Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review: Throne of Glass

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genres: YA; Fantasy
Pages: 416 pages

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)
Goodreads Description:
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
My review:
Why was this book so hard to rate? After all, I flew through it. The world building was spectacular. And the story's delightfully morbid. (I kid! I kid!) For being a book about an assassin it was pretty low-key. (view spoiler)

So. Why do I settle on only 3 stars? Because I've become this stupid analytical reader, that's why(Is this what editors feel like?). All of the problems with this book wouldn't stop glaring at me. I glared back at them; I told them to leave me be and let me enjoy my book in peace! They didn't listen. Bother!

On the upside, for everything I didn't like about the book, there was something else to praise.

For example:

The writing was beautiful and the descriptions were well done. Maas does a good job of really transporting you into the setting of the story. BUT--the info dumps scattered about the book and the frequent lack of showing was a major turnoff.

As for the characters? I LIKE them, and I like how they were portrayed. Celaena isn't a favorite character of mine, by any means, but I like that she wants to be known for something other than killing. I like that she's not some unfeeling killing machine. I like that, despite her job and her past and her circumstances, she can be girly. She can love dresses and balls and care about how she looks. (Oh, and she loves books. She's quite the well-rounded assassin).

I like Chaol and that, through all his gruffness, he's shown himself to be noble and generous. I like Dorian in that he wants to show that he's more than the crown. And that he wants a wife equal to him in mind and spirit. I like how Kaltain wasn't just portrayed as the simpering, catty girl who hungered after the crown but rather an intelligent, complex character(who hungered after the crown).

I like a lot of things, okay? BUT(I know, I'm so mean. Another 'but'.) while I liked them, I didn't feel this TRUE connection I was supposed to feel, I TRIED to feel. Where were all the FEELS??

It was also hard to get on board with the whole love triangle thing. First of all, WHERE WAS THE LOVE? I get that our two main guys both like Celaena, but the romance felt really flat. It was like the author put the characters together and gave them these weird mushy feelings for each other so we expect SOMETHING to happen and then...

Yup. I mean, there WAS romance, but it was pretty lame. The tension was lacking, which is the whole point of a love triangle. But it really wasn't all bad. It was refreshing, really, reading a Young Adult Fantasy with an emphasis on the actual fantasy(and less ooey gooey stuff). I'll be happy if the series continues that way, as long as the parts WITH romance are written better. That's all I ask.

I think for the most part the good parts outweigh the bad ones. The competition was cool, Celaena was an interesting character to read about, and the ending was pretty epic.

I've become quite the nit-picky reader. But I still devoured the book, didn't I? I'm still aching for Crown of Midnight. And I've heard it gets better. *shrugs* We'll see.

Content: Mild language; mild innuendo (view spoiler); violence

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Top Ten Books Featuring Characters Who Are Anti-heroes

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.
Definition of Antihero according to
1. a protagonist who lacks the attributes that make a heroic figure, as nobility of mind and spirit, a life or attitude marked by action or purpose, and the like.
What I love about books like this, is that they leave so much room for character development. Usually, a character who starts out his/her own story without a hero complex, ends up very changed. I think it's fun to see that change. Here are ten novels featuring protagonists who are antiheroes.

1. Amir from The Kite Runner

2. Annyn from The Unveiling

3. Elisa from The Girl of Fire and Thorns

4. Celaena from Throne of Glass
5. Leo from Veiled Rose

6. Skylar from Me, Just Different

7. Razo from River of Secrets

8. Sybel from The Forgotten Beasts of Eld

9. Omar from Captives

10. Everard from Before Beauty

Friday, April 24, 2015

Review: Thorn in My Heart

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Genres: Christian; Biblical Fiction; Historical Fiction; Romance
Pages: 496

Thorn in My Heart (Lowlands of Scotland, #1)

Two brothers fight to claim one father’s blessing.
Two sisters long to claim one man’s heart.

In the autumn of 1788, amid the moors and glens of the Scottish Lowlands, two brothers and two sisters each embark on a painful journey of discovery.

Jamie and Evan McKie both want their father Alec’s flocks and lands, yet only one brother will inherit Glentrool. Leana and Rose McBride both yearn to catch the eye of the same handsome lad, yet only one sister will be his bride.

A thorny love triangle emerges, plagued by lies and deception, jealousy and desire, hidden secrets and broken promises. Brimming with passion and drama, Thorn in My Heart brings the past to vibrant life, revealing spiritual truths that transcend time and penetrate the deepest places of the heart.

My review:
Let my begin by saying that I do agree with the description Goodreads has provided. A more thorny love triangle I have never seen or heard of, and there is almost more drama, deception, and jealousy in this book than I can bear. Oh, and there are many spirituals truths. I know, that last one didn't quite seem to fit, did it? But it's true, even though those little gems seemed to be buried under everything I didn't like about the book.

To put it simply, this story irked me. Yet the whole time I was reading it there was this inexplicable draw.

It starts off interesting enough. The parallel to the bible story is obvious. Jamie finds himself in trouble at home. After stealing his brother's blessing with the support of his mother, he begins to fear for his life. He may now be the one to inherit Glentrool, but what good is that to him if he ends up dead by his brother's hands? It was a good beginning, but I found myself anxious to get to the drama of the story, when Jamie meets Leana and Rose(Leah and Rachel's counterparts).

Boy, if I had known... (Some minor spoilers ahead?)

With his brother after him, Jamie flees to home of his Uncle Lachlan, hoping to gain a wife during his stay. He's immediately attracted to the beautiful Rose that he barely even gives Leana, the tender compassionate mother hen, a second glance. Cue the love triangle.
Because Rose doesn't want to get married. She's fifteen years old for Pete's sake! So she and her sister agree that Leana must be the one to win the man.
I'm trying not to be too spoilery, but it's really very hard. In short, our characters are very, very fickle. There is lying, backstabbing, and deceit. A lot of the characters' actions were utterly despicable. Lachlan especially, but Jamie bothered me the most. His actions were innocent, yet so cruel. He's attracted to Rose, but he leads Leana on so many times it's no wonder she thinks him to be in love with her.
These characters take marriage so lightly. And divorce to be a perfectly acceptable thing! Yes, I realize this is a retelling of the Old Testament story, but these people are Christians! So why don't they act like it?
This book is classified as Biblical Fiction.
It reads more like a soap opera.
I really hate to be so harsh. Despite all of this, I DO feel sympathy for the characters(except Lachlan). It wasn't easy for any of them.
And I'll be completely honest--I read this book in one day. One day. I had to put it down and pick it back up several times, but it was extremely well written. I don't know of another story that has made me FEEL so much. Hence the extra star. I liked the ending, though I hate how it twists the original story. The whole thing just left a bad taste in my mouth, and I won't be reading the next one, however much I want to know what happens next.
Content: Mature themes; mentions of the intimacy between man and wife

View all my reviews / Amazon Link / Author Site

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

Okay, people! Clear your schedules, make that trip to the library and then get PUMPED. That's right--it's a readathon. One that lasts 24 hours.

If you know me, you're probably thinking, "why on earth does that girl need a readathon? She already reads practically 24 hours a day." wouldn't be wrong. But that doesn't change the fact that I've NEVER participated in readathon before and I've always wanted to.

Luckily, today I found out about Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon! Everyone participating in this readathon commits to reading as much as they can in that period of time. I, personally, am not going to be able to read the entire amount of time. I do have church the next day....sleep is a little important.

You can find more details on their site. It starts April 25th! Here are reader sign-ups if you're interested.

If you're participating in the readathon, leave links to your blog/social media so I can come cheer you on! If you want to cheer me on, you can do so here, or on my Twitter!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Choosing

Hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.
The Choosing
The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker

“Not to be Chosen would yield a cruel fate of my own making.”

