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Search tags: never-should-ve-been-published
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review 2017-10-20 00:49
Be very, very careful what you wish for
The Serpent Scrolls: Rise of the Immortal Snake (The War with Satan Book 1) - Kenneth Harris

Afterwards, he was immediately executed. It is believed by local scholars that his beaten and burned corpse was decapitated limb by limb and buried in the forgotten grounds of Serpent Cemetery just outside of Kilfield, Massachusetts. Reportedly, his spirit awaits rebirth by 99 souls from his own admission shortly before his death.

Harris, Kenneth . The Serpent Scrolls: Rise of the Immortal Snake (The War with Satan Book 1) . Kindle Edition.

 

Emphasis is mine.  This is from the one-page Introduction.  It is the second or third major grammatical or syntactical error on that short page.

 

Disclosure:  I obtained the Kindle edition of this book on 19 October 2017 when it was offered free and promoted as such on BookLikes.  I have had intermittent communication on BookLikes with the author, but not about this book or about his writing in general.  I am an author of adult fiction and non-fiction.

 

 

The text is absurdly over-written, with four adjectives used where one would be too many. Often, they're misused.

 

Lots of words are misused.

 

He inserted the mouth of a rigid bolt cutter over the bulky wrapped chains and bisected it.

Harris, Kenneth . The Serpent Scrolls: Rise of the Immortal Snake (The War with Satan Book 1) (p. 1). Kindle Edition.

(One does not insert something over something else.  Bolt cutters have blades, jaws, and a neck, but not a mouth.  Chains are plural; it is singular.)

 

 

I don't know if this is supposed to be a morality tale reminding us of God's love or a Young Adult horror story.  If it's supposed to be a combination of the two, I can only roll my eyes.

 

The book needs serious editing.  I'm not being paid to do that.

 

I recommend avoiding this book as if it were a rattlesnake.

 

 

 

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review 2017-10-08 18:21
The Secret Woman by Victoria Holt
The Secret Woman (Casablanca Classics) - Victoria Holt

First published in 1970, The Secret Woman was written by the prolific Eleanor Hibbert under her Victoria Holt pen name. While this book was published in “Holt’s” early period, it was actually published in the middle period for Hibbert. There were a total of 32 books published under the “Holt” name, and of those 32, approximately 23 of them were published after The Secret Woman.

 

Victoria Holt tends to be very hit and miss. This one is a miss.

 

I think that, perhaps, Holt was going for an homage to Jane Eyre with this one, with Redvers as the Rochester character, the conveniently orphaned Anna as Jane, and Redver’s wife, Monique, as the ill-fated Bertha. Like Bertha, the mildly mentally ill, consumptive Monique comes from an apparently fictional island named Coralle. Bertha, of course, is from Jamaica, and is the daughter of a wealthy family.

 

The issues with this book start with the pacing. The plot summary is misleading in that most of the elements referenced in the summary do not appear until the 50% mark of the book. The first 50% of the book felt relatively superfluous, focusing on Anna’s childhood and young adulthood, being first sent to England without her parents, later being orphaned, and then being raised by her unpleasant, unloving, bitter Aunt Charlotte. This, again, may be an ill-advised attempt to copy Jane Eyre. Few writers have the skill to write a Jane Eyre character, and Holt fails completely.

 

The “meet cute” between our hero and heroine also fails. Redvers and Anna meet when she is 12 and he is 19. I can understand her romanticizing him, since he is a dashing young man. I cannot understand, and am entirely grossed out, by his apparent romanticizing of her. She was twelve. There is nothing at twelve to attract a young man of nineteen.

 

It isn’t until around the 55% mark that Red & Anna end up in one another’s company consistently. From there, the book devolves into a shipboard travelogue. Way too much of the narration is delivered through the diary of the third-wheel Chantel, which ground the story to a halt. The suspense/gothic elements don’t appear until around 75%, and by that time, I am done. That section could’ve actually been pretty interesting, if it had been expanded to be more of the book, and if Holt hadn’t decided that the best way to deliver the reveal was through a letter.

