time for (another) rant

Last year, I posted this big rant about one of my indie book reviews being [kind of] censored.  I’m not going to link to it because it turned into a mess, but I’m here today with another rant centered around an indie author. (Not naming her, fyi.)

And it’s worse?

Earlier this year I had the privilege of beta-reading a dystopian trilogy for an indie author whose books I enjoy.  She’s not my favorite indie author, but she’s written some good stuff and created at least one character I really like so I jumped at the chance to help her out in the beta-ing department.  I read all three books, gave her my comments, and that was that.

Until yesterday, when I saw that she’d posted the final book to Goodreads (so it was now available for rating/reviewing).  I added it to my shelves and rated it two stars. 

EXPLANATION: I was stressed yesterday about completely unrelated things.  I was in a hurry to get the book on my shelves, wasn’t really thinking, and since the book left almost no impression on me…I rated it two stars.  I admit that I should have taken more time to think about my rating and maybe leave a short review, but I didn’t. (And, I mean, it’s not like I’m required to by law.)

Later that night, I opened up Facebook Messenger to find a super long message from the author in question.  Why, she asked, did I dare to rate her book only two stars?  If I had issues with it, why didn’t I bring them up when I beta read? (To be completely open with y’all, I pointed out any typos I found when I first read the book and honestly answered all the questions she had for the beta readers.  It’s just that the story/characters didn’t connect with me and I definitely didn’t like it as much as some of her other books.)

“I was planning on offering my beta readers paperback copies in reward for their assistance during the process.  Sorely disappointed I can’t do that for everyone involved now,” she said, passive-aggressively. (Spoiler alert: I’m grateful for the gesture but I have limited shelf space and that offer doesn’t tempt me to raise my rating.)

Still, none of the above would have been enough to prompt this blog post.  Yeah, I’ve bought all of her books and reviewed some and helped her in any way I could and micro-managing reviews and ratings is Bad Form, but…I would have let it go.

Except that she blocked me on Messenger directly after sending the message.

I had a thoughtful response planned out, explaining that I’d not really been thinking and that maybe I could see my way to bumping my rating up to three stars.  But then I tried to send that message and, yeah, it didn’t go through.  I was ‘no longer able to reply to this conversation’.  In one of the most juvenile moves imaginable, she blocked me from her author page’s messaging system so I couldn’t defend myself.

So, yeah.  I’m kind of mad about that.

I’d been reading a different book by the same author and was really enjoying it until all of this happen.  I’ll still finish it, but the whole thing has gone sour for me.  Indie authors, please don’t try to keep your rankings high by following up with every single reader and asking them why they didn’t rate your book higher.  As a reader, I’m not required to post a positive review – or any review.  I’m sure that when I become a published author, I’ll get reviews that will make me shake my head.  But I’m not going to engage.

I’m not quite sure what the point of all this was, except to get my response out there since I couldn’t do it in private.  I’ll probably look back on this post in a couple weeks and roll my eyes because I thought this was such a big deal, but I’m honestly angry right now.


Have you ever had a similar experience with an author (indie or otherwise)?  Or do you have a happy author interaction story to share?  Let me know in the comments!



seeing ‘Newsies’ live…twice!


I’m still glowing from the experience. ❤

A friend from church was recently in a student production of ‘Newsies’ and she invited my family and me to come watch.  We went on a Thursday evening and I enjoyed it so much that I went by myself on Friday (the last performance).  The whole thing made me want to give a Katherine Plumber-esque squeal.  I mean, it was student production quality, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good!

Actually, it was all kinda magical.

Ninety-eight percent of the newsies were played by girls (that included my friend from church) and it weirded me out for ten minutes and then I got used to it. (Well, Jack took a little more getting used to but I was firmly behind her performance by the second evening.)  There was a bit of off-key singing, awkward scene transitions, and bad acting but overall it was AWESOME.  Completely revitalized my love for Newsies.  I’ve been a fan of the show/movie for five years, you guys (pretty much exactly five years, come to think of it) and getting to see it live was literally a dream come true. (I don’t care that it was ‘only’ a high school production.) 

bought a newsies-esque hat for Friday night’s performance. #worth

Random cool stuff about this particular production

-I actually knew someone in the cast!  My friend played Seitz and Mush and, yeah, seeing her performing on stage was awesomeness.

-I, um, preferred this Crutchie to Andrew Keenan-Bolger. *ducks flying tomatoes*  I know it’s hard to believe, and it’s only a tiny preference, but she was so, so sweet and absolutely killed ‘Letter to the Refuge’ (in a good way).  Just…SO good.

-Davey was also awesome!  Davey is my favorite character in the original movie/pro shot/this production and the girl who played him (weird to say, but okay) was a Pro™.  And she hugged me after the production which was really nice of her.

