Saturday, 9 December 2017

My #readathonbyZoe plans!


I FINALLY HAVE NO PLANS AND I CAN PARTICIPATE IN ZOE'S READATHON. I've been wanting to participate in one of Zoe's 24-hour readathons forever because they seem so fun! I don't really have anything on tomorrow (except I'm going to view a flat tomorrow BUT OTHER THAN THAT), so I'm looking forward to reading as much as possible! I can't actually remember the last time I dedicated a day to reading – I think it's about time I do that again!

I know that the readathon is holiday themed, but I'm not going to be reading any holiday books this time around! I have three books I've been reading forever and I want to try to finish them this weekend, so that I can move onto some other books.

The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward GodPrayer: Does It Make Any Difference?The Call

Two out of three of those books are non-fiction and as non-fiction takes me a lot longer to read, so I'm not sure how much I'll get to read. The IDEAL outcome of tomorrow's readathon would be to finish all three these books, but I doubt that will happen. Nevertheless, although it's highly improbable, I SHALL TRY. I really want to try to finish the two non-fiction books, though! I've been reading them for way too long and I'd really like to finish them so I can move onto the other books I'm dying to get to!

I have around 120 pages left of The Case of a Creator, 200 pages left of Prayer: Does it Make a Difference and I think around 100 pages left of The Call (but don't quote me on that).

I'm so excited to participate! I absolutely love watching Zoe's 24-hour readathon vlogs, so I'm super happy to finally be a part of it!

I'll be posting my reading updates on Twitter and my Instagram story tomorrow, if you want to see how much I've read!


Are you participating? When was the last time you were able to read the whole day? Are you planning on reading anything tomorrow (as part of the readathon or not)? 
Read More »

Friday, 8 December 2017

November Wrap-Up and December TBR Pile! (I'M BACK FROM MY HIATUS, AND I'VE MISSED YOU ALL MUCHLY)


HELLO EVERYBODY! I'm back!

I haven't blogged in over a month which is crazy. I took an impromptu hiatus during November because I WROTE A BOOK! Well, half of a book. I WROTE 50K WORDS (a more accurate statement)!!! It was a busy month and I thought I'd have time to blog, but nope. Time? I HAD NONE.

This past month was a weird month. A good weird. A different month, with different experiences and personal growth. I only read one book during November and I didn't blog at all, which was weird. Blogging and reading are often the central things in my life (besides school) and taking a step back from that was quite weird at first, but I'm glad I did it. Because I invested my time into other things and I feel like I learned a lot and I grew a lot.

So the first thing I did instead of blogging and reading was writing. I wrote pretty much every day and often 2K words per day. Some days were a struggle because I'm a pantser so I had no idea where I was going with anything and just winged it, basically. But I'm really proud of what I've written so far. I love my characters and the setting and what the book is about. I feel like if I really invest time into this WIP it could end up being something I'm really proud of, and I really want to finish this book. I want a final draft, and I want something complete that I can work with and develop. I want people to read it because it's about mental health, panic disorder and agoraphobia which more people need to know about. I feel like mental health is so underrepresented in YA and when it is represented, it contains problematic things. I'm really passionate about the story and I WILL finish it. I just need to take some time out the next few weeks to figure out the plot and get to know the characters more so I have a better idea of what to write. I'll be sharing snippets of it shortly, so look out for that!

The second thing I did was grow in faith and try to put Jesus front and center in my life. We started at the most amazing church in summer, and their sermons really inspired me to study the Bible more. I got a new Bible the end of October as mine was targeted for younger teens, and I love it. I've been studying it using sermons from my church, commentaries and, sometimes, my own initiative. God has been speaking to me so much lately, and I've experienced the most wonderful joy and peace this past month that I could never have accomplished without Jesus. One of the reasons I haven't read many YA books this month is because I've only wanted to read the Bible – I can't quite describe the comfort it has brought me this month. Because bible study has become such a large part of my life recently, I'd like to share some of it on my blog. I want to start working on a Bible study/Bible journaling series, so look out for that in the new year!



Thirdly, I've been really interested in theology and Christian books. I've been reading The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel (which shows how science points towards God) and Prayer: Does it Make a Difference? By Philip Yancey (as I had a lot of questions about how to prayer etc). Because it's nonfiction I find it slightly harder to get through, so that's also why I haven't read as much as I would've if I'd read other books!



Lastly, I've been helping out at the church every Tuesday at the cafe they run and IT'S SO MUCH FUN. I've made a few friends which I'm so thankful for! When I spoke to some of my friends about how I was getting into my Bible and several Christian books, they started debating the existence of God with me. And some of them said stuff that I found quite hurtful. To me, God is very much real. Jesus is very much real. They're real and I have a relationship with them, so when someone tells me God doesn't exist, when someone mocks what I believe in...it does hurt me because I love Him, and it hurts to hear such things said about God. Some of the things made me feel anxious, made me feel isolated and made me feel pretty sucky, to be honest. So I'm really happy that I'm making some new friends who not only accept my beliefs but share them too!


December is going to be quite busy but I have a list of blog posts I want to write, so yay! I haven't blogged in forever and I've missed it so much, so I definitely want to write as many blog posts as possible this month! I also have 1-2 weeks left of school before winter break so I'm going to be quite busy with that! I should be finished with my physics coursework soon, which is so exciting! I'll only have some English and some maths left to do – then I can start studying for my exams. I've kind of been slacking with my work in November, so I really want to go full throttle with it these next two weeks and get as much done as possible! I'm beginning to stress about my exams already because those grades will count towards university. I AM OFFICIALLY PANICKED. *breathes heavily*

I also have a friend's graduation, a christening and I'm helping out with a huge Christmas dinner at the church, so it's going to be quite hectic the new few weeks! BUT I'M EXCITED.

So, that's the personal update. NOW FOR THE BOOKS!

Life on the Refrigerator Door

Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers💛💛💛.5

Like I said, I only finished one book in December. It's told via post-it notes so I read it in like twenty or thirty minutes. It was good, it made me teary-eyed and it was quite an emotional story that showed a lot of the characters, which I found quite impressive as it's only told through short post-it note letters between a mother and a daughter! It was a thought-provoking book and super quick!

The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward GodPrayer: Does It Make Any Difference?The CallA Christmas Carol

I really want to finish The Case for a Creator, Prayer: Does it Make a Difference? And The Call. I feel like I've been reading these books forever and although I'm enjoying them, I'd like to move onto other things now. One book I definitely want to read this month is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I swore I'd read it last Christmas and I didn't get to it, BUT THIS YEAR I SHALL CONQUER IT.

I also have like a million library books out (as research purposes for my WIP, ya know *cough*) so I'd like to work through some of those! These are the last bit of library books I'm taking out because I really want to focus on my own books next year. I CAN DO THIS.

I also thought I'd start sharing some photos I've taken throughout the month! I had a lot of coffee in November (turns out that's what NaNoWriMo does to a person) - I am obsessed with mochas. They're amazing. Look how cute the Christmas tree pattern is! 

The sky has also been BEAUTIFUL this past month. I swear, like, 85% of the photos on my phone are of the sky. Also, IT SNOWED TODAY?? I LOVE SNOW - IT'S SO PRETTY!!! 

I also went to the Bath Christmas Market and it's so nice! I got really nice earrings from there and roasted/caramelised nuts. #winning


SO, I'VE MISSED YOU GUYS SO MUCH. PLEASE, LET US CHAT. Did you participate in NaNo? Did you read any amazing books? Are you excited for Christmas? I STILL DON'T HAVE DECORATIONS UP. I know, I'm questioning my life choices too. What are your plans for Christmas break? 
Read More »

Monday, 23 October 2017

What I've Been Reading #22 - I'M ON AUTUMN BREAK HALLELUJAH


Hello, everybody!

HAPPY MONDAY. 

Today is the first day of my autumn break, which I'm SO HAPPY about! I started my A2 work mid-August and I haven't had a break since. So, as you can imagine, I'm super happy I have a mini-holiday. 

I'm hoping to get a lot done this week. 
I want to plan some of my NaNoWriMo novel; read the Steelheart series by Brandon Sanderson; and write a ton of blog posts then schedule them. I was planning on writing three blog posts today and finish The Call by Paedar O'Guilin.
 Do you know what I did today? NOTHING. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Okay, that's a lie. I exercised, I went to town, and I bought books (BOOK HAUL COMING SOON, MY LOVELIES). But it was a super unproductive day blogging/reading/writing wise. I'm trying not to feel guilty about it as I am on holiday, and surely it's fine to spend one day doing absolutely nothing, right?

Tomorrow I'm hoping to accomplish slightly more. I want to:
  • finish my review of The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles
  • write my holiday tbr post
  • read. Just read some of a book. I've read a lot today, but it's all been theology articles on the internet. I have a stack of fictional books to read, yet I'm so interested in theology at the moment, I just want to read up on that. TOMORROW, I SHALL READ FROM the stack.

Last week I read The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles and I DON'T KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT. AT ALL. There were some parts I really liked and other parts I didn't. There were also a lot of parts that I felt very "meh" towards. I should have my review up on Wednesday. It'll probably have no structure and be slightly incoherent - kind of like my thoughts towards this book. 

Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?The Call

I started The Call a few weeks ago and I read nearly 100 pages in one sitting; I haven't picked it up since, as I've been too busy reading other books! I absolutely loved the pages I did read, so I'm looking forward to reading the rest this holiday. 

I also picked up Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey, as I have a lot of questions about praying and it looks like Yancey answers a lot of the questions I have in this book. I think I'm really going to enjoy it and, hopefully, I'll find the answers I'm looking for.

Ballet Shoes for AnnaSeraphina (Seraphina, #1)
 
After reading Bunheads by Sophie Flack last week, I really want to read more fictional ballet books! I haven't ever read a Noel Streatfeild and I've heard this isn't her best, but I'm still looking forward to reading it because BALLET.

I'm also so excited to read Seraphina! I tried reading it a couple of years ago and I just couldn't get into it. However, after reading the first couple of pages in the library last week I found myself really enjoying it, so I took it out! I'm hoping I actually finish it this time and that I end up loving it.

What books did you read last week? What are you currently reading? Have you ever DNFed a book then gone back quite awhile later and found yourself absolutely loving it?

Read More »

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine is my new favourite thing

Title: Ink and Bone
Series: The Great Library #1
Author: Rachel Caine
Publication: July 7th 2015, Allison & Busby
Pages: 410 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you so much to Allison & Busby for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!
Rating: 5/5 Cupcakes!
Knowledge is power. Power corrupts.In a world where the ancient Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed, knowledge now rules the world: freely available, but strictly controlled. Owning private books is a crime.Jess Brightwell is the son of a black market book smuggler, sent to the Library to compete for a position as a scholar . . . but even as he forms friendships and finds his true gifts, he begins to unearth the dark secrets of the greatest, most revered institution in the world.Those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn. . . .

Ink and Bone is a richly imagined novel that takes place in a world where the Great Library of Alexandria never perished. A world where nobody can own an original book and knowledge is strictly controlled and monitored; if a book is found in your house, you risk death. Featuring a dangerous, compelling world complete with characters who pursue knowledge and are comprised of ink and words, a spellbinding story line, blood-tinted plot twists and heartbreak...it's no wonder this book - it's world, it's characters, it's entire composition - sneaked into my heart. Underneath the fantastic dialogue, the terrifying world Caine so masterfully crafted and the cast of characters who I fell in love with, it reveals itself to be an ode to books, libraries and literature. Depicting the splendour of libraries, literature and knowledge, Ink and Bone is a must-read for anyone who has been captivated by the written word. I was utterly spellbound.

There's so much I love about this book that I'm not entirely sure where to start. Perhaps I'll start with the characters, as I think they are what made me fall so completely in love with this book. In Ink and Bone, the main character is Jess Brightwell and guys, I am in love with him; he's definitely at the top of my book boyfriends list! I've read Ink and Bone twice now and I found more things to love about him with each chapter I reread. He's not a perfect person and he doesn't pretend to be. He's varying shades of morally grey but he has a heart of gold and I loved him. He's gloriously sarcastic, in love with books and he's the perfect balance of a little bit of toughness and more than a little bit of sensitivity, care and kindness. I loved how I, as the reader, got to see the sensitive, caring side of Jess from the first few pages, when he didn't reveal that side of himself to many people very often. Reading a book is quite an intimate thing, isn't it? It's seeing to the very depths of a character's soul; that's how I felt about Jess. I felt like he allowed me to see the darkness and the lightness that swirled together in his soul, painting him the beautiful hue of grey that he is. I loved how there were startling moments that showed me he would fight and he would be cunning in order to protect himself and those he loves; I loved how there were small things he said and things he did to show how much he cares - things I never noticed until rereading the book. I'm just incredibly in love with Jess Brightwell. He's clever, he's kind, he's cunning, he's tough and strong and so incredibly complex.
I absolutely love him. 

You want to know which other character stole my heart? Thomas Schreiber. Extremely tall and utterly enormous with Superman's strength; bones composed of kindness and sinew laced with gentleness; extraordinary intelligence and the ability to make anyone smile. I absolutely adored Thomas. He was the purest, kindest, gentlest, most beautiful character. He did so many wonderful things for his friends, he invented so many incredible objects and he did all he could to make sure he was improving people's lives. I may be in love with him too. 

Image result for proud crying gif

I adored the other characters, too. They all had incredibly diverse, colourful, vivid personalities. Initially, there was an edge of mistrust and lingering ferocity clinging to each of them (except Thomas because he's a pure, precious angel) and I loved that. I loved how they could turn from being funny, kind and amusing to secretive and simmering with a myriad of feelings as sharp as a double-edged sword in the next second. And then after awhile, it wasn't like that. I adored the evolving dynamics between the group. How they started out weary and mistrusting of one another, viewing the other as only a competitor; or if they got close to another, as someone to lose. I absolutely loved watching their weary suspicion of one another morph into friendship, care, loyalty and respect. The dialogue between the characters, the initial mild hostility (looking at you, Dario), the evolution of feelings and the spectacularly executed dynamics made the cast of characters feel like flesh and bone and not just ink on paper. 


I adored Dario with his egotism, his arrogance and his charm. I loved Khalila with her incredible intelligence and her devotion to knowledge. I loved Glain with her bravery and candor. I loved Wolfe and Santi and the complexities of their characters. The only character I didn't feel vastly connected to was Morgan. Perhaps because she appeared later on in the book so I didn't have as much time to form a bond with her. I'm hoping to get to know Morgan in the next book, though as I don't feel like she revealed much of who she was in this book!

Another thing I loved about Ink and Bone was the world-building. It's beautiful, original and heart-stopping in its terror. I love how, at face value, the library is presented as a prestigious, perfect protector of knowledge and books; but page by page, Caine crumbles the gleaming facade of the library. It was horrifying and brilliant the way Caine sets up this beautiful image of the library, then with fierce vigour she tears down the reader's perception of it and reveals the brutality, the blood and the injustice writhing under the surface. The library was a terrifying place rife with high stakes, tension, cut-throat officials who will do anything to control the masses and deathly situations. I got chills on several occasions as the dark, blood-tinted underbelly of the library was brought to light. I guess I should've have been as surprised as I was by the system's violence due to all those vicious automatons that lounge outside the libraries' doors and who will not hesitate to kill. Seriously, they terrified me. 


So yes, I adored the world-building. The intricacy of it was further demonstrated by Caine's inclusion of politics and the murderous tension between the populace and the Burners, with their "radical" ideals. It was terrifying, thrilling and horrifying when Caine introduced the Burners - rebels who oppose the library's view of a book being worth more than a life. The tensions between them and the rest of the population provided for an intense read and enriched the world-building.  

Another reason why I loved the world-building was because of all the glorious descriptions of libraries and books interspersed throughout the pages. I feel like Ink and Bone is an implicit love letter to books, libraries and knowledge. I fell in love with the sprinkling of quotes dispersed throughout the book that lyrically expressed the wonder of literature, the scent of books, the comforting feel of books in hand...there were stunning quotes that were an ode to books. I think if you're a book lover, you'll feel a kind of kinship with this book. You'll connect with the characters who are comprised of ink and paper, passion and heart.


The writing is fantastic. I adored the lyrical, melodic rhythm of the writing. The words flowed beautifully into one another to form a dazzling combination of silken words. The pacing was executed superbly as well. I absolutely love Rachel's writing and I'm so excited to read more of her works. I love the way she phrased things and the way she formatted her sentences and paragraphs to emphasise shocking, beautiful and heartbreaking moments. I just really love this book. 

All my favourite quotes!
Another way in which Rachel Caine displayed her phenomenal writing abilities was through the dialogue between the characters. The humorous conversations radiate throughout the novel and add a fun, lighthearted element to add chinks of light to the bloodshed and tension that acts as the landscape of Ink and Bone. The dialogue was so natural, the banter was brilliant and the sarcasm was devastatingly artful.

I adored the romance between Jess and Morgan, as well. Jess had these subtle ways of showing Morgan how he cared for her and loved her; their teasing made me smile and clutch the book to my chest more than once; and I loved how they both originated from complicated backgrounds and felt as if the other one was the only one who understood them. To put it simply: I ship them. 

Ink and Bone was a riveting read that snatched my breath away and stole my heart in a single swipe. I fell completely in love with the characters, I was swept away by Rachel Caine's harmonious writing; I had my heart broken and stitched back haphazardly together again. I can see this becoming one of my all-time favourite series. It's an action-packed steampunk adventure filled with dangerous, sass and books!

 Read it, it's incredible.

I give it: 5/5 cupcakes!

Read More »