Every Book I have read in 2022 Pt1

Reading books has kept me going throughout this busy and sometimes difficult year. As an indie author myself, I’m very much aware of the struggle fellow authors face in trying to get more reviews. Most of this list is made up of indie/self published books and so here is part 1 of the books I have read in 2022…

‘Fee Simple Conditional (Arcadia Chronicles Book 1)’ by H.C. Helfand

A gem of a read about life, love and land…

5 Stars – Full Review

‘Escaping First Contact’ by T.S. Beier

Original and imaginative space sci-fi full of depth and immersion

5 Stars – Full Review

‘The Art of Reading: How Reading Can Help You Become a Better, More Productive Writer’ by J.D. Cunegan

A relatable and open guide about reading to improve your writing…

4 Stars – Full Review

‘The Art & Business of Writing: A Practical Guide to the Writing Life’ by Chris Jones

A valuable easy-to-read resource for the modern writer

5 Stars – Full Review

‘Billy Summers’ by Stephen King

An enduring multi-layered tale of one gun for hire and his final shot…

4 Stars – Full Review

‘A Twist in the Rift’ by Meg Radiant

Original page-turning sci-fi with unlimited portals of potential…

4 Stars – Full Review

‘Summer of ’77’ by Rebecca Amiss

An easy-to-read heart-warming story of friendship and nostalgia

5 Stars – Full Review

‘Powerless’ by Vicky Ball

A well-written twisting thriller with darker themes…

4 Stars – Full Review

‘Lazy Creativity: The Art of Owning Your Creativity’ by Kyle Bernier 

A detailed, modern and refreshing take on creativity that covers so many applications for success!

5 Stars – Full Review

‘An English Teacher in Mexico: Memories of a Midlife Career Change’ by Irene Pylypec

A fun and insightful well-written account of adventure and culture…

5 Stars – Full Review

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‘The Tolworth Beacon’ by Huw Langridge

Intriguing British mystery with tension, atmosphere and code-breaking vibes…

4 Stars – Full Review

‘Recovering Alice’ by Catherine Morrison

A gripping uplifting tale of romance and relapse…

5 Stars – Full Review

‘Sentinel: Galaxii Book 4’ by Christina Engela

Immersive and enjoyable space-sci fi

5 Stars – Full Review

‘A Still Life’ by Elliott Wink

Short and intriguing, an original sci-fi tale perfect for reading in one sitting…

5 Stars – Full Review

‘Dead of Winter’ by Antoinette McCormick

‘It comes in the night…’

5 Stars – Full Review

‘Fallout’ by Pat Griffith

An imaginative and highly original tale about first contact with corporeal beings from another world some of which are already here….

4 Stars – Full Review

‘Where Darkness Meets Light’ by Sabrine Elouali

Thought-provoking poetry reflecting many themes surrounding the dark and light…

5 Stars – Full Review

‘San Francisco Suite: A Rudy Parsons Story’ by Ethan McCaffery

Well-written detective mystery with noir tones and a metaphysical twist…

5 Stars – Full Review

‘Pirate Sea’ by Kyler Kuehler

A swashbuckling and sometimes brutal tale packed with action

4 Stars – Full Review

And so that wraps up Pt1 of every book I’ve read in 2022. Thanks for reading and check back soon for Pt2!

The Best Books I have Read in 2022

2022 has been an incredible journey and I’ve read some fantastic books written by some wonderful authors. Their works kept me going through what has been a tough twelve or so months. 

This post is dedicated to the books that stood out to me!

‘Fee Simple Conditional (Arcadia Chronicles Book 1)’ by H.C. Helfand

It has been nearly twelve months since my first read of 2022 but even now it still sticks out to me. H.C. Helfand delivers the wonderful story of ‘Abigail Fischer’ who resonates with the reader as her life unfolds. The style is unique and equally charming and my favourite quote says it all:

Despite life’s inevitable changes, some things are simply unconditional…’

You can read my full review here.

‘Escaping First Contact’ by T.S. Beier

Depth and originality are just some of the many qualities ‘Escaping First Contact’ has and as a huge fan of space sci-fi this one was right up my alley. T.S. Bier delivers a story with a unique concept that champions cohesion between different cultures as well as being a great story.

“Get your weird xenophilia fantasies out of here, Rip!”

You can read my full review here.

