THE MOTHMAN FILES by DEREK BORNE | COVER REVEAL

CAMP NANO IS HAPPENING so while I’m pounding away at my keyboard, I’ll be sharing a cover reveal for a short story by Derek Borne for YOU to see! =)

Let’s get a look at this cover…

THE MOTHMAN FILES by DEREK BORNE

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WARNING: THIS SHORT STORY’S MISSIVE CONTAINS TOP-SECRET INTEL

Your Mission: Follow the Ultimate Agent and Specialist as they investigate a disturbance in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

The Target – The Mothman
First Claimed Sighting: November 12, 1966.
Valid or Myth Status: Unconfirmed
Mission Data – Confidential

Those who have claimed to have witnessed the Mothman portray it as an inexplicable yet deadly being.

Some even call it a harbinger of doom. Can our heroes keep their cool and verify its existence—all before the shadowy “men in black” appear?

Amazon Pre-order Link
Amazon Author Page
GoodReads

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m super excited about this series. I’ve read book 1, The Ultimate Agent, and just ordered book 2! The mini stories really have my attention, too… If you like Agents Of Shield type stories, be sure to check these out!

God bless,

Ang

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3 THINGS THAT STRANGER THINGS TEACHES US ABOUT STORYTELLING

The attention for the Netflix original series, Stranger Things, might’ve cooled down since the hiatus before the upcoming season 3, but I haven’t stopped thinking about the show. As I was playing the soundtrack, I started thinking about some things the first two seasons taught me about storytelling.

While the show isn’t for everyone, and I’m no way saying for my followers to go watch it, I’m a fan of the show–so far. I’m disclaiming merely because I have no idea what season 3 will hold and am no way condoning the unknown. I enjoyed the first two seasons because they had soo many great lessons to learn… as a writer. What are those things I’ve learned? It is time for…

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DON’T BE AFRAID TO BE WILD

Do not be afraid to write anything, period, about anything, ever (as long as God says it is OK, ha). What do I mean? I mean that 1.) There’s nothing new under the sun. 2.) So WRITE WILD.

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It is OK to be cliche sometimes! Cliches in Stranger Things included: big bad things, little town. Big bad government with lots of secrets. The nerds/geeks get bullied all the time. Most of the parents (EXCEPT JOYCE! SHE IS QUEEN!) have no idea what is going on. Are cliches always good? Nah. But guess what? They don’t always lessen the quality of fiction. The cliches in Stranger Things didn’t make things less realistic. So why are writers so afraid of being cliche sometimes? Cliches aren’t the enemy, y’all.

It is OK to be wild and strange! Writers are creative beings. The sky is the limit! Some strange things Stranger Things had was: how diverse the cast was (kids/teens/adults all in one inter-woven story? yes please). Not everyone made it out alive. Not every main character was even likable or had heroic motives. The monsters weren’t cliche-scary. The spiritual ties were very real. Don’t be afraid to get wild, creative, inventive, crazy–just go for it. Don’t be afraid if it isn’t very ‘realistic’. If you’re writing spec-fic, fantasy, etc, you’re job is to twist reality. So go twist reality!

 

DON’T UNDERMINE YOUR AUDIENCE

If you’re a writer who markets your own books, you know how important it is to find your target audience. Stranger Things had a broad audience, since the characters are in three groups: middle schoolers, highschoolers, and adults. The story built off of the other groups because no one could find all of the puzzle pieces alone. It took all of them to push the story onward. Where am I going with this? 

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Let’s be real. A YA marketed novel probably isn’t going to be picked up by many mature adults. An adult mystery novel probably won’t be picked up by a teenager. The obvious reason is because different audiences want different things.

While it is important to know your audience and give them what they want, don’t undermine them. Don’t think “They came for a YA romance, so I can only write a bunch of fluff or a bunch of angst.” Don’t worry so much to fill your check-list of ‘This Is What My Audience Wants’ that you fall flat and don’t write your story. Challenge your reader. Give them something to think about. If you’re writing a romance, make it a bit more than that. If you’re writing a mystery, make it more than that, too. Stranger Things was a hit because it mixed in more than one subplot and focused on the heart of the story, challenging readers to think.

 

DON’T CLOSE THE (CURIOSITY) DOOR

Think of your favorite book or TV show. Why is it a favorite? What theme clings to you? What character shined brightly? Did the story make you laugh, cry, etc? WHY? Why did things stick with you, and what would you have done differently? Storytelling is a craft, a gift, something that is inside you, but it will never be perfected. Humans aren’t perfect. So don’t strive to be. Don’t write the perfect story. Write your story. Write a good one. 

Stranger Things tapped into many important story telling techniques: strong character motivations, building anticipation and foreboding future situations, and using sensory details to capture people’s attentions. While writers can’t use an epic soundtrack to set a mood or portray emotions through lighting, we can use sensory details, spatial description, and set the mood in other ways. We can keep learning, exploring, and experiencing new things–it all helps. If you want your reader to remember your story, or get them to laugh, or get them to cry, or get them to see God’s hope–you have to tell them a story. You aren’t writing a nonfiction book or a police report or a recipe. You’re writing a story. And it isn’t easy. It takes effort, work, blood, sweat tears. You might wonder how much longer you can rewrite the same story.

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But keep that door open. Keep faith in God, yourself, and the power of your story! Don’t skimp out on building up a scene. Don’t bog readers with information, but give just enough description where they want more. Don’t make a character give too many secrets, but make the reader wish they did. There is power in storytelling. So give it thought, and when it comes down to it, trust God to show you when the story is complete. Not perfect, not the new bestseller, not the next C.S. Lewis–but finished. You told your story the best you could, glorified God, and it is enough. Somebody needs your story. And that’s why we tell them.

 

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I hope you enjoyed this post, friend! Feel free to leave your own thoughts (or, if you’ve seen the show, fangirl with me).

 

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God bless,

Ang

AMERICAN ASSASSIN by VINCE FLYNN | BOOK REVIEW

If you’re wondering why I’ve been MIA on the blog, an explanation will be at the end of this review. But let’s get straight to the review and fangirling. This review will be longer and more emotion-filled than the Goodreads rating… because it’s my blog and I can do what I want and do it to the EXTREME.

PS. That knife in the photo? My 15-year-old brother, Kody, made that all by himself. It matched the cover. *heart eyes*

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AMERICAN ASSASSIN

AUTHOR: Vince Flynn

PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster | Astria/Emily Bestler Books

GENRE: Thriller

SETTING: Unites States, Germany, etc etc

RATING: 5/5 stars

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STORY

American Assassin is one of the most enjoyable, thrilling, fast-paced novels I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. And even if I am a writer of thrillers, I can rarely bare to actually read a lot of them. Mostly because they drive me insane. I found this book in the sale bin at Books-A-Million and, after my fangirl attack, bought it without a second thought. Why? Because I’d seen the movie and was certain the book had to be better. I was right.

AA follows more than one character throughout the nail-biting journey, but it never felt rushed, and I didn’t get confused with the good guys or bad guys. The motivations, plots, subplots, you name it, it was clear and didn’t bog you down. I was swept away in a story that surpassed my exceptions.

There were only a few times where I really had to think about what was going on, and those were in the right places. The places where you were supposed to stop, think, and understand. That’s the point of thrillers. You’re given enough to understand and formulate. You aren’t supposed to be lost at a sea of confusion or bogged down with too much information.

There were typos and spelling errors and small things like that, but it wasn’t hard to ignore (especially since I read Dee Henderson novels, ha).

I was quite eager to find this novel. I’d watched the film a year earlier, and rated the movie a solid 3.5 stars.  I was quite certain the book, as usual, would be better. And, goodness, was it better. I can’t quite fathom how the movie could fuddle so much.

It's madness. – calm warning – Loki – Tom Hiddleston

THEMES

This book had me cheering more than once. Why? Because the blatant line between good and evil. It is tiring to see mainstream media focus on moral grays, and condemn those who believe there is evil and there is good. American Assassin is a novel that shows the gritty, absolute horrors of war that are going on today. It shows the corrupt governments, Russians, Muslims, etc, without sugar coating anything. Without being biased.

