Rating When You Didn’t Read It…

Here I am thinking about rating books without reading them. I’m beating the dead horse here, but with all the #cockygate drama, we’re seeing it all over again. Scrolling through Goodreads last night I consistently came across 1-star reviews or 5-star reviews for this author’s books and most from people who never read the books. They either feel this author is right for what she’s doing with trademarking the word ‘cocky’ and want to try to stop her ratings from dropping, or they totally hate the idea and they’re lashing out at her by bashing her books and leaving 1-star reviews.

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I remember when this happened with The Black Witch over racist characters last year and it began on Twitter. People read a review using the words ‘this author is racist’ and they retaliated by leaving 1-star ratings on the book. Not long after, it happened again with an author who threatened black magic on a reader for leaving a crappy review. The author threatened to curse him if he didn’t remove the statements he made in the review. Scads of people felt that these author’s needed to be chastised and began rating their books 1-star. I watched the ratings on both of these books drop from 4-stars all the way down to nearly 1-star in just under a week!

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Now, I totally do NOT agree with what this author is doing trying to trademark a word that’s been used for probably 500 years or more. It’s asinine and I think she’s getting some serious backfire. What she’s done simply isn’t fair, but is this really the right thing to do when upset with an author for something they’ve done? Everyone makes their own decisions, but when does is become okay to rate a book 1-star when you haven’t read it or any rating for that matter? After all, no matter what the author has done, isn’t this lying? What sort of message does it send to younger readers when they see this happening?

I have mixed emotions about it, but in the case with #cockygate, I’m truly borderline! Part of me feels like it’s wrong to rate her books based off her actions with threatening other authors, but then I also think this is the only way that people can get their point across with their voice. I’d really like to hear your thoughts. What do you think? Continue reading “Rating When You Didn’t Read It…”

Rant: It’s MY Review and There Aren’t Laws!

A few months ago I received a message from a very angry woman who wasn’t pleased with my opinions on a book I’d recently reviewed. She was upset with me for multiple reasons, but mainly because I called the characters flat and spoiled (she misread the spoiler and thought that I was calling the characters spoiled). She also said that I should’ve put some thought into my review before I wrote it and that I was completely wrong.

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I’m not going to lie–it upset me a little–and I messaged her back to kindly tell her that these were my thoughts and my HONEST opinions on the book. I also explained that I’m entitled to my own thoughts and opinions just as she is to hers. I pointed out that she read my spoiler title incorrectly and that I simply called the characters flat and the story boring.

It really got me thinking and now I’ve seen some people talk about how book reviews should be written. This is just adding more stress because now we are talking about how a review should be written and not just our personal tastes. This bothers me. Continue reading “Rant: It’s MY Review and There Aren’t Laws!”

A Dramatic Family Reunion

For about two years, I was the caretaker of a little girl that belonged to a family friend. We would take care of her roughly three to four days a week and had to regularly deal with her parents who were split up. It was difficult dealing with them because they didn’t get along at all and stress seemed to always be heightened. If she would get a scraped knee, or a bruise, I always felt like I had to have this explanation to prove everything because her parents were hyper-vigilant. Living in the country, you just expect that your kids are going to have injuries sometimes from running around in the woods or getting into things. In general, kids get injuries no matter where they live. I finally decided that after two years of babysitting, I needed to stop. I told her parents that they would have to find someone else for a caretaker because I couldn’t handle the stress anymore and felt that I needed to concentrate on my own life and children. I decided at that point that I didn’t want to be responsible for someone else’s child anymore.

Then, last September, our dog Cynder had puppies. Those who follow my posts know that we kept one puppy (Bowie), and the other two have homes not far from ours. When Fig was purchased, his owner mentioned letting us see him again and I finally got the text last week asking if we wanted to dog sit for the weekend. The kids were elated and after discussing it with my husband, we decided it would be okay. We were going to see Fig again! How lucky could we be?

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Baby Fig with Rambo the cat.

Continue reading “A Dramatic Family Reunion”

Blacklisted On Amazon – Update #1

For anyone who wants to read the original post regarding me being blacklisted from writing reviews and rating items on Amazon, you can find it HERE.

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Last Friday I was finally able to sit down and contact Amazon via chat, because it was recommend by a great friend and also a few other bloggers. Before I attempted to chat with them, I took Donna’s advice (previous post) to remove my social media accounts from Amazon and to also remove my Amazon connection on Goodreads.

