The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (Review)

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TITLE:          The Alchemist

AUTHOR:     Paulo Coelho

RATING OVERVIEW (OVERALL: 3.75)
Writing: ★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Appearance: ★★★

AMAZON DESCRIPTION:

Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations.

Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

Buy the book HERE!

MY 2 CENTS / THE CRITICAL POINTS:

WRITING (★★★★): Paulo Coelho is a wonderfully talented author who’s storytelling ability draws you in and keeps you reading. His writing style is intriguing and yet simple. With that said, The Alchemist is a very fast read. It took me all of maybe five or six hours to get through.

STORY (★★★★): On the surface, The Alchemist is a simple story of a sheep farmer who sells his sheep to set out on a journey to follow his dream… his calling… his Personal Legend as it is called in the book. Yet, in reality, there are deeper messages weaved throughout the story. Lessons we are all meant to learn, but maybe in each our own way.

Paulo Coelho is a philosopher. The over-arching theme I believe he is trying to get across is that everyone and all things are connected. The past, the present, and the future are all intertwined.  

One could read this story and take away that you must live in the moment… be mindful of the life here in the present because the past and future can not be changed.

Another reader may take away that the author is telling you to stop working to live and just start living. Follow your dreams and give 100% of yourself to the journey to reach your Personal Legend. If you’ve ever heard Arnold Schwarzenegger talk about his life – this is similar to the message he tries to get across; that you must be all in – with no backup plan.

I’m sure there are a dozen other life lessons that one could read in the passages of The Alchemist and I would argue that each and every one is right, for the reader that interprets them.

If you’ve read The Alchemist, I’d love to know what lesson or message you took away from it. Comment below and tell me what you thought of the story and what your major take away was.

I highly recommend this story for teens and young adults. They are still trying to find themselves and figure out exactly what they want out of life. I would argue that this story is a great source of encouragement to never give up and always strive to achieve what you are truly passionate about.

CHARACTERS (★★★★): I enjoyed all of the characters, for what they were. However, the lead character, the young sheep farmer named Santiago, was written extremely well. His backstory was laid out beautifully and I felt a connection to him and an investment in his journey.

The character development and connection from chapter to chapter flowed wonderfully. It was nice, for once, to read a book where the author didn’t introduce a thousand new characters in every chapter.

APPEARANCE (★★★): The cover is simple and yet aged. I don’t think I would have picked this book up if I had passed it in the book store. However, because it was given to me by someone I trust, I ignored the cover and jumped right in.

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.’”

“Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested.”

“Don’t give in to your fears, if you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”

AUTHOR:

The Brazilian author PAULO COELHO is considered one of the most influential authors of our times. His books have sold more than 165 million copies worldwide, have been released in 170 countries and been translated into 80 languages.

Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947, he soon discovered his vocation for writing. He worked as a director, theater actor, songwriter and journalist. His collaboration with Brazilian composer and singer Raúl Seixas gave some of the greatest classic rock songs in Brazil. In 1986, a special meeting led him to make the pilgrimage to Saint James Compostela (in Spain). The Road to Santiago was not only a common pilgrimage but a turning point in his existence. A year later, he wrote ‘The Pilgrimage’, an autobiographical novel that is considered the beginning of his career.

In the following year, COELHO published ‘The Alchemist’. Slow initial sales convinced his first publisher to drop the novel, but it went on to become one of the best selling Brazilian books of all time.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

ALSO BY PAULO COELHO:

Brida (1990)

Brida, a young Irish girl, has long been interested in various aspects of magic but is searching for something more. Her search leads her to people of great wisdom. She meets a wise man who dwells in a forest, who teaches her to trust in the goodness of the world, and a woman who teaches her how to dance to the music of the world. As Brida seeks her destiny, she struggles to find a balance between her relationships and her desire to become a witch.

This enthralling novel incorporates themes that fans of Paulo Coelho will recognize and treasure. It is a tale of love, passion, mystery, and spirituality from the master storyteller.

The Valkyries (1992)

A Magical Tale About Forgiving Our Past and Believing in Our Future

The enchanting true story of The Valkyries begins in Rio de Janeiro when author Paulo Coelho gives his mysterious master the only manuscript for his book The Alchemist. Haunted by a devastating curse; Coelho confesses to have seen my dreams fall apart just when I seemed about to achieve them. In response he gives Coelho a daunting task: He must find and speak with his guardian angel. The curse can be broken; he replies; if you complete the task.

By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept (1994)

Rarely does adolescent love reach its full potential, but what happens when two young lovers reunite after eleven years? Time has transformed Pilar into a strong and independent woman, while her devoted childhood friend has grown into a handsome and charismatic spiritual leader. She has learned well how to bury her feelings . . . and he has turned to religion as a refuge from his raging inner conflicts.

