Writing Update #3 – Breaks Can Be Well Deserved!

Hey everyone! Today has been a day where I’ve been totally focused on updating my blog so I decided I’d squeeze in another writing update.

Before I talk about how my writing’s going at the moment, I want to say some very belated thank yous to a handful of people. Last month, partially thanks to Camp Nanowrimo, I focused on my WIP and managed to finish it in its 100k entirety. But that was a lot due to certain people who helped me get there via sprints and continuous support. My writing squad – Lucy over at Queen of Contemporary and Katherine at The Writing Hideout. Amazingly, they both finished their WIPs too!! And I also have to thank Amy at Pursuit of Wonderland, who helped me at the end of the month to break through the final hurdles! I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to show my appreciation for these three for helping me finish my novel.

Now an update for what I’m currently writing. Some of you already know, but I’ve been staying with my cousins in the UK since the beginning of the month, and since I knew I wasn’t going to get a lot of writing done, I set myself the project of a short in-between-two-books novella with a goal of 15k words. Unfortunately, I have only written 1000 words of that…and they were written before I came over. It seemed very unlikely that I was going to finish so I decided, I worked hella hard this year by starting and finishing three novels and realised that breaks can be well deserved. Sadly this means I’m not going to be finishing the novella, Summer Nights, this month because once I’m home and September comes around, I’m going to be rewriting one of my other novels. I’m not giving up on the novella at all, I just know that breaks are important. For me as well as you. If you’ve been working hard consistently on something then you really should be setting yourself some rest time after a certain point. You don’t want to burn yourself out.

Start a new TV show, read a couple of books, spend some dedicated time around your loved ones. Just as long as you’re doing something that’s not writing because there’s no harm with taking some time off your WIP if you’ve been at it for a while. And who knows? Maybe the time you spend away from it will help you think of some ways to improve it!

Now even though I’m putting Summer Nights on hold for a while, I’ve thought of where it’s going to fit in and I’ve also thought of another novella. (Sometimes I wish my brain would take a break with me too lmao). The events of Summer Nights is going to take place during the two month gap between the last chapter and epilogue of Book 1 in The Quest series. Then its…follow-up, I guess – the other (very romantic) novella which will be titled Winter Days. The cover is below and it will take place between Book 2 and Book 3.

WINTER DAYS.png

So there’s my writing update, probably that’ll last for another while. I hope some of you will have felt better after reading my advice.

But what about you? What are you currently writing? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Review: Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

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Author: Gary D. Schmidt

Publisher: Andersen Press

Release Date: October 2015

Genre: Contemporary

Pages: 183


When Jack meets his new foster brother, he already knows three things about him:

  • Joseph almost killed a teacher
  • He was incarcerated at a place called Stone Mountain
  • He has a daughter. Her name is Jupiter. And he has never seen her.

What Jack doesn’t know, at first, is how desperate Joseph is to find his baby girl. Or how urgently he, Jack, will want to help. But the past can’t be shaken off. Even as new bonds form, old wounds reopen. The search for Jupiter demands more from Jack than he can imagine.


Okay. I suppose I’ll start this review by saying that I do not understand the hype around this book. It wasn’t chosen for Zoella’s book club and it’s been nominated for the Carnegie medal. I took this on as part of my TBR for the 24in48 readathon because I knew it was short and I was assuming I was going to enjoy it.

I wish I could say that I really liked it but it just dind’t do anything for me. I don’t really know, I was expecting some big plot twist or something special about this book but I found it was too short for me to actually connect to the characters.


“‘I’m going to find her, I’m not going to stay alone.’ 

‘You’re not alone,’ I said. ‘You’ve got me.’

He laughed, but not a happy laugh.

‘Jack, I’m a whole lifetime ahead of you.'”


I found that Jack was a very bland protagonist which is maybe why I didn’t enjoy the story as much as I was expecting too. However, there were some aspects of this story that I liked. I thought it was a really unique idea but the thought of a 13 year old father kind of creeped me out.


Rating:

★★★

ARC Review: Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga

HWAN

Author: Jasmine Warga

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Release Date: 7th November 2017

Genres: YA Contemporary 

Pages: 304


Despite sending him letters ever since she was thirteen, Taliah Abdallat never thought she’d ever really meet Julian Oliver. But one day, while her mother is out of the country, the famed rock star from Staring Into the Abyss shows up on her doorstep. This makes sense – kinda – because Julian Oliver is Taliah’s father, even though her mother would never admit it to her.

Julian asks if Taliah if she will drop everything and go with him to his hometown of Oak Falls, Indiana, to meet his father – her grandfather – who is nearing the end of his life. Taliah, torn between betraying her mother’s trust and meeting the family she has never known, goes.

