Tag Archives: reviews

The Latest Buzz on Books by Sherrie Hansen

 

Please indulge me… I don’t mean to brag, but both of these reviews were recently posted on Amazon Canada by a new reader of my books. They touched me so deeply that I wanted to share them with you. If you’ve questioned what my books are about, or whether or not you should try reading one of them, perhaps this will help. Thank you in advance.

Daybreak in Denmark (3)

NIGHT and DAY

“Sherrie Hansen’s book Night and Day blew me away.

This was my Sunday afternoon read and the storytelling was so engaging I didn’t stop turning the pages until I was finished. But it still me kept me up late into the night because I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

This NEVER happens to me! First, I can’t remember the last time I finished a book in one sitting! Second, it’s rare that I lose sleep over a book unless I’m reading it!

Night and Day is not a typical contemporary romance novel. It is sophisticated, mature, exceptionally written, and deeply, emotionally engaging. I am not a romantic, not really, but Night and Day has me questioning my cynicism, believing in romance, and seeing men through a new lens.

Sherrie Hansen is not only a beautiful storyteller, but she is also an accomplished writer. Her characters are vivid, realistic people that carry the weight of their pasts into their current lives. I identified and bonded with Jensen, a late-30s unmarried woman clinging to her roots while at the same time aware that time is ticking and she’s failing to realize her dream of having a family and a happy ever after.

Jensen leapt off the pages for me and became real, a friend I wanted to have, a woman I wanted to be. Jensen has little character quirks that if not well-written (and seldom are) can be off-putting, but under Hansen’s careful handling, they become endearing, sometimes a little maddening, but an integral part of who Jensen is and what makes her so believable.

Night and Day (1)

Jensen is loved by two men – Ed, who gives her the physical love she needs, but his own painful past prevents him from letting go emotionally and Anders, who loves her with all his heart, who tells her in his words and his emotional support but can’t be a presence in her life because they are separated by distance and their own stubbornness.

The story is so skillfully handled that I couldn’t predict the outcome until towards the end of the book. And it wasn’t a prediction by then, it was Hansen leading me to its beautiful conclusion.

Another element to this book that’s important to note is the deep ties Jensen has to her past, to her great-grandmother, Maren, who emigrated to the US from Denmark. A bundle of letters written by Maren in Danish tell a story of love, romance and difficult choices. Hansen deftly weaves the two love stories together using the letters as a catalyst for the growing relationship between Jensen and Anders. It’s beautifully done.

Night and Day is an emotional rollercoaster of a romance novel. It’s contemporary but set in the early days of internet, when dial-up connections were slow and unreliable. This is a clever inclusion as it adds an intense element to the story telling, an atypical roadblock on the often, rocky path to love.

I think this was Hansen’s first book and it is so obvious that she wrote it with love in her heart. I did not want this book to end, ever. I didn’t want to let go of Jensen’s story. I cannot wait to read Daybreak, Sherrie Hansen’s sequel to Night and Day. I just have to wait for another lazy Sunday afternoon because I have no doubt how I will be spending it.”

Quilt - bear

DAYBREAK

“Sherrie Hansen is a storyteller and understands the vagaries of life in all its messiness. She doesn’t write perfect characters which ironically is what makes her characters perfect.

They are right and wrong in their thoughts, their relationships, their selfishness and their desires. They struggle with the difficulties they encounter, get side-tracked by them so badly sometimes that they lose sight of the big picture. Like every single one of us!

Daybreak - N&D

It’s almost impossible to review this book and do justice to it at the same time. It had me on an emotional roller-coaster from page one because the interplay and conflict between the characters is so identifiable.

This extended to the relationship between Jensen and her parents, Jensen and Anders, Jensen and Bjorn (her stepson), Anders and his son, Anders and his boss and so on.

Daybreak sunset

It subtly showed that life is not perfect and that sometimes everything spins out of control in a way that takes you away from what you believed were your dreams, your beliefs, your priorities. In their desire not to hurt one another, Jensen and Anders do exactly that. Their story left me fuming and crying and frustrated. But also made me reflect on my own behaviour towards the ones I love and what truly is important in life.

