Here it is, my announcement (finally).
I've published a brand new blog. Since the idea of this blog as been worn off (I'm 18 now), I've decided to start something afresh.
Introducing (drum roll.....) Probability Reading (https://probabilityreading.wordpress.com/), a blog where I can write whatever, whenever. This one has no age time limits and is on a platform which (at the moment) seems easier to use.
I am still keeping this blog open, but I shall not be posting here. I might also share posts from here on my new blog. If you see this, don't worry. I will be putting a line explaining before each post.
Please go and look at my new blog.
Thanks for reading :)
As you may or may not know, I created this blog as a challenge of things to do before I was 18. I turned 18 last month, so have decided to to do an update.
I have really enjoyed writing on my blog since it’s started and sharing all my fun and opinions with you. It’s been hard for me to write as regularly as I would have liked due to writers block or from being really busy with college. Due to this, I have missed many posts about things I have done and thought I would bullet point them here.
Books I’ve read and not reviewed (but hopefully will in the future)
How Hard Can Love Be? By Holly Bourne
What’s a Girl Gotta Do? By Holly Bourne
Haunt Me by Liz Kessler
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
The Call by Peadar O Guilin
Wrong time wrong place by Simon Kernick (quick reads)
In Cold Blood by Irvine Welsh
This means that I have managed to read 18 books before 18. I’m very pleased and have read some fantastic books this year.
Films I’ve watched
I haven’t seen that many films this year as I just haven’t had the time.
Try/ learn new things
I did my AS levels and achieved AABB
I have taken the MAT exam as my entrance exam for Oxford.
I have tried chips and marmalade – weird I know
Applying to university
I got a job!
I joined the student council
Fun experience/ trips
Cambridge University Summer School
University open days
I went to the Zoo
Although I haven’t managed to do all my 18 things before I turned 18 (*cough – thanks college – cough*) I still managed to do lots of fun stuff. I have said yes to more things and I’ve enjoyed myself which is the main thing.
Now, you’re probably asking “Megan, what are you going to do now you’re 18?” Well, I’m not going to tell you yet but I have something very special up my sleeve. Keep an eye out on this blog and on Twitter (@butterflybourne) for my special announcement over the next two weeks.
A final note: Thank you to all my readers over the last 11 or so months. Seeing my view number go up is certainly encouraging and I've enjoyed myself a lot.
YASHOT Giveaway Winners
It's late but my announcement is finally here.
Last month, for #YASHOT, I quizzed Sue Ransom about being 18, writing and being published. Her publisher, Nosy Crow, were kind enough to let me giveaway 5 of Sue's book The Beneath. So drumroll please...... the winners were
Congratulations to all of you and I hope you enjoy your prize.
On a side note, you should watch Amber's latest book haul video featuring her prize from my competition and a very special surprise to her from the publisher (thank you Nosy Crow). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dK1WNQsuEy4&t=0s
For my stop of the YA Shot blog tour, Sue Ransom (aka S.C.Ransom) has been kind enough to answer some of my questions about books, being 18 and getting published. Sue is an author from Surrey, England. She writes YA and teenage books including her latest book The Beneath.
What did you want to do at 18 and why?
By the time I’d got to eighteen I’d already had a massive change of direction. Originally I had wanted to train to be an architect (my dad was one), so I had my university applications all organised for that, but then I went on a week long residential course in practical chemistry and loved it, so I changed all my options. I don’t think my dad ever really forgave me. I studied Chemistry at the University of Leeds, then worked in Computational Chemistry and IT, and then the Pharmaceutical sector - where I still work.
When did you decide to be an author?
I didn’t! The whole thing happened just by chance. I’d given up studying English at the age of 16, which was just as well as my spelling was atrocious, and by the time I’d got to my mid forties I’d not written another word of fiction. However, I did (and do) have a love of reading, which I managed to pass on to my daughter. At the age of eleven she was beginning to move on to some more challenging books, and she’d asked for the Twilight series as a Christmas present. She just loved them, and I felt I should know what they were about so I took the first one to read. It was a definite page turner, but was – unsurprisingly – utterly and completely American. My little girl was from west London and had no idea about American High School life. I thought it was disappointing that she couldn’t read something which was more relevant to her life.
The Twilight book didn’t look terribly difficult, so I decided that I’d have a go. It was six months until my daughter’s birthday, so I thought I’d write her a book as a present. I wrote just for her, thinking always about how she would react to it, and luckily she loved it! It got picked up as part of a three book deal and then I was commissioned to write another one.
What would you tell your 18-year-old self?
So many things. My main advice would be to tell her not to be worried about choosing to do what she enjoys, to keep working hard and follow her heart. My career has been an odd mix of roles, all of which made sense to me at the time. More than once I’ve made bold decisions to step away from what I know to do something entirely different, and I don’t regret any one of them. Now I just need to find the courage to give up the day job to write full-time! I’d also tell her that one day, she’ll be standing up in front of the school, at the same lectern where the headmistress stands every day, giving the prize-giving address to the sixth-formers. That will surprise her.
The other thing I would tell her is to not to stress so much about her spelling – in the future, her spelling will get corrected as she types (and yes, she’ll have to learn how to do that too!).
What would you advise an 18-year-old who wanted to get into writing? (Would you recommend an agent? How hard is it to get published?)
My advice would be to keep reading (always!) and to keep writing, even if no-one else gets to read it. You only get better when you practice, and I know that the book I’m writing now is far better than the books I wrote at first.
I was told by the publisher who picked up my first book (Small Blue Thing) that the thing she found most compelling was the voice. I’d written it just for one, specific reader – my daughter – and that made the voice strong and consistent. So I would advise anyone writing with a view to getting published to keep that in mind. Don’t try to write for the entire YA community from 12 to 25, and don’t try and tackle too many issues, just try and write something that your best friend or your sister or brother would want to read. That will allow the quality of your storytelling to come out.
I’ve never had an agent – I got offered a deal directly with a brand-new publisher, Nosy Crow - but I know that they can be really useful. They are always looking for the next exciting thing too, and love having new submissions to open (will it be the next Hunger Games?). Follow some on Twitter, read their blog posts and look at who people rate. There are lots of Twitter chats with agents (check out #AskAgent) where you can get advice. Never pitch on Twitter though. Use it to find out about the agent and then check out their websites for submission guidelines, then follow those guidelines.
Some people get published really quickly, some people struggle. There are no hard and fast rules, but great writing will usually find an audience. Practice your writing, join critique groups, build a network of writer contacts and friends, and keep going. Publish on Wattpad to test things out, and you never know, an agent might pick you up from there – it happens more than you might think!
Thank you Sue for an insightful Q & A, I look forward to reading The Beneath in the near future.
Now, onto the giveaway.
Nosy Crow have kindly agreed to giveaway 5 copies of Sue's book The Beneath. This giveaway is UK and ends at 12am on the 3rd November 2016. Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below.
This post is part of the YA Shot blog tour. If you didn't know YA Shot is an author-run, author-led Young Adult and Middle Grade festival that helps support libraries and young people across the country. To find out more visit https://yashot.wordpress.com/
The Deviants - Book Review
The fearless five – Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane – were always inseparable as children growing up as children in a sleepy English seaside town. But when Max’s beloved older sister Jessica is killed, the friendship seems to die with her.
Now years later, only Max and Ella are in touch; still best friends and a couple since they were thirteen. But Ella is hiding things - like why she’s afraid to take their relationship to the next level.
And when underdog Corey is bullied, the fearless five are brought back together again, teaming up to wreak havoc and revenge on those who have wronged them. But when the secrets they are keeping can no longer be kept quiet, will their fearlessness be enough to save them from themselves?
The Deviants by CJ Skuse is a thriller that was published by Harper Collins just last month. The book was very odd at first and made me very confused. It didn't make a lot of sense due to being very ambiguous and vague. It jumped straight into the action with no explanation of anything. However, by the time the story concluded it made much more sense. I personally didn't like how this was done but I do appreciate the effect it had on the overall suspense of the book.
The characters were very well developed. As readers, we're given a small backstory for each of the main characters which allows us to understand them and their behaviour a lot more. I enjoyed the friendship of the 4 (later 5) friends and how they all worked together to take revenge and have fun. I particularly loved the scene where they took revenge on Fallon's bullies. It was hilarious.
I enjoyed the dark story lines- it was refreshing to read something dark in a 'normal', non-fantasy setting. Despite this, it was still shocking to find out some of the truths. The ending though was awful. It tore my heart to pieces and left me a sobbing mess. So, not actually awful, just emotionally damaging. I actually loved the ending (minus the tears).
I would recommend this book to anyone wanting a dark read. This thriller is certainly shocking and sad but it will make you want to read more from CJ Skuse.
Disclaimer: I was lucky enough to be given a proof copy of this book at YALC however this has not effected my view in any way.
Girl Detached - Book Review
Aleksandra has issues with her voice. Stress makes her stutter, and her life is one of stress. She can only speak clearly on stage, freed by the words of the character she plays. Then, when Aleksandra befriends her new neighbour Megan, and through her meets charming, handsome Ruben, it seems she has discovered a doorway into a different world, and a different Alek. But Ruben wants Aleksandra to play a particular role for him, and it is one that will come close to destroying her.
At first I was unsure what to expect with Girl Detached after being told it was about prostitution as I've never read anything like it before. I was also very intrigued after being told it had been banned in Italy. This hooked me almost right away and I hadn’t even read a word!
We meet the voice of the story – Aleksandra - and straight away are told her story and begin to develop a liking for her. As a vulnerable young woman buried in confusion and loneliness she captivates the reader to want to protect her through the pages. It was uncomfortable to think that Aleksandra and I are virtually the same age, yet she has gone through this horrible experience.
As the story progresses we see the way Aleksandra and the world of prostitution entwine and slowly destroy her life bit by bit. It was heart wrenching to see her get obliviously closer and closer to danger. A lot of times, I found myself wanting to scream at the book to warn her and to give her some advice. Her shielded upbringing meant she was blinded from things many might assume as obvious.
It was eye-opening to see a world we only hear about the way the media wants us too. Having read this, I realise that I have myself been shielded (or possibly censored) from the nitty, gritty truths about women in prostitution. It was shocking and at times difficult to read but it was an important read. I want to applaud the author Manuela Salvi for overcoming the (in my opinion) idiotic censorship of this novel to bring its important and eye-opening story to those everywhere. This book is astonishing and I encourage everyone to read it. Let your mind be opened by this gritty, honest read.
Disclaimer: I was lucky enough to be given this book as a proof at YALC for free however that has had no effect on my opinion.
Oxford Summer School
In July, I was lucky enough to attend UNIQ- a week long summer school for year 12’s at Oxford University. I attended to do maths and statistics and was based at Queens College in the Florey Annex. It was 100% one of the best weeks of my life- I learnt so much, made new friends and dispelled the myths surrounding Oxford.
Throughout the week I had lectures, workshops and talks about maths and statistics. Some of them were so interesting. We were learning undergraduate topics so it was hard although it was so interesting. We had a very enjoyable talk about the maths of clinical research and the statistics surrounding it. There were some sessions though that weren't as enjoyable, partly because they were more computer program based (something I've never done before). It was also fantastic to see that not all Oxford lectures were old, grumpy men. Many of the lecturers we had throughout the week were younger women or non-grumpy men.
Over the week I learnt so much about Oxford and have decided I want to apply to do maths at Keble College. The week was awesome- I really didn’t want to leave. I made great friends, learnt so much and got to visit one of the most beautiful cities in England.
If you’re a state school student in year 12 look into UNIQ. I would recommend it to anyone. Feel free to ask my any questions you have about it.
YALC and LFCC - Part 2
Here’s the second part of my YALC and LFCC round up posts all about my Sunday and my haul. If you've yet to check out the first part all about my Saturday it's here http://18thingsbefore.weebly.com/blog/yalc-and-lfcc-part-1
On the Sunday I was raring to go for a second day filled with books and everything fabulous. When I entered I went straight around and brought all the books I wanted to and hadn’t done the day before (and a YALC hoodie which is the softest thing ever). Afterwards I went down to the LFCC floor to buy some more things including some yummy biscuits and Muggle Raspberry fudge.
I then went back to the YALC floor to meet some friends and chill before going home. I got a free bookish t-shirt from Electric Monkey who were kindly giving them away. I also went around and took part in the snitch and fantastic beast hunts winning two house points for Hufflepuff. There was a Harry Potter Party with activities (like the hunts) throughout the day however I didn't do that many at all. It was so much fun. And the best part – Hufflepuff won the house cup (well drew with Ravenclaw, but still).
The weekend was so fun and I met so many lovely people. I also brought way too many things- oops! I also got my first ever proofs from doing a range of things including a Twitter competition, finding a nurse and writing a line for a poem.
It was such a great weekend and I can’t wait to go next year (fingers crossed it'll be for all three days).
YALC and LFCC- Part 1
On the 30th and 31st July, I attended YALC and LFCC. For those of you who don't know, YALC is the young adult literature convention and LFCC is London film and comic con. Last year I went just for a day and loved it so much I decided to come again this year for two days.
I'm going to start off by saying- IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!!
As soon as me and my friend arrived on the Saturday we wondered around the publishers stalls to see what goodies they had and what books I liked the look of. (Too many). At the Usborne stand I told everyone why I am a feminist (if you're wondering here's the tweet) and got a free limited edition What's A Girl Gotta Do? lipstick. It's such a nice colour.
I then got to meet Holly Bourne at her signing. It was lovely meeting her and I got two of her books signed. She told me that Kyle is based of off a real person which is so cool.
After that, we went down to the LFCC floor to have a look around . Most stands sold merchandise from many different fandoms. One of the more odd stands was a stand selling communist books amongst other things. Other stands included ones selling fandom food, t-shirts and alpacas.
Around 3pm we went back up to the YALC floor to get in the signing queues as soon as they opened as we knew they would grow very quickly. My friend met Derek Landy whilst I met Alex Scarrow (author of the Time Rider series which I highly recommend) to get his latest book -REMADE- signed. He was very lovely and made me even more intrigued to read it. After this we bumped into Melinda Salisbury who kindly signed The King of Rats, her short story. I ended the day by buying more books including two more from Anthony Ergo who I also met at last year's event.
I also bumped into the lovely Michelle from http://www.talesofyesterday.co.uk/ and Amber from http://www.themilelongbookshelf.com/. I had such a great day on the Saturday but was majorly looking forward to some sleep before we did it all again the next day. Part 2 will be up soon all about my Sunday and my haul.
Did you go to YALC this year? What was your favourite part? Let me know in the comments below.
Errin knows the old story well: the sleeping prince, who rises from his slumber every hundred years to wreak horror and bloodshed. She just never imagined he was real. As this terrifying enemy rises and a war begins, Errin is forced to flee. With no one to turn to, her only hope is the mysterious Silas, a man whose face she has never even seen...
The Sleeping Prince is the second novel in The Sin Eaters daughter trilogy by Melinda Salisbury. It is written from the point of view of Errin (Lief's sister) as the Sleeping Prince and his horrifying golems begin to take over her home.
Having the alternative view point of Errin was refreshing and allowed for a new perspective of the world to be seen. At first I was slightly annoyed that it didn't continue on from The Sin Eaters Daughter as I was curious as to what would happen next. Fortunately, the two characters' stories collide to produce a perfect start to the final book. Following Errin's story also allowed a wider view of their world, its fascinating myths and their lives.
I instantly fell in love with Errin and her secrets, stories and skills. She's such an independent badass and I love her for that. The twists and turns were never ending and completely unexpected thus allowing maximum enjoyment. It saddens me I can never read it for the first time again and re-experience those shocking twists - especially those regarding Silas who was a fantastic character shrouded with so much mystery.
Despite not being set in modern times, this book had rich diversity covering topics such as homosexuality, sexual harassment and class. Melinda has yet again written such a fantastic book which has easily become one of my favourite reads so far this year. I can't wait for the final book where I'm sure my heart will be ripped out not by The Sleeping Prince but rather by Melinda. I would 100% recommend to everyone.
Hi, I'm Megan. I'm a 17 year old from England. This year I have decided to do something different so have set myself challenges of 18 things to do before I turn 18.
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