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Busy but not Forgotten

As I’m sure you spotted, there was no blog post last week. There’s not going to be a real one this week either.

I know, I know. It’s awful news.
I currently have no internet in my new flat and even I can’t write a whole blog post on my phone.

So this is a quick blog to tell you I’m still alive. Last week I was in London for a fashion exhibition, which I will tell you about when I have glorious internet access again. And this weekend I’m in Glasgow for a wedding, which is set to be the highlight of my social calendar.

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View from my Glasweigan hotel room

I have a ton of ideas for blog posts so never fear. When BT have come and made my life joyful, service will resume as usual. You can expect book reviews, a how to on how to know that people think you’re an adult and of course, extended postcards from my galavanting.

If you have any thoughts or questions or blog post ideas that you’d love to see, let me know! (In the comments, on Twitter, on Facebook, via carrier pigeon.)

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The Next Together, Lauren and Me

As is fairly common knowledge seeing as this blog started life as a year abroad blog, I spent 9 months in Germany. And being in the middle of pretty much nowhere, working only 12 hours a week, leaves a lot of down time. Which meant when a friend offered to send me her novel, I was quick to accept.

And how glad I am that I did. Lauren sent me a Word doc of what was then called The Red Earth Rolls. It had been accepted by a publisher and the long process of making it into a real, live book had begun. So I settled down after work and got stuck in.

I read it in one sitting because I couldn’t stop. About Matthew and Katherine, the book was immensely clever in weaving together three different timelines where these two characters meet in different lives. It’s a love story and yet somehow, I didn’t want to throw it across the room. I love YA novels but recently I can’t deal with their tales all consuming love. Thankfully, in addition to being a stomachable love story (technically three different love stories), it also has sci fi elements and strands of historical novel. I genuinely loved it.

It’s now nearly two years since I sat in my room in Germany, unmoving for hours, fascinated by Matthew and Katherine. Which means The Red Earth Rolls has gone through some changes. Like the fact that it’s now called The Next Together. And that it’s now out in bookshops.

'The Next Together' by Lauren James

I really love the cover. It’s so great.

Lauren was lovely enough to invite me to the launch party, and so last Friday after work, I scuttled off to Leamington Spa to enjoy book themed cakes, free wine and of course, to get to congratulate Lauren.

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Cupcakes with toppings inspired by the book and it’s cover – so cool!

Held in a Waterstones, it was bound to be great and it was. In the general milling about and mingling, I bumped into a friend from university and Katie Everson, author of Drop, who was the most lovely. After a speech from Lauren’s editor, it was Lauren’s turn and she decided to read out her acknowledgements from her novel, which worked really well. And what was very cool, was there was a guest book. Literally a copy of The Next Together for the guests to write in.

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Such a clever idea.

Afterwards, she had to get busy with a Sharpie as everyone wanted to get a signed copy. My copy of The Next Together had turned up the day before, which those of you who follow me on social media may have seen, and so I got Lauren to sign that. It’s got pride of place on my bookshelf.

Eventually, I had to go, and that was the end of my first book launch. I’m hoping there will be more in my future. But travelling home, I was so thrilled to finally have a copy of The Next Together, all these months later.

If you’re interested in my review of The Next Together, you’ll want to look here. Or if you want to find Lauren on social media and tell her how much you love her book or how much I won’t shut up about it, you can find her on Twitter here or Tumblr here.

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The Next Together

'The Next Together' by Lauren James

‘The Next Together’ by Lauren James. 

Look how fabulous that cover is.

I read it in one sitting. That’s the most important thing I need to tell you. Before I even mention the plot, I have to warn you – I was glued to my tablet screen for five hours, ignoring the siren call of my fridge and the internet. Be prepared to lose time.

How many times have you fallen for the same person? How many times has that gone horribly wrong? For Matt and Katherine, that number rises every other decade. Any normal couple would have noticed, would have realised that it just wasn’t meant to be. But them? They never remember each other and each time their re-meeting sparks off a powder keg – sometimes literally.

Between meeting during a siege in Carlisle, at university in the future or as shipmates headed for the New World, their meet cutes seem too fantastical to be believable. But there’s a typewriter voice threaded through this story, flatly recording all the details of their lives, even shaping those details. With this ominous presence watching over them every time they die and every time they find each other again, it’s difficult to not worry for them. What does anyone want with them? Why bring them back over and over again?

The Next Together by Lauren James is a love story. But it’s not mushy and sentimental, and I never once wanted to throw my tablet across the room. And while it has a love story at its heart, it’s also a historical novel. And it’s a sci-fi novel. ‘There’s something for everyone’ is a cliché but it sums up this book perfectly. Personally, I’ve recommended it to everyone I know in real life. So lovely people of the internet, it’s your turn. You need to read this book. Because it’s got everything and does it all well.

You can find The Next Together at Amazon, Waterstones, and I would assume any other good bookshop.