Make your Speech more Impactful: Top 10 tips on making and delivering a great speech (Review)

INFO:

  • Title: Make your Speech more Impactful: Top 10 tips on making and delivering a great speech
  • Author: Wang Yip
  • Pages: 32
  • Genre: How-to
  • Price: $0.99 (as of 12/28/2014)

DESCRIPTION:

In my e-book, I am going to share with you ten tips that I have learned on how to make your speeches memorable to any audience. This e-book covers 10 tips (+ 1 bonus tip) and is a culmination of my experience from over 50 speeches on how to effectively create and deliver a speech that has the maximum impact on its audience. These foundational tips may be familiar to you but each tip is broken down into an explanation, a real life example that I have used when creating and delivering speeches and finally, a checklist that you can use over and over again for any future speeches to help you get the most impact from a speech.

Make your speech more impactful: Top 10 tips (+ 1 bonus tip) on making and delivering a great speech Book Cover

REVIEW:

A wonderful how-to guide on writing and presenting a speech but is easily adapted to writing an essay or storytelling. I’ve taken two classes on Public Speaking and still found this book useful in terms of preparing and delivering an argument to an audience. The author outlines what he will do, then follows up. While this sounds simple enough, many writers fail to deliver on their promise whereas Yip’s guide is the perfect reference book for speech writing and delivery since he consistently follows his own tips. This book includes do’s and dont’s, thoughtful examples, and covers different types of speeches (entertaining, motivational, informative, persuasive). The 10 tips on writing and presenting a memorable speech are organized in a logical manner, making it easy for the reader to follow along and take notes. I found myself highlighting nearly the whole book and taking copious notes as I read along.
 
Loved:

  • Logical organization
  • Clear instructions are outlined in a straightforward, easy to follow manner
  • Short, simple and jam-packed with useful additional tips
  • Plenty of examples for easier visualization
  • Checklist of questions to help reader improve their speech

Didn’t Love:

  • Formatting – the kindle edition includes a mini checklist at the end of each chapter arranged in two column but the column formatting is ugly and difficult to read

Excerpts:

  • “The speech title is one of the first things that the audience hears and it may even be the only thing that they remember. If the speech title is used throughout your speech, it will help to make the speech more memorable because the audience can ‘link’ different parts of your speech up with your speech title”
  • “Break down the speech into 5 components…[this way] you can go into your speech without having the exact wording in mind and deliver the speech in your own words”
  • “Use body language…when I want to transition topics, I pause, walk from one side of the room to the other and then begin my next topic”

RECOMMENDED FOR: high school and university students; people who are shy, anxious, verbose or want to improve their storytelling skills

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You Are Not Alone (Review)

INFO:

  • Title: You Are Not Alone
  • Author: Leah Carey
  • Pages: 180
  • Genre: Women’s Literature
  • Price: $13.49 (as of 01/24/2015)

DESCRIPTION:

Sparked by the hashtag YesAllWomen, which was trending worldwide in late May after a vicious killing spree targeting women, experiences of being a woman are balanced with rich narrative and detailed inspiration in this book.

You Are Not Alone book cover

REVIEW:

Carey notes that there are no biases in the book and shows all perspectives in the conversation for YesAllWomen from men who supported and trolled the tweets along with women who supported and trolled the tweets. The format of the book drives the digital discourse that inspired this book. There are numerous YesAllWomen tweets throughout the book, all that are powerful and mind opening. Carey features writers in the book from a workshop she held to give people the platform to share their stories.

Loved:

  • I enjoyed this book because it helps drive the path for understanding women’s issues, fear and concerns
  • This book collectively invigorates the need for this conversation
  • I was in awe of the words of the writers and their ideas, particularly when they were asked to write to their 12-year-old self

Excerpts:

  • “In their tweets, women took the opportunity to describe – in 140 characters or less – their experiences of harassment, discrimination, assault, sexism, and violence on an emotional, physical, and sexual level.”
  • “The act of women giving voice to their experiences was enough to incite a small, but vocal, group to violent words and the threat of violent action. Among these “trolls” were men who threatened rape and murder against the women who were using Twitter to share their feelings. They attacked women’s right to speak, to walk down the street, and to choose their own partner.”
  • There are no easy answers on the topic of women in today’s society. You will find thoughtful inquiry on difficult subjects.”
  • “#YesAllWomen because among my college daughter’s school supplies, we felt compelled to buy pepper spray, but not for my nephew.”
  • “Behind the #YesAllWomen tag, there is real tragedy and real pain. But there is also real hope & courage. And hope & courage=progress.”

RECOMMENDED FOR: Anyone who wants to keep the conversation going about expressing and listening to women’s fears and disparities.

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Visit Leah on:

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/IAMLeahCarey

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IAmLeahCarey

Twitter: https://twitter.com/IAmLeahCarey

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/IAmLeahCarey/leah-carey/

Say hello to Ashley, the newest reviewer at Covered in Books!

As you all can tell, I’m long on loving books but short on time which is why I’ve brought Ashley on to help read and review books! We went to school together and I’m certain you’ll love hearing her insights and opinions.

Ashley is a smart, lovely and hardworking lady who has lived in hotspots across the US (Los Angeles, New York). From her bio:

“Ashley lives for a dried ink pen. She loves reading and writing. Her greatest joy is a new book that never grows dust on her bookshelf.”

Her bio is also available under the “About Us” page. You can reach Ashley using the contact form or coveredinbooks@gmail.com email address. If you have a preference for either of us to review your book, please address us by name. In the meantime, let’s give Ashley a warm welcome! *cheers*

Riddle of Fate (Spotlight)

INFO:

  • Title: Riddle of Fate
  • Author: Tania Johansson
  • Pages: 320
  • Genre: Paranormal
  • Price: $2.99 (as of 12/20/2014)

DESCRIPTION:

Khaya’s life, a life the Order say was never meant to be, is thrown into turmoil when she discovers she has a second ability. The Company who employs people like her – with rare and special abilities – insists that having more than one inevitably leads down a dark spiral into madness. So they are watching and waiting, ready to terminate her at the first sign of trouble.

Now, on the run from the Company’s agents while trying to prove her sanity, Khaya realises they are not the only ones she should fear. Angels are working towards her demise as well.

The question that haunts her is this: What did she do that was terrible enough to elicit the wrath of angels? And can she trust the mysterious Derrin, or is he the cause of all her tribulations?

Riddle of Fate by Tania Johannsen book coverSPOTLIGHT EXCERPT:

Khaya rushed down the stairs of the library. Suddenly, she wanted to be as far away from there as she could. She wasn’t fooling herself. They weren’t going to find a cure. They were keeping her in that basement under observation. At the first sign of madness, they would kill her. She was sure of it.

Welcome fresh air greeted her as she pulled the door open. A hand gripped her arm, making her shriek. Another hand slammed over her mouth. She began to struggle. “Shh! It’s me, Khaya. It’s Merrit. I’m going to let go of you, so please don’t scream.”

He released her and she swung around to face him. “What do you think you’re doing, scaring me like that?”

“Sorry. We can’t be seen speaking. Follow me.” He walked a few steps before turning to find she wasn’t following. “Come on! Please.”

He led her into a deserted alley, deep shadows making it hard to see. “What is this about, Merrit?”

“You know very well what this is about. They know you told me about your second ability and they are out to get me.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. They simply want to keep this matter quiet.”

“Yes, and do you know the best way to keep something quiet? By making sure as few people as possible know the secret.”

“You are being unreasonable.”

“They’re having me followed. My every move.”

She looked around with exaggerated motions. “Oh? So, where are these stalkers now?”

“I managed to give them the slip. I don’t think they realised that I knew I was being followed. This is beside the point, anyway.”

“What is the point?”

“I am going to get away from here. As far as I can get as quickly as I can.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“I’ve heard things. I’ve heard that it’s only a matter of time before they terminate you.”

She jolted to attention. “You heard that too?”

He nodded. “Can you believe that’s what they call it? Like you’re some sort of animal.”

“I still don’t know why you are telling me all this.”

“Come with me?” he said, placing a hand on her arm.

“Run away?” she asked, incredulous.

“I haven’t been working at the Company for long,” he said, “but I think their main objective is to stay anonymous. At any cost. They like to give the impression that they take care of us, but it’s all about control.

“If you stay here, they will kill you. Why do you think they want to keep all this so quiet? I’m planning to go at midnight. Think about it. I’ll be at the cobbler’s. I hope I’ll see you there.”

Visit Tania Around the Web:

Website|Facebook|Twitter|

Giveaway:

Riddle of Fate Blog Tour Giveaway

Kodex (Review)

INFO:

  • Title: Kodex
  • Author: R.K. Holliday
  • Pages: 23
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Price: $0.99 (as of 11/18/2014)

DESCRIPTION:

In this short story, millions are waiting. The team is trying to find answers. Time is running out. They could save the world if it’s not too late. Could this new sign of technology and life be the answer to the earth’s unstable future?

Kodex book coverREVIEW:

It seems like this story is about Karen, an astronaut who’s searching for something called the Kodex. The Kodex is an important piece of technology located on another planet. During her outer space search for the Kodex, Karen’s co-astronaut sabotages her attempt to find the Kodex which puts everyone on the spaceship in a life-threatening situation.

The author’s description of this story perfectly reveals what to expect: choppy sentences with incomplete thoughts. I really have no idea what I just read. This seems to be a prequel to the next book in the series but the setup was so confusing that I struggled to understand what was going on exactly. At first I wondered if the choppy sentence structure was the author’s attempt to portray a specific voice, but paired with flat characters and frequent spelling, grammar and syntax errors, it seems more likely that the author simply failed to consult an editor. I know it’s difficult to convey personalities, plot purpose and other important elements in prequels, but these obstacles can be overcome with good planning and thoughtfulness, both of which were severely lacking in this case.

Loved:

  • Creative descriptions

Didn’t Love:

  • Confusing sentences
  • Spelling, grammatical and syntax errors (e.g. “through” instead of “threw”)
  • Flat characters

Excerpts:

  • “Don’t go down there, Karen” (opening sentence)
  • “Only a dozen were left of the group and their spirits were darker than the emptiness she wanted to penetrate”
  • “Adventure is a horrible companion that drones hope but delivers pain and loss”
  • “Years passed and hope never faded, this is what made mankind special”
  • “…the distance from home was growing by the second like an aggressive cancer”

RECOMMENDED FOR: Sci-Fi fans

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The Housewife Assassin’s Handbook (Review)

INFO:

  • Title: The Housewife Assassin’s Handbook
  • Author: Josie Brown
  • Pages: 184
  • Genre: Murder Mystery, Action, Humor, Women’s Fiction
  • Price: Free (as of 11/17/2014)

DESCRIPTION:

Murder. Suspense. Sex. And some handy household tips.

Every desperate housewife would love an alias. Donna Stone has one, and it’s government sanctioned. Oh sure, you need to be ruthless to take on Russian mafia bosses and terrorists set on destroying the world. But it takes real killer instincts to survive suburbia.

the housewife assassin's handbook coverREVIEW:

An entertaining, action-packed book that housewives will love. Donna Stone works as an assassin for Acme following her husband Carl’s murder which is kept secret from her Beverly Hills community. Juggling three kids and a criminal syndicate while mourning her late husband, Acme assigns Jack to go undercover as Carl in an attempt to lure out Carl’s killers. The plot twists and twists and twists to keep you on the edge of your dizzying seat.
This is the first book of nine and I really enjoyed how Brown injected humor and innuendo into deadly situations. Several plot twists kept my attention while the neighborhood gossip kept me entertained. I was a little annoyed at first with Donna’s judgment of other women and tendency to cry, but by the end of the story I understood why Brown gave her these characteristics. Donna becomes more human through these traits which even help her be a better assassin in some situations. I was also impressed with how Brown was able to capture Carl’s personality given he spends most time off-screen. Overall this book was a great read and I look forward to the next installment.

Loved:

  • Female protagonist’s balance of powerful and emotional to keep her real
  • Plot twists keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what’ll happen next
  • Humor, scandal and sex all have their place in this serious and emotional rollercoaster
  • Clever operations strategies keep you focused on the mission’s main goals
  • Use of characters, big and small, to advance the plot

Didn’t Love:

  • Female protagonist’s propensity for crying although it was a useful way for the author to make her more realistic
  • A few too many characters at first made the story a little confusing and difficult to follow

Excerpts:

  • “Any woman can be both the perfect housewife and an accomplished assassin, because both functions require the same qualities: creativity; a never-say-die attitude; and an attention to details, no matter how small…” (opening sentence)
  • “Would anyone blame me if I accidentally backed over her, just this once? Okay, twice. But that’s just to make sure that the job was done right.”
  • “Once again I’ll have to choose between comforting my child in her time of need and saving the world.”
  • “And never forget: a scared society is a meek society.”

RECOMMENDED FOR: housewives, summer reading, mothers

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Grimm’s Fairy Tales (Review)

INFO:

  • Title: Grimm’s Fairy Tales
  • Author: Wilhelm Grimm
  • Pages: 408
  • Genre: Children’s, Fairy Tales, Adventure, Magic
  • Price: Free (as of 11/16/2014)

DESCRIPTION:

From the land of fantastical castles, vast lakes and deep forests, the Brothers Grimm collected a treasury of enchanting folk and fairy stories full of giants and dwarfs, witches and princesses, magical beasts and cunning children. From classics such as “The Frog-Prince” and “Hansel and Grettel” to the delights of “Ashputtel” or “Old Sultan”, all hold a timeless magic which has enthralled children for centuries.
Grimm's Fairy Tales cover

REVIEW:

Grimm’s Fairy Tales are celebrated classics for good reason. While I was never read fairy tales as a child, the stories in this collection are jam packed with age-appropriate action, morals and language. Many tales follow the “rule of 3” aka “third time’s the charm” which makes it more fun for little kids. The stories are short enough to be read before bedtime (~5-15 minutes per story) and are great to read together with your kids or alone aloud.

The only suggestion I have for today’s parents is to read a tale to yourself ahead of time and make some modern adaptations as needed e.g. swapping genders to show girls can do action and adventure while boys can pursue traits related to the home, or change the male hero’s reward of marrying a princess to earning playdates with her instead. Overall this is a great collection of stories to keep kids entertained for several months at a time.

Loved:

  • Brevity of chapters makes it an easy bedtime read
  • Style of writing is fantastical which helps encourage imagination
  • Variety of stories from the classic (e.g. Hansel and Gretel) to the unconventional keeps it entertaining
  • Good virtues built into the stories (e.g. “try and try again”, “work hard and be honest with others”)

Didn’t Love:

  • Stereotypical gender binaries (e.g. damsel in distress, girl is beautiful which is why she’s rescued, guy gets girl as reward with or without her say in the matter) reinforce negative ideas – I understand these tales were written centuries ago though which is why I encourage modern parents to make modern adaptations

Excerpts:

  • In reference to a wolf trying to deceive children but requiring an unwilling miller’s help: ” ‘If you will not do it, I will devour you.’ Then the miller was afraid, and made his paws white for him. Truly, this is the way of mankind.”
  • Referring to a dwarf who put a spell on two rude brothers: “Thus it is with proud silly people, who think themselves above everyone else, and are too proud to ask or take advice”
  • “Then as you have spoken to me kindly, and are wise enough to seek for advice, I will tell you how and where to go”

RECOMMENDED FOR: young children; people who enjoy fairy tales and fantastical stories

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Witch Rising (Witch Song) (Review)

INFO:

  • Title: Witch Rising (Witch Song)
  • Author: Amber Argyle
  • Pages: 46
  • Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Paranormal, Scary Stories, Coming of Age,
  • Price: $0.99 (as of 10/31/2014)

DESCRIPTION:

A ship burns, sinking into the dark sea. There is only one survivor—a child hunted for the power of her song. Hidden away on an isolated island, Lilette buries her power deep, convinced it caused the deaths of those she loves.

But she can’t run from who she is. And when her secret is revealed, the only thing that can save her is her song. It’s time to rise up and become what she was always meant to be: the most powerful witch ever born.

 

witch-rising-witch-song-kindle-edition-by-amber-argyle-children-kindle-ebooks-amazon

REVIEW:

In Witch Rising, Lilette is a young witch subjected to tragedy after tragedy. While running away from her enemies, she comes upon an island where she meets a wise man named Fa. Fa takes her in and hides her – but is Lilette truly safe on the island?

While I liked this novelette, several parts of the story were confusing because the reader jumps right into the action without understanding what’s going on exactly or why. Although I know this prequel was meant to be short, an extra word, paragraph or page would have gone a long way towards clarifying the confusing points.

Argyle has a specific voice for the novelette which is clearly heard through most of the story through her thoughtful descriptions. She did a great job creating emotional bonds between people in a short period of time by using clever plot devices and descriptions to quickly build relationships that seemed overall natural and believable. For a prequel, this is an action packed, adventurous story with a coming-of-age theme featuring a well-developed female protagonist.
 

Loved:

  • Concept: the witch’s power comes from singing, not wand-waving
  • Emotional moments are brief but tender
  • Character development allows the reader to see inside Lilette’s mind and heart as she makes decisions, likewise we see nuanced personalities for some of the villains as well

Didn’t Love:

  • Nautical terms were not well defined or explained for an unfamiliar reader
  • Rushed pace; too much action made it confusing to follow along at some points

Excerpts:

  • ”Perched on the edge of her bed, Lilette stared into the darkness beyond the porthole” (opening sentence)
  • “He’d once told her he would not burden her with endings, but teach her to celebrate beginnings. So she would focus on her new life.”
  • “She could finally go home, to the city where songs and magic were one and the same”
  • “She didn’t want to think about the secret woven like shadows between them”
  • “’I learned long ago that you cannot keep those you love. You must set them free. You will learn this also.’”

RECOMMENDED FOR: children/YA; people interested in orphan, magic, or nautical stories

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The Girl in the Converse Shoes by Yaritza Garcia (Review)

INFO:

  • Title: The Girl in the Converse Shoes
  • Author: Yaritza Garcia
  • Pages: 4
  • Genre: Flash fiction, children’s fiction
  • Price: Free (as of 10/30/2014)

DESCRIPTION:

A geek is in search of the mysterious girl that kissed him on Halloween, but his only clues are her blonde hair…and her pink Converse shoes.

thegirlintheconverseshoes

REVIEW:

I don’t mind flash-fiction stories but this one sounds like it was written by a high schooler. The premise is cute, if unlikely, and the ending leaves something to be desired. Considering the author’s age, the story was descriptive and written well enough for a young teen to enjoy.
 

Liked:

  • Book cover
  • Writing style and concept

Didn’t Like:

  • Story length
  • Obvious plotholes (i.e. geek could have kept searching for the girl during the party)

Excerpts:

  • ”Miles had refused to go to the party a hundred times” (opening sentence)
  • “He was already teased and humiliated in school–he didn’t want to make it an extra-curricular activity”
  • “He searched, his eyes darting from shoe to shoe, so much so that by fifth period he had a huge headache, as if all those shoes had kicked him in the head”

RECOMMENDED FOR: 12-13 year olds looking for a 5 minute read

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Best Jokes 2014 by Various Authors (Review)

INFO:

  • Title: Best Jokes 2014
  • Author: Various
  • Pages: 41
  • Genre: Humor
  • Price: Free (as of 10/30/2014)

DESCRIPTION:

One hundred of hilarious and funny jokes !
Have fun and laugh!

bestjokes2014

REVIEW:

This joke “book” was so terrible that I wasn’t even going to consider reviewing it but changed my mind after seeing all the fake 5 star reviews. This is a marketing tool, not a book. It contains download links to several smutty novels by Heather L. Powell, Nina Marx, Chloe Wilkox, Emma M. Green, June Moore and Hannah Taylor. The jokes themselves are tired and old & are overwhelmingly of the “yo momma”, “blondes” and general anti-woman variety. Since this is a child-friendly site, I am not including excerpts of the more vulgar jokes.

Liked:

  • It was free.

Didn’t Like:

  • False advertising
  • Boring jokes

Excerpts:

  • ”Why did the room packed with married people seem empty? Because there wasn’t a single person there.”
  • “What is the blonde doing when she holds her hands tightly over her ears? Trying to hold on to a thought.”
  • “Doctor, doctor! These pills you gave me for body odor… what’s wrong with them? They keep slipping out from under my arms!”

RECOMMENDED FOR: neither children nor adults

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