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Book Award Contest & Podcast

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Pulse: Book One of the Zoya – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

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Kate Sander

Pulse by Kate Sander is a fantasy novel that offers everything from bloody battles to slow kindred romance. Through alternating narratives, the ultimate battle between the Melanthios and the cruel New King of Languado takes place, and readers are treated to a fully fleshed out world where power struggles take center stage, and strong-willed characters refuse to be stopped. 

Sander is not overly descriptive in her writing and yet her characters and the world slowly take form over the course of the novel. The inclusion of strong female characters in Queen Anita, Senka, and the tortuous Intelligence is refreshing, and Sander does not shy away from giving them vulnerabilities. There are well-choreographed battle scenes, quiet moments between lovers and the well-placed plot twists that will keep readers engaged. Senke is particularly interesting and—although she is mute due to torture—she is a remarkable character who is both protector and natural-born fighter. All of these features team up with clean prose, straightforward language and Sander’s ability to tell a good story. 

The one minor problem with Pulse is the alternative “coma narrative.”  The style reduces a phenomenal story to a clichéd “dream “plot, which in turn diminishes the power of the story. However, this is the first book in a series, and the twist at the end does encourage the reader to wonder how the coma patients Lizzie and Charles are connected to the world of Languado.

Overall, Pulse is a well-written story that deserves praise. It is full of seemingly-real characters, intrigue and back stabbing. Sander has written a great novel that is comparable to the action and strength of the Game of Thrones and Hunger Games series but stands on its own for its creativity and execution. 

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Feathers in the Wind – Entered in 2017 Book Award Contest

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Lynn Case

In Lynn Case’s Feathers in the Wind, Catherine is left heartbroken and widowed after the sudden death of her beloved husband, S.J. She does the best she can to move on, ultimately deciding to pursue her dream of owning a ranch in Wyoming. Soon after she moves to Wyoming, however, mysterious events begin to unfold. Cattle are being horrifically slaughtered, and a shadowy stranger is seen lurking around the perimeters of her land. She enlists the help of her ranch hands and a Native American chief to get to the bottom of this mystery, but she soon discovers that there might be more to these events- including S.J.’s death- than meets the eye.

Feathers in the Wind is a bit of a difficult book to read, largely because of its dire need of thorough editing. There was hardly a single sentence in the entire novel that didn’t contain some sort of error. Aside from that, the general narrative was also grossly inconsistent. Painfully slow in some areas and rushing through others, the pacing needs work. Also, the constant shifts in perspective and time frame grew to be confusing rather quickly.

These drawbacks are truly quite a shame, because it’s clear that Lynn Case had an interesting idea in her mind. The bare plot of Feathers in the Wind was intriguing and certainly holds a great deal of potential. It features a unique blend of mystery, drama, and western literature that seems rather promising. The story is there, but it’s not executed nearly as well as it could be. With some comprehensive editing and a bit of fine-tuning, Feathers in the Wind could be an excellent novel. It just needs a bit of help to get there.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Anima: Uncharted Souls – Entered in 2017 Book Award Contest

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Dudley Ellis

Dudley Ellis’ Anima: Uncharted Souls is a paranormal novel in which Melissa Apeeza finds herself in an awakening in an institution with little recognition of how she got there. However, Melissa is no ordinary 10-year-old girl; she posses the astral gift of telekinesis through sight, earning her the name ‘Melissa, Anima of Sight.’ She learns that she’s now a part of the ‘Knights of the Anima: Guardians who posses’ astral gifts.’ Melissa also learns she is not the only one with astral gifts, but that there is a community of people with outstanding astral gifts such as cloning, controlling and reversing feelings and incidents. After one of the older children in the institution rebels and uses his gift of fire to take down most of the institution, Melissa unites with four others who’ve survived the massacre and are now on the hunt for the devil-child who stirred up all of the trouble.

Anima: Uncharted Souls is a rather unsatisfactory ride through the imaginative mind of Dudley Ellis. While it is an interesting genre, Ellis’ execution fell completely flat with incomplete thoughts and poorly described scenes and characters. The poor writing style does very little to grasp the reader’s attention and draw them into what could have been a thrilling paranormal novel. There are some very wide gaps and far too unbelievable storylines in the novel which can become confusing- such as a fairly incomplete background story of the main characters, the fast forwarding to years ahead within a matter of sentences, and the conveniently solved mysteries in the midst of chaos. While the genre is interesting, especially with the “Stranger Things” sensation at play, this book just doesn’t seem to do the genre justice.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Goddess – Entered in 2017 Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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R.J. Castille

Goddess by R.J. Castille is an erotic BDSM novel about Leila and her introduction to, mastery of, and adventures in the lifestyle. While she seems dull and submissive during the day, her life away from the office, as a domme named “Goddess,” commands respects and dedication from her submissive. However, she is put to the test when her strong-willed boss, Gordon Roth, enters her secretive world.

