Sunday, February 13, 2011

Review-Pirate’s Treasure-Sarah Barimen

Pirate's Treasure
Sarah Barimen
Cobblestone Press
3 readers bought from All Romance e-Book. 1 did not finish.

Miriam Van Vorce, traveling with her older sister to a new life on a Caribbean island, makes the trade of a lifetime when her ship is looted and burned by pirates: she gives her own virtue in exchange for her sister's safe delivery to her betrothed for a wealthy arranged marriage.

She believes she has sacrificed any hope of happiness of her own, and she is resigned, but in reality she will gain far more than she ever dreamed: love, ecstasy, and a richly independent life of her own.

Comment Cards Read:

*For a debut this story wasn't half bad. This author has a lot of growing to do, but I think I see a kernel of promise in this story for a bright future. Her characters did lack depth, but I think with time and learning the little ins and outs of writing she'll develop stronger characters. My biggest beef with Pirate's Treasure was there were times I was trying to figure out which character was thinking. It was hard because the shifts were sudden. A lot of what was wrong were newbie author mistakes. I will read another story from her though.

*One of those stories where it is what it is. Not great but not completely horrible. One of my pet-peeves showed up in this story. The author didn't tell me the date when the story took place. It's a historical for goodness sake. The date really needs to be in their somewhere. Also, the dialogue lacked that authenticity readers really love. Description/names of clothing were no where near historically accurate. Part of what it lacked most was ignoring the colorful backdrop of the time period. Will probably buy from her again.

Overall Grade C - Nothing to write home about, but the readers are looking forward to great things from this author.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Review-Christmas Bounty-Stacey Thompson-Geer

Christmas Bounty
Stacey Thompson-Geer
Wicked Nights
Bought from Bookstrand.
Nina is the best at what she does, killing supernatural beings that are causing too much trouble. When she goes after a Vampire with a hidden agenda, she finds a lot more than she expected and a night of passion that may just change her mind.

Comment Cards Read:

*The story just didn't make sense. It was all over the place and there was so much left out, I almost didn't finish because I couldn't get a handle on the heroine. The hero is never really explained except he's some sort of vampire, but he has parties, but he leaves her alone cause she's there to kill him. I was stuck in a kettle of confusion. Regretfully, it's not worth the .99 cents.

*Christmas Bounty really needed a lot more explanation and a good editor. I read two instances of 'once and a while' when the writer really meant 'once in a while'. It's a nit pick, but when you are trying to negotiate what is going on in the story this short the little things stuck out like a big, neon sign. An example was all the grammar errors and I'm no great grammar queen – but if I'm catching them I think a lot of other people will too. Disappointing on many levels.

*I liked the concept, but then it wasn't ever really put together. The author tried, and I give her great credit for that. Still, brevity kicked this story in the teeth. I'd love to know more about the heroine and the group she works for, especially how she can sense paranormals. There's this bit about some Phoenix something or other and that was never explained. I'd also have preferred a concrete plot that wasn't just thrown in there and then forgotten or never explored. And, seriously, I'd have loved to know what his hidden agenda was. Would probably read another story from this author, but I'm not sure if I'll buy a super-short from her.

A quick search of the publisher's website showed they are looking for a copy editor – we do hope they find one.

Unfortunately, this story ranks as an F. Brevity, lack of editing and lack of clarity really hurt this story. We can't, in good conscience, recommend this story.

The Enders

Monday, January 31, 2011

Review- Pure Sin- Rynne Raines

Pure Sin
Rynne Raines
The Wild Rose Press – Scarlet Rose Imprint
MSRP – 3.50

3 bought from All Romance e-Books. All finished.

Whips. Blindfolds. Restraints. And a man rumored to be the most skilled Dom in the city... As the BDSM instructor at the hottest fetish club in Los Angeles, Bianca Alexander prides herself on being open, honest, and informative with her clientele when it comes to kink. The fact that she hasn't knelt before a master of her own in four long years doesn't affect her ability to teach, though a part of her longs to be back in her Dom's arms. But when her boss hires Cade Sinclair--her primary rival from a competing club--to assist teaching her classes, Bianca's comfortable solo act becomes a sinful duet drenched in Pure Sin.

NOTE: This story contains: BDSM, anal sex and explicit language

Comment Cards Read:
* Went into this story expecting cliché and it was, but the author did a really good job developing the characters. I have her other book on my TBB list. Would definitely buy another from her, just not run to the check out aisle.

* This is one hot story. Bianca and Cade are great together. I will say that there's a lot going on in the 150 pages, and I enjoyed all of it.

