Category Archives: Reviews

What the HALE is happening to the writing community?- A special Writing Tip Tuesday

I work from 9am to 4pm, Monday through Wednesday. I get up in the morning, lightly browse Facebook, get ready, and I’m out the door. Typically when I come home from work, there isn’t a lot going on. I mostly talk to Tricia, attempt to write and inevitably get distracted by shiny things on the internet. The reason I wanted to give a break down of my day is because it’s boring. I look at reviews, I check in with my other author friends, and that’s about it. The real life of most self-published, or small named authors is pretty boring. Or, at least I thought it was.

Today, I logged on Facebook and I saw one of my friends had shared an article from Buzz Feed entitled “This is What Happens When an Author Tracks Down a Critic in Real Life.” I was completely shocked. I mean, I know that the battle between bullies and the rest of the publishing world has been raging on in the background for years, but I never thought it would turn into something in the public eye. If you decided not to take a look at the aforementioned article because you found it TL;DR, I’ll explain:

Author Kathleen Hale wrote an article for the Guardian called “‘Am I being catfished?’ An author confronts her number one online critic” and it talks about her brush with a pseudo-book blogger, sock puppet type. The article spoke about Hale’s descent in to obsession about one particular reviewer named “Blythe Harris.” The bulk of the article touched on Hale’s own insecurities about the reviewer and how the reviewer went on to cyber-stalk her. With several alcohol fueled investigations, she did everything from pay ($19) for a background check on the name used by the reviewer, to requesting the reviewer interview her as part of a blog spot in an attempt to get more information. She even obtained the reviewer’s address (which she said would be for a giveaway) and Googled it, finding out that the reviewer used a pseudonym. Hale went on to rent a car, drive to the reviewer’s home and showed up at her door. Even though she chickened out, she still managed to call the reviewer, not once, but twice, in regards to the entire situation.

 

Every author deals with bullies at some point in their career. Most have their worst experiences at the beginning, when they’re still young enough in the community to get upset by bad reviews. The social websites, like Goodreads, are full of trolls look for people like Hale. They harass and attack authors in hopes of getting a reaction. Of course, there are authors who try to “counter attack” by using sites like Stop the Goodreads Bullies, under the guise of “protecting themselves.” If you know about STGRB, you know that the majority of the community look at them as sick, twisted psychos who stalk and harass anyone they feel they can by claiming that they’re trying to counteract bullies. STGRB has been on the black list for a long time due to their shameless sharing of private information (real names, addresses, phone numbers, etc.) and they’re considered the scourge of the writing world. Kathleen Hale contacted “Athena Parker,” one of the founders of STGRB (pseudonym) ((shocker, there, right?)), to get some more insight into how to respond to the bully. I went into a bit of detail about STGRB because I wanted you to understand that when Hale mentioned them in her article, I lost what little empathy I had for her.

Now, don’t get me wrong, “Blythe Harris” was just as much in the wrong as Kathleen Hale. Harris stalked Hale by over commenting on any positive review that was left on Hale’s book. She even “live tweeted” Hale’s tweets, mocking them mercilessly. Considering “Blythe Harris” probably won’t be commenting any time soon, let’s assume Harris’s recount of the situation is mostly spot on.

I don’t know how many times I’ve said this, but you NEVER comment on your own reviews. You NEVER respond to bullies. You NEVER harass them, because then you’re no better. I kind of though “don’t STALK them” would be a given, but maybe I’m being to optimistic. Regardless of how you feel about a reviewer, regardless of how merciless they become, you are better by not responding. You are better by not finding out who they are and going to their house.

Needless to say, both parties were wrong in this, and both should take serious looks at their own lives. The fact that Hale wrote an article about the situation makes her look more like the wrong-doer in the scenario, but I want to be clear that I don’t feel one has more guilt in the situation than the other. I think it’s wrong that either side is getting sympathy.

So when you sit at your keyboard, in hopes of starting your first/next book, think about this situation. Think about how both parties looked at the end of the situation. Think about how you want to look if something like this happens to you.

Writing Tip/ Moral of the Story: TWO WRONGS DON’T MAKE A RIGHT!!!

Tommy Nightmare (The Paranormals #2)- Book Review Thursday

*SPOILER WARNING!!* If you haven’t ready Jenny Pox yet, then you might want to skip this.

Click here for the buy link

Click here for the buy link

 

Tommy was nothing more than an orphaned boy forced through the foster care system, cursed with the ability to make people feel fear. After a life time of running cons and committing serious crimes with his power, Tommy landed himself in jail. After seeing a television show featuring Fallen Oaks’ own Ashleigh Goodling, Tommy realizes that she is his opposite so he sets out to find her. When he arrives in Fallen Oaks to join forces, he learns about what Jenny did, and decides to make her pay for murdering Ashleigh. When he reconnects with a childhood crush with the ability to listen to the dead, Tommy and Esmeralda set to bring Ashleigh back and bring Jenny down.

After the massacre, Jenny Morton and Seth Barrett are trying to find a sense of normalcy in the nearly empty town. Insecurities and family duties threaten to tear the couple apart. When Darcy Metcalf suddenly starts acting like Jenny’s friend, Jenny beings to wonder if she and Seth will truly be okay.

A serious epidemic sweeps through Fallen Oaks and Dr. Heather Reynard of Center for Disease Control, along with the National Guard are brought in to find the source of the devastation. With no leads and so many people either missing or unidentified, Heather is concerned about  finding the source. After meeting Darcy Metcalf, Heather is persuaded to look deeper in to Jenny Morton. When the evidence begins to pile up, Heather has to decided what to do next.

Tommy Nightmare is a great sequel to Jenny Pox. It was very well developed and mostly a page turner. It lagged a bit for me in certain spots, but the over all story was fantastic. J.L. Bryan has truly built a world and a mythology here that is second to none. My one of my favorite New Adult series thus far. I definitely recommend it!

4 star

Vampire Morsels (Short Story Collection) by Joleene Naylor- Book Review Thursday

I am unfortunately having some technical difficulties, so there will not be a video today, but here is the review I was going to do!

morsels-collection-cover

Click here for the buy link

 

(Joleene did give me a copy for free. I, of course, owe her an honest review)

For those of you that may not know, Vampire Morsels is a collection of short stories set in the Amaranthine Universe. Each story is told from the point of view of some of the lesser characters in the series. In my prior review, I had read up to ‘Kariss,’ which was free (at the time) on Smashwords. It was great to be able to pick up right where I had left off. What I found from having these lesser characters tell their stories really helped show the depth and thought that Joleene has put into this universe. It’s very evident that she wants you, the reader, to be just as big a part of her world. All of the characters were extremely well thought out and very three dimensional. I have spoken with other people that have gotten into the series and they said that they actually started with Vampire Morsels. So, if you’re not sure where to start, this may be the best place.

5 star

 

Better than Perfect by Tricia Drammeh- Book Review Thursday

Amaranthine Mini Series Collections by Joleene Naylor- Book Review Thursday!

Check out this review for all of the mini series collections for the Amaranthine Series by Joleene Naylor!!!

Children of Shadows (Amaranthine Book 6) by Joleene Naylor- Book Review Thursday

 

Check out the video review for Children of Shadows, the latest novel in the Amaranthine Series by Joleene Naylor.

Beware of Love in Technicolor by Kristie Collins Brote- Book Review Thursday

Beware of Love in TechnicolorBeware of Love in Technicolor by Kirstie Collins Brote

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Greer Bennett wants college to be a fresh starts for her. Having been a bit of a chubby, overlooked girl in high school, she sees it as an opportunity to be a whole new person. After meeting John Cunningham, her straight edge, naive out look on like is thrown for a loop.