With her best friend Harlow by her side, Taliah embarks on a three-day journey to find out everything about her ‘father’ and her family. But Julian isn’t the father Taliah always hoped for, and revelations about her mother’s past are seriously shaking her foundation. Through all these new experiences, Taliah will have to find new ways to be true to herself, honoring her past and her future.


Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this to review!

I’d never heard of Here We Are Now before I saw it on Netgalley but I’m glad it was one of the first books I was approved for on Netgalley because I really enjoyed it!

It tells the story of Taliah, who’s recently found out that her absent father is actually Julian Oliver – the lead singer of a well known music band. And when her mother is in Paris and Julian shows up on Taliah’s doorstep after her letters to him, she is taken by surprise. Julian tells her that her paternal grandfather is dying and wants to make up the lost time with his daughter – but first Taliah must be able to trust his intentions and Julian will have to break down the wall Taliah has built around herself.

I love the strong sense of family and relationships in this book. It’s such a strong theme in this book that’s explored through Lena and Julian’s relationship, Julian and his father’s, Harlow and Taliah’s and of course Taliah’s and Julian’s. A heartwarming story of family and love.

I also love how much diversity was in this book and it just felt so right. We had a biracial main character, with Muslim ancestry on one side. The MC’s best friend was gay and in a relationship and the will-they, won’t-they romance between Toby and Taliah didn’t feel forced at all and I really liked the outcome of it.

The writing style flowed really well and I could tell the author had a really unique voice. I love how it was both witty but really deep too; it made you think of the bigger picture of fate and love – and I really liked the character Debra’s theory on how everyone has multiple versions of themselves.

Overall, I think this was a great read but my one critique is that I felt the ending was slightly rushed – I don’t feel the author really wrapped up Harlow and Taliah’s ending or gave them any real redemption. It was like they acknowledged the fault that was beginning in their relationship but didn’t have the chance to do anything about it.


Rating:

★★★★

 

Top Three Thursday #3: Anticipated Releases (Sept-December 2017)

Hey guys! I’m back with another Top Three Thursday and I’m going to talk about the three books I’m looking forward to the most for the remainder of the year.


moonrise‘They think I hurt someone. 
But I didn’t. You hear?
Coz people are gonna be telling you
all kinds of lies.
I need you to know the truth.’

Joe hasn’t seen his brother for ten years, and it’s for the most brutal of reasons. Ed is on death row.

But now Ed’s execution date has been set, and Joe is determined to spend those last weeks with him, no matter what other people think …
From one-time winner and two-time Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this poignant, stirring, huge-hearted novel asks big questions. What value do you place on life? What can you forgive? And just how do you say goodbye?

Out September 7th!


IOHITM

Audrey is over romance. Since her parents’ relationship imploded her mother’s been catatonic, so she takes a cinema job to get out of the house. But there she meets wannabe film-maker Harry. Nobody expects Audrey and Harry to fall in love as hard and fast as they do. But that doesn’t mean things are easy. Because real love isn’t like the movies…

The greatest love story ever told doesn’t feature kissing in the snow or racing to airports. It features pain and confusion and hope and wonder and a ban on cheesy clichés. Oh, and zombies… YA star Holly Bourne tackles real love in this hugely funny and poignant novel.

Out October 1st!


Tangleweed and brine

 

A collection of twelve dark, feminist retellings of traditional fairytales are given a witchy makeover, not for the faint-hearted, from one of Ireland’s leading writers for young people. You make candles from stubs of other candles. You like light in your room to read. Gillian wants thick warm yellow fabric, soft as butter. Lila prefers cold. All icy blues. Their dresses made to measure. No expense spared. And dancing slippers. One night’s wear and out the door like ash. You can’t even borrow their cast-offs. You wear a pair of boots got from a child. Of sturdy stuff, that keeps the water out and gets you around.

Out September 7th!


Of course I also couldn’t go on without saying how much I’m looking forward to They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James and Fall Boys & Dizzy in Paradise by Jandy Nelson (though I’m beginning to doubt it won’t be 2017 anymore because I haven’t heard any news on it!)

 

What books are you anticipating most for the rest of the year? Let me know!

Review: A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab

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Author: V. E. Schwab

Publisher: Titan

Release Date: February 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy, Romance

Pages: 666


The precarious equilibrium among the four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise. Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never a common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry.

Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery and the Night Spire crew are attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible, as an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown and a fallen hero is desperate to save a decaying world.




I loved the first two books in this series. I thought they were a fantastic breath of fresh air. So naturally, I didn’t want the trilogy to end anytime soon so I put off reading the undoubtedly epic conclusion for a couple of months – and undoubtedly epic it was.

The cast of characters in this are all so unique and at the same time so likeable. I really enjoyed getting chapters from everyone’s POV. Rhy is such a sweetheart so naturally I ship him and Alucard together. Lila is so badass and such an amazing co-protagonist that I adored reading. Holland was the villain you loved to hate and of course Kell was the awesome Antari who puts his life on the line multiple times to save other people.

There were two particular scenes in A Conjuring of Light that stand out to me now while I’m writing this review. The first was when the river in London turned black thanks to Osaron. I think the description was perfect and it’s rare that I ever felt so transported into the world. Another scene that I loved was (possible spoiler) when Holland was about to be executed and he jumped into the river to kill himself. When Kell jumped in after him I was like yess, save him but then Lila jumped in after them both and I don’t know why but I enjoyed that immensely.

Again, the world-building was on point and Schwab did an incredible job of immersing me as a reader in the world of her four Londons and inside her character’s heads. I’ve recently bought This Savage Song so I cannot wait to get started with that!


Rating:

★★★★★

Top Three Thursday #2: Favourite Authors

Hello everyone! I’m back today with another Top Three Thursday and this time I’m going to be sharing my favourite three authors!

Obviously it has been difficult to narrow them down because of the amount of brilliant authors – like Sarah Crossan, Malorie Blackman, Lauren James, Patrick Ness, Jandy Nelson, Annabel Pitcher and Non Pratt – I could go on forever. But I feel my top three authors are definitely deserving.


cassandra clare

Cassandra Clare

Of course this queen is here! I’ve been a fan of her books for so long! I adore her cast of characters and I love how funny her dialogue is and fast-paced her books are. They’re also really diverse which I think is super important. The Shadowhunter Chronicles is a huge universe with a whooping six individual series and some companion books too. I really applaud her for the time and effort she puts into them and making them the masterpieces they are.



alice oseman

Alice Oseman

Next up, of course, we have the wonderful Alice Oseman. Not only is Radio Silence one of my favourite books, but I adore her debut, Solitaire, and also the webcomic she puts her heart and soul into: Heartstopper. They’re all so incredibly diverse! She really puts a lot of effort into her work – she even makes podcasts from her novel on Youtube and vlogs too! I cannot wait for her third book – with a Muslim girl and a trans boy as the main characters! Amazing. I’ve had the lucky chance to meet Cassandra Clare and the author below (twice!) so I hope one day I’ll get to meet Alice!


holly bourne

Holly Bourne

And finally, Holly Bourne has a special place in my heart. I fell in love with her feminist Spinster trilogy – with Evie, Amber and Lottie so naturally I rushed to read her other standalones, The Manifesto on How to be Interesting and Soulmates. I think it’s amazing how she threads much needed feminism into her works and intertwines them with mental health issues and of course romance! I cannot wait for It Only Happens in the Movies!

 

I hope you enjoyed today’s Top Three Thursday! Now it’s your turn – who are your top three authors? Let me know in the comments below!

Review: Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

SKINO

Author: Ayisha Malik

Publisher: twenty7

Release Date: September 3rd 2015

Genre: Romance, Contemporary Fiction

Pages: 464


“Brilliant idea! Excellent! Muslim dating? Well, I had no idea you were allowed to date.’ Then he leaned towards me and looked at me sympathetically. ‘Are your parents quite disappointed?’

Unlucky in love once again after her possible-marriage-partner-to-be proves a little too close to his parents, Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good. Or at least she was, until her boss persuades her to write a tell-all expose about the Muslim dating scene.

As her woes become her work, Sofia must lean on the support of her brilliant friends, baffled colleagues and baffling parents as she goes in search of stories for her book. In amongst the marriage-crazy relatives, racist tube passengers and decidedly odd online daters, could there be a a lingering possibility that she might just be falling in love . . . ?


Sofia Khan is Not Obliged is a book I started for Ramadan Readathon all the way back in June. And I think because there were so many new releases out at that time, it was a bad idea to start it. I got about 200 pages in and then stopped because it was putting me in a slump. However, I picked it up for the 24in48 readathon and managed to finish it quickly.

It follows the story of Sofia Khan, a Muslim woman working in the publishing industry who is equipped to write a book about the Muslim dating world for women. As she tries to scrape together a draft, she goes on many dates for research for her book. And then she starts to fall in love…but she’s gone on so many dates that she doesn’t know who she’s in love with.

First of all, I think this was a really good diverse book to educate me more on the Muslim community in the UK. It’s been described as being Bridget Jones with Muslim dating and I couldn’t agree more. It was hilarious, romantic and brilliant.

Also, Malik’s writing was at a very good standard too. Some of her protagonist’s wisdom and lines were clearly well though out. I mean, just take a look at this beautiful quote for instance:

“What a luxury anything organic is: to take your time; to have the lived experience. To hear what a person has to say about love and say, ‘Yes! I know that feeling. It shattered my soul and it was beautiful . . .”

I’m annoyed at myself for putting the book down at first but I can’t help but feel the reason was because the first half of the book just wasn’t as engaging as the second half. But nevertheless, I’m very glad I picked it back up.


Rating:

★★★★