Two Attempts at Book Reviews

There will be more pictures soon of all the goodies I have been knitting – I have been far more productive than normal here recently. I need to take pictures and update my Etsy store, but all I really want to do is knit….and read.

I am horrible at book reviews. Second only to reading books I love to discuss them, which typically means I am giving away the ending, spoiling it for readers everywhere. I have been pondering how to go about this weakness, how I can give you a glimpse of what enthralled me with the book without ruining the story? So, friends and neighbors, here it goes.

** Double Feature by Owen King **

You may enjoy this book if the following scenarios tickle your curiosity.10001

  • Seeing a movie where a male satyr having sex with a tree.
  • A pyromaniac ruining your life one match at a time.
  • A father that is way worse than your own (or at least I hope).
  • A sister who maces people at random.
  •  The quirks of actors and swords.
  • Anything involving fake noses or Orson Welles.
  • A complicated family life that is both sweet, annoying, heartbreaking and hysterical.
  • Fears of being crushed to death by a very large man’s thighs.
  • My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Okay, hopefully I still have your attention and haven’t ruined anything for you yet. Let’s try another shall we?

** The Execution of Noa P. Singleton **

Here I am going to lay out what I really liked about the book.

The Execution of Noa P. Singleton

The Execution of Noa P. Singleton

  • The writing, while a bit stunted and jumbled, still propelled me to continue on. Lackluster writing usually puts me off a novel, but it was easier to overlook because I wanted to see what would happen next.
  • At some point in the novel I wanted to 1) smack 2) hug 3) cry for and 4) condemn each and every character.
  • The plot development is slow, but in a really delicious manner. There is no rush, which (for me) was how I imagine sitting on death row would be like. Why rush to the end when you know it’s coming?
  • While I didn’t particularly “like” any of the characters I was still emotionally invested in them. Again, this is something rare for me.
  • While the last few chapters were both equally surprising and slightly odd – I didn’t mind it. It seemed to fit with what the author was trying to get around – in a very roundabout way.
  • My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

***********  ***********  ***********  ***********

So there it is. I have been reading more and more blogs that review books since the Read-a-Thon only to find myself envious of their ability to give a complete and compelling summary without disrupting the elusiveness of the story. I am tying to figure out how to approach review books for this blog – or even if I should be reviewing books on my blog. I love reading more than I love knitting – it has seniority in my life.

So friends and neighbors – honestly – what do you think? Any constructive criticism (or out right criticism) would be great. I want to share my love of reading the way I share my knitting and photography. What could be better? Did you like one style more than another? Should I abandon all hope and stick to knitting? Bring it on – I’m ready! 😉

28 thoughts on “Two Attempts at Book Reviews

  1. gpcox

    You started this blog because of your passion for knitting. If your passion for books is stronger – why wouldn’t it work? Just try not reviewing the same books as other bloggers; there are a lot of books published each day and who knows how many published over past years. Do what YOU enjoy and it will shine thru in your posts.

    1. allnightknits Post author

      That is a remarkably kind thing to say. I do love to read, but I bet I’ve read a dozen reviews of the two books I’ve tried to review.

      I guess I will just see how it goes – there are other ways to incorporate my passion for reading than I post solely for book reviews.

  2. greatbigdragon

    You can do it Rachel! All you do is tell what the story is about. You stop when you mention the main conflict. LIke with Star Wars, you could say it’s about this kid who leaves his home on a desert planet to train as a Jedi knight and rescue a princess from the clutches of the evil Darth Vader. You don’t have to mention anything else, like destroying the Death Star, whether or not he saves the princess, the death of Obi-Wan Kenobi. . . not even Han and Chewie, because you’re just sketching out the setup.

    Of course, I’m not super-reviewer myself, but I’m trying to nail down my own method so my movie reviews can sound a little more polished.

    1. allnightknits Post author

      I like your concept – I’ve never seen Star Wars but I get where you’re coming from. Maybe we could practice through email? I can always play guinea pig!

  3. greatbigdragon

    Oh and I’ll respectfully disagree with gpcox, in that you can totally review a book regardless of whether everyone is posting a review of the same book, because remember your blog is about your readers as well as yourself. Assume that your readers might be interested in the book if they haven’t read it, and you have enough reason right there. Plus you’ll be building up your chops for reviewing those books that have far fewer reviewers, and then you just might stand out for excellence.

      1. greatbigdragon

        No, if you worry about polish you won’t post anything, am I right? You just have to work on getting the synopsis part right. People will forgive you for all else if you’re not giving away the big stuff
        No spoilers!

  4. sourdoughkaty

    Your description of the second book makes me think the cover is a bit of a joke. The writing style is poor but you feel compelled to continue reading? And the front says “The execution of a novel” if you look at the red as a “correction.” Lol. Does that sound right to you?

    1. allnightknits Post author

      A bit. I am a little harsh on the author I suppose – it was her debut novel. The writing isn’t poor, Twilight is poor writing, it just didn’t come together as cleanly as one would hope.
      The thing is that I really enjoyed reading the novel – I wanted to know what happened. I guess if the author can overcome the flaws in execution (pun intended) but still get a story across that keeps you going for over 300 pages that is a success.
      I like how you look at the cover though – perhaps the author is particularly self-depricating. 😉

  5. salpal1

    chiming in late, but… I like how you reviewed these books, and I like reading what people are reading, because it gives me clues about what is out there. Otherwise I read the same authors all the time and get cranky when they have nothing new. You gave enough info abotu the story to make it intriguing. I would nto owrry if anyone else reviewed the same books – I don;t read their blogs, I read yours. 🙂

      1. salpal1

        I am sure you will! And when I finish the book I am working on, I’ll post something about it – my book group ladies come up with some I never would think to read. 🙂

  6. Pat(ricia)

    This is your blog, right? Do what you want with it. Seriously.

    I think if you write exclusively about one subject, it gets boring. Yes… even if it was ONLY about knitting. Gasp! did she really say this? ;0

    Yes. If yours was strictly a “technical blog about whatever” then it would be different. This space is about you … your interests, passions, quirks, questions, life etc. Books are a passion, then blog about them. As for how “best” to write a review … there is no one “perfect way.” Once again, this isn’t the NYTimes Review is it?

    Your space. Your place. Your way. Review what interests or disinterests you. Write from the heart and mind and you’ll find what works for you. Besides, not every book review falls into a “formula.” As for what’s already being reviewed …. who cares? It doesn’t matter how many others may be reviewing the same thing …. everyone has their own spin, and your uniqueness is what counts.

    Enjoy and have fun with it. 🙂

    1. allnightknits Post author

      You are right – it’s mine! I get so wrapped up in worrying about stats/followers that I lose what’s important.
      Well – I’m done with that! 🙂


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