Tag Archive | Catherine Sanderson

Petit Anglaise by Catherine Sanderson – Book Review

Living in Paris with her partner, the workaholic Mr Frog, and their adorable toddler, Tadpole, Catherine decides to alleviate the boredom of her metro-boulot-dodo routine by starting a blog under the name of Petite Anglaise. Writing with disarming honesty about Paris life, about the confines of her hollow relationship with Mr Frog and about the wonder and pain that comes with being a mother, she finds a new purpose to her day. As Petite Anglaise, Catherine regains her confidence and makes virtual friends, including one charismatic and single Englishman who lives in Brittany, James. And after meeting James one evening in a bar, Catherine feels she has regained her ability to fall in love, too.

A couple of years ago, when I told a friend  that I’d started blogging, she instantly recommended this to me – a true life memoir of ‘Petit Angliase’ an English woman living in Paris, and blogging about it. It’s been sat on my TBR shelf ever since.

When I heard about the TBR Challenge (hosted by RoofBeamReader) this was the first novel that sprung to mind. I think I would have got around to it eventually, but glad I’m doing the challenge now – I got to read this great book this month.

The characters are brilliant, I totally fell in love with ‘Tadpole’ and to a lesser extent Sanderson herself. Even Mr Frog (brilliant names for the boyfriend and kid!!) had a certain je ne sais quoi. I found it hard to get into my brain that this was real, because the story is something I could totally imagine reading in a fiction novel.

When I was reading it, I said it wasn’t one of those books that  you just can’t put down, but I was reading it A LOT. A lot more than I’ve read anything else for ages! I really enjoyed it, although it was slightly predictable, it was fun and you do get caught up in it and it takes you along for the great ride.

I’ve been to Paris a few times, and thought that I’d done it, there’s so many more places to go, why would I go back there? After reading this, I’ve totally changed my mind, I want to go back! Soon! There are snippets of French scattered throughout the book – some I understood from my GCSE French, some I didn’t. Having read this, and remembered SOME French, I totally want to learn it again, I used to love the language so much. Also, I really want a bilingual kid (when I have them), speaking 2 languages interchangeably, from birth almost, must be brilliant.

I totally recommend this. Sanderson’s written a fiction novel too, which I think I’m going to read. I like her writing style, and I presume it will be similar writing fiction.

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Getting Back On It

I’m back!

Well, I’m coming back anyway. Maybe today doesn’t count as really being back because I’ve got the day iff, so it’s not like I’m fitting writing in with real life, but still, I’m writing – that’s great.

So how am I doing on the ROW80 challenge so far this year? I’m going to create a chart for it, because we all know how I love a chart, and I seem to work better whan I have something to fill in – I guess I’m more accountable. Plus, you know, I get to put a pretty graph on my blog 🙂

Writing:

Today, like I said, I’ve been writing. So far (I plan to write more) I’ve done around 1,500 words. As I’m off work I’d like to do more. I’d also like to so some shopping and other stuff, so I’m not 100% certain I can, but I’d like to.

1,500 is by dar the best I’ve done so far this year. On Wednesday I wrote 100 words. That’s shocking, but I’m actually proud of myself for it. I knew I didn’t have time for my goal of 500 – 1000, so usually I would have not bothered, but I figured that some was better than none. 100 may not be that many, but it is definitely better than none!

On Friday night I wrote 200 words. I wanted to write more, obviously, but by the time I’d stopped reading, I was tired. Too tired to write more than that.

Yesterday I wrote 236. Not great, but getting better. The best thing about those 236 words were that again, I didn’t have much free time, definitely not enough for my target, but I had some. I took that some and turned it into writing. Yay!

I hope this is a change. I’m getting back into writing The Man of My Dreams now too. I think I’m past the hard bit that I wasn’t sure about, so hopefully it will be plain sailing for the next 10k or so words. I think editing is going to be a huge job, because I think I should have been where I am now much earlier in the story. I feel like too many things are going to happen and I don’t have enough time to resolved them believabley. I guess it doesn’t help that yesterday I added in a major event. Still, it’s good and hopefully will make it a bit grittier. If ‘grittier’ is a word I can use for this romance. We’ll see.

I’m really looking forward to finishing it so that I can read it. I desperately want to know how it flows, if it works and if it’s believable. I just have to write loads before I can get to that stage. Maybe if I carry on like I’ve done today, set myself a goal – NaNoFiMo (National [??] Novel FINISHING Month) for the rest of January… ROW80 is probably enough really,. I’d like to get back to writing 1,667 words a day, and it’s not like I’ve got much money to go out until payday, so no distractions there or anything. Lets see (no goal changing just yet!).

