Roses & Thorns

Roses & Thorns

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Grandma Must Die by Maureen L. Bonatch


Carman has worn out more towns and last names than impractical shoes protecting the secret of her magic blood. But when a friend goes missing, and another is infected with a deadly spell, Carman must choose. Expose her magic blood by curing the spell—or stop the infection from spreading by killing the source…the grandmother. Magic bounty hunter Dylan has scoured libraries of banned magic paraphernalia seeking a method to distinguish genuine witches from impersonators. He suspects unorthodox librarian Carman might hold this information tighter than the hair he’s dying to unleash from her bun. With a past as hidden as his sleeve of tattoos, Dylan discovers he’s been used to gain Carman’s trust, and their passion risks more than mixing mortals and magic.
About the Author:

Growing up with four siblings had Maureen familiar with escaping into a good book, or the recesses of her mind. She realized later in life everyone didn't have characters telling stories in their heads, or weren't envisioning magic and mayhem within the everyday. This, and long walks in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania spawned a love of writing.

Since her desire to become a Solid Gold Dancer was thwarted when the show was discontinued, Maureen opted to pursue other paths. Writing stories proved fruitful, while other endeavors, such as challenging a fear of heights with parasailing, were unsuccessful. Therefore she's chased other interests, though none-the-less-daring, but closer to the ground, such as belly-dancing, becoming a self-proclaimed tequila connoisseur, fulfilling her role as biker babe to her alpha hubby and surviving motherhood to twins.

She pens stories boasting laughter, light suspense and something magical in the hope of sharing her love of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary world.

Review by Rochelle:

I really wanted to enjoy Grandma Must Die and to an extent, I did. I liked the characters and the plot grabbed me and kept my attention.

But really, what has happened to editing? Where was the editor of this book? I know we tell our authors not to use too many adverbs, but substituting adjectives is not the answer; it’s just bad grammar. Grandma Must Die was also full of sentence fragments. In fact, the final sentence of Ms. Bonatch’s bio was a sentence fragment which I edited to read as a sentence. It originally read “Penning stories boasting laughter, light suspense and something magical in the hope of sharing her love of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary world.” That’s not a sentence.  Penning, boasting and finding are gerunds. There is no subject and no verb in these lines. No one is doing anything. There are a lot of instances in the book like this where I would read several lines, and then go back to see what I’d missed because it went nowhere and I was confused. Then I’d realize it was another fragment. That slowed the action considerably.

The Wild Rose Press needs to find some editors who at least know enough about grammar to recognize problems and look up the solutions in The Chicago Manual of Style. It’s as simple as changing a gerund like “Penning” to a noun and a verb like “She pens.” As for the adverb/adjective dilemma, if you use a strong enough verb, you won’t need either. When a person rushes to the door, they don’t need to do it quickly—or worse yet, quick.

It’s bad enough when an indie author has grammar problems, but it’s shameful when a book that’s supposedly been edited has them.

As I said, I liked the characters and the plot really engaged me, so while the grammar made me want to toss my Kindle across the room, Grandma Must Die was good enough to overcome that obstacle and earn four roses.

Heat Rating:  R
Length:  318 Pages
Print:  $16.99
Digital:  $3.82

You’ll notice we always include the publisher’s buy link. That’s because authors usually receive 40-50% of the net proceeds from the publisher. Editors and cover artists usually receive about 5%. When you buy a book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or another third-party vendor, they take a hefty cut and the author, editors and cover artists receive their cuts from what is left. So, if a book costs $5.99 at E-Book and you buy from there, the author will receive about $2.40-$2.99. If you buy the book at Amazon, the author will receive about $1.70-$2.10.

Download the file from the publisher onto your computer as you would any other file. I’ve created a folder for books on my computer, with subfolders by source (Marketing for Romance Writers, Net Galley, Authors who find me on Kindle lists, etc.). That way, if there’s a glitch with your Kindle, the books are on your computer. Some publishers send books in all digital formats. If my Kindle breaks and my kids buy me a Nook, I won’t have to replace all of my books. If you have a Kindle and your hubby has a Nook, you won’t have to buy separate copies, so buying directly from the publisher can save you money.

Moving the file from your computer to your e-reader is as easy as transferring any file from your computer to a USB flash drive. Plug the larger USB end of your e-reader charging chord into a USB port on your computer and simply move the file from the folder into which you’ve downloaded the book to Documents/Books directory on your e-reader. Your author will be happy you did when he/she sees his/her royalty statement.

Thanks for visiting. Donna, Julie, & Rochelle

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

One Night in Pamplona by J. D. Martins


Jeff has twenty-four hours in Pamplona during his tour of Spain—a well-earned vacation from his busy job as a Boston paralegal. Just enough to experience the first day of the famous San Fermin festivals, to enjoy the celebrations, party all night and, of course, take part in the Running of the Bulls. If he can flirt with an attractive tourists or pretty local, so much the better: he’s a single man and he’s not looking to change that.

