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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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: “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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Tuesday Book Review: “The Paymaster”

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:

the paymaster adeed dawisha

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1st Place Winner in the 2018 Reader’s Favorite Awards Mystery Category

The Paymaster

by Adeed Dawisha

ISBN: 9781478783152

Synopsis*:

George Haddad is a deeply conflicted man. A doyen of Washington’s high society, he is also a life-long member of a terrorist organization. George resolves his inner conflict when he discloses secret information to Tessa Barnard, a young television reporter, who soon finds herself treading a treacherous path of intrigue and deception involving murder, abductions, and brutal assaults. Someone is determined to silence her. Is it foreign terrorists, or does the danger emanate from somewhere much closer to home? Meanwhile, George Haddad himself becomes the object of the boundless cruelty of his organization’s star assassin, and he has to make a fateful decision that could cost him his life. He knows the odds are heavily stacked against him. A tightly written and intricately plotted novel, with many twists and unanticipated revelations, The Paymaster is hard to put down.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

The Paymaster is an exciting exploration of terrorism and counterterrorism, a twenty-first-century thriller done right.

Adeed Dawisha’s fast-paced novel The Paymaster unites a former nationalist and an ambitious journalist to take aim at one of the modern world’s biggest problems—terrorism.

George Haddad is a veteran of a nationalist terror organization, a former idealist who spent his young life sipping black tea in bombed-out warehouses in the Middle East. Now, with a mansion and a family in Virginia, Haddad has grown bored, tired, and despondent. He seeks to combat his ennui by aligning himself with Tessa Barnard, an aspiring investigative journalist who is stuck in West Virginia.

The initial purpose of their meeting is to expose Emilio Luciani, a man posing as an Italian but who is really a Hezbollah terrorist, Nizar Saleh. Haddad wants Barnard to unmask the man while he is in a secret meeting with the CIA, but one murder throws the entire scheme off of the rails.

The Paymaster is a quintessentially modern thriller set in some unexpected places. Besides the usual milieu of Washington, DC, the East Coast megalopolis, and the jet-set spots of Europe, the story also touches down in frozen Chicago, small-city West Virginia, and during the heady days of the 1979 Iranian revolution. It is an entertaining journey, the main thrust of which is that the worlds of terrorism and counterterrorism are far more entwined than most people think.

Although he is a scholar who specializes in the troublesome politics of the Middle East, Dawisha does not write like a pedantic professor. Indeed, The Paymaster moves at a quick clip, with concise, utilitarian language far outpacing fancy linguistic displays.

Characters are believable, though Barnard conforms to a certain stereotype. She is almost amoral, a careerist who seems mostly driven by a desire to get the heck out West Virginia. Although she certainly grows in maturity as the novel progresses, she is not as artfully drawn as the conflicted Haddad.

If Haddad is emblematic of real terrorists, or of terrorists who have lived long past their prime, then your average bomb maker or cell functionary is a lot more conflicted than news reports would suggest. Haddad and Barnard make for an exciting team, while the expert assassin hired by Haddad’s former comrades makes for a threatening adversary.

The Paymaster is an exciting exploration of terrorism and counterterrorism, with the daily monotony of both captured in between cinematic shootouts and cat-and-mouse games. This is a twenty-first-century thriller done right.

– reviewed by Benjamin Welton for Foreword Reviews

More Reviews

“The Paymaster” by Adeed Dawisha is an exciting and electric mystery/thriller that submerges readers deeply into the plot and leaves them guessing until the very end.

The story begins with George Haddad, a wealthy man of deep political influence in Washington DC, who is actually a member of the Revolutionary People’s Front, a Middle Eastern terrorist organization.  Attending a budget meeting of said organization, Haddad’s mind was not in the meeting as he was preoccupied with other matters: not being late to his daughter’s Christmas’s show, and making ‘the call” to Tessa Barnard. This call would finally put an end to his life of conflict by sharing the secret information he knows with the T.V. reporter. But instead of realizing peace of mind for himself, divulging the secret information puts Tessa in mortal danger and makes him a target within his organization.  Efforts to keep this information under wraps set the tone for this thrilling, intricate adventure.

Adeed Dawisha created a well written thriller with simple, engaging dialogue, and a fast-paced integrated plot that flows beautifully, keeping readers from putting it down. As much as I like to brag on how I always am able to figure out plots, I must admit, this one did have few surprises for me. Dawisha truly knows how to master pace and plot in a way which unravels unexpectedly. His characters are not just genuine, the way he built them with dialogue and description made them come alive in my mind. Dawisha also features impeccable writing skills within the action scenes as I could picture things happening vividly in my mind as clear as having it play on a screen in front of me.

I can’t recommend enough “The Paymaster” by Adeed Dawisha. It is an awesome five-star read. A thrilling and intriguing page turner that made me jump from my seat more than once. I will definitely look out for more work from this author!

 – reviewed by Michel Violante for Reader Views

This spicey thriller with multiple surprises includes characters drawn from the FBI, the CIA and television journalism, covering and uncovering international secrets and dirty deals with shady organizations from abroad. Murder, sex, betrayal, vengeance, redemption — even confirmation hearings — this fast-paced story has plenty of human interest. Lots of fun!

