review

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G.Drews

I’d been reading and following the author’s blog  paperfury.com and loving her posts when I heard about her debut novel. Took me ages to finally read it I have so many books. And…. I should’ve read it sooner! Look at the amazing cover:

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Synopsis from GoodReads:

“An emotionally charged story of music, abuse and, ultimately, hope.

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?”

My Review

Becks mother wants him to be a famous pianist and she pushes him so hard that on the first page he’s fantasises about cutting off his hands. I felt so sorry for Beck because of the way his mother treats him that I could’ve cried. How she could not see how great he is?

I think that C.G.Drews dealt with the issue of abuse very well, showing us the horrors of it but also why his mother is the way she is. Not giving her an excuse but just an explanation. Beck’s inability to seek help is also something that victims do when they are being abused by someone they love.

Beck’s life does start to change when he meets August. August is a happy person and full of energy. Beck doesn’t understand it but I like that about her, that she can be that happy all the time: “he likes her because there’s sunshine in her eyes and she knows the secrets to smiling.”

I was hooked from the start. The style of writing draws you into Beck’s mind whilst also being so full of imagery. I loved the characters and the relationship between Beck, his sister and Beck and August. Beck’s sister is so funny and sweet.

This is a book you could read all at once because you won’t want to stop. I was sad to stop reading and leave the characters behind but the ending felt right. I loved this book.

C.G.Drews has another book out in April ‘The Boy Who Steals Houses’  which I am looking forward to.

 

 

 

writing

Writing Progress?

I took a long break due to having a week off and doing other things: spending time with my boyfriend, buying books, sorting out the house. I’m wondering whether I shouldn’t have. Have to get back into the zone again and already  I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere. What I’ve done so far:

  • read over all my scenes
  • made a storyboard of scenes on my corkboard
  • started to write character profiles
  • made more notes and mind maps etc to plot the novel

What I need to do:

  • finish plotting and character profiles
  • I NEED NAMES FOR MY CHARACTERS. My weakness is not having names
  • I need to think of what my place looks like but I’m struggling. Settling with eventually writing a short history and making lists and notes of places there
  • I think I’m going to read some advice on beginnings as I can’t decide how to start it/rewrite the start.

Do I want to start right next to the main first problem? Do I want to show my world and introduce the wonderful place that is this island first? If I do that can I make it interesting and describe well?

I’m planning on rewriting the entire novel, after pantsing it all I’m not happy with just plotting and filling in the gaps. I’m going to end up going through it all and rewriting scenes and adding new ones. Fun, fun.

It will be more fun when I get there, need to lay all this groundwork down so I can get to the writing stage. Itching to write. Learning a lot though: plot and think about it first makes for a less messy novel. 

I have very short time this week to get some of this done and now I’ve sat down to do it, I feel stuck and tired. Then feel  bad that I haven’t done much at all.

Oh, well. Thanks for reading my meanderings and worries etc Do share your writing posts and advice in the comments.

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I should’ve started on a positive:

Before last week I decide to write a plot, very short, on a short story idea I had and this week I wrote a few pages! YEAH! I’D MISSED WRITING! LITTLE WINS, RIGHT? I think whilst I’m working on this plotting I will fit some short stories in but not too much pressure. Just write them for me so I can write, whilst waiting to get on with the writing of this novel.

 

review

84k by Claire North

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Synopsis from GoodReads:

“What if your life were defined by a number?

What if any crime could be committed without punishment, so long as you could afford to pay the fee assigned to that crime?

Theo works in the Criminal Audit Office. He assesses each crime that crosses his desk and makes sure the correct debt to society is paid in full.

But when Theo’s ex-lover Dani is killed, it’s different. This is one death he can’t let become merely an entry on a balance sheet.

Because when the richest in the world are getting away with murder, sometimes the numbers just don’t add up.”

My thoughts

After watching Bird Box, a dystopian end of the world film, I fancied reading something dystopian and by chance at the right time picked up this book. I Read 10 chapters in the bookshop and had to buy it. Couldn’t stop reading, waiting for a lift home from work I just stood outside the shop and carried on reading. I never usually do that.

This book hooks you and despite the darkness you need to know what happens so you continue reading and learning more about the world and how it came to be.

Speechless. This book has made me speechless. It’s style is an art form. Sometimes it goes back and for, past and present telling Theo’s story. Sentences left unfinished:

“we never finish saying anything that might matter at all.”

Beautiful almost poetic at times but a harsh dystopian world taken over by a greedy money hungry company. People have become desperate and some are like animals; rabid crazed animals. I don’t know how often I stopped reading with an open mouthed expression.

It’s simply amazing.

I want to read all of Claire North’s books now.

Books

Book Haul

The day I was waiting for finally arrived…. I went to Waterstones. I do have book shops close to me, two branches of The Works and a WHSmith but they don’t have as much as Waterstones, it’s not the same!

I’ve been wanting to go for a while but time, too many books and buying a lot of things for my new house stopped me. Nothing was going to stop me this week! I had a week off with my boyfriend, busy week, (hence this is the first post) we got some house stuff done.

