Hacksaw Ridge: Violence in Media


There’s always a lot of talk of violence in media, media like movies or videogames or even books. In general, people caution against viewing violence in entertainment because it can desensitize you to violence in real life.

I completely agree that we should be careful about what we watch or read. If I didn’t believe that media could influence people, why would I bother spending so much time writing?

The assumption that goes along with these views, though, is that less violence and gore makes a movie less desensitizing and therefore healthier. But sometimes, less violence can be more desensitizing, and it took an extremely brutal movie for me to realize that.

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Beaumont and Beasley Book 2: Sequels

I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review. And my honest opinion? I loved it.

img_0462-904x758I’ve been eagerly awaiting the sequel to The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Shultz (check out his website!) You can find my review of book one here, and the synopsis of book two on Amazon.

However, sequels are often hard to pull off. Not only do they need to be great books on their own (and we all know how hard writing those are), but they need to advance the world, further develop the characters, and raise the stakes. As if that wasn’t enough, they need to be sure to appeal to readers of the first book. But as far as I’m concerned, The Tomb of the Sea Witch pulls it off.

No spoilers ahead.

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Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Find What Works For You


I remember reading Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan, for the first time. It was technically my brother’s series, so he got to read them before me. I read faster than him, so I would wait in agony for him to finish the next book. I felt like Tantalus- so close to what I needed, but still so far… Good times.

This series is up there with The Hunger Games and Harry Potter for books I’ve reread too many times to count. But why is that? Is Percy Jackson amazing literature? Nope. But it’s something that, in some ways, is even better. It’s a lot of fun to read.

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Shadow and Bone: Bad Boys- Like, EVIL Bad Boys


Shadow and Bone is the first in a series by Leigh Bardugo. While the book as a whole was pretty underwhelming, one thing took me by surprise: the attractive, brooding ‘bad boy’ love interest was actually evil. And portrayed as evil. And the main character thought he was evil. And he had nothing explaining away his evilness. He was the bad guy. Crazy, right?

(Spoilers ahead)

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Jane Eyre: Writing Romance


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is one of my favorite books ever, for many, many reasons. The writing, the characters, the story… and yes, the romance.

For a book to be listed as a favorite of mine, an honor I bestow on very few works, it needs to be of excellent quality. But not only that, I need to enjoy it. I need to have fun reading it. In Jane Eyre, a lot of that fun is seeing Jane’s strength and passion. And, I must admit, a lot of that fun is seeing the romance blossom between her and Rochester.

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Gregor and the Code of Claw: A Lasting Impact

8dbba17559ea3bdecf51bd0e4958195cGregor and the Code of Claw is the fifth and last book in the Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins.

I love this series (if you couldn’t tell…). Eight years ago, I had stopped rereading Chronicles of Narnia, my first book love. I wasn’t read much fantasy at that time- sticking mainly to mysteries or other ‘real world’ genres. But then I got this entire series as a birthday gift and devoured it in four days. Continue reading

Gregor and the Marks of Secret: Writing War (Part 2)

d1e05d3d80af7d6193f0ed7c940550caGregor and the Marks of Secret is the fourth of the Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins.

In Gregor the Overlander I talked about how focused and subtle it was in its war themes. By the fourth book in the series, the message is much blunter, with Gregor outright questioning the place and necessity for war. Although this approach probably wouldn’t have worked in the earlier books, by now the series has built up to a point where it can support a harder look at the issue. (Spoilers ahead)

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The Hunger Games Trilogy: Writing Sibling Relationships


Back when the Hunger Games was big, I remember a friend complaining about Prim’s character. She said Prim was a prop because she and Katniss never talked to each other ‘like real siblings do.’ Just recently, my sister was complaining that siblings are too friendly in books and talk to each other too much. I happen to think Prim and Katniss have a super realistic relationship, and agree with my sister on the state of siblings elsewhere.

(Spoilers ahead)

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Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods: Why Little Kids


The art I’m using is killing me because I own different editions, but there’s no high quality image of them.

Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods is the third book in the Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins.

It’s rare to have prominent toddlers in fantasy books, especially when there’s a quest involved. 99.9% of the time, it’s unrealistic to have them there. After all, who would take a toddler on a dangerous journey? But having such a dependant character along adds an interesting dynamic. (Spoilers ahead)

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