author, book, book review, Uncategorized, yaliterature

Our Dream Fictional Flatmates- University Collaboration

As University is just around the corner (we know others have started already but it is for us,) Megan (Probability Reading) and I thought it would be interesting to write a pair of blog posts looking at this transitional period from a book worm’s perspective; taking a format where we write half a post each. For this post, I have hosted on my blog ‘Our Dream Fictional Flatmates’ which is introduced by Megan and if you would like to check out our other post ‘6 University Essentials for a Bookworm’.

Enjoy! Megan and Alex 😃

When coming up with this idea for a collaboration post, I thought it would be a fun and easy task. Surely, I’d love to be flatmates with loads of my favorite characters but it turns out it is a lot harder than I thought. Not only upon writing this did I forget every character but also every book I’ve read too.

Anyway, onto the flatmates.

MAGNUS BANE from the Mortal Instrument series

Not only is this Warlock fun, energetic and magical, he also throws the best parties. Pre-drinks would be the main event with Magnus which would be awesome. He’d also be able to protect you from any danger that university throws your way.

MOLLY WEASLEY from Harry Potter

I was going to agree with Alex and say Hermione Granger for a fun study buddy, however, I decided that Molly Weasley would be my next choice.  She’s lovely, bubbly and a mother so would be there for when you needed comfort, advice or just a positive smile. She’s also brilliant at putting spells on household objects to do the chores for you, who wouldn’t want that?

EVIE from Am I Normal Yet?

Evie has a fantastic film collection so I’d hope film nights were a regular event in the flat. She’s also a Spinster club member which means 2 things, we could have fun feminism chats and eat loads of cheesy snacks.

When I came with these dream flatmates just like Megan I forgot all the characters I had encountered. So, in attempt to ignite some brain activity I returned to reading where I gained the inspiration for my first choice and the rest just followed….

Onto my picks…

Annabeth from Percy Jackson

I have only recently started these (I know what have I been doing?!) and I began thinking of dream flatmates Annabeth was the first person who came to my mind. She is extremely wise so I think she would provide brilliant advice. However, this smart half-blood has many other less obvious attributes which make her perfect flatmate material: fiercely loyal, funny, kind. And I mean who wouldn’t someone with her smarts and fighting skills to join them through University?

Hermione from Harry Potter

As Megan mentions she would be the perfect study buddy! She’d have all the class notes, make sure you don’t miss deadlines and help when you’re stuck. But, Hermione is not only a Brainiac she is also very protective and caring which I think would result in having someone who’d always be able to look out for you. And with her brilliant magic skills, Hermione would be able to resolve any problem with a little magic!

Matilda from Matilda

Like Hermione, she is brilliantly smart! However, it is not her brain which would make her a great roommate but her love of books. She would be able to hold a conversation about whether Severus Snape was truly a villain? or about the true meaning of Angela Carter’s ‘The Bloody Chamber’. And if you think of her life with Miss Honey she would probably arrive with a great selection of books- which you could always borrow!

I hope you enjoyed reading Megan and I’s ideas you should now go and check out her post ‘6 University essentials for a Bookworm’.

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Bookish Nails!

I have recently been making plans about this blog’s structure and future. I realised that I was no longer in love with my blog I just liked the idea not the work. Until, a couple of weeks ago when I had a light bulb moment about how to improve. So here it is the big change I have been teasing…

Drum roll………

BOOKISH NAILS

Basically, nails inspired by anything book related from covers to fandoms. So, without further ado here are my first set of designs inspired by Lauren James’s ‘The Loneliest Girl In The Universe’.

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When I saw this cover I was instantly inspired by it beautifully vibrant colours which create a sense of movement in space. This was an idea I have tried to emulate with my nails. I decided to differentiate my different nail looks they would need naming for these I chose Romy after the heroine in this sci-fi tale.

TOOLS

To create Romy I used these essential tools. Top left is a thin brush which created the small crosses and lines (shown in the close up below). Then the tool below is a curved nail file which I find works better than a straight one. The central tool is a small dotter which I sparsely used to add the white and sometimes silver dots to mimic stars. Finally, is my nail polish remover (from Kiko Milano) which I used with q-tips to tidy the edges of my nails. If you are looking for a nail polish remover I would recommend this because it is fast drying and contains an oil which for me has meant my nails don’t dry out post-use.

