Saturday, April 9, 2011

"Lover Unleashed" by J.R. Ward

Disclaimer:  This book was a personal purchase, in hard cover.

I am not going to go into a long winded review or use my standard format for reviews. There are already too many spoilers as it is, and frankly, I don't need to "illustrate" that much to make a point across.

To make the story short, the BDB is no longer a paranormal romance series, it is an urban fantasy series. This book in particular had 1 main plot: Vishous/Butch/Jane and several subplots one of which includes Payne and Manny Manello's love story. And this is the root of my problem: I was expecting more on Payne and Manny, not a Book 2 on Vishous/Butch/Jane. For me, that came completely out of left field.

I had been getting more and more disappointed with the series, but with "Lover Avenged" I felt that it was still worth my spending money on these books on release. "Lover Mine" was a an okay experience, but this one, well, suffice it to say this one is the last one I buy in hard cover. From this point forward, I'll wait for the paperback. I don't have the same sense of anticipation I used to have towards this series.

In all honesty, I didn't appreciate all of the distraction involving Vishous/Butch/Jane, then the m/m subplot involving Quinn & Blay, then the standard lesser issue, and to put the cherry on top, a character that belongs to her other series. Was it really necessary to convolute things further with a character that is supposed to be part of a future book in her other series with a mystery/murder subplot kind of deal?

Bottom line, this series is no longer part of my auto-buy list. I just can't spend money on books of which I end up skipping more than pages than I actually read just to get to the parts that I am actually interested in.

I have to add that it saddens me.  I was so thrilled with the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, the first 3-4 books were fantastic.  A blogger reviewer mentioned once that she never felt the series was paranormal romance.  Frankly, I never thought otherwise until Book 5.  Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and all those subplots should have clued me in. 


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Red Rose Publishing and why I am not sympathetic towards anyone that submits there

Red Rose Publishing (RRP) started operations over 3 years ago (2007).  The individual who started said company, one Wendi Felter, already had a "reputation" of having issues with other now defunct epubs (look up Mardi Gras Publishing).  However, she still managed to start a new epub and get submissions for it.

If you read Piers Anthony's site you'll see that the history of RRP is now long and, well, pretty bad.  The troubles haven't ended.  More recently, an author had to resort to ask help from Karen Knows Best to pretty much have RRP remove her books from their site, as she had requested reversion of rights, with no response from the owner.  Additionally, I don't think I need to say that this publisher really didn't endear itself to bloggers and reviewers in general after this gem of an incident involving the popular blog Dear Author, with further reports here and here.

At this point, as a mere reader, I find baffling that people still submit to that "publishing company".  To put things into context: according to the site Internet World Statistics, 77.4% of the population in the US has internet access.  The growth from 2000-2010 has been 146.3%   Now, I am sure that all those people have heard about Google and other search engines, I mean, if you want to find anything online, you HAVE to use a search engine.  When people decide that they want to write something, the first thing to do is to research where they can get published, right?  So, that means that they need to use a search engine (likely google) and trust me, as it pertains to that particular publisher, at this point in time, people are going to find both the good and the bad when they do a search and stumble upon the name Red Rose Publishing.  It is now well documented online the kind of track record that company has.

Frankly, the word naive to refer to those that newly submit there is not a word that I would use, not even to be kind.  At this point, I firmly believe that anyone submitting there is either outright dumb (not going to apologize for this one), is taking a calculated risk, is friendly with the owner thus, is being treated preferentially, or is outright desperate to be "recognized" in some form as an "author".

I truly feel bad for those caught in a rather nasty tug of war to get their rights not only reverted, but their work brought down from the publisher's site.  However, I will not feel bad for those that submit their work there now and are accepted, only to end up crying foul in the future.  As a reader, I just will not buy any excuses along the lines of "I didn't know" or "I was naive" because no, you were not naive ... the word that I would use is a lot harsher than that...


Monday, April 4, 2011

The eternal cycle of friendships that come and go

This post has zero to do with romance reading, books and what not, but I needed to express this in some way so I decided to use my blog that no one reads to do so. This is something that I wish I would have the opportunity to tell to the person's face... and mind you, I've broken up with friends before telling them exactly why... not that they understood... which is prtty much why they are not my friends any longer ...

Anyway, I am a gamer. I am co-admin of a gaming kinship in Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) with my husband. It was a kinship that we have put a lot of effort into. After four years of playing LOTRO I find myself now bored with that particular game. The main reason is that the developers have not added any content of substance in over two years. I have done the vast majority of what there is to do and I have explored pretty much every nook and cranny in that cyber world. Another MMO game was released last month, Rift. When some of us in the kinship had a chance to participate in the last couple of Beta tests we fell in love with the game and decided that we were going to keep ourselves occupied with it until there is more content available in LOTRO or another MMO catches our eye.

I informed my kin that neither my husband nor I had the time to oversee yet another guild. Several of the members in my kin started a guild in Rift, which I joined, along with a few others who are also members of my LOTRO kin. That guild has 5 chiefs: 4 of them came from my LOTRO kinship, and 1 is friends with one of the four from my kinship. The guy's personality rubbed me the wrong way from day one, but I decided to ignore it, though my gut feeling was telling me "run to the hills" from early on. I figured that all I needed to do was stay out of his way. Anyway, to make the story short, he made a comment (that I am sure he will allege was a joke) pretty much targeting me, at which point I stuck the proverbial middle finger (not literally, but in my head, I didn't want to create scenes) in his general direction and removed myself from the guild. My husband left too. I explained to those that came from my LOTRO kinship what happened and why I left. I didn't post anything in their forums either, again, I was not bound to create scenes.

Anyway, the whole incident showed me who my friends were. I wasn't expecting any sort of reaction from 3 out of the three, however, I received a heartfelt apology from one of them (even though he had nothing to do with the incident)... and zero reaction from the one that I was expecting some words from. I wasn't even expecting an apology, but more something along the lines of "oh he was just joking..." or something neutral, even if she didn't agree with my reaction. Instead, zero is what I got. True colors showing again.

I have her on my FB. I haven't decided yet what to do, I can be a hypocrite with people at work, because I consider those people "acquaintances" ... I don't know how to be a hypocrite with people I used to call friends. For now, I turned off her feed on my Wall. I am still feeling hurt about all this. I hate when I lose my trust on people I used to call "friends". Thing is that even if I don't know the person face to face, I don't know how to use the word "friend" lightly, to me the person is real because, well, the person IS a real person.

Anyway, I needed to take some of this off my chest, and now I have done so. I don't know if I'll even bother to talk to her. I have told people in the past exactly why I couldn't call them "friends" any longer. It takes guts to do so, but at my age, I think that probably it accomplishes nothing. It may be better to let go, and it will all fade, though things will never be the same even if we continue talking to each other. I am sure she's oblivious.


Ebook piracy aka where can I find a "free" copy of ABC by XYZ

The topic of ebook piracy is not a new one. It has existed even before ebooks started becoming the hot commodity that they seem to have turned into courtesy of online stores like Amazon. The popular romance oriented reader blogs Dear Author, Mrs. Giggles blog & Karen Knows Best have now posted about the subject. I think Dear Author brought the topic up first on this round, but I may be wrong.  Usually the topic comes back to the surface when an author goes ranty about it.  On many occasions the ranty author is newly published, so he/she is actually facing the issue first hand for the first time.  Sadly, the truth of the matter is that this particular has no real solution at least as of yet, and it is entirely out of the control of the author, unless he/she decides to spend a lot of time policing the internet sending cease-and-desist notices and requests for links to illegal downloads of his/her work  to be brought down, etc.

Not that long ago, it used to bother me when authors went on rants on the topic of how their books were being "pirated" (stolen), and uploaded on torrents and online sites for "free" downloading by others.  I felt that, as a reader, I was pretty much being lumped up with those people sharing with others what wasn't theirs to share.  After all, why would the author rant about the subject on her own blog or website, or in reader oriented blogs/forums.  I don't feel that way any longer.  I pretty much think of it as an author venting about something he/she has no control over, that involves something that rightfully, belongs to him/her.  Know what I mean? 

Right now, with a number of variables that are affecting the whole environment, from bad economy, to shut down of libraries, then million different types of DRMs, the lack of foresight on the part of the big publishers, etc. it does seem like ebooks are ripe for the (free) pickings, which is another reason why I can't say I blame authors for venting, though I do have to admit that I view this as a "grey" area.