Monday, June 25, 2018

6 Ways to Find Clean Books: Guest post by Rachel Meyer




We're all here because we're making a stand for cleaner fiction. Many of us are writing that as you read this. But until those are published (hopefully soon!), there's just one problem. How are we going to find clean books now? Here are six suggestions for you to try.


1. Read children's books

Maybe they aren't YA books, but it is a great place to start. Personally, I find a lot more books I enjoy and are clean can be found in the children's section. That's starting to change a bit as kids aren't kids as much anymore, but remember that's always an option. No one will judge you for reading middle grade books.


2. Use Goodreads

Goodreads is one of the best sites out there, and if you aren't using it, you're missing out. (Not to say that you have to have it.) If you have a Goodreads account, however, there are several ways you can use it to help you find clean books.
First, try the “Readers Also Enjoyed” area on the right of a clean book title. It's fairly self-explanatory what these books are. This section isn't always very helpful, but it can certainly help you find other books of a similar genre or plot.
Second, try the lists feature. If you scroll down on a page with a clean book, right before the reviews section is an area with lists containing said book. You can click through them and find what sort of books others have put it with. You can also search through them for whole lists of clean fiction.


3. Join a group

Like this one! The advantages of being part of a group is you can all share clean books, warn others about bad ones, and find suggestions. Don't forget to follow people who have the same views with you on Goodreads for honest reviews of books.


4. Ask your friends for recommendations

Your friends, and possibly family, are the people who know you the best, so they can give you the best recommendations. They know what you like, dislike, and want to avoid. And don't forget to return the favor by suggesting books for them.


5. Go back to the classics

This isn't for everyone, but if you like classics, or are willing to try at least, try reading more of them. There isn't exactly YA in classics, but there's still plenty of reading material. The nice thing about classics is most (not all) of them are much less explicit and full of cussing.


6. Find a clean author and read all their books

One of my personal favorite authors whose books are clean is N. D. Wilson. He writes all sorts of books on all sorts of levels. And even though he's a Christian and you can see that in his work, he doesn't shove it in your face. When you find someone like that, don't forget them. You may not enjoy everything they write, but at least there is someone you can turn to who you can be assured writes clean fiction.

There are my ideas. If you have any others, don't forget to share them down in the comments. Happy reading!



About the Orator: 

Rachel Meyer is a blogger who loves many forms of writing and art. Her goal is to one day become a published author and have her books in libraries and bookstores, if she isn't accidentally crushed by her overfilled bookshelf first. She lives in Maryland with many books and a cat. When she's not writing or reading, she's probably playing music or watching a movie. You can find Rachel's blog at R's Loft and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Review of Day Moon by the RW Team



RW Disclaimer:  

The Rebellious Writing Team received this work from the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are the reviewers', and may not reflect Rebellious Writing as a whole. Rebellious Writing's reviews and star ratings only apply to the work in question, not to every work by the author.


Lila Kims and Audrey Caylin took up the task of reading and reviewing Day Moon by Brett Armstrong. Here are their thoughts on this YA dystopian!


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image source: Goodreads

                         
Goodreads Summary:

In A.D. 2039, a prodigious seventeen year old, Elliott, is assigned to work on a global soft-ware initiative his deceased grandfather helped found. Project Alexandria is intended to provide the entire world secure and equal access to all accumulated human knowledge. All forms of print are destroyed in good faith, to ensure everyone has equal footing, and Elliott knows he must soon part with his final treasure: a book of Shakespeare’s complete works gifted him by his grandfather. Before it is destroyed, Elliott notices something is amiss with the book, or rather Project Alexandria. The two do not match, including an extra sonnet titled “Day Moon”. When Elliott investigates, he uncovers far more than he bargained for. There are sinister forces backing Project Alexandria who have no intention of using it for its public purpose. Elliott soon finds himself on the run from federal authorities and facing betrayals and deceit from those closest to him. Following clues left by his grandfather, with agents close at hand, Elliott desperately hopes to find a way to stop Project Alexandria. All of history past and yet to be depend on it.



Lila's Review:


Not a bad dystopian! I didn't find it amazing, nor can I say that I even liked it a lot. I liked it, and that's it. :)

Language: ✩✩✩✩✩. We're good in this area, I do believe!

Abuse: ✩✩✩✩✩. I think we're good in this area, as well. Looking back, I can't recall anything abuse-related that would turn a YA reader away.

Lust: ✩✩✩🟉 (3 1/2 stars). There were some kisses (at least one was pretty passionate) and physical attraction between the main character Elliott and his friend/romantic interest. None of it was bad - it was even cute at times - but some of it might make readers uncomfortable.
Also, another character gave off a fairly bad vibe in regards to lust. She is even, at one point, seen wearing inappropriate clothing. It's a long story, but... yeah. :/ That particular character made Elliott super uncomfortable in general, though, so it wasn't put in a good light.


Likes:

- The characters! Most of them were interesting, not flat, which was nice. I found Elliott to be a very flawed yet likeable and realistic character. :)

- The Christian aspect. This is a dystopian book with some elements of Christianity mixed in, rather than a Christian book with some elements of dystopian mixed in. That's how I see the novel, and I like it. As a Christian myself, I found that the author's incorporation of God and faith was well-executed. It wasn't subtle, but it wasn't excessive, and I certainly didn't feel like it was trying to shove the Bible down my throat.

- The dystopian aspect of the novel. This book's version of the world's future was simple, unique, and vivid!


Dislikes:

- The writing style. It wasn't bad; it was pretty distinctive, actually. My problem with it is that there were so many parts that could have been cut down and, as a result, been more effective and engaging as a result.

- Some things the characters did were jarring. It's hard to explain, but I almost want to say some of their immediate decisions seemed... unnatural? Especially John's. And some of the dialogue felt slightly unrealistic.

- Lara. Overall, she annoyed me. I found her a little too possessive of Elliott at times. This is just a personal preference, though. Many readers would or do like her, I'm sure.

Overall: ✩✩✩. Not my favorite book, but I definitely appreciated how unique of a dystopian it was, and how the Christian principles were woven into the novel. If you're in search of a fresh Christian dystopian, I recommend Day Moon!





Audrey's Review:

The premise of Day Moon immediately caught my attention, as well as the fact that it's a Christian dystopian, and those are pretty rare these days. It wasn't a very fast read, but it was very interesting and kept my attention well.

Language:  ✩✩✩✩✩. There was absolutely no language! There might have been a mention or two of swearing (i.e. "he swore"), but I can't remember anything else.

Abuse: ✩✩✩✩.  There were a couple fight scenes and threats of torture, but those are pretty common in all YA books. 

Lust: ✩✩✩.  The two MCs are in love and share more than one kiss. It's kept clean though. There was also one scene that implied two characters sleeping together, and one of those characters acted and dressed pretty inappropriately for several scenes.

Overall: ✩✩✩✩. The story was well written, mixing in elements of mystery and contemporary, though still sticking with an overall dystopian theme. The plot felt a little slow in a few places, but I loved the characters enough to keep reading. The theme was very beautiful too. The only problem I had was with the prose, where there was a bit of head hopping and quite a bit of telling, but other than that, it was a wonderful, clean story, and I'd definitely recommend it.




image source: Goodreads author page
About the Author (bio source: one of the back pages of Day Moon)

Brett Armstrong started writing stories at age nine, penning a tale of revenge and ambition set in the last days of the Aztec Empire. Twenty years later, he is still telling stories though admittedly his philosophy has deepened with his Christian faith and a master’s degree in creative writing. His goal with every work is to be like a brush in the Master artist’s hand and his hope is the finished composition always reflects the design God had in mind. He feels writing should be engaging, immersive, entertaining, and always purposeful. Continually busy at work with one or more new novels to come, he also enjoys drawing, gardening, and playing with his beautiful wife and son.

Visit Brett Armstrong's website at www.brettarmstrong.net.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

How to Write a Swoon-Worthy Non-Romance: Guest Post by Taylor Bennet



I’ve always liked to read above my age level. Ever since I developed a taste for good books (around the time I was in preschool) I’ve been on the hunt for amazing reads. And I don’t let the target age stop me. At least…I try not to.

I’ll happily pick up a middle-grade book, or even an old classic like Winnie-the-Pooh. I adore old standbys like Little Women and Anne of Green Gables. So, I figured, I’d love today’s “modern classics” just as much. When I went into high school, I’d already been testing the waters of contemporary YA fiction.

And I learned something.

I was never—ever—going to read these books. Not when they used words I’d never heard spoken aloud in my life and supposedly “sweet” romances turned into…what???

My desire to read books at or above my reading level ground to a halt. I had yet to fully explore Christian fiction, but I knew one thing: God did NOT want me filling my mind with mainstream YA. I went back to reading middle-grade fiction for a while, until one main character’s brother showed up with…his boyfriend?!?

That was it.

Discouraged and disheartened by the outlook of mainstream fiction, I switched over to reading Christian books, only to find a sad selection of YA books. Sure, there were the old standbys, but many of them weren’t my taste in either subject or writing style, and there was little else to choose from. Enter one of my favorite quotes:

"If you don't see the book you want on the shelf, write it." Beverly Cleary

Okay, I thought. There aren’t any books I want on these shelves anymore—either they have great prose awful content, or ho-humish prose and okay content.

Enter my first novel, Porch Swing Girl. (This was actually my second attempt at writing a book, but my first one was an atrociously plotted non-novel from middle school, so I technically consider Porch Swing Girl to be my first “real” novel.)

When I wrote Porch Swing Girl, I was writing for an audience of one: me. And what did I want to read? I wanted to read about Hawaii, about life and death and tough choices. I wanted to revel in well-crafted prose and follow a sweet plot to a satisfying (if slightly predictable) ending. Oh, and if there was going to be romance, it was going to be squeaky-clean.

And now…after that lengthy introduction…I present to you: 

How to Write a Swoon-Worthy Non-Romance
(Pssst: Haven’t read Porch Swing Girl yet? Read with caution…spoilers lurk ahead.)
  • Have two characters meet at church or youth group. Even better, make the guy an aspiring worship leader 😉
  • Send them out on a non-date together. Bonus points if one of them thinks it is a date and the other has to explain that, no, dating is serious business and they’re not going to date for fun. 
  • Make them fight. But not the kind of “he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not” kind of fighting. No, I’m talking arguments about God, about His will, and about big life decisions. Write scenes where they end up in spirited debates, where they’re forced to learn and grow.
  • Help them become friends. Good friends. Maybe even best friends. Help them overcome their differences and join forces to make an impact on others around them.
  • Don’t use the word “love!!” If you want to write an adorable “non-romance,” nothing will destroy you faster than the use of this sacred, special word. As Christians, we should understand that “love” is more than a feeling. It’s a serious commitment, and it shouldn’t be thrown around lightly. Instead, show readers that these characters care about each other. Have them make sacrifices and pray for each other instead of tossing around the “L-word.”
  • Keep touching to a minimum. Remember—they’re JUST FRIENDS. A hand placed lightly on an arm or a short side hug is all you need to build their relationship.
  • Add one so-awkward-it’s-cute cheek kiss at the end. A kiss that says “I care about you, I admire you, or I’ll miss you.” Still abstain from using the “L” word. Instead, show how the characters feel for each other. Write about the warmth in their gaze, or the gentleness in a fleeting touch.

And there you have it!! You now have an adorable friendship between two Godly young people that will inspire others to seek out a pure, holy relationship. (And you’ll win bonus points because readers won’t have to ask their mom to censor your books first 😉)

Bio:
Homeschooled since kindergarten, Taylor Bennett is the seventeen-year-old author of Porch Swing Girl, which was released by Mountain Brook Ink on May 1st. When she’s not reading or writing, Taylor can be found playing her violin or taking walks in the beautiful Oregon countryside. She loves to connect with readers via her author website, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (her favorite!), Pinterest, and Goodreads.




Links:


Porch Swing Girl back cover copy:

What if friendship cost you everything?


Stranded in Hawaii after the death of her mother, sixteen-year-old Olive Galloway is desperate to escape. She has to get back to Boston before her dad loses all common sense and sells the family house. But plane tickets cost money—something Olive gravely lacks.
With the help of Brander, the fussy youth group worship leader, and Jazz, a mysterious girl with a passion for all things Hawaiian, Olive lands a summer job at the Shave Ice Shack and launches a scheme to buy a plane ticket home before the end of the summer.

But when Jazz reveals a painful secret, Olive’s plans are challenged. Jazz needs money. A lot of it. Olive and Brander are determined to help their friend but, when their fundraising efforts are thwarted, Olive is caught in the middle. To help Jazz means giving up her ticket home. And time is running out.


Rebellious Writing Team Thoughts:
This book was a cute, easy read. The emotions were raw and real. The characters were amazing, relatable, yet unique! And I felt I learned about Hawaii without even being aware of it. But what made this book stand out to me? It was the sweet romance thread woven throughout. I'm not a huge romance fan, but this was so real. And cute. And sweet. And when the kiss finally came... I don't want to give anything away. But, wow. It was perfectly realistic, cute, and awkward all at once. It was appropriate without feeling drastically squeaky clean. And because of that adorable kiss I knew we had to have Taylor on here explaining just why and how she did it. Here's to writing clean fiction and making it LOOK GOOD! ~ Keturah

Porch Swing Girl is an excellent read in the YA Christian Contemporary genre. Taylor is such a sweet person, and to know that she is so young and still getting TRADITIONALLY published, with such a great debut novel....it's amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this book. Emotion, humor, and lots of Hawaii vibes are packed into these pages...and I, for one, found myself craving shave ice when I was done reading it. As clean summer reads go, this one tops my list. ~ Faith