Three More Books to Read This Summer

You all know how much of a book nerd I am. I proudly fly my book nerd flag. 🙂 So while everyone else around me has been going clubbing or sailing or disappearing to summer houses or the Greek islands (and all those other things Stockholmers do when it’s summer), I’ve been working and reading. You may remember I took two weeks off in June, went to Italy, wrote and lived la dolce vita. Since then, I’ve been working, working, working and taking the occasional weekend trip. And all the while I’ve been reading. 🙂

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Cover of Love Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh

Love Minus Eighty – Will McIntosh

It’s been a while since I read any sci-fi novels. None has really jumped out at me. So I was really pleased when I heard about Love Minus Eighty through a Twitter connection. The story is set in a future version of New York where one’s love life is as closely monitored like a reality TV show and death isn’t always the end–especially if you’re an attractive woman on the right side of thirty. This addictive novel follows the stories of several interconnected characters as they try to figure out romantic love in an age where technology has taken over. This is not your usual sci-fi novel. It reads more like speculative literary fiction and is a real page-turner. I loved sinking my teeth into it, and I think you will too. The world presented is like Facebook on crack…no, more like Facebook on the most psychedelic drug you could imagine. Hats off to Will McIntosh for such a brilliantly written novel! This was the first time I’d ever read his work and I am already a fan. 🙂

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Cover of French Kissing by Catherine Sanderson

French Kissing – Catherine Sanderson

French Kissing is not a new book. It was originally published in 2009, but I only just heard about it a few weeks ago. I was thinking about booking a weekend trip to Paris and stumbled upon a short interview with Catherine Sanderson and her experiences as an expat living in France. And as an expat living in Stockholm, I always find it fun to read books about others wading in the murky waters of another country’s culture and unwritten rules of society. And Sally, French Kissing‘s heroine, is doing just that while also trying to raise her four-year-old daughter Lila and maintain an amicable relationship with her ex, the faithless Nico. While Nico has moved on with two other women, Sally hasn’t dated and decides it’s time to take the plunge and rejoin the dating market. She does so via Rendez-Vous, the French version of match.com. We follow Sally through a few dreadful dates, a few not-qute-right-but-nice-enough dates and all the while get an idea of what it’s like to date in a foreign language. Sanderson does a great job of giving the reader insight into how the French (and especially Parisians) date and what it’s like raising a bilingual child while also trying to maneuver as a newly single mum. Sally is an extremely likable character. She is definitely not an all-too perfect Mary Sue. And her journey from coupledom to singledom while looking for love is an addictive read!

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Cover of S.G. Redling’s Damocles

I first heard about the plot of Damocles during a Matera brainstorming session. I thought the story–of a crew on a one-way expedition into deep space mission to search for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence–was intriguing. I couldn’t wait for the book to finally come out, and it doesn’t disappoint. Linguist Meg Dupris and her crew have the daunting task of making first contact with the humanoid inhabitants of Didet, an earth-like planet with eternal sunlight. But first they must overcome the Didetos’ fear that the “earthers” are there as invaders…and they must find a way to communicate when there is no common language. The story moves quickly, with Meg and Loul, a Dideto who predicted that “aliens” would come, struggling to figure out how to interact and learn from one another–and realizing they have more in common than they think. What I really liked with Damocles is how the story is told from both Meg and Loul’s perspective. So we get a very interesting view of just how first contact might be. Two thumbs up!

OK! That’s it for now! Happy reading (and writing)!

Review: Put The Husband Diet On Your Summer Reads List

Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 9.32.14 PMEver since Nancy first brainstormed the plot of The Husband Diet with all of us in Matera, I’ve been longing to read it. The story of Erica, a plus-sized woman who put aside her own dreams to help her egocentric husband get his business off the ground.  Fast forward twelve years and Erica is still putting her wants aside for the sake of Ira, who still hasn’t managed to get his business going. But now Erica has two kids to think about. And then there’s Erica’s shallow mother, Marcy, who seems to thrive on making her daughter feel awful and who never provides her with the emotional support Erica desperately needs. Thank God Erica has her gay best friend Paul in her corner to remind her that she is beautiful no matter what size she is and that she is a great mom with kids who adore her. Paul gives Erica the unconditional love and support she’s been missing but she wishes she had someone who could take care of her physical needs as well, and that certainly isn’t her husband who announces that she is too heavy to turn him on. 

Enter Julian Foxham, brave spider killer and dead sexy headmaster of the school Erica’s children attend. His good looks and quiet calm set Erica’s heart racing and remind her there is hope for her love life–there are other men in the world and, unlike her husband, they find her incredibly attractive.  At first Julian is nothing more to Erica than a perfect fantasy hero but then it becomes obvious he’s interested in more than just a parent-teacher relationship with Erica…well, I won’t spoil it for you.

Take my advice and order yourself a copy of The Husband Diet. If you want a book that will have you laughing and rooting for the heroine from page one until the very end and wishing you had your own spider-killing hottie, then this is the book for you. I loved how Erica shakes off the shackles of her self-doubt (and her deadbeat hubby) and rediscovers her plan to get what she wants in life. It’s lighthearted without being fluffy and Erica’s moments of introspection will have you nodding in empathy–let’s face it, we’ve all had those moments when we don’t believe in ourselves and we need someone else to shake some sense into us. 🙂

Intrigued? Here are the links where you can preorder The Husband Diet for Kobo and NOOK. Kindle readers, the book will be available on 31 May and it’s worth the wait. 🙂

My rating? I give The Husband Diet five stars!

5_Star

 

 

 

It was such a fun read and I love a book that makes me laugh and empathize with the main characters! 🙂

Happy reading (and writing)!

 

 

Another brainstormed book published–congrats, Beate! :D

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 7.53.27 PMJust heard from Beate Boeker, another of my Matera Brainstormers, and her latest book, Banker’s Death: Temptation in Florence #3–which we brainstormed in Matera last year–is on sale now.

Beate’s books are so much fun to read and they make you want to jump on the next flight to Florence, so if you’re an Italophile like me and you like quirky cozy mysteries, then you’ll love her Temptation in Florence series.

I am so happy for Beate and I’m on way to Amazon now to get it for my Kindle. Congrats, sweetie! Keep these Temptation in Florence novels coming! I love ’em! 😀

Happy reading (and writing)!

Can’t wait to read Nancy Barone’s The Husband Diet…coming soon!

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I love the cover for Nancy’s book!

I love it when one of my friends gets their big break! In a few weeks a book written by fellow Matera Brainstormer Nancy Barone will be published by Bookouture. And what’s really cool is that it’s a book she brainstormed with our group.

I think it was during our first brainstorming session that Nancy first told us about the story that would become The Husband Diet. I loved the premise and couldn’t wait to read it. Well in May I’ll be able to do just that! Intrigued? Well check out the back cover summary…

The Husband Diet

 Erica Cantelli’s life feels more suffocating than a size 4 dress.

 On the surface she’s maintaining the image of successful career woman, perfect wife and a doting mother with two wonderful children.

In reality she’s running out of hours in the day; 6 dress sizes bigger than she wants to be; and the only man who shows her any affection is her gay best friend.

In fact fantasizing about how to kill her increasingly disinterested husband is just about all that keeps Erica sane.  That and a whole different type of fantasizing about the incredibly handsome new school principal, Julian Foxham.

 When her husband jokes about trading her in for two size tens, Erica knows something has to change.  But is another diet really the answer?  Or is getting rid of him the fastest path to happiness?  Now if she could only stop thinking about the gorgeous Mr Foxham…

 For any woman who’s ever felt under-appreciated, or thought about giving up on their dreams.  Erica is a laugh-out-loud breath of fresh air.

I hope you’ll show Nancy some love by clicking ‘Like’ on her Facebook author page and then head over to her website to find out more about her writing and The Husband Diet. And don’t forget to buy The Husband Diet in May!

 Congratulations, Nancy! Can’t wait to help you brainstorm the next book! 😀

The slow process of revising

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Not a stack of my manuscripts, but it pretty well could be…

I always thought I could be one of those writers who could breeze through revisions. I read so many stories about how Hemingway could revise quickly, that all good writers can do so. But so far I am struggling with the whole revise 20 pages in 2-3 days jazz that so many other writers seem to be able to do at the drop of a hat. Maybe they are better at sticking to deadlines. Maybe they are exaggerating. Maybe I am too easily distracted.

I think the biggest problem is that I try to revise when I come home from work, when I’ve already spent an entire day writing and revising copy, and my brain refuses to cooperate. I’ve tried revising in the morning and I can usually manage 1-2 pages per day if I stay focused. Did I also mention that the old MFA student in me will spend way too much time wondering if the sentence I wrote is perfect? Yes, every now and then the twenty-something version of me pops up and asks me if that is really the best sentence I could write. And she’s a pain in the ass. She shakes her head at everything. I have to banish her to the back of my mind, otherwise she makes me doubt everything.

But I have a plan and I need to stick to it. I want to finally publish Snowbound this year. I want to publish it by mid-September. I also want to publish Maybe Baby this year and a novella  that is a prequel to Maybe Baby. And then there’s A Little Night Music, a novel I shelved a few years ago and then began working on again. It too needs to see the light of day.

My Matera Brainstormers came up with the idea of checking in with one another on the 15th of every month. We need to report progress, which is good. I like when someone else is keeping track of me. I need a coach who prods and encourages me. It’s good I have my writing buddy Kim K. We meet once a week, talk shop and write.

But I have the feeling that 2013 is the year when I will manage to get at least 2 novels out. And I hope all of you who read my blog will poke me every now and then and say, “Yo, Kim. Finish the revisions now!” 🙂