Danika reviews Seasons Change by Jennifer A. Lightburn

I have read quite a few self-published books for the Lesbrary now, and the majority of the time I come back to one point: editing. Some authors do self-publishing well and put in the time to have their work edited thoroughly (I haven’t had any issues with Sarah Diemer’s editing, for instance), but a lot of the authors I’ve read do not, and it really detracts from the book.

Seasons Change needed a lot of editing. It’s not that the premise is bad; I was looking forward to the plot, which is different from the standard lesbian romance storylines. Seasons Change is about Annette, a woman who is coming out of an abusive relationship, fighting her ex for custody rights, and trying to sort out her relationship with her lifelong best friend, Monica. It focuses on an interracial relationship and has a bisexual main character. It’s a nice change from the more commonly published white lesbian romances. Their relationship has an interesting dynamic, and I enjoyed the amount of backstory and subplots introduced. There is definitely the material in Seasons Change for an interesting book, but as it is, it reads like a rough draft.

The most significant problem in Seasons Change was the constant typos. Typos like “flee market” and “she peaked out the window” appear constantly, sometimes two to a page. “Wave”, for instance, is spelled “waive” throughout the book. More than once I had to put down the book after reading such a terrible typo. One was at “he tied the towel around his waste” (sadly, not the first time I’ve seen that typo in the book. The other time was Fireflies by Lacey Reah). Another was in response to this: “He thought if the government gave the green light to freedom of sexuality and the acknowledgement of same-sex union, people would request the right to marry their pets, and the country would become a nation of half-bread animal lovers.” (bold mine, italics hers)

There were some other problems editing could have helped with, too: some awkward sentences, odd pacing, and an ending that seemed too neat. But those would have been a lot more bearable if the typos had been fixed. Near the end of the book, it talks about sodomy laws making “homophobic activity” illegal, which is pretty much the opposite of what was meant.

I think this was a story worth telling, and to be honest, I always feel bad writing bad reviews. But I always come back to the same thought: I’m not reading anyone’s diaries. I think that if you are publishing a book and putting it into the world, you have a responsibility to live up to a certain standard. And I just don’t think this story was ready for print yet.

4 Replies to “Danika reviews Seasons Change by Jennifer A. Lightburn”

  1. Alena

    To me, the most important aspect of a review is honesty. If the book is bad, call it on it, don’t gloss over it. Glossing over it in the end hurts the literature, in this case lesbian fiction. There are too many glowing reviews for books that don’t deserve them. Overall, I’ve had so many bad reading experiences with indies it’s not even funny anymore, especially in regard to issues you name in this review. I am a reader and want to be treated as such, not as a free editor or marketing tool. Publishing books like this is a sign of disrespect for your customers. I’ll never by another books by authors i’ve experienced this with.

    So yay for you for calling a spade a spade.

    1. Jennifer Lightburn

      Sorry about the typos. I tried editing my book myself and learned from that. The book was based on issues that I’ve gone through in my life as well as friends. Most of the reviews I’ve received were positive for the most part, but I appreciate honesty. I tried to write a book that would open people’s minds, but had enough humor so it wouldn’t be overly depressing. Anyway, I do hope people read and enjoy my book. Please feel free to write me directly at jennifer@jenniferlightburn.com. Peace!!

  2. solargrrl

    Yes, the premise of the book sounds fascinating, but with all the typos, I can see why it would be a turn-off for the reading public. Somewhat like watching a TV show with dirt scattered all over the screen. It gets in the way of enjoying the story.
    Thank you for being honest with the review. It should help Jennifer with honing her craft to be better and better and take this admirable story line to a higher level. Any honest review, no matter how hard to write, also legitimizes the reviewer. We readers know we can trust you when you show the courage to call it as you see it.


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