Nov 12 2012

Why You Probably SHOULD Care About Bad Reviews

Posted by Mathias

I see a lot of authors (generally those who are self-publishing) dismiss bad reviews of their books.  Google the topic and there is no end to the number of budding authors explaining why they don’t care if someone gives their book a bad review.  Or, even worse, why they don’t even read what other people say about their book.

Well, I say that’s a bad attitude.  I think it is a dangerous stance to take where you choose to shelter yourself from criticism.  This is especially true, I believe, for indy, self-published authors.  I think you SHOULD care about bad reviews.

Look, unless you are Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, and going to sell books no matter what you write, then not caring about criticism only hurts you.  Face it, only once you are at a point in your career where you actually don’t have to worry about the critics, because you’ve proven yourself as someone who knows how to write and sell books, should you even remotely consider no longer worrying about the critics.  Frankly, most my fellow authors out there whom I have seen state they don’t care about their critics are not at this point in their careers yet.  In fact, most of them are FAR, FAR, FAR from that point. (more…)

Oct 28 2012

Book Review: Tina Connolly’s Ironskin

Posted by Mathias

Warning: May Contain Spoilers!

Ironskin follows the tale of twenty-one year old Jane Elliot, a survivor of the Great War with the Fey (magical, fairy-like creatures).  She was scarred by a fey bomb that left traces of their magic upon her.  Those maimed as such are cursed, making themselves and others around them feel a particular, intense emotion or sensation.  Jane’s happens to be rage.  To counteract the curse, those who are scared wear iron, for the Fey are repelled by it.  Jane’s scar is on her face, thus she wears a mask.  To say that Jane considers herself hideous to look at and suffers from self esteem issues is putting it lightly.

The story opens with Jane taking a governess position at an estate called Silver Birch.  The estate is home for a mysterious man (Edward Rochart) and his even more mysterious daughter (Dorie) who, despite not being scared, possesses Fey talents. (more…)

Oct 26 2012

Book Review: The Choosing, written by Jeremy Laszio

Posted by Mathias

Full disclosure: I received a free copy of The Choosing from Mr. Laszio in exchange for an honest review. 

WARNING! May contain spoilers!

The Choosing, I’m sorry to say, had a very, very difficult time even registering on my scale of 0 to 5 stars.  For the first three quarters of the book, I was seriously considering giving it less than one star.  The short reasoning for this is that this story is simply not on par with what I expect from a fantasy novel.  I think my standards are fairly reasonable.  But honestly, The Choosing feels like an unedited, or only lightly edited, draft of a story.  It is missing so much.  It does tell a story, but stumbles in doing so.  And in my opinion the story is not that solid.
(more…)

Oct 05 2012

I Do Keep A “Liars List”

Posted by Mathias

One thing I started keeping a few years ago was what I deemed as the “Liars List”. This list is composed of people who leave blatantly false reviews for books on sites like Amazon.com and Goodreads.

Mostly the “Liars List” contains people who rate incredibly awful books as “great”, “awesome”, or some other unwarranted praise. A few are those who trash books that are actually good. But the majority of them are people who, for whatever reason, give bad books unwarranted praise. Presumably this praise is to try and get people to believe the book actually has some redeeming qualities. (more…)

Oct 02 2012

Keeping Track Of What I Think Of A Book While Reading It

Posted by Mathias

Because I write book reviews for the books I read, I have to keep track of what I think as I am reading. Of course I make notes about what I think are the good and bad. But the most useful thing I do is keep track of my general feeling for a book on a little sliding scale that I made. (more…)

Sep 30 2012

Sci-Fi And Fantasy Suggestions From Audible.com

Posted by Mathias

Today I got my monthly “recommendations” from audible.com in terms of sci-fi and fantasy books. I thought I would present them to everyone else.

NOTE: On a personal basis I disagree with two of these suggestions. First is The Farseer: Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb. This book is so slow that I still haven’t been able to complete it. Second is The Scar By Sergey & Marina Dyachenko. To read my take on it, click here. (more…)

Sep 29 2012

Book Review: Daniel O’Malley’s The Rook

Posted by Mathias

Myfanwy (the w is silent) Thomas has no memory of why she is surrounded by dead people wearing rubber gloves. So starts the story told by Daniel O’Malley in The Rook. The Rook is a paranormal sci-fi / fantasy about covert British (and American) operatives who have supernatural abilities and deal with supernatural phenomena.

The story follows Myfanwy as she slowly discovers who she is. Who she is is a member of said paranormal agency, holding a position known as a Rook. She has been attacked and her memories stolen. Fortunately for Myfanwy, her former self had some prewarning that she was going to lose her memory. So the prior Myfanwy Thomas left the new Myfanwy Thomas a series of letters explaining all that she knew. (more…)

Sep 23 2012

Best Fantasy/Fiction/Sci-Fi Books I Ever Read (21 Through 30)

Posted by Mathias

This is a continuation of my previous lists:
Best Fantasy/Fiction/Sci-Fi Books I Ever Read (Top 10)
Best Fantasy/Fiction/Sci-Fi Books I Ever Read (11 Through 20)

21. 1984 by George Orwell

(4.75/5 stars) (more…)

Sep 15 2012

Book Review: The Elvenbane by Andre Norton & Mercedes Lackey

Posted by Mathias

Dragons have been spreading rumors of The Elvenbane to sew seeds of trouble among the elves who are cruel to their human slaves.  Neither dragons nor elves are native to this world, but while the elves have conquered the native humans, the Dragons have opted to hide in seclusion.  The Elvenbane follows the story Shana, a half-blood outcast raised by the Dragons and the subsequent rise of the half-blood wizards years after the last rebellion had been put down by the Elven Lords.

The story is told from the various points of views of people within the world (third person) but focuses mostly on Shana, Alara (a dragon shaman and Shana’s foster mother), and her son Kemanorel.  The story actually starts with the point of view of Shana’s mother, Serina Daeth who is a concubine of one of the elven lords.  Serina  became pregnant with a forbidden half-blood child and is fleeing for her life at the start of the story. (more…)

Sep 09 2012

Sometimes The Movie Is Better Than The Book – Sometimes Not

Posted by Mathias

There are some people who insist that the book is always better than the movie.  I don’t agree.  There are so many factors that go into what makes a good movie and what makes a good book.  I’ve seen my share of movies that actually trump the book they were based on.  As much as Tolkien fanboys disagree, Peter Jackson’s interpretation of Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring trilogy was far superior to the books in my opinion.  Tolkien’s prose is, well, cumbersome, clumsy, and a little bulky.  I still liked the books, although only The Two Towers ranks in my top 20 fiction/fantasy/science fiction books of all time.  I know, sacriledge!  Don’t care. (more…)