Book Review: The Summer of Brian by Kenechi Udogu

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The Summer of Brian by Kenechi Udogu is a good YA read. After the first chapter my first impression was “cute.” Of course, I’m old and anything to do with teenagers and their first loves and crushes will be cute to me. I could easily see a couple of teenagers finding Charlene’s predicament with Brian important enough to consume their summer.

It is a quick, light read with normal characters in situations that seemed only slightly over done especially with Nathan’s past and how it comes out. Of course, the best friend Orla is more entertaining than Charlene. But that’s what secondary characters are for, relief from the more “serious” matter facing the heroine.  Brian’s character is kind of flat, which is surprising because he’s in the title. Nathan is “cute.” My favorite part is the scene where Nathan takes Charlene, Orla and Brian to the fair to see his friend play guitar. Too cute!

OK, enough of the cutes. You’ll enjoy it.

Rating 4/5

I was provided with a copy for an honest review.

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Reviewing is a Dangerous Business

I recently blogged a review of a book that had a great premise but was really difficult to read. My sister stopped reading after getting halfway through chapter one. But I pressed on.

The story idea was fresh and intriguing but the writing style made me cringe. I could not suspend my belief enough to really enjoy the story being told. But I finished it and wrote my review as honestly as I could.

I don’t go out to bash authors. I know as well as anyone the sting of a bad review. I agonized about the best way to express my feelings for the book. I gave examples of what I thought worked and what didn’t work. I didn’t purposely set out to bash the author or their work. But alas my review chaffed some fans enough for retaliatory comments of me being “unfair” and having “no taste.”

Now, when I receive bad reviews saying my writing was “labored” and that 75% of my book should have been cut out and that my writing was confusing because I’m a “head jumper,” did I attack the reviewer and say they have no idea what they were talking about and wouldn’t know a great book if it slapped them in their puny little heads?

No. I did not.

I asked for MORE. Tell me why you didn’t like this part. Tell me what could be cut. How am I to become  a better writer without honesty with examples to back it up? For the authors I read (which the majority are indie writers), I do the common courtesy of being honest and backing it up. Take it or leave it. Your choice.

All authors need to have thick skin. Don’t make excuses. Make it better! Ideally you want everyone to love your book. Well, everyone won’t love your book. Some people will down right hate it and want that piece of their life back. I’ve seen this statement in a review before but I’ve never said it. Too mean to put in writing, but can be so true. I actually gave the book a rounded up 3 out of 5 stars, backed up my rating and even listed what I did like.

Do I need to learn a bit more tact when I go about it? Probably. I’m still learning about writing, critiquing, editing and reviewing. But respect the fact that we differ in opinion and likes and dislikes.

Reviewing is probably just as dangerous as telling people your political party or what religion you believe. I may have to go into hiding if this keeps up. Especially with the “talking to” I received from the author’s fans. Yikes! If you don’t hear from me for a while, call 911. 🙂

Happy reading and be careful out there. A lot of fans mean business!

Book Review: Aversion, Book One of The Mentalist Series by Kenechi Udogu

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Aversion, Book One in The Mentalist Series by Kenechi Udogu is a novella following the first Aversion performed by Gemma Green and how it goes oh so wrong. Fifteen-year-old Gemma is the only female Averter in a long history of Averters, an anomaly. Nonetheless, she has been taught from a very young age the responsibilities, honor and rules of Aversion. Averters use their minds to deter others (without the person realizing it) from decisions that will keep them from their life path.

When Gemma gets her first “jolt” from Russ Tanner, she is confident and a little nervous. But this is what she is born to do. Everything seems to have gone well with Russ–disaster averted. That is until Russ approaches her at school the next day. She has never talked to him before and has kept a low profile at school, but now she can’t shake Russ. He doesn’t remember the Aversion, but for some reason he feels drawn to her. What else can go wrong?

Gemma is a down-to-earth character that tries her best to live up to her legacy. But being a teenaged girl just gets in the way of duty sometimes. The reader goes with Gemma on her journey to becoming a full-fledged Averter (and not just a trainee) and her journey into the world of the average teen. She is believable, if a bit too analytical. The story is Gemma’s first person account, so she’s already been through the adventure that she’s relating to the reader. The only thing that bothered me was that because it’s already happened, she inadvertently reveals minor plot points.

Description is minimal and other character development is scarce. We get to know a little about Russ and Gemma’s father, but we’re not yet sure what is true about either one of them. After all, we’re dealing with Aversion. But there is still more to uncover.

I liked this first installment in The Mentalist Series and recommend it for a quick read. I look forward to the next installment.

Rating 4/5

I was provided with a copy for an honest review.