My Book Rating System

My book rating system is based on 5 stars. The book must be rated at least 3 stars for a review.

3 Stars: Good story, good plot, good writing.

4 Stars: I was wowed, but something about the story fell short of perfection.

5 Stars: I was either drooling, on the edge of my seat, or falling in love.

If you would like me to review your book, please contact me at

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fire in the Blood Book Update

I just finished reviewing the proof copy of Fire in the Blood, which will coming out in paperback in July. It's funny how something could look so perfect on the screen, but when you hold it in your hands...oh! I couldn't believe how much fomatting had to be adjusted. But it was so neat holding my book in my hands and reading it the old-fashioned way. Gotta love it!

And, of course, I had to change the front cover (again!) and the back cover the text font didn't work for me, so that had to be adjusted as well. Things are moving along and I'm excited for the release in paperback.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Book Review: The Superiors, by Lena Hillbrand

The Superiors, by Lena Hillbrand

The Superiors is not your run-of-the-mill vampire story. Oh no. If you're looking for forbidden romance, you won't find it here. It's hard to compare this book to any other vampire book, because I've not read one like it.

In Lena's world of vampires, they are...superior. They are strong, intelligent, predators. Humans are not. Humans are prey. Humans are food. There is a very strict class order in this new world of vampires: the First Order, the Second Order, the Third Order, and then humans are below with all the rest of the animals. As with people, there are some vampires who care for the comfort and safety of all animals. The main character, Draven, is one such vampire, and he doesn't like to see animals suffer. When he develops a "taste" for a human girl, Cali, he goes out of his way, risking life and career, to ensure her safety when other vampires treat her unkindly.

Lena's writing is smooth and professional. The story is original and, when you really think about the differences between vampires and humans, makes sense in the reality of that world. By their nature, vampires are superior to humans, so it's perfectly believable that they would take over and not hide their true nature.

There were parts of the novel that made me squirm, and I wasn't sure what made me so uncomfortable. And then I realized it was because if I lived in the world Lena created, *I* would be a cow. I would have no choice in the direction of my life, where I lived, who I mated with, and I would be so low on the bottom of the food chain that the Superiors would think I couldn't feel emotion. Just like an animal. Through her writing, Lena created a world that is so believable that it made me squirm, which was, I'm sure, Lena's intent.

Despite the brilliance of the writing, I did have a hard time connecting with first. Despite the compassion he felt for animals, he still considered humans animals. But he slowly grew on me, and you could see this character's growth as he interacted with Cali and learned that perhaps all the things he'd been taught about humans may not have been entirely true. As I neared the end of the book, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.

I eagerly await the sequel, and highly recommend this book to all fantasy readers!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fire in the Blood, Chapter Two

Chapter Two

        I was tripping. Not from a falling perspective, but from a stoner’s perspective. I kicked the white shadows that carried me, the fog clinging and suffocating. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t scream. Was I dead or just stoned?


        I jolted out of the fog with a bone-jarring smack. I rolled to a sitting position, rubbing my elbow and waiting for my brain to tell me something other than how my jammied butt was freezing.

        Trees…moon…cave…fog. With every blink, something about my surroundings came into focus. I pushed myself to my feet and let my hazy brain take control.

        In the moonlight, I picked out carvings around the edges of a cave. Familiarity flickered. I was in Kent Falls State Park, far off the path where I’d discovered some old rock carvings. I studied the cave—there were no caves in the park—and squeezed my lips between two fingers.

        “What the…” I stroked the carvings…the same faces on my ugly box thingy.

        I leaned forward to poke my head inside, but the opening zipped up with a soft zzzzt, burping a shot of air that lifted my hair.

        “Mom!” I slapped the rock. “Mom! What’s going on?”

        I pinched the bridge of my nose, mentally demanding my heart to slow down so that I could think.

        Okay, I had to be dreaming. I’d dreamt that whole door-smashing-Mom-screaming episode, and then I’d been whisked by my dream to Kent Falls State Park.

        Good. I could deal. I’d just wait until I woke up. No biggy. I tiptoed across the clearing and peeked over the edge of a cliff, again, something that shouldn’t be there. I’d never had a dream feel so real before; the rocks pinching my feet, the breeze cooling my cheeks, the smell of the air so clean.

        “Jahme,” snapped a voice behind me.

         I whirled.

