Archive | November, 2011

Book review: Breakfast at Darcy's by Ali McNamara

30 Nov

When Darcy McCall loses her beloved Aunt Molly, she doesn’t expect any sort of inheritance – let alone a small island. Located off the west coast of Ireland, Tara hasn’t been lived on for years, but according to Molly’s will Darcy must stay there for twelve months in order to fully inherit, and she needs to persuade a village full of people to settle there, too. Darcy has to leave behind her independent city life and swap stylish heels for muddy wellies. Between sorting everything from the plumbing to the pub, Darcy meets confident Conor and ever-grumpy Dermot – but who will make her feel really at home?

Breakfast at Darcy’s is Ali McNamara’s second novel, following her huge rom-com hit From Notting Hill with Love … Actually which was released last year. It is a completely stand-alone story although fans of FNHWLA will regognise some similarites; a lead charcter with a complex past searching for contentment, rival love interests, a hint of magic in the storytelling and a truly romantic ending!

The novel is narrated by Darcy herself and we meet her as she attends her Aunt Molly’s funeral where she learns that Molly has left her an inheritance with a challenge; a small island off the coast of Ireland which the locals know as Tara. In order to recieve the full (very valuable) inheritance, Darcy must live on Tara for a year with at least foutreen other people. As Darcy soon discovers, provisions on Tara are very basic and its up to her to make it liveable for the new community she hopes will live there. I wasn’t sure about Darcy at first; she seemed selfish and self absorbed but as the book progressed and Tara worked its magic on her I did grow to like her.

The setting up of the new island community makes for a good variety of characters in this book. The core story focusses on a five or six main charcters with Darcy in the lead but considering all of the action takes place on a very small island, Ali McNamara has packed a lot into the plot and I thought the story was fun and original. I loved Darcy’s best friend Roxi and I liked builder/project manager Dermot straight away too despite his grumpiness! The romantic side to the story is nicely set up and has some good twists and turns but one of the things I liked most about this nove was that the island of Tara was a character in itself and has a profound effect on Darcy and all of its new residents. Through the history and legends of Tara, Ali McNamara brings a feeling of fate and destiny to the story and there is something a little bit magical about the island. Personally I would have liked to have seen this aspect developed even more but overall I really enjoyed the story and there are a number of good twists as the book progresses.

Ali McNamara retains her crown for queen of the romantic ending, producing a beautiful finale to her novel that left me with a big smile on my face. With Breakfast at Darcy’s Ali has firmly taken up residence in my list of favourite rom-com authors and I’m already eagerly awaiting her third novel which will be a sequel to From Notting Hill with Love … Actually :-)

4/5

Breakfast at Darcy’s is out now and I’d like to thank publisher Sphere for sending me a review copy.

You can find out more about Ali McNamara and her books on her website at: http://www.alimcnamara.co.uk/

Giveaway! Win a set of three Ciara Geraghty novels!

29 Nov

Christmas has come early to One More Page today with a very generous giveaway from lovely publisher Hodder – one lucky reader will win a set of all three of Ciara Geraghty’s novels!

Ciara’s latest novel Finding Mr Flood was released last month; check out the book trailer for Finding Mr Flood and the synopses for all three novels below:

Dara Flood always says the most interesting thing about her life happened before she was born. Thirteen days before she came into the world, her father walked up the road and never came back.

Now in her twenties, Dara’s life has a careful routine. She lives in Dublin with her mother and sister Angel. She has pizza with friends every Wednesday, salsa class every Friday, and sees her boyfriend every Saturday. It’s safe and that’s the way she likes it.

Then Angel gets desperately sick and Dara’s ordered life falls apart. Neither she nor her mother is a compatible match for the kidney Angel needs. So Dara sets out to find the father who could be their last hope. But on the path to uncovering the truth about her father, Dara learns that to let life – and love – in, sometimes you just have to let go . . .

The other novels in the prize pack are:

Becoming Scarlett

Meet Scarlett O’Hara – wedding planner extraordinaire – who’s famous for making dreams come true. From scuba-diving ceremonies to flamingos at the reception, her colour-coded checklists make everything look simple. Scarlett’s personal life ran just as smoothly. Until now.

Her dependable boyfriend has moved to Brazil.
She’s had to give up her Dublin flat and move back home.
And she’s pregnant.

Worse still, she doesn’t know who the father of the baby is . . . even though she’s slept with exactly 4 ½ men in her entire 35 years.

How will Scarlett cope now all her best laid plans have gone with the wind?

Saving Grace

It all started with a bottle of Baileys that was a year out of date but I drank it anyway . . .

One minute, well, Friday night, you’re in a long-term if long-distance relationship with the perfect Shane. The next, Saturday morning, you’re waking up in bed with the mother of all hangovers . . . and Bernard O’Malley, newest member of the I.T. department. Another entry on the list of things you can’t forgive yourself for. The worst is Spain. What you did there. And what happened to your brother. Ever since then, life has slowly spiralled out of control.

You dust yourself down, have a cigarette and pull on your stiletto boots. But you know that something’s got to give. You just hope it’s not the zip on your skinny jeans . . .

To win just leave a ‘pick me’ comment in the box below and I’ll draw a winner using random.org after the closing date.

UK entries only please. Entries will close at midnight on Sunday 4th December. Good luck!

Book news: Satchfield Hall by Pauline Barclay

28 Nov

I recently posted about the re-release of Pauline Barclay’s Magnolia House with a lovely new cover and now her second novel Satchfield Hall has undergone a makeover with a re-edit and new cover too. Pauline says, “Set during 1942 and through until 1986, Satchfield Hall is an epic saga about love, power and betrayal. If you enjoyed Downton Abbey then you will love Satchfield Hall.” Sounds like a great read for historical fiction fans!


When the news reached Henry Bryant-Smythe about his daughter’s indiscretion, he not only dealt with it, but stamped on it with such a resounding thud, that the consequences ricocheted through the years and well into the future. Henry Bryant-Smythe cared nothing for the consequences of his actions and even less for the feelings of those involved, with the exception of his own, and these he cosseted.

Celia Bryant-Smythe’s disgrace set in motion events that would affect the lives of many people, taking decades to unravel. Lives would be lost and destroyed and it would take until the death of the one man who had callously started it all, Henry Bryant-Smythe, until it was finally over.

Satchfield Hall is not about gentleness, tranquillity and privilege; it is about, power, love, lies and in the end revenge.

Book news: Even Better Than the Real Thing by Martina Reilly

25 Nov

Martina Reilly tweeted the cover for her January 2012 release, Even Better Than the Real Thing earlier this week and I think it’s lovely – really eye catching! The book sounds like a great read to start the New Year with and is released on 5th January.

What would you do if you were an unwitting part of the greatest art scam in history? Eve Cole knows. She’s going to get her painting back and return the eleven million paid for it. The only thing she needs is a plan that won’t implicate her or her family.

Enter Larry, her handsome, duplicitous next-door neighbour. Larry is full of plans and he might just be amoral enough to go through with them.

Eve, knowing she has no choice but to trust this ex-con, reluctantly throws her lot in with him. But is Larry the real deal? Is he just another big fake? Will he con her out of her ill-gotten millions?

As the plan escalates, Eve learns that much like riding a rollercoaster, life would be much more fun if she could just let go…

Even Better Than the Real Thing is available to pre-order now (link goes to Amazon.co.uk)

Book review: One Minute to Midnight by Amy Silver

23 Nov

Nicole Blake’s New Year Resolutions, 1990:

1 Start keeping a journal;

2. Lose half a stone;

3. Kiss Julian Symonds

If there are two things Nicole can guarantee about New Years Eve it’s that there are always fireworks and Julian Symonds is always there.

Since she was thirteen, no New Year has been complete without Jules. Through school, university and beyond, as friends come and go, Nic and Jules are at the centre of every party.

Until one year everything changes…

Now, as another New Year approaches, Nicole has ghosts to lay and bridges to build – with her husband Dom, with her best friend Alex, and with Aidan, the man who broke her heart.

Life is about to change again for Nicole, and once the fireworks are over and the dust has settled, this time she is determined it will be for the better.

One Minute to Midnight is Amy Silver’s third novel and I’m fast becoming a big fan of her books which explore the complexity of friendships and relationships of all kinds. I love the cover for this book with its sparkly fireworks and London scene but despite the sparkles this isn’t a ‘fluffy’ Christmas read and it delves into some hard hitting topics including adultery, abusive relationships and bereavement. The drama and darker undertones are nicely balanced with bright moments as Nicole and friends celebrate New Year through the decades and I loved the way the story unfolded.

The story is told from Nicole’s point of view and starts in 1990 when she is thirteen years old and is delighted to be thrown together with her crush Julian Symonds at her parents’ house party on New Years Eve. The two form a complex but instant bond and the story of their lives flies by in flashback from that point. There is something a little ‘One Day‘ about this book as it recounts the details of Jules’ and Nicole’s lives at the same period each year but dare I say – I actually liked this better!

