Review: Box of Rocks by Karla Telega

WARNING: Do not read this book while eating. To do so may cause you to choke to death on your own laughter.

Box of Rocks Cover

eBook is $2.99, Paperback is $9.95

I’ll start by paying new author Karla Telega the highest form of compliment I can give: in many ways, her writing reminds me of that of bestselling author Janet Evanovich. Another reviewer has compared Maggie and Cher to Thelma and Louise, and I can see that…but to me, they’re more like Stephanie Plum and Lula for the AARP crowd

I’ve been a fan of Ms. Telega’s blog for some time now. If you haven’t yet had the privilege, check it out–you’re in for a real treat. Telega has her liver-spotted finger on the weak pulse of over-50 women everywhere.

But getting back to BOX OF ROCKS–Karla Telega has created characters that are outrageously funny but at the same time people readers can relate to–even Bear (admit it–who hasn’t had a Wile E. Coyote moment in their lives?).

As author and co-founder of upstart publisher Adoro Books, Karla Telega has published a book that’s been handled with pure professionalism, start to finish–from Karla’s exceptional writing to the fine editing skills of Martin Rus and Rosanne Dingli to the brilliant cover art of El Kartun, which would stand out anywhere. I am so pleased to see that this is just the beginning of a series!  

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Not One, Not Two, But a Top Rated Five Onion Review!

A Five Onion Review!

By Eve Gaal

Click here to order your copy today!

Twice a year I make a delicious recipe I found in Gourmet Magazine. Gourmet may still be online but the print version has gone the way of the Herald Examiner and other famous print publications. Boo hoo. This particular recipe is called Cider Braised Pork with Caramelized Onions and I’m sorry to say, but even the strict vegans and vegetarians I know were buckling at the knees and asking for seconds when I served this dish. Those of you who don’t cook, please stay with me here for a short while because this article is not about the recipe, it’s about things that make me cry. You see, Cider Braised Pork with Caramelized Onions takes five onions. After chopping the first onion, my tears are flowing down my face and dripping into the sink. I wipe my face and start chopping the second onion. I’m blinking back my saline tears and they’re splashing against my glasses. Now the room is fogged up and I’m chopping the third onion. Closing my eyes, I try wielding my sharpest knife with my eyes closed. Not a good idea. On the fourth onion, my husband walks into the kitchen and asks me why I’m crying. I point to the onions and he laughs and tells me to close my mouth. His brilliant idea is that if I am not breathing the onion fumes, then they won’t make me cry. Shooing him out of the kitchen, I proceed to chop the fifth onion. I close my mouth, but still the tears are flowing like the Yellowstone River after a storm. I look like I just endured a harrowing experience and ended up the lone survivor of a river rafting trip. Fun and dangerous at the same time.

You’re still with me, I hope? Anyway, the point is that afterwards I feel wonderful. It is a cleansing and irritating feeling at the same time. An ablution reminding me that I can’t always control biological functions at will. Rarely do we get the opportunity to cry and feel better afterward. That’s why I’m suggesting you read My Funny Valentine. Therapeutic and hilarious at the same time, it will have you crying your eyes out page after page. Why wait until you chop onions? All you have to do is pull out your trusty copy of My Funny Valentine and you’ll be reading stories and poems that are sure to crack you up. Tears will be fogging up your glasses and splashing down your cheeks! So based on my new non-scientific rating system, I’m giving My Funny Valentine… Five Onions!!

Idiots Surround Us

The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King

One of my favorite novels of all time is The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King. I read it during my Sophomore year of high school, a year that I would prefer to forget. I avoided reading at all costs back then, unless it was on a computer screen (and this was long before eBooks or eReaders). I had, for the first time, the right to choose any book for a book report for my English class. That was great. Of course, the teacher had veto power so the first few books that I picked, nice and short, he just gave me a funny look on and shook his head (if only he could see me now, attempting a PhD, he’d probably drop). I finally made my way to the Stephen King books. I knew that King was a famous writer and his subject matter did appeal to me. At the time, I was heavy into Dungeons and Dragons and I’ll admit, I picked this book simply for the word “Dragon” in the title.

I procrastinated and procrastinated and finally decided I should attempt to skim the book so I could at least write a half-assed book report that would get me the coveted passing “C” grade. So I sat down to read it and 200 pages later, my mother was yelling to me that I missed dinner. I ended up reading the book in 2 days. I have since read many more books but this one is really what got me interested in reading and will always be important to me. Since the dreams that subsequently led to my writing began the summer after my Sophomore year, I think reading this book planted the seed of being a writer.

Flash forward to now. I decided to go scope it out again and I saw that, over time, a lot of people have agreed with me and the reviews for the book are overwhelmingly good. Naturally, there are those who don’t agree but this business isn’t 100%. Unlike other books by bestselling authors, I saw that none of the 1 star reviews were well written at all. Matter of fact, they were all nothing more than a few sentences. Not all of them were bad, but none of them would be compelling to me as a consumer to question my purchase. There were a few that stood out, so it’s time for a laugh:

I hope this book goes out of print soon so others will not have to suffer threw all 300 pages of this horse pucky book.

What? “Suffer threw”? I don’t know about suffering through 300 pages of “horse pucky” but I certainly “suffered threw” the one sentence of this review. If you really think I’m going to question my purchase of anything based on a review like this, you’ve got worms eating your brain.

I read this book and was extremly upset by how much of my time was wasted reading that terrible book. It was a book with a bad plot. It was a book that was semi-well written. I would have to agree with someone elses review by saying it seems like one of his kids wrote it when they were twelve. The only reason it got any good reviews is because te people that actually read it from cover to cover hated it so much they did not want anything to do with it.

At least the book was “semi-well” written because this review gave me a headache. Maybe his kids did write it when they were twelve but whoever posted this review must have had their preschool child write it. Before you judge others on their writing style, take a look at your own. This reviewer has absolutely no credibility.

I sincerely doubt Mr. King wrote this book. Perhaps one of his children wrote this and he put his name on it to see if it would sell. It might be good reading material for children or the mentally deficient, but personally, I couldn’t believe this was the same author who wrote The Dead Zone, Christine, The Stand, The Shining, It …. etc. In my opinion, King’s most enthralling quality is his style. He’s has a descriptive style and a way with words which keeps you in a trance until the book is over and done with. This book has none of those qualities. To be honest, … it would make great kindling.

This one actually pissed me off. First of all, what kind of idiot recommends a book with murder, violence, and graphic death scenes to children? It’s fine to have the opinion that it isn’t up to par with his other work (even if that opinion is wrong, you’re still entitled to it) but come on, don’t be an idiot. Also, “mentally deficient”? You’re not scoring any points right now jerk-off. I’m sure there are a legion of people who have read this who would love to find out that you called them “mentally deficient”. How about you actually give a real review, instead of hurling insults at other readers? People like this make me lose faith in the future of humanity.

Head Stuck Up

Book Review – Mayan Calendar Girls: The Great Meso-American Novel by Linton Robinson

Mayan Calendar Girls Cover

Available in Print for $18.95 and eBook for $5.95

Mayan Calendar Girls is a book unlike any I have ever read and I honestly am going to have trouble putting the style into words but will attempt to do so. It reminds me a little bit of the movie Crash, in that there are several, simultaneous stories going on at once with various characters who at times, will influence others in ways that they are completely unaware of. That is the case here. The biggest difference, however, is the amount of humor present in this book.

Another aspect of Mayan Calendar Girls that makes it stick out is the humor and satire present. Realistically, even if the story doesn’t intrigue you, you may find that reading this is great just for the humorous way it is written. Some examples of amusing lines:

“It might actually be water level rising, Global warming, perhaps? I lay the blame squarely on Al Gore.” To which is replied: “Inconvenient, if true.”

“She had only heard of crack, but lusted for a taste because the name itself just sounded so very, very bad. Which is to say, of course, extremely good.”

Political satire is strong here and is probably one of my favorite aspects of the book. President Obama has his own show. Other political figures actually take active roles in this book. Again, an amusing set of lines starting with Joe Biden:

“Is it like a real honeymoon, Barry?” to which was replied “Not really. They don’t screw you until the honeymoon is over.”

To give you an idea of just how much witty banter is here, even the descriptions read like some of these sarcastic dialog lines. For instance:

“She was quite a sight for anyone who cared to stare instead of blathering about cryptoarcheology: breasts as spherical as stone temple houris in India, Chinatown cheekbones, matte skin the color of cinnamon sugar, and sleek black hair so long it brushed the floor every time she shifted her delectable ass (which was the only time it ever got swept).”

“The best way to explain Ganzo might be to just realize he marched to a different drummer. A really slow, muted drum with wacko syncopation.”

There are a couple of things to warn potential readers about. First, the language. Swearing. Yes, swearing. If that’s a problem, you may want to look somewhere else (like a Little Golden Book or something). Graphic sexual encounters. Yes, there’s sex in this book and quite a bit of it. Matter of fact, it starts with a woman having a major orgasm. There’s another part where a woman is climaxed by a dolphin. It can get extreme. If you’re sensitive to this kind of stuff, you are dually warned. Finally, there are themes around racial tension and other such sensitive topics.

Basically, this book isn’t for the overly sensitive. It’s funny. You will most likely find yourself laughing through much of it. If you like humor, this is a great book because it mixes so many different types: political, racial, sexual, etc. Have some fun with it. The short chapters insure that it keeps moving along.

Idiot Reviewers Don’t Seem to Go Away

Authors are human, despite rumors to the contrary. That means that we have friends (well, most of us do), but we also have enemies. Not everyone likes us. I could list all of the people that I know about who don’t like me but the data overflow might crash the server, so I won’t bother. Those people also aren’t worth my damn time.

Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Moon

Anyway, sometimes we get petty, whiny, brats who decide a great way to retaliate is to leave a negative review on our books. Sometimes they buy the book (if they are leaving the review on Amazon, they can attempt to make it more “legit” by having the “Amazon Verified Purchase” appear). So here is the first one, written about Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Moon by Sara Howard:

I really do not understand how this book got such good reviews. The writing style is terrible and chapters ridiculously short. I have asked amazon for a refund.

stupid

First of all, I really don’t give a damn that you asked for a refund. Maybe, if that was the last sentence of a comprehensive review, the sentence would have added a bit of flavor to it. You wrote three sentences. When I see reviews like this, I often wonder if it is nothing more than a personal vendetta or such a sore lacking of intelligence. What’s really funny is if this fool had bothered to read the first sentence of the description, he or she would have seen “This book is a light-hearted, funny story . . .” It’s light reading my friend. It’s not meant to be some in-depth, science-filled informational book. Man, this kind of stuff makes me lose faith in humanity. If you want to give a negative review, fine. Actually review the book with real reasons why it deserves such negativity!

Crawford

The next one is from A Promise Kept: The Story of One Widowed Bride’s Journey Through Grief by Elise Crawford. Just take a look at this:

What a bunch of self-pity crap. Plain crap. Ladies and gents, the author makes up so much here that the book is total fantasy. If pity is what you want to give, well, you came to the right place.

When Mark was killed, Liz ran away like a little child. She ignored Mark’s two kids, and in fact locked one of them out of Mark’s house a day after the tragedy. Let me repeat – locked one of Mark’s kids out of his own house, because she couldn’t “handle” his emotions.

So many lies, so few pages!

When confronted, she ran and hid. Mark did not put her in his will. They were NOT married. She was the one who broke ties with the McLaughlin family. She could have had many of Mark’s items but hid from all attempts to be contacted.
Her writing “style” is plain boring. The positive reviews are obviously from people trying to sell the “book” – what a farce!
Her book is a scam – enjoy. Wish there was less than one star to leave.

“Liz” huh? Obviously, this person knows the author and is probably a bitter in-law or something like that. Guess what: I DON’T GIVE A &*$% ABOUT YOUR DAMN PERSONAL VENDETTA! If you have an issue, why don’t you write a column or publish your own book. This isn’t a review on a book, this is your whiny, griping, gibberish. Oh wait, right at the end, there is one sentence on the writing style, and its 6 words long. Thanks. This review is about as helpful as a hemorrhoid.

People who write garbage reviews like this remind me of why we need to chlorinate the gene pool. Air your personal baggage to someone who gives a *$%#, because no one here does.

chlorine

Oooops!

Today is my day to post. And despite the many e-mail reminders, it didn’t register. Well…not until this morning. ***rolling my eyes***

Lately, I’ve been under a pile of rewrites and edits. I’m up to my eyeballs. My desk is covered with endless mounds of paper and notes. A box full of old chapters stay at my feet, calling to me, “Use this part. Use this part.” If only I could find those parts. ***scratching my head*** They’re really good, too. I can only hope they are really still there. Somewhere. One day after the book is pushlished, I’ll find them.

The kitchen table isn’t free from folders and papers either.

Did I mention how many little 4GBs I have? Color coded, too. They whisper to me, “The really good stuff’s in me. Pick me. Pick me.” Like that really helps. Not really, even though I’ve taken the time to lable each folder in those tiny thingies.

So anyway, while most peeps were out on Black Friday doing the Christmas-hunt-and-kill-thing, I printed out the last twelve chapters to my novel. What a bleeping mess!

You see, I’m a panster a/k/a fart writer. I plan absolutely nothing, going with the flow of the ink and whatever flatulates out of my head. But, I do like to write my scenes in order. Yeah. I know. Weird.  Right?

My whole world crumbles when I lose my order in my organized chaos. Believe it or not, I’ve got misnumbered chapters. Some of my scenes are out of sequence. How did I do that?! OMG.

And then, there’s formatting. I shake my head here. This part gives me heart palpitations. In fact, I feel a few happening right now as I type this piece. Yup. I’ve got a few chapters that are aligned improperly. I swear there must be little computer gremlins that come out after I turn my computer off. They did it! They’ve been screwing with my settings. If  only I could catch them, I’d fix their wagons.

I’m having a writer’s-break-down-moment. That’s all.  How about any of you?

Idiot Reviewers of the Week

Dead Witch Walking Cover

Welcome to another installment of Idiot Reviewers of the Week. For those who haven’t read one yet, here is the basic premise. There are great products out there, then there are mediocre ones, and finally there are terrible ones. Most shoppers depend on reviewers for input as to which ones are which and the system works quite well. Until we get to the idiots. I’m not talking about someone who writes a negative review. I’m talking about the ones who have no idea how to write a review, review the wrong product, or review the service from the store/website where they bought the item from instead of the item itself, or any other multitude of foolishness that makes me as a shopper want to bang my head against the desk.

First, we’re going to take a look at a review for Kim Harrison’s Dead Witch Walking, which is the first book of the popular The Hollows series which has several books now. Here is the example:

“Some books are hard to put down, this one was hard to pick up. I usually read a book this size and this same genre in one or two days, but it took me several weeks. When I finally made it to the end, I was totally let down. I felt there were a lot of questions left unanswered. I guess they want you to read the next book, but I will not.”

This review was fine until I got to the fourth sentence, “I felt there were a lot of questions left unanswered.” Um, duh. It’s a series. What the hell is the point of writing a series if you don’t have unanswered questions to encourage a reader to pick up the next book? That’s normal. Hell, Harry Potter had 2 new questions for every one that got answered and waited until the end of book 7 to finish answering the questions. That’s what you’re supposed to do. Keep people on edge. Have you ever even read a book before?

Now, it gets better, here’s the next one:

“I got this book and read it and liked it, but it no longer deserves to be listed under Free with a price on it. This has been on the free list with a price now for about a week. I thought you updated all the time.”

Anime Face Palm

I really &*%$ing hate this. It makes me want to get violent. This reviewer liked the book but is mad about the listing and leaves a negative review? CONTACT THE *$%#ING CUSTOMER SERVICE DEPARTMENT! That’s not cause to give a bad rating to a book. What the hell is is your malfunction!? Do people like this even know what the word review means? Or maybe it’s just pure laziness of not wanting to click the “contact us” button. What this actually does is punish the author. Fortunately, Kim Harrison sells loads of books and has mostly good reviews so I doubt this one will make any real difference. If she was an unknown Indie author though, this could be problematic. It’s reviewers like this that give the rest of us a bad name, and can end up giving some innocent author a bad name too.

Scourge

Oh, and I’m not done yet. I’m a Transformers fan. Specifically, I’m a Generation 1 nut. I still have all of my originals and I’ve bought a bunch of the re-releases. Matter of fact, for Christmas, my wife got my the exclusive Toys R’ Us anniversary edition of Rodimus Prime. She asked me if I wanted anything else so I decided to browse through and see if there were any others that I wanted now. I came across a re-release of Scourge, the Targetmaster version. I was excited. Then I saw this review:

I’ve given this a one star because it is a brilliant representation. But so far only available from Amazon.com due to shipping problems to other countries (I won’t explain all that here). When will it be made available to the UK? Or as with many many things will it just be a USA exclusive and forget everyone else.

This hasn’t been the first time certain model/toys have only been exclusive to the USA (Swoop and Devastator and Shockwave for example, eventually I found cheap knockoffs for them on some market stall). The excuse used is warranty issues, but the other models are available in the UK (case in point, Cyclonus, same range as this model yet we get him. What did they think we wouldn’t want Scourge?!). The same goes for Kup and Wreckgar.

In case I’m wrong and they are due to be released to amazon.co.uk then ignore the above, but prior history shows different.

Wah. Boo hoo hoo. I have something for you:

baby pacifier

Maybe now you can stop your crying. Reviews are not a forum to gripe about availability! Manufacturers, authors, etc don’t always have control over where their products go! If it means that much to you, come visit the colonies and get one while you’re here. Stop pissing and moaning and giving bad ratings just because you’re upset. Hell, there are plenty of re-issues that are only available in Japan. Deal with it.

The best part of all of this is the people who have the power to get this figure distributed in the UK will probably never even see this review. Thanks for littering the web with this garbage.

garbage