Tree of Ages by Sara C. Roethle

Tree of Ages

Tree of Ages

Finn has always been a tree, for over one hundred years. But one day, she wakes up and she has pale skin, hair and she’s a girl. Áed, or the Mounteback, takes her in, but soon Finn wants to leave and find out what happened to her and how to reverse the effects. She misses the nature, the connections, the earth. She doesn’t want to be human. Especially with the brewing tensions in the world of the Tuatha.

Finn and Áed’s journey is filled with twists, turns, betrayals, friendships but most of all: adventure.

Let’s talk about character, first, and the main character in this story is Finn. I found her intriguing, rather humorous and not entirely stupid, despite being a tree for a hundred years (yeah, the author managed to get around that loophole). Her persona as the main character wasn’t a bad choice, but I also liked how the author switched to other personas, even for a paragraph or two, to get more of the story. They were all unique voices too, which was pleasant.

Another great thing about the characters in this book was the incredible character development they all went through! All of them, even in the slightest, were changed from their introduction to the end of the novel. Even the main character had some impressive development – even with betrayal which made me angry and upset at the same time.

The tension built up to this book during its many mini characters was great, also. This 400 page book took me three days to zip through, and the tension and build up probably had something to do with it.

Speaking of tension, the book ended on a massive cliff hanger (obviously, because it’s part of a series, but I have to wait until autumn?!). I think this story might tell you something about it: I was reading it on my Kindle at the dinner table (that doesn’t usually happen but my parents weren’t eating). My dad was cutting some bread for himself and I cried out once I had finished it in frustration and he nearly stabbed me with the bread knife (he thought I was angry he was cutting off the end of the loaf).

Okay now let’s talk about the actual writing style. I liked how the author tried to write in the dialect of the time. Sometimes it was pulled off well, sometimes not so much. Still, the actual style was gripping and the author kept enough back but gave you a flavour of it to keep reading.

I would recommend this to people who enjoy fantasy and myths, but obviously it’s not for everyone (those romance lover amongst you would be throwing your hands up). Still, I cannot wait for the second one (and will try not to get stabbed with a breadknife).

I read Tree of Ages as an ARC before it is published on March 31st in exchange for an honest review. 🙂

UPDATE: Tree of Ages is now available to buy! Visit the author’s website for details!


TITLE: Tree of Ages
AUTHOR: Sara C. Roethle
PUBLISHER: I think it might be self published
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2015
NUMBER OF PAGES: 400
PRICE:
ISBN: 978-0-6923-9892-0
GOODREADS
PERSONAL SOURCE: ARC from author before publication in exchange for an honest review

3 Tips To Writing A Prologue

For those who don’t know, a prologue is a bit, generally shorter than a chapter, which almost introduces the novel. It’s kind of like the bit before the titles in a TV show. I quite like them… but only if they work with the story. So, what are some tips for them?

  1. Make sure it adds, somehow, to your story. If it gives a back story to your antagonist that the reader doesn’t get until the final chapter, it still counts. If it gives a back story to your character’s great aunt Meredith who isn’t mentioned in the rest of it, then don’t. (Okay I’m exaggerating here, but make sure that the prologue does link up to the story.)
  2. Decide what you want it for. Is it to set up your protagonist, antagonist, the world in which they live? Decide exactly what you want it for, and then make sure you relate it as much as possible to that, so that the reader can get the best experience and you can do exactly what you want to with your writing.
  3. Don’t make it extraordinarily long. It’s not the first chapter. It’s the prologue. It’s designed to give the reader some extra information which will hopefully come into use later, not start the fully-fledged story.

Personally, I enjoy prologues. Whether you do or not in general is up to you, but if you think it could benefit your story, don’t shy away from it!

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

In post-war London, Juliet Ashton has a problem. She can’t find an idea to write about, after the phenomenal success of her war time pseudonym, Izzy Bickerstaff. After a book tour, she receives a letter from one Dawsey Adams of Guernsey, saying he has an old copy of one of her books, and did she know any more by the same author? Thus, Juliet embarks on a journey across the channel to the island and meets a vast array of people, all with their own, often horrifying, tales to tell.

I read Guernsey Literary for a book club I set up with my friends (it was the first book) and I really, really enjoyed it. It’s written in an epistolary style, which can be a bit confusing but you settle down into it: a mixture of full letters, telegrams and notes slid under the door and even some journal entries at the end. The epistolary style means that it’s quick to read, and easy to set yourself a goal of reading, say, two letters. Before you know it, you will have accidentally read the entire book.

The different array of characters was another of my favourite things from the novel. All had their own mind, from Adelaide Addison to Isola Pribby. Their distinctive style clearly made it into the text – as did their personalities. Relationships were different to each other also and each character actually added something to the story, even in the slightest manner, which made every bit of it incredibly enjoyable.

Juliet, the main character, was one of my favourites. She was witty, entertaining, intelligent and just all-round fun. She bounced well onto other characters and the humour she produced was great.

One thing I didn’t like about the novel? Too many unanswered questions at the end! I won’t give spoilers, but I would adore to know what happens. However, I like that the novel did finish as such, because it means that it can continue in the reader’s mind. And it sure will in mine!

The topics in this book are love and war, essentially, but I am going to focus on the latter for now (the former is also prominent but talking about it would give too many spoilers so I am just going to say that the romance is great!). The Second World War was brutal, horrendous and gruesome, and Shaffer and Barrows don’t hold back. True horrors, be it from inside the concentration camps or to the innocent citizens of Guernsey, are described in honest detail, and therefore it can be a shocking read. However, without this realism, the novel wouldn’t seem, well, real, and it definitely doesn’t sugar coat an honest event – perhaps a fitting tribute? I also like that this book focuses on Guernsey. During WWII the Channel Islands were left undefended and therefore quickly occupied by the Germans and they were for almost the entire war. Liberation day was later. Communication was cut. Their story is often forgotten and that is why I really like how this novel has been written about this tiny n5 by 7 mile island off the coast of France. If you ever get a chance to visit Guernsey, check out some of the WWII museums, bunkers, etc. Even if you don’t specifically go to one of them, though, you will see remains of the war wherever you go, in the brick towers, walls and even the roads. This book is brilliant for describing their plight.

I would recommend this novel for almost anyone. It’s primarily aimed at the typical woman, but I am sure that men can enjoy it too. Age-wise, it is more for the older person, and not young children. Many youngsters do learn about the war but it is only as you get older that you learn the true horrors of concentration camps, and indeed the true horrors of the war in general, on both sides. These horrors are described with gruesome realism, and that’s just a word of caution I am going to give. Still, it is a fantastic book and definitely worth the read.


TITLE: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
AUTHOR: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
PUBLISHER:  Bloomsbury
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2008 (this edition 2009)
NUMBER OF PAGES: 240
PRICE: £7.99
ISBN: 978-0-7475-9668-4
GOODREADS
PERSONAL SOURCE: My mum’s copy

10 Cool Names Starting With Q

So I apologise for not posting for a while so I’ll do a quick post now! Here are 10 cool names starting with the letter ‘Q’ – five boy names and 5 girl names. We’ll start with the boys…

  1. Quanza (SPANISH): giving
  2. Quant (LATIN): knowing his words
  3. Qidri (BIBLICAL): place name
  4. Quirin (ENGLISH): magic spell
  5. Quico (SPANISH): stands by his friends [also: Paco]

And to the girls…

  1. Qamra (ARABIC): moon girl [also: Kamra]
  2. Questa (FRENCH): looking for love [also: Kesta]
  3. Quita (LATIN): peace [also: Keeta, Keetah]
  4. Quete (SPANISH): head of the house [also: Keta]
  5. Q-Malee (AMERICAN): form of Cumale: open-hearted [also: Cue, Q, Quemalee, Quemali, Quemalie]

So I hope that this was a somewhat interesting post, and yeah I’ll try and do a proper one next week!

Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry

Misty of Chincoteague

The Phantom, a wild Assateague pony, has never been caught on Pony Penning Day. For two years, she’s avoided her captors. This year, however, she has a filly running wild with her. And this year, Paul is riding in Penning Day, and he and his sister, Maureen, are determined to make Phantom their own.

This book has been on my tbr list since I was about 10 years old…and now, six years later, I have finally gotten around to reading it. Wow, I wish I had read it earlier (I seem to say that a lot!) and I think my childhood self does too.

The amazing backstory had me hooked from the start, especially when you read the author’s note at the beginning which mentions that everything that happens in the book is based on real life. Anyway. I am a sucker for tension-addled adventure, and a Spanish galleon shipwrecking ponies on an island east of Virginia? Hello, my PERFECT story!

Obviously, this book is about horses, and I have also loved those since I was a kid. I have a vague recollection of being driven by a friend in the New Forest, England UK, frantically shouting, “PONY!” every time I saw one. I haven’t read a pony story in ages, aside from one on Wattpad, and I really enjoyed this one. Paul and Maureen, the main human characters, live on their grandparents’ pony farm, and the novel shows the every day chores and life they had. For someone who has never really had a chance to properly work with horses, this is absolutely fascinating and really enjoyable to read about.

The characters were very different. My favourite character was Grandpa Beebe. He was funny, down-to-earth and I just genuinely liked him.  Paul and Maureen weren’t particularly 3D characters, but they weren’t terrible to read either. Their speech was characterised by colloquial idioms, and this really showed the time and place the story had been set in, and immediately brought to life the novel. I had to read a couple of sentences through twice to actually understand them, but it was still enjoyable.

The ending to the story was a happy one, which I really enjoyed – it brought tears of joy to my eyes! I thought it was sweet, probably the correct word to use, as, whilst it wasn’t cliché, it was almost a ‘sighing’ end, although still left opportunity for the next two books in the trilogy.

Originally published in 1947, this book follows the traditional horse story pattern, which, personally, was one of its downfalls. This pattern is the stereotypical horse story – children save up to buy a horse, problems arise and troubles occur – both human and animalistic – which are then resolved. Whilst not necessarily the book’s fault – after all, it is a classic – for me it is kind of stale, as I have read horse story after horse story in which the same thing happens again and again. (Still, I’m writing one like this, so I can’t really complain!) However, it was still an enjoyable read.

I would recommend this book primarily to early teenagers, although I am sure older teens and adults can enjoy it too. Perhaps it would make a fantastic bedtime story. You need to know a little about horses to be able to read this novel, but not enough you need to read 50 manuals on the creatures – just simple technical terms, saddle, bridle, that kind of stuff. Finally, I would recommend this to people who enjoy a quick adventure, such as The Fantastic Five or The Secret Seven – it is in the style of such prose, and is quite exciting to read.


TITLE: Misty of Chincoteague
AUTHOR: Marguerite Henry
PUBLISHER: Aladdin Paperbacks
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: Ori. 1947, 1975. This edition 2006
NUMBER OF PAGES: 173
PRICE: US$5.99, £3.89
ISBN: 978-1-4169-2783-9
GOODREADS
PERSONAL SOURCE: Present from my mum

PS the illustrations in this edition are beautiful!

PPS Happy Mother’s Day for the UK! Happy Mother’s Day to my fantastic mother, who has been in Belgium this weekend on a school trip (and neglected to take me *sob*). She’s bought me so many amazing novels and is always willing to have a nice book talk! I love you so much, mum!

Something Not To Say When Making Connections

So this week has been Careers Week at my college, and today I had a talk about journalism. After the lecture, my friend and I went to see the guy who gave the lecture and got his email.

When he asked if we were going to email, my friend said something along the lines of, “Well, we were just getting it for connections…”

Apparently, that was the wrong thing to say.

So, note to self and hopefully note to you as well from a professional journalist: if you’re getting a connection, always say ‘we’ll get in touch’ even if you have no intention of doing so!

[But hopefully I will do... some time]

Hello Everyone

Me

So, I’ve had a busy weekend doing basically everything but homework. Because that’s just the way I roll…

It’s careers week at my college this week, and I had an English Literature talk today. It was greatly uninspiring. Do I really need good grades if my characters are epically awesome!?

Other that that, I’ve learnt the ukulele, the US states and my library card number this week. Such fun.

Blog

Well I went out this Friday and therefore forgot about the Friday post, and I thought I had queued a book review but apparently I had not. So, that’s what I’ll be doing this week!

Have a nice week guys! 

Behind…Again…

Hello hello hello….

Me

I am behind in just about everything at the moment. Homework, revision, writing, exercise. The only thing I’m not behind in is friends!

The Blog

Sorry for no Friday post last week. I forgot and ran out of time… There’ll hopefully be one this week. 🙂

That’s it really. Such a short post! I might do some posts on my other blog though, because I feel like it right now and that’s a good thing! 😄

Have a nice week all!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss

Anna Oliphant really doesn’t want to spend her final year of high school in Paris’ School of America. But her novelist father insists, and suddenly she finds herself 4383 miles away from her home in Georgia. She has to leave behind her best friend, Bridgette, and her kind-of-boyfriend, Toph, for a totally new place. And then, well, she meets the beautiful, enthusiastic, totally-not-allowed-to-date Étienne St Clair.

I really, really enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss! I read it for a book group on Instagram, and I am so glad I did.

To begin with, I really enjoyed the plot. Whilst not completely unique – it’s about a group of teenage friends at a boarding school – I liked how it was different, with the School of America in Paris (SOAP), how Anna didn’t actually speak the language to begin with. Another thing was the fact the romance – obviously between Anna and Étienne – was built upon from the beginning. It wasn’t just a ‘bang – they’re in love!’ type of thing, but really did have drama and life problems sprung in their paths as well as their relationship actually being developed upon in the entire duration of the book.

The characters were also pretty great – finally, a main character who is 3D, is witty and one I genuinely wanted to be my friend! The supporting characters were all unique and different too, I really enjoyed reading about all of them but for different reasons. Étienne was humouous, Josh was almost a male version of myself, Rashmi was the sarky one I love but am never quite sure how to respond to, and Meredith was simply the unable-to-live-without good friend.

Anna was just great. She’s different, slightly weird, and hilarious. I related to her so much, with the friend troubles and, yes, boyfriend troubles! I just..gah, I loved her.

Étienne, the main male character, was a sweet, funny guy – however, he could also be a bit of a jerk at times, but I guess this brings out the realism of the novel. You’re not going to fall in love with someone who is perfect – everyone has flaws. I think that his were pretty bad, but Anna can overlook them because she fell in love with the person underneath. Also, I would have liked to have seen more of Anna and Bridge’s back story, as well as more of her and Meredith and Rashmi. More Josh would have been nice too, but I think his story is in Isla and the Happy Ever After, the third book in the series.

I also really liked Perkins’ writing style – it had me laughing out loud and was just addicting, much like Jackson Pearce’s. I would – and will – definitely read anything else by her!

I would recommend this to people who enjoy romantic comedies, probably more teenagers but I’m sure older people could enjoy it too, even though it’s clearly aimed at students. It’s good for light-hearted reading too, although tough issues like cancer are addressed. I really enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss and will definitely be reading the sequels – Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happy Ever After. Now just to save enough money to buy them…


TITLE: Anna and the French Kiss
AUTHOR: Stephanie Perkins
PUBLISHER: Usborne House
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2014
NUMBER OF PAGES: 401
PRICE: £6.99
ISBN: 978-1-4095-7993-3
GOODREADS
PERSONAL SOURCE: Bought from Waterstones in Winchester