Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekly Obsession: How To Start a Revolution

With a bit of a delay this week's obsession is all about How To Start a Revolution by Lucy-Anne Holmes.
Now I previously posted about dear Lucy-Anne Holmes in this post.
Help her out by supporting her book 'Don't Hold My Head Down'

But let's have a look at How To Start a Revolution.
In this book Lucy-Anne Holmes talks about her No More Page 3 campaign and how she created a remarkable campaign fueled with passion and a desire to make a change.
It comes with no surprise that when you put a group of passionate people together that they will come out victorious in the end.

Change doesn’t just happen. It starts with the idea that something could be different, could be better. It starts with a person who is brave enough to stand up and say, ‘Stop.’ This is what Lucy-Anne Holmes did when she wrote a letter to the editor of The Sun asking him to stop printing pictures of topless women on Page 3 of the paper. This was something that had been happening for forty five years but which - she suddenly realised - she found outdated and inappropriate and, after thinking about it, not unrelated to a lot of the bad things that happen to women.

Launching a digital campaign, starting an online petition and recruiting a team of like-minded people, Lucy-Anne started a revolution. Hundreds of thousands of people signed the petition, wore the campaign t-shirt and dared to say #NoMorePage3. Lucy-Anne had never campaigned on anything before. She wasn't particularly political. She'd never been confrontational. But she found that you only need one thing to start a campaign - and it isn't cash, experience or even a thick skin. It's passion.

If you have a desire to change something, read what Lucy-Anne has to say. She’s been there, done that, worn the t-shirt and come out the other side having made a difference in the world.

Source: Amazon

What about me?

It's no secret that I adore Lucy-Anne Holmes' writing. I'm a big fan of anything she's written whether it are 50 ways to find a lover or a blog post about wanking. The book is currently only £2,99 and I can't wait to get my hands on it the moment I have some money in my bank account again.

At the same time, I am even more excited about 'Don't Hold My Head Down'.
This book is all about Lucy-Anne's journey and the odd things that happen wen you look for great sex and end up finding feminism.

One last time I will link you to the funding page for this book and I hope that many kind souls are willing to help out a new book to appear on this planet.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Review & Recommendation: The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance

The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance by Kirsty Greenwood

Since recording/uploading this video, I finished reading this book and I will include my review below.
I start talking about The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance from about 0:57.

4 stars (I really liked it) for The Vintage Guide

Jessica Beam is a girl who knows how to party. Only lately she's been forgetting to turn up for work on time. Or in clean clothes. Down on her luck, out of a job and homeless, Jess seeks the help of her long-lost grandmother. 
Things aren't going well for Matilda Beam, either. Her 1950s Good Woman guide books are out of print, her mortgage repayments are staggering and her granddaughter wears neon Wonderbras.
When a lifeline from a London publisher arrives, the pair have an opportunity to secure the roof over their heads - by invigorating the Good Woman guides and transforming modern, rebellious Jess into a demure vintage lady.
The true test of their make-over will be to capture the heart of notorious London playboy Leo Frost and prove that Matilda's guides still work. It's going to take commitment, nerves of steel and one seriously pointy bra to pull this off . . .
Source: Amazon

The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance has been one of my weekly obsessions and now I finished reading it and the time for a review has come!
I have been tossing and turning, trying to find the words to do this book justice in my review. I am hoping that I can put down at least a few lines that will be able to show how much I liked the book, because I really did, and that it will make you want to pick it up!

The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance will be out on the 9th of April. 
Check it out on Amazon, the book depository (free shipping) or get it in your favourite bookshop.

I was lucky enough to win this book in a giveaway and got sent a proof copy of this book by the lovely Kirsty Greenwood, signed and all!

All I can say is that you know a book is going to be kick-ass when the first chapter cracks you up from its first sentence on.

We meet Jessica (Jess) Beam when everything in her life is either quite messy already or about to turn to shit anyway. She portrays some serious odd behaviour (we all are aware what alcohol can make a person do sometimes) and thus ruins whatever future prospects her and her friend Summer had in prospect. With everything going to ruins, it's almost no surprise that Jess finds herself jobless, homeless and friendless.

I for one was very suspicious of Summer from the beginning. Summer was (excuse the language) a total bitch with a capital B. She is the kind of friend that does anything for her own benefit. The kind of person you would want to get rid off as soon as possible. How Jess didn't manage to see through her sooner was a total mystery to me.


Jess bounces back. She does this in a way that is very much like her. Without much elegance, very alcohol indulged and with little desire of emotionally bonding to anything. She looks up her grandma and waltzes into Matilda Beam's life without much warning.
That's when it all starts.

My 24-year old self looked at the 28-year old Jess with rolling eyes and thought 'grow up', though that same 24-year old also loved her free spirit and often bold behaviour.

The Beam ladies are starting up a little project. Jess will explore Matilda's 1950s Guides filled with tips on how to be the perfect woman. Their subject of the project is one man named Leo Frost and Jess will try to woo him in all her vintage glory.
Some big hair, neat make-up, pointy boobs, mini-waist, and an alter-ego known as Lucille Darling later, the project is in full bloom. We follow Jess as she partakes in an adventure where she'll find herself catapulted in old fashioned rules and new ways of engaging with other people.

But a wild spirit is hard to tame and not only has she secret sex dates with one very sexy doctor named Jamie, she also mildly corrupts her grandmother's help, Peach.
Jamie offers her the perfect distraction from everything she dislikes: old fashioned rules, Leo Frost and having feelings.
Peach couldn't be more different than Jess. She's shy, introvert and very eager to find herself a best friend. She is confident that Jess is that friend for her.
Where Jamie is a buffer for emotions to Jess, Peach could well be a buffer for her grandmother.
And when Jess finds out things about her mother, grandmother, Leo Frost, and herself, her world and everyone in it become a whirlwind of emotions. She'll find that some people aren't just buffers but might just be the support she needs.

Against all odds, I started to fall for Leo. At the start I was very wary of him and I routed for Jamie but Leo's charm caught me off guard, like it did with Jess and I was sold to him from then on.

Before I knew it I was at the last 100 pages and I couldn't even imagine that there were enough pages for everything that still needed to happen.

The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance is a great and fun read. The pages flow from one to another and you'll finish it before you know it. It's a very easy read and the pages flow as you get sucked into the story.

With a main character that is in desperate need of a reality check (and this coming from me, a person who would live in Disneyland if given the chance) and has some serious commitment issues, you might want to kick her throughout the first twenty chapters.

However, Kirsty Greenwood manages to constantly walk the line between wanting to kick her main character and finding her very charming. You'll end up liking Jess more and more throughout the book when you find the reasons behind her behaviours and see her change in front of your eyes, even before Jess herself is aware of it. And the more Jess grows as a person the more you'll grow fond of her and proud.

The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance will make you eager for more after finishing. But remember, A Good Woman never dwells in the past ;)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Editing Troubles

In this week's video I discuss things that distracted me, why I decided to stop editing for a week, how things are going now and show off my ridiculous dance moves on some Chinese music.

Only a few days ago I wrote a post about the difficulties I experienced during my editing process.

I am easily distracted.
I'm sure I'm not the only one but this is probably one of my biggest issues. I can not sit in front of something for a very long time. I will end up browsing the web for distraction or the kitchen for food. Usually I do both. Usually I never get past the kitchen anymore.

If I do happen to be able to get back behind my computer then there's a big chance I'll be back to doing something else. One of those things is already starting to type up new stories which brings me to my next point.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Weekly Obsession: The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance

This week I have been completely obsessed with The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance.
I won this particular book in a giveaway hosted by the lovely @KirstyBooks (Kirsty Greenwood) and she sent it to me a few weeks ago.
I know that book mail from abroad usually takes about 2 weeks to arrive.
I knew the book would be in my mail box at some point this week, so I checked and impatiently waited every day and today IT FINALLY ARRIVED!!! :D

The book's official publishing date is April 9th 2015

Jessica Beam is a girl who knows how to party. Only lately she's been forgetting to turn up for work on time. Or in clean clothes. Down on her luck, out of a job and homeless, Jess seeks the help of her long-lost grandmother.
Things aren't going well for Matilda Beam, either. Her 1950s Good Woman guide books are out of print, her mortgage repayments are staggering and her granddaughter wears neon Wonderbras.
When a lifeline from a London publisher arrives, the pair have an opportunity to secure the roof over their heads - by invigorating the Good Woman guides and transforming modern, rebellious Jess into a demure vintage lady.
The true test of their make-over will be to capture the heart of notorious London playboy Leo Frost and prove that Matilda's guides still work. It's going to take commitment, nerves of steel and one seriously pointy bra to pull this off . . .

What about me?
The book looks absolutely gorgeous. Just look at the beautiful cover!
And even more amazing.............IT'S SIGNED!!!!! :D

I am incredibly excited to start reading it and it's the first one I'll start reading once my book-reading ban is over!
I can promise you there'll be a review of this one up the second I finish it!

I'm an 'The Book Depository' affiliate and you can get the book here

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Confessions of a rookie writer

Editing will be the end of me. 

It's all I've been doing for the past weeks/month(s) and I can say with confidence that I do not like editing. I will tell you why throughout this post even though I'm pretty sure that most of these confessions will make you wonder why I even want to write, I'll take my chances.

It's actually easily summed up in one line.

Writing > Editing

What's the main problem?
I lose myself very easily and feel like I am drowning. 
I am overwhelmed.
There's so many things that need to happen, so many steps in this process that I do not master. I am only half aware of what I am doing and I more than often start to panic. I end up stressing over the littlest things.

I absolutely adore writing, creating new stories, discovering new characters. The creative part of my brain needs to put things on paper and get rid of the stories that are flowing through my head.
My blog title speaks for itself: I write to stay sane.

So when I have finished that story, have unleashed the characters in my head and made them cause all kinds of commotion, that's when I want to move on to the next adventure. I want to keep moving. What happens is that I end up with over 100 written stories in my documents folder and none of them will ever reach more eyes than mine.

Apart from the odd ones that are put online without much extra thought. I've been found guilty more than once of posting a story without re-reading it, without giving it a proper edit/revision. More than once have I given it a quick glance over, fixed the typos that crept in and changed the more obvious flaws in plot. Aside from that I put it on the internet for anyone who might be interested. I was lucky enough that people were always kind and supportive. They loved the stories and were never afraid to point out any mistakes I might have missed. However, I think my audience might have been too kind on several occasions.

Now things are different.
Now I am working towards a goal: a published book that will (hopefully) be read by an audience.
Now I have to edit and look at every single detail. I have to scrutinize and go over the same story over and over again.

A lot of writers are shouting how much they love editing. It allows them to create the story they wanted to tell and to make it the best version it can be.
Who wouldn't want that for their story? I know I want it for mine but that doesn't mean that I enjoy the editing process.

To me editing is constantly being confronted with all my weaknesses of which there are many (most of which you'll probably have seen make an appearance in my blog posts too). It is frustrating and has pushed me to the edge multiple times.

Punctuation is my worst enemy,
As are tenses.
I am horrible when it comes to punctuation. I think I know the basic rules but then I find myself struggling with simple things:
- Is that comma even supposed to go there???
- What's even the function of a semicolon?
- Surely, that hyphen shouldn't be there? Am I simply inventing new words now??
Not to mention my love for an extensive use of question marks and exclamation marks!
Or a combination of both! What was I thinking?!?!

Punctuation and grammar aside, and the latter I can try to blame on my Belgian nationality, there's even more I have to worry about. And believe me when I say that I wish it would just be limited to grammar stuff.

I am easily distracted.
I'm sure I'm not the only one but this is probably one of my biggest issues. I can not sit in front of something for a very long time. I will end up browsing the web for distraction or the kitchen for food. Usually I do both. Usually I never get past the kitchen anymore.

If I do happen to be able to get back behind my computer then there's a big chance I'll be back to doing something else. One of those things is already starting to type up new stories which brings me to my next point.

Every pitch that springs to mind is instantly more interesting.
I can be without inspiration for a new pitch for months and months, it's happened before and it will happen in the future. Unless, of course, when I am editing. All of a sudden the new story ideas are flowing, screaming at me to be written. I am never more inspired as when I'm trying to edit.
I'm pretty sure it's just my brain's way of trying to make me move on. Luring me away from the text document that already exists and trying to convince me I should be creating a new one (and secretly I agree and would take any given chance).

And last but not least:
At what point do you stop reading about how you should do something and just do it?

There are so many blogs and people that offer you information and books about 'how to be a writer', 'how to write', how to do this or how to do that and if you're not careful you'll end up doing more reading about how you should do something than actually doing it.

I have done so much research and read so many tips and tricks on how to become 'the best writer you can be'. Maybe the best writer I can be is a silly girl who has too many different things floating around in her head and puts them on paper so they're somewhere else. Maybe that's all I'll ever be. I think I could make peace with that. However, I owe it to that little 7-year old me who had a dream.
I'm sure that book will be there eventually but the road will be bumpy and filled with lots and lots and lots of chocolate!!!

A great article about quitting:

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Something Silly This Way Comes

Sometimes, it's time to push aside all seriousness and talk about nothing important at all.
In this video I talk about mail, chocolate, present, bookshelves and tidying up my work space. Not necessarily in that order.

You'll find out which musical is my favourite one, how many books I actually own (surprisingly and disappointingly little) and how I look when I eat chocolate.

Next week I will be back with a vlog where I talk all about editing and how it is currently going.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

The Social Media Tag

The Social Media Tag:

Twitter: Your favourite shortest book?
Magnus' vow.
(don't even think it would qualify as a book book but it's definitely short)

Facebook: A book everyone pressured you into reading?
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Tumblr: A book you read before it was cool?
The Twilight series

Myspace: A book you don't remember whether you liked it or not?
Let It Snow by John Green, Lauren Myracle & Maureen Johnson

Instagram: A book that was so beautiful you had to instagram it?

Youtube: A book you wish could be turned into a movie?
The Night Circus y Erin Morgenstern.
However, I'd be scared that it wouldn't feel as magical.
If the Night Circus could be turned into a play and recreate that enchanting feel then I think I'd go every night.

Goodreads: A book you recommend to everyone?

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Skype: A book with characters you wish you could actually talk to instead of just reading about them?
The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare.
Will and Jem and Magnus! Mainly Magnus!

Friday, March 06, 2015

Weekly Obsession: Geek Girl

This week's obsession is all about Geek Girl by Holly Smale.
My entire timeline exploded when Geek Girl came out last week and even though I spend most of my days at work this week, Geek Girl was everywhere. I couldn't escape it.
There's no doubt about it, Geek Girl is this week's obsession!

“My name is Harriet Manners, and I am a geek.”

A brand new World Book Day story from the no. 1 bestselling and award-winning GEEK GIRL series!

Harriet Manners knows that the hottest observed place on earth is Furnace Creek in Death Valley.

She knows that dolphins shed the top layer of their skin every two hours.

And she knows just how badly auditions can go, especially when you’re a model.

But she has no idea how to get herself out of the extreme embarrassment of the school play or what to do when arch-nemesis Alexa decides it’s the perfect opportunity to humiliate her…

Can GEEK GIRL survive the bright lights of the stage?

What about me?
Let me be honest here, I only recently came across the Geek Girl series.
I hadn't heard of them before and I am going to blame living in Belgium for that

I saw them lying in Waterstones when I was in London a few weeks back and loved the cover.
I had picked it up and read the blurb but as I did so my other arm that was holding 7 other books screamed in agony. I had to put Geek Girl down (you know it's a sad day when your body can't handle the amount of books you want anymore).

I don't currently own the book but as it turns out it's only £1 on Amazon ( and that makes it very tempting to break my current 'book-buying ban'.

Geek Girl has also been one of the books featured for World Book Day (World Book Day is on the 5th of March):

You can also get it on The Book Depository

Book Review: Tied Up With Love

Tied Up With Love by Holly Martin (writing as Amelia Thorne)

5 stars (I loved it) for Tied Up With Love.

‘We’re from KMW. Do exactly as you’re told and you won’t get hurt...' 
Being grabbed off the street, blind folded, tied up and thrown into a van was not what Izzy expected to happen when she stepped out the door that morning. But when an accidental kidnapping at the hands of the sexy Ethan Chase and his 'Kidnap My Wife' sexual fantasy business leads to just that, Izzy seizes the chance to turn her misfortune into a brilliant new job opportunity… 
Since then, life has been one big tangle of new client meetings, fake kidnapping pick-ups, and handling the temperamental, but drop dead gorgeous 'bad boy' Mr Chase. But, as liberating as being tied up in Ethan's life is, Izzy knows the time is fast approaching when she must make some decisions and take charge of her future. The only question is: will Ethan allow himself to be a part of it?

Izzy is a strong dependent woman, who knows what she wants.
One of the things she wants more than anything is Ethan.
Ethan is strong in every sense of the word, who knows what he doesn't want.
What Ethan doesn't want is to fall in love.

For almost 400 pages we focus on the constant 'push and pull' dynamic between Izzy and Ethan and Holly Martin succeeds in not only making it the only thing you'll think about, she also manages to keep it interesting, to not repeat herself, to  make you want to hit both characters' heads together and hug them at the same time (a feeling both characters were very familiar with too).

The constant sexual tension between Izzy and Ethan was hot and palpable even on paper. Holly Martin is a master at switching between sexy and sensual and funny and entertaining. She created very likable characters and a simple story line that was easy to believe, follow and fall in love with. I was constantly drawn back to this book and my hour long lunch breaks at work all of a sudden seemed to short.

This book is hot and steamy at the right moments and I loved it from beginning to end! I was so pulled towards it that time was too short.. I had a massive crush on Ethan, the way he was rough and soft. I would kill to see into those blazing eyes of his (Please, don't think of me as crazy). He had a few issues for sure but the more you found about Ethan, the more you fell for him. You could not hate him even when he was stupid.
Izzy was so lovely and likable that I am jealous that I wasn't the one who created her. She's sexy and sassy and that's how I like my protagonists! The idea that they could kill a man by using the tips of the shoes they're wearing or, in Izzy's case, with simply just one look.

TUWL is great and I would recommend it to anyone with a love for sexy books with great characters.

Tied Up With Love will have you stuck to your chair (tied up or not), wanting to finish it.

If you're reading this now/today then you better hurry because TUWL is only 59p. What a bargain for such an incredible book! HURRY HURRY HURRY!!!
Click the link (it'll redirect you to amazon):

Monday, March 02, 2015

Book Review: The Night Circus

The Night circus by Erin Morgenstern.

 4 stars (I really liked it) for the Night Circus.
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night. 
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

We enter the book with an introduction to the circus, making you feel like one of its spectators and letting you feel some of its magic. The book the book then changes in time and character point of view.

At first I struggled keeping up with the constant changing POV, the switches in time and fitting it all together. I almost grabbed pen and paper to make myself a mind map and take notes during reading, which is not really something you want to do when reading a book. (I will add that before The Night Circus, I had read a little amount of books due and that I had to get used to getting back into the reading life.) But then the pieces fell together and I saw the light, I recognized the pattern.
Once all of that fell into place, I could focus on the story and was transported into the enchanting world of the circus.

The story is told from many different perspectives with three main ones: Celia, Marco and Bailey.
Celia and Marco are tied together stronger than they both are aware of, trapped in a game neither of them know the rules of. You discover both characters' perspectives on the challenge and how they feel about the opponent they are not familiar with just yet.

Once both characters' paths cross, the story really starts to pick up and you'll be pulled into their world, wondering how they'll react to one another. Marco feels an instant attraction and you can't help but love the boy for it. You want him to pursue Celia in every way possible but instead it becomes a subtle romance with love letters in the form of enchantments and magic.

Celia and Marco couldn't be anything else than made for each other. When you're so tightly connected with someone else that your life literally depends on it, it's not surprising that their love is as powerful as the bound they share.

I soon enough found myself wanting the two of them to be together. To hold more and longer conversations, to have one more touch, to share a kiss. I waited for every encounter between my two new favourite people and felt my heart leap whenever a move was made.

I think I fell as much in love with Marco and Celia as they did with each other.

As for Bailey. The chapters with Bailey sometimes really disturbed the pace (for me) as I was really curious about what was going to happen with Celia and Marco and the circus. I felt Bailey was created with the purpose of sharing a spectator's view and thought it to be misplaced at times.
Until this too fell into place and everything became clear. Bailey is just as important a character as everyone else and you'll realize that the people in this book are connected more than you anticipated.
Not just Celia and Marco but everyone.

And I think that is in fact one of the strengths of this book. Because it changes so often in POV and time, it leaves you guessing until the outcome is revealed. The way it was written and how the chapters were timed made for an interesting read. You'll be stuck on the edge of your chair and unable to put it down.

Near the end I had this typical 'push and pull' feeling. It's the way you feel when you don't want to put the book down, because you're eager to find out what else is going to happen, and at the same time scared of finishing it so that you feel the need to put it down for a little while, so you can take a deep breath.

The Night Circus is as amazing as the circus it describes and you'll find yourself reluctant to leave and eager for more.

Get it on 
- Your favourite bookshop