Book Review: Then. Now. Always.

thennowalwaysI couldn’t wait to get my hands on Isabelle Broom’s latest book but, at the same time, I was nervous.

It wasn’t that I didn’t think Then. Now. Always. would be good, I knew it would be, but I loved her last book so, SO much and I knew it would obviously be different.

Thankfully it’s a good different. A brilliant different, even. With just enough of the things I loved about A Year And A Day – things that now seem to be inherent to the way she writes – repeated that my nerves soon settled and enjoyment took over.

Here’s the blurb:

I hope you’re ready for an adventure. Twenty-eight year old Hannah certainly is.

She and her colleagues are in Spain for a month to film a documentary, and it’s a dream come true. Not least because Hannah will get to spend long summer days with Theo, her boss (and crush).

If only Tom (Hannah’s best friend and cameramen) and Claudette (the presenter) would stop getting in the way… Then things become even more complicated when Nancy, Hannah’s half-sister arrives. What is she doing here? For once in her life, can’t Hannah just have one perfect summer, free of any drama?

Reading one of Isabelle’s books is like opening the door to some new friends. Her characters are so well developed that they seem like real people rather than ones she has conjured from her imagination. She seems to understand the complexities of human emotion and be able to transfer that so eloquently to the page.

One of the things I really enjoyed about her last book was the way the setting, the historic and beautiful city of Prague, almost became another character. This time, Isabelle gives the same treatment to the mountain village of Mojacar, in southern Spain, making it come to life so that I immediately wanted to book a holiday there and maybe get a tattoo too (read the book and you’ll see why).

There is a happy ending but it’s not the perfect, all ends neatly tied one you so often find – and it’s all the better for it.

 Format: Kindle.

 Price: £4.99.

 My rating: Five stars.

Thank you to Penguin (via NetGalley) for the ARC in return for an honest review.

Advertisements

Book Review: Stuck With You.

stuckWhile the idea of being trapped in a lift fills me with terror (hello, claustrophobia), in her new book Carla Burgess has some how managed to make it seem a little less frightening – possibly even ever so slightly appealing.

Stuck With You sees Elena come face to face with her unrequited teenage love, Daniel, for the first time in years, in just this situation.

After getting over the initial shock and embarrassment, they spend the time waiting to be rescued getting reacquainted – and it’s clear she still has feelings for him (and it’s not all one sided).

Carla has hit the nostalgia jackpot with this book, which had me laughing out loud – and slightly cringing – at times because it sailed so close to some of my own experiences of unrequited young lust.

It is oh-so-romantic in places and makes me believe in second chances and true love.

Here’s the blurb:

One lift. Two strangers. Anything could happen!

Elena thought that today would be just like any other day…until the supermarket lift jams and she realises she’s stuck.

And not just stuck in the lift. Stuck with her childhood crush, Daniel Moore, who unfortunately seems to be just as gorgeous as she remembered…

While I might not have saved any chewed pen lids or written poetry about my teenage crush (I did walk by his house several (million) times), I totally remember moping about just the way she describes because he failed to acknowledge my existence.

When you read a story like this, it’s hard not to think ‘what if?’ and that made me smile long after the book was finished.

I so wanted it to work out for Elena and Daniel even though, like Elena’s best friend Rachel, I did wonder whether he was too good to be true.

I think this one is even better than Carla’s first book, Marry Me Tomorrow, which I also loved (and I was delighted to see Sam and Emily make a brief appearance in her second novel).

Carla has such a warm, easy to read style that I didn’t really want this book to end while at the same time I was desperate to know if it all worked out.

On those occasions when I can’t avoid a lift, I’m going to think about this story and hope it takes my mind off things.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £1.99.

My rating: Five stars.

My thanks to HQ Digital for the ARC in return for my honest opinion.

Book Review: Spring At Blueberry Bay.

blueberryWhen one of my favourite authors starts a new series I always do a little happy dance – and some shapes were definitely being thrown (people still do that, right?) when Holly Martin announced her latest book.

Spring At Blueberry Bay wastes no time in getting into the story. Within the first few pages we are introduced to the main characters, Bella and Isaac, and I really loved the unique way they met.

With her usual skill, Holly creates believable, likeable characters and a plot that is gripping from the beginning – I couldn’t wait to see how this heartwarming tale panned out.

Here’s the blurb:

Bella has always had a sunny outlook and caring nature, despite recently falling on hard times. When she finds a handsome homeless man on her doorstep, her kind heart tells her she must help him. So, she invites Isaac into her cottage and into her life in ways she could never have imagined…

But Isaac is not what he seems. He’s keeping a huge secret from Bella, yet he never expected to fall for this open, generous and charming woman.

Bella can’t ignore the chemistry between her and Isaac, but she’s had her trust badly broken in her past. Will she run when she learns the truth about Isaac, or will he be the one man who can help Bella believe in love again?

While Bella seems like an open book at first, it becomes clear that there is much more to her than meets the eye and discovering what makes her tick creates some really emotional scenes (tissues at the ready).

Isaac is a perfect hero; handsome, sexy, generous and romantic but with his own flaws, meaning you can still relate to him (and I really related to him).

As always there is an excellent supporting cast, including Bella’s cousins, Eden and Rome, although they are more like her brother and sister, who I really hope are the subjects of future books.

Spring At Blueberry Bay has got the series off to a fabulous start – roll on the next one.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £1.99.

My rating: Four and a half stars.

With many thanks to Bookouture (via NetGalley) for the ARC in return for an honest review.