What makes a book a bestseller? The answer is easy: it takes all of you readers supporting the author and book by buying it. Yup. In order to be a bestseller, a book has to sell for actual cash money to readers. Blasphemy!!!
So how do you, the readers, decide which books to buy? Well, how about based on reviews (see below for my reviews of Jessica Z and Two Years, No Rain by Shawn Klomparens) and word of mouth recommendations? And because buying them may earn you a FREE KINDLE?
Hold the frickin’ phone? Did I just type FREE KINDLE?
Yes, I believe I did.
How, you may ask, might you participate in this amazing free Kindle opportunity? Easy. Hop onto Facebook and join the group I bet we can make these books bestsellers, for starters, like I did. Our goal is to take amazing books that have not yet sold as well as they should have, and, by grassroots efforts, make them bestsellers. The first books chosen were by an author I had already discovered and loved for his book Jessica Z.
But what does this have to do with a free Kindle? By joining the group, you earn an entry in the Kindle Giveway! If you join, please send a Facebook message to group administrator/founder Catherine McKenzie telling her you joined because I told you to — this earns me additional entries in the Kindle Giveaway contest. Earn additional entries for yourself by buying the books, blogging about the group/books/contest, getting others to join the group, or retweeting @cemckenzie1‘s tweets about the giveaway.
Just don’t do toooooooo much of it, because I am going to win that Kindle. Seriously, don’t get your hopes up.
So, here’s the scoop, per me, on Shawn Klomparens‘ first two novels.
First, you need to know that I don’t READ books; I do audio, which allows me to multitask while swimming (on my SwimP3) or running (on my Shuffle). But when I met Shawn through Twitter (@sklompar) and learned about his books, Jessica Z was not available in an audio version. By this time, I had read the blurb about it and it grabbed me in a way no book had in a long time. So I bought a real book with pages and settled in for a fantastic read. Here’s the blurb I read that captured my attention:
When Jessica Zorich met a tall, charismatic artist at a San Francisco party, her life had been all about coping: with a baffling and dangerous world, with a mostly inane job, and with a sweet but meandering relationship with her upstairs neighbor. But Josh Hadden doesn’t cope: he’s a man of action, of big visions, and of relationships that span the globe; a man certain of his passions, politics, art, and desire. And what Josh desires most is Jessica—at a time when being desired might be the most desirable thing of all.
In this daring, mesmerizing debut, a novel that brilliantly captures the angst of a generation, Jessica gives herself over to an erotic, reckless relationship with a man guarding deep secrets—and to a perfect storm of lust, doubt, joy, and fear. Now, against her better judgment, she is following Josh into his mystifying life and brilliant, dizzying work—where she will find out how much she has been missing, how far she has yet to go, and what the price of this intoxicating adventure will be.…
See what I mean?
So I put my hands on the pages and turned them while my eyes drank in the words. I could not put it down. Shawn blew me away with his emotionally complex first person narrative of a confused twenty-something woman. I loved the way he gave us a peek into the somewhat obscure world of lithography and made it sexy and mysterious. And he kept the emotional tension and suspense high with the fears of terrorism overlaid upon Jessica’s somewhat “9 1/2 weeks” relationship and foray into the art world. The word that most comes to my mind about the book is unsettling. He writes unsettling in the way I want to read it and wish I could write it. I quibble only with the ending, but I won’t critique it, because I don’t want to spoil it for you. And my quibble was small, because the first thing I did upon finishing with Jessica was pick up…
Yes, I paid money for a book with pages again.
First, the blurb:
An earnest journey from heartache to heartthrob and all the emotions along the way; at once an old-fashioned love story and a cautionary tale of self-reinvention.
In San Diego County, it hasn’t rained in 580 days. But for weatherman Andy Dunne, everything else is changing fast…Only a few weeks ago, he was a newly divorced, slightly overweight meteorologist for an obscure satellite radio station, hiding his secret love for a colleague, the beautiful–and very much married–Hillary Hsing. But nearly overnight, Andy has landed a new gig, flying a magic carpet in a bizarre live-action children’s TV show. So what is affable, basically decent Andy Dunne going to do now that he can do practically anything he wants? With a parade of hot moms begging for his autograph and a family that needs his help more than ever, Andy has a lot of choices. First, though, there’s this thing with Hillary, their heated text messages, a long-awaited forecast for rain – and a few other surprises he never saw coming…
My thoughts: this time Shawn creates a compellingly honest and insecure male lead character. Andy is brilliantly flawed, at times goofy, at others a jerk, apathetic, and pitifully, hopelessly in love. Don’t let those adjectives fool you; Andy is a compassionate and talented guy. Shawn does a nice job of leaving Andy’s secret pain and motivations tantalizingly below the surface, and hinges Andy’s entire future on the chance of rain in hell, or rather, Southern California. The cast of characters is zany (I especially like Andy’s older sister), and once again the book brings to my consciousness a whole new field I found fascinating and knew nothing about — kid’s television. My nit: I don’t understand what Andy sees in his lady love, Hillary. I couldn’t quite fall in love with her, with him.
Of the two books, Jessica Z stuck with me more, due to its sexually, emotionally, and sociologically unsettling nature.
After reading both books, I congratulate myself on money well spent. I have discovered a talented voice/author that I will happily read again and recommend to others. I also believe I learned a few tidbits as an author by a careful read of the clever Mr. Klomparens’ work that will strengthen my writing. Bonus points!
Now, I’ma go win me a Kindle, y’all.
Have a great week,