Category Archives: Book Reviews

Digital Photo Restoration by Deborah Collin (Review)

Digital Photo Restoration: What to Do and How to Do ItDigital Photo Restoration: What to Do and How to Do It by Deborah Collin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another excellent resource from Deborah Collin. This time, she is giving us the inside scoop on how to deal with photos and images when working on genealogy or any other projects. One of the biggest problems I have run across is figuring out how to restore old images that I have rescued from some evil box. In the past, I have tinkered, but could never quite figure out exactly how to make the outcome worth all the time I had invested in the image.

Ms. Collin gives solid and practical instructions on exactly what to do. I do not follow instructions well, but hers were clear enough that I actually understood them. Her insight into various graphic programs is excellent. I have learned of several new programs that just might save me from more gray hair.

As usual, Deborah Collin has written a book that is good enough to be worthwhile and still simple enoough for anyone to use. I especially like a writer who doesn’t feel the need to talk down to readers. I always feel like she is talking “to me” as she explains things and that makes learning easier.

View all my reviews

Tracing Your European Roots

Tracing_European_RootsTracing Your European Roots
By W. Daniel Quillen

I just finished reading this book and I can’t tell you how much it is going to help me. I have just begun researching my German ancestors and I was quite afraid of how I was going to figure it all out. W. Daniel Quillen’s book gave me exactly what I needed to get the ball rolling.I have read several of his other books on genealogy and as was the case with them, I found a wealth of solid usable information with enough humor and interesting facts about his family to keep me from getting bored.

One thing I have discovered about Mr. Quillen’s books is that once you’ve read one, you find all kinds of reasons to read the others. I have almost the entire set now and I refer back to them frequently when I need a refresher or a tip. ANother great thing about this series of books is that Quillen uses his actual experiences and results to make points and clarify sticky issues.

Tracing your Eurpoean Roots is an excellent guide for stepping out of the comfort zone (once again) and searching out those relatives from far off places.

Genealogy expert W. Daniel Quillen offers valuable tools and resources for anyone tracing their European ancestors.

The United States is largely a nation populated by people of European roots, and many do-it-yourself genealogists find themselves in need of scouring European records to find their ancestors. New to this edition is a section on tracing your Scottish ancestors. This volume of Quillen’s Essentials of Genealogy shows readers how to do their own research to uncover their European ancestry. This book will cover the following topics: · Where to find European records · How to access European records · How to use the Internet to help you in your search · Pitfalls and issues in obtaining European records · Research tips for England, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, and other European nations.

The Cloning of Solomon Hays: A Beginner’s Guide to Genealogy

Collins-Cloning

Click Cover to BUY for Kindle!

I wasn’t sure what to think when I decided to read this book. I have been tracing my roots for a very long time and I don’t seem to be learning anything. At least I wasn’t. I was also frustrated with books claiming to be help guides, but only touch on the most basic things and mostly irrelevant.

Since buying this book I have added an entire branch to my tree that had previously been tormenting me with its elusiveness.

Ms. Collins opened up doors for me regarding things I should have known, but didn’t. Her down to earth style of writing is more like having a pleasant conversation with her than reading a book. She gives you the facts, then backs it up with practical experience. She explains important things in a manner that any beginning tree climber can understand and offers useful information for people who have been at it for a while but need more guidance.

I didn’t find any slow spots and I even figured out how to highlight and bookmark on my Kindle so I could refer back to things. I think the best thing about this book is that it made learning fun and it had earned its retail price before I even got half way through.

I strongly encourage newbies and even others like me who have some skill under their belt, but need to fine tune it, to add this book to their library. I have read several other books on this subject that were so dry I could not even finish them. But this is going in my book log of favorites right along with my W. Daniel Quillen titles.

Thank you, Ms. Collins for a delightfully educational guidebook.

Color me a bad writer! Really?

Just found this little gem on the Internet. Good thing I have thick skin.

One-Quote Review: Thief of Hearts by Karen L. Syed

Posted on April 14, 2012 by 
Title: Thief of Hearts
Author: Karen L. Syed
Genre(s): Historical, Short Story
Publisher: Echelon Press, February 2012
Purchase: Amazon, free
Quick blurb: TSTL heroine + angsty kidnapper = amateur mess.
Grade: D
The difference between her present dilemma and what always miraculously happens in her dreams made her sad, and a little frightened.

It made me a little nauseous.

Bad review, bad person?

There is a discussion going on in one of the groups I belong to and my opinion on the subject seems quite different than that of many others participating. I have responded there several times, but I felt that it would be best if I moved my opinion off the group, so I wouldn’t just be keeping the argument going. The topic of discussion is whether or not 1 or 2 star reviews should be posted publicly, especially by other authors.

3-Star review

Many say no, because it is mean and humiliating. Okay, but my question is, if an author doesn’t want people to review their books honestly, should we really be worried about their feelings getting hurt? Of course we should, but there is the whole point that when you put yourself and your work out in the public and ask people what they think, you had better have thick enough skin to accept all the answers. It is unrealistic to think everyone will like your book.

I have been criticized repeatedly over the years for a 1-star review I posted of THE LOVELY BONES. Okay, I posted the review publicly so everyone has a right to point out their agreement or disagreement. So be it. Does it make me a bad person because I did not like this book and said so publicly? I didn’t rag on the author, I was not malicious or hurtful. I was honest in my opinion.

My review of The Lovely Bones

I have to admit to reading this book because of all the fuss. Everyone raved about how wonderful it was and so beautifully written, etc. I was very disappointed.

I found the voice of the main character to be contrived and out of character. I hated hearing the story being told by a child in an adult voice. It took away a lot of the emotional impact for me.

I think this could have been much better.

I think it is quite to the point and professional. No one has to like it, it is my opinion.

2-Star Review

Why would you bother to post a review of a book you read and then not be honest? The point of reviews is to help other readers have a better knowledge of what that book is about and what other readers think of it. What happens to the industry if everyone who reads a book either posts a positive review or no review at all, even if they did not like the book and had solid reasons for the dislike? The industry would become a shallow popularity contest…oh wait, it already has. I am furious when I buy a book that has gotten 25 5-star reviews claiming it to be the best book ever and then when I read it I discover that it is poorly edited, poorly constructed, dipping with multitudes of plotholes, and just plain bad. I feel cheated and mislead by each and every person who failed to point out even one of the problems. Now, I am the first to agree that even a poorly written book can be exciting and engaging, I have read many.  I simply tell fellow readers how much I loved the story, but to be prepared for lots of editorial issues. Honest, not cruel. But I certainly would not give it a 5-star review, even if I knew the author.

Bottom line is, a review is intended to serve a specific purpose, if the reviewers cannot be honest, then why bother, it just makes things icky for the rest of us.

One last note. This is for all you authors out there. If you are not willing to give an honest review and STAND BEHIND IT (this means posting it, whether good or bad) then do us all a favor and don’t review books by friends and other authors you know. This is just my personal request/opinion.

I would love to know what you all think of this, whether you agree with me or not. Please don’t hesitate to share your comments, this is a no judgment zone.

The Mad Scientist (Author) returns!

Dark Shines My Love by Karen L. Syed

Don't want to be bothered with the contest? Click cover to buy a copy, no strings attached.

Okay, I have been trying to read the Blogs of others with the hope of discovering something that will help me increase my exposure as an author. Lots of people know me as a publisher and all around cool gal, but I still get so many surprised looks when I mention that I write. Huh, you woulda thunk it?

