Bout of Books 8.0 – Day 1

So this readathon is already going so much better than anticipated! I finished The Strange Power (Dark Visions #1) By L J Smith so here’s a quick review!

To come soon

Current Readthon Status:

The Strange Power By L J Smith (250 pages) – COMPLETED

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Bout of Books Readathon 8.0

Hey everyone!

Check out the giveaway I’m running at the moment: http://kyrawolf289.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/review-of-rule-by-jay-crownover-and.html

Here’s another awesome giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MWRhNTZkMTc5MDk5OGYwMGM2OTQzYzVhZDdiNjkzOjg=/

So this will be my second readathon of the year and I intend to be much better!!
I;m going on holiday from Thursday 22nd August so I thought it would be a really great way to motivate me to read while I’m relaxing!

So first things first here is the Bout of Books synopsis:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 19th and runs through Sunday, August 25th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 8.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Books that I intend to read:

– The Strange Power (Dark Visions #1) By L J Smith
-The Possessed (Dark Visions #2) By L J Smith
– The Passion (Dark Visions #1) By L J Smith
– Uglies By Scott Westerfeld
-Pretties By Scott Westerfeld
-City of Bones By Cassandra Clare

This is a lot of pages for one week – 2060 – so fingers crossed I’ll manage it! (Along with packing and other last minute things!)

Let me know if you’re participating and what you intend to read!! 😀

TTFN

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Question and Answer with J Lynn

Author Bio 
 
# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.
Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen.
She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.
 
Q&A
 
1. What inspired you to write a story surrounded by such sensitive issues?  
 
Wait for You is the first book that I’ve written that deals with such a sensitive topic, and it was a very different book for me to write.  When the idea for Wait for You came to me, I just felt it was the right direction to take for Cam and Avery’s story.  I knew that what happened to Avery would be a difficult issue to address, but it was what needed to be written for Cam and Avery to find their way together.
 
2. What is your favourite scene in the book? 
 
Oh, that’s a tough question.  I really like the scene when Cam brings Avery a cookie to class because I think the interaction between the two of them is fun.  But now I can’t say cookie without thinking it’s a code word for something else entirely.
 
3. Will we see Cam or Avery again? 
 
Yes, you will see Cam and Avery again in Trust in Me which is Wait for You in Cam’s POV.  You will also see them in Jase and Teresa’s story, Be With Me.
 
4. When creating the characters of Avery and Cam did you use any of your personality or the personalities of those around you?   
 
I didn’t intentionally use any of my own personality traits when writing Cam and Avery.  I do tend to be on the snarky and sarcastic side, so you may find my characters to have those qualities at times in my books.
 
5. What do you enjoy most about writing?  
 
I’ve always wanted to be an author, so it’s great to be able to do something that I love doing.  I also can’t complain about getting to work from home and make my own hours.  Those are definitely perks.
 
6. What’s your usual writing routine like?  
 
I write every day, even on holidays.  I usually write between 8-10 hours, but the number of hours can vary depending on what I’m working on or if I’m traveling for events.
 
7. I noticed your dog is called Loki, do you have an interest in Norse Mythology or are you a Marvel nerd (like some of us :-P)? 
 
I’m interested in Norse Mythology, so that’s why I chose the name Loki.  But, there’s nothing wrong with being a Marvel nerd.
 
8. And finally what are you working on at the moment? 
 
I’m working on the second book in the Dark Elements series, my upcoming YA series with Harlequin Teen about gargoyles.

 

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Books to Big Screen: The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey

So I’ve seen both the 3D HFR (High Frame Rate) and 2D version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and I’m currently re-reading the book by J.R.R Tolkein, so I thought I would share my thoughts on both the film and the first third of the book corresponding to it.

So firstly, let’s discuss the book.

The film corresponds to the first six chapters of the book. My thoughts on the book are that the length of the content was just right. My favourite parts of the book was the part with Gollum. I love that scene in the film as well. The Hobbit has a much lighter feel that The Lord of the Rings and as a result is open to more humour and I found it more fun to read, where as LOTR was more intense and I wanted to know what was going to happen next. With The Hobbit, I felt like I was going along for the adventure.

