Why You Should Write An Honest Book Review

Book reviews are important

Author Annette Youngby Annette Young

Do you enjoy a riveting read? Do you love settling down with a good book and whiling away a few hours? If so, do you know just how important it is to write a book review once you have finished reading? Whether you loved it, hated it, or, are just plain indifferent, your views count. If you are not a writer, then you won’t have a full appreciation of the energy, dedication and drive that goes into writing a novel or, a non-fiction book. The author has to be totally committed to the end project, it’s a tough job even if the writers who go on to achieving their dreams of publication, love the written word.

In this digital age, there are now millions more books out there. That’s great from a reader’s perspective but it makes it tough for a good writer to progress up the rankings of those publishers such as Amazon or Smashwords. Many people think that a good book will always do well, but, it’s not the case. Even the most dedicated of readers cannot hope to trawl through the thousands of books in any particular genre. People always tend to look at the top of the list, and let’s be honest, how far do you think about scrolling down? You may be happy to read a book from an unknown author, but you may be more confident investing in a book by someone who is well-known and who has manged to transcend the ranks. The books that are lower down the rankings may be absolute gems, but it’s possible and likely, that the author doesn’t know how to market their book, doesn’t have the time to do so, or, does not have the funds for a professional marketing campaign.

This is where the book review comes in. Your opinion counts. It doesn’t matter if you are reading the book and really struggling to get into it, nor does it matter if you couldn’t care less if you ever see that author’s name again, you are entitled to explain your views and to help others make an informed decision about buying the book or not. The number of reviews are so important, they help the author to sell more books, they enable the author to promote their books more on certain sites because some won’t accept books with minimal or no reviews. Hence the importance of an honest book review by you.

I would always recommend an honest but  not cutting review. You may have seen some highly personal and derogatory comments by readers about an author’s books or worse, comments made directly about the author, there’s no need for that. If anything, it shows the reviewer up as being particularly unpleasant. But analysing why you liked or disliked a book can be useful for the author too.  Let’s say you read a book by a new author and enjoyed it, but, you noticed there were numerous spelling or grammatical mistakes, you can mention that in the review. For example; ‘ Great book but I did notice quite a few spelling mistakes which became a little distracting.’ If the writer has any professional pride, they will very quickly make some serious edits to the book before uploading it again ready for republishing. Perhaps you found the characters were not very realistic or the story-line just dragged on and on, you can make your point. It’s your opinion.

I hate giving bad reviews myself but I am always honest. I understand the hard work that has gone into writing a book so my reviews are never about making the author feel bad. I may say:

  • I did not feel a connection with the characters
  • I felt that their actions were unbelievable
  • The opening chapter was a bit weak but the book picked up the pace later
  • The ending was very obvious
  • The writing was repetitive in places
  • It was well-written but the story-line was not really engaging enough

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel a connection with other writers. I know how tough it is to work so hard on a project and then to have  a review that is more than a little upsetting. When I had my first books published, I lived in fear of a bad book review. My first ‘less than glowing review’ was extremely upsetting, I couldn’t believe how the reader could have failed to notice that I sweated blood and tears while writing it, but when I have compared that review to those received by other authors, I realised I got away lightly. Some people sadly enjoy the power of giving poor reviews, but honest ones would be welcomed by most authors.

You may think that most readers will leave reviews but I had a conversation with a friend recently who is an avid reader and she told me that she never comments on books if she doesn’t like them. I was horrified by this. A writer – whether the book was well-received or not – deserves to have some feedback. Out of courtesy, the book review should also be written in an honest but not unkind manner. A well-written book review is really useful for the author and as much as we all want readers to sing our praises and say we are the best writer in the world (or something like that) we know that writing is a craft and we never stop learning, so sometimes, a less than glowing review can be useful.

The main thing to remember is this:

  • If you liked the book – say so
  • If you would read more books by this author – then tell the world
  • If you didn’t like the book – say why
  • If you noticed any terrible mistakes – point them out

But do not, under any circumstances think it’s acceptable to vent a personal attack on the author.

A book review really is so important and it can make a huge difference to the book becoming popular and being found or, languishing way down at the bottom of the rankings. So you can see that your opinion really does count.


Life – Keith Richards’ Autobiography

By Stephen Marwell

Many of us loved ‘Life’. Co-written by writer and journalist James Fox, the book captures the natural story telling tendencies of the irrepressible rock and roller Keith Richards as he delivers anecdote after anecdote that defies belief and leaves you marvelling that the man is still standing let alone performing today. I found myself speculating what a movie based on the book would be like and then you start to realise that he has lived his life within or on the periphery of movies. In addition to the various documentaries on the Stones over the years there are a significant handful of films that either feature members of the stones, perhaps loosely influenced by their lifestyle at the time – such as ‘Performance’ – which featured both Mick Jagger and Richards as well as others that featured wives and girlfriends such as ‘Barbarella’ in the case of Anita Pallenberg.

The longevity of the man as a human being let alone as most iconic practitioner of rhythm guitar is truly impressive. It’s easy to make generalisations and exaggerations but when he himself says that everything that came after the early Stones in terms of rock and its illegitimate offspring was directly influenced by them you have to agree that he has a point. The two key things that the Stones did in the early days were a) go back to the roots of the Blues and completely deconstruct them in order to recreate them in London and b) fearlessly take the form forwards. You have to understand that at the time the purists, typically non-playing purists at that, did not mind young British musicians performing the sacred American music but they certainly did not expect to hear it taken forwards towards the upstart Rock and Roll that had any way become anaesthetised and commercial by then.

One of the most eagerly awaited and most complex and fascinating aspects of the book is of course the relationship with Jagger. In many ways there is perhaps less on this than you might imagine. What there is, is by turns both antagonistic and endearing and often both. Essentially, and inevitably, it is the classic sibling relationship of two brothers. Fight like hell for during the early and formative years. Live apart but in contact, and throughout undying and unquestionable love. I cannot imagine either of them not saving the other in the end but not before destroying their worlds.

Back to Richards, essentially a thoroughly decent chap. As he grows old, almost gracefully, the charm and mellifluousness shines through. If you are at all familiar with his music, and I cannot see how anyone really cannot be, then you have to be impressed by the longevity of the man. Decade after decade after decade, and the grooves are ingrained into our very psyches.

The book is very well written indeed. To take nothing away from Richards, he lived the life after all and probably recounted most of it, more or less, I am curious to know more about James Fox’s role as the below the line helper in the words department. But I guess we’ll never know, that’s the deal after all. It’s like asking who wrote what in all those great songs, you had to be there to really know. And this book is as close as most of us will ever get to the creative nexus.

Stephen blogs regularly about writing-related matters in this fast moving digital landscape on the key issues that matter to writers and and those interested in writing. Screen writing is a particular focus with regular tips and advice on story, character and plot matters. e-books and e-book readers are changing the way we consume and collect books and there is much to say about how this is changing our world. Thoughtful, comprehensive and always provocative and stimulating.

Read more on the [http://manifestobooks.com/blogs/ed]manifesto books blog.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Life—Keith-Richards-Autobiography&id=6468321] Life – Keith Richards’ Autobiography

Wondering What to Read Next? Read This for Seven Ingenious Sources for Book Recommendations

By Eliza Carter

If you’re feeling bereft having finished your book, it can be hard to know where to turn for advice on your next read. If your friends and family members are anything like mine, they’ll be keen to foist books on you that you must read – but it can be embarrassing to admit you hated the book that changed their life (The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho springs to mind), and aggrieving to realise how much valuable reading time you’ve lost wading through dross. Going it alone and simply stacking your trolley with whatever books are on Tesco’s 3 for 2 offer tends to yield similarly unsatisfying results. Here are a few suggestions for places to try for recommendations that will hit your literary spot.

1. Online tools There are a number of online tools for generating book recommendations. They generally don’t have a huge pool of books to draw from, and are quite limited in scope. Whichbook has a number of categories that allow you to set your reading preferences on certain scales: e.g. ‘Happy’ – ‘Sad’. It’s a bit simplistic, but its kind of fun to play with: I experimented with setting the preferences to maximise both ‘Disgusting’ and ‘Lots of sex’, and it yielded Filth – Irvine Welsh, and American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis, so I suppose it works after a fashion.

2. Book blogs These days the Internet is awash with book geeks blogging about their latest reads. Some are eclectic, based on an individual’s reading patterns, others are genre-specific. There are so many that it should be relatively easy to find kindred spirits, particularly if you’re into genre fiction.

3. Book reviews in the papers It sounds obvious, but reviews in the press can be a reliable source of recommendations. The best way to use papers is to find a publication or reviewer whose opinions you respect and check it regularly to see what’s getting hyped. Lots of review sections have twitter accounts (try @GuardianBooks) so you can get regular recommendations this way.

4. Major book awards For example The Costa Book awards, The Man Booker Prize, The Nobel prize for Literature. This can be good for picking up brilliant established authors. However, it’s best not to get too obsessive with this one – I had a friend who decided to work his way backwards chronologically reading a work by the Nobel prize-winner from each year. I’m not sure how far he got, but the prospect of ploughing through the lectures on Swedish medieval farming history by Carl Gustaf Verner von Heidenstam (Nobel Prize winner 1916) would be enough to send me running back to Richard and Judy’s book club.

5. Amazon.com recommendations Generally I find online store recommendations annoying, but if you do buy lots of books this way then they can be useful once they’ve been tweaked a bit. They are best for telling you the certain books that ‘everyone’ has read, and getting said book into your hands quicksharp – if you’re still cringing at the memory of being the only one at your book club meeting who hadn’t read Life of Pi.

6. Literary festivals and events To take your bookwormery to the next level, check out festivals and events showcasing upcoming and established authors’ work. Besides the big literary festivals Hay, Cheltenham and Edinburgh, there are numerous one-off events at bookshops that are sometimes free, and it’s fun to hear people read their work.

7. Local independent bookshops In my opinion there’s no substitute for heading to your local indie bookshop for a browse. Unlike in Tesco’s, the staff will be real enthusiasts and more than happy to help you out with some recommendations.

For your next read, you might like to try Honest Publishing, for fiction and non-fiction by unique writers neglected by the mainstream. http://www.honestpublishing.com/independent/books/

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Wondering-What-to-Read-Next?-Read-This-for-Seven-Ingenious-Sources-for-Book-Recommendations&id=6440800] Wondering What to Read Next? Read This for Seven Ingenious Sources for Book Recommendations

Image:© Fred Goldstein | Dreamstime.com

Book Review of “The Penny Pinchers Club”

By Laura Schroeder

The book entitled, “The Penny Pinchers Club” written by Sarah Strohmeyer was a surprising delight. I read it on my airline flights and it was an easy read. It was like having a conversation with your girlfriends or tuning in to the daily soap opera to see what happened since yesterday.

I bought the book because the title caught my eye. I’m always trying to find ways to make money stretch. I didn’t realize it was a novel. I thought it was a book on how to save money. It turned out to be something different, but there were a few tips given afterward at the end.

At first, I was disheartened because it seemed to be a story of another woman whose husband was leaving her. I stuck it through, though and was pleasantly surprised.

When the character believes that her husband is leaving her for another woman, a friend of hers convinces her to join the club that she belongs to. The rationale was that if the husband is leaving, she had better be able to support herself financially. As the character meets the others in the group, some humorous events occur. She even gets arrested for dumpster diving!

At first, it seems there are love triangles going on with the husband and his assistant, with the wife and an old boyfriend, with the characters in the club. It turns out that misunderstandings from found emails, conversations, etc. caused a bunch of worry for nothing. Luckily, there is a happy ending.

The lesson in the end is that communication is the key. Everyone needs to be open and up front from the beginning. When we try to cover our mistakes, it causes confusion and makes things worse than if we had just dealt with the situation in the first place.

The author did do some research about money saving tips so she could work it into the story. Along the way, the character and her husband did learn how to make better use of both their money and time so the family could become closer. A few websites were listed to learn more.

Some of the tips were to go shopping alone, shopping at yard sales, using power strips, storing batteries in the refrigerator and shopping in bulk at warehouse stores. Even for those who never thought money was an issue, life has a way of throwing change in the mix and we need to be prepared.

This was a delightful read and fun way to spend an afternoon over a snack.

Author, Laura Schroeder, has experienced life change first hand. As a young mother on welfare, she had to learn survival skills. She later returned to college and was a parole/probation agent. She now spends her time writing. To join an online community of care, visit her website at http://lauramschroeder.com To contact Laura, email at  [mailto:laura@lauramschroeder.com]laura@lauramschroeder.com.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Book-Review-of-The-Penny-Pinchers-Club&id=6361862] Book Review of “The Penny

3 Great Summer Reads

By Patricia Anne McGoldrick

Summer reads are always top on my list for vacation plans.

Sure, it is great to visit the heritage sites, travel to the shores of lake and ocean; but, there is something special about settling down in a comfortable spot with a cool drink and an interesting book.

Fiction writers have a knack for taking us to haunting locations, introducing us to memorable characters facing conflicts in the now and then. Authors, Susanna Kearsley and Rosamunde Pilcher have a particular talent for this.

Kearsley, takes the route of historical romance in The Winter Sea and The Rose Garden. From page one in her books, she invites the reader to journey with present-day characters who somehow have a connection to the past. No spoilers here but, if you like stories that have a time element to them, you will not be disappointed. You will, also, grasp the historical settings in myriad details included by Kearsley who was nominated for the 2009 RITA awards plus a more recent win of the 2010 Readers’ Choice Historical Fiction Award.

Both Kearsley books take the reader to British settings in the present and past. The Winter Sea delves into Scottish history in the Eighteenth Century with its political turmoil connecting to the present in Kearsley’s romantic fiction. In The Rose Garden, the American main character Eva is drawn to Cornwall for reasons explained in the story. The magic of Cornwall comes through in this novel, definitely a great respite on a rainy day!

My third recommendation is a novel from the 80s, award winning Rosamunde Pilcher’s book The Shell Seekers. This best-selling novel is, also, a captivating read from start to finish as it traces the story of Penelope Keeling and her family through 20th century decades of troubled war-time years, summer days at the beach, a Greek island, Scotland’s Edinburgh and Penelope’s own country cottage in a small British village.

Pilcher’s portrayal of Penelope’s youth, as an only child growing up with a talented artist father and loving beautiful mother are intertwined with segments of Penelope’s own marriage and lives of her grown up children. This novel has been translated into a movie version,starring Angela Lansbury; however, if you want to savour the whole story, read this book.

By the way, upon rereading The Shell Seekers, it has stood the test of time! You may even want to check out Rosamunde Pilcher’s other novels and short stories.

These works of fiction by Susanna Kearsley and Rosamunde Pilcher are definitely the type of books you want to add to your vacation supplies. They will provide a great get-a-way to be sure!

Patricia Anne McGoldrick is a poet, writer, and freelance reviewer.

Author website: http://www.patricia-anne-mcgoldrick.com/

Blog: http://pmpoetwriter.blogspot.com/

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?3-Great-Summer-Reads!&id=6314297] 3 Great Summer Reads!

And Thereby Hangs a Tale by Jeffrey Archer

By Prasoon Kumar

Telling short stories is something that comes naturally to Sir Jeffrey Archer. His entertaining, stylish and witty short stories are just the right showcase for his expertise of characterization as well as unexpected plot twists in the story. The book And Thereby Hangs a Tale gives you all the reasons to understand why Jeffrey Archer is one of the bestselling authors of the world. All the short stories collections produced by him so far have turned out to be among the top ten bestsellers.

Consistently Producing Bestsellers

His books have sold more than 210 million copies all over the world and these include A Twist in the Tale, Kane and Abel and Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less. His most recent novel titled Paths of Glory ruled the Sunday Times Bestseller list for more than two months. He himself appears to be very well satisfied with the youth of the country and says they read well and are not at all swayed by Television and Internet.

The Effort That Goes Into the Book
When new writers look towards him for advice, he says he puts in about 1000 hours of hard work to write just one book. He further says it’s essential to read a lot in order to become a better writer as great writing can only emerge from great reading. The author also says the Indians have great taste for stories, as they love stories which have beginning, middle and an end, and preferably, a twist in the tale also. Malgudi days is a perfect example of that, says Sir Jeffrey.

Based On His Own Experiences

There is a story in the latest collection about an Indian couple titled Caste-Off which touched Sir Jeffrey the most. It is about an inter-caste marriage and the consequences suffered by the couple due to the marriage. The collection reflects Sir Jeffrey’s own experiences in the last six years, the book contains 15 short stories, complete with wit, entertainment and of course, great punch lines.

Some Stories Will Be Relished More

The story Members Only is about the young man who tries hard to get into a prestigious Golf Club. It is a typical Archer book, therefore the language had to be solid and lucid at the same time. All the stories are so different, but the readers are likely to relish some stories such as “The Queen’s Birthday Telegram” and “The Undiplomatic Diplomat” more than the others. Some stories, however, are somewhat predictable but it only happens when you have read numerous such stories. These stories have been collected from all over the world and they come from as far as Germany, Italy, UK, France, and of course one from India.

The author Prasoon Kumar works for http://www.uRead.com which is the leading online bookstore that offers all the current and all time great titles at never before prices. Sir Jeffrey Archer has established himself as the top author in the short stories genre. His latest book available at http://www.uread.com/book/and-thereby-hangs-tale-jeffrey/9780330513685 at huge discounts shows us just that.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Prasoon_Kumar

Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black: A Most Supernatural Beckoning!

by Janet Lewison

Snow, ice and then a hint of fog. Boxing Day a time for keeping warm and feeding off festive calories whilst dozing and sipping mugs of tea. I have had Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black for several years and nearly read it but then passed over it for something less forbidding and dare I say, more overtly thrilling.
But the fog did it. And then a few pages in and Susan Hill made my fog seem puerile, a mere gesture in the creepy stakes. For her novel is like a cold hand on the back of your neck. It begins with a seeming collection of familiar conventions and then progressively undermines our complacency, our sense of smug orientation lost in the quicksands of Eel Marsh House. The sinister or ghostly becomes malignant and the malignancy breeds an atmosphere and behaviour more disturbing than we have ever met before. The dead are not just tragic, they want to destroy us in revenge for incidents we have had no part in, no control over at all. Time is collapsed. Everything waits for revenge.

The chapter entitled ‘Whistle and I’ll come to you’ is truly horrible. Inspired by M R James’ famous story of supernatural beckoning! The spirited loyal little dog Spider,companion to the immature hero, is lured onto the quicksand and nearly sucked under to a desperately upsetting death. And this emanates out of the most seeming innocent of dog loving gestures. The beckoning whistle. Such cruel, premeditated betrayal.
Yet the ending subverts even this chapter’s malignancy and horror. It is rather like those films whose credits are rolling, as we are climbing relieved out of our seats and heading for the sanctuary of the door when…the ‘thing’ we thought was safely cauterized returns. The return of the repressed sends us shattered in search of a very well lit room!
I felt glad to shut the book and shudder. The novel conveys an atmosphere as disturbing and insinuating as the opening of Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend where the unknown figures rowing on the Thames, are we come to realise, unlawfully and gainfully, hunting for the dead. Hill’s novel progressively alarms us for we come to realise that the woman in black is really hunting out our own fears, our own complacency as readers, as sofa companions to anyone who feels brave enough to confront the inexplicable with mere rationality.

Makes you appreciate Ovaltine!

I am Janet Lewison and live in Bolton United Kingdom where I run Tusitala English Tuition and an NLP inspired Confidence site, both with blogs, which seem to feed into each other at the moment. I love reading novels and poetry and my particular favourites at the moment are Denis Lehane, Mary Oliver and David Almond.
Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Susan-Hills-The-Woman-in-Black:-A-Most-Supernatural-Beckoning!&id=6266437] Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black: A Most Supernatural Beckoning!