17 Following

deirdre....in my free time

Always looking for my next book hangover. Give me great characters with a surprisingly original plot and you got me . . . Throw in action, some romance, and a twist and I am sold . . . .

Keepin' the bastards honest. (Thanks to Cphe for that title!)

(See end of post for important update 25 July 2014)



I am only posting information that is easily and publicly available.  Links are good as of the time of posting this.  All screen shots are my own.



Michael Alexander Beas



Let's start this one with his Goodreads profile, shall we?





As you can see, Mr. Beas is a Goodreads author as well as member.  Let's have a look at his reviewing stats.






As of 23 July 2014, he has 388 ratings, 351 reviews.  His average rating of 4.90 means he gives very, very few books less than a 5-star rating.


Michael Beas is the #97 top reviewer on Goodreads as of 23 July 2014 when this screenshot was made.


But as stated above, Mr. Beas is also an author.  Here is the Goodreads book page for his fantasy novel Strump:






His book has 17 ratings, almost all 5-star for an average of 4.88.


The same holds true on Amazon.com.








Of the 18 reviews on Amazon.com for Strump, 17 are 5-star, one is 4-star. 




Michael Beas, using his own name, is also a reviewer on Amazon.com



He clearly states his location as Waxhaw, North Carolina, exactly as on the Goodreads profile.



Here is Michael Beas' review of The Galadima Conspiracy by Dan Abubakar, posted on Goodreads on 23 July 2014.







And for good measure, here is Michael Beas' Amazon review of the same book, also posted on 23 July 2014:





Next stop, fiverr.com for the profile of book review seller "Strump."







As you can see, the fiverr profile page incorporates the cover of the book Strump with the author's name clearly visible:  Michael Alexander Beas.


A close-up of the profile avatar is also revealing:



as is the actual profile text for "Strump":



"Strump" is an author.  He will only post 4- and 5-star reviews.



Now let's take a look at some of the testimonials posted to "Strump's" fiverr gigs:


Here's one from "9 days ago."



Here is Michael Beas' Goodreads review of Vito Veii's book






Here is the same book's listing on Amazon.com






And Michael Beas' review of that book on Amazon.com:




The Amazon.com review is also dated 14 July 2014.  Nine days ago.


The testimonial from "vitoveii" clearly states that he has utilized the services of "strump" as a provider of reviews. 



Michael Beas review of Skies Like These by  Tess Hilmo, dated 22 July 2014







And the fiverr testimonial from "thilmo" with the cover of Skies Like These avatar





Again, all of this information is readily and easily available.  I've provided all the links.



UPDATE:  25 July 2014  appx 1320 Pacific Daylight Time


Mr. Michael Alexander Beas, who may still be reviewing on Amazon under his new F. S. Jones handle (additional screen shots and links available), is no longer a member, reviewer, or author at Goodreads.





We're readers, not unpaid laborers

Dear Authors:


It has come to my attention that a great many of you are still confused regarding the role readers (aka "amateur reviewers", "goodreads members", "booklikers", "gangster bully trolls") play in the life cycle of your book.  So I've compiled a handy little list to help you remember all the things that readers are not:


  • Editors (of any variety, including but not limited to copy or line)
  • Proofreaders
  • Spell-checkers
  • Beta Readers
  • Marketers
  • Advertisers
  • Researchers
  • Unpaid laborers of any sort


Readers are consumers.  We're your customers.  Nothing more, nothing less.  We owe you nothing, other than that we obtain your book legally.


"But, Three," I hear some of you protest, "if you aren't writing reviews to tell us how to improve, why do you point out all the grammar and spelling errors?  The logic fails and inconsistent characterization?  Surely that's so authors can improve, right?"




I can only speak for myself, but I give specifics so that other readers will know whether or not the things that bother me will also bother them-- and I suspect other reviewers provide details for similar reasons.  Essentially:  to back up our opinions. 


Reviews that simply state the writing was horrible are useless to me, because different readers make that complaint for different reasons.  Some readers think parentheticals are terrible; I love them.  Some readers hate third person narratives; they're my preference.  Many readers don't notice homophone errors; they drive me crazy.  Some readers love long, complicated sentences which sound lovely but have no meaning; I think such sentences are a scam, and they make me angry.  Without the details, none of us have any way of knowing if that "horrible writing" is really what we would consider horrible.


Similarly, my bar for character stupidity may be set higher or lower than someone else's.  I may be more or less inclined to notice continuity problems.  I may have different areas of knowledge and expertise, making me more or less tolerant of research fails.


In short, the details are there to make my review as helpful as possible to other readers.


And yes, if your book isn't selling and you don't know why, maybe negative reviews will clue you in to what you did wrong.  But that's not their purpose, that's a side-effect.  Bluntly put:  if you are looking to readers--your paying customers--to tell you how to improve, then you've waited too late to learn.  That's the sort of feedback you should get before you publish; when you demand it afterwards it just adds insult to injury:


You mean you not only charged me to read this terrible excuse for a "novel", which should never have been published at all, much less for pay, but you think you deserve free advice on what you should have done differently?


You deserve nothing except to be forgotten and never read again.


Authors have plenty of resources to help them polish their work, and a number of ways to learn their craft.  Take some writing courses.  Attend writing workshops.  Join some writing communities online, and write not for pay, but for practice.  Let other people read and critique your efforts, and listen to what they say with an open mind.  Read.  Then, after you've learned about the differences between one type of narration and another, and what it means to "show not tell", and how to write and punctuate dialogue, go write your novel.  Submit it to an editor and a proofer and a beta.   Polish it.  Do the work it takes to be a successful author. 


Then publish your novel, and ignore the reviews.  They're not for you, and it's too late to be seeking any more advice.





My updates as i read ...

Keeping Sweets - Cate Ashwood
"So big steak dinner, beer, and tequila shots the night before shooting the first porn scene??? Erm. . ."
01/05     50.0% "so i need to completely suspend disbelief and take any realism off the table . . . cute guys, just zero reality. never mind this KID graduated high school 3 weeks ago. the ick factor . . ."
01/05     60.0% "Really? All your life you wanted your first time to be with a stranger in front of cameras?? Really?????"
01/05     60.0% "Omg! Lisa!! Now, the smaller guy, the assumed bottom....is giving cooking tips. Of course." 
01/05     79.0% "And no condoms?? You idiot!! He is a porn star. His test was last month. Any clue what could be growing there????? Not smart kid. Not smart. Well, you are a kid......"
01/05     85.0% "It ain't love till the top bottoms." 


Don't think this worked for me ....

Brutally Beautiful  - Christine Zolendz
At least 4 stars . . . 

This author writes damaged characters like no one else.
And she can write a female lead that I LIKE!!! No whiny damsel in need of a male savior. Straight up kick ass gal. Nice change!!! 

Kade . . . Horror. Just horror, one that sadly more and more kids know . . . .

I cannot wait for the sequel. Cannot. Wait.


Not that this is perfect. There were some continuity issues...

but a HET romance I read and did not throw my ereader?? Yay!

sequel due out Feb 6!!

Great sequel!!

Scorpion  - Aleksandr Voinov
5 stars.
i hid in my office for hours this morning so i could read the rest of this!!!!!
i may explode waiting for the sequel . . . 

if you loved #1, this is AWESOME!! if you haven't, GET GOING! 

this is a great follow up for the first one!
some thoughts . . .
kendras . . oh kendras . . . growing up sucks. facing responsibility sucks. hoping you made the best decisions possible, but i cannot know that UNTIL THE NEXT BOOK!! not too bad of a cliffhanger, but enough that i will be reading book 3 upon release.
trust. hoping kendras's trust decisions are right. it is like playing chess without seeing the opponent's moves.

adrastes . . . damn it, i hope you have a plan because i am not to happy with your right now! selfish :grumbles:
i know kendras only looked at you via rose colored glasses, but please do not be the bastard i think you actual are!!!! 

great characters.
great story arc.
great actions scenes ... yes, those too! such intensity to the action. i found myself switching back to the map to see what was happening, how the places are related. heart pounding intrigue.
great cast of characters.

(view spoiler)

i like how completely in kendras' head i felt...like i was watching him struggle with decisions and politics. 

females. damn, this author wrote some good ones here. more than one good one!!! not just a token either. yes!!

ok. immediate reread starts tonight as i know i read a bit too fast today and need to go back for more details . . . 


I reread the second half already!
I was looking for details as I tore through the second half at too great a speed.
What struck me this time is how well the author wrote a multitude of races, a multitude of sexual orientations, AND a multitude of gender identities in ONE book. Seamlessly. I wanted to focus on the Ambassador from Jaishani, a bigender powerhouse of a character!!! 
Damn, this was good.


Static - L.A. Witt
Wouldn't it be GREAT if the opposite could happen?? That we could MAKE a chip that would enable gender shifting seamlessly??? But reality bites . . . 

Great character development. I could feel each characters struggle.
I was yet again angered by the vitriol in our society toward gender identity. 
Parents. Ugh??? No matter the Number of times I read about parents like these, it never fails to sicken me. People like this exist. MANY of them. Too many. 
What can we do as a society to make parenting like this unacceptable??? Where is the societal uproar over SHITTY parents like this that do not deserve their kids??? Ugh. 
The workplace. Need to chat with my HR executive buddies about this .....
I cheered at a sex scene!! Actual cheering, for both of them. One with the courage to let go, one finally being themselves. 
Great story arc.
Bonus points in my book for the spinal headache description. Damn, those hurt....madness inducing hurt.
Some of the elements were so sweetly wrapped up, it made for a nice of dose of sweet after all the angst.

This is a nice romantic story that will enlighten many on the struggles of transgendered people. 

THANK YOU to Sheri at boysinourbooks for rec'ing this to me. Sheri, let's chat later today about this!!! 

After reading this one, PLEASE read Filth. This book is a much darker look as the trans journey. I have had the pleasure of buddy reading it a couple of times with fellow GR reader and reviewer, Ilhem and Laura. It has recently been rereleased by dreamspinners.


Food for thought . . .

Woke Up in a Strange Place - Eric Arvin
**update, additions**

I upped this to 5 stars. Any book that lingers and wiggles its way into my brain like this one has gets 5 stars.
Mr. Arvin has created a complete new Arvin-ism??? I lack the language, but he has created a vision, a place or non place??? It is complete. I can see it, the pictures he created are that vivid. He leaves an element of otherness, or lingering question, yet complete at the same time. I know, I make no sense. 

I want to go back now and reread some philosophers and theologians from my undergraduate days to be able to revisit the foundations to this work. It seems the author was inspired by many to create this place, this afterlife...yet he owes no one credit. It is his own. 

Some of the prose are exceptional. The command of language, the ability to describe . . . Amazing. 

Again, this is not a romance. The relationships that struck me, that touched me, that ripped at my soul were in fact not romantic love at all. Yes, the MC Joe has the love of his life in Lou, but they are never the focus here. They are not supposed to be. That is clearly not the author's purpose. 
The author is using story telling to show the reader his vision, or a vision. 

Fascinating. Mesmerizing. Puzzling. 
Any read that makes me want to retake philosophy courses???? Yeah. READ this!! But read it with proper expectations for what it is . . . 

Here are my original thoughts, mind-numbing . . . 

It is after midnight and. . . Yeah. I need some sleep and maybe dig out my philosophy notes from college. I think the theology ones may be useless still . . .

The next day . . .and i still have no idea how to rate this. 
The first question I wrestle with is...what the hell was this??? I think this was the author's story version of A concept of the afterlife. He attempts to answer questions such as What happens when we die? What happens to our interpersonal connection? What about fire, brimstone, judgement day? Purgatory? Also, what about Memories? Pain? Guilt? Love? Reincarnation? Loss? The author answers that here as we see Joe walk his journey..... All of those questions are answered. This pulled me in and compelled me to keep reading . . . 

The next question is what this book is not. It is NOT paranormal romance. Sure, there is love, there are some sex moments, but this is NOT a romance novel. It is a philosophy/theology book hidden in descriptive story telling. Yes, there were times where the descriptions dragged for me, where I already had such a vivid sense of the landscape in my mind's eye that I got bored with all the descriptions. But, damn, did it suck me in. Was some of this predictable? Yes. Once I got a feel for the author's vision, I could sense the pieces coming together. I was also left with an incredible sense of melancholy. The idea that happiness and contentment only came in the afterlife, killed me. Damn, I cried ugly tears in a few spots. 

This is between a 4 and 5 star read for me. Bonus points for such originality in the story telling. Some of the prose, some of the descriptions here are amazing!! So bonus points for that . . . .

Agh . . .no clue how to rate this . . . .


Great read . . .

Training Season - Leta Blake

Wow. This actually took me a couple of days to read. I kept putting it down. 
I put it down because I KNEW it was going to hurt . . . I knew the story arc, predicted the flow of the story . . 
BUT, that did not keep me from enjoying this!! 

Great character development. I felt like I knew these guys. 
The DIALOGUE!!! My God, I kept laughing!!
The dialogue made me feel like a fly on the wall to the conversations. It is that good!!
The secondary characters Bill and Angus! Damn I want their story!! They stole each of the small scenes they were in !!

Professional figure skating. Damn, either the author knows a skater, was a skater, or did damn good research. I happen to know an ex pro figure skater, descriptions are dead on!! The hours, the practice, the Russian coaches, lol! 
The eating. The dieting. Watching every calorie. Yup. Skating and dancing . . . Par for the course. 

The D/s scenes . . . I would have liked more explicit consent. That would have made me happier. I would have liked an actual safe word, not three snaps. That doesn't seem too safe to me when people are in the heat of the moment, but I am hearing challenged so . . . My bias I guess.
The big scene that everyone is talking about. Weirdly, not a big deal to me. . . Certainly NOT for me, but total control is total control. 

So why 4 and not 5 stars . . . I reserve the right to change my mind!!!!

*The predictability of the story arc . . . 
*Ben, Rob's son . . . Ummm...... I will go look up his age, but he is not yet a teenager. I am presently the mom of 2 teens, and 2 more not yet teens....I have spent my entire 20 year career teaching teens . . . .no one speaks like that. I do not mean the sophistication of word selection or the ability to talk to adults. I experience that all the time. FOR ME, it is level of sexual content in his language I actually found concerning. A rational adult would be concerned also. Language and casual sexual content like that is a red flag. I kept waiting to find something dreadfully abusive had happened to Ben. 

This was a good if not great read . . . I plan to read more from this author.

Need a book rec. . .

I am looking for a heart pounding thriller read . . . Something to knock my socks off, any thoughts??? Romance not necessary . . . 

New York and coffee shops . . .

The Truth about Riley - Henrietta Clarke
At least 4 stars . . 
When I turned the e-page and it was done????
Gah! Not a cliffhanger at all, but. . . BOOK two pleeeeeeeeeease!!!

Great character development. I really feel as though I got to know them as characters.
The story arc is entirely their relationship.
You are privy to nearly every conversation, so at times it felt looooong.  But I loved 'watching' them fall in love ;)

So throw realism out the window, sit back, and enjoy!
Then join me in stalking the author for book 2.


Great coming of age .....

Christmas Kitsch - Amy Lane
What a great NA, coming of age story . . 
These guys are adorable!!!!! 
I got sucked into their story and it did not let go!! 

I hope people are attracted to read this year round . . . It didn't feel like a Christmas story, though the holiday does happen.
Great characters
Great character development
Great read . . 

Now, it does have some cliches . . . Homophobic mom on one hand, great girl side kick on the other hand...one horrid family, one wonderful family . . . But worth it! Loved this!



The Current Between Us - Kindle Alexander

This a fluffy fluff sweet squishy read that made me smile until my face hurt.

and i loved every word!

save this for when you need a sweet pick me up read! 

Love this series!!

Stormhaven - Jordan L. Hawk
I just love this series!!

Just enough PNR creepiness to make me happy, a mystery that satisfies, and a romance that has made this couple quickly become of of my all time favorites!!

I just adore Whyborne. Just adore him .
Griffin is all alpha male, but here we see such a vulnerable side of him . . .
Christine...every m/m romance needs a good female character and this one makes me happy!!!

Also ... Shout out to Danvers, Massachusetts . . . The little mention at the end made me smile.......not that asylums should make one smile, but the mention did!


Great start to the series!!!

Widdershins - Jordan L. Hawk
This was fantastic!!!! 
Hurrying to go buy the next one!!!!!!!!!!

I read this a few days ago and immediately got the sequel.
Great MCs.
GREAT chemistry!!
Loved the pnr aspect. Just enough to make is really good!! And to keep me guessing.
Love the developing relationship, love the growth of the characters.
I plan to reread all my highlights in book 1&2 before buddy reading 3!!!!


Ok read

American Love Songs - Ashlyn Kane

this was a fine read.

just not enough bite to make it stick or memorable for me. 

Most loved this one though, so perhaps it is me???

Fun read!

Bone Rider - J. Fally

PNR that plays homage to Die Hard!! This is an action adventure book. Not romance, though romantic elements. The story arc is great.


inventive PNR.

great dialogue.

great character development.