Books and Reading Wednesday: Books on my Bookshelf

Doing the bookshelf tag last week got me thinking about all the books I own and the selection I have, but also the memories that come with them.

Books aren’t just books, I don’t just read a book, I experience a book.

A whole bunch of memories linger with the books I own.

So, I thought it would be nice to go through my books and make a post about the ones I own.

It won’t be reviews, but more just about the book and the experience I had with it.

I will be including all books: paperbacks, hardbacks, eBooks (kindle is still my bookshelf, just an electronic one!), audiobooks, etc.

So to start this series off I have Neil Gaiman’s, ‘Fragile Things’, which was included in the tag last week.

fragilethings

Please excuse the terrible quality picture taken on my bed; I was in a bit of rush!

I received this book for my birthday a few years ago. It was the first time I’d heard of Neil Gaiman, I didn’t even know he was a famous author! I was dubious about reading it, as it really didn’t seem like my kind of book, especially due to the fact it had ghost/horror stories in it.

I don’t do horror at all!

But anyway, out of a sense of obligation, I started reading it. And it took my breath away.

I couldn’t stop reading the selection of short stories contained in this book. I knew they were going to give me nightmares, but I didn’t care, I had to keep reading!

One of my main memories about reading this book was sitting in bed and it was very late and snowing outside. I’d just reached a short story about this kid who sees a gypsy woman beneath a lamp post, I won’t spoil it, but it creeped me out because the conditions (snowing, night, etc) were very similar to what was happening as I was reading it.

Then the lamp post outside my window flickered and I was done! 😀 It wasn’t even that scary of a story, but the way he wrote it had my heart leaping into my throat. I slammed the book shut and had to continue reading in the daytime.

I think my favourite story out of the whole book was one about the seasons, where the seasons were having a discussion around a camp fire.

Though it’s not the one I remember most. The one I remember most was about a creepy doorknocker in the middle of the woods!

I’m being vague, just in case people pick this book up, which I would highly recommend!

Random quote:There is a worm at the heart of the tower; that is why it will not stand.

Favourite thing about the book: The title page of each new story. Very pretty.

Least favourite thing: One particular story was very disturbing and still haunts my thoughts to this day! (If you get the book, it’s the one with the old lady and the cat).

Something I took away from the book: Not to be worried about the length of a story. It can be powerful even with just a few sentences!

Well, there you go. My first post in this series. The posts will probably evolve over time, not entirely sure what I want to do with them yet, just have some kind of record of the memories with these books.

Reviews are great, but sometimes it’s nice to remember the personal memories about the books I own, where I got them, when I got them, that kind of thing 🙂

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 2054 (Total word count: 14,202).

Books read: 2/4

Mid-October book review: Writing review.

Books and Reading Wednesday- Bookshelf Tag!

Marcia Meara from Bookin’ It invited me to do this tag aggggges ago. I’m really sorry it’s taken me so long to get around to it, but thank you for tagging me. I got there in the end! 😀

Here are the rules for Bookshelf Tag:

“Answer the following questions about books on your bookshelf and then tag five other bloggers. You can answer the questions any way you want, whether it’s on your blog, in a video, or a combination of the two. Then remember to let whoever tagged you know when your post is up so they can read it.”

1. Is there a book that you really want to read but haven’t because you know that it’ll make you cry?

The Horse Whisperer. My mum raves about it, and it has caught my interest, but it made her cry, so it will be floods of tear from me. Hence why it’s still low down on TBR list!

2. Pick one book that helped introduce you to a new genre.

‘Vampirates’ by Justin Somper. It introduced me to the world of YA fiction when I was younger, though it wasn’t classed as YA back then. Though to be honest not sure, it’s technically YA, but I’m gonna go with that 😉

3. Find a book that you want to re-read.

Choose just one? Urgh! The Jack West Jr series by Matthew Reilly. Desperate to re-read all of those again!

4. Is there a book series you’ve read but wish that you hadn’t?

I haven’t actually read many book series, and the ones I have I’ve really enjoyed 😀

5. If your house was burning down and all of your family and pets were safe, which book would you go back inside to save?

