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Just plain bad books

The Horrifying Preponderance Of Sexual Violence In Writing

I was incredibly angry when I read the description of “Dark Captive” by Jennifer Denys a few days ago, and merely posted my feelings to Amazon at the time, which was not professional. In order to clarify my feelings, the following information is pertinent, and demonstrates the reasoning behind my belief that these sorts of books are wrong on both psychological, sociological, and legal levels, as well as the fact that their very existence forwards a sociopolitical atmosphere of acceptance of violence towards women on a level rising to that suffered by Middle Eastern women.

Laws are pertinent in my state of Colorado and do not include Federal Statutes, as there is no indication the victim was carried across state lines by the perpetrator.

The following charges may be made against the protagonist in a court of law:

Definition: Kidnapping Colorado laws classify kidnapping into two categories; first degree kidnapping and second degree kidnapping.

C.R.S. 18-3-302 A person commits second degree kidnapping when s/he seizes and carries any person from one place to another, without his consent and without lawful authority; or s/he takes away any child below 18 years with intent to keep or conceal the child from his or her parent or guardian or with intent to sell, trade, or barter such child for consideration.

Second degree kidnapping is a class 2 felony if the person kidnapped is a victim of a sexual offense or robbery.

C.R.S. 18-1.3-401  A person guilty of a class 2 felony will be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 24 years or less than eight years

Capital Punishment Statutes in Colorado

Capital punishment, also known as “the death penalty,” remains a legal sentence under Colorado laws for certain crimes, including, but not limited to: COL. REV. STAT. §18-3-301, et seq: Kidnapping.

Colorado Statutes: § 18-3-303. False Imprisonment

Definition: False imprisonment is the unlawful restraint of a person against her will by someone without legal authority or justification.

Examples of false imprisonment may include, but are not limited to: A person grabbing onto another person without their consent, and holding them so that they cannot leave.

Colorado Revised Statues Sections 18-3-402: Sexual Assault, 18-3-404: Unlawful Sexual Contact

Colorado criminalizes rape, sexual battery and sexual assault. The crimes are no longer divided by degree or level, but instead into sexual assault or sexual contact based on whether penetration of any kind was completed or only touching of genitals and other intimate parts. The penalties for each crime vary based on a number of “aggravating” factors that increase criminal responsibility, for example using force or date rape drugs. Force doesn’t always have to be physical force where the perpetrator physically overpowers the victim; FORCE COULD INCLUDE PSYCHOLOGICAL COERCION (BEING “TALKED INTO IT”),

Penalty: Co. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18-3-402. Class four felony, from one year to twelve years in prison.

Capital Punishment Statutes in Colorado

Capital punishment, also known as “the death penalty,” remains a legal sentence under Colorado laws for certain crimes, including, but not limited to: COL. REV. STAT. §18-3-301, et seq: Kidnapping.

I believe this logically lays out my reasoning behind my belief that this author is encouraging criminal acts against a victim, as well as encouraging a mindset of  acceptance of said criminal acts by persons who may see these types of works as justification for said criminal acts.

PLEASE NOTE: According to RAINN (Rape, ­­Abuse & Incest National Network) every two minutes another American is sexually assaulted. Only 6 out of every 1,000 rapists will end up in prison. While the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) distinguishes (and I make this point very distinctly) “CONSENSUAL” acts of violence during sexual play as paraphilias rather than paraphilic disorders, commissions of CRIMES against others during acts of paraphilia or the planning of acts of paraphilia with the intent to do harm are viewed differently. Also, as pointed out by a report from “The Hastings Center” the development of DSM-5 also caused, and still opens up, the possible legal repercussion of acts of true violence, including pedophilia, being pressed beyond the pale of legal action, leaving true victims


without legal recourse against their abusers. While the numbers of reported sexual assaults have dropped since 1993, the statistical numbers have been proven somewhat misleading given the reverse social stigma which leads men, women and children to no longer view sexual assaults as being legally actionable due to the preponderance of books, movies, and social mores, as well as DSM-5, that now teach that women have no rights to protection for their bodies. “No” no longer means “No” but rather, “Let me tie you up and do what I want and your body will like it, therefore it is all A-OK.”

