Thursday, 22 September 2016

The Nutella Sandwich Day

One day I might write something not centred around snacks and tea-drinking ... but today is not that day.

yelena bryksenkova:
[source] // Yelena Bryksenkova
For context I would probably suggest reading previous LesMisBook snippets, which are available in the I Write page.

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The Nutella Sandwich Day

“Please.”

“No.”

“Pretty please.”

“I said no.”

“Nina, you’re my light, my truth, my happiness, please—”

“I’m not doing it!”

It was helping Jonathan bloody Holcroft learn the monologue he should have been practising for weeks. I knew he’d scrape through without my help, but that wasn’t why I was saying no; my determination to refuse stemmed from my treacherous desire to agree. He’d asked me to go to his house, and I really wanted to, and so I was trying to think of reasons why not.

“I’ll give you snacks,” he said.

“What kind of snacks?”

“Snacks beyond your wildest dreams … I’ll design you a palace and build it out of chocolate—”

“That doesn’t sound very practical.”

“Nina, please, I’m literally begging you! Mrs Moseley’s going to kill me …”

“You should’ve learnt it already! You don’t need me, anyway—”

“Yes I do.” He grinned, a rarely self-deprecating grin that made my insides shiver. “Don’t you know I always need an audience?”

I rolled my eyes, by default, but he must have seen my surrender, because his face lit up. “Éponine!” he sang, “you’re the friend who has brought me here! Thanks to you, I’m at one with the gods and heaven is near!” Before he could finish the phrase I cut him off with a further barrage of sarcasm, but he had won, and that was how I ended up at Jonathan bloody Holcroft’s front door on a Tuesday afternoon.

Inside was a scrabble of barking. “You don’t mind dogs, do you?” he said. I don’t know what he would’ve done if I’d said no, but I didn’t have the chance to say anything, because something small and black was hurling itself at my legs. Claws needled through my tights, accompanied by an incessant, staccato yapping. In the hall two more dogs, these ones massive, ambled forward. Jonathan said, in the jocular tone particular to the owners of badly-behaved dogs, “Don’t worry, they’re friendly!”

“Ow!” I said as the small one lanced a paw down my leg. I half-stumbled, stopping myself just in time from grabbing Jonathan bloody Holcroft’s shoulder. 

He laughed and picked the dog up, shoving it under one arm so its legs dangled comically. “This is Nina,” he said.

“I don’t think it speaks English.”

“You’d be surprised. Come on, I’ll make you a Nutella sandwich.” And as if this was the most normal situation in the world he strode through the hall, past the two waist-high dogs. One of them put its cold nose in my palm as I skirted past, making me jump. I was glad Jonathan bloody Holcroft didn’t see. He would definitely have laughed at me. As usual.

Still with a dog under one arm he was filling the kettle. The kitchen was mostly grey, stylish but not unfriendly, magazines on the table, dog bowls in the corner, a fruit bowl with a regal pineapple looking down on the oranges and apples. Jonathan put down the dog, which ran back to me and started assiduously sniffing my shoes, and put tea bags in mugs.

“Aren’t you going to ask if I want coffee?”

“Do you want coffee?”

“No.”

“That’s why I didn’t ask.”

“I resent your choosing my drink for me.”

“Because it represents the oppression of the patriarchy?”

I glared at him and he laughed. “I know you, Nina Seth, and I know that you want tea. Don’t argue.”

“I never argue.” I sat down and took off my shoes, and the dog, with a well-calculated leap, landed on my lap. It turned in a circle three times and lay down.

“There, you see?” said Jonathan, turning to the fridge. “Friendly.” He sloshed milk into each mug. “I’m not using a teapot and I’m not even taking the bags out first. I hope you’ll forgive me.”

“Either of my grandmothers would kill you. Indian and Irish. Giants of the tea-drinking world.”

“Irish?” He couldn’t stop it. The flash of surprise.

“My mum’s family,” I said.

“Right.” He didn’t want to ask the question he wanted me to answer. 

I let him struggle for a moment before saying, “Yes, she’s white.”

He nodded. “Well, there you go.”

“Wouldn’t have seen that one coming, would you?”

He grinned and dipped his head. “Admittedly, no.”

I couldn’t help smiling, the disease of smiling that caught me whenever I was with him. “Some people are so shocked to hear I’ve got a white parent, it’s like they want to ask, Are you sure? Thanks,” I said as he put the tea in front of me. “I’ve even had people make jokes, like, Is your mum being quite honest, eh? Is the milkman Asian? Then I tell them it’s my mum who’s white and she’s pretty sure she remembers pushing me out her uterus, and that tends to shut them up.”

