Series or Standalone? What Are You Reading?

After I released my grandfather’s books on the world, I started reading and then reviewing in earnest. It wasn’t long before I discovered BookBub, and I absolutely loved it, gleaned free books that for the most part turned out to be exceptional, fun, and compelling books. Shortly after came series–lots of them–and I proceeded to read books from one series or another, sometimes exhausting them and looking for more, which might be considered a “con.” The wait for the next in the series–sometimes up to a year–then will you have to get reacquainted?

When you pick up a new book, do you prefer to start a new series or a standalone?

And, if you are starting a series, do you absolutely have to start with #1?

(Yes, sometimes!)

How can you read this? There's no pictures!

Continue reading “Series or Standalone? What Are You Reading?”

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#AmReading – The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz

#AmReading - The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz

Welcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget celebrating blue skies, following seas, and my Goodreads (currently reading) list.

This week I am presenting Dean Koontz and his book The Whispering Room. I received an ARC from the publisher, Bantam, and NetGalley. The book will be released on November 21, 2017. Amazon classifies the novel as literary fiction and a mystery, thriller & suspense, and is 528 pages. Even so, I see where some advanced readers flew through it in one sitting. (I’m not one of those.)

I will be presenting my review shortly, but in the meantime (from Amazon), here is the

Book Blurb:

“No time to delay. Do what you were born to do. Fame will be yours when you do this.” These are the words that ring in the mind of mild-mannered, beloved schoolteacher Cora Gundersun—just before she takes her own life, and many others’, in a shocking act of carnage. When the disturbing contents of her secret journal are discovered, it seems certain that she must have been insane. But Jane Hawk knows better. In the wake of her husband’s inexplicable suicide—and the equally mysterious deaths of scores of other exemplary individuals—Jane picks up the trail of a secret cabal of powerful players who think themselves above the law and beyond punishment. But the ruthless people bent on hijacking America’s future for their own monstrous ends never banked on a highly trained FBI agent willing to go rogue—and become the nation’s most wanted fugitive—in order to derail their insidious plans to gain absolute power with a terrifying technological breakthrough. Driven by love for her lost husband and by fear for the five-year-old son she has sent into hiding, Jane Hawk has become an unstoppable predator. Those she is hunting will have nowhere to run when her shadow falls across them.

Author:

(Amazon) Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Elsa, and the enduring spirits of their goldens, Trixie and Anna.

I might also note that Goodreads has his average rating pegged at 3.91. Remember Goodreads ratings generally run slightly lower because of their own interpretation of star ratings, which is not the same as those of Amazon. Out of 2,054,464 ratings, he’s garnered 77,801 reviews and his books have been shelved over three million times. I figure that at around 3.8%. It’s difficult even for him to get reviews, huh?!)

©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

#AmReading – Outside the Wire by Patricia Smiley

#AmReading - Outside the Wire by Patricia SmileyWelcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget promoting blue skies, following seas, and the Goodreads (currently reading) list.

This week I am presenting Patricia Smiley and her sophomore A Pacific Homicide Series novel Outside the Wire . I received an ARC from the publisher Midnight Ink and Net Galley. The book will be released on November 8, 2017. Amazon classifies the novel as a mystery, thriller, suspense, and police procedural and at 288 pages will be a snap for most of you bibliophiles!

I will be presenting my review shortly, but in the meantime (from Amazon), here is the

Book Blurb: Homicide detective Davie Richards is called to an airport parking garage to investigate the shooting of a retired U.S. Army Ranger. Missing personal items point to a robbery, but Davie suspects a more sinister motive when she notices only one military dog tag around the Ranger’s neck. Could the murderer have taken the other as a memento of the kill? As Davie unravels baffling clues, one murder becomes two and a pattern begins to emerge. Racing to save the killer’s next victim, Davie is led to a shocking twist that challenges her physical and emotional endurance and tests the bonds of brotherhood and friendship.

Author Patricia SmileyAuthor: (Goodreads) Patricia Smiley is the author of four novels, featuring amateur sleuth Tucker Sinclair. PACIFIC HOMICIDE is the first in a new series about Los Angeles Police Department homicide detective Davie Richards and is based on her 15-year stint as a volunteer for the LAPD. The second book in the series OUTSIDE THE WIRE will debut on November 8, 2017. Patty’s short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and Two of the Deadliest, an anthology edited by Elizabeth George. She has taught writing classes at various conferences in the U.S. and Canada and served as the vice president of the Southern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America and as president of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles. Patty lives in Los Angeles where she is working on the third book in the Pacific Homicide series. Check out her book here. ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

#ThrowbackThursday – Author Oak Anderson – Book Review

#ThrowbackThursday on It's Book Life blogRenee began the Throwback Thursday meme on her blog, “It’s Book Talk” to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Sounded like a good reason to join! My TT posts will not come from current ARCs or new releases. Means I’ll be going back over some of my oldies but goodies, my favorite authors, and some of my favorite stories from authors you might not have previously experienced. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out.

This week I am highlighting another terrific Amazon #1 bestselling author, Oak Anderson. Mr. Anderson came up with a unique premise; at least it certainly was to me back in 2014 when I read Take One With You. He has since released About Face: TOWY Episode #1 (Take One With You), a short story, May 1, 2015.

Originally posted July 29, 2014

Book Blurb: “Charlie and Sarah, two disaffected teens dealing with depression, meet in an online chatroom and soon hatch a plan to bring meaning to their lives by encouraging other despondent individuals to help eradicate the “scum of society”, such as pedophiles and rapists who have escaped justice. Anyone determined to commit suicide is urged to first kill someone who “got away with it” before taking their own life. Why not, they ask, “take one with you?”…. “Take One With You is a unique crime thriller/millennial love story that poses the question: If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, would you kill someone tonight? Someone who had done something terrible. Someone who deserved to die. If so, who would it be? If you wouldn’t go that far, what about your neighbor? Your friend? Your enemy? Who draws the line? Who decides who lives and who dies? And what if we all began to take justice into our own hands?” Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – Author Oak Anderson – Book Review”

#ThrowbackThursday – Author Alex Lukeman – Book Review

#ThrowbackThursday on It's Book Life blogRenee began the Throwback Thursday meme on her blog, It’s Book Talk to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Sounded like a good reason to join! My TT posts will not come from current ARCs or new releases. Means I’ll be going back over some of my oldies from Goodreads, my favorite authors, and some of my favorite stories from authors you might not have previously experienced. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out.

This week I am highlighting another prolific series author, Alex Lukeman. Mr. Lukeman likes Barbados rum, fast old motorcycles and playing guitar. He writes action-adventure thrillers. There are 15 in the Project series with Solomon’s Gold #15 just released July 19, 2017. The series project features a small, elite counter-terrorism unit, answerable to no one but the president. This series will take you to all parts of the world and you’ll learn to love the dynamic, seriously talented and experienced fully-fleshed characters. Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – Author Alex Lukeman – Book Review”

How to Get on BookBub–and Why You Should

Bookbub ScrreenshotWhen you ran a Goodreads Giveaway, did it work the way you wanted? Lots of TBR’s and a few winners. Did you get good reviews from your winners? Any reviews? Residual sales? I like Goodreads. There are a number of reasons it’s an amazing place to open an account and promote a presence.

BookBub logoBut have you considered BookBub? What does it take to get a book listed on BookBub? It is probably the most expensive marketing site out there–but that may be because it’s worth it. It is the most successful book promotion site for authors (or publishers) in the world, and the 2,230th most visited website in the US alone. Continue reading “How to Get on BookBub–and Why You Should”

The Absolute Definitive List of the Top Ten Best Selling Genres

Popularity of Historical Novel by CenturyApparently, it is impossible to find one absolute definitive list of the top ten best selling genres anywhere–but can you find a list with 150? Yes, if you know where to look!

There are SOOO many variables out there from website to website. What is the focus? Is it hardback fiction, hardback non-fiction, paperback, or ebook? Are you asking the New York Times, USA Today, or Amazon? I recently wrote an article regarding Historical Fiction, and alluded to that genre’s sub-genres. This week I went looking for where the Historical Fiction genre related to all the others. See below for the breakdown. Continue reading “The Absolute Definitive List of the Top Ten Best Selling Genres”

Seven Major Sources of Book Reviewers

According to The Huffington Post, who cited Bowker numbers, the number of new books published each day in the US is now up to 3,500. That’s 3,500 Each Day!

BooksThis, according to Bowker, who issues ISBN numbers, does not include eBooks that are published without benefit of an ISBN number. Holy cow! Can it really be more than 1.2 million per year? Last I read somewhere, the count was 750,000/yr and I thought that was staggering! If you are a newly published author, how do you even begin to compete with those numbers? Everyone points to getting book reviews. I’ve covered that topic before–it’s still relevant.

Buried in Books!And according to the Huffington Post, Amazon calls the reviews “Social Proof.” Maybe so, but you can buy reviews, and I’m not talking about the reputable sites that receives a submission and returns an “unbiased” opinion–such as Kirkus. Kirkus is well known and wields some influence, often turning a five-star rating into gold. Still, whether the source is Amazon or Goodreads, I am getting a lot of review requests, many of which have obviously not scanned my Submission Guide. Continue reading “Seven Major Sources of Book Reviewers”

Twelve Points for Review Submission

Most new Indie authors believe reviews are the make or break of a book and aggressively pursue them. There are numerous articles on the algorithm Amazon uses to determine Best Sellers Rank. While it is generally considered to be reviews that help to get you to the top of the pack, it isn’t, according to what I’ve read. Amazon won’t disclose their algorithm, but will readily agree that good reviews do seem to help drive sales, which IS the major contributory factor in Best Sellers Rank.

ReviewsI’ve written before on reviews, discussing whether or not 300 five star ratings are really all bogus or not. Having written and posted over 100 reviews myself, I’ve always strived for honesty, striking a balance between what I liked about the book as well as what I didn’t. Most of the books I review are Indie books, although I’ve also read more than my share of best-selling authors in the past year and posted those reviews whether the author needed it or not.

Reviews can run anywhere from a short informal paragraph or an in-depth analysis of the book of more than 500 words detailing not only the description of the plot, but a critical view of how the topic was handled. Point being: Did you agree with the observations or challenge every posture? I’ve developed the following twelve points in the submission of my reviews. Continue reading “Twelve Points for Review Submission”

Dishing the Dirt on Reviews

This is the age of instant. We want it now. Whether food, internet, or books, it must move–quickly! I’m older. I can wait. I can give Burger King up to 5 minutes. I can give a book several chapters. I’m usually pretty careful regarding the book I choose to begin next–sometimes looking up Amazon reviews to see if the little descriptive blurb really tells the story. I’ve written before regarding Amazon Reviews. You generally want to read the good and the bad reviews. Somewhere therein lies the truth. love-hate

Having read a great book, I really enjoy creating a lively and honest review. Unfortunately, I’ve read a few lately that have not been so inspiring as depressing. The last I began was “The Hostage,” Book Four of the Sarah Roberts Thrillers by Jonas Saul. Having read one of his previous books, “The Warning,” Book Two, I noted the foul language, but apparently enjoyed the plot enough to award five stars. This time I couldn’t get past Chapter 3 with the description of a scene by the perp that turned my stomach. Yes, I know–it’s a thriller/horror novel. (I don’t like Freddy either.) Not usually one to abandon a book–I freed The Hostage. (Yuck) Continue reading “Dishing the Dirt on Reviews”

What Do You Love – Or Hate – To Read?

Day 5 of the Author Blog Challenge: What do you love – or hate – to read?

     Hate is a pretty strong word. While it may be bandied about fairly lightly at times such as the utterances of a strong-willed teenager to a parent, when you get down to it what do you really hate? Human circumstances such as cancer, world war, and terrorism come to mind. But books? Books just don’t fall under that category for me.

A quick viewing of “My Books” on Goodreads would seem to bear that out with a smattering across genres such as Jinx Swartz’s irreverent but fun romps out to sea with her 42′ yacht while she’s solving the latest mystery as the most hip, hardest drinking, sharpest tack in the engineering drawer. Or the Alex Lukeman or Bob Mayer books of black op or military prowess. There are auto-biographies, biographies, memoirs, fiction books about the civil war and non-fiction books about WWII. Historical fiction (obviously a fav) and books about autism. Books about combining plants to achieve color splashes and books about animals (especially love dog books). Caught in the middle of a good page turner, I’ve certainly been known to burn the midnight oil! Blue Moon

There’s YA Fantasy, Sci-Fi, thrillers, and books on social problems and remedies, travelogues, life transitions, American heritage and religious controversy (“30 Pieces of Silver” by Carolyn McCray presented an interesting theory).

So thinking it pretty much comes down to one negative for me and that is the length of the narrative. I have a rather limited time that can be devoted to reading–and one really LONG book will rob time from reading two or three. Not a matter of trading quality for quantity–some have belabored the same premise over and over. That makes for a very long book, not necessarily a good one.

No, maybe hate is too strong a word for that, too. I don’t hate an overly long book–but looking at the length of a 700 page book may have me estimating two others I could read in the meantime. Then maybe avoidance would be the more appropriate description. But looking at that list of books, what have I missed?

Virginia Williams

Can You Expect Success If You’re Mentor-less?

DAY 4 PROMPT: Who are your writing role models? Whose writing has most influenced you? Who are your writing mentors?

Can You Expect Success If You’re Mentor-less?

I don’t know if you can find success without having a mentor, but totally agree with Patrick Hodges of the Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion Meetup who wrote yesterday regarding the value of beta readers. Having tried that and being on the giving end of an review swap without the reciprocal receiving end, he’s right in that it has to be people you trust to read your work before it hits the Internet.” Fortunately, I did find one on Goodreads willing to perform that task for the next book, although I’m somewhat reluctant to trade a review of my 168 page historical anthology for his 637 page telepathy, telekinesis, and teleportation (sci-fi fantasy) odyssey. The spirit is willing but the eyes are weak!

Caribbean Gold

Okay, I have another Goodreads buddy who has read it and willing to enter a review, but hasn’t yet performed “beta” duties. I absolutely love his work, however, and have read, rated, and reviewed a pre-release for him–Michael Reisig. He would constitute what for me is a role model. The description of his characters leaves you smelling the sweat or feeling the tension, seeing the terror in their eyes–wide with shock. And the way his characters hold and exhibit their respect for each other is a delight, often felt, impossible for most to actually put into words. The scenes are riveting, whether 300 years ago or 40, on the back of an ox on in a Beechcraft skimming the waters of the Caribbean at sunrise. He has written the “Road to Key West” series, “Hawks of Kamalon” among others, but my favorites were “The Treasure of Tortuga” and the Treasure of Time”.

Somewhere between my musings and his mind-blowing, page-turning sagas lies a real artist. Would that I could attain somewhere near that.