Evil was shown, but so was good. And, miracle of miracles, God was in the novel, and He wasn’t some foreign bearded man they all laughed at!

Mitch Rapp is a Catholic, and when asked how he justified his motivation for justice, there is a great scene where he explains that merely using the New Testament’s “turn the other cheek” is dishonest, as the Old and New Testaments have many verses that explain why evil men should die. This message throughout the novel is one I think many people, Christians as well, utterly disregard.  Christians want to take Jesus’ peaceful teachings and say Christians shouldn’t fight, shed blood, etc…

Do Light Exercise

And that’s not the case. God is a God of HOLY JUSTICE. Jesus told His followers to carry swords at times. GOD told men to go and kill unholy people at times, as well. Murder and killing are two different things. SO YEAH, this book didn’t sugar coat the truth between good and evil, nor did it shove theology down your throat.

I’d also like to note Hurley’s relationship with God.

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Without giving away spoilers, the man is coming to terms with death, and he talks to God. He asks forgiveness for the good men he killed. He didn’t ask forgiveness for the evil men he killed. I think this, too, is something to be pointed out. In the Bible, many men killed—and God blessed them. Now, I’m not saying Hurley was blessed or anything, but nowadays, we honestly forget God’s Word about killing wicked men. It is not something to repent over if God calls a person to do that. Hurley being such a war-primed, crazy man and still acknowledging God as existent was just refreshing for me.

While this novel was by no means a ‘Christian’ or theological novel, it held a lot to chew over. It was a realistic book and thus, the topics of moral questions couldn’t be avoided, but were handled with taste.

 

CHARACTERS

The antagonists of American Assassin are, simply put, greedy, evil, and terrible men, but they were not comic-book villains. They were extremely 3-dimensional, motivated, and getting inside their heads moved the book along instead of slowing it down. It also showed how even greedy, wicked men think they are in the right. And if they don’t care one way or another, they aren’t always the type to laugh that Disney-evil laugh and chop off your head. I really enjoyed the bad guys in this book. It was so intense.

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Mitch Rapp was a intriguing, well-rounded main character. Strong motivations, skilled, sense of humor—he really lived up to expectations. There were times when I would have loved to see more reactions from him, however. The times we saw him act and speak really stood out, and to get a bit more of him like that would’ve been nice. So, yeah, not my absolute FAVORITE main character, but that’s just because I’m picky, and I still gave the book 5 stars because he was still cool beans.

ALSO HIS MARTIAL ARTS SKILLS made me so proud. If it’s one thing that makes a book, is showing how martial arts is, for lack of a more gentle word, better than boxing… Haha.

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Hurley is one of my favorites. He made me laugh more than once. (DORFMAN SCENE, ANYONE?) And I just loved the jerk from the start, as strange as it sounds, and he didn’t disappoint. I wish I could explain WHY I loved this old man but I can’t so ASBJFSBJD. AHHH. DUDE. This book never dwelt much on his relationship with Mitch and/or Richards, but it was THERE.

As for ‘side characters’, Richards and Lewis were my favorites. Richards was hilarious (his constant ‘whys’ and ‘We’re Sherman’? had me in stitches). On that note… my reaction to the ending of the novel with Richards was:

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Just… Richard. He was amazing through the whole thing. I loved him. He’s mine.

Pin for Later: Every Feeling You Felt While Watching The Fault in Our Stars "Gus, please don't make that face. Please. PLEASE."

Lewis was a great guy, even if he was a shrink, and I cannot fathom why these dudes didn’t make it onto the big screen. AND Lewis can cook? And wears leather? Like…

All of the characters were strong, motivated, and never let me get bored.

