Tag Archives: Little White Lies

Book Review of “Surrender” by Aimee Lane

I wrote the header for this post, and then I sat and stared at it for a while. I’m not even sure how to review this book. Let’s try to start with the basics.

Were there any explosions? Yes, there was, but you’d miss it is you blinked. I had to re-read the section to make sure what happened…. But there was an explosion, so she earns an extra cookie for her efforts.

What POV was it in? Second person. That was fine… but it switched back and forth between the character of Lily and Cael. For half of the book, this worked wonderfully. The other half, it didn’t work for me. I’ll explain later.

Okay… let’s get into the good stuff

Oreo Top

Aimee Laine has a sharp writing style. She is crisp, concise, and not overbearing on her settings. I prefer a novel that moves, and for the most part, Surrender does keep flowing.

The last 40% or so (yeah, I read on a Kindle) flew by. Great plot, great pace, and lots of heart pumping excitement. I really enjoyed it and had trouble putting it down.

Oreo Middle

Head Hopping:

Okay… so… here is my problem. I completely understand why she skipped between points of view in the end of the novel. I worked beautifully.

However, it didn’t work so well for me in the beginning. I think I could have gone through almost all of the beginning entirely in Lily’s POV and not missed out on much.

I think the author tried to keep it consistent, and made sure we saw Cael’s POV in the beginning so it was not jarring at the end. For me, it backfired, because I found I wanted to stay with Lily.

Too many characters.

There were just too many characters in Surrender. Half the time I was lost and had no idea who was who. Now, in saying this, there was a “book one” that I did not read. This may be part of my confusion. But my mind wanted to focus on Cael and Lily and the family that Lily went to live with. But Cael was always involved with long conversations with other people that just seemed to go on forever (from my perspective) because I wanted to get back to Lily.

Aimee Laine did her job, in that I cared about Lily… but I just didn’t care about all the rest of them… even if they were trying to save Lily.

Long conversations.

I touched on this a second ago. I feel like there were too many extended conversations. Honestly, I started to skim from time to time, thinking: “Let’s get back to Lily.”

Was this two short stories that became a novel?

At about 40% in to the novel, I was dreading writing this review. For the reasons above, I was really not liking it. It felt like it was winding down, and it pretty much did, with one loose end. But there was still 60% of the novel to go.

Huh

Oreo Bottom

All of the sudden, when the characters grabbed onto that little loose end, my interest became peaked. Suddenly, I was drawn in. I cared. I stayed up late reading. I hid from my kids trying to get a few extra pages in. We had company, and I was bored, so I scooted upstairs and got a chapter in and slipped back before anyone wondered about me. I was interested. I was hooked. It came together.

I did have a slight cringe when three or so new characters were introduced into the ensemble, but the pacing kept me going. Right up until the very last page you find yourself on a roller-coaster ride of awesomeness.

When I finished, I closed my Kindle and said “Wow, that was great.”

But here lies my quandary… I feel like I have read one three-cookie “okay” book, and one four cookie “really great” book. So how the heck do you tie that all together?

I’m just not sure. I wish that the author had found a way get past the first half of the book faster. There just seemed to be too much fat there, when all the beefy good stuff was at the end.

Would I recommend Surrender?

Yeah, I think so. Especially if you read Little White Lies. The beginning might make more sense if you have read the first novel in the series.

But if you find the beginning a little “tame”, don’t hate me… just get to about the 40% point and enjoy the ride. The second half of the novel really moves, and it is an enjoyable, tense read right up until the last few pages.

I’m still eating chocolate — So how about a free copy of the novel “Surrender”? Guest Post by Author Aimee Laine

***If you are looking for Write a Story with Me please check back tomorrow.***

I win!  While Jennifer is out gorging herself on chocolate, I’m here to talk about writing a second book. Not a first second, but a second second.
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If you’re going ‘huh?’, then I shall explain.
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One can write many, many, many first books. First of a series. First of a trilogy. First of a set of books in some set of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, etc. These are still all ‘firsts’, no matter how many you’ve written.
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But if you take even one of those ‘firsts’ and then add in the 2nd, that’s where things get different.
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First off, you have to know if it’s a series 2nd or a sequel. One is very different than the other. In a series, you might change main charaters, the first book’s plot was fully resolved and/or a new conflict arises, and all books may be standalones. In a sequel set (like a trilogy or epic), the story continues, the plot has not been fully resolved and if you didn’t read the first book you will very likely be lost.
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Secondly, no matter which you are writing, you have to decide how much it matters if the readers have read book 1 to understand book 2. In a standalone series, it might be useful to have read book 1, but not necessary. There are often hints toward a first book, but not the outright retelling or recapping of the plot.
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Now, let’s say you’re writing in a series, where every book builds, this is even trickier because if someone is keeping up, adding in the backstory takes away their need to read book 1. But … you don’t want to whole heartedly confuse them (in case you can make them love book two enough to want to buy book 1) so you have to add little drips and drabs for clarity but not too much.
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What’s the balance?
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That depends a little on the writer, a little on the editor and a little on the reader.
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Are you willing to anger readers by forcing them to read book 1? You could. Not all will get mad. Some will go, ‘uh, but oops … I started in book 2, guess I need to read book one’. Others will turn away from the series altogether.
The reality is, you’ll never satisfy all readers, so, it comes back to what YOU as the writer wants to say. Some books literally have no book 1 backstory. Some are full of it to the point that by book 3 or 4 or 5 the reader is bored to tears with the same repeated description of characters already well known.
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So writing a book two is even more subjective than first books! Crazy, huh?
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I will say, though, that the key to clarity is having someone read book 2 who has not read book 1. Then, right there, they can tell you where they needed a little more backstory and you can determine how best to fill in the blanks and to what level.
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Writing a book 2 is far harder because of this logistical aspect, but as a writer of 3 book 2s, now (two standalone series, Surrender which JUST released this month, Silent Echoes which releases in March, 2013 and 1 trilogy book 2 – Day After, the second in the 19th Year by Emi Gayle) I find it even more fun because I get continue on with characters I’ve already fallen in love with, get to experience more of their life and get to enjoy them all over again.

So all that being said, I have a book 2 giveaway for you, and you can decide if I’ve managed to confuse or entice you to read book 1.
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Just answer this in the comments of Jennifer’s blog, today or tomorrow, and we’ll randomly choose one person for an ebook of Surrender as well as a signed bookmark!
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The question: “What else do you think has to go into a 2nd book to make someone want to read book 1?”
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I look forward to reading your responses!
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Visit Aimee’s blog:  http://www.aimeelaine.com/blog/