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Search tags: You-can\'t-fix-stupid
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review 2018-06-20 15:32
Murder on the Links
Murder on the Links - Agatha Christie,John Moffatt

This was an interesting story but Hastings really proved himself to be a huge boob.  I cannot believe he didn't get run out of the place.  It wasn't until near the end that I was sure who the murderer was.  Does Poirot really keep him around after this story?  I am sure he is in the whole series but why I don't know.  I also found it really irritating that they decided the murderer had to be a man because a woman couldn't have dug the shallow grave. 

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review 2018-06-20 15:08
The Mysterious Affair at Styles
The Mysterious Affair at Styles - Agatha Christie

After reading Murder on the Orient Express last fall I decided to start at the beginning and read the whole series. I found this story pretty scattered and frustrating at times. Hastings seems to be really dumb. His sole purpose seems to be to have someone dumb for Poirot to explain things to. He would miss a jetliner that flew right over his head. He also falls for every pretty girl he sees and wants to marry them within the first five minutes.

 

The mystery itself was interesting and I suspected who was involved but wasn't quit sure how it would work out. There are a lot of things going on. I really hope this series gets better though.

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review 2018-05-17 22:09
Tears of the Silenced
Tears of the Silenced: A true crime and an American tragedy; severe child abuse and leaving the Amish - Misty Elaine Griffin

Okay, I am giving this 2 stars because I can't decide if it's true or not and I don't want to be made a fool. Several people have said Misty gives contradictory stories about happened in her life. And a couple of people who are former Amish have said that her description of Amish ways are not accurate, right down to how deacons are put into place. There is also the fact that this book is just so much bad, one event after another; while that isn't, in itself, unrealistic, it's coupled with wildly miraculous events, and that is where it gets hard to really believe. Everyone outside of the Amish is always telling Misty how amazing she is and how smart she is etc. She passes her GED on her first attempt even though she only has a 2nd grade education and never even saw algebra until a couple of months before the test. I don't know.

 

Then there's the sheer volume of grammatical errors, spelling errors and missing punctuation in this book. There could not have been an editor. The speech was stilted, the conversations were terribly unrealistic and nobody is that dang CHEERFUL. Especially given how bad her life has been. She keeps saying how optimistic she is, while having panic attacks and crying in corners. She clearly defines cheerful differently than I do. Oh, and this book was ridiculously long. Like, mind-numbingly long.

 

I suppose we won't ever know if she's telling the truth since Amish folks probably don't even know this book exists. But I am heavily skeptical. 

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review 2018-04-04 22:10
Envy
Envy - Anna Godbersen

Oh ffs. DNF at 230 pages.

 

I. Am. Done.

 

I loved the first 2 books in this series but this one makes my eyes want to bleed. Henry is like a mindless ping pong ball that only thinks with his little ping pong dick. Penelope is so evil it is hard to believe she is a real character. Carolina's selfishness knows no bounds. She loved Will enough to lose her job and plan to run away, but when she finds out he's dead, oh well. "I'm rich now. Fuck you." No, fuck you, Lina, you stuck up maid who seems to have forgotten you are living a lie. My God, I only read these for Elizabeth and Will. And Will died which crushed my soul. WHY DO THE GOOD ONES GET KILLED OFF?! So now this book series is just Penelope and Diana playing tennis with Henry while Elizabeth doesn't know she's pregnant with Will's baby and Lina is just a sneeze away from total, justified social ruin. Fml. I'm going to read something that doesn't make me want to stab myself in the ear with a pencil.

 

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review 2018-03-31 02:48
Over-priced junk- Do not want to read.
Deadly Deceit - Rose M. Brate

A friend who is a big fan of youth sports recently made an effort to help a young man achieve his expressed goal of a college scholarship. Letters were written, phone calls were made.  An independent coach was engaged to offer a private skills assessment.  Specialized training was arranged, as well as participation in limited-enrollment clinics.  This friend spent a small amount of his own cash, but solicited others to make donations. Most of the friend's contribution was time and the value of many years' connections in the youth sports arena.

 

After all this, the young athlete blew it off.  He skipped training sessions, and even dismissed a tutor hired to help him bring up his academic grades.  No scholarships were ever offered; the potential college athlete dropped out of high school two months before graduation.

 

The friend was devastated at first, then outraged.  He couldn't understand how this young man could fail to be appreciative that so many people were willing to help him get the scholarship he himself said he wanted.

 

"Now you know how I feel every time I've offered to help a writer improve their writing and then been stabbed in the back for it."

 

We do this sort of thing out of the goodness of our hearts, in a sense.  I enjoy writing and I enjoy reading good writing, so there's a sense that other writers would want the same thing.  Furthermore, there's a desire to raise the quality of writing in general, especially in these days of digital self-publishing.  My friend, who was an athlete in his own youth, wanted to bring this young man the same sense of accomplishment and achievement.

 

But the return on the emotional investment ends up being a total loss, and it's depressing and discouraging.  There's some consolation to be taken from the fact that it doesn't happen just in the writing game, but it's not much.

 

Deadly Deceit by Rose M. Brate is not a promising young athlete.  Nor is it a promising self-published novel. 

 

Here's the Amazon Kindle listing, the first thing the potential reader sees:

 

 

The $6.99 Kindle price is a bit high, but maybe the author has enough sales and recognition to justify it.  I'm not sure what the book's Kindle Unlimited pages are, because the spacing seems a bit expanded, generating more pages than the word count might otherwise warrant.  Supposedly Amazon has a way to balance this, but if Brate's 304-page "book" brings in the average Kindle Unlimited royalty, that payment should be around $3.00 per copy read.  Royalties on the $6.99 sales price would be approximately $4.50. 

 

None of it, of course, makes that "head-over-heals" typo any less glaring.

 

I downloaded the free sample.  I had no great expectations, with all apologies to Mr. Dickens.

 

There's no front matter, a flashing neon sign that this is an author-published project.  My expectations dropped a little lower.

 

The blurb on Amazon was about Jack and Abby Morrison; that's not how the book opens.

 

 

So, who is this story about?  The Morrisons or this detective?

 

At this point, I as a reader and as a reviewer -- a merciless one -- knew that whatever qualities the story might have were deeply buried under lackluster and possibly just plain bad writing.  Invoking the Josh Olson protocol, I proceeded without hesitation.

 

Let's look at that opening page under a magnifying glass:

 

Detective DeMarko ducked beneath the yellow police tape surrounding the twelve-story building of Morrison Advertising. The entire block had been closed off, since it was an official crime scene. Squad cars lined the block, drawing the unwanted attention of anyone within a two-block radius. She stood with her hands on her hips, taking in the scene as her partner, Jasper Reiner, approached, bitching about the weather.

 

“It’s a scorcher, boss,” Reiner complained, wiping the sweat from his brow.

 

“It is that,” DeMarko confirmed, heading toward the uniformed officer maintaining order.

Brate, Rose M (2017-11-13T22:58:59). Deadly Deceit (Kindle Locations 30-35). Kindle Edition.

We start with Detective DeMarko, who is not further identified.  No first name, no physical description, so we don't even know if this official is male or female or whatever.  Is this clever?  Is it intentional?  Is it sloppy writing?  Hold that thought.

 

The yellow police tape automatically tells us this is a crime scene; the observation in the latter part of the second sentence is unnecessary.  It's certainly not clever; it's sloppy.

 

What about the first part of that sentence?  The yellow tape surrounds the building, but "the block" had been closed off.  How large is the block?  What's used to close it off?  Vehicles?  Police officers?

 

The third sentence gives some more information: police vehicles are lining "the block."  We still don't know if these vehicles are sealing off the area, just that they're there.

 

They're drawing "unwanted" attention.  Unwanted by whom?  And why is that attention unwanted?

 

And why is it important that they draw unwanted attention from anyone in a "two-block" radius?  (Think about how awkward that is, since radius implies a circle, presumably centered on the tape-surrounded building, which would itself block at least part of that circle.  Words have meaning.)

 

Now comes the big jolt:  "She stood with her hands on her hips."

 

Aha!  So, is our detective a woman?  If we didn't already suspect that, or have an image of a woman in our reader's imagination, we've been stopped cold while we alter that mental image.  The first sentence with no description of DeMarko is probably intentional, but it may not be quite so clever, because it has forced the reader to reassess the vision created by the opening words.  It has pulled the reader out of the story, when instead that opening should drag the reader in, further and further with every word.

 

There are four sentences in the opening paragraph.  Three of those sentences contain present participial phrases; one of them contains two.  This is lazy, sloppy, unpolished writing.

 

Do most readers care?  The honest answer has to be, "No, most don't care.  Most don't notice.  Most don't know enough to notice."

 

By the end of the first paragraph, we know that Detective DeMarko is a woman, but we don't know her first name.  We do, however, know her partner's first and last name.  We also know that he's bitching about the weather.  Author Brate has clearly told us what Reiner is doing.

 

Even though she has already told us Reiner is complaining about the weather, the very next sentence repeats the information.  That participial phrase "bitching about the weather" is telling, and it's completely unnecessary when the author shows the same information in Reiner's dialogue.

 

But Reiner calls DeMarko "boss," even though he's been identified as DeMarko's partner, not her subordinate.  After the very first sentence left DeMarko's gender unknown, now the relationship between her and Reiner is uncertain.

 

The next sentence, which is the last on the first page of my Kindle sample, contains DeMarko's confirmation of Reiner's statement . . . and two more participial phrases.

 

This is just plain lousy writing.  It's crap.  Is there s good story under all those present participles?  Maybe, but I don't care.  I'm not going to wade through any more of this garbage.

 

There's no direct return for me on this investment of time.  I didn't expect any.  If someone reads this and benefits, then it's all to the good.  If a writer learns to check her sentences for repetitions of present participles, if a reader learns to distinguish between good writing and bad, that's the very most I can hope for.  The exercise in analysis, of taking apart a couple of paragraphs per the Josh Olson protocol, is my way of getting five cents on the dollar of my own investment elsewhere.

 

EDITED TO ADD:

 

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