 

Note to authors: telling us why and how something happened through a letter written by the perpetrator is generally not an emotionally resonant method of storytelling. Again, the tension, the suspense, the drama grinds to a freaking halt while I read a three page letter written by the villain/ess (no spoilers here) as he/she is in his/her death throes.

 

The romance is also not very romantic. Redvers is basically a manwhore who gets himself into trouble and knocks up Monique, and then he is afraid to leave her because reasons so he marries her and treats her like shit. This is exactly the sort of person that I a looking for in a romantic hero. Right? I'm still trying to figure out what was wrong with alternative hero, Dick Callum, because he seemed like a fairly decent guy, even if his hotness quotient was not quite so high as that of Red.

 

As an Eyre retelling: fail. As a gothic/romantic suspense: fail. As a period drama: fail.

 

If you aren’t a Holt completist, don’t bother with this one. First you’ll be bored, then you’ll be irritated. And you'll probably hate everyone.

 

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text 2017-10-07 17:43
Reading progress update: I've read 0%.
The Secret Woman (Casablanca Classics) - Victoria Holt

I'm just starting this one, now that I've finished Murder of a Lady! I am sure that I've never read this one, since I don't recall ever even seeing it before. Fingers crossed that it's a good one!

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review 2017-10-07 16:07
Stargate meets The Neverending Story
A Veil of Shadows: The Shadow Gate Chronicles Book II (Volume 2) - Michael W. Garza

The following book was kindly sent to me by the author, Michael W. Garza, who requested a review. This book is out now and you can get a paperback or ebook copy by visiting Amazon. :-)

 

You might recognize the author's name because I reviewed The Last Shadow Gate just a few months ago. Today I'll be continuing the series with A Veil of Shadows. The reader is reunited with Gavin and his sister Naomi right after they landed in the mystery world on the other side of the Shadow Gate. Our main characters are once again thrust into a divisive society on the brink of war but luckily they manage to find a few allies (one of which might come as no surprise to the reader). The world building continues with diverse characters such as the Treekin who reminded me somewhat of characters in The Neverending Story. If you're looking for a series that is full to the brim with characters, subplots, and moving parts of all kinds then I do believe you've stumbled across just the book for you. For me, it felt like there was just too much happening and the narrative could have been tightened up. While I appreciate the imaginative concepts that went into the creation of these characters and this world I don't think that I'll be continuing the series. Burgeoning fans of epic fantasy will however enjoy this immensely. :-)

 

What's Up Next: Hunger by Roxane Gay

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as an Adult by Bruce Handy

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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text 2017-09-04 00:23
Reading progress update: I've read 159 out of 247 pages.
Terror in Tower Grove - Samantha Johns

 

This is a really badly written retelling of The Exorcist but with Roman Catholic proselytizing added.

 

 

“The devil is real, Tricia,” he said emphatically.  “He is a pure spirit, who was once an angel.  He has powers—the same powers as angels.  Only he hates humanity and wants to see us suffer agonizing, relentless torture at the hand of his demons for all eternity.  His minions escape hell to torment humans and dwell on the earth for as long as they can before they have to return to that horrid place.  Their numbers have multiplied dramatically over the last hundred years.”

 

“The number of priests being trained as exorcists has been increased.  That is due to all the Satanist cults and interest in the demonology and witchcraft in recent decades.  There are over 8,000 covens just in the fifty states alone.  Pope John Paul II issued new Canon laws requiring  that an exorcist be assigned to every major diocese in the United States.  Exorcisms grew over seven-hundred-and-fifty per cent just between the 1960's and mid-1970's.  I doesn't seem like a coincidence to me that it was then that all the child molestation cases occurred in the Church.  He has infiltrated the church because that is his ultimate goal—to bring down the Catholic Church.    Every year thousands of exorcisms are performed,” he explained, watching her reaction.

Johns, Samantha. Terror in Tower Grove (pp. 159-160).  . Kindle Edition.

 

 

 

 

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