Attempted July 2021
Read only if you are a middle-aged woman who lost the love of your life (but who also refers to your only son as the other love of your life) and want to imagine what it might be like to fall in love again with a magically handsome sheriff’s deputy who has teal AND blue eyes:
“I found it hard to stare into his unusual teal and blue eyes. At the same time, it was impossible to look away. He didn’t have two different color eyes. They were a mix of teal and dark blue. Teal being the dominant color. I’d never seen eyes like those before.”
The writing sounds like something I would have tossed off for a hasty book review, minus my normal plethora of commas and semi-colons, and consists of moment-by-moment internal narration from someone totally unlike me:
“When I entered the kitchen and spotted the bottles of water, my hospitable side got the better of me. I put the bottles in a cooler and covered them in ice, then dragged them onto the porch. There. Now they had plenty to drink if they needed it…
I settled down at my desk to write, but my attention kept drifting out the window. I had the perfect view of their work truck and couldn’t help but notice how young and fit several of the construction workers were. I spent more time watching them work and admiring the view. I really had to stop myself from ogling before I was caught being a creeper. Plus, none of them set my insides on fire like a certain cop I ran into at the grocery store three days ago.
And I will not think about Officer Walker.
After lunch, during which I nearly convinced myself to make sandwiches for the entire crew, I sat back down to work. Oh, I offered to make lunch, but they politely declined. It was the mother in me to make sure everyone was taken care of. Maybe I’d get a pet to care for since my son abandoned me for higher learning.”
This is at 25% and the most magical thing that’s happened is that the house made a sound like breaking glass and scared the construction guys away. Oh, and an undead cat has made two uninteresting appearances. I mean, it’s a cat. It could have scratched someone and given it pestilent necrophages at the very least. You know what would be original? Ghouls as construction workers.
I tried to do my due diligence before buying, but was suckered anyway. There’s a reason all the reviews say, “good job setting up the characters.” At a quarter of the way through, I’m not even sure what our main conflict is. Selling a house that doesn’t want to be sold, perhaps, except it’s more on the line of Goosebumps than Poltergeist.
I’m not even going to get into the eighth-grade writing style. If this was in paper format, I’d fully expect 1.5″ margins.
If there’s anything that demonstrates the fallibility of Goodreads’ rating system, it’s the fact that this has managed to garner a 4.36 rating. [I’m not saying those other profiles are fake, because they are surprisingly fleshed out for the normal sock puppet accounts. But I do question their taste: most of them have a 4.7 rating for over five hundred books. I need to go read about drug dealers to get this book out of my head.
Update: speaking of drug dealers, I have a book addiction. Because I had to know, am I selling this short? What’s the deal with the five star ratings? So I moved into skim gear and finished. It was both better and worse than I expected. Literally, nothing happens until 50%. You read that right. The reviewer who said, “this is all exposition” wasn’t exaggerating. The murder is kind of laughable. Relationships between the characters go from “hey, I just met you and I’m not sure I like you,” to complete trust and moving-in in a chapter. Worse, the protagonist turns out to be (brace yourself) a Super-Speshul Snowflake Deluxe, as is [her son. The good stuff: teamwork. A friendship with another woman who is as adventurous as our heroine is lame. A hilarious zombie butler.
I’m super bummed and irritated: why does the middle of women’s lives in urban fantasy have to be so boring and full of uncomplicated emotions and experiences? I’d agree with the reviewer who thought the characters acted like they are twenty. If there’s one thing life has emphasized, there’s way more complexity than I’ve found in this sub-genre, and I’m kind of pissed that it’s basically being sanitized. No kids + no husband = bored and sad. Life goal is return to ‘normal.’ Someday I’m going to write one where a woman owns her anger, frustration and joy and embraces the shit out of the changes.