Rosie’s #BookReview Of #WW2 #Histfic THE WILLOW WREN by @philippwschott @ecwpress #TuesdayBookBlog

The Willow WrenThe Willow Wren by Philipp Schott

5 stars

The Willow Wren is a based on memories about Germany seen through the eyes of a young German boy, during the Second World War and for a few years after, in East Germany.

The story began in 1944, with a memory from ten-year-old Ludwig; he and his mother looked on at the partly bombed house that was once their home in Leipzig. They’d returned to the city for Ludwig’s birthday and hoped to meet with his father.

The story then went back, and built up through the early years of Ludwig’s life. We were introduced to a young bookish boy who preferred the peace and quiet of a forest with birds and trees. When war broke out, much of it was far away from Ludwig’s life and was meaningless to him, until the bombs began to fall. While his father stayed in the city the family were split up; Ludwig and his older brother Theodore were sent to a camp, where they were ‘encouraged’ to join the Hitler Youth. Those were terrifying years for two small boys who didn’t like war games and preferred books, made worse when teenager Theodore was sent to the Russian front.

After the war they both found their way back to live in Colditz with their mother and younger siblings. It was now part of the Russian ruled East Germany and Ludwig’s memories of those years were very enlightening.

This book was such a pleasure to read, the writing flowed smoothly and I was engrossed by Ludwig’s life and his perceptions of all that went on around him. I thought that seeing the war years through an adult’s memories of his childhood worked really well; children notice different things and their understanding of events can be different from an adults. I also liked how the author interspersed parts of the narrative with what Ludwig knew later, comparing it to a current event.

Although I can recommend the whole book, two parts stood out for me; I was quite shocked to read that near the end of the war desperate German leaders kept lowering the age limit of Hitler Youth needed in the fighting fronts and children were sent to face the enemy. The other part of the book which I found very interesting was life in East Germany, especially the first few years after the end of the war, when the adjustments to living under Soviet rule were difficult.

I loved the ending and the author’s notes at the end were very enlightening and worth reading to add perspective to the narrative; I found them quite emotional after the final chapter. Definitely a book to read for fans of historical fiction and the war years.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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The touching and nuanced portrait of the rise and fall of Nazi Germany through the eyes of a resourceful German boy.

Ludwig is an odd and introverted child, growing up in Hitler’s Germany. While Ludwig’s father, Wilhelm, is a senior Nazi and a true believer, Ludwig escapes the unfolding catastrophe by withdrawing into nature and books. Eventually, when the Allied bombing campaign intensifies, Ludwig is sent to a Hitler Youth camp, where his oddness makes him a target for bullying.

As the war turns against Germany, the Hitler Youth camp becomes ever more severe and militaristic, and the atmosphere spirals towards chaos. After the Nazis abandon the camp, Ludwig returns home, and his father is presumed dead. With Ludwig’s mother descending into depression, the 11-year-old bears increasing responsibility for the survival of the family as starvation sets in under Russian occupation. Soon, it will be impossible to leave the Russian zone, so Ludwig decides that he must rally his despondent mother and lead her and his three younger siblings in an escape attempt to the west.

Based on a true story, The Willow Wren is a unique, touching exploration of extremism, resilience, and the triumph of the small.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #PsychologicalThriller STALKING GIDEON CAIN by @KerryDenney @thewordverve

Today’s team review is from Frank. Find out more about him here

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Frank has been reading Stalking Gideon Cain by Kerry Alan Denney

At first I thought the set up for this psychological thriller was unrealistic. Perhaps it would turn out to be one of those tongue in cheek spoofs. I am not sure at what point I became hooked, but I did. I surrendered completely, suspending disbelief and settling back to enjoy the ride. And what a ride it was!

The principle protagonist is a successful writer, recklessly pursuing a playboy lifestyle. It does not take long, however, to realise that he is still wracked by grief resulting from the tragic loss of his wife and daughter a decade before.

As I became engaged in the increasingly complicated plot; as new, well rounded characters were introduced, I thought of one of my favourite British writers, Kate Atkinson. But Denney is an American author, writing for an American audience, so there is far more violence than you would find in any of Atkinson’s novels. In addition to the violent scenes, there is some clever technology deployed in the campaign against Gideon and by his helpers in retaliation. This made me think that the book is much closer to Stieg Larson than to Kate Atkinson. But interspersed with the violent scenes are some beautifully described periods of respite during which Gideon’s relationships with his parents and his closest friends are explored, complete with interesting back stories. The settings, interior and exterior, in Georgia, are exquisitely described without over embellishment.

Among the characters are animals, children and mentally handicapped youngsters, all brought vividly to life. A number of different points of view are utilised. Two extraordinarily well realised scenes come to mind in particular: a dog running away from one of the villains, written entirely from the dog’s point of view; a mentally handicapped youth in captivity describing his situation and his captors. Both are completely believable without falling into the trap of becoming over sentimentalised. They demonstrate the range of skills Denney is able to deploy and that raise this book way above the high tech, high body count, bloodfest it might otherwise have become.

Gideon’s parents, too, are sympathetically drawn and play a significant, if minor, role in the plot’s resolution. Along the way we are introduced to several characters whose talents make them candidates for inclusion in future novels from this author. Indeed, it is quite possible that one or more have already appeared in previous novels. Whether they have or have not, I intend to delve deeper into Denney’s oeuvre in the future.

As already indicated, this is a book for you if you enjoyed The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. If too much gore and an escalating body count put you off, you might want to avoid it. But I would urge you not to. You might discover, as I did, that you will be captivated by the sheer skill of this writer as he takes you on a roller coaster ride in the company of a cast of memorable characters.

I unhesitatingly give it five stars.

Desc 1

Bestselling author Gideon Cain is losing his mind. Everywhere he turns lately, the femme fatales from his psychological thrillers show up—live and in person. Are they actresses playing a cruel joke on him, figments of his increasingly terrifying delusions, or fantastical vigilantes sprung to life from the pages of his books? All he knows for certain is if he doesn’t find answers soon, he’s bound for the psych ward.

When one of his fictional antagonists poisons him on a flight home from a book-signing tour, he realizes that someone isn’t just messing with his mind—they’re trying to kill him.

Now he’s running for his life from an enemy with a weapon so deadly it can kill with the touch of a button. Only an enigmatic woman from his tragic past can help him discover the truth behind his adversary’s vendetta. And time is running out to stop the madman who is stalking Gideon Cain.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS (publication May 21st)

Rosie’s #Bookreview of #urbanfantasy THE DANCING CROW (Kingdoms of Blood, #1) by Des. M. Astor

The Dancing Crow: Version 2 of Book 1 (The Kingdoms of Blood) by [Des M. Astor, Michael  Allenson]The Dancing Crow by Des M. Astor

3 stars

The Dancing Crow is an urban fantasy tale about Ares, a vampire prince who goes into hiding from his own kingdom. He creates a gang of followers and together they try to protect innocent humans and stop them being taken as blood slaves by other ruthless vampire royalty.

This is an action packed story with lots of blood and gore from multiple battles. The author has created a world filled with mythical creatures and most of the action takes place in and around an unnamed city. There is a large cast of characters, many living in their own gangs and at times, it was hard to remember who they all were. Although the main plot of this story ends in this book, there is also an opening left for the continuation of the series.

I liked the mythical creatures and Ares was likeable for his principles and his sense of humour. However, I thought that his character needed deeper development to back up the purpose of the whole story arc. There was also room to make some of the other main characters more rounded and unique; at the moment too many of them act and sound too similar which makes them harder to picture.

Overall, I liked the story idea, but it still needs a bit more attention to the plot and the characters, then a good polish and tidy up; there were too many editing and proofreading errors for me to ignore.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Desc 1

Life as we know it is coming to a close. Vampires emerge from the shadows to rip dominant species on Earth from our grasp. There is no hope.

Or… is there? An unusual hero rises up from the depths of the city streets to fight for mankind. He’s a powerful vampire gang leader named Ares, and while he has plenty of flaws, he tries to stay true to his morals as much as possible. Blood runs like a river down the streets as the vampire war erupts all over the world, and magic starts to kindle from the slumber humanity locked it in.

Can Ares and his gang manage to pull through for at least his city and the innocent humans that reside there? Or will they fall like the rest? Time is ticking as the vampire tyrant known as Ash Elapid claws his way up through the ranks and tries to take the city, and nearby kingdom, for his own. Eventually this leads Ares to unusual allies, like a half-dragon and tasmanian devil shapeshifter.

