Recent Book Reviews

Recent Book Reviews

If you’re like me, recent book reviews are fewer and farther between than I care to admit. In today’s market, book reviews are pure gold to a writer. They impact rankings, and they offer “social proof” that yes, indeed, real people actually are really reading this author’s work.

As authors, we pray for reviews and cherish them, especially when we are Indies or from a micro-press such as Weird Sisters Publishing. So I know, even more viscerally than most readers, how desperately important it is to write reviews of books I read.

But. Have I myself written any recent reviews?

This square image is white with black letters and an old-fashioned typewriter on it. It says, “Your Words are as important to an author as an author’s words are to you. Please leave a review. (from) katieroseguestpryal.com.”
Courtesy of Katie Rose Guest Pryal (see Credits below).

A Somewhat Humiliating Retrospective

Oh, I am so guilty on that “But have you written any recent book reviews?” question! “Well, I’m really busy right now,” I tell myself, “so I’ll . . .”

Uh-huh, right. “I’ll write one later”? How often has that actually been true?  Oh, dear. Not often enough, I’m sorry to say.

According to my records, I read 45 books in 2023. I just went back to check my Amazon and Goodreads reviews. Between them, I’ve posted eleven reviews this year. I also discovered yet another sin I wasn’t aware I’d committed! I posted some of last year’s reviews to one, but not the other! For optimum impact, I should be posting them to both.

This square image shows book covers for the six books the author reviewed on Amazon. They are, top row L-R: “The Dog Thief,” “Mad Dog Down the Road,” and “One of Our Spaceships is Missing.” Bottom row, L-R: “Why Does my CAT do That?” “Written in Blood,” and “Poison Pen.”
Cover images courtesy of Amazon (see Credits below).

Recent Book Reviews on Amazon

I reviewed six books on Amazon in 2023. Not great. But I also realized something else: I posted most of those reviews in one spate, over two days in April. I posted the outlier from that trend in June. I most definitely did not stop reading after June. But, to my chagrin, I stopped writing reviews on Amazon.

As you see, “recent book reviews” means, for me, “within the last calendar year.” Yikes! Okay, I’ll fix it. What’s more, in upcoming blog posts I’ll share those reviews in full with you here. I did post most of them on Goodreads, and I promise to fix the situation with that last one. But in the meantime, here are the books I actually managed to review on Amazon in 2023.

First, Catherine Davidson’s Why Does My Cat Do That? (5 stars – this is the one I forgot to share to Goodreads; that’s now fixed). For the full review, see next week’s post, Three Nonfiction Reviews.

Next came two “Claudia Rose” Mysteries Poison Pen (5 stars) and Written in Blood (5 stars) by Sheila Lowe. After that I reviewed two of Marta Acosta’s “Coyote Run K-9 Mystery” novels, The Dog Thief (5 stars) and Mad Dog Down the Road (also 5 stars). I did already share these reviews here on The Weird Blog, in the post Due A Review.

And I posted the final one in June, for my sf-conventions friend Chris Gerrib’s latest, One of Our Spaceships is Missing (unfortunately, only 3 stars, because of a piece he left, um, missing – sorry, Chris!).

This square image shows the book covers of the five books that Gephardt only reviewed on Goodreads. Top row, L-R: “How to Get A Girlfriend When You’re a Terrifying Monster,” and “The Peacemaker’s Code.” Bottom row, L-R: “Semper Lycanus,” “Patria Lycanus,” and “Pax Lycanus.”
Cover images courtesy of Amazon (see Credits below).

Recent Book Reviews on Goodreads

I posted more of my recent book reviews on Goodreads than on Amazon. Why? I suspect it has to do with convenience, plus perhaps absent-mindedness? I managed to let Amazon reviews fall through the cracks with no fewer than five of my ten Goodreads reviews. That’s an oversight I mean to fix ASAP!

Meanwhile, however, here’s the list of those I missed putting on Amazon, with links to their Goodreads listings in the next paragraph and to their Amazon pages in the image credits.

Once again, to my chagrin, I had a “hot streak” of reviewing that flashed and died, this time in September. It started with a novella from a list of New Zealand-based Sir Julius Vogel Award winners. The title of Marie Cardno’s How to Get a Girlfriend When You’re a Terrifying Monster intrigued me.

Next I reviewed a trio by an author who is another “met at a science fiction convention” friend, Jonathan Brazee. I’m usually a bit wary of werewolf stories, and I’m not normally a military science fiction fan, but I got a kick out of this series. The books are Semper Lycanus, Patria Lycanus, and Pax Lycanus. I got considerably less pleasure out of The Peacemaker’s Code, which I reviewed separately in October.

This square image has a black background. The words are at the center, surrounded by a design of stars and dots. The words say, “Feed an author. Leave a Review. It takes five minutes and helps more than you can imagine. (from) Erin Phillips.me.”
Courtesy of Erin Phillips via Rebecca’s Write Inspirations (see Credits below).

Say, You Want a Resolution?

Month after month, I trot out the same old request to my newsletter subscribers (“please review on both Goodreads and Amazon”). But do I practice what I preach? Well, after this look at the evidence shown in my recent book reviews and you’ll see that I . . .

Clearly and humiliatingly, I do not always do that. So, okay  – you saw it here first, friends – my New Year’s Resolution is to do a better job of reviewing other authors’ books in 2024.

So: I do hereby resolve to post reviews of more books in 2024 – on Amazon, on Goodreads, and also here on The Weird Blog. Here’s hoping you like my review style and my choices. What’s more, I also resolve to report back quarterly. You can check up on me for the first quarter at the end of March or beginning of April.

About the Author

A “regular” here on The Weird Blog, Jan S. Gephardt also is the Chief Cat-Herder, Manager of Weirdness, and Art Director for Weird Sisters Publishing. All that, plus she’s the author of The XK9 Series, humorous science fiction mysteries about a pack of uplifted police dogs who live on a space station. She’s poised to finish her series-opening XK9 “Bones” Trilogy with Bone of Contention. It will be available for pre-order in August, 2024. Release date is set for September 24, 2024. And yes, she loves it when readers review her books on Amazon and Goodreads!

IMAGE CREDITS

Many thanks to Amazon and Goodreads, for their review-posting functions in the first place! I also have Amazon to thank for all the book cover images I used (see details below). First, however, I’d like to thank Katie Rose Guest Pryal for the “Your Words are as Important to an Author” quote. I also want to gratefully acknowledge Designer Erin Phillips and Rebecca’s Write Inspirations for the “Feed an Author” quote.

As noted above, all of the book covers came thanks to Amazon. The ones in the “Amazon Reviews” section were as follows: “Why Does my CAT Do That?” by Catherine Davidson. “Poison Pen” and “Written in Blood” by Sheila Lowe. “The Dog Thief” and “Mad Dog Down the Road” by Marta Acosta. “One of Our Spaceships is Missing” by Chris Gerrib.

The “Goodreads Reviews” section featured the following covers, linked here to their Amazon page image sources: “How to Get a Girlfriend When You’re a Terrifying Monster” by Marie Cardno. “The Peacemaker’s Code” by Deepak Malhotra. The military sf/werewolf trio “Semper Lycanus,” “Patria Lycanus,” and “Pax Lycanus,” by Jonathan P. Brazee. Many thanks for all!

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