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The ‘Would You Rather’ Tag!

I came back after a morning of playing Pokemon Go and searching for those shiny Feebas to see that Millie over at MSB Life (You can check our her post and blog here: https://msblife.home.blog/2019/01/19/would-you-rather-tag-challenge/) had tagged me in the ‘Would You Rather’ challenge! How it works is you answer ten questions that the person who tagged you has given, and at the end you come up with your own ten questions and tag some more bloggers to answer them! Thanks to Millie again for this, now let’s get started.

1. Would you rather be confined to reading a book, or your phone?

As much as you can’t beat the feeling of a book in your hands, I think I would go for my phone. That would mean I could read absolutely anything, from blogs to ebooks to social media, instead of being stuck with only the books you owned.

2. Would you rather only be able to listen to one album, or never be able to choose what you listen to again?

Definitely listen to one album. I’m quite particular with my music so I’d hate not being able to choose!

3. Would you rather be able to run and never get tired – but not be able to swim, or just be mediocre at both?

Though it would be great to never get tired while running (I’m not very good with stamina) I’d hate not being able to swim, as I love jumping into a pool or going in the sea. So I’d have to go with be mediocre at both.

4. Would you rather only be able to complete one game (and when you did you could never play another), or be able to play lots of games but never finish them?

I’d definitely go with the latter; I’m always leaving games unfinished anyway and I wouldn’t feel any satisfaction from just having one completed game instead of playing anything I wanted.

5. Would you rather have an incredible understanding of the past, or a clear view of the future?

This is a hard one, but I think I’d go with the past. I think knowing the future would freak me out a bit knowing you can’t change what is coming, whereas it would be impressive to know lots about the past.

6. Would you rather live in the city or the countryside?

Definitely the countryside, I love the landscape and the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere.

7. Would you rather meet your ‘idol’ in person and never be able to speak or consume their media again, or your ‘idol’ not knowing who you are but you are free to consume as you like?

I’d rather be able to consume as I like; I’m much too nervous of a person to meet an idol and I already do the latter, so it would just be living life as normal!

8. Would you rather be forced to laugh or cry at everything?

It would be so awkward to laugh in a serious situation so I’d choose cry. I’m quite an emotional person anyway and cry even when I’m happy!

9. Would you rather enjoy the taste of everything but be colour-blind, or see the world in the highest definition but not be able to taste?

I couldn’t imagine not being able to see how beautiful the world can be, so I’d want to see the world but not be able to taste. Though it would suck to be eating and not taste anything, I just couldn’t give up my sight.

10. Both options coming with their natural benefits and downfalls, would you rather have to exercise for one hour every day, or never be able to exercise again?

I feel bad but I never exercise at all anyway though I do enjoy swimming and jogging, so I’d go for that. You could still get some in by walking to places if that doesn’t count as exercise in this scenario!

I hope that helped in letting you get to know me! Now here are my questions:

  1. Would you rather only eat sweets for the rest of your life or only eat chocolate?
  2. Would you rather have to home-cook every one of your meals from scratch or only have to order takeaways?
  3. Would you rather be a werewolf or a vampire?
  4. Would you rather have someone else take your idea e.g. a novel, an album, and publish it as their own, or never have it published at all?
  5. Would you rather live in a hot place or a cold place?
  6. Would you rather be late for everything or early for everything?
  7. Would you rather more hours in a day to get things done or more hours at night to sleep?
  8. Would you rather only be able to own one pet for the rest of your life or numerous pets but they don’t live as long?
  9. Would you rather only be able to go on holiday abroad but never in your own country, or only be able to go on holiday in your own country and never go abroad?
  10. Would you rather be able to speak fluently in any language except your own, or only be able to speak fluently in your native language?

I’m tagging the following bloggers:

https://bookmarksandink.com/

https://becomingelysia.wordpress.com/

https://sunkissedscribbles.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

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Music

My Favourite Songs of All Time

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To me, music is a great part of who I am. It motivates me to write, it calms me when I’m feeling anxious and it also makes me feel alive. Saying that, my journey through music has been very strange.