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Here is a close up of my nail design.  The different nails of my Romy look are not identical to create a sense of movement therefore the one above is an example of the rough design.  The crosses are representative of stars as well as the dots. Then the multicoloured lines are to mimic the ones on the cover. Although, my top coat has partly smudged the design (as it had not fully dried) I do actually think this has added to the sense of tumbling in space.

THE NAIL POLISH 

I used this slightly sparkly tar mac colour Kiko Milano Nail Lacquer for the base colour. The top right colours are different colours I used on top of this and the bottom left are the top and base coat I used. At the moment my favourite nail polish brand is Kiko Milano because it is an affordable durable brand.  At the moment they are on sale for one pound a bottle! The silver I used is from Primark and is surprisingly pigmented, however, consequently it is thicker than I had hoped.

I hope you have enjoyed this new post! And this new strand of my blog

– Alex

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Thoughts on The Book Box Club

For my Birthday I received a Book Box Club 3 month subscription and if I liked it I would be gifted another 3 months. I was hopeful my box would arrive on my birthday as I thought it would brighten my day as I was receiving my A-Level results on the same day.  Unlucky- right? Well the day was made perfect by the arrival of my box. I was ecstatic I got: into University, the grades I wanted and my box. And I know to most people the box seems insignificant to many but I had been admiring this subscription from afar since they started in September 2016.  Now that September is here I thought I would unbox and review the box for you.  Enjoy!

Firstly there was a Crooked Kingdom inspired necklace. Which I loved so much put on before I took a picture. I have worn most days seen I’ve had my book which means currently I am unsure of its location. No its not lost! Just misplaced. It was made by ComptonFour at Etsy if you’d like to look at her other work. I think I will be putting some of her stuff on my Christmas List.

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Then there’s this Heir of Fire Magnet. Which is stunning! I think having a magnet it is a neat item to put in a box. I however, have not read the series and do not plan to check out my review of A Court of Thorns and Roses to understand why.  So I plan to gift it at Christmas as part of the Maximum Pop Books Secret Santa or if anyone else is interested I was planning to collaborate with someone to do a surprise book post piece- if anyone is interested ?

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When I saw the supplier reveal for the August box I was very intrigued to see what Nikki Strange item they planned to add. I love her designs they are absolutely beautiful then combine them with stationary and for me that is the perfect notebook. This was better than I could have imagined! The Girl Boss addition is motivating, the size is perfect making it perfect for notes when reading a book. When  I reached this item I knew this box was everything I had wanted!

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I have always wanted a bookish candle but never justified the expense. This box fulfilled all my bookish candle dreams! If I was going to get one it would have to be Hermonie themed. She is what makes the Harry Potter series. This smells amazing! I now am finally able to light it- At last! And I think I may buy some more Meraki Candles in the future.

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This was definitely the most useful I received as I was in need of a coaster to take to University.  This coaster is made by Munky Make and I think the colour they have chosen is genius it allows the message to be the focus which happens to be my favourite aspect.  I can just see myself in my room writing in Girl boss notebook drinking coffee with by coaster by my side feeling like I have my shit together. All I need now is a feminist themed mug.

Drum Roll Please!

The Book is ……………

 

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When I unwrapped ,more like ripped off, the silver paper and saw this I leapt! No lie. I thought it might be this after I had seen it at YALC but then thought no it won’t. Then there it was! I was gagging to read this.

Here is the synopsis presented on the card:

Evelyn, May and Nell. Three inspiring young women thrust into the chaos of war, politics and the fight for equal rights. But under the crush of the Great War and the blaze of first love, what will it take for their ambitions to become stuck? An unforgettable novel that will leave you punching the air in girl power solidarity!’

Sounds amazing- right!? I have always had a keen interest in the Votes for Women movement which began with the discovery a relative of mine played a major role in the Suffragists. Now it is more I am interested in the history of feminism.

I will soon be posting a review of this and by blog announcement. Apologies that was meant to be today but then I realised I do not have the photos my sister does… Clearly I need to be organised!

In conclusion, I would rate this service a 5 out 5 stars! And would recommend it especially if you live in England the postage is free which does help with the cost.

Have you got any subscription recommendations ? Would you like to see a post about my relative ? And let me know if you would be interested in that collaboration ?

 

 

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5 Mini Reviews

I have obviously not posted in a while which had firstly been because I was busy and chose to take a broke. But then my blogger’s nightmare came true my Laptop went KAPUT! So at the moment my posts will be very iregular as I attempt to get HP to replace my laptop. However, in the next week I have a BIG blog annoucement! Look out for that! Enjoy….

 

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All About Mia by Lisa Williamson

Description

This follows the life of a middle child who feels as if she is placed between two “perfect” siblings.  When Mia is no longer the sibling who is a mess her life spirals out of control.

Review

It was amazing! I don’t usually read contemporary novels but surprisingly with ‘All About Mia’ I was instantly hooked. I became invested in the life of Mia so much so that when she made a mistake I reacting like those she’d hurt. The other element that’s very interesting is the premise, Williamson has cleverly re-created the classic middle child feelings making this very relatable read.

In a sentence: Williamson effortlessly creates realistic, relatable and lovable characters.

 

One by Sarah Crossnan

Description

This is a book written in verse which follows the lives of Siamese twins Tippi and Grace. It follows the struggles they and their family face as they mature thus requiring more complex care.

Review

WOW! Why have I a) never read this before and b) never read anything in verse before. I absolutely love the verse structure because it allows the inner most thoughts of the twins to be the central focus of the story; for me it makes it a rawer read.

In one sentence: One took me on an emotional rollercoaster and when I got off I was bereft.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

Description

This is about the friendship between a mute girl and deaf boy. With the idea being love doesn’t have to be lighting but can be ‘A Quiet Kind of Thunder’.

Review

I was highly anticipating reading this because I loved the premise. I did really enjoy the characters they were cute and had an interesting development. I also appreciated how … has given a literary platform to sign language.  However, as I read it I kept expecting more and when I finished it I thought it was lacking something.

In One Sentence: It’s an adorable summery read.

Vendetta by Catherine Doyle

Description

I couldn’t put this into my own words so here is the Goodreads description.

When it comes to revenge, love is a dangerous complication. With a fierce rivalry raging between two warring families, falling in love is the deadliest thing Sophie could do. An epic debut set outside modern-day Chicago.

When five brothers move into the abandoned mansion in her neighborhood, Sophie Gracewell’s life changes forever. Irresistibly drawn to bad boy Nicoli, Sophie finds herself falling into a criminal underworld governed by powerful families. As the boys’ dark secrets begin to come to light, Sophie is confronted with stinging truths about her own family, too. She must choose between two warring dynasties – the one she was born into, and the one she is falling in love with. When she does, blood will spill and hearts will break.

Review

When I picked this up I was pretty certain I would not continue it past chapter one. However, I was surprised by the writing style and how it felt like a film so I continued. I became very invested in the lives of the characters and was hooked.  But, then I had the big reveal about the Falcone family and I laughed. For me, it was one step too far. Weird, a tad silly and quite implausible.  Then I began to dislike the cliché elements of this book, the weak heroine, dark and brooding anti-hero, the blossoming love triangle. It was all a bit much.

In One Sentence: It immerses you into the world as if you were watching a film.

 

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Description

This is a memoir told in the form of a graphic novel. It follows her growing up in Iran during the Iranian Revolution.

Review

I have recently become an avid reader of graphic novels especially historical ones so when I found this at a local fete I pratically jumped on it. Desperate to read it I ignored all the books I collected at YALC and started this. Th black and white art symbolically reflects her beliefs, the harsh environment and brutal reality of her life. It brilliantly brings her memoir to life. I was thoroughly impressed by the narration and would thoroughly recommend this!

In One sentence: It is laden with wisdom, sorrow, humour, joy which allows someone’s personal identity journey to sing- A must read!

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Will I Read It?- Sampler Reviews

As I said in my summary YALC post I planned to read every chapter sampler I had picked up and review them. Let’s just say this was more complicated and time-consuming than I had expected so as of now I have read half and in hindsight, it is more like a 1/3. I then thought I would split this literal try a snippet in half and hopefully next week I will have the second part ready.

 

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Naondel by Maria Turtschaninoff– This was beautiful, sensuous and elegant. I loved the writing style but after a few pages, I was just waiting to be grabbed and this never happened…. However, I would be intrigued to see what Maria Turtschaninoff releases in the future!

Will I Read It?- No, it’s just not for me.

 

 

 

Long Way Down by  Jason Reynolds – This was one I was very excited to read after it OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhad been described to be at the publisher’s stall. I mean the promotional quote is ‘No crying. No snitching’ – doesn’t that sound epic! Well, it was amazing, fantastic, mind blowingly beautiful. When I was finished I was bereft. I had travelled an emotional rollercoaster in the space of a few pages. WOW.  And I have to wait until January! ☹ That is so far away!?

Will I Read It?- Do you even need to ask? Hell Yes! Give it to me now!

 

 

 

Everybody Hurts by Joanna Nadin & Anothny McGowan – I loved Sophia, her OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAcharacterisation was amazingly vivid. But I just didn’t like this enough to want to read the rest.

Will I Read It? Nah

 

 

 

 

 

Another Place by Mathew Crow – I wasn’t that interested in this when I heard about it. IOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA honestly only grabbed it because the cover is stunning! However, I was very surprised when I was left wanting to know more! Claudette is a great character with depth and personality- it wasn’t like she let her past or mental health struggles identify her.

Will I Read It? Yes. I want to, don’t know when because although I’m intrigued it isn’t enough to seek it out.

 

 

 

Black Wing by Ed McDonald – The writing style of this was beautiful! The world OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbuilding was phenomenal and I was drawn in straight away. However, despite this, I was just left a bit bored which I think is down to y lack of interest in the plot. So I shall not seek out this book.

Will I Read It?- If my literary tastes evolve yes. But at the moment no.

 

 

 

Book Of Dust by Phillip Pullman – I was desperate for this! I would have elbowed my OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAway through to get one. I grew up reading Phillip Pullman, I was obsessed with his books I successively read all of ‘His Dark Materials’ followed by ‘The Ruby in the Smoke’ series. They are two of my all-time favourite reads! When I read this I was taken right back to when I was 11 absorbing this world it kinda felt like meeting an old friend. I’m considering doing a re-read of his books if anyone would be interested in joining me?

Will I Read It?- I have been waiting for this book for 8 years! YES!

 

Undercover Princess by Connie Glynn – When I heard Connie Glynn had published a OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbook I was intrigued but honestly thought another Youtuber becoming an author ugh. I then felt very guilty once I had read this because this sampler was magic! My negative views were far from the case! Connie Glynn is a wonderfully brilliant new voice! This reminded me a lot of Enid Blyton’s ‘Malory Towers’ which was great as I was obsessed with that series but in my eyes, the addition of a Princess placed this a step up. I’m not sure if I will read it because I think I am past that phase in my life but WOW!

Will I Read It?- Possibly.

 

It Only Happens In The Movies by Holly Bourne – All I can say is why haven’t I read OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHolly Bourne before! Hysterical! Brilliant! I want the rest of this book like yesterday…

Will I Read It?– Yes! And all her books!

 

 

 

 

 

The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr– I still don’t know how I feel about this OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsampler. It was gripping, intriguing and definitely unique. Weird. And that is as far as my thoughts go I would be interested to know what someone thinks who have read it as I can’t fathom the direction of the story.

Will I Read It? If someone aids me in understanding what I read yes. If not, no.

 

 

 

Hope you enjoyed this post. If you would like more like this let me know!

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‘This is Where it Ends’ by Marieke Nijkamp- Review

I have got a blog post planned which is the reading the samplers I picked up at YALC but I am very behind but didn’t want to let you all down so I have decided to post a simple review. With these, I am trying something new where I sum the book up in a sentence let me know what you think?- Enjoy!

