These Broken Stars

ehhThese Broken Stars, by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. First read 21 August 2017.    5 // 5 stars.

I absolutely loved this book, in every way possible! There are so many things I loved about it that I don’t quite know where to begin.

This is definitely a book that I am planning on buying, and rereading again and again!

the story

This book is a YA sci-fi, which is perhaps my favourite genre combination ever. A space ship is crashing, and the heir to the ship crash lands with an obscure soldier. Two people who hate each other are alone on an abandoned planet, which might not be so abandoned after all. There’s lots of sass and desolation and creepiness? And yet the whole thing is really well written?? I love!!

Things I loved:

  • The characters! They were very well developed, and the opposite of stereotypes. There’s always more than meets the eye with them, and I loved how they were slowly developed throughout the book.
  • The humour! This book was incredibly funny, but in such a subtle way that I wouldn’t put it down as a ‘funny book’. Instead it was a book that was serious and dealt with big themes, but was still funny?? I love.
  • The writing! I am a huge fan of the writing style used in this book, and it was done really well! First person point of view is hard to keep consistent when the pov changes, but it was handled very well in this book.
  • It was creepy?? It was incredibly creepy! The book was set in an abandoned planet. One of the key themes was the sense of being alone. I really loved how the idea  of loneliness was spread throughout the book; I felt really alone while I was reading it.
  • The pace. While a little slow at times, the book somehow managed to keep me entertained the whole way through. You’d think this was quite a dull book, because looking back, all they did was walk through the wilderness? And yet so much actually happened, because the dialogue was brilliant! I was never bored at all.

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I have rarely read books that manage to scare me. Maybe it’s just because I avoid the Horror genre, but even so, books just don’t scare me. But there was something about the way that this book described being alone – and in the way that odd things kept happening – and how the characters related to that – that was just really creepy.

I’m someone who enjoys feeling scared occasionally, as it gives me something to think on when I’m scared in real life. It’s a “if this character made it through without freaking out, then you can too” sort of scenario. Loneliness has a way of consuming me, and so I really found that this book spoke into my thoughts and described exactly what it was that I was scared of.

You know when you finish a book and your soul just hurts? Something in you aches, because it was just so good. This book touched a heartstring of mine, and I am intending to buy it just so I can read it all over again!


img_0581This book was well written, greatly exceeded my expectations, the characters are sassy humans with great development, and this remains one of the few books that has managed to actually scare me.

Have you read this book?

Keep smiling,

emmi 🙂

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Beautiful Books 2017!

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As a celebration for finally coming up with an idea for NaNoWriMo, I decided to link up with the wonderful Cait and Sky to take part in their blogging meme, Beautiful Books!

I’ll jump right in:


What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
I have had the basic idea of a spy novel floating around in the back of my head for a while! When I sat down to come up with ideas for Nanowrimo, I looked through the notes in my phone (where I often jot down obscure plot bunnies) and rediscovered a brain wave about a contemporary and fantasy mashup  from 2015. I simply combined that with the spy idea, and now I have a mess of an idea in my head!

Describe what your novel is about!
It’s about an unmotivated girl with self esteem issues, a small boy with too much motivation, and a dysfunctional family with many problems that they don’t want to fix. There are dragons, houses that fall down, and an unorganised spy agency. All in all, it’s a story about looking for your life purpose – only to discover that it changes all the damn time.

What is your book’s aesthetic?
I’m still working on the pinterest board, but here’s what I’ve got at the moment:

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It’s sort of black-and-white, and yet maybe quite impacting when you look closer?? Also do I overthink everything?? The answer is yes.

Introduce us to each of your characters!
There’s Lillian! She’s a Hufflepuff with a love for dancing and smiling at strangers, and  she has a hatred for donkeys and her thin lips. She wants to save the world, but doesn’t know how. She longs for a purpose.

There’s Caster! He’s a Slytherin with lots of motivation to do stuff, but rather lacking in the means to carry out his plans. He loves chocolate and dragons, and has a bad habit of accidentally hating people. His life is outside of his control.

There’s The-Person-Without-A-Name! He’s the absentminded head of the spy agency, and he’s very good at his job. He loves folk music and getting tattoos. He doesn’t have a name because I can’t find a decent name for him okay.

There’s the family! The father is firm and a little kind, but very distant. The mother is outwardly sweet, has undiagnosed anxiety, and is very manipulative. The brother is very extroverted and a little bit compulsive.

(I’m honestly considering calling the mother “The Mother” the whole book so I don’t have to find a name for her, help)

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How do you prepare to write?
There’s always a lot of planning involved! I like to have a very good idea of where my story is going before I start writing. I also like to do a good amount of world building – I want to have a good idea of the place and time in my head before I start writing.

