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Helpful Votes: 13

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Meant to Be (The Saving Angels Series Book 1)
Meant to Be (The Saving Angels Series Book 1)
Price: $0.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Has potential with a good concept, but lacks depth., February 26, 2012
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A young adult paranormal romance, this story circles around Krista, a high school senior, who has highly empathetic abilities. She has recently moved to Santa Cruz, where she meets another girl who shares these same abilities. Further, they both recently meet boys... but not just any boys. These boys have been in their dreams for as long as they can remember. Now they are trying to discover what has set them apart from others and why. Krista and her dream boy, Mark, also soon discover that they cannot physically survive without one another and by the end of the book they also find out the cause for this weakness.

I really think this book has a lot of potential. Of course, therein lies the problem. This isn't a draft, but very much reads like one. It has a strong concept overall - especially in what we eventually find the characters' purpose to be. However, the writing to match the concept isn't quite there. The first page introduced a strong story, and then King too rapidly slipped away from it and told (vs showed) a lot of backstory which could have otherwise been nicely woven into the action of the eventual plot. King provided rich details, but in scenes or areas that did not advance plot or characterization... and when rich details would have done so, or provided authenticity, those details were absent. Potential exists for characters' motivations, to really feel what their lives had been like, but this depth is missing. As an educator, I struggled with Mark's career scenario - none of it made sense to me. We are told frequently about how intelligent each of the key characters is (and not shown - I would have loved to have "seen" their intelligence rather than just be told about it), but I could not determine the significance or importance of it.

Grammar and other editing problems interfered with my reading. Traditionally published books hold errors, too, but currently they still occur rarely, rather than frequently.

A lot of potential for the various plot and characterization aspects exists, but it is an unrealized potential in this first installment. Perhaps maturity in writing will/can be seen in the subsequent novels in this trilogy.

by Ryne Douglas Pearson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.79
14 used & new from $10.79

4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling mystery, engaging lyrical style, November 16, 2011
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This review is from: Confessions (Paperback)
I've seen some tout this novel as a thriller, but I would call it more simply a mystery, though not a mainstream one. It is not fast-paced, but unanswered questions propel you forward in the story, which follows Fr. Michael Jerome's decision to use a dying suspect's confession to help him find the truth behind his sister's murder years earlier. Although I did not like the predictable nature of romantic undertones that occurred between Fr. Michael and his sister's best friend (a character who agrees to help him), I did like the authentic nature of the ethical predicament the priest encounters; for as strong as a priest's dedication is to his vocation, one can only imagine the moral dilemma that this situation would create. I sometimes struggled to get a full grasp of the character, as I could not always reconcile it with the narrative style. That being said, this novel's greatest strength is in the lyrical nature. Pearson is a true wordsmith.

An Apple For ZoŽ (The Forsaken Book 1)
An Apple For ZoŽ (The Forsaken Book 1)
Price: $0.99

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wandering plotline, distracting editorial issues, September 1, 2011
I struggled with this novel. I am admittedly not an expert reader of this genre and therefore could allow for a lot of odd events, but I was surprised with how quickly the storyline veered off of course. It starts with an interesting murder mystery and takes the reader down a road that invites your brain to start wanting to connect the dots. Some of the details behind the murder(s) are a little, well, unnecessarily creepy, but I can get past that if I feel like I can get a feel for where everything is going. Amo takes us down a path that is connected with history and Nazis and ghosts, which fits nicely with the paranormal mystery. But when it suddenly turns into a demon hellhole? A paranormal event to be sure, but the connection between the Nazi-Silent-Film-Star-Copy-Cat-Murder and the events following it was lost. This is where the story takes a left turn and doesn't find it's way back. It is designed to be a multi-book story, so to end the first book in a cliffhanger is clever, but only effective if you have any chance of understanding the direction of the plot. I have no idea what the plot of the first book is to even connect me with future books.

Strengths: 1) strong female characters in powerful positions (although, interestingly, halfway through I noticed that the female characters always had physical descriptions while the male characters had none - could easily be a subconscious thing on Amo's part), 2) clever chapter endings that directly connected to next chapter beginnings, 3) action

Some final notes: An unusually high amount of typos existed - it is not unusual to find one or two, but the amount I found was noticeable. I read the print version, so perhaps these errors were fixed in the ebook version. Grammatically - far more issues than I would like to see. Enough to distract me. Also, different font-styles and strange spellings were used for when demons or monsters spoke. It felt, well, a little "Geronimo Stilton" to me. I'd get rid of that device in future installments.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 5, 2011 7:23 AM PDT

Four Years from Home
Four Years from Home
by Larry Enright
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.66
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4.0 out of 5 stars A bit of mystery, a bit of humor, a bit of mental intrigue., July 4, 2011
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This review is from: Four Years from Home (Paperback)
I've seen this novel classified primarily as a mystery, but the core theme of Four Years from Home, by Larry Enright touches more upon the mystery of self-exploration and relationships than perhaps the typical murder mystery. The book opens with a family hearing news from Kenyon College, that the youngest son, Harry, is dead. However, there is no body to recover and Tom, the oldest son, is commissioned by the family to travel to the college and get to the bottom of what happened.

Right from the start, Tom proves to us to be a rather unlikable character, which is part of the charm of the story because with unlikable protagonists, an author then draws us in to look for how this protagonist might either be redeemed, or become likeable in spite of his unpleasant nature.

The biggest strength of this novel is that you do indeed want to find out what happened to Harry and what his life was all about during his college life. The relationship between Tom and Harry is a fascinating one, and viewing Harry through Tom's eyes from the past to present is, of course, where we learn more about Tom. The story definitely has its humorous moments. Tom holds a constant commentary in his head about all that he experiences and even if we find out about how much of a bully and a pain in the ass he is and always has been through these experiences, we also can't help but relate to many of them. Sometimes I felt it was a little bit overdone, as though he were trying to include every funny moment we remember about mischievous childhoods. However, the running commentary gave me an excellent insight into what was to come -- which means foreshadowing well done. A great climactic twist with an odd tonal shift in the denouement.

A bit of mystery, a bit of humor, a bit of mental intrigue - by the halfway mark I was running through all kinds of theories and predictions in my head, which kept me reading - and you'll want to know how it ends, too.

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