From one Book Addict to Another- Book Reviews

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while has probably heard me mention I’m addicted to book. Here are a few I’ve read over the past few weeks that I’d like to share with you. I picked five from five different genres. I have read many more than these but it would make this post way too long and reveal just how addicted I am.

Historical Romance

Setting Two Hearts Free Book# 3 in Janet Grunst series is available for preorder. It releases November 6th. Reading the two previous books adds to the story. Those are A Heart Set Free and A Heart for Freedom.

I enjoyed my ARC copy of Setting Two Hearts Free it deals with rebuilding lives after traumas. Janet isn’t afraid to tackle the hard subjects. PTSD is not a new thing and Donald Duncan has to deal with it after returning home from the Revolutionary War. Well-researched, well-written, and very engaging. Once I read A Heart Set Free I’ve been a follower of this series. Buy link

Would their love survive the invisible wounds of war?

Donald Duncan joined the Patriot cause for noble reasons, battling the British while enduring deprivation and hardship on every side. The war has changed him, and now the battle is internal. Returning home to Virginia is in sight where a new life and his Mary wait for him.

Mary Stewart spends the war years with her family at Stewarts’ Green, helping them operate their ordinary. Daily, she prays for Donald’s safe return, eagerly waiting for him … until that day the evil side of war touches her.

Two hearts changed by a war that dragged on for six years. Two hearts left hurting and struggling to find the love and trust they once knew. Is there a path for them to rekindle what was lost; Setting Two Hearts Free?

 

Literary Fiction-Time Slip Genre

White by Denise Weimer book#1 of The Restoration Trilogy

This time-slip book uncovers a mystery in a family’s history. The author seamlessly takes us from modern time to the 1920s and back again.  I found this story both intriguing and educational. Denise takes the time to paint the setting and architecture of the restoration project in detail. There is no way a reader can’t feel like they are working alongside the preservationist. Can’t wait to read Book # 2 Buy link

In White: The Restoration Trilogy, Book One, as historic preservationist Jennifer and brooding bachelor Michael restore his ancestors’ historic doctor’s residence in a rural Georgia community, they uncover the 1920s-era prejudice and secrets that caused Michael’s branch to fall off the family tree. Jennifer is determined to fulfill her first professional position with integrity even if her employer lacks a proper appreciation of history. Far more challenging — and sinister — than the social landscape of Hermon are the strange accidents hinting that someone doesn’t want them on the Dunham property. Yet Michael’s and Jennifer’s pasts pose the biggest obstacles to laying a fresh foundation of family and community.

Time Travel Romance

I am a sucker for Time Travel stories and this one is unique. In Book 1 Cowboy Out of Time, a cowboy shows up in 1985 from 1885. He rescues Rose, the damsel who doesn’t know she’s in distress then they get engaged and disappear into time. I enjoyed their story and when the sequel came out I wanted to know where Hunt and Rose went. I wasn’t disappointed. The author has done a lot of research to make their rescue mission in Nazi-occupied France exciting. I love the author’s choice to break the rules a bit regarding what Time Travelers can and can not do. After all Time Travel is fictitious so why not make things more interesting by bending those rules. At times I thought the cowboy Hunt sounded a bit dumb. But he is a believable hero. Cowboys don’t back down from a fight. Rose manages to adjust to their plight and once the mission is complete they disappear into time again. Such a fun read. Buy link

Cowboy Ambushed in Time: A Time Travel Romance  Book 2 in the Rose Roamer Series by J. l Salter

Rose Roamer didn’t set out to become a time traveler. She and her brand new fiancé, Hunt Weston, just left 1985 south Alabama a moment ago. Now they’re huddled against a stone wall in a dark town somewhere else. Soon enough, they’re able to figure out their general location, but a lot depends on what year this is.

All Rose knows about Vector’s time travel assignments is that he’d sent a bewildered cowboy stranger 100 years into the future to save her life. In that process, they’d also fallen hopelessly in love. Now that they’re engaged, she assumes they are both being assigned to save somebody else — but who? Why? Where? And, importantly, when?

They’re about to realize how little they know about their new assignment from the mysterious Mr. Vector because he’s provided no explanations: just a torn poker card with a name, a place, and a date. Not much to go on when you zoom across time in the darkness.

A few things Rose knows for certain: it will be a lot different, quite difficult, and almost certainly dangerous. Something else on Rose’s troubled mind: who will they encounter in this different time and place?

Contemporary Second Chance Romance

I loved this realistic storyline of pain and restoration. There is a clear redemption message and we see the characters grow personally as well as being drawn together. Place the two troubled souls in a gossipy small town and you have a formula for a pot full of conflict. Well-developed and believable characters. I’ll be picking up the next book in the series when it comes out. Buy link

Matching Points (Driftwood Cover Series Book #1) by Nancy Farrier

Fresh out of prison, Asia Jessup wishes she could change her past and maybe her future. She has no family and no one to turn to, except for a newfound faith. She returns to the town where she spent a couple of idyllic summers to find the family she didn’t know she had. Her devastating secret won’t bring a joyful reunion. Will it destroy her last hope?