– reviewed on Amazon by Stephen Nimis


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Tuesday Book Review: “When is Sylvia Wallace”

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:

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When is Sylvia Wallace

by Brad Anderson

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478763949

Synopsis*:

Her new world began in complete silence and absolute darkness. It wasn’t supposed to happen. It wasn’t even supposed to be possible. All the science and technology said so, but a freak accident changes everything and Deputy U.S. Marshal Sylvia Wallace finds herself sometime in the future when the Janus Project does not exist and most of the people around her are prison escapees. All is not forsaken, however. A note from the past gives her hope. Deputy U.S. Marshal Robert Mackie (the Guardians trilogy) and Colonel John Callan (The Janus Project) are coming to take her back to her time. All she has to do is stay alive until they find her, which becomes the most dangerous time of all.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

“When Is Sylvia Wallace? from The Janus Project files,” by Brad Anderson is a roller coaster ride from the time U.S. Marshall Sylvia Wallace wakes up in an abandoned mine. The Earth has undergone a geomagnetic shift and is tilted on her axis, sending most of the planet into an ice-age when, in a Western-style shootout, friends Robert Mackie (from the “Guardians” trilogy) and Colonel John Callan (from “The Janus Project”) attempt a retrieval to take her back to her own time.

Brad Anderson does a wonderful, thorough job at describing this cold, nearly barren world Sylvia now finds herself in. The dystopian society she is surrounded by is so believable and realistic that one shudders to think how easily circumstances could devolve into the very struggle for day-to-day existence he so graphically portrays in this tale. With a style reminiscent of Stephen King, note how he describes one of his protagonist’s actions.

Escaped criminal and self-appointed mayor Rich Witkowski has realized that he must dispose of the bodies of his abducted victims quickly and chooses dismemberment:

The ulna and the radius just above the left wrist were exposed because that was where he had first grasped this corpse. He slipped the joined bones into the cutter opening. “Good. Just wide enough. I can save the hatchet and the hacksaw for the larger bones.” He lay the used shop towel on the concrete near the hand. “But first, the fingers.”

This novel is not just for those who wonder about the possibility of time travel, but also for those who enjoy dystopian tales, psychological thrillers, or high drama. Personally, I’ve always been fascinated with science fiction and time travel in general. But, what I most enjoyed about this story was the minute details concerning survival itself. With both John Callan and Sylvia, Anderson goes into extensive description of just what is necessary to survive in an arctic environment. From the character’s step by step thought processes on deciding how to wrap one’s head for protection against the harsh elements, to the lengthy descriptions of ice walls and submerging into below-freezing water, to the panoramic detail of the physical environments the characters encounter.

Without having read The Janus Project, the connection, the familiarity and loyalty between the main characters nevertheless came through loud and clear. “When Is Sylvia Wallace? from The Janus Project files” works perfectly as a stand-alone novel, and will encourage readers to seek out the original story. However, in my opinion, the author could spin this into a series of its own: “From the Janus Project files, volume XX,” because this is a topic and genre that could garner an increasing fan base. With the blurring of genre lines, Brad Anderson has written an engrossing story that will grab readers of science fiction, action and adventure, and psychological thrillers.

– reviewed by Judy Derby for Reader Views

Other Reviews

This is a time travel novel and an adventure.
Sylvia Wallace is a Deputy US Marshall who works with the Janus Project in protecting people who were put in the Witness Protection Program. Unfortunately, she was in her pod when something happened and her pod crashed. She finds herself in the year 2036 in a coal mine. This is one of the areas where the program had a base. She knew the procedures to follow and did. She found her way out of the mine to the headquarters building where she found a number of men who were dead. They had died trying to take another man who had killed most of them. The others died in a blast from a sabotaged metal box. Past them was the entrance to the headquarters emergency base. Here she found food, clothing, shelter, and other equipment. She knows the protocol is to find her way to Alexandria to the main headquarters so they will know where to find her. To do this, she must walk out in the middle of a snow and ice storm.
John Callan is called back into action by Rob Mackie to help find Sylvia. First, they had to search many years from 2015 to find her. Once they found her, John and Rob were taking a risk to go into the future. No one had ever gone into the future. Would they make it in one piece? Would they be in the same year as Sylvia and the same place? If they did find her, could they get home?
This novel was excellent and just as good as the first one. I am not usually a fan of science fiction but with Brad Anderson’s books, I am definitely caught up in this series. I certainly hope there will be more. Be careful or you will find yourself staying up all night to finish it!

– Amazon reviewer P. Blevins

The story, “When is Sylvia Wallace” is engaging. Even the title is intriguing and draws you into wanting to know exactly what that means. Brad’s detailed descriptions of the physical and emotional allows you to become fully immersed into the story. Mr. Anderson helps you feel the cold, smell the natural gas in the tunnel and take part in the action. “When is Sylvia Wallace” is one of those books that is hard to put down and will leave you wanting to know more about these characters and follow them into future or past (in the case of time travel) adventures.

