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Jessica Jesinghaus

Random Thoughts of an Author & Book Junkie

Month

October 2016

Happy Book Launch Day! The Naked Tree by Morgan Lee

When I self-published my titles a few months back, there was no hoopla, no grand plan, just a little announcement via Facebook to my friends and family saying “I did it.” Little did I know all the possibilities! I’m learning though…

Take, for example, my new friend Morgan Lee. Today is launch day for her new book “The Naked Tree” and she’s having a grand time over on her Facebook page all day today. She’s got author interviews and all sorts of nifty things planned. Take a moment to go check things out on good ‘ol Facebook HERE. There may even be a little interview with yours truly somewhere in the mix!

Congrats Morgan! Enjoy your launch day. 

Book Review: Pretty Eyes by Dwayne Fry

😱😱😱😱😱 5 out of 5 stars 

This is a ripping good tale! “Pretty Eyes” is well suited as a Halloween read, since the bulk of the story occurs at an old amusement park all decked out for a spooky good time. Many of the rides have been temporarily repurposed into variously themed haunted houses. This creates an awesome environ within which to meet our main character, Karl. 

Karl is a grade-A jerkwad, but somehow author Dwayne Fry makes us care about the lout! Quite the accomplishment. I even found myself rooting for him as he tried to entice any number of pretty young things. There’s an awesome twist in the final pages you won’t see coming. Those are the best. 

Treat yourself this Halloween and enjoy this bloody-fantastic short story. Act fast and you can get it free HERE as part of Support for Indie Authors Monster Weekend. 

Book Review: Cinders by V.M. Sawh

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 out of 5 stars

“Cinders” is a fresh reselling of the classic Cinderella tale. 
In this version, however, Rella is a resident of Black House and her “sisters” are all doxies in the employ of Stepmother. How Rella ends up at the ball and all the other events in the tale have a dark quality that harkens back to the Grimm version.

A wonderful read!

I scored this book free as part of the Support for Indie Authors Monster Weekend. Get your copy here before time runs out!

Book Review: When the Jaguar Sleeps by J.A. Kalis

👻👻👻 3.25 out of 5 stars

Perhaps it’s because I read this book in the week leading up to Halloween, or maybe it’s just because I was struck with a strangely morbid mood, but I’ve decided to perform a book autopsy instead of a standard review. A booktopsy? Yeah, I like it.

Wearing my standard booktopsy gear (camouflage lounge pants and my favorite Relay For Life hoodie) and snuggled in my comfy reading chair I gaze at the specimen before me. Any good autopsy starts with a general inspection, so my booktopsy will do the same. “When the Jaguar Sleeps” by J.A. Kalis is an adventure tale (a genre departure for me) with great potential. But the book-body on the slab appears to be missing it’s head! Decapitation? How does that happen to a book? Never fear, intrepid readers, I’ll come back to that in a moment.

The body of this book is healthy. It’s robust, well fleshed out and the bones of the story are strong. The main character, Didier, is on holiday in the Amazon, traveling by plane to a remote part of the rainforest with three other tourists, a guide and (obviously) the plane’s pilot. When their small plane crashes Didier finds that only he and one other tourist have survived, yet they’re stranded in the middle of the unforgiving rainforest and must try to reach the safety of civilization. Along the way they encounter gun-toting grave robbers and wild Indian tribes well-known for their murderous tendencies toward outsiders.

As I make the Y incision, I get a good look at the book’s heart. The author’s narrative is strong. I really felt like I was right there in the jungle with Didier and Florent. If J.A. Kalis hasn’t spent some quality time in the Amazon I’d be shocked. The descriptions were just so real! The oppressive greenery, the hot mists and the heavy jungle air… The jungle (and the author’s way of bringing it to life) are the lifeblood of this story.

So, how did this book die? Well, you might recall the little matter of its missing head? That’s the only excuse I can come up with for the stilted and stiff dialogue. An example: “We should mark this place, try to remember its location so that we can tell later other people where to look for it.” Initially I tried to tell myself that the quirks in the dialogue were intentional; English isn’t the native language for most of the characters in the story after all. But later, when the one American character makes his entrance and he speaks in the same fragmented voice, I knew my excuse wasn’t valid.

All autopsy puns aside, this is still an enjoyable read: 3.25 out of 5 stars. As I said, I loved the book’s body and it’s heart. I felt invested in Didier’s journey. It was really just the dialogue that detracted from the whole. With a little fine tuning it could be truly great. One additional warning: the ending was a little abrupt. It’s not quite a cliff-hanger, but you get the sense the author is planning the next saga and so the story is left hanging in limbo. Guess I’ll just wheel the tray over to cold-storage while we await the next book? Now, time to scrub up and prepare for my next patient…

Want to read it for yourself and decide? Check it out here.

**I received a copy of this book from the author which I then chose to voluntarily review**

 

Monstrously fun: Monster Weekend has arrived!


It’s here! Monster Weekend has arrived. 

For those of you who aren’t aware, there’s a great group over on Goodreads where indie authors get together to discuss our projects, share pointers, marketing tips, and just otherwise be awesome together. Unfortunately, I came across the group too late to participate in this particular event (maybe next time), but that doesn’t mean I can help spread the indie author ❤️📖❤️ love! 

Follow the link here to lay your hands on some great reads, all either FREE or 99¢. But you’ll have to act fast, these monsters go back into hiding as soon as the Halloween candy’s been dispersed!

Book Review: The Elusive Highlander by Ju Ephraime

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3.5 of 5 stars

Where oh where to start? “The Elusive Highlander” is a quick, enjoyable lost-in-time romance. If I weren’t already such a huge fan of other, similarly themed tales (most notably the entire Highlander series by the indomitable Karen Marie Moning), this one may have rated even higher… but it was impossible for me not to make comparisons.
I enjoyed Ju Ephraime’s style and tone. Coira’s confusion at finding herself suddenly in 14th century Scotland was palpable.

However, there were a few inconsistencies that jarred me early and stuck with me through the rest of the story. While learning about Coira’s past and family we’re told her mother died in a car accident, then later she was sick and died in bed, then we came back to it being an accident. Also, it felt to me like Alasdair’s curse and immortality were never fully explained and kind of left dangling. He even promised to tell Coira more about his abilities (I for one would’ve loved to experience her reaction when learning he is a wolf berserker) but he never spilled the beans. That was a story element that either could’ve been expanded upon or left out entirely. All in all, though, these were easily overlooked and forgiven in the scheme of things.

The attraction and tension between Coira & Alasdair was well written and maintained. As a fish out of water, Coira’s ability to adapt to her surroundings was believably portrayed. I also liked the author’s narrative use of real historical events and battles to explain some of her character’s motivations. Lots of history woven into this romance!

If you enjoy kilted warriors and historical romance, I’d venture you’ll enjoy this escape!

I received a copy of this book from the author, which I then chose to voluntarily review.

Want to read it? Get your copy here.

Book Review: Serenya’s Song by Mysti Parker

5 / 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

After reading the first Tallenmere novel, “A Ranger’s Tale,” I was eager for the second installment. While technically part of a series, this story holds its own, so don’t worry if you haven’t read the first… you can jump feet first into the world without feeling lost.

Ms. Parker weaves a thoroughly enchanting tale this time out. While I liked her first book, there was something so much MORE here that I just loved! The pace of the book was steady and captivating, then at around 70% it just ratchets up to a seemingly non-stop, white-knuckled ride that I didn’t want to put down.

The love story is beautiful and the supporting characters vibrant. In my opinion: a must read fantasy romance.

Want to read it for yourself? Find it here.

Well, now what…?

I’ve finally done it. I started my very own, official blog site. Now what? Haha.

This summer was a whirlwind of activity for me, publishing my first three titles via Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I had been writing for years and after finishing three books, I tried my hand at the ‘traditional’ publishing route: sending query letters off to agents and hoping against hope that something in my letter would make me stand out against the hundreds of similar pleas from authors around the world. Needless to say, after three or four years of sending out query letters and getting minimal return responses, I was disappointed. Every author feels their work is special (we wouldn’t write it otherwise) and it’s a blow to the ego to keep spinning your wheels and not really gain any traction.

Then, e-books arrived and over the next couple years, totally transformed the publishing industry. Suddenly, authors had control. We could decide what to publish, when and where to do it, and with a few keystrokes and mouse clicks, send our literary babies out into the world. Sure, all the editing, cover design, marketing and advertising falls on us, but… small price to pay, right?

Since the moment I hit publish in late July, I’ve been enjoying the ride. Being an author was something I always was, it’s just that nobody really knew it. I still remember passing around copies of my novels to co-workers (the best beta-readers EVER btw) printed on copy paper, hole punched, and tucked reverently into three ring binders. Now, my books can reach readers all across the United States. I’ve even had some exposure overseas. It’s surreal.

I hope you’ll all follow along with my journey. I’ll share teasers about my books, new releases, as well as reviews of other books I’ve read. The written word is a gift, and the authors who share them with us are a special kind of hero.

 

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