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Review - 25th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

Back in the spring, we applied to the Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards and although we didn't win, we received some really great reviews from our judge.

Both books received 5/5 scores all across the board! Even better, they shared the judge's notes. We've tried to trim it down (and cut out the spoilers), but there was too much good stuff not to share!

Along Comes a Wolfe

What a gripping, exceptional book! The two main characters—Tony Shepherd and Charlie Wolfe—form the best friendship and crime-solving team since Sherlock and Watson. But, because the two are high school students, their relationship is fraught with the mixed-up emotions and intensity of adolescents on the verge of adulthood.

It’s a perfect collaboration as the foundation for a new series of books, and readers will love it, its stars, and the authors’ exemplary writing.

The banter between Shepherd and Wolfe crackles off the page and could be transcribed directly from real-life teenagers’ conversations. Readers will wish these guys were their flesh-and-blood buddies. Both characters are defiant of authority as a way to stand up for their beliefs, and it works like a charm. The protagonists step into danger to stop a killer, and the pulse-pounding ending will not let readers put this book down. I’ve read the second book in the series, as well, and I cannot wait for more!

Shepherd's Watch

From cover to cover, Shepherd’s Watch grabs you and won’t let go...This novel is packed with perfect pacing, intrigue and action. The twisty mystery keeps you turning the pages to find out what happened...The relationship between the two protagonists reminds me of S.E. Hinton’s Mark and Bryan from the acclaimed That was Then, This is Now. Their friendship and brotherhood are believable and natural, and it’s clear why there should be a Shepherd and Wolfe series.

What’s unexpected is the depth of the secondary relationships, which are often left undeveloped in YA novels. Tony’s parents and his sister, Heather, are nicely rounded characters who have realistic interactions with the boys and with each other. Readers will even care about Ollie, the dog, and Detective Gekas, a sign that Counios and Gane know how to craft indelible characters.

The rich details...and the crackling dialogue...are further hallmarks of talented writers who’ve created a new must-have for YA and adult readers everywhere.

Wow! Big thank to our judge and Writer's Digest for this great opportunity!