book reviews

Series Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

It’s Monday so that’s means that it’s time once again for me to do a book review.  Yea!  I had a book last week that made me want to reread one of my favorite series.  I’m actually in the middle of rereading it so I figured why not review it. 

So here’s how this works.  I rate books on a scale of coffee cups….because I love coffee.  Also there will be no spoilers in these reviews.

 

0 cups= I hated it/couldn’t finish

1 cup= did like but finished bc I’m stubborn

2 cups= meh

3 cups= Not the best but interesting enough to finish

4 cups= I really like it.  

5 cups=OMG YOU HAVE TO READ THIS

 

 

Rating:

4 Cups

 

General Overview:

These books follow Percy Jackson as he discovers his Olympian heritage and deal with the complications that come along with it.  Prophecies, monsters, and combating the embodiment of evil is a lot for a twelve year old to handle.  But at least he doesn’t have to do it alone.  Percy has some loyal and bad ass friends along the way, some of them even god like.  But all he really wants is to go to camp and have fun learning how to sword fight and fly Pegasus…you know, normal things; and spend time with his mom.

 

My Thoughts:

When I first read the first book, The Lightening Thief, I didn’t like it.  I enjoyed reading it but by the end I was like, “meh”.  When I told my friend Acree about it he urged me to keep reading.  I guess I owe him because I did and fell more in love with each book.  Yeah it can get tiring with all the drama, but that’s not really what moves the story.  The connections the characters make with those around them and within themselves are just top notch.  Plus, the chapter titles are pretty hilarious and there are some great one liners.  The energy in these books kinda fluctuates like the tides for the first three and then it kicks it up a notch for the last two.  But one of the things that I loved the most is that you have strong male and female role models, and there are different strengths.  It’s not all brawn.  You also have weak characters whose flaws are the very things that make them special.  There’s a lot of resentment for parents who abandon their kids and as someone who once felt that way about a parent, these books show kids that you are not who your parents are, be they in your life or not.   It shows them that they can find their own strengths and learn to soar as high as the heavens.

 

Reread factor:

Like I said before, I’m in the middle of rereading these books.  I reread them at least once every couple of years.  I thoroughly enjoy them now from start to finish.  I will probably have these books on my shelf for as long as I’m alive and having to replace them when they become too worn out like my Harry Potter books.

 

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writing help

Digital vs Paper Outlining

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

I hope that everyone is doing well on this fine Wednesday.  For my people on the east coast watching the hurricane roll in, I hope you got all your provisions and let’s keep our fingers cross that we don’t loose power too long…

On a different note…I was supposed to have a book signing event this past Saturday but something fell through and I had to cancel.  I’m not gonna lie, I cried.  But I pulled up my big girl panties and went on with life.  I’m hoping to get it rescheduled soon.  It was my first event and I was really looking forward to it.  Sigh…oh well let’s in on to the matter at hand.

Outlining is something that you either do or don’t.  Some writers get their ideas and just see where they go organically while others (like myself) outline our works.  I outline because if I don’t I either run off onto weird tangents that have nothing to do with the story or I don’t put enough details into it.  And if you’re like me then I highly recommend outlining.  Now I know that this seems like a simple concept…and it is but it’s not either.

When I realized that I needed to outline, I did everything on paper.  But I ended up with piles and piles of paper, post-it notes, and scribbles in my writing journal.  My thoughts were scattered every where, so I searched for paperless options and came across Notebook.ai and I thought that all my problems were solved…not quite.  I ended up spending a hellish amount of time on little things, but I still like the site.

So here are the pros and cons of using paper and digital forms of outlining.

Paper pros

You can work anywhere as long as you have something to write on and with.  Also your ideas are locked into where you initially thought they would fit.

Paper cons

Lots of little pieces of paper to organize.  You can also loose them.  Plus once you’ve finished your story, it’s a lot of recycling.

Digital pros

Everything is in one place and you can access it anywhere and everywhere.  It’s a lot easier to make changes and you don’t really have to worry about loosing your ideas.

Digital cons

If you’re like me, you’ll end up getting sucked into a new toy.  If it’s not something you’re used to working with you’ll end up forgetting about it and not utilizing it thus making all that work that you put in a waste.

 

In the end it all boils down to preference.  I like having paper.  It helps me to remember but I do the vast amount online.  I use notebook.ai for world building but avoid the character fields bc I will get stuck there.  For my paper options, I have this cork board that I pin picture inspirations, notes, and whatever else on.  The blended option works for me, and you just need to find what works for you.

So what do you guys use for your outlining?  Do you even need to outline?  Comment below I would love to hear from you!

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See ya next time!

 

book reviews, Greetings My Peeps!

Book Review: Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

It’s Monday so that’s means that it’s time once again for me to do a book review.  Yea!  So here’s how this works.  I rate books on a scale of coffee cups….because I love coffee.  Also there will be no spoilers in these reviews.

