Wrapping Up The Week (4th Dec – 10th Dec)

This week has felt like the longest one in a while. If you didn’t know, I took a week off from blogging due to my boyfriend being admitted to hospital for an operation on Tuesday and I’ve been helping him recover since (you can read more about it here). For that reason I haven’t really got a lot to show on this weeks wrap up.

My brain has been all over the place and the stress I’ve been feeling hasn’t helped at all. I even took a couple days off from writing because I literally couldn’t form a sentence in my head. I needed it though and I am feeling a lot better. So fingers crossed I can get back to blogging more from now on, even if it’s just 3 posts a week until things get back to normal.

Some good news though is that I start my new job tomorrow, which I am super excited about. Now that my boyfriend is able to move around on his own, I can safely go to work knowing he won’t hurt himself. Starting the new job will also offer me a distraction from all the anxiety I’ve been feeling lately (although I know I’ll still worry about him).

As I haven’t done a lot of reading there are no reviews to show, so I’ll go straight onto the next section…

I am currently reading…

For the first time in a while I am actually reading 3 books at once. This is due to the fact that I am still reading Glass Sword and Angelfall, but I also got accepted for a book on Netgalley that I couldn’t wait to read. And the book is…

Everless

I can’t put this book down, I am absolutely loving it and whenever I get a chance I am switching to the kindle app on my phone (until I buy a kindle at Christmas) and I am reading as much as I can. I’m over halfway now and should probably finish it tomorrow if I’m lucky. It is due to come out on January 2nd and is being published by HarperTeen. Also, look how gorgeous that cover is!

Other Fun Stuff…

I wouldn’t say that I’ve had a lot of fun stuff going on for me this week. It’s mainly been filled with trips to the hospital and doctors, giving medication to my boyfriend and generally running around for him like a headless chicken. Not that I’m complaining, it makes a change me looking after him, and I definitely feel that it’s brought us closer.

My writing is getting back on track and so far I have 42,000 words, something I am so proud of. I worked out that I’m about halfway through the story I want to tell and the next few chapters that I’ve planned have me excited. Fingers crossed I can have a first draft done before my birthday (which is in March, so quite a while away).

page-break

I hope that your week has been going well and you got lots of reading done! Hopefully you’ll be seeing a little more of me over the next week (as long as work doesn’t take up all my time).

Wrapping Up November & Getting Excited For Christmas!

We can officially get excited for Christmas now!

I have no idea where the last four weeks went, how is it the last month of 2017 already?! It seems that I filled my November with so many different activities that I didn’t notice it passing by at all. Not only was I searching for a new job (which I will be starting next month), my dad also came to visit and I decided to really knuckle down with my writing efforts.

While I didn’t take part of NaNoWriMo, I was writing throughout the whole month and the last week or so is when I really started churning out my novel at a rapid pace. I started the month with rewriting my first 15,000 words, as it was in first person POV and I wanted it to be third person (btw, so glad I made the change) and at this moment I am nearing 33,000 words. I am very happy with that and worked out that I am about a third of the way through writing (I have an ending in mind, it’s just filling in the gaps). So November has been a very successful month.

I also went ahead and deleted my old twitter account to set up a new one, which you can find here. It would be great if I could connect with more people, especially on different platforms. Also, I reached over 100 followers on my blog in less than two months which is great. While the numbers don’t matter too much, it is great to see that people enjoy what I am putting out there into the world.

Unfortunately, I haven’t done a lot of reading this month (but I am currently reading two books that should have reviews up next week if I’m lucky). So, here are the books I reviewed this November.

Books I Read…

Throne Of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass

It was so easy to give this book 5 stars after I read it. I cannot believe it took me so long to pick up this series and now I am waiting on the second one to be delivered to me. You can check out my review here.

A Darker Shade Of Magic by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade Of Magic

Again, another series I had heard so much about and finally picked up. Once again, I gave a book five stars because this was a perfect read and made me fall even more in love with the fantasy genre. If you want to read my thoughts, you can see my review here.

page-break

Like I said, I didn’t read a lot this month and if I hadn’t hit a reading slump I’m sure I could have managed more (or at least finished Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard). Sometimes life gets in the way and I’m learning to accept that it’s okay. I’m just glad that I haven’t had a writer’s block on my novel in a while (I hope I haven’t jinxed myself).

Now that the holidays are coming up (and I’m away at the end of December in Ireland) I should have some more time to get reading when work finishes for the year.

How has your month been? Let me know in the comments below!

Wrapping Up The Week (20th Nov – 26th Nov)

Why do the weekends always go by so quickly? I cannot wait for the Christmas holidays to come around so we can lounge about doing very little and eating as much as we want (food coma anyone?).

Once again I had a very busy week. I heard back from a couple of jobs who offered me the positions, but I am still holding out on one that I’m hoping will contact me within the next few days. Fingers crossed, because that is the job I want (and it pays really well, too, which always helps).

As well as that I have been getting stuck into my writing and I couldn’t be happier. All of a sudden I have these great ideas pouring into my head, I have come up with the ending of my first book (dramatic twist lined up that no one will see coming…check) and I am so excited. Last night I didn’t get to sleep until half 1 because I was typing away and managed to write 3,300 words, way more than the 1,000 I set myself to write each day. My brain is a little tired today so I’m not expecting to write nearly as much as that.

Books I read and reviewed…

If you are looking for a book review…I don’t have any to offer this week and I can only apologise for that. I am still making my way through Glass Sword and for some reason I am struggling. The book isn’t bad by any means, but I’m just not in the right frame of mind to read it at the moment. I might take a pause with it and start something a little lighter.

I am currently reading…

Glass Sword

Like I said in the above section, I am still reading this, but I am going to take a break from it. Maybe letting my own writing takeover isn’t the best thing, but you gotta go with the flow sometimes. I’m sure I will get back into it eventually as I do want to finish these books for when the final instalment is released next year.

Posts from the week…

Having A Huge Book Clear Out

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m Thankful For

What Are You Reading Wednesday And Getting My Writing Mojo Back

First Lines Fridays

Writing And Pinterest: An Epic Love Story

I feel that even though I’ve not read a lot this week, I have still stayed quite productive with my blog. Five blog posts isn’t too bad and I enjoyed writing all of them.

Other Fun Stuff…

IMG_6876

Now that it is less than a week until we can begin to open our advent calendars (mine is a Thornton’s Continental one) and I figured it was time to get my little fibre-optic Christmas tree out. I even bought brand new red and gold baubles, and I still have to head out and buy some tinsel for my bookshelf and mirror. Who else is getting excited? I even changed the background of my laptop to become more festive and I love it!

IMG_6887

I am a self-declared foodie and will try anything as long as it is tasty! Indian is one of my favourite cuisines (nothing beats Italian though) and my boyfriend decided to treat us to my favourite Indian takeaway from MaCh. It is a little out of town, but it is definitely worth the trek! We will often eat at the restaurant itself, but as we were a little tired from our late night we settled for eating in. My favourite dish is Sag Aloo, a mixture of spinach and potatoes which is just divine!

page-break

I hope you enjoyed reading about what I’ve been getting up to and that you are getting into the festive spirit as well!

Writing And Pinterest: An Epic Love Story

Pinterest Story Board

I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend so far. Personally, the weekend is the best time for me to really get to work on my novel as I am not up to much else (apart from doing a bit of shopping here and there). Last night I was up late typing away at my keyboard and I was so deep into it that I didn’t want to stop. In fact, I ended up writing a total of 2,700 ish words in total, which is way more than the 1,000 that I set myself to reach every time I sit down at my laptop. So you can say I was ecstatic, especially after feeling weighed down with writer’s block for the week beforehand.

Me and writers block don’t get along. Whenever it sets in I can find it very difficult to escape and let the creativity flow again, something I have mention in my previous posts. I don’t have a lot of ways to get around it, that is, until I watched a video by Sasha Alsberg on her YouTube channel abookutopia and she mentioned that Pinterest really helps her when it comes to receiving inspiration.

I created a Pinterest account a while ago, but it was mainly to look for images that I could use to draw from or even some workout ideas (I do a lot of at home workouts), but I had never thought to use it for my story. So, the other day I set up a secret board that only I could see and I got to work searching for images that reminded me of what I had created in my mind.

In the screenshot above you can see a few of the images that relate to the town that my main characters lives in and the type of landscape that surrounds it. It’s very rural, with a giant forest and mountains, lots of cobbled stones and beautiful scenery. Of course, I have multiple boards for different places that will be in my story (but they would give away some key details so I’ll keep them to myself.)

When it comes to actually writing the descriptive scenes, Pinterest and these images, have been particularly helpful. While I am not writing exactly what I see in the pictures, there are elements of all in my story. And it is obviously working because I have been on a role!

page-break

Inspiration is all around us and we only have to look to find it. So for me, writing and Pinterest work together perfectly and I can’t wait to explore it some more!

Do you like to use Pinterest as well? Let me know in the comments below.

When Life Gets Stressful And The Writing Halts

 

This is a visual representation of how I am feeling.

You know that feeling when life is so crazy and stressful that you just wish you could sleep and have everything be okay when you wake up? That’s me at the moment.

The last week has been so busy that my brain feels fried. I’m currently looking for a new job which involves attending a lot of job interviews (I had 4 in a week), researching the companies and registering with recruitment agencies (which means filling out lots of paperwork). I feel that all my spare time is being taken up by those activities and I have no energy left for my writing.

Somehow I have managed to keep writing blog posts over the last week (how, I don’t know, but I won’t question it). Unfortunately, my novel has fallen to the wayside because I simply don’t have the energy. My brain doesn’t want to work and it’s frustrating. I have all these ideas that I keep writing down on little notepads and the story is coming together perfectly in my head. Just not on my open Word document. Which is constantly open.

I’m sure a lot of you have felt this way at some point when it comes to your own writing. Last night I managed to write a little, but as I was forcing the words out I felt that they weren’t working for me. So for the next couple of days I’m going to try and rest my brain. I will plonk myself down to watch some Outlander, exercise to get my blood pumping and pray that my motivation returns.

I wish I could say it was just my writing that was suffering, but I haven’t wanted to pick up a book to read either. It could be that I’m just not that into the one I currently have so I may be changing it soon. Either way, it’s not a great situation.

This may have been a little bit ranty (something I wasn’t sure I should post, but maybe you all have some advice for me), however I feel so much better talking about it. It’s amazing how easy it is to fall into a slump, but I am determined to get myself out of it.

page-break

How has your week been going? I would love to know so leave me a little comment down below so we can chat!

The Writer’s Tag

florian-klauer-489

I love seeing new tags pop up and when I saw this over on The Orangutan Librarian I just knew I had to take part. And if you like the look of the questions and want to give it a go, you can always take part as well!

While I am not taking part in NaNoWriMo (I’m unable to commit to something like that at this moment in time) I am currently writing a novel, one that I hope to be able to publish one day.

WHAT GENRES, STYLES, AND TOPICS DO YOU WRITE ABOUT?

All the books that I’ve written and completed (a total of 3) have been Young Adult and all had elements that were supernatural to some degree.

The first novel I ever wrote was about Angels and Demons (and a girl stuck between the worlds) although if I read it back now I would probably cringe myself to death. My second novel was about ghosts and the afterlife, with a girl dying and being able to see the other side (I even had a sequel in the works). The last one I finished was partly dystopian as well, with the main character being able to control the elements and being whisked off to a secret site to train with the best to fight the evil in the world.

So as you can see, there’s a mixture. My current novel will be Fantasy as that is what I am loving at the moment and I cannot wait to get more into it.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING?

I first started writing when I was 14, as I was 15 when I finished my first novel. Before then I had written short stories, until one day my mum challenged me during the summer holidays to write my own novel (she even wrote her own so you could say it runs in the family). I’ve always been a fan of the make believe when I would play dress up with my sister and pretend we were witches in a special school (like Hogwarts but better in our opinion).

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO WRITE?

For some reason I always get the urge to write at night, which isn’t the best as I get tired quickly. Coffee is my best companion at that point. I’m trying to train myself to write when it’s still light outside but it’s not really working for me.

WHAT PARTS OF WRITING DO YOU LOVE AND HATE?

I love…

  • The beginning. When I’ve just started to create the world that I am picturing in my head and introducing my characters, putting a little bit of my soul into each. While they are never a true reflection of myself there are always elements in them, making them unique to me.
  • When I can clearly see where the story is going to go, the growth of the characters, the twists and turns that they will encounter. It makes writing so much easier when it’s clear.
  • The feeling I get when I write, like I’m doing something that matters. I’m not saying that I’m going to change the world, but I want people to one day read my work and love it as much as I do. I want to see my name on a bookshelf in Waterstones or on the Book Depository and know that I made it.
  • When I don’t have to think too much and by that, I mean the words just flow and they sound right. When I get to that point I can write for hours.

I dislike (because hate is a strong word)…

  • Writer’s block. And for some reason it always happens to me and it is so difficult to get out of.
  • When I can’t get it perfect the first time round. I know that the first draft you write is never the one that gets published, but I am a perfectionist and it’s the worst.
  • Never being able to commit to one novel. I am trying to break the habit of me writing a finished novel, forgetting about editing it and moving on to another because I got a brand new idea. That way of thinking won’t make me a published author.
  • When I get embarrassed. I don’t know why I do because I am proud of my work but whenever my boyfriend reads it over my shoulder I can’t help but try and hide it. I need to work on my confidence.

