The Devil Won’t Care
A novel of betrayal and retribution
The Devil Won’t Care delves into the career of Lanny Lessner, a journalist who rockets to fame and wealth with a hard-hitting documentary about the decline of his home town after a spate of factory closings. Revered by millions, Lessner seems poised to become the Ralph Nader of his generation.
But Lessner has a dark side, replete with shady dealings, antisocial behaviour, and mean-spirited hypocrisy. The filmmaker’s saga is retold by a friend and supporter, Warren Hill, whose narrative chronicles their relationship. As the story evolves, Hill confronts a growing body of evidence that Lessner, intoxicated by his celebrity status, is a crass, deceptive, manipulative phony, whose shortcomings mimic those of the targets of his pungent wit.
The Devil Won’t Care addresses some of the flaws of a dysfunctional society in which “What’s in it for me?” is the common denominator. Checkbook photojournalism, celebrity worship, reality TV and our sound-bite culture are all laid bare. On a broader level, the book is a morality tale in which the narrator is forced to confront his deepest fears and emotions, set against a backdrop of deception, atonement and redemption.
About the Author
John Streby is a connoisseur of Broadway musicals, pre-1930 phonographs and records, and films noir. His first novel, Rabbit Stew, dealt with the incestuous mix of law and politics, and featured several characters who appear in this book. Mr. Streby is currently writing a third novel, Follow the Money.
There might well be an excellent story lurking in The Devil Won’t Care but much was obscured by the author’s bad writing habits, which really got in my way as I read. It was frustrating: I could hear echoes of John Grisham in this book, and once or twice even caught a whiff of Donna Tartt’s Secret History, which is one of my all-time favourite books: but those moments were rare, and they were swiftly buried beneath the author’s frequent lapses into verbosity and exposition.
There were several places where the author threw away what could have been scenes of great tension; and I found much of his description overwritten and far too lengthy. The author’s habit of telling the reader what had happened instead of showing us those events stopped me caring much about any of his characters or what happened to them; he frequently repeats information; and at times I felt that he was too self-consciously Doing Writing rather than telling us his story.
All of these small problems add up to a text which is slow-paced and waffly. But the biggest problem was that it was confusing: there was little flow in the text; the narrative was jerky and inconsistent; it skipped from subject to subject and back again with little consistency; and this lack of focus, along with the over-wordy vocabulary, made what should have been a fast-paced courtroom drama into a slow dull read
I suspect Mr. Streby could do so much better if he worked with a strong editor or took part in some good writing workshops: there’s the hint of a good, commercial book buried beneath his mistakes. I read eleven of this book’s four hundred and thirty five pages; but had I not been reading this for review, I wouldn’t have got past the anti-trade publishing rant which makes up the bulk of the book’s second paragraph. It’s astonishingly ill-informed and the idea of anyone with an ounce of commercial experience investing money in the business proposed is ludicrous. I strongly advise this writer to research the realities of business better before he writes any more about it.
This review will also appear on my bigger blog, How Publishing Really Works; but you can only comment on it here.
How do you believe in a system that kills your best friend?
Thriller writer Robert Grant confronts challenges to his faith in his country, family and friends as he investigates the bombing of a hotel near Penn State University. Bobby’s old friend Dan Trevaine is scheduled to be executed for the crime, tried in the wake of September 11th and the war on terror. When Bobby dig deeper into the evidence, one witness dies and another disappears—is it the work of terrorists or the government agencies charged with combating them?
The truth shakes the foundation of Bobby’s beliefs about right and wrong—and lands his family in the hands of the terrorists. Will they let him live long enough to reveal what he knows, or will Bobby himself choose to suppress the surprising facts behind the crime?
When your faith is challenged in ways you never imagined, how do you know the right thing to do?
JoAnn Welsh is a writer and linguist living in Rochester, NY. She holds degrees from the University of Virginia and Penn State.
Joanne Welsh writes believable characters, and has a knack for poignant detail that many writers would envy.
Faith trembles with promise but, as is so often the case with the books I’ve reviewed here, it is badly in need of revision, and a thorough copy edit wouldn’t go amiss either. There are some overwritten scenes, quite a bit too much description, a tendency to repeat and confuse: and yet despite all that, I like this book.