A supposedly “forward thinking” ruling in the DSM is reversive in that true victims no longer feel they have the right to step forward about their abuse. It reminds me of a particular situation I faced in the 70’s, where my boss told me if I didn’t give him a BJ in his office he would fire me. I didn’t, and he did. That isn’t counting the time I was pulled down and raped when in college and was told, basically, that it was just something I was to expect – guys are guys, after all.

I hope that proponents of physical/sexual violence against women, such as this writer, will step back and think about the grievous injury they cause by championing actions such as kidnapping and rape as this book does. For pertinent cases, see Ariel Castro, Cleveland Ohio, and thousands of others.

Review: Half Wolf by Aimee Easterling (I Won’t Go There Again…)


“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” – Albert Einstein

“Whining is not only graceless, but can be dangerous. It can alert a brute that a victim is in the neighborhood.” ― Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now


Having not read any of Ms. Easterling’s books before, when I got the chance to pick this up on Kindle Unlimited, I did so based on other people’s comments on her work.

Now? I truly, deeply wish I hadn’t. It left a severely bad taste in my mouth. Some of this will be “spoilerish” so keep that in mind, but there are so many things wrong with it, I just can’t help but go there. The protagonist is, in a word, weak. Weak of mind, and weak of soul. As a ‘halfie’ her wolf is put forward as being weak as well, but I get a strong feeling that she is only weak because her human half makes her weak. She has no trust in either her human self or her wolf self, constantly whines about being ineffective while never seeming to reach for something better within herself, makes incredibly poor decisions, and is so insecure, putting not only herself but her tiny pack in danger, I wanted to grab her around the throat and choke her to death for being such a lily-livered idiot. The ‘good guy’ vs the ‘bad guy’ setup was screamingly obvious, which was irritating as all get-out, and if I read “uber-alpha” or “trouble twin” one more time . . . so uncreative I wanted to then slap the author silly as well. Does she really think this dishrag of a protagonist is worthwhile?

Then, there is the whole “mate” thing. I mean, come ON! The guy got you kicked out of your pack, where you were safe, and thrust not only you, but two very young girls and two young males out into the world where you are starving, running from pillar to post in an effort to stay alive, living out of the back of a beat-up station wagon and sleeping in a tent with your thrown-together pack – straight into a world where you are being hunted so that a bunch of sociopaths can capture you and rip your heart out and eat it – and, of course, he tells you that it is for “your own good” and that you will be “better off on your own” outside the warmth of an alpha couple who care for you and a pack that might not all accept you – but most do. Sooooo . . . Hey – here’s a secret for you, protagonist. Are you ready? Listening? OK, here goes – “The Guy Never Had YOUR Best Interests At Heart!” And yet, it is all forgiveness and wallowing all over him and getting all “matey matey” when he threw you out in the wilds to die. Uh, Hello?!?!?

Yep. This was my first Easterling – and my last as well. Too many books, too little time to waste on such Inane Pablum. Extremely disappointing.

Help! Attacked By Horrible Book!!!

It starts with a P, ends with a Y, and has a USS in the middle. Yep. Ross is one of those, Lucy and Sabina’s mom is an overbearing bulldozer, the Church Ladies of Last Chance are determined that because the local whacko, Miriam Randal has said that Sabina can’t “find her man” until after Lucy is settled, Lucy and Ross have to get married RIGHT. NOW. Lucy is a spoiled rotten brat with an attitude and an obsessive need to control everyone and everything – especially the man she supposedly loves – and he lets her (see first sentence). Oy. I really. Really. Don’t like these people!!!

Well, except for Sabina. I like Sabina well enough in a way, but darn it, she lets everyone run rough shod over her while she wallows in guilt about something that happened when Lucy was thirteen – and it wasn’t even Sabina’s fault. Oy.

There is a secondary story here, about a possible eco terrorist group but, sadly, I only made it 35% of the way through the book before I rolled my eyes so hard I pulled a muscle and had to go lay down. Well, not really, but I couldn’t bear to read another word without bouncing my reader off the wall. And seeing as how my reader is brand new, that wasn’t going to happen. The characters are in their mid-thirties and still living in high school!

I hate to stamp a DNF on a book, but this one did me in. Immature doesn’t begin to describe it. Oh Well. At least the cover is pretty.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, I absolutely hated what I read of it.

