At the start of the year I set myself the goal of reading ten books for the annual Goodreads Reading Challenge. As I mentioned in a blog post earlier in the year, the reason for setting such a modest target was that every previous reading challenge I participated in ended in failure. This was typically the result of never having enough time to read as many books as I would like. But this year, much to my surprise, I read my ten books by the end of January. At the time, the ease with which I successfully completed the challenge caused me to contemplate the possibility of reading fifty-two books by the end of the year―an average of one book read a week―although I’d settle for twenty-five. Today this seems like wishful thinking.
By now you should all be aware that the re-release of my debut novel, The Exercise Of Vital Powers, was last week, Monday. You should also have noted the most readily apparent difference between the first and second editions of the book: the cover artwork. Once I had decided to move ahead with a revised second edition, I knew that the book’s outer appearance would be the most crucial factor in improving its fortunes over its predecessor―even more so than the editing. This post will give you a little insight into my thought processes when it came to the design of the new cover.
So, it’s two days after the cover reveal for the second edition of my first novel, The Exercise Of Vital Powers, and I have to say it went better than I hoped. The response to the new artwork was overwhelmingly positive, and I received lots of good feedback. Now, whether that will ultimately translate to interest in actually buying and reading the book in July remains to be seen, though I’m taking it for granted that the second edition will easily outsell the first.
We are now a quarter of the way into 2018 and I’ve had a surprisingly good reading year so far, which I chalk up to the fact I haven’t watched any television since last summer, giving me more free time for books. At present, I have read a total of 17 books this year (almost double the goal I set myself) and I’m currently half way through the science fiction classic, Dune. I hope to be done with Frank Herbert’s novel before the end of the week, allowing me to move on to the five books I’ve chosen to read this month―those five titles being:
A Woman Scorned
(The Sam Beckett Mysteries, Book 2)
Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult
Format: Paperback, 284 Pages
Date: 17th December 2017
I received an advanced copy of this book from the author; obviously this hasn’t influenced the review below, which is my honest assessment of the novel.
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As she continues her recovery after the traumatic events of her first foray into working as P.I., Sam Beckett is compelled to go through therapy as a pre-condition for continuing her association with the Criminal Investigation Department of the local police. The shocking outcome of what should have been a simple case has not only left physical scars, but also psychological scars brought on by the guilt she feels over the death of the person closest to her. Reluctantly, Sam agrees to seeing the designated therapist only to find herself embroiled in a new investigation when she arrives for her first session to discover the shrink, Dr. Weiss, has been brutally murdered.
The Game Begins
(The Sam Beckett Mysteries, Book 1)
Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult
Format: Paperback, 284 Pages
Date: 2nd October 2017 (First Published 2016)
Samantha Beckett may appear to be the typical, aimless teenage schoolgirl who doesn’t know what to do with her life, but there is more going on in her life than meets the eye. Not only does she have a troubled home life with her mother and stepfather, she also has to contend with the traumatic baggage―both psychological and physical―of having survived the car crash that claimed the life of her father; a car crash that she knows wasn’t really an accident. This conviction eventually inspires Sam to pursue her true calling in life. After she is persuaded by her best friend to complete a private investigators course, to become a qualified P.I., Sam is roped into taking on a seemingly innocuous case, little suspecting there is a greater conspiracy at play―one that will not only lead her to the truth about her father, but also put her life, and the lives of those around her, in danger.
I originally intended to do an #SPFBO update about the elimination of The Exercise Of Vital Powers from the competition at the semi-final stage, but now I’m going to delay it until tomorrow. Instead, today’s impromptu blog post is a book recommendation for a novel I read last month that greatly exceeded my expectations. The book in question is Just Breathe, an urban fantasy/paranormal romance tale by Sarah Doughty, for which I posted an in depth review earlier today on my book blog Another World, so please go and check it out. I can tell you right off the bat that this book really made an impression on me. As a result, I would love for more people to discover the book and the author.
It’s been very quiet on the blogging front over the last month, even though I actually have several blog posts written and ready to be posted; I’m just waiting for the right time to post them. In the meantime, I’ve decided to kick-start things again with a post about Kayden Jayta, who is (for those of you who don’t know) the central character of my novel The Exercise Of Vital Powers. It’s an opportunity for me to provide some insights, not just into the character, but my reasons for making certain creative decisions about her and her story.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better for my SPFBO entry, along comes Kitty G’s video review of The Exercise Of Vital Powers, yesterday. Not only did Kaitlin produce a very complimentary overview of my book, watching the video has actually made me seriously start to believe that it’s a better story than I previously thought. I still don’t think it’s polished enough to progress to the final round, but Kaitlin’s praise has already had a positive effect in terms of increasing interest in my book, as well as causing a spike in sales. In that respect, entering this year’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off has definitely paid dividends so I’m really glad to be involved. Anyway, that’s enough waffling from me; you can watch Kaitlin’s review below.
I’ve decided to pimp my latest book review that is now live on my book blog Another World. Today the book is the dark fantasy novel, Daughter of the Blood, the first book of The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop; feel free to go and check out my in depth thoughts on what is a very strange tale by clicking THIS LINK. I awarded the book a score of 4 out of 5 which might come as I surprise when I mention that the first time I read it (a little over a decade ago) I didn’t like it at all. Admittedly, this had a lot to do with the fact I had no idea what was going on, principally because I had been led to believe it was an urban fantasy (which it most certainly isn’t) but also because I had never read anything quite so bizarre before.