Sunday, 23 October 2016

Reviewed: Never Again by Nicky Clifford

TITLE: Never Again
AUTHOR: Nicky Clifford
PUBLICATION DATE: October 21, 2016

Amazon - Goodreads

Mountains, Mystery, Romance: Can you run from your past?

Harriet Anderson’s life is spiralling out of control. Unused to such mayhem, she ditches her high-powered job to take refuge in the Swiss Alps where she meets Philippe Smith, a crime writer with a dark and shadowy past. Thrown together by chance, is their fate intertwined? Will the karma and romance of the mountains and the quaintness of the Alps soothe their troubled souls?

Or will their rocky paths create avalanches that cannot be avoided...

Never Again is an enthralling and emotional novel, an entertaining contemporary romance that has as many twists and turns as a really good thriller too. The story gripped me from the opening few pages with its engaging writing and it was easy to become lost in the romance between Harriet and Philippe.

After a horrific few months, we meet Harriet as she is starting her new job as a waitress in a Swiss hotel. Things don’t run smoothly from then on, though, as her first task is to bring a coffee out to one of their long-standing and mysterious guests, Philippe, which left both of them crying over spilt milk. Philippe instantly comes across as rude and bad-mannered, and Harriet would agree, but it didn’t take long for both of them to see a different side to each other and move on from the wrong foot they started off on.

So when we first meet Philippe, he appears grumpy and arrogant and for someone who reads a lot of books in this genre, you already know he is going to have some backstory which has led him to his uncouth attitude. This isn’t a bad thing, though, as the way the author introduces us to Philippe had me completely drawn into his character and interested in who he was and why he was so keen to escape to a quiet location. Parts of his past definitely surprised me and I really grew to like him during this book. He wasn’t perfect by any means – but I loved that about him. He felt real.

I liked Harriet right away. It’s obvious that she too is looking for an escape but not a romantic one, but then of course she meets Philippe… Harriet had a lot in her past she was struggling with but she was still quite a fiery character at times and I enjoyed seeing her grow and stand up for herself more. From the beginning when she doesn’t just let Philippe shout at her because she spilt some of his drink, I knew she was going to be an easy character to root for. I do like it when I can get to know a character so much that they feel like a friend, someone you might want to shake a little bit at times but only with their best interests at heart. Harriet’s character really develops throughout the course of this book and it was satisfying to see that happen.

There was a lot to enjoy in this novel from the gorgeous setting to the characters. There were several characters in this book but the supporting characters were developed just as strongly as Harriet and Philippe. My favourite was probably Elspeth, a lovely and wise hotel guest who contributed to some of my favourite scenes in the book.

With the beautiful setting, back and forth romance, strong characters and the moving story, comparisons could be drawn between the writing style of Nicky Clifford and one of my favourite authors Karen Aldous. I love that escapist style of writing, where the way the setting is described makes you want to be there yourself and the romance is both dramatic and realistic, which had me fully immersed in the story. The author paints a dreamy picture of the setting that will have you imagining yourself there, enjoying mugs of hot chocolate in amongst the beautiful scenery. Overall, I found Never Again to be a really riveting debut novel and I am looking forward to reading more from this author in the future.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Reviewed: Single By Christmas by Rosa Temple

TITLE: Single By Christmas
AUTHOR: Rosa Temple
PUBLICATION DATE: October 18, 2016

Amazon - Goodreads

You’ve heard the saying, ‘opposites attract’ haven’t you? Well meet 27 year old Alex Marshall, a party girl with a penchant for free flowing Prosecco, and her devilishly handsome scientist boyfriend, Charlie, who loves jazz and dinner for two.

Alex and Charlie are together for 11 blissful months until Alex goes out of town and does something she will later regret. Was she drunk? You bet. Does she want Charlie to know? Well what do you think?

With the couple about to spend their first Christmas together will Charlie be the forgiving kind or will Alex be Single by Christmas?

Single by Christmas is an amusing romp of a read packed with romance, humour and the most chaotic of chick-lit heroines. The story follows Alex and her boyfriend Charlie as Christmas is approaching. The beginning of the book has Alex waiting for Charlie to show up on Christmas Eve, but as she explains, she is not exactly expecting him to be there. Alex has made her mistakes but throughout this book we see her grow, a little, and as she thinks back on some of the mistakes she has made in the run-up to Christmas, we see her character develop (a bit!) along the way.

Alex’s life is a series of mishaps and misunderstandings. She is a bit of the typical chick lit heroine, a nice girl who means well but is a bit ditzy and swerves from one chaotic event to another. She also has a penchant for parties and loves little more than a few drinks with her best friends. But even though I found her a little bit frustrating at times, I did like Alex and she is a character you will to get herself together. When you think it’s not possible for Alex to find herself in another awkward situation, she out does herself again and it was certainly a fun read following the mistakes she makes.

Rosa Temple’s writing styling is bubbly and vibrant. Alex narrates this book on a day-to-day basis in the lead up to Christmas. The writing is fast-paced and the chapters are addictive, so it didn’t take me long to finish this book as Alex details all the ways things were going wrong with her and her boyfriend Charlie. We learn a lot about Charlie through Alex’s words and thoughts and really it was hard to find anything to dislike about him. If I’m honest, I found he was portrayed a bit too perfectly but then that’s down to personal taste and my love of flawed characters. I sympathised with him quite a bit throughout this book, especially when he had no clue that Alex was keeping important things from him. The chatty tone to this book had Alex come across more like a friend than a character in a book – although if I was her friend I’d have been a lot less lenient with her than Shalina was about her owning up to what she’d done!

