Tag Archives: reviews

Reading Habits

Guy called bloke

Rory needs to know!

What Motivates your eBook buying decisions?

Buying as opposed to grabbing Prime (or other) freebies… Welp, I do like to support my writing friends and fellow bloggers, so that’s a big deal. I will also impulsively buy any random, reasonably priced book that appeals to me because… books!

Buy all the books

What buyer type are you?

Decisive – Indecisive – Reticent – Hesitant – Pondering – Thoughtful – Undecided?

Yes! 🤣

What buying decisions do you undertake when looking to purchase a new eBook? Are you influenced by any of the following and if so – which ones and why?

Positioning – from author rank to location on sales site?

No. Ick. Boring! Stats. Gross. Dumb. Don’t care about my own, lol.

Price – how much are you willing or do you expect to pay for an eBook or do you not buy eBooks and if so – why this option?

Idk. A short romance… not a lot. Would prefer if I could get it on Kindle Unlimited and unless there’s a compelling reason to pay, probably would not. (I pay $10/month for KU.) A longer, yummy romance… a few bucks, depending. Same for other genres. Am willing to shell out more for something special like Mark Manson, though I haven’t yet. He’s on my birthday list. 🎉

Description of the book content?

This is the most influential aspect to me. I avoid certain tropes: anything about Nazis and WWII, horror/horrible topics generally (except Stephen King), twins switching places, dead sisters, and the worst topic of all… getting back together with an ex. I don’t care if that’s the only way to save the planet. Find someone else to help you.

Boom Bitmoji

Book Title – does this influence you at all?

I can be swayed to make a purchase by a clever title, particularly in romance.

Cover – does it matter if the cover looks cheap, or if it is coloured or bland?

Not a fan of bad covers. It doesn’t take much effort to create an attractive cover in the KDP store… why not do that? If an author can’t be bothered, it makes me wonder what else they haven’t bothered with. Spelling? Punctuation? 🤨

Reviews – do you read or even leave reviews? Do you read the reviews others have left? Are you influenced by these?

Yes to all. I have been leaving reviews for a long time, at least the star portion. Usually, I also leave an actual paragraph as well, especially if the book doesn’t have many. And I am kind, even when criticizing. Well, almost always. If a super popular writer gets away with publishing a terrible book, I might not be that nice. I will read the Prime reviews before selecting my freebie, since usually 2 or 3 sound good and I need some way to decide. Otherwise, I like to read the reviews after leaving my own so they don’t influence mine.

I wish more people who have read and liked my books would leave reviews. That’s so helpful for potential buyers when the writer is an unknown. I’m super thankful to those who have done so! ❤️

Do you look for collections, or sets or are you happy with one offs?

Doesn’t matter.

Does the length of a book bother you? Are you looking for short or long content?

Doesn’t matter, although I do need a longie (over 500 pages) for two bingo squares. Any suggestions? I would love to support a fellow blogger! 😻

Author – Do you need to know the author or are you happy to go with unknowns?

Yep!

Recommendations – if someone you know has suggested a book, do you follow that up?

Not usually. 🤣

Needs met – do you only buy books to meet your needs or books that feed and fuel your desires?

Is there a difference between need and desire?

Einstein

~*~

Images aren’t mine.

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Bingo Update 6

See previous update here.

Look! I haz a bingo! 😀

My choice for a book in the middle of a series was Faye Kellerman’s Murder 101. I read a bunch of her books way back when, loving her main character LAPD Lieutenant Peter Decker, along with his Jewish wife Rina. Peter met Rina on a case and their relationship blossomed; he eventually discovered his own Jewish roots too. The cases themselves were super interesting as well. If you don’t know, Faye is married to bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman ~ I’ve also read some of his novels, but prefer hers.

