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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

 

 

review; dark witch

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Dark Witch
by Nora Roberts

With indifferent parents, Iona Sheehan grew up craving devotion and acceptance. From her maternal grandmother, she learned where to find both: a land of lush forests, dazzling lakes, and centuries-old legends.

Ireland.

County Mayo, to be exact. Where her ancestors’ blood and magic have flowed through generations – and where her destiny awaits.

Iona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives.

When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horsemen, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package.

Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself – and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope – and love – alive…

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review; the raven boys

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The Raven Boys
by Maggie Stiefvater

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all – family money, good looks, devoted friends – but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

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the nostalgia post;

bookworm things

You know the books you read as a kid that, on looking back aren’t as good as you think, but you’ve still got a warm spot in your heart for them? Yeah, this post is for that feeling. This post is for those books, the ones that you turn to when you need the comfort of your memories, the ones you read when you need to be reminded of your childhood and how much simpler life could be then.

the nostalgia post

There are books that I remember fondly from my childhood. That I can read over and over to spark a feeling of warmth. These books take me back to simpler times. Or sometimes, to the escape I had needed from my studies and, well, society.

I was admittedly a very singular kid. My friends knew when to leave me alone. Too much company got to me.

Books? Books were my best friends.

And these books are those old friends I turn back to when I need comfort. I don’t know many people who have read these particular ones, but I would love to find some. Would love to talk to people who have similar fond memories of the first time they picked these books up.

Patricia C. Wrede’s Dragons series

The first time I read these books, I was 11. I think. My mother, younger sister and two of my cousins had gone on a holiday to visit my mother’s brother. His daughters had drawers full of books – and this series was in one of those drawers. They let me borrow them, and needless to say, I spent a lot of my holiday with my nose buried in them.

It took me years to actually get my hands on a copy of the full series, but when I did, I immediately had a re-read. And while there were obviously some things that, while fantastical and wonderful to a young child, felt a little juvenile to a teenager, it still invoked that same magical feeling in me. Definitely a series I would read again. And again.

Susan Coolidge’s What Katy Did series

Upon reflection, this series can be very preachy. But there’s something about it that I still adore. I think it’s the simplicity of it, the way the characters grow. The familial relationships, and then the friendships that develop in the second novel.

And then the love story – not a very large part of the novel, but a very understated and lovely bit that tugged at my heart strings. It is probably a part of why I keep going back to the books. Why, despite my copies being old and tattered, I can’t see myself letting them go.

Diana Wynne Jones’ A Tale Of Time City

I’ve mentioned this book to a number of people. I still recommend it, because it is a fascinating blend of science fiction and fantasy type elements. It still thrills me each time I read it, and I still find myself wondering what will happen next, even though I’ve read it at least three times already.

The first time I read it was when I borrowed it from a cousin (one of the ones previously mentioned in this post), who highly recommended the author to me. She also lent me her copy of Howl’s Moving Castle, which I adored just as much. But there was just something about this one that kept me hooked. That keeps me going back.

C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles Of Narnia

When I think nostalgia, I think Narnia, even though I was in my teens when I finally got down to reading the series. But the influence this series has had on my writing style probably has something to do with how much I adore it. I read it when I need a pick me up. I read it when I need to find a way to get back into writing.

It is just – whimsical and yet grounded. It teaches us something, and yet, I feel like we could have taught the characters something too. I still find that there is much to discuss about the books and the characters, and there is so much world yet to explore.

This series helped me as a writer. And for that, I will always adore it.

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Of course, there are more books that I adore from my childhood. That evoke the same feelings of wistfulness for the past. But these are the ones that struck me the most, I think. Does anyone else have those books that meant a lot to them as a kid? Books that you still turn to, even now, when you need some comfort?

2016-04-12 11:46

review; vessel

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Vessel
by Sarah Beth Durst

Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. She will dance and summon her tribe’s deity, who will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But when the dance ends, Liyana is still there. Her tribe is furious – and sure that it is Liyana’s fault. Abandoned by her tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.

Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. The desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.

The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice – she must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate – or a human girl can muster some magic of her own.

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