I’ve set myself the challenge to read and video review as many of the Richard & Judy Book Club Autumn 2017 picks as possible. Today I’m reviewing: Under A Pole Star by Stef Penny. Have you read it? What do you think?
I’ve set myself the challenge to read and video review as many of the Richard & Judy Book Club Autumn 2017 picks as possible. Today I’m reviewing: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel. Have you read it? What do you think about the subject matter? And what do you think of the ONE BIG PROBLEM with this video?
I’m so excited to say the Follow Me paperback has been released early exclusively in Tesco stores up and down the country now. Just in time for Christmas! Grab it for the social media and/or crime thriller lover in your life, and yourself. Go on, you deserve it: every little helps….
‘A very contemporary nightmare, delivered with panache’ ~ The Independent
‘A chilling debut’ ~ Hello! Magazine
‘An invigorating cat-and-mouse game, with a dark and filthy wit that deliciously spikes the regular drenchings of gore’ ~ Crime Scene Magazine
‘Follow Me is compelling, a proper page-turner’ ~ Emerald Street
‘Outstanding!’ ~ Shots Magazine
‘Gripping, darkly funny and feminist, I loved Follow Me’ ~ Caroline Criado-Perez
‘Angela Clarke brings dazzling wit and a sharp sense of contemporary life to a fast-paced serial killer novel with serious style’ ~ Jane Casey (Maeve Kerrigan Series)
‘Pacey, gripping, and so up-to-the-minute you better read it quick!’~ Claire McGowan (Paula Maguire Series)
‘We’ve been waiting for a novel that shows just how creepy and scary social media actually is and this is it. Angela Clarke knows exactly which buttons to press. #creepedmeout’ ~ Tania Carver (Brennan & Esposito Series)
‘A fascinating murder mystery and a dark, ironic commentary on modern social media’ ~ Paul Finch (Stalkers)
‘Fast-paced, tense and playfully witty’ Graeme Cameron (Normal)
‘Clarke explores the phenomenon of (social media) celebrity while tapping into your fears’ ~ Rebecca Bradley (Shallow Waters)
‘Smart, fast paced, fresh and frightening. Follow Me is a gripping debut.’ Rowan Coleman (The Memory Book)
‘Follow Me is literally gripping – the tension levels were forcing me to clutch the book so hard that my hands hurt!’ ~ Daisy Buchanan
I’m really excited to announce that the Follow Me Blog Tour will be running from 3rd – 22nd December! Check out these fabulous bloggers for reviews, interviews, special content, excerpts & competitions:
Fuck This Journal is an inspired and hilarious swipe at all those think positive books that claim to encourage your creativity. If you see ‘meaningful’ saccharine quotes overlaid on photos of sunsets and roll your eyes: this is the book for you. If you’ve ever read a ‘creatively stimulating’ tome, or sat through a lesson engaged in an arty exercise: this book is for you.
At a time when colouring books are marketed at adults, this is a refreshingly droll look at instigating your ‘cre-hate-tivity’. Full of comic drawings and amusingly pointless exercises, such as: ‘Let’s adopt a trick from Ernest Hemingway. He said “when I seek inspiration I write the word ‘inspiration’ over and over again” Hey! Why not give it a try in the space below?’ This is a book that’s sure to raise a laugh and a half.
Managing to introduce a narrative into the collection of witty and dour illustrations and exercises, Shaw’s bitter alter ego reveals a story of: divorce from Carol, near bankruptcy, and thwarted dreams. I have certainly met this hard done by, chip on the shoulder type in pubs and creative writing classes before, which adds a deliciously satirical layer to the book. Fuck This Journal is a genuinely unique comic work. Buy this as a gift for yourself and all the creatives in your life. That’s Christmas sorted.
Fuck This Journal by Dale Shaw: Fucking buy this 5/5
I love lists. I make lists for everything from shopping lists, to lists of things I want to do in the coming year. They help me remember, clarify and stay focused. Forget the iPhone Generation, when I think of the ‘listicles’ that appear on Buzzfeed I know we’re the List Generation. Which is what is so initially appealing about The Thirty List: a romantic comedy that tells the story of Rachel, newly separated from her husband, who draws up a list of all the things she’d meant to do before turning thirty and sets about ticking them off. We all have that list. The one with the big things on it, our hopes and dreams, but how many of us actually tackle them? Rachel jumps in wholeheartedly, and as they say, hilarity ensues.
Woods deftly weaves the tender pathos of Rachel’s broken marriage and impending divorce, with deep belly laugh inducing jokes at the perils of house hunting in London, trying to find a job, trying to make a living, and the day to day troubles that concern most of us. Structuring the story around Rachel’s list, the reader is soon invested in not only the completing of the tasks but also the reconstruction of Rachel’s life. Forced to move in with a grumpy man named Patrick and his four year old son Alex, Rachel corrals her new landlord into writing his own list and this is where the fun really starts. I snorted with laughter at moments in this book, and kept shouting out bits to my companions: ‘Listen to this bit! So funny!’
But Woods is more than a writer of great jokes, the pace and depth of this warm hearted tale built to a real moment of crisis I did not see coming, and one which moved me to tears. There is love and heartbreak and hope in this book: a perfect summer read. Put reading it at the top of your to-do list.
I started to read this book and abandoned it after 20 pages. It was too well crafted, too tense, too good. I didn’t want to waste it in drips and drops of paragraphs, squeezed into tube journeys’, or a few more pages wrung out before I fell asleep at night. I wanted to savour it, luxuriate in it like a warm bubble bath. So I fought the temptation to pick it up, and waited till I boarded a Eurostar bound for Paris. For a novel based on the four wives of Ernest Hemingway, whose lives often wove through Paris, this seemed perfect.
And it was worth the wait. Split into four parts, one for each of Hemingway’s wives, this story is skilfully executed. It took until Martha, the third wife, before I realised Ernest was little more than a bit part character. Though the wives’ thoughts, memories and actions revolved around their feelings for him, he rarely appeared in person in the text. Wood has performed a clever magic trick: the machismo, the allure, the cruelty, and the career of Hemingway are here in the pages, but she has given full voice and focus to the women in his life, elevating them beyond the unique club they found themselves in by romantic association. She has made them whole, they are not simply the ‘wife of’. Not simply Mrs. Hemingway.
An enticing, passionate, and at times heart-wrenching read, Wood maps not only the intricacies of each couple’s relationship, but the increasingly destructive relationship Hemingway has with alcohol. Each wife’s cocktail hour starts earlier than the last. As patterns and echoes of past behaviours emerge through the lives of the women, so too do they resound through Hemingway, charting his descent into depression. Devastating.
This book haunts me, pleasingly, like an ex-wife hovering in the background.
Mrs Hemingway, Naomi Wood: Raise a glass of Papa Doble 5/5
Are you fascinated by the creative process? Do you hunt out the ‘a day in a life’ features on authors, musicians and artists? I do! I do! I’ve always been enthralled by how others work. It’s part validation – Voltaire wrote in bed, I write in bed, it’s okay I write in bed! And part inspiration – perhaps somewhere in the minutiae of the daily grind of the great creatives is the key to joining their ranks? Daily Rituals: How Great Minds Make Time, Find Inspiration, and Get to Work, by Mason Currey is a dream for those like me who are obsessed by process.
In an expansion of what started as a blog, Currey details the charming, the amusing, and the sometime terrifying schedules of a whole host of composers, writers, and artists. Take Balzac, who ate at 6pm, went to sleep till 1am, rose, worked for seven hours, took a ninety minute nap, worked again for a further six and half hours and then took a bath, went for a walk and started the whole process up again. Exhausting.
I bought this book because as well as being fascinated by other’s working routines, I was also trying to reshape mine. Wrestling with the limitations of my health due to EDS III, I find myself going against the grain and designing a new way of working. As well as providing many pleasant distractions and dinner party anecdotes, this book has aided my focus on my own routine. There is something reassuring and reinforcing about reading a couple of daily schedules before launching your own. A great present for the creatives in your life, or anyone who is interested in how creatives lived and worked.