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book reviews in 200 words

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Instagram Writing Challenge – @cerynnmccain #cmdecemberchallenge

The Fall Guy – a book review in 200 words

The Fall Guy by James Lasdun

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When Matthew comes to stay with his wealthy cousin, Charlie, for the summer, all things appear idyllic. Matthew, Charlie, and Charlie’s wife, Chloe, laze around the pool, read, play games, and dine on amazing meals sourced from local ingredients (this seems to be very important).

Matthew tells us that he prides himself on being true to his feelings, to experiencing them and scrutinizing their origins. (This being self-aware comes from years of therapy.) So, it comes as no surprise that he’s in love with Charlie’s wife.  While “accidentally” following Chloe one day, he discovers that she’s cheating. Matthew spends much of the rest of the book following Chloe and her lover, trying to figure out what his next move is, all the while making worse and ever more horrible choices surrounding his actions.

The book definitely kept me reading.  You eventually realize that Matthew is a pretty unreliable narrator, and I wanted to find out what Matthew would ultimately do.  The backstory between the cousins is intriguing and promises many big reveals.

Unfortunately, when the big moment comes – the one big reveal is less than breathtaking. A lot less.

And, I still need to know – what happened to Matthew’s father?!?

Read it? Let me know if you agree with my review in the comments below!

Rating: 60/100

Buy The Fall Guy at Barnes & Noble

Buy The Fall Guy at Amazon

Apropos of Nothing

This post originally appeared on the site 2bestfriends.net, where I and an incredible, amazing woman blogger write letters to each other that we are too lazy to actually mail. Please visit and follow when you have a moment! Enjoy!

2bestfriends

My dearest, my beloved, my life-long friend:

So, I finally found the motivation to look at our site and write a bit of something, and what do I find but the words that you left two weeks ago that were exactly what I needed to hear on THIS day. Funny, how we work, together. I don’t know what universal force made it so that we would be in each others lives, but I thank them wholeheartedly for you every day.

I’ve always been envious of how you live in the moment; how you are yourself, no matter what; how you take on the world, on your own terms, and never compromise your beliefs.

I only ever wanted to fit in this crazy world, you never tried to.

And, so, I am struggling to figure out who I am again, still, a full three years after my life blew up…

View original post 400 more words

Un-born and Un-broken

​If I’d have known what

waited on the outside, 

I might have stayed 

un-born,

my youthful ignorance 

un-shattered,

my heart un-broken,

my world un-altered,

I’d have floated away, 

peacefully, 

until the end of me.

Everything Old Is New Again, flash fiction

I took the 16-word flash fiction writing challenge. You should try it, too!

Sweetbitter – a book review in 200 words

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

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I am torn, conflicted.

Sweetbitter is beautifully written, a book I felt inclined to mark and quote and share.

But, I hated every single character. It felt like real work to get through the novel. I felt stuck. Perhaps that is what the author intended, for the reader to feel as though they are 22 again and moving through that world of flurry and uncertainty, with everything transitory and unimportant.

“Pain is what we know. It’s our barometer of reality. We never trust pleasure.”

The main character, Tess, is a conundrum. She moves to New York by herself and lands a job at a busy, exclusive restaurant. Brave, right? Strong, yes. Yet, she cannot stick up for herself, neither protecting her soul nor her body. She is beautiful, yet has no self-confidence. Full of determination, but cares for nothing. She is solitary, but yearns for love.

“The posture of a woman who had stood in a casual spotlight in every room she’d ever been in, not for gloss or perfection, for self-possession. Everything she touched she added apostrophes to.”

Sweetbitter is an uncomfortable read about a girl so unsure of herself it is painful. But, whenever I felt inclined to stop reading there would be a sweet still moment of solitude or a small moment of victory, and I would read on, mining for those nuggets of truth hidden within the text about a girl in a tough industry, tough world.

“Get out of your head. If you don’t, you’ll always be disappointed.”

You, see! I cannot decide if I hate or love this book. Have you read it? What did you think?

Rating: 85/100

Buy Sweetbitter at Barnes & Noble

Telegram to an Ex

Thanks for timely exit STOP Ego and tyranny not missed STOP Wrong about all STOP Tougher smarter self in progress STOP Kids are fine STOP

M.E. 

Thank You, Authors!

I was reading Zachary Petit’s book The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing (which you all should read because it is full of very, very good advice AND you should get it at Barnes & Noble because that’s where I work).  In his book, Mr. Petit explains he is a big believer in the Thank You note.  If you read something you appreciate, you should send the author a note just to tell them what you enjoyed, because authors like to hear it and don’t get that praise as often as we think.  So, I tweeted Mr. Petit a little thank you for the really good advice in his book.  Just sending my gratefulness out into the Universe.

AND I got a reply!

ZacharyPetit

So, AUTHORS DO APPRECIATE US READERS!

Again, following the advice in Mr. Petit’s (fabulous) book, I put together this website, a place to point editors who would surely (oh, please!) be looking for examples of my work in the very near future.

I took a vacation from my regular job, and wrote like a maniac.  Two of the items I worked on were reviews of books that I recently really enjoyed (read the reviews here: The Ecliptic and A Little Life).  For fun, I posted them on my social media with thank yous to the authors.

Guess what?!?

Both authors replied.

BenjaminWood
You’re welcome, Benjamin Wood
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OMG, Hanya Yanagihara!

So, here is the reason for this post.  I have always found, and am still finding, writing to be a solitary endeavor full of self-doubt and a lot of what-the-hell-am-I-doing-this-for moments.  But then, you put something out into the world, and someone actually says they appreciate it.  That.  That one little note from a stranger who liked what you had to say.  Sometimes that’s all it takes to pick up the pen or get back on the computer.

If you have a favorite author or have found a new author whose work you enjoyed, send them a note (or a tweet or Instagram them) just as a reminder that we, the readers, appreciate their hard work.  Hey, author, you are not toiling away for nothing and we love your work!

And even though you’re not doing it for you’re own recognition, you never know what might happen!

So, what authors would you like to thank? Have you ever gotten a response tweet from a favorite author?  Leave me a comment!

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