Girl of Nightmares & Auracle: Vastly Different Paranormal Experiences

Rating:

Recommended? Yes. For all the reasons I recommend reading Anna Dressed In Blood. But the ending of this book… oh, it’s brilliant. It’s amazing. This book will haunt you for days after you’re done reading.

Just like Anna Dressed In Blood, I loved this book. It’s another remarkable book, that’s well worth the read. The ending of this book was amazing. It was perfect and so sad at the same time. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this entire book. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, wondering what was going to happen and which characters were going to end up dead. Again, I either loved the characters or hated them — there really wasn’t any half-feelings. Though I was conflicted a few times on how to feel about Jestine and Carmel from time to time.

I really like Thesus Cassio Lodwood. I can’t think of a main character I’ve enjoyed more than him at the moment. He is easy to relate to, even though I doubt many of us go out hunting ghosts at night — or love a ghost girl, either.

The writing was pretty great, too. The way Blake can just slip in the most disturbing imagery as if it is no big deal was impressive. She really has a talent for description, too, I could picture everything in my head clearly from her words. I just… was in awe of this book once I was done with it (which took all of one day because I couldn’t put it down).

I wonder if there will be another… I really want there to be, because I enjoyed the story so much, but end felt like closure, like it’s officially The End for Cas’s story. Either way, I’m going to read Blake’s next book (whatever it is). I’m a fan. The ending of this book still haunts me. I think about it all the time. It’s just so… right for this book. Everything is so right in this book. I loved it.

AURACLE by Gina Rosati

Rating:

Recommended? Sure. It’s worth reading, somethings bothered me in this book but if you are looking for something mildly funny and light but filled with drama then this would be a good book for you.

This book didn’t really get a fair shot from me, I’ll admit. I had just finished reading Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake and I was still thinking about it when I was reading this book. So I didn’t really allow myself to be fully immersed in the story. It’s an interesting one. The concept is the main character, Anna, can astral project and during a mishap another girl gets into her body and starts to control it, leaving her stuck without a body. With the help of her best friend, Rei, she starts her journey to get her body back. I really liked Rei but Anna… I mean, I liked her, but I couldn’t really relate with her. She was so good and pure and oddly spiritual (in a new agey type of way, not traditional) that I just couldn’t buy it.

A lot of this book taps into new agey things. And the balance between the power of negativity and positivity. I’m not into that type of thing at all. Give me a horror story any day, but don’t make me think about new agey spirituality. That aside, it was an interesting read. I liked Rei, I liked Seth, and I liked Anna well enough. But… there were things in this that bothered me a lot.

I don’t like excessive exclamation marks, particularly in narration — even if it is first person POV. This was done multiple times. As was CAPITALIZING WORDS TO MAKE A POINT, which I dislike. I just feel like it’s a cheap way out of good dialogue. You should be able to show the emphasis of these words WITHOUT DOING THIS. I know JK Rowling did it, but still, I’d rather not deal with that.

Rosati did a great job of packing a lot of tension and drama into the book, though. And I’m sure a lot of parts would have been very amusing for people that have a better sense of humor than me (I have a dry one, more Parks & Rec than SNL). The way she explains the other dimension Anna is in is very real and sometimes even beautiful. She has a great talent to explain the unexplainable. I will most certainly read whatever her next book is, so I’m not saying she’s a bad writer. She just does things that I would never.

Plus, the solution to the problem is pretty obvious — at least it was to me. And Anna really brought most of her problems down on herself because she was either stubborn or just… stupid for not thinking of the obvious answer. But, like I said, I really like Rei and his family. I’m glad I read this book, and I’m glad I bought it, but when I just read a book I loved as much as Girl of Nightmares, I guess I was expecting something else. Or something more.

Writing Dialogue

I’d say my biggest pet-peeve, and what will turn me off to a book the quickest, is if the dialogue isn’t right. I never really gave dialogue much thought until my freshmen year in college. I was taking Fiction Writing, and it opened my eyes up to what was good writing and what was just… writing. I never understood the difference between show v. tell until then (well, at least I had a grasp of it).

And I never actually understood what made good dialogue until then, either. I still vividly remember my professor, a man passionate about creative writing, go off on a tangent about how dialogue in novels had to be like a conversation you’d have with your friend and yet not at the same time.

How he hated “uh”s. And now, I hate them, too. If I see multiple “uh/um” in the book (outside the bedroom or getting violently harmed) then I’ll close it and walk away. I know that seems extreme, but they drive me crazy. And if there’s “uh”s then that means there’s a lot of other things wrong with the dialogue, too.

I tell this to anyone I’m doing critiques for but I don’t think I’ve ever said it as clearly as what I found looking through the tumblr accounts I follow.

Fictionfiction.tumblr.com wrote this:

A lot of people assume dialogue is easy to write because ‘It’s just a conversation! I have those all the time.’

But real conversations are, for the most part, really boring:

  • Lots of verbal tics (uh, um, like, well, I mean)
  • Lack of conflict (How was your day? Great, yours? Pretty good!)
  • Cliches and repetitive phrasing

Writing dialogue that too closely mirrors real conversation will give you lots of repetition on the page. You don’t want that. Repetition is bad. It’s boring. It sucks. It’s totally lame.

All that said, here are a few essential reads re: writing dialogue that is great and awesome.

See what I mean? Clear, concise, and helpful all at once. If you click on the link above, fictionfiction gives some links of her own on help for writing dialogue.

I hate uh, um, like, well, and I mean. Some of them can be used appropriately (well, I mean, and like) but they must be used sparingly. The other two hold no purpose whatsoever in dialogue. I also hate repetition–inside of dialogue or outside of it. If that repetition of words and/or phrases is for an obvious literary purpose then I’m fine with them. I like it when it services a purpose.

But when it doesn’t other than the fact that if a real person, really talking, would keep repeating “um” or “well” or “I mean/I know/I don’t know” then I’ll be hitting my head against the table.

I don’t care if that sounds ridiculous to some. We’re all allowed our pet-peeves and bad dialogue is mine.