Monthly Archives: July 2013

Review of Inferno by Dan Brown

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I recently finished Inferno by Dan Brown. A lot of people are going to read this book. A lot of people are going to love this book. And, a lot of people will probably see the movie when Hollywood makes it.

That being said, my main thought when I read this book was it is about what you would expect from Dan Brown. I am not saying that is good or bad; it just was fairly predictable if you’ve read more than two books by him.dbinferno

I admit I have read almost every book he’s written, and like most authors, some of his books are better than others. For me, Inferno is not one of the books I would say you have to read by Brown. If you are going to read anything by Brown, I personally preferred The Da Vinci Code (gasp!) and The Lost Symbol.

Yes, both are Robert Langdon books and follow Brown’s tried and true formula for a bestseller, but I still really enjoyed them. And, if you are going to take the time to read in this day and age, why not enjoy it?

This review though is supposed to be about Inferno. I don’t want to give away plot details because a great many people will read this and/or see the movie, and I don’t want to ruin it for you. I will say that it is very action packed and reads a little like a script because of that quality. It is most definitely a page-turner because the very short chapters always end at a suspenseful moment. Those are about the only good things I can say about it. For me, it was just too much like everything else he’s written.

What really stuck out to me, and this is perhaps why I can’t think of anything else nice to say about Inferno, is the absolutely unnecessary constant description of architecture throughout the entire novel. We get it, Dan Brown did his research. He knows a lot about art, architecture, and other beautiful things throughout Europe, but I felt like in Inferno he went above and beyond what was needed for the story.

I would be reading and I would think,” Wow. Another useless rant about some building that isn’t even a part of the plot.”

If you absolutely love Dan Brown, don’t hold my criticisms against me please. I would still recommend this book, especially if you have read and enjoyed the other Robert Langdon books.

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Review of The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

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Last week I read The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, and as you may have already figured out if you read my review of The Graveyard Book, I love his books. His newest work is no exception; I loved it. boko-the-ocean-at-the-end-of-the-lane-neil-gaiman

I don’t want to talk about the plot too much because I feel like you should read it. And everything else he’s written too. My review instead is going to cover two topics: 1. Gaiman’s use of mythology and 2. the “moral” of the story.

First, if you’ve ever read anything written by Gaiman, you should easily recognize his grasp of mythology and the realms of magic. I think he knows everything about every type of mythology there is. Seriously, if you don’t understand what I’m talking about, read American Gods, and then read Anansi Boys, and then read the entire Sandman comic series. He uses myth in a way that is absolutely brilliant. He does the same with magic. The Ocean and the End of the Lane does not disappoint in this area.

Second, The Ocean at the End of the Lane has a bittersweet ending. I don’t want to tell you exactly what happened, but I feel like the “moral” of the story or the lesson the novel teaches is that as grown ups, we don’t see the magic in the world anymore, even when it’s right in front of us. That mad me sad. But at the same time, I get where Gaiman is coming from. Grown ups don’t explain things away using magic; instead, we rationalize. Personally, I think it would be great to live in a time again where I thought Santa and fairies were real.

So, the moral of this review, read The Ocean at the End of the Lane; it is both beautiful and sad.

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The Absent Muse

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museMy story is making slow progress lately, mostly because I’m guilty. So guilty! I keep telling myself that I will sit down and write when I feel like it or when the mood strikes me. Well, guess what!? There is no waiting muse and no mood that miraculously leads to being more creative, productive, or a better writer.

I want to finish this novel by December 31, 2013, and it is going to take making myself work on it when I don’t really feel like it and when I don’t feel particularly inspired.Greek_Gods__Muses_by_marcoso86

I keep talking about setting myself a weekly goal of some sort and I have yet to do so, so I think my goal needs to start small and then I can change it every week as needed.

Today being Thursday, my goal for this week, to be accomplished no later than midnight on Wednesday, is to add 3000 words to my novel. (Like I said, I am starting small.)

My current word count is 16,978

All right, that being said, I have made some progress this last week.

I even changed another name. I seem to be doing that a lot for this story. I love a couple of the names I’ve chosen but don’t feel that way about all of them. I am not letting it distract me though, and when I come across a name I like better, I change it to see if it sticks. My main characters have been the same for a while now, so I feel pretty solid about those, but we’ll see…

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The Sherlockian by Graham Moore

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The short review of this book is I found it rather ‘meh.’ It didn’t wow me and it wasn’t terrible.TheSherlockian565

I don’t read many mystery novels because I find them terribly predictable and I can usually solve the case within a few chapters. (Though, that is not true of all mystery books. I find some of the older mysteries quite thrilling – i.e. Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayers).

This particular book has two plots: a story set in our time about the missing Doyle diary and a story about what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was up to during the period of the missing diary. Of the two plots, I found the tale of Dr. Doyle the more interesting and entertaining. The plot set in our time was very, very predictable and very, very slow for a mystery novel.

I realize that mysteries employ a set of standard plot devices – red herrings, twists, etc. – but this book didn’t even use those elements in a surprising way. That being said, there was a redeeming factor in this book for me, and that was the second plot about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The plot set in Victorian London involved the murder of several young women, and Dr. Doyle is the only man who seems capable of solving the crime. What I enjoyed most about this part of the novel was the way that Dr. Doyle was portrayed. Part of the novel involves him dealing with the aftermath of having killed off Sherlock Holmes. People act as if he has killed an actual person. As a writer, he struggles with how attached to his character fans have become. He also explains why he loathes the character of Sherlock Holmes. However, by the end of the novel, Doyle does solve the murder and he has decided to bring Holmes back to life. I thought this plot was a clever way to explain the writing choices of Doyle.

In addition to the character of Doyle, Bram Stoker also makes an appearance as Doyle’s trusty sidekick. The character of Stoker is also entertaining. The novel explains Stoker’s personal struggles with writing and what Stoker had to as his day job. His friendship with Doyle is also a very important element of the novel.

All in all, it was an okay read.

I might be part hobbit

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I’ve been on vacation for a month. I just arrived home a few days ago, and the jet lag is finally wearing off.

I realized when I’d been home for only a few moments, that I missed my own bed, my mugs that I make Earl Grey in every morning, my office (where I feel the most relaxed and creative), and of course, my husband. (His being mentioned last does not indicate his rank in the list of things I missed. In fact, I missed him the most! No one tolerates me as well as he does).

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So, I am glad to be home with all my comfort, and I don’t plan on going adventuring anytime soon.

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And now that my vacation is over, I need to get back to writing on a regular basis. I took my draft and notes with me, but I confess, I made ZERO progress while I was away. I was visiting some of my favorite people in the whole world, so I don’t feel bad for not finding time to novel. However, this means that I have even more work to do because it is July now and the goal is still to finish by the end of the year.my office

All the time away from home made me realize I really, really like having my own space to be creative in. I like to sit at MY desk and use MY computer. I realize this may seem selfish or greedy, or both, but I like my office. It is my room. I can be messy, crazy, and odd in here and no one cares but me. It’s a space where there isn’t anyone to judge, and if someone comes in with that attitude, I can kick them out!

Plus, when I find myself staring at the computer screen wondering what to write next, there are loads of Legos around to entertain me.