The Great TBR Challenge: April Edition

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So this is my first TBR challenge post in a while, sorry about that. I’ve been in a massive reading rut these past couple of months and have only managed to finish two books (and one of those was a re-read!). Needless to say, there hasn’t been much to write about. But I’ve started reading more these past few days, so I’m hoping the slump is over (huzzah!).

April is going to be a pretty crazy month for me since I’ll be back to commuting for work and will also be attempting to write 50,000 words for Camp NaNoWriMo, so I don’t think I’ll manage a whole lot of reading, but here’s what I’d like to read.

A Darker Shade final for IreneA Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab

I’ve had this book on my Kindle since release date and I still haven’t read it. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. I’ve tried reading it, but that’s how bad the reading rut was. I literally couldn’t get into anything, not even my most anticipated book of the year! This month, I really want to get to it.

miss mayhemMiss Mayhem (Rebel Belle #2) by Rachel Hawkins

I loved Rebel Belle when I read it back in January, I’ve been looking forward to Miss Mayhem ever since. Hopefully my copy of this is on its way to me as I type this.

saga 2Saga, Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

I’ve finally managed to pick up the second volume of SAGA and I can’t wait to continue on with this graphic novel series!

buffy 10   rat queens  spider gwen

Comics

I took a visit to Room 237 yesterday and picked up six months worth of comic books. Needless to say, I have a lot to get through. So I’d like to spend some time this month actually catching up on some of my series’. Plus, I couldn’t resist picking up the first couple of issues of Spider Gwen, I mean, just look at that cover!

What are you reading this month, lovelies?

What’s Up Wednesday – I’m back!

WUWTree

Hello lovelies and welcome to another What’s Up Wednesday! First off, I want to apologise about my long absence. These past couple of months have been absolutely manic and horrible for me, personally I’ve been in a bad place. I’m starting to feel better now, there is light at the end of the tunnel and all that. So I’m back and hopefully will be blogging more than ever in the coming month.

Anyway, on with the show. In case you don’t know, What’s Up Wednesday is a brilliant weekly bloghop set up by Jaime and Erin, where we get to talk about writing and books!

WHAT I’M READING:

I’m currently re-reading The Host. I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump recently (I’ve read two books in the last two months!) Nothing seems to be pulling me in. So I’m re-reading an old favourite in hopes that it’ll help.

WHAT I’M WRITING:

I am currently putting the finishing touches onto another revision of my contemporary YA novel, The Moment To Live For. I’ve made some interesting changes to the end of the novel, changes that I feel will benefit the plot and the pacing a lot. I just hope my CPs feel the same way once they read it.

Writing goals for this week: Finish revision of The Moment To Live For and send to CPs.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME:

Backing sh*t up.

Last week I had a disaster. My computer went all crazy on me and I basically had to wipe everything and re-install windows (it was a nightmare). Anyway, I backed everything up onto a couple of USB sticks and thought I was sorted. I was wrong. SO VERY WRONG. After re-installing windows, I went about putting everything back onto the computer and discovered that somehow I had managed to not transfer 5.5 entire drafts onto my USB! FIVE AND A HALF DRAFTS!!! Needless to say, I was crushed. They were all old projects, nothing I’d majorly edited or anything (luckily) but still. They held sentimental value and I actually loved a couple of them and did one day want to go back to them. And now they are gone. Just like that.

So, this is your daily reminder to back up your writing. Everyday. Save it somewhere.

WHAT ELSE IS NEW:

I’M MOVING!

Yeah, after a year in my terrible little flat I’m finally allowed to move out. I’m going back home for a while, which I am so happy about. It has also meant that this last month has been crazy, what with having to deal with my landlord, estate agents, cancelling bills and direct debits, packing. Oh god, how I hate packing. All of my books are in boxes and it seriously makes me sad. Anyway, I move on Saturday, so hopefully everything will calm down after that.

Or it might do, if I weren’t participating in Camp NaNoWriMo next month. Yeah, more about that later.

How is everyone else? I hope you’re all having a fantastic week :)

Writing Spaces: My ‘Desk’

It’s only been in the past year that I’ve had a desk for me to write at, well it’s actually a fold down dining table that came with my flat, but that’s not really the point. The thing is, I’m not used to writing at a desk. Sure, I have one, and when I didn’t I always wanted one. I think I had grand thoughts of a beautiful wooden desk with fresh flowers and a lush chair, where I would sit every day and work on my masterpiece. My desk isn’t like that. It’s a bit messy and a bit cluttered and a bit small.

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And I don’t really like it.

As you can see, I’m not really one of those people that has a lot of stuff around my desk (mainly cause there’s no room). I’ve seen these cool pictures of white boards and post-it note boards for notes/planning, or an actual inspiration board (instead of just having one on pintrest). Mine pretty much consists of two folders, each holding a copy of a current MS, some stationery, and the ever growing stack of notebooks. Maybe it’s cause I don’t use it very often, but my desk seems kind of bland in comparison.

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I wanted a desk like this, but there’s no room for it at the moment. (That’s from Ikea by the way, they’re office room ideas gallery makes me want to buy ALL the things).

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When I started writing, it was on a laptop, and I’ve been using a laptop ever since, so I never really had the need for a desk. I could write anywhere, which I loved. If I’m honest, most of my writing takes place on my sofa or in my bed. They are both of superior comfort to the tiny wooden chair that came with my desk (sometimes to the point where I fall asleep if I’m exhausted, maybe not the best idea).

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The bonus of writing in bed I’ve found is that there are infinitely less distractions in my bedroom (except, obviously, the distraction of sleep). My desk is in my living room, which is also where my TV, PS4 and books are. There is also the large stack of notebooks that I have on my desk, which just reminds me of all the other novels I am still yet to write (and that leads to no amount of stress). By writing in bed I can grab the notebook for the novel I’m working on, grab a can of diet coke, and shut my door to any procrastination opportunities. It makes me so much more productive.

Where do you guys write?

I was tagged to do this post by my friend Cole (who’s desk is awesome and has definitely given me some ideas) and my friends Emma and Sophie have also shared their desks with the world. I love seeing how creative people can get and what tools they use for plotting/inspiration.

Before I leave, I’m going to tag my friends Catherine and Sarah to do this!

What’s Up Wednesday!

WUW Winter Flake

Hello lovelies and welcome to another What’s Up Wednesday! In case you don’t know, What’s Up Wednesday is a brilliant weekly bloghop set up by Jaime and Erin, where we get to talk about writing and books!

WHAT I’M READING:

I’m currently reading Amy Poehler’s book YES PLEASE and I absolutely love it! I’ve only recently started watching PARKS & RECS (I know, what took me so long?!) and I knew I wanted to read Amy’s book before I finished watching the first episode. She’s incredibly funny and the book is so much more than I thought it would be. Honestly, I thought it was going to be a funny memoir, and it is, but it’s also full of essays and amazing insight, and a lot more feels than I was prepared for.

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WHAT I’M WRITING:

I’m still working on the new chapters for my YA contemporary THE MOMENT TO LIVE FOR (which basically means I’m re-writing the last third of the book for the third time). It’s going well, although writing has been pretty slow this week since I’m exhausted from work, but I had a great writing weekend. I’ve also got a few ideas circling my head atm, so I’ve been jotting down notes here and there.

Writing goal for this week: Continue drafting these new chapters (I’m aiming to have them finished by the end of the month).

WHAT WORKS FOR ME:

Having a soundtrack.

I love having music on when I write. It’s not all the time, sometimes I’ll have a favourite movie or TV series on in the background, but most of the time I have music. I can’t write in silence, it freaks me out and I get distracted easily, music helps drown everything out. It especially helps if the music goes with the novel I’m writing, whether that means creating a playlist or (if I’m lucky) finding that one perfect album that just seems to fit my novel.

For THE MOMENT TO LIVE FOR that album is DIRT by KIDS IN GLASS HOUSES. Whenever I’m stuck or struggling to get back into the novel, I put on that album and it’s pulls be right back in.

WHAT ELSE IS NEW:

Not much really. I’ve been pretty tired from work and everything, so I haven’t had much time for anything else.

What’s Up Wednesday!

Bench Button (Final)

Hello lovelies and welcome to another What’s Up Wednesday! In case you don’t know, What’s Up Wednesday is a brilliant weekly bloghop set up by Jaime and Erin, where we get to talk about writing and books!

WHAT I’M READING:

I’m currently reading DEMON GLASS, the second book in the HEX HALL trilogy by Rachel Hawkins. I’ll admit, I have a little obsession with Rachel Hawkins’ books at the moment, I can’t get enough of them. As I’ve said before, they remind me a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which is obviously an amazing things) as they’re a great blend of paranormal and contemporary, with lot of action but incredible dialogue. Honestly, I can’t praise them enough.

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WHAT I’M WRITING:

I may, just may, have worked my way out of my writers slump! YAAAAAAAAAAAAY! I’ve actually managed to write nearly 2K in two days and I’m gonna start writing the second I’m finished with this post. Honestly, I’m so happy I can’t even tell you. I’m currently drafting some new chapters for my contemporary novel The Moment To Live For. It’s a bit weird, making changes,  because the story is so integrated into my mind now, but I know these changes are for the better (and I hope my CPs agree!).

Writing goal for the week: Continue working through these new chapters.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME:

Small goals.

For the past few months I’ve been piling a lot of pressure onto myself, both reading and writing wise. If I did well one month, I would up my goal the next month, and so on. It worked for a little while, but then the writing/reading slump happened, and those goals stopped being achievable. Instead of being something to work towards, they became this daunting thing that I would just shy away from. I would think to myself, well there’s no way I’m going to get that done today so why even try, thus ending up with no new words, instead of something. I stopped thinking of 100 words as an achievement, 100 words felt like a failure, even though they were 100 more words than I’d had the day before.

So last week I gave myself a small goal, I said I simply wanted to write something. And I did. Without the looming word count goal hanging over my head, it felt like a weight had been lifted almost. And once I’d started writing, I couldn’t stop :P

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Tiny blue sticker of awesome! (aka: my first writing sticker in weeks!)

WHAT ELSE IS NEW:

I just started playing THE LAST OF US [REMASTERED] this week and I absolutely love it! It’s a game that I’ve wanted to play for ages but just haven’t gotten around to it, now I can see what all the fuss is about. It’s so atmospheric and genuinely quite horrifying. And as an added bonus, it has a beautiful soundtrack.

PS: I’m considering starting a new series on here about music, perhaps highlighting an album/song that I’m loving, maybe once a week? Would anyone be interested in something like that?

The Great TBR Challenge: February Edition!

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I had a pretty good reading month in January (despite the end of the month slump) and I’m hoping to keep that up in February. This month I’m hoping to read at least six books (and eliminate a few more of those challenges off of the 2015 Reading Challenge) and perhaps get through some of my ever mounting pile of comic books.

Here are the books I’m hoping to get to in February:

mortMORT by TERRY PRATCHETT

I was hoping to read this in January but sadly didn’t get to it. This month for sure!

spellboundDEMON GLASS (HEX HALL #2) & SPELL BOUND (HEX HALL #3) by RACHEL HAWKINS

I read the first book in the series last month (after reading and adoring REBEL BELLE) and I’m actually reading the second book right now. I’m loving the series so far and am hoping to finish it this month. Seriously, Rachel Hawkins sates my Buffy cravings like no other author can.

was hereI WAS HERE by GAYLE FORMAN

I became a massive fan of Gayle Forman last year after reading IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT, so I’ve been looking forward to the release of I WAS HERE for ages now. Not only does this book sound incredibly moving, there has been an awesome campaign running on Twitter (#IWasHere) all the way up to release and some of the things that people have been sharing are beautiful.

darkestTHE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST by HOLLY BLACK

This is another book that’s on my most anticipated list (are you spotting a pattern here?) I absolutely love Holly Black’s writing style and who doesn’t love a dark, twisted fairytale?

A Darker Shade final for Irene

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E SCHWAB

My MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF THE YEAR! I literally cannot wait to get my hands on this book and devour every single word.

What are you reading this month, lovelies?

The Great TBR Challenge: January Wrap-Up!

January wrap up 1

THE SLEEPER AND THE SPINDLE by NEIL GAIMAN and illustrated by CHRIS RIDDELL

Challenge: A book you can finish in a day

This was a quick read, perfect to curl up with on my day off from work. As always, Neil Gaiman’s writing was beautiful and I found myself reading the story aloud more than once (am I the only one who does this?). The book itself is glorious, with stunning accompanying illustrations by Chris Riddell. I liked the twist on the Sleeping Beauty fairytale, but I must admit I didn’t feel like it was the Sleeping Beauty/Snow White mash-up that I was expecting. While I loved Snow White as a character, it wasn’t really her story. Overall, I gave this book 4 stars.

