Becoming Someone By Anne Goodwin [Book Review – Blog Tour]

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Book Review: Becoming Somone by Anne Goodwin | Blog Tour | Short Story Anthology | Fiction | Book Blogging | RachelPoli.com

I received an ARC from the author.

Summary:

What shapes the way we see ourselves?

An administrator is forced into early retirement; a busy doctor needs a break. A girl discovers her sexuality; an older man explores a new direction for his. An estate agent seeks adventure beyond marriage; a photojournalist retreats from an overwhelming world. A woman reduces her carbon footprint; a woman embarks on a transatlantic affair. A widow refuses to let her past trauma become public property; another marks her husband’s passing in style.

Thought-provoking, playful and poignant, these 42 short stories address identity from different angles, examining the characters’ sense of self at various points in their lives. What does it mean to be a partner, parent, child, sibling, friend? How important is work, culture, race, religion, nationality, class? Does our body, sexuality, gender or age determine who we are?

Is identity a given or can we choose the someone we become?

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comI absolutely love the cover. The colors are so pretty together, the font of the title is simple but makes itself known, and the birds have a sense of symbolism to them. This cover was well done.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comI enjoy short story collections. I love seeing different perspectives from different characters and this was no different. I’ve enjoyed Anne Goodwin’s work in the past and didn’t want to pass up this opportunity to read her latest.

Plot | RachelPoli.comThe plots vary from story to story and they’re very different from one another. There are a few that have similar themes, but each story is unique from the one before it and they were all interesting backgrounds.

Characters | RachelPoli.comAs the title and summary suggests, each of these stories showcase the characters “becoming someone.” Everyone goes through their own struggles and battles and we all have good times and bad times. The characters in these stories had their own troubles to deal with and life kept moving on for them. Some were easier to get through than others, but the characters were becoming their own within their short tales.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This is a collection of 42 short stories and no two are the same. The writing style for each differed as well, depending on the character. The POV varied and there was even one story where the narrator spoke in first person and wouldn’t give their name. It kept the book interesting and made me wonder what sort of story and character would await me on the next page. Overall, they were all well written.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis book is well written and is a good length at nearly 300 pages. There are definitely some stories that I enjoyed more than others, but they were all an experience nonetheless.

Becoming Someone by Anne Goodwin gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Loitering with a raspberry milk-shake in yet another coffee-bar, she was afforded multiple glimpses of men with flowing golden curls, but none adorning the head of her prince charming.” -Anne Goodwin, Becoming Someone

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Anne Goodwin

Anne Goodwin’s debut novel, Sugar and Snails was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Her second novel, Underneath, was published in 2017. Alongside her identity as a writer, she’ll admit to being a sociable introvert; recovering psychologist; voracious reader; slug slayer; struggling soprano; and tramper of moors.

Website | Twitter | Amazon Author Page | Amazon Inspired Quill Page | Facebook Book Launch

Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin | Blog Tour | Book Review | Becoming Someone | RachelPoli.comCheck out Sugar and Snails: My debut novel is discounted to 99p or equivalent (Kindle version) throughout November viewbook.at/SugarandSnails

Blog Tour | Becoming Somone by Anne Goodwin | Book Blogging | Book Review | Short Story Collection | RachelPoli.com

Interested in this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Kill The Beast (Beast Hunters 1) By Michele Israel Harper [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Kill The Beast by Michele Israel Harper | Fairy-tale retelling | Reading | Book Blogger | Blogging | ARC Book Review | Blog Tour | RachelPoli.com

I received a free digital ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Ro remembers the castle before. Before the gates closed. Before silence overtook the kingdom. Before the castle disappeared. Now it shimmers to life one night a year, seen by her alone.

Once a lady, now a huntress, Ro does what it takes to survive–just like the rest of the kingdom plunged into despair never before known.

But a beast has overtaken the castle. A beast that killed the prince and holds the castle and kingdom captive in his cruel power. A beast Ro has been hired to kill.

Thankful the mystery of the prince’s disappearance has been solved, furious the magical creature has killed her hero, Ro eagerly accepts the job to end him.

But things are not as they seem.

Trapped in the castle, a prisoner alongside the beast, Ro wonders what she should fear most: the beast, the magic that holds them both captive, or the one who hired her to kill the beast.

A Beauty and the Beast retelling.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comI like the book cover. It’s realistic. The colors match the tone of the book and it’s fairly simple. However, at first glance before I realized it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling, I thought this was going to be Little Red Riding Hood hunting the wolf.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comIf you’ve been following my blog for long, you’ll know that I love my fair share of fairy tale retellings. So, I wasn’t going to say no to this one.

Plot | RachelPoli.comI found this one to be an interesting take on Beauty and the Beast. Rosette – or Ro for short – is a huntress who is hired to kill the beast. As a retelling, it’s easy to assume what the ending will be like. However, there are a lot of twists, turns, and lore packed into this one. It was darker than most but very well done and unique.

Characters | RachelPoli.comWhile the story itself was good, I had a hard time clicking with the characters. I had a hard time caring about Ro’s family and her sister Cosette mostly because we don’t see them much until later. So I just had to take Ro’s word for it and I didn’t click with Ro, so I didn’t really care too much about what her goals were.

The characters were very different from one another and had their own voices, though they developed kind of fast. I had a hard time connecting with Ro because of this.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

The author does a great job getting the story across the page. It’s well written, easy and fun to read, and it’s overall just a great story. However, it’s almost 500 pages long and I didn’t feel as though the story really got started until halfway through. The description and dialogue were both great, but I felt there was a lot of filler that might not have been needed.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis was a good read. I’ll admit, it wasn’t my favorite, but it was a good retelling. The characters were interesting, it was written well, and the plot was unique. I’ll be interested in reading the sequel.

Kill The Beast (Beast Hunters 1) by Michele Israel Harper gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“She almost matched him growl for growl.” -Michele Israel Harper, Kill The Beast (Beast Hunters 1)

About Michele Israel Harper:

Michele Israel Harper spends her days as a work-at-home mom and her nights typing away  furiously on her laptop. Sleep? Sometimes… She has her Bachelor of Arts in history, is  slightly obsessed with all things French—including Jeanne d’Arc and La Belle et la Bête— and loves curling up with a good book more than just about anything else. Author of  Wisdom & Folly: Sisters, Zombie Takeover, Beast Hunter, and Kill the Beast, Michele prays her  involvement in writing, editing, and publishing will touch many lives in the years to come.

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Google+ | Goodreads | Amazon

Preorder the book, out September 25, 2018:

Amazon | Barnes & NobleLove2ReadLove2Write Publishing

Release Party:

Facebook – Thursday, September 27, 2018, 8-10 PM EST
Book Signing – Irvington Vinyl & Books, Indianapolis, IN, Saturday, September 29, 2018

What do you think of this book? Does it pique your interest? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Sabbath By Yecheilyah Ysrayl [I Am Soul Blog Tour – Guest Post]

It’s my pleasure to welcome Yecheilyah Ysrayl to my blog for the I Am Soul Blog Tour!

I am Soul by Yecheilyah Ysrayl | Poetry | Blog Tour | Blogging | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.com

I just wanna turn off my brain.
Not completely, just enough to gather my breath
and lay it at the head of the bed.
A temporary moment to which renewal finds itself,
Back to my pillow
to which I may die,
And in the same second be reborn.
I want my eyes to bow in submission to my bones,
And my soul to fall slowly to the contours of this mattress.
And for a second pretend that the world has dissolved around me.
For a second, for just a moment, let me lay my body
at the foot of sleep’s doorstep,
Pretend to swim with the clouds,
And at the same moment,
taste of rejuvenation’s delicacies.

About Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Yecheilyah Ysrayl | I Am Soul Author | Blog Tour | Book Blogger | Blogging | RachelPoli.comYecheilyah (e-SEE-li-yah, affectionately nicknamed EC) is an Author, Blogger, and Poet and lives in Marietta, GA with her wonderful husband. She has been writing poetry since she was twelve years old and joined the UMOJA Poetry Society in High School where she learned to perfect her craft. In 2010, at 23 years-old, Yecheilyah published her first collection of poetry and in 2014, founded Literary Korner Publishing and The PBS blog where she enjoys helping other authors through her blog interviews and book reviews. The PBS Blog has been named among Reedsy’s Best Book Review blogs of 2017 and 2018 and has helped many authors in their writing journey. I am Soul is her fourth collection of poetry.

Fun Facts about Yecheilyah:

  • She loves to laugh, and her favorite comedy TV show is Blackish
  • She is originally from Chicago, IL
  • She’s been married to her husband 8 years, together for 11 years
  • She believes eggs makes everything better
  • She is a twin
  • She is addicted to reading and new notebooks
  • Her favorite desert is ice cream

Author Website | Blog | AmazonAmazon Author Central | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

I am Soul is now available on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Scribd. Click Here to choose your retailer.

Greenbriar Mall
The Medu Bookstore
2841 Greenbriar Pkwy SW
Atlanta, GA 30331

I am Soul Blog Tour | Yecheilyah Ysrayl | Poetry | Blogging | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.com

Have you read I Am Soul yet? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Jozi Flash 2017 By South African Authors [Book Review – Blog Tour]

Jozi Flash 2017 Blog Tour | Flash Fiction | Anthology | Blogging | Books | RachelPoli.com

I’ve had the pleasure of hosting and participating in the Jozi Flash 2017 Blog Tour! This is a different review than most since it’s a flash fiction collection there’s no set plot or character cast.

Book Review: Jozi Flash 2017 by South African Authors | Flash Fiction | Anthology | Blog Tour | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

I received a free digital copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

It’s not quite the Gummi Bears, but it certainly bounces around a lot.

Jozi Flash 2017 combines the talents of ten brilliant authors with one gifted artist, to bring you a collection of 80 flash fiction stories across eight different genres.

From a children’s story about the folly of summoning dragons, to the horrors held in deliciously treacherous ice cream, the authors take you on journeys that weave fantasy and folklore together alongside practical detectives and everyday tragedy.

