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Book Review Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Book Review The Small Great Things

Book Review Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult was my book club’s choice last month. We had a brilliant meeting discussing the book and I truly felt we could have talked for hours about this book.

About the Author

Jodi Picoult is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twenty-five novels, including Small Great Things, Leaving Time, The Storyteller, and My Sister’s Keeper.

You can find her website here.

The Synopsis of the Book

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years of experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. the parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch her child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family – especially her teenage son, as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see what they’ve taught their whole lives about others – and themselves might be wrong.

 

Our Review

Book Review Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

First of all, I would like to commend the author on writing about a subject that many in this country believe is no longer an issue and that this country is beyond racism and white supremacy. How wrong they are. Jodi Picoult takes us out of the bubble that most of us tend to live in and opens our eyes.

This is a powerful, raw and disturbing story that will stay with you for a long time. We all agreed that reading about Turk, the white supremacists and his beliefs were jaw-dropping and horrifying. None of us could comprehend the hatred he felt to people of color and what is even more horrifying is that these groups still exist today. But we had to take a step back and discuss his terrible childhood and upbringing. He was raised to hate, it was in his blood and it was the only way he knew how to live. We are not making excuses for his beliefs just examing the facts and how beliefs are carried down generation after generation and we saw a lot of it in this book.

We all loved Ruth, the victim of racism whose life was turned upside down simply because of the color of her skin. She’s a brilliant mother, a smart woman, a widow and was doing a fine job raising her son, who was an honor roll student.

We felt only compassion for Ruth who lived in fear every day, by the way, she was treated, spoken to and stared at because she was black, but to her this was the norm. She was a successful Nurse who studied at Yale, she lived in a good neighborhood and had a well-mannered smart son but no one paid attention to that, they only saw what was on the outside – the color of her skin.

After reading this book I’m sure many will question their own beliefs. I know I did. It will open your eyes and make you realize that we as a human race, not just a country have a long way to go before we can say that we treat everyone as equal. In our perfect world, we might but the rest of the world needs to get on board.

In conclusion, a riveting book that was hard to put down and a rude awakening to the world we live in.

Our Overall Rating

Book Review Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

COVER DESIGN – 5 STARS – An eye-catching cover. Simple and easy to read. 

CHARACTERIZATION – 5 STARS – Brilliant character development. We felt we knew them well. 

STORY & PLOT 4 STARS – Some members found some of the facts unbelievable and felt it was rushed toward the end. 

OVERALL RATING – 4 STARS – We enjoyed this book immensely and highly recommend it. 

Small Great Things Questions

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Book Review – The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

Book Review The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Book Review - The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba. This was my book clubs read last month and it was discussed last week. Unforchantly I was sick the night of the meeting and was unable to attend. But I did receive feedback and wanted to share our review with you.

About the Author

Kamkwamba was profiled on the front page of The Wall Street Journal December 8, 2007, as well in major articles in The Malawi Daily Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, La Repubblica, and myriad blog posts such as Boing Boing, and his blog has been featured on the front page of news aggregators such as Digg and Reddit. He is featured in a special Africa issue of L’Uomo Vogue.
Find William’s blog at http://www.williamkamkwamba.com

 

The Synopsis of the Book

William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled and science was a mystery. It was also a land withered by drought and hunger. But William had read about windmills and he dreamed of building one and it would bring to his small village a set of luxuries that only 2 percent of Malawians could enjoy: electricity and running water. His neighbors called him misala – crazy. But William refused to let go of his dreams. With a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks, some scrap metal, tractor parts and bicycle halves; and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to forge an unlikely contraption and small miracle that would change the lives around him.

