Monday, 8 December 2014

Girl Online- One Big Fat Lie

So if you've been living in a cave or any other place without internet over the past few days you might not know this but the biggest debut novel since records began, Girl Online, was ghost written. Now that may not have come as a shock to most people, but I suppose I am always a little naive when it comes to certain things, especially celebrities which Zoe Sugg or Zoella definitely now is.

Zoella herself, when releasing the news that she was writing a book, stated that "my dream has been to write a book" and yet it seems that she didn't actually do the writing of the first book in a two part deal she has with Penguin. Penguin's statement after the news broke was"for her first novel, Girl Online, Zoe has worked with an expert editorial team to help her bring to life her characters and experiences in a heartwarming and compelling story" but if you read between the lines no where did Penguin state Zoe wrote the book, just that she came up with the idea and the characters. In fact Zoe released a statement worded very similarly, "everyone needs help when they try something new. The story and the characters of Girl Online are mine" but what about the writing? No one is saying anything about who actually put those words down on paper.

If you do a little digging it seems Siobhan Curham is the actual writer of the novel, and she did it in only 6 weeks with no real recognition and I will bet you her cut was a fraction of what Zoe and Penguin will make out of this deal. And doesn't the fact that Curham is the writer also mean that this new record that 'Zoe' has set is a farce? This ghost writer has many a novel published under her own name that haven't sold nearly as well.

The thing that angers me the most is that even after claiming she wants to be a writer Zoe states she needed 'help'. She obviously couldn't write the book on her own, but she is perfectly happy to let the actual writer get none of the real credit. Writing a novel takes real skill, something Zoe obviously doesn't have or didn't dedicate herself to, so instead she's coming up with an idea not to dissimilar too her own life and a character not too dissimilar to herself and then pretending that she's a novelist. If she truly wanted to be a writer so badly surely she should have more respect for other writers who are struggling to make themselves known. The worst part is now she's convincing her fans all you need is to have a sell-able idea for a book and some big publishing company is going to hand you someone to write it for you. It is diminishing the role of a writer and the fact that such a large publishing company is involved in doing this makes me feel sick.

Yes there are always going to be ghost writers for celebrities with stories to tell but who don't write, these are perfectly fine if they're 'autobiographies' or books by people who claim from the beginning they have had a ghost writer. However, Zoe writes for a blog, she claims she wants to be an author, but all I can see is a web of lies she and her publisher have created to try and squeeze the most money out of this book deal with both of them having to put in the least amount of effort and reaping the most rewards.

Zoe could have been an inspiration to young girls, teaching them that to read and to write is cool. Now she is just a manipulator of her young fandom, taking their's and their parents money and providing them with a nice little lie that they will believe because they are so dedicated to her .

I hope the one good thing that comes from this farce is that Penguin has more money to put into actual debut authors trying to get their work out there, but I doubt it.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Sleeper and the Spindle Pictures

With my previous review of Sleeper and the Spindle I didn't include any of the wonderful pictures so you could see for yourself just how beautiful this book is. I thought I'd include some for you now.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Chapter 5 Surpise

So a few weeks ago Chapter 5 got in touch with me and asked me if they could send me a goody bag in the post. Of course, I couldn't turn that down.

They sent me a wonderful tote bag that everything came in, I have been using it non-stop. But of course, we all really want to see the books.

I already own a copy of The 100, I bought it when I started watching the first season of the show (when it was out in America, yes I am a trend setter) but my copy is packed in one of my boxes that went to my parents so I'm glad to have a copy I can sink into now.

Again, I own a copy of this book as well. I LOVE this series, It's brilliant. I have been a fan of Angelfall since it was a self-published novel on the kindle and I have been championing it ever since. I cannot say enough good things about this series. In the nature of sharing the love I will probably pass this copy onto a friend of mine. 

I have never heard of The Catalyst before but the synopsis sounds promising. I can't wait to get sunk in and have a read.

Overall some great picks from Chapter 5. They are run by the YA team at Hodder and their Facebook page is always packed with amazing bookish news and awesome giveaways, I recommend you check them out here.

