A Review of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

“The Hate U Give” is a story about a young girl, named Starr Carter, who witnesses the murder of her childhood friend and the events that follow. Very relevant to today, the story focuses on telling the story of how the impact of losing a loved one affects not only the family but the community as well. Author Angie Thomas does a fantastic job of giving a voice to a community otherwise written off by the public eye.

Aside from the heart-wrenching storytelling, the language is one of my favorite things I enjoyed about the story. It doesn’t try to be anything else, but itself. The authenticity of the narrator makes the story feel genuine and gives the story life. I truly enjoyed the time spent on the development of the characters.

Final Thoughts:

Despite my general dislike of the sensitive subject matter, this book demanded to be heard and demanded to be read. It was hard to find things I didn’t like, and I learned so much about myself and my own worldviews reading this. I would 100% recommend this book to teens and adults alike. I give it a 5/5.

The Hate U Give

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A Review of The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

“The Jumbies” follows a young Caribbean girl named Corinne La Mer who lives happily with her father, next to a mysterious forest. Their world is turned upside down when they are visited by a beautiful woman wrapped in mystery. Now it is up Corrinne and her friend to save her family and their town from the dreaded forest dwelling creatures called the Jumbies.

I was very excited to read this book because I love stories about folktales and lore. Right away I was drawn in by the beautiful storytelling and bold and colorful characters. Tracey Baptiste does a great job of introducing us to Corinne’s world, through playful and detailed language. The more I read, the more I wanted to know about the Jumbies. Who are these creatures? What do they want? Where did they come from? That you’ll have to find out for yourself.

Final thoughts:

I loved the story, with its message of friendship, balance, and understanding. Read this to your child or have them read this to you, neither of you will be disappointed. I can’t wait to read the second book.

I give it a 5/5.

the-jumbies

Found, Ann Arbor, MI

Found

 

No one is lost here, out of place, or forgotten.
There are no bags labeled “To Goodwill, Free to a Good Home, Trash.”
Every button, every knob, every doll, and every photo, has a place on these shelves.
There are no teary eyes, lonely cries, or sad faces.
No reasons to fear or feel unwanted, only feelings of content and hopefulness.
Here in this place a second chance is given to be buttoned up, typed on, played with,
A second chance to be found.

 

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Updates!

Hi all, I hope you are well. It’s been a while since I’ve updated here, but know that I’ve been busy with many projects and events. The blog’s weekly posting schedule is still on hiatus, but as long as you’re following my blog, you’ll get notifications when I do. For the fall I’ve got lots of goodies planned. This year I’ll be doing a Spooktacular Writing Care Package Giveaway, just in time for Nano, along with the premiere of a new short story I’m working on. The giveaway will take place on my Facebook page, Blair Cousins – Author, starting October 1st to the 30th. The story will be posted on my blog on Hallow’s Eve.

Also in October, I will be running a table at The Virginia Children’s Book Festival in Farmville, VA at Longwood University. The festival is free to attend and runs from October 19th to October 21st, though I’ll only be there on Saturday, the 21st. I encourage you to go on either day for the amazing authors and illustrators attending. For a full list of guest and events check out the website below.

>>>>>>The Virginia Children’s Book Festival<<<<<<

Coming out in mid-November I will be publishing a cat-themed coloring book all about cats being cats. It’s perfect for children and adults of all ages and will even include characters from Ouji the Curious Cat. Visit my table at The Virginia Children’s Book Festival to enter for a chance to win a signed copy.

Lastly, I will be participating in NaNoWriMo this year. There is a very special project I would like to complete, and I encourage all authors and writing enthusiast to participate. It’s truly a fun and rewarding experience. Nano starts November 1st and is free to sign up for. For more information, please visit their website: Here.

 

That’s all for now, happy writing everyone.

 

-Blair

A Review of “The Hike” by Drew Magary: The Odyssey of Our Time

 

Cruising down the aisles of my local Barns & Noble I remember the cover being the first thing that caught my eye. Bright neon pictures of strange monsters dotted the black cover drawing my attention immediately. I picked up the book, a hardback, and opened to the front flap to read the summary. A comedy! How delightful, as I was in the mood to find anything that might catch my eye to add to my Goodreads reading challenge. Well a few months later, I finally got around to reading this oddly decorated book, and I don’t think I was prepared for the ride it was going to take me on.

The story follows a suburban man named Ben, who works an office job, and is married with three children. While away on a business trip Ben finds himself on a path that would change the course of his life forever. In this page-turner, you are sucked in right along with Ben as you witness the ghastly torment the main character endures in order to return home to his family. The author does a good job of making you believe the weird and crazy things that happen in the story. I swear this could be an episode of “I Shouldn’t Be Alive,” at the same time you’re engulfed in an epic like tale, fit for a poet of ancient Greek times. You’ll have trouble putting this book down, as you’ll find yourself trying to piece together what exactly is going on.

I really enjoyed reading this book, I will give it a 4/5 for keeping, no, stealing my interest from page to page.

the-hike

Blog Hiatus

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The blog is going on hiatus so I can finish up the manuscripts I’m working on. Worry not I’ll post here every now and then when something peaks my interest, so be sure to follow my blog. If you haven’t already, please follow me on Facebook as well by clicking [here], as I will more than likely be posting more on there. Be sure to join my mailing list for updates as well, either on here, on my Facebook page, or by sending me your email address through the contact form.

Thanks for all your support and I hope to have more projects coming out soon.

 

Cheers,

Blair

My First James River Writer’s Show

This past Wednesday I finally got a chance to attend my first writer’s show, hosted by the James River Writers. The Writer’s Show brings authors and professionals from the writing industry to talk about a wide variety of topics, from novel writing to marketing. Ever since I joined the JRW back in January, I’ve wanted to go to a writer’s show, but as life will happen something always popped up, preventing me from attending. This month, however, despite my crazy day at work and little time to get ready, I put on my big girl’s pants and went to the show, and I’m really glad I did.

The topic of the night concerned something that plagues authors of every kind, and that is how to deal with the “squishy middle” as they coined it. The squishy middle is the condiments and meat of the story. It’s one of the most important parts. It’s where characters and plot are developed, the juicy middle that keeps your readers engaged, but it can also be a point of stress for many authors as well. So this show covered ways to motivate yourself to get through those tough squishy parts.

As I sat in the middle of the audience, struggling with an inner battle of sleep deprivation and trying to focus on the show, I learned that I am not alone on my journey through the squishy middle. Each panelist explained their own struggles with it and offered very helpful advice. Power through it, one author suggested, even if it sounds like complete crap write it down anyways because you can’t edit what’s not there. Another author suggested that you lay out an outline. Write down all the highlights and plot points you want to reach and fill in the gaps as you go. Walk away, sometimes it’s okay to abandon a story, don’t delete it, but let it sit and come back to it with fresh eyes. I’ve done this a few times, it’s especially helpful during the editing process.

All and all I had a really fun time. It’s nice to know even established authors struggle with the squishy middle. You’re not alone out there; just don’t stop writing. Next show I hope to be more outgoing and take better notes instead of a half-dead zombie. If you’re interested in checking out any of the panelists feel free to look them up. I’ve labeled their names on the picture below.

JRWS pic

**Forgive my blurry picture, it was taken on the sly.