Tuesday, 25 July 2017

California Wolves (Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater)


This book has been read a little bit everywhere. In bed, on the bus, in the library...I couldn't put it down.

I don't know what it was about it, but it was addictive. I didn't want to take my eyes off the chess match between Baby and Cole and, to be totally honest, I wanted to see how Isabel and Cole would get their happy ending when neither of them seems willing or able to be happy. This is essentially Cole and Isabel's Shiver and it's heavier on the action and sarcasm than Sam and Grace's ever could've been.

Isabel is one of those characters that everyone can empathise strongly with. I think we can all agree that, at times, life sucks. She's as prickly as always and, if possible, even more cynical. Cole is still haunted by Victor's death, still trying to dig his way out of his hole, still trying to change. And he is changing, even if everyone around him refuses to acknowledge it. The hardest thing about the ups and downs in their relationship is that you see them from both perspectives and, usually, they're both equally in the right and wrong. Sam and Grace both appear briefly when Cole calls Sam. I have to admit that this was one of my favourite things about the book. Sam and Cole have what is possibly my favourite fictional friendship on account of how we got to watch build up over the course of Linger and Forever so it was great to see that it was still there, even across whole states. Of the side characters, my favourites were Isabel's timid cousin Sofia and Jeremy, Cole's endlessly supportive bassist.

Sinner combines Maggie Stiefvater's beautiful writing with old characters and a brand new setting. If you liked werewolves in Minnesota, you'll love them in LA.

Do you like it when trilogies get sequels and prequels?

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Six Summer Reads

 Looking for a few books to throw into your beach bag? Something to lose yourself in on the cruise ship? A novel to flick through on the plane? Look no further than this list.

1. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

A picture paints a thousand words, that's what they say. Well, imagine you could read those words. Imagine they were mixed in with the paint, curving along the lines, tattooed on the subject's skin. 

That's what reading I'll Give You the Sun is like.

Read my review here.

2. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

If you won't read this book for the flesh-eating water horses -

(Who wouldn't read a book with flesh-eating water horses?)

- Then read it for the smell of the sea and the way the sand flies up around them as the horses gallop up the beach.

Read my review here.

3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Long, more than a little cheesy, and great for long car journeys. Little Women follows the lives of the March sisters, Meg (the pretty one), Jo (the ambitious one), Beth (the sweet one), and Amy (the bratty one) whilst their father is away fighting in the civil war.

4. Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell

Looking for something a little darker? Why not head out to a remote Scottish island and hang out in a creepy mansion full of ghosts and dolls?

Read my review here.

5. Paper Towns by John Green

Two words. Road. Trip.

(This is what road trip books are for, right?)

(Well I can't think of any other purpose for them.)

6. Daylight Saving by Edward Hogan

You have to pick this up if you're holidaying at Butlins or some other holiday park. You just have to. It's short and thrilling, the perfect book to read as you're sitting by the pool.

Read my review here.

What makes a book a summer read?

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Creepy Crush (Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley)


'"You can't ban me from the dance! I AM THE DANCE!" Petula screamed.' - Tonya Hurley, Ghostgirl

Usually, when I give a book a low rating, I say that it's not the book. It's me.

In this case though, I think it was the book.

We'll start with the main protagonist, Charlotte. She was so obsessed with Damon that it was actually creepy. Even creepier, her obsession with Damon pretty much defined her personality. She had no goals beyond dating him and becoming more popular. The fact that these remained her only two goals after death is mind-boggling to say the least. Did she have no goals for the future? No actual human connections to mourn the loss of? 

Damon himself was just a really nice, sporty guy. Hanging out with the popular (read: mean) kids, and dating Petula somehow did not stop him from being a really nice guy. I am still trying to work out how he ended up in his friendship group when he seemed to hate them so much. Also, he was essentially dating three girls at once (he thought he was dating two) and yet he was never called out for being unfaithful. None of the girls seemed to mind except for Petula, who we weren't supposed to like or agree with. 

Everyone else was defined by one or two singular characteristics and most of them were stereotypes. Scarlet was the gothic loner, Petula was the mean girl who inexplicably had the world revolving around her, Pam was the pushover of a best friend...and on and on and on. Usually, I don't mind the odd stereotype, especially when they've been given the odd twist. The problem here was that none of the characters ever developed beyond their assigned stereotype. The only character I liked was Scarlet, and that was only because she was sarcastic and called Charlotte out once or twice.

Plot-wise, I struggled. This is a book aimed at the teen audience. To outright say in a book aimed at teens that the reason that teens don't go straight to the afterlife is because they're selfish is awkward to say the least. Throughout the book, there was a constant emphasis on how teenagers didn't think of how their deaths would affect their families and friends, only of how it affected them. This was essentially the entire reason that there was a plot at all. Charlotte spent the entire novel pining after Damon and ignoring her new responsibilities.

And this is what saved the day in the end.

Yeah. On the one hand, teens are selfish people. On the other hand, being a selfish person will save the day. I was also really confused by Damon's reaction to finding out that Charlotte and Scarlet had both been flirting with him. It seemed a little...odd.

Overall, I didn't enjoy this one. I have learned my lesson about picking books up just because they look pretty.

Has cover love ever blinded you to common sense? 

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

What the Hell Does My Rating System Even Mean?

(You know what I've always wondered?)

How it feels to have a working sense of empathy?

(What fresh hell is your rating system? Do you even have a system?)

Of course I have a system.

(A system you can explain? One that will actually make sense to other people?)

...I said it was a system. I made no claim to logic, common sense, or it working in this specific dimension.

One Star

Every word was like rubbing salt into my eyes whilst walking over flaming coals and swallowing broken glass. Honestly, it was physical torture just forcing my eyes down the page. To put into perspective how often this is my reaction to a book, I've only given out five one star ratings since I joined Goodreads.

If I finished this book, chances are I had to read it for something.

Two Stars

This is where it gets tricky. You see, I'm not really sure what makes me think, "This is getting two stars." It can mean that I was disappointed, that something ruined the story for me (and, when I say 'something', I usually mean the romance), or even just that I was scared of what might happen if I gave this story one star. A lot of them were good books, they just didn't mesh with me.

For most of my two star ratings, I'd say I was disappointed. 

Three Stars

I didn't love it, or at least not all of it, but I didn't hate it either. A lot of my three star ratings are stories that I felt improved. Maybe I was bored, but then the climax hit and I couldn't tear my eyes away from the page. 

Three stars means it was enjoyable. It hasn't changed my life, and I might forget about it, but I'm glad I read it.

Four Stars

I liked it. I liked it a lot. Most of my ratings are four stars, and I'm not really sure what keeps them from being five. Maybe there were one or two elements that bugged me, or maybe I felt that it was missing something. Sometimes, it's because it dragged in one or two places, or because I felt like it was too long for what it was. Four star reads just...feel like four star reads to me. I'm sorry, I can't explain it.

Five Stars

This book is absolutely flawless. 

Okay, so it's almost definitely not, but I loved it. If I read a book in a day (and it wasn't a coursebook), chances are it's a five from me. Other times, it's the characters (it's always the characters), the voice, the writing, the plot... It doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to have made me happy. 

Can you explain your rating system? 

Goodreads | Bloglovin'

Friday, 7 July 2017

Beautiful People - Writing Process


(It's been a while since we've linked up for this.)

I know, right? 

Beautiful People is hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. This week, it's all about the writing process.

1. How do you decide which project to work on?

I pick whichever one appeals to me at the time. If it doesn't mesh with me, I'm not against switching to something else. That doesn't mean I'm done with the story though. The one I'm working on now is one I dropped before, but now that I've come back to it it's flowing beautifully.

2. How long does it usually take you to finish a project?

Are we talking first drafting here or finishing the entire thing? I'm going to go with the first one. It takes me about four months to write a first draft.

3. Do you have any routines to put you in a writing mood?

I open up the website I use to track how many words I write each day. I also open up the NaNo website if it's that time of year. Sometimes I put music on, sometimes I don't. I'm learning to play it by ear on that one. I like to be in a room by myself too, somewhere quiet where nobody's going to talk to me.

4. What time of day do you write?

Evenings usually, but if I can write in the morning (around 10am-12pm), it comes much easier.

5. Are there any authors you think you have a similar style too?

I've never really thought about it, to be honest.

6. Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?

I started because, not only did I enjoy it, but I was told that I was good at it. I keep writing for the same reason I keep reading, because I like to escape from the world and myself. Not to mention, playing with character dynamics is really fun.

7. What's the hardest thing you've written?

It's not exactly written. I keep starting it and then realising it's too big (worldbuilding-wise and in the sheer number of characters) for me to manage right now.

8. Is there a project you want to tackle someday, but don't feel ready yet?

See above.

9. What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?

I wanted a first draft by the end of the year. I'm moving steadily along towards that goal.

10. Describe your writing process in three words or a GIF.


Tell me about your writing process.