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Confessions of a book reviewer: Things I like in good fiction

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I love books, I sit for hours upon hours pouring myself into reading. I love exploring other worlds, meeting Vikings, Scottish lords, paranormal kings and mischievous billionaires. In this post I compiled key things that I think make strong fiction, the kind that keeps readers hooked.

As a reviewer, nothing is more discouraging than to read a book with great potential and to be let down with overuse of cliché’s, crutch descriptive words and the list goes on.

I like books with:

  •   Clear Plot- A over-complicated plot can distract the reader from the story. Every time your reader investigates something they don’t understand, it breaks their focus.

When I’m reading, I like to teleport into your world not put a puzzle together.

  •   Appropriate scenes- When introducing characters or plot twisters use the appropriate scene. New characters or new circumstances shouldn’t fall out of thin air.

It is very disappointing finding out key information in a scene that doesn’t serve a purpose or carry the story along. Credibility is easy to lose and very hard to get back.

  • Less is more- I’ve read books that authors described everything in the room, every touch or taste breaking dialogue for sometimes two pages. It’s hard prioritizing what you think your reader needs to know versus what they shouldn’t read. Some things are better explained through action.

 

Writing stories and novels are brave and not easy. I have great respect for all writers. I hope this post gives all writers a step into the mind of their audience.

Book reviews

Review: A Promise of Fire

I came across A promise of Fire in my Amazon recommendations for books I would like based on my purchase history. I was not disappointed, this is a great read and I have become an instant fan. I love fantasy novels that feed the imagination and clearly depicts the human nature; showcasing our ability to love and to fight for what we believe in.

 

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A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Promise of Fire is an epic magical adventure, Catalia “Cat” Fisa has mastered the art of blending in.She also has powerful magic that she doesn’t know the full extent of; Cat hides from the world afraid to be used as a puppet while nursing wounds from her tortured past. Cat is a powerful Kingmaker hiding from her destiny and her psychotic mother who would stop at nothing to have her in her grips.

Griffin is a mysterious warrior trying to bring peace to his newly conquered Territory; when his eyes first land on Cat he knew they were meant to be and from that day on their fates would be forever entwined. Griffin helps Cat confront her fears and he shows her that together they would do the impossible.

This is a story of fate and believing in yourself. The pace of A Promise of Fire is fast paced, Ms Bouchet phenomenal story building skills is beautifully showcased in this page turning adventure. A Promise of Fire introduces new creatures and realms as well as giving life to well-known Greek gods like Zeus, Poseidon, Artemis etc.

The description of the realms appealed to all of my senses, I was in Sinta (one of the realms) when I read this book. Each scene drives the reader deeper in to the story, making close friends and becoming family with each character. This is a hold on to your seat, jaw dropping, in your face magical adventure. I recommend this book to fantasy lovers everywhere. A promise of Fire combines romance and fantasy in a way I haven’t seen in a while. It is refreshing, and a hard book to put down. I recommend reading A promise of fire as soon as you can because the adventure continues with Breath of Fire set to be released on January 3rd, 2017.

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Breath of Fire is the second book in the Kingmaker Chronicles, you can pre-order it on any of the links below.

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I want to thank all my readers for taking the time to read my reviews. I truly enjoyed reading new books and I hope you find a good book to read from my recommendations.

 

Thankfully

LaFifereviews

 

 

Book reviews

LaFifeReview:Nobody’s Goddess

This book reminds me why I love romance, I think romance writers today gets lost in lust and power. This book reminds me that love exists and it doesn’t always show with kisses and intimate gestures. Love is in forgiveness, in knowing that to hurt the one you love would be to hurt yourself.

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This book is set in a town where men and boys wear masks to protect them from the eyes of women that don’t love them. A curse was placed on every man to love one woman and to treat her as his one and only goddess. Only when her love is returned would he be free to walk around unmasked.

Amy McNulty’s Nobody’s Goddess held me captive until the very last page. The author’s world building techniques were brilliantly showcased in every chapter. Nobody’s Goddess showed a world where neither man and woman could live peacefully without having authority imposed on the other. This book shows in a fantastical way the struggles men and women face today especially when dealing with matters of love and intimacy.

I was confused, angry and sad and for a book to evoke those emotions from me and still kept me hostage I was truly in awe. The reader was not given the entire story in the beginning. The magical breadcrumbs that were placed on the page to help guide the reader to the essence and the meaning of the story was masterful and it shows a great writer who pays attention to craft without jeopardizing creativity.

Every scene had meaning and I felt as if the world was real to me, the relationships between each character was real to me. I felt her anger, her indifference towards her obligation as a goddess to receive her man. I also felt her love, her love for her best friend and for her mother. This book was thought-provoking, fast paced, bold and interesting. If you appreciate fantasy and real love, this book is everything you have been waiting for.

Nobody’s Goddess can be purchased in the links below. If you are a subscriber of Kindle Unlimited you can read this book for free.

This review based on my honest opinion after reading the book. I received a free copy from NetGalley and I was not obligated to give a review.

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Paperback

Thank you to all my followers, until next time

LaFifeReviews

 

Book reviews

Review: The Sculptor

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A friend gave me a copy of this book to read and I knew right away that it would be my new beginning on this site. This is the first graphic novel that I’ve read and if all graphic novels are like this I would read them all.

The Sculptor is the story of David Smith young sculptor who entered a deal with death to bring his art to life, the only catch is he will only have 200 days to live. Readers get an intimate glimpse into David’s life, his great and not so great experiences and we see how it shapes him as a person.

When I opened this book, I found it hard to put it down. Even though it started with few words on the page the pictures were powerful and it told the beginning of the story just as effectively as words on a page would. The character development was expertly showcased, Mr Mc Cloud managed to create more than one complex character without taking the focus away from the plot.

The Sculptor is a real story about a young man who felt he had nothing more to offer the world, he felt alone and he was bitter. He was left with a gift that went unnoticed and memories of loved ones; ghosts of failures and disappointments haunted him. This book was suspense filled and it unpacked a lot of lessons in a well crafted package.

Themes such as love, loneliness, failure,expectations we place on ourselves and the expectations others have for us was some of the topics that was explored. After reading this work of art it left me inspired.

I provided a link below for anyone interested in reading this book. It is available for purchase at Amazon. My opinion of this book is my own original and honest review, I was not paid by a publisher to give favorable reviews.

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Digital/E-Reader version

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Thank you for reading

LaFifeReviews

Book reviews

Review: The Highlander’s Bargain (A Novel of Loch Moigh)

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The Highlanders Bargain is the 2nd book in the novels of Loch Moigh series by Barbara Longley. Before reading this post I urge you to read the post before True to the Highlander. Even though this book can be read as a standalone, I strongly recommend you read the first book to get intimately acquainted with all the characters.

The Highlanders Bargain picks up where True to the Highlander left off. Readers get an intimate glimpse into the life of past characters; Malcolm of clan MacKintosh with his lovely wife True of clan MacKintosh has settled into their life nicely.

Robley of clan MacKintosh is Malcolm’s adventurous younger cousin who after learning of Lady True’s secret decides to embark on a journey to the future to find a bride.What he gets in return is more than he could manage. Erin Durie is a surgical nurse and a few classes away from being a midwife, when a mysterious man falls out of thin air into her arms, at first she is scared but then relieved. Could this man be the answer to her new-found problems? Putting aside her skepticism Erin helps Robley and they go on a journey of true love, understanding and learning to trust. Rob helps Erin move past her trust issues that stemmed from her mother’s past mistakes. Together they showed us the true meaning of responsibility and love really does conquer all.

I enjoyed this book from start to finish. Ms Longley gave her readers a vivid and refreshing description of  fifteenth century Scotland. The novel moved at a smooth pace and  there was never a dull moment. The character development in this book was well done. Ms. Longley eloquently gave  readers a bird’s eye view of life in Loch Moigh and life in the twenty-first century without taking away from the story. Her knowledge of the customs in fifteenth century Scotland added great value. After reading the second book in the Loch Moigh series I felt as if I adopted a second language with all the Gaelic words I picked up.

If you’re on vacation and you want to lose yourself in a good book the Highlanders Bargain is the perfect book to pick up. Below I have included links to help you obtain a copy. This review is an honest review. I am not writing on behalf of any publication and I was not paid to write this.

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Thank you for visiting. Until next time

LaFifeReviews

 

Book reviews

Review: True to the Highlander(A Novel of Loch Moigh)

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True to the Highlander is an intriguing fast paced historical romance novel that will have you on the edge of your seat the entire ride. It quickly introduces the main character in the present(21st century)Alethia Goodsky, she works in a Renaissance Fair and after an unusual encounter with a strange woman she is whisked into the fifteenth century where she meets Malcolm of clan MacKintosh. Alethia must rely on her charm,wits and her 21st century knowledge to survive a time when abandoned women were not safe by themselves.

First off I would like to say this is the first time I ever read a Highlander themed romance novel. After reading this book I can say that Barbara Longley has just gained another life-long fan.

True to the Highlander was a well written, well researched book. Ms. Longley incorporated the language of the  fifteenth century Scottish person from the peasants to the people of noble blood and her knowledge of the customs in fifteenth century Scotland to create a whimsical historical masterpiece.

I have complied a list of reasons why True to the Highlander is a book that should be on every summer reading list.

