Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The Sweet, Sweet Sting of Rejection

I wrote a long time ago about Rejection Chocolates – my method of taking the hurty edge off the submission cycle. Essentially, I get a fab box of chocs, which I hide from all others, and scoff one when I get a rejection on submitted work. It sort of provides a little something to look forward to, in the event of something I’m not looking forward to, happening.

 I just started submitting my Rom-Com story to agents. So, Ta-dah!- my chocs…

 (For the record and the chocoholics out there, this season I am sponsored by Prestat and they are exquisite. Thankfully Waitrose had them on sale :) ) 

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Sneaky entries to the Summer '16 TBR Pile

I got more books! More to the point, they are books that I have no intention of waiting until next season to read. Courtesy of my Lovely CP, I present the following:

 Atlantia by Ally Condie (YA Dystopian)
 Summer Days & Summer Nights ed. Stephanie Perkins (YA Anthology) (This is the follow up to My True Love Gave to Me, the winter anthology, which was my Star of The Season for Winter '14)
A Decent Proposal by Kemper Donovan (Romance)

and the gorgeous macaroons? Yummy yummy, already in my tummy....

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

*Cue drumroll* My Summer '16 TBR pile

 Pimms and Books, Bare feet and Books, Sunloungers and Books. Hurrah!
The pile looks like this:

They are:
After the Storm by Linda Castillo (Crime)
The Boy in the Smoke by Maureen Johnson (YA)
Spot the Difference by Juno Dawson (YA)
Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell (YA)
Summer at the Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan (Women’s Fiction)
Bloodtide by Melvin Burgess (YA)
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (YA)
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (YA)
The Graveyard of the Hesperides by Lindsey Davies (Historical Crime)
Moranifesto by Caitlin Moran

And on the way I have this:

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.(YA)

The Raven King is the last in Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven King Cycle and I’m both excited to read it (I have a gorgeous signed copy care of my Lovely CP) and apprehensive, as I read Maggie's blog when it released, and her plan was that when closing the book the reader should be left ‘wanting’. While it’s great to just-couldn’t-get-enough of a writer, I’m really hoping she doesn’t mean it has an open ending. I hates the open endings… And there had better be kissing, as she’s been V tight on the kissing in these books. Just sayin’.

Three of these books are World Book Day specials, from March. (They are the skinny ones.)

I have a male writer in there in the form of Melvin Burgess, who I am expecting controversial things from, and I also have my first transsexual writer in the mix in the form of Juno Dawson.

Caitlin Moran for those who don’t know her, writes social commentary but regards herself as a professional 'pointer'; she points at things and has an opinion on them. That she is mad as a box of frogs in her writing is the exciting bit. Her phrasing is fabulous and funny.

Patrick Ness wrote the truly fantastic Chaos Walking trilogy. The first, The Knife of Never Letting Go made me feel like I had been running nonstop through the book. The Rest of Us Just Live Here is his latest and I’m amused by the premise already; a YA story set amongst the regular kids who live in the background of paranormal/SciFi YA stories, where ‘indie kids' called Finn and Satchel must face their earth-threatening destinies. I suspect that there might be some mickey-taking going on…

The Jenny Colgan book I’ve had since Christmas, but couldn’t bring myself to read a summer book in the cold. Just like I couldn’t read a book set in snow while I was lying on a sunlounger.

The two crime books I am chomping at the bit to get to, but they are in fact part of my Mum and Dad’s birthday presents, so I’ll have to wait until they are done. One is set in Ancient Rome, the other in Amish country. I have a fascination with both.

I’ll let you know how I got on at the end of August.

What are you reading with your Pimms, bare feet on your sunlounger?
(* For those in the southern hemisphere (Hi Maggie!), what are you reading with your hot chocolate, thick slippers in your blankets on the sofa?) 

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

The Spring '16 Gut Reactions

It feels like it’s been a long season, in so far as reading some of these books feels like a very long time ago. Thank God I scribble notes as I go along, or else I’d be screwed at this point every quarter. These were the books:

In addition, I also read Lisa Dickenson’s You had me at Merlot and Kirsty Greenwood’s The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance, both of which were charming and pretty much epitomise what Chicklit is about. Both had great voices and fun plots.

Book of the Season is Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)’s Career of Evil, the latest instalment in the Cormoran Strike series. It was thrilling, as it should be, however it’s the running romantic subplot that has me hankering for the next book. I’m such as sucker for a love story. (And, now I’m on my vicious hunt for the overuse of the word ‘That’, this book had too many, but I’ll let it slide…)
I think I’ve come quite late to The girl on the train, but have managed to keep my ears shut to people talking about it. Trying not to give away too many spoilers, it built the anxiety skilfully, to the point where I was still anxious about it the day after. The MC wasn't particularly likable; not that you despise her, just that you constantly feel pity for her, with her alcoholism and how she keeps falling at the hurdles- and you sit there thinking ‘Noooo don't do that, that is a BAD plan’ and then she can’t help herself but do it, which gets you riled up.
 I’m pretty sure the train line depicted is my local line into London too. I’ve looked at those houses and back-gardens just like she does…
 The Reunion was written by the same author, albeit under a different name. I knew this when I read them, but didn’t really spot any similarities, other than I thought they were both smoothly written and well-constructed. It isn’t a thriller, but it is one of those stories where the truth is revealed in small increments along the way.

Riverkeep- This was a free ARC given away on Twitter, first come first served. I was in there within six seconds, ensnared by the map in the inside cover. LOVE a book that starts with a map, because you instantly know you are about to be swept off somewhere. The writing is gorgeous; phrasing that is beautiful to the point of sometimes being almost too ethereal, so I’m not sure what is going on. The plot is a classic quest by a character who isn’t happy with his appointed future (Hero’s Journey/Star Wars anyone?), the characters are delightfully original and bonkers. Pure fantasy all the way. It is set up and ready for a sequel, although, I almost wished that it hadn’t, as the end felt slightly rushed and too dispersed. If you, or someone you know, have read and enjoyed Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap books, then I’d still heartily recommend this.

The other reactions-
One of these books was written by a writer who I consider one of my sensai, but she left the love interest out of the action for far far too long. I raced through the story, not digesting it properly, wanting to get to ‘his’ bit, and then the romance was too short lived. Still, I guess I learned something about plot structure in sequels…

One of these books I ditched after two chapters. I was so bored, in spite of it being written by a known comedienne.

Two of these books I can’t remember reading, let alone the plot. Oh dear.

Roll on the Summer pile…

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Book Temptation

 *Fairview, you are banned from reading this post. Your reading pile is still too high. Avert your eyes, please, madam*

If you are an ebook user, and like me storm through books at an outrageous speed (and potential perilous spend) may I recommend this site; BookBub?

You sign in, you tell them all the kinds of bookage you enjoy and they’ll email you daily tailored suggestions of free and discounted books. Some are debuts, some older bestsellers, some are the first in a 14 part series that you end up reading all of in a two week window, so be warned that it can get a bit addictive, but your e-reader should be filled to bursting in no time.

Temptation done. 

Mischief managed.

You’re welcome.

Monday, 25 April 2016

That that that that that that

I have been culling. Viciously and mercilessly. I ripped 13k words out of my current MS, which still wasn’t enough - but it was a decent sizable chunk.

  To be honest, most of them were the word “that”, which clearly I overuse when writing. Still, knowing this now makes the first sweep a lot easier. “Really” and “actually” were up there too.
I tried to load the full MS into a word cloud programme to see if it would highlight the words I overuse, but they seem to automatically take out the basics, “that” being one of them, which rather defeats the object. If anyone can recommend a good (free) world cloud generator, please let me know.

  Now I guess I need to bite the bullet and ‘kill some darlings’. I’m too much of a wuss to kill them outright; I place everything in the outtakes file, telling myself it is only temporary, I’m just trying it out to see what it will look like without, of course it will always be welcome back into the fold – and then promptly forget the passage as soon as I return to the main text. So much for loyalty to the words. So fickle…
A side effect has been that I am now the “That Police” with every published novel I currently read. Every time I see one, I question whether it is necessary. And don’t get me started on contractions in dialogue! We all know that when culling, contracting words is a starter for ten, but not only that, without them dialogue can be so very stilted. I just struggled through what would otherwise have been a perfectly decent novel, because I was gritting my teeth every time the author failed to contract them words.

 So I am seeing that this is one of the pitfalls of being a writer – you totally screw up your reading by deconstructing all other writing. (The ‘that’ in that line should go…)  

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

*Cue Birdsong* My Spring '16 TBR Pile

It’s Spring, and I’m feeling re-energised and raring to go on this new pile;

A small but balanced pile this month with a fairly equal blend of YA, Romance and Thrillers. Three of these books are at least part-written by men (and no, I haven’t counted Robert Galbraith as that would be cheating), so my equality points are up on last month.

Losing it by Helen Lederer (Contemporary Romance)
The best thing that never happened to me by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice (Contemporary Romance)
A Girl’s Best Friend by Lindsey Kelk (Contemporary Romance)
The Reunion by Amy Silver (not sure, Contemporary Fiction maybe)
Never evers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison (YA)
Geek Girl – Picture Perfect by Holly Smale (YA)
Riverkeep by Martin Stewart (YA Fantasy)
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (Thriller)
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (Thriller)

Riverkeep is an ARC I’ve been sent. It’s a debut and has maps in the front, which I LOVE in a book. It says straight away that you're about to be taken off somewhere.
Career of Evil is a book I’ve been waiting for for ages. (In case you don’t know Robert Galbraith is JK Rowling, and every time there's a swear – and there are plenty- I can’t help but think “oooh JK, naughty.”)
The Girl on the Train everyone is mentionning so I thought I’d see what the fuss is about.
Lindsey Kelk is one of my writing role models, so this was a given.
The rest are fairly random picks, to be honest, but I’ve had some great surprises from random picks before.

I’ll post again if I add more, and as there is still room, feel free to recommend any you've recently loved.