Our Review

Book Review - The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

I’m going to give you mainly my review of this book because I wasn’t at the meeting. First of all, this is not a book that would normally appeal to me if I was browsing in a book store. The subject matter is not a genre I would read. But with that said, I must say the story captivated me from the very beginning and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It was an easy read and I was intrigued right away. I loved how the book put me smack bang in the middle of Africa. I felt like I was right there with William. We’ve all heard about the struggles and the horrific stories of starvation affecting all ages in Africa. Well, this book opens your eyes to just how devastating the conditions are. Every day these people live to survive and will do anything to accomplish it including eating goatskin which really grossed me out but made realize just how little these people have and what desperate measures they are willing to take to simply stay alive.
The book was sad in many ways, reading about the many deaths of children and the sufferings many endured on a daily basis. But it was also very uplifting when William set out on a dream to make his and his family’s life better. He didn’t give up and succeeded and to my surprise and joy, the rest of the world soon learned about his amazing achievements. I love how he now travels the world and gives back to his small town and many of the other struggling communities in his country. He is a great inspiration for many.
 The only time I found my mind wandering was when he went into details about how he made the windmill and what parts he used and what each part did. I learned a little about electricity, but most of it went over my head. I understand why it was included in the book because it’s the root of his story.
The book was well-received by the rest of the group. I believe there was one person who did not enjoy it and gave it a low score.
Since reading the book I’ve watched some clips of him on YouTube and the videos are very uplifting.

The author is currently on tour and will be visiting my part of the world on October 30th in Bakersfield which is only forty-five minutes away so I may attend. Here is a link if any other locals are interested in going.

https://www.facebook.com/events/california-state-university-bakersfield/author-visit-book-signing-the-boy-who-harnessed-the-wind/2231500180473985/

Our Overall Rating

BBook Review - The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

COVER DESIGN – 5 STARS – The choices of colors and font are perfect – easy on the eyes and bold print.

CHARACTERIZATION – 4 STARS – Being a memoir the characters were well developed and described well. 

STORY & PLOT 3 STARS – Parts of the story were drawn out and when he talks about building the windmill, it gets a little too complex for my taste.

OVERALL RATING – 4 STARS – I absolutely enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. 

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Book Review Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci

Book Review Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci

Book Review Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci
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My book club which is held at our local library recently finished this book and discussed it at our last meeting. As always I like to share our thoughts with you.

About the Author

David Baldacci has been writing since childhood when his mother gave him a lined notebook in which to write down his stories. (Much later, when David thanked her for being the spark that ignited his writing career, she revealed that she’d given him the notebook to keep him quiet, “because every mom needs a break now and then.”)

David published his first novel ABSOLUTE POWER, in 1996. A feature film followed, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 37 novels for adults; all have been national and international bestsellers and several have been adapted for film and television. His novels have been translated into more than 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries, with over 130 million worldwide sales. David has also published six novels for younger readers.

David received his Bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, after which he practiced law in Washington D.C.

 

The Synopsis of the Book

It’s seared into Atlee Pine’s memory: the kidnapper’s chilling rhyme as he chose between six-year-old Atlee and her twin sister, Mercy. Mercy was taken, Atlee was spared.

She never saw Mercy again.

Three decades after that terrifying night, Atlee Pine works for the FBI. She’s the lone agent assigned to the Shattered Rock, Arizona resident agency, which is responsible for protecting the Grand Canyon.

So, when one of the Grand Canyon’s mules is found stabbed to death at the bottom of the canyon and its rider missing- Pine is called in to investigate. It soon seems clear the lost tourist had something more clandestine than sightseeing in mind. But just as Pine begins to put together clues pointing to a terrifying plot, she’s abruptly called off the case.

If she disobeys direct orders by continuing to search for the missing man, it will mean the end of her career. But unless Pine keeps working the case and discovers the truth, it could spell the very end of democracy in America as we know it…

Our Review

Book Review Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci

This was another book that created mixed feelings amongst the group. First of all, I don’t think any of us realized before reading it that it was the first book in a series  (An Atlee Pine Thriller Book 1). The book was pretty much the setting foundation of the main character, Atlee Pine by way of what some of us thought was a very confusing and mixed storyline. Others in the group loved it and even brought more of his books after reading this one.

That’s what I love about book clubs. They will take you away from your comfort zone and the genres you normally read and many times introduce you to new authors that you’d probably never discover if it wasn’t for being a suggestion at the book club

Anyway back to the book. We all agreed, the book pulled us in straight away. It began with Atlee’s interrogation in a high-security prison where only the worst of criminals were housed. She believed the prisoner was the man who took her twin sister over thirty years ago.  The first few chapters of the book gave the impression that this was going to be a story about Atlee trying to get to the bottom of what happened to her sister.  Sounds good, doesn’t it? I was on board and wanted to know too what happened to her.