The characters in Single by Christmas were entertaining. From the disastrous to the loveable to the trouble-causing, Rosa created vivid characters who were made easy to picture and easy to love or hate. The book in its entirety was engrossing reading with its quick chapters and fast-moving events. It was easy just to say “one more chapter” then find yourself still reading five chapters later, and I love those kind of books. The story had plenty of humour and was, at times, laugh-out-loud funny. It focuses on the run-up to Christmas rather than being a hugely festive story, but if you like your books full of laughter, friendship, booze and calamities, Single by Christmas is definitely a book you will enjoy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Reviewed: Before I Let You In by Jenny Blackhurst

TITLE: Before I Let You In
AUTHOR: Jenny Blackhurst

PUBLICATION DATE: November 3, 2016

Amazon - Goodreads

If you don't know who is walking through the door, how do you know if you should let them in?

Karen is meant to be the one who fixes problems.

It's her job, as a psychiatrist - and it's always been her role as a friend.

But Jessica is different. She should be the patient, the one that Karen helps.

But she knows things about Karen. Her friends, her personal life. Things no patient should know.

Before I Let You In focuses on the long-term friendship between Karen, a psychiatrist, Eleanor, a ridiculously tired mum, and Bea, who is happy and enjoying her single life. They are best friends but we soon learn that things are not what they seem. Each character is hiding something and there is one woman who may have the answers. When Eleanor takes on a new client, Jessica, it doesn’t take long before she realises it could well be her who needs the help, not Jessica. As her new client seems to know a scary amount of stuff about her and her friends’ lives, things nobody else should know. I was always wondering what kind of trouble and danger could, and would, Jessica cause to Eleanor, Karen and Bea, and this didn’t disappoint.

The book is intriguing from page one although it did take me a little while to really get into the story. I love short chapters, and the author writes them really well, making every little detail count, but short chapters and character changes together took me a bit of time to settle into as I tried to get to know each of the four main characters of which none, to me, were particularly likeable but incredibly fascinating as we discover their secrets. Although I struggled to warm to any of the characters, this did not stop me connecting with the story and being completely engrossed in their lives and wondering what was going to happen to them. The last two thirds of the book had me completely hooked.

The further I got into the book, the more I loved it. The slow-building tension and unease was fantastically done and had me desperate to read more and find out more. The quick chapters added to the unputdownable feel to the book, as there was always time to squeeze in one more chapter – that is, until it’s the middle of the night and you’re still up reading. The twists were great, shocking and very satisfying. There was plenty to work out in this book and it was lots of fun guessing and seeing if my suspicions were right – some were, but mostly they were dead wrong.

Before I Let You In in an intelligent psychological thriller, well-paced and completely enthralling. The pacing of the story had me on tenterhooks all the way through and this isn’t a book that gives things away too early or reveals the twists too soon. Every little twist was executed skilfully and had me desperate to read on and see what would develop, and this continued right to the final page. The character development also had me fascinated. Throughout the course of the book, I felt we’d been allowed to really get to know each of the three friends and I had a much better understanding of them by the time I’d finished the book.

Overall, I found Before I Let You In to be a sharp, tightly plotted and engrossing psychological thriller which gradually became impossible to put down. After reading this, I’m looking forward to going back and reading Jenny’s debut, How I Lost You, which has been sat unread on my Kindle for far too long now.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Guest Post: The Moment I Got My First Ever Book Deal by Claudia Carroll

TITLE: All She Ever Wished For
AUTHOR: Claudia Carroll

PUBLICATION DATE: October 6, 2016

Amazon - Goodreads

Marriage. It’s a dream come true. Isn’t it?

One wet winter night, two women meet on a bridge. One is Tess Taylor, a personal trainer on the way to meet her boyfriend for date night. The other is Kate King, a celebrity married to a handsome billionaire who just happens to make her cry. In the cold dark evening, there is nothing to link them together but the bridge they shiver on. Little do they know they’ll both hold the key to each other’s future marriage…

All She Ever Wished For tells the story of what happens when your dream is about to come true. And what happens when that dream turns into a bit of a nightmare…

The Moment I got my First Ever Book Deal
by Claudia Carroll

Like a lot of authors, for about as long as I can remember, I’d been scribbling down stories and embarrassingly rough drafts for novels. But then like most people, I just assumed that book deals were something that happened to other people so I’d just shove what I’d written into the back of a drawer and vow not to mortify myself by even talking about it. Took me a very long time and a LOT of courage to get brave and actually put a book out there.

In the meantime though, I was working as an actress on a long running soap opera in Ireland and, like so many others, had always dreamt of writing a book, but never really had the guts. But my idea for a book kept whispering at me. So I took to getting up earlier and earlier every morning and taking pen to paper and in a few months, had somehow cobbled together the first draft of my very first book, HE LOVES ME NOT, HE LOVES ME.

Then one of our directors on the TV show, a good pal of mine, published her first book and advised me to get three chapters of mine to her agent who she very kindly asked to look them over. So I took a very deep breath and went for it, sent off my chapters, then spent the next few weeks down on my hands and knees praying till I heard news back.

But thankfully the agent, the fabulous Marianne Gunn O’Connor very kindly agreed to take me on and had a book deal for me a few weeks later. I’ll never forget the moment. I was driving when the call came and my lovely agent said, ‘pull over the car.’ I thought something was wrong and when she told me we had a book deal, I think they heard my screams for miles!

All these years later and I’m still pinching myself…..

Claudia's newest book, All She Ever Wished For, was published by Avon on October 6. You can purchase a copy here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...