Self-Published Book Review: “Caledonia Switch”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

Caledonia Switch steven lane smith

Caledonia Switch

by Steven Lane Smith

ISBN: 9781478700821

reader views reviwers choice award 2014

Synopsis*:

A precocious teenager named John Wesley Hardin illegally day trades options to save his father’s hardware store in idyllic Caledonia, New Hampshire.  Clinging to vestiges of infantile omnipotence, John sets up a sham trust to hide his fraudulent schemes.  Early successes entice him to make increasingly risky bets that threaten to ruin three families – the Hardins, the Lavals, and the Harringtons.  When his fundamental identity is exposed as a fiction, his confidence is shattered.  He must choose humility over pride to rebound from disaster to be capable of loving and worthy of being loved.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

A Christmas Story for All Seasons

– Reviewed by Jennifer Hass for Reader Views

Other Reviews

Caledonia Switch is a book you will truly enjoy reading

– reviewed by T.W. Price on Amazon

Great Read

– reviewed by Boston Book Girl on Amazon

 

 


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Self-Published Book Review: “The Magic of Christmas – The Magic of Love”

ook reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

the magic of christmas the magic of love by susan brougher

The Magic of Christmas – The Magic of Love

by Susan Brougher

ISBN: 9781478737612

Synopsis*:

Susan writes of adventures common to children, and fondly recalled by many adults. Her rhymes flow sweetly along with the illustrations and are written in a format easy to read to children or for helping a child beginning to read for themselves. Cat lovers will relate to Stealthy Cat that climbs, and then descends the Christmas tree, and they will be tempted to adlib sharing experiences of their own.

Susan’s poems display loving family relationships. Growing up, many of her days were spent playing with her sister, two brothers, and neighborhood friends. Being outdoors in nature gave Susan the inspiration she needed to express her feelings through writing. Winters brought lots of snow and the making of snow angels as she swished her arms and legs while looking up at the sky dreaming, snowflakes falling, melting on her face. Like many little girls then and now, she loved dolls. She recalls having only a few, her favorite being Tinker Bell, who sprinkled fairy dust as she flew.

Susan writes in her first book, The Strongest Bond, that while growing up she believed in the magic of love that could wave a wizard’s wand, and change her from a scullery maid into Cinderella. In this book of beautifully illustrated poems for children, she looks to captivate imaginations with Christmas memories of when she was a child. She shares them in the spirit of the magic of Christmas.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

A Christmas Story for All Seasons

–  Reviewed by Micki Peluso on Amazon

Other Reviews

Delightful Poems, Great Artwork, Fabulous Choice for Parents & Grandparents for Christmas Gifts

– reviewed by Andy Anderson on Amazon

Heartwarming poems with great illustrations

– reviewed by LASeoulGuy on Amazon

 

 


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Self-Published Book Review: “Christmas Secrets”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

christmas secrets by uncle pappy

Christmas Secrets

by George R. Kuper AKA Uncle Pappy

ISBN: 9781478799108

Synopsis*:

Secrets of Christmas Revealed! This edition of Christmas Secrets is a first in a series of Christmas books. This book allows adults and children alike to enjoy discovering the secrets of the holiday season together. Many of the children’s questions about Santa Claus and the Christmas season are answered. The stories are interactive with prompts and questions to encourage children to think, analyze and become involved in the adventure

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Adorable Throughout – Great for Interaction with Kids

–  Verified reviewed on Amazon

Other Reviews

Interactive Christmas Story Focused on Entertaining Discussion

– reviewed by Al on Amazon

Wonderful Christmas Story

– reviewed by Greg on Amazon

 

Book Trailer

 


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Happy Thanksgiving! … & Your Weekly Self-Published Book Review: “Aurora of the Northern Lights”

thanksgiving

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

aurora of the northern lights holly hardin

mom's c

gelett burgess children's book award gold

Aurora of the Northern Lights

by Holly Hardin

ISBN: 9781432724399

Synopsis*:

Come along as author Holly Hardin conjures a mystical world of adventure, sprites, and magical charms. After losing her parents, little Aurora sets off on her own. Because she’s different, Aurora finds it difficult to find anyone who will listen to her story, even at Christmas time. As her story continues, Aurora receives special gifts to keep her safe and important clues to find her new home.

Follow the journey as Aurora encounters a host of creatures along the way–including one very famous bearded man. What follows in this beautifully illustrated and delightfully written book is a heartwarming story of a home lost and found–and a Christmas lesson for us all.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Reviewed by Grace (age 5) and Ella (age 4) Gleichner and Mom

“Aurora of the Northern Lights” is the story of a young girl named Aurora.  Aurora’s parents meet in the cold lands of the Northern Fey.

Grace: “It’s cold and snowy here, do you think this is where the Northern Fey live Mom?”

Ella: “Maybe they live in the North Cold (what Ella calls the North Pole).”

Aurora’s father, William, becomes sick in the cold so her mother, Mistletoe, agrees to move to a farm where the weather wasn’t so cold.

Ella: “We moved but it’s still cold here, just like in Manitowoc.”

Mistletoe and William are thrilled with the birth of their daughter Aurora, and for seven years everything is wonderful.  But, then all three of them get sick and Aurora’s parents don’t survive.

Grace: “That is so sad.  That’s why we get shots, so we don’t get sick, right Mom?  Are her Mom and Dad in Heaven now?”

Aurora feels lost, and when she wanders into town the people of the town shun her.  She doesn’t know what to do when suddenly a witch gives her a charm to protect her from harm, and tells her that this is not her true home, she needs to head to the forest.

Ella: “What a pretty necklace!”

She does head to the forest, where she does meet some Fey.  But, these are not her people and they too tell her to move on.  But, their queen provides her with a nice wool cloak and oak staff for her journey.

Grace: “At least she’ll be nice and warm.”

After traveling through the bitter cold, Aurora is about to give up when she comes upon a castle.  When she knocks, the door is opened by Santa Claus.

Grace: “Look Mom, Santa!  I can’t wait until he comes!”

Ella: “Don’t forget to put a cotton ball on my calendar so I know how many more days.”

Santa invites Aurora in where she is welcomed by all, but she then sees a woman who looks like her.  This woman is so happy to see her, because she is her Grandmother.

Overall I thought that “Aurora of the Northern Lights” by Holly Hardin was a well-written book; the only issue I had was that little Aurora was only seven when her parents died, and she was on her own and shunned by adults.  But, it does show children that life isn’t always easy, and even if you are different you can always find people who will love you no matter what.

– reviewed by Reviewed by Grace, Ella, and Mom on Reader View Kids

Other Reviews

“Named for the Northern Lights, Aurora faces a woeful plight. To many lands, she must roam, searching for her true home.”

Aurora of the Northern Lights is a delightful story, beautifully illustrated and told entirely in verse.

Aurora is the child of a beautiful and pale young Northern lady named Mistletoe and handsome William, a visitor from the South. William finds the Northern climate difficult, so they make their home in the temperate South.

When Aurora is orphaned, she is unable to stay in her old home. As she searches for her new home, those that she meets along the way are quick to chase her off. To some extent the story is one of intolerance. But fortunately, with perseverance and luck, Aurora finds a place where she is welcomed and loved.

I found the book a fun and engaging read. I imagine that the pictures and verse will go over very well with children. I highly recommend Aurora of the Northern Lights.

– reviewed by Gabi317 on Starting Fresh NYC

Aurora of the Northern Lights is a beautiful and touching story that is destined to become a Christmas favorite amongst young and old alike.

Mistletoe is an elfin living in the North, who falls in love with William, a human. When it becomes obvious that William is not built to live in such frigid conditions, Mistletoe leaves home to live with William a little further South, in a little town.

After a few years, they welcome a darling baby girl, whom they name Aurora, after the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) under which they were married. When tragedy strikes, Aurora is left to fend for herself. She doesn’t quite fit in anywhere, and commences upon a journey to find a place she belongs.

Throughout her adventures, she meets several people who shun her from their communities, yet bestow upon her gifts to help her along her way.

After trekking through ice and snow for days on end, Aurora finally comes full circle, finding the place she truly belongs.

The story is written completely in verse that flows on paper, as well as when read aloud. You cannot help but be filled with a variety of emotions as the story ebbs and flows through the happiness and the heartache.

Illustrations by Donald Vanderbeek add to the beauty and poetry of Holly Hardin’s words. They are beautiful and elicit as much emotion as the story itself.

Children will be held captive by the words and the pictures when this book is read aloud to them. It inspires visions of families cuddled together on the couch, wrapped up in blankets on a cold December night, sipping hot chocolate, as they share the story. It could even inspire young authors and artists to create their own story.

I received a copy of this book when I was a reviewer for BookPleasures.

– reviewed by Andrea Coventry on Amazon

 


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Self-Published Book Review: “An Inky Summer”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

an inky summer by fred and cheryl lowman

cipa evvy merit

An Inky Summer

by Fred and Cheryl Lowman

ISBN: 9781478777434

Synopsis*:

When 12 year old Freddie discovers Inky, an American crow, sitting on the fence near the back steps of his house, it is the beginning of An Inky Summer. Read this true story and laugh as this crafty and intelligent corvid upsets neighbors and relatives with his antics.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

A Wonderful True Story!

A delightful book! This book will not only be enjoyed by children, but by the adults who read it to them. The story will make you smile, laugh, and maybe even cry. It takes you back to a simpler time when kids didn’t have all the electronics in their lives. You will never look at a crow in the same way after reading this story. They are truly a very intelligent creature that we should learn more about. Also the illustrator, Dan Carsten, did an excellent job in bringing the story to life with his vibrant drawings. A must read for all ages!!!

– reviewed by Crowman on Amazon

Other Reviews

A Special Encounter to Enjoy.

A wonderful remembrance that is recalled and shared with the reader. It create’s our own wish to have an “encounter” with a creature to recall. It is a heart warming story that expresses much honesty and joy in the what may be if we are accepting. This story sparks the imagination and is made that much more special knowing it is a “true story”.
Well done!

– reviewed by Boppa on Amazon

Great Read!

I just loved this book. It really captured a perfect time in a young boy’s life. I was drawn in right away, and it made me want an “Inky” crow as a pet for myself. I learned a lot about crows. In the past, I would just see them as large, black birds; and now I am looking for individual personalities when I see them. The illustrations are wonderful and brought the book to life. A perfect read!

– reviewed by Gail V. on Amazon

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Tuesday Book Review: “Notes from the Trenches: A Musician’s Journey Through World War I”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

notes from the trenches gary foster

cipa evvy merit

Notes From the Trenches

by Gary H. Foster

ISBN: 9781478792741

Synopsis*:

The Terror and Triumph of WWI in a Soldier’s Own Words…

The Foster family of Wisconsin were vibrant and happy in the early years of the 20th century. Like many families in the area, they were descended from German immigrants and had a healthy appetite for hard work and beer. Barbara Foster, widowed early in life, created a loving home for her children Leo, Ottilia, Mary, and Kunigunda. They were all musicians, forming their own orchestra and playing in regional and local venues. But despite Woodrow Wilson’s promises, America found itself drawn into the Great War overseas, and Leo Foster, bugler for the Wisconsin National Guard, was sent to the front lines. Nearly a century later, this book reconstructs Leo’s World War I experience from letters, newspaper clippings, and photographs from Leo’s footlocker. Nothing compares to the immediacy of the war experience in a soldier’s own words. Notes from the Trenches follows Leo from stateside training to the horror of the Meuse-Argonne offensive and his battle-weary return home in May of 1919. Full of wit, good humor, and honesty, these letters provide a fascinating window into the War to End All Wars, with insightful organization and context from Leo’s grandson, Gary Foster.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of “Notes From the Trenches” by Gary H. Foster.]


4 out of 4 stars


Get an in-depth look into World War I from a soldier’s perspective. Leo Foster’s eagerness, pride, humor, bravery and sense of patriotism will surprise you in Notes from the Trenches by Gary H. Foster. His life continues to inspire his lineage with many following in his footsteps.

A young musician of German ancestry from Wisconsin joins the 32nd division famously known as ‘Les Terribles’. His new journey takes him across the states, then to France and finally to Germany in a bid to fight for his country even if this means that he loses his life in the process.

Told by Leo Foster’s grandson Gary H. Foster who served in the Navy, Notes from the Trenches reveals the content of many letters that Leo wrote to his family. His mother and sisters seem to have been quite close to him. Even in the heat of war, Leo good-heartedly continues to taunt his sisters in his notes. His concern for Kuni, Mary, Tillie and his mother, Barbara shows in every letter. It is clear that he was more concerned over their welfare more than his own as he made every effort to reassure and encourage them.

Perhaps the most impressive bit of Foster’s book is that it reveals the true picture of war, the sacrifice that families have to endure both for the soldiers in the front lines and the family members left behind. Leo’s mother, Barbara, must have been a strong woman to have endured all she went through and still hold on and hope for the return of her son. The destructive nature of war is shown especially in the later letters written by Leo.

The letters are obviously in the first person which adds to the storyline’s authenticity. Leo’s humor as he constantly refers to his weight and love for ‘eats’ adds a unique comical strand which helps to lighten the weight of the account. His mention of love interests heightened the book’s appeal and gave me a glimpse of his personality.

The book is very well researched. Every letter is carefully placed in chronological order and life after World War I is also covered.

Ultimately, Notes from the Trenches fosters the spirit of patriotism and touches on an incredibly important part of history that shaped whole nations. It also reveals a history that is too powerful to be forgotten and a people’s resilience and bravery that should always be valued. I rate Gary H. Foster’s account 4 out of 4 stars.

– reviewed by EmunahAn on OnlineBookClub.org

Other Reviews

One is amazed that despite the raging horrors of war and the …

“Notes from the Trenches” is a fascinating glimpse back in time to World War I. It is fair to say that this war has been largely overshadowed by World War II and the conflicts that have since followed. As a result, bookstores have an abundance of material on those subjects, but only a handful on the War to End All Wars. This book puts World War I in the hands of the reader as written by bugler Leo Foster in his letters home to his mother Barbara and his sisters. The colloquialisms, daily routines, and wide-eyed wonder of a young man experiencing the Old World as new in the midst of conflict are fresh on the page. The author allows Leo to speak in his own words, while guiding the reader through the broader historical events of the conflict. This has the effect of giving the reader the chance to experience the war much the same way Leo Foster’s mother and sisters would have through his letters. Readers will find Leo to be brash, humorous, and possessing a brand of “gee whiz!” American optimism that seems to have largely faded from American civic life. One is amazed that despite the raging horrors of war and the normal hardships of life in that era, there was a strong attitude of pressing forward and making the best of whatever happened in life. Certainly something to glean from this book, as well as a newfound appreciation for the sacrifices of so many of that generation that our modern world continues to reap the benefits of. I highly recommend this book, and as a reader who had (I’m embarrassed to admit) a very limited knowledge of World War I, I think this is an incredible way to be introduced to the story of that conflict and the sacrifices of so many true heroes like Leo Foster.

– reviewed by Brady Christian on Amazon

A Gripping Documentation of Life on the Battlefield from a WWI Soldier Who Fought For Freedom

Rarely is there any documentation of the thoughts in real time from the men in the field who fought during WWI. Without technology or the sheer opportunity and willpower to document such emotions as they occurred, the personal trials of the fighting men in the “war to end all wars” seems lost to the ages. Then comes along Notes From The Trenches, a gripping book that recounts the actual perspectives of Leo W. Foster, a bugler in the 121st Machine Gun Battalion, 32nd Division in WWI.

The book captures in vivid detail the sacrifices, wonder, elation, disappointments, tensions and an overpowering desire to win at all costs as documented by a young man who voluntarily leaves the comforts of his Wisconsin home to fight “over there” in the battlefields of France, documented through the actual letters written by Foster and sent to America. More than 90 letters, kept for decades in the soldier’s stored footlocker, are showcased in their raw and largely unedited form, all organized in chronological order with added color and perspectives from the author about the events that led to American victory in Europe.

Notes from the Trenches is a solid read, and it’s an intriguing glimpse into the real-life battles of a war fought a century ago.

– reviewed by Mark Foster on Amazon

 


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Tuesday Book Review: “Cursed”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

cursed jeanne blanchet

cipa evvy merit

Cursed

by Jeanne Blanchet, PhD

ISBN: 9781478747901

Synopsis*:

The year is 394 CE. Christianity has recently been declared Rome’s state religion, and the empire’s pagan temples are being shut down. When Christian Princess Serena accompanies Theofilus, a young priest, to oversee the closing of Vesta’s sanctuary, she pilfers a necklace from the statue of a goddess, inciting the head Vestal to call a horrific curse down on her and her family. Cursed traces the remainder of Serena’s life as she wonders if the curse will destroy her completely and attempts to cope with her gradually rising desperation. Meanwhile, Father Theofilus embarks on a lifelong quest to find the priceless antique Palladium, which had been housed in the sanctuary and which he plans to donate to the Church as a means of furthering his ecclesiastical career. Stilicho, Alaric, Theodosius I, Bishops Ambrose and Augustine, and Saint Jerome are among the fascinating individuals who return to life in this historical fiction thriller. Their exciting adventures are set against the background of the fall of the once-mighty Roman Empire, the rise of Christianity, and the mass migrations characteristic of Europe’s turbulent fourth and fifth centuries.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Jeanne Blanchet’s “Cursed” is an epic historical account of Christianity’s strong entrance into Roman culture, and how religion came to be more absolute than the power of even the emperors.

Christian Princess Serena and a young priest and aspiring Bishop of Rome, Presbyter Theofilus, make up two of the principal characters in the cast. Serena is pampered and used to living a life of luxury.  While her heart is often in the right place, she is easily misguided, however, by material aspirations and the beauty and allure of things, like jewelry.  Presbyter Theofilus started out as a promising young military prospect but turned his sights on the Church when religious traditions in Rome became overrun by Christian teachings and power.  What these two young people learned during their years, as did every other Roman citizen and intruder, was that Christianity’s power was to be stronger than anything else.

“Cursed” starts out strongly and is filled with rich details and obvious research.  The terminology which the author inputs into the story represents long hours of academic study, which help produce an authentic picture of Rome in its final century.  While the details remain strong throughout the novel, the pace staggers a bit as the story progresses.  It seemed that the author’s aspirations for the novel almost became a little too broad.  Whereas the synopsis of the book intimates at the book being about a young woman being evilly cursed by one of the remaining pagan priestesses, or Vestals, of Rome, and about Presbyter Theofilus’s journey to find the antique Palladium, these storylines become a little blurred.

While most of “Cursed” takes place toward the end of the 4th century CE, there are various chapters that almost randomly go back in time 30, 40, or 50 years.  One contains details about the coming of the Goths, while another provides backstory on the current Bishop of Rome.  While the historical details are strong, the context of why these chapters are included in the midst of the main story is lost.  I think the too-broad aspirations and outlook for the plot ended up overshadowing the intended theme and main point of the book, albeit unintentionally.

I am not sure I would consider this a read for the general audience.  The historical and technical terms may make the prose seem a little dense and hard to understand.  I am a history student and an aspiring historian, so the inclusion of the historical facts was perfectly normal, easy to understand, and even exciting to me, but it may pose as a barrier for those who aren’t as historically inclined.

“Cursed” certainly shows a lot of promise as a work of heavily research historical fiction.  The idea for the story is unique and captivating, and the characters are unique enough to make you want to know what happens to them by the end of the book.  In the end, “Cursed” by Jeanne Blanchet is a great example to aspiring writers of how important structure, pacing, and context are in contributing to the overall understanding, execution, and package that is a novel.

– reviewed by Megan Weiss on Reader Views

Other Reviews

History come to life.

The author has taken the historical account of early Christianity and the fall of Rome and woven together a most descriptive narrative to bring the events to life.

– reviewed by Nancy Redmond on Amazon

This book has inspiring attention to detail and emotional depth. The knowledge and research that went into the writing of Cursed has made it a real page turner that pulls you right in and won’t let you put it down.

– reviewed by MacLennan on Amazon

 


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