The curse of impatience

So, today I am going to talk to you about a curse that affects self-published writers to a great degree. Our profession is by nature very lonely. Unlike actors, dancers, musicians and other art professionals, the writer gets feedback only after the book is out there for all and sundry to see. It should come as no surprise, then, that when we finish something, be it a short story or a novel or anything in the in between, we want to show it to people. That might be an understatement, actually. We want to shout it from the rooftops, not just show it. For weeks, months, in some cases years, we worked hard on that piece. Now it’s time for it to be released out there, no?

Um, no. Now it’s time for professional editing.

Self-published writer: What? You mean I have to wait even more? You can’t be serious.

I’m as serious as a constipated CEO who’s just discovered that you embezzle money from his company. As serious as a wife who got home early and caught her husband with her best friend playing the eight-legged beast on her new sofa. I really can’t get any more serious. You need to have it edited. Professionally.

Self-published writer: Now listen here, I read it like two thousand times and my best friend also read it and—

I don’t care if your entire family, including distant relatives in Alaska and Timbuktu, took turns reading it to the moon while ceremoniously slitting their wrists and chanting. You need an editor.

Self-published writer: But the money they ask for is ridiculous! Have you seen—

Of course I have seen! Shut up and let me show you something.

That, my friend, is the result I got when I took a brief look into Amazon’s releases on SF and Fantasy in the last 90 days. 50.000 books. Your book is probably in there, too. Yes, you read that right. 50.000 books in 90 days.

To make things simple, there are a lot of books out there. There are probably more books out now than at any other time in history, because Amazon got in the publishing business  and they will publish ANYTHING. Even if someone read one book per day (!) for the rest of their lives, and they started at 20 years of age, up until the age of 80 they wouldn’t have read half of those. Which in turn means what?

It means we’re drowning in trashy books. The market is buried under a deluge of amateur, badly written, cheap novels, with atrocious covers and even more atrocious content. It means that people will think twice and thrice before giving their hard-earned money to anyone except safe choices, i.e. writers they already know and trust. In a nutshell, it means you’re f*cked.

Self-published writer: But, but, is there something I can do?

Of course. You can make sure your work is in top-notch condition when you get it out there. You can make sure it is written to the best of your ability and edited and proofread. Oh, and also the art on the book cover is not something you made in like, ten minutes, using a photo from your holidays and a font only you and black metal fans can read.

Self-published writer: But that takes ages! And it costs a lot of money, money I don’t have right now. I’d rather publish it quickly and let people know I exist instead of spending so much money with no guarantee I’ll have sales.

Okay, let me ask you a question. You see a girl or a guy and they are to die for, they are your dream come true. And you get a date with them. On your first date, would you wear your dirty underwear inside out and go there with a weeks’ sweat production wafting off your armpits? Or let’s say you get a job interview you want more than anything. Would you try to nail that job by going there in your pyjamas with your breath stinking of booze?

Self-published writer: Of course not! I wouldn’t stand a chance if I went there in such a state. That first date or interview would be also my last.

Well, it’s the same with your book, or short story, or whatever. There are so many books and writers out there that the chance of someone coming across your work is very, very slim. You need to make sure that if they do come across it, it will be something they remember for the right reasons. Not because it made them cringe. This might be the only chance you’ll get, EVER. Don’t waste it. That same person who came across a bad book or story by you, will never pay money to buy your work. In their minds, you’ll always be that mediocre, or worse, lame writer. There is simply no time for second chances when the next writer is just a click away, and there are 1.859.650 something books available in the Kindle store.

Self-published writer: I think you are exaggerating.

No, I am not. It’s a matter of being serious about your writing career, or not. I recently came across the trilogy of someone who gave $100.000 in advertising to promote her three novels. The idea behind the first was interesting, so I read the Amazon book description.  Her heroine found herself in the royal court, “woefully under prepared”. I mean Jesus wore spandex and watered his plants, “underprepared” is one word. Not two. Google it if you are not sure, it’s not a rare or obscure word. She obviously gave her $100.000 to the wrong company, if someone couldn’t be bothered to read the bloody Amazon book description and fix that mistake! And no, I won’t be buying her books. A writer who can’t spot such an obvious mistake in the description of her own book, has either published a book riddled with mistakes, or has paid someone to ghost-write for her. And I, too, can’t be bothered buying it in either case.

Please don’t be the writer that even the book description of their book has mistakes. I mean, if you are serious about it, pretty please don’t be that writer.

Here is some valuable advice on editing:

https://kjcharleswriter.wordpress.com/2014/12/05/self-editing-tips-development-edits/

https://kjcharleswriter.com/2014/12/12/self-editing-tips-line-edits/

More writing tips by the same author and editor.

Self-editing as well as lots of other information on how to avoid pitfalls.

There is also this software, and it is incredible. Use it. It will really help you.

Good luck! Oh, and by the way, you can get my book of short stories (that had been professionally edited) for next to nothing here and here. 😉

Thin Air by Kate Thompson

My rating: 1 out of 5 stars*

There is probably a point to Thin Air, if someone looks long and hard, the same way water stains on a wall sometimes depict something. Try as I might, however, I couldn’t find it. Skipped most of it to make it to the end in order to understand what the writer wanted to convey. Turns out the writer wanted to create an atmosphere, which is good and fine… as long as there is also a plot. Error 404: plot not found.

I’ll be brief. Thin Air is boring, confusing, moody and pretty much pointless. The point of view changes constantly, almost everyone is regretful and depressed, and all the characters are non-sexual, allergic to sex, sickened by sex and/or sex-starved. The book even begins with a narrowly escaped rape, and it gets weirder and worse. Other than that, everything can be more or less summed up in one sentence: try not to be a shitty parent, because if something happens, you’ll feel awful. I wish I liked the particular character, or any of the characters, in order to care. I didn’t. I felt I was sinking in mire while having an intense episode of brain fog, interrupted by passing images of Ireland’s landscapes, adorned by horses and manure. Plenty of both. Oh, and swans. In a polluted lake.

The blurb at the back of Thin Air was the only remotely interesting aspect of this whole experience. Unfortunately, the blurb talks about fairies and gates and the book is about a missing person. Um, pray tell, why? If I knew what the book was really about, I might or might not have not bothered reading it, but at least I would not have expected a modern fairy tale to be force-fed instead mid-life anguish and family drama.

*My star rating and what it means: 

Zero stars: Why me?!?  I do come across books that aren’t really books, but brain damage in disguise. For reasons you can all understand, I won’t be publishing reviews on them. I tend to become enraged and say things I later on regret.

One star: Meh… I didn’t like it and won’t be keeping it. It might be the book, or it might be me. I’ll try to clarify in my review.

Two stars: Average/ Okay. Either the kind of light/ undemanding book you read and don’t remember in a month, or suffering from flaws that prevented it from realising its potential.

Three stars: Better than average. Good moments, memorable characters and/ or plot, maybe good sense of humour… Not to die for, but not feeling like you wasted your time and money either.

Four stars: Wow, that was good! Definitely keeping it and checking to see what else I can buy from the same writer.

Five stars: Oh. My. Goodness. The kind of book you buy as a gift to all your friends, praise to random strangers on the bus, and re-read until the pages fall out and the corners are no longer corners, but round.

For those who love the naughty bits

The title is self-explanatory. I decided to showcase the different aspects of my writing. This entry features stories with a strong erotic element. They are a small taste of the juicy bits you can nibble on if you buy my book for just 1.99$, you lucky thing! So, without further ado… enjoy. 🙂

From Romance:

“…You took your time, pleasing both of us immensely, treating every bit of flesh with endless respect and attention. There was nothing else for you in those moments, no other woman save for me. It took you ages to remove my stockings but by the time you did, I couldn’t be more relaxed or willing. And then your silent mouth would begin its journey to my feet, your tongue snaking between clean toes with pretty, dark red toenails. I drowned in ecstasy when you did this; your hands supporting my foot and you gently sucking my toes one after the other, kissing my tattooed ankles, working upwards with a slowness that sent electric jolts up my spine and made me insane. By the time your mouth was on my sex, I was pulling and tearing handfuls of your hair without registering it, trembling and moaning with an imminent orgasm.”

