I write book reviews, I also write books, and occasionally I write about myself!

Monday, 30 April 2012

A Slight Obsession...



Sorry I haven't posted for a while, I wasn't feeling well last week so I took a break from most things until I felt better!

Anyway...

Things on the writing front are going really well. Upfront Centre Stage is gaining momentum, I have rewritten my first 4 chapters and I am MUCH happier with them. I felt my previous ones, especially the first, just weren't showing enough of my voice and were a little too awkward sounding.

Also I have found that now that I have plotted a little bit (with the help of my new friend The Board) I'm much more motivated to continue writing. On some days I have been getting close to writing 5k, which I am so pleased with.

Now, you may be wondering what all this has to do with the title of this post.

Well the answer to that is that I am currently suffering from a book addiction - in particular buying new books! Which isn't a good habit to have at the moment when I am trying to find the £11,000 it's going to cost to remodel our bathroom and kitchen!

Last week I bought nearly 15 new books (some brand new, some second hand, and a few ebooks!). Someone on twitter mentioned that there needed to be an ebook addiction support group, and I think I may need that. I counted up and my ebook numbers reached close to the 300 mark... gulp! I don't even want to go into the number of books I have on my shelves, they are bulging once again and I only had a clear out a few months back.

In an effort to try and curb this unnecessary addiction I have been going to the library a lot. I live next door to my local one, I'm in there nearly everyday checking out new books or ordering ones in. The other day I had such a large pile that they slipped out of my hands on my way to self service checkout and crashed down on the floor causing a very loud noise in the small and quite library... Embarrassing.
But at least it only cost my pride and not my depleting funds!

Sitting at my desk this morning after trying to cram my newest acquired books on the shelves I have decided I need to actually read EVERY unread book on these shelves. I mean really, it is unacceptable that I am buying books when I have so many yet to read. All I can say is that if there was ever a nuclear explosion or something that I somehow survived, which caused me to be trapped in my house then I would have plenty of entertainment.

I'm not going to buy any more books.

Stop rolling your eyes... I'm not!

Nope, instead I am going to get whatever I want that is new from the library and make an effort to actually read all those unread books on my shelves.

Or, I'm going to try my damnedest anyway. If you catch me in Waterstones... well, perhaps you could pretend you didn't see me!

Of course, gifts don't count and are always welcome ;-)

What books have you read/bought recently?

Xx


Pretty much sums it up!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Book Review... The Forbidden Ferrara - Sarah Morgan


The Forbidden Ferrara - Sarah Morgan
Mills & Boon Modern
Harlequin UK, 2012
ISBN: 9780263890785











My rating




From the back cover:

"A Ferrara should never share a bed with a Baracchi-however high the stakes! 
 Dark-hearted Santino Ferrara has always remembered how long-legged, hot-tempered Fia Baracchi felt in his arms-much to his frustration. Then a million-dollar business deal throws them together, and keeping his distance is no longer an option. 
But Fia is living a lie. If it's ever discovered that her precious little son is Santino's heir, she'll be disowned-their families' feud is legendary! But her real fear? That she can't forget the scorching memories of her one night with the enemy-and that she still craves more..."


I have been waiting for this book to finally land in my hands for ages! I loved the first book in this duet by Sarah Morgan (Once a Ferrara Wife...), so I was pretty excited about this one.

I have to be honest and say that I was a little disappointed with this one. I'm not saying this is a bad book, it most definitely is not! I just felt it wasn't quite there.

I usually love a 'secret baby' book but there has to be a good reason for the baby being kept secret - in this book I don't really think there was.

The heroine was beautifully written and my heart broke for everything she'd been through but this didn't really make up for not telling the hero about his son.

I simply loved the hero! He was so accepting, and open as well as really committed to building a good life with the heroine and their child. He didn't act irrationally when he found out nor was he cruel! These are major pluses in the book.

I loved the whole family feud, forbidden love thing! It was written fantastically.

The writing is flawless, full of passion and emotion, with plenty of angst. Very enjoyable.

Xx

Book Review... Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss - Maya Banks


Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss - Maya Banks
Harlequin Desire
Harlequin, 2011
ISBN: 9780373731565









My rating




From the back cover:

"Devon Carter was her first; now newly wed Ashley wants their passion to last. But her dreams of true love are crushed by the discovery that their marriage is another of Daddy's business deals. Her strategy: act the part of perfect wife and make Devon love her.
But Devon misses the bubbly, no-holds-barred woman his wife used to be. Who is this Ashley with the steely demeanor of a society wife? And will he find a way to rekindle the fire in her eyes…especially now that she's pregnant?"


I was looking forward to reading this book, I really enjoyed the first two books in Maya Bank's Pregnancy & Passion Mini Series (Enticed by His Forgotten Lover & Wanted by Her Lost Love).

I have to be honest and say that I didn't enjoy this one as much as the previous two, but this is still very much an enjoyable book.

I particularly liked that the author didn't shy away from making the hero behave badly, and he knew it as well. The heroine is fun, flighty, and spirited, she is definitely different to a lot of romance heroines.

There is plenty of passion that sizzles on the pages and suits the hero and heroines relationship perfectly.

It was interesting to read how the heroine tried to change herself, to become more like what she thought the hero wanted, only to begin to lose what it was that made her likeable. I think this is quite honest, and true of some difficult relationships.

Overall, very enjoyable.

Xx

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Wednesday on Writing... My new toy!


Being a recent convert to the Save the Cat! method of plotting (I talked about it last week) this week I'm going to show you my brand new plot board.

Here is is -




As you can see, at the moment it is still very much a work in progress.

But what it has allowed me to do is work out firmly how many scenes and/or chapters to have and what should happen in each, as well as whether they work in the story or not. The pink bits are used for either word count or timings, I have a tendency to get my days very confused!

As a result of using the board, and actually staying away from the WIP for a while, I removed something like 5 planned scenes that I found really were not working, and added better ones in.

Behind each chapter card are cards that I have scribbled snippets of dialogue, flow charts, descriptions, etc, that relate to the chapter - I want to add that not everything is pinned up at the moment - when I'm working on that scene or chapter I take these cards down and spread them across my desk so I can refer them whilst writing. Then I pop them back up for safekeeping.

Funnily enough the girl who never plotted has written more words in two days than the last two months with the help of my new board (I was suffering a serious lack of motivation).

The board has really helped cement in my mind what needs to happen, but while I'm in the middle of a chapter I am still very much 'pantsing' it.

I have rewritten my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd chapters entirely and even I have to say they are much much better.

Yes, I'm definitely loving my new board. I just need to hang it on the wall now so it's not balancing on my stereo any more!

Monday, 16 April 2012

My Favourite Heroines...



Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer


Now, I'm going to come right out and say it; Buffy is my favourite TV program. EVER! Nothing will ever match the brilliance of this show in my mind and heart.

So, I admit to being a little biased when it came to picking my first 'favourite heroine' in this blog feature. But seriously Buffy is, and probably always will be, one of the best fictional heroines ever created. 

If we ignore the super powers bit for the moment, she is still a brilliant heroine that has to deal with real issues. What I like most about her character is that she has real flaws, and quite a lot of them too. 

She's the blonde girl who is a little bit shallow, likes shopping and all things girly, she is hopeless at relationships (Parker... Riley!!), has one true love that she refuses to let go of... I could go on.

Most fans know that one of the most endearing parts of the show is that we, the fans, got to grow up with the characters. I was in my teens when the show began and followed it right into early adulthood. We got to experience the same kinds of life decisions and mistakes Buffy did. 

As a super hero, Buffy sacrificed nearly everything to do her duty, but she never stopped making puns or stopped moaning about it.

Her character proved to us 90's girls that we can be strong and confident and go after what we want, yet still be the ultimate 'girl'. 

I mean, if Buffy can fight Vampires in a graveyard wearing platforms and a mini skirt then so can I... well I could if I dared wearing a mini skirt and, you know, if there was such things as vampires!


I know there is so many more Buffy fans out there, tell me what you like about Buffy?

Who is your favourite fictional heroine? 

Xx

Friday, 13 April 2012

Book Review... Lori Foster's Buckhorn Brothers


Buckhorn Beginnings - Lori Foster
HQN Books
Harlequin, 2011
ISBN: 9780373776122












My rating




From the back cover:

"Sawyer 
The only doctor in Buckhorn County, Kentucky, Sawyer Hudson knows a thing or two about saving lives. But when he rescues the beautiful Honey Malone from a car wreck and nurses her to health at his home, he finds himself dreading the day she's well enough to leave. Because now that he's met the woman of his dreams, he's not about to let her go…. 
Morgan 
Buckhorn's big, bad sheriff, Morgan Hudson, wants a wife—one who's even-tempered, undemanding and content with small-town life. So why can't he stop thinking about brazen Misty Malone? The dark-haired city girl is downright aggravating—not to mention she's found herself on the wrong side of the law. But though she may not be perfect, Morgan is hell-bent on convincing her they'd be perfect together!"


I read the Buckhorn brother's books years ago when they were first released. In fact they were some of the first ever romance novels I read and I still remember their bright red covers - they were released under the UK 'Sensual Romance' category.

When I saw that they had been re-released I thought I would give them a go...

But I don't remember them being so damn wholesome.

I'm not talking heat level here, 'cause the books are actually quite steamy, but in the 'could these men be any more chivalrous' way!

Putting that to one side, these two stories are sweet, funny, steamy, and above all charming. Morgan's story is the better of the two, in my opinion.

My only complaint about these stories is that the author has created two fantastically feisty heroines but it is ruined by the fact that she has also made them total damsels in distress.

A good read, and certainly nice to revisit these books I read as a teenager!

***

Forever Buckhorn - Lori Foster
HQN Books
Harlequin, 2012
ISBN: 9780373776474












My rating




From the back cover:

"Gabe 
Gabe Kasper, the heartthrob of Buckhorn County, Kentucky, can have any woman he wants. But it's prickly, uptight Elizabeth Parks who gets under his skin. She thinks Gabe's some kind of hero and wants an interview for her thesis. He doesn't consider pulling a couple of kids out of the lake heroic, but he'll answer her questions in exchange for kisses…and more. 
Jordan 
Jordan Somerville thinks he wants a woman who's a paragon of virtue. But then the gentle veterinarian—rescuer of strays—meets Georgia Barnes, single mother and exotic dancer. She's a far cry from Jordan's dream woman—and she's made it clear that he's hardly her dream man, either. So why is he suddenly tempted to break all his own rules? "


I mentioned above that I read this mini-series when they were first released, however I had never read Jordan's story. So I was looking forward to reading it finally.

Once again these are two very steamy stories, but just a little too 'good' for me. These brothers are seriously too good to be true, I need more flaws! Perhaps I am too used to reading Presents that my taste in heroes tender to err on the side of brooding-angry-alpha goodness.

There is something that has bugged me about all four of these stories and that is the fact that hero in each story doesn't realise/work out that he loves the heroine until one of his brothers tells him that he [the hero] loves her. This was almost exactly the same in each story.

But regardless of my negatives I have to be honest and say that I really like these books. There is something very endearing about them, and of course it helps that they are really well written.


Xx

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Wednesday on Writing...


It has been Easter bank holiday weekend here in the UK, which means that my husband had Friday and Monday off work. And typically it rained all of those 4 days, so nothing was really done other than having a nice relaxing long weekend. Of course by the end of Monday I was so ready for Richard to go back to work (!).

Anyway my point is, I didn't update this blog or do anything remotely work-like on Friday or Monday because of this. Weekends and holidays I like to relax and have a break rather than work.

I have called this blog post Wednesday on Writing and this is [I hope] going to be a regular post every Wednesday with an update or feature on writing.

Please email if you have any suggestions or contributions you would like me to feature.

***

I have been reading a few writing craft books recently, in an attempt to both improve my writing as well as kick my recent lack of motivation up it's bum!

The first book I decided to read is Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder.

Save the Cat! is a book that I have heard a lot about but never actually got round to reading. But I am so glad I have finally done so...

Not only is the book written with a fun and casual style, as though Blake Snyder is telling you all of this in a conversation, but it is also very useful. Especially if you ignore the amount of Steven Speilberg references (clang!).

Even though the book is written for screenwriters, most everything can be used by those of us writing other stuff. I have seen many authors recommending this book.

What I found most useful is the Logline, Beat Sheet and the advice on using The Board for plotting out your story before actually getting down to writing.

For me this was a revelation! I have no shame in admitting that I am a total pantser when it comes to writing, seriously... During my many years in higher education my essay plans were never longer than half an A4 sheet of paper! However I often hit walls and find certain bits that I want to include just simply don't fit or don't work, so by using The Board I hope this will help me not to hit these walls too often. Blake Snyder's rule of limiting the amount of cards used on it and structuring it round the Beat Sheet, I think, gives a nice balance. I can plot but still very much be a pantser!

I also liked Blake Snyder's honesty about writing, storytelling, and writers.

"To be a [screen]writer is to deal with an ongoing tug of war between breathtaking megolmania and insecurity so deep it takes years of therapy just to be able to say 'I am a writer' out loud"

Other great quotes that really gripped me are:

"Because liking the person we go on a journey with is the single most important element in drawing us into the story."

"A screenwriters daily conundrum is how to avoid cliche.
You can be near the cliche, you can dance around it, you can run right up to it and almost embrace it.
But at the last second you must turn away.
You must give it a twist."

So, I have done my logline and I am in the process of filling out my Beat Sheet whilst fiddling with index cards ready for The Board!

And what is really great about this book is that reading it has made me excited about writing again... hooray!


Xx

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Policy is boring...



As you may have noticed I do a lot of book reviews on this blog! That is something I love doing and will continue to do so even though I am no longer being silly and trying to read a book a day or more. However, I feel the need to add a page of information about my reviews to make it clear how I go about things.  I have received a few books from authors to review and to avoid any confusion the information will include what I will accept, etc.

This will be posted on it's own page, on the tabs above, but I am posting it now as an update.


Introduction

One of my passions is reading and as such, a feature of this blog is book reviews. The majority of the books I read and review I have acquired myself. Either bought in either physical form (brand new or second hand), ebook form via most ebook stores and read using e-reading apps available for the iPad, or borrowed from my local library.
The books are usually chosen by me, but I am always interested in recommendations.

Review Copies

If you are an author or publisher and would like me to consider reviewing your book(s) please contact me via email -
everydayisthesameblog (at) gmail (dot) com

Please bear in mind the following criteria for my acceptance of a book.

What I will review

I mainly read books that fall in the 'women's fiction' area, including mainstream/general fiction, romance including category and single title, chick lit, suspense etc. This is not an exhaustive list.

What I will not review

I read most things.
I don't tend to read erotic romance/erotica, however a book that falls within this category yet has strong romantic (or other) elements - where the sex is secondary to the rest of the story and not gratuitous - may be considered at my discretion. Other books I do not read are paranormal, inspirational, historical, sci-fi, horror, action, etc. But once again, these may be considered.
Definite no-no's are books that include indecent content, taboo subjects, and unnecessary violence especially towards children and animals.

I'm not here to judge what you read, it's just that I chose not to.

Format

I am happy to receive books in physical or ebook form. For ebooks please be aware that I use an iPad to read on, I have most e-reading apps (iBooks, Kindle, Overdrive, Bluefire, Kobo) so it will need to work on those platforms.

About my reviews

All my reviews will be in the form of a blog post on here. The post will include a cover image, title and author info, publisher's info, category line where applicable, year and date of publication, ISBN, and blurb.
Please note that the publishing info and the ISBN will usually relate to the UK release of the book - let me know if you would like to have release info for other countries included.

The reviews will consist of my rating followed by my summary and review.

I don't like every book I read! Where I have chosen a book myself and end up not enjoying it, it's more than likely that I simply will not write a review for it. However if the book has been sent to me for review, then the review provided will be honest and detail why I didn't like it.

I do not resort to insults (especially towards the author), nor do I use unnecessary snark. Reading is subjective and while I may not like something another person will. I'm British after all, and we are unfailingly polite!

Turnaround

Books sent to me will be prioritised as soon as they are received. I would hope to read the book and post the review within 14 days. However, life does sometimes get in the way so I can't always promise this.

My rating

I know it is sometimes difficult to understand the different review ratings out there. Here are mine in the simplest possible terms:

1 star - Hmm, I really didn't like this one. Sorry!

2 stars - I didn't like this, but some bits were OK. Perhaps this was not for me...

3 stars - I enjoyed it... but not all of it. Who's perfect though, right?!

4 stars - Really, really enjoyed it! Yes, some bits were better than others but that's life!

5 stars - Absolutely loved it! It was amazing, brilliant, great, fantastic... etc!

A half-star is used when I am being indecisive and can't decide to be more negative or more positive... I'm indecisive a lot!

Other stuff

I also post my reviews on goodreads as well as tweeting my review including a link. *If you would like me to '@' you in the tweet you must let me know as I wouldn't automatically do this.

I am also happy to host authors and/or giveaways here on my blog. In fact it would be my pleasure to do this, please email!

I would be interested in reviewing other stuff including products if this suits my interests. Please contact me by email to discuss.

I DO NOT review unpublished work, and I am not able to provide critiques to your work.

Where to find me

email - everydayisthesameblog (at) gmail (dot) com

Twitter - @RLAeverydaysame

Goodreads - RLAeverydaysame


Thank you

Xx

Monday, 2 April 2012

My Favourite Heroes...


This is a new weekly feature to my blog... 'My Favourite Heroes & Heroines'. Each week I will feature a different hero or heroine from the fictional world (books/TV/Films etc) that I particularly love, and I will tell you why.


I'm starting with this man...



Dr Luka Kova─Ź  from ER


I have to admit that Dr Kovac is at the front of my mind at the moment because my husband and I are currently working our way through the complete series of ER DVD's. But this man... oh, he is not one to be forgotten.

So what type of hero is he? Well, that is an easy question to answer! He is the 'tortured hero'.

Not only has he had to deal with losing his wife and children after they were killed during a bomb attack on their apartment building during the Croatian War of Independence, he has also faced his own loss of faith and the guilt that is associated with that, many failed relationships, a minor sex addiction, being captured and held captive by the Congolese Mai-Mai, a stalker seeking revenge, and a deep yet dysfunctional relationship with the character of Abby Lockhart.

There is an episode where Luka reveals that he didn't lose his virginity until his wedding night, and the way it was done just made me sigh, such great characterisation.

At heart Luka is a family man, with a very deep ability to love that he is desperate to lavish on the right woman, but he is also a true Alpha-male.

Yet what makes him extra-special is that he is by no means perfect; with a habit of taciturnity, a quick temper, a disregard to policy, and his love of video-games... Oh, I just love him!

His character is brilliantly written. Portrayed by the drop-dead-gorgeous Goran Visnjic.



Who are your own favourite fictional heroes?

Xx

I'm back...


Although I would love to tell you that my silence in bloglandia for the last two weeks has been because I have been having some kind of adventure, preferably of the vacation kind, but no, I have still been here, just not around.

That is to say I have been having a break from writing, reading, my desk, etc. I felt the need to relax and regroup and spend a little time with me... However after two weeks I have realised that spending time with me is kinda boring, and I felt a little lost without something to actually do!

So, I am back now. My knuckles are cracked and ready to get back down to business with my current WIP as well as some exciting new features for my blog.

Watch this space...









Xx