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

Behind the Book: Outfoxed by RJ Blain

This is the first time I’ve taken part in an Xpresso Book Tour but I just loved the look and sound of Oufoxed. The chance to find out more was so tempting, I applied to host a Behind the Book interview.

What inspired your novel Outfoxed?

This is a weird answer, only because… it’s just going to sound weird. Which is weird. So, I often do ‘what if’ speculative questioning about Life, the Universe, and Everything. This time, I wanted to pursue several things: what would happen if I fractured the United States in a ‘hardline’ fashion? In this case, quadrants due to fluctuating magical zones, with distorting boundaries separating the quadrants. This makes traveling between the quadrants difficult.

How would society change if the United States became separated in such a fashion?

The next question I wanted to pursue was “under what circumstances would people willfully sell themselves into slavery?” I also expanded that to “What would happen if parents could sell their children into slavery?” 

Side-note: most parents absolutely do NOT sell their children into slavery, but some do because they can in this society. Some pare paid to enroll their child into the system, but most parents who do are upgrading life for their kids. Before you get out the pitchforks, let me explain a little.

Here is the scenario: You have a child. You are from a destitute part of society. You are in a situation where you can’t really provide for your child as you want.

You have some things going for you. The right kind of magic. Good looks. Some desirable trait. More importantly, your child has those qualities as well, thus your child is a desirable for someone in a higher bracket of society.

In the system I’ve created, the person being sold is the one who is paid for the sale, most of them do so voluntarily, and there are strict requirements on how they are treated.

Your child, who had no opportunities, now may become the wife or husband (it’s equal opportunity) of someone in a position of power. They are given money to set up in their new life.

This is the pitch voters were successfully sold in the society, and they, as a nation, voted to have this system put into place.

For another fun side note, this system is founded on historical systems from several different countries, where people absolutely did buy the daughters or sons of one family to join theirs. I just implanted pre-existing systems into the United States and modified it to better fit the evolution of the society thanks to magic.

Note: I do not, in any shape or form, support the creation of this sort of society. I just got curious and wanted to see what would happen if I wrote a society like this, put characters in it, and wrote out how the system worked and how the characters fight to change it.

Novels would be boring if I didn’t give them something to work with or a conflict, after all.

And of course, what can go wrong in the book will go wrong, as Jade discovers for herself.

What did you enjoy most about writing your urban fantasy novel?

Just about everything. This story is so complex, and it’s set in such a rich version of Earth… it wasn’t easy to write, but it was a delight, a challenge, and a passion. It’s a lot of things I love about urban fantasy in one package… with a twist(er) tossed in for good measure.

This is book 1 in The Fox Witch series – Did you know you were writing a series from the start?

Yes. Before I even started writing Outfoxed, I had all three covers of the trilogy purchased, titled, and in my hands. I also started the ground work on its sister quartets and trilogies. At current count, there are something like twenty books across a bunch of trilogies and quartets, each one following a different set of characters. The next set in the world to come out will have connections to Jade and her friends in one way or another. (I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’m not going to tell you how they’re connected yet.)

How many books do you anticipate in the series and what can we look forward to in the series?

The Fox Witch books are a trilogy, but there will, as I mentioned above, be a collection of a bunch of trilogies and quartets. There will be a ‘main’ series consisting of ten books, but until I have the cover art for the first book of that set, it isn’t being fully announced. However, I can announce the name of the model for the cover: Mr. Grace Draven, the husband of the wonderfulauthor of the Wraith King series. (I love these books, and I’m extremely biased; I format and proofread for Grace.)

I begged for Mr. Grace Draven to model for me. I begged. He finally agreed, and I screamed happily when it happened.

How long did Outfoxed take to write from the first idea to publishing?

Good question. I think about two years. When I initially started it, it was a pure passion project, and it wasn’t until I started wrapping up a different series I began working on it in earnest.

If you could have any super power what would you choose and why?

Regeneration and brain refreshing. After about six hours of working, I’m so exhausted, but I want to keep writing, but my brain checks out. I’d like to be able to refresh my brain on command. Also, sleep without tossing and turning for hours. I love sleeping… but it doesn’t happen easily or as often as I would like!

Which character in your novel do you relate to most and why?

