Review- Soul Taker Part I

Okay, Dear Readers, here is the first review of the new year.

After long years in the line of duty as a ‘Soul Taker’, Kate is worn out. 

When she gets a new job offer from the ‘Powers Above’, she accepts her new job as a Guardian gratefully without knowing that her teacher is one of the most powerful beings in existence, the Archangel Raphael.

Along with Raphael, she takes on her new task and the connection between them grows.

Raphael helps, protects and supports Kate, but suddenly, she becomes a target for the Demons of Hell.

Raphael realizes that Kate means more to him than he expected, which causes him to fight furiously against danger. If he fails, Kate’s future will contain eternal darkness, evil, and torture. ” Amazon

138 pages of if not quite hell definitely not heaven. There is a typo in the dedication, the dedication. The author lists DSM Publications as the editor and this man has a lot to answer for, but not as much as the author who has compiled a hot mess of at times almost incoherent, simplistic, predictability.

This is a book about angels supposedly but Alexander’s angels, or Angels since she insists on capitalizing the word, are merely badly drawn human characters with wings. There is nothing grand or glorious, fierce or fearsome about these angels, excuse me “Angels”. They are merely Angels because the author says so.

If you want angels read Nalini Singh’s Guildhunter series or Thomas E Sniegoski’s Remy Chandler series. These are angels.

So our heroine is Kate, a Soul Taker, which is an Angel who goes around gathering up the souls of the dying. (Remind me to tell you about this amusing little series about a woman who delivers souls to their proper destinations) I’m not quite sure how she does it because it’s never fully explained but when we meet her she’s tired of it. It depresses her. Mind you, Kate wanted to be a warrior Angel but gathering souls depresses her. I wonder what she thought warriors do, tickle their enemies into surrendering?

As Kate is wandering around gazing soulfully and sighing her boss happens along and offers her a new position as a Guardian. Of course she accepts it at 3% of the book, so why is it called Soul Taker? Making sense is not a strong point of this book.

“I was nearly in tears, found myself lonely, sad, bullied.” Ye-ah. Whatev. Never does she explain this. The girl is over 300 years old and she doesn’t have a friend? And bullied? How? Where? Don’t ask because you will not find an answer here. “I loved my looks, I had only wished that, once in a while, someone would take the time to look behind my mask of pure beauty and try to fathom my feelings, emotions, brains, guts – and whatever else was there.” Cue soundtrack, “Feelings”. “Whatever else was there”? What? Brain matter? Blood? Veins? Hair?A vacuum between her ears? I’ll take the vacuum for a $1000, Alex.

“My lips pulled back from my teeth, and I took in the clean, fresh air like some drowning helpless victim.” Uhhh. Okay, the clean, fresh air where? There is never any clear description of where these Angels spend their time when they aren’t gathering or guarding or fighting or whatever else. On earth, in heaven, on a fluffy cloud? Your guess is as good as mine.

Let us just say that her world building has a condemned sign on it.

Back to Kate. She accepts the position and her now former boss introduces her to her new boss or teacher or mentor or something. It’s the archangel Raphael and he dresses like a cowboy. Do not ask why. He’s also a hugger. And not George Clooney. I can’t believe I read this.

So he says they’ll be working together for the next 3 or 4 years and we will now stop. The timeline in this hot mess was nonexistent. You can be reading along and suddenly days, weeks, month have passed. But she seldom tells you, you have to stop and figure it out from the text. I think the timeline is well over 18 months but I can’t be certain.

So Rafe whisks her away to show her the job which is the only time , how much time I don’t know because to the nonexistent timeline. There’s a night watchman, a castle full of soldiers, two churches, the castle again, a hospital. It’s disjointed, confusing, and unintentionally hilarious. “I nudged the younger man, who suddenly got up, walked over to the others and explicitly declared: “Madame, Doctor- you WILL perform the surgery and do it properly! I, Sheldon Foss III, will fully cover this woman’s surgery and her hospital stay!”  Ye-ah. No. There are a couple more examples of what the author fondly believes shows the inspirational calling of her Angels but they follow in the same overwrought pattern. “He smiled at me with winning charm and asked, with a dark and manly voice as if he was some kind of doctor: “How are we today, Sweetie?” A dark and manly voice? As if he was some kind of doctor? What the hell?

“”And still, you’re answering so convincedly.”” Her editor’s name is Don Massenzio.

Now here is something I haven’t seen before:

If it looks like the word contemptuously has an attached link, it does.

I had been wondering if Alexander perhaps didn’t speak English but she claims:

Let us continue. So we see her job and then Mr Dark-and-Manly-Voice grabs her. It’s a demon. You would think it would be hard to not write an interesting demon but somehow Alexander manages it. I weep. And here I will recommend R J Blain’s Whatever For Hire, Blain’s Satan is deliciously funny and witty and devious.

Torture ensues, mainly of the reader but a little bit to Kate. She is rescued, damn it. When she wakes up there is an IV in her arm. An angel. I guess divine healing isn’t what it used to be. I hope she has good insurance. When she recovers she rehabs in a fully equipped gym. And once again I ask where? Heaven, earth, fluffy cloud?

A good writer can get away with some iffy stuff but a bad writer just makes it light up like neon in Vegas.

So she recovers and now is moping around when an angel visits and informs her she’s in love with cowboy Rafe. “I grabbed his shirt with both hands as I did never want to let him go again”. Did I mention she had an editor? And he charges for this.

“Before I had time to answer two things happened nearly simultaneously. Thunder, lightning followed by the little airplane Raphael had saved falling from the sky”. Thunder, lightning, plane falling, isn’t that like, you know, three things? Not the first time this author has had a problem with her numbers.

“The weight pressed me down, but there was neither nothing nor anyone there.” She gets attacked and faints. A lot. There is a reason for this, the attacking not the fainting, she’s a special little snowflake. You know, one of those characters so special that you just want to vomit. “”I was informed that this very special ability and unique part of personality needs a lot of strength as well as modesty. That’s why no Archangel has obtained it except for Angels with not only the right humble character, but also the will, strength and loyalty to our Creator. This is you, Katie! Our Father has had very disappointing esperience with vanity and envy. He counts on you to not betray him or his gift. Your experience has shown he made the right decision. You are a unique gem amongst Angelkind”” Kate is so, so special.

“This Archangel was the teensiest bit intimidating. he had the features of a wrestler, mocha colored skin, nearly black eyes and his wild ebony locks were falling onto his shoulders.” Scary black man? And then, describing another angel: “”You have never seen him joking around as Darth Vader – or wearing Jeans, Flip-Flops, and a pink net shirt, acting as if he was gay.”” I can’t even. I won’t even. You shouldn’t even. Remember this is YA.

“”We both might need a coffee – and the best is at my place.” Then several paragraphs later, “”I’m on my way to Aylah’s place to have a coffee with her” And I’m not sure where Kate’s place is because she had a fight with Rafe (she’s “brave” for shouting at him) and she was bemoaning she had no place to go.

So things roll boringly along until Rafe informs her she’s pregnant. He has to tell her much like that other angel told her she was in love with Rafe. “The entire Hall was decorated with blue flowers and golden tresses.”  Hair? Angels decorate with hair? Oh, A.J., that word does not mean whatever the hell you think it does. Did you know she had an editor? Oh, the flowers and hair were for her wedding, a little something that the Archangel who didn’t want to tell her he loved her while her teacher because he didn’t want her to feel pressured because of his position sprang on her without so much as a by your leave. He did gift her a beautiful new dress so I guess that makes it okay. Afterward Rafe tells her he wanted to legally bind himself to her and, and, angels. Legally bind? Sounds like they had a ceremony at City Hall. These. Are. Angels. Or at least the author wants us to believe they are.

“And even though Raphael treated me like a raw egg from time to time,” The deathless prose!

So basically Kate wanders through this “book” being told all the major things she should be able to figure out if she had half a brain, has a baby, keeps getting attacked by demons and the Devil, is a special little snowflake, and dispenses rainbows and uplifting words of wisdom at the drop of a purple pen.

“”And we both fathom, no matter how many women there were, ‘the one’ was not among them. The one who will touch you, hug and kiss you, full of love and dedication and any time of the day, she was not one of them. And still, love will find you! Your lady of heart will meet you when the time has come.””

Gives that endorsement the side eye.

So I recommend Singh or Sniegorski or Blaine and just leave this shambles of a “book” alone. Here endeth Part I. You remember my post about second chances, well now, that is Part II.

Review- The Forgotten Engineer

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Ooh, boy, I went back to Amazon to check this ebook out and found this. This being “Newly Re-Edited and Re-Formatted“, never a good sign when it is the very first thing you see after the title.

It might have impressed me more if the description lived up to the claim.

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At this time I want to bring back a crowd favorite, can you guess who?

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Happy holidays from our favorite pigeon, Paul. Paul wants to express his opinion of the claim “Newly Re-Edited and Re-Formatted” in a way that pigeons excel at.  I don’t have to tell you, I don’t have to show you, you know what pigeons do best, right?

And speaking of telling and showing The Forgotten Engineer has massive issues with both, too much of the former and not enough of the latter. In fact, Engineer seemed to do what felt like 90% telling to 10% showing.

Authors, readers, reviewers all talk about showing not telling but somehow this author seems to have missed all the discussions to the detriment of this book. Paul, the author not the pigeon, talks his heroine and her story, what there is of it, into the ground. And he’s boring to boot.

I thought Engineer would be a sort of Castaway in space but I was sadly mistaken. Wilson, the soccer ball in Castaway, had more personality than Athena most of the time. Athena started out whiny and ended up whiny and hostile. Carver, the captain of the ship who finds her, is sort of bumbling and clueless, and Buckley, the captain of the doomed Redcoat is the sort of officer that usually meets his end at the hands of his fellow crewmembers. How could anyone so stupid and arrogant advance so far and be in command?  Because of Paul’s inability to craft a good character you could see their actions coming from a mile away.

Beyond the poor characterization was the sad lack of an engaging plot. You can’t spend a significant part of a book telling your readers a summary of life alone building a space station unless you’re one hell of a story teller and Paul isn’t.  There was too much of “I built this and almost died when it …” or “when I built this I lost 3 drones because…”, well why are you telling me this? Why aren’t you showing me? Instead of a straight timeline from past to present Paul chose to jump back and forth chapter to chapter. I don’t know if this was because he didn’t feel up to the task of trying to craft an interesting straightforward timeline, didn’t want to, or because he thought the back and forth timeline would be more interesting. It isn’t. The question of whether Athena will be found stops at chapter 2.

I’ve spent too much time on this lost cause. The truly depressing thing is that Paul has written 10 “books” in this series plus others. I say “books” because none of them top out over 190 pages (hey, if they’re short you don’t have to bother with pesky details like character development and a well executed plot). After reading his bio on Amazon I guess he thinks cranking out 25 pieces of work in two years is something to be proud of. Not when the quality is this lacking.

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Mad Cow Alert! Elizabeth Llewellyn

Dear, dear Readers, it has been too long. Get out your popcorn and beer. Ready?

You read my review of Putting My Foot Down? Fairly innocuous, I thought, but I guess I was wrong. (Well, no, but that’s the reason for this post) Turns out my old, dear friend, Elle, she of Suicide Ride infamy has also posted a review of the “book”.  And she gave it 5 stars.

Whatever.

But it now seems that between revisiting my review of her book, trashing her family and mother-in-law, proclaiming her deepest admiration for tRump, and using her dead husband to bolster her claim of victimhood, Elle has found the time to take exception to my review. Of someone else’s book.

Someone needs to take her bottle and keyboard away cause she’s a nasty piece of work even without the booze.

One of my (many, cherished) minions sent me this:

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I did not have it taken down, I sort of wanted the cray cray to remain for all to see but it did get taken down, along with several of her other comments but we’ll get there in a minute, so she returned because Elle has to have the last word.

