To Review, Or Not To Review

So, Wednesday is coming to an end and I don’t have a review to post.

In my defense, it’s not entirely my fault. Of the last three books I picked up, I’ve set two aside unfinished and would gladly have given up on the third if not for the fact that I’m reading it to my daughter and she loves it despite the abysmal writing.

I don’t feel like it’s fair to review a book I don’t actually finish. Then again, maybe that’s a review in and of itself. Rather than give specific reviews on these unfinished books, I’ve decided to note some things that made it hard for me to keep reading.

The first book I set aside this month actually had a terrific premise. I was really looking forward to the story, and would still kind of like to know what happens. So, why did I set it aside? First off, the book was advertised as YA but seemed closer to the middle-grade books I read to my five-year-old. The writing was heavy-handed, with stilted dialogue, extraneous word use, shifting tenses, and stiff prose. In regards to the author adage “show don’t tell,” this story was the exact opposite. Almost nothing happened on the page. There was entirely too much time spent in exposition or stuck in the narrating character’s head. The characters were flat, distant, and too immature for their specified age. I had trouble caring what happened to any of them. After the first twenty pages, it became a chore to pick the book up. I made it through sixty before I just couldn’t take it anymore.

The next book on my “to be read” shelf fared a little better. With the exception of a distracting number of sentence fragments and a few editorial oversights like, “She couldn’t allow herself to be unduly influenced by the fact that those tiny hairs on the back of her neck?”, the writing was actually pretty good. I made it through all of 150 pages before I finally said, “enough.” Part of my issue with this story may be the genre. It’s a paranormal romance, and while I adore all things paranormal, I can only take so much lovey-dovey romance, especially when it’s at the expense of the plot. The romance sections were drawn out in excruciating detail, while the plot development and action sequences were glossed over to the point of being nearly non-existent. Plot-wise, the author spent 140 pages building up to one scene that was supposed to be dangerous, intense, and potentially world-changing. That event was wrapped up in three pages with little to no conflict. More attention was paid to the seating arrangement of the attending characters and details on their clothes, weapons, hair, and makeup than anything of actual consequence. I also found the author’s need to add a modifying detail to every dialogue exchange exhausting. No one could say a single word without a corresponding sentence, or sometimes paragraph, describing their amazingly beautiful eyes, or hair, or their perfect complexion, or the shape of their chest, breasts, butt, etc.

So, that’s my review for today. A list of things that make me NOT want to finish a book.

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