Supportive Bloggers, 2nd Poem

Love this girl! <3  Check out her poem for her supportive bloggers!

Didi Oviatt

I’ve created a beast now it’s time to keep feeding it,

As the first bloggers poem I wrote is still getting hits.

With a hundred fifty views and counting my gratitude grows,

If you could see my face for real, I’m confident it shows.

I’ll start with Jo-Ann and her love of creativity,

She’s positive, uplifting, and so great to me!

Our shared love of books makes me sniffle and sigh,

If you look for well rounded you’ll find it at Inspiration Pie.

Stephanie has the most impeccable liking,

If there is a great YA book out there, she’ll hunt it down like a Viking.

The adventure in this blog is jam packed, a precious vault,

To find a young readers quality, stick with Teacher Of YA.

I can’t go on any farther without throwing Danny in,

If you’re one of his thousands of followers then you’re in for the win.

His posts are inspirational and so very supportive,

If you want a touch of the heart then go now to Dream Big.

I have one more today and Susan is her name,

Or you can call her the twitter dominator, its all the same.

To find the best book reviews, you can never go wrong,

By checking first at Books From Dusk Till Dawn.

The scratching of surface has still only just begun,

Hang tight for poem three, more praises will be sung.

Six Simple Reasons Our Story Sucks & How to Fix It

Why is it so many new novels are—to be blunt—crap? How can we find an author we love with one book, then all the love goes away with the next? What’s going wrong? What’s missing? Where did everything go wrong?

How can we learn and do better?

First and foremost, to be an author it’s imperative to embrace some healthy sadism. We’ll chat briefly on this so the “wrong turns” in story can become far easier to spot.

We MUST Go Against Our Nature

Humans have all kinds of intricate biological wiring that propels us to AVOID CONFLICT/PAIN. Now this is great namely because our desire to avoid pain is what keeps us alive and gainfully employed. It’s also how many of us are able to endure the holidays when forced to see family.

This said, it is human to avoid conflict and to smooth everything over and civilization would implode if we didn’t heed our biology. We feel the rising anxiety and our nature steps in to “fix” everything and return to a nice comfortable homeostasis.

Avoiding conflict and pain can be healthy in life, but it spells death for fiction.

So here are a couple reasons your story might suck. Btw, remember while I have one finger pointing at you? Three are pointing back at me. I use these guideposts in my own work when I sense it’s starting to seriously suck.

#1—We Have Decoration Devoid of Substance

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Novels are not pretty sentences or even pretty words. Sure, it’s nice to have them, but they’re not entirely necessary.

It’s like a cake. Some cakes are so intricate they’re literally works of art, but cake is meant for people to EAT. So I’d much prefer a plain cake that is so yummy angels sing than to bite into a work of “art” and get a revolting mouthful of sugar-laden lard.

Same with stories. Stories, too, are meant to be ingested, to FEED us emotionally.

Fiction is about one thing and one thing only—PROBLEMS.

PROBLEMS are the “cake” of story.

I don’t emotionally connect to a cerulean sky or a painstakingly accurate description of a forest or an 18th century tea setting. I have zip-nada invested in an outfit, a garden or the layout of a room (that’s “icing”). Most people prefer cake with icing and readers like stories with description, setting, superlative prose etc. (though to the degree varies with reader preference).

All that “stuff” can make a story better, but they are NOT story, just like icing is not cake.

#2—We Have No Plot

Plot is basically a fancy way of saying we have a core problem in need of resolution (cake) and a plan (recipe) to do just that.

I cannot connect emotionally with a detailed description of a designer outfit, but I can connect with the woman who’s wearing this outfit. I don’t care all that much about the outfit, I care about the woman and the why behind the outfit.

What is she hiding? What is she up against? What must she face to become whole?

Is she in this outfit because she desperately needs a job? Because it hides the bruises from her emotionally and physically abusive husband who controls her life? The one she must find the courage (and job) to escape?

This is why I’m a huge believer in writers being able to articulate what their story is about in ONE sentence. If we can’t do that? Odds are we have icing and no cake. Or maybe a cake that’s half-baked or missing key ingredients.

#3—We Have No Clear Plot Goal

All stories have ONE CLEAR FINAL goal. And I don’t want to hear the BS copout of:

“Well, my story is literary and character-driven. Her goal is she wants to find out who she is.”

Aside from the fact that literary and character-driven stories don’t automatically get a pass on a plot, why do we care? What happens if the protagonist doesn’t find out ‘who she is’? Why is it important? What are the stakes? Why should I (the reader) root for her?

Besides that is the wrong question entirely.

Regardless of genre, the protagonist is never finding out who she is, rather what she is made of.

For that to happen? We need a PLOT PROBLEM.

Clear plot problems offer context. If I (reader) have not been clearly shown the story problem, then I’ll be quickly bored because I lack context that makes any setback a setback.

It’s like showing me a guy driving off for a destination and not telling me where he’s going. Yet, if I know he’s driving to Canada from Texas, then accidentally turning down I-35 South because he’s arguing with his ex on the phone MEANS SOMETHING.

I can clearly SEE he’s headed for MEXICO, not Canada. The wrong turn means something and so does every setback which creates bigger and badder problems (which turns pages, btw).

By DEFINITION a setback can only happen when there is an actual goal.

We need a Death Star, a Mount Doom, and a Labyrinth or….meh.

Same in character-driven stories. We root for Evelyn Couch in Fried Green Tomatoesbecause we know the final goal is her growing a spine. We know she has “won” when she stands up to her bullies and to the husband who’s disrespecting her.

Bad situations are not a plot. It’s soap opera writing. Soap operas get forty years and go into infinity. Novels don’t have that luxury.

#4—Too MUCH SUGAR

We’re being way too nice. I see way too many new manuscripts and the reason they’re boring the paint off the walls is nothing is happening and everything is too easy. Everyone gets along is super sweet and lots of colorful pretty descriptions and empty calories that make us sick.

Humans have fears and faults and failures that will collide, especially under pressure. I see far too many manuscripts where nothing is happening. People talking.

Description not friction. No friction? No traction.

#5—We’re Making it TOO Easy

Yes, your protagonist has ONE core story goal in need of resolution, but there should be a ton of hardship, suffering, setbacks and pain along the way. Our protagonist must work for everything and earn every reward, even the small ones with blood, sweat and sacrifice. NOTHING should be easy. Ever.

Authors deal in solid gold rewards, not plastic participation trophies.

If our protagonist is being spoon fed the answers (dreams, journals, letters, flashbacks, “super helpful” ancillary characters) that’s cheating. If the protagonist is rescued constantly by others and it never pushes any pain points? Where’s the glory in that?

When I was in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, most people don’t last a month. Most females never make it past white belt. It takes a YEAR to earn blue belt. I had to do this grappling men twice my size.

It took me a year and a half of busted lips, blood, bruises, and strains. It also cost me a broken nose and a dislocated knee…but guess what’s framed in my office?

I can tell you that had I been handed a blue belt for attendance, it would be in some junk drawer along with the piles of other worthless awards.

Same in fiction. We revel in the protagonist’s victory only when the title of “HERO” is earned.

#6—We Forgot to Turn on the Heat

The greater the stakes the better the story. No heat and we don’t have cake, we have batter. Same in fiction. Turn on the heat.

A friend of mine had a brilliant idea for a story, but her niceness kept killing it. She emailed me that her story is about an artist who has five years to make it in NYC or he has to return to his family’s house-painting business.

I replied: NOOOOOOOOOOO!

If our artist has five years in the beginning? We aren’t too worried. There’s time. But if we know he’s at the end of five years and has only one final narrow window? Everything changes.

If the stakes are he returns to an occupation close to what he loves (painting) and also limited seasonally (house painting in NY) it isn’t that big of a deal. He can dream away what he longs to create while on a ladder touching up eaves. He also will have seasons he can still create art.

But, what if he’s returning to a job that is not only the opposite of what he loves, but can potentially drain every creative molecule from his soul? A stressful occupation that might just kill him with seventy-hour work weeks (accounting firm)? Or physically endanger his hands/ability to paint (family auto repair business)?

And while we are at it? He’ll have to return to a family that never really was supportive and will be delighted he failed and relish rubbing it in.

NOW we have a story 😉 .

Crank up that heat. Shorten timelines and up the stakes, both physical and emotional.

If your protagonist fails, it isn’t simply a failure, it needs to be an extinction event.

In the end, I have a mantra: Make it worse until you make it weird.

What are your thoughts? Have you been too easy on your characters? Maybe indulging in flashbacks to “explain” why a character is a certain way instead of making the reader work to uncover it? Have you been too nice? Unclear? What ways can you wind that tension tighter? Shorten the timeline or up the stakes? We only will value what COSTS a lot. No one values free and easy 😉 .

I love hearing from you!

The Suspenseful Collection

Congratulations to Didi Oviatt and Kim Knight on the release of their compilation book of short stories!  

Click to be taken to Amazon.com
The Suspenseful Collection by Kim Knight and Didi Oviatt

These two very talented and lovely suspense authors have the most interesting way of putting their stories together.  One author starts the tale, the other finishes it.  How cool is that?  They live on opposite sides of the Atlantic, which makes it even more fun.

 

I’ve been intrigued by these stories since before they released it.  Confession: I did try to preorder but my Amazon account was all wonky that day and because well, life’s distractions, I just never got back to it.

I did enter their Rafflecopter contest however, and guess what!  I won a copy and I’m so excited to read this!  I’m mean…look at that cover.  It’s gorgeous!

Thank you so very much, Didi and Kim for the opportunity to win this and read your book!

I will be posting my review soon but I do hope everyone will go ahead and check this book out for yourself.  It’s already gotten some great feedback!

Here is the blurb from Amazon with a little summary of each of the short stories:

For Mature Readers Only:

A suspenseful novel with a twist. Eight short stories, by two suspense authors, from diverse backgrounds. From opposite sides of the Atlantic these stories have been created. One author started the tale and the other ended it. No discussion, no pre-planning, but yet their stories are seamless. With just creativity and the use of writing prompts, to craft one tale, with two different writers. This anthology of suspenseful, fast paced and engaging tales covers multiple genres. From heart felt romance, crime, fantasy, and steamy historical fiction. There is a story for everyone!

Steamy Historical Crime Fiction: It was The First Time I Killed A Man.

It’s 1972 and New York’s first female serial killer Lisa Vanacilli is in the hot seat again, ten years after her conviction of murder to the first degree and innocent plea. The ruthless but sexy reporter Tiffany Low cracks Lisa for a confession… at a price. Lisa is strong, courageous and says it how it is. This story has been extended due to reader’s demand. And is only for adult readers.

Psychological Fiction: Every Time I Hear That Voice From The Basement.

George appears to be harmless. The local neighbourhood geek on the outside, married to Jolene. In reality, he’s a very disturbed man. His path crosses with Dana, the local check out girl. This is a psychological suspense story with a twist.

Crime Fiction: The Entrance To The Tunnel Is His Only Way Out.

Juan is a wanted man, and an ex-gang member on the run from Atlanta to Mexico. With a hundred grand in cash stolen from his ex-boss, he meets an unlikely fate in Mexico. A fast-paced crime fiction story.

Contemporary Romance: When His Hands Run Up My Thighs I…

Love has no time limit, age limit or use by date. Sarah now in her fifties is reunited with her long-lost love Joshua. They last had contact in 1961. In the present day, thanks to the advancement of technology their paths cross. A heart-warming and modern tale, about long distance love, that will leave you warm inside.

Suspense: We Only Said Goodbye With Words, I Died A Hundred Times:

In 1963 Russian Femme Fatale Mila Petrov is London’s top Madam. Her entertainment house is booming, she has a team of London’s strongest women behind her. Unfinished business from her past creeps up and haunts her. It’s nothing she can’t handle. A suspenseful historical tale, with a strong femme fatale.

Fantasy: The Ones Who Live At The Bottom Of The Ocean, Come To The Surface.

A beautiful coming of age story, featuring sixteen year old Zoe and her mother May-Li. Myth becomes reality, as Zoe finds out who and what she really is. Her mixed descent reveals more than what meets the eye. This fantasy story is set against the backdrop of a Greek island and Hong Kong, China.

Suspenseful Crime Fiction: Guilty As Charged, In Self-Defence

California’s sassy, tough, and likeable defence lawyer Catherine has taken on a case so high profile, if she wins she’ll become a partner of Martin Law Firm. Defending forty six year old Mrs. Chevelle. An ex Las Vegas show girl, now a Hollywood wife, on trial for the murder of her high-profile husband. She claims she’s innocent. Readers are taken on a fast -paced journey on a mission to seek the truth.

Contemporary Fiction: It’s A Man’s Man’s World:

A beautiful modern tale showing the love and appreciation of a woman. James Brown said it right when he said, “it’s a man’s man’s world, but it would mean nothing without a woman or a girl.”The Suspenseful Collection by Didi Oviatt and Kim Knight

9 Daily Habits You Should Get Rid of to Become a Better Writer

Reposted from Just Publishing Advice 

Nine Bad Writing Habits

9 Daily Habits You Should Get Rid of to Become a Better Writer

By Veronica Hunt 

How do you know what’s good or bad for you unless it leads to losses or depression hereafter? I call it the self-reflection time when a writer needs to analyze what has been done right or wrong for developing his masterpiece. Today we’ll uncover 9 habits that can actually ruin your career of a writer, blogger, reporter, etc.

There’s no exact timeframe to eliminate bad habits and clear your mind for inspiration. It can vary from 72 hours to more than 21 days because some long-lasting habits are ingrained at our neural level. They can even determine our behavior or outlook.

Which is why self-publishing writers whose success depends on their productivity should get rid of those daily habits which hold them back. Here are 9 of them with explanations and my own writing experience insights.

1. Not sticking to the writing plan

Never rely on the whimsical character of your inspiration. This lady is too weak to bring a masterpiece to the surface. I have the same bad habit – can’t stick to the plan even after I’ve elaborated the perfect one. Of course, it makes me mad because I realize that having this non-systematic approach stops me from publishing an aspired novel. The thing about plans is that you should always follow it without yielding to excuses. Here are three ways you can make yourself stick to your writing plan.

  • Make monthly, weekly and daily goals to control the process.
  • Write for 3-4 hours each day with one break in the middle.
  • Do not review a single sentence until you finish even if you know there are some mistakes.

2. Giving in to procrastination and self-criticism

Forming a steady writing habit predetermines the highest result. Therefore any self-publishing writer should mind deadlines and develop a sense of confidence to what has already been crafted. Procrastination and postponing your writing goals to fulfill other minor errands is the biggest mistake. We have thousands of these small errands each day from cleaning the kitchen to folding clothes, and they will always take that golden time you should devote to writing your novel. Another bad habit is to return to what you’ve written and carp at some parts of your book. Imagine that you have a creative child in you – an internal artist you can offend with criticism. You should protect yourself from its cruelty says Julia Cameron’s in her bestseller The Artist’s Way. Once this book became my manual which helped me form positive habits of write better.

3. Thinking over some paragraphs or dialogues when you are not writing

This particular habit can actually prevent you from becoming another Joanne K. Rowling because writing a book in your mind is the same as eating with your eyes solely. Sure, it’s pleasant but not useful for your empty stomach. What’s most important, you just waste your time because thought-out dialogues will never look the same when they are actually penned. Besides, it will be much harder to get down to writing a paragraph you have already finished in your mind.

4. Writing without enough sleep

When your mind is already dried out, you shouldn’t expect anything special to come out. First of all, sleep deprivation can result in chronic fatigue and even severe depression. When writing a book you should include four priorities in your everyday routine:

  • From 7 to 9 hours of sleep each day.
  • From 3 to 5 hours for writing a novel with 30-minute breaks every 2 hours.
  • From 2 to 3 hours to promote your writing on your own blog.
  • From 1 to 2 hours for physical exercises.

5. Giving someone to read your unfinished book

Never ever do that even if the person is the closest to you and can be fully trusted. Believe me; it can ruin your intention to continue writing even if you get the positive feedback. I do remember how my sister was hiding her uncompleted pictures from my eyes so that it didn’t influence the whole creation process. She used to say:

“I don’t want to show it until it becomes something strong!”

6. Limiting yourself with one place for writing

I do recommend you to change places as often as it’s possible. Limiting yourself with one place can serve as a bad habit because you’ll depend on particular conditions. I suppose a writer should free his mind from accommodation issues to devote it to the fictional space of his characters. And I do think a successful writer should be flexible enough or even tempered facing such obstacles as noise or crammed rooms.

7. Dividing your time to 2 or more storylines at once

Even if you have several ideas for different novels, I do recommend you to write a few sentences about those newly born stories, put them in different folders without any exact titles and forbid yourself to think about their characters’ names until a previous novel is finished. Dividing your attention between several storylines can confuse you and make the process of writing a single book by the very end almost eternal.

8. Isolating yourself from family and friends

It’s a myth that to write a good book you need to dive into it and ignore the dearest people who can support you. There are a lot of writers who succeeded being good writers and parents at the same time. For instance, Julia Cameron managed to make an awesome writing career and grow her daughter at the same time. Besides, becoming estranged from your family and friends can lead to serious mental problems. You might suffer from loneliness, depression and even panic attacks.

9. Having bad nutrition and drinking too much coffee or energy drinks

A healthy writer has nothing to be distracted from own writing goals. Taking care of your nutrition habits, you save time on treatment in the hospital and make sure you’ll have enough efforts to finish a novel. Also, one of the most harmful habits for writers is drinking too much coffee and energy drinks while working on their novels. And when it adds up to lack of sleep and unbalanced diet you get a cocktail of self-destruction. These things might help for a day or two, but then you’ll become a veg without any decent ideas to pen.

Veronica HuntVeronica Hunt is an edtech expert and an experienced content marketer from Philadelphia, PA. As a blogger, she sees her purpose in providing her readers with up-to-date info in the spheres of marketing, entrepreneurship and psychology. Currently, works for Eduplace as a content manager. Apart from work, she adores traveling and yoga. Follow @VeronicaHuntt or find her on Facebook.

Friday Post: The Last Place You Look

Another Friday is here!  Bring on the Weekend!

Book Beginnings on Fridays

Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted at Rose City Reader where you share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka

I just picked this up at the library tonight and plan to start it in the next couple of days.  I found it on one of the blogs I follow, but I can’t remember whose blog it is!  Sorry!

 

Here’s the Book Beginning:

“Matt said you found things.  For a living,” the woman said on the phone.

I was lying on the carpet underneath my desk.  I’d only answered the call to make the shrill ringing stop.  The inside of my mouth tasted like whipped cream and whiskey, and the sound of my breathing was like a roaring thunderstorm in my head, but at least I was alone and in my own apartment. “That’s right,” I said.

“What kind of things?” Her tone was suspicious, like her main objective was to debunk whatever my oldest brother told her.

“Objects.  People. Answers. Whatever needs to be found.”

“You good at it?”

I hadn’t worked much in the last nine months and didn’t want to start now. But my bank balance had other ideas.

 

The Friday 56

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted at Freda’s voice.

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

Here’s a blurb from page 56:

In the light of day, I could see that whoever had gotten into my car last night must have used a slim jim or a coat hanger.  The weather stripping at the bottom of the window was ripped and the blue paint on my door was faintly scratched.  Better than a brick through the glass, but it still pissed me off.

On top of that, I didn’t quite know what my next move should be on Brad Stockton. So far there were three votes for Brad Stockton’s innocence, two maybes on the unnamed dog owner, on strange encounter with the Belmont cops, but zero corroboration for Danielle’s claim that the woman she saw was Sarah.

 

What do you think?

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Sarah Cook, a beautiful blonde teenager disappeared fifteen years ago, the same night her parents were brutally murdered in their suburban Ohio home. Her boyfriend Brad Stockton – black and from the wrong side of the tracks – was convicted of the murders and sits on death row, though he always maintained his innocence. With his execution only weeks away, his devoted sister, insisting she has spotted Sarah at a local gas station, hires PI Roxane Weary to look again at the case.

Reeling from the recent death of her cop father, Roxane finds herself drawn to the story of Sarah’s vanishing act, especially when she thinks she’s linked Sarah’s disappearance to one of her father’s unsolved murder cases involving another teen girl. Despite her self-destructive tendencies, Roxane starts to hope that maybe she can save Brad’s life and her own.

With echoes of Sue Grafton, Dennis Lehane and the hit podcast Serial, The Last Place You Look is the gripping debut of both a bold new voice and character.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?  I’m excited to start this one!  Have you read it?  What are you reading now?

 

Book Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I’ve seen the Six of Crows on so many book review blogs, it had so many great reviews and avid fans, I was curious to read it, too.  The title certainly helped… I love crows!  They’re gorgeous birds!

The Six of Crows is first of a duology, followed by the Crooked Kingdom.

So, when I started reading Six of Crows, I found it a bit slow going.  Not because there wasn’t enough action…there was.  I was unfamiliar with the world itself.  

The Six of Crows is preceded by the Grisha Trilogy and I’m thinking that, had I read it would have explained the world much better.  That being said, it can still be read as a standalone, it just took me a bit longer to process what was happening.

Kaz as a main character started out as arrogant and somewhat unlikeable to me. He always has everything planned umpteen steps ahead of everyone else, almost too good to be true.  I found myself disappointed that he was to be such a major character, that is until I found out there was much more to Kaz than what meets the eye.

Each chapter toggles from the perspective of multiple characters, their personalities developing nicely as we learn more about each one, their history and their unique abilities.

Kaz and his crew head out on a mission, that by all standards is considered impossible.  On top of the difficulties they expect to encounter, they are hit by snag after snag.


 

I really got into the story and enjoyed the twisty turny plot and the whole ‘what could possibly go wrong next’ of this book.  There was lots of drama, plot twists and storylines that I didn’t see coming.

Here’s the Goodreads blurb:

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

Have you read any of Leigh Bardugo’s work?  Did you read the Grisha Series first and if so, how did it help reading the Six of Crows?

Blogging and Thinking of Summer

It’s hard to believe another month has come and gone.  Here we are, in the middle of our summer! Imagine…


In the spring, when winter is finally beginning to give way to warmer weather, I find myself longing for the hot summer days of July.  The kids are out of school, there’s not really a schedule, everything is free and easy.

As July rounds into August, the wheel turns and reality steps in.  The days get shorter and cooler, and school is just around the corner.  Summer is coming to a fast close.

Here in Nova Scotia, there is a distinct shift in the weather come the end of August beginning of September.  Crisp, cool mornings, early sunsets, and the leaves begin changing.

I do love fall, but I can’t help but feel a bit sad to see lovely summer leave for another year.

I’ve been a bit slower at posting these days.  I’ve been spending more time with family, quietly reading and working on my novel.  I love creating blog posts and visiting other blogs, but I’ve found that I’ve had to step back and look at how much of my time this takes out of my day.

A single post, award or tag takes me over 3 hours.  Is this normal?  I feel like other bloggers can read a book in  a few hours and write up a review lickity split!  It’s hard to keep up with the Jones’s, ya know!

I have depression and anxiety.  If I have a few stress-free days, I can get along quite fine.  I seem relatively normal.  Outside of that, even a minor stressor can make my anxiety can go haywire and I’m “off” for days.  It’s difficult to concentrate and focus, my memory is embarrassingly awful.

So, I’ve been taking it easy on the blog.  I’ve been trying to be as stress free as possible.  I started a yoga program, and I’ve gotten myself back on schedule with waking early and getting out for a walk.

I hope to make progress on my novel.  It’s incredibly slow going, by the way.  I keep rewriting the same pages!

I also hope to start making progress on the wonderful awards and tags I’ve received!  Phew!  Lots of blogging love, and I will get to them, I promise!

Do you have days when it’s hard to do it all?  When you just can’t blog as much as you’d like?

Thanks for stopping by!  

Jo-Ann

Review: Feel Me Fall by James Morris

My thanks to James Morris for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Was it hard to put down?  Oh, yes. I was drawn into the story hook, line and sinker and didn’t want to stop reading.  It was absolutely brilliant.

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads.

Secrets and survival in the Amazon

Emily Duran is the sole survivor of a plane crash that left her and her teenage friends stranded and alone in the jungles of the Amazon. Lost and losing hope, they struggle against the elements, and each other. With their familiar pecking order no longer in place, a new order emerges, filled with power struggles, betrayals, secrets and lies. Emily must explain why she’s the last left alive.

But can she carry the burden of the past?

Discover the gripping new adventure novel that explores who we are when no one is watching, and how far we’ll go in order to survive.

My review:

Emily Duran is a student from California on a high school field trip to South America. The plane crashes in Amazon rainforest, leaving only a handful of survivors.  Besides Emily, there is her best friend Viv, Mean Molly, Derek the boy scout survivalist extraordinaire, Ryan the smart ass amputee and Nico, Viv’s boyfriend.

The story is told in the first person from the perspective of Emily. The author did an excellent job of fleshing out the other characters to round everything out.

The story toggles between several scenes: when the plane crashes in the Amazon, before they left on the school trip, and after her rescue when she is in the hospital.

The book is very well written and suspenseful.  The challenges they experience and the true personalities that emerge in this new environment kept me reading and wanting more. Secrets were slowly revealed, drama unfolded and people died.

A quote from the book:

Events don’t change you; they reveal you.

What I loved even more than waiting for Emily to be rescued was the ending…Lets just say that things aren’t always as they seem.

 

 

THE ‘HOW I CHOOSE MY BOOKS’ TAG

Thanks to Stephanie at Steph’s Novel Fiction for tagging me in The ‘How I Choose My Books’ Tag! You really need to go check out her site if you haven’t.  Stephanie and I are great internet buddies, we’ve had some awesome chats. She is such a wonderfully warm and sweet person plus knows how to do a great book review.

 

BookstagFind a book on your shelves or ereader with a blue cover. What made you want to pick up this book? 

I picked up The Lady of Avalon because it was by Marion Zimmer Bradley.  I LOVED her book The Mists of Avalon, and read it several times.  That is the book that made me fall hopelessly in love with the King Arthur legend.  This particular book is a prequel to the original Mists of Avalon.

Think of a book you didn’t expect to enjoy, but did. Why did you read it in the first place? 

A family friend recommended this book to me.  He gave me a copy because he  had several, he loved it that much.  I really didn’t care for the setting, WWII Germany, especially since it was from the perspective of a child.  I thought it would be too disturbing, but it was an AMAZING read!

Stand in front of your bookshelf with your eyes closed and pick up a book at random. How did you discover this book? 

Relative Happiness is by one of our amazingly talented local authors, Lesley Crewe.  It’s her debut novel about life in a small town and was actually made into a movie!  This is a good one worth picking up.

Pick a book that someone personally recommended to you. What did you think of it?

I was wandering around the library one day, looking for a good murder mystery.  My friend and neighbour, a librarian herself, suggested Henning Mankell’s series.  He has a unique style of writing with very ‘normal’ protagonist.  I love that.  Characters who aren’t afraid to be imperfect and make mistakes.

Pick a book that you discovered through YouTube / book blogs. Did it live up to the hype? 

When I saw Jay’s review at This is My Truth Now, I knew I had to read this one and I was not disappointed!  I’m looking forward to reading the sequel now.

 

Find a book on your shelves or ereader with a one-word title. What drew you to this book?

I was on a kick reading Harlan Coben’s books and this was one of them.  I like Coben’s easy style and plot twisters.

 

What book did you discover through a film / TV adaptation?

A coworker recommended I watch Game of Thrones when I was raving about the Mists of Avalon one day.  It had a medievalish setting, fantasy, magic, so why not?  I loved the show and began reading the books.  Now just waiting for the newest release….

Think of your all-time favourite book/s. When did you read these and why did you pick them up in the first place?

These are the books that got me into reading, I mean really into reading.  And writing!  They sparked something in me that made me want to tell  my own story!

Harry Potter
The Mists of Avalon
The Outlander Series

I’m Tagging the Following:

Raising My Book

The Book Mermaid

Tea and Tales

Turtledesk

Please don’t feel pressured to do this tag, but if you do, please let me know so I can read your answers!

Thank you so much Silas at Diary of a Weird Teenage Boy and for nominating me. He has a wonderful blog filled with his art and beautiful photos as well as his creative writing to prompts.  I highly recommend you check him out!

the-mystery-blogger-award

Here are the rules to the award:

  • Put the logo/image on your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and link their blog.
  • Tell your reader 3 things about yourself.
  • You have to nominate 10-20 people.
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question.
  • Share a link to your best post(s)

The Mystery Blogger award has been created by Okoto Enigma of Okoto Enigma’s Blog.

THE MYSTERY BLOGGER AWARD

This is an award for amazing bloggers with indigenous posts. Their blogs not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion.

-Okoto Enigma.

Three things about me-

  • I’ve written three novels.  They are all in the first draft stage, though so it might be a while before you get to read them!
  • I am working at recovering from depression and anxiety.
  • I love swimming, either in the ocean or in my pool.

Questions from Silas

  • What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home?

The weirdest thing in someone else’s home…now that’s a tough one!  It would probably be a pet.  I have one friend who once had a bearded dragon for a pet.  My aunt had a  pet rabbit that ran free in the house.  It ate the little rubber buttons on the TV remote control!

  • What is the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?

The best purchase would be our house.  Our worst purchase?  Our house!  It’s great having a 110 year old home.  I love it, it has tons of character but the renovations we’ve done over the years have certainly cost us a load of money!

  • What is the dumbest way you’ve been injured?

Hmmm…I think the time I dropped a chisel on my bare toe and needed 6 stitches to fix it up. That was dumb!

  • What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?

The Trump saga in the US always has something interesting going on.

  • What is the one thing you have tried million times, still can’t do.

Computer programming.  My sons make it look so easy!

  • Bonus fun question -What’s a body part that you wouldn’t mind losing?

My appendix.

My top 5 posts-

This Mists of Avalon Book Beginnings and Friday 56

Sunday Post June 25

Sunday Post and Happy Fathers Day

Summer Vacay and Glad to be Back!

The Husband’s Secret

 

 

Nominations – 

Drizzle and Hurricane Books

Two Gals and a Book

My Window

Sherina Speaks

Read and Repeat

Untold Phrases

Blackwood’s Magazine

Being Lydia

EssenCentral

Whimsy Pages

 

My Questions –

  • Have you taken summer vacation?
  • What is your favourite movie you’ve seen this year?
  • Do you have a goal you’d like to achieve by the end of this year?
  • What do you like to do in your spare time?
  • If you could choose ONLY 5 subjects to read on other blogs, what would they be? (Books, music, film, health, etc.)

 

 

Hope you guys enjoyed the post, thanks so much Suguna once again for this lovely nomination! 🙂

Have a nice day.

 

 

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