Friday, August 13, 2010

Review and Reflection

An amazing cover, eh?

This post is going to have my first ever book review. I’ve been reluctant to do book reviews because:

1) What if I don’t like the book?

2) It doesn’t really fit with my post style/readers’ expectations.

3) I don’t know if I’m any good at it.

But when Aubrie Dionne asked people to read and review her recently published story Malcifer, I agreed. After all, I’ve liked her other stories.

Aubrie is one of the hardest working writers I know. She doesn’t let not yet having an agent stop her from doing all she can to get her stories out there. She’s got a good blog and significant website She’s also prolific. As soon as she edits and submits her manuscript, she’s on to the next one with barely a breath between projects. But no matter how busy Aubrie is with writing and teaching, she always makes time to help me with anything I need in a heartbeat. With her dedication and talent, it’s just a matter of time before an agent wants to offer representation.

Still, I was hesitant. But then I thought:

1) The chances of me not liking the story are slim.

2) When it comes to my posts, I should be more flexible.

3) How bad can my review be? (Of course, I realize I’m over 225 words into this “review” and haven’t even mentioned the book.) It’s about support.

Besides, isn’t that why we blog, to support one another? Whether as writers, teachers, parents, and friends, the blogging community is a steadfast one. For proof, check out - a free on-line children's writers' conference that went on the last three days.

While I’m impressed with Aubrie Dionne as a person and writer, I did not let it influence my REVIEW.

Here’s a description of the story from Gypsy Shadow Publishing:

Maylin is a lowly milkmaid in a kingdom perched by the sea. All she wants is to win the affection of a newly knighted man, and she’ll do almost anything to get his attention. When her city is threatened by a wizard army and her beloved knight stays behind to shield the villagers’ escape, she is tempted to resurrect the cursed sword, Malicifer, to save him. But rumor has it the bearer will suffer from battle-lust until death, killing everyone in his path. Can Maylin overcome the power of the curse?

Several of Aubrie’s lines lyrically paint a vivid picture. Here’s one example:

“Maylin ducked as a static cloud congealed above the masses, sparks fizzling in wisps of violet-gray smoke, the color of bruises and rotting plums.”

I enjoyed the peppering of unique similes and metaphors throughout the story.

Malcifer has all of the ingredients for a story to pull me in: a beautiful woman, a hot love interest, an element of fantasy, and plenty of action. Whatever world she creates, I get sucked in, believing it’s real and rooting for the protagonist. She weaves a couple of threads that come together partway through the story, and there are some interesting twists. This is NOT predictable.

If you haven’t read anything by Aubrie Dionne, this is a good place to start.

Here’s where you can buy Malcifer and several of her other books and short stories:

You may also be interested in her e-book Messenger in the Mist:

(The entire post is about 600 words, which means I didn’t ramble on tooooo much.)

By the way, I posted The Mist Chasers query on my other blog, if you want to check it out:

And PLEASE don’t forget about my contest to help find a cure for ASPS. Ends 08/29:


  1. Hooray on your first review - great job! My review of Aubrie's Messenger in the Mist was my first ever book review also, but I plan to do more. Isn't Aubrie's writing beautiful? She has such a way with language.

  2. Lovely review and gorgeous cover.
    Aubrie certainly has a beautiful style of writing.

  3. What a great first review, Theresa - not that it could ever been anything but! :)

    I have one of Aubrie's books on my list to read. I'm looking forward to reviewing it, too.

  4. Good job. I love that cover art too. Great artist. Did the publisher do the art inhouse?

  5. I think you did a great review! In fact, I'll be adding this to my TBR pile.

    You said it best though, it's all about support and you've done that :)

  6. @ Susan, I had read and enjoyed your review. I agree, Aubrie does have a way with language.

    @ Brigid, her writing style is unique. I think I'd know she was the author just by reading it.

    @ Talli, I'll keep an eye out for your future review.

    @ Walter, I just sent her an e-mail, asking her to respond to your question in the comments.

    @ Jaydee, I'm glad to hear this will be on your TBR pile.

    Being supportive is the best part of blogging (besides venting). What did we all do without it?

