#Tuesdaybookblog ‘Deep Woods’ by Helena Newbury #BookReview #RomanticSuspense

Today I’m reviewing Deep Woods a romantic suspense by Helena Newbury, which us currently number one on the amazon bestseller lists for:

.Deep Woods de [Helena Newbury, Wander Aguiar]

I have read and love all of Helena Newbury’s romantic novels, because they are well-written, with action-packed plots and engaging characters, and of course a guaranteed happy ever after, not before a few heart-stopping obstacles!

In the case of Deep Woods, the female lead, Bethany, is in a dark moment of her life, she’s dropped out of medical school, has a huge student debt, and she’s barely making ends meet working in a call centre.

She rescues a German sheepdog, Rufus, who is tangled in barbed wire and the dog follows her home. The following day, she meets the dog’s owner, Cal, a bitter marine and ex recluse, living as a mountain man. Months later, she is kidnapped by a criminal organisation, escapes and meets Cal again who rescues her, but can he keep her safe?

The rest of the novel includes nerve-racking pursuits and life in his cabin in the wilds, as their mutual attraction grows and they help each other overcome their respective traumas and move on with their lives, after facing life-threatening situations.

A steamy, romantic suspense for a cold winter evening, to be read preferably sitting by a cosy fireplace!

I love all Helena’s novels, but I can’t help it, I have a favourite and it’s called Kissing my Killer and here’s my review.

#Tuesdaybookblog ‘This Time Next Year’ by Sophie Cousens #BookReview #RomanticComedy

Today I’m reviewing another romantic comedy, This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens, which has been hailed as ‘2020’s most perfect pick-me-up. Refreshingly romantic and certain to hold a special place in your heart.’ It is set in London, mostly on and around 2020 New Year’s Celebrations.

From the Blurb

Quinn and Minnie are born on New Year’s Eve, in the same hospital, one minute apart.
Their lives may begin together, but their worlds couldn’t be more different.
Thirty years later they find themselves together again in the same place, at the same time.
What if fate is trying to bring them together?
Maybe it’s time to take a chance on love…

****

My Review

This Time Next Year, is an uplifting and engaging, quick and fun novel, which I read in one sitting. It reminded me of One Day by David Nicholls, but it’s a much shorter and less intense version of a love story, and it has a happy ending.

The plot revolves around Quinn and Minnie’s meeting on New Year’s Eve, 2019 and ends on the same day in 2020. in between we get flashbacks to previous New Year’s Eves, when they almost met, and various meetings throughout 2020, told mainly from both protagonists points of view, in third person.

It is a slow burn, sweet love story, which gradually unfolds as Quinn and Minnie come face with their emotional issues, and work towards overcoming them. They are both likeable characters, trying to grow emotionally, and the way their relationship develops is believable and sweet. There are also plenty of laugh out loud moments, as well as challenging moments, in their relationship.

I also enjoyed reading about Quinn and Minnie’s parents, who had met when Quinn and Minnie were born, as they shared a room at the hospital. Thirty years later, Minnie’s parents and Quinn’s mother re-established contact and something very special happens (no spoilers, you’ll have to read it to find out!).

The setting, in London, and mostly in the upcoming festive season, was another engaging aspect. It’s definitely worth reading on a cosy, winter afternoon-evening.

#Tuesdaybookblog ‘New Orleans Rush’ by Kelly Siskind #BookReview #RomanticComedy

Today I’m reviewing a unique romance I read a few months ago,  New Orleans Rush by Kelly Siskind. It’s the first in a four-book series called Showmen, because the Marvelous Marlow Brothers, the main characters, are theatre entrepreneurs who put on magic shows. Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to the first of four standalone, romantic comedies with a difference.

My Review

Beatrice Baker meets Huxley Marlow after ‘accidentally’ vandalising his Mustang, which she mistakes for her ex-boyfriend’s, the man who stole all her money. As she is unable to pay for the cost of the repair she agrees to cover her debt by working for the gruff, moody and eccentric magician, at his nightclub, and although she feels attracted to him at once, she isn’t going to fall for a man ever again, of course we know that’s not true and (very) eventually they fall in love.

