Books

After the Eclipse- Blog Tour

I have the great honour of bringing you two different posts today as part of the blog tour for this absolutely fabulous thriller. The first post I have for you is a guest post written by the author, Fran Dorricott herself, all about her writing process. I don’t know about you, but I feel that this could be really useful- ENJOY, and keep an eye out for my review later today.

 

Fran’s Writing Process

 

Every book I write is different. I like to switch up my writing process a little bit each time so that I don’t feel like I’m getting stuck in too much of a rut, but there are a few things that never change no matter what I’m working on.

 

1. The first and most crucial step in any writing journey is making time to write. Quite often the early stages of a project are spent daydreaming. I come up with characters first usually, sometimes a hook. After the Eclipse came eclipse first, and then Olive, and then Cassie. The rest of the plot slipped in afterwards. Once I’ve spent enough time thinking, I make sure to begin scheduling physical writing time into my schedule. I work in a book shop (it’s an awesome job, but I’m often tired from days on my feet) so I often have to write around my shifts. It’s so important to make time and space for your writing! My advice is not to cut out all your other activities and hobbies (you’d be surprised how many plot twists I’ve thought of while watching reruns of The Simpsons or Law and Order: SVU) but to dial them back.

 

2. The other thing I make sure to do during the early stages of writing is to read. A lot. As I mentioned before, I work in a book shop so I’m nearly always reading anyway. The trick I’ve found, though, is to read something different to what I’m writing while I’m in the early stages of drafting. This is to make sure I don’t get my wires crossed! But during the daydreaming and editing phases I like to read in the genre of my project, especially choosing books by authors who really excel at what I’m struggling with in this particular project.

 

3. Next I have to find my ‘writing place’. I like to move around my house a lot, choosing a spot that works for a particular project. I wrote most of After the Eclipse sitting at my kitchen table. The book before that was written in my study (which, uh, I really ought to use more), and the book after I wrote largely from the sofa! It really helps me to compartmentalise if I have a working place I associate with a book, but I do get bored quite easily.

 

4. Another way I get myself in the right mood is by making novel-specific writing playlists and/or Pinterest boards. I go back to these whenever I feel like I’ve strayed too far from my vision and it really helps me to get back on track. Plus it’s a fun way to procrastinate when I get stuck!

 

5. I love to write my drafts as quickly as possible. My ideal drafting time would be around 6 weeks. I let myself obsess over a book, and I live there in the world without any sort of continuous break until I’m done. It helps me to keep in the characters’ heads, but also I have a terrible attention span so I lose track fairly quickly if I take too long of a break. I’m a fan of the phrase ‘write quick, edit slow’.

 

6. The final step before edits is to put it in a drawer. Or folder. I’ll send it to my agent or a friend so I can’t fiddle with it for a while. Then I’ll let it sit until I’m ready to tackle it. I’m always amazed what I miss on the first round!

 

These are just the things that work for me, though. I’m sure there are as many writing processes as there are writers!

Books

February Wrap Up & March TBR ’19

Well February proved to be a complete fail when it came to reading. I don’t know if I would count it as my slump coming back, as I did read a fair amount, but I didn’t actually manage to finish a single book.

I worked through two books this month, After the Eclipse -which to be fair I am almost finished with- and a buddy read of The Cruel Prince with Ellie over at Hatterell. You really should check out her blog, its full of really interesting reads and she’s super lovely!

So within the 28 days, I managed to read 294 pages of After the Eclipse and 142 pages of The Cruel Prince, making a total of 436 pages. Hay, that could be a book, so its not too bad. But anyway,  I want March to be better!

So the first two books on my March TBR should be no surprise, I plan to finish off both After the Eclipse by Fran Dorricott and The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. I’m certain that I’ll have these finished by the end of the month.

At the end of this month I will be going away to Gran Caneria, so I will probably not get much reading done then, as I am going with my partner and his family. So with this in mind, I am only going to be putting two other books on this list before my Twitter Poll book.

Firstly, for the holiday I will only be taking my kindle so as to save of luggage weight. Currently I have Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo on there, and I really do want to get through it so that I can move on to the Six of Crows duology and then King of Scars. I did try to read this when I moved last year, but it didn’t really happen- for some reason I do just really struggle to read on my kindle. But with two four hour flights, I am determined.

