Character Archetypes: The Herald | Story Empire

Check out a great post on Heralds by Craig Boyack over at Story Empire today >>>

Hi gang, Craig with you today. This is post number four in the character archetypes series. In the Hero’s Journey, there are some common characters that are likely to show up in all stories. This d…

Source: Character Archetypes: The Herald | Story Empire

Thanks for the Welcome & a Brief Introduction

Check out Marcia Meara’s first post for Story Empire today  >>>

Happy Wodin’s Day Everybody! I’m Marcia, and I’d like to offer my heartfelt thanks for the wonderful welcome I received yesterday from the gang here at Story Empire and from many of their friends a…

Source: Thanks for the Welcome & a Brief Introduction

#BookReview: Can You See Me? by Lee Lynne @LynneBarrettLee

Hi everyone, as well as a special announcement (see my reblog today for Story Empire), I have a great book review for you today. This one I picked up after a recommendation on someon’es blog late last year, but I can’t remember whose, lol. Anyway, I’m super-thrilled I followed this book up. Here’s my review >>>


About the Book:

Would you know if someone was watching you?

In the dark days since the sudden death of her surgeon husband, Julia’s main worry has always been Tash. Her student daughter was broken—she worshipped her father. But six months on, Julia thinks the light is returning. She is about to find out that she’s wrong.

When she saves the life of a boy who’s been hanging around her beach cottage, the questions start. All she has to go on is the butterfly tattoo on his wrist, but who is he? What was he doing there? And why was her late husband’s watch in his bag? Julia wants to believe it’s a casual theft, but an ominous arrival in the post confirms her suspicion that there is more to it than meets the eye.

As Tash remembers a string of strange incidents she had previously brushed off, Julia realises they are both being watched. Someone’s been toying with them, trying to frighten them, but why?

Determined to protect her daughter, Julia races to discover the boy’s identity. But what she doesn’t realise is that the truth is right in front of her. Will she see it before it’s too late?

And a bit more From the Editor …

Every now and then a character turns up in fiction who changes the game. Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice. Lyra in His Dark Materials. Amy in Gone Girl. Eleven in Stranger Things. They fit themselves into your life, some demanding to be heard, others simply not going away.

This striking debut from Lynne Lee has one of those characters. As soon as I read the first “moth” chapter and encountered that deeply intelligent and viscerally angry voice, I knew.

Fortunately, Lynne has crafted a book that is big and brilliant enough to accommodate this unforgettable voice. Julia is our safe place—the tiger mother who discovers that she and her daughter are being watched. She will stop at nothing to protect her, but she also wants to understand. To see.

I don’t doubt that you will want to understand too—and I hope that, like me, you will feel your eyes have been opened to the borders of life just a little bit more by this dark and profoundly human tale.

My Review:

 

 

 

 

 

I loved this book. Lynne Lee is now one of my top authors of 2020, and I will be reading more of her books, which by the way, are written under the name Lynne Barrett-Lee. [Lynne Lee is a pen name.]

First up, one of my fave lines from the book: ‘… it hits me that our past is all so much debris clinging to the tideline; ..’

I connected with each and every character in this book. I could relate. They were all real and believable. The narrative hooked me and pulled me right in, much as a moth to a flame … and there are a lot of moths in this book, which made my skin crawl. But that was the whole point.

I guessed–tentatively–who the main agressor was by about the 60% area of the book, but I still couldn’t be a hundred percent sure until later on. And, then, of course, there was still a big shocker involved in that denouement. The author did such a skillful job, I even felt sorry for the antagonist as well as all the protagonists. And the MC felt real and sensible and didn’t do stupid things, even though a lot of the time she had no clue what was going on or why–she used her head and analytical skills.

I find myself not wanting to say too much more because I don’t want to put in any spoilers. All I can say is, Go Read This Book!

As you’ve probably guessed by now … Can You See Me? gets a resounding five stars from me.

***

 

NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

 

5 STARS: IT WAS AMAZING! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! — Highly Recommended.

4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.

3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.

2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.

1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

 

If you’re interested … Amazon buy links … UK and US

please note, these are NOT affiliate links


©Harmony Kent 2020

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A Special Announcement from Story Empire

Hi everyone. Story Empire doesn’t usually post on a Tuesday, but today, they have a super-special announcement to make! >>>

Hello, SEers.  Mae here, leading off a splashy announcement. If you’ve followed Story Empire for any length of time, you know we don’t  post on Tuesdays. But we have something so exciti…

Source: A Special Announcement from Story Empire

How to Publish with KDP: Part Six A

Hi everyone. I have another post up for my how to publish to KDP series over at Story Empire today >>>

Hello SErs. Harmony here. As promised earlier, here is the sixth installment (in two parts) in the post series dedicated to taking a step-by-step look at how to get your finished manuscript from yo…

Source: How to Publish with KDP: Part Six A

Using The Five Senses: Smell

Check out a great post today from Joan Hall over at Story Empire. How do you use your sense of smell when you write? >>>

Hey, SE Readers. Joan with you with the second in a series of posts using the five senses in writing. To read the first part on sight, click here. Today I’m writing about smell. I probably overlook…

Source: Using The Five Senses: Smell

#BookReview: Knife Edge by Simon Mayo

Hi everyone,

Today I have a book review for you. This was an ARC read from NetGalley and publishes on the 11th of June.


About the Book:

You never know where danger may come from…

6.45am. A sweltering London rush hour. And in the last 27 minutes, seven people have been murdered.

In a series of coordinated attacks, seven men and women across London have been targeted. For journalist Famie Madden, the horror unfolds as she arrives for the morning shift.

The victims have one thing in common: they make up the investigations team at the news agency where Famie works. The question everyone’s asking: what were they working on that could prompt such brutal devastation?

As Famie starts to receive mysterious messages, she must find out whether she is being warned of the next attack, or being told that she will be the next victim…

My Review:

 

 

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for this Advanced Review Copy.

I’d never heard of Simon Mayo except as a British DJ before, so I had no preconceptions about this book. The cover and the description both intrigued me, so I requested a copy.

The storyline started out strong but soon fizzled, and by the middle it sagged a lot. I pushed through and kept going, and the last 20% picked up to a rip-roaring pace, which I enjoyed greatly. However, the ending was left quite open and dangling with many questions unresolved. I found the writing passive in the extreme and the book needs a solid edit. The narrative is full of telling rather than showing and every character has to know or feel or see or hear, instead of simply experiencing. This puts a block between the reader and the immediate action and spoils the pacing.

I found that I didn’t really connect with any of the characters, and not enough to care about them one way or the other.

Not a bad read, and on the whole set at a good pace. Though this one doesn’t make it onto my ‘re-read’ shelf, I would probably consider other books by this writer in the future.

I give this book 2.5 stars, as it sits somewhere between ‘It was good!’ and ‘I may have liked a few things’ (see my note on ratings below). I round this up to 3 stars for rating purposes.

***

NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

 

5 STARS: IT WAS AMAZING! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! — Highly Recommended.

4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.

3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.

2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.

1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

 


© Harmony Kent 2020

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What is Your Style of Learning?

Check out a great post from Mae Clair today over on Story Empire >>>

Hi, SEers! Mae here on a cold February day. If you happen to live in the southern hemisphere and are enjoying beautiful temperate weather, please bottle some and send it up north! Winter doldrums a…

Source: What is Your Style of Learning?

Character Archetypes: The Ally

A fun and informative post from Craig Boyack over at Story Empire today >>>

Hi gang, Craig with you today. This is post number three in the character archetypes series. In the Hero’s Journey, there are some common characters that are likely to show up in all stories. This …

Source: Character Archetypes: The Ally

Week in Review

Lots of writing links to check out over at Joan Hall’s place today >>>

Hey everyone. It’s Friday again! I’m always glad for weekends. We’ve had lots of rain in the past two weeks. Nothing like our friends in the deep south, but nonetheless, I could u…

Source: Week in Review

How to Publish with KDP: Part Five

Hi everyone, I have another how to publish to KDP post over at Story Empire today >>>

 

SErs. Harmony here. As promised earlier, here is the fifth installment in the post series dedicated to taking a step-by-step look at how to get your finished manuscript from your computer and…

Source: How to Publish with KDP: Part Five

#BookReview – A BOY NAMED RABBIT by Marcia Meara

A great book review for A Boy Named Rabbit over on Deborah Jay’s blog … I’m looking forward to reading this series! >>>

My first review of the year was for book #1 in Marcia Meara’s WAKE-ROBIN RIDGE series, and I’m moving right along with my review for book #2, A BOY NAMED RABBIT. I read all four back-to…

Source: #BookReview – A BOY NAMED RABBIT by Marcia Meara

How to Publish with KDP: Part Four

Hi everyone. Today, over on Story Empire, I have another installment on my how to publish series >>>

ello SErs. Harmony here. As promised earlier, here is the fourth installment in the post series dedicated to taking a step-by-step look at how to get your finished manuscript from your computer an…

Source: How to Publish with KDP: Part Four

Using The Five Senses: Sight

Hi everyone. Joan Hall has a great post on using the five senses in writing over at Story Empire today. This is the first of the series and well worth checking out >>>

Hey, SE Readers. Joan with you on this Valentine’s Day. My post today is the first of a new series on using the five senses in writing. As authors, it’s easy to overlook one or another (at least fo…

Source: Using The Five Senses: Sight

Week in Review

Hi everyone. Joan Hall has her week in review over at her place today with lots of writing related links and this lovely sunrise >>>

 

Hey, everyone. Time to wrap up another week. Happy Valentine’s Day! Last week I wrote that my daffodils were getting ready to bloom. Sure enough, the first blossoms appeared over the weekend.…

Source: Week in Review

#ShareAReviewDay Tuesday – Oh Baubles by Harmony Kent

Oh Baubles gets some love today over at Marcia Meara’s place … doing my happy dance >>>

via GIPHY

I’m super happy to welcome Harmony Kent here today. Harmony is sharing a wonderful review of her book, Oh Baubles, and I know you’ll enjoy reading it! Don’t forget to pass it arou…

Source: #ShareAReviewDay Tuesday – Oh Baubles by Harmony Kent

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews -#Shortstories Karen Ingalls, #Thriller Terry Tyler, #Fantasy C.S. Boyack, #Memoir D.G. Kaye

Check out this great collection of books over at Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore today >>>

 

Delighted to see so many reviews coming through for the authors in the Cafe and Bookstore so I will be adding an extra update in the week to make sure they get showcased. The first author with a re…

Source: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews -#Shortstories Karen Ingalls, #Thriller Terry Tyler, #Fantasy C.S. Boyack, #Memoir D.G. Kaye

How to Publish with KDP: Part Three

I missed sharing this with you on Friday, due to being unwell, so here it is for any of you who haven’t seen this yet … my latest post in the Publish to KDP series over on Story Empire >>>

Hello SErs. Harmony here. As promised earlier, here is the third installment in the post series dedicated to taking a step-by-step look at how to get your finished manuscript from your computer and…

Source: How to Publish with KDP: Part Three

5 Indies I loved (Just in Time for Valentine’s Day)

My little romance got some love on Friday over at Jacqui Murray’s place, along with four other great-looking books. I’m late reblogging as I was under the weather on Friday. Back up to speed now though! >>>

 

If you like the variety and the uniqueness of Indie novels, here’s a great selection for Valentine’s Day. They aren’t all romances, just all good: Jock of the Bushveld–one o…

Source: 5 Indies I loved (Just in Time for Valentine’s Day)

#BookReview: Serang by Craig Boyack @virgilante

Hi everyone. Today, it gives me great pleasure to share my review for fellow author and friend, Craig Boyack, and his latest book, Serang.

I have to say, I adore the cover for this one.


About the Book:

Monastic life is all about duty, service, and harmony. For Serang, a young girl abandoned at the temple by her mother after the death of her father, that life becomes all she knows. The monks give her purpose, and become her new family.

When political upheaval brings chaos throughout the land, Serang again loses everything and everyone she loves. Alone, she struggles to survive. She convinces a wandering monk to take her under his wing and complete her training. Thus begin her adventures through strange lands and her trials to become a confident, capable, independent adult.

This is a coming of age story set in fantasy world. It’s filled with monsters and martial arts, difficulties and dangers. The serious situations preclude the story from the levity of it’s predecessor, Voyage of the Lanternfish, but it provides a compelling look at the origin of one of the saga’s most fascinating characters.

 

 

 

My Review:

 

 

 

After thoroughly enjoying Serang’s character in Craig Boyack’s earlier book, Voyage of the Lanternfish, I looked forward to reading all about her in her very own story.

It was great fun to read about Serang as a wilful child who had to learn to adapt to change and find a whole new way of living after family tragedy struck, and to see her grow into a formidable y0ung woman.

This is a fun fantasy read filled with a strong sense of humour as well as more serious moments. The writer has done a great job with world building and characterisation, and has obviously done his research on the subject matter.

Although this is a spin-off from a character from Voyage of the Lantern Fish, it works well as a standalone novel. Having read the first book, it’s wonderful to learn where Serang’s propensity for Huangjiu came from! Equally as fascinating is reading about her trials and tribulations set within the vast upheavals that beset the China of the day with an emperor bent on war and total domination.

A number of spelling issues, missing words, and missing or misplaced quote marks let down what was otherwise a brilliant read. However, for entertainment value and a rip-roaring read that will grab you by the throat and pull you right in, I can’t recommend Serang highly enough. It gets a wonderful, solid 4 stars from me. And I’m eagerly awaiting the next book, Grinders, from this author.

***

NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

 

5 STARS: IT WAS AMAZING! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! — Highly Recommended.

4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.

3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.

2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.

1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.


Amazon Links:

UK … https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07ZYPPV8K/

US … https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07ZYPPV8K/


© Harmony Kent 2020

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Dual Use of Fiction Meta-Content Part 1

Check out this great post on how to develop your marketing material at the same time you develop your book by P H Solomon over at Story Empire today >>>

 

Good morning Story Empire readers, P.H. Solomon here with you today with a few questions, and maybe a few answers, about your content development. Do you struggle with developing marketing content …

Source: Dual Use of Fiction Meta-Content Part 1

#ShareAReviewDay Tuesday – Wake-Robin Ridge Book 1 by Marcia Meara

Marcia Meara has a great book review over at her place today for Wake-Robin Ridge … I have this and book 2 on my ereader waiting for me, and after reading this review, I can’t wait to get around to reading this series >>>

I had a bit of a mix-up with another author’s post, and ended up rescheduling her review for next Tuesday. That left me with an opening this morning, and I decided to indulge myself by sharin…

Source: #ShareAReviewDay Tuesday – Wake-Robin Ridge Book 1 by Marcia Meara

Character Archetypes: The Mentor

Check out a fun and interesting post today on Characters by Craig Boyack over at Story Empire today >>>

 

 

Hi gang, Craig with you today. This is post number two in the character archetypes series. In the Hero’s Journey, there are some common characters that are likely to show up in all stories. This do…

Source: Character Archetypes: The Mentor

Hode’s Hill Series .99c Sale #GhostFiction #SupernaturalSuspense #ParanormalMystery

A great deal on Mae Clair’s Hodes Hill Series of books today … check it out at her place >>>

Hi, friends. I’ve been away since last Friday afternoon for an extended weekend at the beach. The weather was awesome and it turned out to be one of the best vacays DH and I have had. I got s…

Source: Hode’s Hill Series .99c Sale #GhostFiction #SupernaturalSuspense #ParanormalMystery

Week In Review

A funny confession, a lovely photo, and some great writing-related links today from Joan Hall over at her place today >>>

 

Sometimes I’m beginning to think doing NaNoWriMo caused some of my brain cells to disappear. For some reason, I can’t seem to get it together. I scrambled at the last minute to get the …

Source: Week In Review

Using Goodreads Listopia to Promote Your Books

Check out this great post from Mae Clair over at Story Empire today … are you brave enough to ask someone to add your book? >>>

Hi, SEers! Mae here today with a small promo tactic you may not be using. This one involves some help from your friends, but it’s another avenue to get your work noticed. Have you ever search…

Source: Using Goodreads Listopia to Promote Your Books

Wednesday Weirdness: The Ghosts of Time, Part 1

Fun with Wednesday Weirdness over at Mae Clair’s place today >>>

We’ve often heard the expression “time stopped.” But can it really? As much as I love time travel speculating about traversing centuries, time flows in a single direction–forward. Despite col…

Source: Wednesday Weirdness: The Ghosts of Time, Part 1

#CoverReveal: Grinders by C S Boyack @virgilante

Hi everyone. Today, I have great pleasure in hosting fellow author and friend while he tours the blogosphere revealing the cover for his latest book, Grinders. Having read and enjoyed Craig’s other books, I’m so looking forward to this next one … but not too soon, Craig, because I still have to read Serang, lol! Okay, enough with my messing around … let’s hear from Craig >>>


I’m here to reveal my newest cover and talk a bit about Grinders. This time, I’m tackling a cyberpunk world. It’s one of those worlds where the Internet and being connected too much controls our lives.

One of the things I like about science fiction is the ability to project current events into the future. I call this, “Poking things with a stick.”

I poked a lot of things in this book, but most of them are in passing. Some of them show up in advertisements, which are invasive in this world. Others might just be a news blurb. There are times when I dive a bit deeper, and not everything is negative. Here is a small list of things that show up in the story:

  • Global warming
  • Plastic pollution
  • Helicopter moms
  • Cyber shut-ins
  • The energy crisis
  • New ways for package thieves to operate
  • Police who can’t carry guns until they are five-year veterans
  • Homeowner associations

There are a lot more, and most of them are pretty subtle. Cyberpunk is not known for deep plots, but I wanted one anyway.

Grinders is set about a hundred years in the future, in San Francisco. The main characters are cops assigned to the Grinder Squad. This is the duty nobody wants, and you almost have to screw up to get this assignment.

Grinders exist today, but I ramped them up for this story. These are people who surgically modify themselves, or each other, in basement surgeries, beauty salons, and tattoo parlors. Real world examples are those who implant chips under their skin to allow themselves to unlock doors or start cars without a key. There has even been one who injected dye into his eyeballs in an attempt to see in the dark. In that example, it actually worked but the results were temporary.

My story involves the downside of these modifications, why they’re illegal, and most of them are a bit more extreme than the real world versions. For example, you’ll meet Brandi, who has moth-like antennae implanted into her forehead. They aren’t just cute, they allow her to taste virtually everything. She’s almost like a bloodhound, only using the sense of taste.

Grinder Squad rarely ever does anything, but the new girl on the squad, Jimi, wants to bust a grind shop in the worst way. She feels like it could be her ticket off this crap detail and on to better duty.

One of my silly goals was to release the book in time for Chinese New Year. I’m not going to make it. I still need to finish my final pass, send it to the formatter, and get my promotional posters. It’s going to need a blurb, too.

I targeted this date because in the story, it’s the Year of the Rat. An important part of the story takes place at San Francisco’s annual parade. There are even a couple of rats in the story that play a pivotal role. Aside from that, I was born in the Year of the Rat.

Readers won’t actually care about my silly target date, and it’s more important to give everything the final polish. What I did get in time was cover art. So Gong Hei Fot Choi, everyone, and enjoy the cover. The story will be available before you know it, and I’ll announce that on my blog.


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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews- #WritingProse Harmony Kent, #Fantasy Jack Eason, #Thriller Allan Hudson

One of my older publications … Polish Your Prose, which is all about how to self-edit your book, is getting some love over at Sally Cronin’s place today, along with a revisit of a recent 5 star review that I’m still doing a happy dance over >>>

Welcome to the second edition of the Cafe and Bookstore updates this week where I share recent reviews for authors on the shelves. The first author with a recent review is Harmony Kent for her non-…

Source: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews- #WritingProse Harmony Kent, #Fantasy Jack Eason, #Thriller Allan Hudson

#BookReview: Order No.227. From Stalin With Love by Marina Osipova @marosikok

Hi everyone. Today I share with you my second review of the week. This one is by an author I came across via Sally Cronin’s Cafe and Bookstore. I’ve haven’t read anything from this writer before, and being a fan of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, I had to give this book a go. I’ll let my review say the rest >>>


About the Book:

“It is necessary to defend each position, each meter of our territory, up to the last drop of blood, to cling for each plot of Soviet land and to defend it as long as possible.” – from Order No. 227.

Based on the actual events on the Eastern Front of World War II, this short story is a rare account of a Soviet penal company, told from a perspective of a real person, the military prosecutor, Jakov Antonovich Krivenkov, and a fictional character, an ordinary Russian woman, Matryona, both caught in the horror of an impossible situation.
427,910 Soviet men shed their blood in defending their motherland in penal military units. They were to stop the enemy regardless of cost. Eighty percent of them did not survive. This is the story of thirteen of them.

My Review:

This is a short read at about 40 pages. But for all of its small size, it packs a lot in.

The story is told from two different points of view: the main character is based on a real person–the author’s grandfather–and the second character is a fictional woman in her late thirties, who is the only remaining person in an abandoned village as the fighting front approaches.

The content and style put me in mind of many of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s books. However, many errors let the read down. We have things like ‘waived’ instead of ‘waved’, ‘caving’ instead of ‘cawing’, ‘glowed’ instead of ‘glowered’, ‘in mass’ instead of ‘en mass’, and ‘down’ instead of ‘dawn’, etc. Also, some sentence structures read strangely … for example: ‘And what for would she need it?’ instead of ‘for what’, and ‘What kind of life she had?’ instead of ‘What kind of life did she have/ (or) had she had?’, etc.

The errors were numerous–I had 18 notations for so few pages, and I don’t start notating until something has occurred a few times. All of which brings my rating down by a star.

With that said, I connected to the main character, but not so much with the village woman. The story is a familiar and brutal one, where prisoners and convicts are sent to the front to fight as a ‘penal troop’, and such men were expected to fight to the death to defend every last inch of ‘the motherland’.

The author portrayed well the complexities of war, and showed that both sides are simply human–often young men barely out of boyhood–rather than outright monsters. Of course, some were monsters, on every side of the war, but there were plenty of good people caught up in a bad situation.

The story itself (minus errors) merits 4 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed this book, and overall it gets a solid 3 stars from me, which means it was good (see below).

***

NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

5 STARS: IT WAS AMAZING! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! — Highly Recommended.
4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

 

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