10 Tips How to Choose a Good Book

I’m happy to welcome copywriter and content creator Emily Watts to the Power of 10 series. Today, Emily shares tips on selecting books to read.

Here’s Emily!

There’s nothing better than laying back on a sun lounger and reading a good book. But what’s the one book you should read? Mystery, thriller, suspense or romance book? To help you choose, we have rounded up the top tips to find great new books to read for your next vacation.

Tip 1: Questions

You can use ask the following questions to narrow your list of good books to read:

First of all, figure out what genre of book is your favourite: adventure, mystery, or realistic fiction. You can find other popular genres here.

Further, ask yourself, what are you looking for in a good book?

Tip 2: Recommendations

The sheer number of the books makes it hard to choose. But you can ask your friends, coaches, even people on the street, or small bookstores owners for recommendations. Simply start with the question: what’s one book that you absolutely loved and you think other people should read? Generally, you will get excellent recommendations.

Tip 3: Reviews

A book review should help you choose a good next book to read. First of all, you will probably read the bestseller reviews that most publications or monthly magazines recommend paying attention to. This way, you will check out what new books are popular and why. Though, some book reviews are simply created to promote authors, working as a massive ad and online disinformation campaign. So if you actually desire to get a bestseller, you need to know reliable sources.

Tip 4: Book-club

If you are a bookworm, you can join a club with like-minded people. It is a great option to experience unique format of discussions and find a motivation to read new books. You will easily meet new friends who enjoy the same genres as you, and they will recommend interesting books to read and discuss.

Tip 5: Reading list

After research, you can make a list where you highlight the priority books and, also, you can keep adding new items to it. This will help you to review:

What authors or books you’ve already read,

What works you actually want to read.

It’s an excellent way when you do not have much time to search for books you may like or when you don’t know how to choose a book.

Tip 6: e-Books

You can visit the Gutenburg.org or Gutenburg.ca services that offer tons of free electronic books to upload. As well, you can print the books or simply read them from laptop or iPad pro. Additionally, if you are a student, you can check a school/university libraries that could have its own electronic books sites. You can google reading lists and quickly find the best books to read in each category.

Tip 7: Bookstores and libraries

At the bookstore, you can also read some random books overviews and a few pages to clear up the quality of writing. Sometimes, book-store staff or library enthusiasts tend to help pick the correct book. You can start a talk with them to get right recommendations. They will help to choose a book, providing guidance on new and classic literature.

Tip 8: Amazon’s lists

The Amazon website provides the book lists that you can use to find interesting books. Where or how to start? You can check the Hot New Releases page and find popular categories. You will quickly determine the next book to buy and certainly make a long wish list of authors to read on Amazon.

Tip 9: Tools to use

There are plenty of online tools that can help you with your choice. You start with the What Should I Read Next tool. So, the service does what its name says: it offers you overviews and recommends books. This tool will tell you what to read based on what you finished like title or author.

Tip 10: Read Classics

The Penguin’s Classics collection is so impressive and can quickly help you stretch your bookshelves with numerous stories. You can also check the Selected Poems in Penguin Classics and read anything you like. If you love Austen and Fitzgerald, that’s a place to search, but you’ve got to be aware of what’s happening in publishing with the *living* authors.

Bio: Emily Watts

Hi! I’m Emily Watts. I’m a copywriter and content creator from Australia. I personally think a crucial sign of a great book if it passes the test of time. I usually check the books via online search and Amazon and put them in my Wish Lists or similar lists for some time before reading it. This way I can filter out many temporary impulses. When I apply this method, the quality of the books raises significantly. Additionally, I check the Amazon lists as it’s something I actually do on a regular basis. I made my Book folder with all bookmarks I found in my browser. It also includes all the books I wish to check. If you do not have much time and want to write a good book review or essay, you can check AustralianWritings.


Protagonist Interview

Jacquie Biggar is interviewing Gilda Greco, the protagonist of A Different Kind of Reunion.

Drop by Jacquie’s blog. Remember to scroll down and enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway. You could win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Plotter, Pantser or …?

Hundreds of books and articles have been written about the writing process. While it’s worthwhile to read some of this literature, it’s important not to become overwhelmed by all the information and advice.

When I first started my writing practice, I assumed I would be a plotter. After all, I was a left-brainer who had spent thirty-one years teaching mathematics and business education courses to adolescents. I focused on the articles devoted to plotting and attended workshops that featured authors who extolled that particular method.

Continue reading on the Mysteristas blog.

On Tour with A Different Kind of Reunion

Starting tomorrow and continuing until the middle of June, twenty-four of my author friends will host me on their blogs. I will be sharing posts, excerpts, and recipes with wonderful companions who have provided support and encouragement on my writing journey.

I’m hoping you’ll visit their blogs and enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway. You could win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Check daily for link updates.

May 18 – Mysteriastis Blog
May 18 – Nancy Badger
May 21 – Word Wranglers
May 22 – Jacquie Biggar
May 23 – Mrs N
May 23 – Ally Shields
May 25 – Nancy Fraser
May 25 – Carly Jordynn
May 28 – Brenda Whiteside
May 29 – Lois Winston
May 30 – Romancing the Book Blog
May 31 – Anna Dowdall
June 1 – Claire Gem
June 2 – Writers Who Kill Blog
June 4 – Kristina Stanley
June 5 – Sue Berger
June 5 – Sharon Wray
June 8 – Sisterhood of Suspense Blog
June 10 – That’s What I’m Talking About Blog
June 11 – Vicki Batman
June 12 – Sorchia’s Universe
June 13 – Peggy Jaeger
June 14 – Just Romantic Suspense Blog
June 15 – Buried Under Books Blog

Small Town Girl

I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author Janeen Swart to the Second Act Series. Today, Janeen shares her journey from small town girl to multi-published author and her new release, The Hidden Truth.

Here’s Janeen!

Growing up in a small town in Indiana may have been the best experience or the worst depending on your viewpoint. For me, it was the best. My two sisters and I were raised with strict traditional values and rules for the life of a Christian. It was felt that one shouldn’t do anything on Sunday except attend church twice, rest, read your Bible and maybe visit with friends after church. Most of our friends would not have any alcohol in their homes and when the adults visited quite often the topic of discussion was about religion or the politics of the church or the Christian School. Dad was a deacon several times and on the first board for the beginning of the DeMotte Christian School.

Once I left for college, my horizons expanded giving me the chance to see many different viewpoints. I wanted to do it all; visit France (my intended major, French), work at the UN, and travel to see the world. But guess what? After my freshman year, I met the love of my life and we made plans for me to switch colleges and marry after my sophomore year. That meant commuting to finish my classes and moving back to that same small town in Indiana, on a farm no less. However, living in the same area, did not mean going back to the strict life-style of my youth. Our sons were fortunate to grow up within a different focus on Christianity.

Since my career plans had changed dramatically, at first I was at a loss as to what I wanted as my major. My husband suggested teaching, something I had never thought I wanted to do, but as I got into the education classes, it became another love. I taught for twenty-five years and enjoyed every minute. (Oh, is it okay to lie in a blog?) While teaching and reading many children’s books, there was always that little voice that said, maybe I could write books as good as these. But of course, life moves on and there was never enough time in a day with a full time job, being secretary for our business, two busy boys to care for, and various animals, too.

After retiring from teaching at age fifty-five, it was time to move forward with my dream of writing. I took two online courses from The Institute of Children’s Literature and a Children’s Writing Course through Indiana University Northwest. Now I thought I was ready and would soon see my stories in print. Not immediately, but after many rejection letters, A DOG AND HIS BOY, was published through a small Christian publisher. I self-published my other five children’s books using Create Space. During this same time I had joined an online critique group and through that group, my young adult novel, THE HIDDEN TRUTH, became a reality. I submitted it to Soul Mate Publishers and was ecstatic when I received my contract to publish it as an e-book. My experience with the Soul Mate authors has been awesome.

So, coming back to my first statement about growing up in a small, rather traditional town, has it affected my writing? Yes, definitely. I could never write erotica or use sexual scenes in my books. I would feel silly doing that. Not that I haven’t read books with that content and enjoyed them, but for me it’s not a writing option. So, the best advice I can give to those who want to begin to write is be true to yourself, and then, have fun with your writing. Maybe, just maybe, you will become one of those best-selling authors we see featured in the bookstores.


After being struck by lightning while jogging, Clara’s dreams cause her to question the issues of DNA changes, cloning, and genetically modifying food. In her dreams she visits an environmentally perfect world where an angel-like being tells her to watch for a sign.

While Clara searches for answers, her boyfriend, Brian, becomes active in demonstrations against a local biophysics company, named aptly, New Nature. Clara convinces her Science Club to begin a project to confront this company to make them more accountable. She and John, a new friend, vow to do their part, using peaceful strategies.

Brian’s jealousy results in several uncomfortable incidents between the three teens. Things go awry when a few of the Science Club members go beyond simple investigation by breaking into New Nature, then later sabotaging the company’s biosphere.

What’s even more troublesome is the fact that Clara suspects her ex may be the one behind the crimes.

Relationships and beliefs are tested as Clara searches out the truth. In the end, her questions are answered, but at a cost, she hadn’t anticipated.


Where to find Janeen…

Website | Facebook | Amazon | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest | BookBub

Joanne here!

I’m always happy to feature a fellow educator on this blog. Thanks for sharing your inspiring journey, Janeen.

Spotlight on a Southern Romance: CIVIL HEARTS

I’m happy to welcome multi-published, award-winning author Claire Gem. Today, Claire shares the inspiration behind her latest release, Civil Hearts.

Here’s Claire!

Let me begin with a disclaimer: I am not a native Southerner (i.e., born in the Southeastern United States). True, I lived over a third of my life there, but twenty-three years of that was in Florida, which I’ve been told doesn’t count. The two years I spent living in Texas were some of the most enjoyable years of my life, and if I had my druthers, I’d probably still be there. I also lived in western North Carolina for a year, which is probably the most beautiful country I will ever see.

But I’m a Yankee, folks. I was born in New York State.

So how did I come to write a love story set in an abandoned antebellum mansion in the rural South? Well, because I had an emotional connection to the place. And, in fact, I was there.

In the 1990s, we lived in Florida, and some very good friends moved to the Montgomery, Alabama area. We visited them, and fell in love with the beautiful countryside, friendly people, and low cost of living. For a short time, we considered moving our family there. We even went so far as to tour a number of houses that were on the market at the time.

One of these houses was a dead ringer for the Belle Bride, the home featured in my latest release, CIVIL HEARTS.

The house was empty and had been for a long time. It was, quite literally, in the middle of nowhere. That’s why it was cheap, i.e., within our limited budget. It probably hadn’t changed much since it had been built in the mid to late 19th century, except for the addition of modern lighting and plumbing.

It was enchanting. It looked like a time-worn, mini-Tara.

As we toured that lofty ceilinged, musty smelling home, I had the strangest sensation. The house was unoccupied, but I had the distinct feeling the fact was an illusion. There was someone, or someone, there.

We didn’t move to Alabama, and it’s been twenty years since that home tour. I’d forgotten completely about it. Until I had a dream a few months ago, about that same abandoned, mini-mansion . . . only this time, there was a Confederate soldier pounding on the front door.

Civil Hearts was born.

I always try to incorporate some serious, real-life issues into my stories, because I want to touch the hearts of my readers. In Civil Hearts, my heroine is a widow whose husband died from brain cancer, and she carries the emotional scars of having witnessed his rapid decline. My hero is an epileptic, one whose seizures mimic those my heroine’s husband suffered before he died. One whose condition has already cost him one marriage.

But he can’t deny his attraction to the New York City girl who’s just moved into town.

My heroine is a Yankee. Her new home is haunted by the ghost of a Confederate soldier.

You can find out more about Civil Hearts on the Amazon page here: https://amzn.to/2qP17G9


A Haunted Voices Novel by Claire Gem

He’s a sexy Southern gentleman—with epilepsy. She’s a widow scarred from her late husband’s brain cancer. Her new home, an abandoned antebellum mansion, is haunted by a Confederate soldier—and she’s a Yankee.

A widow with no family, web designer Liv Larson yearns for big change. After all, she can work from anywhere, right? Why not throw a dart at the map? She heads out of the big city for the rural South and falls in love as soon as she arrives—with the Belle Bride, an abandoned antebellum mansion.

Heath Barrow loves his country life, managing his antiques store in sleepy Camellia. But he’s lonely, and his condition—epilepsy—makes life uncertain. It’s already cost him a marriage. A new medication and the new girl in town have his heart hopeful again.

Sparks fly between Heath and Liv. But his first seizure sends Liv into a tailspin. Its mimics those her husband suffered before he died . . .

To make matters worse, Liv discovers she’s not living alone. Her challenge? Dealing with a Confederate soldier, one who clearly resents his Yankee roommate—even though he’s been dead for over a hundred and fifty years.


Ms. Gem has skillfully crossed several genres—romance, paranormal, women’s fiction—to produce a well-crafted story that tugs at the heartstrings. I fell in love with both protagonists, Liv Larson and Heath Barrow, and couldn’t read fast enough to find out what awaited them. The alternating POVs delineate the two voices and provide insight into the characters’ emotions as they struggle with past demons and their growing attraction for each other.

The paranormal elements are expertly woven into the fabric of the storyline. At times, I believed I could actually hear the haunting voices and cries of the soldier and his beloved. The ghost animals add to the ambiance.

I recommend setting aside uninterrupted blocks of reading time. You won’t be able to put this book down.


Strong Women, Starting Over
~Redefining Romance~

Claire is a multi-published, award winning author of six titles in the genres of contemporary romance, supernatural suspense, and women’s fiction. She also writes Author Resource guide books and presents seminars on writing craft and marketing.

Her supernatural suspense, Hearts Unloched, won the 2016 New York Book Festival, and was a finalist in the 2017 RONE Awards. Also in 2017, her women’s fiction, The Phoenix Syndrome, was a finalist in the National Reader’s Choice Awards, and her contemporary romance, A Taming Season, was a Literary Award of Merit finalist in the HOLT Medallion Awards. Her latest release, Spirits of the Heart, was a finalist in the 2017 “I Heart Indie Awards.”

Creating cross-genre fiction she calls “supernatural suspense,” Claire loves exploring the paranormal and the unexplained, and holds a certificate in Parapsychology from the Rhine Research Center of Duke University.

A New York native, Claire has lived in five of the United States and held a variety of jobs, from waitress to bridal designer to research technician—but loves being an author best. She and her happily-ever-after hero, her husband of 39 years, now live in central Massachusetts.

Claire is available for seminars & media interviews & loves to travel for book promotional events.

Media Links

Website | Claire Gem Blog | Haunted Pathways Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Introducing Cozy Mysteries

Not too many people have heard of cozy mysteries. To them, the word “cozy” conjures up images of steaming cups of herbal teas, overstuffed chairs, and purring cats.

While those images can exist in cozy mysteries, the sub-genre contains many more intriguing elements. Written in the Agatha Christie tradition, these mysteries appeal to readers who wish to be engaged but not horrified.

In short, a cozy is a mystery that includes a bloodless crime and contains little violence, sex, or coarse language. The crime takes place “off stage” and very few graphic details are provided. Sex, if there is any, is behind closed doors. It is not unusual to read about a couple enjoying a romantic dinner and then turn the page to find them waking up to breakfast.

Continue reading on the This and That Book blog.