Why People Should Read Classics

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Some of you may remember over a year ago when I posted the first part of a two part discussion post about why so many people don't read classics but probably should. I never got round to posting the second part of that discussion post so I left you all knowing why you don't read them but not why you should which is just tragic. So now I aim to remedy that mistake!

So why should you read classics?

  1. Size - In my last post size was one of the main reasons why people don't read classics however I personally believe that it should be a reason to read classics. There isn't much in this world that feels more satisfying than finishing a really huge book. Seriously, anyone who has finished a book with 500+ pages will agree with me when I say the pride of finishing a large book is immense. The other reason why size is a great thing is really quite simple. Have you ever been reading an amazing book and just not wanted it to end? Me too! But with those big bulky classics on your shelf this is not a problem. Doesn't the size look less scary already?
  2. Cover - This was another point that was on the other list however it too can be a good thing also. There is nothing I love more than carrying around one of those hardback classics with no cover or design except a beautifully printed title on the spine. Not only does it look really good but I think it makes you look good too. Everyone will recognise that book as a classic therefore you automatically look more sophisticated and fellow book worms may even come over to say hi. I know I would be too curious about what you were reading not to. I think that beats an eye-catching cover any day, plus you can't be drawn into an awful book through a gorgeous cover.
  3. The old book smell - Arthur Conan Doyle once said: “There is no scent so pleasant to my nostrils as that faint, subtle reek which comes from an ancient book.” and it is really the truth. Books smell good whether they are old or new but the oldest smell the best always! 
  4. Old notations - If you are anything like me then you can't afford to be buying new books all of the time so when you are in need of more reading materials the first stop is a charity shop. They are always full of classics for a pound each which is great but they often come with another additional perk, old notes in the margins. A year ago I bought a copy of the Scarlet Letter in a charity shop and was a little lost when I started reading it, the extravagant and old fashioned language was hard to get your head round certainly. Thankfully some kind stranger before me had made a number of notes in the margins which cleared things up significantly for me as well as opening up some interpretations that I hadn't considered before. 
  5. Expanding your vocabulary - No one who claims to read classics can possibly say that doing so hasn't expanded their vocabulary. When you're reading a book that was published 50-200+ years ago you are bound to come across words that you haven't seen before and, who knows, mayhap you will decide to implement them in your daily life. 
  6. History - In every classical book there is a small history lesson if you care to look for it. All novels, at least somewhat reflect their time and through this you can get an idea of what it was like to live then. There's a reason Austen's novels revolve around status and marriage while Hardy's reflect scandals and religion, those were the topics which were prominent at the time. Even the most unconventional novels like Frankenstein and Dracula reflect their societies with the former focusing on the conflict between science and religion and the latter looking at the role of women in the Victorian era. 
  7. Deeper meanings - Now, I am in no way suggesting that that modern books don't have deeper meanings that you can infer from them. Take Atwood's Handmaid's Tale for example, or Plath's The Bell Jar. But it has to be admitted that there is a lot less to infer than there used to be and for English Literature enthusiasts like me that's just no fun at all! I'm sure that lot's of you just want to read a book for its story rather than deeper meanings but I really think the latter makes things more interesting. 
  8. Origins - By the time many of us get round to reading many books that spurred popular culture such as Dracula we will have already read numerous other vampire books therefore the subject may have been made tedious. However, it is important to get to the roots of popular culture and, if you are anything like me, you may find you like them even more. The vampires of Dracula are evil, cruel and powerful - exactly how vampires should be and the total opposite to the vampires of today's fiction. 
  9. THE SCANDAL - They may not seem it at first glance but classics always have an element of scandal within them. Lot's of those scandals no longer are shocking to us as readers such as unwed maidens running away with men, men running away with men or people deviating from religion but I guarantee many could still shock us. The classics are full of incest, rape, necrophilia, monsters, and murders. No one can say that list isn't shocking, lot's of those subjects aren't even dealt with today so the idea of it being talked about back then is even more surprising. 
  10. You can gloat about what you've read - Everyone knows that the main reason lots of people read classics, or pretend to have read them, is so that they can tell people they have read them. There isn't anything much more impressive than someone telling you they got through the entirety of War and Peace and even have their own views on it. Classics can also be a means of bonding with people, it is rare when two people have read the same one, with the exception of a few really popular ones, so friendship is bound to be made from that similarity.
Have I convinced any of you yet? Tell me in the comments whether you agree/disagree with me or mayhaps you have something extra to add. Let me know!

Review: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Monday, 30 March 2015

Series: Standalone
Genre: Classic
Release Date: 1951
Source: Owned
Overall Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Cover Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Synopsis: Holden Caulfield is a seventeen- year-old dropout who has just been kicked out of his fourth school. Navigating his way through the challenges of growing up, Holden dissects the 'phony' aspects of society, and the 'phonies' themselves: the headmaster whose affability depends on the wealth of the parents, his roommate who scores with girls using sickly-sweet affection. Written with the clarity of a boy leaving childhood behind, The Catcher in the Rye explores the world with disarming frankness and a warm, affecting charisma which has made this novel a universally loved classic of twentieth-century literature.

First Line: "If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth."

If you've been following my blog for a while now then you'll already know that I love classics. Like really really love them. If posed with the decision to take one book to a desert island with me then it would always be a classic. But Emily, you all wonder, if you love classics so much then why is there hardly any reviews of them on Confessions of a Bookaholic? That is a good question and the answer is simple, reviewing a classic is one of the hardest things a book blogger ever has to do. Give me one to analyse and I can do it easily but ask me to review it and I get a bit stuck. That's not because I don't have an opinion on it, no not at all, it's because I know anyone who reads my review will have their own opinion of it whether they've read it or not and opinions on classics are almost impossible to contend with. For example, if anyone told me that Charles Dickens was a wonderful writer who didn't at all blather on unnecessarily I simply could not believe them because, despite not having read more than a half of one of his books, I already have my mind made up on that subject as most people do concerning other classics.

But, being the dedicated reviewer and classics lover I am I feel I must at least try to review the great classic that is The Catcher in the Rye. This is one of those books that everyone has an opinion on mostly because the majority studied it in high school and therefore understandably hated it. I, however, have never studied this book in my life meaning I was more open to liking it. And like it I did. I feel like this novel is an allegory of sorts for the 'phony' nature of the world which is as true today as it was sixty odd years ago when it was originally published. We live in a world in which people lie, cheat, and change themselves for their own gain. This is normal in our world, we probably don't even notice it that much. This is where we differ from Holden, he cannot cope with the phonies around him and provides the reader with a narration of his phony society. Some of the 'phonies' he points out seem perfectly fine to us as readers but are later unveiled to be just as bad as he originally made them out to be thus showing Holden to be a more reliable judge of people than we are and perhaps causing us to reexamine our own judgement in our real lives outside of the pages.

To discuss the characters in The Catcher in the Rye is something no reviewer should bother with because we never get to know the characters. The novel revolves entirely around Holden documenting the progression of his emotional breakdown, we don't have time to consider other characters in a novel so dedicated to the thoughts of one character. Through Holden we see whether people are 'phonies' or not and that is about as far as we get. The reader's thoughts become so intertwined with Holden's own that we are not left wanting to get to know other characters because, in Holden's world, they don't matter and we are in Holden's world. We become emotionally invested in his stresses and worries throughout, his questions cause us to question also.

"By any chance, do you happen to know where they go, the ducks, when it gets all frozen over?"

Anyone who has even heard of this novel knows about the existence of this question. It plagues Holden throughout the novel, where do the ducks go? Surely the answer is simple, they migrate or stay put and huddle together like many animals do. So why is Holden obsessed with this question? That answer is just as simple, he identifies with those ducks, he has been kicked out of numerous schools and has no proper family dynamic to speak of. Like the ducks, Holden is left cold. He wants to know how they get through it because he can't. He doesn't know that he can escape, like the ducks, and he doesn't have the social support needed to "huddle" for warmth so to speak. Holden is like a lone duck left out on the ice with no escape in sight and he realises that.

I have read so many reviews in which people describe hating this book due to the "annoying" narrator but I pose a question to those people, do you remember being a teenager? Teenagers are curious, awkward and are constantly developing. They are emotional, hormonal and confused. Holden represents teenagers, he is an exaggerated view of adolescence but that is what he is. I personally do not find Holden annoying, I find him intriguing. When reading I could not help but picture him as an alien who has landed on Earth and is baffled by our customs, and rightly so if you really think about it. Holden's sensitive mental state means that the little things that we overlook such as 'phonies' are massive deals to him.

“I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It's awful. If I'm on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I'm going, I'm liable to say I'm going to the opera. It's terrible.”

Irony is often cited as a massive feature of The Catcher in the Rye but I must disagree. Holden is indeed a terrific liar and many state that to make him a phony however I personally believe that is just his way of coping with his phony world. The narrative voice we see in the novel is honest, emotional and somewhat controversial. That is not a personality that would fit into a world like he believes he lives in therefore Holden conforms in his own way. I don't believe he means to but he does. We readers know Holden to be intelligent, sensitive and kind to those he loves but the other characters see him as a sarcastic liar. Where most characters conceal their real worse selves in order to be liked, it is almost as if Holden does the opposite to push people away. He is clearly a confused young boy who very much needs to find out who he is and how he fits into this world.

"I think that one of these days," he said, "you're going to have to find out where you want to go. And then you've got to start going there. But immediately. You can't afford to lose a minute. Not you."

Holden has a special quality in him to see humankind's evils, his inability to cope with what he sees gives the reader an idea of how awful the world really is even if we can't see it ourselves. I know that sounds really depressing but it really isn't because once we know of our problems then we can stop making those same mistakes. Holden is depicted by Salinger and the savior of mankind there to save the younger generations from making the same mistakes we have. I personally think that is how Salinger intended the novel to be read, as a warning to stop perpetuating the phoniness of the world and fill it with raw honesty as Holden symbolises. He is a honest youth who has been corrupted to the ways of phoniness and wants to stop that from happening to others.

“Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.”

Holden Caulfield is the Catcher in the Rye.

I know there are probably many people who disagree with my interpretation so let me know in the comments!


Sunday, 29 March 2015

I know I have been focusing on helping out the lesser known authors a lot recently but don't worry, I haven't forgotten you lesser known bloggers! I was looking around the interweb for advice on how to raise my own follower count and realised that if I want support then I have to support my fellow bloggers too. So I plan to do a post on the top ten book bloggers to watch in order to help those who are maybe struggling a bit with breaking out in the blogging world.

So my question is, do you know of/write a blog that you believe deserves to be featured on my list? If you believe that is true then tell me in the comments and I will consider you for my list. There is only one catch and it will benefit both of us. If you submit your blog for consideration then you need my blog to be popular in order for yours to gain popularity therefore if you share a few of my posts that you like then the likelihood of your follower count increasing... increases.

Sound fair? I hope so because this scheme should be quite effective if so.

Depending on the popularity of this I may consider starting book blogger spotlights like I do author ones, tell me in the comments also if you think that would be a good idea.

Let us benefit each other now - start sharing my posts and letting me know what book blog you think should be considered and why! If your blog is not selected I will be sure to send out a tweet about it anyway.


Sunday Spotlight: Gina Dickerson, author of the Mortiswood Tales

Sunday Spotlight is a weekly scheme I am running to bring publicity to lesser known authors who, in the book blogging community, it is important to support. If you are an author and you wish to be considered for it please email me at emily.confessionsofa
bookaholic@gmail.com with 'Author Spotlight' in the subject line.

Today's author joining us at Confessions of a Bookaholic is Gina Dickerson, author of the Mortiswood Tales. She has kindly agreed to a guest post and a generous giveaway, look for both below!


Gina Dickerson lives by the Thanet coast on the north-eastern tip of Kent, in the UK, with her family and playful Siberian husky. She is a full-time author and writes romantic suspense with a twist, horror, and fantasy because her characters refuse to play nice and wind up with more than a few bone-rattling skeletons in their closets.

She is the author of the magical fairy tale, The Penning Christmas Curse published by Limitless Publishing, the murderous romantic suspense novel Unveiling Christmas, the twisted short story collection, Underleaf, as well as the fantasy, adventurous romance series, Mortiswood Tales. She has also written fashion and shopping columns for a local newspaper. Her latest release is the second book in the Mortiswood Tales series.

The latest Mortiswood Tales Book:

With the promise of power comes the threat of the ultimate sacrifice...

Losing those she loves and learning she’s The Chosen One catapulted Kaelia’s life into the fast lane. Having battled Dybbuk demons, discovered an unexpected ally in the form of a Vallesm, and ventured through Niflheim, her adventure is far from over.

Determined to fulfil her destiny as the one who will destroy The Salloki, Kaelia still has many obstacles to overcome. As secrets rise to the surface and Kaelia’s powers continue to evolve, she is not the only one fighting a battle...

Can Calix find a Rosealrium bloom in time to stop Cadence’s transformation? What exactly is the truth behind Bran’s connection to the goddess Hel? And will Kaelia finally uncover what happened to her mother?

One thing is certain, Kaelia is not the only one who is evolving...

Where it all began:

The story began in the first book of the Mortiswood Tales series, Mortiswood: Kaelia Awakening

A little about the inspiration behind the Mortiswood Tales series:

Margate Harbour and Stone Pier 
I wanted the Mortiswood Tales books to have their roots in my hometown even though the series is fantasy. So, the setting is part in Thanet, part set in a magical wood (Mortiswood!), as well as crossovers into realms of Norse myth. Here is one of the real life places which feature in Mortiswood:

The Stone Pier is a significant feature in the Mortiswood Tales series. It was originally built between 1810 - 1815, and parts have had to be rebuilt over the years due to storm damage, and bomb damage in WWII. The coloured doors are home to a variety of cafes, artists’ workspaces, and even an art gallery. It overlooks the vibrant Old Town, Turner Contemporary art gallery, and the main Margate sands and I just adore this seascape.

As for the creatures within Mortiswood I have to admit that the Vallesm was heavily influenced by my pet pooch. He’s a Siberian husky and having him around made it easy to visualise how the Vallesm would move. Here’s a snap of him enjoying a walk.

* * *

It's certainly always interesting to hear more about the inspiration behind novels, especially when they include such scenic settings and adorable four legged friends!
Gina has also kindly agreed to give away two sets of the first two Mortiswood Tales books in either Kindle ready or epub format. That means two of you lovely people can win the first two books in Gina's fantasy romance series. Enter below to be in with a chance!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saying Goodbye to Warsaw by Michael Cargill

Friday, 27 March 2015

Series: Standalone
Genre: Historical Fiction 
Release Date: September 7th 2013
Source: E-book received in exchange for an honest review
Overall Rating: 4/5 Stars
Cover Rating: 4/5 Stars
Synopsis: Like any girl who is loved by her family, Abigail Nussbaum loves to chase butterflies, enjoys lying on her back looking for shapes in the clouds, and happily teaches young children to make daisy chains. In the eyes of certain people, however, Abigail has committed a heinous crime. The year is 1940; the place is Poland; Abigail happens to be Jewish. Along with half a million other Jews, Abigail and her family are evicted from their home and forced to live in the bombed out ruins of Warsaw, the Polish capital. Although a handful decide to fight back, is the uprising strong enough to save Abigail’s spirit?
First Line: "When Abigail wriggled her toes, the tops of her shoes rippled as if a small rabbit were burrowing around inside them."

When I started Saying Goodbye to Warsaw I did not know what to expect. I had not read a wartime historical fiction in a long time so I was slightly worried that my review wouldn't do the book justice due to my lack of ability to compare it to others in the genre. However, as I read I found this problem nullified given that there is no need to compare a book when it is excellent in its own right. A problem that I always find with novels narrated by children are that they are much too simplistic, understandably so of course but it is still off putting. Abigail's narration did not have this problem; it was intelligent and complex while still very dreamy and childlike. The mix of these attributes was a risky one but it really paid off. Another problem of novels in which the protagonist is a child is that it usually results in much less concentration on other characters. Again, Cargill flawlessly avoided this through his choice of narration style. Not only do we see multiple perspectives within the story but we are able to connect with them just as easily as we do with Abigail. In fact, my favourite character, Borys, was one of the most minor but still so well developed that I couldn't help loving him. Not one of the characters is exaggerated or idealised, we can easily relate to the fear Chana's fear for her children's safety as well as Leo's anger at the Germans for forcing the Jews into the ghetto. It is impossible to read Saying Goodbye to Warsaw without identifying completely with the characters responses to their situation, not to mention counting yourself lucky not to have experienced such horrors if you are anything like me.

The plot of Saying Goodbye to Warsaw begins quite slowly but the undertone of the horrific war going on in the background plus the readers own knowledge of the persecution of the Jews means that the tension builds throughout even if the events are relatively calm. This clever plot device means that the eventual explosive climax is all the more shocking and effective in contrast to the calmer beginning. Speaking of the ending, it is not often that I am surprised by finales but this one caught me off guard. I cannot tell you any more about it but be prepared to be emotional. However, the comment on the emotional nature is not only reserved for the endings. The extreme tragedy of the story line is emphasised throughout. I promise you that if you pick up this book there will be times when you must fight the urge to internally scream in frustration, not to mention despair.

One element of the book I didn't enjoy is how unrealistic Abigail's character temporarily became. It was only brief, near the end of the book, and therefore excusable, but I did find myself forgetting how old she really was due to her seemingly innate skill at adult activities such as first aid and shooting. One scene in the novel had her learning to accurately shoot a gun in just three attempts, I am no expert on that kind of thing but I doubt most adults could do that, let alone ten year old girls. But, as said earlier, this flaw is only minor in an otherwise interesting and gripping story.

I would recommend Saying Goodbye to Warsaw to those who love historical fiction just as much as those who aren't such big fans for one simple reason, it doesn't read like your usual historical fiction. You don't need to remember vast amounts of historical detail in order to understand the plot like with many; this book could easily be read with minimal knowledge of the situation in Poland for Jews therefore no one should be discouraged. Saying Goodbye to Warsaw has a tense and gripping plot and realistic characters with whom you can easily empathise with and for this reason it gets 4/5 Stars from me. I certainly look forward to reading more of Michael’s work.

Best Quote: "There we are,' he said, shooting her a quick wink. ’You look so much prettier than your brother when you blush."

Sunday Spotlight: Lindsay Detwiler Author of Voice of Innocence

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Sunday Spotlight is a weekly scheme I am running to bring publicity to lesser known authors who, in the book blogging community, it is important to support. If you are an author and you wish to be considered for it please email me at emily.confessionsofa
bookaholic@gmail.com with 'Author Spotlight' in the subject line.

The first author I would like to introduce to my new Sunday Spotlight scheme is Lindsay Detwiler, author of the 2015 new release, Voice of Innocence, a sweet romance with a sharp edge which has already received a five star review on Goodreads despite it's very recent publishing!
She has kindly agreed to both an author interview so that we can learn more about both her and Voice of Innocence, and a giveaway of two copies of her book. How exciting!

First, here is some more about it:

We’ve all heard the saying: you never forget your first love. For some, however, perhaps the better terminology is haunted---haunted with the memories, the connections, and the life-changing relationship. So begins the tale of Emma Ranstein and Corbin Jones, two typical teenagers who travel the road of first love together, hearts sealed by a seemingly impenetrable bond. When Corbin Jones is convicted of murder and faces years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, though, their love is put to the test. As Emma and Corbin await his release from prison decades later, both reflect on the power of a relationship neither has gotten over. Their unique story speaks to a universal heartstring within all of us: how do we move on past a first love if we aren’t meant to do so? More importantly, it reminds us that there is hope if the heart leads the way.

Doesn't it sound interesting? I thought so which is why I simply had to ask Lindsay some more about it in our interview below, check it out!

Hi Lindsay!
The first question I must ask is the most obvious however I’m curious. Voice of Innocence is a very unique title; tell us what made you choose it!
I know this is a terrible answer, but it literally just came to me. I had always been intrigued by the concept of the wrongfully convicted, but I often found myself thinking about their loved ones.  What would it be like to be a girlfriend or wife of an innocent man convicted of a crime?  One day, I was thinking about this when the title just popped into my head, and the characters unfolded from there.  I started thinking about this girl who was madly in love with a guy who was wrongfully convicted.  She would have to be his voice of innocence, the voice trying to proclaim the truth in a sea of doubters. The rest of the story just started flowing from there.
I have drafted another novel and starting outlining several others, and I find that the title always comes to me first.  I get a general idea about the book’s topic, the title comes to mind, and I start writing from there. 

What author would you say has influenced your writing most?
I have always been a huge Nicholas Sparks fan.  I know that critics deem his work as predictable, but I like to think of it as dependable.  I know when I pick up one of his novels that I am going to get a beautiful love story, realistic characters, and some wonderful, poetic writing.  He writes about characters who are easy to relate to, no matter what your age or experiences.  I think that speaks to his talent as a writer.

I read on your Goodreads profile that you are a high school teacher. What is the writing advice you would give to your students if asked?
My biggest piece of advice is to write with heart and emotion.  When I’m introducing a creative writing unit in my classroom, I always start with the question: What is the most important thing about writing?  I usually get answers such as grammar, topic sentences, adjectives, or vocabulary.  The truly perceptive student is able to answer correctly: emotion.  No matter what you’re writing, whether it be a poem, story, novel, or a formal essay, the writer’s goal is to evoke emotion. 
I often see websites and books encouraging prospective novelists to do research before they write.  They tell you to research marketable ideas, groups who are most likely to read your book, and ways to build momentum by focusing on popular events and ideas.  This may work for some writers.  For me, though, I never anticipated Voice of Innocence would be published.  I didn’t worry about marketability or writing for a key demographic.  I simply wrote because I felt like I had to tell the story.  Even if no one ever read my book, I felt an emotional attachment to telling Emma and Corbin’s tale.  I think that the best writing comes from a place like this, a place of vulnerable emotion and passion for your writing.

Also on your profile (I’m not stalking you I swear) you say that you did an accounting then later did an English degree. What prompted such a drastic change?
I always wanted to teach, but job prospects in the field were slim to none in my hometown, which is where I knew I wanted to live.  It was in my final semester of accounting, though, that it finally hit me; I wasn’t pursuing my true passion, and if I didn’t act soon, I may never get a chance to set things right. I had minored in English and found that I enjoyed my English classes more than my business classes. Plus, I had always loved reading and writing as a child. Thus, I stayed in college to earn a second degree in English/Secondary Education.  It was the best decision I ever made.  I ended up getting a job in my hometown, and it is a job I absolutely love.  I get to talk about literature and writing everyday; I couldn’t ask for anything better than that!

You describe your novel as a sweet romance however its subject matter seems quite serious – how do you maintain that balance between sweet and serious?
I try to write with a sense of realism, and to me, life is always about opposites.  Even the sweetest love story has serious, tragic moments, and vice versa.  Part of the balance in my novel comes from the fact that it is told from various perspectives.  My novel tells the story from Corbin and Emma’s individual perspectives as adults.  However, it also uses flashbacks to their teenage years, a time of sweet innocence untainted by the harsh realities of their difficult circumstances.  Even though Emma and Corbin face bleak circumstances, there is still a sweetness to their story because of the power of their love in their younger days.

Difficult question but who is your favourite character in Voice of Innocence and why?
I would have to say Corbin just because I admire his strength.  He endures a lot of difficult situations, yet he is able to maintain a sensitivity to others.  He also has a sense of humor, which I admire in a guy.
As far as minor characters go, I am also a bit partial to Corbin’s dog, Henry, since he is based on my own mastiff . . .and I am admittedly obsessed with him.

Have you got any other books planned? If so do you plan to stray into other genres or are you sticking to romance?
I do have another novel drafted.  It is in the same genre, but it is a bit more lighthearted in tone.  It will also explore the intricacies of love, but this time from the perspectives of both an unhappily married woman and a single woman looking for love.  I’m very excited about this second novel and hope to finish it this summer.
I have also outlined a sequel to Voice of Innocence and plan to start writing it this summer as well.

The cover of your book is gorgeous – how did that come about?
I have Angela Archer to thank for my beautiful cover.  She was assigned to design my cover by my publisher, Melange Books, LLC.  I completed a questionnaire about my book and my characters, and she came up with the design.  I feel like she did a great job at capturing Emma and Corbin’s relationship with this cover.

What are the best and worst things about being a writer?
The best thing is knowing that something you created in your imagination is impacting other people.  I love when my readers tell me that they became attached to Emma and Corbin.  It amazes me that people I created in my mind are impacting others.  That is my favorite thing about writing in general and why I love teaching English—it’s amazing that a person can create a world for a reader by putting the right words together on a page.
The worst thing is just making time to write.  I work as a full-time teacher and am taking graduate courses to earn my master’s.  It’s really difficult to find time to work on my latest stories with everything else going on.  There’s also the battle that when you do have time to write, you might not always be inspired at that particular moment. 

Finally, I read that you have a cat named Arya. I feel I must ask what we’re all wondering – was that name inspired by the Game of Thrones character?

Yes!  We adopted her at the same time my husband and I became interested in the Game of Thrones series.  We had just started watching season one after my husband’s friend recommended it.  My husband suggested naming her Arya because he liked the name and the show.  Ironically, though, she is nothing like Arya from the series; while Arya from the series is bold and sassy, our Arya is timid and submissive. 

Doesn't she sound lovely? Well obviously she is considering the two copies of her books I have to giveaway below! You can't win unless you enter so GO GO GO!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have any questions for me or Lindsay, be they about her book or even her cats, leave them below and if she doesn't see them I will pass them on or check out her Goodreads profile.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Friday, 13 March 2015

Series: Standalone
Genre: Mystery
Release Date: January 1st 2012
Source: Borrowed
Overall Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
Cover Rating: 2/5 Stars
Synopsis: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media--as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents--the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter--but is he really a killer? 
First Line: "When I think of my wife, I always think of her head."

If you remember my previous reviews, and I don't blame you if you don't, you will know that I am always one to test the hype surrounding popular books. Well you cannot think about hyped books without thinking of Gone Girl which is perhaps one of the most talked about books from the last few years, with the exception of Fifty Shades but let's not go into that. The plot of the novel really interested me, I mean who isn't interested by the idea of a woman who goes missing without a single trace? Well yes, a lot of people actually but I believe that's only because the whereabouts of the women is always so obvious, whether she was killed, kidnapped or ran away, you can almost always tell within a few chapters. This is where Gone Girl is unique though, you actually cannot guess. If you are anything like me then your hypotheses will constantly change the further on you get. The structure of the novel very much aids this, the chapters alternate between Nick's point of view in the present and Amy's point of view in the form of past diary entries. This structure very much interested me as it gave the reader an opportunity to meet and learn to like Amy despite the fact she is not around as well as giving subtle hints about what could have happened to her.

One thing I must fault this book for is the character development - there is almost none. Nick is a boring and somewhat crudely designed character who I personally could not make myself like. I felt the same of the many characters surrounding him: his sister, friends, Amy's mother. They were all very one dimensional, it is as if they exist only to aid the plot rather than to be likable. The only exception to this rule is Amy herself, she was a clever and well designed character who I really enjoyed reading about. It is almost as if Flynn focused all her attention on Amy and the rest of the characters were after thoughts. Despite this, Amy still was not relatable, perhaps she wasn't meant to be, and this prevents the reader from identifying with her therefore we cannot like her as much as we should be able to.

Before reading this novel I simply could not escape talk about it and it's huge twist. I'd heard so much about the shocking plot twist that I spent every few chapters wondering whether what I had just read was the twist. Worry not though, it is unlikely you would have that same problem as me because it turns out the twist was actually quite obvious however, was it shocking? That is for you all to decide for yourselves but personally I don't believe it was for one main reason - it came too late. If I could express only one criticism of this novel it would be that it draaaaags, a lot. It is hard not to feel that cutting out a third of the book would have done no significant damage. Despite this, this could easily be called the book that puts mystery into mysterious, for the first half at least. I have never read a book like it in which I actually had no idea how it would end which is a huge plus for it, however, as I said earlier, I did guess the plot eventually so it is clearly not perfect.

I gave Gone Girl 2.5 stars due to the tense and mysterious plot that kept me guessing almost until all was unveiled two thirds of the way through. I do not believe the book lived up to the massive hype surrounding it, however, because it lacked convincing and likable characters and, for me, that is a vital aspect of a good book. I would recommend this novel to those who prize plot over character development rather than vice versa like me.

Best Quote: “There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.”

Confessions of a Bookaholic is now on Facebook!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Hey guys! To make it easier for you all to keep up with my posts and updates I created a Facebook page for Confessions of a Bookaholic! Please go check it out and support my relaunch further here.

Wow it's been a year and a half!

Hey guys! If there are any of you left around here...
I know I've been neglecting you for over a year and I couldn't be more sorry but when other life events take over what can you do? Life is slightly less hectic right now so I am RELAUNCHING!
However, there are going to be a few small changes. Firstly, it is probable that there will be less Young Adult book reviews and more classics reviews/essays but there is a good reason for this. My English Literature course requires lots and lots of outside reading and sadly the Young Adult genre doesn't qualify. Shocking I know!! So to keep active I will be posting some of the essays I do as well as a couple of reviews on the books I'm required to read. This way I'm making required reading much more fun! I'm not abandoning my YA fans, there will still be plenty for you!
I really hope you can all forgive me for abandoning you for so long!
And authors out there, now I have more time I'm accepting review requests again if you still want me.
Email me: emily.confessionsofabookaholic@gmail.com
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