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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North & South

It’s a movie review today!! 🙂

Margaret Hale is a sophisticated young woman from the south. The daughter of a clergyman, she is happy in her home when suddenly her father decides that the best thing for his family is to move them from their beautiful home in the south to a house smack in the middle of a dirty northern town surrounded by cotton mills. Margaret and her mother are not at all pleased by Mr. Hale’s decision and Margaret is most certainly not pleased with her surroundings or the people she now has to live with, especially not the stern Mr. Thornton, the man who runs a local mill.

John Thornton’s childhood was a tragic one, especially when it comes to the circumstances of his father’s death. He’s a man who doesn’t take chances, no matter how certain a gamble might be. When the Hale’s come to live in Milton, Thornton quickly befriends Mr. Hale and endures the disdain of his daughter Margaret. But the longer he’s around the young woman who could obviously care less about him, the more he falls in love with her.

When Margaret puts herself in danger to protect John Thornton, everyone assumes that she’s fallen in love with him. But even thought he hopes, John Thornton can’t believe that such a woman as Margaret Hale could care for him. But nevertheless he’s going to make his feelings known…but what will Margaret’s answer be?

North & South is an amazing mini-series. Margaret Hale and John Thornton’s story was captivating, exciting and heartwarming. Margaret suffers much in this story, but it makes her an even better person by the time the story reaches its conclusion. She develops a friendship with Bessy, a young mill worker’s daughter who is terminally ill because of the cotton she inhaled working in the mills. My review certainly doesn’t do this mini-series justice. Once you start with episode one, you won’t be able to stop until you finish the last episode.

Now, here’s something to look forward to. I’ve yet to finish the book, so be looking for my review comparing the book to the movie! I’m looking forward to finishing the book and giving a comparison. 🙂

If you’ve not seen North & South than you’re missing out on a phenomenal story. I’d say it’s the best love story since Pride & Prejudice and that’s saying a lot! So stop wasting time and go watch North & South now!!!

Coming Soon: When the woman he loves puts his entire family in danger and causes a tragedy that sends him reeling over the edge, will Colton be able to forgive her and love her even more? Look for my review of Digitalis, by Ronie Kendig, soon!!

To Honor a Vow

Emma Malloy has lived with her scars, on the inside and out, for years. Despite everything her husband Rory put her through, she has honored the vow she made to him as his wife, despite the fact that she ran away from Ireland and him to live in Boston. She has relied on her faith to get her through, and on her best friend Charity Dennehy, without whom she never would have escaped the man who scarred her face forever. But now Emma is faced with a challenge…the challenge of growing feelings for Charity’s brother Sean O’Connor. Loving Sean would destroy them both…because Emma will never forsake the vow she made to Rory.

In Julie Lessman’s latest novel A Heart Revealed we journey through one of the greatest trials of all…the trial of forbidden love.

Sean O’Connor has sworn to remain a bachelor for the rest of his life, but Rose Kelly is determined to keep that from happening. Young Rose has been in love with him since she was just a girl and Sean has avoided her as much as possible, even though he works in her father’s store. When Rose’s forward behavior gets Sean fired, he’s in desperate need of a job. But when Charity suggests to Emma that her brother come and work at the Dennehy’s store, where Emma is the manager, Emma hesitates for a split second. She’s seen a side of Sean that she never wanted to see. She’s seen a rage in him that reminds her much too much of her husband Rory and that frightens her. Sean was always like a brother, they were always close…but now she doesn’t know if she can trust him.

Sean knows that he’s lost Emma’s trust and he hopes he can rebuild it. But the problem is that Emma relies so much on God and he hardly speaks to Him anymore. After what he went through during the war he has trouble trusting that God truly cares and is in control. To make matters worse, Rose Kelly is still pursuing him and Sean finds himself tempted…in all the wrong ways.

Emma encourages Sean to give Rose a chance…especially when she starts having strange feelings when she’s around the handsome Irishman. Love for a man is forbidden because of her vow. She won’t forsake that vow, she won’t allow herself to love Sean O’Connor as long as Rory Malloy draws breath. It’s just not an option.

But when Sean also starts to feel more for Emma than just friendship, they both face a challenge that neither one of them expected. How can one deny a love so strong? A love that is rooted deep by the bond of friendship? They are now fighting a war in their hearts that could very well break them both.

A Heart Revealed is undoubtedly my most favorite of Julie Lessman’s books! She took two of my favorite characters and gave them one of the greatest tests God could give any of His children. Emma and Sean fall in love. And yet they can’t do anything about it because Emma still wears Rory’s ring on her finger. God tests their hearts, especially Sean’s, by giving setting the gift of love just out of their reach. This story was heartbreaking, at best, and yet as you read you still pray and hope that somehow these two will be given the chance at a happy ending…together.

As Emma and Sean deny their love for each other, another test arrives…in the form of Rory Malloy who claims to be a changed man after the death of the son he had with another woman. Will Emma believe that her abusive husband is a changed man and return with him to Ireland? Will Sean be able to let her go if that’s the choice she’s determined to make? Or will God step in and show them both the truth…and give them both a second chance at happiness?

This is most definitely a five star book! Julie Lessman has written yet another winner and I can hardly wait for the last book of her Winds of Change series!

Coming Soon: She’s a search and rescue pilot…he’s a U.S. Marshal reeling from a recent tragedy…they’re two little girls tortured by the evil monsters of the world…will Brannon and Roark be able to work together to save two innocent girls from the clutches of evil? Look for my review of Deliver Us From Evil, by Robin Caroll, soon!!

Happily Ever After

Lizzie O’Connor has fallen hopelessly in love with John Brady, but Brady has always looked on her as a little sister and refuses to see her as anything more. A man who wrestles with the demons from his past, Brady is determined not to fall in love with his best friend’s sister-in-law, hoping instead to remain close friends with her. But Lizzie is a determined young woman, out to get the man of her dreams and a happily ever after that comes right out of one of her novels. In Julie Lessman’s A Passion Denied, we take a lesson in the power of forgiveness.

Lizzie will do anything to make John Brady see her as a woman, not a little girl and certainly not his little sister. With the help of her conniving sister Charity and the gentle advice of her sweet sister Faith, she sets out to get her man and poor Brady is completely unprepared for what she’s about to dish out. But when every attempt seems to fail miserably, Lizzie starts to give up all hope of winning the heart of the man who’s held hers in the palm of his hand for years. Even when she starts going out with a different young man, who’s proprieties are quite different from Brady’s, Brady doesn’t seem to be jealous. Heart breaking more times than she cares to count, she starts to wonder if perhaps she should forget about Brady.

Brady has blinded himself to the woman Lizzie has become on purpose. She deserves better than him, he’s sure. She’s smart, beautiful and will make some man very happy one day. Just not him. But what she doesn’t know is that he is falling in love with her and everyone can see it…except him. Seeking advice from his friend, Father Mac, Brady starts to discover that it’s his past and his pride that’s holding him back from loving Lizzie. But than trouble arrives.

Michael Brady looks almost exactly like his brother and one night, when Lizzie shows up at Brady’s door upset, she is completely fooled by him. Lizzie soon realizes her mistake and is embarrassed and once again heartbroken because of what Michael had led her to believe. But then something strange starts to happen…Michael starts to show an interest and Lizzie begins to fall for his charms, something that Brady knows is dangerous. Michael will only hurt Lizzie, he’s sure, but how can he–a man who’s hurt her multiple times himself–convince her that seeing Michael is wrong?

As Brady starts to let the past back in, with Michael’s help, he starts to realize that forgiving himself is the key to opening his heart to Lizzie. But the problem is, will Lizzie’s love for him be able to strengthen her and enable her to forgive him when she finds out the truth?

 A Passion Denied is probably my favorite of the Daughters of Boston series. Lizzie, like me, is a bookworm who is searching for her happily ever after. But what she starts to come to realize is that not all stories end with happily ever after. She so desperately wants Brady to be her knight in shining armor. He’s the godliest man she knows and her own faith has been strengthened over the years because of his example. In her eyes he’s flawless, sinless. He’s perfection itself. So when the sins of his past are revealed, Lizzie is shocked and hurt all over again.

A Michael makes his move, determined to claim Lizzie as his wife and destroy Brady once and for all, Lizzie comes to a fork in the road. If she can’t have Brady, should she choose Michael?

Brady is in love with her, but is he too late? Has his brother beat him and taken away the love of his life?

Can Lizzie take the sins of Brady’s past and find it in her heart to forgive him? Or will she turn her back on him, unable to see past what he did and find a different life with another man?

This book was an incredible story about forgiveness and how love conquers all and never fails. I loved this story. Lizzie and Brady are in my group of #1 couples. 😉 Their faith and love is a beautiful example of what all of us should strive to find. If you’ve read the first two books of the Daughters of Boston series and loved them as much as I did, then you probably are just dying to start A Passion Denied.

Stop wasting time! You don’t want to miss this last book of the Daughters of Boston series! Trust me, it will leave you wanting to move on to A Hope Undaunted. These books leave you craving more and will also have you shedding tears at the thought of the O’Connor family stories coming to an end.

Coming Soon: He’s sworn to remain a bachelor for the rest of his life…she’s holding tight to a vow she made in her youth to an abusive husband…will Sean and Emma remain strong and deny their feelings for each other? Look for my review of A Heart Revealed, by Julie Lessman, soon!!

The Love of a Lifetime

Ada has loved deeply in her young life, only to have her heart broken. Now she finds herself alone, with nothing, leaving her rich life in Boston to be a companion to an old lady in Hickory Ridge, Tennessee. Little does she know that a life of happiness, contentment, yes and even love awaits her there. In Dorothy Love’s novel Beyond All Measure we are introduced to two people who believe that God has abandoned them, but who are about to learn that He never leaves us, even in our darkest hour.

Ada Wentworth only plans to stay in Hickory Ridge as Wyatt Caldwell’s aunt’s companion until she has enough money to establish a millinery shop. She finds Hickory Ridge to be a charming little southern town, but as a northerner, she knows that she could never fit in here, especially so soon after the war. Prejudice and anger over the loss the south suffered is still rearing its ugly head, and she knows that there could be more challenges in this town besides the dangerously handsome nephew and the headstrong aunt she is to be faced with every day.

Wyatt Caldwell is the local lumber mill owner and no doubt the handsomest, kindest man in Hickory Ridge. But when Ada realizes that he believes Providence brought her to town…and into his life…she shies away. How can she trust after all the hurt she’s been through? How can she let her guard down and allow another man into her heart? What if he betrays her, like the two men she loved most in her life already have? Besides, Wyatt has a dream of his own that doesn’t seem to leave any room for her millinery shop and is far away from Hickory Ridge and Boston both.

But will the wall around Ada’s heart keep her from finding the love of a lifetime?

Beyond All Measure was a heartwarming journey of love, faith and trust. As Ada not only struggles with her feelings for Wyatt and the town’s disdain for anyone coming from the northern states, she also befriends a young orphan girl named Sophie who is shunned by the townspeople because one of her parent’s was a negro. Ada’s kindness towards the negroes is repaid with hatred from the townspeople, a hatred that places Ada in danger.

Will Ada open her heart to Wyatt? Or will she leave as she always planned, turning her back on the man who loves her and the God who loves her more?

I loved this story, and it definitely deserves five stars! 🙂

Coming Soon: Lizzie has always loved Brady and dreams of a happily ever after that will come right out of one of her novels…but Brady is determined not to love the young woman he’s thought of as a little sister since she was just a girl. Look for my review of A Passion Denied, by Julie Lessman, soon!!

Charming Charity

Charity O’Connor always gets what she wants…until she falls in love with Mitch Dennehy. Her charms, her flirtations and even her actions don’t turn that man’s head and who can blame him? She burned him once, destroying the perfect relationship he had with her sister, and he won’t let her hurt him again. No, he’ll hate Charity forever…or so he thinks. In Julie Lessman’s A Passion Redeemed, we find out the truth of God’s love through terrible heartache and tragedy, two things that Charity O’Connor must suffer through before her eyes and heart are opened to God.

Charity O’Connor wants Mitch Dennehy, a dangerously handsome man who is sixteen years her senior. She could have any man in the world, but she’s chosen Mitch, her sister Faith’s ex-fiance. But Mitch has chosen to hate her forever after she put a dent in his relationship with Faith that eventually led to them breaking off their engagement for good. Now Charity, poor desperate Charity who is needy for a man’s love, will do anything to get Mitch Dennehy under her thumb…even if it means dating Mitch’s enemy, Rigan Gallagher, a man who only wants one thing from her.

Mitch Dennehy is furious to see that Rigan has a hold on Charity. Jealousy and hatred rear its ugly head, but he’s determined not to fall in love with Charity O’Connor. But she is Faith’s sister, and he would do anything for Faith…even keep Charity safe. But how can he protect her from Rigan without telling her the reason for his hatred towards the monster she’s now dating? Mitch wants nothing to do with either of them. No, he intends to marry Kathleen, a woman he hurt many years ago. He won’t hurt her again, he decides…but the pull of Charity’s charms, beauty and flirtations are almost too much for him to bear.

Charity’s made a deal with Rigan. He understands that the only reason they’re in this so-called ‘relationship’ is to get Mitch’s attention…doesn’t he? After a while, she’s not so sure anymore. And when Mitch makes it clear that he intends to marry Kathleen, Charity makes it clear that she intends to marry Rigan! Before she knows it, a ring is on her finger and she’s meeting his family…but her troubles have only just begun.

In A Passion Redeemed, we look into the life of a lost young woman, who is really still a scarred little girl inside. Charity O’Connor was treated in an unforgivable manner as a child by an uncle, a man she was supposed to trust, and even though she blocked out the memory, the hatred and scars remained. But she’d turned it against her father, and her older sister Faith. She hated Faith, because she thought Faith had stolen her father’s love and she rejected her father because he wasn’t around to protect her when she needed him the most. Because he was so wrapped up in Faith to notice the trauma and scars that his beautiful six-year-old Charity was struggling through. She had to face those things alone, and that wasn’t right. It scarred her heart and her mind forever. Charity is desperate, needy for a man to love her, but her attempts to make Mitch that man just lead her to more pain and heartbreak. We walk with Charity down a road that leads her first to destruction…and then right into God’s safe, loving embrace.

This story was so beautiful it nearly beat A Passion Most Pure as number 1 on my book list! Never have I read a book where the author takes her character down a road like this. Things just kept getting worse and worse for Charity before they got better. Charity’s relationship with Rigan takes a horrific turn that sends her on a boat back to Boston with Mitch as her companion, but her troubles don’t end there as she continues to deceive Mitch in order to make him her husband. But then she nearly loses him again forever…and Rigan isn’t through getting what he wants from her.

Charity’s pain and everything she suffers before, and even after, she embraces Christ as her Savior and Lord, is something you experience with her. Off of every page, in every sentence, you feel her pain, you see the sweet, innocent child in her that she’s hidden down deep and you just want to hold her. You yourself want to reach out to her and try to make her see the truth, love, forgiveness and mercy that God offers her. Charity is a lost soul who’s dug herself into so deep a hole that only God can reach in and pull her out.

This book was a journey towards salvation and freedom. One that Charity had to take, one way or another. Heartbreaking, yes, frightening, most definitely…but Charity proves herself to be stronger than anyone thought she was. Throughout this book you know that God is calling out to her with open arms, and once again we see just how amazing a writer Julie Lessman is. Never before have I read a book like this, a book only Julie could write! She brings the O’Connor family to life in ways that no other writer has ever brought characters to life for me. And I’m sure by now you’ve realized that she’s my favorite author. 😉

A Passion Redeemed also gets steamy more than once. Charity’s need for Mitch to love her is twisted because she measures how much a man loves her by how much attention she gets from him. She uses her outward beauty to attract men, to lure them and that’s just another lesson she learns throughout the book. It’s not just her outward beauty that counts…its the beauty inside that will really win Mitch’s heart.

So, will Mitch be able to reach into the depths of his heart and forgive Charity for deceiving him over and over again? And will Charity finally place all her troubles and sins in God’s hands, allowing Him to guide her through the rest of her life?

If you’ve read A Passion Most Pure then you’re already much too involved with Charity to leave her story hanging! Read A Passion Redeemed, you won’t regret it and you’ll come to love her as much as you love Faith. 🙂

Coming Soon: Lizzie has always loved Brady and dreams of a happily ever after that will come right out of one of her novels…but Brady is determined not to love the young woman he’s thought of as a little sister since she was just a girl. Look for my review of A Passion Denied, by Julie Lessman, soon!!

Nightshade

Former Navy SEAL Max Jacobs can’t control his anger after returning home from active duty overseas. But it’s his anger that is pushing his wife, Sydney, away. In Ronie Kendig’s amazing novel, Nightshade, we go on a journey that eventually leads us to faith and hope.

Sydney Jacobs is afraid of her own husband. Max is no longer the man she married. Yes, he always had a temper, but this is worse. But even as she gets her restraining order and eventually plans to file for divorce, her heart is breaking. She knows that her Max is still somewhere deep down inside of him, but she can’t live like this anymore. She loves her husband, she doesn’t want to give him up, but what choice does she have? Even when she discovers that she’s pregnant, how is she supposed to entrust Max with her life as well as their child’s?

Max is devastated when Sydney files the restraining order and a petition for divorce. But then a mysterious man appears and makes him an offer. He’s putting together a group, recycling veterans like Max into a black-ops group known as Nightshade. Max, in need of purpose, he answers the call of duty and joins the group where he discovers friends from the least likely of places. Comrades in arms that become his brothers. They’d do anything for him, and he for them. But even as the bonds form, and the team becomes a real and true team, trouble is lurking.

When someone makes a violent move against Sydney, Max nearly goes wild with rage. But then he discovers why this move was made. Sydney is the reporter trying to track down Nightshade. The only trouble? If anyone finds out about Nightshade then each member of the team’s lives are forfeited.

Sydney doesn’t understand the danger she’s put Max in, Max is furious at his superiors for trying to kill his wife–whom he doesn’t realize is pregnant.

When I first picked up Nightshade I wasn’t so sure I would like it. I love war related books and movies, but this one for some reason didn’t seem to grab me. Let me tell you, the description on the back cover doesn’t do this novel justice! Once started, I couldn’t stop. This book shows in full force the bond between brothers in arms, the love that binds a husband and wife together no matter what and the great sacrifice of missionaries overseas suffer just to bring the truth of God’s love to a pagan nation. To say that this book was amazing, is an understatement. It was phenomenal!

When the team is called upon to rescue a missionary family from a rebel infested jungle, Max is forced to make a choice. The missionary family or his wife, who is miles away and catching up with Nightshade? Will Sydney and her unborn baby live to see the change in Max? Will Max give up his place on the team just to save his wife? Will he let go of all the anger inside of him…for love?

Nightshade is a must-read, no doubts about it!

Coming Soon: Charity is determined to get the man of her dreams…unfortunately he’s decided to hate her forever. Look for my review of A Passion Redeemed, by Julie Lessman, soon!!