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text 2016-10-31 15:17
October Reading Roundup
Salt to the Sea - Ruta Sepetys
Dad is Fat - Jim Gaffigan
The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
Loyalty (King, God and Country Book 1) - Jane Grenfell

Yes, that's really it. Those four.


I think I started about a dozen books this month. Alright, maybe it wasn't quite that bad, but pretty close. I have been distracted & trying to get writing done, so this was the worst month of reading in a long time. To make matters worse, I had audiobook holds all check out at the same time, so I missed out on some & got one half listened to before I had to return it and put it on hold again.


I know. First world problems.


Next month is NaNoWriMo, and I'm hoping to get a first draft of Queen of Martyrs complete, so don't expect my Reading Roundup for November to look much better. Maybe I shouldn't even post it! 


Anyway, the good news is that I hit my writing goal for the month and still got a few books read.


Best book of the month: Salt to the Sea, hands down.

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review 2016-10-31 14:44
Loyalty by Jane Grenfell
Loyalty (King, God and Country Book 1) - Jane Grenfell

This is a difficult book to rate because there are some elements that I truly enjoyed but others that fell short. I feel that if the author had a good editor or even an insightful beta reader, this book could have been a great one. As it is, it is still a worthwhile read from a unique point of view.


I was expecting a novel about Katherine of York, sister to the Elizabeth who is so near and dear to my heart, so I was somewhat surprised when the novel opened with John Kayleway instead. John is at the battle of Bosworth, where his father has just been killed, making him a ward of Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon.


John becomes first a servant of then close friend to the earl's son, William Courtenay. It is through him that John meets and falls desperately in love with Princess Katherine. One does not need to know the history involved here to guess that John does not win her hand, but their story is deeper than that, and no one demonstrates greater loyalty in this book than devoted John.


The story jumps from John's head to Katherine's and sometimes William's or other more minor characters. There is a little too much of the character's thoughts that are already clarified through dialogue, making for some repetitive sections. However, much of this is made up for by the historical details of everyday life for Katherine through the ups and downs of her precarious position as a princess of the defeated dynasty.


Katherine has a justified hatred for Henry Tudor, but I felt that this was dwelt on a little too much. Yes, Katherine and her family were poorly dealt with by Henry VII, but there was no other side of Henry shown. While Katherine was impetuous and at times selfish, she could also be kind and was endlessly dedicated to her husband. Henry, on the other hand, was only cruel and coldhearted. I like to think that people, even Henry Tudor, are more complex than that.


With Henry's death, Katherine has great hopes in his son but receives mixed results. There is a good amount of drama here that almost gets lost in the waiting, complaining, and inner reflection. I would have liked to have seen more time spent on the big moments in Katherine's life. Somehow, the story never quite captivated me the way I know it could have.


This book does a wonderful job of demonstrating how difficult it could be to not have the choice in who one would marry, but also how those marriages could still result in a loving and devoted couple. The religious beliefs of the age and how they impacted everyday life were well described, and the characters never took on more modern characteristics in order to make the story come out the way the reader might be hoping for. 


I'm not sure where the author plans to take this as a series, but it definitely has potential.


Read through Kindle Unlimited.

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url 2016-03-31 13:10
Loyalty to Authors, Not Books?

I've seen the concept of reader loyalty discussed quite a bit in the YA book blogosphere. Something that I wonder about with regard to reader loyalty is whether there's a differential loyalty depending on genre for author vs. a book series.


First off, what is the step to committing to author loyalty? You love one series so much that you deem an author an auto-buy author. You love an author's online presence and decide to get whatever they make because duh, they're awesome. But what of when an author says something you don't agree with? What if their personal opinions are counter--or anathema--to your own?

But even more interesting to me -- what is that step between becoming loyal to an author versus loyal to a series? I've been thinking about this a bunch because I think that in fantasy, you can get a lot more people loyal to finishing out the series whereas in contemporary, they very much emphasize being loyal to an author. Rainbow Rowell, Gayle Forman, John Green-- they've all built their names to be their own brands, and that's without a series; their contemporary work can be very different, but their voice, their writing has become what draws in your loyalty. For fantasy, or most SFF series, it seems like people are committed to the series itself, more so than the author. Undoubtedly there will be people who are interested in following Marissa Meyer's new books, for example, but how many people are loyal to her and her new projects compared to those who were excited for the Lunar Chronicles? Is there a big difference? I don't know. I also found myself thinking about the massive popularity of authors like Sarah J. Maas and Maggie Stiefvater, authors who have earned reader loyalty more than usual, loyalty to the author maybe more so or on par with loyalty to the series they write (or the fandoms are great at making everyone else think that?). And I started to wonder whether in SFF, the bridging ground between author loyalty and book loyalty are the characters. Something about characters and being able to write about them in fanfics or fanart makes fans more loyal to the creator, doesn't it?

Do you think that part of the difference in author vs. book loyalty has to do with the genre and the characters? What makes you transition from being loyal to finishing a book series to being loyal to the author?

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