Tag: Review

Paid book review: rant

A few days ago, I was emailed by the proprietor of this blog. The conversation went a little something like this:

Proprietor:  Hi! I’d like to review your book on my website. Are you willing to shell out 75$ for my services

Me: Uhm, I’d rather not. I can pay you 10$ now, and 65$ once I’ve made that much in book sales. That shouldn’t be any trouble for you if you’re actually confident in your own product.

Proprietor: I’ve done this with three authors before, and not one of them fulfilled on the promised deal.  They made the money back and more and still they did not pay me.

At this point, I am sceptical. How did she know that the authors “made the money back and more”? Clicks does not equal sales. The conversation continued:

Me: Fine. I guess it’s fair that we should split the risk. I’ll pay you 35$ now, and then 35$ later.

Proprietor: I’d like to go through with this. You’ll pay me 35$ now, and then 35$ when I prove I’ve written a review, before I publish it.

Me: I’m not sure you understand. My risk is that I won’t make back the money in sales. I have no doubt that you’ll actually write the review. I’ll pay you the remaining 35$ once I’ve made 75$ in sales.

I haven’t heard from her since. Here’s the thing – and I can’t believe I have to state this again:

Clicks and/or pageviews does not equal sales!

I  have no problems paying maybe 10$ or so for a review now and again when someone contacts me, even though they usually never equate to any sales (maybe one or two). Mostly, they build my ego, even if I prefer reviews that are not paid for (I have some of them as well). I’m an author, my job is not to be a financial advisor to myself.

However, I’m also not stupid. If I were to shell out 75$ for every review without expecting a return on my investment, I’d be financially ruined.

If you read this, and you’re a book blogger, you need to understand that from a business perspective,  your review is essentially worthless if it doesn’t generate sales. I’m sure some of you will be thinking “it’s a hobby, you shouldn’t expect to be making money off of it”.

But that’s exactly the problem – there are a million and one of not just reviewers out there, but publishers, proof readers etc. who are doing everything they can to make a quick buck off of people’s hobbies. And it’s a real shame, because for every genuine hobbyist out there, there are two more secretly wishing to reach the New York Time’s  best seller list. I can tell you right now – you don’t get there by paying for reviews.

Review: Hollow City

“Look!” Enoch shouted, standing up in the boat next to ours. “It’s disappearing!”

A spectral fog enshrouded the island, blanking it from view, and we broke from rowing to watch it fade. “Say goodbye to our island,” Emma said, standing and removing her big hat. “We may never see it again.”

“Farewell, island,” said Hugh.

“You were so good to us.”

Horace set his oar down and waved.  “Goodbye, house. I shall miss all your rooms and gardens, but most of all I shall miss my bed.”

“So long, loop,” Olive sniffled. “Thank you for keeping us safe all these years.”

“Good years,” said Bronwyn. “The best I’ve known.”

Cover of the book

Cover of the book “Hollow City” by Ransom Riggs.

In the second book in the series about Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children, author Ransom Riggs has the kids leaving their safe island in search for their mistress.

The book is a lot darker than the first one in places, Jacob’s relationship with Emma is solidified much more than in the first book, and Jacob comes to find out much more about who he is in this book.

This book also properly introduces the main villain of the series, Caul. He’s just as nasty and despicable as you could expect if you read the first book. The book has a lot more of what made the first book great: peculiarity, pictures, action and excitement.

Basically: if you liked the first one, you’ll like this one. If you loved the first one, you’ll devour this one!

A good debut

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Skyggejakten by Jørgen Jæger is a crime novel about the policeman Ole Vik. It is the first book about the policeman, and it was published in 2003.

The book revolves around a case where the paranoid and schizophrenic scrap dealer Ingolf Holgersen apparently killed his own maid.

Because of his condition, it is difficult, if not impossible, to prove what happened, and Ole Vik has an intriguing case in front of him. The case will turn out to throw suspicion on employees in his own staff, which gets Vik to start doubting whom he surrounds himself with.

Although I personally miss some action scenes in this book, Jørgen Jæger has done a thorough job and has managed to create a good crime drama.

I have a little trouble identifying myself with Ole Vik, because he is much older than me, but in spite of this I managed to stay around  until the end of this mystery.

