Ah, book reviews. How I do love them.
I’ve recently discovered that—GASP—my writing could use some work! A lot of work, actually, more work than I could have ever guessed.
To help me with this I’ve expanded my horizons and have started reading books in every genre.
So far I’ve read mystery, middle grade, science fiction, horror, even nonfiction courtesy of my dad and his bottomless supply of biographies, history books and other sleep aids. And yes, dad, I am reading the book you gave me, and it’s actually pretty good.
This week was romance so I picked up a book that caught my eye on the shelf of my local library.
Oooooooh…looks eerie. Maybe I can get my suspense novel and romance in one.
But no, this novel is not that creepy or suspenseful. Weird, huh? The cover kind of—you would think with the lighting–and the butterfly trapped in a jar—really?
Beautiful Disaster is set in a college town. The main character is a goody two shoes girl who catches the eye of the bad boy and he loves her because she can tame him, blah blah blah…It’s all stuff I’ve heard before but I’m game to read it. There’s actually something nice about reading something where you know what’s going to happen.
It’s good to note that this is supposedly a self-published book. This is important for a couple reasons but we’ll get to the big one in the second part of the blog post.
- The writing is well done and well edited for a self-published book. I’m not saying it’s anything to write home about, but it’s easy to read and gets the job done
- It’s a classic story of good girl meets bad boy and they fall in love. I guess points for retelling in a different light
- Uh…that’s about it, I think.
This isn’t going to be in bulleted format. There’s just too much to talk about.
The book depicts college in a completely unrealistic light. I’m in college right now, so you could say the experience is fresh in my mind. This book captures almost no essence of what it means to be in college. In this book everybody gossips, everybody cares about your business. I would believe this if the main character was part of her own clique, like a sorority, where I’m sure gossip is shared. But when she and the bad boy start flirting EVERYBODY cares. I mean, EVERYBODY in the cafeteria stares at them and watches them argue and talks about them.
This is college. Sure, some people haven’t grown up but a majority of us grew out of this kind of behavior in high school.
The plot devices are horrible. At one point the boilers in the dorm where the main character is staying go out and so she has to move into the bad boy’s apartment for a week. A WEEK? At any real college they’d get that fixed in a day or less. Plus, to keep the main character in the apartment for MAXIMUM SEXUAL TENSION they make a bet. The main character loses and has to stay in bad boy’s apartment for a month. Okay, I can buy that. But when things clearly aren’t working out, almost to the point of her being in danger, she still insists that bets a bet.
I said it before; the writing’s not bad, especially for a self-published book. There are just some things that get me. The characters, more often than not, don’t just ‘say’ things. They mumble, shrug, laugh, cry, grumble, call, smile, shout, grin and boy oh boy, roll their eyes. Lots and lots of eye rolls. Just use said. Please. All of these things are fine and good but should be used more sparingly than the author does.
The characters are just not likeable. In the description of the book the main character is described as
‘…a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe.’
What? She drinks all the time! She even talks about how she used to take shots with her father when she was sixteen. And I’m pretty sure she swears. In fact, the only indication we ever get that the main character was ever a good girl is that descriptive blurb in italics above. That’s it.
Any way, all the characters are annoying. Especially the tough guy love interest who’s actually not all that tough and can somehow look physically incredible and perfect and fight amazingly well without working out at all………………………….
Please give me some of those genes. If we had those then weight loss problems would be solved.
And the last nitpick I have for the book: the relationships.
This is by far the worst part.
The main guy character is apparently so hot, he draws ‘voluptuous blonde sorority girls’ (book’s quote, not mine) around him like the sun attracts draws planets into its orbit. EVERY girl wants him and finds him hot. Even the teachers. He oozes hotness, they throw themselves at him. Holy crap no.
And he’s a freaking psychopath. This is the biggest problem. The main guy character is all cool stuff until he meets the main girl character. Then he’s all I need you to complete me I can’t live without you lovey dovey blah blah blah. And it gets worse. Even worse than a Twilight relationship, which is saying something.
He’s psychologically makes her feel guilty for dating other guys, he stalks her, watches her sleep, watches her undress, beats up everybody who makes fun of her or looks at her the wrong way, destroys his apartment when she leaves, whines about how much he needs her; did I mention he VIOLENTLY ASSUALTS anyone who talks crap about her? And gets away with it too. Everybody in the freaking (unrealistic) college is terrified of this guy. He even beats up a couple members of the Las Vegas mob.
And that’s just the first half of the book.
But she still loves him somehow and they end up sleeping together, fighting the odds of their dysfunctional relationship and finally running away to Vegas to get married.
Did I mention the characters are 19 years old?
I could go on and on but you get the idea. This book is a shining example of what to AVOID when looking for a relationship. It’s just sickening.
Which leads me to the other disaster Beautiful Disaster alerted me to: Authors retaliating against reviewers.
Yes, apparently the author of Beautiful Disaster got into a little Internet fight with a reviewer on Amazon over the reviewer, you know, reviewing.
Now I’m not here to bash Jamie McGuire, because she is far from the only author to do this. The most famous is probably Jacqueline Howett. If you don’t know what she did then go Google her name. You’ll find out soon enough.
My review of Jamie McGuire’s book is just that, a review of her book, not her as a person. I’m sure she is a legitimately amazing person and I really believe that.
But it does bring up a problem that a lot of people, myself included, currently in the unpublished realm have yet to face: dealing with negative reviews of our books.
Nobody wants to see their baby smashed to pieces on the Internet. Heck, I cringe whenever my local critique group edits my work. And I know them.
But what we have to understand is that writing is an art, not a science. In science there are laws that cannot be disputed. In art there are opinions that can also not be disputed because they are somebody’s opinion. They didn’t like your work? So what?
Keep trying. Keep writing. You will find someone out there who likes what you create.
Fortunately I have yet to run into a heckler in my own self-published work, Chasing Autumn(Available on Amazon, some restrictions apply, see website for full details, must be 18 years or older to participate, only America citizens may apply, sorry Canada).
That’s probably there’s only been, like, twenty people who have downloaded it, but hey! I’m looking on the bright side!