Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review "shorty": "Careful, He Bites" by Autumn Dawn

Disclaimer:  I own this book.  I have read all of the current published work by this author.

"Careful, He Bites" is a  short novella previously published by New Concepts Publishing under the title "Once Bitten".  This story involves a woman, Bali Itara, whose father (your standard totally deranged scientist) experimented on.  As a result, she is now slowly dying because of her altered, mutated genes.  Her best friend and doctor (who goes by the nickname Icki, go figure) suggested to her to be bitten by a member of an alien race, the Drac.  The Draconian males bite their mates to facilitate impregnation.  While doing so, they genetically alter the female.  He sends her to an acquaintance of his named Domino.

Obviously, since this book is novella length, there is not much room for development.  The story moves at a rather fast pace for that very reason, and sometimes it does feel a bit rushed.  However, the characters are attractive and that, along with the pacing, are enough to keep the reader engaged.

I do recommend this book if you feel like reading a futuristic short, however, if you are into "world creation", you may find yourself feeling less than satisfied.  I know I would love to find out more about the Drac.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Goodreads, Calibre and me - part four (quick update)

As I previously reported, I figured out the spreadsheet bit.  Sadly (for me) I realized that a bunch of books are TBR yet they all appear as read.  On top of that, another bunch of those TBR books have ratings *sigh*  My book shelf, as it currently stands, has over 650 books and I am not done adding yet.  I don't know if I'll ever finish this "project", I sure hope so.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Blogger conventions, who knew...

I have to admit that I am clueless and oblivious about a lot of things online.  I don't participate in Tweeter (wouldn't know what to do with it anyway, and I hate using my tablet or my smartphone to type anything).  I don't visit a ton of blogs either.  This means that being up to speed regarding things like conferences and conventions is not exactly my forte.

Today I found out, courtesy of one of the few blogs I visit, that there was a "blogger convention".  It was organized by bloggers for bloggers, literally.  Recently, said Con was bought by the people that manage the Book Expo of America (BEA).  By "bought" I am assuming it means the "concept"?  Again, not a clue.  Anyway, it seems like in their attempt to change the nature/tone (from non commercial to commercial it does mean CHANGE, people) they haven't been forthcoming about what is it exactly that they are offering attendees.  They have also hit quite a few "snags" and there is still quite some room for improvement on their part, so to speak. (This is my source).

One thing that has become blatantly obvious from what I have been reading, however, and of course, to be expected, is that this event is now a marketing tool or rather a "networking" tool, networking because it looks like it serves the purpose of bringing together publishers and authors with bloggers... mega bloggers that is.  I understand that certain bloggers would certainly be interested in this particular convention, but for the truly teeny blogs like mine, it's pretty much useless, unless all you want to do is socialize and maybe learn how the big guys do things?  From what I am looking at if you are are not a "big name/big traffic" blogger it does look like there would be little interest in what you have to offer.  Publishers and authors want the attention of big blogs, the blogs with tons of traffic that can bring them business.

Personally speaking, I would be interested in a non-commercialized type of blogger convention.  I would still be a nobody, but I feel I would be able to learn more from such an event and find topics more relevant to my interests or more useful to me, than I would in a 100% commercial type of convention.  I don't get any "freebies" from any author or publishing company, so networking with them is not something that I care about, at least not at this point.  Add to that that (to use a gaming term) I am a "casual" blogger, meaning that I blog when I feel like it and upload reviews when I feel like it.  Topics of use to me would involve networking with other bloggers or listening to those bloggers who, mostly through their very hard work, can provide me tips on how to make mine a semi-successful one (again, operative words being "hard work", but still, I'd be interested to hear how they got there). 

I am one of the "little people" among hundreds if not thousands of reviewer blogs out there.  I even removed myself from Netgalley because as it grew, I pretty much became part of the non-desirables and didn't qualify to ask for any ARCs/books there any longer, not that I asked for a lot to begin with. so, at this point in time a marketing/networking former convention and now conference (the Bloggers Con is now going to take place during BEA, so sorry, but it can't be called a Bloggers Con any longer the way I am reading it) is of little to no use to me.  Of course, leave it to me to find out that such a thing as a Blogger Con existed when it pretty much no longer exists as it was intended or I would have been interested in.

C'est la vie...


Friday, March 23, 2012

Goodreads, Calibre and me - part three

Well, as previously reported, I figured the spreadsheet thingie.  Now I am looking at my list (now at a hefty 656 books in Calibre of which 619 transferred to Goodreads with no issues), and I realize that I have to try and detail which are read and which are not.  It wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the fact that I can't see how to do it in bulk, instead of having to go one by one checking every title as "read".

On a side note, I am now printing book lists of my favorite authors, to make sure that my collections of said authors are complete.  Many of the books by my favorite print authors I have both in print and in ebook format.  I suspect that by the time I am done with this, I will have well over 500 more books added to my book catalog in both Calibre and Goodreads.  Thankfully I have a scanner and will be able to go relatively quickly once I tackle the print book collection.

Random thoughts: Should I check Shelfari?  Should I start my husband's Goodreads page?

The saga continues...


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Goodreads, Calibre and me - part two

Well, I am slow, but thankfully not entirely dumb, so it does seem that I've been able to figure out at least some of my conundrums involving Goodreads and Calibre.  I did have to go book my book on my current Calibre Library, to make sure the ISBNs were in the metadata for each title to be able to prepare a spreadsheet that, when imported to Goodreads, would allow the site to "recognize" each book.  My Goodreads list now is more accurate.  I now have to go through my previous Calibre library backup which got all messed up during one of Calibre's updates early last year (or the previous year, can't recall).  I got pissed off so I simply started from scratch, saving the older library to "fix" the problem at a later date.  Of course, procrastinator that I am, it didn't happen until today.  However, I am slowly getting there.  I am aware I'll not be able to finish this task today, as I have way too many books.  Now I have to figure out the how to send my Goodreads reviews to my blog, and then the widget for my bookshelf.

As I was going through my Calibre library fixing metadata, I realized that I am a shameful e-book collector the same way I used to be a print book hog.  There are quite a number of e-books that I have not read or that I don't remember having read.  I will have to start paying more attention and actually bother to "mark" each book as read or TBR (to be read).

I know that this is probably sounding like way too much work, but I am actually deriving satisfaction out of seeing that list of books grow, and figuring a way of cataloging/classifying them suitably.  I am also finding it satisfying to write down in a journal.  I had attempted this in the past, with no success whatsoever (I am not particularly disciplined.)  I discovered the journals, via another blog which I can't recall at the moment. I HIGHLY recommend them.  They come in two sizes (pocket and large) and they have leading questions in each page, which certainly do help out when jotting down notes.  FABULOUS FABULOUS FABULOUS!  I bought three: one large and two pocket, I am going to be placing another order really soon and likely buying a pocket one for one of my nieces.

On a side note, I am losing track of my husband's favorite authors and books, I think I am going to start a Goodreads private account for him, so that I can keep up.  I used to have to keep up for my niece, but the girl (who is smart and very internet savvy) has fixed that for herself, so no need to do that any longer ... WOOT!  Love her, but she reads a LOT and it was becoming harder and harder... not complaining here, just sayin'.  She has a humongo-list of TBR books she wants to read.

I shall report further when I figure out the "other" stuff involving Goodreads.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Trying to get into Goodreads... but it's annoying me

Well, I use Calibre.  Turns out there is a little add-on that supposedly would assist in synchronizing Goodreads with Calibre.  I still haven't figured it out.  Then I find out that I can use a spreadsheet of sorts to import my books list to Goodreads.  I still haven't figured it out completely.  Last but not least, I am trying to use the feature that would allow for me to post my updates to Goodreads into this blog, by just clicking a little box.