Ian Kittridge has his own thriving restaurant, is a respected business owner, and is active in his community. Thanks to a teenage Asia’s empathy one summer he’d been pulled back from the brink of ruining his life and ending up like his father-a murderer. He is working hard to eradicate the past and rise above the murmurs of “like father, like son.”

When Ian runs into Asia he can’t believe she’s returned to their coastal California town. Although he’s eager to reconnect, he isn’t looking for a serious relationship-he can’t take the chance of becoming his father. Asia can’t get close to Ian because of her shameful past and the sins of her mother and father. As Asia’s secrets quake the family she hoped to find, can she and Ian find their way through the storm, find a peaceful resolution, and look toward the future?

 

Christian Mystery and Suspense

This was a creative, fun read. I’m a fan of Leverage, a TV show about a group of con-artists who righted wrongs for the underdog. The Mischief Thief has the same mixture of intrigue and compassion. Most of the background was well-researched and the scenes were believable. The blood transfusion scene not so much. (I spent years working in a blood center which makes me a bit picky over details.) Despite that one scene I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. Watching Chaney change and Adam stretch beyond the boundaries of his comfort zone made this mystery so intriguing. Buy Link

The Mischief Thief (The Mosiac Collection) Rose and Thorne Book 1 by Johnnie Alexander

Two wrongs don’t make a right . . . except when they do.

For con artist Chaney Rose, life hasn’t been easy. In desperate need of cash, she readily agrees to find Mischief, a stolen racehorse. Hunting for clues, she breaks into the suspected horse thief’s home only to be caught—with a few pilfered items in her pockets—by the police detective who’s tailing her.

By-the-book Adam Thorne was fired from his church because of his father’s involvement with the valuable thoroughbred. In a burst of Les Miserables-inspired grace, Adam tells the detective that he gave Chaney the stolen items.

Adam wants Chaney to find his missing father. When Chaney learns that Mischief’s owner intends to kill the racehorse, she needs Adam’s help to expose the cruel plan before it’s too late.

Will a con artist with a conscience and a minister without a ministry risk imprisonment to do the wrong thing for the right reason?

What are some great books you’ve read recently? Please share and feed my addiction.

Great Summer Reads to add to your TBR pile

As always I’m feeding my reading addiction. Last week I mentioned closing books that were poorly written. Let me share some that kept me engaged from page one and did it all right IMHO. Here are a few new books I recommend you add to your TBR pile.

This first one is a historical romance set in WWI. I loved it because the author captured the cultural and historical time period so well. Loosely based on her own grandparents’ love story Patti Stockwell made Three Little Things feel oh so warm and inviting while at the same time giving the reader a realistic view of what wartime both at home and abroad was like.

Wartime Romance

Three Little Things  buy link 

One forbidden love. Two broken hearts. Three little things.

Hattie Waltz should forget the troubled neighbor leaving for boot camp in 1917. He forgot about her ages ago. It had always been the Waltzs verses the Kregers, his family pitted against hers. When she hands him a farewell gift, a chemistry lesson unfolds. The good kind.

Arno Kreger can’t leave Iowa or his old man fast enough. He’s eager to prove his worth on the battlefield and stop blaming himself for his brother’s death. Before entering the train, he bumps into Hattie. He’s loved her forever, always from the sidelines, because nobody crosses Hattie’s pa.

One innocent letter soon morphs into many. Arno and Hattie share three little secrets in each letter and grow closer together. But he’s on his way to a war across the ocean, and she’s still in her father’s house. Their newfound love will need to survive dangers on both fronts.

A Crime Suspense

Tom Threadgill is a new author to me. I had a chance to grab a ARC copy Collision of Lies and was totally engaged. The twists in the plot were so unique to any other crime suspense I have read in the past. I’m always impressed when a man can write a female character that doesn’t act and sound like a man. Maya is a clever, ambitious Hispanic female. I also appreciate that there is no swearing. Yep, a cop drama where the police are tough without tossing out unnecessary curse words. They still come across as tough guys.

Collision of Lies buy link

Three years ago, a collision between a fast-moving freight train and a school bus full of kids led to devastation and grief on an unimaginable scale. But a fresh clue leads San Antonio police detective Amara Alvarez to the unlikely conclusion that one of the children may still be alive. If she’s correct, everything law enforcement believes about the accident is a lie.

With time running out, Amara must convince others–and herself–that despite all evidence to the contrary, the boy lives. And she will do everything in her power to bring him home.

A fresh voice in suspense, Tom Threadgill will have you questioning everything as you fly through the pages of this enthralling story.

Novella Collection

Courting Calamity  buy link

My last recommendation is a historical romance novella collection Courting Calamity. Some novellas feel incomplete when you reach the end of the required word count. But not these four. There is so much realism and history in each story. And the focus of each is different.  They are in chronological order by time period spanning thirty years.

Lady and the Tramps by Jennifer Uhlarik has a lot of suspense as a Wells Fargo Agents helps a lovely woman who is the guardian of eight orphan children while he pursues the men who robbed the train. All the clues that were carefully laid out to get the reader to the end of the story are mixed with well-research historical accuracy. The epilogue is sigh worthy.

The Second Hand Bride of Polecat Creek by Kathleen Y’Barbo was a fun read. Again the story is historically accurate and full of interesting characters.  By the time Zeke and Lizzy get together the small town of Polecat Creek has warmed your heart.

The Bride of Basswood Hill by Gabrielle Meyer

The author decided to write the story of Alex, the one who didn’t get the girl, from The Tale of Two Hearts novella in the Of Rags to Riches novella collection. This is a marriage of convenience story matching a wealthy man with a poor Italian immigrant. Taking places in 1900 Minnesota the setting is beautiful and the characters are compelling. Add a few surprises twists and continuous page-turning is inevitable.

Echoes of the Heart by Amanda Barrett takes place in New York City in 1909. This is a tale of poor immigrant factory workers who find love in the midst of union riots and unbelievable circumstances. This is not your typical romantic setting. The twists in the plot are based on actual historical accounts while Aileen and Lorenzo are fictitious.  After reading the final word I had mixed emotions. I was happy for the couple but the historical events made me sad.

Heroes Needed for Four Damsels in Distress

Despite determination to be strong and independent, four women of bygone days are in need of a hero.
 
Lady and the Tramps by Jennifer Uhlarik
California, 1874
When outlaws steal a deed from Mattie Welling, her dreams for her eight orphan charges from New York City are dashed. Can Wells Fargo detective Jake Hickens be trusted to pick up the pieces?

The Secondhand Bride of Polecat Creek by Kathleen Y’Barbo
Texas, 1890
When Zeke Wyatt returns home to Polecat Creek intent on making good on his promise to marry his childhood sweetheart, he finds she’s run off in his absence, leaving her kid sister to care for her aging parents and the mercantile. Can Zeke finally settle down, or will he leave another sister with a broken heart?

The Bride of Basswood Hill by Gabrielle Meyer
Minnesota, 1900
When wealthy lumber baron, Charles Alexander, unexpectedly finds himself married to an Italian immigrant, Sofia Bellini, he must do all he can to protect her from the society she’s ill-prepared to navigate. But when he falls in love with his pretty bride, he will have to make a difficult choice: will he go through with the annulment they had planned?

Echoes of the Heart by Amanda Barratt
New York City, 1911
Irish immigrant Aileen O’Connor is willing to work to survive in the land of opportunity. But when her sister is accosted on the streets, she’s forced to accept the help of policeman Sean Doyle, a widower with a young son. When tragedy engulfs the city, will Sean and Aileen’s newfound love survive the raging flames?

My April Reads and a Giveaway

I love to read. What books have you read now that you stay at home?

Writers must read, it is part and partial of what helps us grow as authors. I love to read. More accurately I love escaping to other times and places. I have since I first learned to read. I want to share with you some of the books I’ve read so far in last month. I’m in the middle of my own writing projects so I don’t read as furiously as I like.  I enjoy a variety of genres. Each of these stories inspired me. The research was well-done and the story arcs solid. Things that writers need to see done, not just read about in craft books. These are fresh off the presses novels that I hope you’ll take a chance on. These authors write great stories.

Contemporary Romance/Suspense

Book Blurb of Within Golden Bands by Norma Gail:

Newly married Bonny MacDonell finds the transition from American college professor to Scottish sheep farmer’s wife more difficult than she expected. When her miracle pregnancy ends in a devastating miscarriage, she fears her husband’s reaction will hurt more than the loss of their child.

But Kieran never shows up at the hospital. When found, he is beaten and unconscious. The only memory of his attacker is the words, “Get off my land.” Reeling from the threat to her husband and the loss of their child, Bonny struggles to hold her marriage together. When faith in love is not enough, where do you turn? Buy link.

My Review: This book is so new you can’t write reviews on amazon yet.

I loved Land of Our Dreams, book #1 in the series. Within Golden Bands is even better. The first book brought Keiren and Bonnie together and you expect a happily ever after. But Within the Golden Bands from page one presents a myriad of trials that could break a marriage. Add to that someone is trying to destroy everything they love. The character’s reactions to the situations are so real. Norma Gail’s description of the Scottish settings and the splattering of Gaelic throughout drew me into the story in a deeper way. There is a faith thread that is unmistakable but not preachy. The action will have you turning pages well into the night. A great story.

Contemporary Romantic Suspense

Book Blurb of Traces by Denise Weimer:

Even if she evades The Eye, someone wants her silenced.

When a failed romance and a $500,000 prize lure Kate Carson into participating in the reality TV show, Traces, the least she expects is to pick her partner. After all, she’s the PR spokeswoman of the company that derived a thirteen-lens, rotating camera from military use and installed it atop Atlanta’s tallest skyscraper. But she never would have chosen to evade techno hunters for twenty days with “G.I. Joe.”

Stoic, ex-military Alex Mitchell is the sort of man she always vowed to avoid, while the shadows of Alex’s past cause him to spurn emotional involvement. When Kate’s insider knowledge makes her a target of someone more threatening than game show hunters, Alex offers her only hope to reveal the dark plans of proponents of The Eye. Buy link.

My review of Traces:

Denise Weiser has taken a what-if moment to create a wonderful love story and so much more. Putting two people together with nothing in common to compete in a Reality TV show is interesting enough. Add someone trying to kill them and you have a heart-pounding Suspense Romance that leaves you wondering just how much Big Brother is watching. Love the vulnerable characters and the inspirational thread that made me root for their happily ever after moment, even more. Denis Weimer delivers well-written stories with satisfying endings. I find myself thinking about the characters throughout the day anxiously waiting for a chance to rejoin them on their quest. Grab a copy.

Women’s Fiction

Book Blurb for Libby’s Cuppa of Joe by Rebecca Waters:

Sonja Parker is about to find out.

Excited to leave her stale life in the big city behind, Sonja takes the money her grandmother left her and purchases Libby’s Cuppa Joe, a thriving coffee shop in a small community in Wisconsin’s Door County. Sonja may have business sense, but is she ready to face the world on her own?

Sonja soon discovers owning a business requires more than offering a good cup of coffee. She must make major repairs to the building as well as major repairs to her heart. Do the former owners, Libby and Joe hold the answer? As Sonja seeks to make Libby’s Cuppa Joe a viable business, can she also find herself and the God she has abandoned?

Libby’s Cuppa Joe is a riveting tale of second chances, forgiveness, and not living on borrowed faith. Buy link.

 

My Review of Libby’s Cuppa of Joe

Sonja Parker is your sweet naive girl next door who buys a successful coffee shop in Door County. The story is told from her viewpoint and we watch her stumble about as she finds her brand for the business. She makes foolish mistakes and discovers her need for true faith. Sonja is bright but deals with the fear of failure. The community of shopkeepers and year-round residents help her find her way. Door County is a wonderful setting and the coffee shop makes the whole story more intimate. A fun inspiring read for lovers of Women’s fiction. I look forward to more from Rebecca Waters.

Book Blurb for Devyn’s Dilemma (Book two of the Thousand Island Gilded Age series) By Susan G. Mathis

Longing for love, can she escape the shadows that follow her to Dark Island?

1910, Thousand Islands, New York. Others may consider The Towers castle on Dark Island an enchanting summer retreat, but to Devyn McKenna, it’s a prison. Yet as she works as a maid for Frederick Bourne, former president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, her life blossoms under the kindness of his family and fascinating entrepreneurs such as J.P. Morgan, Thomas Lipton, and Captain Vanderbilt. But more than anything, the growing friendship of Mr. Bourne’s valet, Brice McBride, begins to pry away the painful layers that conceal Devyn’s heart.

Brice is drawn to the mysterious Devyn even though he’s certain she’s hiding a secret, one far more dangerous than the clues they find in The Towers that hint of a treasure on the island. When Devyn is accused of stealing Bourne’s investment in Vanderbilt’s New York City subway expansion, he might not be able to protect her. Buy link.

My review of Devyn’s Dilemma

I so enjoyed learning about The Thousand Islands through this sweet romance. The characters were well-developed and Devyn’s love interest Brice being Irish added to the story with his appropriate Irish sayings scattered throughout. Exploring the castle summer home of the Bourne’s, real life people from the early 20th Century, held my interest. The details regarding the secret passages showed how much research the author did to capture the setting. The dialog and attitude of the time were spot on. I cheered on Devlyn and Brice and booed the bad guys as the story unfolded. I will say although Devlyn had a guilty secret that haunted her, I thought she cried or held back tears way too much. That said, I loved all the characters, even the wicked ones and can’t wait for the next book in the series. Stories such as this set in Historical places have always perked my interest. Susan Mathers has done such an excellent job of sprinkling history and historical characters throughout the story that I learned all sorts of wonderful things about the time period. I will definitely be ordering the next book in this series when it comes out.

Before April is over I plan to finish a few more books on my to be read pile. What have you been reading since your confinement? I’m offering a $10 Amazon card to one lucky winner who posts what they are currently reading or their favorite genre. I will notify the winner next Monday.

 

 

 

Tips for Getting Endorsements and Why you need them

Endorsement cloud

By the time my first book was contracted, I had several endorsers willing to come on board. The same with my second novel.  Endorsements are an additional encouragement to readers that your book is well-written and worth reading.

Who should you ask for endorsements

Endorsements however lose value if it is your mother or any other family member. They need to be from other authors or people in the field you are writing about.  My second book has an endorsement from a women’s life coach, Darlene Larson. She helps wounded women begin afresh. My heroine Isabella is healing from an abusive marriage. Darlene’s endorsement was crucial.

I write for women, but I got male endorsements for both novels. That extra atta-girl from the male gender lets prospective readers know the storyline will appeal to men.

Where does one get endorsements?

I am going to assume you attend writers’ conferences, critique groups and other writing classes. You have found friends and kindred spirits in these places. I review lots of books for many authors as well.  I emailed a lot of these friends to get the half-dozen I have in each book. Many turned me down for various reasons: they were too busy at the moment or because of their affiliation with my publisher, they couldn’t.

Don’t be afraid to ask

It’s like getting published. If you never submit, you’ll never get a contract. If you never ask, you’ll never find yeses. The more you ask the more chances of getting more than one. Send out twenty or so requests, and if you get four you’re doing well. Be sure the twenty aren’t all best-selling strangers, but people you’ve spent time getting to know. Especially those who’ve read portions of your book or critiqued it. They will give you a glowing endorsement. Perhaps they can’t endorse but might be willing to do a review when it comes out. That’s golden.

Some authors ask busy people for endorsements by giving them three or four prewritten endorsements to choose from. I personally have never done this.  I won’t endorse something until I’ve read it. Prewritten endorsements are permissible in writing circles, if you can get more endorsers that way go for it. Some people want to read the synopsis and the back cover and then a bit of the book before they write an endorsement.

Be sure these are people who read your genre, have some credibility as an author or in their field of expertise before you ask them.

When do you ask?

As soon as you finish your book. You can tell them you’ll send a copy once it’s edited and you receive a contract. That way you can add who has agreed to endorse your book in the proposal. But after the contract is signed is also good.  You’ll have plenty of time before it is published to secure them. And your ARC copy will be available to send out once you get a yes.

Now, go forth and get endorsements.

Share what you do to get endorsements.

Don’t forget to subscribe to continue to get writing tips, author interviews and other writerly things

Cozy up with three of My Favorite New Releases

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you all know I am a verocious reader. As such I am on occasion given an ARC copy and asked to post a review. I am happy to do it. Recently I reviewed two new releases and Michelle Shocklee and Jennifer Lemont Leo are now on my favorite author list. The third book I read was a novella collection with one of my favorite novella authors Pegg Thomas. Below you’ find my reviews, the back cover blurb and a buy link.

The Widow of Rosehill

I received an Advanced Readers Copy of the Widow of Rosehill. I am under no obligation to give it a good review. Which made me feel comfortable checking it out. I loved the first book in the series The Planter’s Daughter. But I didn’t care for the secondary character of Natalie. She was spoiled and spineless. She is the main character in the Widow of Rosehill. Six years later with the Civil War just ended and her horrible husband dead Natalie has grown up a lot. Her focus is raising her son. Being informed by an official decree that the south has lost the war and her slaves are free was an awakening for this southern belle. I loved Natalie’s willingness to change, work alongside the slaves who decided to stay and help her. Enter an abolitionist Colonel and the sparks fly between Natalie and Levi. Each learning that the other is not the enemy. It was fun to envision the hero with a full beard. Very much in keeping with the era. Michelle Shocklee has a gift with words. And her historical accuracy brought the story to life. I stayed up too late reading it and the plot haunted my dreams until I finished it. I look forward to more books by this author.

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Widowed during the war, Natalie Ellis finds herself solely responsible for Rose Hill plantation. When Union troops arrive with a proclamation freeing the slaves, all seems lost. How can she run the plantation without slaves? In order to save her son’s inheritance she strikes a deal with the arrogant, albeit handsome, Colonel Maish. In exchange for use of her family s property, the army will provide workers to bring in her cotton crop. But as her admiration for the colonel grows, a shocking secret is uncovered. Can she trust him with her heart and her young, fatherless son?

Natalie Ellis is everything Colonel Levi Maish loathes: a Southern slave owner. When he and his men arrived in Texas with the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves still in bondage despite the war having ended, he feels little concern for the trail of plantation owners left in its wake without workers. But the plight of the beautiful Widow Ellis stirs to life his compassion and the heart he’d thought cold as stone after witnessing the carnage of war. While the army camps on her land, Levi finds himself contemplating a future with Natalie and Samuel. But when he learns where her husband perished during the war, he knows a life with Natalie is impossible. How could she ever forgive him for what he’d done in battle on the banks of the Bull Run?

Buy links:

 

Ain’t Misbehavin’ is the sequel to You’re the Cream in My Coffee. Sequels are not always easy to write, and they need to be every bit as good as the first one. I found Ain’t Misbehavin’ as engaging as the first book. I loved looking back to a by gone era. Jennifer Lemont Leo has sprinkled tidbits of culture, inventions and history throughout the story of Charlie Corrigan and Dot Rogers. We were introduced to them in You’re the Cream in My Coffee.

The characters struggle with their own versions of low self-esteem. Charlie was injured in World War I, feeling unworthy of any woman’s love.  Dot had a father who verbal abused her and she’s made some bad decisions leaving her convinced she is unworthy of true love. Many of the characters from the first book help frame Charlie and Dot’s story. Some giving great advice, others causing trouble. At one point I found myself saying “Oh no, Dot don’t do it.” When I’m talking to the characters then I’m totally hooked on the story.  The setting may be 1929 but the heart of the story is timeless.

I was given an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for my honest opinion. I can honestly say this well-written, well-researched novel is well-worth the reader’s time.

 

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In Jazz Age Chicago, Dot Rodgers sells hats at Marshall Field while struggling to get her singing career off the ground. Independent and feisty, she’s the life of the party. But underneath the glitter, she doesn’t believe she’s worth the love of a good man. Why would a strong, upstanding man want to build a future with a shallow, good-time girl like her?

Small-town businessman Charlie Corrigan carries scars from the Great War. After all he’s been through, he wants nothing more than to marry and start a family. But the woman he loves is a flamboyant flapper with no intention of settling down. She’s used to a more glamorous life than he can offer. As his fortunes climb with the stock market, it seems he’s finally going to win her love. But what happens when it all comes crashing down?

Buy link

Bouquet of Brides.

This novella collection spans from colonial times to the early 1900s. Every heroine has a flower name. Every hero has to win his flower. The backdrops of each story is very different. But the basic dilemma remains the same—finding love and declaring it amidst what appears to the characters to be insurmountable odds. Nice historical research and characters to root for.

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Meet seven American women who were named for various flowers but struggle to bloom where God planted them. Can love help them grow to their full potential?

Holly and Ivy by Mary Davis (1890, Washington State)
At Christmastime, Holly Harrison accompanies her impetuous younger sister on her trip across the country to be a mail-order bride. But even as she tries to persuade her sister that loving a stranger is foolhardy, Holly loses her own heart to a fellow traveler.

Periwinkle in the Park by Kathleen Kovach (1910, Colorado)
Periwinkle Winfield is a hiking guide helping to commission a national park. But a run-in with a mountain man who is determined to keep the government off his land may place her in great danger.

At Home with Daffodils by Paula Moldenhauer (1909, Oklahoma)
When her childhood sweetheart returns to town, will Dilly Douglas accept the worthy heart he offers, or will the old wound he opens keep them apart?

A Song for Rose by Suzanne Norquist (1882, Rockledge, Colorado)
Can Patrick O’Donnell, a tenor disillusioned by the performance industry, convince Rose Miller that that there is more to music than her dream of joining an opera company?

Beauty in a Tansy? by Donita K. Paul (1918, South Dakota)
Tansy Terrell was named after a weed. When she opens shop next door, Arthur Blake recognizes Tansy’s need to be valued as a beautiful flower but fails to see his own worth as a maker of instruments and music.

A Prickly Affair by Donna Schlachter (1885, Arizona)
A rough-and-tumble cowgirl, “Cactus” Lil Duncan longs for true love, but is afraid to let down her prickly exterior when a city slicker from New York City, with less-than-honorable intentions, tries to win her heart and her hand.

In Sheep’s Clothing by Pegg Thomas (1702, Connecticut)
Peter Maltby might be all good looks and charm, working in the new mill fulling wool, but Yarrow Fenn fears he is the Crown’s agent in disguise who will destroy the only livelihood she has.
Buy link

I obviously love Historical romance. But I do read in other genres. And I will be blogging about those in the future. If you’d love to read more reviews don’t forget to subscribe so you can receive each new post in your email.

Do’s and Don’t of Book Reviews

 

woman reading book

Write a review it takes only a few minutes.

I last posted a how-to article on submitting book reviews on Amazon. Today I thought I’d do a refresher on the concept of a review—specifically reviews on Amazon and other book sale sites. In these reviews, don’t think you must retell the story. The book ad has a blurb describing the content. So, our job as the reviewer is to express to potential readers what we liked or didn’t like about a book.

Our review can be as simple as one line.

“I could not put this book down.”

“I read it in one day.”

“Not my cup of tea.”

None of these one-liners mention the story’s content. But, it’s their honest review. A friend asks you, “Did you see such and such a movie?” Your response might be. “It was cool.” Now if you know this person and you have similar tastes you’ll go see it.

A book review needs a bit more information because many strangers will be reading your comments. Two of the one-liners above tell me the book kept the reader’s attention and the third it didn’t. Add a line or two telling why.

Describe what you loved about it. “I loved not figuring out who done it before it was revealed at the end of the book.” If I am looking for a mystery this is a comment that gets my interest.

“Not sappy. Strong female characters. Interesting twists. More than a simple romance.” I love a romance with more than two people making eyes at each other.  So, this review has my interest.

“I learned so much about life during the Civil War. Well-researched.” I like historicals that are fact filled. I’d consider reading this novel.

Some reviewers copy exact quotes from the book. That is so cool. Tells me the writer is a great wordsmith if the reader is captured by the words enough to quote them.

glasses on paper-2

What not to review

I read a review of a thriller that I found odd. “Too creepy.” She said. The reviewer added she didn’t like being scared. Not sure why she read a thriller when the whole point is to scare the reader at least a little.

Don’t bother to review a book you haven’t finished. If you do, admit you couldn’t finish it and say why.

Don’t review a book from genre you never read unless you loved it. It’s not fair to the writer. You can’t give an honest review of a genre you don’t like. There are specific ingredients that make up each genre. If you only like pie then cake may never satisfy you even if it has won a blue ribbon.

There are rare occasions when I’m asked to review a book way out of my wheelhouse. And if I am surprised that the content interested me, I mention that in the review. But often, I’ll suggest the author find someone who loves their genre to review it.

