Tips for Writing Book Reviews

It is a gift to authors when you write positive, honest book reviews. A bad review stings as well. Be thoughtful in what you say in your review. If you only slam the book, that does not help the author improve. If there is one thing you can praise even if you did not like the book, be sure to mention it.

In writing a positive review, here are some tips:

Think about and then write some stand out points you gleaned from the book. What section was most valuable to you and why? Did you become inspired to take some type of action as a result of what you read? Did the book provoke emotion in you? Why might someone else enjoy or benefit from the book? Be specific; vague statements of praise are rarely helpful to discerning, prospective readers.

Make sure you review more than one author or Amazon will think you are biased. I know two people who were banned for life from writing future reviews on Amazon because they had not written reviews for more than one particular person. Share the love!

Most reviews can be kept to 2-5 sentences, which does not take much time. You can write a much longer review, but it may not be necessary and be considered a rant. [Read more…]

Favorite Books of 2017

On Goodreads, I read and reviewed 52 books in 2017. Many friends have asked if I would share my favorites of the year. This is a challenging task, but I will attempt to narrow it down to my 2017 best reads for you. To see all my reviews, be sure and see my Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge and connect with me there for ongoing reviews.

Favorites in Fiction:

A Gentleman in Moscow

What a treasure! I was enchanted from the beginning and fully engaged all the way through. The reader on Audible is delightful and brought the character to life. It made driving a pleasure even in heavy traffic to hear the voice of the narrator and the story unfold.

Here are some quotes I enjoyed:

“The principle here is that a new generation owes a measure of thanks to every member of the previous generation. Our elders planted fields and fought in wars; they advanced the arts and sciences, and generally made sacrifices on our behalf. So by their efforts, however humble, they have earned a measure of our gratitude and respect.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow

“if a man does not master his circumstances then he is bound to be mastered by them.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow

“For what matters in life is not whether we receive a round of applause; what matters is whether we have the courage to venture forth despite the uncertainty of acclaim.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow

The Nightingale

My review: I was swept away with this book. Although the book was fiction, it was based on the courage of real French resisters to risk everything to assist and hide Jewish children and fallen airmen during World War II. It was insightful and sad. The author did a good job of bringing to life an aspect of the war that is important-the courage of ordinary people to help strangers even if it meant the possibility of imprisonment or death. Well done! [Read more…]

How to Write a Book Review

Authors, including myself, appreciate honest and positive reviews for their books. You have probably told a friend about a movie that you enjoyed or a restaurant you just discovered. If you take the time to write a review on a book you liked, you are providing a gift to the writer.

Here are some ideas and ways to write a review. I will use my latest book, A Chance to Say Goodbye: Reflections on Losing a Parent as an example, but the principles can be applied to any book.

First, draft on paper or type on your computer your review. Give it a short title that captures the essence of the book.

Think about and then write some stand out points you gleaned from the book. What section was most valuable to you and why? Did you become inspired to take some type of action as a result of what you read? Did the book provoke emotion in you? Why might someone else enjoy or benefit from the book?

You will be asked to give it a star rating, 5 being the best on most platforms. Choose that rating when on the review site.

If possible, post the review on two or more sites/platforms in case it is lost, hidden or rejected on one for some reason.

Here are a few choices for my book as examples:

If you have never written a review on one of those platforms, you may have to establish a brief profile.

You do not have purchase on that platform to write a review. However, the platform might reject your review if they think it is overly biased from a friend. You can state that you bought the book at a live event, book signing, etc. Posting the review in more than one place might also ensure it gets posted to at least one. You may want to check back on the site to see if it appears.

Be sure to write reviews for more than one author. Spread the love! You will definitely be considered biased if you only write reviews for one person.

On Amazon, you will see need to scroll down the page until you see the other reviews. You should find a button that says, “Write a customer review”. Click on that and proceed to the end being sure you “submit” or save when finished.

