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REVIEW: Love Unscripted by Tina Reber

Dear Ms. Reber:

I borrowed your book via the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library although it is fairly modestly priced at $3.99 (currently). The book came to my attention when it was highlighted by GalleyCat’s Self publishing bestseller list.

Love Unscripted Tina Reber

Taryn Mitchell is a twenty seven year old tavern owner whose heart has been broken one too many times. Her last relationship ended when she found out her fiance was a serial cheater. She’s cut herself off from men despite the many suitors who come to her bar and attempt to curry favor with her. One day, before opening the tavern, Ryan Christensen runs through her bar to escape frenzied fans. Ryan is a 26 year old actor who loves his job but hates the out of control fame that his success has generated. When Taryn finds him huddled on the stairs to her apartment, he is shaking, near tears with a torn short and scratches on his face.

(I wondered if it was real person fiction of Robert Pattinson as the similarities in Pattison’s purported attitude toward acting echoed Ryan and because so much of the successful fan fiction these days can trace its routes back to the Twilight fan fiction crowd)

Ryan is very private and has become paranoid and afraid of his overwhelming crazy stalker fans who are constantly chasing him. Taryn, who has never seen Ryan’s films, becomes an immediae oasis for Ryan and the two develop a friendship that transforms into love but managing a relationship with an actor is incredibly challenging, particularly for a woman who has already had past bad experiences with cheats.

What is really well done is showing the reader how difficult it is to date someone famous, particularly an actor. Not only are there the intrusive paparazzi and the constant lying and misrepresentation of facts in the tabloids, but there is also the problem of seeing your famous boyfriend being photographed with other women, rumored to be in relationships with other women, and long absences. I wondered while reading if it was really worth it which made me think that the story was doing a great job of portraying the risks and downsides of fame.

The book was less successful at selling me on the idea that there was any peeks behind the curtains. Everything that was written about the movie industry, Ryan as an actor, and industry information what you could glean from wikipedia. It was told to us in a very clunky and pedantic fashion, in the guise of teaching Taryn about his world such as providing paragraph long definitions of what various people on the set do.   The characters themselves are fairly flat.  Ryan is basically afraid of the world but acts foolishly.  For instance, he goes out to buy presents for his family without any security detail despite the fact that he is constantly mobbed whenever he is in public.  I wasn’t sold on the setup of the hero as an actor and even some of the paparazzis’ actions rang false (I.e., Ryan being able to sneak off in the morning because the paparazzi didn’t get up early enough).

The heroine was also a bit tiresome. Let me list all her other accomplishments. She is part owner of three vineyards, half partner in a catering business, plays the piano like a champ and sings great, AND makes stained glass art as well as designed her bar, her bar patio, and the kitchen renovation at a cabin.  Yet, she worries about paying for a renovation to her bar that would increase the productivity of her catering business only so that it provides conflict between her and Ryan.

The emotional drama of the two individuals struggling to trust each other when there are so many forces that work actively against them was visceral. I believed in that part of the story.

It’s a C- grade because of the strength of the emotional parts of the story but readers have to know going in that this is a rough read at times.  This book is a great example of what’s good and bad about self publishing. The bad is that this book was in serious need of editing. There were numerous spelling and grammatical mistakes such as the use of “pop” when you meant “pap” (short for paparazzi). Or the use of “improve” when you meant “improv”. The list goes on. There were weird and misplaced dialogue tags. You favored smirked quite a bit but used “jeered” in this sentence (“That’s two days in a row that you caught the first fish,” he jeered.”) which really made no sense. Again, this is a consistent and ongoing problem throughout the book.  What is good about the book is that the voice is compelling despite its many flaws which tells me it could be exponentially better if it were well edited, both for content and copy.  C-

Best regards,

Jane

The book is available in digital format from Amazon only.

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

12 Comments

  1. Renee Q
    Aug 27, 2012 @ 11:06:26

    Dear Jane-
    I finished this book just last night! I picked it off the kindle lending library after seeing how many wonderful reviews it had, and once I had finished it was so glad I hadn’t actually bought it. It was quite full of angst, although much of their drama seemed caused by poor judgment on their part. The constant theme of trust seemed beaten into the ground. In addition, by the middle of the book, I started skipping parts trying to find where something was actually going to happen. Where was the climax? It seemed like a long, drawn out television drama that had no end in sight. Which apparently it doesn’t since there is a sequel coming out.

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  2. Katie
    Aug 27, 2012 @ 11:53:29

    I started off really enjoying this, but gave up halfway through because I was tired of it. But what really struck me is that this probably would’ve been awesome with some editing.

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  3. IcedCamaro
    Aug 27, 2012 @ 14:28:12

    I actually read this a couple months back and absolutely hated it. It was so overly long, rambly and repetitive that the only reason I managed to finish it was because I forced myself to do so. I am very stubborn when it comes to DNFing books, I’d rather read it to the end to give an informed opinion. In my opinion the hero didn’t really behave like an alpha (there was always this need by the heroine to protect him) and worst of all, both characters lacked any real dimension. She was a Mary Sue.

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  4. Jane
    Aug 27, 2012 @ 16:11:21

    @Katie and others – apparently this book has been purchased, along with a sequel, by Atria and will be “re-released on Sept 10″ which I guess means it will undergo copyedits? I mean, how can you rewrite it in that amount of time.

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  5. IcedCamaro
    Aug 27, 2012 @ 17:02:30

    Jane, yes I just found out about the Atria thing myself. I am assuming they will fix as many typos and grammatical issues as they can, but this book is in dire need of serious editing. The actual story could have been told in half the wordcount. It was excessively and unjustifiably long but this is all evidence of the current trend in publishing, publishers hunting for popular self-pubbed books regardless of actual storytelling quality and republishing as quickly as possible at higher prices (while selling sequels at this inflated price as well).

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  6. Anthea Lawson
    Aug 27, 2012 @ 17:32:05

    @IcedCamaro: “publishers hunting for popular self-pubbed books regardless of actual storytelling quality ”

    Actually, it sounds like the *storytelling* is the part that’s working, and the craft of using language is what needs strengthening. This is a fairly common issue with self-published works (and yes, I’m an indie author myself – though I think those of us who have jumped the fence from trad-publishing have a little more grounding in the whole editorial side of things).

    I enjoyed the post and long comment string on this issue here last week. It’s too bad that so many great storytellers are not following through on the craft end of things – and I agree, publishing houses are scooping up the ‘easy money’ and not bothering to help out on the grammatical side.

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  7. Alicia
    Aug 27, 2012 @ 19:03:49

    It’s going to be a job for them just removing all of the unnecessary exclamation points. They managed to clean up Beautiful Disaster in a short amount of time (though I’m only halfway through that torture). But I doubt they’ll go in and remove all the extraneous story. It just kept going and going and going. For the life of me I can’t understand what story there was left to tell in a sequel.

    I thought the same thing about it being RPF/fan fiction when I read it. I even stopped reading and went investigating but couldn’t find any definitive proof. (The cover of the sequel isn’t suspect at all though…)

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  8. IcedCamaro
    Aug 27, 2012 @ 19:22:54

    Alicia: Couldn’t agree more with all you said!! (all exclamation marks deliberate)

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  9. Des Livres
    Aug 29, 2012 @ 07:37:29

    “Love Unedited”?

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  10. MM
    Sep 11, 2012 @ 12:46:55

    Jane,
    A very honest review. I thought something was wrong with me when I didnt enjoy it as much as other folks did. Such great potential though.
    If I may recommend a book to you… read “Loving David” by Gina Hummer.
    See the reviews on Goodreads.com from other book reviewers. Each year I pick one book a to ‘pay it forward’ with and so far this year… this is my choice. It will stay with you I promise you. MM

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  11. Candie
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 19:59:15

    This book was pretty good, reading the second one now.
    Keeping my fingers crossed.

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  12. Angela
    May 15, 2013 @ 15:17:53

    I loved the book. I’m on my 5th time for Love Unscripted and Love Unrehearsed. I am not an editor, I just like a book to keep my attention. I also love any love story. Ryan’s character is so sweet and Taryn is someone to look up to as a woman. I loved it!!!!!

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