When I was younger, I didn’t listen to my own music. I don’t think I even had any device to listen to my own music on. While my friends were listening to McFly and Busted, I was listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Coldplay in the back of my parents’ car. It was the early 00s, a time when they were playing everywhere. Hearing them now fills me with nostalgia, and the memory of driving to swimming lessons. Then when I went to secondary school, my boyband and pop phase began. I bought an iPod shuffle with my birthday money and every ‘Now That’s What I Call Music’ CD was loaded on to it. I listened to One Direction, JLS, The Wanted. This phase is also what I’d like to call my trying to fit in phase. I was a nerd who loved Doctor Who, a goody two shoes. But I wanted to be ‘cool’. I know, I’m cringing too.

Then one of the greatest days of my life came. My dad had tickets to go and see the Foo Fighters in 2011 on their Wasting Light Tour. I’d only really heard them in my dad’s car, alongside bands like Muse and The Killers. Despite not knowing the words to any of their songs, I agreed to go with him. And I was blown away. Supporting them was Jimmy Eat World and Biffy Clyro, who I listen to today. I loved everything about it. Thousands of people screaming lyrics, the music vibrating through my rib cage, Dave Grohl himself interacting with the audience. It ultimately changed my music taste for life and now I only really listen to rock/alternative, with Foo Fighters being my favourite band of all.

Now, as music is so important to me, I thought I’d let you in on my favourite songs. I think they have shaped me into who I am, so it’s a great way to get to know me. And hopefully, I can introduce you to some great music too.

Come Alive by Foo Fighters

“I lay there in the dark and I close my eyes. You saved me the day you came alive.”

Now choosing just one Foo Fighters’ song is the toughest choice I’ll ever have to make. However, I went with this one because it truly is a masterpiece. Written about Dave Grohl’s children, the raw emotion in it is undeniable. It starts off slow, easing you in and building up until you are hit with the drums and guitar, alongside the screaming vocals of Grohl. I think this is a great song if you’re feeling down as it is filled with hope.

Heart-Shaped Box by Nirvana

“Cut myself on angel hair and baby’s breath.”

As well as liking the catchy chorus and Kurt Cobain’s one of a kind voice, the reason I love this song so much is the poetic lyrics. The verses in particular conjure up images and though you wouldn’t think it, it’s paired perfectly with the grunge sound. It really is beautiful song writing, and you can’t forget about Dave Grohl on the drums either.

Living is a Problem Because Everything Dies by Biffy Clyro

“Don’t want to waste no more time, time’s what we don’t have.”

Biffy Clyro are another of those bands which is almost impossible to pick just one favourite song from. I chose this song because it isn’t like any other song I’ve heard before. It starts off with an instrumental, getting faster until Simon Neil sings his first words. Waiting for him to sing that part live is an out of this world experience, and then all the instruments crash in as the emotions are let loose. It’s definitely a song to shout the lyrics to. Biffy Clyro also aren’t as well-known in places like America as they are in the UK, so please give them a listen and you won’t regret it!

…Like Clockwork by Queens of the Stone Age

“Holding on too long is just fear of letting go.”

This song gives me goosebumps whenever I listen to it. Josh Homme’s crooning vocals with his piano alongside some painful but beautiful lyrics is just incredible. And the guitar solo sends a shiver up my spine every time. I listen to this song whenever I want to have a little cry or if I want to close my eyes and forget about the world. You have to listen to it for yourself to experience the emotion it makes you feel.

Spanish Sahara by Foals

“Now the waves they drag you down, carry you to broken ground.”

This is another quieter song that is good to listen to if you want to relax. The lyrics hold some powerful imagery and play a story in your head as you listen. Though I love Foals’ heavier stuff, the softness of this song is just so easy on the ears. If you’ve played Life is Strange and got THAT ending too, then you’ll know why I couldn’t listen to this song for a while without feeling sad.

Starlight by Muse

“Let’s conspire to ignite all the souls that would die just to feel alive.”

If you grew up the same time as me, you’ll remember there was a time where this song was played on so many adverts and over X-Factor auditions constantly. Those first notes instantly make me happy and make me think of simpler times. Though Muse have so many amazing songs, I chose Starlight because it’s such a feel good song that you can sing along to and let your emotions out.

 

I could honestly go on forever, but if you’d like to see some more of my favourite songs you can have a look at my playlist. Just a warning that it’s very long; it’s basically a compilation of songs I like over the years but some I have to be in the mood to listen to! If you listen to any of the songs above for the first time and enjoy them let me know your thoughts, or tell me what your favourite songs are in the comments below!

 

Reviews

Maniac Review

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Maniac

Genre: Sci-fi, dark comedy.

Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga.

Starring: Jonah Hill, Emma Stone.

A good few years ago I heard about Jonah Hill and Emma Stone starring in a Netflix series together. As someone who likes both of these actors I was intrigued, but didn’t delve too far into what the series was actually about. All I knew was that drugs were involved and that it was going to be bizarre. I think one of the few screenshots I’d seen was Emma Stone dressed as an elf so I was clueless as to what the general story was. However, I think even if I had known, nothing would have prepared me for what I was about to watch.

Jonah Hill plays Owen Milgrim, a man who is suffering from schizophrenia, and can’t distinguish between reality and the images his mind brings to life. One of these is the hallucination of his brother who tells him he has a mission to save the world. Refusing to take financial help from his wealthy family, he signs up to do a pharmaceutical trial. It’s here that he meets Annie Landsberg played by Emma Stone. A young woman with borderline personality disorder, she wants to take part in the same trial as it is testing the drug she is reliant on.

The pair of them along with the other subjects must take three pills throughout the trial in order to confront their problems and face their darkest fears. However the line between the drug-induced dreams and real life becomes blurred, and Owen and Annie’s dreams become intertwined.

I really liked the premise of the series and the plot in general was exciting, both in and outside of the drug-induced dream world. There’s a lot of risk to the participants in the trial as well as the scientists conducting the experiment, due to their computer developing feelings. The dreams, while strange, did have interesting stories. However I found it did jump around a little too much. At first, it was intriguing seeing the dreams, with their different themes such as fantasy. But once you got the idea of what the dreams were like, it felt like we were going back to them for no reason and for an extended time which wasn’t necessary. I actually preferred the real life scenes, so I think maybe if there was a different balance and it focused on the reality more I would have enjoyed it further.

The cinematography was beautiful though, as you can see in the photo above there is some great lighting which gave it a retro feel. This was backed up by the interesting technology; some of it was advanced such as the enhanced computer systems and the ability to hire friends/husbands, but there were also old TVs, so I like the fact that you can’t quite tell when it is set. The variety of dream worlds also gave some aesthetic settings.

Both Jonah Hill and Emma Stone were superb, and you can’t help but feel the emotions they’re expressing. They do such a great job at portraying the numerous characters Owen and Annie become whilst under the drugs. Even though it’s the same actors playing different characters, you can really tell the difference between each one. This top class acting resonates with the rest of the cast too.

Overall, I would recommend this to anyone; it is truly like nothing I’ve ever watched before. It isn’t one of my favourites, but it was different and very visually pleasing. I loved the characters too.

3.5/5 stars is my final verdict. The switching between worlds was a little too much for me which brought my rating down, but I can’t fault it for much else and that may not be a problem for others!

 

 

 

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Harry Potter Tag!

I saw Becoming Elysia do the Harry Potter tag (check hers out here) and was immediately interested in doing it myself as someone who loves Harry Potter. I thought it would also let you get to know me a bit better!

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1. What house are you in? I’m proud to say that I’m a Hufflepuff, no matter how many times I get ridiculed by people when I tell them this! If the ‘rubbish house’ has Tonks, Cedric and Newt then I’ll happily join them. Though I do feel like I’m betraying my house right now as I’m wearing a Gryffindor jumper…

2. What is your patronus? According to Pottermore mine is a grey squirrel which, while cute, is a little disappointing. I’d like mine to be any type of cat or a horse.

3. What would your boggart be? Probably a shark. I’m terrified of their beady eyes and just of creatures lurking underwater in general.

4. What position would you play in Quidditch? I think I’d be a chaser. I couldn’t handle the pressure of being a seeker and having to catch the snitch, and I don’t have the strength to be a beater!dscf1175

5. What job would you want to have after leaving Hogwarts? Being a teacher at Hogwarts would be cool, maybe for Transfiguration or Defence Against the Dark Arts.

6. Which of the Deathly Hallows would you choose? Definitely the Cloak of Invisibility. It could have many uses where I don’t think I’d need the other two.

7. Favourite book? Prisoner of Azkaban; I love that we get a break from Voldemort and have the mystery of Sirius Black to discover. Also Buckbeak is the best.

8. Least favourite book? Chamber of Secrets.

9. Favourite film? Goblet of Fire. It’s the one I’ve watched the most for sure.

10. Least favourite film? Chamber of Secrets.

11. Favourite character? There are so many to choose from but I love Luna and Sirius.

12. Least favourite/most hated character? My least favourite/most hated is Umbridge. I also have a love/hate relationship with both Dumbledore and Snape.

13. Favourite teacher at Hogwarts? Probably Flitwick. He seems kind and his classes wouldn’t be stressful.

14. Least favourite teacher at Hogwarts? I’d have to go with Snape. He’s a bully and I would be shaking with fear if I had to attend one of his classes.

I really enjoyed doing this! Let me know if you’re going to give it a go yourself and I’ll take a look!

P.S. The photos included are my own that I took in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida.

 

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4 Things I’ve Learned About Novel Writing

It sounds cliché to say that I’ve always wanted to write, but I truly have. My earliest memory of writing was a story about a worm’s birthday party, complete with illustrations; I’d like to think my writing has changed since then! My first novel I started and failed to complete was when I was fourteen, about a girl who could shape shift into animals. I gave it a good go but eventually school got in the way and I never went back to it.

It wasn’t until university that I really delved into how to write a novel. Bringing in work every week and having it looked at by my friends gave me the encouragement to continue with the novel after university. I am now at over 40,000 words. I thought I’d share with you what I have learned about the process of writing a novel, as someone who is working on their first and hopes to one day have it published, in order to help anyone in the same boat.

 

1. Other people will be writing more words a day than you, and that’s fine.

The most terrifying thing at university was having someone say “I wrote 10,000 words this week!”. Seeing someone tweet “I only wrote 1,500 words this evening :(” when you’re sat on 300 words that you struggled to push out can make you feel down. But it doesn’t have to.

There will be times where you will be staring blankly at a page, and there will be times where you’ll sit down for an hour and have 1,000 words appear effortlessly by the end of it. Every writer has their good and bad days. Someone who wrote 10,000 words may not even end up using half of it; though it may seem daunting when someone has written so much more than you, it’s important to remember quantity isn’t always quality.

People also have different schedules and work rates. Some may only have time to sit down for half an hour at the end of the day, and others might dedicate whole days to writing. One person can whack out 500 words in quarter of an hour and another could spend hours writing the same amount.

Don’t compare yourself to others, as no two writers are the same. Be proud of whatever amount you manage to write.

2. Sharing your writing with other writers is key.

If you’ve never shared your stories with anyone before, it can be scary. I remember bringing in my writing to my first workshop at university and I was a ball of nerves. However it became easier each time and it’s one of the best things that could have happened to my writing.

People are NOT going to rip into your work. As fellow writers, they will know how much your work means to you, but they will be honest. This honesty is exactly what you need to improve your writing. It’s not use someone saying “it’s really good.” That gives you nothing to work on. Instead, they will tell you what you did well and what could be improved. This way you are being complimented which boosts your confidence, and takes the sting off any criticism you receive, though it will be constructive. If someone focuses on slating your work without commenting on anything you’ve done well, this probably isn’t someone you should take your writing to! Believe me, I’ve had my fair share of those people.

That being said, you don’t have to apply every single suggestion that someone tells you. If someone doesn’t like the name of your character but no one else mentions it, it’s fine to keep it. It is your writing after all and people will have personal preferences. What isn’t right is to ignore every bit of criticism because it upsets you or you feel protective over your work. They are trying to help you. Imagine they are reading an actual copy of your book; you want it to be as good as it can be.

So yes, I’d highly recommend joining a writer’s workshop or having writers to email your work to. It has definitely helped me an undeniable amount with redrafting which leads me to my next point.

3. Nothing will be perfect first time.

I hardly ever used to redraft when I was younger. I was writing the story I wanted to write, the plot was moving forward, so why should I change it? The answer is because it’s not going to be perfect and very unlikely to be anywhere near publishable!

You may finish a page of writing and be pleased with it, so pleased that you don’t think anything needs to be changed. I’m telling you in the nicest way possible that you will most likely be wrong. This is why having someone look at it is so crucial; they will see things from a reader’s perspective, and will point out things that you would never have thought of. I’m not saying you can’t have a good piece of writing, but you’ll be surprised that people will still have suggestions for you no matter how good it is.

Of course, you can’t just rely on other people. You know your story better than anyone else. Try to think of these things when looking at your own work; does this sentence move the story along? If not, should it be cut? Is this piece of dialogue realistic or true to the character? Do the paragraphs flow well? Is the message you want coming across? Is there anything that contradicts your plot? I could go on for ages, but these are just some of the things you can think about when redrafting. Obviously you need to look out for spelling and grammar too, which is what letting someone else look at your work is particularly good for. You will definitely overlook something even if it’s just a typo.

You are not going to have a perfect first draft. I’m still on my first draft and I know that I will have to redraft numerous times before I even think about sending it to an agent. Parts of my story have been redrafted four times already without even finishing the full manuscript. Accepting that you are going to have to redraft multiple times will make doing it a little bit easier, though it is going to be hard to get rid of things. I know I sometimes cling on to parts that I love, but most of of the time it’s for the best. Just know that redrafting is taking your book to the standard you want it to be.

4. Planning and research is helpful, even if you don’t do a lot.

I know people who have thousands of pages worth of planning and research, and I sometimes wish I could be more like them as it’s so satisfying to look at. I’m someone who does minimal planning as I like to do it as I write. Not everyone is the same.

However I have found it is really useful to sit down and write all the plot points from beginning to end of your story. This way you are not writing with no idea of where it’s going. This was the mistake I used to make which lead to unfinished work. You don’t have to stick to it and can add things in, but it gives you a guideline to follow. It is also good for when you have to do a synopsis for your novel, which many agents will ask for.

Another planning technique I found helpful when I was stuck was looking at the relation between the scene and your character. What does your character want in the scene, why do they want it and what are they going to do to achieve it? This will help you develop your character while also giving you an idea of what you want your scene to be like. It’s a good way to overcome writer’s block and get ideas flowing.

Research is also ideal even if you’re writing fantasy or sci-fi. You need things to be believable even if it’s a made up technology. For example, my story involves wolves. I’ve had to research the correct terms for their body parts, how they display their emotions, even the length of their pregnancy. Though the wolves in my story aren’t ordinary wolves and are a species I’ve created, I still wanted them to be realistic. You don’t want someone pointing out how something doesn’t work or being drawn away from the book because it doesn’t make sense. I’ve had to research winter plants to make sure the plants I have in my snow habitat actually do grow in winter. However, I would say as long as you can justify it in the laws of your world, it doesn’t matter if you have flying dolphins or a talking tree, just make sure it it consistent for your story.

 

 

So there you have it, these are the top 4 things I’ve discovered in the process of working on my novel, and I would have loved to have been told them before I’d started. This is why I hope it helps you! There are probably other things that I have missed so you’re welcome to discuss in the comments. I wish you every success in your writing!

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2019

I hope everyone had a lovely New Year’s Eve! As an introvert who isn’t keen on big celebrations I spent it alongside my boyfriend playing on my Switch, eating pizza and watching Bandersnatch.

I thought I’d take some time to look back on 2018 and think about what I want out of 2019.

For me, 2018 was a strange one. There were many good things that happened this year. I graduated with my creative writing degree, which helped me develop the novel I am continuing to write today. I went on some great holidays in the UK with my family, and also went abroad with my friends. I moved in with my boyfriend of over seven years and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

However, it has also been one of the most difficult years. Some health problems have put me down tremendously, making the dive into the adult world much more stressful. I’ve struggled through every day life in a way that I’ve never experienced before. I’ve felt lost without having an obligation to go to school or university. Job hunting has been hard.

But I don’t want to focus on the negative. Though I’ll happily say goodbye to 2018, there were amazing times too, and I want to carry this attitude into 2019. I’m starting a job as a a catalogue distributor soon which will be good to earn some money and experience, as well as being flexible for me. I’m going to delve into freelance writing too, as making money doing something you love is everyone’s dream. I have a lovely home with someone who is always there for me. I’ve joined back with the writing community on Twitter and it gives me so much more encouragement to write.

In 2019, I’m hoping to overcome my problems so that I can live life normally again and go back to my old self. I plan to finish the manuscript for my novel, and continue writing consistently on this blog. I want to write for a living.

I’d love to hear your plans for 2019 and I hope you’ve had a great start to your year!

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Red Dead Redemption 2 – Spoiler Free Review

On Monday night, I sat watching the Red Dead Redemption 2 end credits, my chest heavy with melancholy. My new favourite game had just come to end after over a month of playing, and I didn’t feel ready to let go.

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When I was 14, I played Red Dead Redemption on my Xbox 360. It was the first story game I had ever played, the first game to make me cry. I was completely immersed in the world of being a cowboy and felt so emotionally attached to the protagonist, John Marston. It kick started my love for single player story games, which are still my favourite type of game. It gave me such high expectations for the second game that I was honestly a little nervous. How could I love a game as much as the first?

Oh, was I wrong.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is set before the first game, where you play as Arthur Morgan, a member of Dutch Van der Linde’s gang. We know Dutch and other members including John Marston from the first game, but Arthur is a completely new character to us. From the trailer, Arthur seemed like a pretty average character. Nothing really stood out to me. There was no way he was going to top John as my favourite video game character. I was wrong about that too.

Arthur Morgan is a conflicted man, torn between doing what he has to do to survive and doing what’s right.  There is such a clear character development, particularly in the second half of the story without giving anything away, that I wish all games did it as well as this game does. He is not necessarily a good or evil character. You’re in control of what man he becomes, making decisions which have low honour and high honour.  As someone who feels tremendous guilt being ‘evil’ in games, my Arthur spared lives and gave to charity.

You don’t only follow his story, but you become him and choose his actions, making the game that much more immersive. The journal feature definitely helps with this, where you see Arthur’s thoughts with each event that happens and his sketches. This something that I think RDR lacked; even though I thought it was never possible I could like Arthur more than John, you get to see what’s going on in Arthur’s head so much more that it’s impossible not to be attached to him. He is humanised, and he feels like a close friend.

This isn’t the only way the game draws you in. The way the world and its NPCs behave are unlike any other game I’ve played. Help someone out on the side of the road by giving them medicine? You’ll meet them a couple of weeks later and they’ll remember you, offering to buy you something for saving their life. Kill someone’s husband? Go back to their house and you’ll see them grieving over a grave. I even once had my horse killed and when I came back it was decomposing. I came by another couple of days later and it was a skeleton. Your actions have consequences just like the real world. NPCs aren’t just people to fill villages and corpses don’t just materialise. The world has a memory. With the game being as realistic as this, it is easy to get lost.

However being lost in this world is a joy when you have scenes like these, which I have taken using the camera feature in the game:

 

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I never fail to stop and take a photo when I witness a sunset in-game. The lightning and attention to detail is beautiful. And this is from a normal Xbox One. Though after seeing the graphics that an Xbox One X can produce I am jealous and would recommend playing the game on that if you are really into optimal graphics. Sometimes the trees and bushes look blurry on my Xbox One, but it doesn’t take much away from how breathtaking the scenery is.

So Rockstar nailed the world and its protagonist, but what about the narrative? Well, that didn’t fall short either. It immediately hooks you in knowing that the gang are in trouble, and keeps you there with its plot twists and colourful cast of characters. I felt as if I knew all the characters so well because of how you can interact with each one of them, which keeps you invested in the story. This is where I have to shout out the motion capture actors, who did a superb job of bringing the characters to life.

I’ve heard complaints of the story being slow paced, but I thought this was in no way a bad thing. For me, it meant that I could spend time exploring the world and then do a story mission when I felt like, instead of rushing through the game. You could take things in more rather than be bombarded with chase scenes and shoot outs, to be truly immersed. Also, any story that can make me solidly bawl my eyes out for half an hour has to be good.

I’d definitely compare it to a film in regards to the entertainment value and the emotional connection it makes you have; with sixty plus hours of gameplay I’d even say it’s better than a film. Only a game can give you that level of interaction alongside intense cut scenes. I’ve never felt more attached to a story and eager to find out what happens next.

I know I’m biased due to my love for this series, but the only negative I can pick up on is some of the controls. The button to get on your horse is the same button to attack someone, so I’ve lost count of the times I’ve tried to mount my horse and rugby-tackled a poor old woman to the ground. Not to mention spamming B which is what I thought was to back out but then repeatedly punching her…though I understand there’s only so many buttons that can be bound to certain actions.

Red Dead Redemption 2 really did exceed my expectations and was definitely worth the seven year wait, so I’ll happily give it five stars. I applaud the hard work that went into it which has led us into a revolutionary new age of gaming, and I’m excited for the future. Whoever said single player games are dead are severely, severely wrong.

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I Promise I’m Here to Stay!

Sigh. So it happened once again. I vowed to write on my blog, wrote one review, then completely forgot to ever return. Well, this time I’m sticking around.

A lot has happened since I last wrote here, so I thought I’d give a little update. I graduated this summer with a 2:1 in Creative Writing which I’m really proud of. After a lot of stress my boyfriend of seven years and I finally got our own place for the first time in September, and I’ve loved every minute of it. While he is working on becoming a Maths teacher, I am working on a fantasy novel which I started writing at university.

The main reason I’m returning to this blog is to carry on my passion for writing outside of my novel and fiction writing. I would love to get into freelance writing so I thought what better way to showcase my work than to continue with my blog?

I’m going to really push myself to post regularly, even if it’s about something small that happened in my day. If I don’t, I give you permission to bombard me with messages to kick me into shape!

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Turtles All The Way Down by John Green – Book Review!

The last John Green book I read, if I remember correctly, must have been Paper Towns and I read this a good four or five years ago (God, that makes me feel old). I follow John Green on Twitter so when I heard he was releasing a new book, I knew I’d have to read it after enjoying his past novels. Now, I knew absolutely nothing about this book when I added it to my Christmas list. The only thing I knew was the title, which completely baffled me; surely this book wasn’t going to be about turtles, and what does it mean by ‘all the way down’?

28417943_1595584853868559_427922653_oNevertheless, I had it on my Christmas list anyway, and when I received it Christmas Day and read the blurb, I was immediately intrigued. I then ended up reading about half of it in a couple of hours, then the other half the next day in another few hours.

Turtles All The Way Down follows sixteen year old Aza, who becomes involved in investigating the disappearance of a billionaire after her best friend Daisy longs for the $100,000 reward. Together they visit his home to find the answers to their questions in the form of the billionaire’s son, Davis, a childhood friend of Aza’s.  But as well as dealing with the case and her feelings for Davis, Aza is trapped in a spiral of intrusive thoughts which constrain her every day life.

I was quite surprised about the crime element of the book when I read the blurb, as it didn’t seem like something John Green would write about. But the teenage life, friendship and love that I know him best for is still very prominent in this book. I would say it even overshadows the crime, though this is not a criticism, it was just unexpected. John Green has always perfectly captured the life of a teenager well, exploring the struggles of Aza and Daisy’s friendship, who are quite different people, as well as the pressures of school.

But what made Aza stand out more than any other character John Green has created is her intrusive thoughts and constant anxiety. It is something she can’t help, and so naturally comes through in the story. I felt uncomfortable reading about her description of all the bacteria in your stomach, or the germs in your mouth when you kiss someone. But that’s exactly how you are meant to feel, because that’s how Aza feels too. This was very well done I thought, because you really got into the mindset of someone who has intrusive thoughts so you could understand how it feels. I liked as well how this wasn’t something for Aza to get over; she wasn’t magically cured by the end of the book, it didn’t take a boy to “make her better”. Instead, realistically, we see how she attends therapy and although it does improve slightly, it hasn’t disappeared at the end of the story.

Talking about the end of the book, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt. I think this is just a personal thing that I have with books, but I hate left feeling like there’s more because I feel so unfulfilled after spending so much time with the characters. This is how I felt at the end of Turtles All The Way Down. I do understand why it had to end the way it did, but it left me grasping for more, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing! It just all came to an end too soon for me, and I would have liked for there to be a bit more after they find out what happened to Davis’ father. I felt like as this was a main plot point, for it to end so suddenly was a little anti-climatic.

Overall, I really loved Aza as a character; I think we all somewhat struggle with anxiety, though not quite to the extent that she suffers, so it was easy to sympathize and relate with her. It had a different vibe to all the other John Green books I have read, but it was still undeniably his writing, which I thoroughly enjoyed!

I’m going to give ‘Turtles All The Way Down’ five stars, as there really wasn’t much to fault, and let’s hope John Green doesn’t take as long with the next book! 😉

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I Have Neglected This Blog…

I’m embarrassed to see that I only ever made two posts on this blog and that was scarily long ago!

However, I made it my New Year’s Resolution to go back to this blog. And this time, I am vowing to update it regularly! It’s going to be a really useful way to practice my writing, as well as expressing any of my thoughts which I tend to keep bundled up inside my head. I will mainly be posting reviews and anything else I deem interesting enough in my life to post about!

So stay tuned for a book review that I will be posting very soon…