Tuesday, April 24, 2012

When Destiny Knocks: A Review

How I received this book: The author provided it in exchange for an honest review.
Read from: April 21-22
My rating: 1 star
I would describe this novel as: Unedited

As the cover seems to  be unavailable, here is the synopsis instead.

Goodreads Synopsis:

16 year old Karlie has had a pretty normal life... But when her Mom dies she is forced to move over 1,000 miles away to live with her Dad. That's when things start getting weird.

She can't explain the earthquakes that nobody else feels, or why she no longer sleeps. But most of all she doesn't know why she trusts Shane so much, even though his Dad wants her dead.

Suddenly, Karlie's normal life is turned upside down and she enters a world she never dreamed could really exist.(less)

 A Paraphrased blurb:

The story opens with Karlie arriving in Arkansas mere days after the death of her mother. Her relationship with her father seems strained at best. She starts at her new school and instantly has a group of friends who always seem to be there wherever she goes. They tell her to stay away from Shane, that he's not safe. Then they start to tell her that she's special. Chosen. That she has special powers. And then, there's also Alex. What path will she choose?

My Thoughts:

I recently reviewed one of White's other books, My Fairytale Life, and wasn't too pleased with it. You can read that review here .

White sent me When Destiny Knocks before I'd even read or reviewed my Fairytale Life. After reading My Fairytale Life, I was really hesitant to even read When Destiny Knocks because I was afraid of not liking it. But, I pushed that aside because I really wanted to give her another chance. I had hoped that maybe the issues that I had with the previous book would be smoothed out with this book.

Unfortunately, I was wrong.

The main issue with the story is the editing. Or, in my opinion, the lack thereof. There were errors present in my Fairytale Life as well, but I think there were even more errors here. From the first page I found myself editing the book both in my head and making notes within my Kindle application. And I'm not talking a word or two every ten pages, but a word, phrase, or tense change multiple times on some pages. The characters often switched back and forth between tenses in the same sentence! Also, there were multiple characters dialogue in the same paragraph. As far as I know, when a new character starts speaking, a new paragraph should be started. It's not a good sign when you have to edit as you read. A reader wants to get lost in the story, not edit it.

The lack of editing may be  the result of White's fast paced publication schedule.  When Destiny Knocks was published Dec 24, 2011. My Fairytale Life w as published 5 weeks later on January 30 2012. The next book in the Destiny series, When Destiny Strikes was published earlier this month. And the author has yet another book scheduled for publication in June 2012. This  author seems to be too focused on publication and not focused enough on the quality of their work.

 I understand that stories come quickly. And I know that it must be really exciting to say that you published another book. But, just because you want to publish a book doesn't mean that you should let the quality of your work suffer.

The pacing of this novel is fast. Though, I was pleased to see that this time the story takes place over the course of a few months rather than a few weeks, like My Fairytale life. That is one positive that I noted.

The characters, though, are lacking. There's not enough background information for me to become involved with them, or invested in their journey. Especially with Karlie. She's the chosen one. Of course, as a reader, I want to know why? I want to know what makes her so special. I understand that White is trying to keep the suspense up for the readers, but if you don't give us something, we're going to lose interest. The characters all keep telling Karlie that she's special, but that it isn't safe to tell her why or what her powers are. Well why not? Why isn't there more interaction about this between the supporting characters? I think if the supporting characters played a bigger role, the story could  have been shaped and paced a lot better

When we do eventually  find out what Karlie's powers are, there isn't much explanation to them. They're just stated briefly, without detail, and it's on to the next event in the story. I want details! I want to be able to imagine myself inside the story, to be awed at the scope of her importance, and her powers. and I wasn't able to do that here.

There's another love triangle in this story, so those who like them will be happy. This time I was at least happy to see that the love triangle  characters weren't a vampire and a werewolf. This time they were an angel and a demon. That is slightly less cliche.

 I will say that White does a decent job of ending her books on cliffhangers. Sadly, my slight interest in the next book isn't because I want to see what happens to the characters so much as I want to see just how far off track the author will take the story next.

Suffice it to say it's highly likely that I will not be reading any more books by this author.

