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Linda Hilton

Reader, Writer, Merciless Reviewer and Incurable Romantic

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Expletive deleted -- DNF at 3%

Stormcrow Castle - Amanda Grange



Cutting and pasting from text file wipes out all formatting, all paragraphs, all photos.  I'm losing patience.  I've tried to at least restore the paragraphs, but won't do any more unless and until this posts 


I will attempt to save it as a draft on BL, but I'm not holding my breath for that either, since it hasn't worked the last two times I've tried.





Disclosure: I obtained the Kindle edition of Castle of Secrets, originally published in hardcover as Stormcrow Castle, when it was offered free on Amazon. I do not know the author nor have I ever communicated with her about this book or any other matter. I am an author of romance fiction.



I love both historical and contemporary gothic romances. The last two historical romances I wrote for traditional publication contained significant gothic elements, and might have had more if it weren't for editorial interference.



So why would I give up on a historical gothic romance in the classic tradition after reading only three percent? There were no major errors of historical detail, nor were there tons of grammatical errors. Both of those problems would cause me to give up on a book almost immediately. (Like the book I tried a week or so ago in which a character "struck a flint to the bedside candle.")



The double spacing and odd alignment of the text toward the right of the page (see below) were annoyances, but alone they would not have been enough for me to give up on an otherwise intriguing book. The real problem with this book was that it was just plain boring.




The original hardcover publisher, Robert Hale, Ltd., ceased publishing in 2015 after 80 years in the business. I’m a bit uncomfortable that a solid, reputable publisher would have put out a product of such unstellar quality.



The prose isn’t bad; it’s just crushingly dull.



Daylight was fading and she was beginning, all in the gathering gloom. Was, was, was, was, was. Not to make a judgment on a single page, I pressed onward.




(The above also shows that the page orientation is not due to right and left print pages.)



Our heroine Helena is looking over her shoulder in one paragraph, looking back in the next. She peers into the gloom, strains her eyes, sees a speck, saw a coach and caught sight. All the sensory impressions are visual, but with very little emotional reaction from Helena.



What kind of “carrier” was it that left her out on the moors? And why did he not take her to her destination? How did she know she had walked three miles? How does she feel after walking this far and still seeing no sign of the “castle” that is her destination? How did she hear “a sound” if the coach was only a speck in the distance? How long did it take to reach her and what did she do in the meantime? What was her reaction to seeing it? Did she wonder who it belonged to? What was her reaction when it stopped?



The opening of a novel should raise questions that lead the reader further into the story. When the questions are about the opening events, however, the reader isn’t drawn in so much as she steps back to wonder what is going on and why.



Why is Helena out on the moors on a gloomy March afternoon? Has she been put out of her home or position? Why is she going to Stormcrow Castle? Has she been invited? Is she a member of the family? Why does she not challenge Lord Torkrow when he assumes she is the new housekeeper? Why does she not ask about her aunt’s fate? Why does she meekly accompany Lord Torkrow?



The formatting was awkward and annoying; the writing was dull and lacking in drama; the character was dull and lacking in emotional reaction.



DNF at 3%











Why won't my reviews post to BookLikes????????????














Why DNF after 3%?

Disclosure: I obtained the Kindle edition of this book when it was offered free on Amazon. I do not know the author nor have I ever communicated with her about this book or any other matter. I am an author of romance fiction.


I love both historical and contemporary gothic romances. The last two historical romances I wrote for traditional publication contained significant gothic elements, and might have had more if it weren't for editorial interference.


So why would I give up on a historical gothic romance in the classic tradition after reading only three percent? There were no major errors of historical detail, nor were there tons of grammatical errors. Both of those problems would cause me to give up on a book almost immediately. (Like the book I tried a week or so ago in which a character "struck a flint to the bedside candle.")


The problem with this book was that it was just plain boring. I would tell you more about it, but BookLikes is so dysfunctional right now that I don't feel like putting any more effort into this review. No formatting bar. Can't link to the book. No star rating. What gives, guys?


Is ANYTHING working here? This is very frustrating. It's been going on for weeks now, and I'm not sure that it's getting any better. We've asked for specifics so we know what's going on and what to expect, but all we get are vague statements about ongoing efforts and general apologies.


