Roses & Thorns

Roses & Thorns

Thursday, June 25, 2015

False Impressions by Marianne Rice


Blurb:

As a recovering alcoholic, Cole Tucker has no intention of falling in love with Samantha Chase, especially when he learns her husband and daughter were killed by a drunk driver. How would she ever be able to forgive his past? Samantha Chase is happy to have found a place to start a new life with her son, the last thing she expected was to fall in love with her new boss. But, how can she overlook his former life?

You'll love False Impressions by Marianne Rice, a passionate and poignant tale of new love and second chances.

Donna's Review:

Most of you who read my reviews know that I analyze based largely on the elements that
create good fiction—plotting, characterization, prose (sentence structure), and setting. If these are well-done, even if I have particular issues with the subject matter, I will still rate fairly. Unfortunately, when these things are missing, I also rate likewise.

False Impressions falls short in all of the above. I hate to say it, but I got only 30% through the book before putting it down. I just could not go any further. I tried to like it. I really did. Authors put their heart and soul into a book, even if it is written badly, and every successful author has a few bad books (or a lot) under their belt. That having been said, however, it is not necessary for readers to read the bad stuff. Authors put the bad stuff in the file cabinet. It is either forgotten, laughed about later, or revised when they have better writing skills.

First, the characters and the plotting. I will oftentimes put up with a lot, especially off of new authors, if the characters are well done. In this case, I did not even like these people, and I certainly cared not at all what happened to them. They have issues (deceased spouse, alcoholism), but these have not been translated into clear cut internal and external goals. Without goals, I had no purpose for reading. I did not even have a purpose for reading each section/chapter, because it was not clearly stated (or subtly stated) what the point of view character needed to accomplish in that section to “fix” their situation. As a result, there was no disaster at the end (clearly stated) and no amendment of the goal as the plot drove forward (or was suppose to drive forward) to the next disaster.

Another problem was the dialogue, which in this situation falls flat. The characters spend too much time talking about ordinary things. (Actually, any dialogue discussing ordinary things, unless it drives the plot forward, is flat and unnecessary.) There are long sections with the hero discussing superheroes with the heroine’s son. Perhaps there was a point to this, but even at that, one conversation would have been fine. There is too much cussing that serves no purpose, and the sexual innuendos turned me off. I knew I was in trouble at the end of chapter one. “He looked reluctant but gestured to the back bedroom where she gave him the best two hours of her life.” Not only is the verb tense wacky, but she was merely going to paint the room. A few more of those did me in. There are better ways of creating a “sexy” or “romantic” mood within a book. It involves the emotions and conflict within the characters themselves, not off color dialogue and word play.

The sentence structure is way too long and windy. Some of the sentences are so long I had to reread to remember what was said at the beginning. In other places it was short, with dashes and clipped words. Granted, these have a place in fiction, but they should be used sparingly. Long sentences have no place at all (because basically they become run on sentences). There are tons of comma mistakes, and more often than not the verb tense is changed within a sentence itself. (Reference the quote above.) The poor sentence structure, combined with the ineffective dialogue, results in a confusing mush of sentences that do not enhance the story but merely muddle it further.

Last, but not least, this book is WAY WAY WAY overpriced. It is only 158 pages, which makes the likely word count around 80,000 words. This is the author’s third book, so she is not well-known. Few authors, even well-known ones, price kindle versions with that number of pages that high. Perhaps that is the publisher’s decision. Regardless, it is a bad one.

One rose for effort.

(Note: I did receive a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Length:  158 Pages
Digital Price:  $5.99

Thanks for visiting. Julie, Donna & Rochelle

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Way from Heart to Heart by Helena Fairfax

Blurb:

A love lost and a love found...

A knock at the door shatters Kate Hemingway’s life when she’s told of her husband Stuart’s death in Afghanistan.

She struggles to care for their young son George with only Stuart’s aloof best friend Paul as emotional support. Piece by fragile piece, she tries to rebuild her life, realising Paul and her son have formed an unlikely bond. When Paul agrees to accompany Kate and a group of disadvantaged teenagers on a trip to the Yorkshire moors, he finally reveals something he’s kept secret for years. Kate’s own scarred heart begins to open up—but can she risk her son’s happiness as well as her own?

