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2017’s Accepted Review Copies!

January 12, 2017 Leave a comment

2017's Accepted Review Copies!

Here on Opinions of a Wolf, I accept submissions of review copies via a form between February and December.  The books I accept will then be reviewed the following year.  So, the books accepted for review here in 2017 were submitted in 2016.  You can view more about my review process here.  You may view the accepted review copies post for 20142015, and 2016 by clicking on the years.  I view the submissions I receive as my own mini-bookstore of indie books. I browse the shelves and pick up however many spark my interest.

This year there were 60 submissions, and I accepted 2 books. This means books featured on this post only had a 3% chance of being accepted.

I actively pursue submissions from women and GLBTQA authors, as well as books with GLBTQA content.

Before getting to the accepted books, I like to show the demographics of books submitted to me. This helps those submitting this year for review in 2018 see what I had an overload of and where they might stand a better chance of getting accepted. It also allows for a lot of transparency of my review acceptance process.

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Although there are still fewer women authors submitting to me than men, the proportion of women is up from last year’s 38.7%. I would really like it if this could hit at least 50/50 next year. Of the two books I accepted, one is by a woman author.

2017's Accepted Review Copies!

This went way down from last year’s 24.2%. I would very much appreciate any help getting the word out to LGBTQA authors that I’m actively seeking their submissions. Of the two books I accepted, one is by a GLBTQA author.

2017's Accepted Review Copies!

This also went down from last year’s 29%. One of my top three genres of books read last year was GLBTQA lit, so I obviously would hope for more of this in the future. Also of note: both of my accepted books have GLBTQA content.

2017's Accepted Review Copies!

The top three most frequently submitted genres were:
1) Fantasy (including urban) 31.7%
2) Horror 30%
3) Scifi 28.3%
Note that books fitting into multiple genres had all genres checked off on their submission. I actually didn’t accept any scifi or fantasy books so remember when submitting that the most frequently submitted genre doesn’t necessarily correlate to most likely to get accepted.

The review copies are listed below in alphabetical order by title. Summaries are pulled from GoodReads or Amazon. Both books will feature giveaways thanks to the author at the time of review. These books will be read and reviewed here in 2017, although what order they are read in is entirely up to my whim at the moment.

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The Eighth Day Brotherhood
By: Alice M. Phillips
Genre: Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery
Notable GLBTQA Content
Summary:
In Paris, 1888, the city prepares for the Exposition Universelle and the new Eiffel Tower swiftly rises on the bank of the Seine. One August morning, the sunrise reveals the embellished corpse of a young man suspended between the columns of the PanthEon, resembling a grotesque Icarus and marking the first in a macabre series of murders linked to Paris monuments. In the Latin Quarter, occult scholar Remy Sauvage is informed of his lover’s gruesome death and embarks upon his own investigation to avenge him by apprehending the cult known as the Eighth Day Brotherhood. At a nearby sanitarium, aspiring artist Claude Fournel becomes enamored with a mesmerist’s beautiful patient, Irish immigrant Margaret Finnegan. Resolved to steal her away from the asylum and obtain her for his muse, Claude only finds them both entwined in the Brotherhood’s apocalyptic plot combining magic, mythology, and murder.

Why I Accepted It:
It struck me as a queered up historical version of The DaVinci Code, and what’s not to like about that? Plus the excerpt was well-written.

31829144

Peacefully, In Her Sleep
By: Milo Bell
Genre: Mystery
Notable GLBTQA Content
Summary:
June Godfrey is a widowed crime writer living a well-ordered life in Barling, a village in Sussex, England. An anonymous letter, received by June’s friend Angela, reveals that the peacefulness of the quiet community may be illusory.

The letter’s author alleges that Angela’s aunt, Jacqueline Sims, was murdered. June is doubtful, yet when she begins a tentative investigation into the letter’s origins, she discovers that Jackie Sims was no sweet old lady. Jackie had been an unscrupulous blackmailer, and many could have wished her dead.

June uncovers startling secrets, and becomes entangled in the disappearance of an enigmatic teenaged girl. She crosses paths with the kindly, gentle Detective Inspector Guy Taverner, and when they join forces, they uncover a staggering and unexpected truth.

Why I Accepted It:
What struck me first was how well-written the excerpt was. When I saw that it’s a mystery set in an English village and had notable GLBTQA content, well, I had to read it.

Congratulations again to the accepted authors for 2017!

Interested in submitting for 2018? Find out how here.

 

Book Review: Truly, Madly by Heather Webber (ARC, Feb 2010)

December 24, 2009 1 comment

Summary:
Boston socialite Lucy Valentine isn’t too keen on running the family’s matchmaking business while her mother and father take a necessary trip out of country to let a scandal settle down.  You see, she lost the family’s genetic ability to see auras that has led to their matchmaking success.  When she was a kid, she was hit by an electrical surge that removed her ability to see auras and replaced it with an ability to see lost objects when her palm touches the owner’s palm.  When a potential client shakes her hand, and she sees a dead body wearing his ring, she gets caught up in a bit more adventure than she ever thought her ability would lead her into.  It doesn’t hurt that she manages to enlist the aid of the hunky private investigator whose office shares the matchmaking business’s building.

