If We’re Not Married by Thirty by Anna Bell

If We’re Not Married by Thirty by Anna Bell

 

40376037Publisher: Zaffre

Publishing Date: 27th December 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 431

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A brilliantly funny, romantic and effervescent read, If We’re Not Married by Thirty is the irresistible new novel from the bestselling author of The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart and It Started With a Tweet. For fans of Lindsey Kelk and Sophie Kinsella.

Lydia’s not exactly #LivingHerBestLife. She never imagined she’d be here at thirty – newly single, a job that’s going nowhere and her friends all winning at life when she’s still barely taking part. So she jumps at the chance of a free holiday and jets off to sunny Spain.

Then, out of the blue, she bumps into her childhood friend, the handsome and charming Danny Whittaker. She’s always had a crush on him and they soon enter into a passionate holiday romance.

But this relationship could be more than just a fling. Years ago they made a pact that if they were still single when they turned thirty they would get married. But noone really follows through on these pacts . . . right?

Could Lydia’s back-up man really be her happy ever after?

Rating: four-stars

Ten years ago, at her sister’s wedding, Lydia made a pact with Danny that if they’re not married by they’re thirty, they will simply marry each other. Forward ten years on, and Lydia, an event – coordinator, finds herself newly single. She hasn’t seen Danny in a while but they stayed in touch via letters and emails. However, a chance encounter brings them together – they’re both thirty, both single – will they go through with their pact?

I liked the fact that the characters used to know each other for ages, what with their mothers being best friends. It saved us the whole getting to know each other phase, and they felt so comfortable around each other. I immediately warmed to Lydia, she was my kind of girl. She felt a little disappointed with her life, as she felt that everyone is moving around and ahead with their lives, only she’s staying put. She was pretty relaxed and down – to – earth, and what I liked so much is the fact that she was surrounded by her family and friends, they were all going strong together. She relied on them, they relied on her and they were supporting each other, and it was lovely to see. She, as well as the other characters, was relatable and full of flaws, she wanted a better life but she wasn’t so quick to change it, to take matters in her own hands, which – let’s be honest – is a totally normal thing. How often does it happen that we’re not happy with our own lives but as they’re comfortable enough we do nothing to change them. Lydia said the wrong things, put herself in embarrassing situations and this all made her much more human and likeable.
But, to be honest, I had awful problem with Danny. All the time I had a feeling that he’s hiding something, that I can’t trust him completely, that he’s going to hurt Lydia, that he’s not honest. Also, instead of “when will they eventually” I was wondering if they will/they will not – I simply was missing this last tick, this last final touch that would convince me completely to the fact that Lydia and Danny were truly destined for each other.
The best parts of the books were when the mothers were entering the scenes. Though, as much as I loved them, I am very grateful they’re not my mother, phew. Don’t get me wrong, they were absolutely brilliant, they always meant well but they were slightly… embarrassing. But they were also incredibly funny and I loved their antics. Those two were best friends and they were rooting for their children to finally get together but, of course, as it usually happens, in trying to achieve this, they usually made things much more difficult, and I adored how stoic Lydia and Danny were about them. Hazel and Linda weren’t afraid of anything, their friendship was simply brilliant.

The banter and interactions between Lydia and Danny were great, you could see the sparks flying. However, I’ve missed a little more depth to this relationship to be honest. We can also wonder here and dispute if people really still make such pacts as the main characters but that’s not the point. The point is that it worked in this book and it made for an amusing, funny and entertaining read. There were plenty of hilarious and embarrassing scenes and Anna Bell’s writing style is so seamless, she effortlessly transports us into the characters’ world, you really feel like a part of the book.

I had some problems to get into the book, the beginning, even though the scenes were supposed to be funny, simply didn’t sit with me, and it made me feel uncomfortable, because hell, it is Anna Bell’s book! What’s that supposed to mean? But as soon as Lydia arrived to Spain the book gathered its pace and from then on it was a roller – coaster ride of more or less embarrassing situations – Lydia was truly prone to accident or to jump to false conclusions, which was often hilarious.

It was incredibly light – hearted, engaging and amusing read. There weren’t any life changing twists but I also haven’t expected them in this book. The standard misunderstandings, the ups and downs, hiccups and some challenges on the way were really enough to make the reading interesting and me glued to the pages. Altogether, I’ve enjoyed this book a lot, there was everything I could expect from Anna Bell’s novel and I am already looking toward her next release. In the meantime, I really recommend “If We’re Not Married by Thirty” to you.

 

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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!

