Saturday, May 12, 2018

Review of Michigan Sweet Romances by the RW Team

RW Disclaimer:  

The Rebellious Writing Team received these works from the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are the reviewers', and may not reflect Rebellious Writing as a whole. Rebellious Writing's reviews and star ratings only apply to the work in question, not to every work by the author.

Catherine Hawthorn, Gray Marie, Keturah Lamb, and Clare A. took up the task of reading Parker J. Cole's books, The Cure and Time to Say Goodbye: here are the results!



Catherine's Reviews:


The Cure:

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Source: Goodreads

Holy smokes.

This book tore my heart up and stomped on it.

Savannah and Micah are a former engaged couple, and they had the most turbulent, drama-filled story for the ages. Literally, I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book and couldn't really put it down at all.

Just a warning to all people reading this review, if you are looking for a light read, I suggest you look elsewhere.

Language: ✩✩✩✩✩. No bad words to report!



Abuse: ✩✩✩🟉 (3 1/2 stars). This may be a rather harsh rating, but there is a lot of emotional manipulation, and some mild verbal abuse. Which, to be honest, made me rather angry.


Lust: ✩✩✩🟉 (3 1/2 stars). Some sexual references between fiance and fiancee ("been looking at those hips all day", Micah having brief private thoughts about intimate side of marriage), some passionate kissing and desire, one brief instance of being "satiated". Also one line that mentioned that Micah wanted to "devour" Savannah, but "not of passion", which is an oxymoron.

Review of the book: ✩✩✩🟉 (3 1/2 stars)

What I Liked:

  1.  All the characters were well-developed, they seem very much like real people. 
  2. The author didn't reveal everything right away. She kept you guessing as to what the truth really was.   
  3. Liliana's role in the story was really well done. And I loved her dearly as a character. 
  4. Beautiful writing style - full of description, and new writerly spins on old plotlines. 
  5. Nascha's character arc was also well written. This speaks to how good of an author Ms. Cole is, but I literally couldn't pick a side between Micah and Savannah when it came to Nascha and her doings. I could sympathize with both of them and be truly unbiased - which NEVER happens in a book.  

What I disliked:

  1. The fact that there was a boatload of tension right in the beginning couple of chapters. Gave me mental whiplash because I was expecting a lighter read. 
  2. Micah's attitude, especially at first. Some of it can be excused later on the book, but the amount of rage and anger that he exhibited overall was a bit overkill. (well-written fault, I must say). 
  3. Micah and Savannah's chemistry. Good heavens, if these two were in a lab, you'd need a shield because of all the bubbling and popping and exploding that these two do. 
  4. The good talking-to was a long time in coming and was still full of indecision and previous attitudes. These two are stubborn and don't back down from their high horses that easy.
  5. The apparent emotional manipulation employed by Savannah, Micah, and Nascha. I wanted to smack them all several times. (Emotional manipulation is one of those things that makes me really upset personally.) 
  6. Desire for kisses in a middle of an argument??? 
  7. Plot hole: If Micah swore Bart and Fiona to secrecy about Liliana's name, why the heck was he so upset at Savannah that she didn't know? Did he really expect them to tell anyone? Or that she didn't the hint of the ladybug pillow? I mean, it does take a lot to make a female miss a hint, but it does happen! 
  8. Micah calls Savannah "his cure for everything". There were problems of Micah and Savannah putting each other on pedestals in this book, and now Micah is doing it again at the end?? Didn't this guy learn anything from the last time?? 
  9. By the time I finished the book, I felt like I'd been through a war. My emotions had been raised to a fever pitch and I don't like it when a book does that. 



Time to Say Goodbye


36484370
Source: Goodreads

This book didn't leave me as emotional as "The Cure" did, but it had its fair share of drama.

This is a story of family loyalty, of crossing cultural divides and forgiveness towards each other.

Language: ✩✩✩✩✩. No bad language. In fact, Alma actually lectures Krause for using the phrase "bug up your behind".



Abuse: ✩✩✩✩🟉. There was some emotional manipulation, and a brother that is more controlling than healthy. Some underlying racism.


Lust: ✩✩✩✩. One mention of a prostitute/woman that gets passed around from man to man (called a "doorknob"), some passionate kissing and desire for more kisses.  

