Friday, February 24, 2017

Review: Reviews Wanted: An Author's Guide to Effective Networking with Book Bloggers by Kasey Giard

Reviews Wanted: An Author's Guide to Effective Networking with Book Bloggers

Many small press and indie authors struggle to market their books. Book review bloggers are a valuable asset to an indie writer because they get the word out to readers and other reviewers, helping to generate far-reaching buzz about books they love. Reviews Wanted will show you how to successfully build relationships with book review bloggers and generate excitement and reviews for your books while introducing them to new readers with tips from a veteran book review blogger and author of over four hundred book reviews.

My Take:
And now, as Monty Python is wont to claim, for something completely different.
I'm taking a pause on my review-blogging journey to review this book about review blogs and getting reviews from bloggers, written from the perspective of a review blogger. Whew. 
I'd suggest anyone who wants to get reviews for their books, from an indie and small-press perspective, to pick up a copy of this book. It's inexpensive, it's quick, and it's packed.
It covers topics such as identifying your genre and your audience, the importance of choosing or creating a meaningful and attention-getting cover, well-written marketing copy, the importance of a professional author website, and other things, even before contacting book bloggers.
Kasey also helps the reader-author choose the 'right' book bloggers to market their book to, to prevent confusion, wasted time, and possible bad reviews. She discusses pitfalls and warning signs in reviewers, to help you avoid pain and loss in your review process. She covers researching the bloggers, the review site, and the importance of following the blogger's guidelines, how to craft a good submission email, and how to build the all-important relationship with a blogger. 
Because frankly, if the blogger liked your book but you didn't follow the rules, came across as rude or unthankful, chances are they will give your next submission a pass. Conversely, if you are professional and build rapport with the blogger, chances are they will be much more likely to review your next book as well.

Final Analysis:
This is a well-written 'fireside chat' with a book reviewer for predominantly indie and small press authors. It covers, from stem to stern, the basics for getting your book reviewed, and getting those reviews posted where it counts. 
From my perspective as a reviewer, I'd love for submitters to read it simply because it will ease the process. And help the authors understand the issues behind getting their novel reviewed. 

About the Author:
It won’t surprise you to learn that I enjoy reading and writing, or that I’m a Christian parent concerned with the content in books my daughter reads at home and in school. What you might not know is that I am a total sucker for a story about a good guy who has to make some tough choices and nevertheless does the right thing. I love happy endings but also enjoy a good tear-jerker if there’s some good that comes to someone out of all that sorrow and suffering.

I have two sisters. One saves me from fashion blunders. If I’m wearing something cool, it probably used to be hers or she bought it for me. I like to think this is payback for our entire middle school lives in which she sneaked into my room to swipe my clothes before I woke up for school in the morning. My other sister saves me from poor music choices. She tries, anyway. If I’m listening to something too trendy or annoying, she’s probably hanging her head in shame while simultaneously composing complex, emotive, super-hip tunes on drums, bass, or guitar. (Yeah, she’s THAT girl. Don’t hate.) I also have one brother who keeps us all laughing. I mean, with him. Usually.

When I’m not reading or writing, I might be found geeking out over video games with my husband, carefully cultivating an appreciation for Cary Grant and classic movies with my daughter, outside planting herbs or building a butterfly garden, snuggling with my adorable cats, or perhaps out on the water chasing down a fish or two with a fly rod. In addition to blogging, I write contemporary YA and harass my very patient, wonderful critique partners on a regular basis.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Review: One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot's Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview by Jason B. Ladd

27774433A US Marine fighter pilot explores life’s important questions as he prepares for combat, searches for truth, and wages spiritual warfare during his mission to become a better husband and father. “I highly recommend it.”— John Njoroge, speaker and radio host at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

Jason B. Ladd grows up in a military family with loving parents but spends his young life filled with spiritual apathy. Ladd enters the US Marine Corps, becomes a fighter pilot, and sees combat in Iraq before life events align to nudge him into profound spiritual inquiry. Digging deep into his quest for truth, he realizes the art and science of fighter pilot fundamentals can help him on his journey.

Filled with stories that contrast his spiritual apathy with his post-Christian worldview passion, One of the Few is the compelling life story of a spiritual seeker engaged in a thrilling profession combined with a strong, reasonable defense of Christianity.

For fans of Ravi Zacharias, Lee Strobel, and Frank Turek, Ladd’s remarkable journey shares the transformative power of faith during a time when belief in God is dismissed and religious liberty in the military is attacked.

My Take:
This is a non-fiction memoir and apologetic, so to speak, of a Marine fighter pilot and his journey to faith. Jason begins this account as a cocky, self-assured agnostic with a fiery ambition to be the best of the best, a Top Gun fighter pilot in the Marines, who DON'T just take 'anybody.' He ends the account in a settled faith in the Lord of Creation, and his journey from A to B is laid out for all to see, with a well-thought-out, erudite apologetic for the faith, for purity, for moving on with God.

Drug Content:
PG - Alcoholism is quite common in the military, and it is unveiled in a frank and clear exposition as to its dangers and effects. Jason is clear that while drinking is not prohibited in scripture, drunkenness is described therein as unwise. Smoking and other drug use are also discussed briefly.

PG - In wartime, there is bound to be death on both sides, whether dealing or receiving it. The struggle in military conflict is exposed without giving sensitive information. Jason struggled with the death of insurgents he was ordered to take out. A death by dragging is described.

G - I do not recall any language in the book at all.

Adult Content:
PG - There is a brief description of the soldiers' life and forays on leave with the ladies in town calling for attention. Nothing is described, but one soldier who left early as the group went to a strip club, later mentioned offhand that he left early because he took two girls home with him. There is some mention of the struggles of loneliness and infidelity when deployed, and the high divorce rate in the military. Pornography, its additive perils and collateral damage are clearly explained and decried.

Christian content:
This is a solidly Christian conversion story. It is rife with apologetics at every step as Jason takes us along on each step from unbelief through reasoning and analysis of the Christian faith, to solid belief. He doesn';t just cover the basics, but also delves into God's requirements for purity and holiness, and several of the common threats to it. Each chapter begins with two opposing quotes - one from the worldly, atheistic point of view, and one from either a biblical apologist or straight from scripture, exposing the opposing worldview for what it is. Quotes from Chuck Colson, Ravi Zacharias, Norman Geisler, Walter Martin, and C. S. Lewis share pages with Deepak Chopra, The Satanic Bible, and Manuals on Military Codes of Conduct. Strange bedfellows, but every page is directed to the cross.

Final analysis:
Jason has done a masterful job of presenting the truth couched in terms a person in the military (or anyone else) can identify with, as well as clear guidance for a seeker beginning from where he was, an agnostic or atheist with an open mind. It is well-written, erudite, well-informed, solidly Christian, informative, hard-hitting, challenging, even convicting. Five Stars!

About the Author:
Author website:
Jason B. Ladd---
Jason B. Ladd is an award-winning author, US Marine, and Iraq War veteran. Ladd served on active duty with the Marines for fourteen years and has flown as an instructor pilot in both the F/A-18 and the F-16 fighter jets. He is the founder of Boone Shepherd, LLC and creator of, the largest live online database of book promotions results built by authors. He and his wife, Karry, are the parents of seven children.

His book One of the Few was awarded as Finalist in the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency.