Book Review – Inferno by Dan Brown

I have been a huge fan of Dan Brown since reading Digital Fortress several years ago. I so much loved the techie aspect to his book, and how much it freaked me out that all this could be possible. The Di Vinci Code skyrocketed him into the big league and then everyone wanted to read Angels and Demons – which I believe was written before TDVC. The Lost Symbol was also brilliant and while Inferno follows along the same thread, I feel somewhat let down.

Dan Brown’s books are slightly more high-brow than your average book. They require a certain degree of knowledge about history, geography, culture etc. So I found it a little patronizing that he felt obliged to spoon-feed me the emotions and tones of his characters by the exorbitant amount of “?!”s used within this text. I gave up counting after 25. Simply using italics will let me know Robert Langdon’s outrage, shock or fear. Failing that, TELL me what emotion the character is feeling. Some parts of this book seemed outrageously melodramatic and childlike, almost as though he were appealing to a younger market or worse… he’s done that thing famous writers seem prone to doing when the task of ACTUALLY writing becomes too much… COLLABORATING. (James Patterson, I am referring mostly to you!)

My second bug bear about this book was that it read a lot like a guide book. Too many Italian names that I skimmed over because I cannot be bothered trying to name every street, museum or past inhabitant of Florence. There were whole pages dedicated to the history and I am certain the book would have been half its length if those parts were cut. Image

The good points are the high octane hunts and the mystery. If you enjoyed his other books, you will probably enjoy this one. It’s classic Robert Langdon, solving a mystery with an attractive and intelligent woman brought along for the ride. (Well… the formula has worked thus far!)

I probably won’t be going out of my way to pick up his next book – unless it’s unrelated to Langdon, like Digital Fortress. I feel as though Mr Brown needs to up his game. People deserve something professional and polished, considering the money they will spend on a hardback copy of this book. I felt a little bit cheated. At least one editor at his publishing house should have slapped his knuckles for his over zealous relationship with the punctuation keys. 

Give it a read if you’re a Dan Brown fan. If you’re not expecting too much out of it, and you don’t mind being a little bit patronized, it’s a decent book to spend a couple of hours reading.

(3/5)

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Rea Thomas’s tips for writing!

ImageI was watching YouTube videos tonight – going from one vlogger to another, stunned at the insane numbers they had in terms of views and subscribers. I wondered, what makes these glamorous twenty-something girls so popular? Then it occurred to me that it was their knowledge that garnered them such popularity.

I would never have the courage to do a YouTube vlog myself, but I wondered if there was anything in the world I was knowledgeable enough to tell the world about. Then I had the ‘eureka’ moment! Writing! If there is anything in the world this twenty-something girl knows a little something about, it’s got to be writing. So I decided to give it a go. Here’s my tips!

Only write when you’re feeling inspired*:

So many people – myself included – have found themselves feeling pressured to write and guilty when they don’t. There is absolutely no point in writing if you are not ‘in the mood’. What you do write will be lackluster, and readers will pick up in it. Have you ever read a book and known the author just couldn’t be arsed? This usually happens with big-name authors who are under pressure from publishers and editors to get the newest blockbuster on the shelves. Don’t worry about Author X who can write a gazillion books a month. Everyone writes at different paces, and you must work at your own.

*Don’t use ‘uninspired’ as an excuse to be lazy:

ImageOn the same train of thought, this does not mean that you can decide not to write just because you’re feeling a little lazy – unless you want to write as a hobby, then be as lazy as you want. Should, however, you wish to write in a professional capacity, you have to treat it like any other job. This can be as simple as researching when you’re feeling uninspired, or searching for ways to promote yourself. Make notes about your characters, settings and ideas – doing this can often re-inspire you!

Write what you want:

People often start writing and then discover that their particular theme/genre isn’t ‘popular’. Don’t let anyone tell you what will or won’t make readers sit up and take notice. ‘Twilight’ author Stephanie Meyer did the research on publishing and discovered YA novels written in first person were a big no-no with publishing houses. Look at where she is now! Same with JK Rowling, who was rejected many times. No one knows what the next big-thing is going to be – if they did, it would be the current big thing – so write what you would want to read!

Kick your ego to the curb:

People are entitled to their opinion – and some will think your writing stinks. Some will be jealous of your success and will try to put you down and some will genuinely want to offer you advice on how to improve your craft. Let’s get one thing straight – you are not perfect. You will make mistakes, and getting defensive because someone points out those mistakes is not only unprofessional but undignified. Even now, I will gladly take all the advice and help I can get, because when you are passionate about something you are writing it’s very hard to be objective. Pay attention to what people are saying – you’ll be surprised how much you learn when your first response isn’t to send a rude reply. As the great Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar said: “No matter what level you reach, getting better never stops.”

Join help groups/forums;

Not only does this help you make contacts with like-minded interests, it will get your name recognized. Starting a blog can also help in doing this. Unless you are picked up by a giant in the publishing world, you will have to do a lot of your own promotions. In the vast universe of cyberspace, you run the risk of becoming just another name in a million of others. To stand out, you need to make your presence known. There are so many websites out there decided to writing – from Figment to Authonomy – post your work everywhere, and as well as having people help you with catching spelling, grammar and punctuation errors, you can also develop a readership.

Keep your writing folders organized:

This is a big one for me. Keeping a document on your laptop/computer that is specifically for your writing is a good idea. Don’t save your stories all over the place. Take the time to save all files with a proper name (not ‘Untitled1, Untitled2, Untitled3) – if you name it, it already has life, and you’ll be less inclined to ditch it.

So… that’s just some of my tips, but perhaps the most important is don’t give up – because as long as you are writing, you are getting somewhere. If you love it, that’s all that matters.

Love,

Rea x

Stolen Nights

Well, I am delighted to announce that my novel is scheduled to be released very shortly with Ellora’s Cave! You can read the official excerpt over in “Writing ‘n Stuff’ but below I have posted the official blurb as well! I had so much fun writing this. There is something about the idea of professional thieves that I find so attractive. Maybe because I like a bad guy, but not fully-fledged murderous felon? Or maybe because I don’t have diamonds and paintings worth millions…? I suppose I see it as a sort of Robin Hood kind of thing, only a bit more self-serving. Anyway, Vikram Singh – my hero – became very real in my mind, and I was able to perfectly envision him in my head when I was writing. Hopefully his bold, brash and very roguish character comes across to the reader as well!

Blurb below!

He’s fast. She’s faster.

Lisabeth Baker is the best professional thief in the business and she’s just acquired a mythical golden flute—the same golden flute her rival, Vikram Singh, desperately needs.

Life in their business is a lonely one and Lisabeth has been struggling to find a man who can satisfy her needs. Vikram is everything she could possibly want in a bed-mate and she’s willing to cut him a deal—two nights of no-strings sex in which Vikram must satisfy her every whim and desire, no questions asked. He’s the only man who has ever been able to match her wit and handle her acerbic attitude, and Lisabeth discovers that with each sexual encounter her feelings for the Indian deepen further, leaving her far outside her comfort zone.

For Vikram, Lisabeth is the most infuriating woman he has ever met, which makes it difficult to understand why he wants her. The occasional glimpses into her softer side have Vikram contemplating what a life with Lisabeth Baker would be like, and he soon realizes two nights won’t be enough.