Saturday 30 November 2019

Dead NaNoWriMo

So I have failed NaNoWriMo, I have written for this blog and nothing else. I had a genius idea and went to write it but then wrote nothing. I've had book reviews every week this month though. I uploaded one video. I want more content going up and being creative but it just not happening.

Frustrating. I'm planning to keep of a note of all my writing next month,  reviews which currently I have no arcs for it so it going to be a real free for all on here.

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Book Review: The Pact by Amy Heydenrych

This book has discussions of potentially triggering things, This book is not descriptive (a few scenes of violence, not in great detail compared to other books), I will be discussing those things in this review. Highlight to reveal content warnings.
Content Warnings: sexual Assault mentioned; Sexual Harassment; Sexual Manipulation; Bullying, Adult bullying; Mild Violence; Murder; Death; Bloody Death, Bad B

What if a prank leads to nothing?

What if a prank leads to murder?

When Freya arrives at her dream job with the city's hottest start-up, she can't wait to begin a new and exciting life, including dating her new colleague Jay.

However, Nicole, Jay's ex and fellow employee, seems intent on making her life a misery. After a big deadline, where Nicole continually picks on her, Freya snaps and tells Jay about the bullying and together they concoct a revenge prank. The next morning, Nicole is found dead in her apartment . . .

Is this just a prank gone wrong? Or does Freya know someone who is capable of murder - and could she be next?

This book was not what I expected. I was really excited by the idea of a Pact, but it was not much of a pact. There's no real pact, I got so excited, but a pact takes at least two consenting adults. The title comes from different pacts, but it was let down. I got so excited for the title, it just wasn't what I was hoping for.  Now, that I've lowed your expectations now for a fair review. It's not the book's fault that I had hoped for something else.

There is a lot of characters introduced, some that have very little effect of the plot, so the emphasis seems obvious misdirect. We have two POV characters, Isla a crime Journalist and Freya a newly graduated Computer Programmer who has just got her dream job but things go wrong quickly when her boss decides to bully her over some guy. The POV jumps time a lot, everything is framed in terms of the murder which works pretty well.

Fun fact: Apparently, this book is set in the past. You see Freya is a Millennial at 22 but her thirty-something boss is not. Now there's some debate but that debate makes Freya Gen Z. Born between 1981 – 1996 is the given, some go straight to 1999, but someone whose Thirty is definitely Millennial. I don't how old Heydenrych but it makes me think she not Millennial because Millennials are very aware they are in their thirties now. We're so old. It was an odd line anyway. I get why it's there but doesn't fully work.

This book has a lot going on. The bullying in the work place, by someone who is senior to Freya if not her direct boss. Your boss bullying you in your dream job does seem like a nightmare. Bullying books usually lack stakes which obviously this one has stakes. It also deals with living with the trauma of sexual assault and the threat of sexual assault that women face in their daily lives.
Heyenrych talks about wanting to show the power and intensity of women friendships, but there's so much about being unminded by men that doesn't really feel like the focus. I feel like having both Isla and Freya have 50% doesn't work, I feel it has to one or the other. There's a lot of Heydenrych wants to say. Freya's friendships do not feel the focus. I wish they were, that was the sort of book I hoped this book to be.

The solution of this works fine, but one of the major leads up to giving the characters a solution feels very tacked on and unnecessary. I do have thoughts, but it feels too much of a spoiler to discuss it in a review. Maybe I add spoiler section on Goodreads.

Overall, I give this 3/5 stars for Lace Cuffles. I was slow getting into this book, I read several graphic novels and audiobooks during the time it took me to read it, then read the majority of it one day after reading 10 pages or so a day then with big breaks, so I know that can affect how a book reads. I would read Heydenrych again, which I think is the biggest sign of whether a book was worth reading.
Isla also has Attention Deficit Disorder, it is mention only once and see nothing in the text to support it but I don't have ADD so I might have missed things.

I got this book for review off NetGalley and it is being published by Zaffre on 28/11/2019.

Saturday 23 November 2019

Dying NaNoWriMo

There is a week left of NaNoWriMo and I have certainly stopped writing every day. Or most days. Okay, I'm just writing these posts and reviews. Also the normal twitter nonsense which are some times essays that no one will read. I did film videos and edit on of them to announce the GhostAthon
That's right another Christmas based readathon, that says it holiday based but is clearly taking it challenges from Christmas Pop culture, but we actually have the gull to base the readathon during Christmas. It takes place from the 20 to the 31st December. Mainly because I wanted to do longer than a week with the challenges we have, otherwise it would have been the 26th to 31st December.

I have done some Bulletjournaling stuff but mostly I'm having a flare-up. My shoulders are cramping and numb and the fun new addition of acid reflux. I need to go to the doctor to see if everything is okay with my digestive system but I keep forgetting to, which week 5, so maybe I'm dying. I always think I'm dying. Probably because I am.

Anyway, time is limited so good day.

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Book Review: Kim Reaper Vol. 1: Grim Beginnings by Sarah Graley

Who wouldn't date a Cute Grim Reader?

Part-Time Grim Reaper. Full-Time Cutie!

Like most university students, Kim works a part-time job to make ends meet. Unlike most university students, Kim's job is pretty cool: she's a grim reaper, tasked with guiding souls into the afterlife.

Like most university students, Becka has a super intense crush. Unlike most university students, Becka's crush is on a beautiful gothic angel that frequents the underworld. Of course, she doesn't know that.

Unaware of the ghoulish drama she's about to step into, Becka finally gathers up the courage to ask Kim on a date! But when she falls into a ghostly portal and interrupts Kim at her job, she sets off a chain of events that will pit the two of them against angry cat-dads, vengeful zombies, and perhaps even the underworld itself. But if they work together, they just might make it... and maybe even get a smooch in the bargain.

This is a series that I saw at MCM, but I had spent already too much money. I love Grim Reaper based stories, so I took a photo of the graphic novels to look them up once I had money to spend on comics, but I found the first in Kindle Unlimited that I had a free trial of, so of course I picked this book.

The relationship is developed pretty quickly. They go from Kim not knowing Becka exists, to risking themselves for each other in one comic. Maybe it would work better if it was established that how lonely Kim was. It's hinted I guess. There's oddly not a lot of character time.

The plot is a bit rushed. This graphic novel is made up of four comics. Maybe I'm just too use to comics quite happy spending 10 issues on one story arc.  I think the problem they doesn't feel like much development for plot or the characters.

I do like the art style of these books. It's very cute. There's a lot of visual gags. I generally like the humour. 

An odd criticism that a lot of people have with this book is the diversity. I mean they say the book focus on diversity more than anything else which I don't think is true. This is a graphic novel, diversity is choosing to draw different people in crowd shorts. Yes, it has two Queer main characters, one being a person of colour, with no labels given to explain anyone's background. Not a lot of storytime is actually given to the diversity, it just there. Having diversity is a good point and this is a graphic novel, but I don't get spending so much time talking about the diversity without actually criticising it. Having good diversity doesn't make a good book, and this diversity is okay. It's probably not worth structuring a whole review about.

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars for Skull Hearts. this is a fun comic series, with a focus on humour but is lacking in tension. I'm curious as to where this is going and hopefully improved. However, I'll probably be a while before I get around to getting a copy of Volume 2, mainly because I've already spent too money this year on books  and Christmas is coming.

Saturday 16 November 2019

Wordless NaNoWriMo

It's Saturday again and I have not mystery wrote a thousand and thousands of words for NaNoWriMo. I've not even hit the 10s, and I should definitely write 25,000 words if I'm to hit 50,000 this month. Writing 25,000 one day is not likely to happen.

I've been writing most days, I did fail on the 14th, which is life. Of course, so I need to fight this from being a trend. I lied to the NaNoWriMo website by saying I wrote one word when I didn't so I could keep my trend. It's fair because the NaNoWriMo has me down as writing no words on a day where I indeed did write words.

I'm still having ideas, but none that motivated me to write lots of words at a time. I know I have good story ideas, that I would read but I just need to unlock them, with the written word.

I wish there was a shut-in near me because I think that would really help my writing. I have done some Livestream sprints which did help, but I need someone do it at a decent time for me. Writing till 3am intently is not a good thing to do. I'm off to try and make myself write creatively. 

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Book Review: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Last night I dreamt this was enjoyable.

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again...

With these words a reader is swept up into a world of secrets and lies; one of the most passionate, psychologically twisting and complex stories of all-time. 

Working as a lady's companion, the orphaned heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Life begins to look very bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. Whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to his brooding estate, Manderley, on the Cornish Coast, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding Mrs Danvers . . .

Rebecca is a story that I was roughly familiar with, having seen a few adaptions of it that just happened to be on TV and obvious with Rebecca having never been out of print, after 80 years it has been its way into pop culture.

