Mystery Blogger Award Tag

I don’t do these chain award tag posts anymore if I’m honest. A lot of them are for new bloggers and I’m long from being a new blogger but I was tagged in one the other day which was mostly Disney themed and it looked like fun so I wanted to join in. I’m not sure if this tag is designed for new bloggers or just anyone who fancies doing it but what I’m going to do is tag 10 bloggers with under 500 blog followers at the end of this post for you to check out and spread the love! Thank you to Charlie from That is the Spell for my nomination, do go and check out his wonderful blog!

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Random Question Generator Q&A 

I stumbled across a blog post from Gemma at An Ocean Glimmer which I loved the idea of and immediately wanted to give it a go myself! We’ve all done the typical Q&A where we ask our followers for questions but this one includes questions from a random question generator and will include 10 completely random questions. Ready? Let’s see what questions I get… 

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{Tag} 11 Things You Didn’t Know

So like, many moons ago, I was tagged in the 11 Things You Didn’t Know tag by the lovely Ashton from Beauty, Books and Babble and because I’m useless I completely glossed over it. But, you know the saying, better late than never right? Ashton has given me 11 random questions to answer which may reveal some things you never ever knew about me… And I’ll be leaving some questions for anyone else who wants to do this tag at the bottom! Enjoy!

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Four Things Tag

I’ve been stuck for blog post ideas. Like, really stuck. But I figure, you can’t go wrong with a trusty “tag” post, can you? I pinched this one of Danielle from Underland to Wonderland (who’s blog is fantastic, by the way!) and it’s called the “Four Things Tag” where, unsurprisingly, you name four things under each category. So lo and behold, here are my answers!

Four Jobs I’ve Had

1) Sales assistant at Primark. Loosely translated to: Chatting to friends all day and having sock fights.
2) Optical assistant at Vision Express. Loosely translated to: Cringing as you take photos of people’s retinas.
3) Voluntary teaching assistant. Loosely translated to: I don’t like kids. Why am I even here?
4) Admin assistant at my mum’s work. Basically getting my travel for free and eating all day.

Four Things I Don’t Eat

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The TMI Travel Tag!

travelI pinched this off of Katy’s blog, The Lilac Scrapbook (which is awesome by the way, go check it out!) and although I wasn’t tagged I loved the idea of a travel survey to talk about where you’ve been, where you’d like to go and share some photos! I won’t tag anyone at the end as I wasn’t tagged myself but if you’d like to do it then go ahead! (Be sure to credit it to Wanderness as she made the tag up!) Continue reading

Book Review: The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths

a book with magic22838934Title: The Zig Zag Girl

Author: Elly Griffiths

Publisher: Quercus

Blurb: Brighton, 1950.

When the body of a girl is found, cut into three, Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens is reminded of a magic trick, the Zig Zag Girl.

The inventor of the trick, Max Mephisto, is an old friend of Edgar’s. They served together in the war as part of a shadowy unit called the Magic Men.

Max is still on the circuit, touring seaside towns in the company of ventriloquists, sword-swallowers and dancing girls. Changing times mean that variety is not what it once was, yet Max is reluctant to leave this world to help Edgar investigate. But when the dead girl turns out to be known to him, Max changes his mind.

Another death, another magic trick: Edgar and Max become convinced that the answer to the murders lies in their army days. When Edgar receives a letter warning of another ‘trick’, the Wolf Trap, he knows that they are all in danger… Continue reading

Leibster Award

I was nominated for a Leibster Award by the lovely Cherelle from www.readinginpeace.blogspot.com! It’s really nice to know someone thinks highly enough of my blog to nominate me so thank you so much!

LiebsterAward

For those who don’t know, a Leibster Award is an online award bloggers give to other new (or relatively new) bloggers that they like and is a way to recognise those with fewer than 200 followers (the rules always differ but that’s the general idea!) The person who nominates you will provide 10 questions for you to answer then in your post you answer the questions, nominate your favourite bloggers and ask them a set of 10 different questions which they then answer and so on. I think it’s a lovely idea because we all know how hard it is being a newbie blogger in a world where thousands of people are doing exactly the same thing as you!

Here are my answers to the questions Cherelle asked me. They’re great questions and took a lot of thought! Sorry for rambling!

