Friday, 24 May 2013

Review of "The Sable City" by M. Edward McNally: written by David Lowbridge

Book Blurb:

Tilda Lanai has trained for years to take her place among the Guilders, but now the House she is to serve is imperiled by the sudden death of the House Lord. Scenting blood in the water, rival Houses begin to circle. The desperate search for an exiled heir takes Tilda across a war-torn continent and to the gates of the Sable City, where centuries ago dark magic almost destroyed the world. Along with a sinister sorceress, a broken-hearted samurai, and a miscreant mercenary long on charm but lousy with a crossbow, Tilda must brave the demon-infested ruins to find the heir who may yet save her House.

Cover Page: 15/20

This is a good cover, especially for the genre. What I particularly like is the sense of the map gives. What I would say is that the cover does not excel in such a way that it would catch my attention on the shelf amongst others, which is a shame considering the content.

Character (and their development): 20/20

I think it is very rare for an author to come up with a list of characters which are not only interesting but varied. Each one has their own strengths and weaknesses which truly makes the cast a believable and lovable group. Tilda and the Captain, both characters introduced very early on, were of a lot interest to me and I could certainly imagine what sitting down to have a cup of tea with them would be like.

Storyline: 20/20

Story lines in fantasy books, such as this one, can often be complicated and you are often checking back to see what you have missed. I've had more than one fantasy book where I’ve had to read it twice just to get the story. But on this book, the author has done a wonderful job of making the story not only flow perfectly but also simple enough that any reader can read it just once and get what is going on. There are excellent twists throughout the story and the action is evenly placed throughout the book so you are not hanging around if you look for a lot of high drama.

Style: 15/20

The one thing that sometimes turns me off books such as this is the description. It is often in excess. In my opinion this book has not overcome that. Although it is nice to fully immerse yourself inside a world; this book just had too much. For instance there were times where you were reading paragraphs of description, but nothing in there was moving the story forward. The one area where the description did excel was in the battle scenes where I thought they were beautifully written and seemed to portray not only the chaos but also the speed of which battles happen.

Spelling and Grammar: 19/20

Spelling and grammar were excellent. There were literally no spelling mistakes or grammar errors that I could see. With one exception this whole book would have got 20/20, but one of my pet hates in military ranking is the use of Leftenant. In most countries (Canada, Britain, etc), even though this is how it is pronounced, it is spelt Lieutenant.

Conclusion: 89/100

A good fantasy adventure that may be heavy on description but is brilliant on storyline and character that will give the reader an enjoyable time. If you are a lover of fantasy such as lord of the rings then this book is a must on your shelf.

Buy at
Buy at

Connect with the author here

Friday, 17 May 2013

My experiences with Hootsuite by David Lowbridge

So like any published author my main problem is getting my name out there. To combat that the internet has given us dozens of social media platforms in which we can use to engage our audience and find new readers. The only problem is time. If you are like me you have a Facebook account (with two main pages), twitter, linkedin, blog, Google+ and a couple of others. If I had a major update that is a lot to manage. There is also the point that throughout those mediums I have collected a number of contacts who I regularly like to keep in contact. But logging in and out of all those providers is time consuming.

Part of the problem is the user friendliness of some of those programs. For example in twitter on the main page I can see a small box where I can input a tweet and a queue of tweets others and I have sent out recently. But if I want to know who has retweeted my own messages or sent me a message then I have to look at another page.

The average user has about 208 following them and follows about 102; however about 74% of all twitter users have 50 or less. The average user tweets about 2 messages per day. These stats don’t look too bad. However if you look at my following list, a vast majority of them have over that 50 following number and can be well into the hundreds and sometimes thousands. They are also active people who can send ten or more tweets in a day. We are looking at thousands of tweets entering my stream every single day.

Even posting my messages is a little hard. I like to put out a lot of helpful and informative articles for other readers and writers. However with no facility to spread them out across the day I have had to go on and do what I call a twitter blast. That is where I go online and write six to ten tweets and blast them in a space of thirty minutes. For a starters it is not a good policy, it makes it look like you are bot to someone who doesn’t know you and secondly with so many people posting; your messages only have a short time to be noticed. If I looked for tweets with the #amreading hashtag; there have been 38 tweets in the past hour (and it is 6 am in the morning at time of writing), if that is the average, that’s 912 tweets per day. My twitter blasts won’t reach many people in that crowd.

Sometimes I want some messages to go across multiple platforms. Twitter allows you to post your tweets automatically on Facebook, but the problem is it is an all or nothing deal. I cannot select certain messages to go to my Facebook wall, which is very frustrating

Then if we move to Facebook. I have two pages, one for my writing and one for my reviewing (which is no longer a solo run entity); plus there is my general profile page. If I want to update all three I have to do it separately, which takes a long time even if I am copying and pasting.
All of this over the past month or so has created a big black hole in my time that I can do what matters most for writers: write.

I needed something that allowed me to couple of things.

1.       Manage multiple accounts from one location
2.       Select which messages are post to each platform
3.       Spread out my messages so that I can get maximum exposure.

Luckily there is a number of solutions and Hootsuite is one of them.

Hootsuite is like having a marketing manager to help you out. It compiles all the information into one manageable (and customizable) page for each social platform, making it easy to see what has been said, what you have said, who has mentioned you and more importantly what you are going to say.
The greatest asset that Hootsuite has is scheduling messages, there is even a facility where it will post the message dependent on when Hootsuite thinks it will get the most exposure. For every message you send out you get to select which platforms the message gets sent to, with every message able to be sent to multiple platforms in one go, saving time on that pesky copy and pasting.