A novel about friendship, loss, and the human heart’s enduring capacity for love, this stunning debut explores one woman’s attempt at survival when her world comes crashing down around her.

Review by Rochelle:

A Way from Heart to Heart was a moving novel about a scarred woman who came from nothing, having escaped a sexually abusive father and an emotionally abusive mother. Kate ran away from home and lived on the streets as a teenager, surviving with the help of her best friend, Orla, until photographer Stuart Hemingway’s photographs of her propelled her into a world she never imagined existed. Not only did she become a professional model, she also became his wife. Kate’s confidence was fragile, however, propped up by Stuart’s love. Now, however, she’s become his widow, and her world has crashed around her. She still has their son, George, Orla, and her work. And Stuart’s best friend, Paul shows up regularly to take George out, but he’s always been aloof. Kate’s sure he’s looked down on her as a gold-digger like the rest of Stuart’s friends and family. Until he decides to do a story on Kate’s favorite charity for at-risk, underprivileged girls, and he reveals the real reason he’s been so aloof through the years.

As I read A Way from Heart to Heart, I thought it was self-published and not edited. It was full of dizzying head-hops. I’m afraid the editor did not do her job here, and it’s a shame that such a good book had to suffer in that way. Otherwise, I’d have given it five roses. Still, keep the tissues handy when you read this book.

Length:  284 Pages
Prices:
Print:  $14.95
Digital:  $2.99
Buy Links:

You’ll notice we always include the publisher’s buy link. That’s because authors usually receive 40% of the book price from the publisher. Editors and cover artists usually receive about 5%. When you buy a book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or another third-party vendor, they take a hefty cut and the author, editors and cover artists receive their royalties from what is left. So, if a book costs $5.99 at E-BookPublisher.com and you buy from there, the author will receive about $2.40. If you buy the book at Amazon, the author will receive about $0.83.

Downloading the file from your computer to your e-reader is as easy as transferring any file from your computer to a USB flash drive. You can download your books onto your computer using “Save As” to a “Books” folder you create and sort them into sub-folders by genre, author, or however you wish before transferring them to your e-reader. That way, if there’s a glitch with your e-reader, the books are on your computer. Once you’ve saved the book to your computer plug the larger USB end of your chord into a USB port on your computer and simply move the file from the folder you created to your E-Reader/Documents/Books directory. Your author will be happy you did when he/she sees his/her royalty statement.

Thanks for visiting. Julie, Donna, & Rochelle

Sunday, June 14, 2015

King of the World by Randall Coleman



Blurb:

The year is 2022, and time is running out.

The Earth is heating up at an alarming rate. Governments are corrupt and terrorism abounds. More nations are on the brink of war than at any other time in history, and fear riddles the planet. The Group of Five is fed up, and they’re doing something about it. In their quest to usher in a new way, the Group of Five is seeking to elect a true king, one who can restore balance to the world. Will they find a suitable king in time, or will political corruption and the Earth’s imminent destruction win out?

Review by Rochelle:

The Group of Five plans to field a panel of five candidates for King of the World—until they meet Emmett Comanche Constitution Madison Taylor. He, of all the dozens of candidates they vet for the job, gets it. Not only does he understand what needs to be done, he sees the job as temporary. Once the local national governments are cleaned up, a King will no longer be needed and he can retire.

Taylor sees most of the problems of the world being based on unfairness. His plan for peace in Palestine is to allow the Palestinians and Israelis to vote whether to annihilate each other with nukes, or to live in peace with governments voted for by each other—the Palestinians voting for the Israeli government and vice-versa. He would demilitarize the world and use the money from each country’s war chest for things like national health care. The word “terrorist” would be banned and all terrorists would be labeled “cowardly murderers.” There would be one world currency and national governments would be expected to balance their budgets within a certain period of time. Income tax would be replaced by sales tax of ten percent with a one percent global relief tax. National governments would be elected by anonymous resum├ęs, with the jobs truly going to the best people for them, not the people with the largest campaign funds or the best media personas.

How could they possibly accomplish this? The Group of Five has already established a shielded community in the Mongolian desert as well as a base on the Moon that is stocked with nuclear weapons to enforce their policies globally. They have a crack army and security team to protect Emmett and themselves, and they plan to hold the election over the internet.

Great ideas if they can pull them off. The problem with The King of the World—it needed an editor. By about the third time Emmett gave pretty much the same speech to the same adulation, I felt my blood glucose rising. The dialog was stilted, and despite the assassination attempts, it was slow going. Twice, I put the book down and read other books, pushing it farther back in my review schedule. A good editor would have tightened it up and made it the page-burner it truly should have been.

Am I such a cynic that by the end I was actually hoping Emmett would turn on the Group of Five and take over as the worst dictator of all time, or was I just tired of the saccharine nature of the book? He kept promising “happiness.” A politician can’t give people happiness. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Most folks are as happy as they allow themselves to be.” I know people who have a lot of material wealth, and they’re miserable. I live pretty much on a frayed shoestring and I’m usually pretty happy, and I know other people like me. I wouldn’t mind living in the Group of Five’s utopia. I just don’t want to slog through another 450 pages of redundant molasses again. My blood glucose couldn’t stand it.  I'm sorry, Mr. Coleman. I can't recommend The King of the World.

Length:  548 Pages
Prices:
Print:  $18.95
Digital:  $8.99

You’ll notice we always include the publisher’s buy link. That’s because authors usually receive 40% of the book price from the publisher. Editors and cover artists usually receive about 5%. When you buy a book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or another third-party vendor, they take a hefty cut and the author, editors and cover artists receive their royalties from what is left. So, if a book costs $5.99 at E-BookPublisher.com and you buy from there, the author will receive about $2.40. If you buy the book at Amazon, the author will receive about $0.83.

Downloading the file from your computer to your e-reader is as easy as transferring any file from your computer to a USB flash drive. You can download your books onto your computer using “Save As” to a “Books” folder you create and sort them into sub-folders by genre, author, or however you wish before transferring them to your e-reader. That way, if there’s a glitch with your e-reader, the books are on your computer. Once you’ve saved the book to your computer plug the larger USB end of your chord into a USB port on your computer and simply move the file from the folder you created to your E-Reader/Documents/Books directory. Your author will be happy you did when he/she sees his/her royalty statement.

Thanks for visiting. Julie, Donna, & Rochelle

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Heir of Hope by Stephania McGee



Blurb:

My dear one, You come to me in my dreams and we talk of things that cannot be explained in this life. How we have been brought together is a great mystery, but I wish to someday see you again…. A Mississippi Plantation: A century and a half after the Civil War nearly tore a nation asunder, the battle for freedom still rages in the heart of Ironwood's newest mistress. Emily Burns grew up an orphan, so she never expected to inherit a southern plantation. When she discovers an old diary hidden in the attic, her life becomes strangely entwined with her Civil War ancestor and she soon begins to wonder how a woman long dead can keep showing up in her dreams. Torn between her strange desire to honor Lydia's wishes and practicality, Emily cannot decide if she will keep Ironwood. Yet the house calls to her like a melancholy siren, and Emily cannot resist its tune. Resolving to stay only for a little while, and telling herself her decision has nothing at all to do with the handsome handyman helping with restorations, Emily begins to unravel the history of Ironwood – A tale of love and loss, hope and redemption. When the story seeps into her heart, Emily finds that two women separated by centuries can share the unique bonds of family ties, and that both her past and her future reside in the soul of Ironwood. Heir of Hope is book two in the Ironwood Plantation Family Saga, but it and The Whistle Walk can be read in either order.

Donna's Review:

I have been trying to space out my second and third reads on series books so as not to bore my readers. I picked up Heir of Hope, the second in the Ironwood Plantation Family Saga series, because of the genealogy and family history aspect. Heir of Hope takes place 150 years after the first book, The Whistle Walk. Yes, I’m a nerd. I also like the idea of finding a great family fortune or solving a family mystery.


