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Merry Christmas From Handwritten Girl

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Christmas is nearly upon us and I’ve found myself writing my annual sign off instead of wrapping presents that are still in their bags. Last minute as always!

This year was a great year for books and I’ve even listed my top ten books for 2017, just incase you are looking for a few last minute stocking fillers.

It was also a great year for Handwritten Girl, as I attended the Bord Gais Energy Book Awards for the first time and had an amazing time meeting some of Ireland’s finest literary talent ans well as spending Halloween weekend learning about the dark and interesting world of crime writing.

Before I sign off, I would like to say a huge thank you to all the lovely publishers and authors who introduced me to some of the most wonderful books this year, from intense thrillers to happy romances, there’s something for everyone to curl up with during the cold winter nights.

Most importantly, thank you to the readers of the website for taking the time to read a review, tweet, Favourite or Like a post, your support is appreciated tremendously. I hope you all have a safe and relaxing Christmas and receive loads of treats from Santa Claus, especially books as there are some great ones out there.

Have a Happy New Year and I shall see you in 2018.

Handwritten Girl’s Favourite Books of 2017.

1. The Break by Marian Keyes
2. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
3. Final Girls By Riley Sager
4. Bring Me Back By BA Paris
5. You, Me, Everything by Catherine Issac
6. The Summer of Impossible Things By Rowan Coleman
7. The Last Piece of My Heart by Paige Toon
8. Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land
9. A Song For Tomorrow By Alice Peterson
10. The One By John Marrs

The Break By Marian Keyes

The Break‘The Break’ is the delicious new book by Marian Keyes.

Amy’s husband Hugh says he isn’t leaving her. He still loves her, he’s just taking a break – from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. Six months to lose himself in south-east Asia. And there is nothing Amy can say or do about it. Yes, it’s a mid-life crisis, but let’s be clear: a break isn’t a break up – yet. However, for Amy it’s enough to send her – along with her extended family of gossips, misfits and troublemakers – teetering over the edge. For a lot can happen in six-months. When Hugh returns if he returns, will he be the same man she married? Will Amy be the same woman? Because if Hugh is on a break from their marriage, then isn’t she?

Marian Keyes is back with another fabulous book, a book that made me lose track of time as well as let numerous cups of go to waste and go cold.

In her latest book, we meet Amy, a deliciously kind and outspoken woman who works in PR, mother to three daughters, her life is rarely a routine and when her husband Hugh announces that he wants to take a six month break to travel the world to help him through his grieving process after losing his father. Amy’s reaction and mine was WTF?

As Hugh travels the world, Amy is left with the worry that he’ll cheat on her, leave her for a younger model, never return and this will be the end of their marriage.

But whilst Hugh is discovering himself, Amy is also finding a new appetite for life. She’s refusing to accept pity from her neighbours and give up on her marriage, even though her heart is breaking.

Amy is also on her own path of self discovery, embarking on new affairs, tackling with being a single parent and being the mother of a successful video blogger with an attitude.

I absolutely adored this book. The book is filled with Marian’s charm and wit as well her warmth. The characters are similar to the Walsh family, their dysfunctional, outspoken and there is never a dull moment, with their larger than life mother and a father who battles Alzheimers. In her light hearted tale, Marian delivers a story that has serious issues, Alzheimer’s and the effect it can have on a family, the pressure and stress. Teenage pregnancy and the legality of abortion in Ireland plus the surge of video blogging and how anyone can do it, no matter the age.

Amy is a fabulous character and one that I could never tire of reading. As the story progresses, Amy becomes a stronger and more confident woman and this is a joy to witness. Hugh was a different story altogether, I wholeheartedly hated him and the rage he invoked in me was astounding. His selfishness to find himself whilst Amy was left to look after the family and deal with the sympathy and the gossip that he left behind, it enraged me!

The characters are engaging and all have their own quirks that made for such enjoyable reading plus all the chapters are short, so one chapter can rapidly become seven or ten.

Deliciously fun and warmhearted, this book is an enchanting story that was impossible to put down, filled with charm, drama and plenty of Irish wit, ‘The Break’ is most certainly Marian Keyes at her very best. I dare you not to enjoy it!

You can pre-order The Break from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 7th September.

Book News – The Break By Marian Keyes

Marian Keyes

I am absolutely delighted to see that Marian Keyes will be returning to our bookshelves with a new book in September called ‘The Break’.

Not much has been revealed about Marian thirteenth novel, only that it tells the story of a relationship that “everyone thought was forever and which is now in danger of being for never”. The news was announced on The Bookseller website and according to her publisher, Michael Joseph, it is about discovering that you can’t take anyone or anything in life for granted.

