Synopsis

Delia Moss has made a decision. It is the 21st century and she wants the world to know how much she is in love with her boyfriend of ten years, Paul. She plans to propose to him. However, as with all best laid plans things start to go a bit awry. Especially only moments after accepting her proposal, Paul incorrectly texts Delia a message intended for his mistress.

Heartbroken, Delia flees to London – away from the life that she knew, a life she was comfortable with and a life that she really wanted. However, London has a few tricks up its patriotic sleeves to help Delia realise that she is better, stronger and wiser than her northern upbringing initially reveal.

Review

It is silly just how much I loved this book. Within the first few pages I was hooked. I was blindsided by just how much emotion I was feeling towards Delia’s situation. I mean, it could be argued that the protagonist wronged by her partner is a storyline done to death but Mhairi McFarlane had me wheezing with panic over the happenings of Delia’s love life. Suffice to say, the whole cheating scandal is probable every hopeless romantic’s worst nightmare and imagining myself in Delia’s situation was utterly heartbreaking even though it was through the vicarious activity of reading rather than facing it myself.

What McFarlane manages to do though is offer light at the end of this dark and melancholy tunnel. She shows us how strong a character can be, in fact how strong we can be in that self same situation. Furthermore, what is most noteworthy about this author is that she takes risks. She won’t go for the easy option or the one that her readers will agree with and plenty of times throughout this story I did yell at the book. However, it is an impressive thing when an author will monkey with your mind for the purpose of the better outcome. For this, I salute Mhairi McFarlane.

It’s Not Me, It’s You is a juggernaut of a chick-lit with so many emotions, so many adventures and so many possible outcomes it will keep you guessing until the very end. This should be on every readers Christmas Wish List…heck forget Christmas, buy it now and just hide for the weekend and read it all.

It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane is available now.

You can follow Mhairi McFarlane on Twitter @MhairiMcF

It's Not Me It's You

Synopsis

When Sybil is invited by her friend Cher to spend a few days in Tindale, a tiny village where Cher and her partner Clive run the local pub, Sybil jumps at the chance. Lately, all Sybil has done is mope about how tragic her life is; her fiancé ran out on her – on their wedding day no less, and to make it worse he ran off with her identical twin sister; the mounting debt from the wedding that never was is still having to be dealt with and to top it all off Sybil seriously believes that she has made a giant cock-up at work which will cost the great British taxpayer £42,000 – whoopsie.

Yes the best thing for Sybil is to get away from it all. However, what Sybil soon realises is that country life is a lot more complex than the anonymity that London affords. Sybil is quickly immersed in the ways of the close knit community and soon has to deal with the fact that everybody – absolutely everybody has their own demons to deal with.

Review

Having previously read books by Alexandra Brown I was immediately put at ease because I knew I was in for a treat. Brown always manages to find the heart of the story an make you fall in love – not only with the characters but with their stories, their problems and their sheer will power. My favourite thing about Brown’s writing is her ability to make me fall in love with her settings. I am not one for the quiet country life and will always be a city girl but I could imagine myself living in the sleepy town of Tindale and – shock horror – being happy there. Kudos to you,  Alexandra Brown.

Another thing that I really enjoy about Brown’s writing – and something that she has expressed especially well in The Great Christmas Knit Off – is how she captures real life problems. She doesn’t overwhelm you with sadness and heartbreak but she reveals the inner strength of her characters and it becomes inspiring. The way the community rallied around Hettie in her hour of need shows the warmth and generosity of people which we sometimes forget about. She also manages to have inherently flawed characters that remain likeable. You could argue that Sybil has a classic case of avoidance about her own problems yet even though she buries her head in the sand she still has the time and good grace to help others in need.

It is these key features that are at the heart of Alexandra Brown’s novels and it is also why I absolutely love picking them up to read.

The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown is available November 6th, 2014.

You can follow Alexandra Brown on Twitter @alexbrownbooks

The Great Christmas Knit Off

Synopsis

When Cassidy Shea is fired by the news network that she works for her work life is sent into a spin. Sure, she wrote a slightly inappropriate Tweet but was it really worth firing her for. Where are her rights? Her freedom of speech?

Fortunately Cassidy’s luck is about to change. She is hired as a political commentator for Will Becker’s campaign. Hailed to be the next president, Becker employs Cassidy aka Twitter Girl to take down the competition with a snarky Tweet or two.

What Cassidy doesn’t bank on is the amount of beautiful and eligible men working on the campaign; including Senator Becker. She quickly finds herself embroiled in an office romance that could take her all the way to the most famous office of them all – the Oval Office.

One thing TG learnt as a roving reporter is that if things seem too good to be true then they probably are….

Review

I loved this book. I’m just going to get that out there now. It was the perfect read I needed to start my weekend. It was fun, frisky but still had heart. It wasn’t just a fluffy light rom-com; it had a message to it.

I loved the diverse range of characters. Alongside the main players – Cassidy, her brother Sam, best friend Ripley and friend Tyler – the tertiary characters didn’t seem throwaway. They all had a purpose. They were well rounded and more importantly – well written.

Having never read anything by Tatano before I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised when I got a good, interesting romp with a mystery. I will definitely be reading more by this writer…and you all should too.

Twitter Girl by Nic Tatano is available now.

Twitter-Girl1

You can follow Nic Tatano @NicTatano and her alter ego Twitter Girl @TwitrGrlCassidy

Synopsis

How far would you go for the one you love the most? The clever tagline that graces the front cover of The Atlas of Us makes you instantly think of far off places and adventures but it also means how much would you do for those you love.

For Louise Fenton this means travelling halfway across the world to a disaster area to find her mother Nora who was in Thailand when the tsunami struck.

Meanwhile, Jay, a journalist is looking for his friend Claire Shreve who was also there on that fateful day. Both of the ladies seem to be connected but neither Jay nor Louise knows how. It is through Louise’s determination and desperation to find her mother that this heartbreaking family mystery gets uncovered.

Review

It has been an awfully long while since a writer has had my pulse racing but that is exactly what Tracy Buchanan’s The Atlas of Us managed to do. The drama and drive of this novel created a feeling of panic and urgency within me as I read from chapter to chapter, voraciously talking in the story and getting mad at my own eyes for not being able to read any more quickly.

The storylines were so delicately woven and each time a new plot twist happened I was genuinely shocked; I didn’t see any of them coming and, believe me, there were plenty to choose from. The characters, though each ultimately flawed in some way were easy to root for. For example, Milo seemed so beaten by life, constantly trying to do right by everyone but ultimately letting himself down; Louise just wanted to fix the past but time and ultimately a natural disaster prevented her from doing so.

Overall, The Atlas of Us does everything a good book is supposed to do. It held my attention, it had me genuinely worried for the outcome of the characters – heck it even had me cheering them on to bigger and better things and Buchanan managed to take me to far off distant places that I have no other way of knowing. I travelled with this book from the confines of my own bedroom. The Atlas of Us is a truly accomplished novel.

The Atlas of Us by Tracy Buchanan is available now.

The atlas of us pb font

Synopsis

Amalia is living the dream; renting an apartment in New York (albeit a flat share), working towards her degree; she has great friends and a gorgeous boyfriend and plans to spend the summer in Brazil. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, falling for her friend Michael probably wasn’t the best idea. However, as she pushes her feelings for Michael aside the rest of her world crumbles around her. Her boyfriend Nick dumps her, she systematically argues with her friends and she starts neglecting her college work.

On the plus side, Michael starts showing her some attention…even though he has a girlfriend.

Will Amalia be able sort her life out?

Review

Firstly, let me say this book had a lot of potential. It has a classic storyline of girl-has-boy, girl-loses-boy, girl-finds-new-boy as she discovers something about herself. The problem is that I failed to care about the characters because the plot was undeveloped. Everything happened at warp speed and there was not enough processing time given.

For example, Amalia was completely in love with her boyfriend but then by the end of chapter one she was in love – not just was attracted to – another character. So whilst we are meant to believe that Amalia was in love with Michael she seems overly devastated when Nick breaks up with her. It was inconsistencies like this (and plenty of others) that made the book uncomfortable to read.

Besides this, the text was littered with silly spelling mistakes that broke my concentration. A reader should not spend time correcting the grammar of the writer.

Overall, the book had potential to be something light hearted and enjoyable, however, due to inconsistencies in the text I found it to be an underdeveloped story that needed much more work before publication.

What Happens to Men when they Move to Manhattan? by Jill Knapp is available July 24th 2014

Men Manhattan