Once an author came and spoke to a group of kids I was working with. I don't remember her name, but I do remember one piece of advice she gave to the group. She said if you are reading a book for entertainment and you don't like it, stop reading. It doesn't deserve your time. She said that as a writer she would hate to think she was torturing her readers. She only wanted people to read her work if they enjoyed it. I liked this advice because I've always been one of those guilty readers. If I think a book is boring I continue reading because I feel guilty if I don't finish. Since listening to this author speak, I've slowly begun to take her advice. I still catch myself finishing books that I don't care for, but for the most part I've learned to put down the ones I don't like.
Recently my mother let me borrow her Kindles. I've had her Kindle for a good month and I've read three books on it so far. My latest read was written by Terri Reid, and it is the first in a series. It was either free or .99 cents on Amazon. The book is called: Loose Ends: A Mary O'Reilly Paranormal Mystery and like the title, it is full of loose ends. I don't like to write scathing book reviews, but this one is filled with a hefty load of critiques. I'd like to preface my critiques by saying that underneath it all, I found the book entertaining enough to want to know what happened. I think the author is a good storyteller, but she needs a better editor. I'm not the best at editing mechanics, but I feel pretty confident in the my ability to recognize strong characters, voice, continuity and flow throughout a story.
The book is about a private (paranormal) investigator. She is a former cop who was shot on the job, died, and then had the opportunity to come back knowing that her life would be different. When she came back from the dead, she could see ghosts. Now she helps spirits cross over to the other side. Even though the book is paranormal, it isn't scary.
One of my major problems was with the cheesy characters. They are likable enough, but I feel like Reid could have made them a bit more realistic. For example Mary, the main character, talks to herself a lot when other people are around. Reid may have been trying to make the character seem cute or endearing, but I found that it actually took away from her writing. Many of the comments Mary makes out loud would be far more effective if they were said in her head. I also didn't like the cutesy banter between Mary and her love interest, Bradley; I found it shallow and chintzy. Often the two characters would say things simultaneously which is a bit too tongue-in-cheek for my taste. It was like a really bad Hallmark movie.
I did like Mary's two older friends who stop by her office daily. They were likable, funny characters. My only issue (and it's a doozy) is that Rose, the older woman, carries a blow-up doll in her makeup case. She said she uses it to try on outfits to make sure they will look good on her. All I can say to that is COME ON! At one point Mary uses the blow up doll to sit at her desk so her police tail won't know she left her office. It's all a bit stupid. It's obvious that Reid needed a plot device so she made a normal character into a total nutter with a blow up doll. I mean Reid describes Rose's character as a classy, well-known real estate broker and then out of no where she adds this bizarre tidbit. I didn't like it. It didn't mesh.
As far as the loose ends found throughout Loose Ends, there were a few. One scene Mary is running through the woods, chasing some ghost children, when she runs into a fort. It was all strange and confusing, but what got me was when Mary wakes in the care of a paramedic who seemed to appear out of thin air. She was running in the woods, knocks herself out, and BAM! Paramedic! He is not a ghost. He's an actual person. This paramedic proceeds to drop a concussed Mary off at her car, all the while disclosing a long lost memory from his childhood. This memory is a clue to help solve Mary's case, which is quite convenient because the paramedic disappears just as quickly as he appears. By the way, Mary drives home and passes out in her driveway because of her concussion. It just wasn't believable. Oh and I hated the fact that she ran into a fort. It was weird.
There were other mistakes in the storyline. For instance, Mary tells Bradley the code to her home alarm system and then days later she says she doesn't use it because the ghosts mess it up. It had little inconsistencies throughout the book that bothered me.
Some may say that I shouldn't complain as I did choose to read a cheap book from Amazon about a woman that sees ghosts, but I've read some pretty good freebies in the past. I'm also a sucker for the paranormal mystery.
If you are interested in a super easy/cheesy read, you may like this book. It's totally predictable, and some people dig that, but I like more of a challenge. I do think the story beneath all of the critiques has potential. I'd also like to point out that I did finish the book, so that's saying something.