Sunday, 25 September 2011

Reasons to Write


Lately I’ve found that when I sit down to write… nothing happens. No matter how many hours I spend in that chair I’m lucky if I get down 50 words and even then I usually go back and delete/rewrite them all the next day. So after suffering with this problem for the last few weeks I finally had a ‘Eureka’ moment last night at about 2am when I realised my mistake. My reasons to write were wrong!
Now instead of just sitting and typing away like I used to (not caring or thinking about anything other than writing my story) I would antagonise over every single sentence, plagued by thoughts such as;
Would that scene that I love put an older reader off my book? Would my use of exclamation points put off an agent? Is my choice of wording to advanced? Does that comment make my character to unlikable?’
Do you spot the problem? Rather than writing the book I want to write - I had began writing the book I thought everyone else would want to read. You see somewhere in the midst of my writing journey I lost my way and suddenly EVERYTHING became about becoming published and impressing agents which believe it or not, was never my goal.
OK sure, I admit I’ve thought about it (and in great detail to I might add) I even have my thank you speech and first book dedication all written out :) but until recently, getting a publishing contract was never the REASON for my writing. Last night I had to remind myself of this and getting out my notebook, I sat and wrote out my motivation behind it all. Here is my list:
Reasons to Write (Plus a few reminders)
1.      Because writing is awesome and I LOVE doing it.
2.      Originally, this story was only intended for me, Skittle and Sqwoo (my best buds who I promise are actual people and not the imaginary kind that there nicknames suggest).
3.      It’s my story, my world, my rules.
4.      It’s the book I’ve always wanted to read and should remain the story I’ve always wanted to write (And If I write it wrong my characters will never forgive me)
5.      Also because this is a hobby try and remember there is no deadline!
6.      It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
7.      Anything else that happens is a bonus!
8.      Remember publishing can be a goal but never the reason you sit down and write every day.
So after laying all this out I felt much better. Also luckily the damage to my WIP isn’t too extensive. All my worrying over words, exclamations and sentence structure has thankfully left me with little to fix.
Anyway, I think my point to all this is that while in some ways it’s good to consider target audience and marketing appeal to agents and publishers, I think it’s more important to write the book that you love and want to write. After all if you don’t love your story, how is anyone else meant to love it either?
Therefore if my story is enjoyed by other people then great, if it’s loved by Skittle and Sqwoo even better. If it is the best book I’m capable of writing and tells the story I want to tell, then everything I set out to do will have been achieved.
What do you guys think? What are your reasons for writing?

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Poison Diaries - Book Review


The Poison Diaries – Book Review
Wood Northumberland
YA Paranormal
In the right dose, everything is a poison. Even love…
Jessamine Luxton has lived all her sixteen years in an isolated cottage near Alnwick Castle, with little company apart from the plants in her garden. Her father, Thomas, a feared and respected apothecary, has taught her much about the incredible power of plants: that even the most innocent-looking weed can cure – or kill.
When Jessamine begins to fall in love with a mysterious boy who claims to communicate with plants, she is drawn into the dangerous world of the poison garden in a way she never could have imagined…
I don’t know how long ‘The Poison Diaries’ has been sitting on my shelf but after reading many mixed reviews about this book, I grew curious enough to pull it from my to-be- read pile to find out what they hype was all about. I was not disappointed.

A unique and unusual story, I thought this book was beautifully written and the descriptions of the cottage and its gardens were colourful and vivid. Having spent many a weekend in and around Alnwick myself, I can agree that the book was spot on.

Although while I think the story gets off to a slow start, a few chapters in the real drama begins and I soon found myself completely captivated. With a very dark and twisted plot, the book carries within it the themes of first love, betrayal and sacrifice, all portrayed through the lives of three equally fascinating characters. Weed, Jessamine and her father Thomas.

However I must say this book was not the light-hearted read I was expecting. Intriguingly cruel in parts the story is quite dark and towards the end certain chapters really creeped me out – but in a good, ‘I cannot sleep until I finish this book!’ kind of way.

Therefore overall I found this book an interesting if unusual read. I loved the premise of the story that everything is a poison but the book itself also made me really aware of the harsh cruelty both man and nature is capable off.  For this reason I would probably recommend this book to readers of 14+

However despite its dark elements ‘The Poison Diaries’  always tempted me to read on and with questions left unanswered, I’m particularly looking forward to reading the rest of Weed and Jessamines story, continued in ‘Nightshade’ (recently released in the UK on September 1st.)  Toxic and deadly, ‘The Poison Diaries’ was a chilling and thought provoking book, beautifully written by Mary Rosewood, the current Duchess of Northumberland.

Side Note
If anyone is thinking of visiting Alnwick, after checking out the castle you need to go find Barter Books at the old train station. It’s one of my favourite places and every book lovers dream (Imagine a whole train station filled with cheap second-hand books galore!). Also a great place to exchange and clear-out your own books :)

Monday, 12 September 2011

Perfect Chemistry - Book Review



Perfect Chemistry – Book Review
Simone Elkeles
YA Contemporary Romance
Brittany Ellis seems to have it all; wealthy parents, the perfect boyfriend and the ‘right’ group of friends. But when Brittany is forced to become lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the wrong side of town, her perfect life starts to unravel. Alex is a bad boy, and he knows it, so when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it.
But as Alex and Brittany grow closer, sparks begin to fly and they both realise that sometimes appearances can be deceptive. Will there emerging feelings be enough to keep them together when the world is determined to tear them apart?
To say it bluntly, this book was amazing! Nice girl meets sexy, bad to the bone gangster boy = lots of romance and a fantastic read! Honestly, I started this book at 11pm thinking I would just read a few chapters then suddenly it was 6am! (Thank goodness it was a weekend) Where that time went I don’t know but this is a definitely a, ‘I’ll just read one more chapter’ kind of book.
Told through the eyes of both Alex and Brittany, their point of views altered between chapters yet the story flowed smoothly and kept me engaged throughout. I really liked this as it allowed me to immerse myself in both their worlds, letting me understand both their characters and how each was affected by the other.
Complete opposites, Alex is a Mexican (and absolutely gorgeous) gangster from the wrong side of town while Brittany is the rich and seemingly perfect cheerleader… yet beneath the surface their characters are so much more. Forced into the roles society expects of them, they hide behind false smiles while striving to meet the expectations and obligations put on them by family and friends… yet everything changes when their lives collide.
Separated by social and financial status, as well as the racial barriers upheld by their families and peers, Alex and Brittany are brought together through a bet and chance circumstances. Written with the premise that there is always more to a person than meets the eye, the story shows how together, they overcome their prejudices and discover the truth about themselves and each other.
However while I have to admit that the book did have its faults and many cheesy parts with lines that made me giggle, blush and swoon… I loved it all! I really don’t know what it is about this book but I couldn’t put it down and can’t wait to read its sequel ‘Rules of Attraction’.
Also while this is the first book I’ve read by Simone Elkeles she has totally been added to my list of favourite authors! Highly, completely and definitely recommended – it is a must read for all red blooded females! :)


Sunday, 4 September 2011

IMM#2 and RAKS August


This has been another great month for me and I've received some fab books! First from competitions I won these beauties,


 I won both Paranormalcy and Supernaturally from the lovely Beth @alittlesunshine.com

Mary Hoffman's David from the-history-girls.blogspot.com

and The Hunger Games from Emma@ bellebooksx.blogspot.com

Thank you so much to you all for hosting such great competitions!


 And the amazing people who sent me RAKS this month...



Laura from scatteredfigments.blogspot.com sent me a copy of You Against Me

and Kayleigh from kayleigh-m-books.blogspot.com sent me Ash which I'm currently reading!

Thank you both so much, your both awesome! :)

XxX 


Friday, 2 September 2011

Goddess of Troy - Book Review


Goddess of Troy – Book Review

P.C Cast

Readers 16+

Fantasy Romance

Goddesses Hera, Athena and Venus have had it up to here with the Trojan war. So much devastation – all because of male egos. The worst of the bunch is Achilles, the Greek champion whose powers have made him practically invincible. To stop him would be to end the war. But the only way to stop a man like Achilles is to distact him – with something far more pleasurable than combat…
The three Goddesses seize there chance when a twenty-first-century beauty named Kat and her best friend perish in a car crash in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In no time, they shift the friends’ souls into the bodies of a Trojan Princess and her handmaiden, having no doubt that Kat will catch Achilles attentions. But can her independent, fiery spirit match the unquenchable fire of his epic rage?
 While I have to admit I have never been a massive fan of PC Cast, this is the second book I have read in her Goddess summoning series and I absolutely loved it! Telling the story of two modern day women, plucked from their time and dropped into to the middle of the Trojan War by three scheming Goddesses, Goddess of Troy is filled with witty humour, sarcasm and romance.
With both Achilles and Patroclous serving as the main (and absolutely gorgeous) love interests this book kept me hooked from page one. I loved how sweet and gentle Achilles could be as well as the heart-breaking revelations he would make about his past. He particularly was a character you really felt for which made the romance between him and Kat all the more sweet.
Also, I liked reading the banter between the Goddess Hera, Athena and Aphrodite. It was so entertaining to read and through them P.C Cast made the story her own. For instance I especially like how she uses them to make fun of the myths of the golden apple and Trojan horse idea by having the Goddesses comment that only ‘mortal men’ could have come up with such farfetched ideas, and of course blame women for starting the war.
The book also had a really good ending that I wasn’t expecting and I like how P.C Cast turned a tragic classic into such a great love story. Although anyone whose read Homer’s Iliad will probably agree, the old man must be turning in his grave at the new spin P.C Cast has put on his work. I must admit though, I like her ending better.
Sassy and funny ‘Goddess of Troy’ was a book I really enjoyed. Also while I must stress that it’s for older readers it does make a perfect, light read for anyone who wants a quick fix of romance, humour and hot-naked-guy goodness :)