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Search tags: not-so-thrilling
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review 2019-01-25 16:11
Elevation by Stephen King
Elevation - Stephen King

This was a perfectly meh weird story. It didn't offend me but do you know what does? The fact that Goodreads READERS awarded it the best HORROR novel award only because it had Stephen King's name on it. Do these people even read the genre they are voting on? Do they even read the books? 

Anyway, this is the story of a perfectly bland middle aged white man who got off on the wrong foot with his new neighbors. He's also suffering from a very odd affliction. When he steps on the scale he loses weight at the rate of a pound or so a day, even when he's holding bags of coins but he's not losing body mass. He's just getting lighter and lighter and soon he knows he will simply drift away. 

I don't know about you, but this plot doesn't excite me in any way. It's hard to work up worry about a man who can eat whatever he wants and lose no weight. Worst case scenario? He'll either die or leave this terrible planet and float out into the universe to see things never seen by human eyes. The latter option doesn't sound too bad to me right about now! The side plot about his relationship with the married lesbian couple is only mildly interesting. It felt forced and didn't hit me emotionally at all. Likely because I've read/seen these people a million times before starting this story and there was nothing unique about any of them. I wish their pooping dogs had a bigger place in the story. But at least it's short and I'm out nothing but time because I borrowed the audiobook from my library. It's read by Stephen King so you're either going to enjoy his nasally narration or not. Personally I don't mind it but the story gets a 2 because it just wasn't that great, if you ask me.

The audiobook includes another short story called Laurie. It's about a grieving old coot who has a puppy foisted upon him by his worried sister. After much grumping and complaining he grows to love Laurie and Laurie, like all good dogs, loves him right back. This story I loved. I loved the grumpy old man and Laurie's relationship and there's a moment of suspense that had my heart in my throat. I'd give this one a four. It could've been a five if it were longer. 

Combine these two together and this version is getting a three from me.

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review 2019-01-21 19:45
When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica
When The Lights Go Out - Mary Kubica

I was going to write a real review for this book but it doesn’t deserve it. This book made me so crazy-mad that I am not going to waste my time. Up until the last quarter or so I would’ve rated it a 3 ½. It was holding my attention even though some of the themes; the insatiable baby-lust, the absent husband who may or may not be cheating, etc. were all too familiar after just finishing up this author’s novel Pretty Baby and I may have mixed them up a time or two in my head but it wasn’t awful by any means. There were lots of secrets lurking and I really did want to keep reading to discover them all until the big reveal was unleashed upon me. It was weak, manipulative, over-used, unoriginal, and the lamest of lame-ass plot reveals. I couldn’t believe what the author had just done to me. I still can’t! I feel cheated, misled and more disappointed than mere words can say. 
And for that this book is getting a VERY generous 2.

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review 2018-05-28 17:44
A Dark Noir Sci-Fi Satire!
Thrilling Times - Robert Rubenstein

Thrilling Times combines a dark noir detective piece with a psychological drama replete with elements of literary and political satire; and while the effort sometimes proves a challenge to neatly categorize for genre-specific marketing purposes, it cultivates a dark sense of entertainment and angst.

 

On the surface, this is the story of a detective recovering from electro-shock therapy who is on a mission to find the girl who landed him in trouble. However, this is no light pursuit. Thrilling Times presents graphic metaphorical sexual scenes, violence, a talented female photographer's penchant for depicting realistic terror in her 'galleries of the gruesome', and evolving relationships between men, women, and those who would obtain power over one another.

 

All this is woven into a complex backdrop of social inspection and accusation, the creation of masterpieces of depravity, terror and horror, and sizzling scenes designed to agitate reader sensibilities as they follow a murky, complex world and characters who can barely navigate their lives; much less each other.

 

Hidden within the overlay of a detective piece are a series of literary and social reflections that force readers to wade through scenarios of depravity and dark characters in survival mode to navigate the trajectories of love and its high price.

 

There are characters willing to die for love and possession as well as moments of passion intertwined with graphic displays of depravity, juxtaposed with sweet scenes that each demonstrate Robert Rubenstein's prowess at crafting metaphor and analysis.

 

The language is as much a draw in the story line as its characters and their special purposes, immersing readers in a mercurial adventure story that moves from political jest and social inspection to the dilemma of the personal with an 'everyman' lost in illusions surrounding the pursuit of love and connections.

 

From the two-sided nature of modern culture to the setting of post-apocalyptic America and its fractured society, Thrilling Times continually challenges its readers with thought-provoking clashes of reason, psyche, and social and political structure. It is especially recommended for literary audiences who like their stories steeped in metaphorical yet explicit sexual encounters tempered with satiric and pointed observations of social and individual condition. Thrilling times, indeed!

