Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Sephan Fashion

Slight hint here: the Sephan Realm is going to be very important in Water. For that reason, I wanted to post something which explained a little more about Sephan fashion. 

As the Realm associated with earth, Sephans have a hippy, eco flair. They like wearing browns and greens and most of their clothing is home made, so differs greatly from the tailored finish of the Arcans. It also has to be practical, designed for climbing trees and working outdoors. But flowers can provide a splash of colour and prettiness.

Sephan Style - Wild Child

Sephan Style

And because it's not all work and no play, for dressing up:

Sephan Style - Dressed to Impress

Sephan Style - Dressed to Impress by heatherf-james

Although that dress wouldn't work for every Sephan - Erica would be likely to stick to something less girly. However, there is another girl making an appearance in Water who would definitely want one...

The theme of this post is also very important for a feature coming up at the beginning of August called Novel Fashion Week, which is being hosted by Kindred Dreamheart. For seven days, three times a day, different novels will be being featured in posts on fashion. 

For Fire's feature on day 7, Imogen and Avery will be debating their differing views on fashion in the Helian and Arcan Realms. Make sure you check out the blog to see the post, as well as all of the other great features lined up. There is a promo video which details all of the authors and books involved here.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Requiem Review

4 - 4 1/2 stars

"Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing."

I was pleasantly surprised by Requiem - I had glanced at a few reviews on Goodreads which hadn't filled me with a lot of confidence, which is the main reason I didn't rush to buy and read it immediately. I am pleased that I wasn't completely put off though, because this is a great season finale. Maybe not quite as amazing as finales like Clockwork Princess or Mockingjay, but still pretty awesome.

I love Oliver's writing style - the way that she constructs her sentences and lets ideas build within them - it creates a vivid yet personal first person narrative. I think that these books would be really great to read aloud in a reading group. 

The quality of the writing has always been one of the big draws of the series for me and is probably why I will rush to buy whatever Oliver writes next. 

What I love about dystopian novels is how different they all are and how individual and creative each series concept is. Reading the back cover of Delirium was one of those 'this is going to be amazing' moments and the series hasn't disappointed. 

However, there was a couple of points at which I thought the concept could have gone a little further - some of the 'zombies' react more emotionally than I expect them to, which was particularly noticeable in Hanna's chapters. 

It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has read Fire that I like stories told from multiple perspectives, so I loved that we saw things from Hanna's POV in Requiem. I think that the story made more sense overall because of it and it was great to see the world Oliver has created from the perspective of someone who has been 'cured'. It provided more depth to the story and it was interesting to see important events described by the other side. 

This next paragraph is all about the ending of the book and the love triangle, so don't read on if you haven't already read Requiem:

I have yet to read a series where the guy I was rooting for didn't win. Maybe I'm just lucky, or maybe I have a knack for picking the right one. Either way, I felt that this series was the closest I've got to thinking that my guy might not get the girl… I think that was probably the reason I couldn't put the book down - I had to know who Lena chose! For this reason, I am mostly happy with the way that Oliver chose to end the series, although there's definitely room for more happiness - it wasn't quite the happily ever after I had wanted which, in a series which is supposed to be all about love, was rather disappointing. Instead, Oliver focuses on dystopian themes of freedom and society and happiness, which is great and sticks well to her genre, but I don't feel that it accurately reflected the stand-out theme which made this series so different. However, it was still a much, much, much better ending than the Julian-centred alternative I had been panicking about, so I'm quite content overall. I also thought that the final paragraph was really powerful and an emphatic way to end.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Summer Reading List

So I am taking some time out from polishing off my entry for the Young Writers Prize 2013 to post my summer reading list. Usually, I only talk about my writing on this site, but over the summer holidays I am going to try and write some review as well. This list is of the first novels I am planning to read this summer: 

Days of Blood and Starlight
by Laini Taylor

I received this book for my birthday, but haven't had time to read it yet. I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone, so I really can't wait to start. 

Goodreads synopsis:
 Once upon a time, an angel and a devil held a wishbone between them.

And its snap split the world in two.

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living – one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.

Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel – a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.

This was not that world.

by Lauren Oliver

Another title which has been sitting on my bookshelf since my birthday in June. I've heard mixed reviews about this one, but I have high hopes (so long as Lena ends up with Alex!)

Goodreads synopsis: 
They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

By Josephine Angelini

I still need to buy Goddess, but I loved the first two novels in this series so I'm really excited to finish it. (Again, I will only be happy if Helen ends up with Lucas)

Goodreads synopsis: 
After accidentally unleashing the gods from their captivity on Olympus, Helen must find a way to re-imprison them without starting a devastating war. But the gods are angry, and their thirst for blood already has a body count.

To make matters worse, the Oracle reveals that a diabolical Tyrant is lurking among them, which drives a wedge between the once-solid group of friends. As the gods use the Scions against one another, Lucas’s life hangs in the balance. Still unsure whether she loves him or Orion, Helen is forced to make a terrifying decision, for war is coming to her shores.

In Josephine Angelini’s compelling conclusion to the masterfully woven Starcrossed trilogy, a goddess must rise above it all to change a destiny that’s been written in the stars. With worlds built just as fast as they crumble, love and war collide in an all-out battle that will leave no question unanswered and no heart untouched.

by Susan Ee

I downloaded this when it was on a Kindle Daily Deal, although I have wanted to read it for a while. The cover is pretty and I love angel books.

Goodreads synopsis:
It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

Life Of Pi
by Yann Martel

I started life of Pi a few weeks ago, but haven't had a lot of time to get very far. It's definitely one I'm looking forward to finishing. Then I can watch the film!

Goodreads synopsis:
Pi Patel is an unusual boy. The son of a zookeeper, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior, a fervent love of stories, and practices not only his native Hinduism, but also Christianity and Islam. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.

The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them "the truth." After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional-but is it more true?
Life of Pi is at once a realistic, rousing adventure and a meta-tale of survival that explores the redemptive power of storytelling and the transformative nature of fiction. It's a story, as one character puts it, to make you believe in God.

So that's my reading list so far. Two hardbacks, two ebooks and one still to be purchased. What's on your reading list this summer (other than Fire, of course)?

Thursday, 18 July 2013


I have just realised that it has been over a month since I last posted something, for which I am very sorry! But a lot has happened in that month: I have got married, although I am still going to be writing as Heather James, to keep things less complicated. I have also moved house and am currently living out of cardboard boxes; an Ikea-trip away from having all of my furniture! I have also changed day-jobs and have become a secondary school librarian (which provides a wonderful combination of lots of books and long holidays to write in!). Summer holidays started today and I have finally found a spare moment for the blog. Hopefully it will be followed soon with lots of updates for Water. 

I had hoped to have ARCs ready by now, but I'm not 100% happy with the manuscript yet, so you are going to have to wait a little longer for the release date and cover reveal, as well as all of the exciting extras and new character introductions I have been planning. Don't forget though - the opening was posted during my blog tour for Fire, so check back through the posts for a sneak peak. 

In the meantime, I have been rather hurriedly working on my submission for this year's Young Writers Prize competition, organised by Hot Key Books and Kobo. If you haven't heard about this competition before, you should definitely check it out. I entered last year and will hopefully be entering again this year (if I can get everything in on time!) Its brilliant to see a Publishing company supporting young writers. 

Once my competition entry is sent off, Elements of Power will become my sole focus again (well, in between more house business, my ever-growing reading list and my desire to get back onto Wattpad and Figment before my accounts become completely dormant...) 

So the upshot of all this is: expect lots of exciting stuff, coming very soon, just please bear with me as I get back into the flow of things after what has been the most chaotic, yet exciting, month of my life!