Overall, I feel that the plot moves at a nice pace and no corner relating to the integral plot is lacking. I love the songs that are interpreted into the book and my hope is that the films with continue to do so. The characters where all likable and I felt that the dwarves interacted well with each other. No one was really left without any development which isn’t as present in the first film.

Now moving on to the film.

Firstly, I want to talk about the acting and the actors who played various roles. I want to congratulate Martin Freeman on a brilliant depiction of Bilbo Baggins. I was worried that because another actor had already played the role they may bring different feels of who the character is, but hats off to Freeman who really capture the feel of the character and also was able to convince me that he and the previous actor were the same character.

Of the dwarves my favourite were Balin, Bofur and Thorin. James Nesbit as Bofur plays a very light hearted and witty character. His accent also stands out from the rest of the dwarves so his character is particularly memorable. Thorin, played by Richard Armitage, was more stern in the film than the book I felt, though this may change in the two yet to come. Balin was exactly as I imagined he would be and this is one of the reasons I loved his character so much. He was cheerful and wise and looked like he would be the kind of dwarf who would look after you in any situation.

Moving on from the acting and to the changes from the book. There are a couple of key differences to the plot that don’t take away too much from the overall quest, but I feel give the film a bit less of a constant motion. The scene in Rivendell, where we see cameos from Cate Blanchett as Galadriel and Christopher Lee as Saruman was a particularly unexpected scene but I felt changed the pace of the film and prevented most of the clips to be of Thorin and Company running through the East Road and the Misty Mountains.

I had two favourite scenes throughout and they are the scenes with Gollum and Radagast. Simply because I love both of these characters. I think Andy Serkis does a brilliant job as Gollum, yet again, and this scene was just as tense and amusing as I anticipated. I really felt that Serkis and Freeman worked well together in creating this intense atmosphere.

Lastly, I wanted to comment about the 3D HFR vs 2D. Personally, I loved both versions. Normally, I hate going to see a film in 3D because the glasses are a pain (because they don’t fit very well over the ones I wear on a day to day basis) and most of the time the 3D isn’t necessary. However, the glasses in my cinema had changed so I didn’t have to sit pushing them back onto my nose the whole film and could enjoy the detail the went into the movements. The HFR was definitely noticable and made the picture gained an enhanced clarity and was visibly smoother. Not only that but the 3D wasn’t just bits of the film flying towards you, I could see actual depth to the scene and this really impressed me. Definitely my best experience with 3D so far.

Also seen on Brit Writers Blog

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New Year’s Resolutions of 2013

Happy New Year everybody! Here are my new years resolutions:

Misc:
  • Take more pictures
  • Learn more technical information about photography

Reading:

  • Read 50 Books (5 classics, 5 debuts, 5 of a genre I wouldn’t normally read)
  • Review Every Book I Read  (Blog or Video)

Writing:

  • Write one blog a week
  • Finish my novel
  • Write 5 short stories

Misc:

  • Lose another Stone
  • Draw More
  • Learn to play the guitar

 

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Let the Bell Toll

The first poem I’ve written in over four months. I didn’t actually mean for the poem to come out as a concrete/visual poem but I guess luck just was in my side of the court. Anyway, I hope you like it and I will be posting a video soon as a Spoken version so keep an eye out!

Let the Bell Toll

Time.
It’s such an odd thing time.
Ever constant, yet ever changing.
And it makes me wonder, if at the chime
Of every hour, we were to think about time.
The origin of the tick tock, the too and fro.
The rhythm that you unconsciously step to and fro
As you walk down the pavement to your destination.
Be it work, school, or the swimming class where the teacher
Tries to get you to do lengths to a clock that spins with such a
Distinct speed that you find yourself watching it complete
A track of its own. Start to finish. Twelve to twelve. 360 degrees.
No matter how you say it, it still accomplishes the same thing.
And that’s the beauty about time you see. You find with ease
That the clock with tell you the truth about your place in all that is.
The clock that sits above your fire place or your chest of drawers.
The grandfather clock that proudly rings with delight at the coming
Of each new hour and with it new opportunities. Striking awe
Into the grandchildren who run down the corridor,
not yet grasping the magnitude
Of his helping hands.

Ciao for now! x

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Spoken Word: How different is it?

I’ve often debated about the concept of spoken word poetry. I’ve watched a few performances over the past year and become more open to the idea. I had never read any of my poetry aloud or even contemplated it. But the other day I finally decided to change that. I recorded my first attempt at spoken word poetry. Granted the video was of a poem I wrote over a year ago, but I felt the poem had a sense of intimacy from the speaker that didn’t translate as well when read. This is the video:


For my first attempt, I’m pretty happy with it. Though I doubt I’ll be going to any open mic nights any time soon. I really enjoyed getting to add my personal touch to the voice of the poem. As a person who studies English and has a particular interest in speech and voice I really enjoyed considering each line and how to enunciate them.

I’m definitely considering doing more spoken word, but mostly to get feedback on what people think of my … I guess you would call it a performance. So if you would like to give me any feedback I would greatly appreciate it.

Some of the major differences I found between writing poetry and attempting to read it aloud were as follows:

1 – Syllables:
I always knew syllables where important to poetry. Finding you’ve managed to remember the difference between iambs, trochees, dactyls and anapaests, can feel like quite the achievement when writing. Sonnets make this feat particularly evident. I especially found this noteworthy when reading aloud because I had set the poem to a structure of 3 stanzas, 22 lines a stanza and 10 syllables in the first stanza decreasing by one syllable each stanza. I thought this came through very well when spoken because the lines became shorter and more intense as the poem continued. This reflected in my speech as I spoke the stanzas progressively faster.

2 – Syntax:
Some of the lines of the poem seemingly flowed well when written such as “That are embedded
forever, n’er to be shredded;
of a lust so blind that it burns
backstabbing like a branch from firs.”
This section of the first stanza I thought read quite well. However, in reality when I spoke this section it seemed quite irregular. A lot of the time poetry does deviate from regular syntax because it creates an interesting and emotive perspective but I felt this section didn’t really work the way I had hoped it would.

3 – Change of Voice:
In the second stanza we hear a couple of lines for the object of the poem. The male past lover. This is a bit more difficult to pick out when you’re speaking because there’s only really two ways you could go about it; change your appearance or voice. I did neither of these because it was only after I uploaded the video that I really noticed this part.

So I’ve decided I’m definitely going to make more of these videos and I’m looking forward to developing my spoken word style as well as start writing some more poetry because its been quite a while now since I wrote a poem. I went from writing one every day to writing none at all. I think I’ve taken a long enough break now to try and get myself back into a creative mindset. That is, before university comes and stomps all over it again.

Take care people!

Kyra xx

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Short – Death of Fear

This is a short story I wrote for my AS Level Coursework.

Death of Fear

 

