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Kindle Store eBook Prices Are Rising … Or Are They?

I have had to laugh lately at the rising prices of “Name Publishers” books. With the plethora of truly well written books out there by Indie Authors I no longer even consider buying the “Big Name” authors. That is what libraries are for. Their books are just too expensive for my budget. Besides, why spend a small fortune on their books when authors like Mark Henwick, Michael Angel, Susan Bliler, Celia Kyle, and many many others put out exceptional books at reasonable prices? Besides that, what possible reason, other than price gouging, can one use to justify this sort of thing? Observe:

Stephen King’s

Mr. Mercedes

Kindle $12.99  Paperback $10.40

Mr. Mercedes (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #1)

Yep. $2.59 MORE for the Kindle edition than the Print Edition. The print edition requires paper, ink, cover materials, shipping and handling. And yet, you pay MORE for the Kindle edition that has none of these inherent costs.

So, anyway…

I was reading my mail this morning, and came across a email from Bookgorilla.com. If you haven’t found the site before, I highly recommend it.

The email led me to an article entitled, “Kindle Store eBook Prices Are Rising … Or Are They?” The article includes a link to a spreadsheet of the Price Breakdown of the Amazon Top 100 Bestsellers as of today, October 7.

What I found was surprising – but then again, not. One thing that tickled my fancy is the severe drop in “Name Published” books on the Top 100 List.

“In our (Bookgorilla.com) January 2013 analysis, 58% of the Top 50 bestsellers were published by the big traditional publishers, and that figure has since declined to 38%. Conversely, 42% of the Top 50 bestsellers were published by indie authors or by Amazon’s own publishing imprints in January 2013, compared with 62% this past weekend.”

In other words, what the big publishers have won in their latest round of contract “victories” over Amazon is the right to price themselves right off the bestseller list.” – Bookgorilla.com, Kindle Store eBook Prices Are Rising … Or Are They?, October 5, 2015 by Steve Windwalker

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Screen shot by Bookgorilla.com All rights reserved.

Looking at my Library on my Kindle, I find that the Top 100 books in my library (most recent purchases – yes, I have literally hundreds of books on my tablet, rather they be Kindle, B&N, PDF, or other) none of the books cost me more than $5.99. What does that mean for the authors I buy books from? Well, the way I look at it, none of us “Normal People” have a huge supply of cash available for “Entertainment Purchases.” Therefore, pennies are pinched where we can. And having books priced $5.99 and under means that I can buy a lot more Indie books, and review a lot more Indie books, than I ever could buying the books of people like Stephen King, whose books are way outside that $5.99 personal spending limit. And I only have a few of those. The books by my favorite “Big Publishing” authors, such as Ilona Andrews? Ilona and Gordon are with Penguin, hence the $12.99 Kindle tag. Well, that is what Libraries are for! I may have to wait for my turn, but I don’t have to shell out that $13.00 price tag I can’t afford.

Where does my limit lie on the Top 100 Kindle Books List? Well, Life and Other Near-Death Experiences” by Camille Pagán holds the number one spot right now, and lists at $5.99. However, if you are  a member of Kindle First? $1.99. The Mentor by Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli is $5.99 as well, $1.99 on Kindle First. “Life” is published by the Lake Union Publishing small press, while “Mentor” is Amazon Crossing. A couple of the “Names” pop up in the top ten, “Twilight” (Of course. Sigh.) at $12.99 and “The Survivor” by Vince Flynn at $14.99. Well, there are still going to be those who will save their pennies for the higher dollar authors. Rick Riordan comes in at #14 and Lee Child at #16, but John Sanford languishes at #97.

Of course, then there are the Top 100 Free Books! What’s not to like about FREE?! Of course, those are Indie Published – and a great way to catch attention. I can think of several authors I have found through a free book and have continued to read (and pay for) so the whole “Freebie” thing worked out, as far as I am concerned! Now, it is time to go scan the free list and see if I come up with something new!

What are your thoughts? Wanna share?

 

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Review: Gray Bishop by Kelly Meade

20741176Gray Bishop
Series: Cornerstone Run Trilogy #2
Author: Kelly Meade
Publisher: InterMix
Published on: October 21, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Werewolves
Format: 313 pages, eARC

I sat back and wondered – how the hella howdy am I ever going to write this review without giving everything away? Well, here goes, and I am going to do everything I can not to toss it all out there for you and ruin the plot!

