Tag Archives: Book reviews

Book Marketing Services- Like, Seriously?

This was the recent conversation with someone, questions against answers from the chat below:
  • So are you a writer? – Yes, I have published a novel a few months ago
  • Wow! Great, which country you belong to? – India
  • Indian author? Okay, how is your book doing? – Just paid XXXXX to my book marketing team. Waiting for something good to happen.
  • XXXXX – oh my freaking goddamn loser! – Whatttt, why??
Can you just send me the so called book-marketing-strategy to me? – Yes
BookMarketing
Let’s take the so called strategy one by one!
  • Create posters from your novel and swirl it (read flaunt it) over Facebook at various groups where 1 lakh users are there and we tweet it to 1 lakh followers
Facebook groups – are created free of cost and you use twitter free of cost. Have you clicked any of the Facebook group and have witnessed a post by some random literary services company that has post likes, comments, and shares of over a 1000 so far? Even if it is so – are you sane to think it’s true? Do you think with these frigging posters, mankind would go gaga over your book, buy a thousand copies and make you world famous or the next Chetan Bhagat?
How do I create posters? – Dude, even if you don’t know coreldraw and photoshop, MS Paint is freaking easy to use. All that it takes is good content – meaning a catchy phrase or a dialogue to attract not a glamourous image unless it is Kim Kardashian, none would click open. Sit, read your manuscript, pick the catchy phrases and design posters by yourself. Or, get in touch with one of your friends. Am sure every circle will have a good designer friend who will design not for money, but for you and trust me, it would look much better than any of those XXXX amount you paid.
Every post of my book “I don’t wear sunscreen” were created by me, and my brother. I didn’t spend a penny, sample below:
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  • Book reviews – 30+ Bloggers would review your book on their sites
This is the most freaking part ever. Author pays 500 INR (minimum) to the intermediate who calls themselves as a literary servicing agent. Say, you pay 5000 INR (minimum again) to get 10 paid reviews. All that the “Literary-Service-Agent” does is to post a status that there’s a free book for reviewing which bloggers ask for, and reviews the book for free because the book reviewers are book freaks in the most cases who don’t ask for money or get paid pretty lesser than what the intermediate makes for sure.
Do you get it? You are not paying for the book reviews, you are paying for that one status message. And it costs you XXXX amount.
Most book reviews of my book are from readers, and I personally sent to a few reviewers whom I followed (Stalked) their reviews which are brutally honest and worthy enough. I spent for the courier, and a few were cool enough to take the eBook in exchange for an honest review which worked wonders. Paying for good reviews – I see it is in a worth, but what’s the point in paying those frigging literary service money gobblers?
There are umpteen book writers, readers, reviewers pages and groups on Facebook, but not all those in the groups would be interested in your book. I have witnessed posts by those servicing agents which had 0 likes.
When these intermediate money consumers ping me for book reviews, I ask for money up front. I don’t do this for money, but, hey! Someone else is making money doing NOTHING. An author spends almost a year, and money on publishing a book. A reviewer spends enough time reading and reviewing a book, and all that the intermediate does is to pass on the message, courier the book and make money out of it.
  • Giveaways: – Next big scam
I personally believed that book reviews of those who don’t know you work much better and did a Goodreads giveaway. I had to courier my books to the selected folks, and hosting the giveaway is FREE of cost. Please go through about the free book marketing strategies. Stop paying 5000 INR for a Goodreads giveaway which you can do all by yourself.
  • Author Interview
You pay 500 INR for an Author Interview. Trust me, no-one will click open and read your interview to know whether you like tea or coffee, whether you read Paulo or James Patterson. For the sake of sympathy you might gain a few likes but no-one will read. Stop paying for it, go ahead if it is free because you as an author will definitely have a good base of friends on your list and by sharing that interview on your timeline, you are helping the other blog to gain a few followers.
  • Book Trailers
If you can put a few pictures, make good posters and create a book trailer, please do! Else, you can pay esteemed video makers who are indeed costly, but are worth it. Please do not pay for immature videos churned using an online free link. Professional Book Trailers are different, below is one of my favorites.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qv_tk5i9kM
  • Events – Book signing or Book reading or Book launch
I am sure these events are costly and would cost you a few bucks. But, with a few posters stating that QWERTY literary services are launching it, you will actually be paying double the cost. If you can inquire a nice mini-hall for a high tea session, invite your friends over and share across social networks, and have an engaging talk. That would do. Don’t pay 2*XXXXX the amount for nothing.
  • Offline book distribution
This is something as an author, you might not have control over. This is a good option, if the distribution takes your book to places. But, keep in mind, how many actually walk into a bookstore – see your cover – read the blurb of the book – buy it? Please be prepared to get all the copies or lesser by 10 utmost back in a year’s time. You would be paying as much as a lakh for this, please be prepared!
  • Author website
Again, this blog of mine is all set to turn a website if I pay 18$ for the domain and spend a few hours on tweaking it properly. The domain name would cost me 1000 INR per year, if the QWERTY literary service does this, they would ask you for about 15000-25000 INR based on the features and stuff. Even if you’re not taking a pre-existing theme, and go for a proper HTML/CSS coding website, it would cost not more than 5000 INR. Ask me, I can refer some ace website developers. Don’t spend 5 times the money on cheap site creators.
  • Newspaper Review
Something out of your control again, give it a try with friends and families if they know any friend working for newspapers and media. If yes, go for it. Else, you can ask a PR agency for the same. The QWERTY literary services would ask half a lakh to post your interview on papers which mostly are used on the roadside Bajji wala shop. 50,000 INR for oil dripping newspaper interview? Depends, if QWERTY gets you to an ace newspaper like the Hindu, New Indian Express, Deccan chronicles then it might be worthy. Not the next street walk, area talk, etc..
I hired a PR agency and took their services which was satisfactory enough, here is my interview. (I know the picture is very bad, I look better in person) I paid lesser than what QWERTY would ask for.
  • Ads
If you directly pay for these Ads, you would be paying less. Ads in the sense, the Facebook ads, ads on Youtube that one can skip in 5 secs, Google ads, etc..
These are the services that I crossed and laugh over, I don’t remember the rest.
A few points to ponder:
  • A parent would probably take better care of the toddler than any babysitter. Work on your book promotions by yourself. If you feel ashamed, take help from friends who care about you. Ask suggestions!
  • Promote reading, promote your writing skills – make people think this person writes well
  • Don’t spend your hard earned money on QWERTY literary services and crib over wasting money
  • Interact with people, Interact with authors, get to understand what they went through and choose wisely
  • Last but not the least – A well-marketed cheap work can be sold only ONCE
  • A very good book with less marketing – will sell better any day just by word of mouth
Promote yourself as a good writer with your posts, stories or poems, one-liners, quotes. Stand tall as a good writer with good story, language, grammar, vocabulary, diction, etc.. Don’t publish your first draft and spend on your marketing but do the vice versa. Only good books win, only good authors make it big and others drown with a book or two.
*QWERTY Literary services is an imaginary term used
*Not to hurt anyone, but to help my fellow Indian authors from falling into a trap and spending money
What’s worth spending for?
  • There are really worthy authors and reviewers groups, where we exchange book reviews, blog tours are hosted with services that are the best in this industry at a much affordable cost.
  • Edit your book – spend on it more than marketing. A well-editing book is worth marketing for. I have thrown a few books that were sent for reviews because I didn’t want to dump myself with bad grammar as mine is equally bad for that sake.
P.S – I am not trying to stop you from paying QWERTY Literary Services, but since I have made good friends online with whom when I personally chat or talk and tell them about these details they exclaim “OMG! Kavi, wish I’d know this before” or “OMG! Why didn’t you tell me all this before?” This is just for you folks out there who are not my friend yet, or probably would never be, but if this post makes you think once before paying a huge sum. I WIN, Good day folks!
Hereby I end my rant!
Thanks,
Kavipriya Moorthy

