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review 2020-03-02 22:17
A Bad Day at Black Rock, chapter three: The Horseman by Tom Alberti
The Horseman - Tom Alberti

Full disclosure:  I do not know Tom Alberti nor have I ever had any communication with him regarding this book, any of his other books, or any other subject.  Mr. Alberti was present at the Superstition Mountain Museum's 2020 Authors' Day on 29 February, an event I also attended as a local author.  I am an author of historical romances, contemporary gothic romances, and assorted non-fiction.


Tom Alberti was sitting next to Ron Feldman at the Museum on Saturday, but he did not respond, to the best of my knowledge, to Feldman's outburst when I asked the guys to quiet their voices.


I downloaded the free Kindle sample of Alberti's book, The Horseman.  I think I made it through four pages before giving up.


I don't think there's any question that this is a Gary Stu book.  The character's name is Tom Blandini, and his beautiful wife's name is Dominique.  Author Tom Alberti dedicates the book to his wife Dru Dominique Alberti.  So that issue is out of the way.


Let's get right down to the nitty gritty of the product.


First of all, there's no front matter.  What is it about these self-publishing authors that they don't believe in copyright pages?


Second of all, the formatting is screwed up.  Block paragraphs annoy the hell out of me to begin with, but when there are indented paragraphs interspersed, I lose my temper.



As you can see, there are also problems with punctuation: missing commas, missing quotation marks, misplaced periods.  This sort of thing is rampant.


And it gets worse very quickly.




Just copying and pasting via the Kindle doesn't capture the bizarre formatting, so I've done screen shots, but this is just the sample, so it's also available on the Look Inside feature.


But there's more wrong with this than just the inconsistent street abbreviations -- Ave. in some places, Street spelled out in others -- or random capitalizations.  There's the matter of historical context.


Maybe the readers of Tom Alberti's books don't care.  He has just one review on Amazon and two on Goodreads (plus two more, 4-star reviews from himself).  The problem is that Arizona's history is politically complex, and with no historical timeline for this book, it's impossible to understand what's going on. 


By five or six pages into the book, I still don't know what year it takes place.  Arizona became a state in 1912; before that it was a territory.  For a while it was part of the New Mexico Territory, and was even the Confederate Territory of Arizona for a couple of years.   Alberti never mentions its status, so that's no clue.  He mentions the railroad going from Tucson to El Paso, but a brief little bit of Googling tells me the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad didn't extend to Tucson until 1912, a few months after statehood.


However, if the story takes place after 1912, there should be motorcars on the streets, and telephones would be available for making various arrangements.  For example, Tombstone, Arizona Territory, had its own telephone company in 1881.


I'm guessing, therefore, that Mr. Alberti isn't really interested in historical accuracy.  He's just Gary Stu-ing himself into a kind of literary cosplaying without the need to follow the rules of grammar, story construction, readable formatting, or much of anything else.  If he has fun doing it, well, that's okay, but I can't recommend these books for anyone else to pay hard-earned money for.  The quality isn't even up to vanity press standards.


Rumor has it that Mr. Alberti didn't sell any copies of his books at the Museum event, but that's not surprising.  Very few people sold any books at all, and no one sold a lot.


Half star for the insult to authors who try.



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review 2020-03-02 14:44
ARC REVIEW WISH by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

From New York Times bestseller Mimi Jean Pamfiloff comes a sexy standalone novel.

If I could wish for one thing, it would be to have never met my ex. He took my money, cheated on me, and saddled me with an impossible mortgage.
Now, just as I’m fighting to put my life back together, I find an unusual bottle with a note inside: “You get one wish. Make it count.” Har har. Someone’s idea of a joke?
But nothing could prepare me for what comes next or for the screamin’ hot man with piercing blue eyes who shows up at my door, making demands.
I should slam the door in his sex-god face, because this guy has trouble written all over him. But I can’t. Suddenly I do have a wish…
It's so Mimi, really taking us by surprise and giving us something completely different
A completely enjoyable story. Characters you wish were real and an immersive story, it pulls you and doesn't let go even after the story is over. It will have you looking for genie bottles for your own Mr. Wish.
Ginnie is an artist, she creates glass mosaics. She use to be a teacher until her boyfriend convinced her to move across the country to live with him be an artist full time and even buy a house. Then she walks in on him with another woman, and then he cleans out her bank account and leaves her with a mortgage she can barely cover. Ginnie is just trying to stay afloat working on commission and with a stall in the farmer's market. The glass she uses in her art is all repurposed going to garage sales and thrift stores she finds all the best stuff, including a very unusual glass bottle she wants for her collection. When Ginnie gets home she discovers a message in the bottle, she's has been granted one wish. A wish would make all of Ginnie's problems disappear but she doesn't want the easy way out it's probably not even real to begin with but then he shows up, the most gorgeous man she's ever seen and he's telling her to make her wish.  
What follows is an emotional and funny tale of wish fulfillment. Mr. Wish is a mysterious and sexy addition to the Hunks of Mimi. Ginnie is a bright, talented, strong, and stubborn woman just like we like them.
Overall, it's another winner from Mimi Jean Pamfiloff. Yes it is a complete stand alone. (I still don't believe it. Mainly because I can see a crossover with King happening.... well that's my wish anyways.) It's a brilliant book. 





About the Author

MIMI JEAN PAMFILOFF is a New York Times bestselling author who’s sold over one million books around the world. Although she obtained her MBA and worked for more than fifteen years in the corporate world, she believes that it’s never too late to come out of the romance closet and follow your dreams. Mimi lives with her Latin lover hubby, two pirates-in-training (their boys), and their three spunky dragons (really, just very tiny dogs with big attitudes) Snowy, Mini, and Mack, in the vampire-unfriendly state of Arizona. She hopes to make you laugh when you need it most and continues to pray daily that leather pants will make a big comeback for men.

Sign up for Mimi’s mailing list for giveaways and new release news!
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review 2020-03-02 04:33
A Bad Day at Black Rock, chapter two: Double Cross by Ron Feldman
Double cross - Ron Feldman

Full disclosure: I have met the author, Ron Feldman, on a couple of occasions but have never had a lengthy conversation with him about this book, his other books, writing in general, or anything else.  He is local to Apache Junction, Arizona.  He has written several books, one of which my . . . friend bought and read fifteen or so years ago.  I myself am an author of historical romances, contemporary gothic romances, and assorted non-fiction.


On Saturday, 29 February 2020, Mr. Feldman was among a group of eighteen Arizona authors who were exhibiting their works at the Superstition Mountain Museum in Apache Junction, Arizona.  I was also one of the eighteen.


The event was held on the wide patio of the Museum building.  Mr. Feldman was set up with a group of four other white male writers of Old West fiction and non-fiction at one end of the patio; the rest of the authors were at tables arranged along the length of the rest of patio.  Separating the two groups was an open area in front the museum's actual entrance.


Because the museum's event was competing with another local celebration -- the annual Lost Dutchman Days -- in downtown Apache Junction, there was virtually no traffic at the museum most of the morning.  That meant we authors pretty much had to entertain ourselves.  For Mr. Feldman and his companions, this meant discussing politics, and discussing it very loudly.


This is a photo of the front of the museum building, showing how the patio extends from front to back under a nice wide overhang.



Mr. Feldman and his companions were basically clustered right at the front, just behind the handicapped parking sign on the left. The front door is behind the white sandwich-board sign, so the rest of us were lined up on both sides of the patio beyond the door and all the way to the back of the building.


That nice wide overhang provides shelter from the sun, but it also acts as an acoustical funnel.  As Mr. Feldman and the other . . . guys . . . kept talking politics, they also kept getting louder.  And louder.  And louder.  Finally the volume reached the point where none of the rest of us could have any kind of conversation without shouting to be heard over them.  Because I don't take shit from assholes, I finally left my table -- I was at the end closest to the door, so also closest to Feldman & Cie. -- and walked over to them.  They of course glanced at me and that was it.  I was not worth taking any more notice of.


However, I bravely spoke up.


"Excuse me, gentlemen, but do you think you could tone it down just a bit?  Your voices are quite loud, and the acoustics here are amplifying them to carry all the way down the patio, and none of the rest of us can talk."


Feldman immediately shrieked at me, "This is still America!  We have freedom of speech!  We ain't a socialist country! We can say whatever we god damn want to!"


I looked at him and said, "I don't care what you say.  I'd just like you to say it a little more quietly so the rest of us can talk, too."


And I turned around and walked back to my little table.


I got dirty looks from Feldman the rest of the day.  (For some odd reason or other, Ermal Williamson never told him he should smile more. . .  )


Now, as to the book:


No way am I going to pay $9.99 for 169 pages in Kindle format without checking out the sample.


When I see a Kindle book published by the author and with no front matter at all, I know the author isn't familiar with "real books."  The front matter may seem like nonsense to non-readers, but knowing when a book was published, who the publisher is, what the legal ownership/copyright is, all help the reader to understand the validity of the book.  Yes, even fiction can be valid or invalid.


Mr. Feldman's Double Cross has no front matter at all.  None.  For his own benefit he could have listed his other books, but at least a copyright date would be helpful.


And no, it doesn't help to have that information at the end.


The book starts with a Preface, which is followed by a Prologue.




Well, there are, but they are neither block nor indented.



This is annoying as hell.


Now, I admit I'm a picky reader, and it's easy for me to get thrown out of a story by a pesky detail  That said, however, a well-written book will catch me every time.  I just reread Barbara Michaels's Be Buried in the Rain for about the tenth time a few nights ago, and even though I know the whole story and most of the fine details, the smoothness of the writing kept me in the story from beginning to end.


Feldman lost me with the no front matter, and with the non-paragraphs, but I slammed the Kindle shut here:


Remnants of people – hundreds of bleaching human bones, and, occasionally, a skull – lie bleaching in a long, narrow, twisting canyon where an ambush had taken place.

Feldman, Ron (2010-04-30T22:58:59). Double Cross . Ron Feldman. Kindle Edition.


This book has not seen an editor with any skill.  The author has insufficient skill to put out a professional product.  Is there a story in there good enough to overcome the technical problems?  I don't know, and I have no interest in putting forth the necessary excessive effort to find out.  There are better books out there, by better writers, for more reasonable prices.


I sipped the sour milk and threw away the rest of the gallon.  A half star for insulting my professionalism, and for being a jerk.

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review 2020-02-14 14:33
ARC REVIEW Sated In Ink by Carrie Ann Ryan

Sated in Ink (Montgomery Ink: Boulder #2)Montgomery Ink: Boulder #2, It's been a while since I've read a menage, probably because it's been a while since Carrie Ann Ryan has written one. I am picky about any M/M or M/M/F I usually only stick to authors I know, because I already enjoy their writing style and I trust that I'll enjoy the book. Carrie Ann does not disappoint. Emotional, immersive, really freakin' hot! Top it all of with the wonderful Montgomery Family and you can't go wrong.

Ethan Montgomery has had a crush on his best friend Lincoln for as long as he can remember. Lincoln has had a crush on Ethan from the start of their friendship, neither of them knowing how the other felt. Jogging one morning they come across a bride drinking wine straight from the bottle just sitting in the park, concerned they introduce themselves and ask her out for coffee. Holland ran away from her wedding after catching her sister with her almost husband in a delicate situation. Ethan and Lincoln offered her comfort and friendship, which she needed after all her "friends" abandoned her in favor of her sister. Holland's friends and family vilified her making her the bad guy in this situation so her new friendship with Ethan and Lincoln was very much needed and welcome.

Ethan and Lincoln are both attracted to her and several months down the line when they invite her over for Mario Kart and drinking they never expect it to turn out the way it does. They all agree they are going to try and make it as a triad (because throuple sounds silly). The Montgomery's embrace Holland into their fold giving her a whole new family, one that actually likes her. Lincoln is dealing with his strangely possessive manager and not being able to paint, and Ethan is overworking himself even more than usual. Holland still feels like she's on the cusp of the relationship and it's only a matter of time before they move on without her.

Overall, it's an emotional and entertaining story. Communication is key in any relationship and having three people needs even more work, no matter how hot the sex is. Holland, Lincoln, and Ethan have their work cut out for them and it makes a great story with great characters. It was nice to see the Montgomery's again but you know who I really miss the Shifters. I miss Carrie Ann's PNR. 


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review 2020-01-14 14:37
ARC REVIEW Instacrush by Kate Meader
Instacrush (Rookie Rebels #2)Rookie Rebels #2, It was kind hard not to have a crush on Super Glutes Theo Kershaw. From his outgoing personality to his comeback career, Theo is a loveable guy. He's the kind of guy who likes making other people smile and he loves to connect with his fans. Elle Butler is pretty much in limbo after getting out of the Army, she's learned to keep people at a distance. Elle loves her family but she doesn't like them very much, except maybe her sister but there are things in her past better left forgotten. Staying with her old Army buddy Levi is just temporary until she figures out what she wants to do, it doesn't help that Levi's neighbor is the incredibly sexy, irritatingly friendly Theo but she can't help but watch his live Instagram posts. As sexy as Theo is Elle still gets annoyed with him, or maybe it's because she finds him so sexy and friendly that pisses her off but over Christmas one thing lead to another and they spend the weekend in bed together.

Theo thinks Elle is special, he has even told his grandmother about her but Elle keeps her distance. Even after they find out she's pregnant with his kid she tries to keep him at arms distance. Theo thinks she's ashamed of him but she's doing it for his own protection, protection from her family. Elle's not the only one with family drama Theo's birth father has been trying to reconnect but Theo is not sure he's worth the effort especially when his father's family paid his mom off. Theo and Elle have a lot to work out between his family and her and their feeling for each other.

Overall, I loved Theo and Elle. Kate Meader has yet to write a book I didn't enjoy. Her style is so much fun to read, with the right amount of angst balanced with humor and romance and some pretty steamy scenes between Theo and Elle it was such a great read. It was nice to catch up of some of the older Rebels and all the hints at the next books and their sexy Rebels. 


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