I guess I'll have to keep trying until I figure this out.  bleh!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I found a new-to-me author!

Nevermind that the author in question has been writing for decades... I am talking about Patricia Rice.  I started reading her latest book after reading a review at TGTB&TU several weeks ago.  I intended to put it aside when Lynn Viehl's "Nightborn" released.  Well, I just can't put "The Lure of Song and Magic" aside.  *sigh*  I am so impressed and loving it that I will write a review as soon as I am done with it.  (Sorry, Ms. Viehl!)... I am also so impressed and loving it that I had to say something here!


Saturday, March 3, 2012

"Spellbound Falls" book 1 of the Spellbound Falls series by Janet Chapman

First the disclaimers:
(1) Janet Chapman is one of my favorite authors.  I didn't particularly enjoy the first three of her books that I read (this was several years ago, and they were the first three books in her Highlander series).  Obviously, I didn't give up on her or I wouldn't be writing this review.
(2) I purchased this book.

Time and Setting: Maine, United States, present time.

Plot: The action takes place in Spellbound Falls, Maine, United States, shortly after the events that take place in "Mystical Warrior".   Mac Oceanus, the hero in "Spellbound Falls," played an important part in "Mystical Warrior".

Maximilian (Mac) Oceanus and his six-year-old son, Henry, temporarily move to Spellbound Falls to join a family camp ran by a young widow.  The camp was recommended by Trace Huntsman, the hero of "Mystical Warrior"  The camp specializes in assisting families communicate better with each other by sharing camp activities.  Since Mac is trying to learn how to be a father and to get to know his little son better, it seems like a good idea to give it a try.  He makes arrangements to arrive a few weeks before the camp actually opens, to give himself and Henry a headstart.  Since he has pretty much lost most of his power (read previous book to learn why and how), that definitely seems like a good plan.  Little did he know what was waiting for him in Inglewood.

Olivia Baldwin runs the Inglewood camp that Mac and his son go to.  Though the actual property belongs to her in-laws, she's the one that has made the camp what it is: a retreat for families that need help.  Olivia lives there with her 8 year-old daughter, Sophie.  Olivia accepted the early arrival of Mac and his son as he paid her a nice sum that will help her fix a few things around the camp that she couldn't take care of earlier, as she didn't have enough money to do so until then.  had no idea who Mac is and much less, how he's going to impact her life and change things around.

I utterly enjoyed Mac and Olivia's story.  Usually I find children in a romance a bit distracting, but the kids in this book played an integral part and it was cute to watch them interact with their respective parents and each other.  There was a substantial cast of secondary characters, including the heroines in books 2 and 3 of this series.  They all helped in moving the story along.

Even though I did read this book in pretty much one sitting, I did think that the way Olivia dealt with a series of issues was a bit too quick and convenient.  She seemed to take everything too much in stride, including the fact that the man she fell in love with was a supernatural being.  However, if you like this author's work, this is something that you will likely overlook.  As usual, she does provide a heartwarming story with very appealing characters that draw the reader in.

Characters: As it has been my experience in most of her previous books that I read, I fell in love with the main characters on the spot.  I thought Olivia's reactions to certain things were endearing, and her own insecurities made her very sympathetic to me.  Mac is domineering, but he doesn't come across as an obnoxious Alpha.  He comes across as a very protective very sure of himself  male.

The secondary cast of characters was attractive and helped move things along.  I would have loved to see a bit more conflict involving Olivia's mother-in-law or her suitor, the middle aged Simon, but I guess there is only so much that can be done when a story needs to be told within a certain number of pages/words.

As a side note, even though this book is part of a series, and it actually spins-off a previous trilogy (Midnight Bay), you don't really need to read the previous book to be able to follow the plot in this one.  I do think, however, that if you try this one first, you may end up wanting to read the previous one, and from the previous one, you are bound to end up wanting to read the whole thing.  Mac's background can be found in book 3 of  the Midnight Bay series.  So if you get confused, that's the one to start with.