One of the goals I made for myself this year was to publish a novel. I know the process is long, and if I am fortunate enough to find an agent or publisher this year, I may not have a book released for public consumption until next year. I do understand and accept that fact. However my goal will remain in place, with my back up plan of self publishing ready to go at the end of the year.
Planning the potential for a self published novel made me wonder if any books I read are self published. I mean, how would I even know the difference? I do read a decent amount of (gasp!) ebooks, meaning I would never notice the publisher listed on the spine unless they somehow managed to project it out onto my ipad case. With a little investigation, I discovered I actually had read quite a few self published novels. How did this happen without my noticing?
Well, I suppose it comes down to one thing: money. I know talking about money is not done in polite society, but please bear with me for a moment. Now that I stay at home with my kiddos, my home has one income. How big or small the income is doesn’t matter; his one is less than our two used to be. Which means making a few adjustments to spending habits. One of those adjustments was to my monthly book allowance.
At our old base, that wouldn’t have been a big deal. I would have simply made up the difference at the library, which always had a decent selection of new books to choose from. Our new base however has library problems. I don’t want to hurt the library’s feelings, but it is the saddest library I have ever seen. One small room, smaller than my bedroom, with about six shelves of books. Two thirds of the selection is taken over by either children’s picture books or cookbooks to work with the two book clubs the library runs; children’s story time and a cooking club. I read all of the books I was interested in in my first two visits. Now, budgeting issues have come along and the library has hardly been open over the last year. It is truly the most heartbreaking library I have ever encountered.
Without a library available I had to find my books somehow. I was an addict who wasn’t getting her fix. I started searching the kindle book store for free books. There are surprisingly quite a few free books out there, but of course they are not just going to show me the free books, they showed me the inexpensive books as well. As it turns out, many of these are priced low, because there are so few people to pay along the way. Without realizing it, I became a reader of self published books.
Now, I was considering adding a book review section here. After all, the first word in my site is reading, I should share the reading I do. But I didn’t want to review the largely known books, or the best sellers. I might review one of those someday, but let’s face it, they get the love already. Someday soon, I am going to be a new author, with a novel published. I might be self published, or I might be the new girl hoping to get people to read my book. So, I might as well start sharing the love now, reviewing the books that can be overlooked by the huge publications, but are wonderful nonetheless.
The first one I found, is Morning Cup of Murder by Vanessa Grey Bartal.
In this fun mystery, Lacy Steele is a writer who is returning to her hometown from New York, heartbroken and broke. She moves in with her Grandmother, who she loves dearly, and tries not to drool over the local police officer who was once the crush of almost everyone in her high school class, Jason Cantor. Her life becomes more complicated when her sweet Grandmother is arrested for the murder of a woman Lacy has never heard of before. Naturally, as one does in a novel, she sets out to find out who the murderer really was to set her Grandmother free.
There is a minor stereotype that self published books have a large number of typos, or severe plot holes. That is not the case here. The evidence against Lacy’s Grandmother is thin, something even the local police realize. Some people might be turned off by this, but it serves a dual purpose in the story. Not only does it help to drive Lacy to find the truth, but it also works as character development for the lazy and jaded police detective who would rather just arrest the first suspect and be done with his investigation than do any actual work. Some of the characters seem to have a little bit of a familiar ring to them. Lacy was once a chubby band geek, who has now slimmed down to become the beautiful swan no one saw underneath; Jason was once the star quarterback who didn’t know Lacy existed, but is now a police officer who would do anything to spend a little time with her. While it could be a bit contrived, the characters to have more layers to them than just the surface show.
This is not a hard or complicated mystery (although she did manage to surprise me in the end). This novel is a slightly fluffy piece that is perfect to read curled up on the couch on a rainy day, or to prop open as you cook dinner. It’s a fun and easy read, and best of all it is the first in a series. Now only do you get one day with these characters, you can come back for the next book later, and dig into the layers of these characters a little more.
I feel like I should have a cool and unique rating system to give books, instead of the typical star rating system, but I don’t have one yet. I guess for now, I will give it a rating of one late night of lost sleep, refusing to put it away until I reach the end.
For anyone who was wondering, I was not asked to review this. No one sent it to me, and I was not paid anything. I read this novel of my own free will and honestly, I will probably do it again when the next book comes out. These opinions are my own, and have been formed with no coercion or bribery.
I would however enjoy it if people were to send me copies of their self published or recently published novels. I would prefer to review books that are looking for the love that is so desperately needed in the beginning, however I cannot promise strictly good reviews. If someone is willing to take the chance that my approximately 10 readers will read a poor review, please let me know and I will be happy to read and review your work as well!