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T is for Translated Fiction #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I'm discussing different book genres/categories. Each day, I will give a few details about the ...

July 28, 2011

What's the point? Tribulation Point

Tribulation Point: Sometimes Just Making It Through Another Day Isn't Always EasyTribulation Point: Sometimes Just Making It Through Another Day Isn't Always Easy by Ricci Lane
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 2011 by Outskirts Press
ISBN 9781432773304
Read July 2011

I received this book for free from the author for the purpose of providing an honest review.

For those who have watched my videos the last two weeks, you know that I have been struggling to finish Tribulation Point. It had so much promise and maybe my expectations were too high, but this book missed the mark for me. I never really connected with the characters, the author missed many opportunities for better conflict within the plot, and don't get me started on the editing. I really hope the author didn't pay Outskirts Press for copy editing, because I would be asking for my money back.

I think my biggest problem with the book was story set-up and plot development. It was like reading about someone's life who didn't really have anything happen, though there was plenty of opportunities for drama and conflict in this urban fiction novel. It covers a tumult period in the history of our country, however, the author did not capture any of the racial conflict that was occurring. It was alluded to, but not brought forward enough to give me the sense that I was in the midst of it. Instead, I was given middle school basketball stats.

On Ricci Lane's blog, the author states that there are over 50 characters in this novel. I think that the cast could have been cut in half and more time spent developing the true character of the people in the story. The blurb I was sent when offered to review the book had me believing the focus would be on Precious. However, halfway through the story becomes focused on the narrator, her son James; Precious becomes a minor character. This development left me wondering why the heck I spent 50+ pages reading about basketball stats for this woman. 

The reading level for this book isn't high. Did you know that the newspaper is written on a sixth grade reading level? I don't think the book was marketed for middle grades, particularly given the fact there is some sexual content. Many times while reading Tribulation Point, I felt that I was reading a newspaper article. I was given facts, but the details that make it storytelling was absent. The lack of basic editing bugged me, and became increasingly distracting by the the last third of the novel. 

The man said; "my name is Sylvester Blackmon." "All my friends call my Sly." "I've been working this route for seven years and I always see you walking." "I just thought, today I'd stop and speak." page 64
 Also, there was a lot of repetition.

Pork Chop and I both had received basketball scholarship to the same college, a small predominately white college in Austin. It would not be far from home. We would be able to visit home on a regular basis. page 84
 Then just a few pages over, again we are told...

We had learned that we both had received four-year scholarships to play basketball. The best about it was that we were going to be teammates together at Wolf A & M, a small Catholic College in Austin. This was going to work out well because we would not be that far from home and could come and visit from time to time. page 93
These problems kept popping up and with more frequency towards the end of the book (particularly the quotation use problem). The name of the college was also being misspelled by the last few chapters (Wolfe instead of Wolf).

I was disappointed with book. It could have been so much better with a little editorial help and a lot of copy editing. Other readers thought it was a great read. See GoodReads for other reviews or you can try the book yourself. I'm giving away my copy of it.

For your chance to read Tribulation Point by Ricci Lane, please leave a comment with a way to contact you. I will use to select a winner. You have until Saturday July 29 at midnight US EST to enter. It is open to US addresses only.

July 27, 2011

More Desperate than Funny: Confessions of a PTA Mafia Mom

Confessions Of A PTA Mafia MomConfessions Of A PTA Mafia Mom by Elsie Love
ebook, 195 pages
Published June 2011 by CreateSpace
ISBN 9781463563615
Read July 2011
I received this book for free from the author for the purpose of providing an honest review.

I was hoping that this would be funny. Right from the start it reminded me of the television show Desperate Housewives, which I've only watched a couple of episodes of. By the end of the book it still reminded me of the few episodes of Desperate Housewives. And like the television show, I just didn't find the humor in it. I did chuckle a few times, but not as much as some of the other reviews had be believing I would.

The story line is rather ridiculous (and that is not a negative thing). If you are looking for a book you can just lose yourself in and not think about real life, then definitely this is the book for you. I thought it would be a silly (I guess that's the right word) read, but it turned pretty serious towards the end. Like Lanie, I waffled between was Suni, Babette, and Yvette for real or was it all fun and games.

It was overall a good story, just not really my thing. At first I had trouble relating to Lanie. She's a mom of two kids and is experiencing a bit of a mid-life crisis. But within a few pages, I started to care about her, but then she kind of ruined it for me with her choices in Vegas. Two wrongs doesn't make it right, no matter what she tells herself to justify it.i

If you are a Desperate Housewife fan (and I know there are a lot of them out there) then you will most definitely be a fan of Confession of a PTA Mafia Mom. But you don't have to take my word for it. See what others thought of it:

My Life. One Story at a Time
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July 26, 2011

A Moving Realistic Drama: Room by Emma Donoghue

Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue
audio book, Narrators: Michal Friedman, Ellen Archer, Suzanne Toren, Robert Petkoff
Published September 2010 by Hachette Audio
ISBN 9781607886273
Listened July 2011

A friend recommended I listen to Room a few weeks ago when I asked for audio recs on Twitter. I'm really glad that it was available at my digital library. I'm not sure what it would have been like to have read it myself, but listening to it made it a great story. It is told from a 5-year-old's perspective. It is an adult book so this a new twist for me and I'm not sure if I would have been able to fully capture a 5-year-old's voice in my head like I was able to with the audio version.

Once I downloaded the book and started listening to it, I could not stop. It was an emotional story that really drew me in. It seems that we have been hearing more and more about kidnap victims being found years after their abduction. I'm always curious as to what life is like for them after their release, but rightfully so the news media does not continue to follow the story. They deserve their privacy so I'm glad that there is a fictional story that sheds light on what life might be like after captivity. 

I was participating in a LitChat discussion on Twitter on Wednesday where they were discussing Room. One of the questions was if we liked in the room or outside the room better. I liked outside the room. While it was important to establish what life was like in room, I found myself a bit bored and anxiously waiting for them to get out. I wasn't sure how they were found/released, but you know a little from the summary that they are eventually released.

In the discussion on Wednesday, another aspect we chatted about was how Ma kept the fact that outside was real from Jack. He grew up believing that there was nothing beyond the 4 walls of room. I think Ma did the best she could with what she had. It would have been difficult for her to explain many things to him without him ever having concrete, physical knowledge of it. Also, it would have probably made her life even more difficult. You can tell she was often just barely hanging on. And, from how many questions Jack has (just like any 5 year old does when they discover something new) once they are outside you can tell she would not have been emotionally or mentally able to deal with his natural curiosity. It was best for both their sanities that his world be limited to room.

Another blogger I follow recently did a review of Room. In her review, she mentioned how Emma Donoghue slipped in her view of abortion. I remember the line and when I heard it said I thought it was just kind of odd and didn't really make sense why it was even said. So I'm glad to see that I wasn't the only one to pick up on it.

It seems to be becoming popular for audio books to have more than one narrator. Sometimes I think it is needed. In Water for Elephants, I thought having an older and younger Jacob was good. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo may have been easier for me to follow had there been more narrators. At times, though it seemed odd in Room to have more than one narrator. It wasn't as noticeable when they were outside, but inside Ma didn't speak a lot and so you would have a lot of Jack with the occasional short sentence from Ma. It seemed to jolt me every time. But overall, I think it was good having more than 1 narrator, especially if you can't find a narrator that can do a variety of voices. Do you prefer there to be 1 narrator or multiple narrators?

If you haven't given audio books a try this is a good one to start with. It was a great story, that I think almost any one would enjoy. Since it is told by the 5-year-old Jack, it is a clean read. Jack is highly observant, but because of his age glosses over things he does not understand. Want to know what others thought about Room by Emma Donoghue? Check out, The Parchment Girl, Always with a Book.

July 25, 2011

Video: Weekly Update

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by the Book Journey blog.

Books on my reading list this week:

Forbidden (The Books of Mortals)Forbidden (The Books of Mortals) by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee (available September 2011)

A terrible truth has been revealed to one man: the entire human race has been drained of every emotion except one— fear. To bring life back to the world, Rom must embark on a journey that will end either in his own demise or a reawkening of humanity. But to bring love and passion back into existence will also threaten the powers of the world with the revolution and anarchy that had nearly destroyed them previously.
After happening upon a journal through strange circumstance, Rom's world is shattered. He learns that humanity long ago ceased to "live," that it exists today in a living death of emotions. In a terrible risk, Rom exposes himself to the vial of blood folded into the old leather of the journal. His change is fearful and fraught with mind-bending emotion. A once-pious observer of the Order's passionless statues, he is filled with uncontrollable impulses. He is filled with love.
He is undone, terrified, and alone in the desolate world. From
Boyfriend from Hell by E. van Lowe (available September 2011)
Fifteen year-old Megan Barnett and her single mom, Suze, have a special relationship - they are friends, who do almost everything together.
The special bond takes a turn for the worse when Suze decided to start dating again. She hasn't had a man in her life since Megan's father left ten years ago.
Enter two mysterious young men, Megan's new classmate, sinfully attractive bad boy, Guy Matson; and the dangerously handsome art dealer, Armando. Before long Megan and Suze both wind up in steamy relationships. But neither of the handsome pair is quite what he seems. In fact, one of them is Satan, with his sights set on a new bride. Megan has precious little time to figure out how to stop him. If she doesn't, either Megan or Suze will literally going to Hell. From back cover.