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27 November 2015

Review: 'What Happens to Men When They Move to Manhattan?' by Jill Knapp (2014)

Life in the big city gives Amalia a ride she is not expecting. As she tries to find her way on the little island that never sleeps, she discovers she has a harder time navigating through life then she does the streets of Greenwich Village and finds herself truly lost in the complex world of men, graduate school, money, family, and friendship.

She thought she had everything she wanted – a new apartment in Manhattan, a first-rate education at NYU, a group of trusted friends and Nicholas, a boyfriend who she once believed was her soul-mate. But somehow, it isn’t enough. 

Stumbling through her relationships, Amalia encounters Michael. An attractive classmate who quickly moves from being one of her close friends, to an inconsistent friend-with-benefits. After all, the only thing consistent about New York is its beauty. 

After getting terribly lost searching for love in all the wrong places, Amalia finds herself torn between the possibility of a relationship, and an adventure she's been planning all along. 

She eventually realizes that solely chasing love closes her off to all of the other good things life has to offer. Now she must decide – what is worth the chase?

Harper Impulse continues to be one of my personal favourite publishers. Over the past year they've once again released numerous thoroughly entertaining reads and I am almost starting to think that if I can find the Harper Impulse logo on the book, it's a guaranteed good read! Today I've got a review of Jill Knapp's 'What Happens to Men When They Move to Manhattan?', which is the first part of her book series 'What Happens to Men.' The novel was first released in 2014 and since then the other two parts of the series, 'You'll Find Me in Manhattan' and 'We've Always Got New York', have also been released. I love starting a new series in the hope of enjoying it so much, you can straight away grab the other parts, so I had my fingers crossed!

23-year-old Amalia is leading the good life: she has a great apartment in Manhattan, goes to NYU to get her master's degree, has some great friends, and a lovely boyfriend named Nicholas whom she can't imagine living without. Until Nicholas breaks up with her for no clear reason, and Amalia suddenly finds herself being single in New York City. She realises the city has a lot to offer her, such as her classmate and friend Michael who seems to be just as attracted to her as she is to him but doesn't seem to be looking for something serious. But is Michael really the guy for her, or should she perhaps forget about guys for a while and focus on other things in life that could make her happy?

I completely understand why 'What Happens to Men When They Move to Manhattan' is compared to TV shows like 'Sex and the City', because the similarities are definitely there. Set in New York City, a twenty-something female protagonist, and a strong storyline focus on men, love/romance, and friendship. I quite enjoyed the novel, which was a quick read with roughly 290 pages, and enjoyed taking a look into main character Amalia's life. New York is, of course, a great setting for a book like this one and there was also an interesting collection of secondary characters, such as Amalia's best friend Cassandra, which I enjoyed learning more about. 

I've seen this novel being described as New Adult; a genre which I'm not really that familiar with, but there are definitely some chick lit elements in the novel as well. As mentioned before, the story really focuses on Amalia and her love life. While this was fun to read about it, I also wouldn’t have minded if another storyline had been added, just to have a bit more going on. The book ends with an open ending and I am really curious to find out what will happen to Amalia next, so I already look forward to picking up the second part of this series. Overall, ‘What Happens to Men When They Move to Manhattan’ is a fun, entertaining and quick read and a promising debut by author Jill Knapp!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

26 November 2015

Review: 'A Certain Someone' by Ali O'Donovan (2015)

After losing her college sweetheart and her job, ex teacher Annie hides out in the wilds of West Kerry in Ireland to get her act together. But despite vowing to win back her ex boyfriend, she soon finds herself entangled with two different men in the tight knit local community. Mart, a washed up soap star falls off his barstool into her arms and decides she is the perfect tonic for his flagging ratings. And Scott, a hip American photographer on assignment in the area who has a talent for finding her in embarrassing situations (usually in her greyest underwear), who she decides she loves to hate.

But it is the arrival of an old college contemporary, and former rival for her ex-boyfriend Rory’s affections, that really forces her to get a grip on herself. Social climbing glamazon, Philomena “Grotty’ Crotty is now married to one of Ireland’s richest men and is busy re-making herself as a society philanthropist. While helping to raise funds for a children’s hospice, Annie is forced to go begging to her old university "frenemy".

Philomena has designs on both Mart and Scott and will use anyone and anything to get even with Annie. The scene is set for a collision course that forces Annie to confront what she really wants out of life and ‘that certain someone’.

Ireland is definitely one of the countries I want to visit someday. I've been on a city trip to Dublin, which I really enjoyed, but I'd really like to visit places in the countryside. I've heard and read many things about the beautiful Irish landscapes and think it is a place I will fall in love with as soon as I'm there! Today I have a review of a book that is set in Ireland to share with all of you, and it wasn't just because of the setting of the novel that I was quite excited to give this read a try. I liked the description of Ali O'Donovan's 'A Certain Someone', which was released by Oak Grove Publishing in March 2015, and which promises an enjoyable romantic comedy read, so I looked forward to stepping into the Irish countryside with this book!

Thirty-something Annie Hussey isn't quite sure where her life is going, if it is even going anywhere. After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend Rory and losing her job, she gained a lot of weight and doesn't know what she's going to do with herself. She decides to go back to Ireland where she gets stuck in the village life of a tight-knit local community in Kerry. All of a sudden Annie has two guys who are interested in her, her own goal of trying to get her ex-boyfriend Rory back, and she finds herself in an ongoing battle with her college frenemy Philomena Crotty. Will Annie be able to finally find what she has been looking for in Ireland or are things really only going to go downhill from now on...?

I think the main storyline in 'A Certain Someone' is a classic one and one many readers will be able to relate to in one way or another; that point in your life when you're not quite sure what you're doing and you just want to run away from it all and start anew. That is the situation protagonist Anne Hussey finds herself in and she decides to travel to her home country, Ireland, to hopefully find what she's looking for. I was excited to join Annie on this journey and curious to find out what would happen to her. The novel focuses on Annie's search for a new purpose in her life, which was quite enjoyable, and a nice romantic element is added to this search as well.

While the book has a good storyline, I personally thought it was all quite detailed and long-winded, without a good dose of dialogue to mix things up a bit. I found myself wanting to skip certain passages, craving more excitement and more things to happen to the characters. I felt like much more could have been done with the different characters and the storyline, and in the end I didn't enjoy the book as much as I had initially hoped I would. Overall, 'A Certain Someone' is a descriptive romcom read that follows the life of Annie Hussey; a promising novel that unfortunately didn't completely live up to my hopes and expectations. I do think there are readers out there who will really enjoy this novel; it just wasn't the read for me.
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

25 November 2015

Review: 'You'll Be Thinking of Me' by Densie Webb (2015)

A chance encounter with a celebrity, an impromptu video, and a shiny new espresso machine. It all added up to a juicy tale for 24-year-old Rachael Allen to share with friends. But when her best friend posts the video online, bizarre threats, home break-ins, and deadly gifts from an obsessed fan follow close behind.  Mick Sullivan, the star in her video, offers to help and in the process, Rachael discovers that despite his reputation as a player of Olympian caliber, he’s down-to-earth—and emotionally damaged. He has secrets; some he’s shared only with his pseudo best friend. Others he's shared with no one. But there's one secret he’s hidden from himself, washed away by too many beers.  Despite wildly divergent life paths, their shared southern upbringing (and a passion for good music) creates a common thread that draws them together. As the threats escalate, and their relationship deepens, Rachael struggles to accept Mick’s past—and his present. And she is forced to confront her own obsessive love to ultimately decide if being with Mick Sullivan is worth the collateral damage.

Earlier this year I was contacted by author Densie Webb with the question of whether I was interested in reading and reviewing her debut novel 'You'll Be Thinking of Me', which was first released in January 2015. Densie spent a long career as a freelance non-fiction writer and editor, specialising in health and nutrition, and has published several books and numerous articles on the topic over the years. This book is her first step into the world of fiction and I have to say the description of the novel straight away intrigued me. It took me a bit of time to finally pick up the novel (sorry about that, Densie!), but I had my fingers crossed for an enjoyable read!

Twenty-four-year-old Rachael Allen is pleasantly surprised when she bumps into famous actor Mick Sullivan in a gourmet coffee shop one day. They start talking and Rachael can't help but ask for a picture, which eventually leads to Mick taking a video of the two of them. Rachael is really excited, and so is her best friend Jenna, who decides to put the video on the Internet, just for fun. But what starts out as simple fun, quickly turns into something a lot more serious when Rachael is suddenly stuck with her very own stalker. That tiny video turns out to have a lot of impact on Rachael's future, and as threatening letters and e-mails start to arrive, Rachael has no idea what she has gotten herself into by starting a conversation with Mick Sullivan that one day...

It has been a while since I've read a novel as suspenseful as this one! Densie Webb has really managed to create a convincing story filled with tension, and a story that had me at the edge of my seat until the last few chapters. While the plot line (celebrity crush/stalker) is one that has been done many times before, the author really managed to turn it into her own. I particularly liked Densie Webb's writing style. It was incredibly easy to fall into and to keep on reading for longer periods of time, while at the same time detailed enough and quite gripping. The fact that this is her debut novel is quite impressive and I already can't wait to read more of Densie's work. 

I would describe the book as a combination of genres; a large part thriller, but there's also a clear romance element between the main characters, Rachael and Mick. I liked Rachael from the start and I loved seeing the relationship between her and Mick develop slowly, all because of what is happening to the two of them. The story is told from several different points of view, which really provided the reader with the opportunity to get into the head of the characters. If I have to give one point of critique, I'd have to go with the cover. I personally really don't like it and think a more attractive cover would only benefit the great writing that is hidden inside. Overall, though, 'You'll Be Thinking of Me' is an enthralling, chilling and well-written book about celebrity crushes, love, and obsession; a thriller/romance novel that is definitely worth picking up!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.