Suddenly the story switched gears and it’s now all about a dead mule that was found at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and the missing rider. None of this had anything to do with how we were pulled into the book in the beginning. It was almost like two stories thrown into one book.  I and a few others in the group kept reading hoping it would shift back to the case of the missing sister but it didn’t. A huge disappointment for me and I soon began to lose interest in the book. I almost felt like I had been deceived by the switch and bait method that was used to draw a reader in.

The ending was also a disappointment for some of us because it ended with a cliff hanger. I, in particular, wasn’t pleased with the unfinished ending.  When I invest my time in a book, I expect a complete story and not be forced to buy the next one. I’ve never like this tactic and think it’s highly unfair to the reader. When an author tends to do this, I personally will not read their books.

Overall, some members loved it and are anxious to read the next book in the series which is currently available to pre0ordr on Amazon by the way. Others like myself didn’t care for it.

Our Overall Rating

Book Review Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci

COVER DESIGN – 3 STARS – The colors choices are bold and bright but the title is deceiving 

CHARACTERIZATION – 4 STARS – The characters were well developed and Atlee had some interesting traits for a woman. She was a tough woman – written almost like a superhero. 

STORY & PLOT 3 STARS – We had mixed feelings about this as explained in the review. A few loved it and others hated the tease and unfinished story.

OVERALL RATING – 3 STARS – I personally would not recommend this book because of the cliff hanger.

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Guest Post – The Catnapped Lover by Rue Allyn

I’m excited to bring you a preview of Rue Allyn’s new book – The Catnapped Lover – A short contemporary romance.

 

Excerpt

Balancing an armload of mail, an overloaded briefcase, and a gym bag with two yogurt cups teetering on top, Dierdre Clancy rushed to her cubicle. For the fourth time this week, and the umpteenth time this month, she was late. Once again, a power outage in the decrepit apartment building where she lived had caused her alarm clock to fail.

Please, Lord, don’t let my chauvinist pig of a boss realize I’ve been missing.

The yogurt cups threatened to topple off the gym bag. Dierdre wasn’t about to let her lunch decorate the linoleum. The mail showered to the floor. The briefcase hit her foot. With her free hand, she plastered the cups to her side. The gym bag slid down her arm. The webbed strap twisted, tourniquet style, around her wrist.

She managed a couple of sideways hops that brought her to the edge of her desk. The gym bag swung wildly. Leaning against the arm weighed down by the bag’s stranglehold, she managed to dump the yogurt cups onto the desk without mishap. She pulled herself upright and reached for the strap at her wrist.

Somehow, during all the hopping, the bag had swung around her legs and gotten wedged in the narrow space between her desk and file cabinet. The same strap that cut off circulation to her hand pressed into the backs of her knees, pinning her neatly to the desk. Only an act of extreme dexterity could save her from her own folly. Imbecile, why didn’t you make two trips?

Because I didn’t want to risk having the boss see me coming in late.

“Clancy! You’re late.”

Dierdre’s heart hit the ceiling. She knew the shout—a cross between an operatic tenor and a pig at slaughter. Still, she hadn’t been prepared to hear her boss’s screeching quite so soon.

Guest Post - The Catnapped Lover by Rue Allyn

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Hero Bio: Adam Talcott was born rich. He went into business with his best friend from college and made even more millions. His methods may be unorthodox, but he nearly always succeeds. Now he’s been challenged to live for two months without any of the privileges and resources he’s known all his life. Adam is confident that he can conquer this challenge as he has all others. But he didn’t count on Dierdre Clancy and that danged cat.

Heroine Bio: Dierdre Clancy grew up in a family of givers. Her parents were missionaries and often too busy saving other, less privileged people to realize how lonely and abandoned Dierdre felt. When she reached her teen years, she was shipped back to the USA to live with her Aunt Shea on Shea’s rundown farm and animal shelter. Finally, she was in a stable environment with an adult she could count on. Dierdre went on to gain a degree in social work and took up the Clancy family tradition of helping others. Most of the time helping others was easy. But Adam Talcott broke that mold and every other box she tried to put him into. How could one man be so difficult to manage?

About the author

Guest Post - The Catnapped Lover by Rue Allyn

Hi, I’m Rue Allyn, I write heart-melting romance novels. Books about characters and adventures in which love triumphs at the darkest moment. The kind of hopeful, steal-your-breath romance that melts a reader’s heart. The type of book I like to read. Hope you will too.

RAmblin’ Notes from the author — Time Travel Possible, No Machine Required

Yes, time travel is possible. How? Read a book. The old-fashioned kind of book, made from paper, isn’t technically a machine, so no Time Machine is required. However, for purists, we have computers, tablets, cell-phones, dedicated reading devices and a whole host of other machines that can transport you back in time via the printed page (or screen if you prefer).
Now some may protest that reading about the past is not traveling there. I won’t argue. For me, reading about the past or stories set in the past is a transportive experience. Lately, I’ve been transported to Wyoming territory in the year 1875. Much was going on at that time. The Lakota nation was fighting for its rights to its holy lands and hunting grounds. Gold had been discovered in the Black Hills–smack in the middle of those holy lands. Settlers were pushing westward at the urging of the Union Pacific railroad.
The railroad needed passengers, and it held rights to land along the path of the railway. Land that the railway owners hoped to sell to settlers at a huge profit. If all of that wasn’t enough fights were brewing not just among the Lakota and the settlers but between cattlemen, sheep owners, and farmers. Stagecoach and railway robberies were commonplace and towns sprang up to provide services to the far-flung ranches, farms, and mines
Use that marvelous time machine, the internet, and drill down a layer or three on any one of these topics and you find time travel gold. Be present at the skirmishes that led to the Battle of Little Big Horn and later to the tragedy at Wounded Knee. Get shaken to the bone on a runaway stagecoach as it flees road agents who to steal everything on board, including your own personal treasures. Follow Ferdinand V. Hayden (surveyor), William Henry Jackson (Photographer), and Thomas Moran (artist) and their party as they survey what is now Yellowstone National Park. They “compiled a comprehensive report, including large-format photographs Guest Post - The Catnapped Lover by Rue Allynby William Henry Jackson and paintings by Thomas Moran. The report helped to convince the U.S. Congress to withdraw this region from public auction,” and by 1872 President U. S. Grant signed The Act of Dedication law that created Yellowstone National Park. Jackson’s photographs were of particular interest to me even though I’d visited the park in person twice.
My most recent time travels took me to the trail from Laramie to Devil’s Tower. I caught a ride with a muleskinner who was making deliveries from the railhead at Laramie to outlying ranches. This particular skinner had a good relationship with the Lakota, respected their lands and would trade with them honestly. No cheating, no shoddy goods, no spoiled stores. The skinner had earned the trust of the Lakota bands that lived in the area of Devil’s Tower. That was a feat few settlers could manage, simply because prejudice and ignorance took precedence over common sense and courtesy.
Guest Post - The Catnapped Lover by Rue AllynSadly my mule skinner didn’t spend long with any one group, so I didn’t learn much about the Lakota other than that they were folks with the same kinds of worries, hopes, and dreams that most folks have. I did learn quite a bit about the low-lives taking advantage of not just the Lakota but every person who gave trust too easily. That’s how I discovered that my mule skinner–a major character in my current work in progress–falls victim to the machinations of a villain who is actually trying to increase tensions between the Lakota and the settlers. That villain figures that he can get land at very cheap prices if the area is deemed unsafe. Then he can have the army clear the Lakota off their lands and lay claim to those too.
All of this, we normally call research, is what I call time travel. The great thing is that anyone can do it. So the next time you go online or pick up a book ask yourself not what you want to know, but instead, when you want to be. Please leave a comment and share some of your time travel experiences.

 

Freebie~~Get a FREE download of Rue Allyn’s May 2019 release Forever Hold My Heart, a Scottish historical novella. Just sign up for her newsletter here https://www.rueallyn.com/ravonsubscribe/.

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Writing Updates

"Better Endings"

Writing updates and the latest news

Updates in my world of writing

Hi everyone its time for some updates and fill you in on what’s going on in my world of writing. As you may have noticed I’m sending out a newsletter less frequently. Instead of being weekly, it will now be monthly. If I have a book released or a sale which I think you can’t resist I will notify you in a bonus newsletter.

