Weekly check in

Saturday, October 31, 2015 Permalink

Happy Halloween for those celebrating the occasion! While it was never a ‘thing’ here in Australia when I was young it’s become far more popular nowadays and I’m sure if I had kids I’d be joining in the fun and frivolity!

What I read

It was another slow reading week for me and I had a couple of nights off (well, threeΒ nights… but who’s counting?!).

I started the week with Michael Connelly’s The Crossing, then read a short book by Aussie blogger Pinky Poinker called, So You Want to Date a Teacher (which is filled with laugh-out-loud anecdotes) before FINALLY getting around to Isabelle Allende’s The Japanese Lover, which I’ve nearly finished.

so you want to date a teacher

What I wrote

I mentioned in last week’s check-in that I struggled a little with Host by Robin Cook. That’s not to say others won’t enjoy it, but it really just wasn’t for me.

I reviewed A Banquet of Consequences by Elizabeth George, which I think is a return to form for the author, Inspector Lynley and Barbara Havers!

I also shared a rare personal post about a habit I thought I’d broken which has again reared its ugly head in The fragility of habits.

It was also ‘that’ time of the month… when I share my favourite new releases on the popular Styling You blog. Check it out, if you get a chance, to see if you agree with my selections.

I’m also hosting a competition for Aussie residents and giving away a copy of the A Game of Thrones Colouring Book.

gmae of thrones colouring book

Other stuff

I went to an author event last weekend which I very much enjoyed. One of the speakers in particular was hilarious. I’ve read some of Nick Earls’ books and heard him speak before so knew what to expect. I also attended a writing workshop he hosted which focussed on character development.

I had my mother come to visit and we had a nice dinner out with some relatives. I’m coeliac and when I first made my seachange a pub just down the road from my apartment had a great array of gluten-free options. This changed when it was sold a couple of years ago and I’d avoided it ever since. However… the menu’s changed again so we headed back there and it was great.

I’m thinking of again participating in NaNoWriMo. I did so last year and ‘won’… ie. wrote 50,000 words in November, but have done nothing with the manuscript I started.Β I’m struggling to think of something to write about this time around but keen to get some rigour around my writing.

NaNo-2015-Participant-Banner

What I plan to read

I’ve just received Stephen King’s collection of short stories, Bazaar of Bad Dreams. I’m not usually a short story fan, but back in the day I read everything and anything by King, I enjoyed his short stories (as much as some of his novels).

bazaar of bad dreams

David Baldacci’s The Guilty is also near the top of my TBR pile.

And hopefully there’ll be more, but I’m just not sure what as yet….

What have you been up to? What’s on your agenda this coming week?

Linking up with Kimberley from Caffeinated Book Reviewer for the Sunday Post and Kathryn from Book Date for ‘It’s Monday!’

78 Comments
  • Book Birdy
    October 31, 2015

    Hey Deb. What did you think of ‘The Japanese Lover’ – it’s on my bedside table, and I enjoyed the first few pages. But… Enjoyed your recommendations on Styling You – we have quite similar tastes. I read a couple of pages of Geraldine Brooks’ book (because of the hype) but just knew it wasn’t for me. I know others will love it, and it got a great write up today in the SMH. ANd – apart from sharing tastes in reading, we also share a never-ending hunt for good restaurants with gluten-free options. My 6 year old is a coeliac, and I have to say it’s a delightful surprise when you find a pub that specifically caters for coeliacs. There’s so much mis-information out there.. Have a good week, Cass

    • Debbish
      October 31, 2015

      I have to admit Cassie I put off The Japanese Lover for ages, but now I’ve started I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would. It’s slowly paced but I’m hooked. Not a page-turned but enjoyable so far

  • Stormi D Johnson
    October 31, 2015

    I am going to sign up like I always do but I never make it to 50,000 words but I am really determined this time as I really want to write and I just need to quit with he excuses and do it. πŸ™‚

    • Debbish
      November 1, 2015

      True Stormi! I’m a FB NaNoWriMo support group here and it’s a little depressing to see lots of people already well on their way (it’s November here already!).

  • Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library
    November 1, 2015

    I really want to try Allende’s books but for some reason I’ve never actually picked any up despite the fact that my library has several. Despite feeling like you’re having some slow reading you’re getting quite a bit done! I love the Game of Thrones coloring book. It’s such a fun idea. Good luck with your writing! That’s one thing I’ve never had any desire to do but am so amazed by those that do. Have a great week!

    • Debbish
      November 1, 2015

      I actually enjoyed the Allende book. I’d never read any of her books before so wasn’t sure what to expect. They aren’t the sort of books I’d normally read as nothing exactly happens in this book. It’s a bit of a retrospective of someone’s life. Sort of.

  • Greg
    November 1, 2015

    We’re raining here as we wait for kids to come – not a very good night for trick or treating. πŸ™

    So You Want to Date a Teacher looks funny, I went over and rad a few pages and it looks great!

    Good luck with NaNo if you do it.

    • Debbish
      November 1, 2015

      Halloween’s still not too big here Greg, I’m at my mother’s and we only had one group of 3 kids stop by. My mother has a heap of leftover chocolate.

  • Michelle Weaver (@pinkypoinker)
    November 1, 2015

    Thanks for the plug you little doll! That was a lovely surprise on a Sunday morning. With the Na No Na thing can you go back to your 50 000 and keep going? Or even rewrite it/edit it? Or does that not count? I think about doing it each year but then chicken out. I’ll be writing 50 000 words in school reports very shortly. Sigh. Oh well, off to share this awesome post x

    • Debbish
      November 1, 2015

      You’re very welcome Pinky. I reviewed it on Amazon (Oz and US) as well. I actually spat my champagne out on a couple of occasions.

      I have to admit I’m not too worried about the official Na No rules as I think just writing anything would be okay.

  • laurelrainsnow
    November 1, 2015

    I love the cover on the Stephen King book! Enjoy…and thanks for sharing. Happy Halloween!

  • Tracy (@Cornerfolds)
    November 1, 2015

    That Game of Thrones coloring book looks awesome! I’d really like to get into adult coloring sometime soon! I also hadn’t heard of the new Stephen King short story collection. Added to my TBR! Thanks! πŸ˜€

    Here’s my Weekly Recap!

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2015

      I was supposed to start the Stephen King last night Tracy but devoured David Baldacci’s The Guilty instead. #oops

  • Natalie
    November 1, 2015

    I didn’t know there was a Game Of Thrones colouring book – I love colouring in πŸ™‚ I’m doing NaNoWriMo – I’ve done it most years since 2005. I haven’t won all of them but it’s definitely a good way to keep the writing flowing, and to feel more motivated about what you’re doing.

    http://natalieslife.com/2015/10/diy-built-in-bookshelves

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2015

      I think I mention in the post Natalie that I ‘won’ NaNo last year but am not particularly confident with my idea this year!

  • kimbacaffeinate
    November 1, 2015

    You really cannot go wrong with King. I am starting the Host this week, and I am curious to see what I will think. Best of luck with Na No Na. We will be rooting you on from the sidelines πŸ™‚

  • Maree
    November 1, 2015

    I’m excited to read the Stephen King collection, I love his short stories. Have a great week πŸ™‚

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2015

      Me too Maree. When I think back to some of his works that have stayed with me, a lot were from his short story collections.

  • Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews
    November 1, 2015

    Days off are important every now and then, Deb, and I’m sure you needed yours! I’ve already read the Japanese Lover, and it was so good! I love Allende’s writing, and she really outdid herself with this one. I can’t wait to see your thoughts on it.
    Have a wonderful week ahead and happy reading.

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2015

      I enjoyed The Japanese Lover Lexxie. I think it was my first Allende and I was worried, but I needn’t have been. It took me a little while to get into it but then I just wanted to uncover everyone’s stories!

  • Red Iza
    November 1, 2015

    I bought a coloring book recently, it helps cool down, enjoy the colors and achieving doing something pretty – good for the soul ! I’ll be reading Carrie by Stephen King soon, and I’ve ordered and received a new Isabel Allende novel at my library, I’ve put it on hold. I started reading Ruth Rendell’s series several years ago and enjoyed it, don’t know why I didn’t continue… Enjoy your week-end πŸ™‚

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2015

      Izabel, I get stressed about colouring outside of the lines AND I got bored. I was like… “am I done yet?”

