Monday, August 31, 2015

Book Review: To Be Continued

Release Date: June 25, 2015
Author: Prex J.D.V. Ybasco
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Length: 298 pages

Not all stories end happily nor tragically. Most of them just need to be continued.

Azalea Anthony is a writer, or what she claims to be. Vim Harvey is her friend, or at least what she wants to believe. Jasmine Morrish is Azalea's archenemy, or so what Jash believes Azalea makes people believe...er--

There are other characters, too: like Warren, the basketball player, Beatrix, the model, Tom, the perfect excuse of a brother, Eclaire, the eccentric bff, etc.

They all hangout in one place where they can enjoy a steaming cup of debates, an aroma of gossips, a side dish of basketball, a topping of drama, and a menu of articles : The Big Coffee Shop.



Protagonist: I tried to write this section multiple times and while I know Azalea's motivations in this book, and who she is a lot of it is way too simplistic and cliche. I never really got a good view of who Azalea is other than the cliche protagonist of a contemporary book who wants to be recognized for her achievements. She like many, if not all, of the characters in this book, is extremely two dimensional without enough substance for me to even comprehend how to start her characterization. She showed a lot of promise if only the author delved more into who she is, at the beginning of the book we get a long rambling paragraph trying to describe who she is, but it was worthless facts that just hovered around her characterization rather then diving deep. She likes to be called Euiea, even though that's never explained, and she can be childish, vapid, and pretentious which was extremely off-putting.

Romance: Was there romance in this book? I mean I know there was supposed to be, but every time I felt like there was a hint at the romance, the narration would just pull attention away from it, making me think many times that I misconstrued something that I really didn't. Most of the blame could probably be blamed on the writing, which I'll get to in a second, but even then I felt there needed to be more tension and chemistry between Azalea and her love interest, because if it wasn't for the end and some random off hand comments that were usually swept under the rug I would have left this part out entirely.

Writing: Oh my God! The writing in this book was awful. I'm sorry, this part may sound harsh, but this book lacked talented writing and finesse. I'm not sure if the copy of the book that I received from the author was a rough draft, but it certainly felt that way. I couldn't help but think that the author just pounded out the book and never even bothered to look it over or send it to an editor. The writing is clunky, confusing, at times contradictory, and near painful to read. Sometimes the book even felt like it was written by two different people, sometimes things would be needlessly lengthened, but other times the author would toss in poorly used slang and would abbreviate others which just felt pointless. This book needed to go through some sort of editing process, because it's books like these that give indie and self-published books a bad name.

World-Building: Where the heck does this book take place. I know it takes place in "Centerville," but Centerville where? I ask this because the "University" that these kids go to is like none I've ever heard of. They have bells to signal the end of the school day, they have periods, and when a student gets in trouble with a teacher, who by the way was being a total prick, has to have her parents come down and talk to the teacher before she can come back to class, also can you get suspended from college or university? I know you can be kicked out and get put on academic probation but I've never heard of anyone ever getting suspended from classes. It felt more like a high school than anything and it made me wonder why in the world it wasn't just set in a high school setting. Another thing is the names these characters have, the names themselves are fine, but every character seems to have three or more names their friends call them, their first name, last name, and one or more nicknames. It'd be fine if their friends chose one or two but they usually fluctuate between all of them which got horribly confusing at times. Finally can we talk about the lack of creativity in the names of some of the side characters and places in this book? Such as Mr. History (yes, as far as I could tell that's his real name) who teaches, what else, history. Or the fact that the only towns and cities we hear of are Centerville, Northville, Southville, Eastville, and Westville? There really needed to be more thought put into those names than that.

Predictability: I will say that there were moments that I didn't expect, but they didn't surprise me. I think most of the time that I didn't see something coming it was because the writing was too convoluted for me to really get any sense of what was coming. For the most part though the foreshadowing that I could see was so absurdly obvious, that I never even felt a touch of pride for predicting it and was more upset with the characters for not seeing that coming.

Ending: The ending to this book was really weird because for the most part it wrapped up every little thread left hanging except one that was left in the air. I know the whole theme of this book was that sometimes there's no endings and things are just to be continued, but since I went into this believing it to be a standalone, I wanted there to be something less interesting to be left in the air should that have happened. Now, though I honestly don't know if this is the first book in a series or not, Goodreads doesn't say it's a series but Amazon says that this is book number one, so I'm not quite sure.


Okay, so I usually save one star reviews for if I ever posted a DNF review, but the only reason I didn't DNF this book was because it was short, and I'm too optimistic for my own good and hoped that this book would somehow get better. There's a lot of promise in the plot, but it just really needs an overhaul. If this is the first book in a series, I'm satisfied enough that I feel absolutely no need to continue.


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