Monday, April 30, 2018

Need a book suggestion? Give an old Jojo Moyes a go!

With so many choices, when it comes to books and the library, it can easily become overwhelming to select just one to read. I wanted, no I needed a book that I could fall into straightaway. A book where I'd cherish the characters, the story, and in a word:
L 💓 V E.

After a few false starts, I am happy to report that yes !!!, I found a delightful book. Within the last two weeks of harried schedules, a surprise trip amidst remodeling a house, and the business of releasing my own book, The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes both captivated my imagination and my heart.

This is the ebook version borrowed from Overdrive for FREE! 

The characters range from a teenager, Sarah (one of the main leads) and her horse Boo. Her grandfather, an old French cavalryman aka Papa trains Sarah on riding and life lessons. The secondary plot involves a couple.  The husband Mac is a photographer, easy going, gregarious. And the wife, Natasha, the other main character. This couple is in the throes of a divorce--an emotional train wreck. To counter balance Mac, Natasha is a dedicated youth advocate. She starts out in the story as guarded when a young man she helped in the system might be guilty in a violent crime.

The characters are all likable (lovable really) and the story compelling, more so with each e-page flipped. This reader was drawn deeper into the Sarah's life once Papa is hospitalized (and gosh, his backstory is a side door I keep propelling myself within, wondering about the HUGE sacrifices this gentleman has made [note: keep tissues handy]). I just adored Jojo Moyes ability to write smart when writing about a teenager. There's a fine line where authors either write for a younger audience and the story has that vibe. Not The Horse Dancer. It's written for a wide audience. Sarah might be a young teenage girl, but she's forced to not only fend for her own needs but those of her horse. For some folks, it's hard to imagine a kid living on the fringes. Seriously, it happens. There inner lives of kids most adults rarely glimpse. (A point of this story). As Sarah's life spins out of control, the welfare of her horse stabled in East London, in a horse yard owned and run by Cowboy John, also hangs in the balance. BTW, Cowboy John is a captivating person, too. Such a colorful character, Cowboy John hails from America and is described as one of the last Black Philadelphia Cowboys.

Of course, delighted by Jojo Moyes' eye for detail, I googled Philadelphia cowboys and was floored by the stories of young men who take to the streets on horseback, calling themselves Concrete Cowboys.

The Horse Dancer forces the reader to examine how easy it is to assume. How often do we take for granted that what we imagine, isn't even in the ballpark of reality? Communication that is not grounded in trust, is fraught with half-truths due to self-preservation.

If you're looking for a story that will steal into your thoughts as you go through your day, and draw you back as soon as you have a spare moment, then give The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes a go! The story is poignant, filled with compassion and forgiveness! When the world serves up lemons, this is just the perfect story to escape into, inhabited by kind generous people and animals.

💖💖💖💖💖 Five-star-hearts for character development, story line, and opening a world where I learned about the Concrete Cowboys of Philly as well as Le Cadre Noir, Le Carrousel, the town of Saumur. It was like taking a holiday to London, Kent, Philly, and Saumur, France.
The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For more information about Le Cadre Noir, here's their website:

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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Alina Snow on the go and I'm having a blast!

Lookout, Batman! There's Snow on the road.
Just kidding. I'm on the road in NYC visiting family.

I've only been here a day and already fulfilled a lifelong goal- visit one of the premier research libraries in the country, New York Public Library. It was incredible!!

I love the vibe of this city. The people, sights, traffic, subway system, food, and energy. It's hectic and loud- my kind of place. What else should I see while I'm here?

Alina Snow 
on the go!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Happy National Library Week

And so begins my obligatory National Library Week post, but with a twist! 

I consider it my obligation and a point of pride to spread the love of reading and libraries wherever I roam. But this year, dear reader, you certainly have reason to celebrate. 

The American Library Association is giving away a prize to a library lover who shares a special library memory on social media. The winner will enjoy a copy of Misty Copeland's book Firebird and a $100 Visa giftcard. The contest ends on April 14th and all you have to do is post on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using #NationalLibraryWeek and #LibrariesLead. (Check the website for complete info.) 

Seems pretty easy to me! 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Writing like design

Moment of truth, y'all, writing has not always come naturally to me. So, I frequently utilize lessons learned by better, more experienced writers to inform my writing. And on top of that, I also make sure to get out of the fiction writers' bubble to researching methods and ideas from other creative industries.

In the past I looked to the screenwriters for help with dialogue and movement of characters. Now that my home renovations are nearing completion I find myself researching those of an even more physical nature. Interior design, architecture, landscape design, and staging are all concepts utilized in realizing a homeowner's ideal home. The collective impact of the, larger structural and smaller superficial, details is felt in the way movement, relationships and lives of its inhabitants. 

Think of your characters as inhabitants of the spaces you create. What are their lives like in that space? How do they move in it? There is no need to drown readers of romance fiction with endless chapters of exposition. Instead, we can sketch, pin, or note these details for ourselves to keep in mind when thinking of our characters' actions and habits. The consideration of our characters' fictional realities help us make deeper connections with our readers either by tapping into their experiences as well as appealing to their fantasies.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

#MLK50: The love of MLK and Coretta Scott King

Today marked the 50th anniversary of MLK's assassination. Despite all the sadness and drudgery that we see and hear in the news, we can still use this day as a reminder to be hopeful and to aim higher.

For those of us in the love biz, we might reflect today on the woman that was by his side, instrumental to the civil rights movement, and who continues to influence the arts and literature- Coretta Scott King.

Their courtship, marriage, and partnership were well recorded. There is plenty that historians and novelists alike can revisit and inform our writing. Some of that has conveniently been digitized and available on Instagram.

A post shared by TheKingCenter (@thekingcenter) on

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Bunny lovin'