The Regulars Blog Tour – Q&A With Author Georgia Clark

The Regulars is already being hailed as “a Dorian Gray for the Girls generation”. I haven’t read it yet, but since Dorian Gray is one of my favourite books, I jumped at the chance to catch up with author Georgia Clark and ask her a few questions.

The story centres around three best friends in their twenties: Evie, Krista and Willow. They’re having typical quarter-life crises springing from troubles at work and the confusion of dating. But then they find Pretty, a magic potion that makes them look like supermodels for a week. Of course they try it – why wouldn’t they? – but soon they find that there’s a dark side to getting exactly what you want.

What would you sacrifice to be Pretty?

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Book Reviews: Revolution, Various Thrillers, and the New Jojo Moyes

The holiday period saw a slight decrease in reading activity, due to my personal holiday tradition of curling up on the sofa with a roast dinner, the cat and a load of old films. I keep a list throughout the year of things I’d like to watch at Xmas, and then I do.

So the past couple of weeks have been less bookish than normal. But still, here’s what I’ve read.

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Book Questions!

A woman's hands holding a book

1:What is your favorite book? Just one?! Bastard. I refuse to follow your rules. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, because it was my teenage bible. Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco, because he’s an amazing writer and I swear he’s read every book in the world. Twice. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, because it’s funny and moving and wonderful. And The Humans by Matt Haig, because it describes how I see the world.

2:What was the last book you read? The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.

3:What is the worst book you’ve ever read? Love That Dog by Sharon Creech.

4:Top 7 book characters. Stargirl from Stargirl, Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, Kinsey Millhone from Sue Grafton’s alphabet series, John Rebus from Ian Rankin’s books, Don Tillman from The Rosie Project, Catherine Cordell from The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen, Dumbledore from Harry Potter.

5:What is your favorite genre? Crime fiction.

6:Book you cried the hardest reading? I read The Love Verb by Jane Green at a point that was very poignant, so it broke me a bit. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes was also pretty heart-rending.

7:Book you laughed the hardest reading? The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, because Don Tillman sums up my world view so very perfectly.

8:Which book character(s) do you most relate to? See above! Don Tillmann, Andrew Martin from The Humans, Lisbeth Salander from TGWTDT, Stargirl.

9:Favorite author(s)? Umberto Eco, Hermann Hesse. I also can’t resist new releases from Ian Rankin, Karen Rose, Tess Gerritsen, and Jane Green.

10:Do you judge books by their covers? Yes.

11:What is your favorite quote from a book? Again, fuck you with your ‘just one’.

“Anonymity in the world of men is better than fame in heaven, for what’s heaven? What’s earth? All in the mind.” – On The Road, Jack Kerouac

“…he was a night prowler. The morning was a bad time of day for him. He feared it and it never brought him any good. On no morning of his life has he ever been in good spirits nor done any good before midday, nor devised any pleasure for himself or others. By degrees during the afternoon he warmed and became alive, and only towards evening, on his good days, was he productive, active and, sometimes, aglow with joy… There was never a man with a deeper and more passionate craving for independence than he. In his youth when he was poor and had difficulty in earning his bread, he preferred to go hungry and in torn clothes only to preserve a tiny bit of independence.” – Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse

“I now saw that I had, strangely, taken both Bardia’s explanation and the Fox’s (each while it lasted) for certain truth. Yet one must be false. And I could not find out which, for each was well rooted in its own soil… But I could not find out whether the doctrines of Glome or the wisdom of Greece were right. I was the child of Glome and the pupil of the Fox; I saw that for years my life had been lived in two halves, never fitted together.” – Til We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis

“”So much focus on the egg – it is life, it is food, it is answer to a hundred riddles – but look at its shell. The secrets are writ on its walls. Secrets lie in the entrails of things, in the dregs.” – Tithe, Holly Black

12:Which book do you recommend to friends and family most? The Rosie Project. Anything by Eco.

13:Which book is so special to you that you don’t share it with others? Stargirl.

14:Do you have any signed books? Yes, one signed by Tess Gerritsen (The Silent Girl), which my friend gave me, and a copy of The Rosie Project that’s been double-signed by Graeme Simsion.

15:Have you met any authors? Graeme Simsion.

16:Buy books new, used, or go to the library? All of the above! Most often, I buy them used, though.

17:Where is your favorite place to read? I’ve been known to read pretty much everywhere, but there’s nothing quite like my favourite two places: in a bubbly bath surrounded by candles, or finishing a book in bed late at night by lamplight.

18:Prefer books set in the past or the future? Future.

19:What 5 elements would your ideal book have? A strong protagonist who does what they think is right despite putting themselves in jeopardy; a lack of romance/sex; a touch of humour; a really strong friendship; a realistic ending.

20:Do you ever hope to publish your own book? Yes.

21:Prefer stand alone or series? Don’t mind.

22:Do you mark/highlight/dog ear your books or keep them in perfect condition? I used to be a perfectionist about this, but I have been known to turn down a page corner when there’s something I really want to be able to return to.

23:Hardbacks or paperbacks? Paperbacks, they’re easier to transport and they’re less heavy to hold up in the bath.

24:Do you watch any booktubers? No.

25:Have you read The Hunger Games? Yes

26:Do you like twist endings? Yes

27:Do you reread books? Only the most special ones.

28:E-readers or physical copies of books? Physical copies. I just can’t bring myself to try ebooks.

29:A book that makes you feel comforted? The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot. It was one of my favourite books as a child and reading it feels like hot chocolate and fireplaces.

30:Would you rather read any ending that makes you feel happy or sad? I tend to like endings that are realistic, and often that doesn’t mean things working out perfectly.

31:Favorite villain in a book? The surgeon from The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen.

32:Do you like to write reviews when you finish a book? Yes, if it’s good.

33:Do you experience “book hangovers”? Oh hell yes.

34:Favorite book cover(s)? Stargirl.

photo credit: the bbp via photopin cc

Book Review – Lovestruck

lovestruckjl

Jake and Rosie fell in love fast. Before they knew it they were married with kids, and happily living in a cramped flat in London. All the while Jake struggled to make it as an actor – waiting for that big, lucky break.

When he gets it – courtesy of his agent, Christy, who also happens to be Rosie’s best friend – everything changes. Suddenly Jake is hardly there, working hard, always in demand – a rising star.

But as fame and fortune reveal a side to Jake that Rosie’s not sure she likes, she begins to wonder just how well she knows the man she married. And soon enough she’s questioning how far she can trust the woman always at his side – her best friend Christy…

A not good, not bad, just bang-on average romance novel from Julia Llewellyn, Lovestruck explores the concept of money and how it doesn’t really make life better, even if it makes paying the rent easier. It looks at how friendships change over time, and how hard it can be to overcome our own prejudices and get to know the people around us, even if their lives are wildly different from what we’ve always known.

If you’re into romance novels, this is probably quite a good one. It’s not a straightforward boy-meets-girl, more of a ‘two adults come to understand one another’, which provides a nice break from lots of the other chick lit out there. But it’s not particularly exciting and it won’t leave you crying, or laughing, or having any kind of feeling other than that you’ve unobjectionably passed a couple of hours reading.

Book Review – You’re The One That I Want

YTOTIW

From Giovanna Fletcher, the author of Billy and Me, comes a new novel which once again was better than I thought it’d be.

The blurb promised a classic girl-meets-boy-there-are-complications tale:

Maddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob – the man she’s about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben – best man and the best friend any two people ever had.

And that’s the problem.

Because if it wasn’t Rob waiting for her at the altar, there’s a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right?

Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make, but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it…

I read this in one sitting. It’s a quick read, easy to tear through the story of three intertwined lives, and to relate to the characters’ dilemmas. A bit like For Once In My Life, which I read the other day and which also focused on themes of love and wishing things could be different, but somehow more realistic in both writing style and storyline.

If you like a nice fast-paced love story, you’ll enjoy this one. I think Giovanna Fletcher is one to watch out for – this is only her second novel and she’s already surpassed all my expectations. A new favourite in the making, perhaps.

Verdict: 

Book Review: For Once In My Life

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I’ve been trekking around Europe for work recently, which has required lots of concentration and also made me lose my voice. By the time I got back on Saturday morning I needed something to help me chill out, not least because my doctor diagnosed a horrible case of laryngitis (“Your glands are like basketballs!”) and told me to stay at home, take it easy and not try to speak for a week.

All the books in my reading pile are computer forensics textbooks. Interesting, but not exactly ‘taking it easy’. So when I sifted through my mail and came up with For Once In My Life, I was happy. I got in the bath and looked at the blurb.

How can you fall in love if you’ve never met?

Tess and George are soul mates. They both live in London. They have the same friends. They even share a love of the 1940s – jazz and vintage fashion. They should be together. Eeryone can see it.

But somehow it doesn’t happen. They never meet. They’re stuck in the wrong jobs, with the wrong partners. And time is running out.

For Once In My Life is a romantic comedy about love, second chances, and never, ever giving up.

It’s a nice solid chick lit novel. Exactly what you need when you’re looking to relax for a couple of hours. It’s about how serendipity sometimes just keeps not working out, and how easy it is to settle and then suddenly realise it’s six years later and you’re not sure what you’re doing with your life.

Anyone who has ever had a dream they haven’t chased, or wondered whether what they have is really all there is to life, will enjoy this book. And possibly be tempted to jack it all in and go in search of whatever they never quite pursued.

Verdict: 

Book Review: Beautiful Day

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The blurb for this one promised yet another run-of-the-mill romance:

Rachel is looking for her beautiful day. She’s worried about everything: being a good mother, money and starting a new job.

Philip is a lost soul in the world and he could do with a friend.

They are just about to meet and when they do everything will change. Rachel and Philip don’t know it yet, but they each have what the other needs. They can save one another, and not in the way you might expect.

This is a story about finding happiness and love in all their forms. And how sometimes you can find them in the most unlikely of places…

…but actually, this book was lovely. And not all about romance, but about all the types of love you can feel for another person, and how people can touch your life in the most unexpected of ways.

The characterisation is very strong; it’s easy to sympathise with Rachel, who’s trying so hard to hold everything together and look like it’s all OK, whilst dealing with the breakup of her marriage and juggling kids and jobs and god knows what else. There are several characters that could be superficial but aren’t: the ex-husband and his pretty new lady; the kids who are simultaneously loveable and irritating; the guy from work who doesn’t seem like Rachel’s type at first…

Kate Anthony has a way with words that will transport you into the characters’ worlds. Beautiful Day is a touching story of people who find each other and learn to see each other for who they really are.

Verdict: 

Beautiful Day is published by Penguin/Michael Joseph and is available to buy in both paperback and ebook form from the 10th of April 2014.