Sunday, October 31, 2021

Book Review: Raybearer

‘Uniformity is not unity. Silence is not peace.’
Wow, just smack society in the face, why don’t you? Too often we see globalism’s attempt to erase culture in the name of peace. I think we need to read that again: “‘Uniformity is not unity. Silence is not peace.’

Book: Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko
Genre: Young adult fantasy
My rating: 4/5 stars
Mini description: courage in the face of confusion
For someone who has often struggled to get into young adult fantasy, I really enjoyed this one! The main reason I struggle with YA fantasy is because it’s often lackluster in comparison to the epic worlds and characters you see in adult fantasy. Not so with this book.

I also finished the story in about a week, which is refreshing since I didn’t had a lot of time to read at the time I was reading the book, but I didn’t want to put this one down!
Though there were a couple of times where I had a hard time connecting with Tarisai, the main character, the writing style was really good. The details were spectacular without being overwhelming, as is common with adult fantasy.

The writing style takes an untraditional approach, though the trend is becoming more common, and covers several different years of Tarisai’s life. It really showed how she grew over time, going from being na├»ve and wanting to please those around her to being well researched and determined to stand up for what she believes is right, even when it's not always clear.

Also, can we talk about the emphasis on culture and the dangers of continent-wide conformity? Throughout the story, readers get a taste of the disunity in an empire, but the emperor and his council keep trying to fix it in all the wrong ways, which is frustrating but typical of governments.

I enjoyed the book so much, I went out and bought a copy of my own. Now I have a wait a whole year before the sequel’s paperback edition comes out… But that doesn’t stop me from borrowing the sequel from the library!

In all, I gave Raybearer 4/5 stars for excellent themes and character development albeit some reader disconnect. I would recommend the story to anybody interested in YA fantasy. I was still in the beginning of the story when I noticed that there's going to be a sequel, and I got really excited. Even once I reached the end, I have similar sentiments.
Interested in the book? Have you read it yet? You might also enjoy these fantasy novels: Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger, Fawkes by Nadine Brandes, The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrowand, and The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi.
Let’s chat! Have you read Raybearer yet, or has it made it to your TBR? What are some of your favorite YA fantasies?

Similar book reviews: Elatsoe, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, and Fawkes

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Finding the Best Writing Method

The word writing itself is a little outdated. Or shall I say generalized? Yeah, that sounds better. After all, many different forms of writing don’t involve the physical act itself. Sometimes it’s typing. Sometimes it’s speaking aloud and allowing a device to type for you. Sometimes, yes, it is writing by hand.

In other words, writing refers not so much to the act of putting pen to paper but the creation of words, whether it be an essay, blog post, or story. But which is the best method of creating?



Once upon a time, I read somewhere that the best way to write a novel is to write it all out by hand, then type it up and make corrections from there. So I tried and failed. Miserably. I got halfway through the book before I couldn’t take it anymore. My brain works faster than my hand, and I need all ten fingers to type. What’s more, the story stunk, so I ended up scrapping the whole thing.

Besides, there’s no Ctrl + f (find) in something that’s handwritten! How am I supposed to find a certain scene or name if I can’t remember where it is? At least I don’t need to worry about Ctrl + s (save)…

I also keep one of those little notebooks in my purse because somebody said you should write down ideas as they come to you. I never do. Sure, I may pull it out sometimes when I’m bored, but I don’t really use it to outline or keep track of quotes or anything useful.

Every now and then, if I’m out and feel the urge to write, I may use a scrap of paper to start a scene, but that’s no longer my primary method anymore. I like to keep a journal in a physical book, but that’s about it.


Google docs

Whenever I have a scene that I want to jot down really quick, I prefer to use Google docs on my phone. That way I can access it anywhere, and I don’t have to worry about tracking down a random piece of paper. Besides, it’s a little easier to copy and paste words than it is to type each and every one.

The last time I was traveling, I had a lot of fun writing on a Google doc because I didn’t bring my computer. Besides, I was writing poetry, so I didn’t have to worry about the paragraphs looking huge on my screen.

Microsoft Word

Ah, my favorite method of all! Complete with the ability to type with all ten fingers. Ctrl+f and Ctrl+s. The ability to create chapters and manipulate fonts. Copy and paste. Word counts. Pages. Italics. Chapter formatting. You name it!

Now, I have incorporated some methods from other pieces of unhelpful advice. Like that type up the second draft bit? Yep, I rewrite everything when transitioning from draft 1 to draft 2 instead of simply copy and pasting it so that I can catch more mistakes while typing everything out rather than reading over it.

Blogging is slightly different, though. I’ll type everything up on a Word doc, copy and paste it on Blogger, then proofread it from there.


Other methods


There’s plenty of online resources for writers, I’m just cheap and never invest in any of the paid options. 4theWords is a fun one where you can level up your character by defeating monsters by typing a certain number of words in a certain amount of time. I enjoyed using it during NaNoWriMo. The only thing is, I’m that kind of person who would rather study and tame a monster rather than kill it. What is it with our world and killing things?

Wattpad and Scrivener are also options I’ve heard of, but I’ve never tried writing on those sites.



There are also options where you can say the story aloud and allow a computer program to type it up for you. My sister uses an app on her phone for that method, though I’ve never tried it myself.



