Review-A Conspiracy of Alchemists

I really, really wanted to read this book. I was ecstatic when I won a copy and after a couple days just admiring the beautiful cover I settled down to reading.

The heroine, Elle, started out as a plucky, young female pilot and I really liked my introduction to her but that first impression began to unravel almost immediately and by midpoint of the book I was ready to consign her to the ever growing pile of heroines who are all the same.

Because not only did she devolve from plucky pilot to an emotional mess but she became The Chosen One. Really? Again? Can we just once have a heroine that isn’t the One Someone’s Been Waiting For?

Then there is Our hero, Marsh, tall, dark, brooding, sexy, with the requisite Tragic Past.

If the typical hero and heroine weren’t enough to cause me to lose interest and patience the obvious holes in the plot were. One of my biggest pet peeves is author’s writing their characters making really obvious mistakes or ignoring the rules of their own world to further their story. Unfortunately Schwarz did both early in the story to make sure Elle ended up having to depend on Marsh.

It was very clumsy writing and a definite weakness of the book.

I also could not get a clear vision of Schwarz’s world, I could only see the small areas inhabited my the main characters. I couldn’t envisage the world as a whole and so the book felt-claustrophobic.

Faulty plotting, weak world-building, too typical characters did not add up to a book I enjoyed. And then Schwarz ends the book with a lead into the next. Not my favorite kind of ending.

I wasn’t going to read the next book but it came up on Vine and the cover is so pretty…
alchemistheart

Do I recommend Conspiracy? Really on the fence with this one, some will enjoy it and some will find it falls short of its promise.

Cry Me A River, Magen McMinimy

Dear Magen,

Surprise.

There is a review on GoodReads, no, not going to link to it  that is a 1 star (of course) that has started a minor kerfuffle. It’s not a bad review, it certainly wouldn’t discourage me from reading the book if it interested me but it seems that the reviewer was given an ARC and because she had a large TBR pile she gave it to her husband to read. From her posts it seems that she does this once in a while. After a hundred pages the husband threw in the towel and said it just didn’t work for him and gave reasons.

I am not one of those people that believe that you HAVE to read an entire book before you are allowed to give it 1 star. Indeed, I think that more 1 stars would be less critical if readers just stopped a hundred pages in. I am here to tell you that if I read an entire really bad book and didn’t enjoy it you are going to know why-in great detail.

“I  understand what the author was trying to achieve here but the different elements of the story just did not mesh well at all. Eventually I might get around to finishing the book, but as or now, it’s just not for me.” Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? It actually sounds like there is a chance the reviewer will go back and give it another try. It wouldn’t discourage me from reading the book if it interested me.

Enter Natalie, who plainly doesn’t appreciate this review-at all. “Boooo!! I can’t get over the fact that you are having your husband write a review for you. Ugh..  This book rocked and I don’t think your husband would know the difference between a good or bad book. As a reviewer, if my review pile is too big, I simply wait until I have the time to really pay attention to the book.  Therefore, I do believe you need to not have such a big review pile.  It just doesn’t do any book any kind of justice, whether it is a good or bad book.    These authors bust their butts for readers.  We need positive energy to go into reviews. Now I feel like I have wasted my awesome writing skills upon someone that didn’t even finish the book!”    

I have to wonder if Natalie is more upset about the reviewer’s husband not liking the book, or is possibly jealous that the reviewer has a TBR pile bigger than her own, or ” Now I feel like I have wasted my awesome writing skills upon someone that didn’t even finish the book!” , What? Wasted her writing? Is there something I’m missing?

Now enter Magen who posts, “You go (removed the name of the above commenter)! As an author I’m irritated by this simply because I would rather know that someone who reviewed my book actually read it and didn’t pass it off to their mate. I’ve waited months for reviews and was confident that my book was given the time it deserved. This book is on my TBR list and it will absolutely remain there and you can bet that when I get to it I will review it after FINISHING it.”

Can you guess what happens next? Of course you can. Magen got some not too polite and definitely pithy comments. Then she decided to delete her post. Then she decided to blog about it.

