Tag Archive | Straight Talking

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!

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Assignment Four – DONE!

I know, it’s hard to believe isn’t it, but it’s true. Assignment Four is ready to go. The only reason it’s not been sent is that I want it to be sent from my Hotmail account, and of course we can’t access Hotmail from work. As soon as I get home I’ll zap it off. Woop!

You know I’d so love to just post that as a blog – it’s so much better than anything else I’ll have to write – but you know me and my rambling – I’m going to carry on and on and on.

I’m half way through writing a review of Rowan Coleman’s The Happy Home for Broken Hearts. I find book reviews so hard to do. Last time I said that in a blog I said I’d start doing more to get better at them. I didn’t. In fact, I’ve not done one since April, maybe March. That’s really bad when you consider I’m taking part in a Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge (see sidebar) where I’m supposed to review the books I read. I’ve a list of four I need to do for that 😦

Ages ago I started a list of all the books I’ve read since being an adult. I lost that when one of our work computers crashed. Last week I started writing it again. Taking my favourite chick lit authors only, I’ve got to between 38 -44 (I can’t for the life of me remember if I’ve read those 6 or not – I recognise them, but maybe from the cover only?). The list was round about 100 when I lost it, so I’ve a long way to go.

I took part in a survey to find the top 10 chick lit novels of all time last week. It was hard to pin down my favourite 5, but I managed it. They are:

  • Straight Talking by Jane Green
  • Angels by Marian Keyes
  • Can You Keep A Secret by Sophie Kinsella
  • PS I Love You by Cecilia Ahern
  • Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern

Ah, reading that list back makes me want to read them all again. 🙂

My Thursday Rambling

It’s Thursday and for the second week running, I’ve started my FictionFriday piece before Friday. I don’t know what the world is coming to.

I started writing it as Kate – the MC from one of my novels, the character from my last few FictionFriday pieces. But, I had to stop writing from her POV because it sounded like it might be personal. It wasn’t, but I imagine some people reading it could have taken it to be. That’s the pain writing from a POV of a character that’s in the same situation as me. I know that’s a little cryptic, but I’m afraid it’s going to stay that way.

So, I took the same idea and swapped over to using Dan as the character. Dan’s the MMC from the novel – Kate’s best friend. However I’m a bit stuck as to who the girl he’s with should be. There’s an exact place in the novel I want this story to fit in. Although I could never use this in the book (it’s 1st person from Kate’s POV), now I’ve got this idea in my head I NEED to write it. But I don’t know if the girl should be the one that turns into his girlfriend, or just a random girl.

Oh yeah, this piece isn’t going to be a complete story, it’s going to have to be something taken out of something bigger (that probably won’t be written), so sorry in advance. Actually I might be able to make it a self-contained story.

I read about 10k of ‘Holiday’ last week. I quite like it. I want to keep writing it, but think I need to put the bits together before I start on it. That’s why I’m loving these Fiction Friday pieces, little glimpses into Kate and Dan’s lives without getting into the novel.

I entered a ‘competition’ to ‘win’ a ticket to Rowan Coleman’s book launch party for The Happy Home for Broken Hearts (which I will review soon, it’s sooooo good). You have to write a short review of your favourite book of hers, then she’ll pick the 40 (yes 40) she likes and they get to go to the party. At the moment there’s only three reviews, so I’m totally going. I may have to warn my friends they won’t see me much this month, I’ll be at loads of author events. Woop!

Before I started writing, there was so much I wanted to say, now I’m here I can’t think of another thing. As soon as I press ‘Publish’ I’ll remember at least one. How annoying.

Ok, got some things…

I started Jane Green’s Girl Friday yesterday – I’m already on p124. I did read A LOT yesterday somehow. Oh yeah, it was raining on my lunch break so I sat in the canteen and read. It’s really good, but I’m having a bit of a problem settling into it being in the present tense. This happens quite often when I read a book that’s past, then straight away swap to one that’s present. I can’t really pinpoint why, but something in my mind just doesn’t like the swap over.

Other than that, I’m loving it – as I totally expected to with a Jane Green novel. She’s definitely one of my favourite authors. Straight Talking is possibly my favourite novel of all time. Oh, after The Time Traveller’s Wife and Twlight (I’m still freaked out a vampire/teen book is in the top 2). I guess it’s possibly my favourite Chick Lit book ever.

