Posted in Life, Reading

5 Fun, Cozy Mugs For Readers

The holidays are just around the corner! Have you gotten your shopping done yet?

If not, here are some great mugs for readers! I’ll be honest, I want to buy them for myself.

 1. Literary Rebel Mug

“Literary Rebel: I read past my bedtime.”

This mug is so plain and simple, but it works. I like the white mugs with the black lettering that says something true and witty.

Because who hasn’t stayed up too late to finish a book they’re reading?

 2. Kindle Mug

Another simple mug, but no words are needed this time. I’ve always loved the Kindle design and never knew there was a mug for it.

Blue is my favorite color and I think that’s a pretty shade on the mug. It just seems like a nice, calming mug to use when reading.

 3. A Day Without Reading Mug

“A day without reading is like… Just kidding. I have no idea.”

Another simple one, but fancier than the last.

You should read every day. Always.

 4. Can’t Buy Happiness

“You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy books, and that’s kind of the same thing.”

I mean, the mug says it itself. I don’t think it’s lying either.

 5. Not Addicted To Reading

“I’m not addicted to reading… I can stop as soon as I finish this book.”

Show of hands, who has never said this before? I don’t think anyone should be raising their hands. This is certainly a mug for everyone.

Do you have any of these mugs? Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

newsletter-signatureThis post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you buy something I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Advertisements
Posted in Book Reviews, nonfiction, Reading, writing craft

13 Steps To Evil: How To Craft Superbad Villains by Sacha Black [Book Review]

13 Steps To Evil: How To Craft Superbad Villains by Sacha Black | Book Review at RachelPoli.com

Title: 13 Steps To Evil: How To Craft Superbad Villains
Author: Sacha Black
Published: 
May 2017 by Atlas Black Publishing
Genre: Nonfiction, writing craft
How I got the book: I bought a digital copy onto my Kindle

Summary:

Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.

Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clichés? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain?

In 13 Steps to Evil, you’ll discover:

• How to develop a villain’s mindset
• A step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up
• Why getting to the core of a villain’s personality is essential to make them credible
• What pitfalls and clichés to avoid as well as the tropes your story needs

Finally, there is a comprehensive writing guide to help you create superbad villains. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned writer, this book will help power up your bad guy and give them that extra edge.

These lessons will help you master and control your villainous minions, navigate and gain the perfect balance of good and evil, as well as strengthening your villain to give your story the tension and punch it needs.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I’ve followed Sacha Black on her blog for a long time now. I’ve watched her create this book and I feel like I’ve learned a lot just by reading her posts. Now she’s put all her research, time, and effort, into an ebook.

rp-plot

(There’s no plot, but I don’t have another picture, so I’m going with it.)

In this craft book, the author discusses a range of “bad guys” from the villains to the antagonists (yes, they are different) to anti-heroes. Just like the summary suggests, everything you would want to know about creating villains is in this book.

This includes basic definitions of villains and villainy as well as motivation, character traits, and getting into the mind of the villain and the psychology behind it all.

rp-writing-style

This book is broken up into 14 steps, plus an introduction. Each step seemed to go on in the blink of an eye because I just kept reading and reading.

When I say that, I mean it was highly entertaining. I often found myself thinking I was reading a textbook, but it wasn’t the typical textbook you’d get from college. The author’s way of words was informative but entertaining. It was fun to read about the villains and why they do what they do.

It was educational and I found myself wondering if I should be taking notes, but at the end of each step, there was a quick summary of that section plus questions to think about when you create your villain. It made it so that I could sit back and absorb the information knowing that I can go back for reference and not be flipping through the pages trying to find something particular.

rp-overall

This is a wonderful writing craft book that you don’t want to miss. It’s packed with helpful information on villains and it’s entertaining enough that you’ll learn without realizing it. There is also a workbook that goes along with it that I have yet to get, but will definitely be buying soon.

13 Steps To Evil: How To Craft Superbad Villains by Sacha Black gets…
5-Star Rating | Book Review5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“What separates a villain from a hero are the decisions and choices he makes.” –Sacha Black, 13 Steps To Evil: How To Craft Superbad Villains

Buy the book:

Amazon – Textbook | Amazon – Workbook | Barnes & Noble – Textbook | Barnes & Noble – Workbook

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

newsletter-signature

*This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in Author/Site Information, Blogging, Reading, Writing

December 2017 Goals

December 2017 Goals

Reading

I’ve gotten ahead on my reading, so I’ll be reading books that won’t be reviewed until January. With that said, for December, I’ll be reviewing:

1. Rot by Aidan J. Reid
2. Going All In by Stephanie C. Lyons-Keeley and Wayne J. Keeley
3. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
4. 13 Steps To Evil: How To Craft Super Bad Villains by Sacha Black
5. Things That Surprise You by Jennifer Maschari

I’m not going to list books I plan on reading for this month because… I don’t know what to read yet. You can keep an eye on my Reading List and Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading.

