May 21, 2012

Ad Age: Google+ more like a ghost town

I needed a Google+ invite badly when the social media was in its earliest stages. When one showed up in my inbox before many of my friends and colleagues, I thought I was cooler than everyone.

I signed up, followed a couple of people I knew on the site and wrote a post.

I might have been back about a dozen times since then. Instead, my time is usually spent on Twitter, Instagram, reading RSS feeds or working. Occasionally, Facebook works its way into the mix. But never Google+.

This article by Ad Age “Google+ aGhost Town as Brands Decamp for Pinterest” doesn't come as a surprise. I'm even on Pinterest too, but even my usage in that has waned.

“The broad consensus is that Google+ is an empty city where the masses go to set up a profile but then seldom return.”

That sounds about right.

May 14, 2012

Charlaine Harris confirms end to Sookie Stackhouse series

Charlaine Harris made it official today when she posted on Facebook that Book 13 Dead After All in the Sookie Stackhouse series would be the last.

It's never too early to start marketing for that book either.

As you can see in Harris' post, the date of the release of the next and final book is May 2, 2013.

With the way the last book Deadlocked ended (check out my review here) it left Sookie's love life up in the air, but it seemed as though Sookie was leaning in a certain direction.

Many of the comments on Harris' page were positive and don't want the series to end, but now just might be the right time.

I've met several people who have stopped reading the books because the last three to four of them got kind of stale. Sookie's love life was always at the center of the books, but some readers have given up and don't care to see how it ends.

Perhaps they're just waiting for the spoilers.

What do you think? Was this the right time for Harris to end her series?

Book review: Karma Girl by Jennifer Estep

Carmen Cole is a character after my own heart. It seems I have a knack for picking up books where the main character is a reporter. I live that life. I get it. I know what it's like to go through the ups and downs of reporting.

In Karma Girl (Book 1 of the Bigtime Superheroes series) written by Jennifer Estep, Carmen Cole is an investigative reporter whose sole mission is to uncover as many superheroes and ubervillians and she possibly could. But it didn't always start that way. Cole became obsesses with this mission on her wedding day when she discovered her fiance and best friend in bed together. To make it worse, they were the town of Beginnings superhero and ubervillian.

Cole had her revenge by pasting their photos on the front of the local paper. She worked her way to bigger newspapers doing the same thing until she found herself in Bigtime, one of the biggest cities in the country with the deadliest ubervillians and hunkiest superheroes.

If it sounds a little goofy, that's because it is, but not in a bad way.

Estep has a good time with the book poking fun at old comics and superhero stories: everyone has the same initials as their first and last names, bombs use an agent called Explodium and radioactivity can be good for you.

The good guys want to save the world while the bad guys want to rule it.

Some of the reviews I read about Karma Girl called it predictable at times, which it might be as well. But, again, it's not something that bothered me.

I wasn't surprised when the big reveals occurred because I figured them out on my own, however, I did like getting confirmation on what I already thought.

Estep does a great job with description. She puts the characters in rooms and allows readers to fully see everything with their imagination.

I also enjoyed the Cole's inner dialogue. Estep writes it in a way that many women can relate to. She feels frustrations, anger, remorse, lust. All the things we probably go through in a 24-hour span.

The book really is a lot of fun.

You can buy the book on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

May 10, 2012

Helping a friend with a book

Working with friends may be difficult, especially when working as an editor.

Recently, Bobby Deren asked me to look through his indie novella DRAFT SEASON: Preparing for the NFL.

The non-fiction book is about Deren's experience in training with several NFL draft prospects at Competitive Edge Sports in Atlanta. To football fanatics, that place is well know because the best of the best prospects go there to train. The systems employed at that facilities are used around the country in other gyms that seek similar atmospheres.

I read Deren's book in a day. At 61 pages, it wasn't terribly long and it didn't need to be either.

Deren gets right to the point in what its like to train by going through the training himself for a week. He put down his computer and threw on his sneakers instead to stand side by side with men who will make a career in the NFL.

May 7, 2012

Book review: Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse)

When a book comes out that is part of a series, there is a little bit of excitement around release day. We're meeting up with old friends and want to know what they have been up to.

When Charlaine Harris announced there would be just two books left in the True Blood series some time last year, it meant some of our friends – Sookie, Eric, Tara, Jason and others of Bon Temp – would eventually be leaving.

The second to last book Deadlocked recently came out. I tore through it in about two days not able to relish in some of the final moments with the characters.

Sookie is at a crossroads – but when is she not - figuring out her relationships with her boyfriend and relatives. Most of her human friends are either getting married or having children, which seems to be weighing on Sookie's mind.

This version of catching up with Sookie meant getting to hang out with her as she cleaned and ran errands. There was not much action or romance, which is something True Blood fans have come to enjoy from the books.

Deadlocked started off well. A dead woman is found on Eric's lawn the night he's hosting the king from Nevada. A murder mystery is on hand, but instead of learning what happened how her death could affect Eric and rest of the vamps in Shreveport, Sookie spends the rest of her time moping and whining.

I missed the spunky Sookie, but maybe this is just old friends growing up – or an author getting tired of writing the series.

This felt like a set up for the series ending. Sookie will get her “happily ever after” but the question remains with whom.

If the end of Deadlocked is any indication, there are going to be many fans who will not be happy and will not like that they invested all these years.

Catching up with old friends is still fun, even if you don't always agree with what they've been doing. With the series ending so soon, maybe it was nice to get Sookie to take some time off from the craziness that usually surrounds her – but that's not why we became friends in the first place.

Rating: 2.5
Regardless of how mundane this book seemed, I still enjoyed the book. It wasn't what I wanted it to be, but that seems to often be the case in a long-running series – at least the ones I have read.

You can purchase Deadlocked at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

May 5, 2012

Book review: Game 7: Deadball

As a baseball fan, I'm pretty much a sucker for anything to do with my favorite sport. But at the same time, I'm also very critical.

Game 7: Deadball by Allen Schatz is a mystery thriller with the 2008 World Series as a backdrop. For the record, I was at that World Series, so it was interesting to see how certain things would be incorporated into an event I attended.

The first thing I noticed was how well the book was written. As an indie author, Schatz's writing is very polished. It was a refreshing start because it meant there would be no cringing throughout the book from poor grammar or something else that a good editor could have helped.

It allowed me to just enjoy the book, which I did.

Marshall Connors, a Major League Baseball umpire, is at the center of the book. Connors has to cut his vacation short as he's asked to become crew chief for the 2008 World Series. Not a bad gig, but mysterious and dangerous messages start popping up around Connors until he realizes he's in the middle of a large revenge scheme.

There are a number of characters to track in the book – and at times it felt as though there were too many. During certain passages when there was a mention of a lesser character, I had to go back and remind myself of whom Schatz was writing about.

The difference with Connors and the rest was Schatz's characters was the use of perspective. Connors' passages were written in first person while the others were written in third person. It took some getting used, but I found it interesting.

When I asked Schatz about it he said it was a way for him to incorporate a bit of himself into the character. He wanted the focus to be on Connors although I found myself intrigued by another character, CIA agent Thomas (Suggestion: maybe a book on Thomas' adventure and how he became the person he is).

The book was quick with short sections and chapters only hitting on important moments for each character. There were no long poetic passes. Just action.

It was an enjoyable read and Schatz did a good job of building suspense.

There are two more books currently in the series and I intend to check them out as well.

Rating: 4 - Well written and good action. A bit too many characters for me to keep up with, but the ones that mattered came to life well.