books

August Favourites

Okay, so I’ve jumped the gun a bit by uploading this before the actual end of August. But I haven’t written a favourite’s post in forever, therefore I’m a bit excited. Between the heatwaves, travelling, A-Level results and general summer madness I have actually accumulated quite a few favourites. Enjoy!

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My App-Solute Favourites

Everyone has their favourite apps, the ones that are in a particular place on your phone as they are used daily. I live on my phone, whether I’m making a note, starting my next blog post, shopping, or snapping, much like the rest of my generation I cannot live without the ease of 4G and a strong signal. Today I want to share with you my favourite apps.

VSCO-Cam:vsco-cam-icon
I’m addicted to Instagram, with my new phone and a decent camera I love to show off my new shots, but for me the in-app editor doesn’t take the biscuit. Like all good things, if you need recommendations and an honest opinion, hit the blogosphere! This app came highly recommended by most of my fellow bloggers, so I thought I would give it a crack, after a couple of YouTube videos I knew what I was doing.  VSCO-Cam is a photo editing app, just in case you hadn’t figured that out already. This app is perfect for making your photos Instagram ready, my favourite feature has to be how once you have imported your photos it is organised like an Instagram feed, so if you’re going for a theme you can check if your most recent photos fits without having to upload and delete it!

Instagram:instagram-logo-transparent-background_zps6befc220I never really used Instagram until recently when I had a lot of photos and no clue what to do with them! So I went on an Insta-spam, and have been hooked ever since, uploading photos regularly (on average one every couple of days) but most of the time I’m a photo a day kind of girl, I love how easy it is to connect with other people who like the same kind of photos you do. Until recently, I thought promoting your blog through Instagram was futile as people came for photos not having to go to someone’s profile to click on another link to go to a blog was just too much when all they wanted to do is like the photo, but I put a couple of ‘link in bio’ photos up and my stats seemed to spike, Instagram is a fab app for sharing your snaps and unusually promoting your blog!

Pinterest:pinterest_badge_redI downloaded this app about a year ago, set up an account determined to use it all the time, and it just sat there, eventually I deleted it. But then a fellow blogger asked me if I was on in as they wanted to share a board with me and I suddenly remembered that I was, so I re-downloaded it when I got my new phone and have been inspired ever since. I love that all of the things you need are in one place, I have a board for everything, from a dream wardrobe to university tips! It’s really helpful, not just for pretty items such as clothing and hair tutorials, I actually find it quite helpful for studying I have a board set up from school, with other peoples tips on note taking, essay planning, and how to organise your time effectively. I will certainly be using this app for next year, both to improve my wardrobe and my study habits!

GoodReads:
2000px-goodreads_logo-svg
Come on, I’m a book lover at heart, did you really expect this not to be on here? I have a love hate relationship with this app, I love the website, the app and I have had disagreements in the past; yet I still haven’t deleted it! For those of you who are unfamiliar with this app, it’s the app version of a website (like many these days) of books. Yep, it’s an app for books. It’s great really, you can track your progress of a book, set yourself reading goals for the year and connect with your favourite authors! My favourite feature would have to be a draw between the closeness you get with the authors, as you get to see what they’re reading and compare shelves, and the to-read shelve. The to-read shelve does what it says on the tin, I find it really fun to just put some books that I want to read on there in bulk then a few weeks later come back to it and delete them. Don’t know why, I just find it therapeutic also it helps me become a better judge of character (that was my attempt at a book pun, funny?)

Of course I love the mainstream apps like Twitter and Whatsapp, but these are my ‘couldn’t live without’ lot. Share with me some of your app-solute favourites below!

See you soon,
Ellie

Naked by Stacey Trombley | A Review

Before I begin this review I would like to thank Netgalley for an advance digital copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” – Criss Jami

This debut novel tackles such a touchy subject – underage prostitution – in a an excellent way. I wasn’t entirely sure what i was expecting when I went into this book, due to that this review shall be a short one.

