Wednesday, September 20, 2017

10 Books I'm Excited to Read This Fall

Every year, I set myself an ambitious fall reading list. It usually includes several paranormal and horror books I’ve had sitting on my shelves for years - because doesn’t autumn seem like the perfect time to read scary, creepy books in preparation for Halloween? - as well as new releases, and a reread or two. Despite not having much success with sticking to my autumn TBR, I continue to make one every year, and this year is no different.

As you’ll see from my list, I have eclectic reading tastes. I’m hoping there’ll be someone for everyone here and we can squee over these amazing books together!

A Brit Complicated by Brenda St John Brown London Can You Wait by Jacquelyn Middleton

A Brit Complicated by Brenda St John Brown
Release date: October 11th
This is the third and final book in the Castle Calder series (A Brit on the Side is #1 and A Brit Unexpected is #2), which I have absolutely adored. Besides being set in England, which is always a huge bonus for me, these books are hilarious and sexy, and feature fantastic, memorable characters.

London, Can You Wait? by Jacquelyn Middleton
Release date: October 26th
This is the sequel to London Belongs to Me, one of my favourite books of 2017. As a nerdy fangirl with anxiety, Alex’s story spoke to me, plus it didn’t hurt that the love interest was an Irish hottie! Despite being a massive romance junkie, one of my favourite things to read (and write about) is strong women discovering themselves, growing, and having healthy friendships. London Belongs to Me ticks all those boxes and then some, while having a swoony romance that’s not the focus of the book. I’ve heard, however, that London, Can You Wait? features more romance and possibly some sexytimes, and I have to say, I’m so here for that.

The Corner of Forever and Always by Lia Riley Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Release date: September 26th
I’ve been a huge fan of Lia Riley’s books since her debut, Upside Down. The Corner of Forever and Always is a companion to It Happened on Love Street. Lia’s debut trilogy was incredibly emotional and angsty (Bram and Talia forever *heart eyes*), but since then, she’s largely written books that are laugh-out-loud funny and need-a-cold-shower sexy. I loved Pepper and Rhett’s story, and I’m looking forward to Tuesday and Beau’s story.  

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
I’ve had Outlander on my TBR for years and have promised countless friends I would read it. My interest grew when the TV series was announced; I was determined to read at least the first book before watching the show, but I caved and watched the first season. My plan now is to read at least the first book and then watch seasons 2 and 3 of the show.

The Girl With the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke
Time travel. Magic. A Jewish main character. I’m here for all of this. I feel like I’ve been waiting for this book for ages.

The Ends of the World by Maggie Hall
This is the third and final installment in the Conspiracy of Us trilogy. The Conspiracy of Us and Map of Fates were thrilling and romantic, and they fueled my never-ending wanderlust. I’m sure this final book will be just as action-packed and exciting.  

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
A demon hunter in Regency London. Need I say more?

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
This is the sequel to Stalking Jack the Ripper. I’ve always had this sick fascination with the Ripper, so I couldn’t wait to read the first book, which was creepy and thrilling. Hunting Prince Dracula is set in Romania and sounds just as exciting as the first book.

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen Ghost Walk by Heather Graham


The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
I don’t often reread books, even though I’m always saying I’m going to reread certain favourites. I read The Sugar Queen at least ten years ago, and for the last several years I’ve been saying I was going to reread it. Part of the reason I’ve hesitated is that I loved it so much the first time. It was beautiful, enchanting, and completely different from anything I’d ever read. Plus look at that cover - doesn’t it just scream ‘autumn’? But my reading tastes have changed so much in the last decade, and I’m afraid the story won’t hold up. I guess I’ll find out soon!

Ghost Walk by Heather Graham
Like The Sugar Queen, I read Ghost Walk long before I started blogging. It was my first book of Heather Graham’s and I absolutely loved the characters, the New Orleans setting, and the creepy paranormal twist. I’ve been wanting to reread it for awhile, and decided to do it this year because my mum recently reread it (we read it at the same time years ago) and said she enjoyed it as much the second time around.


Buy the books mentioned in this post on Amazon:
If you buy anything through these links, I make a very small commission that goes into maintaining the blog and hosting giveaways. Thank you for your support!

