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Buy: Sloane Wolf by Margay; Nora's Soul by Margay; Pandora's Box by Gracen; Hell's Phoenix by Gracen

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Starlight Saturday

Weekly Book Review
Margay's Book

When I first started reviewing books, I had a limiting factor to my reviews that I didn't quite understand - personal bias. I noticed that some of my ratings were weighted differently because of a personal bias.

Sure, everyone has personal biases - what we like, what we don't like - but these shouldn't come into play when "judging" or "rating" an author's book.


Just because one reader likes or doesn't like something about storyline, doesn't mean that all other readers will react to the same book in the same way. For example, in my review last year of Jay Asher's book, part of my personal experience (or personal bias) came in to play with this book and made it very hard to relate to the main female character, much less like her. This book wasn't bad writing nor was it a poor quality story. It's just that my own personal personal bias about the subject matter made it difficult for me to really believe the main character. Some people liked it and took it for what it was, and others, like me, found themselves wondering what he was doing and how did he figure that could work.

What does all this have to do with Nora's Soul?

Well, my personal bias has to do with god and religion. I find it annoying when what looks to be a decent battle between good and evil turns out to be more of a issue of "lost faith".

I'm not religious, nor have I ever pretended to be, and that's just it, these are my tastes and not the tastes of either the hero, heroine or the secondary characters, which makes it a personal bias of mine.

What's the point of all of this?

I bring this up because I don't like to let my personal biases cloud my reviews of books I read and I strongly encourage other reviewers not to let their personal biases cloud yours. Some reviewers don't, but

The more books I review, the better I am at identifying my personal biases and keeping them from clouding my reviews. However, there are times when I do bring up my personal biases because they are so strongly embedded in my nature that I can't avoid them. Even though I may not have been able to avoid my dislike of tying religion and god to good and evil, I haven't let it skew my review of this book. If I did, it would have less stars.

Despite the fact that god (again, I realize that others may not feel the same as I do, and I can respect that, so please respect that this is a personal feeling of mine, thank you) has a minor presence in this book, Margay has managed to create some wonderfully deep and complex characters that I have come to care about and want to read more of, despite my aversion to the religious tie. Nora, Kyle, Kyle's sister and Nora's best friend, Dante (Bad Angel) and Peter (Good Angel) combine to offer a page-turner with very interesting plot with some distracting (in a good way) plot twists.

I would definitely call this book inspirational because it does offer some very important messages - everyone that wants to can be saved because everyone is worth it and that everyone has a match, it just may not be who you first thought it might be. These are very important messages because they might be able to offer someone renewed hope for some aspect of their life, which is a definite bonus to any book.

This brings me to the main reason for the storyline, Nora herself. Nora was a very firm believer in god and loved all things angelic, until her brother died. Then, she went the opposite and couldn't bear to have any of it around. That's how we find Nora in the beginning of this book. She's struggling with the fact that she doesn't believe what she just saw, an angel. It's not that she truly believes that they don't exist, she's just been trying to convince herself that they don't since her brother died, which makes this storyline one along the lines of crisis of faith.

Now, for this book having a "crisis of faith" undertone, it wasn't as predominant in the book as it could have been. There is no "preaching" done from the author to the reader, only from Peter to Dante and, at the end, Peter to Nora. It was this aspect that allowed me to prevent my personal bias from clouding my review of this book.

This book had plenty of mystery to keep me flipping pages. There were always the questions of when Peter and Dante were next going to appear, and what kind of chaos Dante would create. As a reader, I was always curious to see how Nora would handle that chaos. Plus, it was interesting to follow Nora on her journey to find love and her way. This is a romance book, so it does have an HEA (happily ever after), but is it the one you want? If not, then you know that Margay has made you care about the characters she has created. That's what happened to me.

At the end of the book, I found myself saying, "What? That's it? What about Dante? Why didn't he do more in the book?" At first I thought this was a knock on the book and I quickly slapped my hand against my head in a "duh" moment.

What is that "duh" moment?

Margay did it, she got me to like her characters so much that I wanted more of them! That's not a knock against a book. If anything, it's a testament to how well created her characters are!

Which brings me to my rating of this book. As this is an inspirational romance, there isn't the heat that you'd find in other romance novels, nor the detail for those scenes either. While there's enough mystery created to make this a page turner, it's not the crux of the story either. What I'm getting at here is that many of my reviews usually include a scale gauging these different elements. Today, I'm just giving my overall review for this book:

Overall Overall Overall Overall Overall

Well done Margay! Can't wait to read Dante's story! Can I get an ARC of that??? Lol!

[Please check out my review of Nora's Soul on Moonlight, Lace and Mayhem's group page at Goodreads!]

1 Moonbeams (comments):

Margay Leah Justice said...

Wow, Carrie, I'm blushing! What a great, balanced review. thank you for your honesty about your perceptions and feelings about the book - that is more important to me than any kind of ego stroking.