writer

Top Reads – Age 13 to 24 – Mystery

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Now that I’ve been blogging about books and writing a review for everything I’ve ever read, curiosity brewed over how people choose to read what book at which age, especially when they are younger and getting familiar with different genres. With so many genres out there and so many places to look for books, I thought I’d put together my own list of when I would recommend choosing a certain book.

Of course, everyone has a different maturity level and might be ready to read certain books sooner than others, as well as vice versa. It’s only meant as general guidelines with a fun spirit — and not any sense of indicating someone isn’t capable of reading something sooner. Since mystery fiction is my favorite genre, I am starting here with the best age to start reading a mystery… and it was not easy… there are so many to choose from! I tried to pick classics to show different styles, but also have a few more current ones. Maybe it should be a “3 per age” with a vote in the future…

Rules

  1. Pick a genre. You can get very detailed and go into sub-genres, e.g. cozy, classic, etc. I’m starting general and may work my way down into the details.
  2. Pick an age range, roughly covering 12 years. You can add more or start with less, but I figured twelve ages seemed like a good one to start with.
  3. Pick a book for each age that you’d recommend to get someone situated with the genre.
  4. You can’t repeat an author within that age range.
  5. Explain why that author, book and age.
  6. Either show a book cover or provide a link to the book on Goodreads, or if you’ve read it and have a review, link your review.
  7. Start a discussion with everyone, e.g. is it the right age, is something missing…
  8. Tag others if you’d like, but I open it to everyone.

Age / Book / Author

  • Age 13: The Tower Treasure with the Hardy Boys by Franklin Dixon
    • The introduction should start with something where someone young is doing the investigating, as it will help build the connection between the reader and the investigators in a book. This one offers a good, clean introduction to the world of mystery.
  • Age 14: The Secret of the Old Clock with Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene
    • It’s only fair that if you have a team of boy investigators, you also need to have a girl investigator. I put the Hardy Boys first only because it was a family doing the investigating… now it’s time to branch out on your own and understand things from the opposite perspective.
  • Age 15: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
    • Once you’ve got the basics under your belt, let’s add a mystery that adds the fear without being too overwhelming. And if you’re gonna read in this genre, you need to learn all about the potential for ghosts and the after-life.
  • Age 16: Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
    • Families keep secrets. But that’s not the first thing you should learn. Once you start investigating, you need to understand what happens when you don’t even realize there is a mystery going on until far too late… plus there are a few touchy topics (incest, poison) that probably require a bit older of an audience.
  • Age 17: The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
    •  The master needs to be incorporated, as well as the true intentions of a murder. A true mystery, an introduction to the concept of a morgue and where dead bodies go for an autopsy… the stage is set for horror to grow from here, too. It’ll help you determine if you like a little bit of gothic gore or you want to stay far away from it.
  • Age 18: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
    • The Queen of the mystery is perfect right as you’re graduating from high school. When you’ve got 10 potential killers all locked on a single island with no escape, you need to learn how to deduce the killer before you are killed yourself. You survived high school but now you’ve got a world to conquer without a real sense of who to trust.
  • Age 19: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
    • Many don’t think of Henry James as a mystery writer, but he’s a classic, and often taught in first year English college courses. This one takes the leap into the psychological aspects of a family wondering if there is a ghost or if someone is just playing games. At 19, you need to be careful who you allow yourself to be around, especially when you go out on your own… time to learn some lessons here about “what you see isn’t always what you get.”
  • Age 20: The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
    • Ah, the classics. Before 20, you’re often not very interested in anything that’s nearly a century old.  This isn’t always true, but for folks just getting introduced to the genre or even reading, it likely could be accurate. Yes, many of the others on the list are fairly old, but this one is one of the earliest introductions to the <i>classic</i> private investigator of the 1930s, where the format and formulas were established and the movies were in the Golden Age of mystery. It’s great to kick back and read a classic one weekend when you don’t want to focus on your job or studies.
  • Age 21: Who’s Body? by Dorothy Sayers
    • Now that you’ve read the hardcore PI style with Hammett, take a gander at the counterpart with the British version of the classic detective. Plus you have an opportunity to to learn more about the concept of body doubles, perception and the art of throwing off red herring clues. With a focus on British government, structure and the slightly cozy direction, you’ll know if you want to stay this route or go a little more dark. Plus, once you can legally drink, this one may just push you there a little bit sooner.
  • Age 22: A Study in Scarlet with Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    • Another fine classic, possibly something you should watch even younger, but I’ve saved it for the early 20s when you’re mind is sharper, you’ve had some solid reading under your belt and it’s time to decide if you’re ready for a true series with multiple film adaptions or you’re more of a solid single stand-alone mystery. Having dual sleuths is an important introduction, too, as well as the art of the foil when you “meet” Moriarty.
  • Age 23: Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
    • The truest form of a psychological mystery at nearly 100 years old. You’ve had a few of these ghostly books under your belt by now, but this one will truly ignite a passion for how a mystery book is narrated. Do you want first or third person? Do you know who the narrator is? Is he or she reliable? You’ll determine if you want to continue down the fantasy and sci-fi mystery realm, or look towards the cozy or the thriller suspense.
  • Age 24: Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
    • And when you choose the thriller and suspense route, I can think of none better than something you can relate to… we all have a good and bad side to us, but which will win out? And though Brown’s works are more fun-reads, rather than a true-to-form traditional investigator solving crimes, it’s the introduction you need to the fast-paced, page-turning read you won’t be able to put down. And then you’re ready to head into formal “adulthood” with the next step of books that will rock your mid 20s to your mid 30s.

myster

About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare! Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think. Note: All content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Author: Spotlight on Janet Evanovich

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With over 300 book reviews transferred from Goodreads to ThisIsMyTruthNow, my personal website and blog, it’s time to add another feature. I’ve been building a new menu structure in the background over the last few weeks, each time I post a new or updated review. Beginning this week, and going forward each week, I’ll add a new post called “Author Spotlight,” where I will provide a brief overview of an author, the books I’ve read and some thought on the whole subject.

For this first week, I’ve selected one of my favorite authors who has multiple book series, writes in different genres, and where I’ve got some reviews completed, some still to write up and even some books I haven’t read.

Don’t be shy, tell me what you think and what else you want to add / change. First up…

______________________________________________________________________________

Janet Evanovich currently writes romance and mystery fiction. For more information on her, you can check Goodreads or Fantastic Fiction, two of my favorite sites. She is one of the most prolific and famous writers in these genres during current times, as you can see by just the list of books I’ve read below, as well as the other series mentioned. To dive deeper into the page I’ve created for her, you can click on Janet Evanovich. See below for a sample of the content on her dedicated page. Additional content includes favorite characters, scenes and books.

Book Series – Stephanie Plum Mysteries

I enjoy these books because she is a funny writer, full of bizarre and relate-able characters; some of which I’d love to meet, but some I would like to stay very far away from. Among my favorites, besides the main characters, Stephanie Plum, are Lula and Ranger. I’ve always been a Ranger / Stephanie fan, and although Joe Morelli can be a sweet guy sometimes, I like the dark and dangerous relationship just a bit more.

… just listing some books here, the rest are on the page noted above or here

  • Sizzling Sixteen (2009)
  • Smokin’ Seventeen (2011)
  • Turbo Twenty-Three (2016) — not yet read
  • Hardcore Twenty-Four (2017) — not yet read

Beyond the Stephanie Plum series, the author’s also written several books in the following series:

  • Fox and O’Hare (with Lee Goldberg) – currently 5 full-length books and several short in-between stories – mystery fiction genre
  • Lizzy & Diesel – currently 3 full-length books, but Diesel is mentioned in the Stephanie Plum short novellas, too – mystery / romance / paranormal genre
  • Full (with Charlotte Hughes) – currently 6 full-length books – romantic suspense genre

Link to Janet Evanovich Page

About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare! Each month, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking.

Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think. Note: All content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Review: Death of a Salesman

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Death of a SalesmanBook Review
Arthur Miller is a fantastic writer. 4 of 5 stars to one his most known works, Death of a Salesman, written in 1949. Most Americans read this in middle school as a required book for their English courses. I am not positive when I read this, but I re-read it as part of my English degree in college. I enjoyed it more the second-time around, but it is still a very rough book to read. Not in terms of bad writing, but in terms of topics and emotions.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It focuses on the Loman family. The patriarch has been a salesman for over 30 years, most of his adult life. But eventually, it ends, and he’s forced to face the reality of a 60+ year old man in the mid 20th century between the two world wars, where everything was not so cozy in America. The play touches on themes of mental illness, depression, parenting, suicide, life’s purpose, the role of a father and husband, etc. I’m not fond of the main character, nor will most readers be. He’s quite tragic and unable to really do the right thing for everyone else. But it’s not entirely his fault; this was a bit of an issue in society at the time.

