In this blog I will be reviewing ebooks I have read. I use an amazon Kindle, so much of the information will be geared towards Kindle users, but other ereader users should still find the information helpful. Many of the books I will be reviewing are free or low-cost books published by independent authors, my goal is to get the word out about some amazing authors that I think deserve more props, and to let you know which books are not worth the time reading. I am open to suggestions, about information you'd like me to add or new books I should check out and review.
Contact me at CassandrasBeads@Gmail.com

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fairy Metal Thunder by JL Bryan

Type: Novella
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Fairy Tales
Price: Free when purchased, $0.99 now
Grade: B+

Think Fairies are sweet, gentle and cute? Try ripping them off and then see what happens. When a struggling garage band musician stumbles into the realm of Faerie he sees a band of musicians and becomes intranced, both by their music and their instruments, which he then feels the need to liberate from their current owners. All goes well for his garage band when he presents the members with the fairy instruments, they become instant rock stars, but their are serious consequences when the theft is noticed by the queen of fairies.

This book was sweet and delightful with a dark edge. It features traditional fairies, fauns, ogres, elves and unicorns. And the unicorns may be the most interesting Folk in the whole story. I expected it to be a light hearted story, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it did have more substance than anticipated. The characters are well thought out and distinct, the plot is fast paced and interesting and the dichotimy of the two worlds is very well pulled off. There are other stories in this series and I look forward to seeing how everything turns out.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Peacemaker (The Flash Gold Chronicles #3) by Lindsay Buroker

Type: Novella
Genre: Steampunk/Action/Adventure
Price: $2.99
Grade: A

This high action adventure is the most exciting that Kali and Cedar have yet been on. This is the third in the Flash Gold series, and this novella is also the longest. With the longer story our hero and heroine get to go on an even bigger and more deadly adventure, involving air ships complete with pirates, steam powered motorcycles, murder mystery, Flash Gold, and just a touch of romance. This story is impossible to put down, and is so fun. You don't have to be a fan of the steampunk genre to enjoy it, but if you are, you certainly will! These stories have a different setting than most steampunk fiction, and I find it intriguing. Not only does it add variety to the genre, but it makes it easier for different readers to relate (no Victorian London here!) Couple that with a heroine in dirty overalls with a tool belt instead of garter belt who is simply impossible not to love, and a hero that always keeps us guessing, not to mention the powerful story telling, and it all adds up to a recipe for entertainment!
I will admit, that by the third story I was hoping we would finally get to see more developing between our hero and heroine, but unfortunately for them something always gets in their way. I can't wait for the 4th installment of this exciting series.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Problems that have arisen due to self publishing.

This is not a review. I have noticed a few things lately in some of the books I have been reading that I feel the need to discuss. Feel free to add any issues I may not have noticed, or tell me that I am being too picky. I also want to preface this by saying that these statements do not reflect any of the books or authors I have reviewed, they reflect the books and authors that I have read and Not reviewed, for various reasons.

One of the greatest things about self publishing is also the worst thing about it, anyone can do it. This means that many authors that maybe would not have been found by traditional publishing companies have been able to enrich our lives with their wonderful stories. But it also means that many less than wonderful books are also being published.

Self publishing does not mean that you can take something that you wrote in a high school English class and put it, untouched, up on the web and try to sell it, or even give it away. Or rather, you can do this, but you shouldn't. Please make sure that the pieces you are subjecting to us are real, legitimate works, not what you find scratched on an old, yellow piece of loose leaf paper. You should be proud of your work, and not proud in the same way that you would hang it on your fridge for a month then put it in a filing cabinet for the rest of your life. But really, truly proud that you produced such a wonderful piece of work. That is what we want you to share with us.

Possibly the most important And most overlooked aspect with self publishing is the editing process. This is two fold and neither can be ignored. First, after a piece is written it needs to be self edited. If you think this is too difficult, or can't be bothered to edit your own work, then don't publish it, because if it isn't worth your time, it isn't worth ours. And once you think you are done editing your work, put it away for a day, a week or a month, then go back to it and edit it again. Secondly, is professional editing. I understand that self publishing is expensive, and you have to pay for things like editors out of pocket, but if you aren't willing or able to shell out the money for an editor, I promise you it will be reflected in your work, and you can't expect people to spend their money on your work if it is sub-par. Nothing ruins a story quicker than bad editing, misspellings and typos. The latter two are particularly unacceptable. It is also a good idea to have quite a few beta readers (especially ones anal about things like typos, like me) to notice these things before you publish.

Cover art is another cost you will have to shell out if you self publish, but it is worth doing well. Trust me, people Do judge a book by its cover, and an ebook is no exception. Many people make a split second decision about buying/downloading your book by the way it is first presented to them, i.e., the cover. Sometimes simple is better than too complicated, but it still needs to be captivating, so hire a cover artist who has produced some works you like and the money will be worth it.

What is also important to people on the fence about buying/downloading your book is the book description. It's not an easy thing to sum up a whole novel or story in just a few sentences, but it's an important part of making sales. Keep it short, most people won't read more than a paragraph, and careful on the spoilers!

Finally, once someone has read and hopefully enjoyed your book make sure that your readers can find your website or contact info. Having an interactive website or blog is helpful, as is having a newsletter that fans can subscribe to. But keep in mind that without fans, you would not sell any books, so if they contact you, try to be affable and don't ignore them, because then you have lost a potential fan for life.