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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-08-02 08:17
July 2017 — A Wrap-Up

 

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As much fun as only Douglas Adams books can be. Although, it might also be due to my technique that I apply when reading books by DA. I space them out, which keeps the jokes and randomness from being repetitive and not-random!

 

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I won this in a giveaway. Read my review here.

 

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Okay, so this was different and seemed a bit incomplete at the end but I still liked it. Something that stuck with me was the concept that while the people were free as a nation, it meant compromising their individual freedom. What does that even mean?

 

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Here is a scene that stayed with me:

 

 

 

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This was cute and fun. I will continue with the series to see if it is more than just cute and fun though. Two examples to give you an idea of what the art looks like:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trying this one out for size. Still not impressed though. Just wanted to leave this here; it shows a new level of racism, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

This was for a buddy read over at Booklikes. I won’t say the book wasn’t a fun read, however, it was quite light on science. The humor the depth of observations were the usual Scalzi standard.

 

I just realized this was the beginning of a whole new series with quite a few books in it. While I liked the book, I didn’t love it. Lets see if I feel like reading the next one.

The funny thing is that this book will be the first entry in my Twinsies — Books that Go Together series of blog posts!

 

Two words that I loved:

 

 

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This was okayish. I thought that the author was trying to make up for all the complaints that the readers make about Dresden being sexist. It didn’t work for me though. The story was weak but I did like the art. No idea why I like the code of “honor” that Macone plays by but I do!

 

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I have no idea why I read this. Maybe I only read it because I had it. Whatever the reason, I didn’t like it just as I didn’t like the movie. This was a sequel in comic form but it had nothing new to hold my attention. Two supernatural species fighting each other with humans caught in the middle. Sound familiar? It did to me too! The art was okay-ish while there was no story.

 

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Find my review here.

 

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This one was also a Bingo read for the extremely slow round of Book Bingo that we are playing at work! About the book, it isn’t that I didn’t know what went on in Afghanistan. It was nice to be able to know the exact stats for what went down there.

 

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You can find my review here.

 

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I tried Lumberjanes and didn’t like it but when I saw this was going to be a crossover with Gotham Academy (which I mostly like), I decided to give it another try. I am glad I did because it was a whole lotta fun! I love how the characters seem more human and less comic-y because of the way they are drawn. They don’t all look as if they have stepped off magazine covers. Now I just have to give Lumberjanes another chance to wow me!

 

 

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review 2017-07-15 00:05
From the Cradle by Michelle Knight
From the Cradle (The Submissive Heart Book 3) - Michelle Knight

So, I finished this a while ago. Several weeks ago. I couldn't figure out where to start the review.

 

IN THE PREFACE:

 

So far, so good. Book 1, "The Companion," tackled the underlying dynamics of a BDSM relationship. Book 2, "The Reluctant Leader, " took on the censorship and legal issues and introduced the dominant side of the D/s dynamic. Now, book 3 takes you through another aspect of BDSM relationships that never crosses many people's minds.

 

It seems that whenever people talking about the subject of BDSM relationships, they somehow forget that the little woed, "relationship," is part of the sentence.

 

In the first book we were introduced to Mark and Susan (later known also as simply "L," the name given to her by her master). Mark had a scarred past and Susan needed someone to help guide her towards building a life where she would grow as a person she was com for table being. Together they entered in a BDSM relationship. The first book was focused on their budding love aND partnership . This book we get their "happily ever after," a look at what happens when their relationship buds into more than bargained for when they began their lives together.

 

I did not foresee any of the events in this book happening to Mark and L. I did enjoy the ride though. I never once thought of what it would be like for a couple who had a BDSM relationship to juggle the same curveballs that traditional couples experience. 

 

After reading this I see so many similarities between what people consider to be normal relationships and that of a couple practising a BDSM lifestyle. When it comes to the topic of BDSM people's minds automatically think of violent, leather dressed men beating their females until they experience earth moving painful orgasms. That's not what you get with this book. What you get is a couple being a bit more honest with themselves about where they stand I their relationship and embracing their roles.

 

What was all his dominance actually worth in a sphere where he didn't have any authority? How could he control anything when it wasn't his hands on the steering wheel?

 

I completely understand why erotic BDSM literature is popular. In people's minds it is an adventure on the wildside. Those books give people wrong impressions though, and sometimes bad ideas and stereotypes. I like that the author of this, Michelle Knight, wrote a realistic story. I have found this entire series to be very eye opening on the subject. This is very well written and obviously well researched and told from personal life experiences. Compared to the first two books this feels to be written with more emotion included in the story. Knight skills as a writer have really grown. This is not erotic fiction but is definitely intended for adults.

 

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review 2017-07-14 21:57
Harables: Short Stories 2
Harables: Short Stories 2 (Volume 2) - Haidji

Thw author of this collection of stories has a knack for making you really feel her words rather than just read them. Her writing is very artistic and unique. I love to read her writing when I want something thought provoking and emotional. She uses not only the words, but also the puncuation, placement, and spacing to make her statement. The first time I read something written by Haidji  I was reluctant to proceed much further than the first sentence,  but soon realized that the style and what I assumed were mistakes were actually intentional.  Very lovely.

 

In this we get 15 stories. If you read and enjoyed the first Harables you are sure to like this. Yes this is a book of short stories, but it will definitely appeal to those who enjoy poetic writing. 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-07-09 16:23
Sadly, the Killer Bees In This Story Didn't Kill It For Me!
The Colony: A Novella - Craig Anderson

 

 

 

This was a giveaway win that I won on the very awesome group, Apocalypse Whenever as part of their June giveaway. I'd like to thank both the author and the group for the book!

What I Liked:

I liked the males cloned by the AI, Eve, were programmed to reach maturity within a few months. Since the AI had been constructed to figure out the bee problem, it likened the maturity rate to like the one found in bees.

The Melior apis were terrifyingly awesome.

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I loved the deviousness of the AI i.e. how she figured things out, made the men play poker to learn how to deceive humans, deliberately failed the Turing tests, and her whole plan to clone more men and use them as her army. The last part is problematic though, as you will read below.

What I Didn't Like:

The book started off as YA but that changed by the end of the story.

I almost never notice proofing and editing mistakes but there were quite a few of them so, it was hard to miss. Spelling mistakes etc. are always a big turn off for me!

The events of the story are too predictable. I sighed out loud when the main character, Ben, was pitted against his only friend, Frank, in the final fight.

If the ozone has finally given in and collapsed as the story mentions, then how have humans managed not to become UV-riddled pincushions? If it isn't important to the plot, why mention it?

Another minor quibble, if the Melior Apis is the name of a species, then it should be written like, Melior apis or Melior apis

Say, Eve clones more of Frank-men and sends them to the women for reproduction. How would that work? The women accepted Ben because of his unselfish nature. Why would they treat the Frank-men the same way? Wouldn't Ben tell them what Frank was like? Moreover, why would the army of Franks want to take over the women camp? Wasn't Frank competing and winning all the contests, so he could get out and get with the ladies? I think there are some plot issues that need to be sorted out!

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text 2017-07-09 10:13
Survey results on self-publishing self-evident, self-serving

I've just completed comparing the results of three survey's recently sent to me regarding self-publishing and self-published authors to see what the take away is (if there is any).

 

All three of these surveys were undertaken by companies that are, in the most part, dependent on authors like me who use their platform or services to self-publish their writing.

 

The survey sample is skewed since the respondents are, in some form or another, clients of these three enterprises. They either publish and distribute their e-books with Smashwords, advertise their e-books on one of WrittenWord Media's four sites, or possibly are doing all the above as well as contracting editorial, graphic design and marketing services from BookBaby.

 

The findings provided here are likely their optimistic interpretations.

