Tag Archives: Review

Review: “Fire Eyes Awakened”

The book Fire Eyes Awakened: The Senturians of Terraunum Series (Book 1) by author R.J. Batla is an exciting, thrilling read from start to finish.

The book follows the tale of young Jayton Baird who has his superpowers (my words, not the authors) “awakened” only to find out they are more than he expected.

He bands together with others who’ve been “awakened” to go on a quest to save and reunite the world.

Fire EyesI thoroughly enjoyed this future dystopian world where humans with new powers can manipulate objects and nature itself. The setting was vibrant and exciting. For the most part. the characters were well written and engaging.

The book is written with various POV’s. For some, the switch between third and first person POV might be jarring. The switch isn’t mid-chapter, but some chapters are third while most are first. I didn’t mind it at all. I followed the story easy enough and didn’t have a problem with the alternating POV’s.

Another issue some might have is its blatant Christian overtones. Again, not something that bothered me in the slightest, however I can see how some readers might be turned off by the language. To me, it’s the author’s world and I have no issue with it at all.

I enjoyed Ryan’s writing style. Jayton is written as a witty 20-something and he’s approachable. I liked his banter with the reader and felt it added to his character. The cast around him worked for me. Their various powers complemented each other and helped the quest progress.

One of the only knocks I can say is that as much as I liked the characters, some of them didn’t connect with me. The cast is so huge, it was hard to feel empathy for all of them.

If you enjoy The Reckoners Series by Brandon Sanderson, this might appeal to you. I highly recommend the book and look forward to the sequel.

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Review Circles for Authors

Are you an indie author or an author looking for more reviews? Well, let me help!

I’ve created a private Facebook group to address this and hopefully help us all as we work on our promotions.

Let me get this out there to be clear: THIS IS NOT A REVIEW EXCHANGE! We will NOT review book for book. You will not be expected to review a book from an author who is reviewing you. That would make for a dishonest review (or at the very least, the temptation to leave a higher review since you’d expect them to give you a higher review). I don’t like how that works and I don’t condone it.

In it’s most basic form, it works like this:

Review Circle

 

Here are a few guidelines to consider:

All authors will be expected to buy the book they’re reviewing as long as it’s $1.99 or less. If it’s over that price point, I want the author to gift it to them or send the reviewer a free copy.

I prefer reviewers buy the book to give the review the “Verified Purchase” tag. But I also want people to stick around and if they gotta keep paying more than $1.99 per book for something they may or may not normally read, I feel it’s asking too much.

Reviewers will have two weeks to read and review the books. All authors participating must not argue with the review received. These are honest opinions and if your work isn’t up to par, work on it first.

All reviews are honest. If as an author you get a review lower than what you expect, please do not argue with the reviewer. By submitting to the Review Circle, that’s the chance we take. That’s what an honest review is. This is not an opportunity for us to hand out five star reviews “just because.” It’s meant to help each other gain honest reviews of our work. Honest doesn’t always mean pleasant. Again, please do not argue with the reviewer.

Reviewers, though you are tasked with leaving an honest review, please be courteous. We’re not trying to discourage our fellow authors with negative remarks. You can voice your opinion in a thoughtful and constructive manner. Please do not crush your fellow authors.

For the book you’d like to have reviewed, please make sure your book is well constructed and edited, preferably by a professional. This is not a Beta reading circle. We are working under the assumption your book is a final product. What we read is what any reader would read. Make sure it’s the best representation of your book.

Try to keep all books requesting a review under 350 pages or less. Since this is a fairly quick turnaround of two weeks, longer books won’t work well. If your reviewer is OK with a longer book, go ahead and submit it. If not, please consider a different book.

By participating in the Review Circle, you must be ok with reading various genres. I will try to assign reviewers according to their tastes but I can’t guarantee it’s gonna be in your wheelhouse. If that happens, please keep an open mind and review the book on its merits as a story, not on if you like the genre. We can all learn when reading outside our specific genres.


So that’s it. I’ve run something like this in a Facebook group I’m part of, but I think it’s time to branch out and start a group based solely on this premise. If you’d like to join and are ready to be reviewed while offering your honest reviews, please send over a request to join the Review Circle for Authors Facebook Group. Thanks!

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews

Hey everyone, I wanted to share a few reviews with you today. I’ve never commented like this on reviews so let me know if I’m committing some faux pas.

For writers and authors, reviews are the lifeblood that pushes us forward. They can also make us cringe and get all defensive, though retaliation is a horrible thing to get involved in. It’s much better to suck it up and deal with the review as a learning tool, as a means of improving your craft. You gotta take the bad with the good and balance it out.

Anyway, here are three reviews I received recently for my book The Selection.


File_001I loved this review! So many great comparisons. I’m a bit humbled by them to be honest, but there’s a lot going on here that makes me think I nailed the feel and tone of the book.

 

 

 

 

 

 


File_000 (2)This review further emphasized to me my tone and feel of the book was what I hoped it would be. It’s so tough to know how people will react to your work until you start seeing the proof in the reviews.

 

 

 


File_002

So this was my latest review and I love the honesty. The end of The Selection is pretty tough to take and I wanted a big hook to make the reader want more. So far, for the majority of readers it has gone over like I wanted. There are some who don’t agree with how I ended it and that’s perfectly fine.  I wouldn’t argue with any review that said the end sucked (or about anything in the book for that matter). That’s the opinion of the reader and I respect that.

 


 

There you have it. Three of my most recent reviews. I’m still in awe every time someone reads my work and feels compelled to leave a review. It’s fulfilling to know what I present to the reader is being accepted and enjoyed.

If you want to see for yourself what all the chatter is about, you can get The Selection on Amazon for only .99 now through August 31st. If you have Kindle Unlimited, it’s free to read. When you do, please consider leaving a review. Honest reviews are the best ones, even if you hate it.

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Review: Nonlocal Science Fiction (Issue #1)

There are numerous excellent science fiction and fantasy journals, e-zines, and magazines out there for consumption. Publications such as Fantasy and Science Fiction, Azimov’s, Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, and others offer exciting and well written stories by proven and up-and-coming writers. There really isn’t a lack of options when it comes to great science fiction and fantasy.  So where does Nonlocal Science Fiction add to this already well represented field?

Nonlocal Science Fiction is a quarterly anthology published by 33rd Street Digital Press. According to its website, the primary focus is to “expand the science fiction genre by working mainly with new and independent authors and giving them a legitimate outlet for their work.”

At first glance, Issue #1 (published in March of 2015) comes across as a well constructed work. The cover art is tremendous and the formatting and general look of the inside is high quality. I was quite surprised on opening the anthology at how well it looked. Though it was their first offering,  it didn’t suffer from lack of organization or direction. It was clear a lot of effort was put into it.

Going beyond the aesthetics, the writing was pretty darn good as well.

I’ve fallen victim to the pretty book cover of an indie author only to be disappointed by stories with flimsy plots or barely intelligible prose. However there are those moments when I find an indie author and instantly have a new favorite writer (Luke Smitherd, Teresa Lo, and Jennifer Wells just to name a few)

Nonlocal Science Fiction brings a platform to expose new authors to those who might not find them otherwise and they do so for less than a cup of coffee at most places.

The stories range from space exploration to westerns to time travel to world building. The diverse stories provide an eclectic yet interesting mix of voice from emerging writers. This first volume also includes two serials which are sure to keep readers coming back for more.

A few stand-out stories include “Marigold’s Memories” by Reva Russell English about wanting to remove certain memories, “Shoot the Devil” by Nicholas C. Rossis; an interesting time travel piece, and “Catalyst” by Aaron Hamilton; a creation story with a twist. The writing is crisp and the stories engaging.

Not to say that Nonlocal Science Fiction will soon be the “it” place for writers, it does hold its own as a viable, affordable source for great writing by authors unknown to most readers. For the cover price of $2.99 per issue, it’s hard to say it’s not worth it.

You can find issues of Nonlocal Science Fiction on Amazon or through links on their website.

Give it a try. You might find your new favorite writer!