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

Reading Slump!

Have you ever gone through periods where you’re not finishing books because they don’t seem to hold your interest? It’s either the excitement tapers off or the writing needs work. It’s always something. For the past year I can say, I’ve been shelving more books as DNF(did not finish) more than finished.

As a lover of books, it’s affecting my life. I feel sad, withdrawn. I read the premise of a book and although it sounds inviting, I’m scared to enter. There are so just many stories, more so the writing that’s not doing it for me anymore.

I’ve actually been feeling to read authors I read growing up, like RL STINE, or the classics. I think repetition and a particular style of writing is turning me off more and more. I hate to sit here and say that bad writing is infusing its way into our books nowadays, but it truly is. I have no issues with simple writing if a writer can tell a good story. But when most of the content is filler. Two hundred words to describe the same action or feeling. Honestly, it’s getting to me. And I’m losing faith in what I pick up to read.

This kind of writing takes away from the story…from the core plot. Which brings me to my next point. There is no real plot. Nothing is happening except two main characters unloading their feelings for each other on every page. Now pardon me in advance for saying this, but I grew up reading a lot of romances and I can’t remember them being written like this. There was always a story, a cast of supporting characters and something going on. I remember Mill & Boon books, always having some kind of plot unique to the characters and stories.

You know what the problem is here? Insta-love. That’s what I think is taking away from the stories. With no real journey, there’ll be forced and unrealistic sub plots.

I’m in such a deep slump where reading is concerned these days, not even my favorite authors are pulling me out of it. Oh well, in time it’ll pass.

Does this happen to you too? Please recommend a book to take me out of this slump. Thank ye in advance.

Please Note: I read across all genres. Fantasy, Horror, Thriller. Romance has just managed to be the culprit that sent me into a reading slump this time.

xo Kat

Should Book Reviewers be Censored?

Before becoming a part of any online community of writers and readers like myself, I have never felt pressured about writing reviews. I don’t think I’ve left comments that bash an author or their work. I don’t believe in that but similar to having an opinion on a movie, us readers have opinions on books. The general public needs to understand that one person’s opinion does not affect the success or failure of a person’s book. Not every book will be loved or perceived as a great piece of writing by every reader. And we should have these discussions.

There are books that I loved and other readers didn’t, and I didn’t feel entitled to pressure them into liking it. I didn’t give them a long list of reasons why I liked the book and why I think they should like the book. Nothing in life works like that. Similarly, I’ve come across a lot of books that I couldn’t get past page one and these books have tons and tons of five star reviews. Bear in mind that readers come in all different age groups, cultures, preferences etc. What works for you won’t work for them.

Then why am I feeling so pressured when it’s time to leave a negative review? Not even negative but like a four star. I feel like if I’m not fangirling as hard as other people, they tend to get on your review and bash the crap out of you. Basically, you are bullied for not having the same opinion as the masses. Hmmm, why does that sound familiar? Look, Goodreads ain’t Facebook and it shouldn’t be a breeding ground of hatred. Writing is an art form, an expression of an author. It can be interpreted in many different ways by many different minds. A reviewer should not feel the need to censor themselves or falsify their reviews to please the majority. No. Instead, take these kinds of reviews as analytical feedback.

I don’t know about you but even if I read a few bad reviews and the book sounds interesting to me, I’ll still give it a chance.  As a writer and a book blogger, I feel like I often need to censor my opinion on a piece of writing in fear of being shunned or bullied in online groups. I think it’s unfair. Criticism should be taken in two forms: With a grain of salt, or for improvement. That’s just my two cents here.

Disclaimer: This post is in no way defending book reviewers who leave fake 1 star reviews or spread hatred towards any author. 

A reader should be free to express their thoughts and feelings about a book, whether it be in favor or not. One should not be attacked for having a different take on things. Like I said, one bad review doesn’t make or break a book. Good writing or bad writing does. And it will show eventually. JK Rowling was rejected by publishers. Until this day, there are people who don’t like the HP books. I recently heard someone say Chronicles of Narnia was boring, and that they almost walked out of the movie. There is no greater place for my  imagination as Narnia. So you get my drift?

I’ll leave the post off from here, because I do want to discuss good writing vs storytelling but that’ll need its own post. Also, in relation to this post, I will be discussing Goodreads as a platform for readers and writers alike.

Thanks for reading, and hope you guys an a fantastic Friday and awesome weekend ahead. For my fellow bloggers, how do you deal with leaving negative reviews? Have you ever been bullied?

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

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

 

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

One Year WordPress Anniversary!

Wow, I can’t believe it’s a year already. I had been blogging on other platforms before but it’s been a year since I started using wordpress and working on better content. My blog has taken a different turn since I initially started it. To sum it up, I think I’m a mix between book blogger & and writing tip giver with a touch of parenting.

I just wanted to say thank you for stopping by my blog from time to time and a big HELLO to all of my new subscribers. On a sidenote, I suck at uploading content on my blog but I have good reason. I retreat to my writing corner for days while ignoring the internet.

I’d love to hear what motivates you to blog or what got you started in the first place.

xo Kat

Book Resolutions 2018!

I’m guessing most readers and book bloggers use Goodreads to keep track of their reading. I try to, just to see if I meet my yearly challenge but I often forget to track every book I read. That being said, for 2018 I plan to stick to a realistic reading plan of 4 books per month. I think that’s a good amount based on my free time/schedule.

What are your book challenges like?

So, my book resolutions for 2018 are:

*Read more horror fiction

*Incorporate a few biographies/memoirs

*Read a self-help book or two. I think we all have areas that need improvement.

*Purchase a couple of books on writing. Always need to keep up with my craft😉

Happy reading folks!

Xo Kat

•Leave me a line in the comments if there is a book you’ve loved that I absolutely need to check out🤓

Marry Me at Christmas by Susan Mallory

Synopsis

Madeline, co-owner of Paper Moon, a bridal shop lands a job as a wedding planner. She is to deliver the dress and plan the wedding for Ginger, the sister of Jonny Blaze, a famous action star.

Jonny Blaze, action star has bought a house in a quiet tight-knit town where the people are all smiles and warmth. He wants to plan the most amazing wedding for his younger sister Ginger.

He and Madeline work closely together, butting heads along the way to plan the perfect wedding for Ginger. As sparks begin to fly, Madeline can’t decide is she’s really falling for Jonny Blaze, the man or the star.

My review

I saw a Hallmark movie based on this book, I think. Of course, it’s a more toned down version. Despite knowing how the story progresses, I kept reading. A nice, cozy read to get into for the holidays. I think I gave it a three star rating due to it’s boring dialogue and descriptions in between. Some parts were hard to plough through. The book actually didn’t start kicking in for me until well into it.

Madeline’s character was a bit bland, basic. But it is a hallmark-type holiday romance after all. I would recommend if you’re into chick lit and love the fuzzy feeling a good love story gives you around the holidays.

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