Hootsuite is not perfect. Facebook pages count as a single platform and when you only have five with the free account, then half of my platforms are taken up by just Facebook. Add my twitter account and I have lost 4/5 of my platforms. When you may only want to add in one or two more platforms, $9.99 a month is just too expensive. Also in twitter ‘streams’ I cannot see those who have simply added my message to their favourites list nor can I see when I have a new follower. However I do get to see my Klout score which is fairly useful.

But even with those minor negatives, Hootsuite is such a useful tool for authors and will continue to use it.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Review for "'New Arbor Day' by J S Clark" - Review by Jess Mountifield

Story Overview:

Agee Skyler thought the biggest problem on his roadtrip were the words he hadn't said to Caitlin Moss, but four cars piled like crumpled pop cans against a rolled semi with no survivors, no witnesses, no skid marks, and no first responders is just the edge of an attack even a Marine wasn't ready for.

Meanwhile, time is running out for Caitlin in a darkened New York City under siege, and threatened from within by refugees growing more desperate as the buildings fall.

Can Agee, Caitlin, and three uncanny strangers find common purpose long enough to save the human race from total destruction?

Cover: 13/20

The cover is pretty simplistic and wouldn't draw me into reading the book alone but wouldn't put me off either. It is relevant though and I'm a sucker for feathers and their relevant meaning so it would make me personally at least a little curious.

Characters: 20/20

The characters were amazing. I'm not even sure I can pick out a favourite character although I think Sidney should get an honourary mention for being an awesome kid. The different point of views everyone had led to them all feeling very real and easily relatable to. A sort of 'something for everyone' kind of thing. The development was also fantastic and weaved expertly into the plot. It seemed that almost no character was forgotten yet it never felt overwhelming.

Storyline: 18/20

The plot was interesting and moved along well, giving the book a fast pace, which is exactly how I like this kind of story. There was some originality to the concept and the particular destruction tool which I liked but I found the conflict was carried by a few too many very similar situations. I know humanity would have struggled with the events that happened but the same plot device was used one or two more times than was really necessary to make the point.

I totally loved the themes that were explored and the symbolism presented in the book. The whole thing was very tastefully representative of a belief system I found I loved learning about and was definitely the highlight of the book for me. None of it felt forced and I highlighted quite a few sections of the ebook when sentences and thoughts struck me as really rather profound.

Style: 16/20

The style flowed well and was in my favourite 3rd person limited, and the breaks when it moved people were all there and for the most part I moved easily from person to person along with the narrator. There were one or two moments I got a little confused but considering the number of perspectives there were that is barely a flaw worth mentioning.

On the downside, however, I found the few parts of the book that dealt with past events to seem out of place and confused me greatly so I had to re-read a few chunks. I think they would have been better handled, being slightly more distinctly marked, and maybe even expanded upon to give make them seem like they mattered.

Spelling and Grammar: 13/20

The spelling and grammar wasn't awful but I spotted about 15-20 mistakes where a word was missing, there was an extra word, the wrong word or a comma was missed off. In all these cases it jerked me out of the story and I had to re-read that sentence to figure out what the author meant. I've deducted 5 points for those.

The other two was for the dialogue. Very occasionally, I had no idea who had said something and therefore the section didn't make sense, especially when there were more than two speaking. A few more dialogue tags would have been helpful.

All in all I think the book needs one more proof read to bring it up to normal publishing standards.

Conclusion: 80/100

A great dissatopian novel with some really interesting ideas and a lot of food for thought. Despite the few downsides I really enjoyed the book and I'll be recommending it to my book club.

Buy New Arbor Day from:

More from the author:

J.S. Clark's website:

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Update - New Schedule for The Indie Ebook Review Site

So for those of you who haven’t been keeping up, we have a new staff member – Jess Mountifield. She is an excellent reviewer and she has already done such a wonderful job on revitalizing the facebook page. We would still like another reviewer or two to join the team in order to help us reach our goal of being a blog dedicated to quality content. So if you fancy being a reviewer on a site then please have a look at the staff page for more information including what the role entitles and what benefits there are..

We’ve put in a lot of thought this weekend just been and decided that the site needs some changes in the schedule. So from next week we will have a new schedule:

Mondays – Cover Spotlight – show off the cover of your book and write a little about it. This can be an upcoming release or an old backlist book.
Tuesday – Author Tales – Tell us something about your writing career thus far. It could be an overview of the whole career or a good event that has stuck in your mind.
Wednesday  - Excerpt - show off your work with an excerpt and a little bit of how it inspired you.
Thursday – Market Madness – Do you think you could sell us your book in 20 words? Have a go. 5 authors get the chance each week.
Friday – Review day – This is the day when new reviews will be posted.

You can participate in any of these days and as many times as you like as long as it is new content.

It is important that you really do consider these opportunities. Our average page views per day has steadily increased month on month so now is a good time to get involved. Guest posts can work like a charm.  I’ve had authors who have told me after their feature has been posted that they have seen a boost in sales. So what are you waiting for? To book a spot please contact me by sending us an e-mail and join us on our facebook page.

Welcome to The Indie Ebook Review Site

Hello and welcome to the Indie Ebook Review Site.

Please take a seat, pour yourself your favourite beverage and have a read of some of our reviews. We cover Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal and have something for everyone.

If you are an author you can also submit your book for review or request a guest poster spot.

We hope you enjoy your visit.