My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I encountered Ms. Mabie when she was first starting out as a book reviews blogger. Her stellar writing and spot-on assessment of various fiction captivated me, and I have followed her religiously ever since.
I’m thrilled that she has taken pen in hand to write a novel. I do think the two writing roles are completely different. As a blogger, you hold the power and sway with your words. As a writer, introducing work–that will be seen, admired, distilled, and dissected by the public–well, there’s a big difference in what we allow through.
Given all of this, I will borrow from Ms. Mabie’s playbook and rate her novel according to her 55¢ system because it makes my life a whole lot easier and I think it’s fair. Amazon should be using this system. It actually applies thinking about all the different parts that comprise a novel. Love that!
Scoring equates to possible points by a fifty-five cents rating. Perfect = 55¢ Scoring of book was utilized from Fifty5Cents book reviews. blog.http://fifty5centsbookblog.wordpress….
Here is my honest review of Fade In by M. Mabie.
8¢ I combined this. I don’t know why. Just go with it.
Main Characters: 1-5¢
The opening scene of this novel will capture you. It’s funny. We glimpse Tatum Elliot at her fiery best at her doctor’s visit being told she needs to change up her lifestyle and prepare for the future in which she will go blind. An indelible fact. One that Tatum seems determined to battle and basically ignore. Mabie does an excellent job of showing the heroine’s flaws and weaknesses, and I think most readers at this point will sympathize. Then, Mabie goes further by introducing a little humor, which is present throughout when Tatum shows the world her panties, and some guy whom Tatum mistakes as a potential assailant tries to help her out. Too funny. I loved it. Every time I think of that scene it brings a smile to my face.
Readers are introduced to Ben Harris in Chapter Nine. In my opinion, this is a little too late. Frankly, I would like to have seen a little more of Ben and less of Kurt, the former boyfriend. Ben remained a bit of a mystery throughout the novel. That is the one point I would make as a fellow writer, flesh this guy out a bit more. Dual POVs would have been interesting for this storyline. Ben’s bent on helping (or is that forcing?) Tatum to cope with the gradual onset of her blindness. Ben is sexy. He seems younger than Tatum by a lot, and I’m not sure why. Readers don’t have enough to go on to answer the questions around Ben because he remains mysterious on many levels throughout the story. At times, I felt a bit anxious as a reader—anxious for Tatum—sensing her vulnerabilities around this guy.
Winnie is Tatum’s best friend, and she was a great supporting character. There’s a whole different aspect to their relationship because Winnie is semi-famous and yet these two get along so well and the bestie is a great support to Tatum. Winnie is about to marry Cooper, Tatum’s brother, and he also has his sister’s best interests at heart. There does seem to be a lot of subtext here. I think the secondary characters are supportive of Tatum but worry about her at the same time. Mabie does a good job with the dialog, and that comes through in these scenes with the secondary characters.
The setting for this novel mostly takes place in New York City, and readers get a glimpse of life in the fast lane when producing a television show. Late in the novel, there’s a change of scenes from one side of the country to be other. In doing this, readers get pulled out of the storyline developing between hero and heroine and the writing turns from showing to telling. It is hard to manage multiple scene settings, and when there are too many, it does distract the reader instead of adding to the story. Not fatal, but not helpful.
Mabie writes with an intrinsic flare for humor. Our heroine has a potty mouth and a delightful sense of humor and that really comes through on every page. She’s going blind. Readers are sympathetic but also get lulled into Tatum’s false sense of ignoring this fact, which garners even more sympathy. She can laugh at herself, and she gets in some precarious situations where she gets injured by not being able to see peripherally and readers will feel for her. Mabie handles most of this with humor. It makes for an entertaining read. I write dark angsty love stuff so it was intriguing to me to see how Mabie handled this aspect. The same storyline by me would have been handled way differently. Mabie’s take is refreshing and I enjoyed it very much.
Attention/Retention : 1-5¢
There are a few places I would have cut out to keep the storyline mainly focused on Tatum and Ben. Just a little back story about Kurt may have sufficed instead of doing entire scenes with him revisiting the break-up for a few chapters. Not necessary. We get where Tatum is. She’s closed off. She’s in denial about her life changing because of her condition. She’s pissed off. The whole Kurt thing was an unnecessary side show that didn’t add to the plot. In addition, the trip across the country needed to have some sort of resolution to it, it didn’t, which then invariably distracts the reader for no apparent reason. Instead, we come away distrusting Ben realizing he has a secret of some kind.
The vocabulary for this novel is fine. It’s not lyrical. It’s not literary. It’s an entertaining read with just the right amount of seasoning in humor that makes it delightful. Typographical errors hurt this novel in my edition. I marked them all and supplied them to Ms. Mabie and told her to fix them. I trust she has.
Here’s where Ms. Mabie and I don’t see eye-to-eye on sex scenes. I see this often enough in the New Adult and Contemporary Romance books that I read. Some writers step onto this path and take up the clit language which I absolutely hate. Everyone has read “Fifty Shades of Grey” and some writers take up the vocabulary from that novel and invariably miss the whole point of writing a really good sex scene. Also, writers! Listen up! There does not have to be FIVE plus sex scenes in your novel. And yet, this is the recipe I keep seeing over and over: ¾ of the book is this sexual tease between the two main characters and then the last ¼ of the book is sex, sex, sex, sex. Hate that! It’s boring after the second sex scene and your readers are skipping that. Trust me. Don’t do that. And be considerate of your word choice for anatomical objects. Is this erotica or a romance? Pick one. Don’t depart ¾ of the way through the book and write erotic trope like everyone else if it is indeed a romance. Okay? Good.
Pricing of a novel is so subjective. I hate it. I play with the pricing of mine all the time. You’ll love this book, and you would pay more for it. I bought this novel for $2.99 but would have paid more. It’s a great read.
And at last, we hear from Ben, which proves my whole point about doing a novel that includes more of his point of view. Whine over.
43¢/55¢ – Four stars
All you need to know is this is a great read. It will entertain you. You will be like me; you’ll walk away remembering the opening scene and think I just “love” that girl.
Huge congratulations to Ms. Mabie on a wonderful debut novel. Nicely done!
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