Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What makes a great book

I am a writer and I also love to read. But lately I’ve been disappointed in the books that are out there, especially the ones on the NYT Bestseller list. I won’t mention author names because I don’t want to have a bunch of angry people sending me hate emails. Honestly, a lot of these books are crap.

A great book should have some substance to it, a plot that I can’t see coming and an ending that doesn’t make me roll my eyes in irritation. I know romance novels need to have happy endings, but I would prefer a happy for now ending to the ridiculous ‘they got married, had babies and lived happily ever after.’ Not believable to me, not even in a romance novel. I want to read a well-written book that isn’t filled with adverbs, passive sentences, head-hopping and repeated descriptions of ‘his stormy blue eyes.’ I want to read about characters that are believable, not perfect. I like to see flaws in the hero and heroine.

I’ve read some really good books lately. And guess what? These books were from knew-to-me authors and authors I know in the small publisher world—not from a best-selling NYT author.

Here is a list of the books I’ve enjoyed recently. All of these books are available on

The Kings Daughter by Miriam Newman (fantasy)

Heart of the Earth by Miriam Newman (fantasy)

Barrenlands, A Changespell Saga Prequel by Doranna Durgin (fantasy)

Dark Desires by Eve Silver (historical thriller/romance) She is a National Best-selling author, but I never heard of her before

Blood Debt by Nancy Straight (paranormal)

Helen’s Daughter by Laura Gill (historical/Bronze Age Greece)

Night of Magic by Stephanie Burkhart (fantasy)

My Familiar Stranger, Order of the Black Swan, Book1 by Victoria Danann (paranormal)

Twilight’s Eternal Embrace by Karen Michelle Nutt (fantasy/ancient vampires)

The Snow Bride by Lindsay Townsend (medieval romance)

Granite Rose by Linda McMaken (historical/Rome)

The Goblin King by Shone Husk (paranormal romance)

There are a lot of hidden gems out there. I’ve learned to pick books based on my gut feeling, not based on number of books sold. I’m not trying to belittle authors on the NYT best-selling list because some of these authors write great books, but number of books sold does not mean it’s a great book. At least in my opinion.

Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author



Two mortals are caught in the midst of the battle between the Titans and Olympian gods.

No comments: