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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Recommends and mini-reviews: novels, blogs, and books on craft

The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

  • Brilliant and well-researched, this novel leads readers through an 18-year-old’s intense psychological journey to better understand love and forgiveness. Victoria Jones, an orphan, has been emancipated from the system and is forced to learn to live on her own in the streets until she meets Renata, a local flower shop owner. Victoria takes the job she’s offered and ends up colliding with her past through the people she meets while working. It was excellent!!
  • I’d give it either a 4.5 or a 5 out of 5 stars.
  • I recommend this book for writers because Diffenbaugh’s prose is delicate, sensuous, and invigorating; her dialogue is poignant and descriptive (showing instead of telling); and her pacing heightens suspense without being obnoxious (which is significant coming from me because normally this would seriously annoy me). Lot’s to learn from this author—and *BONUS* The Language of Flowers is her debut novel! Very encouraging.
  • A blog for writers and speakers loaded with information and insight about pretty much everything from craft to platform and beyond. I loves it ^_^.
Books on Craft
Manuscript Makeover, by Elizabeth Lyon
  • For those that aren’t aware, Lyon is also the author of The Sell Your Novel Tool Kit, which the writing community has been raving over for a long while. I’ve never read anything negative about the Kit…and it’s definitely on my buy list, along with yet another book of Lyon’s: A Writer’s Guide to Fiction.
  • I’d give Manuscript Makeover 5 stars. Incredibly helpful in the editing stages…but also quite useful for the process of writing. Her style is  humorous and upbeat, and she doesn’t skimp on the truth you need to hear. Couldn’t ask for more.

The Artful Nuance: A Refined Guide to Imperfectly Understood Words in the English Language, by Rod L. Evans
  • This is basically a dictionary focused on connotation, and I can testify to its worth. If you can find it for a good price (5-10), you should snag it.
  • It’s a handy book that you can refer to when you aren’t 100% sure you’ve found the perfect word…or even when you aren’t sure what a word really means. For example, brandy isn’t cognac unless it was made in France; sarcastic and sardonic are distinct from one get the gist.
  • I’d give this one 4 out of 5 (doesn’t have tons of words, a few entries don’t clarify well enough).

2013 Writer’s Market, (edited by) Robert Lee Brewer
  • If you want to get published, having this book will be of great assistance. It has sample query letters, insight on using media to your advantage as a writer, and a slew of trusted agents, publishers, and magazines to submit to. Plus, it encourages you to use your brain and do your own research in addition to theirs! ;)
  • There's also a deluxe edition...but I haven't read or bought it. The original was a gift. Does make me curious if it's a lot better, though...I'll look into it and see what I can find out :)
  • I’d give this book 4.5 stars.

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