Ramblings of a Young Aussie Writer

A writer lost in her own imagination

The Confusing Etiquette Of Being A Female — February 25, 2015

The Confusing Etiquette Of Being A Female

I work in an INCREDIBLY male dominated industry and because of that I find myself regularly checking to make sure I still use the correct etiquette for a lady. I am a huge believer in the proper manners, respect and of course etiquette. The very biggest issue is something I have only just thought about lately. Surprisingly it’s the handshake. Yep, it doesn’t seem like something you’d think twice about but your handshake can say a lot about you. A simple gesture that lasts merely seconds can convey a lot about you to another person.

There are many, many things that are appropriate and very inappropriate for a women even in this day and age. I’m all for feminism but I endeavour to always act like a lady. This handshake realisation came over me when I was telling my husband how some people shake your hand limply and I felt it was weird. He proceeded to tell me that women usually don’t have even a remotely strong handshake and that’s probably why some men shake hands with a women gently. I suddenly became hyper aware of my handshake. What if I shake hands like a man? As stupid as it sounds, I was horrified to think I had a ‘bloke’ handshake. I can’t rationalise my feelings on this but it got me thinking.

There are a million contradicting actions involved in acting correctly in public if you’re a female. It is exhausting trying to remember to every single appropriate action in public. From a gentle handshake (which I assume portrays how feminine your are?) to walking anywhere with soft steps, hands gently by your side, shoulders back, head held high and delicate paces. It’s exhausting just thinking about it.

I’m inclined to actually google the correct way for a woman to shake hands with someone – yes I think I have gone crazy. It is these moments in my life that inspires the actions of my characters in my writing. From every situation in life we can take away something that will inspire our thoughts because after all, the best books are those that capture the essence of real life in their pages.

I added a funny photo just for those men out there that need some handshake tips 😉

Handshake Manliness

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Does An Author’s Previous Success Influence Their New Book’s Success? — February 19, 2015

Does An Author’s Previous Success Influence Their New Book’s Success?

Quite a few of my favourite authors have recently released new books. Naturally I was excited to read these new books because of course I had high expectations of them. The most obvious is the Teardrop series by Lauren Kate. I loved her first series – Fallen so I was eager to read her newest series. I was very disappointed when I finished the book Teardrop. It rated very low for me (check out my review of it Here). I honestly believe though that if Lauren Kate hadn’t already made a name for herself the book Teardrop would’ve been an absolute disaster and there would be at least thousands of people who wouldn’t have bought and read it, myself included. The second book Waterfall was even worse than the first but once again I think people believe that maybe she could redeem herself with book two of the series. That was not the case and it was an even worse book than the first.

This got me thinking though – if a writer has already made a name for themselves are they more likely to rate higher than if they were previously unknown? I fully believe that is the case most of the time.

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After Life – Shelbi Wescott — February 10, 2015

After Life – Shelbi Wescott

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After Life – Shelbi Wescott

4 Star Review

I was lucky enough to receive this book as a giveaway from Goodreads. The cover looked great – very haunting but after reading the blurb I wasn’t sure that I’d enjoy this book. It ended up heading in a very different direction to what was expected.

Positives – After life is very intellectually written for the directed age group and I found that a big positive whilst reading. The storyline moves along at a steady pace and I for the most part didn’t find any part of it that I wanted to skim past. I was drawn into Mara’s character and absolutely rapt up in the storyline by the end of the second chapter. The story went along without any kind of thoughts of a romance within its page but without giving too much away I was glad there was some love tangled in all that anger and fear. Mara was a strange character who seemed to be a mixture of determination, stubbornness, strength yet she was also overdramatic, reckless and even bordering on cowardly sometimes so ultimately a walking contradiction. Despite all of that you couldn’t help but love her and her wild decisions. I loved the twists and turns the story took and was definitely surprised by a few revelations.

Negatives

I found the first chapter lacking and predictable. I knew this book was along the lines of a horror story but it seemed like it was trying too hard. Unexpectedly, the second chapter start to flow and entice me to read more. The first chapter felt disjointed from the rest of the book but once through that I was hooked. There were a few ‘groan-worthy’ moments (as I refer to them) but they were short and easily dismissed. Some of those were almost justifiable but I felt they could’ve been written a bit better. I was also annoyed at the behaviour of her friends multiple times and felt Mara was fairly gullible. I’m not a huge fan of over the top moments and there were some in this book. In saying that though, it certainly wasn’t enough for me to be put off finishing it.

Overall – I found this book a rollercoaster of twists and turns and was excited to finish it. The storyline was interesting and unexpected despite the feeling that it may be very predictable at the start. It’s great for not only horror lovers but anyone likes a bit of a mystery or something paranormal. I loved that this book really sparked intrigued about past lives and peaked my curiosity about the ‘After Life.” For me this book warranted a rating of 4 stars (or 3.75 but I’m rounding up).

Well Done Shelbi Wescott 4 Stars!

Getting Too Emotionally Involved With A Fictional Character — February 6, 2015

Getting Too Emotionally Involved With A Fictional Character

I recently finished a book (Dream Thief by Maggie Stiefvater – which I’ll review soon) and I’ve come to realise that maybe I get a tad too emotionally invested in books and their characters. It hasn’t only been with the two Raven Boys Series books but I have found a character in them that I loathe when I don’t think that’s what the author intended.

This character, Adam Parish is a rude, disrespectful character and I can’t seem to get past my feelings toward him in order to properly enjoy the story (although I’m not overly impressed by the books). I should probably wait to see how the series ends before I make a final judgement but it is the backbone of his personality that frustrates me and if he does change then I don’t think that would be believable.

Who else has a character that they hate when the book dictates that you shouldn’t?

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What Songs Are On Your Playlist? — February 4, 2015

What Songs Are On Your Playlist?

I don’t think I could live without music. Beautiful words sung in a beautiful tune is something that can really ignite my imagination. I always seem to have music playing, even when I’m writing. Today just for something different, I thought I’d share the songs on my favourite playlist and I would love everyone else to share some of their favs too. This is judgement free zone on music choice 😉

My Top Ten – Not in any particular order

1. Heart by Heart – Demi Lovato

2.The Heart Wants What It Wants – Selena Gomez

3. Clean – Taylor Swift

4. Skyscraper – Demi Lovato

5. You Ruin Me – The Veronicas

6.When The Darkness Comes – Colbie Caillat

7. Elastic Heart -Sia

8. Almost Is Never Enough – Ariana Grande

9. Clarity – Zed ft Foxes

10. Highway Don’t Care – Tim McGraw ft Taylor Swift

*Honourable mention to – My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark – Fall Out Boy* Just to prove I do like songs other than female artists.

It was really difficult to choose just 10 but I think those are my favourites right now (it changes regularly). I recently got the Mortal Instruments Sound Track and there are some awesome songs on there (hence why I’ve got three on my list). Most of those songs have really great lyrics and that’s a lot of the reason why they’re my favourites playlist. The raw emotion in them helps me channel that into my writing.

Who else is game to post their fav songs?

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The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater 3.5 Star Review — February 2, 2015

The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater 3.5 Star Review

The Raven Boys

Maggie Stiefvater

3.5 Star Review

The Raven Boys Maggie Stiefvater

This book had some great reviews which was the main reason I picked it up. Not at all what I had expected and didn’t really meet my high expectations of it.

PositivesThe first thing that stuck out for me was Maggie Stiefvater’s writing style. I couldn’t believe it had gone through the editing process and had still come out like that. It was strange, disjointed, awkwardly put together yet I ended up enjoying it. The storyline was complicated and rather confusing. She has gone against the traditional male protagonist/lover and that made it interesting. Adam and Gansey both fit into that role but somehow didn’t. It seems to be a trend in the books I’ve read lately that rags to riches or the poor girl unexpectedly falls for the rich male, is a big drawcard. I must admit I do enjoy that sometimes. Of all the character’s Gansey was definitely my favourite, although I suspect that that’s what Maggie Stiefvater wanted.

NegativesI really felt stupid and confused during many scenes in this book. Was I not intelligent enough to understand the strange idea of Ley lines or Glendower? It took a long time to explain both things but I was still left scratching my head. I understand that in a series each book needs to end with a cliff-hanger but I feel like I don’t have any idea where she wanted to point the readers toward at the end. There was ample action and excitement but then the ending seemed to be squashed into a few short chapters. I felt cheated by the ending when the beginning held the promise of an interesting conundrum for Blue but it ended without any kind of hint of an answer. For a book that contained many, MANY unnecessary sentences and descriptions it just sort of flat lined at the end.

Overall For this book I’ll round up to a 4 stars out of 5 (probably because I just loved Gansey). The characters were great, I ended up enjoying the strange writing style and am actually interested to see where this story goes. Instead of gaining answers throughout the book though, it just snowballed into an endless amount of confusing questions. I’m hoping that book two (Dream Thieves) will accentuate the best parts of book one.

BLURB “There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before