0 cups= I hated it/couldn’t finish

1 cup= did like but finished bc I’m stubborn

2 cups= meh

3 cups= Not the best but interesting enough to finish

4 cups= I really like it.  

5 cups=OMG YOU HAVE TO READ THIS

 

Rating:

4 Cups

General Overview:

We find ourselves once again in the mountains of North Carolina where magic still lives.  It is here that we meet the young thief Willa as she struggles to earn praise from her clan’s leader and to ensure her peoples survival.  Willa belongs to a race of creatures call Faeran. The were once a great people who were friends to all manner of flora and fauna, but now they are dying out.  They blame this on the influx of human homesteaders and developers who are encroaching on their lands. But not all is what it seams. When Willa gets hurt on a thieving job, her world gets thrown into chaos and she questions everything.  As she does, she discovers some horrible truths as well as some pleasant ones. By the end everything is settle but not in the way that you hope

My Thoughts:

Once again Beatty brings us to the magic that can only be found in the mountains.  I love how he works alongside Native American and folklorist. Willa is a character that I feel sorry for.  Unlike Seraphina in the first set of books, Willa’s world is harsh before everything hits the fan. It’s amazing that she even retained the capacity to grow at all.  I really don’t want to go into more because I fear it might end up in spoiler land and I don’t want to to do that to anyone. But this book sucks you in slowly and surely, leaving you crying but happy at the end.  

Reread factor:

This is one that I will definitely read again when the mood strikes me.  When I get around to having children, this will for sure be a bedtime story.

Want other content?  Want to get to know me on a personal level?  Follow me on my other sites by clicking the links below:

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See ya next time!

Greetings My Peeps!, writing help

5 Tips for Writing Scenes

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

Scenes make up everything in writing….

If you didn’t know well now ya know (Hamilton).

Writing them can be excruciating.   How do you create the right amount of emotion using only words?  I mean it’s not like you can add lens flares, choir boys singing, or dramatic music to your scenes….or can you?  Here are 5 tips to help you write better scenes.

1.   Does this scene even need to be included?

This may seem like a simple and slightly ridiculous question to ask, but it’s important.  Can you story carry on without this scene?  If the answer is yes then cut the scene.  Scenes need to convey something be it emotional development, action that moves the plot forward, or shows some form of character development or show something about the character(s). If the scene you’re planning on doesn’t meet any of that, then it might be best to cut it.

2.    Use the five senses.

Now I know this is a common suggestion but just how in the world are you supposed to do that.  Well here’s what I do using an action scene.

We heard them before we saw them.  The ground thundered beneath our feet; the terrible drumming march of a thousand demons.  My men shifted behind me, their chain mail and armor clinking softly.  The wind shifted and with it came the fetid odor that assaulted the delicate skin of my nose and caused the bile to rise to the back of my throat.  My stomach rolled in violation coating my tongue with the acrid taste of fear.  A fear that I can’t show.  Not if I don’t want my men to flee.  So I swallow it down.  It sticks in my throat and stays there.  I lift my eyes to the heavens.  Even the stars have fled from this ungodly army.  Five seconds.  I give myself over to the fear for five seconds.  After that, I cannot have any other thoughts in my head, not if I want to survive the night.

One.

Two.

Three.

Four.

Five.

I am ready.

From the tree line, gleaming eyes emerge.  They have arrived.  With a roar that turned my blood to ice and my limbs to quiver, the demon hoard descended.  The smell of carrion crashed over the field.  I grip my blade tighter; the sweat on my palms making the hilt slick.  That could cost me my life but I don’t have time to wipe them.  Summoning a roar of my own, I raise my sword to the sky.

“For Mareth!”

My men roar in reply and we surge to meet the black army that we meet with the familiar song of clashing blades and screams of the dying.  It is a good night to die.

 

Did you become the character?  Did you feel what he felt?  That’s what you need to do when you write.  Don’t be the god that observes.  Be the on in the moment.  Think of how you would feel in that situation, let you body feel it then put that to paper.

3. Want a dramatic flare to your writing?  Slow down the pacing.  Or speed it up.

When the character in the above scene counted to five I made each count it’s own paragraph.  That will naturally slow the pacing.  Up until that moment the pacing was much faster.  Play around with the pacing.  The more action you put into a single paragraph the faster it will be.  This can be applied to all types of scenes not just action ones.  In a romantic scene maybe have your characters come together slowly making each paragraph only a few sentences as they notice more, feel more.  It’s your story, have fun playing with it.  The rules that we learned in school don’t necessarily apply.

4. Use music for emotions.

I’m a music lover.  I work better with it than without.  I listen to music when I write.  I have several playlists that are just for writing.  I have my general writing music playlist, but I also have ones that are for spooky themes, villains, fighting, romance.  All the songs in those playlists play up to the emotions that I need.  When I’m working on a scene and it starts to give me trouble I start the appropriate playlist.  I listen to it for a bit and then get right back at it with the right mindset.  So play around on wherever you get your music and create playlists for the emotions that you know you struggle with.

5. Act it out

I know this sounds a bit strange but trust me.  When I get stuck, I step away from my computer and act the scene out as best I can.  This also helps with dialogue.  Acting it out will help you achieve some all too important realism in your writing.  Pay attention to the facial expressions you make when you talk.  What’s you body language like?  Now you might get some weird looks from your significant other, but they’ll get use to it.  My hubby just rolls his eyes and asks if I’ve finally lost my mind every time.  If you choose to apply this method, do so at your own risk or comfort.

 

Well that’s it.  My five tips to help you write scenes.  Do you have different methods that you use?  Let me know by commenting below.  I’d love to hear them!

 

Want other content?  Want to get to know me on a personal level?  Follow me on my other sites by clicking the links below:

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See ya next time!

Greetings My Peeps!

Why I became a Writer

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

Today’s post is a bit of a personal one.  Often when I talk to people about my writing and the books I’ve published, they tend to look at me like I’ve grown three heads.  To people who aren’t writers, writing is often this crazy and amazing skill.  And then they usually follow up with “WHY?”

Such a funny question “why”.

I tend to find that I cant really answer that question.  I don’t know why I feel the compulsion to write, only that I do.  I’ve been telling stories for almost my whole life.  But the firs time I put pen to paper was middle school.  And while those stories in my head raged and demanded to be let out, I never saw them to their end.  I lacked the discipline then.  But now I’m different.

I write because I can’t imagine doing anything else.  I love it.  I love creating worlds, people, and weaving them into a story.  While I have some control over the story and the characters, they still evolve organically.

I write because it gives me peace.  It quiets the demons in my head telling my cruel lies.  I loose myself in my work, my craft, living out tiny pieces of my soul in the worlds I create.  That doesn’t mean that I self insert myself…no… just fragments of myself (the broken bits) tend to make their way into my works.

I write because as of right now nothing gives me as much joy as finally being able to hold my book in my hands.  To see all that work and pain meld into something that brings joy.

These are just a few of the reasons why I write.  What about you?  Why do you write, create, or whatever? Comment below. I’d love to read them.

 

book reviews, Greetings My Peeps!

Book Review: A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

Greetings my lovelies!

It’s a Monday so it’s time for another book review.  I rate each book/series on a coffee cup rating. 0 cups means I couldn’t finish and 5 cups means that I absolutely loved it.

DISCLAIMER: No one pays me for my reviews…sigh…I wish they would. Not really. These reviews are my personal opinion and just for fun.

Rating: 4 cups

I didn’t know about this book until they started to advertise the movie.  Then I saw it at the book fair.  To clarify, my day job is a teacher.  They have a small section just for the teachers.  Any who, I got this book, mainly out of curiosity and instantly fell in love.

General Overview:

This book follows the life of the  main poochie as he goes through the various incarnations of his life.  He remembers each life and ponders what lesson he has to learn from reach of them and why.  I really don’t want to say much more because I do not want to spoil anything for anyone.

My Thoughts:

I love this book.  The writing style was easy to follow and I was sucked in before I even realized it.  The hardest parts of this book was the multiple doggy deaths.  I know they were crucial but it was like Marley and Me on crack.  My poor emotions were all torn asunder by the end.  My poor puppies were so confused as to why I was clutching them tightly while crying.  All in all, it’s a great book about love and loyalty and what our purpose is in life.  It further illustrates that dogs are too good for us and we are so very lucky to have them in our lives.

Re-readability:

I don’t think this is one that I will ever read again.  It’s not that it’s a bad book, it’s just that some books are only meant for a single read.  I might read it again if I’m ever in the need for a good cry.

 

download (4)

Greetings My Peeps!

Learning My Trade

Like many writers, I have been writing for a good chunk of my life.  And I can promise you that none, I repeat, none of my early works will ever see the light of day…ever.  But those early samples hold a special place in my heart because they show just how far I’ve come as a writer and I’m not done learning how to be the best writer I can be.  During a particularly bad bout of writer’s block I headed to my local book store.  I happened across a small but helpful section that had nothing but books about being a better writer.  I picked up a couple and bought them.  So far I’ve only started going through one, but already I’m finding it helpful.

Here are the books if anyone is interested.

 

 

I also stumbled across a rather interesting site called skill share.  I haven’t actually signed up for any classes yet (my life is too hectic right now) but they look like they have a number of classes that I want to get in on.  Stuff like creative writing, marketing, editing, etc.

So here’s the question I pose to my fellow writers out there, have you guys found any interesting sights or tools that help you master your trade?  Looking forward to learning about them.