His characters are well constructed and it is easy to emphasize with the psychology of the various characters. A negative aspect is Jæger’s narrative style, which is often a little slow and characterized by a somewhat old vocabulary.

But all in all, this book is recommended for people who like Nordic crime fiction.

Review: The Son by Jo Nesbø

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This is a really good Crime Thriller. It’s also pretty brutal.
It features at least four murders and one torture, with varying degrees of intensity. This is not a book for the faint of heart, in other words.
But if you like well-written, modern crime fiction, you will probably dig this book. Especially if you live in Oslo or you’ve ever visited it.
Jo Nesbø features lots of good descriptions of Oslo in this book, from the city’s classy hotels to the more slummy areas east in the city where the drug addicts live. He also features a varied cast of characters.
One thing I didn’t like was the names, many of which are untypical and somewhat unrealistic, such as “Sonny”, “Rover” and “Ab”.
That said, the characters are still interesting, such as the main character Sonny who is a brutal murderer but still very sympathetic, the love interest Martha which is very conflicted and takes a long time to realize that she’s fallen for Sonny, and the old wise cop Simon who turns out to be very different from what he initially seems.
The plot is well crafted and gripping, and will keep you at the edge of your seat like a good thriller is supposed to do.

Review: Hail, Caesar

First, an admission: I was never a huge fan of the Coen-brothers. I never watched any of their movies except for Bridge of Spies (which I loved!), The Big Lebowski (which was ok), and Oh Brother, Where Art Thou (which was so-so).

I hadn’t read or seen anything about this movie when I went to see it, so I didn’t know what to expect. The movie starts off in antique Rome, where a roman soldier, played by Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), is leading a flock of prisoners back to the capitol.

Soon, the movie somewhat abruptly cuts to a confession booth inside a Catholic church. Here we meet the movie’s actual protagonist, Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin). He’s a “fixer” working for a Hollywood studio in the 1950s, and the movie depicts a day in his life.

Ralph Fiennes as Laurence Laurentz

Ralph Fiennes as Laurence Laurentz

Problems start piling up almost immediately: Whitlock is drugged by a couple of extras on the set and kidnapped by what turns out to be a bunch of screenwriters-turned-communists. They demand $100,000 in ransome money from the studio.

DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johanson), another one of the studio’s stars, has become pregnant and doesn’t want to take responsibility for her baby while her movie is in production.

The director Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes) is missing a male lead for his latest production. With all these things going on at the same time and more, hilarity ensues.

What I liked best about this movie was its interspersed scenes from movies that could have been made in the 1950s, complete with dancing sailors, diving mermaids, live music, and rodeo cowboys. Movies are not made this way anymore, and this movie offers a fresh look at how things were way back when.

The acting performances are spot on, as you would expect from the ensemble that this movie offers up. In the end though, this really is Brolin’s movie, and he works really hard to make you feel for all the problems he has to fix during the course of this movie.

I also liked quite a lot of the music in this movie, which is fittingly infused with plenty of jazz and big band.

If you like period movies, smart comedies, classic Hollywood, and /or movies made by the Coen brothers, you will definitely like this one.

Review: Moleskine Volant

For the past months, I’ve been writing on iPad for journalistic assignments, or on free journals from my university in my spare time.

But a couple of days ago, I realized that I’d forgotten to bring extra journals with me home, and that, thusly, I needed new ones.

After mulling for a bit too long in the store, I ended up buying a set of two Moleskine Volants, because it seemed like a good compromise between quality, number of pages and price.

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If you don’t care about quality at all, then these are not for you. They are, frankly, way to expensive for that. However, if you want a journal that you can store in your backpack (large) or pocket (small) without worrying about wrecking them, these are for you.

They also come with enough pages (96, large and 82, small), so you won’t run out of pages in the foreseeable future.

As if that wasn’t enough, the first page has a sentence: “In case of loss, please return to:”, underneath which you can fill out your address and a specified amount as a reward. Neat!

Last but not least, the small version comes with detachable pages, and the large version comes with the last sixteen pages detachable. In case you should need it 🙂

One thing I found annoying was that the ridge of the journal was too stiff, making the first page hard to write on, but other than that, I totally love these journals.

Highly recommended!

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