Isabelle Joshua

Friday, January 27, 2017

Why Am I EXCITED about a 2 star review of my book, The Swallow?

The Swallow just got a 2 out of 5 stars by an ARC reader I sent it to back in March 2016. Why am I sharing it and excited? Because even though she only thought it was okay, I felt it was an honest review of my book, and it is exactly what I wanted. I wanted to write a very realistic book even and make it believable. See for yourself...
After reading The Swallow, an advanced copy given to me, I can say that this was an ok story. It took me awhile to read it because in my opinion it was a bit to realistic for my taste. Nevertheless, I did like reading about Kathryn`s story. There were a few moments where I was wondering if the author thought of taking another angle then the one she took. I love the emotional experience that is written in The Swallow. I didn't like the she loss her memory, but I loved how aware to brain injuries is used here. I would recommend The Swallow to those looking for realistic stories.
Years ago, I learned to take constructive criticism, and it has served me well.  I love it when a reader connects with the book I wrote and adores every part of it.  But I am grateful for the reader that didn't like it or thought it was okay and shared why.  That helps me improve as a writer and also opens my eyes to what I really like in the books I read and write.

How are you at criticism? 

Review: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So I have been hesitant about writing a review of this book. On many levels, I liked the book. The characters and storyline were interesting, and it was easy to continue because I listened to the audiobook version rather than read it.

My problems with the book were the Nick character waxing poetic about everything and being morose and sappy. The narrator for his part really amped up the whininess of his voice, but then there were times that he sounded normal and I liked the character.

The whole punk band scene was very different, and I couldn't relate to them. The teenagers out all night on this crazy experience together was so cliche, but it worked at times. I just thought the book was trying too hard to be cool and it's characters were too.

It had elements that I really liked, but on the whole, it was just okay. I wouldn't pick up another one of their books, and I definitely won't see the movie.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Review: The Offering

The Offering The Offering by Jessika Fleck
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love the characters. The inner conflict about her love for Nico and the struggle with her place in their society and the forbidden nature of the friendship. Then the introduction of Dorian and The Night. The Offering and depiction of the brutality and merciless nature of the society were thrilling and heartwrenching. I can't wait to read book two. I loved it, and I want to know what happens next. I didn't want it to end!!!

For readers that love Fantasy, this is a great YA Fantasy book, for those that aren't big fantasy fans (like me) it is such a great story and gripped me from the beginning. Similar Stories: It isn't exactly like Shatter Me series, but it definitely had moments when it reminded me of it. Exceptional!

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TV Review: Homeland Season 6 Episode 2: The Man in the Basement

That is the question I wanted Carrie to answer!  She did in her emotions and nonverbal communications, but I wanted more. I've loved Quinn from the first time he stabbed Brody in the hand.  Actually before then, but you get it.  
My heart has broken watching Quinn struggle, struggle, and struggle because he doesn't want to live. But yet just like Carrie I want him to, I want him to work and make progress so he can find happiness with her. And take a bath, please. Because you look too damn good to be smelly.
Remember him?  I do, and I want a little of him back, I know he won't go back to the badass MF that always protects Carrie but yet quietly takes all the risks with his body and heart.
I was very glad to see Max back, but I am wondering if his anger or hard feelings since Season 3 when Fara was killed towards Carrie will resurface.
And the rest of the show was good.  At first, I never suspected Carrie was advising Madam President-Elect and was thrown when Saul asked her.  Evidently, I'm not CIA material.  I still believed her but thought that was too suspicious to be ignored after watching five seasons of Homeland.
I'm not sure what's going on with the terrorist suspect Carrie and the lawyer are assisting.  Though it is interesting because he wants to fall on the cloak of Free Speech, but long before whatever law that FBI guy is using against him, speech that incites others to violence is NOT protected under the First Amendment.  So even if he was just telling other people on his video to go rob stores or kill their neighbor, or whatever it is not protected speech.  There is other non-protected speech as well but just wanted to give a little insight that I have with my legal education.
I am having a hard time with watching it this season for the mere fact that I have to watch each week for the new episode.  The other seasons I binged watched and couldn't get enough.  I can't wait to see what happens and my heart is holding out for Quinn to get out of his deep depression.  Maybe some meds for that??

Review: Forever

Forever Forever by Judy Blume
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my first book by Judy Blume that I've read that wasn't one of the Super Fudge books from my childhood. This was a sweet and honest story about young love. I found it very eye opening about how open the teenagers were with their parents. This was written at the time of my birth, and I found it very interesting to understand the 1970s and their ideas about sexuality and drugs. I liked it a lot for a young adult book. I wish I had read this when I was a young girl.

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Review: Sunrise Kisses

Sunrise Kisses Sunrise Kisses by Krista Lakes
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I bought "Yours Completely" when it was free, and after reading it and liking it (3 stars), I kept reading for Sunset Kisses.

First off, the prologue was confusing, and I don't believe added to the story at all. I think it was the blurb from the Amazon page stuck in front of the first chapter, so it was very confusing.

Once I started reading it, I was interested to read more. I read it quickly, and there were parts that I liked and the premise was good, but if Ava mentioned that he was a billionaire one more time I think I'll vomit. Seriously, get over it. Stop obsessing. It didn't add to the characters insecurities. Ava whole I'm not good enough for him was sickening. I understand that she was just cheated on, but Ava had some serious flaws. She was so insipid with no friends, no life, and no self-esteem. It was all wrapped up in the ex-boyfriend. The whole "you're a billionaire" was used as a teasing element in the book for her, but it was awful, and I didn't like her much. I cannot relate to someone that thinks they are pond-scum because they don't have a billion dollar net worth. It's one thing to feel awkward in fancy or formal settings; I completely get that. I live in yoga pants. But she needed counseling more than a new boyfriend. But instead like so many other typical romance novels, she has a small conversation with her dad and miraculously he knows everything just by the look on her face and that she's depressed that she was in love with Bastian (which is a hilarious name, because I kept wanted to say "bastard" in my head). This book could have been so much better. And the whole darkness and not going into his study was not really addresses except for possibly her seeing his body. So ridiculous. Anyway, I get tired of the same old plot line of romance novels and wish for something more. There are plenty of authors that do it well, and I will read them instead. Even though I did like Your Truly, I didn't love it, and I can't forsee me reading anything else of hers.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Book Review Requests

So I read a lot, and since I post so many reviews, I have started to get requests to my email.  The problem is that I have over a hundred emails a day to sift through and many times I don't have time to read them, so I thought I'd create a better way for writers to submit their books for my review.

Here is a graphic of the page.  I hope it helps because I want to read the books, but the system I have currently isn't working.

Insatiable Reader

Monday, January 16, 2017


Twenty missed calls. He was just going to keep calling.
I pressed talk, “Why are you calling me?”
“I’m so sorry. Please listen to me.” Desperation filled his words.
“I don’t want to.” The numb feeling set in thirty hours ago and hadn’t dissipated. I was wrung dry of emotions. Hopelessness hung around my neck. 
“Please let me explain,” Mark asked quietly.
I exhaled loudly; wanting him to know I was over him. This whole thing was a nuisance I’ve moved past; he wasn’t someone worth my broken heart. It was a lie, but I wanted him to believe it.
If only my ears could disconnect from my head, so he couldn’t confirm what his ex-wife told me when she answered his phone.
“I just, you know, fucked it up.” His smooth, confident voice shook as he spoke. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I wouldn’t have gone, but Tessa said that Lee’s old girlfriend, Hailey, would be there. I hadn’t seen her since his funeral.”
Is that supposed to make me feel better? Rage reared up, but I didn’t spew all the expletives that swirled around in my head. Because we’re done. It doesn’t matter what he said.
“I’m sorry."
"Please, say something.”
Why won’t he let me be? I made it easy; I begged my sister the morning after to go to my place, get all his shit out of there, and change the locks.
As soon as his drunk ass called me, I told him it was over, and he should get his stuff before I trashed it.
So why was he on the phone pleading with me?
He couldn't explain why hours after I left, he met with Tessa and Hailey. Then slept with Hailey. Nothing would change what he did.
How could I put myself in this position again? Why does this keep happening? Is there something wrong with me?
I closed my eyes pressing out the destructive thoughts.

It was different last time. I’d been with Will for three years when he moved back home. Promising it had nothing to do with us, just that he needed to be close to his family after his brother died. It didn’t take long before my suspicions began. He lied about why he wasn’t home when I called. He lied when I ask why Melanie kept coming up in our conversations. He lied when I asked him directly if he was living with her. I got physically sick thinking about her there while I was on the phone with him.
I vowed it wouldn’t happen again. I won't go through the agony of doubt and worry ever again. I let Will lie for too long.
I won’t let another year of my life be sucked away in lies.
I smothered the flood of emotion raging inside. “I have to go; we’re about to eat lunch,” I lied.
“Oh, okay. Can I call you again?”
Another sigh. “I don’t know.”
I sat down motionless, screaming inside, why didn’t I just say no. I wanted it over. He cheated. I ended it. Why does he keep calling?
The distance between us would be gone when I fly home. My trip was only four days, and it took him one to throw it all away.

My best friend listened and let me cry, helped me mold the hard shell around my heart. When I’d cried all the tears I thought possible, he called again. I ignored it and tried to enjoy my vacation despite the sadness that swallowed me. She answered his calls, giving me the buffer I needed.
He wasn’t making it easy. Why wouldn’t he just leave me alone?
Finally, I took his call. Then the next call. I hung up on him countless times when my anger boiled over at his confessions. But my heart wouldn’t let it end. I kept answering his calls.

Two months earlier, I tagged along with my friends to the next town when they suggested another bar had cheaper drinks.  I saw him at the end of the bar right after we walked in, drinking and talking with some guy; I had to meet him.
When Mark sat down with us at our table, I couldn’t take my eyes off his handsome face and deep brown eyes. He asked me to dance and then kissed me. After talking and flirting, we decided to walk back to his truck together.  More talking and laughing through the quiet neighborhood.
When he asked me to drive, I didn’t think anything of it. I spent the night with him and woke up a few hours later to be ushered out of his apartment because he said he had plans that morning. He drove me back to my car; the thirty-minute drive filled with our conversation. We connected so seamlessly. Then I realized I forgot my lipstick and we had to go back. Almost to my car again, I bit my lip and admitted I forgot my keys. He teased that I was leaving stuff behind on purpose, which made me laugh nervously because the truth is that I just forget stuff a lot when I’m rushed. Almost two hours later, we made it to my car with all my belongings. I kissed him goodbye, and I knew I wouldn’t be calling him. Despite our connection, a one nightstand leads to nothing good.
And then as I was starting my car, he rolled down the window and asked me what I was doing for the day. I didn’t have plans. So when he asked if he could come over, I agreed with a smile.

When I got back from my trip, Mark asked if he could come over to see me. I was hesitant. On the phone, I had some control; I could hang up as soon as I was overwhelmed. Seeing him. I didn’t know if I could hold up my wall of protection with him so near.
But I wasn’t strong enough to say no yet. So I agreed.
The dark circles under his eyes and hurt when I pulled away from him was hard to ignore. I sat as far away from him as possible avoiding his eye contact. He talked while I listened.
Then he said something that made sense. “It wasn’t about you. I slept with Hailey to rub it in Tessa’s face that I didn’t want her. She cheated on me and threw our marriage away. I wanted to show her she’d never have me again.”
It didn’t make me feel better about what he did to me. But I understood that better than all his apologies. Tessa broke him when she left. I naively thought it wouldn’t matter. I’d never dating anyone that was divorced. I didn’t understand the ramifications that went into the loss of a marriage.
Unable to disregard the anguish he felt or the deep remorse, my ice encrusted shell cracked. And that’s when he cried for the first time with me. I couldn’t deny that I felt the same torture at being without him; I wanted him and his promises to change to be genuine. But I still didn’t trust him.

He called every day. And little by little he asked for more. Asked to see me again. Then asked me to look at him. All his efforts were like the tide coming in closer and closer to my sandcastle fortress, inch by inch eroding my walls. Then when I looked at him, his red-rimmed eyes drove home his regret; he asked if I would sit closer to him. We progressed slowly, but all this did was cement how much I loved him and how angry I was at what he did to us. Sorrow and fury would boil up, and I couldn’t move past the ache. He asked for another chance. He told me he’d do anything.
So I told him if he was serious that he made the biggest mistake of his life by cheating on me, and he wanted me back, then there were no more chances. I made him promise to leave me alone if he screwed it up again. I knew I still wasn't strong enough to do it.
But if I asked for too much then he would fail, and it would end. So I laid out all my demands. He said he wouldn't fail me.
I didn't believe him, but I agreed.


Looking back twenty years later, I’m so glad I agreed.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Review: The Woodlands

The Woodlands The Woodlands by Lauren Nicolle Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very good book. I was hooked immediately. I don't like Rosa because she is angry and immature so often and hurtful to nearly everyone, but the story is so compelling and grips you that I suffered through her bad attitude. She does grow a little, and I hope she gets better as the series progresses. I really liked Joseph and other side characters, but the relationships that Rosa forms with them is so threadbare because she is so caustic and angry all the time. I'm not sure her anger seems entirely justified. But otherwise, I really enjoyed the book and can't wait to read the next one.

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Review: The Wall

The Wall The Wall by Lauren Nicolle Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had a hard time with Rosa in this book but I grew to like her more, and her struggles with Joseph and the baby were heartbreaking. The part that aggravated me the most was her defiance to learn any combat or self-defense skills, I thought it was selfish and put her and the others at risk. Her so-called philosophy of not harming anyone wasn't clear from the beginning, and it just seemed juvenile. And her anger at various characters, actually almost all the characters, was too much at times. She just was always angry. But the story and the other characters were very good. She's growing on me, but on the whole, she is my most disliked protagonist for a book series that I actually do like.

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Review: The Wounded

The Wounded The Wounded by Lauren Nicolle Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I felt like Rosa grew in this book more. I liked her character in this one and enjoyed her relationship with the side characters as well as Joseph. Her bond with Orry grows and it showed her maturity. At times the writing and pronouns made me have to go back and re-read to understand the passage and this happened throughout all of her books that I read. The story is very interesting and fast moving.

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Review: The Wanted

The Wanted The Wanted by Lauren Nicolle Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I connected with this book the most because of the inclusion of Joseph's POV. I grew to like Rosa so much more in this book and also in the previous Wounded book. But this one made me cry buckets. In The Wounded, the tragic events that happened didn't evoke as much response from me because it was from Rosa's POV and this book's event was through Joseph's eyes which I connect more. It was a great finale to this very good series. I spent all night reading it. I couldn't put it down, and Lauren Nicolle Taylor's writing got better and better as the series progressed.

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Review: The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

If you want a book that goes in and out of people's thoughts with very little movement or forward progression, then read this and be content. Otherwise, if you want intrigue, suspense, mind-bending plot lines, then go and watch the Amazon Prime TV show The Man in High Castle. I read this after watching the series and was very unimpressed. The show takes the characters that Phillip Dick named and toyed with and made them real and complex. The Japanese style of thought and speech is throughout the book and makes it confusing and erratic. I do not recommend this book at all. Even though it is short novel it took me longer to read because of the writing style. I do highly recommend watching the TV show on Amazon Prime, it is awesome!

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