Book Review: I Was Amelia Earhart by Jane Mendelsohn

TITLE: I Was Amelia Earhart
AUTHOR: Jane Mendelsohn
PUBLISHER: Alfred A. Knopf Inc.
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 1996
NUMBER OF PAGES: 144
PRICE: £6.58 on Amazon
ISBN: 0679450458
GOODREADS
PERSONAL SOURCE: Bought for a dollar from a second-hand bookstore in Washington DC
RATING: 5/5


In 1937, Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared off the coast of New Guinea and were never seen again. In this novel, Mendelsohn imagines Earhart’s and Noonan’s life together on a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and narrates Earhart’s life through her own eyes.

This is quite hard to review, because I wouldn’t generally class this as being a novel. It’s not action-packed, not character-driven, not really anything except a poetic jumble of thoughts and memories, told in both 1st and 3rd person. It deals with a lot of Earhart’s factual life, and then Mendelsohn has given herself free rein to decide what happened after 1937, whether Earhart died or survived, and what happened in her relationship with Fred Noonan (and, indeed, her husband, known in the novel as G.P.).

I quite enjoyed reading this book, although it was a) put-downable and b) there were some parts where I was tilting my head to the side and glaring through half-open eyes, but I was intrigued into the ending and would re-read it again, which is why it got a 5-star rating. Some people may not like the interchangeable POVs, and admittedly I found them confusing at times, especially because at times the author didn’t seem completely sure as to what they were doing.

One thing I, rather ironically, liked about the novel is that the author didn’t try to make the characters likeable. They just were and it was like meeting people in real life, with the secrets being revealed along the way. As it was, I only liked the two main characters – Fred and Amelia – at intermittent points in the novel, and disliked them anytime else.

Overall, I did enjoy this novel/novella (it says it’s a novel, but I would say it’s a novella??), and I would probably read it again. It did leave some to be desired, but it’s a novel that if I otherwise hadn’t read I would have written (although probably with less poetic language). 4.5/5 and a definite recommend to those who enjoy poetic literature.

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The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse

The Winter Ghosts

The Great War robbed a generation of friends, lovers and their gilded youth. In Freddie Watson’s case, it took his beloved brother and, at times, his peace of mind. Haunted by his loss and fearing for his sanity, he still seeks some sort of resolution.

In the winter of 1928, Freddie is travelling through southern France – which has also seen too much bloodshed over the years – when his car spins off the road during a storm. Shaken, he stumbles into the woods and takes refuge in an isolated village. There he meets Fabrissa, a beautiful young woman also mourning a lost generation.

Over the course of a single night, Fabrissa and Freddie share their stories. And by the time dawn breaks, he finds himself holding the key to a heartbreaking mystery.

The book started slow. No; really slow. In fact, the first 20 or so pages weren’t actually needed. You could skip them and it wouldn’t make much difference. Moreover, the plot can leave you frustrated if you’re not reading it quickly, as it only ties up right at the end, doesn’t give you many – and then there is another loose end, but I won’t go into that too much.

The main character is all right, and the other characters are also quite interesting – once you get to the main plot. Don’t put this book down. Skip parts, if you will, but once you get to the main bit, don’t stop reading.

The plot is great. Like, pretty interesting. It reflects on historical events (which are rather gruesome, so only read if you’re willing to discover some yucky stuff) and the descriptions illustrate it vividly.

All I can say is, don’t get the copy I did – ie, the one pictured. It contains pictures. I wasn’t aware I couldn’t paint my own locations in my mind, but check through it first to see if it has pictures. I did my best to ignore them, but it’s quite hard. Just a heads up!

In summary: this book is great if you like the long-winded ones. It’s also great if you like historical fiction, but if you’re expecting a WWI novel, this is not it. I repeat: this is not a WWI novel. If you want one from WWI, try Valentine Joe. However, if you just want a book that gets to the point and only tells you the stuff that’s necessary, this isn’t it. Also, if you don’t like gruesome stuff (I didn’t realise quite how grim this would be until I read it) I wouldn’t recommend reading this. My rating? 3/5. I liked the plot and the idea, but I didn’t like the style and the amount of unnecessary information.

However, the heartbreaking mystery is just that.

How Did I Die? {Short Story}

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How Did I Die

Wordcount: 790
Prompt: just as you’re leaving a restaurant with your mates, a boy your age taps you on the shoulder and says, “Come with me. It’s time.” What happens?

~

How Did I Die? 

~

I fumble about in my pocket for some change to tip the waiter. He’s being eyeing me up all evening, and I am _so_ going to bag him before my friend, Meg.

“Thanks for everything,” I murmur when he comes around to collect our bill. He smiles at me, and I wink.

But, then he goes away. Meg laughs at my disgruntled expression. “Shut up,” I say, punching her lightly on the arm. She just shakes her head and follows Josh, another of our friends, out of the booth.

As we pass the other tables, a few glance our way – teenagers, especially slightly tipsy ones, are to be avoided at all costs. I’m the designated driver for the evening, though – Coke’s been my friend for the night.

Just as I’m about to leave, a boy, about 18, taps my shoulder. “Come with me,” he says, a hint of urgency in his voice. He glances behind him and lowers his voice. “It’s time.”

I laugh. “I think you’ve got the wrong person, matey. Time for what?” I check my watch. “The time’s 10:30 if you really wanted to know.” I turn to walk away, but he grabs my sleeve. “What?” I ask. Outside, Meg is waving at me. “Look, I really have to go…” I take a few more steps away, but he follows.

Annoyed, I take him by the shoulders and turn him to the door, giving him a slight push. “Please,” I say, “leave me alone before I call the police.” He laughs ludicrously. “What?” I ask through gritted teeth.

“I wouldn’t turn me away, if I were you.” I raise an eyebrow, but he walks away.

“Wait,” I sigh, as he’s only gone a few paces. He turns and smiles.

“Yes?”

“What do you want from me?”

“I think the question is what do you want from me?” I let a stream of air out from between my teeth. This kid is irritating, and I’ve only know of his existence for about 30 seconds.

“Fine then, what do I want from you?”

Winking, he just turns and walks back inside the restaurant. “Liliana,” Meg says at my shoulder. “Are we going, or what?”

“Or what,” I say. She glances at me. “I just need the loo, alright? I’ll be out in a moment.” She rolls her eyes but strops back to the car.

Throngs of people who have all decided that now is the exact time they want to leave crowd the restaurant, and I force my way through them. The boy stands, leaning against the wall at the back.

“So?” I ask.

“So?” he repeats, confused. I stare, and he seems to remember who I was. “Oh, it’s you.” I throw my hands in the air.

“10 points to Sherlock Holmes here.” He just raises his eyebrows. I plough on. “Anyway, what time is it?”

He glances at his watch. “Ten thirty.”

I remind myself to only strangle this boy once I have found out what he wants me for.

“You said… ‘it’s time’. What does that mean?”

“Oh,” he says, “it’s time for you to tell me who you are.” He toys with a wooden bead on a leather thong around his neck. His tongue trails over a scar on his lip.

“Who I am?”

“Yes.” Steely eyes remain fixed on me. “Who are you?”

Maybe following him in here was a bad idea.

“Tell me.” He grasps my upper arm in a tight grip as if he knew I was thinking of running.

Scrap ‘bad’, replace it with ‘terrible’, and you’ve just about got the atmosphere.

“My name is Liliana, I’ve just finished college and I was coming out for a meal with friends to celebrate.” Surely that should cover what he wants to know?

Apparently not, as he leans forward, his fringe tickling my cheekbone. “You… smell different,” he says.

“Well, I’m wearing a new perfume.”

He glares. “That’s not what I mean.”

I stare defiantly. “What do you mean?”

“Humans. You don’t smell like one.” I scoff. This guy is clearly crazy, and I’m debating about calling out for help when he says, “You smell like… like something dead.”

My heart almost stops.

Almost.

“Dead?” Now I know he’s really quite insane. “I think I’m pretty alive, thank you very much.”

“No,” he comments casually. His grip relaxes a little. “You’re dead.”

“Oh yeah?” I ask. “So how did I die?” He’s really driving me a little mad – thankfully, I can see Meg push her way through.

Then, this boy pushes me against the wall, and his teeth are long and pointed and his eyes are a bright yellow. “Would you like to find out?” he asks.

I scream.

~

Thanks for reading! Feedback is appreciated! 😀 

 

The First One {Short Story}

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The First One

~

The First One

TW: Drugs, murder.
Word count: 994

~

The tea was steadily getting colder, but still remained untouched. The marshmallow had been mutilated to the point that it probably wasn’t a marshmallow any more, and parts of it lay scattered on the saucer.

Fingertips tapped on the table top. Hard, blue eyes stared, watching various people go about their daily business outside.

Inside the coffee shop, there was a general buzz of content as the first flakes of snow fell.

A young man passed her by and sat opposite a pretty woman. He laughed and reached over to hold her hand. The woman’s eyes flitted to hers, and the girl stared, almost unseeingly, back at her. Shifting uncomfortably, the woman dropped her gaze.

The bell above the door rang as it was opened by a boy, no older than 16. He kicked grit from his boots whilst his friends passed him. They were jostling and laughing, but that wasn’t what made the girl smile.

Pushing tousled, brown hair away from his face, the boy’s gaze met hers. It dropped a split second later, and a hint of red appeared over his cheeks. Brown, intelligent eyes were enhanced by bright, white teeth, and he followed his friends to get drinks. With a skip in her heart as the handsome one looked at her again, the girl watched as the group sat opposite her table.

The book that had been used as a prop was ignored, and the girl put her full attention on the boy opposite. He sat, slouching but still managing to look interested in what the others were saying. He took small sips from his hot chocolate, pushing the hair from his face every so often.

Now and then, he would glance up at her, and she would pretend to be watching someone else, or would stare down at her book, feeling when he looked away.

Eventually, the three boys stood. The brown haired one turned her way one more time and smiled, before following his friends out of the door, which clanged shut behind them.

The girl stood. Leaving her untouched tea behind, she picked up a heavy duffel bag and opened the door, silent save for a light ringing of the bell.

For once, her tiny frame worked to her advantage. She followed the boys in a practised manner, waiting outside whilst they went into shops, always pretending to be engrossed in something else, making sure they didn’t notice her too much.

Long, loose hair flowed down her back like a white waterfall. Rubber soled boots made no sound on the concrete. Her leather jacket kept the rain off when a few drops decided to fall.

Finally, the boys split up. The girl followed the handsome one as he went this way and that, down the small alleys that no one else went down in the city. She watched carefully as he bought something from a dodgy looking guy, and, once again, waited outside as he disappeared into a club for an hour.

It was nearly 2AM by the time she caught him alone. He seemed sober and his eyes were clear, although she suspected he was under the influence of something or other.

What’s a pretty girl like you doing out so early?” he asked, stumbling upon her leaning against the wall just outside. She shrugged and batted her eyelids daintily.

Waiting for a handsome guy like you to come along, I suppose,” she twittered falsely. The boy smiled, almost warily, and she thought she saw a hint of recognition in his eyes.

Didn’t I see you earlier? In Mrs J’s?” he asked. The girl uttered a high, fake laugh.

Oh, perhaps. Weren’t you the handsome one that came through the door?” She stroked his arm, and the boy looked more at ease.

Perhaps,” he smiled. “Can I walk you home, then?”

The girl felt a rush through her veins. “Oh, yes please. It’s a little scary out here at night, what with all those strange men around.”

The boy nodded, and she reached down to pick up her duffel bag. “Oh here,” he said, “let me carry that for you.” She shrugged, and passed it to him; he bent momentarily over the unexpected weight, before straightening, and passing it to his right hand, so he could walk with his left to her. “Blimey, what have you got in here?”

Oh, just some…books,” she said, saying the first thing that came to her mind. “Shall we go, then?”

Casually, the girl walked off, and the boy hesitated for a moment before following her sashaying hips.

Street after street passed them by as the boy tried to make small talk. The girl answered in short sentences, still trying to keep the pretty tone to her voice. A small alley came up on her right, and she halted.

Oh, I know this place! This is a short cut,” she lied, holding out her hand for his. He took it without thinking, and she tugged him down the gloomy passage.

They met no one. Heard nothing. It seemed as if they were in their own little bubble. Perfect, the girl thought, a sly smile on her face.

So, where does this lead to?” the boy asked, peering back over his shoulders as the darkness engulfed them, taking them away from the comforting, orange street lights.

Somewhere special,” she replied vaguely.

When she felt sure that no one would see nor hear them, she pulled the boy towards her before pushing him against the wall. He dropped the duffel bag in shock, and they both heard the clanging of metal.

Frozen, the boy stayed tight against the wall. She reached down and slowly unzipped the bag. Drawing a knife from its depths, she held it up, so it glinted in the slither of moonlight that came from between the buildings.

This was it.

The first one.

The first boy she would ever kill. 

~

Thanks for reading! Feedback appreciated! 🙂 

Horsey Horsey

Hey guys!

So, although I haven’t finished my novel – the original fiction one, not the Teen Wolf one – I thought I would tell you guys about it.

This is the summary I put on my NaNoWriMo profile:

When a terrified-looking horse runs into her school at the end of the day, Izzy doesn’t hesitate in using her instincts to catch him. And when an equally terrified-looking owner follows, saying she’s gonna send him to the knackers yard, Izzy just has to step in. She is given two weeks: two weeks to get an abused horse to trust again; two weeks to get placed in the regional one-day-event; two weeks to get over her own fear of being in the saddle after her mum’s devastating accident. 

Whaddya think? I know it’s gonna take helluvalot of editing before it’s ready to be shown to the world (hehe) but yeah. :3

[Pst: anyone got an idea for a title?]

Anyone here do NaNoWriMo? What was your novel about? Have you finished the novel? Did you reach your word count?

Oh, and I probably won’t post everyday from now on. Maybe every other or something? 🙂

Thanks for sticking with me, guys, and my crazy posts.

All this for a book. I think it was worth it.

All this for a book.
I think it was worth it.

How To Write Good Fanfiction – Last Tips and Why To Write It!

Hi guys! I realised that it wasn’t the greatest idea to have a ‘titles’ one, because I have already done one on titles. So today is last writing tips and, finally, why to write it!

Some last tips/must-do’s/know’s for you fanfictional writers out there:

  • Make sure you know the characters as well as you can, unless they’re a minor character in the story! If, in the original story/TV program/etc, they are a background character – well, then you can feel free to make it up.
  • Make sure your OCs aren’t perfect people – One Direction writers, I’m looking at you!
  • Make sure the plot is an original one.
  • If your writing a oneshot, make sure you tell the whole story – though, don’t drag it on.
  • If you’re writing a longer story, then tell the whole story and make it satisfying – but, again, don’t drag it on.

So, finally, why should you write fanfiction?

Fanfictional writers are fans – clue is in the name. They love what they’re writing about (obviously) and tend to write because they have lots more ideas that just aren’t canon (in line with the story the author has written).

Writers of fanfiction love what they’ve written – especially if it’s a long one, as it’s like creating a whole new episode/book. So when you’re reviewing a story make sure you take that into account!

But, most of all, make sure you write fanfiction – and original fiction, I guess – because you enjoy it. 

Questions? Shoot. 🙂

HAVE FUN!

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How To Write Good Fanfiction – Longer Works

Well hey. Wasn’t Doctor Who just absolutely amazing?! EEEK! I saw it at the cinema and… wow. Anyway, on to today – longer works for fanfictions – although,  I guess these apply to fictions, too. 🙂 In fact, many of these do [apply to fiction]!

So, first off, when I mean ‘longer works’, I mean, you know, longer pieces of writing. Like, book length at the most – and more than, say, 3 chapters.  

A lot of people think they can write a book – but can they? To write a longer work, you need perseverance, a knack for taking criticism both lightly and to heart and, most of all, an awesome story line.

So let’s start with perseverance. Don’t start unless you think you can do it – you’ll just disappoint yourself, and, if you publish it along the way, your readers, too. If you don’t think you can do a huge story just yet, then why not try a oneshot (see below)? Or perhaps a two- or three-shot (when it’s two or three chapters instead). Make sure you stick with it; right ’til the end.

Step two: make sure you have a good plot. And, when you put it all together, make sure that most parts of every chapter contribute to the story in some way, be it character development, moving the plot forward or setting the scene. Oh, and if it’s fanfiction, make sure that you’re not just writing out a scene from the TV, cause that’s really not original. If it’s an alternate ending, then make sure you say that – but don’t repeat the scene before hand (unless it’s really really important to that plot).

Trois: I know, I know, although you want to get to the action and get your story out because it’s bubbling in your head, but spread it out. Don’t info dump everything in the first chapter – leave hints, and don’t make each of your chapters book length, either. Ending on a cliffhanger is good, too! Think of a book or good fanfiction that you’ve read, and note how the author manages to spread it out.

Quatre: bear in mind when you’re writing a fanfiction, the people reading it know and love the characters like their friends. So make sure that you write them well. If you’re not, and you know that they’re not going to be like the characters, make sure you notify them by putting ‘OOCness’ or something like that – which means Out Of Character-ness. Also see OC’s, below.

And then, finally, you’re at the end of your work – congratulations! Now, make sure that you end your story with a satisfactory ending for your readers. For example, if the Doctor has saved the day, you could leave it saying, ‘He flipped a switch on the TARDIS console, with a quiet muttering of, “Allons-y!”‘ Or, if you’re evil/whatever, you could leave it on a cliffhanger; such as, ‘The Doctor turned to the TARDIS. As he stepped over the threshold, where his foot had been, the ground bubbled.’ Now, this could be a cliffhanger – or simply marshy ground. Sometimes, it’s nice to let your readers decide. 🙂

Hope that helped! Questions? Do you like this ‘series’? Ask away! 🙂

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How To Write Good Fanfiction – Summary

Writing a good summary – for any story, fanfiction or not – is pretty much one of the only ways to get people interested in it (the other being Title – see below). Note: this article is also good for advice for original fictional stories.

Now, a summary is telling you, in a few short sentences, what your story is about. If it’s a one shot – well, good for you, you only have a few hundred words, perhaps a thousand or two, in your story, so that’s easy. Just pick a basic line to sum it up. For example, for my story ‘Fireworks’ (Harry Potter), which is a oneshot, my summary is, ‘James loves Lily but she refuses to say yes. How does he finally convince her?’ See: easy.

If it’s longer, it’s a bit harder. This applies for original fictional stories, too. So, for a story I’ve written, titled ‘The Bermuda Triangle’ (Doctor Who), my summary is: ‘When Amy and Rory decide to stay at home instead of travel with him, the Doctor is left confused as to what to do; that is, until he gets a May-Day message on his Psychic Paper from the HMAS Bellatrix. When he arrives on the vessel, he discovers that not all is at it seems, and that a young Seaman may be the ship’s last hope.’ I haven’t updated this in yonks, but I have a fair idea of where it’s going. I think.

To get a good summary, you just have to summarise the story. Yeah, I know, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Just pick the most important things. For example, in the one above, the point that gets the Doctor into the meat of the story is receiving a May-Day message on his Psychic Paper. So this gets the ball rolling, as it were. Saying that Amy and Rory don’t want to travel at him makes fans think, ‘Well well well, what’s goin’ on ‘ere then?’ (Though, they might all not be policemen.) So they’re interested. And, finally, the last hook – saying ‘it’s not all as it seems and that a young Seaman may be the ship’s last hope.’ This gets the readers really interested. They want to find out what’s wrong, and why this particular Seaman can help.

So that’s basically it: if you’re really stuck, pick out the three most important things: a hook at the start, a bit of meat that gets the ball rolling, and a final hook at the end if they’re not completely convinced. Remember, you have about 5 seconds when you’re reader clicks on the story to get their attention, so make sure your first line is equally as good as your summary is! Otherwise that little ‘back’ button at the top will become very appetizing to your readers.

I don’t know why I’m making readers sound like fish, but we’ll go with it.

So yes, and this applies for original fictional stories, too.

Questions, thoughts, queries? Shoot. 🙂

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Why Are Titles So Hard, Dammit

As much as I like titles – when they come to me – I’m finding them pretty much impossible to think up at the moment.

I mean, how hard can it be to think up a title, right?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Wrong.

I’ve been trying for, ooh, just over a month to come up with a title for my original fiction horse story. I thought it would be easy – turns out I was wrong. And don’t even get me started on my Teen Wolf one, jesus.

So… What makes a good title?

  • Catchy – something that sticks in your mind. For example, Peter Pan.
  • Hints at the plot – for example, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is about Sirius Black – the Prisoner of Azkaban.
  • Something people like, or makes it memorable – eg The Fault in Our Stars
  • And if it’s shortened, it doesn’t make something weird or rude. For example – the initials don’t spell something like FUCK, or it doesn’t mean something else – eg Flight for Freedom (made up title) would go to FF – fanfiction.net, a well known fanfiction site.

Dammit I hate titles. The list I have at the moment… Well, they are all, admittedly, good titles (yeah, I asked people for help), but none of them really fit the stories I’m writing.

How do you do titles? Do they come to you easily, or are they a last-minute job?

– Hannah 😀

Oh, and my NaNoWriMo word count, which I will update at the end of the day so this will disappear later, currently stands at 1386. 🙂

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Why Am I Doing This… Again.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH.

Phew.

Ok, now we’ve got that out of the way, we can get onto the main topic of today’s discussion: National Novel Writing Month, more commonly known as NaNoWriMo.

Last November was my first NaNo, and I managed to pump out 40,000 words (I took part in the YWP) and win. In June (I think) I failed to complete the Camp – seriously, though, when did I think a talking Sylvanian Family was going to be a good idea?!

So anyway, this year, I am participating in the 2013 NaNo, with an annoyingly low word count of 20,000 (I might boost it up, who knows). ‘Why so low?’ I hear you ask – well, I also have my GCSE mocks in November, too! Yippity-yay. Obviously  I cannot wait.

So, in between going for A’s and A*’s in my mocks, I am also going to try and hit my word count. If I do not post for a while, you will know I have drowned in the sea of words.

Last year, I was the only one out of two other friends who tried for NaNoWriMo to even make it to Day 2. This year, I’m probably the only one stupid enough to attempt it.

So what am I writing? Well, I’m rebelling again – I have an original fiction novel planned, as well as a Teen Wolf (yay!) fanfiction planned. Can’t wait to get both of them started, I honestly can’t. Can’t wait to get both of them finished, too…

So whilst I am currently stressing out over planning and revision, and will be hyperactive due to no sleep and the stress of exams soon enough, are you guys attempting NaNoWriMo? Why? Why ever not, if you aren’t!?

Add me on NaNoWriMo YWP – MidnightBeast1098. 

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