You know that stereotype where the writer is so obsessed with the aesthetic of writing that they go out and buy a typewriter? Yeah, no, I couldn’t do that. I like my backspace key, thank you very much, and used it maybe 500 times writing this stupid paragraph.


The Best Method

You may ask, What is the best method? I would say, The one that works best for you at the time. That method may change from story to story or even from time to time within the same story, and that’s where trial and error come into play. For me, it’s Word, but that may change.


Let’s chat! What’s your favorite writing method? Am I missing any? Does your writing process change, or do you have a tried and true method?




Similar posts: 5 Reasons to Attend WriteOnCon, How to Balance Multiple Writing Projects, and My Process for Writing Poetry

Sunday, October 10, 2021

7 More of my Go-To Authors

Do you ever have a certain mood you want to read a book in, so you pick a particular author? I know I do. For example, if I want to read a story with a curios twist on a common trope, I’ll pick Neil Gaiman. Or maybe I’m looking for compelling characters and unpredictable plot twists: Brandon Sanderson. This method has also led me to know which authors I avoid, but today I’d like to focus on the ones whose works I enjoy.

Authors are organized by last name.


1. Megan Bannen

Does it count if you’ve only read one of their books but you liked it so much you can’t wait to read the next one even though it’s not a sequel? Eh, who cares. It’s my blog post. I particularly enjoyed her debut, The Bird and the Blade, so much so, that I eagerly awaited her latest book Soulswift. My library finally bought a copy, and I’m currently reading it!

2.   Susanna Clarke

She only has three books out. Who am I kidding? Only three books?! That’s so cool!!! I’ve enjoyed the ones I’ve read so far. I read her beast-of-a-book Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell back when I was living in England, and I particularly liked the way Clarke connected the fantasy elements with the British culture.

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories was also quite entertaining, especially the one that took place in the world of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust. Crossovers, anybody? Yes, please! I haven’t seen many crossovers outside of graphic novels, so this was a pleasant surprise.

I look forward to reading her latest book, Piranse.

3.   C. G. Drews

I first started following Drews on her blog where she writes as Paper Fury. One of the ways I like to determine if a book is worth reading is by reading her reviews. They’re great.

So are her books, of course! A Thousand Perfect Notes stole my heart with its characters, and her second book The Boy Who Steals Houses was even better. Though they took a while to release in the US (they’re finally here!), I liked to buy them online at Book Depository.

When will the publishing industry give us another one of her books? I know she’s written some! I know you can’t rush publishing, but I can dream.

4.   Neil Gaiman

I know, I know. I’ve only read three of his books. How could I possibly say he’s one of my go-to authors? I highly recommend his speech “Make Good Art.”

Though I wasn’t a particular fan of The Ocean at the End of the Lane, I found Norse Mythology to be quite fascinating. Of course, I’m slightly obsessed with Stardust, especially when it’s the audiobook read by the author.

5.   Hannah Heath

It’s not a proper list if I don’t list an indie author. Heath is one of my go-to indie authors because she always includes some sort of disability representation in her stories. That and she writes fantasy and sci-fi, so of course that’s a plus! Her story “Vengence Hunter” made me hate vampire stories less because she puts an interesting twist on the trope. Her story “So I Accidentally Killed the Chosen One” on Wattpad is quite comical. So far, I think “This Pain Inside” from the anthology Strange Waters, is one of my favorites. I look forward to her next piece.

6.   Jack London

As a kid, I used to pick up a lot of animal stories, and I used to listen to the audiobook of White Fang a lot. When I reread the book as an adult, I remembered why I enjoyed the story so much. Of course, his others books and stories can be good too, though I’ve never particularly cared for Call of the Wild. It has been a while since I’ve read it, though.

I particularly like how his stories include the beauties and wonder of nature and humankind contrasted with its deadly nature. No romanticism here.

7.   J. R. R. Tolkien

When I was a kid, my dad once read The Hobbit to my brother and me. Of course, I loved it! I can’t say I’ve read everything by Tolkien, but I grew up enjoying Lord of the Rings movie marathons, and I later dove into the books.

The last time I attempted to read The Silmarillion was when I was studying English lit. So yeah, it’s been a while. I’ll have to give the book another try at some point.


Let’s chat! Who are some of your go-to authors? Have you read any books by the ones I’ve mentioned?


Similar posts: Don’t Judge a Book by its Author, or Should You?; 7 of my Go-To Authors; and Let’s Agree to Disagree: Reader vs. Author Opinion

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Poem: Reading Glasses

Since I haven’t had a lot of time to write lately, I’ll be sharing an older poem.

Yes, my style may change over time, but I like to think that even the older ones can be fun sometimes. Here’s one of my favorites from a creative writing course in college. I was once a proud reader who didn’t need glasses to read. That is until I read too much…


Reading Glasses

Two owlets perch on a wing.

Hooked beaks on plump fools

stuffed with heaps of mice.


Two boxes crammed

with clocks and calendars

and leaves to the brim.


Two attic windows side by side,

overlooking an owl’s nest,

boxes stacked to the sills. Here

until the house burns.*




Let’s chat! What did you think of the poem? Any fellow readers out there who wear glasses?

*The final sentence sometimes gets left out because it changes the entire mood of the poem. Personally, I like it because it adds a touch of mortality to what would otherwise be a lasting building.

Similar posts: Do Not Dissect This Poem, Origins, and Pine Trees