First, I didn’t read the Cornerstone Run Trilogy first book, Black Rook, but I didn’t feel too out of joint with what was going on in this second book. Bishop is a gray wolf, and Alpha – though he is the youngest of three brothers, and a weaker Gray rather than a Black Wolf like his brother Rook or a rare, endangered White like his other brother, Knight.

As another reviewer, Rabid Reads, said in her review: Meade is one cold hearted writer—I even told her so on Twitter, and she replied with an ominous cackle. And this is one cold-hearted book, as hundreds die and hundreds of others struggle to survive.

In a world where half-breeds are hated and turned away at every turn, a trio of half-breed females is wrecking a path of blood and destruction through the packs, and their quest to capture the rare White, Rook, may lead to the destruction of all the packs hold dear. Stepping up to fight them are Bishop and his love interest, the tragic and incredibly strong Jillian, whose own story is one of death and tragedy right up there with the best of all tragic heroines. Blood curdling darkness seems to be the underpinning of Meade’s writing in this trilogy, and she wrings out every drop, while keeping the reader pinned to the page.

While this is shelved with the “paranormal romance” stories, I actually take exception to that genre placement. Yes, there is romance, as Bishop and Jillian try to make an extremely unlikely relationship work, but that isn’t the heart of the story. Rather, the bonds of family, the pain of loss, and deep insanity rule the day – an odd mix of Southern Gothic and savage thriller that stands up to the best of both genres.

Yes, I will go back and read the first, and the third as well. Meade had definitely ‘gone dark’ in this series, and the depth of the story makes me anxious to get the time to read her Dreg City series, written under the name Kelly Meding. I wonder if they are as dark, bloody and luscious.

I received this book from the publisher in return for a realistic review. All thoughts, except for the quote from Rabid Reads, are my own.

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Review: The Society of Imaginary Friends by Kristen Pham

societyI had an imaginary tormentor. He was made up by my parents whenever we would go on holiday to Porta Pollensa. He was `The Vampire Man’. He lived in a house with round windows, and my parents told me that, if I didn’t behave, he’d feast on my blood. When I go there now, I still cross to the other side of the road to avoid that house. I’m a 27 year-old man. – By Toby Manhire In The Internaut

My niece was around 6 years old but could talk really well. She grew quite fond of this imaginary character named Donney or Donee. She said he would only show up whenever Mommy and Daddy went to sleep. He said she would play with her and s***. Well, one night she was in the living room resting on the couch when I walked in the door. She shot right up looked at me with the most dead but evil filled stare ever and, I quote, said, “Donney, no! Don’t hurt him! No!” then went back to a comatose that would be followed by screams of horror. This is where it gets real interesting. One day I was sitting watching the television when she looked at me and said, “Sometimes, when I’m playing with Donney, we take of our clothes an jump on the bed.” I decided to ask her what Donney looks like (no, I didn’t have a clue what I was ******* doing) and this is exactly what she said, ” He’s tall, with black and red skin. He has worms crawling out of his eyes. He also has black teeth and black hair. He wears black clothes.” – An Ask Reddit reader

What is a girl to do, when her imaginary friend is plotting to kill her? When we first meet Valerie this is a very serious consideration for her – because Sanguina, the imaginary “friend” that has tracked her all her life isn’t a friend at all. And she is setting up Valerie’s foster brother, Daniel, to die. Sanguina, Valerie’s very own personal tormentor, who doctors considered proof that Valerie was truly, certifiably schizophrenic. And to make things worse, every time Sanguina shows up, Valerie has a seizure – and now, one more of these seizures and Valerie will die.

But things are about to get much worse – because Sanguina has a partner – and he is very, very real.

Pham has made me eat my words. Yep. I have said repeatedly that I am not a Young Adult' book reader. I have found that there is a lot moreteenager’ in `teenage’ books than I can handle. Well, imagine that! LOL

Really, when you think about it, excitability and end-of-the-world histrionics is what being a teenager is all about, and the proliferation of `Young Adult’ books on the market today is, in my mind, a wonderful thing. It not only encourages teens to read, but gives them an outlet, an ability for even the shyest to realize that they are not all alone, that what is happening to their minds and bodies is natural.

So, as I was saying, Pham has changed my mind about not enjoying YA with her book, The Society of Imaginary Friends. Yes, there is a YA feel overall, with it’s compliment of temper tantrums and attitude. But this is a lot more, a testament to the strength of a young girl and her friends as they begin a fight which ultimately will become a war – a war of magic and terror, of hatred and pain which will change the fate of not one world, but two – and possibly that of the universe itself.

