Fiction · Romance · Sadie J

Sunspots | by Karen S. Bell

SunspotsSunspots by Karen S. Bell
(CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013, 236 pages)

Aurora has just lost her husband Jake in a car accident. She tries to go on with her life but is continually brought back to her grief through flashbacks and learning secrets about her husband’s life from other people and the ghost living in her house. She wants to believe that Jake truly was the man of her dreams but something in her is starting to doubt their relationship.

For class I had to pick a romance book that was self-published and I landed on this one. I don’t want to say too much because I appreciate how much work it must be to publish your own novel but I found too many problems with the writing to really enjoy it. I felt like Bell was just skimming the surface and not expanding on the different conflicts that she presented to Aurora. Bell also referenced movies or books way too many times to describe something instead of just describing it herself. For example, instead of telling the reader about a car, she just stated it was exactly like the car in “As Good As It Gets.” But this movie comparison happened so often that I honestly just skimmed the last 20 pages.

6 thoughts on “Sunspots | by Karen S. Bell

  1. Hi I am the author and I am quite perturbed that you somehow found an old cover design that exists nowhere online. So how did you find it? Also, it is disappointing that you did not enjoy the book but happily so far you are in a minority. As an actress, Aurora sees the world through the lens of characters in literature and film. These references were intrinsic to who she was and how she interpreted her reality. Apparently, you didn’t understand that.

    1. I understand that you feel the need to defend yourself and the book that you self-published. Even the reviewer commended your effort. I myself, as a fellow reader, am perturbed by an author that is so quick to dismiss even the most subtle of criticisms. What is especially disconcerting is the borderline insult at the end of your comment that the reader just “didn’t understand” the character. Perhaps that would be a correct diagnosis however, as it would be difficult for a reader to identify with a character who so often relies on other fictional characters to describe her feelings for her. Seems like a shallow pool that the reader is expected to swim in.

      You’re quite right that this reviewer is in the minority of readers who have dared to discuss a flaw in your book. The eight total reviews found on Amazon are quick to prove that. I’d like to believe, however, that an author could appreciate a piece of constructive criticism just as much as the praise she seems so accustomed to.

      1. First of all, why not read the book before you take sides. This particular character trait of the MC is important because it is an important departure from the heavy emotions and brings levity. It is not a subtle criticism but a major flaw in the reader’s critique. Also the five-star review by Awesome Indies spoke to the story’s psychological depth. If you had read my reply before you bashed me over the head so-to-speak with your comment, you will see that I swallowed the bitter pill. It’s just odd that one reader can write that she felt sad for the book to end and this reviewer couldn’t finish it. Ya live and ya learn

  2. Hi Karen,

    Thank you for your comment. That was an image of your book cover found doing a quick Google search. I went back and updated it with what I hope is the more recent cover – my apologies for that.

  3. Thanks for doing that. Please read the extremely flattering reviews at Amazon and perhaps you might considering rereading the book. Readers felt there was a lot of psychological depth to Aurora and that there was no skimming at the surface. Of course, there is no way to please every reader. So after reading your review, I am not so confident of this book’s broad appeal. Thanks for the wake-up call.

  4. I think a reader in their review space can express their opinions. I’m floored that anyone believing that is considered by the author to be “taking sides.” I liked this particular review; it was a polite, clearly understandable and detailed expression of the reader’s experience with the read. After reading their review, I was still going to read the book (I wouldn’t be bothered by the movie references). After reading how author feels entitled to corral, direct or correct reviewers and review commenters here and elsewhere, not touching it with a ten foot pole—life’s too short and the TBR pile too huge. If I had to for a class assignment, penpal read or something, I would never review anywhere because I don’t want the author drama. Author responses here were at least lucid but elsewhere, oh golly gee, why on earth do indie authors who do this seem to have the exact same vocabulary with “jealous” in there somewhere? Oh well, best of luck in your courses and best of luck to the author in future endeavors.

    (if author can take some well-intentioned advice–there’s a whole internet of readers who review for free if you let them; let them by not getting yourself labelled as one of the bba authors who invade review spaces. Here she sounds whiney, upset and as if she’s entitled to control reviews or start a debate “defending” her views in your review space—so I’m not lumping her in automatically with the weirdo indie authors on most bba lists who make threats and harass reviewers. Elsewhere she resorts to namecalling like “jealous” “nasty” and “spiteful” which puts her in the unpleasant-so-don’t-review category for me but will move her right onto bba lists and totally freak out the victims of the organized weirdos because their current favorite phrases are “jealous” and “jealous hater troll.” Just avoiding the word “jealous” is something indie authors determined to comment on reviews should learn to avoid even if they use synonyms. Not trying to re-fight wars over the bba lists, but most reviewers and authors on both sides of that dust-up agree that the whackjob over-using “jealous hater troll” who threatened a reviewer’s kids including sending photos of them at school first to her with threats and then outing with addresses and bus schedules on various web venues until law enforcement caught up went way too far; not company a sane person wants to keep.)

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