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





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.



Review- Dog with a Bone

Screenshot (9733)Another book from Mt. Kindle TBR. What can I say about this one? Nothing much.

A few days after reading it I can’t remember the names of the main characters, not the best sign. It wasn’t a truly terrible book but it never quite reached a point where it could stand out from the rest.

The main characters, Thierry and Shaw, were never as solid as they should have been. I could never quite get a solid visual image. Thierry has one of the two boss most popular backgrounds- her long absent father is the Black Dog of the Fae, which limits her choice of careers to being a Marshal or living in the Fae realm.

Shaw, her friend/mentor/trainer/boss/succubus/love interest, was never all that irresistible. I couldn’t find the chemistry Edwards was trying to convince me they shared.

The plot, while not outstanding, was- okay. It moved along fairly well but didn’t stay with me after I finished reading. This is a short book, only 184 pgs and is described as a prequel to the Black Dog series but it just didn’t entice me to pick up the next book.

Edwards has said there are only four books to this series but I won’t be continuing with it. Meh.

Anne Rice Is Against Pseudonyms and Alias’ on the Internet, Except When She Isn’t

[reblogged from Alexandra’s Adventures in Books]

As many of you are aware, Anne Rice supports a petition to have Amazon disallow pseudonymous reviews and postings and require real names.

It’s important to note that on Amazon while users may elect to have a display name for reviews and forum posts, Amazon knows the customers’ real name, and typically also address.  Therefore they are not “anonymous” in the true sense.

From Anne’s Facebook page, Todd Barselow posted this comment promoting his petition for Amazon to disallow pseudonymous reviews and postings on February 7,


“I will look forward to this. I just glanced at that petition to Amazon that I penned last year and people are still signing it and commenting on it. It has better than 9k signatures now.”


Anne Rice’s response to Todd,


“I’m glad you posted this, Todd, but we need to warn those signing it that they will be held up to ridicule in the Amazon Forums. They are defamed there and people are invited to spite them and punish the signers by removing reviews from their work. And Amazon does not take down this sort of post even though it violates their guidelines.”

Anne Rice signed the petition to require reviews and forum posts be posted under verified real names,


about 1 year ago Liked 25

My experience with the gangster bullies in the Forum has been very bleak and ugly. I post there under my own name. They blatantly violate your guidelines with personal insults and harassing posts. If you would only apply your own guidelines this would greatly help. I feel a lot of these people are obsessive abusers who have found some sort of dark home on Amazon tormenting writers. I urge you to take action.”


Interestingly enough Facebook does have a policy that requires user accounts be under real names.  Although certainly some get away with using fictitious names, Facebook has been notoriously stringent in it’s enforcement of the rule.

Recently a regular poster to Anne’s Facebook page, Granny Goodwitch, has run afoul of this TOS rule of Facebook’s, having her user account closed.  Anne has posted numerous posts on her Facebook page bemoaning the enforcement by Facebook that user accounts be real names, and calls it “harassment”,


‘Good Morning, People of the Page. It is a somewhat gray day here, and unseasonably cool for Palm Desert in May. I’m not at my best today, and will post when I can. I’m deeply distressed that Granny Goodwitch is no longer able to appear regularly on our page, and confused as to why she is encountering difficulties with FB. Just don’t get it. —- I think this will be a quiet day for me, reading “The Yearling,” and trying to “feel better.”‘


‘Signing off, ladies and gentlemen with this message about Granny Goodwitch and her targeting by Facebook. ‘Tis a mystery why FB has taken down Granny’s page, and subsequent pages that Granny has tried to launch. —- Granny, as many of you know is a Pillar of this page, providing links to fabulous stories about archaeology, science, and a whole spectrum of interesting topics. She is a lovely person, an inspiring person and a person of great warmth and love. I’ve met her at signings, and I truly love her for the love she has shown me and so many others. — What can we do to reach the powers that be at FB, and discover why this is happening? Yes, I know there are rules about names, apparently, but they do not seem to be logically or consistently applied. I know of people now posting under pseudonyms on FB. This is all a puzzle. What was the purpose of targeting Granny Goodwitch? —- If any of you have contacts at FB, if any of you know any way to appeal to the management, if any of you perhaps work with or for FB and can shed some light on the sudden targeting of Granny Goodwitch, I would so appreciate it. I think a lot of people would appreciate it. Please, if you can, help us to solve this mystery. I will check back in the morning for comments.’
“Our beloved Granny Goodwitch is once again banned from FB. She is clearly being harassed and we do not know why. Much confusion and mystery surrounds what is happening. I have received word that some others who post on this page are being harassed. If anyone has any information as to this, who is doing it, why, whether it’s an individual or a group, etc. please let me know by email. (See “About” for email.) I promise you complete confidentiality as to your identity, and your email information will only be seen by me and my lawyer, and those authorities at FB who might do something to correct this injustice. Remember even the best internet sites can be abused, manipulated, and misused.”

And as further evidence of AR’s blatant hypocrisy, she’s posted an article about reasons people use alias’ on the internet,
Something people tried to explain to her when she started supporting and promoting the removal of pseudonyms on Amazon, and she called “bullies” and “trolls” and “thugs” for doing so.


Here’s an article on the Anne Rice – Todd Barselow connection,


Thanks To Anne Rice Todd Barselow Has Made All Of You His Bitches