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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Random Interview Saturday! Lia London

The H. L. Burke Random Interview is not like other interviews. The questions are all over the place. They have no purpose. Their purpose is their lack of purpose.
There are nine questions because cats, but these nine questions are subject to change without notice, so the questions one person answers may not be the questions answered by the next author.

Today's guest who has dared to enter the HALLS OF DOOM is Lia London.

Lia London

You can rescue a fictional character from certain death or resurrect them to live again. Who do you save? Alternately, is there a fictional character deserving of death who you would like to destroy? 
The first one that came to mind was Professor Lupin from the Harry Potter series. I know I should have said the Weasley twin or Dobby, but I remember that seeing him laid out among the dead in the movie (even though I’d read the book) upset me the most, maybe because I’m a teacher. And I wouldn’t want to take away from Dobby’s glorious sacrifice

If you could enter any fictional world, which would you choose?

Well now my brain’s already there, so I’d have to say a post-Voldemort Hogwarts world. Like Harry, for whom it was all new, I found the creativity of what could be done with magic fascinating. I’d probably want to hang out with the Weasleys, especially knowing that Hermione would visit regularly. Smart, good, down-to-earth people who found a better way to wash dishes.

If I were to invite you over, what snacks would you bring, keeping in mind that fruit and dried fruit are not snacks?
Some of it would depend on what we were doing and if a bunch of other people were going to be around. If it were a large social gathering, I’d bring Ruffles sour cream and cheddar chips in the biggest bag possible because I’d need the carbs as comfort food. I don’t like crowds. If it was just us chillaxing, I’d get some really good Swiss chocolate. (Does this mean I get to come over?)

Who is your fictional best friend and what activities do you choose to do together?
I’m going with the first thing that popped into my head, even though it’s marginally off-topic: Atticus Finch as portrayed by Gregory Peck in the old black & white movie. Because he’s perfect. And he likes to read, so we could just curl up on the porch swing, and I’ll let him read to me in that big, deep voice while I just look at him. Yeah. That’d work for me. 

You can time travel in an oddly specific way that only allows you to visit other authors. Where do you go and what do you do?
C.S. Lewis of Narnia fame and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes fame. With Lewis, I’d love to wander through assorted castle ruins while he talks about the spiritual journey that led him to write his various works. Why old castle ruins? Because I love the serenity of them. I love imagining the past. And they make me think of Narnia. With Doyle, I’d love for him to give me a walking and/or hansom cab tour of 19th century London and talk to me about how he created such great mysteries to solve. I guess I like to “talk shop” on location. 

Most RPGs have three basic classes: healers, who heal; tanks, who protect other party members from damage; and dps who damage the bad guys. Which are you? Points if you’ve actually played an RPG and can tell me about your in game character.
I’m going to lose points here because when I saw RPGs, I wondered vaguely if it had to do with cars or computers. Of the three classes, though, I’d definitely want to be a healer. Yes, I have a fierce protective instinct, but generally, I’d rather be in the quieter mode of rejuvenating and empowering than blasting back the enemy. Unless, as per references in the first two questions, I pull a Molly Weasley and take out Bellatrix LeStrange. That was some awesome Mama Bear action there.

The Flying Dutchman is offering you three wishes. How do you maximize your wish potential?   
Wow, that’s a hard one. I’m not one who really covets a lot of material things, but I might word things inclusively to say something like, “Perfect housing for myself and each of those I count as family” (which would throw a few friends in the mix, too). Perfect would then adapt to the needs of each person. My own home would not be large, but it would be all about location, location, location. A rugged, yet somehow sheltered, clifftop overlooking the North Sea sounds good. Beyond that, my wishes would be more like “ongoing opportunities for X, Y or Z” or “protection from A, B & C for myself and my loved ones”. Obviously I’m putting a premium on a level of security that allows for personal growth. It’s a fine balance to beat back complacency.

You find a talking animal. What sort of animal is it and what’s the first thing you do?
Squirrel!! I love squirrels. I want to leap around from limb to limb and shake my bushy tail. The agility factor would be so awesome when added to the knowledge that I’m immeasurably cute.

If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?
Ha! Cheater pants! How about, “Who is one of your favorite indie authors, and why?” To which I would answer, “H. L. Burke has really caught my attention this year. She masters multiple genres as if she were a native speaker of each. Her world-building is rich and detailed, her characters are interesting, her use of dialogue is natural even when it’s being snappy, and I repeatedly read a phrase or paragraph and think, ‘Man, I wish I had written that!’”

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Black Friday CreateSpace Promo Code

I love getting people books for Christmas. However, ebooks are incredibly hard to wrap, so I've set up a promo code through the Create Space store. From now until Christmas you can enter MW6E5CXV into the Create Space store for 20% off any of my paperback titles.

Here are the purchase links. I have books for all ages with a mix of fantasy, romance, adventure, and humor ... even a little bit of sadness and drama here and there.

Click below to purchase:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Meet Bruce (Wayne ... my cat)

So Who Is Bruce?

About a month ago, my girls were playing in the front yard with their friends, and they came running into the house claiming they’d found a cat. From a distance, I thought, “No, that’s the neighbor’s cat” because that cat (named Carrot) is also an orange short hair, but Coryn assured me, “No, Carrot has green eyes. This cat has yellow eyes.”

When I got closer, I could tell she was right. Not only because of the eyes but because this fellow was skinny and had a swollen ear. We fed him some of the neighbor’s cat food, but the neighbor said she didn’t want another cat … so impulsively, I snatched him up and put him in my garage.

“I found us a new mousetrap,” I told Matt.

And Bruce has been with us since.

For a day or two after we found him, Bruce went by “Meowy,” which was the name my three-year-old preferred, but after trying on several names, we finally settled on Bruce Wayne. We did post his picture to a local lost pets page, but didn’t have any bites. We really need to make him a vet appointment and maybe check for a microchip, but we haven’t had the funds for a vet bill, and now we’re very much to the point of wanting to keep him.

Bruce is extremely well behaved and affectionate. He’s an indoor/outdoor cat who will meow to be let out then come back in when we call him for dinner a few hours later. The first time he wanted out, I was worried he wouldn’t come back. After all, he obviously got disconnected somehow from his first owners (he’s full grown and much too friendly to have been born a stray or have been living in the wild for any length of time … though he was underweight when we picked him up), so I was worried he’d run off. He’s always come back, though. He sleeps on my desk while I write, which is nice.

At first he wasn’t crazy about our German Shepherd, Caen, but now they seem to tolerate each other (well, Caen would like to be Bruce’s best friend, but Bruce has so far said, “Oh heck no” in response to Caen’s attempted affection.). My biggest concern is our upcoming move, which can be hard enough on a cat, and I can’t see it going well for a cat who has only recently established himself with our family. I do really really really want to keep him though.

He’s my new writing buddy.

Also he's done wonders for my social media interactions. Facebook posts involving Bruce shoot to the top of my "most viewed/most engaging" list in no time. My number one marketing tip from all that I've learned this year? Get a cat.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Random Interview Saturday! Ines Bautista Yao

The H. L. Burke Random Interview is not like other interviews. The questions are all over the place. They have no purpose. Their purpose is their lack of purpose.
There are nine questions because cats, but these nine questions are subject to change without notice, so the questions one person answers may not be the questions answered by the next author.

Today we have assimilated Ines Bautista Yao. Her technological and biological distinctiveness will be added into our own.

Ines Bautista-Yao

Ines Bautista-Yao is the author of One Crazy Summer, What’s in your Heart, and Only a Kiss. She has also written two short stories, “Flashbacks and Echoes,” which is part of a compilation called All This Wanting and “A Captured Dream,” one of the four short stories in Sola Musica: Love Notes from a Festival.

She is the former editor-in-chief of Candy and K-Zone magazines and a former high school and college English and Literature teacher. She is also a wife and mom and blogs about the many challenges and joys of motherhood at theeverydayprojectblog.com. She has recently launched The Author Project, a section in her current blog devoted to the stories in her head.

The Interview 

  1. If you could enter any fictional world, which would you choose?

    I would be on board the starship Voyager when it got lost in the delta quadrant. I'd be best friends with Tuvok the Vulcan and he'd be forced to read my girly romance stories. 

  2. If your favorite historical era had an ice cream flavor made in its honor, what would it taste like?

    My medieval era ice cream flavor would have a hint of lavender and swirls of vanilla bean with edible golden flakes and silver pearl candy drops. 

  3. Rename yourself. Your new name can be silly, pretty, meaningful, whatever you want, but it CAN’T be your real name or penname, no matter how awesome that might be. Sorry, Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop is taken.

    Z. I've always wanted to go by a letter. And Z looks pretty cool. Especially if you've got a sword and wear a mask and ride a black horse... 

  4. You receive a contract that allows you to have any pet you want (mythical or real) but in return you have to spend a week AS a pet to a mythical creature of your choice (dragon, giant, sphinx?). Do you take it or do you decline?

    Take it! And pray my mythical creature will be good to me. But hey, experiences always trump boredom, right? 

  1. What’s the most important lesson you ever learned from a cartoon?

    If you move your legs fast enough, you can fly. Even if it's only for a few seconds. 

  2. If I were to invite you over, what snacks would you bring, keeping in mind that fruit and dried fruit are not snacks?

    Chicharon and Chippy! Chicharon is deep fried pork skin. We'll dip it in spicy vinegar then pop it into our mouths. Chippy is barbecue flavored corn chips. Both Philippine favorites. Both so unhealthy. Both so yummy. Then I'll have sweet Philippine mangoes in the car just in case you change your mind. And if you've tasted them before, you will. 

  3. You can combine any two creatures into a new hybrid. What do you make?

    A polar bear and a tarsier. Oh my. They would be like miniature polar bears with huge eyes!!!! Too cute!  

  4. If you had a store, what would you sell?

    I'd sell gummies of all sizes, shapes, and colors. When you put them into your mouth, they will transport you to different places, give you rides on clouds or unicorns, and make music play all around you. I was thinking of selling some wish granting ones, but that would just cause all sorts of problems.

  1. If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?

Question: What would make this universe cool? 
Answer: It already is. We just need to recognize it and embrace it and live it. 

New Release

Just a Little Bit of Love blurb

Three short stories about three young girls: Anita, Ina, and Carla. Each one finding their lives disrupted by a boy. Maybe it’s because he wanders into the coffee shop where she works after school every Tuesday. Maybe it’s because he won’t leave her alone even if she has made it clear that she is crushing on his football teammate. Or maybe it’s because she’s spent one unforgettable afternoon with him—despite being oh-so-forgetful. Three small doses of love that serve up a whole lot of feels.

Amazon link:

Monday, November 16, 2015

If you liked these books, you might like An Ordinary Knight ...

Now that An Ordinary Knight is you, you may be asking yourself, what sort of book is it? Should I read it? Does it have dragons? Fairies? Magic? All of the above?

Well yes, yes, it does ... but if you want to know some of the books that are similar in one or more ways to An Ordinary Knight scroll down and bask in all the fairy tale greatness. 

Oh and it will be free to download from 11/15-11/19!

An Ordinary Knight: A Fairy Cursed Fable

The Two Princesses of Bamarre

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Random Interview Saturday! Juliann Whicker

The H. L. Burke Random Interview is not like other interviews. The questions are all over the place. They have no purpose. Their purpose is their lack of purpose.
There are nine questions because cats, but these nine questions are subject to change without notice, so the questions one person answers may not be the questions answered by the next author.

Today's victim ... er ... guest is Author Juliann Whicker

Juliann Whicker

  1. During an Alien Invasion what would be your weapon of choice? Barring the obvious biochemical weapon that destroys aliens and not humans, a taser.
  2. If you could enter any fictional world, which would you choose? Lord of the Rings. In Rivendale. And I get to date Aragorn.
  3. Teleportation or telekinesis? Teleportation.
  4. Who is your fictional best friend and what activities do you choose to do together? Mike Otis of Don't Care High. We build cars and wear safety pins. We hang out and think deep thoughts. He always likes my scribbles.
  1. Congratulations! You’re the supreme ruler of the universe. What’s your first act? Retire. Can't handle the stress.
  1. You can rescue a fictional character from certain death or resurrect them to live again. Who do you save? Alternately, is there a fictional character deserving of death who you would like to destroy? Beth. From Little Women. Also, Joe gets with Laurie.
  2. You have superpowers. What are they and what do you do with them? I have the superpower to find things. I never ask anyone where something is again. Bwahahahah!
  3. Would you rather travel to the past or the future? Past. I prefer the architecture and automobiles. And clothing! Everything these days is so done. Unless we went all Star Wars. That's a future I could handle.
  4. If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it? What's the best drink to go with your pizza? Sioux City Sarsaparilla hands down. Thanks for asking.

House of Slide: Hunter

Visit her blog at SEW RIGHT

And on Facebook

Thursday, November 12, 2015

How I Wrote Dessa and the Nurse Dragon

How I Wrote Dessa and the Nurse Dragon(and confessions of a NaNoWriMo cheater)

This year I was not going to do NaNoWriMo. I had typed “the end” on Elemental Realms 2: Call of the Waters like a week before NaNo was to start. I had editing to do. We’re moving cross country in December. I’ve done it three years straight, so I didn’t have anything to “prove.” No reason to try to push out a crazy amount of words in a month.

Then I got an idea that would not be denied. I started thinking about it and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to write it RIGHT NOW!

I wrote Dessa’s story a little differently. I’m not a plotter. I usually know how my books will end and begin and one or two major plot points just because I think about them a lot, but I don’t chart and plan and whatnot. Sometimes, to help me keep things in order, I’ll make a skeletal outline, like a “to do” list for my characters (Find the Man in Black, get wheelbarrow and cloak, have fun storming the castle), but I love to write via discovery and let my characters lead. When I’ve tried to write out a more detailed outline, I’ve usually ended up abandoning it. I threw out my outline for Thaddeus Whiskers when he took on his own life in chapter one and I realized the happy ending I planned wouldn’t satisfy him. I changed the ending of Beggar Magic and Lands of Ash. I just rarely stick with my plans. I love to chase inspiration.

However, the plot to Dessa came to me so suddenly, I think I needed to prove to myself that there was a story there, so I wrote out a detailed, chapter by chapter summary of the book. Without spoiling too much, I’ll share the first few chapter summaries here, just so you can see what I mean:

Scene 1: Dessa observes a dragon race with her best friend, Abry. Afterwards, she heads to the shop and sees the different sorts of dragon eggs. Fantasizes about which she’d like to have, picks out which egg set she’s going to save up for. Hint that Abry has enough to buy a set but doesn’t wish to in front of Dessa.
Xavian is in the shop buying a luxury set. The clerk tells him h gets a basic set free with his purchase. Xavian is dismissive. Dessa wishes she could get the set, but Xavian takes it with him. On the way home, Xavian pelts Dessa with dragon eggs. She’s more horrified about the loss of the baby dragons than the mess. She cries. Xavian mocks. Tells her she can’t hit him because her dad works for his dad. Abry points out that she still can. Xavian runs away. Dessa spies an egg that landed unbroken in a pile of leaves and scoops it up.
Scene 2: Dessa returns to her workshop at the back of her father’s greenhouse and puts the eggs under a growth light among seedlings. She then feed her mayfly dragons in their terrariums, taking notes about what she feeds them and their lifespans.
Her father enters, is disappointed that she skipped school. Wants her to have a better life than he does as a gardener for Xavian’s dad. She wants to be a dragon racer. He explains how unhappy captive dragons are. Dessa doesn’t think her Mayflies look so unhappy.

For the most part I stuck to my outline this time. It was almost like the book presented in its entirety. I couldn’t write it fast enough and was averaging over 3k words a day (my usual is 1k). I’m not sure if it was having the road map of the summary that made it work so well (I always knew what I was going to write when I sat down to write for the day, and if I felt lost I consulted my “cheat sheet” that described the scene in decent detail.).

The thing is, I’ve always come down on the pantser side of the pantser/plotter debate. I hate restrictive guidelines, and I am more of a doer than a planner. I learn best by “jumping in and pushing buttons.”

But different pieces have different needs, and Dessa’s story just sort of came to me in a stroke of inspiration.

Now for the “cheating” part. Dessa’s story is only about 39k words, so while I finished it well ahead of time, (typed “The End” on November 11th) it is still 11k words shy of meeting the NaNoWriMo goal of 50k words in a month. Whoops.

I suppose I could add in some fluffy stuff to pad it out, but it is a middle grade book and they aren’t really supposed to be that long. 39k is right about where it should be. So what to do? I’m writing “supplemental” material. Blog posts, world building details, things I hope I can use when it comes time to promote the book. I could try and edit it a bit, but I think it will probably go down, not up, in word count when I do this (I’m already eyeing a few scenes that could be more succinct). I only have to write about 500 words a day to finish on time now. It’s just an issue of what those words are, with Dessa’s story tied up so nicely.

Anyway, I can’t wait to share Dessa’s story with you. It’s a really heartfelt story, and one of the few times I’ve cried when writing was when I penned the ending for this one.

Linked on Round-Up Inspiration

Monday, November 9, 2015

Release Day: An Ordinary Knight

The big day is here! An Ordinary Knight is available for purchase in ebook and print. 
Click below to get your copy.

An Ordinary Knight: A Fairy Cursed Fable

I'm excited to share this one. I've talked about it in more depth before, but this book has a great deal of personal meaning, and it is also one I would want my daughters to read when they start forming their own ideas about romance.
My own personal romantic ideals were not formed on romance novels or rom coms. They were formed from adventures where the man and woman developed a mutual respect for each other while working towards a common goal. That's the sort of story I wanted to write, and here it is.

Stuck in a humiliating position as the Royal Kennel Guard, Sir Percy sees little hope for anything other than an obscure fate. After all, in the Kingdom of Ithelia, you need a fairy to guide you to greatness, and fairies just don't bother with knights like him. 
However, when Percy catches the eyes of the sheltered Princess Matilda, his world expands in new and frightening ways. 
A victim of an ill-planned Christening, Matty has spent her life in a locked tower, hiding from pixie attacks. Now she'll do anything to escape. And if that means dragging Percy along for a cross country search for Prince Charming, so be it. 
But not all Prince Charmings are what they seem, and as Matty's plight grows more desperate, Percy finds himself losing his heart. Does a lowly knight have what it takes to uncurse a princess?

Friday, November 6, 2015

Annoying things to say to an Indie author. . .

I try to be pretty tolerant of things. 90% of "never say this to an expecting parent/book lover/dog lover/real estate agent/ballerina/bikini model/astrophysicist" lists, I roll my eyes at and think, "Get over it."
I give people the benefit of the doubt that they ask personal questions because they are interested and say things like, "You have your hands full" to busy parents because it's just what people say, not because they are trying to be annoying.
There are, of course, things people say that are just downright rude, but you can't control that sort of thing. You can only control how you respond to them.

Still, I admit, sometimes people say things that make me go, "Seriously?"

  • You have a lot of good reviews. You must have a lot of friends. Not only does this assume the writer is cheating and their success is fake, you're also taking a pot shot at the people who read and enjoyed the books. 
  • You'd probably make more money if you switched genres/wrote a vampire book/wrote a zombie book/had more sex in your book. You wouldn't go up to a rock musician and tell them to perform country, would you? And some artists do switch from one sort of art to another (country to rock, pop to classical ... fantasy to romance), but most artists write what they want to read, the stories they've been inspired to write. 
  • Your character is a jerk/extrovert/cat/alien so you must be too. Believe it or not, not every character in a book, not even every main character, is the author and not all the happenings in our books are thinly disguised memoirs. If they were, then no one would ever be able to tell more than one story. And yeah, maybe some autobiographical elements creep into our work, but questioning the author about, "Hey, is this you ... " can be uncomfortable.
  • Is this character based on me? Really, there's no good way to answer this question. If I wanted you to know a character was based on you, I probably would go ahead and tell you. Besides, I may need to torture/kill/marry off that character at a later date, and then that could get awkward. 
  • Can you read my manuscript? Review my book? Don't get me wrong: a lot of authors are willing to help other authors this way. However, if we said yes to even half the requests we get for this sort of thing, we'd never have time to breathe, let alone work on our own stuff. Writers generally know other writers. After a little under two years being self-published, I have a kindle full of books I mean to read and review for other writers ... I am beta reading for two or three other writers ... and I am working on three of my own projects simultaneously. If you need help from other writers, consider joining a local critique group or a site like scribophile.com where you can network with other writers and help them in return for them helping you. 
Also, remember there are two days left to enter my giveaway for a paperback copy of An Ordinary Knight (click here) and six more to enter my Goodreads Giveaway for the same book.


    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        An Ordinary Knight by H.L. Burke



          An Ordinary Knight

          by H.L. Burke


            Giveaway ends November 11, 2015.
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.

    Enter Giveaway

Also, if you're doing NaNoWriMo this year, what are you word counts?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Why I don't (often) leave negative reviews.

I've blogged about reviews a few times (here and here for instance) ... honestly, it's one of my most written about subjects on this blog.
I've written a lot about how authors shouldn't overthink negative reviews and how readers shouldn't be afraid to leave negative reviews ... however, if you follow me on Goodreads, you may have noticed that I don't often leave negative reviews.

There are a few reasons for this, but the biggest one is that I don't review unfinished books. The majority of books I start, I don't get past chapter two. I'm a very picky reader, and I'm not afraid to put down a book and start something more interesting if I'm not absolutely in love with what I'm reading.
If I only get to chapter two, my review isn't going to be all that useful to you. Most books have Amazon samples that allow you to get that far, so I'm not going to bother reviewing a book if I didn't get past that point ... and a lot of times what stops my reading progress is not something "wrong" with the book, but just that it didn't suit my tastes or current mood. I don't tell other people how to review, but for me personally, I'm not going to bother reviewing a book that I'm not the intended audience for.

Writing a review as a writer is a little difficult. On one hand, we're a lot more likely to notice flaws that might slip by a more casual reader. On the other, we know what goes into each book, and I think a lot of us don't want to review too harshly, simply because we know how much it can hurt.

Some writers claim that Amazon DOESN'T want writers to review books because other authors are their direct competition. Amazon directly contradicts this, however, in their review guidelines.
To quote: 2. Are authors allowed to review other authors’ books?
Yes. Authors are welcome to submit Customer Reviews, unless the reviewing author has a personal relationship with the author of the book being reviewed, or was involved in the book’s creation process (i.e. as a co-author, editor, illustrator, etc.). If so, that author isn't eligible to write a Customer Review for that book. Please review our Customer Review Guidelines for more information. 

Authors really aren't competition for other authors. Yes, you may get the occasional misguided, jealousy review from an author trying to tear down the "competition" but unless you are writing like a book a day, there's no way you can be the only author anyone ever reads. It's not like you can have a monopoly on readers, so competing "against" other authors, even within your genre, is stupid. If anything you want to partner with those writers to share each other's fans (which is probably a whole other post). 

Anyway, so I don't review unfinished books, so what does it take for me to review a book poorly?

A really cruddy ending. 

That's about the only thing that can do it for me. 
Seriously, if the book has problems but convinces me to read to the end, by default, it is probably at least a three star book.
However, if after all those problems, that three star book wraps up with a disappointing or ill-crafted ending, that's when my finger quivers over the one or two star rating.

It's happened a few times. Beatrice and Virgil went from a five to a three star simply because of the ending, for instance. 

However, since I read mostly writers I know, there is an added level of awkwardness to leaving low star reviews now. I'm more likely to tell the writer what I think in person than I am to leave a public review. 

There have been other books I've chosen not to leave a review for because, while there were things I honestly disliked about the book, I could see them being elements that other people really liked, and while I could've left an intelligent text review detailing them, it was hard for me to choose a star rating that "fit." This is especially true when I'm reading out of my usual genre. Cozy Mysteries and I have a rocky relationship. A lot of people like them, but to me they read a lot like "Nancy Drew" for adults (man, I sound snobbish to myself when I say that. Yeah, go ahead and hate me, but Cozy Mysteries just aren't my thing). 

So yes, I, personally, very rarely leave a negative review. 

This is also why I don't take review requests. I prefer to pick up books and review them on my own time, on my own terms, because 90% of them are going to be deleted off my kindle unread because of picky little writer things like "too many adjectives" (I literally stopped reading a book because "holy adjectives, Batman." I know, most readers don't think like that, but unfortunately, as a writer, I do.). 

So yeah, if you are following me on Goodreads or whatnot, you'll see very few negative reviews. This isn't because I like everything I read, though. Quite the opposite. The books that did get me past chapter two are few and far between and me reviewing at all is in itself kind of a buoyant recommendation. The books I don't finish, THOSE are the ones I think you should avoid.