Saturday, October 25, 2014

Writing Prompts

Writers Digest has some pretty interesting prompts to help with that nasty writer's block.  There are so many times when I have no idea what to write about, or even how to start a story.  I have been trying to improve my writing in various different ways and these prompts are very helpful and some of them are rather interesting.  Here are a few of my favorite ones:

You wake up feeling refreshed, a new day a new— wait your favorite pair of pants is missing. Darting up from bed you hear a noise outside. A woman is wearing them and looking straight at you. What do you do?

The wizard’s terror bolt lances overhead. You shout back to your party that you’re going in. Dagger held high and ice shard at the ready you tear towards the dastardly spell caster. How does your fight play out?

You’re in an epic pun off; whit is spewing out of your mouth and your opponent’s mouth with punishing purpose. What are some sweet puns you could use to really wipe the smile off your opponent’s face? Make sure not to frown on the worst of puns either—they’re all beautiful. Write this scene and battle of puns.

The last one makes me think of James Joyce's novel Finnegan's Wake because it was written in complete puns and makes completely no sense.  I have a feeling that is where my story would end up, I could come up with something interesting to myself, but would absolutely no sense what so ever. Sometimes I wonder how some of my favorite authors like Ted Dekker or Sherrilyn Kenyon have battled writer's block and made their stories into the masterpieces they are.  Did they struggle the way I do when they began writing?  How about you guys, how do you deal with writer's block?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Inheritance: Judith MIchael

Inheritance: Judith Michael
Source: Hardcover
Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars

Summary: When their parents pass away, Laura and Clay Fairchild are taken in by their step brother Ben, who trains them in the art of thievery.  Ben formulates this plan to set up the owners of a hotel chain in order to avenge his father.  Unfortunately Laura strikes up a friendship with Owen, the family patriarch.  Owen takes Laura under his wing and is rewarded with her undying devotion.  Laura finds everything she is searching for; including the love of a good man, Paul.  When contesting the Owen's will Felix Salinger (a family member of Owen's therefore owner of the Salinger hotels) tries to use Laura's dark past as a thief to thrust her out of anything Owen may have left for her.

In order to regain her reputation and legacy, Laura strives to make her own hotel chain that rivals the Salinger chain.  Ben does a little more to make his mark among the family, though his means are not as noble and honorable as Laura's may be.  A sudden twist of fate changes everything and threaten to ruin everything they have worked towards.  Is Laura going to lose everything she has ever loved and desired throughout her life?  Will she be able to regain the love of an extraordinary man?

Review:  I found this novel on my mom's reading shelf.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to read a romance novel my mom had, somehow that seemed a little creepy.  But I decided to read it anyway, and boy am I glad, it helped begin my love for romance novels.  It isn't the typical romance novel that centers around sex, it is one that centers around the actual relationship between two people.  I also love that Judith Michael is actually a husband/wife team.

There are times when the plot seems to be predictable, but it is a good kind of predictable.  The characters and setting are so vivid and precise that it seems as though you are there beside Laura as she goes through her trials, happiness and lose.  You will not want to put it down because it is so eloquently written.  We witness Laura's character literally change from a young woman willing to do anything to survive, to a strong woman willing to do anything to remain devoted to her legacy and honor.  She does everything in her power to overcome her dark past to rewrite her future.  This writing team does a amazing job at creating a main character the readers both love and hate.  There are times when you cheer and root for her, but then they are times when you just feel so disappointed in her actions and choices.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this novel some are expected some are not.  It will have you awake at night turning the pages not wanting to put it down.  It leaves you wanting more from all the characters not just Laura, Ben and Paul.  Granted it is a novel that was published several years ago, but it is also one of those novels that are timeless and will continue to entertain readers for years to come.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Styxx

"Styxx"  (Dark Hunters):  Sherrilyn Kenyon;  media source: paperback.  Rating 5 out of 5 stars.

We have all met Styxx throughout the other novels, but never got his story, nor completely understand him.  I don't know about other readers but I have always wondered what made him the man he was.  Who was Styxx really other than Acheron's twin brother?  We never seen him for who he truly was, until now.  There is so much that happens in this novel that it would take forever to give you a synopsis.

In order to protect her son, Acheron's mother had another goddess hide his unborn body into the womb of a queen.  A queen who happened to have already been pregnant which her own child.  When the two boys were born, there was a visible difference between the two.  One was marked as a god, Acheron.  The other was not marked.  When Styxx's father seen Ash, he accused his wife of infidelity and disowned Acheron as his son.  In doing so he also marked distrust and hatred towards Styxx.  Xerxes find ways to punish Acheron for whatever he felt is disrespectful or other things deserving of a punishment.  Unknown to him, Styxx felt everything that Acheron felt. Styxx spent his time agonizing over Acheron as kids, even more so after Acheron was sent away to live with their uncle.  An uncle who did unspeakable things to Acheron.  Styxx quickly learned of these things, when Estes decides to "break Styxx in" he learns exactly how bad things were for Acheron.  throughout his lie Styxx gets tortured by various gods in various ways, mainly Apollo who marks him as his own.  Then Apollo marries his sister and his life is made even more miserable.  Who would have thought that Styxx' life would be seen as miserable.

All the while Styxx falls in love with a beautiful woman he meets by the river, but he doesn't reveal who he truly is and we learn that both are keeping secrets.  Throughout the novel he meets up with
her secretly  slowly building a life together.  He goes to war where he is miraculously the only general to have success against the Atlantians.  Throughout the novels gods and men alike pin after Styxx and he can hear those thoughts.  Left over residual from being born alongside Acheron?  Flash forward a bit.  Someone kills Styxx's sister and Apollo is furious and both Ash and Styxx are killed (are they really?) Apolloymi (Ash's dear mother) goes crazy and kill or turns the gods and goddesses of her pantheon into statues.  Again a lot happens throughout the novel, too much to give a detailed synopisis of what happens, so I am leaving some things, but that gives you all the more reason to read the novel.


So Styxx dies, but not really cause he can only die if Ash dies and well, Ash can't die.  Flash forward a bit more and Styxx is greeted by Dionysus and another god of the Celtic pantheon.  Both want Styxx' help to kill Acheron which he gladly jumps at. Of course they are unable to follow through with their plan, but end up angering Acheron and we see just what that man in capable of.  As we go on Styxx is miserable with the loss of his beloved Beth and their unborn child, but makes a friend in one of Acheron's warriors: Urian.  Off and on Styxx is asked to help Acheron, which he does for various reasons.    Through deductive reasoning Simi; Acheron's Charonte demon realizes who Styxx's beloved is and tries to reunite them cause all hell to break loose.  Styxx is happy again, he finds out the true reason he can hear the thoughts of those around him, as well who Urian truly is.

There is a ton that happens as I said a few times throughout this, and it is a rather thick book, but it is an AMAZING book.  I loved the Acheron focused installment of the series, and I love this one just as much.  Kenyon quickly became one of my favorite authors and she never ceases to amaze me.  The novel is full of strong emotions radiating off the pages from Styxx.  Who knew he was such a passionate character?  We didn't really see that in the glimpses of him that we have seen thus far.  This story paired with Acheron shows there are always two sides to a story.  The twins hated each other for what they thought the other felt and thought, when what they perceived was not the truth.  Styxx' character endures so much throughout the novel  he becomes a completely different character by the end of the novel than he was in the beginning.  We watch as he becomes broken down, but picks himself back up again.  He is not the spiteful conniving character we tend to think he is, far from it. 

From the moment I picked up my first book from Kenyon I was hooked, I believe I have all her novels including those from the League series, though I am missing some of those.  I cannot get enough of her writing, she is simply amazing. She gives us characters that we continuously want more from.  After reading Styxx and Acheron, I kind of want a novel on Ryssa (the sister) as well as Urian, among so many others.  I cannot wait to get my hands on another one of her novels.  If you haven't read any of her novels yet, not just Styxx, do so.  You will not be disappointed.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Graveyward Shift

Graveyard Shift (Reapers Inc series; book 1) by Angela Raquet.  Source: Kindle edition.  Ratings: 4.5 out of 5 stars


Lana is a reaper, I wouldn't call her a lousy one, but she does as little as she can without causing troubles, sometimes.  She spends most of her time hanging out with Gabriel, yep the archangel himself, at a local bar called Purgatory.  But while at the annual ball, she learns of a shocking promotion and information that could change the very fabric of Limbo, even Inferno itself.  She now needs to scour the earth looking a perfect soul, one that would save the realm as they know it.  Without the soul, all could be lost, but Lana and her team are not the only ones searching for the soul.  There are others who want nothing more than to see her mission fail.  What is so special about Lana, that only she can be able to find this soul?

I highly enjoyed reading this book.  I downloaded it as a change of scenery so to speak as lately I have been reading a lot of the same genre.  I was interested in it from the beginning.  I enjoyed the take on the afterlife as being set up as a small realm of its own with its own residents interacting with each other and specific faiths having their own "island" so to speak.  No pantheon is left out in this one and I love it.  The main character is one we can all love for many reasons, one being that she bends the rules so that she may be able to help the souls she has harvested.  The development we see in this character is fantastic.  In the beginning Lana despises her job and does the bare minimum, she doesn't consider herself much of anything special.  But as the story progresses and she learns about her quest; the true story of Limbo,  and herself; she changes quite a bit and becomes a strong courageous character.

The Grim Reaper, I found to be an interesting character, I never imagined him as a corporate big wig. His personality wasn't what I would expect of the Grim Reaper, but then again I have never met the creature so how would I know what it's personality is like.  He seemed to be standoffish, reluctant to inform his employees of the dangers they are getting into with the mission he provides.  The book portrays him as only caring about the money and not where the souls go after they care collected, even seems reluctant to pay his employees their fair share of profits. Almost like he wants to stick to a minimum wage.  But I liked his character.  I liked that he was something different than what has been done in the past with a character of similar standing.  At first he seemed to not like Lana, but she grew on him as the time progresses and he begins to actually care about her well being (so we think, but then are proven otherwise). He seemed to almost have had a soul himself and that is not normally an aspect of Grim that one includes in Grim Reaper characters.

There are plenty of things throughout this novel that make it unique from other novels that I have read in the past and recently alike.  Each character has their own personalities, opinions and characteristics that make them their own even if we have seen them in other things such as the Grim Reaper and even Gabriel.  She makes them her own characters, I almost forgot Gabe was an archangel which was refreshing in its own right.  The way she describes things is its own.  She doesn't spend time focusing on describing everything, but when she does it is precise and to the point, and yet in such vivid detail that you can almost feel as if you are here beside Lana the whole time.  Her battle scenes with the pirates, I felt like I was on the ship with Lana fighting them off and the fear of getting demon acidic blood on me, the ship or anything else.  Made me want to be there and be a reaper or even at least meet her.

This was a fantastic read, I didn't want to put it down for a minute.  I cannot wait to be able to download all the other books and read the series to see what is next for Lana and her crew.  Pick it up today in kindle version or even in paperback.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

MoonGlow

Moonglow: Kristen Callihan; Darkest London series; release date 2012
                    paranormal romance: source: Paperback
Rating 4 out of 5 stars

Summary: With the death of her husband, Daisy Ellis can finally live the life she desires, one with freedom to do as she pleases.  Until suddenly a series of mysterious murders come knocking on her door causing her to narrowly miss being attacked by a creature thought to be lore: a werewolf.  This causes her to fall into the arms of someone even more mysterious for safety: Ian Ranulf.  Ian tries to live his life hiding from society, almost in a hermit like nature. He is the Marques of Northrup, but there are times when it seems as though he wishes he could be of a different heritage.

But the murders that are sweeping through London are threatening to expose his deepest secrets he longs to hide. Ian and Daisy work together to quickly find the source behind the dreadful murders: the identity of the werewolf.  As they do so and are in close proximity to one another, they being to fall in love.  Although both are hiding things from one another, could those secrets be more dangerous to each other than the terror that threatens the night?  Daisy's sister Miranda and her husband Archer (formerly a good friend of Ian) know the secrets Ian is desperately trying to hide. Could their knowledge expose Ian to Daisy before he is ready to reveal who he truly is?


Review:  This is a novel I won from a giveaway at Goodreads; and I have to say if I did not win the novel I would have gone out and bought it. I went out and bought her other novel Firelight right after I read this one.  Callihan takes us into the darkest streets of London (hence the series name duh).  Both of her main characters have a secret and their own horrid past they are desperately trying to hide from the world and in turn each other.  Ian, himself, fights a daily war with himself regarding his secrets and his past.  But could that be his ultimate downfall?

The plot to the story was rather interesting in itself.  Murders being done by a werewolf we have seen before in different formats.  Werewolves are nothing new, and I admit I thought "not another werewolf story." She takes something so familiar and changes it into something of her own, and makes it seem new.  In "Moonglow", this werewolf's motive is simply killing women who have the same scent.  One that he is drawn to for one reason or another (and no I won't tell you because that just takes away from you reading it).  It was well written and well thought out, she stands her own ground in this genre and does a phenomenal job at it.

The story she creates captivates her audience from beginning to end, and then leaves them wanting more.  She had added to my addiction to not only reading, but also paranormal romance.  Once you open the book you step into a new world, or rather a new London.  I enjoye reading this novel and suggest it to others and look forward to reading more of her work.

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