Tuesday, 31 March 2015

If We Lived Here - Lindsey J Palmer

Razor-sharp and thought-provoking, Lindsey J. Palmer’s incisive new novel both celebrates and skewers modern relationships and their milestones, offering a witty and wise look at what it takes to commit—to love, to a home, and to the life that’s right for you.
After three years of dating and trading nights at their respective New York City apartments, Emma Feit and Nick O’Hare are moving in together. Or they will be, as soon as they find the right place. For two happily-in-love professionals—Nick’s a teacher, Emma tutors college-bound teens—with good credit and stellar references, how hard can it be? As it turns out, very—in ways that are completely unexpected.
Suddenly Emma is filled with questions about cohabiting, about giving up her freedom—not to mention about who’s going to clean the toilet. And while her best friend plans a dream wedding to her wealthy fiancĂ©, and her older brother settles into suburban bliss, Emma must figure out what home means to her—and how on earth to get there.
I've really enjoyed this book; it’s a real life slice of American life. Sometimes I find American authors have Anglicised a book to appeal to those of us across the pond – however this book felt very American (in a good way). In fact some of the references you may not get it you don’t know a lot about American life. But don’t let that distract from what makes it a “true to life” read.

The hunt for an apartment was very insightful and I real felt for Emma and Nick as they encountered problem after problem, some housing related others personal. I felt the author really got to the underside of living in New York – rather than a “Friends” plasticised view of life.

We also got to see life in the NY suburbs and what happens when the lights literally go out.

I’ve been to New York, but this book made me feel like I’d lived there it was so realistic in the writing. There are so many different strands to this book, which were all brought together seamlessly by the author, making for an enjoyable and intelligent read. This is sooo much more than chick lit!
My thanks go to Netgalley and Kensington Publishing Corporation for allowing me to read an advance kindle copy of the book.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Saving Saffron Sweeting - Pauline Wiles

Product Details

Grace Palmer’s British friends all think she’s living the American Dream. But her design business is floundering and when she discovers her husband is cheating with her best client, she panics and flees home to England. The tranquil village of Saffron Sweeting appears to be a good place for Grace to lick her wounds, but the community is battling its own changes. Reluctantly, Grace finds herself helping her new neighbours as they struggle to adjust and save their businesses. However, not everyone has the same opinion on what’s good for the village. The charismatic new man in her life may have one speculative eye on Grace, but the other is firmly on profit. How will she navigate the tricky path between her home and her happiness? With gentle humour and generous helpings of British tea and cake, Saving Saffron Sweeting explores one woman’s need to define herself through her career and community, before she can figure out who should be by her side.

My last review was for Pauline Wiles latest book "Secrets in the Sky" and I ended it my saying her other book "Saving Saffron Sweeting" was now on my to read list. Well - I really wanted to get back to Saffron Sweeting - so I bumped it all the way to the top of that list and here's my review.

This is such an amusing book, I laughed out loud a few times (bit embarrassing on public transport though!) making it a pleasure to read. It prefaces with the quote "Two nations divided by a common language" and if you have ever read any Bill Bryon books you will know all about that. I have American friends and so a lot of the "misunderstandings" in the book rang totally true. It's like the time I explained to an American girl on the train that whilst she was looking for the "coach" class on her ticket - we call all the trains that in England - it's not a class of travel as it is in America. So I really got into all those little nuances in the book.

The idea of Grace landing in Saffron Sweeting and in effect becoming a consultant on how to "appeal to Americans" was a great concept and so well executed. I could really visualise it all in my minds eye and I was eager to get back to the book to find out what would happen next and I wasn't disappointed.

I don't do spoilers - so without giving anything away - Grace has love interests, there is a will she won't she and "how could she be so stupid" moments which help to immerse you in the book. There's transatlantic travel - which having done that journey just exhausted me to read it. But most of all there is Pauline's talent in writing about people and their traits that brings them to life so well.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Secrets in the Sky - Pauline Wiles

No-one ever accused Sophie Campbell of being a coward. From caving trips to rooftop pranks, it appeared nothing could hold her back, especially once she landed a dream job promising travel all over the world. 

But Sophie’s jet-setting lifestyle is not what it seems and she’s been spending more time in the quiet English village of Saffron Sweeting than she cares to admit. When her beloved Great Aunt Wol dies suddenly, Sophie loses one of the few people who truly know her. As friends, family and an old flame gather for the funeral, questions soon follow. Worse, Sophie finds herself increasingly attracted to the man most likely to expose her secrets. Can she manage to guard her past, yet finally follow her long-held dream? 

Featuring both new and familiar characters, this stand-alone romantic comedy is set two years before Kindle best-seller Saving Saffron Sweeting. With side helpings of British tea, cake and wit, Secrets in the Sky explores how finding the courage to be yourself can be the toughest challenge of all

If you want to read an excerpt of this book then please see my last post.

This is a real little gem of a book. This was my first visit to Saffron Sweeting and I loved it from the start. Although the main character Sophie seems quite dizzy and embroiled in a life of lies, as the book unfolds it becomes clear that this is not all about her, and she has valid reasons for her Walter Mitty existence.

We meet lots of village characters as we journey through life with Sophie, and each has their own little story. It's not all tea and cake though, there's a character that really made me squirm and I was routing for Sophie to see through him - but I'll let you read the book to find out more about him.  

The book has a really well thought out story line that keeps you turning the page. The author, Pauline, now lives in the USA, but this book still felt very English in tone and up to date with social references. It even referenced my home town of Nottingham and a good old Melton Mowbray pork pie, so I felt right at home!

I loved it so much I bought Pauline’s other book “Saving Saffron Sweeting” straight after finishing this book,  and it’s on my to read list. Can't wait to get back to Saffron Sweeting.

Thanks to Bliss Book Promotions for allowing me an advance copy of this book to review.