Friday, 13 May 2016

An evening with Jojo Moyes - Me Before You

A lovely goody bag from Marie Claire
awaited us all in the cinema - and of course
a paperback of Me Before You was included
I'm not one for doing things on my own. I do like a natter, some company to share a joke or toast the evening with. But, when my friend called me to say she had just one ticket - and was giving it to me - I couldn't say no. This ticket was for an event in London on Thursday 12th May at Charlotte Street Hotel. Organised by Marie Claire UK, I was given a ticket to a Q&A session with author Jojo Moyes and a preview screening of Me Before You.

Yes, I'd have to go alone but this was an event I couldn't turn down.

As you've probably guessed from my blog, and my own books, Me Before You isn't my usual genre. But, after countless recommendations and an impending film release I knew I just had to read it (I tend not to watch films without reading the book first... with the exception of The Hunger Games). Now, don't get me wrong I am not anti romance or chick lit and every now and then I will read a book outside of my favourite genre - a reading palette cleaner I like to call it.

I won't be embarrassed, I cried.

Not many books have made me shed a tear (My Sister's Keeper and Charlie & Pearl are the only others) but this book made me sob. I loved the language, the description, the relationships and the characters. I don't want to ruin the ending for anyone who hasn't read/watched it yet, but I remember reading the last 100 pages thinking, this could go either way. I really couldn't be 100% sure on where Jojo Moyes was going to take the characters - and the reader.

So when I was given this ticket by an amazingly kind friend, I couldn't wait to ask Jojo Moyes that question - and others about the characters and her writing style. It was fantastic listening to her talk about the book and her involvement with the filmmaking, and I felt very honoured to be there. Even more so when on the day I received a very late email in the afternoon offering me one more ticket - so I didn't have to do it alone after all. My friend and fellow author Georgie Logan came with me - and thank God she did because not only is she great company, but she was also prepared... she had a packet of tissues in her bag.

Me and Georgie enjoyed
a drinks reception before
the Q&A and preview
I think reading the book and watching the film in a short space of time meant that I was still raw with emotion and caught up in the deep relationships of the characters, And so, I couldn't help but cry - again. Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin - who play Louisa Clark and Will Traynor - were the most perfect pair to be cast for these roles. I loved them.

Read the book and then watch the film.

And, in the words of Will Traynor: "Push yourself. Don't settle. Just live well. Just LIVE."

April Book Reviews: Thrillers and contemporary

Delighted! This month I read three books and a short story. Is it obvious that The Caller was whipped into shape and ready to be sent to our editor...

A very different month for me - not only did I get a contemporary novel in there at the end, but I also read a couple of very different and refreshing, thrillers. So, here's my book round-up for April:

In Her Wake by Amanda Jenning 

25914145This was a difficult one for me - I loved the story, but just wasn't used to this kind of pace for a psychological thriller. However, the more I think about it, the more I realise how clever it is. It kept me reading, it kept me interested about what was going to happen next and rooting for the protagonist, Bella. In Her Wake has also made me want to pack up my London flat and move to Cornwall... or at least by the coast. I would definitely recommend this book.

You can read my full review on Goodreads.

Click here to buy In Her Wake on Amazon.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt by Linda Prather

25232775Another different kind of thriller - this time, the legal kind. I can't recommend this enough and gave it a big 5 star review. The chapters are quick and snappy and the main character, Jenna James is easy to love. She is also not a detective, so that was another nice change. It moves quickly, with lots happening and stories entwining. Read this!

You can read my full review on Goodreads.

Click here to buy Beyond a Reasonable Doubt on Amazon.

Escape by KA Richardson

29542220A very short story indeed, but it is a great teaser for KA Richardson's first full novel, With Deadly Intent. This book is on my TBR list and I'm hoping to get to it very soon. Thanks to Escape, I really want to know more about Cass.

You can read my full review on Goodreads.

Click here to buy Escape on Amazon.

183 Times a Year by Eva Jordan

26722669And here it is - my first non thriller/crime book of the year! I will admit to you, I was worried to start with. It didn't feel fast enough and nothing particularly was happening. But when you've only read about crimes and murders and the like for the last three months, you have to slow down. I'm so pleased that I continued with this contemporary novel - a story of families and ordinary struggles. It definitely picks up and I was soon very invested with the characters. A cracking debut.

You can read my full review on Goodreads.

Click here to buy 183 Times a Year on Amazon.

World Book Night

During the last year, my life has changed dramatically thanks to the people I've met and the books I've read. So when I had the opportunity to be part of World Book Night as a distributor, I was delighted.

Yes, I know it was almost a month ago now, but hear me out.

The Reading Agency's World Book Night took place on 23rd April this year. Their drive was to reach out to people in the UK who do not normally read for pleasure - and therefore 187,500 copies of 15 specially printed books - including titles from Ann Cleeves, Amanda Prowse and Sarah Hilary, to name a few - were distributed by reading enthusiasts. That included me.

Sometime last year, I filled out an online registration form as to why I wanted to be involved, how I would distribute the books and choose the title I would like to receive. I didn't actually think I'd get chosen, but I did. I was given 16 copies of Ann Cleeves' short story, Too Good To Be True. It wasn't the book I had requested, but I was pleased, because what better way to ease a non-reader in than with a short story.

Now, I know what some of you must be thinking: why the hell am I distributing books that I haven't written? Or perhaps, because I'm an indie author, should I be promoting this? And honestly, I got involved with World Book Night because I'm a reader myself first and foremost. It was my passion for books that put me on the path to writing my own! So the idea of reaching out to people who do not usually read for pleasure was something I really wanted to be a part of.

For me, it was actually a good ice-breaker. The recipients of the books I gifted would ask me why was I doing this, or what was I reading etc. And it meant I could promote my own books and writing journey to them freely, without feeling like I was forcing it on them. Not only was I encouraging them to read with a free book, but I was able to have a free-flowing, non-computer type chat with them.

My nan and her free book
I started small this year. I gave the books to friends, relatives and neighbours - some of them didn't own a paperback/hardback book. Two of those people included my nan (pictured) and her dear old neighbour. They were delighted to have been given a gift, a real book in their hands to hold and - for my nan's neighbour - a bit of company and conversation. A friend of mine was delighted to have the book in her bag as she was stuck in a hospital waiting for hours and devoured it. She had forgotten how much she enjoyed reading, she told me after. Next year, if I get accepted again, I'd like to go bigger with distributing the books - perhaps even hand out some personal promotional material too. I'll put my thinking cap on.

So, I wasn't delivering copies of my own books this World Book Night, but isn't just encouraging people to read in general a great stepping stone? I hope so.

March book reviews: The Reaper and The Prodigal

It's becoming a habit of mine to start these posts with something along the lines of, 'I've been so busy' or 'I haven't read much this month.' I know it's because I'm used to reading at least four or five books a month and lately that figure has dropped to two or three. But, I've decided I'll stop apologising for that because I'm still reading - regardless of my hectic personal life and writing/editing my own books - and that's what's important.

It's great that I'm reading some fab books too! When you don't have a lot of time to read, it makes it worthwhile that the ones you do can, keep you interested. So, here are my March reads:

The Reaper by Steven Dunne 

6620831A series that has been recommended to me over and over again. And with book six being published in May, I thought it was time to see what all the fuss was about. I'm glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed The Reaper - and at one point I really did want to hide behind my cushion! It's a very clever read and I loved the mention of locations I know. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

You can read my full review on Goodreads.

Click here to buy The Reaper on Amazon.

The Prodigal (Valley Park series #1) by Nicky Black

25846748This felt like quite a refreshing change to the crime genre. The Prodigal is gritty but there's also a story of love mixed in there two. It's very character driven and I enjoyed getting to know more about each character and what made them tick. Look forward to 'Heads' the second book from Nicky Black coming soon.

You can read my full review on Goodreads.

Click here to buy The Prodigal on Amazon.