Sunday, 24 June 2012

Good writing sometimes captures the unlikely reader - with Scott Bury

Sometimes we find ourselves reading works that isn't the normal sort of things we read. Sometimes we check out other genres just for the fun of it. This week Scott Bury is my guest blogger and he has a thing or two to say about a book that didnt target him but captured his attention. Here is Scott:
What I’m reading now
I’m now reading a book that was not written with me in mind—that is, a book whose target audience I really don’t fit into. Paradoxically, it’s a book that I’ve been meaning to read for a couple of months, and now I’m glad that I’ve finally opened its electronic cover.
It’s called Cassidy Jones and Vulcan’s Gift, by Elise Stokes. It’s the second in the Cassidy Jones series, sequel to Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula. By now, you’ve probably guessed just why I don’t consider myself in the target audience, and you’re right. Cassidy Jones is a 14-year-old superhero, reminiscent of Spider-Man.
(Sorry, Anjie Hart fans — there’s nothing “adult” here. Elise Stokes and her heroine are both squeaky-clean. Again, the assignment was to write about the book I am reading now. It’s too bad for the erotica fans that the assignment didn’t come along a few months ago, when I was reading Charity Parkerson. Ah, well. Next time.)
Elise Stokes is an independent author, but her books are professionally edited and produced to exacting standards. There is nothing amateurish here. I know — I’ve read a lot of very poorly done self-published titles in the past year. Stokes’ writing is polished, accomplished and clear.
What Stokes does exceptionally well is capture the swirling cascade of emotions of a teenage girl who’s dealing with middle school pressures and rivalries, her confusing feelings about boys, changes in her own life situation and, to top it off, suddenly having super-powers. Like Peter Parker, Cassidy is a poor athlete, which makes her a target of the popular athletic girl in high school. But when she acquires her powers in an accident in a scientist’s lab (again, reminiscent of Spider-Man), she inadvertently breaks the school star’s nose and escalates the rivalry to new heights.
In the second book, Cassidy is forced to resolve the rivaly in some way — which she does using brains, rather than brawn. She must also learn to control “the beast” — the impulses to flex her physical powers and use brute force in every situation.
There’s also a hilarious Sasquatch theme running through the book, with secondary characters tearing through the forests of Washington after the legendary Bigfoot.
I have always enjoyed superheroes, fantasy, science fiction and similar themes. I can suspend disbelief if the author presents a situation with at least some internal consistency and logic. It’s a difficult balance to maintain, but Stokes keeps the story plausible by focusing on the thoughts and emotions of her main character.
No, I am not the intended audience. But I am enjoying this book a lot.
Scott Bury is a journalist, editor and writer living in Ottawa. His articles have been published in newspapers and magazines in Canada, the US, UK and Australia.
The Bones of the Earth is his first novel to be published.
He has two sons, an orange cat and a loving wife who puts up with a lot. You can read more of Scott’s writing at Written Words and Scott’s Travel Blog, and on his website, The Written Word. Follow him on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.


  1. I always find it rather amazing when we cross paths with books that wouldn't normally grab us and yet something tells us to go ahead an read it. I was like that with a book called Broken Angel, which was about street fighting. Not my typical run-of-the-mill choice read... but reading to review it and I'm glad I did.

  2. Scott, sounds like a fun read! I'm not into YA either but I always love a good book!

  3. Love to find books outside of my normal favorite genres that are well written and bring new authors to my attention.

  4. Scott I loved reading this. It put me in mind of a book that didn't target me, but I'm glad my 8th grade teacher assigned all those wonderful stories by Ray Bradbury.

  5. I can vouch for Elise Stokes books! I have been lucky enough to read the first one and fell head over heels and then she was kind enough to send me the second in manuscript form no less to get my review. This lady is one of a kind, she is a fantastic writer, a wonderful person and she has created a series that all ages will absolutely love. Elise Stokes deserves to be in the big leagues!

    1. To hear such wonderful things about Elise has gotten me intrigued about her work. Definitely putting her on my "to read" list.