Saturday, April 2, 2011

No Wonder Authors are Confused...

Title: First Degree Innocence

Author: Ginger Simpson

Publisher: Books We Love Publishing Partners

Rating: You Gotta Read (highest rating on site)

Reviewer: Val

Carrie Lang’s sheltered life ends with a prison sentence for involvement in a bank robbery. Her arrest comes on the day she’s called in sick and stayed inside, so she has no explanation how an eye-witness describes her in great detail, down to the make and model of her car. A terrible mistake’s been made, and her insistence of innocence falls on deaf ears, even among her fellow inmates. A plan for retribution is brewing, and naive Carrie finds herself smack dab in the middle of an evil scheme concocted by the prison bully. A ten year sentence seems mild when she’s threatened with death for refusing to participate. Can Carrie find a way out of this horrible nightmare, or is she destined to spend her days locked in terror, isolation, and the cold gray interior of prison walls?
Carrie's character is one that readers will easily identify with. Vulnerable to a certain point, we see Carrie coming into her own and becoming a stronger person as her jail time progresses. Her character will evoke just about every emotion, especially despair, frustration and finally hope.

When Seth's character was introduced, I wasn't sure if he was a good guy or bad guy. I won't tell you which and trust me when I say, you will be flipping the pages as fast as you can to find out. The interaction between Carrie and Seth gives depth to this book and the end .... well, all I can say is my mouth was hanging open. It was a very surprising ending that you just don't want to miss.

Then we meet the prison bully, Jet. With a score to settle, she will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Jet's character was exasperating. I found myself strongly disliking her and wishing she would get her due punishment. Ms. Simpson created the perfect villain in Jet, a true manipulator, while at the same time giving her some very real qualities that one minute had you liking her and the next wishing she would drop off the face of the earth.

First Degree Innocence is an extremely unique book in that it gives the reader a legitimate glimpse into the lives of the incarcerated while throwing several twists into the story. It was a riveting and highly entertaining read. Ms. Simpson writes about interesting characters and complex plot lines while at the same time drawing the reader in with each new page. This is one author who sure didn't pull any punches with First Degree Innocence and you will be immersed in Carrie's world within the first paragraph. This book starts out with a bang and continues through to the last page. First Degree Innocence is an exceptional book that will have you hooked right from the beginning. If you love to root for the underdog, look no further, you've found the perfect book.


Author: Ginger Simpson
Genre: Suspense / Mystery
Reviewed by: DawnColclasure 
Received 2 Stars

Carrie Lang is wrongfully convicted of a crime and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Despite claiming her innocence, she is harshly treated by the prison guards – except for one she has her eye on, and who seems to have his eye on her, too. Targeted by the prison bully Jillian “Jet” Duke, sweet and innocent Carrie, who has never even had a parking ticket, seeks comfort and protection among the friends she makes with other female prisoners. Then Jet tries to set Carrie up, but is she willing to go through with the evil bully’s plan, even if it means death should she say no? Will she ever prove her innocence and be set free? And will she ever have a future with Seth, the prison guard she can only dream of sharing love with?

This story started out as it would for any innocent woman wrongfully imprisoned: Carrie is scared, humiliated, harassed and alone. She is naïve – and it would seem too naïve, as she trusts everyone so easily and is afraid to speak her mind. She’s afraid to show how she really feels towards her cellmates and afraid to stand up against Jet. Innocent or not, it would not seem that Carrie is that innocent, as she puts so much energy on thinking of Matron Ogden as the one with the “ugly face” and how she’d like to punch Ogden “in her ugly face” on her way out once she is set free. Carrie tries to adjust to prison life by joking around with her cellmate Susanna, and it would seem there is so much “sisterhood” between her and her other cellmates who she often plays bridge with during rec. It just didn’t seem realistic. Also, even when Carrie tries to act tough later in the story, she crumbles when it’s time to face the music. She talks the talk but she can’t walk the walk.

This book should have shown what life is really like for an innocent woman behind bars but I suspect it majorly fell short in that regard. Because Carrie is so spineless, naïve and unreasonable to even fall for a prison guard was a huge turn-off. She was not a likable character; I prefer a story with a leading female character who is strong, confident and smart. Also, the prison guard who falls for Carrie in return did not strike me as someone who could actually be a prison guard in real life. He is too emotional and lets his guard down easily – dangerous factors for a prison guard.

First Degree Innocence by Ginger Simpson was a lukewarm story that could have been better. The only thing interesting about it was the huge plot twist the author throws in at the end.

Note from Ginger:  Perhaps you'd like to read it for yourself and be the judge. *lol*



Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to reading it, Ging - have it in my kindle on the ready (grins). Leave it to you to make us a judge (smile).
I love your site.

Roseanne Dowell said...

I read it and I have to say, I agree with the first reviewer. This was a real page turner and I recommend this book.
Ms.Simpson is a talented writer and I can't wait to read her next one.

Molly Daniels said...

I don't care what the 2nd reviewer says; I plan to get this book:)

Diane Scott Lewis said...

Ginger, you're so right about confusing reviews. I have the same problem with my on-line critique groups. Some love my story, others not so much. It's difficult to pick out from their comments what is working and what isn't.
I disagree with the second reviewer on your book. Your novel shows quite starkly what life is like in prison, and Carrie is a believable character.

Unknown said...

You know, I had to laugh at that second reviewer. My own book was reviewed and in it is a Sheriff's car that I describe. The reviewer ripped me that there are NO stars on Sheriff's vehicles and went on to relate proper police procedures. Luckily there's enough information on Google and others with experience to dispute the reviewer's claims and only showed this reviewer's limited opinion. I wonder if the second reviewer here is that same person???

Anyway, I cried when I read parts of Ms. Simpson's book. It was emotional and real and I would highly recommend making your own decision.

MuseItUp Publishing said...

There was one portion in the review that told me immediately why Ginger's book got a low review..."I prefer..." when a reviewer states this then she is not being objective and offering a review based on the current book's characters and how it all ties in with the overall plot and book.

"I prefer" is almost like stating "I would have written it like this..."

Unknown said...

At least I can say I didn't attack my reviewer like the woman everyone has been talking about. I handled it will style and grace...blogged about it then sulked away and pouted. It's just that I've never had a 2-star review. That's akin to a slap in the face. Thank you all for your supportive and loving posts. I truly believe FDI is a good story, and after being a C.O. for a year, I think I'm a better judge of how those newbie incarcerated peeps act. *lol*


J.Q. Rose said...

Okay--you manipulated me into buying this book so I can make the decision which review is correct...I doubt the second reviewer has any correction officer experience to know anything about it...You know it is difficult to stay neutral to judge which review is right when I "know" the author and her talent...But I'll try and be, yeah...

Barbara Ehrentreu said...

I agree with Lea. That reviewer was doing something that is a no in reviews. First of all reviews should not be in first person. Also, a reviewer is trying to give a quick discussion of the merits of a book and why someone should read it. I liked the first review better, because it was less specific and told me everything I want to know about a book before I read it.

Anonymous said...

Very intereresting reading. thx


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