june 2017; it’s a wrap

midyear wrap up

It is the middle of the year, and so far, so good! I still refuse to do the whole stats thing, because there is not enough activity on my blog – by me or by anyone else! – for that too look anything but sad.

But on the blogging front, I am rather proud of myself! I have kept to my schedule of one discussion post per month, drafted in advance so that I have little stress. AND I have come up with a new feature that allows me some freedom too! Say hello to SPOTLIGHT, posts that can and will be posted as and when I write them! Posts that include interviews with authors! Posts that include me highlighting authors and books that are relatively unknown! Posts that include me, well, flailing would be a good term!

On the downside, I have read NO BOOKS so far this year. I have however written some poems, a short story in verse (a new thing for me!) and have been plotting out another experimental short story. Writing front, yay; reading front, nay?

For those of you interested, on the personal front, things are settling into a new equilibrium. I am now the proud mother of a little 3 month old princess, which is why I haven’t been reading. So I don’t feel too guilty. I’m too busy learning and embracing motherhood.

Sidenote: my best friend sent me a card for Mother’s Day that stated motherhood as the most terrifying hood one will ever go through. I’ve got to agree.

Back to blogging though. I’ve got the next few posts for the next few months plotted out, and I’m trying to figure out how to make this new feature I have thought of a reality so watch this space!

Hope your first six months of 2017 have been a blast!

2016-04-12 11:46

review; wildefire

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Wildefire
by Karsten Knight

Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her.

But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school – being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger – Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood, and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own.

With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time…

And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.

Review:
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review; sun and moon, ice and snow

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Sun And Moon, Ice And Snow
by Jessica Day George

Blessed—or cursed—with an ability to understand animals, the Lass (as she’s known to her family) has always been an oddball. And when an isbjorn (polar bear) seeks her out, and promises that her family will become rich if only the Lass will accompany him to his castle, she doesn’t hesitate. But the bear is not what he seems, nor is his castle, which is made of ice and inhabited by a silent staff of servants. Only a grueling journey on the backs of the four winds will reveal the truth: the bear is really a prince who’s been enchanted by a troll queen, and the Lass must come up with a way to free him before he’s forced to marry a troll princess.

Review:
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the seven deadly sins tag;

the seven deadly sins tag

I came across one of the most interesting tags I have seen over on Jess @ JBelkBooks‘ blog. I’m not one for tags unless I have actually been tagged in things, which is rare. But this was too good to pass up. And when Jess suggested that I do it after I flailed a bit about it, well, who was I to say no?

GREED

What is your most inexpensive book? What is your most expensive book?

Hmm. A few years ago, I actually picked up the entire Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray for 14 NZD. Which was – whoa. I mean, ENTIRE TRILOGY. IN GOOD CONDITION. FOR FOURTEEN DOLLARS. It was, quite literally, a steal. I also once found this book I had never heard of – The Shakespeare Secret by J L Carrell – for like, 5 SGD? And it was a really good book, so WOW. I lucked out.

WRATH

What author do you have a love/hate relationship with?

At the moment, I would have to say J.K. Rowling? Because while Harry Potter will always have a special place in my heart, I have realised her representation is quite lacking. I just – wish she would Stop.

GLUTTONY

What book have you devoured over and over with no shame?

The Chronicles Of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. The Chalet School Series by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer, or at least the books in the series I have. Both just make me feel like a little kid again.

SLOTH

What book have you neglected reading due to laziness?

What book haven’t I neglected this year? But specifically, because I was supposed to read it before the baby was born and she’s almost three months and I still haven’t read it – The Happiest Baby On The Block by Harvey Karp.

PRIDE

What book do you talk about in order to sound like an intelligent reader?

SHAKESPEARE. Literally anything Shakespeare. And sometimes Austen, even though I’ve actually only read Pride & Prejudice completely. I love them both.

LUST

What attributes do you find attractive in male or female characters?

Snark, but like, not to the point of rudeness. Wit, but a good heart. Not afraid to show their emotions. Loyal to the people they love.

ENVY

What book would you like to receive as a gift?

Literally anything you think I would enjoy? Or you could see my TBR. Lol. (No, but I used to tell my family to just give me cash instead of presents on my birthday so I could buy the books I wanted instead of them giving me something I didn’t like. I had no shame.)

books box

And that’s the tag! It was as fun as I thought it would be, so I’m glad I did it. I’m going to tag a couple of people, but feel free to pass on it if it doesn’t interest you, or if you’ve done it before!

Even if you’re not tagged and you decide to do this, feel free to link me!

