Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Books I've Read: The Museum of Heartbreak



I wasn't expecting this book to be as delightful as it is.  The cover is adorable, and the book between it is just as good.

Penelope Marx is a New Yorker and this book is almost as much a love letter to the city as it is a story about Penelope's relationship attempts and failures.   It's also a story about friendship and how friendships grow and change as we grow up, sometimes even changing into something else entirely.

Each chapter begins with an object, usually something Penelope finds or is given.  At the end of the book, these are the exhibits in her museum of heartbreak - a trail of artifacts that mark the success and failure of her relationships with two boys.

First there's Keats.  Dashing, charming and handsome, he's Penelope's dream guy.  But he'd never speak to someone like her.  So when he does, Penelope's world begins spinning off its axis.  It's not long before she believes she's head over heels in love.  Just, why doesn't she enjoy being with Keats as much as she does with her best friends Audrey and Eph?

Then there's Eph.  Penelope's best friend since childhood, the son of her father's partner in the dinosaur department of the museum.  Talented, funny and fun to be with, Eph is suddenly acting in all kinds of confusing ways.  Yet somehow, he's always exactly where Penelope needs him to be.

Over the course of a year, Penelope navigates her feeling for these two boys, the fracturing of her friendship with Audrey and breaks out and finds new friends who share her interest in writing when she joins the staff of the school's literary magazine.

I read this book in a single day because I enjoyed it so much.  There's nothing very deep or challenging in it, but Penelope is a funny and charming protagonist - awkward, a little geeky, and a lot of fun to spend a few hours with.

But don't just take my word for it.  Here's the blurb:

In this ode to all the things we gain and lose and gain again, seventeen-year-old Penelope Marx curates her own mini-museum to deal with all the heartbreaks of love, friendship, and growing up.

Welcome to the Museum of Heartbreak.

Well, actually, to Penelope Marx’s personal museum. The one she creates after coming face to face with the devastating, lonely-making butt-kicking phenomenon known as heartbreak.

Heartbreak comes in all forms: There’s Keats, the charmingly handsome new guy who couldn’t be more perfect for her. There’s possibly the worst person in the world, Cherisse, whose mission in life is to make Penelope miserable. There’s Penelope’s increasingly distant best friend Audrey. And then there’s Penelope’s other best friend, the equal-parts-infuriating-and-yet-somehow-amazing Eph, who has been all kinds of confusing lately.

But sometimes the biggest heartbreak of all is learning to let go of that wondrous time before you ever knew things could be broken.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Weekly Goals 27-3-17

I have another busy week at work ahead of me, so I'm not going to be too ambitious in terms of writing output.  I've made a start on my proposal for the ghostwriting job, but still need to do a lot more before it's finished.

Do any of you use voice to text software?  I'm looking for recommendations for a good one.  Something I can use to make recordings into text.

We went and took a second look at the house over the weekend, and we still like it.  Wish me luck!  I'll be making an offer tomorrow, probably.

What are your goals this week?


Friday, March 24, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things 24-3-17



This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up!

So what am I celebrating this week?

Well, we found another house we like.  I think it's probably slightly out of our price range, but I figure there's no harm in making an offer.  Who knows how desperate the current owners are to sell?  So I've been busy getting all those ducks in a row so we can offer early next week.

Been a crazy week at work and I've been so exhausted by the end of the day, I haven't managed to get anything much done on my ghostwriting project at all.  I will have to do some serious butt-in-chair next week.

I went to the ballet on Thursday night and it was incredible.  Such skill.  I'm still buzzing from it.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Books I've Loved: Girl Against the Universe


After having been in something of a reading slump for a few weeks, it was refreshing to pick this book up and really enjoy it.  Unlike other books I've read recently, this book's depiction of therapy rang true. Maguire's issues felt real and scary, and the way she and her therapist worked through them felt realistic and sensible.

The romance was cute and charming too, even if Jordy did feel a little to perfect to be real.  I'm willing to overlook that though, because when you're in love, the object of your affection can appear perfect because you're too besotted to notice the flaws.

I liked that friendships were important in this book as well as romance, and there was a very realistic and awkward relationship between Maguire and her stepfather.  So often step-parents are portrayed as evil or annoying (probably because the step-child resents their presence), but here the step-father was trying hard despite Maguire's complex feelings about his presence in her life.

I'd recommend this one because it feels honest and personal and because Maguire and Jordy and their circle of friends are people I enjoyed spending a few hours with.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb!

From the author of The Art of Lainey and Liars, Inc. comes a fresh, contemporary story about a girl coping with PTSD and the boy who wants to help her move on from the past. Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen or Jenny Han.

Sixteen-year-old Maguire knows the universe is against her. No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when she's around. Like that time the roller coaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or the time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash--and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.

Despite what her therapist tells her, Maguire thinks it's best to hide out in her room, far away from anyone she might accidentally hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star who wants to help her break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for him is to stay away, but it turns out staying away might be harder than she thought.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Weekly Goals 20-3-17

I'm ghostwriting an autobiography at the moment - or at least, preparing to - so this week is all about continuing research and trying to put together a proposal.

I've never done a non-fiction book proposal before, so I've had to research what to include and how they go together.  I have a feeling it will take me a few weeks to get through because it's a way bigger job than a fiction query!

Still house hunting.  We went to look at two yesterday, but neither would have suited us.  We decided against the new house we'd been considering.  Too risky when we know houses made at that time have a history of leaking.  Even though this one seemed perfectly dry now, it's of the age that those kinds of houses start failing, so best not to invest all my money into it.

Fingers crossed something better shows up!

What are your goals this week?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things 17-3-17



This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up!

So what am I celebrating this week?

We found another house we like.  It has an ideal layout, plenty of space and is in a good location.  Unfortunately it's also a new house and lacks the character and charm older houses have.  It was also built at a time when building materials weren't the best, so it may not last as well as an older house.

So we have to decide whether or not to put an offer in on it, or if we keep looking for something better (assuming there is something better).

I started working on my ghostwriting project.  I think it's going to be fun!  Hard work, but definitely fun.

What are you celebrating this week?