Happy St Patrick’s Day – Celebrate Safely at Home with Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Reading Ireland Month 2021
What in the world were we thinking?

Driving an old Class A RV to the coast where I’d signed up for a craft booth to sell my grandfather’s books on Rockaway Beach, Oregon. Too expensive to stay at a park there, we found a cheaper one a few miles south where we parked and shuttled into the Pirate Festival. One of the other booth sales ladies told me about the pirate festival in Oregon when I rented craft spaces in the Yuma Winter Craft Shows. I thought it sounded like so much fun I put in my reservation and after we got home to Idaho planned the trip for the following June for the CE’s and our son’s birthday.

But, hey, it’s the Oregon coast. Can you say R A I N? (Cold…wind)

Arriving in the rain Friday evening, I was a little dismayed thinking about trying to set up our display in the wind and rain on Saturday. I was prepared with boxes of my grandfather’s books (his books regarding sailing often included stories of pirates), a “treasure chest,” trinkets, and pirate scarves. My daughter got right into the whole scene, hand  made hair braiding strings (she even decorated the Jack Sparrow look-alike with one), and we had other pirate related gedunks.

To celebrate the birthdays (son born on my hubby’s birthday), we found a special traditional Irish café and ordered a big pot of corned beef and cabbage. The lady there—SOOO gracious and generous—threw in soda bread for us all. (We bought the cake and candles separately.)

So it is that I remember with fondness the soda bread, though I’ve not done so grand a job as the lady in Rockaway Beach. Just in case, however, that you also have a fondness for traditional Irish Soda Bread, I’ve attached a page here containing a special family recipe from one of my favorite Irish authors, Jean Grainger, who just released Last Port of Call, her first book in a new series she calls The Queenstown Series (as well as a second recipe I’ve yet to try but sounds easy). Jean posted her soda bread recipe a couple years ago in response to requests. Last Port of Call is the #1 Bestsellerin the Historical Irish Fiction genre. Do yourself a favor and check out her new book—my review scheduled on Friday, March 19.

Have a safe and happy March 17! 

©2021 V Williams

Soda bread attribute: Jean Grainger

February Rosepoint Reviews Recap—Hello March!

February Rosepoint Reviews Recap

February was certainly a blast and a half for those of us in Northwest Indiana (NWI)—more snow than I’ve seen since we moved here, at times at least 2’ high both in front and on the deck out back as the wind blew it into great heaps, met by the icicles reaching almost 6’ from the roof line. Hard to believe in global warming with so many successive days of well below freezing temps. Even the dog wouldn’t go out.

We are thrilled to welcome March, which of course starts Reading Ireland Month and as I posted a couple days ago, have a list lined up and working on it already. If you haven’t already signed up with Cathy over at 746 Books, now is the time to get in on her #begorrahthon.

The CE and I read a nice variety of books in February. I’ve settled rather heavily on Thursday to post my audiobook reviews, some made even more great by their narrators, one shelved as DNF this year—my first.

We had a total of thirteen book reviews for February, which included a number of amazing books, including several at five stars. As always, I’ll list my review link below the pictures.

The Spirit of Animal Healing by Dr. Marty GoldsteinDeep South by Nevada Barr Dog Days by Ericka Waller Spring Upon a Crime by ML Erdahl

 

 

 

 

Animal Instinct by David Rosenfelt

Long Range by CJ BoxAn Eye for an Eye by Carol WyerThe Wise Ass by Tom McCaffreytThe Trespasser by Tana FrenchThe Blame by Kerry WilkinsonThis Land is No Stranger by Sarah Hollister and Gil ReavillGhosts of the Past by Mark DownerMainely Money by Matt Cost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Spirit of Animal Healing by Marty Goldstein – a CE review of non-fiction
Deep South by Nevada Barr – an Audiobook review
Spring Upon a Crime by ML Erdahl – my five star review #cozymystery
Dog Days by Erica Waller – a CE review #friendshipfiction
Animal Instinct by David Rosenfelt – my five star review #animalfiction
Long Range by C J Box – an Audiobook review #crimefiction
An Eye for an Eye by Carol Wyer – a five star review from the CE
The Wise Ass by Tom McCaffrey – my five star review—this one zoomed straight to the top of my favorites list for the year. Fantasy action-adventure. This one can also work as a Reading Ireland Month read.
The Trespasser by Tana French – an Audiobook review – British and Irish Literary Fiction—should have been included in the March lineup.
Ghosts of the Past by Mark Downer – a five star CE review – #crimeaction
The Blame by Kerry Wilkinson – #psychologicalfiction
This Land is No Stranger by Sarah Hollister – a CE review – #nordicnoir
Mainely Money by Matt Cost – #mysteries

I also posted a couple articles, one a #guestpost from Ricardo Fayet of Reedsy. Thrilled to have his post regarding Indie Book Marketing Tips. He does an amazing job of noting all the important bullet points I wish I’d known.

Most of the February reviews were from NetGalley including an author request and three were audiobooks.

Reading Challenges

Three new books for my Audiobook challenge, bringing the total to 8 for a goal of between 20-30—Binge Listener.

Ten new books for February bringing my total so far to 32 toward my Goodreads goal of 175 this year.

Historical Fiction – Only one in January—and that was read by the CE.

You can check out my challenges progress by clicking on my Reading Challenges page.

Please let me know if you’ve read one of the above listed books or put them on your TBR and I’m always open to title suggestions.

As always, welcome to my new followers—and those who continue to support the blog through your participation, likes, and comments. You help me grow and keep me going. Thank you!

©2021 V Williams

Rosepoint September Reviews Recap—Ouch! It’s October! (And I’m Not Ready.)

What happened to summer? We here in NWI are being plunged into a premature cold start to autumn.

The trees are turning colors and dropping leaves. I’m not a cold weather person and this portends an early and hard winter. NOT a fan. The garden, late starting, underperforming, and just plain embarrassing this year is no longer trying to fake being a vegetable garden, but the mums are beginning to look good in the flower bed. Hum bug.

I’m finally getting used to the old, old WordPress editor and had forgotten how archaic it was, but it’s either that or unrelenting blocks—blocks for text, blocks for pictures, blah, blah, blah. When I looked in vain for indents and symbols (including the copyright symbol I use at the bottom of my posts), I was told, Indents and symbols are not yet available in the block editor, but it’s being worked on all the time with new features being added on a regular basis.” HUH? They’re not kidding. Anyone else having a problem with their new block editor? Did they ever get indents or symbols added? Between the two, I’ll opt for archaic editor.

There was a mix of seventeen books reviewed, blitzed, or toured in September. If you missed any of the reviews, just click on the links below the graphic.

 As the Stars Fall by Steve N Lee  Song for a Lost Kingdom by Steve Moretti The German client by Bruno Marchio Murder Ballad Blues by Lynda McDaniel Final Second by John Ryder Crimson at Cape May by Randy Overbeck One Good Deed by David Baldacci One by One by Ruth Ware Act of Revenge by John Bishop MD The Body from the Past by Judi Lynn Netflix vs Audiobook - Call the Midwife Watch Her Vanish by Ellery A Kane Back Bay Blues by Peter Colt

The Ninth Passage by Dale O Cloninger (a RABT book tour)
As the Stars Fall by Steve N Lee (author request)
Song for a Lost Kingdom by Steve Moretti (a CE review for Digital Reads Book Tours)
The German Client by Bruno Morchio (a CE review – publisher’s request)
Murder Ballad Blues by Lynda McDaniel (author request)
A Girl Like You by Michelle Cox (for iRead Book Tours – audiobook)
Final Second by John Ryder
Crimson at Cape May by Randy Overbeck MD (author request)
The House of the Setting Son by Nancy Cole Silverman
One Good Deed by David Baldacci (audiobook)
One by One by Ruth Ware
Act of Revenge by John Bishop MD
The Body from the Past by Judi Lynn
Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth (Netflix series-audiobook)
Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder by Tina Kashian
Watch Her Vanish by Ellery A Kane (a CE review)
Back Bay Blues by Peter Colt

Only seven of the above are from NetGalley, while another four were author requests, and the three audiobooks are from my library.

Goal AchievedThe challenges: I surpassed my Audiobooks challenge of 15 (Stenographer level 10-15) now at 18. Also achieved 11 for my Renaissance Reader level of 10 in the Historical Challenge. (I didn’t add Call the Midwife.)

climbing out of hole in the wallNetGalley: Seven this month giving me 69 towards my goal of 75. That should be doable.

Goodreads goals—Mercy! I was three behind my goal of 170 when I realized I’d have to revise my goal for the year to 160 as it was becoming obvious that’d be more of a push than I could accomplish. I’m climbing out of a hole but getting there!

Which of the above have you read? On your TBR?

How are you doing with your challenges? Have you had to revise any? Achieved some? Catch up with my challenges here.

In the meantime, fellow bloggers, authors, and lovely readers, take care, stay safe. Once again I’m hoping that wherever you are, you and your situation is getting better and that you remain successful in staying healthy.

And, as always, thank you, I so appreciate your likes and comments!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint Reviews May Recap–Hello June!

Rosepoint Reviews - May Recap

My claim to fame in May will be that I mastered the instructions for creating a mask out of one of the CE’s pair of cotton socks. No sewing, no pipe cleaners, no rubber string around the ears. There are apparently a number of different and unique varieties of no-sew masks and at least I can breathe with this one (which probably tells me how effective it is). I do not have, however, any denim or canvas, in my remnant box supposedly the most effective DIY mask material. Perhaps you’ve created your own designer mask and if it’s a no-sew version, I’m always open to suggestions.

May is normally the month here in NWI where we sun-starved and chilly folks are ready to grab the shovel and seeds. But it’s been a very slow spring and we’ve literally gone from jackets to tank tops in a couple days–and back again. I did get some seeds in and for Mother’s Day treated to our local nurseries that have opened in limited capacity, so what didn’t manage to cling to the soil that last rain deluge was augmented with a few 2″ starts. Since putting Handsome Husband on a vegetarian diet, we are eating a LOT of veggies and salads around here.

I’ll be happy with fifteen reviews in May, four of which were contributed by that Vicarious Blogger, the CE. You’d think all that help would free me up for more reading, but nay. I spent the time trying to save the garden–several times–hence the time to listen to those audiobooks!

Forgiveness Falls by Kate James
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owen (Audiobook-5 Stars!)
Out of the Red and Into the Black by Shane S Ahalt Sr (A CE Review)
The Secret of Bones by Kylie Logan
Sucker Punch by Jim Carroll (A CE 5-star review)
Curse of the Ninth by Ruthie Marlenée (Author Request Literary Historical)
What You Don’t See by Tracy Clark
Murder by Perfection by Lauren Carr (Audiobook Blog Tour)
Yes Please by Amy Poehler (Audiobook)
Bones of the Innocent by John A Connell (A CE 5-star Review)
An Unequal Defense by Chad Zunker
Kelegeen by Eileen O’Finlan (Literary Historical)
Bossypants by Tina Fey (Audiobook–loved it–5 stars)
Killing Time by Suzanne Trauth (Blog Tour and Giveaway)
Departure by Joseph Reid (A CE Review)

Not all procured from NetGalley, the audiobooks from my local lending library, except the one for the blog tour.

Progress on the challenges: Audiobooks, NetGalley, Historical, and Goodreads–two books behind schedule at 68 of 170. 40%. I’ll have to talk to the man about stepping up his pace! To follow my progress, click on the Reading Challenges page.

Such a dark, tragic period in our country right now and around the world. I hope that wherever you are, you continue to stay safe in the face of CoVid19 and are finding creative ways to cope. Working in my garden(s) and your likes and comments always make my day. And always, thank you new followers!

Stay safe!

Stay Smart, Safe, Home

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Book Reviews and Links on Web Directories–Good for SEO or Backlinks?

Backlink checker and DoFollow links that award SEO link juice?

Book Reviews and Links on Web Directories--Good for SEO or Backlinks?

ACK! My head is spinning! I thought it would be simple…I just wanted to work on my page rank, which according to MOZ is 30. I’d bumbled into MOZ looking for my Domain Authority and into Ahref which posted a free backlink checker. Next thing I know, I’m reading articles on Google cautioning contrived backlinks. And then there are DoFollow links that award SEO link juice. Huh? Link juice? Holy cow, do I need a whole new dictionary? (maybe)

Web Directories

My Ezine Articles logo

Before I really got my blog up and running, I began writing for Ezine Articles. Back then it was a way to drive traffic back to my blog. But the web directory market got into some major trouble as Yahoo quickly usurped them with their own masterful web directories and then was swallowed by the Google whale just as easily. Google algorithms do not like duplicate content or contrived backlinks. I didn’t know I was contriving. I’m pleading the ignorance card.

Big fish east little fish

Ezine Articles covered a number of subjects, one of which was book reviews (and are still online).

I wrote a number of reviews including an article on historical fiction. I was still busy marketing my grandfather’s historical fiction books back then. This article was originally published November 9, 2016 and abridged below.

A Peak Inside Their Lives

Historical fiction is pretty much everything from eons ago through the Civil War, WWII, and the Vietnam War era. There is never a lack of stories on any period of time that captures your interest.

There are some differences of opinion regarding the definition of historical fiction, but according to the Providence Public Library, it is generally agreed to be set 50 or more years previous and written from research. There are as many categories and sub-genres as authors (see my article 10 Amazing Sub-Genre’s in Historical Fiction), although the better known are probably the traditional historical novels that accurately follow an historical event. Historical novels may also include mysteries, romances, or adventures.

Vietnam Era stories can fall into the historical realm at this point, and one of the notable authors, a veteran himself, is Bob Meyer. You may have also read a June Collins’ novel called Goodbye, Junie Moon” about the same time period set in Viet Nam and not wholly fiction. The older folks may remember the scandal she stumbled across and wrote about that led to congressional hearings.

The biography “Calvin Many Wolves Potter,” was penned by his great-great-granddaughter, Elaine Brooks Held. The biography, “Charlie Chaplin-A Brief Life,” was authored by Peter Ackroyd. Ackroyd did a splendid job of painting a picture of Charlie the man (with all his warts), Charlie the actor, and Charlie the powerhouse cinema innovator. While most persons over the age of 30 know the name, few of us are familiar with the impact his life had, not only on the US (his adopted nation), but worldwide, early in 20th Century film technology.

Fortunately, in a period of digital as well as audio downloads, you don’t even have to leave your home to secure a good read anymore and many of these are offered free. The popularity of book stores and printed books are enjoying a resurgence. Libraries and book clubs can still pack them in.

Not sure just how many historical fiction categories there are? Log into Providence Public Library at http://www.provlib.org/guide-historical-fiction-lovers to discover all the genres and sub-genres–some of which you’ve never heard of!

(Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Gin_Williams/1397243)

(Yes, I’m aware the intro sentence doesn’t constitute a canonical link. That’s another whole area I’m stumbling across and another reason I severely cut the above article. There is, however, an excellent post about canonical links posted by Melanie Rockett of the Book Reviewers Directory.

Relevance

Speaking of relevant links, the above directory as well as The Book Blogger’s List would be considered (I assume) relevant web directories for a book reviewer and relevance is where it’s at.

And backlinks.

And SEO.

(Isn’t Goodreads a “NoFollow?”) Free blogging directories? Anyone have any experience with Blogarama? It does not provide reciprocal links. (I can find lists, but many [on a page listing 50 blog directories!] no longer exist.) 

Conclusion

While I remain severely confused over backlinks, SEO, and unsure how to proceed, it would appear that while, yes, those old web directories do not provide the backlinks you are seeking and could actually earn you a Google face slap for duplicating content. The point is relevancy and there are some much newer web directories that if appropriate for your blog, may still be of benefit to link. Are you listed on either of the two noted above? Perhaps you have additional **permanent** blogger directories you’d like to share?

I certainly welcome your ideas and suggestions!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Info Source: Cognitive SEO

Celebrity Book Clubs – Will One of These (Five) Spark Your Interest?

celebrity book clubs

Book Clubs! In particular, virtual book clubs are gaining in popularity thanks to pioneers of the idea such as Oprah Winfrey who made it smart to read again. Coupled with today’s technology and social media, it’s easy to get a line on your next favorite read. With so many influencers out there, where do you go for suggestions or inspiration? What’s trending?

Oprah Winfrey

May pick – Hidden Valley Road

Hidden Valley Road by Robert KolkerOprah’s Book Club is currently reading Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker. This is the true story of a midcentury American family whose six children out of twelve were diagnosed with schizophrenia leading to in-depth DNA genetic research.

The undisputed original celebrity book club that dominated the idea started when Oprah Winfrey began showcasing her book of the month on her wildly successful Oprah Winfrey Show in 1996. Certainly ahead of her time, Oprah selected more than 70 books before officially naming it in 2012. She introduced the book and then featured an interview with the author, boosting sales and the writing career of many authors. Follow Oprah’s club picks at her Instagram account.
Photo – John Phillips / Getty Images file

Reese Witherspoon

May pick – The Henna Artist

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi is a vivid story, “rich and complex.” Read about Lakshmi’s journey from an abusive marriage to popular henna artist in Jaipur.

Rapidly pushing the growing popularity of celebrity book clubs is Reese Witherspoon who started her book club in October of 2015. Reese tends to pick a book with a woman “at the center of the story.” Her book club is active, lively, and begs conversation and participation. She hit social media across Twitter and Instagram, as well as her website, Hello-Sunshine, and has been racking up the fans and followers. I followed.

Emma Roberts

May pick – The Book of V

The Book of V by Anna Solomon

The Book of V by Anna Solomon is also a Good Morning America Book Club pick. (From the Amazon blurb)In Anna Solomon’s The Book of V., three characters’ riveting stories overlap and ultimately collide, illuminating how women’s lives have and have not changed over thousands of years.”

Actress Emma Roberts and her friend Karah Preisss started their book club they called Belletrist. Their book choices are generally written by women and include both fiction and nonfiction choices. They also share photos, videos and interviews with authors. Find Emma Roberts on Instagram.
Photo attribution – Today

Jenna Bush Hager

May pick – All Adults Here 

All Adults Here by Emma Straub

All Adults Here by Emma Straub is also a Today Show #ReadWithJenna Book Club pick. (From the Amazon Blurb) “Emma Straub’s unique alchemy of wisdom, humor, and insight come together in a deeply satisfying story about adult siblings, aging parents, high school boyfriends, middle school mean girls, the lifelong effects of birth order, and all the other things that follow us into adulthood, whether we like them to or not.”

Not an early riser, the Today show is not one I watch. However, the article from NBC.Com notes that Ms. Hager posts videos explaining the book and her reasons for choosing each book of the month. She also posts inspirational quotes from the authors. Catch personable Jenna on Instagram and Twitter. I found this one online at my library. Both ebooks and audiobooks have holds. I’ll take whichever one comes first.
Photo – NBC NewsWire / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

⇒⇒⇓

Andrew Luck - retired Colts quarter-backAndrew Luck

May picks:

Buford The Little Bighorn by Bill PeetRookie pick – Buford The Little Big Horn by Bill Peet

Buford’s giant horns cause him all sorts of problems and even force him to leave his mountainside home, but eventually they make him a hero on the ski slopes.

Veterans pick – The Last Palace: Europe‘s Turbulent Century in Five Lives and One Legendary House by Norman Eisen (Historical non-fiction) The Last Palace by Norman Eisen

A sweeping yet intimate narrative about the last hundred years of turbulent European history, as seen through one of Mitteleuropa’s greatest houses—and the lives of its occupants.

There are men who host book clubs as well, not all are women, and one is a retired football player.

You might have suspected this is also something I don’t watch. Even so, you might know the name of Andrew Luck, “NFL’s unofficial librarian.” The idea came about after an interview in February 2015. Hosts Roger Bennett and Michael Davies “brought up the idea of the Andrew Luck Book Club.” The Wall Street Journal picked it up and soon his mother noticed the hashtag #ALBookClub. He recommends two books for his team of readers, one for the younger crowd (Rookies) and the other for experienced readers (Veterans). Find Andrew Luck at Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
Photo attribute: Wikipedia

Fan Girl of a Celebrity? Following a book club I didn’t find?

Of course, the October 23, 2019 article from which much of this information was gleaned also cited a couple other celebrities which, when I tried to follow the link, either said was inactive or that someone else had taken the helm (Sarah Jessica Parker). I can imagine it would not be easy to continue a book club and have a high-powered career at the same time since I’m retired and find the blog consumes much of my waking hours and won’t be walking any red carpets soon. Also, while several of the above have attractive, interactive sites, they have thousands following them and in turn have followed back less than one-half of one percent. Still, it might be fun…

Has this interested you in checking out their May picks? Following? Will you read one of the above recommended books? I liked the looks (and synopsis) of All Adults Here by Emma Straub. Let me know which one you choose!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Additional info or photo attributes: Eonline.com news

May #TBR – Audiobooks, Indie Authors, Blog Tours, and NetGalley

Is All This Sheltering-in-Place Getting to Me?

I may have gone a bit overboard on scheduling book reviews and failing to leave sufficient time to get my gardens growing. Many of these looked too good to pass up, however, and as always, a wide variety of genres; cozies, literary fiction, legal thrillers, military adventures. I already started the month off with a ghost story, Forgiveness Falls, if you missed it.

May NetGalley Books

(Goodreads links of the above:)

The Secret of Bones
An Unequal Defense
Streel
What You Don’t See
Sucker Punch
Departure (a CE review)
Killing Time

May audiobooks, author requests, and Blog Tours

AudiobooksOMG–have you heard or read about Where the Crawdad’s Sing? This audiobook is phenomenal–beyond gripping. Good thing for earbuds, I listened to it into the night. Absolutely amazing, a #mustread or better yet, the audiobook. The narrator plunks you in the middle of the marsh with Kya. My review tomorrow, Tuesday, May 5th. Audible review of Murder by Perfection by Lauren Carr for iRead Book Tours.

Author Requests:

Out of the Red and into the Black (a CE review)

Curse of the Ninth

Blog Tours:

Kelegeen (Great Escapes)

Killing Time (NetGalley-Great Escapes)

I have high hopes for this schedule. Have you read any of these? Does one of them grab you? Can you guess which one is being made into a movie?

©2020 V Williams V Williams