 

In a sentence- It presents a unique perspective on tragedy which is like nothing else you will read as it forces you to focus on who is truly to blame for this ghastly event.

Synopsis

This follows four students on their first day back after their holidays in a small American town. Everything is at it seems and then someone shoots. This book takes place in the fifty-four minutes after the shooting began.

Review

The structure is incredibly clever mixing the four students point of view with social media messages revealing the reaction inside and outside the school.  These accounts of the events are muddled with recollections of the past which slowly develop the snippets into a bigger picture. In my opinion, a genius way to construct a book.

You instantly become invested in the lives of the characters even though you are only given short aspects of their lives. Impressively, she manages to , in the space of 285 pages, make you fall in love with these characters as they face the most harrowing event of their lives.

It is a must read, not only that but one everyone should read it. It makes you think about the world around you thus giving a greater understanding of human nature. To me, it showed the power of secrets and how no one truly understands what is going on in someone else’s life.

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YALC Summary

Last weekend I finally attended YALC for the first time and let’s just say it was epic! It was better than I expected and more fun than I could have imagined.

 

What I Did

An illustration workshop with Alexis Deacon- This was great fun I learnt how to draw characters. Did you know that the legs are essential to portraying the scenario with the balance of weight?

Regency dancing- This was great fun and surprisingly easy.

Queued- A lot of YALC is queuing, for signings, arcs, games, activities.

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Went to a couple of talks- I attended part of the thriller talk on Friday but I was so far back I couldn’t hear much so I left and watched the signing area to work out where to queue. Then on Saturday, I watched half of the unconventional romance talk which was fascinating perhaps that was down to having a better seat.

 

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Had a glitter makeover

Went to the Teen Blogger’s Chat meet up- This was really fun I got to meet lots of other bloggers and hear about what they do.

What I go

I managed to pick up a lot of stuff so I have sorted into 3 sections.

Here are all the books and samplers I picked up.  I am planning to read all the samplers for a post and discuss my thoughts on whether I will pick the book up. I am most intrigued by Floored.

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Here are all the postcards, bookmarks, badges, bags and anything else… I picked up a lot for my wall because I want to add to it. At the Fairyloot stall I managed to get a really cool pair of cushion covers.

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Then the books on their own from left: what I picked up, what I had signed, what I bought.  I honestly don’t know where I’m going to start if you have any suggestions let me know.

What I learnt

I would definitely say next year I want to achieve more of what I set out, however, I am pleased with how my first year went. So what did I learn?

  • Timing is key- I should have left earlier, and need to remember to keep track of the time to ensure I make things on time.
  • I don’t like queuing- I have no patience just waiting for ten minutes bored me, therefore I plan to only go to essential signings so books that I am obsessed with. This led me to give up on queuing for V.E Schwab I had a virtual ticket which said 75 and then lost it and did not want to 100 and something.
  • Workshops are great- I want to do more of them they fill the time and I learnt a lot in the one I attended.
  • A suitcase is a good idea- I took a backpack which was fine but on Saturday I had to fill it with books and put it in the cloakroom, therefore, I was left with totes to lug the stuff I needed round.
  • Talk to people- I didn’t do this much on the Friday but on the Saturday I actively worked at speaking to people. This made my experience more enjoyable.
  • Do the book swap- This was a last minute decision on my part but it was definitely worth it, I manged to pick up a couple of things I had really wanted to read.

 

From now I plan to have a fairly regular posting schedule twice a week on Thursdays and Sundays but bear with me whilst I get organised.

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Packing for YALC!

Here it is my last pre-YALC post about what I am packing in my back for the convention. I honestly can’t believe that it has come around so soon….

Bag- I kept umming and ahhhing about what bag to take I was torn between a trolley bag OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAor a backpack. In the end, I chose the latter considering I had to take a lot of tubes to get to the convention from where I’m staying.  It’s quite a large back pack so lots of room to buy more books….

 

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABooks-Then there are my books on each day I’m bringing 4 to 5 which means it’s not too heavy but leaves room to get more if that’s what I wish. On the Friday I’m taking theese and on Saturday I’m taking ‘A Darker Shade of Magic’, ‘Windfall’, ‘One of Us is Lying’ and a copy of ‘Soulmates’.

 

Camera- I don’t have a great phone, therefore, I have decided to take my camera to OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERArecord the day for a summary blog post.

Water OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Ziplock Bag-  I always end up having some food leaking on my possessions so I decidedOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA this time that I will store any food in here to try and prevent this.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   Notepad and Pen- I  decided to bring this to firstly make any notes of things authors say and secondly to perhaps have authors sign in there.

Schedule- This is my schedule which I posted last week. I have highlighted the key events

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I wish to attend and along with it, there is a list of things I hope to pick up.

 

 

Let me know if there is anything you think is essential.

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Trying a Chapter- YALC Part 2

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth WeinOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I have had this book for a couple of years and had never read it. I had always wanted to read it but never gotten around to it but then I received in a Willoughby Book subscription and thought ‘I finally will read it!’.  But then here I am two years later only now reading it because Elizabeth Wein is attending YALC.

My thoughts? I have read well over one chapter probably about 100 pages ish, and I did start to enjoy it but then put it down in preference for another book. But still, I have returned to it I want to but there are just more appealing books. I feel like I might get back to it since I have left it on my Goodreads in a hope of guilting myself to return to it.

 

Vendetta by Catherine Doyle  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I have never been interested in this series I placed it into the same box as the Lux series, something addictive for a specific mood. But then YALC came along and I gave it ago thinking I would put it down. Nope. I read it in two days and liked it but didn’t plan to pick up the next one because the revelation about the Falcone family made me laugh. Sorry, it was too weird not bad just bizarre. But I then read an extra on Catherine Doyle’s website and now it’s on my shelf to be read post-YALC.

 

 

After the Fire by Will Hill OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I won this one a few months back on Maximum Pop Books and planned to get to at some point. Then like all these other books YALC pushed me to read it now.  The premise fascinated me because I have always had an interest in the inner workings and psychology of cults. I did at points put it down after reading the first chapter but in the end, I loved it!

 

 

Showstopper by Hayley BarkerOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I thought this sounded great and was very happy when it arrived at the library. I did read a couple of chapters and quite liked it but it didn’t grab me. I had planned to return to it by now and haven’t so I guess that is one I have dnffed.

 

 

 

Being Miss Nobody by Tamsin WinterOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

From the start, I was unsure I’d like this book but I still gave it a try. I surprisingly liked it more than I thought I would after one chapter so I read a few more. In the end, I read about 35 pages, I liked the character, and the style of writing but the plot, for me, was disinteresting. So, I put it down.

 

 

All About Mia by Lisa WilliamsonOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This was actually the one I put Code Name Verity down for because I was desperate to read it but it was too heavy to lug around London.  I read a chapter of this and I was obsessed; Mia is my new favourite character, Lisa Williamson is now my new favourite author and this is now one of my top reads!

 

 

Hope you enjoyed my (late) part two which was a significant success in comparison I have managed to try a wide range of books.  Look out for my YALC packing post on Thursday!

 

 

 

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‘Close Your Eyes’ by Nicci Cloke: Illustration

Material

I chose charcoal because I wanted something which easily smudged, had a textural quality and was dark. However, it was very difficult to work with because the fact it easily smudges makes it tricky to create refined lines that the font requires.

Idea

When I read this part of the book the image of the shooter in a hoody saying ‘Close your eyes it will all be over soon….’ had dark connotations. I pictured the words like smoke drifting away into the darkness joining the horrors of the past and present.

Creation

I began by drawing the words in pencil and then outlining them in charcoal. Next, I began to add a P7220077.JPGswirl or curved lines to mimic smoke plumes in a diagonal across the quote to make them into one entity. Lastly, I smudged the smoke and font which removed the harsh lines and turned them into a natural flow.

 

 

I thought I’d let you know what my posting plan is for this week. I am going to post my Part 2 of my YALC Trying a Chapter, a YALC packing piece and hopefully a couple of other ones if I have time. Sorry for the inconsistency this week I should be back to normal next week.