      I used to read Ruth Rendell as well but haven’t done so in years. Did she kill Inspector Wexford off I wonder?!

  • Myrthe
    November 1, 2015

    I really wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo, but I’ll be moving house this month and there’ll be a lot of DIYing, so there won’t be much time left for anything else. A bit of bad timing, but hopefully I’ll be able to participate next year. At least I’ve started to blog again, and that’s kinda like writing a novel sometimes πŸ˜‰
    Have a great week!

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2015

      Blogging can be like writing a novel Myrthe, or at least it’s a regular commitment to writing. I know a lot of writers who recommend we just write every day and blogging can offer us that!

  • Trish @ Between My Lines
    November 1, 2015

    I didn’t know Pinky Poinker had a book out! I’ve read her blog from time to time, not lately though, and she is SO funny. I need to check that out. A Game of Thrones colouring book sounds deadly πŸ˜€

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2015

      Yes, Pinky’s book is available from Amazon Trish and it’s a great read. Just 110 pages (I think) and it’s very much like her blog and very funny!

  • sofia
    November 1, 2015

    The Game of Thrones colouring book looks so awesome! Too bad I don’t live in Australia πŸ™ Have a lovely week! πŸ™‚

  • danielaark
    November 1, 2015

    Hi Debbie, happy to be back vising your blog! glad to hear you attended a writing workshop focused on character development and that you are planning to do the NaNoWriMo. I’m thinking on doing it myself πŸ™‚ Good luck!

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2015

      Lovely to see you back again! The character development workshop was fun – basically we were in groups and had to draw items out of a bag and then come up with characters based on them. Then a possibly plot involving them and decide where we’d enter that plot. I was there with a friend and we had a couple of high school girls in our group which was a tad frustrating as they knew EVERYTHING. They were most adamant that books cannnot end on a sad note because no one will ever buy that author again, for eg. *sigh*

  • Heather Duff (@hross42)
    November 1, 2015

    There is a Game of Thrones colouring book! It is like all my dreams have come true!! Good luck with NaNoWriMo! I’d love to do it one year.

    Have a lovely week!

  • Jan @ Notes from a Readerholic
    November 2, 2015

    Hi Deborah! Glad your writing event went well and good luck with NaNoWriMo. I’ve thought of doing that, but November is always a very busy month for me. And this year even more so. However, I also believe we make time for things we really want to do,

    I love the Game of Thrones coloring book! Looks like great fun. I think it’s really interesting that Halloween is becoming more popular in some places beside the U.S. (And maybe it has also been an important holiday other places besides the U.S. Not really sure since I haven’t really thought about it before.) That’s why I like to read blogs from other countries. I like different viewpoints.

    I hope you have a great week!

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2015

      I’m the same Jan – I really like this linkup as it includes a few people from the UK and Europe, New Zealand and of course Australia.

      And you’re right on the busy-ness front. I was only working part-time when I did NaNoWriMo last year but had no problems scheduling in time after my days at work. I’m not working at the moment and suspect I’m going to find it harder as I have TOO MUCH time on my hands!

  • fuonlyknew
    November 2, 2015

    Best of luck with NoNoWriMo. That coloring book is a must have. I just recently grabbed some and they are addictive. LOL

    My Sunday Post – http://fuonlyknew.com/2015/11/01/whats-new-on-my-bookshelf-134-and-the-sunday-post/

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2015

      I don’t quite get the colouring thing Laura – am more of a words person – but so many people are loving it I think it’s great. It’s weird the things we decide are ‘only’ for kids… glad this one’s made a comeback!

  • Christy LoveOfBooks
    November 2, 2015

    There’s a GoT coloring book? Wow. Just color everything in blood red. πŸ˜€

  • Char
    November 2, 2015

    I’m a bit surprised that the new pub owners haven’t gone with the current trend of giving a lot of gluten-free options. These days so many people have banned gluten from their diets (for reasons other than coeliacs) so I’d have thought it’d be a big money-spinner for them.

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2015

      Yes Char I went just after they took over and had a very expensive meal of steak (no sauce cos none were GF) and some green beans. I’ve basically not gone there all of this year as a result. So was pleasantly surprised when I checked out their menu and saw some changes.

      Their chips are advertised as GF on the menu now, but when I asked they weren’t. I could however have another potato dish AND a couple of their sauces were GF. They also advertised GF pizzas.

  • imavoraciousreader
    November 2, 2015

    Coloring books are really becoming popular these days. I’m more of a puzzle person though. πŸ™‚ Good luck with NaNoWriMo! There are a lot of people participating. Maybe I will next year. We’ll see. πŸ™‚ I hope you have a wonderful week!

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2015

      I’m not much for colouring either and prefer word puzzles (play 7 Little Words) and Taipei (Mahjong!) on my phone!

  • Teddyree
    November 2, 2015

    I’d love Halloween and Thanksgiving to really take off in Australia. Good luck with NaNoWriMo, it sounds quite motivating, which I guess is half the battle. I had a very ordinary week of reading. I used to read everything of Stephen King’s but it’s been a while. Curious about Bazaar of Bad Dreams, not that I need any more help in the insomnia department lol. Have a good week and happy reading!

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2015

      Ah yes… am due to start King’s short stories tonight so hope they’re not too worrisome!

      And you’re right – the thing about NaNo is it gives you that focus and impetus for the month which many of us (ie. me) often lack!

  • Bea @Bea's Book Nook
    November 2, 2015

    Go for NanO, it’s worth it. And then go back to your other MS and polish that up. You could always self publish. I’m glad your pub is serving food that’s safe for you once again. It’s a challenge to eat out when you have dietary issues.

    Have fun with your coloring book and happy reading!

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2015

      Thanks for the encouragement Bea. And you’re right. I was able to tell myself that last year when I did NaNo…. at least I’ll have 50,000 (or however many) words at the end and that’s better than nothing. And I can do whatever I want with them down the track.

  • Jessica Samuelsen
    November 2, 2015

    Congrat’s on winning Nano last year! I hope you figure out something to do this year. My first nano manuscript is now three years old and I’m on the third or fourth draft. Not very close to publishing. So don’t worry about it sitting around. It’s fermenting like a good wine. At least that’s what I tell myself LOL.

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2015

      Ah yes… they often tell us to leave it for a while and then go back to it with fresh eyes. I guess I still hope to do that sometime!

  • Susan Whelan
    November 2, 2015

    I’m looking forward to seeing what you think about the Stephen King short stories. My daughter has recently discovered his books, so it could be a good one to add to her Christmas list.

    Good luck with NaNoWriMo. I’m attempting PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) as an alternative. Not sure I can pump out 50000 words of picture book manuscripts in a month for Nano. πŸ™‚

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2015

      Oh no definitely not Susan. I did recall there was a picture book version as an old friend of mine Karen Collum (who’s written a couple of picture books) may have participated in something similar once.

  • Kathryn
    November 2, 2015

    I think I’d enjoy So You Want to Date a Teacher – love humorous. In the meantime I should go look for her blog. No not into Halloween, I like the cute costumes but after that not really and got no door knocks either. However I know quite a few kids enjoy it, just feels too commercial.
    Enjoy Stephen King’s short stories, I’m not really a short story reader either but in the past I have enjoyed some of Jeffrey Archer’s short stories.

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2015

      Definitely check out Pinky’s blog Kathryn. She has a large number of regular readers, which is always a good sign and her posts are consistently funny.

      Am starting the Stephen King tonight so fingers crossed. It’ll probably be a good thing to read short stories as I won’t be tempted to read it in one night (which I did with David Baldacci’s latest last night!)

  • Jess
    November 2, 2015

    Halloween was massive where we are this year although surprisingly not at our place specifically. Two streets over was madness. NaNoWriMo if I got that correct sounds intense! Must be a good feeling to get to 50000 words!

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2015

      We had one batch of kids turn up at about 8pm and that was it. They told us they already had 2 bags full of lollies so someone must have been participating but many of the houses in my mother’s street had the lights off!

  • Nise' (Under the Boardwalk)
    November 2, 2015

    Best of success with NaNoWriMo! We had a cold and rainy halloween which means there is entirely too much candy left! Looking forward to what you though of The Guilty. Love David’s books.

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2015

      I loved The Guilty Nise’ and read it in a night – when I wasn’t supposed to. I’ve loved a lot of his books – except for the Camel Club series (not sure why!).

  • MarthaE
    November 2, 2015

    Looks like you had a very busy week! I hope you enjoy your writing. I like the Game of Thrones coloring book. πŸ™‚ Have a good week.

  • Jen G. (The Introverted Reader)
    November 2, 2015

    I was just trying to look and see if King has any new books out. I’ve lost track of him over the past several years. I did not come across Bazaar of Bad Dreams. I’ll have to look for it! I like both his novels and his story collections, but his short story collections tend to scare me more. My imagination runs away with me. Enjoy your week, and good luck with NaNoWriMo!

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2015

      I’m a bit the same re Stephen King Jen. Two of his tales I most remember were short stories: The Langoliers and Apt Pupil.

  • RAnn
    November 2, 2015

    I think there are a lot of us book bloggers who wish we were writers!

    • Debbish
      November 2, 2015

      Understandable I guess as it’s recommended writers be avid readers, which book bloggers most certainly are!

  • signourney
    November 2, 2015

    I forgot about nano a bit, and I haven’t worked out any of my small ideas so I’ll be skipping this year. I haven’t written anything since the start of the year either. I’m kind of at that point where I wonder if I should continue with writing as I never finish anything anyway.

    Halloween isn’t really a thing here either. Though it’s been getting a tad more attention it is more along the lines of special halloween episodes of kid shows on tv. Most tv stations here didn’t even show a scary movie at night.

    • Debbish
      November 3, 2015

      I’m very much the same Signourney. In fact I started NaNo on Sunday with a half-baked idea and am feeling a bit stressed about whether I should continue and guilty because I’m struggling. I’ve got a few things happening at the moment so will have to tell myself it’s okay if I don’t get there this year!

  • Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog
    November 2, 2015

    That GoT coloring book looks awesome!!! I love coloring! Good luck with NaNoWriMo. Enjoy your books and have a great week!

    • Debbish
      November 3, 2015

      The patterns in the GoT book look very intricate Grace. I don’t really have the patience for colouring but glad you enjoy it and love that it’s become a ‘thing’.

  • lakesidemusing
    November 2, 2015

    Allende’s new book looks good… will be curious to hear what you thought. Best of luck for NaNoWriMo and enjoy Stephen King!

    • Debbish
      November 3, 2015

      I’m writing my review for The Japanese Lover at the moment and very much enjoyed it!

  • Silver's Reviews
    November 2, 2015

    Looks like a good week except for Stephen King. LOL!!! He scares me too much.

    Have a wonderful week this week.

    Elizabeth
    Silver’s Reviews
    My It’s Monday, What Are You Reading

    • Debbish
      November 3, 2015

      I’ve started the Stephen King Elizabeth and so far only one of the stories has been a bit gruesome (re a people-eating car. Although I might have rolled my eyes when it disappeared into the sky?!).

  • lemon123
    November 3, 2015

    Would love to read “The Japanese Lover” by Allende.

    • Debbish
      November 3, 2015

      It’s a lovely book and I have to admit I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

  • Stefanie
    November 3, 2015

    Great productive reading here; you are so good about blogging and keeping on top of your reads. The NaNoWriMo sounds very interesting. For we knitters, there is a NaKniSweMo this November. I’m thinking of participating in that as I want to have an FO (finished object) to show off at STITCHES West in February.

    • Debbish
      November 3, 2015

      I have to admit I haven’t felt very productive (of late) Stefanie, so thank you so much for your lovely compliment! Hope you enjoy NaKniSweMo if you’ve started it!

  • Angelized1st
    November 4, 2015

    I love that Game of Thrones coloring book. Whoever wins that is lucky. I haven’t seen it in the stores. I wonder if that’s available in the U.S. Have a great week!

    • Debbish
      November 4, 2015

      I think I’ve seen an o/s version but with a different cover. I know when I was looking for images there was a cream coloured / white version.

      Deb

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