#ThrowbackThursday – Bob Mayer author – Book Review

#ThrowbackThursday on It's Book Life blogRenee 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 from Goodreads, 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.

Chasing the LostThis week I’m spotlighting Bob Mayer, prolific writer of several fast-paced series that include The Green Berets, The Presidential Series, and his #1 bestselling series Area 51, Atlantis. If he’s written it, I’ve probably read it, albeit some time ago now. I particularly love Cool Gus, his yellow lab who frequents Twitter. Cool Gus - cool yellow Lab

Chasing the Lost – Originally posted on Goodreads July 25, 2015 (Published August 25, 2013) Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – Bob Mayer author – Book Review”

Close to Home – The Tracy Crosswhite Series – a Book Review

Close to Home by Robert DugoniTitle: Close to Home – (The Tracy Crosswhite Series) by Robert Dugoni

Genre: Currently #1 on Amazon Authors Rank for Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Police Procedurals

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: September 5, 2017

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Close to Home – Boat, nautical theme suggests coastal location

Congratulations to Robert Dugoni today on his book launch of my first (but won’t be my last) Tracy Crosswhite novel, Close to Home, his fifth for this exclusive series.

Close to Home hits a home run with me!  The novel employs a complicated cross-plot tying Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite with Navy JAG attorney Lieutenant Leah Battles after it is discovered that the 12 year old killed in a hit and run was hit by Navy Petty Officer Lazlo Trejo from the local naval base. Continue reading “Close to Home – The Tracy Crosswhite Series – a Book Review”

An Echo of Murder – a Book Review

An Echo of Murder by Anne PerryTitle: An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry

Genre: Currently # 62 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Books, Literature & Fiction, British & Irish, Historical

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publication Date: To be released September 19, 2017

Source: Ballantine Books and NetGalley

Title and Cover: An Echo of Murder – Attractive cover creates slight hint of historical quality

Having come into An Echo of Murder: A William Monk Novel by well-established author Anne Perry, I knew I’d missed something important when there were references to Mr. Monk’s amnesia. This being the 23rd of the series, the back story of Monk’s amnesia was obviously the plot of a previous book. This installment gets bits and snatches of it and I was left wondering how in the world then did he ever get to be Commander of the Thames River Police.

In this offering, there is an appalling series of murders of London’s Hungarian citizens. Yes, it is an historical fiction novel set in London. Hester Monk, his wife, certainly his equal and perhaps then some, has a strong history with the Crimean War in which she attended to front line casualties as a nurse. The end of the war precipitated an influx of alien citizens to the area. Continue reading “An Echo of Murder – a Book Review”

#ThrowbackThursday – The Lei Crime Series – Book Review – Torch Ginger

#ThrowbackThursday on It's Book Life blogTorch Ginger by Toby NealRenee 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 from this blog as well as my older reviews posted on Goodreads and/or Amazon. I gleaned many of these books from BookBub, including the one highlighted today, Torch Ginger. Hopefully, you’ll either find a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out.

Originally reviewed November 15, 2014

Blood Orchids by Toby NealThe Lei Crime Series by Toby Neal began in December 2011 with Blood Orchids and bloomed into twelve titles ending with Bitter Feast in May 2016. The series is set in the Hawaiian Islands and features smart, independent female protagonist Detective Lei (Leilani) Texeira. Through the series, we follow a romance with Lieutenant Michael Stevens, transfers to adjacent islands, to the FBI, and back to Maui where she is most comfortable. In the meantime, we see the rise of Sophie Ang, ITT expert, which will spin off into a separate, equally successful series. For now, let me introduce you to Torch Ginger, #2 of the series.

Book Blurb:

The island of Kaua`i is remote jungle, golden beaches and ancient culture–but transients are disappearing in paradise, and only Detective Lei Texeira notices. Fleeing a failed engagement, Detective Lei Texeira transfers to the island of Kaua`i, where she uncovers a pattern of disappearances that may be related to a bizarre cult–or is it just one madman at work? In Lei’s world, everyone is guilty until proven innocent. In Blood Orchids Lei battled her personal demons and won–but now they’ve come roaring back with reinforcements, including charming real estate magnate Alika Wolcott and former fiancé Michael Stevens. In the midst of the biggest case sleepy Kaua`i has ever seen, Lei must also discover who she loves. “Lei Texeira is both tough detective and a vulnerable woman in a winning Hawaii crime series created by novelist Toby Neal.” –David Bishop, mystery author Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – The Lei Crime Series – Book Review – Torch Ginger”

An American Cage – a Book Review

An American Cage by Ted GaldiTitle: An American Cage by Ted Galdi

Publisher: Precipice Books

Publication Date: To be released September 15, 2017

Source: Request from author and ARC from NetGalley

Title and Cover: An American Cage – Disturbing cover, Texas in red

Good grief, why isn’t this thing a subscription TV serial because there is NO WAY you could not go back each week to watch the explosive scenes from An American Cage, a sophomore release by Ted Galdi scheduled for September . Continue reading “An American Cage – a Book Review”

Fender – a Book Review

Fender by Brent Jones

Genre: Currently #2657 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Literary Fiction, Sagas

Sold By: Amazon Digital Services, LLC

Publication Date: To be published August 21, 2017

Source: ARC submitted by author for review

Title and Cover: Fender – Cover is immensely appealing

Brent Jones has exceeded expectation that his sophomore novel, Fender, might best the debut.  This emotionally packed literary saga of Brennan Glover, a protagonist who suffers unspeakable loss, will have you grabbing for a hankie. Fender is a Beagle, but he is no ordinary dog. He manages to (albeit unintentionally) save the life of his human counterpart–his beloved man human–part of his second family. The author skillfully conveys Fender’s conversations with Brennan, who has lost his wife and daughter in the horrific accident in which Fender alone survived. Jones skillfully maneuvers Brennan’s journey through the heartbreaking process of grief from denial and anger to acceptance. (And anyone who has suffered profound loss would have no problem identifying the steps: (1) Denial, (2) Anger, (3) Bargaining, (4) Depression, and finally (5) Acceptance.) Continue reading “Fender – a Book Review”

#ThrowbackThursday – the Caribbean Gold series – Book Reviews

#ThrowbackThursday on It's Book Life blogRenee 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, some of my favorite stories and 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!

Originally posted January 2015.

The Treasure of Tortuga was originally published in 2001 as the first half of a novel called Brothers of the Sword/Children of Time.” It was my introduction to the author Michael Reisig and I’ve been a fan ever since. With encouragement from his friends, Reisig rewrote and republished the original novel split in volumes. The Treasure of Tortuga became Volume 1 of the series called Caribbean Gold.

Book Blurbs:

Volume 1 of the Caribbean Gold series

The Treasure of Tortuga draws you into an era of dark-hearted men, captivating women, and a seafaring adventure so real you’ll taste the salt spray. The year is 1668. Englishman Trevor Holte and the audacious freebooter Clevin Greymore, sail from the Port of London for Barbados and the West Indies. They set out in search of adventure and wealth, but the challenges they encounter are beyond their wildest dreams…some treasures outlive the men who bury them…”

Volume 2 of the Caribbean Gold series

The Treasure of Time – “In the spring of 1980, three adventurers set out from Key West in search of a lost treasure on the Isle of Tortuga, off the coast of Haiti. Equipped with an ancient parchment and a handful of clues, they embark on a journey…discover the power of friendship and faith, and the unflagging capacity of spirit, and come to realize that, some things are forever…”

Volume 3 of the Caribbean Gold series

The Treasure of Margarita – “Historical and modern adventure, sizzling romance, and Caribbean intrigue… The Treasure of Margarita spans three centuries of high adventure. Beginning in 1692, in the pirate stronghold of Port Royal, it carries the reader across the Southern Hemisphere in a collage of rip-roaring escapades. Then it soars forward five generations, into modern day intrigue and romance in Key West and the Caribbean. A staggering fortune of Spanish black pearls and a 300-year-old letter with a handful of clues set the course that Travis Christian and William Cody embark upon. But it’s not an easy sail…”

Caribbean Gold series by Michael ReisigIrresistibly drawn to tales of treasure hunting, swashbuckling pirates, sailing ships, their courageous crews and the bawdy women who entertained them, I discovered “Brothers of the Sword/Children of Time” written by Michael Reisig in 2001. Envisioning a modern day Stanley McShane, off on another adventure, I witnessed my grandfather’s travels again through Reisig’s historical 17th century multi-masted sailing craft, experiencing much of the same kind of treasure hunting in the Caribbean, as did my grandfather in the South Pacific more than a century later.

Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – the Caribbean Gold series – Book Reviews”

Cat Got Your Secrets-A Kitty Couture Mystery – a Book Review

Cat Got Your SecretsTitle: Cat Got Your Secrets-Kitty Couture Mystery by Julie Chase

Genre: Currently #5056 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Amateur Sleuths

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: To be published September 12, 2017

Source: Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Cat Got Your Secrets–Neat cover–definitely draws you in

This being the third in the Kitty Couture Mysteries, Cat Got Your Secrets cover again features a darling little kitty with a striking boutique store front in the background–enough to capture any pet lover’s fancy. However, the book begins a little slowly with the introduction of the protagonist, Lacy Marie Crocker, and her situation. Then Lacy discovers a body when she tries to deliver an order; apparently not the first time she’s been privvy to a murder scene. Unfortunately, this time her father appears implicated having been the last person to see the victim alive. Lacy can’t help herself–she’s nosy–and if her dad may be involved, she’s rabid to prove him innocent, despite the warnings of both her mother and Detective Jack Oliver to stay out of it. Continue reading “Cat Got Your Secrets-A Kitty Couture Mystery – a Book Review”

Jack of Hearts – a Book Review

Jack of Hearts by Christopher GreysonTitle: Jack of Hearts by Christopher Greyson

Genre: Currently # 17 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Private Investigators

Publisher: Greyson Media LLC

Publication Date: TO BE RELEASED AUGUST 14, 2017

Source: Greyson Media LLC and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Jack of Hearts – That is supposed be an alligator(?)

More a cozy mystery than a thriller, this book is part of the Detective Jack Stratton Mystery Thriller Series. This is my introduction to this author and series, so I am not familiar with where they are normally based, or whether or not Alice is usually a part of his investigations or in what capacity. However, the series appears to be very well received.

Continue reading “Jack of Hearts – a Book Review”

#Throwback Thursday – Just The Pits – Hetta Coffey Mystery, Book 5 – Book Review

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.

Originally posted December 4, 2013

Just the Pits – Hetta Coffey Mystery, Book 5

Just the Pits - Hetta Coffey Mystery - Book 5Book Blurb: As a self-employed engineering consultant with a penchant for oddball—read: shady—projects, Hetta Coffey has a history of inviting trouble. But now that she’s been hired for a legitimate mining project in Mexico’s Baja, it looks like smooth sailing ahead…until she discovers that people and pesos are disappearing faster than you can say, “This job is the pits!” And Hetta Coffey as a sleuth? Goodness knows she’s nosy enough, but her detective skills leave a lot to be desired. Luckily for her she gets help from her best friend, Jan, and a mysterious Velveeta thief. Continue reading “#Throwback Thursday – Just The Pits – Hetta Coffey Mystery, Book 5 – Book Review”

Never Cry Wolf – a Book Review

Never Cry Wolf by Patricia RosemoorTitle: Never Cry Wolf by Patricia Rosemoor

New Release: August 1, 2017

Publisher: Season Publishing

Publication Date: Original Date August 1, 1998

Source: Season Publishing and Net Galley

Title and Cover: Never Cry Wolf – Attractive and Compelling Cover

Definitely heavier in the romance genre than I usually delve, “Never Cry Wolf” by Patricia Rosemoor has the suspenseful, thriller overtones I prefer. Lone wolf Donovan Wilde is estranged from his family and certainly never acknowledged the McKenna family legacy, but it is Laurel Newkirk who awakens the family tie he can no longer neglect. The legacy, “Act selflessly in another’s behalf, and my legacy will be yours.” Continue reading “Never Cry Wolf – a Book Review”

2016 Goodreads Choice Book Awards-Did You See the Book Trailers?

Book Trailers!

I’ve written about them before, including those trailers I published for my grandfather’s books, as well as one I created for Jean Grainger, an Irish author. Ms. Grainger published “So Much Owed – An Irish World War 2 Story” on December 1, 2013. I enjoyed the book so much that I felt compelled to create a short book trailer, which I uploaded to YouTube on March 6, 2017.

Given that I’m a member of the Book Trailer Group on Goodreads, I keep bumping up against book trailers; fascinated with most. Some amateur trailers are amazing good, some professionally produced piss-poor. But everyone sees a trailer, whether movie or book, in their own eyes. So I got to wondering about the 2016 Goodreads Choice Book Awards. How many winners had book trailers? Continue reading “2016 Goodreads Choice Book Awards-Did You See the Book Trailers?”

#ThrowbackThursday – “Broken Things” a Dystopian Thriller

Renee began the Throwback Thursday meme on her blog, “It’s Book Talk” to share some of her old favorites. Sounded like a good reason to join! My TT posts will not come from current ARCs or new releases. 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.

Broken Things by G. S. WrightOriginally posted May 25, 2013.

Book Blurb: “The world has changed. People live forever, but children are a thing of the past. To meet the demands of want-to-be parents, children have been replaced with androids… very life-like androids.

Josh, a twelve-year old boy, is hit by a truck, leaving him badly damaged. Instead of paying the outrageous cost to fix him, they dump him in the wilderness…His only salvation may rest in finding a single person that cares.”
Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – “Broken Things” a Dystopian Thriller”

Hunting Hour – a Book Review

Hunting Hour by Margaret MizushimaTitle: Hunting Hour by Margaret Mizushima

Genre: Currently # 701 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Cozy, Animals

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: To be released August 8, 2017

Source: Submitted by NetGalley

Title and Cover: Hunting Hour – Cover suggests a canine companion

Okay, I think I’ve just found my new favorite mystery series! Author Margaret Mizushima does a heck of a job with her Timber Creek K-9 Mystery, Hunting Hour, which is actually #3 in the series. (The author is new to me; I have not read either of the previous two in the series.) The Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series involves Deputy Mattie Cobb who handles K-9 drug sniffing German shepherd, Robo. Mattie assists the Colorado small town Sheriff’s office in any investigations in which a canine would be of help. This book being #3 in the series generally has sufficient back story information that it could be a stand-alone, but does not bog the story down with history. (If you need more, consult #’s 1 and 2.)

Continue reading “Hunting Hour – a Book Review”

Author Interview: Michael Reisig-Action Thriller Adventures

Today I am absolutely thrilled to launch a new series of Author Interviews that will embark with Michael Reisig, who recently released A Far Road to Key West (my review here), which as of July 13, 2017 is listed in the top one (1) percent of the books on Amazon.com. (And that is one uncommon feat!)Sample Michael Reisig action adventure Road to Key West series.

The man is nothing if not prolific! He has written sixteen books to date, most in an Action/Adventure genre, though he has been known to touch on sci-fi (which I’ve also enjoyed) and non-fiction. A Far Road to Key West is the seventh in the Road to Key West series. Will Bell, one of the two main characters in the Road series, is a composite of one of his buddies, while the self-deprecating Kansas Stamps is the other. The thriller series carries a strong message of friendship, loyalty, and good-natured often humorous rivalries. The books are clean, well-written, well edited, and non-stop, fire-breathing action. Reisig also has three in the Caribbean Gold series, which also carries his friendship theme. He consistently runs between 4 and 5 star ratings and his latest release has garnered an impressive 4.9 of 5 star rating. His covers are riveting and compelling and without further ado, I invite you to meet the modest, but talented Michael Reisig. Continue reading “Author Interview: Michael Reisig-Action Thriller Adventures”

The Atlantis Stone – a Book Review

The Atlantis Stone by Nick ThackerTitle: The Atlantis Stone by Nick Thacker

Genre: Currently # 7 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Travel and #12 in Books, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Men’s Adventure

Publisher: Turtleshell Press, Third Edition

Publication Date: June 30, 2013

Source: Free offering on BookBub

Title and Cover: The Atlantis Stone Cover illustrates subject

Yike! What did I sign up for? Was this a sci-fi, action-adventure, mystery, or suspense thriller? Perhaps it was an early attempt at borrowing from one too many plots from men’s movie adventures…ah la Indiana Jones. Not that I’m against Indiana Jones, I’m not…but in this I don’t get to see Harrison Ford or that crooked smile of his when he’s really being devious or devilishly clever. Continue reading “The Atlantis Stone – a Book Review”