The flashback chapters alternate with Nicole’s first person narrative in the present day where the story starts on Boxing Day 2011 and follows Nicole and her husband Dominic as they prepare for a New Year trip to New York. As with all of Nicole’s relationships, the one with her husband is not simple and I was completely drawn in as the couple face their problems and try to work out a way forward. Both the flashbacks and current story finally come together as New Years Eve 2011 approaches and Nicole begins to resolve her relationships with her friends, family and husband and I thought the ending was excellent.

Amy Silver writes relationships brilliantly and she really gets under the skin of her characters cleverly showing their good and bad sides together with their vulnerabilities and insecurities. Nicole is the perfect example; she’s a mix of emotions and veers from being a loving and caring wife, daughter and friend to keeping secrets, sneaking around and saying one thing then doing the opposite and I found her fascinating. I liked that she was complex and despite not agreeing with everything she does in the book, she had me rooting for her from the start.  I also loved the dynamic between the four main characters; Nicole and Julian at the start of the book with the addition of Alex (who Nicole meets at University) and Aiden (Jules’s cousin) as the story progresses.

Amy Silver’s writing is fresh, funny, heartbreaking and honest; the story is completely believable and I could see elements of myself and people I’ve known in the main characters. I always enjoy stories that track characters over a long period of time and I loved that One Minute to Midnight gave me the chance to get to know Nicole, Alex, Jules and Aiden and see how their decisions and actions affected them over time. It made a refreshing change to read a novel set at New Year rather than Christmas and once I started reading I couldn’t put this book down. Highly recommended for your winter reading list!

5/5

One Minute to Midnight is released on 24th November and I’d like to thank Amelia from Arrow for sending me a review copy.

One Minute to Midnight is available in paperback and for Kindle (Links go to amazon.co.uk)

December hot picks – new releases preview

21 Nov

Just four books on my December wish list and I can’t wait to read them all!

Build a Man by Talli Roland
Released 7th December
Published by Notting Hill Press
Website:
http://talliroland.blogspot.com/

This one is actually already out as an ebook but the official launch date is 7th December. It sounds like another fun read from Talli who has certainly been busy this year!

How far would you go to create the perfect partner?

Slave to the rich, rude and deluded, cosmetic surgery receptionist Serenity Holland longs for the day she’s a high-flying tabloid reporter. Unfortunately, every pitch she sends out disappears like her clients’ liposuctioned fat, never to be seen again. Then she meets Jeremy Ritchie — the hang-dog man determined to be Britain’s Most Eligible Bachelor by making himself over from head to toe and everything in between — giving Serenity a story no editor could resist.

With London’s biggest tabloid on board and her very own column tracking Jeremy’s progress from dud to dude, Serenity is determined to be a success, even going undercover to gain intimate access to Jeremy’s life. But when Jeremy’s surgery goes drastically wrong and Serenity is ordered to cover all the car-crash goriness, she must decide how far she really will go for her dream job.

Build a Man is available for Kindle (link goes to amazon.co.uk)

Confessions of a Karaoke Queen by Ella Kingsley
Released 8th December
Published by Sphere
Website:
http://www.littlebrown.co.uk/About/Imprints/Sphere

This one sounds like lots of fun and is Ella Kingsley’s debut.

Maddie Mulhern is suddenly in charge. Her parents – former 80s pop duo Pineapple Mist – have left for the summer on a nostalgia tour, entrusting her to manage their struggling karaoke bar, Sing It Back. Panicking over the dodgy finances, Maddie takes a gamble: she signs up for a fly-on-the-wall reality TV series. With her faithful staff (divalicious drag queen Ruby, shy barman Simon and wannabe actress Jasmine) she’ll transform the bar into a huge success. Simple. Right? Executive Producer Evan Bergman knows that scandal sells. It’s no coincidence that he hires cool, attractive Nick Craven as director. Evan wants drama on screen – and he’ll do anything to get it. As the series builds to a live finale, will Maddie see the truth in a Careless Whisper? Will Nick be able to keep his Poker Face? One thing’s for sure: we all do things at karaoke that we regret …

Confessions of a Karaoke Queen is available in paperback and for Kindle (links go to Amazon.co.uk)

I Heart Vegas by Lindsey Kelk
Released 8th December
Published by Harper
Website:
http://www.iheartlindseykelk.com/

I’m a huge fan of this series and can’t wait to read the fourth installment of Angela’s adventures. Gorgeous cover too!

