Book Club Cheerleader

About BCC



Marsha Toy Engstrom, The Book Club Cheerleader, has been shaking her pompoms since 5th grade—which coincidentally is also when she began her writing career as editor of the Center School Gazette. Unfortunately, she was fired after referring to Garth Miller as a ‘jerk’ in the popular gossip column under her byline. She has since learned a lot more about human relations—and libel laws. A recovering Corporate Trainer/Human Resource-Type, Marsha holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, a Master’s of Arts in Management and Organizational Development, and wrote her thesis on Group Dynamics—her specialty in back in her former Fortune 500 life.


          Marsha began her book club life as the founder and Grand Poobah of the neighborhood book club, Readers in the Hood. Known for over-the-top fun, the ‘Hoodies’ brag, “If you’re not willing to go overboard, don’t get on the frickin’ boat.” They love celebrating books, authors—and life! Readers in the Hood recently joined the Pulpwood Queens Book Club network so they can celebrate books with like-minded book clubs!


          Inspired to share her joy of book clubs, The Book Club Cheerleader uses her background in coaching and team dynamics to help put the ‘group’ back in book groups. Focusing on three perspectives: The People, The Fun and The Books, she facilitates workshops and coaches book clubs to get the most out of their experiences together. Her motto is “Embrace The Book, Engage The People, Enjoy The Fun!


        Marsha is the owner and publisher of the website, writes a regular book column for The Wildwood Independent, blogs on all-things-book-club on, and is working on her first book, Celebrating Book Clubs: The Book Club Cheerleader’s Guide to Building a Winning Book Club. Marsha also serves as the Author Events Coordinator for her local Carnegie Library Foundation, is one of the coordinators for Woodland Reads, her hometown’s One Book, One City program, and recently spoke as a panelist for Book Expo America (BEA’s) Book Club Facilitator’s Speak Out. She is a member of the Association of Book Club Readers and Leaders, the Women's National Book Association, and the National Book Critics Circle. This year she also became a volunteer for World Book Night 2012 and National Reading Group Month 2012. 


          Marsha lives in Northern California with her husband and two black cats, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. When she is not coaching book clubs, celebrating authors, or practicing her splits, she is curled up with a new book on her party boat—or alternatively catnapping with Butch and Sunny. 

Articles by Book Club Cheerleader:

December 29, 2010: blog

"The 3 Winning Rules for Book Clubs"

April 27, 2010:

"Woodland Reads Features Winspear"

February 16, 2010:, First Impressions Book Reviews

December 1, 2009: blog

“Readers in the Hood Give Back”

November 24, 2009: blog

“The Book Club Cheerleaders’ Top 10 Book Club Books of 2009”

August 12, 2009: blog

"Library Resources for Book Clubs

Podcast from Book Club Cheerleader:

June 9, 2009: Panelist for Book Expo America (BEA) Book Club Facilitator’s Speak Out.

Book Club Cheerleader at Book Expo America
Left: Posing with Panel Moderator and  President of The Book Report Network, Carol Fitzgerald; Right: BCC Speaking during Panel (looks like the question was serious, indeed..)

In The News...

Quips, Quotes and

Questionable Publicity for

The Book Club Cheerleader:

June 9, 2010: Kepler’s Books Well-Read Donkey Blog, Guest Post by Helen Simonson: My First Book Tour


June 4, 2010: Shelf article, “Book Blogger Con: Content, Camaraderie & Cake

October 5, 2009: Suite article, “October is National Book Club Month”

October 5, 2009: Atlanta Literature Examiner article, “October is National Book Club Month: Eat, Read and Discuss Together”

June 10, 2009: Westport Public Library Book Blog,Report from Book Expo

May 26, 2009:
Gayle Carline, columnist for the Placentia News-Times , and author of the newly-released thriller, Freezer Burn, interviews The Book Club Cheerleader:

Part 1:

Part 2:

February 19, 2009:
Writers There are No Rules blog,Should Your Book Really Be a Book? How About a Website First?”

