Book Talk: What are book flaws that you absolutely cannot ignore?

Monday, April 27, 2015

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Every reader has different tastes. Shocking revelation. Reviewing is a bit of a different beast in that a good reviewer tries to keep personal feelings separate from the critique of quality of  writing. It's hard though, not to let your personal style preferences interfere with the evaluation of characters, plot, and sentence formation. I've explained before that this is part of the reason I use ratings. My rating shows book quality but may or may not strongly reflect my personal views on the book. For the most part, they do line up because I'm not too picky about style. If I can make it through the book and can comprehend what is going on, then I generally enjoy the read and feel that the quality was decent. Everyone has there own list of what is okay to let slide in a book and what is not. And as much as we try not to, sometimes there is the smallest detail or quirk that sets us off.

  1. The moment I notice the incorrect use of a word - we all make mistakes. But I think that if your book has passed through at least two hands before being published, then a lot of the simple mistakes should have been caught. If this happens towards the middle or end of a book it doesn't bother me so much. But if it is on the first page or within the first chapter -- where interest is being built -- then that's where you lose me.
  2. Comma splices - I'm guilty of it too. The difference is that I write a blog and not a piece of work I'm expecting money for. A few misplaced commas will not make or break the book. But if someone had a rampant pointer finger that editor(s) didn't notice, then that is a problem. 
  3. Those are my biggest grammar peeves. As far as general writing style goes, whining characters is at the top of my list - If you're going to give your MC a hard knock life, then give them some pride, or a backbone, or a brain. SOMETHING. I don't want to read about how much an MC hates their life and how much everyone hates them and how much everything sucks. Not saying that a character can't have downer moments. That's expected. But when 75% of a book is dealing with an MC refusing to believe that they're the MC it is a bit deflating.
  4. When major events are solved with "Meh." - I think we've all read that book. The one where an epic moment is building and everything is about to come to a head. You have these theories running through your head and your wondering how the character is going to react because you know that if it was you, shit would be hitting the fan. And then it's suddenly over. The MC and the villainized character interact and they never say what they want to say and just shrug it off. I notice this especially in stories with darker themes (e.g., self harm, rape, abuse). It's like the author never fully thought out how to approach it and chickened out at the end and just lets the MC fall off. Sometimes the victim gets back with their abuser, immediately forgives them, or suddenly declares their love for them. These are often the stories that are accused of taking a horrible real life situation and making light of it. While I don't necessarily think the author thinks light of it, I believe that if you can't do it some justice then you shouldn't be writing about it. Or if you do, then expect some backlash.
These are the main things that make me want to throw a book across the room. Usually within the first chapter but not always. What are yours?



Book Review: A Nice Little Place on the North Side of Town by George F. Will

Saturday, April 25, 2015

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A Nice Little Place on the North Side
"What does a female bear taking birth control have in common with the World Series? No cubs." (p. 29)

Spring is in the air. With it comes the sound of a crack of a baseball bat to be closely followed by the gnashing teeth of Chicago Cubs fans as the team tanks another season. George Will, better known for his political commentary (and ubiquitous bowtie), has written an enjoyable history of the team and begs to ask the question, why can’t they win another Series?

“...there is a lot of losing in baseball, even for the best teams. If you can’t bear losing, find another sport. And if you do not much mind losing, or if you actually rather enjoy it, you should feel right at home in Wrigley Field.” (p. 136)

A Nice Little Place on the North Side goes beyond a simple litany of famous and infamous fans, games, and players. Although, I have to admit I was fascinated to find out Jack Ruby once worked at Wrigley Field as a vendor known for “nefarious sales.” Will attempts to explain the mystique of the Cubs; obvious to inhabitants of Chicago, but beyond the understanding of anyone else. The fans devotion to Wrigley Field is legendary. As Will notes, every once in while a person in the front will even sneak in the ashes of a dearly departed and cast them into the wind. Ushers tend to look the other way. Cubs fans, Will wryly points out, are the least sensitive to losing streaks in all of Major League Baseball. Winning to please is obviously not a strategy in the team’s game book.

Will goes on to detail famous owners such as Spalding (of sports equipment fame) and Wrigley (chewing gum, natch), and how baseball became big business. His section on beer is very entertaining. Apparently, attendance at Cubs games is four times more sensitive to beer prices than ticket prices. He also includes a brief discussion of the psychology of sports fans and how even being part of a fandom for a losing team promotes a feeling of community.

How’s about dem Cubbies? Will the team ever win another series? Eh, maybe not, but it won’t be because of the lack of devoted fans. This book is an enjoyable read for baseball lovers. There is plenty of sports trivia and descriptions of games. I recommend it to anyone who follows the Cubs or ardently loves a hapless sports team for inexplicable reasons. It would also be appropriate for anyone who loves such a woeful individual. The book won’t completely explain his or her madness, but may increase one’s sympathy.

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

L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can find her at http://lakelleythenaughtylist.blogspot.com







Book Review: Hooked on the Game (Sterling Shore #1) by C.M. Owens

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

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www.thebookcove.com
(Blurb): Everyone has secrets that define them, a past that has shaped them, and a game they play - whether they know it or not. 

Despite the fact they live next door to each other, Kade and Raya have never made an effort to speak, until a wild party, four frat boys, and... a bulldozer. 

Sterling Shore was supposed to be a new start for eighteen-year-old Raya Capperton. Everything was working out perfectly until her two roommates were expelled for a prank, leaving Raya with the house she couldn't afford on her own. Fate intervenes before she has the chance to find a new home, but she struggles to decide if it's divine luck or the devil's cruel sense of humor. 

Twenty-one-year-old Kade Colton has his life planned out, and everything he does is an elaborate game to aid him with his future endeavors. Coming from money has made Kade's life easy, but he wants to build his own name - his own future. The thing he doesn't realize... when you only put forth superficial effort, you only acquire superficial friends. 

Raya is torn between being amused or disturbed by Kade and his philosophy, but the drive behind his determination isn't what Raya expected. Little by little, her hatred fades and is replaced by emotions she never would have believed she could have for the rich jerk she desperately doesn't want to care about. Too bad you can't force yourself not to care. 

The problem is... Kade's shiny name can't be tarnished, and Raya has a jaded tie she can't cut loose. Nothing about them can work, nothing about them makes sense, but nothing can seem to stop them from trying. 

*Not suitable for anyone under the age of eighteen 



Book Information:

Published: May 14, 2014 (C.M. Owens Edition 1)
Series: Yes, standalone
Genre: Contemporary romance
Age Group: New Adult
Length: 189p

Review:


Hooked on the Game features a trope that I really like reading every now and then; girl or guy who experiences misfortune and is paired with a very fortunate person. Both start reluctant, tensions mount, and as each learn of the other's life, they start to see that there is more to each other than what meets the eye. This is a great read if you're looking for something of that nature, but offers little originality beyond that.

What I liked

Hooked on the Game is very well written in terms of the female character, Raya. She's strong, but not obnoxiously bull-headed. She's independent and doesn't like asking for help, but she doesn't throw help back in the face of the givers. Most importantly, as the character progresses, her mindset does change a little bit but it's within the realm of the character and she doesn't turn into spineless mush and jump every time the swoon worthy guy says jump.

It has a fun con artist plot. Her dad is a world famous con artist who is coming to the end of his prison term. In a break from the typical, he's not portrayed as some creepy, never there father and they are actually quite close. His decisions have still affected her in many ways obviously which is the source of her love/hate relationship with her position in life.

What I didn't like

Kade wasn't my favorite. Granted he is a nice character that starts out a little misunderstood and his good intentions grow on you. I just didn't emotionally connect to him that well. His hot-and-cold was too overwhelming and I found it hard to believe any of his actions sincere. Interestingly, his friend Tag was the real scene stealer, and he was a very minor character. The few minutes he did show up he had a really defining personality which I can't say Kade had. 

There is a follow up book to this series with Tag's story that I think I'll read.





Blog Talk: Does your blog have daily themes?

