Thursday, 19 March 2015

Just a Note to Say...


That school is hard. Really hard. But I'll be back soon. 6 weeks. Tops. 

I'll see you soon okay? 


Sorry.


Evie x 

Sunday, 8 March 2015

British Book Boy Stereotypes

   


      I read a lot of books. No surprise there, right? I mean this is after all a book blog. But it’s true, I do. I eat up books at an alarming speed, barely pausing for breath between each paperback and fiction. Well, apart from to shove my nose in the pages and inhale that rich scent of a good story (Seriously, I would wear that smell as perfume). Recently though, I have had no new books to read. I was scanning my bookshelf looking for an old favourite instead, when I realised something. Hardly any of my books were British?
  
       How peculiar. Where was the UK in these stories? Where was London and Cardiff? Glasgow and Belfast? Where was my home country? How as a 16 year old British girl, who bought her books from almost solely British sources (Does Amazon have a nationality?) could I have so few books actually set in Britain? And if Britain wasn’t here, what was?
     

    America. I may not have had London but my bookshelf was jam packed with places like Chicago, New York, Detroit and Walmart. I’ve never been to America but somehow I have managed to accumulate rather a large amount of American fiction!

         And that was fine by me! I mean I love my American fiction. A lot of it is warmer and sunnier than the UK with all of its cloud (In January I forget what the sky even looks like) and by now I’m used to the American terminology and school system, so the plotlines are just as good to me as any other country’s.
  
       But I realised as I began to re-read my American fiction that maybe my country wasn’t entirely misrepresented in my bookshelf. There were Brits living in these American worlds, whether they were exchange students or recently moved families. The problem was, they were horribly inaccurate. For starters, all these Brits were boys, where were all the British girls? And of course, they were horribly stereotyped. Let me give you an example.  



  
       Your typical American Fiction British boy:

American Fiction tends to feature two kinds of British males. The Rich Brit and The Poor Brit.
   
      The Rich Brit talks like he was raised on a diet of caviar and liquid gold, which of course he was. He walks with his nose in the air and treats you like one of the many maids that doted on him as a child. He is from London, and before he was unfairly removed from his extravagant home in Kensington Gardens and shoved into your American high school (which he openly despises) he went to the biggest and best British boarding school ever built, where they rode ponies in the yard and played quidditch and had secret midnight feasts in their dorm rooms with lashings and lashings of ginger beer. The Rich Brit craves scones like no one’s business

  
       The Poor Brit is more common, in more ways than one. Though he may not necessarily be poor he still has an air of it about him like Bert from Mary Poppins. He does not eat scones but instead will talk about Earl Gray and big English fry-ups that he once consumed every morning. He talks fairly posh as well (we all do in Britain, don’t we?) but his language is littered with phrases such as ‘Cor blimey’ and ‘bloody ‘ell’. The American girls all laugh at the way he says ‘ass’ but cannot resist his crooked smile and British charm. He does not know what a T-Shirt is dressing instead like some kind of time lord. The poor Brit is also from London (because that is the only British place American fiction seems to be aware of) and likes to reminisce on the cobbled roads, and double decker buses and his old job as a chimney sweep. Those were the days. The Poor Brit is always the love interest.


The Real British Boy:

        The Real British Boy does not talk posh, even if he is from London. If he has an accent it’s Yorkshire, or Glaswegian or Geordie. He goes to a normal school, just like everyone else, and may never have played hockey in his life. The thought of buying a tea and scone for lunch is absolutely alien and he sticks instead to a cheese sandwich and an apple. His diet would not be affected if he moved to America, nor would his clothes seem out of place. In fact, most of the brands he wears are straight out of America anyway. He likes Harry Potter but the closest he has ever gotten to Hogwarts is the Warner Brothers Studios. He was probably raised in your average suburban house on a very ordinary street. He is barely distinguishable from an American boy… although he probably does say ‘arse’ instead of ‘ass’

Hot damn, I'm normal.

      
   Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating the American Brit a little bit (or an awful lot), but my point still stands. I don’t expect American fiction to be absolutely chock-a-block with British kids, but a little less of a stereotype would be nice. The thing about London, in my readings anyway, is generally true. It would be nice to have the British kid be Northern Irish or Scottish just once.
  
Can you tell the difference?
       It’s not a huge problem, (I still love American fiction anyway) and maybe Britain does it to American kids too but that issue doesn’t seem so apparent. But maybe before an American writer makes the British kid a crucial part of their plotline, instead of marathoning every BBC series ever made and using J.K. Rowling as your guide they should visit Britain, or even just talk to an actual Brit. I love America, but us Brits don’t like it when you see us as all the same, especially when that all the same is so far from the truth. So, America, don’t be an arse, let’s stop the stereotypes!


         So, what do you lot think about this issue, especially all you Americans and Brits? Have you noticed this? Do you mind? If your view is completely different to mine, then say so! I love different opinions! Go on, let’s get a good ol’ discussion going down in the comments section!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Wreck This Journal Art Update!



         Sometimes, I do things that aren’t reading… Shocking, I know! As a book blogger should I not spend every waking hour spaced out and high on literature? You would think so, but this is not the case!

One of the things I love to do in my spare time is actually art. Art? I hear you say. Art is not a book! Picasso is not Rowling! This is a book blog - I came here for books! Well, art may not be a book, but Wreck This Journal by Kerri Smith is and a damn good book too!

I have always loved Wreck This Journal, giving them away left right and centre for various birthdays and celebrations… But sadly I’ve never owned one – until now!

Recently my craving for Wreck This Journal got so strong that I just had to bite the bullet and go out there and grab one for myself! I started filling it up straight away and let me tell you – it has been fun! I’ve worked quite slowly, because I wanted to really take my time making it lovely, but I thought I’d show you some of my work today… Because even though I’m not an artist and I don’t take art at school, I’m still quite chuffed with myself! Let’s get wreckin’!

Acknowledgements/Copyrights


They may not have been the first pages I did but it makes sense to start at the beginning, yes? The page on the left is my copyrights page and I went through all the magazines I own so I could cover it in clippings! The next page I decided not to plan so much, because I tend to over-plan my art, so I just kind of went for it and it turns out I quite like swirls… Who knew?!

This page is a sign, what do you want it to say?



This one was really fun to do! I was originally going to do just a regular old protest over something I really cared about, but I kind of realized that sometimes people get so caught up over really pointless stuff. SO - the obvious solution? A happy protest! I used newspaper in the background to be ironic ‘cause I’m artsy like that… J

Float This Page



I got a new set of watercolour paints for Christmas, and I’ve been practicing like mad with them through my wreck this journal. A word of warning, they do buckle the paper, and colours like black or navy tend to bleed through to the next page, but you are supposed to wreck the journal so I suppose that doesn’t really matter! This was another fun one – I never draw anything but people so it was cool to give myself new subject matter! 

Fill This Page With Circles


Can you see her? 

Cover This Page in Dirt



This guy right here is unfinished. He is supposed to be a soldier and I am going to rub the dirt on his cheeks. I decided to break out my old water-colour pencils and I find them just so frustrating as a medium… I have the basic outline of a little boy on the other page out of shot and I’ll put dirt on his cheeks too… They soldier and the boy were meant to be each other but art is hard so maybe not…

         That’s all from me for now folks! I hope you had fun reading this blog because I definitely had fun making all the art for it! Let me know if this is the kind of thing you might be interested in seeing again or on the other hand if you rather my art just got lost off my blog! Communication is key my little addicts…


I hope you all have a lovely day! This is Evie, over and out!
X

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

The Blog Revamp




         Okay… So now I’ve been blogging for a while now I kind of have to stop trying to excuse the overall humbly-jumbly-rambliness of my blog by telling people that ‘I’m new!’ and that ‘I’ll get the hand of it’! The fact of the matter is, I’m lazy. I’m rubbish at properly proof reading my blogs and editing them into a more readable state, I’m a terrible rambler and if I don’t get my act together quick then I’ll never be a blogging superstar! Okay, I don’t actually care about fame, I just want my blog to be a bit prettier. So here it comes, my Chinese New Year Blogging Resolutions! (That’s a thing right?)

The Perfect Excuse...

    1.   Short and Sweet
Every Tuesday I essentially post a 1000 word unstoppable rant onto my blog and it has come to my attention that that might be a little hard to swallow. I barely have the attention span to sit down and read 1000 words on some book I’ve never heard of, so why should I expect you guys to as well? I want to make my blog more accessible and this I think is the first step. That’s not to say I’m banning the epic Lord-Of-The-Rings-length post, I’m just going to try and trim!

    2.   Structure
As I said, I’m not good at editing my blogs and it’s time for that to change. Perhaps not with discussion posts but I realize I don’t actually write many reviews because it’s so hard to write an 1000 word review and keep it somewhat interesting. Most bloggers have an easily-readable structure to their posts and those are the blogs I usually like best, so I plan on making my thoughts and opinions a little more structured too!


    3.   Routine
If you haven’t worked it out, I post a new blog every Tuesday at about 5pm and that is just impossible! So far I have kept very strictly to my schedule however what with Tuesday being a school day and an after-school rehearsal day for me. So I might (I haven’t quite decided) move my post day to a Sunday, just to make things a little stress for myself!
    
