#FridayFiveChallenge

#FridayFiveChallenge : ‘Shelter’ by Frances Greenslade

Welcome to the Friday Five Challenge

biscuits

Rosie Amber’s Friday Five challenge only takes five minutes, so grab a cuppa and join in!

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions on small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

The Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book,

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

Can’t avoid the fact that Christmas is fast approaching – not that I’m complaining, I love Christmas. The staff at the company my husband is working for at the moment are buying extra Christmas presents to donate to the homeless charity Shelter. It’s awful that in this day and age we should have to do this, that people are in need like this, that children have to rely on charity for a bit of happiness this Christmas. But there it is. So I took the word Shelter as my search term this week.

Well, there are a huge amount of survival books. Lots and lots of advice and instructions on adapting your house to survive the end of the world, and building shelters in the wilderness. There are also an awful lot of romances tagged with shelter strangely enough. But I’m not a fan of (fictional) romance and I wouldn’t want to survive an apocalypse (no electricity for hair straighteners) so I scanned through until I saw this:

shelter

Amazon.co.uk   Amazon.com

Price: £4.99 (kindle) £7.99 (paperback) in the UK (380 pages), $7.55 (kindle) $15.41 (paperback) in the US.

Book Description

Maggie’s father is ‘Mr Safety’. He knows the woods of Duchess Creek in Northern Canada like the back of his hand, and he has taught his daughter how to survive, how to find and make a shelter in all weathers, in any conditions. Along with her sister, Jenny, and their mother Irene, they are safe from the outside world. But when an accident at work goes fatally wrong, Irene struggles to look after her daughters alone. Wild, imaginative and unpredictable, she billets the two girls with a family, promising to return once the summer is over and she has earned more money. But the summer turns to winter, which rolls round again and again. When the letters stop, the two sisters realise that they can rely on no one but themselves – but what kind of shelter can two young girls make for themselves?

Reviews

There are eight reviews on Amazon.co.uk, three 5-star, three 4-star and two 3-star. Forty-five reviews on Amazon.com, mostly four star and five star.

Reviewers praise the beautiful, lyrical writing and  the rich atmosphere that the author invokes. It sounds like a slow burner but is another one of those books that, it seems, if you love it you love it and if you don’t then you really don’t like it at all. But the positive reviews outweigh the negative.

Buy or pass? Yet another BUY (my TBR list can’t cope with too many more of these challenges!).

Analysis

I love the cover – it’s bright and very pretty. I have three sisters (I’m the youngest) so I like the idea of a story about the relationship between two sisters. And it’s published by Virago. When I was a teenager, discovering feminism and reading Ms, I would spend hours on a Saturday browsing through the Virago section in the local book shop (yes, I was a very weird teenager). So this is a definite buy for me.

If you want to join in the Friday Five Challenge pop over to Rosie’s blog to find out more.

And read some more Friday Five Challenges:

Cathy found some wonderful photos

Historical fantasy for Shelley

Rosie found a rather odd cover in her search for Black Friday

And if you would like to do something for the 100,000 children who will be homeless in the UK this Christmas (100,000!) then do visit Shelter’s website for more details. Thank you.

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#FridayFiveChallenge : ‘December’ by Elizabeth H Winthrop @rosieamber1

Welcome to the Friday Five Challenge

biscuits

Rosie Amber’s Friday Five challenge only takes five minutes, so grab a cuppa and join in!

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions on small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

The Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book,

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

November is here and we’re on the way to Christmas. Although I love the sunshine, in warmer countries than the UK, I do love this time of year in England, when it’s cold and dark outside and you can stay cosy inside. And I’ve always loved Bonfire Night. So I searched for ‘Fireworks’. I wasn’t sure why this came up at first but the beautiful cover caught my eye straight away:

December

Amazon.co.uk   Amazon.com

Price: £4.99 (kindle) £7.99 (paperback) in the UK (322 pages), $7.70 (kindle) $14.33 (paperback) in the US.

Book Description

Eleven-year-old Isabelle hasn’t spoken in nine months, and as December begins the situation is getting desperate. Her mother has stopped work to devote herself to her daughter’s care. Four psychiatrists have already given up on her, and her school will not take her back in the New Year. Her parents are frantically trying to understand what has happened so they can help their child, but they cannot escape the thought of darker possibilities. What if Isabelle is damaged beyond their reach? Will she never speak again? Is it their fault? As they spiral around Isabelle’s impenetrable silence, she herself emerges as a bright young girl in need of help yet too terrified to ask for it.

By the talented young author of FIREWORKS, this is a compelling, ultimately uplifting novel about a family in crisis, showing the delicate web that connects a husband and wife, parents and children, and how easily it can tear.

(so that’s where the fireworks came in!)

Reviews

There are thirty-four reviews on Amazon.co.uk, fairly evenly distributed between 1-5 stars, which is quite unusual, and seventeen reviews on Amazon.com, slightly more positive here.

The positive reviews really speak to me -this one in particular:

It’s not an action packed read by any means but filled two return commuter journeys into London easily. For maximum effect it should be read when exceptionally cold and snowing. The weather matched the mood of the novel perfectly. I was warmed up however by the characters who felt real – this is a story about the day to day difficulties of a family with a troubled daughter during a month period – December. If you are looking for a relaxing stress free winter read by the fire with a mug of cocoa this is for you. Wrap up warm you’ll feel the cold when reading it! Nothing of any great significance happens, nevertheless it’s a moving story and well written.

Other reviewers say they were completely absorbed by the narrative and praise the skill of the writing. Some of the negative reviews object to the bad language in the book – this really doesn’t bother me. The negative reviews mainly refer to the slow pace and also the main character who they see as spoilt and selfish.

Buy or pass? Yet another BUY

Analysis

The cover is just beautiful and so evocative of winter. I can imagine curling up on a cold day to read this. Although, as it’s set in New York, I may well take it with me to read on the plane when we go there just before Christmas. Reviewers point out the realistic detail and description of December in New York so this could be perfect for the trip. And the conflicting reviews intrigue me, as does the subject matter. I love character driven novels, and a slow pace, if written beautifully, can be as compelling and as absorbing as a book full of drama and conflict.

If you want to join in the Friday Five Challenge pop over to Rosie’s blog to find out more.

And you might find a new book in one of these Friday Five Challenge posts:

Rosie’s in the outback

Shelley’s back at school

Cathy’s feeling autumnal

Liz is looking at architecture

 

#FridayFiveChallenge ‘Munich Airport’ by Greg Baxter @rosieamber1

Welcome to the Friday Five Challenge

biscuits

Rosie Amber’s Friday Five challenge only takes five minutes, so grab a cuppa and join in!

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions on small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

The Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book,

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

This evening I’m off to Munich with my husband, sister and brother-in-law for a long weekend. I’ve never been to Germany so I’m not really sure what to expect but my brother-in-law is extremely keen that the weekend involves plenty of visits to the beer houses, including the famous Hofbrauhaus, so I am growing a little concerned about how well my bladder will hold up. Deciding however that it was a little late to search for books on improving bladder control, I decided instead to search for ‘Munich’. There’s an incredible amount of history to the place and this was reflected in the books on offer. Then I saw this – and it caught my eye for all the wrong reasons.

munich airport uk

Amazon.co.uk        Amazon.com

At first I thought it might actually be a book about the airport, then I squinted a bit and noticed that it declares itself ‘a novel’ under the title. The cover drew my attention because I didn’t think ‘wow’, but ‘really?’. Imagine my surprise then when I saw a quote from the Guardian and then realised it’s published by Penguin.

Price: £4.35 in the UK (269 pages), no Kindle version in the US and the paperback will set you back a whopping $15.99.

Book Description

Munich Airport: the brilliant, haunting new novel by Greg Baxter

An American expat in London, about to enter a meeting, takes a phone call. The caller is a German policewoman. The news she has to convey is almost incomprehensible: the man’s sister, Miriam, has been found dead in her Berlin flat, of starvation.

Three weeks later, the man, his elderly father, and an American consular official find themselves in an almost unbearably strange place: a fogbound Munich Airport, where Miriam’s coffin is to be loaded onto a commercial jet. Greg Baxter’s extraordinary novel tells the story of these three people over those three weeks of waiting for Miriam’s body to be released, sifting through her possessions, and trying to work out what could have led her to her awful death.

Munich Airport is a novel about the meaning of home, and about the families we improvise when our real families fall apart. It is a gripping, daring and mesmeric read from one of the most gifted young novelists currently at work.

Reviews

There are fifteen reviews on Amazon.co.uk, many of which, unfortunately, don’t agree with the blurb. Those that give four or five stars really love it though, calling it moving and intelligent, while the lower star ratings feel the book is boring, dull and pretentious. In the US the book has a different cover – which is just as bad. It has twenty-six reviews; again readers seem to either love or hate it.

US cover

US cover

Buy or pass? Funnily enough it’s a BUY for me (or at least I’ll download a sample).

Analysis

The cover is awful – it drew my attention for all the wrong reasons. But the premise sounds absolutely intriguing. And having had a ‘look inside’ the writing really appealed to me. I wanted to read on when I got to the end of the sample. The book is definitely polarising, but I’m going to give it a go. I really wouldn’t bother though if I lived in the US.

If you want to join in the Friday Five Challenge pop over to Rosie’s blog to find out more.

This week’s Friday Five Challenge includes a bumper historical for Rosie,

a fantasy for Shelley,

and Christmas has come early for Cathy.

 

#FridayFiveChallenge ‘Painting Ruby Tuesday’ by Jane Yardley @rosieamber1

biscuits

Welcome to the Friday Five Challenge

Rosie Amber’s Friday Five challenge only takes five minutes, so grab a cuppa and join in!

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions on small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

The Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book,

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

This week I’ve been determined to get started on my next novel – see this blog post, so as I’ve been immersing myself in art and painting, I decided to use painting as a search time. As I expected, there were a huge amount of search results, but it didn’t take long for this to catch my eye.

ruby tuesday

Amazon.co.uk    Amazon.com

I like The Rolling Stones (in my opinion far superior to The Beatles) and ‘Ruby Tuesday’ is a fabulous song. The cover appealed too, very colourful and eye-catching.

Price: £4.99 (Kindle) in the UK and $7.57 (Kindle) in the US.

Book description:

It is the summer of 1965. Annie Cradock, the only child of exacting parents who run the village school, is an imaginative girl with a head full of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Annie whiles away the school holiday with her friends: Ollie the rag-and-bone man (and more importantly his dog); the beautiful piano-playing Mrs Clitheroe who turns Beethoven into boogie-woogie (and like Annie sees music in colour); and Annie’s best friend Babette – streetwise, loyal, and Annie’s one solid link with common sense. But everything changes when the village is rocked by a series of murders and the girls know something they’ve no intention of telling the police.

In the present day, adult Annie is a successful singing coach in a stifling marriage. Her ambitious American husband, impatient with his quirky wife, is taking a job in New York – but is she staying with him? As Annie struggles with her future, she first has to come to terms with the bizarre events of 1965.

Reviews

Fifteen reviews on Amazon.co.uk – eleven 5-star, two 4-star, one 3-star and a 2-star. In the US, it has been out since June, but there are no reviews which seems rather strange. The book has been published by Transworld Digital in the US (part of Random House) so you would have thought they could have got some reviews going. This seemed a bit odd. On further investigation, I realised that the Kindle version is a new edition of the book – it was originally published in 2003. The 15 reviews on Amazon.co.uk are from various dates ranging from 2003 to 2013. Anyway, the reviews are sound, praising the beauty of the writing, the humour and the skill with which the main character is drawn. Strangely, the three star reviewer feels that the author didn’t have a convincing voice as a ten-year-old, which does contradict the other reviews, and the two star reviewer found the book to be slow to get going.

Buy or Pass? BUY

Analysis

I really like the sound of this and I can’t think why I haven’t heard of it before, although it does look as though it hasn’t been that well-publicised. The kindle version is a bit pricey, but there are plenty of used hardback versions available. The book is 384 pages long though, so I do think the kindle version is worth it. The reviews are solid and so enthusiastic that I think it’s definitely worth a go.

If you want to join in the Friday Five Challenge pop over to Rosie’s blog to find out more.

And take a look at these challenges:

Witches for Cathy

A fascinating historical for Shelly

and mammoths for Rosie!

#FridayFiveChallenge : 30 Days to a Clean and Organized House @rosieamber1

Welcome to the Friday Five Challenge

biscuits

Rosie Amber’s Friday Five challenge only takes five minutes, so grab a cuppa and join in!

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions on small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

The Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book,

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

Inspired by last week’s challenge, I decided that this week I would trust Amazon again and see what it recommended. For some reason that I really cannot understand, this was one of the first books suggested:

clean

Amazon.co.uk  Amazon.com

Price: £3.18 (Kindle) and £5.18 (paperback) in the UK and $4.91 (Kindle) and $7.99 (paperback)in the US.

Now, I’m absolutely snowed under with work at the moment. I’ll admit that my house probably isn’t as clean and organised as it could be. And I’ll admit that kind of stresses me out because I do like a clean and organised house. I’m having to ignore the dog hair and the filthy oven. I haven’t hoovered the skirting boards for weeks. Has Amazon been spying on me? How do they know? Could this book be the answer?

Book description:

Are you overwhelmed by clutter? Ashamed of your home? Wondering where to start tackling the mess and how you’ll find time to do it? Using this 30-Day Plan you can clean and organize your entire house on YOUR schedule.

– The daily cleaning routine will have your home company-ready in just minutes a day
– Easy-to-follow cleaning plans guide you through purging clutter and deep-cleaning every room in your home
– Work at your own pace and fit a deep-cleaning and thorough organizing into YOUR schedule
– Step-by-step instructions and helpful flowcharts will show you how

PLUS you’ll get recipes for 10 of my homemade cleaning mixes so you can make your own cleansers using ingredients you may already have in your kitchen. Here are just a few:

– Bathroom disinfectant spray
– Soft scrubbing cleanser
– Glass and window cleaner
– Furniture polish AND MORE!

When you’re finished the Monthly Cleaning Routine will show you how to keep your home just as clean and organized in less time than you’re probably spending now!

Reviews

Fourteen in  the UK, all four and five star. Forty-five in the US, mostly four and five star, two 3 star reviews. There is one 1 star review which has been given because the customer didn’t receive the book. Oh. So, the reviews are pretty impressive. But something’s holding me back. For some reason I just know this is going to be a PASS.

Analysis

Great reviews. And I clearly need to get organised. So surely this should be a BUY? Hmmm, well. I took a look inside. I love this feature. It’s stopped me wasting so much money on books that look great and turn out not to be.

So – what can this book teach me? How can I get a spotless sparkling house?

Well, apparently I need to make the bed every day. And wipe the kitchen down. Replace dirty towels with clean ones. Really? REALLY? I need to spend three quid to learn this? I know that’s what I need to do. I don’t have the time to do it. I want a magic wand to wave all the dirt away. I think that might cost me more than £3.00

So, unless you’re a complete idiot that doesn’t know that dirty towels need replacing, then this book isn’t going to help.

It isn’t a magic wand. It’s common sense.

At the end of the day, I don’t believe there is a magic formula and I don’t believe that any of those reviewers really didn’t have time to do their housework. They fitted it in somewhere because they had to, because if they hadn’t the children would have all died of some nasty bacterial disease and they would have been wearing the same pants for a week.

I’m a busy woman. I don’t have time for these patronising books. That’s why it’s a pass.

If you want to join in the Friday Five Challenge pop over to Rosie’s blog to find out more.

And take a look at these other Friday Five Challenges:

Rosie’s checking out a dead detective

Supernatural meets Sons of Anarchy for Shelley.

A light read for Cathy

Barb is feeling a bit frustrated

#FridayFiveChallenge ‘Skin Cage’ by Nico Laeser @rosieamber1

Welcome to the Friday Five Challenge

Rosie Amber’s Friday Five challenge only takes five minutes, so grab a cuppa and join in!

biscuits

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions on small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

The Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book,

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

This week I decided to take the easy option and see what Amazon recommended for me. Lots and lots of historical novels, a few Hilary Mantels but nothing that really grabbed me, all a bit ‘same old’. I’m a sucker for intriguing titles and this book looked very strange (in a good way) and definitely stood out.

skin cage

Amazon.co.uk  Amazon.com

Price: £2.60 (Kindle) and £6.57 (paperback) in the UK and $4.01 (Kindle) and $9.64 (paperback)in the US.

Book description:

Daniel Stockholm was fifteen years old when a parasite hijacked his brain, rendering him paralyzed and reliant on machines that run day and night to keep him alive.
For nine years, Danny has been confined within a biological prison with only two small windows, through which to view the world around him; a silent witness to the selfless compassion of some and the selfish contrivance of others.
When the malicious actions of care worker, Marcus Salt, threaten to push Danny farther from the ones he loves, and deeper into the dark recesses of his skin cage, he is left with only one option. He must find a way out.

Reviews

Published in January, this has 17 reviews in the UK – all five star. The reviews seem genuine – of the reviewers that I investigated further, all had reviewed lots of other books. On Amazon.com there are twenty-four reviews, twenty-three are five star and one is a three star. The three star (the only slightly negative review the book has) still says that the reviewer thoroughly enjoyed the book – they just felt something was missing. Pretty impressive and I’m still intrigued.

Would I buy or pass? BUY

Analysis

Ok, this doesn’t sound like a very cheery book. But it does sound different. I’m not sure why it turned up in my recommends but I feel a bit as though I’ve been reading the same old thing lately and this is like a breath of fresh air. I admire the author for tackling a very difficult subject – too many writers these days seem to be following a formula, and there seems to be very little innovation out there, very few people willing to take a risk. So I’m going to give this one a chance.

If you want to join in the Friday Five Challenge pop over to Rosie’s blog to find out more.

And take a look at these other Friday Five Challenges:

It’s zombies for Shelley.

A dark tale for Cathy.

And snails for Barb!

#FridayFiveChallenge @rosieamber1 ‘Sadler’s Birthday’ by Rose Tremain

Welcome to the Friday Five Challenge

Rosie Amber’s Friday Five challenge only takes five minutes, so grab a cuppa and join in!

biscuits

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions on small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

The Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book,

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

September is a very busy month in the Williams household. Not only do we have the usual back to school panic (although it’s back to college and uni now) it is also the month we celebrate our wedding anniversary (21 years this year) and both mine and my husband’s birthdays. It’s actually my birthday today (but the less said about that the better – and no, it isn’t a ‘special’ birthday, got a few years before that yet). And last week it was my husband’s fiftieth.

So, in the spirit of celebration, I put ‘birthday’ into the search on Amazon.co.uk. Lots and lots and lots of books about making birthday cakes (I really don’t do baking – they sell birthday cakes in supermarkets) and lots and lots of steamy romances and erotica. This cover stood out amongst all the chocolate and icing and knickers:

sadlers

Amazon.co.uk   Amazon.com

Price: £4.35 (Kindle) and £8.99 (paperback) in the UK and $6.60 (Kindle) in the US. Possibly a bit pricey for the Kindle version, but it’s 210 pages long, and the price will have been set by the publisher (Vintage) so not the author’s fault.

Book description:

Today is Jack Sadler’s birthday. Or is it? He’s not sure, he doesn’t really care. It might be his last day or the beginning of a new chapter in his life. He must find the key to his old room. He knows the truth about his past lies there and somehow he must get in and confront it.

Reviews

Only 11 in the UK, pretty bad for a writer with such a reputation. Tremain has won the Whitbread novel of the year (for ‘Music and Silence’), the Orange Prize (‘The Road Home) and ‘Restoration’ was shortlisted for the Booker. You’d think her publisher would have managed to have drummed up a bit more of a response to this, her first book. The reviews are good on the whole, although lots contain rather big spoilers so if you’re going to buy it, don’t read the reviews. On Amazon.com there are three reviews, a 5 star, a 3 star and a 2 star. The reviews reveal a lot more about the book than the incredibly short book description, and the subject matter is really dark and could be very unsettling for a lot of people. This is possibly why the book doesn’t have many reviews.

Would I buy or pass? PASS but…

Analysis

I’ve been meaning to read a book by Rose Tremain for ages but haven’t got round to it. Judging by the reviews, I’m not convinced this is the book to introduce me to her writing, although it is a brave subject to tackle. Whoever wrote that blurb needs to look for a new job. There’s nothing about it at all to entice a reader – the final sentence is clunky and it leaves you no wiser as to what the book is actually about. I think I’ll treat myself to one of her other books, ‘Restoration’ perhaps or ‘Music and Silence’. Or both. Well, it is my birthday.

hedgehog

If you want to join in the Friday Five Challenge pop over to Rosie’s blog to find out more.

#FridayFiveChallenge ‘Isabella: Braveheart of France’ by Colin Falconer @rosieamber1

biscuits

Welcome to the Friday Five Challenge

Rosie Amber’s Friday Five challenge only takes five minutes, so grab a cuppa and join in!

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions on small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

The Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book,

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

This week it’s all things French. The weather has been miserable but I’m keeping my spirits up because I’m off to France in eight days (can you tell I’m counting the days off!). And I’ve just finished reading a book set in France (the wonderful ‘The Undertaker’s Son’ by Bev Spicer), have started reading another book set in France (‘a La Mod’, that I bought as a result of reading a Friday Five Challenge post) and I’ve been watching the last week of ‘My Kitchen Rules’ with bated breath (though not at the excitement of the final cook off, but just at the sight of wonderful French chef Manu Feildel). So, my Friday Five Challenge search naturally led to France.

There were lots of books about living in France, but as I’m reading one at the moment, I don’t really need another one. I scrolled and scrolled for ages; some of the books that came up seemed to have very little to do with France but this one looked just my kind of thing.

isabella

Amazon.co.uk  Amazon.com

Price: £3.49 (Kindle) and £8.99 (paperback) in the UK and $5.43 (Kindle) and $9.89 (paperback) in the US. Maybe a little pricey for a kindle book, but it is 299 pages long.

Book description:

She was taught to obey. Now she has learned to rebel.

When Princess Isabella is offered as bride to King Edward of England, for her it’s love at first sight. But her dashing husband has a secret, one that threatens to tear their marriage—and England—apart. As Isabella navigates the deadly maelstrom of Edward’s court, her cleverness and grace allow her to subvert Edward’s ill-advised plans and gain influence. But soon the young queen is faced with an impossible choice, taking a breathtaking gamble that will forever change the course of history.

In the tradition of Philippa Gregory and Elizabeth Chadwick, Isabella is the story of a queen who took control of her destiny—and the throne.

Reviews

Nineteen in the UK, mostly four star, but one 1 star. The one star review says that the reviewer liked the book, but that there were duplicate pages in their copy. Hardly the author’s fault and rather unfair. The other reviews are solid – the writer appears to have done his research. There are 336 reviews on Amazon.com, most four and five star. The lower starred reviews do cite typos and sloppy formatting, but the book description states that the current version has been changed.

Would I buy or pass? BUY

Analysis

I love historical fiction that’s a bit more history than fiction, and I’m a sucker for stories about strong historical women, so this is right up my street. I’ll be taking it to France – and hopefully the sun will be shining. Meanwhile – I’ve got the lovely Manu to keep me going!

manu

If you want to join in the Friday Five Challenge pop over to Rosie’s blog to find out more. See what Rosie choose when she searched for Nightdress!

And have a look at some more Friday Five picks:

Barb’s enjoying the sunshine in Spain and reading about dogs!

Cathy’s already thinking about Christmas.

Liz has chosen a mystery set in the Algarve:

Shelley is looking back on previous Friday Five books from the comfort of a deck chair in Italy (I’m not jealous at all!).

Terry’s looking at beauty tips for those of a certain age.

#FridayFiveChallenge @rosieamber1 ‘It’s Raining Purple Bananas & Other Such Stuff’ by Calum D Robertson

biscuits

Welcome to the Friday Five Challenge

Rosie Amber’s Friday Five challenge only takes five minutes, so grab a cuppa and join in!

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions on small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

The Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book,

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

A couple of weeks ago, fellow Friday Five Challenger Terry Tyler used a random word to find her pick for the Friday Five Challenge (here). Good idea I thought, I’ll try that next time. ‘Think of a word,’ I shouted to my husband. ‘Raining,’ he said – no idea why, but I went with it.

After scrolling through countless books called ‘It’s Raining Men’, this caught my eye:

purple bananas

Amazon.co.uk    Amazon.com

The white background is a bit bland, but I liked the title and the font. But I had absolutely no idea what the book was about.

Turns out it’s a children’s book. Oh well, mine are 16 and 19, so not really the right audience, but I do have nephews of a suitable age, so I thought I’d take a look.

Price: £1.14 in the UK and $1.72 in the US. Not bad.

Book description:

A head full of nonsense from the king of the dorks, put into print not just for bedtime but any time, and for children of “all” ages!

And that’s it. I’m not convinced, and I still have no clue as to what it’s about.

Reviews

One 5 star in the UK. No reviews at all in the US. The book was published in December 2013, so alarm bells are ringing. The 5 star reviewer has reviewed nothing else at all. Hmmm.

I’ve really got nothing to go on, so I had a ‘Look Inside’. There’s just a bit of a nonsense poem, so again, not much help.

Would I buy or pass? PASS (even if my children were small)

Analysis

There’s nothing here to make me want to buy this book. The blurb tells me nothing at all, there are no useful reviews and there’s not enough to go on even with the Look Inside feature. To be honest, I wouldn’t normally have even looked inside. The cover doesn’t really tell me it’s a children’s book in the first place. Disappointing.

Looking for a book? Take a look at these other FridayFiveChallenges:

Between the Lines

Rosie Amber

Barb Taub

Terry Tyler

If you want to join in the Friday Five Challenge pop over to Rosie’s blog to find out more.