Eat, Drink & Remarry- wherein she just sounds bored

Screenshot (4186)Let’s finish this. So, after 5 whole months without a man in her life Howard stares into the abyss lets a friend give her number to a doctor, but not just any doctor, the chief of cardiothoracic surgery. After some scheduling conflicts and phoning back and forth, they finally have a dinner date.  “It is odd, but understood, that when middle-aged people go out the first time their initial conversation could be titled:  “And what did you major in?””  Words fail.

Howard then gives the good doctor’s back story, widowed once, divorced twice and then writes one of her more outrageous lines. “(I am trying really hard not to get into the subject of women wanting to marry rich surgeons.)” A woman who made damned sure she got more than sufficient compensation from her previous husbands should not try to pretend she didn’t have an eye to the main chance at least twice before.

#4 is not her type which she repeats several times. He is at the top of his profession, very well known, knows a lot of Big Names, and has money- he is exactly her type. After two dinner dates and one opera Howard wonders why he hasn’t made a move. “I found his being in no hurry to take things to the next level quite interesting… and unusual. I knew he wasn’t gay, and from my observations he was too mature, and frankly, too old, at sixty-one, to be playing it cool.” Oh. My. God. Facepalm. Headdesk.

So she toddles off to the West Coast to visit a spa and friends. They exchange emails. A friend asks if she thinks they might be going somewhere and Howard says yes so they go off to order her some fabulous nightgowns.

Then she goes out on a blind date a Cambridge friend had set up for her with Mort Sahl. ? And that was her last date with anyone else. I’m not sure why she went out in the first place, didn’t she just say she thought she and the good doctor had a “spark”?

She returns from the West Coast and things immediately progress into the bedroom even if she doesn’t have her new nightgowns.

She waxes on about how  grateful she was to be mature enough to keep dating him even when he so obviously wasn’t her type. How she was able to look past his surface and see the man inside and how all this was why she would tell those who wrote to her for advice to give that new interest another chance. Really, so wise of her. I remember reading that advice several times- she forgot to mention making sure they had A Name and lots of money but maybe she was protecting her claim.

Anyway more about how perfect is Dr Perfect and he does sound, and probably is, a very nice man. Who fell into a tiger trap.

Howard talks about the difference in love at different stages of life and how love with the doctor was different and good but I had a hard time with this because her writing, her descriptions of life with the doctor seem detached from emotion. They might be a good match and enjoy each other’s company but love? Not seeing it. He seems to appreciate her and she certainly appreciates what he brings to the table but there isn’t any more feeling here than in her writing about #1 and #2.

They met each other’s friends and Howard took him home to meet mom. After about a year together Howard goes back to work for a few years before being fired in a staff change. Then she finally, reluctantly follows in Ann Landers’ footprints and become Dear Prudence, then Dear Margo, from which she retired in 2013.

They have a good life, know a lot of important people, decide to marry before her mother dies, the doctor retires but works on in various advisory capacities for several years, they have some fairly elaborate birthday trips and then stop after their seventieths.

She continues to say in her detached way how wonderful life is and gets in a parting shot at her three previous husbands then talks briefly about aging and how lucky they are to have avoided the more serious physical problems of growing older. The doctor was worth the wait  except that she really didn’t wait, she drifted rather aimlessly through life and now is trying to alter history.

Review to come.

 

Eat, Drink & Remarry- the part where Margo Howard shows herself to be so screwed up the Kathleen Hale looks almost normal

Screenshot (4186)Hello, dear readers, I’m here to finish my thoughts on Margo Howard’s Eat, Drink & Remarry before I post up my review.

So we find Margo by description “newly separated” but I ‘m confused if she meant separated or divorced because I can’t discern the timeline of this event. Anyways, she lands in a new town and calls up an old “bad boy boyfriend” who is still married. Remember when she tried (unsuccessfully) to have an affaire while still attached to #1? Remember her saying she didn’t want to live this way? Pages 50 and 51, go ahead and reread, I’ll wait.

Evidently when you’re  Howard you can try these mistakes again and it’s totally okay. She 51 and seemingly still wants to do whatever she wants, whenever she wants because she is Margo Howard and she can do no wrong unless admitting it will let her gain money or admiration.

Once again I have to ask, did she never read her mother’s column? Never pick up the phone and have a heart to heart?

