I was so thrilled to win the SUMMER READING HAMPER and got a flood of newsletters and (what it feels like) billions of ebooks!
As a reader, I was thrilled! New books meant new series to discover! I will eventually continue on the buy the rest of the series. But I also discovered how discriminating I am when it comes to story.
As an author I learned a few things.
First, sending by Amazon gift is the most efficient way for the author and reader to get the book AND I can easily leave a review after reading the book on Amazon. Because my device and my Amazon account are not linked (I have a business account and personal account for Amazon) it was a little harder for me to get the book, but I got it to my favorite reading device─my phone.
Also, thank goodness for Amazon lending.
So sending the book by Amazon is easyier to get reviews after the person has gifted the book. Something I didn't think of before.
Second, sending by Bookfunnel is way easier and just as convenient once the app is installed. I actually liked this better than getting a gift book on Amazon because I could download it right to my phone and into my kindle app. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Third, sending the ebook by file was fine as I could just send the email to my kindle address and thus have it in my kindle app in minutes, but I don't like this form of transfering the book because I could send the file to anyone, or upload it with nefarious intentions.
Fourth, dear goodness the newsletters. Holy moly the newsletters. I am still unsubscribing en-mass. Many, many, many of the newsletters are beautifully crafted and have wonderful images and gorgeous branding─but there is no substance. I don't care about what you're doing, where you'll be or the food you eat. I don't know you. Give me some meat about yourself. Get to the point.
So many authors start with Hi... my name is <fill in the blank> and I write <genre> <tag line>.
If the tag line was cute, I read on. If the genre was something wild like GBLTQ I am on you like a hog in mud. But too many didn't have all that much interesting to say. There were no outstanding personalities. Nothing excited me in the newsletters, therefore, I unsubscribed. It just didn't feel like they wanted to get to know me. There were no "real" questions. Questions like I love peanut butter, do you? or like, Have you ever dated a guy ten years older than you? No? Why not?
I was looking for personality but everyone seemed so bland. I don't want to offend anyone and therefore I don't know what to say other than blah, blah, blah, boring.
So that was something I learned from. Personality needs to shine through in author newsletters. I also hate the word newsletter. Reader Group is better but if it's going to be a newsletter, it needs to look like a newsletter.
First, I have a DNF pile. Unfortunately, I can't power through books and I've never really been able to stick to stories that don't hold my attention. Normally, I like to only write about the worthwhile books, but I'm going to try and give an honest review of all the ones I've picked up, finished or not, because I feel I owe that to the author. They were hoping to get a review and I'll be doing the ones I remotely like here, and on Amazon. But the ones that I couldn't finish I'll only be reviewing here in detail.
So, first, let me show you the ones I was able to finish.
Icehaven by Kim Cresswell & M.K. Chester
This book reminded me of The Ice Era Chronicles so much!
We have a heroine with "superpowers" or "mutant powers" whatever the case may be along with other people having weird powers as a result of a horrible man-made natural experiment gone wrong.
I like The Ice Era Chronicles better because of the raw nature of the writing and that the nature made phenomenon instead of Icehaven's man-made problem reminding me that global warming is bad. It seems to me that ice ages are much, much worse.
The mutant powers in The Ice Era Chronicles are unique.
But enough comparing the two.
In the near future, after her father’s climate change experiment goes terribly wrong, twenty-two-year-old environmental studies student, August Madison, finds herself resurrected in a frozen wasteland. With most of the world’s population and food sources annihilated, depraved nomadic gangs patrol the lawless landscape as outlasters claw for survival. Even old friends become unrecognizable.Amid the chaos, Graysen Marx, iron-fisted leader of the domed settlement Liberty, emerges from the catastrophic event with his own agenda—collecting only those who exhibit unexplained abilities. When August crosses his path, he sees an opportunity he must exploit. She sees an evil she must destroy. In a treacherous new world where anyone could be a savior or savage, August discovers her true purpose. And only the strongest will survive.The Day after Tomorrow meets Mad Max, The Handmaid’s Tale and The Hunger Games in this enthralling post‑apocalyptic dystopian adventure with a paranormal twist.
