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

 

 

 

 

 

Becoming Bloody Mary| Book Review

Becoming Bloody Mary by [Doyal, Stephanie]

Book Title: Blood Mary (A Short Story)

Author: Stephanie Doyal

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

My rating: 5 stars

Synopsis & Review

Bloody Mary is set in the 1800 hundreds and starts with couple who has two daughters. One daughter (Mary) has black hair and gray eyes while the other has blonde hair and blue eyes like their parents. Her sister, Elizabeth is favored over Mary by their parents and the community. When Mary goes out, whispers follow her. People suspect that she is not her father’s child based on her appearance.

As they grow up, Mary has great relationship with Elizabeth. In fact, Elizabeth is the only one that sticks up for her. They’ve both reached an age of marrying but it’s only Elizabeth that attracts suitors. However when Mary sets her sights on one man, she falls in love.

This tale isn’t so clear cut as you can see from the title. Mary is betrayed, and her reaction to her family’s actions are worse than anyone can imagine. This is a tale of tragedy.

A quick engaging read. Kept me turning pages. If you’re into short stories then this one is a good read for you.

Happy Reading!

xo Kat

Where the Shadow Lies by Cassie Sharp |Book Review

Where the Shadow Lies by [Sharp, Cassie]

Book Title: Where the Shadow Lies

Author: Cassie Sharp

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis

Jael Tindle, unlikable in her community because of her unapproachable nature. She receives a note that nearly sends her to the point of insanity. The note brings with it a blast from her dark and deadly past and Jael will do anything and everything to protect her son from this past. She hires Private Investigator, Zander Williams to follow her son for his safety. But Jael isn’t so safe herself. Danger begins to follow her everywhere she goes. Everywhere she turns, the plot thickens. Zander, who is drawn unknowingly to Jael, digs up her past and is determined to protect her through it all until the mystery is solved.

My review

For a debut novelist, Cassie Sharp is a brilliant writer. Not only does she weave this dangerous tale with complicated twists and turns, she delivers it in the manner of an established author. I always stress on the fact that I read for the writing, not only the story and this book did not disappoint. The vocabulary was used articulately to give the reader a proper assessment of feelings and actions. Cassie also hit the nail on the head with showing not telling.

On the other hand, I enjoyed the events of the story itself. No plot holes. With every chapter I was left wanting to know more and more. This…takes talent. Hats off to the author. Can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

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

Messing with my Writer’s Voice|Writing Fiction

Hello Friends,

I hope you’re having a fantastic Monday so far. Mine isn’t going too bad. So, I’ve hit a dead end again and I think it has to do with my writing voice. My biggest struggle with my current WIP(work in progress) is not the story itself, it’s how I want to tell it. This story has been writing itself in my head for years and I started working on it way back in 2016. I should’ve finished by now. But I’m still struggling with how it’s executed.

The story can be considered women’s fiction with a touch of romance. It’s about a young woman’s journey to finding a place she could belong. I know that sounds basic but it’s all I can give away for now. What I want to talk about today is writing voices.

Everyone has their own style and manner of storytelling. Personally, I’m not a fan of choppy sentences that sound the way we speak. I don’t mind that in dialogues, but not within the narrative itself. That is because I learned to write this way from an early age so it makes me cringe to write choppily. However, because many readers said they won’t read a book written in third person, I resorted to writing and rewriting in first person. I’ve tried first person present tense, first person past tense. But the manuscript just doesn’t sound like me or mine.

For instance, I can’t write with a flow. I always have to be mindful that my high-school dropout protagonist doesn’t have a vocabulary like mine. To tweak my own words to sound like my character’s(in terms of narration not dialogue just to be clear), is not the way I see myself being published. I feel like the narration needs to roll off the page as easily as it rolls off my mind. If that makes any sense at all. So I’ve been stuck because I stopped progressing my own writing to please readers of this particular genre. Which is probably the worst thing I could’ve done because I now feel like I’ve lost my ability to write the way I used to.

I know first and foremost we should always write for ourselves, but it’s easy to get caught up in wanting to deliver what readers demand. I mean, there is a business side to everything.

Currently, I am exhausted of this current WIP having spent years rewriting it in many different ways. I want to move on to my other 30 story ideas but I would lose much sleep and sanity if I don’t get this particular one right.

Have you ever experienced something like this?

xo Kat

Book Release + Giveaway| Butterfly Trap by TL Fisher

ButterflyTrap FINAL Ebook

 

Title:  Butterfly Trap

Author:  TL Fisher

Cover Designer:  Regina Wamba of MAEIDESIGN & PHOTOGRAPHY, LLC

Blurb:

Can two tortured souls find beauty in each other?

