Review- Murder & Mochas


Screenshot (9853)I love this cover, and the book isn’t bad either. Bigler’s debut novel is all about Kurt West, bounty hunter. But West doesn’t just hunt your normal bail jumpers he also hunts aliens. In Murder & Mochas he does both.

I’m not sure what to say about this book, not sure just why I liked it. I lost the thread of the plot a couple times because several of the characters had very similar names and I kept mixing them up but it seemed to move along at a good pace. West, called the Beowulf by aliens, is trying to find the killer of a member of a diplomatic party on earth for a summit and find a human drug dealer who has skipped on a very large bail. And he do it all in 71 hours.

The beginning and end of the book were interesting and enjoyable but there was a section just before West calls in his ex-CO for backup where he couldn’t seem to keep his mind on his cases and spent an  (for me) inordinate amount of time thinking unhappy thoughts about his ex-girlfriend who didn’t consider him marriage material and any other attractive female who sauntered past. Just like a man.

But once he partnered up with Logan the pace and the dialogue picked up and moved. One thing that stood out for me was that the conversations between West and Logan felt right. It had the flow and snap of two long time friends.

“But if it were me, I’d just string them up publicly.”

“Right, that’s why you were only ever a sargeant.”

“Touche, Lance Corporal.”

“Hey, I made Lance Corporal three times. That should count for something.”

A lot of time was spent in bars and restaurants, and Starbucks- aliens love Starbucks, and a fourth dimensional tourist destination called the Drift.

The book did have an occasional grammar or construction error and they were noticeable because the majority of the writing was smooth and easy to read, so easy to read that I’m on my way to buy Mercury & Murder, book 2 in the series.





Review- The Three Best Freinds (the typo is not mine)

Screenshot (9852)It’s safe to say that if you follow my reviews you know how I feel about “authors” of books for YA and children. I believe these authors, more than any others, have a duty to GET IT RIGHT. Castellanos got nothing right.

Look at the title.

Then this is a very short story, in fact, I don’t consider it a story at all. Just a bunch of badly written, poorly constructed sentences full of misspellings and strange tense changes that tell instead of show one boy getting ready for his BF’s birthday party. Sort of. It reads like a poor effort of a story translated into English of a sort. In the middle of this mess Castellanos has inserted a picture of 3 robots. I don’t know why, there are no robots in the few, paltry paragraphs he has managed to mutilate.

I read this in 3 minutes, counting the time I had to ponder what he was trying to say. Do not subject a child to this, find them something worth their time that they can truly enjoy and will expose them to what a proper story is.


WARNING: I wrote this before I had my morning coffee.

No matter how hard reviewers try to convince those receiving 3 star reviews that it isn’t the end of the world, or their career, it seems we are fighting an uphill battle.  Five star reviews shouldn’t be tossed out like handfuls of confetti, that just cheapens the review and renders it meaningless. It should mean something, it should define the best of the best.

Three stars are nothing to sneeze at, a 3 star review shouldn’t be swept under the carpet. In the book world it means the reviewer liked it and it didn’t exhibit any major, glaring flaws. A good job. Nowadays that seems to be almost a surprise to the reader, unfettered self-publishing hasn’t done the self-published author any favors.

No one should receive or demand 5 stars for just doing their job. A job done above the standard, now that is worthy of 4 0r 5 stars. Flawless execution, outstanding plots, surprising twists contribute to this.

Why am I wittering on you ask? Because of this. I mean, really? Beyond the letter about the salesman there are two responses beside Prudie, the second on page 2. This sort of horrifies me.

No one, no one, is 5 stars all the time and to demand that they are, or that the customer has to lie and say they are, negates the review process. Just shove a printed form at every person entering the dealership or store that has only the option of checking off 5 stars and be done with it.

Just like a significant number of authors and places like Bookbub, these businesses aren’t listening to the people that matter (the ones spending the money), they are fixated on those 5 stars, nothing less.

I can remember performances where I was grateful to remember the choreography from beginning to end or happy all the scarves and jewelry didn’t fall off, or that the stage held up (gruesome), and I know that none of those times were worthy of 5 stars. Well, maybe 5 for not falling off or through that damned stage…

None of us are 5 star worthy every time we do something and that’s good. That means when that 5 stars come along we know we’ve done something outstanding, something special. All 5 stars all the time loses all meaning.

You know what we need? We need to make 3 the new 5. We need a place like Bookbub that only promotes books with x number of 3 star reviews, call it Perfectly Good Books or somesuch. We need to grab complaining authors by the ear and ask them why they are complaining about 3 star reviews that liked their book. We need to march into the dealership or store manager’s office toss that little form or whatever on his or her desk and ask what’s so wrong with 3 stars?

I’ll tell you what’s so wrong with 3 stars…    NOTHING





Author Solutions and Friends: The Inside Story

David Gaughran

ASandfriendsweboptAuthor Solutions has forged partnerships with a long list of famous names in publishing – from Simon & Schuster and Hay House to Barnes & Noble and Reader’s Digest.

Recent disclosures in various lawsuits, along with information sent to me by a Penguin Random House source, detail for the very first time exactly how these partnerships work and the damage they are causing.

Since a second suit was filed at the end of March, Author Solutions is now facing two class actions, with the new complaint alleging unjust enrichment and exploitation of seniors on top of the usual claims of fraud and deceptive practices. It also has a wonderfully precise summary of Author Solutions’ operations:

Author Solutions operates more like a telemarketing company whose customer base is the Authors themselves. In other words, unlike a traditional publisher, Author Solutions makes money from its Authors, not for them. It does so…

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Why authors should never comment on negative reviews of their own books

Thought Scratchings

You’ve written a book. It’s been published. Your agent told you that he/she has never read a book like it. Your publisher has told you that your voice is entirely unique. The quotes from celebrities on the front cover of your book reinforce this sense of untouchable brilliance. The first fifty amazon reviews have flooded in from industry people who are encouraged to display kindness. Traction begins…but all of these opinions are inherently biased.

Then comes the first negative review from Jeremy, from Hounslow. Your brain immediately reacts by telling you that Jeremy must be mentally ill. Then you decide he must be a troll. (Because you’ve convinced yourself that you are so special, that there are people alive who spend their free time attacking your books, hoping you say something, because that’s how you think they think they will get famous. Even though nobody read your last novel.) So…

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Annie Rice and the Brunel University Study

Granted it is a small study but interesting. Brunel University conducted a study of 555 Facebook users and found that users with low self-esteem were more likely to use the “relationship status” to create interest in themselves and narcissists were more likely to boast about their achievements and/or their fitness regimens to generate the attention they crave.

At 73 Anne Rice isn’t posting about bench pressing or marathons but she does spend a lot of time posting links to her 5 star reviews, stgrb, and how she is fighting the battle against us careerist gangster bully thugs, or trash as she sometimes describes us. The latter always gets her at least two comments about how brave and wonderful she is.

““Although our results suggest that narcissists’ bragging pays off because they receive more likes and comments to their status updates, it could be that their Facebook friends politely offer support while secretly disliking such egotistical displays,” Marshall said.” quoted from article.

Oops, well Annie will just ignore the above much like she ignores everything else that doesn’t suit her goals.