Irish books from my childhood

Recently, my sister and I were trying to remember classic novels we read in primary school. Most of them, were classic Irish books written by Irish writers. I dont think I have ever talked about Irish books on my blog before. I think I need to change that. I have another idea for a blog post related to Irish books or Irish writing, which Ill post in the next week or so. But for now, lets delve into my childhood and look at some Irish books that I read when I was young.

 

Drumshee Chronicles by Cora Harrison (Titanic and Murder Strikes Back)

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I remember these vividly. It was a series of books, written by Cora Harrison, which are historical novels for children which tell the history of Ireland through two millennia. These stories talk about the Celts, monks, Vikings and the Normans, the 1798 revolution, the Great Famine etc. My favourite books from the series, or the ones I remember most, are Murder Strikes Back and Titanic Voyage.

Titanic Voyage Synopsis:  Kitty loves everything about the magnificent Titanic – its splendour, wearing her beautiful gold necklace at the ceilis, meeting other passengers, including handsome John. She began to get quite fond of the two children in her care, Robert and Tabitha. She did not even once think of her grandmother’s words as she left Drumshee:
‘That necklace must never leave Drumshee, or bad luck will follow.”

And then disaster strikes. As the Titanic starts to sink and the terrified passengers begin to panic, Kitty realises that Robert and Tabitha are missing.

Murder Strikes Back: In fifth century Ireland, Christianity was new and strange, and Cetterick, the priest, had been cruel and arrogant and had made many enemies.
But which one of those enemies hated him enough to kill him?
Was it the unfortunate slave boy?
The jealous druid?
The goldsmith in fear for his life?
The wife whom Cetterick had abandoned?
The farmer cheated of his land?
And what about the beautiful Mara? What was she doing outside the chapel?
Once again murder strikes at Drumshee, and once again Ita and her fellow students at Drumshee law school set out to solve the mystery.

The novels provide interesting history lessons of Ireland’s past through fictional stories. If you are interested in Irish history, maybe try out these books. I might do a review on them down the line. I havent read them since I was a child so I want to see if they hold up today.

 

When the Sea Calls by Don Conroy
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Synopsis: Sinéad Keane is a lonely young girl growing up in the west of Ireland in the early 1900s. Her mother died tragically in a drowning accident seventeen years earlier. She was pregnant with Sinéad at the time. Whenever Sinéad enquires about the tragic event no one is willing to talk to her about it, least of all her father.

Who is the mysterious stranger from England? Will Sinéad’s friend Danny survive the war that’s raging in Europe? Why does the sea have such a pull on Sinéad’s emotions and feelings?

I am unsure whether I read this or not. I know my sister loved this book when we were young. She talked to me about all of the time. A very haunting story, and ties with Irish mythology really well. So if wanted to know a little more on the myths of Ireland, check out this book.

 

Fallen Star by Joan O’ Neill

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Synopsis: In 1950s Ireland, Sixteen year old Stella’s innocent childhood is shattered when charismatic Charlie comes into her life. Where Stella’s family struggle to make ends meet, Charlie can have anything he wants, and that includes Stella, who is rapidly falling for him. Then Stella discovers she is pregnant. Suddenly Charlie is gone, and Stella is left with only the bracelet he gave her. Stella’s devoutly religious mother, horrifed by the scandal, sends her errant daughter to a Magdalene Laundry convent, miles from home, where in return for daily and rigorous and endless chores, Stella will be able to have her baby in secret. The convent is bleak and austere, the nuns themselves cruel and lacking compassion. When Stella’s baby girl is born, it will be taken from her for adoption, the only answer is to run away with her child. But Stella didn’t expect the struggle and pain of being a single mother – with her family turning against her, who can she rely on for help. Out of the blue, comes support and love from an unexpected quarter, to finally make Stella’s story a happy one. 

This is more of a young adult novel, but I remember it vividly from my childhood. This is a lot darker than the other books, as this takes a leaf out of our history. As you may not know, Ireland had Magdalene Laundries around the country for years. Their purpose was to take “fallen” women into their convents and subject them to hard labour, to repent their sins. These women would be deemed too promiscuous and tainted to live in society. Mostly, they were women who got pregnant out of wedlock, which was a big no-no in the old days of Ireland. So any woman who was raped, or just had sex, or even seemed interested in sex, were sent to the laundries. All mothers who gave birth in the laundries were separated from their children and never saw them again. This book captures that really well. The nuns in the laundries never gave them information, and treated the women terribly. It is a shameful part of our history, as I think the last laundry closed in 1996. If you want to learn more about this topic, there are some documentaries on the topic or you can watch the Magdalene Sisters movie. Its very good.

 

Irish Legends for Children by Yvonne Carroll

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Synopsis: A delightful collection of traditional Irish legends including much-loved favourites such as ‘Oisin’, ‘The Brown Bull of Cooley’ and ‘The Giant from Scotland’. 

This book was in every classroom in my primary school. It told the classic tales of Irish myth such as ‘The Children of Lir’ or ‘Deidre of Sorrows’. Its a great way for us Irish kids, to understand our roots and learn about the classic Irish stories of old. Maybe Ill tell some of those stories on my blog. I love the Irish legends. They are so fascinating and very tied with the country of Ireland. Makes me appreciate where I come from. I’m considering writing a novel tied with the Irish legends. Dont know yet. We shall see.

 

Under the Hawthorn Tree and Wildflower Girl by Marita Conlon-McKenna

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Synopsis: The story of Under the Hawthorn Tree is about three brave young children, Eily who is twelve, Michael who is ten and Peggy who is seven, who try to survive during the time of the famine in the 1840’s. The book tells of their courage while making their journey to Castletaggart to find their great aunts, Nano and Lena, where they would be safe and have food.

