Friday, 29 March 2013

Kendal's Column: Lifescouts #3

It's Lifescouts time again!

Scuba Dive
I started snorkeling when I was about 7 as my Dad used to go to a scuba diving club that met on Thursday nights and I tagged along as ,after the meet, my dad always bought me a J2O ( I though it was cool because it came in a glass bottle instead of plastic). I made friends with a girl there and we swan around in the pool together and it was really fun.
My dad suggested I could try a really small tank when I was about 8/9/10. I did a 'reefers and wreckers' course and got a certificate at the end to say I could (kinda) scuba dive so that is always a good thing to whack out at a dinner party.

Play Video Games
I missed the generation of classic Nintendo by about 2 years so the first video game I played was on Nintendo DS lite and i think the first game I ever played on it was 'my horse and me' on Christmas day 2007.
When I had my DS lite I used to save my £10 a month pocket money and, every two months, go to Argos and buy a game.
I then upgraded my DS lite when the DSi came out and then upgraded it again when the 3DS came out and got a fairly good deal each time.
I also got a Wii at Christmas 2009 after begging my parents for months and I still play on it with my brother as we slowly work through Super mario galaxy 2 and new super mario bros. Wii saving his girlfriend AGAIN (srsly mario, you owe us a solid) and we have the most fun and some fairly hilarious deaths.
My brother has recently resurrected his Super Nintendo and IT IS AMAZING.
I am going to end this badges on the note I AM THE LORD OF MARIO KART.

Go Bowling
I first went bowling at birthday parties but  its become a bit of a habit between me and a group of my friends.
We usually go bowling on Saturday and I ALWAYS (as a rule) put the names into the computer ( if you have ever seen the names of contacts in my phone, you will know why).
If you have never been bowling then I am telling you to go. now. You can have so much fun and even if you find that you don't like bowling you'll undoubtedly have fun finding that it isn't for you.
I haven't actually won YET but SOON MY TIME SHALL COME.

When I was in year 6 I watched 'The Universe' or some variation on Nat Geo (Kendal, your extreme-nerd-core is showing) and my little brain was just mind blown with mind-blowness and I fell in love with space.
I'm doing astronomy at GCSE now and I've just finished my coursework for it and I have my 2 HOUR exam for it on May 15th.
The reason my school can offer astronomy at GCSE is because we have our own observatory so, really, I visit an observatory every day that I go to school.
I am thinking of pursuing a career in astronomy but I'm young and I don't have a clue what I'm doing with my life-AT ALL.

Easter book update: It is now the Easter holidays...LET THE READING COMMENCE.

Paramore-Hallelujah: Live from chigaco (w/ tribute to Jeff Buckley)

Happy Friday!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Kendal's Column: Books For Easter Break

FINALLY EASTER BREAK IS HERE. (almost- it starts on thursday but next friday is lifescouts #3!)

Over the last 4 weeks of my life I have had NO TIME to read (my teachers are evil) so I have devised a plan to catch up with my reading: EASTER POWER READ.

Over the two weeks that I get for my holiday I plan to read  a minimum of 8 books (this will put me on a good standing on Goodreads and get me through all the books I am dying to read) between going to see Imagine Dragons (EEEP!) and seeing the host (in cinemas 29th March! EEP!) watching Doctor Who (!!!!), baking, arting, building forts and all the other stuff I do.

I have a stack (tower) of the books I am going to read and I'm going to post them bellow so YOU can
a) browse the awesome creations of today's authors
b) suggest which ones you would like me to review
c) recommend other books for me to read
d) give your opinion on the books.

City Of Bones- Cassandra Clare
How to save a life- Sara Zarr
Gone- Michael Grant
The Summer I Turned Pretty- Jenny Hann
I Am Number Four-Pittacus Lore
Switched- Amanda Hocking
The Flower Of Isabelle- Heidi Garrett (i am going to review the first book soon!)
Delirium- Lauren Oliver
The First Pillar- Roy Huff
Unravelling- Elizabeth Norris
Hate List- Jennifer Brown
Wonder- R J Palajio

I do have some more books on the stack (I so I will update you all my book status on the 5th April but if you want to keep track of me then just look at my goodreads profile as I will update during the weeks from there.

Happy Friday!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Author Interview - Nicholas Black

I should have posted this author interview quite a while ago, but here it is anyway! Today I have the interview I conducted with Nicholas Black, about his book called 'Chasing Darkness'.


1. Hello! Can you tell us what your book is about?
"Chasing Darkness is about a 17-year old girl, Muriel Chase, who works as a Demon Hunter for the Vatican. There have recently been an alarming amount of verifiable possessions, and the Church is overwhelmed with having to deal with it. Along the way, Muriel meet, and falls for, one of her bodyguards, Michael. It's a really exciting story, with lots of clever twists and turns."

 2. Why did you choose to write in this genre?
"My mom, who reads lots of Paranormal Romance, convinced me to take a "stab" at the Genre. I, grudgingly, agreed, and I'm glad that I did. Chasing Darkness and Chasing Daylight are among my best selling and best reviewed projects."

3. Would you consider writing in any other genre?
"I write Horror, true Crime, non-fiction, spy thriller, etc."

4. Have you always wanted to be an author?
"I never intended to be an author. In fact, my real job is trading commodities in the Precious Metals spectrum."

5. What are some of your favourite books?
"Well, I'm a Dean Koontz fan, so pretty much anything he writes. I like David Sedaris, Chuch Palaniuck, Stephen King, to name a few."

6. Are you reading a book right now?
"Actually, my recent time has been consumed by working on the Screenplay for "See Jack Die" one of my other series. It's being adapted to TV for CBS, so that's a lengthy process."

7. If so, are you enjoying the book?
"Going from book to script is not as easy as it sounds. But I'm learning.  I also recently finished the second edition of "How to Write a Fiction Novel in 30 Days or Less" which is a guide for new writers, and experienced authors who wish to speed up their writing projects without sacrificing quality."

8. Have you ever taken part in NaNoWriMo?
"Sadly, I haven't. I get emails all the time. Sounds interesting."

9. What is your top tip for getting to that word count target?
"You have to write every day, even when you think what you're writing is ghastly. It's about consistency. If you take even a day off, it's really difficult to get back into the groove. One hour a day, every day, and if you can... get dictation software like Dragon Dictate, which will speed you up by a factor of two or three, for certain."

10. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors who may be reading this?
"Yeah, read your favourite authors, and study the books you like the most. If you like those books, and their pace and cadence, then you should try and emulate that. Also, read, "How to Write a Fiction Novel in 30 Days or Less" and then "How to Publish a Best Seller on". Those two books have lots of good information for getting your project off the ground and finishing within the next month or two."

Nicholas also added "And write every day!"

Thanks for the inteview, Nicholas Black!

If you want to find Nicholas on Twitter, he is @NicholasBlack60

Friday, 15 March 2013

Kendal's Column: Book Review- 13 reasons why

13 reasons why is a story of a girl, A girl who commits suicide but she sends out tapes with her story on to 13 individuals who are her 13 reasons why she killed herself.
We follow the story of , high-schooler, Clay Jensen.
He loved her.
He is on the list.

Rating: Friday
I admittedly read this book a while ago but I was cleaning up from the floods of emotions.
This book touches on many problems in everyday teenager's life and i found it incredibly hard to put down.
Hannah's tapes start with her introducing herself and explaining what the tapes are and how there is no way to escape from sending them on to the next person on the list as she has a back-up who will release the tapes to the public if they're not passed on.

Fan Art
Her story starts when she first moves to town at the
start of high school she makes friends but like most people, whilst making friends she picks up a few enemies along the way.
Hannah's story seems to have all but ended as the doors to her life a blown open before Clay but he can't help but wonder, where does he fit into this puzzle?

During this book, without giving too much away, we see Hannah go through a smaller changes in her life that add up and eventually result in her actually ending her life.
Fan Art

Hannah's story happens as in, there are cases like Hannah's going on every single day.
That makes this book terrifying.
Little things add up, and that is something I don't think many of today's teens realise.
An anonymous comment on tumblr can be just as emotionally scaring as someone at school abusing you.
People need to know that just because you 'only said one thing' doesn't mean that it was an acceptable thing to do.
Also because someone said something about another person doesn't automatically make it true AT ALL.
Movie poster Fan Art.

This Book is being adapted to film in the near future with Selena Gomez already cast as Hannah.

Kelly Clarkson- Dark Side

Happy Friday!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Camp NaNo 2013

It's back and earlier than ever!

Yep, Camp NaNoWriMo is happening in April this year, which according to the internet is the earliest that it has ever been held. I have never taken part in Camp NaNo before, but I just couldn't wait until November to get back into the swing of writing properly!

I am so pleased about this announcement, because April is the only month when I don't have exams in school. So, I can write to my heart's content, and not have anything else to distract me. 

I will get this novel written!

The novel I have entered is 'In Hate We Trust' which was the one I started in November. This is my only current project and I plan to get the first draft completed this year. I want to become an author while I'm still young, and I have both the blogging community and the people at NaNoWriMo to thank for helping me start my journey towards becoming a published person. 

This is the badge I will be sporting on my blog during April:

I anyone else doing Camp NaNo this year?

Let me know!

The Book Critic x

P.S: I am so sorry about neglecting this blog. I hated to do it but exams called me and I had to listen, unfortunately. My exams start again in May, so that is a quick warning in case I drop off the radar at around that time. I hope not to, though. Writing helps to keep me sane.

Stay Beautiful!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Kendal's Column: Looking on the bright side of life

It at this point in the year, I personally start to feel a lot happier.
the sun is shinning
the birds are singing
the days are longer

however the season is not the only thing that is making me bubbly,
SHERLOCK SEASON 3 IS BEING FILMED NOW (or some point this month)
*everybody breaks down into tears of joy*_
Catching fire is releasing poster and amazing things (I suspect a trailer will arrive soon)
There are so many things happening this year (even in the next 6 months) that you should be happy/ excited for! so if you are going through a particularly rough patch then just keep in mind that the fangirl world is always a happy place to feel good

Happy Friday!

ps. I am truly sorry that this post is so short, in aid of Mother's Day (UK) my dad decided to spring a family weekend trip. I will edit this once I figure out how to configure the Internet once we get there :/
sorry again. I aim to make a 'back up' post for this kind of situation over the next week so (hopefully) these horrifically short posts will become less frequent. Sorry, I'm trying I swear. I will get better at this.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Kendal's Column: Our Education.

This is not a rant. ( I hope)

Over the past 24 hours I have genuinely inspected the school system that currently stands and I have honestly come the conclusion that it is inadequate and is doesn't work as well as it could/should.
If you're wondering why I was thinking about this, it's because of CPGrey's video- Digital Aristotle.
His video talks about how our modern day classrooms don't cater for every child's education as whilst some children may excel at a topic, others may be confused by a topic but before they fully understand the material the topic changes.

In today's society, where problems like global warming and cancer are major issues, we need the next generation of children to be receiving the highest standard of education possible which stretches the mind whilst making sure all the material is understood as otherwise, our technological advances may be slowed.

Also, the way we test students doesn't make complete sense to me as, by taking GSCEs/A Levels/ SATs at the end of an academic year, you are simply testing the memory of a student alongside testing their ability to understand material when, in my opinion, we should really just be testing a students ability to understand the material as that is what an education is (I'm sorry this may be confusing but I'm trying my best to explain). 

It has also been proven that students learn better when it is there own choice to learn it so maybe forcing our children into classes that they may not even need in later life may not be the best way to educate. I'm not saying we get rid of our core subjects (English, maths, science) or that we should be extremely relaxed about the hours and amount of work students actually do and I'm not saying that we should abolish end of education exams (employers/universities/ colleges need some indication of what you can do). I am merely suggesting that maybe we could allow students to do a compulsory foundation exam for the core subjects and from there they are given the usual 6 or 7 hours a day of education which they can chose to fill by learning in any way they want (as long as they are actually working) and be given smaller tests at the end of a topic they have studied. The results from the subject topics could then be averaged to give a percentage for the subject. 
This is by no means a perfect theory but I just feel that this, when developed, would offer more variety to a students education whilst still having the core subjects.

The video also gives CPGrey's idea of future of education, with a private learning source for each individual that teaches you at your pace, making sure the topic is understood before allowing progression.
This, for me, seems like a fantastic idea as this eliminates the problem of pupils being left behind.
This also gives students the opportunity to take education at their own pace, allowing them to revisit topics freely and flash through topics they may already completely understand. 
I can, however, see the downside to such a change as teachers may be put out of a job if replaced by computer programs but I do sincerely hope that one day our education system may be more suited for everyone. 

Happy Friday!