Mistaken Identity (or What TRB is NOT)



Hey there!  Yes, you; I’m talking to you.  Yes you, too!

No Labels here.  I try to keep the Public Service Announcements to a minimum.  I want us to stay focus on getting informative and entertaining reviews out in all areas.

Yet I have to pause because there seems to be instances of mistaken identity as to what The Review Board is.  So this is for clarification purposes and aimed towards those who have submitted their works for reviews.

For those who actually already know, then you can just peruse this and get a few chuckles here and there.  Yet for those who may still be confused, come closer and give a read.

TRB is not an automated answering service. 
You know those times when you send an email and you get an automated response back?  Well, that’s not how TRB currently works. Your request to TRB gets answered by a live person.  Whoa!  Where do they still do that at?  Granted there may be a time lapse, so it may not be as fast as the robot.  But you know you are getting one-on-one interaction.


TRB is not a sound bite or Tweet set on repeat.
Let me explain.  There are certain things that are clearly stated in the guidelines.  Yet some tend to have selective amnesia, especially the whole “don’t bombard the email with request for status updates” deal.  The first time, as a courtesy, the response to said email would be referring to what is already in the guidelines.  The second time, the email will get ignored and subjected to the “right to reject” rule.  This also applies to any other things that are clearly stated in the guidelines “not to do” but a person decides to do them anyway.  In the mind of TRB, we believe in the effectiveness of words and that writers/authors especially should take heed in reading.

Besides, how can you expect someone to read your works when you opt not to read instructions?

TRB is not a file converting service.
It is the author’s responsibility to get work to us in the requested formats.  There are many online converters out there and some office programs have plug ins that will do the conversions for you.  Just Google it and a whole list will appear.  (or you can just peek at the nifty images right above this section)

editingviacarsondellosaSource:  carsondellosa.com

TRB is not a proofreading or editing service.
It is the author’s responsibility to double check the work for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.  When a person is getting his work reviewed, he should present it in the best way possible.  Do not wait until after the review is placed up, and then bombard the email to say there was an updated copy.  TRB works off the copy that was submitted as part of the queue.  If the work is updated after your initial submission, then it’s your duty to send that updated copy.

TRB is not a beta reading service.
The Review Board expects its submissions to be in finalized states—as in the copy that you presented out there for publication.  Therefore, to us these works are not considered beta reads because we are not a beta reading service.


TRB is not a promotional pit stop.
The Review Board does reviews.  Plain and simple.  There are other organizations that do advertisements, cover reveals, giveaways, guest spots, and blog tours.  That is All Authors Blog, and it is who you will be referred to if a promotional type request is submitted along with your work.  All Authors Blog operates independently from The Review Board.  If All Authors Blog gets backed up or doesn’t respond to you right away, please don’t bombard TRB to do a follow up on your behalf.


TRB is not an ego massager.
The Review Board only guarantees we will be honest and thorough with our assessments.  Sometimes they may not go over well.  Yet with everything there’s a risk.  There are plenty of other places who do the whole “we won’t post publicly if it’s a certain rating or less.”  That’s not us.


Source: wtpsmercer.schoolwires.com

TRB is not a debate club.
This goes along with the whole ego massager thing.  We recognize that it’s tough to receive a critical review.  To an author, the work is his baby.  When you send the work out into the world, then it becomes the universe’s baby.  No matter how much you go back and forth with TRB, that isn’t going to change the rating or our thoughts on the work.

All right.  I think that covers it.  Now back to normal programming.


KARR: Unleashed Speaks on Truthy Ruthy


Truthy Ruthy by Sari Barel
Amazon | Amazon Author Page

Hello everyone!  No Labels here to share my take on the children’s book, Truthy Ruthy.

Have you ever been tempted to do something you were specifically told what to do yet did it anyway?  After you did, did you opt to tell the truth or lie to stay out of trouble?

In Ruthy’s case, she decided to lie.  Her mom and dad both told her that lying wasn’t a good thing to do.  Yet, she continued to do so.

Source: reverbnation.com

Source: reverbnation.com

Truthy Ruthy comes up with a creative approach in how to deal with a child who is pathological in not telling the truth.  When the alternate method was first presented, my jaw dropped.

