Saturday, July 6, 2013

Have you read a book you're afraid to review? Why I only do 5 star reviews

Have you ever read a book that you're afraid to review? I've recently read three. All were good books, but flawed either in editing, head hopping or misuse of words and one had a scene that truly was so unrealistic it totally made me want to stop reading, but the story was GOOD so I continued.

In reviewing a book I like to be totally honest. All three of these books would have been given 5 stars for story, but the issues truly brought the overall book rating down to a 3 or in one case possibly a 2. So why didn't I review these books? Because lately it's become a common practice to "slay" the reviewers for anything less than a 4 star. Would these authors want me to do a review? Possibly because it would have gone something like this:

One of the best stories I've read this month. The author's storytelling is fabulous and made me love the characters and truly want to know where they were going. However, I could not give this book five stars or even four stars because I had to keep backing up to figure out if I missed something due to the change of POV in the middle of a paragraph, and the fact that I couldn't always tell who was talking. I think this author has great potential and I hope they'll seek a good editor to help them make their book the very best it can be.

Now, first of all--I don't do editing. Nor do I recommend an editor unless asked, so I have no gain by recommending this author find a good editor--except that I would love to read more stories by them.

Secondly, I'm an author and any time an author reviews another author's book and gives less than 5 stars it's seen as "slamming" the author for your own benefit.

My comments aren't aimed at Indie authors--as I've read a couple of traditionally published books that I couldn't even finish, and I did finish all three of the books above. They were all indie books and as I said, all contained fabulous stories that I would love to have talked about, but feared giving an honest review.

If you look at my reviews you'll find I only review books I can give 5 stars, or at least 4 stars. I find that sad, and I've talked to many reviewers lately who feel the same way. They're afraid to review the books they've read for fear of reprisal. One even stopped reviewing anything although he's an avid reader. He sends the author an email at times, but no longer posts his reviews to Amazon or other sites. A review he gave caused the author to actually track him down on Facebook and email him over and over and over and over and over asking him to change his review and then getting even more ugly about it. Perhaps the reason more and more reviewers are using "anonymous" as their title, but I'll be honest with you--I don't read reviews that the reviewer doesn't want to put their name on so it doesn't really help me choose the book they're reviewing.

Reviews are important for authors. Even bad reviews. Not everyone loves the same book, and the samples really help us weed out some that perhaps we really wouldn't enjoy. A well written bad review, which points out why the reader didn't like the book can be helpful to the author. 1) It just wasn't their kind of book (shrug it off) 2) They liked the story, but the characters just weren't anyone they cared about (shrug it off) 3) They liked the book, but kept getting lost and would have loved more scene description and background on the characters (ah ha, a gem--something the author can build on in the next book).

Hopefully some day this will change, but until then I'll keep reading, and I'll keep reviewing, but only books I can give a 5 star or 4 star review.

Love Mysteries? Five Great Freebies!

Det. Roland March is a homicide cop on his way out. But when he's the only one at a crime scene to find evidence of a missing female victim, he's given one last chance to prove himself. Before he can crack the case, he's transferred to a new one that has grabbed the spotlight--the disappearance of a famous Houston evangelist's teen daughter.

With the help of a youth pastor with a guilty conscience who navigates the world of church and faith, March is determined to find the missing girls while proving he's still one of Houston's best detectives.

Years and distance kept the memories at bay. But back at home, the past is ready and waiting to haunt her...

Eighteen years have passed since Joy's childhood best friend, Jenny, met her death in a tragic car accident just a few days after their senior prom. A broken Joy left their small Kentucky hometown shortly after--determined never to come back. But when her father's illness forces her to return, she realizes that neither time nor distance have truly healed her troubled soul.

Plagued with nightmares of the accident and crippled by a vague fear whose source she can't identify, Joy realizes that in order to move on she must face the truth behind several disturbing gaps in her memory of that fateful spring. But the only person who can help her is a man she despises--Jenny's erstwhile boyfriend Jeff, now a respected doctor, whose carelessness as a teenager was the cause of Jenny's horrendous death--and Joy's own emotional destruction. Can she ever forgive? She may have no choice but to try. Because both the danger she sensed--and the childhood friendship she treasured--now suddenly seem very much alive...

“LONG TIME COMING is a remarkably well blended romance and mystery, with fascinating shades of the paranormal. The way each layer of Joy's discovery of her forgotten past is revealed is deftly done and exceptionally suspenseful. The relationship between Joy and her parents is heart warming. This one will have you hooked from the first page.” December 2003 Top Pick. Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine

Book #1 of P.B. Ryan’s bestselling historical mystery series featuring Boston governess Nell Sweeney and opium-smoking former battle surgeon Will Hewitt. Long thought to have died during the Civil War, Will is arrested for murder, and it's up to Nell to prove his innocence. Originally published by Berkley Prime Crime.

“A beautiful combination of entertaining characters, minute historical research, and a powerful evocation of time and place. I’m very glad there will be more to come.” New York Times bestselling author Barbara Hambly

“P.B. Ryan makes a stunning debut with Still Life With Murder...I can’t wait for the next installment.” Bestselling author Victoria Thompson

“If you like fast moving, accurately drawn, historical mysteries, you won’t go wrong by trying Still Life With Murder.” Reviewing the Evidence

“Still Life With Murder is sheer perfection... gripping... powerful... unforgettable...You’ll know you’ve read one hell of a story after you turn the last page!” Reader to Reader Reviews

"This is the first book in the acclaimed Gilded Age Mysteries series, and has many things to recommend it... a tidy package of well-drawn characters, lively story and historical verisimilitude."

Live bait makes all the difference.

Sent on a mission to lure Budapest’s vampire Overlord into a trap, Connie Bence is instead caught red-handed by the dark Casanova.

Her employer has concrete proof of the dubious leader’s misdeeds but she is surprised when this ruthless killer, Rurik, offers her protection and rescues her from his own kind. It plants seeds of doubt in her mind and she begins to question his guilt.

Now she is thrown into his world where blackmail determines her every move and where she must betray those she cares about or let them die. The stakes are high. She either puts her trust in Rurik or leads him to his execution.

Love or life.

Scientist Maryse Robicheaux thought that a lot of her problems had gone away with her mother-in-law’s death. The woman was rude, pushy, manipulative and used her considerable wealth to run herd over the entire town of Mudbug, Louisiana.

Unfortunately, death doesn’t slow down Helena one bit.

DEA Agent Luc LeJeune is wondering what his undercover assignment investigating the sexy scientist has gotten him into – especially as it seems someone wants her dead. Keeping his secrets while protecting Maryse proves to be easier than fighting his attraction for the brainy beauty.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Four Great Romance Freebies!

Sometimes fate needs a little hand...

Santa Claus is going to have a rough season... Lauren Alexander is raising her daughter alone. Abandoned by her family for her decision to keep her daughter Kristen, she has done a pretty good job for the last six years. Or she thought she had. That's why she is crushed when little Kristen gives up her wish for a toy or goodie and instead asks Santa for a present for her mother. She wants Santa to bring a Daddy. Delivering Daddies isn't Santa's bag.

But this Santa has a plan...

Kyle Preston knows what it is like to be abandoned too. Luckily he found the support of loving adoptive parents and has turned himself into one of the most successful Real Estate developers in town.

Building a house is easy. Building someone's trust is a whole other story. But with a little helping hand, a little Christmas magic can make all the difference in the world.


"You don't have to be afraid. This will explain it all. I promise you." He smiled warmly and Lauren wanted to trust him if only to believe in simple kindness.

With shaking hands, she took the piece of paper, warm from being in the pocket close to Kyle's body. She held it up straight so that she could see Kyle while reading the words on the paper.

"Dear Santa..." she read out loud, then read the next part silently. "Oh, no," she groaned.

"I know. That's just how I felt."

Lauren shot him a skeptical glance. "How did you get this?"

"Kristen gave it to me."

"That's impossible. Mrs. Hopkins just helped her with it this afternoon and-"
"And she gave it to me in the Mall," Kyle finished for her.

She looked at him quizzically, still trying to comprehend the course of events leading up to his seizure of her daughter's precious note.

"It's not that hard to figure out, Lauren," Kyle said warmly.

His dark eyes gleamed with the light from the lamppost. He wore no hat to protect his head from the falling snow. Now his hair was filled with powdered flakes, matting it down.

His grin was bright and wide as he informed her, "I'm Santa Claus."

When opposites attract...

The last thing Jenna Landry wants is to fall in love. The former rock musician is getting ready to start a new job and a new life in L.A., and she's only back in her hometown for the summer. Nothing could tempt her to stay any longer than that...not even the sexy doctor next door.

Michael Stone has a reputation for being as cold as ice. So what is it about his free-spirited neighbor that sets him on fire? The strait-laced M.D. has his hands full with his career and his teenage daughter, and even if he were looking for a relationship, he knows Jenna is all wrong for him.

So why does being with her feel so right?

Cross My Heart is a contemporary romance novel of 60,000 words. It's the second book about the Landry family, but it can be read on its own. The newest book in the series, Into Your Arms, is available now!

Alice is all grown up. Running the Mad Hatter's Cupcakery and Tea Shoppe is a delicious job, until fate--and a fairy godmother with a weakness for bad boys--throws her a curveball. Now, Alice is the newest resident of Wonderland, where the Mad Hatter fuels her fantasies and thrills her body with his dark touch.

The Mad Hatter may have a voice and a body made for sex, but he takes no lovers. Ever. But a determined fairy godmother has forced Alice into Wonderland--and his arms. Now, as desire and madness converge, the Hatter must decide if he will fight the fairy godmother's mating--or fight for Alice.

In this new sexy contemporary romance novella from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Bella Andre, can Noah convince Colbie they are meant to be together in ONE PERFECT NIGHT? Guest starring Mia Sullivan and Rafe Sullivan from Bella Andre’s Sullivan family series, ONE PERFECT NIGHT is 20,000 words / 100 pages.

One touch...One kiss…
The first time Noah Bryant meets Colbie Michaels, they collide at the top of a snowy mountain in California and sparks fly. Swamped by sudden emotion—and a desire she can’t control—Colbie panics. Before he can get her phone number or last name, she’s gone. When they end up serendipitously meeting in Seattle one week later, Noah is certain Colbie is his destiny, and he can’t make the mistake of losing her again.

One night...One forever love…
Colbie wants to believe in a happily-ever-after, but experience tells her falling for Noah is more likely to lead to a broken heart. Only, how can she resist him as he sets out to prove that they’re destined to be together? Especially when he’s intent on fulfilling every last one of her secret desires and he’s willing to keep proving it to her every day...and every sweet and sinful night.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Summer Mood Reads

In the mood for a taut, thrilling ride for justice?

Ready to slow down, relax and fall in love?

How about an afternoon of laughter or just something different?