Jonathan snorted with laugher. He was putting white sliced bread in the toaster. “I can imagine it only too well.” He reached to get plates from a cupboard, and for a second I was distracted by the hair at the back of his neck, brown curls falling into a slightly irregular V. “Do you have any siblings?” he asked, turning, and I blinked.

“A brother.” My voice sounded strange to me, as if betraying what I’d been thinking seconds before. I cleared my throat. “Dipankar. He’s twenty. He’s at Leeds studying” – I made a face – “dentistry.”

“Gross,” said Jonathan.

“I know.”

“Dipankar’s a good name.”

“My father always said his first son would have an Indian name, and my mother always said her first daughter would have an Irish name, so they both ended up happy. Of course, the gene pool has a great sense of humour, so Dipankar just looks like he’s got a good tan. Sometimes people ask if he’s Hispanic.” I smiled. “Or Australian.”

Jonathan laughed. “Australian?”

“I know. And yet he’s the one with the Indian name. Oh the hilarious ironies.”

“I’d love to tell you an exciting story about my name, but I’ve got nothing.” The toast popped and he fished it out with childlike excitement. “I’ve been thinking about this sandwich all afternoon.”

“Is it a true sandwich if it’s toast?”

He frowned. “Please don’t call my life into question.”

“That is an obscene amount of Nutella,” I said, watching him spread it.

“I always make healthy choices, Nina, you know me.”

The door opened and I looked up, expecting a family member, but it was the other dogs, noses twitching towards the food. As Jonathan gave me my sandwich the dog in my lap woke up too. 

“I feel watched,” I said.

“Come on, let’s leave the zoo.” The dogs eyed us mournfully. “Sorry,” Jonathan said as he shut the kitchen door on them, a genuine apology.

My pulse was quick as we climbed the stairs, and not just from concentrating on not spilling tea on Jonathan bloody Holcroft’s parents’ carpet. It was the thought of his bedroom, foreign and intimate. You can tell a lot from a bedroom. Seeing his felt like some invisible milestone.

It smelt of him. An observation I felt stupid for making but couldn’t help. It was untidy but not badly, schoolbooks on the floor, a few dirty mugs, the bed not made, but the curtains were open. A guitar leant against the bed. I watched him bend to pick up a pair of jeans and hang them on the chair. He was humming Les Mis under his breath.

There were plants lining the windowsills.

He had two windows in two walls, his desk below one of them, and I went straight to it and put mug and plate down. A fern trailing from a pot, a plant with big white-striped leaves, a purple flower. I stopped, unwilling to touch them, and turned to look at him. He was smiling, and somehow I felt like I’d passed a test, like he was waiting to see what I thought about the plants and, from that, would form his final opinion.

“These are beautiful,” I said.

“They are, aren’t they?” He nodded to the purple flower in its small vase. “That’s my favourite at this time of year. Spotted orchid.”

I looked past them down the residential street, with its terraced houses and cars in driveways. “Where did you get it from?”

“We take the dogs to the country at weekends. I brought that one back from an old quarry. The stem was broken, it would’ve died if I’d left it.”

“You carried it home in the car?”

“Yeah.”

“Like a little birdie with a broken wing?”

“Are you making fun of me?”

I grinned. “I love them. Have you always been into … plants?”

“We used to live in the country. We’ve not been in this place long.”

I looked at the A Level Biology book on the desk. “I always thought bio was a weird choice for you, but …”

“I want to study horticulture.”

He said this with a slightly bashful, endearing grin, as if it was a secret.

I couldn’t stop smiling. “That’s so cool.”

He raised his eyebrows. “Nina Seth thinks something about me is cool. That is an achievement.”

“Only one thing,” I said, “don’t get ahead of yourself,” and sat down at his desk to eat my sandwich, so he wouldn’t detect just how cool I find everything about him.

When we’d eaten the sandwiches – which were second to none – he got Hamlet ­out and we went through the monologue. Act Four Scene Four, “How all occasions do inform against me / And spur my dull revenge.” Jonathan bloody Holcroft is a good Hamlet, riding the wave between naïve, boyish uncertainty and the desire to be a man. It is my favourite speech in the play, and when he opened to it my heart skipped, as if this were some sign, a connection between us. I told him it was my favourite, and there was a second when he looked at me, lips slightly parted, as if he, too, sensed this quivering string running between us, like two notes slipping into a chord. But he grinned and said, “I wasn’t going to choose to be or not to bloody be, was I?”, and he moment was gone.

