Well, back in the writer’s chair again. As my co-author types away nearby, and I just adopted a new pet from my favorite addictive site, I feel that it is time that I do something productive with my time, other than workouts, running errands, and shopping.
Time to catch up.
Well, as you may know, it’s been some time since I got much of anything done here. And I should probably give a little background and perspective. I owe it to somebody, I figure.
When I decided to detox from GoodReads and move away from their new interface, I didn’t have any idea how that would affect me, both as a writer, a reviewer, and most importantly a reader. I wound up reading very little, and doing more loafing. It didn’t help much that my medication is constantly being adjusted by my doctor, and I have had ALL KINDS of stuff going on in my personal life that I just wasn’t handling very well.
In short, I was all:
And, oh yeah, we also got this nasty virus on the laptop I had come to rely on for EVERYTHING (thanks to some selective content viewed by my consort) so it was down for the count for a long while. It still does not connect to the internet from home (Thanks, Windows. Thanks, Dell.). So I had to look for an alternative, and can I say now:
Mine may not be an Ultimate, nor is it even remotely new, but it has survived alot of harsh environments, treatment, and even something like this (with Dr. Pepper):
So now here I am, back for all your smart-ass needs in reviewing books. And movies. And whatever else comes up. ‘Cause baby, “You can’t keep a good dog down!”
And now, on to the long awaited reviews:
Tags: 2016, alternative, author, back story, background, blog, book reviews, books, Dell, Dr. Pepper, exclusive content, exercise, family, GoodReads, helping others, humor, medications, personal, perspective, read, reading, swimming, Toughbook, update, virus, Weekend, windows, Windows 10, Windows XP, writing
There are so many ways to say “I Love You” to a book, and one of the best is rating them with stars. In fact, this is the most common way for reviewers (such as myself) to rate things – and not just books.
I think this is because Amazon has taught us (or encouraged us) to rely on others’ opinions why being a reviewer is such a popular “job” (and I put it like this because while time and effort is put into this, you do not get paid). But is it really reliable?
Star ratings are subjective. What I think of as earning five stars, someone else may give three or four. What I give a one star for, someone else may give five – for exactly the same reasons!
I have seen many people give a high rating to a crappy product, just to get noticed, saying that the product is absolute crap.
Personally, I have a very strict method of rating –
Either there was something wrong with the subject matter, the delivery, the product, or whatever. There was something seriously wrong, and I cannot recommend this to anyone with a clear conscious or without a warning.
This is reserved for for things that I don’t like, but there was nothing wrong with, other than I didn’t like it. Something about the book or product rubbed me the wrong way, but I could be convinced to try something similar, or even the same thing again.
This is reserved for things that I only felt ‘eh’ about. I would guess this about the same for everyone. This is a middle of the road option that doesn’t really mean good, bad, great, horrible, or anything. It does what it says, and no more, or the benefits equal the draw-backs.
This is for books and products that are good, really good. I enjoyed it, and may actually get it or read it again if I run across it somewhere. This is one of my favorite ratings, actually, and says that whatever I’m rating, did the job.
There’s not much more to explain, because all I can do is recommend and brag about the book or product and the fact that I loved it. I will talk about this until either people are sick of listening to me, or I find my next great thing!
But you will not see stars on my reviews here.
Yup. I don’t need to justify my opinions with stars. I justify them with words. Lots and lots of words.
But I do share links to the places where I do post the stars, along with my words. This is because some places, like Amazon or GoodReads want the stars before they’ll post your review. It’s part of the deal, and it’s not a bad thing. I like seeing the handy little stars when I pick out stuff. Don’t you? Even if I get a wonderful little pleasure for picking out the low rated books, or putting up the first starred rating.
And with that said, I would like to share some of the sites that I do write reviews on.
Smiley360 – I get book samples and products from Smiley, in return for rating and reviewing the things they send. This is great for those with Facepage (my own private slur for Facebook), the social media of choice. The fact that I don’t participate in Facepage is not relevant, because I can still earn badges by completing the ‘missions’ without one.
GoodReads – My original poison. I found that I can get books for free in return for writing a review, and I was hooked. I use this site the most, probably, since I have been there so long, and have built up a collection of followings, followers, and followees (those I follow). I don’t spend nearly as much time there since the updates and the background issue, though.
LeafMarks – This is quickly becoming my new favorite. It is similar to GoodReads in many ways, but without the book giveaways (at least I have not seen them yet, if they are there). I am also a librarian there, so I have a responsibility to ensure that book information is updated. Since this is a relatively new site, there is alot of information to import.
LibraryThing – This is another site that does giveaways (although I haven’t participated yet), rates books, and allows you to give your opinion. The only thing I recommend is to not try importing a large file of books here. I tried, and had to contact support, emailed them my file, and am still waiting to hear back. Unless you only have a few books to start with, I recommend starting from scratch.
Powells – This is a bookseller, but you can also post reviews. If your review is featured, you can earn a $20 gift card to the site. I lucked out, and got featured, and spent my credit on some graphic novels that I had been wanting to read and check out. I spent a few dollars for shipping, but it was worth it! Besides that, they always have something going on…
Amazon – While I don’t rate everything on Amazon, like some people (weird), I do try to rate books and the things I buy there (or are encouraged to rate there, like through Smiley). I have a Kindle, so buying, reading, and rating books there is almost a must. Thanks to frequent sales and offers, I get most of my books for free sent straight to my Kindle.
