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text 2019-01-02 08:08
My Opinion: Beta Reader versus Reviewer

Both are obligated to respect copyrights.  


Beta Readers, paid or unpaid, are responsible for providing feedback and editing as agreed on drafts of books not yet published to retail sites.  Authors and publisher can ask for very specific things.  Feedback directly to author, not to review sites.


Consumer reviewers (aka customers and readers) are obligated to respect copyright by legally obtaining the book and not pirating it.  Period.  There is no contract.  Not responsible to review every new edition or to remove their review of edition read because author puts out a new edition.  Not responsible for proving their qualifications (qualification = they legally got the published book), reading the book, reviewing the book or anything else.


Paid or Professional Reviewers can also be asked for specific marketing terms, deadlines, specific venues for the review, editing feedback and any number of things -- within website's or publication's set policies.  Obligated to follow the agreement/contract.  On Amazon, paid review in editorial section only; not permitted in with customer reviews.  On other consumer review sites governed by U.S. law, FTC requires all incentives be disclosed in the review.  Not obligated to review every new edition for free unless specified in contract.


Unless book description notes the customer is purchasing a draft for purpose of author getting editorial feedback , customer on retail site won't know the difference between a completely published book and a published draft of a book still needing editing anyway (well, once begin reading may notice needs editing but not known at time of purchase).


To the customer on a retail site --  publishing a book on a retail site is publishing a book for retail sales/downloads.  It's not to pay the author to then provide free editing.  It's not a Kickstarter fundraiser for the author to get paid so they can afford editing and other costs of doing business including cover art.  Customers see books in a retail site's product catalog and have no way of knowing -- unless noted in book description -- author thinks they are contracting to provide anything.  It literally looks like any other book for retail sale/download.  Many readers don't even notice the publsher name or aren't necessarily familiar enough with all the imprints to know if traditional or self-publshed (and Amazon increasingly puts publisher and ISBN further away from the product page buy buttons where not always going to scroll that far).


Unlikely to see buying your book worthy of criminal charges, loss of followers no longer trusting them  or loss of site account by agreeing to author's review requirement that are against site or U.S. law such as "don't say you got the book for free" or "don't say you got book on condition of only giving a five star review"... I think it's seriously unrealistic of an author of a likely under $10 or even free book to even ask a customer to risk anything beyond their reading time, certainly not potential FTC fines.


Personally, I don't bother reading reviews on the sites that require a minimum 4-star rating and positive comments only.  Those stop being opinions if too restricted.  Seriously, if you can only give it a ★★★★☆ or ★★★★★ that's no way a fve star/unit scale, it's a two unit scale, possibly something like one thumbs up and two thumbs up or ★☆ and ★★; not 4 or 5 of anything.

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review 2018-03-11 02:23
A Little Disappointing
Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra - Anne Rice,Christopher Rice

This is the decades-awaited sequel to Anne Rice’s The Mummy. I was so excited to read it that I had to go and buy the first part and read it first. The first one was almost as good as her vampire books (nobody can top Lestat in my eyes!). Unfortunately, this one wasn’t as good as The Mummy. It character hopped a lot and dragged a bit during the first half. Because of that, I had to keep putting it down and read something else. I know she wrote this with her son, so I don’t know if she wrote half and he wrote half or what, but it was a bit disappointing. The writing was still great, just took too long to get through.

**I voluntarily read and reviewed this book

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review 2018-02-23 05:53
The Vampire Armand - Anne Rice

I am giving this book two stars only because Anne Rice is a talented author, and I can’t bear to give this a single-star rating (though, honestly, it might deserve it).


Man, what a bummer. I loved the last four volumes in this series, but this was a mess. Written after a short hiatus from the Vampire Chronicles, this volume follows Memnoch the Devil, which Rice said was supposed to be the series finale. That would have made sense, and it would have been a fine note to end on. Instead, three years later, this mess hit bookstore shelves.


First off, Lestat is almost nowhere to be found here. I think because, up to this point, the Brat Prince features heavily in all the vampire novels that Rice wasn’t sure where to go with this story. Armand is certainly one of the more interesting immortals — for his age, if nothing else — but he makes for a booooooring narrator. He lacks all the wit and humor of Lestat; he has no personality of his own. What a dud. And don’t get me started on the disjointed ‘feel’ of the story: first half is littered with awkward, heavy-handed sex; second half is . . . I don’t even know, dude. Boring AF. I can’t remember a thing that happened. Maybe that’s for the best.


They can’t all be winners. I will be taking an extended break from this series.

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review 2018-02-17 10:51
Memnoch the Devil - Anne Rice

When Anne Rice fans are asked which of her books they feel most passionate about — whether positively or negatively — the answer is almost invariable: Memnoch the Devil. Acting as a bit of a precursor to Rice’s Christian fiction novels of the mid-00s, this book is tonally out of step with the previous Vampire Chronicles (save for, perhaps, Interview With the Vampire, as this too has the ‘feel’ of an interview in spots) And seems to be cause for great joy, and disgust, in many readers.


Lestat wants to know the will of God, and the Devil: what are their purposes for him? Which does he serve? What is Heaven, what is Hell, what is the true story of creation, where and why is purgatory? These questions and more Memnoch, Lestat’s guide of the spiritual regions, are answered. This one is steeped in biblical and evolutionary history; I found it fascinating but can understand those who can’t get on with this book.


Perhaps more than anything, this novel is remembered for the infamous scene in which Lestat feeds on the bleeding crucified Christ. That moment, I think, sums up this book well. This certainly isn’t for all readers, but I had a great time. This book offered up questions I often find myself pondering and will continue pondering for time to come. The idea of an imperfect, foolish God and a tricky, boastful, but generally well-natured Devil (or Memnoch) is intriguing . . . not to mention the concept of what Hell really is. But I won’t spoil that!


I’m totally addicted to this series now and am blowing through the books. I don’t want it to end.

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review 2018-02-15 15:39
The Tale of the Body Thief - Anne Rice

It is official: this is the book that made me an unwavering fan of Lestat. While the previous Vampire Chronicle, Queen of the Damned<m features an array of characters and scenarios, there wasn’t as much a focus on the Brat Prince. In this, the fourth book in the series, Anne Rice has almost inverted that: Lestat de Lioncourt is front and center through all of it; the reader gets to, finally, see him fall, and seek redemption.


The concept is pretty simple: Lestat, after over two centuries of being a vampire, has grown weary of it all. He’s tired of the purgatory, the repetition; he longs to feel human pleasures again. He comes across a mysterious spirit — a body thief — that allows him to trade places with a human man.


By combining her trademark erotic and horrific tendencies with a hilarious and enthralling fish-out-of-water scenario (Lestat was human in the 1700s, mind you, and is attempting human life once more in the early 1990s), Anne Rice created a truly addictive read — perhaps the closest she’s come to a true crime thriller . . . sort of. This book is jam-packed with cool ideas and a lot of intriguing theology talk. I know the next novel in the series goes deep in that direction, and I can’t wait to jump on it.

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