* Kudos to Rynne Raines. The story was well written and a great read. Characters were really exciting. A page turner from start to finish. Only knock-down I have was it could be any story out there with BDSM in it but the characters saved it from being run of the mill.

Final Score—B+ - cliché hurt this story, but it is worth the price and the time it took to read it.

The bar has risen exponentially.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Review: Suck on This Year – Denis Leary

We are suspending all e-publishing reviews at this time. We have enjoyed many stories by varied authors, but due to circumstances beyond our control we are no longer reviewing e-published work for the foreseeable future. Please note: we've instituted a new format as well. Bear with us as we work out the kinks.

Suck on This Year: LYFAO @ 140 Characters or Less
By Denis Leary
Published by Viking Adult
MSRP – varies – 9.90 to 16.00
Score - C

Five Enders bought the story. Ten Enders either borrowed the hard cover or were gifted with the story (it's short and doesn't take a lot of time). All finished.

What can Denis Leary say in 140 characters or less? Quite a lot. This is not your classic Denis Leary though his edgy sarcasm is on display. It's sort of Twitter meets adrenaline rush meets caustic humor sans all the verbiage. It's an enjoyable, highly entertaining read. One thing that really popped up in the comment cards is the price. At over 10.00 a pop, this quick read leaves a foul taste in your mouth because it's pricey. NOTE: a portion of this book's proceeds goes to a charity (New York Fire Fighters). It tones down the hurt, but the wound inflicted still requires a band-aid.

The final score is a C

Cost hurt this story. At 5.00 or 7.50 it might have been worth it. It is, after all, only 112 pages. Still, buy it and share it around, you probably won't feel the crunch to your wallet quite the same way and you'll be donating to a worthy cause.

It is a laugh a minute for about fifteen minutes.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Going forward – a special post!

In a week when the country bowed under a great tragedy, our blog skirmish seems small in respects when set side by side with that which happened in Tucson. Words were flung, feelings were hurt, things that shouldn't have been done were.

We are moving forward.

The Enders have asked our politics readers to tell us who shined in op-eds and editorials alike. The guys who moderate our political reading group have given you two sides of the take with words that remind us – Words have consequences and when it all boils down to it, we are one great nation. Good work, guys.

Ender Kirby: I rarely agree with Peggy Noonan politically, but her turn of phrase, her undeniable way of saying what she thinks brings me back to her editorials. She brought home exactly what I needed to hear from the President. In short she made the turn and came to see what we all needed in a moment of mourning (paraphrased and in my opinion) – 'Wait – this is our president, and in this moment, we are all Americans.' Nicely done, Ms. Noonan.

Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal – Obama Rises to the Challenge: He sounded like a president not a denizen of the faculty lounge.

You can read the entire article here:

Ender James B. : Since Kirby chose a Republican, I chose a Democrat. Though, I agree with him for a change. Ms. Noonan hit it out of the park this week.

My pick is Eugene Robinson. Mr. Robinson is a Progressive Liberal who isn't always completely clear when he speaks on air, but this week he showed me the essence of what we need to forge forward – not just Washington, but all of us. Amazing. Poignant. Memorable.

The Commercial Appeal: Obama becomes the Healer in Chief. Our political system is mired in warfare. But we can move forward if we look beyond arbitrary and obsolete divisions.

You can read the entire article here:

A special thanks from our politics moderators.

The cast of Morning Joe/MSNBC/Morning 6-9AM EST. Thank you so much for making this week one of actual information and not piecemeal rhetoric which was akin to: they did this and they did that – which did nothing to forward the conversation. The members of the panel, including Pat Buchanan and Chris Christie stated what we wanted, needed, and longed to hear. We all need to take a step back and stop ourselves before we say something, intentional or not, that may one day be regrettable. You are a refreshing breath of air in the chaotic and often inflammatory rhetoric that divides this country. As you say – we can disagree without being disagreeable.

Thanks to Kirby and James B. for taking time from their week to give us a bit of a lift.

From all The Enders – Keep calm and carry on.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Your privacy is NOT protected at Decadent Publishing!

We thought this was a dead issue, but **sigh** -- no. Decadent Publishing has sunk to an all time low. They spent yesterday harassing one of their authors who also happens to be an Ender. As you can see by their rebuttal to our original post, they have stupidly assumed there is only one Ender. That this is some form of gratuitous blogspot where this Ender can malign whoever she wants without repercussion. We have rules against such antics here at The End is Not the Final Word. She cannot participate in the book discussion for any story which she authored, nor can she be involved in the debate if it is a story she has edited. This is no different from the other Enders who are also authors or editors.

Since the discovery of this Enders real name, Decadent has spent an enormous amount of time, which we personally feel they have way too much of, hunting and pecking for 'dirt' on this Ender. They have given her real name to their authors during this search. They have called her a coward, maligned her personal integrity, put her through a nightmare all the sake of a poor review in which she actually gave constructive feedback to the author and publisher.

They have come up with what they consider enough to 'OUT' her. She assures us that she has nothing to be ashamed of. Her chosen profession as and author/part-time editor/at-one-time publisher is completely transparent. She has nothing to hide and neither does her daughter whom she writes with. Nor does she let her experiences in the industry tarnish her reviews.

We believe her. Her integrity is not in question.

We have many issues with this incident. At the top of our list is how Decadent Publishing has undertaken this 'fishing' expedition. That they would actually violate this Ender's privacy, which is exactly what they did when they went out to their authors and used her real name, is completely unacceptable. She told them the truth about her relationship with the Enders and was paid back in a day long e-mail rant from the owner of Decadent Publishing. If they hold to this practice, what will they do to other review sites, or for that matter, readers who purchase the book and then give an honest review? Will they e-mail bomb a reader's in-box? Will they malign a review site on facebook or Twitter? Will they go on yet another fishing expedition to dig up 'dirt' on this person, that person, or the neighbor? We wonder.

Yes. Yes. This is over a poor review. Let's not forget that. Our Enders who are also writers assure me that they have received more poor reviews in their careers than good. Most of them said, "It is part of being an author."

I have reviewed the e-mail thread regarding this incident, and believe that our Ender maintained the high level of professionalism I expected from her in spite of being called names, being threatened, and having an extensive amount of vitriol thrown at her.

I extend my personal apologies to her. It was never our intentions when we brought The End is Not the Final Word to the web to have this happen. We are readers, and, perhaps foolishly, thought other readers would appreciate our unbiased reviews.

Let me finish by saying this - Decadent Publishing is absolutely shameful.


UPDATE: This publisher has yet again replied to our Ender. They throw around threats as if they are candy.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

We will not be Intimidated! We will not Stop!

We apologize to Dakota Trace. Our review of your book, Always the Bridesmaid, will appear next Tuesday.

To the purpose of this post:

The stupidity of some authors who can't take a review *ahem* Graylin Fox *ahem*, and must prove, 'oh, I'm so great' by running to Twitter and sniping at us has never failed to astound us. You are not the first. We highly doubt you will be the last. We chalk up your attitude to being a newbie and not being able to take criticism.

But, to be called a 'pirate' because we actually purchased our books by her publisher **ahem** Decadent Publishing **ahem** is unheard of. Because we aren't on their review list nor have we received their extra-special 'water-marked' review copy and then assume we attained our copies through some illegal means is mind-boggling and completely false. To say we aren't a legitimate review site because we aren't on their review list is laughable. To have this publisher conflate an author's emotions by going through their sale records and then tell the author that they cannot match up a name or names is ridiculously unprofessional. And they did just that.

Decadent Publishing is to blame for this. Period and point blank. They gave information to their author that was none of her business. That they tried to match us up to names in their sales records only shows the immaturity of the owner/s of this company.

Miss Fox also owns blame. We have tried to cut her some slack because we truly believe she should have had a stronger editor on Coming Home. Unfortunately, and this is readily apparent, she obviously can't take criticism, and because her ego wouldn't allow her to let go she dragged her publisher into this. This is also unheard of. Here's a clue – eventually you will get a poor review. It's the nature of the publishing industry.

It boils down to this. The Enders purchase books. We purchase not only from the publisher's site but third party distributors. Yes! Yes, we do use pseudonyms. This incident can surely show everybody why.

We have lives. We have families. We have professions. Many of us have facebook pages/twitter accounts and the likes. If an author thinks we are going to use our real names and potentially open ourselves up for a very public attack by a miffed, immature author when they should take the review and move forward is out of the question.

Reviewers beware – Decadent Publishing will call you a pirate if you don't give their author praise or you didn't receive their extra-special 'water-marked' copy.

Publishers and Reviewers beware – Graylin Fox is as unprofessional as it comes. She's proven she can't work and play well with others.

As always, we thank the other Enders spread across the nation for their time, opinion and the vigorous debate we have. If not in Decadent Publishing's opinion, then in ours, you are legitimate reviewers.

We also thank those who visit this blog and find our reviews helpful.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Review – Coming Home – Graylin Fox

Coming Home
Graylin Fox
Available from Decadent Publishing
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: 2.99

After losing her husband and son in a car wreck, Lyn is left alone. Even though overwhelmed with grief, financial responsibilities bring her back to reality. With the decision to sell her ancestral home, Lyn is greeted by memories of childhood as she meets up with the water dryad and brownie couple, who had helped her grandmother raise her. The old plantation on the coastal marsh along the bayou of Louisiana reunites her with the joys she'd long forgotten—until she finds herself in the middle of a mysterious war.

Doors open and secrets are revealed, but will she be able to survive the nightmares she'd left behind as a child or walk away with more than she'd expected?

Two Enders did not finish this super-short.

Ender Ann Marie – Never will I buy from this publisher again. If this is the drivel you choose to contract, and this is what you consider a quality edit, then you need to get someone who actually knows what they are doing. I couldn't finish Secret Santa. Now I barely made it through this poorly conceived story with its skewed logic and no firm plot. Really? You think I'm coming back for more? Not in this lifetime. Either up your quality or get out of the game. Period!

Ender Elle – Uh, and huh? I had a really hard time following this story. It's a lot to take in at once and parts are really not explained or just confusing. My biggest issue is that the editor should have clarified a lot of what is going on in a complex short story with references to Beltane, the solstices, the Seelies and Unseelies. Not to mention the White Lady who is used as the name for a property which doesn't really make sense when tied to what the Beann Fhionn is. There were many contradictions that I found difficult to absorb and then there were areas where the story shifted so abruptly to what was almost a fantasy world that I was trying to back track to see if I'd missed something.

The whole tangent between the heroine's husband and son dying is an impetus to what I think was planned as a bigger story, but wasn't well explored – I admit, I may be giving the author some credit here, but I'm trying to give her some credit. Personally, I thought these tragedies were an opportunity to build the story, unfortunately that seemed skimmed over or completely missed. It could have actually added to the depth of the heroine, which was non-existent. Emotional drive was missing but this was due to the author telling the story which made the heroine come across as very bipolar in some instances and bland as oatmeal in others.

The connection to her parents and grandmother never quite gelled because not enough information was put into the story.

The story felt extremely rushed and in need of a really good editor who could have said 'you need to add more explanation', 'you aren't really making sense', 'how many hands does your brownie have because according to you he's holding three weapons all at the same time'. I really needed more backstory and explanation to dig through this story. Still, it's a debut.

Overall – disappointing. Most of this was some big, 'new' author mistakes. Not sure if this author simply didn't perform her edit or her editor simply didn't care about the story. It's a D in my book.

Ender Esse – I should have quit while I was ahead. This story sucked from page one to page 24. I could go on and on about what was wrong with the story, but I can't site lines from the story. Brevity hurt it. Poor editing hurt it. A couple of missed words in it made sentences difficult to read. Contradictions and no firm basis for the plot line just made this story a train wreck on my screen. What was the whole purpose of this story? I have no idea. An F – all the way through.

Ender Gwen - Coming Home is the debut book from author Graylin Fox. I have to give credit where it's due. At least she had the courage to submit it into the wide world of publishing. I wanted to like this story since brownies and pixies and the like don't make the rounds often. The opening paragraphs were charming on the surface, giving me a kernel of hope that I would be in for something delightful. However, the immediate lack of description after the opening paragraphs killed the charm for me.

It's never really made clear why she left the plantation in the first place, and I found it a huge stretch to think if the heroine was indeed sent to live with her Granny from the Seelie court, she wouldn't have wanted to remain at the plantation even after her marriage—or indeed after the tragedy occurred in her life. After finding out the Granny held all this energy, the heroine's removal from the area seems even harder to believe. I would have liked an explanation of how her family came to be in power with the Seelie court to being with. And the issue with selling the house was never resolved.

There is no emotional connection between the heroine and the reader. Things are told to the reader as well as having the reader be expected to feel a reaction between the heroine and the things around her. At one point I didn't care if the heroine lived or died. The heroine goes through the motions of living, fighting and finding her long lost parents without a reaction.

This is a typical book from a very new author and many new writer mistakes are made throughout. However, the editor on this project should have caught them and insisted they be changed. Because they weren't, it brings this story down in my estimation.

Had the author taken care and time to expand the story and give an effort into world building, Coming Home would have benefited greatly from the added length. As it is, this is the case of the author slapping together a few random thoughts without having a firm grasp on character development, plot or story depth.

That's what disappointed me most.

Overall score-author – D(intriguing concept, but was never fully explored. Plot was exceptionally thin and story was all told).

Overall score-editor-D (no major grammar errors were caught).

That's our first review for 2011 – the bar has been set pretty low.

The Enders.