Monday, 8 August 2016

July Wrap-up

This month was a quiet month in comparison to June, but it was still pretty great. As you can see in this post - I've loved having time at home and working/chilling. I was able to read a fair amount as well but couldn't remember off the top of my head what specific books I read. I started The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick and gave up about a third of the way through - which rarely happens for me. I think the fact that I read it just after A Court of Mist and Fury didn't really help. 
As you are reading this I am currently either on the plane or in Bulgaria for my summer holiday! Keep an eye on my instagram for some snaps, and my snapchat (christinastorey) but apart from that I won't be posting on the blog as I'm only away for the week. 

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Mas - 4.5

This book. It was just amazing. I had heard so many people rave about who great it was, that I didn't think it would live up to its reputation - but it definitely did! 
Following straight on from A Court of Thorns and Roses, Feyre is returned to the Spring court but is held by Rhys's promise. Full of so many good twists and development of characters that I was hooked. The main thing in this book was the character development. Being able to see the development of Feyre and the honest side of both Tamlin and Rhys really was different to the first book but worked so well. I loved the Night Court - Sarah J Mas's description and imagery was beautiful, I really imagined in my head lying under the stars like Feyre does. 
As I said with ACOTAR, I don't read much Fantasy but I was really plesantly surprised and picked up Sarah's Throne of Glass series at YALC because I was so impressed with ACOMAF.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart - 4.2 

One of my favourite things is when my friends text me about what books they're reading, or think I should read - and this is why I picked up this book. My friend Lucy recommended it saying E Lockhart wrote women really well and has a good message - so I was intrigued. And, I loved it. About an ordinary girl who goes to boarding school and how she works her way up the social ladder through her boyfriend and how she realises the exclusiveness of secret societies and unfairness in the world we live in. 
E Lockhart has such a different and interesting writing style that immediately tugs you in. She was great at building up the exclusive effect of the society and fraternity culture. Overall I just loved the positive equality message Lockhart presents, it got you thinking about life and the power you could have.

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout, 4

This YA contemporary novel was an interesting but fun read. About Mallory, a girl who suffered verbal abuse and used silence as a weapon throughout her childhood at a foster home, going to high school for the first time after years of treatment and love from her new foster parents. However she meets someone at high school she never thought she'd see again - Ryder, her only companion through the dark years.
I love when contemporary books handle hard subjects, as well as a lovely love story - the theme of abuse and post traumatic stress was present throughout this book and gave a lot of the characters depth. The difference between Mallory and Ryder was perfect and the emotional journey they go on throughout the book was necessary. I really enjoyed reading this book and is one of my favourite YA contemporary's that I've read in a long time. 

You Know Me Well by David Leviathan and Nina Lacour, 4

I read this book leading up to YALC, hoping to see the co-authors panel (which I did - and loved). I didn't really know what to expect, but I really enjoyed it. It takes place during San Diego pride week where Mark is in love with his best friend and Kate is about to meet the love of her life. Mark and Kate have sat next to each other in Maths throughout the year but one night they instantly becomes friends.
This was such a sweet book about friendship, growing up and coming out. It really made me want to go to a Pride parade and dance around like the world doesn't matter. Told from dual perspectives and two different authors it had such a good rhythm between the characters and hearing both David and Nina chatting about the book at YALC made it even more special.

Nothing Tastes as Good by Claire Hennessey, 3.6

This was an interesting read - I mostly read this because there was a chance I would be interviewing Claire Hennessey on the second day of YALC, although that didn't happen I'm still very glad I read this book. Spoken from the perspective of Annabel, who is dead - but has one more task before she dies fully - to try and fix Julia, a fat old classmate. 
Annabel didn't believe she was sick, and still doesn't - but she died from anorexia so it was a really interesting perspective to read the novel. We travelled through Julia's school year and followed her ups and downs as Annabel tried to help her, but failed in some aspects. 
This book had some interesting characters and a really sensitive message to get across, I didn't particularly love reading it, but I'm glad I did.

This month I read a lot of good books, and I'm so excited for the books I'll be reading at the beginning of August as I'm tackling most of the books I picked up at YALC - plus I'm on holiday - so I'll be reading at lightening speed! Although I know when I return I need to start on uni reading which will be interesting to return to, but I'm excited to start my new modules so it's all good!

Hope you have a good week, Christina x

(Once again, I know this photo hasn't got much to do with this post, but hey ho!)


Thursday, 4 August 2016

I'm (attempting) to write a novel: part two

I feel a bit like a fraud to be honest. For the last few weeks I've been meaning to write an update on my novel as, since before the weekend - it was going really well. I had hit some obstacles but had moved over them quickly and had written around 16,000 words. Which in terms of a whole novel, isn't that much, but it seemed like I was getting there. I was writing some really exciting scenes, getting into the characters more and just getting my feel of my book, it's world and it's characters.