I found my fifteenth problem on page thirty-four but read on to the end of the chapter; I’ll be adding this book to my “to read” pile and hope that it lives up to the promise I’ve seen in the portion I’ve already read.
I’m happy to give Faith an ever-so-slightly reserved recommendation, and hope that this isn’t the last I see of Miss Welsh’s writing—so long as she works hard at getting her text just a little more sparse and clear before she publishes her next book.
Luella, fierce, strong vampire,
Falls for a pretty human catch
Sent on her fiancé’s desire
To celebrate they are engaged.
This unexpected turnabout
Is doomed to come to a dead end:
Her human sweetheart’s dead to shroud:
Her fiancé’s avenged for that.
And she is punished for blood treason,
Banished into a mortal child,
Whose human body is a prison
For all her powers to bind.
Her memories obliterated,
She is to find her love at last
Who proves to be too much related
To the misfortunes from her past.
Ordeal is a vampire story written completely in verse, which follows a simple A – B – A – B four line form. It’s a relatively easy form to write if you have a good awareness of rhythm and rhyme; sadly the author of this book appears to have neither.
His lines don’t scan, his rhymes often don’t actually rhyme; he uses words which almost sound good but don’t mean what he seems to think they mean; and several of his verses make no sense at all.
He has forgotten to put his own name on the front cover of his own book; the cover image he has chosen is extremely unappealing, and brings to mind the inside of a mouldy eyeball, complete with blood vessels; the back cover copy is almost illegible as the font used is over-fancy and out of focus; and the book has no copyright page.
The writing is quite astonishingly bad: this verse reads as though it has been dragged backwards and forwards through Babel Fish a few times. I read five and a half pages out of two hundred and twelve despite ignoring several of the author’s less significant lapses, and I strongly urge this writer to put in a lot more work on his craft before he even considers publishing anything else.
When eleven-year-old, band geek, Bobby Isaacs falls in like with his best friend, Jenna Richards, he uncovers a secret about Chris Kruger, the school bully. In a plot to impress Jenna, Bobby enters a spelling bee, hoping to come in first place. Desperation drives him to do something that gets Chris Kruger’s attention. After the two fight, Bobby discovers Chris’s terrible secret, but not before Chris destroys Bobby’s most prized possession.
Stuck in the Friend Zone is a story about two of the most fundamental yet important universal concepts Forgiveness and Understanding.
I’ve received quite a few books like this one lately: books with an engaging tone, from writers who are competent and who show potential: but they are all let down by careless errors which should have been caught at the copy-editing stage.
Of the fifteen issues I found in THE Chronicles of Bobby Isaacs: Stuck in the Friend Zone, all but three concerned basic copyediting issues (double hyphens used for some of the dashes; some random and rather odd capitalisations; several extraneous commas, etc). Two of the remaining three focused on some clunky exposition; and the final point was that while I understand that all children are different I don’t believe that a boy with Bobby’s background would be showing such an interest in girls while still only eleven years old.
I can see that he might be vaguely aware of girls; but I don’t believe that awareness would have developed as far as it seems to have done in this book. If the passages concerning Bobby’s feelings for Jenna had been written in a more “something is happening here but I don’t quite get it” tone I might have believed it more but as it is written, I just didn’t.
So: I would advise Lena Putzer to pay a lot more attention to copy-editing her work in future; to be more alert to the dangers that exposition poses to her pacing and tone; and to see if she could make this major part of her storyline—Bobby Isaacs’ feelings towards Jenna—a little more believable. Because if she resolves these issues then she could have a fabulous book on her hands: her writing is lively and funny and gave me a real sense that I was acquainted with the characters, and that I understood their world. It’s a shame she failed on the basics having done so well with the more difficult stuff: I read seven pages out of a total of two hundred and forty-one.
I had high hopes for First Wolf: it has an above-average front cover (although the author’s name is in the wrong font, the wrong colour, and wrong position); and although the back cover copy is flawed (it contains a tense-change, is a little confusing, and at times reads a bit like a shopping list) it could be brought up to standard without too much trouble. The book’s premise appealed to me too, with its echoes of Alan Garner and its roots in a particularly spectacular part of our landscape and history. But, as is often the case with self-published books, the text is in need of a strong edit, and that’s what lets this book down in the end.