“A few months back I was checking out some reviews of a book I just received from a giveaway. I noticed a 1-star review which grabbed my attention, I tend to read poor reviews before the shiny 5-stars. This Blogger who was given an ARC of the book, didn’t even read it, she gave the book to her husband to read and review for her, who also didn’t read the book but gave it a 1-star review.”

Yeah, as I pointed out the reviewer’s husband clearly stated, ” I ended up only getting about one hundred pages into it and could go no further with it.”  I suppose that Magen could have made a mistake when she wrote that he didn’t read it but I suppose that it could also be that it makes for a better blog if the reviewer didn’t read the book he 1 starred.

Now Megan is having a hard week and a hard time because she didn’t attack anyone. Really. All she did was agree with another poster. You remember the other poster, Natalie, who said the reviewer’s husband wouldn’t know a good book from a bad, who lectured the reviewer for having a too big TBR pile (What is too big? Can you ever have too many books to read?), who chastised the reviewer for not giving positive energy to the author, who says she feels she wasted her awesome writing skills (I still don’t understand this). No, Magen, you’re absolutely right, agreeing with this isn’t you attacking the reviewer, not at all.  (eyeroll)

What Magen doesn’t understand is that is exactly what she said/did when she said you go. That she then went on to babble about waiting for reviews doesn’t negate what she agreed to. It is always damned discouraging that writer’s seem to have so little comprehension of what they write.

Anyway, the posts on the review degenerated into a very impolite back and forth between those who thought poor Magen had just expressed her opinion and those that thought Megan had stuck both feet in her mouth at the very least. “Again I am human and perhaps this is not a smart post, but I am hurt, I am pissed for how I was treated, for how the others were treated.” But that doesn’t apply to the reviewer and her husband, that doesn’t apply to how you treated them? Do I have to repeat what you agreed with, Magen? “Now this one caught my attention because I agreed with what she had to say.” You agreed. To it all. Because if you didn’t agree with all of it, where did you say it?

Maybe this is a case of “you know what I meant”, and, no, I don’t. I can only know what you write and you wrote you agreed with Natalie.  “I didn’t realize I was doing that, agreeing with someone else means I was personally berating her.” Um, yeah, that’s how it works.   “Yet I don’t think professionalizm has anything to do with it, this was my opinion on something that had nothing to do with my writing, I probably shouldn’t have mention the fact that I was an author I was just stating my opinion from a different perspective then the others.” Let me bang my head on my desk for a while. Professionalism, than. Spellcheck, please. And don’t, just don’t, cry that this is your personal blog. It’s out there for everyone to read, it is a reflection of you, of your writing. It’s not a great reflection because spellcheck isn’t the only thing it’s in need of.

Professionalism isn’t just when you want it to be, Magen. In fact, I don’t think professionalism is what you define it to be.

“So I am sorry if this offended anyone.” How long have you been writing? If you really, really, really want to offend people this is guaranteed to do just that. IF? Oh, Magen, I can positively state that you offended someone. No ifs about it and if (!) you had been paying attention then you would know that “if I offended” is a weasel. Nobody likes a weasel (except the person trying it).

So, Magen, yes, you got smacked around. Did you deserve it? Yes and no. Should you be able to figure out why? Oh, yes. “Ultimately I regret saying anything. This was blown out of proportion. Anyone who knows me knows I am not out to hurt anyone, I am sincere and honest, and I am not looking to start any fights.” You didn’t regret it enough to not blog about it.  Out of proportion, well, you’re a writer who can’t figure out what you agreed with and why that offended some posters. Sincere and honest? Jury’s out on that. No, no fights, just a blog trying to find people to defend you.

I, too, am honest and sincere. Anyone who is really this dumb can’t possibly write a book I can appreciate.

Sincerely

A Little More on Kate Kaynak

I must apologize, I didn’t properly research Kate Kaynak before I posted. I have found out a little more about dear Kate. Remember her description of herself?

