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Book Review Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

Book Review – Daughter of Fortune & Bonus Questions for Your Book Club

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende – Historical Fiction

Book Review Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
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About the Author

Born in Peru and raised in Chile, Isabel Allende is the author of eight novels, including, Zorro, Portrait in Sepia, and Daughter of Fortune. She has also written a collection of stories, three memoirs, including My Invented Country and Paula; and a trilogy of Children’s novels. Her books have been translated into more than twenty-seven languages and have become bestsellers across the continents. In 2004 she was inducted into the American Academy of Aerts and Letters. Isabel Allende lives in California.

The Synopsis of the Book

Orphaned at birth, Eliza Sommers is raised in the British colony of Valparaiso, Chile, by the well-intentioned Victorian spinster Miss Rose and her more rigid brother Jeremy. Just as she meets and falls in love with the wildly inappropriate Joaquin Andieta, a lowly clerk who works for Jeremy, gold is discovered in the hills of northern California. By 1849, Chileans of every stripe have fallen prey to feverish dreams of wealth. Joaquin takes off for San Francisco to seek his fortune, and Eliza, pregnant with his child, decides to follow him.

So begins Isabel Allende’s enchanting novel, Daughter Of Fortune, her most ambitious work of fiction yet. As we follow her spirited heroine on a perilous journey north in the hold of a ship to the rough-and-tumble world of San-Francisco and northern California, we enter a world whose newly arrived inhabitants are driven mad by gold fever. A society of single men and prostitutes among whom Eliz moves- with the help of her good friend and savior, The Chinese doctor Tao Chien – California opens the door to a new life of freedom and independence for the young Chilean.

Her search for the elusive Joaquin gradually turns into another kind of journey that transforms her over time, and what began as a new search for love ends up as the conquest of personal freedom. By the time she finally hears news of him, Eliza must decide who her true love really is.

Our Review

Book Review Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

This is a wonderful well-written historical fiction that begins in the British community of Chili, a culture I knew nothing about until I read this book. Set in the mid-1800’s we are taken back to a time where women are subjected to disturbing means in order to survive. Our discussion revolved around the strong women characters, the challenges they had to face and the life-threatening diseases they had to overcome.

Eliza, a young woman who was abandoned at birth and raised by a spinster named Rose and her brother Jeremy, enters womanhood and finds what she believes to be her true love. Pregnant with his child, she risks her life to follow him to San Francisco where he hopes to strike it rich by gold mining. But her journey is not easy and death is near.

This book had so many interesting facts about many different cultures which enhanced the story immensely. It was not only a great historical romance but a good history lesson too.

Having lived in the gold rush town of Sonora, I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the book and loved learning many aspects of the gold rush era that took place in California.

There were a lot of facts to process in the book. The chapters were long and the book is almost four hundred pages. For me, it took a while to read, mainly because It was a book I could easily put down and return to at a later time. Others in the group felt the same way. We all felt the ending was abrupt and left some unanswered questions, which was disappointing after investing so much time into the book.

Our Overall Rating

Book Review Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

COVER DESIGN – 4 STARS – The cover is fitting for the book. Immediately from the image of the woman, you know it’s historical fiction.    

CHARACTERIZATION – 5 STARS – Excellent character development with plenty of backgrounds given.  

STORY & PLOT 4 STARS – Not a nail-biting plot, but an interesting one but the ending did fall short.

OVERALL RATING – 4 STARS – Overall we gave this book 4 stars and would recommend it especially if you enjoy historical fiction.

Questions to ask at your book club

Book Review Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

Click on the link below for questions to ask at your book club.

Book Club Discussion – Daughter of Fortune

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"Better Endings", On writing

Writing updates – what I’ve been working on

Writing updates - what I've been working on

It’s time for some updates on my writing

My debut novel, Reckless Beginnings was released October 28th, 2018. My how time has flown. I can’t believe it has been over five months since that memorable day. Some of you have been with me since I launched this site and took you on the amazing journey leading up to publication day. And what a ride that was. Well, another journey has begun and I hope you stick with me for this one.

Book 2 – Better Endings

The day after Reckless Beginnings hit the shelves, I began writing the outline for book 2 in the series which is titled Better Endings. In a previous post, I had mentioned that I’ve changed my writing habits and I’m now disciplining myself to write at least one thousand words a day. Because of this new approach, I’m getting the work done. Most days I exceed my writing expectations and book two is now at two-hundred-thirty pages. When I look back and saw how much time Reckless Beginnings took to complete – editing alone took almost a year, I’m ecstatic about the future of my writing.  I’ve managed to write two-thirds of the book in just over five months. For me, that is a huge accomplishment when I’m also working a full-time job and continuing to promote Reckless Beginnings.

A brief outline of the book

Better Endings which is based on true events and picks up where Reckless Beginnings ended, following the life of Tammy Mellows. In the book, the reader will reconnect with familiar characters like her father John, her step-mother Joanne, her sister Donna and her young son Matt. They will also meet Tammy’s new love interest Dwayne, a commercial fisherman from Southern California. But Tammy is struggling with newly discovered demons of her own that puts a strain on the relationship.  She finds solace on the ocean and enters the world of commercial fishing. An industry dominated by men. Yet again Tammy finds herself faced with new challenges, high expectations and in order to be accepted by the fleet and for self-gratification she pushes herself to the limit.

When she ventures into the world of commercial fishing, she finds herself off the remote coast of  San Clemente Island for weeks at a time. A place that is owned by the US Navy and where intense training takes place. No civilians are allowed on the island leading Tammy to adapt to living on a boat for days at a time. But what Tammy witnesses on the island while anchored off the shores fascinates her.

 

Here is an aerial shot of the island which is only fifty-six square miles.

Writing updates - what I've been working on

Personal photos that inspired the book

Many of the scenes in these photos you will read about in the book.

Writing updates - what I've been working onWriting updates - what I've been working onWriting updates - what I've been working onWriting updates - what I've been working onWriting updates - what I've been working onWriting updates - what I've been working onWriting updates - what I've been working on

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope to have the first draft of the book completed by the end of May. Wish me luck. After a few rounds of reading it will be sent off to the beta readers before the editor begins her first round of editing. During which time, the cover design will begin.

Other works in progress

While working on Better Endings, I have also been working on a contemporary romance series titled The Sabela Series.  There will be three books in the series. The first is called Slater and is complete. Last month it was sent out to the beta readers and I’m pleased to say they all loved it. Today it was sent to the editor and I hope to have it back in about two weeks. Currently, I’m researching someone to do the cover design and hope to get that started pretty soon. In the meantime, I have also begun book two in the series which is titled, Eve. 

My goal is to have all three books completed, formatted and with covers before I release them within six weeks apart. I’ll keep you posted on the progress and more about the story outline when I have a rough blurb written.

So there you have it. I hope I’ve brought you all up to date and you will continue to follow me on my writing journey while I’m working hard to bring you these stories.

Other news

Writing updates - what I've been working on

  • I’m pleased to announce that Reckless Beginnings reached the Top 100 in the kindle Sister Category in Amazon last month. A huge accomplishment that I’m proud of.
  • June 7th is the writer’s festival at our local library in Frazier Park and I’ve been invited to be on the writer’s panel where I will be talking about my current works and answering questions. I’ll post more info when I have it.

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Everything books

Book Review The Wife Between Us Plus Bonus Questions For Your Book club

Book Review & Bonus Questions for Your Book Club

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Book Review The Wife Between Us

About the Authors

This is Greer’s debut novel. Before becoming an author she spent over two decades as an editor at Simon $ Schuster. She obtained her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Allure and Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Manhatten with her husband and two children.

Sarah is the mother of three boys, which explains why she wrote part of her debut novel at Chuck E. Cheese. She penned her first book at the age of ten. When publishers failed to jump upon this literary masterpiece, Sarah followed up by sending them a sternly-worded letter on Raggedy Ann stationery. She still has that letter and carries it to New York every time she has meetings with her publisher, as a reminder that dreams do come true.

The Synopsis of the Book

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing.

Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage – and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

Read between the lies.

Our Review

Book Review The Wife Between Us

There were mixed feelings about this book during our discussion. We all agreed it was confusing at times and prevented us from getting fully engaged in the story. A twisted tale involving an ex-wife, a mistress and soon to be the wife of the wealthy ex-husband, Richard. Vanessa who has been tormented by her husband, Richard throughout their entire marriage, comes up with a brilliant way to end their marriage. But unraveling the plot is confusing for the reader and once the marriage is over she then becomes obsessed with warning the mistress, Nellie about Richard, which I personally found strange.

Many of the readers in the group loved the roller-coaster rides of plots and surprises and the unexpected ending. For me, the first part of the book was extremely hard to get into because I was too busy trying to figure out who was who and what was going on but I didn’t give up and finished the book. I was hoping, Richards sister, Maureen would have played a bigger part and we all agreed that we didn’t like it when we were left hanging when it came to the dog Rover. It ended up being a good read with an ending that I would never have guessed, so I’m glad I didn’t give up, but I almost did.

One reader was unable to finish the book. She just didn’t like it and quit reading in chapter five.

Our Overall Rating

Book Review The Wife Between Us

COVER DESIGN – 5 STARS – A well-designed cover showing the same person in different profiles. Now that I’ve read the book it makes sense why they wanted the same person for both profiles.   

CHARACTERIZATION – 3 STARS – The characters came across as shallow with not much history and lacked personalities. 

STORY & PLOT 4 STARS – Great storyline and plot but confusing at times.

OVERALL RATING – 4 STARS – Overall we gave this book 4 stars

Questions to ask at your book club

Book Review The Wife Between Us

Click on the link below for questions created by the author, Greer Hendricks for questions to ask at your book club.

Book Club Discussion – The Wife Between Us 

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New Reviews for Reckless Beginnings  Since My Last Blog

Beautiful written and so riveting! Can’t wait for the next one! – Miki

The book was very well written. The story paints a true to life story of the struggles that women endure when they are young and naïve – trying to have a good life, but choosing the wrong paths. I highly recommend. Dyana Hulgan

After reading a few pages, I could not put this book down!
Wonderful first effort.
Looking forward to her next book. – Tracy P.

 

"Reckless Beginnings" Journey

Reckless Beginnings is on Sale!

Spring Time Sale!

I’m so excited that spring is finally here. Yes, March 20th is the first day of spring. Can you believe it? We’ve had a pretty intense winter, here in California, which is unusual for our part of the world. Endless days of rain, floods in many areas and where I live, an exceptional amount of snow to the point where I was snowed in for a few days. To celebrate and welcome the glorious months of spring, Reckless Beginnings ebooks are on sale.

🌾💐🌷🌹🥀🌸🌼 Spring Time Sale! All ebooks are on sale for a limited time for $0.99. 🌾💐🌷🌹🥀🌸🌼

Tammy Mellows wanted to be loved. For her, love was blind and she only saw what she wanted to see until it was too late. Now she must face impossible challenges to win back her life.

🌾💐🌷🌹🥀🌸🌼

Read what people are saying about the book.