Of course, saving his city isn’t the only thing on his mind. A vampire hunter known as Cecelia, indoctrinated heavily due to a religious cult, is trying to off him. While she’s a miserable failure, could she prove to eventually rise up and slay him?

Many humans are blind as to how vampires truly work, on top of all this. Not only are they very much alive, a sister humanoid species to them, but methods such as sunlight (which vampires are sensitive to since they’re nocturnal), holy water, crosses, and the light do not work to kill them. Some got it right with silver, at least, which is a deadly poison to vampires. None of that matters now–humans were taken off guard and will likely never recover.

Small areas of harmony can be established if people like Ares have any say in it.

This is the “Crow Version” of Book 1 in the “Kingdoms of Blood” series. The other version, Red Viper, features Sam Viper, a half dragon, and Darcia Deville, a tasmanian devil shapeshifter.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

The Dancing Crow: Version 2 of Book 1 (The Kingdoms of Blood) by [Des M. Astor, Michael  Allenson]

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #urbanfantasy SOMETHING WICKED by @TomCW99

Today’s team review is from Sherry. She blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Sherry has been reading Something Wicked by Tom Williams

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Detective Chief Inspector Galbraith is called to the home of Lord Penrith when the lord’s body is found dead. The strangeness of the death is that the body has been drained of all its blood but the room is not covered in blood.

The investigation begins and soon, DCI Galbraith is joined by a mysterious visitor from Section S—a section no one in the precinct has heard of before. This mysterious officer is John Pole and he explains his section deals with issues of national security and the investigation of the death of Penrith flagged in their office.

They team up to try to figure out who killed the lord and how. DCI Galbraith learns some things about an unknown group who operate in the dark in London. There are some scenes of the past that are intriguing and enjoyable to read.

I enjoyed this book and it seems there may be additional stories involving this crime solving duo in the future. Both have good qualities and seem to have a great working relationship. The way they deal with the crime is clever and a bit surprising. I, for one, am hoping for more adventures with these characters.  I give this one 4 stars.

Book description

A peer of the realm dead in his study, his body drained of blood

A tango club where the Undead and the living dance together

A 500 year old policeman

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Of LADIES OF MAGNA CARTA by @Thehistorybits @penswordpub

Ladies of Magna Carta: Women of Influence in Thirteenth Century EnglandLadies of Magna Carta: Women of Influence in Thirteenth Century England by Sharon Bennett Connolly

4 stars

Ladies Of The Magna Carta is a non-fiction book about a selection of women who either lived around the time of the 1215 Magna Carta, or women who were affected, influenced by or made use of the clauses within the document.

Almost all were members of the peerage or the royal families of England, Scotland and Wales. For instance, there are chapters for Nicholaa de la Haye, Ela of Salisbury as well as the daughters of King John, to name just a few that were talked about in this book.

The author sets the scene of the era with an introduction to King John, including how he got to the throne and what led to the barons’ demand for the Magna Carta document. In the appendix, there is a copy of all sixty-three of its clauses as well as a list of the barons chosen to enforce it.

Although at the time the Magna Carta document was almost immediately ignored by the king, it was re-enforced upon his death and it became a very important document, as it meant that future kings could no longer be above the law and therefore could no longer seize lands and goods without the proper legal writs in place. It is said that the Magna Carta started England on the road to a democratic government.

I thought the subject matter was fascinating; I live just a few miles from King John’s castle in Odiham, where it is said the king set out from when he went to Runnymede to sign the document. The author has done a remarkable job of piecing together the lives of so many women in this early medieval period when documentation about women was rare; in fact, often it was through their fathers, brothers and husbands that the author found details of many of these women during her research.

Then there is the complication of popular women’s names, such as Eleanor, Joan, Matilda and Isabel appearing many times, although I thought that the author did a good job of differentiating between them. It did mean some overlapping of details in places, but it was often needed to show the full lifeline of each of the women.

This book would make ideal research material for writers of historical fiction set in this era, or I could recommend it to readers who have an interest in King John and the famous Magna Carta.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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Magna Carta clause 39: No man shall be taken, imprisoned, outlawed, banished or in any way destroyed, nor will we proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.

This clause in Magna Carta was in response to the appalling imprisonment and starvation of Matilda de Braose, the wife of one of King John’s barons. Matilda was not the only woman who influenced, or was influenced by, the 1215 Charter of Liberties, now known as Magna Carta. Women from many of the great families of England were affected by the far-reaching legacy of Magna Carta, from their experiences in the civil war and as hostages, to calling on its use to protect their property and rights as widows. Ladies of Magna Carta looks into the relationships – through marriage and blood – of the various noble families and how they were affected by the Barons’ Wars, Magna Carta and its aftermath; the bonds that were formed and those that were broken.

Including the royal families of England and Scotland, the Marshals, the Warennes, the Braoses and more, Ladies of Magna Carta focuses on the roles played by the women of the great families whose influences and experiences have reached far beyond the thirteenth century.

Pen And Sword | AmazonUK | AmazonUS


Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Noir #Mystery BLACK IRISH BLUES by @andrewcotto

Today’s team review is from Terry. She blogs here

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Terry has been reading Black Irish Blues by Andrew Cotto

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Black Irish Blues is a long novella (or possibly a short novel) featuring Caesar Stiles, a man whose childhood was spent in a rough area of a small town in industrial New Jersey.  His father left the family when Caesar was thirteen, and his two brothers are now dead; he loved the older one who died in a tragic accident, whereas the middle brother was a vicious thug. Caesar spent most of his life travelling all over the country, but returned when his mother died, moving into the family home and buying the local inn.

The story centres around blasts from the past, friends reunited, mysterious disappearances and the local gangsters.  Written in the first person, much of the narrative details Caesar’s observations about small town life and his impressions of the town and people in which and with whom he grew up.

The plot is perfectly paced and structured, and fits well into the shorter length; although the story itself is fairly standard, I loved Caesar, the writing itself is as good as that of any classic American novel, and the characterisation is outstanding, making it a real page turner.  All the side characters are beautifully observed, the dialogue is spot on, and the atmosphere is vivid and so well described without ever being wordy.  I could tell by reading this that the author really knows his subject, along the place, time and people about whom he has written.  I’ll definitely read something else by him, probably the book before, which I’ve already had a look at.  Highly recommended.

Desc 1

Black Irish Blues is the return-to-origin story of Caesar Stiles, an erstwhile runaway who returns to his hometown with plans to buy the town’s only tavern and end his family’s Sicilian curse.

Caesar’s attempt for redemption is complicated by the spectral presence of his estranged father, reparation seekers related to his corrupt older brother, a charming crime boss and his enigmatic crew, and – most significantly – a stranger named Dinny Tuite whose disappearance under dubious circumstances immerses Caesar in a mystery that leads into the criminal underbelly of industrial New Jersey, the flawed myth of the American Dream, and his hometown’s shameful secrets.

Black Irish Blues is a poetic, gritty noir full of dynamic characters, a page-turning plot, and the further development of a unique American character.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #UrbanFantasy SOMETHING WICKED By Tom Williams

Today’s team review is from Shelley. She blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Shelly has been reading Something Wicked by Tom Williams

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Vampire novels are my favourite, so I jumped at the chance to read Something Wicked when I spotted it on Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team list.

The story begins with a murder – always a great hook! The body of Lord Christopher Penrith is discovered by his butler, drained of blood. We meet Detective Chief Inspector Galbraith, who is tasked with solving the case.

In my mind, Galbraith was a cross between Columbo and Horatio Caine. He gives off the tortured detective vibe. His investigations lead to the dance hall, La Cieguita. Before he can get too deep into the case, Galbraith comes up against Section S, a counter-terrorism department. Enter John Pole, a 500 year old policeman who shares an interesting hidden world with Detective Galbraith.

Trying to solve a murder using modern policing isn’t going to work. Galbraith needs to rethink how he deals with the various suspects and additional killing and how on earth he hopes to close a case like this.

Something Wicked is well written with plenty of atmosphere. For me, it was a bit too deep into police procedure over vampire action. I had hoped for blood and gore, but instead, there was a hefty amount of ‘crime novel intermingled with historical fiction and politics’.

It was a good novel for anyone dipping their toe into urban fantasy, but my personal tastes meant it didn’t quite work for me. I like my vampire novels to have a bit more bite!

3 stars.

