My Book Rating System

My book rating system is based on 5 stars. The book must be rated at least 3 stars for a review.

3 Stars: Good story, good plot, good writing.

4 Stars: I was wowed, but something about the story fell short of perfection.

5 Stars: I was either drooling, on the edge of my seat, or falling in love.

If you would like me to review your book, please contact me at

Monday, January 16, 2012

Book Review: Life Blood, by Thomas Hoover

Life Blood
Thomas Hoover

Morgan Smyth James is a 38 year-old movie-maker who wants one thing: a baby. The problem is, she's invested years, time and money into the baby-making process, yet the cries she hears in the nursery are only in her dreams. So she sets off to make a movie about adoption, whereby she falls into a spiraling whirlpool of deceipt, betrayal, and conspriacy involving smarmy doctors and foreign military thugs.

I liked the charachter, Morgan, and though he doesn't play a largely active role in the book, I liked her boyfriend, Steve. The characters have depth, a down-to-earth real relationship, fraught with conflict and happiness.

But for me the book was long. Too long. The author could have cut a 1/3 from this book and had a smoother, better-paced read. Much of the first 1/4 of the book is filled with back-story and info dumps (this is where I would have taken out my axe and started chopping). Nothing slows down a story more than info dumps. To be honest, I just wasn't interested. I didn't care. The author even prefaced some of these info dumps by stating it was coming..."A little history here..." Beep, beep, beep! Take cover, the garbage truck is a'coming and it's unloading.

Also, and this may just have been to show off the author's technical prowess, but pages of movie-lingo was thrown about, complete with staff members' jobs and names...which would have been great if they had any bearing on the story. Most of them didn't. It just kept me flipping back pages to figure out who was being referenced. Most of these people disappeared before the mid-way point, so really, what was the point? None.

Even when the author hit stride and the story moved along at a rabbit's pace, little birdies would come along and peck at us, dropping little backstory tidbits that weren't necessary and interrupted pacing. And the constant internal questioning by Morgan had me hearing voices in my head. I wanted her to shut up and let me think for a minute. I can think for myself. I can ask questions while I'm reading. Don't feed them to me and please don't tell me what to think. I'd rather think something and be wrong. Red herrings, people, are what makes stories go round.

Speaking of surprises, this story was a little weak in that regard. 2 things struck me as being very transparent. The first was a betrayal. There was NO SURPISE regarding this betrayal. The author peppered the betrayal with broad hints. He may as well have just told us outright. This story would have been better served if the betrayal came as a complete and utter surprise. A face-palm to the forehead, I-never-saw-that-coming kind of surprise. I *want*, *long*, *wish* to be blindsided when reading. I would have loved that. Instead, I was more like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. No surprise there."

Second, I'd solved the whole medical mystery before the mid-way point. It was fairly transparent, so I wasn't nearly as surprised at the end as Morgan was. I guess when you're living the reality, things just aren't as in-your-face as they are to the reader. I guess when writing you should keep that in mind. I guess most readers are not so easily fooled.

Overall, the book wasn't a bad read, but it wasn't a great read either.

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