On YouTube today – sharing a book I got for my birthday

Hi Everyone – I’m back on YouTube today talking about a book I got for my birthday. I hope you’ll pop over and see me!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Grammar check – lay low or lie low?

Image: Pixabay

I recently read a book in which many of the characters were advised to lay low because danger lurked and they didn’t want to be found out. This is a commonly used phrase and we all know what it means, but did you know that the correct advice would be to lie low?

I talked about the lowdown on lay and lie in a post a couple years ago, but not specifically about laying low or lying low.

Merriam-Webster says lay low is a transitive verb and that it means “to bring or strike to earth or to knock out of a fight or out of action.”

So the person on the other end of laying low is not exactly staying out of danger, maybe just the opposite!

LawProse offers more explanation and sites some examples from a documentary that got it wrong and a journalist who got it right.

Which way do you say it? If we all know what it means to lay low, should it matter? I like to follow the rules, so I vote for lie low. But maybe saying lay low is more authentic to a character in a book. I don’t know. Leave a comment and tell me what you think.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Book Club Mom’s April, May and June recap

It’s no coincidence that I haven’t posted a monthly recap since this pandemic started. I haven’t felt like there was much to say or report. But now that three months have passed, I thought I’d better get the recaps back on schedule.

I’m sure we are all doing many of the same things. The empty shelves were really frightening to me in the beginning, but now the grocery store seems to be much better stocked. I missed out on the mad paper products run back in March, but we made it through without running out just the same.

I’ve been cooking and baking a lot. Have you?

I’ve mentioned our bird feeder in other posts. It has been a major form of entertainment for us and the subject of many conversations. Here a woodpecker is pretending no one will notice that he’s way too big to be on the feeder. He doesn’t care and jams his beak in there to get whatever he can get.

Last week we had a summer rain right before dinner and soon we had a pretty rainbow. Rainbows never get old, do they?

So, on to the blog. Here are links to my posts in April, May and June, in case you missed them.

Book Reviews

A Mother for His Twins by Jill Weatherholt
Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes
The Tenant by Katrine Engberg
A Hero of France by Alan Furst
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Woman on the Edge by Samantha M. Bailey
Yellow Door by C. Faherty Brown
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
Outsider by Linda Castillo

Marian Longenecker Beaman
Jason R. Koivu
Matthew Arnold Stern
Eileen Stephenson
Christy Cooper-Burnett
Cendrine Marrouat
Alice Benson
Lillian McCloy
John W. Howell
Darlene Foster
Dorothy A. Winsor
C. Faherty Brown
Graeme Cumming

Miscellaneous book and blog talk

Short reviews from 2013: The Cay, The Giver and Orphan Train
Blog views and other obsessions – coping with the coronavirus part 2
On animals, nature, books and live feeds
On YouTube today – books coming up and what I’ve been doing
Pretty, colorful and unique book covers
On audiobooks and coloring
Blog views and other obsessions – switching to new WordPress Block Editor on June 1
On virtual book hauling
Book talk – epistolary novels
Celebrating 7 years of blogging!

How are you doing? Did you settle in to this new way of life? Are you now adjusting to re-openings? Leave a comment and tell me how it’s been.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Who’s That Indie Author? Graeme Cumming

Author name: Graeme Cumming

Genre: Where do I start? Seriously, I’d say I write thrillers, but they often cross genres.

Books: Ravens Gathering; Carrion

What’s your story and how did you become a writer? I live in Robin Hood country, so there’s plenty of atmosphere to soak up here. Not that I’ve needed it especially. I’ve enjoyed making up and telling stories since I was a child, though it wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I started taking it more seriously. I have wide and varied tastes when it comes to fiction, which is reflected in my writing.

How do you balance your work with other demands? With difficulty, if I’m honest. I’m not the most disciplined person in the world and find it very easy to get side-tracked on to less important things. But I’m getting better as I get older. Mortality is a big motivator.

Name one of the happiest moments in your life: There are so many to choose from but, bearing in mind this is about my writing life, I’ll pick out selling my business a few years ago. As an event, it happened with very little fanfare, but it allowed me to take five years off work so I could focus on my writing. I’m near the end of year three, so I’ve got even more motivation now!

What’s your approach to writing? Are you a “pantser” or a planner? Planner. My latest book, Carrion, was written without a plan, and it’s taken over a decade to get it how it should have been in the first place. From start to publication, Ravens Gathering took just over eighteen months. That’s still a long time, but it went a lot faster because it was planned.

Could you write in a café with people around? I doubt it. I need a lot of space and quietness around me.

Have you ever written dialogue in a second language? If so, how did you do it? Short answer: no.

What’s your favorite book and what are you reading now? A favourite book would be hard to pin down. There are so many good ones, and often in different ways. I suppose the closest I can get to that would be to say that I’ve read Eagle in the Sky by Wilbur Smith more often than any other. Some of it feels dated now, but the closing pages always leave me with a tear in my eye.

Right now, I’m reading The Last Will of Sven Andersen by fellow Indie author Geoff Le Pard. His books always entertain.

What’s your favorite way to read a book: hardcover, paperback, eReader?  eReader – though I took some convincing in the early days.

Do you think print books will always be around? Yes. In spite of my preference, I do still enjoy picking up and reading a paperback now and again, and I know a lot of people who wouldn’t dream of touching an eReader. There’s also the fact that you can’t get an author to sign an eReader – well, you could, but it wouldn’t be as long lasting!

Would you ever read a book on your phone? I have done, though probably not the whole thing. Usually it’s because I’ve suddenly found myself at a loose end and don’t have anything else to read from.

What’s your go-to device? iPhone, Android or something else? Android, I suppose, but really – in spite of what I’ve said about reading on it – I try not to be too attached to it.

How long could you go without checking your phone? The answer to that varies depending on how engaged I am in what I’m doing. If I’m sailing, for example, I can go for hours without touching it. At the other extreme, there are times when I check it every five minutes.

Do you listen to audiobooks? If you do, what do you do while you’re listening? It’s not something I’ve done in a while. When I did it was usually while I was driving.

Do you like using social media to promote yourself and your book? If so, what’s your favorite platform? Does anyone actually like using social media to promote themselves? Clearly, I do use it, but I don’t feel I’m very good at it. At the moment, aside from my blog, I’m only active on Twitter and Facebook. Of those, I seem to get the better interaction with Facebook.

Website and social media links:
Website: graemecumming.co.uk
Facebook: @GraemeCummingAuthor
Twitter: @GraemeCumming63

Awards/special recognition: Sadly, none I can think of – though I have had some excellent reviews from well-respected book bloggers.


Are you an indie or self-published author?  Do you want to build your author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.

Book Review: Outsider by Linda Castillo

Outsider
by
Linda Castillo

Rating:

Gina Colorosa is a cop on the run. She’s mixed up in something bad at the Columbus Division of Police and now there’s no turning back. With nowhere else to go, she points her car to Painters Mill, Ohio, hoping her former friend, Kate Burkholder, now the Chief of Police, will forget the past. Gina gets close, but her car crashes in a blizzard and in the morning, she’s discovered by Adam Lengacher, an Amish widower with three young children.

Gina is injured and bears a weapon, but Adam doesn’t question taking her in. “You don’t leave anyone, including an outsider, to the elements, especially if they’re hurt,” he explains.

Now Kate must confront a close friendship that went bad and ended abruptly. Once best friends and roommates, Gina and Kate attended the police academy together. And Kate can’t forget that Gina took her in when she had nowhere to go, after “leaving the fold” of her Amish family and community.

Gina stays at the Lengacher’s home, under Kate’s supervision, until the weather breaks and Kate and her boyfriend, John Tomasetti, who is with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, decide what to do. Kate tries to get a read on her wild, tough-talking and elusive friend while Tomasetti makes some calls to Columbus. It seems safe at the cozy Lengacher home, where Gina learns about the Amish way of life, but everyone knows it’s just a matter of time until Gina’s dangerous pursuers find her, putting Adam and his kids at great risk. Kate senses that Gina isn’t giving her the whole story and events from their past suggest Gina has broken many police rules.

Outsider is the twelfth book in Linda Castillo’s Kate Burkholder series and is told in both Kate’s voice and a third-person narrative of the events in Columbus and the women’s backstories. The author gives readers a look into the Amish way of life and how the Amish and “English” outsiders interact as their lives inevitably overlap. Kate is a bridge between both lives, understanding her childhood friend Adam as well as the outside world. Several moral questions come up and are resolved in interesting ways.

I enjoyed Outsider, although I haven’t read the other Kate Burkholder books. References to her Amish family make me want to go back and catch up on these relationships. I thought the author did a nice job portraying Amish life and includes many Pennsylvania Dutch phrases that enhance the story. There is a big contrast between these Amish chapters and Gina’s life as a cop in Columbus and at times the transition seems jarring. But the story moves at a good pace with a few twists and a satisfying conclusion.

I was attracted to Outsider because of the title and cover. I had an idea of who the woman on the cover represented, but was disappointed that it never became obvious and in fact, I was definitely wrong about my idea. Is this Kate from years ago contemplating her life outside the community? Has she already been shut out? I couldn’t figure it out and felt a little misled.

All-in-all, I enjoyed the book and think readers who like police detective stories and enjoy learning about the Amish would like the series. The author explains plenty from previous books so Outsider also works as a standalone.

Outsider will be released on July 7, 2020. I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

 

 

 

Celebrating 7 years of blogging!

This month is a big month for me because I reached my 7-year blogging anniversary and I’m also celebrating 1000 WordPress followers. So yay!

Today I’m sharing three of my most-viewed posts.


“House of Flowers” by Truman Capote


The Grapes of Wrath and the Great Depression


Life After Life by Kate Atkinson


Thanks to everyone who follows, reads, comments and shares. I’m ready for another 7 years!

 

Who’s That Indie Author? C. Faherty Brown

Author name: C. Faherty Brown

Genre: Fiction

Books: Yellow Door; The Sentinel; When I Go; When I Was Little; I Live, When; When You’re Not A Poet; Bring Me Christmas; Make Life Better

What’s your story and how did you become a writer? I am number 4 of 8 children. There was nothing extraordinary about my childhood, other than the worlds I lived in when I read books, or the worlds I thought of writing about. I believe I could read and write before I could think. I do not remember not being able to read and write. I remember holding pencils, pens and books. I think I was born to write.

How do you balance your work with other demands? It’s not always easy. But I write, or create, something every day. I work full time as a court investigator. I’ve had a career based in other people’s lives for a very long time. I need to make it a focus to create positive words, vibes, to keep me from focusing on the negative.

Name one of the happiest moments in your life: Aside from amazing moments of marriage, births, etc., I would have to say when I earned my first black belt. It was a culmination of perseverance on my part, of determination, of empowerment (mental and emotional being more important than the physical). It was a process when I realized I had ability and value.

What’s your approach to writing? Are you a “pantser” or a planner? I don’t plan anything. I write things out as they come to life in my head.

Could you write in a café with people around? I could. I prefer to write alone, undistracted.

Have you ever written dialogue in a second language? If so, how did you do it? I have not written dialogue in another language but I have written dialogue based off of other ‘times’ and other cultures.

What’s your favorite book and what are you reading now? I am currently reading an older book, My Village, My World. I don’t have a favorite book. But my favorite kind of book is one that lets me become immersed and makes me sad when I am nearing the end of it.

What’s your favorite way to read a book: hardcover, paperback, eReader? Paperback.

Do you think print books will always be around? Yes. Even if only in my house.

Would you ever read a book on your phone? Yes. And I have. It has been convenient to have on my phone when I am stuck somewhere unexpectedly. Not my preference though.

What’s your go-to device? iPhone, Android or something else? iPhone.

How long could you go without checking your phone? If my brain is occupied, or I am physically active I can go longer than if I am sitting or being bored by something I ‘have’ to do.

Do you listen to audiobooks? If you do, what do you do while you’re listening? I have not, yet.

Do you like using social media to promote yourself and your book? If so, what’s your favorite platform? I am not good/great at self-promotion. I ‘do’ it but would prefer to be successful enough to have a team do it for me. 😉 I have used my blog and Instagram to promote.

Website and social media links:
Blog: bikecolleenbrown.wordpress.com
Instagram: cfahertyb

Awards/special recognition: For writing, I was ‘fresh pressed’ on WordPress three times.


Are you an indie or self-published author?  Do you want to build your author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.

 

Book Review: Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Dear Edward
by
Ann Napolitano

Rating:

Eddie Adler is twelve years old when his family boards a plane to move across the country. He’s grown up in Manhattan where his father has homeschooled Eddie and his fifteen-year-old brother, Jordan. Now the Adlers are headed to Los Angeles where his mom is set to start a new job as a screen writer. There are 192 passengers on the Airbus and when it crashes in the flatlands of northern Colorado. Eddie is the only survivor.

Badly injured and stunned by his new circumstances, Eddie moves in with his aunt and uncle in New Jersey. It’s going to take a long time for Eddie, now Edward, to adjust. He makes friends with Shay, a girl across the street and together they try to make sense of their place in the world. As they grow, their friendship becomes an anchor they both need. At the house, Edward’s aunt and uncle are trying hard, but they have their own personal struggles and marital issues, something Edward becomes more tuned into.

In addition, the Internet is exploding with stories about Edward and the crash and his aunt and uncle do their best to protect him. But is that the right thing to do? What’s the best way to heal and move on? A chance discovery points to a solution but it means confronting the events and memories of his family and the other passengers.

People say Edward is lucky to have survived. He wonders how that could be true.

The story alternates between the day of the crash and Edward’s new life with his aunt and uncle and leads up to what happened that made the plane crash. In the pre-crash chapters, readers learn about the sometimes-tense dynamics in Adler family as well as the backstories about other passengers on the plane. These include a business magnate with several ex-wives and children who hate him, an injured soldier who is trying to come to terms with a recent encounter, a young woman hoping to make a new life, a free-spirited woman who believes in reincarnation, and a cut-throat young executive with a drug problem.

One of Edward’s biggest challenges is to shake survivor’s guilt, especially the feeling that his brother should have survived instead. To Edward, Jordan was on the brink of thinking for himself and doing something great. Pain washes over Edward when he reaches his own fifteenth birthday, and later passes his brother’s age. He understands it’s because he both misses his brother and what his brother has lost.

Although Edward’s experiences are tragic, they lead to a touching coming-of-age story in which Edward strikes a balance between past and present. I enjoyed Dear Edward very much. It’s very readable and I felt like I understood how Edward was feeling throughout it all. I recommend it to readers who enjoy stories about love and overcoming grief.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Book talk – epistolary novels

Image: Pixabay

Welcome to an occasional feature on Book Club Mom called Book Talk, home to quick previews of books that catch my eye.

Looking for a different kind of novel? An epistolary novel is a story written as a series of documents, often in the form of letters, diary entries, or newspaper articles. More recent formats have introduced emails and blog posts and even Post-It Notes! All offer realistic views into the narrators’ lives and stories.


Here are some I’ve read and recommend:

The Color Purple by Alice Walker I read this years ago and would like to read it again.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank– have read several times.

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary – here’s a new book and this is the one with Post-It Notes!

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes – recently read this, then watched the movie. The movie was a little dated, but still interesting.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – I wasn’t sure I’d like this, but in the end thought it was excellent. Read it when my son was reading it for a high school class.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows – read this a long time ago and remember liking it.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos – read this in French class in college and had a hard time with the vocabulary, but then read it for an English class and finally understood what was going on!

The Martian by Andy Weir – liked this book a lot and the movie too, maybe even a little better because there’s a lot of math in the book. Still recommend.

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins – recently read this for my Whodunits book group. It was excellent.

The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – read this for a required college class called “Images of Modern Man” – I raced through it, it was that good.


And here are some I want to read:

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff – hadn’t heard of this one, until today.

Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher  – same!

Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman –  I actually read this in junior high school and remember liking it., but I don’t remember much, so I want to re-read it.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple – been trying to get to this one for a while.

A Woman of Independent Means by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey – this was also a TV series with Sally Fields back in the 1970s.


Looking for more? Here are some additional lists:

Book Riot 100 Must-Read Epistolary Novels from the Past and Present

Goodreads Epistolary Novels Books

Wikipedia List of contemporary epistolary novels

Do you like the epistolary format? Do you have favorites?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

 

Who’s That Indie Author? Dorothy A. Winsor

Author name: Dorothy A. Winsor

Genre: Young Adult and Middle Grade fantasy

Books: The Wysman (Inspired Quill, June 2020), The Wind Reader (Inspired Quill, 2018), Deep as a Tomb (Loose Leaves, 2016), Finders Keepers (Zharmae, 2015)

What’s your story and how did you become a writer? I’m a former English professor who decided that writing YA and MG fantasy was more fun. My first ventures into writing fiction came in the form of Tolkien fanfiction. I didn’t want the story to end, so I wrote more of it myself. I’d read that writers produce a million words of bad stuff before they write well. One of the sites I posted on kept track of your word count and when I hit a million, I figured I was there! So I switched to writing my own stuff.

How do you balance your work with other demands?  I schedule my writing time and usually leave my house to do it so I’m not tempted to do something else.

Name one of the happiest moments in your life:  The birth of my son

What’s your approach to writing? Are you a “pantser” or a planner?  I’m a planner. Having a plan is reassuring, though I feel free to change it once I get to know my characters better and see if my plan will work.

Could you write in a café with people around?  That’s where I usually write. As long as the music isn’t too loud, I’m good.

Have you ever written dialogue in a second language? If so, how did you do it?  No. Sounds tricky.

What’s your favorite book and what are you reading now?  I’m currently reading Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, which came highly recommended. My favorite book varies. Right now it’s probably Turner’s Queen’s Thief series.

What’s your favorite way to read a book: hardcover, paperback, eReader?  It really makes no difference to me. Whatever’s at hand.

Do you think print books will always be around?  Absolutely.

Would you ever read a book on your phone?  No. The screen is too small.

What’s your go-to device? iPhone, Android or something else?  Android

How long could you go without checking your phone?  An hour or two, probably.

Do you listen to audiobooks? If you do, what do you do while you’re listening?  I listen while I drive.

Do you like using social media to promote yourself and your book? If so, what’s your favorite platform?  I use both Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is mostly old friends and family. Twitter is where I make connections and meet new people.

Website and social media links:
Facebook: Dorothy Winsor
Twitter: @dorothywinsor
Blog: dawinsor.com


Are you an indie or self-published author?  Do you want to build your author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.