This is a guest post by Linda Cartwright. You may remember her from her recent post, Self-Publishing Basics. Linda is an author and a freelance writer with a background in education. She lives in Seattle, teaches creative writing classes online and supports e-learning initiatives. Her darkest secret is that writing is only her second favorite […]
Looking for that perfect gift for the lady in your life?
Mary Rose Tudor was the little sister of King Henry VIII. He’s supposed to have loved her. But he still married her off to the old invalid King Louis XII. Find out what she did then…
‘A very readable account of a fascinating woman who dared to stand up to Henry VIII and survived. It is thoroughly researched, admirably written and the author’s love of the Tudor period shines through.’REVIEW FROM HISTORICAL NOVELS REVIEW
One NOT about any of the six wives! Henry had plenty of other relatives. Or he did. Until his shaky right to the crown, persuaded him to execute them.
What must it have been like to be the little sister of infamous, English king, Henry VIII?
Remember, this is the king who went on to have six wives. Two of whom he had beheaded.
The teenage Mary Rose is his favourite sister. He even named his famous ship after her. But he still pushed her into a hateful state marriage with ancient King Louis XII of France.
However, a reluctant Mary Rose, is as strong-willed as Henry. She’s also passionately in love, for the first time.
So before she agrees to the match, Mary Rose extracts a promise from Henry. A promise she is determined he will keep.
‘Very easy to read, very hard to put down. This made Mary Tudor so accessible and relateable.’ READER REVIEW
‘Thoroughly enjoyable.’ READER REVIEW
‘Really liked reading this book. it helped me understand so much more about Mary’s perspective of events, and her King Henry VIII (her brother’s) duplicity, coldness and greed where she was concerned. He made things financially miserable for the Brandons literally for their entire lifetime. He didn’t have to do that – and shouldn’t have done that to his beloved sister.
‘Very much hope that author Geraldine Evans continues writing more about the Tudor’s (marriages, children or family) – or King Charles II mistress Barbara Castlemaine – or even Mary Queen of Scots. It will be a good read.’ READER REVIEW
Paperback Edition-Reluctant Queen: The Story of Henry VIII’s Little Sister
The Defiant Little Sister of King Henry VIII.
Paperback Edition-Reluctant Queen. This is my Biographical Historical Novel About the Little Sister of Henry VIII.
‘A very readable account of a fascinating woman who dared ‘to stand up to Henry VIII and survived. It is thoroughly researched, admirably written and the author’s love of the Tudor period shines through.’ Historical Novels Review
One NOT about any of the six wives! Henry had plenty of other relatives, most of whom, given his short-lived dynasty and shaky right to the crown, the always insecure Henry had executed throughout his reign in order to secure his throne.
Can you imagine what it must be like to be the little sister of infamous, English king, Henry VIII? Remember, this is the king who went on to have six wives, two of whom he had beheaded.
And although the teenage Mary Rose is his favourite sister (he even named his famous ship after her), his shifting alliances and ruthless desire to have his own way, made him push the young and lovely Mary into a hateful state marriage with the ailing and ancient King Louis XII of France.
But, a reluctant Mary Rose, as strong-willed as Henry and passionately in love, for the first time, doesn’t give in easily. Before agreeing to the match, after a relentless campaign to get her to say yes, by her loving brother, Mary Rose extracts a promise from Henry. A promise she is determined he will keep.
‘Very easy to read, very hard to put down. This made a Mary Tudor so accessible and relatable to the reader.’ READER REVIEW
‘Evans creatively imagines the private life of Mary Rose Tudor in this richly textured historical novel. A thoroughly researched, elegantly written historical tale.’KIRKUS INDIE, Kirkus Media LLC, 6411 Burleson Rd., Austin, TX 78744 email@example.com
But after you’ve closed a book, why should you bother to write one? How do you do it? And who can write a review? What’s considered a ‘good’ review?
Whoa! Let’s take a step back…
Why write a book review?
Analysing and expressing your thoughts about a book you’ve read can help you understand it better and thus enrich your reading experience. Additionally, and more practically, book reviews are crucial in helping other readers understand what a particular book is about and whether they should invest time in reading it. An honest and well-written book review can also help your favourite authors. Reviews not only provide valuable feedback for the author – or at the very least, some much-needed praise and/or positive critique – they also boost visibility of books on sites like Amazon, helping more people find (and purchase) the books that you love and want to recommend to others.
Before writing, consider who the review is for: online retailer e.g. Amazon, magazine/newspaper article (what readership?), book site e.g. Goodreads, your own blog, serious review journal, e.g. London Review of Books, genre review site/magazine e.g. Discovering Diamonds Reviews, HNS Historical Reviews or Mystery People magazine.
Consider the style, tone and length of review appropriate for the publication while not sacrificing your own.
Do not be intimidated into thinking your review must be erudite or cover several pages. Some of the best reviews can be only three lines long.
Key guideline: it’s about the book, and not you.
A few general guidelines
Make notes. By the time you have finished the book, you’re bound to have forgotten things you wanted to include in the review. The physical action of writing helps commit those points to memory.
Read the whole book unless it is so dire you can’t bear it. But be prepared to say why if asked.
Any review that you write should be constructive, whether it’s positive or critical.
Engage your readers immediately in your review – use the first sentence to state your overall opinion.
Strive to be kind in your brutal honesty. Avoid being hurtful in your constructive criticism – authors are people too!
Mention the main theme, genre, whether it’s part of a series, or a debut.
Does it fit into genre conventions or not? Does that make it a better’/more interesting or engaging book?
Does the book give you a sense of the place it’s set?
What is the author’s ‘voice’ like?
Mention the plot, character development and the writing style
Is the dialogue lively or dull, correct for the period/setting?
Other readers don’t want to hear just the facts. They also want to know what you think about the book, and how it made you feel! Did you like the story? Hate it? Why? Explain your feelings towards the book as best you can. What particularly excited you? What made you want to throw the book away (If you did)?
What do you think the author did well? What do you think the author could have done better?
Be authentic. Your followers/readers want to hear what you think of the book, and in your own voice.
Include comments on any artwork or graphics included, extra materials (like a reading guide, map, family chart, glossary, etc.), whether there are any incorrect facts. (Check very carefully before you do!)
include half the plot, or heaven forbid, the whole plot, or spoilers in your review (No one enjoys spoilers and it’s mean).
Watch your formatting
While most book review sites and retailer sites such as Amazon prefer you write in a simple format, you can make it readable and enjoyable by other readers with these guidelines:
Avoid writing just one big block of text. Space out your paragraphs so your review is easily readable.
Don’t use ALL CAPS ever in a review.
Don’t use punctuation excessively, such as using multiple exclamation points or question marks.
Proofread your review for grammar, spelling mistakes, typos, etc. before sending it in or publishing it. A simple typo or error in your book review might discredit your review in the eyes of readers.
These are just a few guidelines
You do not need to do all of this, but hopefully, they may help to encourage you to leave a review after you’ve finished reading that book on your bedside table.
A murder investigation…and Rafferty’s already got troubles in spades.
His first case in charge looks like being his last.
Because he suspects that the case of the ‘Faceless Lady’ is a poisoned chalice. Gifted by his new boss who is only waiting for Rafferty to fail, to put the boot in. He’s even arranged his even newer partner—a pedant who rubs him up the wrong way from the start.
When even his Ma adds seems to add to the kicking…
‘Geraldine Evans has done it again. The distinguished, veteran British crime writer has turned out another crackling, entertaining and highly satisfying crime mystery in her Rafferty & Llewellyn, British mystery series, Game of Bones – 18th in the series.
Once again, we have the delightful team of maverick, intuitive Inspector Rafferty and his stolid, infinitely irritating and endlessly disapproving sergeant sidekick, Llewellyn – bickering and quibbling their way to a conclusion to the case – with Inspector Rafferty spewing steams of exasperation out of his ears. It is funny all the way, in its endearingly charming expose of human foibles, follies and peccadilloes.
Yes, we have a brutal murder of a distinguished university professor, yes, we have another professor suspect, and another equally suspicious character, a sashaying, swishy, fashion-loving young man (tsk, task, Ms. Evans). Yes, we have numerous twists and turns, reversals and red herrings. But running through the narrative is the very funny, subtle competition between maverick inspector Rafferty with his 6th sense and his plodding logician of a sergeant, Llewellyn.
Rafferty starts off with a bang of confidence, convinced he has already nailed the murderer in an airtight case, but his methodical sergeant has other ideas, and slowly we see Rafferty’s convictions dissolved in a puddle of self-doubt. This thread runs all throughout the investigation and I thoroughly enjoyed the company of these two sparring partners, and Rafferty’s discomposure as his sergeant’s thesis seems to be confirmed by the investigation.
And of course, round every corner of the investigation, we meet a whole series of captivating, eccentric characters, some unsavory, some just normal folk, and some bizarre beyond belief.
One of my favorites was the landlord of one of the suspects, Sebastian Carlton, who says to the two officers:
You go through his stuff good. Make sure he no steal from me. He vain boy. Wear crevets. Must be poof. No girlfriends. Never.
That got a bark of a laugh out of me (and a bit of finger wagging at Ms. Evans). Also endearing is Rafferty’s mum who engages in a moment of hen-pecking and brow beating of her officer son.
As we roll along on this rollicking ride (alliteration there), we are accompanied on this journey by a very comforting, reassuring companion–and that is Ms. Evans prose. Written with such beautiful cadences, rhythms and modulations, it is almost a lost world of ‘old fashioned values,’ when the beauties of the English language were de rigeur in any novel, crime or otherwise. Ms. Evans has the inner ear for language missing from so many contemporary crime novelists, with their fiendishly clever plots and utilitarian prose. We hear it in the controlled rhythms and dramatic pacing of her sentences. It is not flowery, literary language. This is not Alan Hollinghurst here. The prose has the hard edge appropriate to a crime novel. But it is there all the same, creating in the background a sense of gentle order and rightness in a confused world, peopled as it is by eccentrics and criminals, capable of nefarious deeds. Her prose style is one of the characters of the book.
And now we come to the ending, the denouement, when all is revealed – the test of any good crime novel. I didn’t see it coming, which, of course, is a good thing – and it happened so fast and so convincingly that it took my breath away. It was one of those “Aha, Eureka” moments we have all had in our lives. For example, we search our bookshelves for a favorite book and can’t seem to find it, no matter how hard we try or how many times we run through the shelves. Then we go out to dinner, have a few martinis and a bottle of wine, come back home and there is the book winking at us on the central shelf, right in front of our nose.
This is what happens to Inspector Rafferty. The clue was there all the time, he just couldn’t see it. But once he does see it, everything makes perfect sense for him and for us the readers as well. This is the technique of a master craftsperson. Because of this brilliantly executed ending, I finished the book with that deep sense of satisfaction that is the primary pleasure of crime writing. Thank you, Ms Evans, you’ve done it again. And we all look forward to Volume 19th of your Rafferty and Llewellyn British mystery series.
‘Blood on the Bones is the 9th book in British author Geraldine Evans’ Rafferty and Llewellyn cozy mystery series and I found it a very absorbing read. This is a crime novel with depth and substance, which exchanges cheap thrills for some very meditative ruminations on religious faith and doubt, spiced with a bit of wry humor and some wicked plot twists that made me laugh out loud. A body has been discovered buried in the gardens of the Carmelite Monastery of the Immaculate Conception. Detective Inspector Joseph Rafferty, a lapsed Catholic of long repute, is assigned to the case and finds himself confronting the demons of his own harsh Catholic upbringing. As Inspector Rafferty follows the tangled clues in the case, he finds himself confronting his own religious and spiritual yearnings. Is a spiritual awakening on the horizon or even a full re-conversion to his Catholic past? Hardly likely for the astute, acutely rational Rafferty. But then one never knows. This case is bringing to the surface more questions than the simple `whodunit’. I thoroughly enjoyed the read and appreciated Geraldine Evans’ quiet restraint in avoiding all sensationalism. She has managed to combine some serious reflections on religious themes of doubt and faith and the abuses of a repressive religious system together with a crackling police procedural that is both funny and shocking at the same time. Speaking as a former Trappist monk, I can say that her characterizations of the nuns in this contemplative order are spot on! Philosophical reflections, shocks and laughs all blended smoothly together in one crime novel. That’s quite a feat. I’ve now started the 3rd book in the series, Death Line, about a famous psychic, adviser to the stars, who fails to predict his own grisly murder. The author had me laughing by the second page! Well done!’ RICHARD DEMMA, www.crimescenereviews.com
Book review: DEAD BEFORE MORNING (Rafferty and Llewellyn Police Procedural Series #1) by Geraldine Evans
‘A lively and highly engrossing British mystery…
Evans’s first installment in Rafferty and Llewellyn Police Procedural Series see DI Rafferty and Sergeant Llewellyn investigating vicious murder of a young woman at an unlikely place.
Recently promoted Detective Inspector Joe Rafferty and Detective Sergeant Llewellyn are sent out to a local psychiatric institution to investigate brutal murder of an unidentified young woman. The pair’s digging into the lives of hospital staff and other people stirs fears of what secrets might be revealed.
The gusty, resolute Rafferty and the gruff, scholarly Llewellyn’s odd pairing and their comic banter is a treat to read. Illegal drugs, jealous colleagues, and scorned lovers all mix into the intrigue. Short chapters with top-notch prose, and catchy, ironic dialogue keep the action moving.
Evans’s successful maintenance of the spunk and humor throughout the story will earn her a devoted following.’
BY DEBORAH LLOYD OF READERS’ FAVORITE
‘Geraldine Evans has written an entertaining mystery novel in Dead Before Morning: Rafferty & Llewellyn British Mystery Series.
The mystery is engaging from the first page to the last, with many twists and turns. The ending is unexpected, although the author skillfully places clues along the way. The two main characters are well-described, and the complexities of their relationship added an intriguing element to the story. The inclusion of Rafferty family members, part of a large Irish Catholic clan, adds another interesting layer to the story; this is contrasted by Llewellyn’s only-child, single lifestyle. Dead Before Morning: Rafferty & Llewellyn British Mystery Series, written by Geraldine Evans, is a fascinating mystery. It is the first of an eighteen-book series; every reader will want to devour the next seventeen books!’