Review of the Book: ✩✩✩🟉. I actually came close to putting the book down because I was sick of the attitudes of the characters and the way the romance was being handled at first, but it redeemed itself at the end when Leon showed he actually did care about Gargi.

What I liked:

  1. How Leon made a large effort to learn about Indian culture, language and food. 
  2. The idea of a romance between an Indian woman and a lower class white Southern man. The idea of diversity in romance is taking off, and I dearly love it :). 
  3. Kapoor and Leon's interactions, and how Kapoor helped him over his anger and hatred of him. 
  4. The Hindi dialect interspersed in. I love language, so it was fun trying to decipher the words and how you would say them. 
  5. The accurate portrayal of the "trailer trash" people as they are called in the book. Makes me really appreciate a good upbringing.
  6. Bringing up Lyme Disease and possible complications. As noted in the book, it's not a very understood disease.  

What I didn't like:

  1. Gargi's name.....as much as I hate to admit it. 
  2. Leon - at first. He was similar to Micah in his anger and prejudice, but to be fair to the guy, his was much more controlled and he got better as the story progressed. And instead of self-pride, the guy was angry because his mother got swindled, which is a lot more understandable.  
  3. Leon's nickname of "Bugsy" for Gargi. Good heavens! If I was nicknamed that, similarities to mean Chihuahuas aside, I wouldn't stand for it personally. 
  4. There were quite a few moments when I wanted to ask Leon and Gargi "you are attracted to each other because why????"
  5. Alma - she didn't make sense to me as a character. Which is unusual because all of the other characters were spot on perfect. 
  6. Finding a tick in a disgusting spot - granted it explains why they didn't find it right away. 
  7. One instance of blasphemy (hatred and anger at God).   
  8. The Final Twist felt really anticlimatic and disappointing. I can't say much because of spoilers but my hopes got crushed.



Gray's reviews:

The Cure:

33541342
Source: Goodreads

This was a pleasant surprise! I was expecting a very light fluffy read, but instead this book had a lot of weight to it, which is very rare when it comes to romance books like these. Savannah and Micah's story is very gripping, and I was eager to find out what would happen to them next. *applauds*

Language: ✩✩✩✩✩
Abuse: ✩✩✩✩ There was some verbal abuse in this book.
Lust: ✩✩✩✩ When you're engaged I'm sure one has more thoughts of this kind, and reading them didn't make me uncomfortable, because it was very light and mild, while remaining realistic. Definitely something that one might want to hold back from reading if they are a younger teen or pre-teen though.

Overall: ✩✩✩✩


Time to Say Goodbye:

36484370
Source: Goodreads

This made me think of a drama TV show for some reason, and I wasn't a huge fan. I never really understood why Leon and Gargi liked each other... The ending was a bit disappointing, as Catherine also said ^.

Language: ✩✩✩✩✩. No foul words.

Abuse: ✩✩✩✩🟉. Manipulation, i.e. a brother that is overly controlling.

Lust: ✩✩✩✩. A mention of a prostitute. Passionate kissing and strong desire.

Review of the Book: ✩✩✩





Keturah's Reviews:

TIME TO SAY GOODBYE:



36484370
Source: Goodreads



I have very mixed feelings about this book. I will start out by stating that I don't normally enjoy romances... they just don't settle well with me. And I have to force myself to read through them as I groan, "Really!?" This book was no exception. First I'll give content rating, though. And then tell you all what I thought.



Language: ✰✰✰✰ The language was decent, but there was some times when the characters would use vulgar substitutes. While this wouldn't bother most, it will a few. The worst one was one instance of 'fricken'. 

Abuse: ✰✰✰✰ The MC female tried to attack the MC male a few times, but it was humorous as she was pretty frail compared to him. There was some angry yelling.
Lust: ✰✰✰ Though it was never extremely bad the characters definitely thought about each other's looks and appearances a lot and fantasized about all that ;D But all in the terms of "kissing, being in each other's arms, and marriage." So, while kept appropriate it was a big part of the book. Still would bother many people.