That's not fair to your users. Just like this review isn't fair, to the author, to the readers, to the BookLikes community.

DNF at 8%

— feeling doubt
Death In Bagheria (A Serafina Florio Mystery Book 3) - Susan Russo Anderson

Disclosure:  I obtained the Kindle edition of this novel when it was offered free on Amazon.  I do not know the author nor have I ever communicated with her about this book or any other matter.  I am an author.


The premise was interesting -- The "detective" character is a midwife in Sicily in 1870.


Unfortunately, at 8% into the book, I had no sense of the historical time frame, no sense of the setting, no sense of the character.  I kind of got hints that Serafina Florio is a widow with several children, but of her age and her looks, I got nothing substantive.  Maybe because this is Book 3 in the series, the necessary information is in the earlier volumes, but I have no interest in paying to find out.  I thought that's what the freebies were for: to intrigue the reader into reading and liking enough to buy the others.


Serafina is also apparently having an affair with the local doctor, whose wife is whooping it up in Paris at the moment.  This came across as kind of icky.  Had the author provided more information justifying the relationship, I might have felt less uncomfortable with it.


There is a lot of dialogue, but none of it provides the necessary "world building," in hte sense that there's no scene-setting, no establishment of the tie period, nothing.


It did look as though the book had been adequately proofread.


I would really like to update some projects here, but BL is stil sooooooooooo sloooooooooow that I just can't afford the time it takes to write, preview, edit, and then post. Last night I spent 20 minutes previewing, editing, and posting the short review I wrote of An Affair of Honor. Right now I've been waiting five minutes for the "text" page to fully load so I can compose this. (The formatting icons still aren't up, so I can't italicize that book title.) Please, BookLikes, get your act together. We are providing your content, the content you use to attract new members, new advertisers, new revenue. You're still not communicating with us very well. You're still telling us the site is up and running, when it isn't really. This is not only unfair, it is cruel.

Blockheads (An Affair of Honor, by Amanda Scott)



Disclosure: Acquired the Kindle edition of this book when it was offered free by Open Road Media, December 2016.  (Originally published by Signet, 1984)  I do not know the author nor have I ever had any communication with her about this book or any other matter.  I am an author of both historical and contemporary romance novels.



Though I'm not an ardent devotee of the Regency romance subgenre, I've been known to enjoy a good one now and then.  This, unfortunately, was not a good one.


Eleanor Lindale had her first Season at 17 and didn't snag a husband.  Before she could enjoy a second chance, a series of deaths in the family put her in deep mourning and prevented her from entering society again.  Now, at 26, she considers herself on the shelf, and so does everyone else.  That includes her older sister Clarissa, who charges Nell with chaperoning her daughter Aurora through her first Season.


Young Lady Aurora, known as Rory, is the most revolting, and unbelievable, character I've run across in a long time.  She's beyond spoiled.  She's beyond reckless.  She's beyond thoughtless.  She's beyond irresponsible.  She's beyond selfish.  She's beyond beyond.  She's a mean, spiteful, manipulative little bitch.


Had she been the heroine of the tale, I'd never have gone past page four. 


Nell, on the other hand, is your usual goody two-shoes:  Patient, understanding, self-sacrificing, self-deprecating.  Devoted to her vaporish widowed mother, Lady Agnes, and her obstreperous younger brother Kit, Nell is too good to be true.


The situation is complicated by the fact that Rory is already engaged, but it's sort of a secret.  Her parents have arranged for her to marry a much older man, the Earl of Huntley, whose estate adjoins theirs and who will make Rory a very wealthy countess.


But Rory wants the fun of a Season, and Huntley is willing to let her.  And though she's quite honest about her lack of affection for him, she is eager to be a very wealthy countess.


Of course, there's the further complication that Nell and Huntley sort of had a thing for each other eight years ago, when he was just a poor younger son with no prospects.


Well, you can probably see where this is going, and that's exactly where it went.


None of them had any brains to see it all coming.  Well, except for Major Talcott, and then he turned out to be as addlepated as the rest of them in the end.


The conventions of the Regency are all on display here:  heavy emphasis on fashion and social events -- this one takes place in Brighton, with Prinny and Mrs. Fitzherbert on the scene -- along with plenty of period slang, I daresay.  If that's your thing, I'm sure you'll love it.


