The value of a genuine book review

Written by J.K. Kelly on February 14th, 2019

After my first novel, FOUND IN TIME, was published I paced the floor in my home office waiting for word from reviewers. The first that came in was from the prestigious MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW commenting, ”A truly riveting read from cover to cover, “Found In Time” reveals author J. K. Kelly’s genuine flair for originality and a deftly crafted novel that is unreservedly recommended…” Soon afterward, a retired U.S. Army intelligence officer wrote more good things and then a U.S. Marine wrote simply, “Wow!” Feeling pretty pumped, and as sales on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at book signings grew I waited to see a surge in book reviews there on Amazon. After all, I had been told people check the reviews and so they’re critical. One problem, I also heard that some authors and book marketers pay for reviews that to many will mean some reviews are essentially paid endorsements.

A year later I released FUELIN’ AROUND and it was running fast before it ever got to Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Motorsports editors from the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. published their thoughts and they included favorable comments like, “A page-turner you’re going to try to read in one shot,” and from another, “Fascinating and enjoyable stories. I laughed out loud more than once. Fuelin’ Around is a story of the American Dream of success, courtesy of hard work and determination.” Special thanks to John DiBartolomeo at DRAG RACING EDGE magazine and Andy “Tog” Rogers from EURODRAGSTER.COM. None of these reviews were paid for. Not an ounce of quid pro quo where advertising was purchased in exchange for a review. These were all genuine and sincere and consequently most meaningful and relevant. Track owner Howard Commander called to say he really enjoyed it. NASCAR Modified Tour driver Mike Christopher texted, “I stayed up all night and couldn’t put it down.” NHRA Funny Car Champion Bruce Larson wrote on Facebook, “your book is great,” and another internationally known racer was kind enough to write a note that read, “Best Books!” A few weeks ago, STREET MACHINE UK magazine wrote good things and the Febuary 7th issue of AUTOSPORT magazine gave a review that means so much to me.

So while there aren’t 500 reviews on Amazon for either of my novels I can assure you they are fast-paced riveting reads that only one person had a negative comment about and guess why – “Amazon sent me the wrong book.” I leave you to judge how to value that one.  Another exchange with some people at a recent event was disappointing for two reasons. First, many said they rarely read a book and second, people commented that these days folks are either too busy or too lazy to take the time to post a review on any site.  Happily, based on the reviews they had read they bought a copy. I’m hoping they’ll post something but either way, I appreciate them and hope they enjoy the read. I’ve been writing since the 4th grade when my letter to the editor was publihsed in Highlights magazine. Over the following years I wrote for magazines and now I’m into all sorts of things. Ashamed to admit it though, I didn’t have much interest in reading in my earlier years but I’m working hard to catch up.

Now that you’ve read some of the reviews perhaps you’ll give one a go. James Patterson told me, “give the reader what they want,” and I think I have.  FOUND IN TIME is a military thriller in which U.S. Marines are able to go back in time, settle a few scores, and then get into something only a miracle worker could help with. FUELIN’ AROUND is non-fiction and tells the story of a young man who fell in love with motorsports and the road and the inner conflict that caused both him and his family. It’s set against a classic David versus Goliath story where he helped a very small company grow to take on some big players in motorsports. Either way let me know what you think at


"A truly riveting read from cover to cover." - Midwest Book Review

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