Saturday, 31 March 2018

The Graces by Laure Eve Book Review



I think that this is the strangest book that I have ever read. It took me a long time to figure out what type of book this exactly was. It follows River, a girl with a mysterious past. Her father disappeared and she feels that it is her fault but does not go in details. She moves to a new town where there is an ancient family who are said to be witches. Three of the siblings in this family go to River’s school: Fenrin, Thalia and Summer. River is in love with Fenrin and wishes to become close to the siblings. Fenrin has a line of girlfriends and Thalia’s ex-boyfriend is isolated and acting strange. River starts to do magic with Summer and tries to find out more about the family.

This book was actually a lot darker than I expected it to be. I kept reading on to find out the truth behind the mysteries. However, there was one point in the story where I feel like the magic became too unrealistic; there has to be some boundaries to this world that Laure created and there did not really seem to be any.

I don’t think that River was really a likeable main character but she was an interesting one. Nobody could be clearly read, even Summer who seemed to portray her emotions openly. My favourite character was Wolf, a family friend who seemed like a nice person and I wished there were more scenes with him in. The plot mainly consisted of school scenes, magic and parties. Both River’s family and that of the siblings were quite closed off, as were most of the characters. River never really spoke about herself, rather we get her cryptic thoughts. There is one point where I felt that things were quite obvious but nobody else seemed to realise the truth.

I felt it strange that despite the rumours about the family, no parents seemed to try to prevent their children from spending time partying with them and there was a lot more alcohol in this book than any other young adult book that I have read. With everything in this book, I would rate it as mature and something not to be read by sensitive readers.

In conclusion, this book was strange but intriguing. There is a sequel expected for this year and I am not entirely sure if I will read it. I want to know what happens next but I didn’t exactly enjoy this story rather I wanted to find out the truth.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars.




Sunday, 18 March 2018

Do It For Fun: Personal Development

personal development, how to relax,

Hello everyone and welcome back to my blog! I have a new mantra: do it for fun. In a past post I discussed how I wanted to stop planning because I try to plan everything, not just work-related but hobby-related too because there is so much that I want to do and I want to make sure that I am doing ‘enough’. However, this just leads to stress due to not fulfilling everything planned and for the pressure of feeling like I have to do so much all the time. Sometimes, I can be so focused on the future that I forget to fully enjoy the now. So my current mantra is to think through the lens of doing each thing for fun; not for some future goal or gain but because it makes me happy. So here are a few of the things that I would like to achieve through the lens of fun.

Art

I want to learn how to be good at art. For years I have looked at different pieces of art of all types online, wishing that I could have that skill but the thing is, art is a lot about practice. Artists are good because they have spent hours upon hours honing their craft. I would like to keep practising with my drawing tablet and hopefully become a better artist so that I can finally do something that I would love to be able to do!

Reading

I want to just pick up whatever my gut wants to read, not thinking about what would be best to review or books that I have already started and should finish.

Streaming

I really want to try streaming! I tried streaming a 3DS game on Instagram and the picture quality was not as great as I would like it to be, due to the different framerates of the 3DS and the camera. I want to try this again and find the best position and lighting for the best possible graphics so that I can play Nintendo games and talk to people at the same time!

I want to focus on happiness now rather than thinking through the lens of potential happiness in the future. What do you think of this idea and what would you like to achieve through the lens of fun?

Friday, 16 March 2018

What I have been up to #1


In the past, I made videos for YouTube and one of my favourite types of videos to make was vlogs. I decided to blog instead of making videos because I am more passionate about writing. However, I thought that I would translate vlogs into blog posts by posting every couple of weeks about what I have been up to lately, I hope that you like these and feel free to comment about what you have been up to!

Writing

I recently joined Wattpad and since then I have been editing chapters of the first draft of my book. I have about half of a first draft and posting chapters on Wattpad has helped to motivate me to keep working on this book that I love. I intend to keep posting chapters regularly and in the future post more books on there. If you are interested in how I edit: I printed my writing off and whilst listening to some old pop songs, I go through with a different coloured pen and cross out things and add things accordingly and then I type up these changes to post on Wattpad.

Exercise

I recently joined the gym and I am really glad that I did. I go and do some cardio whilst listening to an audiobook, fit in some muscle training if I feel like it and go for a swim. I can already feel myself feeling a bit better and I just feel so good when I am there and I am proud of myself for starting and for keeping it up. I hope to build up my fitness even more.

Video games

I have recently restarted Mario & Luigi Dream Team Bros. and I am really enjoying it. It is a relaxing Mario RPG, it is fun to get coins and battle and I love the quirky dialogue and the intriguing storyline.

Reading

I have been so busy lately that I haven’t had much chance to read! However, I have been listening to the audiobook of Assassin’s Apprenticeby Robin Hobb (you can listen to this book for free on Audible) when I am at the gym and although it is quite a long audiobook, I am really enjoying listening to it. I also started Manga Classics: Jane Eyre and I am really loving reading a classic in manga form, it is so fun and I can pick up the story from the dialogue and the accompanying illustrations. I will also be starting some more books soon and I will be posting more book reviews on here!

What have you been up to lately? What are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments!


Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Why I love my Kindle


why you should get a kindle, why the kindle is good, what does a kindle do, what can you do on a kindle,
I had thought about getting a Kindle in the past but I wasn’t sure whether it would be okay on my eyes and whether it would be worth it. However, I am really glad that I did eventually get one. Here is why:

1.       It saves me having to hold a book open or carry a book around:
My Kindle is light and feels nice to hold.

2.       I can have as many books as I would like:
You can store so many books on a Kindle so that saves you from taking up more room in your house for books (I actually have no shelf space left) and all of your books are available at your fingertips.

3.       I can borrow library books without having to go out:
You can download Overdrive, an app that allows you to borrow ebooks and audiobooks from your library, you can use this on your phone or Kindle! I prefer using my Kindle as it has a bigger screen.

4.       It tells me how much percent I have read:
When I am reading, my Kindle will tell me what page I am on and how much percent I have read/have left, I find this quite motivating as I want to keep reading to reach a certain percentage each.

So, these are the reasons that I love my Kindle. Do you own a Kindle? Let’s discuss in the comments!



Why I’m Writing on Wattpad

wattpad, why you should join wattpad, writing websites,

Hello! So in my last post I said that I joined Wattpad. Wattpad is a writing social network site where you can post your novel, short stories and poems. It shows you how many people have read your work and people can ‘vote’ for each part if they like it. Votes and reads contribute to putting your work in the chart for that genre. The chart is the top 1000 works in that genre and it changes often. There are also ‘clubs’ which are forums where you can talk to other writers/readers.


If you have been a reader of my blog for a while, you will know that I am an aspiring author. My dream is to be a full-time author and blogger. Despite this, I have never finished a full first draft of a proper book. With my current novel, I am almost halfway through the first draft and that has taken a long time to write. I was thinking about joining Wattpad to have an added source of motivation and inspiration for my writing as I would know that people would be waiting for the next chapter. However, as it is my dream to see my books in the bookshops, I wasn’t sure if this would still be possible if I had published online. However, I discovered that there were authors who had started on Wattpad. I messaged them to find out more and I found out that posting online is not always a hindrance and, in some cases, it can actually be beneficial. So with this I got to work editing what I had already written. Then I plan to write on from where I had got to. I am already editing and writing more than I would have done because I want to publish new chapters on Wattpad. I think that Wattpad will actually help me finish writing projects and it is great to talk to other writers and readers.


If you’re a writer, have you ever considered joining Wattpad?

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Life Update!

writing websites, gaming Instagram, Instagram account, blogging update,

Hello! A few things have changed for me lately so I wanted to write an update.


1. I joined a gym! I'd been thinking about it for a while. I love swimming but I would very rarely go because of the price. After experiencing an increase in anxiety and depression, I was recommended exercise for my mental health and that gave me the push to look into a gym. I was nervous and excited about starting. I am so glad that I joined! It can be a struggle to get myself there but once I am there, I really enjoy it. I start on the treadmill, which I have been building up on. I like using the rowing machine and I am also increasing my time on other machines. I find swimming so peaceful and on days where I don't feel too well, I take it slightly easier. 

2. I joined Wattpad! I have thought about joining Wattpad before but I was worried about whether I'd be able to submit my manuscript to agents if I had put some of it online. I discovered that there were some authors who had started on Wattpad. I actually messaged a couple to find out more and they were really helpful! I found out that you can still write on Wattpad and become traditionally published! So, I started posting my novel on there. It was one that I had started a couple of years ago, I recently started editing what I had written so far which is about half of the book. I am editing chapters and posting them regularly and then I will write on from there. I hope that Wattpad will give me the push to finish stories and I am so excited. You can find my Wattpad page here: 
https://www.wattpad.com/user/LucyAnnSmith

3. I started a gaming Instagram.

4. My blog: When I first started blogging, I posted a lot. It got to a point where I had written all of the topics that I had thought of and that I wanted to write about for now. I want to post more book reviews and I intended to post these regularly but due to health issues, I have decided to post when I feel like it. I'm not placing any constrictions on myself but this blog is always going to be one of my priorities and I hope to post often and keep building my blog. 

So, here are some updates. I hope you are all well.

writing websites, gaming Instagram, Instagram account, blogging update,

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

March TBR

The Snow Witch by Matt Wingett


This is the book that I am currently reading. I am currently enjoying it, it is written well and feels different to what I have read before.

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2tlZ8O5
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

I am hoping to get to this book soon. The grandmother of a girl who wrote fairy tales dies, the girl’s mother disappears and the girl is told not to go to the Hazel Wood estate, where her grandmother lived. So, she does. 

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2oSFVhq

Audible audiobook link: http://amzn.to/2D4CFVB
The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
This book is a time travel murder mystery, with a character re-living the same day over and over until they figure out who the murderer is. 

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2oYXRaz

Audible audiobook link: http://amzn.to/2D554Lf
Manga Classics: Jane Eyre

This book was sent to me to review. I haven’t read Jane Eyre before and I was aiming to at some point because so many people seem to love it. This is the manga version which I thought would be a really cool way to read a classic. 

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2I4cL85

Original Jane Eyre audiobook: http://amzn.to/2D2un09

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
 
I was so excited to be sent a copy of this book to review! This is a Viking- esque story that I cannot wait to read. It contains betrayal and questions of loyalty. Plus the cover is beautiful.

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2G42YOR

Power Study by Maria V. Snyder

This is the short story set after Fire Study, the last book in the original trilogy following Yelena (I reviewed the trilogy here). This short story is available on Maria V. Snyder’s website. I have been taking a break from the series but I would soon like to read this short story before moving on to the next novel in the Chronicles of Ixia series.

Tell Us Something True by Dana Reinhardt


This is actually the only unread contemporary that I currently own. It follows a boy whose girlfriend breaks up with him and he keeps walking until he finds himself in a support group for teenagers with addictions. He ends up lying about himself and falls for a girl there.

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2tkflnb


Possible Gym Reads
I have recently joined a gym and I wanted to read whilst exercising so I have started with reading physical books whilst on the treadmill! I currently do most of my reading on my kindle so I needed to find some physical books on my shelves that I can take. I also intend to get some books from the library because I am not buying any new books for the moment.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien


I started this book a while ago and I distinctly remember that I got to page 60. I have watched all of the films and I wanted to read this book before reading The Lord of the Rings. So far, the book reads very similarly to the film. 

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2D5dlyo

Audible audiobook link: http://amzn.to/2Hd0CfL

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J. K. Rowling


I need to read this book! I said to myself that I would not watch the film until I had read the script and I feel like reading it now, especially as there is not too much text so it should be easy to read whilst on the treadmill. 

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2tkfEhP

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline


I bought this book a while ago and with the film coming out, it felt like the perfect time to read it! In this book, there is a video game world that people go into. The creator leaves a puzzle and whoever solves it becomes the new owner. I can’t wait to read this.

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2D58ihP
Audible audiobook link: http://amzn.to/2FmgImI

What is on your March TBR? 

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Writing: Change of Focus

writer, writing tips, tips for aspiring writers, writing update, writing a novel, writing a novel tips,

I tend to come to realisations. I will be struggling with something for a while and then suddenly someone will say something or I will read something that will just click with me and it will help me feel better. Most of these realisations do not stay with me long-term but they move me along on my journey transporting me to the next learning curve. This is why you will often see my posts on topics such as writing providing different perspectives as I learn and alter my perceptions. In my last post, I discussed how I have been struggling to write creatively lately. I read something that has made me realise what the source of this problem may be for me.

I have wanted to be an author for a long time and as I have grown older and left education, my focus has changed from the love of each story to the overall view of wanting to finish and publish novels. When I think about writing I feel anxious and stressed and I now think that this may be because I am pressuring myself with this overall massive goal and not focusing on the individual parts. I love writing and I should be focusing on wanting to write the story, not the end goal. So, I am now refocusing my mentality and I feel a lot better. I have a WIP (work in progress) that I have been working on for a couple of years, on and off. I wasn’t sure whether to continue it but I don’t want it to be another thing that I have not seen through to the end, like a lot of clubs that I went to when I was younger, for example. I want to finish this story for myself and because this story deserves to be told. I love the world, the characters and the storyline and I want to finish the story as much for them as for myself. I also hope that my writing will be enjoyed or found helpful to others but I am not going to think that far ahead.

I have printed my WIP so far and I am going to read through and edit any mistakes, as well as any elements of the characters that I would like to change. As I have been working on this project for so long, this will also give me a reminder on every element of the story and give me a better idea of things that I may want to add in later scenes.

I have separated the WIP by chapters and I am going to edit chapter by chapter with a different coloured pen. Then I am thinking of writing the rest of the story by hand as I used to love doing this and it may help me focus more on the story rather than word count.

I no longer need to think about the big picture but rather each individual project that I am working on and I feel so much better about doing this. Wishing you luck in all your writing endeavours. Now I am off to dive into another world.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Writing Update


writer, writing tips, tips for aspiring writers, writing update, writing a novel, writing a novel tips,
I thought that I would write a small update regarding my writing. My dream is to be a published author, it has been for a long time. I have started different ideas and even got halfway through a first draft but I have yet to finish a first draft. It got to the point where the idea of writing was making me feel stressed and anxious so I took a break but when I tried to come back, I ended up feeling the same things again. I want to write but it feels as though the creative writer in me is hibernating in a deep dark cave. I have no inspiration. I don’t know whether to try to continue with my existing draft, work on another idea I had already formed or come up with a completely new one. Great and large ideas are failing me. 
Since starting this blog, I have discovered a love for it and it makes me happy. However, I miss novel writing and I would like to do both. 
The only part of a plan I have at the moment is to read some of my writing books and see if an idea strikes me. I want to write because I love the story, not because I feel like I have to. I’m hoping the solution will present itself soon! 
Have you ever felt like this? How did you get to the other side of the tunnel?