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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Redheads Unite! Read Upon Your Honor!

Title:  Upon Your Honor
Author:  Marie Lavender
Author's Web site link:  http://marielavender.webs.com/
Genre:  Historical Romance
ISBN:  1625260423
Name of Reviewer:  Kayla West 
Amazon Reviewer's Rating:  5 Stars
Book Publisher:  Summer Solstice Publishing
Universal Purchase Link:  http://smarturl.it/uponyourhonor

 
Reviewed by Kayla West Originally for BookLikes.com

I loved this book so much! SO MUCH!!!

I know that I have probably mentioned this before in a previous review of mine, maybe not, but ever since I was a little girl I have had this love for ships. Sailing ships. I love the terms for everything. I love the idea of being able to traverse oceans and leading a band of miscreants, and just the camaraderie that happens when you sail for months at a time. Sure. there are bad days too when it comes to the sea, but I just absolutely  it. (Okay, so my kinds of ships are normally only in books, and the groups I'm talking about are mostly pirates, not those on a trading ship like the men on La Voyageur, but it's kind of the same principle, right?) Anywho...that was one of the things I absolutely adored about this story. The fact that most of it takes place on a vessel of the seas.

I also loved the characters, mostly the supporting characters, my favorite being Gabriel's father. He just seemed like such a sweet man, and his daughter Adrienne was a bit of a firecracker in comparison. Gabriel's mother was also very sweet when it came to Chloe, and you could definitely tell she was a strong woman, considering what she herself went through for true love.

It also doesn't hurt that she was a redhead...REDHEADS UNITE!! *ahem* Sorry, kinda slipped out. And Gabriel was a redhea....AUBURN. Sorry, his and his mother's hair is auburn. The characters are kind of berating me for not getting that right. Now...where was I... Oh, yeah. I loved that I could sort of relate to those two because of hair color.

While Chloe was an integral part of the story - without her running away from her fiancĂ© there would be no story - she definitely wasn't one of my favorite characters I have ever read. I liked her, don't get me wrong, I just sometimes felt a bit annoyed by the fact that she was SO proper, SO well brought up. At one point I just wanted her to spit on a bad guy or her fiance, just once. I was completely rooting for that to happen. That would have made my day. But other than that, she was a good character.

All in all, this was really great story. I freaked out a bunch of times while reading it, especially near the end, where...well, you'll have to read to find out. This reaction always indicates to me that whatever I am reading has to be good. At first I couldn't figure out how the other books were connected to this one, since this is the first I have read from the series, but it made me smile when I was able to connect all three with characters that I was pretty much introduced to in this second book. It reads very well on its own, but the other books are definitely on my to read list for the future.

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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Ebola in the News? How About a Hot Virus?


Title: Strike Three
Author:  Joy V. Smith
Genre: Science fiction (post-apocalyptic)
ISBN:  9781936099658
Reviewer:  Midwest Book Review
Reviewer's rating: NA
 Available an Amazon
 
Reviewed by Midwest Book Review 
 
Because of the 'hot virus', World War III's scenario is more deadly than any nuclear-powered conflict, and the missiles fired during conflict are far more deadly than any conventional battle could have envisioned. But the message of Strike Three isn't just about altered warfare, but altered survival mechanisms honed by feisty protagonists who seek to start over, against all odds and against the backdrop of an Earth devastated on many different levels. Against this scenario are a series of vivid protagonists who battle for not just survival but a revised world - and within their efforts to rise again will be the rudiments of a new kind of humanity. Strike Three is exceptional reading for any who enjoy apocalyptic stories, and offers many twists and turns unpredictable even for avid readers of end-of-world sagas.
 
MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Joy has a writing blog at

http://pagadan.wordpress.com/

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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Secrets to Great Reviews

I usually post only reviews on this blog (see the submission guidelines in the left column!). It is open for authors, publishers, reviews, and readers who want to spread the word about the books they read. Today, I'm republishing a note I wrote to the subscribers of my SharingwithWriters newsletter because it deals with reviews--and, I believe, can be helpful to all those who contribute and visit these pages. Here it is:

Dear Subscribers:

Perhaps the hardest job I have is to convince my clients that a critical review can actually be beneficial to the sales of their book. (The other is convincing them that marketing a book is not selling a book but an act of consideration—that is identifying their readers so they can be helped or entertained in the way they like best!)

Back to reviews. I was reading a review for The Small Big: Small Changes That Spark Big Influence by Steve J. Martin and Noah Goldstein with Robert Cialdini in Time magazine. And there! Right there! Was the clincher. It leads with, "At first glance, little differentiates Berkshire Hathaway stockholder reports from those of any other major corporation. But look closer. Even in years when Berkshire has been unimaginably successful, [the Berkshire Chairman draws attention] to a snag or strain in the company."

"What," you may ask, "does that have to do with my book, or reviews for my book?"

The review amplifies a bit: "Researchers who study persuasion know that messages can be amplified when people present a small weakness in them, which in turn garners a higher level of trust."

As those of you who have read my The Frugal Book Promoter know, I don't advocate slash and burn review tactics—for authors who review books or authors who take the lowest road and denigrate their competitors' books. But a review that is honest, one that tempers praise with a little helpful critique, can be of far more value than one that looks as if it were written by the author's mother.

Apparently this book also suggests that those with something to sell might "arrange for someone to toot your horn on your behalf." It gives an example of the old switch tactic that I've had car salespeople use on me when they turn me over to someone who is "more experienced," or "in a better position to cut me a deal."

Another lesson: Use potential. Facebook users introduced to "someone who could become the next big thing" were more convinced than they were from a mere list of his or her credentials, however stellar.

And while we're at it, one of the first "lessons" I learned about endorsements (they're sort of like mini reviews, right?) is that you can write them and present them to someone in a position to influence your particular readers in the query letter you write to them. You tell them that if they prefer they can chose one one of your prepackaged endorsements--edit it or not--or write one of their own. It's a way of keeping control over the aspects of your book you'd most like to have at the forefront of readers' awareness and—at the same time—being of service to the person you are querying. You will also up your success rate for getting an endorsement because many movers-and-shakers aren't necessarily writers and the idea of writing an endorsement from scratch scares the beejeebees out of them!

You can do the same thing with a review. Write one the way you would like to see it (using some of the techniques outlined in this note to you), and let someone else—someone with tons of credibility--sign off on it. If no one does, you can use the review in your media kit with a note that it is a "sample review." That's honest and sometimes needed when you're finding it hard to get that first review! By the way, that's another tip you'll find in The Frugal Book Promoter along with ways to avoid paying for a review and why you should avoid paying for one.

Happy writing, editing, and promoting,
Carolyn


PS I’d love to see those of you who live in the LA area at the coming Digital Conference (http://www.wcwriters.com/dasp/program.html) for sure, though hotel accommodations are available for out-of-towners. I’ll be speaking on “Using Createspace as a One-Stop Shop for Digital and Paper” and “Digital Marketing Made Simple.” Get more details by scrolling to the bottom of this newsletter for my coming presentations. 

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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Several Contest Winners Collected in Best New Writing Anthology, 2014

Best New Writing of 2015
In the Best New Writing series
Edited by Christopher Klim
Published by Hope Publishing, http://hopepubs.com
Available on Amazon as paperback or e-book

By your New Book Review Blogger.

The winners of the Eric Hoffer Award and the Gover Prize (and finalists in both) were just published in Best New Writing of 2015 and, yes, one of my short stories is in it. Therefore this isn't a review because that would be a conflict of interest. Still this lovely paperback (it's also available as an e-book), is something I thought New Book Review visitors--whether readers, authors, or reviewers--would want to know about.   

For submission and nominating guidelines for your book go to http://www.BestNewWriting.com. Editors are Christopher Klim, Matt Ryan, Christopher Helvey, Brittany Fonte, Danielle Evannou, Tim Waldron. Robert Gover is Editor Emeritus. 

Winner of the Hoffer award is Ronit Feinglass Plank. Winner of the Gover is Gary Powell. 

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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Title: Write, Publish, Sell!: Quick, Easy, Inexpensive Ideas for the Marketing Challenged
Author: Valerie Allen
Genre: Non-fiction, Reference for Authors and Writing
ISBN 10: 1480043850
ISBN 13: 978 1480043855
Format: book and ebook
Purchase at: Amazon.com

For writers, new and experienced, as they move from writing to publication and marketing of their work. Practical suggestions to create and increase sales.

Reviewed by Peter Sorrells originally for Amazon 5 Star Review

Lots of new ideas
This is a well-written supplement and instruction guide for every author's reference collection. As an author, I am always reading books on writing, publishing, and marketing. This one has a lot of unique ideas I haven't seen anywhere else. For example, specific tips on writing including grammar, speaker, punctuation, formatting, cover, spine, even ideal book length - things we tend to overlook, but are very important in a polished product. The book includes quite a lot of information on marketing materials and methods, as well. I like Valerie's suggestions in promotion, like the P.I.T.C.H. Position and unique ways of marketing one-on-one, keeping the book always visible.

The book also contains four Appendices with very useful information including writing tips, book industry abbreviations, specific information on children's books, and a list of reference books for every writer's shelf.

I'll refer to this book over and over in my own writing and business, and will heartily recommend it to other authors.

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Valerie Allen is also the author of 
Beyond the Inkblots: Confusion to Harmony: Summer School for Smarties; Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends; Amazing Grace; Sins of the Father: Suffer the Little Children. Reach her at:
 VAllenWriter@cs.com                                         ValerieAllenWriter.com
Facebook.com/Valerie.Allen.520
Amazon.com/Author/ValerieAllen
 
 
 
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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Journalist Pens YA Novel and "Gets It Right!"

Title: Maggie Vaults Over the Moon
Author: Grant Overstake
Author's Web Site www.maggievaultsoverthemoon.com
Genre: YA Fiction, Sports
ISBN: 978-1478296874
Publisher: CreateSpace
Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
Buy Link at Amazon.com

Grant Overstake, the author of Maggie Vaults Over the Moon, has created in Maggie Steele a courageous young woman who, despite self-doubt and grief, finds wholeness in a most unusual way, through the sport of pole-vaulting.

Being non-athletic myself, I wasn't sure how I would relate to a story of a teenager who took up pole vaulting as away to connect with her brother, tragically lost in a car wreck, and a way to heal herself. This is a young adult novel. Even so, I found myself caught up in Maggie's story. I believe readers of any age would find this book worthwhile.

In some ways, I don't relate to Maggie. I grew up in town and had little interest in my aunt and uncle's farm, or farm life in general. I would never, in my wildest dreams been elected homecoming queen. However, Overstake has made Maggie into a complex character, a teenager who has to navigate the halls and perils of her small town high school, much as I did in my hometown of Baxter Springs, Kansas.

Overstake gets everything right about Kansas. The story is set near Fort Scott, a town not too far away from my home town, and it is sweet to read about a land I knew so well. He also gets the people right, people, who with all their flaws, are still good and loving. Maggie's parents are particularly well developed. They are also caught up in the grief at the loss of their son, and we see that grief played out. However, they also understand Maggie's needs and try to help her as best they can.

Overstake is a former newspaper editor and sports writer. His background ensures that he know his stuff when it comes to writing about high school athletics. He is also an excellent writer.

Maggie Vaults Over the Moon
hums along like a well-oiled, wonderfully written machine.

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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Top Reviews for How-To on Business and Sales

Title: The Key to the Gate
Author: EksAyn Aaron Anderson
Website: www.eksayn.com, www.thekeytothegate.com
Category: Sales, Business, B2B, Entrepreneurs, Selling
ISBN: 978-0990395201
Reviewer’s Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by Joy L originally for Amazon

I was actually fortunate enough to read an advance copy of this book and am so glad I did because the ideas have stayed with me for months--and helped me negotiate a local exception to a long standing school board policy on behalf of my daughter. I've been watching for the printed version because I'm eager to have several friends and family members read this book. So glad this is available now!

It's an easy read...just an hour or two, but it will save you hours of headaches if you can apply the strategies. The tone is conversational, not condescending or complicated, like you're sitting down with an old sales pro who's actually likable and ethical. I especially like the chapter on "Jijitsu email." This would be a fabulous gift for employees or friends in any sales related business.

Reviewed by Ilene Barton originally for Amazon
As I read this book, I was impressed with the concern and respect with which EksAyn showed. His ideas and tips were beneficial not only in business or in sales, but as we encounter people in life as well. By showing Integrity, respect and kindness, we will do better in all aspects of our life. These principals, rather than techniques, are positive for everyone.
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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.