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3 September 2016

Blog Tour: 'The Ex Factor' by Eva Woods!

Is it possible to freecycle love?

Modern dating is hard, especially when all you meet are liars, oddballs, men who wear Superman pants and men who live with their mums.

So why not date someone who already comes pre-approved? Just because your friend’s ex wasn’t right for her doesn’t mean that he won’t be right for you. That’s Marnie’s new plan for herself and her three best friends, perennially single Helen, recently divorced Rosa and cynical lawyer Ani.

Through bad dates and good, the four friends begin to realise that there are advantages to dating pre-screened men…but there can be some serious pitfalls to falling for your friend's ex.

Time for another exciting blog tour stop over here at 'A Spoonful of Happy Endings' today! As most of you probably know I'm a big chick lit fan, so when I was asked to be part of the blog tour for Eva Woods' 'The Ex Factor', which was released in August by Mira UK, I straight away said yes. I loved the book description, especially since the storyline is one I haven't seen anywhere else before, and the fun cover and was really curious to check out both the novel and the author. Be sure to also stop by some of the other book blogs that take part in this blog tour if you want to know more about 'The Ex Factor'; you can find the names on the blog tour poster!

Helen and Marnie have been the best of friends since their time together at primary school and they now form a close group of friends with Ani and Rosa, whom they met later on in life. One thing all four of them have in common is that they are single trying to find their way within the modern-day world of dating. Then Marnie comes up with an idea; instead of struggling to find a decent fish in the sea, why not recycle some guys that already come pre-screened? The four friends decide to give project 'Ex Factor' a try: picking one of your own exes things didn't work out with to date one of your friends. It seems like a great idea at first, but does dating your friend's ex really work or is it just a recipe for disaster...?

‘The Ex Factor’ is author Eva Woods’ second romantic comedy, following her 2015 release ‘The Thirty List’ which I still have waiting for me on one of my bookshelves! I have to admit I love reading books about the modern-day world of dating, so I already had a good feeling I was going to enjoy ‘The Ex Factor’ and I’m glad to say I definitely did. The book focuses on a group of four friends: Marnie, Rosa, Ani, and Helen, and each of them has her own POV to share with the reader. Marnie has been abroad for the past two years and has now returned to London, ready to pick up her life again; Ani has been dating almost non-stop for the last few years but she somehow can’t seem to find the right guy for her; Helen can’t seem to get over her last crush and has gotten into a daily routine of hiding herself from the outside world as much as possible; and Rosa’s world was turned upside down when she discovered her husband was cheating on her. This leads to the ‘Ex Factor’ project, which results in quite some interesting and entertaining reading.

I personally really like it when a story is told from several perspectives because it means there are multiple storylines and always something to keep the reader interested. In this case I liked all four characters and was keen on getting to know what would happen to them throughout the novel. I thought the idea of dating your friends’ exes was quite clever, even though it’s something I’d rather read about than actually take part in myself! I enjoyed the author’s writing, even though I did feel the book had a really good start, slowed down a bit in the middle, and then became better again towards the ending. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel by Eva Woods and am quite eager to pick up ‘The Thirty List’ sometime soon. Overall, ‘The Ex Factor’ is undoubtedly an entertaining, fun and captivating read about friendship and dating; a great chick lit read I can highly recommend!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

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

Guest Post: The Ex Factor Inspiration by Eva Woods

What would happen if four friends dated each other’s exes? It was a question I’d been toying with for a while before writing my latest rom-com, The Ex Factor. I’d been dating for a year myself – exhaustively, tenaciously – and nothing seemed to be working. I was starting to wonder if the internet was really the best place to find someone who didn’t pose topless in their profile picture or try to proposition you through the use of punctuation alone. (‘? J!’ etc) Several of my non-British friends – European or American mostly – were also dating, and suggested I should go out with men they’d met and for various reasons not ended up with. My first thought was: ew, no. What a terrible idea. It would be weird, and people might get jealous, and if we ended up getting married the ending might be really awkward. Then I realised: why not? These were tried and tested guys that I’d at least know weren’t terrible – that was already one up on random internet dates. My friends knew me better than dating-site algorithms – perhaps they’d pick someone nice, and they’d surely not set me up with anyone they weren’t over or had major history with. Maybe a more relaxed, less pressured approach to dating would work better than the rigid checklist I had for internet men (which, I had to admit, went right out the window if it was late and I felt bored/lonely/drunk).

So I decided to embrace the Freecyle approach to dating – one woman’s junk could be another woman’s treasure. I even set up a few of my friends with men I’d dated, with some success. In the end I did meet someone randomly off the internet (although it turns out he went to school with one of my friends!) but I’m a still a convert to the share-and-swap method. As long as no one gets hurt, it’s a great way to meet more people and reduces the risk of a terrible internet date. At least, in theory!

In my book, I look at what happens to a group of friends when exes are thrown into the mix. Would you be jealous if your ex seemed to like your friend better? Would it bring back memories you’d rather forget? Would it show you how much you’ve changed over the years, and perhaps not in ways that you like? I then added in the complication that one character has been secretly in love with her friend’s serious ex for years. What might happen if he came back, causing havoc? Each woman has a reason for joining in the ex-swap. Helen’s practically married to her cat and boxsets, nursing a secret heartache. Flighty Marnie’s been away for years and is now back, hiding a secret of her own and trying to blot out the memory of that ex she can’t forget. Rosa has recently been dumped by her husband and cynical divorce lawyer Ani’s been dating for years to no success. So they decide to give it a go- what could possibly go wrong? A lot, as it happens! I thought ex-swapping was a great way to look at female friendships, the secrets and grudges we harbour even with our most beloved mates, and explore the rivalries, affection, and tensions in every girl squad. If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s OK to date a friend’s ex, and what might happen if you did, read this book and find out.

Thanks, Eva!

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