My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Gage was just a small town boy who never did anything wrong. Until he did. He took being bullied into his own hands and played a prank which got him into some trouble. Probation and a summer of hard work to pay off the courts gave him something other than retribution. It gave him a body the girls in his school started to look at and notice. He went from geek to bad boy in three short months as the stories started to fly on Facebook. His friend request doubled and tripled, but as his popularity soared so did his crush on the most popular girl to walk the halls of his high school, Bliss McCarthy. After a night at a Halloween party, a post on Facebook, and his probation on the line, Gage must prove his innocence to clear his name…but will it be too late?
I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review….my honest opinion, so here goes.
Gage really falls flat for me. The author bills this as her version of a love story and for her it may be but it didn’t feel like a love story to me, it felt like simple teenage infatuation.
The main character, Gage, is an interesting young man and really quite likable. He’s been a geek for quite some time who has been picked on, bullied, and ignored for years but thanks to some hard labor doing landscaping work over the summer he’s grown into quite the hunk and finally caught the eye of the girl of his dreams, Bliss. Gage is really the only fairly well developed character within this story. I understood his motivations and his emotions…I understood how his feelings for Bliss developed.
However, Bliss never came across to me as someone in love in this love story. Gage’s character had back story for his feelings; Bliss on the other hand has nothing but physical attraction now that Gage looks like a Calvin Klein underwear model.
I did see guilt for what she had done to their relationship but never any emotion or feeling that led me to think she actually loved him. In my opinion the lack of development with this one character in particular is the key component missing from the “love story”; I just didn’t find her believable. Horny yes, in love….no.
The author also kind of misleads the reader as to what type of story this is going to be from the beginning, here’s how. The cover shows a hot guy, often the type of guy shown on more erotic stories. She even places a disclaimer right up front before the story begins that warns the reader that this story contains sexually explicit scenes recommended for readers 18+.
Naturally a reader sees this and thinks this is going to be really steamy…it’s not. The disclaimer is completely unnecessary, there’s nothing “explicit” at all. Perhaps this author felt it was risque for her style of writing but it’s really quite tame. There’s nothing more there than the same type of sexual tension that was displayed in the Twilight series, or in Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles. Those are both series aimed at the Y/A audience (Young Adult).
So, while I will say there is a couple of scenes that are sexual in nature, they are far from steamy or explicit the author stopped just short of that; as a parent myself I wouldn’t worry at all about someone under 18 reading it. Would I have my twelve year old read it? No, but someone in high school will have no issue with this and I imagine they might actually really enjoy this story.
In fact, I felt as I read it…that’s really who the target audience is for this story. I am probably too old to really appreciate this as the author intended. Now, you can see by my rating of two stars that I’m not saying this is a bad story; I didn’t hate it and give it just one star. I just didn’t “feel it”. In my view the author has a great premise for a story but it’s just not yet fully developed.
My last comment which is simply a preference of mine is regarding the length of this story, it’s really really short. Some people may view that as a plus, so take that as you will, but when it comes to books I read I want something more substantial. I’ve found myself getting really frustrated with self-published authors putting out tiny stories and calling a collection of them a series.
Seriously, take some time, compile your “series” and give your readers something to really sink their literal teeth into. I often see these “series” and notice that what is weak on it’s own as an individual short story would often be improved by compiling all the books in the series to one completed book. Doing this would also often show the author where problems that need to be address in the story exist. This leads me to the following….
Warning, small rant coming…..
I view this “book” as a great example of what is happening all too often in the self publishing world today. Too many authors (notice I’m not saying all) aren’t taking their time to get a really good product out. They seem to get excited once they finish their creation and rush to get it to the public. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the excitement but you can tell when an author has rushed to publish. Their finished product is unpolished and full of spelling and formatting errors.
This is the case with Gage, it feels incomplete because it is incomplete. The plot and characters are underdeveloped and while I believe this book did go through an editor there are still tons of spelling and formatting issues; at least that was the case in the copy I received for review.
So to any self-published authors out there. STOP! Take your time getting your book out. Remember this is YOUR baby; YOU are acting as the publisher, the quality of your published work reflects on YOU. Don’t rush to print something and release it to the public just because you have finished writing the story. Writing the story is simply the first step in the publication process; there’s so much more to putting out a quality publication and that takes some time.
Find yourself a good editor, they’re worth it! Get an additional set (or several sets) of impartial eyes to look over everything one last time before you go to print. I suggest using people who will be really honest with you as well, not someone in your family, not close friends….real Beta readers who will be impartial and brutally honest. They are an invaluable resource that will help to catch problems you easily look right past (this includes your proof.) Your publication will be that much better for it and you will find you will be much happier with it too.
Okay….rant over; back to our originally scheduled programming.
So Gage wasn’t really my particular cup of tea, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pick up a Kindle copy for yourself and make up your own mind about it. If you’re looking for a really quick read while hanging out by the pool this summer go for it, you definitely have nothing to lose by downloading through Kindle Unlimited! Check it out, see what you think of it for yourself and tell me what you think as well. Do you agree with me, or did you love it and think I’m completely bonkers?
Oh and if you do download it don’t forget to leave a review for the author. Reviews are remarkably hard to come by and they do make a huge difference.
To close this particular review I have a question for you.
Do you like really short stories like Gage, or are you like me and prefer to have the collection of the short stories in a series compiled into one complete book? Let me know your thoughts.