Book Review: The Electrical Venus by Julie Mayhew

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I just finished reading this sweet YA novel and I have to say, it was pretty emotional. I was sent this book by Hot Key Books and I am so glad. But where to begin. So, ‘The Electrical Venus’ by Julie Mayhew is a YA novel, I wouldn’t consider it fantasy but it definitely has fantastical elements I think a fantasy lover would like.

The story revolves around a young girl named Mim, she’s ‘exotic’ being of mixed skin colour, but she’s also a glorified slave in a travelling show. The only person she really has for friendship is a one-armed boy and a green parrot named George. However she soon realises her future in the show may be cut short due to her lack of profitability. She doesn’t have an act worth paying for, and as much as her one-armed companion tries to help her become something more, she knows deep-down that she will soon be sold. Until an unusual man enters her life by the name of Sebastian. He is a scientist of sorts with an answer to her prayers. He notices her beauty and helps her discover a potential routine with the use of electricity. In honesty, it’s quite barbaric. He sends electrical currents through her, lighting her up like a Christmas tree, then invites random strangers in the crowd to kiss her for money. Many a customer are intrigued, to feel the spark of ‘love’ as they literally get a taste of electrocution through her lips.

This act becomes quite the spectacle and draws crowds from far and wide. Mim believes she is bettering herself, losing herself in the heady heights of fame and fortune, no longer one of the common folk like her old arm-less friend Alex. Eventually Sebastian takes Mim away from the show, stealing her away in the night. Much to Alex’s upset. But Mim soon realises Sebastian is not all he appears, and that he would as easy ‘lend’ her to other men as any other. No, it was not love that they shared. So she runs back to the show, only to find Alex has created his own wonderful act and is with another lady. But of course, they eventually come up with a better act that they can both share, and their true love is realised. It’s all very dramatic.

In truth, I found the story a bit slow in the middle, but when it gets to those fiery bits, you’ll be happy you waited. Mayhew builds tension like no other, positively choking us with it. Mim is a great character, naive for sure but positively hopeful. She reminds me of many young girls, waiting to reach their full potential. Naively fumbling about until you figure out what you really want. Alex is by far the most charming of characters, positively electrifying. And George the parrot keeps the spirit of the travelling show alive. I absolutely recommend reading this novel, it’s a nice light read that will make you think about all the opportunities that await you in your life.

Love,

Lauren_V

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HYSTERIC PRESS

I know it’s been a long time since I last posted, but I have some pretty exciting news! I am now a part of a new independent publishing house named Hysteric Press, and it’s amazing. It’s going to publish fiction that has a character/theme/plot on mental health or neurological fiction. If you’re an author, we’re now taking submissions so you should really take a look, we’ve got a pretty epic team.

Submissions' callout!

To visit our new website, please go to: www.hystericpress.com 

More info coming soon!

Love

Lauren_V

A Poem By A Friend

So now and then I get shown amazing pieces of art that I feel obligated to share with the world and here is the latest I absolutely love! Do comment and tell the budding poet what you think!

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Tell me dear mind

Tell me dear mind

What caused you to turn?

What made you a traitor

Who’d watch me burn?

Your alliance with emotion

Both turned against me

A trust suddenly broken

To a state I could not see

Was it my mother

Who bore me to term?

Or my father

Who raised me with concern?

Was it my brother

Who slighted and teased?

Or was it my friends

All to ready to leave?

Was it my teachers

Cold and unattached?

Or was it my love

Whom I just couldn’t catch?

Was it my doctor

Who prescribed without thought?

That caused me to think my life was for naught

Tell me dear mind

What I did to deserve

The sleepless nights,

The functioning on reserves

I’ll scramble together the pieces of me

To fill up the cracks and find harmony

Tell me dear mind is it plain to see?

That simply you were only protecting me

 

By Miss Wellstead

An open letter to Suicide

One of the most beautiful, heart-wrenching things I’ve ever read. Utterly devastating and raw. I beg you all to read and listen, to understand.

Surviving Suicide - A Sister's Story

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Dear Suicide,

You are possibly the one thing that I never really gave much consideration to when I was growing up. Why would I? I enjoyed a blissful childhood, surrounded by two loving parents and two unique but equally loving sisters. Whilst we had our squabbles, our fallouts and our screaming matches – as sisters do – we grew up to become best friends. We lived together, socialised with the same friends and despite the difference in years, we shared similar interests. As a threesome we relied on each other and always had each other’s best welfare at heart. Then you came along!

I suppose looking back you seeped unknowingly into our lives way before we even knew you existed, like a slow growing cancer that lies dormant for so long that you have to watch and wait, to see not if but when, it’s going to cause damage. Unlike…

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Book Review: Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials Trilogy)

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Hello, Hello, Hello! I know it’s been a while but I’ve been swamped by uni work and other miscellaneous chores! Today however I’m here to tell you a few things I’ve learnt about no: 1 in the ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy, also known at ‘Northern Lights’ by Philip Pullman. I’ve always had a little conundrum with this series, I’ve had it sitting on my shelves since I was 7 years old, but never gotten round to reading them. In fact, on many occasions I’ve actually lied to people and told them I’ve read them because I feel like they are the staple classic YA fantasy. To not have read them as a massive fantasy fan, I feel like I have betrayed myself. So I decided to correct the situation and get them read….and boy was I not disappointed.

Number 1 in this trilogy revolves around a young girl named Lyra Belacqua who lives in a world parallel to ours. In her world there are many wonderful things such as talking polar bears, witches and animal soul mates called ‘daemons’. However, their’s severe unrest between her Uncle Asriel and the rest of the world over a strange substance that holds all the worlds together, commonly known as ‘Dust’. When Lyra learns about this magical substance, and the parallel worlds, she is drawn into a dark and life changing prophecy. A prophecy wherein she will single-handedly save the world or doom it, but along the way she is swallowed by many other sinister plots, of which she is yet to know are all connected. She must save missing children from the frightful ‘Gobblers’. She must fight side by side an armored bear and win him back his legacy. But most importantly, she must learn to read her ‘Alethiometer’, a golden compass that tells the truth in a world that lives on lies.

Truth be told, I watched the film ‘The Golden Compass’ before I read this and I have to say, I’m impressed by how similar the book and film are. The majority of the main bits are in the film, in a slightly different order perhaps, but they’re still there. All except for the last couple of chapters which holds the truth you are waiting to learn the whole way through the novel. In those chapters, we learn the meaning of the prophecy surrounding Lyra, her uncles true ambitions and what Dust actually means for her world.

Of course I need to comment on the elephant in the room, so to speak. The so-called blasphemy within the book. Truth be told there are so many different religious meanings you could take away from the novel, and not all blasphemic. It’s true that theirs strong anti-religious sentiment within the novel which you don’t really understand until the very end, but in my opinion their’s also a lot of bits that suggest God is good and worth saving. Although many might read it and think simply that it is all anti-god, I personally think it questions some beliefs but only to help you yourself think about them thoroughly, to help you come to your own conclusion. I don’t think anyone should take part in something without thoroughly knowing it’s the right thing for them, and this novel encourages one to think about it properly, to make an informed decision. It highlights the consequences of people following things blindly. Which I can’t say is a bad thing and I myself am religious.

Overall, a genius piece of work that has me gasping for more. I can’t wait to finish the second one so that I can inform you more! Exciting!

Love

Lauren_V

Announcing A Writer’s Path Writers Club: Creating Benefits For Writers

How exciting for you!

A Writer's Path

I’m happy to announce our new initiative: A Writer’s Path Writers Club.

After looking at the writing market for years, I noticed a need for a Writers Club of this kind. Sure, there are Facebook groups, writers groups, etc., but there aren’t many associations that are more than just a gathering of writers.

I wanted to create a club where the sole purpose of it is to solve headaches for writers. Here are some of the headaches I’m looking to solve:

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Working Hard? Maybe. But try harder.

Hey guys,

I hope your all living safe and well! Today I want to discuss a MAHOOSIVE problem when concerning mental health issues in today’s world. It’s the whole issue where people think you’ve not been working hard for what you get. Effectively suggesting you should be able to cope and work super hard like everyone else.

To start my thoughts on this, I want you to ask yourself: what do you consider as ‘working hard’?

Does working hard mean working a large amount of hours in the week (and if so, how many…)? Does it mean not getting any holidays? Does it mean getting a certain amount of words written in a day? Does it mean physical work or mental? Does it mean working a lot without great remuneration? Does it mean building a sweat whilst doing it? Does it mean emotionally draining you to the point you cannot mentally cope with any more? Does it mean succeeding in something whilst coping with other external factors?

Well, my thoughts are these: ‘working hard’ is a myth people use to degrade other people’s efforts who they believe is less than them.

But this is a big problem most people with mental illness will face at least once in their life time. And I’m here to tell you, your opinions on what ‘working hard’ is, can seriously affect a person. I know people without mental health issues also face this problem, when you’ve been working hard but your friends or family haven’t seen it or don’t understand it. They then tell you that you should be doing what they do because that is considered working hard to them. They might well be working hard, but it doesn’t mean to say that what you’re doing is any less trying or emotional.

The effects of this kind of stigma/ignorance can be mentally destructive for both those with and without mental health issues, but for someone with them that is likely trying really damn hard to even do the things you’d consider everyday and normal, it can be disastrous, even life threatening.

It sounds stupid doesn’t, something as little as your opinion on what ‘working hard’ is, effecting others to the point they could potentially hurt themselves over it. But it does. It’s not stupid. It happens every single day. But people still aren’t seeing the connection to what they’ve said about a person being lazy or less than them has, to someone committing suicide.

It’s really not that hard to understand, but people drop these nasty little comments into conversations all the time. Some people even kid themselves into thinking they are trying to help the person do better for themselves. But you’re not, your only making them feel even less adequate.

Things people say:

  1. Why don’t you just do what I do, if I can do it, why can’t you?
  2. I never see you doing any work, what do you even do with your time?
  3. All your problems come down to the fact you’re not working hard enough, your just lazy.
  4. Why don’t you bother trying?
  5. Their’s nothing wrong with you. Just get on with it.

1..First of all, not everyone is the same. Some people can’t do what you do, you know why? THEY AREN’T YOU.

2..How much work they do isn’t really up to you to decide, you may not see them do anything, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t. Just skip straight to ‘What have you been up to?’

3..Again you have no idea how hard a person is working. So just shut your mouth.

4..I actually have an answer to this one. Why would anyone bother trying if all their going to receive are comments about how even then, they aren’t trying. I know I wouldn’t bother.

5..I can’t believe I even have to talk about that last one, but it’s necessary. UNLESS YOU ARE A PSYCHIC, YOU HAVE NO IDEA IF THEIRS SOMETHING WRONG WITH SOMEONE. Not even doctors always get this one right, so who the hell do you think you are to know whether someones ill and trying or not. Simple answer to this is, just don’t say it, don’t even think it. But if you can’t help yourself from thinking it, keep your ignorant opinion to yourself. We have enough negativity to deal with, most of us are in denial of our problems anyway, so don’t make it harder for those people with a mental illness to come to terms with it.

That one silly little opinion can make someone feel so small, so worthless. What is more important to you, your opinion on whether someone is working hard enough or the mental stability of the person your saying it to?

So yeah, next time when your thinking of saying something along those lines…don’t. It’s not hard.

If we can start changing this idea, and really think about what we’re saying, maybe fewer people in the world would die from crippling emotional pain, caused by other people’s ignorance.

Well, I feel better for letting that time bomb off. Thanks for reading and remember, don’t be a twat.

Best,

Lauren_V