A Bookish Journey- Encouraging Thunder Award

This is such a slow week for reading! That’s why my blog has been full of fluffy and hopefully fun posts for you to read. I swear next week will be better!

But anyway, I was nominated for the Encouraging Thunder Award by Paige @ Paige By Paige and I insist that you check out her blog because it fantastic! Thanks for tagging me!


Okay so the only question for this award is: Why did you start blogging?

As I said when I commented on Paige’s post, I have not answered this question really. Only a sentence here or there, but I feel like I should explain myself, you know, lay down the foundations now about my blog and why it exists.

I have always been a avid reader. With a library being literally fifteen minutes away, whenever I could drag my mum with me to the library I would and when I could be trusted to make the fifteen minute journey (there were many dangerous roads I can assure you) with my older sister I would when the day was sunny enough. I didn’t know the word was haul when I was checking out seven books at a time and most of the time I only read two of those books.

But I clearly remember loving having books and reading them (even though I got easily distracted by many other things).

During primary school, year 5 I think, I used to stay inside with my best friend and read and I can’t even remember what book. I was so engrossed in it I would not go outside to enjoy the rare British sunshine! When I started secondary school my school had an LRC (Learning Resource Center)  which was a boost in my reading for about two years and then I found YouTube and all of my leisure time was spent either watching YouTubers or talking about YouTubers.

I kind of discovered book blogs and Booktube at the same time so I don’t have a nostalgic preference and I discovered these two amazing worlds in the middle of September

During the end part of this year I started getting into reading again and I have loved going back to books. Before I was reading books sporadically, each novel three stars, but now I have discover brilliant and amazing novels just in a few months!

After checking out a few BookTubers and realising that I do not have a confidence to BookTube, I came up with the great idea of making a blog. When people say making a blog is hard work they are not lying. Even though I am loving being in this friendly community, surrounded by fellow book nerds, this is a hardworking ‘job’.

But one thing is for certain- I wouldn’t change it for the world.


Tagging time…

Kat @ Life and Other Disasters

Sibille @ Sibille Rose

Laura @ WordI Of The Day

Ayunda @ Tea and Paperbacks

Michelle @ Book Adventures

Rachael @ Rachael Reads

Sarah @ Sarah’s Book Addiction

Yvo @ It’s All About Books

Trisha Ann @ The Bookgasm

Obviously if you have already did this tag you don’t have to do it again and if you just want to do this tag even though I didn’t tag you then mention it in the comments and I will tag you as soon as possible (or just do it, your choice of course).

I’ll write soon!

-Astra

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Meet Ophelia- NaNoWriMo #3

Hey guys…I made a character. Meet Ophelia….and that’s all I have, a name.

Jokes! (Only slightly)

I have a solid plot and now I am just building up my characters which is actually a fun process. These are some words from my notebook about Ophelia that I have scribbled down.

Ophelia Willow

14 years old but then 17 after time jump.

Gentle normally but has a lot of pent up anger, quickly trusting which leads her into unsavory trouble. A good friend- recklessly brave. Explosive temper when really infuriated- (later in novel).

Mannerism: Likes to hold people’s hands as she can sense whether they are powerful or not by the amount of energy in them. Touches hair but quickly stops because she doesn’t want her hair to become tangled.

Appearance: Brown skin- mocha? Kinky hair which doesn’t blow in the wind and it reaches the end of her neck- Jet Black. A scar from childhood spots on her left check. Full lipped, smallish nose and forehead. Long and skinny.

And there is more, but that is how the start of my notes look like. I have different character profiles in my head and I think over the weekend I will start putting them on paper. If you didn’t guess by the little extract I am doing a fantasy type of novel and I will tell you one thing more….it involves the basic elements!

I will disclose more closer to November, but that’s all your getting for now (hehehehe).

How are you characters shaping up? Can I say hi to them? Comment below about how your getting on with NaNoWriMo!

I’ll write soon 🙂

-Astra

WWW Wednesday and Top 5 Wednesday!