‘Lazy Creativity: The Art of Owning Your Creativity’ by Kyle Bernier

Being a reviewer for Reedsy Discovery means that every so often I come across a real gem of a book and Kyle Bernier presents a fantastic guide that provides an important message about owning our laziness when it comes to creativity. In fact, that laziness can be a superpower and while I may not be selling that concept well, trust me when I say if you are a creative, you are going to want to check this one out!

You can read my full review here.

‘Recovering Alice’ by Catherine Morrison

Catherine Morrison delivers a story about heavy issues combined with a wonderful fusion of love and honesty. The balance between them is flawless and makes for a gripping read that has recently been featured by BookBub!

You can read my full review here

‘Dead of Winter’ by Antoinette McCormick

Atmosphere and text book horror go hand-in-hand and Antionette McCormick delivers that and much more in this intriguing wintery horror with a futuristic sci-fi edge. Can a dead woman’s memories unmask her murderer?

You can read my full review here

‘A Stranger From the Storm’ by William Burton McCormick

With murder mystery vibes and plenty of witty dialogue, William Burton McCormick’s ‘The Stranger From the Storm’ is incredibly fun reading experience. Twin sisters make for the main characters who reside in early 1900’s Odessa – a place where a killer is reportedly on the loose. The events that unfold are chilling, unexpected and intriguing.

You can read my full review here.

‘The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music’ by Dave Grohl

If you’ve been a fan of rock music in the past thirty or so years you would have probably heard the name Dave Grohl and this candid masterfully laid out memoir is exactly what the title suggests. As a huge fan of the Foo Fighters and the post grunge genre of music I was incredibly intrigued to find out what this book would be about and trust me when I say it is a must read. Anyone who has ever been a fan of Dave or just the wider scene of music to those who are creative – you’ll find something in this book that will resonate with you.

You can read my full review here

‘Pearl Fields and the Oregon Meltdown’ by Drew Faraday

‘Pearl Fields and the Oregon Meltdown’ is quite possibly the most unique book on this list. Another discovery via Reedsy this book is basically a transcript of a confession from the title character as she does her best to convince a judge that she is a good person. With post apocalyptic/pandemic themes which might be a little close to home or recent events, its a great life story that contains heaps of originality.

You can read my full review here.

‘The Watchmaker: A clock can talk’ by Ellen Khodakivska

This unique and enchanting story kind of feels like a feature length version of a fairy tale complete with magical charm and style. Ellen Khodakivska delivers a wonderful story that follows several generations of watch makers in Italy where their lives are ruled by the force all of our lives are ruled by, time. With some great symbolism and captivating moments, this is a book I would highly recommend!

‘Time always shares its wisdom with you if you are a good listener; Time can become your merciless enemy if you neglect it; Time can be your best friend if you manage it smartly; If you respect time, it respects you back…’

You can read my full review here

‘Love’s Ragged Claws’ by Gary Gautier

‘Moral knowledge is easy. Moral action is hard.’ – With that sentiment and message comes ‘Love’s Ragged Claws’ a short read with plenty of depth and a tale of one man’s confession after many years. There are plenty of layers in this story and its definitely one I would like to re-visit again someday. Gary Gautier delivers some fantastic writing through the vessel of existential and moral dilemma.

You can read my full review here

‘They Lie Here’ by N.S. Ford 

This is the second time a book by N.S. Ford has appeared on a list like this and for good reason because yet again she has delivered a great story full of twists. ‘They Lie Here’ is a combination of British Thriller and Pop Music Culture all wrapped up with a style that keeps you reading until the very end.

You can read my full review here.

‘The Man and The Crow’ by Rebecca Crunden

I’m a big supporter of shorter reads and this book came along at just the right time because I needed one. ‘The Man and the Crow’ is a book I read in just one sitting and by page 4 I was immersed. There’s humour and fun along with a page turning writing style that serves as a great showcase for what Rebecca Crunden can do as an author.

You can read my full review here.

All of these awesome books shaped my 2022 for the better and so thank you authors. Of course I must also mention the many more books I read this year and the authors who wrote them!

This post first premiered via Patreon where you’ll find my best guides and exclusive content.

The Reluctant Book Marketer Podcast – Branding on Twitter

Shout-out to The Reluctant Book Marketer Podcast hosted by fellow author Jody Sperling for recently having me as a guest.