With stunning artwork prompts by Nico Venter, these South African authors have created an anthology that will leave you breathless.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

I was immediately drawn in by the cover. The colors seem to shine right off the picture and I think they go well together. Plus, the idea of showing off the genres as “books” on a shelf is a nice touch.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I read the first Jozi Flash collection last year and was excited to hear they came out another one. I was eager to give it a read.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This is a flash fiction anthology so there’s no steady plot. Each author wrote a flash piece in each of the 8 genres presented in the book. Each genre had it’s own illustration and prompt that the authors needed to us for their story in that particular genre.

Each story is short and sweet (for the most part, depending on the genre). Even though each short shared the genre, prompt, and picture in common, each one was vastly different than the one before it. It was a great variety of quick reads.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This was refreshing to read. It’s nice to bounce around the various genres. The book is about 160 pages long so it’s a great quick read – one you can pick up whenever you’re in the mood for a certain genre.

Jozi Flash 2017 by South African Authors gets…
Book Review Rating System | 5 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com5 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“She pulled the trigger anyway. The click was as hollow as her hopes.” -Nthato Morakobi, Jozi Flash 2017

Download the book:

Chasing Dreams Publishing

About the Authors & Artist

Ten talented authors and one gifted artist joined forces to create an anthology of flash fiction stories that embody the multicultural melting pot that is South Africa.

For more info on the individual authors, take a look at their author pages here.

International Giveaway

Win free copies of eBooks by three Jozi Flash 2017 authors:

Beneath the Wax by Nthato Morakabi

1723: Constantine Bourgeois is a man of many secrets. Artisan by day, killer by night, he turns his victims into wax figures for his shop.

2045: Richard Baines works for the renowned Anthony Garfield Historical Museum. His mundane existence is a stark counterpoint to his fascination with serial killers and science fiction.

Constantine’s nightmares drive him to undertake a journey to uncover a long-forgotten secret. Richard’s research uncovers a company secret and the mystery of Madame Bourgeois.

Two men, two timelines, and truths that will only be revealed when they look Beneath the Wax

Dim Mirrors by Carin Marais

Dim Mirrors is a collection of 39 flash fiction stories that open windows into worlds of fantasy and nightmare. Interwoven with images from mythology and folklore are the themes of love, loss, and memory. The comical “Not According to Plan” leads to more serious and introspective works like “Blue Ribbons” and “The Destroyer of Worlds”, while mythology and folkloric elements come together in stories like “The Souls of Trees” and “Ariadne’s Freedom”. 

Sketches by Nicolette Stephens

Like art sketches, flash fiction stories are fleeting moments captured in a few hundred words.

In a world without men, the first boy child is welcomed as the saviour of his race; a cuckoo clock holds death and destruction in its beautifully carved figures; and a snowman holds a silent vigil of peace during war.

In this collection of 50 stories, illustrated with her artwork, the author delves into worlds of imagination and reality inspired by words and drawings.

Jozi Flash 2017 Blog Tour Giveaway | Ebooks | Reading | Book Review | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Enter Here.

Jozi Flash 2017 Blog Tour | Flash Fiction | Anthology | Reading | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Jozi Flash 2017 Blog Tour [Guest Post]

Jozi Flash 2017 Blog Tour | Flash Fiction | Anthology | Blogging | Books | RachelPoli.com

This week is a special week as I help host a blog tour for Jozi Flash 2017 by South African Authors! Joining me today is Nicolette Stephens, one of the authors of this flash fiction anthology as well as the publisher from Chasing Dreams Publishing. She wrote a guest post to promote the book for Galit over at Coffee ‘N’ Notes. Unfortunately, Galit was unable to participate as something came up so I’ve taken it upon myself to publish the post. Please be sure to check out Galit’s blog though as she’s a wonderful writer and lovely person!

Please help me welcome Nicolette!

Conception – Pulling Ideas out of Thin Air

I’ve been working on a series of writing exercises, and I’d like to take this opportunity to share the first in the series I’m calling “Quarks”.

Quark (noun: a theoretical subatomic particle.)

In physics, quarks are contemplated as being the building blocks of hadrons. Now, physics doesn’t really have much to do with creative writing, but quark is a great word to describe all the little bits and pieces that go into creating stories. Whether it’s flash fiction, poetry, novels or plays, telling a tale requires certain elements to complete it. Quarks take these elements and explore them in bite-sized chunks that, when put together, help you to understand and build a story from conception, to the end.

In this guest post for Coffee n Notes, you’ll find some exercises for finding inspiration from the world around you and crafting stories even when you don’t feel inspired.

When you decide to tell a story, you’re making a decision to translate abstract thoughts into words that others will resonate with. Sometimes this is a fairly simple process, but often, writers find themselves at a loss.

There are many reasons why this happens, but mostly it’s ascribed to a lack of inspiration, fondly named Writer’s Block. There are a lot of different theories on what causes Writer’s Block, and even more methods to get you out of it.

One of the most popular is that you may have run out of ideas. So in this quark, we’re going to look at where you can find inspiration, which are really just ideas pulled out of thin air.

Where to find inspiration?

Inspiration isn’t a whimsical fairy that strikes whenever she feels like it. Rather, it’s akin to a puppy, which can either be left to run wild and disappear after an interesting scent ignoring all your attempts to recall it, or with training and patience, will become a loyal friend, responding faithfully to your commands.

As with puppies though, training inspiration is not a one-time task. It’s a continual process that continues with regular reinforcement.

When you are inspired to create something, whether it’s a piece of writing, art or a school project; it simply means that you’ve had an idea you want to make concrete. Thoughts and ideas are abstract, but when you use them to create something, you turn them into a concrete form that can be appreciated by others.

Good ideas are considered to be as elusive as inspiration, but in general, the only thing lacking in creating an inspired idea is a process that works the majority of the time. Not everyone will think and respond the same way to the same process – if you don’t believe me, just ask people how they interpret emoticons. While some of the expressions are universal, the way people use and interpret them are often very different.

The same holds true with processes designed to inspire ideas for writers. Writing prompts work fairly often, so they’ve become very popular with writers across the board. A Google search on creative writing ideas will give you a host of different resources you can use.

In this quark though, we look at something closer to home. Your immediate environment.

If you look around you at this moment, you are surrounded by objects, places, words, people and emotions.

Exercise 1 – Bits and bobs

In this exercise, I want you to list five of each of the above from your immediate environment as I’ve done in the example below.

Objects: Pencil box, owl statue, oil paints, handkerchief, yoga mat.

Places: Field across the road, shopping mall, neighbour’s driveway, abandoned railway station, lawyer’s office.

Words: Bottle, loquacious, train, noise, birds.

People: Shoppers, young child, train passengers, pedestrian, homeless man.

Emotions: Happiness, fear, curiosity, anger, grief.

You may find that you end up linking several of the categories without meaning to, because your mind will automatically form associations between items. That’s okay, use the table and split them up in their categories, or keep them in the same row if you like the association between them.

Words and objects are very similar categories, but whereas objects are commonplace things found in your immediate surroundings, words can be anything you’ve seen, heard or thought about recently.

Wherever possible, try to apply your current environment to the list. Emotions for example, may not be what you’re currently feeling, but maybe you’ve felt them in the last few days, or it’s something you imagine someone else would have felt when you saw them in a certain situation.

Your turn: List five of each object, place, words, people and emotions.

Exercise 2 – What’s the catch?

Ask who, what, where, why, when and how.

The object of this exercise isn’t to ask logical questions that can be answered with the most common response. Rather, it’s designed to engage the creative side of your brain.

So for example, don’t use “who” with the “people” category for your first round of questions.

Below is an example of a question phrased for one item in each category:

Object: Owl statue.

Question: Where did the statue come from and why is it chipped on the corner?

Place: Lawyer’s office.

Question: Why is the exterior of the building so run down for what seems to be a profitable business, given that the car that’s always parked there is a top of the line BMW?

People: Pedestrian

Question: Where was he going in such a hurry that he didn’t see the car turning the corner before he stepped out into the road?

Word: Loquacious

Question: Who would use a word like that in an everyday situation and what do they do for a living?

Emotion: Curiosity

Question: What is it about curiosity that it seems to be as contagious as yawning?

Some of these questions may end up never being used – I don’t like the one I created about curiosity for instance, so I may try to think of something else to ask that gets me a response I’m excited about, but I will only do that later, when I’ve exhausted the answers to my first questions.

Your turn: Ask a question about each of the items on your list. You can choose one item from each category, or do it for all of them dependent on how much time you have available.

Exercise 3 – Seeking Answers

The third and final exercise is when you start the process of developing your story. Although the answers to the questions you asked in Exercise 2 are kept simple, they form the basis of your plot – the hook you use to reel in an audience.

There are different methods you can use to answer the questions, and it’s a good idea to switch between them regularly when doing these exercises. Sometimes you’ll find one that works really well, and it will become a habit to use that for everything, which may result in writing which follows a predictable pattern for readers. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – there’s not really a right or wrong in any form of art, writing included – but challenging yourself brings you out of your comfort zone and often inspires you. So don’t be afraid to try new things.

Below, I’ve used the question about the lawyer and a technique called word association to answer it:

Technique: Word Association. We’ve all played games where someone says a word, and you say the first word that pops into your head in response. This is similar, where each word builds on the last to slowly develop a story. When you run out of words, use the words you’ve come up with to piece together the full sentence.

Answer: Lawyer – criminal – defence – failed – arrested – innocent – broke. The lawyer is a criminal defence lawyer who failed to get his client acquitted. The client was actually innocent, but went to jail for a crime he didn’t commit. The lawyer is broke which is why his business is falling apart.

Expensive car – gift – client – wife of client – actual criminal – secret. The car is a gift from his client – the wife of the man who was wrongfully convicted. The wife is the true criminal, and is sleeping with the lawyer who was a good friend of the couple’s before their affair. He knows her secret and is beginning to reconsider his actions.

Your turn: Choose a technique and answer the questions you asked about your items in Exercise 2. 

This brings us to the end of Quark 1 – Conception. I hope you’ve found it useful and would love to hear all about your experiences working through the exercises. Why don’t you share an example of your own in the comments below?

About Nicolette

Nicolette Stephens | Author | Publisher | Guest Post | Blogging | Blog Tour | RachelPoli.comDreams and storytelling have always been a part of my life, and as a writer I know the pitfalls involved in trying to publish. This led to the creation of Chasing Dreams Publishing, where I aim to help other writers share their stories.