Monday, April 20, 2015

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How The Book Cove's daily themes developed

When I first started blogging I would post whatever I had on whatever day. I was more about building content and less about giving the blog an identifying characteristic. Shortly after starting, I found a weekly blog hop that I liked and I kept up with the hop on a routine schedule. As a result, I started scheduling my other posts around it. It inadvertently led me designate certain days for certain kinds of posts. I liked using a day to catch people up on news and Monday was a logical choice for me. My personal job was gradually taking up more time so the number of reviews that I was posting started to decrease. I wanted to keep the posts spread evenly throughout the week so that left my Wednesdays open for reviews. It wasn't long before I had days designated for certain types of posts.


The benefits of keeping up with themes

Those exact daily themes have changed for this site since, but I still have designated days for certain posts. Sometimes I deviate from those if there is a blog tour or special promotion that requires a specific day. But for the most part I try to schedule everything accordingly. When I first implemented daily themes I was not sure if I liked it. I felt restricted and was sometimes excited to post on a topic and didn't want to wait for the next week. Sometimes I gave into that impatience (and still do) -- realizing that it isn't that big of a deal to break my "rule" for the day. I eventually found many benefits in having daily themes and I became less impatient about posting all of the time.


  1. It saves your content - Sometimes I write on something that I am really passionate about and I want everyone to read it immediately. Obviously there is benefit in posting on a hot topic immediately; especially if it is trending in the news. However, if it's just a hot topic to you, then waiting a week probably won't hurt the stats any. It is especially useful to wait if you're in a blogging slump and feel like you're running out of writing ideas.
  2. It provides back up content for slow weeks - When personal life takes front seat or blog tours/hops/reviews fall through, sometimes those pre-scheduled theme posts are the only thing going on for the week. Think, does your blog benefit more from six posts in one week with zero, two, and one post in the following weeks? Or three posts in one week with one, three, and two posts in the following weeks?
  3. It mixes up the content throughout the week - Readers can become bored with all reviews one week and all author interviews the next week. If you mix them up throughout the weeks it gives readers something to look forward to.
  4. It makes scheduling easier - While pre-scheduling posts is as easy as clicking the "schedule calendar" next to the post editor, that doesn't always help with memory. When was your last author interview, review, spotlight, or blog hop? Was it sometime last Monday or Tuesday? Maybe you can't remember the week, but you know it was on a Friday. For me, the later situation is more helpful in terms of content scheduling than the other.
How about you? Do you designate certain days for certain posts? What led you to do that?

A penny for your thoughts #17 (quote by Winston Churchill)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

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Words touch us all in different ways. Sometimes the original intent of a quote resonates so profoundly with us that it is hard to believe that another wrote it. Other times it is a single word, peculiar phrasing, or an alternative meaning regarding an event in our lives that resonates the most. I believe in the power of starting the the week off with a positive or provoking thought -- and so was created A Penny For Your Thoughts. This is a weekly blog hop that will feature quotes of all kinds; classics, character, book-movie, personal, etc. The themes will range from funny to serious, but really it all depends on how you interpret it! How does this work?

  1. Every Sunday a quote will be posted
  2. Enter by posting your thoughts on a post of your own or the comment section of a participating blog. You only get the penny for one or the other. You can do both but it doesn't count twice. You must ENTER YOUR NAME IN STEP 5 as well. Otherwise I can't keep track of entries.
  3. Collect the pennies! Every week there will be a new penny to collect and include with your post, if you choose.
  4. RAFFLE ENTRY: Your site or comment needs to be submitted to this form as well so that your name can be uploaded to a raffle generator. If you're using a comment as a submission instead of a post, then put name of site where you left the comment in the "direct link" section.
  5. Those with posts can join up on the Linky
  6. On the last Saturday of every month the entries from the form above will be entered in a drawing. Winner will be notified on Sunday. You get as many entries as you have pennies for the month. Prizes will include books, gift cards, site promotion, and other bookish winnings!
  7. Have fun! This is a fun way to start some discussion, discover blogs, and get to know more people. Please re-post these steps so that followers understand the process.


