Betty-Anne Olton

Books

This member has not published any books.

Smashwords book reviews by Betty-Anne Olton

  • Three French Hens - A Christmas Collection on Jan. 28, 2012

    I received a free copy of this e-book in exchange for reading and reviewing it. As the name states, this is a collection of three short tales with a Christmas them, each based on a popular Christmas carols. The book is a quick and entertaining read. The first story about a vampire preying on the elderly is fairly forgettable. However, the second story, which has a very different ending to a televised singing competition, has a much better twist to it and a satisfying ending. The third story packs the greatest impact. The main character, Darcy, has a meet up with Santa which changes her view of the stereotypes of the jolly, fat, bearded character. Darcy is a real character with foibles and problems. It makes her easy to relate to and I wanted to read more about her. The major problem with this book was that it required some serious editing. There were many instances of incorrect spelling, duplicated words, and poor grammar, sufficient to detract from my enjoyment of the stories. Also, it suffered from some choppy sentences, and some poorly worded ones which again, stood out from the story and made my reading experience unsatisfying. That said, I would still read from this author in the future. The character of Darcy will reappear in the author’s forthcoming Time-Traveling Assassins series, and I am willing to give those books a try. I am hoping that the editing issues will be resolved in future books.
  • Up in the Attic and Other Stories on Jan. 28, 2012

    I received a free copy of this e-book in exchange for reading and reviewing it. I really wanted to like “Up in the Attic”. The stories promised to be interesting, with a holiday theme perfect for the time of the year. However, there were some serious flaws in this book that made it a difficult, and ultimately, not very memorable read. The book contains seven stories, all with a somewhat dark element, not quite reaching horror. Two of the seven, “Crunch” and “Meeting with the Fam” had good potential. A third, “The Holiday Lift” ended just when the story got interesting. The others were completely forgettable. This book needed some serious editing. The overall style was full of short, choppy sentences which destroyed any hope of a smooth flow of any of the stories. The author uses some unusual phrases and descriptions which were distracting and got annoying after a while. For example, no one ever “sits down”. Every character “lowers their form” into whatever seat. Additionally, characters sometimes change names in the middle of the story, and then change back again, leaving the reader very confused until they manage to figure it out. Describing a character as “the middle-aged man” works fine the first time … the reader gets a picture of the character in mind. When the same description is used to refer to the character in each of the next few paragraphs, it becomes quite irritating and spoils the story. I was very disappointed with this collection, as I had expected something more ready for publication, especially considering Ms. Auverigne has several other collections/stories available. It is unlikely I will be trying any of the others, which is a pity, because she has some good ideas in this collection, which unfortunately were never truly realized.
  • Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools on May 12, 2012

    I received a free copy of this e-book in exchange for reading and reviewing it. The title alone promises that Victoria Twead’s Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools is going to be a hilarious adventure, and that’s what you get and more! Vicky, the author, decides that retirement for her does not include dreary English weather. Instead she envisions a lovely house in sunny Spain and proceeds to talk her husband Joe into the idea. Ultimately, they do relocate to a strange but fascinating house in a tiny Andalucían village way up a mountain. As much as the very nature of the book lends itself to humor, it would all probably be quite pointless without the excellent ‘voice’ of Vicky herself. The author has the absolute knack for seeing the humor in every single thing – from the German real estate agent, to the trials of making the odd house livable, to of course, the inevitable chickens. She also has the ability to relay that humor in an engaging, friendly way that makes you feel that you’re sitting down with an old, dear friend. This book also has a special place in my heart because I grew up in a small, rural Catholic village in the Caribbean and many of the festivals that the author describes take me right back to my childhood. The many pictures in the book also enhance the storytelling, and helps bring many of the incidents to vivid life. Oh, I loved the addition of the Spanish recipes as well, which I’m slowly working my way through trying. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a quirky look at life, and writing infused with humor and gentle sarcastic wit that will leave you laughing long after you’ve finished reading.
  • Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools on May 12, 2012

    I received a free copy of this e-book in exchange for reading and reviewing it. The title alone promises that Victoria Twead’s Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools is going to be a hilarious adventure, and that’s what you get and more! Vicky, the author, decides that retirement for her does not include dreary English weather. Instead she envisions a lovely house in sunny Spain and proceeds to talk her husband Joe into the idea. Ultimately, they do relocate to a strange but fascinating house in a tiny Andalucían village way up a mountain. As much as the very nature of the book lends itself to humor, it would all probably be quite pointless without the excellent ‘voice’ of Vicky herself. The author has the absolute knack for seeing the humor in every single thing – from the German real estate agent, to the trials of making the odd house livable, to of course, the inevitable chickens. She also has the ability to relay that humor in an engaging, friendly way that makes you feel that you’re sitting down with an old, dear friend. This book also has a special place in my heart because I grew up in a small, rural Catholic village in the Caribbean and many of the festivals that the author describes take me right back to my childhood. The many pictures in the book also enhance the storytelling, and helps bring many of the incidents to vivid life. Oh, I loved the addition of the Spanish recipes as well, which I’m slowly working my way through trying. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a quirky look at life, and writing infused with humor and gentle sarcastic wit that will leave you laughing long after you’ve finished reading.