Thursday, January 5, 2012

Book: Embers of Hope, Flickers of Passion by Kristen James


Gag me.  With a spoon.

The writing level in this book is someone taking college courses, writing a novella for a class assignment.  Poor sentence structure, mixed up words, bad grammar, and so on.  It needs a solid once-over from an editor/proofreader (the author's blurb claims she is one, but if so.....) to clean up the mess.  I was mentally rewriting the book while I was reading it.

The premise was good - a woman moves to Texas from Oregon, meets a guy, marries him, has a baby with him, then comes home because her best friend's husband died.  The woman has secrets about her time in Texas, things she didn't tell either her best friend, Cassie, or her mother, Margaret.

To the book's detriment, therein lies much of the conflict in the story - Savannah reconciling her secrets within herself, and sharing them with her friend and her mother. In what could have been an interesting twist, turns out that the guy Cassie sends to pick Savannah up at the truck rental place when she hits town is Cassie's dead husband's best friend, and is also the firefighter who rescued Savannah from an apartment fire two years ago.  Unfortunately, Cassie is angry at Jason for killing her husband (not that he actually did), and the chemistry between Savannah and Jason is tepid, at best.  The enmity between Cassie and Jason is the remaining conflict in the story.  There's a small B arc with Savannah's ex-husband suing for custody, but it's not even really interesting.  That B arc did have the most glaring mistake in the book, so wrong that it stuck in my mind.  A woman CANNOT keep a man from seeing his children just because he is not paying child support.  CANNOT.  In the eyes of the law, paying child support and spending time with your children are two completely disparate things.

Jason resists getting sexual with Savannah (with one maddening exception) for over 80% of the book, for reasons that didn't make sense to me at all.  When they did finally consummate, there was a lot of ear-nuzzling and back-rubbing, leading to the least satisfying sexual experience I've read in quite a long time.  I mean, they were talking throughout their encounter!  If the sex is good, conversation with full words is damn near impossible.  The one sexual encounter about halfway through the book happened on the couch with the toddler playing in the kitchen.  Every mom I know lets her kid play in the kitchen unsupervised.  And every mom I know thinks that you can indulge in some heavy petting on the couch and the kid won't even notice the noise.

I would have like to have enjoyed this book, but I really didn't.  Too bad, because it could have been a really good story.  I might give Ms. James another try in five or six years, in the hopes that her writing has matured, or she has a better editor.  But since there are so many books out there to read, probably not.

This was a free Kindle edition.