Tag Archive | book review

Another Week Gone – And We’re In February Kids

My end of/beginning of month blogs must be so boring, they’re so repetitive. But still, how is it February already?

January started off really well, with me reading through the first 84 pages of The Man of My Dreams in the first week, but then I failed, and did no more for the rest of the month. I have no excuses.

I’m hoping February is going to go better, and it’s starting pretty ok – I’ve just done the next 10 pages (30 minutes). It’s not a whole lot, and I got totally into it, so felt like I could have carried on going, but I want to do a blog, and I need to do some ironing, and want to watch another NCIS: Los Angeles.

One of the Sky channels is showing the first few series of it during the day. I made the mistake of series linking it, because I’d never seen or heard of it, and I love the original NCIS, so wanted to see what it’s about. What I didn’t realise was that they were showing 2 episodes a day – so the sky box got pretty full pretty quickly. And I didn’t notice.

It got to the point it was full and wouldn’t record any more. So we started watching it. And must admit got massively into it. Which is my very long way of saying this is what’s coming between me and this first read through of my novel.

Well, that and in the last week I’ve read 2 really, really good books (Deliruim by Lauren Oliver and Sister by Rosamund Lupton), and when I’m reading a good published book, it’s hard to make myself put that down and read my, rough, first draft novel. Very hard.

So, instead of picking up another novel, I’m not going to, and I’m going to crack on with reading mine. Of course it’s harder to read on the tube going to work, because it’s A4, it’s not stapled togetehr, and Im trying to make notes on it, but tough.

I had some goals for RWO80 this week, this is what they are and how I did, and why not throw in what I’m doing this week for a goal on each one too:

Edit TMOMD for 7 Hours: I’ve done half an hour today. It’s bad, but it’s better than nothing, which I’d done the last few weeks. Next week: 15 minutes editing a day. I’m reducing it to try to get me working on it. 15 minutes is so little, I could just start it and be done before I know. Hopefully though, starting 15 minutes will make me do more. It’s my test mile…

Writing course – 2 hours: None. Oops. Next week: Same, 2 hours over the whole week. Hoping one day I’ll hit this.

2 Book revies: Done. One on here – You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlene, and The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes for Novelkicks.co.uk. I’m not sure if the review of TGYLB is suitable for NK, it’s got a lot of me in it, so maybe it should be on here. I’ll let Laura decide. Next week: I’m still behind on reviews from last year, so lets say 2 again.

2 ROW80 Check-ins: Today, check, but missed Wednesday because I was out at my bookclub. Yes, I could have done it when I got in, but didn’t. I’ll try harder next week. And, Next week’s goal: 2 check ins.

Burn 1,500 calories (on top of normal walking to work etc): I haven’ t worked this out yet. It won’t be 1,500 calories though. Maybe just below 1,000? Don’t know. Next week: 1,500 calories again, including 1x visit to the gym.

3 fasting days for diet: I only managed one. Next week, just 2 days.

And one additional goal for next week:

Social Media: Visit other ROW80 blogs, and reply to my comments on here.

My ROW80 buddy Laura tried to push me to write on Friday, but I was out in the pub. This week, I’m going to get in the habit of checking in with her, someone to be responsible to each day helps me to write, or in this case, hopefully edit.

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You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane Review

What happens when the one that got away comes back? Find out in this sparkling debut from Mhairi McFarlane.

‘Think of the great duos of history. We’re just like them.’
‘You mean like Kylie and Jason? Torvill and Dean? Sonny and Cher?’
‘I think you’ve missed the point, Rachel.’

Rachel and Ben. Ben and Rachel. It was them against the world. Until it all fell apart. It’s been a decade since they last spoke, but when Rachel bumps into Ben one rainy day, the years melt away.

They’d been partners in crime and the best of friends. But life has moved on: Ben is married. Rachel is not. Yet in that split second, Rachel feels the old friendship return. And along with it, the broken heart she’s never been able to mend.

YHMAH

I love the line ‘You had me at hello,’ (I had it used on me once!!), so knew I had to read this when I heard about it. I must admit I was worried, it’s a debut novel, and I’ve read a lot of debut novels recently I’ve not really enjoyed. I know that’s just bad luck, so I gave it a go.

I am so incredibly glad I it. I loved it, absolutely loved it.

The reason I’ve not enjoyed quite a few books recently is that I’ve felt the charcters were too two-dimensional, they felt too shallow and predictable. The characters in You Had Me At Hello, weren’t, they were totally real and believable.

From the very beginning, I loved Rachel, she felt like she was my friend. The opening chapter shows her splitting up with her boyfriend, which although she knows is the right thing to do, is still really upsetting to her, her feelings were raw, and it just made her, well like I said, real. She then sees Ben, who she’s not seen since university. Slowly, their story comes out, intermingled with what’s happening in the present.

Then there’s her 3 best friends and their problems and issues too. They’re all brilliant characters too.

This was the first whole book I’ve read on my Kindle (well, kindle app on my phone). I have to admit I loved reading it on my phone, it was always with me, it was light, easy to hold etc. However, now I’ve read it, I’m gutted I didn’t have the actual book. I like keeping my favourite books, thinking maybe one day I’ll read them again, but also just having them on my shelf reminds me of how good they are and makes me happy. I don’t get to have this with You Had Me At Hello. Gutted.

My final words on this – I’ve just looked on Amazon, out of 1070 reviews, 645 were 5* (not including mine that I’ll be adding shortly), and 269 were 4*. You can’t argue with that many people!

Last Week’s Loses

Last week was a mix of a week. I had some good days, and some really horrible days. That’s mainly just because of work. I hate that work can make a difference to a real life day. Well, I do when I’ve had a bad day.

In terms of my goals, last week was a pretty poor week. Pretty poor. These were my goals, and successes (or lack of them):

7 hours editing – totally failed this one, none.

2 hours of writing course – again, failed totally, not one.

2 Book Reviews – Completed one, drafted one. It’s a good thing I fiinished the one I did, it was for the website Novel Kicks, and on Thursday, it was pubished. Woop! That’s my first review for anyone other than myself. I’m looking forward to reviewing more for them. Check out my review of All That Glitters by Ilana Fox, and enter the competition to win a copy here.

2 ROW80 Check-ins: COMPLETE!

Burn 1,500 Kcals in additional to normal walking to work exercise: 600kcal done. It’s better than none. Plus, I took the big step of going to the gym though. First time this year. That’s a big step!

3 ‘fasting’ days: I only managed 2. I kept putting the second back, and ended up accidently being hungover yesterday, so really couldn’t face the idea of it.

Not a great week, but certainly not a terrible week. I’ve very happy with the review on Novel Kicks. I’m very happy with going to the gym. I’m happy I can at least do check in blogs.

I’m going to keep most of my goals the same for this week, just changing one and adding another. They are:

7 hours editing

2 hours of writing course

2 Book Reviews – 1 for here and one for Novel Kicks. I’m sure they don’t want another one so soon, but if I get it done, it’s ready when they’re ready for it. The one for on here is drafted so shouldn’t take that much effort. She says…

2 ROW80 Check-ins PLUS another blog: My check in blogs are about my progress. I don’t write so much about what I’m writing (or editing in this case). I like those blogs, so I’ll add one of those too.

Burn 1,500 Kcals in additional to normal walking to work exercise: I know I’ve not managed it so far, but it’s good to have a big goal to aim for.

3 ‘fasting’ days.

I’d really like to do a week round up and actually be positive about what I’ve acheived that week. I can’t remember the last time I wrote a blog and was really happy with everything I’d done over the whole week. I think this might be the week. I’d really like it to be, but I do have quite a lot of plans. But saying that, I’ve not got outragous goals; everything is possible.

The Headhunters by Jo Nesbo

Roger Brown has it all: clever and wealthy, he’s at the very top of his game. And if his job as a headhunter ever gets dull, he has his sideline as an art thief to keep him busy.

At a gallery opening, his wife introduces him to Clas Greve. Not only is Greve the perfect candidate for a position that Brown is recruiting for; he is also in possession of one of the most sought-after paintings in modern art history.

Roger sees his chance to become rich beyond his wildest dreams, and starts planning his biggest theft ever. But soon, he runs into trouble – and it’s not long before the hunter becomes the hunted…

headhunters

 

I read my first Jo Nesbo novel, The Snowman, last year, and loved it. I liked the setting of Steig Larsson’s novels, and so thought I’d give Nesbo a shot, I’m so glad I did, Larsson had nothing on him. The Snowman had me gripped, Nesbo is SUCH a good writer. When my step mum gave me this over Christmas I couldn’t wait to start reading it.

Roger Brown is a weird main character, in that he’s not really a very nice person, and you don’t warm to him easily. He loves money, art and his job. Luckily he also loves his wife. If it wasn’t for her, I actually think he’d be a monster. Although I I wasn’t sure about him for a long time, I was gripped by the story almost immediately, and kind of rooting for him.  Having finished it, I can’t say for definite if I do like him or not, but I LOVED the novel.

I is a totally thrilling thriller, I found myself getting really nervous in a few situations, with my heart racing, and that genuine nervous, jittery feeling.

At some points in the novel I thought that it was too much, that it was too unrealistic, but I’m not sure if it was. It’s hard to say anything else without giving too much away, but some of the situations he got in seemed just a little stretch of the imagination. Or he was just damn lucky.

I know it’s been made into a film, and I’m really interested to watch it, I think it has the potential to be brilliant.

I cannot wait to read more Nesbo books, he’s got a massive back list of novels that I’m going to love getting through. I just can’t believe I hadn’t discovered him before now!

 

2012 Blogging in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson Review

Cambridge is sweltering, during an unusually hot summer. To Jackson Brodie, former police inspector turned private investigator, the world consists of one accounting sheet – Lost on the left, Found on the right – and the two never seem to balance.

Jackson has never felt at home in Cambridge, and has a failed marriage to prove it. Surrounded by death, intrigue and misfortune, his own life haunted by a family tragedy, he attempts to unravel three disparate case histories and begins to realise that in spite of apparent diversity, everything is connected…

I read my first Kate Atkinson novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, when I was 16 when I chose it for my A-Level coursework. I loved it before I started, but unfortunately, by the end of the course I’d read it so many times, and dissected it so much that I got sick of it, and it put me off any more of her books. My step mum gave me this years ago, telling me I’d love it. I put it on a shelf and forgot about it.

Then the To Be Read Pile Challenge came along, and I thought it was time to add it. It took me another 9 months to pick it up to read.

I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it, but I enjoyed it a lot. I looked forward to picking it up, and thought about it when I wasn’t reading it.

Jackson is investigating several things, which I found interesting because there were lots of little mysteries in the one novel, plus Jackson’s story.

Case Histories is the first in a series of Jackson Brody novels by Atkinson, I’m definitely going to check out the next ones. It was also turned into a BBC series, which I’ll be really interested to watch if I can get hold of it.

End of Week Round Up

I must say, although I’m not writing everyday, I’m doing really well. But then I would say that as I’ve just written 1,828 words Yes in 1 go, in 1 day, in an hour and a bit, ish.

Lets look at that again – 1,828. Wow!

Unfortunately, although I’ve just done this many words, I haven’t smashed my weekly goal like I would have liked – mainly because my weekly goal isn’t a weekly goal, it’s a daily goal, and I’ve not been writing daily.

So, lets see how I’ve done this week, on writing and other goals:

Writing: Write 100 words Mon – Wed and Fri – Sun
Achieved:
Monday – 354
Tuesday – 167
Wednesday – None
Thursday (One Thousand Thursday) – 1,001
Friday – None
Saturday – None
Sunday – 1,828

So, I’m not writing everyday, but when I’m wriitng, I’m really writing. I can’t knock myself when I’m doing so well. I’ll just try for every day this week. Imagine if I could write 1,000 words a day this week…

Exercise: Gym once, walk 11km.
Achieved:
I didn’t go to the gym, but I went for a run on Tuesday night. It was a really good run, so I’m totally counting that as a tick.
Walked 14.5km. 

Brilliant. I’m very happy with that. Especially because as soon as I’ve finished this, I’m going to go for a run. I don’t want to get ahead of myself and say this is a pattern, but it’s definitely a good start.

Blogging: 2 Check-in blogs, 1 book review blog, 1 other blog.
Achieved:
This is my second ROW80 Check-in
I posted a review of Marian Keyes’ The Mystery of Mercy Close on Tuesday
I posted a blog on Monday about the event I’d been to with SJ Watson and Rachel Joyce AND one yesterday about my progress on the reading challenges I’m doing this year. 

Tick, tick, tick.

That’s what I call a good week. I’m so happy. Having such a successful week under my belt is a massive motivation for me. I don’t want to do badly this week, I want to build on the success of this week. You know what? I totally can, and I totally will.

My goals for this week then:

Writing: 100 words Mon – Wed, 1,000 words Thursday, 200 words Fri – Sun. Yes, I’m upping the goal Fri – Sun. Why not, I can do it.

Exercise: gym or run twice, walk 15km. Well, I managed 14.5km this week, so why not 15 next? Why not indeed.

Blogging: Same as last week completely: 2 Check-in blogs, 1 book review and 1 other blog.

Hope everyone else’s week has gone as well, and that next week rocks for you!