Meeting Idoia, he’s taken aback by her looks, and the fact she gives him the time of day. She tells him she’s just practicing her English. He convinces her to join him in the town square for the official start of the festival. In the crush their bodies can’t help but touch the way he’d hoped. Idoia shows Jeff a side of Pamplona he’d never have seen without her, but she’s dismayed at his plan to run with the bulls. Jeff doesn’t want to upset Idoia, but his one night in Pamplona will be incomplete without a bull run. Will their relationship last the entire night, or will Idoia give up on Jeff as an arrogant idiot intent on needlessly endangering himself?

Ten percent (10%) of the author's royalties will be donated to WWF, the World Wildlife Fund.

About the Author:

J. D. Martins is a pseudonym. The author does not include his biography or photo under this name.

Review by Rochelle:

It’s probably a good thing Mr. Martins didn’t tell me One Night in Pamplona was an erotic romance. Chances are I would not have reviewed it. I’m not fond of erotica. One sex scene per book is plenty for me. By the third one, I was skimming the sex looking for more of the story. Fortunately, even in seventy-five short pages, there was one.

My all-time favorite account of the running of the bulls in Pamplona is in Terry Pratchet’s Witches Abroad in a chapter entitled “That Thing With the Bulls.” It’s a satire and funny as heck.

Mr. Martins’ account of One Night in Pamplona explains the festival that surrounds the tradition and the cruelty that fuels it, as the bulls are prodded to stampede down the street. He also takes us on a tour of Pamplona, describing the architecture and history of the town, all the while drawing full characters and leading them through a steamy day and equally steamy love story—in a novella. Kudos, Mr. Martins.

Heat Rating:  R+
Length:  75 Pages
Digital Price:  $0.99

Thanks for visiting. Donna, Julie, & Rochelle

Sunday, January 24, 2016

An Invisible Client by Victor Methos


I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
For high-powered personal injury attorney Noah Byron, the good things in life come with a price tag—cars, houses, women. That’s why he represents only cases that come with the possibility of a nice cut of the action. But as a favor to his ex-wife, he meets with the mother of twelve-year-old Joel, a boy poisoned by tainted children’s medicine. While the official story is that a psycho tampered with bottles, the boy’s mother believes something much more sinister is at work…and the trail leads right back to the pharmaceutical company.
As Noah digs deeper into the case, he quickly finds himself up against a powerful corporation that will protect itself at any cost. He also befriends young Joel and breaks the number one rule of personal injury law: don’t make it personal. Faced with the most menacing of opponents and the most vulnerable of clients, Noah is determined to discover the truth and win justice for Joel—even if it means losing everything else.

About the Author:

Victor Methos is a former prosecutor and is currently a criminal defense attorney in the Mountain West. He is the author of over forty books and several short story and poetry collections.

After completing his undergraduate education at the University of Utah, Mr. Methos abandoned pursuing a doctorate in philosophy for law school. A partner at a law firm he helped found, he has conducted over 100 criminal trials and has been voted one of the most respected criminal lawyers in the West by Utah Business Magazine.

Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, and having lived throughout the world before settling in the United States, Mr. Methos loves experiencing new cultures and peoples. His current goal is climbing the Seven Summits, and hopefully not dying in the process.

Review by Rochelle:

I can’t quite believe I burned through 254 pages of An Invisible Client in less than twenty-four hours, during which I got about five hours of sleep interrupted by bathroom breaks and phone calls. It was riveting.

Coming from a background of poverty and abuse, Noah Byron is all about money and the power it brings. He studied law because it was lucrative and took almost as many marketing as law courses. He freely admits he’s an ambulance chaser, but he only accepts cases he can win with at least a six-figure payout—for him and his firm. So why does he take the case of Joel, a twelve year-old boy poisoned by tainted cough medicine? He looks into as a favor to his ex-wife, planning to meet with the CEO of the pharmaceutical firm, get an apology and hear him say, “We’re doing all we can to find the psycho who tainted that medicine.” Then he can turn down the case and call his ex-wife to tell her he looked into it. But he’s met not by the CEO, but the CEO, the company’s attorney, and a full phalanx of attorney’s from his law firm. Noah decides there might actually be a case there.

Then he breaks his own rule number one. He meets Joel and finds himself becoming more and more attached, even sleeping at the hospital. From there, he does whatever it takes to bring the pharmaceutical company to justice—including turning down seven-figure offers to settle with the usual non-disclosure agreements attached, and telling his partners to back-off when they raise concerns about how much the case is costing. No gag orders for Joel or his mom. It’s no longer about the money.

Needless to say, An Invisible Client was an engaging, fast-paced book that sucked me in on page-one and kept me reading. The characters were well-drawn and Noah’s transformation crept up on him, causing him to dig into layers of his own psyche he’d long buried. Ya know, I didn’t even notice if there were any editing glitches. How refreshing—a self-published book that’s really well done.

Don’t start reading An Invisible Client if you have any appointments or plans. You won’t be able to put it down, either.

Heat Rating:  PG-13
Length:  254 Pages
Print:  $11.99
Digital:  $3.99
Audio MP3:  $9.99

Thanks for visiting. Donna, Julie, & Rochelle