Saturday, February 22, 2014

here's the deal:

I brought home exactly 2 library books that I'd really been wanting to read.  The deal I made for myself is, I can read them every evening after I finish judging one book that day.  This has made me suddenly realize how much I enjoy doing dishes.  I need a new plan.

The Seraph Contingency by Jennifer Fales.  This book is likely to have a very limited readership-- the author jumps right in, in the first paragraph, setting up the angel-centric storyline.  That's fine, it's good to know where the story is going, but there's no time to hook readers; paranormal is still popular, and I've seen a few angel stories, but those stories don't seem to really appeal to your general paranormal reader.

Notably, there are problems with organization.  There are sections where sentences or paragraphs seem to be missing.  It also isn't clear if certain characters actually have telepathic abilities and it isn't mentioned, or if the author has forgotten who has actually said what.

The cover is one of the worst from this year's bunch, especially the back-- bold orange print on a rainbow background?  Ouch.

Spireseeker by E.D.E. Belle.  Again, clearly fantasy, which truly needs a separate category.

The first characters set up what this book is going to be-- about the plot and fantastical details, not people.  These are 2-dimensional characters, empty.  No one will feel for them.

The Beryl chapters are much better writing, less stereotypical fantasy, but little to write home about.
Contender for the "Worst Cover for this Year" award-- and why you shouldn't let your friend, who has practiced sketching elves since high school, make your cover art.

Zero Separation by Philip Donlay. Sentences are a toss-up: either very well-written, or a disastrous mix of fragments, incorrect comma usage, and too much thesaurus.  It does even out after the first few chapters.

The book is good-- technically correct, and with a quick-moving plot.  Suspense/thriller stories need to have a little piece of magic, though, to make them superlative-- just enough down time amid the suspense, the right intensity of thrill for the right duration.  This book doesn't necessarily do anything wrong, it just doesn't have the balance right to be spectacular.

American Fraternity Man by Nathan Holic.  The biggest deterrent is print size.  It is too small to read comfortably, requires too much conscious focus.  My eyes keep falling away.
The writing is good, although the topic seems like it would of interest to only a few.

Utopia, Texas by Michael E. Glasscock III.  This guy has been busy.  He seems to be trying out a (again) rather different voice in this title than the other two.  Some of the author's usually-great writing is misplaced in sections where he's trying to relate a lot of technical information.  The info is good and nice to have, but not at the expense of the story.  This is what will probably knock it out of the top-10 for me, but I'll still add it to the library.  (I wish I had time to finish this one!)

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