Reading:

I’m doing really well with reading. I’m more than halfway through When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman. My feelings for it have been a lot like they were for Petit Anglaise – I like it, a lot, but I’m not addicted to it. Having said that though, I keep picking it up. I think it’s reading that I’m really enjoying at the moment, and I’m reading good books, which makes such a difference to the end of last year!

I am reading A LOT. Yesterday we went to the darts world championship (boyfriend works for one of the sponsors, so we get *huh hum* free tickets. Not sure I’d want to go if we didn’t, but it’s a damn good day out!). We had to go all the way out to Farnborough which is about an hour from London. I read there and the way back. Saturday, I spent most of the day in bed reading, and every night last week I came home and read for ages. I’m properly in a reading buzz at the moment. It’s not a bad thing, as long as I can balance it with writing.

Exercise:

Seeing as I wasn’t able to go the gym last week (they haven’t added my corporate membership to their system yet – hopefully tomorrow!), you would have thought I’d be playing on the Wii a lot, wouldn’t you? No. On Saturday I did 30 minutes, today I did 35 both on Just Dance 3, but other than that, nothing. BUT, I have been walking. A lot. Thursday, Friday and yesterday I think I walked more than 4km each day. That’s good.

Eating;

This is up and down. Some days I’m good and stick to the 1400 calories, others not so much. If I’m honest, there’s more when I don’t than I do. Regardless, I’m trying. This week will be better, it will!

How’s your week starting out? How did last week go? I’d love to hear!

This week, I’ve mainly Been…

This week, I’ve mainly been… A domestic Goddess. I’ve cooked healthy dinners, washed up after dinner (instead of the next day, a really bad habit I’d got in to), cleaned, washed, etc. The only thing I haven’t done is most of the ironing, and to be honest, I’ve ironed my trousers (just no shirts for the Boyfriend).

This week, I’ve mainly been… Reading. I kept saying that although I was really enjoying Petit Anglaise, it wasn’t un-putdown-able, but, I kept going back and back to it. I finished it last night, so read it in well under a week. I think it was un-putdown-able. I read (as normal) on the tube to and from work, but I also read when I got home from work. I’ve now started When God Was A Rabbit. I’m not far enough in to give an opinion, but feel pulled towards it. I may read a lot this weekend.

This week, I’ve mainly been… Trying to go to the gym. My corporate membership should have kicked in on 1st, so three nights in a row I tried to go. The first, I found out I wasn’t on the system yet, but he said I could use it anyway, I was feeling rotten so didn’t. The second I found I’d left the confirmation in the office, so couldn’t go. Then the third they said I wasn’t on, and wouldn’t let me in. Today I called them up, they haven’t put me on the system. AGHHHH! Next week, I’ll actually be going to the gym.

This week, I’ve mainly been… Stressing about the second interview I went for today. It went well, but I bet all weekend I’ll be stressing about the result of my second interview.

So with all these things I’ve mostly been doing, what’s the BIG thing I haven’t been doing? Oh yeah, writing! On Wednesday I wrote just over 100 words, but nothing else. (I’m writing this Friday night, but not posting until Saturday, so this may have changed – I may do more now. I want to do some now anyway!). *Saturday update – I wrote 200 words yesterday. Rubbish*

I’ve often said there’s just not enough hours in the day, and can’t I feel it this week. The thing is though, if this week, I’m finding time to wash-up and read, but I thought I didn’t have time for these things before, what was I doing? And if I think I don’t have time for writing now, maybe I really do, I just don’t know it.

I’ve always know I’m pretty rubbish at time management. At work I’ll spend ages stressing over how much I’ve got to do, and when I’m going to fit it all in and trying to think which is most important right now. I just know that if I was better at it, I’d get more done. I think the same’s true at home. Right now though, I just can’t see how. At work we have internal online training mini courses. One of them is Time Management. When I heard about it, I decided I HAD to do it. The problem though, is finding time to do it.

Maybe next week I’ll do less reading and more writing. Next week though, I’m going to be going to the gym once or twice, so I need to fit in more than just making it to their reception. Maybe if I actually do something, rather than wonder when I’ll have time for it, I’ll actually get things done more? We’ll see.

January Books Clubs

Last month, having gone from none, I got myself involved in two book clubs, and it seems I’ve done the same again this month.

A friend of mine, her sister and work colleague decided in November to start a book club, so December was month one. We read Amrita by Banana Yoshimoto, which unfortunately none of us enjoyed. I chose that book (I needed a Y for the A to Z Challenge), this time it was B’s turn to choose. Like me she gave the rest of us a choice, and we decided on The Tigers Wife by Tea Obreht. It sounds slightly depressing, but hey, I’ll give anything a go. I’ll read that after the next one, our next meeting isn’t until 25th, so loads of time!

The second book club is at NovelKicks, a website that my ROW80 buddy Laura runs. A year, or maybe 18 months ago, I tried to get involved in the NK book club, but at the time they were reading The Little Stranger by Sarah Walters. I got the book, I tried, but it just bored me. I promised myself I’d get involved the following month, but you know me, life got in the way.

Last month I saw Laura had chosen The Gift by Cecelia Ahern for the book. As it happened that was on my TBR pile, and I wanted to read it around Christmas. I joined in. Well, I commented that I’d started it, and I read the book. No more comments. How rubbish am I?!

I promised myself if I got involved again, I’d do better. This month the chosen book is When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman – a book that I’ve wanted to read since it came out last year (I’m not sure if it’s because it’s got a wicked title, or the actual story). Of course I’m joining in again. This time, I promise I’m going to join in with NK and comment! That’s the next book on my list. If you’re interested in joining, please do, everyone is welcome, Laura would love to see you HERE.

I’ve nearly finished Petit Anglaise. Yesterday I arranged to meet my other half in the library before we went shopping (gym clothes, not all that exciting). There were no computers free, so I sat in one of the chairs (that isn’t as comfy as it looks) and read for half an hour. It was great. I can’t wait until summer, so there’s a nice view of the water from the library (Canada Water water – the water the whole area was named after – small, but cute with swans and ducks and stuff!).

Progress, Planning and Philosophising

It seems a little wrong checking-in today for ROW80 when I only wrote my goals yesterday, but seeing as I should have written them on Monday, I guess I should. Plus, you know, it’s good to check-in on time. I should have put that as a goal this round too.

Well. Four main goals, here we go – day 1.

Writing – Well… I thought about doing some writing… then got sidetracked. Yesterday’s blog from Kait on the A Round of Words in 80 Days blog, was all about ‘The Test Mile,’ in exercise the way to make yourself go out is to say you’ll just run a mile (for me 10 minutes) then see how it goes. It works to get you out becuase such a small thing seems to easy, but then when you get to the end of that allotted mile (10 minutes) you usually feel good about it so carry on. Kait suggests we writers use the same principle with writing. GENIUS! On days that I don’t want to run, if I say to myself I’ll sit down and just write 100 words, I BET once I get to 101, 102 etc I’ll want to carry on going. Hopefully tonight I’ll want to write, but if not, Kait’s Test Mile is something I’ll be trying.

Reading – What did I say yesterday? That I seem to either write or read? Guess what I did last night? Yeah, I must have spent a couple of hours reading. I’m reading Petit Anglaise by Catherine Sanderson. I’m really enjoying it, but was thinking about it last night. It’s not what I’d call ‘unputdownable,’ but I keep coming back to it. It’s good, and it’s making me think about going to France and learning better French (more of this later).

Exercise – I’m rocking this one too (you know, in the one day I’ve been doing it). I wanted to go to the gym yesterday, but I had to go home to take a library book back (lame excuse I know, but it works for me). Instead I walked to the tube (2.2km) then from home walked to the library and back (1.6km). Not a bad start. Tonight I go to the gym.

Eating – I had chocolate yesterday. And cheese at lunch and dinner. Considering that, I didn’t do too badly – I ate 1650 calories. Not the 1400 I was aiming for, but still enough to lose weight. I also got my 5 portions of fruit & veg. Yay!

I’m planning on the rest of this week going better than yesterday did, I’m planning on hitting all 4 goals, not just 2. I can do it. Today is the day to show myself I can!

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know I’m a big believer in things (everything) happening for a reason e.g. I didn’t get into the NWS this week. Maybe that’s because I’m destined to get myself published without help. (Or maybe I’m destined not to get published – lets not think that way though); And when my boyfriend and I split up last year, it was horrible, but when we got back together, it made us stronger.

Things happen for a reason. Also, coinsidences happen a LOT! I like to think more the first – gives me hope in some things I think.

Yesterday, this happend twice.

Remember my blog yesterday? The one where I read Laura’s goals for the year and remembered my writing course? I was thinking about it more after I finished the blog. The next assignment is to plot a novel. I was thinking that maybe when I’ve finished draft 1 of The Man of My Dreams, I might ‘plot’ it and use that for the assignment.

Last night I went home and read for a while. When I finally dragged myself away from the book, I decided that instead of writing, I was going to hoover behind our bed. I’m not sure if I can admit that I’ve not done it since we moved in. It needed doing, but I’d been putting it off for ages. The bed is in a corner, so wall on 2 sides. I’ve been putting it off for fear of what I’d find undermneath – dust, spiders, dustry spiders? dusty paper? I just didn’t know.

I took the plunge. What did I find? Only the module booklet for the novel plotting assignment. Spookey eh? I literally had not thought about the course for months, and had been putting off doing the hoovering for weeks (fine, months). I think it means something that both these things happened in one day. Especailly when boyfriend came home and asked me what inspired me to finally do it – I had no answer?!

