Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Book Trouble: Read on or Set it on Fire?

Do you put a book down after a first chapter? 

Truthfully, I don't very often, but lately, several of the books on my kindle have been less than engaging--not saying they aren't great, I'm just not the right reader for them. 

I love anything with a supernatural element, be it scary, heartwarming, or romantic. I enjoy a good family story and the occasional contemporary. Adventure, danger, fantasy, huge character arcs,..any of those will win me over. 

There are two genres I don't touch: true crime, and general fiction labeled as "heart-warming," aka the-author-wants-to-mess-with-your-emotions-by-being-cruel-and-manipulative. I'll read most anything else, but the books that really get me are the ones that make me care about the main character right away, no matter the genre.

I just started reading a new book, and it's all I want to do. It's not even one of my preferred genres, but I'm hooked. Fortunately, I get to share the wonderful author and his book with you this week for Writerly Wednesday. How awesome is that? 

Ready to guess the lie and win a book? 

Last week, Annalisa Crawford shared OUR BEAUTIFUL CHILD with us, along with two truths and one lie. Those who guessed the lie correctly were entered into a random drawing for the chance to win her eBook 

Annalisa's game: 

1. Annalisa went abroad for the first time when she was 29 and heavily pregnant.
2. She's very accident prone – this year alone she's torn something in her hip, broken her big toe and had her dog land on her head.
3. She's watched The Sound of Music more than 200 times. 
And the lie is:

#3. She has actually never seen The Sound of Music and has no plans to.. 

Speaking of The Sound of Music, I played Maria Rainer (the lead) in that musical YEARS ago, and suffered from the ensuing nightmares where I had to go perform it again months or years later and couldn't remember my lines. Ug. (Traumatizing.)

Enough of that.

Way to guess those of you who got it right! And the winner is:


Congrats Kristin! 

And now to today's feature:

Master assassin Shayla Carver has killed many times. That's what assassins do, nothing to lose sleep over, but this mission is different.

She's never killed a whole planet before.

In a time when Earth is little more than a legend, life is dangerous for wayward colonies. Everyone fears the Emperor’s power to order a Cleansing, the burning of all traces of civilization from the face of a planet. Shayla's own home world was Cleansed, and now, years later, she's ready to exact payment in kind.

But her meticulous planning didn't prepare her for living undercover amongst some of the two billion people she's about to slaughter. Ordinary people. Not the strutting Imperials readily dismissed as legitimate targets or collateral damage. Then there's the Emperor himself. An ordinary man with troubles and dreams of his own.

Did this man really order the slaughter of innocents?

Can she?

Now she's starting to lose sleep.

Get your copy HERE.
Ian Bott is a science fiction writer who successfully evaded the writing bug until it bit him, late in life, by means of a sneak stealth attack.

As a software developer he rebelled against mind-deadening software specifications and resolved to write technical documents fit for ordinary human consumption. From there, it was a small step to speculative fiction.

He lives in beautiful British Columbia with his wife, two children, and a steadily expanding menagerie of pets.

Ian loves all sorts of cheese, but his favorite for special occasions is a creamy Stilton with a nice glass of port. 

Ian gave me two truths and one lie to test your "lie detector" skills. Those who figure out the lie will go into my magic hat for the chance to win an eBook of GHOSTS OF INNOCENCE. How awesome is that?

You have until Tuesday, September 23, at 1 p.m. EDT to guess--and be sure to come back for the answer on September 24.


1. For five consecutive years at school, Ian won the art prize despite not taking art lessons. Looking back, he feels guilty because there were some very good artists who were probably royally peeved.
2. At University, he managed to instigate a riot that hit national headlines.
3. He built a pirate ship in the back yard, complete with masts, flags, and crows nest.

Which is the lie? Have you put down any books lately? If so, why? Have you read anything lately that really grabbed you and you HAD to keep going? What genre of books do you love/can't stand?


  1. Crystal, There are many books I put down after the first chapter -- or at least, after the free Kindle sample. Some I immediately don't like -- because of the style of writing or the main character. Others are okay, and if I had the book in my hands I would probably keep reading. But if I put the Kindle down to think it over, I often discover -- days later -- that I've lost interest and have no desire to buy the whole book. I guess there are just too many other ones out there.

    And no, I don't go for the heart-warming, either. ;)

  2. The older I get, the less tolerance I have for uninteresting novels. I usually give a book about fifty pages, and if by then I don't care what happens, I give it up and move on. Which is why I'm more invested in my library and free books than I used to be. :)

  3. I know Ian! I'd say the second is the lie. And if he has a pirate ship in his backyard, I want to visit him.
    Life is too short to read boring books.

  4. I'll totally take a pirate ship in my backyard, lol! I have a lot of samples on my Nook that I need to delete, as they weren't anything I'd want to keep reading.

  5. I don't judge a book by its cover but I do judge one by its first chapter. There was only one exception in which I was feeling "meh" after the first chapter but kept on going - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. And boy did that pay off!

  6. Hi Crystal and Ian .. congratulations to Kristin for guessing re Annalisa - I suppose 200 times is a little excessive ... boring is boring ...

    Now for Ian .. writing worlds and creating sci-fi - or is it the other way round ... I'd guess Ian for #1 - though I'm sure the school would be more sensible .. but I suspect Ian is a very good illustrator ...

    I suspect the pirate ship is still on those little islands in our English Channel ... we shall see - good luck with all books ... cheers Hilary

  7. I used to read everything all the way through no matter what. Not anymore. If it's riddled with errors, boring writing, or doesn't interest me for whatever reason, that's it.

    I think Ian's lie is #2.

  8. I usually follow through with a book even if I'm not enjoying it, especially if I've already paid for it. I'm trying to get into the habit of reviewing books on Goodreads, and it's weird, but I find I always have more to say if I DON'T like a book.

  9. Wow, cleansing an entire planet of billions of people. Sounds intense. I hope you didn't start a riot.

  10. I'm putting down a lot of books these days. Maybe I'm just getting very picky.

    #2's the lie. I hope, anyway because I'd love for him to an artist and build pirate ships.

  11. I have put down a few books after the first chapter or two, but I don't like doing it. I try to stick around to see if it picks up.

  12. The second one, pal. It HAS to be. Say it is, Ian. I have put down a bunch of books after the first chapter. Then I take them to the library. Recycle is my middle name.

    Congrads Kristin!

  13. Once I've started, I really don't like to put a book down and try to give the author a chance, hoping the story will pick up in the next chapter or two...
    Hope you're settling down in the new place, Crystal!

  14. I typically won't put a book down, unless it really annoys me. I may scream and rant and want to throw it across the room, but like people, I don't like to give up on them, because there may be hope for them yet. I know they're not real people, but my imagination struggles with those concepts. :)

  15. We sound like we have the same taste.

    I have been reading exclusively indie works for several years, and I have to sadly admit I delete more books than I finish. There are too many out there publishing when they aren't ready...concepts that would be good, but the craft hasn't matured.

  16. I give a book five chapters, if I'm not hooked, I'm moving on.

    I'm going with the pirate ship as a lie.

  17. I have picked up some samples and haven't read past the sample. There are very few books I stop at chapter one if I own the book. I also avoid books I know I'll not want to do anything until I finish them unless I have time to read them.

    I'm going to guess #2 as the lie.

  18. I've put down books after the first 5 pages, but I try to give every book a chance and force myself to 3 chapters if it isn't horrendous. As for the like, I'm going with #2 because #3 is too cool not to be true!

  19. Yay! I WON! I WON! :)

    I usually trudge through a book even if I'm not loving it. I keep thinking, maybe the middle is that sweet spot where I won't want to put it down, and sometimes, I'm right! I did recently put down a bestselling book, because I just wasn't into it and decided to focus my time on other books I'd enjoy more.

    I'll guess #2 is the lie.

    Oh, and thanks for your comment on my blog. It was most helpful! Now I need your opinion on tag lines... :)

  20. I often find that my mood affects whether I'm ready for a book or not, and often times I will keep coming back to a book until the mood strikes me as right.

    Also, very cool about Ian:) But I've no idea which statement may be false (shurg) :)

  21. I'll go for #3 as the lie.

    Up until a year ago, I forced myself to read through the books (even if they were horrid). But not anymore. Now, I'll give it up to 50 pages, depending on how 'bad' it is. Some stop with the first chapter. There's just too many good books out there.

