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: The Cornish Escape.

lilygrahamMy anguished howl of “nooooo” as I finished The Cornish Escape, by Lily Graham, was so loud I had to go and check I hadn’t woken Freya who was sleeping in the next room.

I simply couldn’t help it – it wasn’t that I didn’t like the ending so much as I wanted the book to carry on and on and on.

The description on the front cover “A beautiful summer romance to warm your heart” really doesn’t do it justice because it’s so much more than that.

For a start it’s two romances, albeit set in different eras, as well as a detective story with a hint of the paranormal all rolled into one.

I’ll tell you what else it is; a cleverly written, wonderfully romantic, compelling read, featuring love lost and found, set against a beautiful Cornish backdrop, which really comes to life on the page.

Here’s the blurb:

Victoria Langley’s world crumbles when her husband leaves, but she knows exactly where to go to mend her broken heart. The rugged shores of Cornwall will be her perfect sanctuary.

In the quaint, little village of Tregollan, nestled in the sea cliffs, Victoria is drawn to Seafall Cottage, covered in vines and gracefully falling apart. Inside she finds a diary full of secrets, from 1905.

Victoria is determined to unravel the diary’s mystery, but the residents of Tregollan are tight-lipped about Tilly Asprey, the cottage’s last owner. Just as she reaches a dead end, Victoria meets Adam Waters, the lawyer handling the cottage’s sale. He’s handsome, charming, and has a missing piece of the puzzle.

Tilly’s diary tells a devastating love story that mirrors Victoria’s own. Can Victoria learn from Tilly’s mistakes, and give herself a second chance at love? Or is history doomed to repeat itself?

I was caught from the very first, beautifully written, paragraph of this book and it just carried on getting better. My heart swelled as the love stories developed and then ached when both romances faltered. I was definitely invested – so much so that by the end I was ready to sell up and move to Cornwall.

The characters, past and present, felt like old friends quite soon into the story. Looking back now I can appreciate the plot is incredibly well-planned and probably took a lot of work but while reading it flowed so well, I was carried along as if floating on a summer sea breeze.

There were enough clues to maybe guess how it would end but it still came as a bit of a shock – hence my reaction. I realise now it was the perfect way to finish (no spoilers, promise) but I would have been quite happy with another chapter at the time.

Lily Graham’s first two books have definitely won a place in my TBR pile for the summer.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £1.99.

My rating: Four and a half stars.

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

Book Review: New York, Actually.

newyorkactuallyThere is an entertaining twist in the tale (or should that be tail) early in Sarah Morgan’s new book, New York, Actually – don’t worry, I won’t give any more away but it definitely made me chuckle.

I’ll say right off the bat that I’m an avid reader of her novels and this is, in my opinion, her at her very best.

The characters hook you from the start and it’s so well written that by the end you’re rooting for them both because they feel like friends.

Here’s the blurb:

Meet Molly

New York’s most famous agony aunt, she considers herself an expert at relationships…as long as they’re other people’s. The only love of her life is her Dalmatian, Valentine.

Meet Daniel

A cynical divorce lawyer, he’s hardwired to think relationships are a bad idea. If you don’t get involved, no-one can get hurt. But then he finds himself borrowing a dog to meet the gorgeous woman he sees running in Central Park every morning…

Molly and Daniel think they know everything there is to know about relationships…until they meet each other that is…

It’s fast-paced, emotional, funny, warm, romantic and oh so sexy.

The chemistry between Molly and Daniel is palpable from their first meeting and it just keeps building. It’s thrilling to witness because we also know that underneath it all there are secrets (so many secrets) on both sides that are, eventually, going to come out.

As a dog person, I loved the added dimension of the two pooches – and especially learning more about the humans from the way they interacted with the animals.

While this book follows two new characters and is a standalone, it is number four in the From Manhattan With Love series, which means we also catch up with some familiar faces – as well as try and work out who might feature in her next book (please let it be Fliss and Seth!).

Sarah’s Twitter profile gives a warning: “My books contain optimism and scenes some readers may find uplifting.”

That’s exactly how I felt when I finished. Do yourself a favour and buy it today.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £4.49.

My rating: Five stars.

With thanks to Harlequin UK for the ARC (via NetGalley) in return for my honest opinion.