Like all citizens since the Ruining, Carrington Hale knows the importance of this day. But she never expected the moment she’d spent a lifetime preparing for—her Choosing ceremony—would end in disaster. Ripped from her family, she’ll spend her days serving as a Lint, the lowest level of society. She knows it’s her duty to follow the true way of the Authority.

But as Carrington begins this nightmare, rumors of rebellion rattle her beliefs. The whispers contradict everything she’s been told; yet they resonate deep within.

Then Carrington is offered an unprecedented chance at the life she’s always dreamed of, but she can’t shake the feeling that it may be an illusion. With a killer targeting Lints and corruption threatening the highest levels of the Authority, Carrington must uncover the truth before it destroys her.


I know I shouldn't expect an awesome novel just because it's written by the child of one of my all time favorite authors. But this is Ted Dekker's daughter. How can I not be just a little intrigued? Plus, I love a good Christian Dystopian. Anxiously awaiting this one's release.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mailbox Monday 4-20-15

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at To Be Continued and is now hosted at its own blog.
I love Mailbox Mondays. It means I recently bought/received books. What could make me happier?

Ladies and gentlemen, book number 1:
The Naming (The Books of Pellinor, #1)The Naming by Alison Croggon

Maerad is a slave in a desperate and unforgiving settlement, taken there as a child after her family is destroyed in war. She is unaware that she possesses a powerful gift, one that marks her as a member of the School of Pellinor. It is only when she is discovered by Cadvan, one of the great Bards of Lirigon, that her true heritage and extraordinary destiny unfold. Now she and her new teacher must survive a journey through a time and place where the forces they battle stem from the deepest recesses of otherworldly terror.

All right, I've read it already. But I loved it. I want moooorre!

Book Number Dos:

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Ha! That Rhymes! do you pronounce Maas?)

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Book Number After Dos:

Starring MeStarring Me by Krista McGee (Oh my goodness, this one rhymes too! I am awed.)

Kara McKormick is told she's auditioning to star in a new teen variety show. But it's what she isn't told that could change her life.

The feisty New Yorker moves to sunny Orlando to participate in a month-long audition, where she'll live with nine other contestants and an eccentric housemother. Kara knows that the show already has a big-time celebrity lined up for the co-host, but she doesn't know who it is.

Chad Beacon quickly rose to fame after winning America's Next Star, but he doesn't want his entire career to be about singing. There is so much more he wants to do-like act. The new variety show sounds like the perfect next step for him, but his parents want him to have a co-star who shares his faith since they'll be spending so much time together.

Acting is high on Kara's priority list. But a relationship with God? Not so much. In fact, she's tried to stay away from anything religious. But God is after Kara's heart and He's put people in her life who are showing her there's far more to Christianity than rules and judgment.

And just when it seems that Kara's going to have to give up her acting dream, God reveals that she may have a starring role after all-in a story so big only He could write it.

So. Anything catch your eye? Did you get anything in your mailbox box? Can you tell that I'm fluent in Spanish? And tell me, how do you pronounce Maas???

Friday, April 17, 2015

Review: The Bishop

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genres: Mystery/Crime Thriller; Christian; Contemporary
Pages: 523

The Bishop (The Patrick Bowers Files, #4)
F.B.I. Special Agent Patrick Bowers's cutting edge 21st century geospatial investigative techniques and impeccable logic have helped him track some of the country's most grisly killers. But those skills are pushed to the limit in this new installment of the highly acclaimed, award winning The Bowers Files series.
This time it's a congressman's daughter who is found dead even as her killers launch a spree of perfect murders in the Northeast. With nothing to link the crimes to each other, Agent Bowers faces his most difficult case yet even as his personal life begins to crumble around him.
Known for his intricately woven, masterfully plotted novels of highoctane action and spine tingling suspense, Steven James delivers once again. The Bishop is a gripping, adrenalinelaced story for readers who are tired of timid thrillers. Strap on your seatbelt and get ready for a wild ride. The game is on.
My review: I actually read this one back in December, and just discovered that I had a review stashed away. Convenient, right?
Well, Steven James did it again. The suspense continues with The Bishop, book number four in The Patrick Bowers Files. Creepy, but my favorite of the series so far.
“It's hip,” I assured Tessa.

She grimaced. “Hip?”

“Trust me. I have my finger on the pulse of all that is cool.”

“Please tell me you did not just say that.”
I love it. I love how, even during this dark, slightly gruesome suspense, James still manages to add a sprinkling of humor here and there. His characters really come alive—Patrick especially feels very real to me.
The Bishop was very thought-provoking and expertly crafted, in my opinion. Definitely a book that will get your heart racing.
At the conclusion I felt somewhat accomplished, having guessed a part of what would happen in the end. Yet, when that did happen, my mind was still completely blown. That's what reading this series is like. You think you have it all figured out, and then the author delivers a twist you never expected, completely throwing you off.
The endings of James's books are always the best part. You're kept in suspense until the very end when everything unfolds and all the subplots come together. And you're thinking, “I never would have guessed...”
And then, there it is.
The end.
A cliffhanger. A brilliantly executed cliffhanger, mind you.
Now you must read the next book.
Content: Some cringe worthy murders. Some intimacy--behind closed doors scenes. More of a Christian message.

Read my reviews of:
Book one: The Pawn
Book two: The Rook
Book three: The Knight

If you like mysteries and have a strong stomach, you MUST read this series! Don't question me. I have my finger on the pulse of all that is cool.

Anyone have any recommendations for a mystery/thriller that'll get my heart racing? Creepy is GOOD, but clean is important.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Quotables: Roald Dahl

Quotables: A feature that highlights quotes from some of my favorite books and authors. If you like the quotes, you'll probably like the book(s).

Quotes by the marvelous, nonsensical Roald Dahl.


“Don't gobblefunk around with words.”  
~ ~ ~ ~
“Do you like vegetables?" Sophie asked, hoping to steer the conversation towards a slightly less dangerous kind of food.
"You is trying to change the subject," the Giant said sternly. "We is having an interesting babblement about the taste of the human bean. The human bean is not a vegetable.”  
~ ~ ~ ~
“Words," he said, "is oh such a twitch-tickling problem to me all my life.”  

~ ~ ~ ~
'I is not understanding human beans at all,' the BFG said.' You is a human bean and you is saying it is grizzling and horrigust for giants to be eating human beans. Right or left?'

'Right,' Sophie said.

'But human beans is squishing each other all the time,' the BFG said. 'They is shootling guns and going up in
aerioplanes to drop their bombs on each other's heads every week. Human beans is always killing other human beans.'
~ ~ ~ ~
“I is reading it hundreds of times,' the BFG said. 'And I is still reading it and teaching new words to myself and how to write them. It is the most scrumdiddlyumptious story.'

Sophie took the book out of his hand. 'Nicholas Nickleby,' she read aloud.

'By Dahl's Chickens,' the BFG said.”  

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

“Whipped cream isn't whipped cream at all if it hasnt been whipped with whips, just like poached eggs isn't poached eggs unless it's been stolen in the dead of the night.”  


Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

“We must hurry!’ said Mr. Wonka. ‘We have so much time and so little to do! No! Wait! Strike that! Reverse it!”  

The Twits

"A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”  

Fantastic Mr. Fox

“I understand what you're saying, and your comments are valuable, but I'm gonna ignore your advice.”  
 ~ ~ ~ ~
“I think I have this thing where everybody has to think I'm the greatest.And if they aren't completely knocked out and dazzled and slightly intimidated by me, I don't feel good about myself.”  

Danny the Champion of the World

“I was glad my father was an eye-smiler. It meant he never gave me a fake smile because it's impossible to make your eyes twinkle if you aren't feeling twinkly yourself. A mouth-smile is different. You can fake a mouth-smile any time you want, simply by moving your lips. I've also learned that a real mouth-smile always has an eye-smile to go with it. So watch out, I say, when someone smiles at you but his eyes stay the same. It's sure to be a phony.”  

