Back on home turf, Angela is visiting her friends and family after two years away from home. I loved the cast in this book. We got to know Angela's parents better and her best friend Louisa, now with baby in tow. This story really developed her life outside of the States and I particularly enjoyed the way Kelk unravelled Angela's relationship with her parents. Humourous, comical, emotional - at times! Simply a really heartwarming read with the usual road bumps along the way, that we've come to expect of Angela and her life. I thought this was the end of the road for this series, but I believe there are a couple more I need to hunt down...
Watch this space!
Another week, another Angela Clark adventure...
I expected this one to be completely "over the top unbelievable" being Vegas an' all, but I was pleasantly surprised. The story still felt real; it continued in the same theme as the others, as life carries on for Angela and her friends and circumstances change and improve - or in Angela's case, get worse! We see her relationship with Alex stumble and fall and pick itself back up again. I think Kelk is really developing the characters and I love them more and more as I turn more and more pages.
Another fab installment of Angela Clark's adventures and misadventures. This one had a great twist in it too, which I didn't see coming. I love all the travel references whilst she's in Paris and it adds another dimension to the story. You also don't have to have read the other books because each story sits as its own book. Kelk always has a little recap in there somewhere, so you get a precise of what you may have missed.
Angela Clark's adventures and misadventures continue with a trip to LA. This time she's off to interview the hunky James Jacobs, but nothing is ever straight forward. There are twists and turns and lots of drinking and miscommunication, along with a large side order of paparazzi...
I'm really enjoying this series. It's easy going, funny, familiar chick lit and there are some fantastic, memorable characters. I particularly love Jenny Lopez and Mary. Seriously, I know I keep saying this, but Kelk makes it look so easy. I'm a big fan of the travel connection too!
Ok, so now I'm reading Lindsey Kelk's "I heart..." series and learning how a marketable series of books works.
I'm never just reading - I'm always researching my craft too!
I mean, I LOVED NYC so this book was right up my street. Another chick lit, another sassy protagonist with a great supporting cast. Seriously, Kelk makes this "writing a series and marketing the series" malarkey look so effortless. Even if you don't like chick lit, you can learn a lot from the production supporting the "I heart..." books.
Now to the story itself - another reinvention of a classic tale - boy cheats on girl, girl takes drastic measures, learns to stand on her own two feet with plenty of bumps along the way. Even if you've never experienced Life quite like Kelk storytells, believe it or not, funny, surprising, totally unbelievable crazy stuff does happen when you least expect it and when you're at your most vulnerable. I can testify to this! Which is why, I guess, this story rings true to me. If you are used to living by the seat of your pants, in a kind of whirlwind not of your own making or definitely of your own making, then expect the unexpected because that's actually what happens. Life is unpredictable at the best of times. Even if you live the most mundane existence, Life will catch you out, make you stand up and realise, or simply slap you around the face - at some point. And that's pretty much all you can be sure about!
A light hearted chick lit read introducing me to Lindsey Kelk. Classic story - boy dumps girl, girl goes crazy, girl's lovely friends help her transition into single, confident woman. They create The List - 10 things she has to do to help her get over what she thought was the love of her life. It's a fun book. I never get tired of new twists on old themes, after all, plot lines are there to be revived, recreated and rehashed in an author's very own particular style. It's the same with films.
What I like about the recent chick lit books I've read - and coming at this wearing my Writer's hat - is that they all have a marketing hook; something to use to promote the book and the author and get the readers involved. The List is a great little attraction for social media, blog and website promotion!
So with all the commuting I'm doing now, I'm reading like crazy and averaging about a book a week! Which is great because I always did want to read more...
I'm a massive fan of MB and this was another excellent story coming from lots of different perspectives, but then she brings it altogether as the book progresses. I love the way the characters are all part of each others lives before we even know it. MB does storytelling so well and the plot unfolds effortlessly.
This particular story piqued my interest because it was about a group of people all learning Italian together and the reasons why such an odd bunch came to the same class in the first place. I have an idea for a story along these lines and reading Evening Class was the perfect homework to see how to make it work and develop the different themes of people's lives, to the point they are all drawing strength from one another and working towards a common goal.
If you love studying human nature and effortless storytelling, you will love this book. Another wonderful, heartwarming, gossipy read from MB.
Following on from Tuesday's post, here are some more parts of Choosing The Simply Luxurious Life that I really enjoyed:
Find your passion and then become an expert in it. Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000-hour rule where you practice a task for 10,000 hours to be a success in that field. Ables says, "The formula is very clear: Acquire knowledge, make a sustained effort, and exercise patience."
As an individual, you don't need to be validated by anyone else. What you feel, what you think, your values...they are YOURS because you've decided what you deem important to leading a fulfilling life. "In our world today, there are as many opinions as there are people...Choosing to maintain some privacy and not share everything about our lives with the rest of the world bolsters a belief in ourselves."
"In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you." Oscar Wilde
"You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself." Alan Alda
We all know the well known saying "Money can't buy you happiness", but as Ables points out and I've experienced, money is very useful when it comes to building a foundation for emergencies and for dreaming and scheming - in my case, my next destination! The best feeling in the world is financial security.
Despite the outside world dictating what Success is and isn't, Success should be what you deem it to be for yourself and your own personal struggle to achieve what you've achieved.
"Nothing can bring you peace but yourself." Ralph Waldo Emerson
We are so busy rushing through life, that we rarely connect with ourselves. I remember in my 20s being swept along most of the time because there wasn't any time to stop and get in tune with myself. For the start of my 30s, I've had time to think about what is most important to me in all aspects of my life.
"...at the core of our desire for connection is a need to know that we exist, that we are loved, needed, and valued."
"All great changes are preceded by chaos." Deepak Chopra
"What I like most about change is that it's a synonym for 'hope'. If you are taking a risk, what you are really saying is, 'I believe in tomorrow, and I will be part of it.' " Linda Ellerbee
It was Ables's idea that sparked my desire to keep a journal for 2016, writing one positive sentence a day for 365 days. Even if nothing goes right one day, I'm going to pull a positive from a negative - I hope!
Ables says that simple luxuries are everywhere, but we need to slow down to really see them. I like the way she puts it, "...indulging in a simple luxury that slows down your heartbeat just enough that you can appreciate all the things in your life that are going well."
Following on from The Happiness Project, this book came up as a recommendation. I paid more than I would for both the Kindle versions of these books, but in my opinion, the content of The Happiness Project comes out on top. I found it more engaging, thought provoking and the fact Rubin had researched like crazy shone through amazingly. That's not to say I didn't enjoy Ables's efforts. She also makes relevant points about modern day living and interesting observations that resonate with me. The crux of her work is how to live a simply luxurious life whatever your background, culture, social standing or financial position. I strongly believe it's about the little things in life and that's why I was drawn to her book.
"Luxury is ... to be able to take control of one's life, health, and the pursuit of happiness in a way that is joyful ... It is when we attain freedom that we can follow the mission of living simply luxuriously: choosing quality over quantity, preferring sensibility over frivolity, opting for a personal signature style over trendy fashions, and discovering a truly fulfilling life rather than being led around by the nose."
The start of the book has to hook you, but Ables's intro was somewhat repetitive - and the end of the book lost me when she included indulging your inner Francophile (Ch 10) and recipes in Chapter 11. The final chapter, Chapter 12, rescued the book from having an unsatisfactory conclusion by bringing together the main themes and reminding the reader of the purpose.
Negatives aside, the book still got me thinking, and that's what I wanted from it. Here are some of my favourite bits, which sit nicely with the Being Happy series I'm currently working on and my resolution to be the very best version of myself this year.
It's ok to want "me" time whether you're in a relationship, or you're single, because you can't be truly happy until you own your happiness and the secret to that is, it comes from YOU.
Value and enjoy personal rituals. They bring contentment.
Create your own unique destiny and own your uniqueness. "The woman who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been." Albert Einstein.
Taking a chance on yourself is a gift to yourself. It's scary, but it's worth it. Use the fear you feel to empower you.
Face your fears. How many times have we heard this? But I've done it, and it works! The build up in your head makes you feel something is going to be much worse than it really is. Maria Shriver says: "Someone once told me not to be afraid of being afraid, because, she said, 'Anxiety is a glimpse of your own daring.' Isn't that great? It means part of your agitation is just excitement about what you're getting ready to accomplish. And whatever you're afraid of - that's the very thing you should try to do."
"The best protection any woman can have ... is courage." Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The stance taken by those brave, courageous men and women in our history books helped to "make the world a bit more accepting, a bit more just, and a bit more humane." Courage is the difference between a good life and a great life.
I like this one: when setting goals make sure they are SMART - specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
Something I really need to work on - Analyse less. Act more.
When Meryl Streep played Julia Child in Julia & Julia, she said this about her character: "You know, we think that there is a formula, and actually the formula for happiness and success is just actually ... be yourself in the most vivid possible way you can because then you don't have to pretend. That is the freedom (Julia Child) enjoyed in her life and that is inspirational to me."
"The woman you wish to become is already within you. She's waiting for you to find the courage to reveal her to the world."
End of Part 1.
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.