I Write Like…

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Hey hey guys!

Yes, I am still alive. Shocker, I know.

Since I last updated a month ago, I figured that I should make a fun post, rather than my normal book reviews. I was browsing Pinterest earlier and found this website earlier called I Write Like – it basically takes your writing, analyses it and tells you which famous author that your writing style is the most like.

I ran everything through a couple of times, just to make sure that it doesn’t randomize a different answer every time, and it looks like we’re safe!

Now, since I’ve been writing a few years *cough* procrastinating *cough*, I decided to put in some of my writing and see how my style has changed over the years (or not – we’ll see)

Style One: Holly’s Story, age 12

Starting us off, I used a few paragraphs from a story I finished at about the age of 12 (since then, I have never gone back to it…a part of me thinks it’d be better off left buried in my files)

(I’m not showing the actual text that I put in because it’s so shocking…but here’s the result!)

Stephen King

 

So, apparently my writing style at age 12 was that of Stephen King.

SWEET.

Confession: I am yet to read a book of his, but I know that he wrote Under the Dome, which sounds like my kinda thing – I will check it out at some point, promise!

Style Two: Holly’s Fanfiction, age 14

A dark time I’d rather not get into if I’m being honest. I copied and pasted a chapter of the first fic I ever wrote (Yes, it’s still up. No, I’m not telling you what it is.)

Agatha Christie

(Sorry for the bad quality of this one, I had to screenshot it because the code wasn’t working)

Agatha Christie? Yes please!

Confession #2: I actually only read my first Christie book this summer! Of course, it was Murder on the Orient Express and I LOVED it. I also read Lord Edgware Dies – and loved that one even more.

Style Three: Holly’s Fanfiction, age 16

Heh…so maybe I still write the odd piece of Les Mis fanfic…

Anne Rice

I can honestly say, the name Anne Rice is only tickling the back of my mind because I recently watched the trailer for Interview With The Vampire for media.
Although, I think that I will be putting it on my to-read list!

Style Four: Holly’s Literature Essay, Age 16

Hey, essays are very different to prose fiction. I’m curious to see which author I’m channeling when I write essays for class…

Vladimir Nabokov

…fair enough.
(He wrote Lolita. Which I totally knew without having to look at the author bio. Totally.)

Style Five: Holly’s Blog Post, Age 17

do write differently whilst blogging, I must admit. This is from one that I posted quite recently…

David Foster Wallace

…I have genuinely never heard of this guy. He wrote The Infinite Jest and The Pale King, which I have a vague recollection of hearing about.

Fun fact: The Pale King was unfinished in Wallace’s lifetime, so was published posthumously in 2011!

IN CONCLUSION

My writing style has changed significantly over the years, mostly to suit different needs and platforms. It’s interesting to note that I have literally read none of these authors, yet my writing style seems to be like them.

Maybe the authors that I do read take inspiration from them? Who knows.

This wasn’t going to be a tag, but if you want to do it, then go ahead!

See you later with another post!
Have a great summer!!

Holly xx

Murder Most Unladylike – Book Review

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(image via http://www.pexels.com)

Title: Murder Most Unladylike
Author: Robin Stevens
Paperback: 316 pages
Published: 2014 by Corgi Books
My Rating: 3/5 stars

Summary (from back of book):When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up a secret detective agency at Deepdean School for Girls, they can’t find a truly exciting mystery to investigate. (Unless you count The Case of Lavinia’s Missing Tie. Which they don’t.)

Then Hazel discovers the body of the Science Mistress, Miss Bell – but when she and Daisy returns 5 minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now the girls have to solve a murder and prove a murder happened in the first place.

But will they succeed? And can their friendship stand the test?

Reading this book made me realise just how much I miss Malory Towers. This book is reminiscent of Enid Blyton’s boarding school stories, blended with The Famous Five, which made up a significant part of my childhood library.

Mysteries are one of my favourite genres – I love them. Set in a boarding school full of Posh English Girls? Sign me up!

Unfortunately, we only actually got two girls who were somewhat developed as characters – Hazel Wong and Daisy Wells, the main characters are given plenty of screen time. Their peers? Not so much. That’s what was missing for me, the banter between all the girls and the arguments that usually ensue.

