Splinters of Scarlet by Emily Bain Murphy

Splinters of Scarlet by Emily Bain Murphy is a young adult historical fantasy novel that is set in Denmark in the 19th century. In this world secrets can kill and magic is a deadly gift. For Marit Olsen, magic is all about strategy; it flows freely through her blood but every time she uses a bt of her magic a deadly, ice-like build-up replaces it, this build up is the Firn.

For the majority of the book we follow Marit and she tries to uncover the secrets that caused her fathers death. We follow her as she moves from the orphanage where her chosen sister also resides when she is one day chosen to be adopted by Helene Vestergaard. (Eves hero and very famous dancer). Marit manages to get a job as a seamstress at the vestergaard house to stay with Eve. whilst there she uncovers the secrets and lies that surrounds the Vestergaard mines.

I really liked this book, I thought it was just enough fantasy to keep you engaged however at the same time quite realistic. Yes, the use of magic isn’t all that real but I think they way that Murphy has written it in a way that it does seem like it is possible. The book is well written and easy to follow and the structure of the book is good, where it is split into fairly small chapters which follow a specific character (mainly Marit however towards the end we see more viewpoints).

Mystery is evident throughout the book and keeps you reading but alongside this there is many other themes of loss, friendship, love and magic. I think this book is a perfect mix. The mystery all comes to a head in the last few chapters which are so engaging and exciting that it keeps you on the edge of your seat (I won’t share what happens, that’s for you to find out !)

I really liked the character Marit, she is fierce and determined. after being orphaned after her fathers death and losing her elder sister to the Firn she carries on and whilst in the orphanage she meets Eve. Eve is her closest friend and the love she has for her is real. She wants what is best for Eve even if that effects herself and we see that more prominently as we read the book. I really liked this friendship as it did feel real, that they both met in this orphanage that brought them together and Marit following her to the Vesergaard to get a job where she can still be around her best friend. At times in the story you see their friendship falter and is affected by the world outside the orphanage but as we will them to be good again, you see how Marit is affected and want to fix whatever issues have occurred.

It wasn’t only Marit who I loved to meet but we get to meet a whole load of people from the Vestergaard household that gives this book much more depth and realism. We meet more of the servants that work in the house alongside Marit who all are willing to use their magic to keep the job in this house, no matter the risk. We also meet Helene herself, Eve’s new mother and her family. some good, some bad however all integral to the story.

Overall, I would say I really liked this book. I received it in the Book Box Subscription service and I am glad I did. I would definitely recommend to lovers of YA, historical fantasy and mystery lovers!

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to comment and like )

The Title of a Book

The title of the book is one of the very first things you look at when you pick one up so therefore it is important for it to be a good one!

Here’s a few tips to a great title!

  • It has to fit with the story and give an essence of what the book is about. It has to show the essence of the book so that reader’s will know what they are buying and whether they will want to buy it.
  • It has to attract reader’s. It has to be able to make someone want to pick it up and read it.
  • Concise. It can often help to have a shorter title as they are quick and easy to read/find.
  • Highlight a part of the story. Often you don’t understand the title until you have finished the book.
  • It can also help to have it link with the image and have that on mind when choosing it. What will it look like on the page

Hope this helps!

Many thanks, Caitlin X

(PS please feel free to comment your hint and tips for writing a title)

Short Stories

If you want to get into reading more but the prospect of reading a 200+ page novel scares you don’t worry! There are plenty of great short stories to keep you entertained with less commitment.

Short stories are a great way to start reading or re-introduce yourself into reading. You are not committed to a huge novel that may take a while to read but you are still able to enjoy something that an author has written. it can bring you back into enjoying reading as you feel the accomplishment of finishing something.

Often in schools, you look at short stories and analyse them. this is often a good way to get to grips with the idea of short stories and understand that although they may have less words they are still as entertaining. When I was in school, we looked at a short story called ‘The Flowers’ by Alice Walker. It is a powerful story and showed me that I could be interested and moved by a story that is a mere single side of an A4 page.

It is also a great way to explore new genres. If you are not sure you would like a certain genre but want to try its a great option. A short story is an introduction to a type of book and author and can often allow you to see if it is something you would enjoy before picking up a novel.

Overall, I would say that you should always give short stories a try as they can be just as powerful as novels but condensed. There is often not as much characterisation or depth but can still be incredibly powerful. If you are looking to explore new genres or want to get back into reading give short stories a try!

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment any short stories you have read and loved)

Book Perceptions

I think those who do not read books often view them as hard work. I’m not saying that it isn’t time consuming but so is film and TV. I am under no illusion that reading is for everyone but I feel that books shouldn’t least be understood for what they are.

Detailed- I feel as though books are often much more detailed than films or TV programmes (depending on the genre) which often adds another dimension to a story.

Imagination- I know this is a typical one however it is true. Although you are often given a description of a character it’s up to you to to actually create that image. Some people are better than others at that and that’s ok but it’s personal to the person who is reading . On a screen this has already been done for you which may make you less invested in the characters.

Development- books are a good way to help develop your language and literacy skills. If you are reading new books and coming across new vocabulary then you are learning whilst reading.

Enjoyment– books are fun! They allow you to enter another world that is written but also lets you add your own spin on it by creating the scenes in your head.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment on your perception of reading )

My Favourite Fiction Authors

Author 680 x 300
Source: London Book Fair Webpage

When someone asks me who my favourite author is I really struggle to choose just one and that is why I have decided to write this blog post. I think anyone who says they have a definitive favourite author is lying or has just said the first one that pops into their minds as choosing just one is extremely difficult (for those who enjoy reading). Authors are all so different from each other; from their style of writing and their structure to the topics they choose to base their books on are all unique to themselves.

Saying that they are all unique is true in my opinion. Yes they may have been influenced by other authors and therefor their work may have moments where you notice this but no two authors have every book written in the same way as another. Every one has their own process and priorities when writing a book as well as having different timescales and plans.

I am telling you this basically just to say that I don’t have just one favourite author and I believe that authors that I haven’t even yet read could possibly make it onto this list in the future. The following are just some of the fiction writing authors I love and would recommend to anyone.

  1. Mick Herron – Jackson Lamb Series
  2. Jonathon Holt – The Carnivia Trilogy
  3. April Henry – Girl, Stolen, The night she disappeared
  4. Helen Fields  – DI Callanach Series
  5. Diane Jeffrey – Those who lie
  6. Chris Ryan – Agent 21 Series, Danny Black Series
  7.  Roald Dahl – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda
  8. Michael Morpurgo – An elephant in the garden
  9. Ally Carter – The Gallagher Girls Series
  10. Malorie Blackman – The Noughts and Crosses series

 

The above authors are not the only ones I love and I could easily continue this list but I had to stop somewhere and 10 seemed like a good amount.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment a few of your favourite authors or if some of the above are on your list as well)

How to get out of a reading slump

Here are some tips to get out of a reading slump !

1. Push through and force yourself to read

I have done this so many times and I always get into the book after I have read a bit more.

2. Read a book that you know you love

If you read a book that is your favourite or know you like you are much more likely to want to read.

3. Reorganize your book collection

You might come across a book that you forgot you had or would like to read

4. Try to read a novella

Try to read a short story or novella to get yourself reading again before reading a huge novel.

5. Set yourself goals

Set targets of what you want to read in a time frame which may help you to continue reading them through the slump

These are just a few and often don’t work for everyone however it may just help you !

I hope you enjoyed this post.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment of these helped you or you have any more tips and tricks to get back reading)