Light/bushel removal

Hereward Back CoverHereward The Immortals

Hot on the heels of me only just noticing I was quoted on the inside of Snorri Kristjanssons really rather fine book Path of Gods (review), I now have just noticed I’m quoted on the back of James Wilde‘s latest in his Hereward saga, Hereward, The Immortals.

I buy way too many books, that’s for sure. I often forget if I’ve bought one, I sometimes forget I’ve already got one and end up with two. I also have a tendency to put a new arrival on one side and only look at it properly, when I’m about to read it. So, The Immortals has of course, been out for a while, so when I thought I’d read it next, last night, imagine my surprise.

I don’t contact people, writers or publishers as king for free books review copies. If they want to contact me and are ok with sending a copy to Denmark, that’s fine. A few have, but in a way I’d really rather they didn’t, as I have a whole load I’ve bought myself, that I want to read and feel I don’t owe the person who sent it to me a good review. A few authors have contacted me and asked me to do them a favour and review their book and I’ve been extremely fortunate that their work has been very good and I’ve felt just fine about giving it a good review. James Wilde hasn’t contacted me, neither has his publisher. The Hereford books I’ve read, I’ve bought myself (though the hardback of the first, Hereford, which I already had in paperback, was given to me as a present, by a friend who lives in Ely and got it James was doing a signing at Toppings there).

I don’t make any money from the blog here, I sometimes wish I did. But I’m just fine with buying my books, I like doing that just as much as I enjoy reading the book, it’s only the bank manager who occasionally takes exception.

The bottom line is – you can trust my reviews more than others, because I’ve paid for the books. And so I’m under no obligation (and let’s face it, from the glowing reviews I read of absolute bollocks, a fair few reviewers do good reviews to order) to be effusive over absolute crap just because I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds.

So, if you are a passing author, published, self-published, or none of the above – sound me out. Now that I can put ‘as seen on the back of real published and in the shops and everything books’ blogger on my CV. Though what the Design department thought when someone told them to put ‘Speesh’ on the back of an otherwise perfectly good book cover, I don’t know.

Me, on Goodreads if you like.

5 thoughts on “Light/bushel removal

  1. Hi Speesh….
    Its all opinion. Thats why we do it, we are to bold to sit back and not express our views, our partners will divorce us if we dont bloody shut up about books, and our mates will not meet us down the pub… so instead we shout our views to the void.
    I think the danger is always that we the opinionated have to avoid thinking our voice is the only one thats right. I have fallen into this trap in my early years, getting into slanging matches over a POV. Its why i decided many years ago to only review books i like. i have found that on one day i can hate a book, and then 6 months later i try it again because someone insisted its great and the reviews of people i respect say its great, i read it, in a different place and time and its wonderful. mood, placing, attitude , outlook intent can factor as much as the book. And no matter what someone spent 6 months to a year writing that book, so who am i to destroy it. one mans Mozart is another mans cheeky Girls… thats where it comes down to just opinion.

    with yours, i have no issue with your problem with Tonys book, that sort of thing doesnt bother me, im sure Tony will be rapidly checking his next book to make sure he doesnt fall into that trap, because every author seems to at some point, the brain captures an expression and reuses it.

    You have not offended me in any way… i just wanted to say be wary of the implication of words, i feel that we bloggers are a little community ourselves, and we help each other with RT, and linking blogs, and when publisher ask who might be a good person to also review a book you throw in names of great reviewers… but i think an unintended maybe consequence of your posts is implication
    “and let’s face it, from the glowing reviews I read of absolute bollocks, a fair few reviewers do good reviews to order) to be effusive over absolute crap just because I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds.”
    By linking to that review you are implying that this reviewer is doing it to order, just because you dont like the book.
    have a look at my blog, some of the books i like im sure you will hate, because i need to read cheesy thrillers to break up all the history, i love them despite the cheesy plot and implausibility , in fact i love them for that fact. I need that escape, it doesnt change my ability as a reviewer, it just means i provide a review perspective for other people in a different genre. those people my then think well if he likes those i will try some of the other books he has reviewed and people diversify their reading…. nut its all just personal opinion. Im not right that a books wonderful if you hate it… thats why we look for bloggers we share an affinity with. Just be wary of calling someone else out for having a different view … that i suppose is all im trying (in a very very long winded way) to say.



    1. I think, in terms of taste, you and I are incredibly similar. I too love thrillers (not sure if they’re cheesy or not). I too love Historical Fiction. I love breaking the sequence up. I try not to read two Hist Fic books after the other. I also try to rotate between paperback and hardback. The books I review are, as said, ones I buy (99% anyway). I take chances. The last one I finished, I got for 99p at Oxfam. As an old Ad man, I’m a sucker for covers. The ‘better’ the cover (again subjective) the more inclined I am to buy it, even if it’s in a genre I’ve not read previously (Miriam Keyes excepted. i Leave that to the (Danish) wife). So, I sometimes read stuff I wouldn’t normally have read, because I took a chance. Generally, I’m very lucky. Occasionally – as I found when downloading a HUGE hard drive of books brought over by a friend, I’m not. As I review everything I read, there are of course, going to be times when I think the book is dreadful. I’ll review it accordingly – as long as I can define ‘dreadful’ to my satisfaction. At Art College, way back then, we were not allowed to say we ‘liked’ something, as that was subjective. We could only describe something in terms of did it work, or not. Did it do the job intended, or not. In that way, you could (f.ex) say the ‘Shake’n’ Vac’ ad was superb. Because it shifted product, which was the intention, whilst never in a million years, being considered for an AD&D golden pencil. I apply the same logic to books. So if a book is written to entertain, does it entertain, or not? If it’s written to do something else, does it? Can I even get hold of what the author intended to do with the book? I hate the feeling I get sometimes, that an author has written a book, because they like the idea of being a writer.

      It’s clear with You Know Who, my view is different to yours. You maybe know them better than I do, however, I’ve not seen anything to make me change my opinion. As I said, Anthony Riches’ book was not the book that created my impression. That had been simmering for a while. Then, their refusal to even consider looking at the AR book again (as I say, my review is most definitely not an opinion, it is fact. The evidence is there, on the page), stank to high heaven. Along with several other ‘brilliant’s – before I got blocked on Twitter – it just confirmed my opinion. I’m afraid I’m going to take a lot of convincing, that there isn’t a good review awaiting books sent by a publisher. It’s partly the reason why I haven’t ever sought out review copies. All the books I’ve been sent, have been because the author or agent has seen the website. I figure I must be on to something and so see no reason to change, not that I could anyway, my ‘style.’

      I was perhaps disappointed, that the early promise of the first three Empire books, was not being fulfilled. I couldn’t then believe, that such, to my mind, mistakes had gone all the way to print. That was the sort of thing I used to have to look out for in brochures and things, but it’s not dependent on experience, or 30 years ‘in the trade,’ anyone, I felt, could see it.

      I am too arrogant for my own good. Though I do continually take comfort in the words of Mahatma Gandhi “If you’re right and you know it, speak your mind. Speak your mind. Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.”

      I’ll close the book on all the above and not mention it again. I’d hate to think I was obsessing over it!

      Oh, I’m very glad you seem to be including me in ‘bloggers’ coming from one so respected as your good self, it means a lot. Thanks.


      1. Of course you’re one! you even have a cover quote as evidence. I can confirm though, having known (said other blogger) for other 10 years and met a number of times, they are a voracious reader and buyer of books, and only writes what she loves, ive had many an offline chat about what sucks and what doesn’t. … but as you say line under and move on…. good luck with the next review…. mine will be Ben Kanes new one (its a cracking book BTW)


  2. Fair enough.

    I read all the Anthony Riches books up to that point, then had to give up. All the points I made/make, are there in black and white on the pages of the book. You can’t avoid them. They’re on just about every page. They eyebrows one had been pissing me off for a couple of books. In ‘Knives,’ it just got like Tourettes. Adding in the pursing of lips and I just had to do something. The ‘one last…’ I heard while I was listening to the thing on Audible. I couldn’t believe that Saul R had kept a straight face. I looked at my copy to see if he hadn’t made a mistake. He hadn’t. Anyone with eyes will see them. So I tried to find out if anyone else with eyes HAD seen them. I looked several places, couldn’t find a mention of something I even tested by opening the book at random) then I contacted the person you are referring to and asked if they’d seen them. Got a noncommittal answer. So I posted my notes – and got the posts removed, banned on Twitter, etc. So, as what I mention are undeniably obvious, what other conclusion, than deliberate avoidance, can I come to? I’ve linked to the website, people can, should they wish, make up their own minds. As you clearly have.

    If something is rubbish, I’m going to say it. That is my opinion. I’ve bought the book, I feel I’m entitled. It’s not like I have to say it because I’m worried I won’t get another one off the publishers. That I won’t be able to Tweet ‘It’s brilliant!” months before the official release – of stuff I later read and think is worthless. So, as you’ll perhaps now see, my opinion didn’t come about purely because of my disappointment over Anthony Riches’ ‘Knives.’ Long time before that. And something another author has mentioned. Perhaps I should write a list of all the ‘brilliant’ books there are yet to be released this year, then wait and see, and compare. And it’s not as if Anthony Riches’ sales are going to suffer any – with the ‘Knives’ one, I had as signed hardback (have you SEEN how much it costs to get stuff sent from Goldsboro to Denmark?), and I downloaded it on Audible USA, to be able to get through my TBR pile quicker, as I can ‘read’ while cycling to and from work. I’ve also got the last one, signed, and the next one, signed, on order. What’s not to like?

    The Robert Fabbri one is completely different, as you well know. There he was being taken to task for copying others’ work. If you’ve ever come into contact with Jeremy Duns, you’ll know the kind of thing he rails against. Robert Fabbri seems to be fatalistic about it, maybe taking it as a joke. As the books the review person is referring to largely cover the same periods and even the same people, I’d say there are bound to be ‘similarities’! I even came up with a way he could get his own back. As Mr Jecks says he has. If he were Jeremy Duns, he would be ‘seeking legal advice’ as they say (I have read – and thoroughly enjoyed – Douglas Jackson’s work, but couldn’t tell you if there were any similar incidents in the two works. I have no opinion on Mr Turney’s books, largely because I haven’t read them. I haven’t got the time to go starting a new series right now). I wasn’t accusing Anthony Riches of copying in any way shape or form. I was accusing AR of writing badly. In my opinion. He may well disagree (from his comment to Robert F on Facebook, it would seem he has seen the post; ‘complete with pictures,’ so maybe, at some point, I’ll see if it has had any effect). And you too. That is your right. Doesn’t make you any more right than it makes me wrong. At least I provide evidence for my points. With page numbers.

    If people don’t like what I write, no problem. But I do like people to back up their arguments. Enough people seem like it though. I got several in agreement on Goodreads as well. They seemed to think even less of the books than I did. Impartial ain’t gonna cut it. I’ve begun to post the synopsis on the back of the book, to save time with the explaining of what went on. So I can get quicker to write what I thought. Read some reviews, you’ll get the idea. I pretty much always comment, that they may well disagree. The authors who have contacted me, have done so after reading the reviews. Impartial probably wouldn’t have done that. Impartial ain’t gonna cut it when it’s MY 250-odd Kroner (£27-ish) going up in smoke because the book is practically unreadable. I didn’t start posting ‘reviews’ because I wanted to be impartial. I was interested in trying to find out if I could get down in words how I felt about the book. That I never found easy in 24 years of Advertising, so it challenges me. If authors or publishers want impartiality, they probably should stop putting books out, to be bought by clowns like me, don’t you think? I didn’t set the blog up to reach billions of people or be a ‘standard’ or anything. Take it or leave it. And of the world’s 8 billion people, there are clearly substantially more that leave Speesh Reads, than take it.

    I’ve only heard good things about you and your books and your reviews. If I’ve offended you, I’m sorry. Though to say I’m ‘abusing others’ by expressing a really rather harmless opinion, is a little strong, don’t you think? Try ‘expressing an opinion I don’t agree with.’


  3. Congrats on the cover mention…. i do have one question though… why do you feel the need to spoil your opinion by denigration someone elses opinion? and also imply they are reviewing to order!!… I Like Tony Riches books and give them positive reviews, i’ve bought and paid for every single book. same with just about every book i review… i can show you mi spare room if its not collapsed. My point is you make a huge assumption and malign a fellow blogger based on the fact you didnt like a book… yes you defended Robert Fabbri when someone else accused him of something falsely. as a reviewer surely we have to remain impartial and accept these are our own opinions and the people who read them are interested because opinion on the books align… not because we abuse others?


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