Wedding Night- Sophie Kinsella

Recently I’ve had a break from reading, throwing myself into other enjoyable creative outlets. But I’ve found my way back to the wonder of the written word and am thoroughly enjoying it.

I chose the novel Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella simply because, it’s written by one of my favourite authors. It’s a method of choosing a book which has been tried and tested and I’m rarely disappointed.

wedding night

I found Wedding Night a refreshing take on the romantic ‘chick lit’ novel. Without giving too much of the premise of the book away, I enjoyed the sisterly dynamic between the two female protagonists. It’s more common for ‘chick-lit’ to feature best-friends in this dynamic rather than sisters. Being an elder sister to two siblings, it’s a relationship I can easily identify with which made the novel even more engrossing. I found myself wondering ‘Would I have said that?’, or getting excited when I thought ‘I would definitely have done that’!

After a somewhat slow start, by chapter 10 the events have spiralled and the pace becomes much more frantic and exciting. In some places I felt the novel focused too much on the sexual element, but it does undeniably have its place in the plot of the novel. With a fast paced the plot thickens rapidly. There is a wide variety of characters, a good mix of antagonists and protagonists and in general there’s an interesting mix of encounters; that many readers will find lively and will easily identify with.

Despite the pace of events, character development in Wedding Night is steady. Some may feel it’s a little slow but I find that it’s a common trait in novels which shift perspectives regularly throughout. Kinsella skilfully builds relationships, bridges the two perspectives where events require it and reveals character traits through interesting and often amusing events and circumstances. The result is believable characters, you know who you like and who you don’t. As a reader I quickly discovered characters who infuriated me and those who brought out the romantic side of me. It is a testament to the author who can induce such an emotional response.

Wedding Night is a whirlwind of emotion, the pace once it gets going it doesn’t let up- I couldn’t put it down. Whilst some of the events I imagine will only ever happen in novels and films, there was enough real character, real emotion and realistic dialogue to carry those more theatrical plot twists. The flow of the novel is steady, it keeps up with the pace of events and there were enough plot twists to make every chapter interesting.

Whether you are familiar with Kinsella’s work or not I strongly recommend you give Wedding Night a go. It’s the perfect novel for fans of romance and ‘chick-lit’ fiction but it would also suit readers who generally prefer more light-hearted reading and happy endings.

© Gemma Feltham 22 April 2015

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How To Use A Meat Cleaver Book Signing

Review of How To Use A Meat Cleaver book signing event

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Reader alert: This review may contain spoilers. 

How To Use A Meat Cleaver is a cookbook by Lana, Jennifer & Renee Graziano. This delicious cookbook features family recipes and favorites from the Graziano family. Recently, the ladies stopped by Book Soup in West Hollywood for a book signing and meet and greet. The ladies shared some of their favorite recipes and the wonderful stories behind them.

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The first hour of the book signing was a fun question and answer session for fans. Renee was  cracking jokes and having a blast while Jennifer & Lana laughed at her as any sisters would do!  Some of their favorite recipes from the book are Sunday Gravy, Lana’s Meatballs & Stuffed  Peppers. The recipes are from their childhood and from the kitchens of their parents, Anthony &  Veronica Graziano, as well as their grandmother Nora Eda Amelia Cultura DiMarini Gebbia. As  the book says, “Food this good should be illegal!”

The ladies made this book come to life by sharing the wonderful memories associated with the  recipes not only at the book signing butguest blog3 in the book itself! As the Q&A session went on Renee missed a call from her son AJ. She called him back on speaker so everyone could hear! AJ was so  sweet to his Mom and said hi to the fans. Renee ended the conversation with an ‘I love you’. It  was a very fun event and the ladies were so humble and kind. Once the Q&A session was finished,  it was time to meet them one on one and have pictures taken and get your book signed!
guest blog4 Someone came around to write the fan’s names on a post it  for the ladies so everyone’s book was    signed correctly.  Everyone had an opportunity to talk each one of the ladies,  take pictures and  grab a hug or two. Lana was so sweet and  gracious. Jennifer was so humble and beautiful. Renee  was  funny and loving. Together, the Graziano sisters are just  pure fun! They truly love their fans  and it definitely showed  at this fun event.