– Amazon reviewer NeoTheOne

 


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From the Archives: “Book Review Leads for the Self Published Author”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: September 12th, 2008 ]

Getting your book reviewed is an important part of book promotion for the self-published author.

If you are seeking book reviews: BookPleasures.com is a website you may want to investigate. They’ve been known to write book reviews and even interview authors for additional exposure. There is more information on their site at www.bookpleasures.com

Another opportunity exists at http://www.reviewyourbook.com where you can submit your book for a possible free review and listing on their website. There’s no fee (that I could see) and every little bit helps.

If you’ve written a travel log, or a book that fits the description of “travel log” (a memoir involving a foreign locale, for example), you may also want to look into: sketchandtravel.com

Good luck and have fun!

– by Kelly Schuknecht

A lot of time has passed since 2008 when I first posted some go-to reviewing resources to our blog, and while some stalwarts are still in business (including BookPleasures and SketchandTravel) several others are no longer in operation–at least not in any incarnation which would be useful to you, our readers. Hence the line through one of the sites listed above.

There are, however, quite a few new and wonderful resources, many of which remain free, including:

  1. www.ReadersFavorite.com (free!)
  2. www.digitalbooktoday.com (offers a slew of options, some paid, some free)
  3. www.SelfPublishingReview.com (charges a fee, with multiple packages)
  4. www.IndieReader.com (expensive, but offers a “rush” option which is useful)
  5. IndieBRAG at www.bragmedallion.com (charges a small fee, ebooks only)
  6. www.BlueInkReview.com (charges a small fee, but flexible)
  7. www.MidwestBookReview.com (charges a small fee, but gives great exposure)

There are, of course, a thick pile of reviewers who are always willing to review in exchange for free book copies, but these are scattered throughout the internet and in no one place.

Just because a book review is free doesn’t mean it’s the only review you’ll want … or need. So consider your options–all of your options!–and pursue the ones that are both time and cost effective for you!

(And if you have any review websites we’ve missed that you’d like to see posted here, drop me a line!)

book review

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

Saturday Book Review: “It’s Me, Achilles B: It’s Time to Say Hello”

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, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

its-me-achilles-b-its-time-to-say-hello by michelle bravo

It’s Me, Achilles B: It’s Time to Say Hello

by Michelle Bravo

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478755258

Synopsis:

Achilles B Is New in Town, and Ready to Meet You! Achilles B is friendly, sweet, and up for just about any adventure. He’s here to delight and inspire kids as he navigates challenges such as making new friends and starting school. He also gives fun, positive examples of how to make healthy decisions and keep an upbeat, kind outlook on life. Achilles’ intelligence and charm endear him to everyone he meets in this charming story for readers of all ages.

Critique:

Achilles B is a fun loving little dog who tells what it is like for him to adopt a family. In his own words he reveals his life with his furry friend Coco and the many adventures he is able to have in his life. “It’s Me, Achilles B”. is fun reading for any dog owner to enjoy. Though a kid’s title readers of all ages can enjoy Achilles B’s story.

 

reviewed by Gary Roen of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

Many of us have dogs that are part of the family. We call them our “fur-babies” or the “grand-dogs.” And we’ve all seen (or heard stories about) dogs that are jealous when a human baby arrives on the scene and the dog is no longer the only little person in the house. But there are also those dogs who are incredibly close to their human siblings and treat the whole family as their pack.

Achilles B. definitely thinks of himself as an equal member of the family. He talks about his parents, and his friends (the kids), and the family pet (a cat named Coco). With the direct address style that young readers enjoy in books like Junie B. Jones, Achilles tells about his family’s move from Texas to Connecticut. He shares what his favorite activities are and how he helps with the family cat by chasing her around the house to make sure she gets enough exercise. He even enjoys having pancakes on snow days. (Who doesn’t love snow days?)

The friendly and positive tone of his explanation makes a move to a new home seem like an adventure rather than something scary. Achilles explains that his father got a new job, so he gets to meet new kids. He also finds out that kids are alike no matter where you live; they all enjoy having fun. His discussion of how the family chose their new cat and shared out the responsibilities for her care is a good introduction to talking about being good pet owners. Young readers will probably laugh when Achilles says that he volunteered to play with her, and they may even point out that he can’t feed her because he can’t open the cans of cat food.

Readers may want to write out stories from the viewpoint of their own pets. How do pets see their human family? What do they think of all the things that humans do, but pets don’t? With the popularity of the recent movie, “The Secret Lives of Pets,” there is plenty of inspiration. Others may want to write a story about a time they moved to a new home with their family.

Whether it leads to new stories and artwork being created, or simply creates an enjoyable reading experience, the book and Achilles will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.

– Amazon Reviewer Suzanne R. Costner

Michelle Bravo’s story is full of emotion, magnetism and surprise. Through Achilles, we learn about the closeness of family and the love children and adults have for their pets. More importantly, we learn that family is ever changing, but love for one another, including the family pet, remains constant. After reading this book, I want to know more about this family and their day-to-day interactions with the world and one another. A truly delightful book for children. Adults will enjoy the read as well.

– Amazon Reviewer Gale Bellas-Papageorge, PhD

 


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