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Kindle Book Reviews
Books under review:
- Crying in Colour
- Arrival (Maddy Young Saga 1)
- The Paparazzi Project
- Remember This (A Romantic Comedy)
These past few months, I've begun falling in love with reading again. I found a site that sends a daily email of ebooks that are discounted or free on Amazon, Apple, and Smashwords, so I can increase the amount of reading material available without having to spend much initially. And I thought, the reason why these people are putting their books on sale for free in the first place is so that people will read them and talk about them with others. So, here are a few books that I've read and my thoughts about them.
Crying in Colour, by Sally Sorrell
Enter George, a young British man, who almost literally falls into a medieval land. From there he's more or less recruited by the "famous" Lord Farley and his loyal servant, Oberon, to help them on their quest. George just wants to find the next bus stop; instead, he travels with Farley's motley group of questers: Chancy, the beautiful and long-haired gentleman with a strong aversion to bloodshed; Mackerel, a boy who is moderately skilled at many things and his younger brother Koi; and Benjee, an Australian woman with an allergy to strawberries and whom no one but George understands for some reason. The unlikely group bands together to find the magical Tear-Stone to save Farley's wife, the beautiful Josephine.
What's really fun is the wit of the story, as it combines the old medieval tale of quests and fantasy with modern storytelling. George is very much the audience surrogate, as he plays the straight man to every single one of these characters and their eccentricities. He reacts just about how most of us would, I think, if we came across Lord Farley and everyone else in the novella, ardent about the existence of magic, of chivalry and of quests.
The writing is a little odd at parts, but really it's just a matter of getting used to the story. The characters, while all a little ridiculous, were sympathetic and relatable, and, having finished the story, I felt a bit sad, like I had said goodbye to a few good friends.
Arrival (Maddy Young Saga 1), by Nick Pirog
TRIGGER WARNINGS FOR BRIEF RAPE MENTION, THEMES OF DEATH, AND GENERAL HOMOPHOBIA
Madison "Maddy" Young has just died. However, he still has a consciousness, and he isn't in Heaven or Hell, from what he can tell. Instead, he's in a facility with a group of people, all recently deceased. They've all found themselves in a rehabilitation center in a place called Two, where one in three people go after they've died. It's much like our world, only with people who have died. But things are not quite as they seem, as Maddy investigates the conspiracy of the 'Borns', people who are supposedly born in Two.
I liked the story, I really did. The premise is actually really interesting to me, and I thought the writing style was quite good. I found that the supporting characters were far more intriguing than our protagonist. There are a few derogatory remarks directed at one person Maddy perceives to be gay, which did greatly diminish my enjoyment of the story, but it was overall good.
The only problem lies in the fact that I would definitely not call this a novel, nor a novella, nor even a short story. To call it one of these would imply that it consists of what your average story would: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Most of the story is exposition, and there is a little bit of rising action. It then abruptly ends on a cliffhanger and a note from the author to be sure to purchase the next installment. I'm not impressed. You should definitely get people hooked on the first installment of a series, sure, but I do expect a finished, fully fleshed out product, which was not the case. Still, if you don't mind having to shill out a few extra dollars to find out what happens next, or if you just want to read the premise and imagine the world on your own, this is still a very enjoyable read.
The Paparazzi Project, by Kristina Springer
Livvie Peterson has just become a paparazza. For school, of course. Her junior year Interpersonal Communications class's first assignment is to explore the symbiotic relationship between celebrities, paparazzi, and tabloid magazines. To do this, they've recreated this by designating some students as celebrities, others as paparazzi, and still others as tabloid writers. So Livvie follows around designated celebrities, taking pictures and sending them to her tabloid contact, the handsome Chas, and helps spin several articles a week, just as a regular tabloid would. It starts off innocently enough, but how much can one take their personal life being on full display?
While I'm definitely still a fan of the YA genre, I felt that this was catered to a far younger audience, maybe preteen at best. I occasionally found myself a bit embarrassed to be reading such juvenile writing, but I think it does add to the tone and feel of the story, so don't think it detracts from it.
The story was written with a message in mind, that much is obvious, and I think that it delivered well on its message, and I think it's message is highly important for young people to hear and read. However, I did notice some plot holes. A good part of the novel is spent describing Brittany's declining mental wellbeing over being a celebrity, for instance, but you never hear what happens to her; after her meltdown we just... never hear from her again. Which may be realistic, as I know that in high school not everyone follows up with what's happening in another classmate's life, but I'd still like to know: Is she okay? Has she been hospitalized? What's going on?
While I go back and forth on this book, I would still recommend this for maybe a preteen daughter.
Remember This (A Romantic Comedy), by Shae Buggs
Hardworking Lucy Harper has just about had it with her flirtatious husband, Mason; once she was in love with him, now just looking at him incites anger in her. One day, she finds evidence that he has cheated on her, and in a moment of passion she hurls a wine bottle at his head, inducing amnesia. All she wants is a divorce, but now she must try to help trigger his memory. However, she finds herself falling for this Mason, just like the first time.
It's a romcom in book form. And sure, I'm all for a good romantic comedy, 'boy meets girl', the banter, the flirting, the romance... it's all good and fun. And it's weird to say "I expected more from this romcom", but I expected more from this romcom.
For a romcom to work, I think, at least one character has to be likeable. Mason is obviously painted as a total jerk, so that leaves the narrator/protagonist, Lucy, to be likeable, but in reality I kind of hated her. I mean, one of the very first character establishing moments is when she chucks a wine bottle at her husband's head. Like, if you think someone's been cheating, get angry, yell, ignore them, whatever, that's all fine. Physical assault? Not so much. It's really hard to sympathize with Lucy having to stick with Mason because he got amnesia when he could have easily died from such an impact.
Also, a lot of this humor didn't derive from witty banter, or ironic circumstances, but rather from slapstick and bathroom jokes. Crude humor isn't bad, per se, but it often is cheap and weak humor, and I'd like for my romcoms to try a bit harder to impress me with the comedy aspect.
So, there you have it. These are just some short reviews; I discuss each book in far greater detail on my blog. Each book can be found on Amazon.com, and all of them can be bought as Kindle ebooks. Hopefully you'll be able to find something you like!