I’m going to give this book some kudos for potential. Unfortunately, the potential has not yet been achieved. But I think a few steps could take care of that.
The good stuff first. The story line is solid, with lots of conflict and character development. The characters themselves are engaging. The author has an ability to evoke gritty, nasty circumstances and scenarios that could be developed into something very good, and I predict in the future she may go far.
What Earth Angel very badly needs, though, is editing. Not only editing but proofreading. I found a number of places where mistakes occurred that said to me the book had not been carefully gone over even by Ms. Parlour herself, because they were the kind of spelling and grammatical mistakes that would not be caught by a spell checker (i.e., the words were real words spelled correctly, but the word obviously intended by the context was not spelled that way), but would easily be seen by a human being carefully going over the manuscript before publication.
Besides the spelling and grammatical errors, the book was full of places where the language could have been tighter, where it was unclear, where it needed someone other than the author going over it and saying, “This needs to be stronger” or “This wording doesn’t really work here.”
The story has a lot of potential, but my feeling is that it was published before it was ready. This is, happily, a very easy problem to correct and to avoid in the future. Here are two good rules for any author who wants to self-publish. These are things that a publishing company does routinely, if not always very well. As indie authors, we don’t have a publishing company taking care of these things, and therefore the responsibility is ours. And it is a responsibility: a responsibility to our readers.
1) Always proof your work manually, and go over it for revisions repeatedly. Spell checkers and grammar checkers are great, but there are things they can’t catch and those things show up in every manuscript. Also, there’s no such thing as polishing a book too much (unless it means you never publish it). Go over and over your work. If you’re too familiar with it and can’t really see it, take a week or two away from it, or away from a given section of it, and then go back and read through it again. Polish, polish, polish!
2) Before you publish your book, always have at least one (and preferably more) people go over it and look for problems that need to be fixed. Get someone to tell you if the pacing is too slow or too fast, if you’ve done something with a character that doesn’t make any sense given the other things the character has done, if a plot line is implausible, or if the message the book is conveying is appropriate only to a lunatic. Ideally, have the book professionally edited; short of that, get another writer to look it over (perhaps trading with the writer by editing his or her work) — but always have someone’s eyes other than your own check it out and give you feedback.
I believe that Earth Angel can be very good if the author will go back and do these two things retroactively. One nice thing about indie publishing is that it is easy to make changes like this, as one is not committed to a massive print run. The potential is there.