Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman

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Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

An astonishing story that powerfully depicts the loneliness of life, and the simple power of a little kindness.

This book is at the completely the opposite end of the spectrum for the books  I usually read, but after downloading a free sample from Amazon to see what all the fuss was about, I was completely gripped and downloaded the full book immediately.  All I can say is WOW! What a rollercoaster ride!  It made me think so much about myself, as there are so many traits that Eleanor has that I see in myself (thankfully without the darker undertones of the childhood experienced by Eleanor.)   The routines, the mannerisms, the weird crush and the social media obsession.  Her references to the ‘the musicians’ social media statuses had me in hysterics, because many a time I have had exactly the same conversations with myself.  I didn’t want the book to end.  It made me realise we should all accept our quirks, and that regardless of the pass we can all change for the better.

A wonderful read.

 

 

The Miracle Inspector by Helen Smith

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Where would you go? Who could you trust?

Award winning dystopian fiction from bestselling British author Helen Smith. The Miracle Inspector is set in London in the near future. England has been partitioned, schools have been closed down, and women need permission to leave their homes.

At only twenty-four years old, Lucas has a very important job at the Ministry. Most of the older men have been carted off to prison, so the young men run London. While Lucas investigates reported miracles, his young wife Angela dreams of escaping to a place where schools and theatres are still open, and women are free to work outside the home.

A bundle of secret letters from a poet involved in the revolution that ruined England, a visit to a desperate woman with a disabled child, a misguided challenge to the Head of Security at the Ministry… A series of minor catastrophes of their own making mean Lucas and Angela have no choice but to try to flee the chaos of London, with disastrous results.

Warning: The Miracle Inspector will break your heart. You will catch yourself thinking about the characters long after you have finished reading the last page.

Helen Smith never fails to deliver when it comes to quirky characters, unfolding mysterys and stories which play on your mind which puts her in the top 3 of my must read authors.   The Miracle Inspector encompasses all of those elements that makes Helens story telling so wonderful in this beautifully told, slightly disturbing dystopian tale. Three days after finishing it, i’m still thinking about the ending.

 

 

 

 

 

2018 has begun and I intend to make it a killer year!

2017 in some ways was rather disappointing year in terms of achieving those ‘dreaded’ resolutions I made back on 31st December 2016. I never did get my first book finished, not even the first draft, let alone the visions I had for getting it published. I didn’t lose the weight and hit the fitness goals I had planned. In fact looking over the list I actually achieved none of the things I have listed.

However, I did do things which I hadn’t even planned for. I completed #NaNoWriMo .  I have found a home in an online writing community which has encouraged me to chase the dream and provides the support and encouragement which makes me believe I can. I’ve reignited my passion for reading. So I guess it’s not been to bad, just not quite what I expected.

Rather than achievements I think the best thing last year has given me is knowledge, tools, foundations and encouragement on which to make 2018 the year that just maybe I will do those all  things that I have sat on for so long.  Perhaps 2018 won’t be so bad after all?

The resolutions and goals for 2018 (which may or may not achieved):

*Get that first book written and completed.

*Actually finish the copy editing course I started last year.

*Write all the book reviews I promised myself (and others) I would do.

* Most importantly, develop some self confidence, I have none (but I should).

(Oh and the obligatory take care of myself better, lose a bit of weight and increase my fitness! – That’s not really a resolution I should just do that really)

 

 

Reaching the end of NaNoWriMo 2017

On Wednesday 29th November I typed the last word of my epic 50,000 word count contribution to my NaNoWriMo project. 50,012 words to be precise (every word counts right?). To say I was proud of myself was an understatement. Until November, I was very much a sporadic writer. Some weeks i’d write every day. Others? Nothing at all. So the very challenge of writing for 30 days at the NaNo average of 1,667 words a day was rather daunting.  The story of NaNo journey is as follows:

Day 1-3: Jump in and get writing. Enthusiasm level is off the scale.  Pounding away at the keyboard and the words are flowing easily. “I’ve totally got this. This is easy. Why haven’t I done this before?”

Day 4-7: Enthusiasm is slowly declining. The words aren’t pouring on to the paper anymore, more dripping like a leaky tap. “This is harder than I thought. Why did I think I could even do this? Might as well give up now!”

Day 9: “I can’t keep this up for another 21 days. It’s not happening. Nope!”

Day 10-14: Getting to the good part of the book now, words are flowing out like river rapids! “Oh this is good! Like really good. I’ve totally got this, Stephen King watch out!”

Day 15: Half way through.  Still on track.  “No point in giving up now. I will do this!”

Day 16-21: Still going strong, plotline has gone a bit off tangent, starting to forget character names, who got killed and when etc. “It’s all good though.”

Day 22-24: Didn’t write for 2 days, I don’t care either, “Its hard, i don’t want to do this anymore!”

Day 25: Nearly there but “I’ve written all the key scenes and i’ve reached the end of the story.  There’s nothing else to write! I don’t have enough content to cover the word count! Oooo hang on! PLOT TWIST”

Day 26: Losing the plot completely now. “I’ll just give up at 42k. I’m proud of where i’ve got to so far, That’ll do.”

Day 27: “No! It won’t do. I’m not giving up on something else, I will see it through to the end!”

Day 28: 2k plus words written “Just get it down! You can do this!”

Day 29: 5k plus words written. “Oh i’ve done it! Well that was a load of fuss by me. Wasn’t as bad as I thought actually. Not sure i’ll do it again though.”

Day 30: “Well i’m not looking forward to reading back over the crap i’ve written.Not sure i’ll write ever again tbh. I’m rubbish. Oooo hang on? Got a fab idea for book 7…” (i’m on book 2 😂)

So that was my NaNo experience. How was yours? However many words you got written, whether you hit the 50k target or just set your own, we’re all bloody wonderful for getting any words down on paper to begin with!

 

National Novel Writing Month 2017

Day 1: Word count 1674
I work up this morning determined to get words down on paper (or computer screen to be precise) and that was exactly what I did. With a loose plan in place, I set to work, churning out word after word. For the first few hundred words I was beginning to question my ability to ever be able to write anything worth reading (a regular battle in my head). By word 1674 I’d turned myself around and thought to myself ‘not bad, not bad at all.’  I felt slightly saddened for my character, Emily Richmond. She woke up ready to begin her day full of hope and joy only to meet her demise by the end of the first chapter. It’s fair to say that my day got off to a better start than poor Emily’s did.

After 2 ½ hours I hit my word count for the day. I could have kept going at that point. I was in the zone ready to conquer this draft.  But, if the challenge of completing NaNoWriMo wasn’t enough I also have a second challenge in place and this where it gets complicated.

My NaNoWriMo draft is the second book in my Detective Inspector Richard Grange series. ‘Great’, I can hear you all say. The only problem is I haven’t actually finished writing book one. So my mammoth task this month is to draft the second book alongside finishing off the draft of the first.

November will be a tough month for me, pushing me well out of my comfort zone. But for once I think I have it in me. A recent event in my life has made me all the more determined to get this done and see it through all the way to the end. See you at the finish line!

Revenge is sweet

Here’s my contribution to this weeks Friday Fictioneers challenge.

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

He stood on the deck, hands on hips, pouting. ‘Are you going to forgive me then?’
‘Forgive you? You kissed my best friend!’
‘It was nothing. C,mon love,’ he grinned.
She glared at him whilst untying the boat.
With the boat released, she smiled. With a swift swoop of her foot, he splashed. She watched him flailing as she pulled the ladder out of reach.
The sound of him bellowing ‘bring back my boat!’ engulfed the harbour as she sped towards the light of the moon.
She smiled knowing he wouldn’t be seeing her or his precious boat again.

 

Friday Fictioneers is a 100 word flash fiction photo prompt challenge run by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Dust covered memories…

Thank you for the kind welcome last week to Friday Fictioneers, I’ve been waiting patiently all week to have another go.


PHOTO PROMPT © Sarah Potter

It was always the same, an early morning run as the sun was rising.

When she returned, she planted a sweaty kiss on my forehead. “You stink, take a shower!” I moaned.

She flung the trainers to one side and walked away from me, giving her hips a gentle wiggle. I smiled, watching as she closed the bathroom door behind her.

I heard the surge of water as she turned on the tap, the sound of her voice as it began to sing.

Today? There is no sound, there is no kiss, just the trainers gathering dust in the corner.

 
Thank you to Rochelle over at  Friday Fictioneers for providing us with the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful challenge.