6 Tips for Writing Good Book Reviews (PLUS: Nexhuman Hits Shelves Today!)

By Suyi Davies
on August 14, 2018

6 Tips for Writing Good Book Reviews (PLUS: Nexhuman Hits Shelves Today!)

At Apex, we know lots of folks are interested in reading our titles; and even better, reviewing them. Especially our very dear Minions (who get any free Apex ebook in exchange for honest reviews--you can join here).

However, we recognise that not everyone has experience with that. So, we've put together a few tips to help.

Nexhuman in stores now!

Generally, all book reviews follow a format:

  • Short summary (usually as short as possible, 1-3 lines);
  • Critical assessment (your reactions to the work, what strikes you as noteworthy, whether or not it was effective or persuasive, how you felt about the book, etc); and
  • Your suggestion/assessment/projection of audience reactions.

That said, here are 6 tips to help you write better reviews:

1. Make it balanced. Remember to say BOTH what you liked and didn't. Be honest (honesty =/= acerbity or saccharinity). While this book might work/not work for you, this could be the opposite for someone else. Remember to state that this is your opinion (because it is).

2. Be specific. "I loved it!" is not a review. Neither is "I hated this crap!" What did you like or dislike about the story or writing? What do you think worked or didn't?

3. Stay with the book. Leave the author out of it. The author's face or beliefs aren't important here. You're here to talk about the book, not their social media posts. (If you have strong reservations about an author, it might be best not to review their book at all).

4. Review the writing and story alone. The book's jacket, author photo, dedication, blurbs and typeface are all nice things, yes, but unless there's something especially despicable about them, why talk mention any at all? Speak about the writing, the characters, the story, the research, the facts, etc. That's the job.

5. Don't just summarize. Offer clear thoughts. I could easily get a summary on Goodreads. If I wanted a terse review, I'd go to Amazon and filter to 1-stars. Offer clear and concise thoughts, stating why you think the book works or not.

6. Don't give away the ending/twist/secret plot point. Seriously, don't be THAT person.

Remember, NEXHUMAN by Francesco Verso launched today! You can now get it in all stores

Buy Nexhuman Now: Print | Kindle

If you want to receive a free ebook, simply join the Minions R&R group on goodreads if you haven't already, and you get to email Lesley to send you a free digital copy (in exchange for a wee little review).

 Happy book birthday to Francesco!

Pride Month Sale Results

By Sarah Waites
on August 08, 2018

Pride Month Sale Results

During Pride Month and June, Apex put together a bundle of five books centering LGBTQ+ voices with ten percent of sales going to the Pride Foundation. The Pride Foundation is a non-profit working to achieve LGBTQ+ equality and support LGBTQ+ communities in the Northwestern United States. 

At the end of the sale, Apex was able to donate $50.00 to the Pride Foundation! Thank you for helping us ensure equal rights and opportunities for all. 

You can find more information about the titles included in the Pride Month sale here. 

Find Apex Publications At GenCon 2018 This Weekend!

By Suyi Davies
on August 02, 2018

Find Apex Publications At GenCon 2018 This Weekend!

Welcome to GenCon Week! This year's 51st GenCon takes us on the road, from the Apex Publications offices in Lexington to the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, where all the good stuff is happening this week.

Throughout the Best Four Days of Gaming(TM), Jason and Jane will be manning the Apex table at Hall J, Aisle 900, Table K (Hint: Hall J is just in off the Capitol Concourse). Come by and say hello, have a quick chat with Jason and Jane, who're willing to give you all the cool behind-the-scenes info you need about any Apex title.

On this battleground of wares, you're definitely spoiled for choice. You'll find all of Apex's best titles in print, from oldies-and-goodies like James Newman's Ugly as Sin and The Wicked to our War Stories anthology of military science fiction; from all-time-faves like Brian Keene's Throne of Bastards and The Lost Level to Benjaun Sriduangkaew's Winterglass; from all the Apex Books of World SF in one place to recent releases like Paul Jessup's Close Your Eyes, Kirk Jones' Aetherchrist, Jerry Gordon's Breaking The World and Damien Angelica Walters' Cry Your Way Home.

Jason at Panels and a wee Seminar

Publisher and Editor-In-Chief of Apex Publications, Jason Sizemore, will also be a panelist and seminar host through this period. His schedule includes:

- Thursday 2pm: Tighten and Clarify Your Writing (Seminar, Austin)
- Thursday 3pm: Writing for a Themed Anthology (Panel, Boston)
- Thursday 4pm: Writing Informative and Engaging Author Bios (Panel, Boston)
- Friday 11am: Revising Your Story (Panel, Boston)
- Friday 12pm: All About Apex (Panel, Ballroom 1)
- Saturday 10am: Editing (Panel, Boston)
- Saturday 11am: What Happens at a Publishing House (Panel, Ballrooms 3-4)
- Saturday 1pm: The Morphing of the Story (Panel, Boston)
- Saturday 3pm: Signing (Signing Table)
- Saturday 4pm: The Ins and Outs of Patreon (Panel, Boston)

If you're in Indianapolis, drop by (or if you've got your good Uncle Jesse up there, ask him to). Remember, hall hours are 10am to 6pm each day until Sunday, when it's 10am to 4pm.

See you guys at Table K!

UNDEAD: Now Available In All Stores!

By Suyi Davies
on July 24, 2018

UNDEAD: Now Available In All Stores!

We are proud to announce that Undead: A Poetry Anthology of Ghouls, Ghosts, and More is OUT TODAY and available in all stores! Get your copy nowHappy book birthday to all editors and contributors!

Read more »

Undead Release Now the 24th of July

By Hannah Krieger
on July 17, 2018

Undead Release Now the 24th of July

Hello everyone. The print edition of Undead: A Poetry Anthology of Ghouls, Ghosts, and More is being pushed back from the prior release date of the 17th to the 24th. We need a bit more time to make some tweaks to the print edition. Thank you for hanging in there. We'll get you the book soon. 

Preorder information for Undead can be found here. 


Kentucky Kajiu: "The Chelonian Cycle" by Shawn Pryor

By Sarah Waites
on July 13, 2018

Kentucky Kajiu: "The Chelonian Cycle" by Shawn Pryor

Bureau of Kaiju Cataclysm Report

Update: February 2, 2016

City/State: Covington, KY

Location: Madison Music Venue

Most residents of Covington, KY are finally returning to normal everyday life after the menacing Kaiju known as Smokestack escaped from its private, enclosed sanctuary at Lake Malone State Park, causing terror all over the state. After heroic Kaiju such as Bushi Bear, Catdronius, and CAW! failed in their attempts to stop Smokestack, as a desperate act, the Bureau decided to use the services of Chelonian Maximus in an attempt to defeat it.

On January 22, 2014, in the town of Highland Heights, KY, Chelonian Maximus was able to subdue Smokestack by using a mega-blast of its time pausing waves to freeze the evil monster in place. The monster was then secured in a containment facility. However, the time pausing waves that Chelonian used to restrain Smokestack spread over a 10-mile radius, freezing complete towns in place. Everything in the town, people, animals, vehicles, was frozen in time. After a week, the time pause ended and everything was back to status quo except for a small concert hall in Covington, KY that was within the 10-mile radius of Chelonian’s blast. Everyone inside the Madison Music Venue is still frozen in time, and we are unsure as to when they will be released from the pause. One of the risks of using Chelonian Maximus as a weapon is that the waves and their effects have no consistency.

Over the last two years, our Cataclysm Deployment & Research team have been able to identify every person in the concert hall, and we have notified their immediate families. For safety/health purposes, we have requested that respective family members of those frozen in the venue not visit. We have installed cameras in the venue and given immediate family members video access so they can check in on their loved ones.

The performer in the venue when the time pause occurred, multi-platinum singer Christina Whitney, who was kicking off her small comeback tour at the Madison Music Venue after a five-year hiatus from the spotlight, is still on the stage, holding her microphone, mouth agape, possibly hitting a power note as the crowd looks on with smiles and tears of joy frozen in place. Smartphone camera flashes have stopped in time; fans’ screaming mouths are wide open but soundless; people are frozen in mid-air, jumping for joy, clapping stopped in mid-motion. No one inside of the concert hall has aged during this two-year time pause. No dust or bacteria have formed.

EscapeScope Records has tried to extract Christina Whitney on multiple occasions via legal means to use her as a display exhibit in Las Vegas, but their appeals have been repeatedly denied because their motives have been seen as inhumane.

We have attempted to use hybrid chemical agents from Chelonian’s DNA as an antidote to release the time pause, but our multiple attempts over the last year have failed and there is concern that these chemical fixes are possibly extending the pause.

We’re putting a hold on using chemical attempts and will keep the area secure in the hopes that one day the pause will unlock and set everyone in the Madison Music Venue free.

End of Report

Bureau of Kaiju Cataclysm

Team 43

Project Supervisor, Davis Cabriolet

Enjoyed this story? Then be sure to read more in Kentucky Kaiju

The Apex Book of World SF Volume 5 Playlist: 18 songs to prepare you for preorders

By Suyi Davies
on July 11, 2018

The Apex Book of World SF Volume 5 Playlist: 18 songs to prepare you for preorders

I enjoy reading with musical accompaniment. I do this more with books, but a list of short fiction provides even more excitement, because I get to pick a song per story. What happens is that I end up enjoying each work as an experience of words and waves, of sound and story. So when I learnt the Apex Book of World SF Volume 5 was forthcoming (and currently open to preorders at an AUTOMATIC 25% OFF print and ebook if you click this link now), I took a peek into the TOC Jason spoke to Cristina (this volume's co-editor) about creating a playlist in anticipation.

Today, I'm sharing Cristina's playlist with you all. It means that when you get your copy of ABWSF5, not only do you get to dive head-first into this fresh, diverse collection, you get to experience it as a kaleidoscope of sound and story.

25% off on preorders with "WSF5" and story soundtracks? Hell yeah!

EVEN MORE FREEBIES: You can also get the chance to read the complete collection as a FREE ebook in exchange for an honest review by joining the Apex Minions Read & Review program.

