Some very good news for A Class Apart

I have a confession to make. Thrilled as I was to see everyone spreading the news of the launch of A Class Apart, it also made me really nervous – people were sharing it without knowing whether it was any good at all. What if they ended up not liking it? What if they read the first page and thought it was terrible? After the high of the launch, the crushing self-doubt seriously kicked in.

Then the feedback started to trickle in and – to this author’s unspeakable relief – the reactions have been positive! I am so delighted to hear that readers are genuinely enjoying my book. It is the best feeling in the world to know that Continue reading

Outlander: a series that has impacted on me like no other

Quite the bold statement to make but I mean it. The books I am about to discuss have significantly changed me, both in how I read and how I write.

I first discovered Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series in September 2015 after I went onto a Facebook group and asked for recommendations for a good historical romance on audiobook. I wanted a decent series to while away the hours on my daily commute to work. My everlasting gratitude goes out to the person who suggested Outlander! I started into the first audiobook that September and now, in March 2018, have just completed the eighth book in the series. My verdict? It’s one of Continue reading

I devoured this book – but did I actually like it?

Regular readers of this blog will know that I’m a historical fiction nut – anything set more recently than seventy years ago just doesn’t hold as much of an attraction for me. So it may come as a surprise that I’ve actually read a book that was written, published and set in the current decade. This constitutes a radical departure from my normal reading material but it was gifted to me during the summer and, after stalling on another book, I decided to give it a go.

It’s called Conversations With Friends by Irish author Sally Rooney and it makes for great book review content because I have so many mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I found myself racing through it at a speed quite unlike my usual relaxed tempo. On the other hand, I kept asking myself throughout whether Continue reading

The preferences of a writer’s palate: fancy meal or messy takeaway?

What do you like to see when you open a menu? Perhaps you are attracted to a dish that is described in elaborate language, seasoned with exotic terminology, and served like art on a plate. Or maybe you prefer a more humble bill of fare and don’t mind how sloppy it looks so long as it tastes delicious.

This is sometimes how I view reading books. I would put literary classics in the fancy meal category and more lighthearted material in the messy takeaway category. Both can appeal for different reasons but, like the food they represent, both offer Continue reading

This book really makes me want to become an editor

I’ve read a book that has left me itching to attack it with a red pen, so much so that I’m going to dissect it here and say what I would have done if I had been the book’s editor. This is not to say that I thought the book was all bad – in fact, I really liked its premise and judged it to have a lot of potential. It was the execution of the story and the writing that left me disappointed. So, rather than looking at this as a criticism of what the book was, I’d rather view it as a lament for what it could have been.

Alert No.1: In writing this post, I do not claim to be better than professional editors working in the industry. This is my subjective opinion which stemmed from my reading experience of the book in question.

Alert No.2: To speak about the book’s strengths and shortcomings, I will be revealing much of the storyline. Therefore don’t read on if you’d like to avoid spoilers!

So what’s the book? It’s called So Much Owed by Jean Grainger, a work of historical fiction set in Ireland and Continue reading