Review: In a New York Minute by Claudia Carroll

Title: In a New York Minute

Author: Claudia Carroll

Pages: 23 Pages

The Blurb

Love isn’t always like it is in the movies … or is it?

Amy has moved to the city that never sleeps, and now she’s looking for love.

But after a string of dating disasters it seems that finding Mr. Right isn’t quite as easy as Amy first thought.

Following in the footsteps of her favourite New York movies Amy is determined to have that romantic Manhattan moment. But like all good romances – love often turns up in the most unexpected of places…

A heart-warming, 23 page short story from best-selling author, Claudia Carroll, this is the perfect read for Valentine’s Day.

The Review

It is strange that New York (along with a few other cities) has been romanticised by the media. Movies, songs and books all sell it as the most romantic city in the world. New York is the setting for the Claudia Carroll short In a New York Minute.

Thirty-something Amy has wangled a job transfer for one year to the most exciting city in the world and she is determined to make that year count. Amy plans to do this by falling in love. She decides to date a number of men in specific, famous locations around the city. However, like all bourgeoning love stories, Amy’s dates don’t seem to go to plan.

In a New York Minute is a simple classic fairy tale love story about finding Mr Right in the right place at the right time. There is nothing more to it really. The story is too short for you to really fall in love with the hero or bond with the heroine. It just leaves you with a feeling of indifference.

This story is nice. That is it. It won’t change your life; it probably won’t even change your day but it is nice.

In a New York Minute by Claudia Carroll is available now.

In a New York Minute

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Review: No One Wants To Be Miss Havisham by Brigid Coady

The Blurb

‘If you’re looking for an original romance with a quirky twist, look no further.’ – Books with Bunny

What the Dickens is going on?
Edie Dickens is a shark of a divorce lawyer. She doesn’t believe in love and she scoffs at happily ever afters, however she’s agreed to be maid of honour for her oldest friend, Mel in two weeks and she still has the hen night to endure. But she has even more to endure when she’s visited by Jessica Marley’s ghost and finds out she must change her ways or end up being damned to an eternity watching other people’s happiness. Edie is visited by the Ghosts of Weddings Past, Present and Future, every Friday night until the day of the wedding. Can she learn from her mistakes in time? And did the ghosts send the hunky new lawyer, Jack Twist, to distract her?

The Review

My reasons for wanting to read No One Wants to be Miss Havisham were pretty simple. Firstly, I love Great Expectations and secondly, I too – like many other women – fear becoming the crusty old depressed Miss Havisham.

Admittedly, when I first started reading No One Wants to be Miss Havisham I was confused and a little bit put off by the premise of the story. It is essentially a modern day retelling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol but then by having Miss Havisham in the title and then having characters named after or similar to Dickensian characters I felt it was a little, dare I say it, lazy. However, once I got over my whole cross referencing issues (which I assure you dear reader were solely my own weird hang ups) I actually really enjoyed No One Wants to be Miss Havisham.

No One Wants to be Miss Havisham is a story about Edie Dickens, a hardcore divorce lawyer with a swinging brick where her heart should be. She is closed off from everyone and almost sees other peoples’ lives as an inconvenience to her own. Three weeks before her best friend wedding starts the visit from three ghosts who all show her how her life has taken a wrong turn. Seeing the error of her ways, Edie tries to make amends before it is too late.

You can see where the story is going, right? I think part of the reason I enjoyed reading this book is that I knew it could only have a happy outcome. That was kind of comforting. What I also liked about the No One Wants to be Miss Havisham is that whilst the reasons for Edie becoming an “Ice Queen” are justified they aren’t played on. In some books the author tries to rely on pop-psychology to rationalize a person’s actions but Brigid Coady lets it be a reason without dominating the entire story.

No One Wants to be Miss Havisham is definitely a hearty read with an outcome that you will enjoy. It should definitely be added to your book pile.

No One Wants to be Miss Havisham by Brigid Coady is available now.

Follow Brigid Coady (@beecee) on Twitter.

No One Wants to Be Miss Havisham

Review: Cleo by Lucy Coats

The Blurb

Her precious mother is dead – and it isn’t an accident! The young Cleopatra – Pharaoh’s illegitimate daughter – must flee the royal palace at Alexandria or die too. As her evil half-sisters usurp the throne, Cleo finds sanctuary at the sacred temple of Isis, where years later she becomes initiated into the secret Sisters of the Living Knot. But now Isis’s power is failing, Egypt is in danger, and Cleo must prove her loyalty to her goddess by returning to the Alexandria she hates. She must seek out the hidden map which is the key to returning Isis’s power – on pain of death. But will she be able to evade her horrible sisters? And will she find dreamy Khai, the über-hot librarian boy she met as she fled Alexandria years before? Cleo’s powerful destiny is about to unfold…

Gorgeous and evocative, this captivating new YA novel imagines the life of the teenage Cleopatra before she became the icon we think we know.

The Review

I don’t like to say negative things but sometimes it is necessary. I have to be honest in this review; I just didn’t like Cleo.

The story is about a young Cleopatra and how she escaped the reign of tyranny let by her two sisters Berenice and Tryphena by faking her own death. As a young woman Cleo is visited by the goddess Isis and scarred with her sacred mark. She is given a mission to return to her previous home and collect a map that will help Isis’s name be restored to power.

All of this sounds so good and so promising but the delivery was really heavy and long. Huge chunks of Cleo could have been left out and the story’s pace would have been so much quicker and much more dramatic. As it was, I found myself putting the book down to do other things. I just wasn’t kept hooked.

To be fair, Cleo did get better later on but it took the first half of the book for me to feel remotely interested. It is a real shame because the premise of this story is really intriguing but I felt the execution didn’t live up to it.

Cleo by Lucy Coats is available now.

cleo

Review: We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman

The Blurb

Do not miss me, because I will always be with you…I am the air, the moon, the stars. For we are all made of stars, my beloved… Wherever you look, I will be there.

Stella Carey exists in a world of night. Married to a soldier who has returned from Afghanistan injured in body and mind, she leaves the house every evening as Vincent locks himself away, along with the secrets he brought home from the war.

During her nursing shifts, Stella writes letters for her patients to their loved ones – some full of humour, love and practical advice, others steeped in regret or pain – and promises to post these messages after their deaths.

Until one night Stella writes the letter that could give her patient one last chance at redemption, if she delivers it in time…

We Are all Made of Stars is an uplifting and heartfelt novel about life, loss and what happens in between from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Memory Book.

The Review

It is hard to believe that a book that has a central theme of loss can be so life affirming and uplifting but that is exactly what We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman is like.

We Are All Made of Stars centres on three characters: Stella, Hope and Hugh. All three have big life blockers that are either making them deal with loss and death. Stella, married to an ex-soldier who has been wounded whilst on tour, works in a hospice that looks after the dying and the convalescing. She spends her night shifts writing goodbye letters for patients and she spends her days avoiding her own emotional baggage.

Hope is young girl who has spent her life battling with Cystic Fibrosis, a chronic battle that usually comes with an early expiration date. It is at the hospice that she face her on mortality and realises that it is not the illness that will bring on her untimely death but her choice to not live.

Then comes Hugh, a man who has lost both his parents and through this he has kind of lost himself. Life throws him a few unexpected life lines which alter the course of his existence.

Throughout the narratives of these characters we also get to read some of the letters that Stella has helped write for her patients. All of the letters are filled with love: familial love, secret love and romantic love. It makes you wonder if you knew the end was near how would you want your loved ones to remember you? What would you want to tell them?

The concept of this story is wonderful and Rowan Coleman really does give her readers a treat with We Are All Made of Stars. Here characters voices are unique and they complement each other. Her narrative threads are well thought out and do not leave you with questions or with an uncomfortable feeling of ambiguity. Essentially, Coleman gets to the heart of the subject of loss in a way that I have seen some authors struggle to do.

We Are All Made of Stars was a pleasure to read and has joined the high calibre of books that will stay with you for a very long time after you have turned its final page.

We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman is available now.

Follow Rowan Coleman (@rowancoleman) on Twitter.

We Are All Made of Stars

Review: Strawberries at Wimbledon by Nikki Moore

Title: Strawberries at Wimbledon

Author: Nikki Moore

Pages: 40 Pages

The Blurb

The fifth short story in the fun & flirty #LoveLondon series from exciting new chick lit author Nikki Moore!

The one that got away?

