The Infinite Sea Book Review

The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2)

Book Overview

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.


Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

Book Review

The book picks up where the first ends. Cassie and the others are holed up in a hotel close to the late Camp Haven. Evan is still MIA and believed dead. But Cassie doesn’t give up hope on him. Ben is badly injured so they can’t travel. So Ringer goes off on her own to locate a better place to hide.

Quickly it turns bad. Teacup follows her and she shoots the poor girl. They are captured and taken to a new Camp Haven while Evan claws his way to Cassie, losing his upgrades in the process. One of the Others, Grace, follows him and leads the Others to them.

Most of the book follows Ringers story at the camp with her being physically upgraded like the others so they can use her as a spy to find Evan.

I gave it 2 stars.

I wasn’t pulled into this story as the previous one. I found myself skimming to get through some of the constant monologing. At some points I thought the character Ringer’s story mimicked Cassie’s in book 1. When the story ended I felt as if the it had been cut off not in a good suspenseful way. Rather big important chunks left out of the story. Specially Evan and why the others are slowly killing humans instead of just wiping them out.

About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.

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How to Avoid using Reviewers as Editors

I’ve noticed a trend where indie authors are asking me to review their books already published and asking for my opinion (i.e. editing advice). Right off the bat, I can tell it obviously hadn’t been professionally edited or badly edited, whichever the case.

I’m not sure why they would rushed to publish it when it wasn’t done. I wonder if they got in the trap where they had to publish. If you’re a writer, you knowing that feeling. You spent months or years writing the book . You’re sick and tired looking at it and want the damn book off your plate already. So you skip the editing stage and shove it out the door. Or maybe it has to do with money. Either you can’t afford to pay and editor or, in other cases, some authors start blogging, tweeting and posting on Facebook and quickly gain a large following. They start to feel the pressure to publish so they can bank on their new fame. Or maybe they thought it was ready. They had the book critiqued with one of those critique groups online or in town. A few people read the whole story and said they liked it. They may have even paid an editor to polish it. So they assume it’s ready to be published. But when the reviews start coming in, they aren’t what you expected at all.

I fell into that trap myself. I wanted to get the book off my plate and foolishly believed the critiquer’s and beta readers that my book was great. I paid an editor to polish it, skipping deeper story line edits that would’ve cost me thousands I didn’t have. When I published it, I had a rude awakening. I didn’t get the stellar reviews I expected. (Truth is no one does, unless paid for.) What some reviewers wrote made me realize the book wasn’t ready to publish as I thought. There were some serious story line issues I left out.

Lucky for me, I still had a strong story so my reviews weren’t too bad. The revisions my book needed didn’t require a new ISBN. But for the authors who publish a book that tanks badly, it’ll take a lot to build up their reputation with readers after that.

Even if the author decides to revise the book and republish it, they’ll have to get a new ISBN. I.e. no reviews, low ranking, etc… Pretty much starting over from scratch promoting the book, which may not be so bad if the book bombed, but it adds a lot of unnecessary work.

So you say, how do I avoid falling in this trap myself?

First of all, you can’t rely on a critique group review to spot story line issues when they only read a few pages at a time and days apart. They are good for line editing such as catching grammar and punctuation errors, POV issues and other minor editing issues, but nothing more.

Beta readers will give you a general sense of a book, but still not a true gauge, because of their skill level or time issue. Most beta readers are someone you arranged to swap reading stories with. They are focused on their book not yours. So they are going to do the bare minimum. (I had someone say, Oh your book seemed fast and nothing else after I gave them a 3 page manuscript critique.) Or they don’t have the experience to catch major issues.

So there are couple of steps you can take to get a true view of your book story line quality.

  1. After writing your first draft, have your book read by a professional “paid” editor who specialize in your genre. Make sure they provide you a detailed critique on your manuscript. They’ll be able to spot story line, characterization and other issues beta readers miss.
  2. Revise.
  3. Build a small beta reading group of writer’s in your same genre with writing skills that compliment yours. You can use them to verify you corrected the issues the editor noted in their critique.
  4. Have another professional editor read your second draft, preferably a different one so you get a fresh perspective.
  5. Edit and go back to your beta readers.
  6. Repeat until no one spots any serious issues.
  7. Then pay to have it polished.’

Even if you take all those steps, you can’t guarantee a bestseller, but you can at least ensure it’s well written and good story.

If you have any additional advice, please feel free to post a comment.

About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.

 

 

Alien apocalyptic: 5th Wave Book Review

Okay so I’m a little behind in my reading. I finally finished reading…

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1)

 

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother-or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Book Review

It’s start with 16 year old Cassie living alone in the woods by herself after the 4th alien attack (wave) hit earth. Over 7 billion people are dead. The survivors are scattered around the world. She is one of them. She stays hidden or risks being killed by the Others, which she isn’t sure who they are. They’re supposed to look just like humans. So she trusts no one, especially the military who killed her father and tried to kill her.

She decides to leave the forest and go save her 5 year old brother, Sam, from the military who took him. In the process she is shot and rescued by one of the Others. This is where the story parallels Twilight in a way. Her hunter, Evan,  young, hot, very strong and fast. Despite his mission to kill humans, saves Cassie, because he fallen for her.

But if you’re looking for a slow love story between them, you’re out of luck. The book skips around to other point of views so you get a sense of whats happening in the world beside Cassie holed up in a cabin with Evan.

I give it 4 stars.

I felt the characterization of Cassie and Ben were good and kept me interested, although neither of them have unique voices. They sound the same. Sam sounded too old for a five year old. My son is four, he hangs out with my neighbors son who is 5. They take him hunting on the weekends, but even so, I couldn’t imagine him thinking, let alone acting as mature as Sam. He sounded closer to 7 or 8. And whats up with all the girls wanting to slap the guys. (My personal pet peeve stereotyping girls as being girly girls.) I hate to break it to you Rick, but not all girls resort to sissy slapping when they get frustrated and mad at a guy. Some punch, some just roll their eyes and walk away and the list goes on.  (just to the  name a few responses).

If you like reading sci-fi’s or post apocalypse stories, this book is worth reading.

About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.

#FridayReads #BookReview Evangeline

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Evangeline (A Dark Faerie Tale, #0.5)

by Alexia Purdy

Book Overview

The Land of Faerie is calling.
There are places unknown, magic lures you in and love spans lifetimes.
Don’t resist. It’s in the blood…

Evangeline is a short story prequel to Ever Shade.

Book Review

I came across this book on Amazon Free Fantasy stories. I decided to give it a try, being it was a short story and I didn’t have to commit too much of my time before deciding whether or not I want to read the series. Sadly my first impression wasn’t that good, because:

The story was written in third person omniscient, which I’m not a huge fan of reading. It can become difficult to follow. Evangeline was no exception. The author didn’t have any transitions between the two POV’s Evangeline and her sister, Jade. She switched POV mid-paragraphs. So most of the time I had to re-read paragraphs to figure out who was speaking, taking me out of the story.

Next, the first couple of chapters the author spent a lot of time narrating and explaining backstory about the sisters and their powers instead of letting it unfold naturally with the story. However, she left off the most important part–character development.

The sisters characters were flat and hard to connect too. They had no personality. No unique characteristics. I didn’t even really know what they looked like, except Evangeline had black hair and brown eyes.

If that wasn’t bad enough, just as I finally felt the story was getting interesting when Evangeline met Jack, the story fast forwards to her leaving Jade to spend time with him, whom she had been dating for awhile and loved. Then the next chapter jumped again where she was living in Faerie Land.

I gave it 2 stars.

Despite my issue with third person omniscient, narrating backstory and flat characters, it had a potential. If the author had written in the interactions between Jack and Evangeline as well as Jade and the fairy king the story and the characters could’ve became interesting. However it didn’t.  It felt rushed and confusing instead.

Perhaps if you were reading the story, after have read book 1 it may have been more interesting. But starting with this book only turns you off from the series as it did with me.

Reminder: Today is the last day to download The Zeuorian Awakening Free on Amazon Kindle.


About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.

#Indiechat How to Tell If a Book Promoter is Legit

After receiving the below email from http://www.thebooksmachine.com soliciting me to promote with them The Zeuorian Awakening (currently being offered FREE on Amazon as a Kindle book promotion). I decided to do a little research to see if their stats were legit.

Dear Cindy Zablockis,

I have recently come across your book The Zeuorian Awakening (Volume 1) on Amazon and due to both its quality and plot, it qualifies to be promoted in our community of readers.

The Books Machine is a website that connects authors and readers. It helps writers promote their work, gain in reputation and prestige, and reach a potential audience.

Our press team’s offer includes help promoting books to thousands of readers in our community, whether at reduced or regular prices. This is done through a deals promotion page on our website, a Facebook post with exclusive deals reaching over 25,000 readers, as well as a “Newsletter of the Day” that uses a unique and innovative marketing tool featuring an excerpt from your book within a unique customized layout.

The days currently available to feature your work in our newsletter are tomorrow and Friday. In the following link you can find more detailed information about who we are, get to know our community of authors and readers, and find out how this promotion can benefit you and your book: http://www.thebooksmachine.com/deals/dealspromote.html

Also you can find a powerful tool to promote your titles in an innovative way through a professional Video Book Trailer production, adding it on your Amazon book description, Author Central, Deal description, social networks, Youtube Channel, your own website, etc. You can see more information, prices and real works that we’ve made for our authors here: http://www.thebooksmachine.com/booktrailer/videobooktrailer.html
Warm wishes,

Meryl Wright
Site Administrator

www.thebooksmachine.com
FB: www.facebook.com/TheBooksMachine

Copyright 2014

 

What I found about thebooksmachine.com

(This is an average of multiple Traffic Reporting Sites Stats)

Website Statistics

  • Unique “New” (Never been to the website) Visitors: 625 – 852 (Daily) or 18,750 – 25,560 (monthly)
  • Daily “Web” Page views by New & Returning Visitors as well as webots: 1,704 – 4,062
  • Bounce Rate (% of visitors who visit 1 page for less than 60 seconds and then leave the site): 100%/100 %
  • Website Trust worthiness: Very poor (Web browsers and Virus software will warn visitors site not safe)
  • Website Privacy: Very poor (Your cookie information can be copied. i.e. ip address, email, etc…)
  • Website Child Safety: Very Poor (Adult content. Computers with child browsers will block the site)
  • Website Security:  None (They have no HTTPS Protocol needed to hide information entered in forms)

 

Facebook Statistics

  • Facebook page has 27,786 likes
  • 69 People talking about their post this week
  • 39 New page likes this week
  • Last post 4/13/16
  • # of post a day: 1 – 2
  • Post time: early morning around 7:30 am or evening around 5:30 pm

 

Twitter Statistics

  • Tweets 447
  • Following 1,173
  • Followers 3,990
  • Likes 109
  • Last Tweet September 2015

 

Google+ Statistics

  • Google+ followers 13
  • Last post June 2015

 

So What does all that mean?

If I ran my ad for 2 days on their site as the email suggested, I would have:

1,250 potential people may view my book ad on the web site for less than 60 seconds, depending if it is on the home page and above the fold (visible without scrolling) before they leave the website.

152 people may view the ad on Facebook (based on 8.24% average post reach x T # of likes “views” / 30 days * 2 days) and less than 4 people may share my book on Facebook (based on .21% engagement rate x Total # of likes / 30 days * 2 days).

Bottom Line

I wouldn’t pay them a penny. First of all, their website isn’t secure to receive payments or protect information entered in the registration forms. The numbers I discovered is considerably far less than the 25,000 they were touting. No wonder they don’t have an official advertising page with their web statistics posted like legitimate websites.

 

If you like to learn more about Web Analytics visit this website:

https://www.tendenci.com/help-files/meaning-of-hits-visits-page-views-and-traffic-sources-web-analytics-definitions/#sthash.xPWPT9KQ.dpuf

 

How you can look up a website advertising stats:

Free Services

 

Paid Services

 

 

How to Check Blog Stats

Blog Post Comments

Another way to gauge the popularity of a blog is to look at how many comments it gets per post.

With my sites, I’ve found that an average of 1 out of every 200 readers leaves a comment. So a post with 20 non-Nicholas comments was viewed about 4,000 times. This changes with every post and every blog, but again, it gives you a general idea.

 

Total Comment Counts

Immediately after you comment on a WordPress blog, your browser redirects you to where your comment will show up. If you look at the URL, you’ll see something that looks like this:

http://www.website.com/blog#comment-108656

The second half of the URL tells you that you left the 108,656th comment on website.com. This number includes spam comments. Assume that 75-90% of the comments are spam and you can get an idea of how many comments a site has had since day one.


About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.

 

#indiechat Getting Better Reviews On Your Books

Every author faces the challenge of getting reviews on their books, preferably good ones ( 4 and above). They have a direct impact on sales. The more favorable, more sales and better exposure of the book on Amazon.

However, getting reviews can be a daunting task. Trust me, I know. I sent blind emails to bloggers and Amazon top reviewers. I filled out countless book review blog requests. I begged family and friends for their help (Which ended up being a waste of time, because Amazon blocks those reviews). I bartered with other authors (I review your book, if you review mine.). None of it worked. I got a few reviews that was it.

I finally resorted to using review services like Story Cartel and Netgalley, but several of the reviews I received weren’t that great. Like most writers I internalized and assumed my book sucked. But after I had time to think and put on my User researcher hat and re-read the reviews, I realized the bad reviews had nothing to do with my writing, rather the reviewer.

Majority of the reviewers who gave my book bad reviews weren’t my target audience. They liked to read paranormal romances not dark fantasy’s packed with action and mystery. No wonder why they hated the book. I would feel the same toward most literary fiction. I have no patience for slow paced, overly descriptive stories.

The rest of the bad reviews came from reviewers who like to bash books. You know them. The shock jocks who like to stir up others emotions to increase their blog readers, the pissed off reader who got irked about something in the book or in some cases, life, and take it out on the review.  Lastly, there were the reviewers who just wanted to add another blog article and didn’t bother to read the book at all. (i.e. a reviewer of my book The Zeuorian Awakening talked about how my lead character, Lexi, threw herself on all the boys. If she read the story, she would’ve known Lexi avoided everyone to keep them from figuring out about her powers.)

So I realized in order to get better reviews, I needed to think like a marketer. I needed to request reviews from my target audience. Unfortunately the pay for review services don’t give you the choice to be picky about who reads your books.

But How, you maybe thinking?

First of all you need to know what is your book genre and who is your real audience, because I promise you it’s not everyone.

When I say know your audience, I mean a general profile:

  • What is their age range
  • Are they male or female, if a mix what is the percentage (i.e 25% male and 75% female)
  • Do they have a blog, Twitter, Facebook and/or Goodreads accounts
  • Do they actively socialize online, if so where, how many posts per week and on what days?
  • What genre’s do they predominately read and give good reviews too. (Make sure your book Genre is on their list, specifically close to the top.)
  • Have they reviewed several books? (A must, if you want them to review your book)

The best way to figure out who are your audience without guessing and filling in the blanks, is to do a little competitive research. See who is reading similar books as yours on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter and Blogs. (at least 25, but I suggest doing more to get a clear picture). Then list their answers in a spreadsheet and average them out.

For instance:

  • Ages were 25, 36, 29, 45, so the age range is 25 to 45.
  • There were 2 men and 18 women. So the audience makes up mostly women readers with a small percentage of men.
  • 10 readers had blogs, 18 had Twitter accounts, 5 had Facebook accounts and 16 had Goodreads accounts. So the audience predominately has Twitter and Goodreads accounts.
  • 5 readers tweeted 10 posts twice a week on Twitter, 12 tweeted 20 posts every other day of the week and 3 tweeted 1 post on Friday. So the audience is moderately active on Twitter, posting 10 to 20 tweets on M, W, F and Sun.

Next you need to find potential reviewers who match your audience using your research and solicit them. It doesn’t have to be a direct email. It could be:

  • A blog article, a tweet, a Facebook posting targeting them by using meta and hashtags.
  • An article written and posted on someone else’s blog that your audience views.
  • Join a discussion group who discuss your genre, but don’t hound them to review your book. Instead mention it briefly in a related thread.

If you can think of any other way to connect to your audience please share by posting a comment.


About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.