#BookReview by Lou of Hot Desk by Zara Stoneley @ZaraStoneley @0neMoreChapter_ @HarperCollinsUK #Romcom #Fiction #OfficeReturn #OfficeRomance #Humour #Uplifting

Hot Desk
By Zara Stoneley

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hot Desk provides great escapism that is packed full of delightful entertainment  with really good humour and romance.

Thank you to One More Chapter (Harper Collins UK) for gifting me a copy of Hot Desk and giving me the opportunity to review.

Follow onto the blurb and my full review below.

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Blurb

Same desk, different days. A post-it note is just the beginning…

A must read for fans of Beth O’Leary, Mhairi McFarlane and Sophie Kinsella!

Alice loves her job and wants to keep it – whatever the price. But then she’s told the company is switching to flexible working and hot desking…Alice’s desk might look a mess, but she knows exactly where everything is. Or she did. Until she found out she’s going to share it with the most annoying guy in the office.
 
Jamie can work from anywhere. He’s quite happy to sweep his work life into a box at the end of the working day. But can sharing a desk with Alice be as much fun as teasing her in person?
 
With no option but to try it and see, will their relationship turn into open warfare or will it ever progress beyond a post-it note?

Review

Hot DeskHot Desk is set post Covid-19 and people are adjusting to being back in the office with new working practices. Something so many office workers would now be able to relate to. This reality is there, but it’s not all about Covid-19. This is about Alice and how she handles going back to the office of ‘We Got Designs’. It presents itself, even from the first page, to be a very funny book indeed. The comic-timing in the writing is divine. A little bit further in and there is the clear signs of romantic frission between her and fellow colleague – Jamie and it is so well written. It’s great that this is set out near the beginning and then to see how this progresses. It’s a bit like listening into office gossip when reading Hot Desk. It’s all rather a deliciously enticing book that is so entertaining that it compels you to read to see how it all plays out.

There are serious notes to the story too, one being the real fear of the office’s future. There is also the whole fear of hot desking looming and then becoming a reality, with all the terms and conditions attached and the emotion that goes with it. Readers will be able to relate to how things can be when a desk is no longer your own. Alice finds out she has to hot desk with Jamie, so confides in her friend Lou quite a bit.

There is a sweet growing romance that sprouts in the office and yet in a light way, also brings endangered animals and conservation into the conversation. It’s lovely to organically watch Alice and Jamie getting to know each other.

Ultimately this is a rom-com that is properly funny and properly romantic. The mix of these ingredients with the premise of returning to the office and having to share a desk works wonderfully well and makes me smile. Readers can watch this office to see if the spark of their romance grows further into a sizzle or not, even with all the new things to get to grip with, this element still lives on.
After a hard day’s work, whether you’re in an office or not, Hot Desk provides entertaining, sweet and touching escapism that hits the spot very well indeed.

Ahead of my #Freckles Review – a Reblog of my 2020 Write Up of Q and A with Cecelia Ahern @Cecelia_Ahern @BeccaKBryant @LizDawsonPR @fictionpubteam #Postscript #Freckles

Q&A with Cecelia Ahern
Ahead of the paperback publication of Postscript
the sequel to PS. I Love You!

I have been given a great honour of joining a small group of book bloggers to collaboratively interview PS. I Love You author Cecelia Ahern. She has now published the sequel – Postscript, in which the hardback is available now. The paperback is available 1st October 2020.

First – the blurb of Postscript and a short review, with a more full on review to follow at a later date. Do follow the blurb, the short review and then onto the Q&A where you can find out some really exciting information about Postscript, what she is writing next and much more…

The PS, I Love You Club.

These are the six words written on a card handed to Holly Kennedy. They’re words that are engraved on her heart – because PS, I Love You is how her husband, Gerry, signed his last letters to her, letters that mark a year she will never forget.

Now, the mysterious club wants something from her. And if Holly can find the courage meet them, she’ll learn what it really means to live life to the full.

Because every love story has one last thing to say…

Postscript pic

Short review

Postscript is just amazing as it tackles so many themes from health issues to grieving. It’s a beautifully written book that has so much emotion within it. The health issues have clearly been researched, but don’t dominate. There is plenty of positivity in this book. It is, even after all these years, is at least as good as PS I Love You, if not a bit better in how it is written. Nothing is lost and there’s everything to gain when reading this, including feeling that it is a really emotional journey, but one taken with passion and feels heartfelt. It’s a great book to get reacquainted with Holly and other characters and meet some new ones too.

Cecelia Ahern pic    Postscript pic  
Q&A

How did you spend Lockdown?

Building Hogwarts Lego. That took about 4 weeks and worked on it for about an hour every evening.
She danced and cooked and walked a lot and got excited when the Irish government also increased the distance of travel from 2km to 5km and could go to a coffee shop to buy a coffee.

Cecelia also has 3 children of the ages of a nearly 1 year old, an 8 and a 10 year old. She hopes never to do homeschooling again.

Do you think as a writer lockdown suited you well?

She reckoned it doesn’t suit everybody, perhaps not extroverts who get their energy from being around other people. She is comfortable about not socialising all the time. She did however miss her family.
She was on maternity leave until May. She then started to edit her new novel (more about that later).#

What sort of research she went into for health issues within the book, such as Cancer and MS?

She wanted to not get into Hollie’s appointments too much to get a balance. There were many drafts and some were more involved than others. There were 4 people who were ill. She wanted more of an introduction to each illness. MS she was fairly familiar with beacause she takes part in the MS Readathon in every year in Ireland.
She wanted to introduce a brain tumour so Hollie was watching a young man going through the same thing.
She thoughtfully pointed out that everyone doesn’t experience the same thing in every illness. She didn’t want to be vague or wishy-washy, but also not too caught up in it. She wanted to concentrate on some of the hope.
She also talked candidly about emphasemia, which is in the book too, as her grandmother had it and had smoked all her life. She talked how there was still humour, even though she was going round with an oxygen tank near the end of her life and wanted some of the humour to come through, which she does well.

From Writing PS I Love You and so many years later, Postcript. How was it for you to write the sequel?

She was never going to write Postcript as she was perfectly happy with how it ended and PS. I Love You was a huge success. PS. I Love You made her and she didn’t want a sequel to break her. She also likes writing different books year on year.
In 2012 she thought about the things that you do for people you’re going to leave behind, so got inspired to write a story from the opposite perspective of PS. I Love You and also then from the perspective of people about to say goodbye and the preparations. She really wanted to put Hollie in it and look at it from Gerry’s perspective. She then had to find the seeds she planted in PS I Love You, like sunflower seeds within that book.
She talked about how it was really challenging to write. In Postcript she has to look at the letters again and looking at the positives and not so and wanted to address how there was conflict between them.
She started to write before she told her publishers to see if she could and felt emotional enough about it, which she did.

Who did you write the book for?

She wrote it for her and those who really love PS I Love You and had it in mind that so many people loved that book. She also looked at the tone of the book and also show the writer she was then and the writer she is now, but without taking too many wild leaps, like in her short story collection, and went back to the humour and sweet tone of PS I Love You.

How did you feel when Postcript went out to readers?

She said that a lot of people have read it before-hand and tries not to get hung up on that, but hopes it is better than the first novel.

The members of the PS I Love You Club. How did you decide which problems to bring into the club and are there any you thought of and discounted?

I wanted to have different illnesses. She knew from the beginning she wanted a mother and the Will idea. Geneka is her favourite. She wanted a mother and a Will and having her want to learn to write letters for her child.

Film

Postcript will be made into a film. Hillary Swank emailed Cecelia wanting to read Postcript. She will be in the film because she said of all the films she has made, PS I Love You is mentioned the most and everyone involved in that film say the same thing. The same production team and writer will be involved again in the film. She has a lot to juggle from the book and the PS. I Love You film.

What author inpires you in your work most of all?

She reads fiction and loves crime fiction, especially Karen Slaughter and Lee Child and Jane Casey. She loves One World Publications because they publish and translate from all over the world. She also loves poetry, such as those from Sarah Cross. She also reads YA novels.
If she ever wrote a crime novel, she would write golden-age crime novel, not the forensic side.

Her next novel is called Freckles, due in autumn 2021. It’s works around the theme that comes from a phrase “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
It’s about a character who is very logical and straightforward parking-warden. She hears this expression and starts to look at the people around her and wonders if she wants to be the average of those five people and if she could curate her life in who she wants to be. So, she reaches out to certain people to see if she can be the average of those.
There is also a lot going on in her life that makes her want to do this.’

Postcript is published in paperback on 1st October 2020.

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By Lou – Happy Publication Day fo The Meeting Place @olilara_writes @Aria_Fiction #BlogBlitz #Fiction #WomensFiction #RomanticFiction #ContemporaryFiction @Lovebookstours @LoveBooksGroup

The Meeting Place
By Olivia Lara
Blog Blitz

Firstly let’s wish author Olivia Lara a warm Congratulations for her book The Meeting Place. Today, in celebration, you’re treated to the blurb and a little bit about her.
Thanks to Love Books Group for inviting me to the Blog Blitz Tour and for Aria for gifting the blog and other info.

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Blurb 

The Meeting Point LBT P8What if the Lift driver who finds your cheating boyfriend’s phone holds the directions to true love?

‘Who are you and why do you have my boyfriend’s phone?’