So I knew that Rebecca was the first wife of nameless protagonist's husband and the big twist. There were a few things I didn't know, such as the 20 year age gap between the protagonist and her husband Maxim de Winter. Also the Ableism. No one really talks about that and that the plot semi-relays on an "Idiot's" reclation of events.

It's not just dated language, the protagonist seems scared of him just because he's mentally disabled. Words like "sly" are used to describe him and his "Idiot eyes". I'm not sure what is meant by this. Is he meant to have Down Syndrome? People do seem to base his capabilities on his looks. Mr De Winter does say he's more capable than he behaviours and his part of in the solution of the book is questionable. I think I could let it go more as just a dated language if the protagonist attitude towards him wasn't so detestable.

Besides the Ableism, which is never fun to read a book with, I think my biggest problem is that our protagonist is so bland. She completely defined by her social anxiety and is easily modelable. She is so obsessed with what other people think of her while not being worth much thought by herself. Even as someone with social anxiety I found it really hard to relate to her. The words shy are used obviously, but to me, it does seem on a level above shyness since she obsesses with it even when she not with people.

I know the two Mrs De Winters are meant to contrast and be each others' wrapped reflections, but I just don't like the protagonist at all. And I know that woman characters get away with less than their male counterparts but I would hate a male character like this too. I know she a product of her time as well, as girls were raised to follow and be severdo then. It just feels like she has no spine at all, questions no one with her fantasies of Rebecca. Her obsession with Rebecca becomes really dull, her unwillingness to question anything right till the very end. I suppose I should have more sympathy for a character who messes her life up so completely.

I listen to part of this on Audiobook, I read the first 30 pages physically and rest on Audiobook. Maybe that's part of the reason why I disliked it, that the writing style can be lost with a bad voice narration or even just an okay one. The narration was okay, listen to it on 1.50x speed to match my reading pace. I usually listen to audiobooks at 2x and did have to slow down because sometimes I couldn't understand the voice actor.

Overall, I gave this 2/5 stars for Sly Eyes. This rating probably comes down to enjoyment. Yes, this a well written, crafted novel, that happens to age poorly. I think it is hard to review books this old from just your gut, even with the more recent decades that I didn't live through I can flame them more easily with their counterparts as with this. Maybe I would enjoy this book more if I took the time to deep analysis and do research on how it stood next to other works. However, I have no reason to that. Yes, at it's core it's a compelling story, which probably why there are so many different adaptions.

Saturday 9 November 2019

Writing Without Details.

It is now Day Nine of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as we all scream into the night. I have written every day but one, the 4th day was, in fact, a failure. Though, if you go my NaNoWriMo stats, it will try and say I didn't write on the 6th, this a filly lie as I did write on the 6th and I did tell them so. Their website does need work, it gives you the option to say when you wrote but it still counts it was words for whatever day you input that information.

I was more a Camp NaNoWriMo writer so I have no strong opinions on the new website, it seems similar to the Camp one without cabin buddies. I know everyone else seems to hate the new website, more and more. I'm been focusing more on writing. Lol.

I have sort of finished one of my stories, in that it has an ending and a middle and most it links up together but there's other stuff I should add to really concert the story. The thing about writing to a word count, especially with the few sprints, I have found myself writing nonsense to get the word count. I have been writing more descriptions to do the same. I'm not a big description, my first instinct is not to lay out what my characters look like unless it is relevant. Probably because I'm autistic and that also not how I look for my rep. I know I do have the luxury of looking like most people on TV and books even if our cultures are completely different. I do look out for cultures and disabled rep.

Location details don't really make sense unless the character is in a new place or there's something important. A house is a house. Maybe I'm actually a crap writer. Probably. Who isn't?

I've written 6991 words so far, not including today, I should have wrote13,336 words if I want to hit 50,000 words that your novel is meant to be for NaNoWriMo. I'm just writing every day, and who knows maybe I'll write 10,000 one day and all the words will burst from me. Or I write nonsense everyday that will slowly die, a creative death.

I brought notebooks from paperchase online and they sent me a journal with a cut in it. I dm them and they sent me a new one which came today, well, guess what they sent me one with a cut in it so who knows what is going on with them, but I won't be ordering online again from them. 10 percent discord doesn't cover damage products. I just accept half-priced for damaged goods, I just wanted to swapped it for a non-damaged ones. It will get banged up with use, but I don't think I was ever going to stab it. It's quite nice otherwise. I'll just put a sticker on it.