Anyway. I grew bored with the series after a while and quit reading the new books. But then I found Murder 101 in the used book pile and it intrigued me. Peter has retired from the LAPD and moved with Rina to a sleepy town in upstate NY where “nothing ever happens.” Hehe. There’s a snotty young Harvard dude named Tyler that Peter is forced to work with. Fun! It is a fun read… for a while.

Then the book gets totally bogged down in this morass of art history relating to stolen Russian religious whatsits. Tyler literally googles shit and reads it word for word to Peter in blocks of text. Ughhh boring! And while Faye did her usual great job with the main characters of Peter, Rina, and Tyler too, the suspects were interchangeable and dull. I couldn’t care about any or remember who was who after a while. Honestly, now, a few days after finishing the book, I don’t recall who the actual murderer was! Omg.

Here’s another issue with Faye’s writing, and I vaguely recall it from the past: too few dialog tags. While it’s not necessary (and sometimes annoying) to put “Peter said” and “Tyler said” after every para, you can’t go a dozen with none. Several times, I found myself going back up and counting them to figure it out. Happy medium, folks.

All that said, I gave the book 3 stars. I liked it overall. Some good, some meh. I see there are more FK novels continuing with Peter working in the sleepy little town and interacting with Tyler, who has become a family friend, and I’d give the next one a shot.

But not for this bingo… it’s time for a sci-fi or dystopia methinks. I mean, besides the one we’re living in… 😱

~*~

Image from Kriti & Ariel.

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Make Me A Sandwich

Yummy veggie sandwich

This is the yummy veggie sandwich I used to get at our office building café BC. How I miss it… and my office! I’m one of those odd people who like working in an office every day. And I liked going to school way back when too. 📚

At first, I was gonna riff on the whole “sand witch” thing, but a billion people got there first. I hate when that happens. Which it always does. Instead, I will reminisce about the time that I actually got out of bed to make a guy a sandwich and he complained later that I hadn’t baked him a lasagna. True story for the #paulacanpickem file.

Anyway. The veggie sandwich isn’t my very favorite sandwich; it’s just my favorite that I used to get while working. My favorite is probably a grilled cheese and tomato. I’ve experimented with various breads and different cheeses, and I have to say that I always return to rye bread and American cheese. I also like my grilled cheese very well done, almost burnt, not golden like they serve it in restaurants.

Grilled cheese sandwich

Another favorite sandwich is loxonabagel. Yes, all one word like that. Most of the time, I have this deliciousness open-faced, but it still counts as a sandwich.

Lox and bagel

Please note how it’s perfectly fine and even recommended (by yours truly) to dot the cream cheese with capers, but I’d rather not have onions on my loxonabagel sandwich. And please no tomato! Save that for grilled cheese. Keep your sandwich fixings in their lanes.

Yes, I know there is tomato in this photo. I am just saying. The only way to know your loxonabagel is better sans tomato is to have one with tomato, amirite? 🤣

Moving on. Some people call a hamburger a sandwich… are you one of them?

Cheeseburger CD holder

I think it’s acceptable! The point is to have a thing between two other separate things. I’m defining it that way to eliminate stuff like pie, which is #notasandwich, but to include sandwich cookies, which we will discuss in depth soon. You didn’t think I was going to end this post without talking about cookies, did you? 😱😱😱

Anyway. Here we have a bun (hun), which is two separate bread pieces, and it creates a convenient way to hold the things inside, which we then can nom while continuing to lose at cards, just as the Earl of Sandwich envisioned. Of course, we must not nom on the pictured cheezberder because it is a CD holder and that would be gross.

Five years ago, when we were living like normal humans, relatively speaking, my eldest took me to a wonderful high tea in Northern California. We had the most scrumptious little cucumber sandwiches and other delights and pastries, and of course many pots of lovely tea. 💖

High tea

Before I bring the dessert cart, please allow me to pay tribute to one of the best combos ever invented: the peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

Peanut butter and jelly

My favorite combo is Jif smooth PB with blackberry or strawberry jam (not jelly) on whole wheat. What’s yours?

Okay, onto the sandwich cookie! Oreo has a baZillion flavors out now, some totes ridonkulous, but I must admit that besides the Double Stuf original flavor, I thought the cookie dough was pretty tasty.

Cookie dough Oreos

Up in Northern California (again ~ they have yummo food!), my daughter treated me to this divine hazelnut pastry at an Italian bakery.

Hazelnut sandwich pastry

So so good!

In my fantasy of living a normal life again, whenever that may happen, if it even ever does… I’ll walk into a restaurant without worrying about the last time everything was soaked in bleach, order a sandwich at the counter without fretting over how close people are standing to me, and calmly eat my lunch in a booth with my mind on my blog or a book or work or family or friends or whatever thing other than the you know what!

~*~

Images all mine.

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Bingo Update 5

Book bingo challenge

See my previous update here.

For the anthology box, I read When Love Rises by Michelle Stradford. I enjoyed it and gave it a 4-star review. Not 5, since I couldn’t connect that well with some of the poetry at the beginning. Here is my full review on Goodreads, Amazon, etc.:

I especially connected with the later poems in this book where I felt her true soul was laid bare. That painful, powerful imagery resonated with me. Throughout, her poetry contains wonderful metaphors and striking language. A joy to absorb.

I love poetry. I’m trying to get in the mindset to write more myself, but it’s so hard to focus because of the thing.

Next, I read Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, a book I meant to read last year. This book really grabbed me, which is odd because it focuses on topics I normally shun. First, it has a huge emphasis on the mother-child bond, in a kaleidoscope of viewpoints. Second, the story is told from the eyes of teenagers a huge chunk of the time. These days I generally dgaf about the angst of teenagers. You think it’s bad now, kids? Just wait. Third, there’s the familiar trope of boring suburbia, the bad that lurks beneath, and the MPDG who twirls in and shakes everything up.

And yet… the story held me immediately. I needed something exactly like this right now, something so different from what’s happening in the news. Remember when we as a nation were riveted by a stain on a dress? That was the most important thing going on. I find it hard to focus on trivia, but I don’t feel like watching a movie either. I haven’t turned on my TV in days except to exercise to a video (I get the news online).

So anyway. That’s when LFE took place, in the Time of the Blue Dress, around 1997, in a wealthy Ohio suburb. I was riveted by the story; I really wanted to discover what the various characters would do. Their actions seemed surprising at times and yet also inevitable, which I admire in writing. It’s a fine line. You don’t want to be predictable, and yet you want your readers to say… oh, of course. They would have done such a thing. I can totally see it now. And there were so many layers upon layers to each character and the part they played in this drama, that the finished “cake” felt fully earned.

I gave LFE 5 stars despite the fact that Ms. Ng had POV breaks within scenes and lengthy, meandering backstories with POV breaks in those too. That just goes to show you that the story and characters are everything; rules are still important, but they can be broken. I’m not sure why Ms. Ng broke them, but with her credentials you know she knows them. They weren’t mistakes. One critic suggested it’s a cliche to have someone die on an icy road or of a brain tumor. I didn’t cringe when reading them, but I can understand someone not liking those sections.

I can see that same critic’s point about the trope of the MPDG breezing into the small town and turning it upside down while discovering all is not what it seems. I guess there’s also the trope of the naive country bumpkin stumbling into the big city and encountering cynics and meanies. But everything has been done. The key is to bring your own voice and spin. That critic doesn’t believe that Ms. Ng added anything new, but LFE struck me as fresh and engaging.

To each their own! 🙂

~*~

Image from Kriti & Ariel.

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

PFF40: Another Review!

