Book Review: Where The Heart Is by L.S. Pullen + Q & A with Author

Where the Heart Is by [Pullen, L.S.]

 

Book Title: Where The Heart Is

Author: L.S. Pullen

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: 4/5

 

 

Synopsis:

The story begins with Felicity Jamison returning home for a funeral. We see her combating severe anxiety as a result of a horrific incident in her past. Amidst her struggles and dealing with the loss of a family friend who happens to be Nate Davenport’s grandfather, she’s cornered by her feelings about Nate, her estranged best friend. 

Nate on the other hand, is enthusiastic about reuniting and closing the gap between himself and Felicity. However, Nate has questions. Why did she leave? Why did she distance herself?

You’ll have to read the book to see both Felicity and Nate overcome their demons and grief. 

 

My Thoughts:

Where The Heart Is, is a second chance romance filled with everything you need in one. From heartache to laughter, angst to affection…it’s all there. I enjoyed the read. I found both main charaters to be likeable and very relatable. L.S. Pullen handled anxiety with a level of authenticity I hardly ever see. The story was easy to fall into and experience from the main characters’ point of views. As a debut novel, I was pleasantly surprised. Definitely looking forward to the other stories in this series.

L.S. Pullen was gracious enough to do a little Q & A for my blog. Keep reading to learn more about her exciting journey and what’s to come. 

1) Firstly, a big congratulations on your debut release. I enjoyed every second of it. How has the responses been so far?

-Thank you so much. I’m so pleased you enjoyed it. So far, so good. A lot of the feedback has been positive and very much appreciated.

2) How did your writing journey begin?

-I always enjoyed writing stories growing up, kept a diary, and said I’d love to write a book some day. Somewhere along the way I lost myself, but I fell back in love with reading in 2012. All because of Tarryn Fisher. After I finished The Opportunist I had an epiphany and it’s when I said “I’m going to write my book now.” And I did. I had been writing on and off but it was the last two years everything came together.

3) What inspired Felicity’s and Nate’s story?

-It was inspired by what was meant to be my first book Heart of War, and the story of their grandparents. But after losing the whole draft, with the exception of three pages, I decided to write this story first. Heart of War will now be the prequel.

4) I really enjoyed the supporting characters in Where The Heart Is. Can you tell us a little bit about what’s next for the series?

-Dysfunctional Hearts will be next, Charlie and Sophie’s story, I wrote it along side WTHI. I have a finished draft ready for some TLC hopefully I will be able to share it early 2019.

5) Every writer is first a reader. What books got you into reading and who are some of your favourite authors to recommend?

-Wow! How long do you have?! Growing up, it was books by Hans Christian Andersen and Roald Dahl. J.R.R.Tolkien LOTR and The Hobbit. Stephen King. Classics, I love a classic. Okay, and I admit it, Mills and Boon and the occasional Sweet Valley High book. Always Tarryn Fisher, Stephen King, Colleen Hoover, Willow Aster, Amy Harmon, Claire Contreas…so many talented authors out there. Not to mention a tribe of new to me authors.

6) Would you ever consider writing outside of contemporary romance?

-Yes, absolutely. I have a few sitting in a WIP folder on my laptop, itching to be free.

7) Because we’re on the topic of romance…what’s your idea of a perfect date?

-My idea of a perfect date…no idea to be perfectly honest! (Insert introvert here* ) I do love my home comforts, maybe a nice meal at home with someone who makes me laugh and a good film.

8) Tell us a little more about yourself. Besides reading and writing, what else makes you happy?

-I love photography, films, art and music. Being a dog mum was the best, I miss my pooch very much, memories of her bring me joy. But anything I can do to lift others. It makes me happy seeing others happy.

You can keep up with the author via the following social media links. As usual, thanks for stopping by.

Xo, Kat.

Website: http://lspullen.co.uk

Facebook: http://facebook.com/lspullenauthor

Instagram: http://instagram.com/lspauthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/lspauthor

 

 

 

 

 

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles Bk 3) |Book Review

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles Book 3) by [Meyer, Marissa]

Book Title: Cress

Book Series: The Lunar Chronicles

Number in series: #3

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Sci-fi

My Rating: 5 Stars

Synopsis

This installment begins with Cinder, Captain Thorne, Scarlet and Wolf on the run. Their mission is to over Queen Levana and prevent her army from invading Earth.