In my view, it suffers from a surplus of commas. I realise that not everyone will agree with me on this point: but I prefer text to be as clear and clean as possible and including commas when they’re not strictly needed makes this impossible. Before you all shout me down here, bear in mind that my preference for clarity-without-commas hasn’t developed simply because I dislike the look of them on the page: it’s because their overuse often hides a fundamental problem with the text which they adorn.
Too often, commas are used to prop up an inadequate sentence structure, or to try to improve a syntax which is forced and lacking in fluency: and that’s what has happened here. A good editor would have helped the writer correct all those errors and let the fast-paced story shine: as it is, the story’s excitement is dulled by the writer’s slightly confusing writing, her oddly over-formal tone, and her frequently illogical statements. Which is a shame, as with a proper edit this book could have been much improved. I read seven pages out of one hundred and fifty-five, and despite their flaws rather enjoyed them.
SLAVERY IS MORE THAN CHAINS AND SHACKLES
SLAVERY IS A STATE OF MIND
Immerse yourself in this highly anticipated political docu-drama set in the Deep South amidst the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement.
Martha was a young white girl living in the Deep South, inundated with the racist sentiments of the times. But Martha’s natural curiosity and generous heart led her to question this racial divide. When she discovered a primitive Negro family living deep in the woods near her house, everyone’s life changed for ever.
Take the journey of a lifetime alongside Martha as she forges relationships that lead to self discovery and a clearer understanding of the world around her. In the Land of Cotton provides an outstanding snapshot of life in the South during those troubled times – a snapshot everyone should take a close look at, regardless of era or color.
The year was 1956.
I have a feeling that there’s a fascinating story lurking on the pages of In the Land of Cotton: the problem is that it’s buried beneath a lot of clumsy writing and careless mistakes, most of which could be cleared up by a careful edit and a thoughtful rewrite. Several sentences were so poorly-written that I had to stop and reread them in order to understand them fully; and there were a few places where entirely the wrong words had been used. The foreword is particularly badly-written and does the book no favours—I would drop it entirely; but if the writer is determined to keep it then she’d be wise to at least explain who its author is, and why his opinion of her and this book is significant: because although he’s clearly significant to her, I don’t know who he is or how he is connected to the book.
Overall, then, this book is a missed opportunity: its writer rushed into publication before she was really ready for it. Her writing is not yet good enough to be published, and her editing skills will have to be far sharper than they are right now if she wants to make the best of her work.
If she had worked harder on learning her craft and been a little less eager to get into print she’d have done herself and her readers a big favour: as it is, the book just isn’t good enough. I read seventeen pages of In the Land of Cotton, and I closed this book feeling saddened: the writer could have done so much better if she had only taken a little more time.
HENRIETTA FOX is a paparazzo. A wild, flame-haired girl in biker’s boots and leathers with an Irish temper. She rides a Yamaha on the streets of London stalking celebrities for the tabloid gossip pages. When a Chinese military plane explodes in a fireball before her camera, life for Henrietta Fox gets dangerous!
Five reporters across Europe have been murdered, each with their exotic, lop-eared Sumxu cats. Animals considered extinct for 300 years. Only Henrietta Fox knows why – and that knowledge could kill her. To survive she must pursue a madman across China with partner CASS FARRADAY, a six foot three ex-Repton public schoolboy turned tabloid reporter.
Only they can prevent an Armageddon assault on Britain’s Air Traffic Control. Fail and half a million lives will be lost.
Some self-published books are dreadful; a few are fabulous; and a few come so very close to being really good that I want to grab their authors by the lapels and shout words like “typesetting!” at them, as loudly as I can.
If Ron Morgans lived near me, he’d be getting the shouty treatment right now.
With The Deadline Murders Mr Morgans has written an engaging, competent murder mystery which I thoroughly enjoyed: but he’s let his book down by allowing some very basic errors to scatter themselves all over its pages. He’s used hyphens where dashes should appear; I spotted a few extraneous commas; and his page numbering is all over the place: his front matter pages are numbered 1 to 8 and then begin all over again with page 1 when his story starts (it’s convention to use a different numbering style for front matter if you want it numbered separately from the main text otherwise you end up with more than one page 4, which is confusing and can cause problems when referencing the text); and on a personal note, I found the paragraph indents far too deep. These are problems which a good copy editor—or even a good typesetter—could have fixed for him, and it’s a shame to see them on the pages of this otherwise competent book.