Probably ‘Today is Shrew’s Day’ by Malcolm Carrick.
It’s a children’s book my mum used to read to me and my sister when we were very young. She used to do the voices, which was just awesome, and it’s something I hope to read to my kids one day if I have any. Definitely a special book.

6. Is there one book on your bookshelf that brings back fond memories?

There are many books on my bookshelf that bring back fond memories! It’s hard to pick just one, but possibly ‘Beyond the Deepwoods’ by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. It’s the first book I remember getting really, really involved in. There were tears to be sure!

7. Find a book that has inspired you the most.

Most likely ‘The Perfume’ by Caroline B. Cooney. I re-read it recently after my mum bought it for me as a congratulations present on releasing my first books. I realised I was inspired heavily by her writing style even though I read it many years ago and only read it once!

8. Do you have any autographed books?

No, I don’t. I’ve never met an author to sign them for me, haven’t purchased any signed ones either.

9. Find the book that you have owned the longest.

‘A Witch in Time’ by Terry Deary. It was an infant school library that I never gave back, whoops! 😀

10. Is there a book by an author that you never imagined you would read or enjoy?

When I was younger, I was given a book of short stories by Neil Gaiman called ‘Fragile Things’. The book really didn’t look like my kind of thing, especially ‘cause there were horror ones in there too. But I read them, partly out of obligation and oh my word! I certainly understood then why everyone raves about him 😀
I think I talked about that book for quite a few months after reading it, trying to convince anyone I bumped into that they should pick it up.

So now to tag some people!

Melissa Barker-Simpson

L.S.Engler

Kimberley M. Ringer

Lipsyy

Aether

If anyone else wants to get involved, then please do! 😀 And to those I tagged, please don’t feel obligated to do this if you don’t have the time or don’t want to!

Progress Report:

Status of sixth book: Finishing last bits of planning.

Books read: 0/4

Mid-October Book Review: Choosing book.

Banned Books Week

Photo by Timberland Regional Library on Flickr - Click on Pic for Photostream

Photo by Timberland Regional Library on Flickr – Click on Pic for Photostream

There have been some great posts for Banned Books Week this week around the blogs, EclecticAli especially has really had some good ones! And seeing as the quiz last week went down so well, I thought I’d post another.

Which Banned Book Are You?

I got Things that Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (1958)

You value strength above all else and have a fiery temper. It is the power of fate or your chi, not your own actions, that determine success or failure in your life. You embrace your culture and stand strong against imperialist forces that threaten your way of life.

See which one you are- Which Banned Book Are You?

Why not post what you got in the comments? It’s always fun to find out the results! 🙂

Have a great weekend everyone! Tomorrow is my own title and cover reveal, which I am pretty excited about 😀

Progress Report:

Status of fifth manuscript: Final edit.
– Cover complete.
– Blurb complete.
– Marketing mostly done!

Books read: 2/4

Frozen Hearts Cover Reveal!

Today is a pretty exciting day as it’s the cover reveal of Topaz Winters’ upcoming book, Frozen Hearts!

I have been really anticipating this for a while as Topaz is an incredibly talented writer, and the snippets I’ve read from this book have me waiting for it’s release rather eagerly 😀

Cover

Stunning, right? Makes me even more excited!

Blurb:

“Rose, don’t try to tell me what’s real or not real. I live and breathe impossibilities.”

Rosalyn Lawrence is not the type of girl who strays from the norm. She’s not the type of girl who goes on whirlwind adventures or travels across the world and beyond or fights fire-breathing dragons to the death. After all, fairy tales exist only in books, and Rosalyn is happy to keep it that way.

But when her beloved little brother Benjamin disappears, Rosalyn’s entire world comes crashing down. Then a boy with a wand climbs through her window and she learns that the grieving queen of a shockingly desolate enchanted land has abducted Benjamin. If she chooses to be sucked into the magic of this land, its power – and the power of an enemy she isn’t quite sure even exists – could destroy her.

A world of frozen fantasy is waiting for Rosalyn – and if she will succeed in bringing Benjamin home, she must learn how to trust herself, use her wits, and perhaps discover an inner magic she never knew she had.

Excerpt:

Rosalyn woke in the middle of the night.

Her head was clouded, cobwebs of sleep still lingering, a fog drifting over her senses. The surface she was lying on was soft. As she sat up she saw a figure, not quite near enough to touch, motionless on the floor. She couldn’t seem to recall his name.

As her eyes adjusted to the darkness she realised that his shirt was off and his back was to her, bare in the soft moonlight. She looked out the window. The stars seemed to glisten, impossibly dense confetti scattered over the blanket of night. The moon hung suspended as if from a child’s mobile.

She stood, moving closer to the figure on the floor. The rise and fall of his chest was almost imperceptible. His face was still just out of her line of sight, his name still just out of the grasp of her slumber-clouded memory.

In the moonlight she caught a glimpse of something on his back. Her fingers glided down to it and she traced it, feather light, afraid for reasons she could not fathom of waking him. The scar joined another and another, until all at once she realised that she was connecting a veritable constellation of pain across the canvas of his back.

She gazed down at them. They were old, she could tell, but they still looked painful. The skin was gnarled, as if some heavenly hand had reached down, ripped it off of his back, and then bunched it up and pasted it haphazardly back on – and she knew she should be horrified at the sight, knew she should be pitying him or turning away in revulsion, yet she could not bring herself to. All she felt was the inherent need to know: how had he gotten them? Did they still hurt?

Was Chase all right?

And there was his name, pulled from the graveyard of her memory: Chase. A boy with a crooked smile and a secret she’d never been meant to discover.

Somewhere in the back of her mind a deep voice with a cold accent surfaced, murmuring something about his father. What had he told her? She struggled to remember, and finally it hit her. “Let’s just say he wasn’t the best role model,” the voice had said.

The gashes were long healed, yet so deep, so thick and ragged that she almost didn’t want to think about who might have put them there – his father? she wondered, and then wished the thought had never crossed her mind.

She couldn’t bear to look at them for a moment longer. Turning away from his pockmarked body, she glanced up at the stars once more before climbing back into the small cot and letting sleep overtake her – an uneasy sleep, riddled with nightmares of long, thin sticks of ice, dark men and evil laughter, unbearable pain

lacing through her back. This time the stars did not look like confetti, but teardrops.

In the morning, she would have no memory of her nighttime awakening.

And the boy lying across from her would never tell her that his eyes had been open the whole time.

Profile Picture

TOPAZ WINTERS is a songbird, word hoarder, and cheesecake connoisseur. Sometimes she composes music. Other times she writes books. If she knows you, she’s probably written about you. Topaz’s debut novel, Frozen Hearts, drops this year, and her first album in 2015. She enjoys strong coffee, ugly cats, and the taste of words.

Topaz rambles about writing, music, and the meaning of life over at her website.

A bit of fun for Friday!

I found an awesome link on Lorraine Loveit’s blog.

It’s a quiz you can take to find out what classic novel describes your life 😀

I got Bram Stoker’s, Dracula… Not entirely sure what that says about me!

‘Pensive and brooding with a penchant for solitary confinement, your fantastic story unfolded within the pages of Bram Stoker’s gothic classic, DRACULA. Others mistake you for ‘unhappy’ on a regular basis, but simply do not understand that you are different – and that is completely okay. You tend to shun everything else around you as you immerse yourself with whatever captivates your mind – which leads to sacrifices but ultimately ends in incredible results. Your inner workings are as fascinating as your outer layers, a true rarity.’

Why not have a go and post what you got in the comments?

http://www.playbuzz.com/jonb10/what-classic-novel-describes-your-life

*Have a great weekend everyone! I’ll be back on Monday!*

Progress Report:

Status of fifth manuscript: With the readers! Woohoo!

Books read: 2/4

End of September Indie review: Written and ready.

Good to be back :)

So, I am back from my vacation 😀 Which was an amazingly good time and I loved it!

Some pics:

Me reading in my amazing colourful pyjamas!

Me reading in my amazing colourful pyjamas!

Books we took to read.

Books we took to read.

Harli enjoying the beach.

Harli enjoying the beach.