Cress, the title character, is trapped on satellite in space. She has exceptional hacking skills and is ruled over my Sybil Mira. One of her tasks is to track down Cinder and turn her over to Queen Levana. She also wants to break free of her prison, and on contacting Cinder, the group decides to rescue her.

All hell breaks lose, when the group splits up.

My Review

A longer read than the first two books but definitely more captivating than book two. So it was a fresh outlook on the series. The writing and action was also better. In this book we see a lot of action, which is admirable since it’s so hard to capture a action with words. The book also takes some getting used to if you like less complicated reads. Meaning there is a bigger cast and the story follows most of them.

Highly recommend if you enjoyed The Mortal Instruments or Shatter Me. The premises may be different but it delivers when it comes to a wide range of characters, a lot of plot and action.

Happy Reading!

xo Kat

Choosing Character Names|Writing Fiction

Hello Bookish Folk!

Time and time again I’ve come across the following in writing groups:

  • How do you name characters?
  • Where do you find character names?
  • Character naming is hard.

I thought I’d put together a post with all of my tips in case someone asks again 😉

  1. Be mindful of genre – A fantasy story involving elves won’t have names similar to a romantic comedy.
  2. What era is your book set in? – I’ve seen current popular baby names in books, but these characters are between 18-30 years old. Some of these names weren’t even known back when these characters were babies. Similarly, if you’re writing something set in the Victorian Era, then your character names should coincide.
  3. Different Initials for Different Characters – It tends to get confusing when you name two main characters or even a supporting one with similar first name initials or similar sounding names. Eg. Jason & Jacob
  4. Ethnicity/Origin – If you wish to diversify your cast, you need to name them accordingly. Some research can help you decide on a suitable name. If you’re like me and write diverse characters but the book isn’t based on their diversity, a particular name can help the reader gain an idea of what your character looks like.
  5. Special Meanings – Sometimes you want to name your character according to the theme of your book. A perfect example is the cast from the Lunar Chronicles. Wolf. who is a werewolf is called Wolf. Some names can give meaning to your story as well. And not just in fantasy but in contemporary. Names like Hope, Faith, Harmony also have underlying meanings to the plot. Another example could be Holly or Eve for a Christmas themed novel.
  6. Name Check – Most names are more common than you think. If this in some way bothers you, do a name search in google. It’s recommended to avoid name association. However, with common names like John Smith you’re bound to come across in abundance.
  7. Names that are easy to pronounce – I have a different opinion here because I do like to write people of different ethnicities and cultures. My suggestion, or what I’d do is to include a pronunciation guide at the front or back of your book. Maybe even a little definition or origin information depending on the kind of book you’re writing. Again if you’re writing fantasy, names that are hard to pronounce are inevitable. So don’t let that deter you from naming your character.

Hope this helps! Thanks for stopping by and if you have more tips on naming characters, please comment them down below.

xo Kat

I Outlined Something and It’s Not Romance|Writing Fiction

Writing update: I have been working thoroughly on the same few stories for the past three or four years. Most of which fall into the women’s fiction/Romantic comedy plots. Although these stories come easily to me, as well as the dialogue, I have a hard time writing them. It’s the “in between dialogues” I have a hard time expressing. I think as a person I’ve grown to where I can’t articulate love and romance the way my sixteen year old brain would. Don’t get me wrong, I do adore my stories and I think there’s something special about the originality of my plots. Maybe not the writing so much. It needs some work hehe. But…lately I’ve been feeling like something is missing. I don’t feel proud of these stories in the way that I should. Writing them for myself is one thing, but I still don’t feel accomplished enough to show these stories to others.

When I started writing longer stories, my end goal was to get into fantasy/supernatural/horror fiction. Because these genres generally take longer to plot and write, I thought maybe I could dish out some quick love stories in the mean time. However, I have been struggling. And my mind won’t shut up. About the future. About where I want to take my writing.  To be frank, I won’t even consider traditional publishing with the romances I write. The plots may be good, but the writing is not. There is just something I can’t exactly pin point that I don’t find there. When I read work from years ago, my voice is actually there. I don’t know why I’ve been experimenting with my writing based on questions asked in social media. My previous blog post deals with losing my writer voice.

