As much as we desire the truth about our writing it can be painful to hear the truth about our work. Of course, it can help us grow and become better, it how we learn and develop our craft. It’s a necessary part of the experience. If I’m being honest, I feel as though I’ve passed a benchmark in my journey, because I’ve dreamed of working with an editor, I just hadn’t expected such clarity from a brief one-to-one at a book fair.
Here’s a fun infographic poking fun at a writers experience of receiving critical feedback from an editor and the emotional process they go through. I hope you enjoy.
What have your experiences with editors been like? Good or bad, let me know if it helped you grow as a writer, you know I love hearing from you.
Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.
I receieved a copy of City of Dust from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
The fight is never over.
Life in Arafel is no longer safe. Not since August’s disappearance, and whispers of a ghost controlling Pantheon.
Meanwhile, Talia stands torn between secretive twin, Eli, and best friend, Max.
Betrayal forces Talia to leave the sanctuary of her forest home as she pursues the stolen Book of Arafel. A book which could destroy the freedom of all those she loves if it falls into the wrong hands. And when she enters the ancient ruined city of Isca, she fights to protect the vulnerable from the iron grip of the Pantheon, while learning to fight for the man she loves.
But with the shadow of the Black Aquila looming ever closer, will she put the freedom of others above her own, or will she follow her heart?
This is Michelle Kenney’s thrilling second instalment in the Book of Fire Trilogy.
I award this novel 3.5 stars
Author Michelle Kenney is a fantastic writer who writes beautiful prose and compelling characters. The world building is rich and luscious. Mixing the natural world of Arafel with a post-apocalyptic Exeter where its scientists tinkers with genetic moulding. Here we encounter a tapestry of Roman mythology and a diverse selection of mythical beings.
What I loved.
Talia is a feisty, feral girl struggling with the after-effects from book 1, Book of Fire, when she and her companions are thrust back into the clutches of Pantheon. I loved her brother Eli and their close bond. Eli’s disadvantages made him more endearing. I particularly adored the love triangle, between Talia, her best friend Max and Pantheon’s smouldering General August. Where does Talia’s heart lie and is August the traitor he’s portrayed to be? The inner turmoil and tension was a great hook. It’s a fantastic concept: Genetically modifying Roman DNA to create a new breed of humans and a complex rich selection of mythical creatures.
What I didn’t like.
The science technology during the dialogue was occasionally jarring, pulling me out the story. During the middle scenes the pace dropped, there was a lot of tunnel traversing and not a lot of character reflection or growth. I lost connection with the story and my desire to care for the quest. However, this picked back up with the reintroduction of the love triangles tension. The final chapters reached pivotal action that had me on the edge of my seat, only to disappoint with the cliffhanger ending. (I’m not a fan of those, but you can’t please everyone.)
If you’re a fan of YA dystopian fantasy then this novel is for you, It’s a well-written read that is similar to The Hunger Games and The Mazerunner.
About the author.
Michelle is a firm believer in magic, and that ancient doorways to other worlds can still be found if we look hard enough. She is also a hopeless scribbleaholic and, when left to her own devices, likes nothing better than to dream up new fantasy worlds in the back of a dog-eared notebook. Doctors say they’re unlikely to find a cure any time soon.
The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.
That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.
Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.
But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart . . .
I award this novel 4/5
If you love fantastic fantasy worldbuilding with a slight dystopian feel, mild romance and a strong heroine, then this novel is for you.
The worldbuilding in this novel was immersive, elaborately designed and vivid. The separation between the powerful Silver bloods and the poverty stricken lands of the ordinary Red’s created a world that made me long to see the powerful tumble.
Mare as the main character is likable; her flaws are relatable and even lovable. She feels her mother looks down upon her compared to her angelic sister. Yet Mare is only trying to do what she can for her family and best friend. The beginning of the book is enchanting and Mares dedication to her loved ones hooked me from the start.
Once Mare enters the world of the Silver’s things change, although the plot still pulls us forward with awful antagonists and superb action scenes, the complexity of the two princes and their roles to play alongside Mare. Unfortunately everything came across as obvious. Especially, without giving away spoilers, the main plot twist – I saw it from miles away, hence the four stars.
