Showing posts from 2016

Blog Tour: Literary Facts with a QI Elf

I am very excited to bring to you today the last stop on the blog tour for 1,342 QI Facts To Leave You Flabbergasted! To celebrate the release of the book, Anne Miller, one of the QI Elves, has written us a list of some of her favourite literary facts, so take it away, Anne!

At QI we all have our favourite topics. One of my all-time favourite QI facts is that a baby puffin is called a puffling but I will have to wait until 2018’s Series P to lobby for a show entirely about those brilliant birds. However, I also love literary facts and in Series L, I had the chance to write a whole show about books in the form of the ‘Literature’ episode of QI.

In that episode we covered the fact that T.S. Eliot was one of the publishers to turn down George Orwell’s 1984. 1984 is also the book that people are most likely to lie about having read. There was also the fact that the phrase  ‘Elementary, my dear Watson’ did not come from the Sherlock Holmes canon but instead from P.G. Wodehouse’s 1915 novel…

A Notice (#7): Coming Soon!

I am very excited to say that I will soon be hosting my first ever blog tour stop on Writing Starlight! Next Tuesday (13th December), to celebrate the release of 1,342 QI Facts To Leave You Flabbergasted, I'll be posting a list of literary facts from QI Elf Anne Miller! Make sure to keep an eye out for that, and if you want to have a look at where else the tour is stopping, check out blogs in the banner below! As well as that, I would definitely recommend following the QI Elves on Twitter, because they're always tweeting fascinating facts.

Faber & Faber, the publishers of the book, also sent me a copy, which I am very happy about, and look forward to reading over the holiday season!

Since I am making a post, I would just like to take the opportunity to apologise for not posting very frequently recently! I have had a lot of work to do for university, but I am hoping that over the Christmas break I will have some time to post on this blog, especially since I did get some book…

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Name:A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Publisher: Titan Books
Date published: February 2015
Rating: 5/5

Kell is one of the last Travelers - rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit. Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now. Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and Prince of Red London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they'll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then fo…

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Name:The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Children's Books
Date published: 2012
Rating: 5/5

Even if Blue hadn't been told her true love would die if she kissed him, she would stay away from boys. Especially the ones from the local private school. Known as Raven Boys, they only mean trouble. But this is the year that everything will change for Blue. This is the year that she will be drawn into the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys. And the year Blue will discover that magic does exist. This is the year she will fall in love. - From Goodreads.
The Raven Boys had a slower pace than some of the other books I have read recently and I found I actually enjoyed it for that. It took its time and it was not episodic, with one big event after the other. It let you take the time to get to know the characters and was still interesting to read without having constant action. As it went on, especially towards the end, the story did pick up pace well, with added exc…

Review: Love Song by Sophia Bennett

Name:Love Song
Author: Sophia Bennett
Publisher: Chicken House
Date published: 2016
Rating: 5/5

A million girls would kill for the chance to meet The Point, but Nina's not one of them. She's the new assistant to the lead singer's diva fiancée, and she knows it's going to suck. She quickly learns that being with the hottest band on the planet isn't as easy as it looks: behind the scenes, the boys are on the verge of splitting up. Tasked with keeping an eye on four gorgeous but spoiled rock stars, Nina's determined to stick it out - and not fall for any of them... - From Goodreads.
Love Song drew me in right from the beginning and made me want to sit down and read the whole thing through in one sitting. It made me remember why I love contemporary fiction, as I have been reading a lot of fantasy lately, after which I could not find as much enjoyment in contemporary but this book reminded me what is so great about the genre.
I thought the passion for music that leapt from …

Review: How Not to Disappear by Clare Furniss

Name:How Not to Disappear
Author: Clare Furniss
Publisher: Simon Schuster
Date published: 2016
Rating: 4/5
Spoiler warning: Minor

Our memories are what makes us who we are. Some are real. Some are made up. But they are the stories that tell us who we are. Without them, we are nobody. Hattie's summer isn't going as planned. Her two best friends have abandoned her: Reuben has run off to Europe to "find himself" and Kat is in Edinburgh with her new girlfriend. Meanwhile Hattie is stuck babysitting her twin siblings and dealing with endless drama around her mum's wedding. Oh, and she's also just discovered that she's pregnant  with Reuben's baby. Then Gloria, Hattie's great-aunt who no one even knew existed, comes crashing into her life. Gloria's fiercely independent, rather too fond of a gin sling and is in the early stages of dementia. Together the two of them set out on a road trip of self-discovery - Gloria to finally confront the secrets of her past …

Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Name: The Rest of Us Just Live Here
Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher: Walker Books
Date published: 2016
Rating: 4/5
Spoiler warning: Major

What if you aren't the Chosen One? The one who's supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death? What if you're like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again. Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week's end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life. Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions. - From Goodreads.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here consists of a unique, clever and witty idea for a book that felt really refreshing and interesting. It took tired-out clichés and twisted the angle and made them new and exciting again. It was playful and thoughtful at the same tim…

Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Name:These Shallow Graves
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Date published: 2015
Rating: 4/5

Josephine Montfort is from one of New York's oldest, most respected and wealthiest families. Like most well-off girls of the Gilded Age, her future looks set - after a finishing school education, she will be favourably married off to a handsome gentleman, after which she'll want for nothing. But Jo has other dreams and desires that make her long for a very different kind of future. She wants a more meaningful and exciting life: she wants to be an investigative journalist like her heroine Nelly Bly. But when Jo's father is found dead in his study after an alleged accident, her life becomes far more exciting than even Jo would wish. Unable to accept that her father could have been so careless, she begins to investigate his death with the help of a young reporter, Eddie Gallagher. It quickly becomes clear he was murdered, and in their race against time to discover the culp…

Review: Ctrl, Alt; Delete: How I Grew Up Online by Emma Gannon

Name:Ctrl, Alt; Delete: How I Grew Up Online
Author: Emma Gannon
Publisher: Ebury Press
Date published: 2016
Rating: 4/5

Emma Gannon was born  in 1989, the year the World Wide Web was conceived, so she's literally grown up alongside the Internet. There've been late night chat room experiments, sexting from a Nokia and dubious webcam exchanges. And let's not forget catfishing, MSN, digital friendships and #feminism. She was basically social networking before it was a thing - and she's even made a successful career from it. - From Goodreads.
How I Grew Up Online is an interesting discussion of difficult issues that can affect young people, such as self-image and how society today makes us very aware of how we look, especially with the media, and is written from a female perspective that shows how girls and women can be both negatively and positively affected by the online world.
I liked the sense of humour that Emma tells her stories with, when the story was not too serious in …

Review: Cruel Heart Broken by Emma Haughton

Name:Cruel Heart Broken
Author: Emma Haughton
Publisher: Usborne
Date published: 2016
Rating: 4/5

Laurie is a good girl - so everyone thinks. But seven months ago she did something that she can't undo and it's tearing her apart.  Charlie used to be her best friend. He's done something he regrets too... and now someone has died. Two impulsive decisions. Two toxic secrets. Too many hearts broken. - From Goodreads.
Cruel Heart Broken has the kind of drama, mystery and emotion that keeps you reading, that is addictive because it makes you always want to know and uncover everything that has happened and that is going to happen.  The structure of the novel worked well, with the narrative focusing on the present, and then looking at the past, and then back to the present. It meant that suspense was built because information was released slowly, and it showed how important the past was in this story and how much it influenced the characters. The book dealt well with some serious and diffic…

Review: This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

Name:This Raging Light
Author: Estelle Laure
Publisher: Orchard Books
Date published: 2016
Rating: 4/5
Spoiler warning: Major

How is it that one day Digby was my best friend's cute twin brother, and then the next he stole air, gave jitters, twisted my insides up? And with Mom gone, bills to pay and Wren to look after... Why does the best thing happen at the worst time? - From Goodreads.
The language of This Raging Light was a combination of wonderful and beautiful descriptions and everyday, conversational and blunt narration. It was quite a unique style to use and it really showed how Lucille was a complex character in a confusing world. The plot was also compelling and pulled you in right from the beginning, I was never bored by it and was always wanting to know what would happen next and where the story would be going.
I loved the dynamic between Digby and Lucille, how they bounced off each other in conversation, and how they both cared so deeply for each other and about how they acted …

Review: Harry Potter and the Curse Child by Jack Thorne

Name:Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Authors: Jack Thorne, with J.K. Rowling and John Tiffany
Publisher: Little Brown
Date published: 2016
Rating: 4.5/5
Spoiler warning: Moderate

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn't much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.  While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places. - From Goodreads.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child feels quite weird and bonkers to read, but then Harry Potter has always been that way and I am glad it has managed to keep its sense of humour and fun. Additionally, I think it felt a little strange to read because in the past when I have read Harry Potter it has mainly been from Harry…

Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Name: Passenger
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Quercus Children's Books
Date published: 2016
Rating: 5/5

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she's inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she's never heard of. Until now. Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods - a powerful family in the colonies - and the servitude he's known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes an insistent pull of the past that he can't escape and the family that won't let go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas' passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it bac…

Review: The Magicians' Guild by Trudi Canavan

Name:The Magicians' Guild
Author: Trudi Canavan
Publisher: Atom
Date published: 2005
Rating: 5/5

This year, like every other, the magicians of Imardin gather to purge the city of undesirables. Cloaked in the protection of their sorcery, they move with no fear of the vagrants and miscreants who despise them and their work - until one enraged girl, barely more than a child, hurls a stone at the hated invaders... and effortlessly penetrates their magical shield. What the Magicians' Guild has long dreaded has finally come to pass. There is someone outside their ranks who possesses a raw power beyond imagining, an untrained mage who must be found and schooled before she destroys herself and her city with a force she cannot yet control. - From Goodreads.
The Magicians' Guild was definitely an exciting adventure that had me gripped! Whenever I had to stop reading I really had to force myself to put it down. Towards the end it was so exciting I could feel my heart beating! I was so taken …

Review: Gone by Michael Grant

Author: Michael Grant
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Date published: 2015
Rating: 5/5
Spoiler warning: Minor

In the blink of an eye, everyone in Perdido Beach, California, over the age of fourteen disappears. Gone too are phones, television, and the internet. As the kids struggle to survive in this new world, the world itself continues to evolve. A sinister creature lurks in a mine in the desert; animals are mutating; and some of the kids are developing dangerous supernatural powers that grow stronger by the day. A battle between good and evil is imminent, and for some of the kids, time is running out. On their fifteenth birthday, they disappear like everyone else.  - From Goodreads.
Gone is definitely not the type of book to read just before you go to bed! It was not scary in the sense that it was too scary for someone like me (who does not go anywhere near anything closely resembling a horror movie), but there were a lot of suspenseful and gruesome moments that were all executed very …

My Life (#7): YALC 2016

A week ago on Sunday, I attended the Young Adult Literature Convention at the London Film and Comic Convention for the first time and I had the most brilliant time! I went with my friend Emma, who I know from university, and whose idea it was to go, and of course we had to go on the day that they were celebrating Harry Potter's birthday and the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (which I have now read and will be posting a review of in the future)!

The first thing we did when we arrived was attend the New Voices in YA panel, which I thought was so interesting to listen to, with the authors (Natalie Flynn, Harriet Reuter Hapgood, Julia Gray, Claire Hennessy, Rhian Ivory, Pete Kalu, Martin Stewart and Chris Vick) talking about publishing their first young adult novels and giving some great writing advice.

After that, Emma and I wondered around looking at the stalls, got ourselves some freebies, and bought ourselves some books (more on that in a bit), and found this amazin…

Review: This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab

Name:This Savage Song
Author: V.E. Schwab
Publisher: Titan Books
Date published: June 2016
Rating: 5/5

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city - a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent - but he's one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who's just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August's secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives. - From Goodreads.
This Savage Song has a very unique world with an intriguing plot and backstory. I have found that a lot of the distopians that I have read (and I suppose that y…

Review: The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Name:The Princess Bride
Author: William Goldman
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Date published: 1999
Rating: 5/5

Beautiful, flaxen-haired Buttercup has fallen for Westley, the farm boy, and when he departs to make his fortune, she vows never to love another. So when she hears that his ship has been captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts - who never leaves survivors - her heart is broken. - From Goodreads.
The Princess Bride was funny, witty, satirical genius. I was first introduced to this story when my friend brought the movie with her to a sleepover at mine and we watched it and I thought it was absolutely brilliant. Then, I cannot remember how much time it was later, but I was in an independent bookshop with the same friend that I had watched the movie with, and I saw the book and I decided I had to buy it. I did and I am very glad I did because this book is now definitely one of my favourites and its characters  are definitely some of my favourite fictional characters (if they are, indeed, fictional…

Rambles (#4): On Reading Anne Frank's Diary

I read Anne Frank's diary recently, and I wanted to write about it but I thought it would be, I suppose, disrespectful to write a review. After all, this isn't a fictional novel, this is Anne's very thoughts, ideas and beliefs, this is how she recorded her life. Consequently, I thought it would be better to simply write down all the thoughts I had about it, in one of my Rambles, which I feel would be a better way of honouring Anne, as it is similar to the way she wrote down her thoughts in her diary.
I found every page of her diary emotional, insightful and beautiful to read, but especially so in light of recent events. Anne lived in a time of horror and violence, violence which was directed towards her and those like her because of their religion. Now, in June alone, 49 people were killed and more were injured at a club in Orlando because of their sexuality, and British member of parliament Jo Cox died after being shot and stabbed in West Yorkshire because of her politica…

Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Name:Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Macmillan's Children's Books
Date published: 2016
Rating: 4.5/5
Spoiler warning: Major

Simon Snow just wants to relax and savour his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he'll be safe. Simon can't even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing. because he can't stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you're the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax or savour anything. - From Goodreads.
Carry On was very much a page-turner, even though it had a bit of world-building and explaining to do at first, that was still interesting and did not make the book dull or boring. There were also beautiful descriptions of magic and emo…

A Notice (#6): Writing Starlight

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As you may have noticed, this blog has had a name change! While previously it was I Tend To Ramble, it is now Writing Starlight. This means that the contact email for the blog has changed to, and the twitter has changed to @writestarlight. The name has also changed on other websites, such as Bloglovin, which is the reason for the link at the top of the post.
The reason I changed the name wasn't anything complicated, I simply decided I wasn't completely content with I Tend To Ramble, and decided to change it to something that I felt fit better, and so Writing Starlight came into being!
I will hopefully be posting more often now that I have finished with university until Autumn, but that's all for now!

Review: Monsters and Fireflies by Malumi

Album title:Monsters and Fireflies
Artist: Malumi
Label: Malumi
Release date: 21st March 2016
Rating: 5/5

If I could write songs and create music, Monsters and Fireflies is fit to burst with the kind I would want to make (well, if I could, I would also create musicals, but that is a whole other topic). This album is beautiful, it is haunting, and it evokes feeling in a way that is impossible to deny.
It is quite an experimental album, but not so much that the emotions behind the songs get hidden in the experimentation, which can happen, but definitely does not happen in this case. Each song is unique and seems to be so much of its own sound that I cannot imagine anyone saying that any of them sound the same, and yet they all work in harmony so that, overall, you have a cohesive album. There are deliciously dark songs on the album, such as Dark Queen, in which you can hear fire-fueled but calculated anger, and then there are also songs, such as Stars Fly, with atmospheres of sparkling roma…

Festive Rambles (#1): Valentine's Day

So, here's what randomly comes to my mind when I think of Valentine's Day. I like that it encourages people to put time aside for the people they love, and that it makes people think about nice things they can do for each other. I don't think it should be a stressful day, and I don't think you should worry about the commercialism of it. I think it's a nice excuse to do something a little special with someone you care about, maybe have a nice meal, or get each other some little gifts. But obviously, that's just my opinion and, as someone who has never actually been in a serious relationship, maybe it's not very valid. But then again, maybe Valentine's Day isn't about just one person you love and isn't about one kind of love, maybe it's about all kinds of love, and all the people you love. Either way, you're perfectly entitled to hate Valentine's Day if you want to, just as you're perfectly entitled to go all out for it.

So that…

A Notice (#5): On My Unplanned Hiatus

You may or may not have noticed that I have not posted on this blog since October, and if you saw some of my tweets from around then, you may know why, but if not, then I think you should have an explanation of my sudden absence. I also thought you all might like to know when I might be able to start posting regularly again, so I wanted to post about that too.
Firstly, as to why I haven't posted at all in quite a while, partly it's because I have been very busy with university work and extracurriculars (reading, writing essays, going to society events, etc.) which has meant that I haven't had a lot of spare time (or energy) to write for this blog, It's also partly because I got ill during October and it took me quite a while to get better (and I'm still working towards feeling completely 100%), so that took away even more energy and time.
Secondly, I am somewhat better now, but I still have a lot going on with university, so I think realistically, I won't be ab…