Hello there and welcome to The Turndog Review: the books I read, reviewed.
I aren’t a professional critic, instead all I offer is my honest opinion into everything I read. However, I do this with a difference, as I don’t only offer my personal views on the Writing, Plot, and Story, but also the Book Cover, Book Marketing, and Author Website.
We live in a modern world where being a writer is different to years gone by, and I feel the whole experience of the book matters. This covers everything from the initial find, the actual read, and everything that follows. Therefore I hope this review not only offers a great insight into the book and author, but also into my own mind and what makes me tick.
So without further ado let’s begin, and today I focus on Pentecost by J.F Penn
Read: February 2012
Discovered: A Blogger I love so a book I always planned to read
The Creative Penn was one of the first writer related sites I became a regular reader of, so I always planned on delving into the ARKANE series at some point. After reading the reviews it came across as a Dan Brown style novel, which overall is something I like to read from time to time.
The plot surrounds Morgan Sierra, a professor at Oxford University, but one with a somewhat dark past. Having grown up in Israel she spent time in the army, and saw her husband lost in action. Teaching was supposed to bring an easier life, and finally reconnect with her twin sister and little niece.
Then her sister and niece got kidnapped and she gets thrust into a world of action and mystery. Before long she is on route with Jake, an ARKANE Special Forces type, and in search for not only her sister, but a set of stones that has the power to create and stop the Pentecost.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and it’s short nature goes well with it’s fast pace. I started reading on a Friday night and finished it off on the following Monday. This, I feel, tells you everything you need to know. It’s fast, full of action, and quite surprisingly graphic at times.
If you enjoy a historical thriller that links the real world with myth and fantasy, well, this is certainly the book for you.
I really liked Morgan Sierra, the lead lady, and felt her attractive, kick ass mannerism were a nice touch. You don’t come across too many women like this in literature, and her Lara Croft like personality is something I can certainly get on board with.
The pace of this book is also a large draw, and I feel the author has created a platform where many books could come from it. It’s fast and furious, and overall an enthralling read.
Although the pace is great, I feel the length of the book does hinder things a little. I found myself wanting more from the characters, and just as we begin to learn about someone we’re thrust away and into a new adventure. Saying that, it could be a ploy by the author to strain this out over many books, which could become a very successful ploy.
My only other gripe was the ending, something I feel brought a slight anti climax. The research is really solid and wanted me to delve deeper, and the story got me hooked from the off, but the ending felt dare I say…lacking. It wasn’t bad as such, merely a little underwhelming.
I’m a big fan of this cover, despite it being quite simple. The text is huge; a vital aspect for Ebooks, and the general style suits the dark and occasionally violent aspects of the book.
Sometimes too much worry can be placed into a book cover. It’s so vital, but I find taking a step back and being simple is often there best way to go. It certainly ticks all my boxes.
The marketing within the book is very good and points the reader to the entire online life of Penn. This is vital, because if a stranger buys your book on Amazon you will never know why they are. That is, of course, if you don’t try and connect.
Give them the option to follow you and find out more, and guess what, you may find new followers for your entire author journey. Selling books is great, but to do it over and over again then you need to communicate often.
The marketing within the book is great, and a true example of how people should approach things.
Author Website & Engagement:
J.F Penn is a very savvy marketer, and a true example of a modern day indie writer. The Creative Penn is considered one of the best Blogs for Writers, and with over 25,000 Twitter Followers, the appeal of Penn is huge.
Having followed Joanna (who goes by the pen name J.F Penn) I know this is a journey of trial and error. Her first book was a disappointing effort, with many physical copies bought, and ultimately money lost. She also found the relative failure of traditional media, and as such, become one of the top people online.
She strikes all the online channels well (Twitter, Blogging, Guest Posting, Facebook, Stumbleupon), and is someone I’ve learnt a great deal from. She also approaches everything strategically, and recently tested the Amazon Select Programme, finding the entire process somewhat mixed.
She isn’t worried to try things, but makes sure she measures what she does. This is exactly how marketing should be approached, and as for engaging, well, you won’t find too many people better at it.
And her website?
She has two sites: The Creative Penn and Joanna Penn (aka J.F Penn). I don’t look at her personal site too often, but it’s very simple and informative, and perfect for finding out information about her as a writer, and the research she does for her books.
If you enjoy religion and history then this site is great, but the main focus is on The Creative Penn. This is a very successful site, and overall full of information about writing, creating an author platform, and marketing in general.
To sum up it’s a great example of how an author website should look, although I do personally question the need for two separate sites. This is just opinion of course, but I feel one larger site could help engage fans between her research, advice, and writing better.
Is this hard to mix together? Yes, it is, but if you approach it right I feel it can bring some excellent gain.
Overall I like Pentecost, and I love Joanna as a person. She’s a great writer to follow, and I’m now loyal to the ARKANE series. It’s fast and full of twists and turns, and overall a great Vacation read.
Both the story and marketing side of things is great, so I’m happy to give a very solid…
4 Turndogs out of 5
Thanks for reading this version of The Turndog Review. I review every book I read, not only for the writing, but the marketing, website, and general communication from the author.
Turndog Millionaire – @turndog_million