Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Reviews really do matter!

New 5* review!

I'm shouting it loud and clear since I don't have all that many of them and especially not for TOPAZ EYES, my Award Finalist mystery /thriller. 

What I do have, though, are all 5* reviews and... 
 'no' I don't know all of the reviewers personally.

My thanks to Roland Clarke for these wonderful words of appreciation of my novel.

5.0 out of 5 stars A family jewel 1 Jan. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An excellent read that had me engrossed in translator Keira Drummond’s search for the extraordinary collection of Mughal jewels that brings a group of strangers together in Heidelberg. I was swept into her relationship with a Californian, Teun Zeger. His cousins were integral to the plot and craftily portrayed in such a way as to create a sense of unease, shared by the main protagonists. The quest takes the characters to many cities, mainly in Europe, and the settings are vividly described, giving one a real sense of the wonderful places – some of which I know quite well, like Amsterdam. Although not a crime novel as such, the shadowy characters following Keira and Teun keep one alert, and distrustful of even innocent characters. But then when it comes to families and jewels, it is easy to stray. What’s lurking in your past? What’s hiding in your attic?

Now want to read Nancy Jardine’s Celtic tales. 
It's a great feeling, that boost from a new review. It's doubly so when the reviewer has very postitive things to say about the book they've just read. Here's my tuppence worth on why I do think reviews are so important to an author.

Reveiws are not the easiest of things to write- and I say that from personal experience of writing a lot of them. I often read a book and all the way through think "This is definitely 5* quality". I can also read a novel and find it really well written, but if the plot doesn't have something just a little bit different then I have a problem with rating it at the 5* grade. I'm needing just something that puts that particular story beyond other similar ones. Sometimes I want to rate it at 4.5 stars which, sadly, Amazon and Goodreads don't quite handle. In this latter case, I'll mostly give it a 4* if something seems too similar to other plots, or partial plots, recently read.

As an author I'd be very happy for a reviewer to do the same with my work- if they've read something that they feel is similar. That said, I know that I strive to make my work as original and different as possible and acknowledge that others do, too. There are, of course, a limited number of scenarios that can occur in any work. (There are blog posts out there which claim to have narrowed plots and situation down to a manageable two hands full!)

I think that 4* and 5* reviews can do a very good job if they are given because the work is a combination of being very well written, very well edited (which is incredibly important) and that the plot/ subject matter is just a little different.

The fact that Mr. Roland Clarke hasn't rehashed the plot is something I personally like in a review. Reading spoilers in a review that I might read on Amazon, prior to making a purchase, tends to take the edge off reading for me because I don't want to know the whole story in advance, and I know other readers who feel the same. What you read above in Mr. Clarke's paragraph are his thoughts on the aspects of the novel he found good and that's, for me, what a review is all about. His appreciation of the settings is clearly stated and that means for this reviewer I know I've done my job well and have transported him to some of my favourite locations.

I'm clearly delighted that he gives a pointer to the fact that, having enjoyed TOPAZ EYES, he intends to read more of my work. That is definitely the sort of thing that an author wants to read.

This appreciative review definitely makes me want to keep on writing to produce more work that readers can enjoy.

I'm off to sort out my last tidy-ups now for 'the Taexali Game'  so that I can get it published soon and hopefully read by lots of satisfied readers who will write reviews of it in future months.


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