Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Finally read through all my Kindle samples —

I love the “sample” feature, which basically mimics the ability to take a book off the shelf and read the first bit to see if you like it, without committing to buying it. I should use that more often, since I hate being stuck with a book I don’t even like. I try to shuffle those off the “device”, but I wouldn’t mind being able to get them out of the “cloud”, too. I never have created a “Meh” folder to keep them out of sight, though. Yet.

Anyway! I deleted six samples, but I bought a couple, including this one:

CONFIDENCE TRICKS by Tamara Morgan

The stiletto heel pressed against his jugular had yet to break the skin.

It was a small comfort — Asprey’s only one at the moment. Gravel dotted painfully into his cheek and temple, and his armhung limp athis side. Only a few cords of fiery, razor-edged nerves seemed to connect the bones of his shoulder to the rest of him, and every movement was a clear reminder that he lay completely at this woman’s mercy.

I believe this one will be silly, but fun, and fairly well written. The sample I read contained all of Chapter 1 and part of Chapter 2, so I think I have a decent feel for the story and the writing. Here is one where the sample does more for me than the cover, which is a generic Romance cover and basically turns me off. Woman clutching dude, wow, that’s different. Probably someone recommended this on Twitter and I picked up the sample based on that, without looking at the cover.

I also bought SINNERS and SAINTS by Eileen Dreyer, who writes medical-themed thrillers or mysteries with trauma nurses as the protagonists (I believe she is a nurse herself), and also romances, Regencies, I think, under a different name. I actually tried this title because I recently met Michelle, a beta reader for Dreyer. Michelle and I had a nice conversation about dogs (she has Malamutes) and books, and I thought sure, why not, and tried a sample of the Dreyer title that sounded most like my cup of tea. Here is how that one starts:

Omens come in all sizes. Hair standing up at the back of the neck. Crows on a telephone wire. Shapes in a cloud or a chill in the wind. A hundred innocuous things designated by tradition or superstition, and a thousand more kept in a personal lexicon.

Chastity Byrnes carried around quite a full lexicon of her own. Not just the regular omens handed down from generation to generation of Irishwomen, like birds in the house meaning death or uncovered mirrors at a funeral meaning death, or any of the other myriad Irish omens meaning death. Chastity embraced a plethora of personal portents inexplicable to anyone but her.

Chastity was a trauma nurse, and only ballplayers and actors were more superstitious.

I like this. I didn’t even read the full sample before buying this one. Plus, way better cover (for my tastes), though since I bought the Kindle version, that doesn’t matter much.

Samples I ditched: RESURRECTION, a zombie novel by Michael Totten. Looked okay, but the author kept using the past tense when I think he should have used the past perfect, and that bugs me. Also, right away I believe his main character misses something very obvious and that was going to REALLY bug me. I didn’t read the full sample before ditching this one.

A sort of real-world post-apocalyptic political thriller, LIGHTNING FALL by Bill Quick. Way too many point-of-view characters. This was undoubtedly a deliberate choice, to give the reader the best overall look at the world as it falls apart, but I thought it looked like it was going to be too depressing (world falls apart!) for me to endure, given a probable lack of emotional investment in any specific character.

A murder mystery set in contemporary Japan: THE CHERRY BLOSSOM MURDER, by Fran Pickering. The voice just did not grab me. Unhelpful, I know, but I sympathize with agents and editors who say this, because it is true. I might be able to put my finger on what bothered me if I thought about it, but why go to the effort? It just didn’t work for me. Plus, having the protagonist be a British woman in Japan seemed like . . . well, like it might be making her special because she is British. I expect she is going to solve the murder, so she will have to be smarter than the police or any secondary character. Why not a Japanese main character to be the smart one who solves the murder? I expect the author is British, but still. If you can handle Japanese secondary characters, you should be able to handle a Japanese main character. Or so it seems to me.

And a handful of nonfiction titles that I found interesting, but not interesting enough to buy or discuss.

Now all I have on my Kindle are full novels. Maybe I’ll actually read one. Though, since I brought my laptop along to this show, I ought to work on something useful. Later. Right now, gotta take the girls out, bring them in, wash off their feet — horrible parking lot grime — touch up their ears, and get ready to go find the show site.

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