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February 2017

5 Star, 4 Star, 3 Star, How Do I Review and Rate The Books I Read?

I have had folks ask me how I decide what rating to give a book. Some are really really good, and some are somewhat good, and some good, but not my Cup of tea. So that makes this question difficult to answer.

If you follow my facebook page or my blog then you probably know that I give a lot of 5 Star Reviews. I think it’s because I love to read and I do my best to find everything good that I can in a book and its author. But, at the same time, I want to be honest, so therefore I do give out 4 Star and 3 Star Reviews.

I never go lower than a 3 Star and here is the reason why. It’s quite simple actually… it takes talent, creativity, a good grasp of the English language,  and a ton of imagination…. not to mention a strong backbone to put oneself out there for the world to criticize and I am sure my author friends can add a lot more to this list…. But simply put, I can’t do it!

Having said that, why would anybody be downright mean? I recently read a review that gave a book (that I loved by the way) a 1 star! The reviewer actually said, “this book is a mess”! I wanted to ask her how many books she has written and published, but I just shook my head in disbelief. Why people feel the need to be mean is beyond me. I love reading books that border on real life but I also love the fictionalized world. Every so often I will read a review that puts down the author because the events seem a little far fetched. Guess what folks? Its fiction… it’s not real. If you want it all to be real, read non-fiction, it’s as easy as that!

Okay what makes a five star book? One: Description – an example of this! When I am reading I want to be able to feel the wind in my hair, the sun on my face or the cold in my bones! I want to visit the town and meet the people. I also want to see the furniture in the room, the light from the lamps or the darkness on the porch. In other words, I want to be in the scene!  Two: Characters – right from the beginning, I want to get to know the characters, how tall they are, how skinny/fat they are, or perhaps a child so ugly their folks had to tie a porkchop around their neck to get the dog to play with them. 😀 (Just kidding.., no offense intended). By the time I reach the middle of the book, I want to love or strongly dislike the characters. It’s okay to dislike a character, and in no way should it affect the way a book is rated. The character is written a certain way for a reason. And sometimes it is so the reader will dislike him/her. The main point here is to know the character. Three: The plot – I want it to be easy to follow. Consistent, for example not jumping all around so that I can’t tell where we are or who is talking. I read a review recently that rated a book poorly because it was written in different time periods… they said they couldn’t tell from chapter to chapter which period they were in. The funny part is that the author indicated at the beginning of each chapter, whether it was past or present! Really!  The plot has to make sense and come together in the end. Nothing worse then reaching the end and not knowing what happened. You know, like when we learned to write… a beginning, a middle and an ending. Gotta have all three.

I could go on and on but for me, these are the three things that make for a 5 star review! If any of them are missing, the rating becomes a four or a three! Sometimes I will do a comparison, however, not often; authors are all different and I don’t think it’s fair to compare! Especially when they write in different genres.

In closing, let me say this… reviews are important for the success of the author! Don’t review a book you haven’t read! Yes people do that. I have read reviews where the reviewer only read two chapters. Not fair people! Not your cup of tea, fine… if you don’t read… don’t review! If you don’t like it that’s okay, give constructive Criticism or simply say, “not my cup of tea”! I will be honest, I have said that on more than one occasion. It doesn’t mean the book is bad, it just isn’t something I liked!

Just so you know, all of this is just my opinion and lacks any research or fact finding. However, my friend Amy M Reade did a blog post on this very topic…. if you haven’t read it, here’s the link… How To Write a Review. Do go take a peek and read some facts on how an author feels about the topic.

Enjoy, have a wonderful week and don’t forget to:

Live, Love, Laugh and by all means….. READ!

Sharon

 

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HERE WE GO AGAIN!

Monday was a wonderful day and I guess I planned it that way! I didn’t want any negative thoughts to enter my mind… Tuesday, not so good! But it’s Valentines day, so I am trying not to think about those nasty negative thoughts that we sometimes allow to overwhelm us!

HERE WE GO AGAIN! 

It’s Mid January and “here we go again!” I am out on one of my fun shopping sprees, I lean to the left and reach for a package on the bottom shelf. “Ouch!” Pain shoots through my ribs like a knife. I sit still for a few minutes and hope that it will go away quickly. Although it lightens up, it doesn’t go away.

I rest through the weekend and then on Monday morning, I send a text message to my oncologist. I tell him what happened on Friday and ask if I should make an appointment with him or my primary care physician.  Since I feel like I pulled a muscle,  He says either one would work. So I make an appointment to see him on Tuesday.

You are probably wondering why I want an appointment with an oncologist when I feel like I pulled a muscle. The answer is easy, the last time I thought I pulled a muscle, I suffered for several months before getting it checked out. As everybody knows, it turned out to be Ovarian Cancer and thus started my 2016 nightmare.

During  my doctors appointment we decide that it probably is just a pulled muscle, but, let’s check it out to make sure. Off to the radiologist for a CTScan. Drinking that chalky shake is always my favorite thing to do first thing in the morning. Not to mention another day of getting that awful dye out of my body! NOT!

The following week, we get the results from the CTScan, and unfortunately we see  some small nodules and now we need to have a biopsy to confirm. The doctor who performed the biopsy was so very cute and he has the nerve to have a beautiful head of curly hair. I ask if he could share, but no, he gets to keep his curls, darn!