A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance
to get its pants on.
- Winston S. Churchill
www.thebookcove.com



A Sensual Sale for $1.50. Someday My Prints Will Come by Marilyn Baron

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

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Someday My Prints Will Come
The e-book of Someday My Prints Will Come is on sale now at Wild Rose Press for $1.50
Eva, a minor goddess of the Venus variety, descended from a distinguished line of matchmakers, operates a business called Someday My Prints Will Come, a virtual lost-and-found of mismatched prints for photo processors around the country. She uses the leftover space on the database to accomplish her primary mission as a modern-day matchmaker. While Eva successfully helps others find their soulmates, she has never been in love.

No matter how hard she tries, she can’t find the perfect woman for a particularly picky client—Noah Prince, the emissary for rich and powerful CEO Adam Prinsky of Prinsky Electronics. Noah holds the key to Eva’s past, and he’s hoping to win her heart before he has to break it. This paranormal/fantasy tells the tale of how the matchmaker, who also hopes that one day her prince will come, finds a match.
Excerpt:
“Mr. Emissary, just for the purposes of discussion, if ever we became lovers—that is to say, if I were yours and you were mine, and I held your heart—would you honestly want me to seek variety, as you call it, with other men?”
He hadn’t considered that. It was a trick question, and he thought the best course was to answer it with silence.
“That’s what I thought. I’ve heard it told that fidelity can be quite a turn-on. In my opinion, it is a virtue. You should keep that in mind.”
She had cleared away the plates, and they were sitting on a very roomy and comfortable couch in front of a roaring fire, looking out the window at the waves crashing, drinking wine that tasted like the nectar of the gods out of crystal goblets, and munching on delicate slices of those almond cookies Eva was always baking.
“What do you put in these things?” he asked. He thought it was very definitely some kind of a love potion, because he was feeling more amorous by the moment.
“Calm down. I told you before, they’re just cookies.” She paused, drew a breath, and continued. “I’ve been thinking, and after some consideration, I’ve decided to let you instruct me in the ways of seduction.”
He choked on his wine and had to put the goblet down. He was speechless. The things that came out of her mouth were a constant surprise.
“I’m beginning to like the sound of this,” he said eagerly, moving closer to her. “It’s not every day a man gets to initiate a goddess. I imagine there would be a lot of pent-up demand, over the centuries.”
“I’m talking about love, Mr. Emissary, not sex.”
 

Blog Talk: Basic blog maintenance - it's time to do the things you have forgotten

Monday, April 13, 2015

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Not everyone with a blog is a blog techie. For the most part, blogs are a pretty straightforward thing to figure out and run. But there is a difference between just running a blog and making sure it is a functional blog, and many of those to-dos that keep your blog running smoothly are very fast and easy to do.

I posted previously on the importance of updating blog follow links regularly. It was a simple last-minute post that I decided to do more as a PSA after having issues on blog hops rather than a mind-blowing post about blog maintenance. It's easy to forget about the links that you, yourself, are not regularly using. So when they go defunct you may not know unless a kind soul informs you. That post brought up some side discussion about what other things most of us forget to do with our blog in terms up basic upkeep that allows our blogs to not only run, but run smoothly.

So without further ado, here's a list of basic maintenance to-dos that you're probably forgetting (or just being lazy about, as is my case):


  1. Check follow links
  2. Update contact information - this is a big one. Your contact info should be in about every place you can think of. Have a contact form AND an email address that is listed under contact, about me, home page, side bars, etc. You really can't be too obvious with this stuff.
  3. Back up your blog - every platform is different, so if you're unsure about this just Google whatever it is your working with. For most, you can find an "Import/Export" feature under "Settings". It will export (download) all of your posts and comments to your computer. It's as easy as that. No one wants to log on one day only to find that their site has been dissolved. But if it (or whatever else) happens, then you're at least somewhat covered.
  4. Back up your template - you never know when something will randomly decide to not work. If could be caused by a coding issue on your end or it could just be a day where things aren't cooperating for whatever reason. It's always good to have your template code backed up so that you can simply import it and be done. Note that this import is different than the import/export for the blog posts mentioned above. The template import/export is usually under a template layout tab. 
  5. Clean up dead gadgets/widgets/side-bar junk - Whether it's old giveaways, notices, and information, or defunct apps, these should be cleaned up regularly. They often hang out in no-mans land and are forgotten about. If new visitors or old followers notice a lot of useless/non-working space-collectors on your site then they might be less inclined to stick around. It's better to have nothing than to pretend to be active in that way and clutter spaces.
  6. Check your mission statements/disclaimers/licences - People change over time and so do their blogs. Maybe you're only accepting certain books to review, or your review days have changed, or your copyright status has changed. These should all be kept up-to-date so that 1. you're not hassled by those thinking that you do something that you no longer do 2. other people aren't wasting their time 3. you don't find yourself in a copyright predicament. For those interested in learning more about blog copy rights, check out this previous post.
  7. Check blog rolls - this is another forgotten black hole of the blog world. Blog rolls are a great thing to have as they provide quick links to your favorite blogs for you as a follower as well as your followers. Some blog rolls tend to accumulate new blogs while still listing defunct ones, or still listing blogs that are not the best of quality any more. 
That's all I've got. Pretty simple. Of course, if we really wanted to get into some hardcore maintenance to-dos, we could. But these should be enough to keep us busy for 5 minutes every month while improving the presence of our blogs and without getting us in too far over our heads.

A penny for your thoughts #16 (quote from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

| | | 1 comments
Words touch us all in different ways. Sometimes the original intent of a quote resonates so profoundly with us that it is hard to believe that another wrote it. Other times it is a single word, peculiar phrasing, or an alternative meaning regarding an event in our lives that resonates the most. I believe in the power of starting the the week off with a positive or provoking thought -- and so was created A Penny For Your Thoughts. This is a weekly blog hop that will feature quotes of all kinds; classics, character, book-movie, personal, etc. The themes will range from funny to serious, but really it all depends on how you interpret it! How does this work?

  1. Every Sunday a quote will be posted
  2. Enter by posting your thoughts on a post of your own or the comment section of a participating blog. You only get the penny for one or the other. You can do both but it doesn't count twice. You must ENTER YOUR NAME IN STEP 5 as well. Otherwise I can't keep track of entries.
  3. Collect the pennies! Every week there will be a new penny to collect and include with your post, if you choose.
  4. RAFFLE ENTRY: Your site or comment needs to be submitted to this form as well so that your name can be uploaded to a raffle generator. If you're using a comment as a submission instead of a post, then put name of site where you left the comment in the "direct link" section.
  5. Those with posts can join up on the Linky
  6. On the last Saturday of every month the entries from the form above will be entered in a drawing. Winner will be notified on Sunday. You get as many entries as you have pennies for the month. Prizes will include books, gift cards, site promotion, and other bookish winnings!
  7. Have fun! This is a fun way to start some discussion, discover blogs, and get to know more people. Please re-post these steps so that followers understand the process.


Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
- J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
www.thebookcove.com



A Spicy Ghost Story for 99 Cents: Gull Harbor by Kathryn Knight

Friday, April 10, 2015

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Gull Harbor by Kathryn Knight
Sale Dates April 10 to April 24

When Claire Linden's job sends her to the sleepy town of Gull Harbor, she never expects to encounter her ex-boyfriend. As a medium, the prospect of tackling a haunted house is less daunting than seeing Max Baron again. Throughout their passionate college relationship, he promised to love her forever. Then, without explanation, he abandoned her on graduation day.

Max never intended to break Claire's heart--a cruel ultimatum forced him to disappear from her life. While he's shocked to find her in Gull Harbor, he isn't surprised by the bitter resentment she feels for him...or the fiery attraction that remains between them.

Claire is determined to rid her temporary home of its aggressive ghost, but Max soon realizes she's facing a danger beyond the paranormal. When Claire risks everything to help a desperate spirit, Max must race to save her--before another tragedy tears them apart forever.



Excerpt:

She shook her head vigorously.  “I can’t spend your money to do my job.  That makes no sense.”

“It’s not about that, Claire.  It’s about keeping you safe.”  He closed the distance between them, setting off alarm bells in the back of her mind.

Squaring her shoulders, she took a deep breath.  “I realize you’re trying to help me, and I appreciate that.  But what gives you the right to worry about my safety?”

“I don’t need the right.”  He stood over her, and she took a step backwards, bumping up against his desk.  His words shouldn’t have sounded menacing, but for some reason, they did.  She nodded weakly.

“I am going to keep you safe, Claire,” he said, his eyes flashing.  He reached out and stroked her arm.

A shiver ran through her, and she gripped the edge of the desk for support.  “Okay,” she breathed.  Every nerve in her body was calling for him.  She closed her eyes as his hands moved up to cradle her head.

His mouth seized hers, and her lips responded urgently.  She lost herself in the kiss, her fingers weaving themselves around his neck and tangling in his hair.  His hands moved to her waist, and she gasped as he hoisted her up on the desk.


Buy Links:


   


Author Bio:
Kathryn Knight spends a great deal of time in her fictional world, where mundane chores don’t exist and daily life involves steamy romance, dangerous secrets, and spooky suspense.  Kathryn writes contemporary romance spiked with mysterious hauntings as well as YA paranormal romance filled with forbidden love.  Her novels are award-winning #1 Kindle bestsellers and RomCon Reader Rated picks.  When she’s not reading or writing, Kathryn spends her time catching up on those mundane chores, driving kids around, and teaching fitness classes.  She lives on beautiful Cape Cod with her husband, their two sons, and a number of rescued pets.  Please visit her at www.kathrynknightbooks.blogspot.com.


News at The Book Cove: Updates and bloggers wanted!

Monday, April 6, 2015

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General Updates:

How is it April already?! Not that I'm not excited for warmer weather, longer days, and spring activities to start up, but it's crazy how the last six months flew by me. It didn't really register until I saw my Blogiversary countdown at the bottom of my page and said to my dog, Holy crap, what am I going to do for that!? To which he responded, head tilt, groan. I hear ya buddy. I'm having the same thoughts...

The big 2 doesn't seem as exciting as the big 1. Though every year a blog stays alive is a huge achievement. There's a lot of work that goes into running even the simplest of blogs. I don't think I'm going to go all out this year. I had a lot of guest posts, giveaways, and random activities going on last year for a whole week. I think we'll just stick with some awesome giveaways this year because who doesn't like free stuff?? And I love showing appreciation to followers!

Speaking of followers/bloggers, some might have wondered where I've been (aka, their comment boards are missing my random commentary ;-)) Once again life got the best of me. Between a job and school it has been especially hard to find just an hour or so to get on here and catch up with people. Because we all know it's never "just an hour". I also went through a bit of a burnout phase. Not so much with the blog, but the blog was put on the back burner as I got everything else back on track. I have kept up on weekly scheduled posts because I got those all scheduled in December. Which was quite an achievement for 3 months! The funny thing is that I still have close to 30 posts I can schedule in, but I haven't. So that's what I'm doing today.

In other news...

Co-blogger(s) wanted:

I'm always looking for others who would like to write for The Book Cove more permanently than a typical "guest blogger" position. The biggest reason being I love to have other ideas and writing styles on here. It's a pretty laid back blog with all sorts of styles presented. Co-blogging is minimum 1 post per week and has the choice to pick up some of these extra tasks:

  • blog tour management
  • book reviews
  • author interviews and guest post management
  • social media management
  • Google + community management
Email bookcovereviews@gmail.com with some information about yourself, why you're interested, and if you have any blogging or writing experience (not required, but basic writing skills are a must).

Please Keep In Mind:

© The Book Cove, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to The Book Cove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Book Cove is a private entity independent of the promotions, events, features, authors, programs and so forth that are featured on The Book Cove website or in newsletters. The Book Cove does not guarantee quality or content of those works and events featured. The Book Cove does not assure legality of the works and events featured.

Creative Commons License
Book Cove Reviews by http://www.thebookcove.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.