19 June 2018

Top Ten Tuesday #126

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

Top Ten Tuesday
This week is Top Ten 
Books to Read By the Pool/At the Beach
I always have Good Intentions when it comes to my summer reading, but I tend to actually just lay around daydreaming and people watching. Whoopsy. But here are ten books I recommend for beach and pool-side reading.
  1. Darkmere by Helen Maslin
  2. Songs About A Girl by Chris Russell
  3. Sex, Lies, & Cruising by Cathryn Chapman
  4. Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton
  5. First Time In Forever by Sarah Morgan
  6. Sundowners by Lesley Lokko
  7. The Castle by Sophia Bennett
  8. Full Steam Ahead by Valerie Chase
  9. Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff
  10. A Girl Called Malice by Aurelia B Rowl

    What will you be reading this summer?

    18 June 2018

    The Foyles Bookshop Girls by Elaine Roberts

    The Foyles Bookshop Girls by Elaine Roberts is the first in a new series and it was an absolute delight to read. The writing is fantastically descriptive and I could picture everything.

    The Foyles Bookshop Girls by Elaine RobertsAdd to Goodreads
    London, 1914: one ordinary day, three girls arrive for work at London's renowned Foyles bookshop. But when war with Germany is declared their lives will never be the same again...

    Alice has always been the 'sensible' one in her family – especially in comparison with her suffrage-supporting sister! But decidedly against her father's wishes, she accepts a job at Foyles Bookshop; and for bookworm Alice it's a dream come true.

    But with the country at war, Alice's happy world is shattered in an instant. Determined to do what she can, Alice works in the bookshop by day, and risks her own life driving an ambulance around bomb-ravaged London by night. But however busy she keeps herself, she can't help but think of the constant danger those she loves are facing on the frontline...

    Alice, Victoria and Molly couldn't be more different and yet they share a friendship that stems back to their childhood – a friendship that provides everyday solace from the tribulations and heartbreak of war.


    Source: NetGalley Request

    5 Words: Friendship, hope, war, family, love.

    It's historical and it's set in a bookshop and really, what's not to love?

    Although Alice is most definitely the main character, I loved all three central characters. I particularly empathised with Victoria the most, I felt her frustration and desperation and honestly felt so sorry for her at times that I could cry. Despite Lily not being a main character, I loved her conviction and how headstrong she was.

    I loved how the characters developed and changed, how the story showed how easily everything can change. What started off as quite a mellow story about some young women working in a bookshop quickly turned into a darker drama with all of the complications of difficult families and war.

    The story is so full of description that you can picture everything around you perfectly. The setting is remarkable in how it comes to life as you read. You can't just see it all, you can hear and even smell it.

    This was a fantastic start and I can't wait for the second book!

    The Foyles Bookshop Girls Blog Tour

    15 June 2018

    Five TV Shows I Watch On Repeat

    When I'm not reading, I'm watching a ridiculous amount on Netflix, Prime, and the TV. If you want to see what TV shows I'm watching you can have a nosy at my TV Time. But in the meanwhile here are my absolute favourites, that I pretty much watch on a loop and can quote along to while I watch.

    Empresses In The Palace

    Oh man, my love for this series. Although I am still making my way through the original 76 episodes (and the abysmal subtitles) there is a shortened cut on Netflix which is six one-and-a-half-hour episodes of awesome, and I've watched it about six times in the past year. I love Huan and Mei and all of the court intrigue and backstabbing and the feminist thread running through the story-lines. I would recommend it to everyone.

    iZombie

    Liv Moore makes me smile. I love the dark humour and flashbacks, and how Rose McIver can become anyone on screen. The way that so many issues are explored each episode is amazing. As iZombie nears the final series, it is simultaneously getting more serious and more over the top, but I love the skewed power dynamics and how it's Liv, Peyton and Dale who tend to be in control.

    Reign

    I have been re-watching series 1-3 over and over, and avoiding series 4 because I don't want it to end. But now I'm going in (again) and watching it to the very end (finally). I love the power struggles and the character development, how each of the women fight to reign and stay in power.

    Nashville

    This show ignited my love of all thing country, and the soundtrack is my go to on a rainy day when I need cheering up. Or when I need a good cry. Or when I'm getting ready for a night out. I love the focus on music and the fight to get to the top and then stay there, and how I'm guaranteed a good cry every few episodes.

    A Touch of Cloth

    Honestly, it's the silliness of this series that I love the most, and the little details in the background that you'll probably miss on your first watch, that make it even funnier when you re-watch. I love crime dramas, so this parody really tickles me, especially with the clever wordplay.


    Well opps, it turns out I like feminism and humour are front and centre of my TV viewing as well as my bookshelf and I'm not sorry at all #GirlPower.


    What have you been watching recently?


    14 June 2018

    Guestpost: How My Characters Came To Be The Characters They Are by Kitty Wilson

    I am delighted to welcome Kitty Wilson to my blog to talk about how her characters are formed, from their first presence as a mix of people she knows to the fully fledged (and excellent) characters that make an appearance in the finished books. Even the secondary characters in The Cornish Village School are marvellously written, and they really come to life in the story.

    How My Characters Came To Be The Characters They Are

    When I start writing, my characters are half formed. I tend to base the protagonists, characters that the reader is meant to like and cheer on to their Happy Ever After, on people I respect and love myself. In The Cornish Village School, this was easy. I based Rosy on an amalgamation of friends I have, one in particular, and started from there. However, it doesn’t take long before they start flexing their muscles, initially whispering ‘I am x, y and z, I am here and I am me’, as the book progresses that whisper becomes a roar and the characters become fully formed humans.

    Unfortunately, this means that they believe they are self-determining. I used to read posts from authors that said their characters had taken a turn down a path that was unexpected, that threw the whole plot off and I would scoff. Characters are a creation hence the writer must have complete control of them, surely? And yes, of course we do, we write the words and we erase even more. But there is something intangible, something hard to express that seems to take over and before you know it, there on the page, where your character is supposed to be having a solemn period of self-reflection in the local pub suddenly she’s dancing on the table, hollering like a cowgirl, and very probably using her jumper as a lasso. I know this far-fetched but it has happened to me way more than once. You then choose whether you repeatedly hit the delete key or see where they are going to take you, following them often leads to a much richer story.

    With The Cornish Village School, Rosy was meant to be terribly sweet and wholesome – the whole apple pie and rosy cheeks kinda girl – and she is both those things, but as I began to write her she got a little more feisty, her comebacks were quicker and maybe a tad sharper than planned and I found I liked her all the more for it. Suddenly she stopped being someone who was a bit overwhelmed by the battle for the school and became more Boudicca, she wasn’t going down without a fight. She was professional and together but she was human too and made mistakes. I respected her character at the end of the process whereas I had been a little worried at the start that she might come across as dull. Luckily, she stepped in and made sure that wasn’t the case.

    Matt was easy to write. In my head he was a kind of mash up of the loveable national treasure that is Monty Don with a spoonful of James Wong and a sprinkle of Diarmuid Gavin – not that I know any of them obviously, but he was at least a mix of how I imagined them to be. He too came alive as he hit the page, and as I wrote he became a far more complex character with his own host of demons, never on show but very present and responsible for shaping his interactions with his sister, a sister most of us would have been tempted to give up on years ago. However, the upside of Angelina (and there are many, I adore her) was that Matt was more than equipped to deal with Rosy’s insecurities than perhaps he would have been had he not had such a tricksy sister.

    Finally, Marion, she is possibly my favourite and according to reviews, very much a readers favourite too. We have all met her in real life, whether it be in the playground, at work or socially. She tends to like a committee. In The Cornish Village School – Breaking The Rules, before I knew how people would react to her, I limited some of her worst excesses and she really was a character who wanted to dominate me on the page. Now she is out in the world, I have realised I can let her fly a bit freer and she will be a heavy feature of the series, with her own storyline woven through the next two.

    I surprised myself by how much I was rooting for Marion and I think part of Marion’s joy is also her humanity; yes, she’s a nightmare but we grow to love her tenacity and purpose. If I ever have a big battle to fight, I want a Marion on my side.

    In the second book in the series we meet with Sylvie who, briefly introduced in book one, has really been through the mill. With Rosy and Matt, lots of Marion and a sprinkling of Angelina we see if Penmenna School can weave it’s magic and help Sylvie get back on her feet and maybe even find her very own Happy Ever After.


    The Cornish Village School - Breaking the Rules (Cornish Village School #1) by Kitty Wilson Add to Goodreads

    Following heartbreak, Rosy has rebuilt her life in the beautiful Cornish village of Penmenna. Now, headmistress of the local school, she is living by The Rule: no dating anyone in the village. Easy right? But Rosy Winter has a new neighbour, handsome gardener Matt.

    In Penmenna for his new gardening TV show, this guy next door will do everything he can to persuade her to break her rule and win her heart. Meanwhile, Penmenna Village School is threatened with closure and it’s up to Rosy to rally the local community and #SaveOurSchool. Can she bring her worlds together and accept help from the most unlikely of sources? One thing’s for sure… She won’t be giving up without a fight.

    08 June 2018

    Five Things I'm Excited For This Summer

    Every so often I have to remind myself to look at the positives and focus on the good things ahead. I've been feeling pretty crap recently so I decided to sit down and thing about what I have to look forward too. And actually? There's quite a lot lined up for me this summer.

    Gateshead Millennium Bridge, Newcastle Quayside
    1. The time has finally come that I can go and see Cursed Child! I think I've done an amazing job of avoiding spoilers all these years and I am so excited to finally experience the magic and see what it's all about.
    2. I get to spend a whole weekend talking about books with all of the bookish people! I can't wait to stay with some bookish buddies, the revival of #TakeawayYA, and squeaking at authors because I'm overwhelmed.
    3. UCLan Pulishing is hosting The Supernatural & Fantastical in YA next month, and not only does it have an amazing line up (Melinda Salisbury, Sally Green, Taran Matharu, Alexandra Christo, David Owen, Melvin Burgess, A.J Hartley, Marcus Sedgwick) but again it's FREE. Amazing.
    4. My local Waterstones is really excelling this year when it comes to bringing even more amazing events up North. I really can't wait to see Matt Haig again, he was excellent last time he was up.
    5. So much is going to be happening and I am so ready for it. Even though I didn't get launch night tickets (boo) I can't wait for it all to start in just two weeks. I've already been watching the changes taking place in various venues.
    What are you looking forward to this summer?

    Wylam Brewery,The Palace of Arts, Newcastle upon Tyne

    05 June 2018

    Top Ten Tuesday #125

    Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

    Top Ten Tuesday
    This week is Top Ten 
    Books I Did Not Finish But Will Return To
    I find myself nowadays DNFing more and more. If I'm not feeling a book there's no point in trying to force myself to finish it - I'll just resent the book even more. I'm a mood reader so often it's just that I'm not in the mood and more likely than not I'll try again another time. So here are ten that I DNFed but will come back to. Eventually.
    1. A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab
    2. The Next Together by Lauren James
    3. The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
    4. The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart
    5. The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton
    6. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
    7. Landry Park by Bethany Hagen
    8. Edwin: High King of Britain by Edoardo Albert 
    9. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
    10. Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl

      Do you DNF books?

      04 June 2018

      Exile by SM Wilson

      At the beginning of this year, I read The Extinction Trials by SM Wilson and I absolutely loved it. So did I enjoy the second book as much? Heck yes I did! Exile was fantastic and exactly what I needed - but do I really need to wait until next year for the next one?

      The Extinction Trials: Exile by SM WilsonAdd to Goodreads
      Betrayal. Sacrifice. Survival.

      Welcome to The Extinction Trials.

      After surviving on Piloria once, Storm and Lincoln are the obvious candidates to return to the dinosaur continent to test the new virus that should clear the way for human settlement.

      But they have their own priorities – finding a cure for the plague that’s sweeping Earthasia, and keeping themselves alive.


      Source: Review Request.

      5 Words: DINOSAURS. Family, friendship, betrayal, survival.

      Honestly, I missed this world so much that less that six months after first reading The Extinction Trials, I read it again so I could jump back into the world with it all fresh in my memory. I thought the first book was just as excellent the second time and I loved being able to carry straight on with the story.

      We were back with Storm and Lincoln, and again I preferred Storm. I just love her, OK?

      Exile was just as fast paced as the first book. Despite a lot of the book being set back in Earthasia, I loved how the politics of the world were explored, the nuances of society. And once the story moved to Piloria I was in my element.

      Piloria as such an exciting and scary place, and the setting drives the pace as much as the story itself. It was intense, it just kept building and building until the end. And wow, what a ending.

      Again, I was on Google searching up dinosaurs to get a clearer picture of those I was unfamiliar with and damn, they are described so well that I didn't really have to bother.

      I need more. Now.


      What's your favourite dinosaur?