Monday, May 2, 2016

Mini-Reviews: Millenials and What The?!
As I continue to crawl my way through my bout of reading ennui, it's time for another round of quickie novella reviews.

Working With Heat by Anne Calhoun is a quick read and there's nothing terribly "wrong" with it - it just didn't grab a hold of me like some of her other shorts have.

Milla Jackson is a 20-something American, living in London, making her way in the world as a travel vlogger/blogger/social media addict.  She turned a coping mechanism (she moved a lot as a kid) into a job and now she's turning the job into a matchmaking service.  She's not dating anyone and is letting her social media followers pick her dates for her via multiple choice options she provides.  Her latest date was such a disaster that she bails on him to meet her friends at the local pub and afterward she hooks up with one of her flat mates - hunky glass artist Charlie.  But Charlie's been burned (ha!) before and Milla's permanent attachment to her phone/social media ruffles his feathers.  No matter, they're just going to keep things light and breezy anyway.  Milla's in the process of planning a trip along the Orient Express and will be gone for several weeks....

So yeah, we all know where this is heading.  This was mostly a Meh It's OK story for me for a good while.  It's very light and breezy and I was pretty close to DNF'ing it out of boredom more than anything else (seriously, my reading mood is the pits right now).  But it did pick up for me about halfway through, about the time Charlie takes Milla to his studio and shows her his work.  Charlie does fly off the handle a bit at the end, but I like Milla's growth arc and I thought the ending was particularly well done.  It didn't light my world on fire, but it ended strong and works well in the shorter format.  If you're looking for a short hot contemporary, this one may fit the bill for you.

Final Grade = B-
I heard about A Bride's Journey by E.E. Burke at RT 2016 when the author handed me a card letting me know this "prequel" was free.  I was looking for another short read after wrapping up the Calhoun, a western sounded good and....wait, Amazon says the page count is only 11 pages.  That can't be right, can it?  It's probably wrong.  No matter, it's going to be short at least, so I'll read it.

Yeah.  Amazon isn't wrong.  This thing is literally 11-15 pages long.  It's not a "prequel" it's a bloody chapter!  I spent the whole time wondering what the point of this thing existing was.  Granted I'm sure the author is reaching more readers on Amazon - but this is the sort of preview you offer up to your newsletter subscribers.  As long as it stays free forever, Amazon will reach more readers - but I could see some readers getting ticked off by it - no matter that it's free.  Cranky readers gonna crank.

The story (such as it is)?  OK, basically it introduces some women on a train who are traveling west to become mail order brides.  One of them, Susannah (I think that's her name?) is a widow, traveling with a young son (and she had to do some fast talking because normally they don't take widows with kids....) and she's writing in her journal about the trip, her fears, and some of the women she's met.  That's it.  I'd call it a prologue, but the first full-length book in the series, Valentine's Rose, isn't about Susannah the Journal Writer.  It's about one of the women she writes about, Rose.  And looking ahead to the other book that's out in the series?  Also not about Susannah the Journal Writer - which just adds to my What Is The Point Of This Thing Existing confusion.

It does serve the purpose of introducing me to Burke's writing style, which I liked.  And I'm tempted by this series - so I guess that's the point of this thing existing.  I still can't help but feel this makes more sense as a web site or newsletter "freebie" - but you can't argue with Amazon's reach.  I get it from a business perspective but as a reader everything about this thing's existence annoys me.

Final Grade = Oh, who the heck knows?  How do you rate 11 pages?!?!?!?


Crystal Cox said...

Ugh I really hate the new thing of serials ( I think it's called) it's seriously a book chopped up and released in parts. There have been some that I wanted to read more but if the whole thing wasn't out I didn't even bother. Some people say it just like watching a tv but here is the thing if the show doesn't have some sort conclusion at the end , I wait and then watch the whole show lol. I am the person who didn't watch LOTR movies until they all came out because it just ends blah, it took all day long but I watched them all in one day lol.

nath said...

Hi Wendy!!

I hate everything that is under 30 pages... and that's still generous. But they've becoming more and more popular. Sigh.

I hear you about reading ennui. I had an awesome reading week last week and this week, I'm back to: "what should I read?" Sigh.

PK the Bookeemonster said...

I have way too much to read and when that happens, I can never choose what to read immediately next among them. They are all shouting equally loudly.

Wendy said...

Crystal: I'm the only reader on the planet who will admit to loving serials BUT....they have to be written as a serial. Which means, episodic. And each installment needs to spur you forward to pick up the next one (I hate to use the term "cliff-hanger" but that's kind of what I mean). I was a soap opera addict LONG before I started reading romance, so a well-done serial appeals to that side of me. Also I tend to prefer the ones that are released as novellas (not full-length books) and are released in full on a known time line (for example: each new installment comes out on Monday for six straight weeks then it's done).

A Bride's Journey really isn't a serial - it honestly reads like a prologue to a book the author hasn't written yet. I'm totally confused by it since the first two books (already out) in the series do not feature the main character in this 11 page excerpt. The whole thing was just....odd.

Nath: I like short reads, but seriously?! 11 pages?!?! From a business perspective I "get" what the author is likely hoping to accomplish but as a reader I'd rather see something like this be a web site freebie or exclusive to newsletter subscribers.

PK: My ARC pile is seriously out of control. I recently moved all the Harlequins into their own folder on my Kindle and....oh my!