Success & Momentum!

27.7k words, and counting 😉! 23 chapters, roughly, remain. The best part of this progress? It is flowing beautifully, and coming together as well as I had hoped! The hope and prayer is that when readers get hold of the published copy, they agree!

For where I stand now, this part of the book will close up in about 8-9 chapters more, and I can’t wait 😄! For what’s to come will be brutal, and glorious. Who’s ready?

Review: The Paladin of Panama by Michael Chrobak

Alright folks! Here it is, my review ofThe Paladin of Panama by Michael Chrobak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Be prepared, this is a Lengthy review!
Appreciation:
The Paladin of Panama has such promise, though I hoped for more action! It is good in seeing the different abilities coming to life in the characters, I can’t wait to meet the rest, and I enjoyed the educational side of what the church and what the associated community can bring. This book is overflowing with good intentions and messages, one’s many of the youth today could benefit from. I would say this series would be particularly good for those gearing up to head to the priesthood, or nunnery, as it touches on many of the struggles and ways to get past those issues. Michael Chrobak has done a wonderful job of incorporating fantastical elements without them being deemed “magical”, rather they are God given gifts and abilities, and not to be confused with any other power. I also have to give praise to making sure that all the characters have strengths and weaknesses, each their own struggles. These individuals, for the most part, are not all weak with only one strong, but lift each other up in various ways. Now, that has a flip side (see below).

Concerns:
I did find some pieces to be more “preachy” in a way that was telling rather than showing, where the author’s intention came out more bluntly than I think intended. Almost a bit like having a father telling their child what they will experience in detail, little lessons they will learn as they go rather than letting them learn and experience firsthand. Which, for me, took some of the sizzle out of the book, some of the mystery, and rather dragged along a few pieces. There were stereotypes cast that I felt were trite, utilized to reinforce the religious and moral ideals, but I felt that a disservice. There were a few places I found the descriptions of the characters (all young, mind you) to be condescending, which shocked me a bit. It was a little bitter, and that pushed me away as a reader. Beyond that, I found pretty much all the female characters to be pretty much one dimensional, with defining characteristics only coming to light at the end of the book. I stand by that Thomas is written to be far too wise beyond his years, and while I expect the main character to have more strength than the others, I found Thomas, and the side characters, to be either written beyond their years, or at times painfully immature.

Getting Personal:
I found the book slow for the first three quarters, and it didn’t “pick up” until the last quarter, making it a difficult read overall for me. It was like a first book, an introductory, which in some ways it is-meeting more characters, learning abilities, etc., but I felt there were pieces of detail/description that lent nothing to the story. I know I have had a bad habit of getting caught up in describing too many details, and that’s what this felt like. Additionally, having read and reviewed the first I will reiterate here: having been raised Catholic, I have personal beliefs that strike deep within me, things I do not agree with the church on. So deep are my beliefs that I have walked away from the Catholic Church, as much as there are plenty of things I love and appreciate, I completely disagree with them on others. These books look to reinforce some of those those beliefs I disagree with, so it was more a struggle for me than I would have liked. That’s not to be confused, I’m not calling it bad – quite the opposite, the passion that this is written with, the firm belief and follow through is impressive and not to be dismissed. It just did not inspire me, personally, to love this book entirely.

Conclusion:
I will read the next book in this series, this one ended on such a cliff hanger it was almost insulting! Michael, how could you leave me hangin’ like that, man?! Teasing aside, the last quarter is the best of this book, and so very well written out! I Loved it for that especially, but can’t say anything so as not to ruin it for other readers! This rating was more like 3.5/3.75, but the ending helped close that gap to a 4.

By keyboard & pen

I’ve been terribly neglectful, I didn’t realize how long it had been since I last posted on here! I received answers for ailments that have been ongoing, though I cannot say the solutions I received are the best options at this point. Right now I’m considering talking to the neurosurgeon and seeing about getting surgery done to fix what’s wrong, that’s if they would even consider doing it until the condition worsens. Within a week of finding out what was wrong I found myself single, once more. Completely unrelated, or at least 98%, as to why the relationship ended, mind you. I have still been through a bit of hell in all of it, but have been plenty busy with my job that pays the bills, and adjusting my budget/paying off debt. Thankful that chapter is closed, clearly not one that would have ended well.

So the medical aspect: I have what’s called Arnold Chiari Malformation Type 1. I had my onset of symptoms start of this year, with sudden migraines. Technically it’s been one long, never-ending migraine, but it all makes sense now. Worse symptoms showed up throughout this year, and I have some still that are etching their way through, thus my consideration to consult with the neurosurgeon. Fun times, I tell you!

All that garbage aside, I started writing again, and it feels amazing! I don’t know if there is a feeling equivalent to how writing makes me feel as it flows. It’s also funny, the things you will research as you write. Looking up what types of containers have been used to hold liquids, pens and pencils creation, types of trees and flowers, proper terminology for similar items across centuries of time! Time consuming, but completely worth the effort :).

Something else intriguing has occurred. I had a fan reach out, two technically, asking for hand written letters. I have happily obliged, and must admit it is both insanely flattering and humbling. Should send apologies in advance, my handwriting is atrocious :S…beyond that I found myself, this past 4th of July weekend, trying to find something to do for myself, and thought about my writing without even realizing it was my own writing I was thinking about. I know that sounds odd, but honestly I was thinking about the story line and how I wanted to see what happened next, before it struck me fully what I was thinking about! There was a lot on my mind, as per usual…but this was funny when I caught up with where my mind had gone.