Friday, January 31, 2014

Indie Review: Jazz by Cristian Mihai


Jazz is the story of Chris Sommers, a young man captivated by Amber, a girl of mysterious ambitions. In his quest to talk himself into telling her his feelings, he decides to shuck everything and jet over to Paris to find her.

I have mixed feelings about this coming-of-age/struggling artists in Paris short story. It’s reminiscent of the Fitzgerald-era jazz age authors with dark undertones that highlight the seedier side of life. The problem is: it’s too much imitation and not enough something new. I don’t get the whole thing with William and his family’s bankruptcy. It doesn’t feel developed enough to make me believe it and it never comes of anything after being such a big part of the beginning. The first half of the story jumps around too often and leaves the reader confused about just where they are. The plot never fully develops.

There’s also an issue with unnecessary over-description that made me start skimming and some that pulls the reader out of the story (“your eyes would dart…” in describing a painting instead of the MC describing it himself) as well as some staccato repetitive phrasing (He did this. He did that. He did the other. He did this…) and some grammar issues (“Me and Amber sat down…”).

On the other hand, Mihai has a certain voice that grabbed me and great imagery at times. I can easily see this young author developing into a nice writing talent.

Overall, I’d like to see Jazz developed into a full novel with a touch more work put into the technique. There’s much potential in this story and in this author.

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Find Jazz at Smashwords and other retailers
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*This book was purchased by reviewer. No compensation was given.

Reviewer: LK Hunsaker is the author of romantic women’s mainstream fiction as well as some straight literary ventures.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Indie Review: The Kiss Instructor by V.Anton


V. Anton’s debut YA novel, The Kiss Instructor, takes us inside the life of Alana Summer, a young ballet dancer dealing with a violent father and the mother she feels she should protect. Adin and Chris, both childhood friends, are always there for support, but Alana and Adin have mutual and unexpressed feelings for each other beyond friendship.

The main characters are  likeable but somewhat shallow, which makes them feel a bit cliché at times. I don’t tend to read YA so with that in mind, I also found too much repetitive description and thoughts which slowed the story, and too many choppy sentences that felt like the author isn’t quite comfortable with her craft yet. There were also too many POVs for a short novel and I think the prologue could have been removed and filtered into the story instead.

However, the second half of the book moves along better and pulled me in. I loved the imagery in the Puerto Rico setting which was missing in the first half of the book in New York. I especially enjoyed the unique character of Alana’s great aunt. Overall, The Kiss Instructor is a nice first effort and an entertaining read for a cold winter’s day.

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Find The Kiss Instructor on
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*This book was purchased for review. No compensation was given.

LK Hunsaker is the author of romantic women’s mainstream fiction as well as some straight literary ventures.