Books That Are Satisfying Me

Perhaps I haven’t written as much as usual about books that I am enjoying. So I thought it would be good to talk about a few that I have recently started. Nothing beats a good book and these two are already lining themselves up as top quality reads.

So if you like nothing more than putting your feet up and opening a good book, it would be well worth checking these titles out.

Already fun and character led.

Thrown by Sara Cox

I have been a fan of Sara Cox for a long time and have laughed out loud at her radio show for many years. I also really like her BBC2 show ‘Between The Covers’ where she gets a panel of celebrities to review upcoming and existing novels.

Knowing that Sara used to present a pottery TV show called The Great British Pottery Throwdown, it was amusing to think that she had written a story about people who meet in a pottery class. I love how she is setting the story up by writing each chapter from a different character’s point of view. Her anecdotes are quirky and her way with words is brilliant. So much so that I can hear her warm northern accent shining through.

Solitaire by Alice Oseman

Another little gem is the debut novel from Alice Oseman. The creator of Heartstopper began with a book about Charlie’s sister Tori Spring and her fascination with blogging. A solitaire blog sets a game into action that she is quickly drawn into whilst dealing with some mental health issues.

Her struggle with depression feels real and Alice holds no punches when dealing with very current and relevant topics such as suicidal ideation. This book reads well and is very character driven. I love her cleverness in telling YA tales.

In A Nutshell

This was just a rapid overview of what I am currently reading but I can tell you that I am hooked on both books. Each one is well worth checking out. If you want a contemporary drama go for Thrown and if you prefer YA stories then try Alice’s book.

Being Watched – My YA Book

As my new book is now a week old, I thought I would share another extract from it. This story is about two teenagers who are about to do their A-Levels when they come across a derelict country house. From that moment on their lives change for the worse as they cannot escape a feeling of constantly being watched.

Here is the snippet:

It was getting close to twilight when I called out to mum.

“I’m off to hang out with Max.”

“Alright, remember your key,” she yelled back as I undid the door that linked the garage to the kitchen.

 

I had picked up some crisps and other vital supplies on my way down and squeezed a bottle of lemonade into my rucksack before picking up my bike. I took a deep breath and was just about to leave when my phone started ringing. It was Max.

“Sorry man, I can’t make it,” he said with a frog in his throat. “You know how much I wanna be there. My throat has flared up and I have just been sick.”

“Oh man. That sucks,” I said shrugging my shoulders.

“Can we do it tomorrow instead?” he said with a genuine sound of someone who was not well.

“Don’t worry. We got this,” I said, putting the phone down and opening the garage up. I wheeled my bike out, clicked off the light and pulled the door down behind me. Taking a deep breath, I switched on my lights and took off.

 

My first stop would be the local shop. I needed to see if they had any garlic, just in case it was a vampire. Ok this was a long shot, but you have to be prepared for everything right? As I zoomed through the aisles, I soon set eyes on a clove of garlic and chucked it into my basket. Nearby they sold kitchen knives so I thought I may as well get one of those too. It would take the place of a stake just in case I needed to stick whatever was in there in its chest.

 

Maybe I was getting too carried away and this was starting to be me acting out my favourite movies a little, but I knew Siobhan would be pleased that I had taken precautions. To my surprise, when I got to the checkout, the cashier asked me for ID as she said I could only buy a knife if I had proof of age. Of course, that was one thing I had forgot to bring with me so I gave her the knife back and paid for the garlic. I also grabbed some cheap chocolate buttons to add to my supplies. I knew Siobhan had a soft spot for them and we might both need some instant energy during our mission. Especially if things got really scary.

 

I threw that idea to the back of my thoughts and got back on my bike. I didn’t want to be late and leave her waiting for me at the top of that hill. My feet ached a little as I had done some cricket practise earlier. Every time I turned the pedals they reminded me that I had fallen over trying to catch a long ball. Eventually I neared the top of the road and could see her stood next to her bike, earphones on, staring at her phone. She waved when she caught a glimpse of me.

“Hey, what took you so long?” she jested, knowing full well that we were both early.

“What you listening to?” I asked as I got off my bike and sidled up with her.

“Shawn Mendes. What else?” she replied, as if to say it was obvious.

“You know Max can’t make it? He came over sick.”

“That guy is sick. For sure,” she laughed, not really meaning it in a bad way, but equally not referring to him being cool either.

“Are you ready for this?” I asked, nervously.

Thank you for taking the time to read this short extract from my YA drama, Being Watched.

Being Watched – Story Snippet

I am so delighted to finally see my YA mystery book on sale on Amazon as well as other bookshop sites such as Waterstones. It feels like an age ago that I wrote it and I am excited to see people start to buy it and let me know what they think.

Today I would like to share another extract from the story and hope that it grabs your interest. Drew and Siobhan are the main characters who stumble upon a weird, old country house which then leaves a lasting impression on their lives.

Check out this little snippet:

“Man, did you have to wake me? I mean it’s not even afternoon yet,” he said, opening the door and grimacing as the sun shone in his eyes. “Come in. I reckon I have something you might wana see.”

I followed him into his living room where he quickly shoved back the curtains and slapped a book down on the table. It was a tatty looking book with old fashioned binding and that kind of been in the attic for decades dusty look.

“What is that? Looks ancient.”

“It is pretty ancient. I found it in the loft when I was looking for a set of earphones,” he said, holding up the title.

I realised that it was in fact some kind of scrap book.

“Art – photos and drawings,” he said. “It was dad’s. Since dad don’t live here no more I don’t think he will mind us looking through it.”

“Has it got pictures of his old girlfriends or is it the drawings he used for his GCSEs?”

“Nah, it’s a bit of everything. Dad was trying to be arty though. Some of these pictures were really well planned. Like this one of a squirrel perched right on the edge of a branch, with a massive storm cloud behind it. I can see why he ended up as a designer.”

I flicked through some pages and saw random sketches of wildlife and houses. His dad had written jottings by the side of every picture and you could tell that he took a lot of pride in his photographs, which were well protected by a layer of plastic stuff surrounding each page. As I fingered through them, I noticed his fascination with animals and the delicate way he framed each piece. The sketches were in pencil but the light and shade was spectacular.

“I mean… this is great and everything. But I don’t get the feeling that is all you wanted to show me,” I muttered quietly.

“You’re right,” he went on. “Let me find the page I want you to see.”

He fingered the pages carefully and soon opened up a page of photographs. There were four of them and they all seemed to be different views of the same building. I gulped as I realised that I knew exactly what he was showing and as he drew it closer to me… Well it was clear that these were slightly unusual. These pictures were of that damn house and it looked more menacing than usual. His dad had managed to capture what appeared to be hundreds of black birds all sitting on the lawn, on top of the roof, flying around in circles and generally highlighting the fact that there was the outline of an old man stood in front of the house. Although the crows were distinct, the man was just a shadow, with no features apparent. He stood with one arm bent, and the other holding a a spade.

To many, it must have just looked like a man doing his garden, but to me it looked scary. It gave me a shudder and I looked over to Max who was patiently waiting for me to freak out. I didn’t. I sat. I stared. Then I asked him to make us a drink.

One thing was for sure, that house was going to haunt my dreams for the next few weeks. I took some pictures on my phone and Max told me that he was going to ring his dad to ask what made him take those pictures. I agreed that would be a good idea. When Max made the call it went straight to voicemail and we decided to leave it until another day. The only thing we were certain of after this was that that house had a way of filling us with questions. Our pact was to find the answers, and we knew that Siobhan needed to be a part of our detective work.

Thank you for reading my extract of ‘Being Watched’ which is on sale now.