1. Who is your all time favourite book boyfriend?
Will anyone judge me if I say Christian Grey? Yep? Ok then. I’m kidding. I’ve not actually read many books with strong male characters in (from what I can remember anyway) so I’m just going to pick someone who I really warmed too and that was Reggie from The Naughty Girls Book Club. My reasons for this is because firstly, someone posted a photo on Twitter of Andrew Garfield and said that he should play Reggie in the movie and from that point on all I could see was Andrew Garfield with messy hair and glasses (ugh!) Reggie is such a sweet character than opens up so much throughout the book and really finds himself.

2. Have you ever started a book and not been able to finish it? If so what was it?
I have unfortunately – it was Natural Causes by James Oswald. I always try and finish books even if I don’t enjoy it but I got about 100 pages in with the one and felt like hanging myself from the rafters. I was surprised though because it’s a crime novel and that’s one of my favourite genres so I was really disappointed but I just found myself really having to concentrate on every single word I was reading. It didn’t flow very well and I didn’t understand what was going on the majority of the time. There were names being flown about all over the shop and I didn’t know who anyone was!

3. Who is your role model/inspiration?
This was a difficult one because to be honest, I don’t really have that one person who I completely look up to but if I had to chose, it’d probably be someone like Emma Watson. She hasn’t gone off the rails like most child stars these days (Amanda Bynes and Miley Cyrus anyone?) and she seems like a genuinely lovely person and despite being one of the richest 23 year olds in the world she isn’t stuck up or a diva. I also admire her for packing her bags and moving to America on her own to go to college after the Harry Potter movies finished. It’s great that she cares about her education and it’s an incredibly brave thing to do so hats off to her!

4. If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be and why?
I would love to meet Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower (in fact, I’d like to meet all of them!) He’s so sweet and I think he’d make you see the world completely differently to how you saw it before. He also loves books so I don’t think we’d be stuck for conversation! 

5. Where is your favourite place to read?
Anywhere! In bed or in the bath if I’m at home or on a sun-lounger if I was on holiday. I can remember getting through my fair share of books whilst in foreign countries!

6. If you were stuck on a desert island what 2 books would you take with you?
I’d probably take The Fault In Our Stars because I can imagine feeling a bit lonely and numb if I was stuck on an island on my own and that never fails to open up your emotions and probably Lord of The Rings because I’ve always wanted to read it and it’s really long so it’d keep me occupied for a while!

7. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I’d love to visit Thailand and then go to the island where The Beach was filmed because it looks like paradise and it’s always been a lifetime ambition of mine to go to Norway to see the Northern Lights – they’re so beautiful and magical I can’t even begin to imagine what it feels like to see them.

8. What is your favourite TV program?
Oh no I have loads! I’m currently watching Breaking Bad and that’s amazing! I also love Prison Break, LOST, Desperate Housewives and One Tree Hill but you can’t beat a good F.r.i.e.n.d.s episode!

9. If you could choose, what book would you like to see made into a movie?
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson-Walker. I love that book and I think it would translate brilliantly onto the big screen if they got it right! Or maybe a Cecelia Ahern book like The Book of Tomorrow, A Place Called Here or Time of Your Life – they’d make very different and interesting films I think!

10. What is your favourite genre to read?
I think crime/thriller is my favourite. Something with a bit of suspense that keeps you guessing with a nice big twist at the end!

CharlooDividerNow it’s time for me to nominate who I think deserves the award! I know some of the people I’ve chose aren’t that new to blogging but nevertheless I think they all deserve it so here’s my nominations and a little explanation as to why I chose them!

I am nominating:

Charlotte from www.miscrawl.wordpress.com. She’s one of the first people I followed when I started blogging and I remember emailing her and asking for some advice on how to get my blog noticed. She’s a lovely girl and her blog covers a range of things from book reviews to general rants so it’s definitely worth a follow!

Laura and co. from shelovestoread are my second choice. I’ve spoken to Laura a bit recently on Facebook and really opened up to her about some personal problems which she kindly helped me with and shared her story with me too. Her blog is really girlie and pink so of course, I love it but it’s also quite professional with author interviews and profiles.

Next is Megan from readinginthesunshine. Megan is one of the loveliest people I know from blogging and Twitter – she’s always so kind to everyone! I love her blog and her reviews too, they’re always consistent and she clearly puts a lot of effort into her blog.

Lastly I’m nominating my (real life) friend, Mike and his blog grungernews. Mike runs a music review blog and you can tell he really knows what he’s talking about because all his posts are lengthy and in-depth about whatever he’s talking about. Mike’s been passionate about music for as long as I can remember and is quite new to blogging so that’s why I think he deserves it!

And here are your questions:

1) If you could only listen to one band/singer for the rest of your life who would it be and why?

2) Which 4 celebrities would you invite to your dream dinner party and why?

3) What movie adaptation do you think has been truest to their book and why?

4) If there was a movie made about your life who would you want to play you?

5) How do you think your best friend would describe you? (Without asking them!)

6) Do you prefer events to be planned right down to the smallest detail or do you like to go with the flow?

7) If you could move anywhere in the world for the rest of your life, with money not being an issue, where would it be and why?

8) Who is your role model/inspiration?

9) Which TV show could you watch over again without getting bored?

10) What would be your weapon of choice/tactic if you were chosen to go in the Hunger Games?

Book Review: The Star Child by Stephanie Keyes & author interview

13139452What it’s about:

The world is about to be cloaked in darkness. Only one can stop the night. 

Kellen St. James has spent his entire life being overlooked as an unwanted, ordinary, slightly geeky kid. When the sudden death of his Gran takes him from the East coast to the rugged cliffs of Western Ireland, all that changes. That is until a beautiful girl, one who has haunted his dreams for the past eleven years of his life, shows up spinning tales of a prophecy. Not just any old prophecy either, but one in which Kellen plays a key role.

Suddenly, Kellen finds himself on the run through a Celtic underworld of faeries and demons, angels and gods, not to mention a really ticked off pack of hellhounds, all in order to save the world from darkness. But will they make it in time?

CharlooDividerReview:


This was the first book I got given by Loveahappyending magazine to review so naturally I was quite eager and excited to see what they had in store for me and I definitely was not expecting to read something like this! This book is about a teenage boy called Kellen and despite his infuriating father and intelligence beyond his years, is a seemingly normal boy. Until a girl who has appeared in his dreams comes to him and explains that she is a goddess and a foreseen prophecy shows that he must marry her and help save the world from evil that will eventually plunge the world as we know it into darkness and destruction forever. Although this book centres a lot around the mythical stories of the pagan Gods it also teaches you that you can find courage within yourself that you never knew you had, importance of family and what it’s like to find your true love.

When I think of YA fiction, I expect love stories, awkward encounters and generally a quite straight-forward read but Stephanie has taken the meaning of YA to a whole new level. She has very carefully mixed mythology into an otherwise very ordinary story of a teenage boy and being a young adult myself, It has definitely encouraged me to venture out of my comfort zone in the future. I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading and found that it was written from a males perspective as I can’t recall reading many books like that as of late. Kellen is a very likeable main character which you quickly learn has had some bad experiences in his 17 years which instantly leaves you rooting for him – whatever he may face. Stephanie describes all the characters in the book very well and pays excellent attention to detail which I think in a book like this is key. I don’t read much fantasy but I instantly liked how the two worlds overlapped. At the beginning, you see Kellen has just graduated from university and hear about some unresolved issues with his father and from the very beginning I had a inkling that there was something different about Kellen then once the story of the Gods unfolds everything starts falling into place. The whole idea of the pagan gods was fascinating and although at first I found myself a bit dumbstruck at all these names flying about I became completely engrossed and actually went through the liberty of doing my own research into the subject matter! It felt very much like ‘Clash of the Titans’ which made me think a story like this would relate very well to the big screen.

This book is everything a YA fantasy novel should be; emotional, heart-warming and amusing at times with plenty of romance, excitement and action. It’s weird and wonderful and truly unique. The epilogue gave me shivers as it indicates that Kellen’s journey isn’t over and there’s more adventure to come in the sequel. Personally, I think the days of werewolves and vampires are over and Stephanie will definitely be a new, upcoming voice for Young Adult readers out there.

CharlooDividerInterview:

1) Hi Stephanie, thanks for answering some questions today. Can you tell us what The Star Child is about and what we can expect? 

Sure. The Star Child is about a seventeen-year-old prodigy, Kellen St. James, who is haunted by a young girl for the first eleven years of his life. When Kellen loses his Gran and inherits her home in Ireland, he decides to abandon his life in the US. That’s an easy choice, however, because his father and brother are cruel and unfeeling. On the day of Kellen’s college graduation at age seventeen, he leaves his life in the states behind. When he arrives in Ireland, he comes face-to-face with the girl from his dreams, Calienta, and we find out she’s just as real as he is. Calienta shares a prophecy with Kellen, which claims he is the only one who can save her family and Earth as we know it from an encroaching darkness. The pagan predictions that Calienta shares also imply that Kellen and Calienta will marry and Kellen will become an immortal member of royalty. Together, Calienta and Kellen embark on a journey that will take them through the magical world of Faerie and lead them straight into one another’s arms.

