Prosecco Christmas by Sylvia Ashby / #BlogTour + #Giveaway

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Prosecco Christmas by Sylvia Ashby

 

36574959Publisher:

Publishing Date: 2nd November 2017

Series: Pot Love #3

Source:  Received in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 274

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Family is where life begins.
And what better time to spend with your family than Christmas week?

Ashley and Giacomo go to Upper Swainswick, a postcard village ten minutes’ drive from Bath, to stay with Ashley’s mum and stepdad. It’s their last visit before the arrival of their first child.

But babies have a habit of being unpredictable.

So when Ashley goes into labour on Christmas Eve, three weeks ahead of schedule, it takes everyone by surprise.
She’s not ready! Her perfect Birth Plan is packed away in her hospital bag two hundred miles away, she has no going home outfit, and she has a live event planned for New Year’s Eve for her YouTube channel, The Sinking Chef. People have been signing up for it for weeks. She can’t possibly disappoint them on the last day of the year. What is she to do?

The tinsel gets even more tangled when Giacomo’s parents decide to fly from Italy to meet their first grandchild. Hotels are fully booked, so everyone has to stay under the same roof.

Would eleven people in the house, not counting the baby, turn out to be simply too much for Ashley?

Rating: three-stars

“Prosecco Christmas” is the third book in the Pot Love series however it was promised that you can read it a stand – alone. And that’s true guys, you can. The author has done a great job here, adding the absolutely necessary short scene here or there, description, memory to bring us all, fresh readers, what has happened in the past. I personally felt all the time as if I just stayed on the ball, I didn’t have a feeling that I’m missing on something.

Our main characters, Ashley and Giacomo, are expecting their first child, and they are very prepared – the hospital bag, the birth plan, chosen hospital, such things, you know. But well, life is full of surprises and when you have everything planned as nice as those two, you can be sure that the plans are going to go thwart. Ashley ends up in labour shortly before Christmas, when they are visiting her mother, without all of the above mentioned things. So there. Moreover, Giacomo’s family decide they have to see the new baby asap and so father, mother and aunt arrive from Italy, and then there is the very brief visit from brother and his fiancé.

Even though it is a story centred around Christmas, and it is full of Christmas spirit and all the mayhem you can expect, with so many people at home, visitor after visitor, new friends, Christmas recipes and cooking, I read it with pleasure few days ago, happy that the festive season is over for now. I could also easily imagine it was just a family gathering because Christmas didn’t overshadow anything.

There were moments that some of the scenes just dragged on incredibly and for example I gave up hope that Ashley is going to have this baby any time soon. However, kudos to the author for getting the whole having baby and becoming a parent thing so, so well, without any fluffiness and being on cloud nine. There was pain, raw emotions, sleepless nights, and yes, Ashley, I know what you felt when trying to have a bath when alone at home! But there is also the sheer joy of having a baby, and it was brilliant.

But guys. As much as the book was entertaining, light – hearted and easy to read, till now I am wondering: why and what – I really am not sure what I feel about it and to what end it was written. It was a nice story but it just felt as if it didn’t have neither a beginning nor an end. Don’t get me wrong, pretty please, I liked this book. It was funny, it had a dry wit and there were some surprises but it’s not a story that will stay with me for long. Some of the characters and the actions came over as too cartoony, too far fetched – maybe it was intended, I don’t know but it didn’t work for me. However it is probably the case of “it’s not you, it’s me”, as the story is full of hilarious moments and some of them are really epic, so just give this book a go – you may fall head over heels in love with it!

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My Top Ten Books of 2017

My Top Ten Booksof 2017

Hi guys! Exactly one year ago I was sharing my most favourite reads of 2016 with you, and now it’s time to do the same with the 2017 reads. What is so special about this is the fact that there are the same authors on both lists!

