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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

MG cat magic and 3 YA supernatural romances

SC Poe's Indie E-Book Sampler, #2

Cat City
The Adventures of Susan and Tucker

By Patti Larsen
Self-published October, 2010
Poe thinks this is MG fantasy (with cats!)

First sentence: Susan stood on the top step of the back porch, horribly upset with her circumstances.

Favorite sentence: Susan loved his fur, the color of warm butterscotch with light reddish stripes through it, so soft it was almost cold to the touch.

The opening paragraphs are less than promising, but things improve so quickly that by page 3, Poe was sold. That's when lonely 10-year-old Susan, isolated in a new home on the edge of the forest, finds a stray cat in the back yard. Now we embark on a seemingly commonplace love story (a girl and her cat) that's soon tinged with mystery, and, by sample's end, with more than common magic.

The POV alternates between Susan and Tucker, the cat, and both are true to life and engaging. Larsen's clever at building her magical cat world, and keeps the reader guessing at what's really afoot. Or rather, apaw. The sample ends with a tantalizing question.

Poe thinks this is a story young cat-lovers will want to read over and over again, and recommends it to fans of Catwings and the Warriors series.

NOTE. To write is human, and there are one or two cracks in the grammar in this sample. Even the most careful writer should consider using an experienced editor when publishing for younger readers, who deserve the best.

Rated S for snapped up.


By Augusta Blythe
Self-published April, 2011
Poe thinks this is YA contemporary paranormal + romance

First sentence: Mia, my best friend, sits cross-legged on the floor in front of me.

Next, Mia flicked her long brown hair back with a regal air, and Poe's mind started to go numb. But the hair is only a momentary distraction, for Mia's in the process of developing superpsychic powers. We like Blythe's fierce, fresh writing and snappy characterizations ("Gran has been riding the bitter train. . . ."), and we quickly attach to the sharp-tongued, brainiac narrator. The sample covers all the bases, introducing the romantic object and hinting at superbattles to come, including a possible rift between the BFFs.

So, is Mia really "going to turn the whole town into her own mutant playground?" On the next idle afternoon, Poe may plug back in to find out.

Rated Q for queued to read later.


By Megan Curd
Self-published 2011
Poe thinks this is YA contemporary paranormal + romance

First sentence: An ambulance siren screamed in the background.

Teenager-learns-fantasy-truth-about-herself. The blurb tells us it will have to do with faeries, but we haven't learned the specifics by the end of the 40-page sample. We don't seem to have met a Romantic Interest yet, either.

A strong opening meshes the set-up with a life-and-death crisis. After that, things slow down. The sample's main conflict seems to revolve around Ashlyn's proposed trip to Ireland. Ashlyn's determined to go, so the only question seems to be whether her grandmother will stop complaining about it. Bridger looks like it will be a series, so there's plenty of time for a leisurely set-up. No doubt Curd's saving the real action for Ireland.

The writing's slicker than it is in many teen fantasies, but Poe found a few info dumps and sometimes instead of active dialogue we find chatter: "You need to learn about your heritage." "Why don't you just tell me?" Poe wants to know why not, too. Or why, if Memaw didn't intend to tell, did she bring the subject up in the first place?

Rated I: If you enjoy paranormals and are intrigued by a touch of the Gaelic, this book might be just your cup of Irish Breakfast.

The Marked Son
(Keepers of Life, #1)

By Shea Berkley
Entangled Publishing, August 2011
Poe thinks this is YA paranormal romance

First sentence(s): I was eight the first time I saw the girl. Mom freaked when I told her, said I was letting a girl terrorize my dreams, but I didn't get it.

It took two sentences instead of one. But Poe was hooked by the concept, the voice, and the fact that it was a male MC. However, a few lines later, the MC and his Dream Girl are lying chastely side by side in a meadow, fingers entwined. This image is so well-worn that even the last Harry Potter movie made fun of it. So is this book Twilight with a guy narrator? Poe thinks so. Poe also thinks the writing is at least as good as Meyer's. Here's how the sample ends: "The last thing I want is to become like Mom; chasing the one and always slinking away with the taste of burnt ash in my mouth."

If you enjoy paranormal romances, then by all means check this one out.

Poe's Rating System:

  • S for snapped up (Poe has already purchased the full)
  • Q for queued (the book is on Poe's to-be-read-someday list)
  • U for underwhelming (Poe will always explain the reason)
  • I for If/then (not Poe's cuppa, but perhaps it's yours)
  • R for rejected (Poe will always explain the reason)
  • E for editorially challenged (Poe will not mince words)

Caveat Emptor Internexi: Poe's reviews are intended to provide a springboard for further browsing. Genre and age classifications are Poe's guesses based on short samples, and may or may not accord with the classifications suggested by authors, publishers, or anybody else. The buyer is always responsible for deciding whether the book as a whole is appropriate for the intended reader's age, interests, and reading level.

Poe's opinions do not necessarily reflect those of other members of this blog.

If you'd like SC Poe to sample your ebook on this blog, please follow submission guidelines.

1 comment:

  1. These reviews kinda make me want to read all of them. And I am very impressed with the quality of the covers (I love Winterborn's cover especially).