Book Petals Love Writing Novel Author Lorraine Ambers

Review: Six of Crows

Blurb

Six of Crows by Leigh BardugoCriminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams – but he can’t pull it off alone.

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist.

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction – if they don’t kill each other first.


I award this novel 5/5 stars

My review

This story combined the cunning antics of Peaky Blinders with the extraordinary world building of Game of Thrones.

I was blown away by each of the characters, enthralled by their lives and how they all came to be entangled in such an elaborate heist. I hadn’t read the prior Grisha trilogy, and that didn’t affect the story. But I regret it, simply because the story was outstanding and it is obviously a crime not to dive into Leigh Bardugo’s world.

The world building was rich, colourful and diverse. Effortlessly spanning continents, with its culture hinted at through the characters. And let’s not forget the unique magic system, whereby individuals are capable of manipulating matter.

This novel seamlessly covers diversity; it’s about the characters, not their race or preferences. And each character was memorable and loved. With their own complex histories, goals and aspirations. Plus I got the anticipation of two, possibly three blossoming romances.

I had no idea how they were going to navigate any of the dilemmas and I certainly couldn’t predict the outcome of the story. Leigh Bardugo, you legend. I think I’ve found my next big author crush.

Without any spoilers: the ending blew my mind. I usually hate cliff-hangers, but all the plots were sown together. I felt satisfied by the direction of the character’s lives and ready to embrace the next adventure. So instead of throwing the book across the room, I immediately ordered The Crooked Kingdom.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

Tell me, are you a fan of Leigh Bardugo? And what did you think of Six of Crows?Thanks for reading folks, see you soon. 🙂

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

 

Review The Magician King NA Fantasy Novel

Review: The Magician King by Lev Grossman

Blurb

Review The Magician King NA Fantasy NovelMeet 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.

 

The Magicians by Lev Grossman Review Fantasy Author

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. 🙂

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

 

Creating a Logline for a Novel, The Perfect Pitch

Logline and the Perfect Pitch

Previously we’ve covered how to write a Synopsis and How to Hook an Agent. Why not take a look? In future post’s we’ll uncover Crafting a Novel Title and Writing Book Blurbs. This week we’re taking a closer look at Loglines.

As a writer I’m good with written words, but not so much when it comes to talking about my project. And I’m not alone, many writers flounder when asked the dreaded question; ‘What are you working on?’ or ‘What’s your book about?’

How to craft a Novel Logline and the Perfect Pitch

I cringe when thinking about my many long-winded blunders. They had little to do with my work and more about me clutching at something to say. I remember the life-light drifting from their eyes as I waffled on, knowing that we were both thinking – that sounds bloody awful.

This is where a Logline comes in. Or elevator Pitch, the name comes from the notion that the pitch should be succinct enough to be delivered to another party while riding an escalator. In essence, it is the quick presentation, outlining the idea for your novel. Usually one sentence, and spoken in around 30 seconds.

That’s quite a feat, to deconstruct a whole novel and narrow it down to its barebones. And there’s more. The Logline has a duty to perform. To engage our interest, evoke emotion by introducing the stakes. To introduce our written world, and pluck at the potential reader’s emotions.

Within the pitch, the following elements must be incorporated.

  • Protagonist – this is where you need to get creative. Instead of character names, give descriptions like: vengeful fairy, disabled cop or workaholic mum.
  • The protagonist goal – what does your main character want to achieve?
  • Conflict – the antagonistic force. What is your character fighting against?

Creating a Logline for a Novel, The Perfect Pitch

A great idea is to read Logline for movies on IMDB. Here are two of my most recent favourite movies.

Black Panther: T’Challa, the King of Wakanda, rises to the throne in the isolated, technologically advanced African nation, but his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider who was a childhood victim of T’Challa’s father’s mistake.

Thor Ragnarok: Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok, the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization, at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela.

Practice your amazingly crafted logline in front of a mirror, then on your pets, kids, partner, best friend and anyone who will listen. Gauge their responses, if you get the glazed look perhaps it’s time for a tweak. Otherwise, congratulations you’ve conquered the dreaded Logline!

Here’s mine; do you think I’ve added the three elements? Is it intriguing or should I head back to the drawing board? I’d love your feedback.

Knights of Shadow and Lies: A telepathic Fae princess and clandestine guard race against the fall of the blood-moon, to save a goddess from a manipulative Magician before he attains control over the Enchanted Realms.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer
© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
Review of Caraval by Stephanie Garber. Novel. YA. fantasy. Romance.

Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Blurb

Review of Caraval by Stephanie Garber. Novel. YA. fantasy. Romance.

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

My review

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.

It reminded me of, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – A truly magical novel. You can check my review. Full of magic, mystery and carnival delights.

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?

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

 

How to Write a Synopsis Novel Story

How to Write a Synopsis

The thought of writing a synopsis is enough to make dread swirl in our guts. After months of plotting, writing and editing – we’re finally faced with five things that stops us in our tracks.

  • Novel title
  • Pitch/Logline
  • Blurb
  • Synopsis

In this week’s blog, I’ll be breaking down the elements needed for synopsis writing. Hopefully – removing your fear of how to craft one. It’s not hard… honest. It’s simply a different process.

One thing I discovered while writing my first synopsis, is that literary agents and publishers wants the complete story. So don’t leave them hanging with your story. Reveal the climax and ending.

The one page synopsis is intended to communicate to agents and publishers that you have a complete plot and character arc. They’ll be able to identify if the story works as a whole.

EE card Synopsis Writing Novel Craft Story

Tell the story. Keep it simple. I like to skim through my novel jotting down notes of plot points: Action & Emotion. From the notes, I begin to shape my synopsis. The notes highlight the important story elements. Always write your synopsis in 3rd person, even if the novel is 1st person and write in present tense.

Think of this as more of a technical paper, it’s a factual explanation of the events that drive your story. Don’t evoke your writing style and voice.

Set the stage by providing the setting and introduce your main characters (Protagonist and antagonist). Always introduce each characters NAME in full capitals, the first time they’re mentioned. Then include where the story starts and identify the inciting moment. But keep it simple. Use a few well-chosen words to evoke meaning.

  • Person
  • Time/Place
  • Action
  • Consequence

From there we begin to flesh out the details by revealing what the protagonist and antagonist are planning to do. Showing how, why and when are they going to do this. Don’t include side quests, additional characters or plot twists – unless they’re vital in explaining the story arc. There will be practically no backstory or description, it will clutter the synopsis.

Finally, it’s time to reveal how the story ends and how it was achieved. Remember to link it back to the inciting moment.

Author Lorraine Ambers YA fantasy romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

 

water sunset beach fantasy writer Lorraine Ambers

Look how far you’ve come

 

love pen book tea - Author Lorraine Ambers fantasy writer

Four months ago I finished my first novel and submitted my book baby to a select few literary agencies. It’s equally exciting and nerve wrecking. Patience is proving not to be my strong suit, especially when I’m awaiting a reply from an agent who has blogged that it will take her a lot longer if she’s torn on a MS.

While part of me pats my shoulder for at least hooking an agent, the other half is wondering if my submission ever made it to her slush pile. As I’m not planning on embarrassing myself by asking for confirmation, I’ll have to hang tight.

During these months I’ve busied my obsessional brain by starting book two of the Shadow Knight Series. I’ve almost finished! I know how I’m going to tie up the two remaining subplots to conclude this novel, but my writings floundering. I’m dragging out scenes and adding pointless interactions with characters. I know why, fear, I never planned on finishing the novel so fast.

Book Petals Love Writing Novel Author Lorraine Ambers

I heard a great mantra today, ‘Look how far you’ve come and not how far you have to go.’ It put my author career into perspective. Three years ago I joined a creative writing class to discover my sense of self. Six months later I discovered my niche and started a rough draft of my first novel.

During the past two years I’ve designed my brand, built my platform and as of a year ago launched my blog. Thank you to my 400 followers; you’ve been a constant source of encouragement and kindness.

Most of us writers have family and work commitments that need to be juggled. Looking at the bigger picture, I’m reminded of how far I’ve come in a short amount of time.

So take a look at your own journey and congratulate yourself on your hard work and dedication. You deserve it.

Drop me a message; tell me about your progress. We’re all on this journey together and I love hearing from you.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers & http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016
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Review of Something Blue by Kristy Nicolle

I received this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Something Blue a Dystopian Romance by Kristy Nicolle

Book blurb

Novel, Something Blue, Dystopian Romance by Kristy NicolleIn the city of Monopolis where happily ever after is just a scientific formula away, Valentine Morland has been waiting nine years for her day to come. Now it’s here, and she will marry the man of her dreams, a stranger to her, before being swept off to life of carefree luxury and bliss, courtesy of the Jigsaw Project. However, all is not as Valentine imagined as her new husband is quickly discovered as not the man of her dreams, but one who claims he isn’t capable of love at all. Harbouring an intense paranoia for the system, which upholds the very idealist fantasy that Valentine holds so dear, Clark threatens to throw her into a world, not of bliss, but of scary consequence where her every emotion is under scrutiny. Can it be that the scientific formula with a 99% success rate got it all wrong, or is everything in the world of Bliss Inc. more sinister than it seems?

I award Something Blue 5 stars

My review:Something Blue has been written in Kristy Nicolle’s unique voice which strengthens with each novel. The story unfolds with an introduction to the jigsaw scheme. It cleverly immerses the reader into the dystopian setting. Valentine drew me in with her realistic expectations, hopes and fears for her future under the Bliss Inc. umbrella.


The separated districts brought to mind some of my favourite dystopian novels and movies. The technological elements of the story were well formatted. They were described so precisely that I had no question of how the science worked. I know… I’m not a scientist. But I am an author, plot holes are my speciality. There were none. The concept of the story was intriguing and if I’m honest a scary possibility for the survival of our race. Creepy!

Something Blue Teaser by Kristy NicolleWhat I loved: The novel came alive the moment Valentine sets her eyes upon Clark. It was pure emotional dynamite from there on in. Clark is a mysterious, bad boy with an alluring edge that pushes and pulls the reader in. The reality of Clark’s paranoia was unexpected and brilliantly designed. I learnt about the characters nuances as they did each other’s. Valentine is desperate for the sweet forever love story she’s been promised. Though she’s down to earth, her out spoken nature provoked some tantalising responses from Clark. The rise and fall of Valentines emotions prove that there is no such thing as a true love match. Love is far more complex than that.
I loved the different interpretations of the word Bliss throughout the novel. I fell in love with this story, with Clark and Valentine, with Author Kristy Nicolle. You little gem!

What I disliked: That the book neatly tied up all the plots meaning Something Blue is a standalone novel with no sequel. 😦

I recommend this book to lovers of dystopian romance who adore complex and gripping relationships. Smouldering cold shoulder guys who draw you in. And a brave female lead who takes on the challenges presented to her in an unforgettable way. 

Kristy Nicolle

You can find out more about todays Author by reading her interview and my review of The The Kiss that Saved me from the Tidal kiss trilogy.

Thank you for reading my review, have you read this novel or perhaps a similar one? Let me know, I love reading your comments and discovering new novels in the YA fantasy romance genre. Why not recommend one for me to read and review.

© Author Lorraine Ambers & http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.

Review ~ They who from the heavens came by Vrinda Pendred.

I received this novel in exchange for my honest review.

They who from the heavens came (The Wisdom 1)

Book blurb

vrinda Pendred they who from the heavens cameSome say the Wisdom is knowledge of the Creator. Others claim it’s a myth. All anyone really knows is it was lost long ago – and now the Sirians have returned to Earth to retrieve it.

Meanwhile, 17-year-old Itzel Loveguard has written another story – and this time, it may have killed her father. Now, she finds herself entangled with an unexpected cast of characters – her estranged half-brother Oz; his unfailingly charming friend Seth, who can draw things into existence; and the handsome grey-eyed Aidan, who seems to have stepped right out of Itzy’s dreams in pursuit of a mysterious black pulse that speaks to him in the night.

With these new friends, Itzy is flung on an emotional journey, as they unravel the mystery of why her father took his life. But what will they do when they learn the explosive truth of who Itzy really is?

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I award The Seekers 4 stars

My review:

What I loved: Itzy is a lonely, traumatized teenage using her gift of writing to make sense of the world around her. Her character is fantastic, she’s introverted and caring and i identified with her on many levels.

Even though the book is part urban fantasy it also crosses into the Sci-Fi genre using mythology to questions their existence. It’s a unique way of world building. Itzy discovers her powers and learns to harness them.

I’m a huge fan of romance and the love triangle did not disappoint, even though I know its a tedious troupe to some, I loved it. Itzy forms fast bonds with her brother, his friend Seth and Aiden.

What I disliked: The ending! The twist was well written and foreshadowed. All subplots were tied up, all my answers were explained. Its simply not the ending I anticipated or hoped for. It’s a novel that leads into the follow on series with a great hook.

I also questioned the speed an intensity of Itzys and Aidens love. This was explained in the twist, reminding me why I hated the ending.

I recommend this book to lovers of fantasy, romance and low Sci-fi with an integrated use of mythology. Vrinda Pendred is a talented writer, keeping me locked into the story from beginning to end.

Vrinda Pendred

Thank you for reading my review, have you read this novel or perhaps a similar one? Let me know, I love reading your comments and discovering new novels in the YA fantasy romance genre. Why not recommend me one for me to read and review.

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.

Searching for an Agent

After two and a half years I’ve finally done it. Completed my novel, the endless edits and revisions are over.

Last week I sent off my MS to five carefully selected agents. I spent nights trawling through the Writers & Artists year book, and hours researching each firm to find the perfect match for my novel. Then, more days following them on social media or checking out their blogs. To find out about them and how I could connect. It’s tricky business. Agents hate it when authors approach them on a broad range biases, it proves they have not done their homework. I can not be accused of that.

I followed their guideline: submit first 3 chapters, double spaced and in font size 12, making sure to use an appropriate script. Each agent specifies slightly different terms, some want PDF or word document attachments other only want them in the email body.

That was fine, but what what about the ones that don’t specify?

When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.
– Cynthia Heimel
I guessed and made that leap!
Agents and publishers want to know:
  • who you are,
  • what your novel is about,
  • what experience you have,
  • who its targeted at, and so on and so forth.
I polished individual cover letters for each agent. All specially chosen from specific companies, and then rounded down, like a bizarre version of the Hunger Games. Where only one agent with in the agency can be victorious.
Inevitably I forgot something! I didn’t include the word count. I can’t go back. I can’t add it in another email or resend the whole lot again. They class that as harassment, perhaps I’m over exaggerating. The amount of conflicting information, surrounding this process is mind boggling.
I panicked! Why did I tell them my novels a crossover between genres? What was I thinking when I claimed my story is a romance fantasy, interlaced as a psychological thriller. I don’t even know what that genre is…
That was when I mentally slapped myself! I know these thing are true. I know my own story. I might fumble and go bright red when someone asks me what its about, but I still know it inside out.
The whole process is confusing, scary and shadowed in the artist Achilles heel – DOUBT.
Now I wait and refresh my emails daily. Now I plan book 2. Now I keep going.

Thank you for reading my post. Are you almost at the finish line? Or perhaps your starting out on a new adventure, Let me know about it. I love reading your comments and discovering I’m not alone in this process. 🙂

Author lorraine ambers logo© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.