As I've been neglecting the books I received from LibraryThing a bit over the past few month, I dedicated this week to three books I won through both the Member Giveaway as well as the Early Reviewers program. I remember once saying that, in my experience, those books I got through the former were often of surprisingly better quality than those received through the latter (the difference being that authors try to get feedback to their usually self-published books through the Member Giveaway, while publishers try the same through the Early Reviewers). Today I have to say - they were all more than just a bit disappointing.
Ever read a dime novel? Or rather, do you like reading dime novels? Than I've got the thing for you. Naked Frame (Robert Burton Robinson) is just that and not a penny more. Filled to the brim with all clichés of the genre – including the admittedly hilarious names such as Big Bill Smotherburn or Gabby Garnersdale – this wasn't as much a thrilling mystery novel as it was an annoyance and disgrace to all whodunit novels out there. The only thing that was actually ok about the book was the fact that it's been fluently written and I could read through it in one afternoon. Maybe I'm just not the right recipient for this kind of book. Others may love it. I didn't.
Friends of Choice (Linda Nelson) is a YA novel about a girl moving into another town with her family and trying to make new friends at the local high school. While the message is important – choose your friends wisely – the execution is really bad. Add the lousy editing, there were so many grammar and vocabulary mistakes … oh, don't even get me started. As far as the story is concerned, the characters remain flat in their wonderfully stereotypic glory, and while the book seriously dragged through the first part it only gained momentum towards the end where the real action took place. And then the author leaves the reader with an open end. Not of the good kind. It's seriously like someone forgot to add the last chapter.
I didn't give up hope yet and finally went for a book I got through Early Reviewers. I swear, after reading the first couple of pages I felt like throwing Speak To Our Desires (B.W. Clough) into a corner. If only I could have really done it, but with eBooks that's a bit difficult to achieve unless I throw the whole computer and that didn't seem the best idea. So I gave in and read on. Let's put it that way, while Naked Frame was at least short, this one's long, but the bottom line remains the same – dime novel, this time with private investigator falling for beautiful girl, desperately looking for her mother, the minute she sets foot in his office while “two big tears rolled down her flawless cheeks“. The only thing this book has going for it (yes, I do look for the good bits too) is the alternating narrative between the main characters. Other than that I'm going to skip those LibraryThing books for a while now and resort to those towering stacks of "real" books.
And yes, I've been adding two more books to my TBR stacks. The Spurned Viscountess (Shelley Munro) was a free download from Carina Press and From The Depths Of Death In The Midst Of Chaos (Edmund Alexander Sims) I received through LibraryThing.