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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My First Serious Book Review

I've posted book reviews before, but they have mostly been "Loved the book!", "Beautiful", "Hilarious"  kind of reviews and, well, that's not really helpful to anyone, is it?

I've wanted to do this for awhile now, because I love reading and when I'm recommending books, or discussing books with someone, I really get my nerd on and go into great detail about everything I loved and hated about the book.

As a writer, I understand the value of good reviews, and as a reader, I feel like its my responsibility, as well.

First I want to say that the cover art for Twisted Roads by Travis Erwin, is eye-catching and perfectly inviting . Everything a book cover should be. I love the guitar and her red high heels just jump off the cover.

Most of time, you can find Travis over at his blog, Bacon, Beer, and Books, where his writing has always struck me as more storytelling than writing. To me, his talent lies in the way he makes any story feel like a campfire tale-those stories that you repeat over and over, and one's you can't wait to hear again and again.

Usually, his stories are humorous. I've found myself more than once laughing out loud, or telling someone nearby, "You have got to read this!"

Twisted Roads shows a different side of Travis' writing. Where his blog posts, and even The Feedstore Chronicles give me the sense of oral tradition, Twisted Roads is more sophisticated, more grown up. More mature. More written.

The storyteller in  his writing is still apparent, though. He weaves his words as beautifully as he's woven the lives of his characters. He's woven them so tight, in fact, that one characters decision not only affects that character, but multiple characters throughout the story, so that by the end we, as readers, have realized that he's subtlely been changing our perceptions without us realizing it.

Twisted Roads is a character driven story (my favorite kind of story), and I found myself wanting to befriend Angela and Lucas. I could really relate to Angela because I've lived in places like Grand. I've known what is it like to be on the outside of small town life.

Lucas's struggle with music, from trying to find the right words when writing lyrics, to trying to decide whether he should follow his dream or do the safe thing and stay where he is, is a struggle that any reader can relate to. 

Jake and Shelly were villianous in the most vile of ways, yet, by the end, I felt sorry for them because of the way their vulnerabilites were slowly unraveled throughout the novel.

I especially loved how the characters of Misty and Charlene were personifications of Shelly's inner conflict (At least to me). They seemed to be the Angel and Devil on Shelly's shoulder, and at the same time represented both the best and worst parts of living in small town Texas.

Travis' portrayal of Grand, Texas took me back to a childhood where I lived in Kress, Tx. (population 700-800).

I could go on. There are more characters. Important characters, but I think the joy of reading Twisted roads was traveling it on my own. I'll let you do the same.

P.S. how did I do?

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