“Are you kidding?” Book Reviews

4dce3343fd0ad1618bbfe2c22f43a293I know it’s inevitable. Every author gets their share of bad reviews. You know, those one-star postings and half-baked opinions of “chosen” readers, indicating that you, as an author, haven’t got a clue how to write a simple phase, how to plot a mystery, or create a believable story. Obviously, we can’t all be as talented as Agatha Christie, John Steinbeck or F. Scott Fitzgerald. We’re simply members of the Homo sapien writing tribe with more than our share of weaknesses, imperfections, and fragile reactions. Quite often, we find ourselves typing non-stop for days on end, allowing trapped emotions and caged creativity to escape in equal portions. We offer ourselves up to the world’s judgment, begging for acceptance—for someone to see the merit of our artistic efforts. But then it happens in an instant, even to the best of us. Critics and wannabe writers take careful aim, releasing venomous words, killing a novel purely for the pleasure of doing so.

I understand that not everyone appreciates the written word and the painstaking effort that goes into fully developing an idea. However, for an author, it’s tedious, time consuming work, and the act of writing can become an obsession in the art of perfection. Every word, scene and character on the page has value, and the ability to bring a story full circle can feel like a miraculous achievement at times. And yet, a single insult has the ability to take down not only an individual’s self-esteem but also their ability to write…at least for the time it takes to recover.

The solution to this madness? I’ve been told the most powerful action you can take to neutralize your brain’s wiring is to prove it wrong.  Your brain fears being cast out of the “qualified” author circle, so calm it by connecting to your personal tribes—family, friends, other struggling writers. See brain? I’m not being thrown to the dingos—I have love, talent and the ability to carry on. Once the brain calms down, you can use reason and logic to center yourself. You can also talk to authors who have drifted in the same boat, bordering on the brink of despair.

Writers, like myself, fall into two groups. Those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review and those who hide their reactions well. Usually, I fall into the second group, holding my breath and looking away until the shock value wears off. But when a new book is released, it becomes a balancing act between elation over great reviews and irrational anger for the vicious ones. Some of Stephen King’s latest novels received up to 500 one-star and two-star reviews on Amazon. Was this done out of spite for his success as an author or simply a way to demonstrate powerful opinions?

Book stores are packed with best sellers that have a lot of bad reviews. Prove it to yourself. Do this: Go to idreambooks.com, the “Rotten Tomatoes” of the book world. They aggregate book reviews from important critics like the New York Times and rank best selling books according to the percentage of good reviews they received. Notice anything? Almost all the best selling books have a significant number of bad reviews. Imagine that.

Now think about this. How much could bad reviews affect sales if they’re all best sellers? I’m not ignoring the aftermath of cruel intention—bad reviews are undesirable. But they’re not necessarily the deal-breakers you think they are. Well, that’s what I continue to tell myself anyway. And even more interesting…bad reviews can actually help sell books.

What do you think of a book that has nothing but five-star reviews? I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit suspicious. Just like restaurant reviews, if you see nothing but 5 stars, I’m thinking the author or restaurant owner got all his friends, family and associates to write the vast number of reviews, delving out glowing praise. In a twisted way, bad reviews give a book legitimacy because their very presence indicate that the good reviews must be genuine. Right?

Well, I have to admit that all this venting has helped a wee bit. The sting of the cursed one-star review has eased a bit, and I’m reminded that the toughest critics are often the worst writers. That’s why they criticize, don’t you think? So now it’s time to laugh, enjoy a glass of wine, and move on until the next zinger comes along, and then maybe I’ll have the commonsense to look away.

December 2017 Book Review Challenge

During the month of December, I agreed to participate in a book and review swapping experience within a Goodreads group, which definitely encouraged me to read more, especially when it came to new authors. As a result, here are the books I read and posted reviews for on Amazon.com and Goodreads, which you might or might not agree with:

36361882Let me start with SILENT JUSTICE by Brian Roberts. This high-energy book has an interesting, diabolical cast of characters and provides a great voice for the imagination of debut author, Brian Roberts. Crime and corruption run rampant and Lead Detective Robert Jenkins has his hands full in this action-packed novel set in the underbelly of South Central L.A., and no one appears to be safe or unaffected by the dealings of ungoverned gangs. The President needs to bring an end to all the violence or lose his shot at a second term in office. But no one can foresee the powder keg about to erupt and the aftermath that results. RATED 5 out of 5 STARS

35647170Next, THEIR GREEK KEY by Pamela Harstad. I love reading about complex romantic relationships that are destine to fail but don’t. This is a fun, compelling read with interesting characters and a well-thought out plot that pulled me in immediately. Will keep an eye out for more books by this talented author! RATED 5 out of 5 STARS

 

Then, THE CHAOS OF CHANGE by J.T. Riggen. Wow! Never thought I’d ever read a political thriller, 36136183as I hate worrying about gloom and doom and the future of this country, which many of us trouble over on a daily basis. But I have to admit, once I started ready this crazy amazing book, I couldn’t put it down. The plot is well thought out, the characters are complex and real, and the tension is racketed to a breaking point. The author obviously spent a great deal of time researching this story because it shows on every page and in every word. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an explosive story! RATED 5 out of 5 STARS

36466825On to THE FINAL REALITY by Stephen Martino. Usually I’m not a huge fan of doom’s day sci-fi stories, but I have to admit Martino captured my attention and held onto it in this intriguing, action-packed story – pitting good against evil with the future of the world at stake. I haven’t read the other books in this series but found the Final Reality easy to follow with its rotating points of view, complex characters, and stirring plot…and this Indiana Jones-like adventure is definitely strong enough to stand alone. RATED 5 out of 5 STARS

*I’m beginning to see a pattern here. (Happy face)

36398669GOOD DOING EVIL by Wilde Blue Sky. Although this spy/terrorist thriller is one of the shortest book I’ve ever read, it was none the less intriguing due to the fact that the main character is dull, insignificant and an extremely unlikely hero. His battle against the evil forces he contends with was entertaining and unexpected, keeping my interest from beginning to end. Kudos to the author! RATED 4 Stars out of 5

 

36152319Followed by BEHIND FRENEMY LINES by Cele Pedersen Smith. I was pulled into this story immediately and had a hard time putting it down. Galaxy and Lee were complex characters and proved intriguing in the area of romance and as mystery solving agents. There were some light moments and plenty of twists and turns in the cleverly conceived plot. I highly recommend Behind Frenemy Lines to anyone who loves action-packed romantic suspense and look forward to reading more books by this author. RATED 4 out of 5 STARS

35615310Finally, BUBBLEGUM by Sari Taurez. I’m a huge fan of unlikely heroines and complex evil villains that you love to hate and grow to respect, and Sari Taurez delivers them in a BIG way in this cleverly-crafted book. It’s jam-packed with interesting, diverse characters, and I found this novel unbelievably fun to read! It honestly kept me up all night with its twists and turns and high octane action. The cliff-hanging end was ingenuous and makes it possible for Taurez to continue her disturbing, spell-casting drama that readers are sure to enjoy. To sum it all up in a few words, this is a crazy over-the-top ride! RATED 4 out of 5 STARS

36215108I also promised to give THE RIP by Andy Ben a look-see this week and will report on my findings very soon!

Now that’s A LOT of reading!!

Kaylin

Blue Ink Starred Review!

SEVERED THREADS by Kaylin McFarrenSEVERED THREADS Cover Jpg

Creative Edge Publishing, 330 pages, (paperback) $12.95, 9781475186529 (Reviewed: February 2016)

STARRED REVIEW

A romantic adventure set in the exciting world of salvage diving, treasure hunters, and modern-day pirates, Severed Threads is an action-packed, crowd-pleasing page-turner.

Four years ago, Rachel Lyons’ father died in a mysterious diving accident, ending her love affair with the sea, as well as her love for her current flame, Chase Cohen, who was there when Sam Lyons died. Chase disappeared from Rachel’s life shortly thereafter, with no explanation. Since then, she has buried herself in a new corporate job and new life devoid of treasure hunting.

However, things are starting to get complicated. Rachel’s brother is in deep trouble with some dangerous people, and one of her father’s close friends needs a priceless Chinese artifact to end a deadly curse. In order to save the ones she loves, Rachel must team up with Chase to find the Heart of the Dragon and other promised riches. Their shaky partnership is thrown off balance by secrets, hidden motives, and unmistakable romantic tension.

McFarren expertly blends Chase and Rachel’s personal story with an exciting treasure hunting narrative punctuated by detailed diving knowledge. One moment Chase and Rachel are fending off sharks and discovering ancient treasure; in the next, their sizzling chemistry lights the pages on fire.

The plot develops quickly, while action, intrigue, sensual romance, and surprising twists and turns abound. The author’s descriptions of an underwater world are vivid and breathtaking, and a supernatural edge colors the search for legendary treasure. The main characters, Chase and Rachel, are wonderfully flawed and are surrounded by interesting and well-developed secondary characters that add depth to the story.

Severed Threads is an exciting and engaging read, simply perfect for fans of romantic suspense.

Also available as an ebook and audiobook.

RT Review for Banished Threads

  • BANISHED THREADS
  • Romantic Suspense
  • Kaylin McFarren
  • 4 stars
  • HOT

USReview Book Image

Readers will get quite a thrill from McFarren’s latest Threads novel! Chase and Rachel are back in this fast-paced romantic suspense, based in an art gallery in England. It’s full of family drama, stolen art, kidnapping and even more exciting sex between the globe-trotting couple. The story moves along at a brisk pace with plenty of peripheral characters to keep things interesting.

SUMMARY: Treasure hunters Rachel Lyons and Chase Cohen sail to London looking to secure her uncle’s blessing for their upcoming nuptials. Pregnant, Rachel is starting to have second thoughts about the future. Those doubts take a back seat when they arrive in England and priceless artwork is stolen from Rachel’s uncle’s art gallery. The drama skyrockets once her uncle’s granddaughter is kidnapped and Rachel and Chase are dragged into a dangerous, life-threatening quagmire. (CreativeEdgePublishing, Mar., 259 pp., $9.95)

Susan Roberts, Romantic Times Review Source

Book Reviewers Wanted

A lone figure stood in the estuary lookout nestled in the trees above the North Sea on the Holderness Coast, waiting with restless anticipation as Gwen Gallagher approached the cliff’s edge. A quick adjustment to the night- vision binoculars allowed the watcher a closer view of the twenty-eight-year-old secretary as she savored the last autumn sunset she would ever see. The crisp, cool air picked up speed, leaving her long black hair sailing like a ghostly pirate’s flag behind her. It lifted the hem of her black skirt slightly, exposing her white, shapely legs and black suede booties to the wintry elements. Her blue eyes sparkled as they swept across the landscape, appraising the beauty surrounding them. She raised her chin toward the darkening sky and smiled, obviously believing the note she had received, inviting her here, had come from her married lover.

As Gwen moved even closer to the edge, the watcher took a deep breath. All that remained between this ludicrous woman and the vividly blue ocean was two meters of solid rock. From the lookout vantage point, there was barely enough light to confirm that she was staring down at the tossing sands and churning water, mesmerized by the early evening breeze. All it would take was one push, and she would feel the rush of wind through her hair and see the crystal-blue sea one last time as she slammed headlong into the jagged rocks.

Interested in reading my latest release and providing your honest to goodness review? Much-anticipated Banished Threads  the third book in my Threads series, featuring treasure hunters and adventure seekers Rachel Lyons and Chase Cohen, will be coming to Amazon, B&N and independent book stores this spring (Creative Edge Publishing LLC, March 20, 2016). If you’d like to receive an advance copy, please let me know and I’ll try my best to accommodate the hosts of review sites willing to spread the word.

USReview Book Image

Book Summary: While vacationing at the Cumberforge Manor in Bellwood, England, Rachel and Chase attend an elegant dinner party hosted by her uncle, Paul Lyons, and his aristocratic wife, Sara. Before the evening ends, a priceless collection of Morris Graves’ paintings are stolen from her uncle’s popular gallery, throwing all suspicion onto his wife’s troubled granddaughter Sloan, and turning Rachel and Chase into crime-stopping sleuths. Determined to clear Sloan’s name and, in the process, win Paul’s favor, Chase scours the countryside looking for answers. In his absence, the police accuse Rachel’s uncle of an unsolved murder and secrets surrounding her grandmother’s death and the deaths of Sara’s former husbands turn his wife into the most likely suspect.

With the true villains hell-bent on destroying Paul and his family, solving both crimes while ensuring her uncle’s freedom not only endangers Rachel’s life but that of her unborn child. Will Chase save them before the kidnappers enact their revenge or will the ultimate price be paid, as predicted by a vagabond fortuneteller?

Read the book to find to out! Send your request for Banished Threads to Kaylin@kaylinmcfaren.com.

Thank you!