Feb 032014
 

Just For Christmas When Alex Munro learns that the love of her life is getting married to another girl, all she wants to do is to be alone – and as far away from Edinburgh as possible. Moving to a Cornish Cottage, which comes complete with the world’s scruffiest dog, Alex finds that her new neighbours are determined to involve her in their madcap Christmas festivities. Then she meets her sexy neighbour Ruan and somehow Alex doesn’t want to be alone this Christmas after all.

I picked this book up because I love Christmas stories and it seemed like a perfect book to curl up with on a cold winters day.  I really enjoyed it and it met that criteria perfectly – it was romantic, funny and emotional.

The cast of characters are likeable and everyone from Buoy the dog to Lucy the barmaid have their own stories and personalities that shine through. This is not just a story about Alex and Ruan, it’s a story about life in a tight knit community and the people (and animals) who get under your skin before you know what’s happening.

Of course nothing is plain sailing and there a few misunderstandings along the way along with one huge problem when Alex’s reason for running to Cornwall turns up – what a jerk he is!

I love Ruan, fell in love with him the minute he stormed into the pub soaking wet looking to kill the new harbour master. The description of him was so perfect I wanted to move down there myself (but not to be a harbour master!)

Away from everything she knows, Alex has an opportunity to find herself and realises she’s not the person she and everyone else thought she was for so many years.

Ultimately this is a feel good romance perfect to escape with for a few hours and leaves you feeling very satisfied. I will definitely be looking for more by this author

Book Information
  • Author: Scarlett Bailey
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Feb 042013
 

Crystal Cove: Number 4 in series (Friday Harbor) Justine Hoffman yearns to feel real love, the kind her friends have recently found. In desperation she does the one thing she was told never to do – she looks at page 13 of the family spell book and learns she was cursed to never find her soul mate.  Justine is desperate to change her fate but in doing so she unleashes a series of complications that she could never have foreseen. Jason Black is mysterious, sexy and secretive and is strangely drawn to Justine – he is hiding his own secrets however, and when their hearts collide he learns loving a witch is more dangerous than he could have ever imagined.

I loved this book, this is the continuing story of Friday Harbour and takes up pretty much where the last one finished. Justine was one of my favourite characters from the previous books with a hint of mystery that is all explained fully in this one.  Jason seemed a bit of a jerk and control freak when his assistant was describing him but all it took was the right woman to break down his reserve.

The romance was pretty much a case of love at first sight and oh so intense from the get go. Some people might find this irritating and far fetched but if you believe in magic, anything is possible. “This happens once in a lifetime. You meet someone and have this crazy reaction…and you know you could never be bored with her because she’s interesting even when she’s doing nothing. Even without knowing everything about her, you get her.” Jason says this to justify why he knows Justine is the one, despite only knowing her a couple of days. It’s so romantic it made me sigh.

There is a lot more sexual content in this book than the rest of the series, and it’s very well written, so keep your fans close at hand!

While I knew there would be a happy ending -not a spoiler, after all this is Lisa Kleypas, as the story progressed I was finding it harder and harder to see how! Right up to the last few pages I was still trying to work out how the HEA would come. This is a magical highly romantic story where anything can happen if you want it badly enough and are prepared to do anything to achieve it.

I love Ms Kleypas’ writing and this book is no exception – it will definitely be on my shelf to re-read, after all as Zoe says at the beginning of this book “a good happily ever after is worth reading more than once”

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Lisa Kleypas
  • Series: Friday Harbour (4)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

 

Jul 122012
 

A Walk In The Park When she was sixteen, Lara Carson left her home and disappeared.  Eighteen years later, she finds herself back again, much to the delight of her old best friend Evie.  When an unexpected event causes Lara to extend her stay, she dreads bumping into the gorgeous Flynn Erskine again; her boyfriend back when she was sixteen, and the reason she left in the first place.

One of the most reassuring things about picking up a new Jill Mansell book is that you know what you are going to get. Plot and pacing are generally the same in most chick-lit novels, along with the required happy ending.  This might come across as a little boring and predictable but it’s not only what I expect in the genre, but also exactly what I want.  The brilliance of a Mansell book then, comes from the characterisations and situations built onto that standard framework.  Her ability to make me care about the characters in a very short space of time and be emotionally invested in what happens is second to none.