2016-04-12 11:46

review; the dream thieves

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The Dream Thieves
by Maggie Stiefvater

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same.

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life.

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

Review:
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SPOTLIGHT; Katie Cross in an Interview with the Author

We interrupt our regular schedule to bring you this post.

When I stumbled across Bon Bon To Yoga Pants on Wattpad, I never expected to tumble down a hole of “Must recommend this to everyone I meet!” and “When will the next book be complete?” and even “How has this not been picked up by a publisher yet?”

I did not expect to get the answers to my two questions (“Soon!” and “It has!“) ever. But here we are.

If you’ve followed me here from my Tumblr book blog, you will know that I loved this book enough to make a couple of edits for it. With the intention of making more. It happens when I love something this much. At the time, I had no idea I would start a book blog here on WordPress, and no idea that I would manage to get in contact with the author of Bon Bons, Katie Cross, and score an interview!

My second ever Spotlight feature is a little Q&A* with Katie Cross, because everyone should be reading Bon Bons, and what better way then to get the author herself to talk about her book.

interview with the author

Hi Katie! Thank you so much for answering my questions. I really appreciate it.
Thank you so much for having me! This is so fun. I love and appreciate all my readers, so thank you so much for recommending it and asking me. <3

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am an indie author, an avid mountain hiker, a mom of a toddler, and a military wife!

What’s your favourite book?
All of them. I love them all for different reasons! But I’m partial to anything that really hits me in the feel spot.

  • Tell us about your book in one sentence.
    Lexie Green embarks on a journey to lose weight and look stunning, but learns that happiness isn’t found on a scale.
  • Describe your protagonist in six words.
    Lexie is a hot mess!
  • Where do you write from?
    My kitchen table. Seriously. I love working in the kitchen because it’s the heart of the home. Stillness and silence make it hard for me to concentrate sometimes.
  • How did you come up with the idea for The Health And Happiness Society?
    Slowly. It kind of built upon itself with every chapter. Eventually, they became quite demanding.
  • Did you start writing Bon Bons To Yoga Pants knowing that it would lead to a series, or was it intended to be a standalone?
    I started it as a fun project, and it kind of grew a life of it’s own. Which is the best way to have it, I think.
  • When you started posting your story on Wattpad, did you expect for your novel to become as widely read as it did? Did you expect it to be published?
    Not really! It was just an experiment. I wanted to try writing in a really vulnerable way and see if people responded. Did they ever! But once it reached that point, it only made sense to publish it.
  • Tell us a bit about your editing process.
    A bit chaotic. My writing process is always under construction because I’m always learning, growing, and improving. But my editing process starts globally and gets more narrowed with more drafts.
  • What piece of advice would you like to give other authors that you think might help them?
    Little things lead to big things over time. So even if you can only write for a few minutes a day, it adds up to lots of minutes after a month!
  • What do you think was your biggest lesson learnt from the beginning of your writing till now?
    To trust myself. I have better instincts than I thought. But to never trust myself solely. Beta readers are a huge blessing!
Thank you again for taking your time to answer my questions!
My absolute pleasure!
* This interview was conducted via e-mail, and I have not edited her answers at all.

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I am honestly still shaking a little bit that this actually happened. I had scarcely dared to hope when I took a chance and messaged her, but again, here we are!
She is currently writing the other novels in The Health And Happiness Society, and I, for one, cannot wait to read them. But first, perhaps a reread of Bon Bons.

kcwriting

Katie Cross can be found on –

Twitter | Instagram | Website |
Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads

2016-04-12 11:46

 

;writing communities (and why we need them)

bookworm things

Most readers I know are also writers. Maybe they’re not writing the next Big Thing, or posting what they are writing anywhere. But they write. Whether reviews or poems or short stories or scenes – they write.

And almost every one of them has a community of fellow writers and readers around them that keep them on task, or distract them when they need it. They have a group of friends, maybe online, maybe people they meet up with – maybe even family members they trust – who know they write, who read their words, and who are there to bolster their confidence when it seems like they need it, or to critique their words.

Writing communities, in my humble opinion, are everywhere. And boy, are they important.

writing communities

Let’s start with the obvious, shall we?

Number One;

Communities are necessary because we do not want to feel like we’re alone in how we’re feeling. Talking to fellow writers, or to people who are willing to listen, makes you feel less alone in your frustration. I mean, there is a reason I have a tag for writing on my personal Tumblr where I reblog relatable posts. It reminds me that there are other people who get what I am going through when I get stuck on a sentence, or a paragraph. That there are other writers who get it. Now, this might not be a community that I personally know, but it is the wider writing community, and it still helps me as a writer to know they are out there.

Number Two;

You know the feeling of frustration you get when you write something, and at first, you think it’s great! And then the self-doubt creeps in, and everything you write suddenly looks like trash? Yeah, that feeling. That is when you should turn to someone you trust and go “Hey, I need you to read this and tell me, truthfully, what you think” because you need to take a step back yourself. Someone else’s perspective will help you clear your mind from doubts, will help you figure out what no longer works for you, and what does. That person you trust? It might just be one person, but that’s your core community. It could be your best friend, or your significant other, or your sibling. It could be someone you met online, or someone you went to school with. That person you share your writing with, whose judgement you trust, that person will help you reach your potential.

Number Three;

Sometimes you need to leave the house for a change of scenery when you write. And sometimes you don’t want to be alone when you do. The person you call? Who sits next to you, or opposite you at the library or the coffee shop. Who does their own thing while you write. Who will distract you when you get stuck, who understands why you’ve called them out like this without you having to explain yourself over and over. That person is your writing community. Having someone there, just knowing they are there to pull you out of your own head, is helpful. Trust me on this. I’ve had the same person there for me for just over half my life now.

ipad

Of course, some writing communities are literal writing groups. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with other like-minded writers, then you could go out once a week to sit and work on your individual projects, bounce ideas off of one another, read snippets of your work to each other, or just talk about what you’ve read recently. A friend of mine has a group that does this, and sometimes I get jealous that I don’t.

And then I remember my other friend and realise that I do have a writing community of my own. I have people online I can turn to, and people in my personal life I can turn to, when I need a beta reader, or a distraction, or someone to just hurtle ideas and verbalise thoughts at.

Writing communities are important because they help us figure out what we want to say. They might not be who you think they are – you might not have even realised they’re a writing community yet. Maybe you call them something else. But they’re there for you, they’re important, and we need them.

What do you think?

2016-04-12 11:46

review; cress

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Cress
by Marissa Meyer

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

Review:
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review; duchess in love

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Duchess In Love
by Eloisa James

A Duke In Retreat

Gina was forced into marriage with the Duke of Girton at an age when she’d have been better off in a schoolroom than a ballroom. Directly after the ceremony her handsome spouse promptly fled to the continent, leaving the marriage unconsummated and Gina quite indignant.

A Lady In The Middle

Now, she is one of the most well-known ladies in London… living on the edge of scandal – desired by many men, but resisting giving herself to any one.

A Duchess In Love

Finally, Camden, the Duke of Girton, has returned home, to discover that his naive bride has blossomed into the toast of the ton. Which leaves Cam in the most uncomfortable position of discovering that he has the bad manners to be falling in love – with his own wife!

Review:
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the first of many; a BLOGVERSARY post

first blogversary

It’s my blogversary!

Well, technically, it’s my blogversary month, not day. But because it’s easier on me, I am sticking to my schedule. One post every third Wednesday of the month. Just like I promised myself.

I started book blogging about four years ago, over on Tumblr, and while I loved it, a part of me felt like all I was doing was posting reviews. There was not much interaction or discussion. I didn’t feel like I was challenging myself.

And I wanted a place not just to talk books, but also a place where I could talk a little bit more openly about my views on writing and the community I had found. Hence this blog was born.

I’ve had some ups and downs – moments of doubt and personal upheaval that had me wondering if running this blog was a good idea. And while things in my personal life are going to change majorly once again, it is a good change, and one that I think will help me learn how to balance things better, both in real life and online.

I may not have the most followers, or the most interesting discussions, or even comments on every post I make, but what I do have is a desire to have my voice heard. A place to let out my thoughts, and a place where, I hope, people feel they can be honest in their thoughts as well. I won’t be judging anyone on their personal views. After all, I’m here to start a conversation, not an argument.

This would generally be the place where people post their stats, but honestly, mine are not all that impressive, so I’m just going to skip this part. I am going to say that I have written some pieces that I am quite proud of, and made some friends that I hope to keep for as long as I am able.

Looking back on the past year, things on this blog have not been organised so well. Not at first, and then when I disappeared for a bit, not at all. But this year will be different. It is a resolution I am going to try to stick to, because I have truly enjoyed having this blog. A place to pour out my thoughts on reading and writing and the communities I have become a part of, however small.

So thank you to those of you who have been accompanying me on this journey. I hope you stick with me as I go on.

2016-04-12 11:46