Tag Archive | After the Party

After The Party by Lisa Jewell Review

It’s eleven years since Jem Catterick and Ralph McLeary first got together. They thought it would be for ever, that they’d found their happy ending. As everyone agreed, they were the perfect couple.

Then two became four, a flat became a house. Romantic nights out became sleepless nights in. And they soon found that life wasn’t quite so simple any more. But through it all Jem and Ralph still loved each other, of course they did.

Now the unimaginable has happened. Two people who were so right together are starting to drift apart. And in the chaos of family life, Ralph feels more and more as if he’s standing on the sidelines, and Jem that she’s losing herself. Something has to change. As they try to find a way back to each other, back to what they once had, they both become momentarily distracted – but maybe it’s not too late to recapture happily ever after …

 

I bought this over two years ago, at an Evening with Lisa Jewell event. I met Lisa herself, chatted to her (about writing and editing, she likes editing, I hoped her encouragement would have made me at least try editing a novel, it didn’t!), and she signed the book. The problem back then, was that I couldn’t read it.

I’d literally (like three weeks before) just gone through a break up. I was emotionally fragile. I knew the premise of the book was Jem and Ralph having problems in their relationship. I suspected they were going to split up. But what after? How would that relate to my life? Obviously it wouldn’t, whatever happened in a book written by someone else, wasn’t going to have any impact on my relationship. BUT, I felt that if they broke up and stayed apart I’d be even sadder than I was, and lose hope in love, which I didn’t want to do. If they stayed together, or broke up then got back together, it would have given me hope that my ex and I would get back together.

I mean yeah, of course.

So I put ATP to a back shelf, to read when I was stronger. Four months later my ex and I got back together, but the book by this point was at the back of my TBR pile, I’d get round to it. Then I wanted to read it towards the end of last year, but I’d just written 55,000 words of a novel about a relationship falling apart, I needed to finish it in my words, not let Lisa’s writing or ideas influence me (I’m possibly a very influencable person – if that’s a word).

Then I signed up for the TBR Pile Challenge and just knew that ATP had to be on it. Wednesday morning I picked it up.

Now, since Wednesday (when I started feeling better after the nasty virus that knocked me down and kept me away from work), I had a massive to do list. Obviously then, I’d pick up a novel by one of my favourite authors. Like duh!

I couldn’t put it down. literally couldn’t put it down. I went back to work on Thursday so wanted an early night on Wednesday, but I couldn’t put it down. I’ve a ton of house cleaning to do, but I couldn’t out the novel down. I stayed up till 1.30am last night reading it, but couldn’t keep my eyes open so had to put it down. This morning I finished it, instead of cleaning the house, instead of writing up some meeting minutes, instead of blogging or writing.

It was brilliant. The characters were so realistic, sometimes I wanted to shout at them, cause they felt so real. I don’t think I need to say that the story kept me gripped from the off (if I do, re read the previous paragraph!). AND, I cried my eyes out at the end. It’s been a while since a book had that effect on me, and I loved it.

I love books that actually make me think, I want to say that change me, but that’s a bit strong, books that make me look at my life in a different way. This totally has done this. We want to have kids in the next few years, and going through the actual being a parent thing with Jem and Ralph has made me want to appreciate not having kids before we do, appreciate each other when us is just the two of us, not three or four or whatever.

After the Party is the follow up to Ralph’s Party, Jewell’s first novel 10 years previously. I love the idea of a follow up to what happened in the previous, because you always get to the end of a novel, and it’s happy ever after. Only it’s not. It’s happy right then. Exploring 10 years later is just brilliant.

Meeting Lisa was an awesome experience, here’s a picture from that night.

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A to Z Challenge – The Struggle with ‘I’ and ‘J’

I finished A.M. Home’s This Book Will Save Your Life last night. I enjoyed it, but in the same was as American Gods (Neil Gaiman) – I have no idea why. Unlike AG, I didn’t spend the whole book wondering what the hell was going on, I spent it wondering what the point was. But, I still enjoyed it, and I got to the ‘can’t put it down’ stage. Weird.

My friend saw I was reading it and commented on it ‘Nothing happens.’ It’s kind of true, but I still enjoyed it.

So that brings me on to letter I. Let me tell you, there aren’t that many authors whose surname begins with I. In Waterstones book store I found a couple. One book slightly interested me, but not all that much. Not enough to spend just £3 on it. 

Today I went to the library. Barbican library is a pretty big one in the heart of LondonCity. In ‘Fiction,’ ‘Romance,’ ‘Sci-fi,’ ‘Fantasy,’ ‘Young Adult’ and ‘Large Print’ I found about 5 novels. None of them really leapt at me. I wondered about for over half an hour and in the end couldn’t decide between 2 – Graham Ison’s ‘Lost or Found’ and Kazuo Ishiguro’s A Pale View of Hills – so I got them both. I still can’t decide. I think I know which I’d prefer, but I’m not 100%. I almost feel like I should read the one I’m not as drawn to, just to read something totally different to normal – isn’t that the point of this challenge? Doing something different.

I don’t know. But I’ll let you know as soon as I do.

I also did something naughty. I picked up another book. It wasn’t too naughty, it was letter J – which will be my next book, but I already had a J. I also already had a J in mind to buy. Uhhh, oops. But the J I have and the J I wanted to buy are by the same author as the J I picked up today – Lisa Jewell. I’ve had After The Party for over a year, but it is a signed copy from when I met her so part of me doesn’t want to read it and mess it up (plus when I got it I was going through a break up and couldn’t handle the idea of a couple breaking up OR staying together in the book I was reading, so couldn’t read it then. Having said that, we’ve been back together 8 months, so that’s a pretty rubbish excuse!). The one I want to buy is her new one The Making of Us. When I met Lisa she was just finishing this and told us all about it, so I’ve spent a year wanting to read it. Which is why I picked up The Truth About Melody Browne today.

I figure if I decide to read After the Party, or buy the other one, I can just take this one back to the library, no worries. This is what I tell myself.

I’ve not done any writing or editing for days and days. I meant to last night, but was just too tired to get any motivation at all. I’m going out tonight, but might stay back at work for half an hour before I go to do some writing. It’s better doing that than saying I’ll do it when I get in – very doubtful.

Most Exciting Blog Ever!!!

Well, I’m more excited that I’ve ever been for so many reasons. 

Firstly, yesterday I had more visitors to my blog than I’ve ever had before. 20 more to be precise! 20!!! That’s about 40 more than my daily average. Wow. I have no idea why yesterday was a popular day, but it totally made today great when I looked at that this morning. And that’s without mentioning P. o. r. n. – which someone very helpfully asked if I’d mentioned to get so many hints. Hmmm. I imagine it’s an anomaly, but if not HELLO new readers (again!) *waves* 

What else am I excited about? Well. You know that old writing course I’m always on about because I never do? Well, I only went and did some this morning. I’d already written this assignment so it just needed editing, but although I say it myself, it’s pretty good.

One of the parts was to write a descriptive piece about a maternity ward. Pretty hard when I’ve never actually been to a maternity ward but still. When I read it, I actually got goosebumps it was so cute. I think it was that and not the air conditioning in the room anyway 😉 

So, I’ll give it another read this afternoon then send it off tonight. Woop! That will be 4 assignments done. Only 16 left to go! I wish I hadn’t written that, that’s a little depressing! 

I was reading Stylist Magazine this morning (a free mag given out in London) and there’s an advert/article for a How to… night they’re running in August. It’s How To Get Yourself Published. And, Sophie Kinsella and Lisa Jewell will be there. And read from their new books. As if that wasn’t enough there’s champagne AND canapes. This all coincides with me getting paid today so I could buy a ticket. It’s like fate or something. So, I’ve got a ticket. How awesome is that.

Also last night I found out about a chick lit event (also in August) in Brixton. Lisa Jewell (again), Jenny Colgan, Jojo Moyes and more are going to be there. I think this one is free! I’d know if I booked a place – I need to do that. 

Also good, not as good, but adding to the niceness of today, is that I’ve nearly finished the book I’m reading (well 50 pages left)! Woop! The story is amazing, I just don’t care about  the characters. As the story’s been going on I started hoping that a certain something would happen. It did. It was probably pretty predictable, but I think it’s great I thought of it too. It means my ideas could be the same as a published author. Of course it could just mean that it was predictable, but I’m not going to take it that way! 

I KNOW which book I’m going to read next, but I’m pretty torn up on the decision. I know it’s the right one and I cannot wait to read it, but there’s so many I’m desperate to read NOW. They are:

  

  • The Happy Home for Broken Hearts by Rowan Coleman
  • The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson
  • After the Party by Lisa Jewell
  • Temptation Street by Shari Low

I’m going to read the Rowan Coleman one as I got it free, to review (got to love the author’s fan page on Facebook) and I want to read it before it is released (19th August). It’s just so cool having a book that is not on sale for another few weeks.  

Actually this weekend I’m having a family relaxing weekend. My aunt and uncle live an hour outside London – and have a swimming pool in their garden! Me + Books + Pool = my happy LONG weekend. Oh yes. I reckon I’ll start THHFBH tomorrow, so read that and at least one more by Tuesday when I come back to work.

I seriously must be one of the happiest people ever today. Not even my job managed to put me in a bad mood when I found out I HAVE to work extra tomorrow (”please can you… no one else can…”) so have to cancel my plans. Grrr. But really, don’t care cause I’m really happy and excited about the next month of my life. 🙂

An Evening Post – What a Novelty

I don’t know if I remember ever writing a blog in the evening. I’m sure I must have done at some point in the last 16 months. 16 months, yeah that’s how long I’ve been blogging. Craziness.

Today’s been quite a good day. I applied for a job, wrote about 350 words from a prompt from the Novelkicks website (which I managed to make the beginnings of a love story!) and carried on adding blogs to Google Reader.

Google Reader. I am going to LOVE it. All the blogs I read on WordPress I obviously can read on here, but there are loads of blogs that are on other servers (is it a server? website? I dunno) that I’ve never had easy access to. I know I could’ve subscribed to them, but my inbox gets full enough without emails every time someone updates their blog coming in too. But Google Reader? I can have them all in one place. Its going to be a revelation. Once I’ve added everyone’s blogs. And that’s going to take a while.

I’m nearly at the end of 1984, still loving it. It’s just got a bit nasty. Teeth, rats. Ugh. I also accidently read the final words today. I was seeing where it ends, cause it ends before the end of the book, when I found it and somehow read the last words. Which has kind of wrecked it. Really annoyed with myself. I’m still going to enjoy getting to the end though.

I think once I’ve finished it, I’ll be needing something pink and fluffy. I’ve heard a rumour my housemate’s just got Girl Friday by Jane Green. That would suit. But she takes forever to read books, so I probably won’t get a look in until August. I’ve got After The Party by Lisa Jewell, but I think I’m still not in the right place emotionally to be able to read it. It’s about a couple that were once so right for each other falling apart. After my recent break up, I don’t think it’s something I should be reading. Whatever happens in the end (whether they get back together or not) it’s likely to upset me.  I’m going to have to leave it a big longer before I read it. Which is a shame, because I really want to read it.

There’s a book that a couple of people have recommended I read called Eat, Love, Pray by Elizabeth Gilbert which has been made into a film. I’m thinking of trying a theory. I generally hate movies that have been books I like… so what if I watch the film, then read the book? I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. But I might try it with this.

I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about an experiment that’s happening on Twitter called One Book, One Twitter. The idea is that as many people as possible on Twitter read the same book at the same time – American Gods by Neil Gaiman. That ‘same time’ is May and June. I really wanted to be part of it, but only have a few weeks left to read it. So that really should be my next book. The library doesn’t have it, and I’m a little broke at the moment, so I don’t know if that will happen. I think it’s worth not eating for a few days to be part of that, it’s cool. Plus, I won’t really not eat, I’m not that broke!

Right, I think that’s all for now. I think I’ll go and write a few job application cover letters. Oh goodie!

Book Lover’s Heaven

Now I’m not hungover or tired like I was yesterday, I can write the blog I’ve been really excited about writing, although I’ve now got so much to put in it, it might carry on until next week.

On Saturday I got invited to Keris Stainton’s book launch party. I found Keris’ blog months and months ago, so have read about her excitement about her debut novel coming out (on 6th May) over that time, in fact when I think about it like that, I can’t believe it’s out – it was so far in the future it was being released. The book’s YA and called Della Says: OMG, it’s about a girl who finally snogs the man of her dreams at her party, only to find at the same party someone stole her diary and is now distributing pages of it. I’ve only read the first chapter so far, but it looks really good. I can’t wait to finish the book I’m currently reading to get started on this one.

Keris was so nice and friendly, I talked to her quite a bit, which was really nice when there were so many people there that she had to talk to. We obviously talked about writing and books and stuff. Apparently she got her book deal on the back of a novel she’d written for NaNoWriMo. (Hmmm… there’s something there that tells me this is someone somewhere telling me I should work on my NaNo novel). 

Also in the course of our conversation she asked if I’ve got anything I’ve written that she could read. Wow, Keris Stainton – a published author asked to read something I’ve written. THAT has to give me a shove to FINISH something that could be read. 

I bought a copy of Della Says OMG and Keris signed it for me – saying she hopes I invite her to my book launch. OMG! Wow! That’s my first signed copy of a novel. It’s so exciting I almost don’t want to read it to damage it. Or want to buy another copy to read. I’m not that crazy, but I will be taking very good care of it. And taking photos of it (oh ok, I’ve done that already… is that really sad?).

So, if that wasn’t enough excitement for one weekend, I then managed to get hold of a ticket to a Lisa Jewell book reading event on Monday night – I seriously had the best weekend for a book lover like me (I include Monday as the weekend as I had the day off work!).

It was quite a small group of people which attended the event – it was at this cool little book shop in West Hamptsead called West End Lane Books. I walked in and was in awe of the shop. It’s an independent book shop, and just looked like the kind of place I could spend hours and hours – it’s probably a good thing I don’t live round the corner!

Lisa was great, so friendly, funny and honest. As she’s just released her 8th book, I was kind of expecting her to be a bit… less human? I mean I’ve been reading her books for 10 years – she’s one of my favourite authors and probably contributes a lot to me wanting to write myself, so she’s a bit of a hero of mine – you just don’t expect heros to be real people do you?

She first answered some questions; then read from her first novel Ralph’s Party; then from her new novel, and follow-up, After the Party; then answered questions from the audience – including mine about why she uses the number 31 in her novels (because it’s her lucky number – cause it used to be her husband’s extension number at work – ahhhhhh).

After that she signed books, including mine, and chatted to everyone individually. Through my conversation with her, she said she must follow me on Twitter (which she is now doing – yay!) AND she told me I need to edit my novel. Apparentley she LOVES editing? Hmm. Still, LISA JEWELL told me to edit my novel – I think I’m going to edit my novel!

Oh, nearly forgot, Lisa told us about how she got into writing. See if this sounds like anyone… Lisa was 26 when she first started seriously thinking about writing… She did a creative writing course… She was working as a receptionist… Sound like anyone? Hmmmm… I’m 29 and started thinking about writing a year ago… I’m doing a creative writing course… And what? I’m what? Ooh, a receptionist…

So all in all I had a fab three days. Three days that have given me two massive reasons to get up off my a**e (or get down in a seat, on it should I say) and edit my novel. Those three days also firmly planted the idea that authors are real people like you and me. People that were once in my position… Maybe, just maybe I could do this…?

I think I’ll finish with a great answer Lisa gave to the question ‘What’s the worst thing about writing for a living?’: ‘Writing.’

Too Much for Twitter

I’ve got Twitter open on my browser, and keep thinking of things I want to say on there when it hit me – why not write a blog with all these thoughts? Doh! If only I’d have thought of that before! Ha ha.

This is bad, on Saturday I did some writing (yep, me writing on Saturday – there is hope yet!) and wrote a note to include something about it in my next blog. The note said ‘just randomly wrote something based on a dream I had – realised it would work well in Holiday.’ Wow, that’s great isn’t it. But four days later, I have totally forgotten what the dream was, and what the bit of writing was. I remember it was quite long – well 500 ish words, which is much better than the 250 I’m aiming for a day.

Sunday and Monday were wash outs with the whole writing thing, Sunday ’cause I worked then went out and Sunday because the hangover and morning after blues were too bad. Although remembering how much I liked the piece I wrote for [Fiction] Friday last week when I was sad, I probably should’ve done something.

I am currently in book lovers heaven – or I will be over the long weekend I have coming up. On Saturday I’m going to Keris Stainton’s book launch party. She’s just released her first YA novel ‘Della Says:OMG’, I’ve only read the first chapter, but it looks great. So I get to go along, meet Keris, buy the book and get it signed. How ace.

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, on Monday I’ve been lucky enough to get hold of a ticket to a Lisa Jewell (yes, THE Lisa Jewell) event where she’ll be reading from her new novel After the Party (a follow-up to the brilliant Ralph’s party from 10 or so years ago). There’s another book buy and signing. Seriously how good is this weekend going to be. Oh, plus my Mum’s coming to town, so lots of lovely meals out and touristy stuff to be done! Excellent. Just what I need right now!

Stuff may be happening about my denied holiday at the end of the month. If I don’t get into huge amounts of trouble, there’s a little gleam of light that might turn into me being able to get the week off in the end. In fact, even if I do get into trouble, I still might get it off. But I might not, so not getting my hopes up again yet.

I’ve just started reading ‘What French Women Know: About Love, Sex and Other Matters of Heart and Mind’ by Debra Ollivier. I won it in a competition run by Piatkus books on Twitter (one of my many recent wins 🙂 ). I’m not sure if I would have read it had I not have won it, as it’s not generally the kind of thing I’d look at. But already I’m glad I am reading it. I’m only on the first chapter, and haven’t really learnt much, but I’ve read enough to want to know more. I’ll keep you informed!

I started on my next writing course assignment today. I shouldn’t have done as I’ve not yet re-read the modules I need to before I start, but I knew I had to do some writing, and I thought that would be a good thing to start on. The first piece is a 250 word argument between two people. I’m already at 350 words, and it’s not finished. Oops. Might need to change that – I do have ideas though. I ‘googled’ what couples argue about to get a few ideas but when I started it, it turned into (this is going to sounds weird) an argument that me and my ex would probably have had in the future, had we not have split up. Well, they say write what you know. Not that I’ve had that particular argument. Still, you know what I mean (I hope you do, cause I’m now not so sure).

Ok, I thought I had more, but maybe not. If I can edit this in the next five minutes I can post it before my lunch break, then spend the afternoon on my writing course! Lets hope it doesn’t need much 🙂