptive setting details. Also, there’s a supernatural element to this story that I wasn’t expecting and it didn’t work for me at all. Well, I tried to jump onto the Louise Penny train and I gave it until 40% but ultimately I realized I didn’t care about the murder mystery and the pace was way too slow for me so…DNF. I know people love her books and I wanted to as well and I really really loved the setting of Three Pines but in the end that wasn’t enough to hold my attention

CURRENTLY READING…

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I had ordered this book for my dad for Christmas but what caught my eye initially when I saw it on Amazon’s new release list were 2 of my favorite buzzwords…undercover & FBI! When it came on Saturday I decided I had to read it first and I’m loving it so far. Tamer is a pseudonym and he’s currently still an agent which makes his story all the more timely. The writing is excellent and with every story he tells I feel like I’m watching an episode of Homeland, it’s very similar in tone and plot so if you like that show I think you’ll LOVE this book. You won’t believe what’s going on right under our noses in the world of undercover counterterrorism….it’s fascinating yet terrifying to say the least!

UP NEXT….

This is always a toss up for me so it could be

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Have a great reading week everyone! 

 

 

 

 

MONDAY MUSINGS…BOOK BUZZWORDS I JUST CAN’T RESIST

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I thought it would be fun to incorporate some bookish discussions every once in awhile to break up the reviews…for me and for you! I love talking about books as well as reviewing them and every now and then I plan to toss out a book topic that interests me and I hope you’ll join in for a fun chat!

Like everyone, my tbr is exploding for the Fall and Winter and I’ve started to notice that I’ve been adding some interesting titles based on the fact that some of my favorite buzzwords have been in the blurb or other’s reviews. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has favorite book words…those buzz worthy words that when you see them in a book’s description you think to yourself  “I MUST read that book!”

 

Here are 3 recent additions to my tbr based solely on me seeing several favorite buzzwords in the book’s description.  

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A Dark and Broken Heart (Published Aug 2017)…included buzzwords are anti-hero cop, NYPD, heist, drug lord, corruption, deception and redemption. Based on these it sounds perfect!

Glass Town (Publishing Dec 5, 2017)…Mystery, magic, London, disappearance, gangsters, unsolved case, gritty, secrets, and betrayals. This is possibly out of my comfort zone but I love the sound of it!

The Alienist (Published Oct 2006)…Gilded age NYC setting, murder, criminology, profiling, corrupt cops, gangsters…yes please!! I’ve just come across this one and it sounds amazing.

What do you think, do you, like me, often pick books based on words that call out to you and if so what are YOUR book buzzwords? I’d love to know and if you have time let me know a recent book you’ve added to your TBR because it had your buzzwords!

HAPPY READING!