Cover for Playing Chess with God

The First Ten Focus Group Feedback for Playing Chess with God

Because Playing Chess with God was Book of the Day, some of our most trusted members have carefully looked over the cover, the description, and other aspects of this book as a part of purchase-intent focus group. We then asked each participant in the focus group if they planned to buy and read the book, and why they planned to buy and read the book or not. Their answer to that question and reasons are displayed below. We call this awesome feature The First Ten Focus Group.

Keep in mind, the responses from the members are not reviews. This is purchase-intent focus group which means the participants are people who have NOT yet bought or read your book. A purchase-intent focus group is an important and extremely useful marketing tool for any product, not just books. For other products, you might walk on the street and show people an item in a package and poll them about whether they would buy if or $X or not. These kind of focus groups are one of the ways big marketing companies find the ideal price points for products and test the effectiveness of different packaging. The focus group can help you identify your market so you how to target ads of your book, and it can (but may not) provide you new useful info about your "packaging" (e.g. your book cover, your book synopsis on Amazon, etc.). The point of the focus group comments is to give you information from people who have not bought or read your book about why they plan to buy your book which will help you in marketing the book. These are not reviews or critiques of your book because they are not from people have read the book. This is a marketing tool, not reviews. The trick of book marketing and book advertising is that you have to convince people who have not read your book yet that your book is worth buying and reading. For marketing, it doesn't matter much if people love your book after reading it if you cannot convince potential buyers before they read it that they will love it.

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.

va2016

The cover and the title are not indicative of the theme of the book. There are 30 Amazon customer ratings, which is good. The Amazon summary gives a clear description of the story. As I am not interested in gold rush stories, I would have skipped sampling if not for the First Ten program. As I sampled through the book, I found the narration describing the gold rush in the Sierra Nevada foothills in California. As I am not interested in gold rush stories, I am not going to read this book in full. I found the sample professionally edited. There were no grammatical or mechanical errors. What I liked most about the book is its writing style. I could not find anything that can be improved with the book. Although I found one OBC review for the book, my decision to not to read the book in full is based on my own sampling.

First Ten review added on January 21, 2020, at 4:21 am by va2016.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

jeminah28

I sampled the book, but I was turn-off by the explicit scene at the beginning of the story. Encinas and Henning's pre-marital sex made me decline to read the rest of the book. I thought the book was a self-help book based on the title, but the content seems contrary to what I believe. Consequently, these phrases already give me hint about the book, such us, “Prospecting is like playing chess with God.” and “You can’t win unless He lets you, and you don’t know if He will until you try.” Gladly, in the bit I read, I did not find any errors. Plus, the book is a page-turner with vivid details of the plot. The OBC review did not convince me to give this book a try, since I am not interested in the historical events of Californian Gold Rush.

First Ten review added on January 21, 2020, at 2:22 am by jeminah28.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

anneloretrujillo

I would not have sampled this book based on the genre, blurb, OBC review, cover, and title. After reading the first ten pages, I won’t be finishing this book. I’m not interested in the time period of the California Gold Rush, which is when the book was set. The prologue talks about the discovery of gold and how everyone flocked to the scene to become rich. I liked that it pointed out that some people made their money without looking for gold by doing things that consumers would pay for. However, I’m not interested in the gold rush time period. The first chapter immediately started talking about the crew enjoying whores, which definitely wasn’t for me. This just isn’t my type of book. It did seem to be professionally edited.

First Ten review added on January 21, 2020, at 1:05 am by anneloretrujillo.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Jbcitygirl

I would have chosen to sample this book based on the title. My curiosity drew me in and the title is explained within the first chapter which I really enjoyed. The relationship between Henning and Encinas is very romantic. The writing style is quite blunt, but it lends a sense of honesty to the story which makes it enjoyable. The book does appear to be professionally edited. If I had to recommend improvements, I would have another look at the cover - it was not appealing to me. The official OnlineBookClub review was very well written, but did not serve to change my mind in this instance. I will not be adding this book to my reading list, as I am not currently interested in reading fictional books about this era.

