Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Naughty List by L.A. Kelley

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Just a bit of shameless promotion for my co-blogger, author L.A. Kelley. Follow the tour stops for giveaways, excerpts, interviews, reviews, and more!

November 24th Monday: Sabrina’s Paranormal Palace REVIEW & FAVORITE BOOKS
November 25th Tuesday: Kelly P’s Blog EXCERPT
November 26th Wednesday: FictionZeal DREAM CAST
November 27th Thursday: A Thousand Words A Million Books REVIEW & INTERVIEW
November 28th Friday: A Cup of Tea & A Big Book REVIEW & MUSIC PLAYLIST
November 29th Saturday: Sweet Southern Home REVIEW & THIS OR THAT
November 30th Sunday: The Avid Book Collector REVIEW

Follow this link to enter the GIVEAWAY for a chance to win signed copies of The Naughty List and One Enchanted Evening or an Amazon Gift Card!

Book Review of Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Just in time for Thanksgiving is a book from someone who really knows how to eat.

Jim Gaffigan is a funny guy. Known for his standup routines, he often includes commentary on food. So what are his qualifications to write a book on the subject? Nothing, really, unless you count the admission that he’s a little fat.
Like a pound of crispy bacon Food: A Love Story is deliciously satisfying. Gaffigan explores why we love food, what we love, and how much more of it can we stuff into our pie holes without falling into a coma. He covers the whole gamut of eating from breakfast, lunch, and dinner, to regional cuisine, fast food, fine dining, the intricacies of airport cuisines and, oh, that hated kale.

The chapters are short and read more like an expanded collection of essays. If you have ever listened to his comedy routine, some will be familiar. I didn’t find the book less enjoyable for that as it contained plenty of new material and some more background added to the old. For those who are familiar with Gaffigan’s act, his standup includes a memorable bit on Hot Pockets that launched him to comedy circuit stardom. My favorite observation is that Hot Pockets always comes in a box of two; one to eat and regret and the other to leave in the freezer until you move. As Gaffigan says, “I’ve never eaten a Hot Pocket and then afterward thought, I’m glad I ate that. In the book he offers not just more funny riffs on Hot Pockets, but also explains how he developed the routine. He accepts its popularity as a blessing and a curse, admitting if he were to keel over today his obituary would, no doubt, describe him as the Hot Pockets’ comedian.

He expounds on our quirky eating habits around the country with the Jim Gaffigan Food Map. It’s not exactly Rand McNally, but it works. Regions are divided into areas such as Seabugland (pretty much all of the East Coast), Eating BBQland (Southeast/Parts of Midwest), Mexicanfoodland (Southwest to Texas), Coffeeland (Pacific Northwest) and others. My favorite is New Orleans as Food Anxietyland. Gaffigan admits to an angst that comes over him every time he steps into the city. Where should he eat? What should he eat? The decisions are endless. Should he go for French, Cajun, Creole, beignets? I feel your pain, bro. I, too, have agonized between a po’boy and muffaletta and ended up getting both. 

The book is great fun and loaded with pictures of his wife and family. Frankly, any man with five kids deserves props for that alone. Despite his adventures in junkfoodland the Gaffigan’s sound like a very healthy, loving bunch. I’d share a meal with them anytime


Excerpt from Food: A Love Story

People are nicer in the South. They are. Even when they are rude they are polite. Maybe it’s the singsong of the southern drawl, but even a “Y’all can go to hell” from a Southerner sounds friendly. “Well, thank you kindly. Y’all can go to hell, too. An’ y’all come back now, y’hear?” People in the South are nicer, but they are slower. I don’t mean they are slower intellectually, I mean they just move slower.

FIREMAN: You have to get out! Your house is on fire!

SOUTHERN GUY: All right. All right. I’ll leave. But first I have to drink me some sweet tea. Then I’ll deal with that pesky house fire.

 Biscuits and Gravy

I think I’ve identified why people in the South behave in such a nonchalant manner. It’s the biscuits and gravy. Everyone in the South seems to move like they’ve just had two helpings of biscuits and gravy. They are moving like you might after Thanksgiving dinner. You know when you are uncomfortably full but pleasantly satisfied as you drag yourself over to the couch for a nap. That is how everyone below the Mason-Dixon Line moves in everyday life. I really believe it’s the biscuits and gravy. The feeling you have after eating biscuits and gravy is identical to the feeling of chaining a bowling ball to your foot.
More amazingly, people in the South are eating biscuits and gravy for breakfast. Yes, breakfast. They aren’t coming home drunk late at night slurring, “I’ll eat anything.” They are waking up thinking, Time for cement!


I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

L. A. Kelley is a co-blogger at The Book Cove.  She writes stories with adventures, romance, humor, and a touch of sass. You can find her at


Author Sally Ember, EdD: What I wish I had known for indie publishing and ebooks - an open letter to my earlier self

Monday, November 24, 2014

 What I Wish I had Known for #Indiepub #Ebooks 1 and 2: An Open Letter to my Earlier Self

By Sally Ember, Ed.D.

As I get ready to return to writing Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, in my sci-fi/ romance/ paranormal/ multiverse/ utopian The Spanners Series, I consider what I wish I had known for ebooks 1 and 2 of this series, my first launch and second foray into being an indiepub author after having been traditionally published.

I decided to write a series of letters to my pre-publication self, since I believe in simultaneous time. I know that this letter and all the subsequent ones are already written and I am already reading them before I publish Volume I, This Changes Everything, and Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever. I'm sharing this information with the public here (again).

Follow that? It helps to be a sci-fi or quantum physics fan, for sure.

Here is Part I of my tips for my earlier self and therefore, all new indie authors who are about to publish their first ebook (or even afterward). There will be a series of such letters advising myself. I need a lot of help!

What I Wish I had Known for #Indiepub #Ebooks 1 and 2:
An Open Letter to my Earlier Self

Part I

Dear Earlier Sally,

So, here you are, in December, 2011, writing your first sci-fi novel. You don't know, yet, that you're going to become an "indie" author, or even what that is.

Let's recap what a sorry state you're in, as an author, and see what, if anything, we can do to rectify this ignorance that could short-circuit your incipient writing career. 

  • You still think you're going to write query letters, try to find an agent, seek a publication "house" and become a published author the way you've seen it happen with your previous nonfiction books and countless others' fiction books. You haven't even considered not having a print book and haven't even read or seen an ebook at this point. You have no idea how much this industry is about to BOOM!

  • ebook sales to 2013

  • In fact, even though you've heard of Kindles and other ereaders, you've never seen one and don't know anyone who owns or uses one, yet. You've never heard of or seen anything about Google+, "author platforms," or blogging by authors. You think those who blog are self-centered, boring, unemployed journalists or stay-at-home workers who have time to surf the net and write drivel about their lives that you can't imagine anyone wanting to read.

  • You aren't on or aware of most of social media. For example, Twitter: you have no Followers except by accident (you now have 7). You never tweet, retweet, or favorite anyone's tweets. In fact, you never read and respond on Twitter at all. Furthermore, your Facebook activity is conducted strictly to stay in touch with friends and family, people you actually know. You belong to no Facebook groups except those that include people you know and have a specific purpose (your high school reunion group, a meditation group).

  • Social media icons

  • Additionally, even though someone told you to sign up for and join Goodreads, you almost never visit it and have no idea what it's for. You also believe that people who use it are just sharing book lists and books they like. You never read or write reviews there or on Amazon and rarely buy books from online stores; you prefer bricks-and-mortar bookstores when you buy books and mostly use lending libraries.

  • You don't consider yourself a book marketer and have not the faintest idea what book marketing entails, nor do you want to know. In fact, you plan to have all that done by your publisher and perhaps your agent (you're a little fuzzy on who does what and when). You believe that their experienced and intensive marketing efforts will succeed in getting you/your book on TV, radio, and in print reviews and ads which will make your book rocket to best-seller status very quickly, since you're sure it's that good.

  • You've ever heard of or used any Google+ Communities, Hangouts, or Circles.