Valentine’s Day:   Off we go to the doctor for the results! I bring Amie along with me, because once my ears hear that awful word, you know the one that starts with a C… The next part of the conversation is just a lot of  blah blah blah!

My wonderful doctor, and yes, I do love him, doesn’t look so good! After a little chitchat he tells us that our suspicion that the cancer has returned has been confirmed. It has been less than six months since my last chemo treatment; this means the treatment did not work.

So, in my thoughts I say, what’s next? Good question, I tell myself, as doc continues to talk about all the trial drugs they are using for cancer patients and although there is no cure, the more trials we perform, the closer we get to finding out what works, for the not so near future that is. (Sorry about that run on sentence.)

So, what’s the prognosis I don’t ask…. because you and I already know that only God can answer that question. It could be a month, six months, a year, five years… who knows… But,  this I do know, I am not going to sit around and wait! I am going to live each day as if there won’t be another…  that doesn’t mean I am going to go crazy or anything; it just means that I will continue reading and listening to my books. I will continue supporting my favorite authors, I will binge watch some of my favorite tv shows, and listen to my favorite music; and I love going out to dinner… will do that too! Oh oh oh, and although I probably won’t have a lot to say, I plan to continue writing my blog! 😀

So let’s end this post on a good note! Let me show you my indoor garden! I currently have 3 plants… well, two plants and some tulips! Here they are!

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This is a Philodendron; I love them because they are very hard to kill! And they are pretty too! The little turtle on the left, Dana made it for me for Valentine’s Day, isn’t it adorable? And that pretty little girl on the right, that would be Madelynn! Isn’t she precious?
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You’re  gonna love this! I don’t have a clue as to what this is called! The tag said foliage; LOL… okay then… why did I buy it? Because the tag also said it had been known to change bad moods into good ones! How about that? And I thought it was pretty too! Hard to see in this pic, but that’s Dana peeking through the foliage with a great big toothless smile! 😀
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My tulips; aren’t they lovely? Amie brought them home for me one day just because! She didn’t say just because, I did, it’s one of my favorite sayings. It gives the reader a blank slate! Just fill in the blank with whatever kind thought you would like.

So, that’s all for today, and in closing, I hope that everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! And as always, don’t forget to Live, Love, Laugh and by all means… Read!

Sharon

It’s Release Day!

And it’s here!

Reade and Write

Good Tuesday morning! When I started working on The House on Candlewick Lane a million years ago (at least it seems that way), it felt like February 7, 2017, would never arrive. But here it is, and I’m thrilled to have the book out in the world!

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For those readers who may not be familiar with what the book is about, here’s the Amazon teaser, along with the link to purchase the book if you’re interested:

“It is every parent’s worst nightmare. Greer Dobbins’ daughter has been kidnapped—and spirited across the Atlantic to a hiding place in Scotland. Greer will do anything to find her, but the streets of Edinburgh hide a thousand secrets—including some she’d rather not face.

Art historian Dr. Greer Dobbins thought her ex-husband, Neill, had his gambling addiction under control. But in fact he was spiraling deeper and deeper into debt. When a group of shady…

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Featured Author – Amy Reade

Coming soon!

Just 4 My Books

As part of the Mystery Authors International group, (#MysteryAI), each month I’m going to feature one of our members and share some of their books, links and maybe even an insight into their writing life.

Amy Reade is the first to take the spotlight, with her latest novel, to be released on February 7th,  The House on Candlewick Lane. amy-reade

USA Today bestselling author Amy M. Reade is a recovering lawyer living in southern New Jersey. The House on Candlewick Lane is the first of The Malice Novels, Amy’s gothic suspense series set in the United Kingdom. The second book in the series, Highland Peril, will be released in the fall of 2017. She is currently at work on the third book. Amy is also the author of Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of Hanging Jade, all standalones. She loves reading, cooking…

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Goodbye January, Hello February

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Did anyone else see January as a very long month? I know I did. There seemed to be lots of everybody’s not so favorite day, Monday! There were 5 in January. Not to worry though, we won’t see 5 Monday’s again until May. 😳

So how did I do on my 2017 goals and resolutions…

One: Lose 20 pounds…. for the month of January… epic fail! It was a tough month, and desserts called my name every time I turned around. Hopefully February will be kinder.

Two: Exercise daily… ahhh, this one wasn’t so bad, although I missed a few days and can’t lift the weights that I wanted to… I did meet my daily step goal the majority of days!

Three: My reading goal of 50-75 books….. Underway, I read five books this month and enjoyed them all. See my previous blog posting for a review of Coal River by Ellen Marie Wiseman.

Four: Get back to writing my blog…. Yay, I am doing it! If anyone has a particular topic they want me to look at and blog about, let me know.

And Five: Remember and practice one of my favorite quotes, Live, Love, Laugh And READ… Hmmmm, , I can’t say that I failed at this, but I didn’t do as good a job as I had hoped. Will work harder in February!

Goodbye January and hello February… let’s hope for a great month for everybody and hopefully not too cold for my northern friends!

As we enter and move through February don’t forget to:

Live, Love, Laugh and by all means READ!

Sharon

 

 

 

 

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