I loved this story. It was amazing!! It totally captured me from page 1. After reading the first few chapters I was addicted and couldn’t put the book down. – Stewart Book Reviews

A very good page turner. The main character of the book is very well written and I felt so connected to her life, her choices and her pain and happiness. – Dana D

Reckless Beginnings has excellent character development, and Tina Hogan Grant does a fabulous job of showing the heartbreak of being involved with a drug addict. Compelling, heart-rending read. Couldn’t put it down. – Michele I. Khoury – Author of Busted

Hogan Grant has a great sense of storytelling and she succeeds in keeping readers engaged through each page of her gripping story. – Readers’ Favorites.

Click on your favorite retailer to purchase.

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Book Review My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

Click image to buy from Amazon

Book Review – My husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

Intrigued by the title, this is a book I’ve been wanting to read for some time. How did the book measure up? Read my review below.

About the Author

Jane Corry is a writer and journalist who has written regularly for numerous newspapers and magazines including The Daily Telegraph Weekend Section, The Mail on Sunday and Woman. She has spent time working as the writer-in-residence on a high-security prison for men. An experience that helped inspire My Husband’s Wife, her debut thriller.

Jane runs regular writing workshops and speaks at literary festivals all over the world. She was a tutor in creative writing at Oxford University until her recent move to Devon. She is also an associate member of the Royal Literary Fund.

The Synopsis of My Husband’s Wife

When young lawyer Lily Marries Ed, she’s determined to make a fresh start and leave the secrets of the past behind. But then she takes on her first murder case and meets Joe, a convicted murderer to whom Lily is strangely-and for whom she will soon be willing to risk almost anything.

But Lily is not the only one with secrets. Her next-door neighbor Carla may be only nine, but she has already learned that secrets powerful things. That they can get her whatever she wants.

When Lily finds Carla on her doorstep twelve years later, a chain of events is set in motion that can end only one way.

My Review

This book began well and had me intrigued but as the story progressed it began to lose me for many various reasons. As mentioned before, I was intrigued by the title. I assumed it was about a bigamist. Well, that wasn’t the case and after finishing the book I found the title to be deceiving. I also had a problem with the female on the cover. If this is supposed to be Lily, it doesn’t match the description in the book where she describes her self as overweight and a size fourteen. That is not what the image portrays on the cover.

The author is British and many British terms are used in the story. Being English myself, I didn’t have a problem with that but if you don’t know some English terms it might be an issue for you.

It was a confusing tale with too many plots and twists that had no connections. It had too much going on and not enough background about the characters. I felt like I didn’t really get to know any of them.  Out of the blue, the characters began behaving strangely for no apparent reason or explanation. I found it odd that the character Lily was written in the first person and Carla was written in the third person. That just added to the confusion. For me, none of the characters were likable and there really wasn’t anyone to root for. The plots were weak and somewhat far fetched with no concrete conclusions. As much as I tried to like this book, I just couldn’t.

My Overall Rating

Book Review THE MERMAID CHAIR by Sue Monk Kidd

COVER DESIGN – 1 STAR– The cover and title didn’t represent the story at all. I found it very misleading.

CHARACTERIZATION – 2 STARS – The characters were very shallow and at times confusing. None were likable.  

STORY & PLOT 2 STARS – The story was too confusing and just seemed to drag on with no level of excitement.

OVERALL RATING – 2 STARS – Overall I gave this book two stars. It was a hard book to read that left me disappointed at the end. 

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See what readers are saying about Reckless Beginnings

It was a wonderful book and also a great ethical thriller especially for this being the author’s first book. I am definitely looking forward to reading more by this author. I would also definitely recommend this book to other members of my book group and my literary friends. – Anoynomous

 

AMAZING STORY. So well written, I could not put it down. I CANNOT WAIT FOR BOOK 2… I sometimes read so fast, I can skim over words.. not this book. I hung on to every single line.. so well written, such good detail, I felt and knew each character and felt each feeling.. was just great.. thank you! Sad I am divine with it! So glad Judy hit him with the poker! – Jennifer Dobos-bubno

 I loved this story, it was amazing!! It totally captured me from page 1. After reading the first few chapters I was addicted and couldn’t put the book down. I did nothing for the rest of the day but read even though I had a long list of stuff to get done. Reckless Beginnings by Tina Hogan Grant is a well-written story based on the author’s life. This is such a touching story about surviving. I personally find her work amazing in every way. Her writing is so good. The book is exceptionally well written and beautiful. The characters are all well developed and relatable. you can feel all their emotions and they grow beautifully as the story progresses.  – Stewart’s Book reviews

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Book Review A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

Book Review A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron & Bonus Questions

My book club recently finished reading A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron. Oh my, what a read. Below you can find our detailed review and also questions to ask at your club relating to the book.

About the Author

W. Bruce Cameron is the New York Times Bestselling author of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, The Dog Master, and the A dog’s Purpose series. In 2011 he was named Columnist of the Year by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. he lives in California.

The Synopsis of A Dog’s Purpose

Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud, A Dog’s Purpose is not only an emotional and hilarious story of a dog’s many lives but also a dog’s-eye, commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man’s best friend. This moving and beautiful crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.  Now a major motion picture.

Our Review

This was such a heart rendering book that pulled at every emotion from sad, happy and at times funny. We all felt it was such an emotional read that at times it had some of us in tears. Told from the perspective of the dog who lived three different lives. From living with a dog hoarder, a faithful best man’s friend that many of us could relate to and a service dog. It was an enlightening story that showed just how dedicated our dogs are, no matter what the circumstances are. They are loyal, loving and truly a man’s best friend.