Wildflower Girl is the second book in the Children of the Famine trilogy. At seven, Peggy made a dangerous journey through Ireland during the Great Famine. Now thirteen, she goes on another challenging journey, across the Atlantic to America.

Marita Conlon-McKenna was a huge part of my childhood. She wrote many children’s books, but the ones I remember most was Under the Hawthorn Tree and Wildflower Girl. They are part of the trilogy, Children of the Famine. Most of you might not know the story of the Great Famine in Ireland. The Great Famine (An Gorta Mór) was a period of mass starvation, disease, and emigration in Ireland between 1845 and 1849. It caused great devastation to Ireland, many died of starvation, of diseases on ships etc. Many left Ireland to survive the famine, never to return. Therefore, it was fascinating that McKenna incorporated this part of Irish history into her novels. This provides Irish children an easier outlet to learn about their history, without learning all of the facts.

 

That is all I have for today. I liked looking over the old Irish books I read when I was a child. I havent really talked about where I come from, except for when I wrote about my new project. I have a couple of posts planned relating to Irish writing, author, or even Irish tales. I found writing this post a joy, so I hope to do more like this soon. Hope to see you in the next post x

 

 

 

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Tips for Nanowrimo

This month is Nanowrimo month (National Novel Writing Month). I would love to take part this month, but I’m in the middle of my Masters programme. I’m too busy thinking of ideas for my thesis.

I am hoping to do some writing in December, when I am on my Christmas break from college. But a lot of you are about to start Nanowrimo and it may feel daunting at first. I love the idea, where you give yourself a month to write your first rough draft of your novel. Here are some tips to survive Nanowrimo:

 

Dont overwork yourself

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I know there is an importance on getting your wordcount done each day. But dont overwork yourself. If you do too much at once, youll burn yourself out. When you feel overworked, take a break, have a kit-kat. Allow yourself the time to step away from writing and breath.

 

Forget the word count

Dont stress over word count. It doesn’t matter. I know that you need to reach a certain word count each day. But take my advice: don’t think about word count. Just get your story down. Write out your important scenes. It doesn’t have to be perfect or have to be a certain word count. Once you have your story down, that’s all that matters.

Plan ahead

As you are half way through Nanowrimo, I don’t know if this will help now. But, plan ahead of Nanowrimo, so you don’t get stuck in the middle of writing your story. If you don’t plan, you may find yourself stuck in writers block a few times and it’ll set you back in the process. So a good tip is to make out a spider web, with all your characters, plot and settings. Write them down and sort them out. It’ll help you in the long run.

 

Just have fun

Nanowrimo is a great opportunity for writers to crack out that story you’ve always wanted to write. I was meaning to take part in it this year, to start on my new project. But college is too hectic at the moment. This is your time to tell your story. So enjoy it, while you can. Because the hard part comes when you have to edit it. So enjoy the writing process.

 

That’s all I have for today. Sorry about the mess. My WordPress hasn’t been working on my computer so I had to finish this on my phone. Not used to it. Hope you are all enjoying Nanowrimo so far, and I shall talk to you in the next post x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BookTuber/Writing Channels I Love

I dont watch that many booktubers or writing videos on YouTube. I have been trying to find more writing vlog to watch, because I find watching these type of YouTubers inspire me to keep writing. My writing has slowed down within the last couple of years.

Sometimes I hated these YouTubers for talking about reading and writing. With my reading slump, I felt like a failure when watching these people. They would talk about the 10 books they had read in the past month, whereas I barely get through one book. However, these channels helped me to get back into writing.

They talk about stories they love in these books and they talk about their writing process. I mean you cant say that watching these types of videos, wont make you feel inspired by the end. I wanted to write a blog post about these channels so that if any of you need some inspiration or you feel discouraged by your reading or writing, check out these channels. You may find the next best book for you to read and they could help you start writing again.

And for any of you who do watch some booktubers or writing channels, let me know of anymore channels I could watch. I’m trying to broaden my watchlist.

Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia)

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The first booktuber I need to talk about is Sasha Alsberg. Her channel is called @abookutopia. She was the first booktuber I came across and her channel was the reason I got into watching other literature channels. She is very bubbly, outgoing and brilliant to watch. Moreover, she has become a writer, as she published her first book in January 2018, called Zenith. She has made a few vlogs about her writing process through the time she was writing Zenith. She got me excited to write again. I just wanted to sit down, and write my own adventures again, after watching her vlogs.

She also makes videos about her favourite books of the year etc. She is a great source to go to, if you are looking for new books to read. She is one of teh more popular booktubers as she has met and interviewed several celebrities on her channel, such as Stephanie Meyer:

She is a young upcoming writer and a fun YouTuber to watch. I have yet to read her book, Zenith, but I have it ready on my bookshelf.

Lindsay Cummings 

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Next is Lindsay Cummings. I discovered her through Sasha’s channel. Since she co-wrote Zenith with Sasha, she appears in several of her videos. Lindsay has a channel of her own, where she discusses her love of reading and her own experiences with publishing. She is one of the more experienced writers I have come across on YouTuber, as she has published several novels. Overall, she has published 7 novels; The Murder Complex, The Fear Trials, The Death Code, The Balance Keepers Triology and Zenith. Her channel focuses more on the writing process and how to get published. I love the writing vlogs she does as you can see into her day as she goes through a draft of her novels.

