Juche: The Weeping Masses

 This is now the second book of the  fantastic Juche series, which has been reorganized.  The original Books 1 and 2 (previously reviewed here) were consolidated into Book 1, The Demon of Yodok. This new book, The Weeping Masses, is now Book 2.  As the book opens, something terrible has happened to Areum’s sister Nari, and Areum is reeling, trying to take care of her family but also burning with the desire for revenge.

     The  terror at the camp continues, and Areum does what she can to survive.  When she and Nari are assigned to a work group, more challenges arise.  Areum struggles to protect her family and herself as the terrors of a concentration camp rain around her.  She begins to make difficult choices and uses her skills as a gymnast and martial artist to survive, but takes risks for which there must be consequences. She also makes alliances which she knows may fall through at any moment.  Will Areum and her family survive, and what new horrors lay in wait for them?

     This excellent dystopian series continues to shock and provide a realistic look at an evil military dictatorship. The first 20 percent of this book is very dark and bleak, but you have to expect that from a concentration camp.  Then the story picks up steam and the author throws in little glimmers of hope in the midst of all the darkness.  This is a realistic read and makes you wonder what you would do to protect yourself in a situation like this.  Areum is thrust into many ethical battles by her cruel overlords.  Areum’s struggles with evil captors, difficult choices, and her own rage are well written by the author.  Surprises abound in this novel, and the reader will be on the edge of their seat.  I would recommend this to anyone interested in dystopian fiction or historical fiction, as you will recognize the Kingdom of Chosun as a country that exists today.

This book is available on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can borrow it for free.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adria Carmichael is a writer of dystopian fiction with a twist. When she is not devouring dystopian and post-apocalyptic content in any format – books, movies, TV-series and PlayStation games – she is crafting the epic and highly-addictive Juche saga, her 2020 debut novel series that takes place in the brutal, totalitarian nation of Choson. When the limit of doom and gloom is reached, a 10K run on a sunny day or bingeing a silly sitcom on a rainy day is her go-to way to unwind.

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Scribbles of the Mind

Scribbles of the Mind by Elie N. Azar is a poetry book with the main theme of love in its many forms. We see love that overcomes pain and endures in the midst of staggering heartbreak, love of family, love of self, love of friends, forever love, and more. Nature is often used to describe the many facets of love.

I enjoyed every one of these poems. Some of my favorites were The Oath of an Aching Soul, The Love That Hid in the Cracks of Their Home, The Dawn of a Sunset, and Changing Seasons of an Unchanged Love.

I must mention The Sunset Climb, Cracked Smile, and A Melting Fire. These three poems have only one line each, however, each line is very powerful. Authors search for these types of magical words when writing novels. Perhaps that’s next for Elie N. Azar.

I downloaded this book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can borrow it for free. I highly recommend you check it out.

BUY SCRIBBLES OF THE MIND ON AMAZON

ELIE N. AZAR’S GOODREADS PAGE

MY GOODREADS REVIEW (Likes Appreciated if you are so Inclined)

For New And Indie Authors: Helpful Information I’ve Learned While Reviewing Books So Far

I started doing Netgalley book reviews in October of 2019 and I’ve been reviewing off and on on Goodreads since about 2014. I’ve put up about 220 reviews on Netgalley and almost 400 on Goodreads. I have learned some things that may be helpful, especially to new or Indie authors. These observations are just my opinion based on what I’ve seen after 200 plus reviews, but I hope they can be of help to authors. Please let me know your opinions or additional hints in the comments below

  1. THE COVER MATTERS:
A Great Cover

I have seen great books with obviously homemade covers. One cover I saw looked like it was home-drawn in pencil, and the erasures were visible. This is a shame because the book was great and I gave it five stars. When a reader is scrolling through millions of books on Kindle or Kindle Unlimited, the cover needs to stand out. Above is my opinion of an eye-catching cover. It’s interesting, colorful, and it gives you an idea of what to expect in the book. This would stop my scrolling and make me want to check the book out. A poor cover is not going to draw anyone to your book, and it is more than likely that very few people will see it. In my opinion, a professional graphic artist/designer is needed and should be part of your marketing budget. Nowadays, not only is a great cover very important, but many authors are adding animated covers and book trailers. Here is a great article on how to animate your own book cover: https://storyempirecom.wordpress.com/2021/01/18/how-to-animate-your-book-cover/

A noticeable cover is necessary and can pay for itself eventually in added sales.

2. KINDLE UNLIMITED:

There are some advantages to using Kindle Unlimited, especially if you are a new or self-published author. Millions of readers have the opportunity to borrow your book for free. Some of them will hopefully post reviews, and then you can make the decision as to when to take it off KU and start charging for it later. The biggest advantage I’ve noticed for myself as a reviewer is that since I have Kindle Unlimited, I can pick your book up for free on my own without having to receive a free copy from you. For those who aren’t aware, if a reviewer receives a free copy of a book for review, they are required by law to say that they received a free copy, who they received it from, and add the fact that their review is voluntary. Amazon has recently been blocking reviews of books received directly from the author, so I don’t usually accept books directly from the author anymore. I prefer they come from a third party such as Netgalley, Booksirens, or other sites, or an agent or publisher, or I get them myself on Kindle Unlimited if they are available.

3. GET ON SOCIAL MEDIA NOW:

I’ve reviewed books for several new authors who have little to no social media following. If you’re reading this and you have plans to write a book, get on social media now. Start a blog and get on Goodreads, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other sites, and start making connections now. Don’t wait until your book is done to try and get a following. I saw an author post recently that they were turned down by an agent because they did not have a large enough social media following. Start taking care of that now. When I started, I had no idea how to create a blog, but about 30 minutes on Youtube was enough of an education to get started on WordPress, and I’m still learning. #Bookstagram on Instagram is a big deal. As I type this, there are 56 million posts on Instagram with the #Bookstagram hashtag. That’s a lot of visibility. Twitter has a large writing community as well. There are thousands of book review blogs on WordPress, including mine. Join us and review books while you share your life, your other hobbies, and your writing progress, and get some followers before you publish. Get your followers to fall in love with your book even before you publish it. One of my favorite authors, Jodi Taylor, started out as self published (at the age of 60), created a huge Facebook following, and is now a best-selling author with a major publisher. If video is your thing or you have a natural gift for speaking, start a Youtube channel or a podcast. The most important thing is to GET OUT THERE NOW. Don’t wait until your book is finished. *I’ve just read elsewhere that this is a sensitive topic, and I don’t mean to upset anyone, but this is the age of social media and as an indie author, you will need to market your own books, and having a social media following will help.

4. THINK ABOUT BLOGGING TOURS:

There are several tour companies out there who will put your new book content out on many blogs that agree to be “hosts,” so that all of the blog’s subscribers get to see your cover, a description, and anything else you want, including reviews and book trailers. They are a great way to spread the news about your book. I have done several promos for R&R Book Tours and RABT Book Tours, but there are many others.

5. BOOKSIRENS:

A lot of people know about Netgalley, but Booksirens is another service that will provide reviewers for your book, and from what I hear it’s less expensive than some of the others. Please correct me in the comments if I’m wrong about that. They also provide very detailed statistics for each reviewer so the author can know more about the person who is reviewing their book. My statistics are shared if you click on the widget below:

Bonnie's Profile

6. BETA READERS:

Some authors enlist some volunteer beta readers to help them do initial reviews of their drafts. This can be helpful in finding typos and providing initial reactions to the book. If you have created a social media following, getting volunteer beta readers will be easy.

PLEASE LET ME KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS ON THESE TOPICS AND ANY OTHER HELPFUL HINTS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION.

A Class Forsaken

This is Book 3 in the “A Matter of Class” series, set in 1800s Ireland. It would be beneficial to read the first two books in the series before reading Book 3, as there will be major spoilers for the first two books. This was also a book I reviewed for Historical Novels Review Magazine. They chose this book as another “Editor’s Choice.”

Escaping authorities in England, Bridget and Cormac flee home to Carlow, Ireland , with their daughter Emily. They return to Cormac’s former cottage, but his mother and siblings are gone, forced out years ago by Bridget’s embittered mother, who is lady of the manor. Many changes have occurred at Oakleigh manor and Bridget must face off with her mother in an attempt to save the tenants from her harsh management. At the same time, Cormac is determined to find his family. The saga follows Bridget, Cormac, and Emily to Dublin, where they encounter evil people of all classes as they attempt to find Cormac’s mother and sisters.

I found this to be a well-written and entertaining love story. While it is a love story, it is also a scathing look back at the treatment of the so-called lower classes by the rich and entitled of the era. At the same time, the author brings forth a thread of hope in the form of Bridget. Although Bridget was born in privilege, she can see the humanity of every person and has already cast her title aside for love. The characters are all well developed and the desperation of the time is well conveyed. The novel is fast paced and full of obstacles and adventure.

Highly recommended for fans of historical romance and Irish history.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Susie Murphy

Susie Murphy is an Irish historical fiction author. She loves historical fiction so much that she often wishes she had been born two hundred years ago. Still, she remains grateful for many aspects of the modern age, including women’s suffrage, electric showers and pizza. Susie’s published novels, A Class Apart, A Class Entwined and A Class Forsaken, are the first three instalments in her seven-part series A Matter of Class, a sweeping saga which begins in Ireland in 1828.

To find out more, visit http://www.susiemurphywrites.com, where you can join Susie’s Readers’ Club and receive a collection of five free short stories which are prequels to the whole series.

I received a free copy of this book via Historical Novels Review Magazine. My opinions are my own.

