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June 2018

    ARC, books, cover reveal

    COVER REVEAL: Only A Breath Apart by Katie McGarry

    I am SO excited to be involved in my very first cover reveal on my blog today in connection Ink Slinger PR and the amazing YA author, Katie McGarry. Something about doing a cover reveal makes me very much like a ~proper~ book blogger. Like I have really made it now.

    It makes it even more exciting that it is for an author like Katie who I absolutely adore! Say You’ll Remember Me is the last book of hers that I read, and it is definitely one of my favourites ever. Not only does she write in my favourite genre, YA romance, but her writing is also up there with the best. Her more recent book covers are definitely nicer than the older ones, but that often happens with authors when budgets get bigger I suppose.

    And then we have ONLY A BREATH APART. It is just SO PRETTY. Look at those colours, the font, the composition. Then imagine holding the hardback in your hands. Amazing.

    Now, a little bit about the book itself.

    Jesse dreams of working the land that’s been in his family forever. But he’s cursed to lose everything he loves the most. 

    Scarlett is desperate to escape her “charmed” life. But leaving a small town is easier said than done. 

    Despite their history of heartbreak, when Jesse sees a way they can work together to each get what they want, Scarlett can’t say no. Each midnight meeting between Jesse and Scarlett will push them to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other. 


    Swoon. Scarlett seems like a character I will relate to a lot, coming from a small town myself and my own fair share of dramas, just like the next person. As painful as it is to be waiting till NEXT YEAR for this book, I am positive it will be worth the wait. 
    Something else which every book lover should know – and if you dont, I’m about to tell you – is the importance of pre-ordering books before their release date. 
    It not only tells the publisher and booksellers how popular the book is going to be, it also therefore allows for a bigger print run. The pre-order numbers represent the potential that the book has for its success. Pre-orders also count for initial first-week sales (as far as I know) helping the book achieve a space in bestseller lists. Retailers may increase their initial orders when they see pre-order sales, and we are all for making authors more money I am sure!! Writing a book is such a time-consuming activity, and the authors we love deserve to get some appreciation for their hard work. There is really no better way to support your favourite authors than by pre-ordering their books, so here are some links we you can pre-order Only a Breath Apart
    UK:

    US:
    More about Katie McGarry:
    Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

    Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON, BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine’s 2012 Reviewer;s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013. 

    Links:
    Twitter: @katiemcgarry

    A huge thank you to Ink Slinger PR for the opportunity to take part in this cover reveal. I’ll definitely be pre-ordering Katie’s new book myself, and urging everyone to do the same! Make sure to add it to your Goodreads list here so you can’t forget about it (as if you could).

    Here’s to all the future exciting things this blog will bring 
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    books, life, lifestyle, student, writing

    7 Tips for Studying an English Literature or Creative Writing Degree

    I’d like to start off by saying I am absolutely by no means the best student out there. I am lazy and unmotivated and self-deprecating, constantly racked with guilt after spending another day hungover in bed watching Netflix and doing no writing or reading.

    But, I have somehow managed to actually get some extremely good grades over the past three years, some of which I’m not sure I really deserve. In fact, my end-of-year grades for 3rd year were astonishingly good considering my lack of effort as I managed to pass with distinction, which would allow me therefore to (SOMEHOW) graduate just now with a First Class Bachelor of the Arts in English, Journalism and Creative Writing if I wished. However I am continuing on for my fourth year to do Honours level.

    I feel it is only fair to pass on the wisdom I have picked up throughout my time at university. Some of them probably only apply to the creative writing side, but many suit both writing and literature degrees. These degrees open up so many avenues for you in terms of careers – teaching, publishing, writing, pr, copywriting, editing, you name it. I’m not sure yet exactly where I hope my career will take me, but I do hope that it will include writing. I always said I never wanted to be an English teacher, but the closer it gets to the end of my degree, the more appealing it sounds to pass on my love for the subject. 

    Until then, here are some tips for if you are set to start a course after the summer, or thinking of applying in the future. I can’t recommend it enough if reading and writing is your passion.  

    I actually really enjoyed writing this post, so I hope you like it too! A lot of these tips come from my mistakes – just saying.