Party girl Nikki Kraemer is terrified when she wakes up tied to a dirty mattress in a basement that bleeds and breathes death.  Her reality grows more terrifying as she battles her addiction at the mercy of her deadly captor.

This is no ordinary day for Isaac Burns.  He has a dangerous secret that has eaten away his moral integrity for ten years.  Today is the day he will confront his inner demon . . . but Nikki is no ordinary woman.  She is certainly not what Isaac expected.

This romantic thriller treads in dark water and some of the subject matter is not for the faint-of-heart.  READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

***BUTTERFLY TRAP is a Romantic Thriller and does contain some content meant for mature audiences.

To enter a giveaway of this book: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/aa4016073/

Red Lights, Black Hearts by Fabiola Francisco| Book Review

Author: Fabiola Francisco

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Synopsis:

The story follows Sam, who works in the Red Light District in Amsterdam. In the beginning we learn that Sam has been running from her past and possibly herself by fleeing to Europe. She eventually meets Max, a traveling businessman from Germany who shows her that she can be loved, she can be healed. If only she would look deep within herself and want that for herself.

My Review:

The writing was beautiful…philosophical and poetic. Even with nothing going on, it was interesting to read. Red lights, Black Hearts is a testament of Sam’s healing. She explores the depths of her pain and suffering. She finds comfort in Max’s company and words, which lead her to love herself again, build herself up from the ground.

The book starts of kinda steamy but then it tapers off into therapeutic conversations between Sam and Max. Max serves as her support system throughout the book. She didn’t want him, she needed him. That was the vibe that I got. Overall, a neat story about redemption and healing.

My rating: 4 stars

Here’s the link to add the book to your TBR! Follow the author on Facebook, Instagram and join her FB reader group Fabiola’s Fab Reads to connect with other readers who loved the book.

Check out Red Lights, Black Hearts by Fabiola Francisco

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31142569

Xo Kat

Shatter Me by Taherah Mafi|Book Review

I’ve got back to back book reviews 🙂 And I’m happy that I completed four books in January so far. My secret goal is to do four a month but I don’t want to do any bragging yet because I know myself. Life gets in the way.

Finally finished Shatter Me, and started Forget Me Not by Willow Winters. I finished that last night. It was that good. Without further ado, let’s get into the book review.

Shatter Me by Taherah Mafi

Initially I thought this book was fantasy YA. I honestly didn’t know much going into it other than people get hurt when the protagonist touches them.

Juliette Ferrar, a seventeen year old girl has been imprisoned in an asylum for three years. The asylum is not your usual asylum, as she suffers abuse and starvation during her time. She’s completely isolated and only gets shower liberties once a year.(I can’t remember if that’s right.) Her parents have forsaken her since she’s hurt people in the past by touching them. She feels like an abomination and loathes herself. The world has also fallen apart and a movement called The Reestablishment runs things in this dystopian novel.

She’s joined by another prisoner at the beginning of the story, who turns out to be her childhood friend, Adam Kent. Oddly, Adam is immune to her touch. As they figure this out, they both plan to escape the asylum and the brutal Warner who wants to use Juliette’s abilities for his own twisted aspirations.

My Thoughts:

This novel is very uniquely written and I can see where many readers can be put off. However, I liked it. I enjoyed it but I probably won’t read another series with this type of narration. I see it as Juliette’s personality, but I wouldn’t want to read another book character in the same tone. Juliette uses an abundance of metaphors and similes all throughout the book. One really has to acquire a taste for it. She also narrates by repeating phrases over and over and there’s lines in the book scratching out unnecessary narration.

I couldn’t believe this book was professionally edited judging by it’s lack of punctuation and cringe worthy numbers instead of spelling out the actual word. I finally accepted that it’s probably what they were going for.

I admit the writing is beautiful, capturing and over descriptive at times. There are many hook lines to tug at your heart and that’s what carried the story in my opinion. This novel was a lay up novel. No real plot and climax. And at the end, although I’m curious to know what happens next, I feel like I’m stepping into the world of X-men. The romance aspect weighs in more heavy than anything else in this story. But I can understand the audience that this caters to.

This is just my two cents. I don’t hate it and I hope the rumors about a TV Series are true. I’d watch it for sure. I always stress that I’m not a YA kind of reader so for me to really want to know more about this series, that says a lot.

Thanks for reading! Leave me a comment below and let me know if you’ve read this one before and what you think.

xo Kat