REBEL BELLE by RACHEL HAWKINS

Challenge: A book by a female author

I adored this book! While I was reading it, I described it to someone as what Buffy would have been like if it had been Cordelia who had gotten superpowers instead. It was funny, snarky, and full of action. I loved how it took something quite mundane like cotillion and blended it superbly with an ancient sect. I wasn’t a massive fan of the somewhat love triangle in this book, but it wasn’t overly in your face and I couldn’t help but fall in love with David. Overall I gave this book 4 stars (probably more like 4.5). I’d highly recommend it to anyone suffering for Buffy withdrawal and I can’t wait for MISS MAYHEM to come out later this year.

LEAVE THE WINDOW OPEN by VICTORIA SCHWAB

Anyone who’s been reading this blog for a while now will know how much I love Victoria Schwab’s writing and THE ARCHIVED series is one of my favourite series’ ever (if you haven’t checked it out yet, I would highly recommend it), so I’d been eagerly awaiting this short story. Unsurprisingly, I loved it! It’s written from Wesley’s POV and takes place directly after the events of THE UNBOUND, and it was simply perfection. My first 5 stars of the year.

You can read the short story here and check out what THE ARCHIVED series is about here.

OPEN ROAD SUMMER by EMERY LORD

Challenge: A book a friend recommended

If this book has been recommended to me once, it’s been recommended to me a thousand times! And I can’t believe I waited so long to read it! I really enjoyed Open Road Summer, even though it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I loved the unconventional road trip setting (the eternal wanderer in me loves a good road trip story) of the tour bus and the concert halls. Reagan and Dee’s friendship felt very real and I loved how supportive and protective they were of each other. I liked the development of the relationship but it got a little over the top for me by the end, I kind of wanted to shake Reagan and beg her just to listen. Overall, I gave this book 4 stars and I’m really looking forward to Emery Lord’s second book THE START OF ME AND YOU.

January Wrap-Up 2

THE DUFF: DESIGNATED FAT UGLY FRIEND by KODY KEPLINGER

Challenge: A book set in high school

This was a re-read for me. It’d been a few years since I first read it and I had the urge to revisit it after seeing the trailer for the movie that’s coming out this year. I enjoyed the book just as much the second time as I did the first, though I can see how much they’ve actually changed when it comes to the film. One of my biggest problems with this book though it how quickly a lot of big issues (no spoilers) seem to be resolved, I kind of thought there should have been more to it. Overall, I gave this book 4 stars and I’m still really excited about seeing the film when it comes out.

FALLING INTO PLACE by AMY ZHANG

This was a tough book for me to rate. I went into it with high expectations but I was deeply disappointed all the way through if I’m honest. I struggled with the writing style and how the POV switched constantly. I had a hard time connecting with the main character, or any of the characters for that matter. The ending seemed a little bit misplaced. Maybe I just didn’t get it, or I missed something, I don’t know, but this book really wasn’t for me. I gave this book 3 stars, I could see the potential of the story but I just struggled to connect.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME by ANGELO TIROTTO & RICHARD JORDAN

Challenge: A graphic novel

This was another difficult one for me to rate as well. First off, I loved the idea (a demented Wizard of Oz, what could be better?) but it was carried out in a way I wasn’t expecting (I mean we didn’t even get to OZ until right at the very end). The past events that took place before the graphic novel starts didn’t really add up to me. And what’s worse, the story ends on a massive cliffhanger and there doesn’t seem to be a volume two available (?!) All that being said, I did like the characters and the art work was grotesque and fantastic. Overall, I gave this graphic novel 3 stars.

Hex hall

HEX HALL by RACHEL HAWKINS

After enjoying REBEL BELLE so much I knew I had to read RACHEL HAWKINS’ other books (especially since MISS MAYHEM is soooo far away) so I downloaded HEX HALL and proceeded to devour in within a couple of days. It was fast paced and funny and I was constantly trying to keep up with the twists and turns of the story. Again, I loved how this story had quite a contemporary feel to it, it reminded me of a mix between Mean Girls and The Craft. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars and I can’t wait to finish this series.

DEMON GLASS (HEX HALL #2) by RACHEL HAWKINS

I’ve only just started this but I’m loving it so far. Will hopefully be finishing the trilogy in February.

So that’s what I read in January, what did you read?