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Monday, December 11, 2017

What Alice Forgot | Liane Moriarty

But maybe every life looked wonderful if all you saw was the photo albums.”

Genre: Chick Lit.
Number of Pages: 466.
Perspective: Third.
Location: Australia.

One day Alice faints during her workout and forgets the last ten years of her life. She has to reconcile what she envisioned for her 39-year-old self and what she has actually become. For a complete summary, you can go here.

I have loved all of Moriarty’s books so far, but this one was a little harder for me to get into. It was very different from her other books; it did have some mystery to it, but it was not a true mystery like her other books. It was nice to see a different format—this was one of her earlier books, so it makes sense that it diverges from her most successful books.  I liked it, but it was my least favorite of all of her books. However, like her other books, it does cover deep subjects, but always with a lighter and more humorous feel than most contemporary fiction.

The first half of the book was slow, but the second half did make up for it. I know this was written before unreliable narrators became a fad, but I still am over that being used as the main reason for mystery. I just want to scream at these books: why can’t someone just tell them the whole truth and not skirt around it for an entire book until they remember!?!

But Moriarty is one of the best at character building. You really feel like you know the main characters very well. Sometimes it can slow down the plot, like this book, but it still was very enjoyable and I would still recommend it. This book really makes you reflect and ask yourself if you ended up where were you hoping to at this point in your life. I will happily add this to my bookshelf next to Big Little Lies, The Husband’s Secret, and Truly Madly Guilty. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think! 

“Early love is exciting and exhilarating. It's light and bubbly. Anyone can love like that.”

3/5 Stars

Sunday, December 10, 2017

In a Dark, Dark Wood | Ruth Ware

I always thought that being self-sufficient was a strength, but now I realize it’s a kind of weakness, too.”

Genre: Thriller/Mystery.
Number of Pages: 352.
Perspective: First.
Location: England.

This book is about Nora, a solitary writer who gets invited to a long-lost friend’s bachelorette party in a remote cabin. She is forced to face the events of her past that she has run away from for the last ten years. For a complete summary, you can go here.

I was drawn to this book because it reminds me of my favorite story as a child:

In a dark, dark wood there was a dark, dark house.
And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room.
And in the dark, dark room there was a dark, dark chest.
And in the dark, dark chest there was a dark, dark shelf.
And on the dark, dark shelf there was a dark, dark box.
And in the dark, dark box there was… A GHOST!

The story does take place in a house in a dark wood, but it does not have to do with anything in a dark box, unless you are talking about metaphorical ghosts. I was intrigued by the story and it grasped me from the beginning. Similarly to Ware’s other book The Woman in Cabin 10, this book starts off with a good build-up, but the ending leaves something to be desired. It also seemed like an unnecessarily long time for the reveal due to [another] unreliable narrator. That trope is feeling overused in modern thrillers. However, I did like this one much better than The Woman in Cabin 10.

The book definitely was creepy, and worth reading. There are just some holes in the story--some actions and motives didn’t quite add up. When you are reading a mystery book, you expect to have either red herrings or clues, but not facts that don’t make sense. 

Overall, I recommend this book. It’ll make you not want to go to the woods for a while, so it is perfect for Halloween time. It would be a great book for a book club so you can discuss some of the plot points and figure out some of the author’s purposes. There is also a great list of questions at the end of the book that would be perfect for a discussion. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think! 


“There was something strangely naked about it, like we were on a stage set, playing our parts to an audience of eyes out there in the wood.”

4/5 Stars 

Monday, November 27, 2017

11 Book Promotion Ideas for Writers

This is a guest post by Heather Weidner.

Thank you so much for letting me stop by and share my thoughts on book marketing. Writers are always looking for ways to promote their books. You need ways to create a buzz about your book. Here's my list of some ideas.

1. Newsletter Swap 
Find another author who has a newsletter and readers similar to yours. You create a newsletter that she sends out, and then you do the same for her. Each group of readers get introduced to a new writer.

2. Guest Blog 
Find other authors/book bloggers who will let you do a guest post or an interview on their site. 

3. Twitter Party/Chat 
Host a Twitter Party or Chat. It's usually better if you can recruit several authors to help. Talk about your books and writing and have small giveaways.

4. Facebook Takeover 
Find an author who will let you take over her Facebook site for a promotion. Promote the event. Then on the day of the takeover, chat with readers and offer small giveaways. Usually, these are done for several hours. 

5. Facebook Party 
Host a Facebook Party on your author site. Talk about your writing projects, chat with readers, and do some contents/giveaways. It's usually better to start a new post for each different topic. 

6. Facebook Hop 
This is a scheduled event (usually over several days). When you organize one, you recruit authors who will participate and give away a prize. The organizer lines up all the participants, provides the promotional information, and the links. Each stop on the hop is linked to the next one. (All links have to work, or the hop stops.) It takes a little bit of time and energy (and patience) to organize one, but it's a way for all the authors to gain new readers and followers. 

7. Early Reader Groups 
Offer street team/early reader group membership to super-fans. You can create a private group on Facebook for notifications. You need to keep your team energized.

8. Your Email List 
You own your mailing list. Build your list. Take a clipboard for signups to EVERY event. Add a signup button to your Facebook page for your newsletter.

9. Write Your Next Book 
Your back catalog helps sell your current book and vice versa.

10. Author Pages 
Make sure you have an author page on Amazon and BookBub.

11. Look for Book Clubs 
Book clubs are the new book tour. Add a link to your web page for readers and book clubs. Let them know you'll visit or Skype with book clubs.

Author Biography:

Heather Weidner’s short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series and 50 Shades of Cabernet. She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, and James River Writers. The Tulip Shirt Murders is her second novel in her Delanie Fitzgerald series.
Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers. 
Heather earned her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan College and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. She blogs regularly with the Pens, Paws, and Claws authors.

Synopsis for The Tulip Shirt Murders:

Private investigator Delanie Fitzgerald, and her computer hacker partner, Duncan Reynolds, are back for more sleuthing in The Tulip Shirt Murders. When a local music producer hires the duo to find out who is bootlegging his artists’ CDs, Delanie uncovers more than just copyright thieves. And if chasing bootleggers isn’t bad enough, local strip club owner and resident sleaze, Chaz Smith, pops back into Delanie’s life with more requests. The police have their man in a gruesome murder, but the loud-mouthed strip club owner thinks there is more to the open and shut case. Delanie and Duncan link a series of killings with no common threads. And they must put the rest of the missing pieces together before someone else is murdered. 
The Tulip Shirt Murders is a fast-paced mystery that appeals to readers who like a strong female sleuth with a knack for getting herself in and out of humorous situations such as larping and trading elbow jabs with roller derby queens.

Contact Information:

Book Links:

Check out Heather's other guest post: 10 Things Writers Need to Know

Friday, November 10, 2017

El Deafo | Cece Bell

And being different? That turned out to the best part of all. I found that with a little creativity, and a lot of dedication, any difference can be turned into something amazing. Our differences are our superpowers.”

Genre: Middle Grade Graphic Novel/Memoir.
Number of Pages: 233.
Perspective: First.
Location: Virginia.

This graphic novel follows the author throughout her time as a young girl in the 1970s and her experiences losing her hearing from meningitis at the age of four. She learns how to make friends and accept herself. For a complete summary, you can go here.

This was a beautiful story about someone who copes with becoming deaf. I took an American Sign Language course in college and we talked a lot about the deaf culture; it was interesting to learn about some of the daily challenges that someone who is deaf faces. This book explains those challenges in a way that children can understand and relate to. We have come a long way with accessibility since the 70s, but we all could use a reminder about acceptance and how to be accommodating to people with disabilities. [Note: not all deaf people consider being deaf a disability]. 

The comics were colorful and lovely. I think this book would be perfect for someone in middle school, even though the main character is in elementary school. There are some cultural things from the 70s, such as teachers smoking cigarettes at school, that may be shocking for some parents to see in a children’s comic book. But I think all children will find something in the story that they can relate to. 

I think both children and adults will love this story. I think it would be a great book for a parent and child to read together and discuss. I even gave this book my Best Book Award! If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think! 

“Oh, why do I even care what other people think?”

Friday, November 3, 2017

Looking for Alaska | John Green

At some point, you just pull off the Band-Aid, and it hurts, but then it's over and you're relieved.”

Genre: Young Adult.
Number of Pages: 221.
Perspective: First.
Location: Alabama.

This book follows Miles as he starts high school at a boarding school. He makes a group of friends, including the mysterious Alaska. The book is separated into before Alaska and after. For a complete summary, you can go here.

This was a quick read and I did really enjoy it. I think I would have liked this a lot more if it was the first John Green book I read. However, I loved The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns. To me, this one was not as original and exciting. It was a coming-of-age story and the boarding school format allowed for a lot of freedom for the teenagers to basically do whatever they wanted with little adult supervision (which of course leads to exciting storylines). 

It’s a fun friendship adventure with a little bit of mystery. I have to admit, the ending did not feel like 100% closure to me, and that always leaves me unsettled when finishing a book. However, I definitely recommend it to anyone. I think it is great when popular young adult fiction is written from a male perspective; it seems much harder to find. This review is getting me excited to read Green’s newest book: Turtles all the Way Down! I’ll have that review posted soon. If you are interested in buying Looking for Alaska, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think! 

“If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.”

4/5 Stars