Book Review: The Past Is Present (Reedsy)

This is a book review I wrote for the platform, Reedsy Discovery. Reedsy is a platform for readers and writers where you can get access to the latest ‘Indie’ books from a range of genres. I recently became a Reedsy reviewer, and you can see my review initially published with Reedsy here.

Please note – this book is available from 8th May, 2020 and you’ll be able to access it via Reedsy. Enjoy!

Title: The Past Is Present

Author: John Markowski

Genre: Thriller/Suspense

Awaiting Publication (May 8, 2020)

Rating: ★★★★

The impact of one day can last forever – Ben struggles to maintain a normal life and is soon confronted by the nightmare that remains.

Ben has never led an ordinary life. He is haunted by a tragic event involving his high school friends, which all began with an out of control football bet. Fast forward to the present, and he is still being confronted by a blackmailer. Ben keeps his wife and children in the dark about his past. But how long can he keep this secret? And at what cost? Soon, he will be forced to confront reality.

What strikes me about this novel is the character development. Although it features a variety of perspectives, the leading character, Ben, is particularly insightful. Through Ben’s internal monologues, the reader experiences the psychology of living with endless regret and inner torments.

Ben struggles to sustain a normal life, feeling crippled by his past. I resonated with Ben completely, and desperately wanted him to put things straight. The variety of narrators with Ben at the center, contributed to the complexity of the story and conveyed a central message: actions always have consequences.

I really felt the pull of this story and was fascinated to see it unravel. The plot is fast paced but also contains essential background. The climax is dramatic, packed with action, and almost excruciating to read. The pace of the story never gets bogged down by the background detail. Many thriller novels often cannot pull off both at once – but this certainly does.

It deals with important, psychological elements, not just Ben’s, but with Ryan, who was the main victim of a horrific crime. Ryan blames himself for what happened and would rather think about ending his life than carrying on with the present. Ben too, is unavoidably confronted by his past – and eventually, so are all the friends involved. Things unfold in the ways he most fears. Who knows what lies ahead? Will they all make it out alive?  

I would recommend this to anyone who loves a dramatic, fast paced, page turner. But also, those who appreciate a story that flicks between the past and present, with an incredible amount of immersive detail. The build-up was full of action and deployed with expert narration and multiple character perspectives.

Reading this reminded me of Fredrick Backman’s writing – which often features extensive character insight from different narrators, but all of which are connected to a particular event in time, that has the potential to change things forever.

An Introduction to Reedsy Discovery

Image: Reedsy Discovery

I was recently contacted by Reedsy Discovery, I had vaguely heard of the company before getting involved, as I had seen them floating about online. They approached me after seeing this blog, and asked if I wanted to become a reviewer – I did of course! But don’t worry, I won’t be abandoning this blog any time soon! 🙂

Please note – I am not being paid to write this, or promote them as a company, I simply think it is a really good platform for readers and writers and would like to share it with you.

What is Reedsy Discovery?

Think of it as Goodreads – but more aesthetically pleasing and easier to operate. Unlike traditional book platforms and media outlets, Reedsy specifically features ‘indie’ books and up and coming writers. Traditional publishing outlets typically ignore over 1 million self published titles a year, therefore, I really think this is an important platform.

Authors can pay $50 for Reedsy to self publish their work which involves having a reviewer read the book and write an accompanying review. As a reader or subscriber to the Reedsy feed, you can receive tailored recommendations for what books to read, based on genres you select and have enjoyed reading in the past. As a reviewer, you can be verified from the company after completing an application and samples of your work, and go onto select as many books to review as you like.

Upon becoming a reviewer, I have already been able to select a book I want to read and have now downloaded it onto my Kindle – it’s that simple. I think it’s a great thing to do, not only because you are directly supporting and helping up and coming authors, but it is also a great opportunity to develop your own writing and reviewing portfolio. And there is the free books element too…

Do we need another book platform?

It is so easy to be exposed to the latest works of successful authors, but it also can be overwhelming when you are trying to find something new to read.

What is great about Reedsy, as a reader, is that you can select genres you enjoy and it will give you a daily curated feed of books as recommendations. Goodreads doesn’t do this to the same extent – and anyway, it doesn’t feature ‘indie’ titles or lesser known authors, but focuses on the bestsellers. (Which aren’t always the best anyway, lets face it…)

The interesting thing about this platform is that readers can also participate and shape the author’s output by reading sample chapters before books are officially published. Every Reedsy user can therefore, have an involvement in shaping new books.

Review of my experience

I hope this doesn’t sound like a sponsored post, because importantly, it isn’t, I really think this is a wonderful website for readers and writers alike. You don’t get paid as a reviewer, but there is an opportunity for readers and authors to tip you – which is an easy process to set up. Moreover, I think the real reward comes in the experience it gives, and the exposure to new authors.

Reedsy gives you a selection of books from new authors which go beyond the overly exposed bestselling titles that we see and hear about everyday. As a reviewer, I feel a certain amount of responsibility in being given the task of reading the writer’s book and then writing one of its first reviews. But I am so glad for the opportunity to get involved in this process.

I have just been verified as a reviewer after previously submitting an application with examples of my writing, and am due to write my first review in the next month. The application process was smooth and I have found the website easy to use. Selecting a title to review was a very uncomplicated process – as a reviewer, you can select up to three books to review at one time and the range of genres to choose from is impressive.

Readers of Reedsy and authors can follow your profile and reviews and there is plenty of space to start a conversation about books. I haven’t used it much yet, but it already feels like a tight knit reader and writer community. The opportunity to talk to authors is something no other platform does yet and I really like this element.

I also opted in to have a Skype call with the Editorial Manager before I started, who explained the website and whole process, as well as answered my questions – it was a very informative chat!

You can follow my Reedsy page here. You can use the site as a reader or apply to become a reviewer!

A very useful article by The Bookseller written about Reedsy Discovery: https://www.thebookseller.com/futurebook/inside-story-behind-reedsys-new-discovery-platform-968531

Happy reading (and discovering…) 🙂