Posts Tagged ‘reviews’

unnamed (3)Motivational and Inspiring.
Well if you’re wanting to become successful and looking for the way how, then I can’t think of anything better than this book.
Jerome “Jay” Isip is the author, and he gives the reader in this eye opening book, not only the tools to succeed in business and life, but also delivers a short sharp wakeup call to those who think that they might have already been trying.
I really loved this book because it is written from ‘real life’ experience, it doesn’t assume that the reader wants to spend hours at university or already has a degree. Neither does it suggest in any way the fact that it is necessary to have done both these things to get anywhere in life – how refreshing in this day and age! In his defence, I have to say, right here and now that the author does not criticize those who go down this path and acknowledges that for some professions these qualifications are necessary; however, this book looks at the opportunities there are for people who could not, or have not, either by choice or circumstance followed this path and yet still want to succeed.
In this very frank and straight talking book, the author uses his life, in many ways as an example of what not to do, and then shares with the readers how he managed to change the situations he found himself in, turning negatives into positives. A very important part of this book, is that he explains to the reader how to develop and use a PMA (Positive Mental Attitude), and how with the use of positive affirmation it is possible to literally change your life. With a positive mental attitude nothing is impossible, and if you embrace the concept of positive affirmation you can feel invincible.
The really empowering thing about reading this book is, that he explains how your life and your ability to succeed is entirely in your hands, no-one else’s yours. All the way through you are given examples and encouraged to look inside yourself to succeed.
Written with a no holds barred and a brutally honest attitude, the author enables you to see that any hurdles in your way are yours of the making, and brushes away any excuses you may feel like giving.
If you want to succeed in a career and/or your personal life this book is ideal for self-motivation. Written from first-hand experience, this is the most inspirational book I have ever read. The author’s ability to inspire is amazing, and as soon as I started it I could feel myself becoming empowered by his words.
Reviewed by Susan Keefe
Available from Amazon.com.

Read Full Post »

Hi all,

I’d like to announce Voice in the Dark Ezine’s new home at http://voice-in-the-dark.com

For the past 3 years the ezine had been sent to subscribers via email, but since it kept growing and growing, we decided that perhaps it should have its own website.

I’m still relatively new at web design so I’d love your feedback.

We welcome articles, reviews, guest columns, etc.


In this issue…

Interview with Children’s Author Donna McDine, author of The Golden Pathway
Interview with Judith Graves, author of Under My Skin
“FTC Regulations and What They Mean to You–the Reviewer,” by Mayra Calvani
“Secrets for Your Success: Goal Setting Tips for Writers,” by Suzanne Lieurance, the Working Writer’s Coach
The Writer’s Corner, by Anne K. Edwards
The Writing Life, by Irene Roth
Whodunit, by Billie Williams
Seedlings, Aaron Lazar
Short Fiction
“It Happened in Kansas,” by Anne K. Edwards
“A Ming and a Prayer,” by Lad Moore
Book Reviews
Shattered, by Kathi Baron
The Golden Pathway, by Donna McDine
Eat the Cookies, Buy the Shoes, by Joyce Meyer

Read Full Post »

Founded in 2002 by Hilary Williamson, BookLoons now offers readers close to 10,000 reviews on various genres–from children's to teens to most adult categories. Williamson is very selective when recruiting reviewers and edits all reviews herself before they appear on the site.  On average, between 100-150 reviews are added to BookLoons each month. If you're interested in becoming a BookLoons reviewer or would like to submit your book for review, contact Williamson at editor@bookloons.com.

Thanks for stopping by today, Hilary. Please tell us about your book review site. How and when did it get started?

I launched BookLoons in Fall 2000 as a place for people to connect to books that interest them, in a broad range of genres, covering mainly new releases but also old favorites that site visitors might have missed over the years …

What makes BookLoons stand out among so many other online review sites?

That question might better be addressed to our site visitors :-).

But we do aim for a consistent quality of review. I pick reviewers carefully and edit all our reviews. We also cover a broad range of genres, which some might see as an advantage or the converse. 30-40 new reviews are added weekly. Also reviews (we have close to 10,000 now) remain online permanently and are available through a variety of search paths.

