The Iron Trial Book Review.


THE IRON TRIALS book cover by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.

THE IRON TRIALS by two amazing fantasy authors, Holly Black and Cassandra Clare tells the story of young, crippled Callum Hunt and his conflict between magic and his own father. After the loss of his mother as a child, Call was left alone to grow up with his father, a mage who despises the use of magic. But the Iron Trails are upon them, and even though they try to fail, it doesn’t stop Call from being sent to the academy for training.

Meanwhile, Call finds himself making friends, and learns the dark and fun truths about magic and the mages who wields it. And Call may be more than he ever thought he could be. Even though, Call’s character may come across has unlikable, its truely a interesting world to discover.

If you like fun, easy to read books or one for your fantasy loving kids or young siblings,  THE IRON TRIALS is the book for you!

How to Write Romance.

     Rather or not your a romance writer or not, you’ve probably been faced with this question before, how do I write romance? Just about everything we read has some kind of element of romance, even if they aren’t in the romance genre. So how do you romance?

For some people, like helpless romantics, romance may come naturally for them. But for writers like myself who much rather write a detailed murdered scene than discuss their own love life, we are just about clueless in the romance apartment. So here’s some things to keep in mind next time you want your characters to get close and personal!



     Its hard to write a successful romance if your characters aren’t likeable. And by likable I don’t mean just nice, I mean relatable and realistic. No one wants to read about someone who’s character is flat and just revolves around the hot boy next door. No! Give your character a purpose, choices, hobbies, and conflicts that readers can relate too. On top of that, your couple to be must make since. They don’t have to be the exact same, but there must be a reasonable reason these characters go together. If not, your romance will struggle and seem forced. 


     There’s nothing more romantic than scenery. Think about it! You’d much prefer a picnic date, looking over at a sunset than a concrete wall right? Romance is all about setting the scene, and it doesn’t always have to be a trail of rose petals. Brush up on your vocabulary, make it vivid and indulge the senses. Romance books are filled with beautiful details and descriptions. If you’re not great at describing the scene, practice with everyday objects and events you experience throughout your day! 


     Just because its romance doesn’t mean you can get away from conflict. Nothing is ever just fun and games, and beautiful dates. Add some drama! Every day we experience conflict, it may be as simple as canceling plans, family problems or unfaithfulness. It is a story after-all, and as the writer you chose rather or not your characters bounce back from the conflict or break up. The conflict can make the story what it is! 

      Be believable and have fun!  

     Above all else, make it believable and have fun with you’re story. Readers will know when something is just to good to be true and will become distracted and less engaged in the story if its not relatable. Also, if your stressing about your characters love life, most likely theirs isn’t going to go well, and it might come off into your writing and on to your readers! Take breaks and enjoy your life. Maybe get caught up in your own romance once in awhile!



Announcement For Future Story!

     I haven’t been active lately, why? Because I’m graduating. I was inspired last night to write about my last year as a graduating “junior”. A term used when you graduate but you didn’t spend four years in high school, and your graduating class isn’t the same people you’ve been with the entire time either, but rather the grade ahead. It’s different, and I want to share it with the world. Keep a look out for when I publish “The Last Year of a Graduating “Junior.” Coming soon! 

TALON By Julie Kagawa, Book Review.


TALON book cover by Julie Kagawa.

When it comes to Julie Kagawa I just about squeal with joy, as she’s one of my favorite authors and just so happens to be the best author to get me out of my reading funk. With the book, TALON a new book series currently consisting of three parts, followed by ROGUE and SOLDIER, is a brand new take on dragons.

As always, Kagawa gives great description and hooking mysterious openings. It’s written in four part first person following the characters Ember and Dante Hill, Riley, and Garrett. With as little spoilers has possible, it’s obviously about dragons – judging by the cover here – and has a fresh and unique take on dragons themselves and their social ladders and society. As the reader you quickly learn about the organization Talon, and how they are in charge, its Talon or the highway. Ember and Dante are like any other teenage twins, they have a special bond, but at the same time Ember is stubborn and explosive while Dante is calm and critical.

On the other side, you learn about the private government organization, St.George, that is out kill every dragon none to man. Garrett may seem like the average hottie, but little does anyone know he’s “The Perfect Soldier,” mysterious and strong, Garrett’s mission is to seek and take out the hatchling, but could it really be Ember? Garrett struggles to not lose sight of his mission, and learn how to have fun. He slowly discovers that maybe there’s more than just Sr. George. . . Like surfing and having friends.

Nothing says “mysterious bad boy,” more than Riley, the motorcycle riding rogue with his sights set on Ember. Not only will he not stop to get Ember out of Talon’s corrupt clutches, but there might be more between him and his Firebrand Hatchling.

Julie Kagawa has truly given us another great series to read, with new ideas and great, relatable characters it’s hard to put down! It’ll have you questioning what is really the truth behind Talon and St. George, or his Riley a hoax? And rather or not Garrett and Ember really discover each other’s past Find out, and read TALON! I highly recommend it.

How Going Back To School Can Affect Your Reading and Writing Life. 

It’s that time of year again. The TV is playing back-to-school adds, the store aisle are packed with binders and Crayola. Most students are dreading going back and wishing for a longer summer and parents can’t wait to get them out of the house. 

As a reader and writer this will effect our shedule to do our favorite hobby. 

As a parent with the kids out of the house the house will be quieter and you probably have a lot more time on your hands not having to deal with hungry and loud children 24/7. 

As a student your free time is taken up by homework, projects and social activity with new and old friends. There isn’t a lot of time to sit down with a good book or notebook to write your next best-seller. 

Being back in school can be a good thing for this too though! A lot of kids in their free time now spend it mostly playing video games, watching tv, or some other activity that has nothing to do with literature. Being in school, teachers and bookworm students will encourage them to explore this field more. 

You also will find people that have different interest than you and suggest new things that you have never thought of before! As a die hard fantasy reader it would probably never cross your mind to look into a pure horror or romance novel but your friend insist you read it and you find a new love or hate! You can broaden your field and find out what you truely love. 

As a writer new and different perspectives give us a lot more options and opportunity in our writing. Your new friend may be your next main character! 

So don’t let it get you down and pull you out of reading and writing! Use it as a tool and opportunity to grow more! 

Hope everyone has a wonderful school year!


(THE WAITING ROOM book cover.) 

How I had discovered this story is very direct. The author, Alysha Kaye had found my blog and suggested it to me. I was very thrilled by this, as this was my first contact with any kind of published author ever. So, I checked it out like any reader would and I am very happy to say that I really enjoyed it. After reading it, Alysha Kaye was also nice enough to allow me to interview her! Which can be found right here; Interview with Alysha Kaye. 

Now for the actual review and why I think this story should be put on your “to read” list! 

I’m not a romantic person. Romance stories and I do not play nice together. It’s never been a genre that I’ve been into. Though, romance writers I envy. I find it impossible to write a good, loveable couple, muchless base a whole book on this relationship between them. Saying this, I had my doubts and was really hoping it would be good enough to have my attention. And it did! 

THE WAITING ROOM isn’t like most romance stories that you’ll find. Jude and Nina’s love for each other is a main part of the story but not entirely. They have bigger things to deal with, like the Waiting Room. Most stories don’t start off after the main character dies either. 

The opening is good. It’s not boring or flat. Jude dies pretty soon and we’re introduced to the Waiting Room quickly. It’s like any other Waiting Room you’ve been in, like a doctor’s office.

It’s a unique look on life after death. Names are called and souls come and go. Some even have been there more than once. Most visitors leave after a few minutes but Jude is stuck there much longer. He spends his time watching Nina carry out her life and trying to get information out of Ruth who works in the Room.  He comes off kind of childish at first while talking to Ruth and being driven to boredom convinced a few people that he was Satan. . .

Before his death Jude and Nina were happy and trying to have a baby together. After fifty-three years Nina died and they found each other again. During these years Jude became friends with some of the workers there in the room, like Joe. 

Recarnation, religion, and racism are topics that the story addresses well. Nina has been many different types of people and races in her life so she gets to experience what it’s like to be in other people’s shoes. Jude on the other hand doesn’t change a whole lot. 

That is one thing, the couple is Nina and Jude but throughout the book you will meet other couples with different names that are them too. Don’t expect a long chapter or more about Nina and Jude’s life before death, expect chapters and chapters of who they became after death. It’s really fascinating to keep up with the characters and what they are like and compare them all. 

Ruth was a character that I really liked and was curious about. But she was very reclusive and we don’t learn a whole lot about her unfortunately. But I am very happy with one statement that is said towards the ending of the book about her. Be careful and catch it, it’ll make you smile. 

Humor is evident. Jude and Nina both have a sense of humor. My favorite part of that was when a certain kind of restaruant  could be named ‘Bananas’. There’s also a section in the story that is in poetry format that gives us something fresh for our eyes. There’s also a interesting quote that stood out from the others for me: “Everyone thinks they’ll have the answers after they die, but apparently you just get more questions,” (Kaye, THE WAITING ROOM, 4). 

The book also reminds you that not everything is forever. Everything has a expiration date. But there is things you can do to make it last longer or find something new out of it. All in all, this was a great book and I look forward to seeing more from Alysha Kaye. 

Interview with Alysha Kaye, author of THE WAITING ROOM.


Alysha Kaye is the self-published author of The Waiting Room. A romantic story with a twist, following the lives and after death experiences of characters Jude and Nina. Alysha is also a 9th grade English teacher and poetry lover!

Interview with Alysha Kaye, author of The Waiting Room.

  • I’m very happy that you accepted my interview request. I’ll try not to make it like the old, boring everyday questions that are usually asked. So, what’s it like to be a English teacher?

I love it! Of course, dealing with squirrely 9th graders has its ups and downs. . . they definitely keep me on my toes. Every day is an adventure.

  1. The Waiting Room is a romance, but not like “normal” romances and I really like that about it. The whole idea is unique. What gave you this idea or inspiration for the story?

Thank you! I had a dream about this in-between room. I was staring out giant windows, looking down on my loved ones, who were mourning me. It was really strange. Somehow I knew, when I woke up, that I had been waiting on my boyfriend to join the room. Immediately, I had to start writing about it.

  1. The Waiting Room has excellent points and it brushes upon a lot of subjects like racism and religion. How much research did you have to do for the story?

Not much at all! A lot of the novel is personal experiences–through myself, my family members, my friends, or even random acquaintances. I wanted to touch on these issues without shoving any particular point of view down readers’ throats.

  1. Nina and Jude are just like any other couple. In your mind, what makes them so special?

I wanted them to be relatable–not MORE special than any other couple out there. I want readers to decide for themselves why Nina and Jude were “chosen”. . . I think it could definitely just be a fluke or experiment!

  1. What’s your favorite and least likeable trait about Jude?

I love that Jude is so loyal to Nina–I think everyone wants that kind of loyalty in a partner. I DON’T like how pessimistic he can be. . . he’s just not quite as focused and sure as Nina, which can be frustrating, but understandable.

  1. What’s your favorite and least likeable trait about Nina?

I love Nina’s take-charge attitude–she’s so strong and determined. However, she’s definitely stubborn as hell! I can’t be too hypocritical though. . . I’m the same way haha!

  1. As a teacher, what’s the most common mistake you find your students doing in their work?

Oh my goodness, I have to pick just one? Ummm. . . probably their/there/they’re. . .which annoys me to no end! My eye twitches every time I see this.

  1. Was there any difficulties or problems that came up when you were trying to get The Waiting Room published?

Well, I didn’t really try to go the traditional publishing route. I think I might try that with my next novel, so I’m sure there will be many more issues with that! But for this novel, I really wanted to self-publish. I loved having creative control with the book cover, editing, and marketing. The biggest difficulty was probably deciding on the book cover! There were so many choices from my amazing graphic designer.

  1. Does naming your characters come easy to you?

Strangely enough, yes. I use names from my life that I like. Nina is an old high school classmate that I wasn’t even really friends with!

  1. Aside from the genres you already write in, what other genre would you like to write in and why?

Well I LOVE poetry, if you couldn’t tell (there’s a short section of the novel that’s all in poetry format). It’d be amazing to one day publish a collection of poetry.

  1. Do you have a favorite author? Why do you like him/her?

So many. Right now, I’m in love with Mark Zusak and Audrey Niffenegger. Both of them are just fantastic with character development. You feel so connected to the characters.

  1. Do you plan out your stories or do you just jump in and write?

I am horrible at outlining and planning–I just jump right in! Not always the best for editing purposes. . .

  1. What would you tell aspiring young writers out there?

Don’t listen to the people who will inevitably think you’re crazy! Push through that negativity.

  1. What kind of books do you like to read?

I love contemporary fiction. Right now, I’m going through a major YA phase. Anything that grabs my attention really.

  1. If you could have any other profession, what would it be?

Hmm. . . besides teaching and writing novels? I’d love to be a travel writer–for a magazine or website! I just started freelancing for a magazine here in Austin, TX so who knows where that will lead!

  1. Will you be publishing any other books in the future?

I hope so. I only have one chapter written of an idea I’ve had for awhile. . .but I’m just not sold on it.

  1. As a teacher, if a handful of your students theoretically came up with an imaginary figure named Jeffrey and they insisted on putting him in 95% of their stories to the point it’s like he’s a student too, what would be your reaction?

Haha! Wow. I actually have had a student or two do something like this over the years. You just have to accept it–I’m happy if they’re writing, no matter what they’re writing about!

Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you and taking the time to answer my questions. I really enjoyed your story. Check out THE WAITING ROOM book review

Follow Alysha Kaye on WordPress, Facebook and Twitter!

– Renee Bell

Name?? How to Chose Your Book Character’s Name

You’re getting ready to write your story. You have everything thought out and you can see your characters in your mind, but wait you haven’t named them! If you’re anything like me you struggle with this part of story building. 

I have a giant baby book of names that   I worship for writing. It has helped me so much, and even though I have explained it a thousand times friends still don’t understand just how big of a help it really is. 

Another source is the internet, with a simple search you can find just about anything. 

(Screen shot of the top 25 names of 2015 found on 

We have here a list of popular names separated by sex.  As you can see there’s a lot of choices but let’s say your stuck between two, Lucas and Owen. What do you do? 

That’s when you look at meaning and Origin. Every name has a meaning and origin. This will help you decide which has more in common with your character.  


Origin: Latin 

Meaning: Another form of Luke and Lucius. Meaning “light-giving” or “illumation”. 


Origin: Celtic 

Meaning: Traditional Welsh name meaning “noble”, “young warrior” and “well born.” 

So you can see some names have many different meanings. This is where you decide which is more like your character. Is he bright and light hearted or is he strong and noble? 

Now let’s say you found a name you really liked, but you don’t really care for how it’s spelled. There is many different ways you can spell certain names rather it’s Sara vs Sarah, or Cheyenne vs Shyanne. Most names will always have options.  

Fantasy Character Names. 

This is when the most popular list and modern names don’t exactly fit for what your looking for. 

Nature names are good options, Lily, Ruza, and Sage work well for fairies and sweet woodland creatures. 

Another thing is to find a meaning you want, like water, Ice and fire and do research for names that mean exactly that. You will find some creative and interesting names in different languages that may just be mystical enough like Pyry and Ahearn. 

Sometimes you can find modern names with different types of spelling that will work like Rose vs Ruza. 

A fun way to get new, and cool looking names is combining words and other names together! 

I’ll use some of the names I’ve came up with as a example. 

Gyrin (Guy + Rin) 

Zelroth (Zell + Roth) 

Then those that just come to you. 

Dahlar pronounced like duh-lar 

And those that have something to do with a emotion. Like I had taken Grummpy and turned it into a name for a little feisty house elf. 

Grumpt pronounced like grum-pt. 

We do have to be careful creating names that they aren’t to hard to pronounce or even read, but with these your imagination is the only thing that holds you back. You can make a endless list of names this way. 

Also you don’t want your characters to have similar names, like all of them starting with the letter J. It’s okay to have two with the same letter but you must make sure that readers can tell the difference between the two characters or else it gets confusing. 

Sources: Baby Center’s popular names of 2015

Happy Easter!

It’s that time of year when children hunt for eggs, cars gather in church parking lots, and spring has officially arrived. So I want to wish everyone a good Easter! No matter what your plans are today, chilling, having fun with the kids, or cooking a feast for family and friends, take a deep breath and enjoy your time!