What was the last book that wrapped you in a hug and made you never want to leave?
Thursday, September 16, 2021
Thursday, September 9, 2021
Thursday, August 19, 2021
Though her father supports Mindy's desire to meet her family of origin, he struggles privately with an unsettling fear that he'll lose the daughter he's poured his heart into. Mindy's mother undergoes the emotional roller coaster inherent in the adoption of a child from a war-torn country, discovering the joy hidden amid the difficulties. And Mindy's sister helps her sort through relics that whisper of the effect the trauma of war has had on their family--but also speak of the beauty of overcoming.
Told through three strong voices in three compelling timelines, The Nature of Small Birds is a hopeful story that explores the meaning of family far beyond genetic code.
Thursday, August 5, 2021
Series: Ignite, book 1
Do you ever read certain books where you fully expect them to live up to the hype, but try not to keep your hopes up just in case it's not as good as you hoped, but it turns out to be everything you expected?
Yeah. Me too.
I've been 'friends' with Jenna on Instagram pretty much from the beginning, and being able to watch her journey from aspiring author to published author has been soooo gratifying. The way she talked about this story of hers, I could see how much it meant to her, and after reading Ignite, it's clear how hard she worked on this book.
Mmkay. Now that I've bragged a bit on Jenna as a debut author, let's dive into the story, shall we?
The beginning was a bit slow, to be honest, bordering on annoying with all the times it mentioned people scraping their paper cup to get the last bit of ice cream. But then it definitely picked up the pace when—gasp—Scarlett (the main character, in case you decided to skip the blurb) is attacked by a super.
A super. Not a superhero. Because people with superpowers are criminals.
At least...so says the government.
I adored Scarlett. Her struggles, her determination to do the right thing regardless of what it may mean for her...yes. And what I adored all the more was that it wasn't always clear what was right and what was wrong. Scarlett was so determined to make the right choice, the honest choice...but what happens when you can't see what is right and what is wrong? Do you stick with what you know, or do you explore the unknown? I really appreciated how Scarlett struggled to answer that question, and how she dealt with what followed, and how she chose to take responsibility for choices gone wrong.
Ares, Nadia, and Seth. *deep breath* So different. So unique. To be honest, they was almost allegorically symbolic of the different stages of spiritual growth, and I loved that so much.
But my favorite character? Rez. Always Rez. Having to decide whether or not it's worth doing wrong in order to protect the greater good and, ultimately, save lives. It was so obvious that he was under a lot of stress and pressure, but he still remained gentle and kind. I definitely need more of him in book 2.
The plot, as a whole, was different than I'm used to, but sooo good. My second superhero book, and so far we're 2 for 2! I can't wait to read Ignite's sequel!
*I received an e-copy of this book from the author for promotional purposes. All thoughts are my own.
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Peter Pan has crash-landed back on Neverland. But this is not the island he remembers.
Desperate to rescue Claire and the fractured Lost Boys, Peter must unravel what truly tore his dreamland apart. But with each step, he is haunted by more of his own broken memories. Not even Pan himself is what he seems.
Claire Kenton is chained to a pirate ship, watching the wreckage of Neverland rocked by tempests. When she finally finds her brother, Connor is every bit as shattered as the island. Claire may have pixie dust flowing in her veins—but the light of Neverland is flickering dangerously close to going out forever.
To rescue Neverland from the inescapable shadow, the boy who never grew up and the girl who grew up too fast will have to sacrifice the only thing they have left: each other.
What a fantastic conclusion to the Heirs of Neverland duology! I was so curious to see how Swanson would pull it off, and I was definitely not disappointed.
I'll start off by saying that in my review of Dust, while I said that I loved Peter's character...I also failed to convey just how annoying he was. He refused to grow up. Treated it like a disease to be avoided at all costs. I said that his character growth was amazing, and I still stand by that. But I also think that his real growth came in the sequel.
And let me tell you...I loved it.
I adored seeing him struggle with responsibility and the consequences of wrong actions. (Like Shadow. Shadow was the most irritating character on the planet and I'm glad he got what he had coming to him. But I digress.)
So...that brings us to Connor. The character we've long waited to meet. Claire's loyalty to him was understandable, even admirable, yet...even while I wanted to throttle her, I completely understood her feelings and reasoning, and that should tell you just how well-written the story is. *trying to avoid spoilers* Connor was a hard character to love; more like one we all love to hate. But I loved him because Claire loved him.
The reason I docked it a star is because it was...confusing. So many plot twists that my mind was spinning and could hardly keep up with them (Hook and that other secret character? Kinda overplayed in my humble opinion). Plus, since Shadow takes place in Neverland (whereas Dust took place in London), I knew to expect some worldbuilding. It was just...I don't know. I don't wanna say confusing because that's honestly expected, especially for someone like me who doesn't make it a habit of reading fantasy. But there were certain parts that still left me scratching my head and wondering what in the world was going on.
I also didn't like the epilogue. Y'all can fight me on this, but there are very, very few books that wouldn't be just as good—or even better—without the epilogue. And, in my opinion, this was one such book. I get so invested in the characters throughout the entire book, I don't want to skip ahead several years to see how everything's changed, thank you. Even if it's a good change.
The plot...it was hard for me to keep up with all the pieces, but bit by bit, it all came together. And it was inspiring. And painful. And suspenseful. And...*sigh* okay. Y'all. That bit with Lily's people? Dude. Yesssss. The battle. The sirens. Even for a fantasy, it was all pretty epic.
Also, I love Tiger Lily. And the Guardian.
Also, Claire and Peter are pretty cute.
And I hope y'all enjoyed my late-night disjointed review. *halo*
*I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher for promotional purposes. All thoughts are my own.
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Have I forgotten about this series? No! It's time for the second installment (do I have a title for this series yet? No. No, I do not.), and today the topic is something y'all know is close to my heart. I'm pleased (see? still trying to avoid the 'I'm so excited' line) to hand the stage over to Victoria Penning! Victoria is a sweetheart with a whole lot of spunk that graciously agreed to write a guest post on a subject that is so sensitive for a lot of people.
Why? Because I struggled with my own depression and suicidal thoughts and I love to share about it with people now that I have overcome my own struggles.
A little more in-depth about me, I’m nineteen, I come from a large, Christian, homeschool family, and yes, I struggled with depression. That was something that not many people understood.
“You haven’t had a rough life. You have a great family. You’ve lived a sheltered life. What do you have to be depressed about?”
Well, I won’t go into all the details because that’s not really what this post is for, but this is a very common thing for Christian homeschoolers who struggle with depression.
1) My BIGGEST piece of advice for writing a character who deals with depression is: life doesn’t suddenly get better after the climax. Life isn’t all sunshine and roses for that character after they see the light or are saved. They aren’t suddenly healed and everything is great.
Nuh uh. It comes and goes in waves. And one thing that comes along in the package of depression is the voice inside the head. That little voice that gives sugared up and painted over lies, making them seem so real that we end believing them. That never just “goes away”. It takes so. Much. TIME.
So, tip #1: don’t make your character suddenly “get better”.
2) When you have depression, but are around people who don’t understand why, you learn how to fake a smile and laugh suuuper well. A best friend might be able to pick up something if the mask slips a little bit, but most of the time if that person who is struggling doesn’t want other people to know, no one will know. I’m not kidding. For example:
Your character is in a group setting and is feeling kind of down, maybe playing with the straw in their drink. Someone says something to them and a smile quickly lights their face, knowing they have to look happy as they talk with them.
Try something different. Anyone could look over and see this friend looking kind of down and ask if they’re okay. While that really is great, and I wish it was that easy, if your character really doesn’t want people to know, something like this might happen:
Carly laughed at her friend's story, wiping tears from her eyes and biting her lips together in an attempt to trap the giggles as a waiter approached the table. She could feel her face turning red with the suppressed laughter.
Sounds totally normal when you’re with a best friend, right? But then continue it.
Carly closed the door of her bathroom, the silence finally surrounding her and digging its fingernails into her brain. The smile slipped from her face and exhaustion flooded her soul. Her throat clogged, the suppressed tears begging to be released. The familiar weight settled on her shoulders and all of the voices crept back into her mind.
Carly could be totally fine with friends, but when she gets home and is alone, the joy of being with people fades and the crushing weight returns with way too much joy.
So, tip #2: Depression can be easily hidden.
So, tip #3: the inner thought process of your character is super important to know, and they need to have situations in their past or even present that fuel their wrong decision of how they don’t deserve life.
All of this has been pretty depressing sounding. (Hm, I wonder why, Vic). Now, here’s my last piece of advice, although this is more a personal story.
I struggled with all of this. Every single thing that you have read here, I have drawn from my own personal experiences. Yes, I went through all of this. I contemplated suicide so many times, and almost went through with it one time.
But God sent along this incredible friend that I met awkwardly. I never imagined that we would become best friends, or that this person would so effectively make my walls crumble. I told this friend everything. Still do, and this friend is the reason why I am still alive. This one person saw through my masks and made me feel like I honestly come and talk to them.
If you want to save your character, put them through a heck of a rough life, and then give them that one person who saw something that no one else did. Because that’s often how life works. There’s just one person who might notice something that no one else will. And that can save your character’s life.
I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my life, I hope that this helps you write your character with depression, and if you are struggling and don’t have that one person yet, come find me. I will be that one person for you. Or even if you’re struggling with writing your character, send me questions! I am not shy or sensitive about this topic at all and love to answer questions!
Lastly, thank you to Kaitlyn for giving me this opportunity to share what I’m passionate about. She’s an incredible human being!
Saturday, July 17, 2021
Claire Kenton believes the world is too dark for magic to be real—since her twin brother was stolen away as a child. Now Claire's desperate search points to London... and a boy who shouldn't exist.
Peter Pan is having a beastly time getting back to Neverland. Grounded in London and hunted by his own Lost Boys, Peter searches for the last hope of restoring his crumbling island: a lass with magic in her veins.
The girl who fears her own destiny is on a collision course with the boy who never wanted to grow up. The truth behind this fairy tale is about to unravel everything Claire thought she knew about Peter Pan—and herself.
What book have you read recently to branch into a different genre than usual?