Friday, August 25, 2017

The Two of Us by Victoria Bylin

The Two of Us by Victoria Bylin

Let's begin with the summary:

After two broken engagements, nurse practitioner Mia Robinson is done with dating. From now on, she only trusts herself and God, and she's focused on her eighteen-year-old sister, Lucy, and caring for patients. Just as she applies to work for an international aid organization, a phone call from Lucy, who's pregnant and running off to marry her twenty-one-year-old boyfriend, throws a wrench into all of Mia's plans.

Jake Tanner may have recovered from the physical injuries he sustained on the job as a police officer, but his heart has yet to heal from losing his former partner in the tragedy. He's poured himself into starting a camp for the sons of fallen officers and mentoring Sam, the adult son of his deceased partner, who's asked him to be his best man at his wedding.

Mia is expecting a mess when she arrives to sort out the situation with Lucy, but she wasn't expecting Jake. And Jake, who can't help envying Sam and Lucy, doubts he'll ever experience their happiness for himself. But maybe Jake's courage and Mia's caring spirit are just what they need to bring them a lifetime of healing and a forever kind of love. . . .

And now, my review:

I liked the element of the hero who has trouble hearing. Generally, main characters aren’t at a disadvantage, and this element made me root for him from the beginning.

Early on, I found some elements that weren’t in keeping with male POV, regarding a secondary character, so those jarred me out of the story. And there was some “telling” and some redundancy in the narrative, which weakened the writing. And the dialog seemed too “on the nose” at times. This author writes strong sensual tension.

I liked the thread with the mother and son while she suffers from Alzheimer’s. Theirs was a beautiful dynamic. The author also tackled PTSD and triggers, which are deep topics. 

The story lost my interest around one-third of the way in, but I look forward to checking out this author's books in the future, because I've enjoyed her writing in the past. I wish her all the best.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Tips for Writing Book Reviews

person typing on laptop*

Here are some quick tips for writing reviews:


Tell readers of your review what you liked about the book. Perhaps it was the interactions between the characters or a certain thread. Say the book is about airline pilots. Perhaps you enjoyed the air show scene. Whatever is fitting. 

If you give a low score, tell readers why.

Remember the author is a human being with feelings, so take those into account. You could make their day (i.e. encourage them) or ruin their drive for the day by raining on their hard-earned project. 

Try to be as positive as possible. 

For those posting on a blog, please include the buy link with your blog post and the book's cover image. You can often find the cover image (unmarred by Amazon's "Look Inside" graphic) by Googling the book's cover image or visiting the author's website. 

There is no word count limit for how length of reviews, but remember that readers of your review are probably looking for a few notes, not a two-page essay. :) Simply leaving a review benefits authors. Thank you!

Try to avoid:

Please don’t give spoilers. Let readers discover the story for themselves. Please don’t give away plot points or reveal the novel's secrets. 

Please avoid simply restating the summary or back cover description. You can include a summary, but please also share your own thoughts separately. (see reviews on this site for an example) When posting to Amazon, leave off the book's summary and just post your thoughts.

Don’t write your review if you’re in a bad mood. 😊

To get ideas and see examples of book reviews, check the reviews here on Net’s Book Notes, or read others on Amazon, B&N, etc. If you're writing a review for one of my books, thank you! I'm also grateful if you're writing a review for a fellow author. I love supporting other authors, which is why I have this blog full of book reviews, so thank you for reviewing for other writers as well.

Happy reading, and writing, friends! 


Photo credit: Pixabay

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Secret of India Orchard by Nancy Campbell Allen

The Secret of India Orchard

Let’s begin with the summary:

Anthony Blake is in love with his best friend's sister, Sophia Elliot. But his plans to court her are put on hold when he is forced to resume his role as an undercover spy for the Crown. A secret document listing the names of the entire network of British spies-including his own-has been stolen. To protect Sophia, Anthony cuts off all ties to her and exchanges his life as an honorable earl for the façade of a flirtatious playboy.

Heartbroken and confused, Sophia travels to India, hoping to find healing in one of the most exotic regions of the British Empire. But the exotic land isn't as restful as she had hoped. Instead, she finds herself embroiled in a mystery of a missing sea captain, a possible murder, and a plot that could involve the prince of India. And when Anthony appears at the British Residency, asking questions and keeping his distance from her, she is stunned.

She still loves him, and, in her heart, she knows he loves her too. But how can she rebuild her relationship with him if he won't confide in her? Does she dare offer her heart to him a second time, or will their love be lost under the India sun?

And now, my review:

This was an enjoyable story. I felt for the hero as he couldn’t tell the heroine the truth about his situation or his job, and had to hide his true feelings from her. There was a sweet heroism in this act of nobility (being a military man of his word, but secretly loving her, all while unable to disclose either secret). The book is aptly named.

The hero and heroine were likable, and I sympathized with each of them. In a subtle way, one of the themes in this story was choosing to do the difficult task even when it hurts, just because it was right. The pain of that choice kept me wanting to get back to this story.

There’s a great conflict as the story progresses, which I will not disclose here as it would be a spoiler, but it throws another challenge into their relationship and is rather humorous. 

This publisher's "Proper Romance" collection is one of my favorites. I recommend this book. Such a pleasure to read.