Why is there a watermelon there?

Frankfurt Book Fair article in PW about GR(rrrrrr) new focus

Saw this posted:




Mostly I liked reading the comments:



Well, this is a shame to read. Goodreads was long a site for me to catalog my books, keep track of my likes and dislikes and to interact with other readers. As in, readers discussing books--which books were worth spending time and money on. 

This is very much a cultural shift I can do without. I want to talk to readers, not ‘engage authors’ or use a site that is now ‘a place for authors and their fans’. Um no, it was a place for readers, and at least up until a day or so ago that was still even part of the official language for the site. 

No thanks to being turned into a product to be marketed to authors or publishers or vendors of any kind. Also, I suspect that Goodreads will no longer have quite the enthusiastic services of their volunteer librarians who do so much of the work in cataloging and managing the book information. You know, the unpaid READERS who built the site. For each other.

Oh well, change has occurred and unfortunately Goodreads is no longer the place it was. Too bad, and too bad the TOS were modified so drastically (yet using otherwise mild sounding language), and not via any kind of site-wide announcement. 

I had to dig around the feedback forum to find out that Goodreads will now feel free to modify (censor) my content because my opinions are not in keeping with the new focus, or because they can ‘tell what is meant’ when naming a shelfs. (Like the one where I keep the books I don’t want to buy--for whatever reason-- innocuously named but GR ‘can tell’ what I mean?? Ouch, thought police much? And yes, deletions are getting done).

Good luck Goodreads in getting the same kind of free content from your users, I mean, marketing tools. Perhaps the new endeavor will be successful, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all the same, but nicer.

Well, well...look at the email I got from "Amazon Review Moderation"

After finding this little gem of an area on GR (I like that GR is like Grrrrr, which is how I feel lately):  




I tried sending Amazon a customer feedback comment.  Doesn't look like the typical computer generated 'first answer' form.  Or, their mail bots are better at generating answers.  The page on GR is still there, but I'm not going to take the time to comb through and see if there are any real steps (ie swapped review deletions)...but it was a step above what I expected.


Maybe Amazon still remembers it wants some semblance of clean, non-pandering reviews.  I have a relatively high ranked Amazon account (though I only do about 10% books) so I do see a lot of crap that goes on.  However, the few times I've had a seller bugging me they backed off quickly if I sent an email to Amazon.


The email, with a few identifiers and links removed:


Message From Customer Service

Thank you for letting us know about the review swapping by authors on Amazon and Goodreads. We'll investigate the reviews on this and take the appropriate action. 

Thank you for taking the time to let us know about this. 

We hope to see you again soon.

Best regards,
Luciana S
Did I solve your problem?
xx  xxx

Your feedback is helping us build Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company.

Thank you.
Original Message
10/09/13 20:04:08 
Your Name: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Other info:website advertising 'authors' swapping reviews and sales 
Comments:I was poking around Goodreads and noticed a group of 'authors' who are swapping reviews (and now apparently sales via a 'service').  

Seeing as Amazon now owns Goodreads it is pretty appalling to see the active circumvention of the so-called 'honest review process, particularly as said reviews are to be posted on Amazon itself. 

What a load of crap

Tea Party Teddy - Dianne Harman

More blog practice...see if I can add multiple photos split by words.  Fun times!


So, I ran across the title of a book I found interesting...some bagging on politicians (gee I wonder why that would appeal right now).  


Funny, 3 weeks ago I may never have noticed all this, but now--just wow.  It's not even subtle. 


I took a look at the reviews..not an unusual pattern of 4 and 5 stars, plus a 3 and a smattering of 1 stars.  The 4/5s were nice enough if a little glowy and had a fair number of votes.  Fine.  


Looked at the lower stars...and now it's odd.  I expect a few negatives (there always are) on the negative reviews.  But these were swamped.  Enough to say (huh?) and actually download the sample to see.  Oh, it sucked alright.


What really struck me was the huge number of downvotes on the negs...really out of proportion to the numbers of upvotes.  Like, oh, say someone had a bunch of people just stop by to downvote.


So, I popped over to GR and looked at the author's page (you know, the public one that is published just so curious consumers can learn more).  I saw the group that the author belongs to. 

One, publicly displayed and interesting looking group is named "How to promote YOUR book on Amazon", which includes such interesting topics as "Review Swaps-- Authors supporting authors", " I will tweet, like your book, read it, and tag it on Amazon if you do the same for me. " and my favorite: " Kindle Review Swap".
I have no idea if this is related to the out of proportion down voting on the negative review, but three little clicks and all I can say is 'gee and I wonder why I find the review system distasteful these days'. 
And no, after reading the sample it's safe to say I will not be buying the book that started this.  The writing was juvenile, with simple typos that even this non-grammarian and creative speller found ridiculous. 

CNN-- "Are we too quick to cry bully?"

My first attempt to add something volitionally to my 'blog' here (everything else seems to be my GR reviews that were imported and I have barely begun to sort through).  

This article has some very interesting points about what is and isn't bullying, what used to be 'hurt feelings', 'teasing', or even just plain old 'fighting'. 


Using the word 'bully' for every disagreement, hurt feeling or whenever outraged lessens the power of the word for those who are bullied---like those who are followed from site to site, thread to thread, doxxed, and harassed in 'real life'.  


Also from the article  "If everyone's a victim," she wrote, "then no one's a victim.". 


"Bully", "hater", "jealous", "spiteful" "abused".  All have becomes words of reduced meaning, thrown out when a speshul snowphlake uses if their sense of entitlement has been hit with reality.  


The words used to have a powerful meaning, well now, not so much and those who feel the brunt of the real thing, now are lessened.

Wicked Cravings  (The Phoenix Pack, #2) - Suzanne  Wright Tough to rate this one...too much explaining going on coupled with a moderate case of an allegedly strong female lead who still loses most of her spine in the face of her alpha male waving his magic penis in front of her.

The old "I'm too dominant/pissed/annoyed/not interested to have sex, but oh wait, my body is betraying me by it's desire for that magical and wonderfully masculine pleasure wand and I just can't say no even though I want to or even if I do say no I don't really mean it anymore which is good because he won't listen to that word anyway' problem.

She does have more spine than some, and the story had some interesting features, and the dude really was trying to adapt, so it was not hate-worthy.

However in what world will a guy 'never hurt a female' yet still threaten to spank/blister her ass??? (Even if she does threaten to put a handprint on his face--I would like to point out she does end up with a handprint on her ass eventually--of course--but his face remains handprint free).

Or, 'who can't take no for an answer'...indeed this guy did not totally act that way and it really just seems to be some popular (why this is popular is a bit unfathomable) way to describe a guy to make the case for his alpha-ness. I really don't think alpha specifically equates to physical abuse, tying up a person and forcing a person to beg for sex (that magic penis after all) or refusing to let a person say no (as in 'no I don't want to see you right now yet you come into my room anyway').

Refreshingly (and not really in a good way) there is a scene where the female lead is drunk (so that's an excuse???) so the male lead tells her to stop trying to give him a BJ. She does it anyway, basically forcing it on him and, on the flip side of the the magic penis, she uses her magic throat (the one with no gag reflex) to suck him off anyway. He said NO. She pushed herself on him. He succumbed to her magic---but hey she was going down on him, so I guess it was okay. Hm. Not. Really.

Despite protests of the female lead from the last book this author did cave to the notion that between two dominants, only the one with the penis gets to be the most dominant. In an unfortunately too commonly seen situation, it's a case of an author writing a character as though she is strong, but still makes her the one who caves. Why, oh why, can't one of these feisty, strong, dominant females ever have a sex relationship where they don't end up submitting? It's not a problem for one person to be the more submissive, but this book falls into that old and irritating pattern that the female is set up to have a spine, but it melts.

