Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 End of the Year Bookish Survey

I was debating what 'end of year post' that I wanted to write when I stumbled across the 2015 End of the Year Bookish Survey created by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner and it alludes me as to how I didn't know about it before! Anyway, I've now seen a fair few of these posts and since I know how long they can be I want to keep it interesting and also challenged myself to answer each question with only 1 sentence (though it's very possible I will have to change it to 2...)

Number of Books You Read: 131 which is 11 more than my goal
Number of Re-Reads: Goodreads has failed me... but I know there's at least 4
Genre You Read the Most From: Fantasy

1) Best book you read in 2015?
Starts straight away with a hard one, the first that comes to mind is Rebels (The Reverians #2) by Sarah Noffke

2) Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn't?
The Fire Sermon (The Fire Sermon #1) by Francesca Haig which I could barely force myself to finish.

3) Most surprising (in a good way) book you read?
I don't usually read contemporary but made an exception for Simon VS the Homo Sapiens by Becky Albertalli and couldn't be happier about it.

4) Book you 'pushed' the most people to read (and they did)?
As mentioned in my Christmas book tag, I will rave about First Year (The Black Mage #1) by Rachel E. Carter to anyone and everyone that will listen - some did and also loved it!
5) Best series you started in 2015? Best sequel of 2015? Best series ender of 2015?
It has to be The Lucidites series by Sarah Noffke for all of these!

6) Favourite new author you discovered in 2015?
Not only is Heidi Leilig (author of The Girl from Everywhere) a great person, she's a phenomenal writer.

7) Best book from a genre you don't typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Before Outlander by Diana Gabaldon I had never read an adult book so it was out of my comfort zone and something I don't particularly read, but I ended up loving it and not just for Jamie... a large part of it maybe but not all ;)
8) Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
A recent favourite and one I couldn't get enough of: Pirate Princess (Pirate Princess #1) by Catherine Banks.

9) Book you read in 2015 that you are most likely to re-read next year?
Whether or not my heart can handle it again, I'd love to re-read Frostbite (The Dragonian #3) by Adrienne Woods before the next book so that emotions resurface and I'll love it all the more.

10) Favourite cover of a book you read in 2015?
Just look at Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2) by Sara Raasch and tell me it's not stunning... you can't.
11) Most memorable character of 2015?
Celaena from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas is all kinds of awesome.

12) Most beautifully written book read in 2015?
Everything about The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Curse #1) by Marie Rutkoski is beautiful but the writing in particular is just breathtaking - I got so caught up in the book that it's quite possible I forgot to breathe at times, as well as eat and sleep!

13) Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2015?
Something that I've noticed more recently is an emphasis on feminism in YA and The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury opened me eyes to another aspect of it, where the girl doesn't take on more 'masculine' qualities to be seen as a strong female character.

14) Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?
There's nothing I can pinpoint as to why I didn't read Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo until late September, except that I hadn't gotten around to it beforehand! In the end I practically binge-read the series XD
15) Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2015?
"Libraries were full of ideas - perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons." - Throne of Glass

16) Shortest & longest book you read in 2015?
At 9 pages The Night I Lost You (The Lynburn Legacy #1.5) by Sarah Rees Brennan is easily the shortest and with 887 more pages, Outlander is one beast of a book and the longest I've read yet.

17) Book that shocked you the most?
The ending to The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1) by Jodi Meadows... No, I still just can't. I refuse to believe it okay?
18) OTP of the year (you will go down with this ship!)
Instead of saying me with every book boyfriend I have - I'm a lost cause in that regard XD I have to go with Valek & Yelena from Shadow Study (Study #4) by Maria V. Snyder because I live for their moments together!

19) Favourite non-romantic relationship of the year
It's a strange answer now that I think about it, but from The Novice (Summoner #1) by Taran Matharu I love Fletcher's partnership with his demon Ignatius - it helps that Ignatius is simply adorable.

20) Favourite book you read in 2015 from an author you've read previously
I read the previous books in the An Unfortunate Fairy Tale series by Chanda Hahn for the first time around 3 years ago and then again in 2014, before picking up the final book this year and OMG IT IS AMAZING!

21) Best book you read in 2015 that you read based solely on a recommendation from someone else/peer pressure
Usually I don't do this because I have to be interested after the synopsis, but after hearing tonnes and tonnes of good things about Looking for Alaska by John Green I picked it up - even after I'd decided not to pick up any more of his books! And I enjoyed it even more than I'd thought (though not as much as TFIOS)

22) Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?
Pretty much all the boys from all the books <3 <3

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21936988-the-sin-eater-s-daughter?from_search=true&search_version=service23) Best 2015 debut you read?
Most of this year's debuts remain on my TBR with the exception of The Sin Eater's Daughter which I've already mentioned (it's worth repeating) that I loved.

24) Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year?
The beautiful island settings in The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig enveloped me in the world Heilig created in the best possible way.

25) Book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read?
For reasons I won't go into, at the beginning of 2015 I wasn't in the best place and The Duff by Kody Keplinger still managed to put a smile on my face (unlike the movie which was just cringey)

26) Book that made you cry in 2015?
27) Hidden gem of the year?
I haven't seen many people mention Going Down in Flames by Chris Cannon so I would consider it to be a hidden gem - it definitely deserves more recognition (and more people loving it so I can rave with them!)

28) Book that crushed your soul?

29) Most unique book you read in 2015?
Told in the form of a letter, Stolen by Lucy Christopher definitely sticks out to me with it's twisted storyline on top of that.

30) Book that made you the most mad (doesn't necessarily mean you didn't like it)?
Fallen by Lauren Kate is one of the most frustrating books I have ever read in my life. My review goes into more detail but basically the protagonist has no spine, the love interest is a douche and it all felt kind of pointless... other than that and my hundred more problems it was the best! *laughs while cringing*

1) New favourite book blog you discovered in 2015?
I could create a 10 page list of all the amazing blogs & people I found this year.

2) Favourite review that you wrote in 2015?
Occasionally I can get a little... enthusiastic (aka raving) in my reviews when I either really love or really hate a book and they're simply so much fun to write! The two sides are Apprentice (The Black Mage #2) by Rachel E. Carter which most already know I adore & Fallen (Fallen #1) by Lauren Kate which you can work out my feelings towards from the review ahah

3) Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
My Experience with NaNoWriMo was great in that I could record while also sharing all my thoughts and I know it's something I'll look back on as I continue writing.
4) Best even that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc)?
This year I've been lucky enough to attend a few author signings/events including YALC in July that was simply amazing and I got to share the experience with lots of lovely people which is always a plus!

5) Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?
My 1 year Blogoversary was a really great moment because I was looking back at so many amazing memories as well as planning to make more in the future :) also I like giving away books!

6) Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Making time to do both became a real struggle at times when I had other commitments and also lacked enough motivation (reading slumps are the bane of any readers existence), often it was sleep calling.

7) Most popular post this year on your blog?
The response to announcing my own etsy shop called Enchanted Bottle Craft selling book related jewellery etc. blew me away. With the most comments & views I've ever seen on the blog, I couldn't quite beieve how well received it was and has been since :D you guys are the best

8) Post you wished got a little more love?
Maybe my Reader Problems Tag simply because as this post is reminding me, it took a lot of time to answer all the questions ahah

9) Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores etc)?
It's possible I was very late in discovering the wonder that is audiobooks (or at least I'm pretty sure it was this year) and I've listened to about 10 since then.
https://www.goodreads.com/user_challenges/1853216
10) Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
The only challenge I set myself was the Goodreads Reading Challenge for 120 books and I did surpass it *dances with books*

1) One book you didn't get to in 2015 but will be your number 1 priority in 2016?
Back at the start of October I pre-ordered The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase & the Gods of Asgard #1) by Rick Riordan but it was locked away to be given as a christmas present and now that it's finally in my hands I'm dying to pick it up!

2) Book you are most anticipating for 2016 (non-debut)?
It's got to be Passenger (Passenger #1) by Alexandra Bracken because it's going to be amazing.

3) 2016 debut you are most anticipating?
Keeping with the pirate book theme that I absolutely love, Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman looks great.
4) Series ending/a sequel you are most anticipating in 2016?
After the way The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski ended, it's only natural that I NEED THE WINNER'S KISS! But in the old covers please

5) One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2016?
It would be great if I could set up a blogging schedule and stick with it but the likeliness of that happening right now is zero to none, so I'll settle with continuing to post regularly and trying to improve my content.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26296361-pirate-princess?from_search=true&search_version=service6) A 2016 release you've already read & recommend to everyone
This is an easy one - Pirate Princess (Pirate Princess #1) by Catherine Banks is simply epic. You can see more on why in my review.

And that is all the questions! *phew* I know I went above 1 sentence on many but oh well
I'd love to know your answers, particularly your favourite read this year (it's difficult to pick I know) and in the meantime I hope you all have a wonderful new year.

Lastly, thanks to everyone who's stuck my me and my blog this year - you are the best!

Monday, 28 December 2015

ARC Review: Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1) by Brenda Drake

17669243Goodreads Synopsis:
Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels—magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books—rescue them from a demonic hound.

Jumping into some of the world's most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik's world and her own, before both are destroyed.
 


Review:
***I received the ARC eBook free as a review copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

This book had the makings to be amazing and ticked all the boxes before I picked it up; with the mention of a hot love interest, strong female character, magic and libraries with books it was a must read. Unfortunately these were just tropes that continuously popped up in a way that made me roll my eyes (I even had to laugh at myself writing that list).

It almost felt like I had read the book before, with so many aspects similar to other books (the beginning especially paralleled City of Bones in a way) that in all honesty I probably would have preferred to be reading. Comparisons were therefore unavoidable and didn’t bode well for Thief of Lies – amazing title that also cemented in my brain that the idea for this story was better in theory.

Similarly, the Gia in the synopsis that “would rather fight with boys than kiss them” was nowhere to be seen. Instead I found a girl whose thoughts didn’t match her actions, who was stubborn in the most stupid places just for the hell of it and compliant as a mouse in others, whose powers came easily just when she needed them because the plot demanded it, who didn’t think she was anything special until the guy/people around her continually said so and who chastised herself every few pages while complaining about everything else in her life which got old fast. In the end I couldn’t relate to Gia because I couldn’t understand her.

Arik wasn’t much better with his “we mustn’t be together or the world will end” attitude one minute and then “screw it, she’s hot” way of thinking the next, only to go back again… The boy frustrated me more than anything else. Which nicely sums up my feelings on the book in general and the fact is disappointing because I not only wanted to love Thief of Lies but thought I would – alas, no. Though I'm sure others will.
Favourite Quotes:
“Sentinels are sort of like Mary, aren’t we?” His voice was quiet. “We’re alone in the world, taken from our true parents. I like to think of the libraries as our secret garden. Our escape.”

“The Coming is here, and it is our duty to protect against the evils that will follow. I am not sure what we face, but there is not another bunch I would want to go into battle with than this one.”
“Nor is there a leader I would rather follow than you,” Jaran said as he straightened. “I will fight until my last breath for all that is good.”
“As will I,” Lei said.
“And I,” Kale followed.
Demos smirked. “Such mush.”

“We each have an appointment with death. I’d rather die for a cause than die of old age never having done something important.” 

Thursday, 24 December 2015

The Joy of Christmas Book Tag

I love doing seasonal book tags so it was only natural for me to do a Christmas one <3 after all it is Christmas day tomorrow... So let me start by saying HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!!
    This tag was originally created by the wonderful Novels and Nonsense.

2098336217927395ANTICIPATION: The Christmas excitement is real, what book release(s) are you most anticipating?
As of this moment it's a tie between A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas and Passenger (Passenger #1) by Alexandra Bracken though there are many more that I cannot wait to get my hands on next year :D

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8440277.Rachel_E_CarterCHRISTMAS SONGS & CAROLS: What book or author can you not help but sing it's praises?
I have been known to rave about this author at every occasion, so much so that some of my goodreads friends had to check out her books just to see what I couldn't stop talking about (they loved them as well!) and it's Rachel E. Carter, author of The Black Mage series. Her writing & stories are all amazing.

GINGERBREAD HOUSES: What book or series has wonderful world building?
A few days ago I finished Pirate Princess (Pirate Princess #1) by Catherine Banks which has the most phenomenal world building, where each kingdom is vastly different in the best ways making is so interesting to read. The actual book is amazing too! You can see more in my review.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL: Favorite classic or one that you want to read
The classics I've read so far have not been for me so I'm going to outright cheat say the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling because in some people's eyes it has all the makings to be a classic! And I absolutely loved it <3 <3
CHRISTMAS SWEETS: What book would you love to receive for Christmas?
I am eagerly (and not patiently XD) awaiting the chance to read The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1) by Rick Riordan because it looks to be epic! After adoring the Percy Jackson series, how could I not be dying for more from Riordan? I live for just the idea of crossovers...
CHRISTMAS TREES & DECORATIONS: What are some of your favourite book covers?
It's good that it says 'some' because I would never be able to choose just the one. Even considering it now and there are lots, but the first that came to mind was Talon & Rogue by Julie Kagawa which are even more stunning in person with the textured patterns and inside designs. So much beauty!

CHRISTMAS JOY: What are some of your favourite things about Christmas and/or some of your favourite Christmas memories?
There's so much to love about Christmas! The lead up, the time spent with family, the presents, the food and the lack of schoolwork (unless teachers decide to be particularly mean ahah) :D all of which combined to make the perfect Christmas a few years ago when I went to Disney World with my family for the holidays. In the end we actually had 2 celebrations, one in Florida with (fake) snow and the other at home with presents.

Nostalgia trip over, I'd love to know you favourite Christmas memory and/or present as well as answers for the other questions from this fun tag.

In the meantime, whether you celebrate or not, go overboard with everything christmas (like me XD) or prefer to keep it simple, HAVE A LOVELY HOLIDAY!

Monday, 21 December 2015

Review: Pirate Princess (Pirate Princess #1) by Catherine Banks

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26296361-pirate-princessGoodreads Synopsis:
As the daughter of the Pirate King, Tilia Swanson has an unusual upbringing learning skills that aren’t often available for women. As the heir apparent for the Kingdom of Crilan, her skills set her apart as she is trained by the best in the land and taught to harness her magic. However, piracy is in her blood, and draws danger to Tilia in the way that treasure draws pirates. Some treasures are more valuable than others. Will this lesson be learned in time or will the betrayal of those around her be her undoing?

Review:
***I received the eBook free as a review copy from the publisher through Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review***

This is the best kind of book that sucks you in until you lose yourself in the fantastical world, filled with pirates, magic, intrigue, battles, heroines and love. It’s the kind of book that you not only don’t want to, but can’t make yourself put down. Basically it’s epic and I’m thrilled to have had the chance to read it.

A major reason is because the characters in this book are like no others. What makes them even better is that the family relationships I’ve often missed in YA are not just present, but genuine and heart-warming and absolutely hilarious (the amount of banter in this book is unparalleled) and I couldn’t stop grinning whenever they sparked up conversations. The King and Queen could be deadly one moment, single-handedly taking down a whole kingdom’s army and then teasing each other by recanting their courtship the next. The love between everyone was undeniable, often coming across in extreme protectiveness that was amusing to say the least!

I immediately fell in love with all the characters, particularly Finn who is the epitome of charming. At first I was hesitant because time-wise it very easily could have felt like insta-love which is a complete turnoff, but that quickly changed as his relationship with Tilia developed through multiple (near death) obstacles.

Tilia herself is awesome full stop. She is smart and resourceful, brutal yet compassionate and Pirate Princess is very much a coming of age story where she learns to embrace all those qualities and her roles – adapted to suit her of course. The girl will stand up for what she wants as well as for those she loves.

I also couldn’t get enough of the beautifully written world where so many fantastic events take place (the pirate festival sounds like so much fun! I would be pretty terrible in it but I can always pretend through Tilia…) There was always something to capture my attention and keep the pages turning. I cannot wait for the next instalment along with more from one of my new favourite authors Catherine Banks.

Spoilers:

Favourite Quotes:
“Sometimes a damsel must save herself.”

“Blowing things up is not always the answer,” she said.
“Women just don’t understand,” Finn agreed with Jared,” A good explosion says a lot of things to people that requires minimal effort on your part and clearly gets your point across.”

“I didn’t care if my ship sank or all the treasures I keep in it because you are my greatest and only treasure and without you I am the poorest pirate alive. I love you, Tilia.”

“I’m a pirate princess,” I told them, “And no matter how far inland you take me, my heart will always belong to the sea.”

Friday, 18 December 2015

Feature & Follow Friday (2): Writing a Book

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read. The goal of this blog hop is to gain followers, discover new blogs, and make new friends!

Question of the Week: If you could write a book what would it be about?
I've actually (half) written a book during NaNoWriMo which is fantasy through and through because that's my favourite genre to both read and write. Though I'd love to try writing all types :D
     A little 'synopsis' type thing for my NaNo novel: YA fantasy with magic, that takes place on the decks of pirate ships travelling the ocean and sky following a girl intent on revenge. *cue overly dramatic music*

The following part
Leave a comment linking to your book blog and I'll be sure to follow via Bloglovin and GFC. Also I love to make new friends on Goodreads and Twitter (all links are in sidebar) so feel free to add me :D
Follow

Have you tried writing? And if so what's the book about, or if not what would you like it to be about?

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Review: Slumber (The Slumber Duology #1) by Christy Sloat

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24517353-slumber?from_search=true&search_version=serviceGoodreads  Synopsis:
Not all princesses get their happily ever after...
They tell me I killed my boyfriend Phillip in cold blood. I stabbed him twenty one times. I’m only seventeen years old, and I am serving life in Spindle Ridge Asylum for the Criminally Insane.
I don’t remember killing him, so it’s really hard to believe I’m capable of murder. In fact I don’t remember anything before I came to Spindle Ridge, not even my boyfriend.
I can only grasp onto my realistic dreams while the madness of the asylum threatens to pull me under. I dream I’m a beautiful princess and there is an evil faerie named Maleficent who is bent on my destruction. The dreams are the closest thing I have to memories of my life, except they aren’t real.
I’m crazy. I’m not a princess. 
They’re the mad illusions of an irrational teenage girl, right?
They’ve assigned me a new doctor, and she says I can trust her, and that she’ll help me see the truth of who I really am. 
When she arrived she brought a new patient, Sawyer, who is everything Spindle Ridge isn’t: exciting, mysterious and beautiful. He promises he’s here to rescue me. Trusting either of them frightens me.
Could it be possible that my dreams are more than just the imaginings of a delusional girl? Could they be truth?


Review:
***I received the eBook free as a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review***

Fairytale retellings can be just that – the story re-written with an individual writer’s flare/idea or it can throw the story on its head and give you something new that will surprise and delight, while also keeping the roots that make it a retelling. Slumber is definitely the latter, and I loved it.

Since reading the synopsis this book stood out for being unlike anything I’ve read before and it continued to stay in my mind even when I wasn’t reading it (though I very much wanted to be!) The plot just demands your attention, which combined with engaging characters could easily make this a one-sit read.

It was very easy to put myself in Rory’s shoes and experience all the confusion just as she did (even though as a reader I knew more). Tangled in something that she didn’t understand: why she would have killed her boyfriend and why her dreams of being a princess feel so real, it’s her developing strong-will that makes her determined to find the answers. Though there’s no happily ever after in sight just yet…

I can’t wait to see how it all changes in the conclusion to this duology after the epic finale that had me on the edge of my seat. One thing I know for sure is that Sloat will make sure it is filled with surprises that don’t disappoint.
Favourite Quotes:
“I knew why I had fallen for him, and it wasn’t because I was young and foolish. It was because he was everything I wanted in my life. He was freedom from my duties as a princess. He was fun and laughter when I was stuck inside with my studies. He was the beauty when I was in a world where evil lurked around in the shadows.”

“I was a fighter, and I would fight until the end. And everyone would know that of me from now on.”

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Guest Post & Giveaway from Ryan Dalton : The Best and Worst Writing Advice

As part of the Sunday Street Team tour for The Year of Lightning by Ryan Dalton, I have a great guest post from the author himself! I'm very excited to share: The Best and Worst Writing Advice Dalton has Ever Received


When you’re a writer, there’s no shortage of advice on how to do it right. Over the years, I’ve encountered gems of wisdom that changed the way I write and set me on the path to publication. I’ve also heard advice so cringe-worthy that it embarrassed me on behalf of my profession. In fairness, sometimes those distinctions are subjective. What works for some may crash and burn for others. With that in mind, here are the single best and single worst pieces of writing advice I’ve ever received.

The Best
“It’s all about voice.”
This is absolutely true. You can have a good plot and interesting characters, but if your writing voice is flat or overly derivative, few will care how much work you’ve put into the story. Voice is what distinguishes us as having something unique to offer. It’s the style that’s ours and ours alone. This means that writing is less about the nuts and bolts of our story (although those are important), and more about how we present that story to the world. Voice is what reaches out and grabs us, compelling us to keep turning the page.
And the best thing about voice­–you can’t fake it.
True voice, genuine and unique, cannot be manufactured. It comes from years of reading and writing, of love and practice, of absorbing and creating art and adding little pieces of everything to your creative DNA. Voice is the sum total of what we love and who we are. So if I could add a little piece of advice to “it’s all about voice,” it would be “don’t rush finding yours.” Keep working, keep growing, keep experiencing and loving art and literature of all kinds, and it will come to you.

The Worst
“Your first draft will always be terrible.”
When I talk about advice being subjective, this is mainly what I mean. For some writers, this is absolutely true, and hearing this is a relief because it gives them freedom to write that first draft fearlessly. It can be especially good advice for aspiring writers who tend to self-edit so much that they never finish.

So, here’s why it’s the worst advice I’ve ever received–because it’s subjective, but many treat it as absolute truth. It’s often one of the first things people say when offering writing advice, and they say it as if it’s indisputable. However, for writers like me, it’s the farthest thing from the truth, and so much the antithesis of my style that it would be detrimental to my work if I tried to follow it. This advice usually works best for “pantsers,” or those who write by the seat of their pants with no pre-planning, and they find their story along the way. This is a great method if it works for you, but I’m the exact opposite. I’m a heavy
outliner. I’m a linear writer. By the time I sit down to write my books, I know 75% of everything that’s going to happen. Having a plan and a clear direction helps me write with confidence. It frees my mind to be creative in the moment because I know ultimately where I’m going to end up. And because I plan so much, my first drafts are pretty clean. Of course there’s still plenty of editing later, but compared to most pantsers, I end up discarding or rearranging a very small amount of story and word count. That’s how I like to write, and it works well for me, but you’ll never hear me recommend it as the only way to write a story. I suppose that’s the real lesson here. Take every bit of writing advice with a grain of salt until you see how it works for you.

Don’t be afraid to try new things because you never know what may help your writing improve, but don’t be a slave to every tip or piece of wisdom that you receive. Find your own way.
Now, suit up and get writing!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24660093-the-year-of-lightning?from_search=true&search_version=serviceThe Year of Lightning (The Time Shift Trilogy #1) by Ryan Dalton
Goodreads Synopsis:
When 15-year-old twins Malcolm and Valentine Gilbert moved to a new town, they never imagined that the old house across the street could bring them so much trouble. A secret machine has reawakened inside, with the power to pierce time itself.

Meanwhile, lightning storms are breaking out all over town. They’re getting worse every week, and seem to enjoy striking kids who just want to pass science class and mind their own business. When Malcolm and Valentine discover a connection between the house and the storms, their situation goes from mysterious to crazy stupid dangerous. Someone is controlling the great machine, and their purpose is nearly complete.

In a race against time, the twins must uncover the chilling plan, the mastermind behind it, and the force that’s driving the deadly storms. They’ll hunt a powerful enemy that threatens their town’s existence, and the only clues are written in the sky.


https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3497099.Ryan_DaltonAbout the Author:
Ryan Dalton is author of the young adult Time Shift Trilogy. His debut novel was released on December 8, 2015. Ryan splits his time between writing books during the day, fighting crime at night, and hanging out in his awesome underground lair. Please do not tell anyone he's Batman. It's a secret.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

WWW Wednesday (4)

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should be Reading where you answer three questions:
1) What are you currently reading?
2) What did you recently finish reading?
3) What do you think you'll read next?

It's almost midnight (probably will be when I have this posted) and apparently I don't know my Wednesdays from my Tuesdays from my Thursdays - basically I thought I would write and publish my Wednesday post tomorrow... What a clever and sleep-deprived person I am!

Aaaanyways, right now I am reading an ARC of The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig and already loving it. The world is incredible and so beautifully crafted, it's pretty clear to me that this is going to be an epic read.

I recently finished Consuming Fire (Rouge #3) by Isabella Modra which was also amazing and made the series one of my favourites because it was heart-wrenching and every other emotion you can imagine, including ultimately satisfying. There is no doubt in my mind that it deserved 5 stars (I'd have given it more if I could!) as you can see from my review.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16130759-night-studyAfter I've finished my current read and audiobook Partials (Partials Sequence #1) by Dan Wells that I forgot to mention earlier, I have no idea what I'll be reading next. Several books are calling to me right now including Night Study (Soulfinders #2) by Maria V. Snyder and Burning Glass (Burning Glass #1) by Kathryn Purdie but I had planned to wait until it was closer to their release dates. Obviously that won't be happening anymore because I simply don't have the patience or self-control XD even now I'm itching to start reading!

First though I'll be going back to The Girl From Everywhere, so that's what I will do now. Happy reading everyone!

I'd love to hear your answers to the original questions in the comments and if you've read/want to read any of these books ^^

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Review: Consuming Fire (Rouge #3) by Isabella Modra

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23263761-consuming-fireGoodreads Synopsis:
After Hunter and Will are rescued from the institution and brought to the safe house where the others are hiding out, Hunter is met with several new challenges; facing Joshua for the first time since the warehouse, forgiving him for the mess he made of her life, discovering that Eli and Jenny are alive, and mending the shaken relationship she has with Will after their horrific last few days in ICE, all the while figuring out a way to defeat Dr. Wolfe and get her father back. 

Before the ultimate battle between hero and villain, Hunter has to endure more loss, heartbreak and horror than ever before. But she also experiences joy in uniting with her friends from ICE and rekindling a lost flame with Joshua. During the last stretch of her journey, Hunter realizes it is not the power that makes her a hero... it's the consuming fire within.


Review:
***I received the eBook free as a review copy from the author through goodreads group in exchange for an honest review***

This story has come leaps and bounds from the first book; improving for the better with everything from writing (that is beautiful), to plot (that is complicated and surprising), to character development (I either love them to pieces or want to throw them in a volcano) to how much I enjoyed every second, even when my heart was being torn out and crushed to smithereens.