Castille’s writing style is simple yet descriptive. She manages to set up scenes, especially those in the Red Velvet room (a BDSM club), while still leaving space for the reader’s imagination. The story of Leila is more than BDSM; it explores the duality of people and how power plays exist in everyday life. That is not to suggest that the sex scenes are not hot and readers interested in the lifestyle will be met with familiar tropes and BDSM relationships.

The one problem with Goddess is that at times it can read like a “How to “guide on BDSM. While this will give curious first-time readers a chance to better understand BDSM, it could be better woven into the narrative without being so explicit. This not so much a weakness as it is a distraction from the plot.

Overall, Goddess is a novel that is steeped in the BDSM aesthetic. Through the character of Leila, readers are plunged into a world of lust, rich relationships, and tests of wills.  The plot is strong and, coupled with well-written sex scenes, makes a story worth lusting over.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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The Perfect Square – Entered in 2017 Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Isobel Blackthorn

In Isobel Blackthorn’s A Perfect Square, pianist Ginny moves back in with her mother after a particularly difficult break-up. Her mother, Harriet, is a secluded and eccentric artist with little time for her daughter’s wallowing. Disheartened by Ginny’s sadness, Harriet proposes a creative collaboration to lift her spirits, an exhibition pairing her art and her daughter’s music. Ginny reluctantly agrees to the project, unaware of the emotional renaissance in store for them. Meanwhile, another mother-daughter pair halfway across the world is enduring an eerily similar situation, perhaps connected in more ways than they might first believe.

A Perfect Square is not the ideal book for light, easy reading. On the contrary, it’s quite wordy, with complicated, winding phrases and ideas that can be difficult to follow. Though it’s certainly skillfully written, it’s rather dense. In fact, perhaps it is too much so. The separate, yet interconnected story lines, along with the constant jumping back and forth between past and present, made for an almost frustratingly intricate read. A Perfect Square has an aura of modernized classical literature about it, but at times, it just felt like it was trying too hard.

However, there is much to be appreciated in this novel. Isobel Blackthorn’s exploration of dysfunctional family relationships was particularly interesting and detailed. With a backdrop of artistic creativity, the whole of A Perfect Square had an almost mystical feel to it. This novel is a work of art in itself, albeit a more complicated one than the average reader might like.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Miriamne the Magdala – Entered in 2017 Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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JB Richards

In Miriamne the Magdala penned by JB Richards, we’re taken through the ‘lost years’ of Jesus or Yeshua as he’s known as in the novel. Richards introduces us to Miri, a 13-year-old girl who meets her mother’s cousin, Mary, and is introduced to Mary’s son, Yeshua. Yeshua is a gifted boy who feels he was put on this earth for a greater purpose, such as healing the sick and sharing his wisdom with those who would listen. Shortly after meeting, Miri and Yeshua fall deeply in love which shines through in many intimate moments but more so when Yeshua’s father passes. He finds Miri to be his only source of happiness during his darkest times. It doesn’t take long for Yeshua to ask Miri to be his wife and while Miri had wedding jitters as she came to the realization that Yeshua would soon be her husband, she truly loved him and went on to have a very beautiful wedding. While there was much love and adoration in all the crevices of the book, readers will run into the ups and downs of both Yeshua and Miri’s life – such as the familial relationships they each have with their siblings, their everyday lives outside of each other and the general quandaries of life.

JB Richards eloquently provides the reader with a well-researched historical-fiction which transports you to an ancient time without ever becoming too “preachy.” The characters Richards mentions throughout the novel fit perfectly into the biblical timeline, leaving almost nothing to question. Richards’ description of a young Yeshua – “a thin boy, with sun-bronzed skin, light chestnut-colored eyes, high cheekbones, and two vertical dimples on his cheeks,” brings on the visualization of the Jesus we’re used to seeing in churches and crosses, which makes the novel very easy to picture. Richards also makes Miri and Yeshua very loveable as individuals so you find yourself falling in love with the characters and their journey through life and with each other. While some of Richards’ scenes can be a bit too descriptive and lack proper editing, you will still find yourself glued to the novel and yearning for more after each page. Miriamne the Magdala is a beautifully transporting read, which leaves readers wanting more of Richards’ work in their libraries.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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An Enlightening Quiche – Entered in 2017 Book Award Contest

5 Stars

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Eva Pasco

Eva Pasco’s An Enlightening Quiche centers around the rivalry of two very different women as they compete against one another to make the perfect quiche. Augusta is promiscuous and emotionally damaged, turning heads and raising eyebrows wherever she goes. Lindsay, on the other hand, is a prim and proper historian tasked with rescuing a local mill from certain demise. Despite the premise of a simple bake-off, both women get far more than they bargained for. A delicious quiche becomes the catalyst for profound epiphanies, insightful prose, and a most welcome enlightenment.

An Enlightening Quiche is far more intricate than it may seem to be; while a book based around baking a quiche may not sound like a page-turner, this book is so much more than that. Both main characters were complex and engaging, with detailed backstories and overwhelmingly believable narratives. To put it simply, they felt almost real. The plot itself was incredibly intriguing, littered with witty quips and fascinating social commentary. Although a bit too wordy at times, it was enjoyable from the first page to the last.