There is nothing more exciting than seeing a story unfold on the page, and even more so when it gets published! After years working in the corporate world, I decided it was time to strike out and fulfil my dreams of writing full time.

On a daily basis, I’m inspired by people who chase their dreams (whether or not they’re related to writing), and this inspiration translates to my stories, workshops and writing groups.

Jozi Flash is a product of this inspiration.

About Jozi Flash 2017

It’s not quite the Gummi Bears, but it certainly bounces around a lot.

Jozi Flash 2017 combines the talents of ten brilliant authors with one gifted artist, to bring you a collection of 80 flash fiction stories across eight different genres.

From a children’s story about the folly of summoning dragons, to the horrors held in deliciously treacherous ice cream, the authors take you on journeys that weave fantasy and folklore together alongside practical detectives and everyday tragedy.

With stunning artwork prompts by Nico Venter, these South African authors have created an anthology that will leave you breathless.

Ten talented authors and one gifted artist joined forces to create an anthology of flash fiction stories that embody the multicultural melting pot that is South Africa.

For more info on the individual authors, take a look at their author pages here.

Download the book here!

International Giveaway

Win free copies of eBooks by three Jozi Flash 2017 authors:

Beneath the Wax by Nthato Morakabi

1723: Constantine Bourgeois is a man of many secrets. Artisan by day, killer by night, he turns his victims into wax figures for his shop.

2045: Richard Baines works for the renowned Anthony Garfield Historical Museum. His mundane existence is a stark counterpoint to his fascination with serial killers and science fiction.

Constantine’s nightmares drive him to undertake a journey to uncover a long-forgotten secret. Richard’s research uncovers a company secret and the mystery of Madame Bourgeois.

Two men, two timelines, and truths that will only be revealed when they look Beneath the Wax

Dim Mirrors by Carin Marais

Dim Mirrors is a collection of 39 flash fiction stories that open windows into worlds of fantasy and nightmare. Interwoven with images from mythology and folklore are the themes of love, loss, and memory. The comical “Not According to Plan” leads to more serious and introspective works like “Blue Ribbons” and “The Destroyer of Worlds”, while mythology and folkloric elements come together in stories like “The Souls of Trees” and “Ariadne’s Freedom”.

Sketches by Nicolette Stephens

Like art sketches, flash fiction stories are fleeting moments captured in a few hundred words.

In a world without men, the first boy child is welcomed as the saviour of his race; a cuckoo clock holds death and destruction in its beautifully carved figures; and a snowman holds a silent vigil of peace during war.

In this collection of 50 stories, illustrated with her artwork, the author delves into worlds of imagination and reality inspired by words and drawings.

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Enter the giveaway here!

Jozi Flash 2017 Blog Tour | Flash Fiction | Anthology | Reading | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Let Nicolette know what you thought of her guest post! Have you read Jozi Flash 2017 yet? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Beauty’s Kiss & Beauty’s Gift (Once Upon A Princess Books 3 &4) by C.S. Johnson

Beauty's Kiss by C.S. Johnson

Title: Beauty’s Kiss (Once Upon A Princess book 3)
Author: C.S. Johnson
Published: 
July 2017 by Dire Wolf Books
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, retelling
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy from the author for the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Rose, the Princess of Rhone, doomed to fall into a sleeping death on her eighteenth birthday, has only ever wanted two things in all her life: to be free of her curse, and to never fall in love. After securing the dragon’s blood from the Serpent’s Garden, Rose is confident she has all she needs to free herself from Magdalina’s curse. But when Magdalina comes to offer Rose a new deal—one that would free her from her curse, while also eliminating future threats—Rose is forced to confront the truth of her feelings for Theo.

As Theo’s past and new troubles interrupt their journey back to Rhone, Rose knows she must make a devastating choice. Will she let herself fall in love? Or will she break her own heart instead?

My Review:

 

rp-plot

Rose fights another conflict as she’s faced with Magdalina herself and given an ultimatum. If she does one thing for Magdalina, then the curse will break. However, this may be worse than a sleeping death.

I won’t spoil what the ultimatum was, but that’s Rose’s inner struggles throughout book 3. I found it to be an interesting twist, but Rose being Rose, I don’t think she handled it well.

Sparks fly as Rose and company make their way back to her kingdom of Rhone where she will not only have to figure out her next course of action, but also face her father, the king.

rp-characters

The characters haven’t changed much since the last two books. Rose is still stubborn and snippy with everyone. I understand why, but if I were there I would have left a long time ago. She didn’t treat her companions very well, especially Theo, who is the kindest to her. That’s usually how it goes, though.

Theo is still my favorite character. Even though I kept rooting for him to walk away, he was still kind to Rose and took care of her. However, he increasingly grew tired of fighting her and did eventually leave. I’m sure I was supposed to be rooting for him to stay, but… I really can’t see myself relating to Rose at all.

rp-writing-style

Just like the first two books, this was short and sweet. It was easy to read and understand. Aside from the occasional typo here and there, it flowed well.

rp-overall

I didn’t feel as though much happened in this book. Rose was conflicted with her ultimatum and she and Theo were too busy loving each other without really admitting it (until the very end, but even that caused problems). It got old pretty fast which made some parts kind of boring to get through.

