September hasn’t been my best month, reading wise and beyond.
I had a successful month free of booze (hurrah), but I also had to start job hunting, which left less time to read than usual (not hurrah). However, I’m trying to see the whole palaver as an opportunity. On to bigger and better things…I hope.
Today’s book promo comes from best-selling author Michele Gorman whose previous books include Single in the City and The Curvy Girls Club. With her forthcoming book, Perfect Girl, she had me at ‘Cinderella meets Falling Down’…
Title: Perfect Girl Author: Michele Gorman Series: N/A Genre(s): Romantic Comedy Format(s): Paperback; e-book Expected Publication: October 14th 2014 by Notting Hill Press
Cinderella meets Falling Down in this wickedly funny tale about having it all.
Carol is perfect… at least that’s what everyone thinks. In reality she’s sinking fast – her family treats her like their personal assistant and her boyfriend is so busy with work that he’s got her single-handedly running their relationship. Not that her job is any easier. As the only woman on the bank’s trading floor she spends twelve-hour days trying not to get sworn at or felt up by colleagues who put the “W” in banker.
How long can she go on pleasing everyone else before she snaps and loses it all?
With humor and empathy, Perfect Girl lays bare the balancing act that working women face in a man’s world.
Perfect Girl is available to pre-order from Amazon, at just £2.49/$4.13 for the Kindle edition.
“Every war has turning points and every person too.”
Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.
As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.
A riveting and astonishing story.
How I Live Now has been a long time coming for me. Meg Rosoff has been on my radar for ages, and I really enjoyed her panel at YALC UK, but I’d not picked up one of her books until now.
And woah. I wasn’t expecting that. I kind of thought it was just going to be another YA dystopian romance, but it was so much more.
How I Live Now is about war, as seen through the eyes of Daisy.
Daisy is an American teen, who finds herself in the English countryside visiting her aunt and cousins, as she hasn’t been getting on with her step-mum. And whilst she’s happy to be away from them, there’s also a deep-rooted feeling of abandonment. She is a complex character, with a lot of issues, but I loved her sarcastic, moody personality, it felt very real. She was strong and weak all at the same time.
Daisy’s aunt, who is somehow involved in the government and the war, has to go away, just as bombs go off in London, leaving Daisy alone with her cousins, fending for themselves. But as the war intensifies, and the power is cut off, they are happily cocooned in their farm.
They make fires, gather food, and swim in the lake, and Daisy starts to enjoy herself. It’s like she feels content for the first time in her life, which has a lot to do with Edmund, whom she felt connected to from the moment they met.
I didn’t realise quite how controversial this book was until I read some of the reviews on Goodreads. People are welcome to their opinions of course, but I feel like a lot of them have missed the point. Yes, Daisy has an eating disorder. Yes, Daisy and her cousin, Edmund fall in love, and yes, they have underage sex and smoke cigarettes.
But How I Live Now doesn’t glamourise these things. The point isn’t that these things are OK. After being truly starving, Daisy realises how stupid she was to refuse to eat. It takes a war for her to be able to adjust her thinking, such is the strength of her mental illness.
And as for the romance and the sex, it’s not gratuitous. Daisy knows it’s wrong, she tries to not want Edmund, but they are drawn to each other too much, in almost a magical way. To me, all this says is, you can’t help who you fall for, and I think under different circumstances they would find it hard to be together. But being left to their own devices, the war brings them together, and inevitably tears them apart.
How I Live Now is available in paperback from Waterstones now.
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?
We’ve made it to another Wednesday – Hurrah!
Here are my answers this week:
Currently Reading: I’m reading Rush of Shadows by Catherine Bell for an upcoming blog tour, which is about the clash of natives and settlers in 19th century California. Early stages but it’s really interesting so far. I think it’s going to be an emotional one.
I also started Needful Things by Stephen King which is my first Horror October read. It’s sooooo long and the font is sooooo small – such a shock after all the YA I’ve been reading – but I’m sure it’ll be worth it!
Publication Date: 11/09/2014 Sale Price: £8.99 RRP: £16.99 Teaser: Sussex, 1912. In a churchyard, villagers gather on the night when the ghosts of those who will die in the coming year are thought to walk. Here, where the estuary leads out to the sea, superstitions still hold sway. Standing alone is the taxidermist’s daughter…
You can also download a preview of this book here.
