Best and Worst Reviews… EVER! 8

If you’ve been reading my blogs for a while, you know I don’t publish a lot of reviews. In fact, out of the nearly 200 combined reviews I have received in less than six months, this will be the third time. When I came in this morning, there were new reviews for both My Famliar Stranger and The Witch’s Dream, written by the same blogger, Gaele, for Booked and Loaded Blog and it gave me the idea of doing a best/worst post.
I’ve been blessed with a lot of attention for my books. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that it’s an Amazon record for a first book of an unknown Indie author.
Now that The Witch’s Dream has been out for a week and I’m starting to get some feedback from people who read both books back to back, it’s very gratifying to learn that the flow is seamless.
So, what’s so special about these reviews? Well, see for yourself and then I’ll share the worst.

5.0 out of 5 stars Elves and Vampires and Knights – Oh My !, October 23, 2012

Take one parallel universe jump, an elite paramilitary company of knights who are tasked with eradicating vampires, a vampire with a `life wish’ and then blend in a liberal sprinkling of characters drawn from old European religious idolatry, superior advanced medical technology and a touch of humor and you start to define the basics in this book.

Created with a deft hand, each character is so well developed and defined that their voices are unique and specific, although their development is gradual, as befitting of plot and action. The rest of the story is just as well-crafted, almost to the point that you aren’t 100% certain that the world described is not just outside your door. The author has done a stellar job in creating the world, those who live within it, and a story-line that both compels you to read as you rush through to see just what happens next, and who gets the girl.

Reviewed for Booked and Loaded

5.0 out of 5 stars I am now purchasing the paperbacks…. to read repeatedly., October 23, 2012

Picking up momentarily after the close of My Familiar Stranger, this book also manages to encourage the page-turning, what comes next of the first. Adding to the already established mix of Beserkers, Elves, Demons, Vampires and the Order of the Black Swan, we find touches of majik and mysticism in the form of a lovely witch, and a werewolf to fill in those spots that you didn’t realize needed filling.

The spells are all as close to real as one will find in any careful writer’s book, the language is poetic and the characters are even more intriguing and palpable than before. Readers who are introduced to this series with this volume will find themselves wondering, the author has specifically created these stories to read in order to best follow the action. It is no hardship to read the two, believe me – the writing is tight, descriptive and flows neatly along a path that often is twisty, but always seems to resolve with a satisfying feeling of “what will they get into next”.

This world is so unique and the writing so constant and detailed with little pieces of information drop like breadcrumbs until the loaf is completed. You will be turning pages as you need to get to the end – and then re-reading as you await book 3 in this series.

I was provided an eBook copy from the author for purpose of review for Booked and Loaded. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Dear Gaele –
Thank you for noticing that every character is an individual personality. My M.A. in psychology doesn’t help with creating them, but my interest in people, how they behave, and trying to sort out why they do what they do has been a help.
Thank you for saying the language is poetic. Sometimes I rework a single sentence several times because I’m not satisfied with the way it “sounds”.
The spells are close to real, but with enough detail disguised, withheld, or scrambled so as not to endanger a misguided reenactment. Thank you for noticing the authenticity.
Thank you for noticing that the world of Black Swan is unique. Before I started writing, I spent two years reading everything PNR that had garnered success so that I would know what had already been done.
Bread crumbs along the way… Thank you for noticing the complexity of the weave of the story. It takes a lot of organization to make sure the timeline is correct and all the details hold together on close examination. In order to be sure that everything makes it into the final cut I have to write the book and then let it simmer in my subconscious for four to six weeks during which I will wake nightly with a thought about something else I want to include. The Witch’s Dream was 70,000 words that expanded to 100,000 during this process.
I don’t think there could be any greater compliment than to say that you’re also buying the books in paperback form and that you plan to reread. Thank you for that as well. (Truthfully, I reread these books once every couple of months. After enough time has lapsed I find myself stopping after a passage thinking, “Did I really write that? It was pretty good!”)
I personally plan to follow your reviews and seek out books you recommend. -V

NOW FOR THE CASTOR OIL PORTION OF THIS POST… ugly, uglier, ugliest.

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful

2.0 out of 5 stars Very poor writing and character development, July 8, 2012

By Alexis D. (San Francisco, CA) – See all my reviews Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: My Familiar Stranger – A Paranormal Romance (The Order of the Black Swan, BOOK ONE) (Kindle Edition)

Obviously I’m in disagreement with most other reviewers here, and I’ll be up front: I couldn’t even finish it, probably made it about a third of the way through the book. The plot sounded interesting, and as a frequent romance reader of all sorts from historical chaste novels to the down & dirty stuff, I usually make it all the way through. I just found the poor writing too distracting. Character development was terrible and everyone was two dimensional. I’m all for the sudden soul mate stuff but Ram didn’t even know her or try to get to know her, and his thought pattern was juvenile. Storm was the most interesting and authentic character. Elora herself was an unlikeable character, and the construction itself was just really bad, even for a free book. This is the type of book that makes me miss bookstores, where you rarely found a book that wasn’t at least worth reading all the way through instead of today’s self-published and ratings-manipulated lists. sigh.

Yes. I’m super sensitive as you would expect any author of intense emotion-driven plots to be, but even I laughed out loud (literally) when I read the title of this review. I did find it alarming that 4 out of 9 people found this “helpful”. YIKES! Really?
Shortly thereafter one reviewer admonished this person by saying that s/he didn’t think it’s fair to an author to leave a review when you didn’t finish a book, particularly when many of your complaints would have been addressed and resolved had you read further.
Seriously, one of my favorite all time reviews is the one that begins, “I didn’t finish this book so I’m not going to leave a review.” I’ve thought about sending that one in to Jay Leno. 

8 comments

  1. It is so wonderful to see that there are others who recognize the uniqueness and pleasure within the stories in your books. It is also gratifying to read that others have commented and are aware of the real-life reference that went into these tales and that the realistic references helped make these books enormously entertaining.

    I know I have probably said this before but, I can’t help saying it again; CONGRATULATIONS!

  2. Well… everyone does has an opinion. We all take into account what we see, feel, hear, etc. and run it through our filters of what is reality to us and then out comes our opinion. It is a quick process and we seem to want to share this special reality with anyone who will listen. (Me included!) So with that said I have to say to you Victoria that you are one of the few that are reading this email/blog comment that have been willing to share your ideas and writings, all very personal and revealing in many ways, with all of us who have most likely not put one thing out into this universe to reveal who we really are. (Writings, artwork, music, etc.) And you are willing to take the love and the hits equally as you just posted the smack downs too. The hits do hurt but from all the reviews I’ve seen on your writing and all the 5 stars on the Kindle listing your books shows that your stories are more loved by us than rejected. So kudos to you for allowing yourself to be critiqued and willing to take in all the opinions, the hits along with the love! Not everyone is going to get you or where you are taking them in the story but you have so many that do get you and love the ride from the first page to the end. I am taking time out from reading your latest book “Building From Ashes” to send this note to you… I truly want you to know how much we appreciate you putting these stories out here for us to enjoy. Your artistry, vision and vulnerablity is awesome and inspiring to us all! Love to you always… I will now run back to my Kindle and keep reading your newest adventure! Oh where or where are you taking me!

      • Damn! I am so sorry! I knew that! Please know that the sentiment I’ve posted is true and for you! I’ve been reading your books and Elizabeth Hunters and a few others too so I do apologize for my screw up! I’ve read “My Familiar Stranger” & “Witch’s Dream” and looking forward to “The Summoner’s Tale.” Love what you are creating and definitely will be buying your next one after that and after that and after…! Please forgive my monkey brain that is reading, reading and reading while trying to fit in all those really unimportant things that life is always nagging us to pay attention to! Work. Dinner. Family. Friends. Dogs. Home. Cars. Emails. I better go back to my book now! Please keep writing and taking us into your worlds! Love them!

      • In that case, THANK YOU for your kind and thoughtful response. I have to admit that there are times when it comes to reviews when I think, “Gee. What happened to the Golden Rule?” or, better yet, the old admonishment, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” LOL But, Amazon has completely rewritten the concept of reviewing. Everybody gets the same vote as people who used to be vetted by specialized higher education and experience. Fortunately for me, as you said, there are many more people who have registered approval of my work than “smackdowns”.

  3. I have read “My Familiar Stranger” and “Witch’s Dream” and I personally love them. I will continue to read what you write especially if you keep writing more about the Knights of The Order of the Black Swan and their families and friends. This line could continue forever, there are so many possibilities and endless paranormal avenues that you can cover in this arena. I can’t wait for the next one!!

    • Hi Cindy –

      The Order of the Black Swan was conceived as a saga. What that means to me is that it’s not just a series, but a serial – each book builds on information presented earlier. Seven books are mapped at the moment. We’ll have to see what happens from there, but, when complete, the series will read from beginning to end like one ongoing story.

      Thank you for your feedback and lovely comments. Back to work on Book Three.

      – Victoria

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