My June ‘To Be Read’ List


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With the start of my MA in Writing for Children course starting in September, I’m setting myself a target to read as many books as I can in preparation. My head has mostly been stuck in a fantasy cloud the past year, I’ve just managed to finish the A Song of Ice and Fire series and I absolutely loved it. I can’t wait for Winds of Winter to be released! The idea now is to broaden my horizons and delve into new territory. The books I’ll read will consist of different genres and a fair amount of young adult. My intention is to read anything from 4-8 books a month, time permitting.

Below you’ll find my June reads along with a very short synopsis.



Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

Library of Souls is the third and final book in the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series by Ransom Riggs, of which the first two books I absolutely loved! Due to other commitments it had taken me a while to get around to reading this, but I actually finished it yesterday (one book down!) and it didn’t disappoint. For those who haven’t heard of the series and without giving too much away, the book series centres around a boy named Jacob Portman who discovers a building on a remote island off the coast of Wales, inhabited by a lady named Miss Peregrine and children with ‘peculiar’ talents. What sets this series apart from others is the use of vintage photographs that help you visualise the story and its characters as it progresses. Check out books one and two below:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Hollow City



Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I’m behind the game on this one, but a friend of mine who recently read it recommended it to me. I started reading it as soon as I put down Library of Souls and I am already 200 pages into it and can’t wait to carry on. The main character Claire Randall, a former combat nurse from 1945 is transported in time to 1743, where she becomes a Sassenach – an “outlander” amongst lairds and spies. The story is based in Scotland and will interest those into historical fantasy with a time travel element.




A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

I discovered A Court of Thorns and Roses after hearing about its sequel, A Court of Mist and Fury. This book series, I’m told, is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast with mythical faerie lore and romance and I believe is marketed as Young Adult. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this series so I’m looking forward to picking it up.




Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I very rarely read contemporary/romance/chick lit, but I hope to read at least one novel per month, either adult or young adult. The book centralises on Lou Clark who after losing her job at a tea shop, starts caring for Will Traynor, a man who becomes injured after a motorcycle accident. This is definitely not my usual type of ‘go to’ novel, but I’ve heard many good reviews and with the release of the Me Before You film I’m compelled to read the book before watching it.




Sister by Rosamund Lupton

I bought this book a long time ago and it has been sitting on my shelf ever since, unread along with a whole bunch of other unread impulse buys. A friend borrowed this off me last week and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I thought why not read it this month. Sister is a thriller/mystery and follows Beatrice as she learns about the circumstances surrounding her sister’s disappearance.




Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

I’ve heard a lot about this book online and I’ve noticed it appearing in a lot of TBR lists for the month of June. The book is set in two locations: the desert nation of Miraji where mystical beasts still roam and magic is practiced, and Dustwalk, a town where the main character Amani is desperate to escape from.




So that’s my reading list for June. Have you read any of the above? What will you be reading this month?

Caz xxx


The Ghost of Green Acres – Part One


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I’ve spent some time these past few days in a cloud of poetry which I have thoroughly enjoyed learning the art of, however now it is time to experiment further with my storytelling. Below I’m sharing with you an extract from a short story I’m working on, and naturally, it is about the supernatural, specifically ghosts. The story itself is aimed predominantly at teen/YA but I do hope you can find some enjoyment out of the idea :).



I woke, shivering in the dark of the night, a cold sensation spreading over my body as if something supernatural was making its presence known to me, in its own spine tingling way. My heart began to race as goosebumps jumped across my arms. I wasn’t alone, but my night time companion had not shown its face.
Emily remained asleep in the bed across the room, her breath exhaling cold fumes of mist, completely unaware of the dramatic change of atmosphere emanating around us. My brain desperately wanted to jump out of bed and run to the door to turn on the light. My body, paralysed from fear, refused to budge, remaining upright, my eyes wide open staring across to the other end of the moonlit room.
I desperately tried to shift the covers off but a stronger force was determined to keep me from leaving my bed.
Silence filled the air, but for Emily’s gentle breathing and my own heart beating. The coldness dissipated and my goosebumps retreated, but I still could not budge, only this time it was my own fear preventing me from leaping up and shaking Emily from her slumber. I lay back down with my head on the pillow, staring straight up at the ceiling before I drifted away into a sea of dreams.


I awoke in a daze, feeling more tired than before I went to bed.
“The weirdest thing happened last night.” I started to tell Emily. “Something was in the room with us, I couldn’t see it but I felt it. I tried to move from my bed but something was holding me down.”
For a moment Emily was silent but for a brief glimpse of horror on her face, quickly replaced with excitement. “You felt Mrs Jeffrey’s presence!”
Mrs Jeffrey, it turned out, was the previous owner of the school. It was rumoured she roamed the corridors at night, slipping into the bedrooms and making sure the girls were tucked up in their beds fast asleep. Only a small handful of students had witnessed such a phenomena.
“You have a ghost here! Have you ever seen her?” I asked Emily with curiosity.
“Not yet. I don’t think I ever will. My parents think the whole thing is nonsense. Come on you need to get ready, you can’t be late for breakfast on your first day here, even if it is a Sunday.”
I quickly showered and threw on my clothes, a pair of black jeans and a navy blue t-shirt, before tying my hair into a neat ponytail at the base of my neck. I slipped on a pair of trainers over my socks. We left the bedroom, but as we walked down the wooden floored corridor toward the dining hall, I couldn’t help but feel both scared and intrigued at my ghostly encounter. I’d never believed in ghosts before, so it was unusual to me to have such an experience on my first night at a new school.
We made it to the dining hall, which was mostly empty but for a few girls. Most students went home to visit family at the weekends. Emily and I took our seats at a large eight seater table.
Girls, this is Josy, my new roommate. Josy, this is Claudia, Rebecca, Olivia and Sophie.”
They greeted me with welcoming smiles and a round of handshakes. A feast of toast, cereal, fruit and juice lay in front of us, allowing me to momentarily shrug off my previous discomfort.
“You’ll never guess what, girls.” Emily started. “Josy met Mrs Jeffrey last night.”
The girls looked at me with intrigue on their faces. “You can see them?” Asked Claudia, as she shovelled a spoonful of cereal toward her mouth.
“No, I…I didn’t really.” I stuttered. “It’s just the room went cold and I felt something holding me down, that’s all. It was probably just a dream or my imagination running wild, what with me being in a new place.” I took a slice of toast from the plate in the middle of the table and poured myself a cup of orange juice.
“So you didn’t see her? You just felt her?” Claudia probed whilst the other girl’s sat silently, staring at me with interest.
“It was a dream, nothing happened, honestly.” They looked at me disbelievingly but I refused to say anymore on the subject.
“So what is there to do here at the weekends?” I asked, desperate to change the subject.
“Not a great deal. We’re only allowed to leave the school grounds with parental permission and supervision, either from one of the year eleven students or a teacher. Most of the time we go home, but when we’re here we either go for a swim in the pool, wander the grounds, read, that kind of stuff.” Olivia explained with an air of boredom in her voice.

We finished breakfast and went for a brisk walk in the grounds to walk off our food, before heading over to the pool for a refreshing swim. I managed twelve lengths in the 16 metre pool before I tired and got out to sit with Claudia who was at the side reading.
“You know, you can’t hide from it. Once you feel the presence of one, you’ll feel them everywhere.” Claudia sounded solemn.
“What do you mean?”
“Mrs Jeffrey. You can doubt it all you like, but she was in your room last night. That’s how it started, with me.”
“You’ve…you’ve seen her?”
“Yes. I’ve not told the others, they wouldn’t believe me even if I had. They may have sounded interested earlier, but they’re skeptics.”
“So am I. I’ve always been a skeptic, but last night…”
“Last night she came to you, whether you could see her or not. That wouldn’t have happened if you really were a skeptic.”
Our conversation ended abruptly as the other girls came to join us. Throughout the day Claudia’s words struck a chord with me. I’d never been a believer of ghosts, mostly because my parents weren’t, but something was different about this school and its building. I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I was being watched by some unseen entity as we went about our day, perhaps it really was the ghost of Mrs Jeffrey, but the thought of seeing her still put fear in my mind.


As night time arrived once again, my mind was a flutter of various thoughts preventing me from entering a deep slumber. I lay in bed wondering whether Mrs Jeffrey’s ghost would show her face to me this time, in the dim light protruding through the bedroom window. Emily was once again sound asleep across the room, breathing faintly. The wind outside rustled the leaves of the trees whilst the moon casted their shadows on the bedroom wall. I pulled the cover over my head as my heart started to beat faster and faster. I was scared, plain and simple. I tried counting sheep to help me drift off, but it was no use. My mind was running wild with thoughts. What if she came back? What if I saw her? What if she came up close to me? Can ghosts even touch people? What if…

I was interrupted by the sound of the door opening and my heart skipped a beat. I could hear footsteps tread lightly across the floor.
“Josy.” A voice said quietly.
I didn’t respond.
“Josy, it’s Claudia.”
I let out a sigh of relief and pulled the cover off my head.
“What are you doing in here? I whispered to her. “You scared me!” I would have shouted if it weren’t for Emily.
“Come with me, there’s something I need to show you.” Claudia whispered.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Just come, please? You have nothing to be afraid of. But you have to come quickly, there isn’t much time.” Claudia walked to the door without looking back and I followed obediently.
She led me through the corridor of our boarding rooms toward the staircase at the end, the place Mrs Londale the Headmistress had warned me was forbidden to the students.
“Claudia” I began to say. “We’re not supposed to go up here!”
“Shh, just come quickly. We’ll be back in our beds before you know it.”
We climbed the narrow staircase with nothing but the moon’s faint glimmer to guide us toward the top, before we became encased in darkness. I could hear Claudia feeling for what I could only assume was the lock to a door. I heard a key turn and a slight creak as the door shifted open slowly. Claudia moved forward but I didn’t dare shift from my spot.
“Come on.” She whispered. “You need to see this.”
Slowly, I put one foot in front of the other and followed her into the room. It took a while for my eyes to adjust to my surroundings, but once they had, I was overcome with shock at what lay before me.

Those Little Rascals With Eight Legs


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Proceed with caution for this post is dark and full of eight legged crawlies

Anyone who knows me knows of my unbearable detestation towards the eight legged rascals. My phobia has become such that as I drift to sleep in the early hours of the night, my walls and bed become covered in the hairy monstrosities that I bolt right up screaming and gasping before sprinting to the door to switch on the light. It takes about ten seconds for my eyes to adjust and for them to crawl away into oblivion. Yes that’s right, they aren’t real, but simply a nuisance fabricated by my overactive imagination. I have no fondness towards the frequency of such a horror, but it is one both myself and my partner have learnt to accept. My fear materialised when I was very young, but it brought back a childhood memory when I would religiously watch a television programme called Spider, a musical cartoon about a young boy who fears a spider in the bath but over the course of the series they become quite the chums.

If I haven’t scared you off already, below is a fun little poem that might just send you over the edge and running for dear life! If I promise never to post about them again will you come back?

She lay in bed to rest her head,
This moment she did simply dread,
For slumber shrieked it’s night time tune,
And the little rascals were due quite soon,
Spider, spider on the wall,
One leg, two legs, eight legs crawl,
He brought his friends to come and play,
A show they will put on display,
Spiders wearing roller skates,
Even balancing sticks of plates,
Sticky webs were weaved up high,
They clearly weren’t ready to say goodbye,
Spiders spiders please don’t stay,
Please would you just go away,
Crawling here, crawling there,
Even crawling in my hair,
You’ve had your fun and webs were spun,
Now it’s time for you to run,
As if by magic the rascals faded,
Who would have thought I’d been invaded

Enchantress of the Sacred Cave


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Deep below the flowing wave, an enchantress of the sacred cave,
A species of pureness and simply divine, lived she and sisters of nine,
Flowing curls of blonde and brown, were braided with a chain of crown,
A giant rock she perched up high, gleaming through her bright blue eyes,
A beauty of flesh and scales combined, this is no ordinary bloodline,
Curvaceous and supple, she really enthrals, Singing to the merman’s call,
Graceful she leapt from her rock to the wave, swimming deep below the sacred cave,
The merman waited at the base of the ocean, regarding her with such devotion,
Nine water pearls lined the depths of the sand, one for each sister she picked with her hands,
Up they swam to the suns own gleam, to live together as King and Queen.

Children of the Night


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The Children of the Night, with their devilish little Sprites,
Lived deep within the wooded lands, extending pale hands,
Weaving in and out of trees, as graceful as they are free,
Come and join us troubled one, the Children of the Night, let us help you scare away your little midnight frights

The Children of the Night they were, the darkness they prefer,
Their little Sprite companions gleaming lightly by their ears, they really do endear,
Run with us here in the forest of your dreams, nothing here is what it seems,
Come and join us gracious one, the Children of the Night, we’ll be here to guide you through the passage of moonlight

The Children of the Night, and their wicked little Sprites,
Their dazzling wings of white and grey, flapping as they hunt their prey,
Sinking tiny teeth into grub of bugs and worms, oh it sure does make me squirm,
Come and join us hungry one, Children of the Night, for we can surely help you learn to hunt your own delights

The Children of the Night, they really do not bite,
Their mischievous little smiles so wide, grinning ear to ear with pride,
Wearing furs of brown and red, weaved with their own little thread,
Come and join us freezing one, Children of the Night, let us help you warm right up all snug and cosy tight

We’re the Children of the Night, but young we are not quite,
Five lifetimes have passed before our eyes, we don’t want to say goodbye,
We’ll live here forever under the moon, singing to the birds own tune,
Come back to us lovely one, Children of the Night, there will always be a place for you but for now we’ll say goodnight

Writing Challenges


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As part of my writing journey, I have endeavoured to set myself challenges that will allow my writing to flourish, so that in a years time when I have completed my Masters I will be able to see how far I have come.

I recently embarked upon an online course at FutureLearn, the course entitled Start Writing Fiction. Albeit slow to the game, starting shortly after the course itself finished, I intend fully to complete this in my own time.

One particular challenge was to write a paragraph using descriptive words to develop a character, concentrating on appearance and mannerisms.

Though not necessarily related to YA, it is a learning curve nonetheless.

A women stood at the edge of the road, wearing a pink striped woollen hat. Her hair, golden brown curls, flowed from underneath down to the middle of her back, waving subtly through the cold windy air. The coat she wore, beige in colour, bore a black stripe down each arm from the shoulder to the wrist. Her blue jeans flared at the top of her white trainers. The women, who was deep in thought, looked wistfully ahead when a small smile broke through as she bit down gently on her finger nail. Within seconds the smile vanished and was replaced with a worrisome expression and after a split second, she turned around pacing quickly in the opposite direction. Her legs took long hasty strides towards a phone box, where she proceeded to step inside, picking up the phone and appearing as if to make a call, but looking cautiously around her as if someone was looking to find her.



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Poetry has never been my forte, but one I’m willing to take a stab at. Below is a little something I have worked on this evening and whilst it is by no means perfect I am braving to submit it here for you to see.

The stars gleaming up above, beside the moonlit night,
Branches swaying in the wind, whispering muffled thoughts,
Still she stood, for she did not want to fright,
The beautiful silhouette on legs of four,

Yellow eyes gleaming and mischievous,
She sensed the hunger emanate,
Inside deep down a touch of wistfulness,
Was one about to meet their fate

Paws tread forward cautiously,
A wicked glare one must express,
A slow movement, her hand outstretched delicately,
When sharp teeth sunk deep into tender flesh

Trustworthy she felt dropping to the ground,
Eyes sparkling back gently,
What a treasure to have found,
A wild animal staring so intently

The flesh oozing from its jaw, gratefulness perceived,
For a morsel of nourishment to help it through ’til dawn,
The daily struggle she could not conceive,
Of which she desired to be gone

Fur as red as sunset and silky to the skin,
A companion was born of the night,
For she herself was wild and akin,
Together they would end their plight

Olive and the Monstress



For my first story, I have an extract from Olive and the Monstress, a work in progress and the piece that got me accepted on to the Masters course. It is aimed toward teens and has quite a dark theme so be warned. I hope you enjoy it.


It was a cold dark night with clouds in the sky. A chill in the air and the glare from the moon casted ghastly shadows over the high rise buildings ; a tall lanky man with a hat and razor sharp teeth, a giant bear that had claws the length of hedge trimmers. The owls twits twoo’d through the gusts of the wind causing an eerie echo down the dark alley full of broken glass bottles, bins and back doors, their eyes glaring bright in the darkness. Up in the sky planes flew ahead leaving trail marks behind their tails. On the ground mice and rats scampered across the cold hard concrete and into the bins looking for food.
A loud bolt of thunder followed by lightning went through the sky and rain started pouring down like a waterfall. I struggled to keep my eyes open as the rain spattered down my face soaking my clothes through.
Down the alley I walked, cold and wet, looking for the green door. That’s where I was told to go. It was dark, so dark that every door looked grey, or black. I was all alone. What was I getting myself into? The further I walked the darker it got and the shadow creatures disappeared. The rain poured and poured down, the thunder cracked and the lightning zapped the sky. I could barely see what was less than a foot in front of my eyes.

“Any spare change, love?”
I swirled around unexpectedly while my heart pounded against my chest. I should have known I’d not be the only person here. But no one was there, not that I could see.
I continued walking, but before I could pick up the pace the voice spoke again.
“The green door is here.”
I stopped in my tracks and a shiver went down my spine, for I could hear a voice but see no face.
“I…I can’t see you, where are you?”
Silence filled the air for what felt like an eternity.
There was no response.
My heart was beating so fast I thought it would burst from my skin any second.
I considered turning around and running home, fearing that if I stayed it would be the end of me. But it was the end of me anyway.
The voice spoke again.
“The green door is here.”
“Wh…whe…where? It’s too dark I can’t see anything.”
Tears started to swell into my eyes and I tried hard not to cry.
“Don’t cry, little girl.”
The voice cackled so loud the bats I couldn’t see flew up into the night sky making sounds as if they had been set on fire.
“Now now, little girl. What did they tell you when they spoke to you? You won’t get rid of the evil in you with that kind of attitude.”
“Oh yes, I know the consequences well enough…”
“Show me where you are! Show me your face!”
I instantly regretted my desire to see the face of the voice. On came a light. I looked on in horror. The face behind the voice had once had eyes that had now been plucked out to leave holes full of crawling maggots.
I recoiled and threw up.
“Ha! You’re lucky I don’t take offence by such a gesture. Bet you wish you never asked, I know.”
His voice sounded solemn, and I felt a twinge of guilt at my reaction. That could soon be me. What terrible thing had he done to deserve that? What was going to happen to me? I was scared. Everything that I believed was just fantasy was soon becoming a reality.

The man led me inside the green door and shut it firmly behind us. We walked down a set of narrow steps, him leading the way with a lantern in his hand. We got to the bottom of the steps and walked down a darkly lit corridor with a ceiling so low it almost touched my head. Either side of me was door after door, none of which we went into. We just kept walking and walking and I wondered where we were headed through this never ending corridor. My shoes squelched every step of the way, leaving puddles from my drenched jeans.
“What’s your name?” I asked the man.
“Ah so now you’re interested in who I am? I don’t need your sympathy.”
“My name is – “
“I know who you are, Olive. I know everyone’s name who comes strolling down this dark alley. I know all about you and what you did to end up at this door. You and your stupid friends.”
“But, your-”
“My eyes may not be on my face anymore, but I can see, that’s for sure. Now don’t go asking me how. That’s not for you or anyone to know. You’ll find that out soon enough. You’ll see. You won’t come out the same person you went in, Olive.”
What’s that supposed to mean?
“What’s…what’s… your name?” I asked again meekly.
“You can call me…Jebyn.”
“That’s…an unusual name. Is it your real name?”
“It is now, and that’s all you need to know.”
“But nothing. This is about you now.”

I felt somber, weak and I wanted to go home. But it was too late. I’d made a mistake. Me, Luna and Millie. But they weren’t here, just me. I never saw them after what happened. They just left me there.
“Come on, Olive, she’s waiting for you. Dry your eyes, you can’t appear weak in front of the Mistress. You need to be strong.
We stopped by a large black door right at the very end. Jebyn knocked and it opened wide. In I went, to face my future. I turned around to speak to Jebyn but he was gone and the door shut behind him. The air was filled with an eerie silence. Where am I? I looked around, it was a smallish room, similar in size to a classroom, but completely empty except for a lantern hanging on each wall. I stood and waited, my heart racing, not sure what to expect and wanting to flee.
“Speak your name.” A voice suddenly spoke from behind me breaking the eerie silence as I jumped out my skin. I tried to regain my composure but could not bring myself to turn around. My feet were glued to the ground.
“I said, speak your name.”
“Olive Treyster. I’m here because…”
“No! I asked your name, nothing else.” She walked to the far wall in front of me. Her figure was tall and slender. Her hair flowing black in colour, right down to her thighs. Her left eye was black and her right red. She wore a black dress made of leather which showed off her slim figure. She moved towards me slow but graceful, never taking her eyes off me.
“Clide!” she shouted.
Feet scurried through the door behind me into the room. As he walked out in front of me I let out a ghasp. He had the figure of a man with legs and arms but his eyes, mouth and nose were missing, leaving a smooth surface across his face. But there was something else terrifying. He had claws for hands, just like the bear shadow I saw outside. I gulped.
“ This one is for you, take her away, I don’t want to see her before the transformation.”
“But…WAIT! YOU’VE NOT EVEN SPOKEN TO ME! WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ME? NO! PLEASE, NO! I MADE A MISTAKE! I didn’t mean for it to happen!” I whimpered.

I cried. This was it. I was being dragged away by Clide, his claws digging into my arm, blood trickling down. I cried in pain.
“Stop weeping, girl. You asked for this.
“What are you going to do to me?”
Clide strapped me to a chair. I couldn’t stop the crying.
“Your tears won’t save you now.”
“What are you going to do to me?” I asked again.
“The mistress has given her orders.”
“What orders?”
“You young witches, you think you’re invincible. You think nothing can go wrong. It may have been an accident, but it was carelessness that caused it. And now you pay, in exchange for the mistress returning life back to the girl. You lose yours.”
“I lose my life?! But…they told me I wouldn’t die!”
“You’re not going to die. I’m going to put you to sleep now.”
“NO! What do you mean?! What are you going to do to me?” The tears continued.
“That spell you pulled with your magic -”
“But I never had magic to begin with! We were just practicing from that stupid book, we never thought it would work -”
“Hahahaha! You stupid little girls, you shouldn’t have been playing around with magic in the first place!”
“It was Luna, she was the one who wanted to do it, I just went along with it, I didn’t really want to but -.”
“Well where is she now then!?” Clide shouted.
I couldn’t answer that because I didn’t know.
“It’s time to go to sleep.”
Clide pricks me with a needle, everything goes dark and I’m gone.

The Start of Something New

This is my first official blogpost and as someone who has never participated in blogging previously, I have to say this whole process seems rather daunting. So, what better way to start off a blog than to explain why I’m starting it in the first place.

Only two months ago, I was speaking to my lovely partner about how much I would love to undertake a creative writing course. What spurred this interest you ask? As an introvert, I have always struggled to articulate my thoughts in speech, and have always found catharsis from writing my thoughts down. It wasn’t until my later years during my time volunteering in a school, that I discovered my interest in writing fiction; helping and reading the works of young 7 and 8 year olds as imaginative ideas bounced from their minds onto paper, developing their own stories, I thought to myself, “I can do this”. Ever since I have aimed to write my own stories, drawing inspiration from my own childhood and over-active imagination.

After leaving education six years ago I am now going to fulfil my desire to study a creative writing course. I am returning as a mature student to study a Masters in Writing for Children at the University of Winchester, an opportunity that I simply could not pass up and one of which excites me to the core. My interests lie in fantasy for teens and young adults, however I do hope to broaden my knowledge and skill in other genres.

This blog will serve as a means to share my creative work, any thoughts I have related to writing and I even hope to start reviewing the books that I read, all in preparation for the start of my course in September.

Adios, until my next post.