Tag Archives: Book Reviews

Happy Fall Everyone!

This Fall, I’m going to confine myself to book reviews of various books I’ve been reading over the spring and summer. Much though I’d like to, I can’t do more than that as I’m in my last year at Lesley University, working on my QuillMFA in creative writing. If all goes according to plan (fingers crossed) I should graduate in June 2015.

I hope you enjoy reading these reviews, and as always, please comment in the comment box at the bottom of the page.

Have a wonderful fall!

CynthiaSignature

 

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Friday’s Internet Goodies: Paper Mustang

No, it’s not a Mustangcar, but a website dedicated to Indie authors, which is why I’ve included it in my “internet goodies” category.

Sue Owen, Sharon Nelson and possible other reviewers aim to help Indie authors reach their audiences.

I love these sites. As an Indie author myself, I know how hard it is to reach my audience. People like Sue and Sharon provide an invaluable service to the writing community.

In addition to their prolific book reviewing, Sue and Sharon have awards for authors who do more than merely just write a novel. These people do more for human goodness than just writing and pumping out books. And so Sue and Sharon came up with their “Head to Hoof” awards, which celebrate such people, who are given a special spot on the website.

To find this charming and quirky website, please point your browser to www.papermustang.com.

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Friday’s Internet Goodies: Big Als Books and Pals

InternetGoodiesThis Friday, I’m going to start a series called Internet Goodies, which is about various websites that I feel are useful to readers, writers and indie publishers alike.

I chose to start with Big Al’s Books and Pals, because the site is dedicated to helping Indie authors find their audiences, and I think that Big Al and his Pals go about this process in an intelligent and thoughtful way.

BigAl’s Books and Pals concentrates on reviewing books from independent (“indie”) authors available for ereaders, primarily Amazon’s Kindle, but also the Nook from Barnes and Noble.  Several people contribute to this effort. The leader, is (of course) BigAl. This is how he describes himself:

An avid reader for more decades than he wants to admit, BigAl previously reviewed music for a variety of websites and magazines. After having several readers and authors tell him, “You ought to start a book blog,” he said, “what the hell.” BigAl also runs another website, The Indie View, which has resources for authors and readers, including an index of indie book reviews from around the web, a database of indie friendly reviewers, and frequent interviews with authors and reviewers. He is also a regular contributor to Indies Unlimited, and although he denies that he’s an author or writer, somehow got listed as a contributing author to Indies Unlimited: Tutorials and Tools for Prospering in a Digital World. (You can purchase this fromAmazon USAmazon UKBarnes & Noble, or Smashwords.

BigAls&PalsBig Als Pals consist of various people that he knows from across the globe. Some sound like editors. Some are Indie Author. And one of them is related to BigAl.
Indie authors are encouraged to send their books in for submission. However, there are two things you should bear in mind:
1. Submission is no guarantee of a review. The reality is that the majority of books submitted won’t be reviewed.
2. The purpose of the review is to tell READERS whether they should buy the book. It is NOT to help authors.
For submission guidelines, click here.
About negative reviews, click here.

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Greetings from Northern California

The view from Lucia

 

The view from Lucia

The view from Lucia

Everyone,

I hope that you and your loved ones had a safe & happy Holiday Season! I’m just back home from California where my husband and I spent Christmas visiting family and friends. Needless to say, I’ve come down with a heavy cold, so I’ll have to make this short. Just wanted to let you know that I’ll be posting next week, starting with Monday tips on Mondays, Book reviews on Wednesdays, and Internet goodies on Fridays!

Also, just to let you know, I’m taking THWARTED QUEEN on a blog tour, starting February 11. Stay tuned, and have a wonderful January!

CynthiaSignature

 

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Summertime approaches

Everyone,

This blog will be taking its annual vacation until the end of August. This means that unless there is something pressing, there won’t be much activity here. Except for my book reviews, because I will be spending my time relaxing…and enjoying lots of books.

I wish you all a great summer, and look forward to seeing you all in September. Exciting things are going to be happening around here. I will be publishing some short stories and poems this fall. And my second novel FAMILY SPLINTERS is due to come out next spring. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

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THE FICTION ENTHUSIAST

The Fiction Enthusiast

I just love the light-hearted quirkiness of THE FICTION ENTHUSIAST website run by Christie. She is a Mama, an avid book reader, and someone who also has to juggle other things that life throws our way. Like so many of us.

This site is not complicated or intimidating. It is a serviceable site for authors who want to get their books reviewed and readers who want to find new voices. Unfortunately, things have become more burdensome and complex for Christie, which means that she can’t review books for a while. But I wanted to mention her site because I found it charming, and also because as a writer I so appreciate the work of those avid readers who not only read books but write reviews.

 

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Websites to watch: JR Tomlin on writing and more

I love the tagline of this blog:

A Writer in the wild, wild days of publishing’s destructive construction.

JR (Jeanne) Tomlin’s blog mixes excerpts from novels by other authors, book reviews and her thoughts on craft. She writes about challenging things such as how to edit your own novel, how to write believable sword fights, and why battles are like sex.

Her blog is a treasure for other authors, because she helps them promote their books by posting excerpts of their novels as well as conducting mini-interviews.

–Cynthia Haggard writes historical novels.  She has two completed manuscripts that will be published in the coming year. THWARTED QUEEN  is a portrait of a woman trapped by power, a marriage undone by betrayal, and a King brought down by fear.FAMILY SPLINTERS is  a novel about identity, forbidden love and family secrets. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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Websites to watch: RUNDPINNE

Rundpinne
When Jennifer of Rundpinne tells you that she is an avid reader, you’d better believe it. She’s read 121 books this year, and it’s only April!

Wow! I don’t think I’ve met anyone who got through so many books. So what does Jennifer do? She tells us that she is a knitter and a mother of three. I would love to know what she knits. Does she knit as many sweaters, socks, and scarves for her three sons as she reads books? Is the amount of knitting correlated with the amount of reading?

Oh, well. I am just naturally curious. Which is why I’m a novelist. And so grateful to people like Jennifer who read our books and post reviews.

Her website is unusual and beautiful. It’s also very well organized, matching the discipline of someone who can read all of those book, knit, look after 3 boys, and post every day.

I highly recommend it to anyone who loves books. People like Jennifer are a real treasure to the community.

One last thing. I am curious about the name. It seems German. What exactly does it mean?

–Cynthia Haggard writes historical novels.  She has two completed manuscripts that will be published in the coming year. THWARTED QUEEN  is a portrait of a woman trapped by power, a marriage undone by betrayal, and a King brought down by fear.FAMILY SPLINTERS is  a novel about identity, forbidden love and family secrets. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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Websites to watch: A FEW MORE PAGES

I cannot say enough good things about this site. When I logged on, it was easy to find Katy’s most popular post, because she had it featured in a sidebar. Pretty soon, I was immersed in a Guest post by historical fiction author Robert Parry, whom I’d never heard of. I quickly put his 2 books on my Amazon wishlist.

But there was more.  Katy has set up 2 challenges for her readers, the 1st in a series challenge, where you commit to read a number of these types of books this year, and the 2nds challenge, where you decide to read another book by the same author.  And then there’s the first line challenge she put up on April 1st, with a clock timer to show how much time you have to enter.

In short, this blog is informative, interesting and so well organized it is easy to use. I am so impressed, I plan to come back to visit often! To visit, click here.

–Cynthia Haggard writes historical novels.  She has two completed manuscripts that will be published in the coming year. THWARTED QUEEN  is a portrait of a woman trapped by power, a marriage undone by betrayal, and a King brought down by fear. FAMILY SPLINTERS is  a novel about identity, forbidden love and family secrets. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Diane Setterfield

I looked forward to reading Diane Setterfield’s novel THE THIRTEENTH TALE with some anticipation, because it sounded so intriguing. A reclusive author with a penchant for embroidering the truth, now read to tell all, bending the ear of a young woman with a tale of fascinating strangeness? It sounded wonderful.

So what caused me to put the novel down without finishing it, a thing I rarely do? In one sentence, I had trouble connecting with the characters. Why?

It is a tricky thing to write a novel about tales, because it makes the whole problem of engaging the reader much harder. The problem is with a shifting cast of characters that populate each story, meaning that the reader has less time to spend with then, and the author has less time to make them fully rounded personalities. Add to that the problem of narrative, in the sense of the stories being told by someone as opposed to being experienced directly, you run the risk of further distancing the reader.

To get around this problem, you either need quirky characters to tell your tales, as in Geoffrey Chaucer’s CANTERBURY TALES, or you need to write with a style so gorgeous, that the reader enjoys wallowing in a string of words, picked out with a poet’s flair and finesse.

Ms. Setterfield is a good stylist who writes readable prose, but it does not quite come up to the level of being gorgeous. And the character of Vida Winter, the narrator of these tales, while quirky enough to satisfy the most discriminating taste, did not have the voice to carry it off. Her narratives were curiously elegant and flat, lacking much of the personality we were told she had. And they left me cold.

So that is why I put the novel down. Which is a pity.

–Cynthia Haggard writes historical novels.  She has two completed manuscripts that will be published in the coming year. THWARTED QUEEN  is a portrait of a woman trapped by power, a marriage undone by betrayal, and a King brought down by fear. FAMILY SPLINTERS is  a novel about identity, forbidden love and family secrets. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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