Friday, February 07, 2014

Cities at Sea by Martin Simons

I picked up Cities at Sea by Martin Simons because I was very intrigued by the synopsis. It felt like a utopian version of the dystopia in Waterworld.

Like many books I've read recently, my problems with Cities at Sea can be summed up very quickly: great idea, in need of either more writing skill or a stronger editor. The characters, the setting, the politics of the cities, the science, it all was a solid foundation. But none of it came together.

The writing was very dry, and very technical when it didn't need to be. It felt almost like a science text, spending so much time explaining the hows of the cities themselves, the climate of their world, and the process of giving people gills. Instead, I think most readers would agree they want to know about the people and the conflicts. The characters themselves are all very flat, they don't come apart as individuals and they're constantly simply saying what they're thinking/feeling plainly and without much emotion. When a romance develops, it doesn't resonate or really do anything.

A lot of time is spent on details that frankly just don't matter, and not enough time is devoted to things that are more intriguing and interesting. The summary of the book implies action that either doesn't take place, or is more of an afterthought, and those were some of the things that really should have taken center stage.

All in all, the book felt like a first draft, where a writer was trying to get down the whats and hows of the plot, and tackle the worldbuilding challenge, but then they didn't go back and actually make it readable and interesting. I can't really recommend it.

I was given a free preview copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This book no longer appears to be available for purchase.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Quick Review: P.S. You're Invited by Erica Domesek

I'm a big fan of DIY stuff, and crafting in general. But I think that this book taught me something else about myself: I'm kind of a DIY snob apparently.

Most of the projects in this book were SO simple that they didn't even feel like what I would call crafting. And for the most part, they were the types of projects and things I've been seeing around since I was in Girl Scouts. The projects also mostly LOOKED handmade, and not in the best way.

So what I learned is that I much prefer DIY guides and blogs that are about people without a ton of money making something really creative and fun, or that's meant to look store bought and luxurious for a fraction of the price. But this book really came across as people who have a ton of money and time trying to get in on the DIY "movement" because it's hip.

Overall, if these were all things I'd found on Pinterest for free, I might have been intrigued by a few, and rolled my eyes at a couple but general not cared. But $14 for the ebook version and $19 for the hardcover? If you're looking for a DIY book or to get into crafting, then you absolutely can do better with your money. In fact, just go to Pinterest, you'll find about twenty great free blogs with much better instructions and more fun projects.

I received a free preview copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.