Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Ten Writers I Read for the First Time in 2016

Here's something we haven't taken part in in a while! Top Ten Tuesday, with The Broke and the Bookish. This week, the topic is 'Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016.'

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9492488-misery1. Stephen King

This year, I finally read a novel by the king of horror. You would think, given the fact that I like the genre, I would've gotten here sooner.

(No, Honey, we're all used to your procrastinating ways by now.)

My review for Misery can be found here.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21416690-the-invisible-library2. Genevieve Cogman



My review for The Invisible Library can be found here.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47123.The_Penelopiad3. Margaret Atwood
Sometimes, coursebooks are actually enjoyable. 

My review for The Penelopiad can be found here

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22396591-the-dead-house4. Dawn Kurtagich

Next time I'm looking for suspense and eternally unanswerable questions that will leave be obsessed with finding answers that I don't really want, this is the writer I'll go for.

My review for The Dead House can be found here.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25073764-alice-s-adventures-in-wonderland5. Lewis Carroll

No, I didn't read Alice in Wonderland as a child. I have to be honest, it didn't make a lot of sense to me.

(Or any.)

But I think that's the point?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/960641.Tess_of_the_D_Urbervilles6. Thomas Hardy

This guy needed an editor.

(No. He needed an army of editors.)

Ladies and gentlemen, I present the other end of the coursebook spectrum from The Penelopiad. The oh, God, why side.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32767.At_the_Mountains_of_Madness7. H.P. Lovecraft

It was...exposition. For 182 pages. Seriously, I was expecting a bone-chilling tale of terror. Instead, I got world-building notes. The narrator was either incredibly perceptive, or he had a copy of the author's notes.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23357071-frozen-charlotte8. Alex Bell

I read this in a day. It was plot-driven, with plenty of suspense to keep you turning the pages. For added creepiness, the ballad and the dolls are real.
My review for Frozen Charlotte can be found here.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5206937-a-modest-proposal9. Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift was a satirist. If you're going to read A Modest Proposal, make sure you go in blind. It won't be anywhere near as brilliant if you know what's coming.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23403402-a-darker-shade-of-magic10. V.E. Schwab

I love a good portal fantasy, and this is one with a twist.
My review for A Darker Shade of Magic can be found here.

 Which writers have you picked up for the first time this year? Don't forget to link me to your TTT posts!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Goodbye Guy Fawkes, Hello Santa (Sunday Post #7)


Today, we're looking back over November. Since it's Sunday, we're linking up with Kimberly @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer for the Sunday Post meme.

November in a Nutshell

I suppose we should start with NaNo. 

I did a hasty victory post the other day, but I didn't go into masses of detail. 

In the end, I didn't write the first draft of a novel. Instead, I wrote several extracts, and a lot of character developing short stories. Honestly? I'm not disappointed. With the way writing has been going this year, I'm just happy that Ivy shut up and allowed me to write 50,000 words.

I did most of my writing to the Hamilton soundtrack. I'd seen it mentioned once or twice around the Blogosphere, but I ended up listening to it by accident when I left Youtube on 'play next video' without realising. It's brilliant to write to because it's so fast. It also talks about writing a lot, so it's brilliantly topical, like writing to Natasha Bedingfield's Unwritten.

On the reading front, I read five books.

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Ways of Sunlight by Sam Selvon (Whenever you see a Selvon book on your reading list, it's a sign that you have been blessed by the Gods.)  
The Dragon Can't Dance by Earl Lovelace
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson - 5 stars (An incredible short story that will have you on the edge of your seat as the suspense builds and builds...)
Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih - 4 stars 

Goodreads Challenge Update

At the beginning of the year, I set my Goodreads challenge at 100 books. As of current, I have read...

 I'm confident that I'll have hit 100 by the end of the year, if not before I head home for the Christmas holidays.

How was your November? Did you take part in NaNo? Are you on track to complete your Goodreads Challenge? Tell all in the comments.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016


I won NaNoWriMo for the third year in a row! 

My NaNo this year devolved into a lot of short stories - mainly character developing ones - but I still managed to write 50,025 words, something that I seriously doubted I could do with the way writing has been going this year.

(Blogging has been shamefully patchy this month.)

It has, Ivy, and I apologise for that. This post would be longer, but, between NaNo, essays, and reading, I haven't been sleeping enough. Hopefully, now that NaNo's over, things will return to normal.  

Raise your hand if you took part in NaNo! Raise both hands if you won! Tell me about your NaNo in the comments!

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Hero Appreciation Post!

Back in March, I did a Heroine Appreciation post in honour of International Women's Day. For International Men's Day, I'm gender-flipping the concept. Here's to the men who are more than just impossibly idealistic love interests. 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2444163.Runemarks1. Loki from Runemarks by Joanne Harris

"Well, that's history for you, folks. Unfair, untrue and for the most part written by folk who weren't even there." - Joanne Harris, The Gospel of Loki

(If you didn't see this one coming, then welcome. You must be new.)


Joanne Harris' Loki is a wild card. He's sneaky, and tricky, and, well, the 'father and mother of lies,' but he's also loyal to Maddy in his own strange way.
2. Ronan and Noah from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Ronan's identity is permanently in flux. He's angry, and he drinks enough that he'd probably burn up if you lit a match next to him. He's also Catholic and fiercly loyal to his friends and family.
Noah's identity is slowly fading. He's not who he once was, he's not always there when he's needed, but he always knows everyone's secrets, and he never tells.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21416690-the-invisible-library3. Kai from The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

"Kai hopped on one foot, trying to extract his other foot from the mangled device...
'I was about to say please hit it with a chair,' said Irene, as the hissing of moving silverfish died away to leave them in relative quiet." - Genevieve Cogman, The Invisible Library 

 Kai can be impulsive, cocky, overconfident...but he (mostly) keeps his head in a crisis. 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18193187-the-house-of-hades4. Jason, Nico, Will, and Hades from Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan

"Nico, I've seen a lot of brave things. But what you just did? That was maybe the bravest." - Rick Riordan, The House of Hades

To be honest, I could list all of Riordan's heroes here.

(This is a hero appreciation post, not a Riordan appreciation post.)

Every post is a Riordan appreciation post! 

Jason gets a lot of flack for being the "golden boy," but he's a stable, positive presence on a ship teeming with love triangles, inferiority complexes, and general teen angst, and he supports and defends Nico

Remember that irritatingly cheerful little kid we met in The Titan's Curse? Yeah, me neither. Nico deals with a lot of heavy themes throughout both this series and the Percy Jackson one, and they only ever make him stronger. He's a good fighter, a good brother, and he was also surprisingly good at getting Reyna to open up, considering how secretive he is himself. He was also nice to Bob, which worked out in Percy's favour.

Polite reminder that Will Solace is more than just Nico's boyfriend. He healed Annabeth from a near-fatal wound all the way back in The Last Olympian when he was roughly twelve/thirteen. 

Hades is the closest thing we get to a good Godly father figure. Don't get me wrong, he's far from perfect, but he tries. This is especially evident in The Blood of Olympus with the zombie butler and the reminder that Nico is the only demigod we've come across who has rooms at his Godly parent's palace.  

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11761452-burn-mark5. Lucas from Burn Mark by Laura Powell

Lucas wakes up one day as the thing he's been brought up to burn. He adapts surprisingly well to his new situation, though the second book shows that some of the longing for his old life lingers. He acts as the privileged, by-the-book foil to Glory. 

Who's your favourite fictional hero?

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Let's Try Something New - NaNo Liveblog

We've hit the halfway mark and I'm over 10,000 words behind! I was trying to think of a new way to encourage myself to write quickly and I've seen plenty of liveblogs floating around Tumblr, so I thought, why not?

(How about, because this isn't Tumblr?)

It's a different blogging platform. Not a different planet. 

Here's how it's going to work. 

1. Tonight at 7pm (GMT), I'm going to start writing. Here's a handy time zone converter for those of you who live in different time zones. 

2. I'm going to be posting my word count as I go. Probably every half an hour.

3. You can join me at any time. Just post in the comments or message me on NaNo. If you do join, please link me to your NaNo page so that I can link back to it from the blog, and make sure to send me your word count updates so that I can post them.

4. Anyone who wants to join in might want to bring their armour because there will be word wars!

It's kicking off right here, on this post, at 7pm (GMT), so come back then if you want in! If people could help spread the word to those who might be interested, I'd really appreciate it.  

7:02pm (GMT)

(You're late.)

I know. I'm sorry. There was a queue at Tesco, and then I had to put the shopping away, and the laptop wasn't booted up, and the internet was slow, and -

(Enough! Stop rambling and start writing.)


Time: 7:05pm
Current Word Count: 14,240

Time: 7:25pm
Words Gained: 315

(Good. Take five, and we'll go again.)

Time: 7:35pm
Current Word Count: 14,555

Time: 7:50pm
Words Gained: 155

Time: 8pm
Current Word Count: 14,710

Time: 8:30pm
Words Gained: 265

(You're too slow!)

Be fair, Ivy. In the last half hour, I had to do some quick research to come up with a school name.

(You could've used a placeholder. Now get going.)  

Time: 8:35pm
Current Word Count: 14,975  

Time: 9:00pm
Words Gained: 302

Time: 9:10pm
Current Word Count: 15,277

Time: 9:32pm
Words Gained: 264

Time: 9:45pm
Current Word Count: 15,541

Time: 10:04pm
Words Gained: 166

(Is it me, or are you getting slower?)

Shut up!

Time: 10:15pm
Current Word Count: 15,707

Time: 10:45pm
Words Gained: 271

Current Word Count: 15,978   

Time: 11:24pm
Words Gained: 293

I have some reading to do, so I'm going to leave it there. I've written 2031 words tonight, which isn't bad for me. My total word count is now 16,271. I'm still behind by a lot, but, if I can write as many words as I've written today every night for the rest of NaNo, I will win. 

Game on.