But if you're looking for a story that doesn't give away the ending before you've finished the first chapter, this isn't it.  (The ending was so absurd I actually laughed aloud.  It was, well, beyond contrived.)


Wicked Is as Wicked Does


I have two copies of the paperback edition of Errol Flynn's autobiography.  The newer copy I picked up when it was reprinted in the early 1980s.  The older (scanned above) I snatched from my mother's dresser drawer where she had hidden it.  I'm sure she knew I had taken it, but she could hardly confront me, since then she would have to admit buying it, reading it, and hiding it.


Those of you who only know the myth of Flynn would probably be surprised by just about everything in the book. 


Neither English or Irish (as some claimed), he grew up in Hobart, Tasmania, the son of a noted biology professor.  The road to Hollywood took him through New Guinea, India, and London.  In addition to writing two novels -- Beam Ends and Showdown -- he wrote for newspapers reporting on both the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s and the Cuban revolution in the 1950s.  He collected fine art and was one of the first actors to protest the treatment of animals -- particularly horses -- in films.  He owned two yachts, Sirocco and Zaca.  The latter is still sailing.


His greatest regret:  That he never learned to play the piano.





I may have to read this tonight

Drama Kings: The Men Who Drive Strong Women Crazy - Dalma Heyn

Picked up Kindle edition free today, along with . . . far too many others.


Possession - A.S. Byatt

Last night, drowsy with a suppressed but not vanquished cold and the OTC generic medication I'd taken to suppress it, I tried yet another of the thousands (literally) of novels downloaded to my long-suffering Kindle.  Two or three sentences into the narrative, my sensibilities rebelled at the combined insult of slovenly grammar and immature style.  I pressed the tiny button to retun to the main menu screen, then slid the device back into its faux suede sleeve.  On the verge of self-pitying tears, over both the annoyance of my illness and the disgrace of the chosen novel, I turned out the light and gave myself up to drug-induced sleep.


After too much sleep and still under the effects of the nasty-tasting red liquid, I dragged myself out of bed this morning and tended to the usual chores.  When they were done and I could settle into my usual reading location without too much guilt, I went in search of something less than terrible to read.  Even the search, however, was more than my befuddled brain and achy body were up to.  I allowed my mind to drift for a few moments, randomly, unrestrained, giving it free rein to prance and canter and even gallop where it would, with or without a planned destination.


When it came to rest, when it halted and bent its head to graze, I was not surprised at the location.  The novel I had started to read two nights ago -- not last night, but the night before that -- had brought others to mind, others that were better written and more encouraging of the willing suspension of disbelief.  No, not that silly Da Vinci fiasco that began with the slashed canvas of a portrait everyone with any awareness knows is painted on a wooden board.  Rather I was reminded of Barbara Michaels' Houses of Stone, an oft-read favorite with flaws of its own.  And of another, read only once but with immeasurable delight.


I have need of a good book today.

To: All (would-be) writers. From: All readers

Memo from the Story Department: Secrets of Structure and Character - David McKenna, Christopher Vogler

I began rereading this tonight and before I'd finished the first page of real text, the value of this book jumped up and slapped me upside the head.  Yeah, the first page.


If you are a writer of less-than-best-selling status or a would-be writer, spend some of your holiday gift money or that fat tip from the tipsy lunch ladies, on Memo from the Story Department.


The tools and techniques in this volume are the result of many years of spirited debate and collaboration between myself, Chris Vogler, and my friend and colleague David McKenna. Both of us do many jobs, but most of our careers we have been professional story analysts, meaning that we read and evaluate stories, screenplays, and novel manuscripts for the story departments of major movie studios. Between the two of us we estimate we have critiqued over forty thousand stories in one form or another,

McKenna, David; Vogler, Christopher. Memo from the Story Department: Secrets of Structure and Character (Kindle Locations 114-117). Michael Wiese Productions. Kindle Edition.


A story is a story is a story.  Whether written as a novel or a screenplay, whether read as a book or watched as a movie, the story is essentially the same.  And more than anything, the writer needs to know how stories work.


These guys know.


