Tag Archives: Book reviews

Books, writers & writing

Saturday was an interesting day, and now I get to relive a little of it with you.

Just before noon my husband and I treated his mom to an early Mother’s Day dinner at a restaurant we all like. Sunday would be busy so this was pleasant for all of us.

In response to my invitation to the 2:00 book launch of Laura Best‘s newest middle grade novel, Cammie Takes Flight, we parted company with Mom after dinner and my husband and I set off on the hour-or-so drive to the community hall hosting the event. Laura has tremendous support in her community, so, of course, the hall filled up with people before 2:00. She was busy signing MANY copies of her book before and after she read a chapter from it. The representative from her publisher, Nimbus Publishing, was very impressed. He is fairly new with Nimbus and had been warned he had to be well stocked with her books. I know his load was much lighter when he left.

At the launch I was delighted to be able to talk with Syr Ruus whose books I have reviewed: here, here, and here, and Jan Coates whose books I reviewed here, here, here, here and here. There are more to appear on my blog from both of these authors. I reviewed Laura’s first two books here and here, and I later will be reviewing Cammie Takes Flight.

As an introvert, to go to these things took much effort at first, but it’s getting easier as I’m happy for these authors and delighted to go when I can. 

My own writing is coming along. Although my revisions are less than what I should have so far – only 2 instead of 5 – I can fix that this month. The really good news is that my new drafts stand at 11! I have to “buckle down” and pick one to focus on and get it presentable for critique. It would be wonderful if I can get a few stories ready for submission. 

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. For some reason, this year it was a difficult day for me as I am missing Mum so much lately. I hope you mothers out there had an especially wonderful day.  

Do you go to book launches? Do you support authors’ work in other ways?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

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2 Book Reviews: Granpa Guff, Accidental Astronaut; Granpa Guff, The Pasta Wars

Granpa Guff, Accidental Astronaut








Book: Granpa Guff, The Accidental Astronaut
Author: G. Guff
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 
Date: May 6, 2013, 2nd edition
Genre: children's; humour
Pages: 86
Price: Kindle, under $5.00; paperback $20.00
My Rating: Amusing story children will enjoy

I’d received early copies of Granpa Guff’s two books shown here in exchange for my honest review. (My apologies to Granpa Guff for the late post.) I enjoyed reading the stories again to tell you about them.

What an interesting imagination the author has! In his desire to create stories that amuse and entertain young readers he also has managed to stir the imagination with his visuals and vivid storytelling. The illustrations are fun, too.

Granpa Guff, The Accidental Astronaut, has Granpa Guff innocently climbing on board a space ship. Too late he realizes it’s time for “blast off” and he has to stay there. What ensues is the craziest trip to Mars you can imagine. Mexican Barking Spiders are hidden on board, Granpa gets spacesick, and on it goes. This is a very entertaining story, and … who’s to know but that it might even be true? Just a little.

 

Book: Granpa Guff, and the Pasta Wars
Author:Grandpa Guff, Pasta Wars G. Guff
Publisher: Fort Guff Press
Date: October 7, 2013
Genre: children’s; humour
Pages: 67
Price: Kindle, under $5.00
My Rating: Amusing story children will enjoy

 

Oh My! What stories Granpa Guff can tell! He seems to know so much.

In this book Granpa relates some history to his grandchildren. He tells about Italians arriving in America and setting up restaurants. The competition between rivals was fierce and so began the Pasta Wars. The craziest things happen. Creepy things hidden in spaghetti to sabotage the competition, giant pizzas that just kept growing, and no one knew what was really inside them because they were made like pies with a top crust back then. Or, that’s Granpa’s story. Oh, and you’ll learn why large wooden pepper mills are handy to use, the origin of ‘raining cats and dogs’, and … come to think of it, Granpa’s book is quite … um … informative!  🙂

The illustrations are funny and very well done with flair. They add a beauty to the story.

Both stories are written from Granpa Guff’s old-timer voice as he relates these tales to his two grandchildren who, mostly, believe every word he says – with some argument worked in. Very entertaining.

You can find Grandpa Guff, Accidental Astronaut and Granpa Guff, Pasta Wars on my BUY THE BOOK page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Updates and my word for 2017

It’s been a busy start to 2017.  Besides the ‘normal’ – and extra concerns of – daily/weekly family things that go on, and trying to keep up with my writing, I’m attempting to figure out a level of activity that I can handle and in which I’ll make progress. It’s time to push past my comfort zone a little more — and not panic!

It’s also time to get back into writing book reviews here on my blog, however brief they may be. I’ve been reading a lot more books, as you can see if you scroll down on my bar to the right, and I want to share some of them with you. For almost all of them I write a short blurb on Goodreads and also on Amazon.  I also will be setting up a new page – books I read in 2017 – to keep a recorded count and maybe introduce you to books you haven’t read. Have you checked out my 2016 reading accomplishment? I read 219 books! Only 38 of them aren’t picture books, but 219 total! I’m happy about that. 

This month I’m working on Storystorm ideas and have twelve so far. A couple I have are more than just a phrase or title; they’re more-rounded story ideas – and I think they might be worth developing.

I’ve joined 12×12 in 2017 and feel very upbeat about it this year. I know I have to work harder to get anywhere with my drafts and manuscripts, so that is going to be where “pushing past my comfort zone” comes into play.

Now that the busyness of the holiday season is past, this week I will happily reconnect with my writing coach. Starting tomorrow I’ll also be meeting with my new writing/accountability partner once a week for brainstorming, sharing, and encouragement – apart from the local writers group that usually gets together each week.

Hopefully, I haven’t set myself up for failure as I aim for progression this year. That is my word for myself in 2017. PROGRESS. It can be used as either a verb or a noun. I heard it for myself as a noun, PROgress, but in order to make PROgress I have to proGRESS.   😉  For me it feels like a push and coaxing along.

What is YOUR personal word for 2017? What are your writing and reading goals?

Don’t forget to enter my January 18 draw HERE for a copy of The Man Who Was Thursday. (I plan to read my copy of it this week, by the way, as it was recommended to me by a friend more than once — which is likely why I bought it more than once!  lol   🙂  )

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂  

 

My 2014 blogging in review

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

In looking back over 2014 there are many things I was reminded of that occurred both here and in my personal life — some of the latter I shared here. Here’s a condensed review followed by my annual report compiled by WordPress.com.

1. I posted the final weeks of “Read More Books Challenge” run on my blog through October 3, 2013 to January 9, 2014. My challenge got a few people reading more classics and reminded us of the many great books we have yet to enjoy.  I’m still trying to read from that great list of 623 books. Are you?

2. We were privileged to have Sue Harrison continue to post teachings from her “Writing the Third Dimension” each month. (Thanks, Sue!) Has this been helpful for you?

3. I interviewed 6 authors during the year and reviewed 46 books on my blog. I also posted those reviews on Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, chapters.indigo, LibraryThing, BookLook Bloggers, Shelfari, Goodreads.

4. In June I shared my 10 tips for authors from the perspective of a book reviewer.

5. In July I was interviewed on Leanne Dyck’s blog. She is discontinuing interviewing so I was blessed to have been included before she made that decision. You can read that interview again HERE.

6. In July I added another page to my blog, “Buy The Book!”, to help my readers find the books they read about here and other places I reviewed them. Has this made it easier for you?

7. In August I added a page, Suicide Crisis Lines, mainly because of the shocking death of Robin Williams. My heart still sorrows over that tragedy.

8. In October I reported about a fantastic program – Kindle Kids Mastery – for writers of children’s books. It’s really for anyone who wants to try publishing an e-book. Please check on my Writer’s Helps page for the link to that information. It’s a fabulous opportunity. Have you used this program yet?

9. In November I participated again in Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month, aka PiBoIdMo, and succeeded in meeting and surpassing the goal of 30 ideas. Did you try it in 2014?

10. In December I participated in Susanna Leonard Hill’s story writing competition and posted my story here on my blog as required. Although my story didn’t make the cut it was great practice for me, and a good learning experience.

11. On my “Books I Read This Year” page I reported that I managed to read 45 books, far less than I had hoped to read but more than I read last year. How many books did you read in 2014?

All in all, I feel 2014 was a good blogging year for me, even though I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to. Being a caregiver for a victim of Alzheimer’s has its challenges, and my own personal stuff added in made it harder to do all I was hoping to do. Even so, I am happy and encouraged that my blog following increased this year!

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR FOLLOWING MY BLOG. I greatly appreciate you all and I hope to keep you interested enough in coming back. I also hope more of you will leave comments in 2015 because those comments help keep the conversation going. 🙂

What would you like me to know about your experience and visits here?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Now for the fun report from WordPress.com.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

There were 230 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 70 MB. That’s about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was September 15th with 99 views. The most popular post that day was Book Review: I Only Cry at Night – by P. Allen Jones.

In 2014, there were 140 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 452 posts.

Longest Streak: 5 days 1 July – 5 July;  Best Day: Tuesday with 46 posts total

These are the posts that got the most views in 2014:

Some of your most popular posts were written before 2014. Your writing has staying power!

Visitors came from 104 countries in all! Most came from The United States. Canada & U.K. were not far behind.

Your most commented on post in 2014 was My story entry in Susanna Hill’s 4th Annual Holiday Contest

PS:  Once again, thank YOU, my friends, for following my blog. Blessings in 2015! I look forward to an exciting new year with you. 🙂

 

 

An exciting New Page on my blog, “Buy the Book!”

As the title of this post indicates, I have prepared a new page on my blog … BUY THE BOOK! … and I’m excited about it!  Why? you may ask.  Well, because the new page, which you can visit by clicking on it in the menu above,  is set up to help in promoting the books I review.

On that page I have listed the books you can also find under the menu heading BOOK REVIEWS, but on the new page I have linked to where you can purchase the books on Amazon – both Amazon.com and Amazon.ca. As long as they are listed on Amazon these links will be good. I’m hoping this will help you to easily find the title you’ve just read about here before you forget about it in the busyness of your day. If you are anything like me you will wonder later .. what was the name of that book I wanted? 

So, please, go now and check out the new page, the one called BUY THE BOOK! And I would really appreciate if you let me know what you think of it. Thanks!  🙂

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

How I got into Writing book reviews

Tuesday is one of my usual days to post a book review. Obviously, I didn’t manage to do that this week, for which I apologize. I’m not sure I will even get one ready for Thursday, but I am still reading as much as I can.

There have been a few personal things come up to alter my course a bit. On Friday I had a scheduled few hours’ hospital stay, Saturday I was still getting my energy back from that, Sunday was my dad’s 89th birthday and also Father’s Day – so we had a family gathering at his house. Among our group there are five fathers. It was a great barbecue day and we had lots of delicious food to enjoy. Sunday was also my first day back at my dad’s for my week, which this time will be three to give my sister a needed break. Then Monday was my grandson’s ninth birthday! (Time is passing quickly!) Today, Tuesday, I took my little Meyya to the groomers and while she was there I enjoyed a pleasant afternoon with a friend. So you see, I have been busy in various ways. But that doesn’t stop the books from coming to me; yesterday another arrived in my mail and I’m trying to remember where I won it or chose it! (I really must keep better track.)

In lieu of a book review I want to talk a little about writing them. Writing reviews isn’t something I planned to be doing; it simply evolved. In 2010 I was excited to win a book in a writers chat room and mentioned a little about it here. Later, through what was then called BookSneeze – now BookLook Bloggers – I won a Max Lucado book in exchange for a review. Early in 2011 I reread author Laura Best’s first novel and reviewed it here in support of her work. That year, after Laura’s book, I reviewed fifteen others because I enjoyed it. I had become a book reviewer! Occasionally I receive requests for reviews, but I now have such a backlog of novels to read first that I don’t/can’t always accept. I am trying to get caught up, which is not as simple as it may sound.

When writing reviews, sometimes it isn’t easy to put into words what impressions I feel from the story I was immersed in. I try always to be fair no matter if the content appealed to me or not. What trips me up is that I tend to notice errors in spelling, punctuation, details. I say it ‘trips me up’ because they seem to stand right out as if screaming ‘Here I am! Notice me!’ and pull me right out of the story.

I really don’t want to write bad reviews because of that, or at all, because the errors are not the story, but they do affect an observant reader. Instead I try to be honest about my findings without trashing a book.

Even after a writer’s hard work there may be much yet to be done. Sometimes the typos and conflicts are glaringly noticeable and very distracting to the reader. In my next post I will be presumptuous and present a few tips – or maybe more like observations – for authors, especially those who are self-publishing or are trying to cut corners.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

Happy Valentine’s Day! Something for you

~~~~HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!~~~~

IMG_0048Aren’t these lovely? Every Valentine’s day I can count on a dozen roses from my beloved husband. What he likes is candy … chocolates or cinnamon hot hearts.

Today I have a blogging gift for you. There is a new blog on WordPress that I thought you might enjoy. It’s called Sokarsweet. (or click here to see it.)

Sokarsweet is my daughter’s photo blog. She and her family live in a lovely house on a beautiful lake with a gorgeous view. Her largest windows face west so she gets to see the amazing sunsets. I hope you will visit her blog and check out her photo posts. 

Another thing I have done for you is to update my blog and fix a few broken links. My apologies for the bad links; I was dismayed when I discovered them. Now when you click on each book title listed under Book Reviews you are taken directly to the review here on my blog. I also posted them on some or all of the following sites, according to whether the book is listed or sold there: Library Thing, Shelfari, BookLook (if I got the book from them to review; BookLook used to be BookSneeze), Goodreads, Chapters.Indigo, Amazon.ca, and Amazon.com. I have many more reviews to do, and some author interviews are coming up, too.

Now I have a question for you.  Do you have a favourite quote or verse or Scripture for Valentine’s Day? Anything about love.

Here are a few good ones, including one verse of a catchy old song some of us will remember.

  • I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love. – Mother Teresa
  • Beloved, if God so loves us, we ought also to love one another. – 1 John 4:11
  • We love Him, because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:19
  • Lord, grant that I might not so much seek to be loved as to love. – Francis of Assisi
  • I love you a bushel and a peck
    A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck
    A hug around the neck and a barrel and a heap
    A barrel and a heap and I’m talkin’ in my sleep
    About you, about you
    ‘Cause I love you a bushel and a peck
    You bet your purdy neck I do

What can you add to this list?

Happy Valentine’s Day, thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