Monday, 29 June 2015

I can't get that song out of my head....

.....grrrr!  I'm talking ear worms, which I was unaware for ages was the recognised term for them.


This morning, mine is a song from South Park, from the brilliant send up of Game of Thrones trilogy ~ it's not for the easily offended, by the way!  I watched the episode with this in two nights ago, and have been hearing it ever since.  It's funny, and clever, but I wish it would go away.  (For anyone who doesn't watch South Park, it follows an observation that a certain part of the male anatomy is featured in the show more frequently than the plot necessitates).


Usually, though, my ear worm is a song I hate, and they're mostly random, like  some 1970s hit that I thought was total dross even at the time.  Where do they come fromPuppy Love by Donny Osmond is a favourite (not), but I promise not to find a video from YouTube to put on here, lest you click on it by mistake and find yourself with it stuck in your head all day, too....

My most recurring one ever came about during my last job when I worked in the office of a small engineering firm.  At the end of most days I would file away the invoices for payment.  If I so much as laid eyes on one from Bookers Cash & Carry, I'd be hearing this toon for the next two days ~


Time is Tight by Booker T & the MGs ~ funny that it was never Green Onions, which I prefer, but that's ear worms for you, isn't it?!

Recently I watched all four episodes of the TV series Treme, and, thus, the theme tune was in my head on and off for several weeks.  I loved it that song, it was something I always liked hearing.  At first.....!  The theme of Treme is one of those vids that you can only watch Youtube ~ it's fab, and it's HERE, with some great bits of film, but beware.... 

I was talking about this on Twitter the other day, and discovered that my friend Judith Barrow suffers from advanced ear worm, as I do: it's not always music.  Someone else said the phrase 'spring forward, fall backwards' to illustrate the changing of the clocks, which Judith said then repeated itself in her head, over and over, all day.  However, it was not as bad as her worst one, which I'm sharing with you so you can sympathise.


What are your worst???? 


 

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Before I started this self-publishing thing I used to....

  • Read the papers in bed on Sunday mornings and go to the pub.
  • Feel pleased when the phone rang, especially if it was a friend who would want a long chat.
  • Spend more time with my husband (eventually he gave up and got an Xbox).
  • Be thinner.
  • Have a cleaner house.
  • Spend proper time on Facebook, keeping up with friends far away, posting photos, playing Scrabble with virtual friends.
  • Cook proper food every evening.  Now I only get round to chopping vegetables about three evenings a week.  The rest of the time I dispel the hunger with diet coke and coffee, then, when I start to feel shaky, shove something in the microwave or make a toasted sandwich.
  • Go walking in the park most days (see 'be thinner' above).  Yes, yes, I know I still could, but I don't, because I want to get on with the nov, and by the time I need a break it'll be packed with kids coming out of school, and....
  • Not have a permanently tense neck and shoulders - I start out sitting properly but it never lasts!
  • Spend ages writing articles and other general funny stuff to amuse my friends.
  • Be able to watch a television drama without analysing the plot structure and characterisation.
  • Be able to read a book without picking the editing apart.
  • Keep up with a lot of my old friends by email.




I also used to....
  • Drink a bit too much, sometimes out of boredom; didn't matter if I felt a little fuzzy the next day.
  • Know nothing of the joys of Twitter ~ all those people I would never have virtually met!
  • Only read the books of my favourite few well known authors; when I hadn't got anyone new to read I'd just read all Douglas Kennedy/Elizabeth Jane Howard/Susan Howatch/Deborah Moggach all over again.
  • Feel permanently vaguely bored and frustrated all the time because I knew I had something in me that needed doing!
  • Feel bored sometimes, full stop.
  • Worry that I was frittering away the autumn of my life by doing nothing in particular.
  • Have a sister who did the weary commute every day instead of having her own successful proofreading business - it was me doing this that gave her the idea of starting up on her own.
  • Remember when I used to write all the time, (9 novels in the 1990s) and feel a bit pissed off with myself because I didn't do it anymore.  And wonder if I still could.... 
 




Friday, 26 June 2015

Would you BUY or PASS (6) ?

My weekly contribution to Rosie Amber's Friday Five Challenge ~ if you know what it's all about, please go down to the line of green stars to see my choice for this week.  If not, please read on!

The Friday Five Challenge is an interesting exercise for writers ~ it shows the little things that can put potential readers off that click-buy.  We click on a book because the cover appeals to us, but can be put off a purchase by the blurb, the price, or the reviews.

Anyone with a blog can join in ~ here's what you do:

IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier
2) Randomly choose a category
3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which instantly appeals
4) Read the book bio/description, and any other details
5) If there are reviews, check out a couple
6) Make an instant decision: would you BUY or PASS?

 
You can check out others' contributions on the #FridayFiveChallenge (click to see them) hashtag on Twitter

*********

This week I put a favourite subject of mine, Plantagenet Kings, into the Amazon search.  This was the first cover that appealed to me ~ Richard II is a king I know of only through Susan Howatch's brilliant The Wheel of Fortune and the BBC series, The Plantagenets.  This was my choice ~ DEATH KEEPS HIS COURT by Anselm Audley.  Alas, I didn't notice that it was a Kindle Single (a long short story of 78 pages), but my choice was made!

 
Analysis

Cover
Sprang out at me ~ my eye always zooms in on mediaeval type drawings.  Very nicely done, I thought; I like the way the background looks like old parchment or rough sackcloth.

Price
£1.99 ~ a bit pricey for 78 pages, but not too bad.

Blurb
Richard II was young, handsome, and elegant. Last living child of the brilliant Black Prince, he came to the throne bearing the hopes of his people on his shoulders. His court glittered; his tastes were refined; his portraits shone with gold. Regal, composed, aloof, he was the very picture of majesty.
He became a murderous, capricious tyrant. His favourites plotted against his family. He rewrote the laws of England to give himself absolute power. He raised an army against his own subjects.
His subjects deposed him. Twice.


This is the story of the forgotten civil war of 1387, which saw Richard set against his brave, ill-starred uncle Thomas of Woodstock. Of how a boy’s bright promise turned deadly, provoking his nobles to fear, flight, and finally open war. Of how a humiliated King set out on a course of vengeance which would cost him his life and sow the first fatal seeds of the Wars of the Roses.

From royal banquets to battles in the mist, Death Keeps His Court tells a tale of real-life tyranny, treachery and tragedy in the age which inspired A Game of Thrones. 


Makes it sound interesting, if slightly over the top; I can't see how a story such as this could be done justice in 78 pages, and the style is a tad eccentric.  I think the tenuous tie-in to A Game of Thrones is a bit naff.


Reviews
Nine very short ones, three by people who've reviewed nothing or almost nothing else, a few mentions of it being interesting but too short.  It's selling well, ie, it's at #2061 in the overall chart and #1 in three genre charts.  This amused me: one of the 4* reviewers has given classic Victorian comic novel Three Men In A Boat by Jerome K Jerome a paltry 1*; as this is one of the most stunning pieces in the history of literature, I don't rate his opinion too highly!

Would I BUY or PASS?
PASS-ish ~ I certainly wouldn't buy it at 1.99, unless it had a lot more reviews that had something to say other than 'interesting read'.  I would, however, download it via Kindle Unlimited, and probably will do once I've given one of my current ten back, just to see if it's any good.  So it's a half and half, really!



Thursday, 25 June 2015

My Writing Life


I've come across a new book blog on Twitter, called Whispering Stories.  
Click HERE to read about Stacey, who runs it.  She features promotions, reviews, competitions, a monthly poem and other stuff such as her Author of the Week section, Fun Fact Friday and her new series, My Writing Life, in which she interviews writers about just that!

This week she's featuring me ~ you can read it HERE

Thank you, Stacey, and I hope the blog becomes a great success!  Whispering Stories blog is @storywhispers on Twitter.



Friday, 19 June 2015

Would you BUY or PASS? (5)

Rosie Amber's weekly Friday Five Challenge ~ if you already know the rules, skip the next bit and go down to the row of orange stars for my choice.

(It's an interesting exercise for writers ~ it shows the little things that can put potential readers off that click-buy, and it's just quite fun anyway!)

