Light bulb!

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I had a light bulb moment today while thinking about the first chapter of my book. I’ve always had something against writing in first person (don’t ask me why!) but I never really considered it an option. I was trying to figure out my first few lines but it just didn’t flow properly. Then I randomly thought of how it would come out in first person and it worked perfectly… I guess I’m writing in first person! (Wish me luck…)

Book Review: The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius

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The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius
Kristine Barnett
Autobiography

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads
Kristine Barnett’s son Jacob has an IQ higher than Einstein’s, a photographic memory, and he taught himself calculus in two weeks. At nine he started working on an original theory in astrophysics that experts believe may someday put him in line for a Nobel Prize, and at age twelve he became a paid researcher in quantum physics. But the story of Kristine’s journey with Jake is all the more remarkable because his extraordinary mind was almost lost to autism. At age two, when Jake was diagnosed, Kristine was told he might never be able to tie his own shoes.

The Spark is a remarkable memoir of mother and son. Surrounded by “experts” at home and in special ed who tried to focus on Jake’s most basic skills and curtail his distracting interests—moving shadows on the wall, stars, plaid patterns on sofa fabric—Jake made no progress, withdrew more and more into his own world, and eventually stopped talking completely. Kristine knew in her heart that she had to make a change. Against the advice of her husband, Michael, and the developmental specialists, Kristine followed her instincts, pulled Jake out of special ed, and began preparing him for mainstream kindergarten on her own.

Relying on the insights she developed at the daycare center she runs out of the garage in her home, Kristine resolved to follow Jacob’s “spark”—his passionate interests. Why concentrate on what he couldn’t do? Why not focus on what he could? This basic philosophy, along with her belief in the power of ordinary childhood experiences (softball, picnics, s’mores around the campfire) and the importance of play, helped Kristine overcome huge odds.

The Barnetts were not wealthy people, and in addition to financial hardship, Kristine herself faced serious health issues. But through hard work and determination on behalf of Jake and his two younger brothers, as well as an undying faith in their community, friends, and family, Kristine and Michael prevailed. The results were beyond anything anyone could have imagined.

Dramatic, inspiring, and transformative, The Spark is about the power of love and courage in the face of overwhelming obstacles, and the dazzling possibilities that can occur when we learn how to tap the true potential that lies within every child, and in all of us.

Review
This book was amazing! I cannot stop thinking about everything the family went through and how strong Kristine had to be in order to do right by her autistic son. She had to make some very hard decisions but she was very driven by determination. She always put her family first.

Another reason why I love this book is because I am a teacher and I found Kristine’s strategies very useful, not just for autistic children. I will be using them to help children to understand their emotions and how to respond to difficult situations. It has really opened my mind to different methods of teaching.

I do not want to give anything away in this review, but this book made me laugh, it made me cry and, most of all, it made me tell everyone I came across about it. Surely that is exactly what an author wants. I would recommend this book to everyone, though if I had to be specific I would say to teachers, parents, special needs workers and people interested in maths and science.

Officially begun writing!

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So I haven’t stopped thinking about this book idea since my last update and today I finally sat down and started writing it!  I now have a prologue, set 1300 years before the main story.  I also finally decided on the name for my main character and the title of this book! I am calling it The Power of Whispers.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Story Base?!

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So I woke up this morning and had plenty of time on my hands before I had to go to work and so I started staring at the map I made for my world and the family tree of people.  It got me thinking, and my thinking didn’t stop.  Now I think I have an actual base for my new storyline!  I had ideas before but I wasn’t convinced they would be interesting enough, but now I have taken it in a completely different direction, with a different person as my main character who witnesses the other ideas from his perspective instead. I’ve actually gotten a lot done and I’m feeling quite proud!

Review: Reckless Rescue

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Reckless Rescue
Barren Planet #1
Rinelle Grey
Science Fiction – Romance

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads
Stranded on the dying planet of Zerris, Marlee longs for the one thing she can’t have…a family. Due to the noxious gas covering the planet, she can’t conceive a child, and the Council, determined to repopulate the planet, have ended her third—and most precious—relationship. They insist she pick a new mate and try again, but she’s sworn off love and the possibility of ever having a real family.

When a ship from the thriving planet of Urslat crashes on Zerris, Marlee rescues the ship’s daring captain, Tyris. His ship is grounded, winter is setting in, and he won’t survive without help. She offers him a deal…he can live with her if he pretends to be her mate so the Council will leave her alone.

Tyris agrees and a hungry desire sparks between them as they battle the harsh winter and primitive conditions. Their attraction grows, and soon, keeping their distance becomes impossible, even more challenging than the snow, the Council, and, for Marlee, the risks of a real relationship.

Will she risk her heart one last time for a chance at her dream? Or will Tyris be her undoing?

Review
I have been reading quite a lot lately, trying to get back into everything. When I look back over all the books I have read in the last several months, this is the one I keep picking out as my favourite.

It is probably the setting that really captivated me. I loved the imagery of Zerris and how the inhabitants had to come together to ensure their survival. The detail about the different jobs, and the way they were selected for each job seemed well planned, as well as the hardships they went through due to their limited resources. I just love all the work that was put into the background of this story.

Then there is the storyline itself. I enjoyed the building up of the romance, and the internal struggles the characters had to face. I quickly found myself lost in this book and refusing to put it down. What I find unusual though, is that I do not think it was excitement that kept me going. I think it was the way the book was written and how I felt comfortable with the characters.  I just wanted to get to know them more and I wanted to see their happy ending.

I went on to read the next two books in the series, and now I am anxiously waiting for the fourth to be released. While I am not sure I enjoyed them quite as much as the first (there is just something about that original setting!), they still rank highly on my list. Each book has been well timed and I felt happy and satisfied when completing them. They seem to finish nicely while still leaving it open for the next stage of the story, and I really appreciate how this was done.

Rinelle Grey has quickly become one of my favourite authors and she really knows what she is doing when writing a romance story. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the romance genre.

Review: True Calling

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True Calling
True Calling #1
Siobhan Davis
Science Fiction

Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Welcome to Novo: Your new home in Space

For Ariana Skyee, Planet Novo was everything it promised to be until the authorities introduced “The Calling” as their response to repopulation. Now, all seventeen-year-olds are to participate in this Bachelor-style pageant to find their perfect match, marry, and have children.

But that’s not Ariana’s only concern. Thanks to the government-sanctioned memory erase, she has no recollection of Zane, the mystery boy who haunts her dreams. Things are further complicated when the pageant commences and her feelings for fellow Cadet Cal Remus intensify. Together, they start to realize not everything about their new home is as it seems.

Entangled in a dangerous web of deceit, Ariana sets out to identify the truth. Conflicted over warnings that Cal isn’t trustworthy and alarmed at the government’s increasing interest in her, she doesn’t know where to turn. But her search for the truth comes at a high personal price. When her world implodes, discovering the past shapes her future with devastating consequences.

TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS. ONE SHARED DREAM.

Review

Most of True Calling is set in a place that was designed to be better than a destroyed Earth, but perfection comes with a price. I had not read a lot of science fiction when I started this book and so I enjoyed the different concept and reading about the new technology. I also liked the contrast between Novo and Earth.

While reading this book, I found some of the plots to be quite predictable, though there were a few that ended up surprising me. That earned an additional half a star from my rating. Without giving too much away, I appreciated the way that it made me think I was being clever, reading between the lines, and it turned out I was wrong. I can only assume this was intentional, and it was my favourite aspect of this book.

True Calling has a lot of detail in the writing, making it easy to picture what is happening. There is beautiful imagery of the different zones in Novo, as well as the clothing and designs for the pageant. I appreciated the effort that was put into this.

However, I am not sure I agree with the way this book finished. I feel like a little more detail at the end would have been more satisfying, properly ending a chapter in the characters’ lives before book two could start the next chapter. I am still undecided about whether or not to continue the series.

Review: Enchanted Immortals

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Enchanted Immortals
Enchanted Immortals #1
C.J. Pinard
Urban Fantasy

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Thomas never thought he would live this long; he expected the usual lifespan of 60 to 70 years. But one terrifying night in 1946 San Francisco has changed all that; he has now been alive 86 years and still looks 20. He and his associates, Jonathan and Kathryn, have been granted Immortality by a group of sylphs belonging to the Zie Council – lead by their queen, Malina – who possess an elixir called Enchantment. But what they and the rest of the Immortals have to do in order to keep receiving this elixir involves protecting sylphs and humans from the faeworlders – vampires and shapeshifters – who want nothing more than to eat, violate, and kill them. For Jonathan, Thomas, and Kathryn, policing the fae is a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. And the payment is eternally priceless.

Review

I found the world behind Enchanted Immortals to be an interesting setup. There were only a few different races to get used to and their concepts were easy to understand. The sentences were worded so they flowed easily and I had no difficulty trying to work out what the author was trying to portray.

However, I thought the book jumped between present and past too often. I would find myself getting into one part of the storyline only to be sent to a different time to read about something else and having to wait before continuing with the first. I understand that it was an important aspect of the book, revealing different details of the history at later times, but I might have enjoyed it more if it happened less frequently.

In the back of my mind, I had questions about the Zie and the sylph that never got answered. It is possible that they might be discussed in the rest of the series but a little more information in the first book would help to make me feel more involved.

I’m not sure this first book has convinced me to read the rest of them, even with my unanswered questions. While the storyline was interesting, it just was not quite enough to capture me.

Update on my writing..

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Sooo.. during my absence from here, my laptop got fried and I lost all the work I had done on One Note. I think most of it is still stored in my brain somewhere, but I need to flesh out all the details again.. I’ll get there..

I finished my TAFE course a while ago and I’m proud to say I got top marks! 😀

My original plan was to write a trilogy that included the process of how the fantasy race came to be, but now I’m considering a different option (possibly a single book, maybe a trilogy) and then using my original ideas as prequels.

Life in General

So things have been pretty crazy lately! I got a new job as a kindy teacher at the end of 2014.  Then 2015 proved to be a difficult year with issues at this new job, and also wedding planning! I lost touch with updating this blog and just writing in general.

I got married last month, and the issues at work are getting sorted out.  Things are a lot easier now, and looking on the up side!  Looking forward to getting back into things 🙂

Review: The Belgariad

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The Belgariad (Series)
> Pawn of Prophecy
> Queen of Sorcery
> Magician’s Gambit
> Castle of Wizardry
> Enchanters’ End Game
David Eddings
Epic Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5

Pawn of Prophecy synopsis from Goodreads

Long ago, the Storyteller claimed, in this first book of THE BELGARIAD, the evil god Torak drove men and Gods to war. But Belgarath the Sorcerer led men to reclaim the Orb that protected men of the West. So long as it lay at Riva, the prophecy went, men would be safe.

But Garion did not believe in such stories. Brought up on a quiet farm by his Aunt Pol, how could he know that the Apostate planned to wake dread Torak, or that he would be led on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger by those he loved–but did not know…?

Review

I decided to rate all the books of this series together because I love them all almost equally. I would give each book four and a half stars, except the last one I would only give four stars, which I will explain shortly.

I found myself addicted to reading these books as soon as I picked up the first one. The story is very interesting and it is presented in a way that you do not feel satisfied putting down an incomplete book. This was unusual for me at the time because I had hardly been reading at all for several years.

I particularly enjoyed the way storytelling was used as a way for characters to explain moments in history. I thought it gave the story more depth and it was used well at appropriate times.

The use of magic was interesting and complex, but it was not too complicated to understand. It is clear that David Eddings put a lot of thought into creating the world and how it worked.

The relationships within the series were diverse and realistic. Getting to know each character and their thoughts towards others was an easy task and I soon found myself predicting how one would reply to a situation. This made me feel like I really understood the characters.

I also liked the way that the books were focused on one or two characters. This meant that I could really connect with those characters and understand their frustrations when information was kept from them. I noticed that this changed towards the end of the series though, especially in the last book. That is why I would only give Enchanters’ End Game four stars. The focus changed multiple times, using several different characters, which interrupted the flow of the story.

That is my only real negative comment on this series though. Since I had not read any other books for a while before this, I think David Eddings has set my standards quite high.