Blog Archives

So Many Ways to Say “I Love You”

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 –

One = This book completely wasn’t for me.

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.

Two = This book was bad, but not terrible.

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.

Three = This book was okay. Not great, not bad.

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.

Four = This was a book worth mentioning!

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.

Five = This was amazing!

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.

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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!



This Week’s Reads

So, in keeping with my current updates (I realized that the only way anyone could see what books I was reading, was to scroll through the pages and hope to see what was new, or to follow me on GoodReads), I am adding all of this week’s books, and linking them to the GoodReads page with my short review for that book.

So far this week we have:

Code of the Wolf

Read July 23 2015


Les Animales du Zoo

Read July 24 2015


Black Horses for the King

Read July 25 2015


A Fly Went By

Read July 27 2015


Sleepy Dog, Wake Up!

Read July 28 2015


The Hedge Knight

Read July 29 2015



Updates for these books and more this week to be added soon!

Updates, Dallas, and Doing Stuff

photo 5

So I just got back from a long trip in Dallas, TX. That was the longest lay-over I have ever experienced. Words don’t even begin to describe. But, as you can see above, I had a travel companion. My suitcase was also packed with books. (My friends laughed at me, but somehow, with everything, I still managed to pack smaller and more completely than they did. Books are magic like that!)

What you don’t see here is my shoulder bag. It, too, was packed with books (and my friend’s laptop). After being stuck in the airport for almost two days, and stuck in the hotel in Dallas for more than that, I was so glad that I packed so many books. (Can you believe that I was starting to doubt myself?!) I got alot of reading done, but I also spent time taking in the sights. Unfortunately, my chargers were all in my suitcase, which I had checked due to the weight of it. (Won’t be doing that again.) So that means you’ll have to take my word on stuff.

But this site is not about my travels, oh, no. It’s about books. More specifically, the books I’ve read. And did I ever read!

Besides the stuff I needed to read for this training conference, I managed to read about one complete book a day. (Did I mention that I had alot of downtime due to being stuck?) When the world gives you time, READ!

I also had, in moments of brilliance, ideas about this site. I have added three new classifications above: Children’s Choices (books my daughter has chosen), Graphically Graphic (a home for graphic novels), and Noticing Non-fiction (an under-appreciated genre). Check them out, and the books that are being added to each.

I have also been working on collaborations and other artsy projects. My younger brother has suggested that I write some of my travel stories, so I am at the idea stage on that. Still not sure about it. I have also been working on taking old pictures from the phones and putting them into mini videos. The editing process is longer than I thought it would be, especially since the software I’m using has updated, and I’m still figuring it out. And now that warmer weather is in sight, there are loads of home improvements to be made, and painting projects to be done.

That means, reviews will still keep coming, but after I catch up, there may be some further house-cleaning here, too. I want to make this site easy to navigate, the pages better formatted, and fun for me! After all, once stuff gets easier to update, that means more time to read!

Oh, yeah, and that update from the mystery author I promised… stay tuned! I have an exclusive excerpt to share! And it is amazing…