Finally, this book, like Night and Day, was beautifully written and exceptionally edited, two critical components of a five-star book.

I shall be reading a lot more of Ms. Hansen’s books.”

Sherrie - book signing

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Filed under fiction, Sherrie Hansen, writing

I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Dog-gone-it, People Like My Books – Daily Affirmations with Sherrie Hansen Decker

One of the most nerve-wracking things for an author to do is to wait until the first reviews of their new release start appearing. Not only is it gratifying when people affirm your work, but there’s a very real and wonderful kind of connection that occurs when you find that a book you’ve written alone, and characters that have, up until this time, existed only in your mind, have spoken to and touched other people. It’s not that I don’t have confidence in my own work and a strong belief in myself (yes, it does lurk somewhere deep inside me), but when that magical connection occurs… it’s a joyous thing. I don’t know how else to describe it, and for an author, that’s very telling!

I’ve listed below some of the ever so nice things people are saying about Love Notes. If you want to read the full reviews, check them out at Amazon or Goodreads. And next time you read a book you like, consider posting a review, however short or lengthy. Your kind words and the fact that you “get” the author’s characters or theme will mean the world to them.

Here we go:

 

“Sherrie Hansen Decker’s Love Notes is Christian romance where fiction is lifted up, not bogged down by faith… This story kept me glued to the page, never knowing how I wanted the tale to end, but always sure the author would end it well. After all, she’s very clearly listening to the author of our lives as she writes these lives—Christian fiction indeed, where honest humanity meets heavenly hope.” (from a review by Sheila Deeth)

“Sherrie Hansen will keep you turning the pages as you are drawn in for a marvelous journey of two people discovering first of all themselves – their weaknesses, but also their strengths – and, inevitably, each other.” (from a review by Gabriela Scholter)

Ever since I read the next review, I’ve been telling people that Love Notes is better than air conditioning!

“Sherrie describes the setting so well that I could see and feel the near frozen temperatures and the cold water of the Lake. I could see the fog coming off the water and feel the fear of the character as they struggle to start the boat that is stranded on the Lake. I could feel the coldness in the air so much that I went outside and read the next few chapters just to get warm again.” (from a review by Connie Cowger)

"I would subtitle Sherrie Hansen Decker's inspirational romance, *Love Notes*, 'When Dreams Collide.' The hero, a famous pop singer-songwriter, and the heroine, an owner of a failing MN resort are both burdened with the "dead" past. But neither see it that way--until forced to. A cast of interesting and very alive characters and plenty of intriguing plot twists make for a satisfying read." (from an endorsement by Lyn Cote, author of the Women of Ivy Manor series.)

You can purchase Love Notes, form your own opinion, and even write a review at Second Wind Publishing.

And if you’re awaiting the first review on your new book, a nod from your boss, or whatever, try a Daily Affirmation with Stuart Smalley. It will make you smile!

 

 

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Sniper Attacks by J J Dare

When I read public reviews and ratings of written works, I’m not overly impressed. While constructive criticism is an enormous aid, anonymous potshots are devoid of help in the continued growth of a writer. The most valued critiques are those sent personally. It shows that the sender took the time to thoughtfully address issues they have with an author’s work.

I stopped reading my own reviews a long time ago. I write because I love to write. Money is nice but it’s not the entire reason I put words on paper. I need to write thrillers and conspiracies. It’s how I see the world.

Not everyone sees the world as I do and the first time someone negatively criticized my work, I went on an ice cream binge that lasted for days. An ice cream hangover is not as fun as it sounds.

I want to send a shout-out to the people who have taken a moment out of their lives to constructively evaluate my work. Your words help me improve as a writer, and, oftentimes, as a person. Thank you.

Then, there’s the other side of the coin. Sniper attacks.

I was looking at books online the other day and a few reviews caught my eye. The one that stood out and still has me laughing was, “Don’t waste your Money!” This was a review for a book offered as a free download. I really wanted to write “moron” in reply to the review, but since I could not effectively critique the reviewer, I’ll write it here as a general catchall for useless reviews.

Moron.

Mr. Anonymous is the sniper every writer meets. He takes cover in the shadows, shoots and disappears. This person masquerades as a reviewer providing guidance for potential readers, but unless there is merit in the review, both the potential reader and the author lose.

I have a hard time understanding why a regular person becomes a demigod when they hide behind the cloak of anonymity. A person’s identity is their credibility.

Here’s a review of an author’s book that completely missed the mark by an anonymous reviewer and brought the book’s rating down for no reason (copied in all its misspelled glory):

“I wasted money on these book. I like romance not police storys. I do not read police storys. I did not like it.”

The book was under a thriller/detective and crime category. Crime, romance; yeah, it’s easy to see how the reviewer was confused.

When an anonymous review attacks the author personally, it adds a new level to writer angst. A while back, I read the following about a book I ended up purchasing despite the shameful potshot (reviewer’s grammatical errors included):

“A novel should not reek of halitosis. Shame on you.  Buy some mouthwash and rinse your mouth out because your write stink. Or better yet, don’t every write again.”

What a horrid way to bring a writer down. A personal attack is the lowest form of reviewing and holds no authority. Shame on YOU, Mr. Anonymous.

An anonymous reviewer revealed the obvious:

“This writer wrote this book to make money. Do not waste money buying this book to line the writer’s pocket with coin.”

Writers write. We also like to eat more than ramen noodles.

The majority of the world produces with the expectation of a return. Very few people work without payment in some form or other. We survive in an economically-driven world. I wonder what this anonymous poster does for a living.

No writer is immune to anonymous criticism. An inflated sense of self-importance is behind every sniper attack:

“Overrated drivel and non-linear plot. Historically inaccurate. Too much mysticism. Spend your money on therapy instead.”

Duck and run, Mr. Anonymous. God is going to be mad at you for ripping The Bible.

Hit and run reviews are a form of cowardice. Would the reviewer who panned a writer’s work say the same thing to the writer’s face? I think they would not or at least, they would be more polite and less snippy. The ability to namelessly post anything has led to an internet playground rife with faceless snipers.

Some of the snipers may have less altruistic reasons for their public denouncements. The community of writers is filled with diversity and there is a harmonious unity to this merry band of authors. The exception is made for a few underhanded individuals who anonymously criticize their fellow writers’ works in order to advance their own. They are the scabs of the writing world.

Writers in the public arena deal with pointless reviews and sniper attacks. Stand behind your words with a real name, Mr. Anonymous. Even if something deserves a place in the garbage can, trashing it anonymously is detrimental to all.

 J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and triple digit works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch

Facebook addiction

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Filed under Humor, life, writing

Reviews and Tiger Stripes

An acquaintance recently read my first book and sent me the following email:

“When I started reading your book, I had some expectations of what was going to happen, especially with the cover of a bloody knife. The brutality was too real and it surprised and shocked me. I got a hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach and the final chapter made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It was a weird roller-coaster ride full of pain and death. You’re a strange writer. When is the next book coming out?”

I made an impression on this reader and his email made me feel pretty good about the off-hand way I write. I do not often follow the mainstream; I’m traveling along “mainstream’s” banks and dipping my foot in every now and then.

Another recent reader told me this:

“If you could wring a book, your book would drip blood.”

Hmm. Did I incorporate too much violence? Were the depictions of death too graphic? Was the reality too real?

Nah. No more so than many television shows and theatrical movies.

The great thing about writing is I can change my stripes, unlike the poor tiger. I am working on romance, science fiction, mystery, horror, humor, fantasy, and plain old drama. In the each genre, my writing style changes, although my signature cynicism is evident.

As a reader, do you like when an author you are familiar with swings his or her style of writing? Do you feel cheated or pleasantly surprised?

As a writer, can you change how you write or does your “signature” come through too strongly for you to successfully cross over to another genre?

J J Dare, author of the Joe Daniels’ trilogy

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Filed under books, fiction, writing