These days I can’t hear it and it frustrates me to no end. Not only do I want to be a good story teller, I want to be a writer. And there’s a difference.

So, earlier today and not for the first time a thought crossed my mind. An idea about Caribbean folklore. I’ve often been afraid of delving into my country of origin in fear of not doing the country and people justice. I fear not correctly portraying something or offending somebody. Every idea needs a good plot as well.

And by the time I took a shower tonight, the plot and the protagonist had written themselves in my head. Suffice to say, I’m feeling good about it. I feel comfortable. Maybe I’ll come back to my romances once I’m done or once some inspiration hits me, but in the meantime, I roll with the supernatural story. I hate wasting time so at least, I plan to work out the details and make a broader outline over the next week or so.

Fellow writers, do you make writing as complicated as I do? Sometimes I annoy myself. I exhaust myself. Truly.

Have a great weekend. Talk to you soon.

xo Kat

Am I getting bored of reading romance?

Let me begin by saying this post is in no way meant to bash romance writers, readers or books. Till date, it remains one of my most read genres. However in the last few years, I’ve closed book after book, after reading only a few pages. There were a few of them that stuck, and were enjoyable to me personally. And I say personally because we all perceive stories in our own way.

I think what I’ve been coming across lately has also impacted my contemporary romance stories as well. In a more negative aspect.

I’m a different kind of  reader, as we all are. I particularly enjoy romances like the ones Nora Roberts writes. Why, you may ask? Aren’t they all the same? Boy meets girl, sparks fly, happily ever after. While I agree on the formulaic expression of a romance book, I like the deep plots, and also sub plots. I enjoy the characters, flawed or searching. Good overcoming evil. It sounds cheesy but most books have this concept. Let’s not stray. Coming back to why I’ve been having a hard time finishing romance books for the longest time. I think it’s in the writing, more than anything else. I appreciate flawed characters, damaged ones. So it isn’t the art of storytelling that’s putting me off. It’s the way the story is being executed.

One of the reasons why I feel it difficult to just publish my stories out into the world, is because I feel like they are not ready. As a reader, I want to aspire to be a writer like the ones I admire. And my work is not up to par. I believe most content in a book should be meaningful, every dialogue should be progressing the story. I have no problems with mundane dialogue here or there. Don’t get me wrong. I love descriptions and visualizing how an author builds their world, be it realistic or fantasy or dystopian etc.

The core problem I face with reading some of these books are the meaningless filler content. Over descriptions of one character’s actions. Over description of one’s thoughts and feelings. After a few chapters, it get’s redundant. I get that it’s easier for some to write in first person, and while it’s amazing to get inside of a character’s head. The entire book can’t be a monologue where only one character thinks or feels. There’s too much repetition using beautiful words and phrases to convey the same feeling or thought–the same personality–all throughout the book.

Every line of dialogue is followed by a physical reaction one character makes. While that’s not incorrect, it shouldn’t be overdone. A line of dialogue can tell the reader exactly what mood or kind of person the character is.

Have you ever heard the main character’s voice in a whiny tone in your head? It happens to me more often than not.

Recently I read Garden of Shadows by V.C. Andrews, and I thought it executed an entire story in first person POV very well. The story was able to progress, and relate events without being repetitive. In fact, there wasn’t an instance where a feeling or thought conveyed was mentioned twice. The main character was able to describe the reactions/expressions of the other characters in such a way that the reader knew them as well. I honestly think it’s a book we can all learn from in terms of pushing a story forward without stopping in every chapter to repeat things using beautiful words.

What do you think about romance nowadays? Do you read it? I’d like to find more that I can love, so if you have any suggestions, please drop them down below. My next post will discuss erotica in romance books, so stay tuned for that.

Happy Reading Bookish Folk!

xo Kat

Cutting Back on Subplots|Writing Fiction

So I want to touch on subplotting. Not the dynamics of it per se. I want to share why I continuously need to cut back on having too many things going on in a story.

Sometimes we have to learn things, and sometimes we have to unlearn them.

I started writing poetry and screenplays at the beginning of it all. My stories come to me in the form of several sub plots involving the same characters in one story. This isn’t unheard of. And it can also be executed very well if you’re an experienced writer. Despite writing for most of my life and training myself to do what I love to do, I am not a very experienced writer. Simply because I write for myself, and I’ve only now worked up the courage to share my work with others. I’m still having trouble with that. It makes me nervous as hell. But I’m bending my mind to change all of that soon, hopefully.

Feedback and critique is essential if one wants to take writing seriously.

For me, writing a novel and a screenplay which is basically dialogue is vastly different. With a novel, I have to pay close attention to my character’s body language and observations of other characters. The story doesn’t only evolve via conversations. In fact, there is less dialogue in novels. Acting instructions and scene directions are completely different from what goes on in between dialogue in books.

When the concept of my story comes to me, I see every detail in my head as if it were playing on a screen. When I begin writing, I tend to realize what an absolute mess I’ve created. Too many crazy sub plots and twists that would annoy any reader to no end.

Recently, I’ve been trying to be better at outlining before the writing begins. There’s always immense need to cut down on my little stories within the big one. I over plot. If that’s even a thing. My brain isn’t equipped to roll out a saga or a five book series, so I need to take it down a notch.

Well there it is. The how and why. Although I can’t omit that I’ve read a ton of books with no real plot. Most of the content was just fleshed out repetition. That scares me as a writer and I tend to create too many conflicted situations before my story can climax.

This post might have been all over the place like my manuscript (hehe).

Thanks for reading.

xo Kat

Is Third Person POV Dead?|Writing Fiction

Just like anything, I’ve come to realize that writing books is a business in itself. At the end of the day we all want to be our authentic selves in hopes that at least one person will receive it positively but it’s also true that we write for an audience. Particularly in the romantic genres, in the last few years I’ve been seeing a lot of first person present tense POVs. I read it but it doesn’t always read well to me, because that’s my preference. Everybody has their own tastes even when it comes to reading.

I’ve asked the question first person vs third person in a couple of writing groups and the group with majorly romance writers and readers favored first person. Recently I read on a blog that reading in first person helps the reader connect to a character better as it reads like you’re inside of the person’s head. The blog also went on to say that when something reads like a chick diary it’s more relatable. While that may be true, authors who write in third person are still successful in publishing. Some of which I enjoy quite a bit, like Nora Roberts, Susan Mallory.

It’s mostly on the indie scene I see first person being more preferable and that’s scary for someone like me who is choosing to go the self-publishing route. I have written in first person, I’ve switched entire books in first person but I’ll tell you where it goes wrong for me.

I spend a few sentences throughout my story noticing things that my characters may not necessarily notice. For instance, my MC who is a guy may not care what the color of a curtain is or the set up of a bedroom. There’s also the self-description thing that makes me cringe. Personally, I find it hard to describe myself or brag about myself and again, not all of my characters care what they look like but I do want my readers to have a feature or two in mind. And I find that reflection thing that I see ever so often in other books is not really my thing.

My writing voice is also not my character’s voice. I enjoy using different words to describe and elaborate on things and I can assure you my main character may not always share that vocabulary. So it’s hard for me to articulate the story that I want in my main character’s voice. I don’t head hop because it’s confusing to readers and even me as a writer. I do focus on one character at a time but just in third person POV. It’s called third person limited whereas the other is called third person omniscient. This I will cover in another blog post so stay tuned for that one.

Lastly, I have been writing in third person POV as early as the age of seven. In school, I had tons and tons of essays to write and I even started writing my own stories so I had time and practice with writing in third person. It’s why it comes more naturally to me as a narrator.

What POV do you prefer and what are the challenges you face? Why is one or the other easier for you?

