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: “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: “Last Praetorian” by Smith

“The Last Praetorian” is book one in the “Redemption Trilogy” by Mike Smith. It is offered as a free Kindle download. I read the May 2013 326 page edition of the science fiction novel set after 2312 A.D. I’m not being paid for my review.

Synopsis (my summary):

In the future an empire forms. The Emperor’s family has ruled for five hundred years. The hero served the last Emperor. He has a romance with the Princess, and eventually ends up running a small shipping company. A new shadowy organization wants to take over his small company. An old enemy shows up to settle a score years in the making.The hero also has a romance with an assassin sent after him that he turns to his side.

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 scale):

  • Overall: .5
  • Hero: 1
  • Read more than once: No
  • Read others in the series: No

Review:

The story starts with a prologue that is nothing more than a history lesson. Chapter one then jumps to five years in the past. Within the first page the story jumps to important events that happened at yet another historical point. Chapter three jumps to the present. Chapter four then jumps to five years in the past. This sets up how the story flows for the rest of the book.

The time jumps in this story seemed unnecessary and resulted in confusion. Even in the middle of an action scene the reader can find themselves transported to a historical event, and back again. It is jarring and can slow down the flow.

The narrative doesn’t sync up with actions. Some of the actions don’t sync up with thoughts the characters have. For example the hero is the highest ranking member of the Emperors elite guard. The narrative right before the hero encounters two new guards explains who the hero is and how he doesn’t tolerate being questioned. So if he has that reputation; why wouldn’t the guards know him?

There are a lot of characters to keep straight. This is hindered by the back and forth time jumps. There are two protagonists and there were two heroines (love interests) in the story. And the point of view from one character to the next is really fluid.

Other issues with the novel:

  • Lack of consistency.
  • Grammatical, punctuation and spelling issues. Including an excessive use of the exclamation point. Run-on and awkward sentences.
  • Cuss words that were unnecessary

Related Posts:

Roseylinn Recycled Book Reading Challenge Post The creator of the Recycled Book Reading Challenge: LifeExperimenting Blog Recycled Book Reading Challenge Post

4/7/2017 Added in Rating Legend.

Book Review: “92 Pacific Boulevard” by Macomber

“92 Pacific Boulevard Cedar Cover series #9” was written by Debbie Macomber, and published by Mira Books in 2009. I rented the book from the library. 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 scale):

  • Overall: 1.5
  • Read more than once: No
  • Read others in the series: No; most likely because I started with book 9.

Review: 

The novel is set in a small town and follows the lives of several of the couples in the town. With how the book moves from one couple to the next with each chapter reminded me of a television soap opera. There are two small mysteries tossed in; however, they are treated as sub-plots.

There are too many characters to track through the book. Even the author referred to a character named Grace Sherman Harding as either Grace Sherman or Grace Harding throughout the book. There wasn’t really one hero or heroine as each couple had their own issues to get through in this book; some did and some didn’t. Also as the book is the ninth in the series a lot of the details about their relationships have already been established. Had I read the first 8 books in the series I might have understood why two characters took a trip to Las Vegas, and because they only found one hotel room; got married.

The book also did a lot of telling instead of showing things. For example there is a potluck. One character attends and then tells another character all about the event. Some of the details move other story lines forward and it would have been better to have the reader be at the potluck.

There were also some mistakes such as low gas mileage being cited as a benefit for a car. I tend to believe that the higher the gas mileage the better when it comes to a car, but that is just me.


Related Posts:

Roseylinn Recycled Book Reading Challenge Post The creator of the Recycled Book Reading Challenge: LifeExperimenting Blog Recycled Book Reading Challenge Post

 

Book Review: “A Colby Christmas” By Webb

“A Colby Christmas” is book 25 in the Colby Agency series. It was written by Debra Webb, and published by Harlequin Intrigue in 2006.It is a 245 page romantic suspense novel. I got the novel at a discount book store and I am not being paid for my review.

Synopsis (my summary):

The hero is wrongfully suspected of embezzlement, or money laundering. He was expected to start work for the Colby Agency after Christmas sometime. The villain hires henchmen to come into the building and destroy evidence. The Colby Agency has offices down one floor from the investment agency that is being investigated. The hero and heroine end up in the building with the henchmen.

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 scale):

  • Overall: 3.5
  • Hero: 3
  • Heroine: 3
  • Read more than once: No
  • Read others in the series: Yes

Review:

The novel starts from the point of view of the matriarch, Victoria, of the Colby Agency. It isn’t until chapter two that the story starts. That is when the medias res (middle of the action) happens. The heroine wakes up still at the office and wonders what happened to the musicians that were supposed to be there setting up. This starts her adventure for the night. The hero also shows up for the first time in chapter two.

The rest of the novel the hero and heroine run around the building trying to escape the bad guys. They get caught. They escape. They get the proof the hero had to prove his innocence out. Some of it seems a bit drawn out. There is some romantic tension between the hero and heroine. Where the villains are caught at the end of the novel, the henchmen they hired were not.

The scenes involving Victoria aren’t necessary and only break up the momentum of the rest of the story. At the end of the novel at the Christmas party there is a listing of who all is at the party.


Related Posts:

Roseylinn Recycled Book Reading Challenge Post The creator of the Recycled Book Reading Challenge: LifeExperimenting Blog Recycled Book Reading Challenge Post