Review: Malicious by James Raven

Not recommended

I don’t need my sexuality celebrated, and I certainly don’t need it to be criticized. I didn’t necessarily want it to be observed, but here we are. – Ezra Miller

I think anything that has to do with sexuality makes people very interested. – Catherine Deneuve

Houston homicide cop Robyn Tate has a secret. A deeply personal secret – she is addicted to online porn. With low self esteem and a terrible body image, Robyn spends her evenings alone in front of the computer, surfing porn sites and “self pleasuring.” It seems harmless enough, (although it is quickly becoming an obsession) – but then it all falls apart, as she becomes the victim of a hacker. A hacker with a taste for blackmail. And with footage of Robyn having a “bit o’ fun” her blackmailer threatens to release the video and ruin Robyn’s life. And as a homicide detective, this seemingly harmless little habit could ruin her status in court cases, as well as becoming an obsession that is taking over her life. Especially when Robyn becomes the homicide detective on a case where the victim was being blackmailed in the very same way, by the same blackmailer.

And here is where things start to fall apart. Rather than marching directly into her Captain’s office and laying it all out on the table (well, not literally, but you get the point) she promptly panics and decides that hiding her secret is more important than her murder case. And it apparently never crosses her mind that her actions completely compromise her case!

The book goes downhill from this point into lies, cover-ups, fissures in her moral and ethical framework, and other bits and bobs of complete stupidity that are less than realistic. Don’t get me wrong – having been with police departments and crime labs, I have seen cops do things that are so incredibly stupid that it boggles the imagination. But this degree of stupidity by someone who actually was good enough at her job to earn a gold shield just isn’t really believable. Especially when Robyn the Wonder Cop has so many opportunities to admit her involvement and ask for help. She has no moral ground to stand on. Sure, it will be embarrassing for everyone to know her “little habit”. But to place her own embarrassment ahead of finding the murderous blackmailer made me truly hate her as a character. True, some literary characters you “love to hate” and that is totally acceptable. Robyn? Not so much. She is entirely self-centered, whining, incompetent, and overall strikes me as a caricature of every misogynistic wet dream extant.

Another aspect of the book that I found immensely irritating was that many words and phrases were unforgivably “Britishisms” rather than Americanisms. It reminded me quite irritatingly of that embarrassingly bad bit of writing, “50 Shades of Gray” in that this book is set in Houston, Texas and yet was written as if it were set in London! Yes, English authors can indeed write “American” novels, and often extremely well (Mark Henwick comes to mind). This, however, was not well written or edited. The degree of laziness shown by the writer edges on incompetence. Especially when there are so many sites online that will be happy to indicate what is a Brit colloquialism and what is an American one.

Overall, the mystery was pedestrian, but acceptable. The heroine? She ruined it for me. I am going to have to say that, overall, there are much better books out there with which to spend your precious reading time.

I received this book from the publisher in return for a realistic review.

Review: Love Me If You Must (I definately did NOT)

Hey, at least the cover is good. The story? Not so much.
Not recommended.

What a shame it is to have to give a two star review to a book with potential. Tish is someone I truly wanted to like. A home restoration specialist, she has a good life after a horrific youth. Moving into a run-down Victorian to restore it, she finds herself surrounded by truly strange townspeople, missing women, and a possible ghost haunting her house. Being a home restoration nut myself, I thought this would be a great little book to read, especially as it was a mystery with a paranormal slant. Sounds great right? Uh. Not. So. Much. Truthfully? I was being generous giving it two stars on Amazon. If it weren’t a freebie, I would have asked for my money back. Honestly, I kept reading it hoping it would get better. Instead, it wound up circling the drain, and I kept reading simply because it was like watching a fifty-car pileup on highway 70 during a snowstorm.

Our erstwhile heroine immediately meets the Brit expat from two houses down, then the cop from the house behind her and down one, and both of them immediately fall for her, frizzy hair, Goodwill reject clothes and all. This when the Brit is rebounding from a marriage to a centerfold beautiful woman no less.

After knowing the Brit for a total of “about three hours” he asks her to marry him . .  and she goes over to his house  the very next day to accept, having “fallen in love with him”when, as before stated, they have known each other for about three hours and had one dinner together. Something should have set the red lights off, right? Riiiight…. The cop is, of course, crazy about her also, and she was just with him the night before fantasizing about being married to him and having kids, then the next day she decides she is in love with the Brit and is fantasizing about being married to him? That immediately had me rolling my eyes  . . .

Then there is the “body in the cistern” aspect – (this is the part I was really hoping to have fun with . . . buzzzz!) If she really thinks there is a body in there, why doesn’t she get off her backside and break apart the concrete? Especially when yet another body, that of the historical society leader who refused to let her remove the cistern shows up in the cistern (dead) – and she is sent to jail for the murder. Then immediately starts running for his position once she is out of jail? Her whole attitude is deeply bipolar and totally bizarre.

This is a “Christian Romance” sort of thing, which I didn’t know when I picked it up. I tried to keep that out of my thought processes with the story line, but even that was over the top unbelievable. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes so hard that I gave myself a headache.

As I said, I truly wanted to like this book, based on the ghost story, of course, but I wanted very much to like Tish based on what she had been through in her life and what she has accomplished since that time. Sadly, poor writing, overwrought story lines, and I was disappointed to realize that I truly couldn’t care less what happens to her from this point on. She is simply too bipolar and creepy to be likable.

Review: Gator Moon – Max Ray

thumbsdownWhen I pick up a book, whether it has been presented to me for review, or simply because it caught my eye for a well-written blurb, concept, or sometimes just the cover, it is always my intention to go into the read with an open mind and a positive attitude. Someone has sweated and yearned, poured their hearts and minds upon the page. They are opening their soul for your perusal. That sort of endeavour takes guts, without a doubt. It is a part of the author  – but it is also a group effort. The writer writes. But then, there must also be those ‘outside eyes’. The eyes of those who see the work as what it is, without the blinders of soul-straining obsession. Editors, proofreaders, publishers, even caring and literate friends, who take the rough work and hone it to a literary knife’s edge.

Ray has much to say in his preface to the book. One of the things he says, that I truly agree with, “. . . fiction writing is an art form of the stature of the artist stoking oils on canvas.” OK, the sentiment works, but the wording? Well, not so much. That should have told me something about what to expect. I absolutely agree with this concept. Fiction writing is, indeed, an art form. However, even artists must hone their craft, accept the help and counsel of teachers and connoisseurs who are versed in the field and know what true ‘art’ is.

Through his own admission, Ray took all of the knowledge and suggestions given to him by erudite and experienced persons, and used it to line the cat box. Apparently, because his own ego refused to accept that his grand capability as a “syntactician’ (his term, not mine) was in any way imperfect.

From his description of his work, I expected a beloved child of Faulkner, Hemingway and James Lee Burke. Eagerly, I dove into the book, expecting the work to draw me into the poetry and the heat, the mystery and the scents of the ‘Grand South’. What I got instead was the bastard offspring of a sixth-grade English composition class for the learning disabled. Southern dialectics can include poor grammar, and with proper writing this simply pulls you into the story allowing you to become part of the scene. I try not to be a ‘Grammar Nazi’ without good cause. However, this book presented a simple case of truly bad writing, with no redeeming qualities. The writing is by turns stiff and pompous, robotic and preening. Even the punctuation was pretentious, which is, admittedly, quite a feat in and of itself.

It is such a shame when authors feel that they are so ‘special’ they don’t have to take advice from willing sources. The idea was interesting. CIA undercover operations, unauthorized transplants, mystery, suspense, thrills and chills and all that jazz. How disappointing that everything fell so short of that goal. I am a huge fan of original Cussler, James Rollins, Russell Blake, Brad Thor, Lee Child, John Sanford, Robert Crais and Steve Berry. The list of great thriller writers is long and distinguished. It is being added to all the time, with upcoming Indie writers such as the amazing Michael Hurley, Gordon Gumpertz, and Eric Martin. That list, also, is long and becoming more distinguished, as their works become better known. So, imagine my distress when this author stands up on his metaphorical soapbox and states that his book is only for “15-55 year old males”. So, wait. If I am a 56-year old male this book isn’t for me? What about the fact that I am a (mumble mumble)-year old female with a huge collection of books in his particular genre? Am I not supposed to read this book either?

