I've just read - and reviewed - Geoffrey West's Sheer Fear.
Amazon Review - Read Here
A terrific book. For fans of crime fiction with a difference, read any one of Geoff's three Jack Lockwood books, of which Sheer Fear is the third, and you won't go too far wrong. He's around the Cauldron on Sunday.
Last week, I read After The Sucker Punch by Lorraine Devon Wilke. I have bored people stupid with my esteem for this book - I genuinely think that, with luck, it has the scope to go all the way to the top and make Lorraine famous. It is a beautiful piece of work.
Georgia Rose's A Single Step and Before The Dawn were consumed, both intricate, considered and beautifully written romances and lovely looking paperbacks for my shelf.
Gladys Quintal's Underserving, a tale of spousal abuse, which shocked me to the bone, with the darkest ending you will come across, was another notable read.
Many of you may know I am a big advocate of Terry Tyler's Kings and Queens, which is as good a novel as you will get - a wonderfully written, sweeping, combination of contemporary drama and updated historical fiction.
I have also recently read Billie Jones/Rebecca Raisin's Mexican Kimono, which has the funniest opening fifty pages of any book you will read in Indie
Great books. Great stories. Great fun. I've reviewed them all and given them 5*.
The authors are all my friends too, to a lesser or greater degree. It's the nature of the beast that is Indie, that we tend to become online friends with other authors and naturally feel like supporting them by reading their books.
My tactic is to read, consider, make notes and review. I don't just skim read (however I DO understand why people do skim read in the Kindle age).
It's a testament to how good self published authors have become that you don't get the complaints you used to about bad grammar, spellos, typos etc. They seem to have been wiped out - at least with the more experienced authors out there.
It seems that authors who don't invest won't sell books and will end up clogging up FB pages and twitter feeds until they get bored and disillusioned and go away. The market will become more efficient over time with this.
I tend to give a lot of 5* reviews because, quite frankly, I socialise with writers online and I don't need the fuss.
There are stories of harassment and threats and friendships-concluded-in-acrimony over reviews that you will not believe.
Not bothered about exact reciprocation either. For example, Geoff doesn't like my book The Night Porter and he was honest about it. He still gave me a respectable 3*. I can name two of the above list of authors who don't like at least one of my books, but they just didn't finish the book and it will never be spoken about again - the writer's version of the Elephant In The Room. I'm sure you have all come across it.
That's fine - it happens for many reasons, and, really, the only writer you should be trying to convince is yourself.
But hey, if you look at the actual wording next to the 5* box when you are writing a review on Amazon, it says, "I Love It".
And nowadays, reading, for me, is a two stage deal.
Either I dislike a book (as has happened fourteen times recently) and don't finish it, or I love it, (and in some cases, I love it enough to rave about it).
Yet, I won't 5* a bad book because my online friend has written it, nor will I 1* a bad book. Perhaps I should be nastier to bad books, but I don't need the fights in my life.
That story this week of the author Katherine Hale who confronted (stalked?) someone across America that she considered a hater, a blogger who one-starred her debut novel, was a salutary tale of obsession and revenge. Life's too short and these are only novels.
Apropos of nothing.
I am writing this because I would like to know what other people think? What are your thought processes? Do you demand exact reciprocation? Would you fall out with someone over a review of your work? Would you consider joining a bartering group?
My friend Terry Tyler has a slightly different approach to reviews, a blog well worth a read.