Cover for The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid

The First Ten Feedback for The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid

Because The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid was Book of the Day, some of our most trusted reviewers have carefully looked over the cover, the description, and other aspects of this book. The reviewers even read at least the first 10 pages of the book. They have each written a short review explaining why they plan to read the whole book or not based on the sample they read and other aspects of the book. Their feedback is displayed below. We call this awesome feature The First Ten.

IMPORTANT: Any score over 10% is considered very good. And any score above 0% is acceptable. This is because we only poll about 20 or so readers, and all readers have to say "no" to almost all books. Over a million books are published each year. Even a very active reader cannot come close to even reading 1% of books out there.

This is also why publishing books is such a tough industry.

gali

I wouldn't have sampled the book on my own, as this is not my typical read. The cover isn't very fetching, and the blurb is too short. The sample opened with Gary and then flashbacked to the past. While the writing in the first person felt stiff, the writing in the third person flew better. Although I liked the descriptions of the sword swallower's acts, the pace was too slow for my taste. The OBC reviewer confirmed that impression by mention the lack of action. She further steered me away from the book by mentioning that alcoholism and drugs play a major part in the tale. I didn't notice any glaring errors but didn't care for the writing nor the plot. I won't read the book as it didn't engage me enough to keep reading. I am impressed that the tale is the tale is inspired by the author's life, though.

First Ten review added on February 17, 2018, at 7:14 am by gali.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Christina O Phillips

The title and cover did not interest me. The summary was too short and told me nothing that made me want to read the sample. Without this program, I would have skipped this book. I was interested in the opening; the way Duke performed was well described. In fact, the descriptions and the dialogue felt realistic. The writing style kept me engaged and had my attention the entire sample, but when I got to the end, I did not want to read more. I could not tell what the point of the story was and had no sense of tension or plot. While the sample was a good quick read, it just did not make me want to read the rest of the book.

First Ten review added on February 17, 2018, at 9:16 am by Christina O Phillips.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

NL Hartje

This cover art is fantastic; it perfectly portrays how the audience fades away when the spotlight is on a performer. I also love the title font! The jacket blurb and Amazon reviews did not entice me, however. It seems this book focuses more on characters than plot and that doesn't appeal to me, personally. I noticed several errors in the first ten pages including a missing space after a period, a misspelled word, and a missing hyphen. I do not believe it was professionally edited. For these reasons and the fact that circus and street performers have always scared me, I will not be reading this book.

First Ten review added on February 17, 2018, at 11:34 am by NL Hartje.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

ritah

Based on the cover, I wouldn't have sampled the book because it didn't appeal to me. Though the title did arouse my curiosity (I've always wondered if sword swallowers work with actual swords, and if so, how do they not cut/ puncture their internal organs). Thus, when I sampled the book, part 1, was intense as Duke's nervousness was so clear as he knew the consequence of what a slight wrong move in his act/performance could do. I liked the use of dialogue and description; it was easy for my mind to visualize Duke's world and lifestyle. I read the official review, and because I enjoyed the sample I'm curious to see how the story continues to develop, which is why I will be reading the rest of the book. I also liked the author's writing style, and I did not find any errors in the pages I read.

First Ten review added on February 17, 2018, at 12:01 pm by ritah.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

MsTri

While I do like the shadow of the sword swallower, I'm not too keen on the cover in general, nor do I care for the title. The synopsis on Amazon really didn't say much, so I relied on the official review on OBC. While I like the idea of reading about circus life, I'm just not interested in reading about two alcoholics and the things they go through, both alone and together; I lived with an addict for years, so reading this would likely bring up things I'd rather not remember. Still, I did very much enjoy the sample. I was glad that the book seems to be professionally edited. My favorite parts would have to be the Prologue, where Gary is playing with his grandson when the package from Starlight arrives. I also very much enjoyed the scene where Duke was swallowing swords for the bikers; his spiel was quite entertaining. However, even though I did enjoy the sample, I will not finish this book for the reasons mentioned above.

First Ten review added on February 17, 2018, at 1:20 pm by MsTri.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Dolor

The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid is a contemporary fiction following the life stories of a circus performer and his friendship with a Chico kid who graduated college without learning anything due to alcoholism. I'm a circus fan, so I'm sure I'll enjoy reading this book, as I enjoy watching a live circus show. Even if I have not sampled the first ten pages as part of this program, I'd choose to buy and to read this book because I'm a circus fan. The cover, title, genre and review ratings are all impressive. Reading the first ten pages made me wanna read the whole book because the circus show starts with Duke Reynold's breathtaking stunts. It's like arriving at the real circus show which has just started. I have not seen any error in the first ten pages. It is professionally edited. I don't have any improvement suggestion for this book. I hail the author for the well-crafted character strength and weakness of Duke Reynolds. The circus performance is well-described, like I'm watching it, live. There is a detailed OBC review of this book, with a perfect 4 out of 4 rating. It adds on my willingness to buy and to read this book too.

First Ten review added on February 17, 2018, at 2:06 pm by Dolor.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

BookishCreature

At first glance, I would not have picked up this book, even though the title intrigued me. The cover looks pretty amateurish and the synopsis doesn't tell me enough about the plot to get me excited. After reading the first ten pages, my opinion hasn't changed. The book seems to be fairly well-written, but I did find a mistake that makes me think that it was not professionally edited. On page six, "smoke laden" should be "smoke-laden." The book would really be improved by a better cover and a synopsis that gives the reader a little more insight into the plot. As it stands, I wasn't interested enough to want to finish it.

First Ten review added on February 17, 2018, at 2:12 pm by BookishCreature.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

micoleon13

This isn't really a cover page which appeals to me. It feels like too much of a mix with the adapted photo and the silhouette. This would not be a book which I would choose. The OnlineBookClub review was complementary and outlined the story well. The division of the book into three sections, one for each character, and the third for when they are together, sounds interesting. However, it still didn't seem like the book for me. The pages which I read were well written and edited. I only found one mistake with a missed space between words. It was nice how it started off with the grandfather and grandson before moving onto the story of Duke. The story didn't really grab my attention, so I will not be continuing with this book. I have no ideas for improvement.

First Ten review added on February 17, 2018, at 2:32 pm by micoleon13.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

BunnySTx

After reading a few pages of, The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid by Gary Robinson, I have decided that I will not be reading this book. At first glance, the cover does not appeal to me. If I had not read a sample of this book, I would not have picked this book up. The blurb for this story leaves much to be desired. The blurb for a book is how I typically decide whether a book interests me or not. The blurb for this story tells me nothing about this book or the characters in it. As I read a few pages, I felt only disinterest. I enjoyed the family moment that starts the story off, but it isn't engaging. When the author shifts gears to the character of Duke, I quickly lose interest. I was hoping that the story would shift to the first character and Duke crossing paths. The sword swallowing doesn't pique my interest in the story. I cringed more than I felt any excitement. Based on what I have read this book appears to be professionally edited. This book does have an official OnlineBookClub review. The reviewer does not pique my interest. They point out that the story is broken down into three parts - Duke, Chico Kid and then a combination. I would have preferred to read the story with: the Chico Kid first, crossing paths with Duke and then reading about their impacts on each other. I think this would have engaged me more. As is, I will be passing on reading this book.

First Ten review added on February 17, 2018, at 2:37 pm by BunnySTx.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

lavellan

I would have read the sample for The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid based on the Book of the Day review. The review made the story seem interesting and inspiring. I'm going to finish the rest of the book. The first ten pages were engaging and left me wanting to know what was going to happen to Duke. The book seemed professionally edited; I did not notice any errors. I really liked the scene where Duke swallowed the swords. The author vividly described the setting and tension of the scene.

First Ten review added on February 17, 2018, at 2:48 pm by lavellan.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

Scerakor

From the cover, blurb, and review of this book, I probably would not have given it a shot. I'm not big into dramatic fiction, and it doesn't sound like this is something that would be up my alley. After reading the first 10 pages I didn't change my mind. I really did enjoy the description, writing style, and the way that the author got you to start feeling for their characters. That being said, it seemed a little bit slow to start, and again, does not have a subject matter that interests me. Although it seems very well written and edited, I will not be reading the rest of this book. The official review did not affect my decision at all.

First Ten review added on February 17, 2018, at 6:10 pm by Scerakor.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Scrawling Pen

Unfortunately, simply due to a lack of time, I do not plan on finishing this book. It does, however, sounds like a great read. Just within the first couple of pages, I found it entertaining and interesting. I think that it will be great to get the perspective of these characters. The cover image is intriguing, and it will catch the eyes of the readers. The dialogue is good and does not feel forced. I did not notice any grammatical errors, and the writing flows well. I did see an online book review, and it did peak my interest a little bit. It mentioned that this book really focuses on the character development which I can definitely appreciate.

First Ten review added on February 17, 2018, at 7:11 pm by Scrawling Pen.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

bookowlie

I probably wouldn't have sampled this book on my own since the alcohol addiction theme described in the OBC review didn't appeal to me. The Amazon summary appears to be edited well, but I found the explanation of the story fairly sparse. I would have liked a little more information about the plot. I didn't find any technical errors in the beginning pages. However, I found it difficult to become absorbed in the story due to the subject matter and slow pace. Although the OBC reviewer gave this book high praise, I am not interested in reading further based on my reading preferences and the slow-paced sample.

First Ten review added on February 17, 2018, at 8:02 pm by bookowlie.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

va2016

The title conveys what the story is about. The cover is
pretty good. I sampled a few pages of the book and found
the narration to be pretty nice and exciting. It illustrates
the peppy urban life of San Francisco in the 1970s. I didn't
find anything that could be improved in the book. I am not
going to read this book in full as it is not my genre. I found
the book to be professionally edited, and I didn't find any
mechanical errors in the book. I found an OBC review of the
book but my decision to not to read the book is based on my
own sampling.

First Ten review added on February 17, 2018, at 9:04 pm by va2016.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

N_R

To be honest, this book is not a genre that I am particularly interested in and I was not too keen to read it. When I read the sample 10 pages, I was actually surprised at how well written this book was. The cover page also is not very enticing and does not inform really about what the book content is. The start of the book is poignant, but it also made me feel quite sad. Given this initial sadness, and the fact that I am not particularly interested in this genre, I am not going to read the whole book. I do note that reading the first ten pages changed my mind about the quality of the writing as I did not expect it to be written in such an engaging way. Based on the first 10 pages, the book does seem to be professionally edited and I did not see any typos or grammar errors. I think that the part that I liked the most in this sample was the immediate reflection of the sword swallower that he was lucky to have escaped with his life. This trick is very daring and these performers always look so composed. So I did like that immediate note by him that he realized the risk involved with his behavior. I did not read the review which was written for this book and find that reviews do not always help me to choose appropriate books for me to read.

First Ten review added on February 17, 2018, at 9:14 pm by N_R.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

CrescentMoon

After reading the blurb, I don't think this book is for me. The genres I typically enjoy are action, suspense, mystery, etc. This story sounds like a really character-driven and emotional story which I don't think I am really in the mood for. After reading the first ten pages, I thought the book looked professionally edited. I didn't see any spelling or grammar errors. The book does seem to delve into deep topics such as alcoholism and drugs and I understand that the friendship between the sword swallower and the Chico kid will be very deep and they help each other out. I think people who really enjoy these kinds of character heavy stories and reading about deep themes like alcoholism would be interested in this book. Unfortunately, it's not for me.

First Ten review added on February 17, 2018, at 9:50 pm by CrescentMoon.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Kathryn Price

I couldn't tell from first glance whether I was going to like this book or not. However, as soon as I started reading I decided that I liked the way the author prefaces the story and tells it as a flashback or tale from the now-aged character's mouth. That kind of a hook almost always keeps me reading, and I think I will probably finish this one. I found no editing errors, and the author's writing style was undistracted, yet detailed. I could picture the story clearly in my mind. The only thing that might keep me from finishing it was the increasing amount of profanity I started to encounter towards the end of the chapter. I believe this book will be an interesting read for almost anyone.

First Ten review added on February 17, 2018, at 10:01 pm by Kathryn Price.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

ladycraic

I would not have chosen to sample this book apart from First Ten. Neither the cover nor the title indicates that I would find this novel interesting. I guess that's, in part, due to the fact that prior to reading this book, I had no idea that such a thing as sword swallowing existed! The blurb wasn't very informative, but it did give me a general idea of what this story would be about. Reading the first ten pages was an interesting experience. I couldn't believe that one could survive through swallowing 5 swords, but I guess that it's possible. I wasn't a fan of the sexual jokes and references I saw in the sample - it detracted from my reading experience. From reading the official OBC review, this book seems like a thought-provoking, emotional read as readers watch two characters grow. This book, however, isn't for me. I get the idea that there's a lot of heavy content that I just don't have the interest to read through right now.

This book seemed professionally edited and I didn't notice any grammatical errors.

First Ten review added on February 17, 2018, at 10:29 pm by ladycraic.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Momiji1987

I like the textual choice for the title, it fits the topic of the book. The shadow behind the title is cool also. The writing style is good and you can see the scene immediately. The character development is pretty good as well. I didn’t notice any errors in the text. I read the review and it said the book has a lot of drinking and nudity. I don’t care to read books with content like that, so while I like the circus theme and the sword swallowing character, I can’t read a book like that. I wouldn’t have found this book outside of this program, and I kind of think the photograph on the cover is distracting. It might be better just to have a solid color behind the shadow.

First Ten review added on February 17, 2018, at 11:02 pm by Momiji1987.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Afuglsan

I don't really like the cover. It's not that appealing. I do find the title intriguing, though. This genre is usually hit or miss for me. The reviews were fairly positive. Based off the OBC review alone, however, I would not have read this book. I did see a few errors throughout the first ten pages. I don't think it was professionally edited. I did enjoy the sample, however. I did find the writing to be a bit simple and there was a lot of repetition. I think this could be improved. Other than that, I really enjoyed what I read, and I would like to read the rest.

First Ten review added on February 17, 2018, at 11:50 pm by Afuglsan.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

Vermont Reviews

The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid by Gary Robinson brings back all the happy and sad times of the circus coming to town. The main character Duke Reynolds and his friends show the readers the view of the circus from the other side of the stage. I truly enjoyed this one.
Solid story with great characters. Well written.
Vermont Reviews

I would have bought the book based on reading the preview.

The cover art was ok but should be more circus themed.

I will read the whole book.

First Ten review added on February 18, 2018, at 2:00 am by Vermont Reviews.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

Vickie Noel

I was initially very skeptical about reading this book, I just felt I wouldn't be into it that much. Based on its looks and title, I probably wouldn't have bothered reading. The customer reviews were enthusiastic but few though, so it likely may not have made much difference. Reading the sample, however, totally spun my thoughts in the opposite direction. I fell in love with the simplicity of the story, and the natural, easy flowing style of writing. It seemed professionally edited, albeit I saw a few errors like misused words and punctuation marks, then the use of a comma where it should have been a period. I found no aspect of the story requiring improvement. I saw an OBC review but had my mind made up in favor of completing the book after reading the sample.

First Ten review added on February 18, 2018, at 4:41 am by Vickie Noel.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

jwalker73

The cover and title did not really inspire me to look further at this book. The people on the cover looked quite realistic from a distance however, up close, the blotchy paint effect left my eyes trying to focus on the images. The black sword-swallowing image is also quite distracting and looks very basic in contrast. In regards to the title, it just did not appeal to me. The review was more appealing, promising well developed characters and giving a more detailed story plot. The first ten pages were engaging. The first chapter immediately drew me in. The cryptic comment about Duke being the reason Gary's grandson, Calvin, was here left me curious to find out more. The writing style was easy to digest and the book appeared professionally edited. In contrast to my initial lack of interest, I now intend to read the rest of the book.

First Ten review added on February 18, 2018, at 5:54 am by jwalker73.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

pilvi

I started reading the sample and accidentally read the whole book. The story captured me and I just had to keep reading.

There were a few tense errors. Things should have been present perfect and were present tense instead. Not in the first ten pages, but later.

First Ten review added on February 18, 2018, at 7:52 am by pilvi.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

RebeccasReading

This is not a book I would have normally read. The cover and title did not draw me in. After reading the first 10 pages, I am intrigued but I probably won't finish the book. The topic doesn't interest me that much. I did like the writing and the integration of the Outlaws biker group. There was nothing in particular that stood out as needing improvement. It seemed to be professionally edited.

First Ten review added on February 18, 2018, at 12:34 pm by RebeccasReading.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

ButterscotchCherrie

I believe I would have sampled this on the basis of the title and description because I considered reviewing it. I will read the rest of it on the basis of the first ten pages because I was intrigued by the art of sword swallowing and quite liked the colourful setting involving biker gangs and tattoo parlours. It seemed professionally edited as I did not notice any errors. I liked the description of the performance best. In terms of what could be improved, I wasn't sure when it was set - records were mentioned and I presume that is a reference to the 1960s or 1970s rather than the contemporary vinyl revival; some indication of the year would have been helpful though. I did see an OnlineBookClub review.

First Ten review added on February 18, 2018, at 3:50 pm by ButterscotchCherrie.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

IsabelMay

I wouldn't sample the book without this program, the cover is not attractive and the description is too brief. It just doesn't sound interesting to me at all. It was nice to find an official review by OBC. The reviewer praised the book and got my hopes up. I haven't come across this author before, but the sample made me believe the author is new to writing. The writing style is unrefined and the pacing is slightly off. However, the story seems to be edited. I can't say that I liked much about this book, but it had a decent start. Unfortunately, I wasn't hooked by the storyline, so I won't be reading the rest. Positive reviews can't convince me otherwise.

First Ten review added on February 18, 2018, at 4:52 pm by IsabelMay.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

AA1495

Had I not sampled the book, I would not have read it. I usually read romance books. However, the title and cover made me curious about the plot. Having read the sample, I found it easy to read and follow. Further, the descriptions were detailed enough for me to imagine the scene. However, the pace of the sample was a little slow. The book seems professionally edited. Since I do not read this genre usually, I will not be reading the book further.

First Ten review added on February 18, 2018, at 5:03 pm by AA1495.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Momlovesbooks

The review of this book captured my attention. I probably wouldn’t have picked up this book on my own, but I read the sample and was intrigued. I enjoy character-driven stories. The sword-swallower is really unique. The book appears to be professionally edited and well-written. I downloaded it and will be adding it to my reading list.

First Ten review added on February 18, 2018, at 6:52 pm by Momlovesbooks.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

ayoomisope

The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid by Gary Robinson is a fictional account of the events of the author and a beloved friend (who happens to be a sword swallower and entertainer). The book's title and cover are compelling. The reviews are stellar; as a result, I purchased the book and delved right in to begin reading. The book seems professionally edited; nonetheless, the table of contents has chapter numbers without titles (I'm not sure why). Furthermore, I appreciate the humor in the book.

First Ten review added on February 18, 2018, at 7:43 pm by ayoomisope.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

Quinto

Today's novel has a curious title and its cover depicts a man swallowing a sword in the foreground. I would read or sample the book based on the book title and cover. I enjoy circus acts and by reading, I am hoping to gain some background information on the artists. I took advantage of the book's promotion to download a copy. I will read the book in its entirety because of the reason earlier mentioned. Reading the first ten pages of the book was in line with my original guess. Based on my reading, the book seems to be professionally edited. I liked reading about life on the streets of San Francisco. Duke, the sword swallower, first performs for some bikers as the book begins. Later, he chooses and gets a tattoo painted on his back by his friend, Ink, whom he met a while back in Los Angeles. Lastly, the book has an OBC review that I saw.

First Ten review added on February 18, 2018, at 8:18 pm by Quinto.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

psychopathycathy

If I had not read the sample I would not have read the book as I do not think this is my genre. After reading the sample I have not changed my mind. I think one thing that could make reading more fluid was to separate some of the dialogue into its own paragraph or line, as currently all the dialogue is embedded somewhere into a long paragraph chunk of narrative, which makes the book a little visually tedious. This was solved a little bit n the second chapter though, and I found that that was where I really got into the story. It was professionally edited. I did not read an official review but that did not affect my decision.

First Ten review added on February 18, 2018, at 8:30 pm by psychopathycathy.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Sarah_Khan

I like the cover and title of this book they both immediately draw the eye. I would not have picked this book up because the main theme does not interest me. The OBC review was favorable and detailed. After reading the first ten pages, I can say that this book is professionally edited. The book starts in an interesting way with the main character auditioning. Unfortunately, I was still not interested enough to commit to reading.

First Ten review added on February 18, 2018, at 8:41 pm by Sarah_Khan.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Shelle

I had no idea what to expect with this book and was glad the BOTD program introduced it to me. Once I saw that is was going to be an upcoming BOTM selection, I eagerly sampled it because I like to participate in the BOTM discussions. The OBC review was also favorable. The opening pages caught my interest and I liked the writing style and the characters. For these reasons I will read the rest of the book. This book appears to be professionally edited and error-free.

First Ten review added on February 18, 2018, at 11:56 pm by Shelle.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

L_Therese

If not for this program, I probably would not be considering this book. While the cover does seem relevant to the title, on the surface, the two elements in the title don't seem to go together. Once I looked into the description, I learned how the author links the two titular elements together, and it made more sense. However, it didn't sound like the kind of book I'd read strictly for fun. As I read the first ten pages, I didn't notice any errors, but I wasn't in love with the story. Since I could still put the book down, I did.

First Ten review added on February 19, 2018, at 12:11 am by L_Therese.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

anneloretrujillo

I would not have sampled this book based on the genre, blurb, title and cover. The blurb was too short and vague, and I didn't get an idea of the book from it. However, I would have sampled this book based on the OBC review. After reading the first ten pages, I won't be finishing this book. I didn't like the formatting. There were a lot of words that were split between lines, which I don't usually like. The book also brought me directly to the second chapter, and I had to scroll back to read the beginning. I also noticed errors right away. For example, there was a missing space after a period. I did like the first chapter and the way it pulls a reader in, but not enough to look past the other aspects.

First Ten review added on February 19, 2018, at 12:24 am by anneloretrujillo.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

CataclysmicKnight

When I first saw this book I really wasn’t interested in it. The title was intriguing, but the cover didn’t live up to expectations. I’m glad this was a book of the day since I’m really enjoying it so far and wouldn’t have given it a chance otherwise! I could really connect to the emotions in the first (introductory) chapter, and the second chapter already has such an air of reckless adventure about it! I found no errors, and aside from the cover I love everything about what I’ve read so far. This is a book I’ll be finishing!

First Ten review added on February 19, 2018, at 12:43 am by CataclysmicKnight.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

SPasciuti

I don't think that the cover for this book really does it a lot of justice as the crowd behind the shadow takes a lot away from what is meant to be the focal point. The premise of the book is interesting and the OnlineBookClub review made it sound worth reading. I was considering it prior to sampling the book. After reading the sample, I don't think I'll be finishing the book. There were a few typos through the book, though they weren't extensive or disastrous as far as I could tell. An example comes early on where there is a missing space between a period and the start of the next sentence. I thought the story was interesting and the character, Duke, certainly had an appeal to him. The writing, however, was stiff and it was hard to get into the story when I felt like all but one of the characters I was getting introduced to would get a brief moment and then disappear from the book. It moved somewhat slowly and had a lot more exposition than in the moment dialogue, and ultimately that made this one less interesting for me. I think if the author focused more on letting the reader get to know his characters, it would have been more engaging.

First Ten review added on February 19, 2018, at 1:44 am by SPasciuti.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Cjgarland89

At first glance this cover doesn’t interest me at all. I don’t think it fits the genre and overall isn’t appealing. Had I not sampled the book I wouldn’t have noticed this on my own. The desxription is short and not informative, and it just isn’t my type of read. After sampling I would not purchase or finish this book. There were a few misspelled words, and the writing itself isn’t appealing. The positive note is that the author is very descriptive so not much is left to the imagination. However this isn’t a book I could finish. I don’t see an OBC review, but it may contribute to knowing the plot ahead of time.

First Ten review added on February 19, 2018, at 6:39 am by Cjgarland89.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

DancingLady

I was somewhat interested in this book until I saw the other cover with the full photograph and turned away instantly. The review made me think I might be interested in the story anyway, especially since it is the book of the month. After reading the first 10 pages, I was squirming and cringing most of the time. I could never get through this book; it would give me nightmares or make me sick. I do think it was professionally edited but I don’t like it at all.

First Ten review added on May 1, 2018, at 10:23 am by DancingLady.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

cristinaro

The cover of Gary Robinson's book is modern and shocking. The title features the two protagonits mentioned in the Amazon blurb. The sensational element is the association between a sword swallower and a chico kid. Readers are left wondering what they might have in common. If it had not been for the first ten program, I would never have chosen this book mainly because it relies too heavily on reality and it is based on the topic of drug addiction. There are no editorial reviews and the customer reviews are rather mixed. What triggers my interest about this book is the fact that one of the protagonists runs away with the circus. I would definitely like to see how Gary Robinson portrays circus life and the carnival atmosphere at the circus. The prologue uses the pretext of the dying man's letter to stir the author's nostalgic recollections about Duke Reynolds, the man who changed his life. The first chapter starts with the image of Duke having to perform in front of the notorious Outlaws, a biker gang that ruled the underground of the streets of San Francisco. In this way, the carnival atmosphere is not restricted only to the circus arena. On the contrary, it gains something of its former glory since Duke brings it in the middle of the prople. I love the fact that Duke turns his performance into a real show and the narrator manages to describe it in a progressive way to keep the readers in suspense up until the climax. The author respects the carnivalesque principle of the world-upside-down with a simple sword swallower like Duke becoming a sort of superhero who can cheat death. There were no grammar mistakes in the sample I have read. The OnlineBookClub reviewer also noticed only a few minor mistakes throughout the entire book. Since this is the BOTM, I am willing to step out of my comfort zone and give it a try.

First Ten review added on May 1, 2018, at 11:28 am by cristinaro.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

teacherjh

The cover and review both generate interest in the book. However, it does not appeal to me personally.The first ten pages show a clear writing style and interesting characters. I probably won't read the rest simply because I like action books more than drama. The book does seem to be well edited and well written. I wouldn't suggest any changes.

First Ten review added on May 1, 2018, at 12:06 pm by teacherjh.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

kfwilson6

I've seen this book as the upcoming book of the month and really was not interested in checking into it past the title and the cover. I didn't know what a "chico kid" was and really didn't care to look it up. After reading the synopsis and reviews I felt mostly indifference toward the book. I most likely would not have read it prior to reading the sample. The sample completely changed my mind though. It really sparked my interest in Duke's skill as a sword swallower. I liked (but was a little disgusted) by the explanation of how exactly Duke is able to "swallow" the swords. I don't really care for all the sword swallowing euphemisms but they seem genuine to the character. The book appears to be professionally edited; I didn't notice any errors in the sample. I would really like to finish reading this book now that I've gotten a taste of it.

First Ten review added on May 1, 2018, at 12:42 pm by kfwilson6.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

Bianka Walter

I had to look at the cover of this book a few times before I could figure out what was going on. The title, the cover, and the fact that it is listed on Amazon as a memoir, are all factors that would lead me to not read this book. The sample didn't change my mind. I found the first few chapters to be very well written with no noticeable grammatical errors, but it didn't capture my attention. There seems to be a good start to character build up on Duke, but he wasn't the type of character that I have an interest in. For this reason, I won't be purchasing this book. The Online Book Club review was a glowing recommendation of this book, so maybe reading more than a few chapters is necessary to get into it.

First Ten review added on May 1, 2018, at 2:04 pm by Bianka Walter.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Libs_Books

The Amazon review sells the book well (except that I think it's his mortality Duke is facing, rather than immortality) but I'm not a fan of fictionalised biography or autobiography, so I wouldn't have read the extract if it hadn't been a free sample. I didn't find the opening of the book at all engaging. I note the OBC reviewer found Gary a sympathetic character, so it might have been helpful to learn a bit more about him at the start of the book. As I read on, I kept waiting for something exciting and interesting to happen – but it just didn't. I guess sword swallowing is probably fascinating when done live in front of you, but it's a well-known circus sideshow trick, so it's difficult to convey a sense of excitement about it on paper. Similarly, although tattooing may have been a relatively rare phenomenon in the 60s, it's fairly commonplace now, so it doesn't strike me as remarkable or interesting. The OBC reviewer described Duke's relationship with Gary as light-hearted and funny, but I found Duke to be an unsympathetic character and deeply unfunny. The book has obviously been consciously crafted and well-edited but I feel the author hasn't worked hard enough to persuade me that this is a story that is worth reading.

First Ten review added on May 1, 2018, at 3:08 pm by Libs_Books.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

melissy370

I would never read this book and the sample confirmed that decision. The Amazon blurb talks about two men living hard lives and self destructing. This doesn't appeal to me. To be honest, I really didn't like any of the sample. The coarse language, drug use, and drinking were not to my taste. I know from the OnlineBookClub review and from the hint in the beginning of the book, that Duke saves Gary's life somehow. However, I don't think I want to read through the book just to get to that point. I did not see any errors in the sample.

First Ten review added on May 1, 2018, at 3:34 pm by melissy370.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Kendra M Parker

Looking at the title, cover and description on Amazon, this is not a book that I would normally choose to read. The official review also points me to this not being my normal type of book to read. I don’t care much for dark stories, and the mention of the alcoholism in the description and review tend to push me away. I guess that all reminds me too much of Catcher in the Rye, which is a compelling classic, but always rubbed me the wrong way. Reading the first ten pages of this book shows me that the book is professionally edited but it does not really change my opinion of whether I would have normally chosen to read this book based on the previous elements. What does change my mind is that this is the book of the month, and I find myself interested in discovering what drives that choice and whether this has any of the compelling elements that made Catcher in the Rye a classic.

First Ten review added on May 1, 2018, at 3:46 pm by Kendra M Parker.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

desantismt_17

The “sword swallower” part of this book’s title caught my eye. I love fiction about the circus. The description dulled my interest a bit, but I was still very curious about the sword swallower. Before sampling, I was considering reading this. After sampling, I will read this. The writing is crisp, if a bit heavy on -ly adverbs. It appears professionally edited as I noticed only one missing comma. The OnlineBookClub.org review gave me the final push toward reading this. It’s praise, combined with the strong emotions in the writing swayed me.

First Ten review added on May 1, 2018, at 4:42 pm by desantismt_17.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

Snowflake

The new cover fits better with the book than the one shown here, it has the same grit as the story. The title is good and the Amazon blurb is ok. I do prefer a short and concise blurb. The new cover attracts my interest more than the old one and I may have sampled this book without the first ten pages program. I enjoyed the sample. The characters and scenarios were easy to understand and imagine. I felt like I was a part of the scene right away. There were a few words that caught my attention by their use but mostly I just flowed along with the story and text. This is an interesting book and I like the characters. I think that I will likely read the rest of this book.

First Ten review added on May 1, 2018, at 7:10 pm by Snowflake.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

lbhatters

I'm not very attracted by the cover of the book, but I have read the review, and that would probably get me to read the first few pages of this book.

After reading the first ten pages, I think I would like to buy this book if it was on sale; though I don't like the cover. The writing is very well done. I enjoy the dialogue and getting to know the characters in this book. I appreciate the detailed words used to describe the characters and the witty language from time to time. This makes the story interesting. I got very engaged right away with this sample.

I saw no spelling or grammar errors. This book appears to have been professionally edited.

First Ten review added on May 1, 2018, at 10:02 pm by lbhatters.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

ccrews0408

Based on the review, had I not read the first 10 pages, I would not have read this book. The book sounds like it could be a good read; however, the reviewer stated that if you were looking for action, this wasn't the book for you. I always look for action in books. Now that I have read the first 10 pages, I still don't plan on reading this book. It started off well and I'll admit, I was drawn in; however, there are so many books on my list right now, I have to be especially selective. I didn't notice any typos or grammatical errors and there was an official OnlineBookClub review.

First Ten review added on May 1, 2018, at 10:07 pm by ccrews0408.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Tbunde5

The cover makes the book appear to be non-fiction, but the author’s note makes it clear that it is fiction loosely based on real people. I would probably not have chosen to read it based on what I see. The OBC review gives a good overview of the story, but it did not pique my interest either. The story is well-written with almost no errors. The author takes his time developing his main characters, allowing the reader to truly understand the motives and actions of each one. There are adult themes and language used frequently, so this is not for kids. While I did enjoy the sample, I will not read the rest. It did not interest me enough to buy it.

First Ten review added on May 1, 2018, at 10:39 pm by Tbunde5.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

britt13

The official review had such high praise for this book that it piqued my interest even though the content was not something I am looking for right now. That being said I was excited to read the first ten at least. I have to admit, it made me very uncomfortable, though that is a compliment to Robinson. It felt so real that I could see it happening and because of the nature of the content, I did not like how that felt. I found no grammatical errors either so that was a plus as well. I am on the fence about if I will continue on with the reading of this book though because I am just really not all that interested in the subject matter. I do have a copy of it though because it was made free last time it was book of the day, so I will put it on my maybe list.

First Ten review added on May 2, 2018, at 1:22 am by britt13.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Yolimari

I would have not sampled this book without this program because I do not like the cover. The OBC reviews are positive but did not convince me to read the book. I am not into reading about drug and alcohol abuse. After I read the sample pages, I thought the book was professionally edited. I liked that the grandfather gets emotional when he receives a painting featuring his old friend Duke. I also liked the touching moment he tells his grandson that he is there because of Duke. It made me curious about why and what happened. I did not like that Duke abuses alcohol. However, I will this book because it is the book of the month and I am curious about why Calvin exists because of Duke.

First Ten review added on May 2, 2018, at 8:55 am by Yolimari.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

bb587

The cover of this book did not attract my attention. In fact, it took me a while to decipher the picture. After reading some, I'm still not interested. While it seems well written, I just don't want to read about two irresponsible alcoholics. Already the main character annoyed me with his choices. I understand that the point of a book like this is to watch the characters struggle then triumph but its not something I generally like to read about. The editing seemed well done and I liked that the story is told like a flashback for the child.

First Ten review added on May 2, 2018, at 9:21 am by bb587.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

KRay93

The cover has a striking, powerful design, and the blurb alludes to characters that apparently share those attributes. The official review emphasizes these characteristics in the book, even mentioning the presence of elements such as alcoholism and drugs. The first ten pages do a great job in getting the reader into the environment and the way of life of one of the protagonists, the prose resulting fluid and deeply intrusive regarding the feelings of the characters. The editing work seems acceptable since I did not detect typos or format problems at first sight. Taking into account the premise and the beginning of this book, I think I will read a story of characters in turbulent environments facing difficult lessons in their lives. I like that story. I'm going to read the rest of the book.

First Ten review added on May 2, 2018, at 9:00 pm by KRay93.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

Mercy Bolo

This book's cover caught my attention but if it wasn't for the First Ten program; I harbored no intention of sampling it. The review was well-written and radiated a positive vibe, but it didn't encourage me to read the book either. When I read the first ten pages, I noticed the professional editing that the book underwent, hence the lack of any noticeable errors. What I liked most about it is the captivating storytelling, which had me flipping through the pages. I, however, won't read the rest of the book because the deathly scenes describing sword swallowing made me cringe.

First Ten review added on May 2, 2018, at 9:51 pm by Mercy Bolo.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Gravy

I would not have looked at this, it just isn't something that would interest me. The sample, though interesting enough, didn't change my opinion.

I did notice the word 'proportion' where 'portion' likely should have been, while that could be a question of style (just barely), it felt like a typo. Aside from that, I didn't notice a lot of errors.
I found the details to be fairly on point, though I would have liked a bit more detail (but that's just personal preference).

I am pretty sure that this had a review, but I wouldn't care either way.
If I were in the right mood, I may be tempted into reading this, but my reading preferences are just aimed in another direction right now. I do not plan to read this at this time.

First Ten review added on May 3, 2018, at 4:24 am by Gravy.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

hsimone

Without this program, I would not have sampled this read. The cover is off-putting and the title doesn't grab my attention. The blurb does seem to give a good idea of what the book will be about, but again, it isn't something that piques my interest. Also, the genre isn't one that I read. The mixed customer reviews is worrisome, while the OBC review solidifies my opinion of the book. Reading about alcoholism isn't something I'm interested in.

Based on what I read, the book does seem be edited well. I think premise of the story is sweet and it was nice of the author to give the reader a snapshot of Duke's importance to Gary. Though it was rather quick. Reading about how Duke swallows swords makes me cringe and doesn't fill me with pleasant thoughts. Also, I'm not a fan of crude comments, like Big Jim was shouting. Due to the language, cringing feelings, and the fact that I'm not invested in the story, I do not plan on buying and reading this book.

First Ten review added on May 3, 2018, at 6:38 am by hsimone.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Jennifer Fernandez

I've been having the intention of reading this book since it was the book of the month. In the forums, I read people saying the cover was disturbing but I find it is a really great cover. It had nice reviews too. I also read a post by the author that also interested me in the book. After reading the first pages I've decided that I want to read it for sure. I find the book interesting and well edited. The sword swallowing theme is what I really like about this book. I would like this book to be a little more fast paced but I understand this is not the style of the book and it doesn't affect anything.

First Ten review added on July 29, 2018, at 2:28 pm by Jennifer Fernandez.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

mtsnel006

I would have read the book because the editorial review gave a clear explanation of what the book is about. He or she gave a thorough and broad perspective about the book, also making it worth reading. I am going to read the whole book, because I feel like there is a lot to learn from the book. For example, both Duke and Gary find themselves in the most distressing situations of being in prison (for Duke), and not being resourceful after graduating (Gary), so, I want to learn from them on how they overcome these challenges. The book was thoroughly edited, and the word choice of the author was impeccable as he used a wide range of adjectives and adverbs, which made the book real interesting. This is what I especially liked about the book in the first few pages I read. The book seems to be improved already.

First Ten review added on July 29, 2018, at 3:05 pm by mtsnel006.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

Laura Bach

"The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid" is a book about two alcohol addicts, Duke and Gary. They are presented separately and only in the final part of the book, they are brought together. I read a little from the first part, the one that shows Duke's story. He is performing his sword-swallowing act in front of the Outlaws, and he waits for the circus season to begin. I read in the Official OBC review that the book is based on character development, and I think that is the mark of a good book. In the pages I read, I enjoyed the fast-paced writing and the description of Duke's performance. There is nothing I would change.
I heard good things about this book, so I would have tried it without the program. The cover is not what I would call attractive, but I like it. I wish to continue reading the book, but I am afraid that I don't enjoy books about alcoholism that much. It looks professionally edited.

First Ten review added on July 29, 2018, at 3:11 pm by Laura Bach.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

cpru68

Had I not been a part of the online book club, I probably would not have selected this book to read. The cover for me is a bit off putting where I know for some people, they love the thrill of seeing a guy put a sword down his throat. The writing seemed nicely done with no errors detected on my part. I actually read a review of this book awhile ago and determined then that it probably wasn’t for me. The beginning where Gary is telling his grandson the life story of Duke was a nice segway into the past so the reader can see how rough of a life he had with drinking, spending money and having to work the streets for money in the circus “off season.” I’m still not interested in reading this one further as it just doesn’t appeal to me.

First Ten review added on July 29, 2018, at 3:30 pm by cpru68.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

FictionLover

I would not have sampled this book based on the cover. In fact, I joined the onlinebookclub in May, so I immediately noticed the book cover but could not figure out what the picture was.

I think I focused on the "Chico Kid" part of the title and that (What's a Chico Kid?), coupled with the picture, (which I think is too busy. With the onlookers in the background you can't really tell that he is swallowing a sword) left me really not understanding what the book was about. I finally did read a review and then the preface, and finally realized the book was well written with an interesting premise.

I read the whole sample today and didn't see any typos or grammatical errors. Though the description of the sword swallowing was awesome, my favorite part is when he goes to get tattooed. I loved the comparison of something that was so taboo at one point, which is now so commonplace that they have reality TV shows about it.

Additionally, I suggest you change the cover.

First Ten review added on July 29, 2018, at 4:10 pm by FictionLover.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

Eryn Bradshaw

Based on the cover I wasn't interested in the book. Sword swallowing makes me a little uncomfortable. I read the review and seeing that it was a character driven story, I became a little more interested, however after reading a few scenes with sword swallowing, I was put off the book as it made me feel a little sick to my stomach. For those reasons I won't be finishing this book unfortunately. I enjoyed the humor and how fun-loving Duke seemed, but those scenes were a bit much for me personally. I found no errors while reading the book, it seems professionally edited.

First Ten review added on July 29, 2018, at 4:37 pm by Eryn Bradshaw.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Izesicle

Had I not actually sampled the first ten pages as part of this program, I would have chosen to read or sample this book based on the title. I was curious to see what a sword swallower and a chico kid had in common or how they will connect.
I am going to buy and read the whole book because I liked the sample. I wanted to know how Starlight was connected to the grandson.
Based on what I read, the book seems like it was professionally edited. I didn't notice typo or grammar errors, except for one - "laid on the floor" is grammatically incorrect.
What I like the most in the bit I read is that it was readable and easy to visualize a lively and emotional family scene.
What could be improved is nothing that I could think of.
The book has an Official OnlineBookClub review that I saw.

First Ten review added on July 29, 2018, at 5:28 pm by Izesicle.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

Mely918

I most definitely would be intrigued by this book simply from the cover art and the title. The sample reaffirmed just how unique and interesting this plot seems. I like that the book is divided into three parts, according to the official review. I was able to get some insight on Duke Reynolds the Sword Swallower from the first ten pages. I wish I could have read more because he is an incredibly fascinating character. He is quite the adrenaline junkie. The author provides great characterization from what I could tell. There were a few grammatical errors from what I read, but nothing too distracting. I would like to read this book someday, but I won't be buying it today. I have too much work on my plate at the moment.

First Ten review added on July 29, 2018, at 5:52 pm by Mely918.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

LV2R

The book cover is very appropriate for the book and catching to the eye causing me to read the Amazon blurb and some reviews. Reading the first ten pages helped me to see how the book would be written and gave me a peek into Duke’s life as a circus performer. It seems to be professionally edited and I didn’t notice any errors. I would not buy the book, but since I have Kindle Unlimited, I will continue to read a bit more to see if I would want to read the whole book. I am cautious about reading the book because the circus life seems to be rough with foul language, use of drugs, and alcohol. However, this may give me an insight into what circus life was really like. I would not buy the book because it is not my preferred type of reading but I am willing to try reading more of it to see if I like it or not. I liked the beginning of the book with Calvin and his grandpa and the painting. It is a good start to telling a long story.

First Ten review added on July 29, 2018, at 8:21 pm by LV2R.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

CinWin

The cover of this book is great. I love the colorful tats and the sword. I didn't dream that it would be so much more than just a carnival side-show. "The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid" by Gary Robinson has a lot of depth to it. The author really develops each character until the reader knows them quite thoroughly. The first 10 pages were about Duke Reynolds, a man that swallows swords for a living. You just can't help but to love him from the beginning. He's got problems yet still keeps the fundamental philosophy that life is okay. I would not have changed anything in the first 10 pages and there were no grammatical errors that I noticed. There was an onlinebookclub review. I won't be finishing the book right now because I have two more books on my list, but perhaps later. I will look into it later.

First Ten review added on July 29, 2018, at 8:26 pm by CinWin.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

KristyKhem

The unique character on the cover appealed to me because I wanted to know about him. I would have chosen to read this book because of its cover, title, and blurb. I read the sample and I liked the descriptions of the settings and characters. For example, I was able to get a good mental image in my mind. Chapter 3 begins with a lively description of San Francisco in the mid-morning as Duke prepares to go to work entertaining streetwalkers with his daredevil acts. I also liked the way the author used the flashback technique. The prologue began with Gary receiving sad news about Duke and an accompanying painting. His grandson asks him who is Duke and then the story reverts to the past, almost like a TV show. I did not see any errors in the sample and I believe that the book was professionally edited. The 4/4 rating by the Review Team cemented my decision to read this book. Therefore, I will buy it and add it to my reading list.

First Ten review added on July 29, 2018, at 9:31 pm by KristyKhem.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

Sicily Joy

The cover doesn't appeal to me as I can't relate to the tattooed man in the photo. However, the official review and description made me interested in sampling the book as I enjoy character-driven stories. After reading the sample I was left undecided if I will eventually finish the book. I liked how quickly I was able to read through the first ten pages. The beginning wasn't action packed like a thriller and yet the scenes were vivid and exciting particularly the sword swallowing scene with the biker audience. There is nothing in particular, I think needs to be improved. The parts I read were well-written and I didn't see any errors. I believe it was professionally edited. But I was not convinced that I would be invested in a story about a sword swallowing circus performer and a rowdy young man. Therefore, while, I might read it in the future, I am not going to buy it today.

First Ten review added on July 30, 2018, at 12:22 am by Sicily Joy.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Ahlily

I am able to get this book for free to review and after reading the sample, I think I would enjoy reading this book. This isn't usually a genre I would read, but I like how this is set in the past and how quickly the book seems to dive into the story. I love the preface and how there is already such a strong emotional connection to Duke with the grandfather breaking down into tears. I find it interesting that the chapters after the preface are essentially the grandfather telling his grandson the history of Duke. The cover makes me think this is a biogrphy or that the story happened in real life, which I find confusing when it's fiction. I didn't see any typos, so I believe it was professionally edited. The only thing I didn't like was how short the chapters are. It seems like there are only a few paragraphs before a new chapter starts. Each chapter break jolts the reader to stop for the next part of the story, making it hard to get fully engrossed in the novel.

First Ten review added on July 30, 2018, at 1:15 am by Ahlily.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

klbradley

From the cover of the book, it doesn't really look like something I would generally be interested in. It actually looks to me like it would be more of a work of non-fiction, which I'm not a big fan of. After reading the prologue, I was able to find that this is fiction, which did allow me to become a bit more interested. The grandfather's interest in the oil painting that arrives shows his sadness, but also his deep feelings for something specific regarding the painting, which I feel is what will be discussed in the book. I like reading novels that offer foreshadowing before the actual book begins, so that was a plus for this one. Overall, I have to say that I'm going to pass on this one. Not only is my reading list currently too long to manage, but I didn't find myself intrigued enough, perhaps because this book isn't one from a genre that I am currently drawn to.

First Ten review added on July 30, 2018, at 10:39 am by klbradley.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

juliecsa

I wouldn't have sampled this book because I have read reviews and discussions when this book was BOTM and I didn't think it was my style. I found the sample extremely intriguing, as I am interested in knowing why Ollie was murdered. For this reason, I intend to continue reading. I thought the beginning was a bit too fast at first, with too much happening all at once. I didn't notice any errors.

First Ten review added on July 30, 2018, at 11:45 am by juliecsa.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

SamSim

Prior to reading the first 10 pages, this is not a book that would interest me. First, I would probably choose present- or modern-day fiction almost last of the genres if I was looking for a book to read. I like historical fiction, historical romance, fantasy, etc. I did think it was immediately unique, not ever having seen or heard of any book about the life of a sword swallower, so that's interesting, but doesn't interest me enough to make me want to read it. The reviews on Amazon are a bit mixed. Some people love it, some people think it's great (with caveats), some people couldn't connect. The blurb makes me think the story is a bit angsty, which I rarely can relate to and has to be delicately handled in order to not come off as just plain whiny. I have read a few OBC reviews and discussion posts regarding this book, and I think the only general consensus is it's a unique story. That, in itself, can rarely be said about a book these days. Having sampled the book, I don't hate it, but the first thing that stands out to me is the frequency of errors. "Best seller's list" should not have an apostrophe. The phrase "bubble wrap" felt repetitive. "Smoke laden" should be hyphenated, as should "bull shit" in "bull shit trick." There were a few missing and misplaced commas. For example, "five, thirty-inch swords" should not have a comma between "five" and "thirty." The hyphen in "thirty-inch" eliminates confusion. "Industrial looking" should be hyphenated. "Fucken" is obviously misspelled and missing an apostrophe at the end. "Second story" should be hyphenated. "Full bodied" should be hyphenated, and aren't mirrors "full-length," not "full-bodied"? "Urban center" should be hyphenated. The phrase "whom he happily invited each to share a drink" is incorrect. Either "each" shouldn't be there or "whom" could be "and," in order to make it coherent. These are the issues I noticed before I stopped reading. I personally think this book needs another round of editing. Aside from that, I'm kind of a prude and don't usually read stories full of crude jokes and language and such. Of course, if an author is setting a book in that atmosphere and wants it to be realistic, those things are basically unavoidable, but it's another reason I wouldn't buy this book. It's just not my "thing." Anyway, all the mechanics about sword swallowing were really interesting and his passion for his art was obvious and made those parts very engaging. Otherwise, I didn't find much to connect with here. I'll pass on this one.

First Ten review added on July 30, 2018, at 11:13 pm by SamSim.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Kat Berg

One of the very first things I noticed upon opening the book were: "red headed" (p. 1) should be "red-headed" and "visitor.It" should have a space after the period. I understand that mistakes happen, even in the most professionally edited books, but your first page should be perfect. Sometimes it is the only chance you are going to get to draw the reader in. I probably would put this right back down because I have hundreds of books on my "to be read" list, and I just don't want to read something that is poorly edited. I have seen this book before, and I really appreciate the changed cover, it is MUCH better! As a reader, I am also not a big fan of the formatting. I prefer some sort of indent for every new paragraph. It helps my eye to follow along more easily. I can't imagine what would make someone want to do such a dangerous job as swallow swords, and that posed question is one of my favorite parts of the book, but it is not enough to make me want to read the rest of the book to find out. I am mildly curious to know what he has to do with the opening chapter and the red-headed boy, but again, it is not quite enough to make me want to read the rest of the book. I did read the official OBC review.

First Ten review added on July 30, 2018, at 11:49 pm by Kat Berg.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Sahani Nimandra

The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid by Gary Robinson is an unexpected read fabricated by a true story. The old cover illustration is much better compared to the present cover illustration. I admire that this story is based on true events. The official OBC review was good, but I have seen this book become the BOTD before. The start of the story was very touching. It's fascinating to see how people got wasted because of bad influence. There weren't any hindrances while reading. The start was good but as I continued reading it became dull so I won't be continuing to read this further.

First Ten review added on July 31, 2018, at 5:12 am by Sahani Nimandra.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Camille Turner

I would not have sampled this book without the program because the cover, title, and Amazon blurb don't appeal to me. I actually find those things (swallowing swords or fire, putting nails in your head, etc.) make me queasy, so I don't think I'd like to read about them. After reading the first ten pages, my impression has stayed the same because already, Duke has put five swords down his throat, going over the details of pushing his heart forward and the risk of rupturing organs, which I just don't want to read about. I liked Duke as a character though and thought the author did a good job of showing his personality to readers from the very beginning (the way he spends his money all at once, his work performing, etc.). I would improve the prologue if it were me because it seems a little overly dramatic with Gary crying so much, Angel saying his books have made the NYT Best Seller's List, etc. I won't finish reading this book for the aforementioned reason that I just don't like the idea of reading about performers doing scary things to their bodies. As for editing, I only noticed one grammatical error, in the sentence "When the shouting stopped, the sword swallower continued with his rehearsed monologue that he has repeated to thousands..." where "has" should be "had" in order to keep the tense the same.

First Ten review added on November 12, 2018, at 10:26 am by Camille Turner.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

HRichards

I probably would not have picked this book up on my own, as this type of contemporary book doesn't really appeal to me, nor did the cover attract my attention. After reading the sample, I will not be continuing on with the book, as I found the sample rather boring and not to my taste. The sample deals with a grandfather reminiscing about a sword swallower named Duke that he knew as a child. The story then turns to years ago as Duke entertains with his act. The writing is pretty good, so those who like sentimental contemporary stories might like this book. I didn't find it that engaging. I didn't notice any grammar errors. I have not read any other reviews of this book.

First Ten review added on November 12, 2018, at 11:18 am by HRichards.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

sarahmarlowe

I have looked at the cover and description of this book for several weeks now, and I have not chosen to review it. After reading the first ten pages of the book, my mind has not changed. Although I like the idea of the plot, and I love that the characters aren't average run-of-the-mill people, I just don't think this story is for me. This book seemed to be professionally edited, and I like the way the author tells the main story in a flashback. The only thing I saw that might need improvement is the flow of the dialogue between characters.

First Ten review added on November 12, 2018, at 12:49 pm by sarahmarlowe.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

SABRADLEY

I liked the Online Book Club reviewer's depiction of what this book has to offer, although it really holds no interest to me. For starters the title and cover make me want to vomit. The first ten pages introduced me to an author that has an emotional throwback to the circus days following Duke's death and a letter from Starlight. Then we learn of Duke as a street performer (sword swallower) in San Francisco. I like that the author included a prologue to get the reader acquainted with one of the main characters in his old age. I didn't find any editorial errors and thought the writing style flowed nicely. There wasn't anything about the first ten pages I didn't like. I don't have any interest in this book based on the circus theme, sword swallowing, and addiction issues, so will not be reading.

First Ten review added on November 12, 2018, at 10:56 pm by SABRADLEY.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

ReviewerDiksha

Sword swallowing, while a daring thing, creeps me out. No offense! The cover of this book features a sword swallower, so I wouldn't have bought it. I didn't read any reviews or summary of the book, but from the title, I could guess that it was about a sword swallower who probably taught a young boy the tricks of the trade. While reading the first ten pages, I was led to believe that my assumption was right. The prologue started with an old man getting a letter from who turned out to be the sword swallower in the next chapter. The writing style was simple, and there were no grammatical mistakes. But, I don't think I can read this book. In the first chapter, Duke performs the act of sword swallowing and the description of it was a bit much for me. If there wasn't this particular angle in the story, I might have read it.

First Ten review added on November 12, 2018, at 11:38 pm by ReviewerDiksha.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

sonya01

My first impression of this book was that it wouldn’t appeal to me. While the cover illustration is colorful and unusual, it seems to deal with people on the fringes of society. This was confirmed by the title. The reviews were certainly quite complimentary, but I would not ordinarily be interested. Upon reading the first ten pages, I found the writing to be easy going and clear, quite pleasant to read actually. I did like the author’s preface, where she dedicates the book to her friend Captain Don Leslie. I found this a touching and sentimental start to the book. There were two errors in the first couple of chapters, one of them being the use of a comma when Angel’s speech is interrupted, whereas an ellipses would be better. The prologue sets the scene for the story, and then we are taken back to Duke at the start of his career, before he gets all his tattoos. The Chico Kid does not make an appearance in the first ten, so it is impossible to tell how much he contributes to the overall story. It’s really not a book I would find interesting, and I definitely would not consider reading it. For me, the topic is just too random and the characters (at least from the first ten) are uninspiring. Not for me.

First Ten review added on November 13, 2018, at 1:30 am by sonya01.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Cher432

If I had not read the sample,I probably would not have read the book. This is because the official onlinebookclub review indicated that it was about two people finding themselves. Reading the sample did not change my mind. This is because I felt that the prologue already gave away the ending. It begins with one of the characters playing with his grandchild and a portrait of the other character being sent to him.I would not buy and read the book because I have already read too many books of this nature. I did not find any typos in the sample so I think it was professionally edited.

First Ten review added on November 13, 2018, at 2:04 am by Cher432.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

OloladeO

Based on the review, cover and title, I would not have read the book's sample because the themes discussed in the book is not my cup of tea. From the sample, Gary and his grandson, Calvin, were playing when a parcel was delivered to the house by a delivery man. Unwrapping it, Gary discovered it was a framed canvas oil painting of Duke Reynolds swallowing a sword sent to him from Starlight. The sight of the picture caused strong emotions within him and he started crying. The book seems professionally edited, but the pages do not seem to be uniformly aligned. There was an OBC review about the book, but that does not change my stance about not reading the book as I earlier stated.

First Ten review added on November 13, 2018, at 3:22 am by OloladeO.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

ObsessedBookNerd

Had I not read the sample as part of the program then I would not have read the book based on the title, genre, blurb or reviews. I don't usually read this genre. I don't like to read about the use of drugs, alcoholism, or religion that is mentioned in the story. The first ten pages of the book did change my mind because even though this is not the type of book I like to read, the story grabs your attention. I like how the author set up the story. I think it made it easier for the reader to understand the story with how the author split the book into three sections; to have one character story then the other and finally their story joins together. I also like how the author was inspired by a friendship of an old, circus sideshow sword swallower named Captain Don Leslie. The author also did a good job of making the characters realistic and relatable. The story also pulls the reader in. Even though this is not the kind of book I usually read, even I was interested in the story. In the prologue, the reader meets Gary and his grandson, Calvin. Gary receives a package that is a framed canvas oil painting of the sword swallower, Duke Reynolds. The prologue is the end of the story it seems like and the rest of the book I think is what happens from the past up to when Gary receives the package. Part 1 is the sword swallower’s story. The beginning of the chapter the reader meets Duke doing the sword swallowing trick in front of bikers. It was suspenseful and made the reader want to keep reading. I hate reading about alcoholism, drugs, swearing, and religion but the plot and characters fascinated me into reading the story. I am going to give the book a chance, even though it's not typically the kind of book I would read or topics that I don't like in a story. I am also curious about how the author set up the book and if it will be understandable to the reader. I know that there are three parts and I hope that the flow of the story continues to how it has been. So far in the story, I greatly like the character, Ink. I don't know if it's because he is a tattoo artist, his humor or his personality/loyalty. It is an interesting book that I will definitely recommend for adult readers. The book seems professionally edited and I found no spelling or grammatical errors.

First Ten review added on November 13, 2018, at 3:53 am by ObsessedBookNerd.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

a9436

I definitely need to stop judging books by their covers! At first glance, I assumed this was an action novel, and then I read the blurb and reviews. The concept of friendship and support between two very different people moved me, and with alcoholism being a part of my family life, I wondered if the book would maybe offer some valuable life advice too. Unfortunately, although the emotional prologue tugged at my heartstrings, and the first ten pages were well-written and error-free, I will not be finishing the book after all; I am not usually squeamish, but the graphic description of the swallowed sword's affect on Duke's internal organs was too much for me. I am sure many will love this book, but this occupation is not one that I can read about personally.

First Ten review added on November 13, 2018, at 9:03 am by a9436.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

JuliaKay

The cover and title of this book do not make me want to read it. As a first impression, this is not something that makes me want to know more, and it does not seem like it would be something I'm interested in. From the blurb and reviews, I understand that there is much more to the story than what is shown on the cover, but they have not helped me in wanting to read the book. It's simply a genre and topics that I don't particularly enjoy reading about. The book begins with a boy named Calvin playing with his grandfather. While they were playing, a package was delivered to the door, and something about the package made the grandfather anxious. In the package was a painting and a note. The note mentioned Gary, who must be the grandfather, and said the someone named Starlight was very sick. The painting was of Duke Reynolds swallowing a sword. Part one of the book tells of the Sword Swallower's journey. Duke was performing a biker gang in San Francisco; he was going to attempt to swallow 35-inch swords. The description of him doing this made me rather uncomfortable as I am very visual. It's introducing that Duke seems to do this as a profession and that he is still so nervous about it, although with the chance of being injured involved, and I can why he is. He normally performs with a circus. While at the bar where he had done his performance, he meets Big Jim, a dangerous criminal. Big Jim was paying him for the show. By the second chapter, it seems clear that Jim is an alcoholic as he wakes up in a chair in his clothes from the night before and with an half-empty bottle of vodka. We also find out that he lives above a tattoo shop where a celebrity had been tattooed the night before, and he is getting a tattoo on his back which will turn into many more tattoos. I felt like the first ten pages were sort of slow-moving, and it was hard for me to get a good feel about where the book was going. I will say that I was more impressed by the story than I thought I would be. The characters seem more complex than I had originally assumed. I also did not notice any technical errors, and it does appear that this book has been professionally edited. I still do think that I would enjoy reading the whole thing, but I can see how it would appeal to other people.

First Ten review added on November 13, 2018, at 5:41 pm by JuliaKay.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

briellejee

Based on the title and cover, I think I wouldn't have sampled the book. Though it is a true story, it would have been nice if the cover wasn't too realistic. A simple cover, like the silhouette of a sword swallower, might have been appealing enough. The cover did not leave any room for mystery and curiosity. After reading the first ten pages though, I found out that this story is worthwhile. The prologue was touching yet not exactly one that can pique someone's curiosity. However, Duke's character really had me. When he got off the stage, he was catching his breath and his hands were shaking. That makes him a human character-- someone who is relatable. I am always in awe watching these circus performers but I never really know what happens when those curtains close. The author's style in writing is also superb. He makes the chapter short, his descriptions are also not tedious to read. My only suggestion is maybe he could've inserted the story of the chico boy in between the chapters of the sword swallower. I admit the part of the Duke is already fast-paced but inserting about the chico boy can help readers go on with curiosity. With that said, I will be going to read the rest of the book. I am curious as to what their relationship would be. There were no noticeable errors and the official OBC review really helped me in getting past the cover, and sample this.

First Ten review added on November 14, 2018, at 1:15 am by briellejee.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

Total ~ 35%

The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid earned a score of 35%.

In other words, out of the top-level reviewers who read at least the first 10 pages of this book, 35% plan to read the whole book.

IMPORTANT: Any score over 10% is considered very good. And any score above 0% is acceptable.

Over a million books are published each year. Any given person could not even read .0001% of the books out there. This means readers have to be very selective. Even taking the time to look over reviews and blurbs, let alone read samples, is more time than most readers can afford for most books. The First Ten is a powerful focus group that addresses those issues. It creates a helpful tool for authors, publishers, and other readers.

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