My emotions were all over the place – Isabella Modra knows how to play them well. Essentially just follow up a peaceful moment that promises things to be looking up with a death and you have the basics on how to make a fangirl cry. There was so much carnage and heartbreak for the characters that it was impossible to not be affected. I had been invested right from the start (even when Hunter was being an arrogant master at angst, which she even admits to!) and it made the conclusion that much more brilliant to read.

Between moments of tragedy and hope (that were often a two-piece deal) there was also humour that came from long lost characters and new ones alike. The ‘side characters’ as you will, all had unique personalities that jumped from the pages and simply demanded that you care. It became more than just Hunter’s story and I loved that. The relationships she had with others and the ones between themselves too were so well done, they weren’t easy or simple but messy and realistic.

Even in a story about superheroes, nothing was so farfetched that it was unbelievable which stemmed from the fact that the characters were complex and relatable (though not always because I’d like to think that Dr. Wolfe is alone in his evil nature). The themes about good and evil running through the story were overshadowed by the actual storyline but they found a way into my head and are there to stay.

In the end this book reminded me in the best way possible why I love reading and try so hard to make time for it; so when you come across gems like this series, you want to share it with the world and you want to rave about it with friends – basically you should read it and then we can do it all together!
Favourite Quotes:
“The true heroes are the ones who have courage, even when they have no power at all.”

“You have to face real life, because when you do, you’ll find it’s easier than the pain you go through when you figure out you’re imagining things. Real life hurts, but it hurts more when you lie to yourself.”

"There are many things a hero is. Honourable. Courageous. A light. Sometimes they are victorious, facing monsters like fear with their swords held high. Sometimes they fail, but they learn to get up and keep fighting because no one else is brave enough. But always ... they are there for those in need. We cannot all live forever. But their sacrifice will not be forgotten. We will remember out fallen heroes."

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

My Experience with NaNoWriMo 2015

For some reason I only found out about NaNoWriMo last year, 3 weeks into November and so it was too late to join but I promised myself that I'd try next time. This went out the window when I fully realised how much of a feat it would be in an already busy month... yet the morning of I decided to sign up!
     I wanted to start (and stop putting off) writing the idea that had been going round in my head for weeks, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity even while expecting to not win. *Spoiler* I did win and couldn't be happier about it :D

Half way through and I had my heart set on hitting 50K. What surprised me most about reaching it, is that I didn't feel too much pressure (even though I had many bad days). I'd heard everywhere that NaNo is stressful and crazy and while I definitely understand both those things, it's also extremely rewarding and fun. 

My biggest obstacle has always been motivation and being an annoying perfectionist. However with NaNo there was constantly something to keep me on track be it sprints, pep talks, people telling me I should be writing and more! It also didn't leave room for me to go back and delete parapgrahs/scenes I didn't like and nitpick to extremes. The knowledge that first drafts don't have to be perfect has been a life saver. After all that's what editing and revisions are for.
 
My second biggest obstacle was my cat. He decided that every time my laptop came into view it would be the perfect place to sleep and get attention, whether the screen was down or open. It didn't matter that I couldn't type because his paws would for me (the only times I allowed big chunks to be deleted because "aaaaaaaaaaaaa" continued for several pages isn't really what I had in mind for the story).

You can see my writing stats here >>
Right now I'm hoping to continue writing the first draft (it would be amazing to have it done by the end of the year but we'll have to see) and also catch up with my reading because that's the one thing I couldn't manage so much along with writing 1,600 words a day and I didn't realise how much I missed it!

In the end I have come away from November and my first NaNoWriMo with 50 thousand words of my novel's first draft and a great experience behind me. If I'll do it again next year or not is a whole other story...

Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? How'd you do?
What were you up to in November while I was typing away?
As always I'd love to know <3