The Ones Up Above

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The Ones Up Above

Wordcount: 1236

Prompt: using some lyrics from ‘Counting Stars’ by OneRepublic, write a story.
Sorry, I don’t know if I’m happy with this one or not…but here. :L

~

 

Their heads lay on the ground, their hands entwined, calloused fingers against smooth ones. Even her orange hair was dimmed by the darkness, but her eyes twinkled in the starlight.

“Did you know,” she said, “it takes about 8.3 minutes for the light of the nearest star to reach us?”

He turned his head and chuckled, used now to her random facts and sayings. “No,” he humoured her, “I didn’t.”

“Liar,” she muttered. “But,” she continued, just as he had opened his mouth to speak, “that’s the Sun. The next nearest star takes about 4.3 years to reach us. We’re basically just looking into the past right now.”

Cal lay in silence, his last thought forgotten, thinking about what Alice had just said. Over the past few weeks he’d been living with her, he felt like he’d known her his entire life. And, although she was being his mother figure after what had happened, she felt more like a friend. Remembering the first time her lips had touched his cheek in love, he felt a smile appear on his face. Cal was pretty sure he fancied guys, but something about Alice made his stomach flip.

He heard her yawn. “Tired?”

“No, I yawn for fun,” came her sarky reply as she wiped her eyes.

“I’m sorry,” Cal muttered hoarsely, knowing it was his fault. Nightmares woke him night after night; his screams echoing around the house. The only comfort came from Alice waking him and holding him as he sobbed in her arms.

She squeezed his hand. “For starters, I’ve been way more tired than this before now. Secondly, your nightmares stop my own.” He felt her turn her head to him, and twisted to stare into her emerald-coloured eyes.

“You have nightmares?” His voice croaked, giving away his tone of surprise. She had never seemed to have suffered from lack of sleep before.

She rolled her eyes and huffed. “Cally, of course I have nightmares. After you’ve seen what I’ve seen, well…” She shrugged; as best as she could do when she was lying down, anyway.

“What have you seen?” Alice stared at him for a few seconds, before turning back to the sky.

“When I was seven, my grandmother died. Alzheimer’s.” Her voice betrayed no emotion, but Cal thought that she was probably feeling some. Like her, his own grandmother had passed thanks to the disease, too.

Pointing to the sky, she traced a constellation – the Big Dipper. “I was upset. Naturally, I guess. Anyway, mum told me that the stars were the dead shining their light onto us – a shooting star was a blessing.” Her hand dropped; Cal heard it thump heavily on the grass. “I believed her, at the time.”

“What do you believe now?”

She sighed. “I don’t know, Cally.” Her thumb drew circles on his hand. They fell into a mutual silence, and Cal was scared to speak; it was if Alice was calculating her next words carefully.

“When I was 13,” she said, her voice thick like she was trying not to cry, “my friend Leah sacrificed herself for me. That same night, I saw a shooting star. Oscar told me it was Leah – I was too sick to say anything. To do anything, really.” She laughed darkly. Cal felt her wipe her cheek.

The silence settled again. Cal couldn’t imagine how it must feel, to have a friend do that for you. He realised how cold it was, and Alice pulled him towards her.

“Could you imagine what it would be like to kill someone? Pull a trigger and take their life?” Her voice made him jump, and the bluntness of it, as if killing was a normality, scared him.

When he replied, his voice was barely audible to his own ears, but she heard it: “No.”

“I can.” She slid her arm underneath his head, and he rested on her chest. His hand on her stomach felt it rising and falling; he could see his breath when he exhaled. “The first time I took a life, I was 9. It was an assassin, in Italy.”

She was beginning to scare him. Alice seemed to feel nothing on her conscience about killing a man. Whereas, if it were Cal, he thought he would still be feeling a heavy guilt, even six years later.

“It was the wrong thing to do. We could have just arrested them, sentenced them to life in jail. The death we gave them was too fast for what they had done – what they were going to do. They’d been hired to kill this guy’s wife and kid. Don’t worry,” she reassured him, although he didn’t want to be reassured. “We got that guy, too.

“But you know, Cal, it felt like it was the completely right thing to do. How can the wrong thing be so right? And then, now, we sit in an office and send out commands, to people fighting in other wars around the world, we practically sentence them to death!” Her voice rose an octave, and he prayed that she wouldn’t be crying, even though he understood how unfair it was.

Her hand found his hair, her fingers tangling in his curls. “People tell me that that’s the right thing to do. I’m the ‘soldier of the century’, but I have to keep myself alive, send other people to die for me. How can the supposed right thing feel so wrong?”

Speechless, Cal just lay on her chest. He wondered how she kept going, day in, day out, laughing, joking, comforting him at night – when she was living in her own personal hell.

“I want to fight, Cal.” Her voice sounded so longing, so broken that Cal wanted to cry. He knew that what she really meant was ‘I don’t want people to die for me – I want to die for me’. She coughed, and continued: “Oscar thinks I’m mad. Scott would rather go in for me. But here, I just train and train and train – I don’t get to go into the field, they’re so scared of me getting killed, and they don’t seem to understand that going out to fight is what I want to do. It makes me feel alive, you know – about to be getting killed.” She laughed. “Oh, the irony.”

After a few moments, he heard her sigh. “Imagine if none of this had happened. If I wasn’t who I was. We’d just be normal kids in school, not having to do any of this stuff.”

Their hands tangled, waving in the air. “’Normal kids’,” he scoffed. “Screw normal, I have you.”

Alice fell silent – only for a moment. “I can’t tell whether I should feel offended or not.”

Cal sat up, twisting so he leant over her with his elbow resting on one side of her head, his weight on her chest. He stroked her hair back from her forehead. Her eyes seemed sad, like they had a wasted hope behind them. “Of course you shouldn’t feel offended,” he whispered, “you’re perfect. I would have no one else to stand by me.”

Chuckling, she mussed up his hair. “You’re so adorable, Cally.”

He stared at her blankly, and said, dryly, “Thanks.”

“Pleasure,” she grinned, pulling him down for a cuddle.

~

As always, feedback is appreciated! Thanks for reading

 

The Liebster Blog Award

First of all – apologies for not posting, I had no internet, then a bit of a hard time trying out new contact lenses. Sorry!

Anyway, Paper, Pen and No Plan sort of nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award (sort of = she nominated all of her readers). And because I thought it would be a fun thing to do, I decided to do it! XD

 

So, 11 random facts about myself:

  1. According to old school reports, I have been writing for about a decade.
  2. I, hopefully, am just about to start wearing contact lenses. :D
  3. I love Teen Wolf, an American TV show. Peter Hale is my favourite character, and I am currently writing a long fic about it.
  4. When I’m older, I’d really like to travel the world.
  5. I want to write for a living, journalism, screenplay, short stories, hell, even books! I don’t mind, as long as I’m writing.
  6. I’d love to be an artist, and I’m trying really hard with my drawing. :3
  7. 7 and 13 are my lucky numbers. Especially 713!
  8. If there was a competition for procrastination, I would win. I’m doing this instead of writing!
  9. My new TV love is Death in Paradise.
  10. For me, nothing is better than a walk with my dog.
  11. Mum always goes against it, but I really don’t think I’m a very interesting person – as you can probably see from these random facts!

And here are the 11 questions, with answers (obviously): 

  1. What book has most inspired your writing?
    Hmm, I don’t know… As a kid, I really loved Mallory Towers, so I guess that got me reading. I remember really wanting to be like JK Rowling…so Harry Potter? A lot of books have inspired me, though, I get different aspects from different books – for example, Rick Riordan makes me want to put more humour into my work.
  2. How do you arrange the books on your bookshelf? 
    Brilliant question. My bottom shelf is big books, mainly reference and picture books (I may be 15, but I still love picture books ok?). One up from that has my Harry Potter books, Doctor Who books and two Merlin books. Up from that has fictional horse books, and reference books, like ‘The Boys’ Handbook’. Yes, I’m a girl. And then, the top three are fiction books, in no particular order yet, although I have series books grouped together, like Sherlock Holmes books etc.
  3. Do you have a writing playlist?
    Not yet, but I have various songs for different characters. I might get one in the future.
  4. Which holidays are your least favourite? 
    Ones where I am expected to do things I don’t want to do. Like revise, which is what I should be doing right now.
  5. Do you use outlines while writing?
    I don’t normally, but I am for my latest novel. For short stories, I tend to just write and hope. I normally have a basic idea of where I want the story to go, though.
  6. What would your ideal writing desk look like?
    Ooh, paper tucked in the corners, but a space big enough for my laptop. Gloves on the side. Maybe a few ornaments, pictures, a music player…
  7. If you could have a superpower, what would it be? Why?
    Being able to stay awake would be a good one, because there aren’t enough hours in the day. Or ability to move things with my mind, so I can say ‘Accio X’ and it would actually come to me. Or reading thoughts (telekinesis?), cause that would just be cool.
  8. Do you have a theme song?
    Um, I don’t think so… if I did, it would probably be the Benny and Hill theme tune or something.
  9. How do you come up with the titles for your work? 
    Badly.
    I don’t know really. Just think up something, it comes randomly.
  10. Have you picked out the actors who would play your characters in a movie version of your book?
    Haha, no, not yet, but I am planning on it! I have actors who I would want to be in the film, but whether or not they’d fit remains to be seen.
  11. Which is better, the book or the movie?
    I have a feeling that this is a trick question, but for me, it depends on what it is. ;)

Nominations! I don’t know if I follow 11 writing blogs, but here are the ones I could get (I have 10, can that count? I nominate readers, too!). And, can I also point out, most of these people have over 200 followers…sorry, but I tend to break the rules:

And here is the list of questions, should you choose to accept them…

  1. How long have you been writing?
  2. What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time (besides read and write!)?
  3. Favourite piece of life advice?
  4. What is your biggest fear? Have you ever tried to overcome it?
  5. How do you find inspiration?
  6. If you could pick any person to be banned from this planet, who would it be?
  7. What are your lucky numbers, and how much significance to they hold for you?
  8. If you could pick any spacey thing and name it, what would it be and what would you name it (eg: Comet – Hayley’s)?
  9. What’s your favourite word?
  10. How many nuns could a nunchuck chuck if a nunchuck could chuck nuns? Alternative: How many bears could Bear Grylls grill, if Bear Grylls could grill bears?
  11. If you stumbled upon some fanfiction of a piece of your work, would you read it?

Thanks for reading, guys! :)

U Wot M8

AKA: How to Create Realistic Dialogue

Listen to the nearest conversation to you. If you’re on your own, play a YouTube video of an actual conversation and listen to that instead.

Now, pick up the nearest book and flick to a bit that includes dialogue. Different? Yes; well, it should be anyway.

Because, you don’t type as you talk; otherwise writing would be like thajgsakdhysakfsdhadkakugfjksaldashifkuljsdaknfbjadifja.

So how do you make it realistic? – when you can’t.

Well, here are some tips:

  • Put in fillers, such as ‘um’ or ‘er’.
  • Some people say the same thing a lot – for example, my cousin says, ‘in fact’ every few sentences, especially when making a point. Just remember which person says what, and don’t make it too obvious/too common.
  • Although most people slur words together, try and spell them correctly. Of course, you can do contractions (eg ‘cannot’ to ‘can’t’ (is ‘contractions’ even the right word?)), but don’t overuse them – for example, ‘shouldn’t have’ instead of ‘shouldn’t’ve’ (although, if you have a character that always speaks that, then go for it!).
  • Make sure character’s differentiate they way they speak. Not everyone speaks in the same way.
  • Read it aloud. See if it sounds right. It doesn’t? Change it!
  • Don’t get too fancy when writing dialogue. People don’t actually speak like that, unless you’re writing from the 1800s.

Oh, and one final tip: remember to use speech marks. People don’t say ‘he said’ after they say something.

Sorry this was posted so late!

Questions, thoughts? Shoot!

- Hannah :D

Leah

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Leah

Wordcount: 1055

Prompt: clichés. Pick a cliché phrase and write a story around it.
The cliché I chose was ‘every cloud has a silver lining’.
TW: Friend’s death.

~

Gunshots, blood, running, running, endless running. The 13 year old girl’s heart felt like a drum, banging out a beat that would kill her.

An arm around her back; a word in her ear: “Go.” Cooped up for weeks, her legs struggled to hold her, bones covered with a thin layer of grey skin.

“You can do it, Alice.” His voice was familiar, but seemed far away, unreachable.

They were out of the room. She breathed. Air. Clean, fresh, blisteringly hot air. Her lungs inflated; her ribs hurt. But, still, she kept running.

The sunlight, barely awake, dying on the horizon, burnt her eyes. Her her throat was on fire.

Gunshots. Endless gunshots.

The banging, echoing behind her, hurt her ears. She cupped her hands over them, but they were roughly pulled away by coarse fingertips. “You have to be able to hear.” His voice, a whisper, his lips barely moving, seemed like shouting to her.

“I- I can’t-”

“You can.”

She collapsed.

“Alice!”

Hands grabbed her shoulders and she was hoisted into the air. “Be careful!” a voice called out. A shoulder in her stomach; she couldn’t breathe.

“Down,” she coughed. “Let me down.”

Gently, she was placed on the floor, but they were running again. Sprinting, now, for the end. The gate. Cars, that would take them away from this dreadful place. The place where she had been tortured, made to feel like she wasn’t worth anything, let alone the right to life.

And then she saw her.

“Leah!”

Leah’s face lit up at the sight of her friend; her hand pulled a gun from the holster when she realised they had followers.

Gunshots. Bullets, whistling past her ear.

Machine fire, cutting down people trying to rescue her.

People were dying; because of her. It was her fault.

Bad people had died at her hands. She had held up a gun, pulled the trigger, ended a life, destroyed families, without a second thought. But they had deserved it. Hadn’t they?

This time, however, it was her comrades that were dying. Names, faces, lives, ones who she knew well.

Then, there was Leah.

“Go right!”

“We can’t.”

“You have to!”

Alice’s best friend grabbed her upper-arm, pulling her away from the cars, away from her safe-haven. “Leah, what are you doing?”

The girl glared, and time slowed down. “She won’t survive going that way.” The enemy had looped around, finding another way in to kill her. “Come on!”

Shouting, screaming, crying.

Running, sprinting, surviving.

Gunshots.

Alice ran.

“Keep going!”

“Take her, take her, Oscar.”

“Where are you going?”

A gun, loaded. Ready to kill.

“I’m a distraction.”

And she was gone.

Alice watched her run. She shot. She killed. Men fell at her feet. Her plan worked – they went after the bigger threat, assuming there were others taking on Alice’s protectors.

There weren’t others taking on Alice’s protectors, for Leah had captured them all.

Blood poured over the sand. Dying screams echoed over the still air.

And as Alice watched, whilst she was told to keep running, running, running, Leah fell.

“NO!” Hands grasping at her t-shirt, keeping her from changing course. A heart-wrenching scream. Surely, enough to wake the dead?

Not this time.

~

One year. A year, since she died… for me. The girl, her short red hair barely reaching her eyes, carried the bouquet.

Alone. She didn’t need to run. She walked, slowly, carefully, choosing her steps.

The grave was well-kept, she saw to that. Shadows concealed her movements from Leah’s family as they gathered around the plot. They laid flowers. They cried. Then, they sighed, thankful that, at least, she didn’t die in pain. It had been quick.

They turned, and were gone.

Alice crept forward.

She laid the flowers; traced Leah’s name; sat; cried; wished, with all her heart, that they could change places. That she could be the one six feet under, not her best friend who had had so much to live for.

“Why?” Saliva stuck her lips together, her nose ran and she wiped it on her sleeve. She tasted salt, then a metallic tang. “Why you, Leah? Why not me?”

“She was always willing to die for you.” The voice behind her made her jump, and Alice turned to see a woman in a black dress, an orange flower – Leah’s favourite colour – pinned to her lapel.

Kneeling beside her, she continued: “We always asked why. She said she knew your potential. You could be something great.” More tears fell down Alice’s cheeks. “I think Leah knew she was going to die.”

“Oh?” Her voice cracked, and she coughed. A box was held out to her. Tiny, it fit into the palm of her hand; plain every where else, it was a dark brown; the only decoration was a triskelion embedded on the top.

“This was delivered yesterday morning, a letter said we were to give it to you. Leah must’ve given it to the post office, told them to deliver it a year after her death.”

Surprised, Alice took the box without a word, and the woman stood, her speech clearly over. She turned to walk away, but had only gone a few steps before she turned back and regarded the young, weeping girl, still mourning for her best friend a year later. Her hair was greasy, her thighs too thin, bags under her eyes and chapped lips.

“We don’t blame you,” she said. “Leah was prepared to do it, and I’m proud that it was for such a good cause. You’re going to be great, Alice, just you wait.”

The girl couldn’t speak, but nodded her gratitude. Smiling, Leah’s mother walked away.

Alice opened the box. Inside, there was a small necklace, in the shape of a cloud. Gently, she picked it up. The clasp at the side begged for it to be opened, and she did. A picture, framed by the smooth curves of the clouds, peered up. Two smiling girls, happy in each other’s arms. Fingers shaking, Alice traced the face of her best friend.

Her tears changed to ones of bitter-sweet happiness. Wherever Leah was now, she knew that she was at rest, knew that she was looking down on her. And she knew that, eventually, she would see her again.

~

Feedback appreciated! :D

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Sisters Red

“Who’s afraid of the big, bad wolf…?”

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris–the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She’s determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls’ bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an axe and Scarlett’s only friend–but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they’ve worked for?
Source: GoodReads

~

Sisters Red is definitely the best book I have read in a long time. It constantly keeps you engaged, and I fell in love with the characters. There are plot twists and the ending is satisfying. It is part of the Retold Fairytales series by Pearce; a twist on Little Red Riding Hood. And she pulled it off perfectly. Told with a joint point of view, which really adds to the contracting views of the novel, it offers a great story.

I found myself relating to one of the main characters, Scarlett, a lot – her loneliness even though she had an adoring sister and best friend, the love for said best friend, and the physical marring that hampers her beauty. Even though I would date her anyway. She feels like she has the weight of the world on her shoulders, and she doesn’t feel like she has any other form of live ahead of her, except for killing the Fenris.

Rosie, of course, is perfect, too, and it was wonderful to see her character develop throughout the course of the book, from when she was just living into her sister’s shadow to coming into her own and slaying her own Fenris. Hell, even the life drawing was eventful! And then there’s Silas, who I imagine to be rather like my best friend – so that is, perhaps, why I felt so drawn to him. Although I still think he should have ended up with Scarlett, I feel that he was still perfect all the way through. Especially with the great plot twist/anti-climax at the end!

Definitely a good read: 10/10 recommend.

The Amazing Mind of Alice Makin by Alan Shea

The Amazing Mind of Alice Makin by Alan Shea

Book cover

The Amazing Mind of Alice Makin

The Amazing Mind of Alice Makin follows a twelve-year-old girl, Alice, as she discovers her powers of ‘mind-touching’ with her friend, Reggie. Over time, strange things happen – such as fireworks from which the cases disappear – and Alice feels like she is being watched… All whilst trying to solve mysteries with Sherlock Holmes, her favourite fictional character, she writes a school play and comes to clashes with her stepfather!

I really loved this book. I felt I connected a lot with the character of Alice, because people thought she was a little too imaginative, and I loved the things that happened, with the fireworks for example. I very nearly crying with tears of happiness and love at the end.

The only thing I didn’t like, when I first picked up the book, was the sentence structure – constant short sentences, starting with random words. Then, I got used to it more and I found that I really liked it. It made me feel like I connected with Alice, as it was just her complete thought processes, with no breaks, no added extra words.

And I really liked the plot twists all the way though, they kept me guessing; I don’t even think Sherlock Holmes could’ve done it!

Really loved this book – definitely recommend, although perhaps not to everyone.

Rules of Speech #2

Hey, folks. So, on November 15th, I did a post on the Rules of Speech (basically, grammar when writing dialogue). But, I realised I missed some stuff out, so here I am for mark 2!

For other info, please read the other article, linked above. I’ll be doing stuff today about separate sentences, and verbs splitting up speech.

Firstly, if you do a line of speech, and then the next line isn’t connected, it finishes in a full stop, and the next sentence starts with a capital letter. Example:

“You’ll be one of us soon, don’t worry.” Alice passed him a rubber duck.

Likewise, it works the other way. Example:

Alice passed him a rubber duck. “You’ll be one of us soon, don’t worry.” 

If the verb/s (eg ‘said’) describes the speech, it has commas. Read the article linked above for this info. :)

If a verb splits up a line of speech, but the whole bit of speech is one sentence, it’s all commas and lowercase letters. Example:

“You’ll be one of us soon,” she said, “don’t worry.”

If a verb splits up a line of speech, but they’re two separate sentences, it’s a comma, full stop and capital letter (in that order). Example:

“You’ll be one of us soon,” she said. “Don’t you worry.” 

If a word splits up a line of speech, but isn’t related to the way it’s spoken, it’s all full stops and capital letters. Example:

“You’ll be one of us soon.” She passed him a rubber duck. “Don’t you worry.”

So yeah, that’s basically it! Any other info? Feel free to ask! :)

And please, please, please read the other article for extra information about rules of speech. Look, I’ll even link it again!

- Hannah :)

A Scene of The Gang

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A Scene of The Gang

Prompt: “Eavesdrop” – this challenge was to listen in on a conversation, and use it as a prompt! 
Wordcount: 543

Sorry, this is really bad, but I promise I write something every week, so I do! I found this challenge really hard!

~

“Right, either it fixed itself, or I can’t read. Let’s vote.”

“I vote you can’t read.” A girl, sparkling green eyes, grinned from across the room, the army cap crooked on her head.

“Well. That’s rude.” The grey-eyed boy glared.

“To be fair, Scott, you couldn’t even sneeze Pepsi Max properly.”

Scott glared at the girl, thinking he would get eye-strain by the end of the day. “Look, Little Miss Cocky, I had the split second decision of swallowing and hoping I wouldn’t choke, keeping it in my mouth and sneeze through my nose, or opening my mouth. Horrific decision, either way.”

“Lovely,” Alice said, wrinkling her nose. “Still, you didn’t even get it 5 foot.”

Oscar, a blond-haired, gangly teenager, broke in. “Yeah, even when I was a baby I got it further than that.” Alice snorted.

“Guys. Quiet. I’m working.” Janie, a slim, studious girl, scowled from across the room, barely looking up as she furiously typed.

Oscar, mockingly, said, “Oh, she’s working. When are you ever not working, Jan?”

“When have you ever called me Jan, Os?”

“Oi!” Alice interjected. “That’s my nickname for him!”

Janie poked her tongue out. “Sorry, Ali.” Alice opened her mouth for a second before closing it.

“Actually, a lot of people call me that.” She waved an authoritative hand. “Continue, peasant.”

“Rude!” Scott shouted to no one in particular, a wide grin over his face.

Alice grinned. “I am.”

A head poked around the door, and a pair of piercing, brown eyes stared into the room, making the teenagers, even the most powerful woman in the world, squirm uncomfortably in their chairs. “I hope you lot are working.”

The others turned to Alice, who smiled sweetly, and swung in her chair. “As always, Brookes.”

“Hmm.” Still, Brookes disappeared. From the side of the room, Alice felt a pair of curious eyes settle on her.

“Yes?” she asked Cal, a new boy who Alice had brought in, who was staring curiously at her.

“I, er…”Cal started, but was interrupted by Oscar kissing Alice’s head; Cal watched him pick up the entire tray of empty coffee mugs near the door to go to the vending machine outside. Alice knew Cal had been watching them muck about together, and thought he would ask- “Are you two related, or together or something?”

Knew it, she grinned. She still had a childish glee whenever she guessed something before someone said it. “Related? Psh.” She straightened the cap on her head. “To be honest, Cal, if we were related, I think I would have killed him by now.”

“He would’ve killed you first,” Scott muttered darkly.

“Yeah, right, like he could kill me.”

“Yeah. Right.”

“Unless you counted dying of laughter at his stupid escapades.”

“I can hear you!” Oscar yelled from the coffee machine outside.

“I know!” Alice shouted back. Cal giggled.

“You guys are nuts.”

“Don’t you forget it,” Scott, his tongue sticking out of the side of his mouth in concentration, muttered.

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure you’re going to be one of us, soon, Cally.” Alice winked at him, passing him a yellow rubber duck.

~

Feedback is appreciated! :)

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

The Book Thief

The Book Thief tells of Liesel Meminger, and her story. Narrated by Death, it covers the demise of her brother, her new family, and the boy she loves – with, of course, some adventures and thieving in between. For example, the famous Jesse Owens incident, playing football in the street, seeing Jews marched down the road, going to school, hiding a fist-fighting Jew in the basement and the greatest of all: learning to read and write. Whilst her adoptive Papa, Hans, teaches her to read, her adoptive Mama, Rosa, gets her to do the washing rounds and she meets the Mayor’s wife, Ilsa. In the future, Liesel will sneak into her house and steal books – even finding cookies on one occasion. And, not to forget, the accordion and its sounds keeps her going.

When I finished this book, I sat in a stunned silence whilst my mother laughed at the tears running down my face. Not the most sympathetic person, I grant you, but this book had me in that state of stunned-ness for rather a while.
Although I didn’t like the characters straight away, they grew on me, as did the story. The partnership of Rudy and Liesel was one I grew to love, and Hans was such an amazing character. I really loved Rosa, too – she reminded me of my own mother! The adventures shared with Liesel were incredible, and really fun – for example, I loved the Jesse Owens moment, and the times the book thief stole.

Her brother’s constant response kept me thinking about my own brother. The way it was written – as he kept popping up at Ilsa’s – kept Werner effectively on our mind all the while, and reminded us that Liesel still missed him.

Max’s struggle pulled at my heart strings, and the struggle of the Jews – especially as a lot of the German folk either weren’t aware or didn’t agree with it – was really heightened in this book. And the way that the story was told when the bombs began to fall, really made me feel for the Germans at this time. Yes, the Brits had the Blitz, but people forget about the Germans being bombed too – men, women, children, most of them innocents. Many people only remember one side of the story, especially if they are on that side.

I really enjoyed the way this book was told, also: narrated by Death. I have never read a book like this, and the constant comparing to colours makes me think a lot more about how lucky I am to be able to see, too.

5/5 stars, and I definitely recommend this book – even if you aren’t curious or interested about WWII Germany, it is an exquisite book anyway. The ending is rather satisfying, as well.

Raven Queen by Pauline Francis

Raven Queen by Pauline Francis

Raven Queen by Pauline Francis

Raven Queen tells the tragic, true story of Lady Jane Grey, who’s life was cut short when she was just sixteen years old, from her beatings from her parents, to getting betrothed and married to Guildford, falling in love with her soul-mate, Ned, and eventually becoming Queen before Queen Mary took the throne after. Then, if follows her right up to her death, from Ned’s point of view.

I have always felt sorry for Jane – no one deserved to be beheaded, especially for not having committed a crime, and not for one so young. I liked Pauline Francis’ version of Jane – the spirited, witty girl, with a very devout love to her God. I am not a religious person myself too much – I do not know what I believe – but Jane’s love has showed me even more how and why religious people believe, and how much they will do for their love. Although the idea of loving a God that much scares me a bit, I think that it is divine to have someone whom people think they are looking out for them.

As the title suggests, ravens play a part in Raven Queen. At the start of the book, Jane saves a raven who is caught in a trap; ravens peck at the dead outside Traitor’s Gate; and, right at the end, not one raven comes to peck at Jane. Ravens are often thought of in bad luck and death, and I think that this book changed that – they are just birds, trying to survive, much like the rest of us.

Jane’s relationship with Ned was a heartfelt one – she loved him, but not his faith, as he was Catholic whereas she Protestant. But still, she loved him, and he her, more than his own faith. Their love was there until her death day, and I think that their love was a really astounding one.

The cruelty of Jane’s parents made me feel sorry for her – they were cruel, whipping her when she simply disagreed, and they gave her to Guildford when her greatest fear was being Queen. I do not know any parents who would do such a thing, and the idea of it scares me.

Jane knew – in the book, at least – that becoming Queen would ‘bring [her] to [her] knees’. Although she was young, she was not naïve, and I admired her for that. She was brilliant, really intelligent, and her teacher, Doctor Aylmer, was brilliant also, helping her with her studies and overcoming the shock of finding out Ned’s faith.

And the plot twist at the end – in which we discover that Ned is, in fact, the executioner for Lady Jane – nearly made me cry. Jane’s biggest fear of being executed was how many blows it would take for her head to be off – she was terrified of a botched death. And Ned knew that the final gift he could give her would be having a clean death, with one, simple swipe of the axe. Although it would be taking his one love’s life, it would also being saving her from a painful death, and I think that that is a great love – for, if you cannot be together in life, but one must die, you should live for the lost love.

Finally, I found the dual point of view very interesting – how Jane’s side of the story was told in past tense, whereas Ned’s in present. It brought even more feeling into the story, how Jane had written it down before she died she that she may be remembered as more than just a line, whereas Ned was still alive. However, I thought that, right at the end, when Jane says, “One day, I may just be sentence in a history book,” it was a bit much. I understand Pauline’s reasoning for writing this book, but I do not think that Jane would have said that, and it made it a bit cheesy, whereas the rest of the book had been brilliant. On the other hand, this is just a line, and I felt that the rest made up for it.

Overall, I really enjoyed Raven Queen. It has made me think, and I know that Lady Jane Grey and her fictional Ned will stay with me for a long time.