I received an email from Jade Varden asking me to review her Young Adult book JUSTICE first in the Deck of Lies series. I was reluctant, for reasons I will go into in my review, below, but as you can see, she’s here. Jade writes young adult novels for teen readers. When she’s not crafting mysteries in her books, Jade also blogs practical writing tips for authors who self-publish. Jade currently makes her home in Louisville, Kentucky, where she enjoys reading and reviewing indie books by other self-published authors. Jade is here with a guest post, so welcome Jade.
Book Series vs. Book Serial
Are you writing a book series…or a book serial? If you don’t know the difference, that’s okay. The two are inextricably linked.
The book serial came into existence in 1840 thanks to Charles Dickens, who published many of his books in sequential segments rather than as a whole volume. A serial is really one large work, broken down into pieces. Instead of giving you all the pieces at once, they’re doled out by the author (usually at regular intervals).
Serialized novels, all the rage in the days of Dickens, are no longer the fashion today…but they do still happen. Tom Wolfe famously released his Bonfire of the Vanities in 27 parts through Rolling Stone.
Commonly, serialized novels end with cliffhangers to entice the reader to come back for the next installment of the story. And though book serials are similar to a book series, they’re not the same.
A Series of Stories
Book serials are really one whole story, broken into pieces. Book series are one whole story…made up of a few smaller stories. The differences are subtle, yes, but they do exist.
Most book series are published in chronological order (such as the Harry Potter books), and usually follow a single main character or set of characters. In each book, the main characters go through changes both big and small as they progress through the next phase of the story. Often, each book is its own story that exists as part of the overall larger story (which is told throughout the course of the entire series). A series book may sometimes, but not always, end in a cliffhanger.
When book serials appear, the story is almost always complete. The last piece of the serial will close the final chapter on the story. A book series, by its very nature, is more open-ended. Many, many popular book series have continued to be expanded as readers demand more and more (Pretty Little Liars). A book serial is a whole, complete story. A book series is a complete story, too, but there’s always potential for more after The End.
So which are you writing? It all depends on the whole story you’re trying to tell and how you choose to release your work. The good thing about being an indie author is choosing exactly how you want to tell your story, and following through with it.
A House of Cards…
When you build an entire life on a foundation of lies, it only takes one truth for the whole thing to come crashing down. I never invited the truth in. I never went searching for it. I never had any reason to suspect that the two people I loved most were dishonest with me every second of every day.
I made one bad decision, and in a single day my entire world changed. If I’m ever going to discover the truth about myself and my parents, I have to trace all the lies back to their source. I have to try to find the truth that they’re hiding.
The more I discover about myself, and my past, the more I realize that lies really are better than the truth. But now that I know the lies are all around me, I can’t stop until I’ve discovered them all. I’ll pull each lie away, one by one, and examine it to see what’s underneath…until this house of cards crumbles into dust at my feet.
I just hope I can survive the crash.
When I received an email from Jade Varden asking me to review a YA book, I was reluctant. I never read a children’s book until I read to my own children. I was a rather precocious reader. I read Patrick Dennis’ Around The World With Auntie Mame when I was in first grade and The Godfather not long after. So I kinda skipped the whole YA phase. It certainly didn’t occur to me I might like reading one at my age now. But there was something intriguing about the blurb, Jade’s website, the reviews I read. Once I started reading, I could not put the book down. I quickly discovered the only difference between a YA mystery and a cozy mystery is the main character is the young adult in the book, not the parent. The main character in this case is sixteen year old Rain Ramey. The book starts off slow. Rain has a happy middle class life with her brother and two parents. She wins a scholarship to an exclusive/expensive private school. Her first day is not pleasant as ‘the scholarship’ kid. But at the end of the day, the school’s queen bee seems to have a change of heart and invites Rain shopping. This is actually a cruel prank to set Rain up to be arrested for shoplifting. And that is all I can tell you because anything from that point on would be a spoiler. There is one surprise after another. I was so fascinated that I was just pages from the end when I said to myself hey wait a minute, I thought this was a mystery. And my regular readers know I don’t consider a book (no matter mysterious circumstances) to be a mystery without a body. But there at nearly the end – there is a murder! The series is serial! (Sound familiar?) So I’m gonna save you some time here. Don’t buy the first book and figure if you like it, you’ll buy the second. There is a box set. Buy the box set because I’m telling you now this is a page turner and you are not going to want to stop reading – I don’t care what age you are. ♥♥♥♥♥