She calls him B.H. for Borrowed Husband, isn’t that precious? I’m surprised she didn’t just tell us his name because by her own admission she told all her friends about their relationship. I’m really not sure why she started this relationship or kept it for any length of time because her disdain for BH leaps off the page and almost slaps you in the face.

She called his other women cupcakes but I think she believes even now that because she was older and maybe more aware of what the whole situation was she was somehow not a cupcake. She was a cupcake, just one that had sat on the bakery shelf longer.

From page 169 through page 174 Howard wallows in her self-appointed superiority while exposing herself as no better than any other woman in the same situation, maybe even not as good as some of those women because they wouldn’t be trying to convince the reading public that her wrongs were somehow right.

Last line, “I guess the lesson here, beyond the obvious, is not to have an affair with a writer.”

No, that’s not the lesson at all but Howard has spent all of her life learning as little as possible so why would she suddenly grown up and get a clue now?

Um, she spent 6 years with BH. Six. Years. That was longer than either of her first two marriages and she only left the despised BH because he was cheating on her. She had no problem with him cheating with her but she had a definite problem with him cheating on her.

I can’t even.

So onto #4.  “Wherein I discover love among the ruins.” You built those ruins, sweetie. First sentence of chapter 8, “My, time flies when you’re sabotaging yourself.” Yes, it does but you know what, Margo, most people wouldn’t be so proud of it. You didn’t do anything outstanding, even writing about it has been done, and done better, before. I have to say that it took me awhile to figure out the why of this book and here I’ll just say that, nope, you didn’t achieve your goal. I’ll explain in my review.

“Although I accepted dates with different people during BH.’s tenure, I was really just going through the motions.” WTH? She dated but dares to get huffy when he cheats on her? She avoids saying if any of those motions she went through was a bedroom door but by now I’d say it was 50-50.

I was going to tack on #4 here but he deserves a post separate from this, so stopping now.

Cassandra Clare, Jay Cute, and Rampant Stupidity (edited)

EDIT: I posted this then checked  the list and all but one book have been removed by Amazon. It is unfortunate but authors have to diligently check for plagiarism or hope that a reader will alert them because it seems Amazon has absolutely no system in place to catch even such blatant, obvious ripoffs.

Authors have to remember that Amazon is in business to make money not make sure you make money.

Original Post:

Good morning to all three of my devoted readers.

A plagiarist is once again trying to profit of the work of others. Jay Cute has a list of books on Amazon that he is trying to pass off as his but it only works if you change the name of the author. That’s right, he has left up the true author’s name everywhere and just slapped his name on the cover some where in the hopes that readers and the legitimate authors  will not notice.

That hope has died.

While he has appropriated the work of a lot of self published authors, Cute has also included a couple from larger houses and one best selling author by title alone. It seems in his haste to make money by theft, or maybe by design since she is a very popular author, Cute has slapped the title of City of Bones on to Show Me Yours.

Screenshot (4175)

That’s right, dear readers, City of Bones, is now plastered across the cover of this book:

Screenshot (4177)

As unamused as Kaje Harper probably is, I’m thinking that Cassandra Clare, whose books are marketed in the teen and YA genres, might be a tad more unamused to find her book title slapped onto a M/M erotica ebook.

Run, Jay Cute, run.

 

Review- No Ifs, Ands, or Bears About It

Screenshot (3925)While I didn’t hate this book, I certainly didn’t love it. It sounded rather good and I wanted to read a bear shifter book. I should have kept looking because this never rose above mediocre at best, there were far too many illogical actions used to cobble this story together.

I didn’t like either of the main characters much. Mia, our snowflake, is 1/4 bear and can’t shift. Ty, the idiot, is leader or Itan of the local bear clan. Basically, Mia inherits her grandfather’s house and moves to a small town with a large werebear population and meets Ty, local Itan and officer of the law. Insta love, a runaway cub, and skullduggery ensue.

It sounded interesting, except for the Insta Love. It would have been except that Mia is soooo much more than she seems or knows about. And who does know this? Her Daddy, who lets her move to Beartown without telling her What She Needs To Know.  Because he hopes she won’t meet a bear and it won’t be a problem except that what he didn’t tell her pretty much guarantees she will be meeting one or more bears. Hell, they should be stacked up like wood outside her front door- and back door, under the windows, around the flowerbeds- you get the idea, right?

