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The Crooked Controversy of Truth Unleashed on If Death Should Love Me

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If Death Should Love Me by C. Desert Rose
Amazon | Amazon Author Page

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Before proceeding with this review, a very important note. The Review Board does not advocate the use of full spoilers, only slight spoilers for the purpose of outlining what one likes or dislikes about the book. 

Blurb:

A dull roar, that’s all I could hear. Souls, that’s all I could see… So many people. Some good, some bad. Some breathing, some barely breathing. All souls. It was funny what you could see when you stood in the middle of the Emergency Room. Who survived, who didn’t. All of them, every one, a soul. A soul for the taking.
So begins your introduction to the floating, clustered world of souls that will have such influence on Sophia, the young Puerto Rican-American girl who has just lost her closest ally, her grandmother, “Abuela”. It is just after the funeral, at the cemetery, where Sophia meets the tall, almost angelic man who will play the most unexpected role in her life.
A love story. A fantasy. An adventure. If Death Should Love Me tells a tale of “fate” far beyond the normal meaning of that little four letter word. How else would you explain why Sophia wonders what would happen If Death Should Love Me?

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Hello and Welcome to The Review Board. Today TRB brings you a look at “If Death Should Love Me” by C. Desert Rose. First Up in the fray is Frederick Crook.

FredLogo

Crook Analysis

In this novel by C. Desert Rose, the main character, Sophia Martino meets a strange man at her grandmother’s funeral. She and this stranger make a connection at the sad event and later, during a gathering afterward, meet again and begin talking. His name is Azriel Devas, otherwise known as the angel of death.

An unlikely romance sprouts between the mortal and the immortal and slowly, Sopia and Azriel fall in love. This relationship progresses well for a time, but conflicts arise between Azriel and the angel, Gabriel. This draws Sophia into the battle and plot ensues. It’s a fast-paced adventure and I will stop giving away details here to keep from handing out spoilers.

I have to say that, for the most part, I enjoyed this book, even though I’ve read quite a few paranormal romance novels involving angels and mortals lately. While the author’s voice is pretty clear and humorous at points, I found the continual punctuation errors highly distracting. Mostly, this entailed missing commas, which distorted the meaning of sentence after sentence, forcing constant re-reads.

I enjoyed the little side notes C. Desert provided on occasion, explaining Puerto Rican culture or the Spanish language in a humorous, endearing manner. I did feel that these digressions were a little too liberally dealt out, but overall, they did add to the experience and made me smile.

I did get the clear message that C. Desert Rose has a wonderful imagination and a talent for writing, but I just couldn’t get past the difficulty of this read due to the poor editing. Honestly, I would have killed to edit this work and improve its readability. Errors like misspellings and easily researched words like “stereotypical”, which was typed as two words at one point, should have been quite plain. The missing punctuation derailed the progress, induced the shaking of my head, and frustrated me to the point where I put the novel down for a bit. For instance, Sophia’s brother calls her on the phone and dialogue ensues:

“Hey! Sup?” 

“You called me stupid!” I whipped back.

Huh? OH! She is calling him stupid! Granted, this is a minor issue, but it’s enough for me to stop reading and look back as I ask myself, “When did he say she was stupid?” Further, much of the dialogue was missing these important commas around character names, so a sentence like, “You can do this Sophia!” instead of the intended, “You can do this, Sophia!” was quite commonplace.

Another really distraction I found was the fact that a hard return was missing on a few occasions during dialogue, causing the most time-consuming derailment of all. One character would ask a question and, because no hard return occurred, the question was answered on the same line, making it appear as if the question was answered by the asker. The next line would be of the same character speaking, which made it quite clear that something was wrong. This happens at least twice in the manuscript.

One bad habit I noted while reading was the inclusion of Sophia’s thoughts/narration shoved in between another character’s dialogue, making it unclear, at times, who was speaking. I won’t hunt the instances down, but here’s an example:

“Blah, blah, blah.” I couldn’t believe he just said that. I stared at him, stunned. “Blah, blah-bah!” 

Okay, not right. It should be: 

“Blah, blah, blah.” 

I couldn’t believe he said that. I stared at him, stunned. 

“Blah, blah-blah!” 

See what I mean? The narration, being completely separated here, makes it quite clear and flowing.

Okay, so, we have a wonderfully strong story here, in plot, character building, and author voice, plagued by editing errors. C. Desert Rose is clearly a talented storyteller and I look forward to another work of hers, though I hope it’s treated with more care in the editing process.

A good story with a fair reading experience, I give this 6 of 10 stars.

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Next up is Mr. Controversy.

Mr. Controversy

Controversial Thoughts

279 pages of “If Death Should Love Me” is written by C. Desert Rose.

This read is focused on Amari, son of father Afolabi and mother Nandi. A young 21-year-old African tribesman, Amari learned his destiny early: he is to become “The Collector”, also known as The Angel of Death named Azriel who comforts souls as best as he can while ushering them into the afterlife while traveling the world.

Azriel also has the unique ability to see a person’s aura; a color-coded spiritual energy that tells of one’s personality (on a personal note, I had a few former acquaintances who stated that I have a Gold Aura: one who is enveloped by a Guardian Angel).

There is also Sophia Martino, your average Kansas girl-next-door (I actually have been to Kansas: quaint!) who has a rather dry life (according to her, and based on what I have read) and is a bit of a hermit; only making contact with the world when it was necessary. This includes her brother Fransisco Martino Junior who has a keen sense of how to get under his sister’s skin, and Junior, a young boy with autism who she babysits.

A chance meeting during a dark time in Sophia’s life had set the stage as well as put the wheels into motion for both Sophia and Azriel to interact on a completely different level: a level that neither party expected.

Gabriel is another character in this deep thinking story. He feels and felt that he was next in line to be The Collector, yet the Higher Ups thought otherwise. His disapproval of being passed over has made him jilted and frustrated to the point of wanting to “correct the situation”.

In an odd way, to me, this is a rather cute story. The awkwardness between these two (specifically Sophia’s mindset and curiosity, and Azriel’s disappearing acts which are reminiscent of a certain black-clad crusader) seem to work very well, forcing each other to engage in conversation in the name of piecing their puzzles together. Sophia is VERY gosh darn adorable with her nervousness and stammering (akin to my personality when I have interest in another… #Transparency), and Azriel fills in the proverbial blanks to her fumbling of words, helping her feel a bit more at ease.

On the plus side, I really am thankful that Miss Rose placed “Spanish lessons” where Spanish was spoken. Not only that, there were also things that were discussed culture wise that added a great deal to the story: they make for great lessons in our walking lives. I can go on both a rant and a tirade about the number of authors who put in another language within the pages of their reads and stories, yet did not provide a translation for those who do not speak that specific language. Miss Rose’s consideration in this aspect is greatly admired.

Another plus that is found within the pages of the story, are the similarities of familial get-togethers. In several cultures, as noted in the story, the ladies were in the kitchen cooking and talking and doing all things to make the holidays, well, be put together beautifully. The males of the family stayed out of the kitchen, and did things that guys would typically do in this situation: watch sports, play games, discuss current events, etc. The same can be said for other situations where family would come and gather.

Another personal note, there was a specific event that happened early in the book that cause me to reflect on certain events that happened within my family. It made me reflect on some of the things that I was feeling when said certain situations made me think about my own family. Some feelings came back, at times rushing. It put me into a place of deep thought, reminiscent of good, bad, as well as uncomfortable times.

“If Death Should Love Me” is a telling title, for sure. It is a thought-provoking and philosophical conversation piece that certainly makes you wonder if Death can INDEED love you. Farfetched, yes: yet it does make you wonder.

In several spots in the story, the sentences felt choppy. Some sentences were one to three words long. At the same time, it could speak for how the character thinks and speaks. In this aspect, I cannot penalize: there are some situations where one to three words are indeed necessary. Despite the responses and thoughts being short, they speak volumes.

Page 30 has a spelling error; “he” being used as opposed to “the”, as well as a missed period opportunity where a comma was used in the following sentence:

“As I tidied up my apartment I noticed he DVD cover of the movie I’d been watching the night before: Paranormal Activity, Oh! I puffed, putting the silly dream off to my scary movie fixation.”

As I always say, the need for another set of eyes on one’s work benefits greatly to not only the author, but the reading audience as well.

Survey Says: 8 out of 10 stars.

“If Death Should Love Me” is one of those stories that start off a bit slow, yet when you continue to  move forward with your reading, it is actually a rather delightful story. Once you are engrossed in the story, you will have a difficult time putting it down.

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Now let’s look at what  Mini Truth has to say.

Mini Truth

Truthful Takes

If Death Should Love Me” is a great read. It takes you on a nonstop paranormal adventure.

I suppose that I should start with the premise. Don’t want to get ahead of myself.

winking-smileyAzriel is the Angel of Death, otherwise known as The Collector. He was chosen to be this several hundred years ago. He was once human. Azriel hates what he has become, as he assimilates his fate with being cursed.
Azriel meets Lourdes. Lourdes is an older Latino woman who is reaching her last days in life. Through connecting with Lourdes, Azriel inadvertently meets Sophia.
Sophia is an average Latino-American girl living an average life—at least until Azriel comes her way.

This book has some great twists and turns and I really appreciated the cultural aspect of the story. I met characters that I loved, and characters that I loved to hate (like Gabriel).

Let’s get to the bulk of the review.

Thumbs-downCons:

1. Sophia, although likable, was sometimes just a bit too ditsy.
2. I would have liked to known a little bit more about the Higher Sources.

Thumbs-upPros:

1. This is a well written story. I truly appreciated the aspect of reality in Azriel’s speech. I mean, when you think about it, a being that is so old could not talk like we do today. So it was really cool that the author veered away from contemporary English with him.
2. There were these cool little Spanish/Cultural lessons throughout the story. I felt like they could help the culturally impaired to better understand the characters and the premise.
3. I was a huge fan of Junior. I can’t say much more about him without giving spoilers.
4. I was also a huge fan of the flashbacks as they gave the story richness and depth.

Overall this story is a great supernatural/paranormal read. I recommend it to the lovers of that genre whom also prefer vanilla romance, and lots of action adventure.

I give “If Death Should Love Me9.5 TRB Stars.

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Last, but most certainly not least, let us take a look at what No Labels Unleashed has to say about “If Death Should Love Me”.

No Labels

Unleashed Speaks

Note: Before receiving this updated copy in exchange for an honest review, I acquired this work via Amazon. Therefore, my review will be placed on the comparison between the sale copy and the updated copy provided by the author.

I won’t go through the motions in providing a backdrop for the story, since it has already been provided by some of the other reviewers. Instead I will just get into the “meat of the matter” if you will.

At times, in the zeal to get published, or maybe one can chalk it up to author blindness, certain areas can get lost in the shuffle. I noticed in my comparisons that certain items required some additional usage of deletion and/or adjusting. One block of passage in Chapter 5 was repeated. I did double check to make sure my Kindle wasn’t experiencing technical difficulties, but lo and behold, the passage was indeed a double, causing me to do a double take. In addition, there were spots where there should have been commas instead of periods or that capitalization opportunities were missed.

If the tone of this part rings casual, it is because these things were not enough to impact my rating overall. Yet, I did want to bring them up so that the author will go back and fix these issues.

Thumbs-down

Here are some opportunities that did factor into my rating:

  • I found Sophia’s back and forth a little too dizzying. Some of her parts could have been eliminated instead of dragging the story out a bit longer than needed.
  • I would have enjoyed more background or incorporation of some of the other pivotal characters—like Pari but especially Gabriel. I found Gabriel’s segments absolutely captivating and felt a bit of loss once focus had to shift to a different part of the narrative or another character.
  • A bit more about Sophia’s history with love of the romantic sort would have done well with the tidbits to break up the tension in “If Death Should Love Me”.
  • The Higher Sources should have received more spotlight.
  • I’m pretty sure this is a “me thing” but I wanted to be shown the power of “Fate” and “Love at first sight” rather than told. How could the author convince a reader like me—who has a bit of skepticism towards the concept of instant connection—that this could definitely get pulled off? Yes, the Higher Sources are brought in, almost as if to say, “It is because we deem it so and it has to be.” However, how many people have rebelled against one’s supposed role? Azriel’s thought processes had me convinced but the mark was not quite struck with Sophia—oftentimes coming across as more physical lust than the building blocks of love.
  • The style where the dialog and narrative lack clear separation were stumbling blocks from time to time. I’m not saying the style is incorrect, by any means. Nonetheless, due to how I was taught in school (and because it is easier on my old eyes), the break between dialog and narrative is smoother for my comprehension and connectivity.
  • Syntax wise (but this is also a “me thing”), there was a bit of comma overkill. The main area was in places where the comma was placed immediately after the name whether in narrative or in dialog. For example (not taken from the book), in this sentence:

Jacob, was feeling a bit stiff, so he decided to stretch his arms.

In my reading of it, the pause (comma) is awkward. It is because when I talk, I would not pause after Jacob. I’d actually place the comma in a different location such as this:

Jacob was feeling a bit stiff, so he decided to stretch his arms.

Some readers would ditch the commas altogether, like so:

Jacob was feeling a bit stiff so he decided to stretch his arms.

Thumbs-up

Pros

  • The abstractness of the cover art won me over. It left me free to use my imagination in reference to how Sophia, Azriel and the rest of the characters looked.
  • The pacing of the story reminds me of the rumblings of a dormant volcano—it fit with the building of drama leading to the ultimate conflict.
  • Sophia’s quirky mannerisms gave some breaks when the drama was getting a bit too thick. Due to the intended target audience, I didn’t mind a bit of comedy mixed in with the paranormal romance.
  • There was a villain I loved to hate in the form of Gabriel and I hope this won’t be the last time we hear from him.
  • Azriel was syrupy good, extremely touching. The flashbacks into his previous existence and his day to day torment add to his captivation as a character.
  • Pari’s dedication to her charges—fierce and adoring.
  • The element of surprise in one character being way more important than previously believed.
  • It is apparent that the author did extensive research on the architecture of angels, demons and mythology, especially with Azriel and Gabriel. It added even more authenticity to an even more riveting undertaking.

My-Thoughts

If I had any suggestions for this budding author, it would be the following:

  • Make sure to know the difference between having essential background and nonessential filler. More information about the Higher Sources—information to give even more richness the story. Sophia’s anecdotes in relation to her culture—albeit funny, but sometimes filler.
  • Invest more dedication into seasoning conflict. With conflict being the driving force, working in conjunction with the narrative, it is okay to do a bit of “slow mo” or “play by play” if you will. The scene that I enjoyed the most was a showdown between Azriel and Gabriel in Rome, Italy. Yet by the time, the other showdown occurred, it was as if the author lost steam. As a result, that other battle—although intense—read as if it were extremely rushed.
  • Have the execution of the premise as grand as the premise itself. It is rumored there are other books in this series. Therefore, each installment of this series should be as good if not better than its predecessor. If this is to be the author’s staple, then the dedication must be boundless.

Unleashed Verdict: 7.5 out of 10 TRB Stars (soft four in other locations)

If Death Should Love Me has wonderful potential. The roller coaster drama and the characters are things which remained with me, long after I put the read down. More attention to background and smoother tempo with conflict could have garnered this a higher rating. However, I am intrigued enough by the premise to check out the other books in the series, as well as see improvement with this author.

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Now let’s take all the scores and divide by the number of reviewers.

8stars

Overall, If Death Should Love Me receives 7.75 rounded up to an 8 TRB Stars.

Thanks for checking out The Review Board. Feel free to share, subscribe, and like. Have a wonderful day.

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About nolabels

I have an appreciation for the unique, love for all types of art, and fierce attractions to brilliant intellectuals (from book smarts to street smarts). Lover of humanity but feel humans have lost their way, just trying to stay true to myself as conformity threatens to take me away. Simply one head, many crowns: Author. Reviewer. Columnist.

One comment on “The Crooked Controversy of Truth Unleashed on If Death Should Love Me

  1. Pingback: The Crook Analysis: 2015 Year In Review | The Review Board

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This entry was posted on November 18, 2015 by in books, e-books, November, reviews and tagged , .

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