I was lucky enough to nab an advanced net galley copy of The Plus One, which I was eager to read after hearing some great things about this book and I wasn’t disappeared.
In the Plus One we meet Polly ex beauty therapist now journalist for ‘Posh’ the magazine of the filthy rich, she’s been single for quite some time, living with her gay flat mat and the now her oldest friends is getting married and the other is in a committed relationship. Living her thinking about her own love life and how long it’s been since she was in a relationship,
When she is asked by her boss to interview a newly single very eligible bachelor she even has her own Cinderella imaginings, but it seems it’s not all one sided and she soon finds herself being chased.
I was genuinely pleased with this book, it has all the good things of a romantic fiction, star crossed lovers, friendship, and laughs. I was instantly drawn to the character of Polly and felt part of her life. As she experiences the highs and lows of the book I was right there with her, laughing and supporting her. I was secretly hoping for a Cinderella moment that didn’t come in the park but was more than happy with the ending. I hope that we get to see more of the relationship that ends the book in future novels as I really didn’t want the story to end there!
You’l want to add this one to your summer reading lists!
The Plus One
9the August 2018
Polly’s not looking for ‘the one’, just the plus one…
Polly Spencer is fine. She’s single, turning thirty and only managed to have sex twice last year (both times with a Swedish banker called Fred), but seriously, she’s fine. Even if she’s still stuck at Posh! magazine writing about royal babies and the chances of finding a plus one to her best friend’s summer wedding are looking worryingly slim.
But it’s a New Year, a new leaf and all that. Polly’s determined that over the next 365 days she’ll remember to shave her legs, drink less wine and generally get her s**t together. Her latest piece is on the infamous Jasper, Marquess of Milton, undoubtedly neither a plus one nor ‘the one’. She’s heard the stories, there’s no way she’ll succumb to his charms…
The good thing about long summer evenings is that they give me the perfect chance to sort through my “To read pile” and find those hidden gems that have been languishing away waiting for the right moment to come to light. The Trouble With Henry and Zoe has been on my pile for some time now and I was glad to finally get a chance to let this story invade my imagination.
Henry is a dentist, but also a hairdresser – a bit of a strange career twist, but Henry is a complex character. On the one hand he is the guy that loves old movies, Casablanca, When Harry Met Sally and on the other he is the guy that jilt his long term girlfriend at the aisle by running away the night before they are due to marry.
Zoe is on the other hand settled, living with her long term partner, but then tragedy strikes leading to her having to make some new choices, it’s during this time of crisis I suppose for both characters that they meet. Though very different characters and lives they find a common ground, although the timing of their meeting may not be great as a reader you eagerly anticipate the twists and turns of their story and whether they can be bought together.
Andy Jones is probably my favourite male author of the rom-com for want of a better category for the book – he has perfected the voice of male and female character and the ability to bring their stories to live on paper. His characters surrounds you like a real family and you are truly among them in the story, egging them on, laughing (& crying) with them.
Another 5 stars from me!
The Trouble With Henry & Zoe
Simon & Schuster UK
28 July 2016
Henry and Zoe have more in common than they realise. For a start, they both have pasts they'd rather leave behind.
After jilting his childhood sweetheart on the eve of their wedding, Henry makes a break for London. He has no friends, no job, no home, no plan.
Zoe has great friends, two jobs, a new house, and a big scary plan. After a traumatic, life-changing event, she plans to leave London and spend a year travelling. Alone.
If Henry and Zoe had met one year ago, things might have worked out differently. But that s not the way life works. They meet seven months after their worlds have been turned upside down. And four months before Zoe is due to climb on a plane...
Having read an earlier book by Andy Jones I’ve had Girl 99 on my kindle a while waiting for the ideal space in my to read pile to jump in.
Girl 99 features Tom who has just broken up with his girlfriend having kissed a colleague and then admitting the indiscretion to his girlfriend by email (perhaps not the best way about things). Following the breakup in a moment of reminiscing Tom works out that he has slept with 85 women – admitting this to his best friend El a bet ensues. El agrees to give Tom £1000 if he can sleep with 100 women by a certain date. So Tom indeed sets out to accomplish the challenge.
The book is not explicit and actually features a lot on Tom’s work particularly in the creation of a skittles advert and his relationship with his dad and sister. However the challenge does lead to the introduction of some other great characters – I especially liked the bunny boiler Estate Agent! The challenge of course as the title suggest hits a stumbling block at girl 99 who Tom actually realises he really likes.
A great fun story that gives an insight into how men think and feel and showed Tom looking at how he was behaving and opening up to girl 99 in the end.
Definitely a hit with me
Lake Union Publishing
14th Februry 2017
When Tom’s girlfriend walks out on him the day before Christmas, he feels humiliated but not necessarily heartbroken. Sadie wasn’t, after all, The One. If we’re being precise, she was number eighty-five.
Tom’s first mistake is sharing this information with his best friend El. His next mistake is listening when El suggests that he bring his eighty-five up to a nice, neat one hundred.
It was never going to be a good idea, not least because everything else in Tom’s life is in complete chaos. His best friend is dying of a slow and cruel disease, his teenage sister is at war with his well-meaning but dogmatic father, his elderly neighbour is having romantic problems (and makes a dreadful cup of tea), and he has to shoot four commercials with four children and a bad-tempered producer.
And then Tom meets Verity. Whether she’s The One remains to be seen, but she’s certainly more than just another number.
I was absolutely thrilled to be able to get a copy of Paige Toon’s latest book when we attended the most recent Books In the City Spring Blogger Event. As many of our old followers will now we love Paige at Compelling Reads and always eagerly anticipate any new release.
Five Years From Now was inspired by something Paige’s own father said to her once, i.e. that in Five Years’ time you’ll look back at a situation and understand why it happened the way it did. In this book we are introduced to Nell and Van who are just young children when Nell’s father falls in love with Van’s mother. Sadly as young children a tragic event separates them but through the book we see them both grow up and reconnect every five years.
In their second meeting as they grow into teenagers we see the relationship between the two develop from friendship into something more, but as is the way with teenage love it’s strong and all-consuming and over just as quickly due to other circumstances. Throughout the book their relationship grows, is tested, pulled apart, pulled back together and there are many twists and turns and complications of life that both Nell & Van have to overcome.
I really enjoyed how the passage of time was treated in the story and moved the plot on, and it helped in showing the different relationships style and responsibilities had at different ages. I sided more with Nell, I guess because she was the more present of the couple (with Van being the other side of the world), but really rooted for the couple.
There were highs and lows for each character and I was easily drawn in to the drama – I liked the way this wasn’t a simple love story – and grew into more of an adult relationship theme! Paige Toon really does it right every time – it’s a thumbs up 5 stars from me
Five Years From Now
Simon & Schuster UK
17 May 2018
What happens if you meet the RIGHT person at the WRONG time?
Nell and Van meet as children when their parents fall in love, but soon they are forced worlds apart.
Five years later, they find each other. Their bond is rekindled and new feelings take hold, but once again they have to separate.
For the next two decades, fate brings Nell and Van together every five years, as life and circumstance continue to divide them. Will they ever find true happiness? And will it be together?
‘One day, maybe five years from now, you’ll look back and understand why this happened…’
There’s something about Paige Toon’s books that is magic, I always find myself drawn in from the first to the last page and One Perfect Summer was no different.
Here we meet Alice, 18 and just about to start at university but before she leaves her parents and best friend she has the family holiday to Devon to contend with. She thinks she’s going to spend the time getting through the reading list she has for Cambridge but she didn’t count on meeting the hot son of the local pub landlords. Alice and Joe are drawn into a magical love that summer, they grow close quickly and form a tight bond perhaps due to the difficult relationship Joe has with his own parents which make him vulnerable and in need of help. Then at the end of the summer with the situation with Joe’s family at it’s worst he disappears leaving Alice devastated and with a shadow that will cast over the rest of her life.
Alice takes a very long time to recover from Joe, but is finally on the mend with the help of new friends at university and the appearance of a handsome student who begin to mend her broken heart. Her relationship with Lucas is very different to that with Joe and I really wasn’t sure how it was going to play out or even if I liked him. I often thought that something bad may come of the relationship (in my head I had this feeling he was going to hurt Alice physically, or not be all that he seemed). However we do see the relationship play out to a conclusion (I won’t post spoilers), and indeed have resolution when Joe reappears and we get an explanation of his disappearance.
When we get to the ending I think Alice makes the right decision (you’ll have to read it to find out what it was)…. Paige has wound her magic again!
One Perfect Summer
Simon & Schuster UK
10th May 2012
A Dorset summer, a chance meeting, and Joe and Alice, both 18, fall into step as if they have known each other forever. But their idyll is shattered as quickly as it began. Joe leaves without warning; Alice heads off to Cambridge University and slowly picks up the pieces of her broken heart.
Years later, when she catches the attention of gorgeous, gifted, rich boy Lukas, Alice is carried along by his charm and swept up in his ambitious plans for a future together.
Until news of Joe reaches her once more, but he's out of reach in a way that Alice could never have imagined. Life has moved on, the divide between them is now so great. Surely it is far too late to relive those perfect summer days of long ago?
With thanks to the publishers for sending us a copy of this book in exchange for review. I was interested in the description of this book, which bought to mind the books of Dinah Jefferies that I’ve been enjoying recently and I was intrigued to take on another authors take on historical romance.
In the Silk Weaver Liz Trenow introduces us to Anna Butterfield, on the death of her mother she has given up the comforts of her peaceful life tending to her dad and sister and is thrown head first into London life with her aunt – her uncle a silk merchant has a social status which Anna finds she must also step into. She must wear the right clothes and be seen with the right people for a young woman of her status.
However soon on arriving Anna meets French silk weaver Henri and soon through several twists of fates their lives become intertwined in a forbidden romance.
Trenow has managed to weave a wonderful story which immerses the reader in history, I did however find this book a bit slow going to start with and it takes a long time to get into the romance. However once it began I was drawn into the relationship and the book was better for it.
The Silk Weaver
1760, Spitalfields. Anna Butterfield’s life is about to change forever, as she moves from her idyllic Suffolk home to be introduced into London society. A chance encounter with a French silk weaver, Henri, draws her in to the volatile world of the city’s burgeoning silk trade. Henri is working on his ‘master piece’, to become a master weaver and freeman; Anna longs to become an artist while struggling against pressure from her uncle’s family to marry a wealthy young lawyer.
As their lives become ever more intertwined, Henri realises that Anna’s designs could give them both an opportunity for freedom. But his world becomes more dangerous by the day, as riots threaten to tear them apart forever . . .
Inspired by real historical events and characters, The Silk Weaver is a captivating, unforgettable story of illicit romance in a time of enlightenment and social upheaval.