Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Book Review: Amanda Bell

Amanda Bell
By: Jeff Minick
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Fiction; Adult Fiction; Modern-day Fairytale; Catholic Faith
Number of Pages: 349


    "I get the job done." This is Amanda Bell's credo, the bedrock principle she ruthlessly embraces as a supervisor at Saxon & Henle, an Atlanta Law and accounting firm. Ambitious, tough, and disciplined, Amanda demands the impossible from herself and her subordinates. Despite their hostility--their kindest nickname for her is "The Immaculate Perfection"--her success in the corporate world seems assured.

But is it?

What happens when carefully-laid plans unexpectedly explode? What happens when a storm demolishes cherished dreams, when dreams themselves are blown to dust? What becomes of the heart when it hides behind the walls of an interior castle, locking out friendship, affection, and love?

Twenty-seven-year-old Amanda Bell is about to find out.

In this modern fairy tale, a woman devastated by crushed hopes and a vicious assault finds herself on a strange new path, searching for release from her self-imprisonment. On her journey Amanda encounters characters usually associated with the Brothers Grimm: a wicked witch of a homemaker, a best friend witty and sharp as an elf, a wise old priest with a bag of wizard's tricks, an architect in the dented armor of a knight-errant, a ghost offering solace and light, and four motherless children. Amanda's life will never again be the same.

(Taken from Goodreads, and it is what's on the back of the book.)

Star Rating:

     4.75 stars (I really liked this!)

Content Rating:

     PG-13 (recommended to 18&up for adult content)

My Opinions:
     (Before I even go into the "I loved this" and "I liked that" let me note that this novel does contain some adult content, and thus I would not recommend it to teens. Keep that in mind as you read this review.)

     What I liked/loved - I wasn't sure what to expect when I began reading this book. Mr. Minick is an old school teacher of mine and I was glad to support his first self-published work.

When I finished this, I must say I was so happily surprised.

This is a bit different from what I typically read, and I don't usually pick up adult novels regularly, except for Ted Dekker's stuff. Also, Mr. Minick is Catholic and incorporates this faith into the book, but it was not offensive at all and we actually see this religion from Amanda's point of view-- who doesn't practice a particular belief. We read her questions, doubts, and disbelief; we see the things she doesn't agree with, and that helped me to accept the differing religious views of this book.

The characters in this story were wonderful, realistic, and so very well written! I fell in love with them; Mr. Minick has done an impeccable job of fleshing out his characters. I don't know how he did it. *applause*

Why read this book? Because it's one of the best modern-day fairytales I've heard of/read/watched, without all the cheesy-ness. Seriously, I was a bit surprised how this book tied in the word fairytale since it is obviously a modern-day book. This book also takes the risk of exploring real love, not the stuff of Hollywood.

     What I didn't like/hated - There was a fair amount of language in this book, something I wish had not been there, but it doesn't stop me from having enjoyed it so much. Otherwise, nothing that I just didn't like.

There was one or two characters who really got on my nerves, I wanted to slap them. Hard. But they were supposed to be characters who weren't very nice, so this isn't a downfall to the book. Mr. Minick just did a good job at making them rub me the wrong way. A really good job.

The Quality (of Writing):
     By the second half of this book I was falling in love. Though this story is not perfect, its strong points redeem any and all of its low points. For his first published work, Mr. Minick has reserved a spot on my bookshelf and I will be on the lookout for more by him.

This book began a little rough, there were so many descriptions that I felt like it was way too much, but after about 50-100 pages in, the flow slowly started to change pace and improved greatly. I realize the book started out viewing things the way our main girl, Amanda, did. Thus, there was a reason it was written that way. So I would let it slide because the book did start out well-- there was just a thing or two I didn't care for.

The first third to half of the book was a bit intense, but after that things settled down, though stayed interesting. Somehow Mr. Minick has written about everyday life in a way that was entertaining and thought-provoking, kept me wanting to read more, and made me feel happy.

What a unique blend of intensity, romance, suspense, and reality.

Now the last thing I will mention is how well this was edited, I would shake hands with Mr. Minick if I could and tell him: Well done! Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to catch those little mistakes... For not being one of those self-published authors!

But something that did get me was that a dozen or more times I found apostrophes or closing quotation marks that were backwards/the incorrect ones. I know this is silly to complain about, and I can probably explain how it happened (though I won't bore you). However, I still caught it. Every. Single. Time. There may have been a word missing in one of the sentences too, but I can't remember exactly and sometimes I read stuff wrong. Overall, this book definitely shines some positive light on unprofessionally edited novels.

     My final words, read this book! Even if you aren't Catholic, I would highly recommend this to adults (because of the content). Seriously, give it a try. There are some really refreshing thoughts, discussions, and chapters in this book that can get you thinking while giving you an escape. It's a magnificent blend of modern-day and fairytale, it connected these two words together beautifully... Just try it and support a new author.

Content (For Those Who Wonder):
     Language - There was quite a bit of language. Half a dozen "b" words, a couple "d" words, and a few other degrading names for females. The Lord's name was mis-used twice, which really seemed unnecessary to me and bothered me. An offensive slang term, and mention twice of someone "cursing". "Go to h*ll" once, and someone is called a "witch" a few times.

     Sensuality - Yes, there is quite a list of things that could go here, though nothing descriptive really. There is some kissing, maybe a little passionate but it's not too titillating. One character is r*ped, this scene was not too descriptive, but we were there with the character right up until the act nearly (r*pe itself is something that deeply touches and offends me, so that did affect my opinion of the book for a little while and was hard to get over). I feel this was a necessary part of the book though. The character the suffers from a couple nightmares after that, where at least one is of her boss atop her n*ked-- nothing else said besides that.

A character meets someone who had a one-night-stand, but nothing is said past that, though that character advises them not to tell his wife about it. Mention of a town having homos*xuals, and a woman who "seemed angry about having a v*gina." The word "breast" though not used sensually, appeared in the book a handful of times-- I just wished he would use a different word and not have mentioned her bathing or putting lotion on (again, it's not sensual).

Now, after all that I must bring up one more thing. The word s*x is not absent from this book. A character is r*ped, she asks/talks about the church's perspective on s*x, and we also have characters who are spreading around gossip that two characters might be sleeping together (simply because they're under the same roof). Two characters are tempted to be together, but they don't, despite what they want.

     Violence - A character is beaten up pretty badly by two other men before she is r*ped. A woman was supposedly murdered accidentally, but no description, the murderer jumped off a bridge and was killed by an oncoming vehicle.

    Other -  Though there are no dealings with drugs, it is mentioned that a neighborhood's alleys are "home to drug dealers and prostitutes." There is mention of people getting drunk, but no situations with them. There is quite a bit of alcoholic beverages consumed throughout this book, mainly a glass of wine or occasionally a beer-- again it was not offensive and did not involve bars or pubs.

     So, as always, I let you know what was in the book and you decide what to do with it. I hope this helps! Despite some of this "iffy", though realistic, content-- I recommend this book for adults!

Check out this book on:  Amazon or Barnes&Noble!!
You can also get the Kindle Version from Amazon!

Are you considering reading this book? Any related books?
I'd love to hear from you!

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. I purchased this book myself. This review was not paid for or endorsed by anyone.

No comments:

Post a Comment