BUY ALL THREE BOOKS IN THE “A MATTER OF CLASS” SERIES ON AMAZON. Kindle Unlimited members may also borrow them all for free.

SPOTLIGHT SATURDAY: Great Books Available on Kindle Unlimited

Five children are abducted during a daycare outing. Three and a half years later, four of them are returned. Only Ivy, the granddaughter of homicide detective Kate Wakeland, is still missing and presumed dead. Not allowed to join the investigation, Kate is unofficially following the case while working on a separate murder investigation. 

This is the first in a series about 64 year old Detective Kate Wakeland, and I can’t wait to read the next book. There are twists and turns and a completely unexpected ending. I read this through in a day because I could not put it down. It grabs your interest, your imagination, and your heart. If you love murder mysteries, stories about family conflict, and stories with strong female characters, you will enjoy this book. Anni Taylor has done an amazing job with this book.

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley. My review is voluntary. Now the book is available on Kindle Unlimited at no extra charge for KU members. It’s the first of the Tallman’s Valley Detective Series, and Book 2 is also on Kindle Unlimited. It’s an amazing value for KU members, and a chance to read two books from a talented writer for free. Book 3 is due out in September 2021.

Link to Book 1 on Amazon

Link to Book 2 on Amazon

Link to Preorder Book 3 on Amazon

SPOTLIGHT: Great Books on Kindle Unlimited

This is a Saturday series I’ve started where I recommend great books I’ve read on Kindle Unlimited. Kindle Unlimited members can read these books at no additional charge for a monthly fee, and there are gems out there, this book being one of them, that make it an even greater value.

FRAN, THE SECOND TIME AROUND

“Fran, the Second Time Around” by Amy L. Bernstein is the story of a young girl, just starting high school, who has switched to a new school. There are hints around the reason that Fran switched schools, and it is clear that something traumatic and horrible has happened to her. The first half of the book speaks of Fran’s new life and how she is adjusting to her new school, new friends, and “the second time around.” The second half of the book begins to peel away the layers of what happened to her and slowly reveals the devastating event.

This book was extremely well written by Amy L. Bernstein. I could see inside Fran’s world and literally feel the heartache she was experiencing. It was so real that her grief became my grief. The picture that is painted of a young girl desperately trying to stumble forward in a world that is moving along without her is so genuine and raw that I want to applaud the author for her efforts. I highly recommend this book to anyone, young adults or older, who has dealt with heartache, devastating loss, guilt, or grief, or anyone who just wants to discover a very talented author.

I picked this book up on Kindle Unlimited, where it is free for all KU members. I definitely recommend you check it out.

Link to the book on Amazon

Link to the Amy L. Bernstein’s website

Link to My Goodreads Review

Spotlight: Kindle Unlimited

Every Saturday starting today I will turn my spotlight on great books that Kindle Unlimited members can get at no additional charge. My first spotlight is on Arriving Through Time by Heather L. Barksdale. This is a young adult Time Travel adventure. This book can be picked up at no additional charge by Kindle Unlimited members.

Arriving through Time by Heather L. Barksdale is a Young Adult time travel novel. Lizzie has been through a family tragedy and is having a tough time, but she is supported by her two best friends, Sam and Jeremy. They are currently navigating high school life and dealing with bullies Gary and Tiffany. Then a class project has Lizzie wondering about her ancestors, and a school trip ends with the three friends hurtling through time, along with their bullies and Lizzie’s secret crush. Although at first it appears to be a freak occurrence, the time travel seems very designed, as all of the teens begin to meet long dead ancestors.

What I loved about this story is that it combined time travel fiction and genealogy, two of my favorite pastimes, and it did this in a clever way. A class project and a DNA test have brought questions about Lizzie’s ancestors to the surface, and unexpected time travel gives her a chance to get answers. This book reminds us that our ancestors were living, breathing, people, not just names on a family tree. They blazed the way for us, good and bad, and everything they did enabled us to be alive today. We also learn something along the way as we visit people and places that are important to American history.

I loved the way time took the six travelers to locations that were pertinent to all of them and their ancestors and gave them both answers and surprises. I find that in my own genealogy research. 

If you are a fan of young adult novels, time travel, genealogy, and/or historical fiction, you will enjoy this book. I received a free copy of this book from the author. I also picked up a copy on Amazon, where Kindle Unlimited members can read it for free. My review is voluntary. 

Link to the book on Amazon:  

Link to Heather L. Barksdale’s website:  

Link to my review on Goodreads (Like and follow if you are so inclined)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heather L. Barksdale has been a physical therapist, a researcher, a military brat, and now a novelist.  She has also traveled throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia seeking adventure.  She is an avid fan of historical fiction and calls upon her adventures as inspiration for her stories.  It was one such adventure that inspired her to write Arriving Through Time. She and her husband share their home in Jacksonville, Florida where she is currently writing the sequel to continue the story of Lizzie and her friends.