Tag Archives: Kindle

Book Review of “Surrender” by Aimee Lane

I wrote the header for this post, and then I sat and stared at it for a while. I’m not even sure how to review this book. Let’s try to start with the basics.

Were there any explosions? Yes, there was, but you’d miss it is you blinked. I had to re-read the section to make sure what happened…. But there was an explosion, so she earns an extra cookie for her efforts.

What POV was it in? Second person. That was fine… but it switched back and forth between the character of Lily and Cael. For half of the book, this worked wonderfully. The other half, it didn’t work for me. I’ll explain later.

Okay… let’s get into the good stuff

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Aimee Laine has a sharp writing style. She is crisp, concise, and not overbearing on her settings. I prefer a novel that moves, and for the most part, Surrender does keep flowing.

The last 40% or so (yeah, I read on a Kindle) flew by. Great plot, great pace, and lots of heart pumping excitement. I really enjoyed it and had trouble putting it down.

Oreo Middle

Head Hopping:

Okay… so… here is my problem. I completely understand why she skipped between points of view in the end of the novel. I worked beautifully.

However, it didn’t work so well for me in the beginning. I think I could have gone through almost all of the beginning entirely in Lily’s POV and not missed out on much.

I think the author tried to keep it consistent, and made sure we saw Cael’s POV in the beginning so it was not jarring at the end. For me, it backfired, because I found I wanted to stay with Lily.

Too many characters.

There were just too many characters in Surrender. Half the time I was lost and had no idea who was who. Now, in saying this, there was a “book one” that I did not read. This may be part of my confusion. But my mind wanted to focus on Cael and Lily and the family that Lily went to live with. But Cael was always involved with long conversations with other people that just seemed to go on forever (from my perspective) because I wanted to get back to Lily.

Aimee Laine did her job, in that I cared about Lily… but I just didn’t care about all the rest of them… even if they were trying to save Lily.

Long conversations.

I touched on this a second ago. I feel like there were too many extended conversations. Honestly, I started to skim from time to time, thinking: “Let’s get back to Lily.”

Was this two short stories that became a novel?

At about 40% in to the novel, I was dreading writing this review. For the reasons above, I was really not liking it. It felt like it was winding down, and it pretty much did, with one loose end. But there was still 60% of the novel to go.

Huh

Oreo Bottom

All of the sudden, when the characters grabbed onto that little loose end, my interest became peaked. Suddenly, I was drawn in. I cared. I stayed up late reading. I hid from my kids trying to get a few extra pages in. We had company, and I was bored, so I scooted upstairs and got a chapter in and slipped back before anyone wondered about me. I was interested. I was hooked. It came together.

I did have a slight cringe when three or so new characters were introduced into the ensemble, but the pacing kept me going. Right up until the very last page you find yourself on a roller-coaster ride of awesomeness.

When I finished, I closed my Kindle and said “Wow, that was great.”

But here lies my quandary… I feel like I have read one three-cookie “okay” book, and one four cookie “really great” book. So how the heck do you tie that all together?

I’m just not sure. I wish that the author had found a way get past the first half of the book faster. There just seemed to be too much fat there, when all the beefy good stuff was at the end.

Would I recommend Surrender?

Yeah, I think so. Especially if you read Little White Lies. The beginning might make more sense if you have read the first novel in the series.

But if you find the beginning a little “tame”, don’t hate me… just get to about the 40% point and enjoy the ride. The second half of the novel really moves, and it is an enjoyable, tense read right up until the last few pages.

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Review of Make Believe Anthology

Are ya looking for Romancing Your E-Reader?  25 Ebooks Up for grabs!  Click Here to Enter!

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Yay!  (I hope)  There is another review scheduled for today!  Please hop on over to Kindle and me http://www.kindleandme.com/2012/12/blog-tour-make-believe-by-ja-belfield.html and let me know what they said!

Thanks!

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Make BelieveFor The Love Of Christmas CoverWhy all the hullabaloo? Well, it’s to promote my two new releases “Make Believe” and “For the Love of Christmas”

That’s why!

And don’t forget to click on “Enter to Win” for a chance to win your choice of the two titles! Yay!

Oh, I almost forgot… A few random commentors along the tour path will win their choice of anthologies, too. So be sure to hop on over and say “Hi”

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Hop on over and send me some love!

Click on over to see Emily’s interview on Mywithershins

Check out today’s Review:  http://www.kindleandme.com/

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Visit my Anthology buddies!  They are celebrating too!

Jenny Keller Ford

J.A. Belfield

Kelly Said

Lynda R. Young

Terri Rochenski

Janelle Lee

Dani-Lyn Alexander

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Road to Publication #19: Completing the ARCs

Whew!  Anyone want to take a breath with me?  Breathe in, Breathe out.  Breathe in, Breathe out.  Ahhhh feels good, doesn’t it?

So, yes, the arcs are done.  What did I find?

There were a few odd editing errors.  I mean… really odd editing errors.  For instance, a sentence ended a paragraph in the original version.  All of the rest of that paragraph was deleted, but that particular sentence remained, but was added to a different paragraph where it made no sense.  Yeah, weird… I know.

What I also came across were places where a string of speech was removed for one reason or another, leaving what was left behind “hollow”…  meaning someone answered a question that was never asked, or things like that.  Yes, weird again.

I also found a sentence where a word was missing, but it was in the original text.  Isn’t that odd?  I guess I took for granted that the file would be cut and pasted.  Apparently not.

What I marked mostly was something that I DON’T think they will fix, even though I asked for it.  The reason is that I just saw the same thing in a published novel from this publisher.

It’s silly, and very anal I will admit… but on my Kindle, if a sentence falls off with a “…” at the end… if placed correctly, the “…” will be treated as its own word and end up all by itself on a line.  I asked that ending “…” ellipses be attached to the final word in each case where they appear.

Like I said… I can ask, right?  I hope they do it, because I think it will look better.

The hard part of this whole project was transferring all my notes from my Kindle onto an Excel spreadsheet so they could review it in the format that they requested.  I suppose it would have been easier if I edited on my computer in PDF format, then I could have just created the spreadsheet at the same time.

Yes, in retrospect it would have been easier, but if I come across this again, I will probably do it the same way.  The reason is that I enjoyed the experience of reading it on the Kindle, as my readers will see it.  It just looked “different.”

(And it’s cool having the cover with my name on it appearing in my Kindle Carousel 🙂 )

Ah… vanity… definitely my favorite sin.

Oh!  Impromptu movie game!  Anyone know who said that line, and what movie it came from?

Road to Publication #18: Reviewing the ARCs, OH NO!

Holy Crud.  This is not happening.  I just found out why you DON’T want to have two works being published at exactly the same time… and even worse… by two different publishers.

I was stunned this morning when the first round edits for Connect the Dots came through. I thought I would have another week.  I have two weeks to finish the ARC edit (the very last edit) of Last Winter Red AND finish the first round edit for Connect the Dots.

Okay.  Breathe.  It’s all good.  This is a great problem to have.  People are going to spit at you for having this problem.  Take a deep breath.  Chocolate helps.  Good.  Relax.

Okay.  No problem.  I can do this.

So… back to Last Winter Red.  I started reading it on Kindle last night.  I made a lot of highlights on the ARC with the handy Kindle Notes feature.

The reason for some of my notes is because my writing style has changed a lot in the last few months since I worked on Last Winter Red, and things don’t seem right to me anymore.

I did find a missing quotation mark at the end of a sentence.  Easy fix (I hope).

What is odd, is every once in a while I stopped and said “Is that what he said?” or “Did I write that?” or “Wait.  That makes absolutely no sense.”

I’m wondering if I even wrote some of these things, or if they were edited to the point of losing “something”.  I want to go through the whole thing, make notes, and then go back to my original copy and see if I need to smack myself upside the head for past mistakes.

Maybe I do.  At this point, I’m not sure what happened.

Either way, I think some more changes are in order.

What makes me cringe over this is that I could have made these changes months ago.  I am tucking this away as a “lesson’s learned” though.

I did have a bad feeling about not reviewing the full version before it went to copy editing.  You know that deep clawing pit-in-your-stomach feeling when you think you lost control of something?

