Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – How Do You Choose Your Next Book?

April 27, 2021
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As our options for choosing a book to read have become virtual for the most part, during COVID, we have to decide which one works best for us. The easiest option for many is a book selling site, such as Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble or Kindle, to name a few. There is also the option of utilizing your local library, where you can browse online, order and pick up your selections. And visiting your local bookstore too. Whatever method you use the author will sincerely appreciate your leaving a review. So please do.

It is a matter of personal preference where we purchase our books and in what format. Whether it is print or e-book. As I work on a computer all day for my day job and then work on my laptop most evenings, my preference is a print copy. I enjoy the tactile feeling of weight, smell and texture as well as the physical turning of a page. For me it is better to read without a backlight at night, as it stimulates my brain rather than calming it.

Which do you prefer? Print or e-book?

Why do you make this choice? Is it a practical concern or something else?

I am lucky to have a friend, who gives out books after she and her daughter have read them. I recently visited her and she handed over a huge bags of books! Such a delightful surprise and it was like Christmas lifting each one out to read the blurb. However, it then gave me a problem – how should I choose which one to read first, second, third and so on.

After reading all the blurbs, I categorized them. Ones that did not instantly appeal, others that were soft choices and others that engaged my curiosity. Depending on your specific likes and dislikes, favorite genres and subject matter, choosing can be little easier. So from this stack.

I choose my first three reads as below.

I choose these particular books because two have characters in them that write and the third because I love myths, legends and magic.

This is my review of Saying Goodbye is Easy by Kathie Sutherland

A compelling, complex and enlightening narrative, full of truths, struggles and internal emotions. Every reader will find a connection with the struggles, highs and lows of the narrator. A courageous, heartfelt and revealing story, told in short stories and reflections.
This book will change your outlook on your life and your life’s path.

Please leave a comment on how you choose a book and the last book you reviewed so other readers can find them.

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Why Books Covers Vary from Country to Country

April 20, 2021
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A book cover is an intrinsic part of any book. It is the initial draw for a reader to pick up the book before reading the blurb and deciding if the narrative appeals or not. For any of the best seller author’s you may pick the book in the knowledge you know their writing style and genre. However, have you ever wondered why there are differences in the actual book cover depending on where you live in the world.

Take a couple of Stephen King books for instance. (You all know I love him!) I have the UK and USA versions of two of his books below. The images relate to the narratives but are very different in atheistic.

So why the differences?

Publishers buy the text of a book, not the cover as the cover is the property of the initial publisher. So this means international publishers have a choice:

  1. Negotiate a license for the initial cover or,
  2. Make their own cover.

Publishers generally choose the second option, as it gives them the opportunity to make their own creative choices. This is dependent on their market and the position the book. There may also be factors, such as the size of the market. The UK has a smaller marketplace as opposed to the US, which is a larger geographic area. The book cover may need to be more specific in a larger marketplace. Each editor has their own vision for the book and a good sense of their market, so will use a cover that best serves that genre’s (and author’s) readers. In most cases, publishers are only buying rights to the book for a single country or language, so can tailor make the cover to suit.

The other reason for a change in a book cover is to update it to current atheistic and tastes. A book cover published in the 1970’s would look outdated and tired, so a new look can attract younger readers.

For example: The Stand. As you can see the 1978 original is dark & light fighters, then the TV movie tie-in cover and also an array of other covers. It gives you an idea of the development of a cover for the same narrative.

Do you have older versions of books on your shelf? Care to share?

I did actually change one of my covers. The first one, I created myself (and it looks it to be honest!) The second I hired a designer. I love the imagery.

Then when I wrote the sequel, my designer created a complimentary cover.

You can find these and all my other books here: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01MDUAS0V OR https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Mandy+Eve-Barnett

Do you have a favorite book cover?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Excerpt from The Twesome Loop & Book Review

April 6, 2021
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This is an excerpt from Chapter Forty-One A Secret Place – 2002

As the evening grew darker Gina took Caroline’s hand and led her further down the valley towards a grove of olive trees. Gina told Caroline she had a secret place where she spent many peaceful hours. It was there she found a deep pit covered with wooden planks hidden in the undergrowth. Caroline was intrigued so came prepared with a rope.

  “See here, Caroline, here is the pit as I told you. The wooden lid is held down with a large boulder. Why would someone do such a thing? It could only be a water well, don’t you think?”

  “I’m not really sure but whatever the reason, I am curious to see.”

  “It may not be safe shouldn’t we ask the archeological dig people to look?”

  “If I find some precious artifact or relic I will certainly get James over here. Now don’t worry I will be careful.”

  With one end of the rope tied to a sturdy olive tree Caroline’s excitement grows. She holds a lantern over the void, before lowering herself down slowly. Gina watches as Caroline gradually disappears into the inky blackness.

    The lantern hanging off her belt Caroline’s descent was slow but gradual and her eyes could pick out roots and rocks jutting out of the pit walls. Eventually she felt her feet touch ground and called up to Gina.

  “I’m at the bottom now.”

  “Be careful, is there no water? You don’t know what’s down there.”

Peering through the gloom Caroline suddenly gave out a cry making Gina jump and call down to her.

  “Are you all right?”

 “Yes, I’m fine but I’ve found a skeleton!”

Both girls exclaimed at once “Who could it be?”

“I have no idea but I’m guessing this well has been dry for quite some time.”

Caroline knew she would have to get the Professor down the well with proper equipment; it could be a wonderful discovery. For now she needed to make sure she didn’t disturb anything and made her way back up.

Let me know – were you intrigued? You can buy the book here: https://www.amazon.ca/Twesome-Loop-Mandy-Eve-Barnett/dp/1988723078

Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce
Absolutely loved this book! Great characters, story, tension, discovery and the power of finding your true self. The descriptions transported you to the locations. I thoroughly recommend it. 

My next read is Saying Goodbye is Easy – A Life in Short Stories by Kathie Sutherland.

What are you currently reading? What was your last review?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – False Spring in Alberta and Book Review.

March 23, 2021
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Apologies for my tardiness today.

As I am an acclimatized Albertan (for the most part!) I was enjoying the warm spring weather last week. Being able to walk with Sammie without piles of warm clothes on was such a treat. However, when I opened the front door for our early Monday morning walk – there it was a light dusting of snow. This is what Albertan’s call ‘false spring’ and it can be a see-saw of weather conditions. Warmth and cold, back and forth for several weeks. So out come the boots and heavy coat only to be too hot later in the day when the temperature goes up. The landscape is brown spotted with white and we anxiously await the blush of green in due course. It will come we just have to be patient.

I finished reading Road Tripping, which was a fun book and full of wonderfully eccentric character’s and places. My review:

A great trip around Alberta! Lots of place I have visited on my own road trips too. Great humor, local history and food! A fun read.

I will start Miss Benson’s Beetle tonight.

Miss Benson's Beetle

What are you currently reading?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Sharing a Story of Taste

February 23, 2021
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Although the six week writing course has ended, I still have a couple of stories to share. Using one sense, primarily, we had to write a short story using three images. This story is taste! I hope you enjoy it.

Vomit and Chewing Tobacco   – TASTE

It’s a normal Sunday afternoon for me, sitting in the far corner of the launderette, people watching. Harried women with pesky children, older men or couples, and the singles file in and out, filling and emptying the machines in a robotic manner. Eyes are avoided, conversations whispered, distance kept. They are in close proximity within this humid box but worlds apart. Everyone is watchful of a cycle ending and a chance to grab a dryer. Children given candy to keep quiet but the treats, explode their sugary high, amplifying the agitation and boredom. Bundles of multi-coloured fabric stained, torn and discoloured enter the cylinders accompanied by the granular soap powder or brightly coloured tabs. The dispersed powder hovers in the air, you inhale its bitterness. A child takes a tab and pops it in his mouth, mistaking it for a candy. A mother distracted, until he presents a foaming mouth and the pallor of sickness. A spew of vomit gushes forth, its soapy, sugary and bile contents assaulting the child’s taste buds and the nostrils of everyone in the enclosed space.

An urgent plea for water to wash his mouth out, a dirty t-shirt used to mop up the child’s spilled stomach contents. Taste receptors react to the inhaled odour forcing some to exit the launderette before retching themselves. I place a handkerchief across my mouth, scented with lavender. A trick my grandmother taught me as we walked the old canal path many years ago. The putrid rotting debris small permeated the air and stuck in the back of your throat. I turn slightly to one side to check the VCR is still recording. The little red lights flashes on and off. This event will make a great scene in my next book.

I look up to see a Stetson wearing middle aged man enter, he looks around the crowded room with dismay. He is carrying a large black bin liner in one hand and a cell phone in the other. His black and white shoes are stylish and slick. His mouth is in constant motion, chewing on something. Is it gum? He doesn’t seem the type. He walks to the garbage bin and spits a brown substance. Is that chewing tobacco? I didn’t think people did that anymore. This is too good a chance for research; I have to talk to him. Turning the VCR slightly, I amble towards him, fashioning a half smile.

                “May I help you, Sir?”

                He looks at my grey tinged coat, which used to be white and the name tag.

                “I haven’t done this before, how does this work?”

                “I’m happy to help, follow me.”

                I take him to the farthest end of the launderette and open a machine, instructing him to put his clothes in the cylinder. Then continue to show him the process. I can smell the tobacco on his breath, his clothes, and his hair. It invades my senses, hanging at the back of my throat. It is a combination of nicotine and surprisingly mint. He smacks his lips and a brown glob rests on his lip. I stare, he smiles.

“Care for some?”

“No, thank you but can you tell me how chewing tobacco tastes?”

“Well, firstly, I’m using dipping tobacco, most people don’t know that. As for this one I’m chewing, it has mint in it but others have fruit flavours and the like. It has a taste of its own, sort of a mixture of what a cigarette smells like, and some have a chemical after taste and others a natural one but with a burning sensation where you place it. It makes a tobacco juice inside your mouth.”

“Well, that is interesting. Thank you for explaining it to me.”

“Thank you for helping me with this. Not something I ever do but my assistant went down with the flu so here I am.”

“You have an assistant?”

He leans down to lower his voice.

“Sure, I’m on tour and living on the road means usual stuff like laundry has to be done at places like this. Sally, bless her, normally takes care of everything for me.”

“May I ask what you do on tour?”

“Sure, I’m a country singer, not a real famous one but I make do. We’re just passing through to the city for a show. I can give you a ticket if you want in exchange for your help.”

“That’s very kind, I would like that.”

I hold out my hand to shake his and he places two tickets in my palm.

“Oh, I won’t need two, one is enough.”

“No sweetheart to bring with you, eh?”

“No, it will only be me.”

“Okay then. See you tomorrow night. Use this slip for a VIP pass.”

At home that evening, I review the tape. It captured the child vomiting and the country singer’s entrance and spitting. Both events will make for great additions in my current novel.

In other news I have gained a freelance client and will be ghost writing a business book for them. It is always exciting to start a new project.

Let me know what you think of the story and also what book(s) you are reading. Remember to always leave a review.

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