Monday, January 14, 2013

"Sydney West" by R. McKinsey Book Review/Guest Post

Read my promo for the book here.

Sydney West (Sydney West #1)Sydney West by Rebecca McKinsey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I struggled with rating to give this book, but I finally decided it deserved a low five-star rating for many reasons.  First of all, it is exceptionally well-written.  In fact, it is almost on the level of modern American authors.  Rebecca McKinsey is up for the challenge of writing such an unusual book, and I look forward to the other books in the series.

Secondly, this book is a mystery/thriller, and I am amazed at what is not in this book.  Almost without exception, this genre of books is full of sex and profanity.  You won't find either in this book.  That's right!  A clean thriller?  Yes, indeed.  Not even any descriptive violence.  But it certainly doesn't mean it's boring.

And finally, the twists and turns are unlike anything I have ever read.  You will not leave this book with a resolved ending.  In fact, you will probably be more confused than you were at the beginning of the book.  Thankfully, the book is not too long, but don't be fooled.  It is not an easy-read book!

I can't say that there is anything I expressly did not like except that it was a very strange read.  I found myself getting lost more than once.  And sometimes I just felt like I was reading words, and they were no sinking in.  But all these issues are minor.  If you are looking for something completely different that is a clean book, this book is for you.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

View all my reviews

Judging a book by its cover (Guest post by the author)

Human beings tend to polarize issues. You're either for something or against something, with a party or against a party, or completely agree or completely disagree. Looking through the glasses of the general society, there's never any in-between. Yet, the real world is not a true or false question. The questions must be personally identified and, therefore, personally answered, to gain any meaning from it at all. One of the many areas this kind of thing shows up in is the field of appearance -- what people choose to make themselves look like, what they choose to wear in the morning.
            Whether we like it or not, a person's appearance can tell us about them in one way or another. There's a margin of error, but it's a fact. The phrase "don't judge a book by its cover" is easily misused when people mean "you can't know anything about anyone" when, in reality, book covers are designed to reflect the inside to a reader. Even with preconceptions about the cover, you may still open the book to get the full picture. It's the same way with people. You can draw your surface conclusions, but your attitude toward other people is defined by what you do after that -- do you look deeper into the book to find out what's really going on, or immediately put it down because you think there's nothing more to know?
            Being in a creative field, my standards and appreciation for how I and other people look often falls outside the norm of most communities, as do my friends in the same kinds of professions.  I'm a member of several circles that often seem to contradict each other in standards of appearance and what's appropriate based on the polarization of society at large. Because of this, I've been able to see the issue in a unique way. As a self-proclaimed oxymoron, I've taken to studying it.
            On one hand, I'm told not to offend those around me with what I'm wearing or how I look otherwise. On the other hand, I'm encouraged to express myself and not worry about what people like and don't like. This polarization sweeps across the social, professional, and all other worlds. How can you choose anything at all with such a contradiction?
            Essentially, it all comes down to you making your own decisions, yet with one stipulation. There will always be a gap between what you (or I) consider attractive and appropriate and the people around us. In the end, we can dress how we like, so long as we are willing to handle the consequences of departing from the established propriety. It may give people a negative opinion of us if they aren't willing to look further. It can keep us from jobs and prevent us from being taken seriously at the outset. There's always a tradeoff that has to be handled with care.
            It mostly starts in the teenage years, but can extend in either direction of age. Kids start expanding their horizons and find themselves magnetized toward one thing over another. They find things that better suit their developing personality. When this happens, if what they like is outside the norm of their community, they have several choices to make and even more choices as they get older. Will they push ahead into the unfamiliar territory to flaunt a rebellion, or because it's important to them and they're willing to cope with differences of opinion? Will they hold back and resent the disagreement or hold back out of respect for their community and situation?
            Humans have varying degrees of visual input. Some are more "what you see is what you get," but that's no excuse to pigeon-hole those we think we know everything about based on appearance, or to pigeon-hole yourself based on the opinions of others. There's always negative feedback, because it's a feature of living. The best we can do is make sure we're aware that our actions, even in how we look, have ramifications. If we're willing to deal with them with respect, it adds to a clarity of life. The question of appearance, whether of ourselves or others, is not "yes" or "no" but lies in the attitude of our approach.


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