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Smashwords book reviews by Whea
- Seer of Mars (The Vallar Series 1)
on June 03, 2011
Ian Connors, whiny psychic extraordinaire, works for (read: is unknowingly enslaved by) the biggest company on Mars, which is using him to get back to Earth. Then he has a vision of a beautiful girl and blah, blah, blah.
Let's start with the dialogue.
"'And Connors, this isn't the last of your punishment,' he said low with a menacing tone."
I read that and CRINGED. Not because of the low, menacing tone, but because, gods above, that was possibly the cheesiest, most predictable thing he could've said. And c'mon, "low with a menacing tone"? Geez.
"'Thanks for being so kind. I hope you don't mind me saying this, but ever since I had the vision. [...] Ever since then I've loved you.'"
Okay, he's a sixteen-year-old in love. I get it. But does he really have to sound like the lyrics out of some horrible boy band song?
These two examples are typical of the dialogue in Vallar: clichéd, emotionless, and juvenile. These make the characters seem such.
Most of the characters are one-dimensional. You can't get to know them because, of course, they're the enemy. Oh wait, no, they're not, but let's just shove them in there anyway. There's no story to them because they're not real people; they're cardboard cutouts of Justin Bieber with mustaches drawn on his face so they look different. Or so I assume.
Even the protagonist didn't really have a story, and his story WAS the story. There was no character development, let alone any way for me to want to like him. A flashback or two is all we get.
I did like Sonny. He was pretty awesome. He had a story, he had emotions, he developed as the story progressed. He should've died.
As this was a science fiction novel, I would've liked to have gotten a better picture of the environment. All I got was "bio-dome" and "rocks" and "sand." Oh, and adjectives abound. Sorry for all the people who like "show, don't tell" or "wow, I feel like I'm really there!"
In addition, this needs to be proofread. If it has been, I'm assuming the person who did the proofreading has no idea how to use commas. Plzlearnkthx.
Despite all of these shortcomings, and yes, there are a ton of them, the story was pretty intriguing. It had to be, because I hated damn near everything else, but I didn't put down the book. If there's a sequel, I'll read it.
- Dirty Little Angels
on June 16, 2011
I read this book in one sitting. It was a story that intensely conveyed the desperation of a teenager and her dysfunctional, poverty-stricken family.
Hailey's dealings with her family are heartbreaking: the out-of-a-job, alcoholic father; the spoiled mother, suffering depression from a miscarriage and seemingly unable to care about her living kids; and the caring older brother who wants to keep her away from it all. Each character is three-dimensional, relate-able, and real.
The one thing I didn't like was that everyone sounded the same. If the names were taken away from the quotes, I wouldn't have a clue who was saying what.
Beyond that, though, everything about this book was great. It was an emotional roller coaster, and the use of figurative language was clever and helpful. Recommended to readers who liked What's Eating Gilbert Grape.
- Divine Intervention
on July 02, 2011
Started out extremely slow. The first third of the book took me about a week to get through, because I really didn't want to keep going. There was too much dialogue and not enough description, lots of abbreviations without explanation, the characters were way too juvenile and unprofessional to be really likeable, and the plotline didn't seem all that great.
So when I say the rest of the book makes up for it, I really mean it.
The story was really unpredictable, and I loved getting into the mind of the killer. Watching the evidence mount up, the frustration of the team, and the tedious process of narrowing down leads to find dead end after dead end was pretty interesting and made it seem realistic. Every time I thought something was set in stone, it changed. And that's really what makes a good story.
Some complaints (not including the first third of the book):
-Not very much description: I never really know WHY Jasi likes Brandon so much. I know he's got nice muscles and she gets butterflies in her stomach when she looks at him, but that's about it. I barely know what he looks like.
-Too many cliches: Walsh is drowning in Jasi's eyes, their kiss is like heaven. That doesn't count as description.
-Loose ends: Wtf happened with Parliament? It's like a tease, mentioning the murders or some former love interest briefly, but never delving deeper or explaining. This doesn't make me want to know more, though, it just annoys the crap out of me. Oh, also, I really wanted to know what Cameron at the end, but they seemed to forget about her once the mystery was solved. So much for making friends.
Overall, good story. Okay writing. Somewhat likeable characters. Will probably read sequel if it happens to cross my path, but I won't go out of my way to find it.
- Olga - A Daughter's Tale
on July 08, 2011
Olga - A Daughter's Tale is told through diary entries of various women, letters, and telegrams. Each reveals a simple picture, and when put together, you have an album of an amazing woman's life.
It had me weeping and laughing out loud in turns, and by the end, I felt I knew Olga/Carmen, even though I was born nearly a century after her.
Sacrifice, injustice, and courage abound in this book, along with malice, greed, and fear.
Read this book.
- LS: The Beginning
on July 10, 2011
For a good book this length, I'd be done in a couple hours. This one took me four excruciating days.
The story is forgettable and not well-illustrated. Nothing is explained clearly, not even the most elementary things, like, why the hell is he there in the first place?
The "strange powers" they get are also seemingly random. The main characters never find out why they get them, nor do they seem to really care. A few pages before the end of the book, it also briefly says yeah, by the way, I got this power too...and never mentions it again.
As for the writing, well...heh. First of all, it needs a good proofread. It sounds like a fourth grader's "what I did over summer break" essay. It's awash with participles and no other kind of sentence, there's no description of anything, and everything is briefly touched on, even the climax of the entire book (which took about three paragraphs).
About 4/5 of the scenes could have been done without. Besides, if you're not going to answer questions, write a short story.
I'm gonna skip the sequel, and this author, in the future. Recommended for people who think grammatical errors and cliches are funny. They'll choke from laughing too hard. Also for people who don't need plot, three-dimensional characters, or descriptive writing.