Why the cutbacks in my newsletter?

The simplest answer is because it takes away valuable writing time from my books. Currently, I’m working on three different titles, all of which I hope to have released by  November. In order to achieve that goal, I need to use what valuable time I have when I’m not working and use it wisely.

Works in progress

Here is a little insight on each title and what current stage it is in.

BETTER ENDINGS

This is the sequel to RECKLESS BEGINNINGS also know as BOOK TWO IN THE TAMMY MELLOWS SERIES. Let me tell you, I’m super excited about this book. The first draft is finished and I had so much fun writing it. I laughed out loud during some chapters and cried in others.  The synopsis has been written, edited and finalized. I’ll be sharing it with you soon. As  I’m writing this the cover is being designed and I can’t wait to see the first draft.

Beginning the first week of August I will be spending the month cleaning up the manuscript before it goes to the editor sometime in September. I tried to book her sooner but she was booked 3 months out. That’s how good she is. I have no problem waiting for my slot. She worked on RECKLESS BEGINNINGS and did a brilliant job. She knows my characters and my style of writing. Let me tell you, she’s well worth the wait. I’m hoping to have the book released sometime in November. If I can make it happen sooner, trust me I will

SLATER

This is a new series I’ve been working on. It’s a contemporary romance with some sizzle. SLATER is the first book in The SABELA series. I’m excited to announce this book is complete. Editing is done, the cover is finished. It looks amazing by the way and soon I will be doing a cover reveal.

EVE

This is the second book in the SABELA SERIES. In this book, you will discover that some of the characters you met in the first book have some surprising secrets.  The first draft is finished and starting Monday I will spend the next few weeks cleaning it up before it goes off to the editor. The cover design will begin on July 14th. The synopsis still has to be written and I’ll be working with my editor next week on that. For me, this is the hardest part of writing a book.

Other News

I recently started a Facebook group and would love for you to join. I host giveaways, mingle and chat with the readers. Soon I plan on doing monthly video chats where members can ask me anything. Click the banner to request to join.

I hope you are all enjoying your summer and don’t forget for a limited time RECKLESS BEGINNINGS is available for free in Kindle Unlimited or you can buy the ebook edition for just $1.99.

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Book Review – Look me in the eye, my life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison

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Book Review – Look me in the eye, my life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison& Bonus Questions for Your Book Club

My book club read this last month – as always, I like to share our review with you 🙂

About the Author

John Elder Robison grew up in the sixties before the Asperger diagnosis came into common use. After dropping out of high school, John worked in the music business where he created sound effects and electronic devices, including the signature illuminated, smoking, and rocket firing guitars he built for KISS. Later John worked on some of the first video games and talking toys at Milton Bradley. After a ten year career in electronics, John founded Robison Service, a specialty automobile company in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Today in addition to running the car company, John is the Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence at the College of William & Mary, and advisor to the neurodiversity program at Landmark College. He is a member of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee which makes the Strategic Plan for Autism for the US government.

In addition to his autism advocacy work, John is a lifelong car enthusiast, an avid hiker, a photographer, a music lover, and a world-class champion eater. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

The Synopsis of the Book

Ever since he was young, John Robison longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits – an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes (and stick younger brother, Augusten Burroughs, in them) – had earned him the label “social deviant.” It was not until he was forty that he was diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. That understanding transformed the way he saw himself – and the world. A born storyteller, Robison has written a moving, darkly funny memoir about a life that has taken him from developing exploding guitars for KISS to building a family of his own. It’s a strange, sly, indelible account – sometimes alien yet always deeply human.

Our Review

Book Review - Look me in the eye, my life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison

This was a well written and at times a funny book that we all enjoyed immensely.  For some, like myself it was an eye-opener. I knew nothing about Aspergers and the author did a fantastic job of bringing me into his world.  For others, it was a book they could relate to because of family members that have Aspergers. They said he was spot on with all the struggles he experienced during his childhood.

The most fascinating part of the book was reading about what he has achieved in his life. He didn’t look at his condition as a failure but as an asset. He has accomplished so much including having a family and this brings hopes to others suffering from Aspergers’ I think it’s a wonderful message that will help many families.

It’s a story that is beautifully written, easy to read with no fluff. The author tells you exactly how it is and you can feel it through his writing.

Our Overall Rating

Our rating Look me in the eye, my life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison

COVER DESIGN – 5 STARS – Like his writing, his cover is spot on and grabs your attention. 

CHARACTERIZATION – 5 STARS – Being memoir he did a great job describing all his characteristics from childhood to adulthood.

STORY & PLOT 4 STARS – Even though everyone loved this book some felt a five star was too generous

OVERALL RATING – 4 STARS – Overall we gave this book 4 stars and highly recommend it.

Questions to ask at your book club

Questions-Book Review - Look me in the eye, my life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison

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

Book club discussion – Look Me In The Eye

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Did you know I now have a Facebook Readers’ Group?

It’s a place where you can interact with other readers that are following me. I host weekly giveaways, do live video chats and talk about on-going projects.

You can join by clicking on the link below.

Read More Books – Tina Hogan Grant – Readers’ Group

 

 

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How To Get ARC Copies Of Books From Your Favorite Authors

How To Get ARC Copies Of Books From Your Favorite Authors

I often hear readers asking how can they obtain ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) of authors books? You might be surprised that it’s not that difficult to do and I thought I would give you some tips on how to obtain them.

What is an ARC?

Arc is an abbreviation for Advanced Reader’s Copy. It is a pre-released copy given to certain people to read before publication day. The book may be in print copy or ebook format. It is required when you receive an ARC copy that you leave a review on one if not all of the major platforms – Amazon and Goodreads for example.

Sign up for newsletters

If your favorite author has a newsletter or blog, I highly recommend you sign up for it or follow their blog. This will be one of the places they will announce that they are seeking ARC readers or they may have a giveaway that you could enter.

Sign up for my newsletter

Follow the authors on their social media accounts

How To Get ARC Copies Of Books From Your Favorite Authors

Most authors have at least one social media account. The most popular being Facebook. It’s another place where authors will promote their books and seek ARC readers or host giveaway. Many of the authors on Facebook have readers groups – be sure to join those too.  Other accounts to look into are Instagram, Twitter, and Goodreads. (Goodreads is a great place to get ARCs.

Here are my social media accounts

Contact the publisher

If you are a book blogger and do reviews you might want to try and contact the publisher directly and request an ARC copy. Keep in mind you will stand a better chance if your blog is at least six months old and you have at least five hundred followers.

Net Gallery

Net Galley is a huge library of electronic ARC books where many can sign up to read books before they are published. It is required, that you leave a review. You can request books and the site will notify you if you have been picked.  It’s free for readers to use. Authors have to pay a membership fee. In order to request a book from Net Gallery, you must meet certain requirements which you can read about here.

Goodreads

On the Goodreads site, you can follow your favorite author, ask them questions and be notified when they hold a giveaway for ARC copies. Many authors use this site for promotional purposes prior to a book launch to spread the word and giveaways are extremely popular.  Your chances of winning an ARC book is pretty good.

Library Thing

This site posts a monthly list of  ARC books available for review. I’m not sure how the program works but I’ve heard good things about it. More information is available here. 

Here is my Library Thing profile https://www.librarything.com/profile/tinahogangrant

If you know of any other methods of getting ARC copies, let me know and I’ll add it to the list.

Final Word

Did you know Reckless Beginnings is now available on Kindle Unlimited?  – You can read for free in the program or buy for $1.99 Click on the image to order your copy and start reading today.

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Book Review-The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Book Review - The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
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Book Review-The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris & Bonus Questions for Your Book Club

About the Author

Heather Morris is a native of New Zealand, now resident in Australia. For several years, while working in a large public hospital in Melbourne, she studied and wrote screenplays, one of which was optioned by an Academy Award-winning screenwriter in the US. In 2003, Heather was introduced to an elderly gentleman who had a story to tell. The day she met Lale Sokolov changed both their lives. Their friendship grew and Lale embarked on a journey of self-scrutiny, entrusting the innermost details of his life during the Holocaust to her. Heather originally wrote Lale’s story as a screenplay-which ranked high in international competitions before reshaping it into her debut novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

The Synopsis of the Book

April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tatowiere (The German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism-but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

A vivid, harrowing and ultimately hopeful re0creation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament tot he endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.

Our Review

Our review - Book Review - The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Many of us are aware of the horrific events that took place at Auschwitz, and for that sole reason, most of us were leery about reading this book. We feared that it was going to be gruesome and depressing. Let me tell you, even though the subject matter is heart-wrenching, the story focuses on the bravery of these prisoners and is uplifting. This was a beautiful, well-written story that gently touched the horrors of Auschwitz. The subject matter was handled delicately, allowing the reader to let the story go as deep as they wanted it to.

It is a love story that takes place amongst the darkest times of two peoples lives, whose main objective is survival. Every day they managed to find something to be thankful for and found goodness in the bad. The bravery these prisoners portrayed and survived to tell their stories is superior. Trust me when I say, We have nothing to complain about.

This is a story that will stay with you for a long time. We should continue to write these kinds of stories to remind us of the sacrifices that were made and to never allow this to happen again. It is the perfect book to introduce high school students to their ancestor’s history and what they endured without horrific descriptions.

After reading this book, I can guarantee, you will probably take a look at your own life and realize that all those things that bother you on a daily basis will suddenly seem so trivial. Be thankful for what you have.

Our Overall Rating

Our rating-Book Review - The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

COVER DESIGN – 5 STARS – A beautiful well-designed cover, with soft colors that immediately tells you it’s historical fiction.

CHARACTERIZATION – 5 STARS – The characters were believable and well developed  

STORY & PLOT 4 STARS – A few members questioned the accuracy of some facts mentioned in the book 

OVERALL RATING – 4 STARS – Overall we gave this book 4 stars and highly recommend it.

Questions to ask at your book club

Questions-Book Review - The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

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

Book Club Discussion – The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Other Articles You May Enjoy

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Writing progress-Book Review - The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
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Order your copy of Reckless Beginnings – Now available in Kindle Unlimited.

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A day in my Life

Podcasts For Readers & Writers That Keep me in my Car

Podcasts For Readers & Writers That Keep me in my Car

Discovering The Joy Of Podcasts

Podcasts For Readers & Writers That Keep me in my Car

Before I wrote my debut novel Reckless Beginnings I never paid much attention to podcasts. I never researched the different types and had no idea there was such a vast library of them. and how much I was missing. You can find a podcast on practically any topic. I didn’t discover this until I was trying to think of ways to promote my book and someone mentioned I should try podcasts. Well, I’ve never looked back since. I can’t remember the last time I listened to the radio or music in my car. No matter what I’m in the mood for, there is always a suitable podcast. I listen to writing tips, advice for self-publishers, marketing tips and when I just want to relax and listen to a good story, there are plenty of podcasts I can choose from. These podcasts are so good that I find myself not wanting to get out of the car when I’ve reached my destination. I want to keep listening and have at times driven around the block so I can hear the rest of the show. If you’ve never listened to a podcast, get on board and browse topics that interest you. I can guarantee you will find something that captivates you.

What Do I Listen To?

Podcasts For Readers & Writers That Keep me in my Car

My first experience with podcasts was when I was a guest talking about my book and was blown away that I could listen to the show anywhere any time. Even in my car! Well, I was hooked. It was after my first podcast interview, that I began reaching out to more in the hopes of appearing on them. During my research, I began my own personal library.  The only time I can listen to them is in my car, so now I can’t wait to get in my car and go someplace. I’m ecstatic that I can combine, what use to be a boring drive listening to the same old music into a commute that is now a time to listen and learn. I have a huge library but there are a few that I listen to every week, never missing a show and I’ve put together a list of my favorites that I think you may enjoy. Some I have appeared as a guest on a few of them and have now become a frequent listener. If you can recommend any that I’ve not mentioned please let me know.

Podcasts For Writing tips And Style

Podcasts For Readers & Writers That Keep me in my Car

Helping Writers Become Authors Podcast

Created by best selling author K.M Weiland, this podcast has over four-hundred-fifty episodes. No matter what part of your writing you are looking to improve on, Weiland has probably spoken about it on one of her episodes. in great detail that is easy to understand and follow.

Periodically I find myself frustrated with my writing. It’s not flowing as it should. Often I have problems with characterization and making my character believable. She helps with storylines and plots and so much more. This is by far my podcast of choice when it comes to writing tips.

Creative Writers’ Toolset Podcast

This podcast is a wealth of information for any writer wanting to improve their skills and knowledge when it comes to writing.  There are currently over one-hundred-thirty episodes. They give great examples to apply to your work and occasionally they will have interviews with writers and authors who share their experiences and techniques.  These segments I really enjoy.

Grammar Girl Podcast 

Oh, How I hate the English language sometimes. Grammar Girl aka as Mignon Fogarty has come to my rescue on many occasions. Each episode is short, (roughly ten minutes) but what I like about this show is that its fun, comical at times and the host has a great personality and is at most times, a bit quirky. She offers great tips on all aspects of grammar, occasionally has guests and takes the guesswork out of English language, that at times can be a challenge.

Podcasts for Self Publishing Authors.

Podcasts For Readers & Writers That Keep me in my Car

The Self-Publishing Show

Out of all the podcasts, I listen to, this by far is my favorite.  Hosted by Bestselling indie author, Mark Dawson, and Author in training, James Blatch, it’s a show I look forward to every week. Each episode averages about one hour and it’s crammed with a wealth of information for thriving authors. Every show has a guest author and I love hearing their stories about the mistakes they have made and also their successes. Anything to do with self-publishing this podcast covers it, from; writing your manuscript, editing, cover design, uploading, Amazon, Kindle, marketing and advertising. The list is endless. I highly recommend this podcast to anyone who is just starting out in the author-industry.

The Sell More Book Show

This is another favorite of mine that I listen to every week. Hosted by marketing expert, Jim KuKral, and author/speaker, Brian Cohan. The show focuses on self-publishing for new authors but also talks about the latest news in the book industry. They focus a lot on Amazon and  KDP select, especially when it comes to using Amazon ads. If you are considering using KDP or KU for your book, you will find this show extremely helpful.

Smarty Pants Book Marketing Podcast

Becca Syme, the mother, and a bestselling Indie author co-host this show with her daughter who is also an author, Chris Syme. They take the guesswork out of marketing books and simplify the whole process with useful tips, easy to follow instructions and sharing their experiences. They offer online courses, webinars and some great books they have written on the subject.

Storytelling Podcasts

Podcasts For Readers & Writers That Keep me in my Car

Sometimes I just want to turn off my brain and just listen to a story. These are a few of my favorites, that allows me to do just that.

The Moth

Since launching in 1997 The Moth has presented thousands of true stories, that are told live and without notes to a room full of strangers. What I like about this podcast is that the stories are told from the heart. Some are comical. Others are heart-wrenching but they are all original and sincere and that’s what makes it stand out from the rest.

This American Life

This podcast has been around since 1995 and there are hundreds of episodes to dive into. Each week a different theme is picked for the show and based upon what has been chosen, stories are told that are based on true events. The range of topics is tremendous and come from around the world.

Beautiful Stories From Annonymous People

I love the twist to this podcast. 1 phone call. 1 hour. No names. No holds barred. That’s the premise behind Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People, hosted by comedian Chris Gethard (the Chris Gethard Show, Broad City, This American Life, and one of Time Out’s “10 best comedians of 2015”). Every week, Chris opens the phone line to one anonymous caller, and he can’t hang up first, no matter what. From shocking confessions and family secrets to philosophical discussions and shameless self-promotion, anything can and will happen!  A truly entertaining podcast.

Other News

It was an honor to be a featured author on Fat Jacks Coffee! Check out the article by clicking the link below.

https://fatjackscoffee.com/tina-hogan-grant-author/

Reckless Beginnings is on sale!

Amazon currently has the paperback edition of Reckless Beginnings on sale for  $8.81. That’s 44% off the cover price. I’m not sure how long the sale will last, so if you haven’t picked up your copy yet, now is a good time. Click on the image below to purchase from Amazon

Podcasts For Readers & Writers That Keep me in my Car
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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
Buy the Book from Amazon

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

Other Articles You May Enjoy

Writing progress – what I’ve been working on

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Order your copy of Reckless Beginnings

Book Review The Wife Between Us