Tag Archives: book reviews

Wanted: Honest Reviews (Book Deals)

SLB kindle faceAsk any early career indie author or small press publisher “You want me to review that book on Amazon?” and they will jump up and down for joy (at least on the inside). Most of us are looking for HONEST reviews. ‘Cause here’s the real deal, readers want honest reviews. And we want to give readers what they want (within our creative vision, of course).

One voracious reader told me that when he sees a book with all 5 star reviews he is immediately suspect. He is less likely to take a chance on a new author whose “friends and family” were more concerned about feelings than trying to be objective. As a small press, I actually have a problem right now with our newest release (about songwriting) because all 23 reviews are 5 stars. We need more balance.

Personally, I pick up a lot of indie books from the Top 100 Free list and then read some of the reviews before deciding whether or not to purchase the next book in a promising series. Which reviews do I read? Those listed “Most Helpful” AND the one stars. Sometimes the “issues” someone else had with the book seal the deal for me to buy it.

As a publisher, I am working hard to get Irene Kucholick’s “Survive Little Buddy” (WWII to 1953 Iron Curtain escape memoir) onto one of the most high profile and successful book discount email lists. We’ll pay for the privilege and even mark the book down to 99c for that promotion, but we have to have more reviews to qualify. I thought I was at the end of my rope, until I found

As a reader, I signed up for the email of discounted books. However, they also have a feature where I can get ebooks for FREE if I agree to leave a book review within the next 2 weeks. Excellent. Love it. The only caveat is that the review I leave has to state up front that “I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.” Perfect.

As a mom & pop publisher, I can get Irene’s book listed (for a reasonable fee) on’s  free-to-reviewers list and finally get the reviews we need. Honest reviews from people with no reason stretch the stars.

What if you do have a reason to stretch the stars? Then be honest about that as well. The most popular review of my first novel is the one left by my best friend–who says up front she’s my best friend, has known me for 30+ years–and then she wrote a really thoughtful review that has made hers the one voted as “Most Helpful” to people considering buying my book. Here’s how she ended her review:

I’ve given the book 5 stars because I was so pleasantly surprised, and I really did love it, devouring it from cover to cover. However, if I’m honest, if this weren’t MY KRISTIN, I’d probably have given it four stars. Only for this simple reason: her neat and tidy additional plot points. I’m still uncertain how I feel about the thread that she alludes to in this short poem:

A woman goes missing,
And then is found dead.
Another will follow,
In a town full of dread.

Honestly, I’m happy that that particular part of the book didn’t go any further than it did, but I was still fascinated at watching it unfold, and found her descriptions of the source of the dread to be spartan, but extremely powerful. (Complete review here.)

“MY KRISTIN” she says which makes me feel loved every time I read it (sigh – virtual hugs). She walks the line and finds the balance perfectly, IMO. If the genre isn’t one you usually read, say so. Know the author? Saw them speak? Only read it as a favor? We can admit those things. And if worse comes to worse, sign in anonymously to save the feelings. Just review.


Kristin King is living as an expat in Holland and blogs about travel, writing, culture and food.

© Kristin King 2015

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Posted by on September 8, 2015 in Beyond the Book


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The Best Book You’ve Never Heard Of

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 9.30.57 PMGuest Post by Ryan King, Author of the Land of Tomorrow Trilogy

The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson has got to be the best historical fiction book I’ve never heard of. I saw this novel on a free shelf and picked it up by chance and I’m lucky I did. The book was originally published in Swedish in 1945, but has since been translated into 23 languages and even adapted into a British movie of the same name in 1964 starring Richard Widmark and Sidney Poiter.

The Long Ships is an terrifically well-written historical novel about a group of Vikings in 10th Century Europe. Filled with likeable anti-heroes the story primarily focuses on Orm Tostesson the son of a Viking chieftain. The boy’s mother is protective and conceives of elaborate plans to keep him at home while her husband and other sons go a-viking, but Orm is actually abducted by a group of raiders one night setting off a long series of adventures.

The book itself is grand in scale both in geography and time. From the Norse Sea and Scandinavia the characters travel to Spain and the Mediterranean before returning home years later as rich and experienced men. Other voyages take then to England, Ireland, France, the Baltic States, and Kiev.

The Long Ships is incredibly entertaining and filled with fantastic dialogue, unique characters, and fascinating plot lines. If you are a fan of historical fiction, this is a must read.


Ryan King is a career army officer with multiple combat tours who continues to serve in the military. He has lived, worked, and traveled throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. He writes post-apocalyptic, dystopian, thriller, horror, and action short stories, short novels, and novels.

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Posted by on July 26, 2014 in Other


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I Won a Book Giveaway: Medical Suspense Book Review

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I love to read. I really do. Now as a writer, I truly enjoy helping get the word out about good books and helping promote Indie authors as well as small press authors.  I run book giveaways almost as often as I enter them. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually won anything.

Today I got the news that I won the entire Bloodline Trilogy plus a $50 gift card. I was so excited!  I’ve only read the first book, Proof. So now I get to read the other two.  And you can expect to see my reviews of these medical thrillers blogged here soon.

I looked back at my review of Proof and saw that I gave it 5 out of 5 stars and wrote this:

Terrific! Picked it up and kept reading till I hit the last page. These were characters I wanted to get to know and cared about. Now I want to know what happens next in the trilogy.

Here’s a link to Proof for you to check it out for yourself. I’ll be headed into the pages of Poison myself.


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Posted by on November 4, 2013 in Book Promotion, Book Reviews


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…To the Little Guys

Find More Indies on Pinterest Here

Find More Indies on Pinterest Here

(Eden Plague)                                    (Duty)                                          (The Last Werewolf Hunter)  Who are the little guys? That’s a bit hard to define, but if you read a book that has less than 25 reviews (e.g. on Amazon), you’re reading a little guy (or gal). An illusive, probably indie author is breaking into the public sphere.   You finish the book and then you have the opportunity to impact that writer in a way you’ll probably never have with a big name. One more or less review of Cassandra Claire’s Mortal Instruments (1,567 of first book) will not boost her career or give her the thrill that my last book’s review gave me. Okay, so I’m not supposed to pay a lot of attention to the reviews–especially after I’ve done a promotion and given away free books. (Sadly, getting something for nothing already devalues the product, and the stars will be fewer.) However, I do pay attention. I listen. I read. And so will other indie and small press authors if you take a moment just to write 20 words (what Amazon requires reviewers to write). Go the extra mile and copy and paste the same review to Goodreads. If you gave the book 4-5 stars, share it on Facebook or Pinterest. Go ahead. Make my day. Like these folks did:

5.0 out of 5 stars not what I expected – better, July 30, 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

I loved this book. Initially I thought it would be just another vampire book, but I soon realized it was not. It takes vampires and makes them seem normal while building a suspenseful situation around them. As soon as I was finished I was looking for the next book in the series. Alas, it is not available yet.

5.0 out of 5 stars Oooooo Loved It!, April 5, 2013

These are vampires but unlike any before… Sexy, strong, grounded guardians who protect the humans from Wild Ones. Hot guys, muscle cars, endearing heroine and a human serial killer as well as a video game to enlist vampire material…you’re just gonna have to read it:-)

5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual vampire story- very intriguing, April 4, 2013
This review is from: Unsinkable Vampire (Begotten Bloods) (Kindle Edition)

I have always loved the story and mystery of the Titantic– mystery prior to Ballards discovery of the wreck. The very luxury and decadence- add to that a love story between a lovely young lady and an enigmatic gentleman and I could not put it down. This is the beginning of a series so of course I’m getting ready to read Cain’s Coven next! Will she wake up….

(Kristin King is an author, publisher, and Jesus follower. Her third paranormal suspense, a Begotten Bloods Novel titled “Death Taint,” will release Fall 2013.)

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Reviews Mean A Lot…


Posted by on August 17, 2013 in Book Reviews, Indie Business


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Blog to Highlight: Kitty Muse and Me

Kitty Muse & Me Blog

Kitty Muse & Me is a self-professed blog for book reviews, author interviews, and updates on author Kathy Ree’s own writing.

Kathy’s most recent reviews were of Children’s Books such as “Jacqueline the Great Runs for President,”  “Dig the Digger,” and an ABNA (i.e. Amazon Breakout Novel) Award 2013 Nominee “My Lady’s Favour.”  Kathy runs a tight blog sticking to doing exactly what she says it’s about, unlike my own blog where I tend to focus on writing & publishing in an easily distracted by life sort of way.

So I cheer,kudos for Kitty Muse & Me’s straight up, get to business, approach to giving you the information you’re looking for.

Right now she’s doing a run on Children’s Lit, and although romance is not usually for her, you can check back through her months online and find new books and authors in many genres based on Kathy’s reviews alone.

Check her blog today! You’ll find something of interest.


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