Writing

NaNoWriMo Update: Week 2 & 3 | Ahead of Schedule

Hello everyone.
Another NaNoWriMo update, though this one is a 2-in-1. I was too busy to write a 2-week update on the 14th. You can check out my first update here – I talked about my WIP and there’s a mood board/aesthetic for the story, if you are interested in that!

Week 2 word counts:

Day 8 – 2000
Day 9 – 1701
Day 10 – 1712
Day 11 – 1705
Day 12 – 2200
Day 13 – 1709
Day 14 – 1667

Week 2 total: 24712

This week was quite hard for me as I came down with a flu-like virus. I felt really unwell and had terrible brain fog! Despite this, I managed to stay on track with my daily word count and had my best writing days so far.

Week 3 word counts:

Day 15 – 1714
Day 16 – 454
Day 17 – 1716
Day 18 – 1704
Day 19 – 1763
Day 20 – 2202
Day 21 – 1735

Week 3 total word count: 36000

My worst week, as you can see on the 16th I had my worst writing day of the month. I usually work from home but on the 16th I had to go into the office for the day and it took it out of me. It was such a long, busy day, I was too tired to write when I got in. I forced myself to write a few hundred words then gave up.

It’s definitely getting harder as the days go on. Fair play to anyone doing NaNoWriMo with full-time jobs/kids/commitments. It has taken over my life! I’m happy I’m doing it and will be finishing it but I will be relieved when it’s over.

That’s my update for now, I’m ahead of schedule (somehow) and very happy so far! I cannot believe it’s the 22nd today. 8 days left!

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo let me know how it’s going for you!

Writing

One Week of NaNoWriMo 2022 | Wordcount, Mood board & Things Learnt

Hello everyone
A bit of a different post today. I thought I do a little Nanowrimo post, mostly to hold myself accountable.
I’ve been posting updates on Twitter and Instagram – follow me there for daily updates and more bookish content. I’m mostly active on Instagram these days.

Anyway, I thought I do weekly updates for Nanowrimo, just sharing my experience. This is my first time properly doing Nanowrimo, I did do Camp Nanowrimo in July 2021 for outlining and planning. This one is a draft of a novel WIP.

About my WIP:
Genre: Fantasy
Age group: New Adult – it’s kind of in between YA and Adult
POV: First Person / Single POV
Starting word count: 25k
Nanowrimo goal: 50k
End goal: 75k

Mood board for my WIP.
*Pictures are all from Pinterest/Google.

Week 1 of Writing

Daily word counts:

Day 1 – 1700
Day 2 – 1668
Day 3 – 1714
Day 4 – 1741
Day 5 – 1719
Day 6 – 1730
Day 7 – 1746
Week 1 total words: 12,018

Things I’ve learnt:

  1. Planning is necessary – having an idea of what to write, rather than just sitting with a blank screen and no place to start.
  2. Writing 1667 words (minimum) per day is pretty hard – it’s super time-consuming, especially trying to work it in on busy days and working full time. I’m lucky I work from home and can do things on my breaks.
  3. Mindmaps are such a good brainstorming tool to have on hand
  4. Try not to edit as you write. Just get it down, word vomit all over your draft. Don’t go backward.

Are you doing Nanowrimo? Or do you have a WIP? I’d love to hear about it 🙂

Books · Review

ARC Review: Cursed by Marissa Meyer (Gilded #2)

Goodreads synopsis:

It isn’t true, she wanted to whisper. To lean forward and nuzzle her cheek against his temple. To press him against the wall and mold her body to his. I am not his. I will never be his.

Serilda and Gild cannot break the curses that tether their spirits to Adalheid’s haunted castle. There they remain trapped for eternity. On the night of the Endless Moon, the Erlking means to capture one of the seven gods and so be reunited with his lover, Perchta, who has been banished to the underworld.

But it soon becomes clear that the Erlking’s hunger for vengeance won’t be satisfied with a single wish, and his true intentions have the power to alter the mortal realm forever.

