That universal existential struggle for book reviews has a culture within that I aspire to change. Not by activism or even force – I grew out of shouting about things in my twenties but it appears most authors shine their light forwards into the murk without realising what they could carry on their backs to aid that journey.
I’ve blogged recently about ‘Changing the Culture’ and that Culture simply put is fostered by an indirect unawareness many authors have when it comes to giving out reviews. While many get too caught up trying to get reviews there aren’t enough authors that realise giving them will eventually provide reward to their own efforts. To be successful in any industry you have to give and contribute towards it so the next time you feel that struggle for reviews, ask yourself when was the last time I contributed? Me – I base my whole presence as an author on supporting others and specifically reviewing their work is an effective way to show that.
I’m pretty sure if every indie author reviewed 5 or so books a year, that universal existential struggle would be filled in part. It’s commonly known by authors that many readers just don’t think to leave a review of a book and it can be so frustrating. These regular folk are never ever going to know how important reviews are to us creators, especially indies. So my thinking is maybe the creators need to do something about it. You can sing from the hills for readers to leave a review but they just won’t hear, so that song needs to be concentrated towards the writing community – people who know and supposedly love books should be putting in way more energy to supporting them and not just their own. As I said this isn’t an attempt at activism or even my version of being controversial, it just baffles me seeing authors complain when they haven’t reviewed someone else’s work and then wonder why nobody is reviewing theirs.
My up coming self help book is going to carry that message – leaving reviews for other authors works is the best way you can grow your presence online and come across as genuine to the point where it will market you and marketing yourself is way more important than marketing just one book. That whole change the culture thing is just one of the many themes I look to carry with this guide book while more importantly helping those in the arena. You’ll hear much more about it soon. This blog and my authoring career took a huge turn when I started reviewing books regularly back in 2018 and I haven’t looked back since. Views, follows, book sales and of course reviews have all increased since then.
So writers, many books have you reviewed recently?
A tip of the cap to fellow author and blogger S.D McKinley for this wonderful review of ‘Darke Awakening’.
Be sure to head on over to his blog and give it a follow!
I read the first book in this series titled Open Evening and I can tell you that this writer ( Hall ) has evolved. Toward the beginning of the book, with the rocks and the lake, it reminded me of lofty, floaty feelings I got when reading Storm Constantine’s The Ghosts of Blood and Innocence […]
A breezy paranormal romance with a young adult edge…
For a short book Sarah Jayne Harry has managed to deliver a satisfying story with a range of themes with an easy to read writing style. There’s a young adult vibe from the very start as ‘Charlotte’; a paranormal sceptic is dared to spend the night in an abandoned manor house. It’s spooky and descriptive from sight to smell and we even get a harrowing backstory of the place – some elements of this book do go to dark places and this is mentioned beforehand but only for a short while and it’s not exploitative but necessary for plot and eventual resolve. On this night our main character and narrator comes across ‘Lewis’ a ghost which she befriends. This friendship in turn becomes something more.
We also see ‘Charlotte’s’ home life where her over protective and abusive Father casts a shadow over everything while the pressure of succeeding in school is ever present. There are other characters in this story, even if they are smaller parts they contribute to the wider picture. Soon this picture culminates with a choice or suggestion that ‘Lewis’ makes and an ending perfect for the genre. I would have liked to of seen perhaps a little more between ‘Lewis’ and ‘Charlotte’ but for a short read which most will complete in one sitting, it makes for a perfect spooky season experience.
An original techno-psychological thriller that captures the essence and surrealism of dreams with a sinister edge…
In the not too far future ‘Edward Morrison’ is a computer programming prodigy with a million dollar corporation behind him. His main objective in life is to create and complete a ‘dream machine’ prototype that looks to replicate REM sleep conditions while also providing a virtual reality that cannot be distinguished from the real world. And what exactly is real and just a dream? Well that’s the partial genius readers face in this story as the lines become blurred capturing the surreal element of what our dreams can be.
While Edward is determined and engrossed in the work he also carries a complex childhood trauma that plagues his nightmares throughout the story, hence the connection between him and the dream concept. He’s a reclusive type and initially helped only by ‘Athena’ who eventually serves as something with too much control and power which becomes a threat – like the technology in this story, it’s created with the best intentions but humans have a tendency to foster the worst outcomes. Control seems to be the metaphor that holds everything together here.
In the latter stages there were a few moments that felt a little hard to follow as the concept of what was a dream and what wasn’t played out. While readers will need to pay close attention at this point it also heightened the psychological sense of what was going through the MC’s mind. The writing style is descriptive and easy to follow with chapters that are well paced.
The concept of connection through the unconscious as mentioned by Andrew Palmer in the acknowledgment brings a twist and satisfying resolve via the estranged ‘Cura’ who serves as an important character throughout. Dreams and the human mind make for a fascinating subject which is put beside the perhaps danger of technology making this story an interesting and imaginative read.
A feel-good swashbuckling fairy tale style romance of the seven seas…
The Pirate Captain is an easy to read short but fun tale that follows the journey of young lady ‘Avalee’ who escapes her abusive confines and empty promises made to her for an education. From the first page we get a lot of information that helps set the scene as her life transitions from that confinement to escape and the terror of being on the run to an eventual destination; that being a stowaway on an infamous Pirate’s ship.
After some quick thinking our heroine disguises herself to fit in and talks her way into joining the crew of this vessel. She changes her name and spends her days adjusting to the life of a pirate in sometimes amusing and possibly disastrous ways that almost reveal her true identity. All the time ‘Lee’s’ journey unfolds a slow burning admiration for the ship’s captain begins to form into something more.
The strength of this story is the slow build towards an eventual romance which runs the course of an enjoyable tale where the worst of situations in life bring the best possible outcomes. Nearer the end it get’s a little steamy making this one probably better suited for a more mature audience. My only real critique is that the story does tend to tell as opposed to show but for a shorter book that works.
Breezy, thrilling and gripping science fiction set in a visionary world…
For a novella less than 100 pages long B.W. Cole sure makes every word count with unique world building and a story that’ll keep readers turning pages until the very end.
Set in a future of space settlements and uber control; from colour coded uniforms that reflect status to droids who seemingly run the show, there’s a familiar cinematic sense this wider and visionary setting brings which throws together two characters; ‘Sola’ and ‘Kit’ who find themselves far removed from where they started. Both of them have to deal with the implications of their past which now effect their present; that is while being residents of a remote moon with a potentially horrific secret. It’s psychological and feels a little claustrophobic like there is no escape which heightens the tension that eventually presents itself.
“As she swiped the torch along the walls, she went cold. Claw marks tore at the walls. Some so deep they pierced the metal…”
Just how they got these characters got there and what lurks beneath? Will they ever get out of there? You’ll find all of that out in what is a breezy atmospheric read that merges description and an ensemble cast of characters very well especially for a shorter read.
5 Stars – Very enjoyable. Thank you to Distant Shore Publishing for reaching out and for providing a copy of this book in exchange for a reviewvia Goodreads and Amazon.
A tale that walks the fine line between survival and madness through solitude…
Young author J.P. Biddlecome tells a story through the eyes of sole character and teen ‘Mark Poe’ in what reads like a diary style account of exploration. It pulls you in quickly and then comes the realisation that he’s lost. ‘Mark’ has been turned around in the Oregon forest and so survival along with trying to keep things together becomes the priority.
The setting is wonderfully described and literally feels as if its closing in. This is written by someone who knows the setting well and so combining that with the urgency to survive comes the real story. From the need to build a fire to quickly diminishing food rations, staying warm and even Coyotes, our narrator faces many different challenges that all centre around survival and in the end he see’s it as a sort of game.
This solitary feeling coupled with a slow burn madness ‘Mark’ experiences makes for a readable and mostly enjoyable read. There are some moments where the narration style comes across as repetitive; ‘I did this’ and ‘I did that’ and similar phrases do appear often and this is something that could have been executed with a little more variety. Being able to show a reader as opposed to telling them is limited in this setting because of the solitary feeling but still it kept my attention throughout and made for an interesting read. For those who enjoy a shorter reads about survival in a wonderfully described setting will find this book well worth a look.
Original, eloquently written and thrilling. A tale of deception that reads like a spy thriller but carries a much deeper meaning…
Momus Najmi has written a thrilling story with an original and eloquent narration style where main character ‘Johann Blakemore’ candidly confides in the reader on a journey to lift the lid on his rich father’s sinister past. This high society world is introduced with a stylish combination of pessimism and humour through the eyes of a character that knows something isn’t right. Just how did his father earn such a wealth?
Even being in line to the throne of big business and lots of money doesn’t particularity interest ‘Johann’ and especially if the source of it may have a sinister origin, neither does the prospect of being arranged to marry, even if he’s indifferent about it – a conflict he must face time and time again throughout the journey of twists and discovery. Just who is on ‘Johann’s’ side? That is something even he will have to think twice about in a book that reads like a spy thriller and then eventually becomes a spy thriller and it’s a fun thought provoking one at that.
The author has put in much effort to explore so many moral subjects throughout but in light doses. From politics, business, charity, freedom of choice, greed, wealth to even our wider purpose in life there are some thought provoking moments while the story gradually builds towards a satisfying finish. We see unexpected twists, turns and eventually answers in the form of surprising revelations for our main character.
From this beginning I could tell this book was unique gem of a read and not once did it feel like a chore to turn the pages, quickly I might add. This is definitely a read I would recommend for anyone looking to take on something original, thrilling and thought provoking.
5 Stars – A cracking read that kept me interested all the way through. Reviews left via Goodreads and Amazon.