The Trouble with Gumballs by James Nelson

Far from writing a long screed listing the reasons The Trouble with Gumballs should neither by bought nor read, I will instead write the following:

The Trouble with Gumballs should have been a 2,000-5,000 word magazine article.

It is good for nothing more and the book comes with all the problems attendant with being used for more than a magazine article.

That is all.

This book was received, free of charge, from the Goodreads First Reads program.

 

The Reverie by Jason Shprintz

The Reverie is written well enough and it uses an interesting narrative tool.

Neither of those qualities is near enough to save it from a boring, long-winded plot and pointless scenes. Really, it could have been a novella and not lost anything.

This book was received, free of charge, from the Goodreads First Reads program.

Dangerous Heterosexuals by Paul Leeper

The only good quality about Dangerous Heterosexuals is the cover. The rest of it is worth throwing away. Pages upon pages upon pages of entirely pointless dialogue. Boring writing. No even casual copyediting was done before the book went to print.

According to the information in the book provided by the author, one of Leeper’s plays was nominated for an Edgar award and he has had many readings in big towns of his other plays.

Maybe that’s why he thought it was acceptable to include so much pointless dialogue. It’s not. If it were read as a skit or a one-act play, it still wouldn’t work.

Plus, the double spaces after the period (which look more like full indentations, and I think are at least quadruple spaces) and the horrible simple sentences. So many! So annoying!

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Empire of Sin: A story of sex, jazz, murder and the battle for modern New Orleans by Gary Krist

Gary Krist’s Empire of Sin imagines itself to be far greater than it is and focuses on seemingly key players in a ploy to garner the reader’s attention at the price of a more complete history.

Empire of Sin is a quick read that focuses its gaze at the police in New Orleans and those who ran the brothels, especially Tom Anderson.

While the scope, set out in the book’s title, is grand, it falls far short of any of its stated goals, focusing on prostitution and the temperance movements while mentioning, but not truly delving into, the racial segregation that appears, from his book, to be the most powerful force that shaped in New Orleans has become.

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Bettyville by George Hodgman

Despite the praise, Bettyville by George Hodgman is not particularly illuminating, it does not have a gratifying end and it is mostly a compendium of the same thoughts and scenes, slightly tweaked, repeated ad nauseum.

While Bettyville certainly had the potential to be poignant and illuminating, “gorgeous” as one author describes it on the back blurb, it squanders all of this potential by relentlessly repeating the same pointless scenes. Once is fine, five times is inane.

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