The arbitrary nature of book reviews

I am going to go on record right now to say that I will never write a bad review on a book.

Does that mean I’m fabricating my reviews?

Not at all. If I don’t like a book, I simply don’t write a review. But, you might argue, if you give the author an honest review, it might help them improve on future endeavors.

Perhaps that’s true.

Then again, perhaps not.

My opinion is that many times, it’s a matter of taste. I’ve read some books that got RAVE reviews. And I really, REALLY wanted to like them -but for some reason, they didn’t resonate. But just because “I” didn’t like it, doesn’t mean the guy/gal next to me won’t think it’s the best thing since sliced bread. I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan and there are hundreds of people who hate the books.

And that is my point. Every book touches the reader in different ways. Now, don’t get me wrong – I find book reviews to be very interesting. Positive reviewers will gush over how much they loved a story. Then you’ll come across the negative reviewers that hated the very thing the others found engaging. The bottom line, though, is this — everyone has the right to their own opinion about a book.

I could write a negative review of a book because it didn’t appeal to me. Maybe I didn’t like the author’s writing style. Maybe I didn’t like their choice of words. Maybe I’m too picky. Maybe my coffee got cold too fast, or I’m fretting over the pile of laundry waiting for me to fold it. Maybe I was just having a crappy day and picked the wrong novel to read at that particular time.

Who knows what internal or external forces might color my view?

So, I choose not to write negative reviews.

But that’s just ME.

And MY opinion.

I’d rather do my best to SUPPORT authors. After seeing the trials and tribulations firsthand, I don’t want to put out anything that might prevent a reader from purchasing the book just because it wasn’t my cup of tea.

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Giveaway on Goodreads!!!

Hi everyone! This is the day to hop on over to Goodreads and enter the giveaway for my book, The Bullaun Stone.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Bullaun Stone by Jan Flynn-White

The Bullaun Stone

by Jan Flynn-White

Giveaway ends October 31, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/widget/158419

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Doing the happy dance

Look what arrived yesterday!!!!

book arrival

Here’s an excerpt from the book. Enjoy!

This time her smile was sincere as she congratulated herself over the idea to display the coat-of-arms. She’d just reached up to loop the gold cord over a nail on the back wall when she sensed someone standing behind her.
“Barrett. You must be Pearl’s granddaughter.”
Kate turned to face a slender man staring down at her from pale gray eyes hooded by bushy, white eyebrows. His chalk-white hair was pulled back into a short ponytail secured with a black ribbon. Translucent flesh stretched tight across his face. His colorless lips were pressed together in a narrow line.
“Yes. She’s in the hospital, so I’m–”
“I know where she is.” He cut her off. “I make it my business to know. Perhaps I need to introduce myself. I’m the Mayor of Ardee, Darcy MacMurray.”
He offered his hand in a half-hearted gesture, drawing back as soon as his fingers touched hers.
The exchange felt awkward. Still, he was the mayor, and she was representing her grandmother.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” she lied. “Thanks for stopping by the booth.”
When the mayor made no effort to move, she attempted to politely sidestep. He didn’t budge.
Great.
Cornered until he chose to allow her passage.
If the Mayor of Ardee was trying to make her feel uncomfortable, it was working.
His gaze went from the coat-of-arms back to Kate. His eyes squinted into thin slits, and he stooped over until his mouth was inches from her ear. His sour breath and words made her stomach tumble.
“You don’t believe that nonsense do you, Miss McKenna? That a family crest reflects the true nature of its legacy? You have a lot to learn, Miss McKenna. A lot to learn.”

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Betty Boop Cafe

Gary and I had lunch at the cutest little café on the square in Crockett today. Betty Boop Cafe. He and I shared a bowl of black-eyed pea stew. Never heard of it? Neither had we. It was delicious!

bettyboop bettyboop2

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Thank you!!!

I am overwhelmed by the support from friends and family and Facebook friends whom I’ve never even met!!! Thanks so much for ordering my book. I hope you enjoy it.

The day it went live on Amazon was so awesome. Amazing to actually see it listed among other books. I was so excited! The next day, however, I was walking around the house like a zombie and ate half a batch of peanut butter fudge all by myself. After chatting with a couple of author friends, I figured out that this is not unusual. It’s sort of like empty-nest syndrome – your ‘baby’ is out there on its own and you feel a little lost not obsessing over it to make sure it’s a good as it can be before you loose it on the world.

I had my giveaway on Friday and was so pleased and honored that people were ordering my book. And then it hit me – PEOPLE ARE ORDERING MY BOOK. That means they are going to read it! About that time my husband came into the dining room where my computer is currently set up.

“Why are you crying,” he asked.

“People are buying my book.”

He gave me this puzzled look.

“Then why are you crying?”

“WHAT IF THEY HATE IT?” I wailed.

To quote Shakespeare “Aye, there’s the rub.”

Because the truth is – my book isn’t for everyone. It’s a tad old fashioned – the pacing isn’t breakneck, the love story is sweet, there are only a couple of well-placed cursed words at the end, and there aren’t any crazy plot twists that keep people shaking their heads and saying ‘didn’t see that coming.’

But if I’m lucky, there will some who do enjoy it. That’s what I’m crossing my fingers for.

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The Bullaun Stone is live on Amazon!

So excited to let you know that you can now purchase a copy of The Bullaun Stone in both paperback and Kindle version. Tomorrow, I’ll have a fun launch giveaway with chances to win an Amazon gift card, a Celtic knot charm or an autographed copy of my book.

I had initially envisioned the book as being a little more ‘homespun’ than it is, but as other writers can testify, sometimes your characters take some turns that you didn’t expect. In the book, Robert Kavanagh makes a shepherd’s pie for Kate. I was going to include a recipe for a pie, but things took a different turn. So today, I thought I’d have some fun and post the recipe on my blog.

I actually researched several recipes and liked the way this one sounded. And yes, I DID try it out first! I have to admit, I think I’ve only had lamb once before in my life, so I was a bit leery about the recipe at first. But it turned out to be REALLY tasty! If you’ve never made shepherd’s pie before and would like to give it a try, I encourage you to do so.

Robert Kavanagh’s Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Ingredients

  • Meat Filling- 2 lbs. lamb, cubed into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
  • 6 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 TB. unsalted butter, melted
  • 4-5 TB. flour
  • 1¼ cups Guinness beer
  • 1½ cups red wine
  • 1½ cups beef broth or stock
  • 2 TB. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tsp. dried sage
  • 3 tsp. dried basil
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1½ cups fresh peas (or defrosted frozen peas)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Potato topping- 3 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled, cubed, and cooked until fork tender.
  • 6 TB. unsalted butter
  • 2 cups grated sharp (or extra sharp) white cheddar cheese.
  • ⅓ cup evaporated milk
  • 4 TB. dried parsley flakes
  • ¼ cup fresh chives, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

  1. Meat Filling-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large dutch oven, or skillet, brown meat over medium-high heat. Drain excess fat.
  2. Add carrots, onions, and garlic to meat and sauté until onions are clear. Add melted butter and stir to mix.
  3. Slowly mix in flour and coat meat and veggies. Pour in Worcestershire sauce, wine, broth, and Guinness and stir until mixture starts to thicken. Add peas and spice then bring to a simmer.
  4. Simmer on medium low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. (if mixture gets too thick you can add a little more beef broth)
  5. Potato Topping- Drain cooked potatoes. Add to large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Add remaining ingredients (setting aside ¾ cup of grated cheese) and mix on low speed with hand mixer (or in stand mixture) until smooth.
  6. Coat 13×9 baking dish or 10- 12 oz. ramekins with non-stick cooking spray. Add meat filling to pan(s).
  7. Carefully spoon potatoes over the meat filling until covered. Sprinkle with remaining grated cheese.
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until cheese starts to brown and bubble (20-30 minutes if making individual sized pies in ramekins.)
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Cover reveal

Today’s the day!!! I am so excited to be able to share with you the cover of my first novel, The Bullaun Stone. Being new to the self-publishing world, I was in a quandary about what to do to design an eye-catching book cover. Fortunately, I asked my proof editor, Yelena Casale, if she had a recommendation. Thank goodness I listened to her excellent advice – she introduced me to Heather McCorkle, of McCorkle Creations. Heather and I exchanged a few emails and after viewing the book covers she had created for previous clients and seeing her own whimsical website, I knew she was the one. I was even more convinced when I got the first proof of the cover and it was SO much more than I had envisioned! Heather captured the color and feel that I wanted to convey. I remember looking at it for the first time. Tears literally filled my eyes when I realized…this is MY book cover and it is beautiful! Not only that, but Heather had added a small detail, that actually is no small thing in my book. THE DIARY. I couldn’t have been more pleased when I saw that.

Anyway, here’s the book cover. I hope you like it as much as I do. Please feel free to leave your comments here, or visit me on my Facebook page – Jan White-Author. Thanks again to everyone who has supported me throughout this endeavor. Hugs to all.

Jan

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