A Brit on the Side, A Brit Unexpected, A Brit Complicated (link coming soon)

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

7 Things Every Author Should Have on Their Website

Every author should have a website of some sort, whether it’s a simple blog-type site, a fancy website, or something in between. How you choose to set it up and whether you choose to pay for a domain or use a free platform like Blogger or WordPress is your choice, but it’s important to have a place for readers to find out more about you and your books.

You can set up your website however you want, but there are 7 basic things every author site should have:

1. An About section. This can be a dedicated page or a snippet in your sidebar. It can be your professional author bio, something more casual, or a mixture of both. Readers like to connect with authors, so give them something to connect to.

2. A list of your books and their reading order. If you have a series or multiple series, be sure to list them in reading order. Even if they can be read as standalones, state that fact, and then have the books in the order of publication; some people will only be interested in reading them in order and not as standalones.

3. A list - with links - of where your books are available to buy. Don’t just say they’re available on Amazon, link to your book pages on Amazon. Make it easy for people to find your books so they can purchase them. If you have signed books available somewhere, be sure to mention how to buy those. It’s also a good idea to link to each book's GoodReads page so people can read the synopsis and reviews, and add it to their TBR.

4. Your social media links. Where can people find you online? Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, GoodReads, etc. If you have an ‘official website’ do you also have a blog? I’ve talked before about how people want to feel connected online, and the importance of building trust with readers. If you’re on social media, make it easy for people to find you so they can interact with you.

5. A way to contact you. This can be something as simple as adding ‘Email me’ on your About page or including your email address with your social media links. You could also have a Contact or Let’s Connect page where you include your social media links and your email.

6. Information about your newsletter. Not just a link to sign up for it, but also what readers can expect. How often do you send newsletters? What’s included? Do you have incentives for being part of your mailing list?

7. Samples of your writing. This can be a whole chapter, a free short story, or an excerpt of your work. An example of your writing can help people decide if they like your style, and entice them to buy your books. Those samples are also a great place to direct readers when contacting them for reviews.

A Coming Soon page.  This doesn’t work for every author for a few reasons: Some authors, especially self-published authors, don’t necessarily know what’s next for them because they might have several projects on the go or have no specific publication date in mind. Some authors are under contract and can’t talk about their upcoming releases until the publisher gives them the go-ahead. If you can have a Coming Soon page to give readers something to look forward to, that’s great. You can build on it by linking to things like teasers you post, news about the book, pre-order links, etc.


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Friday, September 15, 2017

RomCom Friday: The Wedding Singer

RomCom Friday is a brand new feature here at Ramblings of a Daydreamer. I’ve always been a romantic comedy addict, and since I’m currently writing a romcom, I thought it would be fun to feature a favourite romantic comedy every week and talk about why I love it. Please note, there will be spoilers for each movie.

Most people I know either love or hate Adam Sandler. Are his movies ridiculous and sometimes downright stupid? Sure. Does his humour often verge on crude? Absolutely. Are all of his movies gold? Heh. No. But he does have some gems, and The Wedding Singer, in my opinion, is one of them. I also love Blended, Just Go With It, and 50 First Dates, but today I want to focus on my first and ultimate favourite movie of his, and that’s The Wedding Singer.

While there are elements of the ridiculous in this movie, I find it completely charming, hilarious, sweet, and swoony. In my last RomCom Friday, I talked about how I love Julia Roberts and Richard Gere together in Runaway Bride and Pretty Woman, and would love to see them in more movies together. The same goes for Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore - there’s just something about these two together. Plus, just like with Garry Marshall’s movies, you know that with Sandler’s movies you’re going to see a lot of familiar faces, and there’s something oddly comforting about that.

Going back to what I was saying about Adam Sandler earlier, he often plays characters who are almost caricatures, but Robbie Hart is a normal guy. He wants to be loved, be in a stable relationship, and write and sing music. He’s content with his life until his fiancee leaves him at the altar because he’s ‘just a wedding singer’ and doesn’t have bigger ambitions. Drew’s character, Julia Sullivan, likes Robbie just as he is, and doesn’t think he needs to change if he’s happy doing what he’s doing. I love their interactions and how they play off each other, plus the rest of the cast is great, too. Robbie and Julia are easy to connect with and feel for, which is one of the reasons I love this movie so much and have seen it more times than I can count in the last 19 years.

Romantic comedies are pretty formulaic and predictable, but movies like this make me fall in love with romcoms all over again. The Wedding Singer has so much heart, and since Robbie and Julia both have this innocence about them, it makes for a sweet, feel-good story. For being a funny, kind of silly movie, it also has a surprising amount of depth, particularly in its messages about love and romance. And can we talk about the amazing 80s soundtrack, and countless nods to 80s culture, including a fantastic cameo from Billy Idol? Yeah, I seriously love this movie.

Previous RomCom Friday features:
  Notting Hill

Do you like The Wedding Singer? Which camp do you fall into regarding Adam Sandler: love, hate, or indifferent? Do you agree that he and Drew Barrymore make great movies together? 

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

4 Ways I’ve Practiced Self-Care Lately

Last month, I talked about meeting up with my best friend from college who I hadn’t seen in almost ten years. My reaction to seeing her - turning into a blubbering, sobbing mess - was a wake-up call for me. So much has been going on in my life lately, and I haven’t made myself a priority. I’m constantly on the go, working ridiculous hours, adding to my never-ending to-do list, and forgetting to relax, take a few deep breaths, and just be.

Since then, I’ve started a journey to living a more mindful life. I want to live with purpose and intention instead of working myself to exhaustion day in and day out. I’ve found that when I do that - work non-stop - I don’t actually get much done. Sure, I’ll have super productive days, but my focus is split on a dozen different things at any given time and I’m doing bits of this and pieces of that, and nothing actually gets done.

I won’t lie, I’m struggling with living a slower, more mindful life. It’s hard to get out of the habit of being busy every minute, checking my phone incessantly, and constantly adding to my to-do list. But I’m working on it, and I think that’s what counts.

Here are 4 things I’ve done to practice self-care lately:

1. I’ve been rewatching old favourite movies. Movies that make me laugh, movies I can mindlessly watch because I’ve seen them so many times I practically know them by heart. Movies that make me feel good and leave me with a smile on my face.

2. I started a bullet journal. I kept seeing people on Instagram and Twitter talking about them, but didn’t pay much attention. I’ve always admired people’s fancy planners, but didn’t think I needed one for myself because I don’t have much of a social life and didn’t think I had enough to fill a planner. I finally decided to give it a try, so I bought a beautiful sketchbook with a Van Gogh painting I love on the cover (see it here), a 12-pack of PaperMate InkJoy pens, and I started my bullet journal. So far, I’ve done weekly spreads, a brain dump list, pages dedicated to gratitude, what makes me happy, goals, and my fall reading list. It’s not only a great way to get organized, it’s also a fun creative outlet, something completely different from writing, graphic design, and photography.

3. I’ve reached out to my closest friend when I needed someone to listen or needed a distraction. She’s also dealt with anxiety and depression for a long time, so it’s nice to talk to someone who understands. We talk about our problems and other serious things, but some of my favourite conversations are the ones about inconsequential things - shared interests, favourite things we have in common (lately our conversations keep drifting back to Jude Law in the movie The Holiday - can you blame us? *heart eyes*), crushes, photography, her cats, my niece and nephew, and other topics that don’t take too much brain power. We’ve also had some deep conversations that have been a balm to my soul. We’ve both taken a-typical paths in life, and it’s not always easy, but it’s comforting and a relief to have someone who not only understands, but also supports and motivates you.

4. One nice morning, I made an elaborate picnic lunch, and my mum and I went to the rose garden in the centre of our city. We kept saying all summer we were going to go, but we put it off. After holing up in my apartment like a hermit for a couple weeks, I knew I needed to be surrounded by nature, and it was the perfect way to spend a couple of hours. Side bonus: when we left and were waiting for the bus, a lady came along with the most adorable puppy, and I got to play with him for about five minutes. Yay for puppy snuggles!

Those are four things I’ve done to take care of myself lately. I’ve also been trying to spend less time on my phone (that’s not going great so far), be more physically active, and drink lots of water. I figure all these small steps will add up to a healthier, happier me.

What have you done to take care of yourself lately?

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