You never know, you may end up really enjoying this book. I'd recommend this to anyone who likes a quick read, or who likes love triangles.

Have any of you  read this book? If so, what did you think of it?

I would love to hear your thoughts on it.


Tess said...

First of all, I really hope this comment doesn't come off as "attacking" in any way because that is not my intentions and everyone is entitled to their opinion. My opinion just happens to be the complete opposite of yours. I just enjoy book discussions (especially controversial ones) and some questions came up from your review.
I was wondering when did you get the book and what kind of e-reader did you read it off. When I read the book, I didn't experience the same editing problems that you did, and I know she re-edited the book a few weeks ago and that just seemed like a major CON for you in the book that I didn't see.
I also don't think that just because in Twilight there was a love triangle between a vampire and werewolf that automatically makes it cliche for every other author to do that. (I know that was in MFL, but I thought I would throw that in the discussion as well.)
I also didn't get your comment about Karlie's powers not explained. I don't know... I guess I just thought they were, so that part confused me.

just a side note: I think it's great to express your opinion about a book, but I think some parts of your review were more so attacking the author. I would just be careful so you don't get that kind of reputation as a reviewer.

Melissa said...


I don't view your comment, as attacking me, and I want to thank you for not doing so. I appreciate your input. Thank you for recognizing that the review is my opinion. It's just that, nothing more nothing less.

The author sent me the book for review on March 27 2012. I read it on the Kindle for PC application I have installed.

I suppose I should have worded my thoughts about Karlie's powers in a better way. They were mentioned, I just feel that they could have been more thoroughly explored. I wanted more detail in what kinds of powers they were, and how she could use them.

I'm just curious, what parts of my review did you think were attacking the author? I would like to know so that I can be aware, and improve my reviews in the future.

K. Evans said...

I do not think this review is attacking the author in any way whatsoever. It seems like an honest opinion about the book, and the editing issues appear to be backed up by facts (in regards to the editing issues, and now even more backed up by the first comment on this posting). If an author is publishing multiple books a year, and there are editing issues in not just one book, but two, I would say it is safe to assume that said author is not spending enough time in the editing phase, which is, in my opinion, the most important phase of writing a high quality novel/book/etc, etc, etc.

The first comment on this post says, "I know she re-edited the book a few weeks ago." Shouldn't the editing be done before you send your book to reviewers? I tend to agree with Melissa: If I am reading a book, I want to enjoy it, not edit it. Spelling, grammar and tense issues should be thoroughly grasped by an author who hopes to successfully publish several books a year. Is it a personal attack on an author to point out that while they are publishing several books a year, what they are publishing is under-edited? I would think as an author, that would be something I would want pointed out to me, so that I may improve the books that are set to be released soon, before they hit the reader's hands...

And finally, I see that both of the books that Melissa reviewed for this author were based on the author's own request for a review. Did the author expect a sugar-coated five star review if the reviewer did not truly enjoy the book? Part of being an author is taking the bad reviews with the good. Even New York Times Best Sellers get bad reviews. In my personal opinion, if you choose a career path that involves putting something you created in the public eye, then you should prepare yourself for honesty, even if that honesty takes the form of a negative review. That's how the arts work. You win some, You lose some. The smartest artists (authors, musicians, etc.) take those bad reviews and negative feedback, and use it to improve their art form...especially when it is something as non-personal as suggesting that the author spend more time on their editing. To be offended by someone critiquing your technical skills is ridiculous, because that is something that can be improved easily. Have someone else edit it for you! That is what editors are for: a fresh set of eyes to catch the mistakes you missed.

If someone critiques your creative skills, then its on you to determine what to do with those critiques, but be mature about it, and accept the critique for what it is: someone's opinion, which they are entitled to have. And if you don't like it, don't be in a business that involves being critiqued. point blank period.

To sum things up, I think that this is a fair review. One that does not attack the author in any way. If an author would take this personal, try to give the reviewer "that kind of reputation," based on this review, then that author needs to grow up and realize what being an author is really about. And most of all, to Melissa: Good for you for being an honest reviewer and not sugar-coating something because the author gave you a free copy. You gave the author what they asked for: an honest review. And if you can't review a book honestly, then what's the point of reviewing a book at all?