Hi everyone! How’s your Wednesday been? Mine has been good until I found out this boy in one of my classes has an annoying fixation on beating me on every test. It isn’t healthy. Any advice for me problem? Anyway, I feel like I can confidently do T5W today and it’s a great T5W- Top 5 authors you discovered this year. You all know the drill with WWW Wednesday, so lets get to it!


What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading two books extremely slowly. The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag and Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

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What have you read previously?

I finished Carry On by Rainbow Rowell last Friday and here is my review if you want to know my thoughts on it!

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What books you are planning to read?

Next week I’ll be reading Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness! I cannot wait!

 

Now onto Top 5 Wednesday!

1) Rainbow Rowell

I seriously love her writing style. I can read her books in a couple of hours if I weren’t so busy! She is definitely becoming one of those auto-buy authors.

2) Markus Zusak

The Book Thief was literally too many feels I couldn’t cope. His writing in that book was so unique and bemusing but amazing overall. I am so glad that I discovered Zusak and I am on the hunt for his other books.

3) Erin Morgenstern

Ugh The Night Circus was so good! After a finished that book it was like I was in a state of wonder. Morgenstern’s descriptions were so delicious I never wanted to be in a fictional place so much, excluding Hogwarts of course. I am super glad I found her and her book!

 4) Victoria Aveyard

Even though there is a lot of conflicting views on the Red Queen I personally loved it! Thus, thankful for discovered Aveyard and she will definitely be an auto-buy author if she branches out of the Red Queen Trilogy.

5) Erika Johansen

I feel in love with the Tearling world during September and I can safety say that Johansen’s writing made everything a lot simpler than they could of been. There is a lot of politics in the The Queen and Invasion of the Tearling but I didn’t find anything overly complicated or heavy. I am so happy I discovered her and cannot wait to finish off the trilogy.


Done!

I know this post was a little bit shorter than my usual posts but I have a couple of tests tomorrow, so I couldn’t go as in depth as I would of liked on my WWW and Top 5 Wednesday. Who are your top authors? What books are you currently reading? Comment below!

I’ll write soon.

-Astra

The Pastry Book Tag!

Hello everyone! I am doing this deliciously wonderful tag! I was tagged by Trisha Ann from The Bookgasm and everyone should take a look at her blog!

I will try to do a review soon because it seems like I haven’t done one in ages, but I have to finish some books soon which I haven’t done yet.

Without further hassle here is the tag!


Croissant: Name a popular book or book series that everyone (including you) loves.

I really didn’t want to go for a completely obvious one, but I don’t really talk about this book series enough on this blog so….

  
Yes Harry Potter! I have not met a person that has read these books and thought it was rubbish. I would love to say this was the book series that launched me into reading but it wasn’t. However, it did make me realise how much I LOVE reading and I think that counts a ton!

Macaroon: Name book that was difficult to get through but worth it on the end.

Definitely The Book Thief.

  
The writing style was just so completely new to me I felt lost in a whirlwind of metaphors and personification. But even though I had an uphill battle with this book it was TOTALLY WORTH IT in the end.

Vol-Au-Vent: Name a book that you thought was going to be amazing but fell flat.

Oooh this is very hard! I will have to say Divergent.

  
The first book was a three stars at best and I didn’t really feel compelled to read the next book

Pain-Au-Chocolat: Name a book that you thought was going to be something but turned into something else.

  

This was another tricky question as well, but I am actual going to say a graphic novel and that Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms.

The cover is very misleading, at least for the first story anyway. At the end of the first book it turns a little darker which I wasn’t really expecting.

Profiterole: A book or series that doesn’t get enough attention.

  

The Fury Trilogy by Elizabeth Miles. Admittedly, I haven’t read this series in ages but still!

I really liked the mythological element in the story and the plot was very interesting  and engaging enough for read the three books.

Croquembouche:A book or series which is extremely complex.

It is actually a book that I am reading at the moment along with the 9th Girl which is Six Of Crows.

  
I am only a bunch of pages in and I am willing myself not to be confused! I kind of wished that I read The Grisha Trilogy first, but I’m sure that I will get a hang of the Grisha lingo soon.

Napoleon: Name a movie or TV series that you liked better than the book.

I have already answered The Hobbit to this question to another tag so I will answer Divergent again.  

 I liked the movie slightly more, but slightly more nonetheless.

Empanda: Name a book that was bittersweet.

Splintered by A.G. Howard.

  
I liked the book, but I didn’t love it. I am a completely sucker for Alice in Wonderland re-tellings ,but ONE character in particular wasn’t very likable and I wasn’t a fan of how the book ended. I am thinking of rereading it soon so I can decide if I want to read the rest of the trilogy.

Kolompeh: Name a book that takes place in a country other than your home country.

I could use a lot of books for this, but I decided on the Miniaturist by Jessie Burton.

  
This book takes place in Amsterdam, which is a place that I would love to visit. The setting is 1686 but even in the book Amsterdam seems like a chill place.

Pate A Choux: Name a food from a book or series you would like to try.

Any sweets that is mentioned in the Harry Potter series firstly!

  
But if I had to pick just one sweet, it would have to be Beanie Bots Every Flavour Jelly Beans. I am pretty sure that you can buy these already, but I haven’t tried them yet and it seems like a fun thing to eat with all of your friends.


The tag is all done and without me becoming a total sugar craving wreck!

I tag…

Michelle @ Book Adventures

Paige @ Paige By Paige

Sarah @ Sarah’s Book Addiction

Aneta @ Aneta Quinn

Analee @ Book Snacks

Rachael @ Rachael Reads

and anyone who wants to do the tag!

I’ll write soon!

-Astra

October Book Haul!

Hey everyone! How’s everyone’s Monday’s been? My Monday’s been great because I got booooooks! Ah, I love books so much and I always have this epiphany when I buy another book. But not just one book I bought, no no no, but EIGHT BOOKS! Can you tell I’m a bit hyper? Because of NaNoWriMo, I won’t be able to read all of these books even before the middle of November probably, but HEY books are books. Lets get haulin’ then!   

 
Firstly, I finally have the personal copy of the Hunger Games Trilogy! Don’t worry, I have read the Hunger Games and Catching Fire and Mockingjay, but I just got them all from the library, so it feels good to have all of them to own!

  

The next two books I got was The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness and Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo! I was basically hugging these books all day. Two of the most anticipated books of the year…in my hands! I just cannot wait to read these two!

 

Even though people say that the other cover glows, this cover is just perfect!


The next batch of books was Snow Like Fire by Sara Raasch and More Than This by Patrick Ness. Snow Like Fire was going to be one of those books that I say I really want to read, but not pick up because of new releases or exisisting books I have read. But I saw this in the bookstore and just thought this is the day. And the bookstore assistant person said it was on her Christmas list. Then while I was paying for those books, the person said More than this made her cry hard and it was a special book. Hopefully I can read these books during NaNoWriMo.

 
Lastly, I have Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. This is going to be my ONLY spooky read this month and I am pretty unashamed to say that! This books seems so cool and mean the pictures. THE PICTURES! I cannot wait to dive into this book. I am waiting until it is a couple of days before Halloween because I am weird and then I’m going to read it.

  
  

And that was my October haul! Obviously, you guys know that I bought Carry On and Ninth Girl but the ones I shown were the more recent books I got. 

I hope you enjoyed this haul because I really enjoyed getting all of these books- though my purse would say otherwise.

I’ll write soon.

-Astra

Ten popular books/series that I haven’t read yet

Happy Sunday guys! How’s your day going? Well I should really be doing some French revision because I seriously failed my listening and reading exams, but I had this great idea for a post so I am throwing caution to the wind! 

So this list isn’t really in any particular order and some of these books/series are on my TBR list and some I just don’t have any interest in reading or I tried and failed in reading the series. Let’s get to this list then!

10. The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer

  

I just thought I should get this one out the way. I don’t have any interest in reading this series because I’m not keen on werewolves and vampires. Also I don’t think Bella is my kind of female protagonist.

9.The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

  

I really want to try and read this series, so I can contently read the Clockwork series as well. I at least have to read City Of Bones.

8. Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sánez

  

First of all the cover is amazing. Second of all I have read such good things about this book! I like how the two main characters are not your typical white, heterosexuals. I little diversity never hurt nobody.

7. The Lunar Chronicals by Marissa Meyer

  

I have heard SO much about this series it’s unbelievable. It’s a miracle that I haven’t been spoiled yet! I am planning to get the first book this month to read for November. I am a totally fan of fairytale retelligs and I can’t wait to read this one!

7. The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth

  

Yes I have only read the first book and I rated it a 3 out of 5 stars. I was not a fan of Tris or the writing to be honest, so I won’t be finishing off the trilogy…probably.

6. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

  

Yeah this just sounds like a lovey dovey contemporary that I just do not feel like getting into. If you have read this series please comment below and tell me if you liked it or not. From the people I’ve talked to they say that it is a very romancey novel.

5. Wonder by R.J Palacio, Raquel Jaramillo

  

This book sounds like a book everyone should read. I don’t know if I’m going to get to read it before the end of the year, but I do definitely want to read it.

4. The Remnant Chronicals by Mary E. Pearson

  

This cover slays! I am usually not a fan of books with a person on the front but this cover actually intrigues me so much! It’s one if those books that are just always there on your TBR pile wanting to be read. It needs to be a mission of mine to get this book before Christmas before it gets shoved down to the bottom on my pile.

3. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy by J.R.R Tolkien

  

I enjoyed reading the Hobbit (even though it took me about a month to read) but the LOTR trilogy is on a completely other level. You have to be really committed to read those books because the books are so dense! I don’t know if I could ever concentrate that hard on just one trilogy and I feel like even if I did o wouldn’t be enjoying the experience.

2. The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner

  

I got 60-100 pages in and could not finish The Maze Runner. The writing was just not for me at all. I’m going to try again to read it again (probably next year or later this year if I have nothing to read), but I will definitely be wary before reading another one of Dashner’s books.

1.  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 

  
I found it so hard to get into this book last summer that I did not try to read it again this year. It was so disappointing for me as well not to get into this book because I thought I was okay with reading Classics. I am not giving up with Austen though, I just have to be in the mood for her.

And there are ten books/series I haven’t read before. What popular books have you not read? Drop a comment down below so I can see how bad I’m doing! 

I’ll write soon.

-Astra

 

Genres I don’t read (often anyway)

Hey everyone! I hope your Saturday was great! I just thought I should share more of my reading habits with you because I don’t think I talk about them a lot. Remember all opinions are mine!

  
If you have check my Currently Reading post recently, you would of seen that I am reading crime fiction triller The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag. 

Now I am do not find crime novels that interesting which is why this book is a huge rarity for me. I think I don’t pick up crime/ thriller a lot because it is too real for me and I read books to escape my  reality, not read about something that could easily happen next month.

Another genre I do not pick up is paranormal. The exception has to be the Unearthly series by Cynthia hand (which is my Fortnightly Recommend) because I loved how Angels and the Angel world were explained and the plot was super intriguing. Other than that I just see the same old thing happening with many paranormal novels which just bore me.

Sci-fi is was an absolute no no, but I am slowly edging my way into the sci-fi circle. When I was younger it was drilled into me that sci-fi was a boys genre which definitely affected the way I viewed the stories in that genre. Now I realise that many stories I like have some scientific element to it!

Lastly, I swear I do not read enough horror! It’s really a shame because I love getting scared (even though after that means not sleeping at night). I am thinking of reading Dorothy Must Did, so if you have any thoughts on that book please share them!

And those are the major genres I don’t read a lot of. I know there must be great novels within those genres so if you have any recommendations for Crime/thriller, paranormal, Sci-Fi and horror please comment below because I don’t always want to read Fantasy and Contemporary!

I’ll write soon!

-Astra

Plot? What plot? -NaNoWriMo #2

I have a serious problem guys. 

I keep on changing my plot every time I think about my plot. I think you can see my problem.

  
It’s so frustrating! I had a good solid plot when I signed up, but now it has evolved and evolved and evolved. I don’t think sensibly like oh I can use that idea for another story I think I really want to use this for NaNoWriMo so I’m going to change my whole story to fit in the idea.

Though at the moment I have a strong plot now, it can easily change over night and that’s what I am scared of. 

Another update as well is that my muse keeps on escaping me! This morning I tried to write and only crap came out and now while I’m writing this post my muse is slowly returning to me.

Pinterest is my saviour at the moment. I am already building boards for my characters which is helping me loads!

How is your NaNoWriMo prep going? Comment below!

-Astra

Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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Title:Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
My Rating: 4.25 stars
Goodreads rating: 4.35

Summary (Goodreads): Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.


Cover: 4/5

It’s really eye catching and lovely to look at. And when you take of the jacket *giggles* it gets so much better.



Review: When people say that they flew through the pages of a book I think yeah yeah course you did, but Crowley, when I was reading this book I was on page 109 one minute and 259 the next. It felt like magic, how could of have only been reading for an hour and made such progress? So when I say this is a fast paced book- I seriously mean it. I had to make a conscious effort to not read for long periods of time just so I stretched out this novel a bit. I could of easily finished this on Tuesday, but a hung on a bit longer and I am very glad I did. This book was highly amusing and fun to read! I was smiling stupid while reading it!

Plot: If I said the chosen one, a smart best friend, a sworn nemesis, a ‘wise’ mentor, a magical school, wands and a magical war you would probably think Harry Potter. And you would be right to think that, but now two names are going to pop up into my head: Harry Potter and Simon Snow. These are only a few similarities with Harry Potter that I pointed out. It’s like Harry Potter with a fresh in cast and a new adventure to follow. Sometimes I felt myself rolling my eyes in a half joking matter and other times gasping in shock because I thought they were going to take the simple and predictable route, but took a different turn. So to put it simply- Carry On isn’t a carbon copy of Harry Potter, but more like a heavily Harry Potter inspired story.

I will stop talking about Harry Potter now because it wouldn’t be fair- this is a new novel in its own right.

There are many POV changes during the book (seriously, one line then another POV) but they are never really infuriating (maybe Agatha’s towards the end) and I loved getting inside other characters brains so quickly and then leave a moment later, which made the book very quick to read. The book is definitely character driven and I could tell this because whenever someone asked me what the book was about, I felt that I had to tell them all about the characters to explain the plot (does that makes sense?). Nothing really wrong with that but after I finished the book it did make me wonder what the hell I read for 517 pages. All of the action seemed to happen in the last 100 pages so what happened to the other 417 pages? But it did feel like a lot of stuff was happening- it now feels like an illusion.

Even though all of the ‘action’ was taking place I felt hollow. I don’t know what that means because I did really enjoy reading the book, it’s just that the story didn’t hold my head under water, like other stories do. But because it is a character driven story I will talk about this more on the character section of this book.

Lastly, I loved how they cast spells in this book and all of the British and pop culture references, those were appreciated!

Characters: Simon Snow is a typical chosen one, brave, naive, too trusting and rather special in everyone’s eyes. Simon was a pretty likable character overall, I never felt his character was annoying and I rather enjoyed reading his POV chapters because those chapters had bucket loads of world-building unlike some (cough cough Lucy cough cough).

Penelope was pretty likable and 5 points to Rowell because she was half Indian and English and not just a full on English gal she could of easily been. Her witty comments were really appreciated! I wish I could of learned more about her and her life because she did seen genuinely interesting.

Baz. Oh how I loved Baz’s character! He was funny, smart and dark and yes yes YES! The whole vampire part was not roadkill in my opinion but nicely written for his character. His and Simon’s conversations were entertaining to read and I don’t think you can’t help but like Baz though he can be a bit rude and lovey dovey and angsty.

HOWEVER, even though I am saying all of these nice things, I didn’t feel connected to any of these characters. I wish there was much more deep character development. They stayed flat and I hate flat! And with this being a largely character driven story I feel that I should of felt more for these characters.

What I liked:

  • How fast paced the book was
  • The writing was on point! Smooth and enjoyable.
  • The twists and turns of the plot
  • British and pop culture references

What I disliked:

  • That the characters didn’t have many layers to them
  • How the plot seemed missing sometimes
  • (Too many Harry Potter-like things?)

Verdict: A great, quick read with some light hearted and dark moments mixed in together, though the flat characters and missing plot sometimes let it down slightly. But I still recommend this novel to fans of romance, fantasy and maybe Harry Potter!

-Astra

Liebester Award

  
Hello hello hello everyone! How is life treating ya?

Another day, another award. I am really shocked that I am doing another award post and this time I was nominated by the talented Alicia from The Cyborg Knight. Thanks! Without further ado here are the rules.

The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you with a link back to his/her blog.
  • Answer the 10 questions asked by the nominator.
  • Nominated bloggers (preferably with under 500 followers).
  • Create 10 questions for the nominees to answer.

Questions asked by Alicia:

  1. What got you to start blogging?

Booktube got me blogging. It was just a normal Sunday evening and I stumbled upon Regan and her channel PeruseProject. It looked really fun so I started I blog because I’m a bit too camera shy to be on YouTube!

2) Early bird or night owl?

I’m a bit of both actually. During the summer I love waking up early because the sky is so pretty. But I also love my late night YouTube sessions as well. And if I’m reading a good book, every night is a late night.

3) Would you rather be able to visit 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future.

I don’t think it was that great being a black girl in the middle of World War 1 so 100 years into the future! Imagine how advance segways would be!

4) If you could break one law with impunity what would it be?

To Murder some one. Jokes (not really). Um that you have to come school everyday. I don’t always feel like getting up at 6:30 am.

  

5) Do you like to cook?

I love to cook! If I could cook for the rest of my life I would. Baking is my specialty though- I think Great British bake off does that to you.

6) What books series is most important for you to introduce to your future kids/nieces or nephews?

Harry Potter. No reason needed.

7) If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

To think of food and for it to appear in front of me immediately. I know I just said I life to cook, but sometimes I just want to sit down and write, not make Spagbol.

  

8)What cartoon character do you identify with?

Umm can I skip this question? I haven’t watched cartoons in ages!

Can I say Bubbles from the Powerpuff Girls?

She seems like a real girly girl and that’s me when I want to be.

9) What character in a book would you like to sucker punch in the face?

The character that just suddenly springs to mind is Peter Pettigrew from the Harry Potter series. I think everyone knows my reason why.

10) What is the book that you are most embarrassed to have never read?

Any Jane Austen book or How To Kill  A Mockingbird. They just all seem like classics that everybody has read or something. I mean I saw a book about a Jane Austen bookclub the other day. That’s how much I’m missing out. 

And those are the questions done!

The bloggers  I’m nominating are…

Books With Chemistry

Rachael Reads

The Geeky Auror

Behind On Books

The Galaxial Word

Blablagraphy

These are my ten questions!

  1. Favourite TV show as a child?
  2. Introvert or Extrovert?
  3. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life what would it be?
  4. Do you like snow?
  5. Fiction or Non fiction?
  6. Would you rather buy ten books that your think are okay or buy one book you’ve been dying to read since you were younger?
  7. What is a fictional place you would want to visit.
  8. Do you listen to music while you read?
  9. Describe to me your ideal reading spot. (Not really a question but oh well)
  10. Are you in a popular fandom?

I hope those questions are good enough for you all. 

I’ll write soon 🙂

-Astra