From A Man of Good Fortune:

“…He put his face on my breasts and inhaled deeply. He seemed to like my scent, because he took another deep breath. His hands slipped through my hair, pulling out the pins and sticks and letting it loose on my shoulders and back, covering me all the way down to my hips. I had had a bath an hour ago and my hair was still fresh, scented with oils and midnight black. I saw the corners of that rich mouth curve slightly in a sadistic leer, and it was the last thing I saw before he pushed me down on the heap of my own clothes, planning to take me right there and then, to add to my disgrace.”

From Endymion:

“…He tore her orange dress with the same celestial smile, leaving smudges of blood and dirt on her shoulders and breasts. She was so scared of his crazed stare she could not utter a single word, but struggled with all her strength against his attack, her eyes huge with fear. He took hold of both her arms with one of his, locking them behind her back, and continued kissing her and baring her, leaving bloody marks everywhere he touched. She thought she’d go insane. Each touch was defiling her, each touch was making her his twin, and he continued, smiling that heartless, lazy beam of his.”

All excerpts are taken from The Theater of Dusk.

For physical copies of my book please refer here.

Thanks for looking!

(Image taken from here.)

Adele Huxley-Caught by the Blizzard book cover

Caught by the Blizzard

Caught by the Blizzard by Adele Huxley

(2,5 stars out of 5)*

Just a quick review to get this rolling…

When I downloaded the book it was an Amazon freebie. From what I see it’s not free anymore. If you would like to buy it or download a sample, you can find it here.

Caught by the Blizzard is well-written, much better than others of its genre, but can someone please mail the female lead her brain if found somewhere? Just saying. She keeps making wrong choices concerning her personal safety throughout the book. It’s not an exaggeration to say she has a death wish, and it was distracting me, because I often found myself yelling adjectives at a person who doesn’t even exist.

I didn’t care for the sex scenes (in the sense that I found them boring and skipped them) but maybe that’s just me. On the other hand, the romantic element was very pleasant and sweet.

One more sore point was that weird preoccupation with virginity. It is one of those American things that leave me scratching my head. Somehow it’s considered normal to have done just about everything else, but not have vaginal intercourse. To be frank, I find it demeaning and objectifying to place such important on a person’s sexual activity (or lack of). It perpetuates beliefs that should have died in like, the early Dark Ages? But again, if that’s not something you mind, you might not even notice it.

Other than that, Caught by the Blizzard is one of those books that are published in two parts and you have to buy part #2 to read the conclusion. If you are OK with it, you’ll probably enjoy it.

*My star rating and what it means: 

Zero stars: Why me?!?  I do come across books that aren’t really books, but brain damage in disguise. For reasons you can all understand, I won’t be publishing reviews on them. I tend to become enraged and say things I later on regret.

One star: Meh… I didn’t like it and won’t be keeping it. It might be the book, or it might be me. I’ll try to clarify in my review.

Two stars: Average/ Okay. Either the kind of light/ undemanding book you read and don’t remember in a month, or suffering from flaws that prevented it from realising its potential.

Three stars: Better than average. Good moments, memorable characters and/ or plot, maybe good sense of humour… Not to die for, but not feeling like you wasted your time and money either.

Four stars: Wow, that was good! Definitely keeping it and checking to see what else I can buy from the same writer.

Five stars: Oh. My. Goodness. The kind of book you buy as a gift to all your friends, praise to random strangers on the bus, and re-read until the pages fall out and the corners are no longer corners, but round.

Amber Argyle-Witch Song book cover

The Bitch Song

 Witch Song by Amber Argyle

 (2 out of 5 stars)*

Okay, first things first. Witch Song is harmless, predictable YA fun. If you want to invest in it to take your mind off things, do. The writing is decent and the world not unlikable. Please ignore the rest of my review.

Now, for readers that might be looking for a serious plot and plausible character development, be advised:

1) The only way your heroine can have such low self-esteem is if her mother kept her in a burlap sack and beat her with a stick every day. A large, mean stick. Which is not the case, as her mother dotes on her.

2) Why on earth why would a dark witch wreck utter havoc with the seasons and the planet in general? She has nothing to gain out of it, and in the long run, it will be like shooting her own leg.

3) You do realise that in a battle between mortals and witches the witches win every time, or they can just escape, right?

4) Nope, a girl with such low self-esteem does not suddenly develop awesome leadership skills. Witches are not an exception to that.

5) A book can be complete even if there is no romance in it. In fact, wonder of wonders, a book can be complete even if your heroine does not get engaged to anyone at the end, or in any part of it.

6) Deus ex machina must be used sparingly and ideally, not at all. If you write yourself into a corner and can’t think of a way out, squeeze dem brain cells.

7) Oh yes, it is a series. Naturally. Because every single book has to belong to a series nowadays.

8) Personal pet peeve. Why name your main character Brusenna? Because it has such a good ring to it? Let me think of words that begin with “bru”: Brutus, brutal, brouhaha, brunt, bruise, brusque, brute… Melodic no doubt, and all those positive connotations. It was a natural winner. Not.

You can find Witch Song here.

YA books are my bane… Over and out.

*My star rating and what it means: 
 
Zero stars: Why me?!?  I do come across books that aren’t really books, but brain damage in disguise. For reasons you can all understand, I won’t be publishing reviews on them. I tend to become enraged and say things I later on regret.
One star: Meh… I didn’t like it and won’t be keeping it. It might be the book, or it might be me. I’ll try to clarify in my review.
Two stars: Average/ Okay. Either the kind of light/ undemanding book you read and don’t remember in a month, or suffering from flaws that prevented it from realising its potential.
Three stars: Better than average. Good moments, memorable characters and/ or plot, maybe good sense of humour… Not to die for, but not feeling like you wasted your time and money either.
Four stars: Wow, that was good! Definitely keeping it and checking to see what else I can buy from the same writer.
Five stars: Oh. My. Goodness. The kind of book you buy as a gift to all your friends, praise to random strangers on the bus, and re-read until the pages fall out and the corners are no longer corners, but round.
Courtney Lane-The Seat book cover

The unholy trinity (grammar, syntax and semantics chaos)

 The Sect by Courtney Lane

(1 out of 5 stars; it made me laugh)*

Sometimes I am not happy with self-publishing. This is one of those times. 

As a reader and writer, I’ve noticed an interesting trend. Advertise a book as extreme, dark, disturbing, and you get a lot of readers willing to overlook the fact that same book is simplistic, implausible and littered with mistakes. The Sect is such a book. What should have been a final draft on a PC waiting for an editor to kick the living daylights out of it, is instead a published book, first part of a trilogy. Let’s see.

  • Stereotypical main character.

The rich innocent girl cliché has been used countless times, and it is both unoriginal and unrealistic. Just because someone is rich, it does not mean they live in a protective bubble. On the contrary, rich girls tend to be a lot more jaded than girls of the same age and lower income. Why? Use your common sense. I am also tired of seeing innocent girls being thrown in the shit. Where’s the challenge in that? Why not use someone who’s smart and streetwise, and still gets duped? I’d love to see a writer pulling that one off.

  • Fuck logic because reasons.

The main character’s actions and decisions don’t make sense. Her circumstances don’t make sense either. They just don’t. However they make a convenient basis for the plot, so let’s give her the common sense of a cauliflower. For science!

  • I ate every space after ellipsis because I was hungry.

Three dots are followed by a space if they are in the middle of the sentence.  Otherwise the sentence looks as if it had to urgently hit the brakes and the words kind of clustered together, victims of a tragic typing collision.

  • Change of past tense narration to present in the middle of the book.

Please don’t do that. The Timelords will find you and hurt you.

  • Purple prose, grammar and syntax mayhem.

Dear writers, please don’t use rare and unusual words and expressions if you aren’t certain what they mean of how to use them. Chances are you are using them wrong, and it’s not flattering or constructive (although it can be very funny).

I cherry-picked some examples:

“Since the day after I began living on the street…”

 No. Just no.

“My deferred dreams…”

The  word deferred means postponed. Dreams aren’t something that can be cancelled and rescheduled, like a doctor’s appointment.

“It nearly persuaded me into breaking down.”

You can’t be persuaded into breaking down. First of all, we persuade someone to agree to something, and convince someone to do something. Also, if breaking down was a matter of choice, then it would not happen. I think what the writer wanted to communicate here is that the heroine, upon seeing her worried mother, almost gave in and reappeared.

“With his shirt tucked into his slacks, the imprint of his wallet was easily found.”

An imprint is what happens when you press a hard object onto something soft. It does not stick out, it goes in. This sentence means that the guy had a wallet made from titanium and it had left an impression on his butt. I’m also not sure how such a large butt dimple can be possibly misplaced or lost, in order to be found. I think what the writer is trying to say here is that the outline of this guy’s wallet was readily visible. 

“His dark brown eyes were trained to the window.”

Train: to point or aim, used with “on” or “at”. It usually refers to a camera, gun, etc. So much better to say his eyes were focused on the window, isn’t it? Ditch the impressive verb and you can both communicate what you want to say and be correct. Unless this guy shoots laser beams out of his eyes and I just didn’t get it.

“I took in the storefronts, some closed, some were on the brink of opening.”

On the brink: point or state very close to something unknown, dangerous or exciting. Unless the storefronts belonged to science labs, brothels and drug dens, I don’t see any reason for the expression “on the brink” here.

“You need to be taught a lesson on who among us is the omnipotent one.”

Um, the Lord Almighty if you are Christian? Or Allah if you are not? Or chocolate if you are me?

“I shook my head with a viscous motion.”

Ye gods! This one made my eyes pop out. The only way you can make a viscous (thick and sticky) motion is if you aren’t a human being, but a piece of liver sliding down a wall. Or an amoeba. Or an offspring between a human and the Old ones. Why not write “a hibiscus motion”? It’s prettier and just as nonsensical a choice. I mean, why not. Hibiscus motion. I like it.

Editing, guys. Proper, merciless editing. I can’t stress this enough. I really can’t.

Did Not Finish at 21% Come on, blame me for it.  

You can find the Sect here.

*My star rating and what it means: 
 
Zero stars: Why me?!?  I do come across books that aren’t really books, but brain damage in disguise. For reasons you can all understand, I won’t be publishing reviews on them. I tend to become enraged and say things I later on regret.
One star: Meh… I didn’t like it and won’t be keeping it. It might be the book, or it might be me. I’ll try to clarify in my review.
Two stars: Average/ Okay. Either the kind of light/ undemanding book you read and don’t remember in a month, or suffering from flaws that prevented it from realising its potential.
Three stars: Better than average. Good moments, memorable characters and/ or plot, maybe good sense of humour… Not to die for, but not feeling like you wasted your time and money either.
Four stars: Wow, that was good! Definitely keeping it and checking to see what else I can buy from the same writer.
Five stars: Oh. My. Goodness. The kind of book you buy as a gift to all your friends, praise to random strangers on the bus, and re-read until the pages fall out and the corners are no longer corners, but round.

 

Louise Bay - King of Wall Street book cover

Romance novels and tinfoil hats

 King of Wall Street by Louise Bay
(3.5 out of 5 stars)*

Three and a half stars.

I won King of Wall Street in a giveaway. I gained the favour of fickle Lady Luck by expecting fish to grow legs and ride a bicycle before I win anything in a giveaway. In retrospect, winning was inevitable. This has nothing to do with the review I am about to write, except for the fact winning the book allowed me to write the review in the first place. It’s like the chicken and egg argument without vegans butting in. My opinions are my own, especially when I wear my tinfoil hat. During other times I am not so sure. I sometimes wake up in my kitchen with an opened can of cat food in my hand, surrounded by a horde of screaming felines and no memory of how I got there. But I digress.

I enjoyed King of Wall Street. It was fun, sexy, quirky, with a nice sense of humour and very few/tiny mistakes. Overall it was a very enjoyable read. If you want to relax your mind immersed in a modern-day romance story, look no further. Don’t expect to cry tears of enlightenment over it or gape with amazement at the sudden plot twists. It’s a very decent book for its genre, better than many others I’ve read, more freshly written, funnier and sexier. It’s also predictable for the same reasons most romance novels are predictable. I mean, you know that these two are going to end up together, just don’t know how they will get there and that’s why you read the book.

The heroine is admittedly a bit irritating. She makes the mistake of mixing business with pleasure with every unpleasantness this entails. Sometimes her reactions are immature, but since one of the basic plot elements is her relationship with her father, it makes sense. Or at least it did not bother me. I don’t expect heroes to be perfect. I only expect their actions and decisions to make sense according to what we know about their past and personalities. As such, she made perfect sense.

The only real complaint I have is the hero. Yes, yes, his fourteen-year-old daughter is his precious snowflake and if she wears a short skirt the firmament will tremble and the world will end, devoured by giant locusts or something. He’s a tough, tough mother… cracker, and he’s the best at what he is, the fear of lesser men, blah de blah. But. Although his daughter is as innocent as the driven snow and her purity must be guarded till his last breath, he sees the heroine as a magnificent a$$ and a perky pair of boobs that accidentally have a face and a name. Oh, and guess what! That tough guy is constantly bossed around by his female relatives. How this works, I honestly don’t know. Then again, it’s a trend in many romance books I’ve come across. Men at the pinnacle of success who are superior to other men, leaders of the pack, fearless predators, yet their relationship with women is either to cower in front of their female relatives or see orifices instead of people. I think that, too, is a result of the alpha male role model romance writers are desperate to incorporate in their books because it is the synonym of ‘successful’ and ‘interesting’ (=sales). Then they find themselves stranded with a caveman in a suit and desperately try to humanise him, turning him into a walking contradiction in the process, because they have to show he has a vulnerable side that does not fit anywhere in the previous picture. Whoopsie.

Yes, yes, I know. I went and wrote a feminist analysis on a romance book. Bite me, it’s really late. I am off to wear my tinfoil hat and feed my cats. Despite my complaints, I am looking forward to reading more books by the same author. I had lots of fun with King of Wall Street.

*My star rating and what it means: 
 
Zero stars: Why me?!?  I do come across books that aren’t really books, but brain damage in disguise. For reasons you can all understand, I won’t be publishing reviews on them. I tend to become enraged and say things I later on regret.
One star: Meh… I didn’t like it and won’t be keeping it. It might be the book, or it might be me. I’ll try to clarify in my review.
Two stars: Average/ Okay. Either the kind of light/ undemanding book you read and don’t remember in a month, or suffering from flaws that prevented it from realising its potential.
Three stars: Better than average. Good moments, memorable characters and/ or plot, maybe good sense of humour… Not to die for, but not feeling like you wasted your time and money either.
Four stars: Wow, that was good! Definitely keeping it and checking to see what else I can buy from the same writer.
Five stars: Oh. My. Goodness. The kind of book you buy as a gift to all your friends, praise to random strangers on the bus, and re-read until the pages fall out and the corners are no longer corners, but round.

Uriel Serafini

New ebook giveaway!

Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/Uriel.Serafini/ (Image used under permission)

Sorry I have been awol. But as I said in a previous post, unless I have something to say, I’d rather spend more time writing than waste my diminishing brain cells on social media. I am prone to it anyway, in fact too much so. 😉 So here goes. 

So, lo and behold, I have organised a new ebook giveaway. Two winners get free copies of my ebook the Theater of Dusk! To participate, please go to my Facebook page here. The rules are simple, and you get a free copy of my book if you are the winner (plus one more for your tagged friend). Giveaway runs from the 18th of May until 1st of June, 2018. 

Please be aware that the book contains material some readers may find shocking or offensive. Also, there are strong emotional triggers. Themes include BDSM, suicide, murder, violence, blood, scarification, non-consensual sex, M/M sex. If any of these offend you or could act as triggers, please refrain from participating. Also, please be aware that some stories contain material suitable only for adults. (+18)  

Thank you, please share this post, and good luck!

Ebook Giveaway

 

I am running a giveaway on my Facebok page. Winner gets a free copy of my ebook the Theater of Dusk! To participate, please go to my Facebook page here. The rules are simple, and you get a free copy of my book if you are the winner. Giveaway runs until the 31st of January.

