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Issue: August, 2014

Reading Matters

- A Collection of Short Reviews

Welcome to a collection of short reviews of material we read in August, 2014

For a list of all the books reviewed in Winter, 2014 (Jun-Aug, 2014), go to the Bookroom. More detailed reviews are listed there. For more reviews, search for 'book reviews' in our gold site search box at the top of this page (the bottom field, please).

The Gutsy Gals Detective Agency

Three Women Seek Work

book cover, The Gutsy Gals Detective Agency, Rachel M. Brown; 88x140

Rachel M. Brown
(Self-published, 171p, June 2014)

Rachel Sawyer, her best friend, and her mother join forces to start a detective agency. Their first case is the dead body they find beside the dumpster behind their storefront.

This story had promise -- real women, a hot male police detective, a murder mystery, and its title suggested that it might be fun.

However, writing takes a range of talents, including punctuation. What I found with this book was a tangle of difficult-to-understand sentences. After a chapter of reading and re-reading sentence after sentence struggling to understand what the author was intending to say, I had to give up. Any promise the premise might have had, any value there might be in the writing, was completely overwhelmed by the poor execution. This book is desperately in need of an editor, the readers deserve it.

by Ali Kayn

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Desperately Seeking Baby

book cover, Fairy, by McKenzie; 94x140

Shane McKenzie
(Samhain Publishing, Ltd., August 2014)

Fairy is about a single woman, Cecilia, who cannot get pregnant. She has tried everything modern medicine can offer. But she isn't willing to stop trying. Adoption and surrogacy are out of the question for her. She is willing to do absolutely anything to have a baby of her own; even if it means bedding a dark, ancient being.

Fairy is a short novella; even shorter than it first appeared. I was very disappointed when I found myself reading a never-ending introduction, by someone completely irrelevant to the story itself. The synopsis certainly got me excited about Fairy, but the introduction gave it tons of hype; unjust hype at that. Don't get me wrong, it was a good story. I just expected so much more.

Reading the novella was tough in itself as there were no breaks in it to let you know you were switching from one situation to the next. There were no chapters or page breaks; nothing. This led to confusion and frustration by having to reread the last few sentences to understand what was actually happening. The entire story (a very short 34 of the 53 pages) was this way, not just parts of it.

by Toni Michelle

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The Dream Traveler's Society

Time Walker

book covers, Dream Travelers Society, by Christy K. Cagle; 89x140

Christy K. Cagle

(Nevermore Press, July 2014, kindle, 75p, US$2.99)

Teenaged Leanne's family is concerned for her safety. She has been sleepwalking and can't remember anything. Her mom has had enough and sends her to live with her dad thinking it might help, but when she wakes up with a bag full of cash and no clue where it came from, her dad immediately decides she needs to see a dream specialist. Can Dr. Braden help Leanne and her family to understand what is happening? Can he help her to stop it?

I was not impressed at all with The Dream Traveler's Society. It's a really hard story to follow. There is so much going on that even the author lost track. There are so many mistakes and contradictions that it will give you a headache. The overall story line is wonderful, but because of all the confusion, I struggled to finish the book. I can't recommend this book to anyone because of how poorly written it is. I can look past a lot; this was bad.

by Toni Michelle

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The Travel Writer

Trip Into Danger

book cover, The Travel Writer by Jeff Soloway; 104x139

Jeff Soloway

(Random House LLC, June 2014, kindle, 224p, US$2.99)

I'm a travel writer, and corrupt as they come. I'd sell my journalistic principles for two nights at the Four Seasons with a free meal and a massage.

Jacob Smalls is a second-tier travel journalist. He is expert at gathering the freebies that will help him keep his wandering lifestyle. Pilar Rojas is a Public Relations person at the luxury Bolivian hotel from which Jacobs' first editor, Hilary has disappeared. Pilar trades on Jacob's past relationship with her, and his desire to win her back, to get him to pretend to do a puff piece on the hotel, but really to investigate Hilary's disappearance.

To solve this mystery Jacob must navigate the politics of the area, and the increasing suspicion of the locals who believe his write-up will harm their tourist business. He must also manage the constant harm being caused by office boy Kenny, a socially inept virgin who believes Hilary returning one kiss is the gateway to a lifelong relationship. Kenny is the ultimate Ugly American, rude, judgemental, xenophobic and unprepared.

The Travel Writer is richly detailed with the details of a travel writer's craft, and with the culture and surrounding of Bolivia. Jacob's first person revelations are uncompromising and possibly enlightening to the female audience, however I didn't find that this book rose above the average. It's a crime novel. If you can't get enough of them, then read this one. It is interesting, but not compelling.

by Ali Kayn

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