Tuesday, July 12

Chasing the Sunset by Barbara Mack

This review was done on an ebook copy provided by the lovely ladies at Siren's Song Reviews. Check out my post on their website: Chasing the Sunset by Barbara Mack

This isn't a series, but Dreaming of You is Katherine + Stone's story, who appear in this book

Blurb about plot to get us started: Maggie is on the run from authorities after killing her abusive husband (she thinks. I suspect he’ll show up later. Head wounds bleed like a mother). She hides away on a horse farm in the middle of nowhere, having gotten a position as a live-in house keeper through the finagling of her Uncle Ned, who cares for the horses. Nick is accused of having killed his wife, and so is shunned by society and has a hard time finding a house keeper even though he’s innocent of any crime. Can passion build between these two fucked-up people? You betcha! (or not.)

So I actually do have to finish this book, because I got the copy from Siren’s Song Reviews and I’ve promised them a review of the entire book. Were I simply reading this book for my own enjoyment (and this book is NOT enjoyable) I would’ve stopped reading long ago, but definitely by page 134. Frankly, it’s a miracle I’ve gotten this far I’m so bored and disgusted. Here’s why.

The main characters – Nick and Maggie - are so flat they’ve been steam-rolled. Not only are they flat, they talk like cardboard cutouts, and they act stiff and strange. They’re poor actors, and there’s no truth to any of their statements. By that I mean their thoughts about themselves are not backed up in any way by their actions throughout the book. They tell not show, but what they tell is weird and unpredictable. They’re completely inconsistent. It’s impossible to feel emotionally connected to them.

The dialogue is stiffer than morning wood. The writing is terrible and disjointed. The scenes are disconnected and each is so short as to be inconsequential. She rushes through an entire deathly illness in half a chapter. She spends more time talking about a new dress – I kid you not (and it may have been more moving too). She also completely skips over Maggie’s process of mental healing – which bothered me because that should’ve been ENIRELY what the book was about. It was the biggest issue and she skipped over it by say ‘three months went by’… or some such shit. I was pissed. I was bored by page 50. I was despairing that I had to keep reading by page 100. I was wondering how it could possibly get worse even as I had to practically force myself to go to the next page at page 120. There were also grammatical errors all over the place to match the awkward phrasing. Example A (pg 134)/ “The first time their eyes had met, the pain and confusion they usually kept hidden from the rest of the world was revealed each to the other.” (the pain and confusion WERE revealed, not was. Was is singular. Pain and confusion is plural. K’thanks. I’m part of the dumbest generation that texts and never learns grammar rules and even I know that).

 I hate to be mean (actually, no I don’t) but this book is a disgrace to writers everywhere. It’s like a seventh grade piece written in math class, speeding through plot devices and weak attempts at emotional connections/inner conflicts. The writing is poor, the characters (is it possible?) worse. I have a system when I read a book. I keep a notepad nearby and make ‘N -’ notes and ‘H-pg#’ highlights of funny or moving quotes. The more Hs and the less Ns the more likely the book was so engrossing I could hardly put it down for a second to even make a note. This book has more notes than I’ve ever made, ever, and it’s all in the first 134 pages. Since I refuse to waste any more time reviewing this book, I thought I’d simply list the notes I made while reading the first 134 pages alone for you:

·        Cheating on his wife, even in mutual hatred? Hm... think on it (meaning I hate heroes that cheat, for any reason and Nick cheated on his first wife)
·        really rushed admissions. Hm. REALLY rushed sexual desire on her part. No discussion of the growing trust and friendship, no build-up... damn (no romantic build-up either. No tension. No heat. That damn is because I'm just starting to realize how terrible this book is.)
·        He has to get drunk to admit his feelings for the girl? THAT speaks of his character
·        Pg 78 WHAT? First she’s flirty and coy with him and then she's all shy and nervous? WHAT? GAH! DO YOU WANT HIM OR NOT?
·        awkward, stilted dialogue. Double damn, have you ever heard of a conjunction?
·        Nothing feels meaningful!
·        She keeps skipping time - doesn't have anything development. Can't feel what's occurring in those gaps, no growing sexual tension or trust. WTF is going on here?
·        everything sadly disjointed and disconnected
·        I take it back. Not just stiff dialogue. STIFF writing EVERYWHERE
·        unfrickinbelievable. She manages to go through an entire life-or-death sickness in a chapter! Everything is so inconsequential, without point.
·        his name changes from Duncan to Stone. With NO explanation
·        I hate that. 'I shall be jealous of you, fair maiden, even as I have no claim or right to claim you because I chose it to be so, and therefore I shall be a stubborn, bitchy bastard to everyone I meet who is of your acquaintance and male.’ So unreasonable, stupid and annoying. ‘And I shan’t even be jealous in a well-written fashion.’

An utter waste of time. Never read this book.

A Good Quote:

 “May I have some more coffee, please?”  I would get it myself if I did not have the biggest erection of my life, he [Nick] thought sardonically.

 “Sexy”ness rating: Sex. Flat with no sexual tension or heat. Why, when everything else was so stiff, could Mack not pull off a good stiffie scene?

Overall Rating: DNF* (got to page 134 of 293, and it was really an effort to make it that far)

Bottom Line: If this were the LAST book on Earth, I wouldn’t read it. Lord, I’m disgusted. It was like reading the writings of a seventh grader. And I should know. It wasn’t that long ago I was in seventh grade.

Pages: 293
Published: June 12, 2011
Genre: Historical (Western United States)

*Note: This book did get better towards the end, but only good enough that it might get an F. I had to finish it for Siren’s Song, and the ending was, admittedly, better. But it doesn’t matter because, by personal preference, I never would’ve gotten there. This review stands at a DNF.

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