logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: from-author
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-04-10 16:57
Elvis the Gunslinger - A Review

It’s a Wild West tail tale with a twist – baseball and cricket have not been invented, nary a human to be found, dogs instead of horses and cats rule.

 
ELVIS THE GUNSLINGER by Romey Connell
 
According to the book blurb if you were to cross John Wayne and James Bond you would get Elvis the Gunslinger.  To all appearances he is a gentlecat rancher but the truth is he is a government agent – the best of the best.  After a night spent putting out a mysterious fire in his dog barn and chasing down the feline culprit Elvis’ partner Frank shows up announcing they are leaving on the train ASAP to take on a case.  The son and daughter-in-law of millionaire cat Morris Pusserschmott IV have been kidnapped and Fatscat, the meanest, smelliest outlaw in the west is the prime suspect.  Elvis and Fatscat have history so who better to get to his hideout compound and see that justice is done.
 
Elvis is a hard drinking, hard loving lawman but that never gets in the way of his clever clue solving skills.  And like any good G-man he always gets his man!
 
This fun read got off to a bit of a slow start for me.  I found myself rolling my eyes at the beginning – you really need to suspend reality for this book – but soon enough I was caught up in the elaborate kidnapping scheme, the witty repartee between Frank and Elvis, the twists and turns of the case and the very creative characters Mr. Connell has written about. 
 
I enjoyed the case, the chase and the resolution of the story but one of the dangers when anthropomorphizing cats is walking the fine line between making them too true to their feline nature or giving them too many human qualities.  In this case Mr. Connell leaned a little to the latter.  I was expecting more of a “cat tale”.  This would have been a good read if the characters were human and, granted, replacing them with cats made it imaginative and often humorous but it would have been more fun (for me) with a few more cat-like moments and behaviours.
 
Overall, once I got used to the cat characters, this was a fun read.  Definitely intended for a late teen to adult audience.  3.5 stars for this one and if pushed would lean towards rounding up to 4 because it was creative and the story picked up in the last half of the book.
 
* I won this book in a contest by the Purrington Post, so would like to thank them for sending me this book at no charge with no expectation of a review *
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from his Amazon author page)
 
The oldest of four children, Romey Connell grew up in a suburban waterfront community in the Baltimore/Annapolis area, and moved with his family to their nearby horse farm at the age of 14.
 
He graduated from the Auburn University School of Business in 1985 and the Cornell Law School in 1988, whereupon he moved to Atlanta, Georgia.
 
Romey has been married to his lovely wife, Gretchen (an extremely talented artist and photographer), for fifteen years and they are blessed with two wonderful children, Jerry (13) and Jamie (11). In 2010, after EyeWonder was sold, Romey left the working world for a while, so that he could spend as much time as possible with his family. They live in the Lake Claire neighborhood on the east side of Atlanta. Though spending time with family is foremost these days, Romey’s interests include travel, sports, the outdoors, beer and food, not necessarily in that order. He firmly believes that you should be wary of persons who do not get along well with children or animals. Romey is a fan of nearly all genres of music, although he is partial to those in which the artists actually play instruments, and he considers dancing all night to be the greatest form of recreation.
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-12-16 11:19
Book Review - Death Stalks Kettle Street, by John Bowen
Death Stalks Kettle Street - John Bowen

I was initially attracted to Death Stalks Kettle Street by its title and front cover, and I’m so pleased I was, as I thoroughly enjoyed this murder mystery, with its intriguing plot and wonderful characters.

It’s hard to say what my favourite part of this book was, as I loved the whole storyline. Fabulous plot with regards to the murder mystery, perfect pace, and the chapters that focussed on how to write a murder mystery was a very clever touch too, making me think about the main plot of this story in more detail and question the characters and their motives in more depth.

I love the main characters, Greg and Beth, who are on a mission to find the Kettle Street killer. Both characters are very well developed. Greg is struggling through life with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Beth is trying to live as normal life as possible with Cerebral Palsy. It is impossible not to be touched by the lives they lead.

This is easily a 5 star read, and I strongly recommend this to anyone who enjoys crime and murder mystery novels, as well as those who don’t. I’m not a huge fan of crime at all, but this was such an enjoyable read with great characters that will stay with me for some time.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1814431715
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-12-16 11:13
Book Review - Cheated, by Eddie Slain
Cheated - Eddie Slain

Having been somewhat disturbed by Eddie Slain’s previous novel, BLED, my dark side has been secretly looking forward to reading his second novel, CHEATED.

Compared to BLED, I would describe CHEATED as less horror and more erotic fiction. However, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security, as this still managed to achieve what this author seems to do best, which is to invite you in and not let you leave until all sense of normality has gone from your mind. I’m still laughing at how beautifully this novel started, with the first few lines describing birds and bees in an autumnal forest. Little did I know how far removed my mind would be from that version of the birds and the bees by the time I reached the last page.

In a nutshell, CHEATED is about a man’s downward spiral fed by his sexual obsessions. This story flows well and is hard to put down. If you enjoy erotic fiction with a dark side and don’t mind feeling like a voyeur then I think you would enjoy this book.

Eddie Slain’s warped imagination is fast becoming my guilty pleasure. I think Eddie and my favourite author, Clive Barker would get on well.

My husband goes running a few times a week, and comes home muddy after running in the dark, sometimes in the woods. I’m now wondering whether I should be worried!

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/32077038-cheated
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-11-22 17:14
Book Review - Blakemort
Blakemort - A Psychic Surveys Christmas Novella - Shani Struthers,Jeff Gardiner

This is not really a genre I read much these days, but I did enjoy Blakemort, and could definitely see me having loved it if I had read it as a young teenager, when I loved reading books that spooked me.

Even after all these years, one part in particular did send a shiver down my spine, as I too was pushed down the stairs, when I was just a few years old, and to this day I am still convinced it was a ghost that pushed me. I was pushed twice by something invisible, falling down the stairs on the second push, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a giant jellyfish that pushed me.

There was a good mix of characters, and I liked that the two adult sisters were Julia and Helena, as I'm Julie and one of my sisters is Helen. Julia was the one without kids, like myself, and Helena was the one with kids, like my sister Helen. I also loved the character of Helena's daughter, Corinna.

I’ve never really thought about what my surname means, until this novella mentioned ‘mort’ meaning dead, which then got me curious about what Mortimer actually means. My husband (being born with the surname), informed me it means ‘dead sea’. How interesting.

Blakemort is a great novella for anyone who enjoys haunted house ghost stories. Although there is mention of a number of Christmas periods over the years throughout this story, I do think this novella could be read any time of year, as it is not really festive at all, but more of a ghostly mystery.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1814429173
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2016-10-27 23:49
Speculation regarding Amazon's "new" product review guidelines

http://greywarden.booklikes.com/post/1488937/presenting-amazon-s-early-reviewer-program

 

Not sure whether reblogging would mess things up worse, but I didn't want to hijack the original post with a huge long reply.  Then again, that may have been the best solution.  Oh, well, I usually screw things up anyway, so what the heck.  I'll cross reference this to it just in case.

 

Disclosure I:  I do not and will not review anything on Amazon.  As an author, I'm restricted to posting only positive reviews of books like might be close to my genre, which currently means anything in the romance category, plus paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense.  Rather than risk losing my KDP privileges, I just don't review anything.

 

Disclosure II:  Being banned from Goodreads for daring to call out shills and unethical authors, I don't review there either.  I never had any secret accounts there and have never attempted to set up any.  I have no interest in being on a site where I can't be honest, or where the dishonest are given more credibility, visibility, and leeway than I am.

 

After reading the Amazon info that Grey Warden posted in the linked blog and the subsequent discussions there and on Obsidian Black Death's reblog, I took about an hour away from the computer and did some thinking.  Which leads to - - - - -

 

Disclosure III:  As an author re-entering the publishing arena with new material, rather than just republishing old stuff, I have ulterior motives.  I do not have the means to pay for promotion, and I'm uncomfortable doing it myself, so I have relied on occasional mentions of my work here and on Facebook, then on word of mouth (or fingers, as the case may be).  I DO NOT READ ANY OF MY REVIEWS, but I do track my sales and sales ranking, and that requires a glance at the listing for my book on Amazon.  (I do not look at Goodreads or any other site, including BL)  As of this afternoon, the book has 7 reviews and an average of something around four stars.  I'm happy.  I have no idea who reviewed it or what they wrote, but my sales and Kindle Unlimited reads have been satisfying.  I sent out exactly one free ARC; all other copies have been purchased at full retail price or borrowed through Kindle lending programs.

 

With all of that out of the way, some observations and speculations.

 

Though it's been over three years since the Amazon merger with Goodreads and the subsequent GR September Purge, my belief is that Amazon has been under some pressure -- perhaps from the FTC but perhaps internal pressure -- to clean up the review mess.  I haven't even followed this "coupon club" issue, but from what I saw today, it looks like just another venue for scamming, and Amazon already has enough of that.

 

The fake reviews, whether they come from fiverr, from indie blogger shills, from review swap groups, or from reviewers who like the freebies that come with high reviewer ranking, could only hurt Amazon's brand.  I think we all know this.  And while Amazon may be the biggest online retailer and have a huge, huge, huge share of the SPA ebook market, thousands of five-star reviews for crap products could not be good for their brand.

 

If there were threats of enforcement from the FTC, that would make it even worse.

 

So down comes the hammer on the shills on 3 October, and now, less than a month later, a new program designed/hoped to further restrict the fake reviews.

 

The key part of the Early Rewards program, in my opinion, is that the product has to be purchased from Amazon.  This prevents sellers from shipping out freebies to solicit reviews.  It does not, however, weed out the organized shills, such as on fiverr, who simply charge the price of the product so they can buy it and review it and get the "verified purchase" tag.  And in the event of fulfillment by Seller, rather than by Amazon, more shenanigans are possible.

 

If the ER program is limited to fulfillment by Amazon, that problem may be taken care of.

 

But the real problem is still being masked, and that is the issue of Amazon selling crap products.  It's not the reviews that are hurting their brand; it's the crap they're allowing to flood their marketplace.

 

A year ago, when Amazon launched their Handmade @ Amazon platform, sellers had to apply and be accepted before they could list items in the marketplace.  Once a Seller was approved, they could pretty much list just about anything within the parameters; they weren't required to have new products juried in.  Though I haven't done any research at all, I suspect there are some sellers in the H@A marketplace who are selling items that would not have passed the original vetting process.  There's nothing *I* can do about it, though Amazon should take a hand in policing it.  They probably don't and probably won't.

 

Because they're so damn greedy and want every single selling fee they can get their hands on, consumers be damned AND sellers be damned.

 

There are crafters and artisans who will not list on H@A because they don't want to deal with the policies of the customer is always right and refunds are always given to quell complaints.  This has fostered an attitude amongst sellers -- it's rampant on eBay, too -- that the customer must be satisfied at all costs to avoid any kind of negative feedback.   Some Amazon sellers are successful enough that they can afford this kind of refund-on-demand, but others can't and are intimidated by it.  This, of course, encourages the purchasing of positive reviews, and it's what has gotten everything so messed up.

 

(The review policy on Etsy.com is much more restrictive -- only persons who have purchased the item can review it, and they can only review that specific product.  The system gets gamed, but not as badly as Amazon or Goodreads.)

 

At some point, Amazon may find itself forced to restrict what products it allows independent sellers to list on the site.  Attempts to regulate reviews and reviewers may simply not be enough, because if there are sellers who are trying to game the product system in the first place, they will continue to find ways to game the review system.

 

And at some point also, Amazon may very well have to take a position on how it justifies treating books as a separate product category.

 

Why is an ARC of a book any less of a free product than a bottle of organic vitamins or a non-stick waffle iron or a solar-powered phone charger?

 

Furthermore, why is a perma-free Kindle book, downloaded 20,000 times to get 100 five-star reviews, any less an incentive?

 

And what about the incentives and solicitations listed in the books themselves, encouraging readers to leave good reviews so the author can sell more?

 

How will all of the new regulations -- not just the October 3rd memo with its requirement that the reviewer have purchased $50 worth of merchandise but this new program and any others -- affect reviews on Goodreads?  They are no less sales devices than the reviews on Amazon, and I have a feeling it wouldn't take me long to find that some of our favorite fiverr shills are still at work there.  (The last time I looked was a few months ago, and it took me about ten minutes to locate the first one and then tie it to an Amazon review.)

 

Amazon wants the best of all worlds.  They want to sell all the products all the time, but they only want legit reviews, and preferably positive ones that sell product.  They don't want the hassle of vetting the products -- or the legal liability that would come with it -- but they want all products under the Amazon brand.  I think this newest program is an attempt -- and it has both strengths and weaknesses that I can see -- to clean up a horrific mess of their own making, but without actually cleaning it up.

 

As long as Goodreads is under the Amazon umbrella, there will be just as much dishonesty there as on Amazon, and perhaps much more.  Will GR start requiring purchases from Amazon in order to review?  What about reviews for out-of-print books not for sale on Amazon, or only on sale through affiliate/independent sellers?  What about reviews of library books, borrowed from friends?  Many of these books may not even be listed on Amazon.

 

If reviews are restricted on Amazon -- which they should have been from the beginning -- because Amazon is a retail site, will authors/publishers turn to Goodreads for shilling?  Will Goodreads be able to regulate it?  Or will Goodreads have to start instituting the same kind of restrictions as on Amazon?

 

I think that down the road, this new program by Amazon is going to have a big impact on book bloggers.  If ARCs and Kindle freebies are allowed to be reviewed, then why not free products in exchange for reviews?  And if free products are not permitted, then ARC and freebies should be banned, too.

 

I can't speak for non-book products, but I do believe, in all sincerity, that without a fully independent book reviewing site, this problem is going to continue and continue and get worse long before it gets better.

 

And now I'll shut up.  At least for a while.  Long enough to fix supper.

 

 

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?