Friday, 30 June 2017

On Writing - June 2017


Previous Posts: January

Anyone that has ever attempted to tackle a novel length writing project will tell you that most of the the time you spend on it is not actually spent writing.

That's where I've been for the past five months.

It's not like I have given up on writing this story, because I definitely have not, but I spend more of my time brainstorming and deciding on where to go next that actually putting it down into words.


I've learned long ago that I cannot make myself write every day. If I do, most if not all of what comes out (if something comes out at all) ends up deleted. So, for me to actually sit down and write, I have to have a clear-ish image of what comes next, or at least a starting point, and then I can work with that.

Like I said in my last writing post, I have been plagued with insecurity and doubt the furthest I get into the story, and the closest I get to the end. There is a gap that needs filled between where I am now and what I have outlined for the final arc of the novel, but for the life of me I can't figure out how to fill it. The more I try to think of it the worse it gets, and after several anxiety filled weeks I decided to let it rest for a while, and that's when the next step came to me, at a very unexpected time, as I was sat in a dark cinema watching a movie that had no connection or comparison whatsoever with what my story is about or the scene that came to me.

My brain is a very, very weird place.

So, I sat down to write that scene, and in a couple of hours I had thousands of words written down that I really liked, and an entire chapter finished.

And now I'm back where I started, wondering where to go next.

This is definitely becoming a slower process than I thought it would be back in January when I planned how this writing year would be, but creativity can't be forced, as much as we would like it to come out on demand. I just have to wait for the next chapter to come to me, and the next, and the next, until I can write 'The End'. Regardless of how long that may take.


At this point I'm at just over 78k words, which means I have written 2942 words since my last update, and reached the end of chapter nineteen. I was hoping to be able to finish this first draft before I went back to university, so, fingers crossed, yes?

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Inspirational quote of the month:

'If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep,
make a pie, draw, listen to music, meditate, exercise;
whatever you do, don't just stick there scowling at the problem.
But don't make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do,
other people's words will pour in where your lost words should be.
Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.'

- Hilary Mantel

Thursday, 29 June 2017

April - June Wrap Up


Haven't done one of these in a while, have I?

*hides in corner*

After spending 6 months reading at lightning speed for university, I have found myself in a slump of sorts, where the last thing I really feel like doing is reading. I don't even feel bad about it, not completely; sure, I would like to say I've tackled the gigantic amount of books on my shelves that I have yet to read, but, at the same time, I'm happy to be spending my time doing other things, and enjoying the summer before my last year of university. Honestly, I hadn't even noticed that I didn't pick up a single book in June until now, but busying myself with other things that also make me happy is a replacement I will gladly make.

I will be starting on my reading list for that this coming month, though, so that will inevitably raise the very sad number of books I have read so far this year.

So, these are the books I picked up in the past three months:


Monday, 5 June 2017

'One of Us is Lying', by Karen M. McManus

Title: One of Us is Lying
Author(s): Karen M. McManus
Release Date: 1st June 2017
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: YA, Thriller
Source: Publisher (ARC)

Synopsis:
One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. 
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
 Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
 Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
 And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

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Friday, 5 May 2017

'Star Wars: Thrawn', by Timothy Zahn

Title: Star Wars: Thrawn
Author(s): Timothy Zahn
Release Date: 11th April 2017
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Publisher

Synopsis:
In this definitive novel, readers will follow Thrawn’s rise to power—uncovering the events that created one of the most iconic villains in Star Wars history.

One of the most cunning and ruthless warriors in the history of the Galactic Empire, Grand Admiral Thrawn is also one of the most captivating characters in the Star Wars universe, from his introduction in bestselling author Timothy Zahn’s classic Heir to the Empire through his continuing adventures in Dark Force Rising, The Last Command, and beyond. But Thrawn’s origins and the story of his rise in the Imperial ranks have remained mysterious. Now, in Star Wars: Thrawn, Timothy Zahn chronicles the fateful events that launched the blue-skinned, red-eyed master of military strategy and lethal warfare into the highest realms of power—and infamy.

After Thrawn is rescued from exile by Imperial soldiers, his deadly ingenuity and keen tactical abilities swiftly capture the attention of Emperor Palpatine. And just as quickly, Thrawn proves to be as indispensable to the Empire as he is ambitious; as devoted as its most loyal servant, Darth Vader; and a brilliant warrior never to be underestimated. On missions to rout smugglers, snare spies, and defeat pirates, he triumphs time and again—even as his renegade methods infuriate superiors while inspiring ever greater admiration from the Empire. As one promotion follows another in his rapid ascension to greater power, he schools his trusted aide, Ensign Eli Vanto, in the arts of combat and leadership, and the secrets of claiming victory. But even though Thrawn dominates the battlefield, he has much to learn in the arena of politics, where ruthless administrator Arihnda Pryce holds the power to be a potent ally or a brutal enemy.

All these lessons will be put to the ultimate test when Thrawn rises to admiral and must pit all the knowledge, instincts, and battle forces at his command against an insurgent uprising that threatens not only innocent lives but also the Empire’s grip on the galaxy—and his own carefully laid plans for future ascendancy.

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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book


This goes the opposite way from last week's Top Ten Tuesday, and I definitely struggled to make this list more than just a negative side to that post. However, like most things, it is always easier to know what you don't like than what you do, so here is my list of turn offs in books!

1. Love Triangles

If you are new here: Hi. I'm Sofia. I absolutely hate love triangles. I've documented this hate plenty here on the blog, and I will not stop until this disappears from the face of the Earth. If I read a blurb and there are only three named characters and it smells like a romance will happen between them at some point in the book, I will run away from that book quicker than if it was the plague itself.

2. Unnecessary Romance

Why, oh why does every story have to revolve around romance? There are other things that any human being worries about and has to deal with in their lives, and so seeing characters in books, especially in settings where they definitely should be worrying about bigger things, spend all their time fawning over a love interest bores me. Again, it is very easy to see this coming in blurbs most of the time, and so I do the equivalent of a swipe left on those ones... Thanks, but no thanks.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book


I was debating whether or not to try and do this Top Ten Tuesday, since I think what draws me in books is very run of the mill (and probably boring), but as I've been struggling to keep the blog updated (I'm almost done with uni for the year, so that should turn around soon!), I'm going with it anyway. Who knows, maybe it turns out to be interesting?

Here are the top ten things that make me want to read a book instantly!

1. Originality

This might seem like a given (I don't know who would like to read the same things over and over again), but originality not only in plot but in concept will immediately make me want to read a book that much more. For example, even if I wasn't an absolute fan of science fiction, as soon as the idea for 'Illuminae' was revealed, I needed that book in my hands ASAP.

There are thousands of books coming out every year, so something that makes one pop out of the pile will obviously bump it up in my interest! There is no time for boring books, am I right?

Friday, 31 March 2017

February/March Wrap Up


If reading slumps are the worst and you know it clap your hands... *clap* clap*

These last couple of months have been the absolute worst reading wise for me. I could barely manage to make myself read the books that I had to for classes, and outside of that I've been either too busy with work or just can't get myself to pick anything to read. Which explains why the blog has been so quiet lately... (I feel like I've been apologizing for this every post I make, but, again, sorry!)

However, I am now officially done with classes for the year and just have to push through my deadlines in the next couple of weeks and I will see myself with a lot more time to read! I've been craving some fun reads for a while, so hopefully this slump will go away, because my TBR won't tackle itself.

So, during February and March I only managed to read five books (hence why I waited until now to make a wrap up, because it's already really sad to look at as it is). Overall it was a more positive than negative balance on my opinions, so at least there's that!


Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Favourite Science Fiction and Fantasy Books - TOP 5 WEDNESDAY!


I nearly squealed when I saw this week's topic, because FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION ARE MY JAM.

*ahem*

How am I picking only five, though? This is torture. I could easily do five of each, and still struggle.

As always, these do not necessarily go in order of my preference, for the sake of my sanity.

1. 'Red Rising' series, by Pierce Brown

[Review]     {Goodreads}

This is, simultaneously, one of the best and most painful series I have ever had the good fortune of reading in my life.

And when I say pain, I mean honest to God, 'what are you doing to me' pain. So absolutely worth it though, and Pierce is a complete mastermind and genious for putting this fantastic world together.

Cannot wait for the 'Iron Gold' trilogy to come out so I can die all over again!

Monday, 27 February 2017

December/January Book Haul


Yet another feature that I am moving from booktube over here! (because I certainly need things to keep the blog updated, sorry for the inconsistency lately everyone...)

Anyway, I'm not planning on having a lot of these posts in the near future, since I am on a self imposed book buying ban for the entirety of this year. I have way too many books that have been on my shelf for years that are still unread, and so I'd rather try and get to those than keep trying to squeeze even more books in the inexistent space I have left.

However, I have still been getting a few books from publishers (even that requesting has been reduced to the bare minimum, but in some cases the publicists are lovely enough to surprise me with books that are just up my alley), so I thought the least I could do would be to dedicate them a post once in a while.

I did get a couple more books than the ones pictured since December, but since I've already read and reviewed them, I thought I'd let it slide this time (and I didn't want to mess up my shelf by taking them out, ups).

Anyway, here are the books I've received in the past two months!

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Pokemon Go Book Tag


It's tag time again, and this week I'm doing the 'Pokemon Go Book Tag'!

I was tagged to do this well over six months ago, just when the game had come out. I don't even play it that much anymore (the little critters don't seem to like the area around my house and uni, where I spend 90% of my time), but Pokemon was a bit part of my childhood so I cannot ignore this tag, even all this time after actually being tagged to do it.

Go along to the wonderful Alisha's blog, Reality's a Bore, who tagged me to do it all those moons ago. Sorry it took me so long!

(you could say I am a real life Slowpoke... *badum tss*)


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Book Trends You're Tired Of - TOP 5 WEDNESDAY!


Welcome to a new Top 5 Wednesday!

This week's topic is one that really got me thinking: What trends do I not like in publishing? I tend to just avoid things I do not like, to the point I even forget they exist (otherwise I just get mad if I happen to remember them), so I had to dig a bit around my mental vault to bring these out.

Most of these are related to YA literature, since that is what I read the most and tend to keep up with when it comes to releases, but not all, and some cross over to other areas of publishing.


Let's get rid of some rage, shall we?

1. Love Triangles

If I could kill a trope with my own bare hands, I would make sure this one was removed from this earth as quickly as humanely possible. From the way most YA books include this trope, you would think that everyone and their mothers suddenly find themselves with two love interests at the same time, and they cannot come to an easy decision regarding who they want to be with (because, you know, those pages where you don't have plot to develop don't fill themselves).

I have had a long standing hate for this trope, because 90% of the time it is used instead of a plot and it makes absolutely no sense. It is very rare that an author can actually pull this off in a way that is satisfying, but I would sacrifice even those for the sake of never seeing this geometrical form in books ever again.

Monday, 6 February 2017

'Heartless', by Marissa Meyer

Title: Heartless
Author(s): Marissa Meyer
Release Date: 9th February 2017
Publisher: Macmillan
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Source: Publisher (ARC)

Synopsis:
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.



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Friday, 3 February 2017

January Wrap Up


As I made my resolution to not have a quantity reading goal in 2017, it is a bit odd to try and not be disappointed that I didn't read much in January.

I am still in a slump of sorts, in which I can kind of read, but I have no idea what I actually want to pick up. That along with having to read a book for university that is boring me to no end and taking up all my reading time, I only have three books to mention in this wrap up, one of them (that cursed uni read) which I haven't finished yet, but it's taken so much time that I wanted to mention it anyway, otherwise it just seems even more of a waste.


Tuesday, 31 January 2017

On Writing - January 2017


Hello, hello, and welcome to a new monthly feature here on the blog! I mentioned on my New Years Resolutions post that I wanted to diversify my content beyond the reviews, wrap ups and Top posts, and with me leaving Youtube I thought one of the easiest ways to do that would be to move my writing updates here.

It is also a way for me to actually make time to write, so I have something to show for it at the end of the month! Really, it's a win/win situation.

 
I'm borrowing Stephen King's writing craft book title for these updates, because 1) I'm awful at titles and 2) it's actually a great book and I recommend you check it out if you're a writer.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

I Dare You Book Tag


I've been tagged in several book tags over the time I've had the blog but, for some reason, I never got around to them... *hides in shame*

I used to do them all the time when I was still doing booktube, but I never got into doing the written version of them. So, here is my attempt at catching up with all the posts I've been tagged on by some very lovely people!

This first post will be the 'I Dare You' Book Tag, and I was tagged by Rachel over at Rustling Reads, so make sure you go and check her blog out!

This tag was created by BookFandom1001, and these are the very simple rules
  • You must be honest
  • You can't not answer a question
  • You have to tag at least four people

Let's see how this goes, shall we?

 
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Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Favorite Underrated Books - TOP 5 WEDNESDAY!


It's time for another Top 5 Wednesday!

I tend to think of myself as a pretty 'mainstream' reader: if I pick up a book, it's probably because I've seen a lot of people raving about it. I very rarely venture out and pick up a book that I haven't at least heard something about, but still, I have a couple of favourites that I have taken on as a mission to spread like wildfire because they certainly deserve more love than they get.

Soooo, here they are! (I'm always so awful at transitions. Let's ignore that.)

1. 'Afterworlds', by Scott Westerfeld


Every time I have a chance to try and convince people to read this book I take it, because I STILL BARELY SEE PEOPLE TALK ABOUT IT.

*ahem*

 I absolutely love the premise of this book, and how it manages to contain two stories: a contemporary about a girl who writes a NaNoWriMo novel and gets a book deal, and the fantasy book she wrote. Not only is it greatly written, but as an aspiring author it's also great inspiration!

Friday, 20 January 2017

'The One Memory of Flora Banks', by Emily Barr

Title: The One Memory of Flora Banks
Author(s): Emily Barr
Release Date: 12th January 2017
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: Publisher (ARC)

Synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora's brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend's boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora's fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.

With little more than the words "be brave" inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must "be brave" if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Favorite Polarizing Books - TOP 5 WEDNESDAY!


Hello, hello!

This is the first time I am doing Top 5 Wednesday here on the blog, as I used to do it over on my Youtube channel. It will now be a permanent fixture through written form, and every month I will pick my favorite topics either from this or Top Ten Tuesday, to help keep things interesting and varied.

This week the topic is polarizing books, and it will probably raise some discussions. These are the books that people either love or hate, no middle ground allowed. I see this happen quite a lot around YA books, since those are the ones I read the most, but it just seems that 'adult' books don't pull that kind of passionate dichotomy between readers.

I am thinking that the aim of this Top 5 is to choose books that we love in that situation, but I will also include the other end of the spectrum: books I did not like that everyone and their mothers rave about. Because I often find myself in that position...

With introductions done, lets jump right in!

1. 'Throne of Glass' series, by Sarah J. Maas


From the moment I read the first book in this series I felt like the odd one out. Yes, I had enjoyed the book, but I wasn't completely obsessed with it like a lot of people seem to be. Because of that, it took me ages to catch up, and it was when I got to 'Heir of Fire' that I just had to hit the breaks and get out of that mess of a car.

Reading that book just filled me such a rage that I very nearly gave up on it, and only didn't do it out of sheer stubbornness. I cannot believe how people can so fully support what is straight from the beginning a very abusive and problematic relationship, but I have seen a lot of 'blindness' regarding this. Other than that I got tired of seeing my favorite characters being killed off by the end, so I am very much out of this train now.

Friday, 6 January 2017

My 2017 Resolutions and Goals


A new year brings with it the possibility for a new beginning, and millions of people take with that the chance to better themselves, and decide on the things they are aiming to achieve in the next twelve months.

Now, I know I haven't done a post of this kind before (to be fair, since I started the blog in November of 2015, I would have only been able to do it once anyway), but I am all for new years resolutions. I know a lot of people hate them, because they are 90% forgotten by the time March comes (if not sooner), but even if I don't achieve them all, it is still a great, motivating way to start off the year. One of my favorite memories when it comes to this time of year was one time, years ago, when I decided to write down on a piece of paper all the things I wanted to do by the end of the year, even the ones that seemed impossible, and then hide it in a pocket of my wallet and make the pledge to not look at it again until the following New Years Eve. By that time I'd honestly forgotten some of what I had put in there, but I was surprised to see I had done them all, even the impossible ones. It was an amazing feeling and I would recommend anyone to do the same sometime, it's a lot of fun!

So this year I am doing yet another list, but, you know, here, for everyone to see. Most of these will be blogging related (hence the decision to make this post, since I'm not including making this a personal blog on the list) and relate to each other, and even the fact that I am making this post at all is already going along with one of those resolutions! Crazy, uh?


So, here are my 2017 resolutions and goals!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

December Wrap Up


The end of 2016 brought with it probably the most diversity in genres in my year of readings. I read contemporary, short stories, science fiction, non-fiction... and even a graphic novel! (amazing when you're running behind on your yearly reading goal).

I wasn't as prolific review wise in December as I decided to take a little break from blogging while I was away from uni (I'm about to go back and I am 100% not ready), so hopefully I will get back into the gear of things soon, but I will leave that for my 2017 Resolutions post coming later this week!

Without further ado, here are the last books I read in 2016!