Geraldine Evans's Books

Mystery Without Gore

Category: BOOK REVIEWS

Bookshop Day 5 October

Bookshop Day 5 October

If Books are your Bag, why not celebrate the fact, and visit a bookshop today?

Today is Buy a Book Day!

Help them thrive. Because we’d miss them if they weren’t there.

Bookshop Day 8 October

I know I miss having a bookshop in my town. Where I used to live, I could spend hours browsing, deciding what to buy. I don’t have that luxury now. It makes me sad.
So appreciate your local bookshop, support it, spend money there. Or one day you won’t be able to. ‘Cos it’ll be gone, like all the other boarded-up shops in our national High Streets.

Discover Norfolk’s independent bookshops

https://www.inprint.co.uk/thebookguide/shops/town.php?loc=East%20Anglia&locc=Norfolk&loccc=CROMER

And here’s mine!

BOOKS

 

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Reviews and How to Write Them

 

Alison Morton https://alisonmorton.com

Authors love reviews – this is not a secret!

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.

Some tips…

  • 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!

Nitty gritty

  • 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?

Your reactions

  • 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.
  • Extras

  • 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!)
  • DO NOT 

    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.

Happy reviewing!

Five Star Editorial Reviews on 3 Rafferty Books

REVIEWS: FREYA’S CHILD AND TIME TELLS

REVIEWS

As she has been waiting the longest – sorry PJ! I’ll post my review of Freya’s Child by P J Roscoe, first.

Here’s my review: FREYA’S CHILD by P J Roscoe

Thoroughly Engaging

This is not one of my usual reads, but I enjoyed it, particularly the beautifully poetic language at the beginning.

A village massacre in Viking times. A present-day archaeological dig at the site of the massacre, the lead archaeologist of which, Kathryn, has been suffering terrible recurring nightmares. And a married couple – Robert and Helen — whose marriage is in a bad way after Robert’s neglect and obsession with his career and then his mental breakdown, cause simmering resentments in Helen. These are the separate elements of the story. All three strands come together when the warring couple move to the husband’s home town in the Wirral, the location of the dig site, in the hope of salvaging their shattered marriage.

But soon their marriage comes under other pressures. Charlotte (‘Cherry’) their small daughter, starts talking to imaginary friends; friends who turn out to be not so imaginary and not so friendly, after all. A visit by the married couple to the archaeological site with their little daughter renews Robert’s friendship with Tony, his boyhood friend.

Strange, spooky and frightening events happen at the site of the dig and at the home of Helen and Robert, our married pair. The lead archaeologist, Kathryn, has been suffering terrible nightmares since long before the dig; since childhood, in fact. She has a burning need to get in contact with the past – her past –and expunge it, or the nightmares will never end. But the dig has suffered fierce local opposition, led by a forceful character named Mr Merton. A string of criminal acts occur, including theft and murder. The continuation of the dig is in danger and with it Kathryn’s hope of ridding herself of her nightmares.

Charlotte’s inexplicable collapse after visiting the dig and touching a rune stone, brings the archaeologists’ support and help when the child is hospitalised suffering from the sudden onset of a coma-like illness. The doctors can’t understand what has caused this illness and, even after conducting various tests, seem unable to do anything about it. Helen, Charlotte’s mother, sure, in her heart, that her child needs to be rescued from the past and those who are determined to keep her to compensate for the loss of their own child during that long-ago massacre, is convinced the only hope for Charlotte is for them to go back to the dig site and conduct certain rituals.

The climax comes during a desperate attempt to drag the child out of her coma and near-death situation, when present and long-distant past come together in an exciting finale.

Apart from a few typos and the unusual line spacing in the paperback — neither of which detracted from the story — I found this an expertly told tale. The transition from times past to times present and back again were smoothly-handled. I found the characters believable and their actions thoroughly understandable — what wouldn’t a parent do to save their child?.

Recommended. Four stars (it would have been five but for the typos and the choice of line-spacing, both of which should be addressed in any follow-up edition).

A tale of good and evil convincingly told. FOUR STARS

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

REVIEW: TIME TELLS by Jan Woodhouse

Great Read!

This was an interesting psychological novel. It delved deeply into relationships, motivations and the lingering effect that our upbringing has on us. It was filled with undercurrents, subtle and not-so-subtle.

Even though this isn’t normally the kind of book I read, I found myself intrigued as I got deeper into the story and more involved in the lives of the characters and the power one person can have over another and how the power of suggestion, repeated often enough, can mean the suggestion is retained in the subconscious until, one day, we act on it.

It was a little sinister in places and the way the author delved into the character’s motivations and thought processes hinted at autobiographical themes.

I thought that the motivation for the character Lizzie to act as she did towards the end of the book didn’t quite ring true. I felt it needed more fore-shadowing and that Lizzie needed to be a weaker and less grounded personality for her to do what she did. But, that said, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book.

Jan Woodhouse is clearly a very talented author with a mastery over the English language that meant the story really flowed for me. I read it in just over a day and when I finished it I knew that this novel revealed an author who is a real writer. A very talented lady and a book – but for that slightly jarring note about Lizzie towards the end and the unexpected, abrupt, ending itself – that would have fully earned five stars.

Well-written, engaging and intriguing in its treatment of relationships and the undercurrents that run through everyday life. Highly recommended. FOUR STARS


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