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Lots Of Book Stuff To Come!

Hey, book lovers.

So, it’s been a while. But I thought I’d do a little something here, since I haven’t written on this page or filmed any videos on my Booktube account for such a long time (I’ve been busy– and probably a little bit lazy, sorry!) but, yes, I have so much to talk about. All things book-related, as always.

Mostly, anyway. As a kind of small update first, I’ll say I got another job. I think the last time I wrote on here I was still at The Works in MK, but I now work in a children’s play-centre called 360 Play, where I run the rides! It’s a lot of fun, although like anything there are stressful days. But I love seeing the kids’ little happy faces, and I have some good friends here. Moving from retail to leisure is such a big jump, but it’s a fun place to work. I’ve been here about seven months now, which is mad. It’s gone by so quickly.

I started a new novel, called The Unfortunate Ending Of Heidi Gerrard, which I then completed and began submitting, but have received lots of rejections for it so far. So with the help of a critique partner I found through Twitter– her name is Louise Bennett, she’s lovely, and lives in Australia– I’ve now been working on completely rewriting the novel. And it’s been flowing so well!

A little info, if you like– it’s about a girl called Heidi who dies when she’s sixteen, and is forced into Purgatory House, where she has to uncover some dark memories of why she was there. It all relates to a group of bullies from back home, and how her unknowingly speaking out against the God of Creation, had her killed. And then she becomes the subject of a prophecy, where she has to fight an ancient death god, which was the strange creature she’d originally spoken of. The Yuri has killed many of the famous gods we know of, and now threatens to take over Heidi’s mind and soul if she chooses to go against it. She’s gone from Purgatory to the Underworld and back, only to find herself locked under its frightening intentions. She loves the story, which has given me much confidence in its plot, and has given me lots of edits to do in giving Heidi more of a voice, and providing more of her emotion, among other things. So much to do, but I’m slowly getting there!

Each night after work, apart from a few days recently as Louise is ill, I’ve been reading her MS, then working on rewriting my own, then I’ll read some of whatever book I have my hands on at the moment. I always read so slowly, or go for times where I don’t pick up books because all I want to do is write or edit, but this little routine has made sure that I get some work done first, and then I can read for pleasure.

I’ve also set a Goodreads challenge of reading thirty books this year, and I’ve completed three so far! I’m not a fast reader, as I said, but I’m trying to get better. Those books were A Court of Wings and Ruin from the A Court Of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas, Deception by Teri Terry, the sequel to Contagion– I’ve read all of her other series’, and Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld. I’m currently reading Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. I’ll have some mini reviews of all of those soon!

I love reading, and I love the feeling of not being in a reading slump! I also love writing and editing.

I also started a new project, which I’m about 30,000 words into at the moment, called My Beloved Fairytale, where a girl called Meredith finds herself thrown into her own MS, after her twin brother is murdered and his murderer disappears before her eyes with a cursed book in his hands. So she tries to uncover what happened to Liam, and find out more information about this book and those who had read it, before finding herself taken into her own unfinished MS– the story of a complete fantasy world, where literature itself is a curse. I’m about to do more of this, because I go for long periods without writing it, when I spend so much time reading and editing my other project.

Bye for now! More still to come. I’ll try to update more regularly.

April

xx

BOOK REVIEW: FANGIRL BY RAINBOW ROWELL

Hey, book lovers.

Gosh, how long has it been? So, it’s book review time! I haven’t done one of these on here (or on Booktube, really) in so, so long!

This book, I really connected with. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is about a girl called Cath, who is a twin, and a writer of fanfiction, of a romance story which is fixed on the relationship between two guys, Baz and Simon, a vampire and a magic-controlling student. Mouthful! Okay, so Cath, I related to her pretty well because of the fact that she’s a writer who spends a lot of time alone in her room eating snacks and writing her stories on a fan-fiction website, which apparently has hundreds of viewers. (Well, I have the first part down, anyway.) Her attitudes towards relationships and friendships tend to be quite tainted because of the fact that her mother left her and her twin sister Wren (their mother couldn’t be bothered to think of another name, as she says at one point- they are literally both called Catherine), when they were very young, to live with their father, a marketing entrepreneur, who’s mental health goes on a downward spiral after this big event. As does Cath’s and Wren’s trust in people, naturally.

This story has Cath and Wren going through college, meeting roommates and completing assignments and finding new friendships, and eventually, relationships. This is a new thing for Cath, especially, who, unlike her twin sister, is less comfortable with going to parties or generally meeting other humans and making regular eye contact in public. (Which I’m pretty sure can also be a general issue for writers and other creative people, who would rather get lost in their own minds and crafts than in big crowds. I can definitely relate to that.)

I loved Cath’s witty nature and dialogue, the bond she shares with her father, and once, her twin sister. Although this fades and then improves again as the book progresses. I loved the character of Levi, who is actually Cath’s roommate’s ex-boyfriend, who takes a great interest in her fan-fiction, constantly asking her to read it aloud to him since he finds it difficult to read words from a page, hearing and remembering the words better as she speaks them. When she does, he remembers quotes well, and engages in her work like her online viewers. He is the type to make other people feel comfortable, friendly and bubbly and constantly smiling, and this is something that at first puts Cath on edge, but then it becomes what she grows to love and admire about him. This change in their friendship to their growing relationship was written intelligently.

There didn’t need to be too many characters. I found that there was enough conflict, with Cath’s trouble with her father and sister being hospitalised at separate parts of the novel, and with the ups and downs in her relationship with her twin sister, who at the beginning had wanted to grow apart, to do things her own way. Levi was always there, standing outside her room, ready to study with her roommate Reagan, who was an eccentric character but also one who encouraged Cath to leave her room, because she didn’t do it enough. She was asked to write something of her own by a tutor on her course as an English major, but handed in a piece of her fan-fiction instead, but her tutor offered her another chance because of her talent as a writer. She barely writes this through the whole novel, always concentrating on Carry On, so you almost don ‘t think she will create a world of her own, but of course in the end, she gets there.

And you see how her mood, or where she is in her personal life, can often affect the writing she does in her fan-fiction and in her eventual own story, which I found was cleverly done.

I would happily read this again. I couldn’t leave this alone, it was addictive. Please, if you are a writer and you especially love YA fiction, give this book a try. Especially if you have read and enjoyed Rainbow Rowell’s novel, Eleanor & Park, because I personally preferred this one.

Thanks for reading!

Happy reading 😀

April

xxx

My Writing Projects For The Second Academic Year Of My Degree!

Hey, book lovers.

So I’m trying to get back into the swing of writing on here, and trying to consider some things I could write about, since I haven’t written a post in so, so long. Last year I posted about my units for my first year, and since I’m going to be heading into my third in just over a month, I thought I might as well talk about my second, too… (Elipsis used for emphasis, here, of course.)

So, here we go. This year was more difficult, I found. I think I found the units more enjoyable, though. It was just trying to juggle everything that I found the hardest. I’m hoping I’ll manage a little better this year!

Again, we had the four units, each with two assessments due. But they spread the deadlines out more, leaving smaller gaps between them, which I found confusing, at times.

Creative Writing: Research Into Writing

This was one of our core units. For this unit, we focused on our own writing and the way ideas developed from the beginning. For this, we weren’t allowed to have thought of any ideas first- it all had to be done from scratch, to show the ways they went from something very small to something larger, and more specific. For this unit, I chose to write a story on Bletchley Park, something I had always had an interest in, being from Bletchley myself, and it went well, becoming a romance.

I liked this unit a lot. First, there was a proposal essay, where we were asked to discuss everything we had thought about and researched with our pieces so far, and I managed to get a B+ on this, somehow. It was a good one to write, I put a lot of effort into researching the time, which made the story more effective to write. I even made a trip to Bletchley Park, which helped a lot with developing my characters, especially my protagonist, Eva, and James, the soldier she comes to love. The story itself was 7,000 words and eventually became the beginning of a novel, because there is too much to think about in such a large subject.

Writing Horror and Dark Fantasy Fiction

This was one of my optional units. This year, we were offered a chance to choose two out of three of these, Horror, Scriptwriting and Innovative Writing. I loved this unit, and most people on my course took it. There were two pieces. For the first, and don’t judge me too much here, I was just experimenting with the genre, I wrote a piece that mixed sex and death. I won’t go into the gory details too much, but I kind of liked it, and I was told it was one of my best pieces that my lecturer had seen, which was saying something. Imagine a doctor with dark intentions, and a young woman who has become so taken over by grief that she wants to become her dead twin sister. Vile, of course, but strangely intriguing to write. My second piece was a ghost story, about a woman who lost her life in the Victorian times, to murder, and wanted to avenge the man’s family by possessing his distant descendant, Camryn, a photography student who stumbles across an old, abandoned theatre. Again, this was a lot of fun to write. Sometimes, you just have to test your limits and write the story, I suppose. I don’t think horror is my strong point at all, but it was good to experiment with the genre.