Hrm. This is a good question. I really don’t know. I try to write myself out of my characters as much as possible, because readers are trying to read adventures about those characters, not about me! I insert food I like into the books. (If you see a character obsessed with a food, it’s probably a food I like. Not always, but often. It’s a controlled self-insertion, and it’s now an ongoing joke. I also do this with cars, although… look for the vehicles I destroy in creative fashions. Chances are I really like that car, SUV, or truck. The more creative I am about the destruction of it, the more I like it.)

In life is stranger than fiction, I bought the truck from one of the books. For my husband. It’s his truck. His dream truck. (It’s also my dream truck, but I would have my dream truck in a different color.) But the lead character in Cheetahs Never Win, following the very creative destruction of his truck… got his dream truck.

Which I now own.

I named my husband’s truck Dipshit. (After the horse in Water Viper.)

My sense of humor is strange.

For the record, my husband calls the truck Warspite. After the battleship.

Can you tease us with a short snippet from Outfoxed?


The rumble escalated, and the lamp swayed on its chain, a warning one of the twisters passed directly overhead. Sandro frowned, his gaze locking on the light. “I wonder how much damage that swarm’s doing.”
People from all over the United States came to the Alley, and I’d joined everyone else in no longer caring where someone came from. He had an accent compared to the locals, but I couldn’t tell if he was deliberately hiding where he came from or if he always sounded like he could have lived anywhere in the world and magically fit in.
His question, however, told me a simple truth: Sandro hadn’t been in the Alley long. Those who’d survived through their first tornado season no longer cared about the damage ratings of a twister or a swarm.
It didn’t matter.

No matter how bad it got, like a weed in the cracks of a sidewalk, Tulsa endured.

When and where can we buy Outfoxed?

Outfoxed is available at all major retailers, and releases on November 3, 2020!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Outfoxed-Fox-Witch-Book-1-ebook/dp/B08128WGV7/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/outfoxed-r-j-blain/1134737783?ean=2940160932941

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/outfoxed-14

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/outfoxed/id1486409080

Where can fans find you to discover more and connect online?

My website, hosted by my cats, is https://thesneakykittycritic.com

I can also be found on facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/rjblain.author

Beyond that, I am rather reclusive, usually because I’m hiding in my cave writing more books.

Thank you so much for hosting!

R.J. Blain
(The Fox Witch, #1)
Publication date: November 3rd 2020
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Death is a way of life outside of the safety of Inner Tulsa, and Jade means to keep flipping Mother Nature off until old age claims her. With one eye always on the sky, the last thing she needs is a pack of bounty hunters out for her living head. With no idea of why anyone would want her, her wits might keep her free, assuming she can resist the charming lures of Sandro, one of the men out to claim her as his own.

Left with the choice of being the evening snack of a tornado or taking shelter with the bounty hunter, she does what she does best: she lives on the edge.

Striking a bargain with the handsome bounty hunter buys her another day of life, but it also dumps her into the heart of a sinister plot, one meant to enslave the residents of the storm-tossed city—and the others brave and foolish enough to call the Alley home.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Google Play

Author Bio:

RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.

In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until satisfied.

Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Goodreads

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More about the Outfoxed Book Tour

Behind the Book: Petrified by Ben Meeks

Behind the Book: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

Book Review: Blind Tiger by Rachel Vincent

Preorder Giveaway

I want to thank everyone that has bought Ocean Heart between 1 Oct to 30 Nov by inviting them to enter my first ever giveaway.

Entries must be received by 1 Dec at 8pm GMT, as the winner will be announced during the Live release party on YouTube.

To enter, click here to fill in the Google Form & submit.


To qualify for the giveaway you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Preorder Ocean Heart paperback between 1 Oct & 30 Nov (or)
  • Bought Ocean Heart eBook between 1 Oct & 30 Nov

The Prize

There are two prizes. One for UK entries, and the other for international entries.


To enter, please fill in the form. I need your name so I can announce the winner, your address to send your prize, and email to request proof of purchase if you win (can be a simple screen shot).

To enter, click here to fill in the Google Form & submit.

If you win you don’t have to share your prize on Social Media, but if you do, please tag me. I’d love to know you received it and are happy. 💛

For more full details including terms and conditions , please visit my Giveaway page.

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Ocean Heart

Book Reviews

Now you can PreOrder Ocean Heart!

Ocean Heart Book Blitz Sign Up

My plan was to sign up via Expresso Tour for a Net Galley ARC release during November. I wrote the email and then chaos with kids happened, and I didn’t click send.

When I realised my mistake, I emailed Giselle. Unfortunately, November was booked up and her easiest space was after Dec. This was no good to me as I wanted to spread the word of my upcoming release.

Giselle then told me about a Book Blitz. It sounded perfect. Anyone, interested in Ocean Heart can sign up and spread the word during the first week of Nov.

Keep your eyes peeled for blogs showcasing Ocean Heart. I’ll be sharing them to my Instagram stories and Twitter so you don’t miss out.


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Now you can PreOrder Ocean Heart!

Book Reviews

Ocean Heart

My To Be Read Pile

When I tell people I would love to read their book but unsure when I can because my reading pile grows faster than I can keep up with, this is what I am talking about…. I’m really not joking!

Here is my current reading pile… okay, so this isn’t even half of it, but these are at the top.

Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

The Sentinels (series) by Cassidy Reyne

Sea Witch Rising (series) by Sarah Henning

Number Eight Crispy Chicken by Sarah Neofield

A Court of Thorns & Roses (series) by Sarah J Maas

The Mirror Souls by Julia Scott

[More of] The Red Queen (series) by Victoria Aveyard

Join or Die by J Adrian Rut

The Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Anne Nobel

Dying Ember by River K Scott

Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz

Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

As you can see this is a rather long list considering I’m lucky if I manage to read one a month. Have you read any if the above? Are any of these in your pile?

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My Books

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Book Review: Trust Me by Maddie James

The novel is set in the future. Cyan and her mother are hunted because they are the last Caucasian women. They are wanted for science, trafficking, etc. Cyan’s mother was lost, presumed dead, when she was younger during an attack in their home. Cyan has spent most of her life on the run with her dad until he was murdered. Cyan is then on the run getting help from an unlikely companion, her father’s murderer.


The book starts off by showing us this futuristic world. As Cyan’s needs to live off the grid to keep her safe, they actually live a very simple life. Cyan grows up in an extremely sheltered life where her mum is her main companion.

The start of the book is a little disorientating as we jump back and forth in time and between the viewpoints. You best get used to this style of story telling as it is used throughout the book.


I’m not keen on books where the characters are travelling. As Cyan is never safe, she’s always on the move.

Cyan lost her mother when she was young during an attack in the family home. She then spent a number of years raised solely by her dad. Her dad is getting old and struggling to keep her safe so he gets Devin (someone who has hunted them for years to get the bounty) to kill him and take on the role of protecting Cyan. The promise Devin makes to Cyan’s dad forces them together.

It was uncomfortable to read at times. There wasn’t only one rape scene but several, told by different characters and at different times.

At first Cyan doesn’t like Devin, he killed her dad. Devin keeps their relationship strictly business as he worries that if he gets emotionally involved it will cloud his judgement. Cyan learns to depend on Devin for protection and Devin learns to trust Cyan and her premonitions. The romance between them grows and I enjoyed the steamy scene in the barn.

I also liked Cyan’s powers and would have liked to have seen more of this but then she would have been less vulnerable. She gets a vibration feeling when danger is coming and premonitions that cone true. She also has a very destructive power which she used to attack hunters when they hunted her family. All the time in hiding, they never thought to encourage her to practice her powers to use them to keep them safe. So sadly, Cyan can’t use them.

The End

There was a decent end to the book. There were two plot twists and Cyan finally used her powers to save them.

The ending is left open for possibly another book.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this book was not for me. I was provided this book by Net Galley for an honest review.

I wasn’t keen on the constant danger or the idea that being the last woman with blue eyes meant men wanted to rape you. I found it hard to understand and it felt racist at times because men of colour were unable to control their urge and behaved like savage animals. If these are trigger points for you, give this book a miss.

Another gripe was her father’s plan for her survival.  I found it a bit odd – why die. I couldn’t understand why Devin was risking his life for a promise to a dead man he had never really known. I didn’t believe Cyan would willingly go with Devin after seeing him murder her dad, especially as she didn’t know why and only had Devin’s word that it was what her dad wanted.

However, there are also many good points. The book is very well written with lots of showing and the world was brought to life in a natural way that sucked you in. I loved Cyan’s powers and wanted more. I loved the secret behind her necklace and it was a great reveal at the end. The slow burning romance kept me turning the page and I was thrilled when the pair finally got it on.

The author has written plenty of other books and maybe another title would be more my thing but I don’t think I will be in a hurry to read another one unless it comes highly recommended by someone who knows my reading tastes.

Have you read a book by Maddie James? Do you like novels set in the future or characters with powers?

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