Friday Flashback

Welcome to Paula’s Friday Flashback! This is a challenge begun by Fandango and it’s fun to see what we posted back when (as well as the comments). The post below is a reblog of a post I made exactly 7 years ago. As I said in my #PoiMe, so many of my reblogs are reviews because I hosed most of my old meanders. Oh well, I hope some of you enjoy reviews. 🙂

Safe Haven, Part II

So, I’ve been noodling on this Safe Haven novel by the famous Nicholas Sparks (Part I of my reviewish thingie is here). The entire concept of the book is much like a novel I read a while back called  Running Wild by Linda Howard and Linda Jones (except SH was published first). Makes sense then that I’d do a compare and contrast ~ spoilers will abound, so if you’re planning to read either book and want to be surprised, you should exit now and check out some otters.

1. Basic premise. Heroine runs away from her life to escape Bad Man (abusive husband in SH and crazy stalker date in RW) and ends up in a small town in the middle of nowhere (North Carolina in SH and Wyoming in RW). She takes a job as a waitress.

2. Stolen ID. Heroine steals/fakes a new identity when she starts her life over because Bad Man is a cop who will not only find her if she resurfaces for one second under her old name but also kill her. He will also have immunity, natch, being a cop, or so she believes. She must therefore act secretive and weird, which intrigues the hero.

3. Hero haz problems! In SH, Alex is trying to run his business and take care of his two kids, but the wife/mommy has died ~ oh noes, now what? It is so hard doing all this alone. In RW, Zeke is trying to run his ranch and take care of his aminals and men, but his cook wants to retire ~ oh noes, now what? Should he hire that secretive, sexy new waitress at the diner? Omg, decisions…

4. One slip-up. In SH, all it takes is one kind word from a neighbor to get Bad Man Kevin hot on Katie’s trail (IIRC, this is way similar to Sleeping With The  Enemy). In RW, Zeke’s old cook does an internet search on Carlin, which pings Brad and lets him know that someone in WY is looking for his honey.

Here are some major differences in the novels.

5. The Bad Men. While both Kevin (SH) and Brad (RW) are horrible creeps, Sparks took the time to make Kevin an actual character you can feel some degree of sympathy for here and there. It’s interesting, in an awful way, to take that journey down to NC with him. Brad’s just a cartoon Bad Man.

6. The Good Guys. This is the opposite of the Bad Men. In SH, Alex is bland and boring; while in RW, Zeke is sexy and exciting. Alex is way too nice for a romance novel hero ~ then again, Sparks says his books aren’t RNs, but “love stories.” Gak. Okay.

7. Motivations. Sparks does a good job in laying out his protags’ motivations. Katie needs to escape the abuse; Kevin wants her back ~ and they both love each other (or did at one point) in a sick way. This is all believable. And even Alex’s sweet gentle kindness is believable, though not very sexy. The Lindas didn’t do quite as well in this area. We’re supposed to believe that Brad, a cop, went totally bonkers after a couple dates with Carlin, and began trying to kill her when she turned him down. Now I know guys can be nuts ~ we’ve documented that right here on this blog, but EVEN SO.

8. Sex. Now this is weird. RW is a typical contemporary romance novel in that it contains a good amount of steamy sex between the hero and heroine. SH has none, zero, zilch. Actually SH has no sex between the hero and heroine, but what it does have are abusive sexual encounters (mostly fade to black type) between Katie and Kevin. Don’t you find this odd? Here’s a purported “love story” (not a “romance novel”) where there is no sex between the two main characters during the time of the story, yet there are descriptions of sex between other characters. It’s almost like Sparks is saying that his protags are too pure to be sexual.

Well, whatever. There’s enough room in the world for Sparks’ love stories as well as sizzling hot romances, right? It’s funny though that the Sparks’ books are respected and made into movies while romances are still best hidden away in brown paper bags. I mean, it’s perfectly fine to read Safe Haven out in the open while eating your lunch in the office despite the fact that there is a cute couple on the cover about to kiss, but I wouldn’t bring Running Wild to work with the shirtless cowboy cover since I know what all goes on in there. That’s meant to be read in secret while eating DS Oreos.

/end reblog

~*~

Image from Pexels.

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Bingo Update 4

Book bingo challenge

See my previous update here.

