Beautiful People: July Edition

Hi all!

It’s been far too long since I’ve done a Beautiful People post! Hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In, this is a monthly writer’s meme – and for July the questions are all about the author process.

For more information on how my current work in progress is going check out the Writing section of my blog 🙂

How do you decide which project to work on?

Usually I only have one main idea at a time, but that project will just take over my thoughts until I write it! I will have one or two ideas that have been properly outlined, and they’re the ones that I work on.
How long does it usually take you to finish a project?

Hahahahaha what is finishing? But seriously, I always struggle to finish projects. I often lose motivation about three quarters of the way through writing the first draft, either because I think of another idea which I need to pursue ABSOLUTELY IMMEDIATELY, or because the story has become so convoluted I don’t know how to end it!

However, I have finished a few stories in my time; the most recent took about a year to write the first draft (which I blame on college), and now I’m starting to rewrite it before moving onto the sequel.
Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?

I hand-write my stories before typing them up to edit them, so I pick out my favourite notebook or the one that just feels right, find a good pen and sit down to write! I also listen to music sometimes, and if I’m writing a certain scene I’ll listen to the same song over and over again. (Is There Somewhere by Halsey was my go-to song for romantic scenes in my current WIP).

What time of day do you write best?

I really like writing in the early evening. Whether that’s my best writing or not is a different matter. I also sometimes feel inspired quite late at night, which can be annoying when I want to go to sleep!

Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?

I’m always worried about being too similar to any author – I blame it on all the coursework I’ve had to do recently – so I’m not too sure! I’d hope that it has elements of stories that I love – characters as original as those in The Mortal Instruments for example – but I don’t think I could say who my style most resembles.

Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?

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This is such a good question! I think I started writing because I loved being imaginative, and I was making up stories all the time when I was younger; I used to make all these paper dolls and come up with elaborate backstories for them! As for why I keep writing, I think that writing nowadays is an escape and a way to relax, and I guess I still have stories that I want to tell. I’ve been writing for so long now that it feels like a part of me one I would hate to lose – I always panic when my inspiration runs out!

What’s the hardest thing you’ve written?

Well aside from all of the essays I wrote for my exams this year (hahaha I’m not panicking you are), I think my hardest piece of fiction I’ve written is my current project! It turned out to be a lot more serious than I had anticipated, and this is the first WIP where I’ve properly gone back and worked on it. I have to admit, I’m not thrilled about rewriting it, but I know that there are more stories to be told in this world and the characters’ journeys have only just begun, so I guess it’s got to be done!

Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?

This is another great question! I think there are a few ideas germinating in the back of my head that I need to write in the future, and my current WIP is stretching me a little so I might start another one and leave it for now.

What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?

I didn’t actually make any writing goals for 2017, but I did want to finish typing up my current project and start editing it, which I have done! I’m about seven chapters in, so there’s a while to go, but it’s great being back with all of my characters.

Describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif!

This is me all day!

giphy-downsized

 

That’s it for this post! Tell me, why do you write? And how is your current work in progress going? Do you have a favourite genre to write in?

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

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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!

2016 is Nearly Over…And I Still Haven’t Read These Books!

Hi all!

So somehow it is already nearly September, and I am woefully behind on my Goodreads challenge.

Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration; I’ve read 33 books this year, and my goal is to read 50. But the reason why I’m on track is because I read the Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy novellas which count as separate books, and there are so many books I want to read but haven’t done yet!

My Mid-Year Book Freak Out tag is coming out soon, but I thought I would tell you the 8 books I am desperate to read before the year is out!

1. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas – I have been determined to catch up on this series this year,
and so far I’m doing well! I finished Heir of Fire a few weeks ago, and while I’m not loving the direction the series is going in I do love the world and want to carry on with the story. I also want to read it before Empire of Storms comes out and be up to date for once!

2. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – Everyone adores this book. It’s all over Instagram and booktube, and I love love love the sound of it – thieves stealing something dangerous? Yes please! – but for some reason I’ve never picked it up. I have read Shadow and Bone and didn’t mind it, but I think I was worried that I had to finish that trilogy to read Six of Crows. Now that I know I don’t, I badly want to pick it up and find out why everyone loves Kaz so much!

3. The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye – Fantasy Russia? Two players in a game where one will die? What’s not to love about the premise of this book? I’ve heard people compare it to The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern which is my FAVOURITE books (review can be found here) so obviously I need to read The Crown’s Game.

4. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff – This was in my Illumicrate box (unboxing can be found here) and it looks STUNNING. The cover is so detailed, and there are two maps in it. As well as that, the story sounds amazing and various Instagrammers have raved about it! I feel like it’s going to be a good winter fantasy read too, so I’m very excited to read it.

5. A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab – How have I not read this yet?! I loved A Darker Shade of Magic, it was one of my favourite books of 2015 and I loved every part of it (mostly Kell ❤ My thoughts on ADSOM can be found here!). I want to find out what happens to Kell and Lila and Rhys, and I’ve heard that there’s a new character that people love introduced in this book, too.

6. This Savage Song by VE Schwab – Another probably marvellous VE Schwab book that I have yet to read! This Savage Song sounds incredible, and I think it has something to do with music and monsters which should be a great combination.

7. Unrivalled by Alyson Noel – Unrivalled is blurbed as being similar to Pretty Little Liars and
Gossip Girl, two of my favourite TV shows. I love scandal-filled contemporary books, they’re my guilty pleasure, so I am super excited to see how Unrivalled plays out.

8. Summer Days & Summer Nights, an anthology – Summer is nearly over, so I need to get my skates on if I want to read this soon! I read my True Love Gave to Me at Christmastime and I love how the season plays such an important part in the stories. Also some of my favourite authors – Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Stephanie Perkins – have contributed to the collection.

These are the eight books I’ll hopefully read before 2016 ends, but this next school year is going to be absolutely manic, so I don’t know how successful I’ll be! As well as this I would like to reread The Infernal Devices as I read them in winter last year and think it would be a nice tradition.

Do you see a book on this list that I need to read tomorrow? What book are you hoping to read before the year is over?
Thanks for reading (:

Beautiful People: August Edition

Hi all!

For the past few Beautiful People editions I’ve focused on my female main characters, but this time I’m going to show one of the men in my story! Thank you as always to the hosts, Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In !

There are two main male characters in my story (well, technically there’s three, but one isn’t as important in the first book!) and this time I’ll be looking at Henry Krendale, an exiled lord who also happens to be a psychic. As he is closely linked to Esme, I figured I’d include her in here too (also because she is my favourite character and she was the first one I created so I’m allowed to include her in everything!).


1. Give a brief overview of their looks. (Include a photo if you want!)

 Henry’s looks have changed since I started writing, mainly because of Pinterest! At first, he had dark brown hair and dark brown eyes, but then I realised that a) he would look too much like another character, and b) I had pinned Aaron Tveit and Max Irons, who don’t fit that initial description! So now he has light brown hair and green eyes, and is tall and a little gangly.

Esme for me has always been similar to Lily James looks-wise, as she has blonde hair that goes past her shoulders and brown eyes. She is quite curvy and average height.

2. Share a snippet that involves description of their appearance.

(This is when I realise I need more description!)
Henry: ‘his hair was slightly curled at the edges, and Esme noted with worry that he seemed more tired than usual, his eyes framed by glasses he usually only used to read.’
Esme: ‘touching the twist in her hair, she checked her reflection in the mirror and found it was already drooping. And she shouldn’t have worn this dress; the empire waist just drew attention to her hips.’


3. What is the first thing people might notice about them?

 The first thing people would notice about Henry would be his height, as he is tall and the fact that he’s pretty skinny emphasises this. People would probably notice Esme’s eyes first, because she nearly always maintains eye contact when holding a conversation.
 
4. What are their unique features? (Ex: freckles, big ears, birthmark, scars, etc.)
 Henry has freckles when he’s been out in the sun for a while and ears that stick out a little. Esme gains a unique feature (spoilers though guys, so I’m not telling! (; ) but when the series starts out she has a birthmark on the back of her leg.
 
5. How tall are they? What is their build (Ex: stocky, slender, petite, etc.)
 Given the fact that I can’t judge any sort of measurements for some reason, I don’t have an exact height for each of them. Basically: Henry=tall and slim, Esme=average and curvy.
 
6. What is their posture like? How do they usually carry themselves?
 Esme carries herself well, as her uncle taught her to make a strong first impression. She has a good posture which is mainly natural as she wants to always appear in control. Henry still keeps a relatively good posture from his days as a lord, but he stands quite defensively and often has his hands in his pockets or plays with the cuff of his shirt.
 
7. Your character has been seen on a “lazy day” (free from usual routine/expectations): what are they wearing and how do they look?
Esme would still wear a dress because she loves them, but it would probably be an old one that might not be in style or season. Henry would wear a plain shirt and trousers made from simple materials, forgoing a waistcoat or detailed designs.
 
8. Do they wear glasses, accessories, or jewelry on a regular basis? Do they have any article of clothing or accessory that could be considered their trademark? 
Henry needs glasses to read and often wears them if his eyes are tired, and he nearly always wears waistcoats over his shirts, but this is the fashion of the world so I don’t know whether this would count as a trademark. Esme often pins her hair up but other than that she doesn’t have a lot of accessories. As for her trademark, she always wears pretty dresses so maybe that’s what she’s known for.
 
9. Have they ever been bullied or shamed because of their looks? Explain!
Henry hasn’t been bullied because of his looks because people have always considered him fairly good-looking (that fact that he used to be very very rich also helped this). Esme has lead quite a sheltered life so she has never really been bullied, although there was a time when she was younger that a group of girls picked on her because her clothes weren’t in style.
 
10. Are they happy with how they look? If they could change anything about their appearance, what would it be?
 Henry is happy with how he looks as looks aren’t the most important thing to him, but if he could change something about his appearance he would probably change his ears as he thinks they stick out. Esme isn’t as confident in her appearance and she often feels insecure, especially about her figure, so she would change that if she could. (Although she becomes more confident as the series progresses).

So that’s my Beautiful People post for the month! Let me know if you liked it, and how is your work in progress going? What are your main characters called?
Thanks for reading(:

Illumicrate Unboxing & Review!

Hi all!

A few days ago I received my Illumicrate box for August and – WOW. This box was so so good! It two books, as well as beautiful bookish extras that I can’t wait to use or stick up on my wall!

*Note: This post will contain spoilers for the box, so if you haven’t received yours yet wait to check it out!*




The Books:

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff – This book has been all over bookstagram recently! I was already planning on buying it soon, so when I found that a HARDCOVER version of it was included in this box I may have squealed a little bit. Everyone has raved about it and I loved Illuminae, which Kristoff co-wrote with Amie Kaufman, so I have high hopes. Plus the cover is gorgeous, and there are not one but two maps! What more could a bookworm want?

The Graces by Laura Eve – The Graces is actually out in a month, so this book feels extra special! The cover is, again, stunning, and as I read the summary I realised I had meant to remember to buy this a while ago. The letter from the author added a nice personal touch to the box, especially as it was in her handwriting, and has really intrigued me about the book.

The Bookish Goodies!

Of which there are many, so I think I’m going to list them all briefly. In no particular order, I received:

  • 2 Harry Potter coasters (which are as amazing as they sound)
  •  A Nevernight poster and Bookmark
  • A bookplate for Nevernight and for The Graces
  • Absolutely beautiful posters for Red Rising by Pierce Brown (which I unfortunately haven’t read yet, but they are gorgeous)
  • Grisha and Six of Crows themed COLOURING-IN QUOTES. This was a highlight for me, even though I haven’t read Six of Crows or completed the Grisha trilogy!
  • Strawberry tea – I’m not a tea drinker but I’m up for trying

    a new flavour

  • A tote bag which is apparently Gilmore Girls related (I have been catching up with the other GG – Gossip Girl – instead so I haven’t watched it yet)
  • A discount code for Unboxed by Non Pratt
  • A discount code for a bookmark from My Bookmark

This box was jam-packed with wonderful things, and I’m so happy with it!

Did anyone else receive and Illumicrate? What did you think of it? What was your favourite item?
Thanks for reading (: