Monday, 16 February 2015

Blogging frequently

I often wonder how people can possibly blog every day? Especially when it comes to books! I don't read enough for there to be that much book related content on my blog. I don't want my posts to become repetitive or boring, and yet I feel like more and more with blogging there is this pressure to do it every day.

Don't get me wrong, some blogs can and do do it very well,  but I personally don't feel like I have the time or energy to dedicate to making good content that frequently.

I do however want to create content more frequently. My recent past of doing one blog post a month really isn't good enough either so I need to find a happy medium between the two. I suppose this blog post is really asking you for help. I want to know what blogs that post every day do it really well, and what posts would you like to see more of on here? Should I go back to doing more book photography? What sort of time scales do you think are best for blogging? Let's get some feedback going on.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivy - Review

The Snow Child is a retelling of a Russian Fairytale set in 1920's Alaska. During one snowy winter's night an older couple build a snowman in the shape of the child they wanted but could never have and the very next day they start noticing a wild little girl running around in the woods. The girl appears to be human, but she it flighty, untamed and never stays for the summer; as soon as the snow goes, so does she.

Going into this I was expecting a story of magical realism about a child made from snow who does not last the summer, and the old couple who lose their only chance to be parents. This novel is not what I was expecting. 

You are introduced to the old couple and their weary, hard lifestyle early on into the book, and it takes a while to get the the part where the little girl arrives. Instead Ivy describes the barren, cold world they live in, and the idea that they too are barren and cold. Surviving only because there is nothing else, they appear to be lacking any warmth or love, even towards each other.
Instead of weeks like I expected, the novel spans years, so that by the end you're not sure if the little girl is a magical being created through a desperate longing or if she truly is a child that is so self sufficient and tough she just appears to be some kind of fairy, and the way the novel concludes only leaves you with more questions than answers.

The Snow Child is beautiful and tragic. It's a breathtaking and harsh as the wild land it has been set in and there were moments that almost brought me to tears. I definitely can see why this is an award winning novel.
* I received this novel for review but all opinions are my own

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon Book Review

The Mime Order is the second book in Samantha Shannon's chilling imagining of a futuristic England where magical people 'voyants' are hunted down and captured or killed because of their powers. The Mime Order picks up, as you would expect, where The Bone Season left off. Throwing us straight into the action, Shannon doesn't hesitate in re-immersing us into Paige's world of magic and bloodshed.

However, after the initial few action scenes, the pace of the novel slows down. Once again Shannon faces the task of introducing us to Paige's world. Instead of the prison camp of Sheol I ,The Mime Order is set in the heart of London, effectively meaning Shannon has the task of describing a whole new place with new rules and power struggles, but still the same characters and magic lore that we have grown accustomed to.

Shannon has an incredible skill of building worlds so different from our own, but just close enough for us to imagine it. Just close enough for it to seem possible, tangible. The only problem with this is that it takes time, and so a lot of the book is spent with Paige wandering around London on meaningless tasks. Paige's won frustration echo's the readers at the time these tasks waste, but they're not meaningless enough to truly ruin the story.

It was wonderful finding out more about the Mime Lords and Mime Queens and the brutal beautiful mixture of old fashioned chivalry and ruthless gang warfare. While Paige tries to turn the attention to the real enemies they seem intent on destroying themselves from within as they all scrabble to become king of a crumbling castle. This element to the novel really brought the whole thing to life and saves what is essentially just a filler book from becoming superfluous.

The book spends a lot of time dragging it's feet, but eventually it does speed up and finishes with a spectacular ending that makes me hungry for the next novel in this wonderful series. I have given it 5 stars because even though most of this novel has very little action the world building is just incredible.

* I received a copy of this book for review, but I also bought my own copy because I love this series.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Too much YA?

Is there such a thing as too much YA? This is something I've been wondering for a little while now. Recently I've been reading nearly exclusively YA and while I do enjoy my Young Adult literature I don't feel like it excites me as much any more. There are a rare few novels that I end up loving but now I feel like Blogging and YouTube has become so inundated with YA that it's hard really to read anything else. I want to consider myself to be 'well read' and I struggle to do that when all I am doing is reading one very specific genre. Last year some of my favourite books were YA, but some were also definitely not at all. I need to read more diversely and not just read a genre because it is easy for me to receive books to review in that specific genre

My problem with YA at the moment is, no matter how good the story or the characters are it seems too frequently everything interesting or difficult that could happen within the story gets side tracked for the enevitable love triangle that takes a whole trilogy to sort out. Too frequently there are endings where everything gets easily sorted out, nothing bad really happens and then the main female character settles down with one of her two love interests and goes on to lead an unremarkable life.

Is it too much to ask for a YA story that isn't a love triangle, that doesn't take up a whole trilogy and that does leave the characters changed when it ends in not such a neat way? Maybe it's that I'm growing up but when a story ends too perfectly, after so much apparent peril, it just makes you wonder what the problem even was if nothing was perilous enough to kill or badly damage some of the main characters. While I think The Hunger Games has its downsides and does meet a few too many YA tropes at least the author understood that in a war some people die and some people are forever changed. Too many YA stories just want to sacrifice the pain for the pleasure and trivialise the important topics they are supposed to be tackling so that they can just make it all about the hormones.

I don't always want to read about death and destruction, but if you're going to set your fantasy/Sci Fi in a world that is supposed to be full of peril, on the brink of destruction etc... you better damn well give me some destruction or stop pretending it's anything more than just a romance.

Rant over?

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.