One of the things I love about going to our RWNZ conferences is the books we get in our complementary conference bags. Because you don’t get to choose which books you get, it’s a lucky dip, and the perfect opportunity to try a book by an author you’ve never read before.
This year I was lucky enough to score a copy of Maria Snyder’s Storm Glass, which I’d been meaning to read for a while now — not that I’ve had the opportunity to read it yet (as you can plainly see from this month’s reading list) because daughter got to it first! More fool me for unpacking in front of her, I guess. LOL.
I was also rapt to receive a copy of Jane Porter’s Easy On The Eyes.
Jane was one of our guest speakers and she just blew me away with her honesty and her willingness to share on both a personal and professional level. She wasn’t the only conference speaker who caused me to shed a tear, BTW–we were blessed with Christopher Vogler as a keynote speaker and he was fabulous in an entirely different way, and a couple of the personal stories he shared had me reaching for the tissues, too.
Anyway, back to Jane. I soooo wanted to love Jane’s book as much as I loved listening to her speak. I wanted to really really love this book, not just like it, because she was just such an amazing, gracious, giving lady and I wanted her book to reflect those qualities. And I almost didn’t want to read this book because I knew that my expectations were high–maybe too high. And I knew that it was kinda unfair to expect so very much from a book, just because I’d heard the author speak and was so very impressed by her and what she shared with us.
But yanno what? I shouldn’t have worried. Because Easy On The Eyes was a real emotional gut-wrencher of a read and I loved it!
It’s different from many contemporaries in that it’s written in 1st person present tense. Many YAs use this point of view, I guess because it conveys to the reader an incredible sense of immediacy, of experiencing everything as the character does–truly going through everything, and discovering everything, and learning along with them, if you like. At least, it does that if its done well. Otherwise it’s just a gimmick–and often an irritating one.
No gimmicky writing techniques here, not with this book. Even though the character of Tiana is so vastly different from me that it’s like comparing an old Ford Escort (me) to a sleek, glamorous little racy sports car (Tiana), I connected with her. I cried with her. I was her until the final word on the very last page.
Here’s a sample of the sense of ‘being Tiana’ that I’m trying to get across:
And suddenly I’m crying again.
I rest my elbows on the railing and cover my face and cry hot salty silent tears into my hands. I loved Keith. I loved him as much as I could love anyone and it didn’t keep him alive. I loved him with all my heart and soul and it wasn’t enough. I gave him all of me and it couldn’t protect him. How the hell are we supposed to love when it doesn’t last? How are we to love when life is so capricious that love can be taken away at any time?
This is the grief I can’t bear anyone to see. This is the pain that shadows me when I’m alone, yet here Michael is, witness to it all.
He closes the distance between us and wraps his arms around me and holds me as I cry. He says nothing, and a little voice inside me insists I push him away, but I can’t. I’ve been lonely and too full of grief for far too long. Besides, he’s warm and solid and he keeps me from toppling down, which is something.
The tears finally stop and I step carefully out of his arms and away from him even as I wipe my eyes dry. “Sorry about that.”
“You loved him,” he says.
My eyes sting, my throat aches, my voice is hoarse. “More than anything.”
Conclusion? Well, duh! Another must-read author to add to my list. Not to mention a bunch of Jane’s back-list books to ferret out and add to my already overloaded bookshelves. And, after reading a sample of her latest release, She’s Gone Country, I need need NEED to buy it! Now, darnit. I’m smiling at the prospect, though. It’s always a thrill to find another really amazing author.
Check out Jane’s website, with lists of her books and where you can source them.
And, note to self: nag DH into buying me another bookshelf before the book piles on my desk grow tall enough to hide me from view!
- The Thin Executioner by Darren Shan
- The Fallen by Thomas E. Sniegoski
- Leviathon by Thomas E. Sniegoski
- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith
- Death Note 1 by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata
- Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
- Blue Moon by Laurell K. Hamilton
- Obsidian Butterfly by Laurell K. Hamilton
- Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
- Narcissus In Chains by Laurell K. Hamilton
- The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
- Top-Notch Doc, Outback Bride by Melanie Milburne
- The Forbidden Game: The Hunter by L.J. Smith
- The Forbidden Game: The Chase by L.J. Smith
- The Forbidden Game: The Kill by L.J. Smith
- The Forest Of Hands And Teeth by Carrie Ryan
- Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand by Carrie Vaughn
- Easy on the Eyes by Jane Porter
- Fang: A Maximum Ride Novel by James Patterson
- Confesssions of a Little Black Gown by Julia Quinn
- Her Secret Rival by Abby Gaines
- A Man Worth Loving by Kimberley Van Meter
- Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs
- Burned by P.C.Cast & Kristin Cast
- Meridian by Amber Kizer