The Orchid

The Orchid

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Malvern Show & Short Stories

I visited the Malvern Show recently, hoping for garden inspiration and plants that survive in the extreme soil conditions that make up my garden.



I'm searching garden centres for the purple and white flowers, which were so pretty. They won't look like that in my garden...

I also dipped back into writing short stories. Competition entries were how I started writing and I think they're an excellent way to learn. For the last few years, I have purely written novels, so it was fun to return to the tightness and intense conflict needed for a short story. I also did an exercise of shrinking the short story down from 1,000 words to 200 and it was amazing how much sense it still made! Shows you that less is often best when it comes to writing.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Book Review From My Youngest

This is an additional book review written by my eight year old son after he wanted to join in the fun!


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire! 

Harry Potter and the goblet of fire is the 4th book in the Harry Potter series. I enjoyed the book because it is funny and dramatic so it is my style. Also, I enjoyed the book because the characters are a mixture of people they are good, bad, evil, and filled with trickery. My favourite character is Dobby because he is a funny cheerful house elf and different to other people.

I rate this a five star book but, sometimes made me jump, because there was sudden moments like when he was waiting and his name was called out of the goblet after Fred and George put it in as a joke. They were pleased that he survived because after they were worried they might kill the famous boy...    

The author of the book is J.K Rowling a famous book writer!       




                                             

Before I Fall


I planned to review The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, but a week hasn’t proved long enough for that large book. Instead, feeling ill in bed last night, I downloaded Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver, currently on 99p Kindle Deal.
This isn’t my usual style of book, I enjoy teenage speculative fiction and this is set in US high school, where there are defined differences between sets of pupils. I started this book at 11pm, and between coughing bouts and attempts to sleep, ended up finishing it at 3am.  The style is engaging and fast paced, hooking you straight into the story.

Teenager, Sammy, has been accepted into one of the popular groups at school, run by Lindsay. Not a natural bully, she falls into the role of tormentor to amuse her friends. In particular, Lindsay’s venom is directed at Juliet, who they all mock mercilessly. The book takes a dark turn when Sammy loses her life in a car crash, but wakes up the next day in Groundhog Day. This is not the most original idea, yet it works well here, along with a touch of The Butterfly Effect.

Expecting a tale of sophisticated, smart teenagers, the underlying theme of redemption and guilt surprised me. Sammy is forced to open her eyes to the behaviour of herself and her friends in a way that is both sad and shocking. This book shows the effect that bullying can have and touches on the theme of teenage suicide.

Other reviewers have criticised the book for its lack of positive main characters, but I liked the flawed group that made up, Before I fall. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want to go to school with them, however as characters in a book they were interesting and carried the story well. If you have a main character that is going to change her mind-set in the way Sammy did, you can’t start off with a perfect person in the first place. Characters, like people, have to grow and change.

This book is a thought provoking, intelligent read that I would be pleased to spot a teenager reading.


Has anyone else read it? Leave your comments below!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Weekly Reading Challenge - Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

I have set myself the challenge of reading a new book a week. This was something I used to do routinely, but with a busy life, my reading has taken a back step. And I miss it! So, I am going to read and review one book a week for the next two months. The first book, is Flawed by Cecelia Ahern.


Flawed by Cecelia Ahern


This is the first book in my new reading challenge. I enjoyed both Hunger Games and Divergent, so I was interested to read a new dystopian novel by an established adult writer.

Flawed introduced the character of Celestine North, who lives in a society where mistakes and non-adherence results in the person being found guilty of being Flawed. This life destroying sentence results in the perpetrator not only being branded, in a frightening medieval throw-back, but also subject to total control by whistleblowers.

After an incident on a bus, Celestine is found guilty of five Flaws, which results in the highest number of brandings ever issued.  

I enjoyed this book, in fact read it in one night. It is a lighter style of fiction than other dystopian works and is, I suspect, aimed at teenage girls.  The character of Celestine was well drawn, showing both her fears and her courage. I also like the change to her mother’s character, who horrified by the sentence her daughter endured, became her greatest ally.

 By contrast, her father was only lightly touched on and I felt her grandfather’s motivation could have been explored deeper. The world created is a realistic one, more like 1984 than the Hunger Games. An adaption of the society we already live in.

 Overall, I thought this was a thought provoking book that whilst lacking the depth of similar works, is an excellent introduction to the genre.

Flawed is available from Amazon for £4.49. I purchased and paid for my own copy.

If you read have this book, leave your own comments below, or suggestions of books I can add to the growing To Be Read pile!