Book Review: Story Genius by Lisa Cron



Great quote:  "Don't be afraid if the first attempt is wide of the mark." (Page 52)

Book summary: "In Story Genius Cron takes you, step-by-step, through the creation of a novel from the first glimmer of an idea, to a complete multilayered blueprint—including fully realized scenes—that evolves into a first draft with the authority, richness, and command of a riveting sixth or seventh draft." (Back Cover)

My thoughts:  Don't fancy yourself a writer, but feel you have a book hidden inside you that roaring to come out? Story Genius by Lisa Cron is for you. It's for everyone with a spark of an idea and paralyzing fear that results in blank pages filled with a story of nothing. 

Taking the (wrong) wisdom of how to write a story that was taught by diligent elementary school teachers, Cron turns the ideas around in Story Genius. With clear and insightful steps, Cron guides the readers through a successful writing pattern. And Cron's engaging writing style herself makes her advice a much needed no-nonsense kick-in-the-pants for all aspiring writers. 

Story Genius by Lisa Cron is like a master class in creative writing. After posing questions and waiting for responses, Cron seems to roll her eyes (in a good way) and beg the aspiring writer to dig deeper in order to produce a much better storyline. Cron's process is clear and precise, but also tremendously helpful and surprisingly easy to understand. 


Video: Wired for Story by Lisa Cron at TEDxFurmanU


Rating:  5 of 5 stars


Book Facts:
  • Pages:  280
  • Year originally published:  2016

Purchase on Amazon:   Story Genius by Lisa Cron


 
FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.

Book Review: Service Tails: More Stories of Man's Best Hero by Ace Collins




Great quote:  "The stories are remarkable snapshots of the value of teamwork and imagination as well as devotion to duty and unconditional love and acceptance." (Page x)

Book summary:   "In Service Tails: More Stories of Man’s Best Hero, prolific author Ace Collins introduces us to leaders whose entire lives are wrapped in the banner of service. Their stories are remarkable snapshots of the value of vision and teamwork, as well as devotion to duty and unconditional love and acceptance–stretching the way we see both canine and human potential." (Back Cover)

My thoughts:  Popular author Ace Collins has hit it out of the (dog) park with Service Tails: More Stories of Man's Best Hero. Focusing on service dogs as well as therapy dogs, the canine heroes of this book are sure to bring a smile to any dog lover's face.

The first chapter of Service Tails is a fascinating look at the young man and his dog who were the first follow the notion of a trained service dog. Next is a heartwarming tale of Jamie and her guide dog named Fresca who find love with Wayne and his guide dog Hathaway. 

This book is filled with 12 fun yet inspiring true stories of brave humans who have overcome disabilities and other personal obstacles, all with the help of a canine companion. There is nothing in the book that is too graphic as author Collins does a great job of explaining why the human needed four-legged assistance. 


Dog lovers and admirers of the selfless and special canine spirit will adore Service Tails by Ace Collins!

Rating:  4 of 5 stars


Book Facts:
  • Pages:   224
  • Year originally published:  2016
  • Book Tour:   My review is part of a larger collection of reviews of this title. For more information, please visit LitFuse Publicity.
Purchase on Amazon:  Service Tails by Ace Collins 






Be Sure to Enter the Giveaway:

Fall in love with these remarkable service dogs and their stories of courage, faith, and loyalty in Ace Collins' new book, Service Tails. Their training was intense, their loyalty unquestioned and each step of the way they constantly adapt to better serve those they lead. These unforgettable dogs are more than heroes; they are models from which we can learn how to love and serve unconditionally.

Celebrate the release of Service Tails with Ace by entering to win the Take-Your-Dog-to-the-Park Pack!


service tails - 400 (2) 

One grand prize winner will receive:
service tails - prize collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 30. The winner will be announced August 31 on the Litfuse blog.


service tails - enterbanner
 
FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.

Book Review: Life is Better at the Beach (Bible Devotional) by Christina Vinson

I took my book to the beach!


Great quote:  "Think back to your time at the beach. Saltwater was in your hair, the kids were covered in sand, you took a nap in the middle of the day, and your e-mails went unanswered. There was no striving involved - and didn't it feel freeing?" (Page 86)

Book summary:   "The beautiful four-color book of inspirational photos, Bible verses, quotations, and short writings invites you to escape the buzz of the everyday and into the tranquility that the beach offers. Each section of this book will cover a “beach rule” and encouraging thoughts on how you can incorporate that mind-set or behavior into your daily life." (Amazon)

My thoughts:  Life is Better at the Beach by Christina Vinson focuses on 15 beach rules, designed to remind readers of relaxing times at the beach, but also to focus readers on God's plans and peace.

The "rules" of the book are simple and relaxing beach-themed ideas. From "Breathe in the Fresh Air" (Rule 7) to "Don't Miss the Sunset" (Rule 13), each idea allows readers to draw parallels between a memorable trip to the ocean while being stuck in the hectic stresses of day-to-day living. 

Rule #10, for example, is to "Observe the Tide." With the word-picture of following the rhythm of the tides, Vinson encourages readers to look to seasons of life as they also ebb and flow. "...you will not stay in stay in the same season forever. If you're in a barren and desolate winter, take heart because spring is coming." (Page 108)
Take a life lesson from these Beach Rules:BEACH RULE 1: Wake up smiling
BEACH RULE 2: Shoes are optional
BEACH RULE 3: Soak up the sun
BEACH RULE 4: Look for seashells
BEACH RULE 5: Build sandcastles
BEACH RULE 6: Ride the waves
BEACH RULE 7: Breathe in the fresh air
BEACH RULE 8: Nap often
BEACH RULE 9: Take long walks
BEACH RULE 10: Observe the tide
BEACH RULE 11: Read a good book
BEACH RULE 12: Listen to the crashing waves
BEACH RULE 13: Don’t miss the sunset
BEACH RULE 14: Leave your troubles behind
BEACH RULE 15: Make memories

Much like an actual trip to the beach, the only drawback to this tiny book is that it is rather short and sweet. The book itself is 192 pages, but a lot of that space is taken up by gorgeous beachy photographs and Bible quotes in fancy script font. 

With its glossy pictures and eye-catching fonts, Life is Better at the Beach is an excellent choice as a gift book for those who love the shoreline. This is a quality book with a message that is both lighthearted and uplifting at the same time. 



Rating:  4.5 of 5 stars


Book Facts:
  • Pages:   192
  • Year originally published:  2016
Purchase on Amazon:   Life is Better at the Beach by Christina Vinson  


 
FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.

Book Review: Street of Eternal Happiness by Rob Schmitz





Great quote:  "In many respects, turn-of-the-century Shanghai reminded me of turn-of-the-twentieth-century New York City. The rapid economic growth and the rise of a wealthy class in New York during America's Gilded Age was now repeating itself on the other side of the planet...Yet it was the sudden mix of people that struck me as one of the most obvious similarities. The dialects of Chinese spoken by migrants along the Street of Eternal Happiness from provinces like Sichuan, Hunan, and Fujian were just as unintelligible from one another as Italian, French, and German among the European immigrants who flocked to nineteenth-century New York." (Page 31)

Book summary: "An unforgettable portrait of individuals who hope, struggle, and grow along a single street cutting through the heart of China’s most exhilarating metropolis, from one of the most acclaimed broadcast journalists reporting on China today." (Book Cover)

My thoughts: Today's Modern China is a blended melting pot of dialects and cultures from across the region of China. Unlike the China of the past, with ethnic regions, foods and languages, today's China is ferociously racing towards the future, with hope in the hearts of its billion citizens. As the Chinese clamor for a definition of what modern Chinese will mean for the individual, people are rushing into the cities and industrial centers with an eye towards making a solid future for themselves.  

Street of Eternal Happiness by Rob Schmitz is an engaging and thoughtful look at the people behind the headlines of modern China. Journalist Schmitz trains his eye on just one street and only a handful of people in his quest to explain how the changes the entire world is seeing in China is affecting the "common man" Schmitz encounters down the road from his home in Shanghai. 

In each of the 15 chapters, Schmitz focuses on one individual. He explores what drove the person to the Street of Eternal Happiness (which is Schmitz's own loose translation of the Chinese name for the street where he resides). Schmitz introduces readers to Chinese citizens such as CK, who owns a sandwich shop called "your sandwich" (no capital letters used), while also relying on his musical skills and training on the accordion. I was especially intrigued by a batch of letters that Schmitz details which were from/to Wang Ming and his wife, sister and others. The letters outlined a time of Chinese history in the 1950s when political prisoners were rounded up for being a capitalist. What Wang Ming and his family went through contrasts quite sharply with what modern Chinese are experiencing with their own brand of capitalism that is currently allowed by the Chinese government. 

Street of Eternal Happiness is focused on one small street and just a handful of people, but the story transcends to much more. It's a microcosm of modern Chinese history, with its meteoric rise towards capitalism with while its roots are still distinctively communist. Even more than that, however, Street of Eternal Happiness is about the human condition, about leaving your past behind to find a new future, about people who work hard to provide a better life for themselves, about the human desire to follow their own dreams of the good life.

Street of Eternal Happiness by Rob Schmitz is well written and thoughtful portrait of the complex world of Shanghai, China and the ordinary people.



Rating: 4 of 5 stars


Book Facts:
  • Pages:    336
  • Year originally published:    2016

Purchase on Amazon:   Street of Eternal Happiness by Rob Schmitz 


 
FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.
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