There is much to like about Pham’s first in The Conjurors series. The characters, Valerie, Thai, Henry and Cyrus are all well written, well-developed characters. They are brave, but not too brave. Smart, but not too smart – they feel real. Through heartache and joy, they work together to do what needs to be done in order to not only survive, but to thrive. Society is a book filled with magic and wonder – and a lot of terror and madness as well.

I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. Highly recommended.

Review: Dirty Blood by Heather Hildenbrand

dirtyIt is funny to consider an urban fantasy to be “charming” but that is just what Dirty Blood is – blood, guts, gore, murder and all. Without looking up how it is placed on the genre ladder, I would say that this qualifies as young adult, or new adult, but I found it extremely readable as an adult urban fantasy novel as well. Tara is 17-years-old, but she seems more mature, while still throwing the occasional temper tantrum. Of course, if I were her, I would have thrown a fit and fallen down in it at the way she is treated by those around her.

You see, Tara thinks that she is just a normal girl, with a normal boyfriend she has been friends with most of her life. Well, until he turned into the football obsessed moron who ditches their dates for recruiters, agents and interviews. But nevertheless, normal school, normal activities, normal life. That is, until a girl turns into a wolf right in front of her and proceeds to try her best to rip Tara’s throat out. From that point on, you can toss ‘normal’ straight out the window and go for spectacularly weird all the way around. For Tara is a Hunter, from a long line of Hunters. Genetic killers, born to kill werewolves.

As Tara’s life becomes more and more surreal, she begins to realize that her whole life has been a lie, and that she has been left open to the perils of her blooming talents and the scent of Hunter that the wolves can sense, with no training to help her survive. While her mother may have been ‘protecting’ her, she has also left her open to attack with no defense.

This is a very fast paced read. Tara is thrown into the metaphorical deep end of the pool, left to struggle to learn to fight and kill with the help of member of “The Cause” a group of Hunters and Werewolves who are trying to stop the fighting between the breeds – to create peace from the ashes of war. It is a lot for a 17-year-old to take in – especially when her mother is determined to bury her head in the sand and pretend that Tara can simply spend her life on the run, hiding from those who would kill her. Or would use her for their own ends. For Tara is something more than a Hunter, and what she is puts her at odds with both sides.

There is a love interest in the story, and it is incredibly well done. Her new boyfriend, Wes, is very special himself, a “Dirty Blood,” a hybrid of Wolf and Hunter, an abomination to those who would keep the war going to appease their own hatreds and superstitions. With a small group of friends around them, Wes and Tara have a hard job ahead of them, Tara’s harder than anyone’s as she tries to overcome the ‘protection’ of those around her which actually does more harm than good.

Overall, I would recommend this for any UF fan, male or female. I don’t normally care for YA and all the attendant ‘sturm und drang’ but this is not your typical YA. Tara is a great hero – she is strong and brave while still showing her lack of training and the shock and fear that such a tremendous change to her life, along with her fear for the safety of those she loves engenders. Of course, my favorite part of the book is during “the” big battle scene (there are several in the book) when her grandmother walks into a building full of warring Wolves and Hunters and commences to staking Wolves as if she is picking daisies. Awesome.

I received this book from the publisher in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. The next book in the series is Cold Blood. Tara has been shipped off to Hunter Boarding School, where she will be safe and cozy and well-trained. Well, the well-trained thing might happen. The rest of it? Well, that is highly doubtful….

SPIRITED LEGACY – A Lost Library Novel, Book 2 – by Kate Baray – Cover Release!

Synopsis
Lizzie receives an offer she can’t refuse—an internship at the Lost Library, home to hundreds of magical books. And to make the deal even sweeter, her prospective boss has offered to act as her magic mentor. What’s a girl to say, but yes? Except…there are the questions of her unresolved love affair, her recently acquired arch enemy, and a haunting past.
 
Can Lizzie tackle a new job, learn the magical ropes of spell casting, and save her relationship with an amazing man—all while eluding her nemesis? She’ll sure as hell try.
 
Join Lizzie as she muddles through another magical adventure, with old friends and new, making the most of what life—and the afterlife—throw at her.
Excerpt
Suddenly, the fight shifted. She hadn’t realized that John had been fighting defensively, until he wasn’t. The seething mass of tawny, silver, and reddish fur seemed to heave. Before Lizzie could properly process what had happened, the body of a red wolf—much smaller than John—was lying in a pile next to the tapestry wall. Her ears were ringing from the sound of the two shots Max had fired almost immediately, hitting first the torso then the head of the prone wolf. She couldn’t imagine he had survived his impact with the wall. Whether a broken neck or a bullet killed him, the result was the same. Even from across the large entryway, Lizzie could clearly see the open, staring eyes and the motionless body heaped into a pile of unnatural angles, loose skin, and bloodied fur. 
 
Her stomach roiled and her mouth started to water in a way that predicted the very real possibility she’d lose the contents of her stomach. She inhaled cautiously. Then exhaled very slowly, fearful a fast breath might push her nausea into vomiting. She’d seen a Lycan killed before—but she hadn’t been this close to the corpse. She took another slow breath.
 
As she struggled to stay calm, she couldn’t help but see John. His body intertwined with pale patches of fur. With just the two, she could see more detail as the fight continued. The paler wolf’s dangling and useless foreleg. The blood—definitely not John’s—splashed across his rib cage. The increasingly sluggish movements as both wolves tired. Wrapped up in the push and pull, the clawing and grabbing, Lizzie could feel her nausea recede. John would be fine. John would be fine. Almost a chant in her head.
 
This excerpt is unedited and subject to change.
MeetTheAuthor


 
Kate Baray is a paranormal romance and urban fantasy writer. She writes and lives in Austin, Texas with her pack of pointers and a bloodhound. Kate has worked as an attorney, a manager, a tractor sales person, and a dog trainer, but writing is her passion. When she’s not writing, she volunteers with a search and rescue team, sweeps up hairy dust bunnies, and watches British mysteries. Sign up for Kate’s newsletter: http://eepurl.com/WD6UD

 

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Review: Hot Blooded By Amanda Carlson

hotblood
I recommend reading the first book before reading this one. You can read this book first, but the story line will be much clearer if you read in order.

In the first book of the series, Full Blooded, we are introduced to Jessica McClain. Jessica is an oddity – born the daughter of her packs Alpha, life should be good. But there is a problem with that – female werewolves aren’t supposed to exist. And no one in the pack is willing to let her forget that she is a freak of nature. Once past puberty and not having shifted, Jessica thought she would live out her life as a human. She left the pack behind, starting a new life with a new name.
Everything was going well, until her wolf decided it was time to surface.

Hot Blooded, the second book of the series, picks up just after the events of the previous book. Told almost entirely on the road, with brief phone updates connecting Jessica to her father and pack at home, Jessica and her rather ‘unusual’ traveling companions, including two vampires loaned to her by the Vampire queen.

It took me a while to read Hot Blooded for the publisher. I started to read the book, but soon realized that I would be much better served to read the first book first. It pulled the story together for me, in a manner which I wasn’t feeling until reading the first. While there are things I didn’t care for all that much. Jessica is a bit of a Mary Sue, overcoming apparently insurmountable odds on her own.

What I did enjoy about the story is just how compassionate Jessica is for all creatures, including humans – a personality quirk that her werewolf brethren definitely are not happy about. Jessica is strong, intelligent and has her own mind, a rarity in the urban fantasy heroine tropes of the day, making her a perfect addition to the genre. I hope that she retains that compassion across the series.

A pissed-off goddess, a bright yellow Humvee, a couple of werewolves, a couple of vampires on loan (and of course, vampires being vampires, there is a heavy price to pay should she live long enough to return. Just sayin’), issues resolved and new issues opened and unresolved leads to an exciting story line which I expect much from in the future.
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I received Hot Blooded from the publisher in return for an honest review. I purchased Full Blooded on my own in order to keep the series in order and to gain a better understanding of the story line. Great cover, though!

Review: Shiftless – Aimee Easterling – A Paranormal Fantasy

Sometimes, being a female werewolf can be a flat out nightmare. Especially when your father, the pack alpha, is a brutal, psychotic mess whose only interaction with you is to issue orders on your birthday every year, then walk away. And things are made even more difficult when you can’t seem to manage your shifts, making the thought of saving yourself from the situation even more impossible.

shif
A new author with a fresh perspective on the werewolf world. Worth spending a bit of your precious reading time with.

Hated by her own father and marginalized by her father’s repressive, misogynist pack, Terra struggles with her change and, when her father demands on her sixteenth birthday that she be mated and bred, Terra finally gathers her strength and flees her fathers hateful pack. Now on her own, life as the equivalent of a teenaged runaway is hard, cold, and more often hungry than not. Then, when the unthinkable happens, Terra knows that it is time to step up and bring her wolf under control – to lock her away and live solely in the human world.

Flash forward ten years, and we find Terra curled up in a chair in a bookstore, intent on a Patricia Briggs novel. If she can’t have a pack, she can at least read about them, right? But again, fate deals her a blow as a pair of werewolves, an alpha – on leash of all things – and his beta walk into the bookstore, and straight into Terra’s life. Oh, shit. Not another alpha! And the world continues to crash around her when her father reappears in her live with ultimatums and torments, threatening to force her back into the life of servitude she has worked so hard to escape.

Will the alpha known as Wolfie and his highly unusual pack be able to protect Terra and her nephew from the torments of her father? Or will she be forced to give up her life, to bend to the will of her brutal former pack in order to save her nephew and the members of Wolfie’s pack?

This is a first novel for Aimee Easterling, and for a first, it is very well written. Even more pleasant, it is well edited, which in and of itself is a positive. The book has many of the same tropes as the ubiquitous werewolf and paranormal romance novel, which in itself is not a bad thing. Ms. Easterling has put her own unique twist onto the culture, especially in regards to Wolfie and his oddball, loveable pack. They were my favorite characters, from the yahoos (you will get the reference when you read the book) to the lesbian couple, something one doesn’t often show up in the werewolf/paranormal genre, and is a pairing that I found quite refreshing.

Overall, this is a pleasant, quirky read, recommended for a lazy afternoon with tea and a quilt, curled in your favorite chair. The book does end on a tiny bit of a cliffhanger, but not unpleasantly so. I look forward to reading the next book and watching to see if wildly disparate groups can learn to function as a community.

This book was reviewed at the request of Readergiveaways.com. All remarks and thoughts are my own.

Review: Rise of the Retics (Rosehaven: the Hidden City)

Intolerance is the most socially acceptable form of egotism, for it permits us to assume superiority without personal boasting. – Sydney J. Harris

rise
Highly creative, with exceptional world-building! Click to order.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, ‘The good outnumber you, and we always will. – Patton Oswalt

The right to survival. Throughout history, there have been those who have seen that right stripped, demeaned, destroyed. Native Americans decimated by the white invaders, the Jews (and everyone else) by the Nazis, and everyone not of their religion by the Church. And the depredations of the Church weigh heavily upon the world and the lives of those who are “different” in Rise of the Retics. In this new and fascinating world, based loosely upon the Spanish Inquisition, the church and government attempt to decimate all of the retics, creatures of myth and legend. Driven into refugee camps and denied the most basic of rights, this is their tale, a tale of imagination and great humor, yet also of viciousness and discrimination, pain and angst. And as much as I would like to say that it is only the humans who bring pain, it is also the retics who bring about pain and intolerance amongst their own.

Lantz is brilliant in his character development and perspective, his humor and world building. There are levels and degrees of creativity that are rare in many more ‘idolized’ modern books. While Lantz’s writing is perfect for the preteen audience, it is extremely pleasant for a more adult audience as well. Honestly, I would like to see this wonderful novel rise to the level of the Harry Potter series in popularity. It is more creative, the characters both more and less likable, the world fascinating and beautifully written.

And let us not forget the footnotes – they are absolutely hysterical, and lend an extra level of brightness to the story.

All in all, if you are open to a new and creative world, filled with layers and dimensions, I would highly recommend Lantz’s story. It was, in a word, fantastic.

I received this book from Storycartel in return for a realistic review. All thoughts on the book are my own. It is beautifully written, though it could use a bit of an edit. I would recommend it to the adventurous reader!

Half The Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide

women
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
Written by: Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
Length: 10 hrs and 33 mins
Format: Unabridged
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Whispersync for Voice-ready
4.40 (465 ratings)

Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn An old Chinese proverb says “Women hold up half the sky.” Then why do the women of Africa and Asia persistently suffer human rights abuses? Continuing their focus on humanitarian issues, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn take us to Africa and Asia, where many women live in profoundly dire circumstances. – Audible.com 

I am an Audible member, and today this is the “Daily Deal” from Amazon at only $3.95!

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On a personal note, I am pretty much out for the count right now with new treatments. Better safe than sorry, right? So, I am only on occasionally until Monday.  For all my friends, Not To Worry – just a slightly elevated marker count.  I have my postchemo doctor’s appointment on Monday, and after that I am hoping to get back to full potential!

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