Book Reviews

Lost Girl (Neverwood Chronicles #1) by Chanda Hahn

This book was AMAZING!!! I could not put it down and it easily became my favourite Peter Pan retelling. It is such a unique twist on the story – it is a MUST read. 

The characters were absolutely loveable. Wendy was smart and brave even though she faced great challenges. And Tink…! I was never a huge fan of Tinkerbell, but in this one, she stole my heart. Of course, we can’t forget about Peter. What a darling. 😉 He was a leader, but he was also vulnerable and sweet.  

The writing was enjoyable. There were a few typos here and there, but it was nothing terrible. And the plot totally had me hooked. XD I was in over my head the entire time. Image result for tinkerbell gif

I can’t go without mentioning the ending, though. ARRRGH what a steep cliffhanger! After everything that happened Wendy… Well, I better not spoil it. Haha

Lastly, this was mostly a clean read. There is mention of Tink swearing, but her words are covered by bells that ring at the same frequency as her voice.

So anyway… YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK. It is incredible and it only has 232 reviews on Goodreads! It deserves more than that so please, give it a try.     

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Book Reviews

If I Live by Terri Blackstock

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I read this book so fast I’m not even sure I’m qualified to write a review. But… I’m going to try anyway. Just let me catch my breath.

“This is all so tangled and so impossible, but God did the impossible tonight. He does it all the time. I’m so overcome by it that I can’t formulate an elaborate prayer. I simply whisper, “Thank you.”
― Terri Blackstock, If I Live

What a smashing ending to this series!

The plot of was gripping and fast-paced and I was completely engaged the entire time. Perhaps there could have been a little more development, but that might have dragged things out too long. The writing was similar – it was concise and said what needed to be said. I think this is a talent as much as elaborate, colourful writing is. It’s not easy to write such an impactful novel while keeping things simple.

I loved how realistic Casey’s character was. Over the series, she became stronger, but she also developed a weariness. It’s been weeks since she discovered Brent’s body and since that day, she’s been running for her life. She’s tired. Blackstock did a marvellous job with communicating these emotions. Again, Dylan was supportive and kind. What a sweetheart! However, in terms of the romance, things moved a little too quickly. No spoilers, though, so I’ll leave it at that.

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Author Terri Blackstock

 

This was a clean read in terms of profanity and sex. But there was a lot of violence! At one point, I sat back and thought, “People are dropping like flies, no one’s going to be left at the end!” Thankfully, this wasn’t the case, but there was a significant number of murders.

Despite this, though, it was a well written, nail-biting, breath-stealing, ending to an amazing series. If you haven’t read it, I definitely recommend. If you have, what are your thoughts on the conclusion to If I Run?   

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Ramblings, Uncategorized

Top Ten Reads of 2018

Happy 2019!!

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Looking back at 2018, here are some of my favourite reads.

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The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

This was a magical read! I was completely captivated by each strand that Franklin wove to create this colourful tapestry.

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The Wendy by Erin Michelle Sky and Steven Brown

I was captivated from the very beginning. The authors have a way of writing that enchants the readers and draws them into this colourful, exciting world.Image result for if i run series

If I Run Series by Terri Blackstock (If I Run by Terri Blackstock)

Oh my goodness, this series! So good! I was sitting at the edge of my chair the entire time. Review for books #2 and #3 are coming soon.

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The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork

The world Wallwork immediately established was magical and intriguing.

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Changeling (Sorcery and Society #1) by Molly Harper

I loved this book! It was such a beautiful and captivating story. I can’t wait to read book #2!

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I was immediately sucked in by Morgenstern’s beautiful and descriptive writing style. There was something magical about it, something intricate like a delicate spider web glistening in the morning sun.

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Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell

The first little bit had me wondering if the entire book was going to be so dark. I thought, “There is a good chance I won’t finish this book.” Then Rose escaped the Garden and met Rayce. That’s when I fell in love with the story and a certain character….

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The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

I definitely recommend this book. It was a lovely read and I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series and discovering where Tiki’s journey will lead to next.

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Shadow and Thorn by Kenley Davidson

The first thing that caught me was the writing. To me, it had a certain grace about it which danced with elegant steps across the pages. And it took me by surprise, I had not anticipated such charm when first I turned to “Chapter 1.”

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Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter

This book is a golden little nugget I found while digging through piles of dusty books at my local book fair.

And lastly, the honourable mention goes to…

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Bandaging the Blitz by Phyll Macdonald-Ross & I.D. Roberts

As a book co-written by someone who actually lived through these things, it had a beautiful authentic atmosphere. Each time I picked up this book, it was like I stepped through a portal into the 1940s.

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While I was writing this up, I kept thinking, “Oh, ya! That was such a good book! I should read it again.” Haha. I definitely recommend all of these books. They are amazing and very enjoyable.

Have you read any of these books? Are they on your favourites shelf?

Ramblings, Uncategorized

Top Ten Covers of 2018

Happy New Years Eve!!! 

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Out of all the books I’ve read this year, here are my ten favourite covers!

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The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

Isn’t it magical?!? The story is amazing too! I highly recommend!

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The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork

This is the perfect read for Christmas break!

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Changeling (Sorcery and Society #1) by Molly Harper

This silhouette cover is not extremely elaborate and yet, it is still elegant.

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The Watcher of the Night Sky by Rachel Pudsey

I love the title artwork on this one!

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If I Run by Terri Blackstock

I love how the covers are like a puzzle and make up one picture. The spines do that too.

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Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

I wasn’t a huge fan of this book, but I have to admit, the cover is pretty neat.

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The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

I love the detailing behind the text. It adds a unique and beautiful element to this one.

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Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter

I quite like the black background. It gives this one a sense of mystery. (which fits perfectly with the story.)

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The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Again, not super elaborate, but the blood dripping from the crown… so chilling.

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Thief of Cahraman by Lucy Tempest

 

Wow! That was actually pretty hard! Have you read any of these books? Are any of these covers on your top ten?

Tags

The 10 Question Self-publishing Tag

Happy Monday! Self-publishing was a long journey for me and I thought I would share some of it with you guys through this tag. Hope you enjoy. 🙂

1. What is the title of your debut novel?

Ashes of Glass

Ashes of Glass. It’s a retelling of Cinderella with a few twists.

2. Why did you choose self-publishing?

I think it chose me. I sent queries to a number few agents and heard back from one of them, “While your work has merit, it is not quite a fit for us. With respect and regret, we must decline.” After a while, I wasn’t sure where to go. Do I keep sending out queries? Do I just leave this novel and start writing a new one. During the summer I worked at a u-pick berry farm and met a woman who was a self-published author. She told me about CreateSpace and the royalties a self-published author receives. Prior to this, I didn’t know much about self-publishing so that day I went home and looked into CreateSpace. I was hooked right then and there. I was going to publish my book! Before I did, though, I edited ferociously and laid the foundations so I could begin building a social platform.  Finally in January 2018, I felt it was ready and hit the publish button!

3. What’s your favorite thing about being an indie author?

I can do pretty much whatever I want! I made the cover myself, I designed the inside, I added and removed scenes. But this can also be a pitfall since as the author, it’s sometimes like I’m wearing blinders. Whether the cause is stubbornness or pure ignorance, problems sometimes arise from my desire to be independent.   

4. What’s the hardest thing about being an indie author?

Building a platform and getting reviews. You obviously want people to read your book. That’s why you published it, right? I needed to get myself out there, make a twitter account, get a blog going, review books, join goodreads groups etc. But at the same time, I had to be careful not to spread myself too thin. I couldn’t do everything.   

5. Looking back is there something you would do differently?

Umm maybe get an editor. I would definitely have tried to find some beta readers. Like I said, I love being independent with this all, but it’s really hard. It’s amazing how often I missed things and when I did eventually notice, I was like, “How did I let this happen?”

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6. How important is social media (blog, twitter, goodreads)?

Sooo important! I mentioned this already, but you need a social platform, you need to get yourself out there.

7. Did you hire an editor?

No, I didn’t. Maybe I should have, but it’s quite expensive and if I’m careful, I can probably catch the grammatical errors myself. I will be looking for beta readers for my next book, though. (So if you’re interested… 😉 I’ll hopefully be posting something within the next three months.)  

8. What’s your personal editing process?

First draft I just write, no regrets. Second draft and maybe third draft I read through the manuscript and fish out as many hiccups – grammar, plot, characters etc. Then I use the search on microsoft office to look for words that I shouldn’t use; for example, after, before, when, like, suddenly, slightly, hopefully, really, very, stand, turn, etc. My list is pretty long because I’m picky about it and you should be too. It’s a super important step and helps to clean up your writing. Another thing I do with my manuscript, is put it through a text to audio converter and then listen to it. This is a tedious task, but well worth the effort since it especially reveals awkwardly worded sentences and typos. After this, I print the manuscript and go through it with a red pen. This also is a lot of work, but everything looks different when you see it on real paper. Finally, I design the interior and do all the formatting and hopefully by then, it’s ready to go. 🙂   

9. Will you self-publish your next book?Related image

Yes, definitely. Self-publishing was a lot of work, but it was worth it. Right now I’m about 75% done the 2nd draft and things are already falling into place. (Does that mean I’m getting better or that I’m missing a lot???)  

10. What’s your advice to people who want to self-publish?

Start a blog and review as many books as you can. When you’re in the reviewer mindset, you notice the imperfections and if you’re smart, you’ll learn from them. Reviews on your blog will also get you noticed by other readers interested in the same genres. So when you publish, they’ll be like, “Oh hey, this person likes the same books I do. I should give their book a try.”

Are you veering towards self-publishing? How would you answer these questions?

If you have any other questions for me or want some advice, feel free to comment or shoot me an email. Here is the link to my Contact Page.  

Glossary

Beta Reader: A test reader of an unreleased work of literature or other writing (similar to beta testing in software), giving feedback with the angle of an average reader to the author about remaining issues. A beta-reader is a non-professional reader, so that an uncolored opinion of an average reader can be obtained. Usually, a beta reader will be unpaid. The feedback is used by the writer to iron out remaining overall issues with plot, pacing, and consistency. The beta read also serves as a target audience test to see whether the book has the intended emotional impact and feel. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_reader

Self-publishing: The publication of any book, album, or other media by its author without the involvement of an established publisher.

CreateSpace: Through our services, you can sell books, CDs, and DVDs for a fraction of the cost of traditional manufacturing, while maintaining more control over your materials. We make it simple to distribute your books, music, and video through Internet retail outlets, your own website, and other bookstores, retailers, libraries, and academic institutions. https://www.createspace.com/AboutUs.jsp

 

Book Reviews

Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter

8465337This book is a golden little nugget I found while digging through piles of dusty books at my local book fair.

“What caused the gods to fall upon my family like starved lions in a Roman arena?”

This was such a beautiful read! I was immediately drawn in by the vibrant world the author created. It was so colorful and full of life that I could imagine it all in detail. This was largely due to the writing style which had just the right amount of flourishes; yet, it was not weighed down by extravagant descriptions. It was precise and at the same time stunning!  

One thing I unexpectedly enjoyed, was the time span of the book. It began with Cleopatra Selene at age 7 and progressed till she was 16. This gave me a well-rounded understanding of the princess’s character as well as allowed for a great deal of character growth. Altogether, I found her very strong and determined. Even after she had been in Rome for a long while, she still did not give up on her dream of restoring Egypt’s glory. Now Selene’s brothers were adorable, especially Ptolly (although, he was a bit spoiled).

Lastly, it was a clean read. However, the worshipping of Isis and Egypt’s other gods takes a large place. Also, the characters often use the exclamatory expression, “gods.” I found that it became more prominent near the end of the book than it was at the beginning. An example… “Gods, Juba! I have been taking care of myself for a long time. I do not need your protection.”

Altogether, I definitely recommend this book. It’s gripping as well as elegantly written.

Happy summer

E.J. Hill

 

 

Ramblings

50 Things I Love

Woot woot!!!! I have 50 followers! 😀 😀 😀

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I know, it’s not a lot, but I’m not super active on WordPress so I find it pretty exciting. To celebrate, I thought I would share 50 things that I love. The order might not be 100% accurate, but it’s relatively close. Kind of…

Anyways, here goes!

  1. My Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
  2. My Family
  3. Music
  4. Books (Reading and Writing)
  5. Composing
  6. Singing
  7. Playing violin
  8. Playing piano
  9. Coffee
  10. Tea
  11. Gardening
  12. Baking
  13. Photography
  14. Movie soundtracks
  15. Drawing
  16. Singing Psalms and Hymns
  17. Playing guitar
  18. Vintage books
  19. Indoor plants
  20. Trying new recipes
  21. Baking without a recipe (hehe)
  22. Fruit
  23. Cats
  24. Horses
  25. Trail riding
  26. Receiving a paperback copy of my novel
  27. Telling myself stories
  28. CANADA
  29. Farming
  30. Rainstorms at night
  31. Roses
  32. Live music
  33. Taking nature walks
  34. Reading in the sun
  35. Getting reviews of my novel
  36. Blueberry muffins
  37. Essential oils
  38. Watching movies with my younger brother
  39. Tortilla chips and Salsa  
  40. Quiet mornings
  41. Dogs
  42. Soft blankets
  43. Herbal healing
  44. Butterflies
  45. Pizza
  46. Popcorn
  47. The after-rain smell
  48. Interacting with other authors
  49. Snowflakes
  50. The color purple 

Phew! That was actually harder than I thought it would be. Are any of these on your top 50?

 

Thanks for reading!

E. J. Hill