July in Review!

My July Book Haul:

Most Popular Review This Month:
Rabbit Ears by Maggie de Vries had the most viewings, which probably isn’t much of a surprise considering I rated it 4.5 stars.

Most Popular 5 Blog Posts Overall This Month (by views):
1. When what’s in your head is better than what’s on the page… – 64 comments
2. Write What You Know – 45 comments
3. What does your family think of your writing? – 72 comments
4. Writers, do you start with character or plot? – 73 comments
5. How long does it take you to write a book? – 50 comments

3 New Obsessions in July:
1. Reading! – As you guys have probably noticed, I’ve been reading a lot this month. I’ve drifted out of writing mode and into reading mode and am trying to find some sort of balance. But in the meantime, I am loving reading everything I can get my hands on. And sharing my reading opinions with the world too!

2. Summer – I don’t know if it’s possible to be obsessed with the transition of the seasons. But I am over winter and ready for summer! It isn’t the cold weather that I’m sick of (because living in Australia, I’m sure you guys would laugh at our version of winter), it’s the short days! I hate getting out of work and the sun is going down at 5pm! Bring back 7.30pm sunsets!

3. Crocheting – I did a post about it back here, but yes, my crochet blanket is going strong!

3 Things I’m Looking Forward to in August:
1. My boyfriend and I are going down to Port Macquarie this weekend to see a friend and test drive a new car. I know this is very, very early August, but I’m looking forward to it.
2. Doing more writing! I barely wrote at all this month and I’m really looking forward to jumping back into the game after a month off.
3. The last month of winter! Because I can’t wait for long summer days!

3 TV Shows I’ve been Watching:
1. Suits!
Self explanatory, I love this show.

2. Witches of East End
This has only just come back on for season 2 and I’m excited! Jenna Dewan Tatum gives me hair envy! God, she’s gorgeous.

3. Dominion
I’m still not 100% sure if I like this or not, but I’ve got a weird crush on the guy who plays Michael, so I’ll keep watching.

Picture of the Month:
This month was race month in my hometown. So it was off to the races with my friends. Great memories.

What have you guys been up to this month? Highlights? Been writing, been reading, been watching a stack of TV?


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Review: Virgin by Radhika Sanghani

Title: Virgin
Author: Radhika Sanghani
Publisher: Berkley Trade (Penguin)
Source: eARC
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Chick-Lit

There was a lot of good in this book, and a lot of bad, but overall, I think it’s the sort of book that every young girl should read. Just to even out all the “finding the one, perfect romance, and Disney princess” trash we get fed.

What I didn’t like about it:
The writing was pretty dialogue heavy in places. From time to time there would be these long rambling conversations that probably could have worked better if they were shorter and snappier. The whole “starting a blog” thing definitely dragged, and a lot of Ellie and Jack’s conversations dragged too.

Halfway through, this book started to read a little like an advice column. It talked endlessly about ‘vagina’ dramas and ‘body hair’ dramas, which was funny at first, but 100 pages in it was like, can we move on to the plot now? It started well and ended well, but the middle section dragged.

What I liked about it:
It was immediately clear how unique and welcoming the “voice” of this novel is. The writing style is interesting, with bullet points mid prose, underlined headings and blog posts.

This book had a lot of laugh out loud moments. Not because the author was trying to be funny but because it was so honest and true! The things we girls do for boys!

Most of all, I adored the last twenty or so pages. As young women we read so many books and watch so many movies about the perfect romance, and finding the perfect guy who completes you in every single way. So in that sense, this book was like a freaking breath of fresh air! Oh my God!

My Verdict – 3.5 stars – every single girl who reads this blog needs to read this book.

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What is your first memory of writing?

I remember when I was a kid, about 11 years old, my family and I went for a holiday on the Sunshine Coast. We went because my mum was getting a job transfer and we wanted to see what our new home would be like.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Aussie geography. The Sunshine Coast is an area up north in Queensland. It’s gorgeous. I lived there for 14 years. I miss it :)

Anyways, while we were up there my mum bought me this little diary. It had this massive spiral to bind the pages and had a cartoon on the front of this girl with yellow hair. I’d had diaries before and had always loved notebooks, but this one was the first that I started to write in everyday. I filled that diary and the next, and the next. I’ve kept a daily journal since I was 11 :)

So that’s my first memory of writing. I’d write little poems and little stories and talk about my day. I still have that first one scanned into my computer :) The life of an 11-year-old really isn’t all that interesting!

What is your first memory of writing? Of starting to write in a way that really stuck?

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Review: White Trash Beautiful by Teresa Mummert

Title: White Trash Beautiful, Book 1 in the White Trash Trilogy
Author: Teresa Mummert
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: NA, contemporary, issues, abuse

Why I picked it up:
Quite frankly, the cover is gorgeous. I love the pale pink with the black font.

What I didn’t like about it:
White Trash Beautiful isn’t anything original. Girl from the wrong side of the tracks meets a bad boy, Gary-Stu, rock star– its been done before and it will be done again. I’ve read quite a few “abusive boyfriend” books over the years, so this feels like a part of the pack.

I didn’t love the writing style. There was a lot of “I [verb]” sentences. And a lot of repetition with Cass complaining about her life. Cass seemed very “aware” of her situation. She’d do something and then explain her actions through the narrative. It seemed odd that she’d psychoanalyse herself like that.

As a whole, I enjoyed this story but I can’t say I’m interested in reading more about Cass and Tucker. I’m not too sure why… This is a trilogy but the idea of reading more about the two of them feels like a lot of work.

What I liked about it:
I really liked Cass. I found her really genuine. I believed every second of her relationship with Tucker. The passion between them was gorgeous to read.

At page 185 I thought this book was ruined! At page 216 this happened:

And if I wanted to get my life back together, I needed to be my own white knight for once.

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Did she do it? Meh, not really, but it still played out better than it looked like it was going to at page 185. I’m sorry, but I have a real drama with authors who basically say that all a woman needs in her life to be happy is a man and a child.

All in all, I thought this was a nice read. Nothing to write home about, but I enjoyed it.

My Verdict: 3 stars

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Writers, do you write what you know?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this over the past 24 hours.

Write what you know.

I’ve never really written what I know. I generally like to pen something as far removed from my life as possible. But when I really think about it, I realise that it’s just setting and certain character traits that are different. My characters always hold the same morals and ideals that I do. So maybe, indirectly, I am writing what I know.

Do you take inspiration from real life? Or does your writing come from the darkest corners of your mind?

I have some situations going on in life at the moment that I think would be great inspiration. An excellent venting tool too!

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Review: Rabbit Ears by Maggie de Vries

Rabbit Ears by Maggie DeVries
Publisher: Harper Collins
Format: eARC
Genre: Young adult, contemporary, abuse

Wow… I haven’t read a book like this in a very long time. Books like this make me realise how fluffy and shallow a lot of young adult books are. Because this… This was haunting, powerful, devastating and unlike anything I’ve devoured in… well, ever.

Kaya is adopted, multiracial, grieving the death of her father—and carrying a painful secret. Feeling ill at ease with her family and in her own skin, she runs away repeatedly, gradually disappearing into a life of addiction and sex work. Meanwhile, her sister, Beth, escapes her own troubles with food and a rediscovered talent for magic tricks. Though both girls struggle through darkness and pain, they eventually find their way to a moment of illumination and healing.

What I didn’t like about it:
Rabbit Ears is written in alternating points of view. Kaya’s sections were written in second person and Beth’s were written in first. I didn’t hate the style, but there were a couple of times I found myself backtracking because the sudden changes were a little jarring. That said, I couldn’t imagine this book being written in any other way.

I guess another minor dislike was that while I loved this book, it isn’t the sort of story I’d read over and over again. It isn’t a book that makes you feel good about the world and fall in love with life. This is the sort of story that makes you think, and in my case, appreciate my good fortune that I never had to go through what Kaya or her family did.

What I liked about it:
The authors writing… wow. From the very first page it was incredibly visual. I devoured this book in one sitting and at 158 pages, it’s a short but intense read.

Kaya was like a car crash waiting to happen and I loved how her life and past were slowly revealed. In some deep part of my mind I’d always wondered how people end up with a life in drugs and prostitution, and I thought Kaya’s story was incredibly moving. I believed every single word.

Overall, I loved this book. It dealt with an incredibly intense subject in a powerful and moving way. This book will stay with me for a while!

My Verdict – 4.5 stars – highly recommended.

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How did you choose the genre you write in?

I’ve written a science fiction novel, I’ve written a fantasy novel, I’ve written a contemporary novel and I’m brainstorming a new fantasy novel. I don’t think there is any rhyme or reason as to why I choose genres. I chose fantasy this time around because I want to write an epic romance. And to me, an epic romance is set in an epic setting with a million and one things that could keep the relationship from working! Hence, fantasy. But maybe next time I’ll write in another genre. I don’t think I could ever stay true to just one.

What about you guys? Do you write in one genre, or heaps of different genres? What is your genre of choice?

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