         A glaring guy barked, "What is the meaning of this?"

        I ducked my chin and stepped back, but my heel caught nothing but air, and I flapped my arms to keep my balance. "Ahh!"

        The guy yanked me by the arm and I flew forward. He cleared out of the way a second before my knees slammed into the ground.

        "Ow. What's your..." My glare evaporated. A hint of blue seeped between the guy's crushed eyebrows. Blue, as endlessly deep as the sky right before twilight, as painfully beautiful as cupid's arrow stabbing your heart. "Problem," I said, the word faint, and useless.

        "How did you come to be on Eyidora?" One side of his mouth curled as though he'd discovered he'd stepped into a pool of bat shit.
        “Eyidora?” I felt like I’d gained a hundred pounds when I stood.

        His voice held the contempt my science teacher had used when I’d refused to dissect a frog. “Is that not what I said?”

        I brushed my jammies, secretly checking him out. He looked my age, maybe a year older. He wore a loose brown shirt and butt-hugging tan pants, both made out of suede that looked as soft as his body was hard. His short jacket hung open in the front, and what looked like a knife with a blue handle hung from a belt. Standing more than a head taller than me, his dark blond hair brushed the tops of his shoulders. He was just about the hottest guy I’d ever seen off the movie screen, second to Ian, of course.

         I pulled my tongue back before I licked my lips.

         “Answer,” he snapped.


         A muscle in his cheek rippled.

        I tugged the hem of my jammie top. Didn’t people usually dream about nice people that they knew, not total strangers who were total tools?

        “What is wrong?” He had a slight accent; I’d never heard one like it before.

        I liked it.

        “I’m just trying to figure out who you are,” I said.

        “I am Tuggin.”

         I didn’t think I could ever forget a hall god with a name like something you’d find in a Happy Meal. An animal screeched somewhere in the dark, and the guy turned to look. His clothes were dorky, but he could have worn anything with that jacked body. He turned back to me, and I quickly averted my gaze from his backside.

         He ran his fingers through his hair. A tiny hoop with small colored beads dangled from one ear. A second earring, a single black bead, had been pierced through his lobe right above the hoop. His gaze drifted away from me; across the trees, at the mysteriously-disappearing-cave-now-turned-rock, back to the trees. His eyes snapped to my face with the suddeness of a guard dog being jerked back on a choke chain. “Haley.”

         He made it sound like an accusation, as if being Haley was some sort of crime. I crossed my arms and tried to tune out his voice, and his face, and his body, so I could speak. “Yeah? So?”

         “I do not want you here.”

         What an ass. His gaze snaked upward from my feet and landed back on my face, a movement that made me feel naked. My body vibrated in a shudder.
        He glanced past me at the silent hillside. “Jahme. Wait.” He strode toward two horses standing at the edge of the trees. He marched back and flung a red backpack at me. “Change your clothing. You cannot wear those…” another sweeping gaze over my body, “…things.”

        Another ripping shudder. I grabbed the pack, my fingernails scraping the stiff material. “They’re my jammies.”

        “They are absurd. Change.”

         I calmed myself with a deep breath. I’d wake up soon, and Snarky Boy would be a distant memory. I dropped the back pack. “I’m dreaming.”

         His cheek did that twitchy thing again. “Do not be absurd. Have you learned nothing on Earth?”

         Now, I could do what I wanted in my dream. I could plant a big wet one on his lips in my dream. And he would kiss me back in my dream. He had seriously delicious-looking lips, and I’d bet he was a damn good kisser. Something hot and electric nibbled my skin.

        “You will come with me.” He added a sigh, as if I couldn’t tell by his tone how royally pissed he was.

        I shook my head, trying to toss my thoughts back in order. He was crazy gorgeous, but he was a major tool. “Yeah, I don’t think so. See, there’s an issue with my Mom and…”

        “That matters not. You are coming with me.”
         “And I’m supposed to listen to you…why?”

        “You are wasteful of my time. Change your clothing. Now!”

        “And if I don’t?”

        He took one slow step toward me. His hand drifted to the knife, sparkling like blue fire in the moonlight. “Then you will die.”

        I gulped. This was beginning to feel very un-dreamlike. Maybe I wasn’t dreaming. Maybe I’d been drugged, and then kidnapped by this knife wielding whack job. Which would mean Mom was really in trouble. I had to escape Snarky Boy and jet back home. We didn’t live far from the park.

