August 8th, 2013

Book with cat 5

Book #34: The Flesh Cartel

The Flesh Cartel, "books" 1-8 by Rachel Haimowitz and Heidi Belleau.

I'm torn as to call these books a scam or not.

Recall when I previously posted about them, I mentioned they cost $3 per 50 page "book". I bitched about the price per page ratio. Later I realized it was actually $3 for a lot less. Let me break down the books for you:

Unlike other books, this one had THREE pages about copyright stuff. Most books have one page.
This book had one dedicated page telling people not to pirate stuff.
A multi-page review of the previous books (fair enough).
A multi-page preview of what would happen in this book.
After the story, a multiple page "about the author" section for each of the two authors.
For each of the two authors, a page about other books they wrote.
5-6 pages of advertisements for other books by this publisher.

I'm surprised there was room for story at all.

Unsurprisingly, when being paid $3/a few pages of story, the plot moved glacially slow. Around book three some progress was made, but by the end the characters all went through a backslide and things ended up where they had been. That same thing happened three or four times. It wasn't until book eight that some (real?) progress was made. Would the characters backslide once more? No idea; I wouldn't continue with this series even if I got the books for free.

In my original post, I mentioned loving the idea, characters, storylines, etc. However, in their assumed effort to keep things moving slowly, things stopped making sense. I started laughing at things the characters said or did, which is a bad sign for a book. (I also mentioned loving the writing, and on that point I can't change my mind. Good, straightforward style, very good grammar/editing.)

So, to sum up: If one bought all eight books, they would have paid $24 for 320 pages of story (assuming a very generous 40 pages of story per book). Story that goes no where, story where the authors have a financial interest in keeping the plot from making progress.

If you're familiar with fanfic writing, this was basically one big PWP. (PWP = Porn, what plot?) The authors seemed to have a laundry list of kinks, and made sure to cover at least one major one per book (including distasteful-to-me watersports and incest -- not exactly things I want to see in sexytime books).

So, all in all: Not recommended. If you're interested in slash/adult writing, there's just as good to be found online for free.
Book with cat: Scared

2013 book: The Troop

The Troop, by "Nick Cutter".
Book provided free for review by Simon & Schuster.

I haven't accepted a book for review lately, but this one caught my eye. Or rather, a blurb about it did:

"THE TROOP scared the hell out of me, and I couldn't put it down. This is old-school horror at its best. Not for the faint-hearted, but for the rest of us sick puppies, it's a perfect gift for a winter night." -STEPHEN KING

A book that scared Stephen King? This I had to read!

I'm about 5% into it, and I have to wonder if the typing was what scared King. This was offered as an "uncorrected reader's proof", but as far as I know, that means it might get minor edits based on advanced reader feedback. Maybe "uncorrected" was meant to tell us it was utterly unedited? The Troop is worse than a first draft of a book. A lot worse. The author has only passing familiarity with his shift key. Every other sentence starts with a lower case letter. Nine proper nouns out of ten start with a lower case. If I wanted to type like him, it would take effort not to capitalize! How could anyone, let alone a writer, not use the most basic proper capitalization by default? (And this isn't a wacky ebook formatting issue, the multi-page legal blurb at the front of the book is fine.)

If the book was meant to be sent out unedited, why? Why not at least do the most basic proofreading beforehand? How had the writer himself not corrected these errors before submitting it? Most the character names, lower case. Place names, lower case. Prince Edward Island was mentioned a bunch of times (including as "PEI") and never does it have correct capitalization. PeI, peI, PEi, every combo you could think of. Every. Single. Time.

"Nick Cutter" is a pseudonym for "an acclaimed author of novels and sort stories". I can't believe that.

Based on the 5% of the book I read, I can't say I liked the writing. Descriptions and dialogues were over the top. But Stephen King liked it, so I suppose I'll continue with it for now... For the sake of my iPad, I just need to keep all red pens out of reach.

Disclaimer: I'm a technical writer/editor by profession. I may well be a lot more anal about capitalization than others. (It pains me to type those two sentences. Proper nouns are capitalized! That's one of the most basic rules of writing! ARG!)