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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

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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

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

😀

10 Awesome Moments In Disney’s Tangled!

Hey, book lovers.

So, as people seemed to like my recent post about Frozen, I thought I would write a similar post but only about my other favourite Disney movie, Tangled! And I may post more in the future, so let me know what you guys would like to see. Anyway, if you haven’t seen Tangled, the story focuses on Rapunzel, an 18 year old girl who has an awful lot of blond hair and no freedom. In short, a wicked witch tried to steal a magic flower around the time of Rapunzel’s birth to make herself look younger, but when the queen came very sick, she used this flower to heal her. And so when Rapunzel was born, she had long magical blonde hair that would grow and grow, and becomes magical when she sings. So the witch steals this new flower princess and conceals her in her tower throughout her whole life.

Anyway, here goes.

1. Damn, that saucepan!

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So when the mysterious thief Flynn Rider appears in her tower, Rapunzel is a little suspicious (understandably). The saucepan becomes her best weapon against his smolder!

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2. But Flynn is pretty resistant!

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How would you react if a hunky thief appeared in your tower and tried to flirt with you? Is anyone else here feeling the slight sexual tension? (Sorry, I do forget this is a Disney movie.)

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He’s a little freaked out when her hair starts glowing. Okay, more than a little.

But the princess is all too happy to show him who’s boss, just like most of our familiar Disney heroins! I especially liked the bit where she steals the crown from him and hides it in the pot and he knows exactly where it is, so she has to knock him out with the saucepan again and then hide it.

3. Sit, horsey!

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So the princess becomes allies with one of the runaway palace horses and she persuades him to leave Flynn be as it is her birthday. Maximus and Flynn are not the best of friends, however. Their differences are one of the things that make this such a hilarious movie, though.

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Here they are, acting like small children while Rapunzel watches them from up ahead, making sure they both behave.

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And of course, the trusted Chameleon Pascal is always there to offer a hand.

4. Mama knows best!

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That’s a lot of hair! And in this song, Rapunzel’s mother is telling her through a song that she is not allowed to leave the tower.

5. Did I mention that’s a lot of hair? These moments just make the movie.

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Don’t worry, Rapunzel, if my hair was this long I would do the same. But when she and Flynn go to the Kingdom, some little girls plait it all up nicely for her. His face disinterest in this second picture is just hilarious. And the horse just knows exactly what is happening here.

6. You should see your faces because you look…ridiculous.

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Flynn is all too happy to to use Rapunzel’s hair as a kind of swing here after fighting the horse who had a sword in his mouth by using a saucepan. (God, that was a weird sentence.)

7. Rapunzel realises she is the missing princess.

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It’s a pretty big realization to make! She decides to leave her mother and go with Flynn, but things don’t go quite the way she planned…

8. They get so close!

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Flynn tells her his name is really Eugene Fitzherbert. She tells him she has hair that glows when she sings.

9. Uh oh!

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And then the whole tree goes with it. Their faces in this one though!

10. They even appear in Frozen!

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Hope you liked the post!

Happy reading, and film watching!

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

😀

First Drafts

Hey, book lovers.

So I finished the first draft of my novel earlier today. I mean there’s still a ton of edits to do and some of it has to be typed up, but apart from that I’m able to say I’ve completed another novel. And I’m so happy that I couldn’t even think about reading one of my favourite books earlier. I’m so excited about where this could go if I do enough edits and make it go well. Isn’t that just part of the fun of being a writer, though? I guess you could say I have a bit of a book hangover.

And it feels strangely amazing. But I’m kind of numb at the same time. Please do tell me if you have ever felt the same way. I felt exactly the same when I finished my last novel, but that one was far longer (about 130, 000 words to be more specific) and so I think mildly too long for a first novel. But you never know what could happen. So I’m now seeking representation for one and on the way to seeking representation for the other just as soon as the edits are finished.

So it’s a bit of a writerly feeling, if you know what I mean? I don’t know what to do with myself. But I know there will be a sequel on the way, I just think I need to give my head a chance to clear first. So I guess I’ll see how it all goes with the edits and then try and get it out there! Wish me luck! (And I give exactly the same to anyone in the same position!) Hope it all goes well. Would love to hear some publishing stories, as I don’t really know any published writers and I think it would be cool.

Hope to hear from you!

For now, happy reading! (And writing!)

April

😀

Book Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

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Hey, book lovers.

I’m afraid I’ve been delaying my review on this wonderful book for a while now. It’s the third book in the Divergent series by an author called Veronica Roth and the first book has already been made into a film. I’ve seen it, and it’s really, really worth watching. Believe me on this one. You might recognise these two whether or not you’ve actually seen it.

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Anyway, the three books are set in a world where there is little to no hope, which is why it has been primarily labelled as a novel from the dystopian fiction genre- something I, myself have really gotten into writing since doing my degree, but that’s another story altogether. You can find the reviews to the first two books in this series, Divergent and its sequel Insurgent, on my blog. I really loved these books and was really drawn in to each one of them. I read Divergent probably a lot faster than any other book I’ve read, and I’m kinda a slow reader (hence why it often takes me a long time to get a new book review on here, sorry, but I do try.)

It’s a wonderful series. The first book sees Tris living in a world where your personal traits and attributes see you into specific parts of your world, which are known as Factions. Candor means honesty, Abnegation (which is where Tris comes from) means selflessness, Dauntless means bravery, Amity is for peace, and Erudite for knowledge.

But in the first book she was transferred to Dauntless when she chose bravery at her choosing ceremony, and her decision has affected her relationship with her family but has also made her far more brave, intelligent and better at making quick decisions. She is more agile, better at fights and defending herself physically, but some of the events that ran on into the next book have shown that any kind of physical trauma can affect the mind just much as the body. Consequences of her actions leave her hateful and bitter, and in Insurgent she finds it far harder to fight, but the war is growing. Tris must learn to work with those she has come to trust to fight in this battle of both a physical and a mental skill, but it won’t be easy.
Allegiant shows Tris that not everything in the world is as you might have seen it, and that the government have been conspiring and have made these factions as a kind of social experiment. But this one is narrated not only by Tris but by her previous instructor at Dauntless, the one she has come to love and adore, Four, or as he is also known, Tobias. Four has to face his four fears, which is where the name originated from, and his love for Tris and the bitter hatred at the world who created him and the Divergents that the government have made to show that people will have not only one trait but possibly two or three. Tris is fighting her own battles, and though their relationship becomes strained in the war raging around them, their love for each other is clear in the ending, which I will not spoil for you. But it is a tense one, very, very sad. And I do not want to ruin it for you so I will leave it there and simply say that this book is so very worth the price and the time it takes to read, as it is a big book.

Happy reading!

April

😀

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

Hey, book lovers.

So as you will know if you’ve read my recent book review of Dance of Ashes by Yelena Black, I’ve been very busy working on assessments due for the first year of my degree in Creative Writing at the University of Bedfordshire. Like many others on this website that I’ve come across, reading and writing are everything to me, and I want to of course keep writing and to develop my craft in the subject in order to write the best possible books I can! Because isn’t that what every writer wants? And this is coming from someone who’s friends now are mostly writers. Before University I didn’t know personally anyone who had written a novel. Well, now I do!

So, this post is a little different to my usual book reviews. I want to get back into posting regular content and I still have a lot of books left to talk about, so I won’t be going anywhere soon. Moving swiftly on, I thought I’d talk about the first four assessments I wrote for my first year. I may do another post about my most recent stories soon, but just as soon as our work has all been handed back and we’ve received our feedback and grades.

There were four units, all with their different topics and requirements. There were two assessments due for each of these modules; one due for each module in January and the second batch being due in May.

Writers Reading

This unit is very much like the title. We write a story that in some way links to our reading during our time on the course. I read an awful lot of Young Adult novels, so my piece for this unit was based on The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, a short story fanfiction/adaptation piece called A Touch Of Death. I was happy to receive a B+ for this piece, a happy 13 out of 16 marks. This piece was a lot of fun to write, because it was like fan fiction in that you play around with the story.

Writing Practices

The requirements here were simply to write a short-story piece. It could be about anything, it just depended on the form. For this piece I wrote a dystopian fiction piece. I got a C for this one.

Composition 1

The requirements for this unit were that you could write pretty much any form of writing; poetry, a short story, a script, etc. My short story for this one was about finding love after experiencing grief. I got another C for this one.

Creative Writing Theory and Practice

For this one, you could write in any form as long as you involved in your contextual study (a kind of essay that goes with each creative piece, discussing and explaining your aims and objectives and what went well and what didn’t) some kind of theory that could be linked to your story. Mine was an extract of a novel that I am going to be writing about a girl called Anna who receives a letter on the doorstep from her mother from birth and realises that she is actually adopted. She is angry, and in the chapter decides to run away and find her loving mother from the address given to her in the letter. I was able to link this to the theories of Freud and Jung and spoke a lot about the genre. I had thought this was my weakest piece when I submitted them but I actually received some amazing feedback and an equally amazing A-, both of which made me very happy indeed.

I will talk about the recent four stories in another post, but they are still going through the marking process and so I think it would be better to keep them as four little secrets for now. I was pretty happy with these stories overall and received some wonderful feedback from my lecturers. So I’m so proud of myself for completing all of these and am now just awaiting the feedback and results for the last lot!

And for now, happy reading! I’m off to read the sequel to Night School by C.J Daugherty now, Legacy. It’s good so far. There will be a review up soon, plus my friend’s even leant me the sequel that comes after it so I’m pretty excited for that one too, as I’ve been really drawn into this series.

April

😀

Book Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

catching fire

Hey there, book lovers.

This particular book review is about the wonderful sequel by Suzanne Collins to The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, the second book in a series of three about a world ruled by the malicious President Snow, who has forced his twelve districts into a shocking battle-to-the death. The first novel in the series sees sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen volunteer in the place of her twelve year old sister Primrose, alongside the boy who saved her when she and her family when they were starving, Peeta Mellark. I read this book quite a long while ago, but I’ve read it a few times and I found that Katniss’s strength and her hatred for being held contained in this horrific society was what made the book so worthwhile to read, along with the friendships and romances she encounters. I would seriously recommend it to anyone who loves the dystopian fiction novels as much as I do.

Gale was always there for Katniss from the very beginning. And he still is there for her in the second book, but I think he was quite understated in this one as it seemed to focus much more on the blossoming romance between Katniss and Peeta that had developed in The Hunger Games. But they do kiss, before she goes off to the arena for the Quarter Quell that marks the 75th year of the annual Hunger Games. Before all of this happens, however, Katniss and Peeta are expected to keep up a love and romance that is purely for the eyes of the public and to stop people from realising that there is more going on underneath the surface, and to prevent an uprising. President Snow appears to Katniss and tells her that she is to keep this up and make them all, and himself, to believe it, or else the consequences would be horrifying for both herself and for everyone she loves.  With this comes a wedding, and a baby- and some start to believe that their Mockingjay- a public heroine, is expecting Peeta’s child. But President Snow knows better than to believe it, and he is angry.

To show her he means business, President Snow orders a Quarter Quell, and orders that for the very first time, various winners from the previous Hunger Games events from all of the different districts will have to fight to the death. Haymitch is quick to act out, and a plan is formed that they will do their best to protect Peeta, knowing that they are the only winners from their district.

This book is a wonderful sequel and follows the story on well. I really enjoyed the first book, and got into this one just as quickly. I won’t spoil too much for you, but I hope you enjoy it.

Happy reading!

April

😀

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