The year 2022 proved to be a challenging year for many around the world. Even as the COVID pandemic signs began to improve, the global disruptions pushed forward a wave of economic inflation and uncertainty, a worldwide issue that was further exasperated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. On my end, I was able to maintain some sense of calm in my life, but my travel plans were restricted to a single day trip to New Orleans. Along with the continuing HOA board issues in my community, I also found a way to host my sister for a month during the summer, while her husband handled a major renovation project in their home back east. Then, as a final blow from the year, my heating unit and water heater both died just prior to a major arctic blast in the midst of the holiday season. The pandemic easing did bring back the major book fairs, which finally gave me an opportunity to display my second book, but even this process was not perfect or easy. In the end, the see-sawing uncertainty affected my time and connectivity in reading and reviewing my fellow indie authors works, as I was only able to delve into 11 works this year, including 2 by the same fellow author. However, only one work landed below average in the 2-star range, with two works showing promise in the 3-star range, 6 works pulling forward in the 4-star range, and 2 works excelling in the 5-star range. It was still a good year to enjoy reading.
For a quick reiteration of my review standards, I had to be open to all genres and not let a genre type affect the rating and review of a work. My focus was on whether the story was told well, the characters were relatable, the plot functional and understandable, and the pieces fit together. If I could follow an enjoyable tale while pushing aside the typos, grammatical errors, and historical or cultural anomalies, the book landed within the 3-star zone. If I could feel more emotional attachments to the characters and find myself drawn into the plot action with less distractions from errors, then the book was landing into the 4-star zone. When character and plot all came together nearly perfectly within the genre I was reading, and editing was well-done, it was a 5-star effort.
My one 2-star review fell on a long saga that seemed to start in the Victorian era that swept psychic para-normality within a mental asylum environment, but also brought back future time, creating confusion. My two 3-star reviews ranged from an epic dysfunctional family prequel that required patience in delving into the characters to a quick fantasy novella between a boy with teen angst issues suddenly helping a goddess-like star surfer girl find her way back home in space.
My thoroughly enjoyable six 4-star reviews were found in the range of a teenage mystery adventure, the finale of a parallel time universe series, a wintery rural police mystery, a Cold War spy thriller adventure in Eastern Europe, a novella log by a woman seeking to overcome the psychological hurt of a breakup through a course of non-emotional sex, and the true life blog posting adventure of the author experiencing a journey of homelessness with his pet dog. The different perspectives were very fascinating to experience within the stories that were well written.
The two books that gained the 5-star reviews were works from two authors from whom I have read previous works. The year before I read an interesting treasure hunt action adventure from Martin R. Jackson, but I realized soon after I had read and reviewed the book, that he was more excited about promoting his thrilling mystery series based in Victorian England, so this year I read his work, To Hook a Gilded Bird. The mysterious story and historical elements were truly exciting and well written, so I truly feel honored to actively promote this work.
My second 5 star rated book is the first of a new series from science fiction author, Doug J. Cooper, whose previous two series I avidly read. His new series brings the best elements of a police procedural mystery into a future space station community orbiting Earth, beginning with his first book, Lagrange Rising. His scientific knowledge and creative story telling proved to be a thrill to experience. I cannot wait to see what his protagonist’s next mystery will be.
Even as it was a light year of reading, it was a good year of reading and enjoying the creativity of fellow authors. With my two self-published works, I hope readers feel they live up to the standards I have used to judge the works of my fellow indie authors. If avid readers do check out Legacy Discovered and Disappeared and Found and decide to purchase and read either or both of them, I hope they decide to let me know if they liked it and why through Amazon, Goodreads, and other book sharing sites. Good honest reviews are an indie author’s best friend.
My reviews can be found on my Goodreads Author page at http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6491046.Kerry_Reis.