I had no trouble reading to the end of the book, but I didn't love it.
It was a good story. I won't buy the next in the series because I couldn't fall in love with the characters. They felt bland. The story was a little bland, but I did keep reading. But, I just don't have any feeling about August or what's his name hero guy.
Graysen Marx had his own reasons for what he did, but I'm more interested in the protagonist being... (what's the word...) less "bad guy" and more, circumstances put him in a corner to do the things he did. Graysen turned out to be the "bad guy" protagonist but he set about the reason for the story, so in that way it was done well.
I am not discouraging anyone from reading this, I just like it more when I can see both sides of the coin and root for both. Heaven knows I have done the "bad guy" antagonist and it works for many, many stories, but I'm looking for something more along the lines of Inception or Girl on the Train that I can get emotional over the protagonists.
Legend: The Queenmaker series (Book 1) by Nicole Zoltack
She was only a maid... she was only a maid... she was only a maid...
There are only so many times I can take hearing the same thing over in a different way... and sometimes not even in a different way.
This IS NOT an action romance. That's a lot of what I like. Action. In Legend there is maybe 2% action. The rest is all drama. Drama is great when people are doing things (like in GoT). But this very deep POV went into emphasizing... she was only a maid.
Now, to me the cover says Fantasy Romance. Or Adventure Fantasy. But that's not exactly what I got.
Sixteen-year-old Alena longs for a world where peasants, servants, and nobles are all equal. Truly, that will never be possible until the day when she removes a sword from a stone and might have the chance to become queen... if she can rally those same peasants, servants, and nobles behind her.
Legend is a King Arthur retelling with Arthur as Alena, a maid who can possibly become so much more than she ever dreamed possible. Perfect for fans of The Mists of Avalon, The Selection, and Red Queen.
At the end, I was disappointed that I didn't get much of anyone doing anything. The action of it all was:
She almost got raped
She got reprimanded for not letting herself get raped and was punished with doing her job as a maid
She was punished by becoming a page to a squire
She pulled out a sword in a stone (nice Arthurian reference)
She had some hard times with nobles that didn't want a maid as queen
Deep POV is awesome. It helps me fall in love with the character, but if the POV has no action I get bored.
Absolutely beautiful cover though.
See, this is what's wrong with giveaways. You don't always reach your target audience and then because the book isn't what they want they leave bad reviews.
I will say this had some wonderful Arthurian themes and Robin Hood things going for it. What helped me finish the story was that it wasn't slow. But I kept waiting for things to happen and when I did get a glimpse it would died back down and... I'd wait, patiently.
But if DEEP POV is your thing, you will love this book!
Now, I did have four books I read. Well, technically I read two. The other two were ones I couldn't finish. Here's why:
As I mentioned... this is what's wrong with giveaways. Specificall, group giveaways. They target everyone and the books get into the hands of those that might not like their book and then, they get bad reviews. If you book can stand a few bad reviews, carry on. But get at least 100 reviews in your favor before spreading it out genre skipping.
Please also know I am a picky reader. I like a certain type of book. Anything else gets the boot. I'm not into NY Bestsellers because if you have 1k friends, you can get on the list. USA Today doesn't impress me because if you have the right political agenda, you can get on the list.
I know what I like and cookie cutter isn't it. But the author has to be good at their craft too. I've also read many formula books and am sick of those. But my reader expectation means it does have to hit some high and low notes to be satisfying for me. Meandering, long, insubstantial stories don't do it for me either.
So, as always, take my reviews/rant reviews with a grain of salt.
I like first person POV, and want middle ground deep POV. I want to love the characters and have action in my story. There needs to be point that doesn't hit me over the head and the ones I have to dig deep and thing about are the best.
Until next time...