The Mystery of Her – a Book Review

The Mystery of Her by Patricia CatacalosTitle: The Mystery of Her by Patricia Catacalos

Genre: Currently #2164 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Historical

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, LLC

Publication Date: May 2016

Source: Submitted by author for review

Title and Cover: The Mystery of Her – Cover hints at era

Lady Kiera Everett is pretty darned sure her father was murdered and how it could have been viewed as anything else, even in London in 1888, is beyond me given the nature of the manner in the first of the Zane Brothers Detective Series, “The Mystery of Her” by Patricia Catacalos. I’m a fan of historical fiction, particularly mysteries, and this was not my first rodeo, so perhaps my expectations were a bit high. Continue reading “The Mystery of Her – a Book Review”

Tackle These Five Items of Maintenance to Clean Up Your WordPress Site

Yes, it’s summer, spring just flew by. Perhaps you’ve bumped up against your media allowance and need some room, or your archives run longer than Interstate 80 and is always under construction–somewhere. So isn’t it time to clean house?

A clean house is a sign of a broken computer!As I’ve mentioned before, I have the free version of WordPress (that’s a dot com, not dot org) and while it presents some limitations (for instance, most plug-ins), my free blog is still a whale of a program for the money. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve been having a lot of fun with it. I’m not terribly technical, but I keep reading advice posts that say it’s time to clean up the ole website. Is it? Is this something you’ve tackled lately?

Here are five easy site maintenance procedures you can do on your own–just a bit of clean up: Continue reading “Tackle These Five Items of Maintenance to Clean Up Your WordPress Site”

Blog Tour – The Master of Alaska

Blog TourI am excited to provide you a with a review of this book, Master of Alaska

Historical Fiction Published September 2016: The Master of Alaska follows the story of Aleksandr Andreievich Baranov, a merchant from Russia who is sent by Catherine the Great to protect the country’s interest in Alaska. It is the strongly character driven story of a man who survived a shipwreck, earthquake, tribal wars and religious conflicts. Baranov successfully controlled and expanded the fur trade while guiding the area to a peaceful and profitable resolution.

Continue reading “Blog Tour – The Master of Alaska”

The Undertaker – a Book Review

The Undertaker by William F BrownTitle: The Undertaker by William F Brown (A Pete and Sandy Mystery Thriller)

Genre: Currently #710 in Best Seller’s Rank in Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Thrillers & Suspense, Crime, Vigilante Justice

Publisher: William F Brown

Publication Date: January 2014

Source: Sent by author for review

The Undertaker – Cover catches the eye and more than hints at a scalpel

Not the first William F Brown thriller I’ve read and won’t be the last! The Undertaker starts a new series featuring Peter Talbot and Sandy, the latter of whom manages to overcome Peter’s year long grieving process for his late wife, Terri. Terri died of cancer and it has all but killed Peter as well, turning him into a robot, going through life mechanically–unemotionally. Continue reading “The Undertaker – a Book Review”

Cat Fanciers Get the Spotlight

Frosty-Bichon FriseOkay, I’ll admit it…

I’m more a dog person than cat. (Not that I haven’t had a cat in residence before, and if you own one, you know that she/he is not your pet–you are hers/his.) Continue reading “Cat Fanciers Get the Spotlight”

Of Ashes and Dust – a Book Review

Of Ashes and Dust by Marc GrahamTitle: Of Ashes and Dust by Marc Graham

Genre: Currently #54444 in Best Seller’s Rank in Books, Literature & Fiction, Literary (Historical)

Publisher: Five Star Publishing

Publication Date:  March 2017

Of Ashes and Dust – Cover conveys roughly the subject of the second half of the book.

In this debut novel by Marc Graham, he has created a heart-rending, soul-searching story of a man reflecting on his life as it literally ebbs away.

Of Ashes and Dust follows James (JD, or Jade) Robbins as the son of a poor sharecropper, more comfortable with the Negro slaves in the fields of Arkansas in 1846 than that of his close, but upper class landowners.