I want to say a big thanks to the people at Chapter 5 and I can't wait to see what the future has in store for them!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Thoughts and Stuff

Tonight I am feeling rootless. Or maybe not so much rootless but potted. I feel like a plant that had its roots in a small coastal town in North Wales, but before I had even matured I was dug up and potted for ease of transport. Every time I move I feel like they stick me back in the ground, but they never remove the pot. It's always there, around my roots, never allowing me to truly get settled in one place. I suppose it makes it easier to yank me out should I need to go somewhere else, but sometimes I so badly want my roots to tangle deep into the earth and settle. I want to be a fixed part of a place. 

Sometimes there are people that ground me, that make me feel like I am home, and like I would matter if I leave. However, ultimately they don't often stay that way. It never stops scaring me, how easy it would be to just get up and leave. To just be somewhere else, be someone else, doing something else. I don't want that. All the wanderlust was stomped out of me from a young age after many privileged journeys abroad and many not so privileged moves, in which I once again tumbled all my stuff into boxes and picked up a new life in a new place.

I just want a place to belong. A place I can finally update my address with the bank to because I know it's going to be there for more than a year or two. A place I know, with people I've known for longer than a few years and have not moved on from or fallen out with because 'who cares it's only temporary anyway'.

I'm starting to feel like if I keep fighting I can have that with someone, but sometimes it's just hard to feel like such a temporary person.   

If you can't tell I'm moving house, which is why I've been so internet MIA

Thursday, 13 November 2014

What I've Been Watching Recently- Girls

Just so you know, my life has taken a pretty interesting turn recently so I've not had much time or energy to read. I've needed something that I can just get into easily and not spend too much time doing. With that in mind I started watching Girls.

I've heard some pretty mixed things about Girls. Some saying it is the true, feminist depiction of young women that America needs. Others saying that while it is a step forward for American TV it is still limping behind the likes of British TV that has been painfully honest for quite a while. Regardless, I had been planning to watch this show for a long time and never got around to it. I had even bought the first season for cheap from Blockbusters (just as it was going bust so it really was a bargain).

Girls is a show based on the lives of 4 twenty-something friends who are trying to figure out what they are doing while living in the very expensive city of New York. There were definitely aspects of this show that hits home for me. To me this is what I wanted from the genre of 'New Adult' in books, but it's so much better. This show takes all the things that are now terrifying people of our age and drags them into the spotlight in a funny but serious way. It highlights issues that many young women are struggling with but also makes us look at the issues we think we are struggling with and realise maybe we shouldn't be.

Girls tackles a lot of issues and a lot of weirdness to a pretty great soundtrack and some amazing cinematography. Each of the four lead actresses hold their own with both the humour and the emotional scenes. The storylines, as previously mentioned, hit home in a really true way and the characters are neither really likeable or unlikeable; just real in the sense that they do good things and they do shitty things and sometimes you route for them and sometimes you really don't.

I really do recommend this show. It takes a little while to get into and at first the episodes felt a little too short for the story and character development to shine through, but as it goes on they really do draw you in. Now I just need to find somewhere online where I can watch season two and avoid my life for a little bit longer.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

The Sleeper and the Spindle Quick Review

The Sleep and the Spindle is the latest Neil Gaiman graphic novel to be published by Bloomsbury. The story is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, but it's also kind of a re-imagining of Snow White after she is woken from her poisoned sleep.

The book contains one of the best author and illustrator combinations there possibly may ever be by pairing Gaiman with Riddell for the 4th time in their careers. This time however, where the previous works relied heavily on Gaimian's stories, The Sleeper and the Spindle equally relies on the beautiful imagery that Riddell creates. That is not to say that this is a typical graphic novel, none of the story is told just using the pictures and without the words the images would not join together and make sense; but without Riddell's work the book would fall flat.

Yes, I hate to admit it but even though Gaimian's retelling is clever, it is lacking the usual finesse I have come to expect from his work. The pacing felt off, the words were not as captivating and overall I think it would have floundered on it's own. On this occasion Riddell's illustrations turn The Sleeper and the Spindle into a work of art rather than a slightly lacking short story. I will keep this novel on my shelves in a place of pride purely for how beautiful it is.