Great Reads: Historical Fiction

Standard

The appeal of historical fiction lies in the ability to be nostalgic for a time long ago, whether you yourself were present or not. I love the occasional historical fiction novel, and I’ve read a few in my time that I’ve loved, so these are the ones I want to share with you.

1.

A Little in Love by Susan E. Fletcher

23844802

As a young child Eponine never knew kindness, except once from her family’s kitchen slave, Cosette. When at sixteen the girls’ paths cross again and their circumstances are reversed, Eponine must decide what that friendship is worth, even though they’ve both fallen for the same boy. In the end, Eponine will sacrifice everything to keep true love alive. – from Goodreads.com

I think most people have heard of Les Miserables, and even more know the story. But do you know Eponine’s story? If no, fear not, Susan E. Fletcher has got you covered. Written from Eponine’s perspective, this companion novel chronicles her journey in Victor Hugo’s classic novel.

2.

Lydia: The Wild Girl of Pride and Prejudice by Natasha Farrant

31431519

A spirited, witty and fresh reimagining of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice! Lydia is the youngest Bennet sister and she’s sick of country life – instead of sewing and reading, she longs for adventure. When a red-coated garrison arrives in Merryton, Lydia’s life turns upside down. As she falls for dashing Wickham, she’s swept into a whirlwind social circle and deposited in a seaside town, Brighton. Sea-bathing, promenades, and scandal await – and a pair of intriguing twins. Can Lydia find out what she really wants – and can she get it? – from Goodreads.com

Similar to A Little in Love, Natasha Farrant’s Lydia narrates the story of Pride and Prejudice from Lydia Bennet’s perspective. We know she runs away to Brighton and ends up marrying the devilishly handsome George Wickham, but what do we know about what she got up to there? In Farrant’s novel, we can certainly find out!

3.

All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry

18221216

Judith can’t speak. Ever since the horrifying trauma that left her best friend dead and Judith without her tongue, she’s been a pariah in her close-knit community of Roswell Station; even her own mother won’t look her in the eye. All Judith can do is silently pour out her thoughts and feelings to the love of her life, the boy who’s owned her heart as long as she can remember – even if he doesn’t know it – her childhood friend, Lucas. – from Goodreads.com

When I first picked this book up, I didn’t realise that it was historical fiction. I’m not sure where I first read the synopsis but my brain assumed it was a contemporary, and so when I began reading the opening pages, I was definitely surprised. Having said that, the book gripped me from the first page and I still think about this book a lot even to this day, even though I read it two years ago. I definitely haven’t read a book like it since!

So these are my recommendations to you for historical fiction. Have you got any for me to try out? And are you going to put these books on your TBR pile? Let me know in the comments!

Advertisements

25 Facts About Me

Standard

Want to get to know me better? Want to know the facts behind the display picture? Here are twenty five facts about me.

y1G8cCRK

  1. In 2015, I read roughly 80 books.
  2. I’m left-handed.
  3. I can fold my tongue in half width ways. 1458657629148
  4. I am a Virgo, as are my mother and grandmother. (But I have a Cancer ascendant and a Pisces Midhaven.)
  5. I’m the opposite to Harry Potter. I look exactly like my mother but I have my father’s eyes.
  6. I have double jointed arms. 1458657247989.jpg
  7. My favourite authors are John Green, JK Rowling, Dorothy Koomson, Laurie Halse Anderson and E Lockhart.
  8. I have a record player, and I love to listen to my parent’s old LPs.
  9. My favourite era of history is the Tudor dynasty.
  10. I love scented candles, some of my favourites are cinnamon and caramel.
  11. I queued up at midnight to get my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
  12. I am an avid fan of musicals. Favourites include, Billy Elliot, Wicked, Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, RENT, Sweeney Todd, and more.
  13. I am a published poet, and have been published in print and online.
  14. I love a band called The Maine and I am a huge fan of Paramore and Fleetwood Mac.
  15. I have a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Winchester.
  16. I wear glasses full time.
  17. I have written a novel titled The Last Four Years.
  18. I have two tattoos.
  19. I have visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, FL and the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Watford.
  20. I love journaling and scrapbooking.
  21. I have three piercings. My nose, my ear lobes and my labret.
  22. I am a Hufflepuff and a Ravenclaw. A Huffleclaw.
  23. I am a stationary fiend!
  24. I can play the drums and the piano to a basic level.
  25. I love to highlight, write in, deface and dog-ear my books. I say they’re well loved.

Hope you enjoyed these facts about me and let me know down in the comments if you want to see more.

Writing a Book: My Tips & Tricks

Standard

I have written a book, which is a phrase I never thought I would say, no matter how much I wanted to. It’s always been a headliner on my bucket list, and last November after a grueling attempt at NaNoWriMo, I managed to tick it off.

I have not ever published a book, but I’m working on it, and hopefully one day I’ll be able to tick that off the bucket list too. But after four years of would-be-novel writing, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks to help you on your way to a finished manuscript.

1

Make a list of genres/narratives/plot devices/settings you love.

I sat in front of my bookshelf, looked up at all of my well-loved books and asked myself “what is it about these books that I love?” Here were some of the answers I came up with:

The sea, lyrical writing, boarding schools, room mates/flat mates, no parents, freedom and independence, letters, philosophy, candidness of feeling, metaphor, living in sections/houses/districts/factions, snow, road trips, epic romances, being stuck somewhere, elements, magic, mystery, royalty, marriage, death/grief, group dynamics, history and many more.

2

Make a list of names for characters you love.

You can do this by either going on a baby name website, or for something more periodic you could always go and look at the gravestones of people from a certain time period. This may spark some thoughts as to the identity behind the name, or character traits. Some names I love and plan on using are:

George, Corey, Greta, Matthew, Sasha, Kendra, Laurie, Harry, Lisel, Brodie, Annalise, Catelynn, Ida, Lydia, Teddy, Karen, Shay, Daya, Torin, and many more.

3

Make a summary or short synopsis of your story.

Take the plot devices and the names you have just picked out and try to construct a story idea from the elements you’ve chosen. Don’t worry too much about your story sounding like something that’s already been published, some people believe there are only seven basic plots in the world. If we all worried about whether our story was original or not, we wouldn’t have much time for writing! See also: the thirty six dramatic situations.

For example, I could write a story about Laurie, a college freshman and History student, who writes letters to her future self about the lessons she learns from life, whilst slowly falling in love with her room mate.

4

Buy a notebook, small enough to fit in your bag/pocket and big enough for your ideas!

If you are a writer, then there is a large chance you are also a stationary fiend. Writing a book gives you license to go to your local retailer and stock up on pens, post-it notes, highlighters, paper clips and a notebook (or a few). If you carry around your notebook with you at all times, you can write down an idea when the moment strikes, which is handy if you are particularly forgetful.

When I was working on my NaNoWriMo project, I had my notebook with me at all times!

5

Write an outline, however vague or detailed.

My outline was similar to a script format. I detailed where the scene was taking place, who was there and important factors worth noting. I also wrote the bare bones of the dialogue between the two characters, or bare description of what a character was doing in the particular scene. After I had done this for the beginning, middle and end of the book, I went back through it and added in description, building the image of my scene from the ground up. The structure I had gave me something to work with, which really, really helped during my writing period.

And lastly, set yourself a goal. Whether you aim to write a hundred words a day or a thousand, it’s important to stay focused and disciplined.

I hope this little article has helped inspire a few of you to get writing. Let me know down in  the comments if any of these tips work for you!

Top 5 Ways to Organise Your Bookshelves

Standard

As I’ve established before, I’m a Virgo. I am a Virgo how loves to organise, or faff, as I call it. I faff with my books mostly, and because I have so many it usually takes a lot of time, but still I’ve faffed with my books every which way. So here are my top ways to organise your bookshelves.

1

A-Z

az

So this seems relatively straightforward, but if you’re constantly looking through your bookshelves then this may be the most effective way to catalogue them.

2

By Spine Colour

rainbow 2

Whether you decide on a book rainbow, black and white alternating or an explosion of colour, this is a great way to use your books as art.

3

By Genre

genre

The genres I tend to use when shelving this way are: classics, YA series (which usually are fantasy or dystopian), YA standalones, plays, poetry, non-fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, gothic fiction (which sometimes crosses over to the classic genre), letters and journals, special/collectors editions, and many more!

4

By Themes or Other

theme

Fairy tale re-tellings are a firm favourite with me, along with Tudor era books, magic realism, time travel, dystopian worlds, road trips, multiple POV narrative, first person narration, stories in verse, stories in journal form, and many more!

5

Favorites First

faves

Sometimes the best way to show off your books is to put your favourites up front. I love to show off my Harry Potter books as well as my little Chronicles of Narnia paperbacks. I also love showing off my cool Divergent: Special Edition copy and my Looking for Alaska first edition copy, too. This really gives your bookshelf a unique twist, and shows just what you love in the world of reading!

Let me know in the comments how you like to shelve your books. At the moment, I’ve gone for rainbow theme, but to be honest, with all of these options, I’ll be forever changing them!

Top 5 Shows to Watch on Netflix (UK)

Standard

netflix-logo

Despite the controversy of geo-pirate-gate, I’m going to be listening the top five TV shows on Netflix UK that I love watching. So regardless of where you live in the world, take note. Your next favourite show could be on this list.

These TV shows are in no particular order.

1

Bates Motel

tumblr_mufztcdo1S1rjrfw0o1_500

(c) butterflycaps

Bates Motel is a contemporary prequel to the genre-defining film “Psycho,” and gives a portrayal of how Norman Bates’ psyche unravels through his teenage years. Fans discover the dark, twisted backstory of Norman Bates and how deeply intricate his relationship with his mother, Norma, truly is. – from IMDb

Bates Motel’s fourth season is currently airing in the US, and all three previous seasons are up on Netflix, so you can make sure you’re up to date for when the show is reported to finish at the end of it’s fifth series.

2

House of Anubis

House_of_Anubis_cast

When one of their number disappears on the same day that an American girl joins their ranks, a group of English boarding school students embarks on solving a mystery. – from IMDb

Man, looking for an appropriate picture gave me all of the ~feels. I know this show is technically for kids, but so is Pokemon and we all watch that, right? A group of school kids board in a creepy old house with tonnes of Egyptian mythology and go on tonnes of adventures, whilst dealing with raging hormones? All three seasons of the show are on Netflix, and season two is by far the strongest.

3

The Tudors

the_tudors-logo

A dramatic series about the reign and marriages of King Henry VIII. – from IMDb

For history fans, the most (in my opinion) scandalous time in British history is adapted to screen. All four seasons of the show are on Netflix and chronicle all six of Henry’s wives. Particular highlights are Henry’s marriages to Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, as both of these ladies were beheaded for their treasonous behaviour against the king.

4

Sherlock

sherlock.jpg

A modern update finds the famous sleuth and his doctor partner solving crime in 21st century London. – from IMDb

I absolutely adore this intervention on Conan Doyle’s classic story, and Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are the perfect duo. Set in a modern day, England, Sherlock and John still go on adventures solving crimes. All three seasons are on Netflix, including the New Year special The Abominable Bride. Particularly great episodes are the pilot A Study in Pink and the Hound of the Baskervilles.

5

Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments

maxresdefault.jpg

After her mother is kidnapped, Clary must venture into the dark world of demon hunting in order to find clues that can help her find her mother. – from IMDb

Despite the controversies when the pilot aired, Shadowhunters seems like great fun. Set in New York, this urban fantasy chronicles the underworld beneath the city, where Shadowhunters fight demons and protect the mortal world. Although I haven’t read the Mortal Instruments series, it’s definitely a book that sounds up my ally. Shadowhunters is contracted for thirteen episodes, and debuts weekly on Netflix.

Are any of these shows your favourite? Or is there a TV show you think I’ll love and have missed? Let me know down in the comments which TV shows are in your Top 5.

Top 10 YouTube Channels

Standard

Having a YouTube channel has become a firm staple in a social media identity, and is the perfect platform for the weird and wonderful to host their ideas, opinions and discussion. Watching YouTube used to just be a place for me to watch videos, but now catching up with my subscriptions has become part of my daily routine, which is why I bring you my top ten favourite YouTube channels that I like to watch regularly.

 These channels are in no particular order.

1

ABookUtopia

(Sasha Alsberg)

hqdefault

Sasha is one of the biggest book vloggers in the BookTube community with over 250,000 subscribers. Sasha is so enthusiastic about books and every video of hers is like a little ray of sunshine. Sasha has serious bookshelf goals, and frequently updates us with her thoughts on the newest releases. Sasha is also affiliated with EpicReads and rounds up our book-to-movie adaptation news each month.

2

Liza Koshy

maxresdefault

Liza only started her YouTube channel six months ago, but already she has banked a million subscribers in that time. You may recognise her from her Vine account, where she has 4.5 million followers and over one billion loops. To add to her achievements, Liza’s most hilarious series Driving with Liza has earned her over two million views on one video alone. Make sure to check her out for hilarious videos, which are guaranteed to make you laugh out loud!

3

WhittyNovels

(Whitney Atkinson)

hqdefault (1)

Whitney is another book vlogger from the BookTube community, but also vlogs often about her hobbies, like journal-ing and music. Whitney also hosts the Cram-a-thon every December, speaks German and has just completed her first semester at college. Is there an end to her talents? I don’t think so! Whitney also manages to read a tonne of books each month which she also reviews on her channel.

4

ItsWayPastMyBedtime

(Carrie Hope Fletcher)

hqdefault (2)

Carrie is another vlogger with endless talents. Not only is she a YouTube-r, she’s a writer, a singer, an actress, a songwriter, a musician and also a Disney lover. Carrie has spent the last two and a half years performing in the West End as Eponine in Les Miserables, and has just published her memoir All I Know Now. Carrie is currently working on her first fiction book On the Other Side, due to be published this July. I’ve been watching Carrie for ten years, and with every video I fall more and more in love with her.

5

HailsHeartsNyc

(Hailey Leblanc)

 mqdefault

Hailey is another book vlogger from Canada, and one of my favourites. She is currently embarking on a creative writing and publishing degree, and frequently uploads videos detailing her book lists each semester. Hailey uploads book reviews, unboxings and discussions, and every year hosts Bookmas!

6

LaurDIY

(Lauren Riihimaki)

maxresdefault (1)

Lauren started out primarily as a DIY channel, and has since included lifestyle and life hacks into her catalogue. She is one of the front runners in her field with almost three million subscribers. My favourites of hers are her organisation hacks, room decor and clothing DIY ideas. Also, check out Lauren’s Instagram page, as she has a serious eye for photography.

7

PadfootandProngs07

(Raeleen Lemay)

hqdefault (3)

Raeleen is another book vlogger that I frequently watch, who also reviews new releases, old favourites, and participates in reading challenges. Raeleen also provides us with recommendations on topics such as LBGTQIA and uploads a tonne of fun reading tags with her other bookish friends.

8

CrashCourse

(Hank Green, Phil Plait, Craig Benzine, Adriene Hill, Jacob Clifford, John Green)

maxresdefault (2)

Crash Course massages my inner nerd. I frequently watch their playlists on Literature, Psychology, History and Astronomy, which all areas that I find really interesting. The channel has over 4 million subscribers and aims to help educate it’s subscribers with information and knowledge for free. If you are able to donate to help further the work Crash Course does, you can donate here.

9

Vlogbrothers

(John and Hank Green)

maxresdefault (3)

I became a fan of John Green when I first read Looking for Alaska back in 2011, then I realised he had a YouTube account with his brother Hank that stood independently from his life as a writer. Both John and Hank vlog about topics that occur in their daily life, and fund and create projects like Crash Course, Mental Floss and so many more. Their subscribers call themselves Nerdfighters, as we fight to decrease World Suck.

10

Ariel Bissett

hqdefault (4)

Ariel is another book vlogger that not only uploads reviews of books, but also hosts the yearly YouTube-a-thon. In 2015, Ariel was one of the Man Booker vloggers, and frequently brings her opinions to her channel, as well as her love of George Orwell. Ariel is a writer herself, and documented her progress with NaNoWriMo this year, and her tips to lead a fuller writing filled life.

That concludes ten of my favourite YouTube channels. I hope you’ve found some previously undiscovered gems in this list, and let me know down in the comments of your favourite channels!