Miller’s talent is top notch. He clearly can capture the mental state of his characters, who each struggle with things we all struggle with. They take it to a newer and higher level, but it’s still something we can all relate to in our lives, whether it’s a teacher, father, uncle, grandfather, or another person in our lives, we have seen this happen. And it’s not pretty. The various passages and speeches by each of the characters are quite strong, pushing you as a reader to think about what society has done to us. But then again… we all have choices and should know better. The book makes you think… a lot… and for that, it does an excellent job at being one we should all read, or at least watch the play acted out.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

365 Challenge: Day 53 – Writer

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Writer: a person who writes (marks letters, words, or other symbols on a surface, typically paper, with a pen, pencil, or similar implement) books, stories, or articles as a job or regular occupation

After 50+ days of posts, and covering various characteristics such as creativity, reader, poetic, and lister, I’m sure you realize I am a writer. And if those weren’t clues, the amount of posts on my blog should be the true tell-all!

I do not plan to duplicate my thoughts on how I love to feel pen and paper in my hands, or type on a keyboard or use my creativity to bring life to characters, plots and settings. That’s all obvious, as you can see in the above clip… and BTW, I have never seen that show, but I loved the expression on her face when she said the words.

The reason I chose writer today is because I realized I’ve been so focused on reading, blogging and searching for a new job, I’d forgotten to focus on writing the last month. I spend a few hours each week researching literary agents who are looking for the type of fiction I write, and I customize my submissions prior to sending them off. BTW, it’s not an easy task. Each agent has a different preference, ranging from 5 pages to the entire manuscript, a query letter to a full synopsis, an author bio to links to your personal website. It’s a full-time job just preparing all that.

But in truth, I love it. There are days when suddenly it’s after 6pm and my significant other is on the way home… and I’m like… what did I accomplish today? Truth be told, I can usually tell roughly around that time how active Ryder (shiba inu dog) is… meaning if he’s throwing his stuffed toys at me on the couch, I know he needs play time. If he’s napping on the couch next to me, he wants me to keep working.

It’s the life of a writer. And it makes me happy. But it’s all about steps. And I’ve prepared my list of steps — overly generalized — but you get the point.

  1. Decide to focus on this as your career.
    • Done!
  2. Write the book.
    • Done!
  3. Search for agent.
    • In Progress
  4. Sign with agent.
    • Future
  5. Find publisher.
    • Future
  6. Sign with publisher.
    • Future
  7. Publish book.
    • Future
  8. Find fans and make them happy!
    • This should be happening the entire time, not only at the end.
    • In Progress

As you can see, I’m in the early stages for some of these steps. And I’m about to get focused on the next book. The outline is mostly written, so it’s about time to put the finishing touches on it and then begin writing the first chapter.

But I’ve also completed the first book. Took me about 4 months from start to finish, including working with 5 beta readers who helped provide feedback along the way. And then 5 other people read it and provided a few thoughts… all overwhelmingly positive, which helped push me even more.

I even created a website to start promoting the story and interact with potential readers. I’d love it if you took a look and provided some feedback. I’ve posted the prologue and first two chapters, as a teaser. If you hate it, tell me. Honestly. If it’s so-so, let me know what didn’t work. That’s how to improve. If you love it, share it! That’s all I ask. And if you’re not interest, that’s OK too. You can even read the chapters and choose not to reply. No pressure. You can find it at:

https://theglassfamily.wordpress.com/

What does this have to do with traits and my 365 Challenge?  It’s all a learning process, and since I’ve confessed to being shy, this is forcing me to put myself out there and connect with people rather than hiding behind a door or wall. And while online is a bit of hiding, you have to start somewhere. And after 50+ days, I’ve more than met my goal at letting people get to know me even more. It’s rare I’m an armadillo anymore…

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Review: Romeo and Juliet

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Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review
As I looked over my previously read books and searched for one that was missing a review, Romeo and Juliet stood out to me. But then I thought about it… who doesn’t know about this play? Who hasn’t read it in school sometime in the past? Who hasn’t watched a movie version or seen some sort of take on the classic tortured romance story? And why on earth would anyone care to read another review, let alone my review, on it? Exactly. So… don’t look for much here as I’m sure most everyone has read it already. And I’m not that funny to even make reading my opinions worth it. That said… a few shared thoughts about what I’ve learned from this play:

1. Parents exist to torture their children. It’s a simple fact. If your child wants X, it is your responsibility to keep X away from him/her.

