Tag Archive | Nicci French

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?

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Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge 2010 Round-Up

Around Christmas I wrote a blog and in it had a big long moan about how badly I thought I’d done in this challenge. After that I sat down and worked out what thriller or suspense books I’d read throughout the year and was shocked to realise I’d actually read 11. Wow! I then thought about all the other books I’d read over the year, and went over to the host of the challenge Book Chick City to see what other people had read. shockingly someone had reviewed Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. I wasn’t too sure if it was a thriller or suspense, but as someone else had used it, guess what? I’m really happy to use it.

So that means… I completed the challenge. WOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOO! The thing I haven’t done is review all the books yet, but I will get there. Here’s the list of them – the highlighted ones are linked to the review. The unhighlighted ones will have a review as soon as I can add it.

There you have it, my 12 books. I’m really happy I did it. I think the challenge pushed me to read more thrillers than I would have normally done, because I tend to favour chick lit and romance. I don’t know why I do that, I really love thrillers.

One of my aims of doing this challenge was to introduce myself to new authors. I certainly did that. The first book I read, a Sandra Brown book, I only picked up because of the challenge. I was so glad I did – I totally love both of her books I read during the challenge. I can’t wait to read more of hers.

Nicci French was introduced to me by my Step Mum. Again because I told her about the challenge so she gave me that book. I totally loved it, and will be looking out for more Nicci French books this year, and in the future.

Simon & Schuster sent all the people in this challenge an ARC of one of two novels. I was so happy I got Random by Craig Robertson. I hated the goreiness of it, but loved that at the same time. Last time I saw his update on Twitter, he was writing a new book. When it gets published I’ll be first in line to read it.

I honestly wouldn’t have read Asimov if it wasn’t for this challenge and my boyfriend convincing me it would work really well for the challenge. Sci-fi? Me? Nah! But, yeah. I actually enjoyed it. So much so, I’m going to read the other books in the Robot series. I don’t think I’ll read any others of his though, Sci-fi does still… I was going to say scare me, but I think it just doesn’t interest me that much. Hopefully he’ll (the boyfriend) will bully (!!) me into reading more of Asimov, or maybe another sci-fi writer – and he’ll find something easy-reading that I’ll ‘get’.

I’ve had the Judith Cutler book (and another) for years and didn’t pick it up in all that time. This challenge made me pick it up. I’ll definitely be reading the other one I’ve got of her’s (Dying to Fall) and probably the rest of that series.

That’s it. All the others I think I would have read anyway. But that’s pretty impressive – five authors that now I’ll be looking out for, that would have pasted right by me without the challenge.

I’m really impressed with how much I enjoyed the books I chose for this challenge. Looking at this list, I can genuinely say I loved each and every one of them. How good is that?!

I only have one small regret to come from this challenge. At the beginning of 2010 I looked around the internet and got recommendations of authors from people/places (including other people taking the challenge) and got a list of authors I wanted to read. But, I didn’t read any of them. That upsets me. But I’ll get over it. Just because the challenge is over… doesn’t mean I have to stop reading thrillers & suspense novels.

Plus… You never know what other challenges will be round the corner in 2011…

Quite A Lot of Thoughts for A Thursday Night

I worked an early shift today. On the way home I decided NOT to go to the gym (I was meant to be going out so wasn’t supposed to be going anyway – that’s my excuse). My housemate wasn’t going to be in for an hour or so, so I thought I’d get my Fiction Friday story done. And a blog. And did I? Bet you can guess!

First I got sucked into making dinner. Then my new novel (Until it’s Over by Nicci French – I literally haven’t been able to put it down today. How come no one told me about her before?). Then when I was going to start writing I remembered I wanted to make Brownies for work tomorrow (it’s one of the team’s last day so thought it would be nice – plus I’ve been promising I’ll make something for well over a year now!). So now at gone 10, I’m starting a blog. Dunno if I’ll get as far as doing the Fiction Friday thing, I might just add a little more to the ‘Holiday’ scene I wrote yesterday.

Oh wow, yesterday. Yesterday was of course the Chick Lit Evening at Brixton Library. Now for those of you that aren’t familiar with London – Brixton is pretty far South. I live near-ish Tottenham which is pretty far North, and I work somewhere in the middle. So yes, it was well out of my way. But was it worth it? Hell yeah. Lisa Jewell, Jenny Colgan, Matt Dunn, Jojo Moyes, Kate Harrison and Rebecca Chance were all there. First they each did a reading, then answered questions from one of the library staff then the audience. There wasn’t as big turn out as I imagined there would’ve been, but that was almost a good thing, there weren’t 100s of people asking questions, and I had a really good view from the 3rd row.

Every extract from the novels that were read were great, I’m telling you there’s some new novels on my TBR list now! All the authors seemed honest and funny and like they genuinely wanted to be there. It was great. Just sitting listening to them talk about how they started writing, or how they got agents, or where they get their ideas from really inspired me to write more. I don’t want to be famous – I’m not all that good being in the lime light (hence I hide behind this NTWG front) but how awesome would it be to sit on a stage with 5 other people and talk about doing the job you love. Seriously – I want to do it!

Brixon library got a cake and on top of it were pictures of each one of each of their books. It was amazing. I’ve got a picture I’ll post of it when I download it from my phone.

At the end they had a boo signing. I really wanted to go up for a chat, but didn’t have any of their books to get them to sign, and we’re well past the time of the month that I can splash out on books. I’m actually really annoyed at myself cause I’d just finished a Kate Harrison book (Brown Owl’s Guide to LIfe – great book!) which I should’ve taken to get signed. Oh well. Next time.

The highlight of my evening was when Lisa Jewell caught my eye and must’ve recognised me from last time I met her (in April I think at another one of these author things I won a ticket to – just her that time) cause she smiled and lipped hello. At least I think it was at me anyway, ha ha.

So that’s 1 of my fun book/author things for the next two weeks. On Monday I’m going to a ‘How to Get Your Book Published’ night put on my a London Magazine Stylist. I had to pay for this one which I was pretty outraged at (not really, just all the other things I’ve been to have been free – but this will probably be the most useful). When I saw it advertised I ummd and ahhed about it, but, Lisa Jewell’s going to be there (I hope she doesn’t think I’m her new stalker) and so is Sophie Kinsella. I had to go didn’t I? Plus, champagne and canapes. HAD to!

Then on Wednesday I’m going to Rowan Coleman’s book launch party for The Happy Home for Broken Hearts. Saying that, I’ve not been confirmed on the list, but she said first 40 people to review one of her novels and I was the 2nd or 3rd, so pretty confident about that one.

The winners of the Rowan Coleman Short Story Competition were released today. I didn’t come top 8, but with over 300 entries I didn’t really expect to. She’s going to post the winning stories on her site over the next few days, so I’m going to read and learn from them. I’m so glad I entered, it made me realise that’s entering isn’t all that scary, even I can do it. Next step is magazine submissions I guess. Gulp!

When I was at work today I decided I’d write my Fiction Friday piece. I read the prompt and knew exactly how to start it. I was going to use Kate from Holiday again, cause I really like getting in her head and I’m there a lot of the time at the moment anyway (all my daily writing is her), and I knew where it would fit into the story (even if it’s not used in the novel itself). But then I started thinking more about it. Bad move. I then came up with a couple of ideas of where to take it. Then I couldn’t decide which one to use. The result was I didn’t write it. Damn it.

Then of course I decided to set a challenge for my Twitter friends. Well, not so much a challenge, more I asked for some help. Last night I replied to a couple of comments on here. That took my comments up to 666, which kinna freaked me out a little. By lunchtime today, it was still on 666. I’m not really superstitious or anything, but just didn’t like being stuck on there. I didn’t want to comment on anything myself for the sake of it, so I asked for help. And put an incentive out there too. I said I’d name a character in my Fiction Friday piece after the next person to comment on my blog. Bless Walt from WaltinPA – he commented (Thank you so so much Walt). I’ve got a couple of ideas of who ‘Walt’ is going to be. I wonder which one I’ll go with… Oh I’ve just thought, if I go with one I might be able to get my favourite word ever in it – ‘cantankerous’. Excellent.

I feel like there’s something important I was going to blog about and can’t remember what it was. Maybe one day I’ll plan a blog so this doesn’t happen.

Oh I know. My job! From sat around doing nothing today, I’ve managed to get a couple of people suggesting jobs to me, that I think I’d be in a pretty good position of getting.

The first one is for the company I work for now. My boss suggested it last week and I said no way – for about a week every 2 or 3 weeks I’d have to be in work at 7.30am. I’d have to leave my house at 6.30am. I’d therefore have to get up around 5.30am *shudder* I am NOT a morning person. My boss obviously wants to keep me cause she said she’d have a word with the manager over at that site to see if they’d like someone on the late shift (9.00 – 6.00pm) predominantly. Today she came back and said yes. Now because it’s a different site and the way my company works, I’d have to apply for it, but I think I’d be in a pretty good position to get it! Result. Except I hate the company I work for. But a job’s a job right.

Until. I was chatting to someone at the site I work at (a different company) and he mentioned he’s looking for an administrator. I said no straight away, but thought about it and thought it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. The money’s a little less than I’m on now, but it’s 2 1/2 hours LESS work a week do now, and 5 hours less than this other job I’m looking at. And finishes at a nicer time.

Either way, I’m not going to be able to spend as much time at work writing, blogging, tweeting etc which is a shame, but I’ve had a good run of 18 months doing it. I think if I get an iphone or something similar I’ll be able to still tweet and keep up to date with blogs and stuff. And if I get either of these jobs I’ll be finishing earlier so hopefully I’ll be able to get more done in the evening. Especially as the next few months will probably see quite a significant change in my living arrangements, meaning I’ll be more able to work in the evenings. But that’s a story for another time.

I’ve just realised how long this blog is, sorry to keep you so long. If you’ve even made it this far!!