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Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

April 9, 2011

You know what they say about assuming

Spirit InterventionSpirit Intervention by Margaret West
paperback, 118 pages
Published January 2011 by Eternal Press
ISBN13: 9781615722839
Read April 2011

I was contacted by the author to review her book. I said yes because I wanted to try out a paranormal romance. I wasn't sure what the difference between a paranormal romance and a supernatural romance. I sometimes wonder if the publishing world doesn't come up with new genres just to stand out from the crowd. I also wonder how important clearly defined genres will be in the future as we have fewer and fewer physical bookstores (an online bookstore doesn't need a genre per say, but good keywords). But that is a question best suited for a blog that discussed such things (maybe I will mention it to @Indiepride at The Sunday Book Review). 

So I start reading Spirit Intervention. It is short, only about 100 pages for the story. There was not a lot of detail or time given to character development or setting. It took me abut 20 or 30 pages to realize that it wasn't an American book. I don't mind that it isn't, but I would have liked to have it in my head. And not from having the author telling me that when the book is sent, but from the details in the book. As more and more British wording was used, I was confused as to were the story took place and finally London was mentioned. Having a number of British friends and working with a international company, the British English did not bother me too much. For the most part I knew what was meant, but I don't know how well it will translate for the general public on this side of the pond. 

I like character driven stories. I want to connect with the characters, however, West did not provide enough background on the characters before delving into the plot. By the end I was only mildly interested in what happened to Sally and Emilio. 

From the beginning the felt like the movies that I watched in the early nineties. I can't remember the names of any of them (Billy Crystal probably starred in a few of them) because they all kind of blurred into one. They all had themes of star crossed lovers and afterlife. They were usually funny. Again because of the lack of detail to setting I had trouble keeping myself in the present and not wondering back to the 1990s with this story. The book did lend itself more to a movie script than a novel. Maybe West could try to shop her story to some movie producers.

The miscommunication and assumptions that all the characters make about what the others think or feel were almost comical. I say almost because there wasn't anything new or unique about the banter between characters. So while I knew that West was meaning for it to be funny, to be it was liking hearing the same joke for the 10th time. I did chuckle a few times towards the end. 

Though I did not find this book to be astounding, I think people that didn't grow up watching the 90s movies where basically the same storyline played out with different actors could find this a witty read. I don't think paranormal romance is my cup of tea - I'll stick more to realistic fiction from now on unless someone out there can recommend a MUST read paranormal romance to me. 

As a side note from my commentary on sex in books last week- though you can tell that Sally and Emilio have hot sex I didn't have to share the bed with them.

Next week I am participating in a blog swap with Indie Reader Houston. She will be posting here and I will be posting on her blog. We are shooting for Thursday.
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April 4, 2011

Coming Soon...: Mistakes

Mistakes by A.M. Hayward & L.J. Holder
Published April, 2011 by The Writer's Coffee Shop
ISBN 978-1-61213-032-3
Read April, 2011

My publisher sent me an advance copy of Mistakes to read. It is BRILLIANT! I have followed the writing of the dynamic duo Hayward & Holder online for a while now. It is sometimes a bit scary what their minds can come up with (seriously, I have read some of their online work by peaking between my fingers). But while their online work is good, Mistakes, their first published novel, is absolutely wonderful.

Maddy is a high school senior at a private school where she is a step or two down on the socio-economic ladder of her peers. Her parents have tried to protect her from the snobbishness of the upper crust. However, Maddy is ready to break out of the sheltered bubble and experience the life she has only read about in fairytales.Add in a debonaire college guy that shows her a bit of attention and you have a recipe for disaster.

Hayward & Holder are talented in bringing forth emotion in their readers. By the time Maddy left for Spring Break, my stomach was twisting with the guilt Maddy had for lying to her parents. The desperation and despair she experiences later in the book, combined with the tenderness of fellow captive Dalton, had tears streaming down my cheeks. You can't help but feel connected to these characters.

I started reading Mistakes in the early afternoon on Saturday, by bedtime I still had 30 pages or so to read. There was no way I was going to bed. I stayed up until I finished it. I can count on 1 hand the number of books I have read in one day. Now, even days later, I can't help think about the story and the characters. I wonder how much begging I would have to do to see an early draft of the sequel to this wonderfully suspenseful novel.

Mistakes will be published April 28, 2011. Pre-orders for the paperback are now being accepted at the publisher's website and I encourage you to order it NOW. I should warn my readers that the series does involve human trafficking, but in this first novel there was no graphic sex, though there was a bit of violence. At this point, I think the book would be suitable for high school students (and may serve as a warning to the dangers faced by young adults during Spring Break parties).
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