Continue reading “Blacklisted On Amazon – Update #1”

Blacklisted by Amazon…

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Last year my mom and I had some issues leaving book reviews. Because she had temporarily moved in to my home and was using the same address, Amazon would not allow her to post a review for a book that I had already reviewed. They felt that her reviews would be biased because she was living at the same address. She called them on the phone and they gave her the runaround. Eventually we gave up and accepted it.

I also noticed that I was never able to use the word NetGalley or say that I received the book for free, or my review would be removed. It had to be worded that you received a “complimentary copy” or it would be removed.

Fast forward to January 30th 2018. I logged into Amazon to leave a book review and I received this message…

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This makes no sense. What previous review? I called Amazon and a woman gave me the runaround, telling me that someone would call me regarding the issue. Needless to say, nobody ever called.

A few days ago I received a specific request from an author to record my book review on Amazon. This is a book that’s a verified purchase through Amazon, by the way. I logged on and received the same message, “Sorry, we are unable to accept your review.” I became a little perturbed because this just seemed so unfair. I decided to call Amazon again. This time, the person I spoke with gave me the same information–that someone would call me back. I never received a call, but this morning I received an email from Amazon…

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Final? Obviously they’re sending this email out for all inquiries. It gets worse…

Due to my geographical location, I’m  a heavy user on Amazon. We pay for a Prime membership which (most of you probably already know) includes free two-day shipping. It’s not uncommon to purchase forty or more items a month and 98% of our Christmas and birthday gifts come from Amazon. I also purchase scads of books on Amazon as well.

When scrolling through some of my purchases from last year, I noticed that the star rating wasn’t completed on ANY of my previous purchases. Every single one of my ratings and reviews has been removed. Every single one from the beginning of time.

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Continue reading “Blacklisted by Amazon…”

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge Day 5 – My Christmas Wish List

I came across this wonderful 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge over at Abbey’s blog threecatsandagirl.  It was originally introduced by abbeycoseattle when she presented it earlier this month. As soon as I saw this, I knew that it would be so much fun. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to share some Christmas cheer on my blog. I’d like to say thanks to both of these wonderful ladies!

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~Rules~

  • Link back to Abbey’s original post here so that way she can see who all is joining and she can follow along.
  • Link back to any one of my posts in the challenge so that way I can follow along too
  • Save the image and join in for the fun!

12 Days of Christmas

For day 5, I’m going to choose #4 – Your Christmas Wish List

As far as physical things, there isn’t really anything that I want for Christmas this year. I’m happy just to be here to celebrate with my family, but there are some things that are always on my wish list. I’ve listed them below…

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Here’s my Christmas wish list – 4 things that I wish for in no particular order.

1- Peace and happiness amongst mankind- I know there’s love in this world, but the hate is almost more than I can bear. Christmas time feels so full of joy and people begin to express more kindness to one another. Why can’t it be like this all the time? Sometimes I wish I could just snap my fingers and everyone would love and accept one another, or for once, I could turn on the news without being exposed to someone bashing someone else. Is it too much to ask that we try to love and accept each other no matter our likes and dislikes? Why not offer assistance to someone? Say something uplifting to someone just because. Rather than point out someone you think is negative, help them find a positive. There are many small steps we can take to try and make this world a better place. I’m far from perfect, but I am trying to heed this advice myself.

2- The complete eradication of cancer – We just received news that another one of my uncle’s has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. The vast majority of the cancers in my family are rare and hard to treat and I can’t help but fear it myself. It’s taken so many members of my family and caused so much suffering amongst people everywhere. I pray that one day there will be a cure to end all cancers.

3- The end of animal abuse worldwide, including animal endangerment – It would be wonderful if we could live on this planet along with all the animals in harmony. Every week, my good friend Nel@Reactionarytales posts about an endangered animal and many, if not most times, these animals are endangered because we’ve done something to destroy their habitat, or they’re simply killed. In addition, there are countless animals that endure cruelty and neglect from humans worldwide.

4- For every child in this world to be safe and free to have a normal and healthy childhood – I read recently that childhood cancers are on the rise and also that millions of children have suffered from malnutrition in 2017 alone because they don’t have enough food to eat. This year there were so many child abuse cases in my general area alone, let alone all the cases worldwide. There is a massive child refugee crisis right now as I type this and children have been uprooted from their homes and exposed to danger, including war. Every child deserves to learn and grow in a healthy environment and to have their needs met. They deserve to be safe.

Continue reading “12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge Day 5 – My Christmas Wish List”

Should YA Books Have Parental Ratings?

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Here lately I’ve come across a few YA books that contained some content I thought might be inappropriate for young readers. With an eleven year old advanced reader, I’m reading more YA to be sure that the books are appropriate beforehand. YA can be directed at ages twelve on up to twenty-five which we all know is a broad range. Many of these books don’t come with an age rating at all and online research is needed, or the book must be screened beforehand.

Our library has become so strict with what children are able to check out. If they attempt to checkout an R-rated movie and they are under the age of eighteen, the computer will alert the library clerk and the movie will be put back on the shelf. However, they can check out any book they want. If a teen wants to buy a mature video game at Wal-Mart, the parent has to to buy it because they won’t allow him to.

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The problem with books is that many parents don’t have time to read and screen books before their kids read them. I’m sure plenty of parents don’t even like to read or just don’t feel the need to. Reading isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Now, I’ve read YA books that are perfect for my eleven year old and others that I’d never want her to read before she’s upper high school level. How wonderful it would be to open a book and read a short rating that stated: Strong use of language, sexual situations, suicide, incest. Then, you’d know right away whether a book is appropriate. Would that be too much of a spoiler? Maybe…

Earlier this year I read All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. I made the mistake of recommending the book to a few friends on GR. Needless to say, I lost a few friends over it and all because of the content. They told me that they never would’ve read the book had they known that a thirteen year old was having a sexual relationship with a young adult. They felt that the author was promoting this behavior and that it was child abuse. I didn’t feel that way, but it was at that moment that I realized people are sensitive to different things. What was I thinking when I recommended that book? I mean, it’s just a book, right? My thoughts were on the fact that Wavy,  at thirteen, was not like most other thirteen year olds, and that somehow that made the relationship okay. Others would say no, without a doubt, its wrong. It’s true that teens all have different maturity levels and can’t be pigeonholed, like in Wavy’s case. So saying that a book is for ages thirteen and up might not work for everyone.

I’ve also noticed that there are people who won’t read a book if it involves rape. Some people have triggers, and I’m talking about adult readers here. How would they feel about their kids reading books involving sexual situations, promiscuity, drug use, and sexual abuse when they don’t even like reading them?

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I’m getting off the YA topic here, but we as parents raise our children differently and I was thinking that ratings on YA books might be helpful to many. I personally would just like to see a short warning that stated the content where applicable, at least with YA. Like watching a movie trailer, the rating is exposed before the movie is even released. I’m not in any way claiming that the book’s content should be changed or stating that the content is bad, only that maybe it would be beneficial to have a short statement if the book contains controversial content for young readers.

Continue for my questions…

Continue reading “Should YA Books Have Parental Ratings?”

Lessons From Grandpa #3

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Me with my grandfather when I was about 1 year old.

When I was in 6th grade my grandmother received an unexpected diagnosis of cancer. It was a rare form of cancer and she had roughly 6 months to live because after watching her daughter (my aunt) suffer through chemotherapy treatments at the age of 28, she didn’t want to go through it herself. She knew it would only extend her life by a few months and didn’t want to be sick. She was very bitter about having the cancer and my grandfather was very sad. It hit everyone like a ton of bricks.

At one point, my grandmother was in the hospital for awhile and I was heading back and forth to the hospital with my grandfather to see her. It was a very eerie feeling for me being in the hospital and seeing my grandmother like that. My grandfather decided to take me to a family restaurant right across the street because we hadn’t eaten. I remember ordering mozzarella sticks and we sat at this little table together. As I sat there eating my cheese sticks this song came on the radio by Christopher Cross titled “Sailing.”

Every time I hear this song, it takes me back to that very day with my grandfather, when he sat at that table in the restaurant in tears and told me,

“Be sure to appreciate everything you have, especially your loved ones while they’re here.”

Later on that week, my grandmother became worse. She wasn’t going to be here much longer and I still wasn’t with it. I was simply too young and this would be the first death I would mourn. The situation with my grandmother was causing him a great deal of pain and I remember one day hearing him very upset in our basement. He was crying loudly, yelling at himself and throwing things around. He was saying over and over how much he was angry with himself for not telling my grandmother that he loved her enough. He felt that he hadn’t appreciated her like he should have. It really made me cry and I didn’t know how to help him. Around a month after that, she was gone.

A few years passed and my grandfather was back to golfing and living his life the best he could. I started spending more time out of the house, predominately at the roller skating rink in the next county over. I loved skating and because the rink was in a different county, I was able to meet new people from different schools. My main issue with skating was the fact that I had big feet and always had to wear these ugly men’s skates that made my feet hurt, until I came to know a girl by the name of Anne. Anne was there to mainly socialize with everyone else and because she was from that county, many of the kids there were her schoolmates. f85a1ed11c87e9aa7ca220c5d0007a53--quad-skates-speed-skates.jpgShe had these amazing black speed skates with shocking magenta wheels that were low-cut and my size! I was near a size 12 shoe at that point and it was hard for me to find anything to fit. She told me that I could borrow them if I wanted to and I took her up on the offer. They felt so smooth rolling on the ground. Every weekend we were there together I would use her skates and we came to know each other. We became best friends.

Anne was like the friend of a lifetime. She always had the right things to say and made me feel so good about myself. She was as tall as me and we had a lot in common. When I started driving, we would go places together and shop. She was a year or so younger than me, so getting my license was a huge plus for us. We had some of the same friends and It was because of her that I found my first boyfriend. She would come over often and she always enjoyed my grandfather’s company. He always had something funny to say to her. We played pool at the local pool hall, drove around listening to music, and swam in our friend Jen’s pool in the summer. Life was good. We were young without a care in the world.

One of the first things I did after graduating high school was graduating from cosmetology school. I started working in a salon right away and Anne loved it. Now she could have her hair and nails done whenever she wanted. She always said that I could create the best shaped acrylic nails she’d ever seen and loved the way I styled hair. It would be me that put her hair in an updo for her junior prom.

Another year went by and I was busy living life. I took a job managing a car dealership because it was more money, but continued doing cosmetology on the side. I got involved in a bad relationship and had made a few stupid choices, but I was okay. I wasn’t seeing Anne very much because I was just too busy for much of anything, or at least I thought I was. We sort of began to grow apart a little bit, but would occasionally hang out.

Anne was about to take a vacation to Florida with her family and really wanted me toflorida-beach-Medium.jpg give her a pedicure, manicure, hair style and the whole works. I thought it would be fun for us to catch up. I spent about 4 or 5 days heading back and forth to Anne’s house that week. She was showing me the summer outfits she bought to take on her vacation. It was a lot of fun. I can still remember sitting in her room on her super soft bed. I always loved Anne’s room. As we sat together she told me that she had a boyfriend. I was shocked! We had some real catching up to do. She told me all about how they met and I became confused. She proceeded to tell me that he was older than her and in prison. I was alarmed, but I didn’t want to say anything negative to her at this point. I asked her why he was in jail and what he did wrong, but she said it didn’t matter and that he would be getting out soon. Little did I know, this would be the last time I would see Anne.

About a month went by and Anne was back from vacation. I’d heard a rumor from a mutual friend that she was hanging out with the wrong crowd in a bad neighborhood. Her boyfriend was out of jail now and she began spending late nights with him where he was living. I tried calling her often, but her mom would always answer and tell me that she wasn’t home. She would tell me about their troubles and arguments. More than once she said that she couldn’t keep Anne home and away from these dangerous people. Anne was now 18 and able to make her own choices and she was taking some tremendous risks. We finally talked a time or two and I tried to convince her to come back home and to stay away from this group of people. She wouldn’t listen to me and at one point I felt like I’d really upset her. She said she loved this guy who was just out of jail and she didn’t think there was anything wrong with the decisions she was making. Who was I to judge? I was mainly concerned for her safety. The only time I could speak with her was when she was at home because it wasn’t common for teens to be running around with cell phones yet. Everything was different back then.

bright-hot-sun_1463106832514_1305923_ver1.0_640_360.jpgI was sitting at work a few weeks later. It was a slow day and the sun was baking me through the tall glass windows of the car dealership. It was such a hot summer that year. The phone rang and I answered it. It was my friend Michelle calling to ask me if I’d heard the news. Of course it was a ‘roll your eyes’ moment because Michelle always had stories to tell and she was the ultimate story ‘spicer’ which everyone knew. She proceeded to tell me that Anne was dead. I didn’t believe her and actually got a little mad and told her I’d call her back. There was just no way. I called Anne’s house and her mom answered the phone. Not long after my first words were spoken, I heard a dead silence on the phone. I can still remember sitting there with the phone in my hand as her mom was crying and not speaking a word. I stood up and couldn’t breath. It felt like my lungs weren’t functioning. I dropped the phone and began pacing around, out of my mind. I don’t even remember what my initial thoughts were. I just remember being in a total state of panic and denial. I got back on the phone with her mom and we both just cried on the phone together. She apologized for not calling me and told me that she couldn’t bring herself to tell me what had happened yet. Finally she told me the story.

Continue reading “Lessons From Grandpa #3”