Mark of the Loon, by Molly Greene

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August 26, 2012

mark-of-the-loonLook at this beautiful cover. Isn’t it great? Old photographs, ancient keys, I had to read this story. I must confess that the cover was one of the first things that attracted me.

What was most enjoyable for me in reading this book was the atmosphere of that little mysterious cottage that the main character falls in love with and succeeds in buying in spite of very strong opposition from another buyer who goes to great extents to ensure that the property does not end up in anybody else’s hands.

The beautiful relationships that the main character has with her three women friends were another element that I found delightful to read, especially when one of them temporarily moved into the newly acquired cottage with the main character, participating actively in the unveiling of the mystery surrounding the former owners of the house. It’s rare to witness great and true female friendships. We are often encouraged to believe that women cannot create strong friendships because they are so competitive, but the fallacy of that concept is beautifully reflected in this story. I enjoyed that.

So, I have to say, I have found such gems on the indie book market that I am enormously impressed. I didn’t expect this. I am starting to find my love for fiction again.

See the author’s website.

The Gillyflower, by Elizabeth Pulford

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August 20, 2012

The-Gillyflower-Cover-2

I don’t know what made me select this book. It might have been the promise of a good story involving past lives. Probably. Well,  it was a good choice that is why I am trying to retrace my steps so that I am able to reproduce them in the future.

I have to confess to generally having low expectations of self-published books. Not that traditionally published ones are much better, but one hopes that traditional publishing houses can afford to hire people to do a lot of the things that the indie author needs to do alone, so the results have a chance of being more professional. However, many indie authors go through great pains to put out a finished product of excellent quality, either by hiring professional editors and designers, or by painfully learning those skills themselves and dedicating the extra time necessary to polish the book in every way. I think that The Gillyflower is one of these books. Perfectly professional in every way. There is nothing that says self-indulgence, overconfidence or haste. It is a beautiful book.

The story is not too fast paced, but I like that kind of book where the story is in the characters themselves. The characters are very interesting: people with feeling that, as a reader, you can feel, with life situations that you can relate to, and yet quirky and different enough to keep you interested. There are two story lines intertwined, and the best part of reading this book for me was trying to find the connections between the two. I loved it.

See the author’s website.

Write from the Heart, by Heather Hummel

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July 27, 2012

WritefromtheheartThis was a very pleasant read. The story is heartfelt and full of emotion. At least that’s how it seemed to me, and part of the reason might be that this is a book about first time novelists and their journey toward publication, so to me it felt very familiar and easy to identify with. The story has many elements of romance (which I didn’t care for too much), and self-help through positive thinking and positive journaling (which was interesting).

I read the book in two days, while watching my daughter petting animals at a farm and swimming at the lake. It was the perfect read for my long summer days: light and entertaining.

I think that the book could have used a more thorough editor: the beginning is a bit shaky, with some timeline issues and characters that are mentioned before they are actually in the picture, or plot developments that are thrown in unexpectedly as if they were already known facts. There is nothing major or unforgivable, though.

Although the plot was a bit easy and expected, I didn’t mind it very much.It kept me reading and I thoroughly enjoyed the book to the end. A breezy reading for hot days spent outside, under the shade of large trees.

See the author’s website.

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Indie-book reviews

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July 27, 2012

indie-book-reviewsI published in READ a review of Ann Patchett’s Truth & Beauty, and this might be the last random book review that I post on the website. I am aiming at more focus on independently published books.

There are many books out there. I am usually very selective with what I read, because I value my time like that. We all do, right? However, books are my line of work, so reading for me is both pleasure and business. I need to focus more on the business part of things these days, because, well, that’s how things are. So from now on I am going to read and review exclusively independently published books. There will be women’s fiction books mostly, because that’s my specialty, although some other genres (like thrillers or mysteries) might find their way in there. I think this is a direction that I should have taken long ago, but well, I am rarely that focused. I am doing this because I want to support independent publishing and the ebook market, because I think these two publishing avenues are doing a great service to literature as a whole, freeing it from the pressures of commercialism while at the same time allowing commercial literature to exist and prosper. I am doing it because I plan to release my own book soon, and I know I will need help promoting it just like many other writers need help with their books.

So, yeah, I am going to start supporting indie authors from now on with my book reviews, because reviews are essential in generating sales. And here comes my first review: Heather Hummel’s Write from the Heart.