14 January, 2013

book review

Sketch of Secrets (Garnet #1) by Willa Jemhart

Publication Date: October, 2012
Publisher: Self-published
My Copy: ePub eBook, 106 pages
Source: Received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

On Martie’s 17th birthday her mother inexplicably disappears. With nothing more to go on than an old drawing and a mysterious name and address, Martie sets out alone and afraid, determined to find some answers. Her journey steers her on a path that will bring much more than she thought possible: love, discoveries about her own past, and the shocking truth about her mother.

 

My Review

I thought Sketch of Secrets was a good story.  It is mysterious and keeps the reader wondering until the very end.  The story is about a teenage girl (Martie) who, after school one day (on her birthday!), discovers that her mother has gone missing.  She has no clue as to what happened to her or where she went.  The only thing she knows is that her mom told her friend that “they” took her.  “They” is Martie’s only clue.  And what kind of clue is that?  It tells her absolutely nothing.  So, throughout the story, Martie searches for anything that will be able to aid her in finding her mom.  Along the way, she meets a boy, Trew.  This boy is special, and she knows it.  This brings in the romance aspect of the story.  Though this story is mainly a mystery, it sometimes feels like it is more of a romance.

The characters were likeable.  Martie is mostly under duress, worrying about her mom and trying to uncover the facts.  But, there are times when she allows herself to let go and be a kid for awhile.  That’s when we see more of who Martie truly is.  Trew is also likeable and is very sweet to Martie.  He helps her as much as he can (well, even above the normal, I think).  I did feel, though, that the characters weren’t as developed as I would have liked; they didn’t really grow throughout the story.

The writing was very good.  Sketch of Secrets is Jemhart’s debut novella and I thought she did a good job with it.  I expect to see her stories get better and better throughout the trilogy and into her future projects.

One thing I want to point out is that I wasn’t very fond of the cover at first.  I know that Jemhart is a self-pub author, so I understand that she may have made the cover herself.  But, I thought it was a bit on the boring side for a cover.  And that all the covers for each book of this trilogy have the same picture on them…I didn’t really care for that.  But, upon further inspection and hearing a little ping in my head as a light bulb turned on, I thought: wait a minute, the author’s last name is Jemhart and the cover is a heart-shaped gem!  Oh my god…k, I love the idea behind the cover now!  (Assuming that’s what the author was going for and not just a coincidence!)  So, even though the cover doesn’t have anything to do with the story, I think it’s very clever.

Overall, I enjoyed this novella.  Though it didn’t completely grab and take hold of me in the way that I love, it did keep my interest and I will continue to read the other two books of the series.  I would recommend this story to anyone willing to take a chance on an indie author — this is one of the good ones! (Plus, this first book is free everywhere but Amazon; so, might as well check it out and see if you like it!)  If you like romance and mystery, I think you will enjoy this little gem.

4 stars blue
A Peek Inside:
“All they said was that they found her. And
they are taking her back. She didn’t know what 
they would do to you, or if they would do anything
at all. She said it’s best for you to just not go home.”
 
Guest Post:

So this is my very first guest post ever. I’m not completely used to this whole blogging thing yet, so I wasn’t sure what I should write about. That’s right – a writer who doesn’t know what to write about. Ugh! So anyway, I asked the wonderfully brilliant Sam for suggestions. She thought it would be interesting if I discussed my reasons for self-publishing .  Great idea Sam! Here goes…

I guess to explain why I decided to self-publish, I first have to explain why I decided not to go the traditional route. Getting published via the old Brick and Mortar way, as it’s being called these days, is no easy task. For an unknown without an agent it can be a very tedious and intimidating process. First of all it takes a ton of research to find the names of publishing houses that print works of fiction in your genre. Once you have located a handful of possible publishers, you then have to carefully research their submission guidelines, and each place will be vastly different than the other. Then you have tough decisions to make. Many won’t accept simultaneous submissions, meaning you can only submit to one place at a time. You can wait months and months for a rejection letter before even considering submitting your manuscript to the next publisher on your list, and so on and so on. To sum it up, finding a publisher can take years, and assuming you are able to find one, it can take a few more years before your book even makes it to print. I don’t know about you, but I’m not getting any younger.
Self-publishing, at least in the form of ebooks, is instantaneous. I don’t have to sit around plucking grey hairs from my scalp and slopping on anti-wrinkle cream while waiting for that elusive letter to arrive in the mail. When your manuscript and book cover is ready, you upload it. Voila! You’re published.
By far, the thing I like best about self-publishing is that it’s the people – all of you – all over the world – who get to decide whether or not to read the books of indie authors, and which ones to read. Had I gone the traditional route, it wouldn’t be your choice. Somebody else would have decided the fate of my stories. I don’t know if watching too many cartoon shows as a kid corrupted my mind, but for some reason I get an animated picture in my head of a balding old guy in a cheap sweaty suit, sitting at a desk piled to the ceiling with papers. He’s chewing on the butt of a stogy while haphazardly tossing papers over his shoulder one at a time, and barking out things like, ‘boring’, ‘no plot’, ‘bad writing’, and other such things. Of course I know my vision of the publisher persona is grossly inaccurate, but seriously, why should some random person in a stuffy office somewhere get to decide what we get to read?
Self-publishing empowers people who otherwise may have shied away from even considering submitting their work for consideration. There are a lot of great indie author reads out there these days, and I for one am glad this opportunity exists so that we’re not missing out on some fantastic stories. I’m fully aware that there are those who criticize the self-publishing system, with its lack of proper proof reading and editing. While I do understand this perspective, the flip side is that this is a platform for people like me to work toward attaining their goals and dreams, hopefully someday finding the means to hire professional editors, cover designers, etcetera.  With the wonderful support of readers out there, people like me can only grow and improve upon our chosen craft. If you found an opportunity to work toward achieving your dream, wouldn’t you take it?
Am I happy with my decision to self-publish? Absolutely! So far it has been a wonderful learning experience. Not only have I gained knowledge in the areas of writing, editing and publishing, but I have met some amazing people along the way; readers, reviewers and fellow indie authors. There’s a wonderful network of people out there in ebook cyberland, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it!
Thanks Sam, for this wonderful opportunity, and for reviewing my book. You are one of those amazing people I just mentioned.
Giveaway!
This giveaway is international.
10 separate winners will be randomly chosen at the
completion of this contest.  Each winner will receive
Breaking Agenda (Garnet Trilogy #2) and Doorway to 
Home (Garnet Trilogy #3).  Book 1, Sketch of Secrets
is available for free, so you can pick that up and read it
while you’re waiting!  Good luck!  🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Posted 14 January, 2013 by Sam in Book Reviews, Books / 4 CommentsTags: , , , , , , ,


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4 Responses to “Review: Sketch of Secrets, With Guest Post & Giveaway!”

  1. Thank you so much for this fantastic giveaway!

    As someone who is currently working on my first novel, i found the guest post most interesting. I understand how tough, tedious and difficult traditional publishing is, which is why SO many authors are turning to self-publishing which has grown in popularity. However, i do like the idea of someone (or many) knowlegable agents/ editors reading ones work – for it begs the question, how do i know if it is any good or not?? If one finds an agent within your genre, then they could present a helpful insight/ opinion in regards to your manuscript VS the market.

    Self-publishers are extremely brave and positive, hence why they deserve just as much attention as those traditionally published books! x

    Email: lfountain1(at)hotmail(dot)co(dot)uk

  2. Thanks for the invite to this giveaway; I’m thrilled to be a part of it!

    My comment to your question: Self-publishing is great as long as it’s done responsibly, including hiring an editor to make sure all writing concerns are sound, such as character development and plot flow besides copyediting. I’ve read many self-published works that are wonderful because the author secured this service.

    Lisa P.

  3. I really enjoyed reading the author’s guest post as well as your review Sam! As someone who has often toyed with the idea of writing a book, I found it interesting to read the author’s guest post regarding self-publishing (something to consider if I ever do decide to tackle that book!).

  4. Ash

    Thanks for the amazing giveaway. I agree with what he author said. Loved this bit especially: “Self-publishing empowers people who otherwise may have shied away from even considering submitting their work for consideration.”