  22. Ian's book sounds up my alley. :) Yeah, I gave up reading books if I lose interest these days too. It's funny what does interest us. I suppose that's why there are so many kinds of stories. What interests one, bores another.

    For the lie, I'm going with #1.

  23. I've become much more discriminating about DNFs in the last few years. If I'm just not feeling a book, or even hating it, I'll put it down. Sometimes I've returned to a DNF many years later and read it all the way through, and was glad I revisited it. Maybe I'm a hypocrite, since I tend towards writing slower-paced, more character-driven books myself, but even a deliberately slower-paced, less plot-centric book needs some kind of story arc and structure to be hung on. If it's not, it'll probably end up a DNF.

  24. I'm putting down a lot more books than I use to too.

  25. I try not to give up on a book too soon, but I must admit, it was a real chore to finish some of the books I'd agreed to review. (I HATE to write a not-my-cuppa-tea review.) In one case, I gave up on a book after reading only one paragraph from its online sample preview. I figured if it started out with tortured phrasing and grammatical errors from the get-go, it wasn't likely to improve.

    Congratulations to Ian! Very cool. I think number two is the fib. I'll bet he was too busy winning art prizes and building a pirate ship to leave much time for rabble rousing...

  26. Mostly, I need a good reason to start a book these days but, once I have, I'm probably going to finish it.
    See, that explains the whole thing with L'Engle, because I did have a good reason to start those.

  27. Same way I get with reading a book, the sooner I like the MC, the more engrossed I stay. My last book was just like that. It was first person POV and I liked her attitude. I didn't necessarily agree with the things she did, I just really liked the character. She was someone I would have wanted to be friends with in high school or young adulthood. :)

  28. I was brought up to finish anything I started - clubs, musical instrument lessons, food etc - whether I liked them or not. Starting something was tantamount to giving your word, These days, now that I have less years ahead of me than behind, time is more precious and far too short for ploughing through a book that leaves me cold. I have to admit to a slight sense of guilt if I give up, but I salve my conscience by telling it I will go back to it one day. In truth, I know I won't!
    I think the lie is #1.

  29. I hate putting down books! I used to be compulsive about it, and would finish anything I started, but then I got older :) Now I finish MOST things but will stop reading a book if I'm not engaged. Life is just too short.

  30. Last week I started a book that I just didn't want to continue reading. There was nothing wrong with it per se, but it just didn't grab me.


  31. I hardly ever stop reading a book. I will skim instead of reading if necessary.


  32. It's always awesome when you find a book you really enjoy outside your genre. I have so many books to read that I stop reading when I really don't enjoy a book.

  33. I've dropped a few books lately too - just not in the right mood for some, not the right reader for more. So I picked up a fave author's latest - always a pick-me-up!

  34. #1 fot the lie. No way he felt guilty! :)

    I just about never put a book down over a chapter, but if I've gotten to chapter three, and I'm still having to force myself through it, I give up. I might go to chapter five if I've met them and liked them, but there's really no point in that.

  35. I am like you Crystal, if my attention cannot be grabbed in the first chapter, I rarely finish reading them. I may have missed out on some good books but I have to care about the characters... :)

  36. Maybe I'm just good at picking books or I'm just not picky, but I don't often put books down. I can only think of 3 that I put down because the story wasn't grabbing me.

  37. I'm not big on romance books. I don't mind books with romance in it, but I"m not into pure romance. Chick Lit.

    #2 is the lie!

  38. Two great books featured, Crystal!

    Yes, I've put down more books than I've finished recently. Mainly due to poor writing. But I have a few go to authors who I never put down. So it all works out in the wash. :)

  39. I've put down several books over the past few months - one because it was dull, one because it was incredibly repetitive, and one because I was 100 pages in and didn't care about the main character and there was no sign of a real plot. Two of those were older, classic works; one was a brand-new release. Oi. I hate putting down books, though, so I have to really feel like I'm trudging through something to stop reading it.

  40. Thanks so much for the mention, Crystal. I just hope to heck that Ghosts keeps you hooked through to the end. I rarely fail to finish a book, but it does happen. Usually I can tell in the first few pages whether or not I want to invest my time in a story, and I don't think those few pages counts as "starting" does it?

