The Newsmakers by Lis Wiehl (with Sebastian Stuart)

Despite the drinking problem that caused her to lose custody of her daughter, the main character went from being small market news reporter to a big market reporter who broke big news on her first day on the job which leads to her uprising in the business. Of course, with that, comes new enemies.

I did not finish this book, and I did not care to. I should have known I wouldn’t get much out of this book based on the cover and the summary on the inside sleeve. It was the title that got me. “Newsmakers.” Maybe it’ll make the business I’m in more exciting, I thought. No, it did not. This is a drama filled story, yes. Slightly intriguing. What do they mean this place is dangerous? Who is this boss guy, really? But very formulaic. You got the boss who hired the character giving her her second chance, but it must be too good to be true. Character mulls over this great new opportunity, and everyone around sends her nothing but warnings. And then there’s the mean girl who doesn’t like the new girl and wants her to fail. And of course a new office romance. But no, she must put her career and her daughter first. Oh, but he’s so handsome! “He asked me to dinner! What do I do?!” (No that is not an actual quote from the book, but it might as well have been).

Some of the wording is heavy handed. The boss has a globe in his hand and tosses it up and down. Then the author continues to tell me, “He’s got the whole world in his hands.” Thanks. I needed that metaphor slammed into my face.

And it’s a lot of self empowerment which is not a bad thing, but when the character repeatedly expresses that empowerment to herself, and the reader has to read it over and over again, it gets, again, heavy handed. I know her history, I know her goal, I don’t need a reminder that she is doing this for her daughter every chapter. I don’t feel there are layers to the characters. When the main character was scared, I did not feel fear. Suspension of disbelief just wasn’t there for me.

I wanted to finish the book for the sake of finishing something I started, but this was not my cup of tea, and I just did not care that much about the character. I might watch a movie like this or a TV show. I do keep up with TV shows like this, but it’s not something I want to read in a book. It’s more personal drama than a substantial story. To its credit, though, there is an intriguing murder to be solved, but I couldn’t stand trying to read through the little cliche subplots to get to it.

The writing style reminds me of my own. It’s a lot of step by step, the character walked out her door repeating her mantra. She arrived at work to find… It’s cut and dry, and a lot of things are blatantly being told to the reader when they should be shown. And that’s my problem in my writing. But she got published, so what do I know?

And riddle me this. What does it mean when there’s a contributor name? Did they both write the book or is Sebastian Stuart supposed to be someone everyone knows which convinces them to look at the book like some books have, “with James Patterson,” after the unfamiliar author name?

I think I found a new title for this blog. “The Unpublished Critiquing the Published.”

Anywho, summer reading is just around the corner! I haven’t picked up another book yet, and I have probably a chapter or two of Game of Thrones left; yes, the first book, the one that I first mentioned many many entries back. It’s not for lack of interest, but I’m not going to lie, some of the terminology goes over my head, and I can’t quite remember what all has been going on with each character. It’s a lot of people to keep up with, and I think that turns me off. It’s not a read I can do at work or a waiting room because it requires un-distracted focus and an attention span I do not have to even get through one chapter in one sitting.

I read young adult because those have fantastical stories I can read on a bus or during the two minute commercial breaks in the news cast I’m supposed to be monitoring. I haven’t actually taken much time to read the big guys’ books like Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Grisham, but those books are on my list.

Next up will be still, young adult, a re-read of a vampire tale (not Twilight) that claims to be different from all the other vampire tales when that was the big craze. I remember liking it, but I can’t quite remember what it was all about, and I recently found the sequel at Half Price without knowing there even was a sequel. So next entry will be a two parter.

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Why Ben Affleck Can’t Be Batman

Side note (more note to self) about own blog. I have yet to find what makes this my book review blog vs a generic book report of what I like and dislike. I need a thing, and I don’t know what that is. I was hoping to get specific about writing style, but really, as long as I can read it and produce an image and read on, I’m golden. Will keep working on this thing of mine.

Since I just wrote about writing style. I enjoy the first person narrative because you really get inside the mind of the characters. I like the switching of POVs. You really get all sides of the story. Sometimes, I did have to think back on what happened to a character in one chapter when we come back around to them, so that’s a minor caveat. But it’s not like she does five chapters in a row of the same character.

What makes the book so much creepier than the film is that the book, being first person, delves deeper into the characters. It was like they were talking to me. whereas watching the film, they were just characters doing their thing only letting me in a couple of times through their voice over narration.

This will be more of a personal reaction to Gone Girl, the book, than a review. Remember that Facebook post that was going around about books that have stuck with you? This is one of those books.

To recommend this book would attract some judgement on my character, and reading this twisted story had me judging the author. I usually don’t read the acknowledgments, but I thought in this case, it could give me some insight on Flynn. Funny enough she is happily married with kids, and she had married friends read over her work. She even joked that she was glad the story did not ruin their marriages.

Anyway, it is a good book, but it is also terrifying. Don’t overthink it, okay?

I watched the movie first, and my mistake was watching it before attending a wedding, so that was fun. The movie has haunted me enough to pick up the book. Let me tell you, it is an interesting experience to be reading a book when you already have the story, and I think the movie has stayed true to the book, but with all movies based on books, a few scenes had to be cut. I’d have to watch the movie again to be sure, but I think the movie covered the important aspects. It is a testament to the book for me to sit down and read through it when I already know the story.

I don’t even want to summarize this one for you because I don’t know how to do it without spoiling it, and I think because I got no spoilers before walking into the story (the movie), that is why it has such a hold on me.

What is terrifying is the psyche of the characters… And you think about it; people like this actually exist in this world. The characters are extreme, but I think humans are capable of such extremity, and that is horrifying.

SPOILER WARNING!!

There is no happy ending; no one gets their due justice. They’re just trapped. I like and dislike this. I dislike this because the formula calls for a happy ending. Something that at least hints someone will get what’s coming to them; justice must be served! At the same time, I like that Flynn doesn’t follow the formula and not just for the sake of it. It’s a believable “resolution” to the whole story. It wouldn’t make sense for it to end any other way.

END OF SPOILER.

I’ve looked up the author and am intrigued by her work. Random fact about me. Edgar Allan Poe has always been my favorite. I loved the dark stuff, but he had such a dark childhood. I always thought I needed darkness to write. I’ve got my own monsters helping me with that, but I thought I needed Poe-level darkness, and Flynn, I think proves otherwise, and so far, I like that about her.

Canary by Duane Swierczynski

Canary is about a college honors student who gets caught on an unintentional drug run, and to protect the friend she was driving around, she must find another drug dealer to turn into the police. “Unintentional?” You ask? You’ll have to read it to find out what I mean. I do recommend it. No spoilers here.

I was very into this book. I would put it down and then couldn’t stop thinking about it. Action and suspense in every paragraph. I forgot that it was not a young adult novel, but the writing is simple enough, and I liked that. He managed to keep all the technical law enforcement terms and procedures simple enough not to distract from the story.

I watch a couple of crime shows, and I’ve never gotten into the habit of guessing who did what. I just watch them, so maybe this affects my definition of, “predictable,” because this story was not. Granted in hind sight, I should have known characters would die being involved in the drug business. But this book had my heart going.

This book just came out in February 2015, which is impressive to me because I don’t trust many stories (movies, books, TV shows, etc.) that have come out recently since everything has been blatantly derivative. I realize everything is derivative of something, but it’s the way you go about it, and Swierczynski here does it right.

His simple writing reminds me of my own. The weird thing is, my simple writing seems boring even though I think I got a good story going. I could get through his simple writing. My story’s been more dialogue than real action. That may be my flaw.

I can’t tell you whether I liked or disliked the fact that he switched from one character in one situation to another character at a different location, all in third person limited. It did not distract from the story; it reminded me of a TV show or a movie and of my own writing. I think nearly every book written in third person does this, but my most recent books read have been in first person, so I don’t recall. But this one’s not separated by chapters. He skips a line, and it changes to another character’s perspectives; as I said, it also reminds me of my own writing, but I still have mixed feelings about it.

Nonetheless, Canary’s going on my favorites.

How’d I do with the non-spoiler review?

EDIT: The more I think about this book, while exciting, I actually have a few questions. What was the guy’s obsession with his ex, the lieutenant; he had nothing but the the fact that she was hot and saucy. I also feel like being lieutenant and intelligent, she would have caught something suspicious herself. Who was Party Man? Was I supposed to have figured out who he was? Did I miss something. Maybe this needs to re-read. And there lies the problem with the writing style being like mine, and why I cannot get through my writing. This author got away with these questions unanswered. I need my questions answered.  This doesn’t take it off my favorites list though. It’s just an afterthought, and if I like the book despite the questions… could I get away with that somehow. No; it was an entertaining book, but the holes bug me.

Now I got a week to read the second book I checked out from the library, Minnow. Challenge in progress.

Until next time!