Sunday, 26 April 2015

EXAM SEASON:: What's Happening?

April has arrived, and soon, May and June will be with us too. That means that exams are coming - majorly important exams. Thus, changes are happening.

At the beginning of the year I said in my Blogging Goals 2015 post that I'd like to maintain the amount of content that is being posted during exam season. Now looking back, I've decided that that isn't the best thing to do. I fear that if I try posting whilst my exams are happening, posts won't be of a good quality, and that is something I always try to aim for in my writing. Due to this my blogging schedule will change slightly.

::: Normally I post on Friday's and Sunday's. During this time I will be going down to one post per week. There may be the rare occasion where this is otherwise, but generally this will be stuck to.

::: Posts will not be so heavy. I know this is basically telling you what's going to be happening, but as far as I can see, all there will be in those months are light features, a small book review here and there, my monthly book haul, and my monthly wrap up. No discussion posts!

::: All posts will be scheduled - this is going to be harder for Book hauls and wrap ups, but I'll write those when I get the time. Please also forgive any grammatical or spelling errors during this period!

::: Comments will still be replied to. This may be one day a week, whenever is convenient, but they will be replied to.

::: Reading will slow down, branching out from the book haul/wrap up situation. I've recently been reading books quite quickly but time is going to be limited for both reading and book buying. 

It has never been my intention to stop blogging completely when it comes to my exams - as I've said before I'm finding school and friendships etc difficult right now and blogging is one of the lights in my life. It really keeps me going. But I really need to focus on my exams and doing the best I can. My first GCSE exam is Art & Design, and that is being held on Thursday 30th April and Friday 1st May. So.... this coming week. I wrote this a few months back and now reading this, and realizing that this is going live actually sickens me - i'm kind of panicking...That means that from here on things are going to be a little different. I won't be gone completely but there will be some absence from now on. 

Holly x

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Seed by Lisa Heathfield

SeedFifteen-year-old Pearl has lived her whole life protected within the small community at Seed, where they worship Nature and idolise their leader, Papa S. When some outsiders arrive, everything changes. Pearl experiences feelings that she never knew existed and begins to realise that there is darkness at the heart of Seed. A darkness from which she must escape, before it's too late.

Seed is so different from any other book I've ever read. It was refreshing and informative whilst providing shocks around every corner. So, thank you to Electric Monkey for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

Pearl, at 15, she has never left Seed, which is where everyone in the cult lives. Everything about the cult, from both an outside perspective, and the perspective of Pearl is very strange. Papa S, their leader, has somewhat brainwashed his followers into believing that if you do something bad, then nature will harm you. Originally this does not sound so bad, compared to the beliefs a typical cult may have. But it soon becomes shocking to see how manipulated these characters are, for example, how they are not allowed to feel pain or sadness and therefore crying is punished.

This is just the tip of the iceberg though, and as the book progresses, things get a lot darker. Early on into the book we are told about how Papa S elects from the cult female "companions", and it is implied that the men also do this too. The most disturbing aspect of this is that people actually want to be Papa S' companion as they feel like it is such a high position.  Pearl is included in this number and all I wanted to do was scream at her and make her realised how wrong everything about this aspect of a Seed was. It was hard to read. But that's the beauty of Heathfield's writing.

Pearl is a character who is easily likeable, but incredibly naive. As she has never left Seed, there is so much she doesn't know, and it is great to see her character development as along with Kate and Jack, their beliefs are shattered by the horrifying truth behind everything they have ever known.

If you want a book that is slow paced but has you in the edge of your seat, hooked on every word, then Seed by Lisa Heathfield is for you.
Holly x

Monday, 6 April 2015

Gayle Forman Event March 2015

Due to the release of her latest novel, I Was Here, Gayle Forman was touring the UK in March. She was visiting London, Liverpool, Milton Keynes, Birmingham, and Manchester, and so on the 8th of March, I attended her talk and signing at Waterstones Deansgate. Usually when author's I've read tour the UK they never come to Manchester (even though it has one of the biggest bookshops in the country) and so it was really exciting to be doing something different with my Sunday.

Something pretty different was done in the talk, in which Gayle decided to interview herself. There were two seats set up and as she was the questioner and answerer, she would go back and forth between the seats, putting on an attempt at an English accent when asking the questions. She wanted her interviewer to be named by the audience and asked "What's a Mancunian name that we could call him?" Of all the things that could have been said, someone chose Bob.

Gayle also did a dramatic reading of a few pages from I Was Here with one of the Booksellers and somebody's Dad, which is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. And although I didn't ask any questions myself, I feel like I learnt so much about writing and publishing. For example; her advice to young writers was to just write whatever you want, because it might seem like nothing at first but soon you may turn around and actually realise its potential. This was described as chopping down a tree and then trying to develop the saplings that have grown.

I had been sat on the second row from the front and it turns out that if your at the front for the talk, you're probably at the back of the queue for the signing. This would have been a very long 50 minutes (!) had I not met Bekka and Sahil. They were sat on the row behind me and I plucked up the courage to turn around and talk to them before the talk started (bravo, throwing yourself in the deep end, Holly). They were both lovely and made the long queue seem a lot shorter. Gayle Forman was so sweet and funny. The fact that she looked at me and went "I love your name" made me smile. If you ever get the chance to meet her... do it!

Holly x