Book Review: “Georgia on My Mind” by Force

“Georgia on My Mind” by Marie Force was published in 2011 by HTJB, Inc. The novel is a contemporary romance. It runs about 352 pages. When I got the book it was a free download. I am not being paid for my review.

Synopsis (my summary):

The novel covers the romantic stories of three couples. Three woman who are roommates hook up with three brothers.  There is instant attraction between all of them.

Rating Legend: 1-Didn’t like it (complete fail) 2-It was alright (below average), 3-I liked it (average), 4-It was pretty good/well done (above average), 5-It was excellent (excellent.)

Ratings (1-5 scale):

  • Overall: 2
  • Heroine: 2
  • Hero: 2

Review:

It is slightly different than a typical romance in that each couple not only falls in love at first sight; they fall into bed shortly there after. Most romance novels I have read a bit more of a relationship is established before they have sex. All issues that the couples have are resolved quickly by the end for the happily ever after.

The novel attempts to give each couple equal page time. It moves back and forth between each couple, and each person. So there are 6 main points of view. It becomes a bit to keep track of.

Some of the minor characters provided comedy to the story.

Some items:

  • Too many characters
  • Too many plot points involving each character and each couple. It caused the book to seem rushed through each of the couples stories, and didn’t give real depth.
  • The author could have done some more research to avoid some mistakes. For example Styrofoam is generally not recyclable when clean, and it certainly isn’t when soiled with food.
  • There were too many characters floating around.
  • There were a few point of view issues.

Overall I thought this novel could have been broken into three separate ones.

 

Related blog post:

Roseylinn Recycled Book Reading Challenge Post  (https://roseylinn.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/recycled-book-reading-challenge/)

Book Review: “Deadly Jellybean Affair”–Marsh

“The Deadly Jellybean Affair” by Carrie Marsh was published May 29, 2017 by Smiling House Publishing Co. It is around 318 pages; and is a cozy mystery. A preview of another book is included at the end. In exchange for an honest review I received an advanced reader copy. I am not being paid for my review.

Synopsis (my summary):

The heroine, Mary, and her friend stumble on the dead body of a girl she recently hired to work in her new bead shop. Mary’s son works in the police department and doesn’t appreciate his mother snooping around the crime. Mary however brushes off her magic skills and works hard to figure out what happens. Of course she has a cat she talks to.

Rating Legend: 1-Didn’t like it (complete fail) 2-It was alright (below average), 3-I liked it (average), 4-It was pretty good/well done (above average), 5-It was excellent (excellent.)

Ratings (1-5 scale):

  • Overall: 3
  • Heroine: 3.5
  • Hero (the cat): 3

Review:

The Deadly Jellybean Affair is a cute cozy mystery. As typical the police, in this case the heroines’ son, are stumped, or attempting to blame the wrong party. So the heroine has to step in to figure it out for them. This one the heroine is a witch and uses her spell casting ability to help her. She also has a cat that only she talks to. The cat helps her solve the crime and works to point out things to the heroine.

I liked the interactions between the heroine and her son. She figures out who committed the crime before he can. When it comes to finding out the details of the case from the police she is sneaky and a bit deceptive.

Some items:

  • There were some formatting, awkward sentences, run-on sentences, and punctuation issues. At times it wasn’t clear who was talking.
  • There were sections where I would have liked to be shown instead of told.
  • There were too many characters floating around.
  • There were a few point of view issues.

Overall I liked this novel.

Book Review Ratings

In the time I have been doing reviews I have come across a growing trend. Those who believe that books should only get 4 or 5 star ratings. This includes authors and blog book review sites who ask for an “honest review” of a 4 or 5 star rating. Anything lower and the reviewer is requested to contact the author, or site admin, prior to posting. Among the reasons why they want only 4 or 5 star ratings:

  • The overall rating of the book has to stay close to a 5
  • It is respectful of the author
  • Anyone who rates lower than a 4 has ulterior motives
  • Anything else has to be a fake review.
  • Nothing will ever be perfect
  • If you enjoyed the story it should get at least a 4

I understand that it takes time and energy to write a novel. And to the author the book has to be perfection, or at least near perfect. As such they would only want the highest rating possible. Especially from those on their advanced copy reader lists. However; it is hypocritical to ask for an honest review so long as it is a 4 or 5 star. This to me takes away from the “honest review” and casts a shadow on all star ratings.

Here are some of the things I look for in a novel:

  • Compelling plot. The story should draw me in within the first few pages.
  • Characters that are three dimensional, a bit flawed, realistic, and consistent.
  • Any facts are actual facts.

When it comes to reviews here are some of the items that cause me to lower a rating:

  • Lack of research: this can be any “fact” that is either a well known item that the author got wrong; or any “fact” that a simple internet search could clear up.
  • Technical issues: formatting, spacing, spelling, run-on sentences, grammar issues.
  • Character issues: consistency, point of view issues, too many characters.
  • Plot and sub-plot issues: too many different plots and sub-plots that a chart is needed.
  • Too much redundancy
  • Too much telling vs showing

If a novel earns a 4 or 5 star rating I give it that rating. If it has too many issues then I give it a lower rating.

Book Review “The Dead Among Us” By Carrie Marsh

“The Dead Among Us” by Carrie Marsh was published March 10, 2017 by Smiling House Publishing Co. It is a cozy mystery and the fourth in the Millerfield Village series. I got the book as a free download. I am not being paid for my review.

Synopsis (my summary):

While the heroine is helping her friend prepare for her wedding she uncovers a mystery. A ghost is scaring people near her friends bed and breakfast. She can still communicate with her cat. In this mystery the heroine finds a portal that takes her back in time. The murder she uncovers back then ties in with the ghost.

Rating Legend: 1-Didn’t like it 2-It was alright, 3-I liked it, 4-It was pretty good/well done, 5-It was excellent

Ratings (1-5):

  • Overall: 2
  • Heroine: 1.5
  • Hero: 1.5
  • Read again: no

Review:

This novel starts out in the past with an English Count meeting his lawyer. The lawyer seems upset by a decision that the Count has made. The novel then jumps to the present where the heroine and her friend first see what they believe to be a ghost. From there the novel focuses on searching for the ghost. It isn’t until later in the story where the heroine finds a portal to the past.  While in the past she finds a murder. It is with the help of her telepathic link to her cat that she finds her way back to the present.

The rest of the book is focused on solving the murder in the past and figuring out who the ghost is and what he wants. The hero and heroine lay something of a trap for the person they believe to be the villain. Only when the villain takes the bait and the action scene occurs it gets cut off in the middle. There is no big reveal to answer if they were right in their assumptions.

Some items:

  • Lack of editing and proofreading. There were formatting, awkward sentences, punctuation, grammar, word choice, and consistency issues.
  • The readers is told about things that they should have been shown.
  • There are scenes and details that don’t really add to the forward momentum to the story.  There were times when a bit more detail would be nice.
  • A bit of research would have helped avoid some items.
  • There were too many characters floating around.
  • Characters didn’t act in believable ways at times.

Overall the story is cute. This book is better overall than the last two that I read by Carrie Marsh. As I said last time a better editor/proofreader might have helped avoid the issues that took from my enjoyment of the novel.

Book Review: “Ghost Ship” By Peach

“Ghost Ship” is a twelve page science fiction/fantasy short story written by D. Wallace Peach. It was written for the “Five Elements Anthology” published February 9, 2015. It is also available as a free download for signing up for the authors newsletter. I am not being paid for my review.

 

Rating Legend: 1-Didn’t like it 2-It was alright, 3-I liked it, 4-It was pretty good/well done, 5-It was excellent

Ratings (1-5): 

  • Overall: 4
  • Heroine: 4
  • Hero: 4
  • Read again: Yes

Review:

An alien, a ghost, a spaceship, a conflict with a boss and a fireplace poker. These are the five elements each of the stories in the “Five Elements Anthology” had to incorporate. D. Wallace Peach did a good job of doing so.

I gave it a rating of 4 because:

  • Characters were well rounded and believable.
  • The story was engaging. I started reading and didn’t stop until the end.
  • The author foreshadowed the ending; and, there still was a twist to the story.
  • The story was well edited.
  • There was a good mixture of telling and showing. The story didn’t repeat itself very much at all.
  • The backstory was woven into the story.

It was a well done short story.  The authors website can be found here:  https://mythsofthemirror.com/ The signup for the newsletter is on the left hand side of the screen.

 

 

Book Review “Dining with the Dead” by Marsh

“Dining with the Dead” by Carrie Marsh was published in 2017 by the Smiling House Publishing Co. It is a 125 page cozy mystery. It is currently offered as a free download for signing up for the authors newsletter. I am not being paid for my review.

Synopsis (my summary):

Having recently moved to a small closed off village, the hostess of a hotel restaurant finds herself in a murder mystery. The villagers are suspicious of outside people; and the rumor mill suspects her as being the guilty party. Toss in a crush on the village doctor, a cat she can talk to, and two people claiming to see a ghost; and you have this cozy mystery.

Rating Legend: 1-Didn’t like it 2-It was alright, 3-I liked it, 4-It was pretty good/well done, 5-It was excellent

Ratings (1-5): 

  • Overall: 1.5
  • Heroine: 1
  • Hero: .5
  • Read again: No

Review:

The story is a cozy mystery with a small romance between the hero and heroine. It begins by telling the reader how small the small village is. It then moves to the heroines point of view where she laments about how small the village is. The reader is told about incidents with other villagers who cast a suspicious eye toward newcomers and outsiders. Soon after this the hero, and the heroines cat that she can talk to, are introduced.

The mystery starts with the cook “seeing” a ghost. Not long after that the murder happens. Immediately the heroine believes she will be blamed; so she decides to investigate.

I gave the novel an overall score of 1.5 because of the following:

  • Lack of research that led to some mistakes.
  • Lack of editing and proofreading. There were formatting, awkward sentences, punctuation, grammar, word choice, and consistency issues. A large section of chapter 17 was repeated.
  • Characters lacked depth; also believability.
  • The heroine in the books blurb is described as being able to talk to all animals, only in the book she can only talk to her cat.
  • The readers is told about things that they should have been shown.
  • For two characters who spent little time together; they fell in love rather fast.

A good editor and/or proofreader would have helped avoid a lot of the issues.

 

 


Updated on 4/7/2017 to add in that a large portion of chapter 17 was repeated, and the rating legend.

Book Review: “The Case of the Hated Body” by Marsh

“The Case of the Hated Body” by Carrie Marsh was published in 2017 by the Smiling House Publishing Co. It is a short 96 page mystery novella. It is currently offered as a free download. I am not being paid for my review.

Synopsis (my summary):

A murder happens at a mansion turned into a small hotel in the mountains. There are few clues to go on for the local police.

Rating Legend: 1-Didn’t like it 2-It was alright, 3-I liked it, 4-It was pretty good/well done, 5-It was excellent

Ratings (1-5):

  • Overall: 1
  • Hero: 1
  • Villain: 1
  • Read again: No
  • Read another book by this author: only if better done.

Review:

What starts as a promising title and description for a novel quickly turns into a disappointment. There were too many characters running around. The point of view switched around too much. There were errors with punctuation, grammar, and awkward sentences. A lot of the mistakes contained in the story would have been avoided with research. More time editing would have prevented a lot of the issues with this novella.


Updated on 4/7/2017 to add in rating legend.