When faced with writing a review for this book I was pretty apprehensive, because it really wasn’t my cup of tea. Don’t get me wrong it was a well written book and praise should be given for the way in which the subject matter was approached with caution and great care. However, due to the subject matter and general idea of the book I found it really hard to relate to it. I know that you shouldn’t always read books that you can relate to straight away, but personally I find it more enjoyable if I can imagine myself in a similar to the protagonist. It was very hard to connect with this book, it seemed quite forced at points.

With a plot that had great potential, but it seemed to fall down when it came to fufilling that potential. I hate criticising books, but I thought I would see what you thought because I’d be lying if I said I loved every book I have ever read. Overall a debut novel that had great potential, but could have realised that earlier and actually have taken the story somewhere. Unfortunately, for the first time, I have to give this book 2 out of 5 stars.

2 Stars
See you soon,
Ellie

Blog Every Day In August

Yep, that’s right, I’m blogging everyday in August! It’s a crazy challenge that I’m very excited to do. From tomorrow,you guys will be receiving BEDA posts with a variety of topics such as books, beauty, fashion, adventures, I might even throw in a few guest posts if your lucky.

Some of you might have heard of doddleoddle over on YouTube, I’ve been following Dodie for quite sometime and after watching her Vedim (vlog every day in May) early this year I was inspired to alter it slightly to fit me, you can find the playlist for Vedim here.  She also does VEDA, no guesses for what month the A is, August. So, as I am a very crazy young woman I thought I would join her on this challenge. Everyday for the next month there will be a post going up here at the little little corner of the internet at 5:00pm (GMT) so be sure to check, or even subscribe so you don’t miss a single one!

That’s a brief explanation of what is happening in the next month, if you want to support or perhaps even join in on this adventure please tweet using the hashtag #beda or just share this post on Twitter and your social media things.

I hope your as excited as me.
Happy Reading,
Ellie

The Drowning By Rachel Ward | A Review

“You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.”
― Edwin Louis Cole

Here goes nothing, my first kinda negative review on Miss Backwards. I must warn you to review this book as I want there will be spoilers. You have been warned.

It’s not that I disliked this book, it’s just that I didn’t really get what I was expecting. ‘The Drowning’ was promoted as if a thriller, about a boy who has lost his brother and him memory all due to a tragic ‘accident’, and has left him being the most feared thing in the world to a girl who was also involved in the ‘accident’.

If you break this book down to it’s bare spine, there is sort of a mash of genres, a bit of mystery, romance, thriller, and supernatural. Personally, I think this makes it really quite confusing to read, not that I don’t like the mixture of genres I just think the execution was a little sloppy and rushed. With romance and supernatural taking the dominant position, however the blurb suggested that it would be perhaps mystery and thriller taking the limelight. Very odd indeed.

I’m not going to lie, parts of this book scared me, well creeped me out, and I know that it’s not mean’t to be a book full of flowers and unicorns, but some of the scenes were described with such vivid imagery and haunting language. They are still going round in my head now. The actual writing of the book was good, current if you will, Rachel Ward really used her contemporary writing style to craft faultless scary scenes. The plot seemed kinda plotless, a dead end story with a real point. With a ghost using water as a medium to contact the living it seemed like a great idea but felt like it wasn’t developed enough to be the main plot point, nor was the attempt of a romantic storyline that ran beside it. Also the plot seemed to have the characters in a never ending loop, with the same events occurring time and time again with only minor differences.

In hindsight, perhaps I was the wrong audience to read this book, with the characters being untreatable to me and a little flat, with no real back story apart from what was necessary to keep the plot alive and going. The relationship between the brothers was odd to say the least, I could never quite figure out whether the flashbacks experienced by Cee, the main protagonist, were real or not, because they just portrayed him as a bad person.

If you are perhaps wanting a good supernatural book avoid this, not that it didn’t have good points, just not enough for me to consider them outweighing the bad. This book wasn’t what I was expecting, however I couldn’t put it done as I had to know if it would get any better, unfortunately it didn’t. That’s why it’s only getting 2 dragons from me.

2 Stars

Happy Reading,
Ellie

Around The World In About 10 Minutes

I’d like to travel, not like hop on a boat with a map and compass for a year alone travel, and not drunken weekends and alcohol amnesia travel. But just travel, go places that aren’t what I consider home, to me it can be half way across the globe or just up the road. Today I thought I would share with you some of the places I want to visit. Now if you are all aware of the emergency exits and have perused the safety leaflet prepare for take off.

Devon:

We are starting off close to home, kinda, well England. No reason for this one really, it just looks lovely, relaxing, and full of original charm. And check out the beaches, I’d happily grab an ice cream and a bag of chips and sit there for a while!

Bath:

Let’s not go too far on this trip shall we. Bath, where to start? First of all the Roman baths, who doesn’t want to go there? With it’s extraordinary architecture and the ability to transport you back in time with water, it’s oozes a relaxing vibe and I have received very great views about it. Onto another piece of architecture I would love to visit the Royal Cresent in Bath, it’s shire size and magnitude are a much more than what’s conveyed through the pictures, so I can’t imagine how big and impressive it is in the flesh, well brick.

Australia

Now this location has much more of personal reason for my visit, she’s been asking for a mention for ages so here it is. My friend who I haven’t seen since primary school, Hannah (Hi out there if you’re reading!) she’s currently visiting me in my natural habitat, and I would be pretty awesome to visit her in her’s. Plus, Australia seems like a great place, if you exclude the storms, flash flood, hail, and forest fire season! Very idyllic indeed!

Washington DC:

You can’t have one of these posts and not go to America! That would be wrong! DC has always been on my list, for as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to go and see Mr President, well his house, they’d never let me near 😛 It looks like one of them places that is constantly busy, but calm all out once, that and I think my subconscious hopes that if I get there the film ‘National Treasure’ might just happen!

New York:

NEW YORK! NEW YORK! The tourist capital of the world, everybody has been, even King Kong! Unlike DC this place is a recent addition to my list, I was never really interested in New York really, but then I read ‘From Notting Hill To New York…Actually’ by Ali McNamara and my view was changed completely. I quickly fell in love with this city of convenience and history, therefore I deserves a place on my list.  

If you’d all make sure your seatbelts are secure as we come in to land. There was a little preview into my ‘Places to Visit’ list, yep I actually have one! Sorry it’s not really bookish, but I’m working on expanding my horizions, that and I have some fab reviews coming up for you in the next few weeks.

We hope you enjoyed flying with ‘EllieAir’ have a safe trip home, we hope to see you soon!

Emma Haughton | Author Interview

You can’t say I didn’t come back with a bang, can you? Two weeks ago you got an announcement and a guest post, and last week you got a more original post. I think we can all truly say Miss Backwards is back on track. Yesterday you got a review of ‘Now You See Me’ by Emma Haughton, and today I thought I would treat you all to an exclusive interview with Emma herself! I know, how lucky are you all?

This opportunity was amazing for me, so I would like to thank Emma for it. Yesterday you saw how much I loved ‘Now You See Me’ so being able to ask questions to the author was truly awesome. I hope this is something you guys will be seeing more of, and I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did conducting it.

As a reader, I really enjoyed how the book was broken up into two different times in the first half, was it difficult writing like that? Did you have a certain process like writing the present first then the past?
Yes. When you have a dual time narrative like that, it’s much easier initially to write it all through in chronological order, and then interweave the chapters so that they reflect and enhance one another. In Now You See Me there was quite a lot of shifting around, I seem to remember, even well into the publisher edits.

