Book Reviews

Why Reviews Matter

Whether I am speaking to novice writers or veteran authors, I cannot say this enough: Reviews Matter.

Perhaps as an author, you are okay with simply self-publishing your book and putting it online, but realistically, you want people to read it. The only way that you can get more people to read your work, is if the people who have already read your work review it.

On Amazon we’ve all seen those sections underneath books that say, “Customers who viewed this item also viewed. . .” or “Sponsored products related to this item.”

Do you know that the only way to get your book to pop up on those suggested reading links is if your book gets at least 50 reviews. Here’s the cool thing though, it does not have to be 50 good reviews; it can be a mix of good, neutral, and even bad! Yes, of course, we all want the five star review, but even a one star review is helpful in gaining visibility.

Reviews = Visibility

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That is why I started offering book reviews a couple weeks ago and why I am pleased to announce that I will begin posting one book per month starting tomorrow as I work to support my fellow authors! I encourage you to do the same!

Pop back in tomorrow to read my review on L. Salt’s His Personal Reich.

If you are curious about having me review your latest book, please read my original post here: Now Offering — Book Reviews!

Support an Author

I also plan on sharing these reviews on my newly created GoodReads profile.

Check it out here!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

My Bookshelf

Post-Book Depression

We’ve all experienced it, haven’t we? That dread that begins to creep up on you as you near the end of your favorite book or trilogy. You start to read slowly instead of quickly because you don’t want to turn the page when there are so few left. So instead, you pause, reread a certain phrase, stop in a moment because you know that all too soon, you will have to say goodbye to these characters.

(Spoilers Alert!)

As a reward for finishing my manuscript, I took this weekend to reread an older series that I only ever read once back in middle school. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini follows a young farmer boy named Eragon who is thrust into a world of magic, love, politics, and danger when he encounters a dragon egg in the Spine. His story spans four books, over 3,000+ pages. Maybe you have heard of this brilliant series?

Paolini wrote the first books while still in his teens. Paolini was one of the first authors who inspired me during my youth that age was not a deterrent to becoming a great author. Regardless of his youth, Paolini self-published Eragon and spent a year promoting his own work until it was picked up and re-published traditionally.

These past four days, I lost myself in pages that I remembered whimsically and was able to digest the story in a whole new light. There were things I had forgotten, or not understood back then, things I had taken for granted. Now as a story teller myself, I can image the pain-staking detail that went into Paolini’s work. Indeed, because of my own maturity, this time felt like the first time reading the series. As I sped through the pages, I endlessly devoured the old story until I suddenly realized I only had a few pages left. Suddenly I was terrified, I didn’t want the story to end (especially since I remembered how it ended).

But finished, I did.

And I was left with this overwhelming melancholy, this feeling that I had lost someone. In fact I had lost many someones and somethings: I lost the opportunity to ever ride on the back of Saphire with Eragon, I lost the ability to walk through Ellesmera with Ayra, I never got the chance to see Murtaugh happy or Roran rebuild his home with his family. Of course I can always reread, but there is something lost after that initial read, after the first time that you truly understand a series. I’ve searched online for a word that adequately describes how an individual feels after finishing a book and most refer to it as “Post-Book Depression,” which is mostly accurate. But not entirely, as I was not only sad but happy and also longing for more…

Instead of saying that I had Post-Book Depression, I propose a new word: Saudade.

It is a Portuguese folk word that is practically untranslatable in most languages. But generally it means:

A deep emotional state of melancholic longing for someone or something that is absent.

Indeed, this word helps describe how I feel every time I come to the ending of something beautiful. The characters that I read in every book are not only characters to me. They are alive in my imagination, teaching me, directing me, warning me, instructing me, encouraging me. It is the characters that stay, long after the words fade.

Do you too suffer from Saudade after finishing a new book or series?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.Wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Flexibility of Fairy Tales, Uncategorized

The Twelve Brothers by Grimm

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Today, we’re taking a look at my Bookshelf. Recently I re-read “The Twelve Brothers” by the Grimm Brothers…

Summary

In a kingdom, there once lived a King and Queen with twelve sons. However, when the Queen became pregnant again, the King declared that if the child was a girl, they would have to put the twelve sons to death so that their daughter could inherit all the riches. The king prepared twelve small coffins in case his wife gave birth to a girl. But the Queen could not stand losing her sons and so she warned them to run away until the child was born. If the child was a girl she would wave red flag to warn them to stay away and if she waved a white flag they could come home.

Lo, and behold, when the time came, the Queen raised a red flag and so the brothers fled further and deeper into the forest, vowing revenge on any woman that they should cross, “If we run into a girl, her red blood will flow.”

Now, they were understandably upset, but killing the next girl you meet might be taking it a bit far.

The brothers lived in the woods for quite some time and Benjamin, the youngest, often remained at home cooking and cleaning the house.

Ten years later back at the castle, the young princess grew into a beautiful girl with a kind heart and a golden star on her forehead. When she discovered twelve boy shirts, she asked her mother the Queen, who confessed everything about her brothers. Being 10 years old, she was, of course, quite old enough to leave the castle and venture into the forest in search of her brothers.

The princess came across the brother’s cottage and found only Benjamin in the home. When he realized who she was, Benjamin was overjoyed and hid her until the rest of the brothers came home. When they arrived he made them promise to spare the life of the first girl to cross their threshold. Once they agreed, Benjamin revealed the princess and all of the brothers were overjoyed as well. Together the twelve brothers and one sister lived happily in the cottage together.

One day, the young princess went out to pick twelve white lilies for her brothers. However, when she picked the flowers, her brothers were turned into Ravens and she was left alone. Then, an old woman, who probably owned the flowers, mysteriously advised her, “There is one way to save them, but it’s so hard that you can’t possibly hope to free them that way. You would not be able to say a word for seven years, and you wouldn’t be able to smile at all. If you speak just one word, or if a single hour is missing in the seven years, then everything will be in vain–in fact one word would kill your brothers.”

7 years of solitude for picking some flowers because that seems fair. Anyway…

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The young princess vowed to do just that and so she found a hollow tree, sat in it, and started spinning. (Who knows why she needed to spin.) One day, a king was in the forest and found the girl. Of course, he was so enchanted by her that he brought her home with him and married her. Although the king and queen lived happily for several years, she never spoke or smiled or laughed.

Now the King’s mother was a wicked woman who hated the young princess and believed that she was evil. Through the years, the mother constantly accused the princess of doing wicked and evil things. Finally, she persuaded her son, the King, that his wife was evil and sentenced her to death.

Even as the flames were lit, the princess did not say a word. However, just as the fire began to touch her clothes, the seven years ended and there “was a whirring sound in the air and twelve Ravens came flying through the air and swooped down. When they touched the ground, they turned into her twelve brothers.”

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The brothers rescued their sister from the flames who could finally smile and speak. She then told the king why she had made the vow to never speak or smile and he was overjoyed to find that she was not evil.

I don’t know if I could be as forgiving as the princess.

The King brought the princess back into the castle and they lived in harmony until their deaths. Meanwhile the wicked mother-in-law was put in a barrel filled with boiling oil and poisonous snaked and died “a painful death.”

Sometimes I really do have to wonder if these stories were truly told to children as bedtime stories.

Review

The Obvious Moral of the Story

  • This fairy tale is definitely promoting the virtue of long-suffering. To be long-suffering means to have patience and willingness to suffer based on your love for another. Clearly, the princess has long-suffering and is rewarded for her virtue.

The Not-so-ObviousMoral of the Story

  • What do we make of her poor brothers? First, they are forced to flee from their home and once they finally find happiness, they are turned into Ravens for seven years. I would argue that the not-so-obvious moral is endurance and perseverance. The brothers did not allow their situations to corrupt them.

The thing I find the most interesting about this fairy tale:

  • In the beginning, the king tells his wife that if their thirteenth child is a girl, their twelve boys must be put to death so that the girl can inherit all the riches. While I am, of course, shocked and horrified that any parent would want to kill their child or children, I am more shocked that in this story they want to kill the male children. In countries all over the world, it is often the female child who is killed or abandoned for not being male. The Grimm brothers definitely added a twist to the norm.

This is one of the Grimm Brothers’s longer fairy tales. What do you think of it?

Blogs / Life, Book Reviews, Review, Reviews

Now Offering: Book Reviews

After getting some wonderful and insightful feedback from you amazing bloggers, I have decided to go forward with offering book reviews for up-and-coming authors.

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Do You Want a Book Review of Your Debut Novel?

  • If you are a first-time author or beginning author, I would love to read your published works and give an honest review.
  • This offer is primarily available for your DEBUT novel, even if it was written a year ago.
    • Not a new author? Shoot me an email anyway and if my load is light, I’ll still consider reviewing your book!
  • This offer is only available for published works (sorry, but I’m not currently offering a BETA reader services).
    • Your book can be self-published or traditionally published.
  • I am more likely to select a book that is a print version as opposed to PDF or files (sorry, but my eyes can’t read a whole book on a screen guys, it hurts.)
  • I am interested in all types of genres except for horror, gore, and erotica.

The Way it Works:

If you are hoping that I will review your work, please go through my Contact page and send me:

  • Your name (author pen-name is also fine)
  • The title of your book, when it was published, the length of your book in word count, and what format (traditional, self, print, electronic, etc.)
  • A short blurb about your book
  • It is the author’s responsibility to send the book to me
    • The author assumes all shipping costs
  • I will do my best to review one new book per month. Depending on the volume of requests, you may have to wait a few months.
  • Please be aware, I will be giving an HONEST REVIEW. This means that I may not love your book. However, I will always do my best to be professional and courteous in my comments!
  • Whether or not I am interested in reviewing your book, I will respond to your inquiry. Please be patient with me 😀

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I reserve the right to refuse any author and/or book based on personal preference. Please do not spam me with requests, it will only ensure that your emails get moved to my spam folder. It may take me a little while to get back to you, but I will get back to you.

If you intend to email me with a book request, feel free to drop me a comment below!

Happy Writing Everyone!

The Flexibility of Fairy Tales

The Poor Miller’s Boy and the Cat

. . . Where did all the time go?

Summary

There once was a miller who was getting old in age who had three field hands. He told these three boys that whoever brought back the best horse would inherit the mills when he died as long as they swore to take care of him for the rest of his life. Two boys were friendly with one another and hated the “simpleton” who was the third boy. When the three set off on their journey the other two boys abandoned the third boy while he slept. When he woke up, he was found by a cat who promised to give him the most magnificent horse if he stayed with and served her for seven years.

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The years seem to pass in a matter of days for the simpleton boy and he returns to the miller without a horse although the cat promises to bring one in three days. The other two boys (who apparently also took seven years to find horses) return with one lame horse and one blind horse. While the miller initially dismisses the simpleton boy, after three days, he accepts the boy as his successor when the cat (now a beautiful human princess) returns with six gorgeous horses and one utterly magnificent horse. The story ends,

“The princess said that she would give him the horse and that the miller could just keep the mill for himself. She took faithful Hans by the hand and got into the coach with him and drove off . . . Then the two married, and he was so rich, so very rich, that he had more than enough money for the rest of his life. So don’t let people tell you that a simpleton will never amount to anything in life.”

 

Review

Another not-so-well known fairy tale, perhaps even less known than the Frog King. Perhaps one of the most interesting things happening here is the role reversal in which it is the princess who comes to the rescue of the helpless male.

The obvious moral of the story: Faithfulness is rewarded

  • Throughout the story it seems like Hans is just caught up by the cat and her magical home. However, in the last paragraph the princess focuses on the phrase “faithful Hans.” Therefore, we can assume that perhaps Hans was not simply swept away by the princess’s magic; instead, he intentionally remained and served her.

The not-so-obvious moral of the story: Don’t judge a person by their appearance.

  • In the last sentence of the story, the Grimm brothers warn their readers to not judge a simpleton’s abilities or accomplishments. Can it be assumed that they are arguing against judgement of any kind? Perhaps.

The interesting involvement of time, or lack thereof.

  • Time is a curious thing in this story. The narrative itself is only four and half pages, yet the story is supposed to cover 7+ years. Time quite literally flies in the story as seven years passes in a matter of days. Time becomes insignificant and malleable. Does Hans servitude mean as much, is his faithfulness as important when seven years is hardly a wrinkle in time?

What do you think of this story? Have you read it before?

The Flexibility of Fairy Tales

The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats

Summary

Once upon a time, there was a household inhabited by a mother goat and her seven goat children. In the same forest, there lived an evil wolf. Now regardless of the fact that this wolf lives near by, the mother goat decides to go out into the woods and leave her children at home warning them to keep the door closed to everyone except for her. Through some trickery, the wolf ends up getting inside the house and gobbles up six of the goat children whole. He misses the seventh one though who is small enough to hide in the clock.

When the mother goat returns, she finds her house a mess and her children gone, all except one. Together the mother goat and the baby goat venture out into the forest and find the wolf fast asleep with the other goats still kicking and moving around in his stomach. Somehow the wolf remains asleep even while the mother goat cuts open his stomach and removes her children while the baby goat fills his stomach back up with rocks. After the mother goat stitches up the wolf’s stomach, the goat family hides and watches. The wolf awakens and goes to the well to get a drink. However, off balance from the stones, he falls into the well and drown. In other versions, the goats push him into the well.

They were so happy that they called their mother, and they all danced for joy around the well.”

Review

The story itself is short, barely four pages long. However, whenever a wolf is involved you can bet that appetite (either physical hunger or sexual desire) is attached to the story.

The Obvious Moral – Obey your parents. This is an obvious moral running throughout Grimm fairy tales that were not meant to entertain children, but to scare them and keep them in line. If the goats had listened to their mother, they would not have been eaten. Of course, this is problematic as the goats do try to respect their mother’s orders. However, they are tricked by the wolf. So can we really blame them?

The Not-So Obvious Moral – Run from gluttony. As briefly mentioned earlier, wolves usually represent some kind of hunger. In this case, the wolf’s own gluttony causes his downfall. He was so hungry that he swallowed the goats whole. By swallowing them whole, the goats remain alive in his stomach which allows the mother goat to rescue them. Furthermore, having eaten too much, the wolf is lured into a deep slumber that also leads to his downfall.

Interestingly, the youngest goat survives the wolf’s attack. Why? Is it because he was smart enough to hide? Or small enough to escape notice? Not sure of the answer. What do you think of today’s selection?

The Flexibility of Fairy Tales

The Frog King, or Iron Heinrich

. . . and the very little, very violent princess.

I have finally found the time to start adding blog posts to the “My Bookshelf” section of my menu. I thought, what could be better than to start with Fairy Tales? Here we go!

Summary:

The Frog King, or Iron Heinrich, also known to some as The Frog Prince, was written by the Grimm brothers and is traditionally the first story published in their collection. When I think of fairy tales, I don’t automatically jump to this story. In fact, it often slips from my mind when thinking of Grimm’s collection of tales. However, if the brothers saw fit to begin their collection with it, I suppose I should also begin my analysis of their fairy tales with this story.

Here is a brief summary for those of you who have not read it:

Once upon a time, a young princess of ridiculous beauty played with her golden ball next to a pond. She accidentally lost her ball in the pond and apparently could not swim. Her tears were noticed by a frog who rescued her ball from the pond and agreed to return it to the young princess if she agreed to let him live with her in the palace, to eat from her plate, to sip from her cup, and to sleep in her bed. Of course, the young girl simply wanted her ball back and agreed, but as soon as she got her ball she left without the frog.

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That night while the young princess and her father, the king, sat at dinner, the frog knocked (not sure how) on the castle’s doors and called out to the princess reminding her of her promise. Although she did not want to, the king ordered her to fulfill her promise and to not “scorn someone who helped you when you were in trouble.” Unhappily, the princess lets him in, lets him eat from her plate and drink from her cup.

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After dinner, she carries the frog to her room but sets him on the floor instead of her bed. When the frog reminds her of her promise and threatens to call the king, the princess picks up the frog and violently hurls him across the room where he thuds against the wall and then transforms into a handsome prince.

Needless to say after this act of violence, the prince and the princess marry and live happily ever after.

Now, who is Heinrich you might ask? The name from the title?

Not the Frog Prince. He is never named. Instead, Heinrich is the prince’s faithful coachman who arrives the following morning to celebrate his prince’s freedom. Heinrich also wears three wooden hoops around his chest to keep his heart from exploding with sorrow. As Heinrich drives the prince and the princess to their happily ever after, the story ends with:

“The sound of the hoops breaking from around Faithful Heinrich’s chest, for his master had been set free and was happy at last.”

 

Review

As I mentioned before, this story, although beloved and remade dozens of time, has never really struck my fancy. However, there are some interesting things happening here, especially if we believe that morals and life lessons can be discovered through fairy tales.

The obvious moral of the story: Honor your promises and you will be rewarded.

  • The frog honored his promise to retrieve the ball and the princess (unwillingly) honored her promise to the frog. His curse was broken and she got a fancy new husband.

The not-so-obvious moral: Action is necessary to accomplish anything worthwhile.

  • This might seem a little strange, but consider the scene in which the young princess hurls the frog against the wall. This violent act is hardly commendable and, if I were the prince, I would be a bit agitated with the princess. Some scholars have insisted that the violence of the action is unimportant (although I think the prince would argue), it is the action itself that is important. Neither the frog, nor the princess, could break the curse without being actively involved. I’m not sure if this satisfies being thrown across the room, but I can acquiesce the importance of having your protagonist being active rather than passive.

The interesting character of Heinrich

  • The fact that he is not the main character and yet, his name is in the title, begs further analysis of his character. He simply oozes off morals such as faithfulness and loyalty. However, we are only given this flat illustration of a servant happy to see his master freed. I don’t know about you, but I want to know Heinrich’s story.

What do you think of the story? Does it resonate with you or is it forgettable? Do you approve the princess’s violent actions? Do you want to know more about the servant Heinrich? Let me know your thoughts below!

 

Well, there we have it: my very first blog post for “My Bookshelf.” I simply adore fairy tales (thanks Jay Pines for reminding me of them) and I think I’ll do some more blog posts of this nature as long as you all seem interested. If you have a particular fairy tale that you would like my review of be sure to leave the title in the comment’s below!

My Bookshelf

My Bookshelf

Hello Everyone!

As I said a week or so ago, although we are writers we are also readers!

As for myself, I am a HUGE reading enthusiast and I assume that many of you are as well. So I have decided to create a section on my blog called “My Bookshelf” Underneath this section I will post what I am currently reading, or what I’ve read in the past, and why I think you might enjoy it as well.

I would love to hear from you guys though. What is worth the read??

Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

 

Happy Writing & Reading