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Hey there, book lovers.

Month

November 2015

Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles, Book One)

Cinder_hi-res

Hey, book lovers.

I have so many books to discuss, now. I really can’t wait to get through them all. I went to visit family in Milton Keynes for this weekend, and back home, I finally finished reading one of the books I’ve been wanting to read for a while- Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

It’s young adult fantasy, a novel based on the fairytale of Cinderella, but it’s set in a completely new world, in a country called New Bejing. Our main protagonist, Cinder, is a cyborg, living under the control of her stepmother, the wife of the man who had taken her in as an orphan, and her two stepsisters, Pearl and Peony.

I loved the way this story was brought out, and the ways in which it related back to the fairytale at heart. Cinder is a mechanic, working for her keep, until one day, the prince comes to her and asks her, the country’s best mechanic, to fix his android. There is a big, futuristic feel to this book- the citizens wear ID chips, controlled androids do their work for them, and technology is advanced. Their main issues are a plague that has set upon the world, called Letumosis, which takes four stages to kill. Cinder’s guardian was killed by this plague, and her sister soon contracts the disease, when she follows Cinder to the scrap heap, where she has gone to look for parts for an old car, for Adri, her stepmother.

Cinder is sent off, as a cyborg, to be tested upon, and discovers that she won’t die from the disease, because she is immune. There, the prince continues to court her, but not wanting him to know what she really is, she refuses. He asks her several times, to be his guest to the ball.

At the same time, the evil queen of Luna, the moon country, is trying to take her place as Empress of the Commonwealth, so that she can persuade the country to do as she requests, with her strange, persuasive abilities.

Cinder is forced to find a cure to the disease, with the help of Dr. Erland, who she discovers is another Lunar, who has chosen not to use his skills in the way the queen has. He reveals to her, through her blood research, that she is from Luna, and she knows it is the truth, as she has never known her early life. The queen and her thaumaturges believe it when they see her, but it becomes known that she is also the true heir.

If you enjoy fantasy and sci-fi novels, I would recommend this book. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

For now, happy reading!

April 😀

xxx

So, I’ve Added Six Books To The Reading List…

Hey, book lovers.

So, as the title state, I may or may not have bought six new books, and will have therefore more to review. Please don’t judge me- I just can’t help myself sometimes!

And, opening up those packages (I usually deliver to home from online), makes it feel like Christmas has come early. A month early, in this case.

They are:

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles, Book Two)

Cress by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles, Book Three)

Winter by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles, Book Four)

The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

So, there will be reviews of these pretty soon. I’d bought the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder, and really enjoyed it. Well, I just finished reading it on the bus to Luton, so that will be up pretty soon. I’m loving this series already, and I can’t wait to read all of the rest. I’ve heard pretty good things about all of them.

For now, happy reading!

April 😀

xxx

This Morning We Met A Published Author And Illustrator!

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Hey, book lovers.

So, in university, studying Creative Writing, we sometimes have the opportunity to meet people from the writing industry. Today, we met local author Mike French and the illustrator of his graphic novel, Karl Brown. Both had a really good working dynamic between them, and it was quite funny to watch, but they both seemed like really nice people, who were happy to come in and speak to us final years about the industry. I found it really useful, considering I’m kind of in the position Mike was once in, with trying to send out my novels.

The book is his fourth published, and is about a novel-writing android. Karl has designed many of his drawings of his own accord, with Mike giving him free reign in many ways. I’d never actually met a published author face-to-face before, so it was interesting. I really enjoyed the session, and their Q&A really made me realise that this is what I want to do.

You can find the book and read the full description here: An Android Awakes Amazon

I love sessions like these. It makes me feel like maybe one day it can happen, for me, too. I just have to be determined enough!

For now, happy reading 😀

April

xxx

Book Number Two Finished!

Hey, book lovers.

So, today was pretty awesome, to say the least. Have you ever had that awesome feeling when you’ve been writing a novel for a long time, and you’ve not planned too much but then suddenly, you know how it’s going to end, and you finish it? Well, that’s what happened to me today, and I am so damn happy about it.

I started writing this one for an assessment piece in the first year of uni, (I’m studying Creative Writing at Bedfordshire), and for some units, we’re able to write the beginning of a novel, so that’s what I did. I somehow managed to get myself an A- on it, the highest grade I’ve had in my degree, ever, so that was a nice achievement in itself. But, of course, it’s not about the grades, it’s about the story and the writing style. I was just very happy, at the time, to actually do that well in an assessment. So, yeah, anyway, as you might have guessed, this book is one I’ve only recently finished the first draft on, today. I am rather happy with how it went, although I know there are a lot of changes to be made, and some more chapters to be put into in the middle. But I have enjoyed writing my characters, and I want to continue the story, and have started writing the sequel, from another character’s perspective within the same world.

The basic concept is this: Anna is sixteen years old when she discovers a strange letter on her doorstep, which claims to be from her birth mother, although she didn’t know she was adopted. She later comes to find that the letter was passed onto her by her biological father, a gang leader, with his own dark intentions for bringing her back to them. 

She encounters many dangers, and her world changes completely. I have enjoyed writing this one, and can’t wait to get on with its sequel, because, you know, I’ve started to want to write in a series lately. Not sure why, but it works.

So, now I’m working on one finished novel, one first draft of a finished novel, the sequels to each of those, a fantasy novel for my Writing Fantasy Fiction assessment piece, and soon, my Special Project, which will also be a fantasy novel. God, I love writing!

Excuse my rant. Have you been writing? Let me know.

For now, happy reading 😀

April

xxx

Book Review: A Thousand Nights by E. K Johnston

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Hey, book lovers.

So, I just finished reading this imaginative novel by E. K Johnston (an author I had never heard of before, as is usual, to be honest- I love finding new authors), called A Thousand Nights. The main concept of this book is that the king, Lo-Melkhiin, is on the hunt for a new wife. He has had an awful habit, previously, of taking wives from many cities and villages across their world, and killing them with his light-magic, and our protagonist, completely unnamed throughout the whole novel, takes the place of her gracious and beautiful sister, and becomes the king’s new wife.

The issue, here, is that there is a demon within the king, controlling his violent and brutal actions. When the desert girl leaves her sister and their mothers, their father and their brothers for the palace, she realises that there might still be a good king within the man. She becomes attached to the king’s mother, who truly believes this better side of him still exists, and as she grows within this palace, counting each day as one where she has not yet died, like the many others before her. She weaves each morning, as she used to, and the servant girls of the palace and the religious men there develop a fondness for her. She has magic of her own, which she intertwines with the king’s whenever he comes to see her, and magic which can help her to build and create anything she wishes. Lo-Melkhiin is the only character named throughout the entire book. I thought this was very clever to do, and I can imagine it would have been rather difficult, but E.K Johnston has done this well.

I loved the setting. You can feel the desert sand and hold the images of what she experiences in your mind as you read, and I could see it clearly as day. The dialogue had a fairytale style to it, and I’ve recently acquired the book of Grimm’s Fairytales, and this reminded me very much of the stories in this collection.

I really enjoyed reading into her character, her relationships with her family, her close bond with her sister. I thought she was strong throughout the book, even with her sickness from her dwindling magic, and I loved the idea of the rebellion towards the end, when her family decided to rebel against the king, her husband, and she came to defy them and save the king from himself.

The only thing I might say less positively about this book, is that I thought it felt quite, short. Three-hundred pages, and I don’t think she spent much time with the king himself, though those moments were special, and come to love him in the way I expected her to before I began reading. She spent a lot of her time in the palace, away from her family, with the other servants or in the garden. I think the plot could have been developed a little more, but other than that I really enjoyed the book and I would definitely recommend it.

For now, happy reading!

April 😀

xxx

A Little Bit Of Free-Writing

Hey, book lovers.

So, today, at uni, we had a session where a friend of mine was giving us a slight ‘teaching session’, as she wants to go into primary teaching after university. She gave us various tasks, and a min 5 minute writing session, where we could write anything, but the only rule was that we weren’t allowed to cross out any mistakes we might have made;,It worked pretty well, and she did a good job of it! We all wrote something completely random. This was all I could think of at the time.

The morning was bright, a crimson sky with a rising sun. I gazed out, transfixed, upon the growing day, and waited for the others to arrive, but no one came and I was alone. I walked across a field that stretched out far ahead, as if for miles, hearing no sound but the wind through the trees and a bird calling out in a distant tree.

Yeah, it’s not much. I’m not the fastest writer in the world, especially in on-the-spot tasks like this, but it was pretty fun, and I think it worked. I love description, as you can probably see.

For now, happy reading.

April 😀

xxx

What Makes A Believable Character?

Hey, book lovers.

Since writing my post about world-building a few days ago, I’ve been thinking a lot about writing-based topics. I have recently had a lecture on creating characters, but it was something I had considered writing a post on for a little while before that. So, I think I will give my opinions on the topic. Perhaps I will continue these posts as a short series, whenever I can think of something worst posting about. I do have a few ideas.

You are welcome to disagree with me, and share your thoughts in the comment section below if you like, but this is just my opinion, and some of what I have been told in classes, through various youtube videos and from my own reading experiences.

Personally, I love writing well rounded characters, but I think they can be quite tricky to create, unless you already know them and their back-story well. It can depend on the character, sometimes, and the story, but a character won’t be realistic or believable to a reader if they do not have flaws, their own voice or opinions, and then they will be considered as flat or ‘2D’. Coming from a contemporary YA perspective, I can think of one specific example: Hannah from ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ by Jay Asher. Clay, our narrator, is listening to a tape from which he is forced to discover the reasons behind Hannah’s suicide. Through his narrations, we hear of Hannah’s struggles that lead to her death. She’s real and relatable because of these struggles, and Clay is a realistic character because of how he comes to deal with the issue.

In a fantasy view, Aelin/Celeana from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas is real because she is physically and mentally strong; she has come from being a slave to an assassin, and wins many hearts along the way. She is loved, and often hated, by many, because of her bold actions. She fights, and she always keeps going, no matter what she is going through. But emotion does take hold of her, often, and she breaks down many times throughout the course of the books. I know I speak of these books a lot, but I couldn’t really recommend them enough. Her emotions make her raw and real, and I think this is something that is important when creating characters.

Every character must represent a new, real person, or the reader will not be able to relate to them. This may make them want to put the book down. Everyone has emotions, feelings, or a past of their own, which will alter their decisions and their actions. It is always important to take these into account when writing new characters. It’s something I really enjoy, and something I will always try to consider in my novels and in my short stories.

What do you think makes a good character? Let me know!

For now, happy reading.

April 😀

xxx

Into The World Of World-Building I Go!

Hey, book lovers.

I absolutely love writing fantasy pieces, lately. Throughout my first year of university, I was writing a lot of dystopian world stuff, because it was the sort of stuff I liked reading, (The Hunger Games, Divergent, Under The Never Sky, Matched, Atlantia, etc), and I’ve always enjoyed it, but mostly for the idea of writing strong, battle-minded characters, and secondary world settings and situations. In the second, I moved on to more of the realism area of the genre.

This, I am referring to, is of course, young adult fantasy. I don’t know why, but a lot of my characters tend to be teenagers dealing with things like growing up and the struggles related to that, as in my recently finished novel and its sequel, and the other one I am writing alongside those. It is only this year that I have started to lean more towards fantasy. I mean, we specifically have a Writing Fantasy Fiction unit this year, and I’ve been reading a lot of it over the summer anyway. Some of these have been:

Atlantia by Ally Condie

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Elite by Kiera Cass

The One by Kiera Cass

The Heir by Kiera Cass

There are also a few I have bought but not had the chance to read yet. I am currently reading:

A Thousand Nights by E. K Johnston

Some others I have bought but not yet read, were:

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

The Queen Of The Tearling by Erika Johansen

All of these books have really intriguing concepts, and most of them have worlds that I’m extremely jealous that the writer’s were able to create, but everyone has their strengths, and I’m getting better at going into this genre, as I progress with the unit, with my reading and with my writing in it. A lot of these books also have female protagonists, which is probably what drew me in a lot. Celeana from the Throne of Glass series is epic, for example. You can find the reviews of these books on this blog. She’s a kickass assassin who is also Fae, which is pretty damn awesome. I could probably describe all of these in detail but that would take me a long, long time, so I’ll pick out a few.

A Thousand Nights is set in a desert world where demon-like creatures control the king, where the people mostly live in small ‘tribes’, or villages, really, and religion is a big issue for them all. There will be a detailed review of this book up here when I have finished reading it, but for now I just want to say this is one of the most unique worlds I’ve seen in a while. There is definitely a Beauty and The Beast vibe to this book, as the king comes to the village and takes our protagonist, unnamed, throughout the book, who steps forward to protect her ‘more beautiful’ sister from marrying him, knowing that the king has a habit of taking these girls and killing them if they are not right for him. I just loved the setting, the beliefs of the characters and their ‘smallgods’, which they regularly pray to. I loved the sandy nature, their clothing, and I can imagine this all so clearly. And I’m not even finished reading it, yet.

The Selection series is set in a world where people are placed into numbers, from Eight to One, one being the highest, eight being the lowest, in regards to their social status. The royals set a national competition, where they elect a new princess, and one the prince and his family have chosen, narrowing it down from thirty to one. Our protagonist, America Singer, comes from Five, and the story develops from her perspective as at first she does not want to be there, but then later begins to fall in love with the prince, who has always wanted her, himself. I could really see the world of this one.

And then, there was The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, which also revolves around a status theme. There are two groups of people, those with red blood, and those with silver. Those with silver blood are seen as higher, and a larger priority than those with red blood. They also elect a new queen, but do not come to realise that our red-blooded protagonist has fallen into the running and when she is chosen, the royalty are forced to hide the truth from the world. There is war, here, and it’s effectively played.

I love unique worlds. I once wrote a short story piece, which was based in a dystopian female-lead society, run by a brutal female President. This was rather difficult to do, but I did a similar thing for a portfolio in my second year, which was both poetry and very short stories of 1,000 words each. I enjoyed all of these stories, and they were very much inspired by The Hunger Games and Divergent.

I now have plans for two fantasy novels, one I am writing for my fantasy unit and another that will be my university 12,000 word Special Project. I hope to be as imaginative as I can with these stories, and use my inspiration from my reading to help. Have you read any of these books? Would you recommend any others?

There will be more specific, detailed descriptions of each of these novels at a later date. For now, they are simple ideas forming in my mind. Do you write fantasy? Do you enjoy it? Let me know!

For now, happy reading!

April

😀 xxx

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