Eva Pasco crafted a real gem in An Enlightening Quiche. Her style of writing is uniquely fresh, while still maintaining a level of intelligence that is beyond impressive. Pasco hit the nail on the head with a winning combination of love, loss, friendship, humor, and a profoundly deep introspection that will surprise any reader. Just as Augusta and Lindsay did, An Enlightening Quiche’s readers will get far more than they bargained for in this novel.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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All You Need Is Love – Entered in 2017 Book Award Contest

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Julie Hodgson

All you need is love, (and a big handbag) by Julie Hodgson is a quirky story that follows Maggie as she tries to uncover her husband’s dirty secrets. What she thought was an affair, turns into something more sinister and Maggie must fight to protect her children and the man she thought she knew. Filled with espionage, drama, and comedy this roller-coaster of a story has it all.

The writing style of All you need is humorous and right from the beginning readers are exposed to the fast-paced, quick-witted nature that continues through the book.  Maggie’s college flashback, the chaos of raising children, and the fears of infidelity are all relatable, and Hodgson writes them with a sharp honesty.  The first person narration works for this story, and Maggie quickly becomes a much-loved character.

However, while the humor makes this story enjoyable, it can distract from the dramatic action which takes place towards the end of the book. There is no real time to build up intrigue into who Jack ( Maggie’s husband) really is and the tone of the novel lets down the more action filled segments. This is a pity as the story of Maggie, and Jack commands the reader’s attention. The book cover also seems mismatched as this story is anything but sensual and dark.

Overall, All you need is love is a quick read that is full of laughs and twists. The character of Maggie is likable and young adults will enjoy tagging along on her journey, some parts which are undertaken in a bathrobe. After all, all you need to read this book is a good sense of humor and a few hours to spare.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Why Authors Shouldn’t Proofread Their Own Work

Authors Shouldn’t Proofread

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Written by: Sarah Davies

Main Purpose of Writing is to Communicate

The main purpose of writing is to communicate a message. In order for this message to reach its intended audience as clearly as possible and with maximum impact, it is crucial for the document to be succinct, ordered correctly and error-free in terms of grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Many Layers to a Well-written Document

Producing a well-written document should be viewed as a complex process with many layers. Creativity, research and the formulation of ideas and arguments is one part, but the technical side of writing is quite another. If the technical side is neglected in the overall process the risk of mistakes increases. The upshot of submitting an error-strewn document is that the reader will lose confidence in the author and the message will be lost. For this reason the writing process should be approached as a ‘tag-team’ relationship between the author and the proofreader/copy-editor.

Authors Should Never Proofread Own Work

Authors should never proofread their own work. Being so close to the material creates a dangerous situation of not seeing the wood for the trees in terms of spotting and correcting mistakes. It is at this stage that the proofreader/copy-editor must be ‘tagged’ in to provide that vital final polish and quality check.

As trained professionals, proofreaders and copy-editors have the expertise required to enhance the author’s vision and message; ensure that the text flows in a structured, organised way; and to correct any errors.

Retaining the services of a professional proofreader/copy-editor should never be viewed as an unnecessary expense. It is a sound investment for ensuring success.


Sarah Davies is an experienced freelance proofreader and copy-editor offering services to businesses and students. This includes thesis proofreading and dissertation proofreading.  Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4895474

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*We do NOT edit guest or shared posts.

2017 Romance Novel Contest Winner !!

Congratulations!

2017 Romance Novel Contest Winner

romance novel contest

Camping in High Heels by Miki Bennett

Miki Bennett has shifted gears with her new romance novel, Camping in High Heels, but she continues to turn out hard-to-lay-down books with her virtuous, heart-and-soul writing style.  Readers are taken on a hilarious adventure with Kate Palmer in the first book in this new series after she accepts a challenge by one of her travel blog followers.  She’s used to 5 Star accomodations, but this challenge pushes her into new territory as she spends the next six months camping and RVing.  Experiencing a learning curve that led her to nickname the RV she is driving Monster, she begins to question why anyone would actually choose to travel and camp via RV.  She’s surprised by the friendships she begins to make at the very first campground, and this continues from campground to campground.

As Bennett tells of Kate’s travels to New Orleans, Texas and New Mexico, readers begin to see Kate come to appreciate the outdoors.  It’s a romance novel, so naturally a romance starts to blossom as she continually bumps into fellow camper, Brandon.

This is a clean, well-written novel.  Bennett’s descriptions of the many places she sees -like the Alamo and the French Quarter- are explained so well readers will feel like they have seen it too.  The characters are all well-defined, and the story line is progressive.  I believe Camping in High Heels offers a good message of trying something different.  This underlying message encourages readers to do just that.  After all, it isn’t possible to know if one would really like something or not unless they try it.

I can hardly wait to read the next book in the series and see what new adventures Kate and her friends will experience.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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