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Char :)

Friday, 6 January 2012

*** Review*** Taffy by Becca Smejkal

On the Back of the Book

Coming from a disjointed family with an absentee father, Stephanie thought she knew all there was to know about heartache. When she spends summer vacation with her best friend, Kat, she finds that might not be so true. As Stephanie struggles to understand the relationships around her she also discovers a girl she never knew within herself.

Pre Read Thoughts

I was scouring through Amazon’s selection of free books for when my Kindle decides that it needs to be in my life. (Christmas present Kindle was faulty. Long story much ranted about on Twitter.) Although I got it for free it’s currently listed on Amazon for £1.98. The cover isn’t particularly eye-catching though the font that the title is written in is pretty cool. The synopsis sounds interesting so I decided I would download the book.

Post Read Thoughts
I wasn’t impressed with this. The idea of the story and the way it was set out was actually a good idea and I’ll give the author credit where it’s due. This could have been a really good story, but there was one massive, fatal flaw – the writing. I found it to be pretty stilted. The conversations and Stephanie’s internal monologue felt really stilted and came across as incredibly boring. The whole flow of the book was off and it was a battle for me to read it without wanting to throw things across the room. Now I don’t mean to be horrible and this is just my personal opinion but I kind of feel that this book would’ve been better in the hands of someone who actually has a clue about writing a decent story.

Stephanie – She’s the main character in the book. Her nickname is Taffy, though she doesn’t realise it until she goes on holiday with Kat. Even though her internal monologue made her seem like the dullest person in the known universe, I thought she could’ve been alright. Sure she was a bit of a goody two shoes but I genuinely believe that she meant well. I thought she was selfish and what she said in one of the final scenes annoyed me. It wasn’t the time or the place and I liked her a bit less after that.

Katherine – Stephanie’s best friend. You’re constantly told how nice she is but this isn’t the side of Kat that I saw so it’s just annoying. I think that she was inconsiderate and selfish leaving her best friend on her own in a place she’d never been before. She allowed herself to be put in dodgy situations and ultimately she paid the price for that. I have no sympathy for her and I don’t care if that makes me seem heartless. She didn’t appeal to me and I refuse to get emotionally involved with a fictional character I didn’t connect with.

Aaron – He’s the incredibly boring love interest of the story. He’s really full on with Steph from the moment they meet and that freaks me out a little. I didn’t find him particularly memorable and I don’t really have that much to say about him.  I’m trying to think. Oh! I know! I thought he was too perfect, he really didn’t appeal to me. I wouldn’t want to meet him. I’d be scared of what he’d say to me.

Overall this is a good idea that has been ruined by catastrophically bad writing. This author needs to step away from self publishing and either stop writing (I like this idea) or invest in a good editor or someone (anyone) to just rewrite the whole thing and make it readable. My original draft review is so much nicer than this edit but I decided I’d rather be harsh and honest than to feel like I held back my opinions to keep an indie author happy. I’d feel like I was letting myself down.

My Rating

2 stars – It’s okay, the author can hunt me down and thank me for my kindness and leniency later. I know you’re thinking why and the answer is, this book only deserves one but I’m so generous I’m giving it an extra star. I don’t recommend this unless you’re one of those readers who likes every book they read, and if you are, I hate you. Only because I want to be like you though. 

Thursday, 5 January 2012

*** Review*** Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite

On the Back of the Book

In the French Quarter of New Orleans the Mardi Gras revellers concealed a group of pleasure-seekers who preferred to wear black. For Zillah, Molochai and Twig the party had been going on for centuries, fuelled by sexual frenzy, green Chartreuse and a cocktail of vodka and innocent blood.

Nothing was born in horror and brought up in suburban Maryland. Even before he ran away to find his true home, he suspected he was different from other teenagers. And when he had his first taste of human blood, he knew he was right.

Ghost was the visionary singer of the band Lost Souls? When Nothing was drawn into Zillah’s fatal circle, Ghost had to decide whether he should try to save the boy from himself – or abandon him to his bloody birthright.

Pre Read Thoughts

This was recommended to me a couple of years ago by a friend. I bought the book but then forgot to actually read it (like you do). Now it’s at the top of my TBR pile and I can’t wait to give it a go. I bought it off Amazon but I’m not sure how much I paid for it. I did try to find it on Kindle but it’s not available so you’ll have to buy a print copy. I’m not entirely sure what the cover’s about, it’s very green though. It doesn’t attract my attention as I’m not a fan of the colour green and nothing in particular stands out about it for me. The synopsis is interesting but I can tell that it’s not what I’d normally read. This is a step out of my comfort zone and I just hope it’s worth it.

Post Read Thoughts

It was quite a hard book to read and I never felt that I completely got into the story. While the writing was wonderfully descriptive I found that I was put off by the torrent of sex scenes, some of which were quite disgusting, I’m not down with incest, and the foul language, now I swear but never have I seen so much in a book. I think that there are other, better, ways of getting your point across and moving the plot along. I did like the story though and how the characters all converged together then fell away from one another. I heard that this was horror but I didn’t find it particularly scary, just disgusting. I did love the author’s interpretation of vampires though; I do like it when vampires are ruthless murderers.

