Monday, October 22, 2018

[Book Review] Stuck In Manistique by Dennis Cuesta

Stuck in ManistiqueStuck in Manistique by Dennis Cuesta
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: As a member of NetGalley, I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

Part 1: From The Book Cover

Near the midpoint of the Upper Peninsula, along a Lake Michigan bend of shore, is the town of Manistique, Michigan. Mark had never heard of Manistique before the death of his estranged aunt, but as sole beneficiary of Vivian’s estate, he travels there to settle her affairs. As Mark tours his aunt’s house for the first time, the doorbell rings.

Days after graduating medical school, Dr. Emily Davis drives north, struggling with her illicit rendezvous on Mackinac Island. She never makes it—on the highway near Manistique, her car collides with a deer, shattering the car’s windshield. Stranded for the night, Emily is directed to a nearby bed and breakfast.

Maybe it’s a heady reaction, the revelation that his aunt, an international aid doctor, ran a bed and breakfast in retirement. Or perhaps he plainly feels pity for the young, helpless doctor. Regardless, Mark decides to play host for one night, telling Emily that he’s merely stepping in temporarily while his aunt is away.

As a one-night stay turns into another and more guests arrive, the ersatz innkeeper steadily loses control of his story. And though Emily opens up to Mark, she has trouble explaining the middle-aged man who unexpectedly arrives at the doorstep looking for her.

Will these two strangers, holding on to unraveling secrets, remain in town long enough to discover the connection between them?

Part 2: Recommendation

I love reading stories set in small towns for a number of reasons and this book delivers: slower pace of the locals vs the hurried pace of visitors, there's only one place to get pies, everybody knows everybody, quaint houses, quiet neighborhoods and the list goes on.

I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this book in it's entirety but I gave it 4 stars for the simple fact that I felt as overwhelmed and disorganized as Mark was upon first arriving at the Manistique Victorian and all these people arriving at his doorstep looking for a room to stay the night. That was quite funny to read as the story unfolds, at least until he got his bearings. Mark, Emily and George are easy to connect to but as for Bear Foot, Yvonne, Peter, Dr. Bulcher, and Dr. Olsen were okay as their presence in the book is required to move the story forward.

I like seeing Emily's character grow some back bone as well as seeing Mark try and work through his phobia and seeing a glimpse of Dr. Olsen in one of the last few chapters of the book. Too bad, that conversation wasn't included.

With the way things ended with Laura (George's niece), Dr. Currant, Mark and Emily, I feel like there's going to be a sequel (maybe?). I sure hope so as I would love to come back to Manistique and catch up with Mark, Emily, Laura and Dr. Currant. Definitely worth reading if you enjoy small towns.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

[Book Review] Indie With Ease by Pauline Wiles

Indie With EaseIndie With Ease by Pauline Wiles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I received this galley from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Part 1: From The Book Cover

Are you feeling overwhelmed by all that’s involved in self-publishing your book?

Being an indie author should be a delight, not a drudgery. Indie With Ease demonstrates how a blend of clear purpose and steady pragmatism will enable you to thrive as an independent publisher. Through simple self-care techniques and a few mindset secrets, you’ll maximize motivation and minimize author anxiety.

With a down-to-earth blend of inspiration and practical steps, you will:
~ Know yourself and your unique writing style.
~ Set authentic, long-term writing goals.
~ Nurture your creativity and protect your well-being.
~ Maximize your energy and work at a pace you can sustain.
~ Limit your marketing to what really works.
~ Prioritize key tasks and ignore distractions.
~ Dodge the most common pitfalls for independent authors.

For a little extra inspiration, you will also find:
~ Contributions and advice from over a dozen experienced indie authors.
~ Bonus resources: checklists, templates, and trackers to jump start your daily routine.

Indie with Ease is your essential guide to well-being, productivity and serenity as an indie author.

Part 2: Recommendation

Indie with Ease by Pauline Wiles is such a pleasant, enjoyable read despite it being a nonfiction book. I just love the author's voice throughout the book. She sounds like a really dear friend. Every section of the book, Introduction and Conclusion included, are all very well thought out, well researched and very well-written. This book is quite impressive. I especially love and appreciate how quotes from other writers are very well blended into the text and transitions well. I also truly enjoyed the self-reflection questions as they were well-thought out and I can see these reflections be quite helpful to indie authors especially if they (authors) dig down and honestly answer the questions. These self-reflection questions should prove to be enlightening.

I have to say though that the .Mobi file I received from the author had a few negatives about it in the sense that there was a lot of conversion errors like these: forg.< (for), dp w Toesn't (doesn't), Goop fgle (Google), knor.< knor., Soh f T buying (So buying), new/> < (If), ad C livocates (advocates), a Cournd (and), Fla C"juttering (Flattering), I JJJJp prowould (I would), RRRR dunder (under), [res>I, a ZZZZZ rnd (and), tr ZZZZZy eat (treat), mindful ZZZZZdness (mindfulness), yo jjjjjjme re your f eaur head (your head), yo sso ntuitiur (your), f s un Trom (from), {e ce my, {ts Treading (reading), Decem {capital ber (December), in zzzzzzzz="19" on (andaimidie (indie), webs">ites (websites), reviehas Twed (reviewed), experhey tiencing (experiencing), goin Wh olo, g (going), pl ained (pained), Vanl w gn="derkam (Vanderkam), some T of these (some of these), readerk, e in rs (readers), thefut Ty (they), /div> (fi. Aside from that, there seems to be 3 sections that were missing text particularly in the section titled Your Support Network, first paragraph; as well as in the 5th paragraph of the section titled Rank These Achievements; and another paragraph is missing in the paragraph that starts off as Multiple s ming in the section titled What are Your Financial Expectations.

Despite these conversion errors, my enjoyment and appreciation of the book was greater mainly because this book is full of really good, practical tips and sound advice for the well-being of the indie writer that is easily implemented and has been advocated by numerous other indie authors like Joanna Penn, Mark Dawson, Nick Stephenson, Derek Murphy, to name a few.

I have to be clear though that this book is not a Writing How-To Guide nor is it a Self-Publishing Step-by-Step Guide. It is also not a book on Creativity though it does lightly touch on the subject. This book is more like a tips and tricks to staying organized, productive, sane, calm, inspired and happy in your indie writing career and by following the author's advice, you can avoid feeling stressed out, overwhelmed and uninspired.

Indie with Ease should definitely be in every writer's reference book shelf that's within reach of their writing desk.

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