Sunday, December 5, 2021

The Fifth Day of Christmas

Rating: WARTY!

So today we're looking at five books I've read in the last couple of months - or tried to anyway. Not a one of them pleased me! First up is:

Fairy Metal Thunder by JL Bryan

This started out well enough except that the idiot main character was clueless. He didn't seem to exist beyond his evidently unrequited yearning for another character, which not only made him creepy, it also made him very shallow frankly. And if that's all he is, it doesn't endear me to him at all. It was far too YA for my taste.

The story then abruptly switched from being a tale about a garage band to being one about fairies. At least the author had the guts to call 'em what they are instead of trying to hide their embarrassment under this pussy-footing chickenshit 'fae' euphemism. But the fairy world was boringly trope and less than thrilling. When this idiot main character, despite multiple warnings, stole magical fairy instruments for no apparent reason and without any establishment of any credible motive, it not only made no sense, but it also made him seem like a jerk, and a bigger loser than he already was. It was at that point that I just went off the story irretrievably and DNF'd it. I can't commend it based on what I read.

It Ain't Flat by Karl Beckstrand

I've had such mixed luck with this author that I think this is the last of his efforts that I shall try reading, and this was another failure. The book is ridiculously short, and appallingly formatted, since it went through the Amazon Kindle conversion process and ended up - predictably so, for anything that's not the plainest vanilla text - as kindling. Amazon sucks and so does its Kindle system which is yet another reason I will have nothing to do with those assholes.

As far as this "book" is concerned, all it was was a rhyming list of all the nations of the world - intended, supposedly, to be a way of memorizing them. Why anyone would want to do that, I do not know, but this isn't the best way to do it, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with flatness or otherwise of the globe and the formatting was so bad that it was barely readable, so I can't commend this - not even a little bit.

Wizard in a Witchy World by Jamie McFarlane

This Jim Butcher wannabe was far too trope for my taste and involved such a hail of antagonism and violence that it turned me off from the beginning. I'm no fan of Jim Butcher's wizard series by any stretch of the imagination, although I loved his Alera Furies pentalogy, so anything that smacks of that bullshit is a non-starter for me and this did! This idea of 'witch councils' and territories and so on just makes me laugh out loud. It's so tired, and so were the magical practices described here. And what the fuck is up with the idea that if you're a guy you're a wizard, but if you're female, you're a witch? I hated that genderist horseshit in Harry Potter, and it's no less detestable here. There's nothing new in this book, and it bored me. I DNF'd it in short order and I cannot commend it based on what I did read.

The Origins of Heartbreak by Cara Malone

This is the start of a loosely connected series of stand-alones called "Lakeside Hospital" which is nowhere near as bad as an actual series, but I still could not get with this, because the writing was really poor in a variety of ways.

The story is about a woman who is training to be a a paramedic and her lesbian crush who is training to be a doctor. I liked the idea of this which is what drew me in, but when I started seeing how poorly it was written I decided enough is enough. At one point, for example, I read: "...then she’d walk from the hospital to campus and spent the rest of the morning" Wrong verb tense: it needed 'Spend'. Next I came across this: "...but he died shortly thereafter...." Who talks like that? Nobody! Later, I read, "...dic-in-training would cross paths again, at least not until Megan stared her rotations...." 'Started' was needed there.

I don't think anyone knows better than I how a misspelled word or a bad grammar choice, or an oddball bizarre mistake can crop up in your text. When you're a one-person operation, it's easy, and I don't normally care about such mistakes, but when there is a high frequency, and a consistency to them, it makes me think the author doesn't care either, and I lose faith in them. Those issues were not the only ones though. I read, for example, when one character had a moment of vulnerability, the other character was trying to " up the courage to kiss Megan while they were sitting alone on that bench." Is the author having one of her two main characters seriously take advantage of a person in a moment of insecurity and weakness? That's really bad and very creepy and anti-romantic.

Another error arose from the author pushing her story so much that she apparently forgot it's supposed to be set in a real (if fictional) world where things are happening and time is passing. I read, "In the five minutes or so that they were alone together...." Now this five minutes was apparently all the time it took to do a complete autopsy in this fictional world! Sorry but no! A real autopsy tales an hour or so. Maybe a bit shorter, often longer, and there's no way in hell its going to get done in five minutes no matter how experienced the coroner is! This was seriously bad writing. Later I read, "After a few minutes, during which she noted gratefully that no tears were threatening to rise in her throat...." Nope. Tears come from tear ducts, not from the throat. Maybe something was coming from her throat: difficulty swallowing, dryness, something, but never tears. That's just sloppy writing.

So the problem with this was that I had the impression that the author was so intent upon getting these two characters into bed that she honestly didn't care how unrealistically she achieved that, and that she really wasn't interested much in creating a story around then or having them behave naturally, or having the romance arise organically from the relationship. That's why I DNF'd this and why I won't be reading any more of this author's work.

Magenta Mine by Janet Elizabeth Henderson

I am honestly at a loss as to how this novel ever got onto my reading list. Seriously. I began reading it and halted with a screech at four percent. The screech was from my mouth when I read this obnoxious part where Harry is quite literally harassing Magenta. There's no other word for it. She works, of course, in a lingerie shop despite this being - from what we've read of her character to that point - the very last place she'd ever work.

She's previously made it clear she has zero interest in him. Another woman, Harry's trusted business partner, has warned him off bugging her, yet he goes right into the store and starts trying to get her to date him despite having been rebuffed before. She clearly tells him no, and does it no less than four times. Then the idiot author has her hand Harry some lingerie to sort, "as long as he's there." Seriously? He takes a look at one of the thongs and says to Magenta, the girl who had just made it clear she wants nothing to do with him, "These would look good on you."

It's fucking obnoxious and this author needs to be thoroughly ashamed, if not thoroughly shamed for writing this abusive trash. I not only do not commend this, I actively condemn it.