Q & A; January 13th

Hello my darlings,
I really tanked this challenge. My brain doesn’t seem to be working the way I wish it would, lately. So the prompt for the 13th is a little dull and I am not sure I grasped the concept as best as I could. Sorry ) :

What book inspires you?

January 13;
Writers from Stephen King to William Faulkner have stressed the connection between
being a good reader and being a good writer. Spend a few moments writing about a 
book that inspires you.
I think one book that has always stuck with me would be "Everything, Everything" by
Nicola Yoon. I just found myself drawing in immediately by all of the characters. I was
immersed in the story line and by the end I was in tears. Her OCs were inspiring, and
just wonderfully unique.
Another one that claimed my soul was "The Hearts We Sold" by Emily Lloyd-Jones. I
felt so torn apart, yet satisfied. The personalities were so diverse, and relatable.
I also loved the first book in the Divergent series. The plot was so different and I
always feel this overwhelming sure of inspiration and joy whenever I think about it.

I should have expanded more when describing why those stories were so inspirational to me.

Everything, Everything is a little harder to describe. I just love that teenage romance, where they sweep you off your feet and take you away from the world you so desperately hate. It is grounded more in a fairy tale, and I know a lot of us like that. The world can be rough, more often than not and being able to imagine something different, and less painful is a get away. It inspired me to imagine my own fairy tale. Who would I want to sweep me off my feet? Where would I want to be taken? It just drew me in and I found myself longing for more after I finished the book.

The Hearts We Sold isn’t super inspirational to me, but it is in that general area of “I really enjoyed this book, this will stick with me”. I tend to forget the exact feelings I have in the moment I’m reading, whenever it is after the fact. It is hard to tap into those past emotions. I do know I liked the more unique perspective and story in this book. I would really have to re-read it to explain why I found it inspirational.

For the last one…
I thought Divergent was such a fresh perspective in the dystopian area. Yes, in certain aspects it is very similar to the Hunger Games, and literally any other novels that segment society into groups. But I just liked the fact that when they were old enough, they were able to choose where they wanted to belong. They could stay in their old faction, or they could try a new one that they think fits them. The thrill of “where would I want to belong?”. However, I only felt the inspiration from the first book. The rest of the series really fell flat for me and I kind of wish I hadn’t wasted my time reading the second and third book. This should have been more of a duology rather than a trilogy.

So there you go. A more in depth look at the books that inspire me a little bit more than others that I have read. Although most of the books I take the time to read end up being good.
(Not talking about you Divergent series. Tsk. Tsk.)

– Des

Here is the link to buy your own writing journal;
Q&A a day for Writers: 1 Year Journal

Q & A; January 12th

Hello my darlings,
Forgive my procrastination. I wasted my weekend doing absolutely nothing because I was tired, Monday came and went, but now I am back and there is a lot to catch up on!
Yay me, lol.

I recently decided I want to tap into my Deutsche heritage.
My parents submitted a DNA test a couple weeks ago and finally received the results. I have no idea how German I am, but I know that I must be at least 20%. So with that being said…
I created a Deutsche character, and I actually am really loving her!

What would your own éminence grise look like?

(photo taken by me back in 2013)
January 12;
A first lady is sometimes referred to as an éminence grise when she uses her position
of influence to affect policy without an official title. Create an éminence grise character
who could powerfully, but quietly, shift the plotline of a novel.
Klara Fuchs was the Herzogin (duchess) of Wiesbaden, Germany. She had been married to
Niklas Fuchs for only three years now, but it felt like forever. Niklas took Klara everywhere.
Every meeting, every journey, everywhere. They had been together since they were young,
but only three years ago did they finally wed. Niklas never made a decision without Klara.
They were a strong, inseparable duo. In the meetings, Niklas was the voice for the two, but
afterwards Klara was the reasoning. Every bone in her body was full of wsidom. She was
gentle though, never aggressive or prideful. Her grace and elegance was like none before her,
yet you would never see an arrogant or conceited gaze upon her face. She was a fly on the wall,
always in her thoughts but never lost.

I am actually kind of in love with this.
Did I just make a possible story, and a new character?? I think so!

– Des

Here is the link to buy your own writing journal;
Q&A a day for Writers: 1 Year Journal

Shadow of the Fox – Book Review

Hello my darlings,
Today I will be talking about the first book I finished in 2019. Which will also be the first book to be reviewed on this blog! So exciting.
I actually purchased this book from Owlcrate, so it is signed by Julie Kagawa and it has a special exclusive cover.

I will reiterate that my reviews are 100% completely honest. The reviews are both spoiler free and spoiler filled.
For the sake of the viewers, these will be separated into different sections and I will have a clear spoiler warning before I dive deep within the spoils!

Have you read this yet?

Title; Shadow of the Fox
Author; Julie Kagawa
Published; September 24th, 2018
Publisher; Harlequin Teen
Genre; Adventure, Fantasy, Fiction
Date Finished; January 7th, 2019
Rating; ★★★★☆

One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.

“The spider does not spin its web in a heartbeat, nor does the albatross fly across oceans with a few flaps of its wings. Many would consider what they do impossible, and yet, they still complete their tasks without fail, because they simply…start.”

– Julie Kagawa, Shadow of the Fox

I love the way the chapters alternate between Yumeko and Tatsumi.

You get a good look at the somewhat angsty point of view from Tatsumi, carrying this darkness within him. He cannot give way to Hakaimono, the Destroyer, who is bound to the sword Kamigoroshi, the Godslayer. He must keep his emotions on lock down, that is how his clan taught him. But meeting Yumeko has turned the tables abruptly. He has never had someone so innocent and caring in his midst. It is messing with the way that he was trained, this could be dangerous, disastrous!

Yumeko however, is a kitsune girl from the Silent Winds temple. She has been yanked from the only life she has ever known. One lived amongst the monks, hidden away in the temple. She is taught to hide her fox self, and told not to use her kitsune magic. They want her to learn how to remain more human and not give way to the seemingly troublesome side of being a yokai. But the attack on the temple forces her from her home, and she must learn how to survive and find her way. She must protect the most important thing given to her before her masters deaths. The very thing the Silent Winds temple itself was protecting. Thanks to a companion, she won’t have to journey alone. But she must not let him know she has a piece of the scroll, and she must not let him know she is a kitsune.

I love these two together, Tatsumi is keeping her safe, while Yumeko is unknowingly showing him first hand, true kindness and grace. They need each other for this journey. This fox cannot defend herself well enough to get past demons and foes. Even though Shadow clan members must work alone, the demonslayer has to trust her for his mission.

I am absolutely in love with the story line. All of the events that happen, all of the things along the way. The other characters that were met. The whole journey was beautifully written.

I never knew I could enjoy an adventure book so much. There seems to be a bit of slow reading here and there, but it kept me interested. I was on the edge of my seat just waiting for whatever came next.
I recommend reading this if you like Japanese culture and if you like adventure/fantasy books.

I did find a couple of sentences that seemed to have been skipped during editing. They had double words, and missing words. Other than that I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I cannot wait for Soul of the Sword.

You have been thoroughly warned! There are spoilers ahead.

I was shocked at the intense violence in this book. It seems to cross into the darkness often. The death of the first character, Suki, at the very beginning was completely unexpected. You kind of have to prepare for more gory descriptions, just FYI. There aren’t many, but they are there.

As for the alternating chapters, I love the fact that the story doesn’t just jump between Yumeko and Tatsumi. The first chapter, as explained above, is from Suki’s perspective. She is a maid for Lady Satomi, who ends up sacrificing her to summon demons from another realm. We get a “behind the veil” look at what the lady with the demons is up to as well. You notice her workings throughout the story, so I found that very creative.

I find it very intriguing that more and more people join the group. First we have Tatsumi of course, he ran into Yumeko while she was running from the burning temple and the demons who followed her from the temple. Later on though, they run into a ronin, Okame, who betrays them at first but then ends up tagging along with the group. This is all thanks to Yumeko, she showed him kindness during their first run in. The next person who dives into their little group of fun is Taiyo Daisuke of the imperial family in the Sun Clan. He is formerly known as Oni no Mikoto, the demon prince. He goes around every once in a while and challenges “worthy” opponents to a duel. Whoever does not end up dead wins, and of course the fact that he is still alive means he has won every battle.

I love the various predicaments throughout the book, we get to journey with them to their destination and I love that.

  • Suki brutally murdered at the VERY beginning and becoming a hitodama
  • The introduction to kitsune, Yumeko
  • The introduction to Tatsumi, while he is slaying a jorogumo
  • The Silent Winds temple being burned to the ground by demons, and the oni murdering everyone inside.
  • Beginning the journey to the Hayate shrine in Kin Heigen Toshi
  • The wind witch Kazekira attacking with her kamaitachi familiars
  • Kazekira waking Kiba-sama in the forest to fight Tatsumi and Yumeko
  • Okame the ronin’s unexpected addition to the pair
  • Visiting the village of Yamatori while lost in the mountains and realizing they were being fed to the gaki because of a monk’s curse but instead they break the curse
  • The Prince of Demons stopping them on the bridge, but he turned out to be Taiyo Daisuke of the Sun clan
  • Finally ending up at the Hayate shrine where they run into shrine maiden Reika who tells them master Jiro is missing, then joining them at the Moon festival with the emperor. (Reika brings Chu, a guardian komainu.)
  • Yumeko pretends to be an omnijibu(?) and entertains the emperor
  • They follow Lady Satomi through a magic mirror portal into Sky clan territory where they realize everyone has been slaughtered.
  • Tatsumi, Daisuke, and Okame fight the oni and demons
  • Yumeko, Reika, and Chu follow hitodama Suki to master Jiro
  • the oni Yaburama is almost victorious in slaughtering Tatsumi but Hakaimono takes over completely and kills Yaburama, before departing.

As much as I love all the characters throughout the story, I think the way Tatsumi and Yumeko are together is perfect. The way they talk to each other is wonderful. I found myself longing for them to grow closer and realize the spark between them. It is such a slow burn and we do not get to see it happen in book one. Well actually, you do get to see Tatsumi realize his feelings, and that is the reason Hakaimono escapes.

I loved watching Tatsumi start to become his own person, even while he was worrying about the demon in the sword escaping. He wasn’t supposed to be having these emotions, he was trained to be nothing but a weapon. Yumeko got the best of him, and that was dangerous. Too dangerous.

I gave this book 4/5 stars because even though I thought the book was really great, it was a little slow here and there. I also did not appreciate the typos and the obviously missed editing. I am a really detailed person so it stuck out like a sore thumb.
Besides that, I think the book is really great, it has really good characters and a really good plot. I cannot wait for the rest of the trilogy, I definitely will be requesting Soul of the Sword arc, because I am impatient.
Plus, if I wait too long I might forget everything that happened and I don’t want to have to re-read the first book lol. I want to dive straight into the sequel!

Thank you for reading my review, if you have read this book please feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you thought!

– Des

Review Policy

Q & A; January 11th

Hello my darlings!
Today the challenge was a little different.
So with the help of some lovely volunteers (aka; my beautiful friends xx) I was able to do this prompt!

How would your friends describe you to a stranger?

This is me sitting in a weird roller chair at an art museum.
January 11;
How would your friends describe you to a stranger?
"Des is: Loyal, kind, golden-hearted, thoughtful, genuine, the perfect friend."
- E

"I don't know you that well but you're so friendly, approachable and all round
lovely person."
- N

"She's a petite lil lady, with dark hair. And she's really sweet. And I think she's
kind of quiet, and reserved IRL but she'll chat up a storm with me if I get her on
a topic she likes."
- S

"I noticed initially how your eyes were able to convey both a sadness and yet a
profound ability to love unconditionally!"
- W

Thank you again to my friends for helping me do this. You are all wonderful people and I am so thankful to know you and chat with you.
I left the names out just in case. I kept the first letter though because I like the mystery. Also, I did not sort these intentionally by alphabetical order. That happened without me knowing about it until I was writing the answers in my journal.

I guess the Virgo side of me knew what she was doing haha.

– Des

Here is the link to buy your own writing journal;
Q&A a day for Writers: 1 Year Journal

Q & A; January 10th

Hello my darlings!
My writing challenge was especially fun today.
I feel more alive now than I have in the past 2-3 years to be quite honest. I never realized how much writing truly affected me. It has been so long since I wrote an actual short story or something in that regard.
I have missed it immensely and I thoroughly enjoy what I just wrote.
You will not be able to tell, but I might be smiling while writing this!

What do you think of challenges and prompts that make you use only certain words, or have you describe things in a particular way?

January 10;
The word set has over 440 different uses in the English language.
Challenge yourself to fill this space using set in as many ways as possible.
She held a determined face as she set fire to her old things. If she wanted to start out
fresh, then her mind would have to be set on the future, not the past. In a way, she set
sail on her journey. Truly dedicated to this different life. She turned towards the setting
sun and sighed. She felt free, as if everything was finally falling in place.
Later she boarded the train, heading towards her shared cabin. When she slid open the
door, she was relieved to find it vacant. That gave her time to set aside some of her newly
valuable items.
After her things were tucked away, she plopped herself down next to the window. She set
her eyes on the farthest part of the beautiful scenery before her. The sun had set, but the
moonlight cast a breathtaking glow on the water and along the forest. The stars twinkled
brilliantly, dotted in the sky as if someone had set them in place one by one.

I am actually thinking of writing a short story based around the paragraphs I wrote above. I found myself intrigued by my own story as I was writing it.
If I decide to write it, I will post it on my Wattpad and I will be sure to link it here!
Would you guys be interested in reading a story based on what I wrote above?

– Des

Here is the link to buy your own writing journal;
Q&A a day for Writers: 1 Year Journal

Q & A; January 9th

Hello my darlings,
I know this is completely random, but I find myself quite annoyed with something. It seems that the only way I am able to describe these daily blog posts related to my writing journal, is by calling them “today’s prompt” or “this prompt”. I know this is an unusual thing to be annoyed by, but I enjoy using different words and sentences whenever possible. I avoid repeating the same phrase whenever possible.

However, like I said I have only been able to describe these posts in that way. I will do my best to come up with different wording so I don’t annoy myself to death.

Without further ado, here is yesterday’s prompt! (Haha)
I had fun with this one, with the risk of sounding narcissistic and vain I actually thoroughly enjoy writing about my experiences. But doesn’t everybody?

What does music do for you?
Do you have a special connection to it?

January 9;
Someone* once said, "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture."
Try it anyway.
(*There is more than one apocryphal story of where this quote came from.)
I have always loved music. Not necessarily writing or playing it, but rather enjoying songs and albums
from artists. When you have an emotional, or mental, connection with music it's just so different.
You can feel it in your soul. Your heart is the beat, the lyrics are the blood flowing through your veins.
You are the music, in a sense. It is something so indescribable, so inexplicable.
I find myself swaying with songs, tapping my foot or mouthing the words. Different beats make you
feel different ways. I feel hyper listening to dubstep and rap, I feel mellowed when listening to classical
or soft dubstep. I can feel and portray, the emotion in sad songs. It sends you to a completely different
place. It can help you forget, or it can make you remember.
That is why I love music.

I know, I know.
I am late at posting this!
I am not procrastinating, the time is just flying by super fast right now and I am not sure how. I am being bested by it, but I will catch up.
I am determined, haha.

– Des

Here is the link to buy your own writing journal;
Q&A a day for Writers: 1 Year Journal

Q & A; January 8th

Hello my darlings,
The prompt still plays on memory, but this one is a little more fun than the last two that I had to do!
I have a lot of weird scars and stories, one from boiling water, another from being pinned between a treadmill and a wall, another from a sharp corner, one from my mom accidentally tripping me when I was a toddler, and I actually love my scars. They tell stories, they show I survived little (and big) things.

Do you have scars? What do you think of them?

(As you can see above MY right eyebrow, so on the left side of the screen.
There is a long, but healed, scar.)
January 8;
Every scar tells a story. Write the story of a scar you know well--yours or someone else's
I have a lot of scars. Some are self-inflicted from when I was younger and depression had
a strong hold on my life. Some are from my insane lack of grace and my clumsy ways.
There is a scar on my forehead though, it truly is a fun story now that I am older. I know
a lot of people consider their scars to be ugly. Whether it is from self-harm, accidents, or just
stretch marks. Scars who your strength, they show that you are a survivor and a warrior.
A winner against battles. Anyway, my scar on my forehead is from when I was about 5, I
want to say? We had a tree swing, hand fashioned, and my brother was swinging and told
me not to come near and I wanted to go around the corner of the house and the next thing
I knew, I was half walking, half being dragged as my brother took me to my parents. I had
been hit full on, and I remember watching blood drip from my face onto the floor. I had to
have stitches and it's still there.

(I didn't have space on the journal page, but I will add that this was an accident. He couldn't
control what direction he went and it swung around and hit me.)

I absolutely loved writing my story today! I think this is the story that I will remember forever. I still have that scar to this day. I don’t think it will ever disappear to be honest. It hasn’t gone anywhere so far!

Another scar is the one on my lip. I said above my mom accidentally tripped me, and that’s how I got one on my bottom lip. I actually really like that scar, I’m not sure why. She had her legs stretched out and I tripped on them, and when I fell I hit the corner of the coffee table, but I was totally okay besides that.
The other is because I slipped and fell on the treadmill and there was just enough space between the wall and the end of the treadmill for me to slip into and I ended up getting a pretty bad tread burn on my thigh. Hurt so bad whenever we had to change the bandages.
The last one I mentioned was when I was helping my mom make ramen (I think) in the kitchen. I saw everybody put a fork over the lid after they poured the hot water in but my mom put the kettle on it. So I tried to move it off the ramen and I believe the whole thing fell on me, previously boiling water and all. I was wearing these shorts that were cut off just above the knee, and so on my one leg that was burned there is this faint line separating somewhat tanner skin than the other side.

I love my scars!

– Des

Here is the link to buy your own writing journal;
Q&A a day for Writers: 1 Year Journal