So, this week I am feeling a little overwhelmed by all of my university work and so I wasn’t going to do this but then it started raining all over the place and I knew that this would be the perfect week to post up this picture. I saw it a while ago in the window of my local Waterstones bookstore and simply had to take a picture. It is awesome, and in my opinion, brilliant advice.
Keep Warm. Keep Dry. Keep Reading.
What terrific and amazing words! I am so in love with this little display! Unfortunately it has already been taken away but I loved it while it lasted! And it holds true, the best thing about cold, rainy days is sitting inside curled up in a ball with a cup of tea and a good book. It is the perfect excuse to stay inside, warm and dry.
So, now I ask you, what books will you be reading this spring while you keep warm and dry? (Australian bloggers, what will you be reading while you swelter? :p)
Author: Robin Wasserman
Published: January 16th 2012 (UK) April 12 2012 (US)
Source: **Review Copy from Little Brown Books Co**
Goodreads: Add It
Summary:It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up.
When the night began, Nora had two best friends and a boyfriend she adored. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands. Chris was dead. Adriane couldn’t speak. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.
Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora’s determined to follow the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. But Chris’s murder is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.
FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS ★★★★☆
I have never read anything by Robin Wasserman before but after reading The Book of Blood and Shadow, I know that I definitely want to now. She has a brilliant way with words and really knows how to tell a story that keeps the reader captivated and hooked. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, I had been warned that it was a brilliant read but I hadn’t wanted to get my hopes up too high. Luck would have it that my fellow blogger, Lucy from Choose YA was right about this read and I did really enjoy reading it. It had me hooked from the very first sentence, right up until the last sentence and I was even left wanting more when it was finally over and done with.
This story definitely takes you on a journey, in more ways than one. There is the first story that is the interaction between the characters and how everyone gets along, how they are living their lives up until that point and how it all changes once the Book is introduced to them. Then their is the second story, the Book and the mystery that surrounds it, the past that is attached to it and the future it holds. Then there’s the third story, the now, the crime investigation, the unveiling of the mysterious book and the secrets it deems to hold. And finally there is the adventure, the travelling from place to place, the mysterious cults trying to stop Nora and her friends from unravelling the mystery of the Book. Confusing? It should have been but the way that Robin Wasserman writes allows that confusion to disappear, or rather, to never surface in the first place.
I thoroughly enjoyed Nora and the journey that she went on. My heart went out for her as I read about her family life and how the events of the past shaped her in the present and would continue to shape her throughout her future. I found that this really brought her character alive to me. She wasn’t just someone who was happy in her life who got caught up in something interesting. She was a person with a deep, dark scar that would never be properly healed but there was only one person who even knew it was there. She just wanted to get through her life and not think about the past, the what ifs or the what could have been’s. I loved this about her, I loved that she connected to Elizabeth through the letters but really I just loved how she would use the translations of the Latin as a way to centre her world. Yeah, she was a brilliant protagonist, strong, hard-headed and confused but determined.
I so wanted to see more of Chris. He was the second character in the story that I loved. From the first moment he was properly introduced to the reader, I fell for him. His goofy smile, the way he kept Nora’s secret and the way that he was just so lively and characteristic. He was the kind of the guy that you could actually believe existed in the world. And Nora was smitten with him. But, of course, they were only best friends for his girlfriend was Adriane, Nora’s other best friend. This subtle triangle was interesting to see, and while it was acknowledgeable to the reader that Nora loved Chris, it was almost as though she couldn’t see it herself, she didn’t quite understand her feelings and that helped to make this triangle bearable. I think, if Nora had openly known about her feelings it would have been harder to read, it’s not easy watching someone you love be with someone else, especially not your best friend.
That gets me on the line of Adriane, I despised her. I think, in some parts, you probably were supposed to but I just couldn’t get on board with her. I think, for me, she just seemed to fake for a lot of it. I can’t think that you would just be that okay with everything. And it infuriated me. I also didn’t like Max. Right from the start, I just didn’t like him. He was too shy, too innocent, too annoying. Then there was the actually annoying Eli who I wanted Nora to end up with. I loved how protective of her he seemed, how he was pushing her in the right direction, how he was trying to help her without saying things outright. Yeap, he was goodness that I particularly enjoyed reading.
