Writers, what do you do when your ideas run dry?

I have a notebook that I write all my ideas down in. It’s my brainstorming tool. Whenever I start planning something new, the notebook comes out, and I write whatever comes to mind. I have pages upon pages of character ideas, settings, scenes, conflict ideas… the list goes on and on.

Last night, I opened up my notebook and sat down to write and nothing came out. Nothing! I literally sat there staring stumped at the page, knowing I have all these ideas inside me, but I couldn’t find them.

It was oddly horrifying because that has never happened to me before. I’ve churned out two novels this year and I’m seriously concerned that I may have nothing left!

What do you do when your ideas run dry? I’m thinking I need to spend some serious hours on Pinterest and Deviantart!

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September in Review!

Is anyone else vaguely disturbed that it’s October tomorrow? I know I say it every month, but where is this year going?

This month has been a pretty epic one as far as my blogging adventures go. I celebrated my one-year blogiversary which feels like a pretty massive feat. I’m really enjoying this blogging thing!

September in a nutshell looked a little like this:

Most Popular Blog Posts this Month (Views):
1. Writers & Bloggers, Do You Have a Job? (113 comments)
2. It’s My 1st Blogiversary! (95 comments)
3. Writers, whose writing do you most admire? (75 comments)
4. What are your thoughts on erotic fiction? (37 comments)
5. What are you reading at the moment? (60 comments)

Most Popular Reviews (Views)
1. Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
2. Call Me Grim by Elizabeth Holloway
3. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
4. Crashing Down by Kate McCaffrey
5. Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff

New Obsessions in September:
1. Bloglovin – I’ve had a Bloglovin account since I started this blog, but I only really started to use it this month. I’m now following a stack of fellow book bloggers and wow, I just love that I can follow multiple platforms (WordPress, Blogger, Self-hosted) in one location.

2. The Sinners on Tour Series by Olivia Cunning – These books literally dominated a week of the month for me. I devoured them!

3 things I’m looking forward to in October:
1. Beautiful beach weather! Spring is well and truly on its way in the land down under. It’s 32 degrees today. Ah, lovely.
2. Nanowrimo Prep – yup, that’s right, November Writers Month is right around the corner and what better way to get back into writing mode? This month I’m going to be planning and plotting something new. Expect more than a few “plotting” and “brainstorming” posts from me.
3. Read, read, reading – I’ve been really lucky to start to build some relationships with Australian publishers such as Simon Schuster, Hachette, Penguin, Fremantle Press & UQP. Loving all the amazing books they have sent me so far and looking forward to devouring more books next month!

Picture of the Month:
Two of my favourite things!

How was your September? How goes the writing and reading? Or were you busy doing other things?

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Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas

Title: Heir of Fire, Book 3 in the Throne of Glass series
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Kingdoms

Blurb:

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

Why I picked it up:

I read and loved the first two books in the Throne of Glass series. This instalment was sent to me from Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… I am not a high fantasy fan. At all. But this series is a massive exception.

It took me about a chapter to sink back into the story because high fantasy is always so wordy! As a reader who devours a lot of contemporary romance, high fantasy always takes a little getting used to.

But I loved this novel. Sarah J Maas has such a talent for creating characters that fly off the page. I love, love, loved Rowan (who is new to this book), and also Sorscha. As always, Celaena is a favourite of mine – I mean, what an excellent and real character! I love her personality. It’s so accurate of everything she has been through.

The only things I disliked about this novel were:

A. Duel perspective is an interesting one for me, because there is always one POV I end up enjoying more. In this case, I loved reading about Celaena and also Sorscha, but I wasn’t as big on Manon. I took a while to warm to her.

B. I don’t know why… but I thought this was a trilogy. Turns out, it’s a set of 6. Now I have to wait a year for the next one to come out! Damn unfinished series!

My Verdict – 4 stars

Two days ago I celebrated my one-year blogiversary. To celebrate, I’m giving away a $20 gift voucher to a random individual who commented on this post. I used the Random Number Generator to determine the winner.

And the winner is… *drum roll*

Comment 23 – Canaf! Congratulations!

Please contact me via my contact page to collect your $20 gift voucher to either Amazon or the Book Depository.

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It’s My 1st Blogiversary!

Today is a very exciting day!

Yup, that’s right, exactly one year ago I established my own little corner of cyber space! Since that time I have written 213 posts that have had over 71,521 views and 7,671 comments.

To celebrate my blog’s first birthday, I’m going to be giving away a $20 gift voucher to someone at random who comments on this post. I’ll leave the comments open for 48 hours and then announce the winner on Sunday 28th of September! The winner will receive a $20 gift voucher to either Amazon or the Book Depository.

Thank you to everyone who has supported my blog over the past year! It has been an amazing journey!

Jodie xx

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What books do you love that are outside your genre?

I’m reading Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas at the moment. It’s a beast of a book (565 pages long) and I’m loving every second of it. The Throne of Glass series is an excellent high fantasy series. Which is a big thing for me to say, because in general, I seriously dislike high fantasy.

What book breaks the rules for you? I dislike high fantasy, but really like the Throne of Glass series. Another one is Graceling by Kristin Cashore. But those are pretty much the only two that I’ve read and loved in the fantasy genre.

Do you have any books that break all of your own rules? An exception to a genre you generally avoid?

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Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin)
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Blurb:

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Why I picked it up:

I’ve read Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. This is the last in the series. I also read it as part of the Isla Is Coming Readalong.

What I didn’t like about it:

Josh and Isla have something different to what Anna and Lola had in their books. I think because they got together so quickly (by page 50) their relationship felt more like dramatic puppy love. I never felt like they were truly in love. I didn’t believe it.

While I enjoyed the first half of this book, by the second half… I don’t know, I just wasn’t rooting for Isla and Josh in the end. The conflict between them felt really random, like… unnecessary. It stemmed from Isla’s self-doubt, but I never really saw that self-doubt until the conflict went down, so it felt really random to me.

I suppose my main drama is that with Anna/St Clair & Isla/Cricket, I really felt like their love would last forever despite their young age. I give Isla and Josh a year tops. They were desperately in love so quick. I can’t see it lasting.

What I liked about it:

I really enjoyed the first half of this novel. The book, starts cute. Isla was such a little Josh fangirl. I wanted to pat her head and encourage her to write fanfiction, or something.

As with all Stephanie Perkins books had some great one-liners and great writing:

So then I did the thing that I swore to myself I would never do. I Googled his home address. The waves of my shame were felt across state lines.

&

The next few days are unsettling.
Josh is aware of me.
Whenever he enters a room, an unmistakable mass of chaotic energy enters with him. It rattled the air between us. It buzzes and hums. And every time we surrender – every time our eyes meet in a flash of nerves – a shock wave jolts throughout my entire system. I feel frayed. Excited. Unravelled.
And then… I’ll lose the transmissions. His signal will go cold.
I don’t understand what’s happening.
In calculus and physics, we’re separated by alphabetical order. In English, we’re stuck where we sat the first day, on opposite sides of that circle. But our Government teacher waited until today, Thursday, to pass out his seating chart. Josh arrived late, saw it being handed around, and sat down beside me. Just like that.
He still hasn’t said a word.

My Verdict – 3 stars

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Review: Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff

Title: Boy Nobody
Author: Allen Zadoff
Publisher: Orchard Books (Hachette)
Genre: YA, Crime, Contemporary

Blurb:

Who is boy nobody?

The perennial new kid at school: new town… new name… new mission.

The perfect assassin: kill your target and move on. No fear. No sympathy. No remorse.

But this time is different. The stakes are deadlier. The memories are surfacing. And Boy Nobody is about to find out who he really is.

Why I picked it up:

This book was sent to me from Hatchette in exchange for an honest review.

What I didn’t like about it:

This isn’t the type of book I’d usually read. I tend to avoid YA novels with male protagonists. I also tend to avoid YA novels written by male authors. Why? Because I like my YA fiction nice and fluffy, and I find that YA fiction written by men is more direct. And while there isn’t anything wrong with that, because of my tastes, this book was never going to be a 5 star read for me.

What I liked about it:

Despite all of that above, I actually really enjoyed this book. The chapters were short and snappy, the writing style was clean and to the point. I thought the story was interesting and Zach was a very intriguing character. I liked reading about how he perceived the world. He’d had such an odd childhood, so seeing him react to situations was really cool.

I thought the story ended well, and overall, it was a really quick and different sort of read. I’d sort of love to read a sequel.

Would I read this book again? No, probably not. But for what it was, I really enjoyed it. I enjoy stepping out of my “reading comfort zone” from time to time.

My Verdict – 3.5 stars

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