We spent hours there in his room, talking, he laughing at me for my earnest discussion of iambic pentameter and hamartia, but in a mildly impressed way, the laughter of one who does, in fact, love Shakespeare, but doesn’t splash it over the front page of their life. I looked at his bookshelf, mostly modern, a lot of horticulture, the Harry Potter series in its bold, brave colours. “But no Les Mis,” I said. 

He laughed. “You wish.”

When the monologue was faultless a woman called upstairs, “Dinner!”, and without asking me if I wanted to stay he led me back to the kitchen. I’m normally not a fan of meeting other people’s families – Beth’s dad always tried too hard to be friendly, and her mum used to look at my underbrushed hair and unshaved armpits as if worried I might infect her daughter – but Jonathan bloody Holcroft’s mum was the kind of woman I wanted to go for coffee with. 

“Come again!” she said as I eventually left. Come again. I wanted to, more than almost anything. In the hall he hugged me goodbye and as I walked home I could smell his aftershave on my coat. Scenes of what could have happened were running through my head, spiralling in and out of the Les Mis he’d been singing – In my life, there's been no one like him anywhere, anywhere where he is – but I tried to shut them down. I was happier than I’d been since that last time I spoke to Beth, happier than I’d been since Katie’s party, but colouring my happiness was the longing I was trying to ignore. Things had been uncomplicated this afternoon, friendly, and I knew that friendly was the only portent of things to come.

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Pinterest •♛T O R I ♛•:
[source]

HOW CUTE ARE THEY?! I have zero idea how I've got to this point, though. A fully-fledged romance contemporary?? Written by me?? This is not a thing! But ... apparently it is. Ha. This book was meant to be about Nina's friendship with Verity Locke. Oops ...

Expect another extract before the end of the month, when I link up with Starting Sparks. Until next time, friends.

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Friday, 16 September 2016

Living Books

I will never own an e-reader because the tactile experience of a book is extremely significant to me. Some people say the reading of a book, the words themselves, is the only important part, but for me it's every minute of the journey: being recommended the book or reading about it, looking out for it in bookshops, finding it, holding it, buying it, or maybe not buying it at first if it's a book I hadn't heard of but am attracted to because of the cover, but visiting it for a while before finally making the purchase; taking it home, putting it on my shelf, admiring it, later photographing it, blogging the photo, putting it back on the shelf, continuing to admire it, and eventually reading it. Some people would argue that photographing books is a waste of time because, hey, you could be reading, and who wants to see my book hauls anyway? But this process, of taking my books outside and lovingly positioning them* and photographing them, is all part of it for me. I don't just read books, I live books.
*lovingly position = shove them with whatever nature-y stuff is around and hope for the best

Early spring haul. (Yes, I know, hello and welcome to round #97 of Emily's A Rubbish Blogger ... I bought these in March and April ... I take a while to get round to stuff, OK?)
Bought on release date, finished the next day, honestly I'm still processing. I actually saw Maggie on the TRK book tour in August. My emotions are running strong. Click here for my favourite TRC meme and generally favourite thing on the internet. 
Bought secondhand in St Andrews. I am a massive fan of this trilogy, set in Stalinist Russia; I loved Child 44 and The Secret Speech, the first two books, and can't wait to read this. So highly recommended.
So, I should not really have bought this, because I've still not read the first one (I horrify myself. In both 2014 and 2015 it was on my End of Year Book Recap under “Book I've Still Not Got To But Am Prioritising This Year", and have I read it yet? No. No I haven't.), and you shouldn't buy sequels when you've not read the first one ... But ... secondhand ... cheap ... *ahem*
Also from a charity shop in St Andrews. My Jacobean revenge tragedy education has to start somewhere, right? ... Fun fact, The Silkworm by JK Rowling (book 2 in the incredible Cormoran Strike series) is about a literary murder and it involves a group of writers inspired by revenge tragedy. Each chapter begins with a quotation from a Jacobean play, and there's lots of Webster in there. So for that reason in itself I'm excited about this.
Here we have a fixture of any of my book hauls, The One I Bought For The Cover. This is one I visited in Waterstones for a few months before going in to buy The Goldfinch for someone (I'm never not buying The Goldfinch for someone, seriously ... and yet I still don't have my own copy) and it was Buy One Get One Half Price so obviously what was I gonna do ... How pretty is that cover though??
Polemical 19th century feminist text. Bought secondhand in Glasgow. Key.
Very highly recommended by my sister-in-law ... It's set in South America, which is a yes from me, and apparently there is magic involved. Sign me up.
I have actually met Kirsty Logan because she came to my school last year and did a creative writing workshop with us Advanced Higher English students. It was very very interesting and helpful, and I had a really good chat with her about her process. (She also gave us her email address, I've considered sending her the first chapter of TCATT ... do you think I should??) Prior to the workshop I read a couple of her short stories. She writes very lovely, whimsical fantasy / speculative fiction and I could not be more excited for The Gracekeepers.
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What's your most recently purchased book? What was the last book you bought based on the cover? Do you visit books for a while before buying them? Tell me all.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Readership and Authorship // Why I Have Qualms About The Cursed Child

Well do I remember discovering, last year, that there was going to be a new Harry Potter story.

I was so excited! More Harry! Ron! Hermione! Hogwarts! The story we thought was over, continuing! 

This buzz of excitement continued for months and months. As the 31st of July, the release date, approached, it filled me still ... didn't it?

On the 1st of August I got to Waterstones, where Harry Potter decorations covered the shopfront. I went to where the book sat, stacks and stacks of copies, on a table right by the door. Hundreds more copies were lined behind the tills, replenishing the stock as hoards of hungry Potterheads came in brandishing their tenners.

I didn't buy it.

What, what?! There is a new Harry Potter book and I am yet to buy it. There is a new Harry Potter, and I have not ripped it apart with my ravenous jaws.

Image result for ron are you mental gif

You're shocked. I'm shocked. Ron's shocked. We're all shocked. But let me explain to you why I have qualms about The Cursed Child.

The thing I hadn't realised before I picked the book up is that it isn't by JK Rowling. On the cover it says “JK Rowling" in massive letters, but on closer inspection: “Based on a new story idea by JK Rowling. // A new play by Jack Thorne". Wait a minute. Who the frick frack is Jack Thorne?!

I'm not that into fanfiction. There are many reasons for this. The main one is that, as a writer, the thought of someone else writing about my characters makes me almost physically nauseous. They say “the book belongs to the reader", and I totally believe that readers can find things in books that the author may not have known themselves; the reader can keep imagining the word beyond the page. Of course, that's a good thing, because we love stories and want to keep them in our hearts. But there's a difference between treasuring a particular book and thinking about it ... and publishing a book which you're calling “Harry Potter #8". Personally, I don't see how Jack Thorne can make the decisions about what JK Rowling's characters are doing, thinking and saying; how he can call the shots on what's going on in her world.

Of course, we've got to try and see it from JK Rowling's point of view. She loves Harry Potter. She has created a vast, incredible world that has now been in her mind for decades, and it's incredibly hard to let go of that. I would be amazed, perplexed, even aggrieved if I thought that, following Deathly Hallows' publication in 2007, she wasn't still thinking about her characters and her world. She knows them. She has a relationship with her characters -- not of a creator to some sort of AI, but of equals in a journey, discovering a story. Sometimes characters take years to reveal things to you. But should she share this with the fans?

I found an interesting quotation from Maggie Stiefvater on this topic:
“Some people come up to me and ask me to give them material outside the books — for instance, what is Gansey’s favorite ice cream flavor? I never respond to them. Personally, I think it’s unfair — it rewards only some readers and not those who don’t dig through all the archives to find the new little factoids.”
She believes that canon exists only within the books, and the books are the source of all material for the readers. Outside that, all is conjecture. I understand what she means about being “unfair" to the readers ... but personally I'd quite like to know Gansey's favourite ice cream flavour (mint? Or is that too obvious?) and I don't think sharing it would really be a problem. Rowling's equivalent of this is Pottermore, the website she runs that gives you, surprise surprise, more Potter, and when “beta registration" started in 2011 I spent several stressful hours searching for magic quills and all the rest of it to gain one of the coveted million places as a beta. (Which I did. Don't ever say I'm not committed.) I've very much enjoyed the extra information that Rowling published on here (McGonagall's backstory! My heart!) -- because sometimes you can't get everything into the books. Sometimes you can't give all the myriad details of a character's backstory. And why not share that with your fans, when they love those characters?