Other ways you can support the author: [Read more…]

Spirited Woman Book List

A Chance to Say Goodbye: Reflections on Losing a Parent is now featured on Spirited Woman Top 12 Book Pick List.

Check out the many quality books featured on the list!

Spirited Woman connects spirited women everywhere. [Read more…]

A Chance to Say Goodbye: Reflections on Losing a Parent

My latest book is available on Amazon! Also Barnes and Noble!

Throughout the years, Lisa and her dad had a tenuous relationship. In her youth, she was disappointed and angered by his behavior, distancing herself from him and blaming him for the sudden end to their intact comfortable family life. As a young adult and after her father’s sudden heart attack, Lisa was given a second chance to heal their relationship. Over the next three decades they became closer, enjoying time together, including travel. When her dad entered his eighties, and while still raising her own children, Lisa found herself unprepared for his steady health decline. Suddenly, she was thrust into the role of overseeing his care as he began to experience increasing disability and the beginnings of dementia.

Not having prepared for or anticipated such a role, Lisa floundered as she attempted to address his ever-changing situation. The closeness and healing they had achieved was challenged as her father resisted conversations about his failing health and his care, exacerbated by a western medical system that fell short to prepare them for the end of his life.

A moving tribute to a remarkable man and a daughter’s experience of losing her dad, A Chance to Say Goodbye gives rise to reflections about what is important in living and dying.

Purchase online Amazon

Purchase online Barnes and Noble

Praise for A Chance to Say Goodbye:

[Read more…]

Forgiveness

As a human being on this planet, I have ample opportunities to practice forgiveness. Every time I drive my car, I may encounter someone who cuts me off, fails to use their turn signal or drives slowly in the passing lane. Each time I dine out, there is the potential for slow service, a forgotten request or an error in the check. When I email, text or even talk to someone, my words might be taken in a different way than I intended. A stranger or a friend might snap at me because they are going through a rough time and their nerves are frayed.

I recently read the book, The Disappearance of the Universe by Gary R. Renard. The author advocates forgiveness as perhaps the most important thing we can do while we inhabit this place we call Earth. Renard states, “It’s just as important to forgive the little things as the apparently big things. Anything that disturbs your peace of mind is disturbing your peace of mind, and that’s not the peace of God. You have to be willing to forgive everything equally.”

Now when I drive and another driver irritates me, I say, “I forgive you.” I immediately feel better and soon completely forget the incident. It is a relief to let that sort of trivial event go quickly! I also realize that I too have cut people off, forgotten to indicate a turn, butted in line and driven slowly when someone wanted to pass me. I am not a perfect driver!

Today’s political scene is the most polarized climate I ever recall. Blame and anger are predominating the media and conversations on both sides. Many people are throwing their arms up in exasperation and confusion of what to do or think during these unsettling times. When the world seems crazy to me, I narrow it down to my own life and see what I can do differently. Renard states, “The people of the world will never live in peace until the people of the world have inner peace.” [Read more…]

Oneness

A person only needs to browse the newsfeed of Facebook on Election Day or Inauguration Day to see hatred flung at each other. In fairness, I also see some posts that are classy and positive on both sides of the political pendulum. But I see more mud slinging than I have ever seen before. It feels to me like our country is in civil war. Not north vs. south. All corners of our country seem to be dividing.

One of the reasons that I am an independent in terms of politics is the two sides repel me with negativism and intolerance. From the book Oneness, “The systems on which your society is based will, most likely, experience a fundamental breakdown as they are built on a foundation of diminished vibration that cannot sustain itself under conditions that continue to accelerate.”

So what do we do now? We have a new president. My answer is to look at myself first. How do I behave, think and feel? And how do I express my values to the world? How do I interact within my family, with my friends, in my community and with each and every interaction of my day?

Again an excerpt from Oneness, “For your world situation is no more than a magnified reflection of the energy of the collective consciousness. You are part of that group dynamic. And the only way to shift the worldview is to shift the thrust of what you project upon it. Each of you. One conflict at a time. [Read more…]

My Favorite Books of 2016

On Goodreads, I read and reviewed 52 books in 2016. Yes, that is a lot but some were short and many were on Audible while I drove to and from Breckenridge and Denver. I love books and find them as necessary as food. It is challenging to pick the winners of a year. I am going to pick 4 non-fiction books to highlight.

Oneness

Not only did Oneness make the top of my list for 2016, it is in the top 5 of my lifetime. It is very spiritual and requires deep contemplation. It is not for everyone. For those seeking to understand the complexity of your life patterns, why things happen in your life and the big picture, this book will be profound.

Love Warrior

This memoir is brutally honest, real and empowering. I listened to it on Audible and the author did an incredible job describing the story of her life. Some will find uncomfortable because she dares to share what is often hidden. [Read more…]

Is It Wise To Build A Wall?

Berlin Wall and view of "No-man's Land" 1985

Berlin Wall and view of “No-man’s Land” 1985

The Berlin Wall existed from 1961 to 1989. “During this period, around 5,000 people attempted to escape over the Wall, with an estimated death toll ranging from 136 to more than 200 in and around Berlin. In practice, the Wall served to prevent the massive emigration and defection that had marked East Germany and the communist Eastern Bloc during the post-World War II period”- excerpts from Wikipedia.

I personally saw the Berlin Wall twice-in 1979 and 1985. Each time I viewed it, I felt its negative energy. It divided people and caused much suffering because many families and friends were separated from each other. I value connecting people instead of dividing them. I also sensed the fear that was created by the visible guard towers and the machine guns poking out of the openings-armed and ready to kill anyone who attempted to cross the barrier.

Donald Trump would like to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. The proposed cost varies but it is in the billions. There is an initial cost of construction and then there are the costs of maintaining this divider. The erection of massive concrete barriers didn’t seem to serve Germany well and was eventually demolished. I wonder if that money could be used in a more positive way? Might we look deeper to solve the root of the issues that prompted Trump to make this suggestion?

Trump says that this will make us safer from illegal immigration and drugs. Will a wall really stop these issues? Might there be other ways for people and drugs to find their way into the United States? If the people within the US continue to want drugs, they will find a way to get them. Might it be prudent to look at the root of the drug problem for a more effective solution? If someone really wants to enter our country, they will find a way around the wall. There are many methods and points of entry. Can all the ways be controlled?

Berlin Wall Graffiti

Berlin Wall Graffiti

Trump claims his wall will be beautiful and that it will have his name on it. Does he really need his name on another structure? Is this desire more about fame than logic? Is a concrete barrier that divides people anything but ugly even if shiny gold letters spelling “Trump” adorn it? Did the Berlin wall graffiti help the Germans enjoy the wall? [Read more…]

My Favorite Books of 2015

I read and enjoyed many books in 2015, but the standouts are worth mentioning. All my reviews of books in the last several years are on Goodreads. As I looked over my completed reads this past year, I took excerpts from my reviews on Goodreads to share with you my favorites.

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Guest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

My review:

I devoured this book! The story was enthralling, and I rank it as one of the best books I have read this year! I listened to it on audio and Edward Herrmann was such a good reader, I will likely seek out other books he has recorded. The story was beautifully written with such vivid adjectives that the story came to life in my mind. Magnificent!

 

The Signature of All Things

My review:

Absolutely outstanding! I had read Eat, Love, Pray and thoroughly loved it. This book is incredibly different in style and has increased my admiration for the talent of Elizabeth Gilbert’s skill at crafting a marvelous tale. Her writing is excellent, and it was an absolute pleasure to read. I highly recommend it although I suspect it will be most enjoyed by females.

 

Bel Canto

My review:

I loved this book! So rich in feeling and sensory pleasure that I could almost hear the singing. A real treasure.

[Read more…]