Book Reviews

Book of the Month: The Lost Artist (Part 1)

Every month, I will do my best to read and review one book (non-fiction, fiction, poetry, etc.) from an up-and-coming author. These authors are often times my friends and fellow bloggers. They “gift” me their books and in return I offer up 100% honest and genuine reviews. If you would like for me to feature your book, please see my original post on the matter here: Now Offering: Book Reviews.

Book of November: The Lost Artist Part 1

Author: Eric Houston

 

Brief Summary

“You may not know this, but your father is very famous in Israel.” When Eric Houston read these words in an e-mail from a stranger, his life was forever altered. After a fifty-year search for the illustrator of the bestselling Israeli children’s book, And There Was Evening, a researcher at IBM Israel had discovered that the artist was Eric’s father, Fred Hausman. Eric knew that his father had been the highest decorated WWII Palestinian soldier in the British Army, but was unaware that he was also a celebrated artist.” (excerpt from publisher)

The story of Fritz “Fred” Hausman, written after his death by his son Eric Houston, is a thrilling story filled with enough facts to satisfy a historian and enough intrigue to appeal to the laziest of readers. The story is split into two narrative perspectives, one follows the past life of Fritz “Fred” Hausman, a German-born Jew, who leaves his home for Palestine as a boy and later fights against Nazi-tyranny as a man. The other perspective follows the present life of Elinat, a woman with reoccurring cancer, who is desperate to find the artist behind her favorite children’s story. Perhaps if she is able to find him, she will be able to find meaning in her own life.

The last third of this book is a collection of actual, factual email correspondence between Eric Houston and others (including Angela Entwistle, a representative for Lord Ashcroft, a detective, and more) as he attempts to reclaim his father’s stolen medals. Fritz “Fred” Hausman received the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM),  Israel’s most important WWII medal, for services rendered in the war. However, before his son (Eric) could collect these medals on Fritz’s behalf, they were stolen and, through a series of auctions, ended up in Lord Ashcroft’s possession who refuses to return them to this day.

The entire purpose of this book is to bring light to the heroic deeds of one man who saved hundreds and the travesty of his stolen medals. As such, in Eric’s own words, “All proceeds from “The Lost Artist” will go to returning medals stolen from within the British Ministry of Defense to their rightful owners.”

Review & Star Rating

 

The Lost Artist receives 5-stars due to its dedication to reality while successfully weaving an exciting narrative. Facts are never exchanged for fiction for the sake of plot. Rather, sub stories intertwine with major plot points naturally, as they occurred in history. I might have actually learned more about that time period from reading Eric Houston’s book than I ever did from any of my history classes combined. Secondly, the love and admiration that Eric has for his father is evident throughout the narrator’s tone in his depiction of Fritz “Fred” Hausman.

The minor plot line concerning the modern-day Elinat was interesting, although I would admit that I was a tad bit disappointed where the book ended. Indeed, this book was nearly rated at 3 stars due to a disappointing ending. However, in realizing that this is only Part 1 and that Eric Houston is working on a Part 2, the cliff hanger seems more natural. I will warn future readers though, do not expect to have all of your questions answered. I believe we will be waiting on answers for as long as Eric is waiting for justice for his father’s medals.

Recommendations

I highly recommend this book to any historian or lover of the WWII time period. This is an exciting adventure with a fresh outlook on a well-discussed world event with new insights. I highly recommend this book to even those without historical or WWII leanings. While you may have to skim over a few paragraphs brimming with historical facts and data, I do believe you will find that the rest of the narrative is highly entertaining and captivating.

I am eagerly awaiting Part 2 where hopefully all of my questions will be answered and Fritz “Fred” Hausman will receive the recognition that he deserves.

Support an Author

©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.

Book Reviews

Book of the Month – “A Handful of Might”

Every month, I will do my best to read and review one book (non-fiction, fiction, poetry, etc.) from an up-and-coming author. These authors are often times my friends and fellow bloggers. They “gift” me their books and in return I offer up 100% honest and genuine reviews. If you would like for me to feature your book, please see my original post on the matter here: Now Offering: Book Reviews.

Book of October: A Handful of Might

Author: Joel Green

A Handful of Might

Brief Summary

Blake Drysdale is an aviator, smuggler, and an ex-pilot for the Royal Air Force. Drysdale’s crew consists of Sally, the female African-American pilot who deserted the U.S. air force, Anton, the Ukrainion national who provides any and all brute force necessary, and Felix “the Cat,” an American master forger. Needless to say, there is more to Blake Drysdale and his crew than initially meets the eye. What starts off as a simple smuggling job, sixteen million dollars worth of gold, turns into an all-out thrill ride that encompasses past, present, and future.

Set at the end of the Vietnam war, Drysdale and his crew race against the U.S.A.’s C.I.A. department and the Soviet Union in a desperate attempt to see who will recover the mysterious Doktor Meier and his secret Nazi weapon first. Along the way, Drysdale and his crew become involved in something much bigger than gold and wealth; their actions will determine the safety of the whole world.

Review & Star Rating

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This is the first five-star review that I have given and it is well-deserved. This is the type of book that I could not put down and once I finished, I picked it up and read it again! Joel Green presents realistic and appealing characters. Every character, from major to minor, feels unique and organic. Readers will not be able to help themselves as they fall in love with Drysdale and his crew who are really family more than anything else. In particular, I want to highlight Green’s character “Sally” who breaks stereotypes and lives life according to her own dang rules.

Green is even able to put in some romantic tension without the plot becoming soppy or deviating from its purpose. A Handful of Might is a race from start to finish. There is no down-time so readers are compelled to keep reading, pushing past every twist and turn to finally discover the truth. I hesitate to write more for fear that I will start giving away spoilers.

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I’ll admit, I am not a fan of cussing in books. However, every cuss word within this book felt extremely natural and realistic for the time period, setting, and action. Regardless of this, I am putting on a Reader Advisory Warning for strong and frequent language, moments of sexuality, and one graphic torture scene.

Recommendations

I highly recommend A Handful of Might to all readers 18+ (see again my Reader Advisory Warning). If you are not bothered by the language, you will love this book. It has action, suspense, romance, mystery, intrigue, humor, and did I mention, action? Seriously, it’s a great read!

Support an Author

©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.

Book Reviews

Book of the Month – “Rebecca Steele: Chasing a Dream”

Every month, I will do my best to read and review one book (non-fiction, fiction, poetry, etc.) from an up-and-coming author. These authors are often times my friends and fellow bloggers. They “gift” me their books and in return I offer up 100% honest and genuine reviews. If you would like for me to feature your book, please see my original post on the matter here: Now Offering: Book Reviews.

Book of September: Rebecca Steele: Chasing a Dream

Author: Joanne Patterson

Chasing a Dream

Brief Summary (*SPOILER ALERT*)

The story is set in the 1970s when main protagonist Rebecca “Becky” Steele, an airplane stewardess, is introduced to the men behind the United States Silver Eagle airshows. Becky, who is recently divorced from her husband after he disappeared one day and left her to move in with his girlfriend, is struggling. When she meets Johnny, one of the Silver Eagles, she is quickly infatuated. Led on by his advances, Becky fancies herself and Johnny to be in love. Due to her seniority, she is able to move around her work shifts and constantly schedules herself around the airshows so that she can continue to meet with Johnny and fall into his bed. She moves from the rank of “hammer” to “hole card” as she quickly becomes Johnny’s go-to-gal. That is, until she learns he has another “hole card” and that is the one he plans on marrying, not her.

Devastated by the turn of events, Becky returns home and starts to seriously pursue music. Although it takes nearly twenty years, she works hard and gets signed with a record label. It is during this time of “stardom” that Becky is reintroduced to characters like Johnny and his best mate, Mike, who has played around on the sidelines of Becky’s life. Twenty years later and Becky must decide where her heart truly lies and what love really is.

Review & Star Rating

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I will be honest. I struggled hard with the beginning of this book, not because it was poorly written but because I simply did not like the main character, Becky. What you have to understand is this, the plot is written during the “free love” of the 70s and there is a lot of sex (and women) being passed around between characters. While the author is never explicit and handles those scenes really well (hats off to Joanne Patterson for never feeling like you needed to be graphic), there were still way too many for my taste. Men used women and women used men, but women were used more. Also, Becky kept saying how “in love” she was with Johnny when really, all there seemed to be was infatuation and lust. For another reader, that might not bother you! Indeed, many readers have loved this book, so I say to each their own. For those reasons, I struggled with the first half of the book.