But is there a difference between backstory and the future? McGonagall's Scottish childhood is one thing; to me, an adult Harry Potter is another. Such details as can be found on Pottermore are complementing the world we already know and love. The Cursed Child is continuing that world, nineteen years later. And now, whenever I read that “all was well" ... can I truly believe it? For The Cursed Child even to have a story -- I don't know what that story is about, but it's there -- there must be conflict. So how can all be well? In the publication of this book, have we been robbed of the closure of the end of the series?

I honestly don't know where I come down on this one. Increasingly I feel that JKR should not be messing her fans around by telling us that all was, in fact, not well. Part of art is knowing where to stop. But of course, I have a soul-deep and unfailing devotion to Rowling and to Potter and part of me is unable to believe that any book published in Harry's name could be other than a good thing. Moreover, I believe that, if I do read The Cursed Child and I don't like it, my love for Potter is too strong to be marred; the perfection of those seven books cannot be broken by what goes on outside their pages. Nonetheless, I'm perturbed, and I don't know whether I want to read The Cursed Child.

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[source]
Have you read it? What did you think? Is further information about books canon, or should an author keep it to themselves? (Also, while we're on the topic, what's your favourite HP? Mine's Order of the Phoenix.)

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Life In August // Starting Sparks: September

I'm in denial that it's actually September. I'm pretty sure 2016 has only been going for about three months ...

August was a bit of a whirlwind of various things. Work is ... work. Mid-month I was away on a Scripture Union camp in a very beautiful part of the Highlands called Allnatcriche: glorious weather, fun and the Ten Commandments. Since then I've also been blessed to be away on Skye with my family!

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I have swum six times in the past nine days, friends (once in the sea, once in a loch and four times in a river); I'm living the dream. I've also been painting, which is delightful.

Also in my life: prayer journalling. Why oh why has it taken me so long to come round to this idea? Believe it or not, I'd never written a prayer down (at least as an adult) before October last year, when I was encouraged to do so at a youth conference. “Hey!" said I, “this is awesome! I'm going to do this!" I then did what I do with most things in life ... ie put it off for ten months. But at long last this August I started to keep a prayer journal and I'm loving it. Rather than a jumble of phrases in my head, when I jump from one thing to another without even finishing my sentences, praying on paper makes me slow down and think about what I'm saying. 100% recommend.

In Writing

The really and truly exciting thing is that one month ago I started a novel! I am delighted to be back with these beloved characters as their story continues. Words-wise, I'd estimate about 34k, otherwise known as a couple of days ago I finished my first notebook! I am ridiculously excited about this, because back in the dark days of early TCATT I was a) writing stuff straight onscreen and b) doing work in various falling-apart refill pads / random bits of paper / Pukka pads that decided to fall apart on me so the back pages were all coming out ... Now I have resolved to use proper pretty notebooks and proper pretty notebooks only.

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[source] // this is me
So, how is the novel going? Honestly, I struggle to answer that question! I mean, it's bringing me great joy in my soul, so that's successful, but is it fair to say I know exactly what I'm doing?


Here's the thing. (More than one thing, actually.) It's been a year (on 1st August, when I started SitC, it was a year to the day!) since I've done this first-draft lark. Since then, I may have slightly idealised it in my head. Perhaps idealised is the wrong word, but I suppose I've been very conscious of all the reasons SitC draft 1 is going to be vastly different to and better than TCATT draft 1. Because a) I'm three years older, b) have learnt masses about writing in the past three years, c) am actually committed to being a writer (as a pose to my fourteen-year-old self wafting around at Camp NaNo), d) know my characters and my world and e) have actually done some plotting rather than going in blind. All these things should be and are making this book easier. But really, friends, a pantser cannot change her spots, and much as I did some outlining prior to starting, I still have basically no clue where I'm going. So that's fun. I use fun slightly sarcastically, but only slightly, because pantsing is fun and I've already had myriad nice surprises this month. But I'm also very conscious that I currently have maximum 15k more planned before I completely lose the plot.

So yeah. Basically I don't know what I'm doing (what's new?) and


Not that I want to devalue the first drafting process! Because I honestly am loving it and I can't tell you my supreme happiness at being reunited with my children. It's just tough to go from working on a fairly polished fourth draft, to being back to:

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WHY DOES EVERYTHING COME OUT LIKE THIS??

In Books
August wasn't quite at the dizzy heights of a x3 five-star July, but I still read some great books.

Sunset Song was very beautiful. I love reading about Scotland. I swear I hardly ever read Scottish fiction! Set at the advent of the First World War, it shows the world coming of age in the horrors of the Great War just as Chris Guthrie, our heroine, comes of age in the harsh landscape of the Highlands. The book is bittersweet: love, family, education, life and the land itself are all forces for good and evil. I imagine that Grassic Gibbon himself, a writer but so clearly a lover of the land, felt torn between the worlds of his hands and his mind.
“So that was Chris and her reading and schooling, two Chrisses there were that fought for her heart and tormented her. You hated the land and the coarse speak of the folk and learning was brave and fine one day; and the next you'd waken with the peewits crying across the hills, deep and deep, crying in the heart of you and the smell of the earth in your face, almost you'd cry for that, the beauty of it and the sweetness of the Scottish land and skies."
 I've very long been meaning to read A Room of One's Own and was glad finally to do so. Whether you're a reader, a writer or a woman (or perhaps all three) it is extremely interesting. I believe I shall post about it because I have a lot of thoughts.

Green Hills of Africa was wonderful. Do you know how much I love Hemingway? A LOT, THAT'S HOW MUCH. It was about big game hunting, a subject which I do not enjoy (hence the missing star), but honestly Hemingway could write about sea sponges and I'd still be running around saying, “It's so lyrical and fascinating!" It also contains very interesting discussions on writing and the American novel. I highly recommend.

On the Beach at Night Alone was a bit of a disappointment to me. Some of it was very beautiful, but in many of the poems I could find neither linguistic greatness nor truth. This is a hard thing to say because Whitman is hailed as “the father of American poetry", and I was expecting to love the book, but it didn't. That said, I'd be interested to read more of his work.

Congratulate me because I finally read Cinder! I'm only three years late to the party (ball?). I think it's fair to say it was a little overhyped for me, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I know, let's make a list. (Yay lists!)

  I loved the Chinese culture. Traditionally Asia hasn't had much representation in fantasy/sci-fi (and yes it does pain me to lump those genres together but needs must) and so I was extremely into New Beijing.
●    I also loved that Cinder was a mechanic! Most of the SFCs in YA are “strong" because of their fighting skills, so it's nice to see a woman empowered in ways other than being good at knife-throwing. I'm not saying, of course, that Tris, Katniss and Celaena aren't strong women or that their fighting skills are less valid than Cinder's engineering skills, but I think it's important to remember that women can be strong in different ways.
●   Iko! I've got a lotta love.
●   I wasn't that keen on Kai. The way he treated Cinder kind of annoyed me? “I found your pretty new mechanic down in the lobby." SHUT UP, KAI, STOP ASSUMING ALL THE GIRLS WILL JUST FALL AT YOUR FEET. I mean ... they do. All just fall at his feet. But I quite often found myself wanting to punch him. He seemed very immature. And I wasn't really shipping them at all, because they ... didn't talk much? When they weren't flirting, they were just discussing letumosis, which was fine, but I didn't feel they had a connection.
●   I'm very much done with the “I'm-not-pretty-I'm-just-a-regular-girl-oh-look-the-love-interest-is-literally-the-best-looking-guy-ever" trope. We complain about female ideals of perfection, and praise authors when they don't make their female characters conform to societal standards of beauty (eg Cinder) ... and yet we have no problem with making our males physically flawless? Of course I like hot boys in books, who doesn't, but I'm just done with the Indescribably Handsome Prince, you know?
●   I wasn't a massive fan of the writing, word by word.
●   I also wasn't impressed with the ending. I called it from the start -- not because I am wise but because it features in every fantasy ever -- and that trope kinda makes me want to bang my head against a wall?? Not all the time! But ... often. I will say no more because spoilers, but ... yeah. *ahem* 
●   Nonetheless, I found Cinder compelling and enjoyable and I'm very up for continuing the series!

Starting Sparks: September


Next month Starting Sparks will be one year old! Can you believe it?! I certainly can't. Anyway. It's a link-up hosted by Ashley @ [insert title here] and me @ right here. We post prompts, you post stories, we all have a marvellous time. For more info, as well as an archive of previous prompts, go to the Starting Sparks page.

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September prompt!

We would adore for you to link up. Everyone loves a sassy character, so go forth! Let the sass run free.

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How was your August? I'm very interested to know: what was the best book you read? Do you ever write down prayers? Do you share my controversial opinion that it'd be nice to see fewer cover model boys in books? Tell me everything!