Sometimes I find a book that is just magical. I start reading and immediately I am hooked. The problem becomes that I start reading fast – like really fast. I am dying to know what happens next, where is the ‘big problem’, what will the solution be and will I like it? There is nothing worse than a book that is great for the first two-thirds and then falls apart at the end. I am a very fast reader, which is how I got my history degree while partying like a madwoman at university. But when I find a book I adore, I just can’t stop reading.
Then when it’s over there comes the inevitable let down. It’s over. What now? I loved the journey the author took me on and after inhaling every word, emotion and nuance, I usually feel a loss. That to me is how I know it’s a five star book. That deep sense of loss that the story is over and I am longing for more. Have you ever experienced that? Likely you have, since it’s the reason we read. Kind of like a junkie, but with books as the drug, we search and search for the perfect story. Will it have the trifecta of emotion, great plot and solid writing? The thrill of picking up a new story with the high expectations and hope that this book will be ‘it’. It’s like an addiction.
I love it when books surprise me. When I am reading a story by an author I have never experienced before, or an established author whose work was getting a little tired, I am so excited when I get that hit. A recent example of this was A Stolen Season by Tamara Gill. I had never heard of this author but I saw her book on Netgalley and thought it seemed interesting, but all book blurbs seem interesting – I mean that’s what sells the book so it had better be! I had no expectations for this book, but right away I knew I was reading something special. It was a compelling story that had me focused entirely on reading.
Sometimes you fall in love with an author’s style and you faithfully follow them for years. Pre-ordering all their books and waiting anxiously for months for the next one to arrive. It totally sucks when it feels like the author is just phoning it home. It’s a disappointment and in some respects a betrayal of the reader. I can’t even fathom how hard it is to write a story, but if it isn’t your best, then keep working on it rather than cashing in on the good will of fans. Not every book is going to be a winner, but as a reader, you want your author and team to be on their A game. I’m not going to label any author here; as I really respect the profession and to be honest, there is NO author out there that I read that hasn’t had a few disappointments in their stable.
One author that is consistent is Monica McCarty. Some will disagree and that’s totally cool, but to me, she consistently produces excellent stories that never disappoint me. I may not love all the characters or certain plot elements, but the writing is always solid. The story arc is consistent so you know the journey you will be on. The three series she has put out, Highland Guard, The Campbell Trilogy and The MacLeods of Skye Trilogy have all left me enraptured. Were there some books that were better than others? Sure, but each reader brings their own emotions and feelings when reading a book. So what works for me, may not work for you and vice versa.
So once I have found a ‘keeper’, what next? I sort of wallow in that love for the book that I am feeling. Recently I read Hero by Samantha Young. I fell hard. Like really hard. I had read On Dublin Street when it first came out and there was major hype about the book, but hadn’t consistently followed her career. This book was seriously intoxicating to me. I searched the internet for all the reviews on this book that I could find because I wanted to know if others loved it as much as I did. I had to tone down my love for this book because I found myself hijacking other bloggers comment feeds recommending this book – something I have never done before or since. So after I finished this book, I actually felt a little heart sore. Like how you feel when your spouse goes away on a trip. I wanted to revel in the memories and the sassy, witty dialogue. The thought of starting another book and having it wash away the feelings and emotions I felt from Hero felt like a betrayal. I think I re-read the book like five more times before I was able to even look at another book.
This happened again after I watched the Outlander series. I downloaded the book as I couldn’t find my paperback copy and read with passion and zeal. I wanted to read the story to fall in love with Jamie and Claire as I had just seen them on the screen. Plus, I wasn’t ready to let the story go and my husband was starting to get creeped out by how many times I was re-watching the show.
My mother never re-reads books and I can’t understand that. Maybe she is just not reading great books as her book club always picks weird stories that are depressing. I couldn’t imagine not finding books that made me so happy that I wanted to re-read them over and over and over again. It’s like being with a great friend that you know will make you happy, leave you satisfied and feeling content after your time together. What books have you read over and over?