Welcome to Books and Novels to Read

News, advice and conversation about the Self-Publishing book industry.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Review of Steps to Courage by Sandra Stiles

When I first started reading this book I had to check that it was a work of fiction, the three central characters are so real they jump out of the pages at you. Sandra has taken the tragic events of 9/11 and wrapped around them this story of courage and inspiration. At the end of the book in the Author’s Note she dedicates the book to all the victims of that terrible day and those victims go way beyond those who lost their lives. Relatives, friends associates all were affected. Sandra also goes onto say The whole country (The USA) was touched that day. I can assure Sandra that Britain and every other civilised country in the world was touched that day. As you know Britain has had more than its fair share of terrorist attacks, first the IRA and on 7 July 2005 suicide bombings on London’s transport system. So we Brits stand shoulder to shoulder with our American cousins.

Back to the book, Steps to Courage is very well written with a whole gambit of characters, the well meaning but over protective father, the aunt and uncle taking care of their orphaned nephew and many, many more. The portrayal of these people is very well rounded and convinces the reader to want to know what happens to everybody.  The book covers the immediate lead up to 9/11, the aftermath and individual courage and bravery shown on the day, but then follows on for two more years after the event so we can see what happens to them. It details not only the physical recovery from the injuries suffered by the characters but also the psychological changes that take place in their minds. The change from victim to survivor and the steps that takes is a very important aspect of the book and is very well covered by Sandra.

The subject matter does not make this a pleasant book to read, how could it but you will find it truly inspirational? As they come to terms with the events which change their lives forever you will marvel at their support for each other and their resilience. I enjoyed this book and would without hesitation recommend it to anybody who wants a good read with a hard edge of reality thrown in.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Helpful and Interesting website

Barbara Billig author of  THE DISQUIET SURVIVORS of The Nuclear Catastrophe has just sent me the web address of an online book club:-


It looks a pretty good site and might be of interest to all my fellow self published authors. It is another place to advertise our wares.

Barbara kindly posted her review of my novel The Catalytic Programme in to the Thriller section of the website's forum. Thank you Barbara very much appreciated.

Something funny for a change.

I love court room dramas, always have. From Clarence Darrow, Perry Mason, A Few Good Men right up to the TV Series Law and Order even though Jack McCoy is a bit too self righteous for my taste. I like them all, reading books about them, watching them at the cinema or on TV, it makes no difference. The lawyer in them is always so bright, displaying their intelligence and cleverness at every turn so when I was sent the following I just had to pass it on:-

Old ones but still hilarious!!!

These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and published by court reporters that had the torment of staying calm while the exchanges were taking place.
ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS:      He said, 'Where am I, Cathy?'
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS:      My name is Susan!
ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS:      Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS:      No, I just lie there.
ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
WITNESS:      July 18th.
ATTORNEY: What year?
WITNESS:      Every year.
ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?
WITNESS:      Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?
WITNESS:      Forty-five years.
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
WITNESS:      Yes.
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS:      I forget..
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS:  Did you actually pass the bar exam?
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS:      He's 20, much like your IQ.
ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS:      Are you shitting me?
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
WITNESS:      Yes.
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS:      Getting laid

ATTORNEY: She had three children , right?
WITNESS:      Yes.
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
WITNESS:      None.
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS:      Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney.  Can I get a new attorney?
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS:      By death..
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS:      Take a guess.

ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS:      He was about medium height and had a beard. ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS:      Unless the Circus was in town I'm going with male.
ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS:      No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
ATTORNEY: Doctor , how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS:      All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
WITNESS:      Oral...
ATTORNEY:  Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS:      The autopsy started around 8:30 PM.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS:      If not, he was by the time I finished.
ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS:      Are you qualified to ask that question?
And last:

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
WITNESS:      No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
WITNESS:      No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
WITNESS:      No..
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
WITNESS:      No.
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS:      Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS:      Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A review of Close by Martina Cole

I never thought I would do this, a review of a book by an established author in the traditional publishing industry but this book epitomises the worst of that industry. I’m really into self published books now but read them on my desktop computer, a bit difficult in bed. So for my bedtime reading I tend to read second-hand books which I can buy in my local village here in Spain. There isn’t a great deal of choice but they are better than nothing. I’ve read a couple of books by Martina Cole who is described as a No 1 Bestseller. She tends to write gritty crime dramas and CLOSE is no exception. It’s about an East end London crime family from the 1960s to almost the present day.

CLOSE is 663 pages of quantity not quality. A mediocre story is dragged out with so many repetitions it became very annoying. For instance, when the main character, Lil Brodie's second child is born, she immediately feels the child, Lance, is odd and she doesn't bond with him, however her feckless mother Annie does. That piece of information is repeated throughout the book about twenty five times, not only that but the whys and wherefores too. This novel could easily have been half the length and it would not have spoilt the story. I've read other books by Martina and they are good but this later novel, number twelve I believe is a let down. Martina Cole must be surrounded by a team of professionals, editors, literary agents and publishers, how they let her get away with this I don't understand. It seems she has run out of new ideas as so many established authors do.

That is why I started www.booksandnovelstoread.com so that fresh new self published authors can come to the attention of the book reading public. You don’t have to put up with this trash!!!!!

One other thing, the language in this book is appalling. Now in my novel The Catalytic Programme there is some bad language, appropriate to the characters and scene. In CLOSE there is barely a paragraph goes by without profanity, way over the top and I’m sure this would spoil a dire book even more.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Books and Novels to Read is 4 months old.

I’ve been very quiet this week on the blogger front. Just toooooo busy to prepare a blog. Last Saturday marked Books and Novels to Read being in existence for 4 months, it seems a lot longer. It has changed a lot since that first day, improved I hope and has grown bigger than I ever expected. I’m privileged to have met some really good people via the website and their generosity to other authors is inspiring. I few books have been sold through the website already which is very pleasing and I’m sure once the website is ranked in Google, Yahoo etc it will really take off. So, thank you for your patience and understanding and let’s all look forward to the next four months.

Just a little reminder, a fellow blogger has a website Free Book Reviews. Albert loves reviewing books so contact him if you would like YOUR book featured in his blog.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Amazon - Kindle

Exciting things happening at Kindle.

Launched Kindle Indie Bookstore

We are excited to announce the launch of the Kindle Indie Bookstore (www.amazon.com/kindleindiebooks) on Amazon.com. This page will provide readers a convenient way to explore and browse some of the indie selection available on Kindle from KDP authors and publishers. We hope the Kindle Indie Bookstore will showcase top selling, popular and high quality books from independent authors and publishers. "We are excited to highlight our growing selection of indie books to Kindle readers through the launch of the Kindle Indie Bookstore and provide this new avenue of exposure to KDP authors and publishers,” said Atif Rafiq, General Manager, Kindle Direct Publishing. Please read the Kindle Indie Bookstore FAQ for answers to commonly asked questions.
Introducing Kindle Cloud Reader:

On August 10th, Amazon.com announced Kindle Cloud Reader, its latest Kindle reading application that leverages HTML5 and enables customers to read Kindle books instantly using only their web browser - online or offline - with no downloading or installation required. As with all Kindle apps, Kindle Cloud Reader automatically synchronizes your Kindle library, as well as your last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights for all of your Kindle books, no matter how you choose to read them. Kindle Cloud Reader with its integrated touch optimized Kindle Store is available starting today for Safari on iPad, Safari on desktop and Chrome at http://www.amazon.com/cloudreader. The full press release is available by clicking here.

Online Previewing is Now Available for KDP Titles:

Customers will be able to preview Kindle book samples online by clicking on cover images with the “click to LOOK Inside” logo. Online previewing is automatically enabled when you publish your book with KDP. You should find the Online Previewing feature enabled within one week after your book is made available to readers for purchase. If you have a print book enrolled in the Search Inside the Book program, both print and Kindle versions will be available for online previewing. You can enroll your print book by clicking here. Search Inside the Book is a program that lets you search and browse millions of books across Amazon.com. With Search Inside, Amazon search results include matches based on every word inside a book, not just results that match the title or author of the book. It's like browsing a gigantic bookstore with millions of searchable pages at your fingertips.