Author Alcove is more about authors and less about one particular work. Since these two are a bit short and slightly different than the regular Author Alcove format (these here were pre-written for a different purpose and I am short on time), I am posting them together instead of separately. Here are two authors more (who have almost nothing in common):
Author Mike Lupica:
Why I read The Underdogs: because it was about football and I needed to know more about football for my own novels. At the time, I didn't have a whole lot of time to actually research with nonfiction books so a novel was a good way to go.
What I thought: AMAZING!
Why: His style is perfect for what he writes. It's simple and to the point and yet it does some comfortable pacing now and then. The voice he uses is clear and matter-of-fact. His girl characters seem to always be tough on the outside and sweet on the inside, but unfortunately are almost all identical. His boy characters sound very real and are funny and yet serious and honest and over all very realistic. And the way sports are worked into the story.....I believe every story (at least the ones I've read so far) has a character conflict (not enough funding for the football team and now a girl joins the team, a friend going blind, death of a father, etc) along with sports things worked in. It's smooth and great. Plus, his conversations. I would have to say the dialogue in his books beats nearly all dialogue I've read in nearly all other genres.
Overall: simple but lovely in a mud-and-grass-stain way. Plus, can't forget the dialogue. :)
Read it: if you want to read some good dialogue, strong characters, a good voice, and some sports mixed in. I've never played football for real but when I read it I sure felt like I was right there on the field.
Author Bryan Davis:
Why I started reading: a former soccer teammate told me I just had to read the first Dragons In Our Midst book and wouldn't tell me anything else. So I read. And I fell in love. Ok, maybe that's a bit of a strong word, but I really do enjoy Bryan Davis's books to the extreme. I can't seem to stop reading them and I'll be very sad when there aren't any more. The only problem is one has to be in the right mood for his books. Sometimes, I simply cannot stomach his writing. Other days, I can't get enough.
What I thought: WOW! Unlike Mike Lupica's books, Bryan Davis's books have quite a few unbelievable speeches. You know the kind. The kind that make you think, "Awww. I love that. Why hasn't anyone said something like that to me?" and then you realize, "That's not realistic. It would take a few rehearsals before anyone in real life could get that out." But have you ever read a book where that just doesn't matter? Where the realistic-ness isn't really compromised because that isn't the point. The point here is beauty, I think. These books are beautiful. They're C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien beautiful, they're Madeline L'Engle beautiful. Yes, they are that kind of beautiful. The first time I read is for the plot and the stuff with music (Echoes from the Edge) or the King Arthur references (Dragons In Our Midst) or the mythology (Starlighter). The second time is for the Christianity hidden just below the surface. The third time is because I know I will never be able to get everything out of it. The fourth is because there are so many quotes I love. And the fifth is because I just can't get enough. The girl characters are strong but gentle and sweet. The boy characters are gentlemen, strong and gentle, caring and protecting, and yet they still make mistakes. I hate a book where the girl or boy is too perfect. Even these characters make mistakes. But in all, a must read.
Overall: beautiful. Absolutely beautiful and deep and containing so many layers that I'm afraid no matter how many times I read it I won't find the bottom. Incredibly creative. I have never read any thing like what Davis has written.
Read it: for King Arthur, for dragons, for strong guy characters like Paul Fester and Alex O'Donnell (Regina Doman's characters, not Bryan's), for good girl characters (no comparison here), for music, for family, for faith, for depth. For beauty.