First Ten review added on January 21, 2020, at 12:35 am by Jbcitygirl.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

psychopathycathy

If I had not read the sample, I would not have read the book as I did not think it was my genre from the title. After reading the sample, I have changed my mind. I really liked the dynamic between Henning and Encinas, which caught me by surprised considering it seemed like the stereotypical relationship between a prostitute and their customer. I also really liked the reference to the title in the line: "Prospecting is like playing chess with God." The sample seemed professionally edited. I read the official review, and the high rating made me want to read the book more, though I agree that the lack of an antagonist to combat the protagonist might be something I wouldn't enjoy. I will still give the book a shot!

First Ten review added on January 20, 2020, at 10:27 pm by psychopathycathy.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

Fuzaila

The cover is really good. The blurb didn't catch my attention, but the review was all praises. I wasn't very intrigued by the sample either, even though the writing was edited professionally. I liked the descriptive narrative. James's dilemma after finding out there was gold in his land was pretty awkward. However, all the people digging up insane amounts of gold seemed to reduce its value. Henning's awkwardness on being with a prostitute for the first time was really well done. There wasn't anything I disliked. But I won't be reading further as I am not interested in learning what happens.

First Ten review added on January 20, 2020, at 9:52 pm by Fuzaila.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

ritah

Based on the cover and genre, I would have sampled the book because I usually read books in this genre and also because I liked the cover. I read the official review and sampled the novel. I also liked that the reviewer mentioned that the book is rich in history, which is why I will be reading the rest of the book. I could totally understand John Sutter's fear of losing his agricultural empire/land to the gold rush. I did not spot any error or any areas that need improving.

First Ten review added on January 20, 2020, at 4:18 pm by ritah.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

Aubrey Lewis

The overall appearance of the book is intriguing yet not very eye-catching, in my opinion. When I read through the official OBC review, I felt that I wouldn't be able to appreciate the book since I'm not very fond of reading historical fiction. When I finished sampling the first ten pages, I decided not to read the rest of the book. The contents seemed professionally edited so far, and I liked how the author chose a fast-paced writing style for the book since it didn't make things seem too descriptive or technical for my taste. I also liked the beginning interactions between Henning and Encinas; their chemistry didn't seem forced and I appreciated that their conversations flowed naturally. Unfortunately, the genres and the concept of the story just aren't my cup of tea, so I'll have to pass on this one. Since my reason is due to my own personal preference, I don't think there are any improvements the author needs to make.

First Ten review added on January 20, 2020, at 3:16 pm by Aubrey Lewis.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Sarah_Khan

I would not have picked this book up without the First Ten program because the title and cover are average and the plot does not interest me enough. I liked that the Amazon blurb was short and sweet. The first few pages seem well edited. I thought some of Encinas' dialogue felt unnatural, which prohibited me from losing myself in the story. Overall, the plot of this book does not intrigue me enough to want to commit to reading the rest. The OBC review was positive, but it was not enough to convince me to change my mind. I do not have any suggestions for the author, this book is just not my cup of tea.

First Ten review added on January 20, 2020, at 2:22 pm by Sarah_Khan.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

gen_g

I have come across a positive review of this book, and it has piqued my interest. There are a couple of minor errors. On loc 2, there is a missing hyphen for the compound modifier: "five(-)dollar gold piece". I would suggest sending the book for further editing to rectify these errors. I like how the author has started the book, by describing how the Gold Rush started, where John Sutter first found a metal flake the same colour as that of a gold piece, which was the trigger for so much gold being found, that swarms of people have come down and starting panning for it in the "American River". However, I will not be reading the book, as I'm currently not in the market for historical fiction.

First Ten review added on January 20, 2020, at 9:06 am by gen_g.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

cristinaro

Although I like the audacity of the title, I wouldn't have sampled this book without the first ten program considering that I'm not particularly interested in the Californian Gold Rush. However, the novel seems to have impressed quite a number of readers since it has 30 customer reviews wiht an overwhelming 92% of them giving it 5 stars. In the prologue, the author does a good job of describing the age and providing enough historical details to make the setting seem realistic. I didn't like that the first chapter started with Henning's experience with a prostitute. Besides, it seemed totally unrealistic for Encinas to treat him differently from her other customers. Hence forward, the story progresses at a slow pace. As I prefer much more suspense and excitement, I think I'll skip this book. The OBC reviewer mentions the idealistic portrayal of Henning. I generally relate to flawed characters, so this is a minus for me. Even if the sample was error-free, I won't be adding the novel to my reading list.

First Ten review added on January 20, 2020, at 8:47 am by cristinaro.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Scerakor

From the cover, blurb, and review of this book, I wouldn’t have read it. Although I've enjoyed some good historical fiction recently, this one just doesn't fit into a time period that interests me. After reading the first ten pages I didn’t change my mind and therefore will not be buying and reading the rest of this book. I enjoyed how the author uses dialogue to give a portrait of the time-period. Particularly, Henning and Encinas' banter back and forth gives a snapshot of the things that were important in those times and the difficulties involved in that kind of job/relationship. That being said, I'm just not interested enough in the subject matter to buy and read the rest of this one. I didn’t see anything specific that I would have wanted to change within the sample that I read, but it did seem well written and edited. The official review did not affect my decision at all.

First Ten review added on January 20, 2020, at 8:31 am by Scerakor.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

ButterscotchCherrie

This isn't a book I would have sampled on the basis of the cover or description as I don't normally read historical fiction. I also won't buy this today as this genre isn't a priority for me. This book appears professionally edited. I noticed the following formatting errors: In the sentence ending ' "... if the opening bid is unreasonable, " Vasquez growled.', there is a blank line between the closing quote after "reasonable" and "Vasquez", which should have been on the same line. Also, "Fraeulein" is in italics the first two times it is used, but the third time, it is not. I enjoyed the details, such as the name of the brothel, House of Smiles. As this opening introduces a colourful situation and intriguing characters, I don't think anything needs to be improved from the point of view of historical fiction lovers. The OBC review was useful in confirming that the book seems well researched; my decision was based on the sample.

First Ten review added on January 20, 2020, at 4:17 am by ButterscotchCherrie.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

briellejee

Based on the cover and title, I think I would have sampled the book. The title, especially, sounds interesting enough to attract potential readers. The cover is appealing too. As for the first few pages, the prologue didn't seem to do its job in enticing readers to go on. I found it a bit dull and monotonous. However, chapter one seems interesting on the romantic aspect between Encinas and Henning. Henning's character was intriguing as well because he seemed innocent enough for Encinas. There was this lingering thought about Encinas and the gold mine as well. Would Henning take the risk just for her? Is Encinas someone to be trusted? These questions are enough to make a reader go on reading. However, the premise of the plot does not interest me and neither does the setting and timeline. With that said, I will not be reading the rest of the book. I found a lack of commas in sentences like, "In corsets and pantalets(,) she knelt to untie..." on location 96. The OBC review was good enough to tell me to sample it.

First Ten review added on January 20, 2020, at 3:56 am by briellejee.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

MrunalT

The title of the book was appealing. But when I read the official OnlineBookClub review, I was disappointed to find out that the theme of the book was nothing like I had imagined. The book deals with a period in history which I do not find very interesting. The first thing that struck me in the eBook was the small font and narrow-spaced text making it difficult to read comfortably. The prologue introduces several characters at once, which I did not appreciate. There was a love-making scene in the bit that I read, and it made me a bit uncomfortable. I would imagine there are other scenes of this sort further in the book. I did not find any grammar errors. So overall this book seems well-edited. However, given the reasons I noted above, I am not inclined to buy this book.

First Ten review added on January 20, 2020, at 3:42 am by MrunalT.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Shrabastee

Although I like historical fictions, the cover, blurb, or the official OBC review did not attract me. The first ten pages were without editing errors. However, I did not like the setting of Californian gold rush. The dealings of the protagonist with the beautiful Encinata sounded a little unrealistic. A little more background about the gold rush would have been helpful. I am skipping this book.

First Ten review added on January 20, 2020, at 3:32 am by Shrabastee.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

AvidBibliophile

The cover art efficiently conveys a nostalgic setting, and I like the choice of font selected for the title; it gives a sense of levity to a possibly heavy theme. The Amazon product description is cleverly written and persuasively intriguing, short but sufficient. I've never been to San Francisco or Peru, but now I've got the desire to travel to both locales through these pages. The allure of the frenzied California gold rush seduced me with its glittering potential, but I can only imagine the debauchery that took place within the House of Smiles. I can also appreciate a love story where a legitimate gesture of devotion is shown through a prostitute's promised smoking cessation. This book appears to have been professionally edited. The one published OBC review and 30 Amazon user ratings all provide beneficial insights, impressions, and positive recommendations. I do enjoy historical fiction, and I was immediately hooked by the gold flakes and water wheels, so I will gladly proceed onward with reading this title in its entirety.

First Ten review added on January 20, 2020, at 3:10 am by AvidBibliophile.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

Howlan

The cover is quite conventional. The synopsis is an adequate description of the book. I love historical fiction, and California's gold rush is one of the major events in history. I like how the author build-up his story. In search of a profitable job and earn the love of Encinas, the protagonist Henning tries his luck at the Californian gold rumors floating around the continent. The writing is nice and gripping and the main character has a sense of duty one feels addicted to. The way the author uses flashbacks to his childhood days of being bullied also keeps the readers interested. I genuinely have no good reason, not to buy this book. I loved the sample and want to read more. So I will buy this book. No typos were found in the first ten pages. The Official Review is present, and the reviewer finds it "gripping, funny, and well-written."

First Ten review added on January 20, 2020, at 1:53 am by Howlan.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

sanjus

The title of the book and its cover gave me the impression that this book has something to do with a person who tries to play with God and faces the consequences due to it. I read the official review, and it told me that this book is set during the gold rush in California and follows a hero whose character has no match any other person. After reading the first ten pages, I realized that the official review had given a true picture of the book, which appealed to me to consider this book once again. I found that the book follows Henning, and is shown to have a wonderful life when he is with Encinas, a prostitute, who is very much different from the rest of her group. Therefore, all this made me realize that this book would be a pleasurable read. Moreover, the book is professionally edited because I did not find any flaws in it. I would surely buy this book and read it within a fortnight, but not today because I am already reading couple of books.

First Ten review added on January 20, 2020, at 1:19 am by sanjus.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Juliana_Isabella

I wouldn't have chosen this book because I don't usually read historical fiction, but I saw that it had a positive review. I didn't find any grammatical errors in the first ten pages, and I liked that the characters' personalities were revealed through conversation. However, the book includes more graphic scenes than I prefer, and I found the relationship between the whore and the sailor to be unrealistic, so I won't finish the book.

First Ten review added on January 20, 2020, at 12:35 am by Juliana_Isabella.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

VernaVi

Had I not sampled this book through the First ten program I would not have picked it up because the title doesn’t appeal to me. For this reason I don’t intend to buy and read the whole book today. Reading the first ten pages changed my first impressions of the book a bit, but I still don’t think it’s quite my cup of tea. Reading about the happenings at a house of prostitution didn’t impress me. Based on what I read the book seems professionally edited. I saw no errors in the first ten pages. What I liked most about what I read was the setting of the gold rush. I know that readers who enjoy books that are set during the time of the gold rush will like this novel. As far as improvement, I could see no need for any in the context of the book. I did read the Official Online Book Club review and found it informative.

First Ten review added on January 19, 2020, at 11:52 pm by VernaVi.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

winecellarlibrary

Not only does this book have a glowing Online Book Club review, but all of the reviews I read on both Amazon and Goodreads were extremely positive, with most reviewers rating it 5/5. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, so I was excited to read the sample of this book. The book has a very dry, biographical feel. Rather than discussing how the characters are feeling, what they are seeing, or how they feel about what is happening around them, the book is a catalogue of their actions and dialogue. This left me with a very disjointed feeling in regards to the text. I found no spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors, but I did find two references to the Chilean woman Encinas making an omelet for breakfast. I am not sure if this is a dish served in Chile in the 19th century, so this warrants a bit of research. This is not a book I would buy outright as I am struggling with the writing style, but because I am very interested in the plot, it is something I would read on Kindle Unlimited.

First Ten review added on January 19, 2020, at 11:25 pm by winecellarlibrary.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

CrescentMoon

After reading the blurb, I wouldn't pick this book up because I'm not a fan of historical fiction so I'm not the target audience for this book. After reading the first ten pages, I spotted a few minor errors but nothing too distracting or major. In chapter one, "When the waitress came Encinas ordered a ratafia..." there should be a comma after "came." Overall, I enjoyed the writing style. I thought it was very descriptive and full of imagery. I can easily imagine the sawmill and grounds and landscape scenery. I found Henning to be a likable hero to root for so far. I don't really have any suggestions for improvement. There was an onlinebookclub review but I still wouldn't choose to read this book because this genre isn't for me and I was not hooked into the storyline so I won't be reading the rest.

First Ten review added on January 19, 2020, at 10:23 pm by CrescentMoon.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Lunastella

I absolutely love the title of this novel, it appeals to the idea of God as some kind of puppeteer and I found it interesting and challenging. I also like the design of the cover, so I was quite hyped up with this book. The blurb, unfortunately, didn't catch my attention so much. I think it's very well written in a concise but revealing way but the Gold Rush is not a historical event that I'm especially interested in and I didn't find the plot relatable or intriguing enough. The book has good Amazon reviews but considering the blurb, I wouldn't have bought it. I read the first ten pages and I can say I won't read the rest or buy the book. With all due respect, I found the prologue boring and I felt that it reads like a history textbook. The first chapter and further pages are not so boring but there are certain things I disliked, as the offensive language towards women (e.g." dark-eyed, pigtailed whores") and the many cliches such as comparing Henning's blue eyes with the sky or Encinas' teeth with pearls. The book seems well-edited but I found one mistake on position 22 on the Kindle app: "from the American River in a manmade ditch". Dictionaries such as Collins, Merriam Webster, and others I consulted all list that the correct spelling is hyphenated: man-made. Other than these editing mistakes, I don't think anything needs improvement. The book has an official review that confirmed I wouldn't like this novel because of the black-and-white nature of the characters.

First Ten review added on January 19, 2020, at 10:14 pm by Lunastella.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Melchi Asuma

The first thing that intrigued me, and drawn me in, was the title of this book and the cover page. I would have definitely read it even without reading the sample. The author uses compelling narration and vivid descriptions to hook you in. The official review also makes it look like a must-read. I like this and hope to fully read it.

First Ten review added on January 19, 2020, at 10:07 pm by Melchi Asuma.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

LV2R

The cover and the title of the book were both OK, but I did not know if I wanted to read the book or not. The Amazon blurb introduced the main character, Henning Dietzel, as a man who went to investigate the rumors of gold found in California after being urged by a Chilean prostitute, Encinas. He goes and gets wealthy before the 49ers arrive. I wanted to read the sample. Gold was first found as John Sutter’s sawmill was being constructed, 150 miles from San Francisco. In 1848, the rumors spread even to Chile. Henning Dietzel was in port at Talcahuano, Chile where he met a prostitute, Encinas. They talked for hours about mutual interests and seemed to fall in love with each other. I best like that even though Encinas was a prostitute, Henning did not treat her like one. They may have a true relationship and from the Amazon blurb, Encinas plays a major role in Henning going to California to find gold in 1848 before the Gold Rush. The book seems to be edited well, as I did not notice any errors. The OBC review mentioned that Henning was an idealistic hero; one who is faithful to the woman he loves, does not smoke or drink, and does not exploit others to get ahead. I want to read this book mostly because after reading the OBC review, I like that Henning is a good man trying to start a business before and during the Gold Rush in California. The fortitude to stay honest and do right during a time of no law and order would be difficult.

First Ten review added on January 19, 2020, at 8:58 pm by LV2R.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

Washboard

I sometimes enjoy books from this genre. The title's religious reference makes me think this book is not a good fit for me. The cover art seems to suit the book. The official review makes the book sound appealing. I did not notice any errors in the sample, which began by introducing the gold rush of 1848 before introducing Henning and how he met his love, Encinas. I won't be continuing to read this one, as I don't enjoy books set in this time period.

First Ten review added on January 19, 2020, at 8:53 pm by Washboard.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

B Creech

I love historical fiction, and I was intrigued by the title of this book. However, after reading the official review, I was surprised to learn that the novel was about the California Gold Rush! I still haven't figured out the connection, other than Eduardo's quote about panning for gold is like playing chess with God. I guess it's a good analogy, but I would never have put it together. I have to admit I enjoyed reading the first ten pages of this book. The story captured my attention and held it as Eduardo and his men, along with Hinnet, made their way toward the gold country. The writing appears professionally edited, as evidenced by the absence of errors in the portion I read. It is also exciting and compelling as it is without a need for improvement. I would recommend this book to all historical fiction lovers. I plan to finish reading the book as soon as possible.

First Ten review added on January 19, 2020, at 7:25 pm by B Creech.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

HRichards

I might have picked this book up considering I like historical fiction. Having read the sample I won't be continuing on with the book as the font was really hard to read and I wasn't really wild about the content. The sample deals with an introduction about how the California gold rush got started. Then the book cuts who Henning, who meets a prostitute named Encinas who offers to sleep with him, but not on the clock as she likes him. The writing is fine and I didn't notice any grammar errors. Those who like historical fiction might like this book. I thought the font size was really small for some reason and wasn't really into the introductory content. I have read the OBC review of the book, but I don't think my opinion would change based on the review.

First Ten review added on January 19, 2020, at 6:53 pm by HRichards.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Laura Lee

Wow. Very rarely has a book grabbed onto my emotions and squeezed so quickly. I wanted to beat up Krüger FOR Henning!

The cover is perfect for a book of this genre that gives a view of life in the early 19th century. The Amazon blurb, likewise, was very good and piqued my interest with the comment that Henning persevered through a brutal winter, so that by the time the next summer rolled around, he was already a wealthy young man. It made me want to know how he achieved that.

I read the OnLineBookClub review, too. It gave an interesting analysis of the book, but I wouldn't read the book on that alone. What was best about this book were the sample pages. The way the author was able to show, not tell, was impressively skilled. Also, the way my emotions were so quickly invested in what was happening to Henning. That was very well done.

There really wasn't anything in the book I found to change, story-wise. Because it's not my typically preferred genre, I won't be finishing it, but as far as anything that could be improved upon, the main thing was with the introductory clauses. Not only were commas missing from a lot of the introductory clauses, but sentence, after sentence, after sentence started that way. For example, take chapter 4. The third section starts with the sentence: "After paralleling Alta California's coast for days [INSERT COMMA] Portales made a sweeping turn east." Every single sentence in that paragraph starts with an introductory clause. It's more interesting to switch things up a bit.

Again, the thing I liked best was how well the author "showed" rather than "told." I felt like I was right in the midst of the action, and that doesn't happen very often. Good job!

First Ten review added on January 19, 2020, at 6:16 pm by Laura Lee.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Kajori50

'Playing Chess With God' is a book written by Verne R. Albright. The title, cover, OBC review and Amazon review did a good job at convincing me to give this book a try.

The sample of the book leads me to believe that it is the story of Henning. On the urging of Enicus, a young Prussian sea-man decides to visit California to check if the rumours of the Gold Rush were true and make his fortune. I like the premise. I found some errors. For example, there should have been a “that" after “innocent” in “Henning wasn’t so innocent he believed in her..” I do not think that it is professionally edited. I will give this book a try as I like reading books of this genre.

First Ten review added on January 19, 2020, at 6:09 pm by Kajori50.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

cpru68

In the opening pages of this novel, readers are given a bit of background information about the gold rush era. John Sutter, who was opening up a sawmill in San Francisco, ended up with gold on his property. When the mill failed to function properly, workmen began to dig for better water flow. During this, the superintendent James Marshall found the first tiny flake of gold. More of it was found as the digging continued. John Sutter's fifty-thousand acres was about to see an invasion of those who were seeking its treasure. The book tells how a man named Brannan made money by selling the tools needed to harvest more gold. In 1848, he was supplying four thousand '48ers. The first chapter then jumps to a Prussian man named Henning Dietzel who falls in love with a prostitute named Encinas. She and he spend their first meeting sitting and talking all night. She later invites him into her home. They both seem to fall in love with one another and it is not a client/prostitute relationship.

I won't be finishing this book. I am not interested in the gold rush era, and this book largely focuses on that. The review, while glowing, did not persuade me to read the book. I thought the writing was well done in the opening pages as I did not see any errors in punctuation, spelling or grammar, so it would seem that this has been professionally edited.

I appreciate the opportunity to have read the sample pages of this, and I will send it out on my social media for others to look into. I probably wouldn't have found this novel on my own search without the online book club. I generally read non-fiction only.

First Ten review added on January 19, 2020, at 5:33 pm by cpru68.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Momiji1987

I like how the author brings 1848 to life. Discussing the gold rush and life back then is intriguing. I like that the romance between Encinas and Henning wasn’t too graphic. I like the little character things, like Henning looking young and boyish when he smiles and being embarrassed by his German accent. The title is interesting and the cover image is good as well. The book is well-edited and I found zero errors. The review was positive and rated the content highly. I’m not in the market for historical fiction just now, but I might consider reading in the future.

First Ten review added on January 19, 2020, at 5:08 pm by Momiji1987.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

MsH2k

I would not have read the blurb or sampled this book if I had not been part of this program. I was not attracted to the book cover or intrigued by the title. The plot was a surprise. I’m not particularly interested in the California Gold Rush period, but I did like the protagonist, Henning. He seemed like an honest and loyal young man. His initial meeting with Encinas was sweet. The featured OnlineBookClub review mentioned his clean character as well. After reading the sample pages, I still had not connected to this story, so I will not finish this book. It appeared to be professionally edited—I did not notice any grammatical errors in the sample pages.

First Ten review added on January 19, 2020, at 4:55 pm by MsH2k.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Katie Canedy

I liked the title; Playing Chess with God sounds like a test with a human and God. This is what intrigued me enough to read the sample. I enjoyed how the author used the California Gold Rush as the basis for this historical fiction; history books do not mention this event often so I appreciate this element. I am not into historical fiction books, so I will be passing on this one. I did not see anything that needed to be improved, nor any grammatical errors in the sample. There is an Official OnlineBookClub Review for this book, but it did not influence my decision to pass on it.

First Ten review added on January 19, 2020, at 3:23 pm by Katie Canedy.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Emy Katherine

I am not fond of historical fiction novels, so I would not have read the book without The First Ten program. I am not interested in a story that follows the adventures and misadventures of a Prussian man named Henning Dietzel during the period of the California Gold Rush. Therefore, I did not change my mind after reading the OBC and the sample. However, I enjoyed the descriptive writing style and found Henning's character quite realistic. Also, I only found three missing commas, so I think the book was professionally edited. For example, there should be a comma after "grandfather" in the following sentence: "According to my grandfather it’s the best job possible." (location 131 of 484 • 27%) Considering this book has many positive reviews on Amazon, fans of the genre will enjoy it.

First Ten review added on January 19, 2020, at 1:56 pm by Emy Katherine.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Nickolas Farmakis

This book is a historical fiction action novel about the California Gold Rush. I would not have read this book based on the cover, the title, or the description, as I am not interested in action novels related to the Gold Rush. I will not read this book, because I found it boring, while it contained too much romantic content and some sexual scenes. The sample I read did not contain any errors, so this book has been professionally edited. What I liked most in this book was the fact that the author added tension, suspense, and drama to the text, while he was also very descriptive. To improve, the author should remove the sexual scenes that distract the reader and he should be more creative and original in his novel. The book had an Official OnlineBookClub review, which did not change my opinion.

First Ten review added on January 19, 2020, at 1:52 pm by Nickolas Farmakis.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

LeDiplomatique

The cover picture did not impress me because I am not a fan of historic reads. However, the title, Playing Chess with God raised my curiosity because it sounds interesting; who would have such confidence as to play chess with the Creator! I completely loved the title of the book. Reading the first ten pages confirmed to me that the book is as amazing as its title depicted. However, I will not be reading the book because I am not into historic books unless they are scholarly. I did not come across any errors and I did not see anything to improve. I loved most, Henning's zeal to learn and explore. Despite the previous bullying by Kruger, he eventually rose above and turned out more confident and adventurous. I loved that he took up the opportunity to heed the Gold rush call despite his misgivings. I came across the well-structured official review by LinaMueller and it convinced me that this is an amazing book because the review was very elaborate and insightful.

First Ten review added on January 19, 2020, at 1:45 pm by LeDiplomatique.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Kelyn

If I had not been a member of this program, it is doubtful that the cover or genre of this book would have attracted my attention. I very seldom read historical fiction as I have learned from experience that I often find the history portions of the books tedious. The cover, to me, is of a generic building in a generic historical town, which would not have caught my eye. The title is interesting enough that it might have gotten me to at least read the blurb for the book. The author is unknown to me, so that would not have had an impact on my decision. The blurb is about a period in history in which I have little interest, so it is not likely that it would have encouraged me toward reading the sample. The customer reviews were numerous and extremely positive for the most part. I did not see a review identified as specifically from this program. As the customer reviews did not stir my interest due to the genre, it would have had little effect if there had been one. I found the sample to be somewhat interesting and found Henning to be both likable and relatable. His mixture of innocence and youthful determination to achieve his dreams of the future (i.e., opening his store and being with Encinas assumedly as husband and wife) was endearing. Nevertheless, the book remains one of historical fiction about a time in history in which I have no particular interest. Therefore, despite my affection for the protagonist, I made the decision not to finish the book. The book seemed well edited. I found no (countable) mistakes in the sample.

First Ten review added on January 19, 2020, at 1:30 pm by Kelyn.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Theresam

I like the title and cover of this book. They are intriguing and make me want to learn what the book is about. I would have picked this book up based on the cover alone. I haven’t read a review of this book yet. The first ten pages begin with some background on the gold rush of 1848 in California. The first chapter takes place in a brothel. It describes the women working there and a young man begins talking with a prostitute. I didn’t see any errors in the first ten pages, so I believe the book was professionally edited. I wasn’t drawn into the story enough in the first ten pages to want to finish reading the book. I won’t finish the book, but I will read a review and may change my mind.

First Ten review added on January 19, 2020, at 1:22 pm by Theresam.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Laura Bach

I love the cover and the title. I found the review to be pretty convincing. The book starts by telling how James Marshall stumbled upon some gold while working on John Sutter's sawmill. I like how the historical details are told. However, I'm not that interested in the Gold Rush and I find the number of pages to be intimidating. I didn't find any grammar errors.

First Ten review added on January 19, 2020, at 1:20 pm by Laura Bach.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Total ~ 20%

Playing Chess with God earned a score of 20%.

In other words, out of the top-level reviewers who read at least the first 10 pages of this book, 20% 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.

Go to main Bookshelves page for Playing Chess with God

https://forums.onlinebookclub.org/authors/blurb.php?topic_id=129687&bookid=30237