Eva Leger's Reviews > Year of the Crackmom

Year of the Crackmom by V.J. Gotastory
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Mar 11, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: b-urban-fiction, couldn-t-finish-yuck
Recommended for: NO one - in case you didn't hear me: NO. ONE.

I have no idea where to even start here. I'll save the editing drama for the end because there is more than enough to begin with. Was the blurb from the publisher on the front cover just a way to sell the book?
I saw nothing "chilling and brutal" and, from what I know about drugs and addicts, nothing "honest" either. The publisher claims the book is so much of these things that they "almost didn't publish it".
I keep finding myself staring at the book like it's an AIDS infected three headed monster. Yeah, it's that bad.
I'm not going to go in any sort of order here, just from my memory, so here goes:
1. Point me to the projects where I can find a crackhead drenched in designer duds. Because I venture to say that you can't do it.
2. Using "ting" instead of "thing" and screaming "bumbaclot" and "blood clot" do not a Jamaican accent make. Do any Jamaicans really use those words? The ones I've known don't.
4. From what I read of this book the absolute only thing thing that was "honest" was the how-to on cooking up crack. That's it. (Which, by the way, is an awesome thing to include in a book.)
Are we supposed to actually believe that Jarvis was smoking crack, day and night, for months on end and then one night Kaneesha, all of a sudden, notices the jaw grinding and the huge eyes? Really? That's honest?

On page 101 Baggs gives Kaneesha a "fifty-cent piece". From the context clues and street slang I know I can assume that "cent" was slang for "dollar". I don't know where you can find that an amount of crack fitting in a dollar bill is "generous" or worth asking "is that all mine".
Page 63 - "Stone was furious about something and every other word that fell from his mouth was a curse word either in Patios (foreign language) or English." Yeah, thanks for the clarification. I needed that.
I can spew forth many more instances of unrealisticness, amateur writing, etc. but I'll stop. Frankly, it's giving me a headache.

The lack of editing. I want to make it clear that I do not expect an author to write a perfected manuscript. I'm not an author but I do know that doesn't happen often. I do expect, however, the finished product to be perfected. The finished product, which the author and publisher want my money for, should be perfect in my opinion. I don't buy moldy bread or broken microwaves and I don't want to buy a sloppy books.
I've seen time and time again, with Cartel Publications in particular, that the editing is atrocious. How, and why, would a publisher continue to use an "editing service" when they know they get sloppy results? (Sloppy is me being nice by the way.) A few of the mistakes that glared out at me included incorrect punctuation, missing words, extra words, incorrectly phrased sentences, spelling errors, and many, many more examples.
I can say this with absolute certainty: I will not pay money for any Cartel Publication books. I may read some but I will not buy them and I will not recommend them or spread the word about them.
How could I possible spread the word about this book? I'd be laughed at. I have many friends who take recommendations seriously and will go out and buy a book on a recommendation. What do I look like telling them to read this?
I've said this before and I'll say it again, it is not hard to edit a book. Once you have someone or some service edit a book and it's not done right you no longer use them. I'll put an offer out there for you Cartel, pay me half and I'll edit your book. Then you can see what a real editing job looks like. (And I'm not even an editor.)
There is a solid reason why other publishing houses are moving beyond and this is it. I have more than a handful of non-urban-fiction reading friends trying the genre. They read one like this and they're finished. And who can blame them? The genre if full of books like this. Had this (or similar titles) been my first urban fiction read I'd have never continued.
Save your time and your money (and most likely your sanity) and pass on this one. To my friends, I know you and you will NOT like this.
If there was a story tucked in there somewhere it would have been weighed down by all of the negatives.
At the end of the description it states that this is a "brilliant debut novel" and that it "deals with the power of the human spirit to live against all odds." I'm speechless. I'd have to say it's exactly opposite of that sentence. The only thing this shows readers with any intelligence is that this publisher spews forth untruths. (And how to cook crack.)
**I should note that I'm suspicious of a few of the ratings below. I think they've been manufactured by the author and/or publisher. Look closely and decide for yourself.**
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Reading Progress

March 11, 2009 – Shelved
March 11, 2009 – Shelved as: b-urban-fiction
July 14, 2010 – Started Reading
July 15, 2010 –
page 12
4.72% "not feeling the mistakes at all. far too many and so early in the book :("
July 15, 2010 –
page 29
11.42% "Ugh.... more mistakes than I can even count. Am I supposed to take this seriously?"
July 16, 2010 –
page 47
18.5% "the story is here but the delivery is not..."
July 16, 2010 –
page 69
July 17, 2010 – Shelved as: couldn-t-finish-yuck
July 17, 2010 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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message 1: by Kim (new)

Kim drives me mad when a book is badly proofread

message 2: by Eva (new) - rated it 1 star

Eva Leger You know, I have a real infatuation with urban fiction and some of it is so good but the editing is along the lines of, if not worse, than self-published books. There is not only a mistake in the publisher's message to readers before the story starts but more than one mistake on the very first two pages of the story.
A lot of these have a real gritty story to tell but the lack of editing really takes it far down IMO. I have to admit that after reading the first few pages I don't have much hope for this, it's seems really amateurish. :(

message 3: by Kim (new)

Kim and it is so easy to do, if not well, then at least adequately

message 4: by Eva (new) - rated it 1 star

Eva Leger I'm only somewhere less than 30 pages and I'm appalled at the lack of editing. How a publisher can consistantly put out such horribley edited books I don't understand. You should see the mistakes I've seen already, misspelled city names, missing words, horrible punctuation, etc. How can anyone take a book, author, or publisher seriously looking at this?

message 5: by Meaghan (last edited Jul 17, 2010 07:22AM) (new)

Meaghan *pedantry* The word is "possibly" not "possible" as in "How could I possible spread the word about this book?" Normally I wouldn't bother to bring it up but in this review you're ranting about bad editing so I thought you would want to know.

I too have my suspicions about Vj21244's review. It's the only book in that person's library. That's very odd.

message 6: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Rutter I removed this book from all of my wish lists. As you know I make all kinds of mistakes in writing, but I have read some books and thought to myself, did a third grader write this? It would seem that someone wanting to be taken seriously as a publisher/author/editor would not want their name on this type of book. You would think they would be more serious about their profession!

message 7: by Kim (new)

Kim Sabrina - I have to agree. I am involved in the publishing industry and even when being careful I still make mistakes. But how authors can make errors like changing the spelling of the name of a character, or the name of a town - do they not ever actually read their finished product?

I know I cringe when I see a mistake in a book I have been involved with - and my name is not even on the book. How people can allow badly edited books out there with their name on them floors me!

message 8: by Eva (new) - rated it 1 star

Eva Leger Hahaha! Meaghann you got me! But, to be honest, even though I do attempt to write the "right" way and not misspell, I don't take it too serious because it's not published. It's more for me and my friends than the rest of the world so I don't really try too, too hard with things like that.

message 9: by Eva (new) - rated it 1 star

Eva Leger Sabrina, you would NOT want to read this. I know you well enough to say that with 100% certainty. I don't expect an author to have a perfect manuscript, that's just absurd, but to have the finished product and ask me for MY money for it and have it be trash?
And get this, I messaged T. Styles, the owner or whatever you want to call her, of the publishing company and she said it's "hard to find a decent editor" and that soon they would. Yet all of the books are (not) edited by "Advanced Editing Services". I'm honestly thinking they don't exist. I think they're taking the authors manuscripts, saying that they're edited and publishing them and in the process saving money.
Most of the books I've read from the publisher have the amount of mistakes you'd see in an unfinished manuscript. Which is fine, in an unfinished manuscript but NOT in a finished book.
It's unfortunate because Styles herself is a good writer and her company will never, ever gain headway without major changes.
You can't tell me it's that hard to finf an editor. I'll edit the next manuscript, for half the price, and it'll be perfect or damn close. It's laziness and most probably, trying to save a few bucks.

message 10: by Eva (new) - rated it 1 star

Eva Leger Meaghann, I'd like your take on this (and Sabrina and Kim if you feel like looking). Take a look at the other ratings that are 4 and/or 5 stars (there are only a few and there is one 2 star rating I think. The higher ratings are all people who joined, added that one book, didn't continue here are GR, and said less than one sentence about how great the book is. I could remember wrong about this but I think it says they're in MD. and NY. which is the authors stomping grounds as far as I know. Fishy to say the least.

message 11: by Kim (new)

Kim Eva - Fishy indeed. I guess its just manipulating the system - when I write my book I EXPECT you all to rave about it publically

message 12: by Eva (new) - rated it 1 star

Eva Leger lol... that's what it seems like! I'm not sure how an author could expect every reader to love their book. I don't think anything is wrong with an author rating their own work. I think it may be something I'd do if I were an author but to make it look like it's it a reader is an entirely different story IMO. Thanks for taking a look. I didn't know if my hatred for this book was making me think differently or what.

message 13: by Shannon (new)

Shannon That sounds just terrible. I hate when the book is proof read so horribly makes you wonder if it was proof read at all. I understand some mistakes sneak in as we are all human but I have read books like this and I know what you mean. I hate having to stop and figure out what the word should really be. I won't be reading this one I guess. It sounds like too much work! Oh and it does sound fishy with people from the author's stomping ground just suddenly joining adding this one book and giving it a high rating.

message 14: by Eva (new) - rated it 1 star

Eva Leger Yeah Shannon, miss this one. You wouldn't like it. You're a lot like me in that this kind of thing bothers you but you can tolerate it to a certain extent. This goes above and beyond a lack of editing. It's actually worse than I would expect the average person's first rough draft to be.

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