And now my thoughts. To be honest, I did not like any of the main characters. They were supposed to be Christians, but they never really displayed a very loving, Christ-like attitude, nor was the hateful attitudes the main characters possessed in the beginning of the book ever truly dealt with. The MC's were very angry and self-righteous. And not too likable. Unless you want to consider their looks... but for me it's character over appearance ;D

The only character I absolutely loved was Naveen, but he's a small minor character you hardly see. Also, I sorta liked Dev. Of course all the other characters had their likable moments.

The whole prison thing wasn't too realistic either. Our family has done a lot with prison work. It would not be that easy to get someone released from prison into a hospital. Most likely he'd just be sent to a prison infirmary. If they were able to manage getting him into a real hospital the prisoner would have been handcuffed to the bed at all times, no matter how weak and sick he was. And he'd have guards at all time, too. The government doesn't just let a prisoner free. Even if he were dead he'd have been handcuffed. Prisoners have absolutely no rights (or little) and being sick gives them no exemptions. Family pleas don't matter.

All that aside, I really enjoyed the twist at the end with Dev. I totally did not see that coming. The ending was both sad and sweet, and I loved the ending. I also thought the nicknames the MC's had for each other were cute and funny and unique. I liked those. And I liked the character names in the story.

Overall: ✰✰✰ There will be many that will overlook the inaccuracy of the prison scenario and it won't bother them. I think romances can get away with more ;D This book wasn't my cup of tea, but I'm sure romance lovers will enjoy it. And overall, it was pretty clean.


THE CURE 

33541342
Source: Goodreads

I noticed some similarities in this book and the last, which I thought were interesting. Both opened in a hospital room. The female MC had a loved one sick, near death. Both stories were situated around a legal case where it was crucial to the MC's whether someone was guilty or not. Both female MCs had been in a previous engagement and the "legal" case is what tore their relationships apart. Both books were full of unique names for the characters. Also, the main characters all seemed obsessed with junk food... in a way that actually bothered me, to be honest, as it was kinda described in a gluttonous/ disgusting way.



I figured out pretty soon that this and the last book are sequels, tied together by the female MC's who were both friends and models together.


Language ✰✰✰✰✰ I believe there was no language in the book. 
Lust ✰✰✰ This book was full of lust... and it was written as if it weren't lust but natural attraction that made them "unable to stop kissing" or "want to devour" the other. But to be honest... that is the definition of lust. Not love. Love was when the MC male character returned to the MC female character to help her in her time of need despite how she had used him. Lust is when your hormones overrule you and you desire someone so strongly outside of a relationship that you "want to devour them" despite circumstances. The book was a definite romance. Kissing, wishing to be with the other person forever, talk of having children, modeling and body image, talk of children/ hips/ etc.
Abuse ✰✰✰✰ Children are caught in a fire and are in pain, one of the MC's is haunted by a woman that committed suicide years ago and her death plays itself out in his mind a couple times - but not too graphically.

Overall ✰✰✰ Again I will say I do not normally like Romances. They just frustrate me... because the characters are normally way too emotional, and the stories are mostly unrealistic, and there's so much unnecessary drama between the main characters that doesn't need to happen in real life and shouldn't happen for a great relationship. But many people like Romances... if that's you, you'll probably like this book.

Though this plot copied the other book, they were completely different stories. I think I slightly enjoyed this one more? Though I had more of a surprising shock at the end of the other that I really liked. I also didn't care for the MCs obsessions with junk foods... and "wiping dirty hands" on their pants. It was very disturbing... to me.

I also liked the main characters in this book. I wanted them together. So that's a plus. I also thought the misunderstandings were well written in this book and the author did well showing it from both sides. I was very impressed with all of that.





Clare A.:

The Cure:



33541342
Source: Goodreads


Catherine is right... it sure gets you involved. I was on the point of almost crying when I had to tell my self, "It's only a book!" If you are having a lot of stress, I'm not sure this the right book for you. But other than that I was on the edge of my seat and enjoyed it!

Language: ✰✰✰✰✰, as the others say, it is clean on this regard!

Lust: ✰✰✰, There were some suggestive things (but it was very respectful of the Christian idea of it. I'm not sure if that is the right way to phrase it), and kissing, wishing for more kissing.

Abuse: ✰✰✰, children got burned, there was use of drugs and hurting yourself.

Overall: ✰✰✰🟉, there was a lot of stress, but overall it was very good, and I liked it a lot.

