RNAA Rose Rating – Four Roses
Title: Call It Chemistry: A Golden Grove Series Small Town Sweet Romance
Author: D.J. Van Oss
Genre: Small Town / Sweet Romance
Is it ever too late for a second chance?
Kate Brady never thought she’d set foot in her hometown again. After all, Golden Grove was the scene of the biggest embarrassment of her life, back when she was “Katie Braces,” the high-school art nerd. But if she’s going to climb the corporate ladder at her demanding Chicago design firm, she has to take on a re-branding job for Nitrovex, the big (and boring) chemical plant on the outskirts of her Iowa hometown. And to do that, she’s going to need the help of her old next-door-neighbor, Peter Clark, the cute guy she’s never really gotten over.
Before he lost his dad, Peter Clark had planned on a prestigious career as a chemical engineer doing cutting-edge science. Now here he is, still stuck in his small hometown, teaching chemistry at his old high school. The last thing he expected was seeing his childhood crush, Katie, back in Golden Grove. But when one trip turns into multiple visits, he wonders if this is a chance to heal old wounds – and maybe more.
Will Kate be able to get the job done while enduring all of these heart-thumping distractions from Peter? And will Peter take a chance on finding love with the girl he once let get away?
What I Loved About this Book:
The plot involved actual chemistry, which I thought was rather clever. Katie and Peter were engaging characters with fully-developed stories and backstories. Former friends and nearly high school sweethearts, the two connect years later when Katie returns to her hometown on business. Peter is a high school chemistry teacher and is the perfect person to help Kate with her important advertising account for the town’s chemical company. The side characters were engaging, too, if slightly pushy and annoying. Then again, haven’t we had pushy and annoying neighbors and other characters in our lives??
What Could Have Been Better:
I found the plot engaging and enjoyable to read, but this was one of those books where the central plot was set up in the beginning without much new information being introduced. Perhaps it could have benefited with a little more conflict or maybe some new developments being scattered throughout.
Sexual Content: None. The book is billed as a clean romance, and delivers on that promise.
Overall: A clever, engaging story about romantic and actual chemistry.
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It’s a frustrating Catch-22 for authors – most readers rely heavily on reviews when deciding whether or not to buy a book, but most readers don’t leave reviews. Posting a review on Amazon can literally take less than a minute, and will have a profound effect on an author and her career.
Why Reviews Matter
Reviews have a powerful effect on the Amazon algorithm, meaning the more positive reviews a book gets, the more visible the book can become in Amazon’s ranking. Some have speculated that the magic number is 50 reviews for a book to get a boost in visibility on the Amazon website.
Many advertising opportunities are only available for books that have a minimum number of reviews. A book with insufficient reviews can and will be rejected, therefore robbing the author of a chance to get the book in front of more readers…and to try to get more reviews.
Most consumers wouldn’t buy any product online without first reading the reviews first. If a book has only a few reviews or perhaps none at all, most readers will pass on the book. It could be a terrific story, but it will get lost in the shuffle if no one has reviewed it.
What You May Not Know
Most authors obsessively check their reviews on Amazon, and it can be pretty demoralizing when none appear for days or weeks at a time.
Writer’s social media groups and message boards are flooded with hand-wringing discussions about what to do to get more reviews. Book reviews can be an afterthought for readers, but authors often feel that they live and die by them.
Amazon cracks down hard on reviews from people the author knows personally. That means, for the most part, the author’s friends and family members cannot help him by posting a review of his book. Amazon has ways of knowing who is connected with an author on social networks, and will pull reviews from someone who appears be personally connected. This is especially frustrating because this includes other authors and business contacts who the author frequently does not know personally.
There are a number of paid services that authors use to try to get honest reviews. These services frequently involve a fair amount of money and a great deal of time on the author’s part. The author gets a list of potential reviewers, and then has to email these people directly offering them a free of the book in exchange for an honest review on Amazon. The majority of these emails go unanswered and, worse, it’s not uncommon for the author to send the book for free, only to never hear from the “reviewer” again.
Reviews on Goodreads are nice, but are nowhere near as crucial as reviews on the “buying” page of Amazon. It can be nice, yet maddening, to get a five-star review on Goodreads but not on Amazon where it is desperately needed.
Post an Honest Review, but Remember that There is a Real Person Behind the Book
Never forget that the author is a real human being with feelings. She most likely spent months or even years writing this book. She probably poured a lot of herself into the story and the characters, and had high hopes that the book would do well. It was brave of her to put her book out there into the world, where she knew it might get rejected. By giving a book a one-star review, you may feel you are getting “revenge” on the writer for wasting your time if you didn’t like the book. The author did not write the book to make you mad. She hoped you would like it. She may even have given you the book for free, as many authors do in an effort to get more reviews.
Not all authors read their reviews, but I would wager that most do. If you gave a book a one-star review, the author probably saw it. And it hurt. It hurt a lot. It also tanked his overall rating, even if all of the other reviews were positive. Maybe the author was able to brush it off, or maybe he spent the rest of the day second-guessing himself and his talent as a writer. Negative reviews go with the territory of being a writer, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t devastating.
In my personal opinion, a book is not one-star worthy simply because I didn’t like it. A one-star book is one that is poorly written and riddled with lazy, grammatical errors. Or perhaps it’s a book that bills itself as a clean romance, but in fact contains explicit sex. Both of these examples constitute a betrayal of reader expectations as far as I’m concerned (I still wouldn’t give a one-star review to anyone ever. I just can’t do that to somebody. In those cases I simply will not leave a review at all). Any author who has ever done a free promotion of her books can tell you that’s where the majority of low ratings came from. For some odd reason, readers tend to feel more entitled when they get something for free.
Frankly, giving an author one star for a book you got for free is like having someone give you a free piece of candy, and then you spit it back in their face because you didn’t like it.
It’s fine to tell the truth in a review if you didn’t like the book, but there’s no reason to be cruel. Be honest, but be constructive. “This book was stupid” is not helpful. Saying something like “I didn’t like this book because I felt the plot really lagged in the middle. The story just didn’t hold my interest.” is still going to hurt the author, but it can help her at the same time.
As a reader, you may by unaware of the tremendous power you wield. Even an honest, three-star review with constructive criticism can be helpful. Best of all, you can really help an author – and the reading community at large – by leaving a positive review for a book that you genuinely enjoyed.
The writer life can be a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs, sometimes all in the same day, and there’s just no feeling in the world like checking your Amazon page and finding a review from a reader who really liked your book. You don’t have to write a lengthy review. All you have to do is post a rating of 1 to 5 stars, and write one or two sentences about how you felt about the book.
Write a review today – and be a book lover’s hero!
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RNAA Rose Rating – Four Roses
Title: Tell Me What You Want
Author: Susan Sheehey
Genre: Small Town Romance
The Cardinal rule for Knights is never fall for a client. But in a business were rules are meant to be broken, how can he resist…
Book One – Renner
Showing a woman her worth is his specialty.
Renner Shaw’s priority as a Knight—a luxury escort with Knights of Texas—is making clients feel safe and secure.
Intimacy is a perk, and one of his fortes. A position he was surprised to be well suited for with his charm and unrivaled focus. But he never expected the likes of Cassie Summer to come calling.
Cassie never expected to call an escort for the sole purpose of helping her sleep after a sudden tragedy. She certainly never anticipated the sizzling Renner Shaw would be the light that helps guide her out of grief. Only, it may be too late to salvage her splintered heart.
Making his client feel safe and secure is harder than Renner ever imagined, but he’s determined to fulfill his role to perfection. To change her gray and dreary world into one of colorful pleasure.
Knights of Texas novella series
These noble protectors of pleasure bring their expertise and determination to showing a woman her true worth.
Revealing a woman’s value is their devoted mission, and these southern charmers can all but guarantee kindling a woman’s heart.
What I Loved About this Book:
This book portrays grief realistically and doesn’t pull punches when it comes to showing what it’s like to have your husband taken from you suddenly. The hero, Renner, is sexy, as well as being physically and emotionally protective. He works for an escort service, specializing in clients who desire military men. A former marine and bodyguard, protecting others is in his nature. I liked Renner and enjoyed reading about him, and I liked the premise of this book.
What Could Have Been Better:
The book is quite short. To be fair, it is billed as a novella, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain. Even so, the writing was terrific and I felt there was plenty of room to expand on the characters. I would have loved to have gotten to know the heroine, Cassie, a bit better. All we really know about her is that she was a devoted wife and a wonderful mother. We don’t get much insight into her other than her grief. We don’t get to explore her hopes and dreams, her career, her past, or anything like that so it makes it a little harder to lose yourself in the romance. Renner loves her for her devotion to her family, but what else? Even though it is part of a series, the book does not end on a cliffhanger, which is good.