#ThrowbackThursday – Dr. Jan Pol – a Book Review

#ThrowbackThursday

Renee began the Throwback Thursday meme on her blog, “It’s Book Talk” to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Sounded like a good reason to join! My TT posts will not come from current ARCs or new releases. Means I’ll be going back over some of my oldies but goodies, my favorite authors, and some of my favorite stories from authors you might not have previously experienced. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out.

The Incredible Dr. Pol - vet - authorThis week I am highlighting Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow: My Life as a Country Vet by Dr. Jan Pol. Taking advantage of his popular Nat Geo Wild’s hit show, The Incredible Dr. Pol, “America’s favorite veterinarian” (according to Scratch magazine), he wrote this informative, often amusing, veterinarian eBook gleaned from his four decades of practice in rural Michigan. The result ranked #4 in Amazon’s Medical eBook category.

Originally posted June 12, 2014 Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – Dr. Jan Pol – a Book Review”

The Whispering Room: A Jane Hawk Novel – a Book Review

The Whispering Room: A Jane Hawk Novel by Dean KoontzTitle: The Whispering Room: A Jane Hawk Novel by Dean Koontz

Genre: Currently #76 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Books, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine

Publication Date: To be released November 21, 2017

Source: Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley

Title: The Whispering Room: A Jane Hawk Novel 

See what I mean? Obviously, I have been living under a rock, as if I’ve read a book by Dean Koontz before, you know I’d have remembered it. The Whispering Room is, yes, the second in the Jane Hawk series, having best-seller The Silent Corner directly preceding it, and apparently preceding it by only a few months(?! Is that even possible?). Apparently so, as here it is continuing exactly where the first left off (so I’ve been told). And–old story–I haven’t read the first one. Holy Moses! Mr. Koontz really puts the prose out prominently, doesn’t he? Continue reading “The Whispering Room: A Jane Hawk Novel – a Book Review”

#AmReading – The Compass Island Incident: November 1963 by Wade Fowler

#AmReading - Compass Island Incident by Wade Fowler

Welcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget celebrating blue skies, following seas, and my Goodreads (currently reading) list.

This week I am presenting Wade Fowler and his book The Compass Island Incident: November 1963. I received an ARC from the publisher Milford House Press and NetGalley. The book will be released on November 22, 2017. Amazon classifies the novel as a mystery, thriller & suspense, and assassinations at 317 pages will be a quick one for most of you bibliophiles looking for an interesting Kennedy theory thriller by the anniversary date (54 years)!

I will be presenting my review in the next few days, but in the meantime (from Amazon), here is the

Book Blurb: (Blurb from Amazon)

John Franklin Kincaid clocks out at 4 PM on Thursday, August 27, 1953, after his shift at New York Shipbuilding Corporation’s sprawling shipyard in Camden, New Jersey, never to be seen or heard from again.

A little more than a decade later, a little girl is assailed by a terrible recurring nightmare. She dreams she is a man, buried alive in a dark compartment in the bowels of a ship under construction.

On November 16, 1963, President Kennedy helicopters to that ship, now a US Naval vessel called the USS Compass Island, as it steams off the coast of Florida to witness the firing of a Polaris missile clandestinely targeting Cuba’s Fidel Castro. And so topple the first dominoes in a chain of events leading inexorably to the president’s assassination one week later in Dallas, Texas.

Who killed JFK — the president and shipyard worker? The answers abide on the Compass Island as the old ship casts off on its final voyage to the scrap yard in October of 2003 with descendants of John Franklin Kincaid on board and determined to solve not one, but two murder mysteries.

Author:

Wade Fowler (No info found on either Amazon or Goodreads)

©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

#AmReading – The Tell All: A Locust Point Mystery by Libby Howard

 

#AmReading - The Tell All by Libby Howard

Welcome to my #AmReading feature! Today I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget celebrating blue skies, following seas, and (part of) my Goodreads (currently reading) list.

This week I am presenting Libby Howard and her book The Tell All: A Locust Point Mystery (Volume 1). I received the download in exchange for a fair review by Erin Zarro, an assistant for Ms. Howard. The book was released in July, 2017 the first in the series of three. Amazon classifies the novel as a cozy mystery, thriller & suspense, and women sleuths and at only 156 pages will be a very fast read for most of you bibliophiles!

I will be presenting my review shortly, but in the meantime (from Amazon), here is the:

Book Blurb:

Life at sixty isn’t quite what Kay Carrera expected. She’s working as a skip-tracer for a PI who is desperate to land his own reality TV show. She has a new roommate who arrived with more than the usual amount of baggage. And her attempts at knitting are less than stellar – way less than stellar. Worse, the cataract surgery that restored her sight has also delivered an unexpected and disturbing side-effect. Kay sees ghosts. And when the dead turn to her for help, she just can’t say no.

Author:

(Amazon) Libby Howard lives in a little house in the woods with her sons and two exuberant bloodhounds. She occasionally knits, occasionally bakes, and occasionally manages to do a load of laundry. Most of her writing is done in a bar where she can combine work with people-watching, a decent micro-brew, and a plate of Old Bay wings.

©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Outside the Wire – a Book Review

 

Outside the Wire by Patricia SmileyTitle: Outside the Wire (a Pacific Homicide #2) by Patricia Smiley

 

Genre: Currently #4329 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, and Police Procedurals

 

Publisher: Midnight Ink

 

Publication Date: To be released November 8, 2017 – Happy Release Day!

 

Source: Midnight Ink and NetGalley

 

Title and Cover: Outside the Wire – Love the cover–striking colors

 

Outside the Wire features Davie Richards as a LAPD Homicide Detective. At last–a female protagonist not damaged beyond saving or sporting model-like height and classic features! Her Kung Fu will worry no one, but she is packing. This lady sounds real and with her years on the force as an officer and detective, she has history. This is the sophomore release of this series by Ms. Smiley and is an intelligent, thoughtful, and reflective narrative on our military back from ‘Nam. (Some fared better than others. Few were exempt from memories best left in the jungle.) Continue reading “Outside the Wire – a Book Review”

#AmReading – Stay Calm and Collie On by Lane Stone

#AmReading - Stay Calm and Collie On by Lane StoneWelcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget promoting blue skies, following seas, and the Goodreads (currently reading) list.

This week I am presenting Lane Stone and her book Stay Calm and Collie On (A Pet Palace Mystery). I received an ARC from the publisher Lyrical Underground and NetGalley. The book will be released on November 7, 2017. Amazon classifies the novel as a mystery, thriller & suspense, cozy mystery, and women sleuths at 164 pages will be a coffee break read for most of you bibliophiles!

I will be presenting my review shortly, but in the meantime (from Amazon), here is the

Book Blurb: Buckingham Pet Palace is known for treating dogs like royalty-until murder dethrones its good reputation! As owner of an upscale doggy daycare and spa, animal-lover Sue Patrick pampers pooches for the most elite clients in Lewes, Delaware. Surely she can survive a weeklong visit from Lady Anthea Fitzwalter, her well-to-do business partner from England. But before Sue can serve her guest a spot of tea, she discovers more-than-a-spot of blood inside the company van-and all over the driver’s dead body . . .

Someone abandoned the van full of dogs at the Lewes ferry terminal and got away with murder, leaving Sue and Lady Anthea pawing for clues. With a fundraising gala approaching and Buckingham Pet Palace facing scandal, can two very different women work together to fetch the culprit from a list of dodgy suspects-or are they heading toward a proper disaster?

Author: (Goodreads) Lane Stone is a native Atlantan. She, her husband, Larry Korb, and their dog, Abby, live in Alexandria, VA during the week and in Lewes, DE on the weekend. Lewes is the setting of her new cozy mystery series, Buckingham Pet Palace mysteries. Her volunteer work is extensive and includes media & communications for the Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation… She’s a graduate of Georgia State University, with a degree in Political Science, and is currently pursuing a post-graduate certificate in Antiquities Theft and Art Crime. She tweets as Abby, The Menopause Dog (@TheMenopauseDog) and her Facebook page is LaneStoneBooks (https://www.facebook.com/Lane-Stone-B…); go follow! Check out her book here www.LaneStoneBooks.com. ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

#ThrowbackThursday – Author M. D. Grayson – Book Review

ThrowbackThursday4Renee began the Throwback Thursday meme on her blog, “It’s Book Talk” to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Sounded like a good reason to join! My TT posts will not come from current ARCs or new releases. Means I’ll be going back over some of my oldies but goodies, my favorite authors, and some of my favorite stories from authors you might not have previously experienced. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out.

Mona Lisa EyesThis week I am highlighting M. D. Grayson, another terrific, prolific author who has produced Mona Lisa Eyes, which was reviewed on Goodreads as part of his Danny Logan Mystery Series. He has actually written five in the series (I’ve read three). His books garner hundreds of reviews on Amazon and he consistently runs approximately 4.5 stars for any of his books sold on Amazon.

My Review originally posted July 15, 2015 Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – Author M. D. Grayson – Book Review”

#AmReading – Outside the Wire by Patricia Smiley

#AmReading - Outside the Wire by Patricia SmileyWelcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget promoting blue skies, following seas, and the Goodreads (currently reading) list.

This week I am presenting Patricia Smiley and her sophomore A Pacific Homicide Series novel Outside the Wire . I received an ARC from the publisher Midnight Ink and Net Galley. The book will be released on November 8, 2017. Amazon classifies the novel as a mystery, thriller, suspense, and police procedural and at 288 pages will be a snap for most of you bibliophiles!

I will be presenting my review shortly, but in the meantime (from Amazon), here is the

Book Blurb: Homicide detective Davie Richards is called to an airport parking garage to investigate the shooting of a retired U.S. Army Ranger. Missing personal items point to a robbery, but Davie suspects a more sinister motive when she notices only one military dog tag around the Ranger’s neck. Could the murderer have taken the other as a memento of the kill? As Davie unravels baffling clues, one murder becomes two and a pattern begins to emerge. Racing to save the killer’s next victim, Davie is led to a shocking twist that challenges her physical and emotional endurance and tests the bonds of brotherhood and friendship.

Author Patricia SmileyAuthor: (Goodreads) Patricia Smiley is the author of four novels, featuring amateur sleuth Tucker Sinclair. PACIFIC HOMICIDE is the first in a new series about Los Angeles Police Department homicide detective Davie Richards and is based on her 15-year stint as a volunteer for the LAPD. The second book in the series OUTSIDE THE WIRE will debut on November 8, 2017. Patty’s short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and Two of the Deadliest, an anthology edited by Elizabeth George. She has taught writing classes at various conferences in the U.S. and Canada and served as the vice president of the Southern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America and as president of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles. Patty lives in Los Angeles where she is working on the third book in the Pacific Homicide series. Check out her book here. ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

There is a Difference Between 5 Stars on Amazon vs Goodreads

Goodreads vs Amazon Stars

Back in April 2017, I originally wrote this post regarding the difference in star rating definitions between Goodreads and Amazon. Perhaps little has changed.

There is certainly a difference between most of the major book retailers (and I’ve since taken note of the star rating definitions in Barnes & Noble as well as Kobo). As I’m sure you’ve no doubt noticed if you’ve ever moused over the stars on Amazon and Goodreads–there is a difference in the star ratings between the two. Are you one who thinks the star rating is equivalent to personal perception? Or have you read and understood the star definitions of both? I’ve run up against this before, debating what to do; set my star ratings the same on both websites–or change to more closely indicate my objective opinion on each.

A Goodreads five star indicates you thought the book “amazing.” I don’t consider that the same as, “I love it.” So what is the difference between the two? Note the graphic above.

Goodreads

Star Rating

1  Did not like it

2  It was okay

3  I liked it

4  I really liked it

5  It was amazing

Amazon

Star Rating

1  I hate it

2  I don’t like it

3  It’s okay

4  I like it

5  I love it

Really, neither of the two asks your opinion regarding the plotting, dialogue, characterization, grammar, or level of typos. It’s a matter of how much you liked the book–what did you like–what did you dislike. Perhaps that makes sense considering the reading levels of the average reader.

Does the average reviewer actually use the website assigned stars or simply judge based on the use of their own system?

In a 2015 study by McGill University, it was found that Amazon has higher average ratings compared to Goodreads and Goodreads users gave four stars more often than Amazon users (36.26%). That translation bears exactly how I would interpret the meaning behind the stars of those two websites as well. How many times does a conscientious book reviewer look for a compromise and assign a half point–4.5 stars, but are then forced to round up or down–well, THAT’s subjective then, not objective!

They maintain, therefore, that the Goodreads ratings fall in the range of 3 to 4 stars while Amazon ratings fall between 4 and 5 stars. Their argument extends to a higher average for some genres (i.e., biographies) on Amazon than are found on Goodreads. Makes sense if you consider Goodreads basically shifts one point lower, making only one a negative, one a neutral, and three more positive. That makes your four-star rating on Goodreads equivalent to Amazon five.

Their additional argument extends further in the propensity of Amazon reviewers to help “sell” the book, whereon Goodreads tends to more journalistic attributes, concentrating on the book’s content.

Also surprising, the study found that Amazon reviews tend to be a greater length, which flies in the face of that which I was taught–keep it short on Amazon–expand on the description on Goodreads–and just have fun with it on your own website. Indeed, I’ve been asked to keep my reviews short on Amazon to allow for more visible reviews on the landing page.

Kristen Twardowski in her recent WordPress post, “What to do with Goodreads,” says “Goodreads is the largest book review website on the internet.” She goes on to cite April 2017 statistics that show over 55 million members wrote an astounding 50 million reviews.  (And you thought your book was being buried on Amazon!) A quick search on Amazon shows print title totals vary, although if we use Amazon best sellers rank numbers, there are over 13 million–and over 800,000 ebook titles.

Amazon gobbled up Goodreads in March 2013. There have been a number of arguments regarding the star ratings disparity since then. Wikipedia noted, “Some authors, however, believe the purchase means that the “best place to discuss books is joining up with the best place to buy books.”

The updates to the Kindle app requesting a star rating at the end of the book you are reading begs an additional argument. If you hit the star rating link without consideration of the rating definition differences and the site links to Amazon as well as Goodreads, in my mind, the ratings become skewed.

I like the breakdown that Greg Zimmerman showed on his blog post appearing in June 2011 in which he whittled it down further: 4 and 5 stars==liked it, 3 stars=neutral, and 1 and 2 stars=don’t like it. He then compares Amazon stats to Goodreads stats and in the end concluded there’s a good reason for Goodreads reviews being lower. There continues to be skepticism for Amazon reviews on many of the forums, which agrees with my own perception and that I posted here. Two of my favorite reads this year (reviewed on this blog) with 15 or more ratings in GR’s also reflect McGill’s consensus.

The Fifteenth of JuneThe Fifteenth of June

Amazon – 15 ratings (average 4.7) 94% 4 stars or better

Goodreads – 24 ratings (average 4.0) 80% 4 stars or better

So Much Owed-#1 Amazon BestsellerSo Much Owed

Amazon – 268 ratings (average 4.7) – 94% 4 stars or better

Goodreads – 616 ratings (average 4.29) 86% 4 stars or better

There is credibility with Goodreads reviews. As a reader, have you performed review searches on Goodreads? Did you find they closely followed your own opinions? Did you compare the two? Judging by the number of review requests I receive, it would appear authors are still seeking strong Amazon authentication. I get it–lots of five stars on your Amazon book helps to spread the word (not so much the algorithm, which is based on sales). I hope you feel good about your Goodreads reviews and continue to press for Amazon reviews as well. Do you search for reviews before you purchase?

©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!