    I'm loving the guesses people are making, and the reasons they're giving. As for the lie...well, we'll wait and see :)

  41. I read a physically light, but mentally super heavy-weight book last week. I'm recovering this week with a light fantasy, all dragons and princes and suchlike.

  42. As for book love, I love books on opposite sides of the spectrum--I am almost always reading a thriller and lit fict/upmarket at the same time.

  43. I used to make myself finish every book I picked up but that was a very long time ago. Now, if I'm not enjoying a book, I put it down and move on. Like you said, it doesn't mean it was a bad book, just not for me at that point in time.

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

  44. I used to read everything I picked up from beginning to end, just I 'cause I needed to know what happens. Not anymore, my tolerance has gone out the window. Glad you're enjoying Ian's book!!! Woot! #addcheese :D

  45. I'm going to guess number 2 is the lie=)

    I used to finish books once I started reading them but lately, I've come across some novels where I've lost interest or never had it to begin with. I won't give up after chapter one, however, if several chapters go by and I haven't been able to connect with the characters and plot, then I won't force myself to keep going. Unless I'm volunteering to give an author a review, I will tread forward.

    I love reading paranormal, historical fiction, contemporary romance, and suspense. I recently read a western romance which I really enjoyed as well as a comedy. I'm willing to try anything new as long as I'm fancied by the story.

  46. I guess the lie is number two.

    I generally try to give books a healthy chance, before I put them down. Usually at least 1/4 of the way through. It seems to go in cycles. I may find several great books in a row, but then I might see a bunch of books that I just can't get into.

  47. I too used to finish everything, but I now have too many books in my TBR pile! One big reason for not finishing is if it's so poorly edited it's almost impossible to read - I have seen some indie novels like that. Actually, it's been a little while since I gave up on a book - all the ones I've read recently by blogger buddies have been truly excellent!

    I know Ian - he's an all round good egg. I'd go for #2 as the lie. I just can't see it!

  48. Okay. My comment didn't go up. I'm gonna try it again and hope it doesn't appear twice. Sorry if it does.

    I rarely put a book down after I start reading, but if I do, it's usually withing 1-3 chapters. One of the factors is often length. If it's a 200 page book, maybe I'll slog through it. 300 or more, not likely.

  49. I'll say lie #3. I love all genre's, though, true crime I don't read. And I am one of those people that read the end of the book first. And if I like what I read I dig into the book. Weird, I know!!!

  50. I'm going to say the lie is #2, since #1 sounds much too cool and I know a family who built a giant Noah's ark in their backyard as a jungle gym for their kids, so #3 sounds doable to me.

    As far as finishing every book I start, I used to never be able to put a book down, no matter how terribly written, because I just had to know if it got any better. Now, my free time is so scarce that I can't afford to waste any of it on a book that is badly written, whose story isn't engaging, or if I find myself skimming to get to the "meat" of it faster. No guilt.

  51. Hmmm... I am going to say the lie is #2- but any of them could be- they all sound amazing!

    I usually don't put a book down after one chapter. I try to make it somewhere between page 20 and 50 before I put it aside, but life is short and there are lots of books to read. So- read what makes you happy. :) I used to never put a book down and would torture myself. So glad I learned it is okay to not finish a book.

  52. I would love nothing more than to pick up a book I feel that way about right now! I keep getting a chapter or two in and getting bored.

  53. Sorry about all the less-than-engaging books you've tried reading lately! It's always so disappointing when that happens. I used to try powering through books like that, but with my TBR pile as huge as it is now, I allow myself to stop if I'm that disinterested, heh.

  54. Congrats to Ian and Annalise. Yes, I do love it when a book really gets to me and I want to be constantly reading it.

  55. Congratulations to Ian and Annalise! At times I'm lost what to do when I dont like a book but have to keep at it for reviewing purposes.

  56. Hey. The sound of music is one of my favorite films. Worth seeing.

  57. Normally I give a book only one chapter to either hook me or not.

  58. I think 2 is the lie.

    Congrats to Kristin.

    Sometimes I'm not in the mood to read or I'm reading several books that don't grab me right away.

  59. I'm really hoping number three is true. I love pirates. So I think the lie has to be 1 or 2 since the third will break my heart.

  60. If I'm nont hooked, then I won't keep reading a book. I have too many other books I want to read.


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