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One of my favorite places to be is in a book. I read a wide variety. Books are food for the mind and soul, and I cannot seem to restrict myself to one genre.

My novel writing, on the other hand, is focused on young adult contemporary novels and novels for the general market.

Every week I blog about books I’m reading. I usually post an author interview, news from my bookish friends, or writing related updates about once a month.

About My Novel Writing

I tend to write about people who are facing tough times. I’ve written about grief, eating disorders, abandonment, and other difficult issues. There isn’t always a romantic element, but when there is the romances are sweet. Endings aren’t sugar coated, but I always strive to leave my readers with a sense of hope. No graphic language, sex, or violence, just plenty of heart tugging emotion and laughing. My fiction has a slight to rich southern flavor, depending on the book. I have two books featuring a character on the autism spectrum. I am currently seeking representation while I continue to work on my craft.

I spend most of my writing time working on my novels, but I blog here and on my homeschool blog, Undaunted Homeschool.

You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

 

☕ Book Break ☕ | Girls in the Moon by Janet McNally

Girls in the Moon by Janet McNally

“But this is who I am: the daughter of two people who could make a band work for a while, but couldn’t make the family work for more than a few years.”

The story alternates between Phoebe, in current day New York visiting her sister Luna, and Meg, Phoebe’s mother and former rock star.

First person present done right. I was halfway into the book before I noticed.

Beautiful, introspective moments do not slow the narrative. Skillfully written. I heard it showed the author was a poet, but to me it simply feels like good writing. The prose is easy to dive into and the story unfolds naturally. Not too literary. It hit the right balance for me.

Girls in The Moon was never boring. When I read this novel, I was sick and kept falling asleep while listening. Normally, when that happens, I try to find where I left off because I hate relistening. I can skip ahead and figure the story out. I am an extremely picky and impatient reader, giving a book a scant four pages at most to draw me in before I move on. With Girls in The Moon I was satisfied to back up, more concerned with missing something than I usually am and happy to go over the chapters again.

I will read anything this author writes and am interested to see what she comes up with next. 

Complicated Family Dynamics 

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Dual Timeline

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Lyrical Prose

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Music Culture

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Coming of Age

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Thoughtful

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☕ Book Break ☕ | Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

This book wasn’t what I was expecting from the title. There is a prince, and there’s a love story, but there’s also danger, family loyalty, and friendships.

I loved this story. It had a wonderful fairytale vibe, but felt very grounded. The main character is a spunky, smart, resourceful girl. I love all the positive messages in this book. It was very entertaining. Magical.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would not hesitate to recommend it for all ages.

A great read. Newbery book.

 

Interesting Setting 

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Wonderful Ending 

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Hint of “Magic”

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Coming of Age

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Positive Messages 

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☕ Book Break ☕ | Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones

“You’re a teenager. It’s all complicated.”

Where You’ll Find Me

by Jenny B. Jones

Finley is spending part of her school year as an exchange student to Ireland. There she meets teen movie idol Beckett. Formally, Finley had a few escapades, but she cleaned up her act. She does not want to be paired with a heart throb or revisit the party scene.

She has a goal. Her older brother, who passed away, once visited Ireland and she is retracing his steps. Finley has a music competition coming up and feels that she needs to reconnect with her brother’s past in order to finish writing her song.

When I started reading, I did not realize there was an element of an eating disorder. The unfolding of the story line was flawless. Sensitively done. Explores topics of faith, grief, and a slide into eating disorders, as well as forgiveness.

I loved all the layers in this book.

Faith is woven throughout as are the doubts and the complicated feelings of a teenager. There are no pat answers in this book. It doesn’t shy away from difficult to write about topics.

Christian fiction.

Recommend 

Carol Award Winner

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Relevant

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Compelling Characters

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LSUS Exhibit Art and Writing Collaboration

 

My flash fiction piece, One of the Team, was paired with art in a collaboration with The Shreveport Art Club for an exhibition. The display will be open to the public for viewing in the LSUS University Center Gallery in Shreveport until February 28th.

The painting is by Joan Cole.

 

One of the Team

by Donna Jo Stone

 

His sweaty hands grasp the bat. The band of his cap itches. He ignores it and concentrates on the ball.

He swings.

Whack.

It’s a hit!

His eyes widen as he tracks the ball’s arc. The bat slides from his grip, the gentle landing thump lost in the rush filling his ears with each beat of his red-blooded heart.

Run to first base.

He hears nothing, sees nothing but the white triangle. No one tags him. Should he stop? His feet keep running and the rest of him follows.

Pound, pound, pound.

A cloud of fine red dirt rises up to baptize his virgin white cross-trainers. Dust flies. So does he.

Safe!

At home plate he leans over, hands on knees, panting.

All at once, the volume comes back on. The yelling is not happy.

“Wrong way!” a boy shouts. “You went the wrong way!”

It’s hard to tell which teammate he is. They all wear red shirts. The boy’s mouth and eyebrows are mad.

Coach comes near, saying something.

“Look at me.”

He tries to make eye contact, but the angry face pushes him away. He looks hard at Coach’s middle.

“Look,” Coach says.

Look?

“First base is that way.” Coach points. “You should know that by now.”

The team clusters on the sideline, distancing themselves from the loser.

Game over.

In his room, he sits on the floor. There is a file box in his mind where he keeps all the facts. These are today’s facts.

Fact #1 He went the wrong way.

Fact #2 First base is to the right.

Fact #3 He should know this.

When the mother finds him, he is rhythmically banging his head against the wall, repeating a mantra.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Beside him, on the floor, lays a dirty red baseball cap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

☕ Book Break ☕ | Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

Caden Bosch is a high school student who loves art. He is also schizophrenic. 

Caden’s story alternates between his journey on a ship, and his time in the familiar world. He has to choose which to stay in and who to trust.

Wow. Just, wow.

In the beginning, the book starts out in a disjointed way, illustrating the narrator’s difficulty with reality as he begins to struggle with the symptoms of schizophrenia. I have a tendency to not read book descriptions or reviews before I crack open a new story, so  it left me off balanced, which I think was the point of the book being written this way. Even so, it didn’t take me long to catch on, although I didn’t know exactly what mental health issues he was dealing with.

This is a character driven book and very emotional. Heartbreaking, sensitive, and frightening, this is an enlightening novel. A must read.

It reminded me a little bit of I Am the Cheese, one of my favorite books when I was in junior high.

There is one statement about God that struck me wrong, yet fits in with the internal dialogue of the narrator. 

National Book Award and Golden Kite Winner

The author drew on his experience with his son to write this novel.

Recommended

All the stars.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

☕ Book Break ☕ | The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais

The Silence Between Us

by Alison Gervais

This was a quick read for me. 

Be forewarned! This is a hard book to put down. 

Deaf teenager Maya is starting a new school. It’s the first time she’s gone to a hearing school. She must adjust to this new environment. 

I chose this one because I was looking for a clean, young adult romance. This novel has a romantic element, but it’s also a coming of age. Maya is challenged to consider her identity and her attitudes. 

I love this story. 

Go get it!

Good Storytelling 

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Satisfying Ending

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Engaging 

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Great Character

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