What is the most challenging aspect of running a review site?

Time :-). I write a significant percentage of our reviews myself, do all the site updates, and also spend a great deal of time communicating via email with publicists and reviewers.

How many books do you review a month?

We post somewhere between 100 and 150 new reviews every month on BookLoons.

How many staff reviewers do you have?

We have close to thirty, about a quarter Canadian and the majority from the United States. However, some are much more active than others, and some are quite specialized in what they review, while others (including myself) read broadly.

How should an author contact you about a review request? Do you review e-books as well?

We obtain most review copies directly from publishers and publicists. We don't review e-books yet as most of our reviewers don't have good e-book devices. Authors also occasionally contact us directly (editor@bookloons.com) in which case I ask for a summary, publishing details, and a link to an online excerpt so that reviewers can assess whether or not the book interests them.

Do you think there’s a lot of ‘facile praise’ among many online review sites? What is your policy when it comes to negative reviews?

There is certainly a fair amount of ‘facile praise’, not only among review sites (and on bookseller sites) but also on book jackets from other authors – as a reader, I find the latter most disappointing, when an author I trust leads me astray.

I believe that an objective review should let someone else know what the reviewer liked or disliked about a book, so the site visitor can get a sense of whether or not it would appeal to them.

We do write negative reviews when called for, but try to always end on a positive note.

Over the years, I have had a few authors email to say they were very unhappy about reviews. My policy in that case is never to modify the review, but rather to take it off the site if the author wants that. (I've done it 2 or 3 times in the last 8 years).

There was a lot of controversy last year between print publication reviewers and online bloggers. In your opinion, what defines a ‘legitimate’ reviewer?

That's an interesting one! We actually wrote an article ("What's in a Review?") on the subject last year with input from all BookLoons reviewers – and they had a lot to say.

My bottom line (quoted from the article)? "First and foremost, surely it's a wonderful thing to have this powerful grass-roots resource (the Internet, bloggers and review sites) spreading the word about good books and authors?" and in conclusion, "While I hope that literary reviewers will continue to remind us of what makes great 'writing', I – along with fellow readers and reader reviewers – feel perfectly free, ready and willing to comment on what makes great 'reading'".

What is your stand on paid reviews?

They're not reviews; they're part of book marketing, which is fine as long as you don't call them reviews and are above board with site visitors. I do not accept paid reviews on BookLoons, nor do I accept fees for featuring books on the site (as I understand some sites do). I do run ads to cover hosting fees, but they're clearly labelled as such.

Do you think it’s okay for reviewers to resell the books they review? What about advance review copies (ARCs)?

ARCs should not be sold – that's clearly indicated on the covers. But I think it's fine for reviewers to sell final copies if they want to do so, as the books are generally their only payment for reviews. I give my copies away (those I don't keep for my ever expanding personal library :-)).

Do you keep the author’s feelings in mind when you review?

When I write (or edit) reviews, I try to be tactful. But the review is not for the author (aside from helping give his or her book exposure), it's for the reader wondering if that book is to their taste. So I try to focus on that.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being a reviewer?

Reading of course (and getting new releases of favorite authors early)! But also, the excitement (that all readers have) of discovering an excellent new author, and being able to play a small part in sharing that discovery with the reading world. One of our reviewers (Josephine Locke) put it well in "What's in a Review?", saying "My hope is that something in any review, even minutely, plays a note, reaching out and touching potential readers." That's why all of us read and review after all.

Thanks for this interview, Hilary!

Read Full Post »

Hi all,

slipperyThe Slippery Art of Book Reviewing garners another rave review. This time from Lillie Ammann’s blog, A Writer’s Word, an Editor’s Eye.


Read Full Post »

Hey there,
This month I’m off again touring the blogosphere, this time to promote my nonfiction work, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing.
On the first day of the tour, Nov. 4th, I was at Donna McDine’s wonderful blog, Write What Inspires You. Donna posted the prologue of the book and we had a very succesful first day with lost of comments from visitors. Thanks again, Donna, for allowing me to be a guest on your blog!
Today on the 2nd day of the tour my co-author and I are off at Book Pleasures for an interview with Editor in Chief Norm Goldman.

