Let It Go

flower

Let It Go

No one’s ever going to say
Why did you do this
Should have done that
No one who’s sane is ever going to say
What you did was a bad mistake

So try
Stop holding the chains
That you have all your life
Let it go
And watch yourself grow

No one’s ever going to say
That was not good
Should have turned back
When you surely could
No one who’s sane is ever going to say
What you did was a bad mistake

So try
Embrace the change that’s a part of life
Let your past thoughts go
And all the things that wouldn’t allow you to grow
Let it go

Let it go

Let it go

©2018 C.A. Barnes

Book Review: I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll

I am watching you

Blurb:

What would it take to make you intervene?

When Ella Longfield overhears two attractive young men flirting with teenage girls on a train, she thinks nothing of it—until she realizes they are fresh out of prison and her maternal instinct is put on high alert. But just as she’s decided to call for help, something stops her. The next day, she wakes up to the news that one of the girls—beautiful, green-eyed Anna Ballard—has disappeared.

A year later, Anna is still missing. Ella is wracked with guilt over what she failed to do, and she’s not the only one who can’t forget. Someone is sending her threatening letters—letters that make her fear for her life.

Then an anniversary appeal reveals that Anna’s friends and family might have something to hide. Anna’s best friend, Sarah, hasn’t been telling the whole truth about what really happened that night—and her parents have been keeping secrets of their own.

Someone knows where Anna is—and they’re not telling. But they are watching Ella.

 General Thoughts:

 The blurb got me with this one, it seemed like one of those mysteries I could possibly play along with, guessing who was the perpetrator. However, that wasn’t the case.

I will start off by saying that I liked the author’s voice in this story. It made the characters, who I assume she wanted the reader to like, likeable, such as the witness Ella. Ella’s concern and understanding for the victim Anna, as well as the other people in her life, such as her son, the private detective, and even Anna’s mother, made me want things to end well for her. As I turned the pages, I hoped that whoever was secretly harassing Ella would meet justice.

I also liked how the story was arranged. There were several points of views, I believe about seven of them. However, the story was very easy to follow since each chapter was titled with the character’s name. Also, the points of views shifted from first to third, but again, that generally corresponded with the character. So Ella, for example, was always written in first person, while Anna’s father, was always in third.

Some things that I didn’t like about the story, was how it was misleading in some ways. The actual perpetrator didn’t come into view until the end of the story. A few characters and their situations were emphasized too much that I initially thought they tied in to Anna’s disappearance, but actually had nothing to do with it. They were basically filler information. Though I believe the story was paced well, there were some slow unrelated things that took more space than needed, such as the private investigator’s personal life and Ella’s job as a florist. It’s okay to mention them, but chapters devoted to these things were irrelevant and boring for me.

Overall, I finished the story feeling okay about it. I was thrown off a little with the ending, realizing the perpetrator was barely mentioned (if at all, I can’t remember), but I wasn’t disappointed as much about it.

Recommendation:

 Yes, I would recommend this story to those who like lighthearted mysteries. There wasn’t so much suspense and given that there were no clues leading up to the perpetrator, didn’t make for an intriguing read.

Rating:

3 out of 5 stars. I think the voice of the writer made the main characters likeable, even the not so likeable ones engaging at times. However, I didn’t view this story to be a solid mystery where one could gather up the information to come to a conclusion.

Change/An Update

SummerBack1.2

I was told, change is good
So to avoid it, I never should
I was told, change is inevitable
It is the only way to truly grow
So change, I will say
I’m letting go of the past, yesterday
So change, come my way
I will welcome what is to be
In future days
No change, I won’t fear
No change, I won’t shed a tear
Cause change is what we must eventually face
In order to see a better day…

It’s been very long since I posted an update on myself or anything related to my writing goals. If you read my author bio, one thing you will know is that I’m a writer who wants to be a published author.

For some time—a few years, I’ve stalled in achieving that goal. I guess working and paying debts became an unfortunate distraction. However, in my dissatisfaction with life, and realizing I was never going to be content spending most of my time away from writing, my dream was renewed. I started following writers and indie authors, reading their stories and discovering how they were able to get back to doing what mattered to them—writing.

So in the past year, I jumped back into my writing. I’ve attended conferences, joined a writer’s group, read more about the industry from self publishing to traditional publishing, and many other things. I decided I was going to pursue a career as a hybrid author, self publishing and traditional publishing. Currently, I’m working on an author’s website.

My author’s website will primarily focus on my stories, the novels I seek to share, but also valuable and helpful information for writers wanting to be authors. That will include recommendations for book cover designers and book formatters, different types of editors and determining which one is best for your story, why I believe every writer should self publish even if they seek traditional publishing, and more.

What will happen to this blog?

Nothing! I will still post my poetry and book reviews, as well as updates and other relevant information. But if you’re interested in learning more about my stories, I will have an author website up in the coming months, which I will announce here in a future post.

Thank you all for your support and sticking around. I look forward to sharing my work with you, hopefully, inspiring you to press forward with your goals and dreams as well ☺

Book Review: Little Fires Everywhere By Celeste Ng

IMG_5167

Blurb:

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.  Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.  

General Thoughts:

This story sat in the middle of the road for me. There were some things that I liked about it, but some things that I didn’t. I will just get to it.

I think the author has the potential to be a good storyteller. She has a hauntingly detailed way of telling a story, of making the characters come to life and immersing the reader into their minds and thought processes. As I read the story, I had a strong sense of who all the main characters were from the inside, understanding the actions they took in the story fully.

Though the story was full of layered plots, they all came together in the end. Each character’s story met up with another leading to an interesting ending, which the author reveals in the first chapter. I think she used this effectively to keep my interest by creating a sense of mystery and intrigue to why things ended the way it did.

One weakness was the author muddied the story a bit with so many points of views (POVs). The POVs were mixed up within most of the chapters, and as a reader, I had to read ahead to sometimes understand who the writer was referring to, who was thinking, sometimes who was even talking. I think section breaks or even creating new chapters, possibly having things explained through dialogue, would have helped with clarity.

There was also a lot of telling instead of showing. It seemed like the author wanted to reader to understand every single thing or doubted the reader’s ability to understand some things. The over explanation things, especially concerning Mia’s past, dulled the story and dragged it to a boring level.

Lastly, I found none of the characters likeable, even relatable. They were very much cliché’s of teenagers, mothers, etc. from the ‘90s. Although I don’t mind the use of clichés as there can sometimes be a bit of truth to them, it offered nothing of interest or insight that I often look for in stories and characters. The characters seemed to be the worse versions of themselves, not learning or growing in any positive way. The only one who was remotely relatable in terms of her frustration with the other characters was Izzy, who was unfortunately too much of a rebel for her own good.

Recommendation:

I don’t know if I would recommend this book, so I guess I’ll say no. Its not so much due to the plot that’s the problem, it’s the frustrating characters and the fact that the writing style is a little messy with multiple POVs mixed in one scene, over explanation of character backstories, thoughts, and actions, things that slow down the pace.

Rating:

3 out of 5 stars. The story was slow moving and had a lot of information that could have been omitted or rewritten to propel the story forward. Also there were multiple POVs that took place in a scene that made the story confusing to read at times.

Book Review: A Light On The Hill By Connilyn Cossette

IMG_5164

Blurb:

Seven years ago, Moriyah was taken captive in Jericho and branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods. Now the Israelites are experiencing peace in their new land, but Moriyah has yet to find her own peace. Because of the shameful mark on her face, she hides behind her veil at all times and the disdain of the townspeople keeps her from socializing. And marriage prospects were out of the question . . . until now.

Her father has found someone to marry her, and she hopes to use her love of cooking to impress the man and his motherless sons. But when things go horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee. Seeking safety at one of the newly-established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face, and the enemies–and unexpected allies–she will encounter on her way.

General Thoughts:

The message of this book stuck with me and it still does as I write this review. I honestly believe that this story will mean something to all who decide to read it. Having read 2 books previously from this author, I know she has the ability to write in ways that make the reader think and consider how what they just read can apply to their life. She does this in unassuming ways, woven deeply in the character’s story.

Moriyah, the main character of the story, was a sympathetic and highly relatable character. Though this is a standalone story and doesn’t require you read any of the author’s previous books, she is introduced in Wings Of The Wind (which I reviewed also—click here to read). If you read that book, it will give you a stronger sense of who Moriyah was before the tragedy she faced and how that transformed her afterwards. In short, she lived like one whose spirit was stolen.

I like how Moriyah’s self consciousness served like a universal problem that many people struggle with some time in their lives. It wasn’t until she was forced to leave her hidden world and step outside into the greater, that she had to face her insecurities and accept her flaws.

Moriyah went through a great deal in this story. Having to flee her safe confines and go on a long journey, just to have a chance to spare her life, Darek, another primarily character and unexpected ally, helped her realize who she was inside—the value she held inside. That she was more than what she looked like on the outside, or even her scar. From there, the old Moriyah started to return a bit, once she realized that though she may still face judgement, there were many others who saw the beauty that lived inside of her and radiated out.

Recommendation:

For readers who love biblical historical fiction, they will love this story, but I am challenged to say that those who struggle with external and internal scars of whatever kind will find a connection to this story. It was an easy read and I think that’s due to the writer’s powerful voice and use of intrigue and suspense. There was a lot of adventure and action that was woven throughout as well.

Rating:

5 out of 5 stars. As I read this story, I couldn’t find areas that I struggled with. It was paced well, there was enough action going on to keep me turning the pages and the main character, Moriyah was so relatable that I instantly loved her and was rooting for her throughout the book.

***This book was given to me by Bethany House for an honest review.***

I Can See

flowerp
I Can See

I can see
A bright light in this world
It’s right in front of me
I now know
Stories told long ago
Were not fables or lies
But truths that refused to die

I am the one
Who now can see
I am the one
Who’s free to dream
I am the one
Who’s no longer scared
I am the one
Who will do it, I dare

I can feel
A warm gentle breeze
Wash over me
I feel it, in the night
In the chill of wintertime
What once I thought of as dread
I only see its beauty
All that it has to offer instead

Cause I am the one
Who now can see
I am the one
Who’s free to dream
I am the one
Who’s no longer scared
I am the one
Who will do it, I dare

I will take all the years of fear
Hiding behind a facade
Drowning in tears
I will take it all
And throw it away
I will choose to live a dream
I will dare to be brave

Cause I am the one
Who now can see
I am the one
Who believes
I am the one
I am the one
I am the one
My story’s not done
It’s just begun…

©2018 C.A. Barens

Happy

Sketch Sky

Happy

She says,

Are you happy
Why are you happy
Are you pretending
Are you fake
You can’t be happy
No one’s that happy
No one’s life
Is ever that great

I say,

Go away
Sappy soul
Go away
Don’t come back
Until you’re whole
My happiness
Lives in me
It’s who I am
It’s what I believe

Though for now I sit on mountains
Caving in
I walk in valleys
Bitter with the wind
There are no friends
Rounding at my door
No treasure chests
Covering up my floor
The happiness in me
Allows me to keep fighting
And I’ll keep trying
Until I soar

So of course, sappy soul
I’m so happy, so much I can’t be more
Maybe if you left your lie of reality
Then you could be free
To feel as happy as me
Even when life takes you down
To the deep blue sea

©2018 C.A. Barnes

Together

angel sketch

Together

Let’s take it all
The burden of years under the cloak of night
Let’s take them all
And throw them into the fire
Then we’ll walk into the light

Let’s gather the storms
Let’s gather the stones
The sticks and thorns
All the things they said
Would break our bones

We’ll throw them away
Then have a party, celebrate
The end of days
That we’ll never live again

Together
We will leave behind
All that things that burdened
Our minds
The past will no longer matter
Cause together we’ll see it’s end
The end of broken dreams
And low self-esteem
And discover a long forgotten friend
The was buried deep in you and me

©2018 C.A. Barnes

Relentless

blue twigs

Relentless

If all it took was one more day
Would it give you the strength
To try again
If all that was needed
Was a minute more
Would you stand in the bitter rain
Deal with the wind and stinging pain
Wait for that open door

Why can’t you believe like this
Why can’t you see things like that
Why can’t you be just a little fearless
Why can’t you live relentless

If all it took was another night
Would you fight
To change your life
If all that was asked
Was to be brave
You can’t lose now
Someone has paved the way
For you, the only thing left to do
Is to choose if you want to win or lose

Why can’t you believe like this
Why can’t you see things like that
Why can’t you be just a little fearless
Why can’t you live relentless

Why can’t we see
That we were created
Created, created, created
To be, to do anything
If we believe this
We can be relentless

©2018 C.A. Barnes