My final word to this author, and to others like him would be to actually listen to those whose job it is to take your work and help you to mold it into an object of beauty. Apparently, many people tried to help Ray, and all offers of assistance were shunned. My suggestion to hopeful writers everywhere? Be careful. If your ego is too large to fit in the same house with you, consider allowing yourself to accept the use of a straight pin to pop the darn thing before it sucks all the oxygen out of the universe.

Review: Saxon’s Bane by Geoffrey Gudgion – Not Recommended

saxon's baneSaxon’s Bane starts out well. The anthropology is done well, and the Saxon history is spot on. Some of the history of the Old Ways is well done: The Old Way teaches us that all living things are sacred, that there is a life force in everything and connecting everything. Gudgion speaks of the Christian church, and how they took over, folding the myths and religion into the church to pull the locals into changing to the new religion of Christianity. How so many of the Christian tenants, such as Easter, as timed and based upon the Old Ways in order to fold what they called “pagans” into the New Religion.

I was well pleased to read the first part of what the book covered, and settled in, thinking I would enjoy the book. Then, Gudgion got completely off track, and totally ruined the book for me. From being solid and well versed in both the Old Ways and the New, he suddenly turned to stealing the sacred from the Old Ways, turning to the old saw of Wicca being “evil” and “devil worshiping.” This based upon the Horned God of the Old Way being turned into the “Devil” by the New Religion. Since the church said that the Horned God was the Devil, well then, it must be so, right? OH, how ignorant and how very nauseating.

Gudgion uses superstition and hated to turn the story into simply another ignorant rant against the Old Ways, having a sweet and caring follower of the Old Way say of Esbat: It’s used for a ritual curse”  and going downhill from there. His knowledge of the Old Ways is patently ignorant and false, especially as even the most careless of searches clearly delineate the definition of Esbat as being 180 degrees from what the author tries to make it out to be. The word Esbat is of French origin, from s’esbattre, which loosely translates to “frolic joyfully.” In addition to frolicking, this is a time to commune with the gods, give thanks, and enjoy the Cake and Ale Ceremony. In no way is it designed to “devil worship” or perform “ritual curses.” Wiccan is not about that.

Christianity defined Wicca and witchcraft as “evil devil worshiping” as a way to override the Old Ways and place Christianity in it’s stead. Those burned at the stake and otherwise murdered were mostly healers, herbalists and other practitioners of the Old Way, caring for their families, villages and animals.  Real Wicca was, and is, all about celebration, healing, honouring the seasons and positive influences. Only those who wish to defy and insult Christianity conduct Black ritual, and those people are NOT true Wiccan – they are basing their whole ritual in the Catholic church and it’s teachings, not in Wicca. Were there ritual sacrifices in the old days? Most assuredly. They were carried out by every religion, from Mayans to Egyptians, Saxons to Christians. What else is the hanging of Jesus on the cross if not a sacrifice?

I can’t decide whether Gudgion had a split in his psychology halfway through the novel, or if he intended to draw in the reader and then pounce with his superstitious nonsense. Or if someone else picked up the book half-way through and finished it themselves – someone with no knowledge and less intellect. Gudgion is “superstitious” in that he indulges in a total lack of research and/or knowledge in his statements, pushing belief of an unfounded psudoreligious doctrine as truth. One character, a sick and twisted individual, turns what should be a time of beauty and thanksgiving into something deviant. That is a sick human, not a sick religion. Any religion may be twisted – see The Spanish Inquisition for example, or the Mayan cutting out of the hearts of slaves.

Overall, I was deeply, deeply disappointed. I truly wanted the book to continue to be wonderful. Instead, I was left with a foul taste in my mouth and a heavy heart.


Goddess of the moon, queen of the night,
keeper of women’s mysteries, mistress of the tides,
you who are ever changing and yet always constant,
I ask that you guide me with your wisdom,
help me grow with your knowledge,
and hold me in your arms.

The moon is the symbol of the mother,
and she watches over us day and night.
She brings the changing tide, the shifting night,
the flow that changes women’s bodies,
and the passion of lovers to their beloved.
Her wisdom is great and all-knowing,
and we honor her tonight.
Keep your watchful eyes upon us, great mother,
until the cycle returns once more,
and bring us to the next full moon,
in your love and light.
–  Drawing Down The Moon

Review: Calculating God – Robert J. Sawyer

calculating god
Not recommended 😦

A really really sad excuse for a book – what a waste of my time!

I tried to finish the book, I really did. However, there really wasn’t any ‘there’ there. It reads as nothing other than the ramblings of a man who learned sound bites about science so that he could convince thoughtful persons to purchase a book that he then uses as a soapbox for obsessive ravings.

I expected to find sound science to be the basis of the book, with some interesting theories on the possibilities of intelligent design. Some comparative paleontology, interesting theories on the development of life on other planets would have been quite welcome. Mostly I was looking for thoughtful reasoning of a scientific theory that included the possibility of an outside developmental force. What I found was the shouting of a man who apparently is so unsure of his own beliefs he has to scream loudly enough to drown out his own questions.

I am not opposed to the concept of intelligent design. The cosmos is, indeed, a wondrous thing. More wondrous, I believe, than even the most highly educated and thoughtful of us are psychologically capable of fully comprehending. The majority of human beings are, as a group, incapable of grasping the concept of a universe in which we are not the centre of attention. It was not all that long ago that humans were imprisoning or murdering anyone who had the audacity to suggest that the Earth wasn’t the centre of the universe. The concept that there might actually be other planets that held intelligent life would have required burning at the stake or ripping apart by horses. Not only the person in question, but all their friends and family in all likelihood. The briefest study of the evening news would seem to indicate that there are numerous folk who still believe this way. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, in my estimation, as long as they don’t cause harm to others in the dispensation of those beliefs.

From the evidence of all too recent holy wars, the majority of the population still believe that a cosmos consisting of, as Carl Sagan would say, `billions and billions of stars’, stars which could contain hundreds of thousands or more of planets capable of supporting life, still revolves around this beautiful little blue speck on a distant arm of a more distant, insignificant galaxy in the hinterlands of the universe.

The author had an opportunity in this book to write something thought provoking, solid, and forward looking. It is a shame that he fell so far short of the goal we thought he was reaching for, and fell into a morass of pseudo psychobabble wearing a mask meant to mimic scientific thought.

Now that is just mean . . .

I was on Goodreads earlier and came across a post entitled “Do people tend to criticize the books they read, in a rather destructive manner rather than constructive?”

Only a few responses are showing so far, but I find this question to be one I ponder quite often. What is constructive v.s. destructive “criticism.” One commentary by Feliks Dzerzhinsky was quite interesting and well thought out. goodreads

Click here to see the commentary.

The following is my own post in response. I will be touching on this question over time, but I wanted to share my thoughts here and see what you, as a reader, think about the original question.

A well written and thought out commentary. However, I believe that the question refers to the degree of cruelty that some reviews seems to take joy in pouring vitriol onto the heads of the author. There is a great deal of difference between criticism and chivvying the author and being obsessively destructive. I can write some blistering reviews. However, those reviews are always well-thought-out and give specifics for why I think the author should go flush their heads.

I.e., in the case of Twilight. It isn’t only the book itself I am blistering, it is the publishing industry for taking that horrifically substandard tomb and forcing it down the throats of the public. With all of the good books awaiting publishing, they chose to print and force down our throats a book with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Apparently because the writer is “connected”.

What I find offensive is the “reviewer” who rates a book low and yet gives no truly logical reasoning for doing so. They simply say something cruel and hurtful about the author or the book without any reasoning process behind it. I read a 1-star review the other day regarding one of my favorite authors where the person said “This is a children’s book.” Just that, and a one star. Come on! So it would be a great book for a kid to read. So? Does that make it a bad book? No, it just didn’t ring this person’s bell. But! Was it well written? Were the characters believable? Was the editing well done? All those things could have been addressed and the book could have been rated on an intelligent level. Instead, the ‘reviewer’ didn’t review the book at all, she/he was simply dismissive. In other words, why even do it if you aren’t going to do it correctly? Apparently, just to hurt the author and anyone else who reads, or considers reading, the book.

Yes, the Twilight writer deserves to be “punched out” for the garbage she wrote. But if you are going to take the swing, it is tremendously more adult and civilized to do so by writing exactly WHY she and her publishing gurus should take it in the face rather than simply throwing a fit and falling down in it.

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