My free reading challenge: Peaks and Troughs

Down in the dumps

I missed posting last week, but you didn’t miss much, I promise: “I did some reading” makes for a less than riveting post, so I spared you all.

I also didn’t blog because I was at a bit of a low point, reading-wise. I spent much of the week mildly disgruntled (well, I am British) by the quality of reading matter I managed to unearth. There are, apparently, 166,051 books available for free in the UK Amazon store (that number seems lower than I expected, but even so – it’s more than I can get through between now and Christmas), so why couldn’t I find anything good to read?

A relative term

Now, good is of course the key word in that statement because ‘good’ is a value judgement, not an objective assessment. I’m a really fussy reader and I was just in a bit of a reading trough because I couldn’t find anything that suited me. I turned down numerous review requests after reading the preview and going, “Meh” (sometimes after about 3 sentences… Impatient? Possibly, but I don’t feel I have time to waste when it comes to reading).

Editing, schmediting

Overall, I do worry that editing is getting much more hit and miss. The number of books I’ve read recently that are thick with telling rather than showing has surprised and slightly horrified me (again: British). Isn’t that the first thing most books on writing will tell aspiring writers? And isn’t that something an editor should work with you to absolutely nail? But, it seems that some editors don’t mention it and lots of readers don’t mind being told a story rather than shown it, so I guess I have to put it down to taste and continue with my search for something that IS to my taste.

Go with quality

Cover of Kelly St Clare's Fantasy of Flight
Click for preview

So, I caved. I don’t see it as a cave-in, really, but I wasn’t as strict with myself as I might have been. I got Kelly St Clare’s Fantasy of Frost for free in a giveaway, read it and loved it. It’s a series of 4 and I then grabbed book 3 when it was on a free day on Amazon. So I was well within my own free reading challenge rules to buy book 2 and fill the gap. So that’s what I’ve done. I galloped through Fantasy of Flight in two days. And it was such a relief to settle down with a book where I felt like I was in safe hands with a writer who knows what they’re doing.

Cover of Melle Amade's Sanctuary
Click for preview

I followed that up with Sanctuary, Melle Amade’s debut shifter novel and it’s such a cracking good read I zipped through it in a day. Two fabulous books back to back and I’m much more myself, thankfully.

Treasures ahead

I’ve also responded with big fat “yes”s to a couple of review requests that looked absolutely fabulous from the previews, so hopefully I’m firmly out of my reading slump and will soon be reporting on what a welter of brilliant books I’ve been reading.

Cover of Kate Johnson's Max Seventeen
Kick-ass characters in a space opera setting. Fabulous.

Also, Max Seventeen is out on Monday and will appear on my Kindle as if by magic. Now that IS one I’m looking forward to – Kate Johnson is one of the best writers I know (and I’m not saying that just because she’s a Kate, although Kates, Katys and Katies are, natch, the best). It’s a little more – er – earthy than my usual YA fayre is able to be, but if you like a cracking read with characters who will wrench your heart, give it a try. It’ll be my Monday very well spent.

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