I suppose I should get back to the creative process and totally not play the Sims while I hype myself for an expansion I'll probably get bored of in a week.

Wednesday 6 November 2019

Book Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

I just wanted a well rounded dyslexic character kicking butt, bonus if not a boy.

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives.

Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties.

A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets - a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

I have no pressing reason to review this book as it's not by a British writer or book I received for free off a publisher/author. But like I said in my review of the first book, this series has rep that affects me and is hard to find. This review will have spoilers for the first book but I try best to avoid spoilers in my reviews of the actual book I'm reviewing.

So one of the characters is coded Dyslexic. Weasley is unable to read and his dad is a dick about it because he's evil. The rep is okay I guess. I mean, it's mostly Weasley wishing he could read so things would go faster and a little talk about the failure of him being taught. It's kinda raised that he could have been taught wrong. Dyslexic people do process information differently, meaning they have to be taught differently. It never goes into details and he has no other symptoms of Dyslexia except being capable of non-reading things.

I listen to the audiobook of this whole series, and Weasley voice actor sure did make a choice when it came to doing Kaz. He's an old man with him and Weasley has a bigger part than the last book so it never came up till now. I don't mind multiple voices in audiobooks but I do when the voice actors do completely different things for a character. It's very distracting. I guess it's meant to show how Weasley sees Kaz compared to the other characters.

There are high emotion moments, that I feel are meant to be devastating but I just felt whatever about. I don't understand the choice. I guess I just wasn't that invested. There is a lot of characters at play and I did feel for the most of them. That part just didn't have an impact for me.

Overall, I give this book and the series 4/5 stars for Sugar Eating. This was fun, dark read so my type of reading. The world-building was great and it's definitely great to have multiple Disabled characters in one series. Having read this series now, I'm really interested in reading Ninth House on how it had to be an adult novel. I guess maybe you get away with least in Urban Fantasy over straight-up fantasy.

Saturday 2 November 2019

NaNoWriMo Tales

Halloween is over and I have yet again not managed to get any stories out of my head. So this NaNoWriMo I'm just going to write Halloween inspired horror stories that are mostly from ideas that I at least started or wrote down with every intention of starting them.

Mostly this has involved half wrote down dreams, that I know were more elaborate at one point. NaNoWriMo has never worked for me. I don't know if doing short stories will work, especially as a lot of my short stories have turned into novels that never had their endings written out. I am a pantser by nature as outlining seems to kill stories for me. I like the process of figuring out what I'm doing. Though, not knowing that in the moment has killed stories before as well.

The whole Halloween puppy is going fine. He was briefly dressed up and didn't seem to mind which a good sign for when he needs to wear a harness or jacket. He still so cute and soft meaning I let him away with most of his misbehaviour. I still am getting starched arms and he's obsessed with paper of all kinds. Many a toilet roll ruined. He can sit and give a paw, not at all consistently but he sort of knows those words. My sibling refused to look after him today because of his obsession with her cat, but I have looked after her dog I don't know how many times. I find iconic as she trained Mysti to chase the cats into corners so she could catch them.

My actual Halloween with Halloween Puppies was mostly watching bad remakes of horror films and the classic that is Hocus Pocus. Child's Play is now about robots being dolls sized and programmed for violence. Also, the doll just looks creepy immediately and makes odd references to the original film e.g. a character saying "This is the End" and not even finished the quote "This is the end, my friend." I had planned to see it in the cinema but never managed to. I don't think I missed much.
We also watched Pet Sematary (2019), which was very slow and boring, with the knowledge of how it was roughly going to go. Knowing the plot of the film doesn't ruin it for me, but I wonder when a film is bad if the twist is all that could have saved it.

I also finally brought Sims 4 on Halloween night, I've owned the base game for months since EA gave it out for nothing, but not played it since I knew it was lacking from what I've seen online. Probably why EA gave it out for nothing, hoping to capture those simmers who still watch online content but decide never to invest the money. Sims 3 was the better game, Houseboats were the best. Just being able to pack your house in the middle of the ocean and it had unicorns in them.

With all this writing and Sims 4 playing, I've also decided to go back to knitting. I'm hoping to finally do more than a blanket or scarf. I did once attempt a bag but that was just a banket in disguise. I also still Bullet journalling. And book reviewing. And video making. And have a dog to train.

Maybe I'll somehow learn to do everything while life goes on. I can probably knit and play the sims at the same time.