What I’ve Been Reading – January 2015

FRIDAY 30th JANUARY 2015

Happy Friday folks!

I’ve managed to take a break from the day job today (I’ve had to wait in for someone from Sky) so it’s meant that I’ve spent all day reading and writing – yey!

This month, I’ve tried to read a bit more than just a couple of chapter’s a night. So instead of watching the TV, I’ve had my head in a book.

January’s reading list has consisted of the following books:

Stephen Booth – Dying To Sin

Paula Daly – Just What Kind Of Mother Are You?

Lee Child – One Shot

Stephen Booth – Dying to SinDying to Sin

Synopsis

For decades, Pity Wood Farm has been a source of employment for poor workers passing through Rakedale, migrants with lives as abject as the labour they sought. But now it seems a worse fate may have befallen some of those who came upon this isolated community.

Routine building work at the farm has unearthed a grisly discovery: a human hand preserved in clay. When police dig up the farmyard, they find not one, but two bodies – and several years between their burials.

With pressure from a new superintendent and scant forensic evidence to aid them, DS Fry and DC Cooper have only the memories of local people to piece together the tragic history of the farm. 

In a case as cold as the ground, Cooper finds himself drawn to a desperate theory: that somewhere, there lies a third body which holds the key to these dreadful crimes.

Thoughts:

I’ve read a Stephen Booth book before – back in October 2011 –  Scared To Live (read blog post here). I’m a scatty reader when it comes to his and James Patterson books. I never seem to read them in the right order in the series. But that’s the beauty of writers like these – they write in such a way that you can just pick up – say book eight – and off you go. No real need to have read the previous book in the series. You get the gist.

For me, Dying To Sin is not one of the fastest paced novels I’ve read – but it’s not the slowest. I know that’s a vague description but that’s how I felt about it – vague. I like Stephen Booth’s style of writing – I really did feel like I was out in the Peak District, shivering with Fry and Cooper as they try to piece together what’s happened. I was a bit slower reading this – I spent most of January with Dying To Sin. It had a slow start and I felt the story went on quite a bit, as if I was waiting for something to happen. But I persevered as I’ve experienced this before with James Patterson’s Beach Road. I didn’t connect with that book to start with and I had similar feelings with Dying To Sin. However, I learnt to always give books the benefit of the doubt – and the last 100 pages of Dying To Sin did pick up pace and did leave me satisfied. But it’s not one of my favourites.

Paula Daly – Just What Kind Of A Mother Are YouPaula Daly Just What

Synopsis

Your friend’s child is missing. It’s your fault.

No family is perfect.

A husband, three children and a full-time job, so many plates to keep spinning.

No wonder you forgot you were supposed to be looking after your friend’s daughter.

But no one has seen her since yesterday.

And she’s not the first to go missing from your small town.

So who’s hiding something?

Thoughts:

I LOVED this book! Unfortunately you will have to wait until next month to hear more about it as Paula Daly has kindly agreed to take part in ‘Cuppa and a Catch-Up’ (thanks Paula!) But all I can say is that this book is on par with when I read The Hunger Games. A real page-turner – I didn’t want to put this one down and it really was a case of ‘just one more chapter’. I started it Saturday and finished it Monday. It’s gripping and it gets inside your head as you think ‘oh god, it could potentially happen.’ I’m not a mother so I can only begin to imagine what it would feel like. But the author brought that all to life for me. I laughed and I cried at this book. I’ve got her next one lined up Keep Your Friends Close (thanks Tammy Exton – check out her blog here).

Lee Child One ShotLee Child – One Shot

Synopsis

Six shots. Five dead.

A heartland city thrown into terror. But within hours the cops have it solved. A slam-dunk case. Apart from one thing. The accused gunman refuses to talk except for a single phrase:

Get Jack Reacher for me.

Reacher lives off the grid. He’s not looking for trouble. But sometimes trouble looks for him. What could connect the ex-military cop to this psychopathic killer?

 

Thoughts:

I’m 198 pages into this book at the moment. I loved the last Lee Child book that I read (Worth Dying For) so when I inherited this book from the Harvey’s, it was a must. Although it’s not as good as Worth Dying For which I couldn’t put down. One Shot I’m not so fussed about. It does have me hooked as to how the story is going to pan out. Lee Child’s style of writing is fast-paced and very visual. A lot happens at the start of the book and he brings this to life very well. Of course, all is not as it seems and Jack Reacher gets called in. That’s when the real mystery starts to unravel. Again I’ll persevere with this one as I may be pleasantly surprised. I think it’s had a hard act to follow when I’ve fallen so deeply in love with Paula Daly’s novel.

On that note, I’ll go and read a couple more pages …

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

Advertisements

The Collected Works of A.J Fikry

 This is a late blog post that I drafted back in May but never got round to publishing. So here it is, when my romance with A.J Fikry began …

 

THURSDAY 15th MAY 2014

As I sit in my kitchen in my pj’s, the door propped open by an awful green chair, and the dregs of the day’s sun tickling my skin – I realise it’s the happiest I’ve felt in a while.

A few contributors to this are the lovely spell of sunny weather combined with a south-facing garden, and a kitchen I can sunbathe in while still wearing pyjamas.

The main contributor is the book.

The Collected Works of A.J Fikry.

Image from Author Gabrielle Zevin website, please click to view more

Image from Author Gabrielle Zevin website, please click to view more

It’s the one book I’ve read since The Hunger Games that has made an impression. It’s opened up a side of me I thought I’d lost. It’s wonderfully clever, thought-provoking and a must read for an avid reader and budding writer.

The flame’s always been there – from picture books to the likes of Peter Rabbit, Caterpillar and other children’s books – particularly a book about a cat and Egypt. The name of that book escapes me as it was so long ago (which later inspired The Ruby of Egypt.)

I’m so content reading this book. It stirs in me that passion for reading and writing that’s been burning since childhood; ignited by Enid Blyton’s Famous Five.

I’m a believer in things happen for a reason and, at a time in my life where I’m feeling lost, A.J Fikry has found me. Although I’m not a mother, my own mother’s intuition (a possible reaction to a recent pitiful/sorrowful blog post) handed me a copy of Psychologies magazine. The timing couldn’t have been better.

The self-help and uplifting mantra articles aside, it also recommends books. The first copy I read recommended A.J. So I downloaded it. I spent all night shift week reading it in between catnaps and sunbathing.

I’ve learnt so much in this book, not only about myself, but about how to write. I’ve also come across a few other books to read among the narrative itself.

I relate to Maya – my back story differs from her – quite the opposite in fact – but nose in books and a love of reading and writing.

It’s struck deep and you always remember a book that affected you and made you think.

I will always remember A.J.

Love Missuswolf xxx

As one Chapter closes on my life, so another opens …

WEDNESDAY 16th JULY 2014

Today, I said farewell (again!) to working in a busy emergency services control room, which has been my ‘day’ job (the role has involved working to a shift pattern) for the past three years.

I was redeployed into this role in May 2011 following deletion of a Project and Performance job that I adored. This meant adapting to a new lifestyle so, to stop myself going stir crazy, I launched myself into the wonderful world of books. I read on every break, during down time on nightshift and on all of my days off. Agents

Books became my comfort blanket.

In August 2011, four months into the job, I went for a lovely lunch with my American friend, Charity. Over fizz and food in Bar Luga, we discussed our shared interests; reading, writing and photography.

Charity

Picture from Facebook by Eric Fritschi

It was Charity who suggested that I set up a blog and pointed me in the direction of WordPress. After sitting on this suggestion for a few days, I finally took the plunge.

Missuswolf’s StoryLand was born.

It’s strange how some people come into your life and have a profound effect. Charity lives on the other side of the world and I see her once a year if I’m lucky. That date back in August 2011 was definitely one of those clichéd life-changers.

So here I am, nearly three years later, a happy blogger.

Editing2Alas, the frustration and anger from being redeployed wasn’t wasted; I took that pent up negativity and set up my Novel Project 2012. In January and February 2012, I wrote my recession based chick-lit novel, which is still in the heavy editing stages and undergoing a title change.

September 2011 saw me join Melissa Foster’s Awesome Support Team, where I’ve met a solid support network of like-minded people from across the globe.

In December 2011, I polished off a children’s story that I had written the previous summer and self published it.

Ruby of Egypt Cover 2013

The Ruby of Egypt was born.

I introduced a weekly Author Interview feature on my blog ‘Cuppa and a Catch-Up’.

Cuppa and a Catch up pic

In March 2014, I set up self-employed as freelance writer and I’m now ghost-writing a historic novel.

Freelance Bus Cards

As I look back on the last three years, as tough as they have been, it’s only fuelled my determination to do what I love.

And perseverance certainly pays off.

Tonight, one chapter closes on a section of my life. It’s been a tough one, but one I will no doubt look back on in my later years with a fondness. It’s been a character building chapter.

Tomorrow, I wake up to a whole new chapter. A Project Manager job that I have always wanted and back in the ‘real world’, a Monday to Friday nine-til-fiver. Oh, and my first drinks evening networking for Engage Magazine. Another positive to come out of the last three years.

As I close one chapter tonight, I will sleep well knowing that although the road was rocky, I never gave up – that I found my inner strength and determination to lead me to this cliff-hanger where I’m desperate to turn the page …

Good night readers.

Love a very happy Missuswolf xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book A Day Challenge UK: Day 30 – Would save if my house burned down

MONDAY 30th JUNE 2014

Today’s #BookADayUK is the final one (sob!) – the book I would save if my house burned down.

For starters, I hope my house never burns down.

Secondly, I can’t choose.

This one is a bit of a cop-out  as I can’t decide which actual book I would save.

My Beloved Kindle

Therefore, I choose to rescue my beloved Kindle. It houses a lot of books that have featured on my blog over the past month – and so much more.

There you have it. Book A Day is now complete.

I have truly enjoyed this challenge; it’s re-enforced how much I do love books, re-ignited my love for forgotten treasures and created a re-read list.

I’ve made some lovely connections along the way and conversed with people who share my passion for reading.

Here’s to the next #BookADayUK

Love Missuswolf xxx 

Book A Day Challenge UK: Day 28 – Bought at my favourite independant bookstore – Barter Books

SATURDAY 28th JUNE 2014

Today’s #BookADayUK is one that was bought at my favourite independent bookstore.

Four Past Midnight by Stephen King.

Four past midnight

You may notice that this is a repeat from Day 11 – second-hand bookshop gem.

Barter Books 2

I purchased this from my Barter Books in Alnwick and, despite having only visited the once, it is most definitely my favourite independent bookstore.

Barter Books

 

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

 

Book A Day Challenge UK: Day 22 – Out of Print – Point Horror Books

SUNDAY 22nd JUNE 2014

Today’s #BookADayUK  is out of print.

The Point Horror Books.

Point Horror

 

These were a must-read as a teen – a mild introduction to the horror genre.

Exquisitely American in their context, the books not only tell a tale of horror,  they represent the anxieties and difficulty of being a teen in general.

Although the books went out of print in 2005, word (and by that I mean Wikipedia) has it that Scholastic printed a couple of books in 2013 and 2014.

These could be added to my October Halloween themed reading list.

Oh yes, I do like a seasonal reading list …

Love Missuswolf xxx

Book A Day Challenge UK: Day 17 – A Future Classic – The Collected Works of A.J.Fikry

TUESDAY 17th JUNE 2014

Today’s #BookADayUK is a future classic.

The Collected Work’s of A.J.Fikry.

Image from Author Gabrielle Zevin website, please click to view more

Image from Author Gabrielle Zevin website, please click to view more

I know this is the second mention of Gabrielle Zevin’s book in my #BookADayUK  – it’s just that this book has buried itself so deeply in my mind that it makes it impossible for me to get over.

A beautiful story that book lovers will adore and I will definitely be reading this for years to come.

A future classic.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Monday Morning: New Week, New Book

MONDAY 14th APRIL 2014

Good Morning folks! Did you have a good weekend?

Martina Cole

 

I finished reading Martina Cole’s ‘Hard Girls’ last Thursday and read Chrissie Parker’s ‘Integrate’ over the weekend, so I’m now looking for what to read next. I have a study stocked with books, a Kindle full of downloads and a locker at work bursting at the seams. So I’m spoilt for choice.

Integrate_SMALL

I hope you’re all as happy as you can be, for a Monday morning I suppose.

You see, as I’m a shift worker in the day job, I never have that Monday morning feeling. Some people may consider that a good thing, however I would rather experience the dread of dragging myself out of bed early on a Monday than the inconsistent life that shift work brings. It can be lonely at times so it’s no wonder I bury my head in books.

My intention wasn’t to start Monday with a negative post. The point I’m getting at is that my unhappiness at my lifestyle at the moment is what spurs me on to change it and no-one can do that but me.

I turned thirty this year and with that it brought all the usual nostalgia of where I am in my life and where I want to be blah blah blah.

And I’ve been stuck in this place for far longer than I intended.

Plus I had a bad experience with back pain a couple of weeks ago, which really frightened me, so I’m looking at what changes I can make in my life to improve it.

So I see every Monday as a positive – it brings a fresh start with brand new opportunities. All across thecoffee and cream North East offices are now springing into life, bustling with staff exchanging weekend escapades with their co-workers by the coffee machine, delaying the inevitable retreat to their desk.

And that is good news for people like myself who are looking to change their career. Monday brings the possibility of new plans, ideas and regeneration in a business which may provide that career move I’ve been searching for. To me, Monday is a day of eager anticipation of a brand new working week.

It’s undoubtedly time for a change and one of these days, I will be back in the rat race; the stressful drive to work in rush hour, the hustle and bustle of an office environment and the Monday Morning feeling eventually merging  into that Fabulous Friday Feeling. I’ve discovered I’m very much a routine person and I’m not sure if that’s a sign of age or I have some form of OCD.

study2You get one life and it’s too short to spend it being miserable. Sure, we all have to earn a living but sometimes it becomes an unhealthy lifestyle.  I’ve learnt to do what you love so in-between searching for my next move,  I will continue to blog, write and lose myself in books; something that is consistent and that I know I will do for the rest of my life. Hell one day it would be amazing if that was my day job.

But until then, I continue with my mission to find a new job. However I just need to decide what book to read next …

Love Missuswolf xxx

Holiday Book Samples – For You!

WEDNESDAY 14th NOVEMBER 2012

 

Books make terrific holiday gifts, but finding perfect books for friends and family is always a challenge. If only we could flip through a few sample pages on our own schedules. If only the bookstore could come to us. Well guess what readers, we’re doing just that!

 Twelve amazing authors have come together to offer you an amazing opportunity to sample their latest novels just in time for the holidays—12 awesome samples and quirky holiday-themed interviews in one FREE downloadable PDF.

 Whether you like to read mysteries, romance, young adult, women’s fiction, or suspense—this group has a book for you.

 First Snow – Christine Cunningham
After The Fog – -Kathleen Shoop
A Charming Crime –  Tonya Kappes
Come Back To Me – Melissa Foster
Read Me Dead – Emerald Barnes
The Halo Effect – MJ Rose
Dancing Naked In Dixie – Lauren Clark
The Last Supper Catering Company – Michaelene McElroy
The Hurricane Lover – Joni Rodgers
The Hounding – Sandra de Helen
Milkshake – Joanna Weiss
The Ninth Step – Barbara Taylor Sissel

Each excerpt is prefaced by information about the book and its author. Concluding each excerpt is an order page with clickable links to several online retailers
You can download the PDF “Holiday Sampler” here http://bit.ly/eBookSamples, and share it with friends by sending them this link: http://bit.ly/eBookSamples.

So go ahead and sample these fantastic novels from amazing writers! And don’t forget to help spread the word!

Happy holidays and happy reading!

Love Missuswolf xxx

The Brightest Star in The Sky – Marian Keyes

SUNDAY 15th JANUARY 2012 – WEE SMALL HOURS

 

I got this book for Christmas from the hubby after I wrote it on my ‘Christmas Ideas’ list for him whilst, unbeknown to me, he had ideas to get me a Kindle. I still got this book alongside the Kindle and decided this would be my ‘bedside’ read; whilst the Kindle would be my ‘Portable’ read.

However, this soon turned into a ‘portable’ read as I couldn’t bear to tear myself away from it. During a quiet late (well half night shift) at work I managed to finish this.

Wow, is really how I would sum this book up.

Extremely thought-provoking and, at the risk of sounding cheesy, i genuinely got goosebumps on reading the last page.

It focuses on the lives of people who live in a Georgian house in Dublin that is converted into flats. There is a mysterious force present throughout the book which is a page turner in itself as I was dying  to know what that was.

The characters are so well written and so distinct; such as I could visualise and actually feel the strength of stroppy Lydia’s character.

It is so cleverly written, with the chapters being a countdown to an unknown event (pageturner reason 2) that I was again desperate to find out  what it was.

The chapters are fast paced and flick between the lives of all these people, at times intertwining them, which makes for interesting reading as you are never left bored – it carries the story at such a good pace and Marian Keyes cleverly drops subtle hints here and there that I reflected back on once  had finished.

I was desperate to know what happened to the characters, why they behaved they did, what had got them to this stage of their lives (pageturner reason 3).

It answers all questions that I had built up along the way and, as described by many a critic and I am certainly in agreement, ‘hilarious yet heartbreaking’. Touching on sensitive issues with care and respect, yet using words to make it a tangle of light-heartedness, positiveness and humour. Always look on the bright side of life.

An amazing book to read, such a fantastic idea and angle to write from. It was the best hand-held book to kick-start the year off with a theme that was so fitting (don’t want to elaborate as I will give too much away).

Having read her previous books, all of which I have throughly enjoyed and loved, this alongside ‘Anybody Out There’ (which made me SOB!) are my favourites.

Marian Keyes is one of my favourite authors, I love her humoured, chatty, fast paced style and she never fails to disappoint and manages to make me laugh and cry with her magical dance 0f words.

A must read.

Love Missuswolf xxx

%d bloggers like this: