As I have mentioned before, I did a couple of terms-worth of creative writing courses at City Lit end of last year, beginning of this.
I was excruciatiAs I have mentioned before, I did a couple of terms-worth of creative writing courses at City Lit end of last year, beginning of this.
I was excruciatingly nervous about this, having not written anything ‘creative’ for years – and definitely not being a college kind of girl. However, all of my fears were soon put to rest by our wonderful tutor, Bridget Whelan.
She was unfortunately unable to take our class for the second term, and I think the all of the students that had continued missed her a great deal.
For me, one of the best parts of Bridget’s classes were the exercises that she used to set within the lesson, to get our creative juices flowing – and I was especially pleased to recognise some of these in the creative writing book that she has just published.
The book is set into three terms, each consisting of ten lessons and gives not only tools and exercises to help writers work on their creativity, but also warns of some of the pitfalls.
I am in the lucky position of being able to ‘hear’ Bridget throughout the book – but I think her warmth, wit and genuine love of writing and writers comes across in every page. Bridget has taught many creative writing students, and I think you can really tell from her style that she’s enjoyed this, as above all it’s fun! And fun definitely helps!
This is a fantastic book for writers at any stage – whether you’re trying for the first time to get something onto a pristeen page, looking for a little inspiration or (like me) need to kick your arse into gear to actually write something when you thought your creativity well may have run dry.
As she says, this book will NOT enable you to write a bestseller in a weekend, win competitions or become a rich and famous novelist, but it will certainly help set you on the path, and steer you away from some of the more dangerous obstacles....more
I received this as an Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.
Jessie Constable has seen Gus King around, and found him rather intriguing,I received this as an Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.
Jessie Constable has seen Gus King around, and found him rather intriguing, but finally meets him properly on the day that his wife commits suicide – driving her car into the river and leaving Gus alone with their two small children.
As she is with Gus when the police come to tell him the news, she suddenly becomes his rock as there is noone else that can look after the children while he is busy doing all the ‘newly dead wife’ things that he needs to do.
It soon becomes apparent that the marriage was not a happy one, and Jessie allows herself to suddenly be a larger part of the little family than she was anticipating – her own need for love and acceptance masking the niggling feelings she has that all is not what it may seem.
I have never read any of Catriona McPherson’s books before – she apparently has a whole series featuring a bored society wife turned detective in the 1920s called Dandy Gilver. They sound a far cry from this very grey, grim story.
I did really enjoy the book – the relationship between Jessie and the kids especially. Jessie herself was very interesting, and I loved the descriptions of the Scottish coast – a perfect setting for this rather dark, ominous tale.
However, it did grate on me a little as to how quickly Jessie allowed herself to be sucked into Gus’s life – although she is obviously rather needy, it felt unlikely that she would put herself in such a situation at that speed. Although it wasn’t so grating as to put me off from reading it!
There’s a great cast of secondary characters that add depth and colour to the story – and although I had guessed part of the ‘twist’, there was a whole other part to it that I hadn’t even considered!
And when it was all over, and I’d turned the last page (or clicked the button for the last time) I wanted to find out what happens next to Jessie. I was hoping that this might be part of a new series – but it appears that it is a set of three standalone/unrelated books linked only as ‘She’. I guess I should read the first one too, As She Left It.
Great cover too!
There was one thing that annoyed me about my Kindle though – it did not recognise the word ‘pteronophobia‘ in the dictionary. I had to manually look it up – how 90s is that!? It’s a fear of feathers by the way, in case you needed to know – which you do when you’re reading this book.
The Day She Died by Catriona McPherson will be published on 8th May 2014....more
I received this as a Review Copy for an honest review.
Private chef Juliet Hill is sure that her perfect boyfriend is going to propose to her this ChriI received this as a Review Copy for an honest review.
Private chef Juliet Hill is sure that her perfect boyfriend is going to propose to her this Christmas – so the last thing she expects to find in his flat is a slutty thong that is most definitely not hers!
Unable to face being alone over the holiday, she accepts a job at her home-from-home Thornton Hall, the Earl of Gloucester’s ancestral pile, cooking up a storm for the family’s seasonal guests.
However, romance definitely isn’t off the cards as the sparks fly between her and head chef Edward, not to mention with her many-time boss Jasper Roth – and what is she to think when even her toe-rag boyfriend follows her like a lovesick puppy?
But there seems to be more going on wiith the family and tensions boil over when the Earl falls ill.
I’ve never been one for Christmas really, but this year, tried a few things to get myself more into the mood. This included picking out a book that was about Christmas, looked ‘chick lit’ and therefore a very easy read and might make me feel full of a bit of festive cheer. The fact that it was based around food definitely appealed to me too!
Juliet was actually a great character – believable and likeable. Messed up, confused, needy but not a total pushover – you know, like most girls. The rest of the characters, not quite so believable really – very much secondary.
I also had a bit of a problem with the way that so many past events were referred to. I kept checking that Juliet hadn’t already appeared in another book and that this was a later book in the series. It really felt that I should have been aware of what had gone on before (imagine dropping in on Becky for the first time in Shopaholic Ties The Knot).
Enough was explained that you did have the whole story eventually, but it was a little disconcerting to be drip fed the past in that way..
In fact even the start of the story felt like it was a continuation of a scene that I’d just missed.
Don’t get me wrong, as frothy easy-to-read chick-lit goes, it hit the spot. It did what it said on the tin (or the cover). However, part of me wonders whether there is a pre-Christmas Juliet story laying around somewhere!...more
I received this book as an Advance Review Copy in return for an honest review.
A group of Boy Scouts are with their Troop Leader for a fun survival weeI received this book as an Advance Review Copy in return for an honest review.
A group of Boy Scouts are with their Troop Leader for a fun survival weekend on the tiny uninhabited Falstaff Island, just off of Prince Edward Island on the East Canadian coast.
However, survival soon becomes more pertinent, when a haggard stranger appears out of nowhere looking extremely sick – in fact close to death. The ‘close to’ becomes redundant before the night is out, and the boys realise that dealing with his death is the least of the problems, as it is apparent that the cause of his illness is holy unnatural, and a hidden threat to them all.
Will any of the troop manage to escape the island alive?
Billed as ‘Lord Of The Flies’ meets ‘The Ruins’, this sounded a good, old-fashioned horror / thriller.
Cutter managed to give each of the boys enough character to care what happened to them, and be rooting for most of them to survive, but without going into too much boring, irrelevant back-story.
The actual ‘horror’ itself reminded me very much of Infected by Scott Sigler. This is a favourite of mine and my hubby’s. A little bit silly, but toe-curlingly gross-out it in places. There’s nothing worse or more gruesome than a scary monster that you can’t fight as it’s already inside you.
The Troop was a mixture of the ‘live action’, and post-action official reports and articles, giving it a newsy, realistic feel.
Good, dark fun. Easy to read and gave me decent spine-shivers.
The Troop by Nick Cutter will be published on 7th January 2014....more