The Apex Book of World SF Vol. 5 Playlist by Cris Jurado

(Also available as a YouTube playlist).

  1. "Despair, Hangover & Ecstasy" by The  for “A Series of Steaks” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Singapore) The Dø - Despair, Hangover & Ecstasy
  2. "Ava Adore" by The Smashing Pumpkins for “Accursed Lineage” by Daína Chaviano (Cuba, translated by Matthew D. Goodwin) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uWwvQKGjLI
  3. "Ain't got no, I got life" by Nina Simone for “Nkásht íí” by Darcie Little Badger (Lipan/Apache, First Nations) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5jI9I03q8E
  4. "Je pars mais je t'aime" by Mennel for “Ghostalker” by T.L. Huchu (Zimbabwe) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLmW80oBJCE
  5. "All is full of love" by Bjork for “Violation of the TrueNet Security Act” by Taiyo Fujii (Japan, translated by Jim Hubbert) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjI2J2SQ528
  6. "Dirty computer" by Janelle Monáe for  “Ambiguity Machines: An Examination” by Vandana Singh (India) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFK6k-pvXmI
  7. "Skandar Maalouf" by Mashrou' Leila for “Scenes from the life of an autocrat” by Basma Abdel Aziz (Egypt, translated by Elisabeth Jaquette) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlThORsUDrw
  8. Ghost by Plastic Tree for “Our Dead World” by Liliana Colanzi (Bolivia, translated by Jessica Sequeira)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDGleGmwVwY  
  9. "Voodoo in my blood" by Massive Attack for for “An Evolutionary Myth” by Bo-Young Kim (Korea, translated by Jihyun Park & Gord Sellar) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElvLZMsYXlo
  10. "Palabra mi amor" by Shaka Ponk for “You will see the moon rise” by Israel Alonso (Spain, translated by Steve Redwood) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrLWo2QOsH4
  11. "Don't be so shy" by Imany for “The Barrette Girls” by Sara Saab (Lebanon) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1_B-IKEufg
  12. "Gimme the power" by Molotov for “The Calculations of Artificials” by Chi Hui (China, translated by John Chu) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_r8O1JhzWA
  13. "Kif'n'dir" by Zaho for “El Cóndor del Machángara” by Ana Hurtado (Venezuela) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p30aN1DX_vA
  14. "Bliss" by Muse for “Alone, on the Wind” by Karla Schmidt (Germany, translated by Lara M. Harmon) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMqsWc8muj8
  15. "Come" by Jain for “The Seventh” by Eliza Victoria (Philippines) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDXOzr0GoA4
  16. "This is America" by Childish Gambino for “Screamers” by Tochi Onyebuchi (Nigeria) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYOjWnS4cMY
  17. "River" by Ibeyi for “The Bois” by R.S.A. Garcia (Trinidad & Tobago) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHRAPIwsS5I&list=RDEMRz9FNcSPt4S8UkUsKLJUVA&start_radio=1
  18. "Game of Survival" by Ruelle for “Ugo” by Giovanni De Feo (Italy) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T5eYF9WiRI

    Preorder the Apex Book of World SF Volume 5 now. 25% off print and eBook. Discount code is "WSF5" at checkout.

    Apex Book Company acquires science fiction crime novel COIL by Ren Warom

    By Jason Sizemore
    on July 03, 2018

    Apex Book Company acquires science fiction crime novel COIL by Ren Warom

    Apex is pleased to announce the acquisition of Ren Warom's dark crime science fiction novel COIL. It's a thrilling futuristic crime story unlike anything we've read.

    Perfect for Apex.

    COIL is slated to be released in mid to late 2019. We can't wait to share it with you!

    You can find more about Ren Warom and her other works at her website.

    Thank You from Apex for helping Brian Keene

    By Jason Sizemore
    on July 02, 2018

    In early June, we ran a promotion to help Brian Keene after his burn injuries. All proceeds of sales of The Lost Level and Return to the Lost Level would go toward his medical care.

    Thanks to the kindness of our readers, we are able to mail a nice check of $100 to Brian today. Brian, like most freelance writers in the United States, cannot afford healthcare. So every dollar we can send him is a big help.

    You can still help Brian by buying his books. He's a prolific guy and has dozens of fantastic works across a wide range of genres.

    Here's a good place to start: Amazon.

    Brian also has a Patreon you can support here.

    And, Brian, if you're reading this...I *might* be able to give you a few extra weeks to finish that next book for Apex. ;)


    Announcing: Nexhuman Preorders Now Open!

    By Suyi Davies
    on June 13, 2018

    Announcing: Nexhuman Preorders Now Open!

    Apex is thrilled to announce that preorders for Nexhuman by Francesco Verso are now open! Described as "Frankenstein meets classic cyberpunk", the award-winning author of Italian science fiction brings us a dystopian novel fit for lovers of posthumanism, cybernetics and ecology.

    Preorder Nexhuman now and use the checkout discount code "ALBA" to receive 20% off your preorder (trade and digital). Hot Tip: Preorder either edition directly through Apex and receive the digital advance reader's copy for free in your inbox within moments!

    Read more »

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