three star review

-goes looking for parks to explore in my area-

“Yelp Reviews: Three stars”

… who the hell yelps a park? 

One Star- We decided to check out this park nearby for a picnic and were horribly disappointed! No one told us we would have to bring our own food.There were bees and mosquitoes everywhere and the geese were not very nice.”


That’s who. 

A Suitable Affair is the debut novel by Erica Taylor, and it features a likeable heroine, a charming hero and a really rather clever plot with a twist it took me a while to figure out.

Sounds great, huh? Yeah… it’s also really, really confusing. The heroine is the younger sister of a Duke who has recently got married after a courtship alluded to multiple times in the book as being dramatic and unconventional. I was absolutely, utterly convinced that Andrew and Clara were the subjects of an earlier book in ‘The Macalisters’. Indeed, I enjoyed A Suitable Affair enough that I was considering purchasing that other book for myself.

See the first paragraph above and the phrase debut novel. There IS no earlier book in the series, and this means that, in fact, we have basically been dropped into the middle of something with already established characters, but with no way to know about them. I was reading this under the assumption that existing fans of the series would know exactly what was going on and be thoroughly enjoying seeing the stars of an earlier book feature again. But no. That’s not what is going on here.

And that means that the editing of this book is a LOT worse than I thought. There were quite a number of mistakes, which since I received an ARC from NetGalley, I was going to assume would be corrected in the final edition. Mistakes like 'honesty’ instead of 'honestly’, 'softy’ instead of 'softly’, 'swamed’ instead of 'swarmed’ and 'persuing’ instead of 'pursuing’ - seriously a spellchecker should have caught THOSE. That’s basic proofreading.

The muddle of existing characters with alluded-to interesting backstory is the job of a content editor, and it seems apparent that neither a competent content editor NOR a competent proofreader have been employed to finalise this book.

Which makes the Kindle price of $9.87 all the more shocking. That’s just a fraction less than the PAPERBACK, and that’s an appalling price strategy for an unknown author. It’s a ripoff any way you look at it considering the relative production costs of paperbacks and ebooks; the Big 5 publishers have been employing this sort of strategy of late (and then complaining about falling ebook sales) but it’s madness for a small press and a debut novel.

Erica Taylor, you are a really talented author with a knack for creating intriguing characters and fascinating plots, but you need to get the heck away from Amberjack Press. They aren’t doing your book justice with their editing and they’re ripping off your potential readers with their pricing. Get out and find a reputable publisher or hire an editor and self-publish. You’ll win a lot more fans taking either route.

Five stars for the story; one for the editing and the pricing strategy, which I’m afraid rounds out to three. It is what it is.

A Suitable Affair is available now, but dear Lord don’t pay nearly $10 for it.

Disclaimer: I received this book for review through NetGalley.

bornonthebattleground  asked:

Ok, don't get me wrong because it's just curiosity, but I have to ask: how much of Supernatural is in Demon's Lexicon, if any? Please don't get this wrong, i love your books, it's a great story with great characters (and better storytelling, to be fair). It's just that I started to watch it recently and some similiarities struck me. And because it would be SO great if someone made a tv show out of DL :)

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b) I used to write fanfiction. (These two issues—sexism and fanfiction—are actually very closely intertwined, because writing fanfiction is something that mostly girls do, and thus like all things Associated With Ladies, such as sewing and pink, is treated as dumb and worthless. And fanfiction, as I’m going to discuss, provides people with a narrative that go ‘why this lady actually sucks’ and people love narratives which say that.)

For those who didn’t know I used to write fanfiction, it’s obviously irrelevant to your opinion of me, and honestly, you can cut out here. Definitely if the person who asked me about Supernatural this time around wants to cut out here… they should. I am about to get mad. It is not your fault. I have just got this too many times, and I have had it up to here.

When someone is traditionally published after writing fanfiction, they get treated like trash, both by people who think fanfiction is weird rubbish and by people who themselves like to write and read fanfiction.

Keep reading Customer Reviews: Princeless, Vol. 1: Save Yourself

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On this three star review of Princeless:

First, yes I am about to go on a rant about the worst review of my comic on Amazon and YES it is only a three star review.  The stars don’t bother me though, people are entitled to like or not like my book.  But here’s the thing.

In this review a father discusses his objection to the categorization of my book as “all-ages”.  Not because there is fighting (there is).  Not because there are words that are beyond a first grade reading level (there are).  Not because there’s a strong implication that Sparky has killed and eaten several knights and that one apparently discarded gauntlet still has a hand in it (that’s all true).

His objection to the book being considered all-ages is as follows:

“I really didn’t feel this book is appropriate for certain young ages. My daughter was 5 when I read this too her, and I didn’t like how the book really brow beats you with the feminist message. I felt like she was way too young to get the idea that some people feel that women can’t do certain things. I much prefer reading books to her that are just about women/girls doing awesome things, and not so much brow beating you with "look at me, I’m a girl and I’m doing what you said I couldn’t” message.

We like, Zita the Spacegirl, Cleopatra in Space, Pirate Princess, Paperbag Princess, Rosie Revere Engineer…and lots more. This one I just felt was honestly too old for her to really appreciate and understand the message appropriately….I think its even possible that she took away the idea that some people think girls can’t do things….and I’d rather she wait a while to have to deal with that.“

Okay, there’s a lot to unpack here.  First, let me say that all of the books listed (except Rosie Revere with which I am unfamiliar) are books I have read and are great.

But here’s the issue I have here.  If your daughter is five, she knows and has been told that there are things she can not do.  At least some of the people who have told her this have told her it is because she is a girl.  It’s a fact.  As a friend of mine pointed out on twitter "Anybody who thinks a toddler aged girl doesn’t know this was never a toddler aged girl”.

Let me share a story with you.  My daughter, Zuri, is three.  She wore her Superman shirt to school one day.  That night when we talked about her day, she nearly burst into tears because the boys at her school had told her she couldn’t be Superman.  They told her that girls weren’t superheroes and that she couldn’t play superheroes with them.  I told her to tell them that they couldn’t be Superman either, because Superman is not a jerk.

When my daughter was one, I was a stay at home dad during the day and worked in a warehouse at night.  We spent a lot of time going to playgrounds. My daughter decided to wear her Batman shirt with her Dora shoes.  A diligent five year old whose mother was talking on her cell phone decided to tell my daughter that boys couldn’t wear Dora shoes.  When I politely informed her that my daughter was a girl, she asked why she didn’t dress like one.  Girls, apparently, are not allowed to wear Batman shirts.

My point is, that despite my best efforts to prevent it, my daughter is treated differently because she is a girl. You may think this is a two sided issues, because after all boys are not allowed to wear Dora shoes.  Fair enough, but let me share another story.

My daughter often recaps her day for me as I don’t see her until around 7pm when I get home.  Last year, when she was two, she told me all about her boyfriend, Michael.  Michael, as it turns out, is a hitter.  Michael likes to hug on little girls and kiss on little girls and, when he’s frustrated, punch on little girls.  When the issue was brought up to staff/teachers at the daycare, I was met with the philosophy that boys occasionally rough house and sometimes play too rough.  Boys, after all, will be boys.

Let me say this loud and clear: “Boys will be boys” is the first step on a path that leads to breeding little rapists.  Boys who think it’s okay and are even encouraged to chase girls, to kiss unwilling girls, and to touch girls even after they have asked not to be touched are being trained to believe that girls’ bodies are playthings to which they are entitled.  It is not okay for your son to do anything to my daughter which she asks him not to.  It is not okay to dismiss this behavior.

I’m getting off track.  The point is this, my daughter is three and this is only a small sampling of the times where she should have been safe but has been taught the lesson that she will be treated differently because she is a girl.  The person who wrote this review is able to ignore this because he is a man.  I understand the urge to not expose your kids to harsh realities too early, but let me put it in universal terms.

When all children are toddlers they are drawn to fire.  It moves, it makes light, it can make noise, and it’s warm.  Every parent has a responsibility to teach their child about the dangers of fire.  If you do not teach your child about fire, that does not make your child immune from being burned.

Sexism is an actual and provable fact.  Women, from the moment they are born, encounter it.  You, as your daughter’s ally and protector have two options:  teach her about sexism - what it is and how to deal with it.  Let her know that she will be treated differently because she is a girl and that she does not have to accept it.  Or, act as if it doesn’t exist.  When you do not teach your daughter about sexism, she will still experience it and she may not know why.  She may believe that it is her fault that she is being treated differently.  She may believe that she has done something wrong or is of less value and that is why she is being treated this way.  Or she may in fact believe that this is the way things are and that she has no alternative but to accept it.  Other people will tell her that, it is your responsibility to teach her differently.

I don’t want to get into trigger warning territory here, but the reality is that not being aware of the terrible things that happen to women have not stopped those things from happening to women.

It is the responsibility of each and every parent of a daughter to sit their daughter down and tell them “People will treat you differently because you’re a girl” and to explain what can and could happen and to give them the tools to deal with it.  You need to tell your daughters that boys do not have the right to touch you if you do not want to be touched.  Boys do not have the right to hit you.  Boys do not have the right to decide what toys you can and can’t play with.

And by God if you want to be Superman you can be the best damned Superman there is.

(also, feel free to go review Princeless and let people on Amazon know how much you like the book.  It helps!)

Review: The Duke is Mine by Eloisa James

“The cruelty of Olivia being taught to loathe an aspect of herself that -to be frank- he thought was perfect made his heart feel as if something had broken loose inside.”

3 out of 5 stars


Destiny will be decided between the sheets in this all-new tale of The Princess and the Pea.

For Olivia Lytton, betrothal to the Duke of Canterwick—hardly a Prince Charming—feels more like a curse than a happily-ever-after. At least his noble status will help her sister, Georgiana, secure an engagement with the brooding, handsome Tarquin, Duke of Sconce, a perfect match for her in every way … every way but one. Tarquin has fallen in love with Olivia. Quin never puts passion before reason. And reason says that Georgiana is his ideal bride. But the sensual, fiery, strong-willed Olivia ignites an unknown longing in him—a desire they are both powerless to resist. When a scandalous affair begins, they risk losing everything—Olivia’s engagement, her sister’s friendship, and their own fragile love. Only one thing can save them—and it awaits in the bedroom, where a magnificent mattress holds life-changing answers to the greatest romantic riddle of all.

My thoughts:

There was a lot in this book that really worked for me. I thought it was funny and I enjoyed the banter. I liked that Olivia was unconventional and plump. She was everything she thought she shouldn’t be and Quin loved it all.

One of my favorite aspects of this book was Olivia’s relationship with her sister, Georgie. We don’t often get to enjoy a strong (and loving) bond between the heroine and another woman. There tends to be too much competition. I usually find myself highlighting a lot my favorite scenes between the heroine and the hero. I realized when I finished this book that the majority of my notes were of scenes between Olivia and Georgie. Here are a few of my favorites:

“You have the prettiest eyes I’ve ever seen. I can’t think why I got plain brown eyes and you have those green ones.” She peered at her. “Pale green. The color of celery, really.”

“If my hips were like celery, then we’d have something to celebrate.”

“You’re luscious,” her sister insisted. “Like a sweet, juicy peach.”

“I don’t mind being a peach,” Olivia said. “Too bad celery is in fashion.”

“I start to babble when I’m miserable. I know it’s a fault, but I can’t bear to cry, Georgie. I’d much rather laugh.”

“You have a wonderful laugh, Olivia. I’ve always thought that was one of the saddest things about Mother and Father. They were so busy trying to make you into a duchess that they never laughed with you.”

Yup. I loved Olivia’s relationship with her sister.

I also loved this book’s epilogue. I really appreciate getting to glimpse so far into Olivia and Quin’s future.

If I had any complaints, it was with those last few chapters before the epilogue. While I appreciate the tie in to the original fairy tale, it all felt a bit too far fetched. I still enjoyed the ending enough but my enjoyment was dimmed by one specific point. It’s a spoiler so I’ll discuss it below the cut.

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Book: A Thousand Nights
Author: E.K Johnston
Publishing: Disney Hyperion   
Pages: 336
Rating: ★★★  (3.5/5)

Release Date: October 6, 2015


Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.
And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments.  She sees everything as if for the last time.But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.
Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.
Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.


My many thanks to the author, publisher, and to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of A Thousand Nights in exchange for an honest review.

I was absolutely thrilled when I found out I had been approved to read a copy of A Thousand Nights before its release date (October 6th) because it has been on my list of most anticipated releases for 2015 for quite sometime. I’m not joking when I say I was on the verge of tears when I had learned of my granted approval. With my high anticipation came my high expectations. What I loved most about A Thousand Nights was it’s stunning, and I mean undeniably stunning, writing.

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Hello! I wanted to let readers and book lovers know that I’m now on GoodReads ~ mainly so I could add an author pic and bio.  Plus it was fun to scan my bookshelves and list books I like and think of books I want to read. Also it’s important to be humbled by the three-star reviews to remind me of my place in the scheme of things (one can forget sometimes). 

I don’t know how “active” I’ll be on there, but friends and “followers” are always welcome!