Laura is an Australian who keeps forgetting she's meant to stay in the same place. She loves adventures-which is good, because she's constantly winding up in the middle of them. When she's not accidentally finding herself in the middle of a riot, being tear-gassed or jumping into frozen rivers, she enjoys sailing, snowboarding, and making an obnoxious number of puns.
You can follow Laura and her latest adventures at www.explaura.net
Where to find Laura May online
Pickles and Ponies: A Fairy-Tale
by Laura May
Thanks to a curse, Prince Vanya was born with a silent heart. Luckily, he has his talking horse (conveniently named 'Horse') to help — and he'll need it. The prince is on a quest to save Melodia, Princess of Rather Fishlike Things, who's been thoroughly brainwashed. Can there be a happily ever after? And for whom?
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Smashwords book reviews by Laura May
Love in the Time of Taksim
on Oct. 27, 2013
I read this book because I'm quoted in it. Not only am I that vain, but I paid money to do it!! (Yes, gasps of shock ARE appropriate). Considering I get literally hundreds of books sent to me for free, this was a pretty massive leap.
I told the author that I'd bought it and was going to start reading, and she asked me to leave a review. Fair enough--I do get a certain sick joy out of reviewing books, after all. Of course, what the author may not have realised is that not only do I do the odd bit of freelance editing, but I am brutal. I'm definitely someone you want reading your book before, not after, you publish it.
So, what did I think of the book, then? Well, the pace wasn't too bad. I was in Istanbul recently for the same reason as the author, and was caught up in the riots (though my experience involved riot police and tear gas, rather than being safely in a different district). I was trying really hard to like the book, and was 50/50 on it until I reached the part where I was quoted: and the author had spelled my name incorrectly. Not only that, but a few paragraphs later she mentions the 'Black Sea', says what it's called in Russian, and spelled that incorrectly as well. Don't mess with my beloved Russian language!
Sadly, these were just two examples of the complete lack of attention to detail present throughout the book. There were spelling mistakes, sentences with random words in them, and the grammar was a nightmare. Not quite "she went good" nightmare, but just about every example of a 'perfect' tense was a mess. I understand that the author speaks at least three languages fluently (her book, by the way, acts as a rather brilliant CV)--but sadly, that didn't translate. Get an editor.
And the storyline? What did I think of that? Well, the blurb suggests either 'cli-fi' (climate change fiction) or 'romance'. It wasn't really either. The first section of the book talks about the author's struggles to get to Istanbul, the middle is mixed, and the last half is her hooking up with her host. The constant non-contextual pushing of an environmental agenda had me face-palming, while I simply didn't care about the 'characters' enough to care if they got together or not. This book certainly isn't cli-fi, and neither is it a romance: a romance has a beginning, middle and a conclusion, and has characters that we can either relate to or learn from. Or even hate. And what really drove me crazy was that every time I'd try to reach that state of 'suspended disbelief' so key to a good read, the author would come smashing through the fourth wall with some kind of obvious statement or joke.
This book is more like a sequence of diary entries than anything else, an impression only reinforced by the use of dates as chapter headings. As a diary, I like it. I might not read it, because I can't relate to the main characters/author--but I could appreciate it. What I do like about the book is that it so perfectly captures one person's experiences at a set point in time, and I love that: I'm a big fan of diaries and blogs in general.
Another thing I did like is the author's observations about Turkey: they were all very much spot-on. It's a place I've visited a few times, and as someone who's been there, she really brought the experience back to me. One thing I always forget is how affectionate Turkish men are with one another--to the point of friends holding hands in public--and I loved little details like that being brought back to me.
I imagine that the author's friends and family would enjoy this book, because they know her and appreciate her sense of humour, but it wasn't for me. I'm sorry I couldn't like it more.