Biannual Bibliothon Day #1

Hey everyone, welcome to a fun week of blogging – it’s going to be one a hell of a time! I’m participating in the Biannual Bibliothon summer edition, which is run by a group of BookTubers. What’s the aim? To read a lot of books, it’s that simple! Although I haven’t created a TBR (to be read) list or anything of the sort, I’m really excited to start reading, as well doing the blog challenges – something that’s brand new to the Bibliothon!

Day #1 is hosted by 4teenliars who has created this tag, so without further ado, its time to go!

What are you planning to read for the Summer Biannual Bibliothon? My current read is A Storm of Swords 2: Blood and Gold by George R. R. Martin, which completes Read From a Hosts Favourite Genre (Brittni – Epic/High Fantasy), and also Book to Movie Adaptation (read and watch). The new series of Game of Thrones has started, and I’m so excited!

I’m also going to read Death Note Vol 1 by Tsugmi Ohba, which completes Read a Book That Has Been Banned/Is Still Banned, and also the Throwback Challenge. I’ve chosen the challenge A Book Set in Another Country (Japan).

I’m going to also read Ascend by Amanda Hocking as it completes Read a Book You’ve Seen Somewhere Other Than Booktube – I saw this on Amazon! Ascend could also complete LGBTQIA+ as Tove plans to marry to keep up the appearance that he is straight.biannual

What is your favourite genre to read in Summer? The same genre I read all year of course – fantasy! I love escaping into new worlds, and fantasy is the perfect vehicle for that!1

Where is your favourite place to read in the Summer? I like to read everywhere and anywhere! At a push, for this question, I’m going to say the bath, because you can cool down after a warm day, and escape into a different world.hipster-in-a-bathtub

What is your favourite challenge done in the Summer Biannual Bibliothon? This is my first year entering, but I do really enjoy reading Banned Books. I love learning about why a certain book was banned – Death Note Vol 1 was banned in several Chinese cities to help protect physical and mental wellbeing.

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What fictional character would you hang out with in the Summer if you could? I would 100% love to hang out with the Weasley family from the Harry Potter series – the house is always full of laughter, food, and things to do! I think I’d fit in with them – along with Harry and Hermione, who would be visiting obviously…The_Weasley_Family_at_Egypt

What are your plans for Summer? I plan on getting lots of reading and writing done, something I do every year! I don’t have any specific plans or holidays, but I can’t rule out an evening or two in the pub with friends… England is having some gorgeous sun lately, but I can guarantee I’ll make plans to go out and it’ll rain!9adb992ec44064a64fc28e75d4ee3226--british-quotes-british-memes

Do you have a Summer reading playlist? If not, what would be on it? At the moment, I have songs on from the 80s, as well as RuPaul, Nate Wants to Battle, and songs from my teenage years – bands like The Killers, Fall Out Boy and Panic at the Disco!panic

What is your favourite Summer movie? I don’t think I really have a favourite Summer movie! Although my favourite movie release last year was the Disney film, Zootropolis – I would watch this all year around if I could! Arriving in a new city seems a very summery thing to do…Zootopia

What book do you read every Summer? If not, what thing do you do every Summer? I usually plump for rereads of paranormal/urban fantasy. Authors like Kelley Armstrong, Laurell K. Hamilton, and J. R. Ward. Lots of romance and dark brooding heroes is great for this time of year!summer books

What other book tags are you planning to do this Summer? I find the best place to find book tags is the BookTuber Hardback Hoarder – she has Tag Tuesday, which is always fun! I can usually find something new to participate in on her channel!tumblr_static_2c5fihmv86m8sk4occ04s0sk

So that completes the tag and the first day of the Biannual Bibliothon! What books are you planning to read? If you have any recommendations, please let me know!

– ReadWriteZoe.

Kindle Haul #1

Hey everyone, welcome to the first ever Kindle eBook haul on this blog! I’m a fan of eBooks – you can get so many good offers on the Kindle store! eBooks don’t take up room on bookshelves, and they only weigh as much as the technology you’re reading them on! On Wednesday evening, I was browsing Amazon and came across some interesting reads. I purchased five books, so without further ado, let’s get on with the haul!

The first book I got was Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I have loved the cover since the books release, and have been intrigued by the plot. I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews on BookTube, so I’m curious to see what it’s actually like. The novel follows Scarlett and her sister Tella as they receive their invitations to the elaborate week long performance of the show Caraval, where the audience participate. Not long after they arrive, Tella is kidnapped. Scarlett must find her sister before it is too late, while navigating the magical show. At the time of purchase, this eBook was 99p.

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The second purchase of the evening was When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. I have seen a lot of reviews and discussions around this book on BookTube, so I’m interest to see what it’s like, as it’s not something I normally read. The novel follows Dimple and Rishi, two Indian American teenagers, who meet at a summer camp for computer coders. Dimple wants to escape traditions, whereas Rishi longs for the traditional arranged marriage like his parents. It’s been described as ‘the arranged marriage YA romcom you didn’t know you wanted or needed…’  At the time of purchase, this eBook was 99p.

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My third purchase was Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters. I had seen the BBC TV adaptation a while ago, and have been waiting patiently to read the book. The novel follows Nancy Astley as she becomes infatuated with male impersonator, Kitty Butler. Nancy’s journey is wild – from oyster girl, to London music hall star, to rent boy to East End ‘tom’. At the time of purchase, this eBook was £2.99.

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The penultimate purchase was Through the Shattered Looking Glass by M. L. Crane. I saw this mentioned on BookTube, so I was pleasantly surprised to see it on the Kindle store already. I’m a huge Alice in Wonderland fan, so I like to see different imaginings. In this novel, Alice is starting an internship with the Lutwidge Mental Health Institute, finally putting her past behind her. When nightmares plague her, Alice needs to learn the truth before everything is too late… At the time of purchase, this eBook was 99p.

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The final book was a real surprise! And that is, The Girl In Between by Laekan Zea Kemp. I think the cover is simple and effective, and that’s what drew me in – besides the price! The novel follows Bryn, who suffers with Klein-Levin Syndrome, which causes her to have episodes of prolonged sleep. Bryn spends these sleeping moments inside an alternative reality made up of her memories, until a strange boy arrives there, and hallucinations start to haunt her waking moments. Bryn decides she’s going to undergo an experimental medical treatment, but can she and the mysterious boy survive? At the time of purchase, this eBook was free!

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So that completes my first eBook haul. Let me know what eBooks you have hauled lately, and if you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know!

– ReadWriteZoe.

Books I Unhauled #2

Hey everyone, welcome to my second book unhaul! I feel much more confident about the process now, and I felt quite ruthless when I was taking books off my shelves. I’m trying to make room for more new releases and books that I’ve been dying to read, so it makes sense to unhaul. It’s like something my older sister said to me about life laundry:

“Sorting life out one load at a time.”

All of the books mentioned were donated to charity, so without further ado, let’s get on with the unhaul.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I had read this a while ago and decided it was time to revisit the novel when I was clearing my shelves. I got a few pages in and knew it was time to unhaul. I also DNF’d (did not finish) this book. The early first chapter had a lot of repetition of ‘my heaven’, and that seemed like the character was excited – almost like she was starting a new school. I didn’t find the character believable at the start which was off-putting – something is clearly wrong, and she feels it, so why did she continue? Into the charity bag…

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The Twilight Saga – Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn and The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer. I was quite torn about donating these to charity – I was a such a Twi-hard back in the day. That’s embarrassing now, because I can see so many problems with the saga, and not just for it’s writing style. Bella is a flat damsel in distress character, who does not seem to realise that she is being emotionally and physically abused by vampire Edward. The saga romanticises this type of behaviour and I have such a problem with the whole Jacob imprinting thing…

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The Host by Stephanie Meyer. I kept trying to read this book several times over, but I couldn’t get further than the first three pages. I didn’t really understand the plot, and the blurb made it seem much more complex than it should be. And as easy as that, it was in the charity bag.

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Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky. I had bought this book after meeting the author several years ago at a book convention. The simple reason for donating this book was I never got around to reading it, and by the time I did pick it up, I had no interest in it any longer. Hopefully someone else will enjoy it though!

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The Inheritance Cycle – Eragon, Eldest and Brisinger by Christopher Paolini. I had the first book since its release and I remember taking it on holiday abroad with my parents. I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would, and I didn’t finish reading it. I never picked it back up, although my parents bought me the next two books in the series. I feel a little guilty about it, but what can you do, eh?

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The Hunger Games trilogy – The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I was originally sceptical about this series, mainly due to the hype surrounding the films. I bought the books on Kindle to take abroad with me, where I read them. I didn’t overly enjoy them. I was bought the trilogy in a boxset as a gift, so I thought I would try and read them in paperback form. Just to see if things would change. My reason for donating these books is that they are still on my Kindle, so someone else should enjoy the paperbacks instead!

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Katherine by Anchee Min. I got this book from a library sale, but I never got around to reading it. I didn’t like the cover and I had no real knowledge of what it was about. The copy was battered and covered in plastic wrap too. I decided to donate it – its really as simple as that!

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Red Azalea by Anchee Min. I got this from a charity shop, along with a few other Anchee Min books. It’s a memoir from the author, and her experiences in the Cultural Revolution. I had read a fictional book that was very similar to this and hadn’t enjoyed it greatly. I decided to donate it – charity sticker still on the front and everything!

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The Farseer Trilogy – Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin and Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb. I really enjoy Robin Hobb’s writing, so parting with these was difficult. I found this trilogy when I was on holiday in the reception area, and somehow they ended up in my suitcase… I really struggled reading the first book and couldn’t get further than the first few chapters. I still am curious about what happens in the series, so I might pick them back up in the future. I hope someone else enjoys them!

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So that completes my second unhaul. Let me know what book/books you have unhauled lately, and if you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know!

– ReadWriteZoe.

My Writing Habits

Hey everyone, welcome back! I honestly had plans to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo this month, but unfortunately those good intentions fell through. I haven’t finished my current WIP (work in progress), even though there is only six chapters separating me from actually writing ‘THE END’. I’m just struggling so much! And I honestly don’t think I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo in November – there will be too much going on with university and that pesky dissertation that’s starting to loom ever closer…

So in the spirit of NaNoWriMo, I thought I would share with you some of my writing habits! Enjoy!

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Typed or handwritten? I like to handwrite my notes. The initial ideas are usually a mess in a battered notebook, along with chapter notes and names for characters. I found a really useful video on YouTube to help with planning, so I try to follow that as much as possible. I love notebooks, and my favourite place to get them is either Wilko or The Works. I’m one of those people who hoards notebooks and won’t use them because they’re pretty, and that goes for ones that have been gifted to me! Then when I’m actually writing a project, I go to my little ol’ Acer laptop and type away!

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Cursive or printed? I prefer to write in a printed style. I have tiny writing as it is, so I find it easier to read my notes. That goes for any and everything – from shopping lists, to university work, to writing projects, birthday cards and beyond. Everyone always comments on my writing, telling me it’s like a spider, or that it’s so small ‘how can you possibly read that’. I’ve been writing like this for years though, so I’m so used to it!

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Show us your favourite pen. I really like these Wilko pen’s. I use them all the time – they’re simple, affordable and I think they make my writing neat. That being said, I’m also a bit partial to these pens that have cushions on them. The cushioned ones are very pretty and write nicely, and I usually get them from when I’ve been on day trips.

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Where do you like to write? At the moment, I like to write in my living room, curled up in a corner of the sofa. I balance my laptop on the arm of the sofa, or I sit cross-legged. It’s comfy and cosy, so I’m like a little kitty cat! And as a plus, my living room is pretty close to the kitchen for tea and snacks! Sidenote… this is not my kitten. Sad times.

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Who are your five favourite authors in terms of authorial style? I spoke about my favourite writing tips in my National Writing Day post here, so I would consider those authors my favourite for authorial style. Stephen King has a certain flair that’s simple and yet complex all at the same time, whereas J. K. Rowling really knows how to connect to an audience. George R. R. Martin has a powerful style and you’re never sure where he’s going to go with it, compared to Sarah J. Maas who really embodies her characters and makes you feel for them in that moment. And Neil Gaiman goes from children’s author to adult so swiftly that it’s like watching a tennis match!

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What are your three favourite books on writing? Definitely Stephen King’s On Writing – it’s personal and informative, and the reader can take so much from it. I also like J. R. Ward’s The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider’s Guide – it features the Zsadist novella from my June wrap up, and also has exclusive behind the scenes writing tips and tricks. The final book is The Road to Somewhere: A Creative Writing Companion edited by Robert Graham, Helen Newall, Heather Leach, and John Singleton. It really helped guide me in writing short stories and progressing to novellas and novels. I’ve had this book since I started university and it has activities to help hone your craft. It makes it a great guide for writers of all capabilities.

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Have you ever competed in NaNoWriMo? I competed once and that was in 2015. The novel was an adult fantasy, focusing on vampires. I wrote 7030 words, so I didn’t win at all. I was going to try reworking that novel in this years Camp NaNoWriMo, but look how that turned out… I’ve also attempted Camp last year for a YA novel, where I could set my own goal. I hit 18,154 words, but I didn’t win because I wasn’t happy with how it turned out at all.

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Have you ever won NaNoWriMo? I haven’t won NaNoWriMo, or Camp NaNoWriMo. I haven’t even come close – I think I’m one of those people who works best without those types of writing aids.

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Have you ever had anything published? I have had 11 short stories published since 2012, with four different companies. These anthologies are available on Amazon! I wrote a few short romance stories, but those have been pulled from publication. I have had three novellas published with an American company, and they also accepted a YA trilogy I had planned. I wrote the first two, but that contract was broken so I couldn’t even get the third novel out. My latest project, VRES: Digital Quest is available for pre-order on Amazon… You can check out my work online!

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What projects are you working on now? VRES: Digital Quest is currently available for pre-order! I’m six chapters away from finishing my YA-NA novel, currently titled Exile. It follows a young girl desperate to escape the mundane drudgery of her life. And then everything changes. Future projects include that pesky NaNoWriMo/Camp NaNo vampire idea… And I want to resurrect the YA trilogy that was originally published. I have too many projects and ideas in my head!

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What is your soundtrack to writing? I don’t write to music – I write to whatever’s on TV, which is weird. I usually pick something on Netflix that I’ve seen before (I’m currently writing this to RuPaul’s Drag Race). A lot of Exile was written to reruns of Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, while I was sat in bed!

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Do you have a writing pump-up song? I don’t write with music, but a few songs that really pump me up at the moment are all by RuPaul – Champion, The Beginning, Glamazon, and Sissy That Walk. All of the songs make me feel confident, sexy, and sassy, and that’s what I need to be. And that’s what I need to be as a writer too!

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So that completes My Writing Habits! Let me know what your writing life is like, I’d love to know!

– ReadWriteZoe.

Mid Year Book Freakout

Hey everyone, welcome to July! I’m really looking forward to the second half of this year – it means Autumn is getting closer, and Winter is coming… It means starting university again in September for my third year – oh boy, here comes the dissertation! It means Halloween and I’m so excited that my costume has been planned since April/May. It means YouTube will be peppered with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) vlogs, and of course, come December, its Christmas and the New Year.

What better time than to do the Mid Year Book Freakout then?

Best book you’ve read so far in 2017. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was such a good read! It had been on my shelf for a little while so I thought I had better get around to reading it. It was definitely worthy of five stars! Set in a dystopian future, the novel follows teenager Wade Watts as he enters into one of the worlds biggest virtual reality competitions that the world has ever seen.

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Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. It is the third and final book of the Court of series, although the author has planned for more potential novels. It follows on from A Court of Thorns and Roses, and A Court of Mist and Fury. The series follows Feyre in the ultimate battle for survival and love. I really can’t say much more without spoiling the series.

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New release you haven’t read yet, but want to. For this I’m going with Day 7 by Kerry Drewery. The novel is a sequel to Cell 7, the first book in the series. The books follow teenager Martha Honeydew and the issues within celebrity stardom and the media, as well as the justice system. It has a concept of who should live, who should die, and can the world ever change.

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Most anticipated release for the second half of the year. I’m quite excited for One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake. This is the second book in the series, and follows on directly from the first novel, Three Dark Crowns. The series follows three teenage ‘queens’ and their individual journey, and the battle, for the throne. Each queen has a specific, magical talent and I can’t quite decide who I want to win! Will it be Mirabella, Katharine or Arsinoe?

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Biggest disappointment. I’m going with The Accident by C.L. Taylor. Sold as a psychological thriller, I found it really lacklustre. Sue is having a traumatic time when her teenage daughter steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma. Sue is trying to find out why her daughter would do such a thing, but so much drama comes into her daughter’s life, as well as Sue’s past. It was predictable and unbelievable.

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Biggest surprise. The Tooth Fairy by Graham Joyce was a real turn up. It follows Sam who wakes up one night to find the Tooth Fairy in his room. She is not what he expected, and I think that’s why it was such a surprising read. I found myself wanting to know more about her as a character, especially when she continues to visit Sam as he grows older. I found myself wanting to know if the Tooth Fairy is to blame for every single thing that went wrong.

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Favourite new author (debut or new to you). In June, I came across the first book in The Twenty Sided Sorceress series. I read the first book in the series and you can find out what I thought about it in my wrap up post! I really enjoyed Annie Bellet’s work and if I read more of her, I have a feeling she will be my new favourite author!

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Newest fictional crush. For this, I’m going with Stacey Wood from the D.I. Kim Stone novels by Angela Marsons. Stacey is a woman of colour, and a member of the LGBT community. She is a fierce, feisty character, with a passion for technology and video games. What’s not to like?

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Newest favourite character. Aech (pronounced H) from Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. Aech plays a lot of Player vs. Player (PvP) games, especially first person shooters. A lover of eighties pop culture, Aech has a lot of wit and strength. The reason why Aech is a favourite is that anyone can be who they want to be in the OASIS console. So there is more than meets the eye to this character…

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Book that made you cry. Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher. Without a doubt, I sobbed my eyes out reading this. Carrie Fisher speaks about being born to celebrity parents and having celebrity step-parents, her marriage and its breakdown, her friendships, and being the infamous space princess in the Star Wars films. What made me cry was how she spoke about her addiction and mental health struggles – I miss her so much.

