Posted in Blog Post

Blog Post #30 – Chasing The Stars

Hey readers!

Oooh, blog post 30, haven’t we come far?! Not really, considering we’ve been doing this ‘regularly’ for almost a year and have had the blog for another year on top of that, but I’ve already apologised multiple times for being inactive so you probably don’t want to hear it again.

Anyway, this blog post is just a short one, about a book I mentioned in my last one – Chasing The Stars by Malorie Blackman. Beware, there are spoilers below, so if you haven’t read it then stop here!

All in all, I thought this was a good book and would recommend it to anyone who likes that kind of genre of books. However, I was dissatisfied with how the book ended, more specifically, how Vee and Nathan’s relationship ended.

The turning point for me not being satisfied with how their relationship went was how the whole “take your clothes off and I’ll forgive you” bit was addressed – or rather, how it wasn’t. I would have liked for them to have at least discussed it the ending to have gone from there. The way I would have taken it would have been one of these two:

  1. Nathan apologised, admitted he was wrong, and they made up with it resolved. Following this, I would have liked Nathan to have come aboard the ship with the others as Vee was leaving (although I see why Malorie Blackman did not do this and accept that it was probably a good thing)
  2. They discussed it, but Nathan refused to apologise or admit he was in the wrong for saying that. Vee exposed him for the terrible person he was, the broke up and went their separate ways, with Nathan not coming aboard the ship on the end.

Admittedly, had the book ended in either of these ways I would have probably been irked. I would have thought number one was too clichéd, and number two I would have been upset that they broke up that way ad Nathan turned out to be like that (as yes, I did ship them). But I was just generally dissatisfied with how it ended really, all due to that one scene.

However, other than that I very much enjoyed the book. The one other quibble I had was I don’t believe it was ever explained why the Doctor was exiled to Callisto in the first place – but that might have just been me missing out the details because I tend to get excited when reading tense moments and sometimes accidentally skip things. But even if it wasn’t explained, that’s not such a major thing.

However, that’s all for this post! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it, and if you want to discuss this book feel free to message us! (also if you know why the doctor was exiled please tell me as I’d borrowed the book and have given it back so can’t go back and check).

Thanks for reading – bye!

~ April

Posted in Blog Post

Blog Post #29 – Book update!

Hey readers!

Sorry there hasn’t been a blog post in a while, but there have been a couple of other things up (a short story and a miscellaneous post about writing games), so go check them out! However, they were both posted roughly a month ago, so I guess this is my apology for not posting in a  while? I seem to do this a lot, but sadly, I just lack time, motivation and ideas sometimes, so nothing happens here.

This post is just a quick book update really, but there are some more interesting ones to come. Since my last post about books, I’ve read 5 more – Echo Boy (Matt Haig), Born Scared (Kevin Brooks), Bombs on Aunt Dainty (Judith Kerr), Sorta Like A Rockstar (Matthew Quick) and Chasing The Stars (Malorie Blackman). All of these books I would recommend reading, although there are some more detailed reviews below (no spoilers included!)

Echo Boy – This book was certainly an interesting read. It’s set in the future, in a society where Echoes (human-like robots) do all the work and technology is slowly taking over. I’m trying to do my best to not spoil anything, but basically something bad happens which in turn causes an ‘adventure’ (using the term adventure loosely) for the main character, Audrey. It’s an exciting story, also a love story, but it also has quite a deep message about ethics/morality and what it takes to make someone truly human. If that sounds interesting to you, definitely give it a read!

Born Scared – I said in my last blog post that after reading iBoy (another of Kevin Brooks’ books) that I wanted to give some of his other books a try, and this was the result! It’s about a young boy called Elliot, who suffers from an illness which makes him scared of everything, all the time. The only thing that prevents the fear is the medication he takes. However, the book takes place when there’s a mix up at the pharmacy meaning he runs out of his medication, and when his mum goes to collect some more she doesn’t come back. I found this book interesting in the way it was written, which I wont explain because I don’t want to spoil it, but I promise it’s good!

Bombs On Aunt Dainty – The sequel to one of my favourite ever books, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, this semi-autobiographical book follows the story of the girl Anna during her time in England. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit was about her flee from Germany, her stay in several different countries until she finally arrives in England, and this one picks up a few years later when she’s settled in this new country and goes until the end of the war. It’s a very interesting and exciting book, and is also quite informative if you don’t know much about World War II and the lives of German refugees during this time. Even if it doesn’t sound like your type of book, I implore you to give it a go, and tell your friends too! Honestly, I just want everyone to read these books, so please do.

Sorta Like A Rockstar – This book is about a girl called Amber Appleton, whose life isn’t exactly perfect, but she’s happy. Sure, things do go wrong, like having to sleep on the school-bus that her mum drives, but she copes with it and all is fine. That is, until a big tragedy occurs, that sends her life spiralling downhill. All of a sudden she doesn’t want to do anything she did before or live her life like she used to. The main part of the book, which I’ll say now I don’t think is the longest part of the book, is about how she recovers and what happens with her life afterwards. It as definitely a good book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Chasing The Stars – To be honest, I only picked this book up because I loved some of the other books that Malorie Blackman has written – mainly the Noughts and Crosses series, which I’d also recommend! I’d never heard of this book before, I don’t know whether it’s new or old, but I do know that I enjoyed it lots! What I want to say about it though will include spoilers, so I’m going to write a separate post for that, so keep your eyes open for that coming soon!

Now I’ve finished those books, I’m currently reading… a lot more. I’ve never been the type of person to read more than one book at once, but recently I appeared to have picked up more and more until now I have a whole pile of them with bookmarks halfway through. So, here is my list: Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (JK Rowling – rereading with my new house copy hehe), Spies (Michael Frayn), Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy (Cassandra Clare + various others), Boy Meets Boy (David Levithan), The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Brian Selznick), Sophie’s World (Jostein Gaarder) and… I’m sure there’s some more I’ve forogtten. So I guess I’ll let you know how those are in my next blog post!

So for now, I hope you’ve enjoyed this book update. Again, I’m sorry there hasn’t been much activity for a while, but I promise I’ll do my best to get better at posting regularly! Don’t forget that if you want to contact us our messages are always open, so don’t be shy.

Bye!

~ April

Posted in Blog Post

Blog Post #28a – Everything, Everything, Unwind & iBoy (spoiler free)

Hey readers!

So I wrote two versions of this post – one with spoilers and one without. Continue reading for no spoilers, or click here for the version including spoilers!

So over the past couple of days I have read 3 books: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, Unwind by Neal Shusterman and iBoy by Kevin Brooks. Alice leant them all to me – and I’m very glad she did! Just a quick note: all of these reviews are very positive, as they’re all good books, but also because the more negative parts of the reviews are in the spoiler-version.

Everything, Everything is a book I’ve been wanting to read for a while now. I’d heard of it before, but had never really shown any interest in it, I didn’t know anything about or what it was about. But then I saw the trailer for the film they’re making for it and my immediate reactions was “that looks really good”. Since then it’s been on my TBR list, but as it’s quite a long list, it’s not a priority at the moment. However, when I was at Alce’s house the other day I saw she had it and asked if I could borrow it (as it saved me spending money aha). The next morning I woke up quite early so decided to start it, and then ‘accidentally’ didn’t move fo the next two hours and read it all in one sitting. Oops. But honestly, it was great! If you’re a fan of YA fiction (not really sure what you’d call the genre… just real-life perhaps? Not fantasy or dystopia or sci-fi basically) I would definitely recommend reading it. It’s about a girl called Maddy who hasn’t left her house in 17 years, and what happens when she meets a boy called Olly. I loved this book lots, would definitely recommend you read it, and also, it’s very impressive for a first book!

Unwind is the second book I read; one that Alice was reading a while ago and told me I should read, but I never did. Although I don’t like to admit it, I was judging the book by it’s cover, and I didn’t really like the look of the cover, so I never even bothered reading the blurb. What a mistake that was! It’s a great book, and I certainly enjoyed it lots. Set in the future, about a society where unwanted teens are ‘unwound’ and their body parts recycled, I’d class it as dystopia (my favourite genre) with some sci-fi-ish elements, so if that sound interesting to you I’d definitely give it a read!

The final book I read was iBoy, by Kevin Brooks.  It was great! This was a cross between real life and sci-fi (and perhaps a bit of fantasy/dystopia?) I think… basically, it’s about a boy who has parts of an iPhone embedded in his brain and some difficult decisions to make. There are some sensitive topics within it so if you’re likely to be upset or triggered by anything I’d recommend perhaps googling it first and checking it’s okay for you to read, but if it is then definitely try it out! It’s very exciting and interesting and I certainly had a lot of fun reading it. It was the first book by Kevin Brooks I’ve actually read, but after finishing it I think I’m going to give some of his others a try, as they sound quite interesting.

In summary, all of them were great and I’d recommend all of them. They also cover a few different genres, so if you’re not into one type, then try out the others! As with most books, there were a few elements I’d perhaps change or do differently, or think that they should have not gone as they did, but those are all outlined in the spoiler version of this post (link at the top of this post).

I hope you’ve enjoyed this review/recommendation post. If there are any books you’d like us to read and share our opinion on, then do let us know! You can contact us via email, instagram, tumblr and the comments on this site. Bye!

~ April

Posted in Blog Post

Blog Post #28b – Everything, Everything, Unwind & iBoy (spoiler version!)

Hey readers!

WARNING: This post contains a lot of spoilers about the three books. For a version containing no spoilers, click here 🙂

So, over the last couple of days, I’ve read three books: Everything, Everything (Nicola Yoon), Unwind (Neal Shusterman) and iBoy (Kevin Brooks). In short, I loved them all and recommend you read all of them (but if you haven’t then you shouldn’t be reading this post because SPOILERS) but my more detailed opinions are below (most of the things below are the negative things I have to say, but basically everything I haven’t mentioned is positive!)

Everything, Everything, was a great book. I love the concept, how it’s written, and the ending. However, there’s just one thing I think could have been done differently: the running-away part of the book, where Maddy and Olly fly to Hawaii. Why did Olly not ask to see the pills? Surely, if she’s relying on some experimental and non-approved pills to make sure she doesn’t die, then he’d want to see them. And also, why did Maddy not realise that she wasn’t allergic to the world, or at least have suspicions? After all, she had been exposed to the air for a very long time, had eaten lots of different food, flown to a different country and swum in the sea among other things, surely if it was that serious that she’d been living inside for the last 17 years then something would have set it off along the way? I just think that perhaps somewhere along the way she might have thought “it’s strange I haven’t got ill yet’ or something like that.

Unwind was also a great book. There honestly wasn’t much I thought could be different with it. My main problem was that a few things weren’t explained very well and the reader was left to figure out quite a lot of stuff by themselves before it was revealed, such as what Lev’s tithing party was about, what clappers were/what they did, etc. I do realise that this was deliberately done to make the reader speculate and was a good thing to do, but I, personally, like to have answers. So it’s not really a criticism, more of a “I’m-impatient-ism”. The other thing I’d criticize was Chapter 16 (teacher). I just think that it was unlikely she’d think about whether or not she should help Connor and Risa to escape and not be caught without thinking about the network of underground unwind helpers that she’s part of. Again, I understand it was done so it wasn’t revealed too early, but still, it’s unlikely.

Finally, iBoy. My biggest problem with this was the ending. “What?”, I hear you ask, “it had a nice ending though?” Yes, it did have a nice ending, with Tom and Lucy sitting on the roof together, finally both happy, but I wanted answers. I wanted to know how so many bits were resolved, but I was never told. To demonstrate, here is the message I sent to Alice almost immediately after finishing: “ALICE IT CANT JUST END LIKE THAT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT WHAT HAPPENS TO IBOY TO HIM AND LUCY STAY TOGETHER IS HE ARRESTED I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS”. I think that probably gives you a clue as to how I felt.

And that’s my including-spoilers review done with! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading – and if anyone has any disagreements with anything I’ve said or wanted to discuss these three books, please do contact us! I would be more than happen to do so. Bye!

~ April

Posted in Blog Post

Blog Post #27

Hey readers!

So, this week, nothing much interesting has happened. In English class we watched Sherlock (A Study In Pink) which was fun, but our lesson was 10 minutes shorter than the episode so we didn’t get to watch the end of it, sadly. A few people wanted to know what happened though, so Alice was left explaining it to them. And that’s everything worth writing about that happened!

I did finally manage to finish Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare though! It’s taken me a while to read, I’m not really sure why. It is a very big book to be fair, but it wouldn’t normally take me that long to read a book of it’s size. If anyone else has read it and is willing to discuss please message us, because I NEED to talk about it with someone and none of my friends have read it yet!!

After Lord of Shadows I moved on to two books. Firstly, I started re-reading Harry Potter ad the Philosophers Stone, for two reasons. Firstly, I got the new house copy and wanted to read it, but that also coincided perfectly with the Wizarding World Books Club (as they’re both to celebrate 20 years) so I’m kind of re-reading it for that too. Sadly, I’ve given up on the Book Club, as I don’t have twitter and my trying to follow it on Pottermore hasn’t worked out as well as I hoped it would. I was expecting more of a summary type thing at the end of each week on Pottermore, but I think I misunderstood something I read about it as I can’t see anything of the sort. Oh well – it’s been fun re-reading it anyway. After this one I might begin re-reading the whole series, as I’ve not read them in a while.

The other book I began reading is another Shadowhunters book – Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, by a number of different authors (Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson and Robin Wasserman). For anyone who had read the Mortal Instruments series – it follows Simon after the events of City of Heavenly Fire. So far I’m definitely enjoying it! It has the story of Simon at the Academy (oops, spoiler. Is that a spoiler? Nah, it’s in the blub, its fine) but also gives you quite a bit of Shadowhunter history as well. Exciting stuff, amirite? When Alice saw what I was reading she asked if it was another Shadowhunter book (she’s not read them) and when I said yes, her comment was “they really are sucking every last bit of life out of it, aren’t they?” I completely agree, Alice, but it’s not a bad thing!!

Anyway, that’s all for this post. It’s a short one, just because there’s not much for me to write about today, sorry! I’m planning on posting my Gothic Horror story that inspired my last post sometime this week, so keep looking out for that if you’re interested. If you’d like to contact us for any reason (please someone talk about Lord of Shadows with me pleeeeeeaaaaaase), then here’s how you can do that:

Thanks for reading – bye!

~ April

Posted in Blog Post

Blog Post #26 – Gothic Horror

Hey readers!

So in our English class recently our task was to write a short story. Sounds simple enough, right? But as some of your probably know, neither Alice nor I are the best at keeping our stories short, to say the least. Last time we were asked to write a short story, I got a bit carried away with the opening and had to rush the rest of it… it was 12 pages long in the end.

So when I was told to write a short story, my mind immediately went to the only genre I can really write and keep it short: Gothic Horror. It sounds strange that a horror story is the only type I can keep brief, but I’m going to explain how.

The difference between standard “Horror” and “Gothic Horror” is that Gothic Horror is not gory. There are no disgusting murders or gruesome injuries, no slimed covered monsters or chainsaw-wielding demons. It’s more about the element of suspense, not really knowing what’s going on, vulnerable characters finding themselves all alone on starless nights in creepy Victorian mansions… you get the idea.

And, they lend themselves very well to cliffhangers.

I find that this means I can easily write short stories of it, as basically it’s just a big build up then BAM, unresolved ending (or ‘denouement’, if you want to be technical).  It’s as simple as that.

Now what I’m going to try and do is tell you how to write short Gothic Horror stories. Please bear in mind that I learnt how to write them a few years ago so I can’t remember exactly what my teacher told us to do, but I’ll try my best. If I’m wrong in any way, please do feel free to correct me, I’d be very grateful to know!

First of all, you need a protagonist (main character). Normally this character has to be quite vulnerable in some way, so it’s likely that they’ll be the one getting attacked. Maybe they’re alone and no-one else is around to see what’s going to happen – when I write Gothic Horror, that tends to be what I do. They also have to be likeable, so that the reader connects emotionally with them and feels pathos (yet another fancy technical word, ooh look at me). If they’re an annoying self-absorbed idiot who no-one likes, then no-one’s going to feel sad when they die, are they?

Secondly, you’re going to need a setting. Typical settings for Gothic Horror stories are creepy, abandoned, empty places, such as a graveyard or old building, and it normally tends to be night time too. I guess this is because at night it’s harder to see what’s going on, and it’s less likely that someone will see what’s happening. I find this the hardest part about writing Gothic Horror – trying to give a reason as to why the protagonist has found themselves alone in a creepy place at night.

Thirdly, you’re going to need an antagonist (bad guy). This is the fun part. In Gothic Horror, at least, in the short stories that I tent to write, the antagonist isn’t actually seen. Perhaps there will be glimpses of them here and there, some glimmering red eyes in the darkness, a shadow passing overhead. This helps to evoke a sense of mystery and tension, and makes you (the reader) wonder what’s going on. They also tend to be a more supernatural being, perhaps a shadowy creature or a ghost, rather than a chainsaw-wielding mass murderer (like I said earlier, Gothic Horror tends to be less about gore and more about the air of suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat).

Now you have those three things, you’re ready to begin. All my Gothic Horror stories tend to follow a formula, I’ve realised , so I’m going to share that formula with you know (rather than trying to explain because I am terrible at explaining)

  1. Protagonist is alone somewhere creepy and dark.
  2. A bit of backstory as to how/why they found themselves there.
  3. Make the reader empathise and relate this them.
  4. Protagonist looks around – description of creepy surroundings.
  5. Suddenly they see some movement.
  6. Look over to where they saw it – nothing there.
  7. Try to put it down as nothing, just a trick of the light.
  8. Another movement.
  9. Growing sense of fear and worry in the Protagonist.
  10. Some weird goings on, eg a shadow passes overhead, there’s a rustling sounds in the bushes.
  11. Weird goings on continue and increase in frequency.
  12. Rising sense of panic in Protagonist as they realise something spooky is happening.
  13. Sudden jumpscare followed by cliffhanger – the end.

Now I know that isn’t very good or helpful, I’m sorry, but it’s the best I can do. Like I said, I’m not the best at explaining things. And I couldn’t tell you how to write Gothic Horror with a resolved ending – that isn’t my forte.

Now, there are a couple of other small things I can remember being told by my teacher when we were learning about this genre, so I think I’ll share them with you too. The first one of these things is foreshadowing. Foreshadowing, basically, is hinting at a future event without explicitly stating that that event is going to happen. The definition Google gives you is “a warning or indication of a future event”. It plays quite a large part in most Gothic Horror fiction, although personally I find it quite hard to work into my writing. But if you can get it in – do! There is nothing more pleasing than getting to an event in a book and realising how cleverly foreshadowed it was in the build up to it.

The other thing that my teacher told my class to use when writing Gothic Horror was Gothic Language. Using a certain type of language helps to portray the mood and set the scene. So if you wanted to write a Gothic Horror story, you’d probably used language such as ‘ominous’ and ‘shroud’ rather than words like ‘sweetie’ and ‘cutie pie’. Just so you know, though, if you type ‘Gothic Language’ into Google then it comes up with a lot of search results about an extinct Germanic language, which is very interesting, but not what I’m talking about here. For some good words, instead type ‘Gothic Horror Language’ into Google and look at the images!

Anyway, that’s exhausted my knowledge on how to write Gothic Horror! I know it’s not the best written blog post, I’m sorry, but I just wanted to say what I know so other people can also begin writing in this genre! As it’s not the best though, and I’ve probably missed some stuff and got some wrong (as I was taught a very basic version of how to write it so there’s probably lots more detail you can add in) I thought I’d provide you with a link to a page that describes in lots of detail different things that you can use in a Gothic Horror Story, and also provides a nice list of Gothic Words to use: http://www.virtualsalt.com/gothic.htm

Now, that’s the end of my blog post about Gothic Horror! If I remember to, I think I’ll post the story I had to write in the English class that prompted this, probably sometime in the next couple of weeks. But if you have any questions or queries or suggestions or subjects you’d like us to write about, please do let us know! You can contact us in many different ways:

Thanks for reading – Bye!

~ April

Posted in Blog Post

Blog Post #25 – Becoming A Morning Person

Hey readers!

So first of all, I’d like to apologise in advance for the lack of posts over the next couple of weeks. I honestly am trying to get better at posting regularly, I really am, it’s just that, as many of you will know, it’s currently ‘exam season’. This means, that like hundreds of other students at the moment, Alice and I have exams! So we’ve been busy studying and preparing ourselves, and will be for a few weeks more, so won’t have much free time to write blog posts (I am currently writing this on my 10 minute break from studying that is now entering hour 2 – justifying this by “I sat an exam today, I deserve a break”)

That actually brings me onto my next point for this post – exams. I had the idea of doing a “study tips” post – original idea, I know – but when thinking about what I’d actually write I had no clue. I’ve come to the realisation that I don’t have any tips to hand onto other people. I just sit down, write notes and work, really. The only thing that I might perhaps say is get started early so you’re not left cramming it all at the last minute (something I do because otherwise enter PANIC MODE and get nothing done at all), but other than that, I’ve got nothing.

However, just because I don’t have any exam/studying tips doesn’t mean that my studying hasn’t given me anything to write about. This is because during the time I had off school in which I was studying, I found myself becoming very productive in the morning. So that’s the topic for this post – becoming a morning person (yet another extremely original idea).

Before this year, I have never ever ever thought of myself as a morning person. I hated getting up in the morning, I was always tired and never wanted to do anything. But when I got some time off I made the decision that I wanted to become better at getting up early and getting stuff done earlier in the day – so being the 21st century person I am, I clicked onto YouTube and searched “how to become a morning person”.

So here is my list of tips and tricks to become a morning person that work for me personally, collated from a whole bunch of YouTube videos and various other sources. I can’t guarantee they’ll work for you guys too, but it’s worth trying them out if you really want to become a morning person.

  1. Establish a time to wake up. There’s no point trying to become a morning person, if you’re waking up at 6:30 one morning and 11:00 the next. You need some routine in your life. Decide on a time you’re going to wake up every day, and stick to it. I would recommend setting an alarm at first, although once you’ve been constantly waking up at the same time for a while your body will adjust to it and start waking up at that time naturally.
  2. Get enough sleep the night before. If you’re running off 3 hours of sleep, I don’t think it’s very likely that you’re going to be productive. In fact, in that case, it would probably just be better to stay in bed and catch up on your missed sleep! I think I once read somewhere that the optimal amount of sleep is 8-9 hours every night, so try and go to bed at a time where you can have that much sleep and still get up in the morning. For me that meant going to sleep at/before 10 pm, as I wanted to be awake by 7:30 the next morning (that’s 9 and a half hours, I know, but it worked for me).
  3. Put your devices/screens away at least ½ hour before you go to sleep. I was once told – quite a while ago so apologies if I’ve remembered wrong and this is incorrect – that if you go on your phone or computer or another device immediately before going to bed then it’s harder to fall asleep. I believe it’s something to do with the radiation that the devices emit, but I’m not 100% sure that that’s the scientific reason behind it. But even if it isn’t, I find that putting it away half an hour before I go to sleep helps me to relax and unwind so I get to sleep better.
  4. Put your alarm where you can’t reach it from your bed. From personal experience, if I can reach my alarm from my bed and turn it off without moving, then I just tend to roll back over and fall back to sleep rather than getting up and being productive. When my alarm is on the other side of the room, then to turn it off I actually have to get out of bed and move to turn it off I don’t go back to sleep and am actually productive.
  5. Have a drink. Again, this comes from something scientific I saw that I may be remembering incorrectly, but from what I recall the video I watched with this in said that if you have a drink of cold water when you first wake up in the morning it gets your metabolism going and makes you more productive, or something like that. Even if that isn’t scientifically correct, it’s quite refreshing to have a nice drink in the morning, and helps to wake you up.
  6. Make your bed. There is no scientific thing behind this point, but I’ve found that making my bed when I get up helps as I feel like it’s then been made and I’m not getting back in and that’s that.
  7. Have something to do when you get up. Don’t get up and have nothing to do. Have a purpose, something to do. For me, during my time off, it was studying. I would get up, study for as long as I felt like (I don’t like time restrictions), then went and had breakfast. It was a system that worked for me, but it might not be something that works for you! Maybe you need to eat immediately, or perhaps if you go and have a shower straight away it’ll help to wake you up. Just make sure you know what you’re going to do, so you can get started on it and be productive and not spent hours wafting around doing nothing because you weren’t prepared.

And that’s it! My simple 7-step guide to becoming a morning person. After about four days of doing this, I actually began waking up naturally at about 7:30, which I felt really good about (as it made me feel like I was making progress), ad started getting lots done in the morning.

Of course, there are plenty more methods to becoming a morning person and getting better/more sleep and becoming more productive etc. So here are a couple of useful YouTube videos that I watched and pulled some of these tips from:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdF7d7TdjfM (studyign on YouTube, also posts very useful stuff about studying and stopping procrastinating and being more productive etc.!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TLn_WoFTb4 (krist & yu on YouTube, posts lifestyle videos covering a wide range of topics and also a bunch of Japan Vlogs)

Of course, being a morning person is not for everyone, and that’s okay! Some people are really productive at 11:30pm at night and in 10 minutes can do all their studying for 3 exams and dust an entire mansion at that time, but personally at about 9:30 I shut down and can’t do much past that time, which is why I wanted to become better and getting stuff done early on

Anyway, that’s all I have to say for this post. I hope you have enjoyed this more structed post that has a clear topic rather than just my rambly ramblings that I normally post, please let us know if you do! You can contact us in the comments on this site (www.writeaweek.wordpress.com), via email (writeaweek@gmail.com), through tumblr (http://write-a-week.tumblr.com/) or on Instagram (@writeaweek)

Bye!

~April

Posted in Blog Post

Blog Post #24

Hey readers!

Sorry it’s been a while since my last post – I gave myself several topics to write about then completely forgot about all of them, so ended up with nothing to post. I made myself of a list of what they were going to be about and when they were going to be posted and everything, but who knows where’s that’s been lost to.

So, about books. I’ve read 3 books (2 full books and 2 half-of-books) since my last post: Perfect (Cecelia Ahern), Auggie&Me (R.J. Palacio), Goldfish Boy (Lisa Thompson) and Lord of Shadows (Cassandra Clare)

Perfect was just perfect (excuse the terrible pun, tehe) to say the least. I absolutely loved it. For those who don’t know, it’s a sequel to a book called Flawed, which is about a dystopian world where those who do bad things are branded as Flawed for their wrongdoings. In my opinion, Perfect was a great sequel to this, picking up very well from the cliffhanger of the last book and providing an interesting plot before a nicely rounded off end that was just right, if you know what I mean?

As for Auggie&Me and Goldfish boy, I’ve actually written a couple of short reviews over on our Instagram page. But in summary they’re both well-written YA novels that would be a good read for anyone interested in that genre of reading.

The book I’m currently reading is Lord of Shadows by Cassanda Clare. It’s the sequel to Lady Midnight / the second book in the Dark Artifices Series. Honestly, I love these shadow hunter books so much!! There’s the Mortal Instruments, the Infernal Devices, and no the Dark Artifices… and they’ll all so great. I’m not very far into Lord of Shadow yet (I walked into the bookshop yesterday and to discover that it had been released by finding it on the shelf!) but I love what I’ve read so far.

Aaaaaand I think that’s all I have to say in thos post! Sorry it’s been a bit short and didn’t have much substenance, but hopefully I’ve have some more structured posts up in the near future with an actual topic they’re centred round rather than just my rambly rambles

Bye!

~ April

Posted in Blog Post

Blog Post #23

Hey readers!

So for once I actually have something to talk about in a blog post (*party poppers “Hello Internet” style*), but before I begin I’d just like to say sorry for the absence of posts recently. I’ve not posted in… a long time, and I honestly have no excuse for that. I just lacked motivation, so no blog posts happened.

So, what I wanted to talk about today was a Writing Tool I recently discovered called Hemingway. Basically what it does is highlight all the ‘bad’ things about your writing/what could be improved on in it, such as sentences that are hard to read, or unnecessary words, or where you’ve written with a passive voice rather than an active voice, so you know what can be improved on. I’ve found that for me the most useful part is highlighting hard-to-read sentences, as I often do find myself rambling on for too long and overcomplicating what I write (aaaaand I just proved myself right there, didn’t I?) It can also give you a word count, a letter count, and an estimate time for how long it takes you to read it. This might be useful for when planning a speech or a debate or some other form of public speaking and you only have a certain about of time to speak for. Or it might be nice just for interests sake!

For example, I put the above paragraph into Hemingway (I have since edited the above paragraph slightly as I wrote it on a different day to the day this is being published, but the point still stands), and this is what it showed me:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In summary, it was a bad paragraph.

Personally, Hemingway is the only writing tool that I use. I’ve seen things about another tool called ILYS (that hides what you’re writing so you can’t get distracted by editing until you’ve reached your word count goal) that looks good, but when I googled it, it turns out you have to pay money for it, and I’ve not actually seen that much about other writing tools. It doesn’t really matter though – I quite like being able to go back and read over what I’d written and edit as I go along, otherwise I feel restricted and lose motivation. What about you? Do you prefer to write freely and do what you want when you want, or do you prefer to have structured writing time dictating what you do and when?

As it’s been a long time (about a month) since my last blog post, I’d have expected myself to have read a lot since them, however, it’s not been as much as I would have liked to have done. This is for one simple reason: my TBR pile. I have found, over multiple occasions, that the predominant reason for why I get into reading slumps is because my TBR pile is too big. I think it’s just the fact that there’s a physical manifestation of how many books I want to read/should have read but haven’t, and it gets me down in the dumps, and as a result I just tend to… stop reading. However, to combat this, I have returned a bunch of books from my TBR pile to the library (but written the titles down for future reference) and hidden the rest of my TBR pile – made up from books that I own – under my bed so that I can’t see it. Problem solved!

So, now for the rambly part of the blog post where I talk about the books I’ve read…

I’ve managed to finish Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan which I’d just begun when I wrote my last blog post, and I really enjoyed it. One element I really liked was how it told the different stories of multiple different people, but how they all linked together somehow. It reminds me of a story I began writing a while ago – about the same time that Alice began writing her now novel-length story, in fact. In that there were several different characters who all lived completely different lives, but as time went on their lived began to overlap. That reminds me, I really wanted to finish that, maybe I should go back to it?

After Two Boys Kissing I read a book called The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and let me tell you, it was AMAZING. I have a confession, and that confession is that I only decided to read it because I saw a bookstagram which posted about how many Harry Potter references it had in it, but I am honestly SO glad that I did. I LOVED IT. It’s a book that I’ll definitely recommend to everyone – however it does have longs of swearing, and it all about a murder and justice for the murder and guns and shootings etc. so it might not be for everyone. But I thoroughly enjoyed it and along with hiding my TBR pile it’s recently helped me out of the reading slump.

Now I’ve moved onto Perfect, by Cecelia Ahern. IT FINALLY CAME OUT. Alice leant me the first book – Flawed – back around Christmastime, and immediately after finishing it I messaged her to ask if I could borrow the sequel mentioned at the end, and got the sorry message back that it wasn’t going to come out for another 4 months. But now it has come out, and I am reading it! Hooray! I’m about halfway through now, and I love it so far. So many twists and turns and unexpected events!

Anyway, that’s all I have to say for today, so this is where this blog post it going to end. If you have enjoyed this post please do let us know via the comments on here or our Instagram page (@writeaweek). Also, if you see any free writing tools we could try out, or have any book recommendations, or there’s something you’d like us to write about, then also let us know.

Bye!

~ April

Posted in Blog Post

Blog Post #22

Hey readers!

This week I’ve had quite a bit of free time on my hands, so I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading. I finished book number 4 in the Medusa Project Series at the end of lat week, so I had to go to the library to get the next one out, and managed to come home with 7 more books… typical me.

So after finishing Hunted (The Medusa Project #4) I moved on to Double-Cross (Medusa Project #5), which I really enjoyed. It was written from the POV of Nico, and despite the fact that it was book 5 of the series I really don’t think that it is one of those series that’s just dragging along and really should have just ended about 3 books ago. There was also quite a big plot twist (kind of… although it was hinted at in the previous book) which made it even more exciting and so I really enjoyed it!

The next book after that, and the final book in the series, is called Hit Squad, which I moved onto immediately xD. This book was from the POV of all the characters, starting with one then moving onto the next after a few chapters. I found this nice as when the characters split up it meant that the readers weren’t left guessing what was happening with the other group of people, which was good as they split up quite often.

HOWEVER after finishing what I thought was the last book of the series I saw a page at the back mentioning another book in the series… so I hopped onto the website and found out that there was a book number 2.5 which I had missed out! It wasn’t a bad thing, because it can apparently be read as a stand-alone book so I didn’t miss out any details, but it was very exciting news. Especially as there is also a free download of it (as it was originally released for world book day or something like that). So I have now downloaded this short book – called “The Thief” for anyone wondering – off www.sophiemckenziebooks.com and I’ve started to read it. I have been reading it a bit slowly as I’ve bee reading it along side the other books that I’m reading, only reading it when I want something to read but don’t have my actual book with me.

The next book that I moved on to after the Medusa Project series was one called “Shooting Stars” which is written by Allison Rushby. It’s about a 16-year-old paparazzo who is sent undercover to take some sneaky photos of a teenage heartthrob/singer/songwriter but along the way learns a lot about herself. It’s not the type of book I’d normally read – I tend to enjoy fantasy/dystopia novels most, rather than gushy cliché teenage romance novels – but I thought I’d give it a go and I’ve actually really enjoyed it. It also has one of those endings that makes you feel warm and happy inside, which is a nice feeling to have.

After Shooting Stars I began to Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan. I’ve read one of his books before – Every Day (which I really enjoyed) – and half of another one (I got half way through Will Grayson Will Grayson then realised it was written by two different people and decided I’d start it again another time because I’d got very confused) so I figured I’d give this book of his a try. I’m about a third of the way through at the moment as I’ve ben reading it rather slowly, due to the fact that it’s written in a quite different style from what I normally read. I think, but I’m not 100% sure, that it’s written from the POV of dead people. Specifically, gay dead people, who are watching over the lives of various gay boys, who the story is written about. I think, but it never actually specifies or tells you who the “we” are that it often refers to, so I could be very wrong.

As for the next book that I’m going to read… I actually have a pile of about 10 books that I can pick from to read next, but I think I might read Afterlife by Dee Shulman next. Afterlife is the third book in a trilogy that I started reading a while ago, but after reading the second book the library that I go to didn’t have the third one in and so I got distracted by a different book then kind of forgot about it until I saw it on the shelf of the library the other day and got very excited. The whole trilogy follows the story of a Roman gladiator (well technically he’s a Greek slave gladiator) and a modern day girl who are somehow linked by a mysterious disease (and I’m not going to say anything more because SPOILERS ARE BAD)

The book I’m excited to read in the near future however is Perfect, by Cecelia Ahern. I didn’t read the first book, Flawed, that long ago, but it has seemed like such a long wait for this one to come out! I feel like I need to shorten my pile of books-to-be-read first though so I might not be able to read it immediately.

Anyway, I think that’s all for this week’s blog post! I’m going to try and do something new and different for next week, so provided nothing gets in the way of that keep your eyes peeled for something interesting.

Bye!

~ April