My NaNoWriMo Story- NaNoWriMo #6

Firstly, good luck to all of the NaNoWriMos who have already started this great feat! 

  
So NaNoWriMo is like less that four hours away and I am totally freaking out. But before I hide myself away, I at least owe you lovely readers a blog post kind of telling what all of my five blog posts are based on, the story they are based on.

Now in advance, my blog posts and time in my blogsphere are going to be limited but I am going to try my absolute hardest to blog more or less regularly. It feels like I have been a little distant with the blogging world, but I swear if I have a spare ten minuets between passing out from exhaustion and eating a chocolate bar I will be blogging (and doing homework and trying to socialise and reading).

Without further ado here is my NaNo novel…

The Enchanted

 Ophelia is an Enchantress, meaning she can control on of the four elements the world depends on. In Taibria Enchanters are to be locked away as they threaten the easy routine of the Taibrian people.

After she creates a deadly forest fire, Ophelia is taken away and kept under lock and key in a high security prison for the rest of her life…well that’s until she is kidnapped by he most powerful Enchanter from the rival kingdom Arbius three years later- to be used as a war weapon.

But what Ophelia doesn’t know is that she’ll be making a lot of dangerous foes along her way and and not everyone can be trusted, including her own mind sometimes.

Rosalie on the other hand is a bored princess and Enchantress for there is no adventure for the future heir of the Kingdom of Elium. That’s until a non magical with a stubborn persona and driven mind catches her eye. 

Suddenly her life is turned on it’s head when she has to escape a Taibrian invasion leaving only with her hot fury for revenge and a snarky non magical.

As their lives cross and entwine not everyone will be able to survive the upcoming war that threatens to destroy life as anyone knows it. 

…..there it is. I know I know I’m crap at summaries but oh well!

I would love to become your writing buddy so just click here to go to my profile on my NaNoWriMo page if you want to too!

It’s really likely in not going to be at a laptop at the strike of twelve so my phone is my laptop for the time being. I will try to do regular posts about my NaNo journey but don’t hold me account to that! 

Um there’s nothing to say but good luck and remember this is just fun! And tell me about your stories in the comments!

Oh and happy Halloween 🙂

I’ll write soon.

-Astra

NaNoWriMo

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The Versatile Blogger Award

  
Hey everyone! How is your Friday going? I am completely stressed out already and NaNoWriMo hasn’t even started out yet! From quickly writing up blog posts to making sure I don’t switch my plot last minute and making sure I do all the tags/awards that I had been tagged to do!

Anywho, enough about me and more about this super awesome award I have been nominated for. I was nominated by Jordan Bates from I Will Never Own Enough Books. Thank you for nominating me and you guys should check out her blog because it’s awesome!

Now the rules are:

  • Show the award on your blog
  • Thank the person that has nominated you.
  • Share 7 different facts about yourself.
  • Nominate a number of blogs of your choice
  • Link your nominees and let them know of your nomination 

Here are my totally not cool facts about me.

  1. I do not trick or treat.
  2. I hate coffee ( so I don’t know how I’m going to survive during November)
  3. I love toffee
  4. Frequently during the day you would see me sipping on some warm water with lemon slices.
  5. Today was the first time I went to a funeral.
  6. After book shopping, clothes shopping is the best kind of shopping.
  7. Cookies are life! (Seriously they are)

And my nominations are…

Sarah’s Book Addiction

Flowlessbooks

The Girl Who Read Too Much

Book Adventures

Tea and Paperbacks

My Story Of My Teenage Life

The Readers Compass

Behind On Books

Paige By Paige

There, one post out of the way!

Comment a random fact about yourself down below!

I’ll write soon.

-Astra

Review: Spinner By Tabi Card


Title: Spinner

Author: Tabi Card

My Rating: 3.75

Goodreads Rating: 4.01

Summary: 

“Tomorrow morning I am going to die. My limbs are straight, my hair a dull, flaxseed brown – magic’s curse doesn’t touch me. I can’t spin straw into gold any more than a magic user can escape deformity.” 

Greta is trapped by a lie. When the king hears her father’s deceitful claim of her spinning magic, he takes her and promises to end her life if she cannot spin a room of straw into gold by morning. 


But then the mysterious, magical spinner comes. His nightly appearance saves her life…and further tangles the web of lies she has woven for her survival. 

As Greta finds her heart slipping towards a love both dangerous and impossible, a question haunts her: how long will the charade last? 


Cover: 3/5

I really like this cover- it intrigued me into the story and I will say it now and say it again, covers are really important! Even though we all say don’t judge a book from it’s cover, we do and on this particular occasion it paid off!

Review:

I received a e-copy of this novella from the writer for reviewing purposes. All opinions and thoughts are mine purely.

First of all I want to say that the author, Tabi Card, is a really sweet person and it is always nice to speak to a kind, hardworking author from time to time.

Secondly, I enjoyed reading this retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. It put a YA twist on the old take which I would of loved to read as a full length novel.

Plot:

The plot for the story  was rather simple, because this is a novella, but executed rather nicely. The story follows a girl, Greta, who is practically sold off to the King after her father boasts of her nonexistent  powers of turning straw to gold. Greta gets locked up every night so that she can change a whole room full of straw into gold, but a mysterious boy slips into the room every night and saves her from inevitable death that would be greeting her if her lies came to the surface.

It was a super fast read and the story always kept me wanting more at the end of a chapter.

One thing I have to say though is that there could of been more suspense. Not just the same I hope she doesn’t die thought at the end of the chapter. Another dynamic would of brought my life into the story I feel which would of made me feel more connected to the whole story overall.

Also more backstory! More backstory for the story, I really love immersing myself into a fantasy world and sadly the world building was running a little too thin for my liking.

Writing:

Card’s writing was smooth and easy to read. I didn’t have any major issues with it but I crave description which is probably why I loved the Night Circus so much. That was what the novel was lacking in which is a shame because I can categorically say that if that writing was more descriptive it would of been a more engaging read.

Characters:

Greta was an overall nice character. I felt really sympathetic towards her  situation, but again I wish I could of known more about her to build more of an attachment towards her.

I liked how The Spinner’s character was shrouded with mystery (I think I’m just drawn to mysterious characters anyway cough cough Kaz Brekker cough the Darkling cough) and his sinister act at the end of the Novella was very appreciated! I actually think his character was well written though a more in depth encounters with him would help develop his character more.

And now to the King. I really wish that his character was just something more than I got. Okay his a greedy King, but what else? At the end of the story it was a little frustrating and I was almost confused with his character.

What I liked:

  • The plot was an interesting take on Rumpelstiltskin
  • The writing was light and easy to read.
  • Fast, page turning read

What I didn’t like:

  • Writing sometimes too simplistic
  • The character of the King want developed
  • Not enough description/backstory

Verdict: Even though I feel like I was a little harsh in this review, I did enjoy this book and I feel like you would too if you are into fairy tale retelling, mysterious love interests or just fun reads which don’t just leave you hollow, but with a warm feeling.

You can purchase Spinner now on Amazon for 99p or $1.50 for Kindle.( I really hope a paperback addition comes soon!)

I’ll write soon.

-Astra

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WWW Wednesday!

Hey!

It’s Wednesday. And this is a book blog. So you know it’s WWW Wednesday! Now because I am the biggest scardy cat in the who world, I couldn’t do Top 5 Spooky Recommends for Top 5 Wednesday. How’s you Wednesday been anyway? I got some serious backstory done for one of my antagonists for NaNoWriMo which is really great! I also made an instagram for books and everything bookish because I think it would be fun to share everything bookish about me in a different format. Here it is if you want to check it out!

Anyway onto WWW Wednesday!


What are you currently reading?

I am currently- well about to be starting- Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and I cannot wait! It’s a book everyone recommends to me to read and I finally am! I really hope this book is amazing because I have high expectations.


What have you read previously?

I finished The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness yesterday night and it is a really solid book in my opinion. A review to come soon! Also I read Shadow and Bone and Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo which are brilliant brilliant books! Six Of Crows is one of the best books I’ve read all year and Shadow and Bone was very gripping as well!



What books you are planning to read?

Well I don’t plan on reading many books because NaNoWriMo, but if I do have a scrap of time it will be dedicated to reading More Than This by Patrick Ness and finishing The 9th Girl my Tami Hoag.

 


WWW Wednesday done! Feel free to link your WWW Wednesday posts and Top 5 Wednesday posts- who says you can only read scary books in Halloween!-  down in the comments because I’ll be very interested in reading them!

I’ll write soon.

-Astra

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Welcome To Taibria- NaNoWriMo #5

  
Hey everyone! I was contemplating on doing another meet [incert a character] post but I decided that I should introduce another important part of a story which is setting.

Now my NaNo story is a fantasy one so I was thinking of setting my story in a completely different place and country than the ones we live in. There are in all three main settings or Kingdoms really that my main protagonists come from or travel to and ect ect.

Here are my notes for Taibria!

Kingdom of Taibria

Surrounded by the Bell Sea on the East And South Coast. To the North it is the Wonderium Woodlands and to the West miles of rocky, mountainy and volcanic (can you say Volcanic?) terrain.

People who live in Taibria are called Taibrians and their native tongue is Taibrish. 

A lot of sun shines upon Taibria so there main trade is crops and farming. Also they have a big trade in precious stones and gems which they sell off to surrounding Kingdoms. Taibria is known as a Merchant’s Paradise as it is said you can get anything there at the right price.

Taibria is ruled by a royal family- the Huntzviers. The Huntzviers are known for their ruthlessness against enemies and ‘the magicals’. They feed they Taibrians lies and false security which they lap up gleefully, not wanting their way of life to be disrupted.

There once small and weak army is turning into a force to be reckoned with.

Ophelia lives in Taibria in the outskirts in a place called the ‘Stacks’ named so because the buildings/flats/houses looks like they are stacked up on and against each other.

There you go! I am really like doing these NaNo posts as it keeps me creative juices flowing while blogging! I hope you guys are liking them too! Anyway I can’t wait for NaNo now, October is being so sluggish.

I’ll write soon.

-Astra

Meet Ophelia

Meet Rosalie

Fast or slow reader?

Many people consider me a fast reader if a book in three days but I consider people fast readers if they read a book in a day!

  
So this question just stumbled into my mind and it is how do you define a fast reader? And do you think you’re a fast reader?

Do you think reading a book in a week is fast? A couple of hours? And what about a slow reader?

Please leave your answers below because I am really interested to see how I fit in the spectrum.

I’ll write soon.

-Astra

My first book signing- Leigh Bardugo 

Recently, I went to a Leigh Bardugo book signing/ chat where she-obviously- sighned some books and talked comically about writing, the Grisha world and what type of Grisha she would be (that question curtesy of moi).

It was brilliant! Bardugo is such a character and definitely a person you would want to call when you’re feeling down. She answered the typical questions like how did you come up with Kaz (which she replied with an analogy of a stew) and if she would write anything in the Grisha trilogy after the Six Of Crows soon, but she also had to answer the question on what would the patroni be for each of the crows and if she liked David over Mal (or another character I can’t remember).

I went on my own because no one in my social circle had read anything from Leigh Bardugo before and they weren’t the reading type but I didn’t feel alone. I exchanged excited glances to other Bardugo fans and felt a warm buzz around me. Sadly I wasn’t the confident and outgoing person who would start up a conversation with someone just because they said The Darkling, but it did feel nice to join up with other readers and budding writers.

It was the first time I was around like minded people since I started reading a lot again.

Leigh Bardugo also exchanged many tips to the audience about writing. The one solid piece I rembered was not to compare my writing to a published book because that could be an author’s third or fourth draft. Also she said not to be too critical on yourself and to always stick to a story if you have confidence in it. Overall it was a big confidence boost and especially helpful since NaNoWriMo is literally around the corner.

  
  

  

While my books were getting signed I made some awkward small talk to her, but she made some jokes to break the ice. When she asked my what Grisha I would be (she answerd Heartrender by the way) I literally panicked and said and I kid you not I think a Heartrender too because I like to hurt people when I’m in a mood. 

WHAT! If that didn’t make me sound like a young psychopath I wouldn’t know what would! And then she said that that’s not really nice is it chuckling along. I felt like falling on the floor in embarrassment.

Anyway, if you do get the chance to meet Leigh Bardugo please do because she is so nice and funny and a real inspiration for us newbie writers out there!

I’ll write soon.

-Astra

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

  

Title: Shadow and Bone

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance

My Rating: 4.45/ 5 stars

Goodreads rating: 4.08/5 stars

Summary: 

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Cover: 4/5

I have the beautiful paperback cover which has the one of the coolest  fonts I have seen on a book.
  

  
Review:

So a lot of you guys will know that I finished Six Of Crows and I loved it so much! The Grisha world is so interesting and intriguing, Bardugo did a brilliant of building up the countries and cultures and so on and so forth in SoC and this was my first time reading any of her novels. 

I was having a bit of of book withdrawal and I needed to pick up a book quickly which followed a story similar or a familiar scene. Shadow and Bone was the first thing that sprung into me mind. Yes! A trilogy set in the world that was intriguing and fresh and based on Russia! 

I know that I probably did the unwise thing and read SoC before the Grisha trilogy, but I couldn’t care less and I picked up the book the day after I finished SoC.
Though you can tell that Bardugo’s writing has improved since the trilogy, Shadow and Bone is still a great book and her are my thoughts broken down.

Plot: 

I thought the plot was very Red Queen-esque or should I say that Red Queen was inspired by the novel loads.

The story follows a girl called Alinea who discover she has Grisha powers and she gets swept up in Grisha court life and the dark and seductive Darkling who has taken a keen interest in his ‘Sun Summoner’. 

I really enjoyed following the story through Alina’s eyes and I was surprisingly comfortable in the first person POV. Sometimes I did wish that why had the Darkling’s POV or Mal’s POV because that would add another dimension to the story. I mean imagine being in the dark and merciless mind of the Darkling…*gains composure * anyway…

The plot was really fast and such a page turner, I read this book in two sittings and I have no regrets.The story I feel was broken down into two parts and I have enjoyed the the second part my than the first. The second part of the story was just quick and always moving and I think developed the characters more. 

And before I forget, the plot twists were so bloody shocking and executed brilliantly!

Writing:

The writing was rather simple and standard of a good YA author. Nothing felt jarring, but smooth each scene moving on without any stop starts.

My one complaint I think I have about the writing is that the descriptions weren’t as engaging as I hoped it would be. I felt myself skipping over passages of description because it said things that could probably be summed up in one word.

Characters: 

I had very strong feelings towards the cast of characters in this novel which I guess is a good thing. Alina was a solid protagonist. Sometimes you were cheering her on and other times you wanted to throttle her. Overall she was pretty likeable and I can’t wait to read on about her story  in the Storn and Siege.

The next character I want to talk about is Mal who was your typical I-grew-up-with-main-character love interest which was fine because his charming character and unwavering loyalty was great to read. Though he did have an angst couple of pages which was kind of explained but I still wanted a better apology for it.

I would talk about the Darkling but I think it would unleash too many spoilers so I will just say I LOVED HIM, BUT I HATED IT TOO.

What I liked:

  • The different aray of characters 
  • Gripping plot 
  • Lovely world building
  • The plot twists!

What I disliked:

  • The sometimes lengthy descriptions

Verdict: This was a brilliant first book for a trilogy that I have a big interest in reading on. I recommend this book to people who have or haven’t read Six Of Crows because it does an amazing job in building up the Grisha world loads and the plot twists and characters were more than intriguing to hold up such a big storyline.

I’ll write soon.

-Astra




Meet Rosalie- NaNoWriMo #4

Hey guys! I’m rounding off the week (or starting it off which ever way you see it) and as you can tell by the title, I’ll be telling you what notes I have for my second protagonist in my story for NaNoWriMo.In my head I have a little importance tree and the importance dwindles as you go further down. I’ll just put a picture here to show you what I mean.

My crappy example of an Importance Tree.

Anyway, a lot of people seemed to like the other post I did for Ophelia (you can check out Ophelia’s post here), so here’s another one. These notes are half written down and half buried in my head.

Name: Rosalie Olivia Van Dahilia, Crown Princess of the Kingdom Of Elium and surrounding Wonderim Woodlands.

Age: 16

Acts like a spoiled child, but is bored of castle life. Kind under her arrogant persona. Loves to wind up people because she is so bored. Longs to learn how to weild a sword. She finds books a nice escape to live her own fictional life, but lost the habit of reading after her older brother died. Extremely confident around strangers and non stop flirting when needing to get her own way with men (her mother made her perfect that skill.)

Appearance: A dusting of freckles on across the top of her face. Long light brown hair normally wore down. Tall and average body build. Eyes, brown, pale skin and small facial features. Skinny ankles and wrists.

Mannerisms: Tutting, stick her tongue . Bites her nails when nervous, upset or bored. Twirls diamond ring on her pinky finger when thinking deeply. Chews on anything she can put in her mouth.

There you go! There was so much in my mind but these are the notes that are staying solid. I had a inspiration shock during the weekend and all I had to do was listen to some Panic At The Disco :). Anyway probably a day next week I will reveal my full summary and some background info because by then eveything should be rock solid.
I still want to know about all of your wonderful characters! I hope they are behaving well with you. Comment below about what you think and how your NaNoWriMo stories are going so far. There’s only one week left!

I’ll write soon.

-Astra

Review: Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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Title: Six Of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Goodreads rating: 4.45/5

Summary:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.


Cover: 4/5

This cover is so beautiful, I was showing it off to my friends so much that they threatened to scribble on it when I left the table. I have the paperback edition, so I have the gorgeous scarlet writing on the front which is…well GORGEOUS!



Review: 

Do you know how hyped up this book was? SERIOUSLY hyped up. All that everyone was talking about was Queen Of Shadows and Six Of Crows and it feels so good to say I read the latter and loved it!

Even though it took me a good week to finish this book, I am really happy that I didn’t rush this read because I could reflect back all that was happening in the book.

But basically THIS BOOK IS SO AMAZING AND I’M GOING TO TRY AND MAKE THIS REVIEW COHERENT BUT IT’S GOING TO BE HARD!

Plot: This plot was sow amazingly fast paced even though the book is 500 hundred pages, but compared to Carry On (my review is here) it didn’t leave me hollow. The book basically follows these six street rats and their backstories and ambitions all while they are trying to steal a valuable prisoner out of a very high security prison. And when I say my heart was in my throat for at least the the last half of this book I’m not kidding.

There was literally like 50 pages in succession where on one side of the page everything was rosy and the next side of the page all hell broke loose and it was back and forth like that for 50 pages. It made everything so exciting and you could not put the book down. Normally when reading stories like this, there could inevitable be some dull moments, but Bardugo made it so there was no dull parts or chapters. Every POV, there were five main ones, was welcomed and lovely and UGH I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH!

“No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.”

Writing:

I can’t really fault the writing in this book. Leigh Bardugo has a natural flaire to writing tenseful scenes which there is plenty of here and her world building was mostly flawless. At the start I was slightly confused with some things because many names of characters and places but after I got into the book I felt myself going with the flow and just enjoying the great writing. I knew what Ketterdam looked like by the end of this novel, I slept, worked and breathed in the Ketterdam air. I just felt so engrossed in the world, it was hard to snap out of it. When writing out a heist things are obviously going to be fast paced, but nothing was a blur- if that makes sense. Everything was going quickly but attention to detail was still key throughout the whole novel.

“You love trickery.”
“I love puzzles. Trickery is just my native tongue.”

Characters: So the book is called Six Of Crows so there isn’t much surprised that we are getting six main protagonists.

I loved all of them.

There wasn’t one character that I though meh. Everyone was important, everyone had a story and thank God all of these stories were so deliciously awesome.

Kaz was just so badass it was unbelievable. It’s a guy would hate to have as an enemy, but love to have as a friend. I am still in two minds about whether he is a completely trustworthy character, but I think it’s fun not knowing whether or not he will be there to help the other Crows or leave them to die. His backstory is so tragically sad, but I loved learning about it piece and piece.  I can’t wait to read about his character next year in the Empire Of Crows, I’m already missing his dark personality.

Inej; sharp, witty and such a silent badass. I loved her whole demure and personality. She was like the calm, older sister of the group. I know you shouldn’t feel sorry for these people because they are a-class criminals but how can you not fell sorry for Inej? Even though for most of the book she is mature and level headed, sometimes you get sneak peaks of the scared teen she is and it’s really heart warming.

Nina and Matthias…I was shipping these too hard it was too much. I don’t think it is such a spoiller to be talking about these two because you can tell straight away from the first few scenes they have together that they have some long lost feelings. I wish there were most scenes of them two together to be honest even though we did get a lot already. They were just such a cute couple and ARRRG GIVE ME MORE! You can tell that their personalities are just so different but they match together perfectly and I think I need to name this ship right away.


And do you know what song really suits Matthias’ angsty feelings at the start? Mayday Parade- If You Wanted A Song Written About You All You Had To Do Was Ask (I love long titles) I am begging anybody who is reading this book or has read this book to listen to the song because it fits his character (at the start) so well!

The the last two crows Jesper and Wylan…the banter was too much. These two characters added some well needed lightheartedness to the story I feel and (maybe this is a spoiler?) did I sense some romantic feelings? I’m pretty sure I did, so these two are getting shipped too.

“I have been made to protect you. Only in death will I be kept from this oath.”

What I liked:

  • The Characters and how detailed all their stories were.
  • The World Building
  • The Plot was fast paced and engaging
  • The Plot twists! There were so many!

What I disliked:

  • That it wasn’t longer!

Verdict: What ever you do read this book. You become invested in the characters and the whole world to be honest. Bardugo takes you on a nail biting journey which leaves you wanting more and more…just like those Jurda Parem sufferers…. Just brilliant!

I’ll write soon!

-Astra