    4.  Makeover Time
   I'm not even gonna pretend to know anything about web design. I want my blog to look prettier - I'm not talking Vogue style perfection. I mean, I want my blog to undergo that process in the teen movie where the cool kids take of the dorky girl's glasses, give her some lip gloss and teach her to smile and oh look she was pretty all along! So if any of you know how to work that kind of movie magic... let me know

    5. Connect more
Last, but not least, I want to put myself out there! I don’t speak to you guys nearly enough! I’ve never done events or buddy-reads (yet!) and I think that should change. I vow to at least try and remember to answer my comments, update my goodreads and make myself known in the community. Soon enough, I promise, I’ll be tweetin’ like a little bird!


So there we have it, a makeover-to-be! But I’d like to know whether these things were ever issues for you guys or was it just me? Let me know if there’s anything I can do to make this blog a better place that I haven’t already mentioned. Let’s get started guys-


Talk to me! I promise I’ll talk back!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

A Bad Review - Soulmates by Holly Bourne



The official blurb:

‘Soulmates do exist. But not as you think. Every so often to people are born who are the perfect match for one another. Soulmates.
But what if meeting your soulmate is earth-shattering – literally?
An epic electrifying and extraordinary debut about falling in love’

My Thoughts:
  
       Sigh. I hate to say it, but this book, in my opinion, was really not very good at all. I expected so much. I think that might be the biggest issue I had with this book. Having had my mind blown by Bourne’s second novel ‘The Manifesto on How To Be Interesting’ I thought that Bourne’s burst into the literary world, her grand entrance, would be even better – but sadly I was proved wrong.

         ‘Soulmates’ is a book that, though the blurb does not give much away, has a spectacular plot concept! The story is based around the idea that Soulmates do exist, but when a pair meets, the chemical reaction between them is so strong that it their hormones can cause storms, earthquakes and huge life-threatening natural disasters. There is a secret government facility that works to frantically try to prevent these soulmate disasters from happening. This plotline, combined with my history with Bourne is what sold the book to me.

The story is told through a first person perspective from one half of two Soulmates, 17 year old Poppy Lawson, as well as an interesting occasional third person extracts of the actions of those running the government facility.
     
    This is where the goodness ends.


         For starters, this fantastic, awesome, mindblowing idea of a plotline fell absolutely flat on its face. It’s a firework that never goes off. We spend a long 450 pages listening to Poppy Lawson whine on and on about how ‘Oooh Nooo… I’m in love! But I can’t be in loooove, I can’t actually like a boy! I am such a feminist!’ Poppy is one of these irritatingly strong-minded characters who seems to think that if she shows so much as a wink of affection for a member of the opposite sex then she has tainted the rights of women everywhere and is no longer a true feminist. Poppy had lots of likable qualities, her bitter confidence and sarcasm were amusing and interesting at times, but I feel, at least for me, this was broadly overshadowed by her sheer close-mindedness.

  
       Within those 480 pages we also explore Poppy’s blossoming relationship with her soulmate, local bad-boy, Noah. Noah’s in a band, a very tortured soul - Their eyes meet across a crowded room, one of his gigs actually, and of course, the attraction is instant.
  
       As a hopeless romantic myself, I enjoyed Noah and Poppy’s grand gestures and first steps immensely… at first. However, they’d been going out for one week, 200 pages, when the ‘I-love-you-I-need-you-please-never-leave-me’s started spouting and it all just got a bit… sickening. We get it. You like each other, you really don’t have to describe, in detail, every single time he blinks, coughs or looks at you. I mean, I’m not love-expert, but when they started speaking about how their children would look everything seemed a little unbelievable. There were no subplots, just the batting of eyelashes and a weirdly excessive amount of lust.
    
     I pressed on, wondering if the last 50 pages could save the book for me but… no. I feel like Bourne wrote the majority of the book in a rose-scented haze and only snapped out if it to write the ending when her publisher started phoning up, gabbing about deadlines and delivery dates. It is only in the ending of the book that the idea of the government facility actually comes properly in to play but with the rest of the novel styled as a contemporary romance, this seemed more than a little out of place. It was rushed, random and sadly, I didn’t like it.
  
       However, that’s not to say this book was entirely unlikable, in fact, I have read many reviews of people who thought the romance was, sweet, and well-thought-out with the twist at the end exciting the reader a suitable amount and tying a nice red ribbon around the story as a whole – but that’s  not how it was for me.
  
       For me ‘Soulmates’ was a two star book which should have been a five and without any substantial subplot or character depth other than the two soulmate’s deep unending love for each other it just didn’t cut it for me.
        

Three Word Rating: eh, okay, mediocre