Claire-Louise said...

Is it still a "cliche" if a well known author writes a love triangle, including well-known paranormal beings, or is it just a cliche because it is an indie author?

Just saying....

Brittni guillen said...

I've read all of mrs.whites books and enjoyed them all. I read them on my kindle and didnt have any editing issues. Also I think its very sad that just because of twilight any and all books with a vampire and werewolf will be compared.

K. Evans said...

"I've read all of Mrs. White's books, and enjoyed them all. I read them on my Kindle, and didn't have any editing issues. Also, I think it's very sad that just because of Twilight, any and all books with a vampire and werewolf will be compared. "

No wonder you didn't notice any editing issues...I just had to edit your whole comment.

K. Evans said...

@Claire-Louise, it WOULD be cliche if a well -known author did that...but a well-known author would know better than to do the same story line as a best-selling series...and if they know better, their professional editors and publishers wouldn't allow them to do it...

Just saying...

Melissa said...

@K. Evans: Thank you very much for looking at my review objectively, and recognizing that it is simply my opinion. I also appreciate your thorough explanation of your thoughts on my review. You've helped to clarify some of my own thoughts that may have not come across as clearly as they should have in my initial review.

I wholly agree with you that if you can't be honest in reviewing a book, then there isn't any point to writing reviews.

@Claire-Louise: It would be cliche for any author to write a love triangle with well known paranormal beings, whether they are a well known author or an indie author.

@Brittni: I agree, it is unfortunate that as a result of Twilight's publication and immense popularity that other books will be compared to it, but that can't be helped.

Brittni guillen said...

@k.evans well I was writing a comment not a book to please you. didnt realize I was going to critiqued on grammar for a comment on a blog its not the New York Times.

Tess said...

K. Evans I dont understand why you even left these hateful comments. My intentions were not to attack Melissa, but to have a discussion about a book. I think we are all entitled to our opinion, so it was MY opinion that the review was attacking the author. No one on this post has said it was wrong that Melissa had an honest one star review at all! I think it is great that she shared her opinion! I understand that you were sharing your opinion in your comment, but there was no need to attack me or the other commenters on this post. I dont appreciate the nature of your comments especially from a third party that (it seems like) hasn't even read the books in question. In your first comment, you said the authors should take those bad reviews and improve. Well that was the purpose of putting that "she re-edited her book a few weeks ago" because she is taking that criticism and improving. Just as a rule of thumb, I wouldn't attack other people's editing abilities when you can't edit yourself. When you "corrected" Brittni's comment, you didn't even edit it correctly (I will gladly show you the correct mechanics for that comment if you would like me to). Just another rule of thumb, I wouldn't talk about something that I knew nothing about. When you addressed Claire's comment, you made it pretty clear you haven't read this author's book because this story's plot is nothing like twilight's story-line. Just saying...

P.S. Warning this comment might contain grammatical errors.

K. Evans said...

@Tess. Are you confused about what an attack is? How did I attack you? By quoting what you said in your comment? That's an attack?

Here's what I think...I think you and all the little Heather White fan club are just that...a fan club. Groupies. Out of the 4 people commenting on this review, half of them actually follow this blog. Do you know what that tells me? It tells me that this young immature author who can't take a bad review decided to send her groupies to harass the reviewer.

And by the way, if you didn't notice, all that I edited in the other comment was the punctuation and capitalization errors. But you can go ahead and show me how to edit something correctly. That would be amusing. Can I ask what your professional or educational experience in editing consists of?

And for your information, I asked the author for a copy to review, but she's too busy crying about a bad review that she doesn't want to risk another bad review. Because that's professional. So, I will pay the 99 cents, and review it myself. Then you and the rest of the groupies can attack me too.

Until then, tell your all mighty author to get over it.

Heather M White said...

Id rather you not read my books. Thanks

K. Evans said...

P.S. before you try to defend your groupie status to me, go re-read your twitter feed and wake up to some comma drama.

K. Evans said...

Well, unfortunately, Heather, as a published author with books available for sale on Amazon, you don't have that option.

You can't pick and choose who reads your books, and if you feel like you need to do that, then maybe you shouldn't be an author in the first place.

As I said in my first comment, bad reviews are all part of the process...so you might want to try not taking a review so personally. And by personally, I mean taking it to the point where you need to talk about it all day long on twitter and everywhere else, and send your friends to defend your honor. Its unnecessary. Especially if you actually read the review. It points out technical errors that can easily be repaired by editing. The fact that Melissa doesn't like the plot or the depth of the characters is purely opinion based...so really who cares?

What really gets me, is that at the end of the review, she says something along the lines of "this book isn't for me, but if you like x, y, and z, then you should give it a try." Although she obviously didn't like your book, she's still recommending it to people who might like it.

What it really comes down to, is if you don't want an honest review, don't send it to honest reviewers reviewers. Send it to your friends or to people who will sugar coat things for you, so that you have zero chance to improve.

P.S. I just read another review of one of your books on goodreads that was posted recently, and it reiterates many of the same issues that this reviewer pointed out. But the other reviewer gave you 3 stars, although her review actually rips your characters, word choice, plot, etc. to shreds. Have you attacked her as well (or rather, sent your friends to attack?)? Or are you happy that she felt bad that you sent her a copy and she didn't like it, so she sugar-coated the rating for you and gave you 3 stars instead of one?

Being an author is all about feedback. If you make it big someday, you will have to learn how to deal with having your work torn apart first by your editors and publisher. And then, after its been ripped to shreds and rewritten twenty times, you will still face negative reviews from the public. To sum things up, you need to learn to take the heat, or get out of the kitchen.

K. Evans said...

Here's the link to that review: www.goodreads.com/review/show/267447870

K. Evans said...


That ***** from goodreads.

Heather M White said...

I'm completely fine with negative reviews. Perfectly!!! But THIS REVIEW is not just a "negative review"! This is hateful. And it could have been cut down into 1 paragraph and still made the same point. She didn't like the book. OK. She didn't have to cut me down and belittle me for it.

I am really upset that it has come down to this. I don't want you to read my book because you are obviously going into it with a bad attitude.

I didn't "send" my friends. I simply told ONE friend because I WAS UPSET ABOUT THIS REVIEW BEING SO HATEFUL IN HER REVIEW!

And guess what: I didn't know ANY of these people before I wrote my book! They read my book, and liked it! After, we started talking. I'm not "sugar coating" ANYTHING!

Bring on the feedback! Just don't be so vile about it.

Heather M White said...


That's from the author HERSELF :)

K. Evans said...

Can you please explain how this review is hateful? I would like to see an actual example, quoted from the review. Because to me, it just seems like you are upset about a negative review.

Melissa said...

@K Evans:

These comments are really negative and it seems as though this is turning into a tit for tat comment war between you and the other commenters. This is not what I intended when I asked for thoughts on the book. I'm going to have to ask you refrain from any more inflammatory comments

@All commenters:

Please keep your comments respectful and refrain from using foul language. I posted this review asking for thoughts on the review itself and it's turn into a comment war between other commenters and I did not want that to happen. I was looking for constructive feedback on my review.

Again, I'm sorry that you didn't like my review. But, I still don't understand how you can call ME vile for being honest. Isn't that a bit of an attack on me? I didn't call you any names or call you vile in my review. I did ask you how exactly you thought my review was hateful but you didn't give me any specific points in my review to demonstrate this. If you can't acknowledge which parts of the review were hateful then I can't be aware how to better phrase things in my future reviews.

I do apologize that you felt my review was hateful. It wasn't my intention to be hateful. But, I will not apologize for my opinion or the content of my review. Upon reflection, I do realize that I could have worded some parts of my review better, but, what's done is done, and I will not be changing the review to spare the feelings of anyone who might read it.

I don't write reviews with the intent of being hateful or anything like that but I also don't go into them intentionally sparing an author's feelings either. I try to be honest and constructive with all of my reviews, I'm sorry that you didn't see my review that way.