Thoughts on Travels: Marlborough.

Let me tell you about Marlborough: There is nothing to do in Marlborough in the spring if you’re lazy. The merchants house is closed, so all you’ve got is the main street and the market. I’d shopped enough. There was nothing to do.

I stayed at this place called The Lambs Inn, which had the softest bed I’ve ever slept on. But the town was kind of meh. That is, in terms of travelling. It’s the sort of town I’d like to live in. But I wouldn’t travel there again on purpose.

There’s an old church you can’t go in, a bookstore, and a few cafes. The Green Dragon doesn’t have a single Lord of the Rings reference. WTH man!

I stayed here because I didn’t know what I was doing, and it was close, but different to where I had been. Plus trip advisor lied and anything of interest is a bit too far to walk. Anything interesting involved a car.

That said, there are no mistakes in Travel. (well they are, but they usually involve giving too much money to a taxi driver or something) It was still a good experience and it taught me to research a bit more before I blindly jump into a location. Rest days are fun, but they don’t make for good blog posts.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash

Thoughts on Travels | Highworth

So Highworth is about 10 minutes out from Swindon in Wiltshire. It’s quite a small town, boasting one high street and a market day on Saturdays. I spent about 3 days here between placements and I didn’t do much.

I stayed in the Inn above The Saracens Head pub. It’s a 400 year old pub. At that time I was still awed at how absolutely awesome it is to stay in a pub that’s older than White Australia. No biggie. Now I’m old hat at it. lol I’m kidding.

There’s a lovely old church that I was able to go into on my last day, unfortunately my camera (who I should really name) was already packed and so I couldn’t take any pictures. They were all set up for easter and they had this green house bit and stuff, which was pretty neat.

There’s a pretty large co-op in town, and a nice library, I spent a bit of time there.

It really got me started on the question of whether I should be spending all my time travelling or not. Because I need to have down time, but at the same time I feel like if I don’t spend my time travelling then it’s time wasted. I’ve come to the conclusion that I can do what I want, and I don’t have to travel every day if I don’t want to.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash

The Lunar Chronicles | Marissa Meyer

Alternatively titled: Sometimes I play tricks on myself by assigning something and forgetting about it until I have to write it.

The Series

Cinder is a cyborg in New Beijing. Unbeknownst to her she is the long thought dead Lunar Queen. If only her Aunt would let her be. Scarlet just wants to find her grandmother and work on their farm. If only Cinders Aunt would let her. Cress just wants to get off her satellite and be in love with Thorne. If only her queen would let her. And Winter just wants Jacin. If only her step-mother would let her.

The Plot.

– Possesses a solid plot. The story progresses at a good pace and I never found moments where I needed to know what was happening elsewhere when our heroes were split up.

– Although the “bio-electricity” felt a little like Marissa Meyer wanted to have this feature and had to think of a science-y way to do it. That was the weakest part for me.

The Characters.

– I love them.

– I felt that their character arcs were strong and they didn’t progress too quickly or anything.

– Also their relationships to each other is just… amazeballs.

The Conflict. 

– Occurred naturally without excess.

– I feel like the conflict was only necessary because otherwise there would be no resolution, but I don’t think you’d miss too much without it. If that makes sense. The book holds it’s own without it.

I know I’ve done these books separately before, but I wanted to do them as a series because it’s an incredibly well written quadrilogy and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a new YA dystopia.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash

 

 

Zero Day | Jan Gangsei

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The Book

Follows Addie Webster: Presidents Daughter. She was kidnapped when she was small, and now, eight years later, she has returned. Things are different, people have moved on. What else could they do? But why, after all this time has she returned? And who is she now? Featuring: First Daughter, the chatty bodyguard, terrorists, teenager has to save everyone.

The Plot

– It was a compelling mystery. Are really aren’t sure where Addie stands through most of the book. It would have been interesting to look at it from an unreliable narrator stand point, but you never really got that in there.

– It was an interesting premise. Of course, to focus on the presidents daughter is just icing on the cake, but the whole “someone-returns-after-being-kidnapped-young” thing is interesting, it is unfortunate that Jan didn’t really show how messed up she’d be. Regardless of how much she ended up liking her kidnappers (spoiler) she was freaking kidnapped!

The Characters

– Despite Addie being the protagonist, I really didn’t see her shine. There was never that moment where I thought “You know what? I like this girl” which is just unfortunate.

– That said, we did manage to get a peek at her vulnerability. She wasn’t as head strong and cock sure (or is it the other way around) as most YA protagonists are, which is refreshing.

The Conflict

– It was entertaining enough. As I mentioned earlier, the mystery was compelling, which meant that the conflict didn’t have to be huge, but it did have to live up to the hype of the mystery.

