This month I have been mostly reading and watching…

The first part of this year has involved a lot of reading and film watching! The desire for escapism is at its peak at the moment.

So here are my highlights…

perry-durrant

LIE WITH ME – Sabine Durrant.

Brilliant. Addictive. Clever and witty and sharp, like I was watching in real life. Not a word on the page wasted.

THE ESSEX SERPENT – Sarah Perry

I was given this to read. It wouldn’t have been my first choice because I’d have assumed it would take too long and I have very little time. But I was surprised by the pace and the quirks. You can actually whip through it and then go back and linger on the clever, beautiful bits. A bundle of unique characters all vividly still with you long after the book is finished.

20170213_122546THE NAKANO THRIFT SHOP – Hiromi Kawakami

I LOVED this! It was a present and I’ve never read any Japanese translated fiction before but I will now. I realised while reading this that there are some books you want to race through to the end and others that you just want to live inside. You go to bed half an hour early to be in the pages. This for me was that. I just adored being in the gentle, clever, sweet, interesting, intriguing world. A lovely book.

20170213_121258LA LA LAND

I’ve already written a whole piece about this. But I would say, it’s the only film I’ve been to the cinema to see twice. And the only film I’ve been to the cinema to see on my own! Shock horror. But the seal has been broken, I’m going to go solo way more often. It’s very mellow (once you’ve moved away from the people chatting over popcorn through all the emotional bits).

WESTWORLD (TV version)

This was a roller coaster for me. Brilliant at the beginning. Bit slow in the middle and a bit too focused on the violence. Excellent at the end.

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

Completely not what I expected! I sat down thinking it would be all Wes Anderson kooky and then suddenly everyone is running around half-naked killing deer. But it’s really good! And Viggo’s great.

BRIDGET JONES’S BABY

So nice to be back in Bridget’s world. Fall-off-the-sofa funny at times. Best choice at the end but worried that Bridget would still be lonely once credits rolled.

digby-etc

And, in case you’re interested, in the Under 3s world I have enjoyed:

TOPSY AND TIM – massive nostalgia, so strong I can almost taste it.

TOR FREEMAN – Brilliant illustrator.

More SHIRLEY HUGHES – can’t get enough of Alfie and Lucy & Tom

TOY STORY 1, 2 & 3 – just get better every time you watch them (I may live to regret that statement).

 

 

Not a bad start to the year, as far as excellent escapism goes.

J x

Wow! Sunshine & Biscotti is on the RNA Awards shortlist…

Today is a great day. Not only does it feel like spring is in the air, The Sunshine & Biscotti Club has been nominated for The Contemporary Romantic Novel Award at this year’s RoNAs!

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-11-30-47

Woo hoo. I am totally delighted.

There are some fantastic authors on the list and you couldn’t go wrong picking any of them for a little escapism in the sunshine…

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-11-30-02

The only thing now is to work out what to wear to the awards. And only a month to decide!

Help! I’m addicted to La La Land…

Oh god, I bought the really expensive bag. (See previous post.)

It was a direct result of La La Land. I needed something to counter the freewheeling filmic comedown.

As a cinema experience La La Land was one unlike very few previously. I had no desire to make a witty whispered aside, glance around in moments of boredom to contemplate the audience, think about whether or not I needed the loo, wish I’d got popcorn. My face was glued to the screen, a mesmerised smile glued to my face. I never looked left to see if my partner was enjoying it. I barely acknowledged the people getting up to pee mid-showing. I was just slap bang there, in full technicolour, cinemascope, all-singing all-dancing, blissful enjoyment.

I’d forgotten the searing, heart-thumping exquisite delight I get from a musical. From Singin’ in the Rain to Grease 2. But from the opening set piece I was instantly reminded how much I love a spontaneous burst into song. Coupled with Gosling, added to which Emma Stone, it was two hours of heaven. As Variety so perfectly puts it, La La Land’s ‘most convincing pleasures are the moments when it lifts the audience into a state of old-movie exaltation, leading us to think, “What a glorious feeling. I’m happy again.”’

Happy, I was ecstatic. Since leaving the cinema – feeling dangerously like an accomplished singer and dancer  – I’ve wasted hours reading every review and every interview. I’m immersed. One of my friends is furious with the film and I can’t wait for our forthcoming debate. I’m pining for La La Land 2 which my husband scoffs will never happen (and I want it even more now just to prove him wrong). I can feel my fingers tug, for the first time ever, towards fan fiction just to satisfy the craving left by the credits rolling.

I know in reality I need to stop mooning about and get to work. To write something. But for now the new bag is doing sterling work plugging the La La Land gap.

 

 

Feeling the reading fear and doing it anyway!

The new year is well under way. I can’t hide from it any longer pretending it’s still justifiably Christmas. I’m back at work, scribbling messily in a new notebook imagining a time when I’ll look back on these scribbles and laugh at who I naively thought these characters were going to be! But you’ve got to start somewhere (I remind myself every book.)

I also have a teetering pile of new books on my shelf. I kicked off the year with Samantha King’s THE CHOICE – a completely gripping psychological suspense that had me glued to the pages and rushing through to the end. It’s a bum on the edge of your seat kind of read that you can’t put down until it’s done.

20170110_140302_001

Up next has got to be Maria Semple’s TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT. I loved WHERE D’YOU GO, BERNADETTE? so this is a real treat that I’ve been saving for just the right time – like storing up all your chocolate as a kid or, as I’m currently doing, building up to buying a bag I REALLY want because the anticipation makes it all the better (re the bag however, I’ve been putting it off for a year now – going into the shop and picking it up then putting it down again – and I’m not sure I’m ever going to take the plunge, it’s been so long!)

For Christmas I got FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY by Susan Jeffers and I’m intending for it to have a huge impact on my life. I will soon be fearless. I will buy aforementioned bag.

My fingers are also itching to start THE BREAKDOWN by BA Paris but I can’t read two suspense back to back – I need a breather from all the stress and fear. (Although maybe that’s about to change!)

Then there’s THE RIVIERA SET by Mary S Lovell… it’s a signed copy! Woo hoo. I want to read that immediately too. And Dawn O’Porter’s THE COWS…

So many books. So little time. I’ve actually got the slight reading fear, but I’m going to do it anyway!

And for anyone who wants to try something new this year, The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Cafe is only 99p at the moment. It’s the start of the Cherry Pie Island series and a novella so completely undaunting and speedily devourable! There’s absolutely nothing to fear! http://amzn.to/2ieBUSr

The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Cafe

 

It’s Looking Like Christmas!

 

20161203_221806I can’t quite believe that Christmas is so close. The fact I’ve been preparing for it the last two months is by the by. It’s almost here!! And it’s too soon. I’d like to cut and paste another week into my calendar before Sunday is upon us. Because, unlike my two-and-a-half-year old, I’ve finally realised that Christmas is all about the build up. The anticipation. It’s about the trip to buy the tree and trying to strap it to the car roof; the fumbling in the cupboard on a precariously balanced stepladder searching out the decorations; the excitement of a misty morning train journey up to London for Christmas shopping before the hustle and bustle reality kicks in; angelthe squeezing in of a completely unplanned lunch with friends; the standing for HOURS in the toy shop while every available toy is carefully examined and every button pressed; the dubious Christmas films far far down the Freeview Channel list; the fierce new angel for the tree and other nursery school decs; the numerous gold chocolate coins; the VERY bad Santa costume on the Christmas Lights Up night ‘Mummy, that’s not Santa, it’s a lady!’; the cosy nights in and the cold bundled-up nights out; the winter wonderland walks and the sweet, sickly mulled wine; it’s the wrapping, the shiny new Sellotape dispenser and the blasting Christmas music. It’s everything everyday that can be crammed under the heading Christmas and we’ve got two more days left to cram in as much as we can! Ready? Get set, go!

20161214_110419

Take a sneak peek behind the scenes…

Here’s the Pinterest board for The Sunshine and Biscotti Club. If you’ve read it then enjoy seeing where the inspiration came from. If you haven’t read it, well I hope it will inspire you to dash out as fast as you can to buy a copy! Otherwise, just indulge in all the beautiful images of faded glory hotel rooms, lemon groves and some hot celebrities…

Jenny x