Writing Update! Finishing the First Draft

Hi everyone!dsc03339

So, as you can tell from the title – I HAVE FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT OF MY NOVEL.

😀 😀

That was my face when I wrote the last few words. I was ecstatic! I had actually finished
writing this story that had been in my head for months, which is something that rarely happens to me. The characters had grown and suffered and laughed, my world was all set up; this idea had turned into something tangible and real. I was thrilled, and I still am! I think as writers it’s hard to be pleased with what you’ve created because you always think that there’s a book that will be better than yours, but we should give ourselves more credit – we create worlds and people and plots just from our heads! (And the savior that is Pinterest. God bless.)

I gave it a bit more time and stepped away from my draft for a few days, and I started to think: What comes next? (And then I started singing Hamilton because I am obsessed).
But seriously, what happens after first drafts? What did I do now? No new scenes to write, no more cute character moments to think of? I had spent so much of my time in this draft, there had been so many moments when I would be having a crappy day and looking forward to writing more of my story would cheer me up, and now it’s over? After all these questions, my face turned into something like this:

D:

What happens next is editing, which is even scarier than a massive story-sized chasm in my life! This story is going to – hopefully – be the first in a five(ish) book series, so as dsc03343much as I want to dive right in and plot the second book, I need to edit this first draft before I even think about the second one. Funny thing about editing my first novel is that: a) I have never edited anything but coursework before because I am not dedicated at all, and b) I hand-wrote my first draft. It came to one and a half notebooks’ worth. Which means that I need to type up one and a half notebooks’ worth of novel before I can edit it. *cries*

Anyway, I’m about eight chapters in and there’s so much that needs rewriting, so many plot point that no longer make sense. Also literally every character sighs?? Like all the time?? Why do I do this?! But I’m enjoying it all the same; there are loads of scenes that I had completely forgotten about, so it’s nice rediscovering them!

So that’s where I am with writing at the moment! How is your work in progress doing? Do you have any editing tips? Or do you have any weird things that you wrote that doesn’t make sense (Like my perpetually sighing characters) ? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

2016 Favourites & The Dashing and Smashing Character Awards!

Hi all!

It’s that time of year again when we look back and decide what the best books of 2016 are. This year hasn’t been the best in terms of reading for me because other commitments have meant that I couldn’t read as much as I wanted to.

However, I may not have read much, but what I did read was super! According to my Goodreads, my average rating was 4.2 stars out of 5, so choosing a single favourite book is basically impossible (also I’m just very indecisive, but shh we’ll blame it on Goodreads!).

These won’t be in any order, but enjoy my favourites of 2016!dsc03290

  • Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare – This is the first book in The Dark Artifices series,
    and Cassie didn’t disappoint with another Shadowhunters novel! I love this world so much, and the development of the characters and the world was so strong that I couldn’t help but adore this book. I’m so excited to read Lord of Shadows.dsc03295
  • Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – THESE BOOKS. I’m sure you’ve seen t
    hem all over bookstagram and booktube, but the praise is well-deserved. Having met Leigh Bardugo I love these books even more because the author is so sweet and funny.

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  • Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray – I know I said I wasn’t going to have a definite favourite, but if I did, it would be this one. I have SO MUCH LOVE fo
    r The Diviners, the first book in this series, and the sequel was even better! Libba Bray creates the most wonderful world of 1920s New York, and I can gush about this series so much that I wrote a blog post on it, which you can find here.
  • Cdsc03293arry On by Rainbow Rowell – I am so glad that I went to the Worlds Collide tour (my recap of the event is here if you’re interested) because it motivated me to read Rainbow Rowell’s books, and they definitely lived up to the hype! I love Fangirl, but I decided that Carry On was my favourite because I loved the setting of Watford and Simon and Baz.
  • Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton – I pdsc03292icked this book up in the middle of a reading slump, wanting something quick and easy to read. Instead I got evil ballerinas and a competitive dance academy, and it was brilliant. The atmosphere at the school is so tense, and you can feel the stress and the mistrust between all the dancers as you read the book. As soon as I had finished it I wanted the sequel, and I’m still thinking about it a week later.

As well as my favourite books of 2016, I thought I would do a few questions from the Dashing and Smashing Character Awards! This fun tag was created by the lovely Cait @ Paper Fury, and I thought it would be a great way to wrap up my 2016 reading experience.

  1. Fiercest fighter – I think this has to go to Manon from the Throne of Glass series (I refuse to put Aelin because I’m realising that I don’t like her very much!). Manon is fierce and ruthless in battle, but she’s also fiercely loyal and caring and I like that about her.
  2. Best sidekick – Iko from The Lunar Chronicles gets an honourable mention in this category, but I think I’ll have to say George from Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, who helped Simon settle in and lightened the mood of the short stories.
  3. One You’re Surprised You Loved – I picked up Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford on a whim at the airport, but I am glad I did! It was just the right mix of historical fact and fiction, revealing the busy world of the BBC in the 1920s that I didn’t know existed, and I warmed to the main character, Maisie, especially as we saw her journey from a shy woman to one in control of her life.
  4. The best ship of all – This is so hard to decide! Emma and Julian? Simon and Baz? Helen and Lord Carlston? I think they’re close seconds, but I have to give this title to BLUE AND GANSEY from The Raven Boys series. They are just…perfect. And I would really like someone to give me a Gansey please.

That wraps up my 2016 reading year! How was your year? What was your favourite book you read? Let me know in the comments!

I hope you have a wonderful 2017!

Thanks for reading (:

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Illumicrate November Unboxing!

Hi all!

I received my November Illumicrate box a few weeks ago and I finally have time to do a review of it. Overall I was quite pleased with everything inside, but I wish there was a feature that reminded you if you wanted to carry on subscribing or just have a one-time box, because I didn’t remember to cancel my subscription in time! However, all of the items inside the box were lovely and I think I would have loved them even more if I had actively subscribed to it.

 The Bookish Goodies:

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  •  An AIDEN Candle from Meraki Candles – This is my joint favourite item in the box! The candle is not only based on a book I love (Illuminae), but it smells really good too. I won’t be burning it anytime soon but I really like it.
  • An ‘Evil Plans’ notebook – This is so cute! I love notebooks, and this one seems to be of good quality and it’s perfect for my evil plans for all my characters!
  • A pair of stripy socks from Happy Socks – These will have to be another of my favourite items. They’re so comfy and I’ve never seen a subscription box that includes socks before, so it was a nice surprise.
  • A coffee warmer from Sparrow and Wolf – While this item is cute and well-made, I unfortunately don’t drink coffee! Or tea for that matter, so I don’t think I’ll be using this a lot. However, I know that a lot of bookworms love coffee so this will be perfect for them!
  • Various posters from books I haven’t read (yet), including a gorgeous print from Replica by Lauren Oliver.
  • A sampler of The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr – I had never heard of this book before I got this box, so now I’m going to keep a look out for it and see if it seems like something I’d like.

The Book:dsc03251

This month the book in the box was The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid! I’ve seen this all around bookstagram and Youtube, but I have to admit that I wasn’t that keen on picking it up. For that reason it’s not going to be at the top of my TBR list for 2017, but hopefully it’ll be one of those books that impresses me.

Did anyone else receive this Illumicrate? If so, what did you think of it? And has anyone read The Diabolic and think I need to read it right now?? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading (:

Worlds Collide Tour!

Hi all!

On Friday I attended the Worlds Collide tour, which was the UK tour for Leigh Bardugo and Rainbow Rowell. It was so much fun, so I thought I would recap it in this probably overexcited post. The event was held at Manchester Central Library, which is beautiful.wp_20161028_20_32_06_pro

I arrived at the event half an hour early, but there was already a huge queue outside the library!  Luckily it wasn’t raining and the queue soon went down as more people were let into the building. Once I was inside, I went to collect the books I had bought and chose my exclusive poster (there was a choice between the poster and a T-shirt, but when I saw the poster I knew which one I wanted!). The artwork is gorgeous and it’s made of strong paper as well which I didn’t want to roll up, which made getting it home a challenge!dsc03212

There was loads more people than I had expected, but there were plenty of seats and even though I was sat near the back I had a great view. There was a small delay, which I think had more to do with the fact that there was so many people to get into the building rather than the authors, and then Leigh and Rainbow arrived!

