Book Review: The Road Between by Courtney Peppernell

35489039.jpgRealistically painful. Raw in its truest form. Relatable. The Road Between is about losing yourself along the way and finding yourself throughout your journey. May it be about life, family, your inner demon and above all the center that conspires each and every one of us, love. From the very first poem in the book to the last, it doesn’t disappoint me in the tiniest. It was so pure and I love it. I could feel the intensity of Courtney’s words, I could sense her confusion in between, I can grasp her words and feel the feelings of her words while sharing her pain. It was deep and it feels like she was both nurtured and tortured, it feels both wanting and enduring at the same time. It felt like you want something that you can’t have because you were dictated of by the stereotype of the society. Then before you know it, you were lost.

Courtney Peppernell shows us the two opposite sides of the coin. She inflicted us pain and she also gave us happiness. Because you are not living if you don’t experience the two. Life is not meant to live with just pain, it is neither meant to live with just happiness. 

How could you live a life when you know only one of them? And that is what makes The Road Between unique. It is diverse. It will make you read more. You will see yourself in her words and you will notice that life ain’t that bad at all in the end.

The Road Between by Courtney Peppernell speaks so much of truth — there’s a personality, a character behind every poem, a person’s raw feelings that needing of someone. I love how it influences me every inch and this is definitely a poetry that I will always hold onto my heart. Thank you, Courtney! For writing this poem. For giving me the opportunity to learn from your words.

My Ratings: 5 STARS!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
14250517


Courtney Peppernell is a best-selling LGBTQ author from Sydney, Australia. Courtney has been writing her whole life and focuses on Young Adult novels and Poetry Collections. Keeping Long Island is her third title release, and the first under her new book brand, Pepper Books.

Interview with Suzanne Rogerson + Guest Post!

INTERVIEW


Hi, Suzanne! First of all, Thank you for letting me be a part of your blog tour and this is a wonderful opportunity!

I’m really pleased you’ve agreed to join The Lost Sentinel’s blog tour.

First question! Can you tell us why did you want to be a fantasy author and how did you become one?

I’ve always wanted to be an author, I just didn’t know what I wanted to write until I read my first fantasy novel at the age of 17. The genre encompasses everything I love in fiction, plus I get to create whole worlds, magic systems, races of people and their histories.

To get to the stage I felt good enough to self-publish took many years of learning my craft. I have completed online courses, attended evening creative writing classes, I’ve used critique services and made friends with fellow writers who are now my beta readers.

  1. You had the Visions of Zarua published and now, this is the time The Lost Sentinel to shine. Is there a big transition on writing or building another fantasy novel from writing Visions of Zarua to The Lost Sentinel? Which is harder to write?

It wasn’t a big transition to switch from writing Visions of Zarua to The Lost Sentinel; I’m too interested in telling the characters stories. But I would say that as Visions is a standalone it was easier to write. I knew I had to tie everything up in one book and give the reader a satisfying ending.

Creating a series has meant I need to keep story threads going through several books and focus on creating believable character arcs that stretches over the series. I still have it in mind that each book needs to reach some sort of conclusion, although I do leave each character in difficult or challenging circumstances that will hopefully encourage readers to pick up the next book.

  1. If you are not a writer today, what career do you think you’ll end up with?

I like gardening and often thought I could have taken that up as a career if I’d started young enough. By now I could be working my way up to being Head Gardener at a grand, stately home or royal park gardens (I wish). I also love photography, nature and animal conservation, so there is a recipe for a dream job amongst that mix. The other job option would have to be doing something involving books.

Unfortunately, I think the most likely job scenario would be following my previous job history of working in an office doing admin and accounts.

  1. If you are going to date someone, fictional or not, dead or alive, who would it be and why? What are the things that you are going to do on your date?

Well if my husband didn’t mind, I’d go on a date with Aragorn/Strider (played by Viggo Mortensen) from the Lord of the Rings films. His character is so heroic and humble, and he’s gorgeous too! We’d go horse riding through the beautiful New Zealand landscape and have a picnic and champagne on the beach while watching the sunset over the sea. (Note – I’ve never ridden a horse or been to New Zealand, they just seem like brilliant things to do.)

  1. It says in your author bio that you collect books, can we see us your books or bookshelf? And can you give us a little description on how did you arrange them or what they are all about?

My favourite book shelf

This is a collection of my favourite books. I own every single David Gemmell book, most of Robin Hobb’s and collections of other authors, although I mainly buy books on my kindle now. I like to keep my own books on display too and pretend I’m in the same league as my favourite authors!

I also have lots of reference books on herbs, wildlife, history, the writing craft, photography and many recipe books. The house currently has 6 bookcases (including the kid’s ones) and several shelves dedicated to books. I also have many boxes of books stashed in the loft.