Scriptwriting

This was my second choice out of those optional ones for the year. I liked this one a lot. Our first assessment was to write a ten minute short film of our choice, the second a twenty minute short film. For the first, I wrote about a young girl who receives a futuristic doll for her birthday, a talking, moving doll which she talks to and tells everything, and a doll who comes to take over her life by the end of the story. This was difficult to write, but I enjoyed it a lot. My second film was a romantic comedy short film about a girl and a guy who don’t realise they see each other romantically until they are stuck in a lift together.

Poetics: Theory Into Practice

This was our other core unit, where we were asked to discuss and show the ways in which we see our writing. For the first piece, due at the end of the second term, I wrote a portfolio set in a dystopian world, called Verenia, a mixture of short stories and poems narrated by different characters living in that world. The second was an essay explaining how we feel about our writing, which I wrote about the origins of how I had come to write, and how much my influences helped me improve and develop my skill.

University is an amazing experience, and why not spend it doing a course you love? I couldn’t have chosen a better degree for myself, and I honestly mean that. Now, to keep writing.

As always, happy reading!

April xxx

Book Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry

the giver cover

Hey, book lovers.

So it’s been a long time since I’ve posted for you on here, and I apologise. I’m now back in Luton, living in a completely new student flat ready for going back to Uni in the beginning of October, and have been very busy with work.  I work in a bookshop (ironically enough), and have been trying to get used to living on my own again and focusing on work and getting ready for university and everything. I will be a second year very soon, it’s quite exciting!

Anyway, moving on. This post is going to be a review of a little book I’ve been reading called The Giver by Lois Lowry, about the perfect world of a young man called Jonas,  where there is no pain or hurt and everything about life is planned out so that nobody in the community is unhappy. It sounds odd, or much like your sterotypical dystopian fiction story, but it is very different in its own way. There is much beauty in the way it is written, and in the way Jonas himself is presented. The book is written in a third person narrative, but you very much experience the story from his perspective, which is exactly what is needed for a story of this kind. He as a character is polite and kind- he has only ever known the characteristics and traits expected of people in his world- if you make a mistake or inconvenience another in any way, you are expected to apologise, and then in return the other must say they accept your apology. If you are ill, you must seek out pills that will take away your pain. As you grow older, your future job is chosen for you, as are your future spouse, if you request one, and your children, one boy and one girl. It is a world that Jonas is very much grateful to live in, but when he is selected to be the new Receiver, he discovers dark secrets that hide under the surface. If you do not fit the requirements of this peaceful society, you are released. But with his new responsibility, Jonas comes to find that this is not as positive a thing as he had once thought. When you are released, you die.

Jonas wants to change the way his society lives, and so with the help of the previous receiver, who he comes to know as The Giver, he goes on the run.

the giver

It is a beautiful but haunting little book, that will leave your mind reeling for days after reading it. I sincerely recommend it, though I will have to say that it is not for the faint-hearted.

Thanks for reading!

Happy reading!

April

😀

Book Review: Fracture by C.J Daugherty

Fracture

Hey, book lovers.

You might have read my recent reviews of a couple of books called Night School by C.J Daugherty and the book that follows it, Legacy. If not, you can find these on my blog. I suggest that if you haven’t read those yet you find them first and read that review so you have a better understanding of the series.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently and not a lot of reviewing lately, and I apologise. But I have a few more to come so I thought I would try to work them through chronologically as quickly as I can, from the last book of this series that I have read so far to a series by Sophie McKenzie.

This is a wonderful book, in a brilliant series. There is so much tension in both of the previous books and this continues well in this one. Allie is living at Cimmeria Academy, where she has discovered that Night School is a program that not only powers the whole of her school, but a severe amount of government officials. And when she becomes a part of this, Allie is struggling to break through all of the lies and deceipt that the teachers and traitorous students alike are trying to keep under the surface. Her mental breakdowns increase and she begins to push away when her best friend is killed and Allie does not know who is working for the enemy, the very man that has taken her brother Christopher away from her. The school is crumbling and Allie is in the middle of it all, her powerful Grandmother Lucinda trying her very best to keep the school safe.

If you’ve enjoyed one or both of the previous books, you will love this one. Or even if you like thrillers with complex plots and compelling characters, this is pretty much the book for you. I suggest giving it a chance and let me know what you think!

Happy reading!

April

😀

It Seems I Have A Lot To Get Through…

Hey, book lovers.

So, on the topic of the wonderful collection that is my bedroom bookshelf, it seems that I have quite a lot more books to get through and review on this blog than I had originally thought.  When you love the literary world as much as I do, it feels amazing to be able to say that you have TOO MANY to think of reading. If you’ve read one of my previous posts where I list all of the books I have left to review, you might be happy to read my update to this list. So, here goes.

1. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell- I’m currently reading this one, I’m about half way through so there will be a review up very soon.

2. Shift by Hugh Howey (I am meeting him tomorrow as he is coming in to talk to us about writing)

3. Night School by C.J Daughterty

And more!

I also have plenty more short stories and poems to share with you on this blog, so watch this space!

Happy reading!

April

😀

Book Review: City Of Bones by Cassandra Clare

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Hey, book lovers.

I’ve recently finished reading this wonderful novel by Cassandra Clare called City Of Bones, and to be honest it really hooked me  in from the beginning. (Not many books seem to do that at the moment, mostly Divergent, The Hunger Games trilogy and books by Sophie McKenzie and Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman.) But this was another one to add to that very list!

I finished it just yesterday, actually. Each of the other books I’ve been reviewing have mostly been books that I have on my shelf but haven’t read for a little while. But I thought I would change it up a little bit for now.

The story focuses on Clarissa (Clary) Fray, a strong, witty character with a bigger past than she had originally known. When, one day she is out with her friend at Pandemonium, she comes across a mysterious group enchanting a demon to his death. She soon comes to realise that she is facing a group of Shadowhunters, a strange group with a completely different lifestyle, a whole lot of scars and a demon-killing mindset. But when she goes home to find her mother missing and a green, human-eating demon in her home, she realises that there might actually be more to her mother than she had originally known. Jace, a gorgeous young Shadowhunter soon comes to her rescue, though she kills the demon herself, and he takes her to their home, a place with the outside appearance of a church and the interior of somewhere inhabited by demon killers. She finds herself falling for him and he shows her a world full of demons, shadowhunters, faeries, vampires, werewolves and the forsaken, a group of giant people. It all seems very strange at first but when you get into it, you’ll love it! I certainly did.

Go out and buy it!

Happy reading!

April

😀

Book Review: One Day by David Nicholls

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Hello, book lovers.

This post is a review of a wonderfully written story of romance by David Nicholls about two people and the lives they share over a time period of twenty years, One Day. When, on the night of their graduation, Emma and Dexter meet, they stay in touch and a friendship and a romance blossoms.

The story is mostly told through dialogue, and this works perfectly in telling the story. Lots of events can happen over twenty years, and in their ever-changing lives, Emma and Dexter try to stay together, eventually marrying, but a tragic plot twist ending tells you what this novel is really trying to say; you can spend a long time with someone, but just as you come together, everything you’ve ever known can change in an instant.

Deeply recommend this novel. It’s a bit of a classic, and is also a movie. I have not seen the movie, but I love the book and that’s pretty much good for me! I’m a book fanatic, after all. Boyfriend is the movie fanatic, but that’s a different thing altogether.

So yeah, you should go out and read this one! It’s wonderfully written, it’s witty and humourous, and the characters are engaging and keep you pulled in. I actually read this while I was on holiday not long before moving to University, and would read it in my room in the caravan, at the beach, or out and about when we were in the car going on day trips, so it’s a good one to keep hold of no matter what you’re up to!

The message behind it is strong and relatable.

So, with that, happy reading!

April

😀

Book Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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Hey there, book lovers.

I went out and bought three new books today. I went out with my family for the day, they came up to see me and then we went to London for the day for my little sister’s birthday, went to Ripley’s- Believe It Or Not! museum, had a look round, walked through a mirror maze and dodged some lazers in the lazer race. Then we wandered around London, my sister and I saw a Waterstones and took our chances. I found the books by my favourite author, Sophie McKenzie in there, and as my Mum had made me aware that I still had some leftover christmas money, I bought the sequels to Falling Fast: Burning Bright, Casting Shadows and Defy The Stars. So yeah, three more books to add to the review list. (Just as soon as I’ve read them, of course. That would probably help.)

Anyway, apologies for the rambling. I have a habit of doing that.

This post is a review of a wonderful book by Markus Zusak called The Book Thief. This tragic novel is set in late 1930’s Germany and is narrated by Death, the carrier and collector of souls.

The novel focuses on the lives of the people living in Nazi Germany during this time, and more specifically the life of a little girl called Liesel Meminger who has been sent away to live with foster parents when her mother and father are sent to a concentration camp and her little brother does not quite make the journey.

The description in the book is genuinely beautiful. Liesel herself is described well as she undergoes her journey living on Himmel Street, as are the others that she meets and interacts with there. I don’t think I can talk about this one enough, so I’ll just keep it very simple and say that you really need to go out and buy this book. It is sad, moving and may bring you to tears, but if you like that kind of thing, it is the perfect book for you.

This is also a movie. I haven’t seen it myself yet, but I adored the book so I know I will be going to see it soon. Here is the trailer. Enjoy.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dRuGwS1gWU

Happy reading!

April

😀

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