To make sure this doesn’t happen again, I MADE SURE before I signed the contract with Still Moments Publishing for “Connect the Dots” that I WOULD have a chance to review a final before it went to final editing.  Not only that, I will get to see a FULL VERSION as it stands through each round of the editing process.

For a control freak like me, this is a huge relief… because I know I will not be down to the wire and fixing errors I would have seen earlier.

This is not J.Taylor Publishing’s fault either.  It is the way they work.  All publishers are different, and as an author, I need to be ready for this.

What I need to do now is finish reading and marking.  Then I want to go back again reading carefully for spelling/punctuation errors, and then I need to document and changes necessary on  a spreadsheet.

I need to do this within one week, so I can devote the next week to Connect the Dots.

Once again, sleep may become optional.

Wow. I hated this book. I mean, I REALLY hated it.

My son (the MMGR) asked me what I was reading yesterday.  I gave him the title.  He asked if it was good.  I laughed and said, “No, actually it is really bad.”

 

“So why are you still reading it?” he asked.

I smiled and said:  “I am taking notes to make sure I never write like this.”

I am going to save the writer the pain of giving you the title of the novel or the author’s name, but I thought this experience was worth mentioning.

I picked up this novel for free from the author.  It was one of those things where the author gives away book one, with a teaser of another book at the end, and links (in Kindle) to where you can buy the next four books in the series if you liked this one.

Did I buy the rest of the books?  Ahhhhhh…. No.

Giving away Book One is a perfectly sound practice to drum up an audience to buy more of your work and get your name out there… IF YOUR WORK IS GOOD.

This was so sad.  Really, it was.

This was a self-published novel.  Now, self-publishing is fine… IF YOU ARE READY.  This novel read like a third or fourth draft that had never had a beta read.  There were a few typos, missing dialog tags, etc.

I can forgive that.  The big problem here was the Show versus Tell issues.  I never really became immersed into the story.  I always felt like I was reading a book.  I never had a problem putting it down, because each page was kind of dull.

The story revolved around an orphan girl, who finds out on her eighteenth birthday that she is a witch.  A male witch takes her from her “normal” life to train her and teach her the ropes.  He is handsome.  You know what?  He is handsome.  Oh, yeah, did I mention… he is handsome.  That’s all I know because she never said anything else about what he looked like.

These two characters don’t like each other to begin with.  Then suddenly, out of the blue, he mentions that he’s engaged, and he doesn’t want to get married.  They decide (in one page) to pretend they’ve fallen in love so he can get out of it. The next page, in a big tell section, she falls for him, and then BOOM he says he’s fallen for her and they end up in bed together.  From dislike to bed in two pages.

Then in the last few pages the fiancée (I guess the bad guy girl) materializes and is ticked about the relationship.  Where’d she come from? I’d never even heard of her until about six pages ago.

This was a short story/novella.  If it was written properly, it could have been a solid novel, and very exciting.  I felt like I was reading an elongated synopsis.

Was the story good?  Well, yes, it could have been great.  It just was not ready for publication.

This is what scares me about self-published novels.  So many are just not ready.  If you want to self-publish, go ahead.  Good luck to you… just PLEASE pay your dues.  Get at least five hyper-critical betas and LISTEN TO THEM.  You don’t need to change everything, but get lots of opinions.

NOTE:  The betas CANNOT be your Mom or Dad.  Let’s be real, here. Get yourself an editor, too.  Get opinions on your story arc.  Develop you characters and your story.  Don’t rush things just to get something “out there.”

I feel bad, because this story had a lot of potential, and could have been great if it was actually finished before it was published.

If you are going for traditional publishing, the publisher will tell you if it is ready or not by giving you a contract.  For me, that nod is priceless, because I know then that my story is ready, and I won’t have someone blogging about me (and maybe not being as nice as me, and using my name **GACK**)

Please don’t get caught in this trap.  Give your story the attention and work that it deserves.  Pay your dues, and make sure you are ready.

And by pay your dues – I don’t mean that traditional is the “only way”.  I mean don’t skip the steps that will make the difference between a really bad review… and a slew of awesome reviews.  Give your novel the time and attention it needs in the editing phase before you publish.