  • Each character was carefully crafted; the characteristics and mannerisms were clearly depicted in a such a graceful way, it left nothing to the imagination. As a reader I was able to connect emotionally with each character, the character development in this book kept me engaged from start to finish.
  • The story was fast paced. There is not a dull moment in this book; True to the Highlander was an adventurous, on the edge of your seat love story that not only focused on the main characters. The reader got a sneak peek into the lives of the surrounding characters in the book and to me that added value.
  • Unpredictable-As an avid reader and student of fiction, after reading a lot of books  I can usually predict the main problems and solutions in a story. This book was not the case; True to the Highlander does a great job of concealing the true purpose of the main character until it is revealed in the end.

True to the Highlander is the first book in the series (The Novels of Loch Moigh). If you are looking for a nice literary escape this is the perfect book for you. I received a free copy of this book from the Kindle Unlimited Program on Amazon and I was not paid to review this book.

I have provided a link below, if anyone is interested in reading this book.

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Thank you for reading my reviews, Come again soon.

LaFifeReviews

 

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Series Sundays

I love reading a good romantic book series, standalone books are great but I always want more from an author who  produced a good book. A series give the author more space to develop an idea. Today I want to focus on one book series that I think all book series readers should read. When I read this book series the only question I had was, why is it over?

Today I want to focus on an author that goes by the name of J.T Geissinger and her Night Prowler series.

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I came across Shadow’s Edge through Kindle Unlimited. Kindle Unlimited is book subscription service offered by Amazon, where subscribers can pay $9.99 can get to read from a selection of over a million books. Each Kindle Unlimited subscriber can borrow ten books at a time.

At the time I was skeptical about reading this book, I was generally a romance and fantasy reader but I have always liked both genres separate. I found that good fantasy books was better when the author focused on the magic of the characters and not the romance and romantic novels was good when the author focused on the romance and not the magic of the characters. The Night Prowler series brilliantly, carefully crafted works of fiction that perfectly created a balance between romance and fantasy fiction.

As a reader of many books the one issue I usually have with some books are the lack of originality. When one author find success with an idea, it becomes “the go to” idea for  many authors. As  an avid reader, one or two renditions of an idea is fine but any more and I lose interest in a story. Sometimes I start and not finish a book not because the author did not write and produce a well written book but more because I was tired of the idea.

Shadow’s Edge takes us into a world of shape-shifters called Ikati. I know what you’re saying that shape-shifting is not an original idea and I would agree with you but the author J. T Geissinger was able to suck me into a world that had me wondering in the end was this real. The books was well researched and it used reality to make the fiction more believable. The books allowed the reader to live as Ikati to understand their customs; it explained what it felt like being in the skin of an Ikati. I experienced the world through their eyes and through the eyes of those around them.

This summer if you have a holiday or a weekend away from work and responsibilities I recommend that you read the Night Prowler series by J.T Geissinger. You will fall in love with the beautiful creature called Ikati and you will be surprised at every turn. You will be sucked in book one and before you blink you’ll be reading the last.

I love learning about new books so if you are a professional writer or blogger and you have an unbiased recommendation about a book I would love to hear about it, just click on the tab that reads Contact.

Thank you for reading

LaFifeReviews

 

 

 

Book reviews

Sandra Owens: Lost in her (review)

Before I get into my review I want to note that although Lost in her is a stand-alone novel, looking at the previous K2 Team novels enhances the experience. I highly recommend it, below is a list of all previous K2 Team novels.

crazy-for-her-cover-1      Best SOMEONE LIKE HER by Sandra Owens   Falling for her

 

 

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Ryan O Connor is a retired Seal Medic trying to heal from his wife’s betrayal and her abrupt death. Charlene “Charli” Morgan is sexy pilot instructor trying to escape her past by taking to the skies in her planes. This unlikely pair finds each other and they both teach each other to truly move on from their hurt and take a chance on real love.

I have read all of the previous K2 Team novels so that gives me a clear view of the story and each character. This book can be read as a standalone but reading the other books gives readers an intimate look in the previous characters and that adds value to the story.

If I had to describe this book in a sentence I would say; Lost in her is a fast paced, suspense filled, action packed love story. Ms Owens carefully crafted each character and it shows in the story. Her characters are imperfect and real; its real people dealing with real problems.

As a sucker for love and a lover of all contemporary and erotic romance novels, I hate reading predictable romance novel with the same recipe. Wealthy jealous and sexually promiscuous man seduces pure and helpless heroine and he solves all her problems. If you are looking for a book like that, this is not the  book for you. Lost in her is a tale of two people whose been let down by the people who they hold most dearly; they save each other, they learn about each other and the hope of a better future suddenly becomes a viable option.

Lost in her was an enjoyable read, I would recommend this to all lovers of romance novels. The scenes were descriptive and the book gives readers a clear picture of the surroundings and it made reading all the more enjoyable.

