I can't believe it's been a full month since I last blogged! To give you the short version, my family and I had a pretty rocky start to the year with family stuff and illnesses.
On top of that my business is currently the busiest it's ever been, which is a really good thing and something I'm so happy and proud of, but it does often mean that I'm working longer hours and haven't been able to read/blog as much especially because I've been spending more quality time with my family on weekends.
This does mean that I've been neglecting My Endless Shelf and you wonderful readers. I am hoping to get back into a more regular blogging schedule now and also to catch up on the many unread emails in the My Endless Shelf inbox.
The other reason brings me to my first bit of 'news' - I'm writing again (YAY!)
What I'm Writing
Some of you might know that I wrote my first novel in 2017 and then after finishing the first draft I sort of put it to one side and just left it, not intentionally but, you know, life...
Well, my number one goal this year is to finally publish some of my writing. My lifelong dream has always been to be a full-time author, writing (and reading) are my two passions and I'm so sick and tired of making excuses and of life just getting in the way of me trying to realise my dream, which is why, since the beginning of February, I've been spending as much time as I can outside of work and family time to write and to edit my novel.
Editing is sooo hard! I thought that writing, actually getting those ideas and characters out of my head and onto paper, would be the hardest part but I couldn't have been more wrong. Editing just takes so much more time than writing because there are just so many editing 'passes' that need to be done and I'm a complete beginner with the whole process. I'm getting there, very very slowly, but still making progress which I'm really happy about.
I'm also writing more because sometimes I just need a break away from the soul-crushing reality of editing and it also helps to keep me creative. There's only so much I can take of various ideas and voices ringing in my head before I just have to start writing them down.
I mentioned on Twitter recently that I'd written a short story. What started as a 'quick' creative writing exercise based on a prompt somehow turned into a several hour writing sprint where I could not stop typing and that resulted in a 4,000+ word short story.
After a bit of research, I decided to publish the story on Wattpad because I like the simplicity of the platform and also because editing 4,000+ words is a hell of a lot easier than editing 100,000+ words and so I'm working through the story chapter by chapter, editing it and uploading it to Wattpad.
So far, I've had a small number of readers and a positive response but I'm hoping for more readers & feedback once the full story is live.
If you're interested, it's a contemporary romance with a hint of magic. It is LGBT and centers around a f/f relationship with both bi and lesbian rep.
If you'd like to read the first 3 chapters, of The Midnight Cab which are now live, you can do so over on Wattpad by clicking the link above - I hope you enjoy it and I'd love to know what you think.
I'm releasing a new chapter every few days (hopefully with another this weekend) and so the full story will be available very soon for those of you who prefer not to start an unfinished story.
Depending on the response, I might also post the story up on the blog.
What I'm Reading/Reading Slump!
In the gap since my last blog post I attempted to read at least 4/5 different books in various genres but none really stuck, even though I know that at least two of them are amazing and I do want to read them.
I've found myself in a pretty big reading slump, I haven't had one like this for such a long time where I just haven't felt motivated to read at all. I'm guessing it has a direct link with my mental health because over the past month I've been so mentally exhausted and all I've wanted to do is sleep.
Fingers crossed, I think that I'm slowly coming out of the slump now, I re-read one of my favourite romance novels (Checkmate by R.L. Mathewson) and I've also been doing quite a lot of reading on Wattpad. I ventured into poetry which is an odd one for me as I'm not usually taken by poetry and I'm currently reading Bite Me by Alicia Wallace which is a paranormal (vampire x werewolf) m/m romance and I'm really enjoying it so far.
Next up, I'm hoping to finish one of the books I started last month and will do my best to have some reviews posted as soon as possible.
In other news, the NYALitFest is taking place in two weeks and I'm so excited!! After the incredible time I had at their Supernatural and Fantastical in YA event last year, I cannot wait to attend their main festival on March 16th!
I've booked tickets for pretty much every panel, and it's not too late if you want to come along. You can book your free tickets here!
The theme this year is Mental Health & Inclusiveness in YA and the author line-up is just fantastic including; Melinda Salisbury, Alice Broadway, Samantha Shannon, Bali Rai and Alexandra Sheppard.
There will be panels and workshops covering; Creative Writing, YA Thrillers, Inclusiveness in YA, Mental Health and Feminism in Fantasy.
There will also be author signings throughout the day and stalls filled with bookish goodies and run by several fantastic publishing houses including Bloomsbury, Macmillan, Walker and, of course, the organisers of the event, UCLan Publishing (I have everything crossed that I can grab some beautiful books for review and/or to giveaway on the blog!)
There's loads more going on in the day too - click here for the full programme!
I'll be updating Instagram and Twitter throughout the day if you want to follow along with what's happening and I will do a blog recap after the event.
I can't wait to meet everyone and catch up with the fantastic people I met last year (although I will try not to turn up 4 hours early this time!!)
In other news, thanks to the lovely folks at Penguin Random House, I'll be hosting a giveaway very shortly for a paperback copy of Jack of Hearts by L.C. Rosen. This unapologetically honest LGBT YA is a great read and you can find out exactly what I thought of it in my review.
Stay tuned for the giveaway coming soon!
I think that's all for now - this turned out to be a much longer post than I'd intended!
So, over to you! What are you reading at the moment? I'd love to know your recommendations!
As always, happy reading!
Rating: 4 STARS
Standalone/Series: Sorcery and Society #1
How I got this book: ARC from INscribe Digital via NetGalley
If 14-year-old Cassandra Reed makes it through her first day at Miss Castwell’s Institute for the Magical Instruction of Young Ladies without anyone discovering her secret, maybe, just maybe, she’ll let herself believe that she really does belong at Miss Castwell’s.
Except Cassandra Reed’s real name is Sarah Smith and up until now, she lived her whole life in the Warren, serving a magical family, the Winters, as all non-magical “Snipes” are bound by magical Guardian law to do. That is, until one day, Sarah accidentally levitates Mrs. Winter’s favorite vase in the parlor...
But Snipes aren’t supposed to have magical powers…and the existence of a magical Snipe threatens the world order dictated during the Guardians’ Restoration years ago. If she wants to keep her family safe and protect her own skin, Sarah must figure out how to fit into posh Guardian society, master her newfound magical powers and discover the truth about how an ordinary girl can become magical.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I was immediately intrigued by the synopsis and so, when the ARC came through via NetGalley I jumped straight in. This is my first book by Molly Harper, so I wasn't sure what to expect but I immediately fell in love with her writing style and was hooked straight away.
This book gave me such strong Charmed vibes!! The only way I can describe this book is sort of Charmed meets The Worst Witch, Harry Potter and Mean Girls! I love the mixture of themes and subplots that were woven into this story.
Admittedly, I did identify the villain quite early on and it almost felt like I was in the audience at a pantomime at times, just wanting to shout at Cassandra/Sarah, "They're behind you!" But, despite this, I didn't enjoy the story any less.
I actually also bought the Audiobook from Audible (so that I could listen whilst painting my nails - I have to do this at least once a year otherwise my girl card is really going to get taken away) and listened to parts of it in between reading the eARC. The narration by Amanda Ronconi was really great (despite the less than stellar English accent) and helped to skim over some of the editing inaccuracies (see below), I loved the voice she gave to Cassandra/Sarah.
Changeling has great pace, a fun magical plot and great characters. I particularly love the various relationship dynamics, especially Cassie and Own who I absolutely love together. Their sarcastic, playful, and teasing relationship drew most of my smiles and is definitely something I want more of from this series.
All of the characters are individual, with unique personalities and voices. They were great to discover, especially as new layers were revealed about most of the main characters as the book progresses
The only reason that this book has a slightly lower than 5-star rating is because of the editing of the eBook. I'd highly recommend that the editors give this book another once-over because of the spelling mistakes and a few occasions where a sentence or more is repeated.
However, that didn't prevent me from loving Changeling and I can't wait for book 2! I need to find out what happens next!
Changeling is a magical story filled with passionate, strong, and courageous women, true friendships, a dash of budding romance, bullies, magical surprises, adorable animal companions and a villainous plot!
As some of you know, today I attended my first ever book festival! The Northern YA Literary Festival, Supernatural and Fantastical YA event, which is a spin-off from their usual yearly YA book festival.
My sister and I were so insanely excited for this event (which started at 12pm) that we set off at 8am (with an hour drive ahead of us!)....yeah...so suffice it to say we were pretty early!!! 🤦😂
Luckily, we weren't the only early birds and it was so lovely to meet the amazing, sweet and friendly book bloggers that I've been getting to know online over the past few months, in person.
Lots of chats, laughs, and cups of coffee (well, hot chocolate on my part) later, the doors finally opened and in we went.
First up (and the reason for our supreme earliness) was a fantastic bag of NYALitFest swag which included; an NYALitFest tote bag (because you can never have enough book storage and clearly the 3 bags I took weren't enough) and pin, an ARC of Jinxed by Amy McCulloch from @hashtagreads (which I'm super excited to read) along with a bunch of other bookish swag - all pictured below!
There was also a bookish face painter at the event but I dropped the ball and forgot to get this done!
The other stalls at this event included Waterstones (who were selling the author's books who were speaking at the event), an NYA Merch Stall, where I picked up a pen, badge and COLOUR CHANGING MUG!! (It's the one on the left below...)
Also, muchos praise to the organisers for providing us with a snack stall - it was much needed and kudos to the staff who were super helpful i.e. the lovely people who swapped my slightly damaged mug and the lovely guy running the snack stall who understood my need for sustenance!
The event started with the 'Fantasy' panel which consisted of author's Melinda Salisbury (running the panel), Alexandra Christo, Sally Green and Taran Matharu.
The talk was fantastic, the authors were lovely, they gave great advice and insight. They were funny and took the time to answer questions from the audience.
After the panel (which lasted a little over an hour), the author's were available to sign copies of their books.
The authors were so lovely and, more than having my books signed, I really loved being able to just spend a few moments chatting to these wonderful authors. Melinda, who's book, The Sin Eater's Daughter, I'm a quarter of the way into, reminisced over the time she visited and had a boyfriend in my city and ate our local 'delicacy' (for want of a much better word) oatcakes. Sally, who's book, The Smoke Thieves, I absolutely loved and cannot wait for the second, took the time to chat about demons (which feature heavily in her book) and Tash (one of the characters from this book that I love. Taran, who I chatted with about just starting the first book in his Summoner series. After hearing him talk about how the book was inspired by Pokemon, I'm even more excited to keep reading!
Also, Alexandra Christo who I was so, so excited to meet since I loved To Kill a Kingdom so much! We chatted about how we'd already chatted on Twitter, and we both fangirled a little over the gorgeous artwork on her book. She's so incredibly sweet and bubbly and meeting her was such a pleasure.
Then onto the second panel which was all about the Supernatural. This was another really interesting, insightful, funny talk and since sadly Marcus Sedgwick (who's book, The Monsters We Deserve, I picked up from the event) couldn't attend, Sally Green stepped in to fill his spot alongside David Owen, Melvin Burgess, and A.J. Hart.
Again, the authors were available for signings afterwards and I was able to get my advance copy (only available at the event) of Melvin's new book The Lost Witch signed.
Here are the books I took with me or bought at the event and was able to get signed (click on any to head to Goodreads or my review):
Last, but certainly not least, there was a book exchange stall at the event. I took around 8 books with me to trade and here's what I came away with:
Those Disney re-tellings!! 😍😍😍
Overall, I had and absolutely wonderful day. I met some incredible people, bloggers, booktubers etc and the authors of course and I am definitely intending to attend the March NYALitFest next year!
Now, I'm off to bed since I've been up since 6:15am....which might be the reason why I've re-read this entire post with Sarah Millican's voice in my head...🤦
Never miss a post!
Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, aspiring writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
Upcoming Blog Tours: