press play;

press play

“If music be the food of love, play on.”
– Duke Orsino; Twelfth Night, Act 1 Scene 1

For a few years now, I’ve caught myself thinking about books when listening to music. Sometimes a lyric reminds me of a character, or a plot arc, or a relationship in a novel I have read or am reading and I find myself either listening to that song on repeat as I read, or sitting down and making a playlist.

Playlists are a fun way of telling a story. While listening to the songs, you get the sense of the characters, get a sense of what the novel has put them through. And I know I’m not the only one who enjoys doing this. Just look at 8tracks! There are loads of playlists based on different novels to find.

I have seen a few blog posts around the ‘sphere of how to make book playlists, but this is not that. For starters, I haven’t found a website that fully suits me – 8tracks no longer plays all the songs for everybody, Spotify sometimes does not have the song I want to use on the playlist uploaded, and YouTube comes with videos that can be rather distracting.

This blog post is for me to find out if other people enjoy making playlists and listening to playlists as much as I do.

I have a list of relationships from novels I have enjoyed that I have made playlists for, or that I am making playlists for. Everytime I hear a new song that I feel reminds me of the novel, I add it to the list. It’s fun, it sometimes influences me to re-read the novel (while my TBR continues to grow in the distance), and it is simple to do.

(The not so simple part comes when I try to make playlist covers. It helps if I have a fancast for the novels – playing around on PhotoShop is always fun when you have a fancast because it is easier to find photos. I might be the only one who thinks this.)

Figuring out where to post the playlist so that I can share it with other readers has been a pain. And I don’t know, maybe I’m the only one still enjoying making these. It certainly sometimes seems like not a lot of other people have been making or posting playlists anywhere.

(Not that I’m planning to stop anytime soon.)

What are your thoughts on playlists? Do you listen to them? Make them? Where do you look for them?

2016-04-12 11:46

P.S.
If you’re interested, here are a few of my playlists.

 

SPOTLIGHT; hashtag bookstagram challenges

We interrupt our regular schedule to bring you this post.

I recently got back into bookstagram. I have been trying to keep to a schedule (Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday posts, which are a lot less than other bookstagram accounts) but things have been going a bit haywire since I came across the challenges people post.

Challenges when it comes to bookstagram are not so much competitions. They are more goals for the month. I was confused the first time I came across the term before I realised that it was much like the memes over on tumblr.

#bookstagram

Last month, a couple of the bookstagram accounts I follow were hosting a #summerlovingbooks challenge. The themes for the days seemed like something I could do, it seemed fun, so I thought, why not take part.

Me being me, I fell behind. But I am still trying to participate, catch up on all the days I missed. And yeah, I’m a month late for a lot of them, but I think some of the pictures would also fall under these two other August challenges I am eying (#athomeaugust & #augustlibrary17) so my posts this month are going to be – fun, I hope.

I think every bookstagrammer should try to take part in a challenge. Whether they do it for the full month, or just a few days – it is fun, it allows more interaction with other accounts, and honestly, it gives you more ideas on what pictures to take. Or at least it does for me.

This has actually gotten a friend of mine and I discussing creating a challenge of our own. #nayaranovembernovels maybe? Watch this space for more information on that.

2016-04-12 11:46

the art of poetry;

the art of poetry

I was never much of a poetry girl growing up. I mean, I liked them well enough, I suppose, but they never evoked that sense of wonder or roused my emotions the way getting lost in novels did.

Until recently, that is.

Tumblr has made being exposed to different styles of poetry much easier. The first few ‘proper’ poems I had read were Shakespearean and the more classic types taught in my English Literature classes. Tumblr has taught me that poetry can be pretty much anything. From a story, to rhyming words, to a protest (of sorts), or to – whatever this is.

I have not had the chance to read Milk And Honey by Rupi Kaur, but I have read some of her poems and there are a few that have struck me. Poetry, in its essence, is about feelings.

And I have a lot of those.

It has resulted in my writing poetry. Since the beginning of the year, I have been writing quite a bit of poetry. My muses are my family. My daughter, my mother, my sisters – I’ve written poems for and about them. I’ve written poems about my faith, about my feelings on subjective topics.

Maybe someday they will resonate with someone the way they resonate with me.

Maybe someday they will inspire someone, make them fall in love with poetry, the way I have slowly begun to my own descent.

Maybe.

Poetry has gone from something I did not quite understand, though I appreciated the aesthetics of it, to something I love.

2016-04-12 11:46

SPOTLIGHT; food for thought & the Young Adult genre

We interrupt our regular schedule to bring you this post.

A friend recently linked me to this article, and I’ve had it open on my phone for a while. Just to go back to and read because the first time I read it, I realised something – I agree with most of these points.

food for thought

I mean, I love YA books. I pretty much only read YA books. Almost all the reviews on this blog are of YA books.

But when I look at the audience reading these books, we are (almost) all in our twenties or older. Or in our late teens. We read these books for escapism, for the want of the adventure or the nostalgia.

I can’t say I wouldn’t have read these books as a teenager. There are certain YA books I did read as a teenager, but as the author the article points out, the portrayal of these protagonists is, well, unrealistic.

And it made me realise something –

I mentally age up the characters of these novels.

Book has a sixteen year old protagonist who is super skilled? By mid-way through the book, I’m imagining someone who is twenty or slightly older.

The teenage protagonist is super self-sufficient and their parents seem to be non-existent? COLLEGE STUDENT AWAY FROM HOME (possibly for the first time to explain some of the things they wind up doing and/or saying).

Probably not what the author intended, but it makes it easier for me to swallow the stories when the protagonist is not unrealistically young for their actions and their character arc.

Has anybody else read that article? What were your thoughts? Am I the only one who had an epiphany upon reading that post, or am I not alone? Please tell me I’m not alone, I need to not be alone in this, heh.

2016-04-12 11:46

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

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.

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 5.44.11 PM

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

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

 

 

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.

books box

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

SPOTLIGHT; new author alert

We interrupt our regular schedule to bring you this post.

A while back, I talked on Twitter about my niece finishing up and finding publishers for her novels.

Well, today she texted me to let me know that she has finally set up her website and is now on Twitter and Instagram! Please follow her at @authorpremk and support a young writer!

Her first novel should be coming out later this year – it is called Midnight Castle; A Souls Of Darkness Novel, and is a paranormal romance involving vampires.

The synopsis for the second one is not up on her website yet, but it is called Wheel Of Death and is a live adventure YA novel centered around a game involving the elements and prize money of 20 million. I don’t know all the details, but it seems intense!

She’s not on Goodreads (yet), but I know that’s the plan, so do check out her novels and consider adding them to your TBR?

Again, she can be found on –
Twitter: @authorpremk
Instagram: @authorpremk
Website: http://www.premkkaur.com/
Goodreads: coming soon

2016-04-12 11:46