Books read in September 2015


After You – Jojo Moyes


Lou Clark has lots of questions.

Like how it is she’s ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places.

Or why the flat she’s owned for a year still doesn’t feel like home.

Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago.

And will she ever get over the love of her life.

What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change.

Then, one night, it does.

But does the stranger on her doorstep hold the answers Lou is searching for – or just more questions?

Close the door and life continues: simple, ordered, safe.

Open it and she risks everything.

But Lou once made a promise to live. And if she’s going to keep it, she has to invite them in . . .

All Of The Above – James Dawson


When sixteen-year-old Toria Bland arrives at her new school she needs to work out who her friends are, all in a crazy whirl of worry, exam pressure and anxiety over fitting in. Things start looking up when Toria meets the funny and foul-mouthed Polly, who’s the coolest girl Toria has ever seen. Polly and the rest of the ‘alternative’ kids take Toria under their wing. And that’s when she meets the irresistible Nico Mancini, lead singer of a local band – and it’s instalove at first sight! Toria likes Nico, Nico likes Toria . . . but then there’s Polly.

Love and friendship have a funny way of going round in circles.

Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling


Mindy Kaling has found herself at a turning point. So in Why Not Me?, she shares her ongoing journey to find fulfilment and adventure in her adult life, be it falling in love at work, seeking new friendships inunlikely places, or attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behaviour modification whatsoever.

In “How to Look Spectacular”, she reveals her tongue-in-cheek solutions for guaranteed on-camera beauty. “Player” tells the story of Mindy being seduced, then dumped, by a female friend in LA. And in “Soup Snakes”, she spills some secrets on her relationship with ex-boyfriend and close friend, B. J. Novak.

Mindy has put the anxieties, the glamour and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into this book, to which anyone can relate. (And, if they can’t, they can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.)

Book of the Month:

Hanya Yanagihara-A Little Life

I enjoyed all the books I read this month especially All Of The Above, which is a great contemporary YA novel set in the UK but for my book of the month, I had to pick the 700 page epic A Little Life. Here’s what it’s about:

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is an immensely powerful and heartbreaking novel of brotherly love and the limits of human endurance.

When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome – but that will define his life forever.

The first thing to say about this book is not everyone is going to want to read this. Based on reviews I’ve seen, it’s a Marmite book. It’s an epic read and it’s one of the darkest and saddest books I’ve ever read. Seriously, it will break your heart. I’m still devastated about it!

This book is so emotive, you care so much about the characters and the author really puts them through hell. It deals with some pretty tough subjects such as child abuse and for this reason, it’s hard to say that I liked this book but I admire it a lot. It’s compelling and I found it brilliantly written with such well-drawn characters that at one point, I threw the book down unable to bear what was happening to them. I picked it back up again though. I couldn’t stop thinking about the book and hoping that things would turn out okay. I think the book had to end how it ended but I’m still upset about it.

So, I’ve never read anything like this book before. However, I won’t recommended it to everyone because of the subjects it deals with and how difficult it is to read about them. I think reading the blurb and reviews will help you decide if it’s for you or not. And if you do read it, just have a light-hearted book ready to pick up when you’re done!

Has anyone else read these books? What did you think?



Come and see me over at Goodreads!


Sunday Songs

I’ve decided to stop my Sunday Songs post as I now spend most of my music time over on Spotify.

But don’t worry you can see what I’m listening to by following me over there!

I have a Current Faves playlist, which will work like this post did by listing the new music I’ve found and what I’m loving right now. Follow the playlist here:

I’ll also be uploading playlists for all my books and coming soon a Christmas playlist!

You can also check out my playlist of Theme Songs – if you any suggestions for me let me know and see if they added:

Who else is on Spotify?




Journey to Publication (part 2)


Since we last caught up with my journey I have been working on copy edits for my novel The Second Love Of My Life. I’ve just sent them back to my publisher Headline. The edits pretty much focused on grammar mistakes, spelling, repetition of words and making sure each sentence flowed correctly with commas and so on.

I’ve also visited the London offices of Headline to meet with my editor, agent and publicist to talk through publicity ideas for the novel and meet all the team. I also got to see their roof garden, which provides an amazing view of London:


Here I am up there with my lovely editor Emily:


But the most exciting development since we my first journey to publication post has been my cover reveal! I was so grateful to book blogger Sharon for exclusively revealing the cover for me on her blog.

Seeing the cover was probably the most exciting and nerve wracking part of the journey for me and I was thrilled that Headline produced such a gorgeous cover for me. I think they got the tone of the novel spot on with it and I think it will stand out really well in bookshops – it’s the kind of cover that would catch my eye.