Christian – At three-hundred-and-something, Christian is the oldest vampire in the book.  He’s incredibly lonely and I felt sorry for him because he ended up paying for Zillah’s reckless actions. He tried to save Nothing and this is probably why I like him.

Zillah – I don’t like Zillah. I think he’s self obsessed and so very cruel. He’s the stereotypical vampire, incredibly beautiful with the power to seduce anyone he wants. His green eyes seem to be able to hypnotize everyone. He’s the leader of the vampires and is Nothing’s lover – and father. I’ve been trying not to think about that too much.

Molochai & Twig – They’re Zillah’s cronies. They don’t really get much of a chance to develop but I think they’re pretty loyal to him. I wouldn’t want to meet them down a dark alley if I’d messed with Zillah, let’s just leave it at that.

Nothing – Born on Christian’s bedroom floor, Nothing is Zillah’s son, he’s sent to try and live a normal life but he runs away and stumbles upon Zillah and his companions. He’s actually looking for the band Lost Souls? who he likes to dream are his brothers. He’s easily led astray by Zillah and his attraction to him. I felt sorry for him more than anything.

Ghost – He’s the lead singer of Lost Souls?, he also has the gift of psychicness. The weight of that on him is incredible and I kind of get the feeling that he’d save the whole world if he was able. He was my favourite character, the only one that I felt I could connect with a bit.

Overall this was a difficult book for me to read due to some of the content. I definitely wouldn’t read it again but if you’re into horror then maybe you should.  I did like that the vampires behaved like vampires and the way the book was written. I think the book might stay with me for quite a while as it’s one of the best written that I’ve read for a couple of weeks.

My Rating

3 stars – This wasn’t really my cup of tea but I hope fans of vampires pick this up because it might appeal to them. I recommend it to adult fans of horror as they’ll know exactly how good or bad this is compared to other stuff. I’m pretty clueless.

A Final Note

As I’ve pointed out there’s violence, swearing and sex. Now, I realise that everyone’s different so I should point out that some of the sex is incestuous between parent and child (that freaked me out) and some of it is between two guys, just in case that freaks you out. 

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

*** Review*** Their Newborn Gift by Nikki Logan

On the Back of the Book

One big secret...

When Lea became accidentally pregnant she decided that she would go it alone. Rodeo star Reilly wasn't the sort of man who'd want to be tied down. But five years later she needs to tell him her secret...

One tiny blessing...

Learning he's a daddy is bittersweet for Reilly, because his little girl is fighting to survive. Her only hope is a new brother or sister. Can he and Lea create a newborn miracle - and a future together?

Pre Read Thoughts

I found this for free on the Kindle and after reading the synopsis I decided that it was probably worth giving it a go, I mean if I didn’t like it, it wouldn’t have cost me anything.  I’m not a fan of babies so the cover isn’t something that I’d take much notice of. It was the title and the synopsis that made me click download in the end.

Post Read Thoughts

I actually really enjoyed this and I wasn’t expecting to. I thought it was well written and even though it got a bit too sweet for me in places, had a good plot to it. I liked the fact that it broke a couple of Mills & Boon stereotypes for me. I didn’t even realise it was one until I saw a bigger version of the cover. I also thought it was easy to read and after a while I forgot that I wasn’t reading a proper book. I did see a couple of issues with the typing but there wasn’t anything too crazy.

Lea – she’s the leading lady and I didn’t know what to make of her at first because of her hard exterior, but once I’d got past her front and saw that all she wanted was the best for her daughter, I began to respect her a lot more. I kind of got why her past had made her so closed to having Reilly in her baby’s life from the start but I think that she should’ve given him that chance. As her walls came down he proved himself more than worthy.

Reilly – I really wasn’t a fan of Reilly at first, his actions were disgusting and nothing condones them for me. I could see that he loved his newly discovered daughter but I hated what he’d said and I couldn’t get past it. As the story progressed, my initial thoughts of him changed and I saw that underneath the gruffenss there was a good man with a big heart. He also had a bad past and his understanding towards Lea is part of what made him so close to perfect in the end.

Overall this is a lovely story that had the perfect happy ending. It did get a bit soppy for me in places, but that’s because I don’t normally read this genre, I managed to cope with it because a lot of it surrounded the little girl (whose name I’ve forgotten). I thought Lea and Reilly had great chemistry and I was really rooting for them to get it on long before they did. This was quite a quick read but I did enjoy it.

My Rating

4 stars – I liked this so much more than I thought I would. It’s nice to get a pleasant surprise from a book. It was also a  lovely break from what I normally like to read. I recommend this to fans of romance novels. If you look it might still be free on Kindle. 


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