Now they are together once again, embarking on a journey fraught with difficulties, as long-buried demons of blame and resentment resurface after more than a decade. But in a small village in the French Pyrenees, by the waters of the River Piedra, a most special relationship will be reexamined in the dazzling light of some of life’s biggest questions.

The Fifth Mountain (1996)

In the ninth century b.c., the Phoenician princess Jezebel orders the execution of all the prophets who refuse to worship the pagan god Baal. Commanded by an angel of God to flee Israel, Elijah seeks safety in the land of Zarephath, where he unexpectedly finds true love with a young widow. But this newfound rapture is to be cut short, and Elijah sees all of his hopes and dreams irrevocably erased as he is swept into a whirlwind of events that threatens his very existence.

Written with the same masterful prose and clarity of vision that made The Alchemist an international phenomenon, The Fifth Mountain is a quietly moving account of a man touched by the hand of God who must triumph over his frustrations in a soul-shattering trial of faith.

Manual of a Warrior of Light (1997)

Warrior of the Light: A Manual is an inspirational companion to The Alchemist, an international bestseller that has beguiled millions of readers around the world. Every short passage invites us to live out our dreams, to embrace the uncertainty of life, and to rise to our own unique destiny. In his inimitable style, Paulo Coelho helps bring out the Warrior of the Light within each of us. He also shows readers how to embark upon the way of the Warrior: the one who appreciates the miracle of being alive, the one who accepts failure, and the one whose quest leads him to become the person he wants to be.

Paulo Coelho is one of the most beloved storytellers of our time. Now, in the long-awaited companion to his first novel, Coelho presents a collection of philosophical stories that will delight and guide seekers everywhere.

Eleven Minutes (2003)

Eleven Minutes is the story of Maria, a young girl from a Brazilian village, whose first innocent brushes with love leave her heartbroken. At a tender age, she becomes convinced that she will never find true love, instead believing that “love is a terrible thing that will make you suffer. . . .” A chance meeting in Rio takes her to Geneva, where she dreams of finding fame and fortune. Maria’s despairing view of love is put to the test when she meets a handsome young painter. In this odyssey of self-discovery, Maria has to choose between pursuing a path of darkness – sexual pleasure for its own sake – or risking everything to find her own “inner light” and the possibility of sacred sex, sex in the context of love.

The Zahir (2005)

The narrator of The Zahir is a bestselling novelist who lives in Paris and enjoys all the privileges money and celebrity bring. His wife of ten years, Esther, is a war correspondent who has disappeared along with a friend, Mikhail, who may or may not be her lover.

Was Esther kidnapped, murdered, or did she simply escape a marriage that left her unfulfilled? The narrator doesn’t have any answers, but he has plenty of questions of his own. Then one day Mikhail finds the narrator and promises to reunite him with his wife. In his attempt to recapture a lost love, the narrator discovers something unexpected about himself.

The Witch of Portobello (2006)

How do we find the courage to always be true to ourselves—even if we are unsure of who we are?

Aleph (2010)

In his most personal novel to date, internationally bestselling author Paulo Coelho returns with a remarkable journey of self-discovery. Like the main character in his much-beloved The Alchemist, Paulo is facing a grave crisis of faith. As he seeks a path of spiritual renewal and growth, his only real option is to begin again—to travel, to experiment, to reconnect with people and the landscapes around him.

Setting off to Africa, and then to Europe and Asia via the Trans-Siberian railroad, he initiates a journey to revitalize his energy and passion. Even so, he never expects to meet Hilal. A gifted young violinist, she is the woman Paulo loved five hundred years before—and the woman he betrayed in an act of cowardice so far-reaching that it prevents him from finding real happiness in this life. Together they will initiate a mystical voyage through time and space, traveling a path that teaches love, forgiveness, and the courage to overcome life’s inevitable challenges. Beautiful and inspiring, Aleph invites us to consider the meaning of our own personal journeys.

Adultery (2014)

I want to change. I need to change. I’m gradually losing touch with myself. 

Adultery, the provocative new novel by Paulo Coelho, best-selling author of The Alchemist and Eleven Minutes, explores the question of what it means to live life fully and happily, finding the balance between life’s routine and the desire for something new. 

Someone Should Have Told Me ~ by Nina Soden

The phone rang.

My Uncle is in the hospital.

He’s been there a month.

A MONTH and no one told me.

The phone rang.

My hands are shaking.

I can’t get the tears to stop.

A MONTH and no one told me.

The phone rang.

I may be far, but I’m still family.

Distance doesn’t make it easier.

Distance doesn’t mean I don’t still love.

A MONTH and no one told me.

The phone rang.

He has a week, maybe two.

It isn’t long enough.

I need him to breathe… to live… to fight.

A MONTH and no one told me.

The phone rang.

Miles between us and my voice betays me…

How do you say goodbye, when the words won’t come?

How do you say I love you when words aren’t enough?

I’m hurting… I’m angry.

A MONTH and no one told me.

The phone rang.

I have a phone; someone should have called.