Finding Lyla – Book Review

Received this book from Book reviews in exchange for an honest review.
First impression – Having read Justice for Abby, I had set my expectation bars higher. The cover was absolutely stunning indeed. And the title was also pretty attracting to know what’s in there to devour. The blurb was intriguing and I started reading the book almost instantly, after Justice for Abby.
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Overall Impression – Cate Beauman is near perfect with her style of writing, I was able to connect with her style and it was good to read her books back to back having fallen in love with her writing already. A very interesting book that’s well-knit with equal importance to romance and suspense in one go.
What I loved about the book? – Definitely the story line, it was pretty interesting to read it. Nice diction, language and vocabulary that would help budding writers to learn from. It was a sheer pleasure to read a character which is totally fleshed out. The author gives life to the character that it makes you feel like you know that character for so long. This seldom works for others, but Cate looks like a pro at it.
Frown factors: 1) Lengthier – this makes the book, skim worthy in places 2) Indeed slower than the previous read of mine, a more crispier and racy pace would have been great.
Rating : 4/5
 

Justice For Abby (The Bodyguards Of L.A. County #6)

Received this book from b00k r3vi3ws in exchange for my honest review.
First Impression – A very classy cover that would make any pick the book instantly. And a title so different that gives an impact of a mystery thriller or a crime thriller. And the blurb so interesting with diverse details where each sentence says something different from the former, it did kindle my interest to read it. Still felt that the blurb looked a bit incomplete and incompatible, the clear vein that is supposed to touch the details were missing.
P.S – The book is not a standalone, but a series, reading the other 5 books or at least reading gists about what happened in this series would help better in understanding the depth of the characters.
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Overall Impression – Very impressed is the least I can say. The whole story takes the reader on a ride searching answers for the questions running in the mind. Ties the reader with good suspense scented throughout and the characters are typically etched indeed.
What did I love about the book? – 1) The strength portrayed in each character, especially Abby. Never read any book before which tore the mask about nightmares of the past so well.
2) Too many hard realities are explored in this series
3) A very good combination of romance and suspense which rarely pair
4) Sex rings and the details were all new to me, and it was a refreshing read for me to even know what it is all about
I loved reading this book because it had great diction, good microscopic descriptions, and awesome vocabulary throughout. It is on par and would suggest this book to anyone who wants to read a good book.
Rating: 4.5/5
Looking forward to read more of Cate Beauman.

My Dream Man – Aditi Bose – A review

Received the book directly from the author of the novel for a honest review.
First Impression – I was not satisfied with the title and the cover, as it resembled more of a sex position to me (Am I so corrupted?) nevertheless, just being honest. The font was way too smaller which made reading a bit difficult, could have been better. The paper quality was good thought.
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Overall Impression – The blurb anticipated my expectation but the story didn’t match it as such. The author has a good style and diction, the way the story flows and her way of handling the knowledge is good for a debut. Though, the story didn’t resonate with me as much as the blurb did. The initial character introduction for about 18 pages could have been cut short, and there were various other redundancies as well which could have been tightened with a good beta-reader.
The negatives make the book a skimming read than a line-by-line read. With the capability the author has, if she picks a better plot and a storyline that reveals a few twists, I think it would be a super win. There were a few instances which were abnormal, but had no cushioning details to accompany. To call a person the dream man would actually take a lot, the character falling for someone so older for age and few other details didn’t fit it and also, didn’t help the story to take any twist.
Being a writer, the way the protagonist feels bad for manuscript rejections were something that one could feel closer to, still the same could have been explored much more with realistic details.
Rating: 2.5 / 5
Wow factors: 1) Simple language 2) Diction 3) Style
Frown factors: 1) Storyline was not up to the mark 2) Lengthier for the context with redundant details
Looking forward to read a even better book from the author.

Sands of Time – Neelam Saxena Chandra

First Impression – I was excited when I read about the author, for the list of awards and recognition she has received. It did made me raise my brows initially. I was disappointed with the quality of the paperback, it made reading difficult. I was not impressed with the cover image or the title either; I started reading with the author’s esteemed position in mind.
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Received this book via the book club in return for an honest review, The book has 12 short stories that are based on issues faced by women and has time as a parameter through which the travel of each story is weaved.
Genre – Women fiction, short stories
Overall Impression – Stories were good, the kind of emotional play attempted and the struggle a few women go through is explored pretty well. I didn’t get the total punch of emotions hitting me hard, but the stories were bit predictable, and that being the reason, I found the stories bit lengthier as well.
The stories revolve around important issues that are to be considered, be it the education and career a woman should possess, the kind of empowerment required and the sexual awareness necessary to at least know what is happening to one as a kid, is properly explored yet not pretty powerful as expected.
Rating: 3/5
Wow Factors: 1) Issues involved 2) Simple and lucid language
Frown factors: 1) the quality of the paperback, the author should consider the right publishers next time. 2) Diction and phrases could have been better; it was more like a essay than a story. The necessary word play and quality of dialogues were missing big time.

 

 

 

Soul Warrior (The Age of Kali #1)

Received the e-book from the book club in exchange for an honest review, and here you go! Mythology is my recent addiction and I am falling in love with that genre, and this book added more fuel to my greed of reading more mythology. Awe-struck is an understatement!
Genre – Mythology
First Impression – pretty cover that attracts instantly and the blurb just pulls you to read the book. And the very first word that you read is “Death” – “Death is hot” which makes the reader raise their brows with a smile. A very promising impression which says, “Am the book that you should read,” and yes, kept up till the end.
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Overall Impression – One of the best books I have read in the recent times. This is the first book that painted a beautiful camouflage of Gods and ancient India with the modern world. It was enchanting and a fresh read which is powerful and believable, than the normal movies that portray God walking down the street or ordering a pizza types which though funny doesn’t touch you. Soul warrior is a show-stealer. I loved the thought process of the author Falguni and the way she handled the freedom to write a story that gives food for imagination. Not many authors attempt it.
Rating: 5/5
What did I love about the book? 1) The extremely convincing blend of modern India and mythology characters 2) Falguni’s humour sprinkles that makes one smile ear to ear
Wow Factors: 1) Diction – best choice of words ever 2) Editor has done a commendable job
Frown Factors: 1) Pace dropped at a few points, 2) Descriptions fell short as well, either it was too much to take or related, am unable to decipher

Play with Me – Book Review

I crossed this book in the recent Hindu Lit for Life event where the author was featured along with a few who write Erotica. The author of the book Ananth Padmanabhan is also the CEO of HarperCollin and that the book is published by Penguin.
Genre – Erotica
First Impression – The title was not catchy, and having the read the book, I also feel that the title is not the apt one for this book. The cover is classy, but again it says nothing much about the book. The blurb definitely caught my attention. The last line of the blurb says that the protagonist falls in love with another woman which was intriguing enough.
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Overall Impression – This is my first Erotica read, so I went back to goodreads to read the definition of Erotica genre and the definition is below:
“Erotica is any story that places sex at the center of the story. They tend to use more frank language and usually include more sex scenes, often focusing more on the sex act rather than being a more traditional love scene, and may include more unusual positions or acts. Unlike romance or erotic romance, erotica may or may not deal with love or relationships and may or may not provide a happy ending for its protagonists.”
Has the author made justice to the above definition – Yes! But…
Rating : 2/5
What did I love about the book? 1) I liked the language – sophisticated 2) Editing – near perfect. The editor has done a great job, kudos!
Wow Factor: 1) Perfect erotic descriptions and detailed intercourse scenes with words that doesn’t make one frown. There are passages that sends electric shrug to the reader.
Frown factors: 1) Going back to the definition by goodreads – “Erotica is any story that places sex at the center of the story” – Where is the story? Nowhere in the 245 pages is a story that one could say. The novel is a sheer sex manual and nothing else.
2) Protagonist Sid is a sizeist – he won’t do chubby and fat. He is so lucky that all five girls around him are hour glass lookalikes. So what he does? Sleep with four out of five. Why not the fifth? because the other colleague is sleeping with her.
3) If one filters the words like Fuck, cock, breasts, boobs, nipples, bikini, cum, balls, sex, long legs, between the legs, her dress rode up revealing her thighs, cleavage, etc.. The book would merely be 50 odd pages.
4) the most frowned upon factor is that the novel has huge potential to explore about what makes one love the other woman as written in the blurb. That was left unexplored, like totally. The novel has 2 different affair pepping up and the reasons are that first affair is because the guy is unhappy in her wedding and he second is because the woman can’t conceive – like seriously? If these are any reasons at all? The transition and battle in one’s mind when falling in love with another while being in a relationship is left as such.
5) Though Sid is found guilty and thinks whether he is cheating, he tends to use every opportunity to sleep with the next woman he hits on.
6) Too many loose ends – Roy’s life is left unattended, For the sake of it there were details about Sid’s company
7) Sid finds himself falling in love with a married woman because she took care when he was admitted in the hospital. This is the only difference at all used by the author to say he “makes love” with this woman but “had sex” with Cara, the other protagonist. I don’t understand whether Indian’s are not ready to take flings or something, the author wanted to play it safe stating that Cara is half-turkish.
8) The story has bisexuals and a threesome which again serves no purpose. It is shaped as if the protagonist is perplexed and falls in his colleague Nat’s lap who is married but is feeling low about not being able to conceive a baby.
9) Cliche’d moments where sex happens in Goa, NY – why? Why these places are predominantly used just for sex scenes?
Of all the frown factors the unexplored potential of the novel which could talk more about how one falls for another when being in a relationship with one makes the reader crib. Also, the difference between making love and having sex is not defined. The story moreover says sleep with any if you feel like, even-if-you-are-married. It’s still ok if the transition is explained, but none.
I definitely appreciate the attempt with Erotica, but falling short of a story cannot be accepted.

Her Resurrection – A Survivor’s Journey of Emancipation, Reclamation and Redemption

I received a hard copy of the novel from the author in exchange of an honest review.
Genre – Women’s fiction
Kudos to the author for picking this genre, not many restrict their audience as such.
First Impression – A well-researched and magnified work on what a woman goes through, there are moments in the book that makes the reader gasp and swallow the gumball logging, kudos to the author. The book turns instantly close to the reader, and what Maya goes through pricks.

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Overall Impression – Inspiring read. The grey patch of a woman and the view from her end is well written. There are pretty good characters etched by the author, that makes one feel good here and there, though the novel takes one’s breath away. I appreciate the author for the not-so-happy-ending which is indeed the fact, but the bravery and confidence sprinkled and to see Maya’s character bold was a treat as a reader.
Rating: 4/5
What did I love about the book? 1) Emotions captured 2) Storyline 3) strong dialogues draws a lopsided smile
Wow factors: 1) Research 2) Language 3) Lucid yet strong vocabulary
Frown factors: 1) Could have been a bit crispier 2) Proof reading errors 3

Khel – The Writing – Book Review

I received a review copy of the book from the author paradise.
Genre – Horror
My second horror this year, it is a novella of just 140 pages which made me wonder how the author managed to do it. I did like the book, so here is the review!
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First Impression – The cover image was quite dull indeed, didn’t impress me but the blurb did. I would call it the synopsis of the novel itself, upon reading it, I couldn’t wait to start reading the book.
Overall Impression – It did send chills down my spine. A compelling read! A different take with nice twists sprinkled that glues the reader throughout.
What did I love about the book? – The ending was good. Thanks to the author, one of the finest and abrupt ending, which gives food for thought. I loved it for sure. A few peculiar instances, did give shrills and was an interesting read.
Wow Factors – 1) Simple and lucid language 2) decent twists than expected 3) A horror in just 140 pages is definitely a wow, kudos to the author
Frown Factors – 1) Grammar, sentence structure – a horror read with such mistakes is a definite no-no 2) Repeated sentences like “sending chills down the spine” was a turn off while reading 3) Improper comparisons and the use of “like” 4) Most of the instances reminds a few horror movies and the likes 5) Cliched throughout with the use of rain and darkness, could have given a different try
Ratings: 3/5
Note to the author –an Ace editor will do wonders to your work!
Grab a copy here – Amazon

The Madras Affair – Book Review

The Madras Affair by Sundari Venkatraman, a book that would draw any Chennaite to pick a copy for the title and the author. I received the e-book for review from the book club. Regardless of my love for Madras, Sundari, and TBC, the review presented below is honest indeed.
First Impression: Pretty attractive title and a cover so strong. With a voluptuous woman’s body and a face with eyes so powerful, representing a tale of a woman’s life history. Inviting!
Overall Impression: Spellbound. The smile that I had when I read the first chapter vanished when I finished the second. The lovely story turned to a painful history in a matter of a few pages. The pain inscribed in every word used to describe what Sangita has gone through pricks like a thorn. It shirks the reader. Sundari has ensured to choose the right words to give life to pain. At the end of the second chapter, I started reading the third with a thirst to know how Sangita made it. A feminist or no, the story touches the soul.

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What did I love about the book? – With no doubts the Characters. Gautam, the blue-eyed hero is the one that any woman would love to meet. Prince charming and chivalrous, who showers the much deserved love on Sangita, as if, the prayers of readers who got the gist of what she went through in her past were answered. In a matter of a chapter, Sundari injected much hatred towards Sangita’s first husband, which rather delighted the reader to hear the news of demise rather than to land as a shock. Though the subject handled has potential to say it is deep and dark, the author has ensured to leaf-in details like Sangita-Gautam’s conversations that make it a light read which many authors give it a miss.
Wow Factors: 1) Language and choice of words
2) The nativity followed – She takes the reader to 1995 with names like Pankajam being used, and the breeze of words like Idly, Sambar, Upma, and coconut chutney, which marks that it is Madras
3) Beautiful portrayal of what the woman goes through, especially the parts where that Sangita had to agree for a tonsure in the event of her husband’s death and the light thrown at her sexual frustration takes a special mention which most leave unattended. When there are artificial stories and movies that say a woman will lose interest in sex and would dedicate her whole life to help her kids grow, The Madras Affair tears the mask created and calls a spade as a spade
4) Figurative language perfumed when required adding more value to understand the depth of the situation
5) Beautiful dive on the oscillations a woman would go through in unfavorable situations
6) Handling emotions of a kid in want of a father to feel complete have never been this real! Stunning is an understatement.
Frown Factors: 1) A bit on the lengthy side which slows down the pace here and there, though at times a few detailing were eye-catching, there were places that makes a reader skim through than read. Otherwise, a wonderful read!
Rating: 4/5
Grab a copy of the book here – Amazon