There are more peripheral characters in this story than usual and I actually really liked how they were linked together, rather than the more typical solution of having them just living in one area.  It made for a richer experience and some very comical moments.

Jill Mansell manages to catch personality types perfectly and it’s one of her greatest talents, being able to build believable and realistic characters without going over the top.  A Walk in the Park is no exception and even went above and beyond what I consider to be a good read.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Jill Mansell
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Feb 282012
 

I was absolutely beside myself when Katie Fforde kindly agreed to be our next victim guest on Irreverent Questions!

She is without a doubt one of the finest writers of contemporary romance (or chick-lit if you prefer) and I have been a huge fan for the longest time.  Her books are sweet, funny, and utterly engaging with characters you can easily empathise with.  The settings are as unique as the characters; quaint rural english villages, highlands of Scotland and even a canal barge to name but a few.  As they aren’t part of a series, you can pick up any book of hers and be absorbed, so if you haven’t experienced any of Katie’s wonderful stories, what are you waiting for?

Katie Fforde’s latest book is Recipe for Love and is released on 1st March 2012!

On with the Irreverence!

What would you be or want to be (or still are), if you weren’t an author?
I’d like to be a torch singer but failing that an agony aunt.

Do you have any rituals or processes before you can start writing?
I play a lot of spider patience on my computer and go on Twitter. This can take hours!

Describe your working environment right now (desk, sofa, bathroom, etc.)
I have a little, incredibly untidy office. It has a lovely view though. And a lot of books, a kettle, a heater and a radio.

How did you celebrate when your first book was published?
I felt weird when my first book was published. It just felt very very scary. Still feel like that really.

Whose opinion matters most to you?
My readers opinions matter to me. Also my editors’ (I have two) and my daughter’s.

Do you get fully dressed to write?
I usually write in my nightie and dressing gown – slippers in winter, Berkies in summer.

What gets you in the mood or inspires you to write?
Professional writers always have to be in the mood to write. Although sometimes you really don’t feel like it and your have to just start. You get into it by doing it.

Who would play you in the film adaptation of your life?
Very hard to think of who would play me in the film of my life. Have a horrible feeling it would be Imelda Staunton.

What is the weirdest comment you’ve had?
It was from a German journalist interviewing me about the fact my books are being made into films for TV in German. She said, ‘Would you like to be as famous in the UK as you are in Germany.’ I don’t think I’m famous in Germany!!!!

What is the best experience you’ve had with fans?
All experiences with fans are good. I suppose it’s best when they become friends.

What do you value most?
My family, no question.

How do you deal with negative comments?
I don’t deal well with negative reviews as I always think they are right! But I don’t comment on the whole. I am a bit too sensitive.

It’s movie night, the credits are just about to roll, Happy Ever After or Everyone Dies?
Happy Ever After! Who likes Everyone Dies? That’s what happens in real life!

What do you do to relax?
Read, watch television.

Do you have pets, and if so, describe them?
I have many pets currently, including three puppies that need homes. Apart from them, there are two dogs (Cavalier King Charles Spaniels) and a cat who thinks it’s funny to scratch me.

What are your preferred conditions for writing, i.e. silence, background noise, TV?
I quite often start writing with the radio on (R4) but as I get into it I turn it off and have to have silence. Sometimes I have to go downstairs and turn the radio off down there if I can hear it.

What is your favourite type of music?
I like many sorts of music and love singing. I’m a member of a choir. That said, I mostly listen to talk radio. I really hate churches with bands in them that include drum kits.

Do you have any phobias?
I don’t like heights at all although have agreed to abseil down our church tower to raise funds. Yes I am mad.

Do you find the time of year makes it easier or harder to write, are you inspired by spring or delayed by the summer heat for instance?
I like to write in summer but my deadlines mean I mostly write in autumn and winter.

Slippers, socks or barefoot?
Slippers in winter, sometimes barefoot in summer.

Many thanks to Katie Fforde for taking the time to answer our questions and if you want to know more, visit her Website, Facebook or Twitter!

Pictures provided by, and used with permission of Katie Fforde


Irreverent Questions is BookThing‘s fun, weekly feature where we ask a series of random questions that popped into Grete’s curious head. If you are an author and would like to take part, please get in touch!