Immortal Shadow | A Book Review

Title: Immortal Shadow

Author: Anderson Atlas

Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction

About the book: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Immortal Shadow is book number three in the Heroes of Distant Planets series. If you haven’t read the first two, which I didn’t, you can still read this one on its own without a problem. More than anything, the story is a prequel to the first two novellas, providing a bit of backstory.

First impressions: When I received my copy in the mail, I was initially surprised at the length. It’s shorter than I thought it would be, especially for a fantasy novel. Then I came to realize Immortal Shadow is supposed to be a novella. That said, I think there’s potential for it to developed into a novel. Part of me wishes Atlas made the book longer or at least included more description about the world. Additionally, I didn’t expect to find illustrations to go along with the story. In my opinion, the images added to the reading experience in a good way. They helped me visualize the fantastical elements better.

Summary: A slave earns the right to rule a planet. He does so without empathy or mercy. Then a human being comes along and challenges authority.

Characters: The main character, Jibbawk, gets less likeable as the novella goes on. There weren’t many redeeming characteristics that made me want to root for him. At one point, I started to believe the author intended for him to be the villain, so to speak. On the other hand, the human from earth, Adam, is much more likeable. He’s smart and resourceful, probably also the hero of the story. A good portion of the book centers around the relationship between these two characters.

Quote:

“Greatness means never having to fight your own battles.”

Conflict: A non-human feels threatened by a human.

Writing: I spotted several writing errors scattered throughout the novella. Overall, there’s some world-building, but the scenes could have been fleshed out in greater detail. The plot advances quickly, sometimes too quickly. It almost felt choppy. Still, I came to appreciate the fast pace and hard action.

Final thoughts: It’s different than anything I’ve ever read before. I don’t think the book would appeal to everyone, but if you’re looking for a fun fantasy read, you might enjoy Immortal Shadow.

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Girl Made Of Glass | A Poem

No one came to my aid that day

And years later, nothing’s changed

I will never forgive what they did

Can’t forget what they didn’t do

I still remember

The scene that changed

The course of my play

I stopped feeling sorry

It never did anything for me

Just like them, standing there

Bearing witness to a moment

All but one still recalls

Don’t need to close my eyes

In order to see

A girl made of glass

Breaking ever so slowly

What Writing Advice Would You Give To Your Younger Self?

Dear younger Herminia who thought she knew everything but really knew next to nothing,

You don’t know everything. You never will. But you can try to learn as much as possible. 

You can learn something from everyone. There’s plenty to be learned by listening to other people’s stories. 

Give your stories a title. It’s not that difficult. Don’t be lazy. Use your brain. You have one for a reason.

Things happen for a reason. Life gives you lemons and throws you curveballs. 

What you decide to do with those lemons and curveballs will shape your future. Sometimes you mess up and don’t make lemonade, don’t hit the curveball a mile.

You’re allowed to mess up. You’re going to fail. The world won’t end. Learn from your errors and failures. 

Don’t make the same error twice. Especially in front of someone who has seen you commit that mistake already.

Mistakes don’t always mean you failed. And you’ll fail even when you don’t make a mistake.

Besides, failing is better than not trying. At least you tried. You’ll never know if you don’t try.

Try hard. Rejection happens. It’s not personal. It’s just business. Move on.

Move forward. Look towards the future. Opportunities exist. Search for them. You have to capitalize on the chances you’re given when they’re right in front of you.

Give yourself a chance even when no one else will. Believe in yourself even if no one else does.

Find a cause you believe in. Then do good for that cause. 

If you don’t want to do something, don’t. Unless that thing is writing. Then go write. Write even when you don’t want to. It’s the only way you’ll ever get any work done. Don’t do anything half-heartedly. If you aren’t going to put in your best effort, don’t even bother.

If you’re going to start a story, finish it. Do you realize how much you learn from finishing what you start? Take care of your business.

Successful businesses didn’t take no for an answer. Successful business owners didn’t accept excuses either. You’re better than an excuse.

Never excuse laziness. Never rest on your laurels. Resting is fine. Take a break. Sleep every night. But continue to work and practice. Because other writers are too.

It’s not fair to compare aspiring writers to accomplished writers. Comparing accomplishes nothing except take up brain space that should be occupied with positive thoughts. 

To some degree, you are your thoughts. Shove the negative ones away. You don’t need them. 

You do need to stay ambitious. Ambition is good. Set goals you can attain. Set bigger goals once you’ve achieve what you wanted to initially. 

People might tell you you’re crazy for having the goals you do. Or that your dreams are too big. Do not listen to them. You’re not that crazy. Your dreams can be even bigger.

Keep dreaming. Keep hoping. 

Hope for the best. But expect the worst. Deal with the hand you’re dealt.

The hand you have might be better than you realize. 

Realize this: milestones don’t make you happy.

Your work should bring you the ultimate happiness. 

So work hard. Embrace the fact that you’re hard on yourself and probably always will be. Take it easy from time to time.

Writing isn’t easy. In fact, it’s one of the hardest things you’ll do every day. 

Regardless of how hard life gets, you can either let fear run your life or you can run fear out of your life. The choice is yours.

Yours truly,

Older Herminia who still doesn’t know much but pretends she does

A Court of Mist and Fury | A Book Review

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Fantasy

About the book: It’s the sequel to A Court of Thorns and Roses.

First impressions: I had high hopes going in because I enjoyed the first one. I like Maas as a writer. I especially love the Throne of Glass series. That said, I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of the story in Mist and Fury, since I’ve been avoiding spoilers on social media as much as possible. Also, I didn’t expect the book to be as long as it is, since the first novel is shorter. 

Summary: Feyre has to deal with her past (described in A Court of Thorns and Roses) to face the present (explored in Mist and Fury) and shape her future (continued in Wings and Ruin).

Characters: I found myself needing some time to get to know the new characters. At first, because I didn’t know much of their backstory, I had a tough time feeling anything for them. But Maas slowly reveals little pieces of the past in regards to Rhysand’s cousin (Morrigan) and friends (Amren, Azriel, and Cassian). So it got easier to connect with everyone as the novel progressed. Of course, there are plenty of scenes with Feyre and Rhysand together, but individually as well. Because of the longer length, I think there’s more character development in this novel than the first, especially with respect to the female protagonist.

Quote:

“Don’t let the hard days win..”

Conflict: Bad people have power. Feyre and friends have to stop said bad people from gaining more power. But things don’t come easy for them.

Writing: Maas balances world-building with fast-paced action. The plot advances at a good, suspenseful pace while still packing in enough detailed description for readers to know what’s going on. What’s more, the banter between characters is a bonus. What’s more fun to read than friendly teasing?

Final thoughts: The ending is all kinds of fun, but everything that can go wrong does. Although the Throne of Glass series will always have a special and bigger place in my heart, I would recommend this series to anyone interested in power, politics, and passion. I’m not sure how I feel about the flirty leading to steamy romance, yet I managed to survive all those sort of scenes, if you know what I mean. I’ll try to read Wings and Ruin in the near future, but I’m usually late to the hyped books party. 

This post has affiliate links to Book Depository. If you buy through them, I earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

World Works Out | A Poem

Life can be good

But sometimes it’s not

So I’ll fall back

Take a chance on myself

I mean to follow through

Can’t lost faith now

Not when I have a window of opportunity

It’s going to be okay

The world works out

This game called life

Takes care of itself

So long as I continue

To care for what matters

That includes my health

How Has Writing Changed Your Life?

Without a shadow of a doubt, writing has changed my life in incredible ways. 

I’m about to attempt to explain how much impact writing had on my life. And continues to have. I’m not sure how sappy or sentimental this post will be. You’ve been warned. 

Writing gave me hope. Hope for a better future. Hope for something more, something greater. 

I know life doesn’t always treat us kindly. But we fall down and somehow manage to get up. We carry on. We cope.

Putting pen to paper helped me cope. It was an escape. I could get away from the real world temporarily. Sometimes human beings just need a respite from life, however brief. 

I looked forward to writing. I still do.

I felt excited thinking about fictional characters and imaginary people. It got me through the day.

Writing made me dream.

And wish.

I dreamt about people I didn’t know.

And wished I could tell their story, do justice to it.

Telling stories put things into perspective for me.

Getting my thoughts and feelings down on paper made me step back from the situation to look at it from other angles. The act of creating a character me consider other people’s perspectives.

Writing changed my life. For the better.

So now I pose this question for you to ponder: how has writing changed your life?

Describe Your Dream Library And Reading Space

Growing up, I fell in love with every aspect of interior design. Before I wanted to be a writer, I wished to work in real estate, preferably as a designer or stager of homes. So I couldn’t wait to buy my own house and decorate it however I wanted. I knew my dream home would include a library or some sort of reading space. More importantly, I would design that room to represent who I am, so it could serve as the perfect place to read and escape from the real world.

Recently, I was inspired by Arhaus to create a post showing my dream reading space and library. They design home furnishings as well as other products. I drew some inspiration from their website. Be sure to check out their Instagram and Pinterest for more ideas.

Afterwards, I decided to make a few collages of some things I would like to have in my ideal room. Enjoy!

My dream library and reading space would include:

  • Pendant lighting
    • Although I prefer reading in natural light, good artificial lighting is a must. I can’t read if I can’t see.
  • A coffee table
    • I don’t drink coffee, but I’d like to have a place for my glass of water. Better yet I’d leave snacks lying around. That way I wouldn’t have to leave my reading room for hours.
  • Bookshelves
    • I’ve always wanted floor to ceiling shelves full of books. Even then I’m not sure I’ll have enough space.
  • An armchair
    • As much as I like the idea of reading while standing up, my laziness will inevitably kick in. I need a nice seat because finding a comfortable reading position is already enough of struggle on its own.

For more inspiration, try browsing the pendant lighting and dining room tables page.

  • A pretty view
    • For some reason I really like the idea of looking out a bay window to see a beautiful view of the city.

How do you envision your ideal library or dream reading space?

Answering Commonly Asked Questions About Blogging

Do I love asking myself questions and answering them in a blog post? Yes, I do.

Do you like these sort of posts? What’s that, you despise them…I don’t it’s possible to. 

What’s your favourite part about blogging?

I fell in love with words and stories before a lot of things in this life. And so being able to write blog posts is by far what I love best. I get to work with cool words and occasionally tell a bad story. As much as I enjoy everything that falls within the territory of blogging, I have the most fun creating something from nothing.

What’s your least favourite part?

I don’t have a good answer for this question. Even though I complain about the little things, blogging in general is great. That said, I do feel the slightest bit irritated when my eyes become tired after staring at a screen for a long period of time. I also dislike sitting down in a chair and living a sedentary lifestyle. However, if I worked on my laziness, I could fix the latter by blogging while standing up.

What are your blogging goals?

I want to blog for as long as possible. I want to write posts I’m proud of. And I want to learn as much as I can about blogging, so I can be a better blogger. Hold me accountable, people.

What did you expect when you first got into blogging?

I’ll tell you what I didn’t expect. I did not think I’d still be blogging four years later. I never thought having a blog would open so many doors for me. I haven’t exactly answered the initial question, have I? I guess I had no expectations going in. I went out on a limb, and started a blog without any ulterior motives. I didn’t obsess over making money. I didn’t care about fame. Besides I was a bored teenager who figured I might as well share my work with the world, even if no one is going to read what I have to say. 

What’s the best piece of advice you can give beginner bloggers?

Start. Start a blog. Start that blog post. Starting is usually the toughest part. Once you bring yourself to begin, good things will happen.

Where do you see your blog in ten years?

Still alive and well.

Here’s to reading all your blog posts several years from now. And here’s to hoping you’ll get to read mine.

Fears, Thoughts, And Worries

I’m afraid of very few things. Being late is one of them. But more seriously I’m scared of failing.

It’s not the act of failing that terrifies me the most. It’s disappointing my biggest critic, my worst enemy. Myself.

I can live with letting others down. I’d take letting everyone else in this world down over letting myself down any day of the week.

I know I will never live up to someone else’s standards of success or beauty. That’s fine. But feeling like I’m not living up to my own standards…hurts. A lot.

I think I’m an ambitious person by nature. I want to accomplish so much in a short period of time. But I also don’t know if I’m occasionally spreading myself too thin. There are days I think I’m not doing a good job of anything.

I feel like I’ve gotten better at not comparing myself to others. But I still compare now and then. Which is so unfair. Especially to myself.

I’m comparing myself to other people. People who are older. People on a different journey than I am. People I shouldn’t be comparing myself to in the first place.

I want to look at someone’s work and be inspired. Not bitter that I can’t do what another individual did. Not frustrated that I’m not half the artist he is. Not upset that I can’t have her life.

Worse, as a writer, I’ve compared my incomplete drafts to finished masterpieces.

But the thing is I don’t see other writers’ first drafts. I don’t see the rough work of all these authors. I’m not aware of the number of hours they worked. Or how many days they put in. So, to me, it might seem as if everything comes easy and quickly to everyone else in this world.

I guess all these things make me worry. For the future. For what’s to come. For my own sake and sanity.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever be good enough. But then I think I shouldn’t feel the need to please anyone. To be good enough for someone else. I should focus on pleasing myself. Being good enough for me. And only me.

A Different Kind Of Work | A Short Story

I shoot my eyes to the screen and wonder not for the first time why I’m doing this. Why I deliberately put myself through a task so difficult it’s brought me to tears on more than one occasion.

The buzz of my phone makes me jump. I’m more alert and aware now. But I ignore the notification because I refuse to give in to distractions, however tempting. 

I breathe in and out. A slow inhale. Then I release my breath for a longer count. I don’t keep track of the seconds I’m inhaling or exhaling, but after a minute of doing this, I’m calmer. My heart rate slows ever so slightly.

A cup of water stands beside me. I reach for the handle, take a sip. Relish the cool liquid as it travels down my throat. I realize I drink when I’m at a loss for words. When I hope to clear my head so I can think more carefully.

Already I’m tempted to take another sip. 

My desk lamp provides enough illumination to work by. The light casts shadows against my face.

On my right is a window. Through the slit of the curtains, I can see that it’s dark outside. But the night sky with millions of stars is a welcome sight. 

I glance at all I have to do still. The tabs open in the web browser. The textbook open on my desk.

I used to want to grow up. To be an adult. To feel grown-up. To have more responsibilities. Now that’s the last thing I want.

So I channel my energy elsewhere in hopes that it’ll lead me some place better.

If not, I don’t know what I’ll do.

I know I’m wishing, but I’m also working towards a vision only I can see.