I've been reading...
Double Love (Sweet Valley High)
Secrets (Sweet Valley High)
Playing with Fire (Sweet Valley High)
Power Play (Sweet Valley High)
Emma Ever After - Brigid Coady
One Day in December - Josie Silver
Christmas in St Ives - Miranda Dickinson
Some Kind of Wonderful - Giovanna Fletcher
I'll be blogging about Playing with Fire and Power Play soon for the #SVHReadalong, but I've also really enjoyed the women's fiction I've read this month.
Emma Ever After is a contemporary retelling of Jane Austen's Emma set against the backdrop of the music industry. It's sassy and witty and a must for anyone interested in the part the media plays in celebrity and stardom.
One Day in December isn't due out until later in the year, but I was fortunate to receive an early copy. It's already drawn comparisons to David Nicholls' One Day and Richard Curtis' rom-com films, and I can see why; and don't let the title fool you - whilst there's plenty of Christmas in it, this is a book that could be enjoyed at any time of year. A bittersweet tale told with warmth and humour, I have a feeling this is going to be huge.
Christmas in St Ives is a prequel to Miranda Dickinson's forthcoming novel Somewhere Beyond the Sea. I loved the introduction to these characters and as it used multiple viewpoints I finished feeling as though I'd made a whole new group of friends. As a big fan of Miranda's work I can't wait to follow their stories.
Some Kind of Wonderful is the latest offering from Giovanna Fletcher and centres around Lizzie, a woman looking to find herself following the break up of her long-term relationship. This was a slow-burner of a book for me which meant it took a while for me to feel involved with the characters, but I loved the idea of Lizzie rediscovering what makes her tick.
Music I've been listening to...
Bastille and Frank Turner, as always. They're mainstays in my playlist, especially when I'm writing.
Frank announced his new album, Be More Kind, which will be released on May 4th; and 1933, which had already become a fan favourite from the live dates, is available to download now so I've been playing that over the last few days. It's very much in keeping with some of Frank's earlier work - angry, lyrical and with a firm nod to punk. I can't wait for the rest of the album.
I've also been hooked on All I Have, the first track released from Charlie Barnes' forthcoming album Oceanography. Melancholic melodies matched with wistful lyrics make for a stirring and emotional track about ambition, which particularly resonates with me as a person trying to make a living/career in the arts.
Podcasts I've been listening to...
The Debrief (I always listen to The Debrief - Tessa and Stevie make me laugh)
The High Low (the perfect mix of pop culture and hard-hitting news stories)
Sweet Teen Club (Nineties nostalgia)
Double Love (Sardonic and amusing take on the Sweet Valley High books)
Quickly Kevin, will he Score? (Josh Widdicombe and friends talking all things nineties football)
Sweet Valley Why? (More mocking of SVH's failings)
I've been watching...
Coronation Street (Can the Phelan storyline wind up soon please?)
The Greatest Showman (Twice. Musicals + Circus + Hugh Jackman + Zac Efron =PERFECT)
Lovesick (Binge-watched this Netflix series about love, friendship and STDs)
Transformation Street (A fascinating documentary series about people undergoing gender reassignment surgery, which featured one of my favourite authors, Juno Dawson)
A House through Time (Brilliant documentary series following the history of a Liverpool town house and the people who've lived there from the 1840s to the present day)
Girlfriends (I had high hopes for this Kay Mellor series, but I've given up on it - it just didn't have me gripped)
Love It or List It (Because I have big dreams of Phil and Kirstie making my house over)
Dancing on Ice (I know, I know. But the outfits! The kitsch!)
First Dates Hotel (I prefer the First Dates restaurant, but a bit of sunshine on my telly is more than welcome in gloomy January)
Places I've been...
... Manchester for the day, as Zachary was keen to go to the National Football Museum. It's free to enter, although there are additional optional activities which incur a charge, including an opportunity to try commentating on a famous Match of the Day clip.
... the cinema twice to see The Greatest Showman, Jump trampoline park, and watching Sheffield United's 4th round FA Cup match at Bramall Lane. I also visited The Treehouse Board Game Café, a great little café with an extensive array of games - I'm now an expert at Dominion (could have been beginners luck)!
I've been writing...
the first draft of the second book in the trilogy I'm working on, and finishing the structural edits for the first book in the series - my agent thinks it's almost ready to go out on submission now, which is exciting and petrifying!
What exciting stuff have you been up to in January? Any recommendations for music I must listen to or programmes I need to watch?
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