They were so much fun, and you could tell that they were genuinely friends. They were open and honest about how they met and told us different stories about events they had been to, and then they re-enacted some scenes from Carry On and Crooked Kingdom which was hilarious. Leigh was brilliant as Baz!

Afterwards there was a Q&A session, where they offered some writing advice and talked about publishing as well as their books. One thing I really appreciated was the fact that they kept the talk spoiler-free, which was useful for me as I hadn’t read Fangirl yet! (I got my reading schedule mixed up; I finished Carry On on the train there!).

As there had been a fifteen-minuDSC03204.JPGte delay, I was really scared that I wouldn’t have the chance to get anything signed as I had a train to catch which was one of the last ones home, but luckily my row was one of the first to get signed! I first met Rainbow Rowell, who was really sweet and said she liked my shirt. I told her how much I enjoyed Carry On and how much I was looking forward to Fangirl, and she dedicated both of my copies of the books.

Then I met Leigh Bardugo, who was just as lovely! I said how thDSC03210.JPGe Six of Crows duology was one of my favourites and how I was very happy when a certain character emerged in Crooked Kingdom (those of you who have read it will know who I mean!), and she personalised both of my books for me. I picked up one of the Six of Crows cards and got Jesper, who looks as confident and teasing as he is in the books!

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The cute little badge I got with my books!

The event was so much fun and definitely worth the large amount of travelling it took me to get there! Thank you to Leigh Bardugo, Rainbow Rowell, and the people in Waterstones and the Manchester Central Library for putting on a great night!

 

Have you read any of these authors’ books? What did you think? And what was your favourite book signing that you’ve been to?

Thanks for reading (:

Fairyloot September Unboxing!

Hi all!

A few days ago I received some exciting mail and found my Fairyloot box had arrived! This is my first box from this company (I received the latest Illumicrate last month, and my review is here), and I have to say it didn’t disappoint in the slightest! I can honestly say I loved every item in the box, and the fact that they were all linked together by a theme really makes the box unique. This month’s theme was magic and mayhem, and I knew as soon as I heard it that it would be right up my street.

*There will be spoilers for the September Fairyloot box below, so if you haven’t received yours yet then beware!*

The Bookish Goodies:

A Russian Doll necklace from Pastel Clouds Jewellery – This might be my favourite item in the box. Seriously, I love it so much that I’ve been wearing it non-stop since my box arrived! The charm is tiny but elegant, and the clasp is sturdy and hasn’t broken so far.

An Etherealki candle from Castle of Fables – While I don’t use candles often (about 90% of my room is wood so I’m not taking any chances!) the smell of this one is gorgeous. It reminds me of fudge and sweetness, and it’s a decent size as well.

A Darker Shade of Magic themed badges – Unfortunately two of my badges had come away from the packaging, but luckily they weren’t damaged and I now have four badges from one of my favourite books! I love that so many of the items in here were exclusively designed for Fairyloot.

A Felix Felicis sticker from BookOtter – The design of this is really pretty, even if I haven’t read Harry Potter yet (*runs away from angry mobs*).

Postcards from Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom, and a Grisha Second Army poster – I am so excited to read this series, and these postcards are really good quality, while the poster is very eye-catching.

A Grisha notebook designed by Literary Emporium – I love Rio’s work, and this notebook seems to be well-made and excellently designed.

 

The Book!

Now, all of the Grisha-related things in the box made me think that the book would be Crooked
Kingdoms, but instead it was Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter. I haven’t heard much about this book, but it seems really interesting and I ‘m intrigued to know more about the legend it was based on, ‘Vassilissa the Beautiful’. It also came with a signed bookplate, a letter from the author, and a beautiful bookmark from Behind the Pages.

Final Thoughts:

Overall I was very happy with my first Fairyloot box! I love the cohesion between each of the items
and the little bag the book is a really unique idea. My only complaint would be is that the book just fits in the box so it’s hard to take it out if it’s at the bottom of the box.

Did you receive this month’s Fairyloot? What did you think? Or if you’ve read Vassa in the Night what did you think of it?

Thanks for reading(:

5 Reasons Why You Should Absolutely Bookstagram!

Hi all!

I started off on bookstagram before I created my blog, and it has a special place in my heart. If you didn’t know what bookstagram is, it’s the book community on instagram that all post under the hashtag #bookstagram, and I thought I would try and convince you why you should definitely start a bookstagram account!

1. The community is one of the nicest you’ll find on the internet (in my experiences anyway). Everyone is supportive and nice, and there are people who have made lifelong friendships through bookstagram! And if you ever lack inspiration, there are amazing photo challenges you can take a part in that bookstagrammers create every month! (Because they’re incredibly creative and nice like that).

2. You can discover new hobbies! There are so many talented people on bookstagram that make me want to try drawing, calligraphy, and so many other new things.

3. You can connect with authors and publishers. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is when an author likes or comments on your photos. The other day I posted a photo saying how much I liked Radio Girls, and the author saw it and commented, and I was really happy; not only are my photos gaining recognition, but the author has received a compliment too!

4. You can discover your new favourite book! I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve read a book because I’ve seen it on bookstagram, and while there are a few that were flops most of them have been great. Some popular series on bookstagram include the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer (my review for Cinder, the first book in the series, can be found here) and the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas (my review for the fourth book, Queen of Shadows, can be found here!).

5. You get to talk about books! No one minds if you ramble about your favourite series, no one minds if you squeal about a plot twist, and no one minds if you yell at them to beg them to read your favourite book EVER (and no one minds that actually you have ninety favourite books because they’re in the same boat!). My friends read, but not as much as me, so bookstagram has given me an outlet to discuss my love of books with people who understand.

My bookstagram account is @Bowlerhatgirl1 if you want to follow me (shameless self-promotion there!).

Have I convinced you to join bookstagram? Or if you already have a bookstagram account, what’s you’re favourite thing about it?
Thanks for reading (:

Queen of Shadows – Review!

Hi all!

I finished Queen of Shadows a few days ago, and it was EPIC. I know now why everyone loves this series! I’ve heard that this is the book that divides people; you either love it or you hate it. Personally this and Crown of Midnight (the first half anyway) are my favourites in the series, and I would say that if you weren’t too keen on Heir of Fire you might like Queen of Shadows more. I don’t know what it was with this book. I don’t know why I loved this book so much more than the others – but I did. My review will have minor spoilers in it but I don’t reveal any major plot points or characters.
So in case you didn’t know, Queen of Shadows is the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series, which means I can’t really say anything about the plot without spoilers, except that Aelin kicks ass as usual and the plot is pretty explosive!

The characters: I will admit that the Rowan in this book felt completely different to the Rowan in
Heir of Fire, but his character changed for the better so I actually finally liked him! The same goes to Aelin – I FINALLY LIKE HER GUYS. (It’s only taken me four books but shhh). Manon continues to be a badass witch, and I loved how we got to see more of Asterin, Sorrel and the Thirteen. The new characters like Nesryn and Elide were really great too, and Dorian broke my heart in Queen of Shadows!

And then there’s Chaol. For those of you who don’t know, he is basically my favourite character in this series. As in I love him a lot and worry about his safety. He’s complicated, tries to do what he thinks is right, and cares so much about Dorian. They’re friendship is one of my favourite things in the books. Before reading Queen of Shadows I read a few reviews, and they were negative about what happened towards him, so I was worried. I have to admit that the chapters in the start were a bit rough on my still recovering Chaoleana heart, but by the end of the book I was happy with how the plot played out (although the ending broke my heart!).

The Plot: I couldn’t not read this book, that was how riveting the plot was. Sarah J Maas linked everything together and foreshadowed events beautifully, and I loved what happened. I liked how Manon’s story finally linked in with the rest of the crew (or Aelin’s Squad as my friend calls them!) and Elide’s subplot was really interesting. The results of the events in Queen of Shadows are definitely going to have repercussions in Empire of Storms, and I’m both nervous and looking forward to seeing what happens next.

The Writing: As usual, Sarah J Maas’s writing style draws you in and doesn’t let you go! There was only two really minor things that bugged me – that everything Aelin does is with ‘feline grace’ and that there was a lot of ‘incarnates’  in there. But these were minor issues that didn’t stop me from enjoying the story.

Overall, I am really excited to see what happens in Empire of Storms and I am so pleased that I loved this book!