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review 2018-04-26 20:21
CROSSOVER (Thrilling Christian Fantasy Suspense (Chaser Chronicles #1)) - John C. Dalglish

CROSSOVER(Christian Adventure) (THE CHASER CHRONICLES Book 1)
Starts out with the PI and he's taped to his chair, big headache and something, a ghost shape is in front of him telling him he will have a choice to make.
He learns a few days later he can either follow Jesus or go after the runners and make them crossover. There are chasers and this ghost wants him to become one...
This book is out there as far as my beliefs but was a good read because the author describes things in such detail you feel as if you are there.
Loved all the action, adventure and investigating as we got to go visit in several places.
Received this book free on Amazon and this is my honest opinion.

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text 2017-09-30 09:00
Get all Moody with your Crime Writing
If people are saying they ‘couldn’t get into’ your writing, or that your characters felt a bit lifeless, then it might be that atmosphere or mood that is lacking in your work. Building mood and atmosphere grabs a reader and draws them in, making them feel as if they are ‘inside the story’, experiencing it physically. There is a subtle difference between these two terms:
 


 
Atmosphere  has come to mean the ambience, aura or feeling of a scene. It is the literary device which allows the action in writing to also have emotions which intrigue, excite, seduce, unsettle, disturb or beguile. Often atmosphere will add to the enjoyment of a read without the reader quite being able to work out why – they are 'internalising' it. An atmosphere can be established very quickly, but it can also change throughout, depending on the scene, plot or development of character.

Mood is subtly different from atmosphere but can further lift the atmosphere you’re creating. It is the ‘something in the air’ that helps ‘light and shade’ to be added to writing, working like a perfume, subconsciously sensed – the ‘je ne sais quoi of a good read, when a reader’s spine is tingled, or their heart wrenched, almost without them knowing it. Mood is usually dictated by the feelings of the protagonist or narrator.

There are some very simple ways of getting atmosphere and mood into your writing. The first is to use the senses. 

Smell – describe smells, both lovely and sickening, to add to atmosphere and ‘take’ the reader into the story
Sound – not just ‘grand’ sounds like an on-coming train or ‘obvious’ sounds like birdsong in countryside, but ‘lesser’ sounds; the crunch of gravel underfoot, the way a character constantly sniffs, the sudden, atmospheric howling of a dog in the twilight distance.
Taste. Don’t forget taste whenever something is placed in the narrator’s mouth. That might not take place often in your story, so also consider the other tastes that could heighten atmosphere, such as the taste of strong chemicals in the air, or the ‘taste’ of rain. Also use ‘interior’ tastes, such as the taste of the waking mouth or the taste of bile. And don’t forget the taste of a kiss!
Touch. This might seem the hardest to use well, but it's hugely important in adding mood and atmosphere. Surprisingly, touch takes place all the time. A breeze on the face, fabric on skin, the touch of another’s hand, the pressure of a wall against your back or cold flooring under your feet.

I believe there is a sixth sense…the sensations felt inside a person…their mood and perceptions. What does it feel like for the character to be in that setting or location? Is the dirty kitchen frustrating or irritating John, or does he ignore it completely? If so, why? When the two children enter the cave how do they percive it…why is it scaring or exciting to them?


The Pathetic Fallacy can entice the reader right into the mood of the narrator or other characters. Used sparingly by the skilled writer, the Pathetic Fallacy can be very effective. This term relates to the technique of attributing human characteristics, sensations, and emotions, to things that are inanimate, such as nature. The weather is used a lot within this technique. It can link extremely well with the symbolism you might want to pull into a story.  For instance, when a writer wants to build up an emotion in their character, they will place them in an appropriate setting – the angry character standing below a lowering sky with bruised clouds tearing above them, or the despairing character battling against a desperate, lashing storm. Rain is always falling at funerals – lightening slashes a tree as a gothic horror begins – fog descends as the protagonist becomes wandering and confused, as in King Lear, or lost in a long, fruitless quest, as in Bleak House. But this is a device that is notoriously cliched and often wrongly applied by novice writers, leading to something called 'empathic universe', which creates a melodramatic effect. You can tell if someone has overdone their melodrama, the mood overpowers the characters and even the story,  getting in the way of allowing the reader to empathize with the protagonist.  Be particularly warned if you are writing romantic fiction – remind yourself of the comic effect in Wallace and Gromit as Wallace’s bread was shown rinsing in his oven as his passion bloomed for Piella Backwell. If you use this technique to make people laugh, just be sure they are laughing with you and not at your writing. 


I haven't forgotten the sense of sight – describing how things appear is essential, even it if is over-used. New writers often believe 'describing' is something you really shouldn't do too much if you want to move your story on, and, indeed, today’s readers are not keen on long chunks of description…that died out with the crinoline! So the way to add atmospheric detail, especially in crime writing, is to slide it in surreptitiously as the action, interior monologue and dialogue continues to move the story on. Opening out the possiblilities by painting the atmosphere until it drips with meaning is quite the opposite of providing chunks of description. 
 
