8 Reasons it’s good for YOU to write reviews

People often talk about why writing reviews are so important to authors but what about for you the reader. Here we go:

Your Reading History

If you read a lot, you can forget what you’ve read. You don’t want to waste time reading a book you didn’t enjoy, twice.

But on the flip side, wouldn’t it be awesome to rediscover the books you did love. You don’t want to forget those gems.

Reading Goals

If you enjoy a challenge, set yourself a reading goal. Celebrate your wins doing something you love.

If you discover your not getting time to read, it could help you identify that your life is too hectic and you don’t get to relax. Or maybe your energy is focussed elsewhere, which is fine. You can reduce your goal.

Favourite author

It helps you not forget the name of that author whose voice you loved. Now, you can discover more of their books.

You can follow authors you like on sites like Goodreads, Book Bub and Amazon. This will help keep you notified of new releases.

Better Recommendations

Over time your tastes may change but seeing what you enjoyed helps identify what you love. In turn, this will help you discover more fabulous books.

If you post your review to sites like Good Reads or Amazon, then algorithms will learn what you want and recommend what to buy/read next. This can save you time in finding your next great read.

Others will read your reviews, see what you like and be able to make intelligent recommendations.

Reading Buddies

You may connect with people with similar tastes, get reading buddies, and/or develop a book club. Reading can become a social activity, and thanks to the internet, you can buddy a reader anywhere in the world.

By talking about the books you read, you become someone people trust for recommendations. Imagine being an influencer for the books you love, someone others take notice of? If you’re good at reviews, this could be you.

Self Development – Reading

There’s more to reading than getting from page 1 to the end. When you write a review you reflect on what you read.

What was it about? How did it make you feel? Did you learn from the story?

Reflecting on what you read is a skill you are taught at school to deepen your reading but is often lost when you no longer have a teacher invested in your reading.

Self Development – Writing

When you write a review, you’ll think about what was done well and how you can use those techniques in your own work. Being a reader helps you deliver more of what readers want.

You will also be exposed to new words or phrases, expanding your vocabulary. You will visit places, meet new people, and explore plots that will inspire new ideas.

Free Books For Honest Reviews

Authors look for people that read their genre. If they are giving their book away for free, they want it to be to someone that will appreciate and love their book. If you apply to be a reviewer, your history as a reviewer could be checked.

The reason is, if you love their genre, their book is off to a good start already in your hands. If you have a following that enjoy your reviews on this genre, then you’ll be helping the right eager readers discover it.

When authors can see what you like, it helps them know if their book is right for you. Someone that enjoys gritty serious crime novels is unlikely to enjoy a sweet high school romance.

We’re all beautifully unique. It’s okay if YA Contemporary Fantasy isn’t for you, but I’m hoping those that do will love and review OCEAN HEART.

Have you preordered Ocean Heart?

If you buy a copy of Ocean Heart between 1 Oct and 1 Dec, you can enter my preorder giveaway. Visit my Giveaway Page for more details.

Where can you find my reviews?

Let me know the positives you’ve experienced from writing book reviews, and check out my reviews.


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Ocean Heart

Book Review: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

I picked up this novel from YALC 2019. I love mermaids and I love a well developed villain.


The fairy tale you thought you knew…

The story of the Sea Witch, the villainess from Hans Christian Anderson’s classic tale The Little Mermaid, told from the viewpoint of the Sea Witch when she was a twelve-year-old girl…

Evie has been wracked with guilt ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned. So when a girl appears on shore with an uncanny resemblance to Anna, Evie befriends her in an effort to make amends. And as the two girls catch the eyes – and hearts – of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at happy ever after. But is Evie’s new friend really who she says she is?

A gripping story of friendship, betrayal and the power of hope…


The story starts by introducing the three friends Evie, Anna, and Nik (aka the Crown Prince). The childhood friends are running along the beach and playing in a cove until there’s an accident. Evie risks her life to save Nik. Evie cracks her head on a rock. Her friends rush her home to her family that know magic and her mother gives her life to save Evie.

We then jump to Nik’s sixteenth birthday taking place on a ship. It reminded me of the scene from the start of Disney’s little mermaid. Anna isn’t here as she died in a tragic accident. This did confuse me a little as I thought I’d missed something because the only tragic accident I knew about was the one above, and Anna was fine.

A storm comes and Nik is washed overboard. Evie and his playboy cousin Iker search the tide for him, hoping he’s been washed ashore. Evie spots Nik first, he’s with a girl, but in a flash she is gone.


Evie is a witch but hides her magic because it’s punishable by death. The story covers lots of celebrations including one where wicker dolls to symbolize witches are thrown into the fire.

Evie meets a mysterious girl that is a dead ringer for her friend Ana who tragically died, taken by the sea, during a swimming challenge gone wrong. The new girl claims to be Annemette.

Annemette reveals to Evie she too has magic, and confesses to being a mermaid. It was her that saved Nik when he almost drowned and she fell in love and had to come to land for true love. She has limited time to get true loves kiss or return to the sea as foam.

Annemette is in luck because, as Nik’s BFF, she’s the one girl with access to him. But, Evie is poor and shunned away by the elite as unsuitable, so she’s not usually invited into the palace. Evie lies, and says Annemette is from a well off family, and Annemette uses her magic to create herself (and Evie), fine dresses. As a result, they are invited to stay at the palace.

Evie encourages Nik to date Annemette. She reminds her so much of her lost friend, she’ll do anything for her. Evie starts dating Iker. Nik isn’t too pleased about this, due to Iker’s reputation and there is a hint of jealous. Evie knows her and Nik can only ever be friends due to her heritage.

While Iker keeps kissing Evie, Nik holds back with Annemette. As the days pass, Nik starts expressing his suspicions more and more causing friction.

Evie searches for another way to break the curse. She starts practising her magic more, becoming stronger.

During all of this, there are flashbacks. These sometimes reveal Evie’s pasts, and sometimes the Little Mermaids and her life bebeathe the waves.


Time is running out! In Evie’s desperation she tells Nik, Annemette is a mermaid. Annemette is not impressed, so, she reveals Evie is a which! Iker over heals and demands the guards arrest her.

The girls run. Evie is still determined to save Annemette and believes she’s figured out the spell. It turns out Annemette has her own ideas to stay human & it has nothing to do with kissing Nik.

It’s during these final pages, Nik confesses he never had eyes for Annemette, he has always loved Evie. Annemette takes Nik’s life, making her human. But, as a human she’s vulnerable. Evie is shot with arrows and pulls Annemette down into the water. She holds her down until her last breath. Her friend, dead again.

Evie doesn’t die. With all the magic swirling in the water, she merges with an octopus and becomes the Sea Witch.

Final Thoughts

I loved the story telling. Sarah Henning set the novel in Denmark where it was from originally. She brought to life the Danish coast, and a fishing village rich in customs. There were moments that were so vivid, and I loved the fresh take on a classic fairy tale.

There wasn’t a happily ever after. I really wanted to see her with the crown prince & show those snobs that their love is more powerful. But, I guess I should have expected it. I kept looking at the cover and wondering where the famous sea witch was, and she was Evie.

The sea witch is usually the villain but in her own story she wasn’t. I liked Evie and I felt sorry for her fate. I’ll have to read book 2, Sea Witch Rising, to see if things improve for her.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org shop link.


If you like this, you’ll enjoy:

Book Review: Deepest Blue by Sarah Beth Durst

Book Review: Forgotten Scars by Natalie J Reddy

Book Review: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

Why I Love YALC!

How to make sure you don’t miss out!

This year, I am going to be publishing my debut novel. I will be blogging about how I’m getting on but the subscribers to my newsletter will often be the first to know big news and get exclusive offers.

Cover Reveal

I can see me sharing this on Instagram but in my newsletter I plan to share what went into the making of the cover.

Beta Readers

After the professional developmental edit (and self-edit), I want a last round of Betas to gauge how readers respond to the new version. These Betas will be the final seal of approval before I send my novel off for a line edit.

If you want to be amongst the first to read Ocean Heart then being a subscriber will tell you how and when you can become a Beta Reader.

Arc Readers

Once all is done, I will be looking for readers willing to write an honest review of my novel for release.

I’m hoping to share positive quotes from the reviews to help reach potential buyers once Ocean Heart is released.

I will be preparing a Press Kit for bloggers containing things such as the cover image, blurb and my author pic and bio for them to use.

Release Date

This will definitely be confirmed in my newsletter. Subscribers will be kept up to date with my publishing timeline. If for any reason there is a delay, subscribers will be the first to know.

Where to buy

Subscribers will know what formats Ocean Heart is available in and where it can be bought. I’m hoping to make it as easy as possible for everyone to access in a format that works for them.

Book Deals and Freebies

Whenever there is a special deal or discount, I will let my subscribers know. I also plan to create some bookish items to go with my books and hope to plan giveaways. Some of which will only be available to newsletter subscribers.

Exclusive Content

I have ideas to share with subscribers free short stories or poems from time to time. These may later become available to others and may even cost money. But, you, a subscriber, will get it first and for free!


My news letter will often share details about what I have been up to but I hope in the future I will be able to tell my subscribers about what is coming up.

It still feels scary to think about but I want to be brave and do author signings and talks. I also enjoyed doing Facebook Lives last year and would love to let you know if I am hosting any other online events.

Want to know more?

I manage my newsletter using Mail Chimp and currently post towards the end of every other month. My next newsletter is planned for 25 Feb 2020.

The reason I send it out on the last Tuesday of every other month. This is to enable me time to write the letter and to do cool writery or bookish stuff to tell you about.

There is a possibility I will mail you more frequently, for example if there is important news like a discount that cannot wait until my next newsletter.

How to subscribe?

It is simple, just fill in this form to give your details and permission and you will be signed up.

Don’t worry, if you change your mind, you can unsubscribe but I cannot imagine you would want to.

If you enjoy this, you should check out:

Why I have chosen to Self-Publish

A decade of writing

My plans for 2020

To discover more ways to connect, click my link tree.

Why I love YALC

If you are a fan of YA Literature then you need to check out this book festival. It runs annually in London during the last weekend of July and the book deals are so good you’ll travel home like a pack donkey.

The book deals!

It’s easy to get carried away so here are some tips to help you curb your inner book dragon:

Here is what I bought:

The deal was three for £10 and a free Epic Reads tote. Because I chose a two hardbacks it bumped up to £12 which is still incredible value and I got the last tote!

The book nerd in me is looking forward to my showing off my new bag at my next library visit. I’m going to look epic!

These books from Bloomsbury were three for £10. They’ve been on my wish list for ages as I’ve seen people recommend them on IG. I’ve been warned they are steamy!

It was a total accident that all the books are by authors named Sarah. Did you notice? Do you like any books by a Sarah?

Author Panels

There is something amazing about meeting the mind behind a novel. Lots of the stalls are hosted by authors themselves and are happy to sign a copy of their book if you own a copy. In addition, the festival has panels and talks where the authors talk about their novels.

In addition, there are scheduled events where groups of authors chat to a live audience. Their is often someone asking questions and the talk is on a set subject.

Workshops by Industry experts

Experts from the industry deliver workshops during the festival. These are often run by authors, Literary Agents, Editors or publishers but the list is endless.

I attended a workshop in the Agent Arena by Zoe Plant talking about editing. Editing is one of the aspects that I find incredibly difficult with writing a novel as it is a massive task and I am not confident in my abilities. She had great advice on what to expect but not only was the talk really informative, it was also an opportunity to get to know Zoe too. I had not seen her before and she is truly lovely.

I also attended the Author & Agent talk between Literary Agent Chloe Seager and her non-fiction author Laura Coryton. Laura is a campaigner against Tampon Tax. I had heard about this before and think I signed the petition ages ago. It turns out that Chloe also signed the petition and decided that this would be a great subject for a non-fiction book to empower young adults. Chloe approached Laura to propose the idea and Speak Up! was born. It was fascinating to see how the non-fiction industry works in comparison to fiction novels. It was also extremely valuable to hear about Chloe as an agent as she has been a favourite of mine for a long time now.

Pitch to agents

If you are an author with a completed novel, looking for representation, then this is an awesome event to attend. Here, you get an opportunity to spend five minutes with a potential Literary Agent to sell them your novel. It’s an opportunity to be seen above the slush pile.

It’s not guaranteed that they will be interested. I pitched two years ago and wasn’t confident in myself. We ended up chatting about identifying my books place in the market but I did gain a little bit of experience in pitching, mainly what not to do.

This time, I felt more prepared (although still incredibly nervous) and I pitched to two agents who both asked me to send it to them. I also had a writer friend encouraging me to do it which really helped.

Fellow readers and writers

That leads me on to my next point. The festival is full of fellow readers as you would expect but a lot of readers are also writers. This year, I got to meet one of my online writer friends at YALC. She was so lovely we spent the day together.

Win competitions

The festival is full of competitions eager to get you to sign up and raise awareness. @hellomeitsyou tweeted to say I was their Sunday winner. I had already left so sent them my address so I can receive my prize. When I receive it, I’ll post a pic to IG.

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#PitMad June 2019 Summary

How I edited my novel – 12 tips for self editing