2) Have you always wanted to be a writer? 

When I was young, I wanted to be a journalist and then a music teacher. Eventually I moved into corporate training roles in Human Resources and IT. I didn’t revisit writing fiction again until the idea for The Star Child came to me. When I first started writing it, I had no idea it would become my first novel, let alone part of a trilogy.

3) How much research went into this book? 

Quite a bit. I liked the idea of incorporating Irish or Celtic folklore into The Star Child. I remember, I had boxes of books arriving from Amazon for weeks! Also, I spent a huge number of hours at the library. I did take a trip to Ireland, though I didn’t realize that I would be incorporating a lot of what I learned into a book later on. Of course, my own Irish Gran provided many of the stories of the “Good People”, which sparked my interest.

4) What inspired you to write fantasy novels over other genres?

These days, it seems as though everything is reality-driven. We have reality-TV, social networking, reality-based film. Personally, I don’t need reality. If I’m going to pick up a book, I want it to be an escape, which is why I started reading in the first place. What better way to do that than through Fantasy? It takes us out of our daily lives and allows us to imagine something a little more fantastic than we normally would.

5) Who are some of your favourite authors that you would recommend?

I am a huge fan of O.R. Melling. I also enjoy Carrie Jones, Kate Tiernan, Melissa de la Cruz, and Alyson Noel.

6) You have 2 young sons and from what I can imagine, most young boys love anything fantasy that they can get lost in. How has having 2 boys impacted your writing career? Do you ever seek ideas/inspiration from them or vice versa?

Ha. You would think so. My six-year-old told me that he doesn’t like fairy tales! I couldn’t believe it. Statements of invalidation aside, I think it’s impacted me in terms of how I write. I used to insist on total quiet and no interruptions. I’ve learned, however, that I’m not always going to get that. Now I think I writer faster and smarter, because my time is limited. Also, my boys remind me to constantly look beyond the black and white—they keep my imagination alive.

7) Did you self publish your book or go with a publishing company? What made you decide to do so? 

The Star Child was originally self-published. However, I was frustrated by the amount of marketing that is involved when you self-publish. You really are your own and it’s tough. After a month and a half of working sixty-hour a week, trying to write, and raise a family, I started submitting TSC to small presses. The Star Child was accepted by Inkspell Publishing and released in September 2012. They released the second book The Fallen Stars in April 2013, and the third and final book in the series, The Star Catcher is slated for November 2013.

8) At the back of the book, you’ve put together some characters melodies for the book. Do you have any music qualifications or thought about pursuing a musical career?

That’s so cool that you noticed those—not everyone does. At one time I was a music major. I studied classical clarinet for fourteen years, played the saxophone, and sang. Now I just write music for fun. The character melodies are simply a part of my process that I like to share with readers.

9) Do you have any words of wisdom to aspiring authors out there?

Join a critique group! It’s so important to get feedback. No one is so talented that they don’t need it. It may be tough to take at first, but its crucial for writers in terms of developing their craft. 

10) Is there a sequel to Kellen’s story? If so, where can we pick it up?

Yes, there is a free novelette, After Faerie (1.5), which is available for download in any eBook format via my website or on Inkspell Publishing. The next full-length novel, The Fallen Stars (2), is available on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, All Romance Books, The Book Depository, Books-a-Million. The Star Catcher (3) will be released this November.

CharlooDivider

31898_556931191008351_1662022650_nAbout Stephanie Keyes

Stephanie Keyes has worked for the past twelve years as a corporate educator and curriculum designer in the Telecommunications industry. She holds a Master’s degree in Education with a specialization in Instructional Technology from Duquesne University and an Undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems from Robert Morris University. She is a classically trained clarinettist, but also plays the saxophone and sings. When she’s not writing, she is a wife to a wonderfully supportive husband and mother to three: two little boys and one cock-a-poo princess. The Star Child is Mrs Keyes’ first novel.

Friend her on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter: @StephanieKeyes
Check out Stephanie’s website
Featured author at Loveahappyending.com
and find Stephanie’s books on her Amazon author page