Book Review: One Thousand Stars And You.

cover138629-mediumThe one thing you can guarantee after reading an Isabelle Broom novel is that you’ll want to book a holiday – and this time you’ll be packing for Sri Lanka.

One Thousand Stars And You is a beautifully written tale of friendship and self-discovery with more than a touch of romance.

I was quickly swept into the story and was really quite surprised to find myself at the end – I even went and checked how many pages it was because I felt sure it couldn’t be over already, even though it clearly was. It just flows perfectly and there’s never a good point to put it down – so I obviously didn’t!

Here’s the blurb:

Alice is settling down. It might not be the adventurous life she once imagined, but more than anything she wants to make everyone happy – her steady boyfriend, her over-protective mother – even if it means a little part of her will always feel stifled.

Max is shaking things up. After a devastating injury, he is determined to prove himself. To find the man beyond the disability, to escape his smothering family and go on an adventure.

A trip to Sri Lanka is Alice’s last hurrah – her chance to throw herself into the heat, chaos and colour of a place thousands of miles from home.

It’s also the moment she meets Max.

Alice doesn’t know it yet, but her whole life is about to change.

Max doesn’t know it yet, but he’s the one who’s going to change it.

I sigh happily when I think of Alice and Max but that’s because I’ve finished the book and know how things end (I’m pretty sure that’s not a spoiler).

At the start they are both pent up and unhappy – although I’m not sure Alice realises it yet – but Sri Lanka, with its endless beaches, exotic wildlife, rich culture and historic sites, quickly begins to work its magic.

Isabelle has a wonderful talent for making the location almost another character in her books. I was lucky enough to travel there for work many moons ago but I know from her other novels that, even if you haven’t been, her colourful descriptions, seamlessly woven into the story, make you feel like you have.

Once again, Isabelle has crafted a wonderful novel with a cast who come alive on the page – and not just Alice and Max but their friends too.

While A Year And A Day will probably always be my favourite, her new book is a very close second.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £4.99.

My rating: Five stars.

With thanks to Michael Jospeh, via NetGalley, for inviting me to read it.

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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.

My Top Five Books Of 2016.

Just in case you are looking for a last minute Christmas gift, either for yourself (go on, you deserve it) or a loved one, I thought I’d recommend my top five books from my favourite genres of women’s fiction/romantic fiction this year.

In the past I have often stuck to the authors I know and love but, thanks to NetGalley, I’ve not only been able to pick up some familiar favourites but also find some lovely new authors to add to my ‘must read’ list.

Picking just five (ok, six) from the 17 I’ve reviewed this year was tough because I enjoyed them all but I was lucky enough to get my hands on some truly standout novels, which I happily recommend.

1 – Joint first place goes to Joanna Bolouri and her (rather sweary) book The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year and Isabelle Broom with A Year And A Day. I don’t give out five stars lightly but I loved these two from start to finish (literally from the first sentence in A Year And A Day). The fact I still occasionally think about the characters many weeks after I finished them made picking them as my top choices very easy.

 

2 – One Christmas In Paris by Mandy Baggot. I always know I’m going to enjoy a book by this author but I feel she added something a little bit extra this time.

3 – Mistletoe On 34th Street by Lisa Dickenson. This book made me snort. You might not think that’s a good thing but to me it was the sign of a very funny and enjoyable read.

4 – Snowflakes On Silver Cove by Holly Martin. The first book I actually reviewed this year. Even though it’s a Christmas novel, I bought it in January and it made me feel festive all over again. Holly Martin was new to me at that point but I have since devoured all of her books.

5 – Miss Wrong And Mr Right by Robert Bryndza. There are some fabulous characters in this book, including a hilarious Hungarian gran, who I think should have her own series.

Thank you so much to all of the authors (and their publishers) for letting me review their books. As a would-be writer I have nothing but respect for anyone who can pen an entire novel, let alone of the quality I have been privy to this year.

I’ve already read some amazing books set to be published in 2017 and I can’t wait to share them.

What has been your favourite book of 2016? I’m always looking for more things to read.