Monday, 24 July 2017

Books, Books, and more Books - Yes please!

Give me a historical romance novel and I am in heaven, transported through time to the world created by the author. Although love and romance is the backbone of romance novels, historical accuracy to do with place, time, clothing, and all the other wondrous elements expected of a good romance, for me, the characters must leap from the pages and become real in their own right.

If characters are mere props for the plot they won't hold me entranced, and faux period novels are two-a-penny at Amazon in recent months. The novels to which I refer are so badly researched the characters can be visualised as contemporary novels due to contemporary language and lack of authentic period feel.

A carriage is a carriage seems to be the mantra and if the book has horses and carriages that sets it in the past. No, a few horses and carriages don't make a historical novel is what I scream. A period novel must set the time and place with events or at least one or two of the characters who enlighten the reader with newspaper items, pamphlets, or some topic of conversation to place the novel within the 18th century or the 19th century.

To simply say the  novel is set de da de da is not good enough, show me, your reader, you the author know the period in which your novel is supposedly a representation of.  Don't attempt to con me with high praise editorial reviews and inflated NYT and USA Today accreditations.

To date and ten novels read in the last two months more than half of the acclaimed Regency novels fall short on London streets that are said to be grand houses during the Regency era. The most notoriously acclaimed South Audley Street itself consisted of small living accommodation over trade premises. It was never a desirable residential street in Georgian times. Mistakes of that kind deserve two stars for slack research even when the novel is well written. There, I have grumped for the day as a dissatisfied reader.      

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Why I quit Facebook.

I thought Facebook was a friendly social medium where authors and readers could get together and discuss books and learn more about each other. What a wake up call when I discovered it was a seething mire of authors who feign love and affection for fellow authors and a good many who knifed their so-called friends  in the back through private messaging. 
I hated being piggy-in-the-middle and some of the open hostility in comments made me stop and think (I don't like you, nor you, you bitchy mouthpiece, and I don't want to help you in your writing career). There were a good many unpleasant readers I met on the Georgette Heyer group as well. One or two were haughty controlling freaks who dominated threads and nasty little cliques who high-jacked threads. I got so that I hated that group, and really liked the Jane Austen Bath Society group where much nicer people were chatting.   
There were good points about Facebook and I did meet some lovely authors though few in number I would want to meet for a chat over a cup of coffee except the Austen group.  While I'm a fan of historical romance in general I do like Regency novels and I thought by joining up with several Regency themed groups, I would be in good company. I was wrong because that is where I met some unpleasant self-seeking authors who keep ramming their novels in your face. The constant begging for reviews of books really annoyed me, and I kept thinking can they be more rude and unprofessional in the way they conduct themselves on social media. Yes is the answer when authors rapidly friend you and straight way ask you have you read my books. Beggars with begging bowls accosting people leapt to mind and while I am most happy to review a book if asked nicely I didn't much like the attitude of authors who sent me details of where to get their books at my expense and then tell me precisely where they wanted the reviews posted. It never crossed their self-centred minds that I might not like the book, or that I might think it badly written or so bloody awful I wouldn't get past the blurb let alone a free excerpt or Amazon sample.           
I belong to a review blog and it's always open for submissions as you dear reader can see for yourself. The link is on the side of the page.  When I pointed that out to authors I could almost here the sigh of despair because they wanted the money as much as they wanted a review. Well tough. I only pay for books I myself want to read though will review books for the review blog.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Should you Trust Other's Book Reviews?

See the play on book lips in this image. Clever.

How appropriate is the above statement?  Quite relevant I think now that Amazon has come under attack from readers and authors alike for its draconian policy in retention of scathing book reviews. If goods are downgraded, and books are tradable goods aren't they? And if Amazon is there to profit from sale of goods why does it allow people to walk through its virtual doors and post virtual DON'T PURCHASE THIS ITEM reviews? If I were a bookstore owner and random people walked into my bookstore to place memo-stickers with claims this book is garbage I would be sorely pissed off. My bookstore would be there to sell books and for me to make a profit. So when I stop and think about that equation it makes me ponder the sanity of a bookstore where the owner allows stick-it memos to prevent sales. Amazon is littered with damaging memos in the form of book reviews and comments and it's utter insanity for any store to adopt this type of ludicrous policy.  Can you imagine Cornflake fanatics going to the local store to post anti stickers to a rival product and what other customers would think in seeing those stickers? Yes. They'd think a lunatic was on the loose.  Say no more.