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Search tags: 2-star-review
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review 2017-09-14 12:15
Not Fiona McCallum's best, but still might appeal to horsey people who don't mind reading about characters that are annoying and downright unlikable.
Leap of Faith - Fiona Mccallum

This is the third Fiona McCallum book I've read, and the second one I've rated two stars. There's one main reason this book tanked in my opinion. 

Apologies in advance for the tirade below:

Jessica, the main character, is a self-centred, immature and selfish adult-child. The constant inane babbling of her inner thoughts drove me batty, and her complete inability to think about anyone outside of herself left me wanting to wring her scrawny neck. 

Add to this continued form of abuse to the reader, Jessica's incapacity to put basic symptoms of pregnancy together after the reader was subjected to copious PG-rated coitus between Jessica and Steve, her rough-on-the-outside-but-soft-on-the-inside husband, and you're left wondering how this TSTL (Too Stupid To Live) character even made it to adulthood. 

Considering the amount of inner dialogue the reader is subjected to, Jessica's character has very little character growth, the one tiny speck of change really didn't warrant the 220 pages of torment within the covers. What's with that?! Really? Are there people like this in the world?

This book gets added to my swear-tastic shelf, not because it has a lot of vulgar language in it (there is a little, it's fairly light on), but instead it's added because of the quantity of vulgar language it elicited from me as I read it.

The ONLY reasons this book gets 2 stars instead of 1, is Laurel and Hardy, the farm dogs who were adorable, and the Plain-Jane-but-not-really, Faith. The little filly, Faith, is a welcome piece of sunshine and amusement to the book. If only we'd spent more time in her mind and less in Jessica's. 

I was left thinking:

Throw it in a dumpster, burn it

Not Fiona McCallum's best, but still might appeal to horsey people who don't mind reading about characters that are annoying and downright unlikable.

**Note: I was provided a copy of this book from the Publisher in return for an honest review**

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review 2017-09-13 11:44
The characters felt stilted and unnatural.
One Hundred Days - Mark Morey

One Hundred Days is a partially fictionalised account of how Australians were part of winning World War One.

While I found the story to be intriguing and providing some new concepts and ideas about how the Australians were involved with the war, the writing lends itself to a war strategy book, more than a fictional story. 

The characters felt stilted and unnatural. Less like characters and more like people represented by a number of pieces of factual information. For example, each person is introduced by their name, then their physical attributes rattled off in a list-like manner. Hair, eye colour, height and weight (especially when it came to the soldiers). And all the women had meaty/fleshy arses - which annoyed me too.

It was obvious to me, from the writing style that Mark has spent a lot of time working in the IT field, the way sentences were structured and the story flowed, was like a simplified and basic version of something far more complex. Like an IT person trying to write an 'IT for dummies' version of some complex IT issue. This is how the story of One Hundred Days felt. All facts, little emotion, simply written - almost in bullet point (pun not intended). 

This withdrew me, as a reader, from this story. It presented the tale in a clinical and unemotional way, which meant that I felt nothing for the characters. There were points in this story that should have come across as harrowing and highly emotionally charged, but alas, I felt little for the characters and had no emotional connection. 

The writing style aside, this book needs a serious edit. There were a large number of easily fixable issues (a lot listed below), but the one thing that annoyed me the most, was the overuse of the word 'and' to link two otherwise separate ideas together. This was done a lot in dialogue, but it also happened in the other text too. This was most annoying because it made the writing feel strange. People just don't talk like that.

An example from 9% through:
They reached the steps of Flinders Street Station and Alec kissed Dorothy's cheek. "Goodbye sweetheart and thank you for coming out with me."
"Goodbye sweetheart," she said. "Thank you for the evening and I really enjoyed being with you."
Alec stood at the base of the steps and watched until Dorothy disappeared out of sight. It was truly wonderful to have her as part of his life, and maybe one day they could marry. Alec was sure that would happen, and then he would be the luckiest man in the world.

Overall, this was an interesting look at how Australia played its role in WW1, but with little emotional connection with the characters and fundamentally flawed writing, I just can't give this any more than 2 stars. With a good edit, this could be a good addition to war history books, but as it is, it needs a lot of work.

The things I noticed:
9% - ...the war will be over before your (you're twenty-one.
- Then he was then free to go. (Excessive overwriting including dialogue with excessive use of 'and' instead of shorter sentences.
19% - After a week of fine of (delete of) weather....
24% - behind the (delete the) Billy still holding the...
25% - and he was (too) embarrassed (to) recount...
- Repetition of parade ground training came to some use.
30% - ...identifiable (by) their untidy clothing, Random lines and paragraphs from here are bolded text.
32% - ...you seem to be over (t)he worst...
34% - ...eyed the pile (in) his locker...
44% - ...that was bad lack(luck) for Charlie...
46% - ...Martin wondered (what) he was going to do...
68% - The(y) picked him up...
71% - ...cripples/. (Remove /)
81% - the text is italicised for a number of pages when Simone and Martin talk of their histories.
- ...I lived there for four yea(r)s...
89% - I didn't understand." He said in French. (")I really speak English." 
91%- ...the front net(not) yet tested...

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review**

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review 2017-04-03 10:51
An early piece by the author...
His Devil - Erik Lynd

What appears to be some sort of slice-of-life drunk dad leaves family story, swiftly takes a turn for the paranormal.

 

Scott is a young boy and the protagonist. The climax is sudden and quite unexplained and really did nothing for me.

 

The writing needs work, too many descriptors that weren't needed, too much telling and not showing (e.g. I was panicking), and in general, simplistic narrative that just seemed bland.

 

Note: only 25% of the book is actually the story, the rest is promotion of the authors other work.

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review 2017-04-03 10:23
Self-destructed as I read.
Bar Mate - Rebecca Royce

There's something about girls 'creaming' their pants that turns me off so fast it's not funny. This little piece was too heavy too quickly and really didn't do too much to keep one's interest.

The characters were flimsy at best, the sex boring and the shifter/human relationship felt totally forced.

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review 2017-01-31 06:40
All together the book just doesn't stand up as a polished piece of work.
For the Love of Women: Volume 2 - Kat Watson,Lisa Hollett,Toira O'Brady

Individually these stories range from 1-4 stars, but all together the book just doesn't stand up as a polished piece of work. There are some really great ideas within, but they need some work to make them stand on their own, or even in a collection of short pieces. Some of the ideas really need a lot more room to develop, while others are clearly aimed at the titillation crowd but they just don't mesh well with the rest of the pieces.

I've got some comments on each piece below:

She marries her
Sweet and tender, the blushing brides are a nice read, except the end felt a bit too much for the rest of the piece. If you're going to go with sweet and tender, leave it there. Don't go for too much. There's also a few adverbs and adjectives I'd pull to strengthen the story, but overall a nice story.
3.5 stars

Are Angels Allowed to swear?
Interesting premise, nice, albeit swift lead up to and complete sex scene, but reasonable. The story on the whole was more of a glimpse than a whole story.
4 stars (really needs to be longer!!)

Scars of War
What a sad story. The beginning started so peacefully, only to be shattered by war, fighting and death. I feel this one could benefit from being longer to give the reader a better picture of the world and belief system. In the story as it is, only a small glimpse is possible.
3 stars

Beautifully exposed
Way too short, not enough of anything to really get into.
2 stars

Wava and Claire
Paranormal vampires and a heap of backstory thrown at the reader. Too short to work well, too much info dumping. Not enough characterisation to really set the tone. Some editing required to smooth the adjectives and adverbs not needed.
2 stars

The Beach
There is so much wrong with this story it's not funny. Too much gushing, both characters are experts in bed when they've only just met, they each have way too many orgasms, the intimacy is too much and in general there's just too much of everything. Totally unbelievable and clearly written for the titillation crowd, not those who might want more of a story.

One thing I noticed: '...and slowly start moving my fingers in and out of her quickly.'
1 star

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

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