 

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

It Started With a Tweet Blog Tour (2)

The Good Girlfriend’s Guide to Getting Even by Anna Bell

The Good Girlfriend’s Guide to Getting Even by Anna Bell

 

33784968Publisher: Zaffre

Publishing Date: 26th January 2016

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 432

Genre: Romance,  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

‘Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella’. Another hilarious and heart-warming romantic comedy from bestselling author Anna Bell

When Lexi’s sport-mad boyfriend Will skips her friend’s wedding to watch football – after pretending to have food poisoning – it might just be the final whistle for their relationship.

But fed up of just getting mad, Lexi decides to even the score. And, when a couple of lost tickets and an ‘accidentally’ broken television lead to them spending extra time together, she’s delighted to realise that revenge might be the best thing that’s happened to their relationship.

And if her clever acts of sabotage prove to be a popular subject for her blog, what harm can that do? It’s not as if he’ll ever find out . . .

Rating: 5/5

“The Good Girlfriend’s Guide to Getting Even” is one of the best titles ever, and when you read out loud it sounds even better – just try it! I love this alliteration – at least I think it is the name of the thing when every word starts with the same letter? Whatever, alliteration or not, if the book was written by someone else and had the same title, I’d buy it quick as a flash. That the author is Anna Bell is just a very, very nice bonus – with every new release her books are getting better and better and soon I will have to stretch out my rating to 10 stars because five are really not enough!

This book is a pure entertainment and every page has made me smile. I immediately warmed to our main character, Lexi. I loved her ideas of revenge, they were refreshing, unusual and totally entertaining, and if I weren’t so annoyed with Will I’d feel sorry for him, as he was so unsuspecting, and really, seeing how he’s wandering into the little web that Lexi has planned, just like an innocent lamb into a lions den, well… It made me really anxious to see what’s going to happen and what the outcome would be. Although I personally am not sure if I could live with such a boyfriend as Will was. There is being a sport fan and being a sport fan. I mean, I love many things in my life but I don’t just conveniently forget about everything or fake sickness to entertain myself. Although when reading reviews for this book I came across a few of them where their authors say that they know/live with such sport – obsessed Wills themselves, so as much as it was almost unbelievable for me, maybe it really happens in real life.

But I enjoyed every single second of this novel. Really. Following Lexi and Will around London and then Barbados was brilliant. I admired Lexi’s patience at fitting her life around Will’s game of darts (darts! I mean DARTS! I can understand football, and even cricket, especially when it is played on Barbados, but darts??? It is for me equally with cycling and bobsleigh on the boring – scale), and I really admired the fact that it took her so long to try and plot a revenge for her sport – obsessed boyfriend.

This book is written with such a natural way, with tons of natural humour, and it was flowing so effortlessly. There was such a great, positive vibe to this book and the feel – good factor, and I finished it grinning and feeling so warm inside. I love Anna Bell’s writing style so much, it’s warm, descriptive, vivid, bubbly and the way she tells the story is absolutely hooking. She has made out of this story an exceptionally good one. For me it was also not so predictable. I could never tell which way it’s going to go, what’s going to happen, what Lexi is going to plan, how far she’s going to go and if Will will eventually either spot something or go even further with his obsession. It was full of confusions and unexpected embarrassing situations and I loved it! This book, light, heart – warming rom – com, has really had it all: humour, romance, a little drama at the end, brilliantly developed characters and a storyline in which the main character starts to realise that no matter how much she loves her boyfriend, they must change something. Highly recommended!
And lovely Anna, thank you so much for the special “thank yous” in your Acknowledgements! Means TONS!

The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart by Anna Bell

The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart

by Anna Bell

 

Publisher: Zaffre Publishing

Publishing Date: 10th March 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 432

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 Synopsis:

A hilarious new romantic comedy for fans of Lindsey Kelk and Jane Costello from Anna Bell, the bestselling author of Don’t Tell the Groom. Abi’s barely left her bed since Joseph, the love of her life, dumped her, saying they were incompatible. When Joseph leaves a box of her possessions on her doorstep, she finds a bucket list of ten things she never knew he wanted to do. What better way to win him back than by completing the list, and proving they’re a perfect match? But there’s just one problem – or rather, ten. Abi’s not exactly the outdoorsy type, and she’s absolutely terrified of heights – not ideal for a list that includes climbing a mountain, cycling around the Isle of Wight and, last but not least, abseiling down the tallest building in town …Completing the list is going to need all Abi’s courage – and a lot of help from her friends. But as she heals her broken heart one task at a time, the newly confident Abi might just have a surprise in store …

Rating: 5/5

 

Oh guys, a new novel by Anna Bell! What a treat! As soon as I learnt that „The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart” is going to be published in March, I started to count the days to the publication day. I was lucky enough to receive a review copy, and as soon as I got it in my hands, I put everything away and started reading it – after reading Anna’s Penny’s books, this author is on my auto – buy list – I love her writing style, her humour and how effortlessly the stories go. And I am so glad to report that this brand new shiny novel is just the same brilliant as Anna’s previous ones.