You know what happens, when you read romantic comedies and they are so alike that it feels as if you’re reading the same novel all over again, and you get bored with the whining or indicisive heroine and brooding or selfish hero? Well I have news for you, this romance is a hundred percent unique!

I love reading romantic comedies, with engaging main and supporting characters, including some suspense, lots of fun and  guaranteed happy ever afters, although I appreciate a few storms along the way, too! If that’s the type of novel you enjoy, New Orleans Rush fits the bill.

When I read the first scene in which they meet, which is alternately dramatic and hilarious, I knew I’d love reading about the two main characters.

But it is not all fun and games. The plot revolves around both their emotional and financial problems, which are plentiful, and some are quite serious. The way they help each other work through their issues and gradually fall in love, was one of the best aspects of the novel.

There was plenty of mostly contained chemistry between the charatcers, which makes a light romance all that much more suspenseful. The setting, in the magical city of New Orleans. and the theatre. where most of the action takes place, added to my interest.

I loved it all, the writing, the story, the characters, the twists, the ending, in fact I was upset when I finished reading, because original and engaging romances are not so easy to find.

Do you have any recommendations for romantic comedies?

 

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ by Anne Bronte #BookReview #Victorian @Audible #Audiobooks

I read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall too many years ago, in my teens, when I read all the Bronte sisters’ novels, but I just couldn’t for the life of me remember much about the story. So, as the version I read, narrated by  Alex Jennings and Jenny Agutter was on Audible Included, which means that as a member, I could listen for free, I decided to have a go at the audio version. I wasn’t surprised when I was hooked immediately, I’ll tell you why right away.  

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall Audiobook By Anne Brontë cover art

From the Blurb

Fleeing a disastrous marriage, Helen Huntingdon retreats to the desolate mansion, Wildfell Hall, with her son, Arthur. There, she makes her living as a painter. Finding it difficult to avoid her neighbors, she is soon an object of speculation and gossip. Brontë portrays Helen’s eloquent struggle for independence at a time when society defined a married woman as her husband’s property.

Before I start my review, I’d like to tell you why I love Audible. I know I’ve told you many times already, but it’s even better now! My monthly credit allows me to buy one audiobook of my choice every month, plus there are daily deals and frequent sales and two for the price of one offers, plus there are loads of free listens in the ‘Included’ catalogue, which has new additions every week, and there are podcasts.

And I love to listen to audiobooks while I work out, go for walks, do the cooking, the laundry, the cleaning, clearing out cubboards, and much more! Here’s more information, in case you’re interested. (By the way, I have no commercial affiliation to Audible, I just wanted to share how great I think it is!) 

My Review

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was easy for me to enjoy. You all know how much I love Victorian Fiction, and as I had completely forgotten about the plot, it was like reading it for the first time. 

It’s a very long, three volume novel, as was the custom of the time. It is over 800 pages and over16 hours of narration time. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is the second and final novel by Anne Brontë, the youngest of the Bronte sisters. Her first novel was Agnes Grey, which I only vaguely remember, so I’ll probably be reading it again, soon, too.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was first published in 1848 under the pseudonym of Acton Bell. Although it was very successsful, it was considered the most shocking of the Brontë’s novels, and I can’t imagine why, because the main female character, Helen, is so very pious that she is at times quite nausiating. In fact, I was often furious with her subservient behaviour, especially in the third part of the novel, but more about that in a moment.

The first volume is narrated by Gilbert Markham (by the way, one of my new favourite romance heroes!), who is telling his friend about how he came to meet the Tenant of Wildfell Hall. He was intrigued and fascinated by Helen Graham, a beautiful and aloof, young widow, who moved into the crumbling, old Hall, with her young son, Arthur. They do eventually (very eventually), become friends, but then she becomes the target of local gossip and it is discovered that she is not a widow, because her husband is alive.