A pic of the amazing sunset by my very talented mum- Twisted Pixel on Flickr- Click on pic to go to photostream

A pic of the amazing sunset by my very talented mum- Twisted Pixel on Flickr- Click on pic to go to photostream

I had planned to do some writing and reading whilst I was there, but ended up staring into space for the entire week. I think my brain really needed to do nothing for a whole 7 days.

Whilst on vacation I realised just how stressed out I had gotten. I was so busy and overwhelmed that I was not in a good place! Although I have tried my best to be organised and keep to a schedule, I think I was trying to pour too much into a working day and it was getting too much to handle.

Then I saw this post this morning- http://nhwn.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/remember-to-make-time-for-yourself-not-only-work-and-family/, and it inspired me to make a change that was most definitely needed.

Most of my day is taken up by social media (blogging, facebook, twitter, etc), which I know is very important in building an author platform, but surely, it can’t be more important than doing the actual writing when taking on a writing career, right?

So, my plan from now is to only do 2 hours of social media a day. A big cut from the 5+ hours I was spending on it before! But I really think it needs to be done. It means I won’t be able to comment as much on blogs or re-tweet so much, but I will hopefully learn to utilise those two hours more effectively, rather than letting the social media side of my career drag on and on throughout the day and into the night!

And that was pretty much all that came out of my vacation: a much needed revise of my schedule! I did manage to read one book, but that was about it, I really did just sit, stare, and walk on the beach.

It was the perfect vacation 😀

How long do you spend on social media? Do you ever need to revise your schedule? Are you good at sticking to a schedule? If you have any tips, then please let me know! 🙂

Progress Report:

Status of fifth manuscript: Editing. (Finally has a title though! 😀 Will do reveal soon).

Books read: 2/4

Mid-September Book Review: Written and ready.

August 2014 Round-Up and September 2014 Plan

Books and Reading Wednesday postponed until Friday, because I am currently writing it! 😀

So, September already!

Actually this month felt rather normal compared to the others which have whipped by! It was still a busy month, but a bit more manageable at least.

Now a round up of August:

– Kept to schedule even though I completely skipped a week of writing.
– Posted every scheduled day.
– Started posting scheduled posts on a weekend.
– Got some great reviews for my books, including my newest, Prophecy of Stones.
Connected regularly with other bloggers, who I have to say are some amazing, talented, and very supportive people!
– Found the ‘Home’ button on Facebook! 😀 Meaning I can share other authors links more effectively.
– Read 5 books (1 over target, oh yeah!)- Scandal of the Season by Sophie Gee, In Search of a Love Story by Rachel Schurig, Sins of the Father by Melissa Barker-Simpson, The Unraveling of Lady Fury by Shehanne Moore, The Camelot Code by Sam Christer
– Started my Books and Reading Wednesday posts!
– Managed to write a couple of short pieces.
– Had an amazing interview done with DKC
– Didn’t do well on marketing 😦

I really am going to have to market better and in an imaginative way!

I have hardly done any marketing and seeing as I am trying to make this my career I am just going to have suck it up and get to it 😀

I’m still tempted by trying my hand at drawing, which I took back up this month after having a break. I did a couple of fan art pieces (sorry about quality, my scanner hates me so I took pics with camera):

Daniel and Teal'c from Stargate SG-1

Daniel and Teal’c from Stargate SG-1

Anders and Hawke from DA2 (Far too obsessed with this game!)

Anders and Hawke from DA2 (Far too obsessed with this game!)

Maybe a teensy bit obsessed with this Stargate SG-1 too!

Maybe a teensy bit obsessed with this Stargate SG-1 too!

Would illustrations of scenes from a book be the type of thing that might get you interested in it? Any idea for other forms of imaginative marketing?

Anyway, moving onto September.

Plan:

1st-5th- Self edits of manuscript/ Hopefully come up with a title!
6th-14th- Vacation! Woohoo! 😀
6-21st- Off to the readers/Work on cover/ Work on blurb/ Create interest in my other books (aka. The dreaded marketing!).
17th- Mid-September Book Review.
22nd-29th- Final edits and read out/ Finish formatting/Drum up interest!
24th- End of September Indie Book Review.
30th- Release day!

Wow, that was a bit confusing 😀

Goals:

– Read 4 books (which I should hit as I plan to read A LOT on my vacation).
Do some actual marketing instead of grumbling about doing it 😀
– Continue to actively support others and find new inventive ways of doing so.
– Write short and prompted pieces on regular basis.

Some other stuff that went on this month:

Elaine Jeremiah released her latest book, Reunion of the Heart!

The Amazing Winter (which should be her title with the amount she manages to accomplish!) got signed twice!

I won a copy of A Gift of Wings by Stephanie Stamm on the blog of L.Marie!

Blimey, that was a lot longer post than I meant it to be! Should be an exciting month 😀

How was your August? Have you got much going on in September?

Progress Report:

Status of fifth manuscript: Editing first draft.

Books read: 1/4

Mid-September Book Review: Read, need to write review.

Books and Reading Wednesday- Mid-August Review

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Blurb:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

I picked up this book because I had seen it reviewed and praised on quite a few book blogs, and it eventually pushed me into buying it.

The opening instantly seduced me into this world of magic and mysticism. As I was reading, I was lost in the book and the incredible dream-like state it evoked. The author’s way with words are almost poetic and really created a smooth feel to the story.

The story began straight away, which I was pleased with, but I have to say the story did drag after that. There were parts that seemed unnecessary filler. Beautifully written filler, but filler nonetheless. I’m not a great fan of books where a lot of it is just fluff, rather than moving the plot along.

But when the plot did move along, I thought it was a brilliantly crafted piece of story-telling that I could completely lose myself in and forget about the things around me.

The descriptions were practically edible they were so good! And I strongly suggest having some kind of yummy food next to you for the dinner scenes, because the way the author describes those moments I could taste the desserts! But again, a lot of the writing was bulked out with beautiful description rather than pressing forwards with action and plot.

The story jumps back and forth between different years and months, which I found a bit awkward to keep up with at first. But, as I got to know the characters and read about the events of the story, I could keep up well and remember easily what had happened and what was to come.

I loved all of the characters, especially Bailey, Poppet and Widget. Each character was unique and distinct, and I found myself connecting to each one in different way.

The love story throughout was beautiful, but again, it took some time to get into. It was worth reading through to get to the end of it though.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Night Circus and am very glad I read it. I would recommend it to anyone who loves a story they can get lost in, who wants to find a magical world of awe-inspiring descriptions and intriguing characters.

But, be warned, it is a long story where a lot of it is just well crafted fluff with stunning descriptions. That is worth reading too though, just for writer’s talent at crafting words.

Make sure you’re in for a slow-burning read.

Links:

Goodreads

Amazon.com

Progress Report:

Status of fifth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Daily word count: 2573 (Total word count: 15757)

Books read: 3/4

End of August Indie Review: Written and ready.

Cover Reveal for Elaine Jeremiah’s, Reunion of the Heart!

So today I bring you Elaine Jeremiah’s cover reveal for Reunion of the Heart!

RotH-Cover

Blurb:

After a messy breakup with her boyfriend, Anna is feeling fragile. So when her best friend Melissa suggests the two of them go to their school reunion, she’s reluctant as Anna’s school days weren’t her happiest. The evening is going well until she meets the boy who made her school life hell.

But the grown up Will is different and Anna is surprised by the direction her life takes. The reunion sets in motion a series of events that lead Anna to realise things will never be the same again.

Elaine Jeremiah has always enjoyed writing, but it’s only in recent years that she’s begun to devote serious time to it. She’s written lots of short stories, one previous novel that will never see the light of day and a novel which has seen the light of day: ‘The Inheritance’ which she published last year.

The Inheritance’ is available on Amazon.

You can make contact with Elaine via her blog: elainejeremiah.co.uk and Twitter: @ElaineJeremiah

It’s pretty awesome, right? 😀 Reunion of the Heart is getting close to release! Why not follow her blog to keep updated?

Progress Report:

Status of fifth manuscript: Writing first draft. (Finally!)
Word count: 3763

Books read: 2/4

Mid-August book review: Written and ready.

*I have some marketing posts going up on the weekend, but won’t be around until Monday as usual to reply to comments and emails- Have a great weekend everyone! :D*