Tag Archives: draft after draft

Please, Please, Please Read the Requirements for Reviews

When a book reviewer takes the time to give requirments for a book to be reviewed, then courtesy would be to read what he or she takes the time to write.

I LOVE Indie authors and I don’t like to turn them down, but I have had to turn down several lately. They either didn’t see the requirements, which are ON THE ABOUT PAGE, or just skimmed through them. I would hope that they just didn’t blow them off. I am a teacher. I like to find books that students might enjoy but would never see if I didn’t review them, because they are not on the shelves of the “big name bookstores”. There is more to life than Shakespeare, although I love Shakespeare, and will include his works in literature studies.

There are authors like Ivan Amberlake, Rebecca Graf, L. Benedict Dunn IV, Aaron Denius Garcia, Pembroke Sinclair, C.P. Bialois, James Calbraith, Haley Fisher, and SO MANY MORE. I have so many that I love.

I look forward to getting book review requests, but am highly disappointed when an author sends me a book that does not meet the requirements. I am an author myself, and I know how important it is to get others to read your book, but as long as you go about it the right way it all works out. I wish you all the best! Happy Reading!



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Spirit Within Club by Sahar Sabati–Review by Bethanie

Spirit within club--book cover

Spirit Within Club

Genre: Middle School age

By: Sahar Sabati


I am not sure how to take this book. It has a great message to share, but it also goes against the message it is trying to share.

Its main theme is to be accepting of everyone, yet the Spirit Within Club didn’t. The author seemed to pick on three groups, but I will not reveal them here. I will let the reader read the book and choose for themselves. There always has to be a bad guy or a group that is bad, yet no one tried to find out why the others were the way the were. If the book’s main idea is unity, then how can we have unity if we choose to leave some out?

I admire the author’s trying to make everyone love the book by buying into what everyone seems to believe–one group causing the problems, but it is not just one group. It is all groups fighting against the others because they believe what they do. She also brought out the fact that it is engrained by the parents of these children, and I will not say it isn’t. Who are our first teachers? OUR PARENTS.


I believe the author meant this book to be rather religious, and I have no problem with that. I wish more would follow and stand by the morals of a decent society. The students in this book did. The way the students rally around Zeke both warmed my heart but made me cry at the same time. So I cannot and will not say this book is a bad book, because it isn’t. The main theme of accepting everyone as they are is a wonderful one, but maybe revisit what acceptance of all, the way they are and make the difference where you can in others lives. Age doesn’t matter.

For a seasoned writer, the writing could have been better, but if this is the first book the author has written, then they can always improve.

I will close with this. The writer was spot on with only taking one to make a difference and we all must take that first step. Well, seven friends have taken that first step. Who and how many can we add to it?




I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. No monetary exchange was made.



Filed under Middle Grade Readers

I Am Starting a Project

So, I have a rant today.

I originally posted this reply on WP site Publishing Insights to the article– Self-Publishing: Blessings and Woes:

After reading all of the posts on this, I agree with everything except the statement that “anyone can write a book”. That is one thing I will completely disagree with. Can anyone put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and come up with a book? Yes, anyone can.
However, writing is not just putting thoughts down on paper. Writing is an art. As authors, you have to become your character. You have to react the way they would react and say what they would say, create the world they are going to live in and make it believable. You have to live the experience in the book, whether through your imagination or through real life.
You pour your heart and soul into your character or characters and make them a real and believable person even though they are fictitious. You have to make your reader hear their voice and see through their eyes, as if they were living it with the character in your book.
You do not publish a book on your second draft. Give me your seventh, tenth, or fifteenth draft. I want the one that is so very polished that nothing makes me stumble through it.
I LOVE Indie authors. I have found so many that write better than the highest paid, traditionally published, agented authors. Yet if they tried to find an agent, they couldn’t because most agents don’t care enough to read what they have written.
Take J. K. Rowling, famous author of Harry Potter. She sent her manuscripts to so many agents and it was rejected so many times. Why? I wonder how many agents are kicking themselves now.
The negative aspect, though, is that everyone does write a book and publishes their second draft and that is where we have those that think they can make a million dollars with their first published book. When they see it doesn’t work that way, it is tossed in the waves of the sea of self-published books and their rolling waves cover those that are AMAZING authors.
My purpose, as a reader, is to find those shimmering jewels that the sun catches just right. My purpose as a reviewer is to tell others about the jewels I have discovered. I must try and calm the endless waves of water and sand as it sifts through my fingers where lo and behold I find the jewel.
Self-publishing is a hard route to take. Those that do and create a work of art in written words, I applaud them.


So here is my idea. Ever wonder what happened to those agented and traditionally published authors that didn’t make the NYT Best-Sellers’ list or any of the best sellers lists? I often have, so I am going to find out.

Everyone is so preoccupied with the idea that you have to have an agent to make it. I cannot say whether that is true or not. I have seen many authors who were agented and picked up by one of the “Big Five” or ten or twelve, I’ve lost count. I am speaking of those authors that are part of the big publishing houses, that didn’t make it. I have also seen some that did make it to NYTBS list that should never have been on it in the first place. Those are the ones I wonder about.

Just because you are picked up by a big publishing house does not guarantee that you will make it in the big time. Just because their book is on NYTBS list does not mean it should be there.

I walk into my local bookstore and look at the shelves that I frequent and there are some authors on those shelves that I have never even heard of before. One in particular was Erin Bowman. She wrote Taken. Guess where I found her book–on the major discount shelf. It was a hard back book and it only cost me $5. I figured, why not. It was published in 2013. I bought the book in 2013 and am just now picking it up to read.

Just recently I found out that the next two books are being released in March and April of this year. I only saw this info on Amazon. I get e-mails all the time from HARPER TEEN a month before telling me about new books that are being released. Never once did I see Ms. Bowman’s books on those newsletters.   She was picked up by HARPER TEEN on the first book and I think the next two are with them too, but am not sure. So here is my question–Why haven’t I heard about these new books?

As a top publishing house wouldn’t you want to make ALL your new books known, instead of the choice few, big-time money making authors? So the conclusion I have come to is that the big publishing houses have a tendency to hold back their NON-NYTBS list authors. This gives me another reason to dislike them and not trust them. This makes me cheer and pull for the underdog–the self-published and unpublicized. Have I seen a poster at the front of my local bookstore about Erin Bowman’s books? No.

Is her publishing company helping advance her career? No, not in my opinion, yet another reason to dislike them. So, my friends in the INDIE group, don’t give up, but make sure what you put out there is the best of the best. I believe in you!


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The Cat’s Maw by Brooke Burgess–Review by Bethanie

The Cat's Maw

The Cat’s Maw

by: Brooke Burgess

Genre: YA Fiction, Mystery, Horror

I cannot remember a book making me so very angry, so very sad, sometimes sick, and giving me a sense of foreboding all at the same time. In saying that, it was also very edge-of-your-seat-ish. So if Mr. Burgess wanted to write a book that can leave the reader feeling full of dread, yet dying to read the next book, then I guess he accomplished what he set out to do.

I love books with animals in them, especially cats. Cats have always lent an air of mystery to any family who happens to have one as a pet or more than one, whichever the case may be. This book reminds me a lot of the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. The main difference being that I would consider this more of a horror-type book than an adventure-type book. It is very Stephen King-ish.


The writing was fine, but less than I anticipated. Here is where I will probably not be liked. However I cannot make everyone happy, so I will do as I am expected to and give my honest opinion.

First of all let me say this. This book had a storyline, but there was not enough of the storyline in it. I will not give anything away but to say this. It seemed to be more human than cat and with a title like The Cat’s Maw, I just expected more of the cat theme than I read. Now, that being said, this was just the first book of the series so I may get more of what I am looking for in the next book or books, however many there might be.

I normally can read quickly through a book because it flows well. Please take this with a grain of salt, but for me the book did not flow well, and there seemed some parts that could have been left out altogether. A few of the characters I cannot see a place for in the book, and still others I think need more of a place in the book. Again, my opinion, others may not feel the same way. They may think it is great and for them it might be.

This was supposedly written for middle grades, but I would move it into the Young Adult range. Just because the book uses middle-grade aged children does not necessarily deem it middle-grade fiction. There were also a few words in it that most parents of middle-grade students would not want them to see. I am one of those parents. Some may not care, but some may. It will be left up to the parent to make that decision.


The book itself was not bad. The only problem for me was the flow of the story. It jumped around way too much, but again, my opinion. Please, however, do not let this review sway you from reading the book. Not every reader is alike and therefore each has their own opinion. I appreciate the opportunity to read the book, and I will look for the next one to read. Happy reading!


I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. No monetary exchange was made.

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Indie Authors Review

UGH! I have had it with some Indie Authors! I am sick of everywhere I go–pages on Facebook, groups I am a part of, etc. beginning as something I was interested in, and ending up as nothing more than an advertising sludge pool. Am I an indie author, yes. Do, I want my books to be noticed, yes. However, reality is what it is.

Some Indie authors have inundated any and all outlets with their books. Some of the ones I have read are really, really good, and many others I have read are really, really bad. I don’t care whether you want to shoot me down for saying that. IT IS THE TRUTH!

Someone once said that anyone can be a writer, well they were wrong. Not just anyone can. That has been proved to me through some of the books I have read by some indie authors.

As a reader I have to wade through oceans and oceans of books to find what I like. Some I have come across, thinking I would like them, proved me wrong yet again. But my newsfeed is blown up by newer, better, more–yeah, right.

If you’re reading this you may be cussing me right now, and I really don’t care. If you know you can write, you aren’t cussing me. If you know you have room for improvement or are thinking I am directing this at you, then you know the answer to whether you can write or not.

Writers write because it is a need. They have withdrawal if they haven’t been able to write or they get writer’s block. It can break their heart. To finish a book is an accomplishment in and of itself. A writer’s work is part of their heart. It is a life they have borne from their imagination and just as if they have given birth to it in hard labor. It is difficult to let it go to the public for scrutinizing and critiquing. When you as a writer have been through this then you have a good book and I want to read it. Yes, some of you have sent me your books to read, and I am sorry, but the review is not here, because I do not give star reviews. I give the truth. If I believe you have put your heart and soul into your book, I am not going to tell you otherwise. I will say this. Care for it a little more and your review will appear.

To those indie authors who just want to say, look, I have written a book, good. Send me your fifteenth draft of it (I am not joking) and I will read it. Then I will know you have cared enough to send me your very best. Good luck, and best wishes!


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