Becoming Someone By Anne Goodwin [Book Review – Blog Tour]

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Book Review: Becoming Somone by Anne Goodwin | Blog Tour | Short Story Anthology | Fiction | Book Blogging | RachelPoli.com

I received an ARC from the author.

Summary:

What shapes the way we see ourselves?

An administrator is forced into early retirement; a busy doctor needs a break. A girl discovers her sexuality; an older man explores a new direction for his. An estate agent seeks adventure beyond marriage; a photojournalist retreats from an overwhelming world. A woman reduces her carbon footprint; a woman embarks on a transatlantic affair. A widow refuses to let her past trauma become public property; another marks her husband’s passing in style.

Thought-provoking, playful and poignant, these 42 short stories address identity from different angles, examining the characters’ sense of self at various points in their lives. What does it mean to be a partner, parent, child, sibling, friend? How important is work, culture, race, religion, nationality, class? Does our body, sexuality, gender or age determine who we are?

Is identity a given or can we choose the someone we become?

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comI absolutely love the cover. The colors are so pretty together, the font of the title is simple but makes itself known, and the birds have a sense of symbolism to them. This cover was well done.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comI enjoy short story collections. I love seeing different perspectives from different characters and this was no different. I’ve enjoyed Anne Goodwin’s work in the past and didn’t want to pass up this opportunity to read her latest.

Plot | RachelPoli.comThe plots vary from story to story and they’re very different from one another. There are a few that have similar themes, but each story is unique from the one before it and they were all interesting backgrounds.

Characters | RachelPoli.comAs the title and summary suggests, each of these stories showcase the characters “becoming someone.” Everyone goes through their own struggles and battles and we all have good times and bad times. The characters in these stories had their own troubles to deal with and life kept moving on for them. Some were easier to get through than others, but the characters were becoming their own within their short tales.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This is a collection of 42 short stories and no two are the same. The writing style for each differed as well, depending on the character. The POV varied and there was even one story where the narrator spoke in first person and wouldn’t give their name. It kept the book interesting and made me wonder what sort of story and character would await me on the next page. Overall, they were all well written.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis book is well written and is a good length at nearly 300 pages. There are definitely some stories that I enjoyed more than others, but they were all an experience nonetheless.

Becoming Someone by Anne Goodwin gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Loitering with a raspberry milk-shake in yet another coffee-bar, she was afforded multiple glimpses of men with flowing golden curls, but none adorning the head of her prince charming.” -Anne Goodwin, Becoming Someone

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Anne Goodwin

Anne Goodwin’s debut novel, Sugar and Snails was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Her second novel, Underneath, was published in 2017. Alongside her identity as a writer, she’ll admit to being a sociable introvert; recovering psychologist; voracious reader; slug slayer; struggling soprano; and tramper of moors.

Website | Twitter | Amazon Author Page | Amazon Inspired Quill Page | Facebook Book Launch

Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin | Blog Tour | Book Review | Becoming Someone | RachelPoli.comCheck out Sugar and Snails: My debut novel is discounted to 99p or equivalent (Kindle version) throughout November viewbook.at/SugarandSnails

Blog Tour | Becoming Somone by Anne Goodwin | Book Blogging | Book Review | Short Story Collection | RachelPoli.com

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Meet Anne Goodwin, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome Anne Goodwin to my blog!

Anne Goodwin, Author

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a book blogger and author of over seventy published short stories and two novels in the genre of literary-commercial / accessible literary fiction. I’m interested in themes of identity, mental health and how the past influences the present, but mostly I aim to write fiction that people will want to read. My first novel, Sugar and Snails, about a woman who has kept her past identity secret for thirty years was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. My second, Underneath, about a man who thinks he can resolve a relationship crisis by keeping a woman captive in a cellar, is published this week.

How long have you been writing for?

I’ve been secretly scribbling since early childhood, but have been writing seriously – by which I mean editing in response to feedback – for about fifteen years. I had my first short fiction publication ten years ago and my first novel almost two years ago.

What is your writing process like?

A chaotic mélange of dazzling insights and hard slog.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

I don’t have a routine, but I do have a sense of what’s most productive for me. When it works well, I knuckle down to whatever on my mental to-do list most fits my mood. Other days, I’m either overwhelmed by a surfeit of ideas or constantly distracted by Twitter or the need to hang out another load of laundry.

What motivates you to write?

I suppose it started as an attempt to make sense of things I couldn’t talk about, either because they were too painful or because, in my family of origin, freedom of thought was discouraged. For many years, when I was concentrating on my career, I wrote very little fiction but now it’s an extremely enjoyable addiction. I fear my head would burst if I didn’t somehow get the chatter of my characters out of my head! And, of course, it’s lovely now that I’m building a supportive band of readers who like my stuff.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

Mmm, check it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke?

Are you currently working on anything new?

I’m always working on something. It’s still a long way to go but I’m hoping the mess of disjointed scenes about a brother and sister separated for over fifty years while she’s in a mental hospital will eventually come together well enough to be my third novel. I’m also assembling a collection of short stories around the theme of identity to fill the gap before my next novel’s ready.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

I worked for twenty-five years as a clinical psychologist and, even though it’s a good few years since I left it, I still perceive that as my “proper” career. When the weather’s good I sometimes think I’d like to have done an outdoor job, but when it’s pelting with rain I’m extremely satisfied with the paths I’ve taken.

What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

Generating ideas, creating characters and finding situations to put them in comes much more easily to me than plotting. Perhaps that’s why I tend to defer it, except in a fairly loose sense, until the other aspects are fairly well established. The other difficulty is excising those overused words, which is where an editor will hopefully come to the rescue.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

That it takes so much longer than you’d ever imagine to develop the skill to write well! Perhaps because I was older, and well-established in a career that involved some writing and publication, I completely underestimated how much I had to learn. I might have enjoyed those early years of trying and failing much better if I’d been less focused on getting published.

What is your favorite book or genre? Is there a special book that made you realize you wanted to write?

I like to read literary fiction with some kind of marginalised characters and emotional depth. While I read a lot as a child, I never gave much thought to the person who was doing the writing! Rather than inspiring me to write, most of my favourite books have made me think I couldn’t, because I’d never be able to do it as well. However, a big favourite from recent years is A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Know what you want to achieve and what it will take to get there. For example, if you just want to write for yourself, go ahead and enjoy it, but if you want to write for publication be prepared for a lot of hard work and disappointment. If there’s anything you’d rather do instead, do it!

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Just to draw readers’ attention to my blog tour and that there’s a pre-publication Kindle reduced price offer (£1.99 / $2.48) on Underneath AND on my first novel Sugar and Snails for the next couple of days.

About Anne Goodwin

Anne Goodwin’s debut novel, Sugar and Snails, was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. Her second novel, Underneath, is scheduled for publication in May 2017. Anne is also a book blogger and author of over 70 published short stories.

Connect with Anne: Annethology | Twitter @Annecdotist

About Underneath [Release Date: May 25, 2017]

Underneath by Anne Goodwin

He never intended to be a jailer …

After years of travelling, responsible to no-one but himself, Steve has resolved to settle down. He gets a job, buys a house and persuades Liesel to move in with him.

Life’s perfect, until Liesel delivers her ultimatum: if he won’t agree to start a family, she’ll have to leave. He can’t bear to lose her, but how can he face the prospect of fatherhood when he has no idea what being a father means? If he could somehow make her stay, he wouldn’t have to choose … and it would be a shame not to make use of the cellar.

Will this be the solution to his problems, or the catalyst for his own unravelling?

Buy the Book:
Amazon UK | Amazon USA

Check out the Underneath Blog Tour!

Underneath by Anne Goodwin Blog Tour

Underneath by Anne Goodwin

Underneath by Anne Goodwin | Book Review

Title: Underneath
Author: Anne Goodwin
Published: 
May 25, 2017 by Inspired Quill
Genre: Psychological Thriller
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

He never intended to be a jailer …

After years of travelling, responsible to no-one but himself, Steve has resolved to settle down. He gets a job, buys a house and persuades Liesel to move in with him.

Life’s perfect, until Liesel delivers her ultimatum: if he won’t agree to start a family, she’ll have to leave. He can’t bear to lose her, but how can he face the prospect of fatherhood when he has no idea what being a father means? If he could somehow make her stay, he wouldn’t have to choose … and it would be a shame not to make use of the cellar.

Will this be the solution to his problems, or the catalyst for his own unravelling?

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I read and reviewed Anne Goodwin’s debut novel Sugar and Snails and enjoyed it. When she contacted me about this thriller, and I love thrillers, I was excited to give it a shot.

rp-plot

We follow the first-person point of view of Steve, a man who buys a house and tries to get his life in order. He meets Liesel and they hit it off right away. She moves in with him and together they decide how they should use the cellar. The cellar is used for a few reasons as Steve tries to fix it up. It isn’t until Liesel gives him an ultimatum: They have kids together or she leaves, that Steve decides to use the cellar as Liesel’s own “home.” He doesn’t want kids, but he doesn’t want to lose Liesel.

It’s an interesting premise for a story and I was intrigued by it. However, it was pretty slow-going in the beginning. Nothing really happened until 150 pages into the story and, at that point, there were only about 100 pages left. Still, we did get flashbacks into Steve’s childhood which showcased how he grew up without a father and potentially why he never wants to be a father himself.

rp-characters

The characters were developed well. I felt for both Liesel and Steve and their own inner problems. Liesel wanted kids after her career didn’t work out and Steve just wanted a simple life with the girl of his dreams and it took a sudden turn for the worst.

Liesel was a go-getter from the beginning. When she decided she wanted something, she went for it as best as she could. This included Steve, her career, and then wanting kids. I loved that about her, but since we were in Steve’s head, I knew that Liesel could do better than him. Still, they had a cute relationship with one another.

To be honest, I couldn’t relate to Steve that well. I didn’t care for him as a character, even though he was the main protagonist and antagonist. I sympathized with him for his childhood, but that was about it. There was just something about him that turned me off from him.

rp-writing-style

The story is told to us in parts as opposed to chapters, which isn’t a bad thing. However, there were no timestamps or dates to indicate where we were and when. Time jumps were used an extra space in between paragraphs and flashbacks had a page break, but that was it. This made it a little confusing to read, but the author does write well regardless.

rp-overall

This was a good read, but I do wish the timeline was a little clearer and I felt more for Steve. Still, it was interesting, especially the ending. It makes you wonder what actually happened and whether your interpretation of the book was real or not. In that sense, it was cleverly written.

Underneath by Anne Goodwin gets…
3 Stars3 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“You’ve got to be prepared to fight for what you believe in.” –Anne Goodwin, Underneath

Underneath by Anne Goodwin comes out May 25, 2017. Preorder the book today!

Buy the book:

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Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin

sugar and snails by anne goodwin book review
Via Amazon

Title: Sugar and Snails
Author: Anne Goodwin
Genre: Literary fiction
How I got the book: The author gave me a free copy in exchange for an honest review

Summary (from Amazon):

The past lingers on, etched beneath our skin …

At fifteen, Diana Dodsworth took the opportunity to radically alter the trajectory of her life, and escape the constraints of her small-town existence. Thirty years on, she can’t help scratching at her teenage decision like a scabbed wound.

To safeguard her secret, she’s kept other people at a distance… until Simon Jenkins sweeps in on a cloud of promise and possibility. But his work is taking him to Cairo, and he expects Di to fly out for a visit. She daren’t return to the city that changed her life; nor can she tell Simon the reason why.

Sugar and Snails takes the reader on a poignant journey from Diana’s misfit childhood, through tortured adolescence to a triumphant mid-life coming-of-age that challenges preconceptions about bridging the gap between who we are and who we feel we ought to be.

My Review:

This book was confusing at first, I have to admit.

The writing style was easy to read, though it does jump from the past to the present a lot. The only indication of these time jumps were page breaks. There were no dates involved so you just needed to use context clues to figure out whether that scene happened then or now. However, you get used to it and it never really disrupted the flow of the story. In fact, the two different stories made it more interesting to read.

I couldn’t quite figure out what the story was about. The summary doesn’t hint at much, other than that Diana, the protagonist, has a deeply buried secret. I couldn’t even figure out what the title had to do with anything.

It’s not until you’re 200-or-so pages into the novel that a sudden lightbulb appears above your head. You know exactly what’s going on and everything that was mentioned before that point makes complete sense now.

Anne Goodwin tells this story in such a way to keep the readers guessing, wondering, what did Diana possibly do 30 years ago that’s made her to be like this? It’s a secret to most of the characters as well as to the reader. Even when I did figure it out, the story didn’t come right out and say it. I had just enough information to piece it together myself, which I found to be very clever.Overall,

Overall, this novel was well-written, intriguing, and kept my attention, especially towards the end. The characters were well developed and easy to follow. Also, when I had about five chapters left, I finally figured out what the title meant.The novel as a whole was so well crafted.

The novel as a whole was so well crafted. I feel as though I can’t say too much because then I would be giving the whole premise away, but this is an important book that I would recommend to anyone.

Sugar and Snails gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“We all crave acceptance, and we get it where we can.” –Anne Goodwin, Sugar and Snails

About the Author:

Anne Goodwin loves fiction for the freedom to contradict herself and has been scribbling stories ever since she could hold a pencil. During her career as an NHS clinical psychologist her focus was on helping other people tell their neglected stories to themselves. Now that her short fiction publication count has overtaken her age, her ambition is to write and publish enough novels to match her shoe size.

Her debut novel, Sugar and Snails, about a woman who has kept her past identity a secret for thirty years, was published in July 2015 by Inspired Quill. Her second novel, Underneath, about a man who keeps a woman captive in his cellar, is scheduled for May 2017. Anne is also a book blogger and author of over 60 published short stories and was recently awarded First Prize in the Writers’ Bureau short story competition. Catch up on her website: annethology or on Twitter @Annecdotist.

Amazon.com

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