Angela Clark loves her life in New York. She a Brit who’s conquered the Big Apple. Unfortunately, she’s also a Brit who’s lost her job. And when, just a couple of weeks before Christmas, the immigration department gets wind of this, Angela needs to find a new job urgently. Or a husband. And she doesn’t think her boyfriend Alex will be keen.

A girls’ weekend in Vegas with her best friend Jenny seems the perfect way to forget her troubles. From the minute they arrive Angela is swept up in a whirl of cocktails, outrageous outfits, late nights and brushes with the chapel of love. But rather than escaping trouble, Angela is up to her neck in it….

But what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas – right?

I Heart Vegas is available in paperback and for Kindle (links go to Amazon.co.uk)

Manhattan by Ronni Cooper
Released 22nd December
Published by Sphere
Website:
http://www.ronnicooper.com/

New York is my favourite city so this had to be on my list and it sounds like a real page turner!

Raine: Born in Brooklyn, the undisputed queen of the City, Raine owns the sexiest, starriest nightclub in New York – and no one is ever going to take her crown. Mei-Lin: The beautiful, enigmatic madam moves in all the right circles – but it wasn’t always that way. Now her American dream has become a nightmare and she may have to pay the ultimate price for freedom. Stevie: Once the lead singer of the biggest female rock band in the world, Stevie is now flying solo – but she has a secret that could destroy her. Now all three women are about to discover that payback is the biggest bitch of all…

Manhattan is available in paperback and for Kindle (links go to Amazon.co.uk)

Book review: Any Dream Will Do by Maria Duffy

17 Nov

‘Tis the season to be jolly, except single Dubliner Jenny Breslin is feeling something a little closer to gloomy. Everything about her life – her boring job at the bank, the complete lack of romance – has been untouched by holiday magic, and she dreads the thought of spending yet another festive season with her larger-than-life mother and her new boyfriend.

Thank God for Twitter, a place where there are always people ready and waiting to have a chat. She’s even managed to make a couple of genuine friends there, even though she’s never met them IRL (that’s ‘In Real Life’ by the way).

‘So who’s on for a few days in Dublin? Would love to meet you all in person. I have a spare room in my house’ – this drunken tweet to her Twitter pals changes Jenny’s life forever. Before she knows it, she’s counting down to a Christmas visit from London-native Zahra Burns, make-up artist to the stars; Fiona Lee, a stay-at-home mum from Galway, and nurse Kerry (the Twitter buddy Jenny feels closest to).

Suddenly, Jenny becomes aware of how her life will appear to these strangers. In a word: Boring. It’s easy enough to pretend that you’re an exciting and sophisticated person when nobody can see you, but now Jenny’s worried about being caught out in the occasional lies that she’s told. All the more incentive to change her life for the better! But once her pals arrive, Jenny finds herself pining for the past and wondering if people are ever who they claim to be.

Maria Duffy’s route to publication is one of the most interesting author stories I’ve read this year; her book deal and debut novel Any Dream Will Do owe a lot to the power of Twitter (you can find out more here) so it’s only appropriate that the book itself tells the story of a Christmas Tweet-up! As a bit of a Twitter addict myself, I found Any Dream Will Do a fun read. It felt very novel and  I enjoyed the way it tapped in to the Twitter trend and subtely made me think about the people I encounter online and the image I project.

In Any Dream Will Do, Maria Duffy poses the question: can virtual friendships translate to the real world? As we meet lead character Jenny Breslin she is lamenting her life; she’s not too keen on her job, has a less than perfect relationship with her mum and her love life isn’t great either. Jenny takes to Twitter to escape and through it has become good friends with three girls, Kerry, Zahra and Fiona; such good friends that she has invited them to stay for a weekend of girly fun in Dublin! The book is split into two main parts; the first covering the twelve days before Jenny’s Twitter friends arrive and the second covering the ups and downs when the girls finally meet.

Part one is very much about Jenny and her life. The book is written in the first person from Jenny’s point of view so we get to see right inside her mind.  Jenny is certainly a character and at first I wasn’t sure that I liked her very much as she comes across as quite selfish and self absorbed but despite this her snarky asides and commentary really made me smile. As the story progressed and I learned more about her my feelings towards her changed quite dramatically. The contrast between Jenny’s actual life and how she portrays herself on Twitter is very funny and builds the plot up nicely for when the girls actually meet.

I don’t want to give away the plot but suffice to say that when they do finally meet, Jenny isn’t the only one that has been bending the truth. Kerry, Zahra and Fiona are all hiding secrets which leads to some dramatic turns of events and Maria certainly kept me on my toes with her plot twists and turns. The story really does cover all of the emotional bases with heartbreaking and heartwarming scenes, drama and more than a little romance. Set just before Christmas, I was surprised that there wasn’t more about the festivities in the novel but the story very much focuses on the four girls and their real lives which makes it a fab year-round read.

Despite the underlying warning that the people we meet online might not be what they seem, Any Dream Will Do has a lovely message about being yourself, loving who you are and trusting your instincts. My favourite character by far was Jenny’s Mum, Eileen who is a bit eccentric but has a heart of gold and I liked the way their relationship developed through the book. Maria’s writing style is very easy to read and with lots of humour, I can’t wait to see what she produces next – a great debut!

4/5

Any Dream Will Do is out now and I’d like to thank Maria and her publisher for sending me a copy to review.

You can find out more about Maria on her blog at: http://writenowmom.wordpress.com/

Any Dream Will Do is available in paperback (link goes to Amazon.co.uk)

Book news: The Last Summer by Judith Kinghorn

16 Nov

Judith Kinghorn’s February 2012 historical fiction debut has been on my wish list for a while and I noticed recently that the cover had appeared on Amazon. It sounds like a great read doesn’t it?

Clarissa is almost seventeen when the spell of her childhood is broken. It is 1914, the beginning of a blissful, golden summer – and the end of an era. Deyning Park is in its heyday, the large country house filled with the laughter and excitement of privileged youth preparing for a weekend party. When Clarissa meets Tom Cuthbert, home from university and staying with his mother, the housekeeper, she is dazzled. Tom is handsome and enigmatic; he is also an outsider. Ambitious, clever, his sights set on a career in law, Tom is an acute observer, and a man who knows what he wants. For now, that is Clarissa.

As Tom and Clarissa’s friendship deepens, the wider landscape of political life around them is changing, and soon the world – and all that they know – is rocked irrevocably by a war that changes their lives for ever.

Author interview: Ali McNamara

15 Nov

I’m delighted to be interviewing Ali McNamara today as part of her ‘Breakfast With Ali’ blog tour to mark the launch of her second novel Breakfast at Darcy’s later this month.

Your second novel, Breakfast at Darcy’s is released on November 24th, please could you tell us a little about it?

Breakfast at Darcy’s is about a girl called Darcy who finds out at a funeral she’s the sole beneficiary of her Aunt’s wealthy estate. But the terms of her Aunt’s will state before Darcy can inherit any of her money she must go and live on a remote island off the west coast of Ireland for a whole year, and set up a new community of people to live there with her.

Being a city girl, Darcy doesn’t find the switch from high-heeled boots to wellington boots an easy one, or for that matter any of the other many changes that the island of Tara has in store for her…

How does it feel to have your second book published?

Fantastic! For a long time while I was being rejected by agents and publishers I wondered if I’d ever get one book published, let alone to have people wanting to read more of my stories!

The title and cover of Breakfast at Darcy’s give a nod to my favourite Audrey Hepburn film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s – are there other film links in the novel as there were in your first novel From Notting Hill with Love …. Actually?

An odd one or two, but not very many this time, Breakfast at Darcy’s is a stand alone novel, it just so happens the title is another twist on a very famous movie ;-)

Please could you describe lead character Darcy in five words?

Kind, trusting, determined, brave & inspired.

In the book, Darcy has to populate a remote island for a year; if you had to choose three celebrities to live on an island with you for a year, who would they be?!

Oh! I’ll keep it clean…

Jamie Oliver – so he could cook lovely things for me!

Michael McIntyre – To make me laugh.

I have to have one… Bradley Cooper – to look rather fantastic with his shirt off ;-)

How did you go about researching Breakfast at Darcy’s?

I got the idea when I was on a touring holiday of Ireland and my husband and myself were parked up one day overlooking the island of Great Blasket in County Kerry. When my initial spark of an idea began to turn into a plot for a fully formed novel, we later went over and visited the island with our children so I could do some proper research. My island of Tara is based very heavily on what I found on that trip and on Great Blasket’s own history.

Darcy gives up city life to live on the remote island of Tara; are you a city chick or country girl at heart?

Difficult one this; I’d like the best of both worlds, to live on the outskirts of a big city like London or New York, but close enough to the countryside so I could just step outside, grab some fresh air and walk my dog.

This is your second romantic comedy; what drew you to this genre?

I don’t look on it as picking a genre. I just write in a way that comes naturally to me, what you read on the page is very much the way I am in real life.

When you’re not writing what do you like to read?

All sorts! Seriously, I can’t pick just one genre or author; it varies all the time depending on what I’m writing at the time or how busy I am…

And finally … what can we look forward to next from Ali McNamara?

A sequel to ‘From Notting Hill with Love…Actually’ due out in 2012! All I can tell you is Scarlett gets to go a bit further afield this time when she gets to visit New York …

I went there this year on a research trip and had a whale of a time. But Scarlett’s is even better… ;-)

Thanks Ali!

Breakfast at Darcy’s is released on November 24th. Please stop by on release day for my review and do check out the other stops on Ali’s blog tour.

You can find out more about Ali and her books at: http://www.alimcnamara.co.uk/

Breakfast at Darcy’s is available in paperback and for Kindle (links go to Amazon.co.uk)

Book review: It Started with a Kiss by Miranda Dickinson

14 Nov

As the singer in a wedding band, Romily Parker has seen her fair share of happy endings, even though her own love life isn’t quite as simple.

On the last Saturday before Christmas, (shortly after disastrously declaring her love for best friend Charlie), Romily has a brief encounter with a handsome stranger whose heart-stopping kiss changes everything.

Determined to find him again, Romily embarks on a yearlong quest, helped (and sometimes hindered) by enthusiastic Uncle Dudley, cake-making Auntie Mags and flamboyant Wren. Will she find the man of her dreams? Or could true love be closer than she thinks?

It Started With a Kiss is the final book to be released this year from my ‘Top five most anticipated chick lit books of 2011‘ which I wrote in January so it’s been a long wait! I’ve loved both of Miranda’s previous books and I’m always a little nervous about reading a book I’ve really been looking forward to for a long time in case it doesn’t quite meet the expectations I’ve built up but in this case I needn’t have worried; It Started With a Kiss is chick lit perfection from the sparkly pink cover to the brilliantly romantic ending and I thoroughly enjoyed every page in between!

The story gets straight into the action as we meet Romily just seconds after she has told her best friend Charlie that she loves him. His reaction is less than desirable and in her embarrassment Romily makes a hasty escape which results in her finding herself in a very romantic but brief encounter with a mystery man who kisses her and leaves. I absolutely loved the premise for the book –  it’s like Cinderella in reverse as Romily decides to go on a year-long search for her handsome prince charming.

It Started With a Kiss has great pace, with lots of ‘action’ and different locations in it and the plot moved swiftly through the year. Romily’s underlying quest made it a real page turner for me – I didn’t want to put the book down until I’d found out if Romily found her man! In addition to the ‘mystery man’ storyline, there is also the ongoing saga of Romily and Charlie’s friendship/possible romance as the two try to work out their true feelings for each other during the course of the year. The two romantic strands combine to bring lots of tension to the plot and a very clever ending to the story that I didn’t see coming!

As with Miranda’s previous books, there is a lovely cast of supporting characters in It Started With A Kiss; Romily is part of a wedding band called The Pinstripes and the group are a close knit bunch. The friendships and details of the band’s events felt very authentic and band life and the experience of being a wedding singer is clearly something Miranda feels very comfortable writing about. My favourite characters by far though were Romily’s Uncle Dudley and Aunty Mags who dispense love and wisdom from their narrow-boat home and are instrumental in keeping Romily going in her quest but are also responsible for much of the book’s warm humour.

The weddings and events that the band attend make a fun and interesting backdrop for the story and as a blogger I was pleased to see that Romily creates her own blog to chart her year long quest. I thought her blog entries and the comments on them really made the story hang together nicely and for readers who have enjoyed Miranda’s previous novels there are little links to the earlier books woven into the story which I had fun trying to spot!

It Started With a Kiss starts and ends on Christmas Eve so it’s a brilliant book to read as the festive season approaches. I read the Kindle edition which comes packed with fab extras including deleted scenes and character profiles. I highly recommend adding It Started With a Kiss it to your Christmas wish list and I’m now eagerly anticipating Miranda Dickinson’s fourth novel!

5/5

You can find out more about Miranda and her books at: http://www.miranda-dickinson.com/

It Started with a Kiss is available in paperback and for Kindle (links go to Amazon.co.uk)