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I’m still here 👋

My blog has never been so quiet. I’ve been working a lot more than usual lately and had a few things going on. So my reading, writing and blogging has not been normal.

But I’m still here. Currently reading:

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Just A Job by Patsy Collins

Terrible photo sorry, I’ll talk more about this soon.

I keep meaning to read one of Patsy’s novels but ended up buying this short story collection instead and reading it on my break in work. I have a lot of books to read…. I can’t help it.

Hoping I get back to normal blogging soon. ☺

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Poldark

I haven’t been reading many books lately, so there haven’t been frequent reviews here,  I’ve been busy and:

I’ve been catching up with my Poldark books before the new series starts tomorrow 🙂
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I managed to read the rest of this book in about a week! I didn’t think I could do it!

I love the Poldark series and the books. I will admit: I didn’t read the book first!Image result for poldark

I watched the series, (maybe because I remember Aidan Turner from Being Human) loved it and it led me to the amazing books by Winston Graham. His writing is  atmospheric and … it’s amazing!!!  Then last year I visited Cornwall. I hadn’t been since I was a child and it’s strange how I never saw anything about Poldark back then.

Cornwall for me, when I was younger and visiting for the first time, was The Mists Of Avalon country (Tintagel) and Daphne De Maurier (Jamaica Inn I read then possibly bought during my visit).

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But now it’s Poldark country. Of course Cornwall is more than that, it’s a beautiful place. I stay in Boscastle and last yr I visited a Poldark exhibition in Truro museum and Charlestown where they filmed the Truro scenes. (You can see my blog post about my holiday last year here)

I going back  again this yr and hope to go to Bodmin jail where they also did some filming. I love Cornwall. It’s funny how books can be so connected with a place.

Boscastle is also a Thomas Hardy town. You wonder when you wander around if you are following in his footsteps. It’s where he met his wife and wrote A Pair Of Blue Eyes, the main character is based on her.  The book is set in Boscastle but the places have been disguised (Castle Boterel). I bought a copy from Boscastle last year, I’d never heard of it before despite being a Hardy fan. There’s a memorial stone for his wife in the grounds of a chapel in Boscastle.

Of course Dorest is true Hardy country I’ve been to Swanage and Weymouth but not to any places connected to Hardy.

Do you have any books that connect you to a place?

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova is my favourite book, it connects me to one of my other favourite places Tenby in Pembrokshire because it was where I bought it and the first place I read it. I don’t have any other books connected to Tenby unless you count the history book I still haven’t read. I need to find more, or write one 😉

Excited for the return of Poldark on BBC1 tomorrow at 9pm!!!! Any Poldark fans out there?

 

 

 

 

 

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Insecure Writers’ Support Group

 

It’s time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. How does it work?

To quote from the website here

“Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!”
I’ll be in work today -again- so I’ll have to catch up with everyones posts later. This month the optional question is:

 What’s harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

I’ve always found thinking of character names tricky. Even when I research on online sites it takes me some time to decide on the right name. One year during NaNoWriMo my character was called ‘Friend’ all the way through because I couldn’t think of a name.

I can’t really say anything about book titles. I haven’t finished any yet. I struggle equally with short story titles. But these are the least of my worries, generally finishing a story to a good standard (or just finishing it) is enough of a challenge at the moment.

I was recently reminded about the Name Generator on Scrivener, I think I read it on the Scrivener Virgin page but I can’t find it now. (One thing on my writing to do list which I never get around to is: learn how to use Scrivener and read the info on that website). I found more info on this site http://www.atfmb.com/2012/01/23/scrivener-quick-tip-name-generator/

If you go into the ‘Tools’ drop down menu and then onto ‘writing tools’ you will find this little box. You can select the letter the name will start with and male or female.

 

I’ve always used babyname websites in the past- discreetly- there’s some websites that allow you to search for names by meanings: http://www.meaning-of-names.com/search/ I often use this website http://www.20000-names.com/ because it has fantasy names and deity names which is helpful if you’re writing something that fits that genre.

At the moment I need to focus more on finishing stories and then I’ll worry about these types of problems.

Facebook reminded me yesterday that it’s been three years since I won the writing competition, that flew and I’ve done nothing since. I really need to do something. Thanks for the knock down Facebook. I am so tired of not being productive and complaining about it. I can only keep trying, though I do feel like waving a flag with the word ‘help’ on it. I really fit the description of Insecure Writer.

Keep trying and thinking positive…. Use this little reminder (thanks Facebook!!!) to spur me on. Work brain work.

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My Favourite Literary Character by Hannah

Thank you to Hannah from A Cup Of Wonderland for joining in with my guest series. 

“I am very excited to be writing this post on my favourite literary characters and a huge thank you to Jen inviting me to take part in this project of hers. Now I just have to say I have a great many literary characters who I adore but unfortunately I could only pick one to showcase so here we go!” 

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Introduction to the Character: 

The character which I have picked to showcase is Death. Yes, it does sound strange that Death is a character but he is in Marcus Zusak’s novel The Book Thief, which I completely adore and it is certainly a book which is due a reread.

 When did you first read about this character?  

When I first encountered the character of Death, it was when I actually watched the film adaptation of the Book Thief. Which pushed me to pick up the book, which I finished in a single sitting at 2am in the morning. Death is actually not only a character but the narrator of The Book Thief, which in case you haven’t read is a novel set during Nazi rule in Germany following a young girl called Liesl as she learns to read, steal books and help hide a jew on the run.

 Why do you like this character? 

I think what attracts me to a character like Death is because of how articulate he is. The film at one point depicts him as a sophisticated man with a bowler hat and walking stick, creating a quite elegant figure. Zusak makes Death become civilised opposed to the image which can be imprinted on your mind that Death is a villian who will steal life freely. Really in The Book Thief, Death becomes somewhat humanised.

 Best moment:  

Throughout the novel we see Death become fascinated with the tale of Liesel and her own adventures particularly as he visits her more and more due to the death around her. But I think particularly with Death, his best moment is that he doesn’t appear to be prejudice against anyone throughout the novel, rather he allows them to move on. He’s neither villain or hero.

 Worst moment: 

I don’t think there is a worst moment for Death, I don’t think we can begrudge him for taking those who have died as that is simply his job.

 Has the book been adapted? 

Yes, The Book Thief has been adapted into a film. Death is actually played by Roger Allam and he is truly the perfect choice in portraying the character.

 Quotes: 

I think the only quote which comes to mind is the most significant and is actually the final line of the book.

“I am haunted by humans”

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About Hannah

Hi, my name is Hannah and I blog over at acupofwonderland.com. My blog consists mainly of books but others things which are important to me – particularly Disney, Star Wars and odd stories about my life. Huge thank you to Jen for inviting me to take part in this series and the chance to talk about one of my favourite literary characters. 

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Thank you Hannah.

I enjoyed the The Book Thief and the character of Death was what makes this book stand out. I’d recommend it. Haven’t watched the film properly yet but the book is better.

 

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Blog Tour: Amy Cole Has Lost Her Mind by Elizabeth McGivern

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About the book:

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Amy Cole is a stay-at-home mum and a woman on the edge. 
After a very public breakdown and failed suicide attempt, Amy finds herself trying to make it through her everyday life as a high-functioning zombie. 
Elle De Bruyn is a force of nature ready to shake Amy back to life whether she likes it or not. 
After a fortuitous meeting, the two embark on a journey together which will change them both and help them find out exactly what they’re capable of when rock bottom is just the beginning. 

Purchase from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07B4FW7TZ/ref=la_B07B4HV9B6_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1519837964&sr=1-1

Purchase from Amazon.com – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B4FW7TZ/ref=la_B07B4HV9B6_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1519837964&sr=1-1

My Review

Amy Cole Has Lost Her Mind grips you from the first page. It starts with a harrowing scene of Amy attempting suicide and from that moment I could not stop reading. It was hard to read Amy’s story at the start, I had to fight off tears but I continued eager to learn more about her.

Amy’s thought patterns were so scary to read, being someone who is a worrier and being anxious I could relate to some aspects of the way her brain worked. Some. Scarily accurate. I have never experenced what Amy had and I wanted to read this book to learn more about depression and straight away I learnt a lot. And could feel nothing other than a deep sympathy for this woman.

Amy’s worries and dilemmas about bringing up her children and her mental health struggles could be anybodies, the story is as realistic as fiction can get.

Although the beginning of this novel is heart wrenching the mood does change when Amy meets the big personality of Elle, she encourages her to try new things and as a result Amy gets into some hilarious situations.

It’s strange how quickly the tone of the novel changes, it starts off being a harrowing dark story and suddenly turns into a comedy. The change of tone does not bother me, although there is not much mention of her depression anymore maybe that’s because she isn’t thinking of it or caught up in the feelings and it’s reflected in the story.

I loved this book, sometimes I did feel like the characters were over the top but then this may often be the case in comedy novels. Despite that I really enjoyed this novel. I would recommend this book to anyone, the beginning may be hard but then it’s realistic and does increase our awareness of depression and it’s effects.  It’s an honest, sad and also hilarious book. I really didn’t want it to end. I was so relieved when I got to the final page and read the words: “AMY COLE WILL RETURN IN: AMY COLE IS ZEN AS F*CK” I didn’t expect to care so much about her. I have to read the next book.  

 

 

 

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Elizabeth McGivern is a former journalist turned hostage-in-her-own-home surrounded by three men and a horrible dog named Dougal.

In an effort to keep her sanity she decided to write a parenting blog after the birth of her first son so she can pinpoint the exact moment she failed as a mother.

In an unexpected turn of events, the blog helped her to find a voice and connect with parents in similar situations; namely those who were struggling with mental health issues and parenting. It was because of this encouragement – and wanting to avoid her children as much as possible – her debut novel, Amy Cole has lost her mind, was born.

Elizabeth lives in Northern Ireland although wishes she could relocate to Iceland on a daily basis. To witness her regular failings as a parent you can find her on:

www.mayhemandbeyond.com 

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/mayhemandbeyond

Twitter – https://twitter.com/MayhemBeyond

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/mayhemandbeyond/

Picture credited to Jess Lowe

 

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Writing Wednesday: progress

Last week I talked about being in a slump and how to overcome it, find the post here. I tried doing a mindmap:

The word I used was “Pathways” and it managed to spark a lot of ideas. I see images of characters and scenes when I get ideas and I had one that resulted in the start of a short story. 🙂

I now have two short stories that are works in progress. At the moment I’m working on them and later on will give my novel some attention. Might be an edit before I continue writing it.

I haven’t got any further with these stories yet. I may have to carve some time out next week, I haven’t had much writing or even reading time at the moment. But it’ll keep.

Maybe I’ll plan to finish a rough draft of one before the end of June. That’s plenty of time.

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Next Wednesday it’s time for the Insecure Writer’s group blog hop. Let me know if you’re involved I haven’t been for long.

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Guest Post Series: My Favourite Literary Character by Bridie

This week it’s Bridie from Bridie’s Book Abyss turn to share her favourite literary character, thank you Bridie.

Skulldugger Pleasant

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Skulduggery Pleasant is a gun wielding, Bentley driving, fine suit wearing, magical detective. Also he’s dead. Literally. He is a walking, talking, fire throwing skeleton. And he is the best damn character in the world.

He is an elemental, which means he is able to control and conjure the elements to help him in his daily battles against the bad guys. Although as we get further into the series we learn that his magic abilities don’t just end at fire, water, air and earth…

With a velvet Irish accented voice, the quickest wit around and seemingly endless charm, it is impossible not to fall in love with Skulduggery Pleasant.

 

Books featured in

Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy.

1 Skulduggery Pleasant

2 Playing with Fire

3 The Faceless Ones

4 Dark Days

5 Mortal Coil

6 Death Bringer

7 Kingdom of the Wicked

7.5 The Maleficent Seven

8 Last Stand of the Dead Men

8.5 Armageddon Outta Here

9 The Dying of the Light

10 Resurrection

11 Midnight (Released May 31th!)

 When did you first read this character? 

I cannot remember exactly what age I was when I was introduced to Skulduggery Pleasant. I believe it was early double digits either 12 or 13. In a rare show (back then) of sibling social interaction; my little sister said you “You should read this book, it’s about a Skeleton Detective”. “Sounds awful” I thought, but appreciated the gesture so decided to give it a go. From the first few chapters I was absolutely hooked, and I am still a Skulduggery Fan girl to this very day.

Confession time. Despite being old enough to know better, I spent many hours trying to do elemental magic as described in this book. You know. Just in case.

 Why do you like this character? 

He is suave and debonair, with the sharpest wit I’ve ever read in a character. He is utterly hilarious, dry as a bone (pun intended), and the first (and one of the only) book character to genuinely make me laugh out loud. But he is also one of the most genuinely dark characters I have ever read. He has a severely tortured past, and (as an immortal skeleton) he has to deal the reality of living with these memories and regrets for eternity. I find it hilarious that this book, which is classed as 9-12 children’s fiction, has some serious darkness that most ‘adult books’ WISH they had. I love a character who can make you laugh hysterically, but who is also quite frightening in their unpredictability and sense of justice and repentance.

I’ve never wanted to be a book character more than I want to be Valkyrie Cain. Purely so I get to hang out with Skulduggery Pleasant everyday. (The magic would be cool too)

 Has the book been adapted to film/tv? 

Not as of yet, but there has been talk for years of it being made into a film by Warner Brothers. Although I hope it isn’t. I love it so much that I can’t bare the possibility for it being ruined by a film. Also if I can’t play Valkyrie Cain then NOBODY CAN.

 Quotes 

Can I quote a whole book? No?

Skulduggery Pleasant is an insanely quotable character. So I’ve tried to narrow it down to my absolute favourites.

 “Doors are for people with no imagination” 

 “We’re not retreating, we’re advancing in reverse.” 

 “What is it?” Stephanie whispered. “That, my dear Valkyrie, is what we call a monster.” She looked at Skulduggery. “You don’t know what it is, do you?” “I told you what it is, it’s a horrible monster. Now shut up before it comes over here and eats us.” 

 “I’m sophisticated, charming, suave and debonair, professor. But I have never claimed to be civilised.” 

 “Only a heathen would bring a gun to a sword fight.” “And only a moron would bring a sword to a gun fight.” 

 “The world is bigger than you know, and scarier than you might imagine. The only currency worth anything is being true to yourself, and the only goal worth seeking is finding out who you truly are.” 

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About Bridie

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My name is Bridie and I am a self-confessed Bookmaggot. I am also largely sarcastic and cynical but that is neither here nor there. Aside from being a bibliophile I am a professional Actress and Singer. And on top of all that I work part-time as a Bookseller in one of London’s largest bookshops. It’s safe to say that I know my way around a bookshelf. But that wasn’t always the case.

When I was little, I struggled with reading, and was always a few steps behind the level I should have been for my age. Even into my late teens I always felt drawn towards books, but would shy away from the commitment of reading. Then in my early twenties a well-placed recommendation sent me down a spiral. (BEWARE – uncharacteristically soppy sentences ahead) – it left one of those gaping holes inside that only a great book can leave and the only way to fill it seemed to be to search for a replacement. Except then I found another book that ripped my soul and another and still another. Until suddenly, I was an infinite crevasse of paper and ink. Children were screaming. Men were crying. The Aztecs said ‘I told you so’ as the world was sucked into the abyss of my book-lust. (I’m passionate and overdramatic and you’ll just have to be okay with that).

So let’s talk books. We all know that everyone has a genre (don’t lie) that is their comfort blanket. Mine is Fantasy and YA Fantasy. But that doesn’t mean my blog is going to be all magic and wizards; oh no my friend; because I also dabble in 9-12 fiction, general fiction and even the occasional classic *quelle intellect*. One of my personal goals for this year is to branch out and read books that I would never have chosen before, namely sci-fi and non-fiction. So we can share the struggles and triumphs of that journey together on my blog, whilst holding hands (you don’t have to hold my hand if you don’t want to, just thought it might be nice).

SO – If you’d like to hear my opinion on some of the books I’ve read in the form of shining/brutally scathing reviews. If you’d like to hear my various recommendations and reading lists. If you’d like to hear my funny and enraging bookseller tales… Welcome to my Book Abyss.

Twitter: @bridiebookabyss