-The cast did a super cool thing during ‘Once and for All’.  You know when the beat kind of drops near the end?  Well, they all came out into the aisles and sang directly at the audience, waving The Newsies Banner in our faces.  It was Uncomfortable (slightly) but also sooooo neat.

-I didn’t have courage to do this the first night (#introvert), but my mom and Katie talked me into asking for autographs after the performance on Friday and I’m so glad I did.  I got autographs from my church friend, her friend, Crutchie, Davey, and Pulitzer.  I couldn’t stop grinning afterwards.

everyone scribbled their autograph by their character name (#helpful), except Pulitzer (#mean) (#butjk)

-Friday night was dinner theatre and the meal/desserts they served were what the newsies, Katherine, Pulitzer, etc. could have eaten back in the day.  Which was awesome.

If you haven’t figured it out by now…this was one of the highlights of my life. (No exaggeration here!)  And definitely the highlight of 2019.  I’ve only seen a few live performances of plays and musicals, but ‘Newsies’ is my favorite so far. *continues to fangirl for the rest of my life*

Have you seen any Broadway productions live? (Whether on Broadway, on tour, or at a school.)  I’d love to hear about your experiences!


life update {april 2019}

Top 22 Funny Memes about Life & Relationships

I have so many blog post ideas right now, but I’m waiting for them to become more than ideas.  Something about Robin Williams, villains, ‘Aladdin’ (oc version), why I love DC more than Marvel, at least one tag I want to steal…and maybe a blogathon of some sort.  I just finished a pretty consuming work project, so I’ll hopefully have more creative energy to devote to blog posts now.


Coffee is still one of my best friends.  Even when I have to drink it with almond milk. 😛


I got Instagram!  Haven’t posted there much because it happened so recently, but I’m pretty happy with how it’s going so far.  I mainly joined up to participate in a photo challenge for Romanov’s release (which is in ONE WEEK and HAVE YOU PRE-ORDERED YET???)  Anyway, it’s tons of fun to brainstorm props and backdrops for some of my favorite books. (Also, Stephanie Garber responded to my comment on one of her posts and it made my day.)

Image result for stephanie garber
Yes, that Stephanie Garber.


The Darkness is Past, third draft, is coming along slowly.  One thing I struggle with is having my characters all sound different as they speak – anyone have tips for that?


I feel like this isn’t a life update so much as internet/writing happenings. 😛  But other than that, there’s not a ton going on in my real life world right now.  My little brother, Ethan, is almost done his schoolwork for this year (I’m his teacher).  My family’s cat continues to be a weird little freak.  And I keep waking up before my alarm goes off, which is mildly annoying but I also like getting a bit of an earlier start to the day.


My favorite Youtuber posted a really cool video today about fictional characters in the public domain.  And not to be click-baity or anything, but I’m already developing a story around #9 (before I saw the video, though it’s still neat).


Currently listening to ‘Evermore’ from the Beauty and the Beast remake and I’m seriously considering doing a Guy of Gisborne fan-video set to it.  Thoughts?

RichardArmitageOnline.com - actor Richard Armitage, star of BBC North and South, Robin Hood (Guy of Gisborne), Vicar of Dibley: articles, inofrmation, pictures, screencaps, video clips.


That’s about it!  So, tell me how your week/month has gone. 🙂


macbeth, my grandpa, and me

This post is part of We Love Shakespeare Week.

Shakespeare Book Covers by Chris Hall, via Behance

After I graduated from high school I started taking college-level courses with my grandpa.  We studied worldview science, regular science (think: Answers in Genesis), and literature.  We started with really ancient texts like Sophocles and Homer and Aeschylus and then moved on from there.  The textbook we were using had Macbeth as the Shakespeare text to study and, while I’d heard Grandpa quote from it before, I’d never read it.

Well, I read it.  Not all at once. (I believe the textbook just included excerpts.)  But eventually I did read the whole thing.  I still wasn’t a huge fan (this was schoolwork, after all) but my interest was piqued.  We watched the Ian McKellen version (#disturbing and #weird) and a recorded performance from the college that produced our textbook (there was some bad acting).

Even though I didn’t particularly love Macbeth yet, it was rapidly becoming the thing that Grandpa and I really shared.  He loved to quote the “double, double toil and trouble” and “Is this a dagger that I see before me?” with great gusto. (In earlier days, Grandpa was in a few plays – including Taming of the Shrew – so he knew how to project his voice and really say the lines.)  We had good times laughing over all that.

It was actually amazing. ❤

Then, on July 7th, 2016, I saw Macbeth performed live in Stratford. (Ontario, not England.  Psych!)  It was with both my grandparents (though my grandma doesn’t particularly like the play) and, oh man, it was fantastic.  I fell in love with Macbeth right away.  The actors were brilliant, Shakespeare’s lines lived and breathed in my ears…I can’t even.  I particularly remember that Lady Macbeth looked really young and innocent, but her performance was chilling. (As it should be.)  And Banquo (my favorite character in the play) suddenly appeared at the banquet – his ghost, rather – it was terrifying.

