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Books read in February 2017

First of all – happy World Book Day everyone! A perfect day to look back on the books I read in February I think.

  

It wasn’t a bumper book month for me. I was concentrating on editing my own book but I managed to read three novels and one non-fiction – a humorous self-help guide. 
  
My favourite of the books I read is this little gem. It’s not released until May but a proof arrived at work and I’m so happy it did!

  

I don’t want to talk too much about it as it’s one of those books that you should just read and fall in love with but essentially it’s about a woman called Eleanor who lives a lonely life in Scotland and how she comes to terms with her past and opens up her heart finally. It’s almost a coming of age novel although she’s grown up. 

It’s funny in places and so moving in others and I had tears in my eyes at the end. It’s really original especially Eleanor’s voice and I hope it finds lots of readers when it’s published.

What book did you love this month?

Victoria 

xoxo 

2

Celebrating the small (and the big!)

  
I was wondering what to post next in my Year Of Positivity series when it was announced that my debut novel The Second Love Of My Life has been shortlisted for an award! It is shortlisted for The 2017 Contemporary Romantic Novel Award by The Romantic Novelists Association. Here’s the announcement in The Bookseller: 

http://www.thebookseller.com/news/rna-shortlists-480346

It got me thinking that celebrating positive news should be mandatory. And we shouldn’t just stick to “big” things but all positive moments can be marked in some way. At the very least we should recognise them if we are hoping to keep a positive mindset. It’s so easy to just think about and remember and go over the bad bits of our day that we can forget all the times we smiled during it. 

I am thrilled that my novel has been recognised in some way. It makes me remember that my novel is out there in the world and people can still discover it, and hopefully enjoy it too. It’s also a lovely acknowledgment of all the hard work I put into the story plus I get to go a ceremony in London next month and hopefully raise a glass of bubbly to the characters I spent so much time with.

I’m the midst of polishing a new story and it’s forever tricky for me to be confident with my writing and not let the self-doubt monster suck me into its clutches so I took a moment today to remind myself that I wrote a novel that not only was published but has found some readers who fell in love with the story, and I should never lose sight of that.

Celebrating all the moments that put a smile on our faces should be a big part of our year of positivity. I am going to really try to make sure I do this and try to find some time in each day to recognise everything good that happened. 

What has happened to you today that you’re going to celebrate?

Victoria 

xoxo 

1

Books read in January 2017

A new year means new books hurrah! I want to read a few more nonfiction books this year as well as my usual pile of novels, and I’ve made a start on that this month.

Here are all the books I read in January. The novels are on the left and the non-fiction on the right.

  
On the non-fiction front, I finally read The Secret to help with my year of positivity. The main premise is that you can have anything you want if you ask the universe for it and really believe you’re going to get it, even act as if you already have it. I’m trying to keep all my goals in mind and believe they are going to be achieved. 

  
I also read Capture Your Style, which is written by Aimee Song who has a huge Instagram following. It’s all about how to create a great Instagram and I picked up some helpful tips. Have a look at mine and tell me what you think! (https://instagram.com/p/BP53xQKAKDJ/)

I read some great novels this month. There was a thriller theme to my reading as you can see – just one romance read. The Roanoke Girls is a controversial book that I’ve seen talked about a lot online and a proof came into the bookshop, which I read and I was gripped all the way through.

  
My favourite book this month though was The Trap by Melanie Raabe. It’s about a reclusive author who sees the man she thinks killed her sister years ago on TV. She decides to write a novel based on the murder and invite him to her house to interview her. I am always intrigued when the main character is a writer and thought this book was really cleverly done, and I couldn’t put it down! Definitely recommended.

Have you guys read any good books this month? Do you try to mix up novels and non-fiction?

Victoria

xoxo 

4

Books read July – December 2016

Earlier last year I posted all the books I had read during the first six months of the year and chose my favourite six (https://victoria-writes.com/2016/07/07/books-read-january-june-2016/) so here is what I read in the second half of the year:

  
  
  
  
  
My six favourites from July to December were:

  
I love Colleen Hoover’s books. I’m always gripped straight away and there’s always a twist to her love stories, often a dark one. 

  
A dark coming-of-age book about two teenage girls who have an intense friendship which spirals out of control. Absorbing and unsettling. Also set in the 1990’s which I loved.

  
A book about a group of friends who are leaving university. We follow them through their lives and the twists and turns of their friendship. A great summer read. 

  
A moving story of a couple who make a decision that will carry many consequences. Set on a remote island where they tend the lighthouse, I was gripped quickly and was left with tears in my eyes.

  
This book started out with a lot of similarities to Twilight except that this is about witchcraft but then the story came into its own and had a great twist leaving me wanting to read the sequel immeadiately. 

  
I loved this true life story of a man whose life was changed by a ginger cat. It’s an easy and moving read and left me with a big smile on my face. I then read the next two books and bought a Bob calendar haha!!

What books stood out for you in 2016? Anything you’d recommend I put on my reading list for this year?

Victoria 

xoxo 

2

Do you care who an author is?Β 

There has been a fierce debate about  whether authors should be as well known as their work after an American journalist claimed to have discovered the true identity of the author using the penname Elena Ferrante. 

  
The author has always guarded their real name and has spoken about wanting the books to speak for themselves. I don’t agree with the article that claims to unmask her. If she wants to remain private, this should be respected. 

Why is there a need to know the author behind the books?

Nowadays authors are expected to be public. Authors are key to the promotion of their books we are told. We should have Twitter accounts and be open to book signings, readings, attending festivals etc. Because it’s so difficult in a crowded market for a book to stand out, authors are encouraged to shout about it themselves. But does knowing an author’s face, background and favourite books make you enjoy their novels even more?

I think books do speak for themselves. Obviously as a writer myself, I am interested in hearing other writers talk about their craft but knowing more about them wouldn’t make me enjoy their book more or less. It can be a bonus sure to converse with a writer you love, and fun to get your book signed by them, but still it’s their book that brought you to them in the first place.

And you can be successful without self-promotion. Look at Elena Ferrante or Suzanne Collins whose Hunger Games series is huge but I know almost nothing about her and she has no social media presence. 

Is it a myth that a more accessible author can make a book more successful? 

I think it comes back to the book itself and whether it connects with readers. Awareness of a book is key, adverts can make it more visible but I don’t think interviews or appearances by an author can make a huge difference. I think if an author enjoys doing them, that’s great, and I personally have loved meeting readers but if you don’t want to do that then you should be allowed to remain private.

We all want readers to connect to our books. Whether you use your real name or a penname, that should be all that matters.

Do you think she should have been unmasked? Should authors be public figures?

Victoria

xoxo 

1

My Favourite Book

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is my all-time favourite book. I have lost count how many times I’ve re-read it and watched the BBC adaptation! I love it so much I just can’t help but buy new editions of it when I spot them.

I just saw this new edition from Macmillan, and nabbed it. I love the gold edges to the paper and its miniature size:

  
It joins my large and rather fancy White’s edition:
   
 And then my Penguin paperback for when I actually want to read it and not just admire on the shelf:

  
I picked up this one this year from Waterstones and it’s a lovely black leather hardback:

  
This caught my eye and had to be added to the collection! There are some lovely pictures to colour alongside quotes from the book:

   
 
I love how there are so many ways to package one book! I think I’ll always be drawn to new editions of this book and it will need a whole shelf to itself soon. 

  
Do you buy new editions of your favourite book? Is there another edition of Pride and Prejuduce I should have?

Victoria

xoxo 

3

Meeting Readers Is My New Favourite Thing

This week, I took part in my first ever author event! I joined authors Sheila O’Flanagan and Jo Thomas at Foyles in Birmingham. Here we are waiting to go on …

  

We started the evening with each of us saying a few words about our books and then we did a short reading. It was my first experience of standing up in front of readers and talking about The Second Love Of My Life. I was quite nervous but the room was full of friendly faces and I actually enjoyed doing my first live reading from the book reading some of chapter one.

  
After we all spoke, there was time for the people who came to ask us questions and then we were able to have a chat and mingle with everyone. It was so wonderful to meet some readers who had read and loved my book and ones that were excited to read it. 

As you all know, I get very excited about books myself so I loved meeting fellow book fans and getting to chat with them. Plus there was wine and cheese, which is always a bonus. 

   
   

It definitely was a night where I felt like a “proper” author, and because most of the time I feel like a massive fraud, it was such good fun. I also got to stay over in Birmingham with my fellow authors and publicist and I’m hoping I will get to do more events like this in the future! 

Thanks so much to Foyles for having us and everyone who came along too. Book people really are the best. 

  
Victoria 

xoxo