2. Love will always end in disaster. Don’t attempt it without proper back-up.

3. Even though someone looks dead, they probably aren’t. Kill them again just to be sure.

4. Your bros or girls don’t always have your back.

5. Magic powders are the cure for everything. Always trust what you don’t understand. And just inhale it like the world is about to end.

In all sincerity, I do like the play a lot. I’ve enjoyed countless interpretations. I think parts of it are brilliant and parts of it are pure illogical nonsense. Every TV show and movie has their own re-appropriation to tell. Not everything can be perfect when it comes to love. But this play certainly teaches a lot of lessons and provides a lot of bumps. And this reader still goes along for the ride…

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: Much Ado About Nothing

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Much Ado About Nothing Review
3 of 5 stars to William Shakespeare‘s play Much Ado About Nothing. We read this play in my 9th or 10th grade English course as a comparison to his more popular plays such as Macbeth, Othello, Romeo & Juliet and Hamlet, as well as something different from his historical fiction plays about various kings and queens. It was an opportunity to see his brilliance in writing something different and basically… about nothing. Well not really nothing, but you get the drift.

It was a decent play. And I can say that because I’ve read over 40 of his plays. It’s not like I just picked a few up and said “Eh, it’s decent,” not having read enough to know. It’s Shakespeare of course. Everyone loves/hates him, depending basically on whether you like this sort of thing or you do not. And scholars can argue for hours about what it all meant, who really wrote it, what was being hidden in the lines and characters. But for me… this was just a normal play.

Given I tend to like very character-driven stories or complex plots, this one doesn’t rank very high on my scale for what I’ve read. Yes, the plot is fairly low-key… some romance, some issues between couples… it didn’t have a tremendous amount of magic for me… say as something like “As You Like It” or “Twelfth Night.” Those were memorable characters whom you rooted for despite all odds.

It’s very strong in terms of language, innuendo, imagery and balance. But as far as a leisurely and enjoyable read, I didn’t take a whole lot from it. Of course, all English majors should read it. But if you want some light re-exposure to Shakespeare, I wouldn’t recommend this one as a starting place.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Blog: Upcoming Site Changes

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It’s been another successful month of blogging, and as we come to a close on April, a few key things to share:

  1. I’ve changed some of the colors and the fonts on the blog. If it doesn’t look appealing, let me know.
  2. I’ve added a new menu item called “Genre, Author & Series,” where you can see a list of all the reviews I have completed. Note: Since this is in progress as of 4/28/17, you can look at Cozy Mystery Fiction / Braun, Lilian Jackson as a future example of what this will have available.
    1. It will be sorted by genre, then author.
    2. When you click on the genre, it will provide a brief description of the genre and key authors and information about it.
    3. When you click on the author page, it will list any of the author’s book I’ve read or am planning to read in the near future — organized by series, as well as noting books (s)he’s written in other genres.
    4. You can click on the name of the book if it has a link. If it doesn’t, it means I haven’t yet read the book or written the review. I’ll include target dates whenever possible for you to check back.
  3. I’ve changed the Blog menu item to include Tags. On a weekly basis, I will add a book tag and highlight books I have read or want to read, as well as tag my online friends to participate in the challenges.
  4. The 365 Daily Challenge is getting exciting and more fun. I’m almost done with 2 months and learning a lot about me and about you! I’m open to suggestions, but posts are now linked back and forth so you can check all the history if you’re new to the site.

My target to have all the content updated and all ~500 book reviews updated from Goodreads on “ThisIsMyTruth” is June, 2017; however, there will be a lot of progress each week. I hope you’ll check it out and provide any feedback you think is helpful. I’m very open to hearing the good and the bad!

changes

Thank you to everyone who has participated by commenting, liking, taking the poll or providing ratings. I’m having a tremendous amount of fun, trying to create a fun world for all of us.

-jjciv