Please be aware that the book contains material some readers may find shocking or offensive. Also, there are strong emotional triggers. Themes include BDSM, suicide, murder, violence, blood, scarification, non-consensual sex, M/M sex. If any of these offend you or could act as triggers, please refrain from participating. Also, please be aware that some stories contain material suitable only for adults. (+18)  

Thank you, please share this post, and good luck!

Jordan L.Hawk-Widdershins book cover

The end of the world… or not.

Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk

(2.5 out of 5 stars)*

Hm.

I really enjoyed the Magpie lord series. I figured the series Whyborne & Griffin would be similar, and picked Widdershins, the first book. I was quite wrong. Here is a list of reasons I disliked it.

1) Percival, the protagonist of the story, has abysmal self-esteem. Page after page I kept reading his “oh, poor me” inner dialogue and wanted to slap him back to his senses, or just slap him. Poor Percival who can speak 13 languages, grew up in a rich family and yet he’s as socially adept as a mute blindfolded crippled orangutan. It didn’t make sense and quickly grew tiring and started grating on my nerves.

2) The handsome stranger (in this case, a detective) who enters his life has issues too, underneath the flair, swagger and bravado. I found it predictable and honestly, boring.

3) Percival’s only friend is a strong female character who quickly becomes insufferable. She is the voice of reason, yet she is overbearing and irritating in her own special way. I don’t mean she ought to be more lady-like and fragile. She barges into Percival’s office whenever she needs to unwind by ranting or use his services as a translator, and won’t take no for an answer. I would have politely told her to get stuffed and shut the door in her face, but maybe that’s just me.

4) The other thing I didn’t like was the mixture of romance and cosmic horror elements. I enjoy romance and adore H.P. Lovecraft. A good combination can make the romance hotter and the horror colder. In this book they have a detrimental effect on each other. More often than not, the two genres get in each other’s way, toning down the horror element and making the romance feel out of place. I felt I was reading two separate books that somehow got mixed together, and it did not get better. I had the mental image of a hearse driver and a can-can dancer playing basketball in a tiny room stuffed with furniture. Whenever one of them was about to score a point, they tripped on each other or the furniture.

5) Oh, by the way. The “world is about to end” thing… ugh. Generally speaking, the end of the world is not something easy to happen, otherwise it would have happened every Saturday night. Do you have any idea how many weirdos exist out there, and I mean in real life? If a team of occultists could bring about the end of the world just because the stars are are aligned in whichever way, we would all be screwed. If the stars were indeed at an unusual and rare position, I for one would have expected more ‘warnings’, in the form of natural phenomena taking place all over Percival’s world, i.e. earthquakes, volcanoes, strange plagues, rains of animals etc. It’s not an event like an outsider winning the badminton championship, that can pass unnoticed if you’re not into badminton. On a clusterfuck scale of one to ten this is a solid eleven, so let’s just treat it with some respect, OK?

To sum up, Widdershins  is not a bad book. I’ve read books that can open holes in reality by how bad they were. I sometimes think Necronomicon was in reality a YA abomination later to be turned into a fully-fledged franchise, and that’s why it drove occultists mad. Well, Widdershins definitely isn’t one of those. It’s well-written and it has its moments. I guess it just didn’t work for me.

*My star rating and what it means: 
 
Zero stars: Why me?!?  I do come across books that aren’t really books, but brain damage in disguise. For reasons you can all understand, I won’t be publishing reviews on them. I tend to become enraged and say things I later on regret.
One star: Meh… I didn’t like it and won’t be keeping it. It might be the book, or it might be me. I’ll try to clarify in my review.
Two stars: Average/ Okay. Either the kind of light/ undemanding book you read and don’t remember in a month, or suffering from flaws that prevented it from realising its potential.
Three stars: Better than average. Good moments, memorable characters and/ or plot, maybe good sense of humour… Not to die for, but not feeling like you wasted your time and money either.
Four stars: Wow, that was good! Definitely keeping it and checking to see what else I can buy from the same writer.
Five stars: Oh. My. Goodness. The kind of book you buy as a gift to all your friends, praise to random strangers on the bus, and re-read until the pages fall out and the corners are no longer corners, but round.

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