poetry readers

Reviewers Needed: Poetry book

I set a goal last month to get 10 new reviews for each of my books. I didn’t get there, so I’ll put out the offer once again. Since it is National Poetry Month, I would like to submit my first book for consideration. So far it has been well received with an average rating on Goodreads of 4.27. (Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures)

“A sweetly exotic collection filled with understanding, perception, melancholy, and hope…”

– The Prairies Book Review

This book has words to encourage you, to make you laugh, and to invite you to reflect. With each chapter, a lens opens, revealing a different observation.  -Leon Stevens

Published in January 2020, Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures is the debut book from author Leon Stevens. It is an eclectic mix of poetry, prose, and short stories that address the subjects of loss, struggle, human behavior, and environment in both humorous and thought-provoking ways. The author invites his readers to laugh, think, cry, and meditate on the wide variety of topics. Scattered throughout the book are sketches of various subjects, many that relate to the poems and stories they illustrate; others speak for themselves.

If you think you would be interested (it may be one of your reading challenges to read poetry) or you know someone who is, let me know and I’ll send you the review copy link. Feel free to repost.


If you wish, you can always purchase a copy:

Get your copy before April 30. Odds of winning? Pretty good.

Click to go to my book page
readers thoughts Uncategorized

Book Reviews

“Hey, Leon. You often talk about the importance of book reviews. Why don’t you post your reviews?”
“I do.”
“You do?”
“I just said I did, didn’t I?”
“I haven’t seen any here.”
“I don’t post them here.”
“Where are they?”
“On my Goodreads page.”
“Oh. OK. Where’s that then?”
“I just told you.”

I usually write something about the books I have read or at least give it a rating. Here are a sampling of some of my favorites. Reviews that is.

Read the follow up: The Zombie Survival Guide. No action, but lots of handy tips!
Sometimes books just don’t do it.
I’m pretty sure I had read this as a child.
I saw the movie (well, part of it) on one of the classic movie channels. I was disappointed.
I don’t think that my 2-star review will have a negative affect on Child’s book sales.

I usually read at night. I would be able to read more books if I didn’t keep falling asleep. Zzzzz…

humor readers thoughts writers

More on Reviews: I Didn’t Like Your Book This Much, She Said.

What did you call me? Ohh, More – on.

Most book rating sites will include a rubric-or classification scale-to tell the reader how to rate a book. These rubrics can vary from site to site:

I didn’t like itBadReally, not good1 StarBlaah
It was OKDisappointingNot so good2 StarMeh
I liked itOKGood3 StarHmm
I really liked itGoodVery good4 StarSweet
It was amazing!ExcellentVery, very good5 StarWowsers

Does this kind of remind you of something? Bingo! School!

Rubric 3 – Consistently meeting grade level expectations 2 – Needs some help to meet grade level 1 – Needs ongoing help to meet grade level expectations N/A – Not applicable at this time

Most students will fall in the 2 category. That’s just the way life works. There are some that excel at everything (20%?), some that constantly struggle (20%?), and the rest (c’mon, do that math) will hang out in the middle. Google “bell curve” if you want a visual.

With so many authors out there, this has to hold true as well, doesn’t it? We can’t all be writing bestsellers-it doesn’t hurt to try, and some authors will just not make it for one reason or the other.

Do I like every book that I read? Of course not. No one does. Does that mean those books are terrible? Written badly? Confusing? Just plain boring? Sometimes, but often it is just a difference in opinions. There are best-selling books out there that don’t resonate with me.

I don’t expect everyone to like what I write. If you don’t like poetry or science fiction, you probably are not going to give my book a chance, or if you do it may warrant a 1 or 2-star rating in your mind. Some reviewers won’t publish a review lower than a 3 star, which I think is fair for both the author and the reader. If someone does not like my books, I do however, like to know why. Feedback always improves a skill. Which reminds me of a true story…

If you are offended by mild profanity, don’t proceed. I’ll say bye to you now.

In my first year back at university, after many years of being in the “real world”, I was sitting in the Intro to Really Hard University Math 101. I don’t think that it was called that, but if you consider all the algebra and calculus high school seniors have to do to graduate, then the next step is the aforementioned course.

Now, I like math. I suck at it, but numbers are fascinating. But that’s beside the point, and I digress. Here is the dialogue that took place on the last day of class:


 “I am handing out the instructor evaluations. I would appreciate if you filled them out and hand them back before you leave.”


Do we have to?”


No, but it is important for me to know what I am doing well and what I can be doing better in order for me to improve as an instructor. If you think I’m a douchebag, I’d like to know.”

[spattering of laughter]

After a few minutes of students writing, the instructor said:

I’ll write my name on the board so that you know how to spell it.”

As he turned around, I knew what I needed to say:


How do you spell douchebag?”

I have never made that many people laugh-including the instructor-before or after. In hindsight, I should have done a mic drop and walked out.

BTW, I got an A in that course. He wasn’t so douchy after all.

Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of two books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. Visit


The Importance of Reviews

(The Ongoing Journey of a Writer)

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” What’s going to make you pick it up?

How do people choose the books they read? Some will stick to the authors they like to read, an interesting cover can make you choose a book-or at least read the blurb before deciding “Meh.” But the driving force behind the success of books are positive reviews.

How do you get reviews? Get your books in the hands of readers. How do you get readers to want to read your book? Get reviews. Hey, wait a minute! That’s a Catch-22. You bet. I think of it like a new restaurant. You might be wary to give it a try until someone says that the food is good/amazing.

Here’s another restaurant analogy: If you don’t know about it, you are not going to go, are you? So, businesses advertise. It is important for new authors to advertise. to say, “Here I am! Check me out!” (I don’t know why I’m shouting…no one likes to be yelled at.)

Word of mouth is the least expensive form of advertising. If someone likes your book they will probably tell one of their friends, because we all get asked the question, “Read any good books lately?” And if we have, we will reply, “Yeah, you have to read [insert name of awesome book here]!” There was a commercial in the 80’s that had the line: I told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on. Want to do the math? You should, its pretty cool. (I might do a math post in the future)

There are many sites that feature reviews of books, each having its merits and loyal followers. It’s easy to picture readers scrolling through books and not stopping on books with no reviews, but those 4 and 5 stars really catch your eye, don’t they?

Reviews will drive sales, which is what authors want. But reviews also give affirmation that what we are doing as writers has merit and makes a difference in the lives of our readers. I want to share some of the words that have made me proud of what I have done:

Thank you so much for the beautiful poem, it was very touching and your words have a healing effect.”  

I have loved reading this book. It has given me what I needed the most. It is a very charming book!

A very charming, witty and entertaining book of short poems and pictures about… everything in life. It was fun to read and I believe it would make a great gift for poetry lovers.

I know I will reread this book as I do most of my poem collection because the simple act of reading poetry makes me grow and change as a person, so each reading is an unique experience.

This book of poems was very intriguing. It made me stop and think—and, sometimes, stop and laugh

To be honest, I found it a breath of fresh air and it was a joy to read.

And reviews also confirm that everything is subjective:

I thought the pieces in this collection were mostly okay. I’ve read much better but there are much worse collections out there.” (Well I’m glad I’m not the worst.)

I didn’t get it.” (OK, a little out of context, but kinda funny.)

Overall, I have neutral feelings about this poetry collection… Perhaps it just wasn’t for me.” (Exactly, I can’t make someone like my books.)

IF you have been following my writing, you know that I enjoy humor, so when I put together my free eBook with selected works, I decided to have some fun with it and put this on the first page:

There’s fake news, then there’s fake testimonials…
What people are saying about “Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures”

“Opening this book is like looking into the head of Leon. It’s a little odd…”
 -Noel Snevets

“It kept my interest and it keeps my coffee mug off the table.”
– Elon Ven Sets

“Just when you think you’ve had enough, you haven’t!”
 -Lone Vessnet

“I had to ask myself, where has this book been? I then realized it had slipped under the sofa.”
  – Olen Nessvet

“Wow. Just, wow. Wait, what was the question?”

  –  A. Prime

In conclusion (What? Am I writing a thesis?), as a reader, please don’t underestimate the power of your words. Reviews don’t have to to be long-just honest.