What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
This book is set in a land called “Samaa”, which is a place I came up with my sister long ago when I was a small child. I haven’t written a full story set in it yet, and I’m really looking forward to developing the place and exploring the culture! I want to add in several things which I hadn’t come up with before about the land of Samaa, and I’m super excited to do so!

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

  • It’s outwardly cheerful, inwardly broken.
  • There are tall wooden houses and winding streets with broken cobblestones.
  • Dragons.

What’s your character’s goal, and who/what stands in the way?
Lillian has two main goals throughout the story. Her internal goal is to find a life purpose. In the way stand her family, her own insecurities, and peer pressure to just live-and-let-live. Her external goal is help Caster, which is halted by the slave trade, donkeys, and Caster himself!

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
By the end, Lillian has realised what purposes are, and how to save Caster – from himself. She has (subconsciously) stopped listening to her friends and family as much, and realises that finding your purpose is a lifetime thing.

What are your book’s themes? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?
The themes include, but are not limited to: purposes, growing up, abuse and neglect, freedom, and hufflepuff/slytherin friendship (if that’s a theme!).
I’m not planning to have any readers of this story, but if anyone actually reads it, I’d love them to know the fact that motivation is a finicky thing.


img_0581Thanks so much for Cait and Sky for creating this blogging meme! It was so much fun to do, and actually really helped me to get my scattered thoughts in order. I’m really pumped for Nanowrimo now!

Are you taking part in Nanowrimo?

Emmi 🙂

September 2017 wrapup

I read 2 books this month!

I was almost not going to write this wrapup, because (a) September went by very fast and I did both a lot and nothing, and (b) I read barely anything compared to what I normally read! But I figured that I might as well do a little post on it 🙂


reread: Chronicles of Avonlea (LM Montgomery) – 4 // 5

This Savage Song (Victoria Schwab) – 4 // 5

Ummmm… that’s it??

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about the books

I am in love with anything that LM Montgomery produced – everything she wrote is filled with pure™ characters and a wonderful understanding of human nature. So of course I loved my reread of Chronicles of Avonlea, a book which really made me want to reread the Anne of Green Gables series again!

This Savage Song was a book I wasn’t expecting to enjoy that much – but dear me I loved it. I love the characters so flipping much, and I’m so excited to really dig into the second one!

In hindsight, I am a little disappointed that I didn’t read more – but at the time, my brain was in a state of “I don’t care”. I was so reckless in September! I don’t know what it was exactly, but my brain wanted to do so many crazy things that I barely had the energy to read. It was very weird, but it’s stopped now – I think! I hope!


in other news

I am currently working my way through week 2 of grade 11, and seriously wishing it was the holidays already. However, in September were the holidays, and they were great! I did lots of things that made me happy (and also made my brain very reckless, but that’s fine, it’s fine, we’re all fine).

During the holidays, I acted in a short film, did archery and kayaking, became obsessed with Brooklyn 99, and caught up with wonderful friends!


highlights

  • sleeping over with a dear friend! xx
  • being in a short film! Soooo much fun, and such a great experience 🙂
  • doing archery, and getting two bullseyes in a row! (and then failing, but ssshhh it’s fine)
  • Going on a train! To see a good friend! And getting lost in the bush!
  • catch ups and birthday parties and lots of laughter x

img_0581I hope your month was great! It was only ten days ago, but I found it really hard to remember what I did. My memory is trash and I’m only 16, help.

How was your month?

Keep smiling,

Emmi xx

one year!

Well, it’s been a year!

A crazy, wonderful year of this blog. I’ve learned heaps, changed a lot, and am ready as anything to return with a new resolve – to keep writing about words and words in books!

I’ll be back tomorrow with my September wrapup!

Until then, have a wonderful day or night!

– Emmi xx

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August 2017 wrapup

Okay. So I’ve realised that the majority of my wrapups begin with: “this was a different/strange/weird month for me.” And all the months are, because this life is different and strange and weird! So if I had a great reading month it would be a weird month, essentially.

So this month I had an… umm… a great month in all senses but reading, ehe.

I read nine books this month.

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A Study in Scarlet & The Sign of Four (Arthur Conan Doyle) – 4 // 5

Hiroshima (John Hersey) – 5 // 5

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle) – 4 // 5

Slice (Steven Herrick) – 1 // 5

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle) – 4 // 5

These Broken Stars (Amie Kaufman) – 5 // 5

Spindle (E.K. Johnston) – 2 // 5

The Diabolic (S.J. Kincaid) – 3 // 5

Allegedly (Tiffany D. Jackson) – 5 // 5

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about the books

I’m reading through my big heavy book of Sherlock Holmes stories! I also read a few books from the library, which I definitely have mixed feelings about. One of them was absolutely fabulous (These Broken Stars), and the others were a bit mehhh.

I also realised how much I love Amie Kaufman. I’ve read three books of hers now, and I think … I think I’m in love with her writing and sassy characters … I just can’t get enough!

social media

I joined twitter! Check me out here!

Also I really need to take bookstagram pictures ehe ehe ahhh.

in other news

This month was very busy and lowkey weird. I saw six one act plays, competed in four eisteddfods, and was sick for a week over my birthday.

The fact that I was sick for a week took a chunk out of my reading schedule. It was over my birthday too, and not being able to leave the house on your sixteenth birthday lowkey sucks. But it was okay in the end, because I was so surprised by my lovely friends who gave me food and best wishes and much much love! So in the end I felt very blessed.

I also finished up my university unit! So I’m just focusing on year 11 now, which is both great and a pain. Next year I’ll start a tafe course on the side, though, which should be good.

highlights

There were lots of happy things this month! (being sick on my birthday isn’t one of them though ehe)

  • feeling so blessed by friends!! Like what?? They like me?? And buy me food?? What??
  • An adventure to the shops with a dear fren xx
  • my birthday aha (because BOOKS)
  • A friend’s birthday! Which was so much fun and created many memories which I will treasure.
  • Seeing many plays and performing a little and getting immersed in theatre again!
  • Going to the op-shop and actually finding nice clothes?? That I will wear?? I love
  • Just feeling generally looked after and loved by friends xx

img_0581Soooo that was my month! A bit different, and bit strange, just like all of my months.

What was your month like?

Keep smiling!

Emmi 🙂

Birthday Haul!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo recently it was my birthday, and I acquired some books from friends and family. I’m so so happy about all of them, and I know I’ll read them all with joy!

Also, as my birthday has come and gone, my book buying ban is no longer in existence!! I kinda failed three times, but that’s okay. I’ll still try and show restraint in what I buy though.

The first book I was given was this wonderful edition of Sherlock Holmes from a lovely friend! It’s got all the stories in there, all of which I grew up with and love. I’m rereading them now, and I have so so so much nostalgia attached to them – help!!

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The second book I was given was the hardback of Throne of Glass, by Sarah J Maas. I’ve read it before, but I enjoyed it, and my little paperback version is puny in comparison to this gorgeous hardback! It was a complete surprise to be given this, but I’m really really glad I was 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy family knows how much I love Illuminae and Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, and so they kindly gave the books to me! I am so thankful because these are perhaps my favourite YA novels e v e r. They’re just so good! I’m making myself wait at least a month before I reread them (as I read them two months ago) but I am so so excited to do so! Eeeep I love these books.

A friend gave me a Dymocks voucher, and so when I went to the shops the other day I just popped into the bookshop to see what I could find. I came out with this book, Allegedly, which I have heard very very good things about – and this book, The Pearl Thief,  which I have also heard very very good things about. I’m very excited to read both of them!

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Those are all the books I was given/bought for my birthday – and I’m very happy and thankful for all of them!


img_0581I try not to buy books too often, just because I’m trying to save that money ehe. But I do love getting new books, particularly ones that I haven’t read before!

Have you bought any new books recently?

Keep smiling!

Emm 🙂

Spindled

16949eff4a5622764701dd0c6a5423d2.jpgSpindled, by E.K. Johnston. First read 22 August 2017.    2.7 // 5 stars.

Okay. So. This book is one that really do have mixed feelings over. On the one hand, it has technical problems and cardboard characters, but on the other, it’s decently written and the world building was really great?? So I really don’t know about this book.

the story

The book is a twist on The Sleeping Beauty, set in this wonderful fantasy world that reminds me a lot of The Arabian Nights. The characters have to go and find the princess to try and break the curse that racks their nation, but they accidentally kidnap her instead. (as you do.) There’s lots of walking, staff fighting, and winding thread.

okay. so.

Reading does require some sort of effort on the part of the reader. I, however, often miss things that might be glaringly obvious to someone else. For example:

I went through over half the book thinking that the main character was a very mature twelve year old. Until he kissed someone who was eighteen. So ummmm yeah??? Definitely not twelve, Em, well done. (I still don’t know exactly how old he is though??? Hopefully eighteen or older though ehehe)

I also went through the entire book not realising that this book is actually a sequel to the first book, A Thousand Nights. That said, it didn’t really matter because apparently Spindle takes place a thousand years after A Thousand Nights. It worked well as a stand alone, I thought.


things I liked:

  • world building!! I thought it was reasonably well done – there was a bit of info dropping, but it didn’t feel dry and boring. It could have been done better, perhaps within dialogue, but as it was it worked.
  • Writing style!! I am not generally a fan of first person, but this book handled it well (although I still think it would have been better in third person). It used a large vocabulary and had great sentence structure!
  • The fairytale atmosphere! The book felt mysterious and thick with culture.
  • I loved the idea?? I love reimagined fairytales, and the idea of changing up Sleeping Beauty is one that I can get behind.
  • Also I love the cover. This shouldn’t have anything to do with anything, but ssshhhh.

So I loved the book up until the half way point, when it occurred to me that barely any character development had happened?? And these people barely had characters anyway??

And from there, I started to get rather bored.

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things I didn’t like:

  • There was no character development. Watching characters grow and change is one of my favourite parts about reading – but it was nowhere to be found in this book.
  • Also, the characters had cardboard personalities. They did have some small traits, but when you’re writing in first person it’s so important to flesh those out and make them really obvious. And they really weren’t.
  • There was no proper climax?? The climax itself was so drawn out that by the time it got there, there just wasn’t any tension anymore.
  • Not a lot actually happened. There was more walking and details about how they slept than actual action.
  • They didn’t have motivation for leaving to see the princess in the first place?? Like his mother told the main character, whose-name-I-have-forgotten, and his friends to go and seek the princess. But it’s never properly explained whyyyy they had to go, and then the mother isn’t mentioned again.
  • (Also I couldn’t work out whether or not the mother was meant to be abusive – but I don’t know, because she disappeared after sending them off on their quest and was barely mentioned again.)
  • Basically it got rather dull at times.

img_0581So basically this book bored me, and I could find no personalities within the characters, but the world building was great!!

Have you read this book? What do you think?

Keep smiling,

Emm 🙂

July 2017 wrapup

It’s been a very strange month for me, to say the least. However, I somehow made time for some reading!

I read 13 books this month.

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Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver) – 3 // 5

Quidditch Through the Ages (JK Rowling) – 4 // 5

Illuminae (Amie Kaufman)  – 5 // 5 Review here!

Gemina (Amie Kaufman) – 5 // 5 Review here!

Shackled (Tom Leveen) – 2 // 5

The Fault in our Stars (John Green) – 4 // 5

We are All Made of Molecules (Susin Nielsen) – 3 // 5

We all Looked Up (Tommy Wallach) – 4 // 5

Fly Away Peter (David Malouf) – 3 // 5

The War of the Worlds (HG Wells) – 4 // 5

Smith of Wootton Major (JRR Tolkien) – 5 // 5

Hard Times (Charles Dickens) – 4 // 5

Farmer Giles of Ham (JRR Tolkien) – 5 // 5

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about the books

I read a mixture of classics, Tolkien, and YA this month! Overall I was quite happy with the books I read.

My favourite books were undoubtedly the Tolkien ones, as well as the Illuminae series, which I am a little in love with!! I also greatly enjoyed Hard Times by Dickens. There were a few disappointments amongst the YA that I read, including Shackled, which sounds a lot worse than it is.

For the first time all year I didn’t reread anything, which was wonderful! It was so great to read so many new books. That said, this upcoming month I’m planning on doing a little more rereading, so stay tuned 🙂

on the blog

I actually blogged a lot this month! The reason for this was that my Main Goal™ of this term was to actually have some sort of blogging schedule 🙂


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instagram

I RETURNED AND I ACTUALLY TOOK PICTURES WOW WHAT IS THIS

Who knows how long I’ll stick around for! I just need picture inspiration, because my brain is dry with creativity.


in other news

I’ve been writing again!! Yes, it is a fanfiction, but I’m so excited for it!! I’ve loved every second of writing this story, something that hasn’t happened before. It’s a story where I get to write about badass girls and death and memories and use all the ‘John Green style’ that I can muster. I’m having so so much fun writing it!

My mother was away overseas for 3+ weeks this month, which was really hard. It’s mainly because of this that I’m surprised I managed to read 13 books, because when I wasn’t doing schoolwork I was trying to keep the house/doggos under control.


highlights

I really struggled to find highlights this month. Not because there weren’t any, but rather because I honestly have no idea what happened. July was a blur that I can barely recall.

a list of happy things:

  • theological debates, seeing old frens, and making new ones at a dear human’s party xx
  • camping with good friends on a wonderful, freezing weekend – cooking, putting up tents, going on walks, and getting to know them infinitely better!
  • playing mafia around a campfire with the gang.
  • getting to put into practice the things I learned at a youth camp last month 🙂
  • actually surviving while my mother was away (very unexpected) and….
  • having her come back xx

img_0581All in all, I had a blurry, interesting, different month. It saddens me that I barely remember anything from it – I clearly need to do more journalling!

What about you? How was your month?

Keep smiling,

Emmi 🙂

August 2017 TBR

Here is my TBR for August, a month that is shaping up to look rather busy!

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Heidi, by Johanna Spyri.

(I’ve been meaning to read it for ages and ages!)

These Broken Stars, by Amie Kaufman.

(I ordered it from the library, because I may be meeting her in September!! Eeeep!)

An Agatha Christie book.

(because I should probably make a dent in my unread books)

The Simarillion, by JRR Tolkien.

(This is the month!)


img_0581That’s all I’m really aiming to read this month. Hopefully I’ll be able to read a lot more, but I really really really want to read The Simarillion. After chatting to my sister about Tolkien mythology, I realised that my knowledge was small and I need it to grow!

What are you planning on reading this month?

Keep smiling,

Em 🙂

what I read – my favourite genres!

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I will be the first to admit that I am a little picky with the books I like to read. This is a quality that I have always had – from admitting that I didn’t like Beast Quest at eight, to being fourteen and admitting to my friend that I greatly disliked the Divergent series.

But what sort of books do I like reading?

The good sort.

This basically includes books that are well written. Books that contain good messages. Books that are wholesome and good for my soul. This collection includes, but is not limited to:

  • The Little Bookroom, by Eleanor Farjeon.
  • Anne of Green Gables series, by LM Montgomery.
  • The What Katy Did series, by Susan Coolidge.
  • Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne.
  • The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

These books make me smile, and giggle, and are full of innocence and love and general wholesome-ness.

Historical Fiction.

I’ve always, always loved this genre! A really well written historical fiction novel allows me to disappear into my favourite times in history, when I don’t have to bother about nuclear bombs and crooked politicians. My favourites include:

  • Pendragon’s Heir, by Suzannah Rowntree.
  • The Matilda series, by Jackie French.
  • Honestly anything by Jackie French, to be honest.
  • Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys.
  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne.

I feel like Historical Fiction also lets us learn about our past and broadens our perspective of the world. It gives us a bigger picture of our past, and makes it come to life!

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The classics.

Ahhh here we are, back to my old love! I grew up on this genre and adore old books in all their forms. If they are written in the nineteenth century or earlier, then they automatically have a place in my heart ❤ A compact list of my favourites:

  • Sherlock Holmes series, by Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood,  by Howard Pyle.
  • Le Morte D’arthur, by Malory Thomas.
  • The Consolation of Philosophy, by Boethius.
  • Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen.

Sometimes old books show so much more of a perspective on the world than any new book can, you know??? ahhh I love classics very very much.

Fantasy.

Fantasy is something that I’ve only really gotten into over the last few years, but I feel like my love for it is growing and growing and growing and pretty soon it’ll overtake my life. I love how created worlds show us so much about our own world! A few of my favourites:

  • Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien. (of course!)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia, by CS Lewis.
  • The Illuminae Files, by Amie Kaufman.
  • The Raven Cycle, by Maggie Stiefvater.
  • Harry Potter, by JK Rowling.

Creating fantasy worlds is one of the most enjoyable things to do, and I love reading about worlds that other people have created!

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YA books.

I have to admit that I am very picky with the YA books that I like – but I have come across a few that are absolutely gorgeous! These are the sort of books that get inside your head and sort of nestle there, changing your perception on the world.

Here are some of my favourites:

  • The Bone Sparrow, by Zana Fraillon.
  • Words in Deep Blue, by Cath Crowley.
  • Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell.
  • The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey.

The well written young adult book is actually incredibly powerful. I would claim that they can be more powerful and impacting (on my life at least) then some great classics, because of their accessibility and how relatable they are.


Of course all this is just my opinion, and a lot of it simply comes down to personal taste! I love fantasy, classics, and the well written YA. Others will love romance, contemporary, and mystery. In genres, at least, it all comes down to taste and what you like!

img_0581It was so so tricky to narrow down the list – I didn’t get to mention my love for mystery, suspense, apocalyptic books, and the occasional science fiction. But it sums up my taste at the moment pretty well, I think!

What sorts of books do you like reading?

Keep smiling, Em 🙂