So, I’ve been trying up the level of promotion for the books and stories I have written. Not too happy with how that is all working. So, I have devised a fiendish…er…clever plan to let people know that I write. I’m going to give away books. ::gasp:: Can it be? Yeah, I know, it’s been done. But…

Here’s what I am proposing. I’d like to find new readers, perhaps those who do not read my Blog (Life as a Publisher), follow me on Facebook, or revel in my brilliant wit on Twitter. I would like to give a FREE download of my book, DARK SHINES MY LOVE, to the first five people who post a request on this Blog (if you’ve already read it, let’s give someone else a chance.)

In return, I would like each of those five people to pass that book on to ONE reader. Someone they know who has not read or heard of me. Once the book has been passed on, I would like the recipient of that book to hop onto my Blog here, and post who gave them the book. Then when they are finished reading it, I would like THEM to give it to ONE other person, and have them do the same thing. And so on. If it wouldn’t be too much trouble I’d like to know where you are from as well.

My goal is to follow the travels of those books through to March 31, 2012. Clear as mud?

On April 1, 2012 (yes April Fool’s Day-but this is no joke) I will do a random drawing from the names on this post and give away a $10.00 Amazon.com Gift Card. I know, it’s not much, but I’m giving this book away.  LOL

And even if you have read the book and aren’t giving away copies, please feel free to share this news with others. Oh yeah, and if you own it, don’t share that copy, the download I am using for this is a Special Edition.

So, who’s with me?

About the book:

Contemporary Romance

Darkness surrounds Patric LeClerc. Blinded in a tragic accident years before, he does nothing but drive everyone away with his anger and resentment over the life he’s been cursed with.

Everyone, that is, except Callie Carpenter. Desperate for a home and a job after the break-up of her dreadful marriage to a wealthy but abusive man, she tries to restore Dark Gardens Plantation to its former glory.

Patric lets his guard down and shows her that deep within, a spark of warmth and humanity still glows. Soon she finds herself more interested in him as a man than a patient. When her ex threatens to take away her son, Callie and Patric join forces to try to save the boy.

But can Patric’s dark past ever allow him to see Callie’s love for him, or will he drive her away as well, for having come too close to the true, if vulnerable, Patric LeClerc?

A few reviews:

“A moving novel…the love scenes are marvelous. This is an enjoyable story that will make you laugh, cry, and be glad you read it.” –Romantic Times Magazine aka RT Booklovers)

“A beautiful, moving story. Alexis Hart has the amazing ability to generate characters that literally step off the page in three-dimensional form. The dialogue is well developed and the entire story is a hauntingly accurate tale concerning a serious issue. I loved Patric from the first moment he appeared and Callie was as real as if I were standing next to her. Well done. Ms. Hart has written another winner.” –Leslie Burbank, author of To Tame a Viking

Be Still My Heart (Contest)

Every author craves reviews for their books. We love to hear what our readers think. Sometimes the news is good, sometimes not, but we want to know. Bottom line is we all want to be loved by readers. Rumor has it, reviews even sell books.

I am looking for reviews for all of my works, short stories and novels. Here’s what I’m gonna do.

You can read any of my published works and when you post your review into the comments section of this Blog post, you will be entered to win one of three lovely prizes…or my version of lovely prizes.

Post your review by Midnight February 13, 2012 to qualify.

  1. 1 person will receive a $25.00 GC to Amazon.com.
  2. 1 person will receive a signed print copy of “Lost and Found.”
  3. 1 person will receive a FREE eBook download of any of my books.

Here’s the catch. I need to see at least 25 reviews to give away the Gift Certificate. If I don’t receive 25 reviews, I will only give away the 2nd and 3rd items.

I would love it if you would post your reviews all over the place, but it’s only required that you do it on my Blog for this contest. I can be flexible.

Here is what I have out there. You can find them at Amazon/Kindle, BN.com/Nook,  Smashwords, OmniLit, and all manner of other places that sell books and eBooks.

  • Lost and Found (Novel)
  • Dark Shines My Love (Novel)
  • Too Fast for Love (Novella)
  • Seducing Cupid (Short Story)
  • Devlin’s Wicked Wish (Short Story)
  • An Angel’s Wish (Short Story)