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!