Category Archives: Reviews

Read and Review – How to Save an Author

If you read and love books you will appreciate the
time, energy, love, and passion that goes into writing a book.
This is how you can pay it back and forward…

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Add to that list angst, frustration, low financial reward, and you’ve got what it means to be an author. There’s plenty of love and passion, days of writing with your muse whispering in your ear and the true wonder of watching a story, an adventure, open up beneath your fingertips, but there are days and weeks when your muse goes AWOL, when your fingers bleed (figuratively), and you hate everything you write. Novel writing is not easy, but it is extremely rewarding.

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Raven says “Review…” © Lisa Shambrook

Writing a review can make all the difference. Reviews not only tell the author that their book has been purchased, read and enjoyed, but it tells others what they can expect, what there is to love about the book, and lots more. On top of that online reviews add to the visibility of a book (and an author). It is said, that once a book receives over 25 reviews on Amazon, Amazon will add your book to its ‘also bought’ and ‘you might like’ lists – thereby increasing your visibility. Once you receive over 50 reviews it is thought that Amazon will highlight, spotlight and include your book in newsletters. Of course, Amazon’s algorithm and marketing strategies change all the time, but the more reviews a book receives the more it helps the author.

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Books I’ve written and contributed to © Lisa Shambrook

It can take from between 6 months and 2 years (or more) to write a book, and the process is tough.  We write the first draft in which we hammer out words and we hope it’s a story that makes some kind of sense. Then we’ll go over said first draft revising and rewriting, in an attempt to find that sense we thought we had first time around. Then will come several further drafts of revising, reading, correcting, cutting huge chunks and adding others, and much more.

We will cry, we will laugh, we will love, and we will think all is lost.

We then do another round or two of revising and editing. Then our beloved beta readers will get the draft, the one that makes sense, to read through. They will return it with corrections, notes, errors they’ve found, and plot holes they’ve discovered, and they’ll tell you what they loved. The author will then bite their tongue, ‘til it probably bleeds, and try desperately not to take the critique personally while they, again, think, all is lost.

When they’ve picked themselves up, they will resume revisions, edits, line edits, and more until they send it to their editor, who will pick more holes that no one else noticed, and return it for further work. In the end the writer will, hopefully, have a polished manuscript ready for publication. It doesn’t matter if you’re being traditionally published or independently published at this point, we’ve been through the same things and now we will await cover art and formatting, or do it ourselves, and finally publish.

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Independent and Traditionally Published books – we all need reviews © Lisa Shambrook

It’s not over at that point either. Most authors market their own books, even those published by the Big Five. Those of us without outside help will market, advertise and publicise, even though authors are in general, introverts! And then we wait…

An eBook generally costs about the same as a cup of coffee, or a hot chocolate, yet it takes two minutes to make a coffee and about two years to write a book…Books are great value!

When sales come through we celebrate, even the pennies that come in are welcome and embraced!

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The difference between a book and a hot chocolate © Lisa Shambrook

This is where you, the reader, come in. If you buy the book, and you read it, and you love it, then the best way you can thank us for those months of hard work is to write a review. Let the world know that the book is out there, that you loved it, and why you loved it.

You don’t have to write much, literally, just a sentence or two is worth everything to an author. Just award your stars and say “I loved it!” That works. Or you can write a paragraph or an essay, it’s up to you!

Of course, we want truthful reviews, and we’re big girls and boys, we can handle that our book might not be your thing, feel free to say so, as long as you’re honest and not rude. Don’t be nasty about a book you didn’t like, not every book will suit every reader. And try to judge the book and not the author. On the other hand, we love it if you spread the word when you found a book delightful, or rewarding, or helpful, or fun, or inspirational… Tell everyone.

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I always leave reviews for the wonderful things I find on Etsy © Lisa Shambrook

You can leave reviews anywhere these days. Most people when planning to travel will check out Trip Advisor, a very valuable site for companies within the industry. It exists to help. Many will search reviews for technology, cars, movies, etc. We are a society who wants to know what we’re buying and if it’s worth it. I also sell on Etsy with Amaranth Alchemy, and reviews of my products help others to see what quality they are getting. I always check the reviews on Etsy and Ebay before buying anything. Books are the same.

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Amaranth Alchemy Etsy © Lisa Shambrook

You can leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, on Facebook, Twitter, your Blog, anywhere you wish. We share our opinions on politics, TV, and everything else on social media, why not tell people about that book you just read and loved?

I’ve just finished reading Stacy Bennett’s Quest of the Dreamwalker and have left a review on both Amazon and Goodreads. I have been completely enchanted by it and adore the writing. If that’s all I wrote the review would be worthwhile, however, I wrote more than that because I was completely bewtiched! Here’s my Review…

And I have to ask, if you’ve read and loved my books and you haven’t reviewed them, please do… You’ll make me very happy and will help me to further my writing career! ❤

Share your last favourite book with us here…
Why did you love it so much?

The Hope Within Novels and Review Quotes Lisa Shambrook

The Hope Within Novels and Review Quotes © Lisa Shambrook

The Slow Regard of Silent Things – My Love for Extraordinary Stories

Rarely does a book move me to the point that I truly don’t want it to end,
but this one touched me deeply.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things - My Love of Extraordinary Stories and Review - The Last Krystallos

This is a book that has divided its audience – much like Marmite – you will either love it or hate it, and it appears there is no middle ground. Patrick Rothfuss is a highly regarded fantasy author and his Kingkiller Chronicles ‘The Name of the Wind’ and ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’ are much loved, and his third book hugely anticipated. In between, he’s written ‘The Slow Regard of Silent Things’ and he was very nervous to release it.

auri-the-slow-regard-of-silent-things-patrick-rothfuss-the-last-krystallos-reviewIf you want a book with a story, with a beginning, middle and end – this is not the book for you. If you want to learn Auri’s back story, or any story, this is not where you’ll find it. But if you want a book that will make you feel, that will entrance you, that will make your emotions tingle with love, sadness, fear, anger, delight, beauty and so much more – this is your book.

This is a snippet of Auri’s life, just a few days, and you won’t learn where she comes from, or why, or how, or anything, except you’ll get a glimpse into the most evocative world, a world that doesn’t make sense, but makes all the sense in the world.

The book’s back blurb reads: ‘Deep below the University, there is a dark place. Few people know of it: a broken web of ancient passageways and abandoned rooms. A young woman lives there, tucked among the sprawling tunnels of the Underthing, snug in the heart of this forgotten place.’

auri-illustration-the-slow-regard-of-silent-things-patrick-rothfuss-the-last-krystallos-reviewThis story covers only a few days and leads you, twisting and turning, through Auri’s world. It is not a story, like I said, there really is no beginning or end, it just is.

Rothfuss warns readers right at the start not to read the book without reading ‘In The Name of The Wind’ and ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’, and explains that it’s unlike other books, so reader’s already know they are about to dip into something strange and surreal. Contrary to the author’s request, I have not yet read his prior books, but I will, because his writing has bewitched and enthralled me, and I want more.

Rothfuss writes both a foreward and an endnote to be sure that readers are aware of what this book contains – maybe some people need to understand that books are not always written for the mass market. Read what you love, this book is not trying to fool you under any guise. It is a thing of beauty, but that thing might not be your thing…though, it is mine!

I have seen this book slammed to pieces online, and quite simply if it’s not your thing that’s cool, but then as Rothfuss rightly points out in his endnote ‘This is a book for all the slightly broken people out there’ and if that’s not you, then move along – there are plenty of books written for you. This book was written for people like me. I have heard Auri described as whimsical and that her quirks are detrimental to mental health issues, believe me her pain is very present in this book and does not dull whatever she’s been through to find herself within the underthing.

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To love this book, like I did, you need empathy and you have to understand what it means to be full of ‘broken glass and burrs’… You have to know that an everyday item just might be ‘full of love and answers, so full she felt them spilling out at just the briefest touch.’ and you have to believe in wonder and moonlight. This is me, if it’s not you, try another book and let me relish mine.

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I felt my way through this book, and my emotions travelled Auri’s path with her. I recognised myself and related to her tendencies and to her joy and her pain.

oerfect-leaf-treasures-snippet-the-slow-regard-of-silent-things-patrick-rothfuss-the-last-krystallos-reviewMy own shelves are homage to my treasures, from scattered acorn cups to lost crystals, and missing buttons to ancient bottles of scent that can’t yet be parted with. So like Auri…

I feel the world about me, when it’s off kilter, so am I.

This vignette – Rothfuss’ words – is to me a moment, a delving into my own mind, a tale that encapsulates my own psyche and something that tells me that I’m not alone. It’s a testament to the beauty that lives within my soul and rises above the mundane.

This book put butterflies in my stomach, waves of anger in my head, falling tears on my cheek, and enveloped me in a blanket joy that hugged my heart.

This pretty much sums up this tale for me…sheer beauty for those who love the unusual and surreal.

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Copper Bookmark from Earth Balance Craft on Etsy

I have lost myself and found myself within Auri’s tale.

If you’ve read it, I’d love to know your opinion?

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You can find my review here…but it’s pretty much a smaller version of this post!

Do you love quirky, original stories, or ones with beginnings, middles and ends?

What do you think of books that polarise their readers?

Have you read another love or hate book, which one and what did you think?