As a supporter of Wannabe artists, I try to read lots of indie books and review the ones that I liked. FUR BALL FEVER by Maureen Fisher was one of them. Indie books run the gamut from truly awful, unpublishable stuff (which I won’t review) to really quite good. When I’m reading an indie book, sometimes I can’t help but compare it to published books. Sometimes, the indie books are just better.
While I was reading FUR BALL FEVER on my Kindle, I was also listening to a traditionally published book (which shall remain nameless) on CD on my commutes to work. FUR BALL FEVER’s tagline is “A Romantic Crime Mystery with Tons of Humor”, which it was. The traditionally published book described itself as “wickedly funny”, which it most certainly was NOT.
FUR BALL FEVER reminded me somewhat of a “cozy” murder mystery. A book that was light and funny and something that my mom might read. That being said – MOM, PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. There were parts of this book that were, shall we say ‘romantic’. Not quite erotica, but close. That’s fine by me, but it’s not for everyone. The mystery they are working to solve is technically a missing dog, but there are murders and other such intrigue involved. Part of the story involves infiltrating a kinky sex club (told you, mom).
I really enjoyed this novel because it involved a good romance story that was part of the overall action. It was actually a sweet romance story and I liked the two main characters – Grace Donnelly and Nick Jackson. One of the things I really hate about many romance stories is that often the main characters are so annoying that you really don’t care if they end up together. The trouble with romances is that there has to be a reason to keep the lovers apart for a good part of the story or you have no story. My least favorite method is to make the lovers both headstrong, feisty, stubborn or whatever you want to call it. They are just too stubborn to admit their feelings for each other. The traditional book I listened to chose this method and I hated it. The characters were SO irritating and the book was full of supposedly funny, sexy banter but to me it just came across like bad sitcom dialogue. Both the man and the woman came off as so cocky and grating that I couldn’t stand it.
In FUR BALL FEVER, the issue that kept the couple apart was that Grace could be too reckless and Nick worried too much about her to handle it. Grace was reckless, but it was often in an effort to help other people so she came across as quite likable. Nick’s problem was that he was worried about her, and that made him likable as well.
In addition to the main characters, there was the delightful character of Aunt Beth who was an oddball stoner. In reading this book, I felt like I was reading something new. I didn’t feel like I had seen these characters a million times before.
One flaw I noticed in this book was one that I am quite guilty of myself. Some scenes went on way too long and I found myself skimming some parts. Sometimes you love your characters so much that you go on too long and you need an editor to tell you when to scale back. The average length for an adult novel is about 80,000 – 100,000 words. My second novel, my favorite, clocked in at 117,000 words. WOW. Right now, I’ve got it down to 101,000, but I plan on cutting it down before I publish in July 2014. Sometimes it’s tough to cut your work down, but it’s vital to keep the story running at a good pace.
Overall, I enjoyed this story very much and highly recommend it for a fun, entertaining read.
– Linda Fausnet
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