Hello everyone. Happy Tuesday. Today, I’m posting a book review from an ARC read via NetGalley.
Thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for this Advanced Review Copy.
I had looked forward to reading this book, given that I love a good murder mystery. Sad to say, it just didn't deliver.
The story is translated from Swedish and focuses on family relationships. It starts from the father's point of view, and I found him difficult to connect with. He wasn't a sympathetic or dynamic character at all. Even when the narrative moved on to the other characters, I didn't find myself gelling with any of them. Which meant, of course, that I didn't care what happened to them.
Furthermore, the tale is a long one with a lot of jumping backward and forward, sometimes clumsily. The formatting on the ARC is messy, interrupting the reading constantly. Add to that the many typos, and all in all, this book frustrated rather than thrilled. Consequently, this was a book I struggled to finish.
This read isn't my cup of tea, although the book has a great premise, and the idea of experiencing your daughter--an only child--getting charged with murder and appearing in court is one that had me gripped and full of anticipation.
NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.
5 STARS: IT WAS AMAZING! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! — Highly Recommended.
4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.
Hello everyone. Today is Stock Photo Challenge day over on Don Massenzio’s blog. You can find that post HERE.
Write a story, poem or other type of prose of 100 words or less and post it on your blog.
If you leave the link for your blog post in the comments of Don’s post, he will share it on his blog.
Here’s my short story in exactly 100 words …
Three’s a Crowd
The waves lap at the pristine shore of an island thousands
of miles from any mainland. My guitar washed up last week, and despite the
hammering the salt waves and blazing sun gave it, a little tuning has it
sounding lovely. But then, after you’ve been alone for a month, any other voice
but your own is bound to sound good.
In the distance, I spy a hand-carved log boat. Manned by
three men and oars, it takes a while to reach me. They land upwind of me. The
stench reaches me before they do.
Hello everyone. Today, I wanted to share my journey with you on writing my latest novel, which will be finished soon. (After my big day, when I’ll be a married author, lol, but not too long after.)
For a while, I fell into a rut and struggled to finish anything I started. I needed help. Until now, I’ve always been a die-hard pantser. I tried a full outline process once, and I hated it. But then I came across an awesome teacher who offers online classes.
Quite honestly, she has turned my writing life around.
Her approach offers the best of both worlds: pantsing and planning. The way I see it, the class on How to Write a Novel shows a fantastic middle way, and it has lots of creative tools to tempt your muse.
Holly offers a range of classes, which start from FREE to affordable to more advanced. For the pricier classes, Holly offers a zero-interest payment plan.
I started trying to revamp my writing by taking the FREE class on How to Write Flash Fiction that doesn’t Suck. It gave me a hell of a kick start.
And still, my confidence for tackling another full-on novel lacked something. That rut turned out to be a deep one. So I took the plunge and went for the brand new class on How to Write a Novel. This is a planned 38 week class with bonuses added in. It covers everything you could need to get started writing and keeping going right through to the end.
I’ve learned how to use the artefact method to generate a great novel idea. I’ve learned how to get going and keep on going, even through the middle which can get messy. This course has taught me (an old-hand at writing) so much. It’s brilliant for both complete beginners and seasoned writers alike. Because the early-bird price is being relaunched from today, 10 am ET until 10 pm ET on April 8th only, I wanted to share with you how helpful I have found it … just in case.
Here are the lessons in brief:
Developing Novel-sized ideas
Concept testing–planning before writing
How to make your characters novel worthy
Conflict: How to grab readers and not let go
Writing the killer first page
The next scene and going deep into ‘show don’t tell’
How to work inside novel structures
Getting words on the page: building your daily process
Genre: What HAS to be there
Basic technique: Pacing the plot–building and maintaining suspense
Dialogue: fixing talking heads and other conversational disasters
Avoiding the too much research swamp
Writing good descriptions
A guide to transition scenes
All about theme and subtext
Building your novel’s RIGHT voice and tone
How to figure out ‘what happens next’
Twists: Building hidden, revealed, and other core plot developments
Story Fitting: having enough good stuff
Getting your character into GOOD corners
Getting your character OUT of good corners
Writing Tight: story middles at novel length
Identifying, pacing, tracking, and resolving story arcs
Protect your novel from wrong directions
What to do if you have veered off course
Fixing broken plots BEFORE you hit ‘the end’
Thin prose and fat prose
The series tempation: Keeping the story inside one book
The story that’s bigger than your writing skills
Knowing when and how to cut and simplify during First Draft
Getting this novel done despite fear, doubt, and distraction
Big book, or story and sequel?
Unsticking stuck stories
Following through on theme, allegory, and passion
Finishing the novel: endings with multiple antagonists and multiple climaxes
Finding or building (and recognising) your RIGHT ending
Bringing it all home: Story, characters, world, and promise
BONUS ONE: Streamlining the whole class for future novels
BONUS TWO: To Be Announced
As if all this isn’t enough, as a ‘big class’ member, you get an automatic 20% discount on any future purchases you make via the shop.
The class forum is the friendliest and most supportive place for writers that I’ve come across. And Holly Lisle is very active on there answering all your questions and, where needed, offering pointers.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you’re interested in this class, this is your LAST CHANCE to grab this awesome course at its super early-bird price. After 10pm ET on April 8th, it will go up and stay up. Right now is the cheapest you will EVER be able to buy this class.
A note from Holly on her pricing structure:
” EARLY-BIRD means I’m still building the the class, and my earliest students are getting their lessons the day after I write them. I have eight lessons and two bonuses yet to build — and the lessons are in rough first draft. This is the reason for the first discount.
SPLINTERS means that because I’m writing one lesson a week and just one week ahead of a live class, I’m working FAST. So there are typos, places where I was a bit unclear and had to explain things more fully in forum posts, and places where I missed things students needed to know. This is the reason for the second discount.
My current students are keeping track of the errors they find on the forum and asking me questions about places where I was unclear, and I’m answering them live. These corrections, questions, and answers will be included as parts of each lesson in the final version of the class.”
“But that fact ALSO means that there will be TWO price increases in the future. The first when I wrap the EARLY BIRD and have all the lessons and both bonuses built in first draft. The second when I finish the revision.
These price increases will be significant.“
” Folks who’ve been with me a while know that I support my classes, upgrade them, add to them, debug them. And when I finish an upgrade or update, I raise the price.
That’s important because this class is currently in both its EARLY-BIRD and its SPLINTERS version.”
This is the LAST early-bird. The LAST discount that will be offered.
New from Mary L Schmidt, ‘Sammy Hero At Age Five’ tells her son’s story of his fight with cancer, as in Mary’s ‘When Angels Fly’, but this time from Sammy’s point of view. Available now.
About the book:
“Kids can get hungry sometimes while on chemo,” says five-year-old Sammy, having a good day despite the malignant tumor invading his brain. Based on true events from the 1980s, Sammy’s story is imagined by his mother and brother as if the young boy might tell it himself. The result is gripping. Told in two parts, Sammy’s account first invites us into the everyday middle-American lives of a mom and her two boys. Sammy is a sweet, good-hearted kid, even as he faces the most difficult challenges in Part 2: “Cancer Arrived.” Here Sammy talks us through hospital trips and procedures, the hardest parts as well as moments of simple joy. It is not always possible to survive such a grim diagnosis, so Sammy and his family must embrace the smaller victories from one day to the next. Finally, our young hero is given one last opportunity to find his own unique path toward triumph. Listen closely as Sammy tells us all what matters most.
“Written from the point of view of a five year old little boy… both funny and sad are moments that all children fighting cancer, their siblings, and their parents should read. The antics of Sam and his big brother, Gene, are funny and scary at times, but they are real—real-life events and situations. A must read!”
“All children who suffer from cancer and their families could benefit from, and relate to, this short story. Highly recommended and five stars all the way.”
“…will keep you captivated right along with Sammy as he unfolds his story about a horrific battle with cancer.”
“Sammy was a feisty little thing with a huge heart and desire to achieve his goals, and his relationship with Jesus was incredible for someone so little.”
“I highly recommend this book to families facing such trials. I know they would gather courage and inspiration along with an appreciation of life on earth and what awaits them in heaven with Jesus by reading Sammy’s story.”
“Sammy: Hero at Age Five is definitely an emotional roller coaster!”
“The photographs included throughout complete this five star read.”
“He was a hero since his conception.”
“Sammy: Hero at Age Five had me hooked from page one, and I found myself trying to put my own person into the shoes of a five year old boy who became a hero.”
M. Schmidt is a retired registered nurse who won many awardsin her career, a member of the Catholic Church, and has taught kindergarten Catechism. She has worked in various capacities for The American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Cub and Boy Scouts, (son Gene is an Eagle Scout), and sponsored trips for high-school children’s music. She loves all forms of art, but mostly focuses on the visual arts, such as amateur photography, traditional, and graphic art as her disabilities allow. More recently, she loves to devote precious time with her grandchildren and husband Michael. Contact her at ShaneGeneSamuel@gmail.com.
Gene D. Donley is a member of the Catholic Church, and hashelped his Mom with The American Cancer Society and March of Dimes. He is an Eagle Scout who earned all of his badges working up the ladder through Cub and Boy Scouts.