So much controversy:
to post or not to post book reviews on Amazon?
by Linda S. Brown
Over the past few months, several authors have asked me to read and review their books. I am honored by those requests. I am touched and flattered that those authors respect my opinion enough to ask me.
But when those authors ask me to post my reviews to Amazon, I cringe. No, Amazon did not single-handedly destroy indie brick-and-mortar bookstores, but it has dealt death blows to many and weakened scores more. And that greatly disturbs me. And I am uncomfortable with the Amazon review system. (For those unfamiliar with the system, Amazon allows anyone to post a review of a book and a rating, based on 1 to 5 stars, 5 being best.) I did some homework and came to the conclusion that this system is flawed on at least two fronts:
DAMAGE CONTROL by Denise Hamilton
Scribner (September 2011)
Review by Linda S. Brown
Author Denise Hamilton has a unique way of “drawing” various parts of Los Angeles: glamorous or gritty, her style is positively melodic. One thing is clear, however, you can’t take the investigator out of the author, a former reporter for the Los Angeles Times. In Maggie Silver, protagonist of this new mystery, DAMAGE CONTROL, there are hints of Hamilton’s popular journalist character, Eve Diamond, from her earlier series. What makes DAMAGE CONTROL unique from Hamilton’s earlier works are the interesting time jumps between 1993 – when Maggie and Anabelle were teenaged best friends – and 2009 (the period Hamilton has set as present day). History, particularly social events and technology, made great leaps during that brief span of time.
The opening scene is poetic in cadence, with an early hint of danger and intrigue. The setting is the summer of 1993, with Maggie as a high school student hanging at a party with some very cool kids in a very cool (if seedy) beach scene. As Maggie and her friend Anabelle approach the scene, they stop under a palm tree “for a lip gloss boost. Above us, something rustled, but when I looked up, it was only dead gray fronds trembling in the breeze. The air smelled of coconut oil, spilled beer, and Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax.” (The wax, by the way, is for surfboards.) “From the party bungalow came hoots and jeers, then the knifing soprano of a girl’s laugh. Black Flag blasted from fuzzy speakers. As the song ended, a wave crashed in perfect time just beyond the dunes.”
THE END OF EVERYTHING by Megan Abbott
Book Review by Linda S. Brown (7/1/11)
Abbott starts her latest novel, THE END OF EVERYTHING, with the freshness of shiny swimsuits on little bodies turning cartwheels in the summer grass, two best friends for ever and ever.
She finishes with the darkness of the aftermath of a young girl’s abduction and events that bring a series of surprising revelations.
The opening scene is luminous and evocative of so many summer evenings: shrill kids’ voices as they play hide-n-seek (or, as they call it, “Bloody Murder”), the “sound of Keds slamming on the asphalt,” fireflies glimmering in the late summer grass… Adolescent girls – Lizzie and Evie, best friends from the beginning – with older siblings to study and imitate, parents to adore or ignore, soccer and scrapes, sleepovers and secrets…