Writing

Writing is definitely going to take up a lot of energy this month… I’ll be editing two projects while planning a third.

1. Edit The Scribe – This was the novella I wrote last month for NaNoWriMo. Editing is going to be tough with extra research I have to do, but I cheated and started after Thanksgiving. I should be able to have it all done by the end of the month.

2. Edit Unwritten – This is a novel I wrote for Camp NaNo this year in April. I’ve been submitting one chapter a month to my local critique group. They’re seven chapters into the story and I’m going to edit the novel using my own notes as well as their feedback so that for the new year they’ll be reading second-draft material and not first-draft material.

3. Plan Perplexed – This is a short story collection that I’ll be working on throughout 2018. If all goes well, I plan on self-publishing it in 2019. It’s a working title, but the more I say it the more it grows on me… did I mention it’s a collection of mystery shorts? Maybe now the title makes a little more sense to you. It’ll consist of 12 shorts so I want to get any prompts and plots down now so I can dive right into it in January.

Blogging

No post writing for me this month… well, unless I try to get some January posts done. Yeah, I should probably do that.

My main focus of the blog will be to finish updating all the graphics and the new theme. I want to have it all prettied up so that on Midnight January 1, I can ring in the new year with a new and improved blog!

Overall

December may kill me. Challenge accepted.

What are your plans for December? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!
Posted in Author/Site Information, Blogging, Reading, Writing

November 2017 Wrap Up

November 2017 Wrap Up

Reading

I read more than I had planned, so that was nice. Be sure to check out my Reading List and catch up with my book reviews.

Writing

I wrote over 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo on my novella, The Scribe. Yes, I changed the title… again. This is the last time, I swear. The first draft of the story is completed. I have no more writing to do. All that’s left now is the editing. I’m excited to dive into that as soon as possible!

Blogging

I did a lot more “planning” than actually “doing” this month. My main focus was NaNo, so blogging and everything else kind of took a back seat. Still, I feel like I have my head on straight. I know what I want to accomplish within the next couple of months. I got a head start on a few of those things, such as updated graphics for this blog.

I also recently published a guest post over on Hanna’s Voice about writing and blogging. Please go check it out!

Overall

November was a good month. I feel as though it went by too fast, but I got a lot done and I feel good.

Posts to Remember

1. Short Story Sunday 186: Write On [NaNoWriMo]
2. 7 Ways To Avoid A Boring Middle For You And Your Readers
3. 8 Tips For Writing A Fantasy Novel

How did November treat you? Let me know in the comments below!

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

newsletter-signature

Posted in Blogging, Reading, Writing

Blog Round Up: November 2017

Blog Round Up: November 2017

Lone Wolf | A Poem
Friday Fiction: The Dance of Death
Let’s Talk About Editing, The Pen is Your Friend
Supernova
Editing Tips Tuesday – Things You Never Thought Need Editing, But Probably Do

There are not that many posts this month because I did a terrible job keeping up with other blogs… oops.

What did you think of these posts? What are some of your favorites from this past month? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!
Posted in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Reading, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Keepers By Sacha de Black [Book Review]

Keepers by Sacha de Black Book Review

Title: Keepers (The Eden East #1)
Author: Sacha de Black
Published: 
November 17, 2017
Genre: Young adult, science fiction
How I got the book: I received a free digital review copy in exchange for an honest review

Summary:

Eden’s life is balanced…
…until her soul is bound to her enemy.

When her parents are murdered, the realm of Trutinor is threatened. Then a mysterious human arrives and changes everything.

As Eden’s world spirals out of control, she doesn’t need a charismatic Siren from her past returning to complicate life.

Now, saving Trutinor is the last thing on Eden’s mind.

Three boys.
Two murdered parents.
One deadly choice.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I have been following Sacha on her blog and social media for some time now. I’ve read and followed her through every update this book and I can’t believe the time has finally come – it is out in the world. Sacha approached me to advance read this book and I was more than happy to accept.

rp-plot

Keepers has the most unique plot I’ve seen in a while. The world is fleshed out to the max and the characters are super important in their own way.

We follow Eden East as she tries to do right in her world, Trutinor. Everything changes when her parents are murdered, her soul is bound to not one, but two boys. One of those boys being her enemy and neither of them being the man she truly loves. Then it’s a race against time to fix their binding and Balance their souls once more.

It’s hard to explain only because this world was so cleverly crafted and the rules are complicated (but they’re easy to understand within the pages). A lot of worldbuilding went into this book and it certainly shows. The plot revolves around Keepers, Fallons, Shifters, etc., with the occasional human sprinkled in. While I would not want to be in Eden’s shoes, the world of Trutinor seems like an interesting place.

There was a good amount of romance thrown in, as once you’re Bound your soulmates. You may not be Bound to who you love. That called for a perfect opportunity for a love triangle. I’m not a big fan of romance or love triangles, but it was well done in this story and I found rooting for one guy over the other.

rp-characters

I loved each and every character. They all fulfilled a certain role and no talent was wasted.

Eden made a great protagonist. I loved her voice and her strong will. I felt that she had a nice balance of being “tough” and “vulnerable” at the same time.

Victor made a nice antagonist. Though I have to admit, even though we were meant to hate him, I actually liked his character in the beginning… then I hated him.

Trey made a great supporting character as did Bo, Kato, and everyone else in the story. It was a great cast of characters.

rp-writing-style

This book was written in the third person limited through Eden. I felt that was a good choice for the narrator for this kind of novel.

The pace was smooth, yet it was action-packed. It sped up and slowed down at the right moments. I never got lost in the reading as it was easy to understand and it flowed well.

There’s a lot of learning as you read this novel. It’s a big world with many new terms, but it’s easy enough to stay caught up.

rp-overall

I don’t read a lot of science fiction or even this kind of fantasy for that matter, but I can very easily see myself getting sucked up in this world. The ending had a great twist. I’m really looking forward to the sequel.

Keepers (The Eden East #1) by Sacha de Black gets…
5-Star Rating | Book Review 5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“Scars are memories. They’re real. Moments we shouldn’t forget.” –Sacha de Black, Keepers

Buy the book:

Amazon

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

newsletter-signature

*This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in Book Reviews, Memoir, Poetry

Into The Light By Emily Stroia [Book Review]

Into The Light by Emily Stroia

Title: Into The Light
Author: Emily Stroia
Published: 
October 2017
Genre: Memoir, Poetry
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review

Summary:

Into the Light is a memoir-inspired poetry collection in seven parts.

The book shares the author’s life from a transformative perspective of being in a deep state of darkness to finding hope, miracles and light. In the final part, there are notes to the reader and finding one’s inner peace after adversity.

This book explores trauma, abuse, sexual abuse, mental illness, loss, healing, spirituality, meditation, inspiration and empowerment.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

This isn’t the kind of book I would typically read. I’ve read poetry before and I do enjoy memoirs. However, if I saw this at the bookstore I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. It’s a dark, sensitive topic, but it’s a quick read and it never hurts to branch out a little. Since this is a memoir, this review will be written a little differently.

rp-plot

This memoir is told through the author’s point of view from birth and beyond. It goes through all the motions as everything she witnessed as a child between her father’s relationship with her mother as well as her father’s relationship with herself. She describes both of her parents and watches them both continue on with their lives, though not necessarily in an upbeat way.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, however. It’s hard to describe as the story is so short. This one is better if you just read it yourself.

rp-writing-style

This book is a quick read being only 158 pages. It’s told entirely through poetry, so it goes fast. Some pages only have a few words written on them.

The poetry was well written and easy to follow. Some pages rhymed while others didn’t. Some of the poetry was written in longer sentences and some weren’t. It flowed well and no matter how it was written, it just read poetically. The author does have a way with words.

The book is broken up into several parts as well. We start at the very beginning, go through the journey and pain, and end up with her breakthrough and finally forgiveness. It goes through the motions very well almost as if it were the stages of grieving.

It’s fast-paced, but I think it worked well for this particular topic. As I read the story, I felt as though the ending, the redemption, was slower than the beginning. That was my interpretation of it, but I liked it. You want that happy ending.

rp-overall

This was a great read. While I can’t personally relate to the author, I’m sure there are others out there who can. It’s easier said than done, but there are positive moments in life and everything does and will get better. I think that’s what this story is about. You go through tough times, but there always is a light at the end of the tunnel. It was well written and I commend the author for sharing her story.

Into The Light by Emily Stroia gets…
5-Star Rating | Book Review5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“If you ever wonder what you could
have done differently
remember you were doing your best
with what you knew how.”
-Emily Stroia, Into The Light

Buy the book:

Amazon

About Emily Stroia

Emily is an intuitive teacher, spiritual leader, author, and artist. Emily first discovered her gifts of intuition and creativity as a child and was placed in a highly gifted program for children. She often explored her gifts through writing, art, and experienced frequent visions and dreams that would turn out to be accurate. Not understanding fully why or how she was able to do this, she decided to study.

She has always felt a strong attraction to the metaphysical and spiritual aspects of life and continues to delve deeper into each. Believing strongly in her intuitive gifts, as well as wanting to express her deep desire to help people, Emily decided to utilize her abilities to turn her passion into a profession.Her mission is to inspire people to find the gifts in

Her mission is to inspire people to find the gifts in their stories and live powerful transformed lives with ease and peace. Her life is a breathing expression of intuition, passion, spirituality and creativity. Most days you can find her coaching clients, writing, practicing yoga and playing with her dog in Los Angeles.

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

newsletter-signature

*This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in Book Reviews, Inspirational Fiction, Mainstream Fiction

The Fragile Thread Of Hope By Pankaj Giri

The Fragile Thread of Hope by Pankaj Giri

Title: The Fragile Thread of Hope
Author: Pankaj Giri
Published: 
November 3, 2017
Genre: Mainstream inspirational fiction
How I got the book: I was given a free eARC by the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary:

In the autumn of 2012, destiny wreaks havoc on two unsuspecting people—Soham and Fiona.

Although his devastating past involving his brother still haunted him, Soham had established a promising career for himself in Bangalore.

After a difficult childhood, Fiona’s fortunes had finally taken a turn for the better. She had married her beloved, and her life was as perfect as she had ever imagined it to be.

But when tragedy strikes them yet again, their fundamentally fragile lives threaten to fall apart.

Can Fiona and Soham overcome their grief?

Will the overwhelming pain destroy their lives?

Seasoned with the flavours of exotic Nepalese traditions and set in the picturesque Indian hill station, Gangtok, The Fragile Thread of Hope explores the themes of spirituality, faith, alcoholism, love, and guilt while navigating the complex maze of familial relationships.

Inspirational and heart-wrenchingly intimate, it urges you to wonder—does hope stand a chance in this travesty called life?

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I was certainly interested when the author reached out to me about what the book was about. Death is a hard topic to talk about, it’s hard to put into words. Yet, it’s a topic that everyone can relate to and feel for. So I was certainly intrigued.

rp-plot

This book follows the point of view of a couple characters, but the main characters are Soham and Fiona. They both lost someone dear to them early one. However, Fiona’s loss wasn’t a death. I still took it as a metaphorical death though. If that was done on purpose, I found it clever.

For the sake of spoilers, I won’t go into too much detail. Soham found it hard to admit the death in his family. It took him years to find peace as he felt guilty and lonely. Still, life pressed on.

Fiona was the same way. She couldn’t accept the death. While she didn’t feel guilty, she felt betrayed by Jesus and lonely.

They find their way through life, having good days and bad days. It was realistic to real life as they both struggled and sought peace.

rp-characters

I found all the characters to be relatable and well liked. Soham and Fiona both had in-depth backgrounds. I felt as though there was just enough information without it being “dumped” on me.

Sharon, Fiona’s mother, was an excellent character. She was the perfect mother trying to do anything and everything for the best interest for her daughter. She was amazing and probably my favorite character.

Joseph, Fiona’s husband, was great as well. However, I felt as though I didn’t get a good enough chance to get to know him. The novel starts off with Joseph and Fiona and then goes to tell us their story together, but I still felt as though pieces of him were missing.

rp-writing-style

This story is told through the point of views of Fiona and Soham and then Sharon on occasion. Each time it switched point of view, I took that as a new chapter beginning. I found this a clever way to tell their sides of the story and then weave them in together.

There were also dates as well. However, the dates jumped around. Well, they went in order for the most part, but sometimes Fiona’s story would be shared, then we’d have to jump back a couple of months to share Soham’s part of the story. While this makes sense, I did get confused a few times. I found it hard to keep track of the dates and years.

Still, the story was easy to read and flowed well. There wasn’t too much information and there wasn’t too little. It was a great pace and kept me turning the pages.

rp-overall

This certainly was an inspirational read. Death is something that we all have to overcome multiple times in our lives and we all face it at some point. I think the author handled it well and portrayed it well through his characters. It’s certainly a good read if you’re feeling down or lonely.

The Fragile Thread of Hope by Pankaj Giri gets…
4 stars book review 4 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“But disgust sliced through her heart as her eyes caught his teeth–they looked as if they were borrowed from a dead rabbit.” -Pankaj Giri, The Fragile Thread of Hope

Buy the book:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon IN

About Pankaj Giri

Pankaj Giri was born and brought up in Gangtok, Sikkim—a picturesque hill station in India. He began his writing career with a book review blog, and now, after several years of honing his writing skills, he has written a novel—The Fragile Thread of Hope, a literary inspirational fiction dealing with love, loss, and family relationships. He is currently working in the government sector in Sikkim. He likes to kill time by listening to progressive metal music and watching cricket.

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

newsletter-signature

*This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in Author/Site Information, Blogging, Life, NaNoWriMo, Reading, Writing

November 2017 Goals

November 2017 Goals

Reading

I’m ahead with my reading! I feel like I haven’t been ahead in a while. With that said, I’ll be reviewing books this month that I read last month.

1. Into The Light by Emily Stroia
2. Keepers by Sacha de Black
3. The Fragile Thread of Hope by Pankaj Giri
4. Eleanor and The Impossible by M. Miles

Here’s what I’ll be reading this month:

1. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
2. 13 Steps to Evil: How To Craft Super Bad Villains by Sacha Black
3. Things That Surprise You by Jennifer Maschari

Writing

It’s NaNoWriMo! My main focus is going to be on my NaNo novel, The Librarian. (I’ve been calling it Special on the blog so far, but it’s the same thing.) I plan on writing 50,000 words for that novel.

Time permitting, I would like to continue a short story that I’m handwriting. I think handwriting will allow me to not get burned out between the two stories. Still, NaNo will be the priority.

Blogging

October was super productive in which I was able to get pretty much all of my blogging done for the rest of the year. Yep, all through December is done! Except for some posts that I can’t write until the last minute such as updates on my NaNo novel, the Wrap-Ups, etc.

Still, this is going to allow me to focus on NaNo more, but also I’ll be able to work more on the updates to my blog. Which I am super excited about!

Overall

November will be busy. Blogging, writing, and then the holidays are coming up… but it’ll be good. I have big plans for the rest of the year leading into 2018 and then beyond. I’m looking forward to sharing it with you all.

What are your plans for November? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!
Posted in Author/Site Information, Blogging, Life, Reading, Writing

October 2017 Wrap Up

Reading

I got my reading done for October! Plus more, which was great. I’m a little ahead of the game for November. But the biggest news is that I completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge! I’ve read 52 books and I’ll certainly be reading more.

My Reading List has also been updated for October and September. I realized I never updated it for September even though I said I did… oops.

Writing

Well. There’s this.

I said I was going to outline my NaNoWriMo novel, The Librarian. I did not. I tried, but I think I’m just going to wing this one and outline it as I go along. I’m excited for the novel itself, but my heart wasn’t into the outline. So, I’ll be freewriting, which will be a refreshing change of pace.

I didn’t go through my mystery novel or my picture books either. I didn’t do much “writing” this month, apparently…

What I did do was make a plan for my novels and created deadlines! Yes, I know I’ve done this before, some I’ve stuck with, some I haven’t. If you head over to the My Books page, you’ll see what I have planned. 2018 is going to be a busy writing year for me and it’s all going to start in November.

There will be more information on all this in January though.

Blogging

This is what took up my October. With NaNo around the corner (I’m not sure if I’m ready), big plans for my novels, as well as trying to revamp this whole blog, I’ve been super busy. I’m trying to get everything done on the blog by the end of the year so next year I can focus mainly on my writing.

This month I got through all my November and December posts that I could write in advance. The wrap-ups, blog round-ups, my NaNo updates, etc. are, of course, not done. Still, I got a lot accomplished! Now I can focus on re-doing the blog.

Overall

October was a great month. I didn’t get what I said I would, but I still accomplished a lot. I’m looking forward to the future.

Posts to Remember

1. Get To Know Your Characters [NaNoWriMo Prep]
2. October/November 2017 Writing Contests
3. 5 Ways To Prep For NaNoWriMo Without Worrying About Your Novel [NaNoWriMo Prep]

How did October treat you? Let me know in the comments below!

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

newsletter-signature