 

Experience counts (maybe): Successful authors (in terms of book sales) have more writing experience. They spend more time writing and subsequently have more books available in their catalogue. They also contract more professional services, particularly editors and cover designers.

 

This, of course doesn't answer the question of how they became successful? Did they achieve success because of all these things (experience, time, hiring professionals), or once they achieved some success were the the able to spend the time, develop the catalogue and hire the professionals?

 

What to write. Fiction sells better than non-fiction and romance (especially contemporary, paranormal and erotica) sells far better than any other genre or literary writing. Under served markets include the romantic subgenres New Adult, Contemporary and YA.

 

How long should your book be? So much for all those pundits who claim novellas are all the rage because they can be read in one sitting or during a commute. Best sellers, again according to Smashwords, average ninety-two thousand words.

 

Book Marketing. Offering your e-book for free draws thirty-three times more then priced titles, but what's the upside to offering your books free?

 

Okay, so money doesn't matter to you, it's about making that reader connection, about putting forth your view of the world. Does offering your work at no charge achieve that? How many free books actually get read?

 

Not very many has been my experience both as a writer and a reader.

 

I've had hundreds of my books downloaded free and it's resulted in an insignificant number of reviews. On the other hand my ibook library is filled with books I've downloaded free and have yet to read.

 

See what I'm getting at. There's no downside to clicking and getting a book free.

 

This might explain why over sixty-one percent of published authors have asked friends or family members to review their books.

 

However, if you're writing a series, and series are more than likely going to generate best sellers, than offering the first book free is a good marketing ploy.

 

Speaking of FREE E-BOOKS. I'm participating in Smashwords Summer Sale and until July 31, 2017 my entire catalogue, eight novels and two plays are either FREE or 50% OFF. Go to https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

 

What's the right price for an e-book? So if you opt not to offer your books free how much should you charge? Interestingly, e-books priced at $3.99 and $4.99 did better than those priced less - or more, at least on Smashwords.

 

In the end it was a lot of reading for very little worthwhile information, most of which was self-evident if you really think about it.

 

Here's how the sage folks at WrittenWord Media summed up the findings from their survey.

 

Indie publishing is a viable path to success. Many indie authors signed traditional publishing deals on the strength of their self-published books and many traditionally published authors are becoming indie authors because of more control and higher royalties. Hybrid publishing gives you the benefit of both paths.

 

This rosy prediction in light of the fact that 727,125 ISBNs were assigned to self-published titles in 2015, representing 625,327 individual indie books*.

 

Well, really, what did you expect them to say?

 

These surveys would have been more credible if they'd had similar terms of reference. WrittenWord Media considers a "successful author" as someone who makes $100,000 or more in a single year from book sales. Book sales of $500 or less categorizes you as an "emerging author".

 

At BookBaby you're a successful author if you've earned $5,000 or more annually from book sales. Those who earned less than $100 were labeled "lower earning authors".

 

Huh?

 

We definitely aren't comparing apples to apples here. How can one company consider a successful indie author as earning $5000 a year while another has it pegged at $100,000?

 

But it gets even weirder. Of the forty-three hundred authors who completed the BookBaby survey a little less than five percent fell into the category of the "high achieving group" earning $5000 or more.

 

If only about two hundred BookBaby authors earn $5000 or more how many WrittenWord Media authors earn over a hundred grand?

 

Or put another way, how can twenty successful BookBaby authors only be equal to one WrittenWord Media successful author?

 

See what I mean? It's like they're comparing different species.

 

The take away? Only that I now know how to categorize myself. I'm a "lower earning emerging author".

 

And on that we all agree.

 

Stay calm. Be brave. Watch for the signs

 

*According to Bowker, the exclusive U.S. agent for issuing International Standard Book Numbers.

 

Smashwords   http://smashwords.com

BookBaby   https://www.bookbaby.com

WrittenWord Media   https://www.writtenwordmedia.com

 

My Amazon Author Page   https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

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