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.

Where Did Imagination Go..?

December 15, 2014
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As Christmas gets ever closer the advertising machine goes into overdrive. There are numerous adverts on the television and other outlets for an abundance of toys and gift ideas for all the family. As I do not watch much television, when I happen to catch a stream of adverts I am amazed at the toy choices given. Why, you may ask? Well it is the lack of toys that encourage a child to use their imagination. Everything is themed or a character figurine or a ‘set’ of some kind or other.

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I make the comparison with lego – when I was a child lego consisted of various shaped blocks with which you used your imagination to build a plethora of objects. Today lego blocks are in kits, which make a single themed toy. Where is the imagination element? How can a child conjure up fantastical creatures, futuristic vehicles and unique buildings when the blocks limit their creativity?

To be a ‘whole’ person, we need to explore our physical, spiritual and mental capacities, in essence to find what we love, what we are passionate about. If we are limited in that exploration we, and our future generations, will experience a imperfect life. 

Take a simple cardboard box at Christmas it is the focus of young children while their expensive gifts are discarded. Why does a simple box engage so? Well, because it can be ‘anything’ – a tunnel, a car, a house, and much more because their imagination makes it that way. It is limitless in its possibilities.

Let’s look at guarding our imagination and that of our children.

What is your view on imagination and creation?

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Creative Catharsis…

December 5, 2013
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Catharsis – definition: a feeling of release, purification, or purgation of the emotions (often through art)

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I would love to hear from you all regarding your thoughts on how your ‘art’ effects your emotions or visa versa.

In my own experience, I have always been creative and have embraced numerous art forms in my life. Drawing and painting were my initial loves, which gradually progressed into sculpture and then a combination of the two. I dappled in knitting, crochet,  sewing, oil paints, charcoal and pencil drawings (some which were entered by my art teacher for an exam I have not thought possible), pottery and a few more ‘art and craft’ hobbies.

Writing, apart from a few stories for my children, was not something I considered at all. The reason? I have no idea to be truthful. I happened across a writing group once I emigrated to Canada and thought I could try it out among other offered groups and crafts.

As the saying goes I went from strength to strength after a couple of meetings and became ‘hooked’.

As a free flow writer my subconscious is the main source for the component of my stories. I have found that when I write I feel calm and happy. A day or so without writing finds me irritable and unhappy. That is the extent of my obsession and love of the craft.

This graph is fascinating and I will be studying it in detail later. There is a reason we have ‘body’ issues beyond the obvious after all.

I wish you joy in your writing as we head towards 2014 and another year of words, projects, manuscripts and fellowship.

What are your writing  plans for 2014?

Lurid Tales & Violence…

September 27, 2013
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Lurid – definition: 1. gruesome; horrible; 2. glaringly vivid or sensational

Macabre Base instincts are difficult to confront at the best of times. Unfortunately, we are bombarded with gruesome scenes on the daily news ranging from senseless bombings to murders and violent acts between people. Have we really evolved from caveman mentality? On a global scale, countries are grabbing resources from each other and stock piling weapons – usually in secret or so they think! On a lower level violence has become lessened in its impact with a multitude of games and movies favoring violent acts as the main theme.

How can we teach future generations that there are consequences to such acts when they only see a player resurrected and literally get away with murder? Can we ‘unlearn’ this ‘need’ for violence? Is it possible to show real consequences and ensure our youngsters understand it is make believe unless, sadly the images are on news programs?

Have you written lurid scenes for a novel or story? Care to share? How did you balance the good and evil? Did you become uneasy with the character?

William, a character in my novel, The Twesome Loop, has bizarre sexual practices and I had to think outside my comfort zone for his motivations and desires. Sinking into such a mindset is disturbing to say the least but William had to be true to his personality. His accomplice shares his desires (or claims to!) and supplies William with victims thereby releasing herself from being subjected to his debauchery. Once I had structured William’s base instincts, I was asked what his redeeming quality was. Honestly, I had not thought it mattered if he had one or not, but no-one is all bad. So I had to create a feasible reason for his adult actions. I will not spoil the story by revealing what it was but my fellow writing group members thought it clever and believable.

What’s Your Truism..?

June 26, 2013
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Truism – definition: a self-evident, obvious truth

Do you have a truism in your latest project? It doesn’t have to be as blatantly obvious as good over evil or love conquers all. On reflection I feel my novels have a common link – careful what you wish for!

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Just for fun – some truisms.

Bee to the blossom, moth to the flame, each to his passion, what’s in a name?

Brevity is the soul of wit.

A closed mouth gathers no foot.

A new broom sweeps clean.

Dreams die hard.

Failure is no crime, too low an aim is.

Do you have a favorite?

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