Speaking of which, I read something on Simon & Schuster’s Facebook page recommending a survey to find the top 10 Chick Lit novels of the last decade. It’s run by Chick Lit Central on Facebook…. Actually, I’ve just looked and it’s closed. Damn, I didn’t give my opinion. To take part you had to list your top 5 chick lit novels. I couldn’t think of my top 5. I got top three – Straight Talking by Jane Green, Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella and Angels by Marian Keyes. But 2 more? Ooh, that’s hard. So I didn’t add any, and now I’ve missed my chance  *stamps off in a mood*

A few weeks ago one of our computers at work crashed and lost everything that was on the desktops. Yes I had loads of stuff. I had thought that it was probably stuff I’ve emailed myself anyway, but I’m now not so sure.

I’m 100% sure I’ve lost my list of books I’ve read. I was compiling a list of all the books I can remember reading as an adult – just for my own amusement. I was up to 90 odd. And have lost it. I am so annoyed with myself for not saving it somewhere else too.

I think, although I’m not sure, I’ve lost a load of research I did on Italy. Damn.

This should teach me a lesson. I need to buy an external hard drive to save all my stuff on. I know you can get them online and stuff, but I just want one. However I do it, I should do it soon, every 3 days I get a reminder pop up telling me to do it. I’ll be so annoyed at myself if I lose everything and haven’t backed it up. Just another thing for the ‘To be done’ list!

So now I’m back, From outerspace… eh no, from Italy

It may as well be a different planet though – when we left Rome it was HOT and SUNNY and now in London it’s COLD and RAINING. So cold I’ve had the heater on today. How depressing (if being back from holiday wasn’t depressing enough in itself!)

While I was away I finished reading Love Lies by Adele Parks. It was great – so good I had to stay up late the last night I read it to finish it. Do you ever wish you coud read through closed eyes? I totally did. But was pleased I made the effort. Total chick lit bliss. I just need to keep in mind it’s fiction not real life. The beginning sort of echoed mine and so I don’t want to be thinking now that it could happen. 

I read a book once, a chick lit book, that actually changed my life. I think had I not have read it at that time I wouldn’t have made a decision that totally changed my life. Weird eh. It was Straight Talking by Jane Green – no wonder she’s one of my favourite authors of all time!

Once I’d finished that book, I started on another. A few months ago I decided I need to read some classic books as pretty much all I read is chick lit, romance and crime/thrillers and want to expand my reading. Plus there’s always those things that tell you the 100 or 1000 books you should read before you die – I’m always lacking in them. So, when I was in a book shop with my mum she offered to buy me a book (yes, I have the best mum in the world!) and next to where we were standing was 1984 by George Orwell. Decision made. But obviously I’d not picked it up – until now.

I am loving it, when you consider how long ago it was written (I think 1949 ish) it doesn’t seem dated at all. Even though it was written so long ago and set in the future, which is now the past it doesn’t seem dated. In fact, I keep thinking that you could change the name to 2084 and it could seem like it’s a novel set in the future.

It reminds me a lot of a sci-fi book I read recently – The Caves of Steel by Asimov. His was also set in the future and although his future wasn’t as strict, I keep thinking they’re very similar. Regardless, I’m really enjoying it. I should’ve picked it up months/years ago.

I didn’t do any writing while I was away. I did think about it, but the thought didn’t go as far as getting up and finding some paper. For once I actually don’t care that I didn’t do anything – I was on holiday and why should holiday mean holiday from one type of work to be doing something else. Not that I consider writing work, but you know what I mean.

Just before I left I did take one HUGE step. I got my printer synced with my computer (well… it did it itself – LOVE that computer) and printed out the first draft of Italian Infatuation. I didn’t read it or anything, but at least I now have a hard copy of it that I can start editing. It’s a small step, but at least it’s a step in the right direction!

I’m going to try to edit my writing course assignment this week. I wrote the four sections before I went away so in theory all I need to do is edit them (all I need to do!), BUT, for the second section you had to choose 2 out of 6 prompts to take. I wanted to have a go at 4, then choose the 2 I thought were the best to send off. I don’t know if I’ll do that now, or just stick to the 2 I’ve done. I’ll think about it tonight and get started on it one way or another tomorrow.

As it’s June now, I’m going to come up with a plan for myself to get my motivation going again after holiday. I’m not sure what yet, but it will probably involve writing 250 words a day at least 6 days a week, and writing at least 5 blogs a week. If I’ve got a written plan I should be able to stick to it. Should.

Totally unrelated – I’m going to see Sex and the City tonight at a private showing with cocktails and canapes. It’s so true it’s not what you know, it’s who you know!

Books, Books, Books… and Trouble?

I am so excited right now, for a million different reasons.  There’s so many things, I don’t know which to tackle first.  I think I’m going to go chronologically. 

I went to the library at lunchtime today.  Now, we know I have a slight problem with the library – I go and pick up books.  Too many books. But I promised myself I’d be good.  I had a purpose – well 3 purposes – I was going to stick to them and not even look at another book. 

I so nearly did it too.  I got the book I needed (see below), I got the DVD I needed (Grey’s Anatomy – Series 3 – Easter viewing) and I was on the way to the computers to check my emails.  As I was walking across the room, I saw a sign that couldn’t be ignored.  It said SALE.  Uh oh. 

I picked a book up, and found it was 50p.  Yes, 50p.  So I picked up another and another… until I had 5 in my hand (excluding the one I went in for).  Eek.  5 books.  Even as I stood by the sale table I knew I shouldn’t do it.  But I couldn’t help it.  I actually tried to put one of them back down, but I couldn’t.  Oops.

But – I got 5 books for £2.50.  That’s damn good.  And, there’s 3 authors I’d not heard of – so it’s almost like research… Kind of.  I’ve got: Addition by Toni Jordan (which I started reading in the library – such a good 1st page), Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes, Famous Writers School by Steven Carter, An Offer You Can’t Refuse by Jill Mansell and finally Members Only by Leonie Fox.

So that was exciting.  If not a little worrying because I know my other half is going to kill me.   Then, I get back to work and someone from Facilities asks me if I’m New2WritingGirl.  Hmmmmm.  How did they know?  Why?  Apparently there was a package for New2WritingGirl (NewToWritingGirl was one digit too many for a Twitter name).  Woop!  I won a competition on Twitter from the lovely people @PiatkusBooks  and that was the prize pack.  Double Woop.  I’m now the proud owner of: What French Women Know: About Love, Sex and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind by Debra Ollivier, Straight Talking by Linda Blair; The Price by Alexandra Sokoloff and Everyone is Beautiful by Katherine Center.  Seriously I am so excited – they all sound so good.  AND as 2 of them are non-fiction I can totally read them at the same times as a fiction book.  Woop!

So now a couple of people from the facilities department know about my blog and my Twitter account.  I am anonymous no more.  I thought that would bother me, but as more and more people read my work and comment on it, I’m starting to care less and less if people find out about my ‘other life.’ 

Also exciting.  I bought another book today.  Well, it’s really a novella, and it’s an ebook.  Does that make it better?  Kait Nolan is a writer whose blog was one of the first I started to follow when I started blogging myself.  She finished a novel last year and asked the Twitterverse if anyone wanted to Beta read it.  I volunteered, but before I got half way through she decided she had to re-write it completely.  I was a little gutted as I was enjoying it.  A few months later she decided to scrap it altogether.  Again I was gutted. 

But, now, she’s just released a novella at various places including Smashwords.  It’s called Forsaken by Shadow and I can tell you, it’s pretty damn good.  I’ve been reading it this afternoon and am really enjoying it.  I was getting really frustrated as I was on the switchboard at the time so people kept calling up and interrupting me.  Damn people.

I totally forgot to mention the reason I went to the library other than for Grey’s Anatomy and to use the internet (which after the excitement of all the books, I totally forgot to do).  I found this great website called Novel Kicks – it’s an online writers group that looks really fun. They’ve got a book club and for their April read they’ve chosen The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters.  I joined so will be reading this shortly – the library stocked it so I had to go get it. 

I’ve got to say, I’m not too sure if I want to read it – purely cause I don’t read things that will scare me.  And I’m pretty sure this will.  I don’t know why I don’t – I used to.  In fact I used to LOVE all the Point Horror books as a teen – but somewhere between then and now I stopped reading them.  But, I said I was going to join the reading group, so I’m going to read it.  I just won’ t be reading it alone in the house, or alone on the way home in the dark. 

Waterstones are holding a ‘Tweetup’ (Twitter Meet up for those not in the know) tonight, which I want to go to.  My boyfriend’s dropped out and none of my friends want to go.  I know I should go on my own, but I’m not that good at things like that.  No I think it’s that I’ve never been to anything like that so don’t know what to expect and if it’s going to be people in groups then little old me alone, I don’t really want to go.  But I know I want to.  I’m half telling myself that I’ve taken a LOT of big steps into the unknown recently – blogging, writing, putting my work out there for others to read – that I should take another one.  But then at the same time, I’m thinking I’ve done so much I don’t need to do this too.  I can’t decide.  Agh! It might actaully be too late when I get there… Is that a good excuse not too?