Hello, everyone! I know, I know. Long time no post, but this semester is kicking my butt not to mention the increased job duties at work. Don’t get me wrong; I’m loving almost every minute of it, but I sure wish I had more time to update my blog, website, facebook, etc.
Anyway, I wanted to let everyone know that Declaring Spinsterhood was featured on Red Adept’s Kindle Book Review Blog today. Although I can’t say I’m not a little disappointed by the 3.5 star rating, I’m just thrilled it entertained her enough that she would finish it. Red makes no bones about not liking the chick lit/romance genre very much, so I’m taking it as a great compliment that she read it all the way to the end. I was terrified that she wouldn’t, and I would just get that dreaded short mention on her blog.
So, here’s her review with my response in bold:
Declaring Spinsterhood, by Jamie Lynn Braziel, tells the story of a woman fed up with her family pressuring her to wed.
3 1/2 Stars
Plot/Storyline: 2 1/2 Stars
The plot is a whimsical tale of Emma Bailey’s frustration with her match-making family. There are several humorous scenes and funny comments sprinkled throughout this story. I think these are what made her keep reading. I do have a knack for the comical if I say so myself.
There is one scene of rather shocking violence that was a bit out of place in this otherwise lighthearted work. However, it did add some spice to the other somewhat repetitive events. I knew the book had been pretty tame up to this point and wanted to completely shock my readers. After all, isn’t violence of any sort completely unexpected?
My biggest problem with the storyline was how rushed it seemed. A character would say something like, “Why don’t we go over to your house?” and the next sentence would have them sitting on the couch at the house in question without any transition. At one point, Emma and her ex-boyfriend, Steve, are eating ice cream in a soda shop and he suggests they leave, but no mention is given of finishing the food, paying for it, or anything to conclude the scene. Call me crazy, but I get irritated when writers feel the need to spell out the mundane details which can usually be inferred.
Emma and her friend who helps her run her bookstore leave for a conference. No mention is given of who would run the store while they were gone (no other employees were ever mentioned) or whether the store would just be closed. I’m almost positive I wrote about them closing the shop, but it wasn’t really that important.
During a very climactic scene, Emma ‘remembers what the bulge in her purse is’. Well, I hit my previous page button, thinking I missed something, to try to figure out where her purse was in the scene and when she mentioned ‘a bulge.’ I couldn’t find it and wasn’t willing to search for it. Perhaps I missed the reference earlier in the scene, but as this was a pivotal event with the purse being extremely important, more attention should have been called to it. Before leaving for the date, Emma puts a very important item in her purse, which was talked about several times during the book and foreshadowing this very bulge. Don’t want to spoil everything, so I’ll leave it there.
The ending was very abrupt and a bit unbelievable. I think if you’ve read much chick lit/romance at all you’ll understand when I say it’s pretty much all unbelievable. I didn’t intend for the book to follow reality; it was written to be purely escapist.
Character Development: 2 1/2 Stars
Emma’s character was fairly well developed. She was funny and likable, if a bit too emotional for my taste. She did seem a bit childish in her behavior toward Brian, her neighbor and friend, but at least she was consistent. This is exactly how I wanted to portray Emma; I nailed this one.
At first, Emma’s mother appeared to just be a well-meaning busy body, kind of quirky and funny. However, she later descended into madness. I cannot imagine the wife of a pastor and mother of two children banning her daughter from her house just because the daughter declared she would never marry. Even in anger, that just seemed way over the top. I intended for Evelyn to be over the top. Red obviously never met my Nanny, hee hee.
Brian was a very weakly developed character. He just seemed confused throughout the entire novel. His actions at the end were also very abrupt and out of character. He’s supposed to be confused. Let’s face it, ladies; we confuse the men in our lives.
Steve, the ex-boyfriend, came across as an annoying jerk, exactly as the author intended. Yes, ma’am!
Writing Style: 4 Stars
Most of the dialogue was realistic; however, there was an oddity here and there. At one point, Emma made a little wisecrack to Brian. He apparently didn’t hear her and asked her what she said. The response was: “Nothing,” she quipped. The ‘quip’ was obviously in her previous statement. I wouldn’t call this an oddity. It’s a commonly used tactic in comedy whether in writing or on television.
The descriptions were very well done, concise and relevant. The simplistic sentence structure fit the overall mood of the work making for a nice, easy read. Exactly as intended!
Editing/Formatting: 5 Stars
Both were of professional quality. It better be considering what I paid to have it done.
Rating: PG-13 for one Violent (Somewhat Graphic) Scene Woohoo! I love that she felt this scene was graphic at all; it gave me chills when writing it.
Here are some additional comments by Red: Having gone through the single dating thing myself, I was able to relate to poor Emma on her blind dates. (That Red could relate to Emma makes me a happy writer!) I was once set up by a coworker with a guy who spent the entire date talking about his gun collection and motorcycle. That’s just not me. It seems that my coworker just figured that the fact that we were both single gave us something in common.
Thank you, Red, for the review. I would recommend that everyone check out her blog as she is a voracious reader and has written more reviews on Amazon.com than anyone I’ve ever known.