Wednesday, August 23, 2017

So near the Horizon by Jessica Koch

Hello readers, 
today's post is in honor of the release of Jessica Kochs' new novel So near the Horizon. Jessica is a german author and reached out to me a couple of weeks ago and today I am happy to bring you a little synopsis of her book as well as more information on Jessica. So see for yourself. To me this novel sounds intriguing and I hope to bring you a review soon.

From the moment she crosses paths with Danny, Jessica is fascinated. The dashing, confident twenty-year-old has everything she dreams of—looks, success, independence, money—and his kind, infinitely cheerful nature is spellbinding.

Yet Jessica sees something else lingering underneath Danny’s perfect facade. Bit by bit, she manages to pick it apart, unveiling harrowing truths about a deeply traumatic childhood that has left more than just emotional scars. Now, far away from his home and family, he is fighting to build a normal life for himself—even though he may be destined for a future as dark as his past.

Despite all adversity and against all reason, a deep and intimate love develops between Danny and Jessica. But soon they find themselves confronting the harsh realities of a superficial world, battling against prejudice and exclusion at every turn… and, worst of all, racing against time…

Jessica Koch was born in Ludwigsburg, Germany, in 
1982 and began writing short stories when she was still in 
high school - but never submitted her work to publishers. 
In late 1999, shortly after finishing school, she met 
Danny, a German-American dual citizen. Her experiences 
with him eventually formed the basis for So Near the 
Horizon, though it was nearly thirteen years before she 
felt ready to bring the manuscript to the public.
The author describes a life lived somewhere between 
hope and fear, between optimism and despair. She reflects on events from her own 
past with raw honesty, confronting more than one difficult subject along the way.
Jessica Koch lives near the city of Stuttgart with her husband, their son, and two 
dogs. The second and third books in the trilogy, So Near the Abyss and So Near 

the Ocean, are already best-sellers in Germany as well.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Review: The Expansion by Christoph Martin

Hello readers,

today I have a review for you on The Expansion by Christoph Martin which I requested a while ago on Netgalley.
Thank you for the chance to review this novel.

We start off in the winter mountains of Switzerland, make it to the suburbs of London and end up in tropical Panama where the protagonist Max Burns is working on the expansion of the Panama Canal. Where we also meet the strong female characters of Karis Deen and Sophia.
This novel includes the political aspect of such a project, intrigues, lies, romance, friendship...

There is a lot going on here.

The whole story sounded very intriguing to me and when I first picked it up I was impressed how fast it moved. However at some points I would have wished for it to slow down a bit, focus a bit more on character developement and explaining the complex progresses. This made me feel so left out of the story. I couldn't identify with one single character, I didn't know who to like and who not to like. And sometimes I felt I completely didn't understand the processes they talked about.
The ending felt completely rushed to me. It was like one minute something happened and the next you already had it solved.

I did however enjoy this book. It was quick and intriguing read and I gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Have you picked up The Extension yet? - Let me know in the comments below.

I see you again on Wednesday for another bookish post.

Take care,
📚 Nadja

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

5 Books on Craft Every Writer Should Read.

Please note that this blog post contains affiliate links, but all opinions are my own! This post has been cross posted to Fit and Beautiful Heart Reads and the blog of Author Eliza Stopps. I am not going to waste your time by making you scroll down to the bottom to reach the best ones, so I'm putting my two favorite books first. I haven't read #1 more than once, but it was a very influential read for me. I have read #2 many times and it was very useful. They are effectively tied. The other books were very informational and helped to guide me during this learning process, but if you are going to read any of these please pick the first two.
  1. On Writing by Stephen King

This is probably the most obvious book. If you've been writing for a while, then you have probably heard about it. I had someone suggest that I read it when I was in college but put it off for years because I don't really read or watch horror. I wasn't sure that it would be as helpful to me as a result. I was very wrong. This book not only inspired me but helped me feel more confident as a writer and gave me the push that I needed to start writing full time. If you've been putting it off, then please go pick it up. It's witty, interesting, helpful, and necessary. I will add a note that some of the details of the book are much different now. In the book, King talks about when he published Carrie and the money he received changed his life. If you're publishing traditionally or self publishing today, you probably won't get a $50,000 check for your first book. That doesn't mean it isn't worth while to read the book though, as most of the tips still apply.

2. Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark

 I read this book every time I sit down to edit one of my own. There is a handy section in the back for looking up all the tips quickly, which is so useful when I'm trying to think of something to help my manuscript move forward. Don't tell anyone, but I really don't like editing my own work. It's time consuming and soul reaping, but this book has made it far more bearable. When I am five chapters in and I think my eyes might fall out of my skull, I simply turn to this book to give me an idea of what I should be looking for. I think this book will help anyone be a better writer, editor, or reader. I've never enjoyed a book aimed at writer's more than this one. I also suggest getting the paperback of this one because it's very nice to be able to highlight it and put colorful sticky notes all over it with notes to remember. Sometimes when I am looking for help on one book, I see something that will help another, and it is nice to put a post-it there to remind myself.

3. The Elements of Style by William Strunk

 This book is also a great book for help with editing and remembering specific rules.  

4. Successful Self-Publishing by Joanna Penn

 This book is free, so there's no excuse not to pick it up now. It's a very short and helpful read. Even if you aren't interested in self-publishing, I would suggest that you read it anyway. If you're already in the self-pub world, you have no doubt heard of Joanna Penn. Give her podcast a listen as well, her voice is so easy to listen to and she is a non-stop fountain of knowledge. I went through her back list and listened to almost every podcast. Again, I haven't read much of her fiction because it's sort of Thriller stuff but I really enjoyed her book and the interviews on her podcast are always very useful.

5. Write. Publish. Repeat. by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant

I bought this book because I also spent a lot of time listening to their Self Publishing Podcast. What I really got out of this book was the permission to just write whatever you want to and to keep writing without stopping to edit. Also this is still helpful if you aren't planning to self publish because it tackles a lot of tips on how to write your e-book. I started using Scrivener after reading this and it changed my life. I have now taken to writing in "speed blocks" where I set a timer for 20, 40, or 120 minutes and then just sit down and try to write as much as possible. This means that I am able to motivate myself to write and beat the clock even on days when I don't feel like writing.

I hope that you pick up a few of these books and enjoy them. This isn't the most "original" list but these are all books that really have helped me to be a better writer. Have a good day :) Eliza Stopps is the Author of the Leslie Kim Serials available on Amazon, Kobo, and Kobo Plus. She has been publishing poetry for years, but just recently decided to dive into the world of Self Publishing. You can usually find her on Twitter @ElizaStopps making terrified observations about spiders, the best options for chocolate covered snacks, and her daily word count goals. If you want to find out more, visit her blog: or search for her directly on Amazon.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

Hello readers,

I am sorry that this went up late.
As some of you may have noticed my reading has slowed down a bit and I am a bit behind on my Goodreads reviews as well (well way behind). The reason being is I catched a virus that really knocked me off my feet and I am just starting to feel better.
So I am really happy to finally bring you my review on the first novel of the The Selection Series by Kiera Cass, The Selection.

Now I picked that up at the beginning of July not expecting much from it. I knew some people loved it but mostly because of the romance and not the dystopian part of it. So besides this being marketed as The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor I really put my expectations down down down. Way down.

Now this book plays in a dystopian world where everyone belongs to a caste, which is determined by your profession and it is usually impossible to move up castes. So where a six needs to work hard to make ends meet and still doesn't have enough for food, a two just needs to model and lives a pretty good life.
Now America Singer is a five in love with Aden who is a six.
One day the Royal announce that there will be a Selection and that the girl who wins will not only marry the handsome Prince Maxon but also become Queen.
America more or less forced applies for the competition and like a wonder gets chosen to be among the 25 contestants.
But what is with Aden? How will she manage at court? And more over will she fall for Maxon?

Now I honestly couldn't love the first book for the dystopian part of it, because it was barely there it got barely introduced either. Up until page 70 I thought I might actually quit reading it. America annoyed me and I felt the whole concept wasn't made for me. But from page 100 on I was hooked. I absolutely loved it. Maxons character was amazing and I started to like America more and more. The contestants were so fun to get to know and I started to like this for the romance and couldn't put it away.

Because the dystopian part of it was missing I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.

What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

I hope you enjoyed this post and I will see you again on Wednesday for another bookish post.

Take care,

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Top 5 Recommendations: Hard Topics "Fiction"

Hello readers,

two weeks ago I presented you five non-fictional reads that dealed with hard topics (which you may find here). Today I wanted to take the chance to present you five fictional reads dealing with hard topics that I enjoyed (they were still not easy to read).
Some of them were cryworthy, others just made me incredible angry, some scared me...lets face it you will probably go through a lot of emotions reading them.

So lets dive into it in no particular order.

1. This Boy`s Life by Tobias Wolff

Now this is actually a memoir so should have probably been in my non-fictional hard topic reads post, but I for a fact didn`t know it was a real story, but I always believed it could have been and today I found out it was (shame on me), but it read like a fiction novel. I did read this book as a teenager and there is actually a film out as well which I also own but which I only watched once because Robert DeNiro scared the hell out of me.
Now this is a story dealing with domestic violence in possibly the cruelest ways. It was so difficult to read and I definetly read this with many breaks because at times it really disgusted me and scared me but at the same time it made me so aware of the topic of domestic violence specifically child abuse that I just had to include it in my recommendations.

2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar tells the story of Esther Greenwood who 1953 starts working at a fashion magazine in New York and falls into a deep depression ending in a suicide attemp followed by her therapy in a mental hospital.
I remember that this had a comical take at times but when it was dark it was really dark. Esther went through several suicide attempts before the serious incident.
This novel is also semi autobiographical which in my eyes really comes through in the writing. No easy read but definetly worth picking up.

3. My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult

My Sisters Keeper is probably well known thanks to the movie, but the book has a different ending so definetly worth picking up just to see the difference.
This novel has more than cancer and the wish of giving up fighting and to die as a hard topic for me.
This tells the story of Kate and her family. Kate is by now a teenage girl who has been suffering from cancer nearly all off her life. Her younger sister, a child who only seems born to be a organ donar to her older sister, refuses to give Kate her kidney (if I believe right). This was such a gripping novel, yet it was so hard to read for me out of personal reasons. I hated the ending so much I can say, I really preferred the movie, but I can only recommend picking up the book too. The insight into the different characters emotions is so much deeper in the novel.

4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief is a YA Historical Fiction telling the story of Liesl Memminger who lives in a fictional town in Nazi Germany during World War II. What makes this story unique is that it is told from the perspective of death.
I have a more in depth review on the blog in case you want to check it out.
Now I have another World War II fiction novel I could have added here that also moved me to tears but I just found this one to be more unique and less of a romance. To me most World War II novels belong into this category but I think The Book Thief is a great book to start with in this category.

5. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

14 year old Susie Salmon gets raped and murdered on her way home from school in the year 1973 (I think). She finds herself in her own Heaven from where she watches how her family and friends deal with the loss of her as well as having to come to terms with her own death.
This was for a long time my favorite book. I didn't like the movie at all but hands down I have re-read the book not just twice.
It is a tough read but at the same time it is just a unique read seeing a murder case solved from the victims perspective from Heaven.
Definetly worth picking up in my eyes.

Now these were todays Top 5 recommendations. I am sorry that this went up a bit late in the day today but I am quite sick at the moment.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Leave me your recommendations in the comments below and I will see you on Sunday for another bookish post.

Take care,