Monday, April 6, 2020

Book Review

Her Father's HouseHer Father's House by Belva Plain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A sad, heartwarming story that will keep you reading into the night. Donald Wolfe, a successful New York attorney, marries the beautiful and captivating Lillian Morris after a short courtship. Soon he finds that Lillian has many secrets and as they come out Donald begins to realize marriage to her is unbearable. By now they have a daughter, Bettina, are divorced, and Lillian has married an older, wealthier man. His visits to his daughter only occur on Sunday afternoons in the park with the nanny, Maria. As Lillian climbs the social ladder she spends little if any time with Bettina. Maria confesses to Donald that Lillian neglects Bettina and cheats on her husband. Soon she is divorced and on to another man. When she is involved in a car accident while coming home from a party, with Bettina in the car, Donald decides to take matters into his own hands. Giving up everything he has, including his identity, he takes Bettina, now two years old, with him as they venture across the country to settle in a small town in Georgia. AS the years go by, Donald, now known as Jim, is constantly looking over his shoulder, as the search for Bettina, now called Laura, has continued. Eventually his past catches up with him. Does Bettina, now a medical school student, return to her mother? Does Donald go to prison and lose the new, wonderful life he has built? You must read the book to find out. It is Belva Plain at her best.

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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Book Review

The Patron Saint of LiarsThe Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the book but couldn't understand the motivation behind Rose. She is the most self-centered and thoughtless character I've read in a long time. Married and pregnant, she leaves her husband because she is unhappy. He does not know she is pregnant with his child. She ends up in Kentucky at a home for unwed mothers, never admitting she's married. The girls there are all single and have been abandoned by their boyfriends. Son (Wilson Abbott) a big, burly, handyman at St. Elizabeth's is captivated by her. One night he finds her wandering in the snow and asks her to marry him. She immediately accepts, although it is clear she doesn't love him. When she gives birth to her daughter, who she names Cecilia, because Son has tattooed that name on his arm, Son is listed on the birth certificate as the father. Cecelia was the name of an old girlfriend of Son's who died accidentally while she and Son were swimming. He begs Rose not to name their baby Cecelia but Rose always does what she wants regardless of others feelings, including Son and her daughter Cecelia. The ending was unbelievable but to say more would be a spoiler for those who haven't read the book. Good writing but strange story.

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Book Review

The 19th Christmas (Women's Murder Club, #19)The 19th Christmas by James Patterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've loved the women's murder club series but this one was a disappointment. It mostly featured Lindsay and her partner Rich Conklin as they spent their days before Christmas hunting down a criminal mastermind who threatened a devastating happening on Christmas eve. The man went by "Loman" and he set up fake warnings for several days to keep the police confused and spending their time in the wrong places. People were casually killed once their purpose had been served. Although no one, including those who did his bidding, has seen Loman, Lindsay is determined to find him. The ending was too simple for a man who was supposed to be as clever as Loman. Why would he set up so many distractions when the heist he was planning could be carried out without the mess he created days ahead of time. Yuki has a small part when she helps free a man wrongfully convicted of murder. The four women do not come together until the last pages of the book. The epilogue was completely unnecessary unless it will lead to another book and had nothing to do with this one.

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Saturday, November 2, 2019

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Book Reviews

As a writer hoping to get sales for my novels, I've often wondered how important book reviews are in the marketing process. I've been fortunate to have some good reviews for the three books I've had published, but I can't be certain they are the reason for any spike in sales I've had. When I give talks at book clubs or senior centers and sell books afterward, I know what generated those sales. When I check my Kindle sales or my publisher publishes the monthly stats, I can only guess what prompted those sales. Recently I was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times. The journalist did a nice job and related well how my career in law enforcement led me to write my mystery novels, even including a picture. My sales spiked so greatly I wished I could have one of these interviews every month.

I'm often contacted by book reviewers wishing to review one of my books, usually for a cost. Kirkus will review books and they are considered an industry gold standard, but their charge is exorbitant. Spending hundreds of dollars for a book review which may, or may not, generate a few sales does not seem cost-effective. I've used NetGalley but the process only resulted in one very good review. Another was promised but has yet to be seen.

I'd be interested in the experiences you've had with book reviews and what you'd recommend.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

A Major Move

After almost 35 years in a house I loved, I've moved to a senior community seven miles away. It wasn't a spur-of-the-moment decision. My husband and I had been on the waiting list for five years as the new development was being built.  Periodic meetings with updates kept us excited and interested. So many amenities! We could hardly wait. Although we're both in good health and active, we wanted to make a decision for our future before a possible health crisis forced us to make one. This seemed like the perfect choice. We would live independently in our own "garden terrace" condo, but would have long term care available if we ever needed it.

Still, when the time came to actually move, the fantasy became a reality, and the transition wasn't easy. Locking the door behind me in the home we were leaving brought tears to my eyes. As I scanned the empty rooms, years of memories danced before me. The first night in our new place, surrounded by packing boxes, I wondered if we'd made a mistake. As we slowly settled into our new home, smaller and single story, and began to meet our new neighbors, we started to feel comfortable. Now, a few weeks into our new environment, it feels like home. Talking to other residents, also scaling down, we learned they all had the same twinge of sadness during their transition from a familiar place to a new one. Yet, we all feel we made the right decision. Change isn't easy, even when you have planned for it. One thing we're certain of now, we'll never move again!

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