>”I work for the publishing company (on a side note, I designed the cover with the girl who’s been in a POD for a year, but still has good hair, because they have SHOWERS AND HAIRDRYERS AND STUFF, since it’s not a bunker), and I have to say, this thread is disturbing. Please refrain from use of profanity and personal attacks! “

It seems Kate is a Managing Editor at Spencer Hill and edited the book in question. I’m sure her position both in the company and in relationship to this book just slipped her mind in her haste to be totally transparent about, well, everything.

“Kate Kaynak (Managing Editor at Spencer Hill Press, Editor of The Covenant Series, Cursed, The Veil Trilogy, PODs, and Amarok, Co-Editor of UnCONventional, Milayna, Elemental, and Fae) is the author of Minder, Adversary, Legacy, Accused, and Operative”

Not to worry, Kate, I corrected your status over on that GoodReads review. No thanks are necessary.

Dear Kate Kaynak

Yesterday Kate Kaynak , author and employee of publisher Spencer Hill Press, put her foot in her mouth and her head up her ass and shows no sign of removing either body part from either orifice. http://thedisgruntledbear.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-frightening-side-of-book-reviews.html  She got on my bad side in her blog, guess where.  So since I couldn’t express my full opinion on her blog, here it is.

You, whether by intent or not, have minimalized R’s responses. Her remarks were at least insulting and could be construed as a attack on the reviewer.

Therefore saying that the attack began on R and not on the reviewer is misleading. But perhaps you agree with R’s calling the review stupid,

“You know, I get that you didn’t like the book and that’s great. Not everyone will. But, damn, you trashed it. There is a way to give a review in an intelligent, judicious, fair way. Your review didn’t do that. So, in my opinion, you’re just as bad as the writer you’re trashing. So sad. You could have used your voice to help rather than cut down. Maybe the author could have used your words to learn something, but the way you presented your review…there’s nothing to learn except you can’t give an accurate (yes, you have inaccuracies), articulate, review without being hostile. It’s so disappointing when I see reviews like yours. Such a missed opportunity.”

Once was more than enough but then she repeats herself:

“And like I said, such a missed opportunity. So sad to waste your opinion. I didn’t say it was wrong, just to be clear. I commented on how it was presented. And, to quote you, that’s my opinion and I think I justified it. And to other person who commented (*****)same to you. Such a missed opportunity to give an intelligent review that would be useful not only to readers, but the author as well. So very sad.”

Yeah, R was very respectful and gentle in her comments.

Then you appear,

I work for the publishing company (on a side note, I designed the cover with the girl who’s been in a POD for a year, but still has good hair, because they have SHOWERS AND HAIRDRYERS AND STUFF, since it’s not a bunker), and I have to say, this thread is disturbing. Please refrain from use of profanity and personal attacks! ”

What did you think you were doing? You work for the publisher, you publish books with them, you post under a review and start by admonishing the reviewer and other posters about their language and responses.

Yes, Kate, you were really, really stupid.  And seemingly want to continue being that way because this blog isn’t a really good idea either.

Because you knew better, you did it anyway, you exhibited behavior that I hope your publisher will reprimand you for, and now you have written this blog post which sounds like you are seeking sympathy and approval for your bad judgment.

Sorry, for your bad judgment.

One last thing, Kate,  “Here’s the thing: a book isn’t just a book to authors–it’s a piece of their soul. If that causes non-writers to eyeroll, I can’t do anything about that. But books are like children to those of us who write. If someone says your baby is ugly, it hits you hard. And being accused of creating a racially insensitive character is an accusation of being a racist.”.

*facepalm*

“Non-writers”? Because we all know that only writers are creative, artistic, whatever. No one else puts their heart and soul into their work. Can you be ANY more insulting? On behalf of dancers (including myself), painters, musicians, sculptors, poets, performance artists of all sorts, landscape artists, and all the other artists not mentioned, you, Kate, are an insensitive, tactless, ignorant moron. What do you think we do? Writers are not in a special class, in an ivory tower of artistic creativity.

Most of us are also practical enough to know that when you put your “soul” out into the public arena, and especially when you start charging for it, that part of your “soul” is open to the interpretation of any member of the public who reads/watches/experiences it. What they glean from it should not only educate the artist but make them question their own experiences.

Sometimes our art can reflect things about ourselves that we are unaware of and would deny.

But what do I know, I’m a non-writer.

So, Kate, I tried very hard to be polite and I think one little moron can be excused, don’t you? Under the circumstances. But I’m not going to excuse your stupidity under any circumstances.

My Perfect Nose–for Shelley

Apologies to Emily. Save this on Delicious

 

A single fanpoodle commented

upon my one star review.

He was offended by my snarky prose;

he offended me too

with the words he chose.

He was a fan or family of

the hack whose book I chose

a sad creature who could not spell

and grew hair between his toes.

Why is it I never get

one perfect Johnny Depp,

do you suppose?

No, it’s always some sad troo

who makes me snort milk

out of my perfect nose.

 

Review-Corbin’s Captive

Erotica should not be boring.

This isn’t the worst book I’ve read.

But since this is not Emma Paul’s first book I expected a more polished, professional, sophisticated book. What I found was a simplistic plot,  one dimensional, badly drawn characters, and weak writing.

The plot is basically (pouty) girl meets (weak ass)boy, they have (unfortunately not) steamy sex, boy kidnaps girl, they flee from his cruel uncaring father, her evil, lecherous fiancé, and the law (kidnapping and theft).

Meet our hero, Corbin, drug addict and thief. He is rationalizing his way through life using his cold father and resentful, morally bankrupt, unwilling late mate as scapegoats for his own poor choices.

Meet our heroine, Yani, when she meets and hates her betrothed, the villainous Prince Gor (hello, John Norman), instead of running far, far away she runs to the nearest sex and booze club looking for a night of (unfortunately not) steamy sex. Not a candidate for Mensa, our Yani.

The book teems with a lack of good sex, good characterization, good tension, and good writing, because of a lack of skill on the part of the author. Ms Paul would greatly benefit from going back to school and applying herself to learning the basics of her craft.

A few examples of Ms Paul’s (lack of) ability:

He had stopped justifying his addiction long ago. At the same time, he needed something, someone to blame for his steady demise. Not too confusing, right? And demise might not be, oh what the hell, plenty more where that came from.

The attack two years ago on the East Commune only delved him deeper into his own private hell. I have a private hell, it’s filled with people who don’t know what they’re writing.

Planet Azui looked like a debauchery of sexual depravity. Synonym, look it up.

Shear, sheer-there is a difference.

The gorgeous, circular shaped, golden building, betrayed the size of The Mistress’s home. Besides the blatant comma abuse, I’m not sure betrayed is the word Paul intended to use. Betrayed, belied, I don’t know but I should.

Dinner with the Azurians was a revelation. Yani stared at the ravishment of the Alturian roast beast… It’s just wrong that the image of the Grinch pops into my mind but even he, before his heart grew three sizes, would stop short of ravishing the roast.

Lose, loose-once again, there is a difference.

“Good sweet, see you do remember, don’t you” This just makes me wanna cry.

Taut, taught-again, there is a difference.

Corbin moaned loudly, tears filled the backs of his eyes. Really icky mental image there.

…stuffed as much of his ridged length as he could, deep inside her gripping sleeve. Not sure if Paul wanted ridged or rigid, not sure why there is a comma in the middle, not sure I ever knew I could giggle and feel nauseated at the same time. Gripping sleeve?

Yani smiled contently. Go ahead, find that in a dictionary, I dare you.

It distressed him that even the Sh’kra Dominant could no longer ease his veracious addictions. Truthfully?

The sensation turned to wicked transgression. Explain this.

“My father could care less about what I needed.” I could not care less.

…small inlays that contained edible insects and roots. No, no, I don’t think so.

In the end Yani proves to be a Tammy Wynette kinda girl and Corbin is Redeemed by the Power of Love. The ending, stuffed with clichés.

It’s not a truly terrible book but it sure isn’t a good one.

Corbin's Captive (Galactic Breeders, #2)