It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. - Seneca

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Let's see what people are saying about Helen Hollick and her books!!!

“Official” reviews in exalted magazines and newspapers are all very well, but I believe it is praise (or condemnation) from readers that is becoming more important. Especially with the world wide spread of the Internet and the rising power of various Blog Reviews. More and more readers are turning to the blogs, because they can trust the reviews – and because they can add their own comments. They can agree or disagree with a reviewer.

On the whole I have received some fantastic reviews for the Sea Witch Series. I have had a couple of not so pleasant ones as well, but at the risk of sounding churlish, these I have found to be somewhat unfair. One condemned Sea Witch because of the punctuation errors. This was an early edition that had been published as an uncorrected proof. Yes there were punctuation and typo errors, but even a self published author is limited to the hands of the printer/publisher. I did not realise that these uncorrected proofs had been “released” into the world.

To balance things, a mainstream publisher in the US several years ago (not Sourcebooks Inc!) published The Kingmaking. From an uncorrected proof copy. I gave up counting after 360 errors. The funniest was Arthur’s ‘bread-stubbled chin’ (beard-stubbled).

I have also had a couple of “bad” reviews from people who are obviously Johnny Depp lovers, and who resent any possible rival to Jack Sparrow. Which is so silly as “that Sparrer feller” as my Jesamiah calls him, is movie based. There really is no comparison.

But I will leave you to judge for yourself’ here is a selection of what Captain Jesamiah’s rapidly growing fan base is saying (and I include a couple from his enemies as well!)

‘What is it about pirates? The freedom, and endless possibility for adventure just over the horizon or around the next headland. In fiction you can concentrate on the roguish charm and downplay the less savoury aspects (in your heroes anyway).

I loved Captain Blood (both the Flynn movie and the Sabatini book), and various other of Sabatini's adventures; also Burt Lancaster in The Crimson Pirate. Frank Yerby wrote a pretty dark pirate adventure The Golden Hawk (I think), and MM Kaye's Rory Frost in Trade Wind was a piratical rogue.

As for only teenage boys being interested in pirates, who do they think reads all those Historical Romances featuring pirates abducting or rescuing heiresses? And isn't Michael Crichton's Pirate Latitudes to be made into a movie by Spielberg? No interest there then.
Hope it leads more people to discover Jesamiah's charms.’

‘I fell in love with Jesamiah from the first chapter and continued to fall throughout the entire book. What an amazing, complex character.’
‘I am halfway through Sea Witch! And yes I ADORE your Jesamiah! And you certainly have a target audience with these novels, and it isn't teenage boys.’

‘I just wanted to pop you an email to let you know I'm LOVING Sea Witch. I recieved it 2 days ago and started reading it yesterday. I'm already half way through! (naughty me, I'm supposed to be finishing up edits on my third novel this week but I can't put it down) I really like your writing style, not overly wordy, perfect! You've an official fan in me! ‘
Sky Purington - author


‘I finished Pirate Code today, you have done something amazing, remarkable, created the best pirate in literature. Far more rounded and sexier a character then any others - sorry to admit it, but far sexier then CJS !!!! Jes is an adorable rogue, a larger then life character but he is all human, with a human's vulnerabilities and strengths. Thought you were a little coy about what happened with ‘Cesca LOL Final scene with the Kismet and Stefan was wonderful - I was screaming FILM!!!!!!!
A wonderful, beautifully written, full-blooded adventure. I loved it.’


‘I’ve just finished Bring It Close last night and hated to see it end! And what an ending!! Wow, Jesamiah’s father! What a surprise that was! The entire book was fascinating and Jesamiah is just such a bad boy, and so smart, and lucky, and sexy! I just love him and Tiola together! This 3rd installment to the series is just great and I don’t know what more to say other than it keeps you on the edge of your seat, laughing, crying, horrified (Blackbeard), and so very interested! I can see each chapter playing out as if I were actually there! Blackbeard was a horrid man! I can only imagine (actually I don’t want to) what it was like to be near the bugger! Thank you so much for such wonderful reading enjoyment! I am planning on re-reading Bring it Close again very soon as I am sure I will find something that I may have missed in the first go round. ‘

‘Just a quick email to say I'm still reading Sea Witch, and really, really
enjoying it. I'm finding it a beautiful book to read, it really flows and I love the journey around the various places. ‘
Suzanne McLeod author of the fantasy novels

‘A really, really FANTASTIC read - and I have already devoured the first part posted on your website - I can sense more sea ventures ahead!!! Can't wait for Spring 2007! Once again, I have been completely captivated and entertained. Thank you for such a brilliant story and such wonderful, colourful characters!’

‘Wow! What a fantastic ride! Lady, you are totally zeroed in on my story bone! What a great slab of words! What is the matter with the publishers in London? If the manuscript of SEA WITCH had crossed my desk, I would be throwing bags of gold your way. I want to sign on with Captain Acorne! When is the next one coming out? The future is yours! It's got to be! Ps one complaint--the story wasn't long enough.’

‘Your strengths are in developing characters. I LOVED to hate the horrible Dutchman. I expect I'll have to hate him throughout the next book too, eh? He provides such anxiety for us readers!! [And for Jesamiah too, I know!]. I find Jes to be such a complex person - no doubt your conversations with him are QUITE interesting! I think he's better looking than Johnny Depp, and I like him a lot more than Jack Sparrow [who I think is too "Disney" to be a 'real' man like Jes - even though he IS cute!].’

‘What I liked best about the whole book was your description - battles weren't boring, the love scenes weren't cheesy and I felt as though I could sail a boat myself after reading how they run aloft to furl the sails! You have written a book that is compelling and which stays with me - truly! I'll be driving around in my car randomly thinking of something I need to do and a scene will pop into my head. I couldn't put the book down, didn't want to finish and now that I have I want the next one! Keep writing! Tethys will only wait so long between snacks.... :)’

‘This story is close to your heart? I like the.... Wow, I can't think of the right words.... Ambiguity, I guess, I get to feel toward Jesamiah- you know what he is, a pirate, but you kinda like him anyway. He has more layers than his inspiration [Jack Sparrow] and makes a more complex character in some ways.It's rather bitter-sweet in a way - I'm not done yet and I'm at the point of teetering between hoping this all turns out like a romantic fantasy that ends " Happily ever after " and the one more likely to leave a mark. Keep that sense of having this story re-call memories of love lost. I felt their pain of a broken heart and each did what would be true to their own nature. Such a mix of realism and romanticism is an unusual recipe. It's compelling because of the enthusiasm and magic of discovering another time and place infused in this story. Thanks!’
‘I have fallen completely, madly in love with Jesamiah Acorne! I'm not finished with the book as yet but so far I love it! Thanks so much Helen! Jesamiah is one of the liveliest and endearing characters I've seen come along in a very long time! Congratulations!’

‘Oh, Helen, tell Jesamiah he is such a flirt and I mean that in a good way! He is so cute! (Tell him cute is a wonderful thing from a woman's point of view). I love the interaction between him and Tiola once he gets his strength back. They are so wonderful together and he is SUCH a charmer!’

‘I finished reading Sea Witch ! I want more Jes!! Helen, I loved it! Can't wait for the next one. How long does it take to write a book anyway?’

‘FINISHED IT......WOOHOOO. Helen....fantastic ending mate....but I want MORE... MORE.... MORE... What poor Jesamiah went through by his brother didn't have the time to give him his due....but now I know the "blue ribbons" have at least three uses... Well done Jesamiah...Tiola was awesome...loved the supernatural aspect of her life and The just right. A good mixture of men who are loyal to the ship and the Captain....well done. Loved the connection between Tiola and the "Sea Witch" too....well written Helen. Gonna have to read it a few more times now....waiting for the sequel....sigh....’

‘I am half-way through your book and it is brilliant... (Later) I have now finished Sea Witch - honestly could not wait to read it in bed, sadly now finished the ending did not disappoint and waiting for following up. Lorna (Manager, The Epping Bookshop)’
‘Helen!! I wanted you to know I am DELIBERATELY reading PIRATE CODE as slow as humanly possible, but I am finding it extremely difficult. I just don't want the book to be over, because... well... it will KILL me till I get your next instalment!! ‘

~~~‘I am totally enthralled by your books, the characters are great, the story has so many twists! and Poor Jes!! I just wanna grab him up and give 'im a big ole hug! Poor blighter...he's so love struck. I have to say you have made me laugh out loud at his many times, people at work think I am nuts! I can't wait to see the next book!!’

‘I am about 100 pages into Bring It Close and it's great. I was worried not having read [the other two] for a while that I would forget what happened, but you have a wonderful way of tying in important events from the other books that jogged my memory so it was very easy to pick up where I left off. The style of the book is just as exciting as the other two.’

‘What can I say? Wow isn't strong enough! Helen thank you so much for creating that gorgeous rogue, Jesamiah. I'm in love with a pirate ha ha! Seriously: I was on edge before starting Bring It Close because I was worried that maybe my liking for Jesamiah had "gone off the boil". No worries. Bring It Close is as good as the other two - no, better! Is that possible???’

‘Just Excellent So Amazingly Marvellous I Am Hooked’

Three Links to blog and web reviews

Astrodenes Naval Fiction:

Sea Witch by Helen Hollick

‘In regards to her pirate novel Sea Witch, author Helen Hollick has only one noteworthy shortcoming – she seems to think she’s in competition with Pirates of the Caribbean. From occasional dialogue reminiscent of Jack Sparrow (was the word “savvy” uttered by a single pirate before Jack?) right down to the cover quote weighing the sexiness of Hollick’s pirate protagonist Jesamiah Acorne against Johnny Depp’s own swashbuckling personification, it’s clear that Ms. Hollick is quite aware of Pirates of the Caribbean’s popularity, and that she hopes her own works might be comparable. So let me set her mind at ease – no comparison is needed. Regardless of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise’s past and future successes and shortcomings (I’ve indeed made note of both), Sea Witch is a very worthy undertaking of its own, and needs not take back seat to any flick, no matter how trendy. > more …’ was not so keen on the second novel, P{irate Code – but then he failed to realise the impact my Jesamiah had on the ladies! The reviewer received quite a counterblast from several Jesamiah fans.
Hi Helen, I'm Cindy Vallar and the Editor of Pirates and Privateers. I was sent a review copy of your book, Sea Witch. I really enjoyed it. You'll find the review on this page: Fair winds and following seas!

And the * or ** star L reviews? Oh well, you can’t win them all!

My hopes for this book were up after reading the reviews here, but I must confess I was very disappointed. First of all, the plot is confusing. There is no clear line through the book. Second of all, the story is not deep. The characters are not well described, so their feelings and reactions do not seem natural to them. Oh, I did understand the love between the two main characters, but only because it was stated black on white, several times - it is simply not possible for me to feel this love the two characters apparently share. For me, a book is not good if I don't at least can feel sympathy for the main characters, and understand their line of action, and I certainly cannot with this book. Last, there's an enourmous mount of text used to describe certain more or less uncomfourtable events. An amount not balanced to the amount of text used to describe the characters. It seems unnecessary and wrong for the plot. So, to me this book is not an example of good writing, not even a good story. Furthermore, there were several errors in this version of the book, which is very disturbing. The only reason why I give this book two stars instead of one is that I actually came through it. I'm sorry for mistypes and grammatical errors in this review - English is not my main language.
[which may be why this reader did not understand the book. So is this a fair review? H.]

The book [Sea Witch]was published by Discovered Authors and printed by BookForce UK, and this, I suppose, is the problem. It doesn't look very professional, and I'm wondering if they edited it at all because the entire book contains a jumble of nearly incomprehensible sentences containing, random, haphazardly, placed, commas, or usually no commas at all and some sentences are run-ons and many have no subject or they have incorrect punctuation here are some examples that come from just a few pages close, together, and you can see what I mean I hope: "Mother was already in the next world, gone to God, except while she hanged the jeering mob had shouted that a woman who plunged a knife into the heart of her own husband was of the Devil's breeding and would burn in Hell." [page 11] "Her sight enhanced by her ability of Craft she needed no telescope to put to her eye." [page 14. She might not need a telescope, but she definitely needs a comma.] "Astern on the quarterdeck, stood their captain, smarter dressed than his crew, a buckram coat, white breeches; a red, feathered plume in his cocked hat." [page 14. Ah, there's the missing comma -- You gotta watch those sneaky fellas.] "The men, used to the incredible noise and the acrid stink, took no notice, began running in and re-loading with barely a pause." [page 17. Ms. Hollick has a habit of omitting conjunctions. I think she gets this from her friend and fellow author Sharon Kay Penman who writes excellent historical fiction (except for the lack of conjunctions) and who wrote a blurb for the cover of Sea Witch.] "He had a sudden urge to look at that child properly; spun on his heel and hurried up the companionway steps to the shattered chaos of the quarterdeck, claimed the telescope from beside the ship's compass, mercifully, both still intact. Extending the tube to its full length, was about to raise it to his eye when Malachias, his face covered in blood, called his name and distracted his attention." [I did not make that up -- it's on page 25] The entire book goes on with these awkward sentences (I flipped through to check). I'm betting that the story was interesting, but it was so laborious to read that it just was not fun. I'm so disappointed in this novel, but I do re

commend Ms. Hollick's historical fiction.
[ I contacted this reviewer and explained that the copy she had read was an uncorrected proof – and I apologised for the punctuation errors. I offered to send her a corrected copy. She never responded. H.]

But to finish on a good note:
I Loved this book. It was easy to read, wonderful to follow and took you on a great ride. The characters leap off the pages and right into your home. I caught myself being scared for them, crying for them, taking up their cause. It was a wonderful escape from the normalicies of life and into the world of Pirates and romance.. I highly recommend this book...

Purchase Helen's books at Amazon,, Barnes & Noble , Borders and many other online bookstores.

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Win a signed copy of BRING IT CLOSE – Featuring Blackbeard! How you ask? Well its real simple, leave the correct answer to the question below on any of the posts featuring Helen Hollick and you will be in the running for a chance to win a signed copy of Bring it Close!

The winner will be picked at random once the SPOTLIGHT wraps up on October 1st!


What is Jesamiah’s lucky charm?

And don't forget to check back with us all week to find our MORE about Helen and her best selling books!!! You don't want to miss a single minute!

1 comment:

booklover0226 said...

What wonderful and great comments and reviews. Reading these must have been very exciting for you, Helen.

The answer is Jesamiah’s lucky charm is a gold acorn earring.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

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