Thursday, 22 June 2017

"L" is for Legend

Legends (also known as myths, sagas, folk tales, etc.) are stories of old that have been passed down through the ages from generation to generation. Most of them started out as word of mouth tales before eventually being written down and, as a result, there are many different variations of the same legends. One example would be the myth of Orion. Did Apollo trick his sister into shooting him, or was he killed by a scorpion after boasting that he could kill anything? It is also common to find similar legends in different cultures. For example, you'd be hard-pressed to find a culture that didn't have a flood story. 

Most stories have a shred a truth of in them and many legends, such as those of King Arthur, are believed by some to have a historical basis. As far as we know, the closest England has come to having a King Arthur is Henry VIII's older brother, who died before he could ascend to the throne.

 Do you have a favourite legend?

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Start with a Bang, End with a Stutter (Take the Key and Lock Her up by Ally Carter)

2/5 Stars

"Hush, little princess, dead and gone,
No one's gonna know you're coming home.
Hush, little princess, wait and see,
No one's gonna know that you are me..." - Ally Carter, Take the Key and Lock Her up, page 290

I doubt anyone was expecting me to give this a two star rating after I gave the first two books five stars, but here we are. 

I'm disappointed. The plot basically consisted of Grace not listening to people, trying to run off on her own, and having long internal monologues about what a bad idea something was before going off and doing it. Thinking about it now, my main problem with it was that Grace spent a good amount of the novel alone and she's just not interesting enough to sustain it by herself. I wasn't interested in the resolution of the secret princess plotline because, to me, it seemed like a none issue. Without the bodies, there's no real way to prove that Grace is a princess, so why does the society feel the need to fuss?

I did like the villain. I thought she had a believable motivation. After all she gave up her life to try and set things right, so why shouldn't Grace do the same? I also felt like she came out of nowhere though. Perhaps I need to re-read book two and see if I can spot any foreshadowing. Her ultimate fate seems in bad taste when you consider Grace and Karina's backstories.

It feels a little late in the game to be introducing a love triangle, but I guess it wouldn't really be an Ally Carter novel without one. There is nothing wrong with Thomas. In fact, I rather liked him. I certainly liked him more than I liked Alexei who went back to being controlling. Grace and Alexei's relationship has never really rang true for me. 

Overall, I do think that my own problems with Grace as a character and the romance are what ruined this series for me. It's not a bad book by any means. I just didn't enjoy it.

Have you ever felt let down by the final book in a series?

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Reading Challenges and Writing Updates (Sunday Post #10)

Hosted by Kimberley @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer
I'm writing this from my uni room, but, if you're reading it, it means that I'm home for summer. Second year is over. I do not want to be a third year.

(Nobody does.)

News from the Reading Front

I'm in a slump.

(Are you laughing or crying?)

I'm not enjoying The Ice Cream Girls and the third Embassy Row book is disappointing so far. On the bright side, I finished the Shaman King series a couple of days ago.

I need to start reading my coursebooks for next year within a couple of weeks.

In an attempt to break out of my slump, I've joined the summer reading challenge over at Pretty Deadly Reviews.

News from the Writing Front

I'm 11,113 words into my summer project. Impressed, Ivy?

(...A little.)

I'm going to do Camp NaNo in July - who knows, maybe I can finish my first draft a little quicker - but I haven't decided on my word count yet.

News from the Blogging Front

Big news, guys! Ivyclad Ideas is now on Tumblr! You may have noticed the new button in the sidebar. I completely forgot that Tumblr doesn't let you show up in the search results until you've been there for a while, so it has no followers right now, but it has a few posts and it looks pretty. Check it out here

I was surprised earlier this week to notice that my most read post of all time is not a weekly meme or a tag. It's Writers Don't Owe Us Anything, also known as that rant I wrote back in March.

What are you reading at the moment?

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Worst Fathers in Fiction
Evil stepmothers exist in ever corner of folklore and fairytale. Evil fathers populate modern media in a similar style. Here are ten utterly terrible fathers. 

1. Ging Freecss from Hunter X Hunter by Yoshihiro Togashi
Ah yes, Ging Freecss, the man who was only willing to meet his son if he came alone. The man who decided that Gon wanting to bring anyone along with him was a sign of cowardice.

Bear in mind that this is Gon.
 He is a shonen protagonist. How often do they go anywhere alone? Tao En from Shaman King by Hiroyuki Takei

You think Ren's bad, and then his father appears.

This is a man who locked his son (nephew in the anime) in a dungeon because he disagreed with him, sent droves of spirits after him when he got out, and, when that failed, fought him himself. 

3. Copernicus from Jane Blonde by Jill Marshall

Poor, poor Alfie.

4. Artemus from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

He's not really a bad father. I mean, sure, he wasn't around, and we only really see him and Blue interact once after he gets back, but there are worse fathers in fiction. I just hate him. I mean, I know he wasn't Gwenllian's father, but he did help her father bury her. I'm allowed to hate him.

5. Gabe from the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

When you get petrified by a severed head and not a single person who reads the book has a problem with it, you know you're a terrible person.

Honestly, I've seen people argue about everything from Annabeth and Percy getting together, to Jason and Piper's very existence, to how Nico's sexuality was handled and whether or not he and Will became a couple too fast, but nobody argues mercy for this man.

6. Yato and Yukine's Fathers from Noragami by Adachitoka

Yato was trained to be a God of Chaos from infancy. He's been killing on his father's orders since he was knee high to a grasshopper. The problem is that Yato doesn't want to be a God of Chaos anymore...and his dad's bad at letting go...

We don't even know what Yukine's father was like, but consider this, Yukine is a shinki. He's dead. He has no memories. Yato knows how Yukine died. Yato also happens to mention that Yukine has had difficulties with his father. Considering Yato's situation with his own father, what do you think he would class as difficulties?

(You do like your theories.)

I am always here for ALL OF THE THEORIES. Seriously. Throw them at me.

7. Emily's Father from Heart Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne 

Think about it. Emily commits her crimes because she resents the girl who caused her father's arrest. Emily loves her father, and he clearly loves her too, but it is his influence that put her on the path to prison.

8. Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Granted, he's horrible to everyone, but it's strongly implied that Linton turns out the way he does because Heathcliff abuses him. He also tries to set him up with the daughter of the woman he loved, which is just weird.

(It's Wuthering Heights. Everything is weird.) 

9. Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

He and Aunt Petunia might not be Harry's parents, but they are his legal guardians, and they treat him abominably. You'd think they'd treat him like a human being, if only to keep up appearances.

10. Victor Frankenstein from Frankenstein

Saving the worst until last. This guy created life, abandoned it, and didn't speak up when it started murdering because it would make him look bad. A woman was hanged, Victor! A woman was hanged!

Who's the worst father in fiction?

Sunday, 11 June 2017

How to Make a Memory Book

(They're called scrapbooks.)

Well mine's a memory book. Live with it.

Before anyone points it out to me, yes, I know we have Facebook nowadays, but that doesn't mean we can't still make photo albums and scrapbooks. Physical photos still exist, and being creative can be relaxing. So grab your pens, scissors, and glue. I'm going to walk you through making a memory book.

You will need -
  •  A notebook of some kind. Preferably with blank pages. 
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Coloured pencils
  • Fancy pens (or normal pens, up to you)
  • Anything decorative, think washi tape, stickers, sequins, coloured paper...
  • Photos
Not pictured: a metric tonne of photos
 1. Firstly, decorate the outside. Mine's pretty simple. I just wrote memory book in silver pen, and stuck a giant butterfly on the front. Maybe you want to wrap your cover in jazzy wrapping paper or pepper it with stickers. Make it yours.

2. Secondly, think about how you want to lay it out. If you're planning on having a chronological order, you might want to note the years the book covers on the first place, maybe split it into sections? I put the date in the top right hand corner of the page usually, and I'm quite general. At my most accurate, I identify the month. At my least, the holiday or the season. 

3. Make the pages pretty!

This is a blank page.
The same blank page, fifteen minutes later.
Another page with a different layout.

 Use your coloured pencils, your gel pens, your washi tape, everything. There is no right way to decorate your pages.

4. Now you stick your photos in. Depending on how you've decided to lay them out, this may overlap with step three. You might consider sticking them on coloured paper and cutting them out, leaving a frame around the edge.

5. If there are any details you want to add about the event or the photos - for example, where are you, what are you doing, who are you with - add them in now. 

(Hopefully, you read all the steps before you started and have left space.)

6. Add the finishing touches. Sequins in the corners of photos, washi tape criss-crossed over everything, doodles in the gaps... It's your call.

Ta da! You have a memory book!


Anyone here a seasoned scrapbooker?

(I am not.)