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My “stank toe”… oh, yeah, this one is a writer. Not half as much as she thinks she is. But wait! There’s more! There was one other one star review and Elle just had to drive by and take a shot (first from the bottle then on the keyboard).

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No dissenting opinion is safe. And before any more of you ask, that is the way she writes, drunk or sober and if you keep asking I will post parts of her now unavailable books to prove it.  (She claims she removed her books to give them to a legit publisher so they will get what they deserve. Yeah.)

Well hell, what do I care if some drunk, desperately searching for recognition  heifer from the South wants to take what she fondly think of as the greatest potshot in history? I don’t but Monday afternoon after I had spent the day doing things in the life I don’t have (according to so many of my adoring followers like Elle) I opened my emails to find this.

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What the everloving fuck? If you guessed Elle, you guessed correctly. She commented and down voted all these reviews. Some comments Amazon had erased before I got there and a couple didn’t make any sense, once or twice she made more than one comment.

This is a woman who claims all of us haterz  want to be her. No. Oh, no. Hell to the no.  Who in their right mind would want to be this mess? Want to know who the heifer follows on Amazon? Not her friends whose books she reviews (in violation of the TOS), no not them, she follows one woman.

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I’m so, well, not flattered. Maybe a little creeped out. And a little concerned for the people she is fixated on living close to her. Okay, she had her fun, moo-ving on. But wait! There’s more!

Tuesday emails brought this.

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I think she managed to comment on all of them. Who doesn’t have a life? I’m thinking it’s the heifer, must be the grass looks greener outside of her pasture.

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An image of a Belted Galloway. It takes a brave bovine to wear a wide, white belt around the widest part of their body but the BG is a fashion forward cow.

Back to our heifer of the hour. Since I didn’t respond and Elle is desperate for attention she interrupted her regularly scheduled post about being a grieving widow to post this.

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Yes, I have pissed off a few deserving souls and I own it. The most amazing part of the post above is if you go to that Google search one of the top posts listed is one I reposted about Weinberg’s limp attack on John Green.  But they all mentioned my name so they all must be about how terrible I am.

I have a lovely collection of screenshots (no surprise) all about Elle but leave you with this link and this screenshot.

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Is this enough recognition for you, Elle, because all those screenshots do not paint a flattering picture of you.

 

Reviews deleted by Amazon? Here’s why (update)

UPDATE: On October 3, 2016, Amazon announced a change in its policies, eliminating nearly all “incentivized” reviews. According to the new policy, reviews (and certain other content) may no longer be posted on products received for free or at a discount in exchange for a review. Amazon’s own Vine Program is an exception to this new rule, and reviewers also continue to be allowed to post reviews on books they have received for free, so long as the book isn’t given in exchange for the review.

In response to Amazon’s announcement, some sellers and clubs changed to a policy that reviews would now be optional and, therefore, permitted under Amazon’s new rules. They also said that because reviews are optional, no disclosure of the freebie/discount would be required. That is NOT correct. The FTC Guidelines still require a disclosure that the item was received for free or at a discount and who provided it, even if the recipient can choose whether or not to write the review. What’s more, Amazon’s executive customer relations staff have stated that a review “tied to” a free or discounted product is not permitted and that making the review optional doesn’t change that.

The rest of this post was written when incentivized reviews were permitted, provided the sellers and reviewers complied with other rules, including those against manipulation.

For the original post, go here.

This Is Kevin Weinberg

Hello, Dear Readers, this post is for those who are dropping by to read about our favorite basement dweller, Kevin Weinberg.

The Sad, Sad Tale of a Basement Living Mama’s Boy

GoodReads Bans Kevin Weinberg/parogar

Twitter Bans Kevin Weinberg/parogar and then…

He can’t say enough bad things to and about women but when challenged to produce the same level of vitriol about a man, he wimps out.

Limp, Flaccid & Boring: STGRB and Kevin Weinberg Can’t Find Anything Bad to Write About Me (I’m SO Disappointed)

So there you have it, his mama must be sooooooo proud.

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