Monday, 23 January 2017

24 in 48 Readathon Wrap Up

I think it is safe to say that I really enjoyed my first 24 in 48 readathon. I always love a 24 hour readathon so this was like that but slightly less pressure. I didn't get as involved on social media as I thought I might and I didn't do any of the challenges but I got to read the things I wanted to read. Here is how the readathon looked for me:

Hour 1: No Reading
Hours 2-5 Reading
Hours 6-11: Sleeping
Hours 12-16 Reading

And then I lost track a bit, but its basically a mixture of reading and sleeping. I read in bed, on my sofa, in the bath and in the car on the way to Starbucks and whilst having some much-needed caffeine in Starbucks!

And here is what I read:

The final 220 pages

353 pages

231 pages

256 pages

49 pages

320 pages

Total pages read: 1430!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Letterbox Love #2

Welcome to Letterbox Love, this is a UK meme, hosted by the lovely Lynsey at Narratively Speaking and inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox. This post is a means by which to highlight the books we get in the post and beyond, and especially to bring attention to those books which may be sat on our shelves for a little while yet that we love all the same.

Yes I was lucky enough to get some more books through the post this week. The video below details the books I was lucky enough to receive from Simon and Schuster!

I also picked up some more books at the library this week, having returned the ones I read last week!

I got the audiobook of Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

And I also got the audiobook of All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

I picked up You Know Me Well by Nina Lacour and David Levithan

And Also Seven Ways we Lie by Riley Redgate

Thanks again to Simon and Schuster for sending me such fab books, I'll have a review of all of these very soon!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I loved More/Less than I thought I would 21/2/17

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

I thought that rather than doing 10 of one or the other, I would do 5 books I loved more than I thought I would and then 5 I loved way less than I thought I would!

5 Books I Loved Less than I Thought I Would

The first 2 are ones I've read recently that I just expected so much more from! I'm going to see if I feel differently about them once I've seen the movies!

This had been on my TBR for so long and during my YA binge in January I listened to this on audiobook, it just wasn't what I was expecting. I still have 2 others by this author to read so we'll see...

I just couldn't get on with this one and ended up not finishing it. I loved Fangirl but I couldn't hold a whole book about Simon Snow and his adventures!

This one was like a 3.5 star read for me. I liked what was in the book, but I just feel like it could have been developed so much more...

Oh dear, it looks like they're all YA contemporary, I don't hate all YA-I promise-just look at my reviews!

5 Books I Loved More than I Thought I Would

Listen to this one on audiobook and you will be transformed, I ljust loved this so hard-it had me laughing out loud in the gym!

What looks like a classic book about a group of mums is so so much deeper than that and even years after I read this, it still sticks with me and made me cry in public!

I Hadn't read anything like this before, and this was just hilarious, indescribable, but hilarious!

This showed me that I can love a phsycolocigal thriller. I will read anything that CL Taylor writes!

This was my first foray into a true 'feminist' book and I have pushed this book onto so many people since!

I really enjoyed putting together this top ten. There could have been way more than 5 books I loved more than I thought I would.

24 in 48 Readthon

This weekend I will be taking part in the 24 in 48 Readathon. This will be my first time taking part in this readathon but I have done a couple of 24 hour readathons in the past and so I'm really looking forward to a slightly less sleep-depriving one! Here's the link if you fancy taking part:

The readathon will begin 12am EST so that means 10pm for me (The time this post will go live!) so I should be able to get quite a bit of reading done before needing sleep on Friday night!

Here's a video about what I'd like to read during the readathon. I've added a couple of other books though, which I will detail below.

I finished listening to Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert so I have 2 choices when it comes to audiobooks. One of these is The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.

Because there is a women's march taking place in Washington on Saturday, my other choices will have a feminist theme to them. I have the paperback or the audiobook of Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay.

And I also have the short Read. We should all be feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

I'll let you know how I get on once the weekend is over!

Friday, 20 January 2017

Review: Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson

A former child actor best known for her starring roles in Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire, Mara Wilson has always felt a little young and out of place: as the only kid on a film set full of adults, the first daughter in a house full of boys, a Valley girl in New York and a neurotic in California, and a grown-up the world still remembers as a little girl. Tackling everything from what she learned about sex on the set of Melrose Place, to discovering in adolescence that she was no longer “cute” enough for Hollywood, these essays chart her journey from accidental fame to relative (but happy) obscurity. They also illuminate universal struggles, like navigating love and loss, and figuring out who you are and where you belong. Candid, insightful, moving, and hilarious, Where Am I Now? introduces Mara Wilson as a brilliant new chronicler of the experience that is growing up female.

Review: This was a really interesting read. As soon as I saw this book in the bookshops, I knew I had to read it. As I do with most autobiographies/memoirs, I listened to this on audiobook which I downloaded from the library. This was a very interesting read because I've always been a little bit fascinated by Mara Wilson. When you grow up watching somebody in films, really good films that you love and then they just disappear, you really do want to know, where are they now and this book allowed me to answer that questions, along with a few others I had about this actress!

One of the other interesting aspects about this book is that it deals with the subjects of death and anxiety, two very serious subjects, but two which were dealt with honestly and sensitively in this book. Mara talks about the death of her mother, as well as the death of her friend Robin Williams. It is really interesting to hear her talk about these deaths that happened at very different times in her life, and also to hear how differently they affected her. It was also great to hear how honestly she talks about her anxiety, right down to describing her trips to the doctors and how she spoke to her family about it. 

I was also interested to hear how acting at such a young age affected her, how she dealt with school and how she chose which parts to take and which to turn down. All of the different essays in this book contain honesty but also a lot of humour. I really enjoyed listening to Mara tell these stories in her own words, and laughed along with her as she laughed and felt for her when things weren't going so swimmingly. I think that if you enjoy memoirs and autobiographies in general, even if you've not seen many of Wilson's films, you'll enjoy this one because of the structure, the content and the writing. 

To get your copy now click here!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Q & A With Author Lynda Young Spiro

Yesterday I reviewed There is Always More to Say by Lynda Young Spiro, here's the cover as a reminder...

I had so many questions after finishing this book and so I decided to ask Lynda if she would stop by the blog and answer some of these questions. I'd like to thank Lynda for stopping by and without further ado I'll leave you with her fabulous interview!

First question-bit of a cliche-how did you get into writing?

It all began when I turned 55! When I realised that I had been married for half of my life! I started to reflect, reminisce, and remember. I wrote these thoughts down. I read snippets to a friend one afternoon and she recommended that I turn my writings into a book. My story came from within all the words on paper that I had accumulated.

Do you write full time & if so, have you always done this?

I’m a part time writer and I’m also a part time examinations invigilator. A job which gives me plenty of time to think about what I’m going to write about when I get home. It’s seriously the perfect job for me. I’m also a full time wife and mother! 

Do you have a particular writing style or genre that you prefer? 
My own particular style of writing has been described as poetic. I’m afraid that I can’t describe it. Although people who know me say that I write in the same fashion as I speak - whatever that means!

How do you develop your characters as you write, are any of them based on real people?

Some of my characters are loosely based on real people. I don’t always know what my characters are thinking. I don’t always know what they are about to say, or what they want to do. It’s only when I start writing that it comes to me. But I like to be flexible and see what happens. I like to see where I get taken. I like to take time and listen to my characters. To get to know them. I was surprised where they ended up taking me at times. 

What was the inspiration behind There's Always More To Say?

I’ve drawn on my own experiences. And those of my friends. And of course my imagination.

What is your writing process-do you map it out first? Write a bit at a time?

When I started writing I didn’t have my complete story. I found my characters first. From my characters the theme developed and then the story came last. I actually didn’t write the book in sequence. I wrote it as individual pieces. I then placed them in order afterwards. I know it seems crazy but it’s how my mind works! I’m only beginning to understand my process now that I’ve started my second book. I can see that I’m writing in exactly the same way all over again.  

How much of you is reflected in your writing? 

I think a lot of my personality comes out in my writing. Quite a few of my friends have said that they heard my voice in their heads when they were reading There Is Always More To Say.

What kind of research did you do before/during writing There's Always More To Say?

The only research I did for the book involved looking for quotes to bookend the individual chapters. I really enjoyed doing that. And I knew immediately where to put each quote when I found an appropriate one for the relevant chapter. I wrote the whole book and then I sought out the quotes. Originally I was only going to put a quote at the start of each chapter. But I found too many that seemed so right that in the end I ‘topped and tailed’ the individual chapters.

How much attention do you pay to the reviews that you get? 

I pay a lot of attention to the reviews that I get. To each and every one of them. I appreciate the time that someone has taken to sit and compose a review. I want my readers to enjoy the story and reading the nice reviews is really, really lovely. At times I’ve been quite overwhelmed. I’ve been very touched by many lovely comments. And when a review is critical, if the same comment has turned up more than once, I’ll have a think about if there’s a good point there and take note of it, and hopefully learn from it.

Are friends and family supportive of your writing? 

My family are extremely pleased for me and very proud of what I’ve achieved. So are my friends. Everybody has been really supportive of my writing. 

How did you feel leading up to your publication day?

By the time publication day was finally confirmed I was more than ready! I was thrilled with having achieved my dream of writing a book and I just wanted it out there! 18 April 2016 was not only the publication date of There Is Always More To Say but it was also my 57th birthday! The book was supposed to have been released a month or so earlier but certain deadlines had been missed. I was more than pleasantly surprised when I was eventually given my birthday as the publication date. It felt like a good omen for me. So far so good!

Which other authors inspire you or are there any you particularly enjoy reading? 

I’ve enjoyed reading each and every one of Mitch Albom’s books. But my favourite one has to be Tuesdays with Morrie. I love the relationship between the young Mitch and the elderly Morrie and what they learn from each other. Mitch Albom has definitely inspired me to write about themes that seem difficult for some like, love, death, time and nostalgia.

Finally...what are you working on right now? 

I’m working on a few different projects at the moment. I’ve had a lot of ideas going around in my head - too many in fact! But things are finally beginning to fall into place.  I find the less I think about what I want to write the easier the writing comes to me! As well as shaping a second novel I’ve also found myself writing lyrics. Something that I had never considered doing but something that just happened. I’m also spending time promoting There Is Always More To Say which has been a great experience. I’ve been learning the process of how the author, editors, and publicists all work together to achieve the final product. I’ve loved the teamwork aspect of it all. The biggest surprise has been how welcoming the community has been – especially on mediums such as Twitter and Instagram. It’s a really lovely environment to have entered.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Review: There is Always More to Say by Lynda Spiro Young

A heartfelt novel about the connections that bring people together.

Soho 1984: Two people meet and their worlds are changed forever. An unexpected meeting - a look that means their lives will never be the same again. 

In There Is Always More To Say Lynda Spiro chronicles the lives of the couple through friendships, marriage, fleeting moments and snatched time. It is a passionate account about a connection between two people that never dies even when tested by distance and when life throws the unexpected at their feet.

Review: This was a really interesting read for me. At only 160 pages, it was a quick read and I read it pretty much in one sitting, so it was a good read to pick up during the festive season, when time is of the essence. This isn't a Christmasey book, however and so was a nice break for me to read. 

This book is about love and friendship and identity without ever really explicitly saying so. This was a very different read because it is someone chronicling their thoughts to their long-term friend in the form of a sort of journal but it seems, at times, like it is a letter of sorts, to that friend. This meant that it was a very engaging read because, as a reader, i found myself constantly asking who was wring this text, and who the text was being written to. 

Interestingly, genders are not mentioned apart from at one point where the person being spoken to writes a post card to the narrator and refers to them as one particular gender. This gave me a clue that the narrator was, or at one time had been that gender. The narrator is also married and refers to their partner. I imagine that it would have been a conscious decision to leave out gender or any kind and it really does mean that this novella becomes even more engaging!

The story jumps from present time to 1984, to 2004 to 1994, and so it is not in any sort of chronological order. This could have been a little confusing, but each chapter is dated and so you always know where you are. In terms of location, I always knew where I was as well because this book is set in Soho and I could picture the streets and buildings that were being talked about. 

The chapters are generally pretty short, and so the length combined with the chapters made this a quick read. It was a very different read for me and almost left me with more questions than answers, but I found this to be a nice break from what I usually read and I would love to find out more about these characters, I hope that this isn't the last we have seen of them!

To get your copy now click here!