I know I say it every month but March was another busy one. I saw The Rocky Horror Show at Wimbledon Theatre, went to a gig which was a blast from the past of my school days (Reef), had a Shadowhunter’s marathon (oh my), had two Germans (friends not randoms) staying with me for a few days, finally saw Wicked, and drank a lot of wine and gin.
OK, so I didn’t read a huge amount but I had a great time! 😉
March 2016 Stats
Total Posts: 13 (-5 from previous month)
Books Read: 3 (-1) Goth Girl and the Pirate Queen ~ Chris Riddell The Amber Fury ~ Natalie Haynes My Kind of Crazy ~ Robin Reul
The Breakdown: Genres: YA (1/3); Literary Fiction (1/3); Children’s Fiction (1/3); Contemporary (2/3)
Formats/Sources: Advance Copy (1/3); Digital (1/3); Hardback (0/3); Paperback (2/3); Owned (1/3); Borrowed (1/3); For Review (1/3)
Most Surprising:My Kind of Crazy Most Disappointing:n/a Most Exciting:The Amber Fury Most Swoon-worthy: n/a Most Beautifully Written:The Amber Fury
February was another busy month. My mum came to visit to come to a ‘celebration of the music and life of David Bowie’ night which was amazing, but of course bitter sweet. He was a legend, and my hero, something which my mum and I both shared so it was really lovely that she came to London for the occasion.
My brother also came to visit at the end of the month as he bought us tickets to the UFC at the O2 for my birthday, which was awesome. Yes, my interests are diverse and sometimes bloody. LOL. So, it’s been a bit of a family affair this month. 🙂
I also read some really excellent books, and had a great blogging month in general so let’s take a look…
February 2016 Stats
Total Posts: 18 (+8 from previous month)
Books Read: 4 (-3) Only Ever Yours ~ Louise O’Neill The Glass Castle ~ Trisha White Priebe Into the Dim ~ Janet B. Taylor The Madwoman Upstairs ~ Catherine Lowell
The Breakdown: Genres: YA (2/4); Literary Fiction (1/4); Children’s Fiction (1/4); Sci-Fi (2/4)
Formats/Sources: Advance Copy (3/4); Digital (3/4); Hardback (0/4); Paperback (1/4); Owned (1/4); Borrowed (0/4); For Review (3/4)
Most Surprising:The Madwoman Upstairs Most Disappointing:Only Ever Yours Most Exciting:Into the Dim Most Swoon-worthy: The Madwoman Upstairs Most Beautifully Written:Into the Dim
Reviews: 6 (+3)
The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, 4/5 (View)
We Need to Talk About…is my new discussion post where I ask the blogosphere for opinions/advice/rants on anything from ‘how do some bloggers read so many books?’ to ‘how do you rate books?’.
When I first started blogging -over three years ago( !)- I used to do a lot of discussion posts, and I never meant to stop, but somehow it just happened. Hopefully, with the introduction of this regular post I’ll get back into the habit. I have so many burning questions and ideas to get opinions on, so please get involved!
This time, I want to talk about ARCs
There are two very different things that have been bothering me about ARCs:
Do You Count ARCs as books you own?
Why are some ARCs formtted so badly?
1. I’ve been thinking about this for a while. In my monthly round-up posts I do a breakdown of the books I’ve read into books I own or have borrowed, as well as which format I read – paperback, hardback, or digital, and I never know whether to include ARCs as books I own or not.
What do you think? Do you count ARCs as books you own?
I kind of feel like ARCs should only ever be ‘owned’ by the author & publisher, and that we as bloggers get a sneak peak before anyone else can own that book. So going on that theory I guess I should include them in the borrowed books bracket. But that would just confuse people, right?
2. Bad formatting of ARCs can seriously dampen the reader’s enjoyment of it, I’m sure a lot of you will agree with me. I always try my very best to not let it affect my opinion of the book, but sometimes ARCs are so bad they’re impossible to read…why are they released like that?
I mean, I understand spacing issues and typos and all of those things that might not have been picked up on on early edits, but for example, I recently read one where there were no capital letters at the start of sentences, or hardly any punctuation which made it really hard to read.
At first I wondered if maybe that was a style choice by the author because surely the original manuscript would have had capitals and full-stops? But it really wasn’t the kind of book that would do that on purpose.
So what I don’t get is what happens to manuscripts that alters them so much when converted into an e-book format? Insights, anyone?
For the next couple of Thursdays I’m going to be sharing with you all of my Christmas preparation, the books I’m reading, the films I’ve watched, gift ideas I’ve found, and the festive events I’ve attended. Because, well, I LOVE CHRISTMAS SO HARD.
I know I say it all the time, and so does everyone else, but WHERE THE HELL HAS THIS YEAR GONE? I’ve been so busy with work and RL that even December crept up on me this year. I’m usually cracking out the Christmas films as soon as Halloween is over, but this year has been a bit more slow on the up take.
I have however, finally made a start, and managed to do quite a lot of Christmassy things in the last week or so.
The first time I feel festive usually coincides with the start of the Christmas market in my town and on the Southbank. I didn’t manage to make it to the lights switch-on this year, but I have already sampled the mulled wine (much better this year), and devoured a hog roast from the local market and it was gooooooood.
I had a really hard time deciding which seasonal reads to add to my shelves this year. I bought a couple from a charity shop a couple of weeks ago, and I was approved for the following book on Netgalley which I’ve just finished.
Yes, my decorations are up and I love them! I went all out this year and bought some new items which I hope I’ll keep for a long time.
I also made some of my own decorations this year, from melting glitter beads in the oven, in cookie cutters. They were so much fun and easy to make and they look amazing hanging in front of fairy lights on the tree. I sold a set on Etsy, and there is still one set of 6 up for grabs. You can see them here.
I went to see a special screening of Gremlins at my favourite cinema in London, in which BILLY did a Q&A, and brought Gizmo with him, of course. It was great! It’s one of my favourite Christmas Films!
I’ve had my fruit and spices soaking in brandy for around six weeks now. I was only planning on around 3 weeks but I just never made the time to bake the cake. I did finally bake it last Sunday though….it better be good! All that’s left to do is feed it more brandy syrup (of course) and ice it. I use this recipe here, which has great results even without soaking your fruit – so there’s still time!
Next week: Winter Wonderland @ Hyde Park, Christmas Pudding Vodka and Christmas muffins, and what I’m reading and watching!
It’s been a really lonnnnnnnng time since I last did a shop update! And to be honest, that’s because not a lot has been going on. I haven’t sold any books in the last few months, but now I’ve added more stock I hope it picks up.
I love these retro paperbacks. If I had the space I’d keep them and try to collect them all, but I don’t! Night Shift is King’s first short story collection which includes The Children of the Corn and the story which was adapted into the movie Cat’s Eye. Both of these books have creased spines but I think it adds to the retro feel. They would look awesome on any bookshelf!
The original dystopia? If you haven’t read this book or seen the movie adaptation you might not realise how much it has in common with The Hunger Games – and if you’re a fan then you MUST read it. So, so good. This movie tie-in paperback is in great condition and I love how 80s it looks.
This is my Book of the Month! It is so stunning. I am completely in love with the old Everyman’s Library collection with their beautiful endpapers. Every book in the earlycollection has these, and along with the gold gilt text…just LOVE. I’ll be really surprised if this doesn’t get snapped up quickly (but I’m secretly hoping that it doesn’t so I can keep it)!
Another of the Everyman’s Library collection and just as stunning. I wasn’t sure how much to sell this for, seeing as it’s a first edition, but I don’t want to be greedy – I just want them to go to a good home and get a bit of pocket money in return – LOL. So this could be the deal of a century…who knows? 😉
About the Shop
I opened the shop because I love nothing more than scouring second-hand bookshops, markets and car-boot sales for vintage books. I love the way they look, the way they smell and the way you can imagine the history of them.
I can’t however keep buying books indefinitely. I have limited space, and limited funds, and therefore I opened this shop in order to generate a bit of a return in order to carry on doing what I love – buying books! And the way I look at it, if they don’t sell I get to keep them – DOUBLE WIN!
I have decided to widen the range of things I sell on Etsy as well. At Christmas, when I was out of work, instead of buying presents I made each member of my family Christmas hampers, and they went down a storm. I am now back in work (and I love my job soooooo much), but having taken a large pay cut I find myself struggling for money, so I thought why not try to make some extra spends by selling handmade gifts!?
It might all go terribly wrong, but I’m currently working on a range of handmade candles using all recycled materials, and other handmade gifts to sell. I’m hoping to add these to my shop in the coming months, and especially in the lead-up to Christmas.
So if you want to help a girl out, keep checking back. xxx
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.
The topic for this week is: Top Ten Inspiring Quotes From Books (anything that inspires you, challenges you, makes you think, encourages you, etc).
Ahhh I really love this week’s topic; it was really hard to stick to ten. And I just know there’s so many of my favourites I’ve missed out too, but I didn’t want to pick ones I thought everyone else would so I’ve avoided some of the classics. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else has picked!
In no particular order…
I used to think that when I got older, the world would make so much more sense. But you know what? The older I get, the more confusing it is to me. The more complicated it is. Harder. You’d think we’d be getting better at it. But there’s just more and more chaos. The pieces – they’re everywhere. And nobody knows what to do about it. I find myself grasping, Nick. You know that feeling? That feeling when you just want the right thing to fall into the right place, not only because it’s right, but because it would mean that such a thing is still possible? I want to believe that.”
― David Levithan & Rachel Cohn, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
2. “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood
4. “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons
5. ― A Million Little Pieces
I wanted to tell them that I’d never had a friend, not ever, not a real one. Until Dante. I wanted to tell them that I never knew that people like Dante existed in the world, people who looked at the stars, and knew the mysteries of water, and knew enough to know that birds belonged to the heavens and weren’t meant to be shot down from their graceful flights by mean and stupid boys. I wanted to tell them that he had changed my life and that I would never be the same, not ever. And that somehow it felt like it was Dante who had saved my life and not the other way around. I wanted to tell them that he was the first human being aside from my mother who had ever made me want to talk about the things that scared me. I wanted to tell them so many things and yet I didn’t have the words. So I just stupidly repeated myself. “Dante’s my friend.”
― Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
“Never, is an awfully long time.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
8. “Choices may be unbelievably hard but they’re never impossible. To say you have no choice is to release yourself from responsibility and that’s not how a person with integrity acts.”
― Patrick Ness, Monsters of Men
“Sometimes, you do things and you do them not because you’re thinking but because you’re feeling. Because you’re feeling too much. And you can’t always control the things you do when you’re feeling too much.”
― Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (I could have probably done all ten from this book <3)
10. “No one bends further than someone made of completely straight lines”
― Will Elliot, The Pilo Family Circus
Almost made the Top Ten…
“It was one of those moments when you wonder whether there is some kind of big misunderstanding and really this is all just a dream or a made-up story, and not the real world like you thought it was.”
― Chris Beckett, Dark Eden
“I like the night. Without the dark, we’d never see the stars.”
This meme is hosted by the Bookishly Boisterous and the idea is simple. It’s a round-up of your week, in and out of book world. A place to store your thoughts, and basically anything you’d like to share on your blog.
So, what’s been going on this past fortnight…
Good TV: It’s almost that time of year again when the days get shorter, (and colder) and we all start to hibernate a little bit. But do not fret, it’s also the time of year where TV gets good. I have my eyes on a few new shows which I’ll be posting about soon. YES! I love Autumn & Winter.
Sober September: I’m over the half-way mark and still going strong. But to say I’d like a large glass of wine right now would be the understatement of the year.
Taasky: Like making to do lists? I do! Last week, I found this great app which manages all your to do lists and it is a REVELATION. I love it. Before, I was just using the standard notes and calendar iPhone apps to do all that stuff, but this is easier and more satisfying. Geek Love!
How? (Part 1): Last week Keanu Reeves was 50. FIFTY. How is that even possible (Insert ‘I feel so old’ wails here). Not that his age actually matters because he’s clearly Immortal.
Work Woes: I got some pretty bad news at work which has led me to look for a new job. After just two evenings of job hunting I want to dip my head in acid. I’m already feeling the strain of trying to fit in looking for a job and writing this blog, but I’ll do my best to maintain it. Anyone want to hire me? I’m really great, honest!?
How? (Part 2): Does it put you off blogs when they claim to read 25 books a month? Because it does me. I don’t see how anyone can read 25 books in a month, even YA books. Do they skim read (the idea of that makes me sad)? Even if I wasn’t working…no, even if I was bed-ridden with no visitors I don’t think I’d read close to that many. It really makes me wonder about the quality of their reviews too. If you’re one of these people, please don’t be offended…but do tell me how you do it…
Under the Dome: I started watching the second series and I’m not enjoying it at all. I mean, granted it’s been a while since I read the book so I can’t remember all the ins and outs, but who are all the new characters they’ve introduced? Have they just completely made them up? Did they do the entire book in the first series?…I can’t remember how it ended to be fair.
The Guest: I went to see The Guest last week and it was not what I expected at all, but really good. It took me a while to figure out the guy is that one off’of Downton Abbey – man, us Brits gets around a lot these days don’t we!? But yeah, it was good. I loved the 80’s prom slasher-film vibe towards the end.
I guess this week it was mainly not so bookish thoughts, but there you go!
There are a lot of reasons why I started this blog, and why I write in general, but I guess they all add up to the same thing: I like it.
The only part of school I enjoyed was writing. I even quite enjoyed writing essays. Whenever we were given a topic to write about I was off, no questions asked. My best friend at the time used to give me a weird look and ask how I did it. How did I start writing straight away? How did I know what to write? How could I just think of something on the spot and have two pages written before she’d even finished a sentence? I still don’t really know the answer to that, but I used to say just write whatever comes into your head. Simple.
I think I’ve always loved writing stories. My mum found some of my infant school books a few years back which prove that I’ve always had a good imagination (and been a little weird).
See if you can decipher them…
As for this blog. I mainly started it to improve my writing. Obviously, I love to read, and I’m a firm believer that the more you read, the better you write. So I wanted to start reading a bit more seriously, and keeping a record of what I love and hate in a book. I also wanted to get into the habit of writing everyday.
I always blame this blog on the fact that I’ve barely written any fiction since starting it, but to be fair I was always pretty rubbish at that. I’d have short bursts where I’d write non-stop in all my spare time, but then never finish what I started.
I’m still working on finding a balance between blogging and creative writing.
What am I working on?
Apart from all the usual blog stuff, I’m currently working on my Horror October month. I did a horror-themed month last year too, when I was relatively new to blogging, and it seemed to go down a storm. It was totally off the cuff last year, so this time I’m actually planning it and hope to have some amazing guest posts and features.
In my almost non-existent creative writing time, I’ve started editing the YA novel I wrote when I was at uni. It’s a complete mess, to the point where I don’t know if it’s salvageable, but I really want to try. Until last month, I hadn’t looked at it for about three years!
Anyway, it’s set in a fictitious village in Shetland and is about two brothers who are being pursued by Odin as he believes they can help him destroy the world of the living. Their arrival in Shetland, where they plan to hide, turns a young couple’s lives up-side down.
How does it differ from others of its genre?