HOW DO YOU OVERCOME WRITER’S BLOCK?

I can’t. I just have to wait it out or read over what I’ve already written, hoping for a light bulb to go off in my head and the ideas to spring forth. I need a better way of dealing with it and if anyone has any suggestions I will be eternally grateful!

ARE YOU WORKING ON SOMETHING AT THE MOMENT?

Yes, my new fantasy novel (with a twist). And it isn’t actually Young Adult. I’m having a go at the New Adult genre and my reason for this is that I am the age of my characters. I don’t want them to be 16 and having their first kiss or first boyfriend. My female protagonist is living her life, going out for drinks with her best friend, having one night stands and making mistakes. I want her to be strong, independent, imperfect and fearless. Something she will have to be to survive in a strange world. I hope I’ve piqued your interests.

WHAT ARE YOUR WRITING GOALS THIS YEAR?

Considering 2017 is almost over (how has it gone by so quickly?) I’m going to do them for 2018. I want to finish my current novel, edit it, send it off to an editor and get it published. While that last one may not be accomplished within a year (stranger things have happened though) I have the drive to do the rest. I am feeling motivated like I never have before. This is my dream and I want it.

page-break

I’m not sure who to tag really, but if you are a writer and want to take part then make sure to link back to me and comment your answers for me to see. I love reading what other people put so have fun!

Review: One Dark Throne

One Dark Throne

Title: One Dark Throne

Author: Kendare Blake

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

Year: 2017

Wow. I think starting this review with that one word is a great start because this book was incredible. As soon as I finished Three Dark Crowns I dived straight into the sequel and I loved it so much more than the first (if that was even possible). The UK cover is, once again, better than the US and beautiful, with the sisters abilities wrapping around the sword.

The second instalment picks up where the first left off and Kendare Blake doesn’t keep us waiting. The action begins practically straight away. Compared to the first book, the pace is a lot quicker and not once did I feel like I was plodding through the chapters. The plot was so much darker than the first too, something that I was hoping for more of in the sequel. I got just what I wanted, with the sisters plotting each others’ demise and evil schemes falling into place. Katharine definitely shone in that department (but we always knew she was harsher than the other two from the first book alone).

In terms of character development, it was greatly improved with this book and I felt a connection with some that I didn’t care for in the first book. My favourite sister from the first book, Arisnoe, is still the one I relate to and love the most, and she definitely got her chance to shine. Mirabella grew on me, slightly redeeming herself for some of her actions in the first book, and I couldn’t help but root for her too. I even felt sorry for Katharine (which isn’t easy when she’s one of the most evil in the book). And in a story where two out of the three sisters has to die? It makes it very complicated when I care about two of them. I still couldn’t make my mind up about who I wanted to be Queen. In a perfect world none of them would die and they could live happily ever after with the people they love. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that happy endings exist in Fennbirn.

The relationships between character were put to test throughout the book and the romantic ones in particular felt much more genuine this time round. My personal favourite has to be Arisnoe and Billy who had such a sweet friendship that was natural and made me smile when reading. I can’t not mention Jules, the kind of friend to Arisnoe that I would love to have for myself. She is strong, protective and her story definitely took a few turns along the way.

Having gotten used to the POV that Blake uses in the first book, I found it a lot easier to keep track of all the characters and the events taking place. It flowed so perfectly and there was no stopping with this book. The tension kept building, the story growing more complicated. There is violence, blood shed and so much emotion. Especially towards the end of the book. You can’t predict where this story will go and there were twists that I didn’t expect at all. I am beyond excited for the third one. I just hate that I have to wait until next year.

It is so hard to review this book without giving too much away and spoiling it, but it is definitely one of my favourite reads of the year so far. I am going to give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Book That Made Me A Reader

reading with a coffee

Growing up, my mum always pushed me and my sister towards reading to cure our boredom (and to challenge me to write my own stories, too). As a pre-teen I grew up with the Rainbow Magic book series, My Secret Unicorn stories and the incredible Roald Dahl. I was a fantasy girl, through and through; nothing excited me more than a magical story full of wonder and adventure. But that was when I was very young.

When I reached Secondary School I stopped reading for a little while until I saw a film that made me fall head over heels with the supernatural world (the only time I have seen the film before I read the book). I’m talking about the series that made all teenage girls fall in love with the sparkling vampire…Twilight.

twilight-series

I can’t even begin to describe how much I loved this series at the time. I feel that this book series is often the one that made people turn into avid readers. While I haven’t read the series in a very long time (and it’s probably best that I don’t), I can admit that it was the one that made me fall in love with reading. From that book I found so many amazing authors and their incredible stories, such as The Mortal Instruments, The House of Night series, The Vampire Diaries, The Hunger Games and many more.

Twilight made me join Goodreads, where I connected with like-minded people who enjoyed doing the same thing as me. I discovered stories that I otherwise wouldn’t have seen and, thanks to the Book Depository, I could order books that had only been released in the US. Stephanie Meyer helped to introduce me to the world of Young Adult books that I am still loving to this day.

This book in particular opened up a whole new world for me. It allowed me to explore different worlds, meet incredible characters and the books that I went on to read have influenced the way I write my own novels. I have taken the good aspects from them all and I let them mould me into the writer I am today. So when I get my first novel published I will be sure to thank them all for opening my eyes to magic that is reading.

What book made you become hooked on reading?

Review: Red Queen

Red Queen

Title: Red Queen (Paperback)

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: Orion

Year: 2015

When I bought this book two years ago I was beyond excited to start it, so I did. But life has a way of getting in the way and I never finished it. I finally got around to picking it up again not that long ago and realised I couldn’t remember what had happened. You could even see the last dog-eared page (around ¾ of the way though). So, I started it all over again and I can honestly say that I enjoyed it more the second time (I started to remember bits as I made my way through it).

Our main character, Mare, is strong and badass, something I love in a female protagonist and she doesn’t need anyone by her side to accomplish things. She lives in a world where the Silvers, those with Silver blood and exceptional powers, rule over the Reds, people like you and me. Mare has always been Red, through and through, until one day she isn’t and her world is turned upside town. She has powers she never knew could be real for someone like her and it takes her down a dangerous path. Playing the role of a long-lost Silver princess, she has to be careful, because getting caught could be life-threatening.

Victoria Aveyard writes beautifully, creating a world that I imagined so vividly as I read the words. I flew through the book and I was kept wanting to know more. Some of the twists that happened were unexpected, making me enjoy the book all the more. I love a book with betrayal, conflict and secrets, and Red Queen definitely has all that and more. While this book reminded me of a few other dystopian novels I’d read in the past, that didn’t make it any less interesting and I thought that the fantasy element gave it something that the others don’t have.

Some elements of this book were predictable and others weren’t (I think it all depends on how perceptive you are). I would say the only downfall to this book is the romance. Personally, I love a good romance story (one that is believable, mind you) and I felt that some of the romantic relationships were a little forced and I just couldn’t love them. But, at the end of the day, this book is about much more than romance and the fantasy element is more intriguing to me.

I have the next instalment, Glass Sword, sitting on my shelf, waiting to be read. I am hoping that it is as good as the first. This book is going to receive 4 out of 5 stars from me.

Review: Into The Water

into the water

Title: Into The Water (Hardback)

Author: Paula Hawkins

Publisher: Doubleday (UK)

Year: 2017

It has been I while since I wrote a book review (almost 5 years ago when I had a blog on BlogSpot) so I may be a little rusty. Before I read this book, I picked up The Girl On The Train and it was the book that got me back into my love of reading. However, that was over a year ago and when I saw that she had brought another book out I knew I had to have it. And if anything, I loved it even more than her first. I had never read a book from the thriller genre before (apart from a failed attempt of reading IT when I was 15 and getting 300 pages in before giving up) but Paula Hawkins’ writing makes me want to read more of this type.

What I love about her writing style is that it flows at such a pace that I find myself trying to turn the pages as quickly as I can to reach the ending. I needed to find out what happened to these characters in this book. There was so much mystery surrounding this book and I couldn’t put it down. I will warn you, you must pay attention when reading this book. There are a lot of characters and with each chapter being in a different person’s viewpoint, it can be tricky to remember who is who and what their part is. Personally, I love this kind of writing style because it keeps you on edge until the end of the book.

The twists and turns that this book took me on had me guessing who the real villain was until the very end. I’m normally pretty good at sussing out who did what and I was truly surprised by the reveal. Into The Water is a dark tale that is carefully fabricated to seem so real.

There are a lot of deep, dark topics that this book covers such as murder, suicide, infidelity, rape and a lot of family issues. While these things aren’t always the easiest to read, this book shares a snippet of what happens every day. The characters in this book are flawed, very flawed, but I find that interesting because let’s face it, are any of us perfect? Yes, there were a few characters that I didn’t like but you get that with every book you read.

If you love a good thriller that hooks you in until the end, then I would recommend that you pick this book up soon. Don’t be intimidated by its many characters, for me that made it all the more interesting. You won’t regret reading this book, especially if you liked The Girl On The Train.

I’m going to give this 4 out of 5 stars.