I think I spent ages in Waterstones, my boyfriend isn’t a reader and he was waiting for me, whoops.

As usual I completely forgot what books I wanted and ended up going on my GoodReads to remind me. Deciding was hard and there’s a book I didn’t get that I want to buy Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.

So without further ado, here’s what I bought:

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A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E.Schwab

I just heard about this author, I see her tweets often but got properly introduced to her books thanks to one of Tim Clare’s podcasts, where he interviewed the author. Her books sounded great and I had to buy one. Recently I’ve been feeling the need to read more fantasy and this sounded amazing:

“Most people only know one London; but what if there were several? Kell is one of the last Travelers – magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There’s Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III. There’s Red London, where life and magic are revered. Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. But once upon a time, there was Black London…” (blurb from Waterstones website)

I did have a dilemna, they never put the numbers of the series on the books! But a quick internet search helped me to find this one. I can’t wait to read this, I’m going to bump it up my to-be-read stack/list.

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The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

I seen this on Netgalley but had so many books to read and review etc that I didn’t request it. I picked this up in the shop and didn’t want to let it go. It’s my type of book a gothic novel, dark and creepy.

“Newly married, newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband’s crumbling country estate, The Bridge.

With her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks.

For inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure – a Silent Companion – that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself…” (Blurb from Waterstones website)

I think this is going to have to be bumped up too. It was part of buy one get one half price deal and that’s where I struggled to decide what to get. I can’t resist a deal so I bought:

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Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

I’ve read a few books by Neil Gaiman and loved them. I’d hoped to buy a Neil Gaiman novel that day and they had a few but I just couldn’t decide from the other ones on the shelf. I’m interested in mythology and don’t know enough about Norse and I’d heard a lot about this book so this was perfect. Neil Gaiman writes amazing books, original and riveting.

 

“”As I retold these myths, I tried to imagine myself a long time ago, in the lands where these stories were first told, during the long winter nights perhaps, under the glow of the northern lights or sitting outside in the small hours, awake in the unending daylight of midsummer.” – Neil Gaiman

Gather round, this is where the stories are born. This is where the world was made.

Picture it: about you, mile upon mile of sparkling, moonlit rock and snow. Above, the flickering magic of the aurora borealis, an electric-blue contrast to the warm fire where the storyteller weaves his words. He talks of playful, careless, wrathful gods, stories of immortal forces battling under freezing, star-filled skies.

The great Norse myths are woven into the fabric of our storytelling – from TolkienAlan Garner and Rosemary Sutcliff to Game of Thrones and Marvel Comics. They are also an inspiration for Neil Gaiman’s own award-bedecked, bestselling fiction.

Now our greatest living fantasist reaches back through time to the original source stories in a thrilling and vivid rendition of the great Norse tales.”

I’ll have to read Good Omen’s before I read this though.

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I have so many books to read, I have about 5 on Netgalley and others to review. I think I need to be more organised. I bought those books then had an email from the library, I’d forgotten I’d orderd a book there:

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Paint Me A Picture by Patsy Collins

“Mavis Forthright carefully rehearses her jump from Portsmouth’s Round Tower. She’s existed for over five decades. Lived hardly at all. Will end her misery with a few second’s fall into the cold sea. Except she’s not quite ready to die. A half day’s delay to try a bacon sandwich from the cafe won’t matter. Mother’s no longer there to disapprove.

She delays another day to lend Janice a book. Then a week to use her new paints. A month. Until the end of term. Mavis makes new plans; to create paintings full of emotion, to live, perhaps even make friends.

As if to balance her survival a number of people connected to Mavis die. At first that doesn’t matter. They’re people she dislikes. Mavis continues painting, tending her garden, feeding the birds and keeping her home properly clean, without additional concern. Then people who’ve been kind to Mavis are killed or injured. That shouldn’t happen.

Why are people dying? Is it because of charming Norman who’s back from her past, or is that strange boy Jake her mistaken guardian angel? Perhaps Mavis herself is to blame. She must learn the truth, stop the deaths and protect those she’s learned to care about before she can enjoy the new life she’s making for herself.” (blurb from Amazon)

I read an extract from this book in one of Patsy’s short story collections and it grabbed me.  I follow her on twitter and sometimes join a #writingchat I’ve reviewed her collections on here (without her knowing beforehand): Just A Job, Not A Drop To Drink

So, now I just need a month off work to read all my books. If only.

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Besides going to Waterstones I went into HMV too, it was great to go to an actual shop (as opposed to buying online) and buy some new CDs:

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All the CD shops (and dvd shops) closed down by me and I realised how much I’d missed them recently.

I’m been a Bowie fan since my teens, he was on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross (when it was still on the BBC) promoting his ‘Reality’ album and I was hooked. I knew Bowie from Labyrinth of course but I’d never really listened to his music before.

I have a few more recent albums and ‘best ofs’ but I thought I’d start buying some more. I did originally have a cassette tape of Low but I’ve not idea where it’s gone and you can’t put that on an mp3 player.

Have you read any of these books? Which Neil Gaiman book should I read after Good Omens? 

writing

Writing Progress

man wearing black and white stripe shirt looking at white printer papers on the wall
Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com

The Goal: To finish my first draft 

So far: I’ve read over my novel and found problems. I’ve gone back to my notes and worked out a plot using sticky notes. 

 

Last Week I didn’t make much progress at all. I was tired, headachey etc and then worked for 5 days when I really wanted to get to work on my novel. Was too tired after work to do it.

It’s great my novel is starting to feel like my real job and my actual pays-the-bills-job feels like it’s a side gig. Complete role reversal. 

Tuesday I finally got to it. After putting my scenes up on a board I realised I don’t have many scenes with one of my main characters :/ This is one way that having a board with all your scenes on it, notecards or sticky notes really helps. I also realised I don’t have much going on in the middle and end, although I kinda knew that anyway,

My solution to this was to go back and look at my character notes. I know my characters, apperance can be hazy and I’m hopeless with names. But I know them. Although I wanted to spend more time figuring out what this main character wanted. I was focused on my villian and my protagonist and this one got a bit lost.

I had to think what does he want? What is he going to be doing in the beginning of this story before his other scenes? And thinking about who he is, was and is going to be. Then that gave me some ideas for scenes that I can add to my plot and move the story along.

I am constantly thinking of all these questions to do with my novel. And I get ideas for different things when I’m working on something else. And they all end up being a scene, or a moment in the story.

What’s next?

All this working on character and plot seems to take forever and I’m starting to worry about how good my novel is going to be style/writing wise. I want to get it all done so I can get to the writing of it but I don’t want to write blindly, I’m going to keep chipping away at the problems and eventually I’ll get to a point where I know all I need to and can continue with the actual writing.

Small Steps. Small Steps.

I’ve been finding these videos helpful from Jenna Moreci the one on plotting and characters helped me a lot.

If you blog about your writing, share your posts below. I like to read writing blogs and chat about writing.

Cover Reveal

Flower Power Trip by James J.Cudney

Flower-Power-Trip-Promo-HardbackThank you to: @jamescudney4 @Shalini_G26 for this opportunity to be involved with the reveal for this new book, available on Amazon. Here’s the synopsis:

At a masquerade ball to raise money for renovations to Memorial Library, Kellan finds a dead body dressed in a Dr. Evil costume.
Did one of Maggie’s sisters kill the annoying guest who’d been staying at the Roarke and Daughters Inn, or does the victim have a closer connection to someone else at Braxton College?
As Kellan helps school president Ursula bury a secret from her past and discover the identity of her stalker, he unexpectedly encounters a missing member of his family. Everything seems to trace back to the Stoddards: a new family who recently moved in.
Between the murder, a special flower exhibit and strange postcards arriving each week, Kellan can’t decide which mystery in his life should take priority. But unfortunately, the biggest one of all has yet to be exposed – and when it is, Kellan won’t know what hit him.

My thoughts

Who doesn’t love a good mystery? This book sounds intriguing. The reviews on Amazon are great and you can get the other books at very good prices too.

About the author

James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in New York City, but I’ve traveled all across the US (and various parts of the world). After college, I spent 15 years working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Although I enjoyed my job, I left in 2016 to focus on my passion: telling stories and connecting people through words. My debut novel is ‘Watching Glass Shatter,’ a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor and romance. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website: https://jamesjcudney.com

To look at this book and others by James J Cudney visit this Amazon link (no affiliation).

This was organised with Digital Reads Blog Tours:

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review

All Rivers Run Free by Natasha Carthew

Front Cover

 

This book was part of a pamper package that I won from A Cornish Geek last year.

Blurb from Quercus Books

“A woman on the edge of the sea finds a girl on the edge of life. 

Brittle but not yet broken, Ia Pendilly ekes out a fierce life in a caravan on the coast of Cornwall. In years of living with Bran – her embattled, battering cousin and common law husband – she’s never yet had her own baby. So when she discovers the waif washed up on the shore, Ia takes the risk and rescues her. And the girl, in turn, will rescue something in Ia – “

My thoughts

All Rivers Run Free intrigued me from the start, I loved the idea and the setting. Who doesn’t love Cornwall? When I started to read it I realised it’s actually a dystopian story; a distant future where civilisation has changed. But it’s not about the world ending and how people are going to survive. It’s a story about one person-Ia. I liked Ia and became drawn into her world and her story.

This is a book that you won’t be able to put down. The style is unusual, long sentences with few commars but it’s poetic, it mesmerises you and perfectly captures Ia’s thought patterns and state of  mind. It just works wonderfully.

The author, Natasha Carthew, runs Wild Words workshops and this book really does capture the essence of the natural world and the character is completely in tune with nature herself.

It’s one of those books that I really love but find it hard to put into words how great it is.

I’ve just realised this author has a few books out and I am going to have to read more 🙂