I read 30 First Dates by Stacey Wiedower for my book with a number in it. At first, I expected this to be a fluffy, predictable romance I could read quickly. Well! I did read it quickly, but it wasn’t that fluffy or predictable. I loved it. All the characters were quirky and interesting, and the plot did loop de loops I did not expect. Also, the story centered around blogging. Hello! Yes, there were some unrealistic moments, but mostly I thought it was very well done. I’ll be looking for more of Stacey’s books in the future. 😍

PS: The next book that Goodreads showed me was Erin at 35, all yuppily successful and struggling to complete her new bucket list. Meh. Not interested.

For the beautiful cover square, I chose a non-fiction book from the library. Actually, my friend found it for me in the used book sale pile. The Romantic English Garden with text by Jane Taylor has stunning photos of gardens as I expected from the gorgeous cover. But I gave this book only 3 stars on Goodreads. The narrative was kinda boring and not that well proofread. I would have enjoyed more poetry and juicy tidbits of gossip about castle owners rather than dull lists of flower names. 🌷🌷🌷

For a colorful book, I chose Black Sheep by Rory Scholl. What a strange book; I don’t know what to make of it. Is it fiction? Is it autobiographical? Is it both? Chunks of a comedy routine (he’s a comic)? It was short enough that I read the whole thing in one blast before going to sleep the other night, and I flung a 4-star rating on it because it held my attention. But I’m not rushing to read anything else by Rory. It’s not because I think he’s using his relatives unfairly for comedic value (assuming they exist), but because I feel it’ll just be more of the same. You know… sincere but bumbling guy keeps getting in trouble when other peeps with impure hearts skate along doing better. One book is enough.

Woohoo, lookit my bingo card progress! ✨

~*~

Image credit to Kriti and Ariel.

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

PFF39: Another Re-Review

Friday Flashback

Welcome to Paula’s Friday Flashback! This is a challenge begun by Fandango and it’s fun to see what we posted back when (as well as the comments). The post below is a reblog of a post I made almost exactly 6 years ago… on February 27, 2014.

Erotica Review

I read Susie Bright’s Three The Hard Way (Susie presented the three novellas, which were written by different people)… and I was a little surprised that this is considered “erotica.”

I mean, yes, there was sex and a lot of it, but the stories didn’t seem designed to titillate the reader. In fact, the first novella, “The Motion of the Ocean,” was rather gross. None of the sex scenes were arousing; they were scary and sad and desperate and disgusting. But the novella itself was superbly well written and I felt bad when Collette’s story came to an end. I enjoyed it so much I’m going to check out more writing from Tsaurah Litzky.

The next two novellas were written by men… and I didn’t enjoy them as much as Litzky’s. “The Widow” by Greg Boyd had an interesting device ~ sort of a story within a story ~ that was kind of interesting, but the entire thing was a set-up to a predictable ending. Not that this is so terrible (it’s what I expected from erotica), but since I read Litzky’s first, I was hoping for more.

The last story, “Shadow of A Man” by William Harrison, was too political and erratic for me. I wanted to read about love and sex and I got apartheid and death. Wha? OK, there was plenty of sex in there, too, but eh. I couldn’t really care about the main character enough to fully appreciate the story.

The takeaway though is this ~ erotica isn’t necessarily a bunch of mindless sex, as I had thought. There can be plenty of solid, meaty (sorry!) good storytelling along with the more salacious sections.

I’m glad I expanded my horizons here. 🙂

/end reblog

~*~

Image from Pexels.

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Navel Glazing

Magenta daisy

Dr. Tanya asks more blogging questions about blogging bloggers…

 1. Do you like to respond to writing prompts?

It depends. I haven’t been doing many this month because I had a lot of other stuff going on. I committed to doing the daily music prompt for Bee, and I was busy with my political love story. But yesterday I did a combo post for Fandango’s Flash Fiction prompt, and that worked out well. When I do writing prompts, I like to combine them.

Typewriter explosion

 2. Do you feel that they add value to your blog?

Fiction and poetry add “value” to my blog, as do posts about writing in general, book and movie reviews, and other cultural jabber that can add depth and interest to fictional settings and characters. What doesn’t add value are boring “Facebook” type get-to-know-ya lists of favorite colors and ice cream crap posts that I try to avoid.

I love to read other bloggers’ short fiction and poetry, whether from prompts or not. There’s so much creativity here!

 3. What is your favourite kind of writing prompt?

I am more likely to respond to an idea, or words that together form an idea in my mind. Sometimes I’ll respond to a dreamy picture that inspires a poem.

Walking with a red umbrella underneath a full moon

 4. Which ones are you less likely to do?

I won’t post yucky pictures here and I try to avoid politics, religion, and graphic sex, not that this is a blog for little kids or anything. But those are my preferences. If you want to read spicier stuff from me, buy my books.

I also don’t like a lot of rules about writing for fun. When I post a prompt, I tell people to respond how they wish. To me, that’s ideal. If I see a prompt that tells me I need to reply with 87 words all starting with Q, stand on my head, and click a freaking blue frog, ya know what? HARD PASS.

Bitmoji boom

~*~

Image credits to Bitmoji and idk… Google?

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Book Bingo Update

Book bingo challenge

Some of you may remember that I started the Book Bingo Challenge. Here is my first post on the topic with the three books I had already read and one in progress. That one was When We Believed In Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal. This was the best book I’ve read in ages and I highly recommend it. It had two POVs, so I checked that box.

Next, I read our very own Melody Finch’s We Hide What We Hate About Ourselves. I loved this book too. It allowed me to check the box for a book published in 2020.

Yesterday I finished a nonfiction book by Roger Rosenblatt called Rules for Aging. It was mildly amusing and had some clever insights. The best one was, of course, something I always say: no one is thinking about you, so quit worrying so much about it–they’re all thinking about themselves. But I prefer fiction in general.

I have a bunch of books to choose from to continue my card. I love to read! Also, I’ve finished writing my quirky political love story and am submitting it to Amazon for Kindle tonight, so expect me to nag you to buy it. 😀

~*~

Image credit to Kriti and Ariel.

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

PFF36: Dark Review

Friday Flashback

Welcome to Paula’s Friday Flashback! This is a challenge begun by Fandango and it’s fun to see what we posted back when (as well as the comments). The post below is a reblog of a book review post I made on February 7, 2015.

Dark Places [by Gillian Flynn]

I finished this book tonight and gave it 3 stars on Goodreads. Kinda disappointed and I think this will be the last GF book I buy.

I adored Gone Girl, despite the preposterous plot. I simply loved the way Flynn went so deeply into both protagonists’ mindsets, motivations, backgrounds, etc. She put us right there, not on their shoulders, but behind their masks, down into their twisted souls. We totally perceived everything they did and understood how they processed each bit of data. Their behaviors made sense, given their set of circumstances.

Flynn does all that again in Dark Places, but only for Libby. I could not relate to Ben very well or understand his behavior. I don’t feel his extreme actions were earned by his circumstances. I also couldn’t relate to Patty or Diondra. They simply made no sense to me, especially Diondra. I guess she was “just a wacko.” We have to accept that. But it’s unsatisfying.

The worst thing though was when we discovered the truth about “that night,” and it came down to a series of unbelievably ridiculous coincidences all occuring in perfect harmony. I was totes disappointed.

I loved the entire scene with Libby, Diondra, and Crystal. Perfectly executed. And the small, predictable action of Libby’s that led to the later big reveal was very clever. But that simply wasn’t enough to overcome the suspension of disbelief required to comprehend Ben’s character and the coincidences.

So, 3 stars for Dark Places, meaning I liked it, but that’s all.

/end reblog

~*~

Image from Pexels.

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.