As I continued to read, I began laughing as well as smiling.  I don’t want to give a whole lot away.  Just think: reverse psychology.  Due to the smarts of dear old Dad, Ruthy switched from a Little Lass of Lying to a Small Supporter of Saying the Truth.

By the end of the book, I was applauding the author ‘s approach to incorporating the important lesson of telling the truth.

I really like the colors used in the book.  All of them serve to have a calming effect: yellow, blue, and orange, especially.  The way the illustrator sketched Ruthy’s facial expressions were priceless!  In particular when Operation Reverse Psychology was activated: I could not stop laughing.

Side Note: There was great emphasis about picking up the free gift at the beginning and end of the book.  It didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment but just felt like it bordered on overkill.


Verdict:  I grant Truthy Ruthy a 9.5 out of 10 TRB Stars.  I could really tell by the style of this work that the author is very passionate and dedicated to provide positive, alternate learning methods to teach young children valuable life lessons.  This zeal can definitely serve not just as a winner to children but also to parents.

Thanks for checking out the Kindle App Random Robin segment of The Review Board.  Feel free to like, share, subscribe and comment. Enjoy the rest of your day!

KARR: Unleashed Speaks on Glimmer and other stories


Glimmer and other stories
by Nicola McDonagh
Amazon | Goodreads Author Page

Howdy!  No Labels here.  Before I go on with the Kindle App Random Robin for this work, I have an interesting story to go along with it.

I purchased the electronic version a few months ago.  Yet I’ve always been a fan of having a paperback copy (especially autographed paperback copies).  I was in this book release party for another book this author is a part of, Aspiring to Inspire.  One of the prizes given out was an autographed paperback copy of Glimmer. Guess who was lucky enough to win one?

I did have to be careful with it.  My cat Ma Maow loves the smell of new things.  Especially books.  Therefore I always have to put my books (or anything I’m working on) where my cat can’t get to them. Even when I’m outlining my reviews (which I do from scratch when I have a lot of material to cover), he’s right there–sniffing the paper, trying to sit on the paper, something!

The review I am providing is based on the joy of being able to flip pages and leave a bookmark as opposed to reading it via my Kindle App on my phone or tablet.  (aka the paperback)

This work is a collection of short stories.  I also appreciated the graphics the author used to outline parts of some of the stories. These are showcased on the underneath the cover of Glimmer and other stories on Amazon, and I will show a few of them here while speaking in the review. (Please don’t recopy without the author’s permission–thanks!)

It was very difficult for me to pick an overall favorite out of this showcase of seven.  Yet four of them really stood out for me: Glimmer, On the Eighth Day, Daub and Rousseau’s Suburban Jungle.


Excerpt from Glimmer

Glimmer spoke to me because it really played with the workings of the mind.  Which was truly the reality: the character’s take or everyone else’s?  The first line really set the ambiance: “The world will not end because I close my eyes.”


I absolutely love the richness of personification in On the Eighth Day. The bit where the two men were fighting over her made me chuckle. It had the whole feel of “no one can love you better than me.”  I can always appreciate when an author can take an inanimate object and give it human characteristics.  It reminded me of what I tend to do with some elements of my poetry (fear, pain, happiness, and the like). I connected with it very strongly.

The spook element of Daub excited me.  I’m a huge fan of psychological, thriller, and horror reads that are carried out well. Daub had my cerebrum near orgasm.  Timing, dialogue, reactions, everything–very well placed.  It was refreshing to have the type of short dark read that wasn’t overly predictable.


Excerpt from Rousseau’s Suburban Jungle

I was not sure what to make of Rousseau’s Suburban Jungle at first. That is the beauty of this author’s work.  You don’t know what you’re going to get.  Yet there were so many segments I liked about it.  One was the banter between the saleslady and Esther about the print. Yet there are two more that stand out greater than that exchange.

The tenacity of Jenny the dog spoke volumes.  She was the epitome of “Don’t mess with my master.”  When Jenny got into action, I wish she would have bitten a bit more of that guy or even an additional appendage–if you get my drift.  I also would have liked her to thrown in a bite towards the fakery known as Louise.  (It’s good I wasn’t writing this story.  Jenny would have turned into a modern-day Cujo, only as a vigilante for justice.)