As always thanks for stopping by. Here’s the link for my newly created Facebook Page if you want to keep up with me there. https://www.facebook.com/Bookish-Kat-582027968799821/ I always love discussing bookish things with bookish people! Find me on Instagram @bookishkat7

xo Kat

 

 

Taking Inspiration from other Authors|Writing Fiction

Over the last year, and up until this morning, I’ve been coming across posts by other writers asking how to combat lack of inspiration/motivation. Some days you just can’t bring yourself to sit and write, your thoughts are all over the place. We all have our down days. Now it’s easy to share different techniques, such as taking a break, reading, doing a writing exercise etc. but until writer’s block really hits you, you won’t understand how hard it is for a writer to crawl out of his/her shell.

Lack of inspiration/motivation has a lot to do with self-doubt. At least in my case. So in this post, I want to say, if you’re experiencing some problems, take a step back from writing altogether. Search for videos of authors who inspire you, authors who write in the same genre. Hearing about their struggles and how they overcame fears can help you overcome yours if you have made the long term commitment to write. Writing isn’t just writing, it comes with all of the above such as self-promoting, correcting your own mistakes. It’s no easy feat. It not only takes skill, talent, discipline, it takes courage. So my advice to anyone dealing with these issues of self-doubt, is to seek help by listening to other authors. Their successes are motivation in itself to get the job done, to follow your dreams.

Let me know if this is a thing you do and if it affects you positively!

thanks for reading!

xo Kat

Creativity Woes| Writing Fiction

Lately, I’ve been questioning my creativity as a writer. I’ve always felt like I had good stories to tell even though I hit dead ends when I do begin to write. There’s at least eighty summaries I’ve written, waiting to be explored upon. My brain is pretty much always working, plotting, brainstorming, creating. But sometimes, silence is all there is and it scares me. If I lose that part of myself that creates, I would be losing a lot. It would cause a heavy impact on my life. I don’t even want to think about it right now.

I’ve been digging into my brain trying to understand what’s been holding me back from completing anything this past year. It’s a mixture of self-doubt and time management. But it’s also the fact that I sometimes feel very low about myself as a creator of stories. I’m on this high when I get an idea and start plotting. I feel awesome when I write a brilliant sentence. But there’s always this fear that my book will be….well, shit. It’s a tough pill to swallow.

This past year has been great in terms of networking with other readers and authors. It’s definitely been helpful, but there’s also the fact that I’m not writing anonymously anymore. People know who I am. Previously I would use only twitter to market my books, but no one knew who I was. In the self-publishing world, you really have to market your book and yourself as an author. It’s something I want, and it’s something that terrifies me. I love being invisible. I’d love my stories to gain recognition but I don’t want that recognition as person. Does that make any sense to you? Well, I’ve learned that it doesn’t work like that and I think it’s why I haven’t been working as hard as I should be to finish my stories. I’ve been procrastinating because the next book I complete and start promoting will make being an author so real. It’s not that I can’t handle criticism, I can. I know I’m not the greatest writer. But it’ll remove a piece of my soul if my book can’t speak to at least one reader. So, I’ve been questioning my creativity very harshly, wondering if I even have the capacity to weave a story that makes any sort of sense.

xo Kat

What are you reading this week?

Captive Rebel by Erin McDermott|Book Review

Book title: Captive Rebel (The allegiance book 1)

Author: Erin McDermott

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis: Destined to be enemies, bound by fate…

Prince Ariston rules over the Allegiant – an elite faction favored by the Greek Gods. Separated from his family at a young age, he became a prisoner to the rebellion.

Marylyn O’Conner is a rebel, forced to do the rebellion’s bidding until an unforgiving family debt is paid. A pawn in the war for rebels to gain their freedom, she is obligated to become a spy, or her family will suffer.

Driven by revenge after returning from captivity, Prince Ariston makes it his mission to hunt down rebel spies, capturing Marylyn O’Conner in the process.

Desperate, Marylyn knows she needs to escape her alluring captor, or risk the safety of her family.

My Review: For some unknown reason this book reminded me of Cinder(the Lunar Chronicles). The story is by no chance similar but my feelings towards both books were. Why? Because the characters were likeable, straightforward. There was no clutter in this book which I appreciated as a reader, and writer. Everything flowed, no loop holes, no mindless yammering. A romance, but not only a romance. And it ended well yet left avenues open for the sequels. Overall, I would recommend if you like YA Dystopian or Fantasy, Action & Adventure.

Happy reading!

Xo Kat