Brewhaha Book Cafe

For Writers, Readers & Tea-drinkers


November 2016

Book Review: Tinder (by Sally Gardner)

After a close-encounter with Death, young Otto Hundebiss decides he’s had quite enough of war and battle. Guided by a handy set of magic dice given to him by a half-beast, half-man, Otto deserts his regiment and sets out in search of a new life. Hardly has he begun when he meets by chance the beautiful and fiery Saffire on the run from some mysterious peril. Otto is utterly smitten, and when they part, he determines to seek her out and whisk her away from her troubles.

That is just where his troubles begin. On his quest to find his beloved, Otto chances upon a witch and acquires a magic tinderbox that contains equal measures of power and danger. The secret of the tinderbox governs Otto’s fate as he ventures to the city of werewolves where Saffire is kept prisoner by her evil stepmother. But Otto soon discovers that power and magic are tricky friends. Can he master the tinderbox to put wrongs to right? Can he solve the mystery of the three werewolves? Can he save Saffire in time before she is forced to marry a scheming prince? And above all, can he trust his own heart to guide him any better than his magic dice?

Sally Gardner captures the essence of fairy tale in this phantasmal modern adaptation of a Hans Christian Anderson classic; for truly, the world of Fairy is full of perils and not for the faint of heart. Scintillating and fast past, this tale will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end, be it a happily ever after… or not.

Be advised, Tinder contains disturbing imagery (though it must be said that David Robert’s illustrations are fantastically eerie, like something out of a Tim Burton film) as well as mature subject matter. This is definitely a book for older readers, and those with a strong stomach to boot!

Genre: Young Adult Fairy Tale

Recommended tea: Assam with cream & honey

Novel In November Update

How is everyone doing? Four days into Novel in November, 26 days left. I have to confess, I did no writing at all on Day 2, but I managed to catch up! I’m up to 6,630 words, just a little under the goal.

I’ll admit, it’s harder than I thought it would be, and we are only on day four. I’ve managed to keep up, but falling behind is a real possibility. And wow, not going back to fix things is hard. I really really want to! There is one section where my main character, Blue, who isn’t shy at all, suddenly turned shy for no reason. I want to fix it, but that wouldn’t add to my word count, and that’s all that matters. I also want to agonize over how Diego, my second main character, is extremely one dimensional. I keep telling myself to let it go for now.


So let us know how you are doing! Have you written every day? What are you struggling with?

Don’t forget, if you miss a day or don’t hit your goal, don’t give up! Anything is better than nothing, even if you think it’s no good or not enough.

Write on and sorry if ‘Let It Go’ is now stuck in your head! Not really…I love that song…

The True Meaning Of Smekday by Adam Rex

TMSDGratuity-my friends call me Tip-Tucci is eleven years old when the aliens invade on Christmas Day. The Boov rename earth Smekland, kidnap Tip’s mom, and force all Americans to relocate to Florida. On her own except for her cat named Pig, Tip decides to drive to Florida on her own. Along the way, she meets a Boov named J.Lo who upgrades her car so it hovers, earning him a ride, despite Tip’s dislike of the Boov.

The unlikely duo travel across the country in search of Tip’s mom. Along the way, they encounter Lost Boys living under a theme park, armadillos, and alien machines catching all the cats. Eventually, Tip and J.Lo become friends and allies as a worse race of aliens invades, threatening the very survival of both the humans and the Boov. Can an eleven-year-old girl, an outlaw alien, and a cat save the world?

The movie Home is based on this book, and the book is as good as the movie. Tip’s dry humor and ingenious plans keep you on the edge of your seat and laughing out loud at the same time. If you are looking for a good sci-fi with incredibly fun characters and plot, this it it!

Genre: Middle Grade, Science Fiction

Recommended Tea: Chocolate Mint

It Has Begun!!

Can you believe November is here? I saw somewhere that there are only 8 more Fridays until Christmas. Crazy!

But that’s not important at the moment. It is November first, the beginning of an epic month for all novel writers: National Novel Writing Month!

I have to confess…I was supposed to do a post on Friday. I lost track of the days and forgot. Bad blogger!

Instead, I will just do a quick summary of what I was going to post about, and that is, well, summaries/outlines/notecards.

If you are a total panster (no planning what so ever), ignore most of this post.

For the rest of us, let us move to the last thing I will do before I start writing. To keep our novels on track (assuming you have a track) some kind of written guide is very helpful! If I keep it all in my head, I forget something or get things out of order or follow rabbit trails. Having a written guide helps me keep things straight and to follow those rabbit trails back to my core story.

For my last novel, I did notecards, writing a scene per card, with the color of the notecard corresponding to the point of view I was writing from. As I finish one, I move it to the back, read what I had in mind, the write the scene.

For this one, I think I’m just going to do a very loose outline. Basically, bullet points of the scenes. We will see how it goes!

If those are too much planning for you, there is also the quick summary. Just take a sheet of paper or a blank document and just write a general summary of the events in your novel.

Any of these might help clarify your plot and make your draft a little cleaner.

But enough of this. The most important thing now is to write. Got that? WRITE! It can be hard and frustrating and often what we put on paper is never as good as what is in our heads, but your one and only goal for this month is word count.

So if you haven’t done your word count for the day, get writing! It’s two in the morning here, so I’m off to bed 🙂 Night, everyone!




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