I have email; someone should have written.

My heart is broken.

A MONTH and no one told me.

It isn’t right. It isn’t fair. SOMEONE SHOUD HAVE TOLD ME!

Dedicated to my Uncle Dan ~ I will love you always~

(C) Nina Soden 2019

For more poems, check out by collection on Amazon: Private Words Unspoken

Week 17 #WritingWednesday #WritingPrompt Challenge

Today is the 17th Edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

  • Read the writing prompt below,
  • Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
  • DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing in the voice of Kim, a character in my upcoming novel The Beast Within.

Today’s writing prompt:

If I looked into your fridge right now, what would I find?

Wine.

Oh, and beer. Now that Dean is staying over more often than not, he stocks the fridge with beer.

I think we had pizza a couple nights ago and Chinese takeout from that place just down the street last night. So, I’m sure there are a few containers of leftovers. I leave them for Dean. I don’t eat leftovers. Dean, he eats anything.

Yeah, that’s pretty much it; wine, beer, and leftovers. I don’t cook. It’s one of the first things I tell a guy when I start dating. I figure if they are expecting some June Cleaver type, then I might as well scare them away before I get to attached. You know?

Hi, I’m Kim, just your modern-day woman. I get my breakfast down at the coffee shop on the corner, lunch at the deli down the road, and dinner at one of the many restaurants within walking distance from my apartment which just so happens to reside just above my small boutique. I design a line of woman’s clothing, but I’m working on a children’s line. I cater to those high society types. You know the ones. The moms who like to dress younger than they are. The mother daughter combos who walk around in matching summer dresses.

I love what I do, it’s my passion, but sometimes my customers can drive me a little crazy. That’s why my fridge is stocked with wine. Lots of wine!

© 2019 Nina Soden

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Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with! 

If I looked into your fridge right now, what would I find?

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Would you like more sources for daily writing prompts? Click on the links below for great writing prompt journals I think you’ll really love!

Are you working on a manuscript, but need a little help getting organized? Check out SO YOU WANT TO WRITE A BOOK ~ An Indie Author Guide to Outlining and Planning Your Next Novel

It isn’t just for indie-authors. I have filled it with all the tools I’ve learned over the years and use on a regular basis with each book I write.

Want help meeting your writing goals? Check out JUST WRITE: The Ultimate Author’s Bullet Journal

This planner/journal hybrid helps new and experienced writers stay organized while still fostering creativity. It is the perfect complement to So You Want To Write A Book.

Author Interview ~ Chrys Fey

I’m excited to introduce Author Chrys Fey to my blog. She is the author of the Disaster Crimes series. She was kind enough to answer a few questions about herself, her story, and her writing process. 

Chrys Fey - Cropped

Let’s start by finding out a little bit about you…

1. What is your name and do you write under a pen name?

Chrys Fey is my pen name. Chrys comes from my real nickname Chrissy. It’s just a fun, condensed version. And Fey comes from the word “fey,” which means magical. When I came up with my pen name, I was writing fanciful, paranormal stories, so my pen name was a nod to those genres, but now my pen name is a nod to the magic of writing.

2. If it doesn’t bother you, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

My childhood home had a palm tree out front. When the branches would start to die and hung low, my brothers and sisters and I would grab onto them and swing around the tree’s trunk in circles. An oak tree beside my house was where I would climb up and sit on a branch to read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Woods—tall pine trees and thick palmetto bushes—surrounded my house on all sides, and deep in the woods in my backyard was my fort, made entirely of pine needles and shaped like an igloo. That fort became my heroine’s fort in Flaming Crimes (Disaster Crimes Book 4), and many of her memories of her childhood home are my own.

3. What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

I’m not sure if I’d call it terrible, but I had spine surgery for severe scoliosis the day after I turned fifteen. I have fusion between my vertebrae and a titanium rod screwed to my spine. I’ve had many problems since then, and my whole body is out of whack.

4. What is your greatest fear?

Wildfire. More specifically, losing my home to a fire, because I had almost lost my childhood home to a wildfire when I was twelve years old. That fire, and all of my memories of it—from my best friend’s father saying, “It looks like it’s right next to your house,” to a firefighter getting burned, a brush truck getting stuck in the woods in my backyard, and one of my cats escaping outside and running toward the flames—are in Flaming Crimes.

5. What is your opinion of novellas?

I love them! I love to read them because they are fast, and I love to write them, too. I enjoy packing a lot of action and excitement into a novella, essentially dispelling the notion that you can’t write a fast-paced novella that is a complete story, with well-rounded characters. You can. And I have, with Hurricane Crimes.

Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest story.

FlamingCrimes_w12192_7501. What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or fewer words, what would you say?

Flaming Crimes: a fiery story with steamy love scenes, nail-biting confrontations with criminals, and heart-warming moments between a couple who go through a lot.

2. Is the above book part of a series?

Yes, it is. It is the fourth book for the Disaster Crimes Series.

Hurricane Crimes (Book 1, under 50 pages)
Seismic Crimes (Book 2, novel)
Lightning Crimes (Book 2.5, free short story)
Tsunami Crimes (Book 3, novel)
Flaming Crimes (Book 4, novel)

3. Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)?

For Flaming Crimes, I listened to Demi Lovato’s album Confident for Beth’s chapters (who is a self-defense instructor), and a lot of Daughtry while writing Donovan’s chapters (who is a monster truck driver).

4. How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?

At first, I thought of calling Hurricane Crimes, (The) Hurricane Killer, but I didn’t like that, because I felt that it gave the wrong impression of Donovan Goldwyn. I certainly wanted readers to be suspicious of him—is he a murderer or isn’t he—but I didn’t want that in the title. Then, one day, Hurricane Crimes came to my mind.

When I realized that the story wasn’t quite done, that more stories would follow it, I knew I would keep the two-word title trend for each book, use a word to hint at the disaster that would take place, and pair it with the word “crimes,” because there isn’t a disaster that crimes don’t follow.

5. In your latest novel, who is the lead character and can you tell us a little about him/her?

Beth Kennedy is the heroine. She is a tough cookie who teaches others how to defend themselves, but she is also gentle and loving. She’s been through a lot but has come out stronger.

Donovan Goldwyn is the hero. He is strong, passionate, and protective. When someone threatens the woman he loves, he sees red. He will do anything to keep her safe.

Really, you don’t want to mess with either one of them. You want them on your side.

Where can your readers follow you? Please list links to any applicable websites and/or social media accounts.

Website – http://www.ChrysFey.com
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/chrysfey
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ChrysFey
Blog – http://www.writewithfey.com
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/ChrysFey
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Chrys-Fey/e/B00GWLZJ8O

#MindfulnessMonday 5/27/19 – Mindfulness isn’t magic!

Today’s #MindfulnessMonday Tip: Don’t take mindfulness to seriously… It isn’t a competition of who can be more mindful. It is about being present in the moment and enjoying life as it comes.     

Check out today’s #MindfulnessMonday video to discover a secret about mindfulness. You can check out the video by clicking HERE!

Today’s Mindfulness Exercise:

Mindful Reading!

Reading is a huge part of our daily lives. So much so that we often take it for granted. from text messages to emails to social media posts we are constantly staring at our phones, tables, computers and other devises. Find some time during the day when you can put down your electronic devises and focus on reading something in print… a book, a magazine, a newspaper (yes, they still print those). Allow yourself 5-10 minutes each day, when you can let go of all your other responsibilities to just get lost in the written word. You just might find that 10 minutes turns into 20 and 20 turns in to 30. I will warn you, there are some side effects to quiet reading which include…

  • Getting lost in a book and becoming attached to the characters you meet,
  • Learning something new,
  • Reduced stress,
  • Enhanced mental health and function,
  • Increased self-control,
  • Decreased anxiety, depression, and worry, and
  • A feeling of peace and comfort

Mindfulness Journaling Prompt:

Choose a poem you like and read through it very slowly. If you don’t have a favorite poem, do a google search for popular poetry or ask your Google Home, iPhone Siri, Alexa, or other smart device to tell you a poem about nature.

What do you like most about it? What images does it conjure up for you? What do you think about the words the poet chose to use?

Mindfulness journaling can be very private. However, if you are willing to share your experiences with me and my readers, I would love to invite you to comment below and let me know what poem you selected and how it made you feel.

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Check out my #MindfulnessMonday YouTube Series and don’t forget to click subscribe so you never miss an episode!

EPISODE 21 ~ Mindfulness isn’t MAGIC!

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Would you like to take the 52-week challenge and experience a more mindful existence? Check out The Invisible You ~ 52 Weeks of Meditations, Activities, and Writing Prompts to Help you Discover You!

I’m certified in Holistic Stress Management and Mind/Body Fitness. I’ve been practicing Mindfulness for 10+ years and am passionate about helping others in their pursuit of a more mindful existence.

Photo by: Mikel Healy

My 2 Cents… Aquaman (2018)

Would you prefer to watch the video review, instead of reading it? CLICK HERE

AquamanTitle: Aquaman (2018) 
Director: James Wan 
Writers: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall 
Stars: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, and Nicole Kidman
Genre(s): Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-Fi

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★
Cinematography: ★★
Story: ★★★
Acting: ★★
Overall: ★★★ (2.5)

Buy it HERE!

STORYLINE:
Arthur Curry, half human/half from Atlantis, goes on a trip of a lifetime. Not only does this adventure compel him to come to terms with his real identity, but it also forces him to discover whether he is entirely worthy of fulfilling his own destiny: becoming a king. Written by Domingo Alvarez (IMDB)

MY 2 CENTS:
I like superhero films… I do. I enjoy both the DC comic world as well as the Marvel comic world. I’m not picky when it comes to my action-packed superhero adventures. I tend not to judge them to harshly. However, with computer graphics having gotten as amazing as they have these days, there is no excuse for the poor-quality computer graphics in this film.

Don’t get me wrong, my eleven-year-old son loved the film. So, maybe the target audience was lower than I had expected. I however couldn’t see past the cheesy dialogue, terrible special effects, one-dimensional characters – with no growth or development, and the predictability of it all.

No, I don’t recommend this film. If you’ve seen it, please share your thoughts below. If you enjoyed it and think I’m missing something, please tell me what that was. I really did want to like this film. I just couldn’t find any truly redeemable qualities.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:
“She jumped! She didn’t have a parachute!” ~ Cargo Pilot
“Redheads! You gotta love ‘em.” ~ Arthur Curry

“I’m no leader. I came because I have no choice. I came to save my home, and the people that I love.” ~ Arthur Curry

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

You can watch the official trailer here:

Scourge of the Fallen by W.M. Martin

Would you prefer to watch the video, instead of reading the review? CLICK HERE

Fallen

TITLE: Scourge of the Fallen
AUTHOR: W.M. Martin

RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4)

AMAZON DESCRIPTION:
Following the events of Shadow of Okeaous, the Fallen have been scattered. Whispers of the Hordes searching for something, around many of the Havens on Earth, has reached the ears of the Guardians. Meanwhile, the students of the Kindred Academy have been striving to further their knowledge of the incredible power lying dormant within themselves. With the aid of their Clan Leaders and an odd, new instructor, the dubious young Guardians-in-training will learn to harness exciting and dangerous new abilities. The worlds of the Kindred, no longer separated by the Veil, are equally unaware of an ancient darkness which has been steadily rising to drown out the light of the living; both Guardian and Fallen, alike.

Buy the book HERE!

MY 2 CENTS / THE CRITICAL POINTS:
WRITING (★★★★): Scourge of the Fallen is a self-published fantasy novel. I’ve said it before; fantasy isn’t my favorite genre and probably isn’t even in my top three favorite genres’. However, I read the first book in this series, Shadow of Okeaous and was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I really enjoyed it. That meant I was destined to read book two.

Martin has a very energetic writing style. His books are filled with action, adventure, and leave you almost longing for a few peaceful quiet moments. That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy this book, I did. It is a page turner with a lot going on and a lot of character arcs to follow.

One thing I really like about Martin’s writing is that he isn’t afraid to kill off his characters. Yes, some of the main characters die. I won’t tell you who, I think you need to read the book to find out, but prepare yourself.

I’m not sure how this book is marketing, but after reading it I would say it is good for Middle Grade – Young Adult readers. However, there are a number of times when Martin uses words in very obscure ways. Once example would be the word ‘purchase’ in the example below:

“Maggie could not get her swards out in front of herself enough to slice or to stab the large and imposing Fallen, so she kicked at him as hard as she could, but like her sward strike, her attack failed to find purchase.”

There were a number of references like that that I think some of the younger readers may not understand. The meanings are evident in the context of the story, but not always clear just by the typical meaning of the words being used.

STORY (★★★★): Scourge of the Fallen is the second book in Martin’s series and follows pretty closely behind where the first book left off. In book one, our main characters were 1st year students in the academy. In book two, they are second year student. They have already gone through a lot and have many battles and trials to face throughout book 2.

Martin gives us battle after battle and just when the reader is given a little hope that something good might happen, he throws another wrench in the story line.

CHARACTERS (★★★★): The reader is given numerous characters to follow in Scourge of the Fallen, maybe too many. There are so many storylines to follow and different characters to keep up with that I found myself loosing track at times. Not to mention the fact that many of the character (and location) names are difficult to pronounce, which makes it a bit harder to relate to and remember. I have the same issue when reading large epics like lord of the rings and Game of Thrones.

I only had two character-related issues with this story. The first was with Henry (human) who is introduced in Chapter 9. There was a lack of character development and nothing that really allowed the reader to connect with him much less care for him. Thus, when he died, we were left with an uneasy feeling of not really caring. It didn’t seem, to me, that Henry served much of a purpose or propelled the story along in any way. I think he could have been edited out of the story without a negative impact on the final storyline.

The second was Martin’s need to weaken our lead character, Maggie. Instead of Maggie being the hero at the end, which is what the series seems to be guiding us toward, another character (one we love to hate and love all at the same time) steps up and ends up being the hero. I like Lucy, I do, but it didn’t feel natural that she would be in the position she was in at the end, instead of Maggie. Just my opinion – I’d love to know yours after you read it. So, make sure you click on that link above to get your copy and then come back and tell me what you thought after you read it.

APPEARANCE (★★★★): The cover is great. Very eye catchy and inviting. It was designed by Anca Gabriela at BROSEDESIGNZ who I believe did a beautiful job of creating a cover that would inspire fantasy lovers to pick up the book.

