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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.

 

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☕ Book Break ☕ | The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen

The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen

This one was on my TBR a long time. I think I put off reading it because I gotten a bit tired of World War II fiction.

After her estranged father, Hugo, dies,  Joanna find mysterious letter among his possessions. This lead her on a mission to uncover the mystery. Along the way she learns that her father wasn’t exactly the man she thought he was. 

The story is told in dual timelines. WWII pilot Hugo is shot down over Tuscany while flying a mission. Sofia helps him to stay hidden among the ruins of an old monastery.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read. If you like dual timelines, World War II fiction, and a little bit of mystery, this might be one for you to check out.

Descriptions

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Mystery

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Interesting 

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Characters

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☕ Book Break ☕ | Sugar by Deirdre Riordan Hall

 

Sugar

by Deirdre Riordan Hall

“I lean against the doorframe, heavy with the truth. I am always in the way. I’ve known this for as long as I can remember.”

“I’ve always been too much and yet not enough.”

“I know how to swim, but I feel like I’m drowning.”

I loved this young adult novel. I admit I had a hard time getting into this book at the beginning, but it wasn’t long before I was drawn into the plot. Sugar’s story resonated with me, and I am glad a friend recommended this novel. 

Sugar is a 17-year-old girl with an eating disorder. Home life is fraught with abuse both mental and physical. Sugar is a good girl. She tries with all her might to please her family, but they are never satisfied. She eats to fill the painful void left by rejection.

Other readers have mentioned that the middle of the novel dragged, but I didn’t notice this. I felt the story moved along at a sufficient pace and it kept my interest throughout. It actually kept me awake when I should have gone to bed!

Sugar was a quick read.  Deirdre Riordan Hall’s storytelling style is somewhat straightforward, but the story line and characters were engaging. I found myself rooting for Sugar.

The novel has a satisfactory ending, although tragedy (more tragedy!) does visit Sugar’s world. All the ends tie up nicely without it being too gooey-happy in the end. This is an empowering read for girls going through difficult times. Upon finishing the book, my overall feeling was one of hope. This is a story about rejection, how teens value themselves, and about overcoming.

Sugar’s battles tugged at my heart. This is one I categorize as must read for teens and adults simply because the character spoke volumes to me. It is a deceptively simple tale that delves deep. I found it an emotional read that stuck with me after I turned the last page.

With a caution for younger readers about topics covered, I would highly recommend this book for pre-teens, teens, and adults.

Topics:

Obesity, abuse, abandonment, bullying, assault, attempted rape, contains language, death, mentions of Catholic religion, prayers, rituals.

Deirdre Riordan Hall talks ‘Sugar’ and speaking up against bullies.

Author’s Website

 

 

 

 

Gravity Is the Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty #popsugarreadingchallenge2019

#popsugarreadingchallenge2019

A book published in 2019

Gravity Is the Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty

Abi’s brother, Robert, went missing twenty years ago, on the eve of Abi’s sixteenth birthday. At the same time, Abi began to receive single chapters to a self-help book, The Guidebook, in the mail. The chapters come in no particular order. 

Through the years, the scattered chapters of The Guidebook have remained a constant as Abi grieves her brother, marries, divorces, becomes a single mother, and opens a cafe. Then one day she receives an invitation from the authors of The Guidebook to attend a retreat.

The main character was completely lovable, scattered, and heartbreakingly vulnerable while at the same time being quirky and funny. 

The storyline hops back-and-forth in time I’m about as we get to know her we understand more and more of her emotional pain. I usually prefer books that tell a story in a straight line, however this one unfolded beautifully with a series of alternating scenarios that were amusing and heart rending. Everything ended with a proper resolution without feeling contrived. Abi is on a search to mend her life and find happiness. I loved this character and wished I could visit her cafe. 

The minor characters were all just as memorable as the MC.

The story is set in Australia.

I plan to look for more by this author.

Characters

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Plot

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Thought Provoking

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Touching

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Satisfying

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Fifty Word Fiction Challenge

This month is, as you probably know, Inktober. When I saw an inktober writing challenge, I was in!

I am using the prompts by @hannahrobinson  and sticking with a fifty word limit, although there are many ways to respond to the prompts.

Here are a few of my attempts. At first, I simply responded to the prompt and didn’t try to make it fiction. IT took me a couple of tries, but I liked what I ended up with.

The prompt “swing” made me think of my main character who has a twin on the autism spectrum, because when they were young they would spin in their backyard swing.

“Snow” made me think of a Christmas scene in my Asperger romance/coming of age story.

And “dragon” made Aunt Linda, a character who always has your back.

 

Have you tried your hand at fifty word fiction (or nonfiction)?

 

☕ Book Break ☕ | Just Listen  by Sarah Dessen

Just Listen  by Sarah Dessen

Guys, I think I found my favorite book by Sarah Dessen.

Annabel appears to have the perfect life, at least in the commercials she appears in as her job as a model. Her sister is anorexic. Her former best friend, Sophie, has it in for her. Owen, boy who is obsessed with music and a loner, befriends Annabelle. He has a habit of telling the truth. Annabel has secrets she can’t bring herself to talk about, but he’s not going to let that lie.

I love issue driven fiction and Sara Dessen is good at bringing these topics to light with a well told story. The characters are complex and I felt myself immersed in their lives.

Things aren’t always what they appear to be, and this novel reminds us of that. 

All the stars.

Almost an Author Interview with Watty Winner Brian McBride

My newest blog post at Almost an Author is up. I interviewed Watty Award winner Brian McBride about using wattpad to build an audience. Click here to read.

In the first part of Brian’s interview, we talked more about his books and writing realistic Christian fiction. You can be find that post here.

Brian is already hard at work on another book. I’ll be watching to see what he comes up with next!

 

 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte #popsugarreadingchallenge2019

#popsugarreadingchallenge2019

A book with at least one million ratings on Goodreads

I chose Jane Eyre.

I listened to this book over the weekend. Jane Eyre is a classic for a reason!

As soon as I finished reading it I wanted to talk about it. I love coming back to the old stories. Jane is such a complicated and relatable character, even today. If you haven’t read it in a while, or if you haven’t read it at all, give it a try. It may take a little time for readers of today’s literature to adjust to the older style of writing, but the story is popular because it is so good. 

The more I read it, the more I like it. This was my mother’s favorite book when she was a girl.

Characters

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Tragedy 

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Mystery

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Romance

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Moral Struggle 

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All The Stars

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Have you read this classic? What did you think?