Thursday, December 20, 2012

Book Reviews: Flawed by Kate Avelynn and Something More by Mia Castile

Synopsis: Sarah O’Brien is alive because of the pact she and her brother made twelve years ago — James will protect her from their violent father if she promises to never leave him. For years, she’s watched James destroy his life to save hers. If all he asks for in return is her affection, she’ll give it freely.

Until, with a tiny kiss and a broken mind, he asks for more than she can give.

Sam Donavon has been James’ best friend — and the boy Sarah’s had a crush on — for as long as she can remember. As their forbidden relationship deepens, Sarah knows she’s in trouble. Quiet, serious Sam has decided he’s going to save her. Neither of them realizes James is far more unstable than her father ever was, or that he’s not about to let Sarah forget her half of the pact.

It seems more young adult is tackling a lot more taboo subjects such as incest. We saw this with Tabitha Suzuma’s Forbidden (click here for review), which is an incestuous romance between a brother and sister, both in high school. That book didn’t work for me for various reasons. When I heard about Flawed, and the possible incestuous implications that may occur about another brother and sister (but this time the sister isn’t interested at all), I would give it a shot. Flawed was a big disappointment, so much so that it’s the first book I ever sent back to Kindle for a refund.

Flawed was horrid, and it's not because of the possible incest going on. Even the undertones of incest, mainly from James, the overprotective brother to Sarah was more ho-hum and tiresome after a while. The writing was disjointed and the over the top angst and abuse from the alcoholic dad (who lusts after the innocent, virginal Sarah) and druggie mom, who you blink and she’s gone, is so unrealistic. The flip flopping, wish-washy thoughts and feelings of the characters, mainly of James, and especially of Sarah- "I love James, oh no he's icky because he kissed me, but he protects me from incestuous drunk dad," was ridiculous and very grating. Sam, Sarah's knight and savior has some life in him, but he's a wasted character, more wallpaper than anything.

If things had been more subtle with James’ and Sarah's home life and not the non-stop soap opera schlock within these pages, then this would have been so much better poignant and tragic tale Kate was probably shooting for.

This needed heavy content editing overall. There's really isn't much of a plot to speak of when it comes down to it. There's a mystery thrown in that makes no sense, and I can't tell you the number of times I rolled my eyes as I read who was responsible for the XYZ's clumsily laid out. The ending that's so shocking really isn't. It's a planned and blatant attempt to shock the reader into some sort of emotional response which fails.

This is one DOA book. It's certainly not worth the $5.99. I've read better, well written and thought provoking self published young adult novels at half the price, and that's saying a lot, seeing as this is from an epublisher.

Big pass on this one (Entangled Publishing).

Final Grade: D

Synopsis: All she wanted was a fresh start. Moving to Chicago for college, escaping her small town, Nyla finally felt she had it all. Then Jameson is suddenly everywhere, invading her life, school schedule, and dating her supervisor at the posh art gallery where she works. How can she survive her fresh start, when her high school bully is everywhere.

You’d think with an appealing cover and equally appealing blurb, that the book itself would be well written. I'm sorry to say that Something More is a horribly written book. It's apparent no professional editing or copy editing has been done. I noticed this within the first few pages. The heroine is supposed to be an 18 year old college freshman, but she acts more like a 13 year old, whining brat with a personality of a wet noodle.

There's also non-stop info dumping and internal musings that need to go. There are multiple words used time and again and many instances of convoluted statements and made up words. And example is this statement that I had to re-read a few times to understand:

"Hiya, Nyla, the ussh?"

What in the world is an "ussh?" I assume it means the usual, but come on! If a word is invented but never explained, how would the reader know what it means?

But my favorite is: "He couldn't resist smearing his kisses all over her breasts, and her stomach."

Smearing like butter or jam on toast? What?? How do you smear kisses? That's unbelievably not sexy or romantic and a fail as a writer.

Nyla, our heroine is so Mary Sue and naive. Also her so-called high school bully and eventual love interest, Jamison is full of contradictions. One minute he's an egotistical, mean snob who treated Nyla horrible in high school, but then they were really frenemies but then friends when all is said and done. So much confusions and back and forth wishy-washiness on this relationship.

This was written more like a first draft, and even then it should have been revised multiple times and edited before it was suited for publication. It's insulting to your readers, regardless if you're self published, or in this case I think epublished , not to have a professional editor. Expect a  review like this one I've given, not to be mean, but a wake up call to treat your writing as a profession, especially if you're playing in the big leagues and publishing your work. 

One of the poorest written books I've read this year. (Mia Castile, $1.99)

Final Grade: D-