Snippets From My Writing Journal #2: Description/action

(A quick note: For those expecting The Blog Squad today, I'm afraid we're on a hiatus for this week. But we'll be back next week, so see you then :) 

Welcome to this week's snippet from my writing journal! Last week's sharing went so well and you were all so supportive and encouraging, that I've decided to do it again this week.  It's still very rough and unedited, but I hope you enjoy reading all the same :)

Context: This snippet is taken from Sara's point of view, who is the heroine of my Snow Queen retelling (Check out my Pinterest board HERE). Of all my stories, of all my characters, this retelling and Sara have been the most challenging and exciting to work with. She's such a flawed, complicated, hot-headed, uninhabited character that I have a very special place in my heart for. This scene doesn't reveal that, particularly, but I'm planing to show other snippets in the future that will. 
(While reading, keep in mind that Sara has ice powers ;). 

Written: 5 January 2017. 

And then I did some editing: 

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed today's snippet! 

I'm thinking of making this post a regular thing - sharing a snippet from my journal once a week. What do you think? Do you want to see more? 

Waiting on Wednesday #26: PERFECT - by Cecelia Ahern

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme originally hosted by Breaking the Spine and now taken over by Wishful Endings that highlights upcoming book releases we're excited to read. On my blog, I include movies as well.

Release Date: 4th April 2017. 

Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine's life has completely fractured--all her freedoms gone. Since Judge Crevan has declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with Carrick--the only person she can trust. But Celestine has a secret--one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground. A secret that has already caused countless people to go missing. Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save just herself or to risk her life to save all Flawed people. And, most important of all, can she prove that to be human in itself is to be Flawed?

I actually have an ARC of this book on its way to me, and I'm so honoured to be participating in the blog tour as well!
Having loved Flawed, I'm sure I'll adore Perfect too, and isn't the cover just GORGEOUS?! Ahern always has such beautiful covers for her books <3

Anyone else excited for Perfect?

100 GFC Followers Giveaway! Win a book from my bookshelf!

A giveaway is long overdue on my blog. In fact, I wanted to have one since about the day I started blogging, but that was kinda irresponsible and pointless ;)
I've never done a giveaway before, so I'm still learning the ins and outs of Rafflecopter and experimenting. Feel free to give your feedback!

BUT. 100 GFC followers. WOW. Thank you to all the amazing people who follow me (and that includes the ones on Bloglovin'). I can't believe I've reached 100, and it makes me want to cry just thinking about how my blog first started and how much it's grown.  Thank you everyone <3 xx


- There will be one winner. 
- The winner will have within 48 to respond before I choose someone else 
- I will handle all shipping, etc.
- The winner will choose one book from those pictured below.

All books are second-hand, but still in excellent condition. The Gift has a few creases on its spine, and The One has the very faded remains of a sticker at the bottom of the back cover. Otherwise, they're all in perfect condition :)

The books:

May the odds be ever in your favour...

Heads up: When I hit 150 GFC followers, I'll be having a movie giveaway! So stay tuned :) 

Weekly Round-Up: PINTEREST - say no more

In celebration of reaching 100 GFC followers, I'm giving away a book from my bookshelf! 
The giveaway will be up tomorrow :) 

I've had a pretty good week, I think. I'm now on holiday for two weeks, and I'm planning to do a lot more writing in that time (I have like 101 book ideas and procrastination is a very good friend).
That goes for my blog posts, too (the writing, not procrastination). I think I'm going to make April the month of writing (and not because I'm doing Camp NaNo, which I'm not. *cowers in shame*). 
So expect a lot of writing posts from me this month!  

I've also been VERY active on Pinterest this week, and I can't believe I didn't make aesthetic boards for my novels sooner! Gosh, if you ever need a kick up the backside to get writing again, Pinterest is a really good motivator. I'm feeling renewed love for all my characters and I can't wait to write again!(We'll see how long that lasts...)   
Anyway! You can find me on Pinterest HERE. I look forward to checking out your boards :)   

Posts of the week: 

Book Review: Can't Buy Forever
Film Review: The Girl on the Train
Book Review: Indiscretion

NOTHING! Oh the PAIN :( 

But I'll start reading again when April starts.  

I've already watched both these movies, but I wanted to own them. (I won't be reviewing them.) 

The Dressmaker was an okay film (thanks to its lead actresses), but I loved The Bourne Ultimatum. Didn't like Identity or Supremacy, but Legacy and Ultimatum were amazing :)

I've decided to include another section/feature on my Weekly Round-Ups:
"Around the Blogosphere". 
I'll be sharing the links to blogger posts I've particularly enjoyed reading that week. 

"Around the Blogosphere". 

Uma @ Books.Bags.Burgers introduces her writer self: For the Love of Writing #1

Audrey @ Audrey Caylin talks to the blogger community: To My Fellow Dreamers


Have you had a good week? What did you read or watch?

INDISCRETION (Andalucían Nights #1) - by Hannah Fielding

Indiscretion - Hannah Fielding
Year Published: 2015 - London Wall Publishing.
Pages: 464.
Genres: Adult / romance / historical fiction /
Source: Thank you to the author for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Spring, 1950. Alexandra de Falla, a half-English, half-Spanish young writer abandons her privileged but suffocating life in London and travels to Spain to be reunited with her long-estranged family. Instead of providing the sense of belonging she yearns for, the de Fallas are driven by seething emotions, and in the grip of the wild customs and traditions of Andalucia, all of which are alien to Alexandra. Among the strange characters and sultry heat of this country, she meets the man who awakens emotions she hardly knew existed. But their path is strewn with obstacles: dangerous rivals, unpredictable events, and inevitable indiscretions. What does Alexandra's destiny hold for her in this flamboyant land of drama and all-consuming passions, where blood is ritually poured on to the sands of sun-drenched bullfighting arenas, mysterious gypsies are embroiled in magic and revenge, and beautiful dark-eyed dancers hide their secrets behind elegant lacy fans?

 I read Fielding's novel The Echoes of Love about a month ago, and unfortunately I didn't enjoy it. As a result, I was hesitant to start Indiscretion.
But I'm happy to say that it was a lot better than TEOL, even if I still didn't love it.

It was a relaxing read, and it was easy to get lost in the exotic world Fielding created. The atmosphere was fully immersed in the story, and the setting was a character in itself. But to be honest, the description - which was exquisitely detailed and frequently vivid, though not as much as you would expect -  was both a positive and a negative.  Yes, it's vivid, and Fielding does a brilliant job of evoking all the senses and showcasing every possible detail in the scene, but the problem lies in that very fact: it leaves nothing to the imagination. And because there's so much detail, it's impossible to take it all in. I didn't find the huge amount of description boring, exactly, but there was just too much to absorb, and at the end of the scene I'd come away without having seen the setting and characters clearly in my mind.  Or at least, without the level of detail Fielding had invested in it.

The plot was incredibly threadbare, and had all the cliches of a stereotypical romance: dashing hero - dark and brooding - innocent heroine, equally dashing rival - but who, unlike the hero, goes just a bit too far over to the dark side.
The language was cheesy and flowery, the dialogue unrealistic, and the passionate exchanges between Alexandra and Salvador made me roll my eyes.

My favourite characters were Esmeralda and Ramon. I did like Alexandra's writing temperament, but I couldn't stand how perfect she was; and by perfect, I mean how beautiful she was. She had real flaws and I liked that, but I couldn't stand how literally every man in the novel was falling at her feet in adoration and begging her to marry him. She was beautiful - the author never missed the chance to remind me - and I just had no patience for a heroine that everyone seemed to be falling in love with and who put the looks of every other woman to shame. 
Salvador was not my kind of hero, but I can certainly see why female readers would swoon over him. Personally, I found him infuriatingly hot and cold (the way he treated Alexandra was aggravating, to say the least) and he had huge potential for becoming controlling, domineering, and overly possessive when it came to Alexandra.

I didn't like the romance at all. Fielding's romances are always very physical, and I personally want more from a romance than that. The amount of lusting that went on between Alexandra and Salvador was tiresome and irritating, and I couldn't stand it.  I wanted more relationship, and yet things were constantly coming back to the physical. I'm not denying physical attraction plays a part in romance - obviously it does - but in this novel it was the emphasis, and that didn't sit well with me.
Here are some passages from the book that added to my dislike of the romance and Salvador:

  "What about the night at Ronda, and this morning?" she {Alexandra} whispered........
"They meant nothing." Salvador lent an arm on the cupboard door and ran the other hand through his unruly hair.
"Nothing?" Alexandra stared in disbelief.
"Why must you always challenge me, Alexandra?" He spoke without looking at her. "You're a very beautiful woman. No hot-blooded man would be able to resist you. Can't you see that?"      

WHAT? Excuse me? I have a huge problem with that conversation, and I feel like it summarises the characters' relationship: they'll spend a passionate minute or so making out in the shadows, and then Salvador will be all cold and distant to Alexandra and she'll have a little tantrum because she doesn't understand why he keeps pushing her away. Not to mention the fact that in this particular dialogue, he basically tells her that it's her fault he's attracted to her and unable to keep his hands off her, and it's all because she's just *insert sigh* too beautiful...  
Walk away, girl, walk away.  

And there's more:  

Salvador tells Alexandra when they're married: "We Spanish men don't like to let our wives out of our sight. we suffer an innate feeling of insecurity which makes us possessive and jealous, and no exception to the rule, as you've experienced." They both laughed and he drew her into his arms tenderly.  

You might think, by reading that last line, that he was joking. It's clear he isn't, though, as the rest of the story proves: Salvador is very jealous and possessive at times, and has said similar things to Alexandra throughout the course of the story.
I still say:  Walk away, girl, walk away.

If you love heated, passionate romance amid radiant historical settings and bubbling with secrets and revenge, then I'm positive you'll love Indiscretion. For me, however, the cons stood out more prominently because I didn't love the aspects I've described above.      

The Blog Squad: A Blogger Collaboration - Part 6

We are a group of three book bloggers situated on different continents but brought together by our love for books and a penchant for talking about them. We’ve joined our forces to create a collaborative series of posts about book blogging and we hope you’ll enjoy the discussions.


Blog scheduling - Do you do it?

I wish I did it!!! However I only manage to schedule the odd post or two; I’m not the most organised blogger in the world. :) I always end up with a few rough drafts, then a post or two that’s basically finished and then if I’m lucky I’ll be able to schedule a post in advance. 

 I know that I’ll do a Weekly Round Up (mostly on a Sunday), I vaguely look at Top Ten Tuesdays (once in a blue moon!) and then Wednesday's COULD be allocated to Waiting on Wednesday, and then Fridays I do The Blog Squad. I like to do a review at least once a week (although even THAT I’ve been falling behind on!) and random discussion posts crop up once in awhile… AS I said, I’m not the most organised blogger in the world!!

I’ve only ever properly scheduled The Blog Squad posts as the three of us live in different time zones and posting at the same time can only be achieved by scheduling. That being said, while I don’t “schedule” my other posts, I do plan them pretty well. I have a diary in which I write out outlines of posts (other than reviews) so it’s easy for me. But sadly, I haven’t been able to do that of late due to my college life being hectic! I’ll be completing my undergraduate degree in a couple of months and currently the only thing I’m planning are study time tables and stuff like that #notfun 

 But I do know that once my exams are over, like Amy, I’ll be epicly organized with blogging. For me, planning posts beforehand makes blogging so much easier and I always feel more relaxed when I know what’s going up on my blog the whole of next week or so.

Is there an acceptable number of posts per week for a book blog?

The short answer is yes: I’d like to hear from a blogger at least once a week or more. 

 I think that you have to be reasonably active in the blogosphere in order to have any real following and influence: Whether you post once a week or seven times a week, you just need to have SOMETHING. If I come across a blogger that posts content too irregularly then I find it difficult to take them seriously and probably won’t frequent their blog.

Okay this is quite a tricky question. I for one don’t like to post everyday. At the same time, I can’t not post at least once every week. A blogger does have to reasonably active. One post a month or so is NOT active. While I used to post about 4 times a week, currently it has reduced to 2 per week because of-you guessed it- exams! I’ll probably go back to 3-4 times a week after the exams but not more. I have many reasons for that. 

 A statistical reason is that find I get more comments on a post if it's on top of my blog for at least 2 days. If I were to post everyday, while I’ll probably get the same amount of comments overall, they’d be scattered across my various posts. (Does that make sense?) I think that’s because when we visit blogs for the first time, it’s the first post we decide to check out. The longer a post is at the top of the blog, more the traffic it gets. (but this definitely does not mean you should post just once or twice a month) 

 Another reason is that I don’t want to overwhelm my regular visitors. Readers can’t visit my blog everyday. I don’t want them to be faced with 7 or 8 new posts every time they visit. 

 Another more important reason is I don’t want to overwhelm MYSELF. I can only plan fun and enjoyable posts when I like doing it. Now if I start giving myself deadlines and pressures, I can hardly write happily. 

 I think it’s important to be active on your blog, and in the blogosphere. Commenting and interacting on other blogs is as important as posting on your own. You could post everyday and write amazing posts but for people to find your blog, they first need to know it exists. So go out there and make friends in the blogosphere!

Book Blitzes and Blog Tours - Your take

Book blitzes and blog tours are basically digital marketing campaigns for a book or an author and I love them! I am on the mailing list for both Xpresso Book Tours and YA Bound Book Tours and I will always participate in anything that catches my eye. Often these are smaller publications/ indie publications and one of the reasons that I’m blogging is to help promote and draw attention to the books and authors that I think should get it! 

 Blog tours especially are a wonderful way to see exclusive content like guest posts, interviews, excerpts etc. as well as reviews. While I prefer to do review spots when it comes to blog tours (so I know exactly what I’m promoting!) this isn't always possible with a tight review schedule and so being able to post other content is a great way to participate AND to show your readers something about the person behind the book. 

 Not only do book blitzes and blog tours promote the books and authors, but it also opens your blog up to more activity - especially if you are on Twitter!

I have participated in just 2 or 3 book blitzes and one blog tour.and truthfully I quite enjoyed them. Programs like Xpresso Book Tours do a really good job of organizing blitzes and tours. I do think these are a great way to get to know about new books; especially indie books. 

 I love book tours for you get so much information about a single book within the span - multiple reviews, author interviews and more help one get a pretty three dimensional idea of the book. I enjoy taking part and following book tours for this very reason. 

 I will be actively taking part in book tours from the month of May and hopefully help some wonderful indie authors and their books be recognized!

If you'd like to see my answers, hop over to their collab posts! : 

We hope you’ve enjoyed Part 6 in our series of discussion posts! 
Please talk to us and let us know YOUR answers below. What do you think of our responses? If you have any specific questions you’d like us to address in the future, please let us know in the comments section below. 
 Stay tuned for next week’s questions!

Snippets From My Writing Journal #1: Dialogue

(FYI: My journal isn't purple, like the image above. I just liked the image.)

This is a post I'm kinda stressing about because I'm putting my writing out there for everyone to see, and what's worse, it's totally unedited and very, very rough. *hyperventilates*

But I do want to show you guys what I've been doing since the start of January this year, which is: writing a page a day in a beautiful pink journal I got for Christmas. I'm not going to show you every page (that would make for a lot of embarrassing posts and some of my snippets are just cringe, to say the least) but I am going to show you the occasional one.

Even though I finished that pink journal on the 21st, I'm still keeping up the daily writing. I have another lovely turquoise journal - with even bigger pages: EEEK - so I'm still writing every day.

Since I was stressing about you all seeing my very rough work, I've decided to show you Before and After. First, there's the very rough thing that I scribbled on the 12th of Feb, and then there's the edited version I edited today. 

Without further ado.....
Context: My two characters - Ryan and Alex, from my contemporary retelling of Hansel and Gretel/Rumpelstiltskin - are going to confront someone. Alex has to confront them, and Ryan's tagging along.  

Written: 12 February 2017. 

Now - THANK GOODNESS - I did some editing:

Yes, it still needs A TON of editing, but that's it for now! 

Thanks for reading! 
Stay tuned for next week's snippet, which will be focusing on description...

Do you write? Do you keep a writing journal?  Do you find it hard to write every day? (I DO I DO I DO)

Waiting on Wednesday #25: 100 HOURS - by Rachel Vincent

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme originally hosted by Breaking the Spine and now taken over by Wishful Endings that highlights upcoming book releases we're excited to read. On my blog, I include movies as well.

Release Date: 28th March 2017. 

A decadent spring break getaway on an exotic beach becomes a terrifying survival story when six Miami teens are kidnapped and ransomed. Maddie is beyond done with her cousin Genesis’s entitled and shallow entourage. Genesis is so over Miami’s predictable social scene with its velvet ropes, petty power plays, and backstabbing boyfriends. While Maddie craves family time for spring break, Genesis seeks novelty—like a last-minute getaway to an untouched beach in Colombia. And when Genesis wants something, it happens. But paradise has its price. Dragged from their tents under the cover of dark, Genesis, Maddie, and their friends are kidnapped and held for ransom deep inside the jungle—with no diva left behind. It all feels so random to everyone except Genesis. She knows they were targeted for a reason. And that reason is her. Now, as the hours count down, only one thing’s for certain: If the Miami hostages can’t set aside their personal problems, no one will make it out alive.

The reviews for this book have been quite mixed so far, BUT DOESN'T IT JUST LOOK AMAZING? That cover is mind-blowing and perfectly sets what I imagine the tone will be, and the premise is INCREDIBLE. Thriller set in Miami, kidnapped teens, exotic beach, teenage drama, YES YES AND YES PLEASE.

Oh, I really really really hope I get to read this book when it comes out!

Anyone else excited for 100 Hours?

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (film) was more or less what I was expecting

The Girl on the Train - 2016
Cast: Emily Blunt / Haley Bennett / Rebecca Ferguson / Luke Evans / Justin Theroux / Allison Janney / Lisa Kudrow
Director: Tate Taylor.
Content Rating: R for strong violence, sexual content, language and nudity.
Source: Rented.

A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins was a flawless thriller that I devoured deliriously.  As soon as I heard there was to be a movie - THAT WOULD STAR EMILY BLUNT IN THE TITLE ROLE - I was desperate to see it. Despite mixed critic reviews, my own hype could not be deterred.
I just had to see this film, and yet when I did, I came away with mixed feelings.

Emily Blunt - as Rachel

The location was a very poor imitation of the world Hawkins delivered so vividly in her book. The book is set in London - which gives it its strong atmospheric relevance - but with the movie having been filmed in New York, it just wasn't the same. It lacked the gritty, chilly, piercing atmosphere so tangibly described in the book and worthy of being a character in itself, and the story as portrayed in the film felt rather divorced from location because of that. Since setting and location played such a big role in the book, the movie felt weaker because it lacked that authenticity.

The cinematography wasn't as strong as it could have been. In addition, the time jumps in the beginning of the film were jumbled and sloppy, and if you hadn't read the book first, I imagine it would've looked like a mess. But thankfully, it did clear up as it went along.

Rebecca Ferguson - as Anna

The plot was almost as strong as the book's, even though it inevitably excluded minuscule details. But Taylor kept some of the key literal aspects as were in the book, and overall it felt like a faithful book-to-screen adaption. Occasionally the script would waver, and it wasn't as tight as it could have been, but it was decent.
Even though I already knew how the story would end, I was still thoroughly gripped and entertained throughout.  It didn't exactly get my heart racing, but it held my attention.
Another comparison I must make between the book and the movie: I felt like the movie emphasised the theme more than the book (as I remember it; since I read it a while ago) did. The theme being: we can think we know someone but we don't, we can see the beautiful outside impression but fail to see what lurks beneath (as Rachel saw Scott and Meghan's relationship), and etc, etc. The movie made that theme a lot clearer, and to me it became utterly thought provoking. 

Film bordered too closest on soapy melodrama. It had a strong soapy vibe to it, and frequently came across "dreamlike". It wasn't real enough, and was too melodramatic and unrealistic in places. It felt removed, distant, and almost divorced from real life.  I say "almost" because it scraped by, but the soapy aspect was definitely still there.

Hayley Bennett - as Meghan

I found the acting quality varied.  All the guys were weak: Theroux was much better than Evans, but still weak. Rebecca Ferguson, as Anna, was definitely the weakest of the females, yet she was still stronger than the guys. But Emily Blunt was phenomenal, and Haley Bennett wasn't far behind. Blunt is a brilliant actress (and my main incentive for watching the film) and she let herself be utterly consumed by and immersed in Rachel's character.  She was exquisite, and gave heart, empathy, desperation, vulnerability, and intensity to the character as vividly as though she'd been born Rachel. She was a heartbreakingly flawed protagonist, and I was unable not to root for her.
Rachel was far from being a hero, but Blunt made her impossible to hate. And I thought her ability to convey such complicated inner turmoil was brilliant.

I felt like the writers did skimp on character development, but it wasn't a big issue.

The Girl on the Train was a decent thriller despite a faulty setting, some weak acting, and a melodramatic, soapy tone.   
But it was ultimately carried by a phenomenal performance from Emily Blunt who delivered an Oscar-worthy performance.  Without a doubt, Blunt was the highlight. And I am tempted to rate the film 4 flowers just because of her performance...   

Would I recommend it?: Not really.
Would I watch it again?: Yes.  

Weekly Round-Up: Reading and Watching

Hope you've all had a good week! I've been watching and reading a lot, but unfortunately the books haven't been amazing.   I've been binge watching The Musketeers series 1, and while it definitely isn't a great series, it's been fun and relaxing :) 
I also watched The Girl on the Train yesterday, and I'll be reviewing that this week. 

In other news, I've been keeping a writing notebook since the first of Jan this year, and on the 20th of March I'll come to the end of it. I'll go onto another beautiful notebook and keep writing a page every day, but I thought it would be cool to show you some of the snippets I've been scribbling down each day since the start of the year. So expect to see some of those soon :)  

Posts of the week: 

Book Review: The Helper
Book Review: Milijun

Having not enjoyed Fielding's previous book, I was hesitant to start this one. But it's okay so far :) 

This looks like a deliciously scary thriller, and I'll be starting it in a few months. 

I can't wait to read Lyrebird, and so when I saw it in a second-hand shop for a really cheap price, I grabbed it! 
I've already read The Help, but I bought this copy because I wanted an edition with the film cover ;) 
I've already watched Rogue Nation, but I loved it so much that I had to buy a copy. 

(I won't be reviewing any of these three). 

From this week on-wards, I've decided to hold off taking any more book photos. The reason: I'm becoming increasingly frustrated with my mediocre photo-taking skills, and so I'm going to wait till I can buy loads more flowers and a nice white sheet for a background. 
I'd rather deliver the best possible photos, and until then, I'm not going to force myself to take photos that don't meet that standard.  

How's your week been? What have you read or watched?