With the ringing in of the New Year, a calendar decade has ended and a new one has begun. Last year was a busy year for me, as I continued on in my position of president of my HOA board which dealt with many resignations during the year. At the same time, I completed my second novel and selected Outskirts Press to handle the self-publishing process. Disappeared and Found was officially published and released in November. In addition, the length of time that my first novel, Legacy Discovered, has been available as a solo published work has led to more decreasing connections with fellow indie authors on social media. It is probably for this reason that I only read and reviewed twelve indie books this past year. None of the books I read was rated at 5 stars, but most of them were rated at 4 stars, and only one had a rating of 2 stars. I enjoyed the group of books I read this year.
Now to reiterate my review standards from the past years postings, 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 main method of selecting the books that I review come from the fellow indie authors who retweet my key tweets promoting my book, but last year two of the books I read were direct requests from two fellow indie authors asking me to be a beta reader for their new works. One of these works, Bump Time, was a start of a new series from Doug J Cooper, who wrote the marvelous 5 star four novel sci-fi Crystal series. When he informed me that the new series was a multi-universe time travel series, I warned him that I am tougher with time travel concepts. His plot was very innovative and imaginative, backed by his excellent writing skills, but I was not distracted enough to avoid seeing the basic time travel contradictions, so I gave it 4 stars. He did inform me that he will address the contradictions in the second book of the series.
The second book I was asked to beta read was from another indie author that I had provided high reviews for a couple of his previous books. However, this book was a different genre from the previous works, so he was publishing it under another name. I noted and commented on some plot issues in his suspense action thriller, issues that I found that he had addressed when I purchased the published version later. The hyper action in this political thriller does walk the line at times which is why I only gave it 4 stars, but it was still a very entertaining and suspenseful tale.
The other five books that received 4 stars from me included a post-WW1 historical fiction action thriller, a very graphic abusive relationship drama at the high school age level, a dark young adult horror tale, and two action detective mysteries with one having a psychic element. All were very engaging with only minor issues that held them back from the 5 star level.
Only one novel fell to a 2 star level in my opinion, as the sci-fi tale of a complicated relationship between a woman celebrity and a couple of males from an extraterrestrial alien refugee community on earth had just a few too many complex contradictions in the character mythos to overcome in the tightly written thriller.
The four works that landed in between with 3 stars dealt with an erotic romance thriller of Greek gods in modern day culture, a relationship road journey in the hippie generation 1970s, a serial murder mystery with a psychic consultant, and a very short 40 page novella of a prison drama that mainly plays out as an introduction to a potential series.
It was a light year of reading, but still a good year. I now have two self-published novels, and 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.