Growing into his teen years, he falls hopelessly in love with the daughter of the owner of the land on which his family works, and gives his heart and soul to her, pledging his undying devotion until they are split by the Civil War. He is forced to leave his family and his love, finally changing from a beautiful, passionate young man into a world weary, combat wounded veteran. The emotionally charged descriptions of the Civil War battles stab at the heart and cries with the protagonist, until he is finally mustered out to heal and rejoin his love. But things have tragically changed back home as well.

Graham poignantly paints a deeply ravaged person mourning the loss of his soul mate to another, reducing the reader to helpless tears.

Seeking to leave that grief behind, Jim Robbins finds work and leaves the state with his buddy Dave to join the railroad expansion effort toward the west. He and Dave continue their work toward the Pacific after they successfully join the rails at Promontory Point.

The author provides rich descriptive detail of the struggle laying the rail west with unerring historical accuracy, the interaction and tragedy of confronting native peoples, and the immigrant Chinese working the railroad; human lives deemed expendable. It is out west that Robbins eventually finds another love with whom he believes he can share a mutual passion and life philosophy, but it seems that Robbins is again to be denied an enduring love. Dave forces him to go on and together they sail for Australia to help complete railroad construction there.

The characters are fleshed out so well, you ache to have them somehow survive–where is my “happy ever after?” Jim Robbins is immensely empathetic. The dialogue is so natural; the author might have taken it from civil war reports or newspaper accounts along the way.

This story grabs you by the collar from the beginning, and inexorably builds upon itself until, while you know what is going to happen, don’t know exactly how until the end…and then it’s soul crushing. Sometimes you read a book that stays with you after “the End.” This is one of those.

Bullseye!I was given the book in exchange for an honest review. It is packed with intense sensitivity, love, power, loss, regret, and triumph. Recommended for anyone interested in a book that won’t let you go.

Marc Graham - authorRosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars

The Author: Marc Graham is an “actor, singer, bard, engineer, Freemason, and whisky aficionado.” If he is not actively hiking the Colorado’s Front Range with his wife and dog, he is either on his computer or on the stage. ©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!

Premade Book Covers–Your Design on Tap

Sons of the Sea-A Tale of the Old Grimsby Fishermen

With so many authors looking for a change of their covers lately, I’ve looked at my own and wondered if they should be updated as well. For the most part, I was satisfied with them, and I know that a good cover helps sell. But are these book covers eye-catching; do they invite closer inspection of the book? Cocos Island Treasure Continue reading “Premade Book Covers–Your Design on Tap”

Which Side of the Oxford Comma War Are You On?

Oxford CommaThe Oxford University Press sparked a war back in 1892 that continues to this day with as many on both sides of the line protesting their side as the right one.

The Oxford comma (also referred to as a serial comma, or even the Harvard comma) is that “comma before the conjunction at the end of a list.” The Oxford University Press style guidelines touched off the conflict back when Horace Hart, controller of the University Press, organized a set of rules for the Oxford Press employees.

While the anti-comma faction would eliminate the second comma, the pro-comma faction would add it, sure that it provides clarity. The “pro’s” are more commonly found in the U.S. (I wouldn’t be without mine!) Only journalists forced to use the AP style generally omit it, but that was originally a bid to save space! The anti-comma people hold sovereignty in the U.K., except, of course, for Oxford University–go figure.

Why all the fuss over bell, book, and candle? Aren’t we invoking the Oxford comma for purposes of clarity?  Click to Tweet

And doesn’t that really promote consistency of comma use? Apparently not in some scholars eyes. The article by Warren Clement to The Globe and Mail noted this example: “She invited her father, a tuba player and several ballerinas. It is clear that she invited her father, the musician and the ballerinas.(?Is it?) Now insert the Oxford comma: She invited her father, a tuba player, and several ballerinas. Suddenly the father has become a tuba player.(Really?)

Hmmm…You say to-may-to and I say to-mah-to…

And we’ve been at this 125 years? So I’ll submit to you one final argument illustrated in riveting detail that you may or may not have seen before: “We invited the strippers, JFK, and Stalin.” I rest my case.

Illustration-Oxford comma
Illustration by AE Ferg-Offered by Stephen Tall

 

I’ll stick to my Oxfords, but I’d be interested to know if you do. Do we have a majority? ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!