Thursday, March 21, 2013

Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad

I read three self-pubbed books in the last couple of days.

Two were fabulous, one was not. Let's start with the good news!

1. Edge by Tiffinie Helmer

I almost DNFed this book at the first chapter. It starts with a disturbing scene with a poor girl who has been abducted by a religious fanatic. However, I stuck with it because I trusted Tiffinie to do right by this story. And she did. Edge is a fabulous romantic suspense--the perfect balance of suspenseful storyline, engaging romance, interesting secondary characters, and incredible setting--the Alaskan wilderness. I felt like I was breathing in the frigid cold air right along with the characters. The setting popped off the page, and it was the ideal backdrop for this story. The writing was smooth and professional, the material handled perfectly. And that's a big deal for me. Too many writers add unnecessary graphic detail when dealing with difficult subject matter like abduction, rape, etc. A lot of times it feels gimmicky to me--like a crappy horror movie throwing in guts and violence for the hell of it. Helmer handles Mel's past with a light touch...we get just enough information to know that she was traumatized, but not enough to detract from her strength and healing. Cache, the hero, is a fantastic character, flawed, also tortured by his past, and the ultimate mate for Mel. I loved the two of them together, I loved the resolution to the story, and I loved how Helmer tackled prickly family issues and a secondary love story, too. And we even get a bad-ass bear scene. Awesome!

Grade: A-

2. Penelope by Anya Wylde

Also self-published, Penelope is an adorable historical farce. The humor is way over the top...there is a highway robber, a goat, a cross-dressing spy, a hilarious uncle with a mustache obsession, and a sweet, lonely heroine who is longing for love, companionship, and friendship. Penelope is adorable, goofy, and good-hearted. Folks looking for what I like to call "reality-based fiction" will probably not like this one. You need to check your willing suspension of disbelief at the door, and then laugh yourself silly while you read. I was charmed. There was one formatting error (with the indents) that hopefully will be fixed soon, and the hero was a little bit too conflicted for a good portion of the book. But other than that, there are many sweet and funny scenes that are a testament to Anya Wylde's imagination and sense of humor. I love a good farce, and this one fits the bill.

Grade: B+/A-

3. Spanked by the Vet by Christa Wick

I love big, curvy girl erotica stories. I love heroes who are veterinarians. I love quickies that are satisfying and sexy. And I love a good spanky story (so sue me).

Well, this erotica had a big curvy heroine and a veterinarian hero. It also had a good premise--the whole friends to lovers thing. Unfortunately, it also had no ending, no real story, about 95% sex, and the sex was boring--I ended up skimming those scenes. All in all, not my cuppa spanky tea. This story had a lot of potential, but it just didn't work for me.

Grade: Penelope Is A Sad Panda

Coming up on the reading horizon...

The Love Dog by Elsa Watson...I won it from Books and Things. After reading a book recently with a cat's POV, I'm looking forward to this one--it has a POV from the golden retriever. Hee hee!

Enjoying the self-pubbed revolution,