Book Discussion: 5 Books I Recommend You Read By The End of the Year

bd; recommend, endo f year 2015Ok so this one is less of a book discussion and more a book list (but feel free to add in any recommendations/comments at the bottom, which will kind of make it a discussion!), but I’m tired and ill so… yeah.

Anyway, I hope you’ll like my recommendations, and maybe get around to reading them!

  1. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum – ok so this is a classic and I didn’t say what genre I would be recommending, but I would recommend this one for anyone. It’s about escapism, really, but I guess there’re so many other themes mixed in – friendship, lies, partnerships and morals – that it’s a pretty good book.
  2. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven – this YA will quite happily break your heart. Just so ya know. And also, the cover is beautiful.
  3. The Little Prince by Antione de Saint-Exupery – this novella is just so adorable and strange and odd and cute and weird. Aka, read it.
  4. Close Range: Brokeback Mountain and Other Stories by Annie Prolux – yeah, you’ve probably heard of the title story but I can positively say that there are plenty of others in this short story collection, and I highly recommend it. I am a fan of Westerns, and both the film and book of this made me cry. A lot.
  5. Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys – this is the perfect book to curl up in a blanket with with a big mug of hot chocolate and a large packet of tissues to cry your eyes out to. Do it.

I know this isn’t a conventional post, but I hope I’ve given you guys some ideas of what books to read in the last two months (!!!) of 2015. Have fun, and feel free to leave any recommendations below!

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How To (Successfully) Procrastinate NaNoWriMo

Sometimes, the words just aren’t coming and you don’t know why. Well, don’t despair! Simply procrastinate (or, look for inspiration). On my other blog, you can see how I managed to expertly procrastinate, but I thought I’d do another post if you do need some help to get through the month. 

1) Chat to your writing dragon/kitsune/imaginary writers friend. Don’t lie, we all have one. Get in touch with yours, rant a bit and perhaps ask for advice, or talk over your plot line. Alright, so this’ll look like you’re talking to yourself, but all the best are a little crazy. 

2) Make your NaNo survival kit! Check out the forum here. I’ll probably be posting about my NaNo survival kit on my other blog if you’re curious. 

3) Go out. Going out for the day/evening is ok, too, and you’re kinda procrastinating NaNo, but you’re also having fun, a break, and getting inspiration to get back into it again! 

4) Write your characters’ back stories. For fun. Maybe. 

5) Browse the NaNoWriMo forums and get chatting to some other Wrimos. They might be able to help with your predicament! 

Obviously, procrastinating the entire month of NaNoWriMo probably isn’t a good idea, but, hey, we all have bad days, and don’t let it bring you down! And sometimes, successful procrastinating is just as good and helpful to you as writing for 5 hours straight. 

Good luck for NaNo, folks! 

26/10/15

It’s Moooooooooooooooooooonday! And that means the start of a brand new week. For those in UK education, that’ll also mean the official start to half-term. Yay! And for those attempting NaNoWriMo out there, that means 5 more days until Day 1… I hope you’re prepared! (Or, y’know, not. Like me.)

This week, I shall strive to get out all 4 (four?!) posts. And, if I can read the last book in the series in time, I’ll try and get out a quadruple book review for a young-teenager demon-fighting series. Fun times.

Thanks for not, y’know, eating me due to last week’s failures. I’ll try better! 

This week’s going to be fairly hectic for me, I think, so no more procrastination. I should also probably lay off the italics. It doesn’t really help that I’ve kicked off the week being ill, but there we go.

Have a lovely week, all!

In Which I Apologise. Yet Again.

double_facepalmHello all. Yes, it is indeed the blogger, emerging from a recently tidied desk (aside from being covered in pen-pal letters I’m getting around to replying to and books I need to review. I’m up to 6 now. Six, I tell you…). And, I am here to apologise. Again.

I don’t know if it was sheer exhaustion, euphoria from leaving college for half term, or the fact it’s getting dark and half flippin’ five in the afternoon (afternoon!) but as you may have noticed, I haven’t blogged this week, aside from Tuesday. Uh. Sorry, about that.

I am trying. Honest. But if you guys want to pitch in and help out, feel free to send in a guest blog, about anything to do with writing and/or reading. Thanks for sticking around and putting up with me a) continuously apologising and b) not actually doing much about it.

BUT! I WILL get around to doing Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday posts this week. Even if I have to stay up to 1 am to do it. Which seems rather likely.

TTFN!

Is NaNoWriMo “Write” For You?

is nano right for youIt’s coming up, people. You can’t put it off any longer… Yes, it’s the big o’ National Novel Writing Month. First offs, what is it? Well, it’s where a bunch of crazy people (or, some few hundred thousand writers from across the globe) get together to try to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month. Okay, I’m just gonna keep it as a bunch of crazy people.

NaNoWriMo isn’t right for everyone. I’m a student with a lot of work, and just about convinced my mum to let me do the Young Writers’ Program (YWP). Some people might just have become parents, or got a new job (like my mum! Congrats, mum). So… how do you know NaNoWriMo is or isn’t right for you?

  • Do you cope well – or, at least, well-ish (aka you don’t cry/get overly stressed/stop doing something else like eating) – with stress?
  • Are you able to write at the moment? Aka – no other, more important commitments like exams or family commitments?
  • Can you write? Like, you’re able to somehow get words on some sort of page, either by typing, hand writing or spoken word for example?
  • Do you think you can do this?

If you answered “no” to any of those questions, I’d probably have a bit of a think before you try and conquer NaNoWriMo. I had my first 50,000 “win” last year, and, let me tell you, it was hard. I was mega proud when I’d done it, but it wasn’t easy. This year, I’m not aiming for the big 5-0, but a more realistic goal of 30,000 on the YWP. I wasn’t sure if I could do it, what with my other commitments, but I’m giving it a try because I know it’s also unlikely to stress me out if I don’t get it done.

If you answered “yes” to any/all of those questions, I’d still give NaNoWriMo a thought before you sign up. It’s difficult. Like, really difficult.

Now I’m sure that negativity has got you all nice and happy, so let’s throw in some more rainbows to lighten the mood (no, seriously, this bit is positive): NaNoWriMo is a great experience. It really is. You can do things you never thought you could, and you’ll have so much more confidence if you won or not, because, you know what? You tried.

Why am I writing this article then, you ask, if I’m just saying go for it anyway? Because, for some people, right now isn’t the time. And, if it isn’t, that is ok. There are always the camps, or next year, or, you know what, you don’t need NaNoWriMo to write! Say you can write 20,000 words in a month – over the course of six, that’s at least one novel!

NaNoWriMo is daunting and scary, but if you’re able and want to do it, I say give it a shot. It might mean you are a little more tired, or spend a little more of your spare time not reading but frantically writing, but hey-ho. It’s all fun and games.

Feel free to comment on anything or email me if you ever need any advice and/or encouraging writerly words for NaNoWriMo and/or any other endeavours.

And good luck if/when you sign up.

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I use this picture every year…

19/10/15

Hi everyone!

So, sorry for no book review: I thought I had scheduled a post, but t’was not to be… I’ll try and get one up of 1984 this Sunday (writing it here might actually make me write the dang review…).

I hope everyone had a good (productive?!) weekend. I went to Bath Spa university open day on Saturday and really enjoyed it. Meanwhile on my other blog, I wrote a blog post about fanfiction. Aaand, I am now off to go and write just that…

On this blog, I’m going to try and get a post up tomorrow about NaNoWriMo (two more weeks! TWO MORE WEEKS! *freaks out*), and then a Wednesday, Friday and Sunday post.

Wishing you all the best for the week, and to any new followers, thank you for following me! To all my followers: thanks for supporting me, guys, I love blogging and it’s great fun. 🙂

Have a lovely week!

To Chapter or Not To Chapter?

to chapter or not to chapterWhen I read Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett for my reading group a few months ago, I noticed something that none of my friends did: Pratchett doesn’t use chapters. Rather, big sections are differed between by a mark on the page, but the next section doesn’t start at the top of the next. You might have seen this in books with chapters: a little asterisk in the middle of the page, indicating moving on… Kind of like this:

***

Look familiar?

When writing, you basically have the complete (well, almost, unless your agent/editor decides to change it, but it is your book…) on how to present it on the inside. So, you can have chapters, or you can choose not to. You might have loads of chapters with only a few lines in between, or choose to not have chapters but have section breakers instead. All of these have their own strengths and weaknesses and a lot of it does depend on the book you’re writing.

Most people assume: books = chapters. But that isn’t always the case. So, when writing your next book, why not think of doing something else, something different? If, for example, you’re writing a fantasy or dystopia, you might find it easier to use section headings instead. In 1984, George Orwell did something similar having a “Part I” and “Part II”, with no chapters in those parts, and used asterisks like Pratchett. Tolkien, however, has long chapters, which are clearly defined as such.

The greats broke the rules, and so can you, so, if it works for you and for your book, why not think about something different in your writing?

Book Discussion: Influenced Books

bd; influenced booksI’m writing my extended project on how the Argonautica (the story of Jason and the Golden Fleece by Apollonius of Rhodes) has influenced modern day fantasy novels (like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings). It’s great fun, and has actually thrown up some rather interesting scenarios (I’ve also written a presentation on why Jason is an asshole. Take from that what you wish).

It’s obvious that books are influenced by others, and writers are influenced by others. She’s not published, but a lot of my friend’s writing is clearly influenced by Doctor Who’s characters and structure. My boyfriend’s is more influenced by comedy shows and books. Mine has influences from all over, because I write in a lot of different genres. But the point is, everyone is influenced in their writing. Even JK Rowling was influenced by JRR Tolkien (most fantasy has been) and Greek myth.

Some books, however, are more influenced than others. For example: 50 Shades of Grey, which was started as a Twilight fanfiction, and therefore directly influenced by this saga. Young Sherlock Holmes; directly influenced by its elder. Even books like Divergent could have been influenced by The Hunger Games, as they are incredibly similar.

The point of this being a discussion, however, is that I don’t always like these influences. More and more nowadays it’s becoming obvious that lots of books are nearing the same thing. There are dystopian novels, based around a strong female character; fantasy novels, with an epic quest and hero/ine; historical murder mystery novels, and so on and so forth. Some of these influences are so direct they’re getting repetitive, and it’s a breath of fresh air to read something completely and utterly new, like The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

But I want to know: what do you think? Are some books more influenced than others? At what point, for example, do we say it’s too similar? Are books getting repetitive? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

12/10/15

It’s actually ages since I’ve done one of these, I think, so here goes!

Hello all! How are we?!

This week I will be posting on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and I might even do a NaNoWriMo post if I can get around to it! I’ve been fairly big on procrastination the last few days weeks. Ugh.

In my life, I finally passed my driving theory (yay!) and I updated my other blog with a brand new look! Go check it out, I’m very proud of it. 😉

Have a lovely week everyone!

The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

TITLE: The Accident Season
AUTHOR: Moira Fowley-Doyle
GENRE: YA
PUBLISHER: Corgi (Imprint of Random House)
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2015
NUMBER OF PAGES: 281
PRICE: £7.99
ISBN: 9780552571302
GOODREADS
PERSONAL SOURCE: Borrowed from my mum
RATING: 5/5


In Cara’s family, the accident season is a month wherein everything goes wrong. People get cuts, bruises, broken bones and sprained limbs. And sometimes, people die. Cara’s lived with the accident season for 17 years, but now she begins to ask questions as new feelings emerge, and a old friend disappears.

Okay so my mum originally bought The Accident Season because she thought it was an adult fiction book. Uh… no. It’s definitely YA. And a spooky, mysterious, love-sparked YA at that. I read this book in two days, and seeing as the one I read before that took me quite a few more, I think that probably suggests what it’s like.

Reading this book is like eating a delicious 99 whippy. First you lick around the flake, and it’s nice but you want more. Then you eat the flake in one go and it explodes in your mouth and then you can’t stomach the cone so you feed it to the dog because the flake is still in your mouth and it finishes like that. Just, argh, the writing is glorious. Some people have said it’s confusing, but I didn’t and I adored it.

The plot was also so beautifully intertwined and layered. Ironically, it was like taking off a bandage from a wound and having to gently unravel it, the white fabric getting more and more stained with redness the more you unwind it, until the open wound is fully exposed. There were so many different components and it so beautifully fit all together.

And the characters. They were all so messed up and broken and they grew but didn’t grow apart, and their dynamics were just so perfect and the relationships just beautiful and fjskiadfj I love this book.

So, likes about this book: the characters (inc. relationships), the plot, the writing, and the subplots. Which is pretty dang rare for me. And… dislikes about the book? It was too damn short. Actually, scrap that: I just want to read more about Cara and Sam (SAM IS SO DAMN ADORABLE!!!).

Basically, if you like what I’ve written, read this book. And then come back so we can talk about the awesomeness. (Also I’d recommend this for 13+ (there is some… stuff). I think you can definitely appreciate it more once you’re a slightly older young adult.)