Beauty’s Kiss (Once Upon A Princess book 3) by C.S. Johnson gets…
3 Stars 3 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“Beautiful things can hide ugly secrets.” -C.S. Johnson, Beauty’s Kiss

Buy the book

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Beauty's Gift

Title: Beauty’s Gift (Once Upon A Princess book 4)
Author: C.S. Johnson
Published: 
August 2017 by Dire Wolf Books
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, retelling
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy from the author for the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

With only weeks away from her eighteenth birthday and the fulfillment of her curse, Rose, the Princess of Rhone, faces more obstacles than ever. The kingdom, anxious over her fate, is destabilizing under her father’s rule; her mother is imprisoned, and her uncle is holding a silent coup against the crown. With Theo’s absence, she is unable to do more than brood over her fate as she attempts to solve the problems around her.

When Theo returns with surprising information, Rose knows the time has come to risk everything. Along with her friends, she prepares to face Magdalina, the wicked ruler of the fairies, and fight the battle of her life – the battle for her freedom, her kingdom, and her heart.

My Review:

rp-plot

And now we have come to the epic conclusion of the Once Upon A Princess saga. Rose’s birthday is arriving faster than ever, but they have a plan to defeat the evil Magdalina. They just need to hope that it works.

We open with Theo on his own journey, seeking revenge and trying to find his aunt. It’s when he fulfills that task that discovers interesting news for Rose.

Even though this is the end, I still felt as though not too much happened. Throughout the book, Rose and Theo fought with their own (and each other’s) hearts. It felt like a game of, “she loves me, she loves me not.” It wasn’t until the very end of the book that their plan to fight Magdalina comes into play and even that was short.

Everything was tied together nicely, there were no loose ends, which was great. However, I felt the ending was rushed and definitely wanted more of a fight.

rp-characters

While Rose is much nicer now, I still can’t seem to connect with her. She’s not a favorite character of mine, so I didn’t really care if she broke her curse or not.

I did enjoy all the other characters though. I was really fond of Philip and Isra, though they weren’t in this book as much.

I especially loved Theo. If Theo had his own book, I would totally read it. He had a wonderful backstory, a cool job, and a great personality all around. He was by far my favorite and I honestly think he’s the reason I enjoyed this book the most. At the end of book three, he leaves Rose’s side. So, for a decent amount of time during this book, Theo is by himself fulfilling his own destiny, as we focused on him. And it was great.

rp-writing-style

Not much has changed in the writing style from the previous books. Everything flows well and easy to read. I just felt as though some parts, like battle scenes, seemed a bit rushed.

There were also a lot of typos in this book that kept bringing me out of the story. There were two chapters labeled “18,” which certainly threw me off.

rp-overall

This wasn’t a bad book. As I said before, this is my favorite one out of all four. As a series, this isn’t my favorite. The plot was clever and was well executed, but it sometimes felt rushed or there wasn’t enough action. I couldn’t get myself to like Rose as a character and, as the protagonist, that’s a dealbreaker for me.

Beauty’s Gift (Once Upon A Princess book 4) by C.S. Johnson gets…
3 Stars 3 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“He could hear Bachas cackling happily, which likely meant he had found someone to fight.” -C.S. Johnson, Beauty’s Gift

Buy the book:

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About the Author

C.S. Johnson authorC.S. Johnson is the author of several young adult novels, including sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles series, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me.

 

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Giveaway

Want to participate in a treasure hunt?

At the end of each book in this series is a special collectible clue. Collect all four books, and get all four special prizes, FREE!

Love reading fairytales? Enter to the world of C.S. Johnson’s Once Upon A Princess Saga by entering to win a paperback of Beauty’s Curse, the entire saga in ebook format, four specially designed t-shirts of a quote from the series, and two handy mugs for your favorite drink.

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

Beauty’s Curse & Beauty’s Quest (Once Upon A Princess Books 1 & 2) by C.S. Johnson

Beauty's Curse(Once Upon A Princess book 1) by C.S. Johnson | Book Review

Title: Beauty’s Curse (Once Upon A Princess book 1)
Author: C.S. Johnson
Published: 
January 2016 by Dire Wolf Books
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, retelling
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy from the author for the blog tour in exchange for an honest review. However, the book was free on Amazon, so I downloaded it onto my Kindle.

Summary:

For four years, Princess Aurora of Rhone—Rose to her friends—has searched the world for a way to break the curse placed on her by Magdalina, the wicked ruler of the fairies at war with her kingdom. Under the curse, Rose is doomed to die on her eighteenth birthday after pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel. And time is running out.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Rose makes the journey home with her friends—Theo, a priest with a penchant for revenge; Mary, a young and talented fairy; and Ethan and Sophia, siblings with a troubled past–as pressure from her father, King Stefanos, leaves her with two equally unsatisfying options: Abdicate the throne, or get married.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

When I was approached to read this book (and the three books that follow it), I was intrigued by the summary. If you know me, you know I love retellings and oddly enough, I have yet to read any Sleeping Beauty retellings.

rp-plot

Time is running out for Rose. Her 17th birthday is approaching which means she only has one year left before her curse of pricking her finger on the spinning wheel on her 18th birthday is fulfilled. On a journey with a few friends, Rose returns back to her kingdom as she spends every waking moment trying to find a way to break the curse.

And that’s about it.

Being the first book in a series of four this felt more like an introduction. Not too much happened as Rose and her companions made their way back to the kingdom before they set out on their next adventure. There seemed to be a lot of build-up, especially where the king wants Rose to get married, but not much came from it. While they came to an agreement, it was swift and a bit anti-climactic.

The book ended on a cliff-hanger setting up the second book, but nothing from the first book, other than introducing the characters, seemed to be a big deal.

rp-characters

I’m not sure how I feel about Rose as a protagonist. Yes, this is a Sleeping Beauty retelling so it’s only natural she would be the center of attention, but she just seemed a little flat to me.

Theo, Rose’s priest companion and friend, was a wonderful character. He seemed fleshed out and was kind putting Rose’s needs before his own and he really seemed to know what he was doing.

Mary, Sophia, Ethan, and later Prince Philip, were good characters as well. They all have good personalities which made them fun to read.

rp-writing-style

This seems to be told in third-person omniscient, which isn’t my favorite POV at all. There were times when a character would state the obvious or mention something that I wanted to figure out on my own or wait and see what happened.

Despite this, Rose is the main focus. Yet, sometimes we would switch to someone else for a moment just for the sake of them talking about Rose behind her back or thinking about her. I didn’t care too much for that.

rp-overall

I liked this book, though it’s not my favorite. I wish there were more high stakes against Rose and her friends. Still, it was enjoyable enough that I kept reading on.

Beauty’s Curse (Once Upon A Princess book 1) by C.S. Johnson gets…
3 Stars 3 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“He was not fooled by the calm look on her face; there would be a battle in getting her to agree.” -C.S. Johnson, Beauty’s Curse

Buy the book – Beauty’s Curse is FREE on all platforms!

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Title: Beauty’s Quest (Once Upon A Princess book 2)
Author: C.S. Johnson
Published: 
June 2016 by Dire Wolf Books
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, retelling
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy from the author for the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

In order to defeat the sorceress Magdalina, and free herself from her curse, Rose, the Princess of Rhone, has set out to find dragon’s blood. As she travels toward the Romani territory, where the Serpent’s Garden resides, she is accompanied by her faithful group of friends, including their newest member, Prince Philip of Einish.

But when the group ends up shipwrecked on the small island of Maltia, they find themselves trapped without supplies and a way off the island. With time, money, and new enemies working against them, Rose remains determined despite her despair to rise to each challenge. But can she face the growing fear—and longing—inside herself?

Sweet, suspenseful, and full of surprises, Beauty’s Quest is the second book in the Once Upon a Princess series from C. S. Johnson.

My Review:

rp-plot

Rose, Philip, Theo, Mary, Sophia, and Ethan set out on another journey to slay a dragon for its blood. However, their adventure takes some twists and turns once they’re shipwrecked and they become stranded on an island. Now they have to get back their money and supplies in order to continue their quest.

There was more action in this book than the last as Rose enters a tournament. She ends up making rivals with the champion and that tends to be the forcing drive behind most things she does in this book. Rose has a temper and she’s not afraid to use it.

Still, they’re trying to make it to the dragon. Once they do make it, it’s the very end of the book (one or two chapters) and it’s anti-clamactic again.

rp-characters

I’m still enjoying all the characters. My respect for Theo and Philip have especially gone up. I don’t care much for love triangles, but this one between them and Rose is working quite nicely.

However, I don’t like Rose. She was mean in this book. She’s stressed and worried about her curse, but she doesn’t treat others well and nearly kills two men. This is okay some of the time, of course, but it was constant in this book. I no longer have any sympathy for her and it’s hard to root for her to overcome the curse.

rp-writing-style

The writing style is the same as the first book. It’s still not my favorite, but that’s just my preference and I’ve gotten used to it since that happens to just be the style of this series.

However, there were a few typos here and there and the “thoughts” weren’t consistent. Sometimes they were in italics and something they weren’t.

Other than that, it was pretty easy to read and flowed well.

rp-overall

I liked this book better than the first one. There was more of a plot to it, but I still felt the need to give it only three stars because I couldn’t care for Rose. And, for me, characters are everything in a book.

Beauty’s Quest (Once Upon A Princess book 2) by C.S. Johnson gets…
3 Stars 3 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“Your arguing skills are as sharp as ever.” -C.S. Johnson, Beauty’s Quest

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

About the Author

C.S. Johnson authorC.S. Johnson is the author of several young adult novels, including sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles series, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me.

 

Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram  | Pinterest  | Google Plus 

Giveaway

Want to participate in a treasure hunt?

At the end of each book in this series is a special collectible clue. Collect all four books, and get all four special prizes, FREE!

Love reading fairytales? Enter to the world of C.S. Johnson’s Once Upon A Princess Saga by entering to win a paperback of Beauty’s Curse, the entire saga in ebook format, four specially designed t-shirts of a quote from the series, and two handy mugs for your favorite drink.

