Here are the books I read in July! I only managed four after the massive Outlander last month threw me off:
I had wanted to read We Were Liars for ages and I love this special edition hardback copy. It’s a gripping YA read with a hyped twist and the storytelling is very original – worth picking up.
I also enjoyed Cathy Bramley’s cosy Plumberry School Of Comfort Food. It was a pure comfort read perfect for curling up with.
I wasn’t 100% sold on Miss You as I didn’t really like the male lead in it. It has similar premise to One Day so I think I was subconsciously comparing the two, and I loved One Day, so maybe that’s why.
My favourite book this month was the wonderful Eligible which is modern twist on Pride and Prejudice. I actually don’t always enjoy updates of Austen but this one somehow kept the spirit and romance of the original but was completely contemporary and felt like a story in its own right too. I raced through it and would definitely recommend it!
What did you enjoy reading this month?
This post is later than I had planned because near the end of June I started to read Outlander and wow it’s a LONG book! But I decided to finish it and include in the June pile as I was really enjoying it. Now I’ll be reading less than usual in July – maybe I’ll pick the shortest books on the TBR pile though.
So this month I read two proofs that were sent to me by publishers – Truth or Dare which was an enjoyable teen book about a girl and boy who start a truth or dare YouTube channel to raise funds for his sick brother. How To Stop Time was a clever and moving story of a man who has a condition that means he ages super slowly and how he has to hide his secret from the world. I really enjoyed this one and it’s going to be a film staring Benndict Cumberbatch which I think will be brill.
My next read was a bargain supermarket buy and was a moving women’s fiction story based on a real life singer who had cystic fibrosis called A Song For Tomorrow.
But my choice for book of the month for June is Outlander. I’ve had this on my shelf for ages after buying it for £1 from a clearance box. I saw adverts for the TV series and thought it was about time I read it.
It’s a real romp of a book. Claire finds herself swept from 1940’s Scotland back in time to the 1700’s and has to try to survive in a time where superstition and violence run riot. It’s a massive book and it immediately transports you back in time and really evokes what life was like in the Highlands back then. Key to the story though is the romance Claire has with a young Scot called Jamie despite being married in her own time.
This book was a total guilty pleasure. Full of sex and violence, it’s no wonder it’s been such a best seller and I was completely drawn into Claire’s journey and swooned over Jamie with her. I will have to read the sequels and try the TV show too.
What did you enjoy reading in June? Any recommends for me? Are you an Outlander fan?
This month I neglected my pile of non-fiction books and read five novels instead. Two were books that I’ve been meaning to read for years – The Secret Life of Bees and When God Was A Rabbit, which I read along with thriller I Found You, the YA story The One Memory of Flora Banks and the black comedy serial killer book Sweetpea so a diverse mix for sure!
I love reading a mix of genres but I do have a big soft spot for coming-of-age stories so I knew that I’d enjoy The Secret Life Of Bees but my favourite read this month was this one:
When God Was A Rabbit is a quirky, moving and almost fairy-tale like coming-of-age novel about a brother and sister growing up in 70’s England. The first part is their childhood then we jump into their twenties and follow their story as adults. The book is both funny and sad and the voice of Elly pulled me in from the first page. I just loved this quirky family and their ups and downs and could have read about them until they were eighty. I will definitely pick up the author’s other books now. Definitely one for my top books list.
What did you love reading this month?
I finally watched La La Land the other day and I loved it but particularly because I empathised so much with the two main characters who are in LA to make their dreams come true – one wants to be an actress and the other wants to own his own jazz club. Like most people with big dreams, they are struggling and are ready to give up when they meet.
When I was watching the film I actually asked my mum “do you think it’s better to have a dream but struggle to make it come true or not to have a dream to begin with?” The question hung over me all night. I don’t think there is a right answer. Like most things in life the grass probably seems greener on whichever side you’re not on.
I admire everyone who tries to make their dreams come true particularly in the creative world I find myself dreaming in because the struggle is actually real. It’s far easier to give up, to move on and try something else but then you’d have to live with the frustrating “what if?” question – what if I had kept trying?
The film deals with this question and the sacrifices you might have to make on your journey. I cried at the end of it. Sometimes a film feels like it speaks just to you. I was having a writer wobble when I watched it. It reminded me that for better or worse I am a fool with a dream. I will never know if I would be happier without my dream but I do know that giving up on it would make me unhappy.
Once you have a dream it’s hard to shake off. We will struggle and we will fail and we will have those wobbles and wonder if we’re crazy to want to keep living this life. And yes I think we probably are! But we dust ourselves off and we keep on trying and keep on believing because we know that making our dreams come true is the journey we are supposed to make.
Once you start dreaming it’s almost impossible to stop. There are always new obstacles to overcome, new ideas to inspire you, and the determination to stay where you want to be when you do make your dream come true. Once a dreamer, always a dreamer perhaps. I quite like this idea because then it is about the journey we go on and not just all about the destination. Maybe it doesn’t matter if you make all your dreams come true, it’s enough to have them and keep on working towards them.
I always come back to my favourite quote said by Walt Disney that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It” and I hope it’s true. That those of us who have a dream have it because we can make it happen. Even if it does drive us a little bit crazy.
Do you think it’s better to have a dream but struggle to make it come true or not to have a dream to begin with?
Scrolling through Twitter yesterday I saw a lot of tweets talking about writing every day in response to another article about the subject. I’ve read so many articles about how you have to write every day. They often say things like “if you want to be a REAL writer, you must write everyday” and make you full of self doubt if you don’t write the same way they do.
I really hope most of the articles deliberately exaggerate for the sake of a good headline / quote / tweet or to get us all taking because the idea that if you don’t conform to certain rules you can’t possibly dare call yourself a writer is just funny to me. There is no right way to write. There is no right way to be a writer. Otherwise we’d all be bestselling literary superstars living in mansions and sipping champagne.
Being a writer isn’t easy. You can write as a hobby or as your job or both and some days you will likely struggle but you’ll also have better days and be filled with passion and joy. Most of us write because we love it. We might not have the time or space to write every day. We might not want to do this. Most people have days off from work. Most people see this as a good thing. Even if you love what you do we all need time away from it. We need to recharge, relax and breathe and experience other things. These other things might even end up inspiring our writing.
The problem with writing tips is they become rules and you end worrying that if you do something different to them then you will fail. I don’t think there are any rules to writing. Everyone approaches writing differently as they approach their job, their relationships, and their life. Most professions will have hundreds of people doing them and all of them doing it slightly differently. We all have quirks and flourishes and life would be pretty boring otherwise.
I suppose because writing can be so be tough especially on the road to being published, we’d all love to discover a shortcut, a sneaky guide to how to get there faster or with less pain, and that’s why writers will always be asked for their tips on how to write. But that’s all they are. Tips. Advice. An idea you can try if you like. Something that works for that particular person. But it should never be seen as a rule.
I don’t believe that anyone has discovered a perfect way to write or a perfect way to be a writer. Writing is a creative pastime and we all need to create the way that works best for us. Writing is messy and infuriating and fun and challenging and freeing and some days you might love it or hate it, you might sit at your laptop or want to run and hide from it. But you always come back to it. Because you have to write.
Carry on doing it your way.
You’re a writer.
And so am I.
How do you feel when you read writing tips? Do you think you have to write every day to be a writer?
Another month over – how are we in May already?! I only read four books this month mainly because one of them was really long and recovering from my thyroid treatment I went on a Netflix binge and didn’t read as much as I thought I would.
The Bone Season has sat on my shelf for so long I thought it was time I read it – another two books in the series are already out but it was long and slower paced than I thought it would be. I enjoyed it but maybe I’m too used to faster moving YA fantasies.
The first book I read this month is the second novel by Girl on the Train bestseller Paula Hawkins. There are a lot of points of view at the start of this book which made it harder to get into it and I had to keep checking who people were but it’s an interesting thriller and keeps you guessing about whodunnit.
Hot Mess was a proof sent by the publisher and it’s not released until July. This was a really fun book and being nearly thirty and single and will definitely appeal to fans of Bridget Jones and Sex and the City.
My favourite read this month though was The Power. It’s a literary international thriller about what happens when woman suddenly develop an electrical charge that can hurt or even kill, and suddenly women are in control. It’s a really interesting and compelling book with lots of action and ideas you’ll want to think hard about. It’s dark and disturbing and really hard to put down.
What have you guys enjoyed reading this month?
My debut novel The Second Love Of My Life was first published here in the UK a year ago today! It was a dream come true to hold the book in my hands and see it on the book shelves. And it still is.
I still receive messages from readers who have enjoyed the book and that is always the most wonderful feeling. Getting published was a long journey for me, and for most writers, so knowing the book has found a place in someone’s heart just makes it all worthwhile.
I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who got a copy and supported the book’s release (and who are still supporting it and me!). Being a writer can be lonely sometimes and it’s easy to doubt yourself so knowing that someone has enjoyed your book is a huge boost and you guys have put a smile on my face so many times since publication.
Lots of love and hugs,