Recommendations by Lisa

No lengthy rants here this week, folks. No time.

However, I have decided something: the quality of many self-published books out there is FAR worse than I previously imagined.

No, really.


Don’t get me wrong. I knew. Oh, I knew. There’s a reason I have a strict “try a sample” first policy when it comes to ANY book on my Kindle, unless it’s a series by an author I truly love. Otherwise, I can pretty much tell within a few pages if it’s a waste of money or not. Obviously, I’m one hundred percent in favor of anyone who exercises their right to write. It takes guts, it takes effort, it takes time. But it also takes writing classes. And a basic command of the English language.

I know I promised no ranting today (actually, I believe I promised no “lengthy” ranting). But the sad fact of the matter is that a sizable chunk (more than I imagined) of self-published works out there read like your average fanfiction. Absolutely no offense is meant to the loads of WONDERFUL fanfiction authors that I have read and loved over the years—but you are the diamonds in the rough, so to speak. When faced with the reality that this is so rampant, I don’t know how to respond. And I’m not just talking grammar here, people! Yes, it drives me crazy when there are constant grammatical errors, but I have managed to get over that aspect.


Well, maybe “get over” is a little strong. More like “begrudgingly accept.” The truth is that I’m often reading edited, sometimes professionally edited, works with more than a few typos or mistakes. I’m sure my own novel won’t be perfect (one can only hope, right?), but that isn’t my point today. If I can stomach the mind-numbing amount of grammatical errors (including unintentional—meaning not done on purpose for effect—comma splices in every other paragraph) that leaked out of The Hunger Games, I think I can keep myself calm on this issue.


And, for the record, the reason I could handle The Hunger Games series was that it was a good story that was well written (though somewhat poorly edited). I loved the story because it was engaging and exciting. I can’t get excited when I’m cringing under the table reliving the days when I tried watching Stargate Universe. Or all but the first season of Heroes.

My point is that no amount of editing can fix crappy writing. Maybe people will think poorly of my books. Maybe everyone will say I’m a crappy writer. I don’t want to come off as sounding high and mighty because I truly respect the courage it takes to publish. I don’t want to take that right from anyone. But I’m worried about the reputation that it is fostering among the indie community, and I’m honestly tired of wasting my own time looking for a decent read. It’s not that good self-published books aren’t out there. I could do some research and find which authors are being recommended. But I was trying so hard to give the no-names a chance so that maybe I could pass along my recommendations to you. I spent a good deal of time in bed over the last week fighting a nasty flu virus. Throughout that time, I was whittling down my downloaded samples on my Kindle, one by one. Only two books out of over twenty were even worth more than a few pages. You know what? I bought those books. You know what else? Some of the other ones were free on Kindle. Did I purchase those free e-books? Nope. But come on, they were free, right? Yes, but my time most certainly is not.

And whoops. There went my lengthy rant.

So, without further ado, I give you “Recommendations by Lisa.” See it? It’s right over there. No, not there. There. Yes, on the right-hand column (near the bottom for our mobile guests). These are my own personal recommendations; therefore, they are my own personal opinions. Will you agree? Maybe, maybe not. Will you enjoy the same genres as me? Maybe, maybe not. But if you see something you like, click on the link from my recommendations. I hereby solemnly pinky-swear to each and every one of you that I will never—ever—post a book on there that I did not like. That does not mean you will like it. I’m just trying to pick out some well-written and well-edited reads for people who read similar books. I’m not a professional book reviewer, so I won’t tell you about the bad ones. Instead, I will try to keep a steady number of choices up for anyone that wants to check them out. You can purchase either version once you click through the link, but decide for yourself if it sounds interesting to you. I will just say that the Throne of Glass series is pretty phenomenal. At first, I thought she was ripping off a good bit from The Hunger Games until I read that she started writing it a decade ago. It’s an interesting twist on the Cinderella story, and a fantastic read for anyone who loved The Hunger Games. Another book that I am recommending is Haven, which is, unfortunately, not well-edited in terms of grammar, punctuation, etc. But the writing is good, and the world is absolutely fascinating to me.

Try them out if you like. Some may be self-published, some may not. I’m currently trying to finish a horror thriller that has me hooked in a very strange way. It’s called Sin, but I am not recommending it officially until I finish. This was one of the samples that I ended up purchasing. I don’t usually read horror, but this character is so compelling and bizarre at the same time. It’s like Stephen King, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Doctor Who all rolled into one oddball story. It’s pretty horrific at times, funny at times (if you enjoy the humor of Douglas Adams like me, you would love this), and very sad as well. The main character practically jumps off the page. Okay, there are some typos (despite apparently having several editors). But I can totally forgive that when you are a great writer. Shaun Allen obviously is a great writer. When other authors message me with a link to their book, if it sounds like something I could read, I get a sample immediately. I’m trying here. I really am. I want to promote the little guys like myself. Please don’t leave me disillusioned.

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