I have included links to Lost in her below.

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Thank you for reading,

LaFifeReviews

 

 

 

 

 

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The Perfect Book Reviewer

Death_to_stock_photography_wild_5You have finally finished your book. After all the long hours of back numbing writing and research, your baby has finally arrived. You have been dreaming about the success of this book before it was actually written. You can see yourself selling a million copies and countless of agents are just trying to find creative ways to talk to you about representation and movie deals. Let’s just take a breath for a second, after months or maybe years of self-doubt and discipline you are finally finished with your book. For the modern author, the work has just begun. There used to be a time when all a writer had to do was concentrate on writing good material their book got published, they sat and enjoyed the fruits of their labor. That reality quickly became a fantasy  after the birth of social media, writers are expected to be more involved with the publication process.

It is very important for a writer to have a detailed marketing plan and a couple of book reviewers to get their book in front the appropriate audience. In this post I am going to focus on how I would find the right reviewer for my book.

So you need a book reviewer easy right, the modern book reviewer does not have an ad in the classifieds. The modern book reviewer can be found on reviewing sites like Goodreads, Amazon etc. Some reviewers even have their own blogs that they post reviews on; a blog equipped with their contact information. Finding a reviewer isn’t the problem, finding the right one for your work is challenging. For instance, if you’re writing a romance novel, you wouldn’t ask a reviewer who review mostly sci-fi novels to review your contemporary romance novel.

Book reviewers hang out on sites like Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter etc. Twitter is great because many reviewers post their contact information or a link to their blog. It’s like a virtual business card, you get to see how serious the book reviewer is. For example, how often do they post and you also get to see the quality of reviews they write before reaching out to them.

 

Questions I would ask to find the perfect book reviewer.

  1. How long have you been a book critic?
  2. Can you tell me about the last five books you’ve read?
  3. Do you specialize in any skill that would be valuable in assessing my book? (For example, some book reviewers sometimes have a background in editorial and or publishing.)
  4. What are your rates?
  5.  How soon can I expect my review?
  6. Can you provide me with a few samples of your best reviews?

There are sites that allow you to upload your book for free and get feedback but if you don’t want to put your baby on display, a professional book reviewer is the answer.

Before committing to any book reviewer you could have some questions of your own. If not feel free to use mine. A good reviewer will help you prepare your book for your audience, allowing you to put your best foot forward. A good review should be constructive and it would help you shape your characters more and you will get someone’s opinion on your work, which I find to be invaluable.

Thank you for visiting until next time.

LaFifereviews

 

 

 

 

 

Book reviews

Back to Business: Savage Urges by Suzanne Wright

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Due to the demands of school, I was forced to take some time off to get things in order. Now I am back and stronger than ever. I want to get into a book I read recently. I am Suzanne Wright fan I am a follower of The Phoenix and Mercury Pack series. I have been waiting for this book and on May 3rd I downloaded it on my kindle and was sweep back into the world of the Phoenix Pack.

 

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Savage Urges follows Makenna Wray a lone wolf shifter and Ryan Conner an Enforcer from the Phoenix Pack. Two emotionally damaged wolf- shifters find love and after years of emotional distance they learn that everyone’s happily ever after is different.

For fantasy romance lovers I suggest you read the first book from the Phoenix Pack series Feral Sins.

feral sinsEven though the book was written in a way that new readers who don’t follow the series would understand. To truly appreciate this book, it would be good to get a glimpse at past characters because they make small appearances in the book.

Savage Urges like every other Suzanne Wrights creations did not disappoint, the characters were  expertly crafted and developed allowing the readers to fully engage in the lives of each of the main characters. As an avid reader I can only connect with a character I feel like I know and in Savage Urges Ms. Wright gives you enough information about each character without taking away from the story. Savage Urges is not your typical hearts and flowers romance, it is a raw and sensual telling of two loners who shows love not with words but with actions. They are protective of the ones they care about, loyal and their passion comes across in their bodies while they try to possess the other.

The pace of the book was also great, Ms. Wright knew when to savor the moment and she craftily showed suspense, action and drama in this considerately paced book. My only con in this book would be that some scenes had me rolling my eyes at some of the corny love lines each character traded but those eye-rolling moments helps me accept that the characters find love. We all know of a couple who share their own corny inside jokes. It was a great read and I would definitely recommend it.

Here is a link to the Savage Urges from The Phoenix pack series provided below. The Phoenix pack series are kindle unlimited eligible books. Kindle Unlimited is a book subscription service where you can pick from over 40,000 books a month. You get to pick a free book every month before it’s released. If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited you can read anyone of Suzanne Wright’s book for free.

 

Savage Urges (Paperback)

Savage Urges (Kindle version)