Such problems are minor, though, and as ever, my main focus is on the writing. I have a few issues with some of the grammar (for example, in the back cover copy quoted above it is implied that Henrietta’s leathers have an Irish temper); and there were a few problems with the text which only Mr. Morgans can fix: I realise that this is a thriller, and not a literary novel: I expect it to rely on the standards of the thriller genre. But in this novel some of those standards have been over-used to the point where they’ve become stereotyped. The two main characters were stereotypical in both their characterisation and their differences to one another: Henrietta Fox is a biker-girl photographer with red hair and a temper; Cass Farraday is ex-public school and wears suits from Saville Row. While they’re lively as characters go, I wanted them both to have more depth and subtlety and I think that a writer of Mr Morgans’ talent could have achieved this without too much trouble, even allowing for the limitations posed by the genre’s conventions. As it is, the interplay between his two main characters at times strays into Gene Hunt’s territory: on several occasions I felt like I was visiting the provincial 1980s (which was my favourite decade, though, so no great hardship there). Despite these little niggles it’s obvious to me that Ron Morgans is a capable, confident writer who, with a little more guidance and revision, could have brought this book up to a significantly higher standard.
I’ll happily admit that my genre-of-choice is literary fiction, which isn’t what Ron has written here: but I’m not trying to drag him over to the literary dark side. I just get the feeling that while this book is good, he is capable of much more. He has sailed through some of the things that others find most difficult—finishing a whole novel, creating distinct and lively characters, and constructing a plausible world for them to live in—who hasn’t done quite so well with the easier stuff. I think that Ron Morgans is a writer to watch who, with persistence and dedication, might well go on to bigger things, and I’m thrilled to have been sent a self-published book which shows such potential. By the time I reached page twenty-seven I had abandoned my scorecard: I read The Deadline Murders right through to the end and I’m pleased to be able to recommend it to you, albeit with just a few very minor reservations.
Edited to add: my good friend Sally Zigmond has also reviewed this book, and you can read her opinion of it here.
What is it that makes us straight or gay?
Is it environment or genetics?
Choice, chance or maybe even persuasion?
The answer to this age-old question is one that fledgling writer Margaret Allen sets out to discover as she endeavors to complete her first book. Taking on a subject she believes she knows well, she begins a very human odyssey, examining the lives of gay women, all of whom come from diverse backgrounds and mindsets.
Among those whom we meet are —
the florist, whose parents try to “cure” her of her homosexuality;
the twins who, separated at birth, live their lives at opposite ends of the economic spectrum;
the radiant redhead and her three failed marriages;
the poet who spent most of her young adult years as a nun;
the Kentucky woman who, as a new bride, makes a rather shocking discovery;
and the non-verbal, wheelchair-bound woman, who is a political activist with an extraordinary ability to communicate.
As we share in their deeply personal narratives, Margaret’s book ultimately raises the question: “Are relationships between two women really all that different than heterosexual ones?”
Outside the Lavender Closet brings to life a collection of contemporary stories inspired by actual women and true events.
Martha A Taylor’s Outside the Lavender Closet: Inspired by True Stories is affectionately-written and has an easy charm to it: I genuinely liked the narrator and her group of friends and I wanted the book to do well, but in the end it was let down by a series of careless errors which include all the usual suspects: punctuation, spelling, grammar, homophone substitution, cliché, and some rather odd logic.
That list of errors sounds much more damning than it should. There were lots of errors, and the text is often clumsy: in order to bring this book up to a publishable standard it needs to be completely rewritten, to sort out all the confusion and unbelievable dialogue; it needs a very strong edit to make it coherent and tight; and it needs a full copy-edit to clear away all those irritating errors. That’s a lot of work, none of which would be worth doing on a text which was completely substandard: but I think it’s worth doing here because despite all of its problems this one has a warmth and a character to it which most of the books I’ve reviewed here lack. It might well turn out to be a bit of a treasure if it were properly worked up. As it is, it’s just not good enough, I’m afraid, and I read just three of its one hundred and forty-nine pages.
The breathtaking mystery of the Irish Claddagh unraveled!
On a fire singed wall not so far away from the tragedy, a collage of photographs shaped the heartbreaking desperation of a city in search of missing love ones. A rescue recovery centre is deluged with a cascade of hundreds of Irish CLADDAGH rings uncovered from the collapsed World Trade Center at Ground Zero. The legend of the CLADDAGH’S origin entwines with romance of love tales, perilous adventures, mystery and royalty. A distinctively unique, timeless and honoured treasure of Irish heritage that is no stranger to love, tragedy and triumph. FOR IT WAS ONCE UPON A TIME, a sigil painted on an exclusive white sale of the Fisher King Ship marked with a crown, a pair of hands clasping the escutcheon of Nassau, evident of the crest of the royal house to which Liam, the King of CLADDAGH belongs, was recreated into a great spherical gold brooch to adorn the velvet lavender cloak of his future queen: Rowena, a descendant of ancient Ireland’s fiery crimson-haired goddess Macha, who wreaked a terrible powerful curse upon the northern kings of Ireland’s bloodline. An Irish phenomenon: its famous adage of “Let Love, Loyalty and Friendship Reign,” still eloquently resonates to this day.
Ruby Dominguez, creatively inscribes a link between fantasy and reality, life and eternity, love and constancy; capturing the essence of her vision. She also penned, THE PERUKE MAKER -The Salem Witch Hunt Curse. Both are Fiction Romance/Mystery/or/Drama/Tragedy Screenplays of a CURSE TRILOGY. The Peruke Maker was professionally reviewed by LEJEN Literary Consultants and attained a Good Script Coverage/Analysis. “Visually compelling, provocative, suspenseful, memorable, smooth pace with excellent twists and turns. By LEE LEVINSON
Ruby Dominguez is a brave woman: she is only the second person to have sent me more than one book to review. Her first book, The Peruke Maker: The Salem Witch Hunt Curse, had little to recommend it; and Romancing the Claddagh: The Curse of Macha, her second, is probably even worse.
I shan’t comment in detail about the back cover copy which is quoted in full above: it stands for itself. It’s jumbled, confusing, and tells me nothing about the book which would encourage me to buy it. The jacket design is a disaster: it’s strangely off-putting, and I wonder if that the girl in the image really is old enough to pose naked (and assuming she is, why does she look quite so sweaty?). I’d have preferred a more legible font for the title, too.
The book gets no better inside. It begins with a prologue which is just as confusing as the back cover copy:
Guardedly, I listened to the echoes of my heart, yet fervently chased it down the deep recessions of a dark sacred chamber, where unspoken intimate emotions of agony and ecstasy come to surface.
Like a goldsmith, I creatively hammer down a precious link between fantasy and reality, life and eternity, love and constancy.
Herein pressed between the pages is the essence of my vision.
That’s on page i; then on the next page we have a single paragraph (which is repeated in full a few pages later, in a different context) with the title Time Period, which reads:
A rescue recovery centre is deluged with a cascade of HUNDREDS of Irish CLADDAGH RINGS recovered from the collapsed World Trade Center, at ground Zero.
Is this part of the setup information or has the screenplay begun? Despite it reading like a scene description, I have to assume that it is part of the setup, because the pages which follow contain character lists and locations. Page numbering then begins again, and we have a montage set before us which includes the following quotes:
An unforgettable stark landscape of inferno, pandemonium and death is broadcasted on TELEVISION and RADIOS across a horrified nation and to the shocked world.
ASH-MOLTEN ROADS are creased with GRIEF-STRICKEN FACES, engulfed with sorrowful CRIES of the CLADDAGH ring as a frame of reference to help find and identify love ones.
On this page alone I found fourteen mistakes. I already had more than enough to base this review upon, but something compelled me to read on. The screenplay continues to page five; then on page six we have this:
CLADDAGH VILLAGE 17TH CENTURY
Fishermen leave the safety of the stony shores, love of family and comfort of home to set out to sea to make a living, in spite of the danger of abduction by seafaring pirates and treacherous weather.
Hence, to live in Claddagh is to be a fisherman, or starve.
Or to be abducted by treacherous weather, perhaps.
Some of you might notice that the conclusion there does not follow on from the paragraph which precedes it; so this is a fallacious argument. It’s not part of the action of the screenplay so what’s it doing here? And why is it followed by a list of characters and locations? We have five more pages of such setup before the screenplay begins again.
I’ll admit: I’ve read on through this, to try to make sense of it: but I failed. It’s jumbled, confusing, and at times cringingly badly written. All of the segments I’ve read show a sentimental affection for a non-existent, stereotypical, Hollywood kind of Irish; and what little I’ve read of the historical sections are very ill-informed. In addition, stage directions are used to fill in the plot’s back story and background: it’s bad enough encountering information dumps on the page, but how is this information meant to be conveyed to the audience if this play is ever performed?
I’m very concerned that the Lejen Literary Consultancy has told Ms Dominguez that this book shows promise, because in its current form, it isn’t good at all. Based on its judgement of this book, I strongly urge all writers to avoid the Lejen Literary Consultancy and if you’re still not convinced, read this thread at Absolute Write. I read four pages out of a possible 130 and if I’d observed my “fifteen strikes and you’re out” rule strictly I would have not read even that far.
Early on the morning of September 3 1939, the British ambassador to Berlin delivered a letter to the German government which stated that unless the German government announced plans to withdraw its invasion force from Poland by 11am that day, Britan would declare war against Germany.
Germany ignored the British ultimatum and so, at 11.15 that morning, Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister of the time, announced: “I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received and consequently this country is at war with Germany.”
The French government presented a similar message to Berlin at 12.30, giving Germany until 17.00 to withdraw its troops from Poland. This was also ignored, and the French government also declared war against Germany.
In the six years of fighting which followed, thousands of soldiers and civilians died in the fighting: and over seven milllion people were exterminated in the German death-camps through starvation, torture and intentional neglect.
Those death-camps were run by people who believed in the German regime. And what they did cannot be excused by any reasonable human being.
THE MIND-SET OF THE GERMANS
AND OTHER SECRETS OF WORLD WAR II
This memoir portrays the attitudes of a nation caught in political crisis and devastating war. The author vividly recalls his youth in Berlin before and during WWII amidst political upheaval, love, hope, and terror. The reader witnesses the appalling tyranny of Stalin in the 1930s and learns of the Germans’ conviction that they were waging a righteous and desperate struggle against the Soviet empire. The impact of this upsetting story derives from aspects of that war, which hitherto have remained unknown or been misconceived and which cast the moral equation of that conflict into a more sober light. The reader will walk in German shoes and experience the full range of their emotions, beliefs, and thoughts. The understanding of the mood then prevailing in Europe is aided by scholarly chapters of historical data that weave through the narrative of childhood, war, and ruin. In exploring the enduring mystery surrounding the root causes of the two world wars and Germany’s final destruction, the author reaches thought-provoking conclusions.
For those seeking to know what in reality transpired in the German soul during that period, this is one of only few, unbiased sources available.
H. Peter Nennhaus grew up in Berlin during WW II and became an American citizen in 1961. He is a retired surgeon and lives outside Chicago. Among his various interests, the study of history, especially of the 20th century, has been an enduring focus.
Peter Nennhaus is a fluent writer and his text is relatively clean: I found few errors in this book compared to most of the others I’ve reviewed here, although his spelling does sometimes go awry (I found both “furor” in place of “furore” and “guaranty” when “guarantee” was required on page three and no, I’m sure that first one wasn’t Freudian at all); and there were a few careless errors: the occasional misused word and some random capitalisations have also crept in (but as that latter problem could have its root in Nennhaus’s first language, I didn’t include those errors in my tally).
In this book Nennhaus aims to present a new view of World War II, and of the German people during that period of history. He states in his back-cover copy that this book “is one of only few, unbiased sources available” and while I admire his confidence in making that statement, I have to question it: thousands of books and articles have been written about the war and Germany’s role in it and while some are clearly biased, many more give a reasoned and dispassionate account of those horrific times. That Nennhaus apparently thinks otherwise reveals more about his own bias, I fear: and the more I read of this book, the more my fears were realised. Nennhaus suggests that it was Europe’s jealousy of Germany’s excellence which was the real cause of World War II; and he rationalises anti-Semitism in a way I find disturbing. I finished reading his book when I came across this little plum, in which Nennhaus suggests that we shouldn’t judge too harshly the German leaders of the time:
Who could accurately guess how you or I would have acted, had we been seized by fury and obsession while possessing the executive force to give the frantic orders?
While I’ll admit to having a bit of a temper and can remember having said a few pretty nasty things while in the grip of it, I can be pretty sure that no matter how powerful and angry I become I will never attempt to annexe several neighbouring countries through the use of force, nor will I order the debasement, torture and extermination of millions of people in the most vile ways imaginable.
Overall then, The Shipwreck of a Nation: Germany: An Inside View is very deceptive. It relies on fallacies and denial to sustain its central premise; and the author’s fluency and persuasive tone cannot compensate for the ugliness of his opinions or beliefs (some of which might stem from his time spent fighting in the German army). I read twelve pages, and cannot recommend this book on any level.
Drawing on her 18 years of midwifery experience, Falaki manages to craft a moving novel about three pregnant women, their relationships with each other, their friends and family, and their unborn children.
Birth in Suburbia is filled with information about pregnancy and labour, but the story drives the novel so well that it never feels like a data-laden textbook on pregnancy. Each pregnancy and labour is very different and well-described: a caesarean section, a natural home birth, and an uncomplicated hospital delivery in an alternative position.
Under Falaki’s careful pen, Birth in Suburbia plays out like a quick-witted, more mature episode of Sex and the City, except in this episode the characters are British … and pregnant. With witty banter and emotional relationships, readers will find themselves quickly drawn into the story.
Expectant mothers may well find plenty of information on what to expect by reading this entertaining novel.
Birth in Suburbia is very close to good, but the huge number of careless errors it contains do not work in its favour.
Some paragraphs are indented while others are not; punctuation marks are often omitted; words are wrapped in quotation-marks for no apparent reason; and random capitalisations pepper the clumsy, cliché-ridden text.
It’s a shame, as despite all the errors this book has real potential to engage. I have dipped into the text in several different places now and think it shows great promise: but because it needs such a thorough revision and a proper edit, I read just four pages before finding my fifteen problems. I wish I could have read further for this review.
A hilarious illustrated account of a love/hate relationship. Legs Talk is a whimsical tale starring a witty pair of female legs. Chatty legs are depicted with attitude and swagger. Straight-shooting and in your face, these legs sure can kick. Take this play-ful ride on the bumpy road of romance. You’ll be glad you did.
Remember how I don’t review picture-books here? Well, this is a picture-book.
Legs Talk: A Modern Girl’s Dating Tale should have delighted me: I love quirky, small-format books which take a new angle, as this one definitely does: but when a book has so little text there is no excuse for the clunkiness that is apparent here. The punctuation errors show up even more clearly; and there has to be a strong plot-line, which this book simply doesn’t have.
It is unforgivable for so many of the photos (on which the whole book depends) to be out of focus.
This book is attempting to achieve what the delightful Love, Loss and What I Wore did: only it doesn’t come close, and while it’s attractive at first viewing it fails quite spectacularly to live up to its first impression. Because of its short length I read it to the end, but still cannot recommend it.
When a bomb, looking for a friend, follows a young boy home, trouble breaks out in a suburban household that is just trying to keep peace with the angry neighbors next door.
I make it quite clear that I don’t review picture books so by sending me a picture book to review, the authors of The Bomb That Followed Me Home: A Fairly Twisted Fairy Tale already have a strike against them.
Because this is a picture book it has relatively little text and I’ll admit, I consequently reached the end before I’d found my fifteen errors: so as I do follow the rules here, I shall now review the book even though it shouldn’t have been submitted to me in the first place.
According to the the press release which was included with this book, the author and illustrator responsible for this book are being deliberately provocative in an attempt to make their readers think about social issues: I wish they’d spent a little more time working on their story, and a little less time thinking about how clever they could be, because it just doesn’t work.
In the book, a bomb follows a little boy home; the next-door neighbour shouts at the boy when he takes a short cut through her garden; and as his parents don’t like the neighbour either, they end up giving the bomb to her. You can guess the ending. And if you want to be helpful you could also try to guess the social commentary contained within the story because all I can see here is a book with an ugly cover and a retro-in-all-the-wrong-ways design; an unengaging text with a few clumsy attempts at humour and characterisation, and a glib, self-congratulatory tone which alienated me right from the start.