'"Being out here in the open land like this,” Cameron once said, “it’s as close to being with God without heaven. Out here, all your problems fade away.”'

What I liked:


  1. Liliana. I love her. I want to hug her.
  2. The names. There are the names of a few of my friends so that was relatable to me.
  3. Micah's devotion.
  4. Their love of God.
  5. Their parents: "She stood next to Maxine, looking as innocent as a thief holding diamonds in her hand."
  6. Savanah's eating sweets. I know that sounds really weird, but I liked it because I tend to "stress eat" so it was relatable.


'She poured a cup of milk, two scoops of ice cream, and four fudge graham cookies into the blender and pushed the button to blend.
“What’s happening? Why is it not working?”
“Because it’s not plugged in. Sort of like your head right now,”'

What I didn't like:

  1. That everyone's eyes were "like stones." I liked the comparison at first, but then it got a little old.
  2. The whiplash. I felt like pulling my hair out at one point.
  3. The plot hole that Catherine mentioned. 

Time To Say Goodbye:



36484370
Source: Goodreads

This one just didn't hold me as captivated as The Cure did. I just didn't like it as much.

'The moon bathed the room in luminosity. Despite the vividness of its glow, the darkness within the room swirled about as an opaque and heavy cloud...'




Language: ✰✰✰✰. 

Lust: ✰✰✰✰, kissing, wanting more kissing.

Abuse: ✰✰✰, manipulation, some racism. 

Overall: ✰✰✰, this is mostly that I didn't like it as much as The Cure.

'Their dream floated before them like a golden sun to brighten their world.'

What I liked:

  1. Gargi, she just was really sweet.
  2. Gargi's cooking: my mouth was watering!
  3. Gargi's sudden prayers.
  4. Leon trying to learn about her culture.
  5. Leon's love of snacking. Once again, you've caught me red-handed as that being what I do.
  6. Naveen.
  7. The descriptions. I feel like we got a better feeling for the surroundings than in The Cure. But that might be just me.
'The water of Tawas Bay resembled a sea of crystal under the luminous glow of the moon. The silver light transformed the sand along the shoreline into white powder.' 

What I didn't like:

  1. That things were random and without a lot of explanation.
  2. Place where a tick was. Ew.
  3. Most of the characters.
  4. The length. It didn't need to be that long.
I agree with Keturah in seeing a lot of similarities between both of them, but my preference is The Cure.


Yours &c.

Clare A.

About the Author
Parker J. Cole is an author, speaker, and radio show host with a fanatical obsession with the Lord, Star Trek, K-dramas, anime, romance books, old movies, speculative fiction, and knitting. An off and on recovering Mountain Dew and marshmallow addict, she writes to fill the void the sugar left behind.

Find out any and everything about her at her website, www.parkerjcole.com

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Readers Thoughts + Guest Post by Kara Lynn



Hello Fellow Rebels!

It's super important to know that while YA is primarily focused on the teen audience, it is supported by much more than just teens. Parents and grandparents also have a strong desire to see clean literature grace the shelves for their children/grandchildren's sakes. Here at RW, we are seeing not just our peers starting to take on the filth of YA, but multiple generations engaging in the fight. 

This week, we have two guest posts from our readers that reflect the multi-generational reading and writing community that we are a part of. Enjoy!



I'm no longer young, but I am a retired bookseller. When I see what's on the young adult shelves at the public library, I'm appalled. It was almost as bad 40 years ago when I had children at home. My adopted teen preteen daughter had a lot of emotional baggage from her birth parents, since she didn't go into the system until she was seven. Her birth father had molested her. On those occasions when we went to the library, she passed over all the wholesome books and went straight for the dark ones that were not healthy for her.

After my nest was empty and I started selling books at school book fairs and online, I received a lot of publisher samples. I was appalled at what I received that was targeted for teens from major publishing houses by Harper-Collins. Some of those books seemed to have no point except that drugs and promiscuous sex were just part of the teen life. Needless to say, I never purchased any of these to sell.

Yet there are some very good books that remain for young adults. Many were written decades ago, and some are relatively recent. Although my own book review sites do include some books written for adults that I wouldn't recommend to teens, I am rethinking that policy. It's unfortunate that most of the best mystery and thriller writers for adults put things in their books I often skip over or find offensive -- especially the language and sexual scenes that go beyond being suggestive. I've had to face the fact that most adults today expect police and detectives to use foul language. When I review such books I do mention the parts I could have done without.

But more quality literature for young people and "young adults" needs to be written and marketed. I personally have recommended many books published by Bethany House intended for adults that are quite appropriate for teens. These are some I have reviewed: Ann Tatlock's A Room of My Own (set during the Depression), Return to Harmony by Janette Oke, and Janette Oke's series that begins with The Tender Years -- one of my favorites. Bethany House was very generous in sending me review copies, and I read almost all of them. I chose to stock most of them.

I'm behind your rebellion 100% and hope more young adults will pick up your attitudes and standards.



About the Comment:

Back in January of this year, Ms. Barbara Radisavljevic wrote this wonderful comment on our Website Kickoff post. We were so inspired by her story that we decided to re-share it as a Reader's Thought. We're extremely grateful for all the support that these like-minded parents and grandparents give us!!






As a writer, ENFP, and psychology enthused young adult, I tend to see the world and people as a complex puzzle, each of us fitting into a bigger picture. I adore personality quizzes- namely Myers-Briggs - which means I share a personality type with Tonks from Harry Potter and Olaf from Frozen (if you wanted to know).

Nothing thrills me more than analyzing character development and emotional complexity in novels. I often rant and rave to my family members about how amazing so-and-so's emotional breakdown led to this event and matured their thinking. Or how so-and-so's moment of crisis led to such and such decision which let to this other person's moment of triumph.

 *Ahem*

Okay, so maybe I'm a little too enthused (I'll be the first to admit it). But, so often new writers (and even long-time ones) can carelessly put people in certain boxes. It's easy to see the pastor's kid as rebellious, the book nerd as quiet, the electric guitar player as loud, and the villain with yellowed teeth and only blackness where his heart might have once been.

But characters (and real people for that matter) are much more complex then that. We are all wildly unique in our own special ways. Aslan's gentle whisper that things never happen the same way twice, is true in every relationship, for every person, and every life.

No two people are exactly alike.

Every main character, every side-kick, every comic-relief, every best friend, every villain or antagonist, is so much more then simply his or her title.

I love a good, out of the box character. I hate seeing sex in so many YA books which gives an unrealistic view of love and relationships. I hate seeing the quiet person as always shy, the cold-blood villain as only a dark heart, and so on.

My favorite books are the ones with complex characters, emotionally and mentally. They're the ones that don't always stick with the pattern and connect with US emotionally. The timeless classics like Lord of the Rings or Les Miserables or Sherlock Holmes, is proof that we adore wildly unique characters that aren't afraid to go against the grain. Life isn't a Hallmark movie. You won't solve all your problems in 90 minutes or less, and you won't always have the answers by the time you reach the last page.

Life is rarely so clean cut. It's a process of continually falling and getting back up. It being yourself in a world that hands us boxes to conform to. It's being honest that you don't have all the answers. It's seeing that the smallest person can change the course of the future. Because it's not always the strongest who wins. Because sometimes we fail. Because sometimes the end chapter doesn't wrap everything up in a neat bow. Because sometimes the girl who dresses like a punk rocker, watches I Love Lucy and reads classic books for fun.

Because we're human.... 
and that makes us complex.

Just like we were created to be. Nothing more and nothing less.
That's how to not only be a great writer, but a good one.



About the Reader:

Mentor and blogger, Kara is passionate about surprising plot twists and characters that show light in their brokenness. When she's not being a disaster in the kitchen or dreaming up another book plot, you can often find her over-analyzing her favorite TV shows and novels. You can visit her blog Beautifully Broken HERE




What wonderful thoughts and posts! Lots of thanks to Kara Lynn and Ms. Radisavljevic for these insightful words! We dearly love to hear from our readers, and we appreciate the time that they give us in commenting on our posts and writing for us.

Would you like to contribute a guest post? Click on the Collaborate page and submit the Google Form! Note: There is a glitch in the Form where guest posters are forced to fill in the Book Review page before it will submit. Just put in 1 star and N/A where applicable (unless you care to give us a review - then we will showcase it in the next Book Scout Bulletin!).