Dreamology Book Review

Dreamology by Lucy Keating

Synopsis

Alice has been dreaming of Max since she was a child, experiencing wild and wondrous dreams together. However, when Alice moves to Boston, she makes a startling discovery: her dream boy is real. Navigating a new city, a new school and new friendships, along with her conflicting feelings towards the boy she thought she knew, Alice’s life gets complicated. Can Alice and Max’s relationship exist in reality, or will she only ever have her dream boy in her dreams?

First Impressions

The idea of two people sharing a dream was such an intriguing concept to me that I immediately wanted to pick up the book and read it. Alice was quite a compelling character, just for her dreamscapes alone, and I enjoyed seeing her go from needing the dreams to survive, to letting them go and living in reality with her literal dream boy.

Writing Element Thoughts

The characterisation was interesting. I thought Alice and Max’s relationship went back and forth a few too many times, making it all the more frustrating, but I’m glad they did end up together in the end. The secondary characters were well rounded, but they were all conveniently in a relationship by the end of the story, which irks me a bit. I enjoyed how they handled Oliver and Celeste, considering how they could’ve made them into assholes after what Alice and Max did, but instead, they chose a mature decision to move on, which I appreciated.

The pacing was well maintained throughout, following the story structure almost perfectly, and the overall story arc was consistent and kept making Alice change and grow as a person. Nothing too drastic happened either, which I appreciated.

What I Like

  • I loved reading the dreamscapes, since I often have weird dreams myself, and I loved that Max was helping to control the dreams. However, I also appreciated how emotions controlled the dreams too, with their fears turning the dreams into something uncontrollable.
  • I liked that there was a psychological reason these dreams were happening instead of a supernatural reason. They actually tried to use science to explain it, even if I don’t actually believe this is possible, which I appreciate.

What I Don’t Like

  • I didn’t like how convenient the ending is with everyone coupling up. It irks me because it doesn’t feel that realistic to have everyone in the story be in a relationship. Perhaps Oliver and Sophie is justifiable, but Alice’s father and Margaret Yang? And Celeste just so happening to date an older man after dating Max for years? Nope, sorry.
  • I didn’t like how Max kept going back and forth with how he felt for Alice, especially compared to the dream version of himself. I know they’re teenagers and they have no idea how to feel the majority of the time, but the constant back and forth was frustrating and used as a plot device.

Overall Thoughts

It was a good story overall. I enjoyed reading it and finding out why Alice and Max were having a joint dream, but I think it was lacking something for me to make me want to reread it.

It Only Happens In The Movies Book Review

Synopsis

Audrey Winters is in the midst of a crisis, leading to her total disdain towards romance movies. With her father moving on, her mother in a catatonic state, and her ex-boyfriend dumping her for another woman, it’s little wonder Audrey feels that way. However, when she starts her job at Flicker (their local cinema), she meets Harry, and her feelings begin to change towards love.

First Impressions

I was addicted to this book from the first moment I picked it up. I was curious about the beginning scene since it happens much later in the book and I wanted to know what led to that moment and what the resolution would be. I’ll admit, I’m much more likely to stick with a book if it gives me a reason to, like showing a much later scene first. Or even just hinting towards something ominous in the future.

Writing Element Thoughts

The characterisation is very realistic. Audrey changes through the course of the story, from letting her guard down and being vulnerable again with a guy, to letting her friends back into her life who she’d been neglecting, to finally expressing her true feelings towards her dad and her brother. It was refreshing to see her try to juggle multiple problems in her life while trying to keep a hold on everything, such as A levels and friendships and a home life. At some point, most people will experience this difficult juggling act, which could end in a very bad way (like a mental breakdown or physical injury).

The story arc is very well written. It has a clear key narrative structure with a good beginning, middle and end. The chapters are interspersed with her criticism of romance films that correlate with the stage of her relationship with Harry, which is a nice touch. I personally like the writing style too. It’s friendly and conversational without trying too hard to relate to a younger audience. There’s ways of speaking that young people use nowadays, but it’s not included in a cringey way.

What I Like

  • I like that Audrey didn’t just take Harry back after the Big Gesture because he hurt her and she couldn’t trust him anymore. I would’ve liked if they’d gotten back together, but it shows a realism to the story by forcing Harry to deal with the consequences of his actions, rather than just sweeping it aside and moving on.
  • I like when Audrey finally talked to her brother about her feelings and shouted at her father for what he did. It showed a maturity and a willingness to handle her problems instead of letting them spiral out of control.
  • I like how Audrey takes back control of her life after realising she’s been living in a zombie state, in part thanks to her shitty ex-boyfriend. She actively fixes her friendships and applies to study media at university.

What I Didn’t Like

  • I didn’t like how, when Audrey did repair her friendship with her best friends, we didn’t have a scene with the girls just hanging (although, since they weren’t the main focus, it does make sense).

Last Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story from start to finish. I honestly couldn’t put it down because it was just so well written. The characterisation and overall story arc was brilliant and the themes were handled wonderfully.

I’d definitely recommend you to read it.

My Trip To Vancouver

Every year, me and mum discuss where we want to go for our two week summer holiday months in advance. After our trip to the States last year, mum wasn’t too keen about splurging on another expensive holiday, but since it was a big birthday for her, we agreed on one last expensive holiday for a long while. We had a few suggestions about where we wanted to go. I’ve always wanted to visit Canada, especially considering how much people rave about the country.

My mum had studied in Vancouver 32 years ago for 5 years, so she knew the place quite well. Plus, she had some fond memories about Vancouver and felt a desire to return, just like when we went for our road trip around Ireland and revisited her hometown. So, with tons of planning ahead and booking an Air BnB, our holiday was set in stone.

Continue reading “My Trip To Vancouver”

End Camp NaNoWriMo Update

When I started Camp NaNoWriMo this month, I thought I’d get at least 25k written. I was realistic and knew 50k wouldn’t happen without the usual level of support NaNoWriMo has. However, life had other plans, as it so often does. I changed my word goal to 10k because I honestly thought I might reach it. Unfortunately, I haven’t reached that goal either. But hey, 6k words is still better than 0 words, so I’ll take it.

My Glee binging session didn’t happen, but re-finding the joy of reading has overtaken my priorities a bit, as has work. A friend suggested I try (YA) romance stories. I’ve always enjoyed romance stories, so I picked one I’d been drawn to and bought it. Honestly, I’m low-key addicted, craving to know what’ll happen next. This is such a good thing for me because I’ve been struggling to read in recent years, either losing the motivation to keep going or realising I don’t enjoy it for whatever reason and stopping.

You win some, you lose some. But at least I got some words written.

How did Camp NaNoWriMo go for you?

Mid Camp NaNoWriMo Update

I always feel like life somehow knows I wanna do (Camp) NaNoWriMo and decides to throw me several curveballs, just to keep me on my toes. Unfortunately, what that ends up doing is hitting me mentally and forcing me to stop writing for a few days. Additionally, I always have plans, so trying to write around those plans can be a struggle.

However, this month in particular has been tough. I’m still trying to be in a healthy mindset but I’m not there yet. Maybe in a week or two, depending entirely how work goes.

I still wanna write this story, but I don’t know how much I’ll get written in this allotted time. My life is a mess right now and fixing it is a struggle when some of it is difficult to fix and others of it is a mindset issue.

Hopefully, I can at least reach 10k by the end of the month. If I could reach that, I might feel slightly better. But I have rediscovered Glee and I fear a binge session might be on the horizon. Hopefully, I can push that aside and do some actual writing.

How is your Camp NaNoWriMo going?

Camp NaNoWriMo: July 2019

I have spent so many years debating what story to tell and proceeding to try to tell the story only to start again. And again. And again. Usually, it’s a fantasy story. I just can’t seem to find the right character to carry the narrative in its entirety. For a while, I did take a little break from writing fantasy and focus on this band story I started years ago and never went back to. However, as I was plotting, I struggled to make the plot captivating enough and have a strong story arc.

Which is why I have now combined the two ideas.

In the past, I’d incorporated the band into my fantasy stories as secondary characters. However, I always found they wanted to tell the story and become primary characters. Or at least, one particular character did. So, I finally let him lead the story and drag along the other three. He has a very distinctive personality and it’s great for helping carry a narrative.

This particular story is bringing four band members into a fantasy setting. I’m using ideas I’ve used in other stories in this story, including an idea from a literal dream I had. Hopefully, with this particular combination, I’ll be able to write to the end of a first draft.

Here’s to Camp NaNoWriMo and whatever else it brings!

Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo?

I'm Back

Apologies for my long, unexpected absence. A lot has happened in the past few months, and it was never my intention to let my blog fall to the wayside. However, while I acknowledge this blog is still a writing blog, I can’t deny that I struggle to keep it strictly about writing when I’ve been writing sporadically at best in recent months.

I like blogging. I wouldn’t keep coming back to it if I didn’t. But trying to keep a blog going constantly is a struggle, especially when your life is a giant mess. My life, a bit like this blog, has been through several fresh starts, but none have stuck… yet. Writing has been the only constant on both this blog and in my life. But committing to one topic? And posting about it weekly? That’s tough.

I’m planning on participating in Camp NaNoWriMo in July, so for now, I have at least one blog post planned. Making a blog post about my weekly word count might not happen since I never feel like I have much to say about it. But talking about how the project is going before, during and after might be a good blog post to do.

However, beyond July, I might resort to a monthly blog post, but whether it’ll be sporadic or not depends what’s going on in my life. Additionally, I made a conscious decision this year to live in the moment more. I spent much of last year taking photos, obsessed with taking the ‘perfect’ picture to post onto Instagram (or for GuruShots). I grew tired of taking photos, then choosing the ‘perfect’ pictures and uploading them to my photography Instagram account, or doing the same with concerts and holidays onto my personal Instagram account. I had the realisation that nobody really cares about my holidays as much as I do, and even though I’m supporting musicians by posting them on Instagram, most the big concerts I went to didn’t need support. They’ve got millions of fans, so they won’t even see my post. What is the point? Whereas with a cappella groups, it’s important to support them since it’s a very niche genre to support and they appreciate any support they get.

Having this realisation has helped me live in the moment more. I’m not living through a lens or searching for that ‘perfect’ photo and waiting to take the picture… mostly. It’s a working progress. I’m seeing the world for what it is and not feeling obligated to post about it. Although, that being said, living in the moment is difficult when your life is a giant mess that doesn’t have much stability, and the world is in a bleak state right now, so seeing the world for what it is is quite difficult at times.

When you first begin blogging, most tips suggest writing about a topic you know about. Hence why I always wrote about writing. However, there is more to me than just writing. I know about history. I know about travelling. I know about heritage. I know about family. I know about a host of topics. Sure, I won’t be an expert in most topics, even the ones I’m familiar with, but writing about them might be fun. Or writing about topics I’m interested in exploring more could be fun.

What I’m saying is, life is unpredictable. It hardly ever goes to plan, throwing you curveballs to learn from, whether good or bad. This blog has definitely never gone to plan. I keep promising to update weekly, then it falls to the wayside and I start again. I’m honestly surprised I still have people following this blog. But if my writing is unpredictable, as is my life, why should I constrain myself to one topic?

So, as of this moment, this blog will become a monthly blog post about whatever I want it to be. And if I don’t post in several months? What does it matter? It’s my blog after all.

Here’s to the future and whatever it holds!