Book Review, Fairytale, Fantasy, Re-Telling

Of Cinder and Madness by Nicole Zoltack

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Kindle Version. 

Short Summary: A dark Cinderella re-telling. Finding her happily-ever-after and falling in love prove difficult for Angelique when her stepdaughter, Eleanore, threatens her life and the lives of her two daughters with dark magic.

My Review: Exciting dark twist to a normally happy story, this book kept me glued to the page from start to finish. Its fast pace makes it a quick read. There wasn’t one time where the narrative slowed or interrupted me. The backstory, the time jumping from past to present and the dialogue were well written and well executed.

This might be one of my new favorite Cinderella stories. I didn’t want it to end, and look forward to reading more from Nicole Zoltack.

I read this book for my own enjoyment.

WIP, Writer, Writing, Writing Blog

“Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt

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“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

I love this quote. It’s one of my favorites.

It’s hard not to compare yourself to others. As a writer, I struggle not to compare myself to published authors. I have to remind myself their books are finished products, while I’m still on my first draft. When I see new authors or friends in the writing community publish their first book, it makes me anxious to finish my WIP (work in progress). This can be motivating or can make you feel defeated, depending on how you let it affect you.

You’re your own worst enemy, not the writing community. Someone else’s success, good reviews, books published, support, etc. is not an intentional jab at your own work. Your self worth isn’t determined by someone else. Self worth is your own opinion and value of yourself. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

I wanted to post some encouragement today because there are hateful people in the world who love to watch others fail, who love to bring people down to boost their own selfish egos. These people are the ones who, at some point in their lives, let the negativity pull them down too. They let themselves fall prey to the trolls and their own jealousy/envy. They ultimately fail to make themselves feel better by trying to pull others down with them. Don’t let them defeat you. There’s nothing wrong with an ego boost now and again, but not at the expense of someone else’s feelings.

I’m not the kind of person who gets defeated easily by what others say. I appreciate constructive feedback and often give it. I take things with a grain of salt, and for my own sanity and peace of mind I block the trolls after giving them a piece of my mind. But some people take criticism hard. They take to heart the negativity, jokes or fake compliments, and it hurts their emotional stability.

Do you really want to be the type of person who breaks another writer’s spirit just because you feel irrationally threatened by them? I hope not.

I’m angry this weekend, for more reasons than one, but after dealing with similar attacks on social media, I’m pretty fed up. I’m sick of seeing petty shit from trolls or other writers, who tag along conversations and tear supportive groups apart. Sadly, creating supportive communities, hashtags and large threads of conversations lure these assholes out of hiding. I have a zero tolerance policy for them, along with the spammy bots who always follow. This is why I never feel bad about un-following, ignoring or blocking people, and you shouldn’t either. You don’t owe them anything. 

To those who dare to be petty enough to spew negativity to anyone I know: I’m not one to sit by and let this shit ruin my life or the lives of great friends and writers in my social community. I won’t hesitate to block your ass and make sure the rest of the writing community knows why I did. Don’t ruin your own reputation by being a dick to someone valued in the community. We all have similar goals and should be supporting each other, not tearing each other down.

To those who’ve been affected by the words or actions of others: Protect the peace of your mind and your heart. Block them. Face them. Have ME face them for you, I won’t hesitate to. Do whatever you need to do to get back your fighting and writing spirit because you’re worth so much more than their time and efforts to pull you down.

I hope this encourages someone today, and hope it gives others something to think about. Reflect on the things you’ve posted, keeping in mind how it will negatively affect someone else, and ask yourself if it’s worth it… Finally, stop comparing yourself to others.

“Comparison is the thief of Joy” – Theodore Roosevelt

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Abuse, ARC, Book Review, Mental Illness

Get In My Head: Jared’s Story by S.M. Holland

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My Rating: 5/5 stars

Short Summary via Goodreads: Abandoned by his family and made to live in a hellish mental hospital, Jared is forced to face the monster within himself. On the outside, he seems like your average teenage boy, but on the inside, his mind is threatening to tear him apart.

My Review: Quick, yet gripping read. I sat down to start this book yesterday after I was given the ARC by the author, and ended up not being able to put it down until I finished it. I love the book cover, the characters, and the tangible frustration and fear the main character feels throughout the entire story.

I was hesitant when the narrative turned into a journal entry. I’ve read too many stories written in diary or letter form, where the story drags on through telling instead of showing, but this story is well written and switches between the narrative and the Jared’s journal pov. There’s not one lag in the pace at all. The tension keeps you locked into the story, even when there are reflective, down moments.

I wasn’t surprised at the twist in this story. But, even being able to predict what would happen didn’t ruin the emotional reaction I had when the main character came to the same realization of events. Some of these events were a surprise, however, making the situation dark and uncomfortable, which I felt kept true to the realistic aspect of treatment many patients unfortunately face.

This book will make you cringe, maybe cry, and make you angry. It’s emotionally gripping until the end. I love how S.M. Holland includes the suicide helpline and other resources for those who may need them. She’s an understanding and loving author, who clearly cares for many who struggling through similar situations, and wouldn’t hesitate to extend a helping hand to those in need.

Thanks for the opportunity to read your new release. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommended this eye opening story to everyone.

 

 

Apocalyptic, Book Review, Dystopia, Horror, Uncategorized, Zombies

Stage 3 by Ken Stark

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My Rating: 5/5 stars

Short Summary: Mason has lost his faith in humanity after a heart-wrenching breakup with Beck. As he returns from vacation, angry and alone, he confronts a world plagued by blindness, the first stage of zombie transformation. Forced from his home, he encounters a young girl, who gives him hope to fight on, for her sake if not his own.

My Warning: Don’t read this before bed, unless you plan on being up all night huddled under the covers in fear. 

I did just that. I don’t regret it at all, but still…I was terrified until the end.

I love zombies, and Ken Stark did a fantastic job of spinning his own horror story. He made Mason, an ultimately dis-likable character, likable. I’m so use to reading and watching zombie stories where the main pov character struggles to cope with the horror in front of them by cowering for the majority of the story before jumping into action and facing it head on. Mason did the opposite, and he’s smart. While he coped with loss and fear in his own way, he’s a strong character, who reacts realistically while also making quick decisions without hesitation. His redeeming qualities shine through as he protects a young blind girl, which makes him a sympathetic, caring character beneath his rough external personality and the internal conflicts he faces.

Spoiler ahead…

My only criticism: The overall point of the story is to show the ongoing struggle they face and the hope slowly slipping away from them, which is evident from how the book ends, but I was still disappointed that the characters didn’t succeed or fail in their main goal. Not meeting the goal is obviously part of the underlying theme of hope here, but still…I was left hanging, and I didn’t like it. It felt incomplete. Minus this disappointment, there were only a few places where the point of view switches in scene, which, for once, I didn’t mind so much. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was emotionally gripping with it’s fast pace. You won’t want to put it down. 

I read this for my own enjoyment, and highly recommend it.

ARC, Beta Read, Book Review, Fantasy, Magic, Paranormal Romance

Water Spell by Lizzy Ford

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My Rating: 5/5 Stars 

ARC: Kindle Unlimited Version

My Short Summary: 

Sela, a powerful water mage, wants to be free. Free of the overwhelming pull of her magic, demanding she submit to the depths of an ancient ocean. Free of her savage protector, Tieran, who she’s bonded to. And, free of the kingdoms and those who would abuse her powers. If she is to survive, to be free, she and Tieran must learn to trust each other, or risk drowning in her magic and the rage of war.

My Review:

Lizzy Ford’s excitement over this book is palpable, and now I know why. Water Spell is an exciting fantasy adventure full of well-rounded characters. I didn’t want this book to end, and I was giddy to read the titles of the next books to come in this series. You’re going to want to add the beautiful hard-copy to your fantasy collection. Lizzy Ford is one of my favorite authors, and her characters are so memorable

I wasn’t sure I’d like Sela or Tieran, but I anticipated a deeper connection between them from the start. Their external display of tension masks their individual internal desires. Both have a clear goal, which becomes harder to reach as magic bonds them together. By the end, I was on the edge of my seat, wondering if their relationship would come together or break apart.
Sela’s need for freedom, to reach the water, made me thirsty. I ached to be in her world, reaching for the seas, the wells, the streams, etc. It made me want to go to the beach! I want to be her, controlling water with magic. This part of the book reminded me so much of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and I loved it.
 
For Lizzy ♥ 
My only critique of this book is on the first chapter. As much as Sela’s previous mage-warrior influences her, I wasn’t captivated by his pov as much as hers. For me, the story didn’t start until Tieran took his oath and Karav left. I liked the tension caused when Tieran finds out his new ward is a woman. But, I didn’t feel Karav’s thoughts and worries over Sela aided me in feeling the bond between mage and warrior.
There is a lot of redundant thoughts from Karav on the Inlanders being barbarians. These descriptions and examples through his pov didn’t help develop Tieran. Tieran’s reactions and behavior toward Sela is enough, as well as her reaction to the people in his land. Experiencing this through Sela is more gripping without Karav’s scene set-up.
The world-building and back-story was overwhelming in chapter one, almost info-dumped. This flows well enough throughout the rest of the book through Sela’s pov, though, and I loved the map!
Thanks for letting me review the ARC of Water Spell! I enjoy reading, reviewing and promoting all of your books.