There’s something special about letters (we should write more), and I loved that this story was told by way of Joy’s letters to her sister.
Joy has done something completely out of character for her, and has found herself starting a new role in a new country, away from her family and friends – she is completely out of her comfort zone but through her letters you uncover her character, a bit of an overthinker, sometimes slightly neurotic but also very funny.
It’s a real uplifting story of starting over – it’s one sided being told through only Joy’s letters, but it totally works for the story arc – it’ll have you laughing at loud but also stiffling a few tears if you’re reading in public.
It’s also rare to find a “chick – lit” book written by a man that works so well – I didn’t even realise the author wasn’t a woman – fantastic read!
17 May 2019
It’s me, Joy, your much wiser and (very slightly) older sister. I thought I’d start a new tradition of letter writing – now that we’re long distance.
On the plane over here, I began to cry in seat 21C. I think the magnitude of it finally hit me, after everything that happened…
I haven’t even unpacked yet – the only thing I’ve taken out of my suitcase is Harville, your beloved childhood teddy. Sorry for stealing him, but I need him more than you do. Every time I look at that little brown bear I think about our childhood. Remember that dance we made up to Annie’s ‘It’s a Hard Knock Life’? (Remember the broom choreography?)
I’m also sorry for abandoning you – I’ve always been your agony aunt, and a buffer in your infamous shouting matches with Mum. But I had to leave, Lily, I had to.
Anyway, I’m here now. I’m here to start over, and to face up to the past. I want to learn to laugh again, and to find someone to love who will maybe even love me back. You always told me I was just getting by, not actually living, so I’m finally doing it. Wish me luck, little sister.
Those of you who have been viewing our page for some time, will know that we’re huge fans of Paige Toon here at Compelling Reads. So nabbing an advanced copy of If You Could Go Anywhere from the Simon & Schuster Spring blogger event naturally left us ecstatic!
This time Paige introduces us to Angie a girl that dreams of travelling. She asks everyone she meets where they could go if they ‘could go anywhere’ and many of those have sent the postcodes she keeps in her room. Sadly Angie’s own circumstances meant that she hasn’t travelled but when these circumstances change and some surprising information about her father are revealed she finds herself finally on her way.
The novel is set mainly in Rome as Angie meets her father and those he is close to including Alessandro. Paige does an amazing job in her descriptions of the places Angie visits, so much so that I really felt as if I were there alongside her, seeing the sights & tasting the gelato of Rome for myself.
The growing friendship between Angie and Alessandro unfolds perfectly and you’ll find yourself drawn to him as much as Angie is.
This book is the perfect summer read whether you find yourself travelling or just dreaming of that place you’d go, if you could go anywhere
If You Could Go Anywhere
Simon & Schuster
16 May 2019
HOW DO YOU FIND WHERE YOU'RE GOING, IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU'RE FROM . . .
Angie has always wanted to travel. But at twenty-seven, she has barely stepped outside the small mining town where she was born. Instead, she discovers the world through stories told to her by passing travellers, dreaming that one day she'll see it all for herself.
When her grandmother passes away, leaving Angie with no remaining family, she is ready to start her own adventures. Then she finds a letter revealing the address of the father she never knew, and realises instantly where her journey must begin: Italy.
As Angie sets out to find the truth – about her family, her past and who she really is – will mysterious and reckless Italian Alessandro help guide the way?
Amazing Grace is the debut novel from Kim Nash and follows single mum Grace and her young son Archie. Grace works part time in the local estate agents following the separation from her husband Mark, and whilst she enjoys the challenges of her new role, Grace still fills something is missing in her life.
Archie her son is her whole world, but Grace dreams of one day opening a book store. Her friend Monica however feels that a man is needed and throws Grace in to the world of internet dating with some disastrous dates. However, a chance meeting with gardener Vinnie, who comes to quote for some work, adds a whole other dimension to this story.
From the word go it is clear there is chemistry between Grace and Vinnie, and both are clearly interested in the other. Is this just business or is there something more developing? However, Mark the ex husband keeps popping up at the most inopportune moments, is it jealousy or is he just being controlling?
Amazing Grace was a delightful read, it was funny, it was emotional and had a real good feel good vibe. Grace was instantly likeable from page one, her love and devotion to her son was heart warming. I felt Kim really captured the essence and love of a parent and child and I really love how she explored and developed the relationship between them. Including the endless hours of football practice, let’s face it any parent to a young boy has been there.
I also loved the character of Vinnie, from the moment he appeared in the book I had a good feeling about him. He felt a genuine guy and someone I desperately wanted to love Grace after all she had been through. I felt invested in their relationship and really enjoyed discovering how their relationship developed.
I love the village of Little Ollington, it had a quaintness about it that was charming. I loved the sound of Grace’s new home, it was beautifully described and I some had a lovely image within my mind of how it would look.
Amazing Grace is a brilliant debut novel from an already amazing woman. It was charming and had me giggling away, the dates had me in tears. I don’t think Kim could have portrayed them any better. There were plenty of unexpected moments that kept the story exciting and had me wondering where we would go next.
If you want a romantic, emotional and funny read, I can not recommend this book enough. I look forward to the next book….
Kim Nash lives in Staffordshire with son Ollie and English Setter Roni, is PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture and is a book blogger at www.kimthebookworm.co.uk.
Kim won the Romantic Novelists Association’s Media Star of the Year in 2016, which she still can’t quite believe. She is now quite delighted to be a member of the RNA.
When she’s not working or writing, Kim can be found walking her dog, reading, standing on the sidelines of a football pitch cheering on Ollie and binge watching box sets on the TV. She’s also quite partial to a spa day and a gin and tonic (not at the same time!) Kim also runs a book club in Cannock, Staffs.
Amazing Grace is her debut novel with Hera Books and will be out on 10th April 2019
She’s taking her life back, one step at a time… Grace thought she had it all. Living in the beautiful village of Little Ollington, along with head teacher husband Mark and gorgeous son, Archie, she devoted herself to being the perfect mum and the perfect wife, her little family giving her everything she ever wanted. Until that fateful day when she walked in on Mark kissing his secretary - and her perfect life fell apart. Now she's a single mum to Archie, trying to find her way in life and keep things together for his sake. Saturday nights consist of a Chinese takeaway eaten in front of the TV clad in greying pyjamas, and she can’t remember the last time she had a kiss from anyone aside from her dog, Becks… Grace’s life needs a shake up – fast. So when gorgeous gardener Vinnie turns up on her doorstep, his twinkling eyes suggesting that he might be interested in more than just her conifers, she might just have found the answer to her prayers. But as Grace falls deeper for Vinnie, ten-year-old Archie fears that his mum finding love means she’ll never reconcile with the dad he loves. So when ex-husband Mark begs her for another chance, telling her he’s changed from the man that broke her heart, Grace finds herself with an impossible dilemma. Should she take back Mark and reunite the family that Archie loves? Or risk it all for a new chance of happiness? A funny, feel good romance about finding your own path and changing your life for the better – readers of Cathy Bramley, Jill Mansell and Josie Silver will love this uplifting read.
This book is one of those rare ones that had me gripped from page one right to the end, I did not want to have to stop reading it and was so eager to devour it’s pages.
Don’t you Forget About me features Georgina – a random switch up of her sixth form class back in the end lead her to being seated next to the mysterious new kid Lucas during a reading of Wuthering Heights, and first love bloomed. Fast forward to present day and Georgina is unexpectedly reunited with her first love, but it seems she wasn’t as memorable to him as he doesn’t remember her at all.
Georgina is great, a real sense of humour is overflowing from the page and it’s very natural and keeps you engaged. The events that unfold around her from the awful restaurant she is working in, her semi-famous self-absorbed boyfriend who cheats on her to her flatmate who regularly accuses her of stealing. There is so much to draw upon that builds her character.
And then there is Lucas the mysterious, tall dark & handsome first love who she now finds herself working for alongside his brother Devlin. Georgina seems a bit lost both her career and love life a mess and there is an element of self-doubt about her despite the fact it’s clear she is very beautiful and quite talented. As the book goes on the reasons for that self-doubt are revealed and without spoilers it’s such a great reflection of the current social climate.
There’s chic lit and then there is amazing chic lit and this is definitely the latter. There is so much to praise in this book, the character, the story, the humour, you can’t help but get caught up in the plot and be drawn in. I won’t be forgetting about this book in a hurry
Holly Martin is back with another outstanding summer feel good read. This time we meet Eva and Thor, the man of any woman’s dreams. Following the death of her mum, Eva comes across a box in her mother’s loft, full of dreams. Eva decides to use the money left to her by her Mum, to fulfill the dreams her Mum never got to experience, taking Eva out of her comfort zone. In order to to make her Mother’s dreams come true, Eva enlists the help of a guide to help her plan and travel the world. But at the last minute her guide changes, leaving Eva with Thor as her guide.
Now I don’t want to give too much away, but Thor is the one person Eva definitely did not want to be stuck with on a round the world trip. But as they spend time together, Eva begins to see another side to Thor.
The Summer of Chasing Dreams is a real feel good read, I literally could not put it down. The words flowed and I was whisked away in to Eva’s world. Eva was an easy to love character, there was no part of her I didn’t like. She is kind, caring and brave and I loved joining her on this adventure of a lifetime, with all the ups and downs this involved. It was fascinating learning more about her back story and discovering with her secrets kept by her Mum.
Then there is Thor. There is so much to Thor than there first appears. Other than his Godly name and body, there is this fun loving and sensitive guy. I loved the dual narrative of the story, enabling me as a reader to learn things about Thor and his perspective of events and Eva. Thor is a strong and compelling character, whom I couldn’t help but fall in love with.
The whole story worked superbly, I loved the use of the postcards from Eva, this really added to the story for me and brought a new insight in to Eva’s thoughts and experiences.
As for the experiences and countries visited by Thor and Eva,WOW! Holly really managed to capture my imagination with these. The detailed descriptions and little facts, added a whole other dimension to an already awesome book. I could picture vividly the scenes as if I were experiencing them myself. I was literally blown away and really would like to visit some of these places.
So Holly, thank you for once again giving us a cracker of a book. This is an awesome feel good, romantic read. I loved every single second of this book, my only regret is that I devoured it so quickly. I would so love to meet these characters again. I think Eva and Thor may be my favourite book characters to date.
So for those looking for a book to lose yourself in that will leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling. This is the book for you. What are you waiting for?
The Summer of Chasing Dreams
The stunning new story from the bestselling author of The Cottage on Sunshine Beach. A joyously romantic, feel-good summer read. Eva Blue is about to go on a trip of a lifetime, but one adventure she didn't count on was falling in love...
Eva is quite content with her life in London. In her job as a cover designer, she works at home, and often in her cosy pyjamas. She's happy to stay in her safe little world and not explore much outside of it.
She is the opposite of her mum, a free spirit who craved finding adventure and thrills in all corners of the world. But on the day her mum’s will is finalised, Eva finds a list of all the dreams her mum wanted to achieve in her life. Things she never did because she fell pregnant with Eva.
Eva decides these dreams will not go unfulfilled - she is going to be brave and complete them for her mum. As Eva has no experience travelling the world, she hires a guide to go with her on this holiday.
Gorgeous but rude Thor Anderson is not the person she would choose to accompany her on this journey, but somehow she gets stuck with him. As they discover the world together Eva starts to think he might not be as bad as she first thought. She is swept away by Thor's kindness and mischievous sense of humour. But will it be a simple holiday romance or could this wonderful adventure lead to so much more?
Discover an unforgettable romance this summer. If you enjoy reading Sarah Morgan, Miranda Dickinson and Jill Mansell, this book is for you.
This book arrived without warning through my letterbox back in the cold depths of winter, and I duly deposited it on my to read pile. Struggling in a bit of a reading slump I picked this up to read on my train journey to work and boy did this pull me out of that slump. Every so often you come across a gem of a book that you literally can’t put down, that you think about all day at your desk itching for the minute you can return to its pages.
The Day We Met tells the story of Stephanie, engaged to Matt and slowly getting over some personal issues in her life, she believes she is now happy but then a chance meeting with Jamie puts a new spin on her world, he seems to be the only person who truly understands her. But Jamie is happily married to his childhood sweet heart, although he too feels this unexplainable connection to Stephanie. A connection so strong neither of them can ignore it and so begins a 10 year journey, a 10 year will they won’t they for the reader.
The story of the book does leave you torn, as this is a story about an affair, on the one hand you want to stop what is happening but on the other you do find yourself rooting for Stephanie & Jamie and then questioning yourself for it. It’s one of those books that just gets to you, you want to rush to the ending and then you get there… but I don’t want to spoil that for you, so you’ll have to go read it!
The Day We Met
1 February 2019
Stephanie and Jamie are meant to be. The problem is they're both with other people...
Stephanie doesn’t believe in fate, true love or living happily ever after. She’s content enough being engaged to Matt. But then she meets Jamie, who understands her more than anyone else ever has.
Jamie is happily married to his childhood sweetheart Helen and believes in everything Stephanie doesn’t. So why does he have such a strong connection with Stephanie?
When Stephanie and Jamie meet one fateful weekend in 2006 it will change everything...