There is a lot needed to be said about this book. I wanted to like this book more than I can actually say, and I read all the way through hoping it out get better, which it didn’t. I kept waiting for something to actually happen , I don’t know how to explain that. I mean, the book seemed to be written as an attempt at one of those Friday night teen dramas that used to air on Fox or something, but it didn’t work in the book setting. Perhaps with the right background music and pretty actors, this story, exactly as it is, would have worked. It felt like an attempt to cross Freaks and Geeks and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist , and it didn’t succeed. A big part of what drew me into the book was the mention of pop culture in the synopsis. A few mentions of popular books and movies, and a few musical artist doesn’t really hit the “pop culture” nail on the head.

Greer, as a character, was completely unlikable to me. She was overly shallow and skanky. I mean, the whole book was laced with her essentially being attached to John and making out with other guys, plus, she would get mad at him for even getting a phone call from his ex-girlfriend. I mean, that is a bad thing, but her guilt over the situations she got herself into was almost non existent. I get that when you’re in college you want to explore the world and yourself and, you know, the whole self-discovery thing, but you don’t get attached to someone right off the bat if you want to do that. Plus her attitude towards her dorm mate, Molly, was completely unnecessary. She would refer to Molly as a “nightmare” and a bad roommate, but it really sounded like Greer was in need of a reality check. The dorm mate didn’t do a damn thing to anybody.

There was a big emphasis made on the dorm mate at the beginning and she was mentioned here and there, but I felt like with the lack of the dorm mate in the actually bulk of the story, it wasn’t worth building up who she was, or really even having scenes with her. She felt more like a filler than anything else.

The relationship between John and Greer was forced, at best. It wasn’t believable in the slightest. Yes, she thinks he’s “cute” but they had so little in common. I understand that he was her first boyfriend but the back and forth, the mistrust, and all of that seemed more like something to fill 200 pages than to make an actual story. This is where the feeling of Freaks and Geeks comes in. It felt like the author was attempting for a very “Lindsay and Nick” type of relationship, but it fell flat.

The other side of that is Greer’s inability to have an orgasm, a la Nick and Norah . While every woman experiences this at some point, and it is mentioned in the blurb, it didn’t make sense. I mean, not in the way Greer handled it. There was a big to-do about it after her and John’s first time, but then it was a forced mention through out the story.

The editing and formatting issues were the icing on the cake. As a self-published author, I understand that it’s hard to find someone to help you edit, or beta read, but friends could have gotten involved or something. Heck reading back to yourself helps a lot. There are free formatting programs out there as well. I don’t like leaning on “oh they’re self published” as an excuse to not take the time with your book that it needs. I did that, and my book suffered, so I recently had to re-release my book because it was just bad. So I don’t think that any self-published author should let their book lack in the editing and formatting department. We have to work 10 times harder to make a book readable and well put together because we do it all ourselves.

All in all, I picked up this book because I wanted to read it, but I was extremely disappointed.

Click here for the buy link

 

1 star

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments Book 6) by Cassandra Clare- Book Review Thursday

 

Click the picture above for the buy link!

Ups, downs, tears and triumphs. In this last installment of The Mortal Instrument Series by Cassandra Clare, the impending war with Sebastian is brought to a head. Clary, Jace, Alec, Isabelle and Simon are forced to take the fight into their own hands.

I could not have asked for a better ending to this series. I laughed, I got angry, and I cried. It was so well done. I will say there were, surprisingly, a few grammatical and editing issues, but they were easy to over look. I hate to see this story end because it has been a big part of my life the last few years, but I understand that it’s time to move on.

5 star

Another Vlogless Vlog Monday

Sorry guys, but there is just nothing new to report. This vlog would only contain the same things I’ve been saying for the past couple of weeks and I don’t want to waste your time. In the mean time, check out my latest review that was posted to the channel, and don’t forget to subscribe!

Newest Reviews

 

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