In 2017 I haven’t read as many books as I’d like. The current number is 156 and when some might say wow, I know that I struggled to get to this number – life getting in the way, child growing up and serving as a taxi to bring her to and back from her activities, looking after the dogs, going to work that lately is very stressful… But let’s not whinge, altogether it was not a bad year, and not only in a bookish sense, but let’s focus on books, guys, this is why we’re here, right? I’ve read many brilliant novels, introducing me to characters that are going to stay with me for ever, and I spent thousand of magical hours in my fictional worlds, and here are some of my most favourite ones. They are not in particular order but there is one book that immediately springs to mind and so I just have it to place it at the very top of my list.

A Song for Tomorrow by Alice Peterson

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February releases brought one of my most anticipated books this year. Alice Peterson belongs to my top favourite author but with “A Song for Tomorrow” she has overdone herself – this book is an absolute gem, a book like no other that turned me into a a weepy mess but that was also full of hope. I absolutely loved this book and it’s going to stay with me for ever!

My Sweet Revenge by Jane Fallon

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One novel that made me laugh out loud, that made me cringe, that made me cheer the characters on and also made me feel inspired by the main character was “My Sweet Revenge” by Jane Fallon, a story that I’ll be getting back to many, many times – though I’d love to be able to read it for the first time over and over again. “My Sweet Revenge” was a bittersweet story with strong and solid characters, with laugh out loud moments and many twists and turns, and you really couldn’t be sure what to expect and – and it was the best! – who to trust and which information is true, the author has really messed with her readers! Absolutely brilliant read!

A Not Quite Perfect Family by Claire Sandy

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I am actually a little bit in love with this book. It was fun and quirky, with brilliant characters, and the author tells about things like they are, with no holds barred. She has written about normal family – with all the ups and downs, function and dysfunction, troubles and successes but she has made this family not only special but down – to – earth. They could have their differences but in the end they all stuck together, they supported each other, just like it should be. “A Not Quite Perfect Family” was full of laugh – out – loud moments, but also there were moments that were much, much more poignant. A cringey, embarrassing moments intertwined with deeper, poignant ones and I loved this mix – it was perfect.

The One by John Marrs

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Oh holy moly, guys. This book. THIS BOOK. When I started to reading it, I couldn’t put it down. Literally. This book. THIS BOOK. It was freakingly brilliant. So refreshing, so original, so unpredictable – one of the best novels this year, believe me. This novel was unputdownable. It was exciting and addictive, and as the chapters were so short, I more than often found myself telling only one chapter and coming out for an air few hours later. It is so, so cleverly plotted, full of shocking twists and turns. “The One” was one of the most unpredictable reads you can ever wish for.

Catch Me if You Cannes by Lisa Dickenson

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There can’t be a list without Lisa Dickenson’s book on it!!! “Catch Me if you Cannes” was packed full, as it usually is with Lisa’s stories, of incredible, belly – ache one – liners. There is something magic and addictive to Lisa’s writing. It’s so light and easy to follow, and it leaves you full of sparkles and will to live, really. But it’s not only laugh – out – loud story about the adventures of two best friends, oh no, Lisa, as usually, has added some softer and emotional moments to the plot as well, that just made me love the story much, much more!

Coming Home to the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

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This story is so beautifully written, it’s full of layers, it’s deep and incredibly funny at the same time, and full of unforgettable characters and situations, friendship and the overwhelming feeling of being welcome. It’s bittersweet, and it is very honest and raw but there is also this incredibly uplifting, optimistic side to it. You can feel the love, the friendship and hope and it is great. It made me laugh out loud and cry like a baby, and it evoke all kind of emotions in me. It is Debbie Johnson at her best!

The Break by Marian Keyes

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“The Break” was full of dramas, small and huge, and brilliantly captured family bonds. It touches on some more serious and some lighter issues. It is first of all about love, but also about death and grief, health issues, patchwork families and how they work, betrayal, temptations and also your everyday troubles and issues. It’s about overcoming those troubles and staying strong. It’s about choices. It was compelling, emotional, complex and so wise! A book with unforgettable characters that’s going to stay with you for a long time after you’ve finished reading it, with plenty of emotional but also plenty of this incredible Irish charm and humour.

Dancing Over the Hill by Cathy Hopkins

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This book made me laugh so hard and I couldn’t wait to discover what’s going to happen. It is this best kind of book when you want to turn the pages as quickly as possible but on the other hand you don’t want it to end. It was a brilliant, entertaining story about love, family and finding your priorities, relationships and seeing that grass is not always greener on the other side. It had me emotionally involved and just pushed all the right buttons for me.

The Year of Saying Yes by Hannah Doyle

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“The Year of Saying Yes” was a story about learning things about yourself, pushing your boundaries, learning that impossible is nothing. It shows that no matter what we think about ourselves, we’re strong enough to face the challenges – in a brilliant, hilarious, light – hearted way. I really can’t wait to see what Hannah Doyle has in store for us, because this book was a real winner and it is a novel that should be shouted about from the rooftops.

Sister Sister by Sue Fortin

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This book is  pure genius. A bloody good psychological suspense/thriller with a writing style that just draws you in, and you can’t stop reading. “Sister, Sister” is a story of betrayal, lies and secrets, an absorbing and disturbing psychological suspense with greatly developed characters full of secrets and issues, all so significant to this story and they keep you guessing till the end. This is this kind of a book that you say to yourself you’re going to read only one chapter more and come up for a breath few hours later.

The Pets at Primrose Cottage Part 2 by Sheila Norton

The Pets at Primrose Cottage: New Beginnings by Sheila Norton

 

34618085Publisher: Ebury Digital

Publishing Date: 21st December 2017

Series: The Pets at Primrose Cottage #2  (read my review of part 1 here )

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 79

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

Synopsis:

PART TWO of a serialised novel – a charming and romantic story about living the simple life and the joy of animals.

All Emma wants is a quiet life in sleepy Crickleford, away from the prying eyes of the press who are obsessed with the life she used to lead.

She is enjoying her new vocation: the town’s most in-demand pet-sitter. But her journalist friend and fellow animal lover Matt is desperate for a big story to make his career – such as Emma’s true identity…

Emma doesn’t want the spotlight, but it keeps finding her anyway. Can she keep her past a secret and live the life she’s dreamed of?

Rating: three-stars

“New Beginnings” is a second part in “The Pets at Primrose Cottage” series and I was really glad to read it, as the characters and the setting were still fresh in my mind and – yes! – I just wanted to know how it is going to continue and what’s going to happen.

It was a nice continuation of the first part, however it didn’t bring anything new in the characters’ development. We got to know more pets than people this time and while it was nice, the novella felt slow and a little bit flat. How often can the main character ask herself how long is she going to tell lies over and over again and still not tell the truth? It was desperately annoying. However, guys, I really started to warm to Emma, even though she really seems not to know what’s best for her at the moment, she’d rather run away from her problems than face them, and I think she’s too big a girl for that. But she’s great with the animals – better than with some people, I’d say, I really am not sure why she so over – reacts around Matt – and she really has a heart in the right place.

Of course, it ended on a cliffhanger, and well, I must admit, I am really intrigued if this what Emma thought she’s seen is true or maybe she’s made a mistake, and if it’s truth, how did it happen? I am guessing that more action is to come in the next two parts and I am really looking forward to reading them – I want to know why Emma has fled her life of luxury and what has happened that she’s now so reluctant to open up and to trust again. Altogether, “New Beginnings” was a quick and pleasant read, the writing style is lovely, full of warmth and it just feels chatty.

Where There’s a Will by Bella Osborne (Ottercombe Bay #1)

Where There’s a Will by Bella Osborne

 

35555798Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 28th December 2017

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 100

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Escape to the Devon coast, with Part One of a brand-new four-part serial from the author of Willow Cottage.
Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?

Rating: three-stars

Bella Osborne’s “Where There’s a Will” is an introduction to a brand new series “Ottercombe Bay”. It sets up the location and introduces us to some of the main characters and already leaves us with some questions to be answered.

There are of course many questions opened. Daisy returns to Ottercombe Bay for the funeral of her Great Uncle Reg. We know her mother died here when Daisy was a child, and we know from the pieces of information that something has probably happened that brought her to this death, we also know that Daisy avoided Ottercombe Bay with all her might but still we’re not sure why – only because it brings memories of her childhood and her mother? Also, she just wants to attend the funeral and then go. But the late Uncle Reg had other ideas and Daisy finds herself inheriting an old railway station building, providing she’s going to spent the next twelve months on Ottercombe Bay. Is it possible at all for Daisy, the free spirit?

The story was written in a nice, warm way – I really like Bella Osborne writing style. However, this time, I had problems with the characters here, and as this part was really characters’ centred it wasn’t easy to enjoy the story. Daisy is brash and temperamental, or rather moody, and I’m guessing it’s because of her past, but nobody has been hurt by being kind, right? But the location on the Devon coast was lovely and the old station building sounds brilliant and beautiful and that there is a lot of potential in it.

I really looked forward to this novella and it’s a real pity that I didn’t warm to it as much as I hoped. I guess it would work much better as a whole novel – I understand it is only the introduction and it’s a little unfortunate that it started in such a way, when I didn’t warm to the characters at all. However, I’m guessing I’ll read a second part in this series, to see if anything’s going to change, and yes, I want to see how Daisy is going to settle in Ottercombe Bay – I’m sure she’ll be wanting to leave more than once but well, she has to stay, right?

Dancing Over the Hill by Cathy Hopkins

Dancing Over the Hill by Cathy Hopkins

 

37531790Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 14th December 2017

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 341

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback (out on 25.01.2018)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The hilarious and poignant new novel from the best selling author of The Kicking the Bucket List.

When a boxset of Broadchurch is more appealing than having sex with your husband, then perhaps it’s time to hide the remote…

Cait and Matt have been married for 30 years. They are rock solid; an inspiration to others; stuck together like glue – aren’t they?
But Cait can’t shake off the feeling that something is missing. They are fit and healthy, if a bit skint – but the whole world should be their oyster now that Matt has retired, giving them the time to do those things that really matter – and more importantly – together. So why is she left wondering if this is all there is? Has Matt always been this annoying and infuriating? And where have those ants-in-her-pants suddenly come from?
It’s not helped by the reappearance in her life of Tom Lewis, the love of her life who broke her heart at university and who, despite the fact she hasn’t she hasn’t seen him for decades, is still exerting his magnetic pull.
Her friends are Lorna, who recently lost her husband, and Debs whose husband recently left her. The three women must all question what they want out of the rest of their lives – and how they are going to get it…

Rating: five-stars

 

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“Dancing Over the Hill” is my second Cathy Hopkins’s book and oh my word, guys, I just can’t wait for more! It was a read filled with fun, laughter and tenderness and it just spoke with me and resonated with me and it was all what I needed at the moment. I was immersed in the story from the very first page, guys, and I really didn’t want to put this book down. It was truly fast – paced but not over – done, it was full of brilliant, larger than life characters that the author so incredibly well brought to life, and it just rang a bell or two, it was so relatable. It was also brutally honest and absolutely hilarious, so really, just the best kind of read, evah. I had great expectations for this book, after reading Cathy’s previous one, “The Kicking the Bucket List” and I was not disappointed, I probably liked “Dancing Over the Hill” even more.

What I absolutely liked in this story is the fact that the characters are mature ones – people with past, who experienced a lot and they really know what they’re talking about. They make mistakes, and oh boy, some really great mistakes, but they are so genuine and honest in all the situations and I just couldn’t help and kept everything crossed for them. Cait and Matt have been married for more than 30 years now and they find themselves in a relationship that’s, let’s say, came to a little standstill. They don’t have anything in common anymore, and they just live in one house, next to each other, but as if separate – if you follow me. Probably more out of habit than anything else they’re still together. Then, after a whirlwind of events, they find themselves both out of work and the big question, what now, is looming above their heads, and it’s not only about their financial situation but also their private lives. Do they want to stay together? It’s not so straightforward, as an old flame of Cait suddenly appears on her Facebook, sending her friend request and trying to seduce her again. Then there are also Cait’s friends, Lorna and Debs, trying their best to help as best they can, that doesn’t always end well, and Matt’s brother (oh boy. Guys! Some of the most hilarious scenes I’ve ever read, please be careful when you decide to talk sex on the phone with your husband!) and Cait’s father, and many, many other characters and things. They were open for new stuff and to learn a new lesson or two.

Really guys, there was not a single thing that I didn’t enjoy in this novel. It was down to earth and close to life, and with some best one – liners ever. The dialogues were just spot – on, so realistic and genuine, and the situations the characters got themselves into were incredibly hilarious but not too far fetched. There were so many situations that made me laugh out loud, and I fell for all of the characters, that Cathy Hopkins so easily and effortlessly brought to life. She can so well write about feelings and emotions, it was absolutely brilliant. The chapters were just the right length, snappy and kept me glued to the pages.

Cathy Hopkins deserves so much more recognition, and believe me, I’ll be shouting about “Dancing Over the Hill” from all the rooftops! This book made me laugh so hard and I couldn’t wait to discover what’s going to happen. It is this best kind of book when you want to turn the pages as quickly as possible but on the other hand you don’t want it to end. It was a brilliant, entertaining story about love, family and finding your priorities, relationships and seeing that grass is not always greener on the other side. It had me emotionally involved and just pushed all the right buttons for me, and I really can’t recommend it highly enough! A perfect read!

 

One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill by Mandy Baggot

One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill by Mandy Baggot

 

34322561Publisher: Ebury

Publishing Date: 16th November 2017

Source:  Received from publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 448

Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Isla Winters loves Christmas – especially the parties! Prosecco-infused everything is her ideal start to the busy festive season, and she can’t wait to wow her contacts in international construction throughout the month of December. But everything changes when she’s given a new remit: right-hand girl to the head of the New York branch.

Chase Bryan’s marriage has fallen apart. Given a secret project, he moves to London for the holidays with his two young daughters, hoping to dive in and ignore the distractions of Christmas. Problem is, he’s been saddled with Little Miss Candy Cane.

Isla’s wheelchair-bound sister, Hannah, lives life to the max. Isla’s unofficial second job is to keep her sister from trying to take over the world – but what will happen when Hannah starts to pay attention to Isla’s love life? One moment in Notting Hill could change everything…

Join Isla and Chase in a sparkly, festive London, where a little winter magic is just around the corner.

Rating: five-stars

I really think that Mandy’s Christmas offers are much better than her summery ones – not stating that the summery are not worth reading, though, nono, far away from this, but “One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill” is a book that is going to give you a very happy feeling. There is already plenty of festive feeling in this novel, and oh my god, let’s not forget the cover! It’s gorgeous, and so Christmassy, and it glitter! I could look at it all the time.

I immediately warmed to all the characters. Loved the fact that one of the leading ones was Hannah, sitting in a wheelchair after an accident – it doesn’t happen often that your main character is disabled like this. She was a lovely person, full of humour, she had of course better and worse days but it’s totally understandable, and she was full of determination and optimism. Isla was a person that you couldn’t not like, I think. She was a great carer of her sister and whatever she did, she did it with a view of Hannah. There was a passion in her, she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, she loved her job and life generally and you could feel the good vibes that she was radiating through the pages. She was feisty and bubbly and didn’t look for romance, but then Chase enters… mmm. He has two daughters, is a workaholic, suffers with self – doubt and has a wicked past and yet he is brilliant. He is capable to admit when he’s made a mistake and he knows he’s not perfect. There is an incredibly romantic side to him, he gleams warmth and I just liked him very, very much.
All the other background characters, especially Chase’s daughters, were so brilliantly developed, full of life and heart and such a great positivism – I felt warm when reading about their adventures, their problems and troubles and loved how they tried to work the best possible ways for them.
There was a brilliantly captured chemistry between Isla and Chase. It was realistic, genuine, not too pushy and so relaxed, and it was a real pleasure to see how it developed, in which direction was it going to go. I really enjoyed the love stories in this book (because there were more, yes!), they were great romances, not too wishy – washy, not too meh, and I liked that it also included the families of the characters’ involved.

I loved the setting of this book, London, and more specifically, Notting Hill. You could say you know all about Notting Hill but then you start to see it again through the eyes of the total newcomers, Maddie and Brooke, Chase’s quirky daughters, and the author brings all those places so easily to life.

The end seemed much too rushed for my liking, the things were incredibly quickly wrapped up and if you think how long it took to build up to them then the ending may be a little disappointing, and just this little bit too far – fetched. I mean, “we saved Notting Hill”…? But it worked well in this book, don’t get me wrong, it was just tad unbelievable for me. Altogether though, “One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill” was a lovely, warm and funny Christmas romance and I absolutely adored this story, with its quirky characters, embarrassing moments, cheeky teenager and that dealt with serious issues in a lovely, gentle way. The story interwoven many sub – plots and touched upon many issues, and there were all the time many things happening, so no single moment flat, guys, but that is great! It was easy and light – hearted and written with a lot of heart. Highly recommended!

It Started with a Tweet by Anna Bell – #BlogTour + Guest Post

Hi guys! Hope you’re having a great Monday and if not it’s going to be bettwe right now because I have a brilliant guest post from Anna Bell! Her brand new and shiny “It Started with a Tweet” has just been released as an ebook and will be available in paperback on 28th December, and what can I say guys, it’s a brilliant, humorous book and I loved every single minute of it!

It Started with a Tweet by Anna Bell

 

35091775Publisher: Zaffre

Publishing Date: 7th December 2017

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback (out on 28.12.2017)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Can Daisy Hobson log off for love…?

Could you survive a digital detox? This hilarious new romantic comedy from the author of The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart is perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond and Sophie Kinsella.

Daisy Hobson lives her whole life online. A marketing manager by day, she tweets her friends, instagrams every meal and arranges (frankly, appalling) dates on Tinder. But when her social media obsession causes her to make a catastrophic mistake at work, Daisy finds her life going into free-fall . . .

Her sister Rosie thinks she has the answer to all of Daisy’s problems – a digital detox in a remote cottage in Cumbria, that she just happens to need help doing up. Soon, too, Daisy finds herself with two welcome distractions: sexy French exchange-help Alexis, and Jack, the brusque and rugged man-next-door, who keeps accidentally rescuing her.

But can Daisy, a London girl, ever really settle into life in a tiny, isolated village? And, more importantly, can she survive without her phone?

Rating: five-stars

Anna Bell belongs to my auto – buy authors, guys, and I really don’t need to read the blurb to her new book because I know it’s going to be brilliant and just my cup of tea. I fell in love with her writing style, and her stories are not only incredibly hilarious but also close to life and full of wonderful, livid characters, and I am always waiting impatiently for her new release.

The heroine, Daisy, was such a typical Anna Bell’s character – bubbly and quirky, full of life, always getting in troubles but in the end always learning her lesson, and I bloody loved her. You couldn’t not like her, even though you sometimes wanted to throttle her and feel desperate with her, but mostly she was really a brilliant person. She was honest and straightforward and felt so realistic and when she got herself into this huge trouble I couldn’t help but fell and feel for her, even though it happened of her own making.
Meet Jack. So grumpy and so introverted but oh my word, so gorgeous, so funny and he very quickly became one of my favourite characters in this book. The blossoming relationship between him and Daisy was simply the best, so awkward and so genuine and one of the greatest moments in the story were the letters (yes! Letters! Don’t forget about Daisy being on a detox, and the fact that there was never reception didn’t help as well) that Daisy and Jake sent to each other – oh boy, they were so honest and so funny! It was so heart – warming, and so sweet and I so wanted to bang their heads together sometimes, as – of course! OF COURSE! – nothing is straightforward in life in fiction, right, and there are few bumps and turns on the (muddy) road to their happiness. One of them is the sexy Frenchman Alexis – oh, he’s going to stir up troubles!

Even though I spent endless hours on social networks I hope I’m not as extreme as Daisy, though the story really made me think and I promised myself to cut those hours spent scrolling down on Twitter or Facebook. However, I can go without my phone. Really. Lately I even once forgot to take it with me to work. Yes, I felt funny and insecure but I survived. But maybe it wouldn’t be too bad to go on a digital detox myself? To start see things again? To pay more attention to the outside world? This book is a real eye – opener, guys.

Anna Bell’s writing style is so light and easy. It is chatty and I had a feeling as if someone was recounting me the story and not as if I was reading it. She can so easily engage with her readers, both thanks to the topics she chooses and to her writing style, and it is so easy to connect to her characters and everything she writes about, especially as the social media stuff is such a hot topic nowadays. I think all of us can relate to Daisy, in this way or the other, with her need to stay up to date with all the news on Facebook or Twitter.

“It Started with a Tweet” was such a light, funny and entertaining read but it also touched on some more important and serious issues, and I loved how well Anna Bell interwoven them into the story, how she mixed the light – hearted and heavier stuff together and delivered a brilliant and up – to – date and close to reality story that rings the bell oh so much and that we can relate to. It was full of laugh – out – loud moments and I was all the time smiling when reading it. Full of embarrassing moment and surprises and I couldn’t wait to turn the page to see what’s going to happen next. Another cracker from the lovely Anna Bell – highly recommended!

GUEST POST

How ideas evolve

Every novel has a starting point. A small kernel of an idea that sparks off the project. For It Started With A Tweet it was the idea that the two main characters would fall in love with each other by writing letters. It was a simple idea with a huge question to solve: why would they write letters? Why wouldn’t they speak in person? Why would they not text or use a messaging app? And so the process began . . .

At first I thought I’d set my novel in rural France where I live. Lots of British people move over to France and buy run down properties that they renovate. There are also a lot of people that choose to live off grid and don’t have mobile phones (we often can’t get reception) and don’t have TVs etc. It seemed at first like it would make the perfect setting, but when I started to plan the novel I realised it presented a lot of problems. The villagers would have to be french, would my main character be able to speak the language? The location seemed to create as many problems as it seemed to solve and that’s when I decided to set it in Cumbria.

Cumbria was a great setting as it’s remote enough to suffer from mobile phone black spots and old derelict farmhouses are relatively cheap to buy (compared to other areas in the UK). It was the perfect place and to create an easily believable scenario where my main character could be easily away from having phone and internet. Only something was still niggling at me. Why couldn’t the main character walk into the village and use a phone box? And surely they’d be able to get signal somewhere for her to text. I needed more of an incentive to keep her offline and that’s when the digital detox was born.

The digital detox idea seemed perfect. It gave the book a real focus (and a plot) as the book became about Daisy’s digital addiction and what happened when her sister Rosie forced her offline. The first draft saw Daisy fired from her job because she’d forgotten to send important emails – she was too distracted all the time by her mobile. When I sent it to my editors they loved her digital detox but they felt her reason for going wasn’t strong enough. They suggested that Daisy make a digital faux pas. It was a great idea and I knew almost immediately how it could happen. There’s a scene near the beginning where Daisy goes on the Tinder date from hell and it lent itself beautifully for her to tweet something about the date accidentally from her work account rather than her personal one. It tied the whole novel together instantly and it even lent itself to the title of the book.

It takes roughly eighteen months between the initial idea and the moment I see the finished book on the shelf and the end product is usually unrecognisable. With each draft the ideas evolve and change. I think that’s why I love writing so much – you never know where your ideas are going to take you!

 

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