The Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry|Book Review

Synopsis:

Christopher Bauer and his wife Hannah, both work at the hospital as an orthopedic surgeon and nurse respectively. One night, a small child is admitted, in bad condition nothing short of horrifying. The child, Janie, is around 6 years old, but looks more like a toddler in size. Janie suffers from multiple ailments, physical ones due to abuse, and mental ones, due to neglect. We learn that Janie’s mother was killed, and the police found Janie bound and tied up in a trailer with chains. Janie’s recuperation is a long road ahead, but the Bauers, who had formed a connection with Janie at the hospital, takes it upon themselves to foster Janie as they may be in the perfect profession to care for someone like Janie.

Genre: Thriller

My Review:

This was a horrifyingly gripping read. Each page made me impatient to get to the next, however disturbing the details grew. Told from the POVs of Christopher Bauer and Hannah Bauer(Janie’s adoptive parents) and Piper Goldstein(Janie’s case worker), enough story was given and enough story was held back to show a brilliant case of unreliable narration. The pacing was great, not too detail-y and boring, kept me invested for sure. Short and concise chapters, just the way I like it.

At times, the adoptive parents were naive and possible stupid but i can’t fault them for that. They were first time parents who took on a situation bigger than they can handle. Right off the bat, I knew that these characters and their story wouldn’t end wrapped in a pretty little bow. Again, something i like. I read elsewhere about the abrupt ending, but i honestly can’t complain about it. Some stories need to challenge readers to interpret their own understanding of what happens.

This book gave realistic insight into the repercussions of child abuse and neglect. As much as I was disgusted and heartbroken about what happened to Janie, the author also showed how truly sinister she could be.

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

The Dreams by Matthew R Fleming|Book Review

the dreams cover

 

Genre: Horror Fiction, Thriller

Synopsis

Five strangers wake up in an eerie forest with no memory of how they got there. As they try to catch their bearings, they realize that they are not alone and something sinister is watching them, baiting them, almost like a predator playing with its prey. They find themselves suspecting of each other especially when one of them goes missing and presumed to be dead…killed to be more specific.

My Thoughts

The Dreams is a horror novel that is written in true horror format in my opinion. A well-crafted plot that left me satisfied and wanting a movie out of it to be honest. My most favorite parts about this book is the building suspense and tension. I was so suspecting of each of the characters and found myself paying attention to every little detail about them. I also appreciate that the author wasn’t over-explanatory as to stray from the main story. Would I recommend? Yes, absolutely. Any true horror fan would enjoy this read. I must say although I did share a similar theory to the climax of this book, it did not disappoint at all.

Here’s the link to my newly created FB page if you want to keep up with my blog on there:

https://www.facebook.com/Bookish-Kat-582027968799821/

You can also see what I’m up to on Instagram and Twitter @bookishkat7

Happy Reading! xo Kat

I Applaud Young Readers

My title may mislead but I promise there’s an explanation. This thought just hit me by the way so I apologize in advance if I didn’t get my point across. So, I was born in the late eighties and I basically consider myself a 90s kid. Because that’s when I really got to come into my own interests, and my core learning. I often talk about how I developed a love of books very early on because I was gifted books all the time, libraries fascinated me, and reading/english was my favorite subject. That’s just me in a nutshell. I did go outside and play with my cousins, spend tons of time playing with toys on weekends and holidays as school nights were a no-no for TV and playing. But my parents were generous when it came to reading. It kept me up at night, woke up tired in the morning, I read during classes and I was never scolded because of it so I got swept up in books.

Now that you have a little back story, I have to mention that in the nineties in the Caribbean, there wasn’t a whole lot of TV, video games going on. Not that I didn’t have it, I did but it was monitored, much like parents nowadays will monitor their children’s device usage. But we didn’t have social media and the pressures that come with being relevant on social media. Of course, it was on a smaller scale within the classroom. But when we went home, we went home.

Reading was a an important form of entertainment in past generations as there weren’t much else to do. Think about times before TV and Video Games. Think beyond that. But there was reading.

I must say it makes me feel fuzzy inside when I see young people taken up with reading. To us bookish people, it may sound like a common thing to see but I can assure you most people I know won’t even read one book in a year. So it’s really awesome to see young readers invested in this form of escape, entertainment. Don’t you agree?

Happy Reading!

xo Kat

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

The Obsession by Nora Roberts| Book Review

Book Title: The Obsession

Author: Nora Roberts

Genre: Romance/Thriller/Suspense

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis – At 12 yrs old, Naomi Bowes followed her father into the woods one night and stumbled upon a shocking & disturbing truth. From that moment, life would never be the same for Naomi, her mother, and her brother, Mason. Years later, Naomi’s past follows her wherever she goes, making her develop a nomad-like attitude for her job as a photographer, bumping around from place to place. In the present order of events, Naomi is in her late twenties and decides to root herself in a small town by purchasing a huge house in need of many repairs. She befriends the town folk and even finds love in Xander Keaton, the town mechanic. While Naomi busies herself with taking pictures and bartering them for odds and ends needed around her house, and sparks fly between her and Xander, her horrific past resurfaces and she can’t help but blame herself, and want to retreat into a space where she hasn’t opened her heart and life to others.

My Review – if you’re familiar with my blog, you’d know I love most of what Nora Roberts writes, how she writes, her manner of storytelling. It’s the way I love my own stories to be. A dash of romance tied in with mysteries, suspense and thriller.

I must admit I had an inkling of the climax in this book but not because of a weak plot. I’m just an alright detective(hehe). This book was very character driven. The characters were fully explored and examined, their growth and progress added to the story. Without all of this meaningful clutter, I don’t see how the main plot would work as a whole book. Overall, I would recommend it as it doesn’t narrow in on just a romantic story. That’s just a fraction of what this book is about. Without selling the story away, I’ll say it’s a tie in of murder, mayhem, healing, strength.

*Before heading into this book you should know that there are some dark moments, mentions of rape, torture and murder by a disturbed serial killer. *

Thanks for stopping by. Happy reading!

Xo Kat

Working from Home| Storytime

After the birth of my first daughter, I think what bothered me most was being a full time stay at home mom. Of course, both my husband and me decided that it was best for our situation as we don’t have any family close by to help out and I was not about to put my newborn baby in daycare. Not that I have anything against people who do so, but it was just not right for my family at the time. Firstly, daycare costs an arm and a leg in my area, I would be working just to barely make that payment. Secondly, we knew that we wanted another kid close in age. Last August my youngest turned two, and within the last year I have been wanting to get back to work.

Most of my work experience and all of my education was done in my home country so it was a matter of sitting down and figuring out what I wanted to do. I majored in Information Technology but it’s something that I’m not interested in getting back into. Too much time has past and I’ve lost my zeal in that field. So I did research and tried to analyze what kind of job to get or what course I should do to enhance my skills. But there was the matter of paying for daycare, and before and after school programs for my kids. After doing the calculations, I realized it wouldn’t be worth it, unless I could land a really nice paying job right off the bat. Having not been in the work force for a number of years, we all know how rarely that happens.

So again, I sat down and thought about the things that I know how to do best, my skill-set and how I could utilize that to make money from home. Working from home is a decision not driven only by making some extra cash. I’m at a low when I’m unproductive and feel very sad or depressed if you want to call it that. My husband often argues that I do a lot for my kids by being very present in their lives doing this and that but still, I was raised with a strong work ethic and I needed to get back into it. What I do know, is how to write and I’ve been working on books for years and years. However, it’s hard to make an income as an author. The book takes years, then it takes years of networking to get people to notice your book. Even then, it still may never work and  I don’t want to treat my stories as something to sell. At the end of the day, I write for me. For self-fulfillment and if someone happens to like it, then I’d be elated.

Around the same time I was researching working from home(this summer), one of my friends messaged me about a website that basically hires freelancers of various kinds. Graphics, virtual assistants, and writers among others. I saw it as a small window to start offering writing as a service. It hasn’t been that long and the money isn’t that great but I’ve learned how to balance working from home and family time. Although, it’s difficult and I’ll create an entire post about my experience. I’ve also gained some exposure to working with clients, and experience in the field that I’m pursuing. I know I’m not on it as much as I should but for the mean time, it works for my and my family. I’m available to drop my kindergartener off and pick her up, be present for different things that I’d most likely have to skip out on. The last several months has definitely been an eye opener, a learning curve in my life.

Reading over this post, I realized I haven’t mentioned what it is exactly that I write. I write copy for websites, specifically sales copy of various kinds. There’s a list of other services that I do offer and a website is currently in progress for that. I just wanted to share my not-so-spectacular story about how I derived at the decision to work from home. Hopefully it all works out in the future but one thing I can take from this entire experience is that you really have to want something and you have to work hard at it. There’s always so much more you can do to progress.

Have a great week ahead guys, thank you for stopping by and stay tuned for another Work From Home post.

xo Kat

What Really Hinders My Writing Progress

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, poetry, short stories, journals. Those are the places where my love of writing really took birth. I’ve always been scared to let people read my work, not because of self-doubt but because of bullying. Me, writing diligently to get my story out appears as a joke to many people in my personal life. I don’t hold it against them as many people don’t understand why some of us love to write things, they don’t understand the pride we take in creating a story.

These are some of the things that puts me in a bind me as a writer:

Finding My Voice

It took me a while to finally figure out what finding my voice as a writer really means, and I’m not sure I understand the full dynamics but I think I have a better handle on it than I did on it before. Like I mentioned before, I started writing from a very early age in a particular way. It wasn’t just writing for writing’s sake. My story was also structured in my own way. My language flowed freely as my own. Somewhere along the lines, in the bigger world, I felt intimidated to be true to myself as a writer. As someone who has touched on poetry to be able to combat feelings of depression and self-doubt, I found myself beginning to write like a robot. He said, she said, and I failed to stay true to my characters’ personalities and also my own. Having grown up in the Caribbean, we share similar slangs to that of England as well as our spelling. I’m now based in the US and it does make me feel strangely about how my voice may be received. It’s not that much different but readers may notice and that’s something I always take into consideration. I’ve had to learn how to consciously omit certain ways of speaking as well as the “u” in words like favor and color among others.

Point of View

This has been very tricky for me, even now. I began writing in third person, past tense. I write as a narrator on the outside but still in my character’s head, so I don’t head hop. This is my comfort zone, always has been. In the last few years, I became more aware of first person POV as a writer. I’ve always read first person and it didn’t bother me but I’d never written in first person except for my journal and a few very short essays. To create an entire plot and world from one character’s point of view was a challenge for me. I kept thinking that I had to join that bandwagon if I want my work to be read. Readers will think my third person is heavily outdated. It sounds stupid, I know, but all of these things go on in a writer’s head especially when you listen to other bookish people talk about their preference for this kind of writing. It stuck me the whole of last month writing one chapter back and forth in third and first person POVs. I had to take a break and reconnect with my voice as a storyteller.

Writing as A Reader

All writers began as readers, that’s something I believe. And when I read over my work, I don’t read it as myself as a reader. I read it as hundreds of others readers and critique myself from that. It sticks my story to the point of “Where the heck do I go with this?” I don’t expect everyone to love my work but I do want to feel like a credible storyteller at the end of the day.

My Own Worst Critic

With my teaching experience in English and learning to find mistakes where there really aren’t due to teachers making us find things wrong with a classmate’s essay, I always feel like every line of my first draft needs to be rewritten in a better way. And believe it or not, I spend more time than I should just rewriting things. 2017 has been the year of rewrites for me.

My Stories Might Be Crap

I appreciate all kinds of storytelling, the good and the not so good. A story comes from an author’s head or heart, someone who thought it worth writing, and for that I won’t bash anyone’s process, or manner of storytelling. But I tend to bash my own. There’s something sinister about reaching 30,000 words into a novel and just thinking, “What the heck am I doing?” At that point I shelf the story until further notice and begin working on another. I should get a “Work in Progress” medal.

How Do I Keep Writing?

Because I can’t stop. Writing has been my secret for a long time, a way that I’ve dealt with the harshness of the world and the people around me. It remains my greatest form of therapy. And more than wanting to get published, I write for myself so there’ll always be that.

Last week I sat down and had a long mental chat with myself about how I lost sight of the one thing I know I can do. It’s tough, it’s nerve-wrecking but nothing gets completed without perseverance. I came across a video of Hank Green(John Green’s brother) talking about how he doesn’t go for 100% because his 80% is good enough. And that resonated with me. If we keep thinking perfection all of the time, then we’ll always finds errors. I’m learning, slowly that writing comes with all of the above and not just writing.

What are your major problematic areas as a writer and how do you combat them? Have a great week all.

xo Kat

 

How to Write A Book Review

While most book bloggers and book reviewers out there write awesome and informative reviews, I’ve seen multiple discussions about how book reviews are done. In one of my writer groups, I’ve seen authors say they won’t read reviews because they put them off or make them feel a certain way. While I respect authors’ decisions not to read harsh reviews, I’ve also come across books being reviewed in a non-reviewing way.

Often, we don’t like stories or characters and feel it necessary to review how we think the book should end or what a character should’ve done. The majority of people looking at reviews are readers just like yourselves, hence, the review should be catered to that audience. I’d also like to note that there is nothing wrong with leaving negative reviews, but it shouldn’t be attacking in nature.

Here’s a few tips on how to cover a book review so that readers can get the best from it.

  1. Make sure you give it a star rating. You can give any book between one star and five stars. This is the first kind of review that readers are looking for. Not everyone actually reads an entire review.
  2. If you’re reviewing on your blog, make sure to include the title, author and genre of the book. Not everyone enjoys the same genre of books. Inserting this will help your review reach it’s relevant audience.
  3. If you’re reviewing on Amazon.com or Goodreads, a captivating title sounds more appropriate rather than “Okay” or “Good”.
  4. Write a brief spoiler free synopsis of the book, leaving out the climax. Your synopsis should end with something that leaves the reader wanting more. If you must leave a spoiler, Goodreads has a built in tool that allows reviewers to check. However, try to refrain from doing this on your blog without warning your reader.
  5. After you write the synopsis, then write your review, why you loved the book, why you hated it, how it made you feel, what it reminded you of etc.

As always thanks for checking out my post. If you have any more tips for book reviewers, I’d love to hear it. Happy Weekend!

xo Kat

Christmas On Thin Ice by Holly Blair | Book Review

Book Title: Christmas On Thin Ice (A Juniper Falls Holiday Romance)

Author: Holly Blair

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis: Lily Jordan has just found out that she is pregnant for a famous golfer who ditched her. With the recent demise of her parents and the debt they left behind, Lily and her two brothers has to come up with a plan to save their family business, a tree nursery and skating rink. In comes Noah to save the day by offering to buy a percentage of the Jordans’ business but Lily isn’t too keen on losing her family business, or heart so quickly. 

My Review: Rated 5 stars in Goodreads because this book was a warm and enjoyable read to kick start my holidays reads. A very short book, actually a novella that can be finished in just a few hours but it’s content is full of feeling and substance. Great writing too. I completely recommended this to any who enjoys clean Hallmark type Romance as much as I do. 

Happy Reading! Xo Kat