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The Bridegrooms April 12, 2010

Filed under: Book reviews — sallyhanan @ 10:56 pm
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Overall impression
I must confess: Because The Bridegrooms was set in the late 1800’s, I was expecting to read the usual frills and clichés period writers seem so fond of using. I should have known better than to have a Multnomah book be a normal read. The Bridegrooms was a delightful concoction of unexpected happenings and tantalizing writing.

It would have been tempting for the writer to move into the Jane Austen style of sarcasm and make fun of people with money and the desperation of single ladies, but Pittman doesn’t do this.

The plot
Mixing a middle-class family without a mother, baseball, music, and a dalliance with the town’s wealthy visitors, Pittman has a unique style of her own that illustrates the richness of the soul and spirit within each of her unique characters. Following the stories of four girls keeps the plot and sub plots moving along quickly, and this is a book that is difficult to put down once begun. Each story within the story is beautifully paced to the end, and even then Pittman doesn’t wrap it all up with a perfect bow—she leaves the readers to use their imaginations to see into the future.

(This book was given to me by Multnomah in exchange for an honest review.)

 

 

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Murders and forensic investigations March 8, 2010

Filed under: Book reviews,Writing — sallyhanan @ 10:14 pm
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I found a wonderful book at the library the other day—Teasing Secrets from the Dead: My Investigations at America’s Most Infamous Crime Scenes by Emily Craig.

Ms. Craig has a background in medical illustration, but she is now the state forensic anthropologist for the commonwealth of Kentucky. Her descriptions of sculpting facial features onto skulls, examining rotting flesh on bones, and noting the impact of hard instruments on a skeleton can help a crime writer tremendously.

“Unflinching, compassionate, and beautifully written. I was hooked from page one.” ~Sue Grafton

While the book is well written, I kept turning the pages wanting to find out more about how the crimes were resolved, not just the information about what Ms. Craig did with the victims’ bones. As writers, though, this might make the book all the more important to us—it can bring our imaginations to the point of constructing new plots that dance among the details of her discoveries.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

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Derailed by Tim Irwin, Ph.D. February 15, 2010

Filed under: Book reviews — sallyhanan @ 10:52 pm
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Any reader can benefit from the message Tim Irwin gives in Derailed: In order to lead and succeed, one must have essential behavioral qualities that help others feel safe, respected, and valued.

Derailed‘s content gives preventative advice to companies that are considering adding new executives to their top tiers of leadership. Because of the value of learning from the failures of others, Irwin gives examples of what former CEOs did, unintentionally, to damage the huge companies they were hired by. It’s not so much that the CEOs were failures; they were very competent people, but they each lacked one of Irwin’s key components for success (authenticity, self-management, humility, and courage). Each missing ingredient and the presence of its evil twin (hypocrisy, impulsive reactions, arrogance, and fear) caused the companies these CEOs led to lose a lot of business.

Irwin’s research and knowledge on the subject of leadership is extensive, which makes this book’s content an interesting read. Irwin even gives tips at the end of his book on how to develop better leadership skills, and he should know—he teaches this for a living.

Derailed is the kind of book that gets me thinking about how all my small reactions to life can play a part in forcing my own dreams off track. It makes me want to be a better woman.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

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Writers’ market guides—which one should you buy? January 2, 2010

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Writer’s Market, one of the standard submission guides writers use, seems to have taken its 2010 edition down a rocky path. Amazon reviewers are not impressed.

“This edition missed the boat completely.”

“This edition is substandard.”

“This 2010 Writer’s Market is the last edition of this book that I’ll be buying.”

“Somebody needed to proof the manuscript before publication.”

Other online book sellers seem to copy the reviews from Amazon, so I am limited in my resources; nevertheless, my thought is that the researchers and editors for Writer’s Market may have taken to resting on their laurels rather than upgrading (or even maintaining) the quality and content of the 2009 guide.

Needless to say, I won’t be buying this year’s Writer’s Market. My choice would be Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents 2010.

Amazon reviewers, so far, have given it four and a half out of five stars, and to top that,

“the twentieth edition has been has been completely revised. The updated layout includes new symbols and callouts designed to give readers the information they need most in a quick and accessible format.”

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

The Search for God and Guinness November 12, 2009

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Stephen Mansfield, the renowned biographer of presidents and dead men, has written a book that might cause the deeply religious to twitch an eyebrow or two. It’s called The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World, and it is a testament to the lives and philanthropy of the Guinness family over the last 246 years.

Faith seemed to play the largest part in the generous actions and career choices of the family, and it was heartwarming to see how one family could give such worth to so many. Even more fascinating is the fact that this has continued for so long.

Stephen got a lot of flack last year for writing a book called The Faith of Barack Obama. This book shouldn’t generate nearly as much shock and denial. It runs like a familiar history book with an easy, swing-door style into the hearts of various members of the Guinness family over the generations. Stephen is a writer who can take history and turn it into interesting stories. I’d give this book a four out of five, only because of the tendency for repetition in places.

The most valuable lesson in this book is the questions the reader can ask him/herself at the end.
What can I create that will change culture for the better?
What legacy of giving will I leave behind?
What value have I given to all I have encountered and had the opportunity to lead?
How can I be enough of an example to my children that the good will continue to touch the generations beyond theirs?

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

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Andy Andrew’s book The Noticer October 1, 2009

Filed under: Book reviews — sallyhanan @ 12:07 am
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I recently signed up with Thomas Nelson to become a book blogger. I agreed to read and review a book in a certain time frame and in exchange I got to read the book—always a good deal for a reader. 🙂 This is my first review.

The Noticer reminds me of Dan Miller’s writing in a way—the writing in this little book is not as good, but the book is an easy read with deep wisdom in its pages. Sometimes it only takes one sentence to imprint destiny.

At times the advice is a bit trite, e.g. the way to get out of depression is to focus on happy thoughts, or that to make a marriage good all you need is the right love language. Andy Andrews uses simple descriptions and simple writing to back up his points, and sometimes that’s what we need. We make life out of big words and big bold statements with our lives, when, ultimately, all God wants is the little simple things, the small seeds that can change lives.

I’m not sure Andrew’s ending was in line with the rest of the book, but it certainly wrapped things up for the reader.

Overall this was impactful. Age-wise, I would recommend it for teenagers and up. It would be a perfect gift for those who are stressed out, worried or angry a lot of the time. Would I buy it for myself? No, but I would definitely leave it in the bathroom or on the coffee table for others to enjoy.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

Reviews and Interviews—Why Bother? July 9, 2009

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Meet Tim George—guest blogger; author of novel in the making, The Source; reviewer; interviewer; and author of: t.e. george, unveiled.

Reviews and Interviews—Why Bother?
A recent e-mail reflected a question more than one person has asked me. “How much do you get paid for your book reviews and author interviews?” the earnest writer asked. Now if that had been my eighty-five-year-old mother, I would have understood. But it was a fellow writer hoping to be published, as they put it, “in the near future.” One of the most valuable lessons I have learned in my writer’s journey is you have to be willing to give more than you take. Seems like Jesus had some things to say about that.

For many years I hoarded books like a squirrel does acorns. There couldn’t be too many on my shelves, or in my closet, or under the bed. You get the picture. But the more serious I have become about writing, the less I want to horde my works of fiction. More and more, I find every way possible to give away a good book once I have finished with it. Why? Because I want others to know the same pleasure I found in the story.

Why I review fiction
That is why I review fiction. I love to read and I want to help other people who love to read. At first I reviewed on Amazon just because. Then I began to offer reviews on my Web site and blog for my friends. And now I review for Fiction Addict because my love for books was recognized by others. But in the end, I review because I read. My aim in a review is not tell you what the book says (that’s why you buy the book). One of my pet peeves is reviewers that can’t resist telling me the whole story, including the ending. Instead, a good review tells you why you should read the book and, on a few occasions why your money might be better spent elsewhere.

Interviews
Several have also asked me how I got into doing interviews. The answer is similar yet deeper. I review because I read. I interview because I write. Interviews with published authors fascinate me. It allows me to join the writer in front of their computer, if you will, and see things through their eyes as they work to bring ideas, characters, and plots to life. We can interact and discuss those characters as though they are a part of the conversation. And in many ways they are.

I was amazed to learn how readily many authors are willing to do an interview. Their time is very valuable and limited so I do everything through email (back and forth several times usually). What I enjoy most is when an author gives me something from the heart. Like when Athol Dickson said, “the novel I’m writing now also has a lead character who is morally perfect. Since I’ve never met anyone like him, he’s been a real challenge to write.” Priceless. Or when Randy Singer responded, “If Christ didn’t wrap up each parable with a neat spiritual conclusion and tie a bow on it, I don’t feel pressure to do so either. I will let the story be king and the spiritual truths will flow out of that.” That comment forced me to change the ending of the novel I am working on—for the better.

More than one fellow blogger has asked me how I get these people to grant interviews. There’s no mystery to it. I asked. The worst they could do is say no. And, if we writers are not thick-skinned enough for that, we surely need to find some other pursuit.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

 
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