Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Review: Split Second

Bound together by the devastating consequences of a terrorist attack on a London market, teenagers Charlotte (Charlie) and Nat appear at first to have much in common. But, as Charlie gets closer to Nat and his family, she begins to wonder if perhaps he knows more about the attack than he has let on.

Author: Sophie McKenzie
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Date of Publication: September 2013
Pages: 368
Source: Borrowed from library
Goodreads | Amazon

I buddy read this with Georgia, and there are so many words to describe this book; powerful, heart-breaking, thought-provoking. A beautiful thriller with an added romance. I was hooked from the fast-paced prologue that introduced characters and was full of action.

I loved the characters. Charlie, though she annoyed me to begin with, was misunderstood by her family (and me, for a while!) and as she developed she became a beautiful character I could definitely relate to. And Nat... Nat had flaws, but they made him all the more flawless. His honour and his jealously that he had of his brother merged together and had many effects in his character.

There was so much empathy I could feel for the characters. McKenzie develops both them and the plot so well that it can't stop your heart from melting at points but beat at a mile a minute at others. Racism and war were also represented so accurately it made everything in me hurt.

"The girl and her mother. The blood and 
the smell of fear in the air...."

"Maybe the question I should really be asking was: 
when there were established political parties to act through... 
what was I doing in the middle of nowhere?"

Throughout buddy reading this with Georgia, we had some interesting, shall we say, conversations, debates, live-tweet sessions and freak-outs! The book kept me up at night trying to figure out the mystery, and it has to be said, our ideas where extremely wrong! As you can tell from these messages, it has been extremely hard to keep this review from becoming a big mess of frustrations, emotions and capital letters! I've tried extremely hard to stay professional...

Left to right: Random bits of discussion; wanting the sequel now; so much emotion!





Overall, this is a heart-stopping book with a beautiful romance, unforeseeable mystery and amazing plot. The sequel needs to come sooner because we need to know what happens next, especially with that ending!

I think anyone who loves a thriller with a bit of romance will love this book.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Discussion: Commenting Politics











Today I'm going to talk about "commenting politics". 

This topic came to mind, when, all over Twitter, I see this:

And, I mean, it doesn't annoy me that much. I do it myself; I don't care about the numbers, but I sometimes do commenting back or commenting swaps. Sometimes people say they're on a comment spree and to link them up, so I do. Why not?

But.

Why is there so much politics to do with it? 

Why, to get comments on our own posts, do we have to comment on tons and tons of others' posts, with a slim chance of getting one back?

The people who get the most comments (excluding amazingly awesome blogs, but in some cases still) are often ones who leave tiny comments on a person's blog, and because they always comment back or feel obliged, they get lots of comments.

why? 

Why don't we all just comment when we love a post if we have the time? Why read it, love it, and skip over it? Time is a whole other matter, but generally, some people only comment because they feel they have to.

And it makes me sad that people get upset when they don't get any comments. I guess I see why, but I feel like they shouldn't be sad because of it...

What's your stance on comments, when do you comment?

Does time prevent you from commenting?

Do you get no comments if you don't regularly comment, or lots of comments if you do? 

Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

6th Month Blogoversary and Giveaway!!! (UK/ROI)








WELL. SIX MONTHS. Six whole months. WOW. 

Created on a total whim, TAW was created on the 25th July 2013. As some of you who have been with me since the very very start, June 2012, I lost my enthusiasm for Life Through Rose-Tinted SunGlasses, my general blog that had no direction. And so, even though I always hated writing reviews, I created a book blog.

I've had a passion for reading since I was two years old. I've wondered for ages now, as to why I didn't start a book blog right back at the beginning.

So now I'm going to say thank you to those bloggers who have helped this blog, whether they've been here for me since the beginning of time TAW, or since right back in RTSG. And, I'm very sorry to my 2 Zoe's... But yes, it is in alphabetical order...

Amber: Amber is the best. An awesome, fangirly, pringly, vloggy unicorn who is my Twitter Aunt, and is also my book blogging idol. And she loves Lorde and got me into more of her music! She's just the best, and I love her so much for that! She also made me start City of Bones <3

Arianne: Arianne is the loveliest!!! As a freelance blogger, I love seeing her reviews and guest posts around the blogosphere, her writing is beautiful and she's just so lovely on Twitter <3

Crystal: I met Crystal on Twitter (does anyone see a theme yet?!) when I was about to post my interview with Erin Albert. Quirky and fun, Crystal is awesome!

Debbie: Debbie, Debbie, Debbie. As someone who needs to go to the BBA (Book Buying Anonymous), and has made me into just as much of a book-buying-aholic (just less regularly, of course, with less money and freedom), she's awesome. She sent me two books I'd wanted to read for ages for Christmas, and she's just all-roundly lovely! (and before you ask- yes, met her on Twitter...)

Fionnuala: Fi!!!!!! <3 Also met on Twitter (I'm beginning to facepalm now...), Fi is my Epic Recs partner and she sent me The Book Thief! Her blog is so pretty and she's all-roundly awesome!

Georgia: Georgia (Twitter, again...) is amazing!! Her blog is amazing and I love talking to her!!

Hawwa: Hawwa. What can we say about Hawwa?? Well, I met her on Twitter, but it turned out that I actually didn't- she used to comment on RTSG with her old blog! She's another fangirly unicorn, and she's awesome. I'm also totally jealous of her beautiful blog!

Holly: I didn't technically meet Holly on Twitter; she signed up for SRS <3 Holly is lovely and her blog deserves to be more recognised! Hol is embracing life like it should be, and I love her for that :)

Jack: Jack, Jack, Jack. As the only male on this list, he deserves a medal; he puts up with us lot, especially the Jamber (Jack and Amber, if you don't know) teasing! But no, seriously, when I met Jack (on Twitter...), I knew he was made of awesome! His blog is amazingggg, and I've debated many things, both bookish and non-bookish, with Jack, and he's very insightful! He's just amazing!

Kaitlin: Kaitlin is lovely! I met her on Twitter (shocker!) for #reviewparty and I just love talking to her.

Rita:Ritaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! Rita is, like, the QUEEN of the Book Boyfriends. I love her blog and especially the Bring Out The Book Boyfriend's post... Most of which I feature quotes on :D she's amazing!

Ruby: Ruby's blog is PHENOMENAL. I'm so jealous of her graphics and design skills IT HURTS. Ruby was one of the ones on this list I've known since the beginning, way back in 2012, so she's epic in every way.

Sophie: Sophie is another I've known since way back, and I adore her blog. She's lovely and I adore her The World From YA Eyes discussions. I honestly don't know what else to say but the fact that she's just made of loveliness <3

Sunny: Sunny!! Sunny is awesome and I've bought quite a few books recently on her recommendations. Another who I've known since RTSG, Sunny is amazing <3

Zoe B: Zoeeeeee <3 Zoe is an amazing singer and I love her Stuck For A Book feature, which I have participated in.

Zoe C: Other Zoeeee!! We share our OTP of Scorose and fandoms in general. <3

 ALSO: massive thank you's and squishy hugs to Amy, Kate, Lucy, Orli, Sabrina and Octavia!

PHEW! If you read all that, wow. If you didn't. Meh.

GIVEAWAY!

This isn't a very big giveaway, but I thought I'd do one for all you guys. SO:
  • There will be one winner who will have their choice of the books listed
  • If there are over 200 entries, there will be 2 winners. The 2nd winner picked will get 2nd pick of a book. If their choice is the same as the 1st winner, I will contact them asking for a second choice.
  •  You must be 12 years or older 
    • TAW takes no responsibility for lost or damaged prizes on arrival
    • Winner/s will be chosen at random
    • Winner/s will be contacted within 48 hours of the giveaway ending. They then have a further 48 hours to respond before the giveaway will be redrawn.
    • Personal information will not be shared
    • I am at perfect right to change the prizes if this is needed. 
    • This giveaway is open to the United Kingdom and Ireland.
    • This giveaway ends on February 3rd 2014

    Now I have the boring stuff out of the way... The books! 

     Your choice from... 
  • Entangled by Cat Clarke
  • Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
  • Kiss by Jacqueline Wilson
  • Jasmine Skies (Artichoke Hearts #2) by  Sita Brahmachari 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, and thank you for an amazing 6 months!

Charli x

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review: Defy The Stars

After months apart, everyone thinks that River is successfully building a future without Flynn. Indeed, she has almost convinced herself that she is moving on. And then, one day, Flynn is back, bringing with him tales of his glamorous new life. River suspects his lucrative new work involves some form of criminal activity, but will she let herself be drawn back into Flynn's world? Or is this, finally, the end of the line for them both?

Author: Sophie McKenzie
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Date of Publication: 2nd January 2013
Pages: 304
Source: Bought
Goodreads | Amazon

If you know me, you will know how much I love Sophie McKenzie, and how long I have anticipated this! So, when I finally got my hands on it, it's safe to say I fangirled... A lot.

As the series finale, Defy The Stars did not disappoint. It was full of romance, of hope, but had more mystery and more action than the other books. Just like way back when we met Flynn, the description of the romance was absolutely flawless. The emotions were clear-cut and made my empathy all the better.

As I previously mentioned, there was a lot more action in this book compared to the other books. I thought this worked really well as it wasn't, in the most part, set in school like the other books. It was quite dark, however, which linked in with Flynn's history and difficulties.

Because I was so eager for this one, I devoured it in under two hours, and I forgot to mark down any quotes. But I managed to find one of my favourite quotes, an absolutely beautiful one (it sounds like a spoiler, but it's not, so don't worry!!):

"There was no alternative future except one in 
which I was without him entirely. And that was not a 
future I could accept." 

It's been really hard to for this review not to be a mess, mainly because of the ending. Heart-breaking is the only word I can find to describe it; I was speechless (which really doesn't occur very often...) Remember how I don't cry at books? At all? Well, I didn't, except maybe a bit. 

A phenomenal, tear-jerking finale to one of my favourite series that has stayed with me for two years... I can't fault this beautiful book. 

Charli x

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Discussion: How Much Time Do YOU Spend Blogging?











SO. The other day, and there have been many other times besides, I was asked "Why do you run this little thing? You don't make any money," (which is for another discussion, hold your rants) "How long do you spend on it, anyway? 5, 10 minutes?". My jaw almost literally dropped. 

As book bloggers, and I'm sure any other type of blogger does too, we (or, for the most part of us) take huge pride in our blogs and spend hours on them! We don't plagiarise others (that's also another discussion to be had- hold your horses), and we come up with original content.

This little graphic I made (ah, see, I'm sticking to my resolution) shows just some of the stuff we do. We have to do so much!

Reviews, posts can take up to an hour.
Marketing, emailing and writing interview questions is sometime we have to do daily, to build a readership.
HTML takes time to learn and put together (or find, if you only need a bit of it and it's not plagaurisim because you are allowed to use it!).
The reading takes as long as it needs to... We can't write reviews without the reading, can we not?

I think, including the reading, I spend up to a day (24 hours) in total every week on my blog. And I have school, homework, clubs. Some bloggers spend longer than that!

Now, obviously, this is all out of choice. I'm not ranting about how long I have to spend on my blog, I do it because I want to, don't get me wrong.

BUT, I get a tad annoyed when people say something like that. I mean, yes, they probably won't know quite the extent of it, but 10 minutes? Really? 

How long do you spend on your blog?

Do you ever have to forfeit blogging, reading or something else at any point?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cover Reveal: Sworn to Secrecy and #Giveaway (INT!)

Cover Reveal: Sworn To Secrecy by Terah Edun + #Giveaway (International)

On Sale on Amazon, iTunes & Barnes & Noble February 28, 2014
Sworn To Secrecy by Terah Edun (Book 4)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Coming Of Age
Summary:
In the heart of the Imperial Courts, Ciardis Weathervane knows that death is coming for the empire. With her friends by her side and the new triad of Weathervanes, she's in a race against time to convince the courts of the same.
She must do her best to unite kith, mages, nobles and merchants under one cause - the fight to prevent a war. Soon she is forced to keep a secret that could exonerate her mother of the Empress's death, and is always one move away from stepping into diplomatic chaos. Throw in a Daemoni Prince who is showing interest in the youngest Weathervane, a jealous Prince Heir, and a irritated dragon with her own designs on Ciardis, and you have an Imperial Court in turmoil. This fourth novel continues the story of Ciardis Weathervane from Sworn To Conflict.
Connect With Terah: Author Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Series Order Links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iBookstore

Google Play

Kobo

Excerpt of Chapter One:
There were few things in the world that mystified Ciardis Weathervane more than the Imperial Courts of Sandrin. An intricate and multi-layered triad of courts with the Imperial family at the top, the landed nobles squarely in the middle and the wealthy ton comprising of the merchants, the artists and the mages at the bottom. If you could call it a bottom. Because nobles could be mages, Imperial family members had independent wealth and all of them played their games in pursuit of their own desires. Fidelity, honor and duty to the land wasn’t what drove these courtiers. Pride of place and greed for more took prominence above all. So landing back at Court on the arms of the woman that most everyone wanted dead and a man accused of aiding a serial killer wasn’t her best idea yet.
-----

International Giveaway!

Terah is giving away 1 ebook copy of any book in the Courtlight series to five winners. CLICK HERE to enter! Good Luck!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

BLOG TOUR: Cyberstalker Excerpt and Giveaway

 

Today I am hosting on the Cyberstalker blog tour, by Jens Hildebrand!


"I love you."
Lilly's heart misses a beat when these words appear on her screen. Okay, she'd love to have a boyfriend, and when Ian sends her a friendship request, she eagerly accepts. He just looks so gorgeous in the pictures. But when she's about to meet him in person, things take a dramatic turn. Who is Ian really? And how far will he go to get what he wants?

3 Rules Against Cyberstalking:

1. Don't accept friendship requests from people you've never met.
2. Don't look at their photos.
3. Don't fall in love. 

Excerpt


I wake up. Everything is dark; it’s deep into the night. Shadows are flickering on the ceiling in the pale streetlight. There’s a gap between the top of the curtains and the window where the curtain rail has been attached too low. Dad’s always meaning to fix it but has never got round to it.
I look at the clock. 03:47.
The curtains move. Someone must have opened the window, probably my mum after I went to sleep. Outside a few crickets chirp. Otherwise it’s silent.
I watch the shadows on the ceiling. I can hear the wind whispering outside. The shadows repeatedly merge and then separate, making figures that sway to and fro.
A large shadow flashes across them.
My pulse hammers in my throat. What was that? Even if I wanted to scream, I wouldn’t be able to.
Something scratches at my window.
Someone.
IAN?
I force myself to turn my head in the direction of the curtains, which are blowing in the wind again.
Nothing there.
My legs feel like someone’s poured ice into my veins. Even so, I manage to push away the bedclothes and stand up. Slowly, very shakily, I creep towards the window. The curtains are overlapping each other so there’s no space between them, which is good. He won’t be able to see me. If it is him.
And if it’s him, he really must be crazy. If one of our neighbours sees him, they’ll call the police straight away. And if my dad discovers him, he’ll go get his big wrench. Ian is taking a huge risk.
Just for me.
He really must be mad.
And have some serious nerve.
I carry on padding towards the window and stub my toe hard on my desk. It makes a horrible cracking noise and I squeal with pain.
Outside something scrapes on the wall and slides to the floor.
My heart’s beating like lightning.
It really was him. And he’s doing a runner.
I hobble over to the window, though my toe must be broken. I tear the curtains to one side, pull the lever down and open the window. The cold night air hits me. I bend forward and almost expect someone to grab my hand and pull me outside, into the darkness, or a massive shadow to soar over me and into my room.
But the only thing that touches me is the wind, icy on my skin. The front garden looks strange in the twilight, like a tangle of black marks and shadows, all in a bluey grey light. Ghostly fog is creeping between the bushes and up the drive. The hedge next to the garage shudders, branches snap somewhere. I’m covered in goose bumps. Despite everything, I stay still, dressed only in my pyjamas by the open window where everyone can see me, but there’s no one there.
Except Ian. Or whatever he’s really called.
Somewhere down there he’s hiding, in the bushes or behind the hedge, I can feel it. And he can see me. From out of the darkness, he can see me standing here in the cold light of the streetlamp. Like a rabbit in the headlights.
I could wake my parents. I don’t know if my dad would actually go to get his big wrench, but he’d definitely have a look outside. Then Ian would realise that there’s someone looking after me here. But I don’t want to wake them. It would turn into a huge thing and we all have to get up early tomorrow. And what would I say to them anyway? That something scratched on my window and I think the bogeyman’s sitting in the bush. They’d think I was acting like a four year old. And take away my TV.
Finally, after who knows how long of standing there, I close the window, pull the curtains shut and creep back to bed. I curl up into a ball, but I’m too cold from standing at the window for so long to be able to sleep, and my toe is throbbing with pain. I can’t hear any more noises from the window. Maybe the shadow has come back, very very quietly, but I don’t know. I’ve turned to face the wall and have my eyes tight shut.
Maybe I’ll be safe if I sleep.

WATCH THE TRAILER | READ THE 1ST CHAPTER | AUTHOR SITE | FACEBOOK 

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

 I’ve always read a lot and started writing when I was ten. Reading and writing have always helped me in my life, and I need both the same way that I need air to breathe. During my time at school I wrote a Sherlock Holmes novel, one horror and two adventure novels, and lots of short stories. My inspirations were Jules Verne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen King and Ray Bradbury – quite a weird mixture, I know.
 

My great mentor was my granddad, who was hilariously funny and inspiring. He read all my stuff and was happy for me, and he also found out that in the early 19th century one of our ancestors, Wilhelm Zahn, produced amazing books about the ancient murals in Pompeii and was friends with Goethe. This provided even more inspiration, as did all those late-night films I watched when I was home alone: mostly old B-monster-movies by Jack Arnold (“Tarantula”, “Creature from the Black Lagoon”), “The Thing from Another World”, and John Carpenter’s “The Fog”.
Our old house always creaked and cracked, and that didn’t help. Well, it sure got my imagination going…
 

Later, while studying at uni I started producing computer software, for example the first language learning software on CD, and guidebooks for teachers about the new media, like the first didactical treatment of teaching film analysis.
 

On my way to school one morning I came up with the idea for “Granny Gertrude”, which then led to the stories about Tom and “TEAM 002″. I’ve always been a great fan of James Bond, and it’s kind of funny that there even is a Bond story titled “The Hildebrand-Rarity”, which was used as a source for the Bond film “Licence to kill” (1989). So it’s only logical for Tom, the hero of my secret agent thrillers, to admire James Bond. The idea for “Cyberstalker” came about during my work as leader of our team for crisis intervention. It’s more grounded in reality than you would like to know.
 

I love England, first and foremost our English friends and Dartmoor, where Sherlock Holmes chased the “Hound of the  Baskervilles”. The small village of Postbridge has become our second home, and we love exploring the area and sitting round the fireplace, chatting with friends.

At our school, I currently hold the post of Deputy Headmaster. I also coordinate our crisis & counseling team. We endeavour to help our pupils, mostly to make them resilient against bullying, cyberbullying, cyberstalking etc. What’s most important job is creating a good atmosphere at school. We also work within a great network of partners such as other schools and counseling centres.


 GIVEAWAY! This is a really amazing giveaway for a SIGNED, AUTHENTICATED SCRIPT OF HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILSOPHER'S STONE!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Big thanks to Jen and to Fiction Addiction Blog Tours! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

World Book Day: Writes of Passage!

Today, I'm going to talk about Writes of Passage, a Teen/YA vote for books that have become a part of us. 

I love the pun in the name of this!! It's such a unique name!

So... What is it and how do YOU vote?

The vote finishes on FRIDAY 17TH JANUARY. So make sure to do it before then. 

So you go here first...











And you press "I am a teen" (or, you know, if you're an adult, "I am an adult". But for this post, I'm following the teen route) and you should get here...







And then there are various categories to select from, such as "Make you laugh", "Teach you about love", "Thrill you" etc.

I've voted for about 6 books in total including The Fault in Our Stars, Girl Missing, Divergent, The Hunger Games, Noughts and Crosses and Gone.

To show you how, I'm going to nominate another book!


So you select which category you're nominating that book for, then the name of the book and author. You can nominate as many as you like by clicking "add another book" before pressing "finish".

Then you should come to another screen (it has the same URL though, don't panic!)

Then you put in your basic details.






And THEN, you can enter your email (if you want to) to WIN THE TOP 50 NOMINATED BOOKS! YES, 50 BOOKS!

This should  be the final screen you come to, and you're done!





So, how easy is that?! So go and nominate your most favourite books before FRIDAY, and have the chance to win FIFTY books!

Charli

*This post was NOT sponsored in any way, I was sent a press release and have taken own initiative.

Review: Looking For Alaska

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

Author: John Green
Publisher: HarperCollins
Date of Publication: July 2006
Pages: 268
Source: Borrowed from library
Goodreads | Amazon

Looking For Alaska. What was my first thought? Ooh, it must be about going to Alaska. No, it isn't... And now we've cleared that up; Looking For Alaska is a poignant, beautiful story about a boy, Miles, who goes off to a boarding school and experiences a lot of things that he definitely wouldn't beforehand! Alaska and Chip take him on a journey that he'll never forget.

From the descriptive introduction to the thought-provoking finish, I was enthralled. Green has faultlessly developed his characters and the relationships in the book; the introduction begins to show Miles' personality and it continues to evolve throughout the book. For the entirety of the book, there is description of Miles himself, the other characters and all his surroundings. Also, there are lots of hidden emotions, and we can see that through tricks such as when Miles uses irony to hide his sadness.



I absolutely adored Chip, not in a book-boyfriend fashion, but he is the perfect secondary character! He definitely needs his very own spin-off book; he's humorous, interesting and he doesn't care what others think!  Alaska was very much like this too, but still almost bipolar to Chip as a character.

There are lots of tricks in this book that intrigue us. The introduction of Alaska is when Chip is talking to Miles about her; she isn't there and we only see her as Chip sees her, which is really interesting to read.

Two quotes I loved were...

" '...I call us the Culver Creek nothings.'
...I didn't quite understand the point of watching 
your terrible team get walloped..."

I thought this one showed how Miles and Chip got along, especially at the beginning where Miles is learning about Culver Creek. 

" 'It's the eternal struggle, Pudge. The Good versus the Naughty.' "

This is a softer quote by Chip. I thought this one was absolutely beautiful and perfectly reflected the book.

Looking For Alaska is a touching book with a funny air but is a real tear-jerker by the end... I wasn't sure whether to rate this at 4.5/5 or 5/5, because although I absolutely loved it, I felt like something was missing. But, ultimately, I'm going to rate it... 

 
Charli x

Monday, January 13, 2014

Review: The Moment Before

“Don’t get me wrong. I loved my sister. I never, not once, wished her dead.”

Brady and Sabine Wilson are sisters born eleven months apart, but they couldn’t be more different. Popular Sabine, the head cheerleader dating the high school hunk, seems to have all the luck, while her younger, artsy sister "Brady Brooder" is a loner who prefers the sidelines to the limelight.

After Sabine dies in a horrific cheerleading accident, grief unravels Brady and her family. Once recognized for her artistic talent, 17-year-old Brady finds herself questioning the value of everything she once held dear. Her best friend betrays her. Her parents’ marriage is crumbling. And the boy everyone blames for the accident seems to be her only ally in the search for answers in the wake of her sister’s death. As an unlikely friendship emerges, Brady learns more about Sabine – and love – than she bargained for.

Author: Suzy Vitello
Publisher: Diversion Books
Date of Publication: 14th January 2014
Pages: 214
Source: eARC via Netgalley
Goodreads | Amazon

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley via Diversion Books in exchange for a honest review. This does not affect my review/opinions in any way. 

The Moment Before is a beautiful coming-of-age story with a unique image of teenage years. It starts with a seemingly random description of a car sitting and rusting in a driveway, and I was enthralled just from this. There's mystery, a romance, but isn't the typical book.

Some of the book was a little close to home to me, as my best friend died when I was 10, so I can't really comment on my mixed emotions throughout the book, but it's safe to say that I loved it any less. If anything, it made me connect to the protagonist, Brady, even more.

The romance of the book was beautiful, particularly because it wasn't a typical romance. It wasn't cliche, but it was expected- but then, this worked. Connor wasn't your normal love interest in a book, but with the setting and mood for the book it worked really well and I wanted them together since he was first introduced.

Although most of the speech was as normal (speech marked), some bits of speech was scripted, like a play, and showed where Brady didn't care or hadn't been listening. I thought this was a good show of character and helped us get an understanding of her.

"Dad: When you don't answer us, we feel left out.
Mom: Blah, blah, I feel, blah, blah, blahblahblah"

When I said we get an understanding of Brady, I meant that she is a complicated character; she has lots of issues going on and a lot of confusion. However, she wasn't hard to become familiar with, and by the end, we understand her fully.
The Moment Before shows fully what death does to people, which is something that doesn't commonly come across in books. So many issues are addressed in this,but it wasn't overwhelming. 

This book was an unique twist of a coming-of-age story that I could really connect with, and I loved that. This book contains adult themes so I would recommend it only to those who can deal with that. 

Charli x

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Author Spotlight: Jamie Baywood

I'm very excited to be hosting the lovely Jamie Baywood today!

Jamie Baywood grew up in Petaluma, California. In 2010, she made the most impulsive decision of her life by moving to New Zealand. Getting Rooted in New Zealand is her first book about her experiences living there. Jamie is now married and living happily ever after in the United Kingdom. She is working on her second book. 

Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon
Get "Getting Rooted in New Zealand on Amazon in ebook or paperback here

Hi Jamie! *Hands a plate of biscuits* Welcome to To Another World! Can you tell me and my readers a little about you and your book, Getting Rooted in New Zealand? 

I moved to New Zealand because I read in a tour book that New Zealand’s population has 100,000 fewer men than women. I thought it would be the perfect place for me to escape the crazy dating scene in California. Although I intended to have a solo adventure I ended up meeting my husband a Scottish man in New Zealand. For the past three years, I’ve been disassembling and reassembling my life by moving to different countries. I’ve lived in five countries now; America, American Samoa, New Zealand, Scotland and now England.

Living in New Zealand must have been awesome! What was the best thing about it? 


Moving to New Zealand was the best decision I ever made. I’ve been living in the UK for the past couple of years and we’re seriously considering moving back to New Zealand or to Australia in 2014. New Zealand is such a beautiful country. Beaches, mountains, glaciers, lakes, forests, islands, New Zealand’s got it all. It has such freshness about it, like the islands just emerged from the sea. It feels like anything is possible in New Zealand. I also loved the quality of light in New Zealand. It was like looking through a polarized lenses, but more intense. Everything is so colourful and vibrant. I saw rainbows almost every day in New Zealand.
I lived in Ponsonby and Grey Lynn, artsy suburbs just outside of the Auckland city centre. I loved having brunch at all of the cute cafes and living a five minute walk from the beach. Auckland, New Zealand was a great place to dine out. I miss eating chicken katsu at Renkon a fabulous Japanese place, the amazing French restaurant Le Garde-Manger on upper Queen Street, and Ponsonby Food Court in Auckland. I also loved to go wine tasting on Waiheke Island, a little island that’s just a thirty minute ferry ride from Auckland city centre. The South Island of New Zealand is amazing. Visiting Mount Cook you could really imagine Frodo and the other Hobbits there.

Why did you decide to write about your time in New Zealand? 

I consider myself an accidental author. I didn’t go to New Zealand with the intentions of writing a book about my experiences there.  I had funny experiences that I had trouble believing were true. I wrote the stories down to stay sane. I wrote situations down that were happening around me and shared them with friends.
My education is in fine arts. I had a lot of art shows in California and New Zealand and even managed an art collective in Auckland.  I was bored with the fine art scene. Everything has already been done before in painting, but I am the only person that can tell my own story. Writing feels like a more honest form of art than any other method I’ve tried. While I was in New Zealand I meet a director named Thomas Sainsbury, he asked me what I was doing in New Zealand. My everyday stories made him laugh and he asked me to write a monologue for him. I had never done anything like that before. I was shocked by the adrenaline rush that came with storytelling and making people laugh. 
The stories made people laugh so I decided to organize the stories into a book and publish in the hopes to make others laugh too.

You now live in the UK! Do you like it as much as the US and NZ? (Be honest. We all know we're not very exotic)


We’ve actually lived in two different countries in the United Kingdom after leaving New Zealand; Scotland and now England. After New Zealand, we moved to Scotland, got married in a castle and ended up living across the street from Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh. Scotland is a sincerely magical place. There are so many castles in Scotland. Scotland has amazing architecture, beautiful mountains, lochs, beaches and sweet natured people. The landscape of the Highlands is very similar to the South Island of New Zealand. I love hearing the Scottish accent everywhere you go. After living in Edinburgh, I can understand how J. K. Rowling was inspired writing Harry Potter. I lived above a used bookshop that looked like where Harry would have bought his school supplies.

For unwanted and complicated reasons we had to move to England last September. It was devastating to have to move out of Edinburgh to Sheffield, England last year for my husband graduate school. We will have to live here until summer 2014.

Rather than being displaced to a country I didn’t want to move to, I decided to be displaced with the goal of publishing. I’ve just completed a MA in Design. Designing, publishing and marketing my book was my dissertation project.
I’ve never lived this far inland before. It makes me feel claustrophobic to be so far away from the ocean. I desperately miss the ocean and being warm at the beach. I really miss the warm, friendly nature of the people in the South Pacific. If money and visas weren’t an issue, (which they very much are) I’d love to go summer to summer between Edinburgh, Scotland and Auckland, New Zealand.

What's the weirdest thing that has happened to you in either the UK or NZ? 

In the UK, I haven’t been able to find work.  I’ve been doing a lot of volunteering in Sheffield. Last week, I was volunteering at a museum with someone dressed as an elf and a Santa giving gifts to kids. In our down time, I asked the elf if she was a student and what she enjoyed studying. Her favorite class is anatomy and she said it’s really relaxing to just be in the lab with a scalpel. As Santa waved at small children, the elf continued to tell me that her dream job would be the person that dissects and preps cadavers for anatomy students. The elf really enjoys cutting up dead bodies.  

While in New Zealand, the visa I was on only allowed me to work temporary positions. I worked in a basement, with ex-cons, next to a perverted mime and with a girl that wore her dead dog’s collar around her neck. All of the jobs were mundane office work, but the cubicles were filled with curious characters.
Recently on Twitter, the characters in Getting Rooted in New Zealand are described as, “Wicked. Lots of heroes and villains. It’s a story you can read again and again- it’s laugh out loud shocking in parts and cringe worthy, some office peeps are monsters!” by Colin Mathura-Jeffree, a male model and judge for the TV show New Zealand’s Next Top Model. Colin is one of my favorite characters that I meet in New Zealand.
­­­I had good, bad and weird experiences in New Zealand. I’m grateful for all the people I encountered, heroes and villains, the experiences I had turned me into a writer.

Now, I ask all the authors I host here at TAW this question: which 3 items would you take on a desert island, and they can't be things to help you off (because I know you creative types)?

1. Sunscreen – I am very, very pale.
2. Razor – I’m vain and don’t like body hair.
3. An unlimited supply of Chipotle Tabasco sauce. I’m addicted to that stuff. It will make whatever I’m catching for food taste better.

What's your favourite animal? 


Rabbit.

What is your favourite book?


May I Ask You Something? by Cyan Corwine.

What's your favourite song/artist/band?


 
Santigold –  L.E.S. Artistes
There are some lines in this song that really apply to how I felt when I first arrived in New Zealand:
What I’m searching for
I can say I hope it will be worth what I give up
What am I here for
I left my home to disappear is all
I’m here for myself

A few quick this or thats!


Twitter or Facebook? 
Twitter.
Writing or reading? 
Writing.
Chocolate cake or ice cream? 
Ice cream.


Thank you so much Jamie for this interview :) 

Charli x