When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi has been one of my most anticipated 2017 read and it’s a sweet, feel-good, happy book. Although predictable and sporting a few small hiccups, I enjoyed the story.

His lines were confident and sure, the emerging picture comical and twisted and breathtakingly mesmerizing all at the same time.

 

What I liked:

The sweet, quirky characters, the brother bond, and the setting.

The easy friendship that Dimple and Rishi fell effortlessly into, skipping most of the drama that usually goes into insta-love stories.

Getting a glimpse into Hinduism and the traditional aspects, especially as the characters are so proud of their heritage.

This wasn’t just an arranged marriage to Rishi; this was the rich fabric of history, stretched through time and space.

 

What I didn’t like:

The insta-love.

The story is not unique and very similar to Nothing But The Truth (and a few white lies) by Justina Chen Headley.

You’ve made me braver. It’s like you have this paintbrush, dipped in brilliant mauves and teals and golds…3 star

 

 

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi  When Dimple Met Rishi

Author: Sandhya Menon

Publication Date: 30 May 2017

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Source: Review copy

 

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Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways  — Abstract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received a free advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Disclaimer: The quotes appear in my advanced review copy and may not appear in the final version.

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Wait for Me by Caroline Leech

Wait for Me by Caroline Leech

Wait for me, set in Scotland during the last year before the end of WWII, is a sweet, easy-to-read story in a beautiful setting. I love books set during WWII and are automatically attracted to them so I was thrilled when I received a review copy from Jonathan Ball Publishers.

The wail of the air-raid siren in the village rose above the shrieking engine.

While I enjoyed the book, the story had some very typical cliché moments which made it predictable and although the content is not, the writing style is quite juvenile which I found frustrating.

“But they’re Germans,” she said. “The enemy! You can’t be bringing enemy soldiers onto our farm, Dad. No!”

My biggest bugbear of the book was the…

Spoiler Alert

I didn’t like the way rape was handled in the book which implies that it is something to ashamed of and to keep quiet about.

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3 star

 

 

Title: Wait for Me 

Author: Caroline Leech

Publication Date: 31 January 2017Wait for Me

Publisher: HarperTeen

Source: Review copy

 

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It’s 1945, and Lorna Anderson’s life on her father’s farm in Scotland consists of endless chores and rationing, knitting Red Cross scarves, and praying for an Allied victory. So when Paul Vogel, a German prisoner of war, is assigned as the new farmhand, Lorna is appalled. How can she possibly work alongside the enemy when her own brothers are risking their lives for their country?

But as Lorna reluctantly spends time with Paul, she feels herself changing. The more she learns about him—from his time in the war to his life back home in Germany—the more she sees the boy behind the soldier. Soon Lorna is battling her own warring heart. Loving Paul could mean losing her family and the life she’s always known. With tensions rising all around them, Lorna must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice before the end of the war determines their fate.  Abstract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received a free review copy of this book from  Jonathan Ball Publishers does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

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Hushed by Joanne Macgregor

Hushed

Hushed by Joanne Macgregor

“Hush!” she hisses at me so loudly that the bearded dragon flinches and starts bobbing his head in agitation.

Hushed, a contemporary romantic retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, is a feel-good, light-hearted, fun read.

“Are you saying there were sharks in that water?”

Set in South Africa’s beautiful Western Cape, the story includes a vital environmental message which packs a punch without being preachy.The few South African words scattered throughout the story adds to its authenticity and don’t worry there is a helpful glossary for those who have yet to experience our unique blend of colloquialisms.

The sky surrenders its last blush, the clouds smudge charcoal against the deepening wash of indigo…

While the characters are post-school, I think Hush reads more like YA (Young Adult).

The trick in life, I think, is to figure out what you truly want and then go all out to get it.

I had a little trouble with…

Spoiler Alert!!

I had a little trouble marrying the Romy in the beginning where she goes a bit overboard on fangirling to her rather more practical and down-to-earth character for the rest of the story.

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“No. She told me to keep my mouth shut and my eyes open.”

and I thought…

Spoiler Alert!!

I thought it rather sad that Romy had little connection with her best friend while she was in a relationship.

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…”And thank you for saving me. I enjoyed it enormously. Except for the screaming in the cemetery…”

An overall beautifully unique retelling. The perfect summer reading for those in the Northern Hemisphere. And to us down south – A #ProudlySouthAfrican celebration of one of our most talented authors and an irresistible corner of our country. Don’t miss this book.
4 Star

 

Title: Hushed 

Author: Joanne Macgregor 

Publication Date: 26 March 2017

Publisher: Joanne Macgregor 

Source: Review copy

 

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18-year-old Romy Morgan desperately longs to escape the boring future her parents have planned for her, and explore the world.

When she saves her celebrity crush, superstar Logan Rush, from drowning, Romy is offered a job as his personal assistant. She strikes a deal to reinvent herself in exchange for entering the exciting world of the movies, and love sparks between her and this prince of Hollywood. But Romy soon discovers that she has traded her voice and identity for an illusion of freedom.

When she discovers a dreadful secret with the power to destroy Logan, Romy must choose between love, revenge and finding her own, true element. — Abstract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received a review copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

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Illogical Book Covers

Illogical Book Covers

Book covers are the most important aspect when it comes to choosing which books to add to my TBR (To Be Read list/pile/sea). The graphics, font and title are the first impression books rely on, their only voice calling “pick me!” But covers can be misleading and these are covers that had me totally confused.

 

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Illogical Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

A narcissistic girl who has a fun, free life frolicking in fields trying to catch birds.

What it’s actually about

An inspirational, unexpected but ultimately doomed romance.
My review

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The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Illogical Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

Hikers discover a putrescent body in an abandoned cottage.

What it’s actually about

An eclectic group of people whose lives interconnect in a small Alaskan village.

My review

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Live Through This by Mindi Scott 

Illogical Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

A girl who grew tired waiting for her blind date who was supposed to bring the picnic basket for a night picnic under the stars.

What it’s actually about

Sexual abuse with a heart-wrenching twist.

My Review

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Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Illogical Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

A dancer who is in an abusive relationship.

What it’s actually about

A thriller about two girls who go missing and when one returns she has no recollection of what happened.

My review

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The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Illogical Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

A town that will never forget a tragic accident which occurred while ice skating on the frozen lake.

What it’s actually about

A girl whose father has PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) after returning from Iraq war and its effect on their family.

My review

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Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

Illogical Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

Some kind of pyromania, perhaps pretty girls burnt at the stake after being forced to write suicide notes to their families.

What it’s actually about

it’s a mystery thriller with toxic friendships, secrets and conspiracy.

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Book Depository   Loot.co.za

 

 

Nora & Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

Illogical Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

Tea parties and family picnics

What it’s actually about

Historical fiction set during the aftermath of WWII featuring domestic abuse and xenophobia.

My review

Goodreads   Amazon.com    Amazon.co.uk    Audible   Book Depository   Loot.co.za

 

 

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Illogical Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

Friendship and the dynamics between three best friends.

What it’s actually about

An American socialite, a courier for the Polish resistance movement and a German doctor are flung together during WWII.

My review

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Audible   Book Depository  Loot.co.za

 

 

The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi

Illogical Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

Hearts impaled by nails…? Someone in the construction industry who assumes a different identity – possibly in witness protection.

What it’s actually about

A girl forced into a strict, religious re-education camp to stamp out her homosexuality.

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Book Depository  Loot.co.za

 

 

Puck by Kim Askew & Amy Helmes

Illogical Book CoversWhat I thought it was going to be about

A girl, nicknamed Puck because of her aspiration to be a world cup ice hockey champion, looks to heaven for guidance from her dead father/best friend.

What it’s actually about

A contemporary retelling of Midsummer’s Night Dream about a rebellious girl in foster care is sent to a rehabilitation wilderness camp.

My review

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Book Depository   Loot.co.za

 

Did any of these covers mislead you? Do you judge books by their covers?

Top Ten Tuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

Noteworthy

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

It’s the cover and/or author that is my overwhelming deciding factor when I add books to my TBR. Choosing by cover love is really unfair and it often means I miss out on some really good books. But Noteworthy is a happy exception! I don’t know the author and the cover is a bit bland and musical for my tastes. I am also not musical in any way (totally tone deaf) and seldom read fiction where music plays a significant role. So why I took a chance on requesting a review copy I don’t remember, but I am glad I did.

As I stood there in that derelict husk of a theater, I felt like I’d gotten lost in between my lives, and the road ahead looked long and strange and poorly lit.

Sounding like a light heart-hearted musicy book I expected to fly through the pages, write a quick review and then forget all about the story. I was so wrong. This book surprised me by creeping right into my heart.

The world, I thought. The whole world, gathered up in my arms.

The characters so far removed from the paper doll characters I despise. Real, genuine characters flaws and all. Actually, I think their flaws made me like them even more. Diversity is the current buzz word and all for the right reasons, but sometimes books are written around the diverse characters and don’t allow them space to be who they are. Noteworthy is not one of these books. With some unpredictable surprises, the characters revealed themselves in their own time. Naturally and beautifully.

All I understood about sexuality was it’s uncertainty, discovering your way through yourself day by day, stepping tentatively, hitting on some term that seemed to fit and hoping it stuck.

The story is centered very much on music, but this didn’t distract from the story and I don’t think I missed out on not really understanding or appreciating the terminology… well I suppose I will ever know if it would have made a difference: but it’s already got a 5/5 rating from me.

It was impossible to feel alone in a room full of favorite books. I had the sense that they knew me personally, that they’d read me cover to cover as I’d read them.5 Star

 

 

Title: NoteworthyNoteworthy

Author:  Riley Redgate 

Publication Date: 2 May 2017

Publisher: Amulet Books

Source: Review copy

 

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It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.

Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.   — Abstract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received a free advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Disclaimer: The quotes appear in my advanced review copy and may not appear in the final version.

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Why I’ll Never Choose That Book: The Science of Book Appeal

Why I am never going to choose that coverWhy I’ll Never Choose That Book

Why I’ll Never Choose That Book: The Science of Book Appeal. Continuing from Why I’d Choose that Book last week These are the random things that totally put me off reading a book (without a HUGE recommendation from trusted bookworms)…

I am never going to willingly pick up these books:

Ugly Covers

Cover art is a fickle thing and, shallow though it may be, it means everything when I choose which books I read. As these are difficult to put into words I’ve included image examples.

Why I'll Never Choose That Book

Previous posts on cover love or the lack thereof:

The Complexity of Book Covers

When Bad Covers Happen to Good Books

Book Covers I’d Frame as Pieces of Art

A controversial new cover for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Apocalypse/Dystopia

I have read these before and even like some of them, but I feel that is genre needs an originality injection. The stories tend to run almost to a script and although I have no idea how authors could come up with a new way of saving the world, but until then I will be avoiding these stories.

Horror

I love psychological thrillers, but horror is just not for me anymore. I once adored this genre, with Pet Sematary by Stephen King a favourite, but they no longer appeal.

Zombies & Pirates

I just don’t get it.

Steampunk

Tried it – hated it.

Manga

No interest at all even though *hangs head I have never even tried it.

Short Stories

Short stories are not bad and I have read and loved them before, especially those with unpredictable twists such as Roald Dahl and Jeffrey Archer are famous for. But I prefer to get my teeth into a bigger slice of story.

Autobiographies

A huge mistake any author can make when telling their own story is to embellish and deny. I have read far too many sanctimonious versions to attempt another.

Hardcovers

I rarely purchase hardcovers, not only are they expensive but awkward to hold. The most recent hardcover that I refuse to buy is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. There is only one reason why it’s expensive and only available in hardcover and that’s to shamelessly exploit Harry Potter fans.

Author Self-Rating/Review

This is such a turn-off, but many authors are desperate enough to give their books a 5-star rating on Goodreads. One author actually wrote “Well, you didn’t think I would rate my own book badly did you?” under his 5 beaming stars. I wouldn’t read his book if he paid me!

Top Ten Tuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

 Strange the Dreamer

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

…the dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around.

Strange the Dreamer is… well strange and I can’t decide if it’s a good strange or a bad strange. It’s not what I expected… and I am not completely dazzled.

“The library knows its own mind,” old Master Hyrrokkin told him, leading him back up the secret stairs. “When it steals a boy, we let it keep him.”

But then, my expectations were exceptionally high. I am in love with the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. Every single book in the trilogy is brilliant. A bubbling, melting pot of irresistible words spinning heartbreakingly beautiful tales. So strange (the good amazing strange) that the weird, endearing characters fit right inside my heart. The heartbreaking twists still keep me awake in the early hours. I think it’s safe to say the Daughter of Smoke and Bone and its sequels Days of Blood and Starlight and Dreams of Gods and Monsters (links to where I flail about in wonder that is this series) are my favourite fantasy books, surpassing Narnia and Lord of The Rings. So with all that expectation, I shouldn’t be surprised that I didn’t fall instantly in love with Strange the Dreamer.

There were two mysteries, actually: one old, one new. The old one opened his mind, but it was the new one that climbed inside, turned several circles, and settled in with a grunt – like a satisfied dragon in a cozy new lair.

I started the book the day it released and my pre-order arrived in my Kindle. I devoured the prequel – a delicate tasty morsel that I would be craving for the rest of the book. I read through the first chapter thinking, it’s going to be good, it’s going to be great. Halfway through the second chapter, my thoughts turned to what…? I left it for a while – so it could think about its problems – but didn’t pick it up until a week later on Shannon’s (It Starts at Midnight) reassurance that it does get better. Armed with this advice from a trusted blogger friend I plundered on. And yes, it does get better – slowly, achingly slowly, until almost at the end when it broke through ok to good. Then the ending… I’m not even going to go there – you all know how I feel about cliff-hangers.

On the second Sabbat of the Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky.

But I can’t stop thinking about the prequel and how it fell into its place in the story and so the inevitable three star I was planning to give bumped up to 3.5 stars. But I have never given half stars before and it deserves more than a three but not quite a four…

That was the year Zosma sank to its knees and bled great bouts of men into a war about nothing.

In the end, it was the two annoying typo’s that confirmed the result. Forgivable in an advance review copy but not so much in a book published by a respectable publisher and one I paid full price for.

… with his nose that had been broken by fairy tales…

Lazlo is a difficult character, one whose weaknesses are his strength, and I didn’t like him at first. He grew on me slowly, although he will never be as real to me as the Sarai is. She and her makeshift family are the characters that give the story life and I wish they had more space in the book.3 star

 

Title: Strange the Dreamer
Series: Strange the Dreamer #1 Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Publication Date: 28 March 2017
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Source: Purchased

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The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around – and Lazlo Strange, war orphan, and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries – including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?  — Abstract from Goodreads.com

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Why I’d Choose THAT Book: The Science of Book Appeal

Why I'd choose that book

 

Why I’d Choose that Book: The science of book appeal. Actually, there is nothing scientific about it at all. It’s more like a gut-feel. Which is not always right. But I am sticking with my reasons because as weird as they might seem, they are mine.

 

Science of book appeal

Insta cover-love

I am pretty fussy when it comes to covers and it means everything in my judgment a book’s worthiness.Bonus points for originality and featuring real people – even if it’s just a hand or the top of a head.

 

Science of book appeal

The author

There are a few authors that I auto-buy. This sometimes backfires It’s foolproof.

 

Science of book appeal

Recommendations

From a very short list of trusty people- like these bloggers.

 

Goodreads Ratings

Yip, I live for those little red stars.

 

Science of book appeal

Genre

If it’s one of these I am in hot pursuit.

 

 

 

 

 

Especially psychological thrillers

Science of book appeal

 

 

 

 

 

But they have to be World War II.

 

 

 

 

 

Especially if they include these non-random themes – death (I like them dark), depression, road trips, ballet, brothers and/or sisters

 

 

 

 

 

Preferably dark magic, faerie, elves and dragons (But I am fussy with fantasies and I’ll reject any of these with an ugly cover.)

 

Science of book appeal

YA vs Adult

I choose YA over adult most of the time for reasons highlighted here.

 

Top Ten Tuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren

The Last Thing You Said

The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren

 

Told on alternating PVO’s (point of view) – which I love – The Last Thing You Said is simply a beautiful story.

Separated by their grief, Ben and Lucy share slithers of Trixie with the reader. In addition, the Trixie stories, interspersed throughout the book, bring her vividly to life. Sara Biren writes from personal experience and empowered by her words with their emotional triggers I sank into sorrow, joy, and hope. All the feels in one book!

I slip my hand into the pocket of my jeans. It’s there – Ben’s agate, smooth, cool to the touch.

I make notes while reading review copies and looking back today at The Last Thing You Said’s notes scrawled across saved screenshots I was plunged right back into the story. In my own hardly legible scrawl… I want to live in this book and have the characters as my best friends…

… I pull on my ratty army-green Rapala hoodie. An image comes to me, and I suck in a breath: Lucy wearing it, standing on the rocky shore of Lake Superior, orange streaks of sunrise glistening on the water behind her.

This is an excellent book to use for bibliotherapy as it explores grief and dealing with the death of a friend. In addition, the author has helpfully provided contacts to the National Alliance for Grieving Children at the back of this book, if only for those in the US. Open to Hope is available for international support.

She closed her eyes and willed all their sorrows and fears from their hearts to her own. Her heart was heavy and she staggered from the weight of it…5 Star

 

 

Title: The Last Thing You Said

Author: Sara BirenThe Last Thing You Said

Publication Date: 4 April 2017

Publisher: Amulet Books

Source: Review copy

 

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Last summer, Lucy’s and Ben’s lives changed in an instant. One moment, they were shyly flirting on a lake raft, finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of yearning. In the next, Trixie—Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister—was gone, her heart giving out during a routine swim. And just like that, the idyllic world they knew turned upside down, and the would-be couple drifted apart, swallowed up by their grief. Now it’s a year later in their small lake town, and as the anniversary of Trixie’s death looms, Lucy and Ben’s undeniable connection pulls them back together. They can’t change what happened the day they lost Trixie, but the summer might finally bring them closer to healing—and to each other.   — Abstract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received a free advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Disclaimer: The quotes are taken from my advanced review copy and may not appear in the final version.

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Beware! Paper Doll Characters

Paper Doll Characters

Paper Doll Characters

Characters as flimsy as paper

Paper dolls are the characters in a book so shallow they don’t seem real. They are the ones given the bare minimum of soul, just a surface skim of who they are – no individual quirkiness.

These are the characters where you’re left thinking they are as thin as paper without the rich layering *thinking of chocolate cake* that makes them come alive.

Clogging up the story

Some paper dolls do have descriptions, sometimes realms of information about their looks, what they are wearing and their day-to-day activities. But unless these are vital for the storyline it’s just useless information adding unnecessary weight and clogging up the story.

Paper doll characters are a mortal sin for books

Paper doll characters are a mortal sin for books. A sure-fire way to fail. These are the books usually either marked DNF (did not finish) or given a low rating. They are the ones that don’t stay in the mind of the reader nor on their bookshelves.

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you!

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