In this episode we talk about Twitter branding and the wider journey of being an author in the social media age.

You can listen here via Spotify

Or here via Substack

Jody has recently launched a Kickstarter for his soon to be published guide book ‘The Seven-Figure Marketing Mindset For Novelists’. You can check that out here.

‘They Lie Here’ by N.S. Ford – Review

Thrilling and unputdownable with unique themes…

N.S. Ford has masterfully merged the genres of thriller and mystery with the themes of obsession, secrets and music to deliver a layered story I could not put down. There were twists, revelations and even after, there were more unexpected moments in this original and addictive read.

In my first two sittings of reading this I’d already reached the 50% mark and by then I was just as obsessed as main character ‘Kat Green’ who is on a mission to find missing 80’s musician ‘Roskoe Darke’. His band, the aptly named ‘Scorpio Hearts’ have a kind of cult following and through some unique flashbacks/snippets we learn of their history along with the backstory that all has a sinister feel. ‘Kat’ is clever, obsessed and willing to go to extreme lengths for her investigation, even if she does refer to herself in third person often, there’s reasoning behind it and that also reflects the whole story which is cleverly plotted.

During the earlier stages, there is a lot of build as everything is laid out and then the revelations begin. Just like N.S. Ford’s last release, the well-executed twists are becoming a theme or even sub-genre of the author’s work and its definitely something that will keep me coming back. Music is also a key theme that runs throughout the story which serves as a study of how fans and those in the industry are effected by success while also merging with the mystery/thriller elements which makes for a unique unpredictable reading experience.

5 Stars

Guest Book Review: ‘Neglected Merge’ by Eve Koguce

Guest Book Review by Arianne Nicks

“Neglected Merge” is the first book in “The Neglected Merge” trilogy by Eve Koguce. This book is a fantasy utopian romance featuring Tauria, a 32-year-old woman living in what’s supposed to be a “perfect” society. After undergoing a near-apocalyptic experience, “the merge”, people have rebuilt society with no room for conflict, unpleasantness, or unhappiness. Everyone is living their best life, having the most fulfilling jobs and the best relationships.

Tauria’s world is disturbed when a “Winged One” lands in her home, one of his wings injured. The man, Doron, is part of the royal family of the Winged Ones. While he recovers in Tauria’s home, they fall in love.

The challenge they face is that of bringing their worlds together – the Wingless and the Winged Ones. Politics and love are woven into the story. To bring their societies together, Tauria gets a job that allows her to start preparations for contacting the Winged Ones. On the other side of the mountain, Doron actively pleads with his father to initiate a relationship with the Wingless. Will they succeed in creating a world where a relationship between a Winged One and a Wingless is possible?

I have enjoyed the first book in this series. The environment and the worlds created are unique, and the characters are interesting in their overpolite ways. I had issues believing in Tauria and Doron’s relationship at the beginning, as everything happens quickly and with few details. However, as the story evolves, they grew on me, and I was rooting for them in their endeavors. Doron’s love and passion for Tauria are sweet, and the contrast between this and Tauria’s more serious side is sometimes funny. I also liked how the friendship between Tauria and Byrne developed throughout the story. For the next books, I hope to find out more about Abelia (Doron’s sister) and her story.

“Neglected Merge” is definitely a distinctive read!

This is a guest review by Arianne Nicks the author of Soul of Light and Thunder. You can find more information about Arianne via her website here.

Five Ways to Get more Book Reviews

Let’s face it. Finding reviews for our books is hard. The struggle is something that unites many of us who have published works out there and I’m semi obsessed with finding solutions to sometimes difficult things so here are five ways to get more book reviews.

This post first featured over on Patreon where the real party is happening. Sign up to see articles like this first as well as a huge array of other cool resources.

Selling in Quantity

This may sound obvious to some but the more units you sell, the higher chance someone will read and then review. Now there are many inputs to this concept but quantity really is the key to finding more reviews. Just how do you move books in huge quantities?

From my own experience running a free promo or a price reduction will certainly help. My best influx of reviews have come from big-time free promos where digital downloads were in the thousands.

Mentioning your work regularly across social media will also help. I do anything and everything (within reason) on my social media platforms to regularly sell books through presence and the occasional mention and if you really want to sell books, then you’ll eventually figure out a way.

Running my most recent numbers has pointed towards a review for every 100 sales I get. So maybe quantity is the key…

High End Advertising

This brings us nicely to finding some help to tell the world about your book. Paid advertising is pretty easy to find these days online but the very cream of the crop in advertising should lead you to readers who review. Premiere book promotion sites like BookBub boast to have readers who review and so this is a great place to target readers.

Having successfully clinched three BookBub Featured deals over the years, these were the very best value in terms of sales and then reviews. You can find my list of book promotion sites here.

Shouting About it

If there is one thing I can guarantee, it is every week without fail that I mention on Twitter how important reviews are for authors. Important because they help us in so many ways from finding new readers to potentially shaping our future work. The more we shout about it, the more many readers will realise and I will happily admit before being published, reviewing books wasn’t at the top of my priority so reminding readers will help the greater good.

Approach Book Bloggers

There are plenty of bookish bloggers out there looking for their next read and much like me I quite enjoy being approached by authors looking for reviews. If you offer a free digital copy in exchange for a an honest review and as long as your approach them nicely, someone will eventually say yes.

Consider joining a Review Platform

As a tenured book blogger I have my own profile over on Reedsy Discovery which is an awesome review platform that does its best to place books into the hands of reviewers from indie or self published authors. Some of these platforms have a joining fee but they will also put in the effort to pair your book with the best possible reviewer candidate.

And so that’s five ways to get more book reviews. If you have any other methods then do please drop a comment below. Thanks for reading and for more awesome resources, check out my Patreon

Further Reading:

How I landed my 3rd BookBub Featured Deal

A guide to selling books on social media

Books not selling? A troubleshooter guide

‘The Mermaid From My Nightmare’ by Kristina Gallo – Review

A thrilling and twisting tale with so much beneath the surface…

Kristina Gallo delivers a thrilling and twisting tale where there is so much more than meets the eye. With mystery, murder and infidelity ‘Dijana’ finds herself enthralled and surrounded by it as she travels to Brazil for a family visit.

There’s a sense of danger that lurks beneath the surface of a cleverly plotted pacey novel where pages turn quickly but the story stays with you long after. The magnitude of characters is something I enjoyed as they were well fleshed out and fit perfectly with the narrative. Like many of Gallo’s books there’s danger, a little steam and plenty of imagination. Of course I’d love to say more but I shall let the reader find out for themselves.

5 Stars

Blurb Reveal: Darke Apocalypse

A purge is coming to Darke Heath and the assembled Order of the Following heroes must fight to survive their final chapter. 

After the awakening of a force unparalleled to anything seen before they will face their biggest and deadliest challenge yet. Forces that were once opposed must align whilst the origins of the Order and legendary founder Hudson’s story is revealed along with the revelations, twists and turns that follow the epic conclusion to the series. 

The darkness stretches way beyond anyone could ever comprehend and not everyone will survive as Blake Malone stands at the forefront of what lies beyond the true darkness. 

Darke Apocalypse arrives this month!

How I Landed my 3rd BookBub Featured Deal

Even though I have always believed in myself, I’m always in a slight state of disbelief when good things actually happen or when something goes as planned. The imposter syndrome will always find a way to creep in but then sometimes good things just align at the exact time. You see, good things arrive exactly when they are supposed to, they are neither late nor early. They arrive always when they are supposed to.

Being a proprietor of never giving up has brought me the best of rewards as a writer and creative online. All of which I firmly believe have pulled together to help me secure the subject of this post; my third BookBub Featured Deal. Hailed as the Holy Grail of Book Promotions in some crowds and I would agree to an extent, the illusive selectors that reside within the inner workings of the original Book Promo site have always been kind to me, no matter how many times they have rejected my efforts, its the times when they say yes that remain memorable and this post is designed to lay out how I secured that third featured deal. It is broken down into headings that I feel relay the most important factors any author needs when trying to secure their own BookBub Featured Deal.

Consistency

At the heart of all of my efforts as a social media creator and author is consistency. You’ll find it everywhere I go from being ever present on Twitter and growing from 3,000 followers in 2020 to 35,000 very recently to the books I have steadily released over the years. 7 in roughly 6 years with numero 8 dropping in a matter of weeks, its even in the same series as Open Evening – perhaps destiny or just chance or simply because I have positioned myself with consistency this has happened. Even the practicality of bothering BookBub with my submissions for their featured deal is part of why I’ve been selected three times. Every month, pretty much like clockwork I apply for a featured deal with one or several of my books with the ever present hope they would say yes. No matter how many times they don’t, the rewards of what a deal involves are too high for me to forget that monthly ritual of throwing the dice or even the coin into the well.