But nooooo, Daddy never bothers to tell her and doesn’t tell her much about bears in general. Daddy suffers from Male Stupidity Syndrome.  “More than anything, I don’t want the ugliness of the werebear world to touch you, Mia. This thing with Griss… It’s ugly. I want you wrapped in a bubble, protected from anything that could upset you.” And this is after he’s acknowledged that Mia is indeed the Itana. I’m thinking she might have to deal with a little ugly now and then – best start now.

But if you didn’t want her upset and involved then why didn’t you, oh never mind, this is a book and stupidity sometimes runs rampant. And speaking of rampant stupidity, let’s talk about Our Idiot, er, Hero, Our Hero.

He’s one of those doesn’t take no for an answer guys where his mate is concerned and like her Daddy wants to keep all the bad stuff a secret so she won’t have to exercise any adult reasoning. After hustling her and the cub off to his den, he then proceeds to try to be just like her dear old Daddy and hide every fricking thing that he thinks she doesn’t need to know all the while proclaiming her his “Itana”.

Ty’s an annoying dumba$$, even when he’s admitting he handled their relationship badly he can’t quite bring himself to admit all his wrong decisions. “Well, there were probably other annoying things he’d done to pi$$ her off, but the little stuff didn’t seem bad enough to walk out over.” Bzzt. Wrong, bearboy, there was plenty of “little” stuff to justify making you a statement piece on the lodge floor but not to worry, you’re not done being stupid.

“She seemed to be telling him “no” all the time, but it hadn’t made a difference yet.” Sigh.

 “She was just overreacting a little. They’d talk, she’d understand…”  Well, how very- well, darn, this review is going on Amazon so I can’t use those words but I’m pretty sure you can figure out the ones I mean.

He’s so busy maneuvering Mia into his den and trying to get her in his bed that asking her a simple question like what did she mean about her bloodline or taking a minute to wonder how a non-shifting quarter bear could keep up with him in a flat out run, “Later, he’d be smug about the fact that his human mate kept up with him. ” Not wondering why, you understand, because this bear has all the intellectual depth of a pancake.

“It wouldn’t matter in the end. He was sure he could shuffle her alongside him once again, By the time he was done, she would be begging him for his mark.” Charming, and you have to be wondering about Mia, who thinks this guy is hawt.

Mia shows a little promise – she wants to protect the cub, Parker, from his murderous family and she finds some of how the bear clans function as strange, and she does get angry with Ty whenever she catches him lying or withholding information from her. But in the end she chooses Ty, so very little promise.

Mia thinks she and Ty might be meant to be together then 5 sentences later she is thinking abt when she returns to her home with Parker then 3 sentences later she thinks maybe she’ll move home with her father so Parker will have a father figure. Because a cub needs a woman’s influence and he might pick up unspecified bad habits from Ty, the man she’s attracted to and wants to sleep with and who keeps calling her his itana, and his brothers. Huh?

Yep, that’s Mia.

But the bad decision making doesn’t end, no, it keeps spreading.  Even a female werebear gets in on the action drugging Mia. “”She had a good reason. Your Itan doesn’t think anything bad about her actions, so you’re not allowed to get angry. ” He harrumped, and she knew that tone, knew he believed every word he’d said and that last bit had been an order.” So. Much. Wrong. Here. But the wrong just keeps on coming, “Yes, thinking back on the panic she’d felt at hearing the Cutler Itan arrived was overwhelming. The only choice available at that point was physically knocking her out or drugging her. She’d been too scared to think clearly.”

I can think of two, no, three other ways to handle her and if she’s too much of a special snowflake that she can’t get a grip and handle a situation affecting her new clan then maybe she shouldn’t be thinking about how Ty shouldn’t keep things from her. But I guess it’s not the same if you tell her after she wakes up from being drugged.

“Mia took a step toward the cage, glaring at him, hoping he suffered under the weight of her anger.” Really. He doesn’t know you, has no use for you, and is a miserable POS. And you are such a bada$$ that the thought of his early arrival had everyone, including you, justifying drugging you Just a few short paragraphs ago. Tell me why he would give a carp about your anger?

And once again Ty has ordered his bears to not let Mia do something (visit granddad). And after the big confrontation where he promises to change they are still keeping things from her but seeing how she reacts to certain decisions I’m not entirely sure that keeping her in happy ignorance isn’t the best way to handle her.

