Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bad Books

It's been so long since I've updated the sidebar, I'm tempted to remove it all and give my posts more space on the page.

I think I have the Kindle to blame. It feels like screen time more than reading; I zip through thrillers and mysteries, sometimes two in a day. I've set the font and brightness to large and shiny which translates to far fewer words on the page than I'm used to in a real book. I'm constantly swiping the screen, pulling up the next set of words. I never know what page I am on, because the pagination changes along with the font size. I've been reading Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose for months; I'm 78% of the way through. That is a much less satisfying bit of information than I'd have if I were reading it on paper with a proper binding and could sense how close I was to the end by feeling the pages left in my right hand. But, with the Kindle the text is always available to me, on my phone, on the Kindle itself, in the darkened living room while TBG is watching LeBron.

My ambivalence to the device notwithstanding, I have used it consistently since I began to download free books from BookBub and Book Gorilla. Many of them are awful.  Most would benefit from a proofreader's red pencil.  Some appear to have skipped the editor's desk entirely. I'd be aggravated if money had changed hands (or electronic funds had been transferred), but, since they were free, I feel no compunction about stopping 28% or even 2% into the story and sending it back to the cloud. 

Here is some of what I've read and rejected over the last few months.  I'm appending mini-reviews and snarky comments. Tomorrow, I will review the ones I liked.  From there, I will try to keep the sidebar more up to date.  

Notice, I said try.
The Ambassador's Wife (Jake Needham) 8% of this nonsense was enough to send me screaming.  There wasn't a sentence that enticed me.  The characters were interchangeable. The editing was non-existent.  

The Advocate (Teresa Burrell) I knew where it was going from the beginning.  Anyone who watched Law'n Order or NCIS or Castle or Murder She Wrote would have the same reaction.  Formulaic and predictable, it was written well enough that I was able to finish it in one sitting.  The main character appears in the rest of the series; it will go on without me.

In the Blood: A Genealogical Crime Mystery #1 (Steve Robinson) This one couldn't figure out what it wanted to be. Was it a crime novel?  Was it a genealogical how-to manual?  And who was the main character, anyway?  There were so many overlapping stories I couldn't keep them straight.  After 28%, I was finished.

Armed and Fabulous  - Lexi Graves Mysteries (Camilla Chafer) The cover art should have given me a clue.  The rear end of a sexy woman in a black dress with a hand gun imitating her tail - the inside was as vapid as the outside. After 2%, I clicked through to another one.

Unleashed  -A Sydney Rye Novel #1 (Emily Kimmelman) 16% of this girl meets dog meets old lovers meets a problem I can't even remember was quite enough, thank you.  I really don't like books that have pages of dialog without reminding me who is saying what to whom.  It's a bigger problem when the story's not that interesting.

The Fifth Avenue Series (Christopher Smith ) Sometimes I continue to read long after my wiser self is telling me to put the thing away.  I had three stories in a boxed set, and I hoped that I would love it enough to be drawn into a long relationship.  It's telling that I could stop with only 35% of the tale left to tell.  I really didn't care at all.

The Last American Martyr (Tom Winton)  A polemic, a screed, a man shouting at the wind.  I read  22% of it, gritting my teeth.  I was looking for a story. I was not interested in preaching.

This Doesn't Happen in the Movies (Renee Pawlish) 2% was enough to tell me that my sixth grade English teacher would have rejected both the premise and the style of this story.  Once again, I should've paid attention to the cover art.


  1. YOU got me hooked on BookBub and BookGorilla. LOL!

    I haven't downloaded any novels yet, because I frankly don't have time to read them. I have downloaded some of the free cookbooks and eating healthy books. I figure if they stink, I just delete them. That's the beauty of getting it free--you don't feel remorse and it's awful.

    Thanks for the review of the books you have read. I will steer clear of those. I trust you when it comes to good books. ;)

    Have a great Thursday.

    Megan xxx

  2. Yes, I send warnings as well as advice, don't I?! Glad the cookbooks and healthy eating books are there for you; I'm still stuck on the brain candy.


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