Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Book Review of Once Upon a Fallen Time by Samreen Ahsan

All her life, Myra Farrow has been obsessed with medieval castle-and the kings and princes who once inhabited them. When Steve Bernard, a wealthy videogame designer offers her to model for a princess character in his new game, Myra can't resist his offer to enter the mysterious, colorless, and cursed Hue Castle. But unknown to Myra, her soul is bound to it by blood and sorcery. When she enters the castle's doors, she awakens dark powers, time traveling through a cursed mirror, torturing her present, and rewriting her future, leaving Steve Bernard with millions of questions. 

Edward Hue, the last of the Hue royal bloodline, has never stood in the sunshine, nor felt the rain, or held a living flower. Cursed from birth to live in darkness and bring death to all he touches, he is at the mercy of his cruel, tyrannical father King Stefan, who will not rest until he shatters Edward's soul and makes his son into a diabolical copy of himself. Edward's one hope is the mysterious woman, who walks into his life through a cursed mirror, out of his dreams, and introduces him: love. 

Will Myra break Edward's curse and bring him out of the darkness, or destroy him utterly? Will Steve ever be able to finish his game without Myra? Past and future collide in a tale of love, obsession, betrayal, and the hope for redemption.

This is book 2 of [STOLEN] SERIES

Amazon   Goodreads

*We were given a copy of this book in exchange for our honest review*

I really enjoyed reading book one a few years ago, so when the opportunity came up to read book two of the Stolen series I was so excited! I am happy to report that this book was just as enjoyable as book one!

It was so easy to fall back into this story. Even with chapters from different characters prespectives the story moves quickly and keeps the reader engaged. I liked that Ahsan allows the reader to see what is happening on both sides of the mirror. 

The characters in this story are very human, having both good and bad traits. It can make it hard to decide who you want to see get together, but so enjoyable. Edward does portray a beastly prince, but Myra is both full of compassion and spark. 

If you are a fan of fantasy, romance or even mystery you need to add this series to your list! 

History, art, and literature are my passions. I love digging out information about prophecies, divine miracles and paranormal events that are mentioned in history and holy books, that doesn't sound possible in today's modern world.

Since childhood, I have been into reading and writing--and yes, it can't happen without imagination, which luckily has no boundaries. Dance and music are also pastimes I enjoy, as well as reading romance fiction. I love to travel and explore historical cities. I live in Toronto, Canada.

A Silent Prayer and A Prayer Heeded (A Prayer Series) is my first story about paranormal events based on Islamic concepts.

Once Upon A [Stolen] Time is my second story, a romantic fantasy fairy tale. It is the first book of [Stolen] Series.

Website   Twitter 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Popular Idioms from Invaluable

As writers, we use figurative language throughout our work often. These phrases and idioms that are so ingrained in our English language that we often use them without even realizing what the words mean or where they came from. Many of our most used figurative phrases have curious origins whether it be from an influential book of the time, a cultural custom, or historical event. For example, did you know that the phrase, “the pot calling the kettle black,” derives from Miguel de Cervantes’ Spanish novel, Don Quixote?

Invaluable created a neat visual that explores some of the most prevalent English language idioms, and how they live on today in a modern context. Check it out, and think about the literal meaning behind the phrases next time you go to use them in written or spoken language.

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Change Up

Picking the point of view (POV) for any novel is a big decision. Whether it’s the immediacy of a first-person narrative (think Dennis Lehane’s Kenzie & Gennaro books); or the third-person limited view that most mysteries use (including my own); the point of view you choose will drive the way you develop characters and your plot.
Because every Clementine Toledano book is told from the third-person limited, with Q as the sole focus of the narrator’s attention, I’ve sometimes found this style, well, limiting – especially when there’s something important I want the reader to know about a character that’s not Q, that she can’t know yet. This constraint of this particular style automatically transforms any author into a student of human nature. For example, if you need the reader to know that a character is hiding something, how can you describe that in a way that maybe your main character might not notice? Does the character look away? Do they shuffle their feet? Do they abruptly change the subject?
First-person point of view has the same challenges plus one more. The person telling the story has to notice something for the reader to notice it too. So, if you want to hide something from the reader, it has to be hidden from your narrator, too.
Despite their challenges, the third-person limited and first-person narratives continue to be the most common points of view in commercial fiction for good reason. We experience our lives through our own lens. If someone was narrating our life, they’d hear our thoughts (which can be useful in telling our story), see things that we might not notice (useful information for people to understand our story), but be limited to seeing and hearing only that which we see and hear (useful for experiencing the world the way we experience it).
So, how does one escape the limits of these most popular of fictional narratives?
The reason this is on my mind is because I’ve recently read two of the most devilishly clever mysteries; devilishly clever because of their handling and mishandling of the third-person limited point of view.
The Investigation by J.M. Lee, beyond being ethereally beautiful writing, tells its mystery by switching between the point of view of the detective using first-person and the point of view of the victim (prior to his demise) using third-person limited. By doing so, the reader not only uncovers the mystery, but the humanity and motivation that led the victim to his demise and the detective to follow him along the same path.
I’ve used this technique myself twice. In Devil Take Me Down, I wanted the readers to get to know our killer a little better, so that they knew the object of his obsession and how long it had been going on. The reader only gets to live inside the killer’s head twice in the book, but it let me do some creepy stuff I wouldn’t otherwise have been allowed to do.
In Until the Devil Weeps, I switch to the first-person midway through to finally give our staid Detective Sanger a platform to speak his mind. I needed to do this for two reasons: first, to add more tension about the whereabouts of the main character, but also to cue the reader in on a mystery that was set up way back in Devil Take Me Down. This mystery has continued through Chasing Those Devil Bones and all the way through The Devil’s Luck and it was time to put it to rest once and for all. Also, if I’m being honest here, I just love the way Aaron Sanger speaks and getting to write his words for a chapter was a lot of fun.
Tami Hoag takes this technique of switching points of view to a whole other level, however. I’ve just finished reading The Bitter Season and quite frankly, I'm still not sure how she pulled this off without me – a pretty savvy reader if I do say so myself – figuring the mystery out. Hoag tells the story from the third-person limited point of view, but from the perspective of every character in the story. This means the detective interviews the suspect and the narrator tells the scene from his perspective, then the scene continues from the suspect’s perspective, still in the third-person limited. We experience the murder of the victim from his perspective and the reaction to his death from the perspective of the killer. The result? The reader comes away with a holistic understanding of the crime from beginning to end.
Both of these novels inspired me for different reasons, but what I came away with is a better understanding of why perspective matters so much to your narrative. Sometimes, as writers, especially series genre writers like myself, we get locked into our own voice and our own style. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But like every rule in writing, even the point of view is not set in stone. And in a mystery, if you change it up just right, it can take your story to a whole other level.