Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Secret to Living Your Life Fully: Lessons on Mindfulness - Jennifer Brooks **4/5**

Quick & Dirty:
  • Background guide as well as how-to, I would not recommend this book to anyone who is not looking for/willing to read through the background information.
  • Solid introduction without being a long and daunting read.
  • The authors writing style made the reading a bit awkward at times.
Long & Wordy:

Monday, November 19, 2012

77 Ways to Find New Readers - Laura Pepper Wu *5/5*

77 Ways to Find New Readers for Your Self-Published Book!
Quick & Dirty:
  • Concise, practical, and relevant.
  • Simple and straightforward advice.
  • Useful advice for everyone, whether you're a techie or afraid of a keyboard.
Long & Wordy:
Before I picked up this book I was scared.  I thought "oh she's going to tell you to flood facebook and all these other services and you are going to drive your readers INSANE."


If you follow her advice, keep it simple, you're on your way to successfully marketing your book.  Hope you wrote a good one...

Very simple and straight forward book to help you get a larger audience for an indie published book.  Really, this advice is mostly universal to anyone trying to make a mark online or otherwise, and not limited to authors.

The book is pretty short, but don't let this fool you.  Not only is the book filled with great ideas, it also has links to help you actually apply these tips and (hopefully) be successful.  
Many of the links connect back to her blog, but considering the blog is a "30 day" blog, you're going to find some extras in the book.

It also gives practical advice for the services you're already using.  Sometimes we need a reminder to "keep it simple stupid", and this book does that wonderfully.

As is, this is a wonderful book.  I mentioned that there are links, which are really where the depth of the book comes in, which is a big positive and negative...a pain to click through to more but allows the book to be less bulky and cumbersome.  My only real concern is that over time some of the links may be disconnected, but because many of them are for her blog this is pretty unlikely.  

Check it out on Amazon.

Overall 5/5

***I received this book as an ARC.  This in no way effected my review.***

Gamers - Thomas Carpenter *3/5*


Quick & Dirty:
  • Interesting story about life turning into a large computer game.

  • With the wide variety of YA dystopian novels available now this one falls in the middle of the pack.

  • A few annoying bits of...’borrowed’ slang don’t destroy the book but aren't an asset.
Long & Wordy:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Problem is YOU - John Burke

The Problem is YOU: How to Get Out of Your&

Quick & Dirty:
  • If I was basing my review solely on how the book is marketed, I’d give this book a 2 at best. HOWEVER if you ignore the title and view this as a reference book it’d deserve closer to a 4.  I’m meeting half way and saying 3.
  • Advice sections are very small and scattered for a self-help book.
  • There is a lot of information provided about many facets of self-defeating behavior…Important to avoid “medical school syndrome” when reading it.
Long & Wordy:

Clutter be Gone - Kimberly Wilson

Clutter Be Gone! De-clutter and Simplify…
Quick & Dirty:
  • Perfect for someone who is taking the first steps to cleaning up their lives.  I would not suggest this book to anyone who has been struggling to get their things in order for a long time.
  • Good basic advice.
  • Comprehensive, covers everything from your bedroom to your computer.
Long & Wordy:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Broken - Kimberley Reeves

Never noticed the guy eating her neck in the clouds before...\/that's kinda weird.


Quick & Dirty:
  • DRM ENABLED – Kindle readers only (unless you like computer screens…)
  • Quick and simple read
  • Don’t read if you need a story that rides on more than a relationship
Long & Wordy:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Linked - Lisa Alden

Linked by Lisa Alden

Quick & Dirty:
  • The rules to the new world were hard to swallow
  • The story setup is forced and not very convincing
  • Feels like a setup for a series…one that I won’t be reading
Long & Wordy:

Make Love to the Universe - Phoenix Desmond

Not for everyone, I have seen a number of very positive reviews for it though so I know some people disagree.

