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review 2018-02-22 21:25
Fighting Dirty (Blind Jacks MC) - J.C. V... Fighting Dirty (Blind Jacks MC) - J.C. Valentine,M. Carroll

The story of Ryder and Tiffany continues in this second book.  You should read Marked For Death before you read this one.

As Ryder and Tiffany are getting settled in a life together, she can't help wondering if she is really cut out for the biker lifestyle.  Tiff loves Ryder like no other man before, but certain things that she sees in the biker's way of living she is not too keen on...danger....violence....whores....etc.

When something happens to Darkness, president of the Blind Jacks, all hell breaks loose.  While trying to contain that situation, it becomes apparent that Tiffany's ex has found her again.  Not wanting to bring more problems to the bikers, Tiff makes a rash decision that almost pushes Ryder over the edge.  Tiffany finally realizes that her and Ryder really do belong together and together is how they confront her crazy ex-husband.

All the suspense leading up to the confrontation was really enjoyable and made me want to keep reading.  I really enjoyed the characters of Ryder and Tiffany.  They were both fun and believable.  I also loved the situation between Darkness, Sammy and Rose.  They added some extra fun into the intense drama with Ryder and Tiffany.

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review 2017-11-29 10:15
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
Through the Woods - Emily Carroll

I think I found a new favorite book. No, really! I meant to read this graphic novel during Halloween since I heard from many people that it's quite the spooky read. Unfortunately, Life happened and I didn't get around to reading it until now. And I am so glad I did! It's everything I love in a horror graphic novel and more! I stood up till five in the morning reading this and I was quite spooked, especially with that last story!

 

Through the Woods is a collection of five horror stories accompanied by grotesque art to add to the scary elements, and it works great together. Emily Carroll did a fantastic job of keeping each story straight to the point and the reader always on the edge of their seat. Each story takes some inspiration from fairy tales and the true horrors each one contains. I will not tell you anything about the stories themselves because it's supposed to be scary. If I tell you anything about them then that gives away the suspense factor. Horror is a genre best going in blind so trust me when I say that there's something spooky in here for everyone to enjoy. The last story really made my skin crawl. *BA DUM TSSS*

 

The art is fantastic! I've already touched on this a little bit, but if you are someone who likes their horror more visual, then read this book. Carroll's artwork is beautiful but when it comes to creeping out the reader, she is not afraid to enter into the world of the macabre. There's blood and murder and grotesqueness all over this book so if you are squeamish,  you might want to skip this one. But if the violence doesn't bother you, then I highly recommend you read this book!

 

It's fast, action-packed, beautiful, and horrifying. If you love reading horror, then I think you should pick up this graphic novel. It's perfect for the dark and colder nights this time of year! I hope you enjoy this story collection as much as I did!

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review 2017-11-13 01:03
Book Review: Black Swan Rising
Black Swan Rising - Lee Carroll

Book: Black Swan Rising

 

Author: Lee Carroll

 

Genre: Fiction/Supernatural/Fantasy

 

Summary: When New York City jewelry designer Garet James stumbles into a strange antiques shop in her neighborhood, her life is turned upside down. John Dee, the enigmatic shopkeeper, asks her to open a vintage silver box for a generous sum of money. Oddly, the symbol of a swan on the box exactly matches the ring given to Garet by her deceased mother. Garet can't believe this eerie coincidence until she opens the box and otherworldly things start happening. . . . When she investigates, Garet learns that she has been pulled into a prophecy that is hundreds of years old. Opening the box has unleashed an evil force onto the streets of Manhattan. Gradually, Garet pieces together her true identity - one that her deceased mother desperately tried to protect her from. Generations of women in Garet's family, including her beloved mother, suffered and died at the hands of the prevailing evil. Does Garet possess the power to defeat this devastating force? On her journey, she will meet fey folk who walk unnoticed among the humans and a sexy vampire who also happens to be a hedge fund manager who she can't stop thinking about. Can Garet trust anyone to guide her? The fairies reveal a desire to overpower mere humans, and the seductive vampire has the power to steal the life from her body. Using her newfound powers and sharp wit, Garet will muster everything she's got to shut down the evil taking over her friends, family, New York City, and the world. - Tor, 2010.

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text 2017-11-04 19:47
Reading progress update: I've read 51 out of 189 pages.
Voice of Our Shadow - Jonathan Carroll

enjoyable and saddening (in an enjoyable way) so far. and, who knew!: lots of it takes place in Vienna, Austria, right when I'm planning to watch The Third Man again...

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text 2017-10-25 19:14
Follow-up to Over Priced at $0.00 -- How the scam worked
Promised to an Earl: Arranged Marriage Historical Romance (Victorian Historical Romance) - Joyce Carroll

Disclosure:  I obtained the Kindle edition of this book when it was offered free on 6 January 2016.  I do not know the author nor have I ever had any communication with her about this book or any other matter.  I am an author of adult fiction and general interest non-fiction.

 

 

 

Thanks to comments by Darth Pony and Alexandra's Adventures in Books to my original "Over Priced at $0.00,"  I did some further research on how the scammers have operated to screw over readers -- and writers! -- via the Kindle Unlimited program.  Because I already had this item purchased and downloaded, it provides perfect material for analysis.

 

As you can see from the above screen shot (taken today), this item is now listed at $0.99 and is not available for Kindle Unlimited reading.  The lone Amazon review is a one-star warning not to buy the book.

 

According to the product information, this "book" is now 37 pages long.

 

 

Here's how the scam worked.

 

When Kindle Unlimited began, authors were paid the full royalty on any KU book the reader turned 10% of the pages.  This quickly proved too easy to scam, so the process was changed.  Authors were then paid a set amount per page turned (whether actually read or not).  It was still easy to pad books by double or triple spacing, leaving blank pages between chapters, and so on.  At that point Amazon came up with Kindle Edition Normalized Pages ("KENP"), which basically amounts to counting pages by equivalent words.  The current approximation is ~187 words per page, and the current royalty payment is ~$0.005 (one half cent) per KENP.

 

What the scammers did was to bundle dozens (literally dozens) of these short books/stories into a single volume, slap a cover and title on it, and publish it via Kindle Direct Publishing and enroll it in the KU program.  One book, of course, wouldn't be enough to rake in lots of royalties, so they took the same dozens of stories, shuffled the order, and republished them in other collections.  With new covers and new titles, they looked like another whole product, even though they weren't.

 

(I have some more of these in my Kindle collection and I'll try to locate and post more screen shots later.)

 

Once the reader was enticed to download the book via KU, she encountered various enticements, such as this:

 

 

Yes, "at the very end of this Book."  But, look at the number at the very bottom of this page:  116459. 

 

By comparison, Marsha Canham's full-length historical romance Bound by the Heart only yields 6801 "locations."  (These are not actual pages; I'm not sure exactly what measurement is used.)

 

 

A single click to the end of 116,459 brought the scammers 17 times the KU royalty that a full-length novel by a real author would have brought.  If the reader found out the material was crappy, she didn't much care, because it came "free" with her monthly KU subscription.  There really wasn't much incentive to leave a negative review, and it would only have taken more of her time, which she may have already considered wasted.  Why waste more on a negative review?

 

Whether "Joyce Carroll" really is a New York Times bestselling author remains to be discovered.  She may have been one of those who sold a big bunch of books in a collection for $0.99 and ended up on some list.  Again, it's a scam.

 

Now, are readers hurt by this?  Well, they are if they spend good money on this crap.  I confess I haven't actually looked at the "Promised to an Earl" story yet, but the others I looked at were pretty poor fare.  Still, most KU readers probably only look at the time they spent on books they otherwise wouldn't have read, because there's no actual money involved for them.

 

Authors, however, are directly impacted.

 

The KU pool is determined by Amazon each month, and it is then divided amongst the participating books by those KENPs actually turned.  To give you an idea of how that works out, my book The Looking-Glass Portrait is listed at 391 pages on Kindle; Marsha Canham's book is listed at 406, so pretty darn close to equal.  LGP is calculated to have 827 KENPs.  So this scam book "Promised to an Earl" generated roughly $68.00 in royalties each time someone clicked on that link to take them to the end of the book for a freebie.

 

Sixty-eight dollars.

 

That $68.00 was pulled out of the pool of funds available to the authors who actually wrote books and lent them via Kindle Unlimited.

 

And we don't know how many of these scam books were actually listed.

 

Here's the review I did of one, however, along with one page from the text to show spacing and the location amount on the bottom.

 

 

Apparently Amazon has tried to rein in some of these scam books.  I don't know if The Second Sister has been trimmed down so it doesn't add up the KENPs; I'll check later.

 

But, friends and fellow readers, this is just another reason why negative reviews are important.  This is why we can't just shrug our shoulders and say "There's nothing I can do about it."  These tactics are wrong.  They hurt real authors, and they hurt real readers by depriving them of the well-written books real authors are putting out there.

 

Deal with it, Anne Rice. Deal with it.

 

 

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