Please don’t review a book you have never read because your friend told you it was terrible and ask you to help get the word out. The flip side is true too. Don’t give a 5-star rating to a book your friend loved but you never read it. Honestly, I’ve meant people who are lemmings when it comes to reviews. This is not fair to prospective readers.

Longer reviews

There are those who write wonderful long reviews that compare the book to others in the genre or other titles the author has written. This is helpful to many who follow a specific author.  These longer reviews can often capture the attention of a new readers. If the review of an up and coming Romance novelist is compared to Nicholas Sparks or Debbie Macomber their fans will probably buy the book.

Be kind

But you don’t have to wax poet or long. Just be honest. While you’re at it, be kind. Snarky lines only give you grief. I did that only once. The feedback from the irate author and his fake friends (he wrote more criticisms of me under various names.) was not worth the time it took me to be snarky. We are not Sisko and Ebert getting big bucks to be brash, so keep your criticism mellow.

Misspelling and confusion

Be sure if you mention a character that you have the name right. Someone praised my heroine using the wrong name. It’s easy to do. We get involved in the story and then the names get jumbled in our heads later. Try to have no typos, especially the authors name. Yes, I’ve done that too. I’ve caught myself misspelling a name. Yay for the edit button.

Recap

Be honest.

Be clear.

Be kind.

Be accurate.

Don’t give a bad review for a genre you don’t read.

Don’t review a book you’ve never read.

Don’t retell the story.

Final thought

Please, please, please don’t give spoilers. As much as you want to, don’t tell me the twist details.  Save those comments for your book club.

What are you favorite kinds of reviews when you are considering buying a book?

If you’ve read Secrets & Charades I hope you’ve posted a review. If you haven’t read it yet check it out. There’s a buy link below.

secret-charades-front-cover

Jake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. When battlefield nightmares disturb his peace and his tomboy niece, Juliet, needs taming, somehow a mail-order bride seems like a logical solution.

Dr. Evangeline Olson has no idea her niece is writing to a rancher on her behalf, and she sure isn’t interested in abandoning her medical practice for a stranger. But when an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, she travels west to become Jake’s wife.

Jake soon realizes Evangeline is more than he bargained for, especially when her arrival causes a stir in the community. As the two try to find their way in a marriage of convenience, their fragile relationship is further tested by cattle rustling and kidnapping. Can their hearts overcome past hurts to create a real marriage

Click here to order

Connect with Cindy:

Facebook Author Page: https ://www.facebook.com/author.huff11/

Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/cindyervinhuff

Pinterest: yes

Google+:https://plus.google.com/u/0/117599590227912410637

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8029703-cindy-ervin-huff

Twitter: https:// twitter.com/CindyErvinHuff

How Do I Place A Review On Amazon?

As a new author I often asked those who purchase my novel to please post a review on Amazon. Many will say I don’t know how. And if they are like me they need a visual. This post is for all of us who need very specific instruction to complete a task. In this case post a review.

  1. Write your review in Word. Spell check it then save it. The save part is in case something happens after you write it and before you post it and you lose your review.
  2. Copy review.
  3. Go to amazon.com and type the title of the book you want to review in the search panel.    InkedSecrets Charades Cindy Ervin Huff 9781946016140 Amazon.com Books(1)_LI
  4. Click on the title so you are on the order page.
  5. Scroll to the review area. InkedSecrets Charades Cindy Ervin Huff 9781946016140 Amazon.com Books_LI
  6. Near the review stars you will see a write customer review button.
  7. Click write a customer review and paste your review in the box provided
  8. Choose star rating
  9. Add a snappy title and click submit button.
  10. Tell all your friends on FB that you posted a review.

Now you know. 😊 The next time someone asks you to do a review you can do so with confidence.

Where is your favorite place to post reviews?

Hey, if you’ve read Secrets & Charades and haven’t posted a review please do. If you haven’t read it yet here is the link.secret-charades-front-cover

 

 

 

Six Tips to Keep Your Reviews on Amazon

reading-booksHave you had a review pulled from Amazon and wondered why? I mean grandma should be allowed to give a review. Let me share the rules Amazon has that could get your review pulled and a few tips to help writers inform their reviewers.

  1. No reviewers can use associate links. These are links to your blog, website or publisher’s page. That is considered compensation. If someone checks out your site and buys your books, then you got paid for doing a review. Don’t use Amazon book reviews to promote your own books or other products.

 

  1. Reviewers must have purchased $50 or more in products from Amazon to post any kind of review. (Amazon is a business. This is their way of ensuring you’re not just posting a review for a friend or are a paid reviewer.) Might be wise to ask your reviewers if they do business with Amazon to avoid their review being pulled.

 

  1. You can receive an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) for review. However, near the end of your review, you must mention it’s an ARC and you were given no compensation for your unbiased, honest review. Never use the word FREE. A free copy denotes payment.

Let’s recap.

Encourage your reviewers not to add links. They must be customers of Amazon. And carefully word a reference to receiving an ARC copy without using the word free.

Consider this

  1. What email address are they using? If George, Mary and Junior Jones use the same email or same Amazon account, those will be deleted. This appears as if the same person posted multiple reviews.

No influencing allowed

  1. Don’t expect your chosen reviewers to give you a 5-star rating. That’s called influence. Influencing their opinion in any way is forbidden. Asking them to please post a review if they enjoyed your book is fine. Someone can enjoy your book and still give it a 3-star rating for formatting issues or cover design for example.

 

No duplicating

  1. Be sure the reviewer uses their own words. Don’t provide a template. Also, too many “I liked it” or “It was good” with 5 stars rating sounds fake. Coaching them to mention what they like about your book will help them write something unique.

“The setting was breathtaking.”

“I learn so much about myself.”

The reviews don’t have to be long or fancy—just truthful.

 

Final thoughts about content.

Encourage your reviewers to double check their wording and their star reviews. Leaving out words can make the review sound odd. Misspelled words are not good. Ten dollar words are even worse. No one will understand if the reviewer truly enjoyed your book. Their verbiage might disguise their true feelings. I looked up some unfamiliar words I found in a review of a book I was considering. They weren’t flattering. Another important tip: sometimes the star rating function doesn’t end where you want it. A friend of mine had an awesome review of her book, but it had a 1-star rating. Check and double check before posting.

 

10 Tips for writing book reviews and how it hones your writing craft

These are some of the books I've reviews in 2014. I have many more on my Kindle.

These are some of the books I’ve reviews in 2014. I have many more on my Kindle.

I began writing book reviews first because I love books and second because I wanted to help other authors promote their books. In the small secret place in my heart where true motives lie, I hope others would return the favor for my future books. In the process of writing 100 reviews I discovered it hones lots of writing tools writers use often.

Writing book reviews helps improve your writing overall and can help improve queries and proposals. If you want to try your hand at reviews whether for a paying market or retail sale sites such as Amazon or websites like Goodreads I hope you find value in these tips.

Tip # 1 When writing a novel review don’t give a spoiler. Whether you loved the book or hated it don’t give away the end. Don’t reveal who done it or the dramatic plot twist. This isn’t fair to the author or future readers.

Tip # 2 A review is not a book report. You don’t have to take paragraphs to retell the story in your own words. A brief sentence or two about the plot is fine. Your goal is sharing your take on the work as a whole. Retelling the whole story before adding your opinion makes it overly long and may cause readers to skip or skim it. Publishers don’t take the time to read overlong query letters either.

Tip# 3 A book review is a great way to practice writing tight. Try to give your review using the least amount of words to make your point. Flowery adjective can distract. Hundred dollar words that require a dictionary (unless this is an academic book for an academic audience) are also not recommended. Keep it simple but intriguing. Publishers want plot summaries for your book in various lengths to use for marketing. Writing other people’s novel summaries gives you good practice.

Tip # 4 Point out what you like about the story, how it spoke to you. As a writer I notice clever phrasing and creative use of time and place. As a reader I notice if I am drawn into the story or not moved by their dilemma. Tell the reader if you related to the hero or whether the setting was well-written. Publisher’s want to know how you feel audiences will relate to your book.

Tip # 5 If you didn’t care for the book be gracious. There are some authors who will be so offended by a bad review they will continue to argue with you in the comments. Being snarky may be fun but it creates nothing but bad feelings. Trust me, season your criticism with the salt of grace.

Tip # 6 Non-fiction reviews need to speak to the theme of the book and its value to the reader. Why was the devotional encouraging? How is it different? Why would you recommend it? Is the subject matter in a dog training book different or the same as those already in publication? The ability to compare and contrast is needed when writing a book proposal. The publisher wants to know how your book compares to others in the same genre. How is your subject matter different?

Tip # 7 On Amazon your review appears at the point of sale. So you don’t have to mention the name of the book and author in the first sentence of your review. The author’s blurb is handy too so you can focus on your opinion of the work rather than rehashing the story line.

Tip # 8 Use a catchy title to draw attention. Writing attention-grabbing titles is another great thing to add to a writer’s toolbox. A catchy title is the key to draw readers to your articles and blog posts/

Tip # 9 Magazines and e-zines have specific format that need to be followed. Look through your favorite periodicals. There is usual a book review section. Read the reviews for style and above all read the guidelines. Most of these reviews require the basics: book title, publisher and author information in the first few sentences. Send a query explaining the slant of your review and why you are a good fit to write it. For example if you are a baseball coach reviewing a book about coaching little league would be a good fit.

Having some knowledge of a field gives you the opportunity to write a book review for a specific audience. If you are an expert in fishing let’s say. You can approach Field and Stream about doing a review on some new fishing book. Or even a classic you feel has value. If you are not an expert but have an interest in the subject matter you can still do a review. Your book propels will need to tell the publisher why you are qualified to write your non-fiction book.

Tip # 10 Take your time and approach your review whether paid or unpaid like any other article. Be sure there are no typos or grammar errors. Present your best work. A publisher may see your review and it might open doors for future work so be sure it’s your best.

Do you have any tips about writing reviews or questions for me comment below.   One of my commenters will receive a $10 amazon gift e-card.