Make Love to the Universe - Amazon
Quick & Dirty:
  • Worth picking up if you’re exploring your spirituality, if you liked the message of Siddhartha, (I think) you’ll like this book.  This will hit home to many people.
  • Some strange sentence structures stunt reading
  • The constant switching between story and spiritual lessons made this hard for me to stay interested in.
Long & Wordy:
Where to start!?  
I suppose a bit of a disclaimer, I’m not saying this was a bad book.  It just wasn’t for me.  I’m having trouble putting my finger on one specific reason so I’m going to list out everything I think is worth mentioning.
Starting with Siddhartha, this “Making Love” reminded me a bit of Siddhartha, same concept of someone going on a spiritual journey and finding answers etc etc.  I think it’s only fair to say right now I didn’t like Siddhartha either, considering many people liked that book, you should take my review with a grain of salt.
Desmond starts off the book a little self depreciating, saying things like, “In response to the inevitable cry of the skeptic, I will here emphasize that this book was not written with not written with the intent of proving anything…I would expect nothing less than for my readers to absorb only that which resonates with their innermost being, and discard the rest.” And “I realize that the mere mention of star beings will immediately raise a number of questions for many readers.”
Ok, I stopped and absorbed that for a minutes and decided whatever, I can read on and just see what he has to say.
And actually a lot of the basic message is “basic”.  One section my book seems prone to falling open to a section (pg 82 in the review copy if you want to read along…) in this section of advice he begins by saying you’re always going to have unhappy relatives and they fighting them about it won’t help, “If you wish for others to be happy, focus on achieving happiness within yourself, until the vibrations you carry become so strong that they inspire all who are touched by their waves.”  
Basically, lead by example.  I (sadly) work retail and I CONSTANTLY get comments about being so up-beat and cheery blah blah blah…basically, yeah, it does rub off…basic.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t need reminding every now and then.
So, I guess this is the smile turned upside-down section.  Here’s some of the things that made the book hard to enjoy.
Really the two biggest issues were in my quick and dirty section.  One is strange sentences and odd word choice such as, “Close the two eyes at either side of your nose.” or (speaking about Earth), “Amongst celestial bodies are found her lovers, her most distant relatives and her dearest friends.”
Perfectly understandable but it slows your reading and (I think) instead making you think about how the story is told, rather than what the story is about and the message it’s sending.  
Basically I think a bit more flow and I could have enjoyed this book a lot more.
I hope that this helps you make your decision!  If you’re still interested check out the book on Amazon here
***This was received as an ARC, this did not influence my review or rating of the book.***

Tempest - Julie Cross

Tempest cover

Quick & Dirty:
  • A reasonably fun read that stays entertaining from beginning to end
  • Some things in the book make it feel very childish and dragged it down
  • Has potential, this is supposed to be the start to a series so there is hope for the next installment.
Long & Wordy:
This is another mediocre novel being released as a runaway hit before it’s on the shelves.  
Overall it wasn’t a bad novel, it just didn’t shine.  
SPOILER ALERT: Fair warning, some parts of this review are spoilers!
I don’t like wasting time explaining the book description that’s already posted a hundred times, I suggest you read one of those first if you don’t know what’s going on.
So this book didn’t have a steady pace, but it kept moving with a few surprises mixed in that stopped being so surprising.
This book moves a bit backwards, the relationship goes from 60 to 0 in one jump…get it? One JUMP… (yeah it’s been a long day, I’m just gonna take this time to apologize for the rest of this review also…sorry)
Julie Cross’s constant reminders that Hollywood got it wrong, THIS is how time travel works is annoying.  It gets worse because, in the end, her answer to time travel is more or less Hollywood’s…except Jackson’s basically a mutant.  Stop patting yourself on the back for your originality.
Ok, remember in my quick and dirty I said that there were childish parts?  Secret spy codes. Multiple.  Really.  That and there was a constant ooh lookie, I’m doing super coolio and secret CIA spy things, and I’m learning to fight all quiet like.   
Dear Julie,
Join the CIA and get over it.  
Still interested?  Check it out on Amazon here. It’s set to be released in the middle of January 2012.
***This was received as an ARC, this did not influence my review or rating of the book.***

Tempest, Destroyers book 1 - Holly Hook

Tempest by Holly A. Hook

Quick and Dirty:
  • Bizarre story that I could not enjoy
  • Annoying main character, like you want to violently hurt her annoying.
  • Would not suggest this book to anyone, do not plan on continuing the series
Long and Wordy:
Fair warning: this is a book review, where I will talk about the book.  That means you may find some of this could be classified as a “spoiler”.  Proceed at your own risk.
So I am going to try and avoid ranting but I do need to repeat some stuff from the quick and dirty.
Janelle, the main character is a whiny and insufferable character.  The number of times Janelle says (or thinks) “that was weird”, or “this is strange”, etc. in the first few chapters is enough to make you puke.  THEN when she finally gets her answers she has a total spaz attack!  
The whole hurricane naming thing just really didn’t make a lot of sense to me…look up how hurricane naming works, like it’s not complicated I just don’t see how it relates to the book and I dunno I was just so frustrated with the story that I didn't really care…but yet I had to mention it.  It’s funny that  this was one of the things to send me over the edge.  Ssshh, no judging me.
When Janelle gets explanations of things she then has a heart attack and starts questioning everything…useless.
I couldn’t get comfortable with the characters and so the whole book was uncomfortable to read.
Long story short I just really didn’t like this book and I would hold onto your money for something else, there are plenty of books out there waiting to be read.
BUT, don’t take my word for it!  Obviously other people have different opinions, you can check out the book on Smashwords or Amazon.
***This was received as an ARC, this did not influence my review or rating of the book.***

