Beginners Welcome — Review & Giveaway

Thought for the Day:

“Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.”
~ Albert Camus ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

K. M. Allen has some good advice HERE for all of us trying to be productive during this difficult time. Now if I could just get someone over here to give me a kick in the pants.

About ten years ago, I read a YA called Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway. I think about that book often. It was funny and smart and had perhaps the BEST sidekick I have ever read. That’s what I think about when I think about the book. I mean, it was a great story and clever, but that secondary character has stayed with me. We don’t always think about secondary characters as much as we should. C. S. Lakin of Live Write Thrive has a really good post HERE about secondary characters. Worth your time.

Writing Forward has an oldy but a goody HERE with The 22 Best Writing Tips Ever.

IMG_4584I hope all of you are doing well and staying well. I have to admit, I am struggling emotionally with the isolation. This is my favorite of the funny memes that have kept me going. One would think this would be a great time to get a lot of reading and writing done. The reality is I am having trouble focusing on reading and have to do it in small chunks, taking breaks as never before. If I read for an hour at a sitting, that is good for me now. I am also having trouble writing. I have no desire to write anything at the moment and have been feeling really guilty about it until I saw a post on Facebook last week from another writer who said people shouldn’t feel guilty if they are not writing. Everyone has to deal with this mess in their own ways. That was nice to read. I know now I’m not alone in feeling this way. So do what you can, take care of yourselves, and know that we will get to the other side of this one day.

Beginners WelcomeFinding a new book by someone you admire and whose writing you really loved is such a treat. When I saw Beginners Welcome by Cindy Baldwin on the list for review for the Manhatten Book Review, I grabbed it. I knew I was in for a treat, and I was not mistaken. Here is the review I wrote for them.

Annie Lee lost her father three months ago, but she and her mother still smell his aftershave and find his whiskers in the sink every morning, and the phonograph turns itself on playing his favorite music even after they move from their house. Annie Lee’s mother works non-stop trying to make ends meet, and Annie Lee has to go to a new middle school where she knows no one. Annie Lee tries to be invisible, but a girl named Mitch befriends her. After school some days, Annie Lee takes her scooter and goes around town, one day finding a man playing piano in a mall, and the music is so beautiful she can see it. She asks him to teach her to play, which he agrees to. But when he goes missing, Annie Lee has some hard choices to make.


cindy baldwin
Cindy Baldwin

Cindy Baldwin has followed up her brilliant debut novel, Where the Watermelons Grow, with an equally affecting story. The character of Annie Lee will grab readers’ hearts and have them rooting for her the whole way. The writing is gorgeous and the voice pitch-perfect for a middle-school girl. This deserves a readership far beyond its intended audience.

I have a gently-read ARC of this book for one of you. All you need do is be a follower or subscriber (it’s free!), have a U.S. address, and leave a comment below. If you would like extra chances, please share the link to this post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media outlet and let me know you have done that. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.



26 thoughts on “Beginners Welcome — Review & Giveaway”

    1. The fly meme is probably my favorite of all the memes I’ve seen. Yes, we will get through this, but what a terrible journey. Thanks for the comment. Good luck in the drawing.


  1. I hope you can find a comfortable spot. I’ve found myself reading in fits and starts, but I’m determined to get through my current, fascinating book. My next book is an audiobook, and I’m looking forward to being able to listen rather than focus. Thank you for this book, along with all that you find for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What fascinating book are you reading? I might try an audiobook. Maybe I can get one from my library. You’re welcome. Thanks for the comment and good luck in the drawing.


  2. Very enticing story line in your featured review today. I’ve added it to my list of future reads. Yes, it’s been a weird time in our world. In late Feb./early March I received enthusiastic comments from my critique group about a new story I had written. They had a few suggestions to strengthen certain sections but thought I’d written a winning story. All I had to do was get in there and revise one more time…and I haven’t had the motivation to even look at it since then.
    We can’t change what’s happening in the world but we can make sure we take care of ourselves. I try and do something new each day. Right now it is a jigsaw puzzle (I’ve always hated those little pieces). Now it has become oddly addictive. I also write an update each day to local friends and relatives as to how I spent my day. They say it is something they look forward to. Anyway, keep the faith. Things will get better!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just won another book, but this one sounds interesting too. I’d like to be added to the giveaway. Yes, keep your mind busy, Rosi!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First, thanks for the links. I particularly liked being reminded of all those writing tips. Second, my sympathies re: the read/write situation. I’m reading more, and have meant to write more, but the writing is just in fits and starts. And third, please throw my name in the hat for Beginners Welcome. It sounds like a fascinating read. Take care, and stay well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am so glad when people mention the links. It helps me keep on keepin’ on. I’m reading a LOT of writers are having trouble. We are not alone. Thanks for commenting and good luck in the drawing.


  4. Hmmm. I seem to be going in a different direction than everyone else. I’m lucky to have other people in my home which makes this social distancing thing much easier. Hope you’re finding other ways to stay involved.
    Thanks for the great revue! As always, you’ve picked a book that I’d enjoy reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoyed this author’s debut book last year and would love to have a copy of this. Thanks for sharing your ARC. I too have struggled with writing and have just started reading more as this is an escape for me from my own thoughts. I shared your post on twitter, tumblr, pinterest, and facebook.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, you left me hanging wanting to know more! Baldwin’s book sounds very engaging.

    You’re right, we all have to deal with the events in our own way. I have been having trouble reading MG novels — I’ve nearly depleted my pile and I have many ahead of me. One of the problems is the book I’m trying to read I’m having trouble getting into. May neeed to pick others from my stack! Take care Rosie!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Patricia. Yes, try another book. I’ve had a couple I just couldn’t get into, but I know that is temporary. I’ll get back to them later. Thanks for the comment. Good luck in the drawing.


  7. We have a mix in our household of those who are handling the social distancing well and those who aren’t. I hope you’re able to find a good balance creatively! Thanks for sharing this book. My TBR list is out of control, so I’ll let someone else win the giveaway.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Don’t feel bad at all about not writing or reading. It’s hard to be alone so much. I feel it too though I still see my boyfriend a few days and a friend for the walk at the park some days. I’m just feeling like I’m getting in a groove where I might be able to pick up my manuscript again.

    This sounds like a great book. Thanks for offering it for a giveaway.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m in the same boat with you regarding reading/writing. I try to do a little bit each day. We’re spending a lot of time preparing the backyard garden now, so that helps.

    Beginners Welcome does look like a good book. I will put it on my TBR list. 🙂


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