The other weird thing.

Boyfriend has dreams of one day living in France. It’s quite a good idea – I’ve been there a few times and quite like it and used to like the language (at school I was really good at it!). I’ve told him that if we ever do plan on moving there when we have kids (forward planning!!!) we need to teach them French from when they’re born. Which means us speaking French too.

This book I’m reading – Petit Anglaise – is about an English girl living in Paris with her boyfriend and little girl who is learning both languages side by side. Over the last few days it’s got me thinking more about France and how cool it would be to relearn the language – and to better than GCSE (age 16) level. Also I’ve been thinking that it would be awesome to go to Paris again (I’ve been a few times, and thought I was sick of it – seeing as there’s so many other places that I’ve never been before).

Last night, boyfriend comes home with an idea of going to Paris for a long weekend. Hmmm.

It feels like there’s weird things going on in my life at the moment. Weird, but maybe things pointing me in certain directions. Or maybe there were just a few coincidenses yesterday!

My Next Reading Challenge – The TBR Pile Challenge 2012

I read about this challenge and just knew I had to do it. I’d like to mention who’s blog I found it from, but stupidly I didn’t write it down when I found it when I was surfing on my phone yesterday. Doh! The challenge is hosted by Adam at Roof Beam Reader (for the 3rd year running – how have I not heard about this before?

When I last counted how many books I had on my shelf, to be read, it was 80. When I last moved at the beginning of the year it had to be more. As you can understand – this is a brilliantly suitable challenge for me.

The Goal: To finally read 12 books from your “to be read” pile (within 12 months).

Specifics:

1. Each of these 12 books must have been on your bookshelf or “To Be Read” list for AT LEAST one full year. This means the book cannot have a publication date of 1/1/2011 or later (any book published in the year 2010 or earlier qualifies, as long as it has been on your TBR pile – I WILL be checking publication dates). Caveat: Two (2) alternates are allowed, just in case one or two of the books end up in the “can’t get through” pile.

2.  To be eligible, you must sign-up with Mr. Linky  – link to your list (so create it ahead of time!) and add updated links to each book’s review.  Every listed book must be completed and must be reviewed (doesn’t have to be too fancy) in order to count as completed.

3.  The link you post in the Mr. Linky below must be to your “master list” (see mine below).  This is where you will keep track of your books completed, crossing them out and/or dating them as you go along, and updating the list with the links to each review (so there’s one easy, convenient way to find your list and all your reviews for the challenge).  See THIS LINK for an idea of what I mean.  Your list must be completed by December 31st, 2011.

4. Leave comments on this post as you go along, to update us on your status. Come back here if/when you complete this challenge and leave a comment indicating that you CONQUERED YOUR 2012 TBR LIST!  Every person who successfully reads his/her 12 books and/or alternates (and who provides a working link to their list, which has links to the review locations) will be entered to win a $50 gift card from Amazon.com or The Book Depository!

5. Crossovers from other challenges are totally acceptable, as long as you have never read the book before and it was published pre-2011!

The problem for me was chosing which of my tbr books to use. In the end it was earlier than I thought, I pretty much just picked the first 14 I found. Here they are (in no particular order):

Petite Anglaise by Catherine Sanderson

A French Affair by Susan Lewis

The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest by Steig Larsson

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

After the Party by Lisa Jewell

The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris

The Little Lady by Hester Browne

The Last Juror by John Grisham

Daniel isn’t Talking by Marti Leimbach

Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult

And the 2 Alternatives:

Just Between Us by Cathy Kelly

Members Only by Leonie Fox.

I when I’ve done the Mystery and Suspense Challenge before (2010 and 2011) I didn’t have a plan – I just thought I’d read books when I found them (I didn’t have to state which books I’d read for that one), however that’s left me rushing at the end of December both years to finish. I can’t do this challenge like that because there’s a couple of LONG books in there, and we know how much I want to ‘win’ this challenge.

So, I’ve got a (very rough) plan. I’m going to read the LONG books at the beginning of the year. Then try to read one a month for the rest of the year. I’d actually really like to read all 14, so you never know.

I’m really excited about this. Just wish it was 2012 already so I could crack on with it (although I have the rest of my 2011 reading sorted anyway!).

This page will be my main one for the challenge, then when I review the books I’ll create a link from here to the individual page.

I can’t wait!

**10.1.12 Update – First novel complete – Petit Anglaise – review linked above**

**17.8.12 Update – I’ve now read 5 novels for this challenge, so I’m a bit behind where I should be at this time in the year. I’m even more behind with reviews, I’ve only done 3 out of the 5. Must catch up, on both reading and reviewing**