The smell.
The sound.
The shadows.
It was enough.
A long, gruelling day at work always left Juliana tired, but today felt even worse as she stumbled up her stairs to get to the bathroom, leaving her front door wide open. Pushing the bathroom door lightly, she walked up to the sink and turned on the hot tap. She sighed, as a tear rolled down her cheek,
“Five years today. Five whole, sluggish years, I worked my tail off, and what do I have to show for it,” She sobbed, slamming her fist on the basin. “No husband. No family, and now no job. No nothing… pathetic.”
She looked up into the mirror, not that she could face herself, but merely to look at the face of a pitiful, plaintive, workless, existence. How she hated that worn-down reflection. She could see the tears streaming down her face; auburn hair mixed with steam and mascara.
                She wondered, ‘Do I really deserve this? Could the old me really have damned the rest of me?’
                But Juliana already knew that answer was yes.
                Staring at the bathtub, memories came flooding by the dozen. Scenes of past experiences like a whirlwind of emotion, floating through her mind within seconds, one moment she saw herself; the next Henry and then again Tracy. Juliana had been sixteen when she moved in. She could remember it perfectly.
She walked over to her bedroom, picking up a cased photograph of a middle aged woman. Short black hair, petite frame, wearing a tracksuit, stood next to a teenager clad in leather trousers; dark corset, and large bulky leather boots and a jacket that draped across the floor.
She opened the wardrobe and pulled out a now withered version, rough and broken, much like herself, that fabric was ripped in places, purposefully, but each left a small tear in her heart. It read ‘Midnight Wolverine’. It had been Henry’s, which he had given to her. It still smelled of fuel and smoke, something that at this particular moment, she craved.
“From tattered teen, to smoking, to sniffing poppers, to marijuana, then ecstasy, before the clean, rehabilitated, seventeen-year-old me. You really did wonders didn’t you Tracy? Then it all went down hill.”
After skipping from foster family to foster family, someone had finally wanted to adopt her. Juliana hadn’t had a good life necessarily, but she lived. She went to school and got, to say the least, decent grades. She wasn’t stupid; she just didn’t see the point. She didn’t make friends well, but when she did, it did nothing for her.
“You helped me get clean, Tracy, but you screwed it up again didn’t you? And you just had to go and have a bath for a change.” Tears poured down her face, running down the photograph.
Before she met Tracy she became involved in drugs and alcohol. Totally indulged her focus became the high and how it was so outlandish to her. It made her feel so unique, yet accepted, which was something she had never quite felt before. Despite her being completely off her head, she’d never been so down to earth.
She remembered that day too well. The day she lost the most important person in her teenage life.
“I’m so sorry to have to tell you this Juliana, but I’m afraid we did all we could to resuscitate her. Unfortunately she didn’t make it.”
‘I can’t breathe, I can’t…’ She began hyperventilating, and in the end managed to inhale after a few minutes, and several failed attempts at breathing.
“Ca… can I … see her?” She spluttered. The paramedic simply replied with a nod.
                Juliana slumped onto the bed. Not bothering to turn on the light, she lay there amidst the sanctuary of darkness. Through the corner of her eye she could see a street light flicker. She slid across the bed and leaned against the window watching the light. On. Off. On. Off.
                “Yes. No. Yes. No! Which is it Juliana?” She always called her by her full name when she shouted.
                “Tracey honestly, I’m still clean! That’s not me anymore!” the seventeen year old screamed, “Hand on heart, I can say, I haven’t seen, let alone touched a needle, since I moved out of The Wheeler’s place. It’s been six months and you still don’t trust me?” And that was the honest truth. She still saw Henry from time to time but they weren’t together anymore, and he certainly wasn’t her dealer. She rolled her tongue piercing, while playing with a small piece of rope that fell from her bag, while she waited for Tracy to speak.
                “Jules, you know that it’s not that I don’t trust you but because of everything you’ve worked for. I’m being careful, because you can’t afford to slip back into your old ways. All of your effort would be wasted in one useless act and I would hate that.”
                Such simple words, yet they drove themselves in so deeply, she couldn’t take it. Tears spilled down her face as she dove into Tracy’s shoulder, desperate for affection.
                “Honestly Tracy, after that one scare, I couldn’t do it to myself, let alone to you!”
A bright light poured onto her face. Juliana was brought back to her surroundings as a silhouette ran past the street light. ‘Probably just a night runner,’ she assured herself, and continued down the stairs. She carried herself gently and sturdily as she meekly returned to the kitchen. She put the kettle on and looked in the fridge for something to eat, before retiring to the living room. She sat, and island amidst the sea of half-lived promises and torn dreams.
After the death, Juliana continued living in Tracy’s house.
Alone.
There were three places left untouched, Tracy’s bedroom, the bath, and a small desk, in what used to be a third bedroom, which had been re-decorated into a studio for Tracy’s art.
Juliana began to fall back into her web of drugs. Henry often visited her trying to prise her from her state, to no avail.