I enjoyed the way that this story played out. The way the mystery unravelled bit by bit and how it was sorted through. I liked that it was interesting and it really painted an interesting world to read about. I loved the descriptions of Prague and all of the buildings and streets there. I’ve never been myself so I don’t know how realistic they were but they were definitely beautifully pictured in my mind due to her words! I also loved where it ended, how it ended, it was so interesting to read about and I found it to just be amazingly written. The book itself was based off of real information and I really liked how Robin Wasserman took that information and sculpted a fictional story around it.
The few things I didn’t like included the way that sometimes it got a little monotonous. I found my attention spanning slightly as I read Elizabeth’s letters, but I feel that this was more to do with the old style language it was written in more than anything. I found that I wasn’t able to truly understand what was being said throughout the entire letter until it was semi explained by Nora’s narration at the end. This irritated me slightly but didn’t stop the overall charm of the book. I also didn’t like the way Nora was around Max, the way she just forgot all about how much he annoyed her or how mad she was with him when they were together again. I found myself wanting to scream at her to see what was going on under her eyes. I think though, despite my annoyance at this, it was probably a, unfortunately, realistic depiction of someone in that sort of relationship. So, in a way, it worked and it certainly worked out towards the end of the novel but while I was reading in the middle, I just remember wanting her to see what was happening with Max the same way she was seeing the clues in the letters.
I would recommend this book to anyone. It has elements for everyone. Lots of character building, strong characters, interesting story and plot, mystery and crime that needs to be solved and just emotions being thrown at you from left, right, and centre. I found myself close to tears quite a few times throughout this book and I loved that about it. It wasn’t too slow, nor was it too fast. It wasn’t too confusing and it always explained everything that seemed like it got to be too much. A perfect balance, and one that I just really liked and would love for others to go and read a copy themselves!
Feel free to read Lucy’s review, here.
** I received this book in return for an honest review from Atom Books. Thank you Madeleine. **
So today I am introducing you to the amazing Alecia Stone who is going to be telling you all about why YA is such an attractive genre at the moment! This is for her book tour hosted by Making Connections Goodreads Group for her book Talisman of El and she has also kindly offered FIVE of my followers a copy of the ARC ebook! (via netgalley) For more details, read the post and enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post!
Without further ado;
The Appeal of the YA Genre
By Alecia Stone
I think it’s safe to say that the YA genre is one of the hottest categories in literature right now. I think the greatest appeal of the YA genre is the ability it has of attracting not only teenage readers but also readers of all ages. I definitely believe there is something in a YA novel for everyone. Whether you are a preteen reader, a teenager or an adult, there will most likely be something in a YA book that everyone will be able to relate to.
Some of the universal themes in YA novels allow readers of all ages to connect. Themes such as love, friendship, trust, identity, are all subject matters that many people either have experienced or will experience in their life. And, let’s be honest, YA novels are just plain fun to read. Whether you read it for the magic, mystery or the romance, when it’s good, it is really good. YA novels are ripe with emotions, and it is emotional responses that guide much of human behaviour, so it’s no surprise it has such a wide appeal.
About Alecia Stone;
Being a fan of fantasy fiction, Alecia Stone’s novel was inspired by her love for paranormal mysteries. She loves to write for it is a means of escaping her reality if only for a moment. Talisman Of El is her first book. She lives in England, UK with her family.
WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS A LIE?
Population: Human … 7 billion.
Others … unknown.
When 14-year-old Charlie Blake wakes up sweating and gasping for air in the middle of the night, he knows it is happening again. This time he witnesses a brutal murder. He’s afraid to tell anyone. No one would believe him … because it was a dream. Just like the one he had four years ago – the day before his dad died.
Charlie doesn’t know why this is happening. He would give anything to have an ordinary life. The problem: he doesn’t belong in the world he knows as home.
He belongs with the others
Alecia Stone has kindly offered FIVE followers an ARC ecopy of her book, Talisman of El through netgalley. For your chance to win a copy, all you have to do is follow this blog and use the Rafflecoptr Widget below. If you would like a better chance of winning there are also extra entries for you to do after you’ve followed the blog but these are NOT mandatory.
This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.
Please look at my Giveaway Policy before you enter or you may not be eligible to win.
So, I was trying to think of a snazzy and awesome title for this post but my brain has sort of gone into the heavens after I worked so hard on my university work today so you’re stuck with that boring title up there.
Oh, but at least you know what to expect from this post, right? Right?
Oh. Well, I guess I could tell you that today, 15th April 2012 is this blog’s
Seven Month Anniversary!!
I know, right? I am so totally overwhelmed, it is unbelievable. I cannot describe to you just how much my life has actually changed in the last seven months but I will let you in on a big, big secret; it’s changed a lot.
This blog was originally started as a book and film blog that looks mainly at adaptations and it has transformed before my very eyes. Today it is a blog that ventures mostly to all things YA with a few AF here and there and the odd film review or comment here or there too. In the next coming months, however, this is going to be changing a little bit more as well – are you as excited as I am for this? But I promise, it will still have the same stuff, it’ll just have some extra stuff thrown in as well but you can always just ignore the few posts that aren’t you’re cup of tea!
On that note, I really, really, really want to just say
Honestly. You, my wonderful, amazing, beautiful, brilliant followers, are the reason I am still here. More than likely this blog would have been sitting and getting “dusty” in the blogosphere. But, because I have met so many wonderful fellow bloggers and authors and publicists, I am still here today and am always thinking about my blog, the things I need to do on it, the things I want to do in the future, things I want to change, add, etc. 75% of my time is now fully dedicated to my blog, and the other 25% of it I am constantly thinking about it anyway. I love this place, I love the blogging community and I am so totally looking forward to whatever happens in the upcoming future.
So yeah, this is a thank you post, a wow I am overwhelmed post, and a this is my new obsession post.
Before I leave, I have a question for you all.
If you’re a blogger, how long have you had your blog for? Is it what you expected it to be or something else, better/worse? What stops your blog from “collecting dust”?
If you’re NOT a blogger, would you ever consider becoming one? What do you like to see in other peoples’ blogs?
* if you do not yet know, I have a giveaway going on. For your chance to win Blood Awakening and Burden of Blood by Wenona Hulsey, click here *
Every fortnight, Aidy from Aidy’s Reviews and I exchange reviews to cross post on our blogs. He writes a film review for my blog, and I write a book review for his blog. Today, Aidy, has written a review of Take My Eyes (2003) for you and I wrote a review of Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, which you can find on his blog. Here is his review!
Director: Icíar Bollaín
Writer: Icíar Bollaín and Alicia Luna
Stars: Laia Marull, Luis Tosar and Candela Peña
Production Company: Alta Producción
THREE.FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS ★★★★☆
Take My Eyes, is a foreign romantic drama directed by Iciar Bollain and jointly written by Iciar Bollain and Alicia Luna. Laia Marull and Luis Tosar are the stars of the film, portraying Pilar and Antonio; a couple where the wife is the victim of spousal abuse but cannot shake the feelings of love she harbors towards him.
The film opens with Pilar rushing around her apartment to wake her son and fetch essential items. Pilar (Laia Marull) and her young son escape to her sister Ana’s (Candela Pena) home. Not too long after she arrives, she suddenly bursts into tears, still in her slippers. While in such a hurry to leave home before her husband returned, Pilar had no time to dress herself. Ana decides to head back to their home in order to salvage the remainder of their clothes. In the apartment, she discovers documents from the local hospital detailing her sister’s injuries. Antonio arrives and sees Ana packing and realizes Pilar had taken off with their son.
Antonio (Luis Tosar) decides to visit his wife at her sister Ana’s home. She only cracks the door just a little in order to speak to him. Antonio showers her in compliments, apologizing for his actions and promises he will change; all the while she shakes in fear. When he does not receive welcoming responses from Pilar, he begins to again, threaten her, revealing his true nature. The couple desires to save their marriage, as their love is still strong for each other.
They are soon back together, and it seems their relationship is flourishing; Antonio started attending therapy for spousal abuse, and Pilar took up a part-time job as a cashier and a museum tour guide to take care of her living expenses. Pilar’s journey of self-discovery had led her to an epiphany–she didn’t need her husband ruling over every single aspect of her life. She is now living an enjoyable life full of friends and a job she relishes. She then comes to see she has become fed up of Antonio’s overbearing presence.
One of the more poignant scenes in the film is when Antonio comes home from work and sees Pilar getting ready for her shift. He strips her down to her bra and pushes her out onto the balcony for passerby’s to see. She pleads with him to be let back indoors. He then snatches her by the throat to bring her inside–she is petrified with fear and urinates on herself and on the floor of the apartment.
The movie spotlights the events surrounding Pilar but comes up short showcasing the more prominent aspects of her personality. Instead, the film reveals more about Antonio; he is mocked by his family and his father has a bias towards his brother. At work, he is just a low-end salesperson with a poor salary. The audience discovers the root of his issues and why he takes his anger out on his wife. However, no personal information about Pilar’s characters other than she has a son, sister, and what she is subjected to in the abusive relationship.
Take My Eyes offers a painful glimpse into aspects of an abusive relationship. The highlight of the film is the believability; we personally may or may not know of someone in a similar situation. Bollain’s brilliant script brought us into the viewpoint of the victim and leaves a lasting impression upon the viewer.
So today I am introducing you to the amazing Liz Reinhardt. A few days ago I reviewed her newest book, Forgiving Trinity, as part of the book’s tour and now Liz is here to talk to you all about peer pressure.
A huge thank you to Faye for letting me come on and talk about something that has been getting closer and closer to my heart every day: peer pressure.
The other day, I went to the supermarket and the very cute, very sweet checkout girl had hairy arms. Really hairy arms. I noticed them, because I’ve always thought my arms are kind of hairy, but I had nothing on this girl. And she WAS NOT REMOTELY WORRIED ABOUT HER ARM HAIR. She had on bracelets and watches, wore short sleeves, smiled a ton…I mean, maybe she does once in a while say, “Man, my arms are crazy hairy. Oh well!”, but I know for a fact she doesn’t really care. How do I know? Well, when I had hairy arm issues, and I NEVER WORE SHORT SLEEVES. At one point some stupid classmate pointed out my arms, and I could never get over it. Never mind that he was a huge, awful jerk. I, for some reason, took his opinion seriously.
The sad thing is, it really doesn’t stop just because you get older. I mean, it did stop for me, but not because of age. I rock tank tops and let my hairy arms hang all the time, not because I’m older, but because I learned something.
Or a few somethings. And I think it would be cool to share, especially because my kid is about to go to school, and it makes my stomach hurt to imagine people being unkind to her. Or to imagine her being unkind to other kids. Ugh. Vomity feeling.
- You’re parents tell you ‘no one will notice…’ and that isn’t true. People will notice. They will comment. And tease you. You have to decide to care or not care.
This isn’t just about arm hair or whatever. Serious stuff gets made fun of. I had a friend give up dance (which was his passion and he was amazing at it) to pursue a ‘manlier’ sport (which he was fine in, but didn’t love. Because people noticed and teased him. I had friends who broke up their relationship because other people weren’t supportive.
I’ve had friends hide what they read, listen to, pray to (or don’t), who they love, hang out with, work with, all because of what others think.
Life is long, and you spend it with a lot of different people. My advice? Spend your time with the few good people who stick by you and support you, and let the others go.
- There are a million ways to live life the right way…even with huge mistakes! The only wrong way is to live it for someone else.
I don’t have one. And I really don’t need one. The mistakes I’ve made have made me stronger, smarter, and better overall. BUT I would like to erase a few ideas/opinions that I got in my head from someone else. My own mistakes? Mine. The mistakes of others? I like to stay faaaar away!
I’ve made some serious mistakes all my own. And I own them! I don’t regret those mistakes because they were mine, and I learned from them. If I hurt others, I made amends as best I could. Those mistakes helped me grow.
The only things I truly regret are the things I did because someone else persuaded me to. The decisions that weren’t my own – good and bad – wound up being things I regretted for good. I always wonder if things would have turned out better if I had made my own decisions!
So, yes, I regret not listening to Pearl Jam in high school, not going abroad during my sophomore summer, wasting time in Italy going to bars instead of museums and old churches…not that these were the biggest mistakes. They were just ones I made by listening to others.
- There is a wise quote from Mary Schmich: “Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.”
Seriously. It’s a long, crazy run, and you’re not competing with anyone but YOU. So enjoy and celebrate whenever you reach your own goals. Ignore everyone else.
I think one of the biggest reasons teens especially give in to peer-pressure is because there’s this competitive feeling that’s wildly inaccurate with the youths of America. It’s kind of like, “You have to do this and be this and it has to be now or your life will never, ever be worth anything ever.”
So there’s cutthroat competition to be the fastest, the smartest, the best. And it leads to a lot of stupid mistakes.
Well, here’s the reality. I was a good English student with only the occasional flunking grades in math. I did college quickly and well, and graduated with degrees I wound up never pursuing. When I finally decided I wanted to teach, I had to go back to school and get my license. I worked so hard for it, and once I was in the classroom…I missed being home with my little girl. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to teach after all.
What?! I had worked SO HARD for that degree. I had to DO something with that education, right? I had all these wildly successful friends. What was I thinking, considering staying home?
Guess what? I stayed home. I LOVED being home with my little girl. I loved the freedom of the hours alone, and I used them to write. The writing shaped itself into a book. The book got edited and critiqued. I published it. And, now, I’m doing well enough writing that it can be my career.
I’m happier than I’ve ever been, but it’s because I stopped looking at what everyone else was doing and kept my own race in mind. It was hard to tune out the voices around me, telling me what I should do with my degree, my job, my life. Advice is all good, but you have to do what works for you. And if you’re brave enough to do what you believe in, you just might make yourself the happiest person you know!
Today I am introducing you to Nicola Black author of A Story Not Wished to Be Read.
She is here today as part of the Making Connections Book Tour. To follow the rest of the tour, click the banner.
Today, she will be telling you all about her top ten places to find inspiration, feel free to tell us yours once you’ve read!
As a writer I’m always looking for inspiration. That inspiration can come from many places, especially in this age of the internet. Whether that inspiration is a favorite place to chill or an interesting article that gets your gears turning, everybody has one. Here are my top ten:
- 10. Controversial blogs. What I mean by controversial is something that completely disagrees with your beliefs. Not often do I go to controversial blogs. But when I do, it’s always an interesting experience. Although other people’s beliefs frustrate me if I see a lack of common sense, they always help me strengthen my own beliefs. In the moment of clarity I get from knowing exactly what I don’t believe, I can rant, I mean write, some of my greatest work.
- 9. Waiting rooms. Sometimes you find that you have to wait quite a while in some public places. While most people would get frustrated, I tend to listen to the conversations going on around me. I always find it interesting that everybody has their own life that only select people are privy to. By listening to their conversations, I can make up whole scenarios of what’s going on in their life. Thus, I just found inspiration for a new short story.
- 8. Goodreads role play groups. I have to admit that when I first found a group on Goodreads that said “role play,” I wondered if it was of the kinky variety. But I was completely wrong. These groups create whole worlds where someone can create and develop a character. I love using these groups to find out how a new character would react to situations that I myself did not create.
- 7. Big Green Chair. You know what I’m talking about; that big comfy chair that you just love curling up in to read. Well I like reading AND writing in my big comfy chair. There’s just no better place, when my brain refuses to work, to get settled in and write gibberish until something good comes out.
- 6. Smashwords. Smashwords is a great place for indie writers. It is a free and easy way to get your work out there without editors or publishers telling you what to do. You can also get free books from it. Thus, I read other peoples works and get a feel for the quality indie writers are putting out there.
- 5. My bedroom. My bedroom has all sorts of knick knacks I’ve gotten over the years. Sometimes it’s just nice to sit and look around and remember all that’s happened. Somewhere in those memories is a good story.
- 4. Movies. Although I would never like to steal another’s idea, sometimes movies provide an idea for a new story. I like taking several movies and fuse their ideas together to get a whole new story. Sometimes it’s hard to do this without conforming, but it’s possible.
- 3. Books. Books are always a great inspiration. I go through the same method that I do for movies, fusing ideas until I get one great idea.
- 2. Dreams. I’ve always had the weirdest, wildest dreams. I would spend the next morning telling them to my parents. They didn’t always liked it, though. Eventually I started enlarging them as I tried to fall asleep at night. Now my dreams are one of my favorite ways to get stories.
- 1. My top favorite place to get inspiration is my own daydreams. When I watch a movie, I try to think how I would react in the situation presented, or how I would like to act. And it’s also a great way to act out situations that you want to happen in your life, or are afraid will happen. A person’s imagination is always the best way to get inspiration.
These are merely my own top ten places to find inspiration. All of these places (or things) play a key part in my writing. I believe that everyone should have places and things to inspire them to write. Sometimes when you’re stuck in a rut and can’t seem to write, then any one of your top ten could help. So happy writing!!