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review 2015-03-14 13:10
Vardin Village - Maggie Spence

Not with a ten foot pole:




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review 2015-03-04 01:56
Vardin Village by: Maggie Spence
Vardin Village - Maggie Spence

I enjoyed this story very much. Just reading it brought a sense of humanity.  Sixteen year old George and his sister had to fend for themselves because mom although she works so they thought, her spare time is spent at the bar.  I could feel his shame and his protectiveness for his family and their quaint cottage which they call home.  There's a story behind that cottage and a history that involves George's family.  I felt how his responsibilities overshadowed his own happiness of being a normal teen.  What I absolutely found that is heartwarming, the other characters.  A group of people who knew George's family and set out to right a wrong and to help the brother and sister to stay together.  Stability, yes George and his sister Eleanor desperately need, "stability."  One person I felt totally at ease with was Uncle Morris.   His love and commitment to George and Eleanor is duly noted, the wildest thing is Uncle Morris is not a blood relative.  Wonderful read and one that will capture your heart.  Easy to follow and writing style truly voiced.  I won this book on BOOKLIKES giveaway.  Thank you, Darlene Cruz

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review 2015-01-19 16:10
Vardin Village - Maggie Spence

Wow - I sat down to read for about an hour - 5 hours later I finished the book Very fast moving and enjoyable read. What will happen if Georrge & Eleanor's secret gets out. Will they ever get to live in the mansion that should belong to them??? Who is leaving the groceries on their doorstep???? Where is there Mom???
You must read the book to find all of this out

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review 2014-08-11 23:18
Not a YA book by any stretch of the imagination
Vardin Village - Maggie Spence
The Pros:
I rated this book a one star, because the kindle formatting is stellar, and is worthy of getting a star just for this.

This is the only positive thing I saw in this book. There was some potential for a good story IF it was content edited, reformulated for the right age group, and treated to some proof-reading. An editor could be a savior with regards to this book.

The Cons:
1. The Character voices do not ring true. Some examples: a 16 year old, making fun of his fellow football players, and adults trying to sound like twelve year olds:

"Hey dork-vomit, what took you so long?" Dillon (a 16 year old football player who is friends with the protagonist). What 16 year old talks like this? I would expect this kind of insult in my six year old's day camp.

"That's enough lip out of you, Smart mouth McGee! He didn't like Smartmouth McGees interrupting adults doing important investigative work." 


2. The Info dump: There is a character named Morris who spends a couple of chapters on horrific info dump on the background of Vardin Village. Truly no tween/teen/adult could possibly stay awake for it. Why dump it all on a reader within a few chapters? Good writing means spreading it around where it doesn't seem intrusive and purposeful.

3. This IS NOT A YA book: This may be a 9-12 year old book (minus a couple of drug references and a vague reference to the mother's sexual proclivity). This is not a YA book. I am a fan of said genre, and this isn't sophisticated enough for said genre or age group.

Bottom line: this book has potential, IF it tries to understand the age group it is writing for, puts some investment in content editing, and stops trying to be a YA book that it is NOT, than it may be a book worth reading.
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review 2014-07-30 22:56
Review- Vardin Village
Vardin Village - Maggie Spence

When I read the excerpt on Amazon I thought Village might be an interesting if not all that well written a book but as I read past the excerpt I realized how poorly written it really was. I have called it derivative and I still hold that opinion. Derivative is not the end of the world if there is a writer of sufficient ability writing the story but that is not the case here.


On its surface Village would seem to have a lot going for it- a heart-warming story of a diverse group of small town adults coming together to provide a home and security for the main character, George, and his little sister. I love these stories but they only work if the characters work.  The characters don't work here.


The characters are for the most part clumsily drawn, Eleanore is an almost silent cipher more of a prop for George's story than a sympathetic little girl, Archie is a buffoon whose speech is so badly written that it has to be a deliberate choice of the author, and then there are the village villains- so over the top, especially Waverly the Beauty Queen, that even a 5 yr old would be rolling their eyes. There is no subtlety, no nuance, even the "good" characters aren't very likeable because there is no passion in their actions, George feels more like a device to help the story along rather than the central character that the story should be about. It is all  tell not show.


I understood that this was supposed to be a YA book but it is only YA in parts, some parts seem like the writing is more suited for younger children but not all of it and some parts seem written for a slightly older age group.


The writing was at times rather clunky or confusing or just wrong, "George sobbed into arms on the big table", ""The old Vardin High School," George exclaimed. "I've heard the stories about him"", ""Oh. Your mother's family? Obviously, right?"",  "... dressed in what George imagined was Resort Attire".


There are all the components of a good story for  YA , the good boy, the bad boy, the pretty girl, the imminent loss of home, the helping hands of friends, secret tunnels, the ancestral mansion so close yet so far away. It's all there but Spence was not up to the task.


There are any number of good stories built on this premise so keep looking because this isn't one of them.

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