First of all, I love the cover of this book. This blue colour is gorgeous, and I am a real sucker for such optimistic, girly covers. So there. Shoot me. Then the idea of this book is just brilliant, don’t you think? I love lists, as long as they are not mine and I don’t have to do anything that is on them, and – YES! – we have a list in this book. And not your normal bucket list, but somebody else’s list, namely Abi’s ex – boyfriend’s Joseph. To cut a long story short after Joseph split up with Abi, just like that, claiming that they’re not compatible, to say that Abi was upset would be an understatement. She was DEVASTATED. And so when she stumbles across Joseph’s bucket list she immediately knows what she should do – show Joseph that in fact she’s a very adventurous person and complete the list. Why adventurous? Well, because the list consists mostly of outdoor activities, and there is nothing better for Abi than to curl up on the sofa with a remote in her hand. But what a girl wouldn’t do for her boyfriend…! And Abi is sure that after completing the list Joseph will take her back.

What is so great about this idea is the fact that it is based on the author’s own experiences, as she also tried to do things that were on her ex’s bucket list. As much as Abi didn’t need to try to impress Joseph, who, notabene, I really didn’t know what she sees in, as he was arrogant and cold type, not mentioning here his self – important family, I loved following her on her adventure. The idea of completing someone else’s list was absolutely brilliant for me, and different to everything I’ve read in the books so far. On the other hand, why should you want to impress someone who doesn’t deserve your attention, right, why not do it for yourself only, but okay, let’s forget it for a while – and it was really brilliantly captured how Abi changes, not only physically, but also mentally, as she not only learns how to ride a bike again (thought they say that once you’ve learnt riding a bike you’re not going to forget it – although I am more like Abi here. As far from bike as possible. Give me a horse more like) but she also learns a lot about herself and overpowers her own fears (like abseiling down the Spinnaker with her mahoosive fear of heights, windsurfing in a cold water (oh God. Guys. How much I laughed when Abi tried to learn windsurfing) and climbing one of the four peaks, and in the meantime there is also a little romance brewing. Because is Joseph really The One? And Ben, the new friend who offered to help her with the challenges, well, he has a girlfriend already, right? Much more outdoorsy type than Abi. So what now?

I absolutely loved the story of Abi, her overcoming her own weaknesses, coming out of her comfort zones in the company of her friends – old and new ones… What I particularly liked was the fact that the author didn’t concentrate so hard on the challenges themselves and didn’t bombard us with thousands of details about them. She usually introduced us to the challenge but didn’t focus on describing the whole 10 hours of cycling over Isle of Wight, and I find it’s absolutely okay, because where something significant happened during one of the challenges, she of course let us know about it.

Abi was the perfect heroine and I immediately warmed to her, even though I sometimes wanted to shake so, so much – I mean, she was a clever, funny girl, so why this desperate need to change herself into someone else? She was great as she was, but on the other hand I loved to see how she gradually realised her hidden strengths and powers and how she overcame her terrors.
But not only Abi was a great character – all of them were so vivid and I loved to get to know them. No matter if they were background characters or the main ones, the author gave them their own personalities and distinctive voices and they made a great bunch of characters. You just felt that they liked each other and felt well in each other’s company, and they provided some of the greatest one liners – the dialogues were so spot on, so up – to – date, and they often made me laugh – they were written in this lovely, easy Anna Bell’s style, and the author has already found her trademark, her own voice that I really love. She makes the stories so easy to follow and reading her words is a real pleasure and relaxation.

As Abi wants to get Joseph back as soon as possible, she decides to do the list also as soon as possible – hence the pace in the book is really quick! There is always something happening, but not only on the list – front, but also at Abi’s job, where a new colleague seems to be the boss’s pet and Abi can’t trust her, especially as someone is sabotaging her work!

There were only some moments in the book when I thought I’m going to start to scream if Abi will mention again that she was doing this for Joseph – too much and too often! I wasn’t able to forget that Abi Is Doing It For Joseph only, it has really stuck in my memory for ever. And sure, it was a rather predictable read but nevertheless, this predictability here felt so comfortable and I couldn’t wait to finish the book and see the happy end for myself. Sure, the author made this way to this happy end complicated, which only added so much to me enjoying this story so much. It was an easy, light – hearted read and if you haven’t read Anna Bell’s books before, I urge you to reach for them as soon as possible! Make it a priority on your own list! (And no, even though I feel inspired by Abi, I didn’t create my own bucket list :) ) Highly recommended!