Serilda and Gild have no choice but to thwart his plans, all the while solving the mystery of Gild’s forgotten name, and freeing all the ghosts kept in servitude to the dark ones. As the evil forces gather, it seems only their love is strong enough to sustain them . . .


*May contain minor spoilers for book one. Check out my review for Gilded here.

My thoughts:

After the cliffhanger ending of Gilded, I was desperate to know what would happen. This was probably my most anticipated read of the year.

Firstly, the pacing. After the ending of Gilded, I expected this to be quite fast-paced and action-packed. It’s the concluding novel in the duology. But this book takes a slower pace. It really felt like filler for the most part.

It was overly descriptive to the point where it just takes away from the plot. I like pretty descriptions and vivid writing, which was what I liked in the first book. It felt like a fairytale. However, this takes it too far. The descriptions overtake the plot and the characters. It slowed the pace too much, this sequel would’ve benefitted from some urgency in the pacing.

I found myself really bored through the first half. It took so long for stuff to happen and for the story to pick up. It didn’t feel like a final book.

The plot – as I said before is very slow and overpowered by the descriptions.
It had some interesting elements but overall pretty predictable. As it is a fairytale retelling, the plot is going to be a little predictable as they tend to follow a formula.

I did like the dark elements, it’s one of the darkest YA fantasies I’ve read. It really feels like the classic fairytales in that aspect, which I enjoyed!
How the Rumpelstiltskin aspect wraps up and the origin in the story was a nice twist. I loved the history side and the mystery of Gild – those parts were less predictable. I did guess Serilda’s mother, that didn’t surprise me at all. It was well foreshadowed, not sure if it was easily predictable or I’m just a good guesser haha.

The ending – It did have some good moments once the pace picked up and some action took place. The ending wrapped things up nicely, it took a while to get there but the ending was sweet. As it is a fairytale retelling, it did end with the happily ever after as you would expect.

Overall, I’m a bit disappointed. I expected more. It was just an okay read. I was hoping for a new favourite but alas, it did not make it. I think if the filler parts of Gilded and Cursed were taken out and these two books combined, it could’ve been an amazing standalone.

Rating: 2.75 – 3 Stars

Cursed is out tomorrow! (November 8th)
You can get these beautiful copies with sprayed edges now!

*Cursed was gifted by the publisher. All views are my own.

Books · Wrap-up

October Wrap Up | 2022

Happy November!!

The first book I finished was
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (audiobook)

This was a carryover from September.
I found it amusing but confusing. It’s a tad overhyped in my opinion. It was hard to get into and hard to keep up with. The narrator did a good job. Overall it was just an okay read.
Rating: 2.5 Stars

Next up was Sadie by Courtney Summers (audiobook)

Another audiobook. This one was incredible. Such an amazing, emotional read.
I have a full review here for this. A new favourite for sure.
Rating: 5 Stars

Lunar Living by Kirsty Gallagher

The moon and spirituality fascinate me. Not sure how much of this moon magic I believe in but it was interesting to read. It was mostly for research purposes.
I won’t rate it for that reason.

Finally,
*Cursed by Marissa Meyer

I was very lucky to receive an ARC of this. I read Gilded last year and loved it, I highly anticipated this sequel. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. Review coming soon!
Rating: 2.75-3 Stars

Not the best reading month. I’m doing Nanowrimo this month, I don’t expect to read a ton but hopefully, what I do read will be good!
Let me know what you read in October!

Audiobooks · Books · Review

The Perfect Autumn Read | Book Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers (audiobook)

Goodreads synopsis:

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial-like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

My thoughts:

It’s an ugly tale, told so amazingly.
It gives the harsh reality of girls that go missing, and the book’s ending reflects that.

This is not an easy read at all. It’s very graphic and violent and definitely not for everyone. I will list triggers at the end of my review, there is a lot! It’s gritty, dark and devastating – It will really move you. It’s a book I will never forget reading, will likely reread it in the future.

This book can only be described as heart-wrenching.
The characters and the story feel so real, it was like listening to a documentary. I felt so deeply invested in Sadie’s story. This is the kind of book you cannot get out of your mind while reading it. I just needed to know more, I was both horrified and hooked throughout. It’s a hard listen but also I couldn’t stop.

The podcast element really shines in the audiobook.
Had I read this physically, I’m not sure I’d feel the same. The story lends itself to being heard rather than read.
The narrators were great! It has an excellent cast of voices, it all felt so real.
Rebecca Soler does Sadie’s chapters – She’s one of my favourite narrators having listened to a good few books she’s narrated.

I appreciate the representation in this story, I have never read/listened to anything with the main character having a stutter before. I can’t comment on the accuracy side as I don’t have one. From what I can tell it was well portrayed.

Trigger/Content warnings: Pedophilia, ableism, grief, death, murder, abandonment, assault, sexual assault, substance abuse, explicit violence + more (basically very very dark and all the triggers you can imagine)

Rating: 5 Stars

If you’re looking for a dark, mystery book to read this Autumn/Winter – I highly recommend this.

Books · Wrap-up

September Wrap Up | 2022

Happy Spooky Season!
September slipped away fast…

I read a few books this month. All pretty average. Did read a nice variety of genres though!

The first book I finished was
Persuasion by Jane Austen

I listened to the audiobook and read the physical book.
Enjoyable read. I love Austen’s writing. This had a lovely romance, more so than her other books.
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Then I listened to
My Dear Friend Janet


and From the Desk of Lady Miss by Keke Palmer (audiobooks)

I thought the first was amusing. Didn’t enjoy the second. Will likely not continue this series. Keke is a bit too dramatic of a narrator to me. It felt overacted and was a tad annoying. Hard to focus on the story.
Rating: 3 Stars / 2 Stars

*The Dream Runners by Shveta Thakrar

Rating: 3 Stars

Attached by Dr Amir Levine and Rachel S.F. Heller

This was interesting, I found it an insightful read. I learned a lot about myself and attachment in relationships. It was nice to read some non-fiction for a change. I am a fan of self-help/mental health literature but never read one to do with love/relationships before. Has definitely opened my eyes and changed my way of thinking! Definitely worth a read.
Rating: 4 Stars

What did you read in September?

Books · Graphic Novels · Judging Book Covers · Review

Book Series Review: Paper Girls by Brain K. Vaughan | Graphic Novels Vols 1-6

Goodreads Synopsis:
(Vol 1)

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.


My thoughts:

I picked up this series as I love Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and needed to pick up more by him! Plus 80s, sci-fi and time travel – sounds so good, right?!

You’re thrown right into the story right away from vol 1.
The pace is pretty fast and for a while, I had no idea what was going on. (But in a good way) The plot does all make sense with each volume.

The focus of this story is definitely the friendship between the girls. With the time travel element, they are thrown into unknown times and have to work together to try and get back to the right year.

As expected, it is not an easy journey. It has twists and turns all throughout. It really keeps you on the edge of your seat. You will definitely need all volumes to hand as you’ll need to know what happens next!

The ending was a little meh. Bittersweet. Not sure whether I liked it or not. It was a weird and wonderful series, it didn’t quite go out with a bang like I expected.

It’s a great series to just binge. I borrowed all volumes from my library, luckily the series is complete and no wait for the next volume! It’s something I would definitely consider rereading in the future.

Series Rating: 3.5-4 Stars

A TV series was released on Amazon Prime, I might have to check it out. (I always say this about adaptations but I’m not much of a TV/Film watcher) However, I did like this series and the show has diverse casting, so I might give it a go.
Updated since I first started writing this post, Amazon have now cancelled Paper Girls. Very disappointing to see they won’t be making more seasons. A lot of shows with diverse casting and rep seem to not get renewed.

Books · Wrap-up

August Wrap Up | 2022

Happy September!
The year is really running away with me!
Which means I’m behind on my Goodreads goal. I’ve been in and out of slumps for a while now. Also had covid in August and was literally so unwell I couldn’t do a thing.

I did manage to read 4 graphic novels in August

Art: Cliff Chiang

I read:
Paper Girls Volumes 3, 4, 5 and 6.
Having read the first two volumes in July.

I really enjoyed this series. It was a great story, it mixes sci-fi and time travel elements with a strong theme of friendship.
It also has a diverse lineup, which is always a plus!

Series rating: 4 Stars

Full review coming soon

Books · Wrap-up

July Wrap Up | 2022

Happy August!
Here’s hoping I have a better reading month this month. July was pretty bad. I was in a massive slump. I barely touched a book. I only managed a few graphic novels.

Lore Olympus Vol 2 by Rachael Smythe

I was in such a slump, I knew I needed something fun and easy to get me back in the mood. So I picked up this, highly anticipated after Vol 1. I loved it!! Just what I needed. Now in need of Vol 3… which is out in October!
Rating: 4.5 Stars


Paper Girls Vol 1
Paper Girls Vol 2 by Brian K. Vaughan.

I decided to pick up more graphic novels. I decided to give Paper Girls a go. I love Saga by Brian K. Vaughan. I’m enjoying it so far! The whole story is out (6 volumes) which I will be binging! Look out for those reviews coming soon.
Vol 1 rating: 4 Stars
Vol 2 rating: 4 Stars

What did you read in July?

Books

Mixed feelings? Problematic but Fun… | Audiobook review: *I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

Goodreads Synopsis:
Chloe Green is so close to winning. After her moms moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, she’s spent the past four years dodging gossipy classmates and a puritanical administration at Willowgrove Christian Academy. The thing that’s kept her going: winning valedictorian. Her only rival: prom queen Shara Wheeler, the principal’s perfect progeny.

But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes.

On a furious hunt for answers, Chloe discovers she’s not the only one Shara kissed. There’s also Smith, Shara’s longtime quarterback sweetheart, and Rory, Shara’s bad boy neighbor with a crush. The three have nothing in common except Shara and the annoyingly cryptic notes she left behind, but together they must untangle Shara’s trail of clues and find her. It’ll be worth it, if Chloe can drag Shara back before graduation to beat her fair-and-square.

Thrown into an unlikely alliance, chasing a ghost through parties, break-ins, puzzles, and secrets revealed on monogrammed stationery, Chloe starts to suspect there might be more to this small town than she thought. And maybe—probably not, but maybe—more to Shara, too.

Fierce, funny, and frank, Casey McQuiston’s I Kissed Shara Wheeler is about breaking the rules, getting messy, and finding love in unexpected places.

My thoughts:

I binged this audiobook in a single day.
It’s a very light, easy read. I didn’t know anything going in and have never read anything by this author previously.

It’s a YA contemporary / mystery with an LGBT romance.
It was interesting from the get-go, I was intrigued by the plot almost instantly. I’m not the biggest mystery reader but I did enjoy that element to this novel. I like the ‘disappears and leaves clues for x to find’ kinda trope.

It was very YA – the main characters are expectedly immature, dramatic, and obnoxious. They were a bit over the top for me. I didn’t particularly love anything of the characters.

The story itself is nothing particularly unique but it is an enjoyable plot. The twists aren’t particularly shocking. Some just didn’t really do it for me, in terms of believability.

I did enjoy the fast pace of the story, I hate when things are dragged out too much but I think the balance of mystery and reveals/resolution was well done here.

My main issue is I found it to be toxic. Shara is a very toxic character. She’s manipulative and I just can’t get behind a toxic romance. It felt a bit forced and weird. I don’t know, the ending just wasn’t for me.

Overall, an amusing read. Would definitely recommend to YA mystery/romance lovers. It’s not a new favourite but worth a read!

Rating: 3 Stars