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

Calling all book readers! Join us as we celebrate C.S.Johnson’s ONCE UPON A PRINCESS SAGA on October 6th from 8:30PM to 10:30PM EST (7:30PM CDT and 5:30PM PST).

Grab your favorite drink and snack and be prepared for a fun night of chatting with the author and special guests, games, and giveaways.

Special guests Chandler Brett, Jeff Sartini, and Disney Princess Addict will also be sharing their books and joining in the fun.

As a note: The giveaways held on this event page are in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. Any questions or comments regarding the party will be directed to the host (Laura A. Grace), not Facebook.

JOIN THE FACEBOOK PARTY

Meet Anne Goodwin, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome Anne Goodwin to my blog!

Anne Goodwin, Author

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a book blogger and author of over seventy published short stories and two novels in the genre of literary-commercial / accessible literary fiction. I’m interested in themes of identity, mental health and how the past influences the present, but mostly I aim to write fiction that people will want to read. My first novel, Sugar and Snails, about a woman who has kept her past identity secret for thirty years was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. My second, Underneath, about a man who thinks he can resolve a relationship crisis by keeping a woman captive in a cellar, is published this week.

How long have you been writing for?

I’ve been secretly scribbling since early childhood, but have been writing seriously – by which I mean editing in response to feedback – for about fifteen years. I had my first short fiction publication ten years ago and my first novel almost two years ago.

What is your writing process like?

A chaotic mélange of dazzling insights and hard slog.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

I don’t have a routine, but I do have a sense of what’s most productive for me. When it works well, I knuckle down to whatever on my mental to-do list most fits my mood. Other days, I’m either overwhelmed by a surfeit of ideas or constantly distracted by Twitter or the need to hang out another load of laundry.

What motivates you to write?

I suppose it started as an attempt to make sense of things I couldn’t talk about, either because they were too painful or because, in my family of origin, freedom of thought was discouraged. For many years, when I was concentrating on my career, I wrote very little fiction but now it’s an extremely enjoyable addiction. I fear my head would burst if I didn’t somehow get the chatter of my characters out of my head! And, of course, it’s lovely now that I’m building a supportive band of readers who like my stuff.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

Mmm, check it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke?

Are you currently working on anything new?

I’m always working on something. It’s still a long way to go but I’m hoping the mess of disjointed scenes about a brother and sister separated for over fifty years while she’s in a mental hospital will eventually come together well enough to be my third novel. I’m also assembling a collection of short stories around the theme of identity to fill the gap before my next novel’s ready.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

I worked for twenty-five years as a clinical psychologist and, even though it’s a good few years since I left it, I still perceive that as my “proper” career. When the weather’s good I sometimes think I’d like to have done an outdoor job, but when it’s pelting with rain I’m extremely satisfied with the paths I’ve taken.

What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

Generating ideas, creating characters and finding situations to put them in comes much more easily to me than plotting. Perhaps that’s why I tend to defer it, except in a fairly loose sense, until the other aspects are fairly well established. The other difficulty is excising those overused words, which is where an editor will hopefully come to the rescue.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

That it takes so much longer than you’d ever imagine to develop the skill to write well! Perhaps because I was older, and well-established in a career that involved some writing and publication, I completely underestimated how much I had to learn. I might have enjoyed those early years of trying and failing much better if I’d been less focused on getting published.

What is your favorite book or genre? Is there a special book that made you realize you wanted to write?

I like to read literary fiction with some kind of marginalised characters and emotional depth. While I read a lot as a child, I never gave much thought to the person who was doing the writing! Rather than inspiring me to write, most of my favourite books have made me think I couldn’t, because I’d never be able to do it as well. However, a big favourite from recent years is A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Know what you want to achieve and what it will take to get there. For example, if you just want to write for yourself, go ahead and enjoy it, but if you want to write for publication be prepared for a lot of hard work and disappointment. If there’s anything you’d rather do instead, do it!

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Just to draw readers’ attention to my blog tour and that there’s a pre-publication Kindle reduced price offer (£1.99 / $2.48) on Underneath AND on my first novel Sugar and Snails for the next couple of days.

About Anne Goodwin

Anne Goodwin’s debut novel, Sugar and Snails, was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. Her second novel, Underneath, is scheduled for publication in May 2017. Anne is also a book blogger and author of over 70 published short stories.

Connect with Anne: Annethology | Twitter @Annecdotist

About Underneath [Release Date: May 25, 2017]

Underneath by Anne Goodwin

He never intended to be a jailer …

After years of travelling, responsible to no-one but himself, Steve has resolved to settle down. He gets a job, buys a house and persuades Liesel to move in with him.

Life’s perfect, until Liesel delivers her ultimatum: if he won’t agree to start a family, she’ll have to leave. He can’t bear to lose her, but how can he face the prospect of fatherhood when he has no idea what being a father means? If he could somehow make her stay, he wouldn’t have to choose … and it would be a shame not to make use of the cellar.

Will this be the solution to his problems, or the catalyst for his own unravelling?

Buy the Book:
Amazon UK | Amazon USA

Check out the Underneath Blog Tour!

Underneath by Anne Goodwin Blog Tour