What do you think??


I hope you guys love it as much as I do!

Don’t you can pre-order the paperback or e-book now on Amazon.co.uk or from Waterstones and check it out on Goodreads.com!






I saw this quote online and I just loved it instantly. I remember how hard it was to start telling people that I was writer who was writing a novel and who wanted to have it published one day. I remember the fear that came with declaring myself to people I know and then people I just met.

I still get nervous saying the words “I’m a writer”. I think it’s because in saying it we are revealing a large piece of ourselves. We write because we are passionate about it, writing is part of our hearts and souls, writing is part of a dream we may have had since we were little and to tell people about it is a really big deal. There is also the fear of how people will react. Often the words are followed by a lot of questions – what do you write? Would I have read anything you’ve written? Do you have an agent? Do you have a book deal? Are you the next JK Rowling? etc.

We experience so much self-doubt in our writing that talking about it is difficult. We lack confidence generally as writers and telling people who we are and what we do requires a leap of faith in that moment – it requires us to confidently declare ourselves and that’s hard.

But I agree with this quote that by declaring ourselves we put ourselves on the path we need to be on. By telling first yourself then others you will start to believe it, and will work harder to achieve the goals you have as a writer. People will ask you where you are on your journey (hopefully supportively!) but it’s not about pleasing them but pleasing yourself.

I see a lot of bios on social media using the words ‘aspiring writer’ and I long to message the person and tell them if you write, you’re a writer – do not aspire to it, be it, live it and be proud of it. But I’m pretty sure I used those very words myself at one time. Choosing the life of a writer is choosing an uncertain life – there will be ups and downs, there will be fear and rejection, there will be difficult questions, there will be times you want to give up but hopefully you will see your dreams come true and the journey to get there will be a worthwhile one.

Not many people get to live their dream so if your dream was to be a writer and you’re writing then be proud as hell because you’ve made your dream come true.

No matter what your goal as a writer is – to write 1,000 words, to finish a book, to find an agent, and so on – it begins with saying those four words:


Are you??




Books read in August 2015


We Never Asked For Wings – Vanessa Diffenbaugh 


 How far would you go for your children?

Would you lie for them? Flee with them? Let someone else mother them if you thought they would do a better job?

As a single parent, Letty does everything for her two children – apart from raise them. Being a mother terrifies her more than she can admit, and so she’s always let her mother take that role. When Maria Elena ups and leaves, however, Letty has to confront her fears and become the parent she doesn’t think she can be.

Even as she tries to give her children a future, Letty’s teenage son, Alex, struggles to forgive his mother for choices she made in the past. But he and Letty are not so dissimilar, and both are prepared to risk everything for those they love.

Did I Mention I Love You? – Estelle Maskame


When sixteen-year-old Eden Munro agrees to spend the summer with her estranged father in the beachfront city of Santa Monica, California, she has no idea what she s letting herself in for. Eden’s parents are divorced and have gone their separate ways, and now her father has a brand new family. For Eden, this means she’s about to meet three new step-brothers. The eldest of the three is Tyler Bruce, a troubled teenager with a short temper and a huge ego. Complete polar opposites, Eden quickly finds herself thrust into a world full of new experiences as Tyler’s group of friends take her under their wing. But the one thing she just can’t understand is Tyler, and the more she presses to figure out the truth about him, the more she finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn’t her step-brother. Throw in Tyler’s clingy girlfriend and a guy who has his eyes set on Eden, and there’s secrets, lies and a whole lot of drama. But how can Eden keep her feelings under control? And can she ever work out the truth about Tyler?

And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie


Ten strangers, apparently with little in common, are lured to an island mansion off the coast of Devon by the mysterious U.N.Owen. Over dinner, a record begins to play, and the voice of an unseen host accuses each person of hiding a guilty secret. That evening, former reckless driver Tony Marston is found murdered by a deadly dose of cyanide.

The tension escalates as the survivors realise the killer is not only among them but is preparing to strike again… and again…

Looking For Alaska- John Green


“If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.”

Miles Halter’s whole life has been one big non-event, until he meets Alaska Young.

Gorgeous, clever and undoubtedly screwed-up, Alaska draws Miles into her reckless world and irrevocably steals his heart. For Miles, nothing can ever be the same again.

‘Looking for Alaska’ brilliantly captures the exquisite painful joy of living and loving. Poignant, funny, heartbreaking and compelling, this novel will stay with you forever.

The Queen Of The Tearling – Erika Johansen


Kelsea Glynn is the sole heir to the throne of Tearling but has been raised in secret after her mother – a monarch as vain as she was foolish – was murdered for ruining her kingdom. For 18 years, the Tearling has been ruled by Kelsea’s uncle in the role of Regent however he is but the debauched puppet of the Red Queen, the sorceress-tyrant of neighbouring realm of Mortmesme. On Kelsea’s nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of her mother’s guard – each pledged to defend the queen to the death – arrive to bring this most un-regal young woman out of hiding…

And so begins her journey back to her kingdom’s heart, to claim the throne, win the loyalty of her people, overturn her mother’s legacy and redeem the Tearling from the forces of corruption and dark magic that are threatening to destroy it. But Kelsea’s story is not just about her learning the true nature of her inheritance – it’s about a heroine who must learn to acknowledge and live with the realities of coming of age in all its insecurities and attractions, alongside the ethical dilemmas of ruling justly and fairly while simply trying to stay alive…

Book of the month:

The Humans – Matt Haig



After an ‘incident’ one wet Friday night where Professor Andrew Martin is found walking naked through the streets of Cambridge, he is not feeling quite himself. Food sickens him. Clothes confound him. Even his loving wife and teenage son are repulsive to him. He feels lost amongst a crazy alien species and hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton, and he’s a dog.

What could possibly make someone change their mind about the human race. . . ?

I loved this book – a quirky story of an alien who takes over the identity of a maths professor who has made a discovery that the human race isn’t ready for. At first, he finds us confusing but as he spends more time as a human, he begins to understand and even starts to like us a little bit too. Especially the family dog.

This book made me laugh out loud at times and the ending made me cry! I loved the voice of the alien and the way he examines human beings and ultimately has to decide whether to go back to his alien world or continue to live as one of us on Earth. I haven’t read anything like it before and would really recommend it. I shall definitely be reading more Matt Haig in the future too!

What has been your favourite book this month?




The literary agent question

In my Journey To Publication post I asked if anyone had any questions about the publishing process and I would try to answer them in a future post. I was asked what was the first step I took to find a literary agent so I will answer that here for you.


The first step to finding a literary agent is be as ready as you can be. What I mean by that is you should have finished your novel and edited it as much as you can to make it as good as possible. An agent wants to see a finished and polished manuscript so don’t rush into submitting if your book isn’t ready.

If you have a finished and polished manuscript, then the next thing to do is research. Google is your friend. As is Twitter. I also bought a copy of Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook which lists literary agents and publishers and gives advice on submitting. Research what agents represent the genre of your book – you don’t want to send a sci-fi only agent your romance novel. A great resource are published books – check the acknowledgements of writers in your genre and see who their agent is. Agents are generally pretty active on Twitter  too so you can find them on there and see what their tastes are (do not pitch them on there unless they say you can though!)

Once you have a list of agents looking for similar books to what you’ve written then you can submit to them. In the UK, most agents want a covering letter, your first three chapters and a synopsis but always go to their website and check what they want. If you do not submit according to their guidelines they are likely to auto-reject your book. There are a lot of online resources at your disposable to help you write a covering letter and synopsis – make sure these as great as your book itself!

Unfortunately, there is no secret to finding an agent. I did the above and found an agent. There are sometimes other routes, such as meeting an agent at a conference, but this is the typical process. I didn’t know anyone in publishing. I submitted my book for both my first and current agent to a stranger who judged it solely on its own merits. So, the best advice I can give to finding an agent is to focus on your book. Work on it until it’s as good as you think it can be – use beta readers to give you feedback, check it for errors, read it aloud, read other books in the same genre – and then start thinking about finding an agent.

And remember you will get rejections! I submitted two books to agents and both were rejected. It was my third book that found me representation, but it was my fourth that got a book deal. It can be a long process but if your dream is to have a book published then don’t give up. Don’t be discouraged if your first try doesn’t nab you an agent.

But, it just might.

Do you guys have any advice you want to share on how to find an agent?

And if you have any more questions about publishing, pop them in the comments for me to answer!




Sunday Songs

Songs I’ve been playing this week:

Denmark + Winter – We Gotta Get Out Of This Place

Birdy – Light Me Up

Delta Goodrem – Wings

Hailee Seinfeld – Love Myself

Natalie Imruglia – Instant Crush

Sheppard – Geronimo

Sarah Blaine – Never Get to Heaven

The Neighbourhood – RIP To My Youth

Post your music recs in the comments!