        I took a step back, wondering if I could outrun him. He took another step toward me, his face muscles tightening into a squinty-eyed snarling look that could terrify the devil’s pit bull. His knife made a whink sound when it slid from its sheath.
         “Fine,” I said.

        I darted behind a tree then leaned against it. He had a knife—a knife!—so I didn’t have a freaking choice. I’d follow him for now, and then make a run for it at the first chance. I wasn’t exactly sure where we were, but I’d hiked off the park’s trails often enough to find my way home.

         I checked out the stuff in the pack: a couple of pants and shirts, shoes, soap. My cheeks burned when I saw the bra. Digging deep inside, I finally accepted that there wasn’t a single pair of socks. Why did he want me to change into these ridiculous clothes? The guy coughed in the darkness, so I hurriedly started to change.

        I snapped the bra into place, and made a face. It could have used a little more help from my chest to fill it out. The clothes were so seriously soft to the touch, I couldn’t wait to feel them against my skin, but the look was ruined: the long sleeves inched past my wrists, and the pants brushed the ground. These clothes weren’t meant for me. Maybe Mom had been the guy’s intended target. No wonder he was pissed, even though I wasn’t the one who’d screwed up the kidnapping.

        I slipped on the soft-soled shoes and these, too, were a little big so that when I walked they rubbed the backs of my heels. Now I looked as goofy as that guy, except I was going to flop around like a clown while he strutted around looking all hall-goddy.

        Why would he kidnap Mom anyway? We had no money for a ransom, unless….was this the guy Mom was afraid of? Did he have something to do with killing my parents? It felt as though a flock of penguins had waddled into my gut and frozen there. 

        My nose flared at a metallic smell and the hair on the back of my neck stiffened. A sudden bold of lightning streaked across the sky, and my ears rang from the rolling boom that followed. The ground woke with a sick shudder, nearly rocking me off my feet as it retched. Curling my toes in the too-big shoes to keep them on, I stumbled toward the clearing. The horses nickered and swung their heads. Where'd that dumb guy go?

        Another bolt flashed, lighting the sky with a network of electricity and sending electric fingers skittering over my scalp. It struck the hillside, tearing through stone, sending small rocks pinging down the side of the mountain. Boulders hurled through the air to pummel the ground with colossal thuds.

        My breath, escaping in short spurts, matched my heart beats. I clutched my chest with both hands, searching for somewhere to hide.

        Lightning struck another thundering blow at the mountain. The ground heaved, and I spread my legs and flung out my hands to steady myself. I was launched backwards, and I winced when the back of my head cracked against a tree.

        I hid behind my arms. Peeking from behind my elbow, I looked for that guy again. Unable to remember his name, I screamed, “Help!”
        A tree burst into flames and sparks scattered in the air like a cloud of fireflies. The ground split, inhaling the fiery tree with a loud whoosh before snapping shut.

        Half-crying, half-moaning, I scratched at the tree. Heat roasted my face, and my body was drenched in sweat. The tree wobbled; I screamed as it pitched toward me.

        The guy dragged me by my hair across the dirt. I tucked my head in my arms, a gust of air, leaves and dirt rushing over me. Between my throbbing head and chattering teeth, I almost didn't hear the silence. I lay there, afraid to move, or look, or breathe.


        His voice ran like warm honey over my shredded nerves. I peeked through the hair hanging over my face. The guy knelt in the dirt, watching me. A cut from his forehead leaked a trail of blood down one cheek. What was his name? Something weird, like tofu, or tugboat. Tuggin.

        I spit out dirt. “I’m all right.” Not that he’d asked, but I felt better saying it.

        We got to our feet and surveyed the chaos. Trees criss-crossed the tilted ground, looking as if a giant had ripped them out during a temper tantrum, and boulders sunk into the dirt like gravestones.

        “Was that an earthquake?” I wished my voice didn’t sound so Chip-and-Dale-ish. I’d lived in Connecticut all my life, and we’d never had an earthquake like that, an occasional tremor maybe, but nothing that rocked you off your feet.

        “Be silent. Be still.”

        I nodded and rubbed my scalp where Snarky Boy had pulled my hair. I mean, really, was that necessary? Tuggin left me to climb over trees and boulders.

         He came back with a black backpack. “The sleipnir have gone.”

       “You mean the horses?”

        Tuggin ignored my question and poked around the place where I’d changed. He picked up the red pack, pulled out a jacket, and tossed it to me. “Put it on.”

        My brain switch was in the off position, and I did what I was told. When I finished buttoning up he flung the backpack to me, but my reaction-time was slow. It bounced off my chest and fell to the ground before I moved my hands.

        Tuggin turned. “Follow me. Do not fall behind.”

        “Wait!” I clamped my legs together to stop their shaking.

        His gaze slid down his nose and captured mine. “Follow me.”

        “But my mom...”

        “I would be more concerned with your safety than hers.”

        His words weren’t in sync with his lips, which had a woozy effect on me as they spun through my mind. I swayed toward him.

        “You must come with me,” Tuggin said. “Now.”
         In hazy confusion, I fought the urge to follow Tuggin like a lost toddler, but a desire to obey him welled inside me. I concentrated on blinking to break the mesmerizing connection, and my head cleared. “No.”

        Tuggin’s eyes widened slightly, his nostrils flared. With one swift movement, his knife was pointed at my throat, and the cold pinch of steel triggered an avalanche of ice down my spine.

        “You will come with me, now,” he said.

        My brain made one last attempt to resist. I would not keep gulping in shaky breaths. I would not pick up that backpack. I would not follow him.

        Of course, in the end, I did all of those things.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Book Review: The Precipice, by Johnathan Scott

The Precipice, by Johnathan Scott

This is an epic fantasy, reminiscent of Lord of the Rings, complete with a high-grade ensemble cast, and worlds where magic and strength combine with explosive imagery. Johnathan has created a believeable world where Celestial Knights guard and safe-keep the portals to all worlds, thus ensuring peace and harmony. However, not all desire peace and harmony! And that's when the knights set to work.

Let's start with the writing, which was fluid and professional and a delight to read. The editing was professional as well. While I don't care for the use of capital letters in dialogue (indicating power behind the words, and which I don't think Johnathan needed), this was mainly regulated to the early chapters.

I have to admit, when the story started out with a talking walking stick, I didn't think I was going to like it. I am so happy to admit I couldn't have been more wrong! The walking stick's relationship with the thief is so well-done and funny that I now think that this was the most brilliant piece of the story. I loved it.

Johnathan has a complex world and a large ensemble cast that he had to introduce to his readers. Again, he managed this with polish and style, introducing each character in his own place and in his own time. While you slowly engage these characters as you read, the author gives you glimpses of back-ground, mainly the initiation of each character into Knighthood. It was so well done that not once did I feel as though I'd been taken away from the story at hand.

The only fault I would find with this story is how the author would change from using characters' first names to last names and back again. With such a large cast, I did find this hard to follow at times, and would sometimes need to take a moment to figure out who was speaking. Other than that, this story was a wonderful read, and is highly recommended.

4.5 stars!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fire in the Blood, Chapter One

As part of Sample Sunday, I'm previewing a chapter of my YA fantasy, Fire in the Blood, each Sunday. This book is available through Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook (and will be available in paperback through Amazon this summer). Visit each week and read the next chapter. Enjoy!
Fire in the Blood

Chapter One

How did life suck? Let me count the ways.

One. I sucked. My life was supposed to be about hair, clothes, and boys. I admit, I kind of rocked the hair department, thick and straight and long, though the color bordered on mousey. My clothes situation, however, was on a good-will basis, and my chest area was a total bust--not exactly a combination that attracted hall gods.

"Haley, we need to talk," Mom said.

Two. Elana sucked. Until today, I'd thought she was my best friend. I'd done everything with her, following her through school like a...a tail following a fox, but she turned out to be a back-stabbing liar.

"Now," she added.

Three. Ian sucked. Ian, who'd moved to Kent, Connecticut over a month ago, was crazy gorgeous, and for a second, I thought I'd blipped his radar, but he only noticed the hall goddesses, which of course included Elana. And she'd noticed him.

Mom stuck her hand out. "Take this."

Four. My birthday sucked. Elana hooked up with Ian today of all freaking days, my birthday. All I'd wanted for my seventeenth birthday was some cool clothes and a hall god for a boyfriend, and instead I was contemplating the fate of a boobless loner who owned sucky clothes.

Wait. What?

I blinked at the necklace dangling from Mom's fingers.

"Is that a pearl? It's huge!" I slipped the necklace over my head and admired it. I could almost scratch suck number four off my list.

"And this," she added, handing me a block of wood.

I studied the weird faces carved into it then flipped it over. I had no clue why Mom would give me an ugly statue, but I said, "Thanks, Mom."

Mom stalked the kitchen as if the coffee maker had been identified by the F.B.I. as public enemy number one. "They're from your birth parents."

"You know them?" Anyone could tell I was adopted. Mom was tall and blonde and could easily drape the cover of Glamour magazine, even in flannel shirts and jeans. And I was...not that

"A little," she said.

"What are they like? Where are they? Do you talk to them?"

"There's no time for questions. Your life depends on listening to me right now." Mom's voice scratched the air.

I tilted my head. For the first time, I noticed she wasn't so put together. One side of her shirt had untucked from her jeans due to her plucking fingers, her hair was falling out of its ponytail, and her gaze shifted criminally.

Mom put her hands to her stomach and swallowed once, loudly. "I think he's after you."

The stone, nestled against my chest, rose and fell with my suddenly shortened breathing. "What are you talking about?"

"Your parents are dead because of him."

The pulse in my neck chanted, da-dead, da-dead, da-dead. Air. I needed air. "Some guy killed my parents and now he's after me?"

"Yes. No. I'm not sure." Mom dropped into a chair and stared at my box thingy.

"So, what happened? Were they, like, drug runners or something?"

"Absolutely not!" Mom snapped.

"Oka-ay," I muttered, and then waited for Mom to say something.

The clock tick, tick, ticked and my heart seemed intent on pulverizing itself against my ribs. The awkward silence was shattered by someone pounding the front door, and Mom leaped up like someone'd jabbed her butt with a taser.

She leaned toward me over the kitchen table, staring at me with bulging eyes. "Don't move."

I slipped my bunny slippers off my sweaty feet. Who killed my parents? Who was the psychopath looking for me? And why? I glanced over my shoulder. Was Mom having some kind of breakdown?

"Zentu!" Mom yelled from the foyer.

The box rolled off the table and thunked onto the floor. It split open, wide, wider, gaping darkly like the mouth of a great white shark. White fog poured out, and I whiffed wet dirt.

The sound of the front door slamming against the wall, splintering.

"Haley! Jump!" Mom shouted.

My gaze leaped to the window. Why'd she want me to jump when I could jet out the back door? And why would she ever think I'd leave when it sounded like some whack job was breaking in? I leapt to my feet, stumbling over my bunny slippers.


I plunged head-first into the foggy pool. The sound of my chair crashing to the floor seemed very far away. Mom screamed once and then the sound died.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Book Review: La Luxure, by C.D. Hussey

La Luxure, by C.D. Hussey

La Luxure is about Julia, a conservative engineer who is never quite satisfied in her life, her romance, or her job. She is rather envious of her sister's "freedom" to live more on the edge. On a business trip to New Orleans, Julia is immersed in the culture and ambience of the city's darker side, and feels an inexplicable pull to give in to her dark impulses. The end result surprises not only Julia, but is a treat for the reader as well.

La Luxure's steamier sex scenes is a no-no for young readers, but adults will easily be seduced and pulled along for the "ride". There is a major twist at the end, and I didn't know whether to be disappointed that everything wasn't as it seemed, mad that I'd been fooled, or confused (I mean, I got the ending, but I kept turning the pages waiting for that "ha ha! fooled you again!" moment). In the end, I could only applaud, because there is nothing I like more than thinking I know how a book's going to end and being totally wrong.

This author's writing style is fluid and a pleasure to read. The author depicted the visuals of the city well enough that there is no question of the setting. I gave this book a 5 star rating for its entertainment value alone! This one goes in the "recommend" column.

Great Indie Giveaway!

Check out sneak peeks of some of the books included in the Giveaway.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fire in the Blood

So, my pretties, my YA fantasy, Fire in the Blood, has been on Kindle and Nook for about a month, and will soon be coming out in paperback! I've changed the cover 3 times, which means I'll need too change the cover for the Kindle and Nook versions as well, but I'll get to that later.

Let me know what you think of the new look!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Book Giveaway!

Check out the Indie Book Giveaway! Over a hundred books will be given away...including one of mine (wink wink)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Shoeless Wonder

Okay, so today's my daughter's birthday...she turned 12. So, our morning is starting out pretty good. She's up on time, she's happy (it's her birthday after all), she gets dressed and eats her breakfast and brushes her teeth and her cupcakes are packed. All good.

1 minute before the bus comes, the poop starts hitting the fan.

1. I'm handed a permission slip for her 6th graduation and after-party...due 2 days ago.
2. She hasn't put her shoes on because she can't get them untied from the day before (yes, admit it, we all do it...take our shoes off without untying them first).
3. I'm running around trying to get together the cash needed for the party, fill out the permission slip, and get her to sign it.
4. The bus has arrived.

I'm stuffing money and paper into an envelope, she's screaming at me to help untie her shoe (I non-politely decline...see #3 above), and the bus is patiently idling at the end of our driveway.

I cram the envelope into her hand and she runs for the bus. I am chasing the dog who has managed to escape from the house.

Sounds like we made it, eh?

1 hour later, I get The Phone Call.

"Hi, Mom."
"Can you bring me my shoe?"
"Yeah, I came to school with only one shoe on."
"How could you go to school with only one shoe on?!?"

This was obviously a stupid-mom question, because I get the typical kid-answer: "I don't know."

I mean, seriously, who goes to school (or work or anywhere) with one shoe on??

Wait. Don't answer that.

Thankfully for my Shoeless Wonder, I happened to have taken the day off today, and was able to drive to school and hand in her shoe. Of course, I just *had* to ask the Principal..."Have you ever had a kid show up to school with one shoe?"

I bet you can guess the answer!

Book Review: d'Ark: d'Ark Saga, by M. Phillips

d'Ark: d'Ark Saga, by M. Phillips

The book is about a guy, Michael, who has a fascination with Joan of Arc. The college where he goes to school is plagued by a series of mysterious murders, one of whom is Michael's close friends. Disturbed as he is, life goes on: school, and work. When Michael meets a mysterious woman in the book store, he's immediately captivated, and fails to notice the budding interest of Megan, the book store owner. A sort of loose love triangle ensues between Michael, Megan, and the mystery woman, Joan. Michael and Joan eventually team up to stop the murders, a result of vampires on the loose.

The story itself has a nice hook with the Joan of Arc twist to the standard vampire theme. The main characters stay with you, and the plot was rather clever. Joan and Michael are well-defined characters, though Megan's acceptance of Michael's interest in Joan (over her) is a little under-done. Joan's motivation in this story is especially strong, and her confusion over her feelings for Michael compelling. Michael is another strong character, though the ending leaves the reader wondering what, exactly, he is about.

My rating for d'Ark is a 3 out of 5, mainly because the secondary characters, Michael's best friend Eddie and Eddie's girlfriend, are little more than one dimensional, and I would have liked to have seen more depth to these relationships, especially with Eddie. I am not sure if those characters added anything to the story.

The writing style is on the choppy side, and the dialogue not natural-sounding, but those are matters of taste to me and my preferences as a reader. I also would have like to have seen more closure on Michael's future.

Overall, I enjoyed this book.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

To Indie or Not To Indie?

That seems to be the question of the year. There has been a lot of back and forth regarding indie authors vs. traditional.

Indie authors can't write, otherwise they'd be published. Is that true? Maybe, maybe not. I've read some outstanding books published traditionally...I've also read outstanding books from indie authors. I've read lemons written by tradionally published authors, and I've read lemons from indie authors. Are there more lemons among the indies? Maybe, and maybe some of the books aren't as polished, but you can't label *all* indie authors as "sub-par" because of that. And yes, I've read books that have been published the traditional route with formatting and spelling errors. It happens. We're human.

The most glaring issue lately, for readers, is the over-zealous self-promotion of indie authors on social media.

Yeah, I can see their point. You don't want to be inundated with hundreds of "read me! read me!" messages when you're trying to have a discussion. The indie authors just want to get the word out--they don't have the backing and promotional ammunition of the big publishing houses--but they have to be smart about it, otherwise they will alienate the very people they want to see their work...the reader. There are many books and advice on forums on how to market your book that do not entail pissing people off...I'm learning the ropes myself in this regard.

So, I say, give indies a shot! Read the reviews of specific books and heed word-of-mouth recommendations, and then base your decision to buy a book based on merit. Not all indies are bad.