Saturday, March 19, 2016

Book Review: Windwood Farm by Rebecca Patrick-Howard

You know, I really wanted to like this book. It sounded incredibly interesting. A young woman who paints recreations of old houses finds her camera picks up paranormal phenomena. In a way, it was exactly what I expected: she investigates the paranormal and solves a very old mystery connected to it at the same time.

However, the book really let me down in several ways.

First off, let's talk about editing. Self-published people-and I'm including myself since I've started posting some stories on Wattpad-FOR THE LOVE OF GOD EDIT YOUR DAMN BOOKS. The narrative gets so repetitive at times, and the sequence of events (which shows Taryn reflecting on an event, then showing the event, which repeats what she already thought about the event) is tedious and confusing. Switching viewpoints is not a bad thing, but the author does it only once or twice with one character, as though she realized she wasn't setting up two characters relationship enough to make it plausible and so switched to his point of view. (The only proof we have of this character's feelings for Taryn is that he is sexually attracted to her.)

Speaking of characters, I liked that Taryn was depicted as someone who was passionate about her work, but at times it sounded less like the character and more like the author going on a ramble about whales the preservation of historical sites.

Taryn also spent a lot of time mourning the loss of an old lover, yet we hear so little about their relationship except that it was "perfect" that I had no emotional connection to it at all.

On a similar note, if you are going to have your character complain about barely having money to fix her car, don't have her constantly buying Starbucks and then go and buy over a hundred dollars' worth of psychic stuff that doesn't actually do much at all for the plot except show her more spooky things. I know what it's like to have a car like that, and there's no way I would have bought a bunch of stuff because I was simply curious about something.

Now let's talk about horror. This is supposed to be a scary story, and I thought it would be. But then...that kind of fizzled out. Taryn senses something dark and malicious in the house...which is then totally ignored because there's a murderous old lady, and that's way scarier, amirite? The plot becomes convoluted, the backstory gives us tantalizing hints that go nowhere, and the resolution comes about only because the main character behaves very stupidly. Poor Taryn also drinks Pine-Sol because she thinks it's just bad tasting tea, and she does this several times, and at that point I gave up on the character and the narrative.

The book had a great concept and some great ideas, but they simply weren't executed properly.

Bonus Review: I read a chapter of Half-Made Girls, and gave up because I genuinely hoped the main character would die as quickly as possible.

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