My email to Kate @ BookLikes

(I went to bed last night with the beginnings of a terrible, terrible cold.  I woke up with the advanced beginnings of a terrible, terrible cold.  But I wanted to make sure I got this off to BL before I got any worse.)




You may call me the Angry BookLiker if you wish, because I am one of those who gets easily frustrated and has never learned to just suffer and be nice about it.  Deep down, however, I'm pretty much a nice person and I am more than willing to work with anyone who is willing to work with me.
You've asked for reports on the problems we've encountered, and since I'm a writer, I feel comfortable detailing my experience in at least one area, the area that most frustrates me.
When I write a review or a text post, I often insert links to other pages.  Those pages may be on other sites, or they may be previous posts on BookLikes.  Using the link feature is no problem, unless the link is to another post on BookLikes.  This means having two BL windows open at the same time, one for where I'm writing the text and one for where I'm getting the link.  It appears -- though I'm not absolutely certain -- that having two BL windows open at once does something to the process and makes it impossible to publish the post.  The screen simply locks up and won't post.  The option then is to copy and paste the text into another editing program -- such as Notepad, MSWord, etc. -- which voids all the links and formatting and any photos.  This is what happened to me on Monday, when I lost two and a half hours of work.
There are several work-arounds for this problem, but none of them is without problems of its own.
First is to compose the entire post in another format with the links as text, then cutting and pasting it into the BookLikes form.  This still requires using the form to add the links and photographs and formatting that doesn't transfer completely from the editing program.  This is crucial for quoted sections and especially for spoiler sections, and it seems like an inefficient duplication of effort.
Another option is to use the BookLinks window and "Save as draft" at regular intervals during the writing in order to preserve the links and photos.  As I've found, and perhaps others have as well, this alters the "Post date."  When I published my "Suspicious minds" post yesterday. I tried this option and found that I couldn't publish nor could I change the "Post date."  The only way around it was to copy the entire post and paste it into a new BL window.  This meant redoing all the tags. 
I encountered the problem with the "Save as draft" and "Post date" issue several weeks ago with another post, but I didn't make notes on it.  Yesterday I paid more attention to exactly what happened, and I relied on some of the comments other users had made.
There is no central or easily-found "Help" section, and sending an email to someone in a time zone nine hours ahead of mine is not practical.  I'm not a BL Librarian, so I'm not going to get into the problems with the catalogue, but I will address issues with the writing/blogging process.  Help/How-to/FAQ needs to be up-to-date, complete, readily accessible from ALL pages of the BookLikes site, and it needs to address the basic functions of the site -- including how to post more than just "This book was great!  Everyone should read it!"
Thank you, and good luck.
Linda Hilton
Arizona, USA

Suspicious minds

— feeling bad smell
The Semper Sonnet - Seth J. Margolis

When Stephanie at Stephanie's Book Reviews reviewed this book, I was intrigued enough to check it out on Amazon.  The Kindle edition was only 99 cents. so I splurged and bought it.


Disclosure:  I paid the full retail price for the Kindle edition.  I do not know the author, nor have I ever had any contact with him about this book or any other matter.  I am an author of contemporary gothic and historical romances.


This is not really a review, since I've only read a couple chapters and may or may not read any more.  But I'm so disgusted by what I found that I feel compelled to post this information.  As an author, I cannot post it on Amazon; authors are not allowed to post negative comments/reviews.


I know virtually nothing about the publisher of this item, Diversion Books of New York City.  They have a website that makes them look professional, and they seem to have a number of authors and titles in their catalogue.  But I personally would never recommend them to anyone, based on my reading of the opening chapters of this book.


Editors are supposed to fix errors.  Although editors are human and make mistakes, they shouldn't make big fat obvious ones.



Screen shot from K4PC





Copied text from later in the same chapter:


Lee Nicholson would not be wounded. She would not bleed.

Margolis, Seth. The Semper Sonnet (Kindle Location 245). Diversion Books. Kindle Edition.


Copied text from the next chapter:


“You haven’t been charged with anything, Miss Nichols.”

Margolis, Seth. The Semper Sonnet (Kindle Location 292). Diversion Books. Kindle Edition.

Copied text from later in the next chapter:


Where would she go?

“Miss Nichols?”

Detective Lowry was staring at her with something verging on concern.

Margolis, Seth. The Semper Sonnet (Kindle Locations 317-318). Diversion Books. Kindle Edition.



And later:


“Leslie Nichols?”

She turned from her dresser to face one of the plainclothes men sifting through every item in her bedroom.

“I’m known as Lee. Lee Nichols.”

Margolis, Seth. The Semper Sonnet (Kindle Locations 365-367). Diversion Books. Kindle Edition.


An error like that is pretty much unforgivable.  I caught it on a first reading late at night when I was tired as hell.


Names are important . They are one of the first identifiers of a character.  They can also stop a reader in her tracks if they're wrong or jarring or . . . too familiar.


From early in Chapter 1:


Her mentor at Columbia, David Eddings, had assured her that it was her looks and not her scholarship that had landed her a spot on the news.

Margolis, Seth. The Semper Sonnet (Kindle Locations 224-225). Diversion Books. Kindle Edition.


David Eddings was a well-known author of several best-selling fantasy series.  Coming across an unusual name of a real person like this is a jolt that pulls a reader out of the make-believe world of the novel.  Had the name been Donald Eddings or David Geddings, I would never have noticed it.  But I did notice "David Eddings" and was immediately on alert.


When the main character's name changed from "Lee Nicholson" to "Lee Nichols," the importance of the other name doubled.  "Leigh Nichols" is one of the many pseudonyms of another best-selling author, Dean Koontz.

(show spoiler)



Had this been a self-published book, I probably would have stopped reading at that point and just posted a DNF review.  There were other elements of the plot that bothered me even at less than 4% into the book, but I could have overlooked those if I felt confident of the writing.  But because it was published by a third party, I decided to do a little more research.


The first stop was Amazon, to see what the reviews were like.  Oh man, oh man, oh man, here we go again.


The Semper Sonnet's dedication:


For Jean Naggar

Margolis, Seth. The Semper Sonnet (Kindle Location 64). Diversion Books. Kindle Edition.


 From the Amazon page for the book:



Full transparency my ass.


Oh, and that 1 comment?  It's Jean Naggar's link to her own book.  Follow that up and you'll find that Ms. Naggar is a literary agent.  I'd be willing to bet she's Seth Margolis's agent.


Full transparency my ass.


So now I have a really bad taste in my mouth about this author and this book.  I regret spending even 99 cents on it and putting 35 cents in Margolis's bank account, 7 cents of which probably went to Naggar.

A Parallax of Conundrums

— feeling angry

(Note:  All links are missing from this, along with all pics.  Booklikes froze after I had spent two and a half fucking hours on this.  Although I was able to save the text file, the links were lost, the formatting was lost, and the pics (saved in my files) were no longer part of the file.  Thanks for nothing, BookLikes.)



A murder of crows.  A pride of lions.

A parallax of conundrums.

Having injured my foot at an art show this past Saturday, I decided not to spend all day yesterday limping around and instead proceeded with more of the archiving of my BookLikes blog posts.  Reviews, progress updates, and generic comments and observations that I had not previously saved are now filling up yet another file on the computer.  I need to do another back-up.

As I read through my own blogging history and tried to keep up with the various conversations regarding the current state of BookLikes, I tried to figure out my place in the landscape and which road of several available I wanted to take toward the next adventure.

Parallax -- the effect whereby the position or direction of an object appears to differ when viewed from different positions.

Like so many others, I came to BookLikes in search of an alternative after the Great Purge of September 2013.  It took hours to upload my book catalogue from a csv file of my Goodreads account.  Many books had no covers, or weren't listed on BookLikes at all.  I put up with the glitches because BL was a work-in-progress, and I was okay with that, as long as there was continued progress.

Some of the trolls followed us, and that was discouraging.  We all know how that went down.  And for those who think this became a safe haven where we could freely vent our frustrations, let me assure you that is NOT true.  Details are available, but will not be made public.  The result was that I for one felt less safe here than I had hoped.

I never got the hang of the fancy blogging backgrounds and such, but it didn't bother me all that much.  I was more interested in the ideas, the words, the books, the writing.  The bells and whistles were nice, but they weren't me.  After a while, however, I did begin to feel left out.  It was like being back in high school where everyone had the latest fashions just like in Seventeen and I didn't.