                “Juliana, you can’t keep yourself locked away forever! Tracy would hate what you’ve become, what you’ve lost after all she did for you.” A wisp of smoke escaped as the front door was wrenched open.
                “What she did for me! She left me, that’s what she did. All this…” She emphasized the joint in her hand, “…It’s all because she left me.”
No one could help her.
She was unreachable.
The flickering light of the battered street lamp glimmered. “Something doesn’t seem right?” She whispered “Either I’m losing my vision or is it getting cloudy in here?” she questioned. She talked to herself quite a lot, a futile attempt to banish the solitude she felt she deserved. ‘It smells familiar… like something musty,’
Then it hit her. It wasn’t cloud; it was smoke, crack cocaine smoke, to be exact.
“I haven’t smoked in so long, so why?” she spoke. It smelt like she had had seven or eight in the past hour.
Going back into the kitchen she poured the water into her mug. But … that intoxicating, tantalizing, smell; her hands were shaky and she missed mug catching the back of her hand. She winced in pain as she placed it under the cold tap.
But she managed to pick herself up.
She was miserable. That was fact, but she knew Tracy would have wanted something for her. She got herself some help, and got a job, she wasn’t particularly fussed just something to get money.
Getting off the drugs was on another universe completely, she attained help, yes. However, the battle of the urges was something only she could fight.
It was then it started.
Before Tracy died, Juliana had a near death experience of her own. That was partially why Tracy’s death came as such a horrific shock. It happened not long before, Juliana never admitted it but that was the real reason she even though she’d promised Tracy to stop it wasn’t until that day that she actually did.
It began with a quick visit Henry’s after almost 3 months of not seeing him or any of her old friends.  He opened the door and behind where a living room used to reside now only placed a small coffee table that reminded Juliana of the tables at the Japanese style bistro in town. Around it were four plump pillows and placed on top a lone bong; a size meant to be shared.
“Expecting company are we?” She nodded to the table.
“You could say, to what do I owe the pleasure my dear?” He was already high. Wasting no time, Juliana thrust a box into Henry’s arms.
“Thought you might want your things back, I have no use for them anymore. I kept the jacket though, didn’t think you’d mind since it was too small for you anyway.” She began walking away however Henry grabbed her arm,
“Come in for a bit Jules,”
“Don’t call me that, you lost the right to call me that.” She shrugged his arm off.
“I have some things for you too. Come on, Jules, just for a minute.” Wearily, she stepped in the house.
Subtle at first, but growing louder and more obvious by the moment. Sharp, short, stamps marching across the floor, with no feet to make them. Juliana, confused beyond all recognition, stood listening to the constant. Tap, tap, tap…
 Tracy’s picture, that usually stood proud, shook along with the rest of the furniture in the house. Juliana’s head moved, twitching out of place, as the noise danced about the floor, her hands shaking uncontrollably, a cold, howling creeping in from outside. That; was when she noticed it. The gaping door at the front of her hallway. It was wide open. Anyone could have strolled in. Panicking, she slammed the door shut, and ran. She ran to where she thought most secure and the best shelter, below the stairs.
She couldn’t remember much else after that, as she awoke later in a hospital bed, and after throwing up copious amounts, she began to realise were she was. In taking her surroundings, she realised Tracy sat by her bed. Her expression blank, almost lifeless.
“I’m so disappointed. You have no idea how much you’ve put me through, not only did you lie, but you almost died.”
She gathered what was left of her shattered and disarrayed mind. She couldn’t think for the noise! The sound of feet, tapping on the floor! And then, when the tapping halted, there was something worse, the small creaking of steps above her, coming down the stairs.
‘Theres someone in the house,’ she thought, ‘What if they’ve been here all along? Could they be watching me? Does that mean they know I’m here?’ She couldn’t take anymore anticipation; she would make a run for it.
She breathed heavily, closed her eyes, and prayed she would make it. She opened the door and ran through the living room straight to the door. Pulling at the locked door, she fumbled with the catch. But still it would not open.
“Shit.” She said. She couldn’t get out, and she was going to die. With no where else to hide, she had two options, die or fight. But the truth was she was tired of fighting, something she had done all her life,
‘Huh life, bitch that’s been.’ She thought, as she pulled the chair beneath her lampshade. She braved the hallway once more to grab an object from below the stairs. Trembling, she gingerly walked back into the lounge. Standing on the chair, with rope in hand, she threw it around her neck, hands still shaking, head still twitching, as she listened for the steps, that never came. ‘No more smoke? No steps? No noise? … Why am I doing this?’ he began to step off the chair, just as she did so looking through the front window.
“Who?” She gasped.
The same silhouette from earlier stood, staring straight at her. Eyes, blood thirsty. Juliana was drawn aback so much that she jumped back. Enough to push the chair and send her flying, leaving the noose tight around her lifeless body. With her last moments, slowly withering, she quickly glimpsed out of the window, to find no figure and no silhouette. Not near, not far. Not anywhere.
 
I’d love to know what people think!
Kyra x
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