Bookstagram

It’s been a while since I did a post, my bad! First things first: I smashed my camp nano goal. My draft is currently at 83k words, and has 2 and a half chapters left until completion, which is super exciting! Because my draft is almost done and I want a break to work on other things/ignore it for a bit before revising and editing, I’ve been started to look at my critiques more, and my bookstagram account.

I decided for today’s blog, I’m going to show the simple background I made to make my photos feel a little more polished. I am beyond amateur at this, but Lauren and I have a lot of fun and that’s all that matters, really.

Supplies: cardboard (free), adhesive vinyl from kmart ($3 for 2 metres), kmart twinkle lights ($5) and hotglue/gun I already had.

  1. Step one involved finding something light, portable and sturdy to use. I ended up salvaging my housemates new pc box, as we were going to recycle it either way. Note: I did cut myself slicing the piece I need, be more careful than me01
  2. Once it was all cut out (albeit roughly), it was pretty straightforward to attach the vinyl. I had to go slow to avoid creases, and make sure you have enough to fold over the edges!02.jpg
  3. Once it was all neatly covered, I arranged the lights in a spiral (I honestly just didn’t know what to do with them) and hot glued them in places, sealing the battery box onto the back.04.jpg
  4. Alright, it looks quite a bit terrible just like this. So, being the hoarder I am, I found some leftover organza from a cosplay and whacked it and hot glued the top on the back, and let it drape down06.jpg
  5. Annnnd this is what it looks like when you cut out the ugly parts!07

It isn’t anything special, but I think it’s pretty cute and a much nicer layout than what I was using. Does anyone else have a book account? If so, comment so I can follow you! I’m off to cry over my last few thousand words of this draft, wish me luck!

Happy writing,

Emm-Kate xoxo

Be Careful What You Joust For

This month’s review is a little different because *drumroll*… this is the first time an author has approached me to review their ARC! I read “Be Careful What you Joust For” by Ivy Smoak and Ryan Hauge, at Ivy’s request on Goodreads.

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My Goodreads review can be found here.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect because I’ve requested books, but this is certainly different. I rated this book fairly highly- it was easy to follow, had a nice flowing plot with a few good subplots. I was going to rate it lower, but the ending convinced me that I needed to read more of it, so that encouraged the higher review. If you like something with a Game of Thrones meets YA feel, this is probably for you.

Sorry for the short blog this week- I’m rather unwell.

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo

Why I struggle with popular books

Hear me out. This isn’t going to be a bashing or a witch hunt. This is going to be something I lament on because of my own issues and feelings. No fault on any books or what else.

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On instagram I posted a side by side of two books that I’ve read in the last year. They have similar plots (a retelling of Labyrinth and a retelling of Beauty and the Beast). They were both captivating and both well written. I found Wintersong on a whim, had never heard of it, while A Court of Thorns and Roses was recommended to me. Can you guess which one I struggled with?

Hype and the over exaggeration by others can really kill a book for me. I go in expecting a certain standard, a minimum. I don’t mean the genuine, balanced reviews that feature the good and the bad- I mean the fangirl ones. You guys know. I remember reading Twilight before the movie deal and then suddenly- bam. You couldn’t criticize it. I knew it was flawed when I read it. It was a fun indulgence though, a book I didn’t need to think too hard about, and it didn’t have a standard it needed to reach. The second fandom was attached to it- I was out. (Heck, it was even why I couldn’t reread Harry Potter for a few years).

I like to pick a book without any bias. I should be able to see the cover, read the blurb, and make a decision. With the ability to share opinions though, and the inability of some to make a reasonable, well rounded argument for a book other than “it’s the best and you’re stupid if you don’t like it” (not a quote by anyone that recommended this book to me, just a fond one from my Twilight days), makes reading hard. If I had picked up ACOTAR on a whim? I would have loved it. I mean, I like it, but the WHOLE time reading it I had the shadow of my friends and peers looming over me, telling me that oh no it’s good the starts just bad, or the second book is better, etc.

I don’t like this. I want to make my own informed opinion. I also feel like if someone loves something so much they’re willing to make excuses for it, then I can’t say I what I think for fear of offending and bristling them. GUYS. A book can be fun and not well written. A book can have beautiful prose but be boring as sin.

For instance, the first 30% of ACOTAR? I was already expecting a level of high quality, and those pages lacked it. It was slow, self serving (Feyre stop being so narcissistic, goddamn), boring. I couldn’t not shake all the comments I’d be given though. Wintersong was extremely similar but I didn’t struggle with this same issue because I had made the choice to read that book and I had no idea ‘it was going to get better’. It was a journey that I could make with no bias.

So how about instead of blindly defending the books we love, we realise each and every book has its flaws and weakness, and that others will have different opinions to us and we need to let them make them. Then our inner bitchy fangirl can come out and have heated discussions over a mocha. I can be just as catty about books I love!

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo

Rebranding on social media

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Hey guys! This is more of a quick update post than anything. As you may have noticed if you follow me on social media or look at my instagram photos on my front page, my instagram has suffered a bit of a makeover. In conjunction with the beautiful and talented Lauren Rose we’ve started reading, roses and (w)riting, a fun bookstagram style account to track reviews, beautiful covers, and our own writing.

I will be posting snippets of my current W.I.P every Wednesday with an image attached that I find relevant to the story for the first draft to give little hints and excite myself with the project as I go! I really hope to see more of you on social media- while I do update my blog every friday, I like to post stuff in the moment and social media is a lot more accessible for that!

Do any of you have a fun instagram account? Please feel free to drop it in the comments or tag us on instagram for a follow back! We’re always looking for beautiful photos that will sucker us into adding to our TBR pile.

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo

Keeper and how it’s keeping it’s way in my heart

It’s the third Friday of the month, which means one thing- it’s my review day! (Two months in a row makes a tradition, right?). This blog is actually coming to you from January- I got my preordered copy of February’s debut novel early and of course I couldn’t help myself.

This month is Keeper by debut author, Kim Chance. Set in the sleepy town of Lothbrook, down in the south, not a lot happens here. Lainey Styles is a brilliant girl, intent on getting into a good college early to make her mark on the world as a scientist. Unfortunately for Lainey, the mark is made on her instead when a 200 year old witch launches Lainey into the ultimate and most confusing journey of her life as she discovers that nothing in her life is as it seems.

Now, if you’ve actually read previous blogs (which not a lot of people have, so I don’t blame you!) or follow me on social media- I freaking love Kim. I stumbled onto her channel on youtube just before Keeper was picked up for publishing and I fell in love with her and her book. She’s genuinely so wholesome and sweet, I get a toothache every time she tweets. I admit, this means I might seem bias, but I promise I will actually do my best to be objective and offer some insight into Keeper.

First things first, I did post a small Goodreads review as SOON as I finished reading, and admittedly, my heart had just been torn in half by the ending of this book. I admit, I was more impressed with Keeper than I thought I was going to be. Kim’s background as an English teacher as well as being passionately adorkable is what set this book over the edge.

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Kim’s characters are so vibrant and realistic. My favourite part of the book is definitely the friendship between Maggie and Lainey- it reminds me so much of my own best friend and myself and it is so precious. They’re all very three dimensional, with flaws, as well as moments of cringe. What might be taken as bad writing choices in other scenarios, these moments actually added humanity to her characters. Like Maggie’s obsession with pop culture and comics- it might feel off-putting if this was all Maggie was, but her little monologues are cute, and a huge tell of how she processes the world around her. It’s also a nice contrast from super logical Lainey, providing a balance between them.

There are so many good flaws amongst the characters. Their willingness to see the good despite the bad, Lainey’s inability to process her emotions because she’s so used to her barrier of logic. The complete and absolute shade that is thrown at us at the end of the novel too- I didn’t call any of that. I spiraled hard.

While I do wish this was written for a slightly older audience, I think a lot of reviewers have missed the point that this is a YA paranormal novel and that is a bit sad to me. For it’s genre and how it’s written, it’s a pretty fantastic, Harry Potter-esque read.

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo