Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Goodbye to Yesterday (The Discovery - A Lancaster County Saga) by Wanda E. Brunstetter - REVIEW

Description - From the Publisher:
The DiscoveryA Six-Part Serial Novel Series from NY Times Bestselling Author Wanda E. Brunstetter

Wanda E. Brunstetter delivers a fresh take on Amish romance with her one-of-a-kind Discovery series. Releasing as a serial novel, the compelling love story will be broken into 6 short books releasing consecutively over a six-month period. Each novel will end in a heart-wrenching cliffhanger that will leave readers dying to know what happens next. The story follows a newlywed Amish couple in Lancaster County whose relationship faces insurmountable odds.

About the Discovery Series:
This is a unique six-part serial novel series. One book will release each month from February - July 2013. The books are shorter in length and end with a cliffhanger. Readers will discover the stunning conclusion to the overarching story at the end of book 6.

Book #1: Goodbye to Yesterday
Join Meredith and Luke Stoltzfus, an Amish couple who are faced with the greatest challenge of their young lives. Financial struggles. Arguments. A suspected pregnancy. A last-minute trip to Middlebury, Indiana. A drug addict on the run. A deadly encounter at a Philadelphia bus station. Will their love and faith be enough to bring them back together again, against all odds?

My Take
2 Stars
This is Book One in the Discovery Series. This "novella", not "novel" was okay. I was shocked at how short it is, as it ended so abruptly. 
This story starts in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, at the home of Luke and Meredith, still referred to as newlyweds at one year and four months. (Are the Amish newlyweds until they get pregnant? Usually newlyweds are newlyweds for the first year?)
Luke has been out of work for quite some time when he gets a phone message that his Uncle in Indiana would be retiring from his job of carving headstones for grave sites. He wants Luke to come to Indiana to learn how to do the business with him, then Luke can purchase the business from him, take it home to Lancaster County, and make a living at it. Luke could even pay his Uncle for the business over time, yet in the back of Luke's mind, he struggles with the fact he is a Carpenter by trade and struggles with this change, but accepts it because he needs a job. Luke prepares to take a large sum of cash with him to give to his uncle as a sizable down payment for the business, and this almost wipes out their entire savings they have. Luke prepares to leave for Indiana on a bus. 
This is where a lot of foreshadowing starts with Meredith, which bothered me a lot while reading this book. It was distracting from the story, and kind of had me rolling my eyes a bit. I was thinking, okay already, get on with the story. We get the idea something bad will happen, get on with the story as hearing it once or twice is enough, not over and over. At this point in the story, I almost wondered what age group it was meant for. Any adult would catch on the first few times, but it happened a lot more than a few times.
She's afraid of the impending snowstorm that is forecast to come, and the bus will be involved in an accident. Luke continues to assure her that bus drivers are aware of the weather and are trained to drive through all kinds of different weather.
Luke gets on the bus to head to Indiana. There is a man who doesn't look like he is up to any good, and something bad does happen.
Meredith wakes the next morning feeling like something is very wrong.
The end. 
It took me 'maybe' 1 hour to read this novella, 'if' that. I wasn't really paying attention to the time because I NEVER would have thought this book would be so short! I got all comfy-snuggly to read this book, and the next thing I know it's over! I was reading this on my Kindle, so I had no idea how thick or thin this book was.
I have many issues with these books, as if you can't tell by the length of this review. (I've read most of them now.) Sorry, but I honestly do, and HONESTY is what I write in my book reviews, so here it is.
These are NOT novels like the publisher say they are, but these are Novellas. Imagine my surprise as I read this book and it ended so abruptly. Like I said, I read this book on the Kindle, so I would have to guess at the page length, and I would guess it to be about 100-120 pages short! (Goodreads verified 128 pages.)  I'm assuming I would be correct in calling them ALL Novellas. (After I read the 2nd book in this series, YES, they are ALL Novellas.) I was SHOCKED! NEVER did I even imagine these books would be SO SHORT! I feel cheated out of a story! I really do!
As for character development, there is NONE, because the story is too short to be able to form an attachment to any one of these characters, and Meredith, well, like I said, she was a bundle of nerves about everything. I did find I knew more about Luke in this book because the events mainly affect him. 
Luke goes on his trip, and we meet back up with Meredith at the end of the book worrying about why she did not receive a phone call from Luke yet. He told her he would call, but didn't yet. That's it about Meredith except one thing I can't tell you about or it WILL ruin this story! NO spoilers in my reviews! LOL!
I am truly disappointed with this 'first' story. I didn't feel for the characters. I could have cared less. There was nothing that drew me in to care for them, even when the bad thing happens to Luke.
This makes me wonder about this entire series since there are 6 in total all scheduled to come out one each month, minus the month of July. Am I missing something here? Why do it this way instead of ONE or two novels or a series like this author is known for? At least that way we could form character attachment, and then we would CARE for these characters and enjoy the story more. The way it is done now, I don't care about these characters at all, nor the story.
This author is very well known for writing novel-size series of Amish books. It's just so unusual for this author to come out with this type of series of novellas. Is she competing with the Independent Authors who publish short novellas like this?Why? She is a Best Selling novelist! She does not need to, unless it's for the money? I just do not understand why is is being done this way. It's actually RUINING the story!
This author is pretty much known as 'The Mother Author of Amish writing', at least in my opinion, along with a few other authors who were the very first writers of Amish fiction. I thought 'very' highly of her. She has a very high reputation for what she writes, which further baffles me as to why she would write this set of novellas. She has written numerous books, series of books, stand-alone novels, cookbooks and more about the Amish. Was 'this' necessary for her to do? I guess I kind of feel betrayed by the thought of making these novellas and marketing this series of so-called books by her and the publisher.
Besides that, each new book in this series recaps what happened in the last book. (I have read Book 2 and 3 so far as well.) This one of the worst things about each of these 128 page books for the Reader who has been purchasing and reading this entire series of novellas, to have to reread part of the previous book again getting cheated out of more 'new' story in each NEW book, or call this the best thing about this series for each NEW Reader who has not read any of this series of books and picks one up out of order? I don't know which it is. EACH book has this recap of the previous book.
Are they targeting NEW readers of Amish Fiction with this series? If they are, the writing is elementary, and if I were to read these, I would NOT purchase her other books. What about this author's die-hard fans? I'm sure they feel cheated. I sure do!
Besides these issues, one big one is what I just mentioned. What age group is she targeting with these novellas? The writing had to have been meant for the sixth grade and up reading level. (HUGE yawn!) I could also pretty much guess what was going to happen next. 
As a Consumer, if you were to ask me if after reading this 'first book in this series' if I would want to continue to read the rest of this series? My answer would be a definite NO. I would not spend another cent on another book in this series, nor would I check them out of the library! This first book was such a disappointment for me, I would never have bought Book 2 in this series, and had I bought Book Two, rereading part of the previous story again, I would not have been happy. 
However, since I got these books from the Publisher for review purposes, I have read the first few already, and I ask that same question again after reading the second and third books. Would I continue to read this series? No. What a disappointment from this author! Or perhaps this is the Publisher's idea? Whoever thought this up came up with a bad idea in my opinion. 
Why would I not continue to buy this series? This second book does have 'some' redeeming qualities to it, but again, it is too short! I'll get into the issues with that book in the next review on that book. A lot of new characters were introduced, too many, in fact, but I did make a little more connection with Meredith, however, yet the foreshadowing is strong, again. I started to feel a stronger connection with a nurse who isn't even Amish in this novella rather than the main characters.
Now I am interested to see how this author is going to pull the rest of this series off. Does the series get better? After reading books one and two, I highly doubt it. 
This is a new venture for this author, and for us Readers that may follow her writing, so I really would like to see how the rest of this series will turn out, but I already have a good idea that it will be just like this book turned out. The story briefly written with not enough content nor character development.
The largest issue I have with these novellas is the following: In the stores, each of these novellas will retail for $6.99 per paperback and $4.99 per ebook (Kindle through Amazon). One book will be released every month, and there will be a total of 6 novellas (per the publisher) for this 'Discovery Series'. After reading this book, I would not be willing to pay $36 to get ONE novel out of it! This is just absurd. Essentially, with this series, you will be paying for her advertising of ALL her previous and soon-to-be-released books which will be listed in the back, as they always are in all of her books.
One thing I had to laugh at. If you have read books one and two only, if you look at the covers of the rest of this series, you KNOW how this series is going to end! I guess that is one drawback of looking at the book covers prior to reading them, but you will see them in the stores, or even online. I'm sure there will be a few twists and turns that would be unexpected, but . . . 
I do have the rest of the series to read, too, and for the first time in my life, I am  admitting I am not really looking forward to it. I received this book for FREE from Abington Press through NetGalley in exchange to read and write a review about it. It is NOT required for this review to be either positive or negative, but of my own honest opinion. "Free" means I was provided with ZERO MONIES to read this book nor to write this review, but to enjoy the pure pleasure of reading it. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255,
Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. 

I have read Book 2 - "The Silence of Winter". I will be posting my review of that novella next. Yes, it is just as short as this one was, and even knowing how short they are, I was still shocked again when it ended so abruptly! I'm finding I'm watching the percentage on my Kindle more than I am focusing on the story!
One GOOD NOTE 'if' you act quickly - NOW!
If you Pre-Order these books from Amazon, prior to their release, then you can get the the future paperbacks for $3.28, and the ebooks for $3.12, both through Amazon. That is a much better price point than the retail price of $6.99 per paperback or $4.99 after each book releases! 

Print Book: $6.99
Ebook:        $4.99

The Silence of Winter (The Discovery - A Lancaster County Saga) Book 2 - by Wanda E. Brunstetter
Print Book: $6.99
Ebook:        $4.99

The Hope of Spring (The Discovery - A Lancaster County Saga) Book 3 - by Wanda E. Brunstetter
Print Book: $6.99
Ebook:        $4.99

PRE-ORDER THIS BOOK PRIOR TO MAY 1st, 2013 - TOMORROW - There does not look like there is a book to be released in June, as the next book comes out in July.

The Pieces of Summer (The Discovery - A Lancaster County Saga) Book 4 - by Wanda E. Brunstetter




A Vow for Always (The Discovery - A Lancaster County Saga) Book 6 - by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Print Book: $3.28

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