Enough said.

EEEE Gads! Why the heck did I read a Western? A Review of Mended Hearts by Olivia Devereaux

Yeah, so, I just read this little Western story.  In general, other than non-fiction as a whole, the lump sum of everything Western (as in America’s traditional “Old West”) is at the bottom of the barrel of stuff I’d want to read… and I almost never scrape the bottom of the barrel.  So why the heck did I pick this up?

Two reasons.

Reason  #1:   I am submitting a short story to the same publisher “Still Moments Publishing” … and as any good author should do, I wanted to research something that they recently put out (April 2012 in this case.)

Okay, so …  this publisher has tons of titles…

why pick something you know you won’t like?

Reason #2:  A little bird told me that this story was submitted for consideration in an anthology, but they did not think it was a good fit.

However…. They liked it so much they wanted to publish it as a stand-alone.  They even created a new “western” category to their offered listings to slip it into.

All this drew my attention, so I bit the bullet (Tee Hee) and resisted my urge to cringe at the [very stark, boring and very western] cover.   I bopped over to Amazon and popped a copy into my Kindle.

Here’s the jist of this 28-ish page story:  A family is living out in the middle of nowhere.  Dad gets hit by a stray bullet and dies.  The next day the son finds another guy (a stranger) in their barn bleeding from a gunshot wound.  The widow takes him in and cares for him, hoping that when he wakes up he will be able to tell her what happened to her husband.

Yeah… boring.  Not a spaceship in sight.  However…

 Let me tell you something …  I think this lady could probably re-write Humpty Dumpty and be able to get my attention.  Within a few pages, I totally forgot how much I hate the Old West as a genre.  I was completely absorbed in the story, and emotionally connected to the characters.

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Oh! Let’s not get carried away there.  Reign yourself in, Buckaroo!

Normally I have a laundry list of things to pick out.  You know… general writer’s mistakes that make me cringe.

In this novel?

NADA.  NONE.  ZILCHO.

I bow down to the writing Gods and say “Why Why Why can’t everyone write this cleanly!”

The writing was crisp, fresh and for the first time this year – NO TYPOS.  Yay!  Extra cookie just for that, because that has really been ticking me off lately.

So, what was wrong with it?  I had to rack my brain, but I will nit-pick on two very minor things.

Number one:  This woman’s husband just died.  She is still has dirt on her skirt from burying him… and this other guy shows up.  She is instantly attracted to him (but at least feels guilty about it.)  This is what bothered me about this:  She is portrayed as really loving her husband.  So, I put myself in her shoes …  If my husband just died a few hours ago, I would barely be able to look at a man … let alone find one attractive.  I just found that unrealistic. – subtract half a cookie.

Number Two:  I hate when names sound alike.  It confuses me.  Maybe it is because my eyes read quickly, and only pick up certain letters, but this is just a pet peeve of mine.  The Woman’s name is Ella, and her son’s name is Eli.  Now, I realize this may have been one of those “name your kid after you” things,  but every time I hit “Eli” my eyes read “Ella” and I had to go back and re-read because I got confused.  –Subtract another half a cookie

So, for these two nit-picky things, I am nibbling away at one full cookie.

Yeeee Hawwww!

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this little-ditty, yes-sir-eee.  If the writing were poor… if it had not flowed so well, and if the characters were not so well rounded, I may have remembered I was in a Western.  If the chemistry between the Widow and the patient wasn’t so dern good, I would have been annoyed by her initial attraction to him for longer than a page.

The writing was just dern good.

So, what’s the verdict?  She lost one cookie in the creamy bad stuff section.  And, sorry, it’s the rules … I need to take away another due to lack of explosions.  So that leaves three out of five cookies.

Oh!  Wait Jennifer!  You gave her an extra cookie for having no typos!

Well, yes-sir-eee you’d be right about that, Buckaroo.  That is a grand total of Four out of Five Oreos for Mended Hearts by Olivia Devereaux.

[She cringes]  Ewwwwweeee!  I just gave a nice review to a Western.  What is this world coming to????