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text 2018-02-03 22:53
Please, tell me I'm not losing my mind completely
Medieval Future: The Last Dragon Throne - Michael Anthony

(edited to add more craziness at bottom)


I own this crappy Kindle book.  All I want to do is add it to my Booklikes shelf and know where it is.


The book page had the author listed as Michael Anthony Steele.  I've already reported that.  I don't know where the "Steele" came from, but I'm so frazzled now that I may have missed something.


The copyright page of the Kindle version only lists the author as "Michael Anthony."


I have difficulty finding things on my Booklikes shelves because the first names get all mixed up within the last names.  I've already pointed this out.  Piers Anthony books are mixed in with Evelyn Anthony books and so on, and it's very frustrating not to know how they're sorted.


But this terrible book doesn't show up anywhere in the Anthonys.  I don't know why.  Oh, it shows up if I SEARCH for "Anthony," but I don't know where it is.  It doesn't show up if I search for "Steele" either, so I know it's not with the "S" authors.  It shows up if I search for "Michael Anthony," but it's the only one that does, so I have no idea where on my shelves this book is.


Maybe it sounds nitpicky, but I have had so much difficulty locating books that I know are on my shelves, that have been listed under alternate authors, or alternate titles, or the wrong authors, or whatever, that I'm tearing my hair out.









Why are these Marx books in the middle of the last A authors?



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review 2018-01-26 16:19
I can't even - A Nit-Picky Review in Real Time
Ghostly Secrets Super Boxset: A Collection Of Riveting Haunted House Mysteries - Roger Hayden

Disclosure:  I obtained this collection when it was offered free on Amazon.  I do not know any of the authors, nor have I ever had any communication with any of them about these books or any other matter.  I am an author of historical and contemporary romances, including gothic romances.


This is a collection of four separate novels by four authors.  When it showed up as a freebie in my email notices on 25 January 2018, I went ahead and downloaded it.  It is still free as of 26 January, if anyone is interested.


The first novel is The Haunting of Saxton Mansion. I had in fact "purchased" this as a freebie a few months ago, but hadn't read more than the first page or so.  Later, when checking the reviews on Amazon, I learned that this was one of those teaser books, where the first half is free, but the ending is in the second half that isn't free.  Since I hadn't been immediately captivated by the opening, I didn't go back to read any further.


I'm assuming, therefore, that the boxed set contains the whole thing.  The Table of Contents lists Book 0, Book 1, and Book 2.


The Haunting of Saxton Mansion: Book 0

The Haunting of Saxton Mansion: Book 1

The Haunting of Saxton Mansion: Book 2

Hayden, Roger. Ghostly Secrets Super Boxset: A Collection Of Riveting Haunted House Mysteries (Kindle Locations 7-10). Kindle Edition.

I began reading Book 0, which is a very different opening from what I had read from the first freebie.  Whether it is a prequel or backstory, I don't know yet.  I may never find out, because I may not be able to force myself through it.


The scene is set as December 22, 1982, in Cypress Creek, Florida.


I don't mind a haunting from the recent past.  In fact, I find it intriguing, because it seems there has always been a preponderance of ghosts from past centuries when it's just as likely that unhappy, restless spirits might be active from more recent times.  So the near-contemporary timeframe didn't bother me.


The opening text is visual description of the scene.  Full moon, clouds, and so on.


Wispy clouds streaked the evening sky, illuminated by the glow of a full moon. Palm trees in a slumbering town swayed in the slight breeze. On the corner of a sparsely populated back street sat a grand, two-story Victorian home. An iron gate over six feet tall surrounded the premises.

Hayden, Roger. Ghostly Secrets Super Boxset: A Collection Of Riveting Haunted House Mysteries (Kindle Locations 28-30). Kindle Edition.

Four sentences into the book and I stopped, dead.  Four sentences.


The clouds and the moon, okay.  Overview of the whole town, hm, okay.  Zoom into house on the corner, hmmmm, less okay but passable.


Iron gate surrounding the premises?  NO.


A fence surrounds a property, but a gate doesn't.


Disbelief is no longer suspended.


Freshly cut St. Augustine grass encompassed the massive front lawn where the old Saxton manor rested atop a small hill, shrouded by thick, looming tree branches in a neighboring forest.

Hayden, Roger. Ghostly Secrets Super Boxset: A Collection Of Riveting Haunted House Mysteries (Kindle Locations 30-31). Kindle Edition. 

The grass doesn't "encompass" the lawn.  Lawns aren't usually described as "massive." How is there a small hill on a corner city lot?  If the forest is neighboring, how are its branches shrouding the house?


I'm barely onto Page 2, and my eyes are spinning in their sockets.


This is bad writing.  It's poor word choices mixed with bad cinematography.  And it doesn't stop.


Past the gated entrance was a long driveway that ran past the courtyard to the garage. The house itself had been constructed in 1970 and was one of the oldest homes in Cypress Creek. Its history was shrouded in secrecy.

Hayden, Roger. Ghostly Secrets Super Boxset: A Collection Of Riveting Haunted House Mysteries (Kindle Locations 32-33). Kindle Edition.


What courtyard?  Does this author know what a courtyard is?  I have my doubts.


And, a house built in 1970 is not Victorian.  While it might be Victorian style, or Queen Anne Style, or whatever style that evokes the Victorian era, it's way too new to be true Victorian.


Maybe today's readers don't care.  Maybe they're so accustomed to inaccuracies and otherwise bad writing that they can't tell the difference.  Maybe they don't know the difference between a gate and a fence.  Maybe they think "Victorian" is a synonym for "big and looks old."  I don't know.  As we here on BookLikes learned from our buddy reads Ammie, Come Home and Jamaica Inn, even traditionally published books can be loaded with errors.


Is that an excuse for the kind of crap that shows up in books like The Haunting of Saxton Manor?  Because, hoo boy, it gets worse.


The action takes place a mere 12 years after the house was built, yet its history is "shrouded in secrecy."  Um, no.  The description of the setting is clichés upon clichés, but without substance.  This is bad writing.


A decorated Christmas tree shined through a front window with its colorful reds, blues, and greens. The Saxton family living inside had much to celebrate during the coming holidays, unaware that outside their home, someone was watching.


Gerald Saxton’s black BMW drove through the automatic gate and up the driveway. He parked near the courtyard and got out, carrying two full paper grocery bags in each arm. Dressed in his creased gray suit, he walked up the three concrete steps onto the front porch with its wooden railing and thin white columns that ran up to the roof.

Hayden, Roger. Ghostly Secrets Super Boxset: A Collection Of Riveting Haunted House Mysteries (Kindle Locations 33-38). Kindle Edition.

The lights of the Christmas tree shone (not shined) through the window, not the tree itself.  And the family probably lived inside the house, not inside the tree.


Gerald drove the car; it didn't drive itself.  Why did he park "near the courtyard" and not in the garage?  Does the writer stop to think how impossible it would be to carry two full paper grocery bags in one arm and then grab two more with the other arm and then, with both arms full, open the car door and maneuver past the steering wheel to exit the vehicle? 


Why is his suit creased?  Does the author mean the suit is wrinkled, as though Gerald slept in it?  Or does the author mean the suit is neatly pressed, with sharp creases in the trousers?  Does the author know what words even mean?


Potted plants lined the top railing. A porch swing, held by chains from above, creaked with the wind. It was a cool sixty-eight degrees that evening, hardly winter, but quite normal for the south Florida neighborhood.

Hayden, Roger. Ghostly Secrets Super Boxset: A Collection Of Riveting Haunted House Mysteries (Kindle Locations 38-40). Kindle Edition.


If the columns described in the previous paragraph rose all the way to the roof of the two-story home, it's unlikely the swing would have been on chains that long.  And the temperature would have been "quite normal" for all of south Florida that time of the year, not just the local neighborhood.  Though this lucky paragraph didn't have any major errors, it's still an example of what happens when a writer doesn't pay attention to details.


Fresh aqua paint covered the home’s wooden exterior; its steep roofline was a dark gray. Much of the house had undergone renovations some five years prior. The roof arched in the center, and there were two windows on the second floor that resembled eyes, with an even higher single attic window centered above. With its unique architecture, expansive courtyard, and adjacent tennis court, the Saxton estate was like no other home in Cypress Creek.

Hayden, Roger. Ghostly Secrets Super Boxset: A Collection Of Riveting Haunted House Mysteries (Kindle Locations 40-43). Kindle Edition. 

The house is only twelve years old, yet it had undergone renovations at the age of seven?  Why?  And what does the author mean by "The roof arched in the center"?  And we still don't know about this "courtyard."


I'll give you a break, dear reader, and not quote every single line for a while.  Gerald enters the house and greets his wife, Annette, who is wearing a silk purple bathrobe.


Usage dictates that the bathrobe should be purple silk, not silk purple.


1  /   SIZE  :       How big ?         Large, small, tiny, enormous

2 /     AGE   :      How old ?           New, young, old, ancient

3 /    SHAPE :    What shape ?     Square, round, rectangular, flat

4 / COLOUR :    What colour ?      Blue, pink, yellow, crimson

5 /  ORIGIN :    Where from ?      English, American, Chinese,French

6 / MATERIAL: What it is made of ?    Plastic, cardboard, glass, wooden

7 / PURPOSE : What it  is used for ?    Racing car, frying pan, rocking chair 


Though we -- as both readers and writers -- don't normally think in terms of these rules for ordering adjectives, "silk purple" just doesn't read as comfortably on our mental ears as "purple silk."  Is it possible the author of this book is not well read?


At any rate, Gerald greets Annette and takes the groceries into the kitchen.


Gerald set the bags onto the kitchen counter and sighed. “Another long night at the office. What can I say?” He pulled a bottle of red wine from one the bags, proudly displaying the Dom Perignon label.

Hayden, Roger. Ghostly Secrets Super Boxset: A Collection Of Riveting Haunted House Mysteries (Kindle Locations 54-56). Kindle Edition.






I can't leave a review on Amazon because I'm also a writer, and we're only allowed to write positive reviews, not negative or critical ones.


How many asinine mistakes is a reader supposed to put up with before DNFing and zero-starring a piece of garbage?  How many "mulligans" does a lazy, incompetent writer get?  This book (or at least the original first part of it) has 256 ratings on Amazon, with an average of 4.2 stars.  What the ever living fuck?



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text 2018-01-26 03:55
You get what you pay for
Ghostly Secrets Super Boxset: A Collection Of Riveting Haunted House Mysteries - Roger Hayden

Kindle freebie today via Free Booksy.


Within the next few days I will have more of a review, but I am right now so angry I'm ready to scream.



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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-10-24 02:10
A horrible little gem - no stars, not even a half
A Harvest Passion - Emily Murdoch

Disclosure:  I obtained this book on 2 September 2016 when the Kindle edition was offered free.  I do not know know the author and I have never had any communication with her about this book or about any other matter.  I am an author.



To tell the truth, I have read -- or tried to read -- worse books than this.  Ms. York, Ms. Willow Fae, Ms. Sharon Many-Names, and of course Mr. Victor come to mind, among others.  But I've also read far better.


The basic plot:  Young gentleman (though we don't know how old precisely) returns to England after five years as a missionary in India.  He has been offered a position as teacher in a small village school.  He encounters a young woman (we don't know exactly how old she is either) who turns out to be the town's social outcast.  They fall in love, but she has a trunkload of baggage and he has no social graces, so they are constantly at odds and unable to sit down and have a civil conversation.  When they finally do, they live happily ever after . . . .but not in the village.


Nothing extraordinary there, except that there's no external conflict at all.  None.  There's no tension, and other than their both being TSTL, there's no plot.  There's no villain, no antagonist at all, and no obstacles in their path to happily ever after.


Leo Tyndale himself has no real baggage.  He's kind of a klutz when it comes to social graces, but he doesn't appear to be poor or driven to avenge some family insult.


Hestia Royce has been shamed by a fiancé who jilted her at the altar, but she still has a home and apparently an estate that will support her.


So what's the problem?  The only problem is that they're TSTL.


There are other problems, however, with the writing.  Let's skip over the tepid plot and look at the details.


All we know about Leo's invitation to teach is


only the death of his parents and an invitation which he could not refuse would have brought him back.

Murdoch, Emily. A Harvest Passion (Kindle Location 107). Endeavour Press. Kindle Edition.

Nothing more is said about it, so the reader has no idea why this invitation was such that he could not refuse it.  Was he offered a large sum of money?  Was he being blackmailed?   He seems to know no one in the village of Sandercombe, so whoever it was that issued the invitation never contacts him throughout the book and no further mention is made of why he returned to England.


He arrives in August, during the harvest, when the weather is hot.  So very hot.  Overwhelmingly, oppressively, blazingly, unbearably hot.  Over and over and over and over, we are told how hot it is in England, hotter even than in India.  There is never any rain, never any cooling breeze.  Always hot.  In the school house, in the guesthouse, everywhere, hot, hot, hot, hot, hot.  Right on through September, stifling hot, boiling hot.


I didn't buy it.  Nor did it really have anything to do with the story.


In my many updates, I detailed some of the many errors I came across, some as small and absurd as


There was a looking glass above an ewer with a pitcher of warm water beside it, and Leo gladly availed himself of it and

Murdoch, Emily. A Harvest Passion (Kindle Locations 47-48). Endeavour Press. Kindle Edition.

The ewer, of course, is the pitcher; Ms. Murdoch apparently doesn't know that there should be a basin to go with the pitcher, and that the ewer is not the same as the basin.  Small details like this indicate the author has done little to no research and is relying on what she thinks.


But other errors have nothing to do with not knowing what a ewer, pitcher, and basin are.


Leo's ship arrives in Southampton on Saturday.  In one paragraph, it's noonish, but two paragraphs later, the captain of the ship is crossing the deck in the evening glow.  Unable to locate the stagecoach after docking, Leo sups in a tavern apparently sometime after eight o'clock.  Yet he manages to arrive in Sandercombe, the village where the story takes place, that same evening!


This is sloppy writing and a complete lack of good editing.  Oh, I'm sure there was someone in the author's circle of family and friends who read the book and loved it, but the book desperately wanted a competent editor to catch errors like this.


Why, at eleven o’clock on Saturday the 13th August 1814, just twenty-four hours ago, he had been standing at the brow of a ship as it came into Southampton Port.


Shouts had rung out in rough voices, and Leo had ducked as a brown faced sailor marched past him with a heavy anchor in his grip, three other man helping him with sweat dripping down from his face. The spray of the sea crashed against the side of the boat of which they had all been residents for the last six months, and Leo instinctively put his hand to the side to steady himself as the waves rocked them.


“Almost there, Mr Tyndale, sir,” called Captain Browne, beaming as he strode across the ship’s deck in the August evening glow.

Murdoch, Emily. A Harvest Passion (Kindle Locations 92-98). Endeavour Press. Kindle Edition. 

Sailing ships of the early nineteenth century weighed many tons, and would not have been secured by an anchor that could be carried across a rolling deck by three or four men.  Ships' anchors were massive metal weights attached to heavy chains and ropes so that they could be mechanically raised ("weighed") and lowered ("dropped") by means of a capstan on the deck.  When the ship was under sail, the anchor was secured to the hull.


This again is the sort of thing that indicates the author has been careless and/or lazy.


Yet this little book of 80 pages is listed at $3.99!


I can understand the writer who has put together a little story and wants to share it for the fun of it.  The writer doesn't really want to go to the trouble of doing any research -- not even to the proper forms of address for the English nobility! -- but thinks maybe other people will enjoy the little tale without pointing out the lack of accuracy.


Then don't charge so much for it. Put it out there on Kindle for $0.99 so you get a few royalties to cover the cost of the cover art, but for crying out loud, don't expect people to pay that kind of price for that crappy a product.


And don't brag about your academic credentials when you've got errors out the wazoo.


It appears from the data on the Amazon listing that most of the 14 reviews came from free copies.  There are only five- and four-star reviews, and they are all gushing about how wonderful the book is.  To compare this to Downton Abbey or Winston Graham's Poldark novels is outrageous -- and hints that perhaps the reviewers are not unbiased consumers.  I haven't done any checking on that issue.


The book is not a Regency in the classic sense; it's just set in 1814.  The story is thin, the characters are thinner, and the details are annoyingly wrong.


Pass on this one, unless you've run out of milk cartons, cereal boxes, and soup can labels to read.

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text 2016-10-24 00:03
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
A Harvest Passion - Emily Murdoch



I'll have a full review later.  I have to vacuum the living room first.  Then feed the dogs.

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