Now however much I really do want to pick up The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, I just know that realistically I will not get threw it before I go away. With that in mind I am going to hold off starting on this book until I am back and can adore it like I know I’m going to.

Therefore, the next book that I can not wait to pick up, The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman, is going to be my other TBR book for the month. I don’t know overly much about this, which I have done on purpose, so all I really know is that its a thriller mystery, that I have a feeling has magical or supernatural elements. Thank you to Titan Books for sending me a copy as I really have been looking forward to this one for a very long time! It comes out in stores on the 16th of April I believe.

That leads us onto the twitter poll books for the month; and I have chosen some good ones this month. So you can choose between, A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer, The Migration by Helen Marshall, or Zero Bomb by M.T. Hill. I am really gutted that I didn’t get to The Migration last month, but hopefully I will get to it this month if you decide for me to.

 

 

What are you reading this month?

Books

The Harry Potter Tag!

I have seen this tag dotted around for quite a while, but I stumbled on Jenny in Neverlands post today and decided to have a laugh and do this tag. I am a huge Harry Potter fan as many of you will know, so this tag just seems perfect for me. So lets get into it.Hogwarts

1. What House are you in?

Hufflepuff, definitely Hufflepuff. I am very proud of my house, and probably have way too much Hufflepuff themed things for one normal person to own. Message from future me- I did the Pottermore house sorting quiz and I got Hufflepuff, no surprise.

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2. What is your Patronus?

I think I would probably have to be something clumsy and awkward, so I’m thinking something like a Panda? I should probably do a quiz to find out for sure. Okay- future me- I did the Pottermore Patronus quiz, and my Patronus is an Otter, I am happy with that.

3. What is your wand?

Rowan wood with a dragon heartstring core, 12 ¾” and reasonably supple flexibility- answer from Pottermore

4. What would your Boggart be?

I am a huge scaredy cat, and am easily scared by many things. Think I would probably say my boggart would be Spiders, bugs, or dirt.

5. What position would you play in Quidditch?

Not so sure I would even play. I used to play forward in Hockey, so I would say probably Seeker, but my lack of mobility may make this hard.

6. Would you be a pure-blood, half-blood or muggle born?

Half-blood, my Dad used to be a big Harry Potter fan, he even read me the books when I was younger. A far as I’m aware though, my Mum isn’t a big Potter fan. Plus I’m always a bit out of the ordinary.

7. What job would you want to have after leaving Hogwarts?

I would love to help young wizards with getting ready for their first year of Hogwarts, maybe helping them find their wands? Or even maybe a role in Hogwarts, but probably not a teacher as such, more just supporting the students. Does Hogwarts have school counsellors?

8. Which of the Deathly Hallows would you choose?

Definitely the cloak of Invisibility. I would love to be able to go about as I want without being disturbed, so often I’m not in the mood to talk to people, but don’t have the heart to tell people that.

9. Favourite book?

Any of the Illustrated Editions, definitely Chamber of Secrets if I had to chose one. But when its just the normal editions then I would probably say the Deathly Hallows.

10. Least favourite book?

I don’t think I have a least favourite book, they are all amazing!

11. Favourite film?

Order of the Phoenix. I adore the Dumbledore’s army thing that goes on in this film, plus you have to love anything with Sirus in.

12. Least favourite film?

The final one, Deathly Hallows part 2; its so epic, and yet so boring. I just don’t feel like there is any story to it once the battle begins. Making it only about half an hour of decent film.

13. Favourite character?

How am I only meant to choose the one? I love so many of them. Luna, Hagrid, Dobby, Neville, Ginny, and that’s just naming a few…

14. Least favourite/most hated character?

I don’t really hate any of them. Even the bad guys have their purpose in the story, and many are still really interesting characters. Like Umbridge is a really nasty character, but she’s also really interesting to read about so don’t think I could say I hate her. Think the only character that I feel could of used more shaping to make me love him was Cedric Diggory. I see the point of his character, but feel it would of been better if he’d been in previous books so he had a more well rounded character.

15. Favourite teacher at Hogwarts?

Does Dumbledore count? He just seems like such a great head teacher. So caring, and willing to go above and beyond for his students to get the best out of them.

16. Least favourite teacher at Hogwarts?

That would have to be Umbridge, she really is an evil piece of work.

17. Do you have any unpopular opinions about the series?

No I don’t think I really do. I haven’t read any of the scene plays, and not so sure if I actually want to?

So that’s the Harry Potter Tag. I am not going to tag anyone, but if you want to take part then you really should. Its a good bit of fun for  a blog post.

Books

Science Fiction Recommendations 2019

I have been loving doing my recommendation posts over the last few months so I thought I would jump in and do another one today. This time around I am going to be recommending to you my must read Science Fiction books. Although science fiction is not a genre that I read overly much, and its certainly not one that I count as a favourite, but these books are all amazing examples of the genre, and some even come close to being some of my favourite books.

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The first book that I want to talk about, I have to recommend the entire series. The Sleeping Giant series by Sylvian Neuvel is a really quirky, futurist science fiction series, involving the discovery of giant robots and the journey of finding out where they have come from. This series is a really exciting page turner, telling the story from several different points of view and within multiple types of medium. You can read my review for one of the books here.

Another series like the Sleeping Giant series, told through various different types of media is the Illuminae files by Jay Kristoff and Aimee Kaufman. Although I am yet to read the final book in this series, the first two have certainly set the series up to be truly fantastic. These books are all set in outer space, across many different ships and colonies. One thing that both the first two books, and from what I hear, also the third, have in common, are they all have strong independent female lead characters. This is a young adult series, but one that I feel everyone could enjoy.

Also within the young adult category is possibly one of my favourite duologies that I have ever read. I saw that, I at least believe that it is only a duology- but I wont complain at more books. S.J Kincaid’s the Diabolic is an action packed political series. This follows a weapon, a modified girl, who is tasked with protecting her girl, and the events that follow after her girl is summoned by the Emperor. As things unveil they discover just how much the one thing she shouldn’t have, could be the thing to save them all, humanity. Any science fiction, or even fantasy fans will love this, I highly recommend it. My review for the Diabolic can be found here.

img_0987.jpgOn a slightly different note, my next recommendation is a twist on Christian fiction, Left Behind by Tim LaHaye. This book follows what happens after the disappearance of many people suddenly on a plane flight. It follows what those that are left behind have to deal with, and the strange events that follow. I don’t want to say too much about this, as its one of those books that I think is best to go into blind, and just enjoy what happens; I really need to get to the rest of the series really. The film with Nicholas Cage staring is also really worth a watch if you have the time, I do believe it is on Netflix.

The final book I want to recommend to you is one that I have the pleasure of reviewing before it came out, and that is Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan. This is a young adult, science fiction romance. It looks at just what would you do and say, when you only have 90 minutes of air left, what would you regret, what would you wish you had said? Katie is absolutely lovely, and this was a book that for once had me in love with the romantic story. This is not like me as Im not the biggest fan of romance, but this one had full hold of my heart. You can read my review for it here. Katie now has new book out that I really do need to pick up, The Light Between Us.

So those are all the Science fiction books that I have to recommend to you, if you are a fan of the genre, then I think you will really love these. What science fiction books do you recommend? I could really use some new ones.

 

Books

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

I am ashamed to say that I had the honour of receiving this book back in 2018, but despite trying to read it several times, my reading slump of last year kept making me put it back down. But January 2019, was the right time for me to read this book, and I have to admit it was the perfect book to read in the British Winter that we were experiencing.

Naomi Novik is the author of another retelling, Uprooted, and that is certainly a book I would recommend that you go and pick up; but this post is about her latest, Spinning Silver. A fairy tale retelling that is dark, emotional and oh so magical. It felt so real, and yet set in such a magical word; I would honestly feel the cold in myself (and not just because of the weather), because each word was so believable. That is absolutely the best kind of fantasy novels, when you can forget what the real world is.

‘Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand’img_1091

High fantasy worlds can be super confusing and tough to follow. Learning the political world and the magic system, you can easily get yourself mixed up and not understand why things are happening, or what the effects events will have. Naomi Novik creates these amazingly magical and beautiful worlds, and yet you feel as if you have lived in them your whole life. You catch on to everything that makes the world work so quickly and so easily, that its as if the world isn’t new to you after all.

One of my favourite aspects of this novel was just how little romance there was involved. Alright, there is a few marriages, but they are definitely more on the political scale rather than romantic. The relationships that take precedence in this book are the relationships between family. Between child and parents to be specific, in three different family situations. Its so refreshing to read a Young Adult book that has the centre on relationships within families, one that almost everybody can relate to. That being said, there is a very gentle slow growing romance that develops- more at the end of the book- but I personally don’t feel like it takes over the book.

This book is an easy five star read for me, its truly amazing and magical, and beautiful to dive into during these cold months. If you have not already then you really should get yourself a copy and let the story whisk you away. Despite its size, you can finish it in just a few days. Until her next release I am going to have to jump to a reread of Uprooted.

Books

January Wrap Up & Feb TBR ’19

So January may not of been my best month for reading ever, however with the reading slump I have currently been in, it was certainly a pretty decent month. You can read here what I had been hoping to read, and although I didn’t manage it all, I’m still happy with what I did read.

I completed two books, both of which I loved, a four star and a five star read, so I really cant complain.

The first book was The Lost Man by Jane Harper, her third novel, however this one is a stand alone. It is another masterpiece of thriller mystery writing. Harper is quickly becoming a favourite of mine, and I truly can not wait for her fourth novel.

The other book I read in January was Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. A magical fairy tale retelling this book is an amazing piece of fantasy; its left me in the mood to dive into more fantasy novels, including a reread of Naomi Novik’s previous novel. This was an easy five star read for me. img_1091

Now I have very high hopes for my reading in February. I think I am going to set my target at three books plus my twitter poll book, but ultimately we will see how the month goes.

That being said the first book I will and am currently reading is After the Eclipse by Fran Dorricott. A psychological thriller about two girls who both disappear at the time of an eclipse. I will be reviewing this 27th of February as part of the blog tour, but I will give you a sneak peak now, and say that a third of the way through and I am loving it. 38329334

Next book that I want to read so that I can see what all the hype is about is Cruel Prince. I had heard such mixed views of this book when it first came out, but the hype  has been back with the release of the Wicked King, and I feel like it might be something I will like. So I will be picking up this fantasy book hopefully this month.

The final book on my initial TBR this month is The Migration by Helen Marshall. I only know a little about this book, and that is that it is a horror-ish, catastrophe book set in England. This alone is enough for me to want to read it, its the sort of book that is right up my street. 42607151

Well that just leaves us with the twitter poll books for the month. As I didn’t manage to get around to the poll winner this month, I am going to include it again in this months poll, and hopefully I’ll actually get to the winner this month- but who really knows. So the options are; Clash of Empires by Ben Kane, City of Brass by S.A Chakraborty and Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. The poll will be up shortly for you to have your say.

What are you reading this month?

 

Books

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

The first blog tour of the year is always an exciting one, and its made even better when its a book that you found yourself absolutely adoring. The Lost Man by Jane Harper was exactly like that. I have had the pleasure of being a part of the blog tours for both of Jane Harper’s other books, and I must admit, this one was even better than the ones previous to this.40692028

They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old, no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron. The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish. Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he lose hope and walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…

In many ways this book was a family saga, the coming together of a family in their joint grief. I couldn’t help but make heart felt connections with the majority of these characters, my heart went out to them in their time of grief. I have lost people and I know it can tear a family apart before it can also bring the family together. Jane Harper portrayed this perfectly in this novel through the eyes of oldest brother, Nathan, but in such a way that you felt the pain of each and every one of the family members.

The twist at the end of the novel was one that I never in a million years saw coming, but actually when it was explained and I came away from the finished book it all pieced itself together nicely. Nothing in her novels ever leave me thinking ‘Well that doesn’t work’; yet they also always manage to change things up and surprise me in the final few chapters.

Set in Australia these books have such a vast, out landish setting, that (for a British girl like myself) seems so bizarre and unique. I can not imagine a life where if you leave your house, you have to take days of supplies with you in the car in case you cant get back; where you can go weeks without seeing another human being. The Lost Man leaves you puzzled right till the very end, with so many questions of the past and about the death of Cameron, yet as always Jane Harper works her magic to wrap up the whole thing and leave you satisfied yet longing for her to release more work.

I gave this four out five stars, and you really should get your hands on a copy at the soonest possible moment; and if you hadn’t already then you really should read her previous books, ‘The Dry’ and ‘Force of Nature’.