Renee announced another book to be released and the Graziano’s will be releasing their own  food and wine brand! In the meantime, you can pick up a copy of the book at your local bookstore  and you can follow the ladies on Twitter & Instagram to keep up with their next projects!

http://jljones411.com/2015/04/01/how-to-use-a-meat-cleaver-book-signing/

http://instagram.com/reneegraziano
https://twitter.com/reneegraziano

http://instagram.com/lananotamobwife
https://twitter.com/LANAnotaMOBWIFE

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Calling all budding young authors!

Leeds Reads

Have you got an aspiring young writer in the family?The spaghetti yeti

Budding young writers can have a spring in their step thanks to a great new story competition. And there is even the chance for them to have their story read out at Leeds Central Library as the prize. The Yorkshire Evening Post has teamed up with Leeds Library and Information Service for this Spring-themed contest.

To enter children just have to write a story of 200 words or less. It must also start with the following intro which is not included in the word count.

“It really felt like the first day of Spring. Amongst the snowdrops I saw something sparkling on the grass…….. ”

There will be categories for primary schoolchildren, secondary schoolchildren and pupils at special schools. The winning stories will then be read out by Leeds illustrator and author of Mariella Mystery Investigates series, Kate Pankhurst on April…

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Stonewall launches its first Young Writers competition

Leeds Reads

 Young Writers Top BannerStonewall, the LGBT equality charity, has launched its first Young Writers’ competition. Budding authors between the ages of 14 and 17are invited to submit short stories and poems that support the theme of LGBT equality: Changing Hearts and Minds.

Competition info

The closing date is 22nd May-  the winners will  be announced on 15th June.

Prizes for each category include a £150 book token, while two runners up from each category will receive £50 book tokens. Entries will be judged by author S J Watson, poet Dean Atta and Stonewall’s c.e.o. Ruth Hunt.

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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender: Guest review by Violet Buttercream

Review of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Reader alert: This review may contain spoilers. 

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender Author: Leslye Walton

Genre: YA, Magical Realism, Romance

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Synopsis: Out protagonist (Ava Lavender) looks back at her family history and the past residents of Pinnacle Lane to try and discover why she has wings, beginning with how her grandmother was born. Her family has always had a history of affliction with love and Ava is unprepared for what she discovers. Alongside side this is sixteen-year-old Ava’s life, unsure what to make of her wings, just trying to fit in.

 My thoughts: “Love makes us such fools”

This tale was not just written it was threaded and crafted and I feel like it has burrowed inside of me.

It has an atmosphere to it that just leaves you with goosebumps and an inexplicable understanding of the weight of human love and suffering and an insight into the choices we make and those we don’t and the impossibility and certainty of sorrow.

…Ava Lavender is so breathtakingly real and honest even in the fantastical parts there’s always a groundedness a sense of truth and palpable emotion. It is a story about love without being a love story. It is about motherly love, unwanted love, all-consuming love, endless love and I love this book to the moon and the stars. It is easily the best book I’ve read all year, possibly ever.

“My grandmother fell in love three times before her nineteenth birthday. My mother found love with the neighbour boy when she was six. And I, I was born with wings, a misfit who didn’t dare to expect something as grandiose as love…my story, like everyone’s, begins with the past and a family tree. The following is the story of my young life as I lived it…I have travelled through continents, languages, and time trying to understand all that I am and all that made me such.” 

I think it is suitable for all ages and holds its own with fairytale and mythological qualities while being refreshingly contemporary. This book is definitely not another formulaic YA novel.

As Goodreads describes it (and I think they can do it better than me) “Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.. Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.”

The writing is intoxicating and rich and flowing with darkness. It may not be everybody’s cup of tea (a girl turns into a bird) but even if you hate “magical” books read this because YES THAT IS A PEICE OF MY HEART BETWEEN THE PAGES. There are many characters, but they are all beautifully developed and the book unfolds simply so it is easy it follow (It is also relatively short despite it’s depth.)

 The strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is strange and beautiful and so, so much more and I urge everyone to read this divine book.

Your friend, Violet Buttercream

Check out my blog! http://booksandbakingandfeminism.blogspot.co.uk

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Drama competition for new writing

Leeds Reads

Calling all amateur playwrights.

The 12th Kenneth Branagh Award for new drama writing invites you to submit one unpublished one-act play (no more than 30 minutes long with a cast of no more than six) for the 12th Windsor Fringe Kenneth Branagh Drama Writing Award.

Three winning scripts will be selected for performances during Drama Nights at the Windsor Fringe Festival in October. One of the three scripts will be chosen for the £500 prize, judged on the writing only. Submission deadline is March 5th 2015

One script per author and each script should be an original work by the entrant, and not have been previously published or performed.

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Two short story competitions

Leeds Reads

allingham imageThe Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2015 short story competition closes on Sunday 15th February and you could win a cash prize of £500 and a place on an Arvon residential writing course.

The winning story will be published on www.writersandartists.co.uk

Just enter a short story (for adults) of no more than 2,000 words, on the theme of ‘Joy’ and email it to competition@bloomsbury.com with “WAYB15 competition” as the subject line. The winners of the competition will be announced on the Writers and Artists site in March 2015.

The CWA Margery Allingham Short Story competition to celebrate Margery Allingham’s contribution to crime writing closes on 16th March 2015 and it’s open to  both published and unpublished authors- and is for unpublished short stories (crime/mystery) of up to 3,500 words. The winner will receive £1,000.

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Would you like to write for BBC Radio 4?

Leeds Reads

Opening LinesThe BBC Radio Drama Readings Unit is looking for submissions from writers new to radio for their annual series, Opening Lines which is broadcast on BBC Radio 4. The closing date is 13th February 2015.

Three successful writers will have their stories broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and be invited to the BBC in London to see their stories being recorded. As well as broadcasting the three strongest stories, the BBC publish transcripts of the best stories submitted within this period on the Opening Lines website. (You can read previously published stories), A longlist is published on the BBC Drama Readings website by 15th May.

Stories should be between 1,900 – 2000 words and can cover a broad range of subject-matter (nothing too dark, harrowing  etc. as the programme is aimed at a wide audience). Submissions should be one story per writer. You can read all the terms and conditions and more detail about what is…

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New writing award for young people: BBC Young Writers’ Award with Booktrust.

Leeds Reads

The BBC Young Writers' Award with Booktrust launches to find the best young writers in the UKTo celebrate the 10th anniversary of the BBC National Short Story Award, Booktrust and the BBC are launching the brand new BBC Young Writers’ Award with Booktrust.to inspire and encourage the next generation of writers.

Young people aged 14 to 18, who live in the UK, are invited from today to submit short stories of up to 1,000 words on any topic. A panel of three judges will select a shortlist of the top five stories, which will be announced in September 2015. The judges will be looking for high-quality writing, stories that demonstrate originality, imagination and creativity, and writers who can capture the reader and hold their attention.

The new Award was announced at the BBC National Short Story Award ceremony back in September when Lionel Shriver was announced as the winner of the 2014 Award.

The five shortlisted writers will be invited to attend the exclusive BBC National Short Story Award…

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Do You Think You Could Write For Television?

Leeds Reads

Channel 4 has joined the Northern Writers’ Awards to search for undiscovered writing talent from the north of England. The scheme, launched recently is to identify raw and diverse television talent from the north of England. Launched by Northumbria University, Newcastle, the new award will offer a unique opportunity for two writers to be mentored through the script commissioning process with Lime Pictures and RED Production Company. The Channel 4 / Northumbria University Writing for Television Award will open for submissions on Friday 14 November, as part of the annual Northern Writers’ Awards, and is open to both complete beginners as well as those who already have some writing experience.

One of the winning writers will be mentored by Lime Pictures in Liverpool (Hollyoaks) and will shadow the process of script development, from first draft to broadcast script. This may lead to a commission to write an original episode of the serial…

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