Updated review: Driven by my sometimes misguided sense of curiosity, I decided to finish reading this novella, despite my earlier abandonment of it. U Updated review: Driven by my sometimes misguided sense of curiosity, I decided to finish reading this novella, despite my earlier abandonment of it. Unfortunately, the story, the plot, and the level of the grotesque only devolved the more I read. In approximate order of appearance, the following are used as plot points in this novella of fewer than 100 pages.
- Drug-facilitated sexual assault - Killing and mutilation of chickens - Attempted rape - Kissing and making out following disruption of that attempted rape, complete with rapey thoughts from the male protagonist about how it's hard for him to control himself around her - Poisoning and killing of two horses - Incest between daughter and father, including reveal that said daughter has been seducing father since the age of 13 and blackmailing him since - Reveal that father accidentally raped "good" daughter once by mistakenly going to the wrong bedroom - Killing of litter of puppies by breaking their necks - Threats of one sister to kill the other - Double murder (possibly murder-suicide) - Reveal that "evil" sister had also been sexual coercing plantation workers into sexual acts - Mutilation of a corpse - Suicide
The intent of the novella seems to be to set up the full-length books in the series, but I can't imagine wanting to read more. Before anyone thinks that I am being squeamish or delicate, let it be known that I understand using violence as a way to develop a plot or its characters. However, such violence must serve a purpose in the story. None of this did, other than being used as a weak set-up for a curse that appears in other books. The paranormal aspects of the story don't even appear until the final 10 - 15% of the story, and they are then not even explained or fleshed out. (view spoiler)[It's just, "Oh, her eyes turned black once, and now she's a ghost who can haunt me. What about that weird lady who visited the house? Hmm, no matter." (hide spoiler)]
As the prequel to a YA paranormal romance, I doubt this story will do little to draw in readers. When the love story does appear, it is unbelievable with no build and a substantial focus on the couple's lustful intent toward one another, complete with statements about how the male protagonist can barely control himself around the chosen girl and how she doesn't want him to be able to. On top of all those things, the writing is poor, with frequently anachronistic dialogue and situations, and there is little characterization or world building.
This title comes from a newer digital-first press from Kensington, which makes me think they are more willing to take risks with which books and authors to sign, but this wasn't a good choice, especially as a promoted title on NetGalley. It makes me leery of the quality of their other offerings.
Initial review: DNF at 31%, which is saying something because this novella is only 100 pages in length. Rape or attempted rape was used twice as a plot device in the first 30 pages, the dialogue and behavior of the characters was historically inaccurate, and the story simply doesn't engage me at all. When requesting it from NetGalley, I had not realized that this is a prequel novella for a YA paranormal romance series, but this should be able to be read as a standalone. Despite that, I'm sure the author's and publisher's intent is to entice readers to read the rest of the series, but that won't be the case with me.
Note: This review refers to an advance review copy provided free of charge by the publisher.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This is the fifth title I've read (or attempted to read) by one of the independent or self-published authors I met at the 2014 UtopYA conference, and This is the fifth title I've read (or attempted to read) by one of the independent or self-published authors I met at the 2014 UtopYA conference, and every single one has disappointed me to the point of my not being motivated enough to finish the story.
I support independent authors and am excited by the significant changes that women authors have created in the publishing industry in the past five years, but we must still expect stories to be polished, well thought out, and intentionally planned. That can be done, even with independently-published titles. Indie authors must just slow down and take the time, money, and resources to do it. ...more
I'm finally, finally done with this tome of a novel. Sadly, this was the most disjointed and clearly unplanned novel of the series. Plot lines were br I'm finally, finally done with this tome of a novel. Sadly, this was the most disjointed and clearly unplanned novel of the series. Plot lines were brought up and then dropped; characters were introduced or reintroduced and then ignored; and the entire conflict and resolution felt contrived and anticlimactic. Oh, and our two main characters of Matthew and Diana? Even more perfect and revolutionary and special than anyone before them and anyone to come and all to a nauseating degree of implausibility. ...more
Though the author was a sweetheart when I met her this past conference, I'm sad to report that I couldn't make it through her book. The prose is insip Though the author was a sweetheart when I met her this past conference, I'm sad to report that I couldn't make it through her book. The prose is insipid and childish, the plot obvious, and the characters seemingly one-dimensional. I'm glad she has a strong following, but I wasn't able to push myself to finish it....more
Quite possibly one of the most disappointing reading experiences I've had in a long while. I picked up this book, long neglected on my shelves, as a w Quite possibly one of the most disappointing reading experiences I've had in a long while. I picked up this book, long neglected on my shelves, as a way to indulge a bit on a snowy Thanksgiving at home. Unfortunately, the book's premise (a long reclusive vampire takes in a woman stranded in a snowstorm) didn't come together due to poor characterization and poor writing.
The best way I can think to describe this book is as "vampire wish fulfillment" with little beyond that. In addition to being stunningly handsome, the standoffish vampire hero Michael is an accomplished pianist, a doctor, an internationally bestselling author (and conveniently the heroine's favorite), and a master horseman who can "meld" his mind with his steeds. If that weren't enough, he's also sworn off feeding from humans for the past 200 years and he makes handcrafted music boxes. When Nicole, the foolish woman who drives her rental car into a winter storm, gets saved by him, he finds the one thing he's been missing his entire life: an equally perfect woman that he describes as such.
I've read many a case of instalove before, but never one as blatant as this; the couple has no real connection, but they are swearing their love to one another in mere days and their lovemaking is described in rapturously overdone similes and metaphors. Because the writing employed so much telling and very little showing, I never felt a connection between the couple and the whole situation came off as completely implausible, even when negating the vampire angle. If I was supposed to fall in love with these characters and ache for them and their doomed love affair, it didn't happen....more
Though I really enjoyed the first one in this prequel series, I'm now a bit worried about book two. The teaser chapters (available through MTV's HollyThough I really enjoyed the first one in this prequel series, I'm now a bit worried about book two. The teaser chapters (available through MTV's Hollywood Crush site) suggest that this one is going to bring the unnecessary romance and sex drama like WOAH.
(view spoiler)[The first two chapters are about nothing but the scummy boy wanting to have his rape-y way with our heroine and then the heroine trying to have her lovey-sexy way with the hunky, reasonable love interest. In 24 hours, she goes from her first-ever kiss to seeing people battle evil and die to fleeing on horseback under the cover of darkness to talking herbal birth control with her lover in the forest after trying to run her hands up into his man goods. Really? (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>...more
Charming historical-supernatural romance that's slow to start
In Saundra Mitchell's The Springsweet, seventeen-year-old Zora finds herself stuck in B Charming historical-supernatural romance that's slow to start
In Saundra Mitchell's The Springsweet, seventeen-year-old Zora finds herself stuck in Baltimore - both emotionally and physically - as she grieves the tragic loss of her fiancé. When a rash choice provides a way out, she takes it and finds her way to the wind-swept prairies of Oklahoma to live with her aunt. Once there, Zora discovers that she has the power to sense water under the ground and that her skill is in much demand in a drought-ridden land. While burdened with the responsibility of locating water (and hope) for others, Zora finds that her own heart may be awakening again.
Overall, The Springsweet was a charming historical romance with a light dash of the supernatural. The novel was short and succinct, and it was easy to sit down and devour it in one sitting. Zora, though a bit selfish, was a sympathetic character given her experiences and loss, and side characters like aunt Birdie and her young daughter helped flesh out the story. One of the love interests was also very likeable, and the romance, though quick and not entirely explainable, had some swoony moments. The greatest strength of the novel, however, lay in its detailed and beautiful descriptions of prairie and frontier life; these vivid mental images provided the story with an excellent sense of place and time.
Despite these positives, the novel was slow to start, and the writing felt a bit awkward in a few places. This novel is also not a good choice as someone's first foray into a historical/period novel, as there were words or descriptions, such as Zora lifting up the "combination" under her dress, that didn't mean anything to me and left me confused. Some of the supernatural elements weren't clearly explained either. The romance also developed too quickly and without much substance. This was one of the few times that I wanted a book to be longer, instead of shorter. It seemed like a lot of my concerns about the romance and the supernatural elements could have been cleared up with a few more pages about each topic. Though it's advertised as a companion novel, not a sequel, there were also times I wished I had read Mitchell's first book, The Vespertine, before this. The story does a good job of filling in the gaps, but I still felt like I was missing something.
Even though I found things I didn't like in The Springsweet, I found a lot that I did, and those strengths are enough to make me want to catch up on the first book The Vespertine and read the next (Aetherborne) when it comes out. In the coming book, I hope Mitchell continues to create a memorable sense of time and place while also providing readers with more insight into the supernatural ways and romances of her characters.
Note: This review refers to an advance review copy....more
Since I'd already read the first three books in this series, I decided to take on the fourth installment when it showed up at my local library. Though Since I'd already read the first three books in this series, I decided to take on the fourth installment when it showed up at my local library. Though Stolarz's writing continues to be easy and quick to read, the story lacks any real substance or originality. Not surprisingly, the plot involves Camelia's touch powers and yet another stalker out to hurt someone in her town. The love triangle between Ben (mysterious and brooding) and Adam (sweet, hot, and understanding) persists, and the side-kick characters of Wes and Kimmie continue to say ridiculous things at inappropriate times.
With nothing really new added to the story or Stolarz's stock plot line, I found it difficult to care about any of the characters, their relationships, or the dangers that might be following them. I'll probably read the final book, Deadly Little Lessons, when it comes out just to see how things end, but I'm not excited about it. ...more