Review:
I was excited to discover a book set in Boston that has nothing to do with the Irish mob or the Kennedy’s.  Unfortunately, I have this problem with reading about the modern wealthy.  I simply can’t identify, and it tends to irritate me unless the book is all about how they’re a serial killer or something.  Lucy is decidedly in with the Boston wealthy.  Her family owns a building on Newbury Street; they employ a driver; and she has a trust fund.  Of course she refuses the trust fund, but she’s still living in a cute, perfect cottage on her grandmother’s land in the South Shore.  She calls her grandmother by her first name, “Dovie,” and her mother “Mum.”  *shudders*  I cringed every time she said either.

On the plus side, once I manage to overlook the whole poor rich girl scenario, the plot is good.  It is full of twists and turns that have a slight supernatural bent without going full-tilt building an entirely populated other world of faeries, sprites, vampires, etc… that is seen in a lot of paranormal fiction.  Lucy’s attraction to Sean, the PI, is believable and progresses at a good rate.  The main mystery actually managed to surprise me with the ending, so that’s a major mark in its favor.

I also enjoyed the little life details Webber put into the story, Lucy’s cat’s activities, exactly what T lines are nearby where the action is happening, etc…  However, I did not like Lucy’s personality quirk of doing math problems in her head when she was nervous.  I don’t know what it is with romance writers lately having their characters do some annoying thing when they’re nervous, but to me it screams that Webber couldn’t figure out a better way to signal this emotion to the reader.

On the whole, it was a fun mystery plot with a dash of paranormal set in Boston  marred by the choice of making the main character part of the wealthy elite with an annoying, unnecessary personality quirk.  If you enjoy paranormal and wealthy characters, you will enjoy this book.

3 out of 5 stars

Source: Received from publisher, St. Martin’s Paperbacks, through LibraryThing‘s Early Reviewers program

Projected Publication Date: February 2010

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Book Review: The Carousel Painter By Judith Miller (ARC)

July 29, 2009 2 comments

coverthecarouselpainterI was quite excited to be the recipient of my first ARC (Advanced Reading Copy).  I hadn’t realized when I put myself on the list that The Carousel Painter was published by Bethany House, a Christian publishing group.  I actually read a lot of Bethany House books when I was growing up, so I am quite familiar with the genre, but since deconverting from Christianity at 20, let’s just say, Christian fiction isn’t my first reading choice.  However, I’d made a promise to the publisher, so I decided to give it a fair shot.  Not to mention, this would be a great exercise in being a fair critic.

Summary:
After her father dies, leaving her without family, Carrington Brouwer moves from France to Ohio to stay with her friend Augusta Galloway while looking for work in the late 1800s.  Augusta’s father owns a carousel factory, and Carrie sees an opportunity to put her painting skills to good use.  At the pressure of the women of the family, Mr. Galloway hires her, even though she will be the only woman working in the factory.  Carrie must deal with the prejudices and fears of the men and their wives, as well as of the community, while addressing her own problems with pride and God.  She also must deal with Augusta’s suitor, Tyson, who makes inappropriate moves on her and attempts to pin the theft of Mrs. Galloway’s jewels on her.

Review:
Miller possesses writing talent on the sentence level, for sure.  The sentences flow well, and the dialogue is relatively believable.  She shows forward-thinking for her genre by giving Carrie an independent spirit and not condemning it.  At first I was excited that she seemed to be offering a relatively unique storyline to her genre.

However, the addition about half-way through of the plot-line of Carrie being a suspect in the theft of Mrs. Galloway’s jewels is a widely used one.  The good Christian must suffer and have faith her innocence will be proven in the end.  It was incredibly predictable.  Plus it simply felt out of place and jarring given the beginning of the story.

I was also bothered by Carrie’s quirk of giggling when she’s nervous or upset.  It’s such a misogynistic stereotype–the giggling female, and it simply did not fit with the rest of Carrie’s character.

I did appreciate, and I think fans of the genre will too, that Carrie’s faith and God were not the focus of nearly every single the page.  Carrie growing in faith is part of her life and is addressed as such, but it is not the focus of the story.  It’s simply a fact about her that comes up periodically.  I know when I was into Christian lit as a teen, I would often wish they’d just tell me the story for once instead of preaching all the time.  Yet I also know that fans of Christian lit will expect at least a little bit about God in the story.  I think Miller struck this balance well.

Overall, it’s a step in the right direction for the genre, but Miller could have done a much better job writing a believable, unpredictable storyline while pushing the envelope against misogyny.

2.5 out of 5 stars

Source: ARC from publisher via LibraryThing‘s Early Reviewers program.

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