  • You have never heard of Metadata and wouldn't know how to apply that to your ebooks, either.

  • Metadata topics

  • You do not know about most of nor do you belong to any in-person much less virtual writers' groups, authors' groups, marketing groups, review sharing groups, or any professional writers' groups of any kind.

  • You've never heard of ALEXA, Google Page Ranks, Google Authorship or KLOUT  scores and you don't know much about having an online presence. The extent of your knowledge is that you check Google every now and then to make sure nobody else is using your name or is saying bad things about you online.

  • Oy, vey. 

    Can your writing career be salvaged? Can you become a published author and have ANYONE know it? How will your book get reviews? How will you acquire any followers, much less readers? Will you sell even one book to anyone outside your friends and family?

    How and when will you ever figure out that you need to create and maintain a website, build and improve your author's platform, join and become active in online and virtual communities/groups, become KNOWN as YOU, your brand, online, as a sci-fi author and blogger, a creator and curator of useful content?

    Writing Community

    Tip #1: Forget the query letters, hunts for agents/publishers and all that trad pub jazz. Indie is the way to go. Ebooks are rocking the readers. Believe me. I know.

    Tip #2: You may have noticed that I've actually decided to write these letters to you to offer a kind of road map to your salvation as an author. If you read and research each of the words or phrases I've put into BOLD in this letter, for example, those are the dots you have to connect, the work you have to do, to create the best future for your books and for you as an author.

    Do a lot of it NOW, before you publish, and then keep doing more. That is key!

    Stay tuned for Part II and subsequent Parts to this intraself communication which will contain advice for many indie authors as we continue on this journey of educating this indie author, earlier Sally: YOU!

    Get to work!

    Present Sally

    Sally Ember's Work:

    Cover art and logo by Aidana Willowraven

    Volume I,  This Changes Everything,  The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

    Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of  beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse.  When Earth is invited to join the consortium, the secret visits are made public. Now Earthers must adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are. Clara is selected to be the liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective and she chooses Esperanza Enlaces to be the Media Contact. They team up to provide information to stave off riots and uncertainty. The Many Worlds Collective holos train Clara and the Psi-Warriors for the Psi Wars with the rebelling Psi-Defiers, communicate effectively with many species on Earth and off-planet, eliminate ordinary, elected governments and political boundaries, convene a new group of Global Leaders, and deal with family's and friends' reactions. In what multiple timelines of the ever-expanding multiverse do Clara and her long-time love, Epifanio Dang, get to be together and which leave Clara alone and lonely as the leader of Earth? This Changes Everything begins the 30-year story of Clara's term as Earth's first Chief Communicator, continuing in nine more Volumes of The Spanners Series. Are YOU ready for the changes?

    Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever of The Spanners Series
    Intrigued by multiple timelines, aliens, psi skills, romance and planetary change? Clara and the alien "Band" are back in Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever of The Spanners Series. Now as Chief Communicator, Clara leads the way for interspecies communication on- and off-planet. Fighting these changes are the Psi-Defiers, led by one of the oldest friends of the Chief of the Psi-Warriors, its reluctant leader, Rabbi Moran Ackerman. Stories from younger Spanners about the first five years of The Transition fill Volume II. How would YOU do with the changes?

    Connect with Sally:   main website    Twitter: @sallyemberedd   Spanners Series' page on Google+   Sally Sue Ember on Google+

    Blog Talk: Remember to check your follow links regularly

    Saturday, November 22, 2014

    Blog maintenance can be one of those necessary evils. The process doesn't bother me too much as long as issues do not involve major coding glitches or platform issues that take a lot of time to resolve. There are some very simple maintenance checks that should be done frequently that many blogs, including mine, may forget to do. A big one is to check follow links. 

    It's easy for follow links to go dead. Links can get partially deleted during coding updates, the platform may change enough to where a new code is needed, there may be misspelled links, and links may no longer work if your site has changed titles. The latter is especially important for many RSS links. Sometimes the links just don't agree with browsers (which I tend to have a problem with), but the blog owner doesn't know that because they don't work with that browser.

    These are all easy mistakes to make and they happen quite frequently. I notice it a lot when I'm on blog hops and try to follow blogs but am met with various error messages. Many times it's just missing the : or / in an address and I can still access the site. Other times it's not so easy. As a result, blogs can miss out on a lot of new followers.

    So this is just a simple reminder to check your links every now and then, and please, if you notice a dead link on someone's site, inform them! 

    Feature and Follow #18 (We're the featured blog!)

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

    The Book Cove is this week's featured blog! Thanks to everyone for stopping by and make sure to check out the other feature,

    What is Feature and Follow?

    F&F is a weekly blog hop that consists of book bloggers. It is hosted byAlison Can Read and Parajunkee. The rules of involvement are simple:
    1.) Link up on the blog hop Linky gadget below this post, 2.) follow the hosts via their network of choice, 3.) follow the weekly featured blog(s) via their network of choice (listed as "featured" in the blog list below), and lastly, 4) check out the rest of the blogs on the hop! If you become a new follower of a blog, let them know and they will follow you back.

    The F&F is a great way to network, meet other book bloggers, and gain new followers. Even more so, it's a great way to drive fun discussion on a weekly topic.

    Interview with The Book Cove:

    When did you start blogging? June 2013. There were many attempts at blogging before that but nothing that stuck around for too long.
    What is your favorite part of book blogging? Finding new genres. I'll admit, I started off a bit of a genre snob because I'd had some bad reading experiences beforehand. Blogging and reading other blogs introduced me to many great works in various genres and I'm very happy about that!
    What type of books do you mainly blog about? I read new adult contemporary romance a lot, but I have waves of interest where I read a lot of YA paranormal and regency era romance.
    What is your favorite book(s)? I love the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead, the Gardella Chronicles by Colleen Gleason, A Different Blue by Amy Harmon, and just about everything by Rachel Van Dyken and Abbi Glines.
    What has been the best thing that has happened to you because of book blogging? Besides meeting people and authors, I'd say it has helped me to become a better writer. When you write something for the world to see, no matter how big or small, there's usually a flaw that someone can (kindly) point out. It also makes me more self-conscious about my writing so I make sure to re-read and use grammar sites as much as possible haha.

    ~ Jessi ~

    This week, the topic is:

    Create an ad listing all the qualities and qualifications of your perfect co-blogger. - Suggested by Girl of 1000 Wonders

    Since I already have the best co-blogger I can write the perfect ad listing pretty easily.

    If your name is L.A. Kelley, please contact The Book Cove. Now.
    The perfect co-blogger is creative, well written, and humerus. When you put those qualities together, then just about any post can be enjoyed by everyone- which is what I think every blog strives for.

    Go check out some of L.A.'s books on her site! You won't be disappointed.


    Author Spotlight: Blair McDowell on Plot Inspiration

    Monday, November 17, 2014

    Coming soon from Wild Rose Press...

    Recently widowed, Lacey Telchev is on a whirlwind chase around Europe running from mysterious thugs, and trying to solve a mystery through clues left by her late husband. She encounters a handsome stranger along the way, but is he helping her or is he too just using her to find her husband's secret?

    As writers we’re frequently reminded that we must pay attention to pacing in our stories, that we must “keep the story moving”. I like a fast-paced tale as well as the next reader, and as a writer, I know I should be getting on with the story. But I like to stop and smell the roses. I love setting a scene. I like painting verbal pictures. In Romantic Road my heroine finds herself pursued down the Romantische Strasse in Germany, through 14th century walled towns, to Salzburg, then the beautiful lake district where The Sound of Music was filmed, and finally to a terrifying climax on the shores of Hungary’s Lake Baleton.

    When I describe the lakes of the Salzkammergut or the dark medieval towns of Germany or the vineyards in the countryside of Hungary, I draw on years of being in these places. The route my heroine follows is one I have driven many times. Romantic Road is almost as much about my on-going love affair with these settings as it is about the lives and loves of my characters.

    As a reader, I enjoy the stories of Donna Leon, set in Venice exuding the atmosphere of that incredibly lovely city, and of Andrea Camillieri, whose Sicilian settings leave one feeling dry and dusty, yet immersed in the stark beauty of that remote part of Italy. Or M.L. Longworth’s stories set in Aix en Provence, where one can almost taste the wine. I often find myself rereading descriptive passages in these books just for the sheer joy I take in reading any really good writing.

    When engaged in my own writing, description and setting are vitally important to me. I love to travel, and for years I’ve kept detailed journals that I refer to frequently as I write. When I find myself in an intriguing or particularly beautiful or historic place, somehow characters suggest themselves. And once they have, their story unfolds, often very completely, in my mind. In a sense, the setting and the characters tell me the story.

    With Romantic Road, the seeds of the story first occurred to me three years ago when I spent some time in Rothenburg, on Germany’s old Roman Road, the Romantische Strasse. The tall forbidding walls surrounding the town, the fourteenth century houses crowded close together, the cobblestone streets and old fashioned lamp light, all cried out for a heroine in distress pursued by unknown assailants, and of course for the right hero to help keep her safe. It was just the kernel of an idea, but it wouldn’t leave my mind until I created a plot around it and started writing in earnest.

    The following is an excerpt from Romantic Road.
    “Where is it? Just tell us where it is and you won’t get hurt.” The taller man loomed over her, his face expressionless, a mask.

    “Where is what? What are you talking about? Who are you?” Lacy began to be annoyed. That was better than being scared. “Can I see your badges again?”

    The second man stared hard at her though dead-looking flat grey eyes. “Mrs. Telchev,” he said, his voice low and menacing, “we mean you no harm. But you must tell us where he hid his manuscript.”  

    They knew her name? Icy tentacles of fear slipping down Lacy’s back. She shook her head. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

    At that moment the red and white lights of a state police vehicle rounded the curve coming toward them. Seeing the blocked road it stopped. Two uniformed officers got out and approached the two parked cars.

    “You’re blocking the road. What’s the trouble here?”

    The taller man spoke.  “No trouble, Officer. Sorry about the way we’re parked. I’ll move the car immediately. The lady was pulled over here and we just stopped to see if she needed help.”

    He flipped open his wallet and showed the officers the same ID he’d shown Lacy.
    It seemed to mean something to the policemen.

    Lacy opened her mouth to say something and then thought better of it. What could she tell the police? These men wanted a manuscript from her but she didn’t know where it was? Or what it was about? Or even if it existed. That it involved her dead husband? No. She wouldn’t say anything. Not until she knew more.


    To find out more about Romantic Road or the writings of Blair McDowell visit

    L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can find her at

    Book Talk: Is fanfiction flattery or plagiarism?


    This post is meant as a discussion piece -- not a "right or wrong" opinion on my behalf. I'd really love to hear all of your thoughts on this. Warning, this is long-winded and filled with a ton of questions.

    Is fanfiction flattery or plagiarism? My initial thoughts...

    I've never read fanfiction. (Is it fanfiction, fan fiction, or fan-fiction?) Well, I guess I have. 50 Shades of Grey, anybody? Okay, I've never knowingly read something considered fanfiction. I don't quite understand the lucrative fandom behind 50 Shades either..but I digress.

    They say imitation is the best form of flattery. I understand why fans might want to try their hand at writing to take their favorite characters down a different path than the original author. I understand why fanfiction writers see it as a homage to their favorite authors, that it can be a fun hobby, a great online community, a creative place to bounce new ideas, a way to meet a lot of wonderful new people...

    But I don't understand why some fanfiction is not considered plagiarism. Or maybe it sometimes is? Those more knowledgeable than me, please enlighten me on if/when that plagiarism line is considered to be crossed.

    Here's where I think the line is crossed: when a fanfiction author is able to make money from someone else's brain child (e.g., 50 Shades of Grey). And why authors of the original aren't up in arms about it? Or are they and I just haven't heard about it?

    In the example of E.L. James' 50 Shades of Grey (I use that because that's the most well known that comes to mind, but here are some others that you might be familiar with), what if Twilight hadn't been the massive success that it was? What if Stephanie Meyer never made a dime, but a huge fan happen to write a massive million-plus dollar hit based off from Twilight's characters? Honestly, if I was in Stephanie's shoes I'd be a pit peeved in that case. But had I already made $$$ off from my book, I probably wouldn't care as much. I'd probably be flattered by the thought that I could inspire someone to such great heights.

    But is money really the big deciding factor between plagiarism and homage?

    What about community fame? Local to international fame without the big bucks from that specific fanfiction story?

    In other words, is riding on the coattails of someone else's work plagiarism?

    Say 50 Shades of Grey didn't make a ton of money, but its massive success in online communities (where you can sell any work) drove E.L. James' to a community name (much like what happened minus the best sellers list and blockbuster movies)? I'm not saying that's bad. After all, it still takes hard work and creativity to develop a new world in a book. Who is to say that it is wrong to earn a reputation by using others?

    I'll be honest, when I read 50 Shades of Grey I had no idea that it was borrowed/inspired by Twilight. Granted it may have been tweaked more since it's original fanfiction write up that went under a different name. Having read both series and thinking about it in retrospective, I can see where certain qualities were perhaps borrowed. But it wasn't/isn't obvious to me. Which is where the confusion comes in. Just because it was written as "fanfiction", does that automatically make the story borrowed? Even if it doesn't jump out and scream borrowed? Where is that borrowed line drawn? 

    What if borrowed is simply inspiration? What if E.L. James wrote 50 Shades of Grey and made no mention of Twilight? Would the similarities have been noticed? I doubt it. But the fact is that it was laid out in the beginning to be fanfiction, and then it made money. So should that change the plagiarism line?

     Google's thoughts...

    I think I'm just running my mind in circles with these wannabe-philosophical questions. I did ask the the all-powerful Google to help in this quest for an answer. I found some interesting responses by both fans and authors discussing the pros and cons of fanfiction

    Fanfiction Pros: 

    • (Fan) It's a creative outlet that means no harm
    • (Fan) It's using general concepts and giving the author credit, so it's not plagarism
    • (Author) It drives interest and interest drives sales
    • (Author) It gives authors creative ideas

    Fanfiction Cons:

    • (Fan/Author) can see why intellectual property rights might become an issue
    • (Fan/Author) can be a poor reflection on the author
    • (Fan/Author) Who owns what?
    • (Author) What if an author is not done writing a series but a fan jumps the gun and writes about a huge plot twist?
    • (Author) Sue-happy fans

    My final thoughts...

    After reading these, I understand where both sides come from. There doesn't seem to be anything illegal about it unless an author specifically states that no fanfiction derivatives are allowed (please, correct me if I'm wrong). But I can see where the legal issues might get a bit blurry. Especially the "who owns what" in a borrowed versus inspiration dispute.

    This is what brings me back to my main concern: Why are fanfiction writers legally able to make lucrative careers from this? And, do authors gain more from fanfiction then they risk loosing? Is it like non-fiction writing in that if you provide references and give credit where credit is due then all is well? If that's the case, then shouldn't all genre's have the same accepted rules?

    I obviously have a ton of questions about this. More-so food for thought than anything.

    Writing fanfiction can be a great way to get your name out there because it appeals to a certain audience. I don't think there's any wrong in "riding on someone else's coattails". But I do think there is a line between using someone else's work to help hone your skills and build a fan base versus using their work to build an empire.

    Feature and Follow #17 (Create a playlist)

    Friday, November 14, 2014

    What is Feature and Follow?

    F&F is a weekly blog hop that consists of book bloggers. It is hosted byAlison Can Read and Parajunkee. The rules of involvement are simple:
    1.) Link up on the blog hop Linky gadget below this post, 2.) follow the hosts via their network of choice, 3.) follow the weekly featured blog(s) via their network of choice (listed as "featured" in the blog list below), and lastly, 4) check out the rest of the blogs on the hop! If you become a new follower of a blog, let them know and they will follow you back.

    The F&F is a great way to network, meet other book bloggers, and gain new followers. Even more so, it's a great way to drive fun discussion on a weekly topic.

    This week, the topic is:

    Create a playlist for a book - or a single song if you don't want to do an entire playlist - Suggested by This Girl Reads A Lot and Bubbly and Bookish 

    Jessi: Playlist for one of my favorite series Damaged by H.M. Ward. My reviews for books 1 and 2 are posted, respectively.

    1. End of the Earth by Lord Huron
    2. Wait by M83
    3. Division by Aly and AJ
    4. Kiss with a Fist by Florence + The Machine
    5. Lips Are Moving by Meghan Trainon
    6. Wicked Games by The Weeknd
    7. Do I Wanna Know by The Arctic Monkeys
    8. Say Something by A Great Big World
    9. Love Runs Out by One Republic
    10. Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran

    Book Review: Crazy Beautiful Love (The Martelli Brothers #1) by J.S. Cooper

    Thursday, November 13, 2014

    Crazy Beautiful Love by J.S. Cooper is part of The Bad Boys of Summer anthology (ft. authors Emily Snow, Erin Noelle, J.S. Cooper, Michelle Lynn & Nevaeh Lee, Selena Laurence, Shanora Williams, and T. Torrest)

    (Blurb): This is not the typical bad boy meets good girl story.

    Logan Martelli is a bad boy. He's handsome, sexy, and knows what he wants. He steals cars. He doesn't do relationships. And he has the hottest green eyes in River Valley.

    Maddie Wright is a good girl with a wild streak. She's confident, strong, and goes after whatever or whoever she wants. And Maddie wants Logan Martelli with a passion.

    One fateful night brings Logan and Maddie together and electricity sparks between them. Maddie and Logan make a real connection, but when Logan finds out who she is, he wants nothing to do with her. However, he soon realizes he can get the ultimate revenge for his family if he continues to date Maddie. The problem is he's starting to fall for Maddie, and he knows that a relationship will mess up everything.

    Logan has to decide if revenge is worth losing his one shot at real love. What price will he pay if he betrays the one woman who may finally see behind his bad boy image?

    Book Information:
    Genre: Contemporary romance
    Age: New adult
    Pages: 277
    Series: Standalone

    What I liked

    Contrary to the blurb's opening statement, Crazy Beautiful Love is one of those typical bad-boy-meets-good-girl books. I have no fault with those (I'll willfully admit I love me some bad boys) and I knew that before starting it.  If you've read too many of those lately then you're probably going to want to skip this one for now.

    Logan Martelli is a badass. We know that from the book blurb and we know that from the 6th line in the book where Logan himself states that he isn't much for crowds because people point and stare and say, "I think that's Logan Martelli," in awe-struck tones as if I were Al Capone or someone. 

    I was a little worried after reading that because I didn't know if Logan would turn out to be one of those self-depreciating bad boys, serial killer bad boys, or the I-think-I'm-a-badass-but-have-never-left-home bad boys. I prayed it wasn't the latter (don't judge me...).

    Turns out Logan is a fairly legit bad boy, although I think he was portrayed worse by the community (and author) than what he actually was. Moot point.

    What I didn't like

    Maddie gave me a bit of character whiplash. She comes off strong right out of the gates. This was something that took me a bit by surprise (because I haven't read a female character like that in a while) and it excited me to come across a take-charge girl.

    Too quickly that attitude left, unfortunately. And then just when you thought Maddie was going soft there would be a 180 and she'd be talkin' the talk again. The problem was she never quite walked the walk. Her actions didn't match her mind and I had a hard time telling if she was acting that way just to play Logan or if she had a real deep-rooted problem. It later became a little more clear, but it still never felt like her actions and thoughts mirrored one another.

    Logan was a bit too self-depreciating for my liking. We've all met the brooding boy time and time again. This time I couldn't connect with him. His heart and mind were in the right place, but I didn't feel that his backstory quite lined up with his present state of mind. He was kind of stuck in the past (which he acknowledges), and never gives a good reason as to why he continues with those ways when there are opportunities for outs. There's this story involving an altercation between him and the Mayor back when, but that story was never fully explained. I thought it would be fully explained later but it never was and it left me saying, "What?! No way did that make you into the person you are today!" 

    Essentially, the characters of Maddie and Logan had the same writing flaws. It was hard to tell where their mind was really at in situations and it felt like they were constantly hiding a secret that the reader was never privy of.

    Overall, Crazy Beautiful Love is an average book with this type of bad boy plot. There were some emotional holes left to be filled, and had they been, I think this would rate a lot higher.

    Book Talk: Should an author respond to a review? Perspective from an author and a reviewer

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

    Should an author respond to a review? 

    L.A. (Author): 

    I don’t think any response is necessary on sites like Amazon or GoodReads and can even take on a creepy stalker vibe if the author responds to every comment, but a requested review posted on a website or blog requires a thank-you. Yup, even if it’s bad. You don’t have to agree. The review is a service done for you and deserves acknowledgement. A simple ‘I appreciate your time’ to the blog or website owner is enough. The words may stick in your throat. It’s hard to read a bad review. After pouring your life’s blood into a work, the natural response is to lash back. (Actually, my natural response is to bite the reviewer.)

    A defensive rejoinder especially to an anonymous review on a site like Amazon gets the author nothing except coming across as a thin-skinned jerk. Reviews like this are especially hard to ignore if the comments are insulting and you can tell the person didn’t read the book. The unanimous agreement among the writers I know is don't respond.  There is no telling what went through this reviewer’s head. You don’t want to get into a spitting contest with a nutcase.  Doing anonymous hurtful things gives them a feeling of power. Don’t offer any more by letting them know you’re wounded or you’ll set yourself up for being bullied and harassed.

    The problem is more widespread than most people think. A current petition on requests Jeff Bezos, the Amazon CEO, protect authors from bullying and harassment. The proposal requires identity verification for reviewing and forum participation. The gift of anonymity allows expression of views without fear of punishment, but the power has a dark side. It also allows a person to spew venom to the detriment of a writer’s livelihood.  Anonymity enables people to write horrible things they would never do if forced to admit to them.

    I agree with the petition. If you don’t like a book, say why without the insults and put your name on the review.  What exactly are you afraid of? Veronica Roth will TP your house if you hated Divergent? Trust me, she’s got better things to do. If you balk at signing a review then maybe the problem isn’t with the book after all, but some internal demon of your own.


    Jessi (Reviewer):

    I have much of the same feelings as L.A. so I will not go into great detail about where I come from on this issue. I will reiterate a point she made about not adding fuel to the fire because,  "There is no telling what went through this reviewer’s head."

    I've read 5 stars and given them 2 stars. I've read 2 stars and thought they knocked the ball out of the park. It's all perspective and a writer cannot fill everyone's emotional want and need. Hating a book is not personal disrespect to the author, typically. And if a review is aimed more at the author than the book, then those are issues that the author cannot solve and should not engage it. Just leave that person be in their own miserable world.

    The one thing I hate as a reviewer - and will result in many fans losing respect for an author - is when a well thought out and written review is provided, albeit bad, and the author or their press henchmen respond with "You couldn't have read the book! If you did, then (insert required gain here). You'd realize (--), and think (--), and feel (--)." This has personally happened a few times and I just let the person dig their own hole. There's something to be said about a person that is too defensive...

    That's not to say that I don't enjoy discussion. I've had great comment-section discussions with authors over misinterpreted plot lines and "flaws" and in the end we both agree to disagree or find merit in the other's thoughts. That's actually what I hope for with every review that I write. I'd love for the author to creatively challenge a point or ask more about why my thoughts went a certain way. It's thought provoking as a reviewer and it's constructive critiquing for the author. Win win. 

    I also love a simple thank-you, as mentioned by L.A. Not saying that I expect one, but just knowing that the author is sincerely interested enough in a review to read it and leave a small note saying they stopped by your site is pretty cool. 

    Summing it up, there's nothing wrong with authors commenting on reviews of their books. Just pick your battles and realize that sometimes saying nothing is the best response of all.

    Authors, readers, reviewers - what are you're thoughts and experiences with this?

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