More Q, Q & Q for Readers in the Hood:

December 1, 2009: blog “Readers in the Hood Give Back”

Sep 23, 2009: blog, “Community involvement for the Pulpwood Queens of Woodland CA, AKA: Readers in the Hood

April 17, 2009: blog, “The Pulpwood Queen Introduces The Book Club Cheerleader and her NEW Pulpwood Queen Chapter, Readers in the Hood

Hammin' in up at a Book Club Cheerleader Workshop, "Chapter 1: A Novel Approach to
Starting a Book Club

Book Features & Book Club Recommendation Policy

Want me to feature your book on Book Club or consider it for recommendation to the 30+ book clubs that I coach?

Here are a few notes:

  • Sources: I accept review copies from publishers, publicists, and authors. Self-published books are fine, also.
  • Formats: I accept ARCs, early finished copies, backlist books. I do not accept e-books or e-galleys at this time.
  • Genres: I focus on adult literary fiction, historical fiction, memoirs, narrative non-fiction, and how-to’s only if they are on the specific topic of book clubs. I do not read action/adventure, chick lit, erotica, fantasy (exception that proves the rule: anything by Carolyn Turgeon), graphic novels, horror, mystery (exceptions that prove the rule: anything by John Lescroart, Alan Jacobson, or Jacqueline Winspear), paranormal, poetry, sci-fi, self-help, speculative fiction, or travel. I generally do not like anything political or religious/spiritual (exception that proves the rule: The Faith Club.) I am especially interested in California authors, Southern writers (due to my family roots as well as general reading preference) and the new voices of first time authors.
  • Features: I can’t guarantee that I will a) finish reading a book, b) like the book, or c) write a feature quickly. If I can’t finish reading the book for whatever reason I won’t write about it, but I will try to pass it on to another reader. Book Club Cheerleader is not a critical book review site—it is a positive site that encourages the reading of good books and discussing them with friends. Therefore, I will only recommend or feature a book I enjoyed reading myself and believe that other book clubbers would enjoy reading and discussing in their clubs. My features are not traditional reviews, as I try to keep them closer to how I would tell a fellow book lover about the book. My features are in no way influenced by the source of the book, whether I bought it myself or got it from a publisher, publicist or directly from the author.
  • Exposure: Off my blog, I normally post my features and recommendation (though in many cases abridged versions) to GoodReads and Amazon. I will also post a link to my FaceBook page, where I have over 1800 friends. I write a year-end Best Book Club Books Roundup that features my Top 10 book club picks of the year, which is often picked up by other book blogs, and I periodically write guest blogs for other websites such as and may mention book recommendations in aggregate.
  • Partnership with the Book World: I love hosting author interviews and having authors do guest posts. Please see past posts in my “Author’s Angle” column.  I’m happy to participate in book tours, but the book must be one that I’m interested in—please refer to “Genres” above. I also find author speakers for 3 non-profit organizations in Northern California for 5 events annually.  Please let me know if you/your author is interested in booking speaking engagements.
  • Disposition: I do not return or sell review copies but will include them as part of giveaways or donate them to non-profits and libraries unless you specifically request I do not.
  • Compensation: I do not receive any compensation for any feature or recommendation that appears on my website or recommendation I make to my clubs. I am a member of Amazon Associates program, and I do get a small amount of money if you buy a book using my links. So far, I’ve earned enough to buy a bag of Meow Mix for Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid…

If you have any other questions, please contact me at In the meantime, keep reading and writing!


Marsha Toy Engstrom

The Book Club Cheerleader


(Note: A big THANKS! goes out to Anastasia from Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog, Michelle from GalleySmith and Trish from Hey Lady for the inspiration and information that led to this policy.)

Not sure if this is Butch or Sunny since
 I can only tell them apart by their collars...
But one of them is catching up on his reading.
 How about you?
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