Jun 19

The President’s Shadow – Would you BUY or PASS? #FridayFiveChallenge

Happy Friday Everyone 🙂


Today I came across an extremely interesting bookish challenge – The Friday Five Challenge by Rosie Amber.

What is the Friday Five Challenge?

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions on small postage stamp size book covers (thumbnails), a quick glance at the book description and some reviews. Have you ever wondered how much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book. Is your book cover and book bio up to it?

The Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES…..

1) Go to any online book supplier.

2) Randomly choose a category.

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye.

4) Read the book bio/ description.

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple.

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

What is so exciting about it?

The thing I liked best about this challenge (apart from the fact that it is kinda fun) is that it gives an insight into  what goes through people’s minds before they decide to buy or pass a particular book. This is extremely relevant, especially in today’s day and age where people don’t always find the time to browse through books in bookstores and prefer buying them online.  Online book buyers DO look at book covers, DO read blurbs, DO check out reviews and decide faster than we think. Yes, they clearly have a lot more than 5 minutes to decide. This is just a fast track look into the thought process of a book buyer- online or not.

The book I picked is The President’s Shadow by Brad Meltzer.


Book Blurb: 

There are stories no one knows. Hidden stories. I find those stories for a living.

To most, it looks like Beecher White has an ordinary job. A young staffer with the National Archives in Washington, D.C., he’s responsible for safekeeping the government’s most important documents . . . and, sometimes, its most closely held secrets.

But there are a powerful few who know his other role. Beecher is a member of the Culper Ring, a 200-year-old secret society founded by George Washington and charged with protecting the Presidency.

Now the current occupant of the White House needs the Culper Ring’s help. The alarming discovery of the buried arm has the President’s team in a rightful panic. Who buried the arm? How did they get past White House security? And most important: What’s the message hidden in the arm’s closed fist? Indeed, the puzzle inside has a clear intended recipient, and it isn’t the President. It’s Beecher, himself.

Beecher’s investigation will take him back to one of our country’s greatest secrets and point him toward the long, carefully hidden truth about the most shocking history of all: family history.


The book had a lot of positive reviews and ratings (4 or 5 stars) and the only negative one (1 star) said – ‘The 3rd Wednesday of every month I drink fingernail polish (red) and feed dark chocolate to dogs.’ Since I have no idea what this cryptic comment means, I choose to ignore it. 😛


Analysis (Reasons for my Choice):

I selected ‘Thriller’ as my category on Barnes & Noble website, as this is a genre I have been meaning to explore from a long time, and was just waiting for the right book.  It was the cover of the book (along with the title) that caught my attention, and the blurb reeled me in. The positive reviews gave me the much needed confidence to make a decision as this genre as well as the author is new to me. Overall, I am glad I took this challenge and discovered such a great read.

I would love to hear from you guys. What are your thoughts about this challenge? What is the most important factor for you while selecting books?

Do you guys read political thrillers? Have any of you read this book? Or any other book by this author?

P.S. Thank you Alison for introducing me to this challenge. Check out her post here.

Lots of Love


  1. Thats very interesting 🙂 I think I will do it too maybe next friday 😉

  2. Hi Shanaya,
    So glad you enjoyed the challenge, it is eye -opening for both author and reader to actually see how are buying thought processes work.
    I think this book cover does a really good job, telling a potential reader what the story will be about, add the title and you know it will be about the American President. But actually it’s much more, when you read the book description there is definitely an intriguing storyline in there too. I’m not into political thrillers, but this book looks like it steers away from the politics, I would probably give this a go, it has a bit on a Dan Brown Da Vinci Code feel about it. Thanks for taking part, we do this every Friday, I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  3. I have not read any political thrillers though I think one of author Dan Brown’s book was a political thriller. This book certainly sounds intriguing and I definitely would be curious and read it..never heard of either the book or author before. Sounds like a fun challenge as well to choose books by its cover and bio! 😉
    elly stornebrink recently posted…Wordy Wednesday: The world is a small placeMy Profile

  4. I enjoyed the challenge too. I picked ‘spiritual books’, chose a cover and then read three reviews. I’m amazed at how quickly I could do this. The test has given me a new understanding of how people select books.

  5. So pleased you took the challenge 🙂 and that you found a book you like.

  6. That’s an interesting challenge. It’s pretty much the way I buy books online. Yeah, I have read books in the genre. I like all thrillers usually. I like movies in the genre as well. This book seems just the kind I would pick up too.
    Kaddu recently posted…My Favorite Family PhotoMy Profile

  7. I rarely buy books based on online reviews. I must have had a friend or someone who shares my writing tastes giving it a thumbs up or it must be in the genre I like reading.
    Rachna recently posted…Life and its dreamsMy Profile

  8. Interesting challenge!
    I usually read the blurb about the book and decide! For any other online product, I do check the reviews!
    Roshni recently posted…Sleep, baby, sleepMy Profile

    • Oh I do read reviews, especially if the genre is relatively new to me. If I know the author or have read something by him/her, then the blurb has more weightage. 🙂

  9. Interesting challenge in two different ways – as a reader as well as an author 😛

  10. Very interesting challenge. I may take it up for an uninspiring day 🙂
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…Say Goodbye to Smells and Odours this MonsoonMy Profile

  11. Terry Tyler says:

    Welcome to the Friday Five Challenge, Shanaya! Yes, I’d buy this too, it looks great.

    Here’s mine, just out of interest!!


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