Hooking Readers

A couple of days ago I read (and finished, it wasn’t really that long) an e-book from Amazon. I like the free books that you sometimes get. Although the quality usually is subpar. Well, this particular book had gotten really good reviews so I thought it would be good and downloaded it and started reading.

Almost immediately I realised it was a mistake. The main character had really fast metabolism so she could eat an eclair for breakfast. Okay, instead of me trying to describe it I’m going to cite it (and hence I will reveal which book it is too, which I wasn’t going to do because I was going to bash it…)

This is two paragraphs from the beginning of Killer Cupcakes (A Lexy Baker Bakery Cozy Mystery) by Leighann Dobbs.

Pulling the door open, she reached in and grabbed an eclair.  Giving silent thanks that she was blessed with a high metabolism, Lexy shoved the end of it in her mouth. The cold, creamy filling coated her taste buds and she heard herself making little “nummy” sounds.
She stood there for a moment enjoying the rest of the eclair, then rummaged in the fridge for something to eat on the way in to work. She felt lucky she could eat whatever she wanted without gaining an ounce because it allowed her to bring home all the day-old bakery items she didn’t want to sell in the store and enjoy them herself.

Yes, “nummy” sounds. This main character also loves stilettos, and wears them to work… and she works in a bakery. Before the mentioned eclair breakfast, where she didn’t have to worry about gaining any ounces because she is blessed with fast metabolism (silent thanks), she decides which shoes (ahem, sorry, high heels) to wear that day:

Her eyes scanned the rows, arraigned by color until they fell on a cute pink number by Steve Madden.

First, who the heck is Mr Madden, and does it really matter in the story whose shoes she wears? No, only that they are high heeled/stilettos.
Second, what did the shoes do to end up in court? Step on the wrong foot? Last time I checked arraign means something entirely different from arrange. English is not my first language, but it irritates me so much when people with English as their supposedly first language don’t bother checking their spelling. Also, throughout the book the word then is used instead of than. Overall the story reads like a first draft. Everything is very brief, there is more telling than showing, and nothing is developed further. There is a love connection between Lexie and a detective, but it is very blaha, and he just gives her a kiss, I guess you really need to go out on a limb to call it romantic. There is no play, no looking into eyes, smiling, stroking cheeks, fiddling with hair, nervous butterflies, no nothing. He just kisses her, with a half-arsed try to make it romantic.
The plot really has no problem, it could be a really good book once fleshed out. As it is now it is very unbelievable, there are grannies at a senior home solving crimes with the help of their iPads and google. As I read it I was thinking

(honestly that was my feeling throughout the book)
The reason I finished the book was firstly it was so short, I blazed through it in no time at all. Secondly I felt like there is something there, the author has a real story going on, but instead of digging deeper and fleshing out the character and finding out more about the story, she chose to just scrape on the surface. And what do we get when we only scrape on the surface? Flat characters! There is sooo much potential in this story, if only the author had rewritten it a couple of times (and used an editor).

So I thought I’d share with you a link how to hook readers:

7 Ways to Use Brain Science to Hook Readers.

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2 thoughts on “Hooking Readers

  1. Thanks Tereseh – for your writing about this book and for the link! I also “buy” free e-books from Amazon, and some of them are the type you describe – sometimes it is good to read them just because they are so very bad …

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