What I wanted was the books, because books -- like dogs -- have never let me down.

As problems began to surface with BL, I turned more and more to my own catalogue of books, the books I owned and the books I'd read and the books I wanted to read.  It's not a data base per se; it's a spreadsheet with basic information like author names, titles, publishers, etc., and the location for those books that I own.

Last January I took a break from BL, for a variety of reasons.  I stopped back here once in a while to catch up on things, but I pretty much just stayed away for weeks at a time without even logging in.  I didn't know about all the problems that were developing until after I came back in July.  The site had slowed down.  There were days when I couldn't get on at all.  And the book data base still had problems.

In August, I got a real wake-up call in the form of a post by Murder by Death.  I would link to her original, but I haven't figured out how to do that yet.  But because of the problems I myself had been having, I reblogged it for easier access.  "Librarian edits in the time of the ice age. . . " let me know that BookLikes was in trouble.  It wasn't just me.

And there were discussions about moving to other sites.  I joined aNobii, found it annoying, for instance.

At that point, I began archiving my own BL posts.  Before I had got very far with that project, the whole Halloween Bingo thing started, and the buddy reads for Ammie, Come Home and Jamaica Inn.  For the first time in three years, since the debacle on GR, I felt as if the book community I had grown so fond of was starting to coalesce again.  Through the Bingo game I found some fun new books and slogged through some I should have read a long time ago and encountered a few real duds.  The task of analyzing the two buddy read books was an absolute joy; I love love love love love doing that sort of thing.

Through it all, there was that undercurrent of worry, though.  Sometimes when I tried to add new covers, the jpg files were too big.  I kept shrinking them and shrinking them and couldn't remember ever having to do that before.  The site was still slow, very slow, and there were days when I simply couldn't get on.  I noticed that the Facebook page hadn't been updated, and I remembered that it had been a very long time since I'd seen one of the Thursday updates.

All of this mitigated the enthusiasm engendered by the buddy and Bingo reads.

I shoved my concerns aside.  I went through a bout of back spasms, and I had a big art show.  My hopes of blacking out my Bingo card waned as other occupations stole time from reading.  Then came the fiasco of the Setterfield book.

By the time I posted my rant, I was literally -- and I do mean literally -- crying with frustration.  All I wanted to do was chart my progress reading a damn book, and I couldn't figure out how to do it.  I tried all of the very few "help" features I could find, but the BL site was not being very helpful.  I didn't know who to ask.  I looked for a librarians' group similar to what was on GR and even on LM, but I couldn't find anything.  The "help" button wasn't any help since I didn't even know what the problem was.  Anger, frustration, pissed-offedness and everything else piled on top of previous issues and the general deterioration of the site prompted my outburst, and I left.  I didn't even come back to the site to see the responses until several days later.

Because I had received no email notifications of responses to my flounce, I figured everyone was equally pissed off at me and didn't care.

As it turned out, however, that wasn't entirely true.

When I heard about the major problems with the site, I tried to keep up a little better, but I was still bitter.  Not at my fellow BookLikers, to whom I owed an apology for my flounce, but at BookLikes' management for letting the operation deteriorate.  I still don't know what entirely lay behind it, and I still don't know what position BookLikes plays in a wider array of business ventures, but that doesn't make me any less disappointed.

With very few personal exceptions, I'm pretty much a WYSIWYG type person.  It gets me in trouble quite frequently -- it's why I'm banned from GR -- but there's no changing it.  I am what I am.  And maybe that's what makes it all the more difficult for me to understand why someone would go to all the trouble to set up a site like BL and then let it fall apart.  To me that's a sign that they just don't care.  The operators of GR only cared about the money, which they pocketed on the sale to Amazon.  (The same is true of the owners of the Etsy.com site, who pocketed the dough on their IPO and have let the site go to hell ever since.)

That's why I didn't understand the collapse of Leafmarks.  That should have been a labor of love and something that would have been organized in a way to involve the users in the development, but it never seemed to get off the ground.

What I do understand is that most people, probably 99%, just want a site they can use in peace and harmony and not have to worry if everything is going to fall apart tomorrow.  And most people, probably 99%, aren't interested in or have the time/resources to engage in the building and development and maintenance of any such site.

What I also understand, because I'm one of those people, is that there are folks who love to be in on the action, who love to get into the nitty gritty of maintaining the data base, helping with upgrades, dreaming of new features, helping new members, and so on.  I wasn't a Librarian on GR, but I added a hell of a lot of books, because I surfed for the Kindle freebies almost every day.  I was a Librarian on Leafmarks, and again I added a lot of books that weren't in the mainstream.  I added hundreds of covers, too, because I had the books and I had the capability and I had the time.

I'm not a Librarian at BL, and I've never been able to find a comprehensive user's manual on how to do things.  I even broke down yesterday and used the Help button to send a message regarding this.

I got an email reply from "Kate" this morning:

My first thought on reading that this morning was, "Why couldn't I find a FAQ page yesterday when I was looking for one?"  So I looked again, and I still couldn't find it.  Not from the dashboard and not from my blog file.  I looked and I looked and I looked, and I got frustrated all over again, and then angry.

I finally found the FAQ button when I was writing this post.  So, why isn't the FAQ page accessible from ALL PARTS OF THE SITE???

And why should it be up to the members of the site to provide the how-to information for other users?  How is the new user to know this?

Do I stay and struggle with this, or do I go and struggle somewhere else?

As I was writing that, literally at that moment, Broken Tune was posting on her BL blog:

This site is MUCH more complex than either GR or LM, because of the integrated data base and blogging features, as was discussed once before, somewhere, regarding the difficulty of reproducing it.  Maybe the operators just expect everyone to be super-savvy with that sort of thing.  I don't know.  And maybe when my generation of dinosaurs, the folks who remember vinyl LPs and mimeograph masters and carbon paper and rotary phones, finally dies out, user's manuals will be a thing of the past, too.

Until then, a comprehensive one would be really, really, REALLY NICE.

The conundrums change as my point of view changes.  I think the data base here is woefully inadequate, but I don't even know how to help fixing it.  The blogging is nice, but I don't know how to make mine look like the others, so I feel second-rate.  I came here for the community, and it's fleeing.

This morning I logged on, after getting the email from Kate, and I read the comments,  posted on Broken Tune's blog, expressing appreciation of my presence here.  That made me cry some more.  (I'm sounding like Grimlock, now! ;-) )  And that, too, reminded me that I came here for the community more than anything else.

I don't know where I'm going to go or what I'm going to do.  I feel very much cast adrift right now.  We've all explored all the other sites, and found them lacking.  No one is interested in starting a new one.  I have a presence on FB and Twitter, so I can be found one way or another.

If I thought BL were going to stabilize and grow -- and not sell out -- I might be more encouraged to stay and establish a significant presence again.  But I don't have that confidence right now.

Maybe I never will.

I don't understand this.


Is this a glitch?  Is this something that's always been there and I never noticed?  I'm so horribly confused and frustrated and angry now that I'll consider myself lucky if I can find my own front door.


It looks like one can start a separate discussion on a blog post?  I was already logged in when I caught up with the comments on the BL "We're up again" post, so I don't know why there's a login button.


Maybe the whole thing is beyond my capabilities.

There's really no excuse for this, is there? (updated)

— feeling angry

I'm reading a book.  I want to chart my progress on BookLikes.  I look up the book and I get this:


The displayed listing is for an ebook, and I want to list the hardcover copy that I obtained from my library.  I look to see what other editions there are on BookLikes and I get this:



Since the digital version is the only one listed, I proceed to the "add a new edition" page and begin to enter the information.  I take the time to scan the cover and reduce it to a size BookLikes will handle.


And I get this:



I have checked the information I entered, and it is correct.  I have the damn book in my hand.  (yes, that's the sticker from the Apache Junction Public Library on the scanned cover.)


It isn't going to do me any good to complain because the lights are on but no one is home at BookLikes.  No one gives a damn any more.




So I do a search on the ISBN, and I get this:



I'm not a librarian.  I can't fix this.  I don't know what will happen if I choose one of these duplicates and it's the wrong one.


Why bother?

Halloween Bingo Card Update! #16

Young Adult Horror = Nan Sherwood at Lakeview Hall, or the Mystery of the Haunted Boathouse by Annie Roe Carr