    DON’T PICK THIS DEGREE FOR INSTANT MONEY AND SUCCESS

    Unlike some types of degrees, and English or Creative Writing degree does not instantly qualify you to do a specific job. If you want to be a teacher, you have to combine it with an education degree or do a postgraduate degree in teaching. Like I said, they open up so many avenues for different careers, but you have to find the one that is right for you, and that is not necessarily going to be glaringly obvious before you start your degree. It is very much a degree to go into with just a passion for the subject, and see where that takes you. I still don’t know where that will be, but I am fine with that. (A little stressed, but mainly fine.)

    Prepare for lots of questions from people asking, “So when do you qualify?” NEVER. 


    READ READ READ

    This kind of goes without saying. The best writers do a lot of reading too. Not to steal other people’s work and ideas, but to improve your own writing skills and imagination. It also helps to not just read ‘good’ writing. I often find myself critiquing writing while I read without meaning to, picking out little mistakes that hopefully translate in my own work.

    DON’T BE AFRAID TO SHARE YOUR WORK

    It is often in class during a workshop that you will get the best ideas for your work. There is something about the banding together of fellow creative minds that can do wonders for your story. You can get ideas you may never have come up with on your own, and rework them to suit your own style. It may be daunting, especially at the beginning when you have no idea who these people are and how dare they criticise your work, but it is really one of the most valuable things about a creative writing course.

    ALWAYS GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO EDIT

    I have some cheek saying this, when I was always the one frantically typing the day the assignment was due and uploading it after barely giving it a second glance because I didn’t have time to edit. This is not the way forward. Learn from my mistakes. You will be sick of hearing this piece of advice from your tutors, but believe them when they say you need a fresh eye. You can’t spot your mistakes, irregularities, or plain stupid writing if you read it straight after writing it. You need to give yourself time to forget the tiny details, almost like you are reading someone else’s writing for the first time.

    This goes for blog posts too!

    YOU WILL HAVE TO DO CLASSES THAT DON’T INTEREST YOU – BUT PERSEVERE

    Depending on your university, you may have varying levels of flexibility when it comes to module choices. This often means you will be stuck doing core classes that are of little interest to you, which I do have a lot of experience of. I’m talking Renaissance literature, scriptwriting, poetry writing – you name it, I’ve done it. But that doesn’t take away from the fact you are still graded on these subjects and you still have to do your absolute best, whether it gets you all hot and bothered or it drives you to the brink of insanity.

    As difficult as it may be, remember that each of these classes are still improving your skills by forcing you to branch out from your comfort zone, read and write different things, and be as amazing at your craft as you possibly can be.

    FIND YOUR BEST WRITING TIME

    Do you work best by getting up at the crack of dawn and heading to the library with your take-out coffee cup when there are hardly any people around? Do you like your long lies and prefer to work in the afternoon? Are you a night owl, happy to sit up to the early hours of the morning typing away on your laptop? Whatever works best for you, stick to it. I definitely don’t work well in the mornings. My brain needs more time to wake up before I can be creative. This also relates to choosing your seminar times, if that is something your university has you do. If you aren’t creative at 9am, then it goes without saying that that is not the class time you should be going for, even if that’s the one your friends are picking.

    WRITE TERRIBLY FIRST

    I do pretty much all of my writing in a word document on my laptop because I much prefer the ability to write anything I want, no matter how terrible, and then be able to delete it without a trace before anyone can read it. Writing it down on paper feels so permanent, and I find myself struggling to get started in case it is shockingly bad. What is difficult to remember, but so important though, is that sometimes the stuff that starts off so terrible can be reworked later into some of your best work. If you don’t get anything down on the page, be it a paper or an electronic work, there is nothing to re-do later. The first draft is made to be deleted.

    I’d love to know if you study a literature or writing degree, so let me know! Do you think a writing degree is essential if you want to be a writer?

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    book review, books, recommendations, review

    Book Review: ‘Eve of Man’ by the Fletchers

    I don’t want to say I’m a stalker or anything, but I have a very unhealthy obsession with the Fletcher family.

    Or maybe it is mainly the Fletcher kids.

    What started off as a simple follow on Instagram has become full-blown admiration for possibly the most beautiful family I have ever seen. Buzz and Buddy melt my heart on a daily basis when I make a regular sweep of Instragram stories in the hope that there is a new clip of them being adorable. I also started following Gi’s sister at the beginning of this week when I realised they were all on holiday together and there would be more videos on hers too, only to fully discover just how cute her daughter is too.

    But that is not what we are here for today – or at least it wasn’t until I started writing about them and apparently couldn’t stop.

    We are gathered here today to say a warm welcome to the best new duo to hit the literary market. In their first novel together, Giovanna and Tom Fletcher have kicked off a dystopian trilogy that I am yet to see a single bad review of. And you won’t find one here either. For the first time in a long while, I have both started and finished a book in just over 24 hours, despite spending a lot of that time sleeping and working.

    Synopsis (from Goodreads)
    AGAINST ALL ODDS, SHE SURVIVED.
    THE FIRST GIRL BORN IN FIFTY YEARS.
    THEY CALLED HER EVE..
    All her life Eve has been kept away from the opposite sex. Kept from the truth of her past. But at sixteen it’s time for Eve to face her destiny. 
    Three potential males have been selected for her. The future of humanity is in her hands. She’s always accepted her fate. Until she meets Bram. 
    Eve wants control over her life. She wants freedom. 
    But how do you choose between love and the future of the human race?


    I absolutely flew through this book, eagerly drinking in each word. I had to keep fighting with myself not to skip over several lines at a time, desperate to absorb more. And while I don’t always mind when I do that when I am reading, every word in this incredible novel deserves attention. I don’t even think 5/5 stars is enough for this.

    I don’t want to say any more about the plot than what is in the synopsis above, because for this type of book I always think you get the most out of the wonderfully imaginative details if you don’t know too much about it beforehand. What I will say is that I loved Eve and Bram as the two main characters and love interests, particularly because you get to read both POVs, which is my favourite style. Too often we get just the female voice, or an unrealistic male voice, but Gi and Tom’s combined writing made for a perfect balance between the two. Bram, however, did just make me think of Bran in Game of Thrones every single time I saw his name, but I guess that isn’t a downfall.

    When you have read as many books as I have, it is difficult for one to sit in such high regard. One of the very few downsides to being an English Lit and creative writing student is that my brain is now wired to pick out tiny details. I often find that books I enjoyed before have little annoyances in them that I would never have noticed, but I can place my hand on my heart and honestly say that I cannot find a single fault in this book. I like to be politely critical when I am reviewing something rather than gush and gush about how wonderful it is in case I sound a bit superficial, but Tom and Gi’s amazing work deserves all the praise it can get.

    I seriously urge you to pick up this book as soon as possible. You will not be disappointed.

    (And they are already starting on Book 2!)

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    life, writing

    The Writer Tag

    While looking for some other book blogs to follow last week, I randomly came across an old post from 2016 on Viva Tramp on a writer’s tag that she made up herself. I love finding these things out about people, and since my blog is still very much a newborn, it also seemed like a perfect fit to introduce myself a little more, so here goes.

    1. What do you write? What genre? Any recurring themes?
    I write a lot of what I like to read, and that is realist fiction. I much prefer creating a world much like the one we live in so that I can draw on my own experiences to make the piece as interesting as possible. I’d love to challenge myself and write something a little more crazy though.

    2. What or who inspires you to write?
    Other writers. Whenever I see someone tweeting about an exciting project or instagramming a photo of them sitting at a desk or in a coffee shop, it always makes me want to do the same.

    3. Where do you write, when and with what?
    I do basically all of my writing from the comfort of my office, aka my bed. I never write in the morning, because the creative part of my brain seems to take all day to warm up, and then I am full steam ahead when I should be going to sleep. I get all my best ideas at night time. I very rarely write an actual draft by hand, it is always typed, but I do like to handwrite my notes because the ideas seem to flow well that way.

    4. Sound or silence when writing?
    Silence, or close to it. I don’t like writing with music on or the tv in the background because I find it far too distracting. Every day sounds are welcomed though – my flatmate moving around, cars driving by, the kids at the nursery across from my flat.

    5. Have you studied writing? If so, what was that like? If not, where do you feel like you learned your craft?
    I have! I have just finished my third year at university studying English literature, journalism and creative writing. I have absolutely loved my time at university so far, and it was 100% the right choice for me. I definitely don’t think you have to study writing if you want to be a writer, but I am definitely a million times better at it than I was before I started. It pushes me out of my comfort zone, makes me write things I’d never normally consider writing, and talk to other writers and brainstorm ideas together. It is a truly invaluable experience and I can’t believe I only have a year of it left.

    6. What do your family/friends think?
    My mum is so supportive of my writing. She loves it when I send her anything I have written and she is always so full of compliments. She’s determined she is going to be on the receiving end of a dedication in my first book one day.

    7. What do you find challenging?
    Getting started. I often struggle with writing the first sentence of any piece of writing, be it fact or fiction. Once I get going, though, I am a very speedy writer.

    8. What is your favourite thing about writing?
    It is the most perfect release. You can write anything at all, and no one has to read it if you don’t want them to so it can be as amazing or as shit as you feel up to that day.

    9. Any tips for writer’s block?
    As hard as it is, try not to put too much pressure on yourself to force an idea. The best ideas come naturally when you aren’t really expecting them. I often find I get a random idea, start planning it, and then an even better one somehow emerges.

    10. What are your lifelong writing goals?
    I hope to make a living out of my writing. I’d love to write at least one book one day (hopefully not a one-hit wonder), but also to make a difference with my writing. I want people to come away from it feeling like it resonated with them in some way, and then they tell their friends over coffee that “I read this thing the other day and you have to check it out…”

    (Side note: I now have a blog twitter account!! Now I can tweet about books and writing to my nerdy heart’s delight and not bore all of my twitter followers on my regular account who just want to hear what ridiculous thing I have done now, and have no interest in books whatsoever (no – I don’t get it either). You can follow me @writingfinch_ so send me a tweet to say hi!)

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    books, New In

    New In #1

    As I am sure is the case for most obsessive readers, I am constantly buying books before I have even made a dent in the already huge to-read piles dotted around my room.

    Before I probably buy more and don’t touch these books for a good couple of months, here are a few books I have picked up recently! Reviews coming soon for any I have strong feelings about.

    (All links are to the respective Goodreads pages where you will find what others think of them, and shopping links.)

     

    1. Eve of Man – Tom and Giovanna Fletcher

    To completely contradict everything I just said, this particular book is not getting left to collect dust on my bookshelf before I read it for the first time. I have been so excited for this book to be released for so long, especially in the past couple of weeks when I have been stalking them both on Instagram stories and seeing them already planning book two. They seem like the most genuine, lovely people, with the cutest kids, and I am already a big fan of Gi’s writing. Those factors already had me sold on the book, and then I read what it is what about and couldn’t have been more thrilled. When I started writing this post, I had originally said that First, We Make the Beast Beautiful was the prettiest thing I had ever seen. Since then, I have collected this book from Waterstones where I had pre-ordered it from, and I had to amend what I said. THIS is the prettiest thing I have ever seen. Look at that glitter. It is everything I could hope for in a book cover. If I was the author, this would be the book cover of dreams. 

    2. Rebel Heart – Penelope Ward

    I read the first book in this two-part series when it came out and then forgot all about the sequel which was to be released soon after. That is, until I saw it pop up on another book blog (sorry – I forget which!) and went straight on Amazon to download it. I did quite like the first one, although it didn’t totally blow me away. I can’t leave it where it ended on the cliffhanger, though, and need to know what happens next.

    3. First, We Make the Beast Beautiful – Sarah Wilson

    This gorgeous book claims to have a new take on anxiety, and I have high hopes for how it is going to make me feel when I read it. I really hope it lives up to expectation. It seems like a book that you can dip in and out of whenever you have some spare time, so I will probably be reading this alongside all the rest in this list.

    4. Meet Cute (short story anthology)

    This has been on my wishlist for a while now, but I finally took the plunge and ordered it when I spotted it as the June book in the Blogger’s Bookshelf Book Club. I’ve never taken part in this before, and I am so excited! I love reading a book at the same time as other people and getting to hear their thoughts on it too to see how they compare to mine. You get to pick up on things you maybe didn’t notice yourself too. This anthology contains sweet stories from 14 different YA authors, some of which I have read before like Sara Shepard, Nicola Yoon, and Jennifer L. Armentrout, as well as others that I have never heard of. That’s the beauty of a collection, I guess.

    5. History Is All You Left Me – Adam Silvera

    This is actually one which my best friend gave me to borrow, and I have high hopes for it. I haven’t ever read any Adam Silvera before, but I have heard good things about him.

    Make sure to add me on Goodreads to keep up to date with my reading progress!

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