Monday, June 15, 2015

My 3 reviews from Readers' Favorite

The Secret of Excalibur

I submitted THE SECRET OF EXCALIBUR to Readers' Favorite to, hopefully, get a 5 star review.  Readers' Favorite is an online review service that most authors and traditional publishers use to obtain reviews to validate their books.  If you're lucky enough to receive a 4 or 5 star review, it will be posted on Amazon as an editorial review, giving more credence to your work.  If you get a 5 star review, you get a Seal to attach to your ebook covers.  

Readers' Favorite has over 400, volunteer reviewers.  The reviewers have to maintain strict standards in their reviews, and they are frequently screened to make sure they are not showing favoritism for certain authors or publishers.  The review process is FREE, but with the hundreds of books and manuscripts they receive in a weeks time, it could take up to 2 or 4 months to even get yours reviewed.  Or never.  I know some authors who've waited over six months, and still no review.  Who can wait that long?  Not me.

So, I took their Express Review Services offer.  For X amount of money, you can get 1 review processed within a 2 week period.  For X amount of money, you can get 3 reviews processed within 2 to 3 weeks, plus you get 3 mini-critique reviews of your work, AND they put your book on their pages for readers to browse for 3 weeks.   Not having much confidence in myself, and really wanting that 5 star review and Seal, I went with the 3 Express Review option.  

Here is the first review I got back:

Completed on: 06/01/2015
Review Rating: 4 stars.
Reviewed By Paula Tran for Readers’ Favorite

In Sahara Foley's novel, The Secret of Excalibur, we follow an American man with supernatural abilities named Arthur Merlin. Gifted with multiple abilities, Arthur has been the target of London's Psychic Research Facility. He refused to be treated as a lab rat, demanding that he be treated as an equal, and volunteered to aid the facility in their research. During his stay in London, he will stay with Ruth, a curt lady, or so it seems. Arthur thinks he will live peacefully, but the facility has other schemes of their own.

I like the idea of having Arthur, one of the protagonists, to be a special character. His ability to perform numerous supernatural phenomena is impressive and eye opening. It is even described in the novel as such. Not only are his powers well developed, so is his personality. He is goofy and funny, something that readers can relate to.

The plot itself is also well written and deserves praise. I like how the author purposely switches between viewpoints throughout, giving both sides of the story and adding suspense as well. As such, its clear that the author is switching POVs, using either line breaks or different chapters entirely. Well done for not leaving readers hanging!

There is one thing that really bothers me and that is Arthur seems perfect. Sure, he did accidentally burn someone and had some bad days here and there, but he should have more flaws. He can go anywhere undetected, manipulate anyone, and bend things to his will. Making him more realistic will give him a vital flaw that adds to his character. This makes him much more interesting and readers will surely like him more.

I really liked this review, but I felt Paula didn't quite understand what she was reading.  She was off the mark on several of her comments.  Now, I wait for the next two  still crossing my fingers that at least one will be a 5 star.

Then I got notified of my second review.

Completed on: 06/04/2015
Review Rating: 5 stars!         Download your free 5 Star Seal.
Reviewed By Maria Beltran for Readers’ Favorite

The Secret of Excalibur is a fantasy novel by Sahara Foley. Arthur Merlin is a typical, normal human being. But after a freak accident happens to him, things change quite abnormally. He develops certain abilities: telekinesis, telepathy, pyrokinesis and even teleportation; and that’s not even all that he can do. It’s not often that one develops multiple abilities – most of the time, only one manifests. The US government wants him for their own gains, but with teleportation he is hard to keep under control. So he teleports to an institution he thinks he can work with better - to the Institute of Psychic Research in London. He shows his abilities to doctors at the Institute and they are stunned, eager to include him in their research. Eventually a kind of force from Lake George calls out to him. With Dr. Burns and Commander Dobie from the Institute, he learns some disturbing truths about the lake, and it may be up to him to save the world from it.

If you come to think of it, Sahara Foley, author of The Secret of Excalibur, is a literary magician. It’s a wonderful page turner right from the beginning: when a cocky yet endearing Arthur Merlin exhibits his superpowers, it makes us want to read more. She writes a very compelling narrative, tickling the fancy of adult readers – it almost feels like she brings back the magical air of childhood stories in The Secret of Excalibur. It’s an adventure readers will not want to miss out on. The characters in this book are well defined and the main protagonist is easy to empathize with, that is, many of us would like to be transformed from an average human being into one with special abilities who can save the world. Extremely consistent with a clear theme, this book is certainly an enjoyable read!

I did it!!  I received a 5 star review, plus the coveted Seal.  And, I really like this review.  She nailed my story right on the head.  

But, could I get another one?  You know, me being greedy and all.  

Completed on: 06/14/2015
Review Rating: 5 stars!      Download your free 5 Star Seal.
Reviewed By Michelle Stanley for Readers’ Favorite

“A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” but sometimes necessary when saving your own life, and telekinetic Arthur Merlin finds himself damaging a few in The Secret of Excalibur by Sahara Foley. Arthur, who possesses paranormal powers countries want to control, teleports himself to the Institute of Psychic Research in London to demonstrate his skills, and becomes Doctor Ruth Burns’ case study under the watchful eyes of Commander Dobie, MI6. While fishing at Lake George, Arthur’s sensors detect unusual activity beneath the lake, where the Lady of the Lake supposedly resides, guarding Excalibur. He realizes an unseen force is weakening his powers and enlists the help of Commander Dobie to investigate the mysterious undersea cave that appears to be operated by dangerous enemies.

I have read several adaptations of King Arthur, but The Secret of Excalibur is a fast-paced, urban fantasy by Sahara Foley. She has created a sci-fi theme that is intriguing, and the main characters - who are not afraid to speak their minds or express their feelings - narrate it. She writes very nicely and allows all her characters to participate in the drama, whether it is a big scene or a minor one. This strengthened the story, which has witty dialogue and adventure. Just when you get comfortable with the events unfolding, Sahara Foley pulls another creative twist without warnings or previous hints that divert The Secret of Excalibur onto a new route. Although the conclusion is unexpected as well, I still liked it and recommend this entertaining book.

I did it again.  I'm so thrilled.  The Secret of Excalibur received a wonderful 4 star, plus two terrific 5 stars, and earned the Seal.  My late husband, Bob, would be so proud.  Like me, this was one of his favorite stories too.

Do I have your interest peeked?  Want to take a look?  Then, just click on the book cover to be directed to Amazon to read a free sample.  Or better yet, just buy the damn thing.  It's only $2.99, after all.  

Also, what do you think of my storyboards?  Now I get to make new ones, showing off my 5 star Seal from Readers' Favorite.  


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