Barnes & Noble – We have a B&N near where I live, and when I lived in El Paso, it was the only bookstore. On weekends, we frequently haunt the store for a few hours after breakfast and before a nap. My youngest daughter is known by sight there. I also have an account on their site, but due to posting issues, I don’t often post reviews there, but have been known to in the past.
BookLikes – This is one that I am fairly new to, and am still figuring out. I don’t know much about it, so I will probably wind up spending a ton of time there as I figure things out, start writing reviews, figure out how it works, and so on. They also have giveaways for books, links to Amazon sales and free ebooks, and other things I haven’t even tried out yet. Watch for future updates about this one.
NetGalley – This is a site for advanced reviewers. Publishers post books prior to publication and reviewers can request access to these titles. If approved by the publisher (this isn’t a random algorithm) you will be granted access to a digital version of the book. A word of caution – the books are not all equal. Some formats do not render as well as others. Uses Adobe Reader.
YouTube – Soon to come! As I mentioned yesterday, I will soon be offering unboxings of the books and other do-dads that I get. This will be subject to trial as to whether or not I continue doing these or not. That said, I may also start trying show-and-tell type reviews, too (another suggestion I’ve been given). I’m willing to try almost anything once!
So, ten sites where you can read my reviews, write your own, and even a few where you can get your own goodies! A few words about about star ratings and my take on their meaning to me. And something to look forward to!
And now, to watch television with my family!
Tags: 50 books, Adobe, Adobe reader, Amazon, B&N, Barnes and Noble, book, crap, deal, facebook, facepage, five star, four star, free books, free ebooks, gif, gift card, GoodReads, graphic novel, I Love You, justify, leafmarks, librarian, librarything, missions, NetGalley, one-star, opinion, opinions, Powell's, product, rating, review, reviewers, reviews, show-and-tell, smiley360, social media, three star, trial, two star, unbox, unboxing, YouTube
So I might be spending more time here, writing review (which badly needs done), posting opinions (which might need done), and wasting time (which absolutely don’t need done, but I do anyways).
GoodReads, my favorite time-wasting site has applied new formatting updates, and they are not up to my likings. So, until either I get used to the changes, or they make changes I can live with, I will be spending less time there.
I have also been spending more time on another favorite that I abandoned a while back, fully intending to quit, but didn’t… ChickenSmoothie! So much fun, and I love giving away stuff at this time of year.
The other day when we stopped by Barnes & Noble, my daughter decided that she wanted something, and I believe in gimmes – that little thing you buy your kids when you go to the store so they behave and don’t ask for the expensive big thing – but her daddy don’t. So when she asked for the Snow Sleigh, and her daddy said ‘no’, she had a mini-meltdown. I tried to do the ol’ bait-n-switch, with a little tinker thing, but she wasn’t havin’ it. At all.
Until I mentioned Star Wars, and we wound up picking this:
This little girl loves anything Star Wars right now, and that just makes her daddy’s heart melt, so I knew he couldn’t say ‘no’ to this. Sucker!
Later, we watched Tyrion Lannister run around New York with Jupiter Jones while searching for Patch Adams in:
This was a moving, touching, sometimes funny movie. A real tearjerker, so make sure to cuddle with someone you care about, have a fresh box of tissues handy, and plan on telling at least one person you love them after contemplating your own mortality.
Because, what would you do if you only had 90 minutes to live?
I’d finish a good book.
Tags: 2015, 3 star, 90 minutes, baby, based on a classic, Book Covers, book reviews, Brooklyn, colors, disney-ish, droids, exclusives, family, found, GoodReads, helping others, humor, Jupiter Jones, kid-s, less-than-200-pages, new-york, painting, Patch Adams, pre-school, read, rebels, romance, space, Star Wars, Tyrion Lannister, writing
Are you counting down for the new Star Wars movie yet?
We already bought the tickets! (Even if they have all been gifted already… wound up with some last-minute tag-a-longs for the movie… don’t you just love when that happens?) But since they are all already given out, we may actually go and see it opening night, before the presents are given!
SO, to go about preparing for this, I am going to do (and have done) alot of Star Wars-based reading…
Lets start with this short story…
Forgive the image, it was the only one on the page, and not mine. I think if it were mine, it would have turned out worse. Read the story by clicking the title above, or here. Read my review on GoodReads here.
And remember, The Force is with You!
Tags: 2015, 4 star, accident, alternate history, back story, based on a classic, choose shelves... 2015, comedy, family, free online, glaucoma, GoodReads, Greedo, handicapped, imagination, movie tickets, movies, murder, online, parody, rape, read, read online, rebels, religion, short story, Star Wars, The Force
So, tonight was de facto movie night, and I watched two films while cleaning out my email Inbox, and realized that I had missed out on doing the review for one of the books that one movie was based on –
I Am Number Four…
The other movie was Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues.
(The cover on IMDB is not nearly as pretty as the cover on the disc I got from the library. I might update this to match, but then, maybe not.)
Hank was a country music legend, and this documentary not only featured his music and original recordings, but so much that I didn’t know about the man – that I’m sure many don’t know. It was sad to hear how much he suffered, and how loved he was by those who knew him. We can all only wish to be as loved and remembered as Hank Williams was.
It was also very humbling to hear a recording of him using a phrase my Pop used to use all the time – a phrase that apparently Hank used just as often…
Tags: 2010, 2011, 3 star, animals, autumn, back story, back to school, biography, blog, Book Covers, book reviews, books, cameras, coming-of-age, Documentary, escape, family, football, found, free copy, GoodReads, helping others, library, Movie, movie night, moving, murder, north, phone-app, read, romance, run away, school, science fiction, series, shape changer, space, update