Read Full Post »

Andrea Sisco is the co-founder of Armchair Interviews and the author of the forthcoming mystery novel A Deadly Habit, to be released from Five Star in 2009. Started in 2005, Armchair Interviews now has about 100 staff reviewers who review an average of 200 books a month. This popular review site receives about 2 million hits a year and has been named by Writer's Digest one of the Best 101 Websites for Writers for three years in a row. Armchair Interviews has a lot of offer authors and readers, from audio interviews, to audio blurbs, to contests, to ads, to a whole range of resources on books and writing. It also publishes a monthly newsletter. Sisco is always on the lookout for quality reviewers. Just drop her an email at Andrea@armchairinterviews.com and she'll get you started. Armchair Interviews reviews most type of books in about 43 genres, with the exception of ebooks. In this interview, Sisco talks about the challenges of running a big review site, and about her forthcoming novel, among other things.

Thank you very much for this interview, Andrea. Tell us a bit about Armchair Interviews.

Our knowledge of books and our excitement and passion for the idea of Armchair Interviews was the beginning of creating a great site. We placed ourselves in the able hands of Paul Larson of Creative Arc in Minneapolis and he patiently worked with Connie and me to design an attractive, user friendly site. We then began to add other things like audio and written interviews, contests, a reader's page, an author's page, etc. for our visitors.

But it's the reviewers. They're passionate about the written word. They're good writers, responsible people and oh so much fun. They work hard. They work with us, not for us and that's the difference I think. They are Armchair Interviews. And we've gained new friends from around the United States and the world through Armchair Interviews. They simply are the best. Check out our site and then other sites and you'll see what I mean.

What is the most challenging aspect of running a review site?  

Time. It's primarily two people (Connie and I) running Armchair Interviews with some help from Paul Larsen (our go-to guy for web help) and Jeff Foster who does some marketing for us. Connie has a business (that pays the bills) and must give that time. I am a writer, I travel a great deal with my husband, we live in MN and AZ (which is a time and logistic challenge) and we have numerous children and grandchildren I want to spend time with. Connie and I always want to do more and wonder where we'll get the time.  

But money is another important aspect. It takes money to create a good site and money to maintain and improve a site like ours. Authors often don't like paying for ads, interviews, etc. The problem is, if the site isn't paying for itself, it goes away. They don't understand the number of people we reach and what it costs to maintain a site like ours. Some authors are appalled that sites like ours would charge to promote their titles. Hey, think New York Times, People, USA Today… We may be small, but like them, we have to have revenue to survive. I can never understand why they don't blink an eye at the idea of a magazine, television or newspaper ad, but believe that the internet should be free.

Note: We don't charge to review a title.  

How should an author contact you about a review request? Do you review e-books as well?  

An author should go to www.armchairinterviews.com and click on our FAQ for review submissions and follow the directions. You'd be amazed how many people don't think the rules apply to them. Often though, they read? the directions and send me an email and a link to their web site so I can gather the necessary information myself. That will not get an author a review. Time is short; we have about 400 submissions a month and can't fill them all. It's easier to go with the people who follow the directions. So read the FAQ and follow the directions! How to get that review or interview is another Q & A interview and one every author should hear if they want review coverage. But that's for another time.

Do you think there’s a lot of ‘facile praise’ among many online review sites? What is your policy when it comes to negative reviews?

Criticism is okay. And we criticize books. But we will never, ever trash a book or an author. We want to celebrate authors and their work. If a book (and unfortunately it's almost always self-published) is so awful (poorly written, edited, etc.) we won't review it at all and inform the author of the issues. But we'd like authors to remember: A review is one person's opinion.

In your opinion, what defines a ‘legitimate’ reviewer?

I'm not sure I can give you a definitive answer. It's like art; I may not know what good art is, but I'll tell you when I see some. Peruse the sites. What do they look like? How many titles have they reviewed? Do they offer anything besides reviews (nice for building traffic and authors want traffic)? If you contact them do they respond in a timely manner and are they professional in their responses? Ask them how long they've been in business and what their stats are.

But the bottom line is: Print publication continues to reduce their coverage of books. Internet is the coming wave and is even now, becoming the place to go for learning about new books. If I had a small promotion budget, I know I'd get more bang for my buck with Armchair Interviews than with a magazine or newspaper. Why? Because other than USA Today, most newspapers are local or regional. And I could never afford USA Today. Magazines? Well most are out of the price range also. Television and Radio are usually local (budget restraints). That leaves the internet and it is huge!

What does your site offer readers?

Armchair Interviews offers readers well-written and comprehensive reviews in approximately 43 genres. What’s really nice is we have ‘experts’ reviewing for us. Authors, engineers, medical doctors, veterinarians, professors/teachers, you get the picture. So if we have a book that fits into a particular field, we can usually find someone who is ‘in the know’ about the subject matter. And for fiction, well, we have some well read, talented writers who can give a ‘spot on’ critique of the book. Without our reviewers, we couldn’t exist. They are simply the best in the business.

Armchair Interviews also provides readers with written and audio author interviews. We’re branching out in our interviews and including industry professionals such as publicists, editors, agents and the like. While contests and give aways are not a big part of the site, we also do a number of those yearly. We try and keep up with and report industry news and let people know who has won the various writers’ awards.

But most importantly, we have grown to a point where our site is filled with information for readers, but it’s also a great place for author’s to be seen, because our readership continues to grow.

What promotional opportunities does your site offer authors?

We offer ads, audio author interviews and written Q&A interviews. They are really reasonable in cost, given our audience. We can provide an author with tailored packages to fit their needs and pocketbook. Connie and I are very conscious to remember that most authors do not have a huge promotional budgets. Contact us for promotional information.

We have authors, publishing houses and publicists that regularly work with us to promote their authors. Oh, and sometimes, for fun and to help, we'll do a give away for an author we feel strongly about. That's a freebie in conjunction with the author or publishing house.

Tell us about your new 'Audio Blurbs'. What are they and how can they help authors and publishers?

Armchair Interviews wanted to do something different to help promote authors. After some thought, Connie Anderson and I decided to record audio ads. This is like a movie trailer, but with the audio only. They are approximately one minute in length and if the audio interests readers, they can click on the book cover icon and purchase the book.

It’s simple, fun and unique. We’ve just enlisted several professional actors to help with the voice work.

I understand you're also an author with a mystery novel coming out soon. Tell us about that and how you find the time to write while maintaining such a demanding review site.

Yes, my agent recently guided me through the first time novelist contract. I am so happy that is done. Now I’m in edits. And I’m happy to report they were miniscule, but still demanded time. A Deadly Habit will make its appearance in 2009 and will be published by Five Star (a part of Cengage Learning).

I don’t know how I find the time to do all that I do. Perhaps I’m overly organized. But let me tell you, living in two different parts of the United States, having a large number of children and grandchildren, traveling, running Armchair Interviews, writing a mystery series and now coauthoring a Young Adult Fantasy series with romantic comedy author, Kathleen Baldwin is like negotiating a mine field, time wise. Frankly, I do what I can and to the best of my ability.

There is one thing I know for sure; there will not be a second Penelope Santucci mystery published exactly one year from the publication to A Deadly Habit because I’m just plotting it now. I also think that it is helpful to have a supportive and understanding husband (Bob Pike). He is the author of 21 business books, a professional speaker, runs our family consulting business and is the chairman of a non-profit faith organization, so he knows what a full schedule is and he pitches in and helps when needed.

I also have some great kids and in-laws. They’re helping with the promotion of A Deadly Habit. My actor/screenwriter son, Guy Wegener is producing a video trailer of A Deadly Habit. Not the still shot videos one sees, but a real ‘movie’ video trailer. And my son-in-law, Alan Pranke is building my personal author web site, www.andreasisco.com. It will be up sometime in late summer of 2008.

And Connie Anderson, my best friend and co owner of Armchair Interviews feeds me info, helps out when I’m on a deadline and keeps me sane. I could go on, but you get the picture. I’m blessed to have wonderful people in my life who want me to succeed. Oh, and I don’t watch a great deal of television and I don’t sleep a lot. But at my age, I’ve heard we need less sleep. I love all the things that I do and they are so exciting. I don’t want to let any of them go. I might miss something.

Anything else you'd like to say to our readers?

We'd invite you to check us out. We've got almost 3000 reviews, numerous audio author interviews (they change all the time), contests and a lot of scrumptious information. And the newest thing is: We have a member's only site. For a very small amount of money monthly, we have a place where members can go for 'stuff' that's not on the regular site.

Thank you, Andrea! I appreciate your time!


Read Full Post »

The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing
By Mayra Calvani & Anne K. Edwards
Twilight Times Books
Twilight Times Books
POB 3340
Kingsport TN 37664-3340
Phone/Fax: 423-323-0183
ISBN: 1-933353-22-8; 978-1-933353-22-7
Release Date: June 15, 2008
Trade Paperback
188 pages, $16.95
First printing: 5,000 copies
Foreword by James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review

*Currently used as a text book for book writing course in Loyola College, Maryland.

The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing will serve as an excellent reference tool and amalgam of resources for both beginning and experienced reviewers.

• How to read critically
• How to differentiate the various types of reviews
• How to rate books
• How to prevent amateurish mistakes
• How to deal with the ethics and legalities of reviewing
• How to tell the difference between a review, a book report, and a critique
• How to start your own review site
• How to publish your reviews on dozens of sites and even make money while you’re at it, and much more

If you’re an author, publisher, publicist, bookseller, librarian, or reader, this book will bring to light the importance and influence of book reviews within a wider spectrum.

Distributors: Midpoint and Florida Academic Press. Also available from Ingram and Baker & Taylor.

Visit the authors’ websites: www.MayraCalvani.com, www.MysteryFiction.net

What reviewers are saying:

“There’s not a reviewer out there that wouldn’t benefit from this review of reviewing… this is a great reference book for libraries…”
–Heather Shaw, Editor-in-Chief, ForeWord Magazine

“The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing should be considered mandatory reading for novice and aspiring book reviewers, as well as having a great deal of enduring value as a reference for even the more experienced reviewer. Additionally, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing will provide to be informed and informative reading about the book review process for authors, publishers, publicists, booksellers, librarians, and the general reading public.”
–Reviewed by James Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review.

“This book from Mayra Calvani and Anne K. Edwards is the first ‘Reviewer’s Desk Reference’ for book reviewers at all levels.”
–Reviewed by Ernest Dempsey, The World Audience

“As an experienced reviewer I learned that I do not know it all and will keep my copy of The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing for reference. It is not a book I will loan out because it won’t be returned…If you want to break into book reviewing, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing is a must-have reference. Heed the author’s advice and you can write reviews that will get you and the books you review noticed.”
–Reviewed by Sharon Broom, Armchair Interviews.

“The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing is a useful took for both amateur and professional book reviewers, as well as book review editors. There should be no doubt that the good tips, thoughtful perspective and resource information can be of considerable value to anyone wishing to practice this art.”
–Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford, Allbooks Reviews.

“I do recommend The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing as a must-have resource guide. Calvani and Edwards present a well-written gold-mine to potential reviewers as well as a source of information for experienced reviewers and authors.”
–Reviewed by Irene Watson, Reader Views.

“The Slippery Art… is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in book reviews – writers, reviewers, publishers, publicists, librarians, booksellers and readers.”
— Reviewed by Francine Silverman, Editor of The Book Promotion Newsletter

Read Full Post »

June is ‘Book Reviewing’ month at Blogcritics Magazine!

To promote the release of The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, co-author Mayra Calvani will be interviewing 15+ reviewers and review editors during the month of June. Learn all about the business of book reviewing and what’s in the mind of some of the most popular reviewers on the internet today.

Here’s the lineup:

June 2 – James A. Cox, Midwest Book Review
June 3 – Irene Watson, Reader Views
June 5 – Magdalena Ball, The Compulsive Reader
June 7 – Carolyn Howard-Johnson, The New Book Review
June 9 – Rachel Durfor, Rebecca’s Reads
June 11 – Beverly Walton Porter, Scribe & Quill
June 13 – Alex Moore, ForeWord Magazine
June 15 – Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader
June 17 – Sharyn McGinty, In The Library Reviews
June 19 – Cheryl Malandrinos, The Book Connection
June 21 – Eveline Soors, Euro-reviews
June 23 – Andrea Sisco, Armchair Interviews
June 25 – Lea Schizas, Muse Book Reviews
June 27 – Linda Baldwin, Road to Romance
June 29 – Hilary Williamson, Book Loons
June 30 – Judy Clark, Mostly Fiction

Between June 1st and June 30th, stop by Blogcritics and leave a comment under the reviewer interviews for a chance to win a Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tour (Bronze Package Plan, coordinated by book publicity guru Dorothy Thompson), OR, as an alternative to a non-author winner, a $50 B&N gift certificate! The second prize will be a one-year subscription to Foreword Magazine. The third prize will be a T-shirt with the cover art of The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing on the front.

For more information and the complete rules, visit The Slippery Book Review Blog.

Read Full Post »

The Fountain Pen, April 2008

In this Issue…

From Mayra’s Desk

“Demystifying Virtual Book Tours,” by Mayra Calvani
What Does Amazon’s Decision Really Mean?
Historical Novelist Catherine Delors
SF Author Phoebe Wray
SF Author Lee Denning
Romantic Suspense, NY Times Bestseller Author Lisa Jackson
Dark Fantasy Author Justin Gustainis
Illustrator K.C. Snider
Multi-genre Author Hill Kemp
The Darkest Evening of the Year, by Dean Koontz (paranormal)
Monkey Trap, by Lee Denning (SF)
Jemma7729, by Phoebe Wray (SF)
Sleep Before Evening, by Magdalena Ball (mainstream)
Joey Gonzalez, Great American, by Tony Robles (picture book)
On the Go with Rooter and Snuffle, by Shari Lyle-Soffe (picture book)
Knowing Joseph, by Judith Mammay (middle grade)
Book Club

Read The Fountain Pen here.

Read Full Post »


My Biker Bodyguard
By J.R. Turner
Echelon Press
ISBN: 978-1-59080-560-2
Copyright 2007
Trade Paperback, 242 pages, $13.49
Romantic Suspense

Featuring a sympathetic heroine, a brave hero, and enough romance and suspense to keep you turning those pages, My Biker Bodyguard is a novel that will be thoroughly enjoyed by lovers of this genre.

Jess Owens leads a quiet, routine life helping her biker father at his tattoo shop. Having been abandoned by her mother at a young age, Jess is very close to her father, who is overly protective towards her. However, Jess’ life is suddenly turned upside down after a mysterious and handsome man, Mitch, shows up at her doorstep. Even though he claims to be a bodyguard sent here to protect her, she tries her best to keep away from his seemingly dangerous and alluring charms. The truth about his presence here stuns her, even more so because her father knew the reason all along but never told her. As her life becomes increasingly in peril, she is put in a position where she must leave to California with Mitch and two FBI agents. Soon she finds herself in a totally foreign, alien world, for not only does she discovers that she’s immensely rich, but also that her long-lost mother is there in a coma. Who wants Jess dead? Why? Can she possibly trust Mitch to protect her life?

The writing is engaging and Turner manages to maintain a good level of suspense throughout the story. The tension between the hero and heroine sparks from the beginning and achieves a spine-tingling climax, leading to a satisfying conclusion. I found the heroine original in the sense that she’s been brought up in a world of leather-clad, long-haired, tattooed, dangerous-looking characters. Turner shows us a different, refreshing perspective from the world of bikers. The romance scenes are handled with tact and subtlety and are sweet and steamy at the same time. Fans of romantic suspense will find in My Biker Bodyguard a joyful and interesting ride.

–Mayra Calvani

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: