26 December 2015

attempting to whittle down my piles and piles of photos to a tiny selection of six was probably one of the hardest things i've ever had to do for this blog. it was painful. every single one of the photos i take i cherish. (which is probably why i have thousands and thousands of photos festering away on a USB somewhere..). so in the end, i decided to pick six of my favourite photos i've taken this year for either my blog or instagram in a certain category: art and creativity, rather than just picking from every single photo i have taken this year which would be impossible and highly time-consuming. WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE PHOTO OF THESE SIX PICKS?


21 December 2015

looking back through the archive of my blog, seeing the array of creative and literary posts i wrote, re-experiencing the small events i shared with you all feels like taking a journey down a colourful and vibrant road to where i am now. while i posted the least i have ever done this year due to college and time restraints, what i did post i am very proud of. the fact that it was hard to pick my favourite posts of 2015 makes me immensely happy, because that was one of the aims i had of 2015: whether i could post a lot or a little, whatever i posted i wanted to be proud of. and i am. i narrowed it down though, slowly, but i did. here is what made the final cut!


19 December 2015

FURRY LITTLE PEACH :: Sha'an d'Anthes is one of my favourite online artists i've ever had the honour of stumbling across. not because her work is dramatic or abstract or intense like some of the most famous artists out there, but because her illustrations have character, vibrancy and a raw beauty about them (also her videos are amazing and i wish i had her assured confidence with a pen and paint.)

wreck this journal (again)

12 December 2015

PART ONE: the I-haven't-wrecked-in-ages-and-i-have-no-idea-what-to-do-for-any-of-these-prompts-so-here's-a-cop out-drawing:


21 November 2015

The streets are always crowded. Feet slapping, donkeys braying, men shouting, boys running up and down holding huge bottles of water, bags of food, or simply kicking a football between friends. The streets are always alive. The sun caresses covered heads, bald heads, heads boasting mounds of curls, brown locks, blonde hair; hats; scarves and everything in between. Tourists, natives, travellers, visitors, everyone piles together in a moving mass of pulsing hearts, wide eyes and sweating skin.

SKETCHBOOK STORIES | chapter three

14 November 2015

Sometimes a month flashes by on invisible legs and you don't even see it as it waves goodbye, last July was one of those months for me. July was the month of Eid, the month that I travelled to Morocco, the month that I turned seventeen, and the month that I realised heck, I might need to buy a zimmer frame soon, or at least a walking stick, I'm getting old.


07 November 2015

If you think Cait needs an introduction because you have no idea who she is, then I question your life choices. With that being said, here is what went down during e-mail conversation, where I threw words at her, and she attempted to bat them away with as much eloquence and sass as possible. 
P.S Let's all appreciate my taste in gifs please; also feel free to answer these questions yourself in the comments section if you feel like the world could do with hearing your (probably amazing) novel-writing life and structure - I don't, which is why I have not answered these questions myself.

1. HOW DO YOU BUILD YOUR PLOTS/FANTASY WORLDS, what's the process? where does the magic happen, where do the sparks originate from? An inspiring meal? A sudden idea while in the shower? (WHERE THERE IS ALWAYS NO PAPER TO HAND WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN.)
IT IS CRUEL AND UNFAIR TO GET IDEAS IN THE SHOWER. I have lost countless stories down the drain, seriously, it's abominable. I need a waterproof notepad, clearly.

STORIES: autumn

31 October 2015

Autumn in England is probably not what people outside of the country imagine it to be. I have friends who live abroad and their misconception consists of crisp air, beautiful, vibrant leaves sitting in huge piles on the pavement, a blue sky, and sun. Sorry to burst your bubble of happiness but in reality, autumn brings cold, rain, thunderstorms, and a lot of fat grey clouds piled above your head in clumps. So yes, warm, woolly jumpers are a must, but so are waterproof coats and umbrellas (that always inevitably break and then you wonder why you invested in one in the first place). (This means, when the sun comes out, you all make the most of it.)                              When Daniel Wellington sent me a watch, I think I admired it for a good ten minutes before daring to touch it (and possibly ruin it with fingerprints). Then I told my friend that she wasn't allowed to turn up in pyjamas to college the next day because she needed to model 'a watch' for me. When she saw what watch it actually was, I think she was more excited than me. And then this happened:
1. I shot these photos in a weed-infested car park. Fashion is fabulous, what can I say.
2. My friend tried to run off with the watch because she loves it so much.
3. The back of my head now graces someone's snapchat story. Taking pictures of me unawares is a cruel thing: I don't share my best asset with everyone, honestly, you have to have permission.
4. I promise the top half of my friend's face is not actually a furry monkey, it's actually so stunning you're not allowed to see it. Privacy is important people,
5. If you want your own watch, at a 15% discount before november 15th buy me some pizza and we can have a discussion about it. Or use the code 'hawwaetc' and don't buy me pizza. If you take the latter option I'll sadly have to break all ties with you. Food before fashion, any good friend will know that.
Talk to me, did you like this post? Did you think it was boring? Do you think I should do more fashion-y type posts? Let me know! Oh, also, once again: disclaimer: the model is not me, I am not that tall, (I know, it's a hard life.) nor do I have such a great wardrobe. (Honestly, I would steal all of her clothes if I could.) watch: c/o daniel wellington | cardigan and shoes: next | everything else: I don't know.


24 October 2015

NOT READING: INLAND by kat rosenfield. why? i've had this book on my shelf for over a year now after having won it in a giveaway. initially i was really excited to read it and then one day, when i finally found time to sit down and peruse the untouched pages, i couldn't get into it at all. i'm not sure why. perhaps i was experiencing a book slump. perhaps i wasn't in the mood for that genre, or that writing style.

IN WHICH I PROVIDE YOU WITH 'WIP' SNIPPETS (an attempt to overcome writer's block)

17 October 2015

Sometimes, your head explodes with ideas and your fingers can't keep up with your brain's whirring activity as it spits out reams of words and plots and plans. You type frantically at the keyboard, eyes wide, without blinking unnecessarily until you get eye ache slowly, the cogs in your brain clunk clunk clunk and - oh. there's a blob of glue slithering through your brain, coating every surface and congealing it's opaque limbs into every nook and cranny, slowing the word machine down bit by bit-
Writer's block. How lovely to be re-acquainted with you. But - oh? I don't remember inviting you here? You invited yourself. Ah. That makes sense. Well, I'm a wee bit busy - you have nowhere else to go? What a shame. Oh yes of course, do make yourself at home, I don't mind a bit.

REVIEW: The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

10 October 2015

publisher: bloomsbury children's
publication date: march 12th 2015  
genre: fantasy  
blurb: Lady Kestrel's engagement to Valoria's crown prince calls for great celebration: balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust ... While Arin fights to keep his country's freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this second book in the breathtaking Winner's trilogy. -goodreads
 "If you won't be my friend, you'll regret being my enemy."
Marie Rutkoski is not kind to Kestrel in this novel, nor is she compassionate towards reader's feelings. Reading THE WINNER'S CRIME was like being pulled deeper and deeper into an ocean of anger, lies, betrayal, secrets and pain - with an ending that well and truly drowned your heart in a pit of an indescribable emotion that only readers would understand: a cliffhanger of epic proportions does immense things to your emotions, this one was even greater than the first book.

the art of bookshelving || how do you organise your books?

03 October 2015

I've had a colour-coordinated bookself for the past two years now and don't think I'll ever change the way I organise it. Whenever anyone asks me how I ever find anything, I question why I wouldn't be able to find books - if you've had a certain organisation for two years, of course you'll be used to it by now. I know my books by colour. If someone comes to my house and I want to show them a book, or they want to borrow a book - I automatically think of what colour it is, and then search for it within that realm.


26 September 2015

I am, without a doubt, a perfectionist. And while in some ways that's a blessing - I always strive my hardest to succeed at whatever I do, there are of course problems with being such a stickler for perfection, the most recent one being my art. Outside of actually studying art I always try to keep on top of my art/scrapbook journal just so that I always have an outlet for untamed creativity, but due to my inner perfectionism, I never like what I create. No matter if it took five minutes or an hour, I will almost always look at it, think meh, and cover it up with a blank page so I can start all over again. And that's not healthy, especially when it comes to what I'm doing: filling pages of a book that no-one will ever see unless I choose to show them.

Review: SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo

19 September 2015

PUBLISHER: indigo | PUBLICATION DATE: october 8th 2015 | GENRE: fantasy  
(thank you to the Guardian for sending me this book for free in exchange for an honest review.)
Utterly, extremely bewitching. The characters, the plot; very rarely in my life do I say that a book desperately needs a sequel – this is one of those instances. I didn’t allow myself to have expectations for SIX OF CROWS, purely because I knew they would explode through the roof and I would explode with them – but this book. This book was like a kaleidoscope of colours and wit and bravery and vulnerability were mixed together in a cauldron to create these characters.


12 September 2015

Usually, a book makes it to my wishlist after I've heard of it, heard other people's opinions on it, and I've read a couple of reviews about it. UNDER A PAINTED SKY made it just with the cover and blurb to form my opinion. Honestly, I don't understand why some people are so adamant that reader's should not judge books by their covers. Yes, to an extent, we should take other factors into account as well - but that's effectively trying to say that books could just have completely blank covers.

WRECK THIS JOURNAL | a progression of sorts

05 September 2015

It has been a while since I've done anything in my wreck this journal, and honestly I think it's because I'm such a sporadic and mood-driven creative. I tend to have fast-paced spurts of one art medium, then i get tired of it and move onto something else, and that cycle carries on until it returns full circle. it's the same with my reading habits, i'm definitely a mood reader and i don't think that will ever change.


29 August 2015

SKETCHBOOK STORIES: a series in which I present snippets of my sketchbook: people seem to like it when I do so on my instagram so I thought I'd tranfer it to over here as well. Considering I've actually not done much art recently (aka at the time when I am writing this), the above photo is one of the sole pieces I've created, and I say 'pieces' hesitantly because really, it's just a few lines of sharpie; but I like it, I love geometric pieces, and it's available to buy in my shop not only as a print, but as a wall clock and a phone case among other things too - so, I'm calling it art.

analysing inanimate objects (what's on my bedside table?)

23 August 2015

honestly, everything on my bedside table is constantly changing. books come and go. mess is made, and cleared away. pens roll around on it's surface, marking and marring it. dust gathers - and it swept away. stories can be told through identifying the objects piled on it - just as you learn more about a person through their hobbies and friends: they are a little inanimate glimpse into their life.

S: (The) Secret History by Donna Tartt - book review

18 August 2015

“Does such a thing as 'the fatal flaw,' that showy dark crack running down the middle of a life, exist outside literature? I used to think it didn't. Now I think it does. And I think that mine is this: a morbid longing for the picturesque at all costs.”

FIELD NOTES v.1 || Lake District 2015

14 August 2015

robert louis stevenson once said: "for my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.," and ultimately, the 'great affair' is to move: to get out of your house and breathe fresh air and inhale the scents and sounds and sights of a land you very rarely appreciate so caught up are you in the daily drudge of life. 'fernweh' and 'wanderlust' are oft used phrases, thrown around like ping-pong balls. whole pinterest boards are dedicated to travel. bucket lists are filled, and not very often emptied. people yearn to move.

WIP: etc

07 August 2015

Remember that post I wrote all about my novel ideas and how I was despairing over my status as a 'pantser' and would I ever write a darn novel? (which I'd advise you to read before this one). Well, not much has changed. I abandoned The Fox Child, gladly, but also sadly, if that's possible; and focused my attentions on two others, first: To The End and Back, and when my creative juices ran out I started Cellophane Heart (which has had a name change, and now has a working title of 'Etc'.

THE PACKING PROCESS | a holiday snapshot

31 July 2015

Holiday packing can be arduous, exciting, or frantic; i am the type of person that plans everything to the smallest detail. why? because i like making lists, i like crossing things off lists, and i fear the day i forget something important that i would need when going on holiday, especially if i am going abroad. 
Here is what I packed for my upcoming holiday:
1. MY CAMERA || (not pictured because I was using it to take this photo!) the most important thing for me, wherever I am going, is my camera - if i don't have it to document my trip, who and what i see, then to me, my holiday would be ruined. i'm not saying i wouldn't manage without it, but if i forgot my camera, and by extension, my camera charger/extra memory card, it'd be like i'd lost a limb.


20 July 2015

I know you have eyes but I love my new design and MEGAN's wizardry skills need to have a sole post for them to be appreciated fully. Also of note are: the sidebar image, done by this artist who kindly let me use the image of the crab she drew (why a crab? my star sign is a cancer, plus it fitted with the colour scheme and is the sassiest crustacean i've seen in a while). In addition, the hand-lettering of the blog title and sidebar 'hello' were done by yours truly, as were the footer and header patterns of orb/geometric type shapes (which you can actually buy prints of in my shop). All my pages are fully updated (except two/three) and I have a few more new pages:


16 July 2015

No, you don't need to go to the opticians to check your eyesight, you can see a change of URL. It's official, I've moved from to! I've been wanting to change my blog title (and URL - I need cohesion!) for a good long while but I never thought I'd switch from one blogger URL to another because it is a lot of hassle and I'd lose lots of followers and I didn't have the energy (basically I'm lazy). However I was persuaded by the one and only Amber (if you don't know who she is then I question your blog reading tastes) to buy a domain because:
a. then I look more professional *adjusts tie*,
b. it redirects all my links for me (apparently, I have yet to see..) 
c. then i can change my URL and blog name too.
Why would I want to change my blog name you ask? Well, I think I've alluded to, and talked about it a lot recently but I don't want my blog to be solely book based anymore. It's drifting away from that already but now the change makes it official: I want my blog to revolve around every creative-orientated thing I am passionate about: literature, art, photography, writing, travel. Not just one thing.

(giveaway): SOCIETY 6 || I'VE OPENED A SHOP

10 July 2015

I've wanted to start selling my art for about a year, but i've not had the time to actually create a shop until now. Doing my art (AS) Level took up enough of my energy for me to want to just collapse in a heap when I had any free time - but summer is for trying out new things, getting that to-do list all crossed out, and making more art. So here I am, finally. I have an online shop on SOCIETY 6 - which is almost as addictive as pinterest once you get started scrolling down.. Honestly, I don't expect to get many, if any, sales. There are so many thousands of other stunning artist selling their work on society 6 that if anyone stumbles across my little corner of the internet I will be stunned - If any of you like my work, or know anyone that would, please do let them know though. Right now I don't have many pieces of fine art up for sale because it's all in a sketchbook in college which I will only be able to get in September, so for now, there is just a mish-mash of what I have in various sketchbooks, a couple of photographs, a few geometric prints because I'm rather addicted to drawing them right now, and a handful of other random prints. Most prints are also available as wall-clocks; laptop/ipad/ipod/phone skins/cases; mugs; cushions and stationary cards, and the prints can also be bought framed or on canvas.
To celebrate the opening of my shop, I'm holding a giveaway - THE RULES: 1. must be 13 or older to enter 2. this giveaway is INTERNATIONAL 3. only one entry per household/per person, any more and you will be disqualified 4. this giveaway will end on the 31st August 2015 at 12am.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


03 July 2015

#essentialsforbiblio, created by thebookishgirl was originally made for Instagram. However, because I think the tag is an tactical way to nosy into other bookish people's lives, I thought I'd dedicate a post to it. I tag ruby and alannah and sana and cait
1. post-its (of course).
2. a bookmark, although honestly, i very rarely use them. thing1 and thing2 looked cute and photogenic, so i added them in.
3. my moleskine: in case of quotes needing to be written down, notes for a book review, or doodles - if the book is boring.
4. a pencil case - self-explanatory, and why an entire case? again, if the book is boring, i'll want colours to add a pleasing aesthetic to my doodles...
5. a phone: to flail discuss books.
6. my camera: because books are more photogenic than me.
7. my wreck this journal: i am a creative human, what more can i say.
8. a book: no explanation needed
what about you? what are your essentials?

LATELY // trying to 'wrap up' my life

21 June 2015

It feels like time has learnt that it has an underlying love for speed and has purchased a pair of skates to whirl around on. Needless to say I am not impressed. I finish my first year of college in a week. It is now Ramadan, I get my exam results in August, I have to apply to universities in October - I think someone is using my mind as a punchbag, Lately, I have been thinking about the future, not out of choice, but out of necessity (let's all just boycott the idea of even mentioning exams please), and it has made me realise even more (not that I didn't know already) that I have absolutely no idea where my life is going. I seem to be holding onto the reigns of a galloping horse without understanding where it is taking me, and to be honest, that's not a very fun experience. So, instead of getting caught up in the daunting and mysterious, let's take a trip down memory lane; in the form of a list, obviously.
Blue sky, occasionally.
Multi-coloured umbrella oceans bobbing around college.
Ink stains and spilled paint.
Round, panicked eyes, as exam fever sets in.
Pens scratching, papers rustling [in the exam hall].
Rain on the college library roof.
Muffled snores in class.
Hiccups [a lot of them - who knows why?]
Muttered revision filtering through the house.
I was featured on Instagram's account and blog.
I was mentioned in The Guardian's top 10 best book bloggers article.
I handed in my art on time, and finished my exams! - and then I slept, a lot.
How to Be an Explorer of The World by Keri Smith
To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
An abused notebook: torn pages, scrawled handwriting, I'm sorry.
Wreck this Journal by Keri Smith
(Reading) The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
(Remembering) The Secret History by Donna Tart
(Pinning) pretty/sarcastic/moody pictures - mostly on 'we are all stories in the end'
(Plotting) WIP: etc
(Trying) to work out my life, and failing,
So, yes, bear with me. There are some (hopefully exciting) changes coming to this little corner of the web, I haven't forgotten this bucket of thoughts, I just need to get through the last week of college and then I can start scheduling posts like a madwoman. Who thinks I can write enough posts this Summer to get me through until my next long(ish) break in Winter? ---- (hint: not me).

collections: may reads

28 May 2015

I have conflicted emotions over this book. On the one hand, I enjoyed it – I wanted to enjoy it; on the other hand, I finished this book and didn’t feel anything, and that’s not a good sign. The main character, Meira, was awesome and bold and brave – but also slightly reckless. Mather I never really felt any connection to, and in ways, Meira never really became anything more than a two-dimensional character to me. The plot is not totally unique and I slightly guessed a major twist in the story which was disappointing. However there were a few unexpected turns that I was not expecting and overall, I enjoyed Snow like Ashes a lot; it’s one of those books I read, enjoy, but never really pick up again.

REVIEW: GOING OVER by Beth Kephart

22 May 2015

Going Overtitle: going over
publisher: chronicle books
publication date: april 1, 2014
format: finished copy

summary: In the early 1980s Ada and Stefan are young, would-be lovers living on opposite sides of the Berlin Wall--Ada lives with her mother and grandmother and paints graffiti on the Wall, and Stefan lives with his grandmother in the East and dreams of escaping to the West. -goodreads

Lyrical prose, beautiful and sensual imagery, a dark setting; yet, hope: there is always hope – because for the stars to shine, there needs to be darkness. GOING OVER just shot to my ‘favourites’ of 2015 list and I regret nothing. This book is graffiti, and colour and play dough and bikes. It is love, it is death, it is life; it is astronomy, maps, escapes and archery. It is a wall, splitting the earth with dark and hateful ideologies, and it is a spring in your step on one side: pink hair and coloured moles with a quiet and thoughtful being on the other; scope in hand, love clenched in heart and freedom circling though mind. GOING OVER is Ada and Stefan, Savas and Meryem, Turks and Germans and kids and adults. It is a story of humans and their plight in this world, and it is a story of love.

Investing in the book you are reading: utterly and totally, is a sign that a book has made its mark. From the first few pages, GOING OVER marked me again, and again, and again. With play dough crust and spray paint, black marks and crayon scribbles, spilt soup and break-time juice this book wrote itself all over my eyes and graffed its way onto my heart. How? The characters. Because by the end of the novel they were not ‘characters’ but people: Ada with her ever-changing outer appearance but stolid desires and beliefs and talents within her; Stefan and his passion for the sky, his inherited ‘scope’ and lonely existence on one side of the wall that separated him from Ada, and the whole host of characters that made up the plot and the setting and the pulsing existence and vibrance of the world around them.

GOING OVER is the type of book that you wish you had written as your eyes drink in the mesmerising creation of letters to words to sentences to paragraphs to pages of a story that fill your mind to bursting. Kephart is an author I am going to watch out for, because I need to take more than just a peek into her imagination. Historical fiction has always been one of my favourite genres of writing, and now I just love it even more.
thank you to the lovely publishers for sending me this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review


26 February 2015

title: a court of thorns and roses
publisher: bloomsbury
publication date: may 7th 2015
format: ARC
summary:  Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price.
Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever. -goodreads
when i heard sarah j. maas was writing a new series [i think it's going to be a trilogy?] i. was. excited. obviously. were my expectations fulfilled? yes. while i do admit to loving the throne of glass series more than this book, it was one fierce read. a court of thorns and roses is, i believe, an NA novel. and in my experience with this genre, NA basically means more romance. usually i dislike this immensely as it takes away from the action of the story; however, in this case it was a part of the plot - it lent itself well and although one of my favourite characters was not the love interest in question: it didn't lower my interest in the book.
BUT, i have a new favourite anti-hero, i just really really really like his character and i am sure he is going to be explored more in the coming book so i can't wait because honestly, he's just awesome. he was my favourite character in the whole book.
and the world building? well, sarah j.maas wields her pen like a wand of literary excellence, the imagery and depth to the characters and the world around them was beautiful - i always feel like i'm falling down a rabbit hole into a whole other place when i read one of her books. reading a court of thorns and roses was no different.
big thanks to bloomsbury for sending me this book. it was a lovely surprise.

the art of word shaking

21 February 2015

Words are tangible; black text on white page; serif and sans serif; smudged and careless and hopeful and clean lines and smooth dots; passionate, purposeful, individual. Yesterday I started writing an article on the power of words, based on The Book Thief, for my creative writing coursework, and I fell in love with those curves, those edges, and those lines all over again. Because that's all they are in essence, but they are also so much more. I am currently re-reading Jane Eyre, my bookmark is a plain rectangular piece of card scrawled in messy lines with each word I have come across that I do not know its definite meaning of. Some people dislike the unknown, but when it comes to words I love that indescribable feeling of being amongst a myriad of words that mean nothing more to me than what they look like; and then when understanding sweeps through my mind like a shooting star, each and every one of those letters means something more, it is no longer a flat smear on a page, but a pulsing heart of information within my mind. And finally, here are a few sentences in which the words were shaken, and tossed and turned in my mind - some from books I have read, some that I haven't.
Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
“I felt sorry when I came to the last page. I wanted to crawl in between those black lines of print the way you crawl through a fence.”
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
"There is neither happiness nor unhappiness in this world; there is only the comparison of one state with another. Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss."
Carlos Ruiz Zafón (The Shadow of the Wind)
"Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens."
Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why)
“That's what I love about poetry. The more abstract, the better. The stuff where you're not sure what the poet's talking about. You may have an idea, but you can't be sure. Not a hundred percent. Each word, specifically chosen, could have a million different meanings. Is it a stand-in-a symbol-for another idea? Does it fit into a larger, more hidden, metaphor?” 
 Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus)
“Old stories have a habit of being told and retold and changed. Each subsequent storyteller puts his or her mark upon it. Whatever truth the story once had is buried in bias and embellishment. The reasons do not matter as much as the story itself.”
Ali Smith (How to be Both) 
“Art makes nothing happen in a way that makes something happen.” and “All we are is eyes looking for the unbroken or the edges where the broken bits might fit each other.”
 Are you a word-shaker? A logophile? I'd say I'm both, but that would be pretentious.

book palette || dorothy must die

17 February 2015

when i first heard about dorothy must die, i was extremely excited. a story based around the wizard of oz where dorothy was the baddie? i wanted it then and now. when i finally got my hands on the book i read the first two chapters and put it down (i think i was in a partial book slump so i didn't make it far!). i didn't like the writing style. i was disappointed.  
but, because i'd been so excited to read it i put it back on my shelf and resolved to re-try it again later. later turned into eight months, and when i finally picked it back up i read the whole thing. and enjoyed it. not much. but it kept me reading. honestly for me. i think it was a case of pretty book syndrome. i was attracted to the cover, the premise sounded good, so immediately i was hyped. i think the cover is by far the best part of the book which is why i am featuring that instead of writing a review. but if you've already been wanting to read it & just haven't got round to it yet, don't be put off by me; everyone has their own opinion.
I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know? -goodreads


13 February 2015

Sometimes you read a book because it captivates you from beginning to end. Sometimes you read a book because the premise grips you from beginning to and. And sometimes you read a book simply because it is calming, there are no hunger games, no holocaust, no horror-filled moments; it's just simple and uncomplicated and stress-free. This is why I read Love, Lies & Lemon Pies.

SUMMARY: Love, Lies and Lemon Pies, the debut YA novel from Katy Cannon, is the perfect summer read for fans of Sarah Dessen and Louise Rennison. With a Bake Club recipe at the start of each chapter, this book perfectly captures the current appetite for all things baking! Can Lottie keep up the facade of her perfect life without the others finding out what's really going on at home? Can Mac keep his demanding, heavy-handed father off his back - not to mention the school counsellor who's written him off as a no-hoper? And can their bubbling romance survive the pressure? -goodreads
Love, Lies & Lemon Pies is one of those books that you can snuggle down under the covers with before bed and immerse yourself into the sweet, and sometmes sour, story [psst. it ends sweetly, it's all good]. The problem? I got really hungry reading this book and it was 10pm at night. Sigh. 

SUMMARY:  Connor: Far from home and exiled to a new school, all Connor wants is to keep a low profile and get through the year. But agreeing to help his step-dad out with the school play means he’s soon caught up in Grace’s schemes.
Grace had a plan for this year – and it didn’t involve learning to sew. But being out of the spotlight isn’t the disaster she imagined, even if Connor is convinced she’s still a diva extraordinaire. Can Grace prove she’s really changed and save the play from the sidelines, even though her family is coming apart at the seams?
Admittedly, I did enjoy Katy Cannon's debut more than this second installment, maybe because I enjoyed Mac and Lottie's characters more than Connor and Grace's. However Secrets, Schemes & Sewing Machines is definitely not a tangled web of threads, I did enjoy it a lot, especially as Grace's character was the least prominent in Love, Lies & Lemon Pies in which she came off as a little stuck-up and unfriendly. However, in this book she has a chance to shine and her character really redeemed herself. So if you're interested in light-hearted, warm, [and tasty - yes I eat books..] novels, definitely try out Katy Cannon's debuts - and then go on from there!
What you need:
 A piece of lightweight fabric, 175 x 60cm
What to do:
1.     Fold and iron your fabric in half lengthways, with the right sides together, and pin in place.
2.     Sew along the long side of your rectangle, to give you one long tube of fabric.
3.     Press open your seam, using an iron.
4.     Turn the fabric the right way out and fold in half the other way, so the two open ends of your tube are together. Make sure the seams line up exactly.
5.     Now to join both ends of the scarf. Take the two inner layers of fabric, pin them together then sew in place, removing the pins as you go.
6.     Keep going around the circle until the two ends are joined.
7.     If you’re using a sewing machine, leave a gap of about 5cm, fold under the edges of the unstitched section to match the rest, then hand sew the gap closed.
Thank you to Stripes Publishing for sending me both of these books free of charge in exchange for honest reviews.

Why THE GLORY was a glorious read (and other things)

05 February 2015

TITLE: The Glory
AUTHOR: Lauren St John  
A Girl on the Run from the Law
Alexandra Blakewood has everything any teenager could wish for, apart from the horse she'd love, but she won't stop getting into trouble. Sent to a US boot camp, she dreams of escaping. It seems impossible until she's told about a gruelling 1,200 mile horse race across the American West...
A Boy on a Mission to Save a Life
Will Greyton was the star student at his Tennessee high school until his father was laid off. Now Will works at a burger joint. When his dad falls ill, it seems things can't get any worse. An operation will save him, but there's no way to pay for it. Then Will hears about The Glory, a deadly endurance race with a $250,000 purse, open to any rider daring enough to attempt it...-amazon
1. This book spans 1,200 miles (and more). It took me two nights - and two breakfasts - to read.
When you finish this book, you'll wonder whether you were sitting on a racing horse you galloped through it so fast. Also, it's a big book. This isn't my way of bigging up the fact that I read a 200 page book in two days. My ARC is 445 pages long.
2. This book adds to my collection of books-by-Lauren St John-that-I-loved.
After reading and loving all Lauren St John's books (especially The One Dollar Horse series) I wasn't nervous at all to jump straight into The Glory because I knew it would be good and I knew it would keep me hooked. Thankfully I wasn't disappointed: the characters, the horses, the plot - I adored everything about this book and honestly, if you've not read a book by this author yet then why not?!
3. Potter approves. And if he does then so should you.
I also approve of Nina from Orion - after all she did send me this book for free in exchange for an honest review. *applause*

book palette || the winner's curse

28 January 2015

the winner's curse came out. i read it. i loved it. the second book was published. i still don't have it. do you feel my pain? thankfully, for me, this book did not decive me with the pretty cover, the pretty cover just added to the pretty insides. and that's all i have to say, seriously. i reviewed the book and got all my thoughts out there! all i'm going to say is: sword fights, pretty dresses, piano music and spying. WHAT'S MORE TO LOVE? have you read it yet? what did you think?
"Think sword fights, sleek dresses, rising war and a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end - when your emotions hit you with one punch and you fall off your chair onto the floor; because the ending will do that to you. It will." -from my review

if i were a pin, this is what i would tack

25 January 2015

pinterest is the type of site that gets me addicted for a few weeks, then i decide i'm wasting too much time so i stop. when i need some inspiration i go back on pinterest, and the cycle repeats. some people use pinterest to find art/crafts to do. some just use it like tumblr and pin whatever they like the look of no matter what it is. some rarely use pinterest and just have it there to gather dust. and some people use it to make storyboards and character boards for their WIPs. now i've never used it for that. i mostly use it for craft, decor and art inspiration. however since my 'novels' always end up diving off a spring board into the land of the never-finished i think i'm going to start using it more for the creative purpose of writing inspiration. what do you use pinterest for?

BOOK REVIEW || Ruby Redfort: Feel the Fear by Lauren Child

19 January 2015

Series: Ruby Redfort, Book 4
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
Publication Date: November 2014 

Find: Amazon | Facebook | T-shirt Competition
Book Trailer: Feel the Fear
Summary: Ruby Redfort: Undercover agent, code-cracker and thirteen-year-old genius.
The fourth book in the scarily awesome Ruby Redfort series, by multi-million-copy bestselling author Lauren Child.
This time Ruby must pit her wits against a seemingly invisible foe. How do you set your sights on catching a light-fingered villain if you can’t even see him…? -goodreads
The stakes are always high when a villain is around, but Ruby Redfort never loses her cool. No, she is one doughnut loving, banana-milk drinking whiz-kid. But the question is, are the stakes too high for pint-sized Ruby this time? You've got to remember, as much as she can outsmart you in a code-cracking race, she is still a 13 year old girl who attends school [sometimes] and has to listen to her parents when it comes to formal dress-codes. So, are all her wise-cracks just a bluff fourth time round? I only have one qualm against Lauren Child's books, and that is; I read them way too fast. The Ruby Redfort books are one of my favourite series of all time which means whenever I get my hands on a new one, I dive in, and only resurface once the last page has been turned. And then I just want more.
Feel the Fear was one of the best books I have read this year and, while the plot was as murky and unreadable as a dirty pond, I think I'm learning from Ruby Redfort. Usually I can never guess what on earth is going to happen at the climax, and although I admit to being fooled until the last moment, I actually worked a little part of a sub-plot out myself. Which is surprising as usually I can never even crack the codes of the most basic conversations Ruby and her best friend Clancy have. Sigh. I actually really want to know what they say, no matter how mundane, so I guess I'd better get cracking. The gem of the book, as always, is Ruby's character [and obviously her t-shirts]. Lauren Child seems to have created Ruby out of something addictive [Mrs Digby's baking?]; she is smart, she owns a lot of yellow notebooks, she can do origami, she is a loyal friend, she sketches [nothing to do with art] which actually sounds really fun, and is really illegal and, duh, she's an undercover agent. [Oh by the way the list goes on, there seems to be no end to her talents]. What's not to love?
Thank you to Harper Collins for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.


14 January 2015

Honestly, the title is a lie because I have a lot more books that I am extremely excited for, but I've decided to randomly pick eight that are relatively near in being published, because if i tried naming them all the post would be more than a mile long, so without further ado:
MOSQUITOLAND by David Arnold | I heard about this book maybe about a couple of weeks ago and I skimmed a few reviews and read the premise and woah. I need this book in my life because it is apparently amazing and I wanna go on a road trip so-
ENSNARED by A.G Howard | Most of you all read my review of Unhinged. You should know why. 
THE WINNER'S CRIME by Marie Rutkoski | If my review of The Winner's Curse didn't shoot you right in the feels then I worry about you. BECAUSE THAT ENDING. And apparently the ending of this second novel does even worse on the heart than the first. *Buys bandages*.
CONSPIRACY OF BLOOD AND SMOKE by Anne Blankman | Surprisingly I loved the first in this series a whole lot more than I thought I would, mostly because it explored the character of Hitler's 'niece', which is very very intriguing.
UNDER A PAINTED SKY by Stacey Lee | The cover is as gorgeous as the premise sounds. #Nuff said.
RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard | Hadn't heard of this until about a week ago but it sounds intriguing and the cover is pretty and that premise has potential. Let me at it.
FAIREST by Marissa Meyer | QUEEN LEVANA IS COMING. *Would add gif but; coding effort*
BLACK DOVE, WHITE RAVEN by Elizabeth Wein | Read my reviews of Rose Under Fire and Code Name Verity and then try to explain why this book would not be on this list.


09 January 2015

apparently i read a lot of books in twenty fourteen. now as i don't use goodreads, i don't really keep track of the exact number, so my guess is i read nearly 200 books? probably about 150 in the months before i started college - because even though i now have hardly any time to read due to work and revision restrictions i always read at least one chapter of a book before i go to bed, and if i am re-reading [which i tend to do a lot now, especially in book slumps] i can read a lot faster than i usually do.


03 January 2015

admittedly i only joined instagram about a month ago, however i already have my few favourite bookstagrammers [that all probably hate me because i 'like' all their posts] whose photos i drool over, and who make me sigh at my own posts that are so sadly lacking in comparison. however something i aspire to do in twenty fifteen is make my photos prettier, and brighter, and more colourful, and everything the below photos are and mine i currently not. i have concluded, after indulging in pretty photos for twenty minutes in order to do this post, that i like bright clean photos, with 'props', so now i'm trying to find props to hand. i have none. sigh. but go ahead - take the pretty in.
.1 areadergeek's photos are impossibly bright and extraordinarily addictive. she has enough amazing quilts to make me jealous and frantically search a homeware shop and her bookcase people, it's just, i want it. oh and also, she has one heck of a good collection of books.                             .2 ofdustandstarlight is clearly on my list because a. daughter of smoke and bone series love. and b. she makes me yearn to own the vscocam app. which is never going to happen because i have too old a phone to be compatible with aforementioned app. so yeah, i just stare at her photos instead.
.3 ursula_uriarte clearly has a majestic instagram. if you can't tell you must have a vision impairment. seriously, take a whiff [whiff?!] . take a little gander among her snapshots and dare to tell me you dislike them. go on!    you can't can you.
.4 insidethebookreader is one daring girl. taking photographs of books on snow? who'da thought. [p.s no books were harmed in the making of that photo - it's a wonder what a little cardboard cushion can do]. but hey now; these photos all have ornaments to spice up the picture, or they are placed in various outside settings among nature where they just blossom like no other. and you know how i feel about props. i need some.

.5 wordrevel's pictures are bright, clean, colourful and feature cute props &/or food-- here i present to you the code words for good photography, as is clearly shown above. take notes people. i already have.
so who are your favourite bookstagrammers? (and why?) i'm always on the lookout for new additions to my feed. however in the words of sandra : "i really do love instagram because it's so pretty but i also hate it because it's so pretty, you know? i just want to know how."
p.s this post was inspired by this. check it out why don't you.