Monday, 1 September 2014

Another 5-star review for The Power Within

Michael Fletcher, author of the dystopic and dynamite SF novel, 88, recently read and reviewed Michell Plested's second installment in the Mik Murdoch YA fantasy series, The Power Within. No slouch himself when it comes to crafting a gripping story, Fletcher had this to say:

's review 
Aug 03, 14

Read in August, 2014

I finished this a couple of days ago but needed to time to think about it.

There are two kinds of writing I enjoy. The first is evocative and beautiful, and you find yourself enjoying specific sentences or descriptions. Sometimes that beauty can be intrusive and your enjoyment of the craft can drag you from the story. The second disappears into the story, dragging you in, and by the end of the book you've completely forgotten that you've been reading because you were sucked in so completely. For the entire length of the novel you are unaware of words.

The Power Within is the second type. From the moment I picked up the book until I put it down I was Mik Murdoch. Mik's irrepressible optimism was like a vacation from the crush of reality, a flashback to the boy I once was. And I can't explain it, but there was something in here that took me back to the Hardy Boy novels I read as a kid. I want more.

Kids will love this series.
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available in print and ebook
from Five Rivers
online booksellers worldwide
and select bookstores

Friday, 29 August 2014

Goodreads reviewer gives 5-star rating to The Tattooed Seer

The second novel in Susan MacGregor's Tattooed Witch Trilogy, The Tattooed Seer, released August 1, 2014, and launch at this year's When Words Collide convention.

Recently a Goodreads reviewer wrote the following about MacGregor's novel:

's review 
Aug 18, 14

Read from July 24 to August 15, 2014

I’ll begin this review with a caution. Susan MacGregor’s “The Tattooed Seer” is a sequel to last year’s “The Tattooed Witch”. I read the latter about a year ago, and even with that relatively short period of time, I found myself struggling at times to remember the backstory. So, if you have not read “The Tattooed Witch” read it first. It’s a wonderful book and will greatly enhance your enjoyment of the “The Tattooed Seer”.
So on with the review of this book. Susan MacGregor sets her books in 16th century Spain, where a magical band of gypsies are fleeing persecution from Tomas, the Grand Inquisitor for the Spanish Inquisition. The book is fantasy but that hasn’t stopped the writer from doing meticulous historical research, so much so that most readers of historical fiction or romance will find much to like here.
The story centers around Miriam, the band’s matriarch and her struggles to lead her people to safety. Her life is complicated not just by the inherent dangers of their situation, but also by two lovers, one of whom is corporal and the other spiritual. This may well be the oddest love triangle I’ve ever encountered but it works beautifully.
Miriam’s powers come from self-inflicted magical tattoos but she is not alone. Each member of her band has their own special ability but they must work together or perish at the hands of Tomas. Getting them to do so is part of the challenge facing Mariam.
If you are a fan of historical fantasy or romance this book will sit in your sweet spot. But here’s the thing. I’m not and yet this book still works for me, largely because Susan MacGregor is a literary craftsman. In my world fine writing trumps genres any time and this is fine writing. 
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available in print and ebook
from Five Rivers
online booksellers worldwide
and select bookstores

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Aaron Kite at When Words Collide 2014

Aaron Kite, author of the popular YA fantasy, A Touch of Poison, appeared this year at When Words Collide in Calgary to launch his new novel, and speak on several panels including one on writing YA fiction. His insights, humour and pragmatic approach to world-building and writing captured the audience.

A Touch of Poison is available in print and eBook from Five Rivers, online booksellers worldwide, and select bookstores.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Michell Plested blogs about reviews

Recently on Michell Plested's website he discussed his views on reader reviews, their pros and cons, and his very sane, cogent response to negative reader reviews based on agenda and aesthetics rather than true critical evaluation and comment. I think you will find what he has to say enlightening.

Reviews (not a rant)

I actually started writing this post several days ago. Except, at that time, I was writing it more as a rant than anything that might be useful.
Let me begin by explaining why I was upset and felt the need (which I overcame…eventually) to write a rant.
Reviews are extremely important to anyone with a product. Books, as you might guess, are products – they are the result of a lot of work, creativity, (more) work and stress, but they are products nonetheless.
I cannot speak for other products that receive reviews but I have seen many instances of where an individual, apparently fueled by a sense of anonymity and overwhelming feeling of power, has left what could only charitably be called a bad review of a book or story. These “bad” reviews often focus on things that have nothing to do with the story itself – maybe the reviewer didn’t like the cost of the book, or the formatting, or they were shocked when a book clearly labelled as one genre didn’t turn out to be another.
Nonsense like that makes my blood boil just a little (probably more easily due to the elevation I live at) and hence the reason for my wanting to rant.
So, that all being said, let me take a moment to explain why I feel that well thought out, intelligent reviews are important:
  • Potential readers will look at the reviews to make that final decision as to whether a book is worth investing time and money in.
    • Inane reviews, especially if that’s all there is, do not help readers in any way. If nothing else exists, a reader may (incorrectly) assume that the reviewer actually knew what he/she was talking about and leave, never looking back.
    • Intelligent, well thought out reviews, whether positive or negative, can give the potential reader some insight into both what the reviewer likes/dislikes and how to approach a book. That gives a true indication whether or not to pick up a book. It also (at least for me) says, I may not like a particular book, but the author’s other works might be worth checking out.
  • Author’s need feedback. Beyond just bragging about all the 5-star reviews one might (or might not) have, it is nice to get an idea of how one’s work is perceived.
  • Reviews mean people have read the book (typically). Some readers don’t want to be the first one to try something new. If the trail has already been blazed so much the better.
  • Publishers, editors, agents (and many others) read reviews. If you (author) are trying to attract the attention of any of the aforementioned types of people, having real reviews is a very good thing.
I know I haven’t captured every single reason why reviews are important. The message I do want to convey is how important proper reviews can be.
If you have enjoyed something, please take a moment to say so and why. If a story hasn’t worked for you, its okay to say so. Just couch it in terms that explain why it didn’t work for you. What isn’t good for one person might be for another. Reasons are important.
Most importantly, if you don’t have anything useful to say, don’t say anything at all. Flaming a book because you don’t like the price or the choice of layout only shows you to be…well, I’ll let you fill in that particular blank.
After all, this post isn’t about ranting.
Michell Plested is the author of the young readers fantasy series: Mik Murdoch, available in print and ebook from Five Rivers, online booksellers worldwide, and select bookstores.

Friday, 22 August 2014

High school English teacher loves Shakespeare for Slackers: Romeo and Juliet

available in print and eBook
from Five Rivers
online booksellers worldwide
and select bookstores
This 5-star review from a secondary school English teacher just came in from LibaryThing:

This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I haven't totally finished reading this, but I am most of the way through, and I love it! Although there are points that I might want to argue with Mr. Kite (such as his interpretation of the word "ho"), I thoroughly believe that his modern take on the play is amazing and will easily help me engage my high school freshmen in the world of Shakespeare. As an English teacher, I am always looking for ways to help my students relate to the material, and this is going to be a valuable resource for doing just that.  )
  vote   flagLoriBivens | Aug 19, 2014 | 

The second book in the Slackers series, Hamlet, will release December 1, 2014, with Macbeth available early in 2015.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

D.G. Laderoute at When Words Collide

D.G. Laderoute, author of the spell-binding YA fantasy, Out of Time, sat on several panels at this year's When Words Collide convention of readers, writers and those involved in the publishing industry.

One of the panels was Live Action Slush -- YA Edition. The concept is writers put forward their work anonymously for the panel to read, and then the audience and panel comment, blind. Fabulous concept.

If ever you have an opportunity to hear Laderoute read, or speak, it's an event worth attending.

D.G. Laderoute, second from left,
reading at When Words Collide 2014

Monday, 18 August 2014

Five Rivers on Pinterest

Senior Editor, Robert Runte, apparently loves phaffing about on Pinterest. He apparently has created a whole series of boards on a uniquely Five Rivers Publishing site. Some great categories and information there. Might want to check it out. Official site is at: