Saturday, April 27, 2019

Rise and Shine: April Wrap-Up and Update

It is often said that "April showers bring May flowers", but it seems hard to believe it when there is never any sunshine, only the rain. "Rain" for us writers can mean several things, either we are stuck only plotting, not doing any writing, or we are editing, and it seems like we will never reach the end.

The good news: All the "rain" is bringing beautiful "flowers".

But, who said that rain is a bad thing? I have always loved rain, because even though we can't see the sun, we still know that is behind the clouds. In these times, our writings are what brighten up people's days. We need to "Rise and Shine" so brightly, even if it means that we are doing the hard tasks, the boring ones, the results will be worth it.

We here at RW had a "rainy day" where we decided to take a break April 7th. Besides that we had some book reviews, getting us back on track!

Posts this Month:

Brushing Shadow and Poisoned Apple: 2 Book Reviews - by Catherine Hawthorn
Catherine reviewed Brushing Shadow, the sixth book in a series by Anna Lee Huber, and we had one of our book scouts, Rachel Kovaciny review Five Poisoned Apples. Follow the bold link to see their thoughts on those two books.

"Uncommon" Book Reviews: Mini-Reviews of 5 Lesser Known Novels - by Julian Daventry
We are always reading new books because it is exciting, but is it because we think that old books are boring? Julian recommends older books that are worth a shot.

Monthly Statistics:

98 followers, 44,901 all-time views

59 likes, 68 followers

306 followers, 449 tweets

39 posts, 141 followers

22 boards, 137 followers

81 members, 23 topics

46 subscribers

Camp NaNo Stats:

As many writers know, April is a Camp NaNo Month! Each of us RW members love to write, so here are some of our stats from this Camp.

Catherine: Goal is 20k. Right now she is at 17k, and still has a few days!
Faith: 120,015, and she won, and finished her book!
Julian: 8 hours and 54 minutes spent editing!
Lila: Goal is editing 100 pages. Currently at around 70ish!
Keturah: 25k words!

Way to go, girls! You have all done so fantastically!

Around the Blogosphere:

The website Fairy Tale Central was launched! It is run by Arielle Bailey, Faith White, and Christine Smith. Such a cool place to check out for all fairy tale lovers!

ArielCatherineCeciFaith, Julian, Nicole, and Sarah all participated in The Shared WIP Tag.

Kara Lynn, and a few helpers, revealed the cover of her book The Broken Prince which is coming out in June!

Our very own Melissa Gravatis celebrated blogging for three years on her blog, Quill Pen Writer! Congrats, Melissa!

One of our followers, Danielle Droubay celebrated her "writerversary", she has been writing for five years! Way to go!

Final Thoughts:

Keep on writing! I look forward to one day reading all of your "flowers," your amazing creations.

Yours &c.

Clare A.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

"Uncommon" Book Reviews: Mini-Reviews of 5 Lesser Known Novels

New books are popular, and for good reason.  These stories are for us, today.  The plots and themes often deal with current issues.  We can relate to the characters as they go through the same things we face-high school, college, jobs (in the contemporary genre, at least).  The authors are still alive and can be contacted for interviews, fan mail, or just to share tidbits about their new releases.  Covers are shiny and new and beautiful.  New books, however, often have content that we at Rebellious Writing are rebelling against.

Old books...are less popular.  And for good reason.  The writing can be hard to understand.  The messages and characters are different.  And the author is likely some middle-aged person writing in some stuffy study by typewriter or something.  And probably dead.

In our effort to escape the content found in newer books, we turn to these older books.  Perhaps, despite the dry, stuffy writing, we can find a story to satisfy our thirst for reading-without sacrificing our standards.

And then we find the truth: sometimes older books aren’t so great either.

It’s a fact of life.  Not every new book is full of lust and gore (yay for that), and not every old book is clean.

Today I’m going to cater to some of our readers who love older novels and recommend a few good ones.  And maybe some of those folks who usually avoid these kind of books might be inspired to pick up one of these and give something different a try.  :)

(Click the book title to be taken to the Goodreads page.)

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Everyone’s heard of this, I’m sure.  If you haven’t, I can only assume you’ve spent the last 16 years locked in prison, trying to write a book about making Italy into one nation.  It’s a long, dragging read.  You’ll want to throw yourself out a window a few times because it’s so confusing.  But it’s worth it.  According to my sister, who loves this book to pieces, “You’ll learn all sorts of things.  You’ll learn how convince people to commit suicide, to convince people to not commit suicide, to make it look like someone committed suicide, how to communicate with a quadriplegic, how to overprice chicken, how to sail, how to escape prison in sixteen years, how to rescue someone, how to befriend assassins, how to make friends with pirates, how to politely insult someone, and so much more.”

The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter

Celtic lore lovers?  Here you are!  Dashing Scottish heroes, epic ladies, and lots of high adventure!  Kind of like Braveheart but without the R rating.  :)  And lots more side plots and fun book features like that.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll enjoy the action.  There’s a lot of characters to suit fantasy novelists, and it’s nicely written as well.

The Traitor’s Gate by Avi

So I was very dubious of this book when I first started reading it.  It’s not my genre, not my time period...basically the only reason I picked this was because a friend gave it to me and I enjoyed other books I’d read from this author.  But it started to get a little interesting...then more interesting...then I was reading as fast as I could.  I would say “a moving little mystery novel set in foggy London."  Kinda cute.  Kinda eye-opening to the time period (like a Charles Dickens novel, but easier to read).

Lysbeth and Pearl Maiden by H. Rider Haggard

Pearl Maiden has always been a favorite book of mine.  A historical fiction novel set during the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD about a Jewish orphan girl.  It’s cute.  A love triangle...but with the girl not being able to pick either of her lovers because neither of them share her convictions.  For lovers of roman and/or Jewish history, it’s a must read!

Lysbeth, however...the first time I read it, I got bored and stopped.  Yes, I actually didn’t finish it (which rarely happens).  But I eventually forgot I didn’t like it and picked it up again...and read the whole thing...and loved it.  Kind of a love triangle again (hmmmm) but with a totally different take on it!

Both are highly recommended!

Any older (aka, not newly released) books y’all like and recommend?  Have you read any of these?  Remember, there’s no shame in reading and loving older books.  Nor is there shame in loving a book that no one else has read, where there’s not even a fandom to share it with.

Read what you like.  But try new things.

Keep reading, Y'all!
~Julian Daventry

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Brushing Shadow and Poisoned Apple: 2 Book Reviews

It's been quite a while since a bookish post made it's appearance here on Rebellious Writing! So for this post, I'll be giving a review of Lady Darby Mystery #6: A Brush with Shadows, and will be publishing RW book scout Rachel Kovaciny's review of the Five Poisoned Apples anthology.

Disclaimer: 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.

A Brush with Shadows (Lady Darby Mystery #6)
A Brush with Shadows

Language: ☆☆☆☆🟉. There were a few instances of bad language, including at least one instance of "Jack---" that I remember. Most were said in the heat of anger, and not on general principle.

Abuse: ☆☆☆☆ . Lots of family conflict. Mentions of an abusive husband.

Lust: ☆☆☆. Multiple instances of alluded marital relations between husband and wife (and potentially pregnancy because of it), multiple allusions to affairs of a womanizer (and the paying off that happened after), multiple instances of illegitimate children. Not recommended for unmarried women, though it's perfectly acceptable for married women to read.

Overall: ☆☆☆. I rather liked it for the most part. I'm not sure how I feel about the how the plot was handled though. I was expecting a much more plot-centric book like a standard mystery and this one was really focused on relationships and characters. It was pretty engaging, but there were a few times when it slowed a little.

If you're wondering why in the world I'm reading the most recent book in a series without reading the first ones....I assure you I'm a victim of deception here.

See, I saw it in a thrift store and thought it looked really interesting so I picked it up. There isn't a number anywhere on the cover so I had no idea where in the lineup this book was. I didn't realize until later that it was the most recent book of the series. Despite this, it was easy to get a feel for what the characters were and what the backstory is.

What I liked:

- Gage. Best description I can say is that he is a MAN. Like, a real honorable gentleman, who is absolutely masculine and protective and downright attractive.

- Kiera. Her name is perfect, and I liked her character. She's smart, has a dry sense of humor and has a wonderfully feminine soft heart.

-The world-building was wonderful, including the social aspects. I felt as though I truly was on the English moors.

What I didn't like:

- The amount of newlywed intimacy and alluded relations. I should note that the intimacy between the newlyweds was nothing immoral. However, as an unmarried woman, I don't really need to read that (nor should I really - it tends to lead me down paths that I shouldn't tread). I found it super distracting, and I felt that it took a little away from the plot in a couple of spots. Sometimes it worked and others it didn't.

- The lack of plot drivers. By that, I mean that there was much more focus on characters and their relations with each other rather than the underlying mystery. I could understand why it was written this way a little because of the family history - however, I've read other historical mysteries that use that plot device much more efficiently.

- The amount of illegitimacy and the somewhat shady way this particular society viewed it. I'm sorry, but marrying within the first few months of the child's conception doesn't change the fact that the child was conceived out of wedlock. The parties are still guilty of committing fornication, and it should not be emulated. As proven by the characters, that lifestyle can be passed down generations! And really, this idea that men can't control themselves is a bold faced lie.

- There were some allusions to issues of class and morals that seemed just a little too modern for me.

- I was rather miffed to see a cliche ending to this mystery. Everything else seemed original enough!

Five Poisoned Apples: A Collection of Snow White Stories
Five Poisoned Apples

Language: ☆☆☆☆☆
Abuse: ☆☆☆☆☆
Lust: ☆☆☆☆☆
Overall: ☆☆☆☆☆

Five retellings of the familiar fairy tale “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” by five different authors!

"Falling Snow" by Skye Hoffert sets the Snow White story in a magical circus where all the performers and circus workers are magical beings... except one young girl. She works as a clown but aspires to be a tightrope walker, and she has no idea that everyone else is magical, least of all the circus owner’s handsome son.

"Raven's Heir" by Jenelle Hovde has this little tinge of Robin Hood flavor that I dig. An orphaned princess seeks to unite her kingdom against her stepmother. She escapes the castle and finds help from a band of rangers, one of whom turns out to be the boy she was betrothed to when they were both very young.

"The Fairest One" by Cortney Manning features a young princess who befriends an enslaved dwarf who helps her escape her greedy stepmother and seek assistance from the dwarven council. It's kind of got a bit of the story of Queen Esther from the Bible woven in as well.

"Red as Blood" by Maddie Morrow is told from the point of the view of an assassin who's tasked with hunting down and killing a member of the royal family, but not told why, and the near-disastrous results.

"Snowbird and the Red Slippers" by Rachael Wallen mixes the fairy tale ‘The Red Shoes’ with ‘Snow White’ and sets the whole story in a prestigious ballet school in New York City, with a poor North Korean dancer at the center. Passion, obsession, culture clashes, and envy all play a part, and I found it to be a stunning conclusion not only to this collection, but to this series as a whole.

Review provided by: Rachel Kovaciny

Rachel Kovaciny lives in Virginia with her husband and their three homeschooled children. She has independently published her book "Cloaked," a western re-imagining of "Little Red Riding Hood," and "Dancing and Doughnuts," another of her western re-imaginings of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." In her free time, Rachel writes for the online magazine Femnista, reads, bakes, blogs, watches movies, and daydreams. You can check out Rachel's blog HERE.

We graciously thank Rachel for this wonderful book review! If any of you have any books to recommend to us, please leave a review of them in our Contact Form ~ we love receiving them!

In the meantime, check back next week for more book reviews, courtesy of Julian Daventry!

Keep fighting the good fight, y'all!