– I’m of the opinion that books should really exist alone. Sure, have a series, but the whole plot should really be resolved by the end. I dislike cliff-hangers. Sure they get you to read the next one, but unless you baddy is The Big Bad (a la Voldemort in HP) slap him in cuffs and have the superserum fall down a drain. Someone else can find it next.

Point of Dis/Interest

– Obvious Love Triangle is Obvious.

Etc. Why do YA books exclusively target Teens?

Technically speaking, you need to be an adult to be a young adult. Which means you need to be at least 18. So why are YA books targeted at teens? The protagonist is nearly always still in school and honestly, the older I get the more that annoys me. I am a young adult damnit! everyone else is a teenager!

You get some good YA books that are accessible to all ages, but they’re not so much in the YA genre. While Harry Potter might still be in school, I don’t find it an annoying extra. I don’t find Harry annoying just because he’s still in school. everyone else it’s free range though.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash

Lived In: I just need a hug 12-05-2017

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I have not had an honest-to-goodness bestfriend/family bug in three months, one day, and about thirteen hours. And that was from my sister who is a notorious “I don’t Hug”ger.

When you live like I do, moving every few weeks; working, literally, all the time, you don’t make many friends – which is another post altogether.

I am starved for any type of physical intimacy. I’m not talking any remotely close to getting my kit off with anyone else, I’m talking hugs. I’m talking hip bops, hell, I’d take a hair muss right about now.

And before you (parents/family) leave a comment saying something along the lines of “you just need to power through it blah blah blah” I know. I just need to power through it because the only other option is returning. This isn’t a few weeks away I miss my parents type of post. This is a post saying that I am so starved for interaction that I literally don’t know what will happen if someone pays me any sort of attention in the real world. So don’t you go posting anything like that.

I don’t have an answer for this one yet. I’ll let you know if I find one.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash

Something in the Heir | Jenny Gardiner

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I call this one : I’m too lazy to go out and take a picture of this one. oops

Etc. What bad writing can teach us.

Something in the Heir is a hallmark movie in a book. It is every “Royal-falls in love with a pleb” book in one. It’s got the overbearing mother, the Savvy female pleb, the giggly best friend, and of course the dreamily single Prince. I thought about doing this proper, but then I thought that the whole thing would be a joke, so instead I thought I’d just talk about what bad writing can teach us.

  1. It can teach us how to write better ourselves. I’m not much of a writer any more. Not fiction, although I desperately wish I was. And while I think sometimes my plots are alright, my writing can be a bit iffy at times. Often we can’t read our own work objectively, but if we read other people’s bad writing we can see what’s wrong. which allows us to apply it to our own work.
  2. We notice the good writing more because they stand out like Diamonds on that black velvet stand they always show them on. So not only can we learn how to correct our own work, we can learn about those little gems of writing that would otherwise be covered by other exceptional areas that other books have.
  3. And finally, the last thing bad books can teach us is… not to read bad books.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash

 

The Forest of Hands and Teeth |Carrie Ryan

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The Book

Follows Mary in Post-Apocalyptic “Unconsecrated” (read: Zombie) world. She has grown up in a medieval type village surrounded by a large fence. hat on earth could go wrong? When (spoiler) the zombies break through, Mary and her friends are forced to wander The Forest of Hands and Teeth in search of safety. Featuring: “our Zombies are Different,” The Friend Zone,

The Plot

– It had an interesting premise, medieval zombies, but I found that any sort of action for me was clouded. I felt one step (or more) away from it. Like someone was telling a story, not in the action .

– It was just sort of slow and ambling. Despite the danger in the book, it felt like a dream where you could see your goal but no matter how fast you ran the goal was always the same distance away.

The Characters

– I found the characters wooden and life-less.

– I also found them really difficult to care about. I felt nothing for these characters, and that is not commonplace for me!

The Conflict

– It was not memorable. It was as slow and ambling as the rest of the novel.

Points of Dis/Interest

– I found no sense of world building.

– It’s a tired dystopia. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of dystopia novels, give me something interesting.

Etc. How to make new Zombie Stories

  1. Focus on different people. In the Flesh does this really well. Instead of the same Zombie story, we get the aftermath. We get a Previously Deceased Syndrome Sufferer who killed himself back living with his parents who lived through the “rotter” apocalypse.
  2. If you can’t do that, tell an old story in a new way. The Youtube Short Zombie Musical tells the same story in a new format. A Musical! It turns the gore-y story in it’s head and turns into a comedy with better depth because we’re focussing on these two sisters making it in the Zombie Apocalypse, not the zombies themselves. We’re a step removed, but it’s a step in the right direction.

I’m no expert, Zombie movies are always my cup of tea, but there are ways to make Zombies interesting and new. And these are some of them.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash