Tag Archives: novel

ARC Book Review | Little White Lies by Philippa East.

little white lies

little white lies book cover

Title – Little White Lies.

Author – Philippa East.

Expected date published – 4th February 2020.

Publisher – HQ.

Series status – Standalone.

Add to Goodreads. 


Synopsis

She only looked away for a second…

Anne White only looked away for a second, but that’s all it took to lose sight of her young daughter.

But seven years later, Abigail is found.

And as Anne struggles to connect with her teenage daughter, she begins to question how much Abigail remembers about the day she disappeared…


My thought on the book

*Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book*

An intense web of secrets, a mysterious lie hanging over them. Little White Lies was a riveting read showing how complex trauma is, and how it destroys not only the victim but also their families.

The two different perspectives worked well and the voices were distinct. I found Jess naive and somewhat childlike and I felt sorry for her. I didn’t connect well with Anne but only because I knew she was hiding something and I couldn’t trust her.

It was intriguing to see what could happen when a missing child is returned after so many years. How it can tear families apart and change not only the kidnapped child but also the ones closest to them.

I quickly realised that all was not as it seemed and some of the characters were hiding things. Anne’s reaction to her daughter coming home was somewhat strange and angered me at points. I couldn’t understand why she reacted the way she did, however, it all becomes clear at the end.

Overall, this book was riveting, exciting and kept me engaged. I had so many questions and I couldn’t stop reading because I needed to know the whole truth. A great debut novel and I’m so excited for the author’s future books!


Have you read Little White Lies? If so, what did you think?

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20 Post-Apocalyptic Prompts to Inspire You Next Novel

post apocalyptic prompts

I’m back today with more writing prompts! This time I’m giving you some post-apocalyptic prompts. If you would like to check out my other writing prompt posts I will leave the links down below –


apocalypse

1. The electric goes out and everyone’s disappeared.

2. Write a story from the perspective of a zombie.

3. You were born the year the apocalypse happens. Tell your story.

4. You need food so you break into an abandoned supermarket. That’s when you hear the music box start playing and you realise you aren’t alone.

5. You’re the leader of the baddest, most ruthless gang in the wasteland. Write about what happens when someone threatens your leadership.

apocalypse

6. A character uses the apocalypse to forge a new identity and start a new life. Why?

7. The unthinkable happens and now you’re stuck in your dad’s bunker.

8. Multiple volcanoes erupt at the same time, destroying much of the world. You only survive because you were playing up in the mountains with your friends. What happens next?

9. Your family have been ready for months. Except when the bombs finally arrive you’re trapped inside the bunker and your dad is nowhere to be found.

10. You thought you were alone in this new world until you meet up with an escaped convict.

apocalypse

11. A strange howling is heard across the world then everything erupts into chaos.

12. The oceans rise and the world is flooded. How do you survive?

13. You’ve always hated Friday the 13th. That’s why you weren’t surprised when the apocalypse happened on that very day.

14. You’ve spent the last 2 years in your bunker and now it’s time to resurface. Write about what you find.

15. The only reason you survived the apocalypse is because you agreed to go into a special bunker to be experimented on. Now, a group of you have decided to break out. Write about what happens.

apocalypse

16. You are searching for supplies when you find a 10-year-old girl huddled in a supermarket. You decide to take her with you.

17. How you would you celebrate Christmas in the wasteland?

18. You agreed to be cryogenically frozen whilst the apocalypse took place. What everyone thought would happen, turned out to be wrong. Everything is so much worse.

19. A riot breaks out in your bunker and the only way to get away from it is to leave the safety of the underground, but you don’t know what’s out there.

20. A spat of dangerous weather breaks out all over the world. Hundreds of thousands of people die. You are left to take care of your 2 small siblings. What happens?


Let me know if you use any of these prompts, I’d love to see what you come up with. 

post apocalyptic prompts

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Book Review | The Rain Belongs Here by Julie Rogers

book review

Title – The Rain Belongs Here.

Author – Julie Rogers.

Publication Date – 1st November 2019.

Add to Goodreads. 


Synopsis

If she succeeds in finding him, he’ll be charged with murder. If she fails, he won’t likely survive on his own.

It’s 2064. Ana lives in the City, an experimental community that has had little contact with outsiders in decades. When her older brother Finn disappears on her 22nd birthday, a seemingly impossible event given the City’s extensive monitoring, she quits school, moves into her station wagon and embarks on an obsessive manhunt. Unable to find him on her own, she’s forced to partner with Aaron, a detective with his own complicated history and agenda.

Together they comb the dregs of the outside world, encountering both the horrors of lawless survivor communities and the unclaimed beauty of the old world. As Ana comes closer to understanding her brother’s disappearance, she’s forced to confront the truth about herself and her place in the City.


My thought on the book

4 star book review

* I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review*

The Rain Belongs Here follows Ana as she desperately tries to find her older brother Finn. The book is set in 2064 in an isolated city with no access to the outside world.

The author has built this incredible, addictive world. Firstly, we have the city where people have been made to fear the outside world. It was so interesting to read about this new city that had been created to protect people from the horrors of the outside. When we head out into the old world, it was just as compelling. The different factions we read about are fascinating and I only wanted to find out more about them.

Ana was a great protagonist. Her dedication and obsession with finding her brother drew me into the story. I found myself just as invested as she was in finding her brother. I also found it interesting following her journey into the outside, and how she reacts to this strange, new world she had feared her entire life.

I was constantly guessing about what happened to Finn and what his goal was on the outside. I found myself not believing he would leave his sister, not for anything small, it had to be something big or important.

The writing was incredible – it kept me engaged and reading when I probably should’ve been doing other things. The only disappointment is that this isn’t going to be a series, as I’m not ready to let go of these characters and world. (I have since found out the author is writing a sequel which I’m so excited for!)


Have you read The Rain Belongs Here? If so, what did you think?

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How To Avoid Stigmatising Mental Health In Your Novel

Hi guys and welcome back to my blog. In today’s post I’m going to be talking about how to avoid stigmatising mental health in your novel. Unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma attached to mental illness (and in my opinion made worse by social media) and people seem to be determined to see mental illness in a certain way. Every single person suffering from an illness is completely different, and everyone’s experiences are individual. The portrayal of mental illnesses in popular fiction (books, TV, film etc), if done incorrectly, can make the stigma worse and is damaging to those of us who suffer. Below, I’m going to share some tips to help you portray mental illness in the best way you can..


Although not everyone will feel comfortable sharing their experiences, as long as you are respectful and remain non judgemental some sufferers will be perfectly happy to give you some insight. Talking to actual sufferers of mental illness can be enlightening and give you valuable first hand accounts on what it’s like to live with a condition. This information can enable you to to craft a realistic portrayal of a character suffering from a mental illness.

Side note – remember never use information that enables anyone to be identified. Remove all identifying features, change their histories and/or life experiences so your character is a new person. Lots of writers use bits and pieces from all different kinds of people to create characters, because basing a character too similar to someone in real life can open you up to problems.


Use proper, respected sites to gather your information about the mental illness you are including in your novel. Remember that there are many different symptoms related to mental illnesses and you don’t always have to just use the typical, well known ones in your novel.

Some greats sites include Mind | Childline | Rethink | Beat.


Don’t scrimp on research, and make it a priority to check and double check before the final manuscript is released. Also, take your time when you are developing characters to make sure that every aspect is weaved into the story. Make sure you have accounted for things like possible causes, a detailed history and how it affects their everyday life.


It can be easy to observe mental illness in films/books/tv shows and automatically assume the portrayal is correct or that’s the only way someone with a mental illness presents. Sadly, many fictional portrayals (especially films) can be highly stigmatised and often show sufferers to be dangerous. Also, don’t use information from tabloid newspapers. These articles can be harmful for stigma and often contain incorrect information.


This irritates me because recovery is not something that happens overnight and it’s unlikely to happen without treatment of some sort. These things take time and hard work. Acting like miraculous recovery is the norm may make people believe that that’s how it happens in real life, or that all you have to do is think positive and boom, you’re cured.


Have you written a fiction book including mental illness? Do you have any tips for writers on this topic?

What’s In My Writer Toolkit? (And Tips On Creating Your Own!)

Hi guys and welcome back to my blog. In today’s post I’m going to be sharing what’s in my writer toolkit and how you can go about making your own. There are many definitions as to what a writer toolkit is but to me it’s anything I need nearby or anything I find helpful when I’m writing. I keep the majority of my items in the above Harry Potter bag one of my close friends got me for Christmas (you can check out her blog here!) Without further ado, here is my writer toolkit..


Novel bible.

This is probably the most important item in my toolkit. If you don’t know what a novel bible is it’s basically a collection of all aspects of your novel – character information, locations, scenes, research etc. It’s so when you’re writing you have all the information at hand. Although there are computer programs that are great for this, I find there’s nothing like good old pen and paper. It also saves having 10 tabs open and getting easily distracted from writing. At the moment I’m currently in the process of trying different things to discover which works best for me as a writer, but for now I am just using an A4 notebook.


Bullet journal.

At the present time I just have one bullet journal for all of my needs – including my personal planning as well as my writing life. I’m in the process of deciding on whether or not I want a separate one just for writing, but for now my one bullet journal always needs to be nearby so I know where I’m up to and what I need to do next.

If you’d like to see inside of my bullet journal you can see my 2019 Bullet Journal post here. 


Scene cards.

It took me a long time to discover the advantages of using index cards for my scenes, but it’s honestly the best way I’ve found to organise my outline. In my toolkit I keep my current novel’s scene cards as well as some spare ones in case I need to add anything in as I go.


Emotion thesaurus.

I’ve had my eye on this book for a while after seeing it recommended in a YouTube video. I struggle a lot with ‘show don’t tell’ especially when it comes to emotions. This book is helping me so much with finding different ways of describing emotions whilst also improving my writing. This should be a staple in all writer’s toolkits!


The Witch’s Journal and The Green Witch.

I am fascinated by anything to do with Witchcraft and the Pagan religion so it’s only natural it creeps into my novels. I was pleased to receive these books for Christmas from my best friend, and I put them straight into my toolkit. They are an amazing reference for writing my current and future novels.


1000 Words To Expand Your Vocabulary.

This was another book I received for Christmas from Channie! As a writer I am fascinated by words and this is a great book for learning new words!


iPad keyboard.

Lastly, I have my iPad keyboard. It’s nothing fancy, just a bog standard Bluetooth keyboard. I do the majority of my writing on my iPad because I find writing on a computer hurts my eyes and because it’s heavy I can’t use it for long periods of time. However, there’s nothing like typing on a keyboard so this was an essential purchase for me.


  • What are some essentials you can’t write without? Maybe it’s things you absolutely must have before you can even start writing. Notebooks, laptop/tablet, pens, novel bibles, scene cards are some ideas.
  • Are there any reference books that you find useful when your writing, or that relate to your current work in progress? For example – my witch’s journal. However, this could also mean dictionaries or thesaurus, or vocabulary books.
  • Are there any books on the craft of writing you like to dip in and out of while writing?
  • Do you like to keep a planner for your writing? Somewhere you write down your goals, deadlines, ideas? Whether that’s a bullet journal, Filofax, page a day diary etc.
  • Anything you use/get inspiration from – favourite books, pictures, music, quotes.


Do you have a writer toolkit? If so, what’s in yours?

December Wrap Up + Goodreads Challenge Final Update

Welcome to my last Blogmas post and final blog post of 2018. Today I’m going to be sharing what I read in December and also wrap up my 2018 Goodreads challenge. 2018 hasn’t been the best reading year for me – in between a massive move and starting 2 modules at university I’ve been busy, too tired or lacking concentration to read as much as I normally do. However, looking back at all the books I’ve read this year I’ve been really lucky to read many amazing books. I’m surprised because I’m not always one to rate 5 stars and as you’ll see I had a lot of 5 star reviews. You’ll notice I don’t have any 1 or 2 stars reads this year and that’s because 9 times out of 10 if I’m not enjoying a book I’ll abandon it. Without further ado, here is my wrap up!


Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

I also read the Assassins Blade this year and loved it. I have had this series on my shelf for the longest time and I finally got to read it. I’ve only read the first one and part of the second one so far, before I got distracted with my Christmas books. However, I’m enjoying the series so far and I’m excited to see what happens next.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling.

So I started my reread this month and once again I have fallen more in love with Harry Potter (who even knew that was possible!). It’s exciting to read and remember all the little things I’ve forgotten.

You can read my review for this book here.

Another post that may interest you is Harry Potter Scenes I Wish Were In The Movies Part 1.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab.

This month I decided to try a free trial of Scribd. I love it – and unlike Audible you can listen to as many books as you want in a month for the same price. This was my first book by Victoria Schwab and it’s safe to say that I fell in love with her writing. I’m excited to read all her other books in the new year.

Mr Greedy, Mr Mischief and Mr Happy by Roger Hargreaves.

The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle by Beatrix Potter.

The Tale of Two Bad Mice by Beatrix Potter.

Castle of Doom by Sarina Hossain.

The last few books I read in December were very short. With only 6 hours to go until midnight I was determined I was getting to my goal of 50 books. I have never failed a challenge yet and I wasn’t having it beat me. I crammed in the last 6 books and I did it!


Goal – 50 books.

Final count – 50 books.

5 star book review

  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.
  • The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin by Beatrix Potter.
  • The Tale of Benjamin Bunny by Beatrix Potter.
  • I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore.
  • Mr Bump by Roger Hargreaves.
  • The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore.
  • The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore.
  • Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.
  • The Revenge of Seven by Pittacus Lore.
  • I Know A Secret by Tess Gerritsen.
  • My Real Name Is Hanna by Tara Lynn Masih.
  • We Are Okay by Nina LaCour.
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber.
  • Legendary by Stephanie Garber.
  • The Assassin and the Healer by Sarah J. Maas.
  • The Quiet You Carry by Nikki Barthelmess.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
  • The Doll by J.C Martin.
  • Mr Greedy by Roger Hargreaves.
  • Mr Mischief by Roger Hargreaves.
  • Mr Happy by Roger Hargreaves.
  • The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle.

4 star book review

  • Night of the Living Dummy by R.L Stine.
  • The Blob That Ate Everyone by R.L Stine.
  • Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco.
  • The Fall of Five by Pittacus Lore.
  • The Last Days of Lorien by Pittacus Lore.
  • The Fate of Ten by Pittacus Lore.
  • Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis.
  • The Assassin and the Pirate Lord by Sarah J. Maas.
  • The Assassin and the Underworld by Sarah J. Maas.
  • The Assassin and the Empire by Sarah J. Maas.
  • The Rain by Virginia Bergin.
  • The Storm by Virginia Bergin.
  • Mirage by Somaiya Daud.
  • City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab.
  • The Tale of Two Bad Mice by Beatrix Potter.

3 star book review

  • The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter.
  • A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke.
  • Island by David Almond.
  • It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini.
  • Black Cairn Point by Claire McFall.
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
  • The Assassin and the Desert by Sarah J. Maas.
  • Seed by Lisa Heathfield.
  • There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins.
  • Immortal Girls by Griffin Stark.
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.
  • Signal Failure by David Wailing.
  • Castle of Doom by Sarina Hossain.

What have been your favourite books this year? I hope you all have a wonderful and safe New Years Eve. I’ll see you all in the new year!

The Dreaded Reading Slump (And How To Pull Yourself Out!)

We all know the situation – you pick up a book and YOU JUST CAN’T READ! It’s the bane of a readers existence and personally I feel like, in the reader world, there’s nothing worse than a reading slump. I went through so many slumps this year and at times I thought my brain might explode from lack of reading! I’m here today to pick out some of the reasons why slumps happen and also offer some tips to get out of one…


Possible causes..

Too much Netflix!

I can lose hours and hours of time binge watching a new tv show I just discovered. 77 episodes later and I’ll emerge from the shame and realise I haven’t picked up a book in days. This is also happens with YouTube – I watch one video and then fall down the black hole of clicking every video that pops up..

You’ve just finished the best book ever.

The times when nothing will ever compare to the book you’ve just finished and everything else beside it is going to be rubbish. This happened to me with Caraval and Legendary this year, and was responsible for my big slump around July. I sulked because all I wanted to read was the 3rd book in the series and it wasn’t out yet!

You can’t get into the current book you’re reading.

This happens to me a lot. It’s when you don’t connect with the book but you’re too stubborn to move onto another one. It then causes you to lose the oomph to pick up the book and actually read it.

You’ve read too much.

I wish this wasn’t even a thing. This is when your brain basically tells you to stop reading before it explodes. It’s the times when you want to read but your brain doesn’t.


My top tips for getting our a reading slump.

Re-read an old favourite.

For me, it’s Harry Potter. If I’m struggling with a slump I’ll pick up this series. It always reminds me of how exciting I find reading and inspires me to explore other worlds. Plus, I know the story back to front so it doesn’t involve much concentration.

Try an audiobook.

I love audiobooks! They help me get out of a slump if I’m struggling with concentration. The beauty of them is that you don’t have to do anything but listen. I recommend Scribd – they provide audiobooks and ebooks. Unlike Audible which only allows you 1 audiobook per month, you have unlimited use for the entire month for £7.99 (which is the same as audible)

Try short stories.

This is a brilliant trick for reading slumps. Something short and quick to read usually helps me find the joy in reading again.

Don’t try to read.

Sometimes your brain just needs a break so listen to it. Do anything other than reading for a few hours or days and then try again!

Don’t be stubborn and DNF a book you’re not enjoying.

There are too many books in the world to read – that you’ll probably enjoy – to stay hung up on a book you’re not into. It took me a long time to realise this so I’d always force myself to finish every single book I picked up. Don’t do it to yourself – it’s not worth it and you’ll probably miss out on great books with all the time you’ve wasted on trying to finish a book you’re not connecting with.

Try a different genre.

Maybe you’re having what I’d like to call a ‘genre burnout’. If all you ever read is fantasy, then maybe try contemporary. Or if you read sci-fi, then try fantasy and so on.

Head on to Goodreads or Instagram etc.

I do this all the time when I’m in a reading slump because when I see others flying through books, it reminds my brain of how much joy I get from reading. However, air on the side of caution as this could backfire and make your slump worse if you find yourself getting frustrated that you can’t read.


These are just some of the tips I find help me when I’m in a reading slump. What are some top tips that help you get out of a reading slump?