Conduct

You can be a success on Twitter; a conversational platform without sharing hard pressed opinion or something that will insight passionate debate because they are the two things that I have avoided for nearly a decade. And that conduct of mine has propelled my efforts in all departments of my online creativity. From book sales and reviews where hardly any point towards my personal conduct – yes there are reviewers out there who will hold authors accountable for their opinions online, I navigate myself through the sometimes troll heavy, always-an-argument-about-to-explode waters of social media with ease, the same can be said for this blog. BookBub may or may not be watching but if your social media content and posting is one hot mess of opinion, clumsy arguing and full of stuff that not even the hardiest of publicist will touch with a several foot long barge pole, then you’ll probably fall at the first hurdle. First and foremost you are your brand, so if you chose to throw it around like the many anonymous troll types who treat their presence as an anonymous avatar or you simply don’t have a care for what you say online, anything you publish or create will suffer for it.

Duration

Open Evening is my eldest title. It has seen several changes since the initial release such as the odd edit of typo and all the things that come with being able to amend a book that is live and published – not much has changed within as I personally feel going back to edit a book that has been released for a while kind of cheats the reader out of capturing my writing and imagination at a certain time in my life. This book has been a journeyman work horse for me. It has headed up the most free promos and has simply been there for all the years I have been published. This stuff isn’t an instant success (being an indie author) and finding that success takes time. In that time Open Evening has found reviews that have pushed it towards that apparent golden number of 50 – again is this something BookBub take into account? For the most part I’d like to think so but my super hero comedy The Teleporter was accepted by them twice with less than 20 ratings. Be in this for the duration, release books over time, enjoy the process, learn from it, let it make you a better author and then even when you are several books beyond that release you can still enjoy its success no matter when it arrives.

Timing

Just days before this featured deal my 8th book will drop, a book that shares the same series as Open Evening and now a sure fire launch campaign. The truth is, I have been waiting, waiting for the right time to promote this series as the last in the series was going to launch softly with me then figuring out the marketing after. Timing has changed that and it couldn’t more on point.

Seriousness

Even back when this was just sort of a hobby, I always took it seriously. Like when I used to perform in amdram, yes its amateur drama but the audience are still real and the money they paid me was very real and earned by them so therefore my effort was real. Treating this like a business for most parts has pushed me further and further to make business decisions and treat this whole thing like that. Even with the freedom and creativity that is writing a book as an indie, I take that seriously also and give it the highest level of respect. Stephen King and James Patterson are often featured by BookBub and without boasting or at least trying to, so is Lee Hall because he considers himself a writer too.

Learn

I am always taking on new information to shape what’s next. Just how does one secure a BookBub featured deal? You can apply all of the above and still possibly be nowhere near or they might say yes tomorrow because this journey is one of self learning and discovery. I can guarantee you will find some level of success if you remain open to learning from what have and have not achieved. This post isn’t the usual guide many will be used to, but I’m having a philosophical moment and those guides are great and all but writer Lee Hall is in the building right now and it is my wiring that has got me to this point.

Your writing can take you far also. Don’t give up.

Open Evening will be Free to download a little later this month through BookBub’s featured deal. Watch this space for more!

You shall find some practical advice on how to secure your own BookBub Featured Deal below. Sign up to my Patreon to listen and access all of my best guides.

‘The Tolworth Beacon’ by Huw Langridge – Review

Intriguing British mystery with tension, atmosphere and code-breaking vibes…

There’s a lot going on in the life of ‘Chris Powell’. His marriage is strained and there’s an important royal visitor coming to the shop he manages in just a few days time. After a strange attempted burglary at a neighbour’s place the intrigue unfolds in what is a mystery filled ride where I found myself quickly turning pages.

After he mysteriously receives a radio frequency number, Powell realises he is on the path of deception and tension as he has to decipher what it means while finding out what is really going on. Is someone watching him from afar or is he paranoid? Questions arise as tension builds and eventually a very real threat emerges. For those who are interested in the subject of number stations and even code breaking will enjoy this interesting novel with a range of themes and heaps of atmosphere.

4 Stars – Reviews left via Goodreads and Amazon