It is in the last third of the book where Becky has disentangled herself from the Silver Eagles that I felt like I could finally be on her side. Although she maintained some of her delusions about Johnny, you could definitely feel the maturity that she had gained. Again, I want to point out that my rating is really based on my personal taste. In general, the ending is what made the book for me. I wish that the author had hinted more about Becky’s musical talents and aspirations earlier on in the book so that they did not come out of left field in the end, but I really enjoyed that subplot.

Recommendations

For anyone who is not bothered by the “free love” of the 70s, I recommend this book. The ending really only had two options: one that would make me throw the book in frustration and one that would redeem the first half in my eyes. What was really great is this: you did not know which way it would go until the very last second. A great twist.

Support an Author

©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.

Writing Tips

The Do’s and Don’t’s of Writing a Review

Reviews are important.

There is no debating this fact, there is no arguing this point, and there is no downplaying their importance. Reviews are crucial, especially if you are an up-and-coming author attempting to establish yourself in the writing community.

This being said, a lot of authors are either craving reviews or writing reviews themselves. It’s a way for authors to give back to their communities. In my own experience, the majority of reviews come from other authors as opposed to readers. By writing reviews, authors support one another. I’m doing so, there are some key tips and tricks to writing a good review that we all can remember.

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So, here are Kayla Ann’s Top Do’s and Dont’s of Writing a Review:

Do’s:

Write a review. Yes, it is awesome to receive star ratings on Amazon, Goodreads, etc., but star ratings are not enough. If you can take your time to leave a star rating, please leave a review consisting of at least one comment. Here are some good one-liners that elevate a simple star rating:

  • “I couldn’t put it down!”
  • “The plot was great.”
  • “The characters were so relatable.”

Write a decent summary. People want to know what the book is about. You can do this is 3-6 simple sentences that may paraphrase the book’s blurb or your own summary.

Give a general rating and explain why. It is not enough to just put a rating, you should give your readers an understanding of why you chose to rate it that way; both the good and the bad.

Write an honest review. (Say it with me): WRITE AN HONEST REVIEW. Guys, I cannot stress this enough. Honesty is the best policy.  When you are honest, the author is given a clear understanding of what was liked and what needs improvement. When you are honest, the reader goes in with a clear and realistic understanding of what they are getting. When you are honest, it solidifies the review system. (See further explanation under DONT’S)

Dont’s:

Don’t write a fake review. Don’t encourage services of false reviews. What do I mean by that? Don’t offer to give 5 star reviews in exchange for money and don’t accept that deal either.

Don’t give away too much in the summary. No one wants you to spoil the end of the book. If you give everything away, why should another reader pick it up?

DON’T lie in your review. Maybe you are trying to sugarcoat the truth because the author is your friend or follower. This helps no one. When you write a dishonest review you are negatively impacting both the author and future readers while undermining the whole reviewing system. The author will be given unrealistic expectations, the reader will be frustrated by the biased review, and the reviews on that book will no longer be considered trustworthy. Please. Just, don’t. If you are not going to write an honest review, do not write one at all.

Now that you have some basic guidelines, get out there! Start reading and writing your own reviews to support the community of authors.

Support an Author

Do you have any DO’s or DONT’s that should be added to this list?

Leave a comment below!

Blogs / Life, Book Reviews

Mail Time

So, I received two new books this week from friends and followers to review in the upcoming months!

Chasing a Dream written by Joanne Patterson is a romance novel about a young woman that falls in love with a military man at an air show.

The Lost Artist written by Eric Houston, “part history, party mystery,” circles around Fred Hausman the celebrated but unknown artist/soldier in the British arm during WWII.I sense a military theme in my upcoming reading!

Thank you to the authors who shared their works with me!

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.

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!

Blogs / Life

Would you Like a Book Review?

Hello Everyone!

I would really appreciate some feedback on this post.

I was asked if I do book reviews or feature authors and their books on my blog. I’ve been considering it and I think I am leaning toward one direction, but I would love to hear back from my followers.

Would you be interested in reviews? Or would it take away from what this blog already offers?

If I did offer book reviews of new authors, I would probably do one Book Review per month depending on my own work load.

So, what do you guys think? Is it something you would be interested in seeing? Is it something you would be interested in doing (sending me books)?

Image result for gif what do you think