There was also some dialogue which emphasized the tiger in Esther. It struck me as funny yet enthralling:

‘Where’s my tea? I’m still not well you know.’
‘Fuck your tea Peter.’
‘What?’ he said and pulled his head back as Esther put her wet hands on the foot of the bed.
‘Fuck your tea and look at me.’

I almost spit out my tea when I read this part!  Not saying that Esther was ever a timid character but there were times when her thoughts and feelings had gotten disregarded or considered unimportant.  In that moment, she claimed a bit of herself, and in the process caused Peter’s slumbering ability to awaken.

With all of her stories, there is a connective fabric.  The author uses the reader’s mind as an easel and puts dots, splashes, and strokes of color along with deep incorporation of nature and locations.  The end result took me away.  The metaphorical richness was akin to the joy of childbirth in which a healthy, vibrant baby is the result.


Verdict: These snapshots of writing are lovely from start to finish.  There is something in here for everyone.  The only thing I would like to add is that the author should definitely write more short stories.  There are some types of talent that are natural and others which are learned. Her use of language in this work is a testament that she is in fact a natural in the writing world.  All of this gives this work 10 out of 10 stars!

Thank you for checking out the Kindle App Random Robin version of The Review Board.  Feel free to like, share, and subscribe.  Have a wonderful day!

The Corners of Controversy on Now The Real You is Here


Now the real you is here (Poem)
Lihi Ben Haim

Side Note:  Another TRB member, No Labels Unleashed reviewed this work independently of TRB as well.  Her thoughts were placed on Goodreads, Amazon, and Amazon.co.uk.

On this episode of The Corners of Controversy, Mr.C. gives his take on “Now the real you is here”.  Mr. Controversy, you have the floor.



“Now the Real You is Here” is a poem written by Lihi Ben Haim.


For starters, It is a short write that is not too shabby.

As far as my eye can tell, I saw No Grammatical Flaws OF ANY KIND.

It is a write about a boy who shared his tomato (out of a bag full of the fruit) with a girl with whom he is in love. His gently placing a photo of her with her name written on the back in a river, is metaphorical of letting the illusion of her go so that he may focus on the actual girl who is standing before him. It is a very sweet act and rather cute act on his behalf (DID MY COLD, BLACK HEART JUST SAY THAT?!!).

The Negative about this particular item?



Lihi Ben Haim ReviewA


Let me wrap my head, mind, soul, and spirit around this discovery:

On One Hand, it is a Not Bad Write and is VERY CUTE. I liked it.

On the Other Hand…

I have 4 eBooks (which are available in a physical form as well) with an average of 100 pages that is sold on Amazon for $5.00 each ($10.00 for each physical copy), and you get a WHOLE LOT MORE for your money. To sell this six sentence write AS AN EBOOK for $0.99, I am simply amazed and mind blown.



Let’s break the numbers down.

Ms. Haim’s book is going for $0.99. If we were to price it per sentence, we would do the equation as follows:

$0.99 eBook divided by 6 sentences = $0.17/sentence in this eBook.

If we were to price it per word we would do the equation as follows:

$0.99 eBook divided by 86 words = $0.0115/word in this eBook.






My Book contains 11,249 words (NOT INCLUDING Title, Copyright Info, Table of Contents, Acknowledgments, Dedication, and Quote for the Book. The Word Count is SOLELY BASED from the title of the first poem, to the last word of the last poem).

If we were to price it per word we would do the equation as follows:

$5.00 divided by 11,249 words = $0.0004444839/word in My eBook.



Numbers DO NOT LIE: Based on the calculated numbers between both of our works, you are SAVING MONEY with me as opposed to Ms. Haim.


A ONE PAGE, SIX SENTENCE, $0.99 EBOOK is a Blatant Insult to THOSE PEOPLE who BUST THEIR ASSES to put out MORE WORK and sell their eBook(s) at the SAME PRICE POINT.




I feel like Vince McMahon getting punt kicked in the head by Randy Orton after being SEVERELY DISAPPOINTED in the realm of looking for more writings from her with this “eBook”. And I can GUARAN-DAMN-TEE that you would feel the same.


Source: familyfeud

Source: familyfeud

Write wise (based on the length of this “eBook”, and lack of more work that SHOULD HAVE been included in this “eBook”), it gets a score of 6 out of 10 Stars.

As far as selling as well as passing this SINGLE POEM off as an “eBook”, The Score NEEDS to be DRAMATICALLY LOWER: ½ Star out of 10.

Combine the scores, divide it by two, and we have an Overall Score of 3.25 out of 10 Stars (rounded to 3).





Overall, despite its likability, I am SEVERELY DISAPPOINTED as a reader, a writer, as well as an author. This has the potential to be SO MUCH MORE, yet Ms. Lihi Ben Haim has let me down for she has dropped the ball TREMENDOUSLY on this “eBook.” If this was her idea of a “Sellable and Worth the Money eBook,” I need to pull a role reversal and become Randy Orton to her Vince McMahon; punting her in the skull and knocking her out cold for Insulting MY Intelligence.




Thanks for checking out The Corners of Controversy segment of The Review Board.  Feel free to like, share and subscribe.  Have a wonderful day!

KARR: Unleashed Speaks on Gingerbread Castle by D.M. Yates


Gingerbread Castle by D.M. Yates
Amazon | Amazon Author Page

Genre:  Children’s Book
Target Age Group: 6-8 Year Olds

Happy Good Friday everyone!  In the latest installment of Kindle App Random Robin, I share my thoughts on the children’s book Gingerbread Castle by D. M. Yates.

Source: mikesroadtrip.com

Source: mikesroadtrip.com

Just looking at the cover makes me feel good.

Gingerbread Castle is a lovely blend of illustrations, rhyme, and relaxation. I felt like I was on a vacation and the wonderful animals were giving me a tour of the castle.

Bright colors and well defined drawings (particular those of the mice, bear, and the penguins) served as pleasure to the eyes. The scrumptious gingerbread castle made my mouth water. It is definitely a candy fanatic’s dream as well as a dream of a young one.


The combination of eye popping illustrations, poetic rhythm and presentation earns this a 10 out of 10 TRB Stars.  It is very well suited to the targeted age group.

Thanks for tuning in to the Kindle App Random Robin segment of The Review Board.  Comments, like, shares and subscribes welcomed! Have an awesome day.

Truth Unleashed on L___: A poetic study of relationships


L___ : A poetic study of relationships
(Poetry anthology)
Dane Swan (editor and coordinator)

Greetings everyone!  The Review Board is here to share our thoughts on L___: A poetic study of relationships, presented to us by the editor.

First up, Mini Truth:


In all truth, I have mixed thoughts about this book. The bad part is that the bad outweighed the good.

However, before I get ahead of myself, let me tell you a little bit about it.

“L___: A poetic study of relationships” is basically a compilation of several poems, thoughts, images, short stories and the like that are all combined by a single thread. Relationships.

Here we find a combination of love, loss, hate, passion, randomness and everything and anything in between.

In actuality this is a book that can be considered to range from “Oh I get it” to “What the hell was I just reading” but that is the point. I understood this very well.

In all truth, the premise was very attractive to me which is why I was glad at the idea of delving into it. As a lover of poetry and the arts, the basis of this book, at first glance, was incredibly attractive to me. As I surmise that it would be to anyone who shares my interests.


Nevertheless, upon opening the book and diving into it, my excitement was quickly sedated. The book turned out not to be what I would have hoped it was. My desire was to bask in a written museum, if you will. But I was let down.

Following you’ll find my thoughts on the work. I will divide my impression in bullets of pros and cons:



  • I enjoyed the idea of the work. I was really attracted to the original theme and the fact that this work surpassed your ordinary “love” themed poetry book.
  • I enjoyed the originality of the title.
  • There were a few stand out pieces that I actually enjoyed. They are the following:
  1. Wess Ryan’s “If I were the earth”
  2. Cathy Petch’s “Soundly Sleepless”
  3. Lisa Young’s “The New Maple”
  4. Banoo Zan’s “Assimilation”
  • I also enjoyed that many different poets, artists and writers contributed to the work.



  • As I was reading through it, I couldn’t help but feel that it was put together sloppily and in a rush. It felt, read and looked like a simple “Cut & Paste” work that one would do on his or her computer.
  • There was a significant amount of editing that was needed. I realize that certain poets write in a specific style, and I respect that very much. I’ve even heard of poets that write solely in lowercase lettering. I get that. I really do, but I was looking beyond artistic style and noticing lots of flaws in syntax.
  • There were way too many of the works that I felt were just unattractive in both delivery and composition. Including and not limited to one specific work that was referring to a single member of a dog’s anatomy.
  • Due to the poor construction of the works, I found myself often times reading in an ambulatory state. As a matter of fact a lot of the works I just could not mentally process (not due to the meaning of the work, but the delivery) yet, I did not care enough to read it again.
  • Also, I think that there should have been divided into “type of content”. For example, there should have been a section dedicated only to poems, another for short stories, and another for art work. As you flip through the pages there is no rhyme or reason to the organization of the book.

Conclusion:  All in all, I was not impressed or pleased with the way this book was put together and I feel as though it gave the contributors a huge injustice as many of these works had great potential. I truly think that this book calls for a complete revamp.

Verdict: 5 out of 10 TRB Stars



Now let’s go to the Unleashed one.


Unleashed Speaks

I have to address this from two minds:

(1) A poetic mind (writer and fan of poetry)
(2) An outsider mind (reader)

Source: smurfs.wikia.com

Source: smurfs.wikia.com

Poetic wise, I can appreciate the construct and the adaptation of this project.  It exudes eccentricity and ranges of thought that are quite admirable.  There were quite a few poets who had me from the beginning of their stanzas to the very last syllable (particularly Dianne Robinson, Cathy Perch, and Wes Ryan).  Yet there were others whose works I would have to really stop, let the lines fully soak, but found myself reading them again to see if I missed something.  Whether it was intentional or not was very hard to say for sure.  I also liked the images sprinkled within the works: the brash blends of colors within each of the displayed works of art.

Source: augiedoggy.com

Source: augiedoggy.com

Now let me tackle an outsider’s perspective.  From the sense of someone being drawn in by the premise and deciding to check out the contents.

This work was presented to The Review Board by the editor and coordinator of the collection.  I wonder if he was given permission to do any alterations in reference to any of the works.  In some places, the spacing and candor were well done and my eyes were pleased with the wonderful relationship between print and white space.  In other areas, it was as if the work was copied and pasted in.

On the inside, a lot of the following can be seen:

  • Lack of capitalization
  • Lack of or nonexistent periods
  • Indecisive stanza separation
  • Indentation in strange areas

The poetic side of me recognizes that the majority of this is primarily style.  Yet I have to address whether the reader will automatically pick up on that.  In most instances, the reader may not.

One contributor to the collection used periods to substitute for the apostrophe marks.  Although my eyes and brain were able to adapt quickly, it would be fallacy on my end to assume others would automatically do the same and that it wouldn’t get annoying after a while.

Source: sacredwaste.com

Source: sacredwaste.com

For people who are sticklers to clear indicators of pause in thought, the sporadic (or no) use of certain punctuation marks (such as a period) may give the works a rushed feel to the reader.  It’s like wave after wave being crashed against someone and that person not being given a chance to take extra breaths.

The method might get a pass for the first few pieces.   However if a reader gets bombarded with this style continuously, it can serve to be a bit overwhelming.  This rough take (free flow effect) could potentially dampen the overall enjoyment of the book. The reader may be looking for a collection where he can identify with each work without it being a testament to excessive deciphering. Even, fighting the urge to try to determine which forms of conveyance are intentional versus those which are clearly faux paus.

In addition, readers who are fans of sentence structure could be baffled how in one poem, there’s no capitalization used (like with the word “I”) or clear stanza separation, yet another work by that very same writer could include structural correctness.  If this work’s target audience is an open one, then some areas of connectivity in appearance would be welcomed.

The Verdict:  After taking all things into consideration, I give L___: A poetic study of relationships a 6.5 out of 10 TRB Stars.


The show’s not over yet.  Let’s add these numbers and divide by two, shall we?


Overall TRB gives this work a 6 out of 10 TRB stars (5.75 rounded to 6 if one wants to be technical).

Thanks for checking out The Review Board.  Feel free to like, share and subscribe.  Have a wonderful day!