My name is Khadijah, I'm 18 years old and I love reading. I've been blogging on Stories from the Web for nearly a year, and it was great fun writing reviews and babbling about books. So when Library of Birmingham asked me to be a Young Libraries blogger for their new website I was keen to get involved. Every month I'm going to give you a trio of book reviews (hence 'tReviews') and, as an (aspiring) author of one and a half books; some writing tips too!
The Second Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling
After reading The Jungle Book and being quite simply blown away by its awesomeness, I was all hyped up and ready to be just as enthralled by its sequel. Well, let's just say it was a little underwhelming, maybe more so because I had such high expectations, but it wasn't a patch on its predecessor. Half of the book is taken up with sub-stories that are completely irrelevant to the main Jungle and although some might say they were interesting enough tales in themselves, I wouldn't agree. While The Second Jungle Book is still wonderfully written, the magic is a little lost and the plot failed to capture my imagination like it did in the first. Besides, what is up with the ending? I hated it!
Black Butler vol 1 - Yana Toboso
As a lover of art, I will often pick up a book based on the illustrations. That was pretty much the case with Black Butler. It's all frilly and full of gorgeous dresses and pretty details - and food. At first you might mistake this book for a slice-of-life manga but there's more to it than meets the eye, with the solving of mysterious, chilling and sometimes grotesque crimes - many of which are based on real historical events; an element of the story that I really appreciated. Although admittedly there are a great deal of pages dedicated to comic relief, there is definitely a deeper, darker side to Black Butler involving curses, cults, Grimm Reapers and demon contracts. Definitely worth hanging around for. I would recommend this series to anyone who has read and enjoyed similar manga such as Death Note, Hell Girl and Another.
Back to Blackbrick - Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
This book was not what I was expecting when I was asked to review it. It's about a young boy called Cosmo who is losing his beloved grandfather to Alzheimers disease. That's what I got from the synopsis. So I thought it was going to be a rather typical, tear-jerking novel about people suffering from heart-breaking and incurable diseases. Well I was wrong. It doesn't settle for the conventional route of raising awareness about sad realities. It's funny, and it's sad, with a surprising element of fantasy and dark undertones. Dark enough to prevent me from completing the book. Yes, I didn't finish - but that's just because I'm a tad faint-hearted about the upsetting subjects this story deals with. Fans of John Green should put this on their to-read list.
If I wanted, I could just run off an entire book-load of oft-repeated writing advice, suggested and recommended by authors and other professionals alike;
-> Keep a notebook with you at all times.
-> Set aside hours dedicated to writing.
-> Make realistic goals.
-> Read read read.
Same old, same old. Anyone serious about writing a book would instinctively do all of the above. So as a fellow aspiring author, I am going to keep it real with the aim of giving you some uncut gems of advice about writing and how to get the best out of your talent and ambitions!
For the sake of consistent progression, it is very important to write as regularly as possible. Preferably, try to get a little something done each day. Don't be fooled into thinking "progression" means writing ten chapters in two hours. If the juices of story-telling aren't flowing, don't be disheartened and focus instead on going back to edit old chapters. This can be anything from spying out typos, correcting grammatical errors, editing paragraphs, sussing out plot-holes and so on. You'll be expected to do all this after the completion of your story anyway, so why not get a head-start? What's more, revisiting what you've already written will strengthen what you write next. That's never a bad thing.