That being said, the novel is a worthy contender on my bookcase and I’m eager to delve into book Two. Even if the reviews claim the series goes downhill from here, shame, but I’m still invested in Mare and her cause.
Have you read the Red Queen series? If so, what are your opinions on the series.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, Much Love Xxx
I’m so grateful to all my followers and readers. I’m truly humbled by this fantastic community. You’re all supportive, encouraging and willing to connect. And that’s a big deal for me. I adore being an author, spending hours at a time immersed in my imagination, but it’s vital for my sanity to know that you guys are just a few clicks away.
Here are my top 3 blogging tips that have helped on my journey so far…
Consistency. Be realistic with how often you can post. It’s all well and good having the intention of posting 3 times a week, but if life gets in the way blogging will be the first thing to slip. So be honest about how much time you can dedicate. I knew that after family and work commitments my writing came next. That’s why I choose to post once a week and its been maintainable. It’s also been rewarding, beyond my wildest dreams. I’ve made some great friends like Ari Meghlen. Her blog is full of writing, blogging and platform building tips. Check her out.
2. Connect. This is a two-way network. So reach out to fellow bloggers. Read their posts and leave a comment, its more personal than simply liking a post. Although I love it when anyone clicks on the little star.
This week I’ve found two new beta readers K.M. Allen and Uninspired writers. Ladies, welcome to my realm. Take a look at their fantasic blogs full of writing tips.
3. Schedule posts. This tip is for me too. I really need to take my own advice. Organise post in advance. That way when something unexpected crops up, you’re covered. It’s easy to do: Open post settings. Under Status, click on the arrow next to Publish Immediately and a calendar opens up. Then you can set a date and time. When you’re happy with your choice hit the blue Schedule button and you’re all set.
Alternatively, why not re-blog one of your fellow bloggers posts. It’s a great way to stay consistent with your blog and helps to build connections with your bloggers.
Do you have any great tips to share? Let me know in the comments, you know I love to hear from you. Till next time, Much Love. Xx
A forbidden romance. A deadly plague. Earth’s fate hinges on one girl . . .
CINDER, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen – and a dangerous temptation.
Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth’s future.
This is not the fairytale you remember. But it’s one you won’t forget.
I love the idea of a fairy-tale retelling and the stories original take on the story was intreiging. I thought it was fantastic that Cinder and one of the sisters had a geniune bond. this added depth the complexety of the families situations.
I award this novel 3.5/5 stars
From the first chapter we’re introduced to the concept of the deadly virus, the prince’s determination to find a solution, Cinder’s difficulties as a cyborg and the prejudices she faces. I was instantly hooked.
I loved the clever twist on the shoe that only fits her and how that played a part in the final scenes.
This is going to sound ridiculous, but I was shocked to discover the existence of a lunar race and how they impacted the story. Yes, the set is called The Lunar Chronicles so I should have anticipated it. It seemed to come out of nowhere, but played a huge role in the story. Perhaps I missed a vital bit of foreshadowing in the first chapter, there was already a lot going on.
The city of New Beijing was incredibly detailed; it was full, vibrant, noisy, chaotic, and hot. It would be a nightmare destination for someone like me. Give me an empty beach in the middle of winter and I’m happy.That being said, the palace with its cherry blossom trees and lanterns was beautifully detailed.
Cinder’s and Kai’s blooming relationship was believable and engaging. I was eager to read their story and how they’d eventually get together.
Queen Lavana was a flat character, hell bent on world domination. She’s already overthrown her own predecessor and now wants planet earth. But why? Being evil and desiring power was all I got from her.
I’d already read and reviewed Heartless by Marissa Meyer. I had great expectations for this novel. Unfortunately, the story’s ending was a huge let down. Romance novels have a certain expectation, but Cinder and the prince did not get together. I understand it’s a hook for the rest of the series, but not fulfilling a stories plot is one of my pet peeves. Romantic involvement or romantic sacrifice is a must. It annoyed me so much that I’m considering boycotting the rest of the series. Hence the low rating.
As always, thanks for reading.
Have you read the rest of the series? Is it worthwhile continuing?
I love your comments, so please tell me what you thought of the book.
Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.
One terrible morning, Jude and her sisters see their parents murdered in front of them. The terrifying assassin abducts all three girls to the world of Faerie, where Jude is installed in the royal court but mocked and tormented by the Faerie royalty for being mortal.
As Jude grows older, she realises that she will need to take part in the dangerous deceptions of the fey to ever truly belong.
But the stairway to power is fraught with shadows and betrayal. And looming over all is the infuriating, arrogant and charismatic Prince Cardan . . .
I award this Novel 5/5 Stars.
Oh my, where to start. This novel has appeared everywhere. Scattered across the blogging community and plastered over Instagram. Mine included, so I delved in. In part because of the hype, but also because The Cruel Prince is my favourite genre YA fantasy/romance.
Prince Cardan and his fae friends are spiteful and vindictive at the best of times, but to the mortals residing in their realms they are merciless. Twin Jude has played the long subservient game. Until she realises they will never stop. Refusing to bow to them any longer, she promises to humiliate Cardan by never backing down.
From the first page, I was gripped. Each chapter engaged my attention and enticed me further into the well developed world of the fae. Elfhame is rich, full of depth and beautiful. A contradiction to the fae themselves.
I loved the dynamics of Jude’s fae family. All of whom, had their own secrets and agendas. . I loved Jude’s defiant attitude, her burning anger that pushes her to become great in a ruthless world.
Locke and Jude’s romance seemed too good to be true, and even though Cardan was the villain I loved to hate, I longed for the romance to be between him and Jude. Their developing relationship was pure dynamite. Perilous, dark and twisted. And not what I anticipated, the whole novel was a glorious surprise. And the story turned out all the more delicious for it.
As always, thanks for reading. Have you finished The Cruel Prince? If so, what did you think? Or do you have any sugesstions of similar novels? Share them with me!!!
I’m a huge fan of positivity posts. Who doesn’t need a daily dose of inspiration? Pushing us to work towards our goals and chase our dreams. But sometimes it’s good to take a breath and check in with reality. To realise that our struggles don’t define us, but they do make us human.
Being a writer or any artist is tough. Don’t get me wrong, there are many perks. Take today for instance; I’m sitting in bed with my dog, listening to music, whilst drinking tea and blogging. But it’s not all glamorous: In fact, I’m not sure any of it is???
Today I thought I’d share the harsh reality of what being a writer is like for me. To let you know; you’re not alone in your fight. And that acknowledging our struggles doesn’t make us weak, it makes us honest. Maybe even a little enlightened.
First of all: Shoat out to all working-student writers. Hurrah to us, juggling a full time job/course with other commitments, housework, family and all the pressures life brings is usually enough for mere mortals. We’ve chosen to spend a dedicated amount of time and resources to building platforms, managing social media and actually writing a novel… or two. Congratulations, did you know roughly 80% of people dream of writing a novel but only a small percentage achieve this.
Next it’s a huge shoat out to writer parents. Whoop! Whether your children are young and need constant attention. Tantrums, potty training, endless kid parties and squabbling siblings. Where we need eyes in the back of our heads. Or older darlings: full of hormone melt downs, teenage dramas, social media mine-fields, confrontations over boundaries, boyfriend/girlfriend worries and … still squabbling siblings. And that’s all dealt with in a morning.
When do we get to write? How do we fit it in? But as we writers know… where there’s a will, and often a desperate need for sanity, there’s a way.
Social life advocates: Bravo! I’m beginning to wonder if this is a rare breed of writer, because if you’re juggling either of the above, or like me – both, and you still have a successful social life: I’m wondering, do you only need two hours of sleep???
I’d love to go out for dinner with friends, meet the girls for coffee, fit in my yoga class, maybe take up tai chi too and attend creative writing class. But I wrestle to fit in all the other non-social stuff. Write. Walk my beagle. Read and read more. Blog. Fill cupboards with food, cook bloody food, clean dishes… You know the drill. You’re in it too. It’s an endless cycle of mundaneness, just to stay at base level. Tedious, repetitive and frustrating, doesn’t even begin to cover it.
To avoid these things is to ‘Attempt’ to change absolute reality, which will inevitably do more harm than good, internally speaking. (Internally = your mind and soul) Realise this is how life is and no longer will it disturb you, you can feel free. ‘Life is suffering’ – Budda
And there we have it. Life. Reality. Honest and raw. Be proud of who you are and the choices you make, because you’re unique and awesome. Take a moment to reflect on you’re journey and feel free to add a comment, sharing a little of it with me.
Meet Quentin Coldwater, king of the bizarre and wonderful land of Fillory. But he is getting restless, even in heaven a man needs a little adventure. So when a steward is murdered on a morning’s hunt Quentin gets exactly that. But this quest is like no other. What starts as a glorified cruise to faraway lands soon becomes the stuff of nightmares…
I award this novel four out of five stars
Today I’m reviewing the second novel of the Magician series. A fantastic series that has been made into a TV show for the SyFy channel. It’s one of my much-loved shows, if you haven’t seen it yet, and you’re a fan of fantasy, I highly recommend it.
Feel free to check out my review of first novel The Magicians. Lev Grossman’s writing is awe inspiring. He’s easily one of my top ten favourite authors. His descriptive way of defining the ordain and extraordinary is effortless and imaginative.
I loved the journey into Julia’s life, and her harrowing route to becoming a Magician. I was fully engrossed in every chapter from her point of view. Her crippling depression was well written and I felt accurate. I could fully identify with her darkness.
I missed the terrific characters from the first novel; Alice, Janice and Eliot were hardly mentioned. This was a shame. They were well developed, complex characters, bringing a lighter touch of comedy and love for Quinten. I didn’t fully connect with some of the others. We experienced Poppy, Josh and Penny through the Quinten’s lens. They weren’t always favourites of his, it made for comical encounters or lacklustre ones.
I adore Quinten’s mind, his restlessness. I loved how the seemingly inconsequential threads lined up to complete Quinten’s quest. And although I routed for a happy conclusion, Que’s acceptance of his journey and the consequences made for a surprising and satisfactory ending. Leaving a beautiful hook for the next novel, whilst tying off all the loose threads.
There were parts of the novel which dragged, hence four stars instead of five. In places, Grossman’s elaborate writing slowed the plot and pace. I struggled to maintain reading, it took weeks to finish. But once the momentum of the Magician King’s quest finally took off, I was once more engrossed until the bittersweet end.
Thank you for reading. Have you read The Magician series? If so, what did you think? Or drop me a message about what you’re currently reading. Until next time, take care my friends. 🙂
Welcome to Caraval, where nothing is quite what it seems . . .
Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.
Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.
When the sisters’ long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show’s mastermind organiser, Legend.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.
I rate this novel 4.5/5 stars
I connected with Scarlett in most ways; her similar traits were created by a complex and all too familiar family history. She’s taken responsibility of her younger sister Tella, since the disappearance of their mother, desperate to keep them safe from their father wrath. While being bound by crippling fear that he wields over them, yet she longs for a romantic solution to her situation. Meanwhile Tella, is wild and lives life to the full, regardless of the consequences. The two sisters make great polar-opposites.
The author Stephanie uses all five senses to pull the reader into the story. I particularly loved the use of colour to reveal Scarlett’s emotions. My imagination danced with delight while reading Caraval.
Scarlett and Julien’s story was utterly enthralling. They swept me up in their tale of anguish, hope, passion and desperation. An enchanting combination of evocative emotions.
My favourite character was Julian, the mysterious, head strong boy that oozes charm, but has the steel-edge of danger surrounding him. Swoon. Although the noel was an easy read, the imaginings behind the costumes, settings and puzzles were elaborate and fantastical. I know this book will sit as an all-time favourite on my bookshelf.
It was Tella that let the story down. Perhaps, because her recklessness reminds me of my own sister. A trait I’ve admired, but been perplexed by all my life. Saying that, I’ve already pre-booked Ledgendary, the second book in the Caraval series. I’m guessing the next book will be from Tella’s point of view. To understand her actions and choices will be enlightening.
I recommend this novel to YA fantasy romance readers. If you love carnivals, magic, mystery and love stories that make your blood sing and heart flutter – then this book is for you.
Thanks for stopping by. Have you read Caraval? If so, what did you think?