Tuesday, 5 September 2017

July & August's Reading

This month's catch up is a bumper edition, covering July and August.

I'm trying to come up with a witty excuse for not blogging as much at the moment but it's simply that I'm trying to juggle several things at the moment. I'm currently painting each room and I'm not the world's fastest DIYer. I'm also trying to do a few craft projects as I want to have some homemade pictures up on my walls.

I've been reading too but the writing has definitely fallen off the radar. I've finished the redrafting of my novel, and have started to research agents and also sending out to few too! I've already had two rejections but I really do believe there's an agent out there who would be the perfect fit for my novel.

Here are the books I've read over the summer:

Various Pets Alive and Dead - Marina Lewycka
Serge grew up on a commune but shunned its values and lifestyle to work in the banking section in the city. However, his previous life has started to catch up with him. Sometimes you need a book full of dysfunctional families and this book will deliver on this! this is a witty and wise novel.

Little Black Book - Otegha Uwagba
This small book has really big ideas about being a woman, having a career, trying to achieve your dreams. This book is amazing. This book has already motivated me to re-think my finances, getting better deal with my mortgage, using my time to do the things I want to do. Buy this book, read it and then buy it for all of your friends.
This is a novel full of laughter, fashion, hissy fits and ambition. If you like Devil Wears Prada, Bridget Jones or even Ugly Betty then you will love this book. You can read my review here.

Yesterday - Felicia Yap
If you're looking for a book with twists and turns then this is the book for you. This is a novel about memory, lies and deceit. What if you are the unreliable narrator of your own life? You can read my review here.


Whispers Underground - Ben Aaronovitch
This is the third novel in the Peter Grant series, a supernatural crime series. There's something horrible happening in the tunnels under London and Peter has been called in to work alongside the police to find out the cause of all of these mysterious happenings. This is an entertaining read full of witty characters that make you want to read the next book in the series as soon as possible.

The Easy Way Out - Steven Amsterdam
This is a interesting read looking at end of life care. Evan is a suicide assistant, a legal job, where he provides support and care needed for someone ready to die. This book is full of compassion, sad with dashes of dark humour. Look out for my review soon.

Bleaker House - Nell Stevens
Nell Stevens has been given a writing grant to spend three months to write a novel in a location of her choice. She picks Bleaker Island, Falklands. But this book is not that novel. Instead this is a book about a woman realizing a novel doesn’t lie in total solitude and a clear plan. Nell wants to teach herself the art of loneliness and then she’ll know if she is a proper author. This is a great book, full of great details and funny insights.

True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop - Annie Darling
I really needed a sweet book with the ability to give you a hug and this book did just this which was needed when I went on my first ever spa day. Verity Love works in a bookshop, is obsessed with Jane Austen and also has a fake boyfriend. Yet, her fake boyfriend doesn't seem to behaving and their promise not to fall in love seems to have cracks appearing in this guarantee to each other.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Book Review: Yesterday

Yesterday
By Felicia Yap
Published by Wildfire
Available in hardback & ebook
Paperback is forthcoming

You know how Samuel L. Jackson's character is Jurassic Park says 'hold on to your butts' well that's what you need to know before reading this book. Felicia Yap's debut novel, Yesterday, is an addictive psychological drama with twists and turns and you'll find that you might not be able to put this book down.

There are two types of people - those who can only remember yesterday (monos), and those who can also recall the day before (duos). Each night events of the day are recorded - all the things that matter or you need to remember. Every morning your diary tells you where you were, who you love, what you do each day.

Yet, those diary entries can turn against your future self....

Claire believes she has the perfect life - living in Cambridge with her author husband who has a new political career on the horizon - she doesn't need to work, enjoying her garden. Yet, the police are at her door, saying that the body of her husband's mistresses was found in the River Cam.  They think her husband killed her... yet her husband is telling her another thing. All of the evidence is suspect and she has no idea who is telling the truth.

This is a story of betrayal, love and deceit where it's hard to trust the people around you and quite possibly you are the unreliable narrator to your own life. Yap taps into society's fears of losing our identities, memory and love. Who can be trusted?

This story will keep you gripped until the end. So grab a copy soon but don't blame me if you can't put the book down! You can buy Yesterday from your favourite bookshop.

I was sent a copy by the publisher.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Frances Gapper's Imaginary Bookshop

Today Writer's Little Helper welcomes Frances Gapper to the Imaginary Bookshop to celebrate her new short story collection, In the Wild Wood.

In the Wild Wood has had fantastic reviews from Helen Oyeyemi and Paul Magrs. Some of the biggest names from your bookshelves. Plus look at this fantastic book cover!

Over to Frances...

*

What would be the name of your imaginary bookshop?
The Dream Palace

Where would your imaginary bookshop be located?
In a beautiful and surprisingly accessible part of the UK that hasn’t yet been discovered. The bookshop would have sea views from its many bay windows (with window seats), nearby woodland walks and a lovely river also within easy walking distance.

Would your bookshop have any special features? E.g. a performing stage, a cocktail bar, etc.

It would have lots of very comfortable sofas and other lounging-around types of furniture. Also fountains, verandas, covered walkways.

What would make your bookshop different from all of the other ones?
My bookshop would be very different indeed from all the other ones. The emphasis would be on relaxation. Women over 60 would be invited to stay over free of charge for as long as they liked in private book-lined bedrooms with large bathrooms and writing tables.

What sections would you have in your bookshop? And what sections would you ditch?
Plenty of fiction, poetry, biography and nature writing, plus a lot of odd and unusual books that don’t really fit into any category. I’d probably ditch anything too technical, apart from gardening books with a strongly autobiographical bent.

Every bookshop needs a display table. Which books would you have on your display table? Why?
On the display table I’d put old editions in great condition and very reasonably priced, eg Pan paperbacks from the 60s, vintage Penguins and leather-covered classics. Well bound and printed on good paper. The sort of thing I look out for myself in second-hand book shops.

If you could run only one author event who would you have? You can pick a living or dead writer. What sort of event would they run?

Emily Dickinson. She would read aloud selected poems, her personal favourites plus a few new ones we’ve never heard before, and some of her letters to friends including the expurgated bits. She’d then answer questions from the audience in her inimitable fashion.

A customer comes up to your till with a copy of your novel and asks you to give them a reason on why they should buy it. What would you say?
My novel? I’d say, did you know you can get this for £0.01 plus postage on Amazon Marketplace? As for my book of short stories, if it had gone missing I’d suggest they order a copy direct from the publisher Cultured Llama. They could look on the CL website to see what Helen Oyeyemi and Paul Magrs say about my book and view the cover picture, Night Tree by Jane Eccles. If that doesn’t persuade them to buy it, nothing will.

What sort of cake would you offer when launching your book in your bookshop?
I never thought I’d see myself saying this, but cake without any nuts or seeds, so there’d be no nasty surprises for diverticulitis-prone intestines. Nb I love nuts and seeds – or used to.

*

You can either buy In the Wild Wood directly from the publisher or from Amazon.

You can visit Frances's website here http://www.francesgapper.co.uk/

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Book Review: Amber Green Takes Manhattan

Amber Green Takes Manhattan
By Rosie Nixon
Published by HQ
Available in paperback, ebook and audio

Looking for a book to take your mind off the world's problems?

Looking for something glamorous and sparkly?

Looking for something to make you laugh and cringe?

Yes to all of the above?

Then I have the book for you....

Rosie Nixon's second book in the Amber Green series, Amber Green Takes Manhattan, is a novel full of laughter, fashion, hissy fits and ambition. If you like Devil Wears Prada, Bridget Jones or even Ugly Betty then you will love this book.

Amber Green moves to New York with her boyfriend, Rob, where he will be filming a documentary about lingerie models. Amber doesn't want to be stuck all day in their teeny tiny flat and wants to make her own stamp on New York. Fashion is in her blood and she's determined that everyone in fashion will know about her sooner rather than later.

High profile styling by Amber for celebrities, mixing with controversial fashion designers, an Instagram account with thousands of followers and before Amber knows it she's becoming the talk of the town but maybe not for the reasons she was hoping for. Her new life is hanging in the balance after alienating both her best friend and her boyfriend. She must stitch back together her life, her career and her reputation.

This is a fast pace novel as the reader rushes with Amber through the streets of New York as she battles against unruly toddler photo shoots, finds herself involved with a designer handbag scam, having to smile at celebrities who only want to wear their undies on the red carpet and partying all night before job interviews.

If you're looking for a feel good novel full of glamour, adventure, ambition, friendship and love all serving in New York then this is the book for you. Amber Green Takes Manhattan is a fun read, and definitely a book to retreat to after a long hard day. You can buy Amber Green Takes Manhattan from your favourite bookshop.


I was sent a copy via the publisher.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Chuck Caruso's Imaginary Bookshop

Today Chuck Caruso has popped over to Writer's Little Helper to take part in the Imaginary Bookshop series.

Chuck Caruso's debut thriller, The Lawn Job, is a dark-comedy thriller about a femme fatal, Sheila Pasarelli, who is plotting to take revenge on her adulterous husband with the help of their gardener and ex-con man Craig Collins.

*


What would be the name of your imaginary bookshop?
My imaginary bookshop would be called Café Noir and it would specialize in crime, horror, and other dark writing. Decorated with Persian rugs and heavy draperies, my shop would also include a coffee bar and a salon area with padded chairs and push sofas.

Where would your imaginary bookshop be located?
My bookshop would be located in downtown Seattle, Washington. Set in the gritty urban core and overshadowed by the heavy clouds and constant rain, my bookshop would be a dark little haven for readers who love dark writing.

Would your bookshop have any special features? E.g. a performing stage, a cocktail bar, etc.
Yes, in addition to a full coffee bar with espresso machines and delicious pastries, my bookshop would feature a small stage for author events, dramatic readings, and acoustic music events.

What would make your bookshop different from all of the other ones?

The thing that would make my bookshop different from others is that it would become a focus of the local community of mystery readers and crime writers by hosting writers’ groups, book clubs, and weekly salons to discuss important topics and issues.

What sections would you have in your bookshop? And what sections would you ditch?
Because the bookshop would be entirely oriented around dark fiction, it could feature many of the usual sections like mystery, science fiction, biography, philosophy, etc., but patrons would know every section is stocked with dark materials.

Every bookshop needs a display table. Which books would you have on your display table? Why?
Our display table would feature staff favourites, books by members of our writing groups, and things currently being read by our book clubs and discussion groups.

If you could run only one author event who would you have? You can pick a living or dead writer. What sort of event would they run?
If we could run only one author event, we would have a reading by Edgar Allan Poe who would read one of his macabre tales and answer questions about our enduring fascination with mystery and horror.

A customer comes up to your till with a copy of your novel and asks you to give them a reason on why they should buy it. What would you say?
Customers will want to read my novel, The Lawn Job firstly for the amazing thrill ride. It’s a fast-paced crime story with engaging characters and lots of plot twists. A friend told me my book should come with a beach towel and a six-pack. That said, one of my early readers described the novel as having layers like an onion. I like that it’s an exciting read but also a novel that lingers in the mind and provokes readers to reflect more deeply on my characters and their motivations. Those are aspects that I appreciate in the novels I read, so I’m pleased to offer that to my own readers.

What sort of cake would you offer when launching your book in your bookshop?
I would offer the richest and darkest espresso chocolate cake I could find. Slices would be served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to balance out the darkness with a lighter flavor. You always have to a little light to make the shadows deeper.




*


The Lawn Job by Chuck Caruso is out now (£9.99, Cloud Lodge Books)