Then Sunday came at YALC. I still haven't finished my YALC wrap-up video (another thing on the long list I have to do) and I did have an amazing weekend. I was surrounded by so many inspiring people all different ages. But half of me, especially on Sunday felt a bit, well, pathetic really. 

I went to the 'Publishing 101' talk on Sunday which was really interesting. It gave me an insight of how you get your novel published, and all the little steps you have to take - and it's a lot. That didn't really bother me, I knew I had a long way to go before my novel would be finished and it was just useful to get a vague idea of the process I would have to go through eventually. 

Then I planned to go to the 'Agent 1-2-1's were you got five minutes to sit down with a literary agent and ask whatever you want. I had always planned to go to this, but an hour or so before I realised I didn't really have any questions - I knew what the basis of my novel was but it is still so much in the early stages that I had nothing. My heart beat rose and I started to feel really quite anxious (not a feeling I really ever get.) So I texted my sister in a panic saying there was no point of me going etc etc and she just told me to stop being silly and just go and talk about my book.

So I did. That was the first time I ever spoke about each of the characters and the world out loud to another person. And it scared me, and almost put me off. Now the literary agent was absolutely lovely, don't get me wrong. She spoke probably about five sentences in between me rambling and those five sentences completely threw me. It got me questioning the whole world I've created. 

Fast forward to today, Thursday, after a few days of putting of writing and the glaring target of 25,000 words by Sunday I decided to sit down and write. With the aim to try and re-evaluate my world and to try and adapt something it. I opened up my document and only 10,000 words were there. I've looked everywhere but I've lost the last 6,000 words I've written and that has killed me. 
I didn't write the last 6,000 words chronologically. As I wrote snippets edited in between the words I've already written. 

I just feel like I should give up. 

And I know I shouldn't. I know this is supposed to be hard. I know it is not easy. 
But I just feel a bit lost in my story now. I have less faith in myself as a writer and world builder. And I just feel a bit of a fraud, when I mention to people 'Oh, I'm writing a novel' - but am I when I've only got 16,000  10,000 words? Not really.

I'm not fishing for compliments or motivational comments here at all. I want to showcase the ups and downs of this process. Last week I was very positive about it, this week - all I want to do is close the laptop.

Hopefully next time I'll see you with a more positive post, sorry about that! Christina x
(Also I'm aware this photo has nothing to do with this post but I just found it from two years ago and loved it.)

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The Time is Now

Once again I disappeared off the face of the earth from this blog. But, I seriously do not know how?! I came to my computer today thinking 'Oh, I better get writing my July wrap-up' - HOW WAS MY JUNE WRAP-UP MY LAST POST?

Seriously. Yeah I was busy in July - I was working plus I wrote a fair amount for my novel (that's a whole other story) but I'm quite baffled if I'm honest with how my blogging game just flopped but I'm back (for the moment..)

So I have just come back from YALC this past weekend, and have started writing this blog post for a break in-between editing my YALC wrap-up video (on which I spoke solidly for 45 minutes, so it's a long task.) A part of me wants to chat about the weekend and all the in's and out's of my amazing weekend, but I am going to save that for a post with the video. Now I just want to chat about life, because I haven't done that in a while on this blog and I suddenly feel the need to.

I am nearly three quarters of the way through my summer holidays, I finished exams on the 16th May and go back to Uni around the 20th September, I came back home from London early June and to be honest, I didn't think I would feel as comfortable as I do now.

This summer has been a dream so far. I've been on holiday, I've worked and I've read. When I initially thought about coming home, I didn't really want to. I wanted to spend time with my family and I looked forward to seeing my home friends, but I didn't want to leave Uni. Uni feels like your own bubble, and I didn't want that to pop. 

Looking back I feel like the first few weeks at home before and after I went to Croatia all I was thinking about was September - my new modules, my new house and my new job. But since mid-July when I started working at a box office assistant for a festival I found myself getting back into a routine. I was starting to feel comfortable, I was spending a lot of time with my mum and seeing friends and it just felt, well, normal. 

In my head, I didn't know where my home was. I love my small little village but compared to the bright lights of London, it seemed sad to return to for three months. But a month in I realised that this will always be my home. And yes, of course I knew that before, but home sometimes isn't a place - it is a person. It is that person, or group of people that you feel comfortable and content with. Whether that be my family or my uni friends, I have somewhere to escape and I have somewhere to come home to.

I'm so excited to go back to university in September, but as my summer is over half way gone, I want it to slow down - I want to spend more time with my family, more time with my friends and want to make my way through a massive 'To Be Read' pile before I start my university reading!

I think it's a common thing to live for the future - always looking forward to Friday, to the next holiday or even next year. Sometimes you just need to have a reality check, and remember this is your life, and you should make the most of each day and live in the present. You can't change the past or the future, but you can live now - just live in the moment and maybe time will end up doing what you want it to do.

Hope your having a good week, keep an eye out for my July wrap-up and YALC talk! Christina x

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