Monday, April 13, 2015

Crossroads: Book Tour

CROSSROADS: The Story Behind the Story

Guest blog post by Cathy Bryant

By far, the question I receive most often when it comes to writing fiction is: What's the story behind the story? In other words, people want to know my motivation and inspiration for writing the book.

With CROSSROADS, the sixth Miller's Creek novel and a Christian contemporary romance, the original germ of an idea actually came as I watched the movie, God's Not Dead. The thought occurred to me that each of us knows someone who has either defected from the faith or altogether refuses to acknowledge the existence of God. It might be a friend, co-worker, or even a family member.

All fiction writers are taught to ask the question, 'what if?' So for me, my 'what if?' became this story question: What if an ex-military man and Christian found himself involved in the life of a bitter atheist and single mom who wanted nothing to do with his God?

Once that question was in place, other questions popped up. What happened to the female lead in the story to make her antagonistic toward the faith? What questions and arguments would she have? How would our ex-military hero--a man who sees himself as a defender--go to battle in a spiritual sense? What internal dilemma would he have to overcome to defend his faith? And most importantly, what would it take to turn our heroine around?

In the book, I sought to explore this spiritual topic, not just for the sake of the storyline, but also for each of us as believers. I wanted to know how I could best handle the objections of those opposed to faith in Christ. I wanted to be prepared to answer the tough questions these folks often have. And I hoped in the process to also help others in their own defense of the faith.

Some of the questions non-believers tend to have are: If God is so good and loving, then why does He allow evil? If God cares about me, then why have so many bad things happened to me? How do you know the Bible is true? What if the people who wrote the Bible made it up? How do you know that Jesus is really who He claims to be? What if He was just a delusional man with dubious motivies?

Can you think of other tough questions often

levied at Christians by non-believers?

I've been confronted by all these questions at one time or another, but suddenly it became personal for me. How did God want me to respond to these people? What could I do to make a difference for Christ and His Kingdom when it came to answering their questions? And how could I incorporate all this in the story of CROSSROADS?

Here's what the process involved for me: I devoured my Bible and books on apologetics to find answers for tough questions. I wrote the PROOF blog post series about what I'd learned. Next, I turned some of these posts into videos. And of course, I included it all in the storyline of the book.

As I wrote the story, a few things crystallized in my mind.

1) In the end, it all comes down to faith, and that's a decision each person must make for themselves. While we can hope and pray for others to turn to God, ultimately the decision is theirs. Faith is something we can't force on others.

2) Based on 1 Peter 3:15, we need to be prepared to answer the tough questions that come our way from those who don't believe.

3) And above all, our response should be one of unconditional love and persistent prayer. No one is a lost cause or beyond the power of God.

I pray we'll all be prepared to give a defense to those who ask about the reason for our hope.


About the Book


a Miller's Creek novel and Christian contemporary romance

A former soldier battles for the soul of a prodigal...

After a devastating divorce, a bitter single mom and atheist starts her own real estate company in the nostalgic and picturesque town of Miller’s Creek, Texas. Then her young daughter’s disturbing symptoms lead doctors to discover that her leukemia has relapsed. With her new life now turned upside down, Mara Hedwig struggles to keep her business afloat. And her daughter’s worsening condition forces her to rethink her beliefs about Carter Callahan and his God. Will Mara make the return to Christian faith in the face of life’s greatest challenge?
An ex-military operative struggles with the return to civilian life while coping with his rebellious teen-aged daughter. During a house-search, Carter meets Mara, a headstrong Realtor who wants nothing to do with his God. But when Mara’s little girl is diagnosed with leukemia, the clock begins ticking for him to convince Mara to return to a life of faith. Just as he seems to be making headway, circumstances beyond his control throw his efforts into a tailspin. Can Carter learn to rest in the sovereignty of God?


About Cathy Bryant

Amazon best-selling author Cathy Bryant writes Christian fiction set in the heart of Texas. Her popular romance and romantic suspense novels take place in the fictional town of Miller's Creek, where folks are friendly, the iced tea is sweet, and Mama Beth's front porch beckons. All the Miller's Creek novels have been on the Amazon Best-Seller list and are rated at 4.5 stars or higher on Amazon. Her debut novel, TEXAS ROADS, was a 2009 ACFW Genesis finalist. Since then five other stand-alone novels have been added to the series, one of which was a reader-nominated 2013 Grace Award nominee (PILGRIMAGE OF PROMISE). Readers have compared her work to that of Karen Kingsbury and Nicholas Sparks. 
A native Texan, Cathy currently resides in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico with her minister husband of over thirty years. She's written devotions for The Upper Room devotional magazine, two devotional books in collaboration with other Christian authors, and for online sites. She also has released a Bible study book, THE FRAGRANCE OF CRUSHED VIOLETS. In addition to her writing, she enjoys thrift store shopping, romping in the great outdoors, and mini-farming. To learn more about Cathy and her books, visit her website at or make contact with her in these places:

CROSSROADS Facebook Launch Party & Kindle Fire HD6 Giveaway!
What: CROSSROADS Book Launch Party

Where: Facebook (from the comfort & convenience of your own home)

When: April 30, 2015 ~ 7:00-8:30 p.m. (Central time)
Why: To celebrate the book launch of CROSSROADS (a Miller's Creek novel and Christian Romance by Cathy Bryant)
LOTS of Fun, Games and Prizes!
Prizes Include: Miller's Creek pens, tote bags, t-shirts, mugs, digital books, autographed print books, Amazon gift cards, and
an Amazon Kindle Fire HD6!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Writer Struggles: When Your Story's Not as Good as You Thought It Was

So, I was working on this short story the other day. This brilliant idea just came to me out of nowhere. The ideas were coming to me like crazy, just bouncing around in my head, begging to be written down. So I take out my computer and let my fingers fly over the keyboard.
It was wonderful. It usually takes me forever to find that perfect word or phrase, but not this time. The words poured out of me so eloquently. My sentences were strung together so coherently. My ideas just flowed.
I was extremely satisfied with myself. After about 30-40 minutes, I stopped. Smiled smugly. As I joined the family for dinner I kept thinking of what I was going to add to my masterpiece, as I wasn't quite finished with it yet. I practically skipped upstairs to get back to my computer to read over it one more time. wasn't as good as I thought it was. It wasn't terrible. It just wasn't the total and utter perfection I had built it up to be in my mind. And that stumped me.

The thing is, our writing can seem a lot better to us as we're writing it. For me, I get so proud of these little snippets of my stories and forget to look at it as a whole.
There comes a point where we just need to take a step back and look objectively at our writing. It's then that we begin to see--is this really as amazing as I thought it was?
I've made a lot of progress with this since I first started out. It used to be that I would write a story, declare it perfect and want to leave it as is. I pushed away niggles of doubt that tried to tell me, "maybe just one more edit?" I mean, how could I want to change my baby? My masterpiece?
Since then, I've learned something about first drafts.


Sometimes, they can really, really stink. And that's okay. Like Anne Lamott said, we all have to start somewhere.
I think I got off to a pretty good start with my short story. It needs some more work, but I'm willing to put in the effort. The important thing is that we don't give up, even when we don't end up with what we first had in mind.
My purpose for creating Writer Struggles was just to provide a little help and encouragement to fellow writers. I'll be completely honest when I say that writing is just a hobby for me, and I don't pretend to be an expert. I look at a lot of other teen bloggers and it amazes me how much more they write than I do. Still, I know something of the craft. :) But mainly, I just want to hear YOUR opinion on the topic. And if I'm of any help, that's great too!
So, what about you? Have you ever experienced this struggle? Is it hard to push on when you look back on your story and it's not what you thought it was?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Go Teen Writers: The Editorial Letter

Reblogging this from Go Teen Writers. Mrs. Williamson shares parts of the editorial letters for her books By Darkness Hid(which is a Kindle freebie right now) and To Darkness Fled. It's a must read for anyone who's curious about that process! Enjoy!

Go Teen Writers: The Editorial Letter: Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. She writes weird books for teens in lots of weird genres like, fa...

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Review: Before Beauty

Genres: Young Adult; Romance; Fairy Tale
Pages: 220
My rating: 4 of 5 stars(3.5 stars)
Before Beauty A Retelling of Beauty an the Beast

Prince Everard’s father spent the boy's youth forging the prince into a warrior. Upon the king’s death, however, Everard realizes he’s lost himself somewhere along the way, and in his pain, makes a decision that brings a dark curse upon both him and the great Fortress that has so long guarded the people of Destin.
The prince's sin doesn’t simply affect those of his citadel, however. Isa, the daughter of a local merchant, has suffered the prince’s hasty temper before, and it changed her life forever. When Everard’s final outburst cuts off his people’s source of protection with the curse, he demands that she, a crippled commoner, come to help him break it. All the while, Destin’s northern enemy crouches at the foot of the Fortress’s mountain, waiting for the right moment to capture the stronghold that has stood for a thousand years.

With the freedom of Destin at stake, can both Everard and Isa find ways to move beyond their brokenness and hatred for one another, not only to break the curse, but to find love as well? Or will they and their beloved kingdom remain under darkness forever?

My review: Before Beauty is a unique take on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. It had elements of the original: the curse; the daughter going in place of the father; and of course, the romance. But I loved the twists the author employed.

At the start we get to see our "beast" as his normal self. That is, a spoiled prince haunted by regrets of his past actions. He's not entirely likeable, but we have a good idea of how much change he must have to go through. And I do love the anti-hero type of character.
When Ever is physically transformed into a shadow of his former self, it's hard for him to let go of his former pride. He's an interesting character, and I enjoyed seeing how his feelings for Isa changed him.
What's funny to me is how clueless they both were at the start. All Ever knows is that he needs this crippled girl to help him break the curse. Neither of them know exactly how this is to be done, and this leaves poor Isa terribly confused. I sympathized with her the most. Despite her circumstances, Isa displayed the most strength of all the characters.
I liked the small cast of characters. I think, for the size of the book, a larger cast would have been too confusing to keep up with. But I think the perfect amount of focus was put upon each of the main characters.
I do wish it was longer, though--that's not such a bad complaint! I think the story could have been more fleshed out, given more detail, with more interactions between Ever and Isa. A few parts felt rushed, the curse could have been better explained, and more detail given about  Nevana, the villain of the book.
So, I had some small complaints here and there, but overall I really enjoyed the book. The romance was sweet and clean, and I was really happy with the ending. Now I think I've come to the conclusion that I need more Beauty and the Beast!
**I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review
Content: Clean!
Completed for the Fairy Tale Challenge.
I need more fairy tales! What are some Beauty and the Beast retellings you'd recommend?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Rated, Not Reviewed(2)

A feature in which I(you guessed it) rate books instead of reviewing them.
Here's the last post.
The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

DNF. I love mystery/thrillers, and thought I would really enjoy this one. But I had to put it down about 50 pages in. A lot of profanity and just general inappropriateness.

The Princess and the Goblin The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I do love a good goblin story. This was a really lovely Classic Children's novel. A bit unbelievable, but fun!

A Separate PeaceA Separate Peace by John Knowles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars. One of those I had to read for school which I actually enjoyed. Goodreads describes it as a description of adolescence during a period when the entire country was losing its innocence to the second world war. Well written, but the main character bugged me sometimes.

View all my reviews The Secret of Pembrooke ParkThe Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Christian Historical Mystery--with a dash of Romance. Abigail and her family are forced to sell their London home, but are offered a stay in an abandoned manor, where long buried secrets come to light. Loved it!

View all my reviews

And this month, I've reviewed:

Daddy-Long-Legs, a Young Adult Classic written in letter format(as was my review).

Esther: Royal Beauty, Biblical Fiction.

Habitan: The Parallel Place, Middle Grade Fantasy

Seraphina, Young Adult Fantasy(dragons, anyone?).

Anything catch your eye? What are you currently reading?