Hazel, as a protagonist, is a sympathetic character. I liked her, I could relate to her (and also, she’s a POC, which would’ve been pretty rare). She was bright, hated PE (same) and is a wonderfully loyal friend.

Daisy, however, I wanted to slap in the face with a copy of Les Miserables. She’s self-centred for the first half of the book, then is only slightly redeemed by remembering that Hazel actually exists. She’s so smart that she has no common sense and it’s infuriating to read.

If the other girls are under developed though, it’s because the thought went into the teachers, who are all given motives and backstories. There is one scene in particular at the end, where they are all around a table (with the girls peeping in) whilst an Inspector talks to them, that is highly charged with tension. In my opinion, it’s the best part of the book.

The mystery itself unfolds slowly over the course of the book, and the plot is quite basic. There are a couple of red herrings, but it’s honestly not that difficult to figure out once things get into the swing of it. That being said, the book is targeted at 8-12 year olds, so fair play.

It’s a relatively short book, I got through the majority of it in one day, so if you’re looking for a light-hearted mystery, then go ahead!

(Also, I loved that the Inspector’s name was Inspector Priestley. An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley, anyone?)

In all, the plot was simplistic, but engaging. As far as mysteries go, it wasn’t my favourite – that title still belongs to Enid Blyton’s Five Find Outers (and a dog) series.

I may read the rest of this series, but for the moment one is enough.

What’s your favourite mystery?

Holly xx

 

Peter Darling – Book Review

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(image via http://www.pexels.com)

Title: Peter Darling
Author: Austin Chant
Ebook: 18 Chapters
Published: February 2017 by Less Than Three Press
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Ten years ago, Peter Pan left Neverland to grow up, leaving behind his adolescent dreams of boyhood and resigning himself to life as Wendy Darling. Growing up, however, has only made him realize how inescapable his identity as a man is.

But when he returns to Neverland, everything has changed: the Lost Boys have become men, and the war games they once played are now real and deadly. Even more shocking is the attraction Peter never knew he could feel for his old rival, Captain Hook—and the realization that he no longer knows which of them is the real villain.

This was an interesting book for me.

On one hand, I really enjoyed it.

On the other hand, I had a few issues with it.

Starting with positives:
– I finished it in one sitting, which I haven’t done in AGES. It takes quite the book to keep me hooked like that.
– REPRESENTATION
– Seriously, transgender Peter Pan
– Never thought I’d see the day…but this was awesome.
– Also gay representation too, the main love story is a same sex couple
– The humour was on point. I knew I loved the book when I read this sentence on the second page:

“Samuel was walking ahead, where Hook could admire his arse.”

The shock factor made me grin more than anything, in that case.

I did however have a few negatives…

I just didn’t like how the Lost Boys were portrayed. I understand that is all part of the plot, fair enough. I just…they are some of my favourite characters in literature and they were basically stripped of any individuality and character that they had (which isn’t much to start with).

There were some nice touches, and I did feel for Peter, especially when he went back to his parents (whom I have never wanted to slap so hard in any adaptation of this novel.) I also liked Ernest, although we never scratched the surface of his character either.

The plot felt very simplistic too…I mean, I was engaged, sure. But I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the story and the ending. It felt more like a fanfiction than a novel (which is something I get a lot with retellings of Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland.) The story felt rushed, like action scene after action scene, with no time to get to know the characters.

One thing that I adore is the front cover (I’m sorry!!!). But seriously, look at this majesty:

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Ahem.
Anyway.

All round, it’s a solid book – it’s enjoyable, it contains representation and the humour is on point.

(One quick warning, if you’re planning on reading this one; there is a somewhat explicit scene in the novel, so you may want to skip a few pages if that makes you uncomfortable)

See you guys later with another post! (And sorry it took me sooo long to update this one!!)

Holly xx

The Orchid Caper – Book Review

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(image via http://www.pexels.com)

Title: The Orchid Caper
Author: Connie B. Dowell
eBook: 13 Chapters
Published: May 11th 2017 by Book Echoes Media
My Rating: 3/5 stars

Summary (From Goodreads): A down-on-her luck burglar, a trust fund college kid with something to prove. Will they outfox a master thief?

All eighteen-year-old Darlene wants is to rob the joint. College guy Ian comes home too soon. And some ill-timed flatulence brings them together. Darlene thinks she’s toast. Instead Ian gives her a job offer, leading a heist team to steal a rare species of vanilla orchid. Only catch, she’s swiping from one of the best thieves in the biz.

With her dad’s store on its last legs, Darlene needs the cash she’ll get when the job is done. Ian’s in it to win a bet. Can their rag-tag team pinch the flower right under their mark’s nose? And can they remember not to eat beans for breakfast?

The Orchid Caper is the first in a humorous YA action/adventure series. If you love action with a sense of humour, this is the book for you.

I received a free copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review.

Here goes:

This book was…interesting. The plot was, for me, too simplistic for a YA heist novel; I feel that it could have worked better as a children’s novel. It was made up of coincidence after coincidence and just didn’t ring quite true for me.

“An expert had plopped ready-made into our laps”

 

It also felt rushed – I finished it overnight, in about 4-5 hours. For a YA novel, I would expect the subplots to be fleshed out a little bit more. There were too few scenes between Darlene and Annabelle for me to really feel the antagonism between them. However, I could readily believe Ian and Aidan, and their wager felt (ridiculous as it seems) more realistic.

My other issue was Darlene and Ian, the main characters; I didn’t like them. I couldn’t relate to either of them. Darlene felt too ditzy for me and Ian was just…irritating. Despite this, they both had distinct narrative voices, with Ian being well-spoken (to the point that I felt he’d swallowed a thesaurus) and Darlene using more common terms.

That being said, the rest of the cast was BRILLIANT.
Clyde was actually my favourite by the end because I can relate to him personally – I do ballet. I know how few men do ballet in day to day life and how it can actually enhance your stamina. As someone who has done it for years, I loved him as a character. (Also, kudos for the actual ballet terminology being used; that was a nice touch).

Chad was possibly the only character that managed to make me crack a smile. A favourite scene of mine is where he is holding a conversation with a lady and simultaneously trying to figure out if she could be his great-grandma. He reminded me a lot of Leo from the Heroes of Olympus series, to get an idea of his character.

Rita reminded me strongly of “Gangster Granny” – she fills that stereotype very well. I think I cracked a couple of smiles when reading her and her no-nonsense attitude.

Another person that didn’t get fleshed out enough was Judy – I feel that she could have been one of my favourite characters, had she been given a bit more screen time.

The beginning of the book felt flat for me; however, when I got past about the 40% mark, the pace picked up and I found that I could enjoy what I was reading without picking it apart. The heist itself was enjoyable to read, and I do love reading books with a team of characters, all with different skills to bring to the table.

Little bits of it made me smile – I especially liked the moment where Darlene is recounting the missions that Rita sent them on and apparently they had to switch over the cartridges of black and blue pens as a joke.

In all, I’m giving this book a solid 3/5 – I enjoyed it, but there were a few issues (for me) that I couldn’t overlook.

Anyone else read a book similar?

Holly xx

Ranking the Retellings – Peter Pan

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As you may know, Peter Pan is my all-time favourite story.

Off the back of my Hook review, I realised that I have actually read more retellings of the tale than I care to admit – some were good, some bad, and some just plain weird.

I’m sure there must be more than just me out here who love the story, so I figured that I would rank the retellings that I have read in order for you!

This will go from my personal worst to best.

8) Wendy by Karen Wallace
I don’t remember much of this one; just that it didn’t take place in Neverland and that I gave it 2 stars when I read it. The author tries to bring themes of mental illness in as an explanation for not growing up, but I feel like the book lacked the magic that made me want to turn the pages. It’s disappointing to say the least.

7) Hook’s Daughter by Heidi Schulz
This one I remember a bit more of – it’s based on Jocelyn Hook and her adventures to Neverland, to avenge her father. It’s definitely more on the children’s fiction rather than YA, which could account for why I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed others. The story is simplistic and Peter is an annoying brat, rather than the deeply twisted character that I’ve come to know.

6) Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean
This is actually the official sequel to Peter Pan, and all proceeds from it went to Great Ormond Street Hospital, whom J.M. Barrie left the copyrights to. It marks an interesting character journey for Peter – but he is, as always, still a child. Most of the cast from the original book return, and it’s all round an adventure that captivated me when I read it; it’s just not my absolute favourite.

5) Capt. Hook (The Adventures of a Notorious Youth) by J.V. Hart
I enjoyed this one when I read it the first time, and it can be interchanged easily with number 4 on this list. My main problem is that it doesn’t take us all the way up to the events of Peter Pan; instead, it focuses on a slower pace, giving us all of the adventures of Hook. Whilst this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it got on my nerves. (Also, there was a love interest who just…didn’t make sense. It was unrealistic, and kinda pointless in my honest opinion.)

4) The Child Thief by Brom
This is the weird one. It’s such a dark retelling and *spoiler alert* pretty much everyone dies. It’s definitely high fantasy and contains plenty of weird and wonderful creatures and characters. Also, the only character from the original is Peter. No Wendy, a girl who is strikingly similar to Tiger Lily, and as far as I can remember, no Tink.

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The illustrations for this book are both beautiful and terrifying

 

3) Hook by K.R. Thompson
There’s a whole review on why I like this one; check it out here. It has a backstory of why Hook is Hook and it just…makes so much sense? It fills the hole that has been gaping for years for me.

2) Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
My favourite book of all time. Seriously, I loved it when I read it at age 13, and I love it now. Tiger Lily is one of the only books that I have ever felt the need to re-read, and I don’t think I can bear to part with the story. It covers so many topics that most people ignore or gloss over, which leads people to plaster a ’16+’ label on it, but really, any reader above the age of 12-13 who is mature can read and enjoy this book.

1) Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Much as I love Tiger Lily, the original book will always come on top. It makes me giggle in places every time I read it, and it never fails to blow me away. The character of Peter is so fascinating to me and I discover new passages that I may have glossed over every time. My copy is also very small and pretty which helps!

So, I hope you enjoyed that – anyone agree or disagree??
If you have a Peter Pan retelling that you think I’d enjoy, please leave it in the comments below!

Also, I’m going to link a Tumblr post here that I made a while back – it contains as many adaptations and me and a friend could think of, both book and film. Feel free to add to it!

Holly xx

Geekerella – Book Review

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Title: Geekerella
Author: Ashley Poston
Paperback: 319 pages
Published: April 4th 2017 by QUIRK BOOKS
My Rating: 5/5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Anything can happen once upon a con…

When geek girl Elle Wittimer sees a cosplay contest sponsored by the producers of Starfield, she has to enter. First prize is an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. Elle’s been scraping together tips from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind her stepmother’s back, and winning this contest could be her ticket out once and for all—not to mention a fangirl’s dream come true.

Teen actor Darien Freeman is less than thrilled about this year’s ExcelsiCon. He used to live for conventions, but now they’re nothing but jaw-aching photo sessions and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Federation Prince Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the diehard Starfield fandom has already dismissed him as just another heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, closet nerd Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

GUYS.

GUYS THIS WAS SO CUTE.

Oh, I loved this book so much. I finished it in a day.

I actually couldn’t care less about some of my smaller gripes about characterization; the plot and lead characters were so good they make up for it.

The plot does follow our very basic Cinderella story – Elle goes to the ball in a ‘coach’, with her punk fairy godmother and has to leave at 9 o’clock to get home, leaving her slipper on the steps.
She was relatable, a complete nerd with a Tragic Backstory – and I just, she appealed to me. I got SO angry on her behalf at her Evil Stepmother and one of her step-sisters. Elle is just one of those protagonists that I can’t help empathising with.
(Also, Elle is short for Danielle, which I found new!)

Her handsome prince? A teen actor by the name of Darien Freeman, who can’t seem to catch a break from the press, the poor sod. He also has a bit of a Tragic Backstory, and definitely parental issues. I could also relate to him; maybe not as strongly as I could to Elle, but I also got SO ANGRY on his behalf at THE WORLD.

The cast of supporting characters is stellar – my absolute favourite is Sage. She is Elle’s workmate and throughout the novel their relationship develops into friendship and I adore her crazy personality.
She fills the role of fairy godmother and I wish more books had characters like her in them – punk girls with piercings and hearts of gold.
I also loved Calliope, Elle’s other stepsister, who does a complete 180 throughout the book and ends up supporting her. (She also gets together with Sage, but their relationship is so downplayed and normalised, I love it.)

Gail is memorable, but I feel like she didn’t get enough screen-time (page-time? who knows) and deserves more credit. She has a crazy life, trying to keep Darien in check and on time, bless her. I would’ve liked to see their relationship developed a little more.
Same goes for Lonny, who is like a huge teddy bear. He made me laugh multiple times whilst reading and he’s like the big bro that every character needs.

Onto the main subject of the book: Geekery.

Fandoms. Cons. Nerd culture.

This is my CALLING.

This book is very much a “love letter to nerd culture” – there were so many references that made my heart sing. (My favourite was “On your left!”).
The fandom of this book is Starfield, a fictional TV programme that I believe is a bit like Star Trek with the special effects of Red Dwarf. If it was real, I can assure you that I would be watching it.

Reading about people’s love for fandoms and books is like wrapping up in a warm blanket and sipping hot chocolate; it feels like home. I have spent countless hours on Pinterest and Tumblr, read (and written) fanfiction for so many different series. This book manages to encapsulate all of that.

It’s also made me determined to attend ComiCon, at least once.

Also to cosplay. Any suggestions for a girl who’s 5’2?

Anyway, I ADORED this book and it warmed my heart. Highly recommended!

Holly xx

 

 

A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Book Review

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Title: A Quiet Kind of Thunder
Author: Sarah Barnard
Paperback: 307 pages
Published: January 12th 2017 by Macmillan Children’s Books
My Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn’t a lightning strike, it’s the rumbling roll of thunder.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.

Whilst I loved this book, I’ve found myself knocking off a star for unresolved subplots and minor characters who only appear once.

Rhys’s friends, for example; they appear once, and are then never spoken of again. Also Meg. She seemed pretty cool and I wanted to see more of her.

Sadly, we didn’t get that.

What we did get though, was some brilliant character development through Steffi. Before reading this book, I only had a basic idea of what selective mutism is. It was interesting from that perspective; mutism isn’t a widely spoken of disability, and this book did a great job of explaining it.

She starts out shy and ends up still being shy and having social anxiety – however, she has found her voice. She can use her voice when she needs to. And that’s the main plot.

Also, I loved the relationship between Steffi and Rhys. Not gonna lie, it did feel a little bit like insta-love, but it was adorable and I felt that they genuinely loved each other. The love also started out as friendship, which earns bonus points!

At points, I did feel like the book revolved around the relationship – it felt like Steffi and Rhys were only interested in one another, and all of the other characters faded into the background. I get that in the early stages of a relationship, the couple do tend to focus on one another; this one felt like it was going a little overboard, but that’s just my personal feelings.

Steffi has a best friend, Tem (short for September), who feels a little bit like a token character and makes up the racial diversity of the novel. Actually, she does have a boyfriend, Karam, for a bit and he’s Asian, which is a little bit more diversity, but honestly, there wasn’t a whole load.

Steffi and Tem speak about things other than boys, I think – I don’t remember very well, it’s been a couple of weeks since I read the book! The conversations that I remember were about Rhys and Karam, however they did talk about other things – they pass the Bechdel Test!

Plenty of themes are explored in this book – I just think that maybe too many were taken on. Disability, racism, broken families, death, sex; a lot was covered in what is a relatively short book. It does all link together quite well, but I felt rushed when reading the novel.

In all, I did really enjoy this book – it just didn’t tie up enough loose ends for me. I will admit, I cried in the final scene at the graveyard, and smiled at parts and laughed out loud at parts. It just isn’t quite up there on my all-time favourites list (But it’s probably in my Top 30).

Any other thoughts on this one?

Holly xx