My New YA Book – Extract

As September begins, I am excited to finally introduce my first YA novel, which is published at the end of this month. I wrote this story two years ago and have waited patiently for its arrival, hoping that the narrative will grab your interest and intrigue you enough to consider checking it out.

This segment is a few chapters in and after the two main characters, Drew and Siobhan, have come across a mysterious old country house. The two of them have had a feeling of ‘being watched’ ever since that peculiar night. Some weird blackbirds, which dwell in large numbers close to that disheveled house, have also been haunting their lives.

Coming soon – my YA book, available in Kindle and Paperback.

Extract

Sunday came and I went down to the Hub to meet Siobhan for lunch. She was already settled in and listening to music on her iPod when I sauntered in and plonked myself opposite her in one of the quaint wooden booths.

“Shall I order the usual?” she asked as she yanked one earphone out of her ear.

“Yes, two roasts please,” I said noticing the waiter looming over us.

“Great! I need a feast today.”

I smiled at Siobhan and then decided to breach the subject and get it out of the way before our dinner came.

“So why have you not mentioned going into that garden again? Bonita was fuming about that.”

I could see that I had caught her by surprise. She thought for a moment and then began.

“I was going to tell you. But then I decided it was better to keep it to myself.”

“Right,” I said, “but we always tell each other everything.”

She turned red a little and looked away.

“This was different. I didn’t know anyone had seen me and I just wanted to try and forget about it,” she gulped, in much the same way as I usually would gulp.

“You know it’s no good keeping these things bottled up,” I said.

“Well I tried to ring you. You were working for your mum that night. I had just been totally freaked out by that dead bird and my mind was whirling. I found myself cleaning my bike and going for a ride. Before I knew it I was slowing down and staring at that bloody house. Something told me I needed to check it out again. I heard some noises, like feint bird noises.”

“You rang me to go with you?” I said awkwardly.

“Yes. But by this time I was already outside. I just had a strange feeling and decided to take the track by the side of the property. I thought I might get a different picture.”

“You wanted to take pictures?”

“No. You know what I mean. I wanted to see it from a different perspective. And when I got half way down the track I could hear the cawing of birds getting louder. Through the fence I spotted a little shed and just in front of it there must have been about a hundred black birds all making strange noises and pecking away at something littered across the grass.”

I could see that she was uncomfortable discussing this and she lowered her voice as the waiter was walking over.

 

He presented us with some piled high plates of chicken, Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, green beans, parsnips and carrots. It was really smelling good and momentarily distracted us from the story but soon he was gone and we were back to chatting about it, almost under a cover of mystery, like two detectives quietly sharing information about a big operation.

“What was it then? What were they eating?” I said, looking at my own food and salivating.

I just filled my mouth with lush roasted potatoes when she said, “Just lots of pieces of flesh. Pink flesh.”

I spat my food out again into the napkin. I could see that she was repulsed by the recollection.

“That is why you freaked out.”

Books I Currently Love

This summer has been very busy and as I get ready to go back to work, I am determined to keep reading as much as possible. Right now I am soaking up several novels at once. In this post, I wanted to share my thoughts on a couple of my current faves.

Five Tuesdays in Winter

Five Tuesdays in Winter is a set of short stories by a wonderful American writer, Lily Smith. Having enjoyed her book, ‘Writers and Lovers,’ Lily has put together some interesting and thoughtful narratives which I have so far been satisfied by.

One tale is of a bookshop owner whose wife had left him to be a single parent. Slowly he realises he is attracted to his new employee and gently they explore their relationship, hinting at possibilities of more than just bookshelf stacking.

Another explores a lad who is left with two college students while his parents are abroad in France. He looks up to the boys and has a summer of discovery while they enjoy making the most of his lavish home.

Apples Never Fall

Liane Moriarty is one of my all time favourite writers and it was a no-brainer that I was always going to get this novel. Her short chapters delve into the lives of an Australian family who had an unexpected guest knock on their door one evening.

Joy and Stan are retired but used to manage their own tennis training school. Their four children are grown up now and living complex lives. The story goes back and forth between a time when Savannah (the guest) had fled her boyfriend and shacked up in Joy’s home and a time after Joy had weirdly vanished.

Summary

These two books are keeping me company at the moment and both are brilliant. I am also working my way through another Joanne Harris novel which I will review later on.

Although I haven’t finished either book, I am loving them so much. I would totally recommend checking them out online and sampling the first few pages of each.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article. Check out my review of Liane Moriarty’s other book Three Wishes if you want more suggestions.

Read, Watch, Listen 4

Before I start my holiday I thought I would do one of my update posts regarding a good book, TV show and podcast that I am currently enjoying. I am a book lover and hoping to read a whole book in the next fortnight as well as reporting back on my travels around Europe.

It is worth noting that a few of us bloggers have clubbed together to start a monthly set of articles about greener living and widening knowledge about climate change. I will look forward to plenty of engagement with these posts as we need to start an open dialogue about tackling climate change.

Back to the books…

Five Tuesdays In Summer By Lily King

After impressing me with her brilliant ‘Writers and Lovers’ which I previously reviewed, I was intrigued to see her set of short stories being published and quickly snapped it up.

Although I am not far in, I already like the strong personalities coming through is these heartfelt stories. From a bookseller’s love for his employee to a widow escaping on a seaside holiday with her daughter, the settings are fairly varied and definitely intriguing. More to come on this later on.

Love Victor (Disney Plus)

Love Victor – Disney Plus

I love Becky Albertalli’s books so it was no surprise that I have fell in love with this series on Disney Plus. In its third and final series, I was happy to see Steven Canals directing an episode too (the writer of Pose FX).

The brilliant Victor (played capably by Michael Cimino) has explored his sexuality in a sensitive way and the surrounding characters are fun, interesting and well acted. The soundtrack is cute and the whole feel of the show is supportive, entertaining and feel good. Produced by the actor who portrayed Simon in the ‘Love, Simon’ movie, Nick Robinson also pops up occasionally.

Making the Cut Podcast

Podcast Link

Davina McCall and her partner, Michael Douglas, have presented this fascinating podcast ever since lockdowns began. They cover everything from TV shows to make up, fitness to theatre and comedy to travel.

They only mention things that they like so you won’t hear negative reviews here. I discovered Ted Lasso because of these two and their life hacks are useful indeed. Davina talks a lot about gut health and Michael gives great insights into history and documentaries.

I am a massive fan of this brilliant podcast and totally recommend checking it out. Their relationship is great and you feel like you are part of the conversation in every episode.

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