The second volume is narrated by Helen, who gives Gilbert all the letters she wrote from when she met her husband to the moment she left him. Here she shows herself to be a devoted wife, who is in love with an unworthy husband, and although she put up with a lot of psychlogical and some physical abuse, she was finally strong-willed and determined enough to abandon him.

This part of the novel certainly gives us a clear insight to the life of the country gentry and servants of the era, as well as the submission of women, even wealthy women, to their husbands,  fathers and religious notions of women’s piety.  I both pitied and admired Helen at this point, because I thought I was going to read a 19th century, #MeToo novel, and I almost did, but as I read the third part I discovered I was wrong. 

This third part, narrated by Gilbert, describes how she returned to her husband and what happens afterwards, but I won’t spoil it for you by telling you how the ending comes about. I will tell you I was exasperated with both Gilbert and Helen, and her brother, but especially with Helen, for being so obstinate and submissive. So, although I did enjoy the ending, I found it was not the feminist novel I had been expecting to read.   

A modern editor would have reduced the novel by half, even I, lover of Victorian literature, was impatient for something to happen and maddened by the going round in circles of the same events, and long drawn out conversations, which did not move the plot forward a single inch! 

There are two major difficulties in reading this type of Victorian fiction, for the modern reader; in the first place the excessive length, verbosity and repetition of certain parts, and on the other hand, the cultural and emotional distance, with contemporary readers. The later makes it hard to understand or sympathize with their passive acceptance of patriarchy, gender differences and medieval attitude to religion, and the former can become frustrating.  

However, there was one aspects that reminded me of contemporary society; harmful and spiteful gossip and blatant lies, which still occurs today, except nowadays it would spread on social media, instead parlours and at sunday service.   

I would recommend the audio version, because it brings the characters and events to life and makes the tedious parts more enjoyable (and you can speed them up!).

I hope I haven’t put you off, because it really is worth reading. The prose flows smoothly and the vocabulary and expressions are gorgeous, and you will be rewarded with an authentic, first-hand glimpse of what life was really like for women, men and children, in Victorian England. 

Have you read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall? What was your impression?

 

 

 

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘Call Me Maybe’ by Cara Bastone #BookReview #Romance @Audible #Audiobooks

Today I’m reviewing an Audiobook, which is not available in print, at least not at this time, and quite honestly, it’s such a perfect audiobook that I can’t imagine ever wanting to read in print or kindle.

Call Me Maybe Audiobook By Cara Bastone cover art 

From the Blurb

Can a customer service call really lead to love at first talk?

True love is on the line in this charming, laugh-out-loud rom-com—created specifically for the audio format!

Paint your toes. Pick up the wrong coffee and bagel order. Drive from Brooklyn to Jersey in traffic so slow you want to tear your hair out. It’s amazing all the useless things I can accomplish while on hold for three hours with customer service.

My shiny new website is glitching, and my inner rage-monster is ready to scorch some earth… when he finally picks up. Not the robot voice I expected but a real live human named Cal. He’s surprisingly helpful and really knows his stuff, even if he’s a little awkward…. in an adorable way.

And suddenly I’m flirting with him? And I think he’s flirting back.
And suddenly it’s been hours, and we’re still on the phone talking and ordering each other takeout while he trouble shoots my website.

And suddenly we’re exchanging numbers and sending texts and DMs every day, leaving voice mails (who even does that anymore?!).

And suddenly I’m wondering if it’s possible for two people fall in love at first talk.

****

Before I start my review, I’d like to tell you why I love Audible. I know I’ve told you many times already, but it’s even better now! My monthly credit allows me to buy one audiobook of my choice every month, plus there are daily deals and frequent sales and two for the price of one offers, plus there are loads of free listens in the ‘Included’ catalogue, which has new additions every week, and there are podcasts.

And I love to listen to audiobooks while I work out, go for walks, do the cooking, the laundry, the cleaning, clearing out cubboards, and much more! Here’s more information, in case you’re interested. (By the way, I have no commercial affiliation to Audible, I just wanted to share how great I think it is!) 

Call me Maybe is on the free Included catalogue for members. 

My Review

What can I say? I was hooked from the first line.

I was about to start my weekend chores and I thought I’d listen to some light romance, believe me, it makes ironing and peeling potatoes, so much more motivating!

I didn’t know what to expect, but it didn’t matter, because it was free and I could leave it and start another book if I didn’t like it, but of course, I didn’t stop listening until the end.

I’m a fast audioreader, because I put the speed on 150 usually, so I got through the 6 hours in a few hours less. My kitchen and whole house were spotless by the time I finished reading! 

It was a hilarious, fun, sweet, uplifting romance between a shy, tech nerd and a fun-loving extrovert, who do not meet until the very end of the audiobook. There is no sex, phone or otherwise, but there is a lot of chemistry and magic between Cal and Vera. 

The characters are engaging, believable and both so unique and so likeable that I loved getting to know them. This is because the dialogue was well written, but that’s only 50% of an audiobook, the other 50% is due to the narrators who were absolutely perfect.

There was a small plot twist towards the end, which wasn’t hard to see coming, but it made the end even sweeter.

I love discovering new authors and I’m glad I got to know Cara Bastone. I’ll probably be reading or listening to some of her other books, such as Just a Hearbeat Away in the future (my TBR pile is endless and growing every day!).

Just a Heartbeat Away (Forever Yours Book 1) by [Cara Bastone]

(I couldn’t resist the temptation, so I started Just a Heartbeat Away last night, on my kindle. It’s such a sweet romance, with such endearing main characters, but more about that another day!)

Do you listen to audiobooks? Which was the last one you listened to? And if you don’t, I think you really should!

 

 

 

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Girl He used to Know’ and ‘On the Island’ by Tracey Garvis Graves #BookReview #Romance

Today I’m reviewing two novels by Tracey Garvis Graves, whose debut novel, On the Island (2012) spent 9 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. The novel has been translated into twenty-nine languages, and is in development with MGM and Temple Hill Productions for a feature film. I read the novel earlier this year and I enjoyed it so much that I also bought her second novel, The Girl He Used To Know (2019), which I enjoyed even more! Her books are romantic, but the romantic couples have highly problematic relationships, so there’s plenty of angst, before we get to the happy ending! Which is fine by me, I quite like some authentic, controversial and thought-provoking, romantic turmoil.

On The Island by [Tracey Garvis Graves]

From the Blurb

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a summer job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family’s holiday home in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation: a tropical island beats the library any day.

T.J. has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He’s almost seventeen and if having had cancer wasn’t bad enough, he now has to spend his first summer in remission with his family instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.’s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Marooned on an uninhabited island, Anna and T.J. work together to obtain water, food, fire and shelter but, as the days turn to weeks then months and finally years, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man…

****

My Review

This novel starts with a bang until they reach the island, and then it slows down, as the unlikely couple are stranded on a desert island for literally years, and in the meantime, the teenager becomes a man and they fall in love.

Their time on the island is at first traumatic. They both experience illness, hardship and emotional anguish due to the isolation and harshness of a life with no amenities at all. Their situation is challenging and it’s very well described. I felt claustrophobic on the island too! Their love helps them get through the worst, but is it real, or is it a product of their unique situation? 

The next part of the novel, back in civilisation brings even more challenges. They’ve broken too many rules and taboos and their family and society’s demands strains their relationship to breaking point, more than once.

The difficulties they face and the way in which they gradually overcome the negative forces around them, as well their own  traumas, was nerve-racking, although we’re ultimately given a believable and happy ending, no spoiler there, because it’s the way they reach their happy ending that concerns readers of romantic fiction.

The characters grow in age and evolve emotionally throughout the novel, and their love is constantly tested. It’s an emotional rollercoaster from beginning to end, which I admit I love! 

****

The Girl He Used to Know: A Novel by [Tracey Garvis Graves]

From the Blurb

Annika Rose likes being alone.
She feels lost in social situations, saying the wrong thing or acting the wrong way. She just can’t read people. She prefers the quiet solitude of books or playing chess to being around others. Apart from Jonathan. She liked being around him, but she hasn’t seen him for ten years. Until now that is. And she’s not sure he’ll want to see her again after what happened all those years ago.


My Review

I loved this novel, so much. There was plenty of angst, too, but Annika was so easy to love. She reminded me of other heroines on the spectrum, such as Eleanor Oliphant, which I loved and reviewed here, another favourite which I reviewed here, The Cactus, and The wonderful,  Kiss Quotient, reviewed here.   

The Girl He Used to Know is a heartbreaking and uplifting second chance romance. Annika is an unusual, loveable heroine, who faces many challenges due to her brutal honesty and lack of social skills, which Jonathan finds it hard to cope with, in spite of his efforts. Johnathan is a worthy hero, but there are heartbreaking pitfalls to their happy ending. The story is told from both characters’ first person point of view, so we get to understand the characters as if we knew them intimately.

Especially for readers who enjoy uplifting romantic novels with plenty of angst and complex characters.

****

 

 

 

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘Little Disasters’ and ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ by Sarah Vaughan #BookReview

Today I’m reviewing two novels by Sarah Vaughan, who read English at Oxford and worked at the Guardian as a news, health and political correspondent, until she turned to writing fiction. I’ll be reviewing her two most recent novels, Anatomy of a Scandal (2019) and Little Disasters (2020).

Anatomy of a Scandal: soon to be a major Netflix series by [Sarah Vaughan]

My Review 

Anatomy of a Scandal is a brilliant legal thriller which also deals with #Metoo issues, as well as political corruption, marriage, family drama, among other contemporary topics.

A charismatic politician is charged with the rape of his former mistress and the reader witnesses the subsequent events unfold through the eyes of his wife and the female prosecuting lawyer. Will his political friends, including the PM, save him or will this be the end of his political career?

It’s written from the point of view of several characters, one, Kate, his wife, is the only first person narrator, the other points of view are narrated by the author in third person.

It’s so well written and engaging that once I started I was drawn in and hooked from page one to the final line. The pacing is perfect, as the action is packed from beginning to end.  

However it’s not just an interesting and engaging novel, it also brings up ethical issues faced by many of the characters, particularly regarding consent in sexual relationships and the consequences of lack of consent, infidelity in marriage, and political corruption. The topics brought up, and the political context, seem relevant to contemporary politics and politicians in the UK, which made the novel even more engaging.

I highly recommend it to lovers of thought provoking legal thrillers. It’s set mainly in London, and partly in flashbacks at Oxford University. 

Anatomy of a Scandal will soon be released as a miniseries on Netflix, more information here.  I can’t wait to see it!

****

Little Disasters: the compelling and thought-provoking new novel from the author of the Sunday Times bestseller Anatomy of a Scandal by [Sarah Vaughan]

My Review

Little Disasters is a compelling family drama. Once I started reading the novel and the traumatic events narrated, I couldn’t stop. The story gradually unfolds with plenty of unexpected twists and diversions right to the last chapter.

Liz finds herself in an impossible situation when Jess brings her 10-month old baby to the ER with a skull fracture while Liz is the resident pediatrician on duty that night in the ER.

Liz’s sympathies are torn, but following the hospital protocol, social services must be involved, and that is where the rift begins between friends, and the drama begins for Jess and her family.

It’s a heartbreaking and brutally honest representation of a group of young mothers and fathers coping with full time jobs, marriage, and our increasingly complex lifestyles which sometimes lead to helplessness and desperation. It brings home eloquently the challenges of raising a family and parenting.

I listened to the audio version on Scribd which was brilliantly read by three different narrators, but I also enjoy reading through the chapters on my kindle.

Amazon US Link

Amazon UK Links

Colouring by my granddaughter, Elsa.

 

 

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Hating Game’ by Sally Thorne #Romance #BookReview @Audible

I read a lot of psychological thrillers, historical and literary fiction, and personal growth books, so I alternate with light and/or steamy romance, although romantic comedies are my favourite type of escapist fiction. I love stepping into a fairytale world where happy ever afters are guaranteed, after a tiny bit of angst and a few misunderstandings or some suspense…

Charade_movieposter.jpg (251×397) 

It’s all Cary Grant’s fault, he taught me to love romantic comedies, Audrey Hepburn is also guilty, as Charade (1963) is my favourite and if you haven’t seen it you’re in luck, because you can still watch this timeless, suspenseful, romantic comedy, which is also a thriller, set in Paris (where else?), for the first time!

But, back to today’s featured novel. I’ve recently discovered Australian author, Sally Thorne, who has written two bestselling novels so far, The Hating Game (2016) and 99% Mine (2019). I enjoyed them both. Today I’m reviewing her first novel, The Hating Game. Amazon.com link below.

The Hating Game: A Novel by [Sally Thorne]

From the Blurb

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman work together and they hate each other. They have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude. The tension grows when they both apply for the same promotion.

My Review

The Hating Game is a fun office romance, in which two colleagues who hate each other intensely, mainly due to their opposing personalities and life experiences, find themselves competing for the same promotion. They both desperately want the job for personal and professional reasons. As a result, the tension between Lucy and Joshua reaches its boiling point, and that’s when they discover that they don’t hate each other after all, but can they trust each other?

The premise doesn’t sound new or riveting, but I assure you it is a highly entertaining read. Their daily banter is entertaining, and the way their relationship gradually develops from enemies to lovers, as well as the expected resolution of the problem and happy ever after, is as believable as it is adorable.

I admit I was in the mood for a light, fun, romance and that was exactly what I got! The Hating Game is well written with engaging characters, for me that means I just kept turning the pages and hardly noticed a few hours had passed. In fact, I read it twice, once on my kindle and once on audible.

I must tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed the audiobook version. Did I tell you I love listening to audiobooks while I’m cooking, cleaning, working out or doing my laundry? It makes chores such fun!  

leaves.jpg

By the way, Lucy Hale and Robbie Amell are going to star in the film based on novel. More information about the movie here-

So, if you’re in the mood for a romantic comedy, you’ll love The Hating Game! Amazon UK link below.

Colouring by my granddaughter, Elsa.

 

Why Writers should read ‘The Evening and the Morning’ by Ken Follett #BookReview #TuesdayBookBlog

Ken Follett has just released his latest novel, ‘The Evening and the Morning’, which is already in bestseller lists all over the world.

The Evening and the Morning is an epic journey which ends some time before The Pillars of the Earth begins. It is set in 997 CE, the end of the Dark Ages. England is experiencing politically turbulent times without a clear rule of law, chaos reigns. The lives of three characters; Edgar, a young boatbuilder, Ragna a Norman noblewoman and Aldred, an English monk become entwined in a fascinating tale of love and passion, as well as cruelty and ambition.

My Review

Ken Follett is one of my favourite living authors, so I downloaded his book on my kindle and my as an audio book on Audible on the 15th September, the very day it was released.

I read and listened alternately, and I can say it is as brilliantly written and carefully plotted as his previous novels in the Knightsbridge series. It also includes the compelling characters and fabulous stories which his delighted readers enjoy so much.

Ken Follett makes his stories come to life in such a way that millions of readers all over the world are suddenly finding events set in the middle ages, in pre-Norman England and Normandy, fascinating.

It’s exciting, romantic, dramatic, tragic, hopeful, and ultimately a joy to read. So, if you read or listen to one book this autumn, make sure it’s The Evening and the Morning’.

****

 Why Writers should read Ken Follett’s Novels  

It is a well known fact that anyone who wants to be a writer should read a lot, but it’s not enough to be a normal or passive reader. William Falukner summarised it in this quote:

“Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad; see how they do it. When a carpenter learns his trade, he does so by observing. Read!”

Writers are a special type of reader. We dissect other writers’ work and in order to learn their craft. Every book I read is a Masterclass on writing. Many hours and months of hard work have gone into producing a novel, three years, in fact, if you’re Ken Follett, so it’s worth analysing their craft with a view to improving my own writing.

I strongly urge anyone who wants to write a good novel to read Ken Follett’s novels, all of them, if you haven’t started yet, his latest novel, The Evening and the Morning, is one of my favourites, so far.

I also suggest you watch or read his interviews and advice for writers to learn from one of the contemporary masters of literature. Here’s some advice based on his own writing process 

Ken Follett official.jpg

Seven things I’ve learnt from reading about Ken Follett’s writing process.

  1. Write your outline: Plan, plot and research carefully before you start your first draft, including plot and character arcs.
  2. Style: Write clear, transparent prose.
  3. Push your characters: Continuously raise the stakes.
  4. Think about your readers, you’re writing for them. Make every scene as compelling as possible.
  5. Check pacing: Make sure there’s one turn or twist every 4-6 pages, but not more than one.  
  6. Write your first draft and get feedback from readers, such as friends, experts, an editor, agent, etc.
  7. Rewrite your novel, yes, the whole thing all over again! Incorporating any changes or suggestions you decide would improve your novel.

Seven things I’ve learnt from reading Ken Follett’s novels.

  1. Hook your readers with a jaw-dropping beginning.
  2. Set the pace, the setting, themes and introduce at least one of the main characters on page one.
  3. Write every chapter, page, paragraph, sentence and word, thinking of improving your readers’ enjoyment and understanding of the novel they’re reading.
  4. Keep the action coming. Add a twist or turn every few pages to keep readers invested in your story.
  5. Create engaging characters who are honest, passionate, and proactive.
  6. Make sure there are plenty of adversities and villains to make life hell for your main characters.
  7. Make sure your characters are resilient and resourceful enough to finally overcome all the adversities life throws at them.

Finally, here’s an extra one for encouragement, never give up, keep writing and improving your craft. Ken Follett wrote ten novels before his eleventh, The Eye of the Needle, became a bestseller.

Who is your favourite author and what has he/she taught you about writing?

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Other You’ J. S. Monroe @Scribd #BookReview #Tanka #MedicalThriller

The Other You: a gripping and addictive new thriller for 2020 by [J.S. Monroe]

From the Blurb

Is he who you think he is?

Kate used to be good at recognising people. So good, she worked for the police, identifying criminals in crowds of thousands. But six months ago, a devastating car accident led to a brain injury. Now the woman who never forgot a face can barely recognise herself in the mirror.

At least she has Rob. Kate met him just after her accident, and he nursed her back to health in his high-tech modernist house on the Cornish coast. When she’s with him, the nightmares of the accident fade, and she feels safe and loved.

Until, one day, she looks at Rob anew – and knows, with absolute certainty, that he has been replaced by an impostor. Is she right? Have her old recognition skills returned? Or is it all in her damaged mind?

*****

My Review

The Other You is a spine chilling techno and medical thriller.

It’s a well plotted and tightly written novel. It has engaging characters; some are the good guys, who are led astray, and others are villains, who are very, very cunning and evil. Part of the suspense is figuring out who the good and bad guys really are.

The plot of The Other You brings us face to face with actions which push well over the limits of ethics, by using technology to fuel unlimited greed.  It makes us think about how far science and technology could go to literally take over our lives and even our minds.

It is an enthralling, entertaining and fast paced read, with a frightening, but believable premise and engaging characters. A 5-star read!

I listened to the audiobook version which was brilliantly read by Eilidh Beaton.

Especially for lovers of disquieting psychological and medical thrillers.

By the way, you can get it for the price of a coffee on kindle, right here!

Amazon.com author page

Amazon UK author page

Scribd

My Double

If I could live twice,
I’d be both saint and sinner.
My double and me,
We’re under your very eyes,
But you will never see us.

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