The bad news is that Deadly Valentine didn’t make it to the semi-finals in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award. The good news is that the Publisher’s Weekly reviewer had nice things to say about the book. The first part of the review is a recap of the book, which gives some of the secrets of the book away, so I won’t print that part (in case there is anyone who hasn’t read the book yet). The review finishes with:
Written with precision and care, this intriguing romance/murder mystery is a fun read that will keep readers guessing until the very end.
I was worried about this review. Book tastes are subjective, which makes reviews difficult. Deadly Valentine has 43 reviews at Amazon, some who rave about it and some who are ho-hum about it. Same book. Different reactions. I was happy that I got a reviewer who understood what I was trying to do and enjoyed it. Even if the book didn’t score high enough to get into the semi-finals.
During the contest I received two other reviews from Amazon Vine readers. Since they were complementary, I thought I’d share their feedback as well. I put a couple of comments (in italics) responding to the reviewers.
ABNA Expert Reviewer One:
What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt? : It gets right into the characters. Not too much description. It’s easy to picture the setting. It drew me in and I wanted to know more.
What aspect needs the most work? : It was unclear as to how all of a sudden Tess was feeling so ill. Was something slipped into her drink? (I’ve heard this before and while I mention a 24-hour bug later in the story, perhaps I need to make that clearer in the beginning)
What is your overall opinion of this excerpt? : This was a very good start. The characters were introduced smoothly and the murder was being set up very well.
ABNA Expert Reviewer Two:
What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt? : The strongest aspect of this excerpt is the tension between Tess and Jack. He is from her recent past, a relationship that didn’t last. He is back now in her life but she is trying to resist his charms.
What aspect needs the most work? : It would have been nice to get a little more of a back story on what happened with Jack and Tess in the past. That can sometimes help to get a feeling for the character and how they behave. (This is dribbled throughout the book because the not-knowing is part of what leads to suspicion of Jack.)
What is your overall opinion of this excerpt? : Overall, I think this is a very good story. I would love to keep reading the finished book. It is a story of romance first and foremost but there is also a murder mystery involved and secrets from the past. In this excerpt I was left very interested in knowing what would happen next.
Have you read Deadly Valentine? If you did and you enjoyed it, please leave feedback at Amazon! I’d appreciate it!