Posted in The Ponderings of Life, Words Upon Words

The War Within: Proof Ordered!

Good morning, everyone!

Since announcing that I have begun the self-publishing process for The War Within about a week and a half ago, I’m ecstatic to update you on the latest developments! About 10 days ago, my sister, Sandrine, finished painting the absolutely gorgeous cover. It came out even better than I was anticipating! (Keep reading for a cover reveal!) I finished touching up the manuscript a few days ago and let it sit before scanning it again yesterday. After one last look, I uploaded the cover and manuscript on KDP and just like that, I was ready to order the proof!

The proof copy should arrive this Saturday at which time I will flip through it and make sure everything looks the way it’s supposed to. Needless to say, my original release date of Tuesday, March 31st, is tentatively rescheduled to Sunday, April 5th. Regardless, it should be available for purchase on Amazon by this weekend–what a crazy thought!

After I ordered the proof last night, we went on a walk around the neighborhood (something we’ve been trying to do every day since Quarantine began a couple weeks ago), and as we walked, I realized that within a week, my book will be published. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. For the first time in over 4 years, I’m self-publishing again! It’s been a long, arduous process with lots of breaks in between to focus on school, but at last, the day is almost here! I truly think The War Within is probably the best story I’ve ever written and because of this, I cannot wait to share it with everyone and hear their thoughts!

With these types of things, the work is hard, but the reward is great. There’s nothing like holding your own words in your hands…I suppose it’s a glimpse to what holding your newborn baby is like. But maybe that’s stretching it. 😉

Last, but not least, before I finish this post, I want to reveal the amazing cover Sandrine painted for me…

The War Within - Cover Final

Ta-da! Isn’t it beautiful?! ❤

Hopefully the next time I blog, it’ll be the official announcement of The War Within  being available to order on Amazon!!!

Good afternoon, readers!

Goodness, it’s been WAY TOO LONG since I last blogged! I’m ashamed to say I don’t think I’ve blogged since September or October…? But there are so many exciting things happening over here that you will definitely see me blogging more this winter/spring!

I’m interrupting my hiatus to share a giveaway for a book that I’ve been tracking for almost two years! KaylaAnn commented on one of my first reviews on Literature Approved (the one on the Hunger Games trilogy, of course 😉 ) way back when and we’ve been following each other’s blogs ever since. Last year she read and reviewed one of my novels, Everlasting, which was so kind of her to do within her busy schedule! I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of her debut book (a look into the psychology behind Suzanne Collin’s amazing characters) and I can’t believe it’s finally being published this month!

And she’s hosting a giveaway! So, go follow a fellow writer/blogger and enter this giveaway for her new book! You won’t regret it! 🙂

Have you read Suzanne Collins famous trilogy The Hunger Games? Have you perhaps only seen the movies? Have you rooted for Katniss, argued over Peeta vs. Gales, fallen in love with Finnick? Have you often drawn parallels between the society of Panem and our own in which you feel unable to exercise your own sense of […]

via Agency in the Hunger Games BOOK GIVEAWAY! ($40 Value) — KaylaAnn

Sharing: Agency in the Hunger Games BOOK GIVEAWAY! ($40 Value) — KaylaAnn

Posted in Book Reviews

Highlight: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Another book review is up on Literature Approved! This is one of my favorite books I read over the summer. I finished it during our relaxing beach vacation. Those of you who haven’t read it yet…go read it! It’s life changing–if you let it be.

Two years ago I wrote a short story that took place during the Civil War for a contest. In it I wanted to challenge the perspectives and worldviews of both the Confederacy and the Union, the blacks and the whites. I didn’t feel like there were enough conversations happening where we brought to light the right and wrong of both sides. Well, I might have felt differently if I’d read The Help sooner.

I went into The Help expecting to learn about what it was like being a black maid in the 1960s. And I was genuinely curious to find out. It’s one thing to learn about the Civil Rights movement in a textbook, but another to read a book written in the perspective of these women, learning what it was like first-hand. Let’s just say it delivered.

I felt like I was really there—feeling the heat of the Mississippi sun and the burn of the horrible comments they received from their employers. It was strange to observe the white women these black maids (Aibileen and Minny) worked for. On the one hand, they spoke to them politely, but on the other hand, they treated them like some other species carrying a disease. And yet, these interactions were still within the realm of my expectations.

Click here to read the rest of my review!

Contributor Reviewer

Posted in Book Reviews

Mini Book Reviews of 2018 – Part One

“It’s not for us to choose our times, Jacob. But we must be ready when they come.”
-The Auschwitz Escape

Hello fellow readers!

It’s been a hot minute since I last blogged, so I thought I’d start it up again with a revamped version of something I’ve been doing for a while now. Since 2015, I’ve been writing a compilation of mini reviews of all the books I read per year, usually in sets of 5. I’m always about 1 year behind on these, but I love writing them and giving you guys a glimpse into what I’ve been reading and what I think of them. But I didn’t really like the name I had for them (First Five Books of 2017, Second Five Books of 2017, etc.). So as I start writing about the books I read last year, I thought this was a good opportunity to change the name!

So, as you’ve seen from the title of this blog post already, the new name is: Mini Books Reviews of 20__ Part __! I think this title is more concise, easier to say and easier to work with! So without further ado…here are my first five mini reviews of 2018!

*SPOILER!* I may include some of the book’s plot/content in my reviews for them, so if you haven’t read one or more of these yet and want to read it without spoilers, then you can just skip down. *

  1. Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren – This book was an interesting take on the time-travel romance from the YA perspective. When Gabi and Lia were transported to 16th century Italy, I felt transported, too. I loved Bergren’s descriptions of Italy’s countryside and the Italian architecture. The plot moved swiftly, though there was little conflict until the climax of the novel. I enjoyed Gabi’s character, but didn’t love the romance she had with Marcello. Overall, I enjoyed their conversations, but felt like the actual interactions they had and the corresponding feelings they felt were a little forced. To be in love as much as they were would take a little more than just the outward attraction they had for each other. So I enjoyed the unique setting and Bergren did a great job with the vocabulary of the 16th century Italian characters, but it wasn’t very deep.
  2. * Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling – I enjoyed this book much more than the first one. I think this one made me laugh the most out of all the books in the series (except for Order of the Phoenix) because Ron had so many good one-liners. I loved the climax and twists at the end and was much more intrigued to read the third than I had been to read the second. Click here to read my full review on the entire series!
  3. * The Auschwitz Escape by Joel C. Rosenberg – A coworker lent this to me and I really enjoyed it! It was hard to read at times, but I learned so much through it. I think it’s super important to read about hard times in history so we fully realize the atrocities committed back then and can be able to raise awareness to others. There are so many people who turn a blind eye to horrible things that happened in history and that’s just not acceptable. I loved Jacob and Luc and the partnership they established in order to escape. And the detail upon detail of their plan to escape was also so fascinating. I will say that my one complaint was that there wasn’t a lot of emotion in the actual main character’s thoughts, but I think Rosenberg made up for that in the accuracy of the setting and events of Auschwitz. Throughout the novel, Jacob wrestles with his faith. Though he was put in Auschwitz as a Jew, he hadn’t really practiced Judaism growing up and his faith was shaky. By the end, his relationship with and trust in God is strengthened, but I’ll admit, I felt sad. Without Jesus, his life and even his “relationship” with God held very little hope and meaning. I wished so much that he could find that. After finishing it, I was surprised to learn that The Auschwitz Escape was based on a true story. It made the novel that much more impactful for me.
  4. Moral Philosophy: Theories and Issues by Emmett Barcalow – I read this for my Ethics of America class for school. It was very straightforward, with some helpful examples, but besides that, super boring to read.
  5. CLEP American Literature by Jacob Stratman – I read this to study for the American Literature CLEP exam. Most CLEP textbooks are snore-worthy, but this was one of the few where I felt like it was written by a person and not a robot. Stratman seemed really passionate about American Literature and really brought the authors to life with his descriptions.

* Books that I highly recommend have a * next to them

Posted in Book Reviews

Final Five Books of 2017

If you had hope, maybe you could find a way to make things change. Because if you thought about it, there were so many reasons to try.
-Gregor and the Code of Claw
Sooooo it’s been a hot minute since I posted one of these, but now that I’ve FINALLY posted my all-inclusive series review on Harry Potter, I feel free to make these posts again. Enjoy!

*SPOILER!* I may include some of the book’s plot/content in my reviews for them, so if you haven’t read one or more of these yet and want to read it without spoilers, then you can just skip down. *

11. * Gregor and the Code of Claw by Suzanne Collins – The final and best novel in the Underland Chronicles. I read this during our first week-long vacation to Holden Beach, so I have some pretty fond memories of feeling the feels while water lapped at my feet, sand in between my toes. Gregor is just such an amazing, three-dimensional, heroic and compassionate character. It was hard to say goodbye to him! Click here to read my official review on this series as a whole.

12. * The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson – This is a classic in our family. We listen to the audiobook every couple of years just to have a good laugh. One thing I noticed in this most recent listen is how heartwarming the story is, as well as hilarious. And how the main character, by seeing the Christmas Story through the fresh eyes of the Herdmans, gets a new appreciation for Jesus’ birth, too. I think we all need a reminder every once in a while of just how amazing and special it is that our God would come down to us in the form of a baby, placed in a manger.

13. * Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – I finally read Harry Potter for the first time! I read this one over Christmas break. It wasn’t nearly as exciting as I thought it would be, so at first I was disappointed and a little bored by the slow pace, but I enjoyed the climax and resolution enough to decide to continue. SO glad I did! Click here to read my review on the series as a whole.

* Books that I highly recommend have a * next to them