Archive | March, 2011

House of Night – The Fledgling Handbook review and Marked giveaway!

29 Mar

Merry meet, fledgling.  I trust this guide will serve you well…

Every vampyre fledgling who arrives at the House of Night receives a copy of The Fledgling Handbook 101, and now, fans can have one, too.

Inside you’ll find original stories, the complete vampyre history, inside info into rituals, vamp biology, and the Change, and much more.

As somone who is new to the House of Night series, I really enjoyed this book. So far,  I’ve read the first two books in the series and The Fledgling Handbook provides a deeper insight into the mythology and history of the House of Night and its vampyre occupants.

Beautifully illustrated, The Fledgling Handbook includes sections covering the class emblems worn by House of Night pupils and their history; Vampyre biology covering the process of being marked and becoming a vampyre; rituals, elementology and Vampyre history. The Fledgling Handbook is given to all new entrants to the House of Night and there are sections to make your own notes and for the reader to fill in – great fun!

I think this is a book that will appeal to readers at any stage of the series and is a beautiful acompanyment to the novels. It is quite short at only 157 pages and I wonder if those who have read all of the books released so far (eight in total to date) may find that it doesn’t add much detail to the plot but I’d say it is a must read for fans and readers like me who are just discovering the series.

4/5

You can find out more about the House of Night at: http://www.houseofnightseries.co.uk/

Giveaway!

I have a shiny new copy of the first book in the House of Night series, Marked to give away to one lucky reader. To enter, just leave a comment in the box below and I’ll draw a name using random.org after the closing date. This giveaway is UK only and will close at midnight on Sunday 3rd April. Good luck!

When sixteen-year-old Zoey gets Marked as a fledgling vampire she must join the House of Night school where she will train to become an adult vampire. That is, if she makes it through the Change. But Zoe is no ordinary fledgling. She has been chosen as special by the Goddess Nyx and discovers her amazing new power to conjure the elements: earth, air, fire, water and spirit. When Zoey discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school’s most elite group, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look within herself to embrace her destiny – with a little help from her new vampire friends.

April book release preview – my hot picks!

25 Mar

Lots of ‘chick-lity’ goodness out in April! Here are my favourites  – let me know yours in the comments box.

Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal
Released 14th April

Published by Arrow
Website
: http://www.sweetvalleytenyearslater.com/

The first of my ‘Top five most anticipated chick lit books of 2011′ to be published. Needless to say, I’m excited!

It’s been ten years since the Wakefield twins graduated from Sweet Valley High, and a lot has happened.

For a start, Elizabeth and Jessica have had a falling out of epic proportions, after Jessica committed the ultimate betrayal, and this time it looks like Elizabeth will never be able to forgive her.

Suddenly Sweet Valley isn’t big enough for the two of them, so Elizabeth has fled to New York to immerse herself in her lifelong dream of becoming a serious reporter, leaving a guilt-stricken Jessica contemplating the unthinkable: life without her sister.

Despite the distance between them, the sisters are never far from each other’s thoughts. Jessica longs for forgiveness, but Elizabeth can’t forget her twin’s duplicity. Uncharacteristically, she decides the only way to heal her broken heart is to get revenge. Always the ‘good’ twin, the one getting her headstrong sister out of trouble, Elizabeth is now about to turn the tables…

The Taker by Alma Katsu
Released 14th April

Published by Century
Website
: http://www.almakatsu.com/

I’m reading this one at the moment and very much enjoying it. No vampires but an absorbing story of immortal love through the centuries. This book works the gothic look brilliantly – as well as the fantastic cover it has black page edges!

True love can last an eternity …

Have you ever loved someone so much that you’d do anything for them?

When Dr Luke Findley turns up to his hospital shift in the small town of St Andrews, Maine, he’s expecting just another evening of minor injuries and domestic disputes. But instead, Lanore McIlvrae walks into his life – and changes it forever. For Lanny is a woman with a past…

Lanny McIlvrae is unlike anyone Luke has ever met. Hers is a story of love and betrayal that defies time and transcends mortality – and cannot end until Lanny’s demons are finally put to rest. Her two hundred years on this earth have seen her seduced by both decadence and brutality – but through it all she has stayed true to the one true love of her life. Until now.

Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan
Released 14th April

Published by Sphere
Website
: http://www.jennycolgan.com/

Chick lit with cakes! What more could you ask for and another gorgeous cover. I’m very much looking forward to getting my hands on this.

Ever dreamed of starting over? Issy Randall can bake. No, more than that – Issy can create stunning, mouth-wateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe’s bakery she has undoubtedly inherited his talent. So when she’s made redundant from her safe but dull City job, Issy decides to seize the moment and open up her own cafe. It should be a piece of cake, right? Wrong. As her friends point out, she has trouble remembering where she left her house keys, let alone trying to run her own business. But Issy is determined. Armed with recipes posted to her from Grampa, and with her local bank manager fighting her corner, Issy attempts to prove everyone wrong. Following your dreams is never easy and this is no exception. Can Issy do it?


Hollywood Sinners by Victoria Fox
Released 15th April

Published by MIRA

When I got this book in the post the other week I sat down to have a look at the first few pages and was gripped straight away! I had to tear myself away to finish the book I was reading but I can’t wait to go back for more!

POWER Marriage to Hollywood heartthrob Cole Steel secured Lana Falcon a glittering place on the red carpet. But running from a wicked past she has trapped herself in a gilded cage the price of freedom…her soul?

REVENGE Kate di Laurentis’s career is fading as quickly as her looks… What could be worse than discovering her husband’ s latest mistress is Hollywood s hottest starlet? Her only option the most shocking revenge.

LUST Chloe French’s innocent beauty has captured a million hearts, but no one’s warned her of the dangerous, dark temptation of rock star Nate – will lust destroy her?

GREED Las Vegas King, Robert St Louis’s fairytale wedding to Sin City’s richest heiress is tabloid gold… But scandal circles like a vulture – dirty secrets are about to be exposed!

BETRAYAL From the deepest desires come the deadliest deeds…and these four couples are about to pay for their sins…

The Perfect Hero by Victoria Connelly
Released 21st April

Published by Avon
Website
: http://victoriaconnelly.com/

I really enjoyed Victoria’s last novel, A Weekend with Mr Darcy so I’m looking forward to this one and I love the cover!

The circus has come to town…

Die-hard romantic, Kay Ashton, uses her inheritance to open a B&B in the seaside town of Lyme Regis and is dumbstruck when the cast and crew of a new production of Persuasion descend, needing a place to stay. Kay can’t believe her luck – especially when she realises that heart throb actor Oli Wade Owen will be sleeping under her very own roof!

Meanwhile, co-star Gemma Reilly is worried that her acting isn’t up to scratch, despite landing a plum role. She finds a sympathetic ear in shy producer, Adam Craig, who is as baffled by the film world as she is. Kay thinks the two are meant for each other and can’t resist a spot of matchmaking.

Then, when Oli turns his trademark charm on Kay, it seems that she has found her real-life hero. But do heroes really exist?

28th April Summer in the City (Carrie Diaries vol 2)

Summer and the City (Carrie Diaries Volume 2) by Candace Bushnell
Released 28th April

Published by
Harper Collins Children’s
Website: http://www.candacebushnell.com

I had mixed feelings about The Carrie Diaries but I’m still really looking forward to reading the next installment!

Meet teenage Carrie Bradshaw as she hits the bright lights, big city of New York for the very first time!

Summer is a magical time in New York City and Carrie is in love with all of it – the crazy characters in her neighbourhood, the vintage-clothing boutiques, the wild parties and the glamorous man who has swept her off her feet. Best of all, she’s finally in a real writing class, taking her first steps toward fulfilling her dream.

Carrie learns to navigate her way around the Big Apple, going from being a country “sparrow” – as Samantha Jones dubs her – to the person she always wanted to be. But as it becomes increasingly difficult to reconcile her past with her future, Carrie realises that making it in New York is much more complicated than she ever imagined.

The story of how Carrie met Samantha and Miranda, and what turned a small-town girl into one of the New York City’s most unforgettable icons, Carrie Bradshaw.

The Sweetest Thing by Cathy Woodman
Released 28th April
Published by
Arrow
Website: http://www.cathywoodman.com

A very cute cover and more cake – April is going to be a very sweet month :-)

If only everything in life was as simple as baking a cake…

Jennie Copeland thought she knew the recipe for a happy life: marriage to her university sweetheart, a nice house in the suburbs and three beautiful children. But when her husband leaves her, she is forced to find a different recipe. And she thinks she’s found just what she needs: a ramshackle house on the outskirts of the beautiful Talyton St George, a new cake-baking business, a dog, a horse, chickens…

But life in the country is not quite as idyllic as she’d hoped, and Jennie can’t help wondering whether neighbouring farmer Guy Barnes was right when he told her she wouldn’t last the year.

Or perhaps the problem is that she’s missing one vital ingredient to make her new life a success. Could Guy be the person to provide it?

Cougars giveaway winners!

23 Mar

The winners are …

Louise, Karen, Martine, Aileen and Anisah

Congratulations! The books are on their way to you.

Thank you so much to everyone who entered.

I’ll be launching another giveaway very soon!

Book review – Lizzy Harrison Loses Control by Pippa Wright

20 Mar

‘Have you ever noticed that the modern romantic heroine can be, not to put too fine a point on it, a bit useless?’

Lizzy Harrison has everything under control

Lizzy Harrison isn’t a romantic heroine. Not even close. She doesn’t have a cat, owns no more shoes than the average person, and is in no way hopelessly scatty and disorganised. In fact her life is in perfect order, and that’s just how she likes it. Okay, so she hasn’t met the right man yet, but she really doesn’t have the time what with her busy job in PR and her packed schedule of improving activities. Her diary is planned months in advance and she’s determined that nothing spontaneous will force its way into her life.

…hasn’t she?

But when her best friend Lulu questions her need for control, Lizzy starts to wonder if she needs to let go a little. So when she’s thrown into the arms of her boss’s number one client, notorious comedian (and love-rat) Randy Jones, she reluctantly relaxes her hold on routine. Lizzy Harrison is about to find out that losing control could win her more than she had ever imagined.

Lizzy Harrison Loses Control sets its stall out immediately with the quote above from on the back cover. Thirty-three year old Lizzy is billed as the antithesis to the modern romantic heroine. As we meet Lizzy, travelling from her home in Peckham to her office in London to arrive earlier than needed for work, she is a picture of organisation and efficiency. We learn that not only is Lizzy a super efficient PA for a celebrity PR firm, covering for her struggling boss when needed, but that her personal life is as organised and planned as her work day. Lizzy is quite content to carry on in her safely organised world until a drunken heart to heart with best friend Lulu one evening results in her agreeing that she needs to let go and lose control.

The book is narrated by Lizzy in the first person but it is Lizzy’s asides to the reader that made me smile and give the narrative an extra kick. Imagine a character in your favourite film, turning to the camera and stating her thoughts on where the plot is going. That’s what Lizzy does throughout the book – it’s nicely done and Pippa Wright’s writing comes across as fresh and different. The book is also very funny and I found myself chuckling as I read.

The perfect opportunity for Lizzie to step out of her comfort zone arises when her boss Camilla hatches a plan to save her top client, comedian Randy Jones from self destruction by providing him with a sensible new girlfriend. Lizzy fits the bill perfectly and as part of her bid to lighten up agrees to accept the assignment and so the fun begins. The sub-plot involving Camilla and her business partner Jemima’s fight for control over their PR agency provides some excellent twists to the story and I really enjoyed the inside view of celebrity PR work and it came across as frighteningly realistic.

Despite creating a leading lady who demonstrates razor sharp self awareness most of the time, many of the other characters in the book are classic chick lit personas; love-Rat Randy; man-eater Lulu; loyal, devoted but overlooked Dan and Lizzy’s hippie earth mother mum. The twist is that Wright makes these characters seem fresh whilst sticking to what is actually a tried and tested formula and makes for very enjoyable reading.

Lizzy’s criticism of modern romance novels, their plots and leading ladies is a brave move by Pippa Wright, dissecting the very genre that her books belong to. And although the tongue in cheek commentary rings true, ‘Lizzie Harrison Loses Control’  is still firmly a chick lit novel with a classic romantic ending. An assured debut and very enjoyable read from Pippa Wright and I look forward to reading more from her.

4/5

I’d like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy of this to review (via www.libripopulus.co.uk)

A version of this review also appears at: www.libripopulus.co.uk


Book review – Summer of Love by Katie Fforde

16 Mar

Sian Bishop has only ever experienced one moment of recklessness – a moment that resulted in her beloved son Rory. It’s not that she doesn’t love the outcome of that wild night, but since then she has always taken the safer route. So when dependable, devoted Richard suggests a move to the beautiful English countryside, she leaves the hustle and bustle of the city behind, and she throws herself into the picture-postcard cottage garden, her furniture restoration business, and a new life in the country.

Her good intentions are torpedoed on a glorious summer’s evening with the arrival of Gus Berresford. One-time explorer and full-time heartbreaker, Gus is ridiculously exciting, wonderfully glamorous and a completely inappropriate love interest for a single mum. But Gus and Sian have met before…

Sian has no use for a fling, she simply mustn’t fall in love with the most unlikely suitor ever to cross her path – even if he has now crossed her path twice. But who knows what can happen in a summer of love…

I’m always wary of describing a book as ‘lovely’ but Summer of Love really is just that! This is a book to curl up somewhere comfy with, relax and just enjoy. The characters are engaging and will make you smile, the plot is romantic and the country summer setting idyllic.

The story revolves around single mum Sian and her son Rory as they move to a new home in the country and begin a new life away from harsh city life. I liked Sian immediately and her relationship with Rory is well written. It was lovely to read about a mum who isn’t a scatty mess, yummy mummy or superwoman. Sian is refreshingly realistic and as a mum she’s just the sort of person I’d want as a friend. I also liked the fact that Sian wasn’t looking for romance – in fact she tends to run in the opposite direction, putting her son first and only wanting the best situation for him.

That’s not to say that there isn’t plenty of romance in Summer of Love – it is a love story above all else and a gripping one at that. The chemistry between Sian and Gus is spot on and I really enjoyed the mystery that their connection added to the story and the build up of tension between them. Add in a tempting proposition from Sian’s friend and suitor Richard and the amorous ambitions of Gus’s childhood friend Lissa and the scene is set for misunderstandings, heart-searching and romance aplenty.

Sian’s neighbour Fiona also adds her own share to the romance of the novel as she tries out internet dating. Her adventures made me smile and I think there is much in Fiona (twice married and with a grown up family) and her worries that readers will recognise which just goes to show that dating can be a minefield whatever your age!

When I read in the acknowledgements section at the start of the book that Katie Fforde went on a bush craft course to assist with her research for the novel, I found myself wondering how she’d work that into the plot but then Gus appeared on the scene and all became clear as he took every opportunity to demonstrate his survival skills. The detail added a nice edge to Gus’s character and he came across as much more than your average male traveller – it must have been a lot of fun to research.

Before I end this review, I’d like to take a moment to say how gorgeous the cover illustrations for this book are. The image above does not do the cover full justice as the background is actually a lovely pale green colour and there is a beautiful pencil drawing illustration of a little boy on the back cover … I had to take some pictures to show you!

I’m doing really well at trying new authors this year and Katie Fforde is another author whose books I haven’t read before. Summer of Love is written with warmth and humour and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d love to hear about your favourites from Katie and recommendations for which of her sixteen other novels to read next, in the comments box below.

5/5

Summer of Love is released on 17th March and I’d like to thank Amelia at Random House for sending me a copy for review.

You can find out more about Katie and her books and read a sample from Summer of Love at: http://www.katiefforde.com/index.htm

Authors for Japan – An auction to help the people devastated by the earthquake in Japan

15 Mar

I watched events unfolding in Japan last week with utter horror and like many, wished there was something I could do for those affected. Author Keris Stainton felt the same way and inspired by Authors for Queensland, has rallied donations from over a hundred authors and others in the publishing industry to launch Authors for Japan – an online auction to raise money for the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal.

The auctions went live on the Authors for Japan website this morning and the bids are already flying in. There are some amazing items on offer so if you fancy starring in your own personal short story written by Miranda Dickinson; having Jill Mansell’s next book dedicated to you, or getting your hands on an early signed proof of Ali McNamara’s next novel, then head over to the website and start bidding. There are 160 items on offer ranging from signed books and proofs, critiques, naming characters in future novels, artwork, writer training and mentoring and more!

Bidding will close at 8pm on Sunday 20th March and all of the details on how to bid and donate can be found at Authors for Japan.

Please spread the word and let’s raise as much as we can!

Book review – Rosebush by Michele Jaffe

13 Mar

Jane is found, near death, in a rosebush – a victim of hit and run.
But as she’s convalescing she realize
s that her friends’ stories and her memories of what happened that night aren’t adding up.

And now the only thing she does know is that one of her friends isn’t so friendly.

One of them was trying to kill her.

One of them still is.

Sometimes the truth is a very thorny thing. . .

Rosebush is something a little bit different for me; it’s a psychological thriller – a genre that I wouldn’t normally be particularly drawn to but I liked the premise (someone is trying to kill one of the most popular girls in school) and I like to try something different every now and again so I thought I’d give it a go. I’m so glad I did! Rosebush is a gripping mystery and thriller. The list of possible suspects seem to be endless; the twists constantly surprising and the ‘love to hate’ characters really well written.

The story is narrated by main character Jane. Given that Jane spends most of the book confined to hospital, recovering from her injuries, there is a surprising amount of action.  Some of the drama takes place in the hospital itself but a lot of the mystery and detail of the plot are provided by Jane as she flashes back to the party she attended the night she was hit by the car and to events earlier in her life. A complex picture builds up of Jane and the supporting characters and the ‘whodunnit’ surrounding the hit and run isn’t the only mystery running through the book. As Jane recounts events and begins to remember more detail of the night she was almost killed, the reader is drip-fed scintillating facts that had me jumping to all sorts of conclusions about who the enemy might really be.

Rosebush has a large and well drawn cast of  supporting characters, many of whom seem to have reason to take issue with Jane. This is high school drama taken to the extreme in a 90210 meets Mean Girls with a touch of Heathers kind of way. Jane is a very interesting character; desperate to be popular and very capable of shallowness to go with it. At times I found myself not liking her attitude or behaviour very much at all but at the same time I had a lot of sympathy for her situation, particularly when it seemed that no-one was taking her fears seriously.

Told over a five day period following the hit and run, the story is fast paced and I found Rosebush to be a quick read which was partly due to the fact that I was so gripped that I couldn’t put it down! There was just the right amount of creepiness to keep me reading but not to be so scary as to put me off. I love the fact that I didn’t guess the ending – in fact, the book is so well written that at one point I was actually wondering if there was anyone trying to kill Jane or if she was imagining it all as a severe reaction to her accident. I’m not going to spoil the ending for anyone – you’ll just have to read it to find out but I will say that the outcome wasn’t what I was expecting and I love that this book kept me on the wrong foot throughout.

4/5

You can find out more about Michele Jaffe and her books at: http://www.michelejaffe.com/

You can also read an extract from the book on the UK publisher website at: http://www.atombooks.net/rosebush-extract/

Giveaway – win a copy of Cougars by Claire Irvin

10 Mar

Cougars, the debut novel by Claire Irvin, editor of SHE magazine is out next week (17th March) and thanks to the lovely Hannah at Little, Brown Book Group, I have five copies to give away :-D

I’ve read a sample of this one and can’t wait to get my hands on the finished book. It sounds perfect for fans of Sex and the City and Cougar Town. Look out for a review soon!

COUGAR: a woman, aged 35 years or older, with a taste for

younger men – and the thrill of the chase . . .

Caroline Walker has it all. At 42, her immaculate looks and toned body are of a woman half her age. She’s a successful entrepreneur, and juggles her career with domestic bliss: wife of City trading sensation Les Walker, and mother to their teenage daughter Rachel. But when Caroline learns that Les has been having an affair, her perfect world falls apart.

Caroline is suddenly single – something she hasn’t been in a very long time. With the help of Maryanne, her outgoing and ex-Hollywood starlet friend, Caroline’s life is transformed into a glamorous social whirl as she discovers her missing twenties – and the young men she should have been dating then, too. But is Caroline ready to put the past behind her? And can true love really strike twice?

To be in with a chance of winning just leave a comment in the box below and I’ll pick five winners using random.org after the closing date. This giveaway is UK only and will close at midnight on Thursday 17th March. Good Luck!

Book gossip – book news!

10 Mar

RNA Pure Passion Award Winners!

The Romantic Novelists Association Pure Passion Awards were announced earlier this week.  Jojo Moyes won Romantic Novel of the Year for The Last Letter from Your Lover. Jill Mansell won the Romantic Comedy award with Take a Chance on Me and Elizabeth Chadwick’s novel To Defy a King won the Historical Novel Prize. The winner of the Love Story of the Year was Louise Allen with The Piratical Miss Ravenhurst. Congratulations to all of the winners!

I haven’t read any of the winning books although I do have Take a Chance on Me on my bookshelf. Let me know if you’ve read any of the others and what you thought.

Ali McNamara does her bit for Comic Relief!

Ali’s debut novel, From Notting Hill With Love … Actually pays homage to many of the fab films from Richard Curtis and to raise money for Comic Relief Ali has a copy of the book signed by Richard and herself together with DVD’s of Notting Hill and Love Actually and more to give away! Check out Ali’s video below and visit her Just Giving page if you’d like to enter the prize draw: http://www.justgiving.com/Ali-McNamara

Cover crush – Manhattan by Ronnie Cooper

The cover for Ronni Cooper’s second novel Manhattan, appeared on Amazon this week and totally appeals to my love of both shoes and New York! Manhattan will be out in June and sounds like a great summer read:

Raine: Owner of Manhattan, the sexiest nightclub in New York, Raine never doubted she’d make it she just had no idea how many people she’d have to climb over to get to the top. Now she’s queen of the city and no one’s going to take her crown. Mai-Lin: The beautiful, enigmatic madam is as famous as the clients she supplies with the hottest chicks in the city. But it wasn’t always that way. Mai-Lin served her apprenticeship in the brothels of Shanghai and those days have left her with an insatiable thirst for an act of revenge that could cost her everything. Stevie: Lead singer of the biggest female rock band in the country. Their explosive split shocked the world. Now Stevie is going solo but the bad girl of rock has a secret and she’ll do anything it takes to stop the demons from the past destroying her future. Now one of the women is missing …And only the other two can save her.

Book review – The Accidental Proposal by Matt Dunn

9 Mar

Ed Middleton is ecstatic: he’s just got engaged to his girlfriend, Sam, and he couldn’t be happier. At least, he thinks he’s engaged. The thing is, it was Sam who did the proposing, and the more he thinks about it, the less he’s sure that she was actually asking him to marry her. She could have just been asking the question, you know…hypothetically. As the wedding day draws nearer, Ed becomes more and more uneasy. Sam keeps disappearing off for furtive meetings and private phone calls, and when he spies her going into a pub with a man he’s never seen before, all his old jealousies and insecurities threaten to re-surface. It’s the perfect time for Ed’s unhinged ex-girlfriend, Jane, to show up on his doorstep. Meanwhile, Dan – Ed’s best-friend and soon-to-be-best-man – is determined to throw him a stag night to remember. And when a severely hung-over Ed wakes up the morning after the night before to see a second dent in the pillow, it seems as if Dan has got his wish. Will Ed manage to find out the truth about his stag night as well as the identity of Sam’s secret man? Or will an accidental proposal lead them both down the aisle to a wedding neither of them ever imagined?

The Accidental Proposal is the story of Ed Middleton and his girlfriend Sam. Their relationship has been happily moving along for a couple of years. They’ve moved in together and Ed is content. Then one night, a slightly drunk Sam and Ed have a conversation in bed. Sam asks Ed if he’d like to get married and Ed replies ‘yes’. In Ed’s eyes he is now engaged. Ed tells his best friend Dan who points out that Sam may have been asking hypothetically. Cue much panicking and soul searching from Ed until he realises that yes, he really does want to marry Sam and had better get her down the aisle as quickly as possible lest she change her mind. The date is set and the book follows events up to the wedding day from Ed’s point of view.

The story is laid out like a diary, with each chapter being an entry for a day leading up to the wedding. The chapters are broken into time slots during the day which moves the action along nicely and made the book a quick read. I like Matt’s writing style – it’s witty and fun and parts of the book really made me smile.

Ed and best friend Dan are an amusing double act. Dan, an actor and (very) minor celebrity is the ditsy, uber-confident lady-killer, to Ed’s down to earth, happily settled but not very confident self. Dan sees marriage as a ball and chain and his first question on hearing the news of Ed’s impending nuptials is ‘Why?’ Think Joey from Friends but British and you get the picture.

Ed represents the other side of the coin. His views on relationships are traditional; he wants a big white wedding and for his wife to take his name. He looks forward to having children and to settling into family life. I liked Ed very much to begin with even if I did think it was a bit of a shame that he didn’t have the get up and go to propose to the woman he loves.  As the book progressed though, Ed’s lack of confidence and trust in his relationship began to annoy me slightly. Ed is full of self doubt and when he sees Sam meeting another man, he assumes the worst. By the time it came to the stag night and Ed’s dilemma the morning after, my sympathy for him had all but gone and I was really wishing he had someone other than Dan to rely on for advice.

To me the reason for Sam’s secretive behaviour was really obvious but maybe I’ve just read too many books in this genre! The fact that I guessed the ending very early on coupled with Ed’s continuing doubts about the solidity of his relationship meant that I wasn’t as engaged with the story as I’d have liked for the second half of the book.

This is Matt Dunn’s sixth book and the first novel of his that I’ve read. After reading The Accidental Proposal I discovered that Dan and Ed have also been the focus of two of Matt’s previous books but having read this as a standalone, I would say that you don’t need to have read them to enjoy this novel.

I would like to read more of Dunn’s work and I’m intrigued to see what happened to Dan and Ed before they reached this point. Taken as a light hearted read, The Accidental Proposal is fun and funny but for me it didn’t quite have the ‘spark’ that I was expecting.

3/5

A version of this review also appears at www.libripopulus.co.uk

You can find out more about Matt and his books at: http://pages.123-reg.co.uk/mattdunn-1215226/