If you’ve ever lost a dog, this book will bring you much comfort during the difficult times while you mourn their loss. It makes us want to believe that our best friend served his purpose while with us, in the best possible way he could, with what seemed like such a short time on this earth. It was soothing to read when after living his first life the dog is reborn as a puppy with memories of his previous life that he carries with him while he finds another purpose to fulfill. In the end, everything comes full-circle which helps when grieving the loss of a dog.

I am a dog owner and have had many dogs but like Bailey in the book, we all seem to have that one special dog that we just bonded with. Mine was Harley. I’m so grateful he came into my life and I feel blessed that I was able to spend thirteen glorious years with him. He was constantly on my mind while I read this and I mentioned it at the meeting, and even though it’s been three painful years since he passed, I began choking up, just mentioning his name and I had to abruptly end my discussion about him. After reading this book, I want to believe he is now giving the same love and loyalty to another family that he gave me.

My sweet boy Harley

For me, the ending was extremely sad and I did cry heavy tears when I finished reading it. With that said, it is a book that I will not soon forget. I know it will stay with me for years to come.  A must read for every dog lover.

Our Overall Rating

Book Review THE MERMAID CHAIR by Sue Monk Kidd

COVER DESIGN – 5 STARS – Love the cover. Who cannot resist such a cute, adorable picture of man’s best friend?

CHARACTERIZATION – 5 STARS – Told from the dog’s perspective, it was really well written and comical at times when we are put inside the dogs head. Especially his thoughts about cats.  

STORY & PLOT 4 STARS – At times it was a hard book to read that pulled at your heartstrings constantly from one extreme to another.  

OVERALL RATING – 4 STARS – Overall we gave this book 4 stars because of the sad factor that seemed to be present throughout the book.

Questions to ask at your book club

Book Review THE MERMAID CHAIR by Sue Monk Kidd

1 – What did you find most disturbing about the book?

2 – How well do you think the author did, telling the story from the dog’s perspective?

3 – What do you think a dog’s purpose is?

4 – Do you have that one special dog that came into your life? Talk about him/her. How did he touch your life?

5 – Do you believe in reincarnation?

6 – What are your thoughts on the human behavior in the book?

7 – What did you think about the ending of the book?

8 – After reading the book, will you be seeing the movie?

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See what readers are saying about Reckless Beginnings

This story was easy to read and involved enough to keep my interest. It didn’t take me long to read and I had a hard time putting it down. It’s not deep but it sure isn’t a cozy. It’s a somewhat different storyline with both good and bad characters. Each character has his or her own personalities and even though there are several, I never had one problem keeping them separate. This is a very important aspect for me. Having to turn back to figure out “who is who” is a great irritation to me. I found none of that here.

So, in conclusion…a good storyline, interesting characters, and a very interesting read. Not much more you can ask than that is there? – – Bookaholic

AMAZING STORY. So well written, I could not put it down. I CANNOT WAIT FOR BOOK 2… I sometimes read so fast, I can skim over words.. not this book. I hung on to every single line.. so well written, such good detail, I felt and knew each character and felt each feeling.. was just great.. thank you! Sad I am divine with it! So glad Judy hit him with the poker! – Jennifer Dobos-bubno

 I loved this story, it was amazing!! It totally captured me from page 1. After reading the first few chapters I was addicted and couldn’t put the book down. I did nothing for the rest of the day but read even though I had a long list of stuff to get done. Reckless Beginnings by Tina Hogan Grant is a well-written story based on the author’s life. This is such a touching story about surviving. I personally find her work amazing in every way. Her writing is so good. The book is exceptionally well written and beautiful. The characters are all well developed and relatable. you can feel all their emotions and they grow beautifully as the story progresses.  – Stewart’s Book reviews

On writing

How I’m Going to Achieve my Goals in 2019 – Staying Focused

What is it going to take to achieve my writing goals in 2019?

How I'm Going to Achieve my Goals in 2019 - Staying Focused

Can you believe we are already into the beginning of February 2019?  Did you set goals for yourself this year? How is that going? Are you achieving them? These are questions I ask myself daily about the writing goals I have set for myself for 2019. How am I going to stay on the path I have carved out for myself and reach my goals?

Here are a few of them:

Goal #1 Finish and publish my second book, BETTER ENDINGS

My number one goal for this year is to bring my second book, BETTER ENDINGS to my readers. It is the sequel to RECKLESS BEGINNINGS with a third book to follow. I’m pleased with the progress I’m making and happy to say I’m about 50,000 words into the story. In order to reach my goal, I must set time aside strictly for writing, which in the past has been difficult to do when I work full-time at another job. Before structuring my writing time, I tended to try and fit it in wherever I could. An hour here, a couple of hours there and it was never productive and I always finished my sessions feeling disappointed.

I Now find, if I discipline myself and allocate a certain time of the day to writing and treat it like a job, the writing comes easier. Early in the morning when the house is quiet works for me. I begin my day at 5:00 am and refuse to leave my desk until I’ve written at least 1,000 words. I now find myself writing close to my goal within an hour and exceed it most days, which thrills me. No longer do I feel pressured to fit in writing time and with it being my first activity of the day, the rest of my day tends to be less stressful.

What can you expect from BETTER ENDINGS?

How I'm Going to Achieve my Goals in 2019 - Staying Focused

BETTER ENDINGS continues on where RECKLESS BEGINNINGS left off, following the path of Tammy Mellows. You’ll be reintroduced to some familiar characters, including her sister, Donna, Her best friend, Judy, her son, Matt and her father, John. You’ll also meet new characters, including a love interest called Dwayne. You’ll discover that Tammy has issues with trust and demons of her own that she must face and conquer before they destroy her.

Tammy eventually finds solace on the ocean and enters the world of commercial fishing, an industry dominated by men and hopes she can live up to their expectations and be accepted by the fleet.