‘He left it in my car. You must be the blonde in the red dress? I’m the Lift driver who dropped you two off earlier.’

And with these words, the life of the brunette and t-shirt wearing Maya Maas is turned upside down. Having planned to surprise her boyfriend, she finds herself single and stranded in an unknown city on her birthday.

So when the mystery driver rescues Maya with the suggestion that she cheers herself up at a nearby beach town, she jumps at the chance to get things back on track. She wasn’t expecting a personalised itinerary or the easy companionship that comes from opening up to a stranger via text, let alone the possibility it might grow into something more…

Come on this 5* journey to love, laughter and back again, perfect for fans of Mhairi Mcfarlane, Josie Silver and Sally Thorne.

The Meeting Point LBT P3

About the Author

olivia lara-author photo (1) (1)Olivia Lara’s love for words started as a child when she spent her summer vacations watching her grandfather, who worked for the biggest publishing house in Romania, edit hundreds of books. She is a former journalist for a newspaper and a television network in Bucharest, now a Marketing VP in San Francisco – in between she lived in France where her love for Paris and the Alsace region was born. Her first book, Someday in Paris, became a B&N, Apple, Kobo and Amazon Top 100 Bestseller and was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel Awards. She lives in the Bay Area, California.

Buy Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Meeting-Point-romcom-wont-summer-ebook/dp/B08YP3H4MZ/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=olivia+lara&qid=1625822706&s=digital-text&sr=1-3

#BookReview by Lou – Remnants of Magic By Alicia R. Chapin @ChapinAlicia @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #Fantasy #Ad #Gifted

Remnants of Magic
By Alicia R. Chapin

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Time to enter Etharum and meet all sorts of characters and explore this new and exciting, richly imagined, fantasy land. Thanks to Love Books Tours for gifting me the book. Discover more about this fantastical adventure that is Book 1 in the blurb and what I thought about it in the review.

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Blurb

The Master Sword Bryan is an elite warrior on the Prince of Shelkite’s council. When Shelkite is threatened by Ret, a wizard-king, the Master Sword is ready to fight. However, his plans are spoiled when he discovers his assignment is as the personal guard to the young half-blood witch sent to their aid—Alexandra.

Alexandra is determined to prove herself to the skeptical Master Sword. Though her powers haven’t fully manifested, she’s ready for anything, as long as she has her faithful mount, Zhan, and her trusty bow. As the quest deepens, she knows she must press on. For whether she does or not, she’s the key—for either good or evil.

Review

RoM-V1-EBOOK (1)Remnants of Magic welcomes readers into Etharum, a place where the Haiprian Mountains rise majestically up and holds an ice palace, and Charad Forest grows below. There are many places inbetween, with Kaltraz split between east and west by a stream and its tributories borne out of the mountains and finishes in the Faded Sea in the east side of the forest. 

Bryan is the first character to stumble upon and is Prince Alkin’s personal guard, who meets Lady Evelyn – ‘The Goddess of Chaos’ each week. Bryan also hangs out with the friendly folk of Fordorn. Pretty pictures of happy folk and a unicorn is painted well in writing. He can’t stay long though as debate of adventure with Keavin Sword ensues and whether a nymph in the Faded Sea of Carthorn can be trusted or not. The pace mounts up and readers learn of other people in this kingdom, including a wizard masquerading as an innkeeper and many more. 

This is a book that is rich and has a good drive in plot to keep readers invested and a whole fantastical world is soon built up, with the assistance of a map at the very beginning and a world full of characters ranging from a wizard, a stallion called Dragon, a unicorn, a prince, half-bloods, a witch, a warrior and more…
There is high adventure and missions and a slow-burn romance in this mystical land that uses its powers to suck you into its mysterious depths, of which there is much to travel through and tread carefully into parts of trepidation and danger.

Readers who enjoy Lord of The Rings and fantastical creatures and grownups are now searching for whole new land to explore, will enjoy this.

About the Author

RoM author pic
I enjoy the outdoors, reading, spending time with my family (that includes pets!), hanging out with horses, and archery. I graduated from Michigan State University in Equine Management and love to incorporate my love of horses into my stories. I’m a huge Star Wars fan (original trilogy), Lord of the Rings fan, Harry Potter fan….and Jane Austen fan. A couple of nerdy facts, I love John Wayne movies and collect the vintage My Little Ponies from the 80s. 

 

 

#Review by Lou – How To Save A Life By Eva Carter – Happy Publication Day @KateWritesBooks #MantleBookClub @MantleBooks #ContemporaryFiction #Fiction

How To Save A Life
By Eva Carter

Rating: 4 out of 5.

How To Save A Life will show you exactly how to do that in many ways, that becomes interweaved into the characters lives as it transforms into a sweeping story of romance and characters inextricably linked with one moment that happened minutes before the millenium… find out more in the blurb and my full review.

How To Save A Life

Blurb

A heart stops. Their story starts.

‘A sweeping, brave, epic love story. I was hooked from the very first page’ – Josie Silver

Sometimes saving a life is only the start of the story . . .

It’s nearly midnight on the eve of the millennium when eighteen-year-old Joel’s heart stops. A school friend, Kerry, performs CPR for almost twenty exhausting minutes, ultimately saving Joel’s life, while her best friend Tim freezes, unable to help.

That moment of life and death changes the course of all three lives over the next two decades: each time Kerry, Joel and Tim believe they’ve found love, discovered their vocation, or simply moved on, their lives collide again.

. . . Because bravery isn’t just about life or death decisions; it’s also about how to keep on living afterwards.

Review

Starting with a heartstopping “A Guide To The Chain of Survival” (which is weaved throughout the book and links well with the story), that is then what draws you into this unflinching book and then introduces readers to Kerry. It’s 31st December 1999 and she is celebrating the fact there are minutes to go until the beginning of the new millenium, with her future planned and a hope of a kiss at the bells. She is brave when it comes to giving first aid.

There’s Tim who is with Kerry and freezes when it comes to giving CPR to Joel and reacts in a way he cannot fathom out. 

There is an immediate intensity with every breath and push given, and it is thought-provoking. No one knows until it is upon them, how they would react to a situation of having to actually give CPR on a real person as opposed to a dummy.

There is Joel, who the CPR ended up being performed on and what happened to him and how he was feeling on the eve of the millenium.

The book is very different in its plotting as it very much focuses on First Aid for quite some time. It is also interesting to read about their lives outside of that moment, but how that moment is always inextricably there, amongst the highs and lows of the characters lives. The book also delves into how people’s perceptions and attitudes to things can change when something dramatic happens in their lives or when life or death hangs in the balance, whether at home or when travelling. Even with all that going on, there is a love story within there too, but with bumps in the road that need ironing out and some introspective thoughts and discussions that go on, within the characters.

The book could literally help people save someone’s life, almost in the way that Holby City or Casualty can, and also help put people’s lives into perspective. There is a timely feel to the themes within the book, that will hook you in easily, to find out more and more until the very end of a book that evokes sympathy, empathy, thought-provoking and love.

#BookReview by Lou- Happy Publication Day for At First Sight by Hannah Sunderland @hjsunderland143 @ElliePilcher95 @AvonBooks #RomanticFiction #Fiction

At First Sight
By Hannah Sunderland

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Beautifully written and heartwarming – At First Sight is a romance with great drama, to really sink into and lose yourself in an uplifting, yet emotional rollercoaster of a read. It is entrancing and hard to put down. So it’s very worth getting a lovely cup of tea/coffee/glass of wine etc and getting comfortable for this wonderful book.
Thanks to publisher Avon Books for inviting me to the cover reveal months ago and then to invite me to review.

At First Sight

Blurb

Two strangers. Two chance meetings. One extraordinary love story…

Nell and Charlie feel a spark when they meet by chance in a cafe. But they don’t trade numbers, or surnames, so there’s no way they’ll meet again.

But the next day, Nell’s phone rings at work. Somehow, impossibly, Charlie is on the other end. And he needs her help.

Nell is about to save a life, fall in love … and risk everything for a perfect stranger.

Tender, thought-provoking and joyful, Charlie and Nell’s unique love story will capture your heart and give you hope. Perfect for fans of The Man Who Didn’t Call by Rosie Walsh and The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver.

At First Sight (2)

Review

Charlie and Nell catch that first sight of each other. The connection oozes off the page!
Life however, hadn’t been easy for Nell when she was with Joel as events swept through their lives, tearing them apart, but love isn’t that simple as he complicates matters and the water had been muddied, when she was trying to move on. Charlie is also quite the mysterious man to unravel. He is, in contrast, very lovely, but has a secret surrounding him. It adds to the intrigue as the “will they, won’t they?” question mounts. It’s written all very compellingly and more than I expected as romance simmers and boils over, but with emotional times in Charlie’s life, it just gets deeper and complicated goes up another notch with his reactions to anything about his family start to show. All this and Charlie’s sudden disappearances make for an tension to build, that hooks and reels you in further and further to the end as curiosity builds and an absolute need to know how it all ends as it twists and turns and keeps you guessing. These are lives that are easy to get caught up in.

With powerful romance, some mentions of loss, grief and suicide, fabulous characters this is an absolutely terrific read to settle into and be whisked away for awhile in a wonderfully written romantic story that has so much hope attached to it.

Social Media and Buy Links

Twitter – @hjsunderland143   Buy Links: Waterstones          Amazon