January 2020 Wrap Up

The start of 2020 could have gone better. I began the new year and the new decade with a cold. The rest of this gloomy month hasn’t been great either, but on the plus side I have managed to do quite a bit of reading.

Reading

I finished reading A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas at the beginning of the month and loved it! Her stories just really manage to draw me in; I’ve totally fallen for her books. I gave my first 5 stars of the year to Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. It’s so creative and visual, and I enjoyed reading something that used such different storytelling techniques. Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao came in Illumicrate’s December box. Although I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it as much as other YA fantasy books I’ve read. Finally I finished reading Claudia Gray’s Defy the Fates, the final book in the Constellation trilogy. It wasn’t as good as the first book, but I still loved returning to the characters and seeing how their story ended. Now I’ve just started reading Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin.

Book Haul

I got two books this month from Illumicrate. The first is an exclusive edition of The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag with sprayed edges, which is absolutely gorgeous. The other was a bonus book – Infinity Son by Adam Silvera.

Writing

Having finished the first draft of my YA fantasy book at the end of December, I decided to have a few weeks break from writing so that I could come back to edit it with fresh eyes. Over the last week or so I’ve been making notes of things I need to work on or change, and am now ready to start work on the second draft! I’m excited to return to working on it, as I’ve really loved building this world and being immersed in the story.

December 2019 Wrap Up

It’s the start of a new year and a new decade! And I’m seeing it in with a horrendous cold… I’ve spent most of the last few days in bed and not left the house since Thursday, so I’m feeling a tad fed up at the moment.

I can’t believe it’s the end of a decade. So much has happened in the last ten years, good and bad. In 2009 I had major surgery. I’ve had two flare ups in my Crohn’s disease since then but have been well for the last two and a half years thanks to some new medication. So my health has been very up and down. I finished high school, did A Levels, went to uni, got a degree, passed my driving test and got my first full time job. In this decade I’ve also written five novels and one novella which is absolutely amazing. All I need to do now is get editing so I can start querying and pursue my publishing dreams!

I’m still feeling really rough so I’ll just focus on December 2019 in this post, rather than doing a whole year or decade wrap up!

Reading

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman ended up being one of my favourites from this year. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did, but the spooky atmosphere and interesting characters really drew me in.

I don’t read short stories very often. I much prefer novels. So I’ve been reading bits of The Bane Chronicles here and there rather than all in one go. I’ve also been reading The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas which is a collection of prequel novellas. I’m about halfway through those.

Currently I’m reading A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas so there’ll be a review of that to come soon!

Book Haul

At the beginning of the month I got a set of 10 stamps on my Waterstones card thanks to buying Christmas presents, so that was a great excuse to buy books for myself! I bought Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I’m not sure why I didn’t pick this book up sooner. It looks really unique and totally up my street. I also bought A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. I’ve heard a lot about this book this year so I’m hoping it lives up to the hype.

I got two books for Christmas – the Collector’s Edition of Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas which is absolutely gorgeous, and Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao.

Writing

This month has been a great month for writing! I finished the first draft of the YA fantasy novel I’ve been working on this year! I wasn’t sure I was going to finish it by the end of the year but I just managed to finish it before I got struck down with this horrible cold. The task for 2020 will be to work on editing it. I already have a list of things in mind that I need to go back and develop so I’m actually quite excited to begin working on a second draft.

Thanks to everyone who has read my blog this year. I hope you’ve been enjoying the content I’ve been posting. If there’s anything different you’d like to see, I’m always welcome to suggestions of how I can develop and improve my blog!

Happy New Year!

YALC 2019 Roundup

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I went to YALC for the first time this year! The Young Adult Literature Convention takes place annually for three days from Friday to Sunday in July, as part of London Film and Comic Con. This year I attended with two friends on the Sunday. I was really excited to finally go as I had been looking forward to it all year. Not only was it my first time attending YALC, it was my first time attending any kind of event like that. Following the advice of various bloggers, I brought a small, wheeled suitcase with me, which worked really well.

The day could have started better, as my train was cancelled and the next was delayed, but I still managed to make it in time for the first panel at 10am, which I really wanted to attend. So I headed straight for the stage when I arrived. The panel was called ‘New voices of YA fantasy’ and the authors on the panel were Adrienne Young, Bex Hogan, Christine Lynn Herman, Kesia Lupo, P. M. Freestone and Rachel Burge. It was really interesting to hear about how they found becoming a debut author and about the worlds they created for their books.

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May Book Haul!

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I ended up having a bit of a book buying month in May. Having just finished the second book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (review coming soon), I went out and bought the third book, A Storm of Swords. It’s published in two volumes here in the UK because it’s so long! I’m quite glad they did it that way, as it would be rather heavy to hold!

I’m planning to go to the Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC) in London this July, so decided to do some reading in preparation. When I was looking through the list of authors attending, Rachel Burge’s The Twisted Tree really caught my attention. It sounds dark, mysterious and unique so I’m looking forward to reading that.

I’ve read a few verse novels and enjoyed reading a story told in a different form, so when I spotted The Poet X I made a bit of an impulse purchase. Verse can be a really effective way to tell a story when done well.

Having heard a lot about Internment, I just had to go out and buy it. I’m reading it right now, and so far it’s really good. It’s so relevant to current issues in our society and is actually a terrifying near-future dystopia. I’ll be posting a review when I’ve finished it!

February Book Haul!

I had a good haul of books last month!

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The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

Having read The Wrath and the Dawn, I wasn’t desperate to read the sequel, but invested enough to want to. So when I saw the Kindle edition discounted, I went for it. I’m curious to see where the story goes.

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The Young Elites, The Rose Society, The Midnight Star (Young Elites trilogy) by Mary Lu

I saw these books as a pack of three for less than the price of one – I’ve never been one to resist a book bargain. The series I was originally interested in by Lu was Legend, but having read the back cover of The Young Elites I thought I would give this series a go.

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The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo

I have seen this book so many times in book shops and just fell in love with the beauty of it. It’s a lush hardcover with thick pages that are beautifully illustrated in colour. I loved Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm (I have yet to read the final book in the trilogy!). This book is a collection of short stories that are fairy tales from the Grishaverse.

October Book Haul!

This month I ended up with a pretty satisfying haul of books.

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Now this is an odd group of books, and they were purchased for my dissertation research. However, they’re books I would be interested in reading anyway. And a book is a book!

The Female Man by Joanna Russ – (sci-fi) The concept of this feminist science-fiction book is incredibly interesting. It’s about four women from different realities in which their lives are very different. This idea instantly caught my attention and I’m curious to see what it’s like.

More Than This by Patrick Ness – (young adult, sci-fi) I don’t know much about this book, since I read a review that said it would be best to go into the book knowing little about it. I’ve heard very good things about it though, so hopefully it will live up to those high ratings!

The Man in The High Castle by Philip K. Dick – (sci-fi) Having read and loved Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? I’m hoping I’ll enjoy more of Dick’s works.

Kindle Haul:

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – (young adult, fantasy, sci-fi) I liked the sound of this fantasy book from the description. However, from the sounds of it, a lot of it takes place in a military academy – what is it with young adult fantasy/sci-fi/paranormal books being set in some kind of school/academy/something like that? It seems to come up a lot. We’ll have to wait and see whether I like this one.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor – (young adult, fantasy) I got hold of all three books in the series (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight and Dreams of Gods and Monsters) when they were on offer! Got to love a book deal.