Tragedy Strikes Tammy’s family not once but three times and she suffers devastating losses and while still trying to heal from the wounds, she suddenly finds herself fighting for her own life. Tammy comes to the realization, that life on this earth is short and sets out on a quest to fulfill her mother’s only wish.

Goal #2 Finish the steamy romance trilogy

How I'm Going to Achieve my Goals in 2019 - Staying Focused

I’ve also been working on a steamy romance story that will be a three book series. (You’ve been warned – it gets juicy). These will be quick, fun reads with each book having around 150 pages. I have yet to come up with a title but it will come to me. I have completed the first draft (47,000 words) of book one and currently going through revisions before it is passed on to my beta readers.

My plan is to have all three books written, edited and with covers before releasing the first one and then do a rapid release with the second and third ones being released shortly after. I hope to have all three available for purchase and in KU by the end of the year. Wish me luck!

Goal #3 Increase my knowledge and skills in marketing my books

How I'm Going to Achieve my Goals in 2019 - Staying Focused

When I told people I was writing a book, many would tell me, That’s the easy part. The hardest part is marketing it. Boy were they right! I’ve barely scratched the surface in marketing when it comes to my debut novel, RECKLESS BEGINNINGS. Even though I’ve had many interviews, radio interviews, I’ve been a guest on blogs and even had a segment on the evening news, there is still so much more to learn. Where to begin, is the overwhelming part and organizing some sort of promotional plan is a job in itself.

I’ve spent more money than I should have, trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t, but that’s okay. It’s all part of the learning curve and I now know where to focus my time. I’m slowly putting together a plan for each launch of a book, using social media, a few paid sites (That have positive results) and facebook ads which I am currently learning, testing and tweaking.  I also plan on learning the art of AMS ads. But one step at a time.

I don’t expect success overnight. There are a million books out there and it’s not easy to get noticed but I’m enjoying the ride and I’m excited about the future. Over time as I continue to write every day and stick to my promotional plans and study hard, I believe it will get easier. My ultimate goal is to be able to write full-time. Having that dream is what keeps me going.

What are your goals this year? How are you achieving them? I would love to hear. Leave your comments below.

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My Year in pictures – 2018

 

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New Reviews for Reckless Beginnings  Since My Last Blog

I loved this book, could not put it down.😎 It shows the struggle of a very brave, strong but trusting woman who overcomes numerous hardships, but always finds a way. Cannot wait for the sequel. – Chicadeepatti

I couldn’t put it down as it piqued my curiosity. I’m looking forward to the next one. The story is tastefully done but draws the reader in as the story progresses with how Tammy can survive such an emotional roller coaster. – Deedee

I loved this book. The main character displays the kind of strength and resiliency that all women will find impressive. It is well-written and inspirational. – Avid reader

 

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Book Review THE MERMAID CHAIR by Sue Monk Kidd

Book Review THE MERMAID CHAIR by Sue Monk Kidd
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Book Review and Bonus Book Club Questions – The Mermaid Chair

As many of you know, I run the book club at our local library. We just finished reading The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. We had quite a discussion about this book. The author is new to all of us and at the end of our review, you will find questions to ask at your own book club.

About The Author

Sue Monk Kidd’s first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, spent more than one hundred weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list, has sold nearly six million copies, and was chosen as the 2004 BookSense Paperback book of the Year and Good Morning America’s “Read This!” Book Club pick. It was adapted into an award-winning movie in 2008.

Her second novel, The Mermaid Chair, a #1 New York Times Bestseller, won the 2005 Quil Book Award for Best General Fiction and was adapted into a television movie. Her novels have been published in more than thirty countries. She is also the author of several acclaimed memoirs and the recipient of many awards, including a Poets & Writers Award. She lives near Charleston, South Carolina.

The Synopsis of The Mermaid Chair

Inside the church of a Benedictine monastery on Egret Island, just off the coast of South Carolina, resides a beautiful and mysterious chair ornately carved with mermaids and dedicated to a saint who, legend claims, was a mermaid before her conversion.

When Jessie Sullivan is summoned home to the island to cope with her eccentric mother’s seemingly inexplicable behavior, she is living a conventional life with her husband, Hugh, a life “molded tot he smallest space possible.” Jessie loves Hugh, but once on the island, she finds herself drawn to Brother Thomas, a monk about to take his final vows.

Amid a rich community of unforgettable island women and the exotic beauty of marshlands, tidal creeks, and majestic egrets, Jessie grapples with the tension of desire and the struggle to deny it, with a freedom that feels overwhelmingly right and the immutable force of home and marriage.

Is the power of the mermaid chair only a myth? Or will it alter the course of Jessie’s life? What happens will unlock the roots of her mother’s tormented past, but most of all, it will allow Jessie to come to discover selfhood and a place of belongings as she explores the thin line between the spiritual and the erotic.

Our Review

Book Review THE MERMAID CHAIR by Sue Monk Kidd

Jessie the main character, seems to be going through a mid-life crisis and begins to question her marriage to Huge after twenty years. At the same time her mother Nellie is having mental-health issues. Jessie travels alone to tend to her mother’s needs who has lived alone since the death of Jessie father when Jessie was only six and had always thought it was her fault.

While visiting her mother, Jessie has an affair with a monk called Witt and is ready to leave her husband. The speed at which she came to this decision, seemed unrealistic and was when our dislike for her began. (I believe it was after their first encounter). 

The story then unfolds many truths, some of which are shocking. Surprisingly we all had different opinions about the book. One member absolutely loved everything about the book, from the author’s style of writing, the main character Jessie, whom she related to and in some way, Jessie reminded her of herself.

A couple of us didn’t like Jessie or the way she treated her husband and left us feeling only anger toward her. We asked ourselves,  Why didn’t she talk to her husband about how she was feeling? A big bombshell was dropped in the story about her father’s death that none of us were expecting and also created more feeling of anger with some of the other characters.

We all felt sorry for Jessie’s husband, Huge because of the way he was treated by Jessie. (Well I know I did.) Huge seemed like a really nice guy but toward the end of the book, he disappointed a majority of us.

Overall it was a good story with some unexpected twists. Parts of it dragged on and became too descriptive for some of us, to the point where we had to backtrack because we had forgotten what the author was describing. This happened numerous times throughout the book and prevented us from keeping engaged with the story. 

Our Overall Rating

Book Review THE MERMAID CHAIR by Sue Monk Kidd

COVER DESIGN – 5 STARS – It’s an intriguing eye-catching cover that entices you to pick up the book and read more.  

CHARACTERIZATION – 3 STARS – We disliked the main character and was disappointed with Huge. Some of their actions seemed unrealistic and rushed. 

STORY & PLOT 4 STARS – The storyline was good. At times it dragged on and wasn’t engaging.

OVERALL RATING – 4 STARS – Overall we gave this book 4 stars

Questions to ask at your book club

Book Review THE MERMAID CHAIR by Sue Monk Kidd

1. How does a woman like Jessie become “molded to the smallest space possible”? What signs might appear in her life? What did Jessie mean when she said part of the problem was her chronic inability to astonish herself?

2. Jessie comes to believe that an essential problem in her marriage is not that she and Hugh have grown apart, but that they have grown “too much together.” What do you think she means by that? How important is it for Jessie to find her “solitude of being”? How does a woman balance apartness and togetherness in a relationship?

3. How would you describe Nelle before and after her husband’s death? What is your interpretation of the mysterious factors that led her to cut off her finger? What do her fingers symbolize? How does the myth of Sedna—the Inuit mermaid whose severed fingers became the first sea creatures—shed light on Nelle’s state of mind?

4. Jessie feels that she has found a soul mate in Whit. Do you find this word inviting or repellent? When we speak of looking for a soul mate, what do we mean? Is there really such a thing?

5. Why do you think Whit came to the monastery? Would you describe him as having a crisis of faith? In what ways does he vacillate between falling into life and transcending it? What do you think of his decision at the end about whether to leave or to stay?

6. Islands are often places of personal trial and distillation of self—such as Shakespeare’s The Tempest or Golding’s Lord of the Flies. What are the emotional islands upon which each character is stranded? What is the significance of the Egret Island setting? How does each character finally escape the island of his or her making? What does the trial on the enchanted island reveal about each character?

7. St. Senara only becomes a saint once an abbot hides her fish tail and prohibits her from returning to the sea. On one hand, she has lost her wild nature and freedom to swim away, but on the other hand, she has gained sainthood among the humans she has grown to love.

What is the significance of this tale in Jessie’s life? When she leaves her husband to return to Egret Island, is she the wild mermaid or the stranded saint? How does the duality of the mermaid and the saint play out in women’s lives? Can a woman contain both? Why do you think mystics and poets have drawn comparisons between sensual delight and godly delight?

8. The mermaid chair is a central image in the novel. What does it symbolize? What role does it play in the novel? In Jessie’s life? In her father’s? How does it become a place of death and rebirth for both of them, literally and figuratively?

9. How would you describe Jessie’s relationship with her father? How did having an absent father affect her? How did it affect her relationship with Hugh? What do you think Kidd was suggesting, by the image of the Whirley girl?

10. Jessie breaks away from creating her tiny art boxes and begins to paint, finding her true gift. Why is she unable to take up her authentic creative life before this? What role do her paintings play in her metamorphosis? How does Jessie’s series of paintings of diving women reflect her own experience? What role does the motif of diving play in the novel?

11. The novel celebrates the hallowed bonds of women and suggests how a true community of women can become a maternal circle that nurtures a woman toward self-realization and helps her to give birth to a new life. How do Kat, Hepzibah, and even Benne play a role in Jessie’s transformation? What has been the importance of female communities in your own life?

12. In perhaps the most moving and cathartic moment in the novel, Jessie goes to Bone Yard beach and speaks vows of commitment to herself—“’Jessie. I take you, Jessie…for better or worse…to love and to cherish.’” What does it mean to make a “marriage” to your self? Paradoxically, Jessie discovered that belonging to herself allowed her to belong more truly to Hugh. Does an inviolate commitment to oneself enhance one’s commitment to a relationship?

13. In your mind, was Jessie’s father’s death a sin? Jessie isn’t sure if choosing to end one’s life in order to spare oneself and one’s family extreme suffering was horning in on God’s territory and usurping “the terrifying power to say when,” or whether it was usurping God’s deep heart by laying down one’s life as a sacrifice. What do you think?

14. The Mermaid Chair suggests that a love affair may be a common response to a marriage that has lost its way, but that in the end, it is not a solution. In what way do you think the novel is a cautionary tale? Why do you think Jessie is unable to heed the warnings from Kat and Hepzibah? How could Jessie have found awakening without betraying her marriage?

15. Upon her return home, Jessie says, “There would be no grand absolution, only forgiveness meted out in these precious sips. It would well up from Hugh’s heart in spoonfuls and he would feed it to me. And it would be enough.” Why does Jessie return to Hugh? Why is Hugh able to accept her back into his life? How has their relationship changed since she left for Egret Island? How has Jessie changed?
(Questions issued by the publisher.)

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New Reviews for Reckless Beginnings  Since My Last Blog

IThis story was easy to read and involved enough to keep my interest. It didn’t take me long to read and I had a hard time putting it down. It’s not deep but it sure isn’t a cozy. It’s a somewhat different storyline with both good and bad characters. Each character has his or her own personalities and even though there are several, I never had one problem keeping them separate. This is a very important aspect for me. Having to turn back to figure out “who is who” is a great irritation to me. I found none of that here.

So, in conclusion…a good storyline, interesting characters, and a very interesting read. Not much more you can ask than that is there? – – Bookaholic

AMAZING STORY. So well written, I could not put it down. I CANNOT WAIT FOR BOOK 2… I sometimes read so fast, I can skim over words.. not this book. I hung on to every single line.. so well written, such good detail, I felt and knew each character and felt each feeling.. was just great.. thank you! Sad I am divine with it! So glad Judy hit him with the poker! – Jennifer Dobos-bubno

 I loved this story, it was amazing!! It totally captured me from page 1. After reading the first few chapters I was addicted and couldn’t put the book down. I did nothing for the rest of the day but read even though I had a long list of stuff to get done. Reckless Beginnings by Tina Hogan Grant is a well-written story based on the author’s life. This is such a touching story about surviving. I personally find her work amazing in every way. Her writing is so good. The book is exceptionally well written and beautiful. The characters are all well developed and relatable. you can feel all their emotions and they grow beautifully as the story progresses.  – Stewart’s Book reviews

Everything books

Who Made it on to the New York Times Bestsellers List in 2018?

Are you like me and love to know who made it to number one on the New York Times Bestsellers list in 2018? Many times I find quite a few surprises and discover new authors and often I’m disappointed that a book I enjoyed didn’t make the list.

There is no particular order to the books and this is for fiction books only. I’ll let you know at the end of the page which ones I’ve added to my TBR list.

So with no further ado, here’s who made it. I hope you find some books to add to your TBR list. Let me know if you do. Oh and all of these books can be purchased on Amazon by simply clicking on the image. Happy reading!

New York Times Best Sellers of 2018

Origin by Dan Brown

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The People vs Alex Cross by James Patterson Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

City of Endless Nights by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Judgment Road by Christine Feehan

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Dark in Death by J. D. Robb

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Burning Bright by Patricia Briggs

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Rising Sea by Clive Cussler & Graham Brown

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

 

Accidental Heroes by Danielle Steel

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Disappeared by C. J. Box

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Theif by J.R. Ward

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Fallen by David Baldacci

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Twistee Prey by John Sanford

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Seventieth Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Cast by Danielle Steel

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Outsider by Stephen King

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The President is Missing by James Patterson & Bill Clinton

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Other Woman by Daniel Silva

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Tailspin by Sandra Brown

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Leverage in Death by J. D. Robb

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Juror #3 by James Patterson & Nancy Allen

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Vince Flynn: Red War by Kyle Mills

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Holy Ghost by John Sanford

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Reckoning by John Grisham

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Past Tense by Lee Childs

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Look Alive Twenty-Five by Janet Evanovich

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Of Blood & Bone by Nora Roberts

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Books I’ve added to my TBR list

  • The People Vs Alex Cross by James Patterson
  • The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
  • The Disappeared by C. J. Box
  • The Theif by J. R. Ward
  • The Other Woman by Daniel Silva
  • Tailspin by Sandra Brown
  • Juror # 3 by James Patterson

Now I just need to find the time to read them 🙂 I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. We’re expecting some well-needed rain over the next four days here in Southern California. May even get some snow.  A perfect excuse to curl up with a good book.

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Purchase my Book Reckless Beginnings From Any of These Fine Retailers

 

 

New Reviews Since My Last Blog

I loved this book, could not put it down.😎 It shows the struggle of a very brave, strong but trusting woman who overcomes numerous hardships, but always finds a way – Chicadeepatti

I loved this book. The main character displays the kind of strength and resiliency that all women will find impressive. It is well-written and inspirational. – Avidreader

 I loved this story, it was amazing!! It totally captured me from page 1. After reading the first few chapters I was addicted and couldn’t put the book down. I did nothing for the rest of the day but read even though I had a long list of stuff to get done. Reckless Beginnings by Tina Hogan Grant is a well-written story based on the author’s life. This is such a touching story about surviving. I personally find her work amazing in every way. Her writing is so good. The book is exceptionally well written and beautiful. The characters are all well developed and relatable. you can feel all their emotions and they grow beautifully as the story progresses.  – Stewart’s Book reviews

My Life In Pictures From 2018 - What a Year
A day in my Life

My Life In Pictures From 2018 – What a Year

My Life In Pictures From 2018 - What a Year

Saying goodbye to the year 2018

As the end of another year approaches and a new one is about to begin, I find myself reminiscing over events that have happened over the past year. I take out pictures I have taken and relive the moments of another year that has gone by so quickly before saying goodbye to it.

I come across pictures that didn’t seem like were taken that long ago when in fact some are almost a year old. Where has the time gone?  I ask myself. These years are just whizzing by and I try to cherish every moment, live life to the fullest and make as many memories as I can with my family and friends.

I have gathered a collection of photos I have taken throughout the year and wanted to share them with you. Not only do I want you to know me as a writer but also as someone you feel you know. Once in a while, I like to give my readers a little insight into my life and allow them to know me as a person. So I thought it would be fun to show you my year in pictures and my favorite memories that I will cherish forever.

January 2018

December 31st is my birthday so the week after, in January, my husband surprised me by taking me to the Titanic Exhibit at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley CA. It was a fantastic tour and we spent the entire there, seeing the rest of the library too.

Laughlin NV
Oatman AZ
Oatman AZ
Oatman AZ

In the last week of January, I took my best friend Joanie to Laughlin NV for a weekend, to celebrate her birthday. We had an awesome time and on the way home, she talked about a small town in Arizona called Oatman. Well me being the spontaneous kind, looked at a map, saw we were close by and took a detour through the town and boy am I glad we did. I just love this place! I could spend days there and wished we had had more time to explore this magical place. The burros are descendants from the gold miners who used them to haul gear and food. When the miners left the town, they left the burros behind, where they remained and now live with the locals, who watch out for them, feed them and give them medical attention if needed.

February

I grew up reading Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter and wanted to see this movie myself. My grandkids loved it and I was not disapointed either.

March

Every year, in March, we attend the Fred Hall Show in Long Beach. It is a family event that we have been doing for many years. My husband and I, our son, daughter-in-law and grandkids all enjoy the many outdoor activities they have to offer including, kayaking, fishing, log sawing, ax throwing, dog jumping and seeing all the latest gear for outdoor activities.

In March we had our first big snow fall and it happened when we had the grandkids up for the weekend. It was just before St Patrick’s day so we spent the morning making cookies and by the afternoon we had a few good inches of snow on the ground. Luke, (The youngest) spent an hour on the front porch just watching the snow come down. He was mesmerized. By night time we were surrounded by a blanket of snow and spent the evening playing in the snow by flashlight. The next morning, Luke was in awe looking at the snow that had fallen overnight.

April

After twenty years of parts being stored in the garage, my husband finally begins building his custom Harley Davidson Panhead. What a beauty she turned out to be.

When the grandkids come to visit I always try and take them some place and always include my best friend’s grandson, (Johnathan, who is sitting in the middle.) On this visit in April, I took them all to the Western Cowboy event.

May

Mother’s Day I was shocked when I received a guitar from my husband. I’ve always wanted to learn how to play one. Well now I have the tool, I just need to find the time. It will happen one day, I promise.

Mother’s Day is also an emotional day as I think of my mother, bedridden in England, suffering from Vascular Dementia. She no longer recognizes me and I miss her smile and her visits to the United States. Without fail every year, my sister sends me a photo of her reading the card I had sent her. Thank you sis!

June

June was a proud month for all of us when our eldest grandson, James won first place in his Jiu-Jitsu tournament. Way to go James!

July

July was when we had the temperatures souring in the 100’s and it was time to head to some waters. So we packed up our bags and tents and headed to Kernville with the kids and grandkids where we spent the weekend, kayaking, swimming and lazing around on inner-tubes. What a glorious weekend it was.

August

Finally, after months of anticipating and waiting, I see the cover to my book for the first time and absolutely fell in love with it. I think the publishers did an outstanding job.

As many of you know, we live in the mountains and see many sitings of wildlife. While at a friends house one afternoon, I see a mama bear and her cub strolling down the street while I was sitting on the deck. It took my breath away and a memory that I will not forget anytime soon.

August was also a month to spend more time on the water with the family. This time we decided to spend the day on my husband’s nephew’s boat in Redondo beach. The kids and grandkids joined us and also family members we hadn’t seen in a while also showed up. It was a great day spent catching up, swimming and of course kayaking.

September

In September I received the first copies of my book. What an emotional day that was. To hold my book in my hands for the first time, brought tears to my eyes. All the hard work and frustrations to get it to this point was absolutely worth it. My husband also managed to make me cry when he came home with a beautiful bouquet of roses and a sweet card. I love you Gordon!

September was also the month to celebrate our youngest grandson’s birthday who turned 3 in 2018.

After twenty-five years in the making and eight years to write, RECKLESS BEGINNINGS went live at the end of September. A date I will never forget.

When I received this picture of my Mum with my book, I broke down in tears. Seeing my mother and my book together, tore at my heart strings. I know she will never read the book, but she was there in the beginning and read the first three original chapters before dementia took over her life. At times I wished I had written the book sooner.

October was also the month when I held my book signing at our local library. I have never felt so proud of myself. I loved the support I received from family and our little community that I’m happy to call home.

November

While driving to work one morning I was listening to the news about the wildfires that were rapidly spreading through Malibu and up ahead in the distance I could see the smoke plume from my car. It was so eerie to see and such a sad day in Southern California. It was a devasting fire that took over 1000 homes. My heart goes out to all those that were affected by these deadly fires.

November was also the month Luke received his first belt in Jiu-Jitsu. (He is only 3) Well done Luke 🙂

I also got my new car. A Honda CR-V. It was time. My last car had 250,000 miles. (Also a Honda CR-V)

I had my first televised interview with KBAK 29 NEWS from Bakersfield. I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck but thanks to the interviewer Rayna Harvey, I felt completely at ease and it went extremely well. Thank you!

December

December is all about Christmas. And what a Christmas we had. We went to our small town Christmas parade, made cookies, had more snow and of course celebrated with the family.

So there you have it. My best moments from 2018. What fond memories do you have of 2018?

Happy New Year

I want to wish all of you a happy new year and success in whatever you have planned for 2019. I hope the road you take is an easy one.

Reckless Beginnings is $0.99 (eBooks Only)

Reviews

REVIEWS

“Reckless Beginnings by Tina Hogan Grant is engaging and riveting, a well-written story injected with a lot of realism and pathos. Told in a strong and mellifluous tone, this is a story about family and a woman’s search to make sense out of the chaos of her life.” – Readers’ Favorites

“I read the book in a day and a half. A great book I couldn’t put it down. ” – Angie Hardy

“What a story to be told. Moments that are gut-wrenching, some that are comical, some moments where you just want to scream why are you doing that…. but in the end a very good page turner. The main character of the book is very well written and I felt so connected to her life, her choices and her pain and happiness” – Dana D.