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Book that made you happy. I’m going with a graphic novel for this – Harley Quinn Vol 5: The Joker’s Last Laugh by Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti. I’m a huge Harley Quinn fan, so seeing her come out of her shell and put aside her past with Joker was something I was really excited about! It packed a real punch, and I loved it!

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Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received). I’m going with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling. I read this in January and I still get gobsmacked by how beautiful it is. The dust jacket is navy blue and gold, featuring the infamous Niffler. Underneath it is also navy, with a gold embossed Niffler, which is too cute for words. Illustrated by MinaLima, it truly is a treat.

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What books do you need to read by the end of the year? This is going to be one hell of a list! Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst, Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh, King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard, the Monsters of Verity series and A Darker Shade of Magic series by V.E. Schwab, the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, the Peculiar Children series by Ramson Riggs, the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien, the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo, the Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater, Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill, Heartless by Marissa Meyer, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas… I think I’m going to die with a TBR pile because that’s not everything!

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Favourite book to film adaptation you saw this year. The graphic novels were a huge inspiration and things were easily adapted, even if some facts weren’t true. But hey, it’s cinema! I’m going with Guardians of the Galaxy from Marvel, and the film adaptation – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Groot, Rocket and Yondu were an amazing team up!

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Favourite review you’ve written this year. I don’t write a lot of reviews, but I’m going with what I wrote for my June wrap up Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon. I find it’s much easier for me to write reviews where I had issues with a book or wasn’t completely bowled over. This is probably because I don’t want to gush and spoil everything!

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So that completes the Mid Year Book Freakout! Let me know what books fit in your categories, and if you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know!

– ReadWriteZoe.

June Wrap Up

Hey everyone, welcome back! I can’t believe we are in July – that’s quite scary… 2017 is already halfway over! I dread to think how many books I’ve read (or reread) this year, but all I know is that there is more to come. Speaking of more to come, I present what I have read in June! Without further ado, lets get on with this tidy little wrap up!

Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward is first on this list. It is the fifth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood vampire series, and follows Vishous. V can see into the future, possesses a strange curse and is son of the infamous Bloodletter. He doesn’t know who his mother is – not until she enters his life, asking him to become the Primale. The Primale is responsible for creating life with dutiful ladies. One evening while performing his Brotherhood hunting duties, he is injured and brought into a human hospital. It is here he meets human Doctor Jane Whitcomb. And as with all these novels, romance blooms. V’s story is angst ridden and the romance scenes really amp up the heat factor! I gave this 5 stars.

Next is Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward. It is the sixth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood vampire series, and follows Phury. Phury is taking on the role of the Primale to ensure that the race continues. He is celibate, although he has an unfortunate addiction to red smoke and has emotional scarring. He desires his twin’s pregnant mate, but that changes when he meets his Chosen ‘bride’, Cormia. Cormia has to enter a new strange world that she is unaccustomed to, and Phury has to learn to control his addiction. The romance is a little lacklustre and I found Phury to be very, very whiny. It was not an endearing characteristic and I didn’t really enjoy his story as much. I gave this 3 stars.

Following on is Father Mine by J.R. Ward. It is a novella taking place just after the sixth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood vampire series. This follows Zsadist as he learns to put his past behind him, reconnect with his mate Bella, and care for his newborn daughter, Nalla. Zsadist’s story is heart wrenching as he struggles to overcome the pains of being a former slave and reconnect with the person he wants to be. It isn’t just for himself, but for his family too. It was a nice addition to Zsadist and Bella’s journey and I gave this 5 stars.

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I went back to reading graphic novels for a little while and I chose Kick-Ass 2 Prelude: Hit Girl by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. This is almost a spin off as Hit Girl aka Mindy McCready tries to settle into a normal life, by going to school, instead of hacking and slashing villains. Instead Mindy decides she needs to taste violence once more, and decides to train Kick-Ass. Of course, things are never as simple as that, not even in the world of superheroes… It was jam packed with blood soaked pages and was a feisty, fun read. I gave it 5 stars.

Next up was Kick-Ass 2 by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. The graphic novel follows Kick-Ass and Hit Girl as they encourage others to join their superhero cause. The only problem is that superhero-turned-villain Red Mist (now named The Mother Fucker) has decided to take them down, with his own dangerous team. It was a good graphic novel, with plenty of action and murder, with an ending that was unexpected. I gave it 5 stars.

I couldn’t read those two graphic novels without finishing up the series – Kick-Ass 3 by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. The final book in the series follows Kick-Ass and his team, Justice Forever, as he tries to break Hit Girl out of prison. Not only does he have to do this, but he’s also trying to remain a real person – as well as dodge crime bosses who have it out for them. It was a great end to the series, and worthy of 5 stars.

