Tag Archive | Husbands

Really Good Books

I was thinking earlier it would be really good to do a blog today. Then I started wondering what I could write – it’s not like I’m actually writing is it. So that would leave… reading. I’m really enjoying the book I’m reading now Jeff Abbott’s A Kiss Gone Bad, and the thought of that led me to… I’m reading a lot of really good books at the moment.

In 2009 I only read 17 or something books, and only a handful of them really stood out. I think I tried to do a top ten books I read that year, but didn’t have a top ten. There just weren’t enough good ones there.

Last year was the opposite. I read 45 books, and enjoyed a huge number of them. So, what better way to spend a blog, than with my top books of last year. I was thinking top ten, but going through my list, I’ve actually made a top twenty. Hope it’s not too boring:

YA:

  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (I only read this to prove to people I wouldn’t like it. I loved it. I think it’s my favourite book of the year)
  • Avalon High by Meg Cabot (When I was researching YA novels before writing mine, I knew I had to read one of Ms Cabot’s books – the queen of teen and all that)
  • Summer Dreams Winter Love by Mary Francis Shura (this was my favourite book growing up, and I wanted to read it again. It still had that magic)
  • Della Says… OMG by Keris Stainton (I loved the sound of this when I started following Keris’ blog, and was lucky enough to get invited to her launch party where she signed the book. After all that I was so glad I loved it)

Chick Lit:

  • Love Lies by Adele Parks (I got given a small booklet on the street. It was the first two chapters. I couldn’t read just that, I had to get the whole book and read it.  But then I love Adele Parks so would have had to get it at some point anyway)
  • Foursome by Jane Fallon (This is the best book I read in this category. I loved everything about it, and will definitely be on the lookout for more books by her)
  • Husbands by Adele Parks (what can I say? I love the lady, I had to read more than one)
  • The Happy Home for Broken Hearts by Rowan Coleman (I got a copy of this from the publisher to review. I was pretty scared I wouldn’t like it then there would be loads of pressure on me to say something nice about it. Luckily it was great – it was Rowan Coleman, of course it was great)
  • The Baby Group by Rowan Coleman (ditto the great comment above)
  • What My Best Friend Did by Lucy Dawson (another that is in my top three of the year I imagine. Great. Not sure if it’s really chick lit, but I think it belongs here)
  • Ralph’s Party by Lisa Jewell (I read this when it came out ten years ago,  but after winning a ticket to an evening with Lisa, I thought I should re-read it before I went. So glad I did, I’d forgotten how good it was. And Lisa Jewell – she’s awesome and funny, and has a great story of how she got published. I like the idea that mine could go the same way…)

Thrillers:

  • Until It’s Over by Nicci French (my step mum gave me this, saying she loved it. Well, so did her step daughter)
  • The Memory Collector by Meg Gardiner (Although this is only the second book of hers I’ve read, I am a huge Meg Gardiner fan, and this is my favourite book. Can’t wait to start on her other series of books)
  • Too Close to Home by Linwood Barclay (Again second book of his I’ve read. Again this is my favourite)
  • Random by Craig Robertson (I got this free from the publisher because of doing the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge. It’s his debut book, and it’s brilliant)
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo & The Girl Who Played with Fire both by Stieg Larsson (I only picked the first up because of the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge. I was so glad I did. I watched the movie too – it sucked)

 Sci-Fi:

  • The Caves of Steel by Asimov (I read this on recommendation from the other half. He thought I should read something DIFFERENT, so I did. I didn’t want to enjoy it, but I did. I want to read the rest in the Robot series)
  • 1984 by George Orwell (It’s a classic – I had to read it at some time. This was the year. It totally deserves the hype it gets)

I really hope 2011 is as good for books as last year was. I’m on book three, and so far it’s certainly shaping up that way!

What were your favourite books from last year?

Reading, Books and the NaNo Sign-up

I’ve done it again – read another book without updating my side panel. Well, I was reading Husbands by Adele Parks. It was great (it was Adele Parks, of course it was going to be great!). What I liked the most (looking back) was that the ending wasn’t predictable, I love that.

I’ve now started reading a book I’ve been thinking about re-reading for ages. Summer Dreams, Winter Love by Mary Francis Shura. It was my favourite novel as a teenager, in fact it’s the only book I ever remember reading more than once (I think I must’ve read it at least a hundred times!). I was a little worried about picking it up, what if it’s not as good as I remember it being? That will be my favourite book wrecked!

However as I’m hovering round the idea of a YA novel for NaNo, I thought now is a great time to read it!

What has really annoyed me about it, and I’d forgotten, is that there’s writing all over it. When I was a teenager (maybe about 14) I lent it to one of my friends, who proceeded to write notes all over it – joking notes to me from her and another friend. They ruined my book! Not happy. It’s only in pencil, so in theory I could rub it out, but then there’s the risk of creasing the pages etc. How can someone do that to a book?!

Needless to say, I never lent her another book!

So, NaNo! I don’t know what to do. I guess I have ideas, so that’s good; but I have two ideas and am not sure which to go with, not so good.

Months and months ago, my boyfriend came up with a rough idea for a novel. He thought he wouldn’t be able to write it, so told me about it. I loved it, and wrote a rough plan of what could happen, and gave it a totally rocking title. It’s been going round my head ever since, so maybe now’s the time to do something about it?

But…

I’ve got this other idea. It’s a YA, kind of romance/friendship novel. I know a few things about it, and keep thinking up more. I’m really quite excited about this (except the title’s not as good as the other one, in fact I’ve not even really decided on the title yet).

The problem with both is that I’ve not done enough reading in either genre recently (forget the book I’m reading now, I really should be reading current novels, not 20 year old novels!). The problem with the black comedy, is I’m not sure I can write funny. Another problem with both of them is that I don’t know what’s going to happen.

I want to know what’s going to happen because when I wrote Italian Infatuation last year for NaNo, I had a plan of what was going to happen. It wasn’t in that much detail, just: Day 1: blah; Day 2: Blah blah,  etc. As I wrote, I filled in the detail but always knew the overall picture. That maybe why I’m not doing as well with Holiday (I NEED to change the title of that, I hate it) – I know what happens at the end, but no idea in the middle, not even roughly!

My plan to decide which one to write is to sit down and plan them both. From that I hope I’ll see that I’ve got more for one than the other, and will hopefully be more excited about one. Hopefully.

I’ve just been on the NaNo website, and signed up again. That’s it, I’m in, no getting out of it now. Not that I was going to anyway. From 1st December last year (the day after NaNo finished) I knew I’d do it again. There must be something wrong with me.

Let me know if you’re stupid enough to sign up as well, and we can be buddies (I’m Newtowritinggirl!) 🙂

We’re on day 4 of Novel Push Initiative. I’ve successfully completed days 1-3 – woop! I signed up to 250 words a day, and just like last year, I’m doing loads more. I can’t check how many I’ve done, but I must be on 1,000 plus. In just three days. Result.

You may ask why I can’t check? Cause Twitter’s blocked here at work. NOOOOOOOOOOoooooooo! And Facebook. Facebook I think is a great thing, I check it far too much at work, and seeing as I’m about to start a job where I need to work, I’m happy with that. But Twitter???? What am I going to do without my daily (ok, almost hourly then) Twitter fix?? This just goes to prove I NEED to get one of those phones that have excellent internet etc. I’m tempted my an i-phone, but someone very close to me hates them with a passion, and has made various threats if I get one… Hmmm… My current contract’s not up until November so I’ll look then I guess. Oh yes, just in time to be a NaNo distraction – excellent!!

Mostly About Books

I had a plan today. I planned to read the next chapters of my writing course. However I stupidly left the book in the back office and I’m sat on reception. Doh! I’ll work on it this afternoon. I will, I will, I will.

I got a book in the post today. It’s only another prize from a competition I entered! This book’s really exciting for me, as it’s a) not available in England and b) an author I’ve never heard of – this could be a whole new discovery for me!

The competition was one of those ‘be the first to comment…’ over on The Lady Loves Books. The book is ‘At Home with the Templetons’ by Monica McInerney. Can’t wait to get started on it.

This may sound a little stupid, but I had a realisation this morning. I’m currently reading Husbands by Adele Parks. I bought the book a few months ago in one of those library sales I love. This morning though, as I walked between tubes (hurried should I say, not cause I was late, but cause I wanted to read more) I realised that before I started reading the novel I didn’t know what it was about.

‘Why’s that?’ you ask? It’s because I bought it without looking at the back. I knew it was Adele Parks, and I knew I hadn’t read it, so I had to buy it. It didn’t matter what it was about.

I developed the thought further and realised I’m the same with quite a few authors – if I love them, it doesn’t matter what their new book is about, I want it.

I thought I’d make a list of authors that this is true for, so here goes:

  • Sophie Kinsella
  • Adele Parks
  • Jane Green
  • Marian Keyes
  • Cecelia Ahern
  • Rowan Coleman
  • Audrey Niffenegger
  • Lisa Jewell
  • Dorothy Koomson

I’m sure they’re some I’ve missed out, but that’s pretty much my favourite author list!

I think I want a Kindle. There’s an advert at the tube station I go to in the mornings, and I keep looking at it… Anyone would think they put it there on purpose as Christmas is coming up…

I’d always been put off them, because I like books. I like holding them, reading them, turning pages etc.

But, I’ve just found a huge reason for wanting one – its size. I’ve got a few books on my TBR list that I’m desperate to read, but I’m put off because they’re so big and heavy to carry round (and I always have the book I’m reading in my bag). Although, if I did have a Kindle, I’d have to re-buy those books. I’d have more chance of reading them though.

Does anyone else have one? What do you think of them?

I’ve just had a quick look on Amazon and stumbled upon Jane Green’s Straight Talking. I wouldn’t say it was my favourite book ever, but it moved me, and actually changed my life – improved my life. I loved it. BUT Amazon reviewers didn’t as much. Out of 55 comments, 13 gave it one star, 3 gave it two stars and 5 three. What is wrong with these people??? I’m going to have to add a review of my own! *giggles to self* Well, actually, I’m going to have to re-read it, then add a review. Woo hoo – I’ve got an excuse to re-read a novel I love. Love it!

Monday’s Awesome Achievement(s)

The strangest thing happened to me today. I was idly moving icons on my desktop when I stumbled across Italian Infatuation (my novel). For some reason I opened it, and decided to split it into chapters (which it wasn’t before).

I read somewhere (probably in my course actually) that the best place to make new chapters was when the scene changes. For some of the novel that’s not possible, for instance the wedding goes on for about 10,000 words – perhaps that’s quite a long chapter!

Now, most of the chapters end at the end of scenes, but there’s a few that end mid scene, but at a climax or when something exciting happens. I’ve now got a novel with 14 chapters. Result.

The problem is, a lot of the stuff in it is going to be deleted. So the chapters might change. Still, I’ve done some editing on it. That’s a real result.

I also went through and wrote down what happened in each chapter, so I get a bit of an idea on the pace etc. I don’t think I’m too happy about how it moves and where certain things are, but I’m not too sure. I guess I’ll see when I read it through again.

After I did all this, I made a plan with my next steps (don’t get excited, it’s not a great or very in-depth plan). First, I’m going to reread it. While I’m doing this I’m going to make notes on things that don’t work, where I need more of something or a description of something else etc. Then, I’m going to edit it one chapter at a time.

I did quite well with editing Chapter One (I’m totally giving that capitals like it’s its own entity!), and I think it’s because it’s just a small bit of writing (just over 4k). It’s less scary than 48,000. It’s bite size. I think it was during GCSEs they recommended we split our revision into smaller ‘bitesize’ pieces, well, that’s my plan for the novel. And I think I can do it that way.

When I woke up this morning, I had no idea I’d be so productive. Well, I did have an idea, but I thought it would be on my writing course – I even put my course work in my bag. Unfortunately it’s stayed there. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow! And I really can’t compain that I’ve done the editing.

I’ve started reading Adele Parks’ Husbands. Knowing it was Adele Parks I knew I’d enjoy it – surprise surprise I am! I was a little worried reading it straight after Foursome by Jane Fallon, because I thought it was a little unfair. I loved that one so much, is it fair for anything to follow it?? But, it’s doing a pretty good job!

I’ve decided I need to expand my reading material. Until last year I’d read my novel on the way to work, then one of the free London papers on the way home. Then they stopped making the one I like. I tried the other free one, but can’t stand it. So, I started reading my novel on the way in and out of work. Which to be honest, has been great. But, I’ve realised it means I don’t know what’s going on in the world.

My new plan is to read the Metro on the way in to work in the morning (I like that – I just hate getting the print on my hands early in the morning) and my novel on the way home. It means I’m not going to get through so many novels, but I think it’s for the best.

When one of our work computers crashed, I lost a load of files. One of which was my ‘Italy research’ file for Italian Infatuation. Last night I was tidying up my room, and only found all that research printed out. It made my day.

Books: Editing and Reading

I read through the second draft of chapter one of Italian Infatuation yesterday. It’s ok. There’s a couple of bits I really like, but then there’s some that suck. Badly. But that’s fine, I’ve got two days to edit it.!!

The thing that worries me, is that I don’t really have time to take time away from it then go back with fresh eyes. I wish I’d heard about the competition longer ago, although there’s always the fact I work better with a fast approaching deadline, so would I have started it even if I knew about it a while ago?

That aspect of my personality really annoys me. It’s like I can only do something if I know I have to do it – soon. I think that’s why NaNo worked so well for me last year, I had such a small time frame to write the novel in, that I couldn’t procrastinate, or put it off till later.

I finished one of the books I was reading over the weekend. The writing really annoyed me because there were a few sections where it got the name of the person it was referring to wrong. Seriously! At first I thought it was me getting it wrong, but I checked back and it was definitely the book that was wrong. It drove me mad. I almost wanted to stop reading it because of it, but, by that point I’d really got into the story, so HAD to finish it. I don’t think I’ll be reading another one of her books though.

So, with that book finished, it was time to start another. Well actually I had a debate with myself over this. On one hand, I have two books I’m desperate to read (Foursome by Jane Fallon and Husbands by Adele Parks), but on the other hand, if I’m  not reading a book, I’m much more likely to spend time editing Italian Infatuation. With this in mind, I chose Foursome to be my next book and put in my bag when I left the house this morning. I told myself that I’d think more about whether to read it now or start on Wednesday – after I’ve subbed by chapter.

I bet you can see where this is going. I sat down on the tube and had a look at it. Just a quick look to remind me what it’s about. Then I opened it, you know, just to look at page one. Actually no! It was to see which year it was published (this year). THEN I looked at page one. And the rest as they say, is history.

The whole of my morning and lunch breaks were spent reading it – I’m now on page 73 and worried how I’m going to edit this damn chapter ’cause the books so good. As I kind of thought it would be – I totally LOVED Getting Rid of Matthew.

Foursome is written 1st person which, like I’ve said  before, I love cause you really get to know the character, how she thinks and what makes her tick; but also discover things the same time as her so it’s like you’re going through the action yourself.

I found really interesting is that it took me until about page 30 to realise it’s in the present tense. The reason that’s interesting to me is I was reading a book ages ago (can’t for the life of me remember which one) and I struggled with it being present – sometimes things sounded a little stiff, or unnatural. So, here’s a lesson to me: If I’m writing in the present tense (Holiday) it has to be good, and flow naturally.

So me being naughty and starting the book has been useful. You know, for a project I’m not actually working on at the moment. Grrrrr!

This morning instead of editing, I went through my inbox and deleted about 10k emails. I’ll be using the same email address for my new job, so wanted to clear out some rubbish I’ve had for over a year. Obviously this took time. And HAD to be done when I’ve got a deadline looming!

I’ve also made a list of the things I really need to do. Funny how I find so much to do when I should be doing something else!

If I’m like this now, I’m going to be a nightmare if/when/if/when I get a publishing contract. 🙂

Ok. Project edit – draft three here we come…