Hello…Is There Anybody Alive Out There?!

Did anyone else just have a Titanic flashback, or was it just me? No? Alright, moving swiftly on…

It’s been quite some time since I last blogged. Sorry about that, life’s been pretty hectic over these past few months and I just haven’t had the time/energy. The good news is though, that while I haven’t been writing on here, I have been writing! Lots and lots of (rough) words! Which is always a bonus. But as the New Year strolls ever closer and I start to think about resolutions, my thoughts also turn to this blog. The truth is, I’ve missed blogging and I really want to get back into it.

So here it is, in black and white, my resolution to blog more in 2015 (which, let’s face it, shouldn’t be all that difficult compares to this year). I’m gong to be aiming for twice a week, but hopefully more if I can manage it.

And here’s a few of the things you can expect to see here in the foreseeable future!

THE TRIUMPHANT RETURN OF THE GREAT TBR CHALLENGE:

TBR challenge blankI did quite well on this but I’ll admit I’ve slipped these past few months and my TBR pile is currently threatening to crush me to death during an inevitable book avalanche. Therefore, at the beginning of every month I’ll be posting a short list of books (probably 4-6) that I’d like to knock off my TBR pile, and then at the end I’ll be doing a brief wrap up post about the books that I actually managed to read.

FIVE REASONS YOU SHOULD READ:

If I read a book that I really love then I want to tell you about it! These posts won’t be happening for every book I read, only the very best! And I may or may not follow these up with a recommended reads post as well.

THE ‘MY WRITING PROCESS’ SERIES:

Penny scribblesIf anyone wants to come up with a better title for this series, please be my guest (no seriously, please!) and leave it in the comments.

Since I’ve just started a new project, I thought I’d also start writing a series of blog posts detailing the stages of agony (did I say agony, I meant joy!) of writing a book. I’ll start off with the prep/outlining phase, work my way through the first draft, and then hopefully go through my stages of editing (hopefully I’ll get that far!) with you guys.

TRAVEL/DAY IN THE LIFE KIND OF THINGS:

pragueI’ve spent the majority of 2014 living a somewhat hermit existence, practically spending my life split between work and my flat, so next year I want to try and get out more! I want to go places that I’ve never been and re-visit old, familiar places and memories. I thought you might want to take some of these trips with me.

HANDMADE NOTEBOOKS:

EllieThe lovely Cole suggested I do some more posts about the notebooks I make, and I’m more than happy to oblige! If I can, I’ll try and construct some tutorials as well, for anyone who might want to try bookbinding for themselves!

Of course, I’m sure various other things will crop up throughout the year, and if you have any suggestions for things you’d like to see please so share in the comments!

I’m really looking forward to 2015 and I hope you are too.

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What’s Up Wednesday! (A.K.A, I may have a Guardians of the Galaxy Obsession)

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It’s Wednesday AGAIN (how did that happen?), so that means it’s time for What’s Up Wednesday, a weekly meme run by Erin L Funk and Jaime Morrow.

 

WHAT I’M READING:

I kind of went on a bit of a Guardians of the Galaxy binge over the weekend and marathoned a load of the graphic novels. Really loved the 2008 run and made me excited to see what they might do in later films (cause there has to be a sequel, right?!).

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I also happen to be re-reading Anna and the French Kiss right now, which will soon be followed by a re-read of Lola and the Boy Next Door, in preparation for the release of Isla and the Happily Ever After (i.e- my MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF THE YEAR). Even though I’ve read Anna countless times, every time I pick it up I fall in love all over again. Each time is like experiencing it for the first time, and that is the best feeling for me when it comes to re-reading a book.

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WHAT I’M WRITING:

I just started the revisions/line edits round of editing on The Invincible Penny Lane. I’ve been making slow progress with it, because I think I’m coming down with some kind of bug and have just been shattered after work everyday. I’m hoping to get more done this weekend though.

Penny draft Penny scribbles

As you can see from all the scribbles, it’s going well. I’m just glad I picked nice cheery coloured pens to make notes in, makes it slightly less depressing to look at. I am falling back in love with this story though, and I think that’s a big thing. I don’t think I could put in the time and effort that is required for this story if I didn’t love it as much as I do.

WHAT INSPIRES ME:

Writers/Authors. Everyone out there who is writing wonderful words; stringing them into sentences and putting them down onto paper. Everyday, I log into Twitter and am surrounded by these fabulous people who are working their asses off to make great art. Some days they are crippled with self doubt and struggle with every word. Other days they pound out thousands of words and happy dance with joy. But they are always there, and they are always pushing themselves.

You inspire me.

WHAT ELSE I’VE BEEN UP TO:

Um…Listening to the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack on repeat and dancing around my flat?

I wish I were joking.

I kind of resemble this…

…but not quite as adorable as that.

Seriously, have you checked out the soundtrack? If not, I’d recommend it. It just puts me in a great mood and makes me feel like I can take on the world.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to this week. How about you?

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What’s Up Wednesday

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I’m back! And it’s time for What’s Up Wednesday, a weekly meme run by Erin L Funk and Jaime Morrow.

 

WHAT I’M READING:

I’ve been participating in the 7in7 Readathon this week, which is basically what it sounds like, reading 7 things in 7 days. So far this week I’ve read Saga: Volume One, an amazing graphic novel. Beautiful artwork and a compelling story. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next volumes. Then I read Lost at Sea by Brian Lee O’Malley, which I also loved. I picked it up because I adore the Scott Pilgrim series, and this one was just as quirky and enjoyable at Scott Pilgrim. Last night I read through the Serenity: Leaves on the Wind comic series. This is a must for any fans of Firefly! It follows on perfectly from Serenity and the characterisation is perfect.

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                    20653650  Thirteen Reasons Why

Now I’m reading Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I’m about halfway through and really enjoying it so far.

WHAT I’M WRITING:

I’ve recently started a new Contemporary story. I have a feeling it falls into the NA category, though not 100% sure right now. It’s been floating around my head for about 2 months now, but I only felt brave enough to start it this week. It’s about love and loss and forgiveness, and is different to anything I’ve ever written before, therefore it is daunting for me. I’m taking it slowly though and loving the words I’m putting down.

WHAT INSPIRES ME:
I spent probably far too many hours searching for inspiration on WeHeartIt the other day. I created a collection full of images and quotes that reminded me of the story that I have in mind.

in a nutshell

WHAT ELSE I’VE BEEN UP TO:

Work. Lots and lots of work. Although I did go see Guardians of the Galaxy on Sunday and it was AWESOME!! Ridiculously funny, at times serious, and an AMAZING soundtrack.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to this week. How about you?

Too Read in August

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So, while I’ve given up on the whole not buying new books thing (they’re just so pretty, I’m sure you understand) I’ve decided I still want to continue on with by TBR challenge. What with the new books I’ve accumulated at YALC and from watching too many BookTuber videos, my TBR pile is now a definite TBR mountain, so it still needs to be tackled.

Here are the books I’m hoping to read in August:

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ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER by STEPHANIE PERKINS

This is my most anticipated book of the year! It is FINALLY coming out this August and I just can’t wait! I’m kind of hoping to have the time to marathon ANNA and LOLA before getting to this one. I’ve read the first couple of chapters already and I know it is going to be stunning.

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GOOD OMENS by NEIL GAIMAN and TERRY PRATCHETT

This is my current read, I’m about 150 pages in and I’m loving it. I’ve read it before, but it was a few years ago and I forgot how funny it was.

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DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE and DAYS OF BLOOD & STARLIGHT by LAINI TAYLOR

I’m going to be reading these for the Chapter 5 Summer Reading Challenge. I’ve already read Daughter of Smoke and Bone before, but I want to marathon the whole series one after the other (if I have time I will definitely try and read Dreams of God & Monsters as well).

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HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE by DIANA WYNNE JONES

I love the film Howl’s Moving Castle and re-watched it recently, which instantly lead me to wanting to read the novel. I’ve been meaning to read it for ages.

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READY PLAYER ONE by ERNEST CLINE

I’ve been meaning to read this one for AGES as well! I’ve heard so many good things, and it’s about video games, be still my nerdy heart!

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THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by JAY ASHER

This is another novel that I’ve heard great things about. I love the concept of it, and I already know that it’s one I’m going to need tissues for.

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SAGA: VOLUME ONE by BRIAN K. VAUGHAN and FIONA STAPLES

This series has been all over BookTube lately and everyone has rated it highly! So today when I was in my comic book store, I picked it up and started flicking through it. First off, the art work is beautiful! Second, these are some of the first lines: ‘This is how an idea becomes real. But ideas are fragile things.’ The minute I read those lines, I knew it would be love.

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LOST AT SEA by BRYAN LEE O’MALLEY

I am a big fan of the Scott Pilgrim series so of course I’m going to read anything by Bryan Lee O’Malley. This book is about a girl who is convinced that a cat has stolen her soul, so yeah, it’s going to be awesome.

So, there is it, my rather adventurous TBR pile for this month.

What are you planning on reading this month?

My (Non BookTuber) BookTube-A-Thon TBR List

So I’m coming to BookTube-A-Thon pretty late (what with it being Wednesday and all) but I’ve always liked a challenge! And what’s more fun than a challenge that involves reading a lot of books?! I may not be a BookTuber (even though I’ve been considering it for a while now) but the challenge is open to everyone, and honestly my TBR pile is getting so ridiculous now that I live in constant fear that it will topple over and bury me one day.

If you don’t know what the BookTube-A-Thon is then you should head over to the YouTube Channel and find out more about it. Basically it’s a week where you try and read as much as possible, while trying to mold your TBR pile around these seven challenges.

With those challenges in mind, I have formed a loose TBR pile, which is as follows.

1. Read a book with pictures in it

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THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF THE DEPARTURE OF MISS FINCH by Neil Gaiman

2. Start and finish a series

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JUST ONE DAY & JUST ONE YEAR by Gayle Forman

3. Read a book with red on the cover

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THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater

4. Read a book that someone else has picked for you

Geek Girl (Geek Girl, #1)

GEEK GIRL by Holly Smale

(picked out by the lovely Jennifer Blackwood)

5. Read a book in the genre that you have read the least of this year

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ECHO BOY by Matt Haig

(YA science fiction)

6. Read and watch a book to film adaptation

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THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER by Stephen Chbosky

7. Read SEVEN books

So that’s it, that’s my TBR for the following week (or five days). I’m not going to say I’m going to stick to it faithfully, but I do hope to complete all the challenges and have second options if I’m simply not in the mood to read those on that list.

Are you taking part in the BookTube-A-Thon? Are you a BookTuber or not?

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Too Read in June

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So, I have signed up to JUNOWRIMO this month, which may or may not be a great idea. I intend to use the next couple of months (JUNOWRIMO and CAMP NANOWRIMO) to fast draft some of the stories that have crept into my brain and settled down for the long haul. Honestly, my head is becoming a crowded place. That means most of my free time will be spent typing away to try and get my words for the day, which means reading time might be limited.

Saying that, here are the books that I am hoping to read in June.

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EVERYDAY ANGEL: NEW BEGINNINGS by VICTORIA SCHWAB

If Victoria Schwab wrote it, then I want to read it. End of. This is Victoria’s first MG book, so I know that it will be very different from her previous books. However, I have no doubt that it will be filled with beautiful words and it will be heart-wrenching.

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IF I STAY by GAYLE FORMAN

I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while now, after hearing so many wonderful things about Gayle Formans writing, but after seeing the trailer for the up and coming movie (which looks AMAZING by the way) I am finally taking the plunge and reading it. I have been told to make sure I have tissues handy.

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CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE by CASSANDRA CLARE

It is coming to an end. The City of Heavenly Fire is the final book in The Mortal Instruments series and I am both excited and nervous about reading it. I loved the first three books in the series, but I have been disappointed by the last two. I want to know how the series comes to and end, but I really don’t want to be disappointed by this the way other final books have disappointed me.

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UNTOLD by SARAH REES BRENNAN

I enjoyed Unspoken and am looking forward to reading the second book in this series.

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Continue with my re-read of THE PRINCESS DIARIES series by MEG CABOT. I suspect that I will need something light and funny while writing this month.

What are you going to be reading in June?

The Great TBR Challenge: May Wrap-Up

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After an alarming absence, I am back with another Wrap-Up post. Sorry about the absence, since I have moved into a new place I am currently without Wi-fi, which means my blogging has really suffered and I have a long queue of YouTube videos waiting to be watched. Anyway, I am back and I have had great success this month, with a total of nine books read. NINE! OK, so some of them were re-reads, but I don’t care.

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I started off the month with THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME by Jennifer E. Smith. It took me a little while to get into the story as I found the beginning a bit slow, but once it picked up the rest of the book raced by. It was sweet and romantic and ended on the not-perfect-but-hopeful ending that I have come to expect from Jennifer E. Smith. Plus the novel involved a lot of postcards, and I have a little obsession with postcards, so that was awesome. I gave this 4 out of 5 cause it still didn’t reach the standards of THE STATISTICAL POSSIBILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT, but it was damn close.

Next, I finally (FINALLY!) got round to finishing ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth. Honestly, it took me months to work my way through this book, which surprised me considering how excited I was for its release. After finishing it I still don’t know how I feel about it. I had a lot of issues with the book, but I also had a lot of things I loved about it. I’m on the fence I guess. I will say this though, I’m so glad that Veronica Roth stayed true to Tris’ character throughout.  3 out of 5 stars.

Third up I read UNSPOKEN by Sarah Rees Brennan. I’d been eyeing this book up for months, but was finally convinced to give it a go after Ashley Metzger spoke about it so highly on her YouTube channel saidthestory. This is a quirky story with an interesting premise, but I was gutted by the ending. Some of the twists were fantastic, while others were predictable. Another on the fence sort of book I guess. I enjoyed it and have already downloaded UNTOLD, but ultimately it was a 3 out of 5 for me.

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SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson was a book that I had high expectations for. I had heard a lot of great things about it and, having read and been so incredibly moved by WINTERGIRLS last year, I went into the book prepared for tears. SPEAK is a moving story and it is beautifully written, but I struggled to connect with Melinda’s character. It’s a tough one to review, because I know this novel has a strong message and it is one that so many young people relate to. It is an important novel.

After reading so many emotional stories I needed something light to cheer me up, which is how the re-read of THE PRINCESS DIARIES series by Meg Cabot started (I’ve managed books 1-3 so far). I read these books when I was a teenager and I cannot tell you how important they are to me. These are THE books. They were the first YA books that I ever read and Michael Moscovitz was my first ever book boyfriend (and still the best). I love these books because they are funny and sweet and real and I related to them a lot when I was younger (except the whole princess thing of course). Re-reading them again, it’s like remembering what it was like to be that young again.

SHUT OUT is the third book I’ve read by Kody Keplinger. This was another light read and one that I probably wouldn’t have picked up if it hadn’t been written by Kody (it’s about sports rivalry after all). It didn’t quite live up to the wonder that was THE DUFF, but I enjoyed the story building much more in SHUT OUT than in A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHTMARE. Ultimately I gave this book 4 out of 5.

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And by last book of the month was WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart. Again this was another book that I was going into with high expectations, and I actually broke my book ban for this book because people had spoken so highly of it. First off, the writing in this book is stunning. It’s the sort of writing that makes me want to be a better writer, while simultaneously wondering why I even bother. Next off, I was not expecting the twist at the end, despite trying to guess what it would be the whole way through. Saying that, I’m still not 100% sure how I feel about the twist at the end. It was unexpected yes, but part of me felt cheated too. I don’t want to say any more, because I could ruin it, but I will say it’s definitely worth reading. After a lot of debate, I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

What did you read in May?

Too Read in April

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What with Camp NaNoWriMo being this month and me wanting to get back into some serious writing, I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to read this month, but I’m going to aim for 4 books at least.

Here are the books I intend to read in April!

Kindle books:

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HALF BAD by Sally Green – This one is being raved about on Twitter atm, I want to see what all the fuss is about.

Actual physical books:

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MISS PERIGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN Children by Ransom Riggs – I’ve heard great things about this book and I’ve also been informed that the writing style is much like Neil Gaiman, needless to say I want to read it!

And my last couple of books will actually be decided by you!

I can’t decide whether to read:

13519397 Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)

THRONE OF GLASS & CROWN OF MIDNIGHT by Sarah J. Mass

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SCARLET & CRESS by Marissa Meyer

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RED GLOVE & BLACK HEART by Holly Black

I’ve heard great things about all of them and I just can’t decide. Help me choose?!

What books are you going to be reading in April?

 

The Great TBR Challenge: March Wrap-Up

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The first month of my TBR challenge was a bit of a failure if I’m honest. I only managed to finish 2 books, although I did start another 3. My excuse is that my time was very limited in March, since I was getting ready to move at the end of the month. Hopefully, now that I’ve moved, April will be more successful.

Anyway, onto the books that I actually read in March!

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Attachments by Rainbow Rowell: I absolutely loved this book! It was weird and quirky and sweet and everything that I have come to expect from a Rainbow Rowell book. I loved the format of the story, how we get to learn about all of the main characters in such depth without it being multiple POVs. I gave it 4 stars, because it wasn’t quite up there with Fangirl. I honestly cannot wait to get my hands on Landline later this year.

A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger: This book was a bit hit and miss for me, and I still don’t really know how I feel about it. I didn’t like it to begin with, to the point where I was close to putting it down, because I had no sympathy for Whitley (quite frankly I thought she was annoying). As the story went on though, I understood her more and grew to really like most of the characters. I like how they turned some themes on their head, showing sides that are not usually explored, as well. Ultimately though I thought the book ended too quickly and there was just too much left up in the air for me. I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Here are the books that I started in March.

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How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff - I watched the film a few weeks ago and it was brilliant and tragic. I started reading the book the next day, but it lacked the power of the film. I’m struggling to get along with the writing style.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – This is my eight or ninth read through of this novel I think. Every time I feel sad or overwhelmed I feel myself reaching for this book. It’s like a warm blanket, something comforting.

The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp – This is the book I’m currently reading. I’m really enjoying it after a slow start. I hope to finish it soon.

What did you read in March?

To read in March

TBR challenge march

So here are the books I intend to read in March!

Actual physical books:

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ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth - I started this last month but have been reading it at a snails pace. If I’m honest, I’m worried about finishing it, because I have this sense of dread that I’m going to be disappointed with the end of this amazing series. I’ve got to get it done though

SCARLET & CRESS by Marissa Meyer - I really enjoyed Cinder, so I’m excited to get onto these. Plus, I was supposed to read these in February for a book group and didn’t get round too it (oops).

Kindle Books:

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ATTACHMENTS by Rainbow Rowell - I’ve just started this and already loving it!

HOW I LIVE NOW by Meg Rosoff - I’ve tried reading this before and couldn’t get into it, but I’ve wanted to give it another go for a while now. Plus I want to see the film really badly.

A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHTMARE by Kody Keplinger - I adored The DUFF by Kody Keplinger, so I’m looking forward to reading more books by her.

I have a feeling I’m being overly ambitious with this reading list, but you got to aim high right?!

What books are you going to be reading in March?

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