  1. Let’s say you have the chance to give an advice to your 10-year old self from the past, what advice would you give to yourself back then?

I would tell myself to try harder in my English Literature classes and exams, and not be bullied into taking A levels in subjects I didn’t want to study. If I’d taken A level English and stayed on at college, I may have had the opportunity to become an author sooner.

I would tell myself to follow my writing dream and don’t let others put me off. I would say don’t wait until you’re 38 to self-publish!

  1. Can you name some authors and their books that influence and made you a reader and a writer today?

I devoured books when I was growing up and there were so many authors that I went through phases of loving; Peter James, Patricia Cornwall, Sue Grafton, David Gemmell, Robin Hobb, Tad Williams, Jonathan Wylie and much more.

I’ve definitely been more influenced by fantasy authors, with David Gemmell and Robin Hobb being the most inspiring to me.

  1. Aside from reading, writing, eating, and gardening, what are the things that you do when time permits you to?

There isn’t much time for anything else! I enjoy going for walks and taking photos. I also like catching up with family and friends over meals and drinks. I love going to music concerts and watching films at home or at the cinema.

  1. What is the one thing you are grateful for being in the bookish community as an author and a reader?

From a reader’s perspective, connecting with other like-minded people is great as I don’t know many people outside my immediate family who are into books. Thanks to the book bloggers and reviewers I follow, I’ve found so many books and authors that I’d never have found on my own.

From an author’s perspective, the book community has helped me spread the word about my books; I couldn’t do it without them.

out now! image kindle and pb

  1. Can you tell us how did you build your character’s personality from The Lost Sentinel? Are they broken? Or naïve? Or somewhat courageous but dumb?

I suppose a theme that runs through my characters is a sense of duty and doing what’s right. Tei, Brogan, and Farrell are all thrust into situations and forced to follow paths they didn’t choose.

Many of the characters are heroic and noble as well. I think if you are going to follow the path someone else has chosen for you, there is going to be an altruistic side to your personality.

  1. What was the hardest part of writing a fantasy book? And how many time does it consume you to write a full novel?

The hardest thing about fantasy is creating the world the readers can believe in.

Writing consumes me – I live and breathe writing. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing. I’m always trying to do things and go places that inspire my creativity.

I do feel exhausted with the whole business sometimes, but I have to dedicate myself to this wholeheartedly if I’m going to have a future as a successful author.

  1. Random Question: Top 5 favorite foods!

Risotto, jacket potatoes, vegetable stir-fries, cheesecake and my own carrot and courgette cake. Yum!

  1. If given the chance to go back in time to change something, will you change something or not? Why? I personally think that I will be more curious to what will happen in the future if I changed something from the past.

I think I would like to change the discovery of splitting the atom and the creation of the nuclear bomb. I think this could have been man’s most dangerous discovery and biggest mistake, though looking at our history something else would probably turn up in its place.

  1. Describe The Lost Sentinel in 10 words.

Only friendship, heroism and heartache will save Kalaya from destruction.

  1. What is your favorite quote or the quote that stays in your heart from The Lost Sentinel? Why did you choose this quote?

My favourite line in the book is right at the end and unfortunately, I can’t share it because it’s a huge spoiler!

Instead, this line of dialogue is from Gohan, the dying Sentinel, as he talks with his Confidante. I’ve chosen this because it highlights the trouble ahead for the new Sentinel if or when they are found.

‘A Confidante’s role is difficult, but the Sentinel’s job is impossible, heart-breaking at times. I have seen generations born and die, sometimes through my devising. You are all my children and I mourn every loss. But harsh decisions are necessary for the good of Kalaya…’

I’ve really enjoyed answering your questions. Thanks for having me on your blog.

HUGE THANKS TO YOU TOO, SUZANNE!


GUEST POST!


WHY AUTHORS NEED BOOK REVIEWERS?

Until I self-published in 2015, I didn’t really know much about book reviewers and book bloggers. I assumed you published your book and people would buy it, read it and review it.

I soon realized that members of the public are not in the habit of reviewing things. Even people you know who read your book and say they really enjoyed it rarely get around to leaving a review.

The only people you can rely on to leave these precious reviews are book reviewers. These wonderful people provide the means to bridge the gap between your book remaining unknown and it being discovered by browsing readers.

Once you have a few reviews on places like Amazon and Goodreads, book buyers are more likely to give your book a second look. If they like the cover and premise and see some thoughtful reviews have been written about it, they might just take a chance on an author they don’t know.

Book reviewers do this in their spare time because they love books. No money changes hands, only a copy of the book you want to be reviewed. For writers, this is a necessary investment, vital even for those indie authors like me on a non-existent budget. We owe a lot to these reviewers.

The book blogging community is so generous with their time and their support of indie authors. I’ve met some wonderful people over the last two years of blogging and connected with people all over the world.

Beware there is a downside to following book reviewers though… they introduce you to so many new books that your TBR pile will be heaving.

I really appreciate book reviewers and the service they provide to authors. I want to take this opportunity to thank you all, and I look forward to working with lots more of you in the future.


ABOUT THE BOOK


Silent Sea Chronicles

The Lost Sentinel – Book 1

THE LOST SENTINEL COVERThe magical island of Kalaya is dying, along with its Sentinel. With the Kalayan people turning their back on magic, can Tei help the exiles find their new Sentinel before it’s too late?

Kalaya is controlled by the Assembly – set up to govern but now under the control of Rathnor, who is intent on persecuting those who have magic, many of whom have taken refuge in the Turrak Mountains.

Tei has been raised to hide her magic, until her father, Migil, is visited by an old friend who warns them that they must seek refuge in the mountains.

On the journey, an enemy attack leaves her father mortally wounded. He sees her into the care of two exiles, Rike and Garrick, and on his deathbed makes a shocking confession that changes Tei’s life.

Tei must put her trust in these strangers, especially when mysterious Masked Riders seem determined to stop her reaching Turrak.

Struggling with self-doubt, Tei joins the exiles in their search for their lost Sentinel. But the Masked Riders want the Sentinel too, and time, as well as hope, is running out.

Can Tei help the exiles save the island magic and reunite the Kalayan people before their ignorance destroys them all?

Available at Amazon The Lost Sentinel


ABOUT THE BLOG TOUR


new blog tour schedule


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


 

2015 author photo 2015Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.

She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.

Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.

She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.

Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

 

Website | Twitter | Facebook  | Goodreads | Amazon Author page | Instagram

 

Book Review: (You Broke Me) Open by Brynn Taylor

34914630Transparent and Exhilarating. Painful and yet healing. You Broke Me Open by Brynn Taylor speaks so much of her thoughts and it is so humane. It has compassion, determination, confident and positive outlook. I did enjoyed a lot of poems in her book and I could definitely relate to some of the poems.

I thought, I already knew what pain hurts the most but I never would imagined that I’ll encounter an another form of pain in this poetry. It was a different kind of pain and I immersed myself into it. It caught up to my thoughts and I felt like I would like to cry inside my body.

It reveals what the authors think but what stands out for me is that the author is yearning because she inflicted pain to someone who has been haunted by the once was love in the past and still couldn’t held of himself in the present. What’s more painful than that is both of you are afraid and this? This is exactly what I feel when I was reading it. Miserably accepting life has fated with us and heartbreakingly devouring that the cruel reality will stay cruel as life keeps on going on. 

You Broke Me Open by Brynn Taylor is a short read. Composed of series of poem that will let you have a glimpse of a human who is hurting, accepting and trying to heal herself. You’ll hate it. You’ll love it. Does it matter what you feel? Hating and loving goes hand in hand and if they are in balance that’s when life forms.

MY RATINGS : 4 STARS. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


k0a4835-1If you are looking for an expert to give you love and life tips then you have come to the wrong place. I am not an expert on anything, in fact, there are very few things in life of which I am absolutely certain. I will never claim to get things right the first time, or even the second or third. I am nothing more than an average girl who is hard-wired to want to contribute to the well being of others. I believe that the world is founded on compassion and we move in the direction of things that help us benefit others, and ultimately help us find purpose in ourselves. This blog is simply a result of my compassion and intrinsic motivation. Without the motivation to do the things we love, we accomplish very little, but with enduring passion and desire to help make the world a better place, we can inspire others. I hope that this blog will help serve as an inspiration for people who are experiencing struggle, and if nothing else, people will find it entertaining. Although I will be talking about my direct experiences, I encourage everyone to contribute and comment about their own life journey. If you are here to judge, there is a contact me section where you can send all your negativity, but for the sake of this blog, I am asking that all posts stay positive and happy and any negative comment will be deleted. But whether you hate it or love it, thanks for stopping by!

xoxo, B

Blogger Spotlight: Ruby’s Books

One of my awesome bookstagram and book blogger friends is here on my blog right now! Let’s all welcome Ruby from Ruby’s Books!



PERSONAL LIFE

What book introduces you to fiction novels? Can you name 5 of your favorite books or series?

The very first book that I remember voluntarily picking up to read was Baum’s Wizard of Oz. I remember it being one of those stories everyone seemed to love and I decided to try it out. I was probably nine at the time. Can’t say I enjoyed the story, definitely not as much as I loved the movie.

It’s always difficult to name just a few favorite books, but I’ll try it out:

  • J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter – because it was the first time I actually liked a fictional world, enough to wish I could stay in it
  • Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series – I’ve read these books more than 5 times each, and each time I fall more and more in love with these stories, although I can’t exactly name just one thing that I love about them
  • Sophie Kinsella’s Can You Keep A Secret – it is hard to pick just one Kinsella book that I love, but if I have to, this one is my absolute favorite
  • Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet In Heaven – the first book that I picked up out of boredom, one day, while waiting for the train on my home (there was a little bookshop at the station that I used to love going to all the time) that turned out to be a gem. Also because of the theme of the book
  • Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings – the first book I bought with my own saved money. Lots of memories there.

How did you start to like reading as a habit? Do you have any other habits aside from reading novels?

I started by falling in love with vampires, and so Anne Rice was the only thing I used to read, but after reading all the available novels by her (the Chronicles of Vampires series is still not fully translated in my country), I started losing interest in reading. Luckily, when I was in college a friend of mine borrowed the first Sookie Stackhouse book, which I loved, and that made me fall in love with reading all over again.

When I’m not reading I love watching TV shows and knit or crochet. I also love gaming. Love it, ever since I first got a computer and I got my hands on some really cool action games (which now could be seen as boring and outdated, but I would gladly play them again).

If you are going to date someone, fictional or not, dead or alive, who would it be and why? What are the things that you are going to do on your date?

I would date a lot of fictional characters, Ash Parthenopaeus being one of the first ones, and since he is as old as dirt, I’d pick his brain for cool stories about the past, mostly stuff that no one knows about.

Name some of your favorite authors and give them a brief description of why are they your favorites. 

Tolkien because he was able to create such a magical world, that sometimes it’s hard to remember or accept it isn’t real.

If you are going to give advice to your 10-year-old self, what would it be?

Reading-wise I would say not to worry if you seem like the freak who hates reading, you just haven’t found your favorite genre yet.

BLOGGING LIFE

What made you start to do book blogging?

I had just finished college and I moved to a new country, all my friends were back home and while I talked to them, I needed something more. I was familiar with blogging and writing articles, so it wasn’t such a new thing for me. I also wanted desperately to share my love of romance with someone, which is a book genre that is still frowned upon even now.

What was the most difficult part of book blogging?

Balancing real life with blogging, which although it is a hobby of mine, it sometimes feels like a second job.

Interacting with people from different places, virtually, how did you gather so many followers? If you have one thing to thanks to your followers, what would it be?

I actually don’t have a lot of followers. I have a pretty old blog, going on 7 years, and my follower count is still close to that of a newly started blog. But those few followers I have have been with me from the start, most of them. I thank them for sticking with me, even though I’m very infrequent in my blogging.

What do you think is the disadvantage of bloggers?

Having to cater to someone’s likes or dislikes, and having to face the wrath of everyone if daring to say something that isn’t popular, be it negative or positive. While I can appreciate and love the fact that we live in a time where everyone can have a voice and some issues are openly talked about, it’s also really sad that people sometimes forget that not always pointing the finger at someone is the way to go, especially if you’re one of the privileged people.

Mention some Book Blogging Friends that you would love to see in person!

Oh man, I would love to meet everyone. Meredith from Pandora’s Books, you, Austine from Novel Knight, Paige from The Paige Turner, Brittany from Brittany’s Book Rambles, Mishma from Chasing Faerytales, Ben from Benjamin Of Tomes. I feel I’m forgetting people, but between book bloggers, bookstagrammers, booklers and booktubers, it is hard to name everyone. But yes, basically I want to meet all the bookish people in the universe.

BOOKISH LIFE

Name some favorite book of yours according to your genre preferences.

Paranormal romance will always mean Kenyon for me, horror will always mean Anne Rice, chick lit will always always mean Kinsella. I’d rather tell you my favorite authors than my favorite book, it would be lots easier.

How do you pick the books that you are going to read next?

By staring intensely at the shelves and going on instinct and on what I feel like reading. Also based on my review schedule, but again, by what I desperately need to read first.

SHOW US YOUR BOOKSHELF! Describe it.

I promise to take a picture one I finish organizing them. I recently bought a new shelf, but the gist of it is this: one tiny shelf has all my mysteries, and random standalones that I collected over the years, one shelf is full of my YA novels, then another one is full of my erotic literature and other various adult novels, another shelf is just for paranormal, yet another for my chick lit, one for Marc Levy, one for Kinsella, and Rowling and Tolkien share the same shelf.

What are the books and authors that influence you as a reader?

None. Strangely enough, I read based on what I feel the need to read at the time.

What is your one ultimate favorite quote from a book and why?

“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Because it’s good to keep in mind that just because you can do something, you don’t always have to do it, or that you should be doing it. It’s easy to forget that being able to do something isn’t a free pass at doing it, especially stuff that will have a negative impact on others. I’d get that tattooed if I wasn’t such a scaredy cat.


ABOUT RUBY


I’m a girl that currently lives in Italy, with a Psychology degree that loves reading. All kinds of books, not just romance. That is why, from time to time, I’ll write reviews to non-romance books. These reviews are written for my own enjoyment (and, hopefully, for the readers of this blog). That means that I do not accept any payment for my reviews.

About the books I read
Like I said before, I read all kinds of books. I first discovered my passion for reading when a school mate convinced me to read Harry Potter. I was thirteen at the time. I had read other books before, but they were never enough to make me want to read anything I could put my hands on. A few months after reading the first three books about the boy who lived, another school mate introduced me to  The Lord of the Rings. My love for vampires started about a year or so later, when read my first Anne Rice novel, The Vampire Armand. I had already seen Interview with a vampire about once or twice, but I didn’t realize that I wanted the book with the same title as the film, so I started reading the series out of order unfortunately.

Five years ago, a girl from college gave me the first book I’ve ever read about vampires that could have sex: Dead Until Dark by Carlaine Harris. Before this I read a little of everything. I discovered erotic romance with Lora Leigh, I tried history romance and I loved it too. I then turned to Shakespeare which I loved very much and that was odd, because I really don’t care much for classics. The only other  “old” books I love were Pride and Prejudice and Paul Feval’s The Hunchback and I could probably read these two over and over again.

I remember when I was about fourteen that I had a brief Robin Hood phase, when every book that counted were those about the famous outlaw. I read my first romance book when I was about fifteen. It was Invitation to Waltz by Mihail Drumes, a Romanian author, and the person who told me to read it was my Dad. It’s not a book that has a HEA (happy ever after), it’s a bittersweet story told from the hero’s POV.

In high school I discovered chick lit and the first book in this genre that I read was Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella. I’m still not over my chick lit phase and I don’t intend to get over it too soon.

My first mystery novel was a hit-and-miss. I tried The Da Vinci Code but I couldn’t get caught up in the mystery of it. I tried again with The Labirinth by Kate Mosse and I discovered I actually did like the genre. I then read The Shakespeare Secret by Jennifer Lee Carrell, a wonderful story about the mystery around Shakespeare.

I’m usually trying to read from various genres, I don’t want to stick with just one genre, because usually the various novels tend to become too much alike, even though they’re written by completely different authors.

I’m one of those weird readers that cheat when reading, meaning that I read more than one books at the same time. I once managed to read four books at the same time. I do manage to keep the books separate, I know what happened in what book and when. I usually do this if the books aren’t too interesting for me to want to read faster, but not too boring as to give up reading it. If I like a book too much, I usually read it really fast the first time, to follow the main plot and to see what happens with the main characters. Then I usually reread it, with more patience and more attention to the little details that I missed the first time. It hasn’t happened a lot though, for me to find a book I want to finish in one day and to reread it right after finishing it.

So this is my story. I’ll probably find something else to say in the near future. If you want to tell me something (like recommend books or want me to review your books or even to tell me that my English is bad… no, English is not my mother language) send me an email at  rubys_books@yahoo.com

Interview with Pam Smy!

Hello there! Good Morning from the Southeast side of the world! Today, I’m excited to share with everyone my virtual interview session with Pam Smy, author of Thornhill! That book just crept me out and kind of shocked some little nerves on my body but above all, I love the book! She’s also the artist of the illustrations that you could find in her book. Isn’t that just simply amazing?

MEET HER BOOK, THORNHILL!

28107168


THE INTERVIEW


I know you might be tired hearing this question but who or what inspires you to write the story of Thornhill?
I was trying to come up with an idea for a project to propose to my publisher in the UK, David Fickling. I was out for a walk and really stuck – I just couldn’t think of anything. But then I passed an old, boarded-up house behind a high brick wall. The wall had ‘keep-out’ signs on it and I was intrigued. I had a sketchbook with me, whipped it out and did a quick drawing of the house, took it home and straight away started to imagine who could live in a house like that, and what stories it may keep locked away. I just kept drawing and drawing and the story of Thornhill grew. 
What was the hardest part of writing and making Thornhill? The story development or the illustrations?
The illustration, definitely! I am an illustrator and am used to illustrating texts, but trying to tell part of the story with no words, and the amount of images that took (it was 165 paintings in total) meant that the illustrations were months and months of work.
How did you come up with the idea of putting an illustration on your book regardless of the fact that your book is included as a middle-grade book that targets young audience?
I am an illustrator and I think in pictures, so the story is in my head like a film and I have to find the best way to draw it out so that other people can see what I am imagining. I think that people of all ages love interpreting images – in comics, in films, in computer games, in picture books, and I don’t think this is any different for those who read middle-grade or older fiction. 
What do you think are the perks of being an artist or an illustrator and an author all at the same time?
This is hard for me to answer because I LOVE being given another author’s text to illustrate. I have worked on some wonderful books by brilliant authors as an illustrator. But, if I had to name one thing that I love about writing and illustrating a whole book it is that I can invent the whole world of my story, and the look, feel and atmosphere of that world and the characters in it. 
How does being an artist contributes to your career as an author?
Well, this is the first book I have written, so I don’t yet know how it will contribute to my career. But I think of myself as an illustrator who has written some words for her illustrated book, rather than an author who also illustrates. For me, illustration is a wonderful form of storytelling and I would never want to give it up. 
Which do you dream first? Being an illustrator or a writer first? Or was it your dream to become both?
I have always dreamt of being an illustrator and never considered writing. It was only when asked to come up with my dream project by my publisher that I realized I would have to write it myself if I was to be given the chance to illustrate something darker and more mysterious. 
If you are going to give an advice to your 10-year old self, what do you think would it be?
Always be confident in what you do, and never be afraid of making mistakes. 
How much the writing process does take when you were writing Thornhill? How about the illustrations? How much time do you spend on making one of the illustrations on your book?
This is tricky. The written section of the book didn’t take me long, and I had fabulous support from the editor, Alice, who helped me rework the bits that didn’t make sense or weren’t useful to the overall story. The illustrations took ages! The rough drawings for the book took about a year because it went through many versions and edits. And the final artwork took me 9 months. Each image took me between 8 and 12 hours to paint.
If you are going to give an advice to aspiring writers and illustrators, what would it be and how do you want them to perceive art?
To aspiring illustrators, I would encourage them to learn to draw from life – to go out and draw people in the street and buildings and animals. Draw and draw and draw and draw and then draw some more. This helps you draw from imagination convincingly. To be an illustrator is a way of life – it makes a difference to how you see the world around you, how your memory works,  how you record information and how you read and tell stories. It is the best job!
What is your favorite line on Thornhill and why is that your favorite among others?
I don’t have one favourite line in Thornhill, so can I cheat in this answer and quote the opening paragraph… 

I knew it was too good to last. She is back. Without even looking I knew it. I heard her laughter echoing up the stairwell, the usual thumping on each of the doors in the corridor as she made her way back to her old room. I froze as I heard those sounds. Fear tingled into my neck and down my back as the old feeling seeped into my bones.

I don’t believe it. What will I do now? 

I like this because it is the first passage I wrote for the book, and it has remained largely unchanged from the first draft through to the published book. 
Can you share one of your philosophies in life and how does it motivate you?
I believe in two things. The first is always trying to be kind and I think that is self-explanatory. I also think that there is always a way to make every situation better, and this applies to everyday life and creating words and pictures. If something doesn’t go well there is always a chance to improve on it next time. 
Random Question: Top 5 favorite foods!
Eer… Cheese sandwiches and a flask of tea (preferably on a windy beach), my daughter’s home-baked bread with butter, wine gums on a car journey, fish curry with my friends and hard boiled eggs for breakfast. 
What are the books and authors that influence you as a reader and a writer today?
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier. I have read these books over and over again, and I used elements from all these books in Thornhill. 
One thing that you learned about life that you want to share with us.
That making mistake is essential to get better at something.
If you are going to date someone, fictional or not, dead or alive, who would it be and why? What are the things that you are going to do on your date?
I would go on a date with Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre, because, even though I love the book and have read it many, many times, I still can’t see what Jane sees in him… I would have to go on a long walk with him around the grounds of Thornfield Hall and try and work out what the attraction is!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Pam Smy PhotoThis month’s Featured Illustrator is Pam Smy. Senior Lecturer of the Illustration Course for the Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University, Pam is an amazingly evocative illustrator in her own right, and as a writer is about to release her first novel. Tomorrow (11th March) she’s running the SCBWI Masterclass workshop Building Words for Your Character at The House of Illustration near King’s Cross in London. 


Blogger Spotlight: Calliope Goddess

PERSONAL LIFE

  1. What book introduces you to fiction novels? Can you name your top five picks?

I remember reading a lot of Junie B. Jones and Ramona books when I was younger along with Magic Treehouse, but Harry Potter and Percy Jackson were the first YA/Middle-Grade fiction books that I really fell in love with.

  1. Tell us one story that hinted you that time that you love reading as much as you love it today.

I think when I was in elementary school we had these reading logs to record how many hours and books we read and I remember that I always had the most hours and books on my blog and everyone was always so amazed that I actually liked to read.

  1. If you are going to date someone, fictional or not, dead or alive, who would it be and why? What are the things that you are going to do on your date?

I would totally want to date Percy Jackson because he’s funny, sarcastic, beautiful, a demigod and a total dork sometimes. I would love to go snorkeling on a date because a) I’ve never done that and b) his dad is Poseidon and hello maybe he could hook us up with being able to breathe underwater for like an hour

  1. Name some of your favorite authors and give them a brief description of why they are your favorites.

A new favorite author of mine is V.E. Schwab, I’ve been reading a lot of her books lately and love her. My favorite fantasy writers are Cassandra Clare, Leigh Bardugo, Marissa Meyer and Sarah J. Maas, my favorite YA contemporary writers are Morgan Matson and Jenny Han, and my favorite Adult romance writer is Colleen Hoover. I just love these authors and they’re my auto-read/buy authors where I would automatically read or buy anything new they wrote.

  1. If you are going to give advice to your 10-year-old self, what would it be?

I think I would tell myself to chill out and enjoy being young a bit more because as you get older there’s more stress and responsibility. Also to not be afraid to embrace the qualities that make me different and it’s okay to be that weird bookworm.

BLOGGING LIFE

  1. What made you start to do book blogging? What push you to do it?

I loved watching BookTube and wanted to also take part in the online book community but I was waaaaay to shy to put myself on YouTube so I decided to start a blog. What pushed me was my friends never getting as excited as me about books and also me annoying them with my ranting.

  1. What was the most difficult part of book blogging?

As my blog has grown, so have I, and making time for my blog is the hardest part because school gets busier as you progress and I’m hoping that over the summer it will be easier to read more and spruce up my blog a bit more.

  1. What do you think is your best contribution yet in the community of authors, readers and book bloggers?

I’ve made several discussion posts about various bookish topics and those have gotten the most comments and discussion going about different things happening in the YA book world as well as the bookish world in general.

  1. When life happens, how do you get back on track on book blogging?

Sometimes, if I’m at school I just find myself a computer and blog for an entire period if I’m not doing anything, that usually catches me up, and that’s how I get some of my wrap-ups in at the end of the month when I’m so busy.

  1. Mention some Book Blogging Friends that you would love to see in person!

Ari from the Daydreaming Bookworm is such a lovely person and her taste in romance books is great, whenever I need a recommendation I check out her blog or Goodreads page, and she’s so sweet. Same thing with Deanna from A Novel Glimpse, I love reading her reviews and finding new books to read from her.

BOOKISH LIFE

  1. One thing you are grateful for, for belonging in the bookish community.

I love how we all just understand each other. We’re all bookworms who read different genres and it’s okay that one blogger reads classics and I read YA because we have Harry Potter in common, or this blogger only reads adult romance and I’ve never read that, let me try and boom I’m in love with adult romance now. The close knit family we are is what makes me grateful for belonging in the bookish community.

  1. How do you pick the books that you are going to read next?

Usually whatever is up next or about to expire on my live-brary account, then I just request more from Goodreads, what my friends on Goodreads are reading, what books I just bought etc. For example I have two books in my live-brary account right now that are top priority and expiring soon, so I’m going to read those, then my much long awaited A Court of Wings and Ruin and then I’m going to prep for reading King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard that I just bought by reading Glass Sword, the book before it.

  1. SHOW US YOUR BOOKSHELF!

kkk

Just ignore those math packets on the ground, I just took my math exam. I also have various other spots where I keep books, I have a lamp bookshelf with a few and some shelves on the other side of my room with books that I have either outgrown or haven’t grown into yet.

  1. Any advice to those who are planning to establish their own book blog but couldn’t?

Don’t be afraid of what others think your limitations are because you know yourself better than anyone else. It’s pretty simple to start a book blog and if you can’t, social media accounts are also great to talk about books on, Instagram and Twitter included.

  1. What is your one ultimate favorite quote from a book and why?

I love humor, so from the mortal instruments that quote where Clary slaps Jace for the other 10% that he was unsure of in the elevator after he used his seraph blade on her.


Thank you so much, Calliope! I love your bookshelf! Check Out Calliope’s Blog HERE. You’ll be amazed how organized her blog!

Book Review: Karmic Hearts by Jhing Bautista + Cover Artist Interview

unnamed (1)

Interesting. Intriguing. It keeps me on reading the story as I feel the fluffy, light romance building in my chest! I mean, I never expected that I would like the story. I had a hard time reading the first few chapters but before I knew, I already at the last page of the book and I have the feeling of wanting it more? It is indeed a great story that I never expected that I would like. The writing style stays true to its form and it just keeps on getting more engaging by the time I keep on reading.

From the few chapters in the beginning to the middle chapters of the story, I could feel the love, the awareness, the acceptance of loving. Mina, the protagonist, falling in love is an understatement. It is so compelling because of Jhing Bautista, the author herself, wrote a good story and whenever I’m thinking my reading experience, I felt joy, happiness and hopeful. It feels like a little bit of everything in their balance state.

Karmic Hearts is a good read and it keeps me more absorbed than more pop fiction books that I’ve ever read before. The story makes me more curious. Here I thought, that the book is a usual love story with full of clichés, but it wasn’t. I was wrong all along. It is full of faith and courage, full of stories and lesson, and above all, it is full of longing and living through love even if it was painful. In addition, it made me more curious and read more. How could she end a book like that? I would never satisfied with this! I want more and I would definitely keep on wanting more.

It’s not about the ending. What’s more important is the journey, how they got to where they wanted to go.

I was a bit satisfied how things turn out even at some point, I got irritated with Mina. She’s the embodiment of dense, slow, and insensitive. I don’t exactly understand her at some point but I’ll just believe that’s one of the traits of women that guys wouldn’t understand. Ever. However, Cupid is the definition of sweet, humor, and of course, love itself. It was good to see people falling in love in the story but it was better to see two characters falling in love more without them realizing it. For that, I would like to thank Jhing Bautista because this is the perfect ending that I could think of for the book and I didn’t expect how Karmic Hearts would end. Very satisfying.

One more thing, I would like to commend the author for executing that ending well because I really didn’t see it coming. Anyway, you better read Karmic Hearts guys. I wasn’t a fan of light romance before this but it changes how I perceived love and it taught me some aspect of love that we incorporate in our life that everything has a purpose, that everyone leads to something, that love is in you – in us.

Promise me that no matter whom you meet and fall for, you’ll remember that I loved you first.

MY RATINGS: 4.5 STARS!


COVER ARTIST INTERVIEW!


  1. How long did it take you to design the cover of Karmic Hearts? Can you share with us your process?

It took me 3 nights (I work in the morning), if I remember correctly, to produce the cover. As for my process when illustrating, I first study the brief which contains the character profile/s, the setting/premise of the scene, and a short excerpt from where that particular scene was taken. It’s really important to me to study what I’m working on. I then proceed with the sketch, then go to base coloring/painting, and the last step is to adjust colors and add other elements in Photoshop for the final art.

Gummy worms are an integral part of my process. I’ve also been listening to a lot of k-pop these days. I always listen to music when I draw! 🙂

  1. What was the most challenging part of designing the Karmic Hearts cover?

It’s the aurora in the background! It was a really slow process since I really wanted to captivate its beauty. That alone took me like a whole night.

  1. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

An engineer or a chef!

  1. Name an artist that you admire. How did they inspire you?

There are a lot since I try to appreciate all forms of art. But since this interview was about my illustration, I would go with J.C. Leyendecker. His works just have that right amount of realism but it also feels like his works are trying to stretch the boundaries of what realism can be. Of course, there’s also that jaw-dropping composition fml.

  1. What was the best piece of advice you’ve received and how did it change your outlook on life?

This is something that my senior designer at work told me. Not his exact words but it’s along these lines: “If you try to embody whatever it is you’re working on and take that extra step, it’ll make a difference on whatever it is you’re trying to do.” I really try to do this all the time since I find it hard to express myself. Haha!

  1. What is your advice to aspiring artists?

Just do whatever it is you’re comfortable with doing. Don’t compare yourself to others. Keep on exploring! And don’t be afraid of new things. In short, don’t be a normie. (JK, it’s okay to be a normie if that’s your thing.) This “Be yourself” message has been said sooo many times but I think it’s the best advice I can give to aspiring artists. 🙂


ABOUT THE BLOG TOUR


unnamed (2)

JM’s Review at Book Freak Revelations

Nicka’s Review at Read by Nicka

Jhed’s Review at When Books Defy Gravity

My Own Review at The Royal Polar Bear Reads

Camelle’s Review at Home of A Book Lover

Imo’s Review at Amidst The Pages

Precious’ Review at Fragments of Life

Maricar’s Review at Blackplume

Kai’s Review at Amaterasu Reads

Kate’s Review at The Bookaholic Blurbs


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Jhing Bautista is part Mina and part Cupid. She’s a romantic, but she’s not totally hopeless. She just has no sense of direction, both on the streets and in life.

She believes that people are part of a great story and when they move, their actions create ripples across the universe. These ripples affect all individuals and, in turn, affect the people around them, until the remnants of their choices boomerang back to them, creating a perfect circle we call karma.