Publication Date: 30/09/2014 Sale Price: £10.00 RRP: £20.00 Teaser: Douglas Petersen understands his wife’s need to ‘rediscover herself’ now that their son is leaving home. He just thought they’d be doing their rediscovering together…
Title: Shadow Kiss Author: Richelle Mead Series: Vampire Academy #3 Edition: Paperback, 460 pages Publication Details: November 13th 2008 by Razorbil Genre(s): YA; Paranormal Romance Disclosure? Nope, I bought it.
It’s springtime at St. Vladimir’s Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since Mason’s death, Rose hasn’t been feeling quite right. She has dark flashbacks in the middle of practice, can’t concentrate in class, and has terrifying dreams about Lissa. But Rose has an even “bigger” secret . . . .She’s in love with Dimitri. And this time, it’s way more than a crush. Then Strigoi target the academy in the deadliest attack in Moroi history, and Dimitri is taken. Rose must protect Lissa at all costs, but keeping her best friend safe could mean losing Dimitri forever…
These books will be the death of me. I swear not a lot happens for 300 pages and then BAM just before the end Richelle Mead hits us with a brick and makes it impossible to not buy the next book. What’s up with that!?
In this, the third book in the series, everyone is concentrating on graduating to become fully fledged Moroi Guardians, or for the Moroi themselves (vampire royalty) just staying alive long enough to be assigned on of the said guardians.
A lot of the story surrounds the last test for the trainees, a six week long field experiment where they’re assigned a Moroi to protect and can be attacked at any time by the guardian teachers pretending to be the crazy, murderous vamps known as Strigoi. Rose can’t wait to prove herself, but one thing is getting in the way – Mason’s ghost, and he’s not the only thing she is seeing.
I enjoyed Shadow Kiss. It just sort of ambled along nice and pleasantly for a while and then the shit hit the fan and I have no words. Mead upped the ante in respect of the action, and the romance, and I need to know what’s going to happen next with Dimitri and Rose, and Adrian and Lissa. Ahh too many good characters!
The more I read of this series, the more it stands out in the vampire genre. There’s definitely a lot more to it than you’d think, but I feel like the plots are getting thinner as it goes on.
The Vampire Academy Series is available in paperback from Waterstones now.
This meme is hosted by the Bookishly Boisterous and the idea is simple. It’s a round-up of your week, in and out of book world. A place to store your thoughts, and basically anything you’d like to share on your blog.
So, what’s been going on this past fortnight…
Good TV: It’s almost that time of year again when the days get shorter, (and colder) and we all start to hibernate a little bit. But do not fret, it’s also the time of year where TV gets good. I have my eyes on a few new shows which I’ll be posting about soon. YES! I love Autumn & Winter.
Sober September: I’m over the half-way mark and still going strong. But to say I’d like a large glass of wine right now would be the understatement of the year.
Taasky: Like making to do lists? I do! Last week, I found this great app which manages all your to do lists and it is a REVELATION. I love it. Before, I was just using the standard notes and calendar iPhone apps to do all that stuff, but this is easier and more satisfying. Geek Love!
How? (Part 1): Last week Keanu Reeves was 50. FIFTY. How is that even possible (Insert ‘I feel so old’ wails here). Not that his age actually matters because he’s clearly Immortal.
Work Woes: I got some pretty bad news at work which has led me to look for a new job. After just two evenings of job hunting I want to dip my head in acid. I’m already feeling the strain of trying to fit in looking for a job and writing this blog, but I’ll do my best to maintain it. Anyone want to hire me? I’m really great, honest!?
How? (Part 2): Does it put you off blogs when they claim to read 25 books a month? Because it does me. I don’t see how anyone can read 25 books in a month, even YA books. Do they skim read (the idea of that makes me sad)? Even if I wasn’t working…no, even if I was bed-ridden with no visitors I don’t think I’d read close to that many. It really makes me wonder about the quality of their reviews too. If you’re one of these people, please don’t be offended…but do tell me how you do it…
Under the Dome: I started watching the second series and I’m not enjoying it at all. I mean, granted it’s been a while since I read the book so I can’t remember all the ins and outs, but who are all the new characters they’ve introduced? Have they just completely made them up? Did they do the entire book in the first series?…I can’t remember how it ended to be fair.
The Guest: I went to see The Guest last week and it was not what I expected at all, but really good. It took me a while to figure out the guy is that one off’of Downton Abbey – man, us Brits gets around a lot these days don’t we!? But yeah, it was good. I loved the 80’s prom slasher-film vibe towards the end.
I guess this week it was mainly not so bookish thoughts, but there you go!
There are a lot of reasons why I started this blog, and why I write in general, but I guess they all add up to the same thing: I like it.
The only part of school I enjoyed was writing. I even quite enjoyed writing essays. Whenever we were given a topic to write about I was off, no questions asked. My best friend at the time used to give me a weird look and ask how I did it. How did I start writing straight away? How did I know what to write? How could I just think of something on the spot and have two pages written before she’d even finished a sentence? I still don’t really know the answer to that, but I used to say just write whatever comes into your head. Simple.
I think I’ve always loved writing stories. My mum found some of my infant school books a few years back which prove that I’ve always had a good imagination (and been a little weird).
See if you can decipher them…
As for this blog. I mainly started it to improve my writing. Obviously, I love to read, and I’m a firm believer that the more you read, the better you write. So I wanted to start reading a bit more seriously, and keeping a record of what I love and hate in a book. I also wanted to get into the habit of writing everyday.
I always blame this blog on the fact that I’ve barely written any fiction since starting it, but to be fair I was always pretty rubbish at that. I’d have short bursts where I’d write non-stop in all my spare time, but then never finish what I started.
I’m still working on finding a balance between blogging and creative writing.
What am I working on?
Apart from all the usual blog stuff, I’m currently working on my Horror October month. I did a horror-themed month last year too, when I was relatively new to blogging, and it seemed to go down a storm. It was totally off the cuff last year, so this time I’m actually planning it and hope to have some amazing guest posts and features.
In my almost non-existent creative writing time, I’ve started editing the YA novel I wrote when I was at uni. It’s a complete mess, to the point where I don’t know if it’s salvageable, but I really want to try. Until last month, I hadn’t looked at it for about three years!
Anyway, it’s set in a fictitious village in Shetland and is about two brothers who are being pursued by Odin as he believes they can help him destroy the world of the living. Their arrival in Shetland, where they plan to hide, turns a young couple’s lives up-side down.
How does it differ from others of its genre?
There are so many book blogs out there that it’s hard to say what’s different about mine. I like to cover all genres, but YA is my favourite so I can’t help featuring that genre a lot. I like to think I bring my own personality to it, which makes it unique to me. And I don’t own a reading device! BOOKS, PEOPLE!
If we’re talking about my messy novel, I guess it’s your average YA paranormal novel with a few twists. When I started writing it, Twilight hadn’t happened yet (the two brothers have all the characteristics of vampires, but they’re not- it’s a long story. A messy novel-length story), and Norse mythology wasn’t being used much in fantasy. Both of these things are quite popular now, which is good and bad. But, at this rate, it won’t be finished for another 10 years anyway so I don’t have to worry about the marketplace right now.
How does my writing process work?
Hmm. Well, it differs.
For reviews I used to write notes as I went along to make writing them up easier, but I felt like it made them too clinical. Now I simply read the book and if I like a quote or want to remember something I’ll note down the page number, but other than that I just go ahead and write exactly what I thought of the book a day or two after finishing it.
I try to encompass the feeling I got when reading the book, but without it just being OMG I LOVED IT SO MUCH. And as I said earlier, I think it’s really important to think about why you loved or hated whatever it is you’re talking about.
I used to write most of my blog content during the working day (and by that I of course mean lunch time if my boss is reading this), but as my days have got busier, and the blog has grown, I have to set aside a good few hours at the weekend, and a couple of week nights to write all the posts for the following week. I could probably do it all in one night if I didn’t procrastinate so much. And by procrastinate, I mean watch TV.
This post has made me realise how much I want to add in at least one night a week for editing my novel, or writing new things.
Will there ever be enough time?
Thanks so much to Kelly from Dorristhelorris for tagging me.
I’m tagging Amanda from Amanda’s Nose in a Book, who does it all – blogs, writes and crotchets! And Mishka from A Writer’s Life for Me, who is the author of romance books in a variety of sub-genres, including Prophecy of Stones that I’m due to review soon (I haven’t forgotten!). 🙂