(The trailer for the show is here.  There are some disturbing images.)

I came out of the show in a daze – and as a firm fan of Macbeth and Shakespeare himself.  It’s still in one of my top three favorite Shakespeare plays.  And it will always remind me of Grandpa.  It’s a special thing we share…and I’ll never forget that.

23 Jokes And Memes About Shakespeare Plays That'll Make Smart People Laugh
I just had to.

So do you have a movie, book, or TV show that you and a friend or relative consider ‘yours’?


a month in books: january 2019

This quote about reading from Ralph Waldo Emerson will make you want to pick up…

This year, I set myself the goal of reading 300 books.  In one year.  Last year, I read 228 books so I’m not sure why I thought 300 books was the next step (250 would probably have been more logical), but whatever.  I was pretty sure I’d fail, but so far I’m four books ahead of schedule.  And, um, mentally exhausted.

However!  January has been a great month for books.  I’ve read 29 so far and, for the most part, I’ve enjoyed them.

The highlights:

~We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels.  Read my review here!

~The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors by Drew Daywalt.  Yes, it’s a kids’ picture book.  But it’s one of the funniest, most charming picture books I’ve ever read. (And the ‘Gladiator’ reference was icing on the cake.)

The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors | Drew Daywalt and Adam Rex | Harper Collins publication | 4 - 4 - 2017 | ISBN: 9780062438898

~The Negotiator by Dee Henderson.  After hearing my mom talk about the O’Malley series for ages I finally started it.  So, so good.

~A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold.  Hard, sobering, and thought-provoking.

~An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson.  Gorgeous prose, an intriuging fantasy world, and the greatest can-turn-into-a-raven-and-is-also-a-sweetheart YA hero since Jest.

The lowlights:

~Selp-helf and My Diarrhe by Miranda Sings/Colleen Balinger.  Miranda is much funnier on Youtube than in book form. (Though I’d hesitate to recommend her videos to less-than-adult audiences.  At least, some of them.)

miranda sings, lol. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! WHAT THE EVEN HECK?!?!

~I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora.  This one was okay, but it felt like the author was trying too hard to have a quirky first person POV narration that seems to be the staple for middle grade fiction these days.  And the plot was pretty dumb.

~Egypt’s Sister by Angela Hunt.  I was expecting a little more, y’know, Cleopatra in this book.

(There were some other not-so-great books but I don’t feel like devoting energy to them.)

Favorite book of the year (so far):

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  Yes, it’s a re-read.  And, yes, it’s the best.

My favorite quotation from my favorite book! "To Kill A Mockingbird" -- And to think, Harper Lee is publishing her second novel!!

So, let’s talk!  How many books have you read this year? (Please don’t think I’m bragging about how many books I’ve read, btw – I have more free time than most people and an affinity for speedy reading.)  What’s your favorite book so far this year?


coffee, classics, and craziness has a new look!

My blog’s previous theme has been around for about three years and tonight I decided that it was time for a fresh look.  After some browsing through WordPress’ themes and tinkering with a few options, this is what I landed on.  I think it’s a cleaner, simpler look than the old theme and I like it. (I don’t love it but I like it better than my previous theme.) (WordPress doesn’t have a lot of variety with its free themes, though.)

So…what do you think?  Let me know in the comments!


i need feedback, y’all

I love books.  (Everyone knows this.)  And I love blogging. (Ditto.)  And when I married those two loves (wow, that sounds weird) to create this blog, you guys responded – you love my blog (at least, I think so!).  I currently have 346 followers (whaaaat) and because of that high follower count, I’ve become part of several book review programs.  Basically, I request books (e-copies or hard copies) from all these different programs, read the book, and then write a review on my blog (as well as Goodreads and Amazon).

So, free books!  Which is awesome.  But it’s also started to worry me because, since I can’t pass up a free book that looks good, pretty much all my book blogging is reviewing those books…and I feel like the quality of my blog has suffered because of it.  I can’t remember the last time I reviewed a book on here that had no strings attached to my review.  There are so many books I loooove and I’ve reviewed so few of them. 

The last twelve books I reviewed on this blog were review copies.  Some of them I truly loved, but most I didn’t care about.  And I feel like that dilutes the integrity of my blog.  I know I can’t give up requesting free books entirely, but I think I need to step back a little (even now, I currently have four books waiting to be reviewed – and one of those reviews is coming on Monday).  I want this blog to truly represent the things I love.

I’ve also noticed that my book reviews don’t get a lot of comments compared to my other posts and I think it’s because y’all can tell my heart isn’t in them.  So what I’d like to know is – is that true?  Are you annoyed by this flood of reviews of books that I’m ambivalent about?  Please let me know!  And I promise to work harder at writing blog posts that truly mean something to me…and to you guys. (After I get those four books reviewed, that is. ;))

Have a great day everyone.