“It is Marian Keyes at her hilarious and insightful best,” the publisher said.

Louise Moore, manager director of Michael Joseph, added: “Michael Joseph has the great privilege of publishing Marian’s thirteenth novel, ‘The Break’. It is Marian at her funniest and most insightful; she is a writer who encapsulates perfectly the complications – both painful and wonderful – of love.”

Back in 2016, Marian celebrated 21 years with Penguin Random House since her first novel ‘Watermelon’ was published in 1995.

With no cover to reveal as off yet, ‘The Break’ is most definitely one of the books I will look forward to reading in 2017. Roll on September!

You can pre-order The Break from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 7th September 2017.

Making It Up As I Go Along By Marian Keyes

Making It Up As I Go Along’Making It Up As I Go Along’ is the latest book by Marian Keyes.

Welcome to the magnificent Making It Up as I Go Along – aka the World According to Marian Keyes™ – A bold, brilliant book bursting with Marian’s hilarious and heartfelt observations on modern life, love and much, much else besides. Such as? you are determined to ask. Well, how about her guide to breaking up with your hairdresser? Or the warning she has for us all after a particularly traumatic fling with fake tan. There’s the pure and bounteous joy of the nail varnish museum. Not to mention the very best lies to tell if you find yourself on an Arctic cruise. She has words of advice for those fast approaching fifty. And she’s here to tell you the secret secret truth about writers – well, this one anyway.

For fans of Marian, ‘Making It Up As I Go Along’ is the perfect return from the Irish author.

The book is a collection of articles that have appeared in various publications, as well as her monthly newsletter and there are a few treats in the form of some unpublished work.

The book is cleverly divided into sections and these sections feature a wide spectrum of Marian’s life. The sections include, health and beauty, friends and family and other issues that have impacted the author over the years.

I loved this book so much. The stories on average are about four or five pages long so it’s quite easy to get carried away and read it on one sitting. I regularly found myself regaling my colleagues about Marian’s adventures and thoughts and at one point did have everyone saying “Sweet baba jay” one lunchtime. There are so many great stories packed into this vibrant book, that it’s hard to pinpoint a favourite tale but I particularly enjoyed the story of Marian’s new shoes and Bono.

A cleverly written book with unique narrative, that gives an wonderful insight into the mind of one of Ireland’s best loved authors, ‘Making It Up As I Go Along’ is a honest, poignant and refreshing book, that was impossible to put down.

You can buy Making It Up As I Go Along from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Marian Keyes Gives Writing Advice

Marian Keyes And Handwritten Girl
Photo By Eamonn Murphy.

I was delighted to see one of my favourite authors of all time, Marian Keyes, at “Scribes On The Rock” part of the annual Féile an Phobail festival, a festival for lovers of music, arts and culture.

She read an extract from her new book ‘The Woman Who Stole My Life‘ which has been released in paperback and had the packed room in stitches. After that, a Q&A was opened to the room and Marian answered frankly and wittily about her own battle with depression, her love of giving old furniture a breath of fresh air and what Pascha from ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ was really like in real life.

But, for aspiring writers like myself she gave some motivational advice:

You don’t have to have a degree, you don’t have to have a creative writing course under your belt. If you feel that you want to write, then that’s all the qualifications that you need. I didn’t have anything, I didn’t have any confidence and I thought to myself who could be bothered with what I wrote, but I just thought that I’d like to do it and I thought that even if nobody reads it, I’ll enjoy doing it.

Another thing, don’t try to be and like anyone else, people can sense when you are not being authentic. Be yourself and don’t be afraid, don’t think that you have to use big words like, ostentatious and procrastination, because you don’t. Also with being Irish, we’re kinda already ahead of the game, we’re very good with words and we don’t realise it.

Basically if you want to write, make time to do it, your book won’t write itself and people don’t understand that, they think that books are magic things that somehow happen by themselves and they absolutely don’t. It’s very hard work and you have to decide, do I get up a hour earlier in the morning or do I miss out in my telly in the evening or maybe do I miss out on my Saturday at the shops? You have to give things up if you really want to do it and people hate me when I tell them that, but it’s the only way. It’s work, but it’s rewarding work. Try to do it at the same time every day because it trains your subconscious into getting used to writing. Even if you do nothing, put that hour aside and even if you just stare at the screen, at least you have respected the thing that you want to do and love.

Enjoy it, if you’re not enjoying it, nobody else will either. If you’re bored by it then stop it. If it makes you laugh, then you’re doing it right.

You can buy The Woman Who Stole My Life from Amazon and it is available to buy from good bookshops.