FAVORITE QUOTES:
“That’s it! We’re all going to die. I knew it, we’re going to die. Thank you, Kylie, for delivering me to my death. Would anyone else like to say thanks to Kylie before we die?” ~ Klause

AUTHOR BIO: 

familyW. M. Martin is a writer of fantasy novels and a lover of his black lab, Willow. He’s also quite fond of his wife, Stephanie, and their four daughters. The stories he writes are inspired by his children. They are the first and last line of defense in regards to ensuring that his readers are certain to enjoy his works. He enjoys writing about female heroes, because his daughters are his.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

ALSO BY W.M. Martin:

Shadow

Shadow of Okeaous
hen a teenage runaway named Maggie Bennett is drawn to the small but odd town of Thieves, she is unaware of what adventure awaits her. Maggie must journey to a world beyond the one she knows to undertake the trials and train to became a Guardian, all while an ancient and malefic presence is secretly haunting her every step, and it desires, more than anything, that which it once held. Journey along with Maggie as she learns about the world of the Veil, her place within it, and the Fallen hordes who want to watch it burn.

Week 16 – #WritingWednesday Challenge

Today is the 16th Edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

  • Read the writing prompt below,
  • Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
  • DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing as if I were writing in the voice of Molly, a character in a children’s book I’ve started.

 Today’s writing prompt:

You are a children’s book writer. Write the first few lines of your new book.

Hi, I’m Molly. I’m eight, so I know a lot about the world. My little brother, he’s only six, he doesn’t know very much at all. That’s why I have to teach him. Mom says to be patient; he will learn as he gets older. I try, I really REALLY do, but it’s hard. When we’re in the woods and the Droplops come out, he doesn’t understand that he has to run away. He thinks it’s funny when their drool and slobber lands on him and makes him all wet and sticky. To be honest, I don’t even think he sees the Droplops. If he did, he wouldn’t laugh. He’d probably run away, screaming and crying.

There was this one time, I was up in my treehouse and Timmy came out and was climbing up the ladder calling for me, “Molly,” he yelled. “Molly, open the hatch. I want to come in.”

I was trying to be really quiet, so he would think I wasn’t there and he would go back inside. It didn’t work. I think my mom told him I was up there. Finally, I had to just let him in.

So, we were sitting in the treehouse and I had the windows open. They aren’t real windows, like in a house-house. They don’t have glass or anything, but my dad did put shutters on them so I could open and close them. Anyway, the shutters were open and I was staring out at the sky across the field and the clouds were getting really dark. I told Timmy we needed to go back in the house because the Droplops were coming.

He just laughed. He actually laughed.

I wasn’t going to stick around. I climbed down the ladder and told Timmy to come with me. I knew he would because he wasn’t allowed to be up in my treehouse without me.

As I was running back to the house, a huge glob of Droplop slobber landed on my forehead. I wiped it off with the back of my hand and turned back to see where Timmy was, but he wasn’t there. The only thing I could see was the tall, slime covered Droplop standing next to my treehouse, reaching in through the window with his big green arm. I could hear Timmy, still up in the treehouse, but I had no way to get to him. The ladder was blocked and if I tried to climb the tree, the Droplop would see me.

I stood there, watching, when suddenly…

© 2019 Nina Soden

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Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with! 

You are a children’s book writer. Write the first few lines of your new book.

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Would you like more sources for daily writing prompts? Click on the links below for great writing prompt journals I think you’ll really love!

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Write More, Write Better – and Have Fun Doing It!
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Writer’s Block Getting in Your Way? Destroy It, One Amazing Prompt at a Time!
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642 THINGS TO WRITE ABOUT

This collection of 642 outrageous and witty writing prompts will get the creative juices flowing in no time. From crafting your own obituary to penning an ode to an onion, each page of this playful journal invites inspiration and provides plenty of space to write. Brimming with entertaining exercises from the literary minds of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, this is the ultimate gift for scribes of every stripe. CLICK TO LEARN MORE!

Are you working on a manuscript, but need a little help getting organized? Check out SO YOU WANT TO WRITE A BOOK ~ An Indie Author Guide to Outlining and Planning Your Next Novel

Want help meeting your writing goals? Check out JUST WRITE: The Ultimate Author’s Bullet Journal

#MindfulnessMonday 5/20/19 – EAT CAKE!

Today’s #MindfulnessMonday Tip: Eat cake! Withholding dessert and other treats can lead to overeating and/or emotional eating.

#MindfulnessMonday

Check out today’s #MindfulnessMonday video and find out why you should EAT CAKE! You can check out the video by clicking HERE!

Today’s Mindfulness Exercise
Mindful Eating!

Mindful Eating is not a diet, it is eating with awareness. It uses a form of meditation called mindfulness, which helps you acknowledge and manage your emotions and physical sensations. Using this approach will help you reach a state of full awareness to your experiences, cravings, and physical cues when you’re eating.

Practice using all of your senses when eating and choose foods that are both satisfying and nourishing.

Practicing Mindful Eating Involves:

  • Acknowledging that there is no right or wrong way to eat.
  • Accepting that there are different degrees of awareness surrounding your experience with food.
  • Accepting that everyone’s eating experiences are unique and personal to them.
  • Giving your full attention to eating in the moment in order to avoid over eating and emotional eating.
  • Recognizing how and why you make choices involving food.
  • Developing healthy habits in the selection of your food to improve your overall health and well-being.
  • Promoting a healthy balance.

For today’s exercise, select a healthy snack (fruit, raw vegetables, cheese and crackers, etc.) and spend a few minutes of total focus and concentration while eating. What does the food look like, smell like, feel like, taste like? How does it make you feel as you eat it? How do you feel about your food selection? Why did you choose that snack?

Mindfulness Journaling Prompt:

After you’ve completed the Mindful Eating exercise, take a couple of minutes of quiet time to write out your answers to the questions above. Then, make a list of healthy snack selections to use as substitutes the next time you’re feeling stressed, emotional, or just looking for a midnight snack.

Remember, there is no wrong way to eat but making healthy food choices can make a huge difference in your overall health both mentally and physically. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a slice of cake, a cupcake, a bowl of pudding, or whatever your sweet-tooth desires. Just be mindful of your choices and make sure you reach for the healthy snacks more than the less than desirable choices. When we restrict ourselves to the point of denying things like cake and ice cream completely, we tend to binge eat those things due to stress, depression, and other emotional eating triggers.

Mindfulness journaling can be very private. However, if you are willing to share your thoughts with me and my readers, I would love to invite you to comment below and let me know what healthy snack choices you plan to make in the future.

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Check out my #MindfulnessMonday YouTube Series and don’t forget to click subscribe so you never miss an episode!

EPISODE 20 ~ Eat Cake!

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Invisible

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Photo by: Mikel Healy

Would you like to take the 52-week challenge and experience a more mindful existence? Check out The Invisible You ~ 52 Weeks of Meditations, Activities, and Writing Prompts to Help you Discover You!
I’m certified in Holistic Stress Management and Mind/Body Fitness. I’ve been practicing Mindfulness for 10+ years and am passionate about helping others in their pursuit of a more mindful existence.

GREAT MINDFULNESS RESOURCES:

Mindful 1MINDFULNESS FOR BEGINNERS

An Invitation to the Practice of Mindfulness
We may long for wholeness, suggests Jon Kabat-Zinn, but the truth is that it is already here and already ours. The practice of mindfulness holds the possibility of not just a fleeting sense of contentment, but a true embracing of a deeper unity that envelops and permeates our lives. With Mindfulness for Beginners you are invited to learn how to transform your relationship to the way you think, feel, love, work, and play―and thereby awaken to and embody more completely who you really are.
Here, the teacher, scientist, and clinician who first demonstrated the benefits of mindfulness within mainstream Western medicine offers a book that you can use in three unique ways: as a collection of reflections and practices to be opened and explored at random; as an illuminating and engaging start-to-finish read; or as an unfolding “lesson-a-day” primer on mindfulness practice.
Beginning and long-time meditators alike will discover in these pages a valuable distillation of the key attitudes and essential practices that Jon Kabat-Zinn has found most useful with his students, including:
• Why heartfulness is synonymous with true mindfulness
• The value of coming back to our bodies and to our senses over and over again
• How our thoughts “self-liberate” when touched by awareness
• Moving beyond our “story” into direct experience
• Stabilizing our attention and presence amidst daily activities
• Three fundamental mental factors that cause suffering
• How mindfulness heals, even after the fact
•Reclaiming our wholeness, and more
The prescription for living a more mindful life seems simple enough: return your awareness again and again to whatever is going on. But if you’ve tried it, you know that here is where all the questions and challenges really begin. Mindfulness for Beginners provides welcome answers, insights, and instruction to help us make that shift, moment by moment, into a more spacious, clear, reliable, and loving connection with ourselves and the world.
Includes a complete CD with five guided mindfulness meditations by Jon Kabat-Zinn, selected from the audio program that inspired this book.

kidsULTIMATE MIDFULNESS ACTIVITY BOOK (FOR KIDS AND TEENS)

Amazon #1 Best Seller! Kick-start and sustain a fun mindfulness practice with kids and teens.
“This book makes it easy and is a must have for every parent and teacher!”
– Denise Besic, Mother and Teacher
Give kids lasting life skills to de-stress and calm down, navigate difficult emotions, control impulses, focus on what matters, and nurture empathy, kindness, and joy.
In Ultimate Mindfulness Activity Book you will find:
150+ playful mindfulness activities
Tools for calm, focus, joy, kindness, and emotional intelligence and regulation
A 21-step guide to kick-start and sustain your practice together
Inspirational examples of how mindfulness makes positive change
Easy to understand explanations on how to explain mindfulness to kids and youth
A FREE audio course for grown-ups and more

eatingTHE MINDFUL EATING WORKBOOK

Establish a practice of mindful eating with actionable strategies and exercises from The Mindful Eating Workbook.
Eating mindlessly is easy―eating mindfully takes practice. The Mindful Eating Workbook offers actionable, mindfulness-based strategies and exercises to adopt a mindful eating practice and nurture a healthy relationship with food.
Vincci Tsui, a “non-diet” dietitian and certified Intuitive Eating counselor, offers step-by-step guidance to core concepts and philosophies of mindful eating. Applying theory to practice, this mindful eating workbook uses a combined approach of reflective exercises and strategies to reconnect you with your body and your needs.
The Mindful Eating Workbook includes:
Mindful eating 101 explores the lifelong benefits of eating mindfully, and outlines how you can bring this practice into your life.
Real strategies to practice mindfulness while cooking and eating, and using mindfulness to recognize your body’s signals.
Reflective exercises that include assessments, journal entries, and observation logs to keep track of your journey and progress.
Savoring flavors, intuitively nourishing your body, and appreciating food’s true purpose to provide energy―mindful eating isn’t a diet, it is a way of life. Start practicing mindful eating with The Mindful Eating Workbook.

Avengers: Endgame (REVIEW)

Would you prefer to watch the video review, instead of reading it? CLICK HERE

End GameTitle: Avengers: Endgame (April 26, 2019) 
Director: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely,
Stars: Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers / Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner / Hulk), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton / Hawkeye), Don Cheadle (James Rhodes / War Machine), Paul Rudd (Scott Lang / Ant-Man), Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange), Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa / Black Panther), Brie Larson (Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel), Tom Holland (Peter Parker / Spider-Man) , Karen Gillan (Nebula), and Zoe Saldana (Gamora)
Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Fantasy
Length: 3 hours and 1 minute

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★★
Cinematography: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★★
Acting: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★★ (5)

STORYLINE:
After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe.

MY 2 CENTS:
After Avengers Infinity War we were left with a huge cliffhanger and it was hard to anticipate how the story would continue… how the Avengers would go on. Avengers Endgame was no doubt one of the most anticipated films this year. I know where I live, theatres were sold out non-stop and people were standing in line to get good seats.

The crowds applauded throughout the movie and stood to clap at the end. People – myself included – cried. Yup, cried, during a super hero movie. This movie touched the hearts of its fans and moved us to tears.

There was devastation, sorrow, humor, a call to action, adventure, plot twists, and so much more.

In my opinion, this was the best Marvel Superhero movie ever and seeing as it is the end of an era, a wonderful conclusion to the Avengers story. The CG was awesome, way better than I expected it to be given how much of the movie was CG.

I don’t want to spoil the movie for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, so I will just tell you this, WATCH IT! Even if you aren’t a huge superhero fan, you should see this film. You’ll be on the edge of your seat the whole time.

You know what, never mind – It’s been out for a while – you’ve probably already seen it, so I will give some spoilers.

This film is packed with so much to talk about… maybe too much.

There are satisfying emotional moments throughout the film and a lot of references to previous movies that just make it plain fun for fans to watch.

LETS TALK ABOUT MY FAVORITE CHARACTERS
Iron Man, I’ve always loved Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. He has the strong hero persona down to a tee… including the cocky I can save everyone attitude. However, what I love most about his character is his sensitive side that we never really got to fully see until Endgame. He struggles with having to choose between saving the world and staying with his family. I felt his decision made total sense, even though his final sacrifice was devastating. Not going to lie, I cried!

Black Widow, I’ve always liked the roll of Black Widow and she was amazing in Endgame. She had some pretty emotional scenes and Scarlett Johansson was fantastic.

Captain America, if you remember, had a pretty small roll in Infinity War but they brought him back with a vengeance in Endgame giving us plenty of Captain America to enjoy. It also leaves us with a very satisfying conclusion to his character arc. Probably my favorite ending to any superhero story. He has always been a man living in the wrong time period… living in the world as an outsider. However, in Endgame he has finally been given the happy ending he has always deserved.

Hawkeye, I loved the deeply emotional story arc they gave him. Jeremy Renner is a great actor and I loved how committed he was not only to the fun action scenes but also to the emotion driven scenes as well.

I’d love to know what your favorite characters were. Comment below and let me know who you liked the most and why!

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:
I had a number of favorite quotes, but most of them would give away something in the plot… who died, who lived, who gave up, etc. I don’t want to ruin the movie for anyone who hasn’t already seen it, so I will give you this…

“I love you three thousand.” ~Tony Stark

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

You can watch the official trailer here:

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Haven’t’ Seen Avengers: Infinity War yet?

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

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The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Avengers: Infinity War Trailer:

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