Books and Reading… Not Thursday! :D

I’m a day late, sorry!

Still, here’s my first book review of the year! Yay, I’m finally getting somewhere on my to-do and to-read list :D

Thyme in a Flask by Glen Quarry

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.*

Goodreads Summary: Jon Chandler is a seventeen-year-old youngster presented with a difficult quest-to find a magical flask, destroy it, and then somehow find his way back home.
As Jon reluctantly accepts his responsibility, he is accompanied by the haughty yet beautiful Dorthea, who constantly challenges him. At least his best friend, Samuel, a gentle giant-all eight feet in stature and 480 pounds of him-doesn’t get under his skin like Dorthea does.
But there’s a fine line between love and hate, and Jon and Dorthea hover on it constantly!
Samuel is left behind as the quest leads Jon and Dorthea into a parallel world, where few living people have ever gone before. How can they locate a flask that has been missing for sixteen years?
Along the way, they encounter demons and wizards who will test their strength and ability, and they find they must solve several riddles before they can return home. What they learn about themselves and about life is far more priceless than the magical flask.

From the start this book had a very old-time, classic, fairytale feel about it. I think that kind of writing, which I haven’t read in quite some time, felt almost like being sucked in as though it were a bedtime story.

The writing was engaging, and the story was filled with great settings, a variety of sub-plots, and interesting characters.

I have to admit Samuel was probably my favourite character of the lot :D He had a sort of down-to-earth personality which I hooked onto immediately.

But the writing throughout this and the feel of that classic fantasy just held my interest until the end.

It is one of those stories that I enjoyed but can’t really talk about for fear of giving away spoilers as there was so much packed into this book! You can be certain of plenty of fantastical creatures and memorable moments throughout though.

I will admit I found it a bit overwhelming to keep up with so much to begin with, but the further I got pulled into the book, the easier my mind just flowed with the story and I found my imagination going into overdrive there was just so much to think of.

It is a more in-depth book, one you probably would have to give a bit of time to (at least for me anyway), but the flow and writing were easy to read, which certainly helped to keep me going and wanting to find out more about the array of characters and plots within this novel.

Overall, it’s a great read with a real fairytale, class fantasy feel about it. Anyone who enjoys this genre should definitely give this book a look!

Smashwords
Goodreads

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 37,524 (+2832 since last check-in).

Books read towards challenge: 3/50
Currently reading: Snow Hill by Mark Sanderson

Losing the Groove

Ok, I know…

I’ve been a terrible blogger and social media-person :D

I haven’t been around much to comment or even post!

The deadline for my first draft is this Friday, and I still have tons to write. So, pretty much I’ve been writing constantly lately!

But still, that’s not really an excuse.

To be honest, I am still really struggling to find my groove again after getting back from my break.

I know, right? It’s been nearly two months :D But, this blog is about being honest, and that is what I’m doing.

I’m just having a pretty difficult time lately, and not sure how to fix that yet!

Hopefully soon I will find my rhythm again.

Everything feels very stale and static at the moment, but I think that will change once I manage to get a new book released. Hence why I am working so hard on this one so as I can get it ready for release at the end of March!

Sorry I haven’t been around much, but hopefully soon that will change. Know that I am reading your blogs even if I don’t manage to comment :/

Have you ever had a bit of an unproductive time? How did you get out of it?

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 34,692 (+11,752 since last check-in).

Books read towards challenge: 2/50
Currently reading: Thyme in a Flask by Glen Quarry

Books and Reading Thursday: Enjoying your own creations

Bit of strange post for this week’s Books and Reading Thursday!

I saw a quote on Pinterest the other day which pretty much summed up part of the reason I started writing:

‘If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.’ – Toni Morrison

I write because I have stories that I want to read all bundled up in my brain and I just have to expel them :D

So, I write these tales that I am so desperate to read and then what happens?

I have to re-write and edit them so much that the thought of reading them again makes me want to start rocking in a corner somewhere mumbling to myself!

But in April, I plan to re-edit and refresh the books I published last year in time for their one year anniversary. I learnt tons last year, not just about writing itself, but about the whole publishing process.

A while back, Sierra from Permashift, updated her book, The Soul (a book I highly recommend checking out), and I realised how much I also wanted to go over my older books and give them an update.

But, at the same time, I am also kind of excited to go back and read them.

I know I will be doing some editing and re-writing, but there won’t be too much (I hope :D ), so I’m hoping I will be able to read the books mainly for the stories I was so desperate to write in the first place.

The main books I will be refreshing are Stolen Bloodline, Heart of the Arena, and The Queen’s Jester, my first batch of books I ever published. I will also be going over Prophecy of Stones and The Magic Spark, but probably later in the year.

It’s getting on for a year since I published those first three books, and though some of the writing might make me cringe, I am hoping that the long time away will allow me to once again enjoy these stories and characters that I spent so long creating.

So, April is going to be a busy month getting all the books updated whilst writing a new one, but a fun month nonetheless :)

I highly recommend going back and reading the stories you spent so long creating, especially if you haven’t looked at them in a while. It might be difficult to read them without completely turning off the nagging voice inside that tells you bits you could have improved and things, but you worked hard on those characters and stories, why not go back and enjoy them after you’ve had some time apart? :D

Do you enjoy going back and reading your own books? Do you ever miss the stories you wrote years before?

One of those random thoughts…

No Romance Weekly today, unfortunately!

Instead, have a post on something I been thinking of a lot lately :D

The other day I watched Divergent (and my excitement had nothing at all to do with the fact Jai Courtney was in it…), and I will admit now I haven’t read the books, but what I want to talk about I can guess is part of the books.

The movie was going ok, I got the jist of the world and things and then it came to the point where Tris had to choose which faction she was going to be in for the rest of her life.

She had five choices- Abnegation (Selflessness), Erudite (Intelligence), Amity (Peaceful), Candor (Honest), and Dauntless (Brave).

She was originally in Abnegation, but she changed. Can you guess which faction she chose?

You were most likely right- it was Dauntless.

And that was great and all, and I could see it coming from a mile off, but I couldn’t help but sit there and think, ‘Why couldn’t she have been the heroine and still have been in abnegation?

What was wrong with the character’s main trait being selflessness or kindness and not the ability to kick someone’s butt?

Is that what makes a strong character now? The ability to knock someone out? Would someone who didn’t have the ability to beat of attackers be considered weak?

Ok, Tris has different circumstances with her being divergent and all, so she is all of the traits, but the main trait that is still focused on is her bravery and fighting skills.

I understand action scenes make for more excitement, and I, myself, enjoy the fight scenes.

But if Tris had stayed in abnegation or switched to amity, would the book have been so popular?

Would a book with not only a female lead, but one whose favoured trait is something that doesn’t involve fighting, have gone down well?

I don’t know, but it certainly got me thinking.

A few books I’ve read even start off with the character having no abilities, and then they go through a training chapter, and develop these fighting skills and only then are they classed as a good, rounded character and able to continue the story.

I write fight scenes in quite a few of my books, but in my stories I enjoy having the plot resolved in some way other than violence, even if there is a big fight scene. It’s part of the reason I enjoy writing romance, because it can be the powerful connection between people that can overcome things, not necessarily the fact that my female character can right hook the bad guy into oblivion!

Still, I admit myself that I would second think making a character, especially a female one, who didn’t have the ability to defend herself for the fear of having readers think she was weak.

But to be fair, I wouldn’t have the faintest idea how to fight off an attacker, and I am not a fan of violence, yet anyone who has met me knows I certainly wouldn’t be called weak!

So, maybe it’s time to start thinking about that more? If we didn’t push the ability to kick butt as such a highly valued trait, and focused more on the nicer qualities, it might help people to see that violence isn’t always the answer and that being a nice person isn’t a weak thing?

Well, that post got a lot deeper than I meant it to :D

Anyways, I’m not saying these awesome fighters aren’t great characters, because they’re brilliant! It was just a random thought I had :)

What do you think of this topic? Do you think characters could be written without the ability to fight and still be classed as a strong character?

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 22,940 (+6094 since last check-in).

Books read towards challenge: 2/50
Currently reading: Thyme in a Flask by Glen Quarry

Happy Valentine’s!

Hope everyone is having a lovely Valentine’s day, with or without someone.

If you’re with someone, then enjoy the love and romance!

If not, then don’t forget to love and pamper yourself! Maybe with a good romance book. The best people are fictional people anyway, right? ;)

Just a quick post today, sorry haven’t been around much yet again. Hopefully next week will be back to a normal week and I can catch up properly!

Seeking Solace | Cover Reveal

Mishka Jenkins:

For Books and Reading Thursday today I thought I would share the amazing cover of Callum McLaughlin’s upcoming poetry collection, which I am very much looking forward to. His poetry is… well, no other word but breathtaking!

Originally posted on Callum McLaughlin:

Seeking Solace Seeking Solace

I’m incredibly excited to be able to share the cover for my newest book and first poetry collection, Seeking Solace. I’m really happy with how it turned out and hope you like it.

The book should be available in both Kindle and paperback formats within the coming week or so – I will of course keep you updated here on my blog.

It’s been a long time in the making and as much as I’m looking forward to having a neat, documented way to look back at a significant portion of my poems for my own benefit, I can’t wait to also share it with anyone out there kind enough to spare their time to read what I have to say.

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Romance Weekly Blog Hop #lovewritechat

Just before I hop to the Romance Weekly blog hop, I just wanted to say sorry for the lack of blog posts last week! I was pretty ill, and couldn’t get onto my computer, but thank you to everyone who commented, I’m sorry again for not replying! :)

RW Banner

Welcome to all those joining me from the lovely Elizabeth Janette’s blog, author of Redemption for Liars.

This week’s question is- What would you say your writing strengths and weaknesses are?

It’s kind of difficult to decide my strengths to be honest, because I’m very critical of my own work :D

But I do think character interaction might be one of my strengths. I’ve had quite a few comments from people who’ve read my books and enjoyed the way I write dialogue and interaction between characters, as I’m able to show their relationships well and in a way that is easy to read.

As for weaknesses, well, probably my top one has to be description, or lack of it :D When I write I tend to see it like a movie in my head, and sometimes I forget that the reader doesn’t see what I see, that they don’t know the scene is set in a dank forest or a bright room. So yeah, I need to work on that!

Also, my over use of commas, but thankfully my readers do pick up on that in editing!

What would you say your strengths and weaknesses are?

Now hop on over to the amazing Jeana E. Mann and see what she has to say about her writing and maybe check out her latest release, Vindicated :)

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 16,846 (+14,323 since last check-in).

Books read towards challenge: 2/50
Currently reading: Thyme in a Flask by Glen Quarry