After one of the wettest Junes on record, July has turned out rather well and we’ve even managed a couple of days in the UK when the thermometer beat thirty degrees Celsius. Don’t ask me what that is in Fahrenheit! Here’s what I’ve been getting up to.
I’m continuing to revise the sequel to Scarborough Fair. The word count is up from 64,400 to 67,400, but we have been away on holiday during July. I’m aiming to have a draft ready for my husband to read at the end of the summer.
I’ve read some good books in July.
Never Had It So Good: A History of Britain from Suez to the Beatles by Dominic Sandbrook is simply outstanding for its breadth and depth. He doesn’t just cover political history, but includes fascinating chapters on social and cultural history, examining the consumer boom of the period as well as seminal works of literature, film, television and music.
I read The Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins) because it has been such a massive bestseller and sometimes you just want to know what all the fuss is about. But I find books that are hyped so much have a tendency to disappoint. I thought the basic premise was clever and I liked the voice, but at the end of the day psychological thrillers like this tend to be about middle-class people leading sordid lives – a subject that just doesn’t interest me.
Finders Keepers by Stephen King is the sequel to Mr Mercedes, a book that I initially found slow but ended up enjoying. I enjoyed Finders Keepers from the outset. It’s a compelling thriller written with real warmth and compassion for the characters. There are familiar Stephen King tropes in this book: a successful writer; a serial killer; a teenage hero. There are also a couple of scenes to remind us about Brady Hartsfield, the Mercedes Killer, setting up the final book in the Bill Hodges trilogy, End of Watch.
Cruel Heart Broken is Emma Haughton’s third novel for young adults. It’s a beautifully written story about sixteen year old Laurie who has a terrible secret and her friend Charlie who’s done something that has had tragic consequences. It explores themes of family, friendship and sexual relationships with intelligence and integrity. I’ve written a longer review here.
How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis by Bryan Cohen is one of the best books I’ve read on an aspect of self publishing. It provides detailed, actionable advice on crafting great book synopses. I reviewed it here on my Good Writer website. Highly recommended.
The children broke up from school at the start of July and then we went to Budapest to a friend’s wedding. We managed to fit in quite a bit of sightseeing too. Here are some of our holiday snaps:
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