Book description

A peer of the realm dead in his study, his body drained of blood

A tango club where the Undead and the living dance together

A 500 year old policeman.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Comedy FIVE TIME LUCKY by P. David Temple #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Olga. She blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading Five Times Lucky by P. David Temple

Five Times Lucky by [P. David Temple]

I didn’t know the author before I came across this novel but after checking a sample of it, I thought it would be the perfect antidote to the dreary mood that seems to hang over everything these days. I looked forward to a light read. This is a funny book (laugh-out-funny at times), but it comes with its share of serious moments as well. And I enjoyed both aspects of it.

What to say about the plot of this novel… Well, I’ve said it’s funny, and it is a comedy, or rather, it touches on several comedy genres at once: a soap opera; a romantic comedy (yes, there is a central love story and other possible ones hovering around the edges); a quasi stand-up comedy routine full of jokes; a madcap comedy at times; there are elements of physical comedy; we have big spectacle as well (and it’s easy to see how handy the author’s experience with the World Wrestling Federation has been); a more intellectual/phylosophical-style comedy, and everything in between. The description of the novel does a pretty job at providing some semblance of a plot, and the story starts with BunnyLee, a —no longer so young— woman who after trying to become an actress has been working as an English teacher in Thailand for several years and is on her way back to LA to attend the wedding of one of her best friends. She is also going to stay at her friend’s apartment for a couple of weeks while she’s away on her honeymoon, but as her luck (she’s been told by a shaman priest that she is five-times-lucky) would have it, through a series of misunderstandings (I forgot to mention the farce, didn’t I?), she ends up staying as a guest in the house of an ageing Hollywood star, Buck LeGrande, who isn’t quite ready to become a has-been yet, and their friendship/perhaps-something-else falls victim to further misunderstandings and more than a fair bit of paranoia and jealousy. Somehow, the novel becomes a road trip for a while, and a whole host of new characters join the motley crew of BunnyLee, Buck, Buck’s chauffeur (and aspiring scriptwriter), Buck’s Chinese cook (for whom popular culture, media, and his Chinese relatives seem to be the source of all knowledge), and Puddles, the dog, a labradoodle and a true star. Austin, a cowboy and WWF celebrity on his way down, is also on the road, running away from a couple of women on a pink camper van, and their paths are, of course, set to cross. Characters from the world of professional wrestling, a local cowboy, a waiter, a Native American fish and game warden, staff at a Zen spa… also come into the story, don’t ask me to explain how. If you want to know, I invite you to read the book.

Fame, the world of TV and acting, Hollywood, celebrity culture, grief and loss, philosophy and the search for meaning, family relationships… these themes and more make it into the novel as well, and as I’ve said, despite the comedic elements I felt quite touched by the story at times.

I’ve mentioned some of the characters we come across, and although a few of them play small parts, all of them are pretty memorable. The book might be written as a comedy, and we might laugh at the characters at times, but they are not mere caricatures, rather all too human, and no matter how distant they might be from our everyday experience, they are universally recognisable and have endearing and redeeming qualities, even when (or because of) they are making total fools of themselves. Because, who hasn’t been there, especially when there are toupees and tight Spandex leggings involved? (If I had to choose one character, I admit to having a soft spot for Austin, the wrestler, although it’s difficult to top Puddles).

The book is narrated in the third person from a number of different points of view, which are clearly separated in the novel, so there’s no risk of getting confused about whose perspective we are following. This is a very self-aware novel, and an omniscient narrative voice sometimes pokes fun at the whole enterprise, in an interesting exercise of metafiction. It is a very visual novel with scenes that scream to be turned into set pieces in a movie or TV series, and this is combined with digressions where characters and/or author wonder about all kind of weighty subjects, from fate, to the nature of love and life itself. We have contemplative moments interspersed with scenes that explode in a whirlwind of action, energy, and laughter creating a perfect combination of light fun and reflection.

I have highlighted many jokes, insightful and crackwise comments, and many of the scenes, but some are far too long to share. As usual, I’d recommend readers to check a sample of the novel before deciding if it is a good fit for them, but I couldn’t resist sharing a few examples of what you might find.

Like the reader of fiction, one needed to have faith in his or her author, faith in the belief that the narrator knew how best to tell the story, faith that what may have seemed like irrelevant philosophical digresssions were in fact well-crafted artifices both necessay and sufficient to the telling of a compelling story. 

He wasn’t afraid of heights per se. It was the depths surrounding them that gave him pause —gravity being the one law you should never tempt breaking.

Like so many icons afoot these days in the pantheon of emerging American heroes, Chief Tenaya was a confluence of mixed metaphors. He was an icon in search of a meaning.

The ending fits both the comedy and the romance conventions. It ends up in a high note, and that’s exactly what most of us need right now.

So, if you’re looking for a fun/crazy read, with a bizarre catalogue of characters, are prepared to put your faith in the author and his criteria, are happy to follow him down some unusual and unexpected paths, and are looking for a break from the grey and dreary reality, this is your antidote. I hope this turns into a TV series or a movie, because it will be a hoot.

Book description

In FIVE TIMES LUCKY, an intrepid traveler gets more than her share of tabloid celebrity. Who hasn’t wondered what life was like inside the velvet rope of the Hollywood in-crowd? In this fast-moving comedy by P. David Temple, the quest for fame has no boundaries…but celebrity has its downside. We follow ex-actress BunnyLee Welles, who returns to Los Angeles for her best friend’s wedding and finds that she is instantly recognizable. From the customs officer to the baggage clerk to the Lyft driver, everyone knows her single-dimple smile. They mimic her. They take selfies with her. They hand her unsolicited film scripts. In the four years she has been traveling abroad, her sole commercial role for Dial-a-Denture has recently become an online meme. Like it or not, BunnyLee is now famous.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

Five Times Lucky by [P. David Temple]

How to Write a Book Description That Attracts Readers and Reviewers. #GuestPost from Reedsy Writer Savannah Cordova #MondayBlogs

Savannah Cordova is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects self-publishing authors with the world’s best editors, designers, and marketers. In her spare time, Savannah enjoys reading contemporary fiction and writing short stories. She’s very passionate about indie publishing and hopes to help as many authors as possible achieve their dreams.

It’s no secret that publishing a book is a mammoth task. Once all the long nights of writing, editing, and formatting are over, a book description may seem like that final formality you just want to get over and done with — but losing steam at this vital moment could mean losing sales.

After all, avid readers are presented with hundreds of books they might like to read every day. Somewhere among all these books clamoring to be heard, yours needs to rise above the crowd. In comes your book description: an invaluable tool in your marketing arsenal.

In this short space of words, you need to take your reader from knowing nothing at all about your book to wanting to fork over money to buy it. Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, these tips will cover all the bases to help you captivate readers and reviewers alike.

1. Lead with a hook

First impressions are everything; the way you open your book description dictates whether someone decides to keep reading. The importance of this is magnified on retailer sites like Amazon, where only a few lines of the description are seen without clicking a read more button.

Your hook should be a bold, punchy headline that immediately grabs the reader’s attention. If you’re writing fiction, this might be a question that plunges your reader straight into the world of the book. For nonfiction, you might want to start with a surprising statement that forms the basis of your work. If you’ve got a particularly strong first line, you might even use that — though you don’t want to use more than one line in your description, otherwise it just becomes a preview.

On the critical side, a glowing quote from an editorial review may be the vote of confidence that wins readers over (though of course, you won’t be able to add this until you actually receivea review — all the more reason to make your description compelling). Whatever your hook is, it needs to stand out! And remember, if you ever think of a better way to phrase your hook, or get a stellar review you’d like to feature, you can always edit your book description down the line.

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on

2. Make the conflict clear

No good piece of fiction should be smooth sailing for every character — where’s the fun in that? The intrigue happens when things start to go wrong. To that end, make the nature of your conflict known in your book description with an allusion to a character clash, an internal battle, a societal struggle, or whatever conflict lies at the heart of your story. This will assure readers they’re going to get that bit of action or drama, enticing them to read more to find out what it is.

What about nonfiction? While narrative-driven books like biographies and memoirs lend themselves well to conflict taking center stage, this is not true for all works of nonfiction. In these cases, however, there will still be some core theme or issue that your book addresses (how to improve your life through organization, how to tap into your resilient side to build a business, etc.), which should also be made clear in the description.

In both fiction and nonfiction, once you’ve established this central conflict or theme, you can spell out some of the questions that arise from it — both basic, plot-essential questions like “Will the main characters get through this?” and deeper, more abstract questions about your themes. Then tantalize readers by dangling the resolution or answers your book provides, without giving away what they actually are.

3. Create a point of reference

People like what they know, which means that mentioning something recognizable to your readers is a simple-yet-effective way to appeal to them. For starters, consider your genre and any standout features that a fan of that genre might expect to see — for instance, if you’ve written a thriller, you could hint at a character with a dark past, or a situation where all is not as it seems.

For nonfiction, though, genre tropes won’t be the way forward. Instead, use familiar points of reference to establish your authority and expertise. If you’ve honed your knowledge under the tutelage of an expert, give that expert’s name — better yet, if you can get a quote of praise from a well-known figure in your field, make sure to get that in your book description (and maybe even on your book cover!).

Of course, no one wants to read a book they feel they’ve already read, so also give enough info for readers to understand how your book differs from what they’ve seen before. What is the twist that makes your book special? Why should they invest in these specific characters? As for nonfiction, what are you saying on the topic that other people haven’t yet heard?

Try to strike a balance between your unique elements and other, familiar books in your genre. This will show readers and reviewers that your book is “for them” like those other books were, yet tempt them to read it for the new twist or angle you’re offering.

4. Keep things short and sweet

There are probably a thousand amazing things you could say about your book to convince readers to buy it — but in a 200-word description, you need to be selective. Not to mention there’s an increasing trend of people being put off watching movies when they feel they’ve seen all the action in the trailer, and you certainly don’t want your book to suffer this fate.

So don’t try to cram everything at once, and obviously don’t give away the best bits. Not only will this likely push your description way beyond the advised word count (again, 200 words max), but a straight-up synopsis will take away any reason to actually readyour book.

Even outside the spoiler concern, concision and readability are key in a book description. It’s true that you’re trying to impress, but purple prose here doesn’t bode well for what’s inside. To that end, stick to short, clear sentences and break your description up into two or three paragraphs to keep the reader’s attention. Unless you have some truly impressive pull quotes to stick at the end, it really shouldn’t be longer than that.

Yes, writing the perfect book description will take some care and attention — but with these tips, you should be able to attract readers and land reviews that stick with ease. Good luck!

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team Art Themed #HistoricalMystery LOST CHILDREN by Willa Bergman

Today’s team review is from Lynne. She blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Lynne has been reading Lost Children by Willa Bergman.

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Art, history and a very clever mystery – Could this book be any more “up my street”? I seriously doubt it.

Despite what might be for some a slow start, I loved the time the author spent to lay the foundations for this story. With a particularly addictive writing style, she had me hooked.

The background specifics of the main character’s childhood in France – and what she and her mother and brother subsequently had to do – set the scene beautifully (or should I say set the scene perfectly for misdirection LOL) , and it was no surprise that Eloise (Elle) went on to work in the industry of finding lost art and antiquities, after all she had been surrounded by beautiful pieces for years.

At times, it was as though I were in the midst of an art history lesson, with sumptuous details about the painting at the centre of the story, and its fascinating history.

And then, wham! Elle is commissioned to find the Portrait of the Lost Child for an unidentified buyer. Why choose her? She’s not the most senior within her department, but she does have a good track record. However, it soon becomes apparent that she has a particular association with the painting, and finding it before others do becomes vital if she is to keep her family’s secret from getting out.

They say you always have a choice. But what is my choice here? The choice between hurting the ones I love, or helping the ones I hate

Eloise (Lost Children)

From here on, the pace picks up dramatically and it becomes addictive reading, being both informative on the art front and insightful on the personal, family front. Can she find the painting before competitors within her field? And then what? Hand it over and risk exposure to something that could have dire consequences for her family, herself included.

Without disclosing any spoilers, let me just say this is an original and inventive mystery with an extraordinary ending that is both dramatic and satisfying.

My thanks go to the author and Rosie’s Book Review Team for my e-copy of this, which I have reviewed voluntarily and honestly (and loved every minute of it!)

Book description

A celebrated painting, the Portrait of the Lost Child, has been missing for over a decade. Eloise Witcham is commissioned to find it, but if she does she will have to confront a past she thought long behind her and face up to the dark fears that still haunt her dreams.

A stylish, intelligent, contemporary thriller set in the secretive world of high end art.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS available from May 11th 2021

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