She does a lot of videos on writing tips. She discusses NaNoWriMo and the difficulties of getting through your novel.

She is less bubbly than Sasha, but I love her writing advice. She makes a calm atmosphere in her videos, which makes it easier to feel inspired and listen to what she says. She is updating less on YouTube as she has moved house and having her first child with her husband. I wish her all the best in her endeavours, with her new life and her next novel, Nexus.

Shaelin Bishop (ShaelinWrites)

Her channel is more about the art of writing and she discusses her own projects she is working. I love Shaelin’s channel as she discusses her own projects, her own novels and short stories. She has published a couple of short stories, so I feel confident watching her advice videos and feel more inspired to write after her discussions. She took a hiatus from her channel, so I didnt go back to her channel for a while. She recently came back to her channel so I came back to her old and new content. My favourite videos from her are her discussing her works:

 

I love when she discusses how she came up with her ideas, and how she delves into these different worlds she writes about. She also talks about her set-backs, such as her growing disinterest in a project she used to love or the hardships of writing a particular work:

But my favourite videos of hers, are the more recent writing vlogs she is doing, where she writes out a short story and discusses what happens while she is writing it. She provides great advice on how to create an engaging story, interesting characters and unique dialogue. I love her simple set-up in her videos. It is just her and the camera. She just sits down and talks about writing. And I love it.

Those are all the booktuber channels that I love. Go check them out. They have really inspired to keep writing and reading. It’s a section on YouTube where I felt was what I was into. It’s not all prank videos or drama videos, which is nice to find. And if you have any other book/writing I can check out, let me know in the comments. I’d love to watch some more. See you in the next post x

5 books I didn’t like

I’m surprised I never talked about some books I disliked. I wrote reviews on novels that I liked, so its only fair that I write a post about a few of the novels I didn’t like. Now, this is all going to be based on my opinion. I may talk some shit about popular books from popular authors. But everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I have no hate towards the authors of the novels. Mostly, I love their work. Just not the ones I am going to talk about in this post.

Ill only be talking about 5 books as thats all I have at the moment. This is in no particular order. There may be spoilers to these novels down below, so forewarned.

Paper Towns by John Green

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Synopsis: After an all-night adventure, Quentin’s lifelong crush, Margo, disappears, leaving behind clues that Quentin and his friends follow on the journey of a lifetime.

I loved The Fault in Our Stars, but I didn’t like this novel. After reading it, I just felt like it was a waste of my time. I thought, “why did I read this?”

The mystery behind the character Margo, drove the story. I loved the concept of this mysterious Margo. No one knew the real Margo and Quentin was one of the many people who saw her as almost an angelic figure. Throughout, I was interested in who the real Margo was. I didn’t care about the rest of the novel. The rest didn’t hold my interest that much. The story was mainly to discover the real Margo. Now, when you find Margo, thats when the story was ruined for me.

I hated it.

I dont care if Quentin ends up with Margo in the end, or if they get a happy ending. But, I hated Margo at the end of the novel. Now, I guess it was John Green’s intent to show the real Margo, behind all the mystery and I guess I just didn’t like what I found. Overall, I felt the book was uneventful. After I finished it, I asked myself why did I even read this?  It just wasn’t for me.

 

The Vampire Diaries The Return: Nightfall

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Synopsis:

To save the two vampire brothers who love her, Elena Gilbert sacrificed her life.

Now that a supernatural force has brought Elena back from the dead, all handsome, brooding Stefan wants is to keep her safe. But when he is lured away from Fell’s Church, sleek, powerful Damon seizes his chance to win Elena over, unaware of the danger they’re both in. A malevolent being has infiltrated the town and is growing stronger. Able to possess Damon at will, the creature is also drawn to Elena and the new power she has acquired. But it’s after more than Elena’s power: It thirsts for her death.

 

I loved L.J Smith’s works. I read most of her Vampire Diaries books and loved her Secret Circle series. I loved the shows that are inspired from her works. But dont be mistaken. The book series is nothing like the tv show. Sure, the tv show is dark and sexy, but the books are sexier and more f***ed up. But I loved them. I’ve always loved dark stories and I liked L.J Smith’s writing style at the time.

However, I never finished the series. Why? This book is the reason.

I dont remember much of this book, except for one part. It was a scene where, Elena and Damon are running away from Damon in a forest. They come to a clearing and whenever they try to leave the clearing, Damon prevents them from leaving, using his powers. Then Damon forces Elena and Matt to have sex in front of him, while he watches.

Now, I was a young teen when I read this. This scene shocked me. I actually still remember this scene to this day, years after reading it. I thought I stopped reading the series after that, but I found a bookmark in The Vampire Diaries The Return: Shadow Souls, which means I continued onto the next book in the series. I’m surprised I didn’t stop reading after that scene. Come to think of it, I’m surprised I didn’t stop reading the series sooner, because it has so many of those types of scenes, such as Tyler almost raping Elena in the first or second book in the series.

 

If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

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Synopsis: 

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

My sister loved this book. She begged me to read it for ages and then I finally read it. It wasn’t a bad book. It just wasn’t great. It didn’t wow me, or hold anything special for me. I hardly remembering it to be honest. I remember picking up the sequel in O’ Mahoney’s and I loved the blurb of it. It got me interested in the story. But I didn’t realise it was a sequel to If I Stay.

It was good. It just wasn’t for me. No shade to Gayle Forman. I actually the writing style in the novel. It was just…I dont know. It didn’t captivate me, like other books did. Now, I can barely remember the novel.

 

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

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Synopsis: Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it.

Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it’s only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.

This was a book I started and never finished. I started the book, got through two chapters and put it down. I just couldn’t get through it. The premise of teh story is fascinating and I really wanted to read it. But I couldn’t. I didn’t like the way it was written. I just couldn’t get through it. I tried a second time, when I had to read the book for a college module. Same thing happened again. I guess I just dont like Ishiguro’s writing style.

I loved the film though, with Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield.

 

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

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Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

I ended up reading this book, before watching the film. I love dystopian novels and I wanted to see how they would take this. Again, this novel didn’t really wow me. There was no real explanation as to why this war started. It is left up in the air. Daisy’s love story in the novel and movie was with her cousin, which I’m sorry. I’m not into incestuous relationships. They are not close cousins but still. It was an interesting novel, but not my cup of tea. I liked the ending though, where she finds the cousin and he is completely shell-shocked. He cant speak or interact. He cant remember Daisy. It is traumatic when you see him like that. Other than that, I wasn’t a big fan of it. I wasn’t a big fan of the film either. I only watched it for Saoirse Ronan, fellow Irish queen.

 

I hope you guys enjoyed this blog post. I want to know what you think. Are there any books you didn’t like? What about the books I mentioned? Have you read them and did you like them yourselves? I respect and love most of these writers, but sometimes, even the best writers come out with some bad novels. Thats all part of the process.

 

 

From Book to Movie Adaptations: Harry Potter

I recently was watching YouTube videos on Harry Potter and I got the idea for this post. When the films came out, I saw every single one in cinemas. I adored the movies. But when I read the books, I fell in love with the world even more. It has been years since I last read the Harry Potter books. I remember certain differences between the films and books, but I didn’t realize how much was left or changed for the sake of film-making. Certain info on the book series I rediscovered through a YouTube channel, called MovieFlame. His channel discuss the series by going through key details that were missed or left out of the films entirely, such as character arcs, backstories etc. You should go check out his channel. This is the video that inspired me to write this post:

I always read the books before I watch the films, but the Harry Potter series was an exception. I hated reading when I was young. I would always avoid reading assignments in school and watch the films instead. But when I read Harry Potter for the first time, it solidified my love for reading. It is interesting to compare both the books and the films and that is what I am going to discuss today. The first thing to look at is:

Change in Characters

Overall, the characters in the films were vibrant and engaging, just like their counterparts in the books. However, there were some characters who were badly represented in the films or some were dumbed down to bring other characters up. Three characters that come to mind for me are:

Ginny Weasley 

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For Ginny, I completely forgot what she was like in the books. The Ginny I knew was the one in the films and in that regard, I had so many questions about her character. She was portrayed as Harry’s number one fangirl and the only girl amongst the Weasley siblings. One of my friends told me that one of their favourite characters was Ginny and that they hated how the films portrayed her. I couldn’t remember what she was like so I watched a YouTube video, going through the life of Ginny Weasley.

In the books, she was fierce, intelligent and a very skilled Quidditch player. At the beginning of the series, she was Harry’s fangirl. The films got that right, but they never delved into Ginny’s true character. The youngest of a big family and the only girl, Ginny had to fight her own battles at a young age, especially when she had brothers like Fred and George. She taught herself Quidditch at a very young age, by stealing her brothers brooms at night. She got so good, she took over for Harry as Gryffindor’s seeker, and even won a few matches.

She was very loyal to her friends, such as standing up for Harry against Draco, defending Luna against school bullies and stood by Harry’s side when the world called him a liar. In the films, the relationship between Ginny and Harry was never explained. As a movie goer, Harry started liking Ginny out of the blue. Before the Half Blood Prince, Ginny was Ron’s younger sister and a fangirl. All of the sudden, he likes Ginny. There was no progression or sign in the films that Harry started liking Ginny. Whereas in the books. J.K Rowling started developing their relationship since the 4th or 5th book.

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Harry started pushing people away, when he felt Voldemorts control on him in the 5th book. Ginny was the one who told him, he was being an idiot and that he should have talked to her about Voldemort’s control since she was possessed by him in Year Two.

“I forgot” Harry said.

“Lucky you.”

Ginny became more out-spoken with Harry, unlike what she was in the films. She showed off her skills in Quidditch, and her fierce personality, such as when Ron shouted at her for kissing Dean in public. Ginny retorted and said, Ron was just jealous because he has as much experience as a 12 year old when it comes to kissing. And when Ron kissed Lavender in the Gryffindor common room, Ginny came up to him and said “Youre a bloody hypocrite.”

Moments like this were excluded from the film and her character suffered due to these changes. She was reduced to a love interest to the main character.

Ron Weasley

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Ron is a great character in the books and films. However, on closer inspection, youll notice one thing about Ron. In the films, he seems to be a complete bumbling idiot. He is what you call the comic relief. I have seen videos on the internet, asking the question: did Ron need to be there? Was he necessary to the story or was he just a tool? In the film, he cracks jokes and acts as that character who will liven up a scene when it gets too serious. He is not as skilled of a wizard as Harry or as intelligent as Hermione. So what is he doing there? The one thing the films failed to show more of, is Ron’s loyalty.

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Ron will do anything for her friends. Scenes that showcased this in the books, never made it into the movies. An example of this would be the scene in the Shrieking Shack in the Prisoner of Azkaban. In the film, Hermione stands in front of Harry and says to Sirius Black, “If you want to kill Harry, youll have to kill us too”.

In the book, it was Ron who said this. He stood up on his broken leg and bravely faced Sirius Black. Moreover, it is more apparent in the books, that Ron is essential to the trio. Without Ron, Harry and Hermione would be lost. Ron is the glue that keeps the group together as shown in the Prisoner of Azkaban and the Deathly Hallows, when the trio was broken up. His bravely and loyalty were put on the back burner in the films and they made him more of the funny, idiotic character amongst stronger characters.

Luna Lovegood

 

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For Luna, she was very much the same in the film as she was in the books. However, the films showed more of her quirky side. When I first saw her in the Order of the Phoenix, she was a very odd character to me and I didn’t know if I liked her or not. My mother loved her instantly. But when I re-read the books again, I realised how much of an inspiration she was, which I felt the films didn’t capture well enough.

She was quirky and bubbly. She knew who she was and that is an amazing trait to have. She had this sweet innocence that no bully or force of evil could take away from her. In the books, Luna was bullied severely for her unique personality. Students stole her shoes which forced her, to walk around barefoot. Luna would put it down to nargles. She believed in a world that might have been false but it was real to her.

She was a bright student and an amazing witch. She may have attracted some hate, but she also found loyal friends in Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny and Neville. Friendship was a huge thing for Luna. When she found her friends through Dumbledore’s Army, she remained loyal to them. After the events of the 5th book, Luna became closer to Harry and the others. She even had paintings of them on her bedroom ceiling with gold engravings around them, saying in Latin, “Friendship.”

She was kind person, even with the people who made fun of her. When the trio used to make fun of her, she stayed kind. Even when Hermione and Ron made fun of her father’s magazine and Harry disregarded her, she still helped Ron with his owl off the Hogwarts Express. When the wizarding world turned against Harry, she came up to him and said ” I believe He Who Must Not Be Named is back and I believe you fought him and escaped from him.”

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I have a new found respect for Luna’s character. Even when everyone hated on her and bullied her, she stayed true to herself and found true friends out of it. She was a shining beacon of light in the books and the films didn’t portray that enough.

 

Story alterations

I understand when it comes to adapting a book into a movie, things have to change or be left out. But there were some things in the books that I wished were in the movies. Examples are:

Peter Pettigrews death

Death, yes. Im pretty sure he didn’t die in the movie. He just got stunned.

The beginning of this clip shows what I mean. In the book, Peter Pettigrew was killed by the silver hand that Voldemort gifted him in the Goblet of Fire. The last time Harry and Peter saw each other, Harry saved him from being killed by Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. So Peter owes Harry his life. And Harry cashes in on that favour in Malfoy Manor, by asking him to help them escape. Peter’s hesitation showed an act of betrayal and the silver hand murdered him for it. It was a good scene, a nice wrap up to the Peter Pettigrew’s story. But it was reduced to being stunned by Dobby the elf.

I mean why??

Tonks and Lupin’s pregnancy

The fact that Tonks was pregnant throughout the final book, was never mentioned in the films. Instead, they had Moody interrupt their announcement to Harry in the 7 Potters scene.

Moreover, we never heard or saw their child after the Battle of Hogwarts in the films. Moreover, one of my favourite scenes from the last book was the fight between Harry and Lupin in Grimmauld Place. Lupin had just left Tonks who was pregnant at the time, using the excuse that he had to go help Harry. But Harry saw right through it, and gave out to Lupin for abandoning his wife at this important time. This scene showed Lupin at his weakest point, thinking he put his wife at a disadvantage, by having a child with a werewolf. He thought she would be better off without him. Also this scene showed Harry not taking his shit and told him to go home. Hermione may have been mad at him for that, but I agreed with Harry.

Character Arcs never fulfilled

Petunia and Dudley Dursley – They originally had scenes filmed with Harry and the Dursleys before they parted ways. It redeemed Petunia, who we assumed hated her sister, Lily. The truth was she grieved for her sister and missed her. Dudley was redeemed when he said to Harry, “I dont think you are a waste of space.” We never got the closure from the Dursleys in the final version of the movie.

Draco – He had a redemption scene that was deleted, where he threw a wand to Harry to help him fight against Voldemort. That small detail was replaced by the awkward hug between Draco and Voldemort.

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We didn’t need this. Or the Ginny and Harry scene at the Burrow.

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Why, Warner Brothers?

Percy’s betrayal

The films never touched upon Percy taking the side of the Ministry of Magic, when they called Harry a liar. It caused a rift within the Weasley family, which showed that this family can have cracks in their foundation. I despised Percy for that period of time. He was so ignorant and blindly followed the Ministry. It is all, but removed from the films entirely. Percy was just reduced to a tour guide for the Hogwarts castle.

Bill and Fleur

Yes, this couple. They never got much screen time in the films. Bill didn’t appear until the final film, and Fleur disappeared after the 4th film. There was no build up of their characters or their relationship before we were present at their wedding in Deathly Hallows Part 1.

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There was never the awkwardness at the beginning of the relationship, because of Ron, who asked her to the Yule Ball in the 4th book. There was never that funny banter between the family or the trio about Fleur and Bill. They just appeared out of nowhere in the 7 Potters scene in Deathly Hallows and we are supposed to root for them or love them on the spot.

Overall thoughts:

There are so many things I could point out, but well be here all day otherwise. Even though I have been bashing the Harry Potter movies throughout this post, I still adore them. They are amazing on their own, and they were a central part of my childhood. The films got me to the read the books and the rest is history.

But if you compare the films to the books, you know who would get the superior title. That is the case for many books to movie adaptations; the books are always better. The actors did a great job of bringing the characters to life on the big screen, but they had to follow a script given to them and controlled by a studio, who helped create this franchise, and who are still releasing new movies to add to this world (Fantastic Beasts). However, there are other book to movie adaptations that succeeded in following the formula of the novel and creating a carbon copy of the book. Some have even been better than the original source material.

I may talk about that in later posts but for now, that is all I have for today. I hope you enjoyed this post. It has been a long time coming. I have been busy with work lately so I havent been posting much. My last post was on the 2nd of August….that definitely needs to change. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed and I shall talk to you in the next post x

 

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My Favourite Reads on Wattpad

In my previous blog, I spoke about my affiliation with Wattpad. I said I would make a blog post about Wattpad one day. Today is that day. Recently, I went back to my old account (WHY??!!!). But I will say, that I was pleasantly surprised to see the works I saved onto my Reading List. I didn’t read all of them, which is a shame. I did read some and it is those works I shall be talking about today.

Joking aside, I do appreciate my time spent on this website. It helped me in a time, where I felt I couldn’t share my writing to anyone. Wattpad was a fantastic outlet for me, to meet other writers and share my work with them. Moreover, they have fantastic works on there that have been traditional published as well. So, who knows, you could get published from the works you post on Wattpad (definitely not mine. My works were trash!!).

So the first on my list is:

My Wattpad Love by Ariana Godoy (cold_lady19)

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Synopsis: Julie has always been the shy type. Her world changes when she finds wattpad, a very popular ebook community. She becomes addicted to it and even starts posting her own stories. But are friends, fans and votes all she will get from this site? Or is it possible to find love as well?

I’m pretty sure that My Wattpad Love was the first story I came across on Wattpad, when I first joined. I fell in love instantly. The story was engaging and the premise was fun, due to it being based on using Wattpad. From what I can remember, the characters were delightful and funny. Because of this book, I fell more in love with Wattpad as a community. This book blew up and I think it got officially published afterwards. Following the success of My Wattpad Love, Ariana wrote its sequel, Growing Up. It was good, but nothing compared to the first book. If I was to look back at this book, I might have reviewed it differently. I dont care. The book was influential to me at the time, and well done to Ariana for making a great presence on the Wattpad community.

Disclaimer: These next two novels I never finished but I loved what I read so much, that I decided to put them on this list. If you like the sound of them, check these stories out. 

 

A Unique Kind of Love by Jasmine Rose (foreversmilin)

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Synopsis: Lena Rose Winter was the typical seventeen year old girl, or so everyone thought. She had a secret, something she hated talking about. She knew what love was, and she dreaded it. The cause was that she lost someone very close to her heart because of it.

Liam Christopher Black was far from your typical bad boy. He was a good guy, the one who would sit at the back of the class, not making a sound. They said that time healed sadness, but it was hard for him. Trauma by the news of his family dying in a car crash caused him his voice. He was mute. 

Becoming friends with someone was a risk, because you could always end up caring too much. Lena didn’t care. She fought for the boy and for his friendship. They ended up falling for each other; hard. It seemed as if the world put obstacles in their way before permitting them to truly be together. Because, of course, after rain, the sun comes out.

This may be a sappy love story, but it’s got just enough sappiness for one person. It is a story about finding love after losing all hope of being happy.

This book interested me, due to the idea of a love between two people, where one person cant talk. Similar to The Shape of Water, I was intrigued on how the writer could convey a love story with so little communication. To me, Jasmine did an amazing job. It was really well written and I fell in love with the characters. I was invested in the story and that was enough for me. However, I stopped reading due to a certain revelation, that I didn’t really appreciate. It changed the way I viewed the story. I wished I finished A Unique Kind of Love though. If I read the novel now, I would feel differently towards this particular revelation. Who knows, I may re-read again sometime. Jasmine’s work became well known and I just found out, that it was traditional published as well.

 

Paladin by Sally Slater (SallySlater)

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Synopsis: Sam is the most promising swordsman among this year’s crop of Paladin trainees…and knows it. Brash, cocky, and unbeatable with a sword (well, almost), Sam is the kingdom of Thule’s best hope against the violence wrought by demons. The only problem is that Sam is really Lady Samantha, daughter of the seventeenth Duke of Haywood, and if her father has his way, she’ll be marrying a Paladin, not becoming one.

But Sam has never held much interest in playing damsel-in-distress, and so she rescues herself from a lifetime of boredom and matrimonial drudgery.

Pity that Tristan Lyons, the Paladin assigned to train her, is none other than the hero of her childhood. He hasn’t recognized her as Lady Samantha–yet– but if he does, he’ll take away her sword and send her packing.

Sam is not the only trainee hiding secrets: Braeden is a half-demon with a dark past that might be unforgivable.

Sam, Braeden and Tristan set out for the western coast, charged with rooting out an infestation of demons that has made the West unliveable. As they travel, they uncover a deep-seated corruption of power that threatens to derail everything they stand for. Rebellion stirs, led by a rival faction of warriors who tempt Sam to join them with an irresistible offer. A war between men is coming, and Sam must pick a side. Will saving the kingdom cost her life — or just her heart?

Reminiscent of Mulan, but with a medieval fantasy twist, Paladin is a tale of adventure, action, and romance.

I adored this book. I never finished it, but from what I read of it, I adored it. A medieval fantasy tale based off Mulan…I’m sold. From what I could remember, it was brilliantly written and the story was intense. I loved the main character of Sam. She is badass but also funny. I remember a particular scene in the novel, where Sam and her comrades stopped by a brothel after a long journey. All the men were excited and having fun with the prostitutes. Whereas, Sam told her prostitute the truth and they talked for most of the night. It was a hilarious scene of her amongst men and having to explain to a prostitute that she was not a man. It was a fantastic read. I wished I had finished it. Sally is writing a sequel as well. I believe the first few chapters are up on her Wattpad account, but you can find Paladin on Amazon, where you can buy a published copy of it. (I just realised all my favourite books on Wattpad, are now published. Excellent).

 

Those were my favourite reads on Wattpad. It’s amazing that all these books I adored on Wattpad years ago, have been published. Damn, I need to step up my game. But no, I am proud of these writers I loved back in the day. But this is not the end of the blog. I have another novel you should check out. I never came across this novel, when I was on Wattpad. But I found it in my local bookshop and I bought it, to support another writer on Wattpad. It’s called:

The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles (@Reekles)

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Synopsis: Meet Elle Evans. Pretty, popular – and never been kissed. Meet Noah Flynn. Badass, volatile – and a total player. And also Elle’s best friend’s older brother…
When Elle decides to run a kissing booth for the school’s Spring Carnival, she locks lips with Noah and her life is turned upside down. Her head says to keep away, but her heart wants her to draw closer – this romance seems far from fairy tale and headed for heartbreak. But will Elle get her happily ever after?

Yes, you probably have heard of it, as it recently became a Netflix movie. I havent read the book or seen the movie, but I purchased the book when it was first published. It became my sisters favourite book. She fell in love with Beth Reekles’ novel and watched the film, when it first came out. I might still read it someday but I dont know. Check it out, if you are interested. I cant give my own opinion about this novel until I read it, which I may post on this blog one day.

 

That is it for my list. I hope you found something new to read out of this list. Check these authors out. They are great. Check out Wattpad. Who knows, you may find your next favourite novel there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1001 Challenge

Hey guys!

Recently I have been thinking of trying out something. I watched a video by Emma Blackery where she had a book called “1001 albums you need to listen to before you die.” Now, music is not my forte. But reading and writing is. So I want to get the book “1001 books you need to read before you die.” Unfortunately I couldn’t find the book in my local bookshop so I may order it online. I think this would be a fun challenge for me to do. I call it a challenge because I have found myself in a reading slump. I haven’t read for pleasure in a long time and I want to get out of that. This challenge will help me get back into reading and read some of the classics I have never read. Or even introduce myself to books I have never heard of.

Itll be a fun challenge for me and it will broaden my reading tastes quite a bit. Until I get this book, tell me some of your favourite books or just any classic novels you have read. Even just recommend some books in the comments.

Some of the classic books I read are:

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

On the Road by Jack Karouc

And many more.

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Let me know your thoughts and Ill keep you updated on the classics I read for this challenge. Talk to you in the next post x

The End of an Era: A Work in Progress #1

Today, I submitted the last round of work I needed for college. I’m officially finished college. 4 years has really gone by. I am excited for this new path in my life, however, I am also sad. It is the end of an era. Ill be saying goodbye to the good old days, to the friends I made these past 4 years and see where life takes me. 4 years of my life gone in a flash. Ill miss it.

But when one doors closes, another opens. Now that I have finished my last year of college, I can now start my novel. It has been a long time coming and I am so excited to start this new task. From now on, I shall post every couple of weeks or so with updates on my novel: what progress have I made? What struggles I have been facing and any advice I can give to any aspiring writers who wish to do the same?

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My novel has been a long time coming. The original premise for the story came when I was in my 5th year of secondary school (high school). I started developing and writing the story during my last year of secondary school, at the end of my teenage years. However, the novel became a project of my own anger. Whenever I looked at it, it reminded me how much I hated what it was, what it represented. So….I put it on hold.

 

I knew I would come back to it down the line, when I was less angry and became more mature. The renewal of this idea came to me last October or November during the time I was doing my FYP. I really wanted to go back to the drawing board and create a new story off the same premise. Whether itll work or not, that remains to be seen, but I feel like this novel may be the one I have been wanting to write. All my other novels have always felt like I was writing it for entertainment reasons. There was never a purpose or meaning to it. Its not that I didn’t like my other novel ideas. I love them and I want to start them again. But I just felt like they had nothing to offer to me in terms meaning or influence. I wanted to write something that would mean a lot to me so I can inspire myself further and inspire other people (if anyone will ever get to read someday).

And I feel this novel is it.

Since November of last year, I have flushed out the central characters of the story. I have their backstories, motives and personalities. The plot, itself, needs more planning. I have certain things that need to happen in the story thought out but I need to fill in the rest of the blanks. However, I had to stop before I could do that due to college work (look at my “On Hold” post). Now that I have finished college, I can start up the process again. I hope to keep you updated with my journey and I hope you stick with me as I go on with this novel. I probably wont tell you what the novel will be about, but Ill give some details about it along the way.

First detail: The novel will be set in Limerick City, Ireland.

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I hope to see you in the next post. I might post a couple more blog posts this week since I have more time on my hands. We shall see. Talk to you next time.

A Clockwork Orange: Review

Recently, I had to read this novel for a college course: Post-War British Literature. It is a shame I haven’t read this before. It is such a classic book and film that I am surprised I have never read or seen it before. I have seen it now and Id like to share my thoughts about the book and film.

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Everyone has heard of A Clockwork Orange, whether you have read it or not. It is on all the lists of books you need to read before you die. The same can be said for the film by Stanley Kubrick. Before the British Literature course, I heard of A Clockwork Orange, but I never knew what it was about. The story was a mystery to me and to hear that it had controversy around it, I was interested in delving into it and understand why. After reading it, I understand why this was such a controversial story.

The story of A Clockwork Orange is about a dystopian world of Britain where youth can run rampant and commit a bit of “ultra-violence” every night. The story follows the protagonist, fifteen year old, Alex on his adventures with his “droogs” (friends) and committing a bit of the “shop-crasting” (robbing) and a bit of a violent “in-and-out” (raping). Eventually, Alex’s violent antics get him caught and sent to jail. In order to leave jail early, Alex agrees to take part in “The Ludovico Technique,” which is an aversion therapy that psychologically affects Alex when we witnesses or experiences violence. Alex is released from jail, prone to violent illness when he has thoughts of the violence he was akin to at the beginning of the novel. After he was released, everything went against him. His parents threw him out, he was beaten with an inch of his life from the police and became a toy within a bigger political agenda.

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My thoughts? Well, I thoroughly enjoyed it, as it was an engaging story. I liked following in the footsteps of a unique villain such as Alex. Anthony Burgess did a brilliant job of conveying the hopelessness within Alex’s world through the treatment of authority in the novel. He created a convincing dystopian world with an interesting main character. However, I did have a few problems with it.

 

First, the language of the novel.

Anthony Burgess created a new language for Alexand his droogs to speak in A Clockowork Orange which was called Nadsat. It is a Russian-influence English that is only spoken by the teenagers in Burgess’s novel. Burgess was a linguist and decided when writing the novel, to create his own language so it wouldn’t be outdated by the time the novel was published. Personally, I liked the language. When I listened to the audiobook version of A Clockwork Orange, I liked the sound of the Nadsat language such as “devotchka” (young woman), “gulliver” (head) and “moloko” (milk). There are many more examples within the novel and it represents the voice of Alex in the novel. However, I did find it difficult to translate when I first started reading it. I had to have a wiki in front of me so I could look up the meaning behind each word. It was difficult at first, but I adapted to it quite quickly and began to love it. The language makes what the novel, A Clockwork Orange, what it is. It represents the youth of this novel and it gives a perfect insight into Alex’s character. But I can understand why Stanley Kubrick’s film left out most of the Nadsat language.

Second, the violence.

Now, compared to the film, the violence in the book was necessary to portray the world Alex lived in and showcase how much of a callous person Alex was. However, I didn’t like the violent scenes within the book. There is a lot of rape and beatings in the novel that are quite graphic. They serve a purpose to the story, but I still didn’t appreciate some of the scenes within the novel.

Overall, A Clockwork Orange was an interesting read. My favourite part of reading this novel was to exploration of Alex as the protagonist. Throughout the novel, Alex commits deplorable acts of violence and doesn’t feel any empathy towards the people he hurts. There is a divided opinion on whether people feel sorry for Alex in the second half of the book where he gets punished for his misdeeds. Do you think he deserved and you didn’t feel sorry for him or do you think that the punishments put on him were too much?

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Personally, I didn’t feel sorry for Alex throughout the second half of the book. I felt that he deserved everything that came to him. However, I did feel sorry for him during two instances. One was when he couldn’t sleep because of the affects of the Ludivocko treatment and when his parents threw him out. Even though he is a terrible human being, he was still a teenager and in the end, he needed his parents in that moment when he got out of jail. I don’t condone his character and I believe he deserved all the misfortune he got. However, Burgess does a great job at portraying this character is a despicable way and in the end, provide him with a hopeful ending.

A Clockwork Orange was a great read and got me thinking of my FYP. The thought of criminals and heroes in literature strike me in this novel and I am currently writing an essay about this novel in relation to the representation of heroes. Unfortunately, I don’t have a clear answer to this question, especially in relation to Alex in A Clockwork Orange. It is an interesting concept though and I feel A Clockwork Orange would make an interesting case study. If you are interested in looking into this story, give it a read or watch the Stanley Kubrick’s film.  Personally, I prefer the book.

 

Pen to Paper

In recent years, it seems a common thread has disappeared, the use of a pen to paper. As a writer, I used the traditional way of creating my stories, with a notebook and pen. It was the conventional way to write novels and poems. However, I have seen more and more times where writers have exchanged the use of a pen for typing on a laptop. Whatever works for you when it comes to writing your work, go for it. But I do feel like we have lost touch with the traditional ways of writing with the new use of technology. Recently, I went to a March event with Stanzas. Stanzas is the writing group I go to every month where you share your works with many people (more info about Stanzas in my previous posts). Anyway, I went to a Stanzas event, and I remember someone going up to the mic and saying they had written down their poem instead of on their phone. It has become a standard thing in Stanzas with people having their stories/poetry written on their phones, and they speak through the microphones with their eyes glued to their phones. Even one of the head of Stanzas mentioned this at one of the events. It was nice to see someone read from paper instead of reading off a tablet or phone. It is the same with reading. More and more people read books on Kindle or online, instead of just holding a book in their hands.

Don’t get me wrong; I like the use of technology. I even use it to transfer my stories from paper onto a different medium. I plan to write a story on the perspective of social media or the use of it on paper. I love the use of technology in other mediums, especially in different mediums of storytelling. I love elements of texting and social media in films such as Personal Shopper:

 

Or Unfriended:

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and many more. Technology is a part of our psyche as a community. We use it to communicate our thoughts and emotions and to connect with others. It is a valuable tool for the new wave of storytellers. That is a very interesting evolution foir writers and civilization in general. However, I will always prefer my pen to scribble my ideas on paper before I use my computer or phone. What do you guys think? Are you an old-fashioned writer like me or do you write all your stories on your technological devices?