Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Aww, gee, I'm blushing!

Here's my editor at Big Ole Face Full of Monster's reaction to the latest review I wrote for him:

I have posted your review at http://gomonstergo.com/Reviews/timelessmoon.htm and sent it to the publisher as always. Thanks so much for the great review - I actually love the way you demand the fundamentals from authors.


What a great guy!

Here's the review I sent him:

Timeless Moon by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp
Published by Tor Paranormal Romance, 422 pages
Publication Date: March 2008
Reviewed for BOFFM by DeAnn Rossetti

I have a feeling that my editor at Big Ole Face Full of Monster thinks I am the world’s pickiest paranormal romance reader. Of all the books he’s sent me to review over the past year or two, I’ve not given one of them a rave. I really do enjoy this particular genre of fiction, too, I’m just a stickler for the standards of fine fiction and excellent storytelling, i.e. believable, well-fleshed-out characters, prose that is at least sturdy and cliché-free,(though I much prefer voluptuous, juicy prose that makes me fall in love with words all over again), plus a plot that moves briskly and doesn’t fall prey to huge holes or turgid prose, and a story that is worth telling, told by authors with a talent for page-turning tales. These are not impossible standards to reach, as I’ve accumulated works by authors who do the above with ease, regularly publishing books that I eagerly anticipate months in advance.
Unfortunately, perhaps because it is the sixth book in the “Sazi” series, Timeless Moon didn’t enthrall me. It was readable and fun, but not worthy of an overnight reading marathon.
It would appear that Timeless Moon isn’t really a stand-alone book, requiring the reader to have familiarized themselves with the world of the Sazi shape-shifters prior to attempting this particular tome.
Yet all Timeless Moon needs to be a good book is a judicious editor who can weed out the occasional cliché, prune the portly paragraph and delete the redundancies found in this novel. I can only assume its due to having dual authors that there’s also way too much detail in Timeless Moon that bogs down the plot and keeps the story from moving forward. An example:
“Folding up the map, he rose and crossed back to the phone, dumping his trash in the can by the door along the way. Another call to information got him the number of one of the cheap chain motels with a branch on Federal. He reserved a room, guaranteeing it with his credit card since he wasn’t sure how late he’d arrive. With that done, there was no other reason to linger. He stowed the map, slid on his sunglasses, and climbed on the bike.”
There was no need for that entire paragraph to exist. Does the fact that he’s not a litterbug with his trash make any difference to the plot of the story? No. Does his calling information and booking a room with his credit card, which is standard operating procedure, important to any actions taken later in the book? No. Nor do we need to know that he put his map away, donned his sunglasses and prepared to ride off. Details are only good when you use them sparingly, to give the reader a taste of background or a bit of insight--too many details are boring and stop the plot cold.
Speaking of the plot, Timeless Moon’s storyline is fairly complex. The tale revolves around Josette Monier, the most powerful seer (psychic) and, of course, beautiful shape-shifter in existence, and her ex-husband Richard Aleric Cooper Johnson, a shape-shifter and empath. Josette and Rick are both bobcat shifters and belong to a group of “good guy” shifters (called Wolven) who run the gamut from polar bears to wolves. The “bad guy” shifters are all snakes or spiders who have apparently had it out for Josette for centuries. She’s managed to foil their evil plots and keep them from killing her only by dint of her ability to see the future.
Unfortunately, a new enemy has made itself known by creating a ritual spell that enervates all the seers and destroys their ability to sense the future. But Josette, because she’s a marked woman, has kept herself apart from the other shifters for a long time, believing that Rick was dead. Rick, meanwhile, has been living with his regrets in the middle of nowhere, until he hears that Josette has been attacked and her house blown up, plus the draining spell has infected the head of the Wolven Sazi group, Charles, his mentor. The only person who might be able to break the spell is Josette, but none of the other Wolven have the guts to face the fierce bobcat, so Rick finds himself saddled with the task of making up to his ex-wife and helping her find the magician behind the draining spell. A great deal of chaos ensues, along with some hot love scenes between Rick and Josette once we get past the first 100 pages. The bad guys are routed and there’s the requisite “Happily Ever After” or HEA ending, which seems to always entail a wedding and/ or pregnancy in most paranormal romances.
I would recommend Timeless Moon to that slice of the paranormal romance demographic that loves stories about shape-shifters and psychics who can shift into cats. There are definitely cat fans among the paranormal and SF/romance faithful, so I imagine this novel will appeal to that crowd and those who like their romance detailed and rife with spicy love scenes.

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