Book vs. Movie: Thr3e

3 movie vs book

This movie originally came out in 2006. I watched it in the theater, but I don’t actually remember much about it. I’ve had the DVD for years, and only re-watched it recently after re-reading the book for the first time in over 10 years. It was…not great, unfortunately. Part of that is the curse of most faith-based movies, where the production quality isn’t what we normally look for. For example, even though several of the actors I’ve seen in other things (like Marc Blucas), and they were perfectly fine in those other things, most of the acting seemed stiff.

Past that, I had some notes about things that were different from the book that I felt detracted from the story, one that I liked in the movie, and one that was mostly neutral. Fair warning, the rest of this post will be full of spoilers!

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Book Review: The Inquisition

Finished Reading: The Inquisition
Summoner
Trilogy #2
by Taran Matharu

My rating: 4 / 5
Genre: YA Fantasy

The Inquisition

Spoiler notice: The following review will contain some spoilers for the first book in the trilogy, The Novice.

The Inquisition picks up a year after the previous story’s end, finding Fletcher in jail, where he’s been the entire year. Some life-changing events are tied up in the trial, and before we know it, Fletcher is being sent to the jungles to help lead a covert mission of rescue and destroy (not necessarily in that order). Fletcher has to work with his friends and enemies, and keep his wits about him when things aren’t what they seem.

I enjoyed this book at least as much as the first book. Fletcher’s abilities were established, and in fact had grown between books. Old friendships and rivalries came back into play, as well as some new characters to love. The species & class warfare are still involved, and in the case of species warfare, even more so.

I wasn’t super excited about the beginning of the book, knowing that Fletcher would be in jail, and that the people with all the power would make it very difficult for him to prove himself innocent. They did that and then some. Of course, I knew he’d either be exonerated or escape, because otherwise, there’d be no rest of the book. And with the end of his prison time came a big turn-around for his life.

The rest of the book, which was preparation for and executing of the covert mission into orc territory, was interesting and, at times, exciting. A few things happened that led me to notice that Fletcher, in both books, has a tendency to fall into a trope where good things happen to him simply because he’s a nice guy. Learning important information, chance encounters, unlikely allies, things like that. I am not trying to say this is a bad trope–it never bothered me when it happened, but it was a trend I noticed.

There were a few things that happened near the end that are a twist of some kind. One of them I figured out early. One I kept speculating on, and turned out to be wrong. And one, the way the book ends, in fact, I did not see coming at all. Unlike the cliffhanger from book 1 to book 2, I’m very excited to see how book 3 picks up from where this one left off.

Find out more about The Inquisition

Up next: Lost and Found by Orson Scott Card

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Ebook Giveaway

Triangle Cover

My first published book, The Triangle, is free on Amazon, now through Sunday! Be sure to go and grab your digital copy before it’s too late! Please consider leaving an honest review on Amazon, Goodreads, your own blog, or preferably, all of the above!

Synopsis:
Tyler Bradley has a good life. He’s been married for seventeen years, has two daughters, makes a comfortable living, goes to church on Sunday, and really has no complaints. But one small, innocuous change reveals a tiny crack in his happy life. The crack widens until one day Tyler looks around and can’t understand how he got where he is. And worse yet, that crack threatens to devour his entire family.

Hoping to repair the damage, Tyler begins to study the Bible he’s heard so much about, but never bothered delving into. During his searching, he meets someone who captures his attention, and then his heart. She manages to brighten his life, while also muddling his mind. While this new relationship deepens, his home life only gets worse. How will Tyler recapture the good life he once thought he had?

Free Book!

1

Starting tomorrow, and continuing through the weekend, The Triangle ebook will be available for free on Amazon. I would love for you all to read it and let me know what you think! Please consider leaving an honest review on Amazon, Goodreads, your own blog, or preferably, all of the above!

Synopsis:
Tyler Bradley has a good life. He’s been married for seventeen years, has two daughters, makes a comfortable living, goes to church on Sunday, and really has no complaints. But one small, innocuous change reveals a tiny crack in his happy life. The crack widens until one day Tyler looks around and can’t understand how he got where he is. And worse yet, that crack threatens to devour his entire family.

Hoping to repair the damage, Tyler begins to study the Bible he’s heard so much about, but never bothered delving into. During his searching, he meets someone who captures his attention, and then his heart. She manages to brighten his life, while also muddling his mind. While this new relationship deepens, his home life only gets worse. How will Tyler recapture the good life he once thought he had?

 

Writing Wednesday: Prompt

WW Prompt

Here’s today’s Writing Wednesday Prompt:

It was as far as I could go…

If you write something from this prompt, by all means let me know! Feel free to share what you wrote, if you want!

**If you’re looking for more like this, you might want to check out the story seeds posts I wrote for NaNoPrep a few years ago. They are not specific to NaNoWriMo, and each contains a list of several different types of prompts or ways to generate story ideas. You can find them here: Story Seeds 1, Story Seeds 2, Story Seeds 3, Story Seeds 4**

Public Appearance

I’m very excited to announce that I will be one of several Huntington County authors appearing at the Pioneer Festival in Huntington, IN at the end of September. I will have paperback copies of my book (The Triangle) to sell (and sign, if so desired), as well as information on future books. It will be my first public author appearance, so hopefully it will go well!

Most of the people who read this blog live nowhere near me, of course, but I still wanted to announce it here! Now, in traditional me-fashion, it’s story time:

My local library has a monthly writing group called The Wordsmiths. It started about 3 years ago during NaNoWriMo, as a write-in location. Those of us who attended throughout the month decided to turn it into a regular thing. Not long after that, I got a job, which quickly blossomed into a crazy, life-sucking entity. I didn’t go back to the writing group until, I think, 2 years later, again during NaNoWriMo. Then, all this year, every month, there was one reason or another that I didn’t go—being sick, working, taking my daughter to the doctor, and the last couple of months…I’d just forget by the time it was time to leave the house.

Even this week, I had fully planned to go, and didn’t forget it for once…but started talking myself out of it, because it had been so long since I’d been there,  I felt weird suddenly showing up again. And because I could tell more people had started to come in my absence, and I don’t like meeting new people. And because…blah blah blah.

But I didn’t want to wait until November to go again, and let it be seen that I only care about this group during NaNoWriMo, plus other reasons compelled me to strap on my big-girl pants and just go. And it turned out to be a very good thing, because the woman who organizes The Wordsmiths and keeps it going is also one of the organizers of this event at the Pioneer Festival, which is being jointly presented by the festival and the library. She said she’d thought about asking me sooner, but for various, completely legitimate reasons, wasn’t sure if I’d want to. But she was glad I’d come this month, so she could ask me about it. A day before the deadline to turn in participants’ bios and pics.

Now…of course I would prefer to go to this thing with more than one thin novelette to my name. I’d love to be able to give a publishing date for “Pithea” while sitting at that table. At this point, I don’t think that will happen (it is possible though). However, I still truly think that the way this all worked out shows God’s hand in action. I can talk to people in person about my book (both present and future), can (try to) answer any possible questions they may have about writing and publishing, and maybe even spread the NaNoWriMo love. And what might be the biggest benefit of all, it will be experience talking to people in real-life about my writing, possibly signing some books, and just push me out of my comfort zone in general, while still being in my own hometown, plus a lot of my family will be nearby in the re-enactment section of the Festival (as participants).

Whatever exposure I may or may not get from this, it will be an invaluable experience; I’m quite certain of that.

A Monday Moment: Heat

Monday Moment

“I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner,” Gary said with a happy sigh. It was the first time he had been comfortable in months.

Sadie gazed at her new husband, happy that he seemed to be content. Then she looked up at the swirling mass above them, looking almost like a small cloud. “I think you were too pre-occupied with other matters.”

“I suppose so.” He laid his head back, closed his eyes, and smiled.

Sadie continued staring at the cloud. She was a little less enthusiastic about it. It felt too much like he was controlling the weather. What if his cloud somehow interfered with the local atmosphere?

He opened his eyes and looked over at her. “Are you okay?”

“How long do you think you can keep it going?”

He shrugged. “It doesn’t take much Power, so probably as long as I want. Doesn’t it feel amazing?”

She nodded, still staring at the cloud, slowly spinning just below the ceiling. He noted her twisted lisps and chuckled. He scooted closer to her and pulled her into his arms. For once, he didn’t feel like touching her only made him more miserable. He kissed her, settling in for a long moment. Soon, though, he felt the heat returning. He ignored it for a while, and then broke the kiss and looked up.

“Apparently, I’m a little too distracting,” Sadie said with a mischievous grin.

“You definitely are.” He continued to rub her shoulder with one hand while staring at the dissipating cloud.

“It will be nice to have relief now and then, anyway,” Sadie said soothingly. She didn’t want him to get upset about the heat again.

“There has to be a way to make it work without me,” he mused. “Our Power performs on its own after we send it to those needing mending. Power works completely unbound when it’s used in Power lights and cooling cabinets.” He looked over at Sadie. “I’m going to figure this out. But not right now.”


Prompt used: What if your character came up with a great new invention?

Weekly Writing Update: August pt. 4

Sunday: 52 minutes freewriting from prompts
Monday: none
Tuesday: 1 hour, 45 minutes at writing group
Wednesday: none
Thursday: none
Friday: 1 hour, 30 minutes working on cover & other publishing things for “Pithea”
Saturday: 35 minutes working on cover for “Pithea”

This week wasn’t the most productive for me, but it was an important week for several reasons. I went to the writing group at my local library for the first time all year, and from that came a very exciting, though also very scary, opportunity. I’ll post about that more later. I’ve made some official decisions on what I want to do with my completed novel “Pithea,” which will start with making a few small changes, which will be the last.

Wednesday and Thursday, our internet was down, which shouldn’t have prevented me from working on the novel I’m currently revising (“Outcast”), but it did. I’ll be diving back into that, while simultaneously working on those final changes to “Pithea,” this week. I’m excited to see the results in next week’s writing update.

Book Review: #NotReadyToDie

Finished Reading: #NotReadyToDie
by Cate Carlyle

My rating: 2.5 / 5
Genre: YA suspense

#notreadytodieA school shooting at a high school in Canada is shown from the perspective of one of the students. She’s forced to think past her perceptions of other students to do the best she can to help others trapped in the classroom with her.

I didn’t find very many redeeming qualities about this book. My favorite thing about the book was the way that each chapter ended with a tweet from various sources–usually either the local news station or one of the students in the school. I liked reading the updates as time went on (and missed them when they weren’t there), though I wished I could see reactions from the characters to some of them. They were mostly removed from the narrative. The writing was clear and easy to follow. And I liked the relationship between the narrator, Ginny, and her mom. That’s the extent of my positive notes. These are the main reasons I gave the book 2.5 stars.

There was a secondary main character named Kayla who, frankly, would have made a much better main character. She was compassionate, brave, forgiving, and had knowledge of medicine. I don’t mean to say side characters can’t be better at anything than the main character, of course, but in contrast, Ginny was judgemental, a bit harsh, and too often focused on the entirely wrong things during this crisis. The main character doesn’t have to be the “best,” but for a story to land well, it certainly helps for the reader to be able to identify with the MC…and I just didn’t. Ginny spends the entire book calling Kayla by an insulting nickname, but it’s okay, because she says it “with love” after the two start to become friends. Just…no. There are other things that happen with Ginny that either don’t make sense to her character or are pretty big personality flaws.

And speaking of characters, the book is so full of cliches. In the classroom during the lockdown, there are only 3 main groups of people identified: jocks, cheerleaders, and nerds. I get the over-simplification of background characters in a setting like this, but maybe go against the trend of those commonly used groups? The main person who acts selfishly and is disliked by the MCs is a jock. Maybe change it up, make him something less cliched.

This might count as a spoiler, so be warned, but one specific thing that really bugged me was later in the book, Ginny makes a comment about one of the other students that leads Kayla to tell her maybe she should work on not judging people so much. After initially snarking back to Kayla about this comment, she admits to the reader that Kayla had been right (yeah, we know…considering that you have been calling Kayla, who is supposedly becoming your friend now, “Barbie” since the beginning of the book). Then later, when talking about the “jerk jock”, we’re told that Ginny prides herself on having a pretty good feel for people. Except she’s spent half the book finding out that she’s misjudged at least 3 different people in her class. But since we all agree that the jerk jock is a bad guy, I guess we’ll let that little contradiction slide.

Here are a few other stray thoughts, which contain some spoilers (which I’ll try to cover with black): From my limited knowledge, I’m pretty sure most school shootings are a lot shorter than the time it went on for in this book. The shooter weirdly taunted this classroom, which I never really understood. There wasn’t much suspense for me, considering the final chapter title, the book’s POV and tense, and the fact that I wasn’t really connected to the MC (note: I am not at all saying that I didn’t care if she died, especially considering the subject matter of this book). Finally, I don’t think it would have bothered me to not be told the motivations behind the shooting if the students hadn’t speculated on it so much along the way. Because of that, I did find myself wanting to know, which we don’t find out. I know that the motivations aren’t always clear in real life either, but this is fiction, so I would have hoped for at least a more definitive speculation from someone in authority by the end.

The subject of a school shooting intrigued me, which is why I chose to read this book. Though I know there are other books like this out there, I haven’t read any. However, so much of the characterization was just so off to me, I had a difficult time finding it very much of an exploration into the minds of students in this terrible situation. I don’t think I can come up with any types of readers I would specifically recommend this book to. It was short, so I should have read it much more quickly than I did, but instead found myself stopping and going back to my other book that I was really enjoying, and it’s not because of the difficult subject, but because…it just didn’t hold my attention very well.

Thank you to Netgalley and Common Deer Press for providing me a copy of this book to review.

Find out more about #NotReadyToDie
Publication date: October 1, 2019

Up next: The Inquisition by Taran Matharu

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Book Review: Lock In

Finished Reading: Lock In
by John Scalzi

My rating: 4.5 / 5
Genre: Sci-Fi mystery

Lock In

In the near future, a disease ravages humanity, leaving a large population of Earth completely paralyzed. In the time period of Lock In, technology has been developed to allow those “locked in” to live as normally as possible, either putting their consciousness into a robotic being, or into the mind of someone who has the ability to accept the mind of someone else. Set against this backdrop, the book is a mystery that starts with a murder, but deepens continually as the story goes on.

I wasn’t really expecting to like this book that much, though I don’t know why. However, I ended up liking it a lot. The sci-fi element, mainly the roles the Hadens (those who were locked in) and the Integrators (those who could let a Haden use their mind & body) played in the mystery, really enhanced the mystery plot.

The main character, Chris Shane, is a Haden and an FBI agent, who interacts with the physical world in what they call a “threep” (basically a robot that is controlled by a Haden’s consciousness). In a lot of ways, the book was similar in this area to Ready Player One, which I only read recently, so it was fresh in my mind. I was interested reading about the laws surrounding Hadens and their threeps, when it comes to crimes committed both by and against them. I also enjoyed the main character’s intelligence, ingenuity, and stoicism.

Another thing that I found myself appreciating throughout the book was the writing style. There is not a lot of description or figurative language, which to my taste, at least, can slow a story down or add unnecessary filler. There were even times that I would read through an entire page and get this feeling in the back of my mind that I’d skipped some text (I do that sometimes, essentially accidentally skimming for a bit before deciding I need to go back), but when I’d go back to try to find what I’d skipped over, there was nothing. Conversations flowed quickly, with little in the way of descriptions of what the characters were doing. Some may find this a flaw, but I personally liked it. If the characters aren’t really doing anything but sitting and talking…maybe sometimes it’s okay to not add minor actions in just because. I usually write dialog this way too, but end up going back and adding more in, because I feel like it’s expected.

Scalzi’s world-building was brilliant too, from following the progression of politics, laws, and citizen response brought on by Haden’s syndrome in America, to the slang and lingo that seemed so natural in this world. My main detraction in the book is involved in this area though. At one point in the last quarter of the book, a side character who is an expert in a field that is needed for the investigation spends about 10 pages explaining some technological and coding mumbo jumbo that I had a difficult time wading through and understanding. I was at least able to come away with some idea of what was going on, though, so it didn’t cause enough problem for me to be more than a short frustration. I also feel it prudent to mention that there was a lot more language than I prefer.

I had seen that there is a follow-up to this novel when I wasn’t even halfway into reading it yet, and I didn’t expect to have much desire to read it. However, by the end of the book, I knew I had to read Head On at some point soon!

I would recommend Lock In for fans of near-future sci-fi and for mystery lovers too.

Find out more about Lock In

Up next#NotReadyToDie by Cate Carlyle

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!