logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: aaa-kindle-freebies
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
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!

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-05-11 18:35
I forgot all about it - in progress - full review later
Witch Is When It All Began - Adele Abbott

Another off the freebie list.

 

I'm making a concerted effort to get through the Kindle books.  Well, actually all the books.  There are far too many of them.

 

So I booted this onto the K4PC yesterday evening and read for half an hour or so while letting the dogs out, etc., etc., with intentions of reading more on the little Kindle after I went to bed.  I finished a chapter or so, and at 4% shut down the laptop and crawled into bed.

 

That's where I discovered I had already read 10% of this book . . . sometime in the (far distant?) past!  And I remembered absolutely none of it.

 

So I read on up through 13%, and it's just not grabbing me, except in a weird way.

 

This is one of those books I'd love to sit down with the author and mark up the manuscript to point out where she went "wrong," at least in my never humble opinion.  Too much backstory, too much "business" (in the theatrical sense), far too little story.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-03-23 05:13
Today's awful freebie
The Haunting of Bell Mansion - James Hunt

I desperately need to read.  My brain is weeping.  I grabbed this because it was free.

 

I opened it, and this is what greeted me.

 

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-03-11 22:57
Gothic architecture, gothic archetypes
The Old English Baron: a Gothic Story - Clara Reeve

Books don't beget other books.  One of the things that bothers me about literary analysis of modern (1970 to present) romance novels is that it tends to assume that one novel gives rise to another without human intervention.

 

In her own preface to The Old English Baron, Clara Reeve clearly states that she wrote it because she wanted a story that fulfilled the promise Horace Walpole had made with The Castle of Otranto.

 

This Story is the literary offspring of The Castle of Otranto, written upon the same plan, with a design to unite the most attractive and interesting circumstances of the ancient Romance and modern Novel . . .

Reeve, Clara. The Old English Baron: a Gothic Story (p. 1). Kindle Edition.

 

In the course of my observations upon this singular book, it seemed to me that it was possible to compose a work upon the same plan, wherein these defects might be avoided; and the keeping, as in painting, might be preserved.

Reeve, Clara. The Old English Baron: a Gothic Story (p. 3). Kindle Edition.

 

Instead of the silliness of the giant helmet and other absurdities in Walpole, Reeve concocted a story in which the ghosts are real and believable and neither explained away nor dismissed.  This is the true evolution of both the gothic romance and the modern (ca. 1970 to present) romance novel: that one writer writes, and a reader reads to become another writer who synthesizes and develops.

 

Published in 1777, The Old English Baron is a bit awkward for the 21st century reader.  The prose is stilted; even the punctuation is sufficiently different from our own to cause mild disorientation.  The characters are emotional beyond even melodramatic standards, and the plot affords little in the way of suspense or surprises.

 

The story is set in the early 15th century.  Sir Philip Harclay returns to England from the continental wars and sets out to visit a friend, Lord Lovel.  Lovel has died, and his heir Water has sold the estate to a brother in law, Lord Fitz-Owen.  Fitz-Owen has three sons and a daughter, as well as a couple of nephews as foster sons, and another sort of adopted son in the person of Edmund Twyford, son of a peasant family on the estate.

 

Edmund is beloved by the Fitz-Owen clan, until he proves to be better at just about everything than they are.  Machinations fail to dislodge him from the affections of the middle brother William, who is Edmund's devoted friend.  But the family takes a bit of an insult when military bravery leads to the almost-knighting of Edmund: protests are lodged that he dare not be knighted for he is only a peasant by birth.

 

Rather than be humiliated by this turn of events, the saintly Edmund accepts his fate, but that's not enough for those who now despise him.  He is set to the ordeal of spending three nights in the long-abandoned wing of Castle Lovel, where of course he is visited by the ghosts.

 

Ultimately this leads to Edmund learning more of his true background -- which is no surprise to modern readers but was probably highly entertaining 240 years ago -- and then being exiled from Castle Lovel.  He takes refuge with Sir Philip Harclay, who then embarks on a mission of revenge and restitution.  There are more ghostly happenings, Edmund is restored to the good graces and affection of Lord Fitz-Owen, the malefactor is punished, true love rules the day, and they all lived happily ever after (which was not how The Castle of Otranto ended).

 

As a story, it's not all that entertaining to the 21st century reader, but as a literary artifact, it was highly informative.  All through the reading, I kept applying Christopher Vogler's story analysis.  Sure enough, all the elements were there, from the Ordinary World to the Mentor and Shapeshifter and the Inmost Cave and Returning with the Elixir.  More than two centuries before Vogler defined his mythic structure, Clara Reeve was already using it.

 

Pamela Regis references Reeve in The Natural History of the Romance Novel, which is the main reason why I read it.  I haven't yet found a convenient edition of the other work by Reeve that I want, her 1785 foray into literary criticism The Progress of Romance.  There is a PDF available online, but not downloadable.  At least I haven't figure it out yet.  But I will.  One way or another, I will.

 

I can't really say I recommend The Old English Baron except as one of the (many) foundational texts for the modern romance novel.  The writing takes some getting used to, but the story was at least decent, which is actually a lot more than can be said for some of the dreck being published today!

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-02-03 04:59
Not a Real Book
The Dilemma of Prejudice - Nancy Allen

This was apparently a fake book assembled to defraud the Kindle Unlimited program.

 

Story portion is less than 10% of the file; the rest is recipes and various non-fiction, self-help articles. 

 

No longer listed on Amazon.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?