This is Tempting Tuesday . . . what AM I reading?
Like CJ, I'm judging the Thrillers (and the RITAs). I have two criteria when I judge a book. First, did I lose myself in the story? Second, did I not want to put it down and, if I had to, was I thinking about it while doing other things?
All the things CJ mentioned yesterday are important, such as character and plot. They go into making a book "a good read." I have my own pet peeves. Stereotypical villains, for example. Too-Stupid-To-Live females. Men who are TOO alpha or TOO beta. Contrived meetings between the hero/heroine.
But when I lose myself in a story--when the characters are so well-drawn, so real and the writing flows so smoothly--I can overlook a lot of "flaws." Because really, are a few awkward POV shifts or a too-perfect ending that big of a deal when you close the book and think, "That was good. I'm glad I read that."
I ALWAYS finished a book I began until I started seriously writing. Between my writing schedule and my kids I didn't have time to waste. I hate thinking that way, but a book that doesn't grab me is a waste of time. I HATE putting a book down unfinished. I'm the type of reader that when I start a book, I usually finish it that night. If I'm going to invest 4-5 hours--my entire evening and some of my sleep time--I need to be lost in the story.
Authors who always pull me in include JD Robb, Tess Gerritsen, Kay Hooper, Linda Howard, Lisa Gardner, Karin Slaughter and Michael Connelly. These are established authors, and for good reason--they all know how to tell a story. They know how to draw me in so deep that I don't notice the passage of time, and all of the sudden it's two in the morning and I'm wide-eyed as I'm reading the last chapter. I want to find out what happens, but I don't want the book to end.
I can't talk about all the books this happened with because I'm still in the judging process, but the last book that I haven't judged where this happened was THE LINCOLN LAWYER by Michael Connelly. I started it on the plane ride from Atlanta (RWA) last summer, and that night after everyone was in bed, when I was exhausted from travel and the time change, I stayed up to finish the dang book because I couldn't get the characters out of my head. I HAD to know what happened or I'd never sleep.
This also happened with a book I was asked to blurb. I started it at nine one evening, planning on reading about a third of it. All of the sudden, it's one in the morning and I'm frantically flipping pages of the ARC, dying to know what was going to happen next, completely lost in the characters and the story, laughing out loud and giggling. That was BOBBIE FAYE'S VERY (VERY, VERY, VERY) BAD DAY, the debut novel by Toni McGee Causey that's coming out in May. (Aside: yes, I'm very jealous. This is her DEBUT book and it's so damn good!)
What was the last book you read where time stopped and you couldn't put it down until the last page was turned?
P.S. Now for something completely different . . . blatant self-promo. Today the first book of my new trilogy is released. It's already out pretty much everywhere--I saw it at my grocery store yesterday and at Target. People have emailed me that they've bought it over the weekend at Walmart and Borders. So it's out there! SPEAK NO EVIL is a romantic suspense that touches on current events: online safety. In my story, a college girl is found brutally murdered and dumped on the beach, her much older ex-boyfriend the primary suspect. As detective Carina Kincaid and Sheriff Nick Thomas dig deeper into the victim's life, they learn she has an online sex diary that isn't as anonymous as she thought.