Engaging the Senses

by Sharon S., guest blogger

What is the difference between a good book and a great one? There are as many answers as there are readers probably, but for me it has to do with my senses. You know, smell, sight, taste, touch and sound. I have a definite preference in books. I like paranormal romances and dark urban fantasies best. I prefer series because I can watch the characters and their relationships grow and change over time. I also have a preference for arrogant alpha-males that make no excuses and kick-ass snarky females that teach said alphas a thing or two.

I’ve read lots, but which ones stick with me? The ones that make me feel.

“Feel what?” You ask…anything, everything, all things. A book that can make me cry, laugh, swoon, scream and so angry I want to throw the book across the room (would never do this because a kindle ain’t cheap).

All books let you see what is going on in the story, but some authors not only make you see, their words can make you smell the forest, the ocean, the blood or his scent as he walks past. They can make you taste that pizza, the potion or his lips. They can make you hear the monster creeping outside the door, the dying screams or his whisper next to your ear (file that one under touch too ). Then there is touch, the feel of the water, the fangs and fur of the were, or his hands…well, you know.

These are authors that have mastered the metaphor. Being able to experience with all my senses is what helps me connect to the characters and immerse my self in the story. I can put myself in their shoes so to speak and that brings my experience to a whole new level.

Here are some authors that have delighted my senses recently: Kim Harrison, Josh Lanyon, Amanda Stevens, Tere Michaels, Ilona Andrews (metaphor magician in my opinion), Karen Marie Moning, Karen Chance, Suzanne Collins, Jeaniene Frost, J.R. Ward…

How about you? What makes book good vs great for you? What authors make you feel?

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  1. “I also have a preference for arrogant alpha-males that make no excuses and kick-ass snarky females that teach said alphas a thing or two.”

    This was prevalent in many of the Harlequin Romances years ago when I was very much into reading romances. I too love the arrogant alpha males; they used to make me angry as hell. Then I married one! lol

    • Sharon S.

      lol, I married one too! When I read my alpha-males got to be paranormal 😉 I love urban fantasies the most.

  2. Great post, Sharon! You’re absolutely right about how the most vivid writing uses imagery to involve all the senses and make the story’s world three-dimensional to readers. And your pizza example made me hungry! 🙂

    • Sharon S.

      thanks, pizza and a hot fudge brownie covered with vanilla ice cream will get me everytime

  3. If I start imagining my own conversations between the hero/heroine then I know the author totally engaged me because I get invested.

  4. Great post and I agree 100%. I’ve actually thrown a book across the room once. it was “Of Mice and Men”. Though, I hate that one to this day because it’s so friggin’ sad! I don’t mind a few tears, as you’ve said they can even be a good thing, but that book abuses the privilege!

  5. I think a great book keeps you thinking about the story and its characters long after you’ve finished reading it. A great plot that keeps you interested and characters that make you care about them are essential in a great book.

  6. J.R Ward, Anne Bishop, and these days I’m high on Lisa Kleypas books (her contemporary and historicals). Like you I love series, I want to know more about the characters and see them grow and evolve as the story goes on. Yes, these authors touch my senses in every way with their story telling and make me want more from them.
    Great post! 😉

  7. jane rock

    sharon, I enjoyed your blog on what makes afun book to read jane

  8. Sharon S.

    heehee, that is my mom (Jane Rock)

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