Bookish Thoughts: Cross-posting to Goodreads

I’ve decided to change up how I cross-post my reviews to Goodreads, which is the only other place I post my reviews anymore.   I guess I simply don’t see the point of posting the full review to my blog and to Goodreads so I’m going to post a sentence or two along with the link to the full review here on my blog.  It might suck for those that follow me only on Goodreads but if they are truly interested in what I have to say about a given title then they can come see it here.  After all, I have a blog for a reason, I want people to come here to read my reviews.

The publishers might also not be thrilled about this idea as they usually want the reviews posted to multiple places but it has been ages since I posted a review to Barnes and Nobel and even longer since I ventured onto Amazon whose business practices I do not support.  If they are too upset they can simply not approve me for an ARC.  I gave up posting to B&N because it became too tedious to cross-post the reviews for books after they publish.  It was fine for older titles as I could do it at the time I wrote up my review but books that haven’t released yet were not allowed to be posted.  Some books I get months ahead of time and I’ve already written my review and moved on by the time I’m allowed to post my review on their site.  So I stopped. Honestly, anymore I think the only place people go to read what others think about a book they are interested in is Amazon or Goodreads (which is owned by Amazon).

So, that’s all I got.  I just felt the need to explain the change to my Goodreads reviews for those of you that might follow over there.  I’m going to see if there is a way to post a notice on the site for followers there.

Happy Reading.

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Bookish Thoughts: Ack! Author Feedback.

Bookish Thoughts

 

An author read my review of their book recently and liked it over on Goodreads today.  Of course I had to jump over there and see what I said about their book sweating bullets the entire time over what sort of review I left.  I always try to be nice, but a book is someone’s baby and it is easy to take feedback to heart.  In this case it was a three star review, not glowing, but not awful either.  Some aspects of the book didn’t work for me, but on the whole it was a good book.  Whew, now to ponder what the ‘like’ meant… My paranoia has no end people I can go on and on.

But wait, don’t you review books as a hobby?  Don’t you also accept books for review from authors all the time?  Yes, my hobby is reviewing books I read, and I know that upon occasion authors are going to read what I think of their work.  Yes, I also accept books from authors knowing full well they are going to read my review.  I have warning in those cases though that the author is going to go over my feedback with a fine tooth comb and I am extra diligent in my efforts to express my opinion fairly, honestly and without misunderstanding.  I also accept review books from publishers, as in the case that got me thinking today.  I guess when I accept a review request from the publisher a part of me just assumed that most of the time the author is not going to be reading what I write, just the publisher.  What is it they say when we assume…  I have been living in this little dream-world where I am writing these reviews for most of the books I read not thinking the author, especially the big time authors that have thousand’s of fans and thousand’s of reviews, are going to even care what I think of their book.  It still doesn’t happen often, but I think this is something I am going to run into more often as the blog grows and the more books I review.

I’m not sure what I think about all this or how I’m going to handle pissed off authors.  Now I have had some authors react negatively to my reviews on several occasions, most of the time it is simply an upset message, but there was one case that I’m seeing has gotten me quite nervous over future author feedback from my reviews.   I’m thinking a policy for how I handle upset authors is something I need to have in place.  Probably a case of not responding, deleting and blocking aggressive authors.  After all I expressed my opinion about their work, they returned the favor with their opinion of my opinion and we should just leave it at that.  Part ways and never meet again.  After all if I read their book and hated it I’m probably not going to be reading another one.  Very few exceptions to this rule.  Sherrilyn Kenyon being probably the biggest one and if she ever reads a negative review about one of her books that I wrote (and there are a few) I will probably die of embarrassment.

I think this befuddlement might stem from the reason for my writing reviews, and it isn’t for authors.  It is for readers, and myself.  I write to share with fellow readers my excitement, good or bad, for the book I just read.  When I review I want to share what I liked or didn’t like with others to help them decide for themselves if they want to invest the time to read that book too.  There are millions of books published each year and there is no way that any one person is going to read any more than a small teeny tiny percentage of the books they are interested in, so I review to help others narrow down the choices available to them.  I also review for myself, so that I can remember what I thought of the author’s style of writing or what last happen in the different series I read.  I do not review to stroke author’s egos, or even provide constructive criticism of how to improve their story.  The author is the last person on my mind when I type up my review, but that might just be me.  Maybe that should change… I don’t know.  What I do know is I’m not being paid for this, nor do I want to be.  When someone pays you to do something then they can dictate to you.  I don’t want that.  I want my reviews to be honest open opinions of what I think about what I read.  I just didn’t take into account when I started that the authors would be reading the reviews I guess.

I know this is a lot of rambling and if you are reading this sentence I’m surprised you’ve stuck it out, little gold star for you.  Like I said it is just some thought about author feedback as I work thought my feelings on the topic.  What do you fellow reviewers think?  How do you feel when you know an author read your review, especially when it doesn’t center around a review request?  Do you have policies on how to handle aggressive angry authors?  I’ll love to hear your thoughts in the comments….  Happy Reading, and reviewing.

Bookish Thoughts: Bully Authors

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Well I’ve done something that swore I would never do.  I redacted a review.  Not because I wanted to, but because an unhappy author sent an email to my place of employment in what I can only assume was an attempt to have me fired.  After responding back, which I shouldn’t have, with the comments that I am one small opinion, authors should not contact reviewers it is unprofessional, and that all reviews help sell books even the negative ones.  I decided to pull my reviews and lower the star rating to one and add the reason for redacting my review.  I was bullied, the author attempted to make me feel guilty for my review, which I don’t, but since she knows where I work and has already contacted me there I felt I had no other choice but to pull the review.  I can’t afford to lose my job right now.

I have taken the following steps to help ensure my safety in the future.  I have removed all remaining connections between my job and my reviews through my user profiles.  I have reported the author to their publisher and Amazon.  I have blocked all emails from this author.  I will be taking the same steps in future cases of harassment from authors.  I am also considering no longer posting my reviews to Amazon at all for any author.  They should not have been able to contact me at work!  Authors should not be able to read personal information, like locations, of those reviewing their books.

Needless to say I am feeling pretty angry and frustrated and scared.  The review wasn’t even that awful, and I pointed out what worked for me and what didn’t.  It was a fair expression of my opinion of their book.  I’m not ready to give up reviewing yet, but if this starts happening regularly I will give it up.   This was very unprofessional behavior by an author writing with a major publishing house and that has won awards.  Has her book never been criticized?

Just for future referenced I will not back down from a review again.  EVER.  I will also be contacting your publisher to report bad behavior.

Have you ever been contacted negatively over a review?  What did you do about it?

 

Update 10/25/15:  I can see this post is starting to make the rounds and striking a chord with many people, good and bad.  I have completely pulled my redacted review from everywhere because I do not wish for backlash against any author.  Yes, her behavior was unprofessional and wrong, but two wrongs do not make a right.  So I will continue to protect the identity of the author, or start now…  so they do not fall victim to bullying themselves.

I would also like to defend my reviews a bit.  I write honest personal opinions of what I read.  I have always strive to do that as nicely as possible, but anyone can take offence for anything in this world and when it is something you pour your heart and soul into it can be painful when others reject it.  I have reread the original review several times and still stand by it.  It was a fair opinion of this authors work.  Sometimes thought honesty is not what people want to hear.  I had the right to critique her book how I saw fit to share with my peers and she had the right to not like it.  She did not have the right to contact me at my place of employment though.  That is where she is wrong.

Novella Reviews: aka playing catch-up, aka cleaning out the Nook, aka cheating…

Okay, I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump, for me, and have managed to fall way behind in my reading goal for the year.  Now I did want to take the pressure off a bit, but perhaps I got a little too relaxed in my reading habits because somehow I ended up nine books behind!  So when I caught up on all my review books and DNFed my third book of the week I decided to look for some novellas to read and catch up.  It also helps me figure out what I’m in the mood to read by getting a sample of several different genres. I plan to do this from time to time so hopefully I can come up with some cool graphic and name for next time. Unless otherwise stated all of these books were free downloads from B&N or Amazon. Now for the reviews:

 

Unwraping Tess

Vegas Mates #5: Released 11/25/14

Book Length: 75 Pages

This book I paid for from B&N

Author’s Site

Book Synopsis:

Tess Demakis loves the city life. The noise, the lights, the people. Everything about the rush feels like home. The only thing missing is a spark with any of the pack males. After her and her twin sister’s twenty-fifth birthday passes, she’d thought for sure one of the handsome men in her aunt’s pack might’ve been meant for her.

– No. Such. Luck. –

Patrick O’Hearn just got back home from a long tour overseas with his SEAL unit. The big grizzly is ready to lie back and enjoy the snowy mountain inn retreat his brother renovated last year, meet his brother’s wife and some of her family, enjoy good food, etc. The last thing he ever expected was to find a mate, especially not his sister-in-law.

Now he can’t think of anything but unwrapping the gorgeous sassy blonde and making her his forever.

– Best. Christmas. Ever. –

My Review:

Nice little addition to this series of novella length books, feels a little like the end of  the series. I’m not sure if that is the case, but the author’s site doesn’t give any details for future books in this world.  I do believe I’m alright with that.  This was a sweet end and I liked thee pairing of Tess with Patrick.  It feels like there was a major time jump from the last book, so I wonder if there is a spin-off series that I am missing someplace.  Fun little romp, little action not much plot beyond the coming together of these two though.  I’m glad I read it, but don’t know if I would continue on if there are future books.

My Rating:3 Stars

The Amazon’s Curse

Book #5 in the Atlantis Series: Release date 3/1/09

Book Length: 41 Pages

Author’s Site

Book Synopsis:

Don’t miss this brand-new, eBook exclusive tale of Atlantis, Gena Showalter’s mythical world of immortals, magic and dark seduction!

Zane, a fierce vampire warrior, has been enslaved by the Amazons. Nola, a lovely Amazon soldier, has been cursed with invisibility. Now, these two stubborn enemies must overcome the pasts that haunt them and embrace a love that can set them free…

My Review:

I do believe I DNF the first book in this series.  I just couldn’t get into the author’s style of writing even though I know she is very popular.  This book reminded me of that point.  While I didn’t hate it I thought it was pretty heavy on some of the clichés about paranormal romance books.  I just didn’t care for it.  This author reminds me a lot of Kresley Cole and I had to stop her series after a while too.  There is just something about their worlds or characters that just doesn’t work for me.

My Rating: 2 stars

Angel Redeemed

Deadly Sins Series #1.1: Published 11/29/12

Book Length: 30 Pages

Author’s Site

Book Synopsis:

This is a bonus SHORT story (less than 10,000 words) coinciding with Angel Unborn (book 1 in the Deadly Sins series) and told from the hero’s point of view. Ripped from the afterlife, Ursus, a defiant archangel, faces an ancient prophecy regarding the woman he loves. Will he bend to Heaven’s will or claim her as his own?

My Review:

One of the beautiful things about downloading free novellas from B&N or Amazon is that you get try different author’s work and see for yourself if they are a good match for you.  This is one case where reading the novella has saved me from reading a longer book.  I don’t want to be mean, but the humor and dialog was off for me.  Characters didn’t feel right, but that could be because I haven’t gotten a chance to know them in the first book.  The banter between characters though just didn’t work for me so I’m going to pass on this series.

My Rating: 1 Star

 

Bloodwine

 

Stand Alone: Published 5/6/12

Book Length: 15 Pages

Author’s Site

Book Synopsis:

Fifty years of war with the humans and the loss of his lifemate has jaded newly crowned vampire King Darius Constantinos. At a reception for the new king, the beautiful Queen Anastasia approaches Darius with an offer he can’t accept without betraying his heart, but how can he refuse the peace she promises?

My Review:

Everything I said for the last review holds true for this one except that this story did work for me and I desperately wish it was a longer piece.  I would love to know more about these characters and the futuristic world they live in. The writing was very well done, the chemistry convincing, and the sex steamy.  I am going to look into other books by this author and keep my fingers crossed that she someday decides to expand this world

My Rating: 3 Stars

 

Anything he Wants

 

25 Pages

Author’s Site

Book Synopsis:

DOWN ON HER LUCK
Lucy Delacourt’s temp position isn’t quite her dream job but it pays the bills…barely. The highlight of her day is riding the elevator in the mornings: she always manages to time it so that she sees the handsome stranger every day. He’s fuel for her fantasies and way out of her league, but a girl can look, right?

BUT NOT FOR LONG  
Everything changes however the day the handsome stranger seduces a stunned Lucy, first in the elevator then again in the parking garage after work. Completely out of character, she yields without a fight, but she has no idea her wanton acts with a man whose name she doesn’t know will start a sensual chain of events that forever change her life. Because the sexy stranger is none other than Jeremiah Hamilton, billionaire CEO of Hamilton Industries, and one taste of the hot little temp isn’t near enough to satisfy his need.

The billionaire has big plans for the wayward temp, plans that have nothing to do with filing paperwork…

My Review:

This book is very much a Fifty Shades of Grey or Sylvia Day fan’s sort of Story.  It is all kinds of wrong and will send feminists running for their twitter accounts to scream in protest, but I kind of liked it.  Oh sure it is a messed up relationship the two are getting into, but it definitely delivered in the steam department.    I was all prepared to go and buy the next book but balked at the price.  The next book is only 43 pages long and costs $2.99!  I’m sorry, but that is too much for so few pages.  To me a book needs to be around 200 pages to pay that price.  I’m not going to be nickeled and dimed for these stories when they are not all that different from what is out there in regular length stories.  So why I enjoyed this I’m not continuing on.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Before the Moon Rises

Ritter Werewolves #1: Release Date 3/22/12

67 Pages

Author’s Site

Book Synopsis:

After a twelve-hour shift in a busy emergency room, Janet O’Brien is beat. Her last patient arrives unconscious and naked. She’s lead to believe he’s a psyche patient off his meds. However, once he awakens, Janet is charmed by his million-dollar smile and agrees to give him a ride home.

Werewolf, Max Ritter notices the sassy nurse when he wakes after a night under the full moon. Unfortunately, his archrival is drawn to Janet as well. In order to keep her out of harm’s way, he opts to keep her close. When the chemistry between them sparks, Max discovers a completely new reason to keep Janet safe.

My Review:

Here is another one I really enjoyed.  The plot was clever, the dialog funny and well written, good chemistry between the characters, hot steamy sex.  A great little read and I would love to spend some more time in this world.  Now the next book is $2.99 and another novella.  I will probably end up passing on it because that is just too much money for that short a book.  If it was a bit longer or even $1.99 I would snatch it up without hesitating, but I’m cheap and there are plenty of other books I can read out there.  If you don’t have the same reservations as I on the price, I would check this story out it was really good.

My Rating: 4 Stars

 

Untamed Hunger

Alpha Colony #1: Release Date 12/09

Book Length 88 pages

Author’s Site

Book Synopsis:

Major Sasha Young has been stationed at Alpha Colony for the past three years, part of an elite military team assigned to maintain order and resolve conflicts between the shapeshifters. She has watched the hostile morphs, secretly fascinated by their predatory grace and animal magnetism. The colonies were established to protect defenseless humans from these genetic anomalies. So why does she feel like the morphs are the ones being victimized?

Grayson Evans, a rare white-tiger shifter, is frustrated and appalled by how little their human keepers understand the average “morph.” After an especially violent altercation between leopard and tiger shifters, he decides it’s time to educate them. He’s had his eye on Sasha ever since she arrived, and introducing the feisty beauty to the full potential of a felidae-morph is going to be his pleasure — and hers!

My Review:

This is a BDSM Paranormal that started off a little strange.  It was almost like you were picking up the book mid-point.  I wish there was more back story to fill in details and create more chemistry between the two leads.  The sex was alright, but not great. I’m not going to be continuing on though.

My Rating: 2 stars

 

ARC Making Magic by Donna June Cooper – 5 Stars

Making Magic

Cover art thanks to Goodreads, click on it to visit book’s page there.

Book #3 in Books of the Kindling Series: Release Date January 20, 2015.

I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review.

Book Synopsis:

During his law enforcement career, Sheriff Jake Moser has been called to Woodruff Mountain a few times to deal with some rather weird situations. Now, recovering from a bullet wound that should have killed him and fending off his mother’s ravings about the evil that lurks on the mountain, he’s making alternate career plans.

Just as those plans begin to take shape, someone starts kidnapping newborn babies, then returning them unharmed. To make things even more interesting, an irritating adversary from his past has returned to bedevil him in a whole new, delightful way.

After her erratic psychic gift forced her to abandon her home and a promising musical career, Thea Woodruff has spent years trying, unsuccessfully, to atone for the death of Becca Moser, Jake’s sister. Once she has mourned those she’s lost and apologized to those she’s failed, she intends to flee her mountain once again.

Jake would rather she stay to compose a new tune—with him. But their complicated harmony reveals a guilty secret that threatens not only their future, but their lives…

My Review:

This series continues to develop in richness and complexity and the author is really coming into her own with her writing.  This is probably my favorite of the series so far and I expect even better things in future books of this series.  I had thought when I started this series that it was going to be a trilogy, but after finishing this book (and checking the authors website) I see that there are going to be at least three more to go, and I can wait.  I like the direction Ms. Cooper is taking with world and I think there is potential for many fun stories to come from these characters.

Now I must confess this is a bit tamer story-line then I normally read, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.  I just need to be in the right mood for this type of read.  This series is perfect for those wishing to stick their toe in something a little more supernatural,  but still have a sweet clean-cut romance.  The language is very clean and along with the romance.  Still a little spice, but more on the milder side.  This author focuses more on the building of relationships, characters and connections then just having them jump in the sack.  Probably more realistic when it comes to most people’s love lives.  Personally I like it, means more pages dedicated to the actually story rather than just forcing situations where they can pair up.

This story started a little like the last one, I didn’t know what the heck was going on for a few pages, but I stuck with it and soon was able to piece together what was going on and recognized some familiar faces.  The setting was again at Woodruff Mountain and centers around the third sibling of the family, the lost sheep.  We soon learn what drove Thea away and what her ‘power’ or gift is.  There was a lot of development in the power aspect to this world and, as to not spoil anything, I’m just going to say that I am excited with the direction the author took!

Jake was the love interest for Thea and they were a fun match.  I loved how they were pitted against each other in the beginning of the book.  You could see the chemistry there but neither wanted to fess up to an attraction and had to give each other a hard time.  I really enjoyed watching these two work things out.  This story also had a bit of a love triangle going on, something that wasn’t used in other stories, and it just added some angst to the budding relationship.

While the mountain was the setting for this story it took a bit of the back burner compared to the other two books.  More time was spent in the town itself and we got to know the community around the mountain better in this story.  Like the other two books Ms. Cooper manages to teach us about a new aspect to being good stewards to humanity and the environment.  This is an aspect of her story telling that I completely support.  I also appreciate how she goes about giving us these examples without being peachy or weighing the story down.  She strikes a nice balance between advocacy and storytelling, resulting in a story with depth that will hopefully do some good and make people think about the role they play in this world.

Like I said in the beginning this world continues to get better and I’m delighted to see it will be continuing on.  I like how Ms. Cooper is getting bolder with her writing and we see more magical elements working their way into her world.  She is growing as a writer but continues to stay true to the type of story she wants to tell.  I expect only good things to come in future books.


 

Just wanted to remind you that we are hosting a giveaway of the first two e-books in this series, More Than Magic and Mostly Magic.  Click on the link below to enter or visit the giveaway page or my facebook page to enter!

More than Magic    &   Mostly Magic

(Books linked to my reviews)

 

Click To Enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday Morning Question: Why Review?

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Good Monday morning everyone…. I’m blogging to you while exhausted, so please forgive my half-hearted attempt to entertain and engage you in this post.  Last weekend hubby and I attended our Alma mater’s homecoming, go Yellowjackets!  It was three days of too little sleep, too much bad (for you) food, reminiscing, five hours of shopping at an outlet mall, tons of walking and all topped off by a horrible hotel room and a four-hour drive (each way).  I’m doing good to have my eyes open today.  Too old to live like a college student anymore, still miss Graceland University and am looking forward to next year’s visit when we return for hubby’s 20 year reunion.  Anyway, it was a busy weekend so you know what that means, no reading.  Bad book blogger.  Had an interesting conversation with an international student while there about my hobby, book blogging, and why do I write book reviews to share with others.  So this morning I ask: Why do you review books?

For me I started writing reviews to keep track of what I read, likes and dislikes; authors and series I wanted to continue and those I didn’t.  I also get excited about reading and when I find a book I really love I want to share that with others.  I also enjoy talking about reading and helping others develop their own love of books.  I like the challenge of finding the right book for any reader and nothing pleases me more than when anyone tells me that they loved a book I recommended for them.  I started off small, just writing short review on Goodreads, and eventually signed up for read-to-review programs.  I learned that indie authors were willing to give you copies of their books just for writing a short review.  This all sounded like some sort of amazing scam to me.  Free Books?  Hell yea, I was on board and wondered what the catch was.  Well the “catch” was sometimes you are not going to like the book and need to still write an honest review for something that didn’t work for you.  It can be kinda awkward, but still worth the price of admission I thought.  This year I decided to take the plunge and start my own blog.  I came up with a name, quite clever if you ask me, Read What I Like, and now it has been more than half a year and I am still at it.  I hope that you all enjoy my reviews, but I will probably still write them even if you don’t.  I have enjoyed becoming a part of this community and look forward to all the books and review to come.

Monday Morning Question – Annoying?

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Good Monday morning everyone. Hope you had a full weekend of reading as we mourn the end of summer…  NOT a fan of fall. Sure its lovely, but to me it only signals the coming of winter and that spring is much too far away.  This weekend I did mange to finish up a book and post a review, mainly because I told my husband to ‘go away’.  Often when I post a review I go through the others on Goodreads to see what others thought of it.  For my latest read the reviews I found were chock full of my biggest review pet peeve.  Something I find so annoying that I usually won’t read the review and have to close the page.  What is it?  It is those damn moving graphics that are usually a clip from a movie or tv show that stand in for some expression the author of the review wants to convey.  (It pains me to include them, but here are some examples).

or

or

 

Now static images don’t bother me, but these moving ones are just distracting.  As bad as the moving ads on the side of most web pages meant to catch your eye and make you clip on what ever computer virus they want you to download onto your machine.  I think I could even tolerate one or maybe two of them in a review, but the posters that seem to love them always include half a dozen or more right there muddling up my computer screen full of annoying emoticons.

So there is what I find annoying in a book review post.  What about you?  What do you compare to nails on a black board making your skin crawl and driving you away from reading what could be a great review?

Thursday Thoughts: Love an author? Leave a review.

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This week has me (still) working hard for my husband.  We are now signed up to do two book signings, one local and one at our Alma mater, Graceland University.  There are posters to be made, books to be ordered, publicity to thought up, details to be ironed out all on top of his website and social media accounts to be maintained.  There is so much work that goes on behind the scenes and beyond just writing the damn book that really it is a full-time job in itself.  When you are an indie author this also all falls on your, or your spouse’s, shoulders.  It will be worth it to see his dream realized, but seriously it is eating into my reading time…  Also all this work will only go so far to sell books.  Sure people you know are going to be supportive and buy a book, people even once removed might buy a copy to support a local author or out of curiosity. But to sell to people who don’t know you, have never heard of you, you need reviews.  So today I implore you if you love a book, like it a little, or even don’t care for it… leave a review.  It helps the author so much.  Positive thoughtful reviews that simply state what you though give a book weight, help it catch the eye of others that might enjoy it too.  Negative reviews help too (BUT be kind in your criticism), they help the author grow and learn from their mistakes.  They also help lend credibility to the book.  Too much positive can make readers suspicious and wonder if the only people who left reviews are family and friends.  You don’t need to be a book blogger to share your opinions, just willing to take a moment out of your day to pop over and leave a couple of sentences at Amazon, B&N and/or Goodreads.  So I challenge you to go leave a review for your favorite book, or least favorite.  Thank an author for all of their hard work, let them know it is appreciated.

Monday Morning Question: Authors you know.

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Good Monday morning everyone.  Welcome to another addition of my blog meme Monday Morning Question.  This week is going to be dedicated to my husband here at Read What I Like.  He recently self-published his first book Crack in the Curtain, and I am going to be posting some blog entries around it this week starting with my next post, my review of his book.  So I thought it would be appropriate to ask you all how you handle reviews of Authors you know?  Do you even review books of people you know or is it something you choose not to do?  How do you handle those reviews if you do?  Do you think you are easier on them because you know the author or about the same?

Personally I do review books of people I know, or know online at least and call friends, or in today’s case family.  I also try to remain as honest as possible and share what I liked and what didn’t work for me, the good along with the bad…  I will fully admit though that the review is probably not going be unbiased,  how could it be.  You know the person, sometimes you even got to help or watch the story come together.  So I hope people do take those reviews with a grain of salt, but that doesn’t mean they still are not valuable.  If you are honest and give valid reasons for you opinions of the piece it can still help others decide is they want to read the book.  Knowing the author might make me a little more conscious of how I word my review and in turn a little more nervous about sharing them.  Knowing that the author is definitely going to read the review puts the pressure on you a little bit more.  Full disclosure my husband did get to read today’s review before I posted it.  I told him I wasn’t going to change it if he didn’t like it, but I wanted him to read it before it went live.  Luckily he did approve it, even if there is a whole paragraph he wishes I would cut out…

So how about you?  Do you review books from authors you know?

Mini Reviews: 6 Short Stories…

… AKA Catching up!  I noticed today that the gracious librarians in a community not far away has consented to lend me the next two books in my current series. So today I have decided to clear out some short stories on my e-readers.  I am going to be giving them mini-reviews in one post because it just seemed easier, and I’m lazy…  So here they are my day of rainy-day-waiting-on-the-next-library-book-reading.  All cover art thanks to Goodreads, click on it to visit the book’s page there.

A White Cougar Christmas

Southern Shifters 3.5

Owned on my Kindle

Rating: 3 Stars

Synopsis:

Restless and alone on Christmas Eve, Niki decides it’s time to scratch the itch and heads into a nearby town for some action. Once there, it isn’t sex she finds, but a fight instead, that is until tall, dark and handsome intervenes…

Dean recognizes the stunning but surly Cougar for what she is the minute she gets close. Now it’s up to him to show her just how far a night of passion can go

Review:

This was a very short read, downloaded free for my Kindle.  It wasn’t much more than a sex scene, well done, but not much about the world it is set in.  Alright as a stand alone being there wasn’t much going on besides these two hooking up.  End of book hints there is more to come for these two characters in future books. Still writing was good and I think I will need to check out the other books in the series.  Reminds me of Laura Wright and Alexandra Ivy’s writing style.

Ethan's Mate

Owned on my Kindle

 Rating: 3 Stars

(Abbreviated) Synopsis:

Ethan Hale is a vampire with a mission. Together with his three brothers and a few other unmated members, he fights with The Vampire Coalition to protect humans from fallen vampires. His life is fairly simple. If he has a problem…he solves it. If it’s an evil problem…he kills it. But his uncomplicated life is about to end when his mate unexpectedly calls him to her.

Brianna Cole is weak, her life force fading away. She thinks she is suffering from a rare form of leukemia. Little does she knows that her illness is much more complicated. She’s dying because she has not united with her vampire mate and given him his soul that she has been guarding since birth.

Review:

This was an interesting novella, reminded me a bit of Lara Adrian, Laura Wright and a couple of other better known series.  My biggest complaint is the cover,  but it is fairly typical for the genre.  I like the world and will look into the next titles in the series.  Full of insta-love, so if that annoys you might want to skip this one.  I liked the world building and hope to learn or about it in future books.  The love scenes were pretty graphic, probably on the edge of erotica, but I’ve read worse.  Over all I recommend it, especially since I was able to get it for free, not that I know if it still is…

The Wold who stole Christmas
Xmas Tales 1 – Legendary Lovers

 Rating: 2 Stars

Synopsis:

Once upon a Christmas time, Santa’s daughter Holly had to choose between two men—a love sick Jack Frost, or a tightly disciplined werewolf name Furio.

Sure, she could melt the powerful Elemental’s lonely heart but can she bring out the animal in a wolf afraid to love again?

Free Book. Paranormal romance, short story, Christmastime, North Pole Setting.

Review:

Not a bad story, kinda on the cheesy side.  Would be fun to read one snowy evening around the holidays when you want to steam things up a bit.  Was nice that there was an actual plot and not just gratuitous sex, not that that isn’t always a bad thing…  Like I said short, sweet and steamy.

Prey
Montana Wolves #1

Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis:

BBW erotic romance novella, and the first book in the Montana Wolves series

Photographer Amalie Baptista is appalled by the hunting of wolves in Montana. She hopes that photographing these savagely beautiful animals will call attention to their plight, but her mission ends abruptly when she’s attacked by one of the animals she’s sworn to protect. When a gorgeous stranger saves her from certain death, she can’t seem to fight the attraction…but giving in could be giving up life as she knows it.

Alpha male Liam Albrecht is breaking every rule for the curvy, captivating Amalie, risking his place within the pack and his own life to protect her. As discord among the clans reaches a fever pitch, he must find a way to save her from the monsters among them.

Review:

This was a nice novella and introduction to this world.  The story was well-rounded and complete.  The synopsis says it is an erotic story, but I didn’t think it was any more graphic than most of the other paranormal romance books out there.  The writing was good and the characters believable.  I look forward to seeing where this series goes,  I believe I will be adding the next one to my to-read list.

HowlSpirit Moon #1

Rating: 1 Star

Synopsis:

Jane is a recent college grad who has a strange gift- she sees things in her dreams. After she wakes up from a dream of her boyfriend cheating, she realizes she’s in need of a change. A man leaves a magazine on the counter of the cafe where she works, which helps to finally land her a job in her field. Who want’s to work in a cafe with a master’s degree?

Jane sets out from St. Louis to a ranch in Montana where she meets Nathanial Ellis, the enigmatic and distant father of the child she is hired to tutor. The little girl, Morgan, is haunted by the death of her mother. After a false start, Jane and Morgan realize they have a lot in common. If Jane can rationalize her sensual dreams about the beautiful young man, and help Morgan deal with the death of her mother, she might be able to stay on at Bear Creek Ranch. That is, of course, if the wolves don’t get her first.

Review:

Unfortunately this story didn’t work for me.   The story started off good, but lost me somewhere along the way.  The writing wasn’t bad, but the vocabulary felt off and at times, the formality of the words used and the tone of the writing wasn’t consistent.  It threw off my reading of the story at times.  I also didn’t care for how the author broke up the story.  I thought it could have gone on a little further and still have set up a cliffhanger for the next installment.  This one just felt unfinished.  Characters were alright, but felt off as well.  Will not be continuing.

TUR

Elsker Saga #.5

Rating: 3 Stars

Synopsis:

Inga Andersson is the envy of every girl in Asgard. On the surface she has it all — great friends, a job as Odin’s personal fight choreographer, and a happy ever after with her realm’s hottest assassin. But when evil invades Asgard, her perfect world comes crashing down. Someone is planning to kill off the gods, and Inga’s best friend Ull is first on their list. With the Norse apocalypse a nanosecond away, Inga has to decide how she’ll spend her final moments of freedom. Because from the moment this battle begins, Inga’s happily ever after will be nothing more than a memory.

Some things are worth fighting for.

Review:

This was kinda a different type of paranormal, or really supernatural story.  It is set in the world of Norse mythology.  Fans of the Thor movies might really like to give this one a try.  I thought it was well done, filled with humor and action.  There was great comradely among the characters and the lead female was an interesting mix of strength and more traditional feminine interests.  Might give the longer books in this series a go if I am ever in the mood to read something a little different but still comfortably within my typical reading tastes.

And now I am all caught up in my reading pledge, only a little bit of cheating…  My next books in the Chicagoland Vampires series arrived at work, so off to see what happens next in that series that has captured my imagination.