1. Scribblings now has a Word Count Validator, as requested. Users can save their wordcount and embed it in their posts via the [wordtrack] BBcode, or just use [wordcount] to embed without saving.
    Dismiss Notice

Micro-Reviews Pt 5: Lock-down reading

Discussion in 'Tea Room (Book Chat)' started by Reader, May 28, 2020.

  1. Reader

    Reader Vile Critic

    Things to do while in Quarantine...

    The Village Boy
    The first thing that struck me about this book was the commas. I wish I could say otherwise, but the grammar is an issue. Paragraphs change tenses between sentences. If that sort of thing annoys you, you'd be better off giving this a miss, and a proofreader is desperately needed. There are many signs this is an English-as-a-second language book, and readers should make allowances for this.

    It is a gripping story of being taken from schools, forced to work, illegal border crossings, and child exploitation. With an editor and proofreader it could be a real hit, and the story kept me reading but make no mistake, this is hard work to read and I had trouble keeping track of who was who.

    An Expendable Spy - B00H13YPBY
    This book would doubtless be wonderful for people who liked Smiley's People, full of Rovers and London clubs and slow chats and real espionage. I shall admit my great failing: I hated the book, and I fell alseep during the television adaptation. I made it partway to the second chapter of this before my lids grew heavy and I conceeded I was not the right audience. Angel may try this.

    The Heiress B087P6NTFD
    I quit on page 1. Formatting. Jesus Christ, learn how to format speech correctly. A hyphen at the start of each line is NOT it.

    Curiosity took me to page two, which introduced me to the hyphenated comma. Horror forbade me from going further.

    By page three I realised I was looking for ascii art in the comma hypenated exclamation em-dash and forced myself to put it down.

    Zootastic: Zooanimals and friendship B07ZHPXYLC
    By the time I got to this I was praying for mass-murder of a school tour and the screams of small children. This is a children's book, so I got the school tour and not the screams. The book lists four sections at the beginning, but these are actually chapters not seperate stories.

    This book is not illustrated, which is a surprise given the age range it is aimed at. As an early reading book, there are some sentences with awkward phrasing that children may stumble over e.g. "We couldn't be separated from all the animals going to various zoos." It is in American English, which might put British parents off, and children are refered to as 'kids' throughout. Also, the kids like to holler. Take a drink when they do.

    Alas, my adult cynicism overwhelmed me in chapter three. The friendly animals think for a week and have no ideas, only for a huge crowd of people to show up at the last minute out of nowhere. The zoo isn't saved by the power of friendship, it is saved by the power of offscreen PR. A 3 if I ever fully review it.

    Gloucesters Witch Academy
    So given my current mood I moved onto something I had been saving to truly rip into: a Romance Reverse Harem novel.

    Except that the first couple of pages were promising. I nearly cheered when at the top of the second page a sentence flicked from past to present to past tense again, because I didn;t have anything else to pick on.

    And then came page three, or four? I quote: "The way a daughter should love the woman who birthed her." Adoption, surrogacy, and child abuse exist, and people pretending they do not, and that a child is obligated to love someone who may never have been in their life, or treated them so badly the courts removed them from the child's life, is my absolute red line. This is especially when the author is describing exactly the kind of relationship where this should have happened.

    Book down. Unrated.

    1918 Flu Pandemic - B088QK6MH8
    I picked it up expecting a PLR cash in on the current situation. The author has gone with the Haskell country outbreak in the US as the first outbreak, despite previous reports (as early as 1916) of a similar disease on the European front.

    This book will not be of use to anyone trying to research the 1918 flu however. Any source which states that a cytokine storm causes the disease, rather than being caused by the body's response to the disease, should be considered rather light on the science. I quote "It was suspected to be caused by cytokine storms...". No, the disease was caused by the virus, the disease's mortality rate was raised by the cytokine storms.

    I've lost someone to that sydrome, long before the current pandemic. Book discarded. DNF.

    Zombie Apocalypse - B07YYPHX5Q
    So, some light pulp as a palate cleanser, and the cheerful topic of the crawling cannibalistic undead to make my day better. Something I can truly despise, and which will have no quality writing what so ever.


    A miracle! The entire first several pages are all in the same tense and viewpoint. On Page two I discovered that the hero and first personal narrator of this book is Vi. I may be a biased audience. I may yet get myself a coffee to finish this book with later.

    This is, however, a world where the concept of zombies does not exist. The main cast are left staring stupidly at the reanimated dead with non-survivable injuries eating people and never once is the Z-word mentioned.

    So, so far our leads having discovered a nice place to hole up, and then have decided to go to Seattle despite being told that there is no travel amd the city is under lockdown. They've just got three of the nice people that rescued them killed. Two pages later you find out they also got all their rations eaten.

    Typical Covidiots.

    The moron who alerted the zombies, of course, survives. I sincerely hope he's not the romantic lead because I want him dead. And Vi is an idiot because she's heading somewhere she's only pretty sure how to find. Also they all share the same water bottle, so backwash means if one is infected, they all are.

    Page 714: Stacey talks sense, and is now the villain. And there's Cassidy protesting you can't use knives to stab people. My dear, if confronted by a zombie, rest assured I will be beating it over the head with my walking frame.

    p 769 "We won't all die if we stick together," our heroine says, despite the fact that that is exactly what they did to get to the train and three people are dead. What she means is that if they go with her, she can use them as meatshields - also what happened before.

    And then they get seperated from the train and I cheer as finally the rest of the group lose the baggage thats been getting them killed. She keeps protesting she can't believe they left them behind, which is exactly what she did herself on the first station! Hypocritical -

    It ends quite abruptly, and sadly our lead remains uneaten. Sadly, so does the male lead.

    Also there was a distinct lack of romance between the zombies in this. If the title promises hot, or rather room-temperature, corpse-on-corpse action, surely the reader should not be shortchanged?

    This was the most fun book I read today, but that does not make it a good book. To provide context, it is also the only book that managed to remain in one tense, use basic grammar, and have a consistant narrative voice and point of view. Zombie fans may find this a little dull, due to the fact the characters are the least genre-savvy crew in existence. Romance fans will have to suffice with longing looks, and amuse themselves comparing the time zombies spend staring at the human morsels with the time our lead spends staring at the love interest.

    Ma'am, you are a disgrace to the name Vi.

    Finished. 3 stars. It isn't great at anything but it is good at what it does and I had fun.

    The Pact between Angels and Witches B0813C91QH
    Second paragraph "Inhaling deep, I...". It seems likely this book was spellchecked but not proofed, because unless 'deep' is a substance, that one hit me in the face.

    I gave up shortly in, but not because it was bad. I have the feeling this is the sequel to something and is trying to cram the entire ending of the first book into its first chapter. As I don't know who these people are, the whole thing feels confusing and leaves me wondering why I should care. Show, don't tell, and please hide your infodumps in natural events.


    Darkness and Light
    Oh dear. Poetry. After a second of reflection I forwarded this to RhymeHunter.

    The Coordinate

    I saw the first chapter name "Chamber of the White Eyed Star God" and braced myself. Either this is going to be a homage, an archaeological reference, or it may be cringeworthy. It was the second. Also, I was hooked by the end of page one.
    I got halfway through this, with people getting killed and the conspiracy unravelling, and then one simple thought occurred to me that rather ruined my enjoyment of the book. This is Nazi loot stolen from Jewish citizens during world war two and held by their descendants to the modern day - and no one contacted Israel? Mossad would love an excuse to retrieve this. Billions in the bank and an armed bodyguard don't do very much if you never see it coming.

    The ending let me down. When Jacob tells Zelda what type of man he really is, for some reason she's apologising. She's found a lost Vermeer and had someone die in front of her and this charming gentleman complains she missed his three-ring-circus of a proposal. Then he drops the bomb that he's been taking jobs he didn't like to stay close to her, and she never turns it back on him that he's been lying to her all this time.

    And then she accepts this prize waste's proposal.

    Not a book for me, I think.

    A Very Strange Zoo (B01HGQY3CG)
    I took one look and sent this straight to Angel for review. Its beautiful. A classic children's board book in eform.
  2. Angel

    Angel Munificent Critic

    Oh - so THIS is what you have been up to.

    Oh dear - you weren't having a good day or several were you?

    Thanks for the Very Strange Zoo - most enjoyable indeed and reviewed.

    I may have to have a look at some of the others in your list, if only as palate cleansers for more weighty tomes.

Site Sponsors