Heir of Hope was an enjoyable read, and it is not necessary to have read the first book in the series. As a matter of fact, reading the second so soon after the first was probably one of the more bothersome parts of reading. The author goes into long diary sections written by Lydia, the heroine in the first book, and they mostly rehash what happened there. Having just read that one, the events were fresh in my mind. Occasionally, a perspective was changed, but not often enough to keep my interest. I confess, there were times I skipped those sections, but had I not just read the other I might not have done so.

Emily Burns’ struggles to come to terms with her past and move toward her future are believable and well-paced. However, while her external and internal goals are clear, she is not desperate to accomplish them. The result is an enjoyable read, but not one that keeps you on the edge of your seat. She also has a bad temper, and the things she does as a result are more reminiscent of a ten year old boy than a 20s something woman. By this time, she should have been able to handle her anger better.

I loved the aspect of revisiting a place from 150 years previous, although I found the setting, with such rich possibilities, a bit lacking. I loved the aspect of Emily finding the trunk with the diary, and of her finding out about her ancestors. I appreciated the way McGee wove the lives of the women in various generations together, making them more alike than different.

All in all an enjoyable read, if not a page turner. If you like history and especially genealogy, this one is for you.


Three roses. 


Length:  278 Pages
Prices:
Print:  $ 14.99
Digital:  $ 3.99


Thanks for visiting. Julie, Donna & Rochelle

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Captain’s Story: Book One, by Marie Cheryl Eddings



Blurb:

Doctor Robert Thomas Temple is a man of many parts. Born into poverty and violence, he works his way out of an urban combat zone to build personal prosperity. Finishing university as an engineer and inventor, he goes to war in Vietnam as an Air Force Lieutenant and intelligence analyst. He soon becomes known to grunts in the bush as “one scary dude” for his sniper skills and the speed of his martial arts movements. More than one Viet Cong partisan will have reason to call him “the Tall Assassin” in their own language.

Starting at an early age, Bob becomes a man who loves women—and more than one of them loves him. Lessons learned from his first intimate teacher will draw many to his bed, for good or ill. One ex-wife hates him, though her mother would happily give him references. His business partners call him “Colonel” or “Doctor,” but to the women who live with him he is “The Captain”... and they'll be more than happy to sail or serve under him.

Now, another young woman wants to enter the Captain's life. Having fallen for one of his lady lovers, Marie decides that if she's to be with Desiree, then she'd better meet the man who Desiree goes home to and adores. When Desiree and her co-mistress Renate propose to add an eighteen year-old Library Science major to the Captain's stable of eager mares, he lays down the law: Marie must first research and write his biography—without their help. She needs to know him as a person and a friend in all of his many parts, before playing bedtime games. “Sex with strangers may sound like thrills...but more often than not, it's a lonely business.”

The person who Marie discovers in her research and shared time will become one of her “life teachers,” shaping the person she becomes as an adult, even as she falls in love again. She will learn many things from the Captain and his women—and from others for whom she cares.

Set against a turbulent backdrop of fifty years, The Captain's Story is a journey through war and remembrance, love and loss, and learning the oldest lesson: “The more we love, the more we can love.”

The Captain's Story is intended for mature audiences.

Review by Julie Grimm:

I was asked by the author to give an honest review of this book. Thinking it was erotica, I was waiting to get to that part and realized I would be waiting a very long time for that to happen! This is actually a war story with quite a lot of erotica in it. I felt like the Captain’s erotic relationships unnecessarily lengthened the book.

I almost stopped reading it because the beginning was difficult to read due to the changing points of view and the air quotes. I found the numerous air quotes used by the author disconcerting, and I stumbled on them every time because they were not needed for the reader to understand what was being said.

I mostly enjoyed The Captain’s Story when his life starts being told from a narration point of view. Robert Temple, aka The Captain, was encouraged to read books by the school librarian, the junk yard guy gave him the opportunity to learn about electronics, and an older lady taught him about sex. The copious amounts of knowledge he gleaned in a short amount of time served him well as he began his career in the military and served in the Vietnam War.

It seemed to me that the war terminology was very precise and accurate, and the story from that point is very well written and the editing well done.

Length: 773 Pages
Prices:
Digital: $2.99