*I want to thank L.G. Castillo for the opportunity to read her book. I received this ARC for free for an honest review.*
Two out of Five Stars
This was a good idea that was an okay read that could’ve been a great one. Unfortunately, the execution was lacking. The author has real potential, but there’s just too many flaws that hold this book back–I believe this is her first book, so it’ll be interested to see what her future works reveal.
Seriously badass cover art! This, THIS is how it’s done people! Pay someone (if you don’t have the skills) and get the best damn art that represents your book. I usually read samples before I agree to read to review. But, hell, this cover sucked me in no questions asked. Damn you L.G.! Well played, madam. Well played.
I only remember finding one obvious typo. Bravo! Either she has helliously good beta readers or she’s excellent at catching her typos. Tough to do either way. I know from personal experience. Typos are a bitch. (Near the end during Lash and Raphael’s important conversation. There’s a question mark that should be a period.)
Ebook formatting is top-notch! Again, this is hard to get right until you learn by reading and doing and reading and doing. Or paying for it.
Houston is my hometown (and while I work the streets as a medic and even I don’t think they’re as dangerous as this book likes to reiterate) I loved that it was set in Houston and how easily she incorporated Spanish/Tex Mex with her characters’ speech and narration. Nicely done!
Though the author’s overall grammar was good, there were major and consistent problems with past perfect tense throughout the book. And several instances of awkward sentence structure. The first example I ran across was in the fourth paragraph of the first chapter. <i>Lash sighed as he glanced at the information that the Archangel Gabrielle, his direct supervisor, gave him</i> It should be… <i>had given him not gave him/</i> Unfortunately, this verb tense problem continues throughout the book and often makes the narration chopping, awkward and downright confusing. I had to reread several sections to make sure I understood when/how/who.
The first chapter starts off <i>Thirty-five years ago</i> and the second chapter states <i>Present</i>. This actually made the timeline awkward and I had to go back and recheck the first chapter timing. It should’ve started with nothing listed on the first chapter and the second chapter stating <i>Thirty Five Years Later</i> since time is linear (at least in this story, lol!)
The majority of the writing is telling not showing with adverb dialogue tags such as ‘he said gruffly, she said softly, he said passionately’ and very few interesting dialogue beats in which to create characterization or show us the gruffness or passion. This makes it difficult to connect with any of the characters.
The scene when Lash and Naomi meet face to face for the first time is written from Naomi’s POV, yet somehow she (the narrator) knows Lash’s name before he introduces himself. When they’re at the building doorway and he speaks to her, her POV narration has his dialogue tags as ‘Lash said,…’ rather than ‘he said or the stranger said’. ???? What? I got the feeling that the author had been so eager for her romantic leads to finally meet that she flubbed the POVs and head-hopped here. I was actually wondering whose POV we were supposed to be in at the moment and had to go back and reread to make sure it was suppose to be Naomi’s.
The romance between Lash and Naomi is lukewarm. After chapters of being told how attractive they are and how attracted they are to each other… after 35 yrs of Lash’s behavior towards women in the beginning (which is one of the few examples of strong showing not telling), he requires very little physical attraction to Naomi to change his behavior. It’s not quite insta-love since there’s other forces at work, but I just never bought into their passionate love or Naomi’s temper tantrums.
He’s supposed to protect her, but most of the danger he ‘protects’ her from isn’t really him doing the work. He’s either arriving too late and she is saved by chance, or he accidentally creates situations that ‘save’ her/them, or his friends are deus ex machina and they’re saved again! Not doing a great job of guarding her, Lash. Would’ve liked to have seen him actually do, oh I don’t no… more.
And worst… There’s a key event that changes the course of Naomi’s life and WE DON’T SEE IT AT ALL. We get told about it after the fact. Thereby completely, utterly and unforgivably losing all of the emotional impact. FAIL. Major example of telling not showing no-no. I have no reason to care about the event or how it effects Naomi because I didn’t witness it or feel its impact.
Overall, with such a kickass cover, I’d been hoping for a better read.
The story idea is good, and with more time and practice, this author will have some real writing chops.