Bio

Welcome !

While you’re here you will be able to find a little bit more information about me, Jade Hemming, currently Entertainment Editor for Strike Magazine, copywriter at Copify, & author at Channillo. When I’m not reading or writing, I’m usually blogging and reviewing.

Pull up a pew, eat some cake, and get in touch!

Random Musings · Uncategorized

On Remakes – Like Dirty Dancing

So I recently saw an article about Dirty Dancing. More specifically, its remake, which is being completely butchered by film critics and probably fans of the original alike.

Image result for dirty dancing remake

I’ve never really understood remakes, if I’m honest. A film which was popular 30 years ago and still is to this day maybe for relevance or simply *feelings*, doesn’t need a remake. If you tried to remake Back to the Future you’d get speared in the gut by fans, I’m telling you.

I’d be one of them. And God help the people who decide Lord of the Rings needs a refit, because I WILL LEAD THE CHARGE.

If it aint broke, don’t fix it.  Stop meddling. If it works, it works. The reason the original film was or remains a success or cult hit is probably because some quintessential magic happened while it was being made, and to try and recreate that – just to put a modern spin on it or design it in tone for a ‘modern audience’ – won’t achieve the same effect.

It’s like trying to rewrite a book that’s popular. If someone took Throne of Glass characters, or Six of Crows characters in 10 years’ time and wrote the same story – it wouldn’t work. We already have that story, done extremely well, by the person who was supposed to write it. Yeah we get retellings, but mostly this is from ideas or legends, folklore and mythology which is about 100 years old or more. But remakes are usually step by step, point-for-point story rehashes for megabucks with current stars from a relatively recent decade.

I know there’s an argument within this subject, and it suggests that since this is a visual medium, it can be interpreted on the screen in so many different ways. That’s true! No artist has 100% the same vision.

But…. why not allow that artist to do something different?! Or if you MUST do Dirty Dancing why not put it in the Jane Austen era, or put it like The Terminator, JUST DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT WITH IT.

Take the Rocky Horror Picture Show – that shit is ICONIC. But they made a remake for the ‘modern’ age (which in itself will be old in 5 years) and it was too clean, too cookie cutter, too knowing what it was trying to emulate. Maybe it was a love letter, sure, but it wasn’t needed. To my mind, it added nothing from this ‘modern age’ that the original lacked, apart from maybe being more sensitive to gender identity.

Remakes aren’t needed. It’s the same with sequels – people are getting tired of them. Even Hollywood has recognized it! In an age which is already oversaturated with rip offs and similar ideas, there may be struggles to find original concepts but don’t ADD to that struggle by basically cleaning up something which was made iconic WITH GOOD REASON just because you want to cash in on the media furor.

It won’t work, it won’t be remembered (well it might be, but not for the right reasons) and it won’t give the audience the fresh blood they truly desire.

// rant

Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday – Favorite Minor Characters

Minor characters are less than a sidekick or a side character (but not in our hearts!) Everyone will have a different definition of what makes a minor vs a side character but just as an example, I’d consider Ron and Hermione side characters, while Lavender Brown, Oliver Wood, and Dean Thomas are minor characters. Results may vary so don’t get tooooo caught up in it 🙂

Samantha “Sam” Black Crow from American Gods

She’s in it for several pages, maybe a couple of chapters, but apart from that she doesn’t have a MASSIVE part to play in the entire novel. However, she does have a belter of a monologue, which I will provide for you here and it’s how she became a character deep in my heart:

Harshaw from Ruin and Rising
He kept a cat on his shoulder, FFS and was probably the most interesting of the crew Alina took with her.

Image result for harshaw ruin and rising

Nikolai Lantsov in Crooked Kingdom
MY PRINCE. Or King. My Stormhund. A cheat I’ve seen on others’ blogs so I’m doing the same. I did originally desire more from this, and more interactions between him and Kaz, but he’s my favourite King. Ever.

Sorry, Aragorn.

Image result for nikolai lantsov

Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter
I consider her to be a side character, but she didn’t get as much screen time to be honest so…. LUNA.
Image result for luna lovegood

Calla from the Raven Cycle (honourable mention to Calla in Darker Shades of Magic, you were special, girl).

Calla was acidic, no nonsense, brash and totally honest about who she was, like a female version of Ronan, and we all know how much I love Ronan. So this choice is practically a given.

 

 

NetGalley · Reviews

When Dimple Met Rishi Review

28458598

3***

A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways

Goodreads: HERE

Thank you Hodder & Soughton + Netgalley for the ARC!

Sometimes, contemporary and I don’t get along. Most of the time it needs some magical realism or something else. And I always think everything happens too quickly, of which this book is no exception.

When Dimple Met Rishi is a really important book, though. I’m glad it’s out there and highlighting other cultures within a predominantly white Christian publishing array of same old books. I think it was hyped so much that I wanted more to actually happen in it than the plot allowed.

I really liked Dimple – she’s a fiesty, intelligent girl who knows what she wants, but my problem with contemporary remained in this book. It all seemed so rushed, and Rishi wasn’t a character I bonded with 100%. I enjoyed him taking down the elitist snobs in the restaurant, but after that he seemed a bit inconsistent. I prefer him a lot to the typical douchebags you get in a lot of YA – bad boys turning good, etc – because Rishi was a straight up decent, positive human being from the start. Though I feel sometimes he still came off as a little arrogant.

A lot of his arc was a struggle within himself, whether he would do comics or go to MIT as expected, which was super interesting. I still couldn’t connect with him or his sense of humour. I actually hoped Dimple and he would end up as friends, and subvert the typical tropes of romance, or even the arranged marriage aspect – that the parents aren’t always right.

Dimple was so angry with her parents for setting her up in that way and not understanding her need for education over romance – and rightly so – that when it all goes out of the window because Rishi is cute and an actually ok guy she suddenly changes her mind? She still brought it up that she might never want marriage, and that’s good, but I wanted more insight behind her decision to change her perspective of Rishi and certainly more from Rishi than Dimple just feeling guilty.

Maybe it’s just me, because I’m stubborn af and can hold a grudge for years and might be a bit of a dick that way, but I didn’t enjoy that aspect of the book.

Plus, the contest seemed just to be a plot device to get them together in the book (since that’s what their parents were all about) and faded into the background. And then there’s a talent show that everyone apparently knows about but is only mentioned 50% of the way in.

I also struggled with the POV changes. They happen mid-chapter and because of the kindle format, it wasn’t always clear that we were suddenly in the opposite person’s head.

Don’t get me wrong, it was cute. Sometimes it was amusing. Not a lot happened and the actual fall-out of feelings was slightly awkward – but it was predominantly romance and not a romance I could attach to.

So to finish…. this won’t change my mind about contemporary. Sometimes we get along, sometimes we don’t, it’s an 80-20 split to the latter. It’s definitely a case of “not you, it’s me.”

Again I’m really pleased this is out there showing another much-needed voice and I’m hoping it gets the attention it deserves for YA. Please keep supporting diverse books! Just because one reviewer (me) didn’t gel with this one, doesn’t mean others won’t. 🙂

On Writing · Writing Advice

#VoicesofYA Book Tag

I was tagged by the gorgeous Hetal Avanee to answer these questions! Be aware I may be rambly at times but I’ll try to inject it with as much concise info as possible 🙂

ABOUT THE WRITERS:

 What draws you to YA?

I had a reading slump for about 7 years. I barely lasted through the books I read, apart from Neil Gaiman’s works, because the adult arena of SFF and fantasy had lost its luster. I wanted more. More diversity, more variety, more risk taking in stories. I wanted to be punched in the gut with emotion (oh boy do I regret that now!).

YA provides all of that for me. It seems to take more risks in themes, stories, voices, etc. where adult is still stumbling along with it a little bit. I love the fact that I can see strong teenagers coming through – because to be honest, even at 29, I still don’t have my shit figured out, so I feel more in tune with the YA characters than I do with adult most of the time!

Also Sci fi and fantasy? YA is KILLING it, AND with the female characters.

jessica

Describe your writing process. Do you like outlines and structure, or seeing where the story takes you?

Both, but to be honest it varies from story to story. Not sure whether it’s just me, and the fact I’m growing with every novel I write, but this tends to be my process:

IDEA! WOW! Ok let’s write this out… brainstorm it… I see these scenes, ok, write those down, tidbits of characters, awesome, great.

*writes out brief plan of novel*

*writes the first 7 chapters faithfully, sticking to the road*

OOoooo look! Shiny new path!

*wanders off entirely and writes self into a corner even though this stuff is half fantastic and half complete drivel*

*cries for about 3 weeks because I can’t bridge between this barren land the path I should ACTUALLY be on*

*figures it out and then writes some more*

WOOHOO writing!

anigif_enhanced-buzz-32720-1376332181-18

I also actually write queries first now, to give myself an outline of it. It seems to really help me keep on track for the heart of the story.

How long have you been writing? Where are you in your journey?

Image result for it's been 84 years gifSince I was teeny tiny I have been writing stories. I just never knew what to do with them. I lived in a time before internet (I KNOW) and my outlet was books, but without the internet I never really thought about the publishing process.

My teacher, when I was young, told me to promise her to always keep writing stories, no matter what else I did. So I kept that promise.

After writing stories about fantasy and other stuff (based on other books I was reading at the time) I started my first proper book. My first novel took me 10 years to complete, my second novel took me a year, and I think it’ll be the same for my third.

 What do you need to write? Coffee? Music?

I often listen to music, I have playlists GALORE but I can easily write in the quiet of night (when my ear isn’t ringing and annoying me lately, which is rare). But yeah my playlists help. And I always need a drink of some kind, mostly tea or water.

If you could offer one piece of advice to another writer (OTHER THAN “don’t give up”), what would it be?

Know your characters. It doesn’t matter if the plot works or not just yet, if you don’t know your characters or don’t focus on making them the heart and utter backbone of the story, nobody will care whether their world ends.

Image result for don't give up gif

ABOUT THE BOOKS:

What book still has you reeling from its plot twist? (*no spoilers please*)

You know, I don’t think I’m reeling from a plot twist. A lot of them I either knew already from people talking about it or it was like “oh ok”. I think, though, the way Maggie Stiefvater ended the search for the King was REALLY unexpected. I loved that.

What books are you most anticipating for this year?

I need more August!! I adore him.Image result for our dark duet

This sounds fantastic.  And LOOK AT THE COVER. I need the US version.

Daughter of the Burning City

And this one….

Royal Bastards

AND THIS ONE

In your opinion, which YA book/series has the most unique premise?

GOSH. I’m not sure. Actually I would say the Monsters duology by Victoria Schwab because I haven’t actually read a story about a warring city full of monsters created from bad things happening, so I’d put that.

What is your all-time favorite quote from YA lit?

“I will have you without armour, Kaz Brekker, or I will not have you at all.”

QUEEN INEJ, DUDE. QUEEN. INEJ.

What book do you most hope will have a movie adaption?

Movies are hit and miss. They don’t cram as much intricate information in them and they’re only so long. I’d MUCH rather have a TV series, and since Raven Boys is already happening, I will say SIX OF CROWS.  I need to see Scheming Face in real life!

 

Random Musings · Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday – Summer Reads

The weather is heating up (for half of the world), so what books remind you of summer and are your quintessential summer reads?

Sense & Sensibility

14935

I read this on the beach in Ibiza and ever since then it’s reminded me of hot, sunny days and glorious endless sands while salsa or trance music played in the background. It’s also a gorgeous, perfect summery-type read for the hills of England and the sweeping countryside and Colonel Brandon is my everything.

Harry Potter (any of them)

Image result for harry potter and the order book cover

I remember for some reason I used to re-read Harry Potter when I was out in the garden on sun loungers, or just at my window smelling the gardens outside. It didn’t matter where, and when the last book came out I was on holiday, desperately trying to avoid spoilers from the girl who ate dinner across from me and SOMEHOW HAD THE BOOK THERE ALREADY?!

Anyway it’s always good to read Harry in summer.

The Raven Cycle (any of them)

the_raven_king_cover_official

Set in summer but read in winter, I fully intend to appreciate the descriptions of hot days and wasp/bee weather while I’m out in the garden this year. A gorgeous, spooky story set in gorgeous, spooky hills and I love it.

Neverwhere

Image result for neverwhere cover

I read this in late summer of 2012 I think, about August / September, and I read it everywhere – on the bus, at breaks at work, morning when I woke up, before I went to bed. I barely even SAW summer when I was reading this. But it’s the perfect dark-ish fantasy to get into on light days, or to read as the sun goes down.

Getting Rid of Matthew / Pip

850487 442948

These are just like ultimate chick flick, speed read relationship stories that were hilarious but also just beach page turners. You didn’t really have to think about the plot much, but the characters were vivid. I can’t remember which one was actually set in a nice summer area? I think it was Pip, which was bright and breezy and fun. But they’re ultimate lazy garden book trash if you need that sort of thing.

Leave me your recommendations for this summer!

Book Things · NetGalley · Reviews

5* ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen McManus

This was on my “2017 Highly Anticipated” so I was absolutely delighted when Penguin Random House UK graciously accepted me to read this early through NetGalley!

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

cover106249-medium

Buy it: Amazon UK // Amazon US
Goodreads: Here

RATING: 5*!

I was gripped from the start on this. The writing is simple, but like a warm bath is simple – it’s a universal pleasure to just kind of envelop yourself within it for a few hours. Sometimes the voice changes mid-chapter didn’t really register, but by the middle I was so used to who was who it didn’t take me out of the story.

I admit, every perspective had me going “IT’S THEM!” only to go “NO WAIT – THEM!” half way through. I think at one point I even suspected a mentioned-only-once character. It sucked me in and refused to let go, whispering for me to forget my real life responsibilities until I actually found out who killed Simon.

One thing for me in books is how authentic dialogue is – if the dialogue is so far removed from anything people would actually say, it drags me out of it. Karen didn’t disappoint with hers. There weren’t any stupid “explain the last episode in a sentence” type incidents, for which I’m very thankful, because those make me roll my eyes and struggle to keep reading.

The one teeny gripe I had was I could have done with more from each perspective, for instance when we changed to someone else’s head, I would have preferred to be engrossed for more than a few pages to get more of a feel of them. But that’s just a tiny thing.

I managed to guess two of the plot twists, but that’s all you can do – Guess. There are so many different things that are thrown into the mix here you can’t guarantee your guesses are right. Not in the “PFFFT well I’ve seen this before I know what happens”. But I was really pleased when my Sherlock skills paid off.

Favourite character – Addy, surprisingly, and Maeve, and Ashton, and the badass ladies who simply gripped me. And Kris! ❤

Least favourite – I don’t really dislike any of the main characters but I connected with Bronwyn the least. At one point she calls Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Retro” and I swear I gasped and fell back. It’s not that old!…… right?

All in all this is a great, gripping, well-written book with rounded characters and I’ll probably get it in paperback because I need a physical copy. I can’t rely on Kindle batteries with something this un-put-downable!

On Writing · Writing Advice · Writing Method · writing process

On Writing: Authentic Dialogue

Image result for talking gif

Because, Barney. Because.

I admit it. I’m a bit of a dialogue snob. I am so nitpicky when it comes to what feels authentic and what doesn’t. And the truth is – dialogue is HARD.

There’s a fine line, of course, about what feels authentic in a book – anything from cultural background, personal inflections, and regional dialogue can make a difference when phrasing.

But – and it’s a big butt (I’m sorry) – there are some tips to make your characters sing rather than sound stilted and one-dimensional.

For instance, whenever I can, I try and do a long stretch of conversations without questions. When I observed conversations, both mine and other peoples’, I realised that we don’t usually ask a lot of questions between ourselves. Sure, you’d have like the odd “How was the party?” but then you wouldn’t get many obvious questions after that.

This is what a lot of stories fall down on. In order to expose plot through dialogue there are questions on top of questions. A brief (and somewhat awkward) example below:

“Where are you going? Are you trying to avoid me?”
“Why, are you jealous?”
“I’m worried about you, can’t you tell? Ever since Dorothy, my grandmother died in that fire in 1997 and the dreams I’ve had plaguing me ever since…”

STOP. Ok so this example went into a bit of trope territory that I’ll get into in a second, but —

You’re missing an opportunity to show character AND advance the story arc on a personal level. We very rarely talk so openly in real life (unfortunately) but also rarely as stilted.

Maybe try this?

“Every time I see you, you’re off out somewhere. One might think you’re trying to avoid me.”
One might think you’re jealous.”
“I’m just saying. You know what I’m like about things like this.” –

Something like that. Forgive the potential English slang.

But by removing the questions, it moves much smoother and more naturally as well as setting more of a mood of possible tension between the characters.

Image result for act natural gif

Now before I mentioned something about tropes, and it’s the “explain backstory in dialogue” trope I can’t stand. You see it a lot more in TV series these days resulting in an instant eye roll from me but it goes thus:

*Book begins. Exposition. Something about the character. First dialogue appears.*
“I’m going out, Mom.”
“Jason, you know your father and I talked about this. The woods aren’t safe since Mitzy Kougar got taken by the jellybean man last fall. You know the school’s been looking for her since, and the curfews are in place to help you. Sheriff Dunwoody is not going to want to add another case file since his wife died last June, and since I had my hip replacement I don’t know what I’d do if anything happened to you…”

Image result for talking gif

Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh

Ok so that example wasn’t perfect, but really, I try not to write like that in any case so I’m kinda glad I DON’T know how to write stuff like that. But – the example doesn’t sound like a real human being to me. It sounds like a person giving a local status report or the summary of the last episode so they can do a subtle nod to the reader like – “you following this?” before they get along to the actual plot.

It’s an alternative but still obvious way of Telling so the reader knows where they are and what they need to pay attention to, rather than making an effort for atmosphere and world by other methods.

Going over information is critical at some points in novels but. Please. Not like that. I’d rather you just leave me guessing for a good five pages and reveal slowly than have me slip into a reading slump wishing I could read something else.

Image result for speak gif

These aren’t meant to be rules, either. They’re more like guidelines to help things flow smoother. If you have a few of the things listed above included in your prose, that’s not going to ruin your book unless it’s choc full of it.

When asking questions make sure they either have meaning, motive or both.

When delivering backstory through dialogue, please don’t just info dump it all at once. See what you can create through other people’s stories, their viewpoints.

Like everything in writing it gets better and easier with practice. So keep going!

If you’d like me to take a look and edit your query, MS or synopsis, see this post HERE