Anyone with a blog can join in ~ here's what you do:

IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES…. 
1) Go to any online book supplier
2) Randomly choose a category
3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which instantly appeals
4) Read the book bio/description, and any other details
5) If there are reviews, check out a couple
6) Make an instant decision: would you BUY or PASS?

You can find others' contributions on the #FridayFiveChallenge hashtag on Twitter

********

This week I put a random word, Oranges, into the Amazon search and this was the first cover that really appealed to me: The Orange Lilies by Nathan Dylan Goodwin.  It's a novella, a hundred pages long.


Analysis

Cover
Artistic, subtle, professional, with a World War 1 theme ~ love it!

Price
£2.32

Blurb
Morton Farrier has spent his entire career as a forensic genealogist solving other people’s family history secrets, all the while knowing so little of his very own family’s mysterious past. However, this poignant Christmastime novella sees Morton’s skills put to use much closer to home, as he must confront his own past, present and future through events both present-day and one hundred years ago. It seems that not every soldier saw a truce on the Western Front that 1914 Christmas… This Morton Farrier novella follows on from book two in the series - The Lost Ancestor.  

Reviews
36 - 28 of them are 5*.  The rest are all 4*.

Would I BUY or PASS?
BUY!  It's a bit expensive for a novella of 100 pages, but not excessively so.  Its only potential downside is that it follows on from a previous book, but I suspect it might read fine on its own and this only made me waver a little.  The review situation is most reassuring; if a book has 36 reviews without even a 3* 'it's okay', chances are it's pretty good.  I love the theme; the first World War and a hint of time-slip - two of my favourites!  About which I'm pleased, as I haven't found a buy since week one.

I love the Friday Five Challenge; three cheers to Rosie for thinking of it, and please do join in if you have a blog and the idea appeals to you.  Just copy and paste the instructions at the top, and stick the #hashtag on when you post it on Twitter - or tag me or Rosie in it (@rosieamber1 @TerryTyler4)




Monday, 15 June 2015

Bored? Lonely? Just log on and order up your next relationship!

*warning: contains pictures of actor Josh Holloway

So, internet dating.  Have you had any experience of it?  It's perfectly fine to admit it, these days.  It is, honestly.  Nothing to be ashamed of.  Doesn't mean you're a loser.  Everyone's done it.  Or is that a claim made only by people who have?  Ah...   

My name is Terry, and I've internet dated.  Right.  I've come out.  Now you can, too.


I decided to write a post on this subject (it was always waiting in the wings) after reading Tom Angel's about same; you can read his HERE.  Because it makes you go 'hmmph' when someone writes a good post on a subject you've been toying with, doesn't it?  Go on, admit it.  Oh, all right.  You don't want to admit to that and internet dating...

I first dipped my toe in the waters of this murky pool in the mid nineties, after the break up of a long relationship.  I just thought I'd give it a whirl, for something to take my mind off the mess that had suddenly become my life.  In those days, your only choice was Dateline (remember those adverts in magazines?), dating agencies or... the 'friendship column' in the local paper.

(Talking of Dateline, wasn't it fun to fill in the form in the name of someone you didn't like, and send it off so that they'd receive their Dateline ideal partner suggestions through the post, preferably when they were having breakfast with their husband/wife?  What?  You've never done that?  Oh ~ no, no, of course, I haven't, either, I've just heard that some people have...)



In that brief period between old fashioned Lonely Hearts columns and the popularity of match.com etc, these 'friendship' columns were quite popular.  I answered a couple of ads; you actually communicated via a PO box number.  With a letter.  How quaint is that?  A friend told me, "if they don't send a photograph straight away, they're ugly."  The first one I met did send a photograph.  He looked pretty hot.  From the side of his face from which the photo was taken.  Alas, the other side made Quasimodo look like actor Josh Holloway.  I kid you not.  The next one was a nutter, and sent me long pleading missives when I said I didn't want to see him again, apologising for getting so drunk on our first date.  It wasn't the alcohol consumption that bothered me, it was the casual revelation that he'd come out without taking his anti-psychotic medication.  Okay, I'm lying about that.  But I think I might be on the right track.

Actor Josh Holloway.  Well, it's gotta be done...

Another friend suggested I might find a better class of lonely saddo in The Guardian.  I exchanged a few letters with a guy who said people often mistook him for Mark Knopfler.  Eventually I managed to get a photo out of him.  All he had in common with the Dire Straits front man was the receeding hairline.

 Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler.  Dig that crazy 1980s sweatband.

After these experiences I went back to my normal method of choosing romantic partners, ie, happening upon men in pubs/at parties and discovering two weeks later that I'd got myself into yet another relationship with a man whose serious emotional baggage/alcoholism/general loser-dom had not been apparent on the first night.  Oh well. 

When next I decided to give this sort of thing a go, it was 2008 (I'd just got rid of another from the emotional baggage/alchoholism/loserdom crew) and everyone was doing it.  My friend Hermione had recently met her new man through Dating Direct (she's still with him, incidentally) - like me, she was a veteran of much romantic folly and couldn't be bothered with starting all over again.  "It's so much easier like this," she said.  "You cut through all the crap; you know you're both on the site because you want a partner, full stop."

Obviously some people who advertise are after something other than a partner; newspapers and those ghastly 'my ex-con uncle got my lesbian grandmother pregnant' type magazines run many stories about lonely women who meet conmen online, or married men who just want a few bits on the side.  My experience, though, has only been of men who are looking for someone with whom to share their lives, or at least a girlfriend for 'now' if not for ever; call me na├»ve but I think this is still why most of them do it.  For every bigamist scam artist you read about in 'Real Life Scumbag' magazine there are 10,000 perfectly nice guys who are just a bit fed up with TV dinners for one.  

 
I went out with four men.  Three I didn't fancy; you know, you sit down with them in the pub and think, oh dear, I don't fancy you at all, so you make the best of the night and go home as soon as is politely possible.  That's after you've been through the half hour of hoping you will start to fancy them once you start talking to them (even trying to convince yourself that you do...).  One I did quite like but didn't fancy me!  Look, when he put in his 'ideal woman' list that he liked size 10 non-smokers, I did tell him that the hand of my size 14 body held a John Player menthol king size approximately 15 times per day.  He didn't say I was a disappointment in the flesh, of course, any more than I did to the ones I didn't fancy.  But I could see that lack of interest in his eyes, not to mention the lack of conviction in the phrase 'I'll call you later in the week'.  When I went to the loo, I wondered if he'd still be there when I got back.  Happily, he was...

.... unlike the chap my friend Francesca met in the Red Lion, Cromer, who left her sitting at a table.  She came to meet me for a drink afterwards and said she suddenly realised she'd been sitting there for about ten minutes... and that he'd taken his car keys...!  Or the one who arranged a date with my friend Jemima, and said after half an hour that he was afraid this meeting would only be a drink after all, not dinner as discussed, as he needed an early night.  At eight o'clock in the evening....  thank you, ladies, for these tales, I managed to work them into my novel Nobody's Fault! (Yes, that was a cheap book plug in an article that's about something entirely different.  I promise I won't do it again.)  Both women just thought it was funny.  At least it didn't waste their time.  Says to me that women are prepared to give the man they don't fancy a chance, whereas for the man it's all about the physical.  No, really??!!  Well, who would have thought it, eh?

A few months later I met the man to whom I am now married (not via Dating Direct!) and thus ended my foray into that side of online life.  Would I ever do it again?  Well, I sincerely hope I won't ever need to, but yes, I think I would.  I prefer to be in a couple than not be (yes, I can admit that!), and I reckon I'd follow Hermione's train of thought; it's so much easier than meeting people the 'normal' way, especially when you've been round the block so many times that the pavement shows the grooves of your tread.  I'd say it's a good idea as long as you have realistic expectations; you are unlikely to find romance with a capital R.  But you might find someone nice to do stuff with, if fun outings are a bit thin on the ground.

My internet dating help list:
  • Be honest in your profile and post a recent photo of yourself; yes, flattering is good, but it should be what you really DO look like.
  • Don't punch either wildly above or wildly below your own weight.
  • The safety thing - meet in a public place, tell someone where you're going, etc etc.
  • Don't expect to meet the love of your life.
  • If you think someone seems as though they might be a bit dodgy, discuss your fears with a friend or two before getting involved.
  • Don't give away any personal details like phone number, address or the link to your facebook page until you know him/her a bit better.
  • For women ~ I know most men aren't keen on endless emailing first, but do get to know them this way as much as possible before meeting up.  My experience was that after only two or three, men would say, okay, let's meet; I suppose they just wanted to see if they were wasting their time on someone they weren't attracted to in real life!  But my extensive research (!) tells me that the meetings that turn into something more lasting are generally between two people who've taken the time to put in the groundwork, if you like.
  • If you have a bad experience (like someone doing a disappearing act), see it as an anecdote with which to amuse your friends, like Francesca did (she's in a very happy relationship now, by the way!).  Remember, it's only ONE person in the whole world.
I think the reason many people are disappointed by their internet dating experiences is simply because it lacks that thrill, the glance across the room when you see someone you really fancy, that is-it-going-to-happen excitement, the mystery, the buzz of the chase.  It's a bit like going for a job interview.  I've actually contemplated handing out my romantic CV ("Reason for leaving: Felt I was in a rut and needed more of a challenge" "Reason this position terminated ~ Temporary contract only, terminated on return of permanent employee") ~ perhaps I'll save that for another post as this one is already getting too long!

I'd love to hear about any of your internet dating successes ~ or horror stories!
 

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Would you BUY or PASS? (4)

Second World War for me this week - if you know all about this weekly feature already, skip to the line of red stars to start reading.

Rosie Amber's weekly Friday Five Challenge!

It's an interesting exercise for writers ~ it shows the little things that can put potential readers off that click-buy

Anyone with a blog can join in ~ here's what you do:

IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES…. 
1) Go to any online book supplier
2) Randomly choose a category
3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which instantly appeals
4) Read the book bio/description, and any other details
5) If there are reviews, check out a couple
6) Make an instant decision: would you BUY or PASS?

********

I actually chose this week's book from a tweet rather than Amazon, because the cover caught my eye - it's the same process, really, as I do click on books if a tweet appeals, so I hope that's okay, Rosie :)

I chose Beneath The Rock by Tommy Birk; I've got a bit of a fascination for all things Nazi and both World Wars.


Okay, here's my analysis:

Cover
Yes, it did its job - the swastika stopped me in my tracks, and I liked the font ~ it's a great cover.  Sinister, professionally done.  Leaves you in no doubt about the subject, too!

Blurb
In This Unique Novel, Tommy Birk evokes the anguish of combat veterans who leave their wars but whose wars don't leave them. He explores their helplessness to stop the strange osmotic process by which their pain passes on to their families. In this passionate and powerful story, Ernie and Gunny Balbach, who had fought on opposite sides during WW2, are now jointed by Ernie's son, Timmy – an equally damaged veteran of the still-in-progress Vietnam War – and live as outcasts at Piankashaw Rock, where they feel safe in the company of other misfits. Ernie and Gunny, sustained by the women who love them, and Timmy, in love with the beautiful but conflicted Maria, all prodded by a mystic priest with his own dark secrets, come to realize they and their families will escape the vicious circles of history and find redemption only when they take on and defeat the evil that haunts them.

Price
£3.07

Reviews
None on UK, but 9 on .com, mostly 5* ~ unfortunately, they're all from people who've never reviewed anything else, or only reviewed one other book several years before.....

Would I buy or pass?
PASS, I'm afraid.  I'm not disputing that it might be a well written and thought-provoking book, but I thought the blurb was too detailed, which led me to think that the book itself might have too much skip-reading potential.  It's at the upper end of the price scale for unknown author Kindle books, but if it had really interested me that wouldn't have mattered.   Yes - it was the description that put me off; phrases like 'strange osmotic process' are not very blurb-friendly, and I am guessing the book might be a tad long-winded; one of those that some will think utterly brilliant, but won't have a very wide appeal.

The last 3 weeks have been all passes - hope I find a 'buy' next week!

 

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

New books and telly bits....


I'm in the middle of writing a new novel at the moment ~ nearly finished the first draft, 114k words long so far ~ and so I've been a bit slack on the blogging front!  Stuff keeps occurring to me that might evolve into a blog post, but none of it has yet (I really must do that one about internet dating, though), so I thought I'd stick it all together in one post ~ two book bits and two telly bits!

Edward of York meets Elizabeth Woodville ~ Elias and Lisa in my new novel!

The new novel 
I'm writing another one taken from a story from history, like Kings and Queens and Last Child; this time it's the Wars of the Roses.  It's a stand alone and not in any way connected to the Lanchester Family of the other two.  This time, it's only based on the story rather than retelling it.  I did start off with the total retell, but it was far too complicated, with too many elements of the original that wouldn't translate into 21st century life.  I got to 30K words in before I accepted that it wasn't working, and completely rewrote - not an easy thing to do!  The working title is The House of York; it concerns only one family.  It's much darker than the family drama/romantic suspense of Kings and Queens and Last Child, with a strain of psychopathic murderous intent (or two) running through it, and the suggestion of sinister happenings from early on!  I hope to publish it in October (though at the moment I am convinced it's a load of talentless garbage that should never see the light of day) (it's a writer thing.....).

 
Get in there quick!
I had a new review for Kings and Queens the other day from a lady called SuzM that amused me.  She said she'd had a similar idea; the reason it made me laugh was that she said "I turn my back for 30 years and someone else goes and writes it".  Nice one, SuzM!  I know what she means.  Three years ago I wrote a novel called The Other Side.  At first, it appears to be the stories of four different women, but gradually the reader becomes aware that the characters are all the same person, living the parallel lives possible if different decisions had been made.  A short while after I published it the wonderful Kate Atkinson brought out her excellent Life After Life, which made me want to shout, "but I did it first!".  Oddly enough, mine has not been so wildly successful as Ms Atkinson's ~ now, I wonder why that is??!!  I'm glad, however, that my paltry offering was published earlier, so I didn't look as though I was trying to emulate such a literary maestro.  And the moral of this story is - if you have a good idea, do it quickly before someone else does it first!

And now... 

Treme



I'm currently watching this excellent HBO show on Amazon Instant Video and highly recommend it!  It's about New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and is made by the same people who did The Wire; the Wikipedia link is HERE.  It's highly acclaimed by those who know their stuff about this tragic time, and the music is wonderful, of course.   Here's a link to the theme song/sequence ~ watch it HERE!


Fans of The Wire will enjoy seeing Lester Freamon and Bunk Moreland in starring roles, with appearances by Slim Charles, Prez, Ziggy and the bloke who played Bubble's anti-drug sponsor/buddy, Waylon!  You can also spot Michonne from The Walking Dead - and Elvis Costello!




Mad Men 

I meant to write a whole post about the final episodes of this prince amongst TV shows, but it never happened.  What did you think?  I loved it!  I found the gradual shift from the optimism of the 1960s to the attitudes of the 1970s so well portrayed, but also kind of sad; I felt nostalgic for the 1960s even as I was watching the way in which Don and Roger and co found the transition difficult as they grew older and less in tune with the popular culture of the time.  

Well done to Peggy for the nabbing the suddenly-sexy-again Stan Rizzo...


....but I couldn't bear what happened to Betty - I thought the makers of the show were saying 'don't smoke, kids, this is what will happen'.  Sooooo sad!  I hoped they'd give her and Don another scene, though perhaps they had their farewell in that secret interlude a series or so back....  Great idea to have Roger finally copping off properly with Megan's saucy mum, but I wished they'd given Joan more than a business to keep her warm at night.  Still, they had to echo the ideals of the time - the early 1970s was, after all, one of the golden ages of Women's Lib, and who better to be its poster girl for the series than the strong-and-independent-but-still-sexy Joan?  


Best of all, of course, was the way in which the psychological car crash that is Don Draper finally embraced the 1970s....  and yes, he cried and hugged too! 


His walking out in the middle of the stifling corporate meeting was one of his finest moments... but don't you want to know what happens next??!  Thanks, Emma, for reminding me about the old 1971 Coke advert being played at the end ~ a reflection of the zeitgeist for the purpose of something completely at odds with it, an inspired choice of ending!  Here's my favourite character top ten, in case you haven't already seen it.

Missing you already!







Friday, 5 June 2015

Would you BUY or PASS? (3)


My contribution to Rosie Amber's weekly Friday Five Challenge!

It's an interesting exercise for writers ~ it shows the little things that can put potential readers off that click-buy

Anyone with a blog can join in ~ here's what you do:

IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier
2) Randomly choose a category
3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which instantly appeals
4) Read the book bio/description, and any other details
5) If there are reviews, check out a couple
6) Make an instant decision: would you BUY or PASS?

 
You can check out others' contributions on the #FridayFiveChallenge (click to see them!) hashtag on Twitter

This week, I put the words 'Chicago Romance' (a random choice!) into the Amazon search.  The cover that attracted my eye was COULSON'S WIFE by Anna J MacIntyre (click title for link)




Analysis

Cover
The cover attracted me in a kind of tongue in cheek way ~ it looks like a 1980s blockbuster (even down to the hair) and is more than a little cheesy, but I used to love those books in the late 1970s and 1980s: Lace, Kane and Abel, Jackie Collins' Chances, etc etc.  I thought if it was well written it might be worth the odd bit of bath-time escapism (yes, I'm brave: I dare to read my Kindle in the bath!).

Blurb
The beginning of the Coulson Empire, 1918:  Mary Ellen’s father didn’t trade her for a house–exactly. Marrying the wealthy and handsome Randall Coulson is not something Mary Ellen wants to do, but being the obedient daughter she agrees to the marriage.
Randall Coulson wants Mary Ellen for one reason–to give him sons. He has no desire to form a bond of love or friendship with his young bride. His own heart is already taken.

A bittersweet story of love, lies and family secrets, taking place during a turbulent period of American history, when the perception of women and their role in society changed in one woman’s lifetime.


It's the first in a series of 5, and states that all books are stand alone - blurb is well written, brief and to the point, and interests me: American history and family intrigue - all good so far!

Price
It's free!  What's not to like?  I didn't actually notice it was free until I clicked on it, by the way.

Reviews
An average of 4.1* over 31 ratings.  Several say that it has not been proofread properly, even down to characters' names changing.  One of the most intelligently written reviews is 1*, and says that the plot is a bit thin, the characters one dimensional, etc.  I looked at the profiles of 10 out of 16 reviewers who'd given it 5*.  They were a little odd - in all cases but one it was the only book or one of just two books they'd reviewed, or the only book amongst a selection of reviews for other products.  (One person had actually reviewed 176 books on 11 December 2014, given them all 5* and described them as either 'interesting' or 'good story' - bizarre!).  Too many of the other reviews were less than complimentary.

*I just looked again and it had another 5* review saying just 'brillent'.  The reviewer has posted about 50 other books today, all of which are also 'brillent'.  Curiouser and curiouser...*

Conclusion
Would I buy or pass?  Title, cover, blurb, price ~ all good until the reviews, but having read them I wouldn't even bother to download for nothing, I'm afraid.  It's a shame, but I have to give this one a PASS. 


 

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Rosie Amber's Beach Reads Tour


Back home and shaking the sand out of your shoes...

Book blogger Rosie Amber has just finished her great feature, the Beach Reads tour.  It lasted for a fortnight, June 1st - June 14th.  Each day a guest blogger gave their five suggested 'beach reads', along with the holiday destination of their choice.

The guest list is made up of book bloggers, writers, editors, proofreaders and general bookworms!  I particularly liked the Day 3 selection by writer and editor Alison Williams; it's HERE.
I also found book blogger Diane Coto's Day 6 selection most interesting; it's so very American and, for me, really highlighted some of the differences between the US and UK.  And we all want to read Shady Cross now! It's HERE

 
My proofreading sister, Julia, is HERE on Day 10, and .... here's ME on the last day, June 14th.  Links to all days and a list of the guests can be found on Rosie's blog HERE