Choices in the Great Circle - Lin Conklin

Choices in the Great Circle
Quick & Dirty:
  • Long, drawn out, and forced
  • This was just a poorly veiled attempt at presenting the authors morals
  • Gave modern arguments in a historical fiction - BIG NO NO
Long & Wordy: 

Breaking Point - Jess Bowen

Breaking Point (The Order of the Elements, #1) by Jess Bowen

Quick & Dirty:
  • Beginning is a bit messy but the story straightens itself out.
  • Not a lot of action, it’s all about the characters and relationships.
  • Worth adding to your (ebook) ‘to be read’ pile, also worth keeping an eye out for her future work.
Long & Wordy:
This book is a YA Romance and delivers in that department. It is very appropriate for younger audiences with a few heavy kisses being the most graphic it gets. That being said, about 85% of the book revolves around these relationships and the characters so if you like books that are action packed and fast paced this isn’t a good book for you.
The book is a romance with some familiar fantasy plot devices. Most of these are given a spin so they don’t feel used and old. The author avoids huge info dumps to explain these by having all the characters dance around giving real answers in the beginning of the book. While this gets a bit tedious and irritating I also appreciate not feeling stuck reading page after page explaining everything around the main characters.
This dancing around and not giving real answers coupled with repeated second guessing by the main characters really makes the first few chapters drag. I believe this is Jess Bowen’s first book though, so this can be overlooked because after a clunky and uncertain beginning the story flows rather smoothly.
For adults looking at this book: Adults tend to be wicked cynical and will probably find a lot of things in here hokey. But really if you’re reading a YA romance you should expect that, deal and don’t be mean.
This is a part of a series and because of that I have a few worries about it’s future. The big issue for me is that the author is planning a five book series, and this book already moved a bit slow I don’t think I could make it through them all like that. The story that has been laid down so far doesn’t feel like it can be dragged out that far BUT if she’s saying she wants five then she probably has a plan so I can cross my fingers and hope that it works.
The other main concern about the series is that she’s made the main characters so incredibly strong she’s already had to use what I think are cheap tricks to add a little excitement to the mix.  I think she’ll be getting into comic book type antics real soon.
This was more of an irritant than anything, once the author introduced the idea of a ‘breaking point’ she used it over, and over, and over. It became very redundant and I’m hoping the next book “Trapped” doesn’t follow the same pattern, that would get old very fast.
With some effort I feel this book could have been whittled down by about 100 pages and still have been just fine. If it got completely mangled and stripped it could be the first 2-3 chapters of the next book. Most of this book felt like a setup for the next one so I’m hoping book two will deliver.
Some people may consider this to be a spoiler so don’t read this paragraph if you’re touchy about spoilers. I think that some of the relationships are very forced. I think that there were some hinted at that seemed to be growing but that were cast aside because they had a connection with another person…may or may not include love, but there’s a connection. What? Really? … I apologize if that doesn’t make much sense I wanted to avoid a spoiler as much as possible.
I did like this book. I am looking forward to the second book of the series, and to any future books Jess Bowen writes, I think she has a lot of potential.
I don’t think this book is worth the price they are asking for the paperback edition BUT if you read ebooks then go for it, I feel that price is much more reasonable.
This is her site with links to purchase on the right:
***This was received as an ARC, this did not influence my review or rating of the book.***

Rippler - Cidney Swanson

Rippler by Cidney Swanson

Quick & Dirty:
  • Some overly convenient coincidences that got respectable explanations.
  • Perfect for young adults - written well for that age but still enjoyable by adults
  • I really liked the characters by the end, enough that I wanted to smack them both upside the head; in the most lovingly way possible
Long & Wordy:
Fair warning: this is a book review, where I will talk about the book.  That means you may find some of this could be classified as a “spoiler”.  Proceed at your own risk.
I think I need to begin the long and wordy with a quick story (skip this paragraph if you just want to learn about the book).  There seems to be something about the authors I talk to that suggest curling up with some chocolate or ice cream while I’m reading.  Maybe it’s just that they get as much enjoyment out of the reading as the writing…I don’t know but I laughed when I had yet  another author  telling me to pack on the calories while I was being sedentary.  By the end of the book I think I realized I was onto something, and it’s not just that ice cream + books (-mess) = equals fantastic.  I think the down-to-Earth attitudes of these authors just means I’m going to love the book.  
So, basic idea, there are “chameleons” who “ripple” and can disappear.  This is explained in a way that is not a butchered attempt at an excessive breakdown of the ability while trying to explain how the world works and our place in the universe.  Really it was straightforward and felt plausible because it wasn’t being crammed down your throat.  +1 for believability.
I think that there was also an excellent balance between exploring what their abilities are and plot advancement.  I hate stories that stop to show the abilities of characters. Even more than that, I hate stories that completely skip this exploration all together.  This book had a very nice mix.
I think the relationship between the two main characters felt very real and not one of the rushed / life-ending-if-something-happens types of relationships that have become big in YA. 
A quick THANK YOU to the author: 
Dear Cidney Swanson,
Thank you.  Thank you for owning the characters’ abilities, it makes it much more believable.  And that, the believablility, really makes the difference between a good book and a terrible one far too many times.
With Gratitude,
Now, on a darker side, I didn’t feel that the secondary characters felt as real.  One example of this is Mick, I just didn’t feel her as being real.  Her actions were too exaggerated, too…just too much something.
Then there are the super minor flaws like “theory” vs. “hypothesis”, miniscule…too little to make any kind of a stink over and scare you away.
I thoroughly recommend this book, I truly enjoyed it and I hope you do too. Check it out.
***I received this book as an ARC, this in no way affected my review***

Linked - Lisa Alden

Linked by Lisa Alden
Quick & Dirty:
  • The rules to the new world were hard to swallow
  • The story setup is forced and not very convincing
  • Feels like a setup for a series…one that I won’t be reading
Long & Wordy:
Fair warning: this is a book review, where I will talk about the book.  That means you may find some of this could be classified as a “spoiler”.  Proceed at your own risk.
There were a lot of half thought out rules, for example the idea is this bracelet gets put on and you go to this ghost version of our world for an hour at seven everyday.  What happens at daylight savings?  Or if you move time zones?  Not huge things but a serious pet-peeve from this book.
There were many other missing details also that just made the book a bit frustrating to read.  Like the bizarrely sudden switch from the little kidnapped girl who was trying to kill the main character, then suddenly just wanted to go home…whatever.
There was so much potential between the magic, a gun toting pseud-hero and more, this huge setup…for nothing.  I felt like it just didn’t live up to any kind of expectations.
And really, rainbow powers from you fingers?  I dunno, I think I’ll pass.  I suppose a younger crowd might like this, but I can’t really say.
Here’s the Smashwords and Kindle version if you’re interested.
Overall, not my cup of tea.
***I received this book as a Giveaway, this in no way affected my review.***

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Chameleon - Cidney Swanson

Chameleon by Cidney Swanson

Quick & Dirty:
  • Just as good as the first.
  • Don't read if you are looking for a romance.
  • Totally worth the money!
Long & Wordy:

Parallel Spirits - T.S. Welti

Parallel Spirits
Quick & Dirty:
  • Good pace, easily get caught up in the story.
  • Interesting characters and interactions - love quadrangle...of sorts.
  • HORRIBLE ending, not like "oh I didn't like how it ended", more like the author took a butchers cleaver and said I want to end it....HERE and added in a few sentences at the cut off just so it HAD an ending.
Long & Wordy:

Fledge - J.A. Huss

Quick & Dirty:
  • Mix of Hunger Games and Ender’s Game on the Avian…ship?
  • No DRM, can be converted to any format.
  • Not worth the price.
Long & Wordy:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Clutch: J. A. Huss

Clutch (I Am Just Junco, #1)
Quick & Dirty:
  • Some rough spots in the writing rushed the story and made it difficult to follow, but only a few in relatively short places.
  • Intriguing plot, good story overall, plan to purchase the second in the series. Worth the $.99 price tag
  • Don’t read if you’re offended by the “F-Bomb”
Long & Wordy: