Wednesday, February 7, 2024

IWSG and Library read... Batter Royale by Leisl Adams

It's IWSG time! For those of you who don't know what that means, the IWSG is a writers' group (founded by the amazing Alex J Cavanaugh), which meets the first Wednesday of every month. Writers, authors, and friends exchange thoughts, offer encouragement, get tips, and give advice. There's so much more to this group, too, since it has blossomed and bloomed over the years. 

This month, I'd especially like to thank the co-hosts: Janet Alcorn, SE White, Victoria Marie Lees, and Cathrina Constantine!

There is a monthly question, but I'm going to hit something a little more personal on my writing journey, today...something which has been making writing very difficult for me the last years (and I don't mean time, although that's a huge issue).

I've been struggling with the overwhelming number of books on the market—present and past—and fight whispers which question the value of writing.  So many tales are thrown into the sea of words to simply drown among them. 

Around the same time I was editing Music Boxes with my publisher, I volunteered at the bi-annual (now tri-annual) used book sale to raise funds for the local library. While this was a fun experience, which I did for several years, it also overwhelmed. While our town has around 5000 residents, the amount of books at this sale is insane. We had 50 or more tables stacked as full as we could get them and boxes stacked underneath too. Even then, we didn't come close to having enough room to put out all the used books we'd get in. That was with us sorting through and tossing many away. (We definitely live in a town of book lovers.) Afterwards, a truck load was taken to the recycling center.

But seeing these mountains and mountains of unloved books wormed into me in an unexpected way and has made me wonder if writing isn't a waste of time. I'm not talking about becoming a successful author or basking in a huge income or anything like that. My thoughts circle around whether or not the time writing should be used in a different way (make the world a better place direction)...whether or not its a pursuit of self-indulgence...whether those words mean anything, really.

Sounds a bit depressing and heavy, but these aren't overwhelming thoughts, either. Just enough to make writing difficult. I am aware that writing has and will continue to change the world, and even if one person is influenced by or connects with words in a way which helps them, all was worth it. Still, this little monster has spiked in deep with barbed thorns and is causing all sorts of issues. Especially since he teams up with my very vicious inner-editor ghoul.

Of course, none of these writing monsters keep the story ideas from coming. Those bunnies love to multiply and bounce around. But getting these stories onto paper has become a huge battle. I'm still writing (I'm going to have a brain full of bunny fluff if I don't), but it's making the process so much more painstakingly slow than it needs to be.

What about you? How's your writing going? Any tricks to keep these little monsters away? 


I have another read today which nods at the upcoming Valentine wonderfulness. Today's read is one I picked up through our local library (Libby connection) and is another graphic novel. I have a weakness for sweet treats and will probably be hitting the kitchen after reading this to stir up my own. 

This one came out in 2022.

by Leisl Adams
Harry N Abrams
YA Romance   /   Graphic Novel
240 pages

In Leisl Adams’s fun debut graphic novel, Batter Royale , a talented young chef is selected to participate in a baking reality show and finds herself mixed up in spicy competition, bitter rivalry, and sweet romance.

When 17-year-old small-town waitress Rose impresses a famous food critic, she and her best friend, Fred, find themselves thrust into the tough world of competitive baking. The contest is an intense 10 days of bizarre challenges, and the competition is cutthroat. Some competitors are willing to lie, cheat, and sabotage their way to the top. Rose may be in over her head, but she is determined to show that she can become a top chef.

Batter Royale is a fish-out-of-water-style romantic comedy about climbing out of the circumstances you’re in and making your dreams come true.



Baked delights mix with friendship and sneaky tricks in a tale with sweetness, sour moments, and a bit of bite.

Rose loves to bake, and while she works at a diner, the closest she gets to the kitchen is the food pick-up area. Unfortunately, even the work days as a waitress are numbered thanks to the declining business. When a food critic appears, Rose sneaks into the kitchen and bakes a small treat, which blows the woman away and lands Rose into a baking competition in Europe. Needing a partner, she drags her best friend along, but what awaits them is beyond the realm of batter and fillings. Not only strange challenges await, but the other competitors will do anything to win.

The graphics are cute and very well done, allowing the scenes to fly by with ease and the characters to come to life with every high and low. It was fun to flip through these and sink into the baking world. There's quite a bit of imagination in the tale to give plenty of fun for the graphics to expand on. 

The plot sounds simple enough, and at first glance, it takes on a familiar scheme, but this glance is very deceiving. While there's the baking competition, a mean girl, and first buds of romance, there's unexpected twists and turns...and I do mean unexpected as in quirky moments (think sudden obstacle course while on the way to get flour and even stranger add-ins). And this definitely gives the read a flavor of its own. While some aspects are just sudden, others stretch the plot sense, but the story still stays fun.

The romance hits upon a friends to lovers direction and remains sweet the entire time. It's pretty straight forward...well, in so far that the characters are normal. Rose plays the clueless friend and doesn't realize the budding feelings, but she's odd and hard to grasp, anyway, since she dances to her own drum and seems to be in her own world. She's kind and has a good heart, but has more than a few quirks, which don't always sit right. This makes her a bit hard to grasp, at times. The friend is a very nice guy with a bit of a goofy, very laid-back touch. The two actually fit together like a lid to a pot.

To add cream to the cake, there are plenty of recipes sprinkled in. These ranged in difficulty and covered several sugary directions. They are a nice touch to an already pretty chaotic story and do inspire baking inspiration.

Summed up, this is a cute, light read with tons of good feels, but it's a little strange, too, and doesn't always make sense. But it makes an enjoyable read with more than a few unexpected moments...if you can go with the flow.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I get what you mean. So many books from so many authors and it's so easy for writers to get a book out there. We just have to believe our words will find the right people and make a difference.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Knowing there are a million new books published every year feels overwhelming. Will we be heard over the noise?

Melissa said...

I've been feeling that way lately when trying to market. The poorly written books that are surprisingly popular make me wonder if readers who prefer intelligent quality writing are a dying breed.

About your excess books... Senior living centers, both independent and assisted, often have libraries for their residents. I donated some of my books last month. (I was purging my stock of books with original covers.)