The Pity Cry (A rant because I wanted to)

What do you think of when you think of book reviewers?

Do you think of someone who has a life and a lot of responsibilities just as you have? We hear a lot about authors trying to juggle children and work responsibilities as well as the stress of keeping up with writing, marketing and so forth. Last night it occurred to me that I see a lot of posts about authors, but not too many posts that just feature reviewers. Why is this?

Have we forgotten that reviewers are an integral part of author success and how valuable an honest review can be to our careers as authors? This is not a distress cry from →this reviewer.← Rather, this is an honest question.

Does the value of the person we are dealing with get diminished by our own busy schedule? I can’t say that I am any different. When I am trying to find promo opportunities I don’t sit back and think about what someone else might have to do that week, that month, the day I choose them to make me look good. I think we all see people as numbers when it comes to sales and marketing. Still, occasionally I am reminded from my own busy schedule and the impatience of people, that I am only one person. Most reviewers have more books at any given time than the average person reads in a year. We do the best we can to get to them in some sensible order, occasionally rearranging things to where we can review a certain book by a specific date or taking a shorter book and putting it to the front of the line because we just got done with a very long one.

Being a reviewer is not thankless, and I am not saying that it is. I enjoy interacting with authors and yes, we tend to get a lot of books that we don’t have to pay for with money. What I would like to point out is that we do pay for these books in another way. We pay for them with our time and some hard consideration when it comes time to review. It takes time to read a book and keep up with daily life on top of it. We don’t make money off of this. It is a game of free time vs. the real world. We have to work too.

We are authors. We are business people. We are parents. We are reviewers. We have a life just like everyone else.

Hug a reviewer today.

And this ends my little rant.

Hug line forms to the left.

Advertisements

The Tyrant’s Daughter by J.C. Carleson

The Tyrant's DaughterFor another Great review of this book go here: http://teripolen.com/2014/01/29/the-tyrants-daughter-by-j-c-carleson/

 

When her father is killed in a coup, 15-year-old Laila flees from the war-torn middle east to a life of exile and anonymity in the U.S. Gradually she adjusts to a new school, new friends, and a new culture, but while Laila sees opportunity in her new life, her mother is focused on the past. She’s conspiring with CIA operatives and rebel factions to regain the throne their family lost. Laila can’t bear to stand still as an international crisis takes shape around her, but how can one girl stop a conflict that spans generations?

J.C. Carleson delivers a fascinating account of a girl—and a country—on the brink, and a rare glimpse at the personal side of international politics.

*Bonus Backmatter includes a note about the author’s CIA past, and a commentary by RAND researcher and president of ARCH International, Dr. Cheryl Benard. Recommendations for further reading are also included. The Tyrant’s Daughter by J.C. Carleson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was an interesting book, but not one that I would have ever thought of as intended for a younger than adult audience if I hadn’t read the blurb first. The portions of this book that deal with teen angst and the struggle to find a place to fit in were definitely age appropriate, but I’m not sure how much the average teen would get out of the rest of it.

The narrator’s voice in this book is very strong. Laila is a character that breaks down the walls surrounding her life and lets the reader in, but at the same time I felt the author was being guarded with how much she put into this book. Perhaps that was because of the intended age group.

Learning about the world that this family came from was interesting, although it was never actually clear exactly where they were supposed to be from (the author explains this in the after thoughts.) The use of current events in this book made it seem very real and at times I forgot that I wasn’t reading a true account of a young woman’s life.

My favourite character was Ian. I would have liked to have seen a better closure to the relationship with him though. Amir was another very memorable character. The author did an excellent job of displaying his emotions and giving him a reason to be the solemn, angry boy that he was.

I did not like the mother of the main character. She came off on multiple occasions as intentionally cruel and deceitful. I didn’t feel this was just to protect the interests of her family or even for revenge. She simply had a mean streak.

Still, this was an attention grabbing book and the author clearly had a lot of material at her disposal to write a solid book. I would read another book by this author.

Overall, I found this to be an intense book that gave me a lot of reasons to stop and think about culture, life and loyalty.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from Netgalley and provided by the publisher.

View all my reviews

Murder at Mullings by Dorothy Cannell

Murder at Mullings: A 1930s country house murder mysteryMurder at Mullings: A 1930s country house murder mystery by Dorothy Cannell

In its 300-year history, there has never once been a scandal at Mullings, ancestral home of the decent but dull Stodmarsh family. Until, that is, Edward Stodmarsh makes an ill-advised second marriage to the scheming Regina Stapleton, who insists on bringing her family’s ‘ornamental hermit’ to live on the estate. Suddenly everyone wants to visit Mullings to glimpse this mysterious figure. Strange but harmless, thinks Florence Norris, the family’s longstanding housekeeper. But events take a sinister turn with the arrival of sudden, violent death – and suddenly the hermit doesn’t seem so harmless after all.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For a book with Murder in the title, this certainly doesn’t start out as one would expect–and I thought that made it stand out from the crowd of other similar books.

This book is an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. The characters (there are a lot of introductions so, easily confused or distracted readers beware) are very well thought out and penned. I liked the mix of personalities in this story. The main character is portrayed over many years, and it was interesting to watch her grow and become someone different and wiser from when we first met her.

The plot is complex and kept me interested. One of the main things I liked about this book was the style in which it was written. The author did such a good job of writing it in keeping with the language of the period it was set in that I had to remind myself this was a contemporary effort.

A cozy type of historical mystery, this book will have something to offer just about anyone who picks it up. It will be interesting to see if this turns into a series. I’m hoping it will.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from Netgalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

View all my reviews

Mega Shark Vs. Mecha Shark

See, once in a while I do other stuff besides read. I’m so sorry, you guys 🙂

Plan B flick

mega

A mega Shark is threatening uhm…pretty much all of humanity and the government builds a super-mechanical shark to take it on. What more could you possibly want?

Starring: Christopher Judge, Elisabeth Rohm, Matt Lagan

Directed by: Emile Edwin Smith

Writers: Screenplay-H. Perry Horton and story by Jose Prendes

2014

mega2

My review:

This movie gets 3.5 shark teeth for being not only cheesy, but for making megalodon look like an enhanced version of a dollar store kid’s inflatable.

What I loved:

First of all, what’s cooler than a shark on a rampage? A really big shark on a rampage! The movie begins with the shark showing up in the first couple of reels, so you can’t go wrong there. This wasn’t a case of having to wait until some time later to see the creature the movie is focused on.

The acting was better than in some of the other movies…

View original post 455 more words

“Baboon Fart Story” Screen Captures

If you hadn’t seen everything yet, you will have now. Thank you to Kay Camden for saving this bit of good humour for the rest of us. This is too funny.

Kay Camden

If you missed Baboon Fart Story’s short run of publication on Amazon, here’s a few screen captures frozen in time. I still had it open when someone took it down this morning, so I made these crude images. If I have time I’ll make a PDF or something later. Too busy now.

The background of this is here: “Baboon Fart Story” Is Now An Actual Thing

And again, thanks Chuck Wendig, and Phronk, for the laugh.

baboon_Page_1

baboon_Page_2

baboon_Page_3

baboon_Page_4

baboon_Page_5

—EDIT: 11:14 PM—

When I hastily posted these pics this morning I expected to be sharing my little space here with a few people from Chuck Wendig’s blog. I didn’t realize I’d have to elbow my way through a rowdy horde. You people are kind of creeping me out. But hey, while you’re here…

Phronk, author of Baboon Fart Story, has sent me more reviews he managed to capture before someone at…

View original post 85 more words

Voices of Nature Blog Tour

Stars Above (alouette)

Starry nights shine bright

Thousands of wee lights

Constellations light the sky

Darkness shows contrast

While clouds have gone past

Suspended in time up high

Pisces and Leo

Taurus and Virgo

Constellations light the sky

Sagittarius

Libra, Pegasus

Worlds of tiny lights float by

©2014 Poetry by Pamela, all rights reserved.

This is just a sample of the poetry you will find in Voices of Nature. There are dozens more poems for you to savor.

http://www.amazon.com/Voices-Nature-Pamela-Beckford-ebook/dp/B00JCRWVJU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396531395&sr=8-1&keywords=voices+of+nature+by+pamela+beckford

You can buy it here for only $.99 for Kindle – it also available in paperback ($7.19) on Amazon.

Poetry gives voice to what the eyes see and the heart hears.

Inspiration exists all around us. Beauty can be found in the laughter of a child or the blooms of a tree. Poems are one person’s interpretation of the world seen through their eyes and felt in their heart. Poetry is soul food – plain and simple.

Voices of Nature is a collection of poems that reflect the inherent splendor of nature all around us. This book utilizes a variety of poetry forms to paint word pictures.

One review said “The sheer variety of styles in this poetry book is amazing. Haiku, triple haiku, acrostic, rondeau, and so many others. Even better is that they explain the poems in the back, which is a great service to the curious reader.

Each poem is clear and paints a perfect picture of nature. Though, I have an odd feeling that both poets were tired of winter since that had the most amount of poems out of the season sections. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I did love the ‘Thunder and Lightning’ acrostic for the imagery and ‘New Day’ for the complicated style and bringing an odd sense of serene closure to the book.

I would highly recommend this poetry book. Even if you’re not into poetry, the pieces for every season will probably have you going ‘I thought the same thing.’

Pamela previously released a collection of love poems titled Dreams of Love with several five star reviews. She has been writing for a short time, but pours her soul into her poetry.

41aaaE1RQvL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Kirsten collaborated on a collection called Hope’s Flight.

51yB5yGKzUL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

This is a collection created by two poets – Pamela B and Kirsten A.

Both women enjoy exploring various topics and poetry forms. Many forms are represented in Voices of Nature (along with a short description of the forms for your convenience). Buy Voices of Nature for only $.99 today and experience the wonders all around us.

Moonstone by Olivia Stocum

MoonstoneMoonstone by Olivia Stocum

Scotland 1607
After her parents are murdered English noblewoman, Rhiannon Hanover, becomes a spoil of war. She vows that she will trust no man. Until William MacAlastair challenges her captor for her life, and Rhiannon for her love . . .

William never could resist a damsel in distress, but Rhiannon is no ordinary woman, and when he comes to her rescue, he finds himself breaking alliances, facing an old enemy, and stealing her for his own.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second book by this author that I have had the pleasure of reading. Once more, there is a lot to love in her work.

If you are looking for an historical adventure with a healthy dose of romance, this is a good place to start.

I really enjoyed the chemistry between the two main characters. The female lead is sassy and strong and the type of character that you want to root for. Although she is not portrayed as a helpless damsel in distress, she still has worries, fears and her range of emotions come through well in the writing, particularly in her struggle to get closer to her intended.

The plot moved along at a good pace and there were unexpected events to keep my interest.

This book has everything you could want in an historical romance. There is danger, a bit of mystery, romantic tension and a great resolution at the end.

I highly recommend this series. I’m looking forward to the next book from Olivia Stocum.

Thought of the day: When the light goes out

So, yeah. This is a writing/book review blog, but occasionally I feel the need to do something else, so here is my thought of the day.

 

I was sitting on my back deck earlier this evening stressing over work and the next chapter of my book when I glanced up and saw my elderly neighbour doing her nightly routine. She takes the dog out, then shuts the blinds and finally turns off the porch light next to the door. I know what you’re thinking, uhm…so what? Hear me out for a moment.

When the final light went out, it was bittersweet. Ah, the mind of a writer…always drawing comparisons and conclusions where there are none. Really though, this started me thinking about “the light going out.”

When was the last time you took a moment for yourself? When did you really enjoy the taste and smell of a morning cup of coffee, or revel in a hug from a loved one? Do you remember?

We spend a lot of time stressing about work and commitments and life in general. There are only limited hours in the day, so just take a moment today and enjoy something. Just a quick moment where there are no phones or worries or computers. Just a minute to appreciate someone or something around you.

Every day we pull the blinds and turn out the lights, but we never know when that final light will go out.

 

Be a good human.

A Stillness of Chimes

A Stillness of ChimesA Stillness of Chimes by Meg Moseley

When Laura Gantt returns to Georgia to handle her late mother’s estate, she hears a startling rumor—that her father staged his drowning years ago and has recently been spotted roaming the mountains.

With the help of her former high school sweetheart, Laura searches for the truth. But will what they find destroy their rekindled feelings?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book started out intriguing and that initial interest stayed with me until the end. Mostly, this is a mystery with strong family ties. I liked the way the author kept the flow of her story going by using events from the past and the present intertwined.

The characters are easy to get to know and like and I thought the Christian angle of this book was present but not overtly in your face, so if you like reading less “religious” Christian novels this would be a good choice.

The most compelling part of this story for me was what happened many years ago coming to the surface, but the rest of the story molded around that event nicely and made for a well balanced reading experience. The writing itself was very good and the descriptions were handled in a way that wasn’t overly wordy but still gave you a sense of place and the emotions of the characters.

A bit if a wow ending, but not much on the characters after that. Still, enjoyable and unexpected. Definitely worth the time to read.

Overall this was a great book. You should check it out if you like mysteries with a bit of romance tossed into the mix.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from Waterbrook Multnomah and Blogging for Books. All opinions are my own.

The House On blackberry Hill by Donna Alward

House on Blackberry Hill (Jewell Cove, #1)House on Blackberry Hill by Donna Alward

When a young woman inherits a rundown mansion, the last thing she expects to find is the key to her heart…

Abby Foster is a fish out of water in the Maine coastal town of Jewell Cove. The crumbling Foster estate, left to her by a relative she never even knew, has everyone’s eyes on her—an eerie reminder of the long-buried family secrets that have haunted her…forever. Single, stunning, and sometimes too strong-willed for her own good, Abby’s plan is to sell the house and hightail it back to Nova Scotia. But another part of her is intrigued by the idea of starting over somewhere new—and finally learning the truth about her heritage.

The House On Blackberry Hill

Enter Tom Arseneault. The best contractor in Jewell Cove, Tom is determined to restore the beauty and prestige of the Foster mansion—and maybe even work his charms on its beautiful new heir. The attraction between him and Abby is undeniable, and the more time Tom spends on the house the more he wants to be in it with her. But Abby’s not sure she can trust him—or anyone in Jewell Cove who seems to know more about her family history than she does. Home: Is it really where the heart is after all?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“The House on Blackberry Hill” by Donna Alward is a lovely contemporary romance with historical ties and a strong feeling of roots and family connections.

I liked this book very much. Every once in a while I am lucky enough to find a book that has such wonderful atmosphere that it transports me from the world I know to the same place the characters are in. This is one of those books. The descriptions are perfect. I could smell the scent of blackberries in the air and feel the breeze upon my skin.

This is a very family and small town oriented story. The author did a superb job of introducing her characters. There was enough about their previous lives to make them interesting, but not so much time spent recounting the past that it got boring. Reading this book was like making new friends.

I enjoyed watching the mysteries about the old family home come to light. The understated paranormal in this story worked really well with the plot. I am really looking forward to the next book.

As the romance was more sweet and authentic and than hot and sexy and the love scenes were very mild, this would be an excellent choice for those who like love story based romances.

Overall, this was an intriguing book that satisfied my desire to escape reality for a bit. I’d definitely recommend it.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.