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It’s back to J.R. Ward with the next book. I read Blood Vow, which is the second book in the Black Dagger Legacy – a spinoff of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I spoke about this in my library book haul. The novel follows Axe, as he trains at the Brotherhood compound. Growing up poor and struggling to find his own place, he takes on a security assignment for the cultured, educated, Elise. On the other half of the spectrum, warrior Rhage and wife Mary must come to terms with the dangers of adoption. I found the book a little lacklustre, especially in comparison to the main series. It’s almost predictable and I wasn’t fond of the romance element. I gave it 3 stars.

The first eBook I read this month was an indie read, Other Side of Forever by Shannon Eckrich. It was free on Kindle when I got this – I can’t lie, that was my main reason for getting it. It’s the first book in the Other Side of Forever series and follows seventeen year old Allie as she experiences telekinetic powers. She has a troubled home and school life, but her world is turned upside down when she meets immortal Ethan, and romance blossoms. At first there was a lot of promise, but it’s something that readers have seen countless times. I found it a quick read and it was enjoyable, but I found some chapters repetitive and started to dislike Allie. She turned cliché, falling over all the damn time! And I wasn’t fond of the insta-love that was going on. I gave it 3 stars.

The second free eBook I read was another indie read, Justice Calling by Annie Bellet. The first book in The Twenty-Sided Sorceress series follows sorceress and geek, Jade Crow, as she tries to have a normal life. Dark powers start to threaten her comfortable existence, and a shape-shifting enforcer enters, thinking that Jade is the cause of the trouble. She has to struggle with using, or not using her powers, as she tries to help her friends. She is fearful all the time of her ex-lover and mentor finding her, and wanting to eat her heart to steal her power. It was an interesting read, and all the geek references are so much fun! My only issue is that it was too short and therefore, it seems a little rushed in places. I wish it was longer, as I was so invested in the story. I gave it 4 stars.

Kindle

Next up is A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, which I also spoke about on my library book haul. The novel follows Connor, a young boy who is having to deal with his mother’s terminal cancer. At night he is visited by an ancient creature who tells stories about when he had been summoned before. Slowly, Connor begins to realise what he has to do in order to grow up and to progress emotionally. It was a gorgeously written novel, and packs an emotional punch. I was crying my eyes out when I gave it 5 stars.

The penultimate novel on my wrap up is the first book in the Tellus series, Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon. Young Catherine Hunter decides that she has had enough of living he privileged government lifestyle. She is being pushed into an unwanted marriage by her father, and sees her mother waste away to nothing. Catherine becomes Cat as she escapes on a skyship, escaping the dangerous dystopian world she is a part of. The novel was enjoyable, but there were moments where I found myself really frustrated with Cat. Disguising herself as a boy is one thing, but everyone was so accepting finding her on the ship. Even when it is revealed she is a girl, the crew are still so accepting – there is no anger or frustration. And sooner or later, there is romance, even a love triangle of sorts, but it fell a little flat. There was a twist at the ending, and I am curious to see what happens in the rest of the series. I gave it 3 stars.

The final book of June was the first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series – yes, I’m talking about A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I’m very excited to watch the new season on TV, so I had to reread the novel. The novel follows the struggle for the Iron Throne, with many different characters all around Westeros such as Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen, just to name a few. I can’t go majorly into the plot, because we’ll be here forever… Whilst it is a very long novel, it is so enjoyable. There is so much action taking place, so many different characters who grow and change. It is these characters who shape the novel, and what makes it such an addictive TV show too. I gave it 5 stars.

Final

So that completes my first wrap up for this blog! Let me know what book/books you have read in the month of June – whether it’s paper/hardback, audio eBook, or graphic novels. They all count! Of course, if you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know!

– ReadWriteZoe.

National Writing Day

Hey everyone, welcome back to the blog! And you’re joining me on a very exciting day – it’s National Writing Day! It is the first celebration to help collaborate the arts and the many literacy organisations across the UK. The creators are hoping to encourage more people to write, as well as get others involved with literacy across many of the schools. For some people though, this is a chance to start pushing out new stories, try their hands at poetry, or to simply continue with what they are already writing.

I thought for today I would share with you five pieces of writing advice that continue to inspire me as a writer. These are in no particular order and I hope you enjoy!

Stephen King: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”stephen-king-on-writing-d1d225f2c6e25fcd45dce87de1f77d4d6e695e5f

J. K. Rowling: “What you write becomes who you are… So make sure you love what you write!”no-jk-rowling-isnt-writing-another-harry-potter-book--heres-her-response-to-fans.png

George R. R. Martin: “I believe that a writer learns from every story he writes, and when you try different things, you learn different lessons.”georgerrmartinbooks

Sarah J. Maas: “You’ll only make it if you have a story that you love with your entire heart and soul, and the only person that can ever make you stop writing is you.”IMG_7093

Neil Gaiman: “You sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy and that hard.”gaiman-writing-630px

So there you have it – five writing quotes from some of my favourite authors. Let me know what writing advice or tips inspire you, and most importantly, happy writing!

– ReadWriteZoe.

Books I Unhauled #1

Hey everyone, welcome to the first book unhaul on this blog – something I’m actually really nervous about! As you might have guessed by now, books are very important to me, and once upon a time, I would never have parted with them, no matter how bad they were. Now though, I feel more relaxed about the whole situation. I donated plenty of books so without further ado, let’s get on with the unhaul.

Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries box set by Charlaine Harris. I bought this collection when I was at the height of True Blood mania, and when I was getting frustrated with the library not having the rest of the series to borrow. The collection contains the first nine books in the series, as well as the short story collection, A Touch of Dead. I’m unhauling these because I don’t really have an interest in them anymore, and if I do want to read the rest of the series, I can always borrow them from the library.

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni. I got this book a while ago from my mum, and have tried to pick it up plenty of times, but there’s something about the writing that I couldn’t get into. I thought it would be much more linked to romance and paranormal adventures, but unfortunately, it is much more of a thriller, with an emphasis on religion. This isn’t really for me, so it was time to say goodbye!

The Queen of the Tearling and The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. I bought the first book (Queen) near Christmas one year, and thought it sounded a real adventure, with a feisty female lead. I was wrong, and struggled to get through it, but I did manage. I gave the book the benefit of the doubt and bought the second (Invasion) to continue the series. I thought it wasn’t interesting, and the whole concept of switching between past and present not only confusing, but lacklustre. Some of the description of the past made it sound like a retelling of Margaret Atwood’s classic, The Handmaid’s Tale, which I really enjoyed. I couldn’t get into the series, so decided to give it away.

Pearl of China by Anchee Min. I bought this book a while ago, when I was on an Anchee Min kick. I have really enjoyed her previous historical novels based on the last Empress of China, and also her novels about the infamous leader, Chairman Mao. This novel does feature history and political activism, but every time I picked it up, I just couldn’t get started. I couldn’t even get past the blurb. There was something about it that prevented me from actively reading it, and so I gave it away, completely unread.

The Courtesan and the Samurai by Lesley Downer. I have only just found out that this is the third book in The Shogun Quartet series. I don’t know whether the books follow on from each other, but I found I had little interest in the tale now. When I read the blurb again, I found that I didn’t care about the characters described. The plot followed similar ideas that exist already, and although I have a huge interest in the country, I felt that it was almost too typical of a historical romance. I gave it away, completely unread.

Red Lotus by Pai Kit Fai. I bought this a while ago, not long after reading Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (one of my favourite novels). It did sound like something I would enjoy, but the more I read the blurb, the more I thought it was a boring plotline. A girl runs away from home to prevent cultural practices occurring and continues on her journey to be something more – almost Mulan in reverse, I suppose. Reviewers have said that it borrows heavily from Memoirs, which has a focus on Japanese customs. Red Lotus is based on Chinese culture, and both differ greatly, although there are some similarities. I gave it away, completely unread.

BeFunky Collage

So that completes my first unhaul. All of these books were given to charity. Let me know what book/books you have unhauled lately, and if you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know!

– ReadWriteZoe.

Book Blog Newbie Tag

Hey everyone, welcome to the first tag post on this blog! I’ve been looking to do one to introduce you to more of my bookworm side! I’ve already mentioned my love of books previously, but most of the tags I found online were more suited to BookTube (YouTubers who post about books, if you didn’t already know). I found this on Monica Shastri’s blog, and thought I’d give it a whirl!

Why did you start this blog? I wanted a new place to go, where I could post about my love of books, as well as writing. I thought it was a perfect time to do so, especially as I’m re-entering the publishing world with my novel VRES: Digital Questavailable for pre-order now. And I was just point blank scared to start a YouTube channel!

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What are some fun and unique things you can bring to book blogging? I sadly don’t think I’m original enough to be that fun and unique, but I’m going to bring honest reviews, hauls/unhauls, DNF’s and lots of writing related content!

book blogging

What are you most excited for about this new blog? I’d love to connect more with the book community, as well as showcase my writing. I’d like to show I go about the process, like outlining and character creation. Some might find that interesting! It’s the type of thing I like on YouTube.

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Why do you love reading? Reading for me is a chance to escape the boring, the mundane, and to enter a world where I can forget my troubles. Words have the power to transport us to places we’ve never dreamed of – that’s why I love reading.

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What questions would you ask your favourite authors? I’d ask about their writing processes, where their ideas come from, that sort of thing! Stuff that’s probably been asked before!

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What challenges do you think starting a blog will be the hardest to overcome? Creating good enough content – you want readers to enjoy what you’re putting out. Some days you’re going to get upset over your content, or what people have said, and that’s all related to being confident enough in our abilities.

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When did you start reading? I was really young – my parents would take me to the library, or I’d read with my family. I was one of the nerdy kids at school who loved the book corners and silent reading time…

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Where do you read? I will read anywhere, and everywhere. I’ll read in every room in my flat, I take books to university and to appointments. I will read while I’m travelling or on holiday. I’ve always got a book on me, wherever I go!

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What kind of books do you like to read? I love fantasy books, and all variations like paranormal, or urban fantasy. The thing is though, I’ll read anything and everything from historical fiction to crime. I don’t mind if its young adult or adult, I’ll read it! And of course, can’t forget graphic novels and manga volumes!

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So that completes my first ever tag! Please feel free to do it yourself – it really makes you think!

– ReadWriteZoe.

Library Haul #1

Hey everyone, welcome to the first ever book haul on this blog. This is so exciting! I am an avid reader, as you’re going to find out pretty fast. On Thursday whilst I was in town, I thought I’d pop into the library and see what was available. Libraries are so important and will always have a special place in my heart. And no one can forget the immortal line in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:

“Because that’s what Hermione  does,” said Ron, shrugging. “When in doubt, go to the library.”

If libraries are good enough for Hermione Granger, then they’re good enough for me. I borrowed five books, so without further ado, let’s get on with the haul.Book Hauls

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book and I was excited to pick it up, especially since the film adaptation came out last year. The book follows a young boy, Connor, who has to deal with his mother’s terminal cancer. He is alone, he is bullied, but every night he is visited by an ancient elemental creature. This is the monster who calls. The monster decides it will tell Connor stories about when he was previously summoned. The novel is a children/young adult fantasy. What is really heart warming about this novel is that Patrick Ness adapted this from an idea from author Siobhan Dowd, who was suffering from cancer herself, and died before she could write it. I can’t wait to pick this up!

The next book I got was Destined to Play by Indigo Bloome. I’d never heard of this book, but have read similar stories in the past. The book follows Alexandra Blake, a psychologist, who starts to discover more about herself and her relationships. Alexandra meets Dr Jeremy Quinn, a man who is about to seduce and captivate her. The novel is an adult romance, and I’m going to assume it’s going to be highly sexually charged. What I’m a little nervous about though, is that the blurb does say, ‘If you liked 50 Shades of Grey‘. And I really did hate 50 Shades… This is the first book in the Avalon series, so we’ll have to see what happens.

Next up is The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes. I picked this up because I was in love with the cover – it’s simple, yet it’s so intriguing. I just really liked it. The novel follows a drifter called Harper, who is able to time travel after he finds a key to a mysterious house. After finding out he can use the house to travel, he starts to kill ‘the shining girls’ – girls who have bright potential. He stalks them through different eras, until one victim, Kirby, surives and decides to hunt the killer back. The novel is an adult thriller, with lots of science fiction twists. I’m really curious to find out more about Harper and his girls, so this should be an interesting read.

The next book I picked up was Blood Vow by J.R. Ward. This is the second book in the spinoff Black Dagger Brotherhood series, The Black Dagger Legacy. The novel follows vampire fighter, Axe, who is assigned to guard aristocratic female, Elise. Both Axe and Elise have tragedies in their lives, yet there is a deep physical connection between the two of them. The novel also has a subplot with Brotherhood member, Rhage and his wife Mary. Rhage is set to fight against a new part of his destiny, and save Axe from secrets that may tear him apart. The novel is an adult paranormal romance, and I honestly can’t wait to read it. I’m a huge fan of J.R. Ward’s work, so I’m hoping for good things.

And lastly is The Angels’ Share by J.R. Ward. This is the second novel in the Bourbon Kings series which follows a Southern family who own a bourbon distillery, and their lives are going to start shifting dangerously. The novel follows members of the Bradford family after the death of their patriarch. Everyone is suspected, with their own motives, but more problems arise when their finances may put them on the brink of ruin. The novel is an adult family saga, with a dash of romance. The Bourbon Kings series is very different from J.R. Ward’s other work, but I’m still curious as to what will happen to this privileged, yet troubled family.

Library Haul #1

So that completes my first library haul. Let me know what book/books you have hauled lately, and if you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know!

– ReadWriteZoe.