Tag Archive | Ralph’s Party

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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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 🙂