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Reminder: I Will Be Accepting Review Requests November 1st through December 31st for Review in 2015

October 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Just a quick reminder that Opinions of a Wolf will be OPEN to review requests November 1st through December 31st.  All requests accepted will be reviewed during 2015 right here on this blog.

On November 1st a post will go live with full details on how exactly the review request process will work this year.  There are two big changes for the review process this year.

  1. All requests will be submitted via a submission form. I will NOT be accepting requests via email or comments on the blog.
  2. I will only be accepting a maximum of 6 books for 2015.

I read and review review request books from indie authors only.  Indie authors are defined (by me) as self-published or backed by a small, independent publishing house.  These reviews are a two-pronged labor of love for me.  First, as an indie author myself, I know many reviewers do not accept indie books.  So I want to give you a place to send your books.  Second, as a reader, I also want to do a service to the reading community by providing only 100% honest reviews of these books.  If I say an indie book is good, they know they can trust it, since I’m not afraid of giving a negative review to an indie author.  The value of your book being reviewed here is that everyone will know the review was honest from someone who reads a lot of indie work.  Even a negative review proves that it’s not just your family and friends reviewing your work.  Please remember that I am a real person trying to do a helpful thing for the community for free and engage with me from a place with that in mind.

I would also like to note that I strongly encourage women writers and GLBTQA writers to submit to me, particularly in genres that do not normally publish works by these authors.  I was quite disappointed last year to get very few women or GLBTQA authors submitting.  Please help me get the word out that I am actively seeking works by these authors.

You may see the full list of genres I am open to reviewing here.  This list will also be on the submission form.

Remember: Don’t submit before November 1st and don’t submit in any way except using the submission form I will provide.

Good luck!

Book Review: Ethan: Site 39 by Otis V. Goodwin

January 26, 2010 9 comments

Book cover--purple light hitting a black and white planet.Summary:
In the near future Earth is destroyed by an asteroid.  Luckily for humanity, a group of people had already departed for Alpha Centauri to colonize the two stars found there.  After losing contact with the few survivors, the Centaurians believed Earth to be uninhabited.  Five thousand years later, their descendants return to an Earth that has recovered from the chaos caused by the asteroid to begin the work of reinhabiting it.  When Ethan, one of the colonists, stumbles upon a residence dug into a mesa made of granite, everything the Centaurians believe about what occurred on Earth in relation to the asteroid is challenged.

Review:
I really wanted this to be a good book.  First I’m a big supporter of indie and self-publishing, as I often find the stories more creative and thought-provoking than those published by big publishing houses.  (See my review of Vow of Silence for evidence of that).  I also thought it was an intriguing scifi storyline.  Unfortunately, Goodwin can’t write.

Oh, he can come up with a great idea for a story, but his writing is terrible.  First, he tells us instead of showing us.  For instance, he’ll say things like “Ethan was thinking how worried he was,” instead of, you know, letting us see Ethan’s worried thoughts.  Whole parts of the story that would have been fun to read in addition to making the book longer he sums up by telling us about it in a couple of sentences, such as “They talked about their planned future together” instead of letting us read the conversation.

Not that I would have wanted to read the conversation anyway, because the dialogue is atrocious.  Every character sounds like an automaton.  They never use a contraction or a simile or anything really that makes a human sound human.  Goodwin tries to explain this as language changing, but even when we flash back to see characters from the time of the asteroid, they speak in exactly the same robotic manner.

The book blurb says that Goodwin is retired from the military, and it frankly shows.  In some ways, this is good.  The military portions in the asteroid flashback are clearly written by someone who knows the military.  However, mostly it’s just a rabid conservatism showing.  We’re talking a world in which the small population of humans rebuilding all automatically fall in love with someone of the opposite gender and that love is automatically, wholeheartedly returned.  It’s like the man never got past the fairy tales told to little girls to realize that that doesn’t happen perfectly for everybody in real life.  Real life just doesn’t work out that perfectly for everyone.  It makes all of the characters unbelievable, whereas having one true love situation would be believable.

Of course, there is no saving the wretched female characters.  Goodwin seems to be only capable of writing the completely helpless sobbing woman or a woman who is essentially a dude with boobs.  God forbid a woman be strong and feminine simultaneously.

I feel kind of bad saying all of this, because his overall storyline really is good and creative.  It’s what kept me reading the book in spite of cringing and rolling my eyes.  What Goodwin should have done is acquired a writing partner who could write his storyline on the sentence level well.  Then he would have had a great book.  Unfortunately, he didn’t do that.

2 out of 5 stars

Source: Free copy from book promotion agent via LibraryThing‘s EarlyReviewers Member Giveaway program.

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Book Review: Vow of Silence By Robert Laughlin

September 3, 2009 1 comment

covervowofsilenceSummary:
In an alternate universe, Karlan escapes the drudgery of his family’s farm by moving to the nation’s capital when it is discovered he is one of the few possessing a memory strong enough to join an elite group known as Datists.  Datists, utilizing memory techniques, are responsible for all knowledge in this society that has not discovered writing.  All goes well until he is assigned a specialty that wreaks havoc on his humanity.

Review:
When I first started reading this book, I was immediately struck by how much the story-telling style reminded me of European literature in the 19th century.  Less action-oriented, it is much more prone toward introspection, like Frankenstein or Dracula.  I enjoy this writing style as much as I enjoy the more modern style, so it was nice to see this in a new novel.

Laughlin does an excellent job of making the reader sympathize with someone who goes on to essentially lose his humanity.  He turns Karlan into a monster, yet the reader, instead of being horrified, understands why Karlan does what he does.  Making your main character an anti-hero is difficult to pull off, but when done well goes far in making the reader ponder things she might not have otherwise.

[spoiler warning]
I also was surprised and appreciative of the fact that Laughlin gives Karlan a chance to win back his humanity, ironically by causing a revolution by not doing anything.  Even though Karlan is left essentially alone and broken, he gets to see the revolution he helped cause transform his oppressive society into an engaging one.
[end spoiler]

Unfortunately, Laughlin’s writing style is not entirely consistent throughout.  Some passages are more engaging than others.  While most of the book flows well, parts of it drag.  This is Laughlin’s first book, however, so hopefully this will improve with time.

Vow of Silence is published by an indie publisher, Trytium Publishing.  This is not the same as being self-published.  Laughlin still had to sell his story to them and standard contracts are still involved, but it does mean that they don’t have as many resources as mainstream publishers.  This means that the binding isn’t as strong in the book, and the type-set is a bit odd.  However, I doubt that a mainstream publisher would have given this work a chance, and it is a great story.  I encourage you to buy a copy and support indie publishing if you are interested in reading the book.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: Library

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