Why Do Reviews Matter?

Good Morning everyone!

Can you believe April is almost over? A few more days and we’ll be entering May; almost halfway through the year already! This made me realize that my debut novel, The Lost Generation: A Novel of World War I is almost SIX MONTHS OLD!!!!

Yet I also realized how little feedback I’ve gotten from readers. The feedback I have gotten is wonderful! I’m pleased with how well-received my book has been so far. But it truly hit me how difficult it is to get reviews on your book when you’re a new author. Your name isn’t out there the way you want it to be; people have heard of you, but because you’re so new, they’re not in much of a rush to read your book. They don’t know you; have never read anything else by you because this is your first book baby.

So why do reviews matter? Why is it so important for you, as a reader, to write a review on a book you liked? Maybe even on a book that wasn’t exactly your cup of tea, but that you think someone else might enjoy?

One very important thing is exposure.

Authors, especially new authors, desperately need exposure. We’re not authors because it pays well. Usually–especially for self-published authors–it doesn’t. We’re authors because we love to write. Stories are a part of us, and we can’t rest until they’re on the page. Reviews can break an author’s heart sometimes, but the amount of reviews is what matters more sometimes.

One thing I discovered when I became an author was that if I received 50 reviews on Amazon, my book would be listed in their newsletter, as well as other promotions. I was so excited about that! Then I realized that actually getting 50 reviews was going to be the hard part. An author’s job doesn’t stop when the book is finished and in print. Even when we think we’ve run out of promotional ideas, we don’t give up. We want our books to be a success. We worked so hard to write this story so we could share it and its lessons with the world.

Another thing I learned about reviews is they don’t have to be long and elaborate. I think that’s a common misconception about reviews. A lot of readers think that if they really, really liked a book, they need to write a long review to let people know exactly what it is they liked about it. I know that this opinion has made me put off writing a review on books I liked because, at the moment, I didn’t have the time for it. But putting it off means that I’m probably going to forget about it.

Reviews don’t need to be long. They can be as short as ‘I liked it’. This helps! It’s the amount of reviews that matter most, not necessarily the content. It also makes an author a better writer. Even if you didn’t care for my book, if you write your honest opinion, it can make me a better writer. 🙂

A lot of you have probably seen my call for reviews on my novel The Lost Generation. A lot of you may have even found it annoying how often I ask. But there is a reason, and promoting my book is also very hard. I do my best with my limited resources. Did you know there is more I could do? But promoting the way I’d like to costs money. So, basically, it’s up to me to grab every opportunity that comes my way for interviews, social media posts, etc. that don’t cost me.

But one way I can get my book promoted is if you help me out! The more reviews I get, the more my book will start popping up on websites. The more it will be recommended and seen.

So now, I’m going to make another request … 😉

If you’ve read my book, liked it (or even didn’t like it all that much but think someone else might), I’d love to hear your opinion!

Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

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The Last Song

Seventeen-year-old Ronnie Miller couldn’t be more displeased that her mother is sending her and her little brother Jonah to their dad’s home for the summer. Her life was turned completely upside down when her parent’s divorced and ever since she has blamed her dad for the failure of the marriage and for not being there for her when she needed him. Despite her incredible talent playing the piano, Ronnie refuses to even look at an instrument much yet touch it. But what she never expects when she goes to her dad’s for the summer is to meet a handsome, rich volleyball player, a messed up girl named Blaze and for her dad to quietly give her all the love he has for her in his heart. All of these things work together to make this a summer that Ronnie will never forget.

The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks, was a beautiful story about growing up, discovering who you are and reaching out to the presence of God, even when He seems so far out of reach. This is the second novel by Mr. Sparks that I’ve read, and I was not disappointed.

I’ll admit, I watched the movie before I read the book so I kinda, sorta already knew that I was going to give this book 5 stars. 😉 But let me tell you…a book certainly enhances characters in ways that a movie never can. Nicholas Sparks gave me a whole new perspective of the story that will have me looking at each character a different way when I watch the movie again. Not to say that the movie didn’t portray the character’s personalities well, but in a book you get to hear their thoughts and your understanding of minor characters is enhanced.

Ronnie and Will’s love story was simply perfect. Her father’s journey, reaching out to God’s presence and discovering that He’s *everywhere*, not just here and there, was beautiful. The way Nicholas Sparks weaved religious themes into the book was refreshing and added to the general beauty of the story. And Jonah never failed to bring a grin to my face, of course. Marcus was ten times creepier in this than he was in the movie and the differences between book and movie didn’t disappoint me. I love them both equally, neither variation of the story better than the other in my opinion.

Ronnie comes to her dad’s home, determined to be miserable. But throughout her visit, her father shows her nothing but kindness. Even when Ronnie is accused of a crime she didn’t commit, her father stands by her and tells her that he believes in her and loves her no matter what. When Ronnie meets Will, everything changes. She’s wary of the handsome volleyball player who also turns out to be a rich boy, the kind of boy Ronnie has always stayed away from. But Will is different and she finds herself falling for him. But when tragedy strikes Ronnie’s family, will it bind them together, ever stronger? Or will it tear them apart?

There were tears flowing down my cheeks as this book neared it’s conclusion. A bad time to forget to have a box of tissues handy, right? Because the last thing I wanted to do was set this book down to run to the other room for tissues! The Last Song is a wonderful coming of age/love story that I will definitely read again in the future.

the last song

Coming Soon: She’s looking to reclaim her fortune…he is the catch of the season and looking to keep from being snared in a marriage…will these two members of New York society end up head over heels for each other? Look for my review of A Change of Fortune, by Jen Turano, soon!!

One Choice Can Transform You

In Beatrice ‘Tris’ Prior’s world, society is divided into five factions. Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Tris was born into the Abnegation faction. But is she truly selfless? She believes she is, she believes that she could remain there for the rest of her life. But the day she must choose whether to stay or leave Abnegation arrives and the results of her test leave her confused. When Tris makes her choice, it changes everything. Her choice decides her friends and her enemies. Her choice decides her beliefs and her loyalties. Once the choice is made…there is no going back.

Divergent by Veronica Roth is the kind of book that keeps people up at night. And I don’t mean that in the ‘it was scary’ way, I mean that in the ‘it was so fantastic I couldn’t put it down!’ way. The night I first started reading Divergent, when I realized it was way after midnight and I had to get some sleep sometime, I was forced to put this amazing book down and trust me, that was not an easy thing to do! Veronica Roth’s debut novel will captivate you, and keep you reading until your fingers ache from holding the book for so long in one sitting.

Beatrice Prior has been raised in the faction called Abnegation. She has been raised by selfless parents and the virtue of being selfless has been ingrained in her upbringing since she was a baby. But Beatrice has never been like her parents or her brother. Selflessness seems to come so easily to them. But Beatrice, deep down in her heart, has always desired more. She is not as restrained as her brother, she does not commit acts of selflessness without a second thought, like Caleb and her parents do. Beatrice struggles between defiance and guilt over this fact and when she turns sixteen, when the time for her to choose which faction she is to become a part of for the rest of her life approaches…Beatrice finds herself torn between two very different ways of life.

Divergent is based in a world where all people must choose who and what they want to be for the rest of their lives when they turn sixteen, even if it means leaving behind their families. When the choice is made, they are controlled by the rules of their new faction. They are governed by either honesty, selflessness, bravery, peacefulness or intelligence. This keeps the factions under control. But what happens when there are some who cannot be controlled? When there are some who are more than just brave, honest, selfless, peaceful or intelligent? What happens, when there are some…who can and choose to be all of those things?

Divergent was a gripping tale of loyalty, bravery, love and corruption. Veronica Roth did an excellent job of weaving a sweet love story between Tris and Four throughout the book and, honestly, there were moments when I kept thinking about The Hunger Games. The competition in Tris’s faction was fierce, the evil intent of some of the other initiates chilling, reminding me of moments from The Hunger Games. Anything that I can compare to The Hunger Games, I’m pretty much guaranteed to like. Tris was an excellent character, torn between her selfless upbringing and her new feelings of freedom in the faction she chooses. The ending was heartbreaking and definitely can be called a cliffhanger. Divergent was simply phenomenal and I am very much looking forward to getting my hands on the next book, Insurgent!

divergent

Coming Soon: When her mother decides to send her to her dad’s home for the summer, Ronnie couldn’t be more displeased…but a handsome volleyball player, a girl named Blaze and her father’s unwavering love conspire to make it a summer she will never forget. Look for my review of The Last Song, by Nicholas Sparks, soon!!

Rediscovering Love

There are spoilers below:

Katie has recently moved to Southport and harbors a terrible secret. But her sudden arrival to the small town where nothing happens raises questions that Katie is not at all willing to answer. She is a beautiful, single woman who often withdraws into herself, hoping that she will be invisible to everyone she passes. But unforturnately, there are some people in Southport who are not going to let her become the invisible recluse she so wishes to be. This includes her friendly neighbor, Jo, and the handsome store owner, Alex and his two children.

Oh my. What can I say? This is the first Nicholas Sparks novel I have ever read, and it was absolutely amazing! In Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks, you will find yourself thrust into a story about grief, suffering, love and trust that will leave your head spinning and your heart thundering.

Safe Haven gives a heartbreaking, realistic view into the life of a woman who was married to an abusive husband. The story was absolutely compelling, captivating me from the very first page. We get a glimpse into the struggles of a woman trying to open her heart again to be able to trust and love once more. But Katie discovers that it is harder than it sounds, especially when she suspects that, at any moment, her husband could discover where she is. But with the support of her friend Jo, Katie decides to take a leap and finds herself swiftly falling in love with Alex.

Nicholas Sparks did such an incredible job developing these characters and truly connecting us to the inner turmoil of Katie’s heart. There were a few sexual moments in the book, but it was nothing graphic. But if you are sensitive to such implications and have strong convictions, then they might bother you more than they bother others. However, considering the situations of these scenes, I was quite effectively repulsed by what was happening and I’m certain that was the way Nicholas Sparks intended it to be.

Katie’s relationship with Alex is slow and sweet. We watch her grow from a woman, looking over her shoulder, terrified of who could come around the corner to a strong, trusting woman who discovers that running from what she fears isn’t always the answer. Facing what she fears, and protecting the people she loves, is more important than trying to hide. Seeing things from Alex’s perspective is also interesting. He’s a quiet, gentle man who sniffs out what makes Katie so scared almost from the beginning. But he doesn’t abandon her, instead he sticks by her side and chooses to help protect her. Their love story was gentle and beautiful, the type of love story that makes people sigh.

Safe Haven guides us through a journey of finding trust and rediscovering love. Nicholas Sparks characters leapt off the pages. He created a villain in Kevin that had shivers rushing up and down my back. I have never read a book where a madman was so strongly portrayed. Alex was the perfect hero and Jo…well, to understand how one comes to feel about Jo, one has to read the book. Let’s just say that, by the end, you love her as much as Katie does and you never see what’s coming.

I stayed up until midnight to finish this book, and it was so worth it. By the end there were tears in my eyes. I hope they did a good job with the movie, because now I definitely want to see it!

safe haven

Coming Soon: When her mother decides to send her to her dad’s home for the summer, Ronnie couldn’t be more displeased…but a handsome volleyball player, a girl named Blaze and her father’s unwavering love conspire to make it a summer she will never forget. Look for my review of The Last Song, by Nicholas Sparks, soon!!

Legend

Born into an elite family, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. From two very different worlds, June and Day never imagined that their paths would cross. But when June’s older brother, Metias, is killed Day immediately becomes the prime suspect and June sets out to avenge her brother.

Marie Lu has weaved a complex and corrupt republic in her phenomenal novel, Legend. In these pages you will find complex characters, a nation that has become corrupt, and a fight for survival like no other. Marie Lu has done exactly what I look for an author to do. She creates a personal connection to her characters that is sometimes hard to find in books. You will find yourself not only feeling for the characters, but feeling with the characters.

When I first started reading Legend I found it to be just a little bit slow. Now, that could very well be because I’d been reading a lot in this genre lately and needed to take a break from it. 😉 But after I got passed those slow bits, I found myself racing to finish this story. Marie Lu completely captivated me, drawing me into this broken down place that used to be the rich, beautiful city of Los Angeles.

When June’s older brother, Metias, is killed suddenly outside a hospital the legendary teenage criminal Day becomes the prime suspect. Blinded by her grief and rage, June accepts what she is told about the boy criminal and sets out to find him and bring him to justice for the murder of her brother, the only person she had left in this world. But finding Day could be harder than she thinks. No one has actually seen him, not really. No one knows what he looks like, where he hides…June will be starting her search completely blind.

Day knows only one thing. His brother Eden has been infected with the plague and he needs to get him medicine before it’s too late. But when he meets a beautiful young girl on the street who refuses to give her name, he’s intrigued. And attracted to her. Day finds himself letting his guard down with this girl and the attraction between them begins to turn into a fierce trust that is leading them down the road to love. But then he finds out who she really is….

Day and June were excellent characters. Both had big hearts and similar personalities, yet they lived on two very different sides of the street. June had a priveleged life. She wanted for nothing. She was a genius-child who had practically completed military college at the age of fifteen. Day is a clever criminal, wanted by all yet somehow he manages to rob banks, steal food, blow up air ships and give whatever he can back to his family all without getting caught.

It was an excellent mystery and enthralling world with blood-chilling interrogation scenes and heartbreaking moments as we watch both June and Day grieve for what they’ve lost. Suffice to say, I fell completely in love with Legend and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book! If you enjoy young adult, dystopia and mystery novels than you will definitely enjoy Legend.

legend

Coming Soon: She’s running for her life and takes refuge in a small town…he’s trying to care for his two children while attempting to move on from losing his wife…will Katie and Alex find the love they’ve both been looking for? Look for my review of Safe Haven, by Nicholas Sparks, soon!!

A Light in the Window

Marceline Murphy has returned to Boston and to her best friend Julie O’Rourke. The biggest problem in her life right now? The fact that she is still head over heels for Julie’s brother, Sam. But things are looking up as she and Julie plan the Christmas play for their church. But when Sam O’Rourke and Patrick O’Connor volunteer to help with the play and, not only that, but both seem to be vying for her attention, Marcy finds herself in bigger trouble than she anticipated.

Because one man stirs her heart, and the other her faith. How is she ever to choose between the two things that rule her soul?

One of the things I love about Julie Lessman is how she gets my stomach twisted into knots and my heart pounding so hard and my mouth smiling so big I think I’m about to explode any minute. That is exactly what she did to me in her eBook prequel A Light in the Window.

I have cherished every single novel about the O’Connor family. I went into this book, knowing exactly who was going to end up with who and yet my stomach still twisted up when Marcy and Sam were together! I almost started to doubt. I would think to myself, ‘Oh no, it’s all over, Marcy and Patrick will never be together!’ and then I’d go back laughing at myself.

This heartwarming story tested the boundaries of love, trust and faith. Patrick’s love for Marcy drove him to do incredible things. Sam’s love for Marcy was selfish and not based on faith and love for God. Marcy’s struggle throughout the book was so deeply felt and my heart broke with Patrick’s over and over again. But I loved how the ‘light in the window’ brought Marcy to the one she was meant to be with and led Patrick down the path that would lead to the greatest love he would ever know.

Like all of Julie Lessman’s stories, this one had me in tears closing in on the end. Knowing Marcy and Patrick’s story is so amazing!! Now, when I go back and read the Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change series over again (which I most definitely will!), I’ll be able to see Marcy and Patrick in a very new light. Knowing their story changes things. It makes their love even stronger and more faithful in my eyes. Thank you Julie Lessman for writing another phenomenal story! 🙂

a light in the window

Coming Soon: She’s out to avenge her brother’s death…he’s desperate to save his family from the plague…when they finally meet, will June and Day discover that they should actually be on the same side? Look for my review of Legend, by Marie Lu, soon!!

Eternal, Steadfast, Absolute Faith

Cassidy McClare leaves her home in Texas after a pretty boy fortune hunter jilts her. Heart broken, she goes to stay with her aunt and cousins for the summer, hoping that being with them will heal her heart. She never counted on meeting pretty boy Jamie MacKenna, who not only knocks her right off her feet at the train station, but is determined to charm and woo her into a courtship. But Cassie doesn’t know that Jamie has his reasons for wanting to court and oil heiress…and it’s not just because he’s falling for her!

Love at Any Cost by Julie Lessman was a beautiful example of handing over all of our struggles to God, putting our hearts, trust and faith in His hands and learning that no matter what troubles come our way, He will always be there with His perfect plan.

Cassidy McClare comes to San Francisco looking to forget the fortune hunter who jilted her and heal her heart in the warm, loving arms of her family.Jamie MacKenna wants nothing more than to marry well in order to provide a better life for his mother and sister, and to help get his sister the surgery she desperately needs. When Jamie meets the Texas oil heiress, Cassie McClare, he starts to believe that he can get love and money all in one package…until he finds out Cassie is probably poorer than he is.

You will find yourself swept into a whirlwind of passion, laughter and tension from the moment you open this book to the moment you shut it. From Cassie’s steadfast faith to her lovely relationship with her cousin, Allison McClare, to the love she tries to deny with Jamie. You will find yourself sitting on the edge of your seat, your heart pounding with worry and excitement. Will Jamie realize that loving Cassie is what matters, not whether she’s rich or poor? Will Cassie find it in her heart to forgive him? Can they both trust God to give them the desires of their hearts?

Oh my. Let me begin by saying that Julie Lessman is, and has been for quite awhile now, my favorite author ever!! And this book…OH MY! Putting this book down every time that I had to was painful! It was definitely lighter and funnier than her other books, which I adored because it separated the characters. At first I wondered if when I read about Cassidy, would it be like reading about Faith, or Charity or Lizzie, Katie, Emma and Annie. But it wasn’t! Cassidy was a whole new personality that I fell absolutely, positively in love with. And Jamie? Can all us girls say ‘swoon’? 😉

This book stole my heart in so many ways! The playful teasing and flirting between Cassie and Jamie, the light funny dialogue that had me laughing, not to mention the sweet yet steamy kissing scenes that never fail to bring a grin to my face. As Jamie and Cassie discover love, tension is thrown into the mix with the painful history that stands like a brick wall between Caitlyn McClare and Logan McClare. I refuse to give anything too important away, but those two are one of the many reasons I am now bouncing up and down, anxious to get my hands on the next book!!

Julie Lessman has once again weaved a tale of passionate love, unshakeable faith, and painful realities that are faced by each and every one of us every day. Releasing everything into God’s hands, especially the people you love so dearly and want to protect, can be a very difficult thing. But it is always the right and perfect thing to do. Once again, Julie has given me a story to cherish and has reminded us that every perfect love story always, without fail, has God at the center.

Thank you Julie, for your exquisite writing, your passion for romance but most importantly, your ability to put down on paper what we as weak human beings strive to achieve every day in our hearts. Eternal, steadfast, absolute faith in God.

Love At Any Cost

Coming Soon: She’s out to avenge her brother’s death…he’s desperate to save his family from the plague…when they finally meet, will June and Day discover that they should actually be on the same side? Look for my review of Legend, by Marie Lu, soon!!