By looking closely at the most interesting parts of the whole – whether it’s an artifact, a character, a landscape or an interior – the atmosphere can be enhanced.
 
Even more amazingly, adding detail to scenes that have a high drama content actually increases the tension. Creating detailed description stretches story out while offering the writer a chance to use good language skills to create a vivid atmosphere. 

So this is the strange truth…the more detail you chose to include, the less boring the writing becomes…moving into close-up is absorbing and paints the imagery of the story. 
Here’s a moment from the first skeleton draft version of my crime novel In the Moors;
 
I was drawing closer to the bogs. Far away into the west, an ancient clump of willows sprouted out of the bog. I raised my collar against the wind. As I marched towards them, I saw the faint outline of police tape on thin metal poles. This was a scary place to be at night.
Take your time’ is one of my favourite phrases. I offer this advice my students, and so I guess I should take it myself. In that first draft, I was pummelling along, looking neither to the left nor to the right. My character, Sabbie Dare is walking into a dangerous situation. I can’t stop the action – it's going at full pelt. But there are ways of holding it up while maintaining the dramatic atmosphere. I must take as much time as I dare to allow Sabbie to describe what she observes and confront her own thoughts, by which she can build the mood of the scene…
 
When I lifted my chin away from my footsteps, I could see I was drawing closer to the long-abandoned areas, murky water held together with sedges and bulrushes. These bogs went on forever, impossible to tell one blackened hellhole from the next. I had no idea how to find the location I wanted.
I turned a full circle, skimming the horizon.  Far away into the west, an ancient clump of willows sprouted out of the bog. The trunks were glossy black against the reddening sunset. Each branch, thick as a Sumo wrestler’s leg, skimmed the water’s surface before turning upwards to the sky. The patterns they formed brought symbols to my mind – cages and gallows and rune signs. My skin goosed up along my arms. 
I pulled my jacket close about me and raised the collar against the wind. As I marched towards them, I saw the faint outline of police tape on thin metal poles, inadequately closing off the area.
The sun was slipping below the horizon like a thief in an alley. I had hoped I wouldn’t need my torch, but now it drilled a swirling vortex into the space ahead, illuminating the path with its paltry light. The slurry surface of the abandoned bogs gave me the clearest indication of where the path lay. I leaned forward as I walked to get the maximum light from the beam. The wind was whipping up, now darkness was falling. My cheeks and nose felt numb. When I looked up again to check my progress, the willows had gone.
I stared in horror. I wasn’t used to such dark magic. The grey horizon was hiding their silhouette. A gurgle of panic, like quickly swallowed porridge, rose in my gullet. The trees were somewhere ahead of me, but I hadn’t thought to take any sort of marking of where they lay – which of the many paths I needed.
My boot slid off a clump of slimy leaves. It filled with bog-water. I clutched at the air, struggling to keep my balance and the torch fell from my grasp. I watched in dismay as it sank beneath the oily sheen. My eyes stung with tears. Instantly the wind chilled them into ice. 
This was a dreadful place to be at night.

In this fuller version,  I slowed the action by writing into the gaps
which I left out in my rush to get the first words onto the page. I added hints of the sounds that are around her, and of the smell of the moors, with words such as murky, slimy and oily.  Touch sensations work exceedingly well to draw a reader into an image, for instance, how Sabbie is effected by the freezing conditions. I tried to be unpredictable, especially in my choice of and simile. I allowed the falling darkness to imprint its mood on her emotions.  I ‘seeded in’ description by using symbolic imagery which might add to the mood. Rather than abstract nouns such as ‘Sabbie was scared’  I used 'show'...A gurgle of panic...My eyes stung with tears... And I've tried to draw out the experience by making things harder for Sabbie, placing obstacles in her way and allowing the loss of her torch into the bog to feel like the very last straw.
 
Sometimes, finding the one perfect detail is all you need. Think about the ‘core’ of each scene. For example, your scene is an inner city waste land. Don’t try to describe all of it, your reader’s eyes will glaze over. Instead, focus your imagery on, for instance, one blighted buddleia, seemingly imbedded in nothing more than rocks and dust, where no butterfly has ever ventured. 

Your first draft is going to be rushed (and possibly messy) – you are trying to get down your thoughts. You might need to go back later to include atmosphere and mood. When you do, you’ll find these will also enhance your ‘writer’s voice’, and help you further understand what is behind your story.

Nina Milton’s crime series "The Shaman Mysteries" are published by Midnight Ink and available from Amazon.
 

 

Source: kitchentablewriters.blogspot.com.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/the-seven-novels-that-entirely-changed.html?spref=fb
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