There are so many book blogs out there that it’s hard to say what’s different about mine. I like to cover all genres, but YA is my favourite so I can’t help featuring that genre a lot. I like to think I bring my own personality to it, which makes it unique to me. And I don’t own a reading device! BOOKS, PEOPLE!
If we’re talking about my messy novel, I guess it’s your average YA paranormal novel with a few twists. When I started writing it, Twilight hadn’t happened yet (the two brothers have all the characteristics of vampires, but they’re not- it’s a long story. A messy novel-length story), and Norse mythology wasn’t being used much in fantasy. Both of these things are quite popular now, which is good and bad. But, at this rate, it won’t be finished for another 10 years anyway so I don’t have to worry about the marketplace right now.
How does my writing process work?
Hmm. Well, it differs.
For reviews I used to write notes as I went along to make writing them up easier, but I felt like it made them too clinical. Now I simply read the book and if I like a quote or want to remember something I’ll note down the page number, but other than that I just go ahead and write exactly what I thought of the book a day or two after finishing it.
I try to encompass the feeling I got when reading the book, but without it just being OMG I LOVED IT SO MUCH. And as I said earlier, I think it’s really important to think about why you loved or hated whatever it is you’re talking about.
I used to write most of my blog content during the working day (and by that I of course mean lunch time if my boss is reading this), but as my days have got busier, and the blog has grown, I have to set aside a good few hours at the weekend, and a couple of week nights to write all the posts for the following week. I could probably do it all in one night if I didn’t procrastinate so much. And by procrastinate, I mean watch TV.
This post has made me realise how much I want to add in at least one night a week for editing my novel, or writing new things.
Will there ever be enough time?
Thanks so much to Kelly from Dorristhelorris for tagging me.
I’m tagging Amanda from Amanda’s Nose in a Book, who does it all – blogs, writes and crotchets! And Mishka from A Writer’s Life for Me, who is the author of romance books in a variety of sub-genres, including Prophecy of Stones that I’m due to review soon (I haven’t forgotten!). 🙂
This meme is hosted by the Bookishly Boisterous and the idea is simple. It’s a round-up of your week, in and out of book world. A place to store your thoughts, and basically anything you’d like to share on your blog.
Hmm so what’s been going on this past fortnight…
1. Time to be Dry: I started Sober September! I actually started on the 26th August so I can drink at a wedding I’m going to at the end of the month and still do a full 30 days. I try to do it at least once a year in the hopes that it will make me feel healthier, and to save a bit of money, but it usually just makes me feel bored.
It’s been plain sailing so far, despite certain friends trying to corrupt me, but I’ll definitely be gagging for a vino or 7 by the end of the month. This was how I said goodbye…
2. Swoon: So, I totally have a crush on Marcus Sedgwick, and have been enjoying stalking him -reading his blog, I mean. He posted a trailer for his upcoming book this week. I’m not really one for book trailers usually, but this one definitely got me intrigued.
3. I hate being a grown-up: Why are things like cancelling your Sky subscription or getting someone out to look at your gas meter SO DAMN DIFFICULT. I am not a fan of being put on hold. That’s enough to drive anyone to the drink.
4. Horror October: I started planning this year’s Horror October. It was a huge hit last year so hopefully it will be again. I’m looking for guest posts/interviews/collaborations- anything with a horror theme so get in touch if you wanna get involved!
7. Healthy-ish Sweets: I tried to make Halvah for the first time last week. It came out pretty yummy, but was chewy instead of chalky. Maybe because I used golden syrup instead of honey? I’m definitely gonna give it another go though.
8. Woah: When you visit your good friend’s parents house and realise for the first time that they are TOTALLY rich. There was a TAPESTRY, AND TWO STAIRCASES.
9. Ho Ho Ho…X Factor : So X Factor is back on, which totally means the countdown to Christmas is on. Sorry. In mind is it anyway. I already watched my first Christmas film of the year. Must be a personal best.
10. Google +: Do any of you use Google +? I don’t really get it. What am I supposed to do with it?