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review 2018-06-03 21:13
Red Dirt Heart 3
Red Dirt Heart 3 - N.R. Walker

Charlie and Travis are back again with Ma, George and their pet wombat, Nugget. For those of you who don't know, like me, wombats are kind of mini-pig/gopher-looking things:

 

 

Also, they're illegal to own as pets, so it's a little weird that didn't become an issue in one of the subplots in this book.

 

Oh, and they have square poop. Why wasn't this brought up? Of all the things Travis doesn't seem to know about, despite growing up on a Texas ranch, that would be the thing that should've caused a comment but didn't.

 

Anyway, I'm off topic.

 

This is a culmination of Charlie's part of the story, and it was nice to see him coming fully out of his shell, learning to communicate with those around him and rely on them. He's got a lot on his plate, but he's really settled into his skin and if he had one more challenge to face, it was learning to stand on his own. While Travis might have helped him to open up, he didn't bring out anything in Charlie that wasn't already there. There was a teensy bit of Big Misunderstanding there that felt on the contrived side that I don't think was even necessary to get Charlie to where he ended up, but eh. YMMV.

 

The family drama was...unexplained to say the least.

Why did Charlie's dad tell his mom to get rid of her pregnancy? That part was never explained. They already had one kid, after all, so what would've been wrong with having a second one?

(spoiler show)

That part really needed to be more fleshed out. As it stands right now, the answer seems to boil down to "just cuz." Still, it gave Charlie another part of himself to come to terms with and grow from, and that was neat.

 

This did start off a little slowly, since Charlie had to feed Nugget every other paragraph, which got repetitive fast. It ended strong though, so despite the fact that the editing is actually getting worse with each installment, this one still gets a four-star rating.

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text 2018-06-03 18:33
The Lion Tamer By Dahlia Donovan 99 cents!
The Lion Tamer (The Sin Bin #6) - Claire Smith,Hot Tree Editing,Dahlia Donovan

Gray Baird’s to-do list for the year includes starting a restaurant, claiming his submissive, and keeping his nosy friends out of his business. He has his work seriously cut out for him.

Scottie Monk prides himself on bullying his way through problems—and sometimes even people. His life is spiralling out of his control, but he refuses to break. The last thing he expects is to find peace in the confines of submission.

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review 2018-05-20 00:48
Man & Monster (The Savage Land #2)
Man & Monster (The Savage Land: Book 2) - Michael Jensen

It was great (I guess?) getting back to Hugh's Lick, which is still as much a stain on the frontier as it was in the first book. I hoped that we would get to see John, Palmer and Gwennie again, and we do. Even though they're not the MCs here, we still see plenty of them as they help Cold-Hearted Cole, new to the frontier and not having a good time of it. Wendigos trying to devour you can be such party-poopers, ya know. ;)

 

I really liked Pakim (I don't remember if he was in the first book or not) and the relationship that developed between him and Cole was often humorous and sweet, even while Cole was fighting his feelings. There was some good sexual tension there too, just don't expect any mind-blowing sex scenes.

 

I didn't feel as engaged in this book as I did with Man & Monster. Cole isn't as engaging a POV character as John was, for starters. Cole is purposely closed off for various reasons, and while we do get to see flashes of who he is underneath the cold-hearted persona, it's not quite enough for me to care about him as a character. Then there's the really bad horror movie aspect of the book that involves the monster/wendigo that's terrorizing Hugh's Lick. 1) The majority of these settlers deserve to be eaten, and 2) it was like reading the equivalent of "running up the stairs in the dark" for two hundred pages. The pacing felt off, if not downright slow, and the characters barely even paid any attention to the warnings or advice they got. I also figured out pretty quick who at least one of the wendigos was going to be. The editing also could've been better.

 

Thankfully, once the show - or the characters - finally get on the road and get to doing something not phenomenally stupid, the action was pretty well-written, if just as over the top as you'd get from any blockbuster movie. 

 

It was good, and fun, but I think going through and trimming out about twenty pages would've helped a lot.

 

I do think when authors take liberties with historical figures, they really should make an author's note on their research and what they decided to change about that person for the sake of their story. So there's that.

 

In closing:

 

"Oh, the Lord is good to me.
And so I thank the Lord
For giving me the things I need:
The sun and the rain and the apple seed;
The Lord is good to me."

 

Bet y'all haven't thought of that one in a hot minute.  I know I haven't. ;)

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review 2018-05-14 09:15
Great editing tips, well presented

 

Okay, so 20 Editing Tips from Professional Writers is promo material for ProWritingAid, an "editing tool that highlights style issues and compares your writing to the best writers in your genre". It's even written by the founder Chris Banks and editor of the ProWritingAid blog, Lisa Lepki.

 

Does that mean it's all about flogging their site?

 

Yes, with almost every editing tip there's an explanation on how ProWritingAid identifies the issue so you can make the appropriate edits.

 

But what about those twenty editing tips?

 

Surprisingly, at least for me, they are all excellent advice and well worth the not-so-subtle sales pitch for their product. And as a bonus, each tip is presented in an easy to read info-graphic style and comes with examples.

 

I downloaded this e-book free using a link provided by BookBaby. https://cdn.prowritingaid.com/ebook/ProWritingAid_EBook.pdf,

 

If you prefer you can pay for it - it's worth it and less expensive than a subscription to their site.

 

 

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-05-12 16:12
It began with fluff . . . . . . and ended with fluff
Witch Is When It All Began - Adele Abbott

Disclosure:  I obtained the Kindle edition of this book on 8 September 2017 when it was offered free on Amazon.  I do not know the author nor have I ever had any communication with her regarding this book or any other matter.  I am an author of historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.

 

The production of this book is clean.  I think I found one or maybe two typos, but they weren't important enough to note.  There are some grammatical errors, such as using "me" when "I" would have been correct, but again, they weren't numerous enough to affect the actual reading unless you're a grammar dragon like me.

 

There's just no substance to the story.  If you're looking for light entertainment with nothing that will make you really think, then maybe you'll like this.  It's not a bad book, and it's not badly written. 

 

So why two stars instead of at least three?  Well, a lot of reasons.  Spoilers ahead.  Sort of.

 

Jill Gooder is the private investigator in question.  She has inherited her agency from her father; both of her parents are deceased.  She has a married older sister, but Jill herself is adopted.  She tried to find her birth parents, but her birth mother refused any contact.  Jill retains some bitterness about this.

 

Her sole employee at the agency is Mrs. V, the secretary/receptionist.  She is an older woman who knits scarves all day. It's revealed later in the book that she works for no pay.  Jill apparently doesn't make enough money to pay her.  This was never explained and seemed more than just a little odd, since there is no real relationship between Jill and Mrs. V.

 

Jill also has a cat, one-eyed Winky.

 

Jill's sister Kathy has two young children.  Jill is obsessively - OCD - neat; Kathy and her kids are not.  This drives Jill bonkers. Jill can't stand to have two types of biscuits (a.k.a. cookies, as the book is set in England) in the same Tupperware container and literally will not eat them if they've been mixed.  Kathy's daughter Lizzie loves Lego.

 

All very cute and fluffy, as are the later depictions of Jill's birth mother, the witch who comes back as a ghost; Jill's Aunt Lucy, also a witch; Jill's grandmother witch who looks like a classic Hallowe'en witch; and her two witchy cousins who are giggling idiots.

 

Jill gets a case involving a murder, her first ever murder case.  The police are working it, too, but the victim's fiancé hires Jill anyway.

 

She barely gets started on the case when she gets word that her birth mother is dying and wants to see Jill right away.  Jill races to the nursing home, and her mother's last words are "You're a witch."  Jill is horrified, insulted, and devastated.

 

Most of the rest of the book involves Jill's coming to terms with the reality not only of what her mother meant but of what it means to be a witch.  And this is where the rating of the story really dropped.

 

The murder mystery was completely shoved to the background while Jill learned to be a witch.  That consisted mostly of learning how to cast spells, and of course the spells were extremely useful to solving the murder, sort of.  Like making herself invisible for exactly ten minutes so she could sneak into the police station and get confidential information.  The problem was that Jill's original trauma at meeting and then losing her mother within the space of an hour or less, then being told the truth about her being a witch, the denying all of it and being insulted, and finally accepting and enjoying it was just too pat.

 

Oh, there's some resistance on her part, but overall she gave in so quickly and became so good at spell casting that I just rolled my eyes.

 

But I think that's what the author intended.  This was no The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane or A Discovery of Witches, in which the angst of being a witch is a central part of the characterization.  This book is more a background/backstory of "How I Became A Witch Private Investigator" prior to the whole mystery solving thing.

 

The actual solving of the murder mystery was facile and, frankly, not believable at all.  No real clues were presented that would have led Jill to identify the murder and not the police.  That was another reason for knocking the rating down.  If the mystery was that simple, the police would have taken care of it in a few minutes.

 

Another weak point was the characterization.  None of the players had any depth at all, despite the fact that author Abbott included a lot of detail about them.  Jill is OCD, Kathy's a slob, and everyone loves custard creams.  To be honest, I think most Nancy Drew stories had more depth of character than this book.

 

Again, it's not a bad book, but I just didn't like it all that much.  Your mileage may vary, and if so, terrific!

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