 

CONTENT

The movie was rated R, so that’s basically what you can expect from the book, if not more so (so 17+). Heavy cursing (if it’s a cuss word, it’s in this book). Brief to detailed descriptions of torture, blood, etc. A lot of vulgar talk, mentions of prostitutes, mentions of sex, a sex scene that fades to black. There was, of course, a lot of violence and on that note, the fighting/combat scenes/violence/martial arts were EXCELLENT.

For most of my clean, Christian readers, this probably won’t be a read for you. But if you can handle the above stuff and are used to the genre, this isn’t a book you wanna miss.

 

OVERALL

A thrilling read that I both wanted to put down and never stop reading. That’s saying something for me. It had me laughing, on the edge of my seat, and wanting to cry. I will definitely be using this book and the knowledge within as inspiration in the future. While Mitch appears in 15 more novels… I don’t know if my little heart can handle more stress… So I might not read more of the books… But who knows.

Also, I’d like to ramble about the ending some. Now, avoiding a HUGE spoiler, I have to admit, such a thing often will make me lower my rating on a book. I didn’t lower my rating because of how satisfying the end still was, even if The Thing happened. It really did have me cheering and considering all things, I allowed my rating to stay high. Even if my heart was broken.

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NOW, for my explanation… I’ve been MIA on this blog (and social media in general, except Instagram) because we’ve had no Internet and, very long story short, my life has been flipped upside down. It’s been an extremely difficult past few months. I won’t be active till March, but I’ll have fun content for y’all then, so just be patient, yeah? 😉

Thanks for reading, God bless!

– Ang

HAVE YOU READ AMERICAN ASSASSIN? DO YOU LIKE A GOOD THRILLER?

TOP TEN BOOKS OF 2018

I read over 100 books in 2018, and I’ll be sharing my top fifteen favorites of the year in this post… And I’m ready to fangirl. Are you?

ALSO, let’s ignore that graphic, because, ha, no, I didn’t read all those books in 2018. I read like… 3 of them in 2018. But. It looks pretty. And alll my books are packed up right now so I cannot take another photo.

 

BEYOND HER CALLING, by KELLYN ROTH

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SOOOOO.

AHHHHHHHH.

Ahem. Basically, I’ve read the whole Chronicles of Alice and Ivy series, as an alpha/beta (which is why I have yet to leave reviews on any of the books, which will change this year, as I’ll be rereading them). And this is my favorite book from Kelly so far. Scotland? Romance? Sweet characters? Sass? Dogs? (DID I MENTION BENJI *swoon*)

This being said, I want to fight a couple of characters and bury them. I hate so much. I wanna die. Let’s pretend this series ends at this book. =)

 

THE EAGLE OF THE NINTH, by ROSEMARY SUTCLIFF

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Huge thank you to Allison Tebo and Mary for sparking my love for Rosemary Sutcliff! My Mom bought a few of her books for the school year, but The Eagle Of The Ninth wasn’t really required of me to read. I read it, loved it… then found Alli and Mary did, too!

This book hit me hard. The cast was strong, the plot intriguing, and it made me laugh and cry. I mostly related to Esca–his determination and selflessness really impacted me. I especially related to how he cared for Markus since Markus wasn’t entirely able-bodied.

 

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME, by VICTOR HUGO

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I read this in less than 24 hours and I loved it so very much. It is one of the best classics ever. Just… read it so we can… be speechless together…

 

HE’S MAKING DIAMONDS, by SARA WILLOUGHBY

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This nonfiction book is one of the best books ever. I don’t say that lightly.

This is, as the title says, about a teen’s thoughts on faith through chronic illness–but it is not limited to those who are ill. My Mom has had Chronic Lyme for over 3 years and this book ministered deeply to me. I still find myself recalling things from its pages to keep myself focused. It is very dear to me and I pray you guys read it.

 

HORSEMAN, by KYLE ROBERT SHULTZ

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This book is too good, y’all. Sometimes, it reminded me of the movie Maverick. Other times, I was grinning at the monsters, beasts, and hilarity of the characters (yes, it’s normal to grin at werewolf-like beasts).

I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read more!

 

ACROSS FIVE APRILS, by IRENE HUNT

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A day might come when I don’t mention how much I love this book. But today is not that day. Rereading this book was like a really big hug. I love it so much.

 

SAFELY HOME, by RANDY ALCORN

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My mom told me how good this book was. But her words did little to prepare me for how good this book was. This novel opened my eyes to just how much God loves us and how prepared we need to be. God tells us to be ready. Are we?

 

BEHOLD, by FAITH POTTS

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I was soo excited to get this for Christmas and I read it in one sitting and IT IS SO PRECIOUS, Y’ALL. I loved the sequel story to Dandelion Dust, but I also loved the other stories sooo very much.

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A ROYAL MASQUERADE, by ALLISON TEBO

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Book review is HERE.

THIS WAS SO CUTE AND FUNNY AND ADORABLE. I LOVED IT. This series is one of my all time favorites. So much hilarity and precious characters.

 

MY COMPASS HOME, by MICHAELA BUSH

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I read this book in one sitting because I couldn’t believe things could get better than book one? But they did. And the cast blew me away and the emotions were so poignant and the plot was just AHHH. MY HEART. This book deserves a lot of love!

 

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There we have my top ten favorites from 2018! I MANAGED IT, Y’ALL. Because I’m actually a… really picky reader. So picking ten FAVORITES was… interesting.

I’m so excited to see what 2019 brings (actually, I’m already enjoying the books I’ve read so far!). 🙂

God bless,

Ang

PS. Don’t forget to fill out a form so you can see more content on the blog you likeMAYBE. MWUAHAHA.

 

YOUR TOP FAVORITES FROM 2018? DO YOU LIKE ANY OF THE ONES I DID?

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS | MOVIES

HELLO, FRIEND! *hands you a candy cane and puts a Santa hat on your head* Welcome to the first day of 12 Days Of Christmas! I’ve participated in this lovely event since it first started, and we all have the lovely Faith for hosting this fun link up! ♥

To start y’all off, I’ll be sharing my list of Christmas movies! Christmas movies are one of the funnest things about the holiday season, y’all. And it’s always fun to bundle up with the family and watch them together. Here are my family’s top favorite Christmas movies!

 

NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION

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This one is a family classic for years and years. It never fails to make us laugh! And Christmas is the perfect time to find some laughter.

 

ELF

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Another hilarious movie with cute themes about friendship and believing. But let’s be honest. We’re too busy laughing to truly think about underlying themes.

 

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS

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We usually watch the 2000 version, which is jam-packed with hilarity and sweetness. And meanness. 😛 The Grinch is way too amusing, but he does learn his lesson, so the movie is enjoyable.

 

A CHRISTMAS CAROL

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This one tickles my funny bone, but the message is very strong. The creepy factor is there, too, so this makes it one of my personal favorites, ha!

 

 

 

THE SANTA CLAUSE(S)

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These movies are the ones that deserve a lot of love, simply because of how funny and amazing they are. The characters are all enjoyable and silly, but it gets serious, too, in a good way.

 

CHRISTMAS WITH THE KRANKS

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In the mood for a purely entertaining Christmas film? This one is so good. Why? Because it is relatable. Everyone wants a break from Christmas at least once, and the fiasco that follows such a horrendous idea…

 

HOME ALONE

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I’m not actually a super enthusiast about this movie (or the ones that follow), but my family likes them! So I watch them with ’em. 😉

 

GIVEAWAY

 

YES, there’s a giveaway for the 12DoC and it even includes Seek!

First place: The Christmas Secret by Wanda Brunstetter (paperback), Behold by Faith Potts (paperback), Christmas: God with Us (Jeremy Camp CD), surprise goodies
Second place: Seek by Angela R. Watts (paperback) & Coffee Shop Christmas by Ryana Lynn Miller (ebook)

ENTER TO WIN HERE!

 

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That’s all for today, and be sure to check out Faith’s blog for the other bloggers! It’s a great party. =D

God bless and merry Christmas,

Ang

 

DO YOU LIKE ANY OF THESE MOVIES? ARE YOU EXCITED FOR 12DoC?