  7. Yay!! Your first review!! Wonderful! It's succint and to the point - which is always good!

    And what a cover - it is very eye-catching.

    Well done you!! Well done Aubrie - good luck with this book!!!

    take care

  8. Thanks for posting a review. I've always enjoyed Aubrie's work. Nice job.

  9. Sounds like a cool premise! Ladies with swords... I like it.

  10. @ Old Kitty, thank you. I never think of my posts and succinct!

    @ Angie, thanks. I appreciate it.

    @ Steph Sinkhorn, she's a tough woman - I like it too.

  11. I think you did a fine job with your first review!

  12. Cool, glad you started doing reviews. Time is very precious to me and I ask lots of people what they think before I even start reading one....that is...unless one really speaks to me.
    Thanks Theresa!

  13. Thank you so much for the review!! :) I'm so glad you liked!

    to answer Walter's comment, I paid an artist to use her picture for the cover. GSP usually lets me do my own covers, which I love about them.

    Thank you to everyone who commented!

  14. Lovely review!

    See, you're not so bad. ;]

  15. @ Alex, thanks!

    @ Barbra, I'm glad the review was helpful.

    @ Aubrie, no problem!

    @ Amanda, I'm happy to know I'm not so bad!

  16. I've got a couple reviews to do. I hesitate because I WISH I did more detailed analysis and I feel like my superficial "I liked it because _____" is a bit of a cop out.

    I also don't want my review to be a disappointment to the authors I like and respect so much.

    So KUDOs to you for overcoming my fears (hahaha...I project them on to everyone else, didn't you know?) and jumping into the review circle!

  17. You did a great job on the review. Sounds like Aubrie Dionne writes fascinating characters and storylines that will keep you turning pages. And I do love the cover!


  18. @ Vicki, I was worried about disappointing Aubrie too. She seemed to like it so I'm happy.

    I guess I'll do more in the future if I can find an angle (read: talk about me and my issues).

    @ Helen, thank you! You should check out one of her books.

  19. There's a first time for everything, I'm told. Congratulations for taking the leap and doing a great job reviewing.

  20. Hi Theresa .. that was great .. as others have said - you've done a good job - supporting a friend, who obviously supports you in your quest .. and now writing your first review - here's to many more. Malcifer sounds an intriguing read - and like you .. the mix of characters and story will draw us along and in ..

    Thanks - great post and review .. of what appears to be a really good book by Aubrie .. have good weekends .. Hilary

  21. @ Cleemckenzie, thank you!

    @ Hilary, thanks for the nice comment.

  22. Great first review!! I was a little hesitant at first about reviewing, but now... piece of cake. And usually, I only review books that I really, really love, so that makes it much easier. :)

  23. Aubrie is a fantastic writer, and I highly recommend her books/short stories. Great review! I understand how writing reviews can be challenging... and to think that our books could be reviewed one day... wow.

  24. @ Kimberly, reviewing only books you love sounds like a smart idea.

    @ Shelley, thanks. It's nice to know you enjoy her stories too.

    Our books being reviewed one day... wow - agreed!

  25. YAY! Aubrie is such a sweet person. I enjoy her blog and her comments on mine. I look forward to reading her book. (yes, it is a lovely cover)

    Well done, Theresa. :)

    Have a wonderful rest of your weekend!

    PS-I'm glad you had fun at BlogHer. I look forward to hearing more about it.

  26. Amazing review Theresa! And I agree with you, Aubrie is wonderful :)

  27. @ Lola, we agree on all things, Aubrie.

    You have a wonderful rest of your weekend too.

    Stay tuned for an guest blog about BlogHer.

    @ WritingNut, thank you!

  28. Congrats on your first review and congrats to Aubrie on her book--sounds like a winner!

    Thanks for sharing, Theresa, now I'm off to check out your Mist query. :o)

  29. So wonderful of you to be so supportive. Great review. I am a fan of unique metaphors.

  30. @ Jackee, thanks for your comment on The Mist Chasers query. I recently added the sentence you pointed out. Figures I'd put in a typo. All fixed!

    @ Missed Periods, thanks. Aubrie's metaphors always fit the time/place she's writing about.