If left to my own devices my entire day would be spent reading. Unfortunately, the real world (and bills) interferes and I don't get to spend quite as much time at my favorite hobby as I would like. I started off as a horror lover, and while it's still my genre of choice I now have branched out and read almost anything - including the backs of cereal boxes!

Painfully bad

Floor Four - A. Lopez Jr.

I am a huge fan or ghost stories so when this novella was offered for free on the Kindle, I snatched it up. I wanted to like this story. I tried to like the story, but quite honestly the only reason it got one star instead of none was because it was free.

I am sorry to say that the writing is just awful. It is written in an extremely passive voice and no character is fleshed out enough for the reader to give a damn what happens. I liked the premise for the story but it simply collapses under the juvenile writing. Truly, undeniably BAD.

Starter House - Great Debut

Starter House - Sonja Condit

From the moment Lacey sees the dilapidated house, she is hooked.  She has to have it.  She can picture her and Eric's future family inside the house.  Everything seems perfect.  Except, in true haunted house story fashion, it's not.  Eric and Lacey move into the house but they aren't quite alone.  There is a mysterious boy named Drew who not only shows up unannounced, he can have quite the temper tantrum.  


The book moves along quickly and Condit has a great "voice" in the book.  The characters are likable but flawed and I, as a reader, felt as though I really "knew" them by the end of the book.  Sometimes I loved Lacey and Eric, and other times I wanted to throttle them.  Much like family.  


For awhile I had difficulty understanding how the seemingly unconnected story arc with Lex and his estranged wife/daughter fit into the story but never fear - all of the loose ends are pretty well tied up as the story closes.  I read some reviews that compare this book with Joe Hill's "Heart Shaped Box" and I can see why the comparisons are made. I, personally, loved the Hill novel and really enjoyed "Starter House".  I look forward to many more books from the talented Condit.

A little long in the middle but a fun read

Keep Calm and Carry a Big Drink - Kim Gruenenfelder

Let me start off by saying that I LOVE Kim Gruenenfelder's book "A Total Waste of Makeup".  I also loved the follow up book which also included Charlie and all of her quirks and weirdness - "Misery Loves Cabernet".  Gruenenfelder's most recent novels focus on a new trio of friends and the trouble they get into, however, something is lacking for me.  


"Keep Calm and Carry A Big Drink" follows Mel, Nic and Seema as they once again prepare for a wedding.  This time it's Seema who is tying the knot and the story is told from Mel's point of view.  Per chick lit tradition stuff goes wrong and much hilarity ensues. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy chick lit.  I enjoy funny romances.  I am as much of a chick as the next girl.  But this book simply felt too long.  So much time is spent on the relationship between Mel and Seema's brother Jay, that I kind of lost interest in the story.  Mel never felt fully fleshed out as a character to me, and maybe it's because I read "There's Cake in My Future",the predecessor to this novel, too long ago.  I don't know, but what I can say is that towards the end of the book I really didn't care if Mel wound up with her happily ever after or not.  It just felt too long and too drawn out.  


I wanted to like the book a lot more than I ultimately did.  I guess I wanted to like it as much as I liked "A Total Waste of Makeup" and was disappointed that the newest book didn't quite live up to my expectations.  In the end it's a fun read with some funny scenes and a likable main character.  

Promises Unfulfilled

Bad Karma - Andrew Harper

Bad Karma by Douglas Clegg (under the pseudonym of Andrew Harper) is a pretty short novel.  In fact, I would qualify it less as a novel and more of a novella.  Coming in at under 200 pages per my Nook, the book is a bit like a McDonalds cheeseburger - sure it will satisfy your hunger, but it doesn't have much complexity of flavor.


Let me start by saying that I really enjoy Douglas Clegg's work and was excited to see this book available for a song (okay, maybe they really wanted money and not just to hear my lilting aria) at Barnes and Noble.  I wanted to like the book a lot more than I actually did in the end.  


Bad Karma is the tale of a Psych Technician, Trey Campbell, who works at a hospital for the criminally insane.  He's rather burnt out and takes his family on vacation to Catalina Island.  Meanwhile, Agnes Hatcher, a psychopath sometimes referred to as the "Surgeon" or the "Gorgon", escapes her restraints and lives up to her surgeon nickname.  Because Trey and Agnes formed a bond years ago before she was fully restrained, Agnes hightails it for Trey's vacation spot.


This is where the novel really begins to fall apart for me.  First off, Agnes has been restrained (and has worn a face cover) for many years and yet she is strong enough to overpower pretty much anyone she comes in contact with.  I have difficulty believing that any person, insane or not, would have that sort of strength after being tied down to a bed for even several months - let alone years.  Then there are the vague glimpses of some torture that she experienced as a child.  Maybe I missed something.  Maybe I was overly tired.  But I never really engaged with that part of the story.  There's also these "flashbacks" to a past life that never really go anywhere.  I could imagine what the story COULD be, but it never really fleshed out the details which would have brought me, the reader, into the story.


The book moves quickly, one could say TOO quickly, but never really feels like it lives up to it's potential.  I never felt apprehensive for the main characters, I never really worried about their safety - mainly because the story didn't make me care about them. The subplots that are hinted at but never fully developed just left this reader counting down the pages until the book was finished.  While the story has promise, it mainly leaves those promises unfulfilled.


So glad you found my book reviewing page.  I hope you'll decide to stay awhile.  I am an avid reader who enjoys horror, chick-lit, mystery/suspense, historical fiction and almost anything that isn't straight science fiction or westerns.  I am always interested in what others are reading and hope that together we can enjoy the reading adventure that awaits.