Book Review: A Nearly Normal Family

Hello everyone. Happy Tuesday. Today, I’m posting a book review from an ARC read via NetGalley.

A Nearly Normal Family by M T Edvardsson


1 Star

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.

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Story Empire (Co-authored)

Harmony’s Amazon Author Page

Twitter: @harmony_kent

LinkedIn: Harmony

Goodreads: Author Page

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The Series Premise

Ciao, amici. Last time, I gave you a rundown of what goes into a series bible. This time, we’re going to discuss the first item that goes in the bible—the series premise. A while ago, I…

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This Week in Indie Publishing

Independent writers are choosing their own paths to success Until recently, if you were a writer who had a novel or other work, there was essentially a single path to follow: you tried to find an a…

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Writing a Choose Your Own Adventure (With a Demo!)

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A Master’s Self Doubt

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Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links

I started this week with the best of intentions, then I was derailed almost immediately. But I’m determined to have a better week next week. It’ll be a busy one, for sure, yet I know it…

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Five for Friday: Books You Never Forget

Check out a great post on books that stay with you by Mae Clair over on Story Empire today 🙂

Hello, SEers, and welcome to another Five for Friday. For “Mae Day,” I want to trot out five books that greatly influenced my life as a writer. We all have them, right? Those books that left a last…

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Sneak Peek

Make-up trial for the big day!

Hi everyone. Today, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek from my wedding make-up trial yesterday. I love it. Shauna from Affina Beauty Salon in Liskeard really made my eyes pop!

Am getting so excited now. The big day is nearly here! I get my hair trial done on Friday, and my 2nd dress fitting on Saturday … it’s all happening 🙂

Watch this space for more wedding stuff, including a post on how to decorate wedding crutches!

Keep well, everyone, and have a lovely rest of your week.

____________________________________________________________________________

Story Empire (Co-authored)

Harmony’s Amazon Author Page

Twitter: @harmony_kent

LinkedIn: Harmony

Goodreads: Author Page

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Three’s a Crowd

Stock Photo Challenge

Hello everyone. Today is Stock Photo Challenge day over on Don Massenzio’s blog. You can find that post HERE.

The Rules:

  • 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.

Three men. Large knives. Cook-pot.

©Harmony Kent 2019

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Story Empire (Co-authored)

Harmony’s Amazon Author Page

Twitter: @harmony_kent

LinkedIn: Harmony

Goodreads: Author Page

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Free Story: A Twist of the Tail

*** Read Infinite Waters for free on Kindle Unlimited *** In April 2018, I posted my thousandth post on this blog. To celebrate, I started sharing here all my short stories. Every couple of weeks, …

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March Book Reviews, Part 2

Check out more great book reviews from Mae Clair on her blog today …

 

I’m back with part two of my reviews for books I read in March. If you missed part one, you can find it here. To read the blurbs and learn about each title below, click the Amazon link after …

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On Becoming a Writer (Part Two)

Check out this great post on becoming a writer (part 2) by Joan Hall over on Story Empire today …

Hey, SE Readers. Joan here today with the second part of my post On Becoming a Writer. If you haven’t read the first part, you can do so by clicking here. If you follow or read this blog, there is …

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#MondayMeme – #MondayBlogs

Great Monday Meme over on Marcia Meara’s blog … 🙂

A lot is happening around here at present–will fill you in on details in another post–so I’m keeping it short today. But I hope you’ll enjoy this one, anyway. I sure did, si…

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March Book Reviews, Part 1

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#bookreview Sue Coletta’s SILENT MAYHEM #suspense #novel #TuesdayBookBlog

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This Week in Indie Publishing

A great rundown on this week in Indie Publishing, via Don Massenzio’s blog …

Plagiarism, ‘book-stuffing’, clickfarms … the rotten side of self-publishing Scams are rife, particularly when some authors can rake in thousands each month – but high-profile victims of plag…

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How to Hone Your Elevator Pitch

Check out this great post on pitching your books by P H Solomon over on Story Empire today …

Me-me-me-me. Uh-hmmm. Since I’m warmed up, here’s my best singing demonstration. April fool’s joke, Story Empire readers, I’m not going to show off my singing pitch today (I…

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How to Write a Novel

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.

Holly Lisle.

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.

Next, I took an affordable 8-week class on How to Write Short Stories, and that gave me a whole other valuable writing tool-kit.

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.

___________________________________________________________________________

I hope you’ve found this useful. If you’re interested in any of Holly’s other classes, you’ll find some links to those on the side-bar. Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Writing! 🙂

___________________________________________________________________________

Story Empire (Co-authored)

Harmony’s Amazon Author Page

Twitter: @harmony_kent

LinkedIn: Harmony

Goodreads: Author Page

Advisory: this post contains affiliate links.

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Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links

Inspiration and resources over on Staci Troilo’s blog today …

Everything about this past week was insane. Site issues, blog schedule, writing goals, editing demands, family situations. So this quote by Terri Guillemets jumped out at me.

Source: Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links

Bonus Friday: Favorite Book

Our favourite books and why … over on Story Empire’s blog today 🙂

Hey, SEers! This is one of those months with five Fridays in it. That means today is a group post. The theme for today is Favorite Book Written and Why. We’re each going to tell you our perso…

Source: Bonus Friday: Favorite Book

Sammy: Hero At Age Five

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.

Amazon Link

Nook URL

Early Reviews:

“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.”

Bio: 

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.

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The Pilgrimage

Stock Photo Challenge

Hello everyone. Today is Stock Photo Challenge day over on Don Massenzio’s blog. You can find that post HERE.

The Rules:

  • 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.
Rare and full view of ancient ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru from high above. Cloudless.
Today’s photo …

Here’s my short story in exactly 100 words …

The Pilgrimage

They ate their sandwiches at the treeline. The sun shone fiercely. Ellen wiped her brow and sipped her water.

The group laughed at Ryan, who kept on about ancient aliens and this archaeological site. Mike, the quiet one, shook his head and spat in disgust. He came and sat by Ellen.

In a quiet voice, he pointed out the rows of gravestones in the lower section. Somebody had kept the grass trimmed. The graves neat.

‘That’s where I bury the bodies.’

Perplexed, her grief still raw, she stared.

He offered a gentle smile. ‘Would you like to visit your sister?’

©Harmony Kent 2019

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Free Transparent Logos and Images

Check out this great free PNG resource via Nicholas Rossis’s blog today …

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Nudging that magic along

Check out this great post by Craig Boyack over on Story Empire today, all about how to make your characters suffer …

Hi Gang, Craig with you again. You’ll hear authors talk pretty frequently about how their characters take over and improve the story beyond what they had outlined. When this happens its magical, an…

Source: Nudging that magic along

How to Create a Story Bible

Check out this great post on using a story bible for your writing by Staci Troilo over on Story Empire …

Ciao, amici. Lately, I’ve been in planning mode. I’m one book into a five-book series, and if you’ve ever written a series, you know there’s a lot to keep track of and a lot…

Source: How to Create a Story Bible

Guest Post – D.L.Finn – “Just Her Poetry Seasons of a Soul.”

Check out D. L. Finn’s new release over on John Howell’s blog today …

I am very pleased to welcome D.L.Finn to Fiction Favorites on this TGIF Friday. She is launching her first book of poetry and it is great to have her here to tell you about it. Thank you, John, for…

Source: Guest Post – D.L.Finn – “Just Her Poetry Seasons of a Soul.”

Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links

Check out this week’s writing links and some talk on good and bad writing days over on Staci Troilo’s blog …

 

Since I started a new project, I thought my quote of the week should reflect that. I struggled with which one to choose, then finally chose these wise words from Sylvia Plath.

Source: Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links

How Do Covers Become Covers?

Check out this great post on designing book covers by P. H. Solomon over on Story Empire …

 

Hello and happy Friday to all the Story Empire readers. P. H. Solomon here today with  our post about covers. Normally, one of us shares something about some covers we like and why. Today, I wanted…

Source: How Do Covers Become Covers?

Write Drunk Edit Sober Is Only Sound Idiomatic Advice

Was it Ernest Hemingway who said, write drunk edit sober? No one really knows, but the expression is now accepted as popular advice for many new writers.

Source: Write Drunk Edit Sober Is Only Sound Idiomatic Advice

As the Author World Turns on Amazon Book Review Policies

Why does Amazon remove reviews? … check out this post by Judith Briles …

By Judith BrilesAmazon: Love it … or hate it … but, you gotta deal with it.”Why are my reviews being removed?” is an ongoing question that authors ask. There isn’t a live program that I do t

Source: As the Author World Turns on Amazon Book Review Policies

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