The worldbuilding is shaky. One of the main points of conflict is that the bears really didn’t want this non-shifting half-breed bear as their Itana because she won’t have babies that can shift and the position of Itan is handed down from father werebear to son werebear, shifters all. But the answer to that is right in front of them but bears don’t ask questions outside of their clans. So this allows not only Mia’s acceptance to be in danger but also allows Parker to be in mortal danger because bears don’t ask questions about new bears joining their clan(s). It is seen by some as a sign of weakness, more like a sign of bad plotting.  They do have a DNA database of members to ID dead bears if others ask, conclusion: it’s ok to ask about the dead but not the living who might just, you know, be making other bears dead. C’mon. No wonder the werebear population isn’t that big.

Once everything was resolved I was left with an inept plot and two main characters who deserved each other. But if you like Alphas and bears and aren’t too picky about a solid plot, it might work for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another very dangerous word (very long rant)

[reblogged from Linda Hilton on BookLikes]

 

(Yes, I should have been writing LiNoWriMo.  I wrote this instead.)

 

Honesty.

It does not pay to be honest.  It is not safe to be honest.  Honesty is a very dangerous commodity.

In the past, with my blogs and reviews and other writing, I have tried to be as honest as I can.  I believed very sincerely that that was what was needed.

Honesty may have been needed, but it was not wanted.  I learned that over a year ago when Goodreads instituted the infamous September 2013 Purge.  I learned it again last month when Goodreads permanently banned me.

It doesn’t make any difference.  I don’t know how to be dishonest about these things.  I can lie about other things — I assure you, I’m no saint — but what point is there to lying in a book review?  Or in a discussion related to books and writing and reading?  What’s the freaking point?

Authors need to get a clue.  I am amazed, yes truly amazed, that there is so much ignorance out there still, after all this time.  Maybe it’s more willful ignorance than the innocent kind.  And yes, this is the kind of not-nice-but-honest comment that gets me into trouble.  No doubt I will get into trouble again before this post is finished.

Reviews are not commercials.  Reviewers are not there — wherever there is — to write ad copy for authors.  How difficult is this to understand?  Leaving out the semi-pro reviewers — by which I mean those who have formal book blogs and regularly obtain advance copies for the explicit purpose of reviewing — most reviewers are just readers.  They’re consumers.  They bought the damn book, or obtained it free when the author was giving it away, or checked it out of the library, or whatever, and then they read it.  Where in that commercial transaction is it decreed that the reader owes the writer anything at all?  Where is the requirement that the reader help the author sell her book to other readers?  Or help the author become a better writer?  Or fix the mistakes in the present book?

That’s right.  It’s not there.  Readers do not have any obligation to review at all.  They don’t have any obligation to rate a book on Goodreads, or shelve it on Leafmarks, or proofread it or anything else.  None. At. All.

And readers are most certainly not obligated to lie for you, the author of a terrible book.

You know who you are.  I don’t have to put your name out here for everyone to see.  You know who you are.

I’ve read your books.  Or at least I’ve tried to.  And they’re terrible.  And you just can’t stand to have that truth held up in front of you.  You just can’t stand it.

Truth is a very powerful thing.  It can be painful, very painful, but if it has the power to hurt, then it must indeed be very powerful.

You will hate me, if you don’t already, but you cannot stop me from being honest.  You can, like someone else about whom I dared to tell the truth, take revenge against me.  I already know, however, because I am capable of at least a certain amount of honesty with myself, that I cannot be anything but honest with others, especially if they are being dishonest in a way that would hurt the innocent.  I know, because I do try to be as honest with myself as I am with others, that this makes me Not a Nice Person.  I know that people will dislike me because of it.  I know that I have almost no defense against them or that revenge, because my only defense is the same damn honesty that got me into the mess in the first place.

Your book is terrible.  Whether you’re so ignorant that you can’t see it for yourself, or you’re in total emotional denial, or you know it but you’ve decided to just lie about it anyway, the fact remains:  Your book is terrible.  But you want me to lie about it so someone else will buy it?  Is that the name of your game?  You want me to try to get someone to believe that they will be sufficiently entertained by this piece of tripe you have written and published so that they will fork over $2.99 or $3.99 or whatever the asking price is?  The only way anyone will think this piece of garbage is readable is if people lie about it.  People like me.   Well, no, not exactly.   People like me won’t do it.  We won’t lie.

What will you do then?  You can, if you so choose, pay people to lie about it.  You will pay them to post online that they loved your book, that it’s the greatest thing ever written, that it should be made into a movie starring George Clooney, Orlando Bloom, Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian.  Some people will believe those lies.  Most, however, won’t.

Your writing stinks.  But you don’t want anyone to point that out.  Rather than be honest and want honest “reviews” of your book, you want to silence the honest voices.  You throw up a litany of reasons why low ratings and negative reviews are by definition  invalid.  You think no one should read books they aren’t enjoying, that they should not rate or review books they have not completely read, that they should think of the author’s feelings and only review books they can give five stars to.  You declare only other authors are qualified to write negative reviews because they are the only ones who know how much blood, sweat, and agony goes into the writing of a book, any book.  And then you accuse any author who posts a negative review of being jealous and cruel and unsupportive of her “fellow authors.”

By that standard, authors are only allowed to post positive reviews . . . or none at all.  And readers, who by that definition are disqualified from leaving negative reviews, can only post positive ones.

You want readers to lie by omission.  You want them to shut up and say nothing about your awful book, as though that will make your writing any better.  It won’t.

Your book is indeed awful.  You can’t write.  Your story is banal, your characters are wooden, your plot is implausible.  Your cover looks like something knocked together by a couple of 12-year-olds, and your formatting is an embarrassment to MSWord.  This product has no redeeming features whatsoever.

Yet if I say that, and if I provide evidence to substantiate my claims, you will call me a troll and a bully and a meanie.  You’ve done it in the past.  You will accuse me of jealousy, and I will laugh hysterically because there is no reason for someone who is reasonably competent with the English language to be jealous of you and this file of putrescent gibberish that you call a book.

You will tell me that I should think of your tender feelings, but I should not care at all about the potential readers to whom my silence is a lie of tacit approval.  Those readers are nothing to you, or at least nothing more than their credit card numbers on their one-click accounts.  To you they have no feelings worthy of respect, worthy of honesty.

You want me to be what I am not.  I am not a liar.  And I will not lie for you.

A few people stood up with me when I took on Goodreads (which is well on its way to becoming nothing more than the advertising arm of Amazon if it isn’t already) but most did not.  A few have spoken out since my banning, but most of gone back to their previous silence.  It is one thing to “take one for the team” by reading and then reviewing a terrible book, because of course that is done voluntarily and there are a lot of laughs to go around in the process.  And one really doesn’t take any kind of risk when doing that.

I took one for the team over and over and over.  Under my real name.  The blog posts are still on here.  And there are screenshots of many of the now-erased posts on Goodreads.

I put my Goodreads account on the line in the name of honesty.  I am not one to blow my own horn when it comes to my books, but I will blow my horn ’til the cows come home over what I did on Goodreads:  I documented the dishonesty.  And that’s what I was banned for.

The excuse that will probably be given, if there ever is one, is that I wasn’t nice enough.  And that much is true.  I wasn’t nice.  I was honest, but I wasn’t nice.

When authors came onto Goodreads threads and asked whether or not they should buy reviews, I was honest:  I told them they shouldn’t.  I told them those reviews might be removed.  I told them those reviews could be identified and then their books would be labeled as “This one is so bad the author has to pay people to pretend they read it.”

Could I have been nicer?  Could I have written, “Oh, dear, I don’t think that would be a very good idea.  What if people found out you bought those reviews?  What would they think of your book?  What would they think of you?”  Yes, I suppose I could have written it that way.  Would it have got the point across?  Maybe, or maybe not.  Would it have been me?

No, it would not.

I understand the allure of reviews.  I recognize that they are repeatedly touted as the key to making sales.  One has only to read the posts of the frankly desperate authors who beg for reviews because reviews are, they believe, needed to generate sales.  They believe this as surely as they believe night follows day.  Except that night really does follow day; unfortunately, reviews do not generate sales.

Amazon, however, has a vested interest in fostering that belief.

Amazon wants people to keep uploading books.  The cost to Amazon is negligible, since they do none of the actual work of publishing.  They do not edit, provide artwork, or market those author-published works.  They do, however, get a cut of each one that’s purchased.

Though these are rough numbers and there are exceptions on all, these are the basic figures.  On a 99-cent Kindle book, the author’s royalty rate is 35%.   Amazon keeps 65 cents off the top, the author gets 34 cents.  The same percentages hold up to $2.98.  At $2.99 and up, the author can elect a 70% royalty, which means Amazon’s cut is 90 cents plus they charge a few cents to cover the cost of digital storage and delivery.

Amazon is much better positioned to cover the minuscule costs of those thousands of free downloads than the authors are, even the perma-free titles.  Will that benefit someday disappear?  I expect it probably will, but that’s another discussion.

So who benefits from the Kindle Direct Publishing platform the most?  Amazon.   And it doesn’t matter how good or how bad the product is, Amazon still gets a cut.

Crappy books do not sell.  Not even hundreds of glowing 5-star reviews can push crappy books into best-seller status — and profits for the authors.  Some of you who are reading this are very well aware of what you’ve done to rack up those reviews and ratings.

Have you given the books away free and then asked readers to leave a review?  Have you used social media to make friends with your readers, in Facebook groups or on Twitter, on Goodreads and Amazon and Booklikes, and then solicited just a short review from them, telling them how much it would help you?  Did you make them feel obligated to do so?  Of course you weren’t really pressuring them.  You just sort of left the suggestion in their minds, and they of course being flattered were more than eager to do so.  (“She’s such a nice person, isn’t she?”)

Why is it then that the next book, the one you didn’t give away free and didn’t pressure readers to buy and read, didn’t get hundreds of 5-star ratings on Amazon and Goodreads?  Why do you suppose that is?  Maybe because people didn’t like it?  Maybe they lied in their reviews on the first book because they’d been flattered by your attention, but in reality they knew the book was garbage?

Amazon doesn’t care why your second book didn’t sell.  Or your third, fourth, or any of the subsequent titles.  Did it ever occur to you that maybe Amazon is using you as their loss leaders to put the competition out of business?  Probably not.  Probably not any more than it ever occurred to you to read the 1- and 2-star reviews that were left for your crappy books on Amazon and Goodreads, on Leafmarks and Booklikes.

Nor does Amazon care if you buy reviews.  Many of you do, of course.  Many of you have been caught red-handed on fiverr.com.  Many of those reviews have been removed from Goodreads and the reviewers’ accounts have been terminated, but very few of you have lost your author status there, unless like Michael Beas and Cheryl Persons you were also selling reviews on Goodreads.  But do you remember how this paragraph started?  “Nor does Amazon care if you buy reviews.”

Amazon doesn’t care because they’ve got that wonderful “Verified Purchase” button.  It’s supposed to imply that the accompanying review is a legitimate consumer opinion, the kind that’s required under Federal Trade Commission guidelines.  There are probably a lot of genuine consumers who trust that label.  But you’ve figured out a way around that, which is exactly what Amazon wanted you to do.  So now when you buy your “reviews” from fiverr and the other shill outfits, you buy another “gig” so the reviewer can buy your book and get that “Verified Purchase” stamp.  And Amazon gets their cut and they’re happy to turn a blind eye to the transaction.

How’s that working for you?  Two fiverr gigs are going to cost you $10.  On your $2.99 book you’ll net roughly $2.00.  You’ll get that back when the reviewer buys your book, and then you have to hope they don’t return it and pocket the extra $2.99.  Even if they honor the agreement and don’t ask for a refund, that review has to generate four more sales just for you to break even.

Amazon got 90-some cents for doing pretty much nothing.  That’s why they don’t care if you buy reviews that say your paranormal YA chicklit book is better than Tolkien and Herbert and Martin and Gabaldon and Rowling all wrapped up together even if anyone with more than twelve functioning brain cells can see it’s absolute dreck.  Amazon has a vested interest in not caring about, well, about honesty or integrity or ethics or quality or any of that bullshit.  Honesty and integrity and ethics aren’t profitable.  And Amazon, like all corporations, is all about profit.

None of the Amazon accounts identified as belonging to fiverr “reviewers” have been removed from Amazon by Amazon.  None of their reviews have been removed by Amazon.  Some of those individuals attempted to establish new Goodreads accounts but were quickly identified and quickly removed.  However, Amazon doesn’t remove them.  Even though Amazon’s review guidelines explicitly state that paid reviews are a violation, no amount of reporting “abuse” will get them removed.  I know this because I’ve reported them.  Repeatedly.  They’re still there.

During the months that I routinely monitored Goodreads and Amazon reviews to connect them with fiverr “reviewers,” I came to be very familiar with the names under which they posted their reviews.   They’re still posting.  That means you’re still buying.

And yes, in case you’re wondering, I’m still monitoring.  I’m still taking screen shots, though not as many as I did before.  And of course I’m not reporting to Goodreads.  Why should I?

I already took one for the team, a big one.  I did my part.  Now it’s someone else’s turn, if they care enough that is.  My guess is that they don’t.

Does that mean you’re in the clear?  Well, maybe it does and maybe it doesn’t.  Maybe I’ll get angry enough with you again and start posting more screenshots here on Booklikes.   Because remember,  I’m not a nice person.  I have no reason to be nice any more.  My being nice or not nice really has nothing to do with it, does it?  No, the real issue is that I’m honest, and you just can’t stand that.  You just can’t stand it at all, can you.

Maybe you’re one of those authors who self-righteously brags that you never bought a review and you didn’t stoop so low as to give your books away to anyone.  You put time and effort into your books and you don’t think you should let someone benefit from your effort without, by God, paying you for the right to read it.

But when I look at your book on Amazon, I see more familiar names.  No, not fiverr shills but the names of other authors, other self-publishing authors, other self-publishing authors who have been desperately looking for people to buy and read and review their books and they’ll do the same in return.  It’s different, you insist, when you agree to swap honest reviews with each other.

You and I both know those reviews aren’t honest in the least.  You and the other author are going to stroke each other’s egos because you’re afraid that if you don’t tell him his steaming pile of manure is the next Hunger Games, he’ll retaliate and let the world know your book isn’t the next Interview with a Vampire.  Both of you believe that 5-star reviews will generate sales, and that’s what it’s all about.  You’re no different from Amazon in that respect (pun intended).  You don’t care one fig about honesty.  You only care about sales.  You will lie, and you will ask someone else to lie, in the name of selling your terrible, terrible book.

The CJRR continues — that nefarious group of self-publishing authors who rate each other’s absolutely suckworthy spewings with unalloyed 5-star ratings and attack anyone who dares do otherwise.  The sockpuppet ratings continue unabated.  The fiverr shills haven’t missed a beat.  It gets worse instead of better on Goodreads and Amazon, because that’s the way Amazon wants it.

Readers may ask, “But why?  Why does Amazon want to promote crap?”

Because it sells.  If it doesn’t sell itself, it at least sells advertising.  Every time a reader clicks on a free book, other items pop up.  Try it sometime.  Recommended.  Readers who bought this also bought.  And so on.  And Goodreads is just an advertising platform for Amazon.  So Goodreads doesn’t really care either.

They cared a little bit for a little while.  They cared long enough to remove a few of the shadier accounts.  Michael Beas with more than 350 purchased reviews.  “Meghan” from Manila with almost 800.  The publicist and her sock puppet army who had over 2500 5-star reviews posted on Goodreads.  Did someone from Amazon come along and tell the Goodreads staff that they had to axe Linda Hilton’s account because Linda Hilton wasn’t being nice?

Did Amazon not like it that I was posting screen shots that linked Amazon “Top Reviewers” to fiverr accounts?

Were publicists like Kelsey McBride buying enough ads for their clients on Goodreads and Amazon that those websites took the cash over ethics to let those publicists, their employees, their sockpuppets, continue to post reviews in violation of FTC regulations and didn’t want Linda Hilton to publicize (pun intended) that information?

Yes, I’m angry at you uploaders — you’re not really authors at all — because you’ve fouled the nest we all need to live in.  I despise you, and I know the risk I’m taking even in posting this screed.  Amazon is big enough and powerful enough, and I am insignificant enough, that they could refuse to publish my books.  Believe me, the loss of my sales wouldn’t hurt them financially.  (Actually, it probably wouldn’t hurt me financially very much either.)  If they do that, you’ll know and I’ll know that what I’ve written here is important enough for them to want to silence me.

They don’t go out of their way to silence the insignificant.  Honesty is never insignificant.  It’s too dangerous to be insignificant.