In hindsight, working with two time periods was a tricky thing to do in a first book. I’m doing it again with my third, and I have a bit more confidence now that it will work. *crosses fingers*

Missing people is slowly becoming a more talked about and common thing, was it difficult to write about such an emotional subject?
I sort of came at the subject backwards, inasmuch as the real life situation which captivated me focussed more on what happened further down the narrative line. But I quickly realised that for that ‘real time’ part of the story to have enough emotional power, I’d have to dig back further into how and why Danny went missing in the first place.

And yes, it is a very emotional subject, but if anything that’s a gift to writers; the more emotion inherent in a situation, the more there is to work with. That makes me sound very clinical, but I think writers have to develop some emotional distance from the subject they’re writing about, in order to focus more on the mechanics of storytelling.

Can you give us a short, spoilerfree, summary of your book?
Oh, blimey. Well, it’s the story of Hannah, age 13, and her best friend Danny, who goes missing one Sunday afternoon. It follows the impact on Hannah, and on Danny’s family – and then what happens when his disappearance takes on avery unexpected twist.

And as I mentioned, it is based on a true story, but I can’t possibly say what that is or it will be a spoiler. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to email me for details once they’ve read the book!

There is quite an unexpected twist/reveal in the book, what served as inspiration for this, and how did you manage to keep the audience in the dark throughout? Because I certainly didn’t guess it would be that!
Well, that is what happened in real life, incredible though it may seem. And in many ways, it was what inspired me to write Now You See Me. I wasn’t so interested in why someone would goes missing, but what would motivate someone to exploit the situation in that way.

What writers inspire you?
Yikes, how long have we got? I read loads when I was young, and did English at university, so I’ve got through quite a lot of books. In adult fiction my favourite writers are Sarah Waters, Anne Tyler, Edward St Aubyn, Jane Austen, Will Self, Doestoevsky, Bulgakov, Salinger, Brett Easton Ellis… I’m sure I’m forgetting some. In terms of children’s/YA writers, Eve Ainsworth, Sarah Sky, Lee Weatherly, Helen Grant, Patrick Ness… oh god, my brain is going blank. My standout YA book of the last few years is definitely We Were Liars by E Lockahrt, which just blew me away.

Do you have a particular writing process? Like a certain spot or time of day perhaps? Or are you a ‘write as inspiration strikes’ kind of writer?
I’d like to say I have a process, but it’s pretty much sit down most days, mess about a lot on social media, then eventually force myself to do some writing. Inspiration tends to follow on the back of getting stuck in. How difficult that is depends on what stage I’m at with a book. I hate first drafts and having to find all this stuff in my head from scratch – I find that really hard work, and am easily unnerved by the fact that it all tends to be a bit rubbish in these early stages. I much prefer further down the line – say, the third draft onwards – where I’ve worked out all the nuts and bolts of the story and just have to tweak and polish. I love tinkering with words.

Publisher edits are a bit of a slog too. There’s nothing more daunting than having to pick apart a book you’ve spent so long perfecting, then shuffle it all about and try and sew it all up again. But it’s always worth it in the end.

In terms of a writing spot, I tend to write propped up on my bed with my computer on my lap. I just find it the most comfortable way to type.

My personal favourite, if you could have a tea party with any other 5 writers (alive or dead) who would it be and why?
Aaarrrghhh, what a brilliant question! *holds head in hands and thinks hard* Jane Austen, because I think she’d be so witty and sharp. MixhaelBulgakov, because I’d love the opportunity to tell him that he wrote my favourite book ever, The Master and Margarita.Shakespeare because… well, Shakespeare! Enid Blyton because I have so many fond memories of her books, and she helped develop my passion for reading. And… hmm, let me see… Will Self, who’s very much alive. Partly because I loved How the Dead Live and partly because he’s so clever and humorous and I think would be very good company for tea.

That’s it folks. I’d like to thank Emma for her amazing answers! She was lovely to interview, well as lovely as a person can be via email, I think we might have picked up a VIP follower! So all of you on your best behaviour.