See a Sample Review & Our Scoring System

We rate your book by our own scoring system based on the following seven attributes:
cover (if applicable)
plot structure
characters/character development
emotional response to the book (+ or -)

We score each attribute on a scale of 1-5.
1 is needs total reworking/rethinking
2 is poor
3 is average
4 is very good
5 is excellent

We then add all these up for a possible total score of 35 (w/cover).
Ratings With Cover:
33-35-excellent ***** (5 stars)
30-32-very good **** (4 stars)
27-29-good *** (3 stars)
24-26-fair, defaults into a proof-read
21-23-poor, defaults into a proof-read

Ratings Without Cover (total possible=30 points):
28-30: excellent (*****)
25-27: very good (****)
22-24: good (***)
19-21: fair, defaults into a proof-read
16-18: poor, defaults into a proof-read


Title of Short Story/Book/Genre: Swimming Blind-Literary Fiction
Pages: e-book: 61
Indie Author: Graham Kell
Published Platform: Smashwords/ 2014
Review Score: 32-Very Good ****

Non-spoiler Summary:

Intellectually tidy people are often attracted to untidy anomalies in the universe as is Riley, a professor of evolutionary biology. The anomaly he is attracted to is, of course, an evolutionary one–the platypus, quite the evolutionary mess. He rides high on his platypus, high above his family, an understanding wife named Sue and his independent-thinking if not wholly enervating daughter Bec who has the audacity to preach to him of God and Intelligent Design. The idea is so abhorrent to him, he cannot seem to get past it enough to forge a relationship with her. She has clipped him at his proverbial knees, dropping him from his high platypus and he is not only disgusted by her God advocacy but also by the very idea she does not respect him–his brilliance that is.

He is convinced something went awry in the raising of their daughter. It’s probably all his wife’s fault. Obviously there is some kind of genetic flaw on her side of the family and this is something HE knows all about–
science, genetics, stuff like this. Don’t question him on it.

Others will soothe his wounded ego and it is here the story gets a bit predictable. Yes, you guessed it, a pretty young college student fills his void. She likes his ideas and he likes hers. There is no mention of God in this relationship. While they are off appreciating their mutual ideas, his daughter is calling, then his wife is calling, then…The story starts where it ends only to say things don’t stay as intellectually tidy for him anymore and he has to face it. He has to face a lot of things.


One wonders if this story is not the result of some kind of writing exercise that had to include a platypus. If so then Kell does it strategically. This little story is appealing on many levels. While the story may include some stereotypical elements, such as the egotistical older professor with the adoring college girl cliche’, even the science professor versus creationism conflict, and possibly the way it ends, in other ways, it is original and thought provoking with many different layers to it for such a short book. There is a little too much interpretation of the characters by the author meaning the author ‘baby-sits’ us, the readers, explaining to us why his characters act/say the things they do. His characters are strong enough such that he does not need to do this but wanting to lay it all out for the reader is common in earnest new authors.

In only 61 e-pages, this story explores the relationship between a father and daughter, an aging marriage, and egoism, especially of academicians. The end of the story can be considered ironic, epiphanic, or a downright joke! You dear reader will have decide. Overall, the book is enjoyable, memorable, and was an intellectually fun read (owing to, we hope, that it was all fiction).

Some favorite passages:

“Platypuses, his favorite subject.”

“No, it’s true. He wants to be number one, always has, you know that. Top of the evolutionary ladder and all that. That’s why I fight him on it. I know I shouldn’t, but I want him to see that he’ll always be my daddy. He just can’t be my king.”

“He hated that he hated talking to his own daughter.”

“There are forces in this universe that direct life to inevitable ends.”

“He started to cry, which wasn’t uncommon since Wednesday, but this was different. This was over a platypus.”

Scoring With Cover:
Cover: 4
Setting: 5
Plot Structure: 5
Editing: 5
Characters/Char. Dev: 5
Originality: 4
Emotional Response: 4
Total Score out of 35 possible= 32. Rating of Book/Short Story: Very Good ****