At least this book had an interesting story line and the female lead didn't totally lose her ability to set boundaries...they just were a little too fluid to accept given the set up of the character.

I am much more interested in the next story getting set up, because one is dominant and one is submissive. Perhaps the story will be a little more consistency between inherent personalities/thoughts described and the actual behaviors exhibited.
How To Live In A Car, Van or RV - Bob Wells So nice to hear about 'drawing unemployment' as a plan for funding one's chosen lifestyle. Hmm. Very distracting from an otherwise interesting concept.
Enthralled -  Meljean Brook, Alyssa Day, Lucy Monroe, Lora Leigh Lets face it...I read it for the Breeds. As USUAL a novella from LL is better than one of her books.

Devil/Due moved on the overall plot arc between books (and sowed quite a few kernals for future plot points), had a hot couple with a heroine who was not a doormat slave subjugated alternately between her own hoo-ha or the hero's spine dissolving hoo-hoo. From LL this is one of the better female leads indeed.

I'd wish for more fleshing out and a whole novel, but we know LL and/or her editor would fuck it up. There was one very annoying typo where the hero was making a big distinction between calling her Katie vs. Kate and you could totally see the point. Except 'Kate' was used both times. Duh.

Without 'knowing' the Breeds already this story would not make enough sense for new readers to enjoy I'd imagine. This is for the fans. Of which I am one. Despite the fact this is a pretty trashy/poorly edited series with too many of those spineless and/or obtuse and/or childishly stubborn heroine caricatures.

Well, the 5th magic star of an anthology is awarded here because one of the other stories was good enough I am now going to check out a series. That would be the Alyssa Day entry with the Black Swan story. Good enough for me to add a full priced book to my TBR pile (which is already overloaded). Hate it/Love it when that happens.
Overcoming Celebrity Obsession - Diane Saks (Kindle edition sample, no ASIN listed on GR).
How to Survive an Amazon Forum Troll Attack: a Writer's Guide - Michele Foal At risk of appearing on any 'lists', I must say this was an absolute hoot. The content will give me a great deal of solstice should anyone do so much as respond in any sort of unkind way to my written words (I am a creative genius after all, it says so in the book—I write, therefore I am a genius).

They’re was laughter, their was tears, grate prose, wonderful use of grammer, and commas, more commas, are awlays better, I find. Awesome facts and research so other authors and I could fact check (but I won't because I don't see why I should). The support and advise, so freely given, totally made my day. Thank goodness for such help, at times I fear I am loosing my mind when mere readers question my speshialness.

Oh, and after my in depth internet research, I have discovered that if some horrible TROLL were to look at my profile, let alone try and find out my real name, he/she will instantly be GUILTY of Stalking me. Says so right in Minnesota Law Statute Sec. 609.749. The TROLL will know or have reason to know I would become frightened by such an unreasonable (and SCARY) act of someone trying to read a profile I put on the internet all by myself. In fact, it even says there is “no proof of specific intent”—only my reaction to such an invasive (to me) action. Oh my, I feel so threatened that someone is even reading this. Stop, stop right now! YOU CRIMINAL. YOU TROLL CRIMINAL. I have evidence.
Moon (New Species, #10) - Laurann Dohner More of the same, firmly in the 'guilty pleasures because it isn't even that good lovin' it anyway' category. I give most of this series 5 stars, mostly because crap it may be, it's REALLY FUN crap. Literature it's not however. So, 5 stars for fun, and this one was fun. Plus, the heroine was just a tad more interesting than some of the others and it felt 'right', what she was doing.
Hitched - Erin Nicholas Edited to update after finishing... these really belong under my private notes at this point, but it doesn't all ft.

Anyway, I found it still was a bit annoying in the end with her attitude towards her family, but she did move on. The problem was that when there is something that frustrating going on it magnifies everything else. Seriously, all capital letters for PAP is just not that big a deal, and the I/me thing is done by others without the need to vent. I guess I just didn't like this main (female) character enough, and I had expected to so I was disappointed. Oh well. All in all a fun multi-author series, but this was not quite my cup of tea.

My original comments before finishing:

I don't usually stop to write my opinions down when I'm only halfway through a book, but I am moved somehow. Hopefully, there is a little redemption at the end. The other three books were good enough I'll stick this one out, but seriously, aarrrggghhh!!!

I hate it when the author can't use 'me' and 'I' correctly. Maybe it's just a local way of speaking (grammatically incorrect), which seems kind of doubtful. This is especially annoying as the character doing this is a teacher (not sure of what yet, but still).

The author also needs to do a little more research on when a pap smear is indicated (or Pap, but really, PAP?) and how one really reduces risk for cervical cancer. Eating fruits and vegetables is a fine goal, but not a major factor in developing cervical cancer. Think HPV virus.

Before the Hot Nookie she states "I'm on the pill"...gee I hope so, I'm pretty sure she might have forgotten one or two when she was basically comatose for two days after boozing it up on top of having pneumonia. Oh, and remember that HPV virus thing.. C-O-N-D-O-M, not 100% effective but c'mon. THAT is risk reduction.

The main female character is a spoiled, self-centered, needy bitch with a martyr complex...which is actually a pretty amazing combination to pull off. She seems to be using the male character as an ego balm and source of fun. No interest in the real him, just the way he can make her feel good and 'forget' her troubles. Hmmm, kind of like she wants the happy-happy-boy-toy that is so abhorrent to the male character (considering that is what his Dad was). She does have the occasional mild epiphany about some these things, but really, just not feeling much for her. No redemption so far.

As for her self appointed role as the one one who is in charge of making sure everything gets done for her family? Dumb, dumb, dumb. Talk about enabling their lifelong dependency and inability to care for themselves. Losing jobs and failing college because she isn't there to tell them how to behave?? Yikes! They need to grow up and she needs to stop fostering this kind of attitude. Oh, and surely they can do their own fucking laundry.

Okay, now I'll go finish this book and I REALLY hope this is all just a manifestation of the main character's depression, not how she is at the core. Still should be using condoms though.
Prima (Vanguards, #6) - Annie Nicholas I like the heart of the stories in this series, however the execution of this one could use a little help. It's probably more of a 2 star but the characters pull it up the extra star.

Basically I'd like to see more 'meat' to the story and a stronger hand by the editing team....effect is not the same as affect, pluralization of a verb referring to a singular subject, pacing issues (jumping to epiphanies after agonizing --for months to year-- over issues...blink and you miss the moment) etc.

The story is a good one, I wish the author would give it the length it deserves. I definitely recommend the series, with the idea that one should expect a fast, light (and hot) read that is very entertaining paranormal romance.
A Different Witch (A Modern Witch, #5) - Debora Geary This is a review for myself...I'm keeping tabs on the books I'm enjoying. Feel free to read this, but it may (or may not) be useful to you. For me I take the ratings literally--4 stars does indeed me "I Really Liked It".

Surprisingly (to me) this series continues to entertain (me), even without official bad guys or bogeymen. Everyone is basically nice (or on their way to nice) in an almost Mary Sue fashion, so it was pretty cool to see this story come along where the non-mega-gifted took a turn in the spotlight. A definitely 'different' witch indeed.

I keep expecting to lose interest (oh what a cynic I am sometimes!) and I love how this series keeps me going. Quite an accomplishment from this author and I appreciate her efforts! At least when I'm not in the mood for angsty, detaied hawt romance-y, military, sci-fiy-y, paranormal or otherwise odd ball stuff.

This is just FUN. And, it makes me miss Berkeley...and want to take a trip to Nova Scotia (fortunately I have a spouse who likes that idea!).
Model Soldier - Cat Johnson The Task Force Zetas are easy reading and fun military romances. They don't need to be read in order per se as each is perfectly understandable, however, it does make them better as a whole. Plus, her writing style is improving so it's more fun to read in order.

I do like most of what she has as 'authentic' military stuff, but once in awhile something slips (plus this is all Army-like and I know Navy stuff much better) but the little things can be pesky...it's court MARTIAL not court marshal. That bugged me. Plus, remember to capitalize the ranks when referring to an individual--she does MUCH MUCH better than many writers out there, but again, a few slips (she forgot to get the Captain right a few times). Silly quibbly stuff that won't bother (or even get noticed) by the vast majority, but in case this author is reading and plans editing, well there you go. Who knows, maybe it's an Army thing and I'm all wrong about that last one. And if you are reading--please keep on writing, I enjoy these very much!
B785 (Cyborgs: More Than Machines) - Eve Langlais I'm REALLY wavering on this one...it could have been a solid 5 star (takes quite a bit to send it over to 5 star territory from me) but this time it has slipped to the point I'm almost dipping it to a three star (in fact that was my initial rating, but after a day I went soft and bumped back up to 4).

First of all, this author is great with the characters and has a writing style that pulls you in--what's not to love about that? Well, actually the problem is she toes the line of something awesome but keeps her stories a bit on the shorter side so it just feels like it's not enough. Really, another 50 pages or so (I have this complaint with many authors by the way) to really delve into the past events that shaped the characters and let them develop their story in a slightly longer fashion. Okay, that alone might keep this from 5 stars as 5 really means something awesome. I feel like this author could get there, but settles on the shorter novels.

Second, and this one did just drive me nuts personally, but might be just fine for anyone else. Basically, the nicknames (Prince Charming--or Charming for short-- and Princess) were used as proper nouns. As such, they should have been capitalized. Especially Charming...it was not an endearment but a name. Princess maybe could have gone either way, but the way it was used felt more like a name (as in the Princess to the Prince). It just happened to aggravate me.

The third thing is a spoiler...sooo be forewarned though I won't use a name in case you peek...

I hated the way the 2 cyborgs at the end got fried for being loyal to each other. Yes, they woulda-coulda-shoulda asked for help from the other cyborgs rather than being blackmailed into helping the military to save each other. Of course asking for help rather than obeying would have been more loyal to the cyborgs, but remember they are susceptible to programming and viruses and NO ATTEMPT was made to make sure they weren't being coerced in that fashion. NONE. Blow his head off.

Meanwhile, if one of the oh, say FEMALE characters had perhaps done something that appeared to be traitorous, well then, an investigation would have been made. It REALLY BUGGED me that there was no thought that brothers would place their loyalty so strongly to each other (Hello, Chloe and Bonnie anyone????) or that they could be forced into the behaviors that got them killed.

Really, not internally consistent with how the cyborgs would have acted if the females had done the same. No thought about override codes or viruses that could force behaviors when that sort of thing had been done before. Heck, they even alluded to ones being tried on Bonnie --but not successfully due to her own special features--so why not for some other cyborg not as lucky as she is in terms of skill set?

Seriously bothersome and the more I think about it, the more I want to regress this back to a three star...so depending on my mood at the last time I've looked at this book I'll either have a 3 or 4 star rating up.

I think this is one of my better space smut series to read and I wish this author would work in some more in depth plot lines for the future. I'll definitely keep reading her stuff but this one (and one of her Freakin's) have me a little frustrated. Still fabulous and what bugs me may not bug others AND, well, this is her world and she can do what she wants :).
Breaking the Silence - Katie Allen Without the book description I'd be perfectly satisfied with this read. However, the book description implies a little more depth to the events and I wished for maybe 50 pages more of Will's history and the romance aspects. Not too bad when all I wanted was more pages! 4.5 in my scheme (5 stars on Amazon).