Sipping Pimms and eating fresh strawberries at Wimbledon are the perfect start to the British summer for Rayne. Immersed in her career as a journalist in the City, she’s been too busy and distracted to give men – or other outside interests – much of a chance lately. That’s something her friend Lily thinks she should correct, coming up with the perfect ‘sex with an ex’ solution – much to the amusement of the crowd on Centre Court!

When Rayne runs into old flame Adam, former good guy who is now all grown up with a hint of bad boy about him, it’s a tempting thought. But is that such a good idea, when she knows that four years ago, she broke his heart?

Back from travelling the world and settling into running the family business, Adam never expected to see his university girlfriend again. And he definitely didn’t think he would still be angry with her for running away, or that she would still have the same stunning effect on him. But she does, so maybe the perfect way to get her out of his dreams and from under his skin, is to have a hot sex-filled night with her? The only trouble is, one night might not be enough…

First love – can you ever go back?

The Review

Strawberries at Wimbledon is the fifth short story in the #LoveLondon series by Nikki Moore and one thing that has to be said is that damn, she knows how to write a hot male lead!

This latest short focuses on the relationship between Rayne and Adam. They were each others’ first real love but due to time and circumstance their relationship ended abruptly. Several years have passed but when they randomly bump into each other on Henman Hill old feelings start to reignite.

We have all been there. There is always that one person who you had such intense feelings for – whether those feelings were reciprocated or not – that you still look upon fondly. What is great about Strawberries at Wimbledon is that it gets you thinking about that person and remembering just what first love feels like. Feeling warm and fuzzy yet? Well, you need to give Strawberries at Wimbledon a read.

I probably think this every time I have read the latest in the #LoveLondon series but I love the hero in these stories; they are just so damn loveable. There is not one that you wouldn’t want as your boyfriend. I hope that there are more books in this series. However, I know that Nikki Moore is an author that I can trust to deliver the feel good factor in whatever she writes. She is definitely one of my top author finds of the past year!

Strawberries at Wimbledon by Nikki Moore is available now.

Follow Nikki Moore (NikkiMoore_Auth) on Twitter.

Review: Truly, Madly, Greekly by Mandy Baggot

The Blurb

Sun, sea and a sexy stranger – a whole lot of fun just got a lot more complicated…

Capable, confident and career-driven, Ellen had her dream job and a marriage proposal from boyfriend Ross. Life was good, her future set. Until it wasn’t and everything fell apart…

Whisked off to the beautiful island of Corfu to plan her sister Lacey’s big, fat, Greek wedding, Ellen is hoping some time out will help clear her head and heal her heart.

But letting go of her past is not going to be easy.

With Lacey in full on Bridezilla mode, Ellen is soon distracted from her own problems. And when the all-inclusive treats on offer at hotel Blue Vueinclude one gorgeous, brooding Adonis – Yan – Ellen finds him difficult to resist.

But Ellen isn’t looking for love or lust, or anything involving too much ouzo…or is she?

The Review

Ellen, along with her sister Lacey, has travelled to Greece scouting the perfect location for Lacey’s wedding. Ellen spends the first part of her holiday worried about her life back home: her job, where she lives and also about a secret that she is keeping that could have life changing implications.

Then she meets Yan.

Yan works on the hotels entertainment team and knows that it is forbidden to fraternise with the guests yet he is drawn to Ellen. Equally, she can’t seem to resist him. But can they keep their want for each other a secret?

Baggot’s tale of sisters on holiday is a real feel good read with likeable characters and an interesting storyline. Besides your basic holiday romance the storylines within Truly, Madly, Greekly also have a lot of depth. Baggot always manages to tackle unusual and quirky (yet very realistic) plot lines.

In Yan, she has created a perfect hero. He has all the attributes that you would want in a male lead. Ellen is perfectly flawed. She has moments of strength that ooze on the page but enough vulnerability to make you empathise with her.

Truly, Madly, Greekly is the story of self discovery and acceptance; a book that is chock full of heart and good feelings. More than anything, Truly, Madly, Greekly will make you want to go on your jolly holidays; this book is the perfect accompaniment for those long days lying on the beach. So don’t delay, grab a towel, a drink with an ice and a slice because you are about to go on a romantic Greek holiday and it is going to be one that you won’t forget!

Truly Madly Greekly by Mandy Baggot is available now.

Follow Mandy Baggot (@Mandy Baggot) on Twitter.

Truly Madly Greekly

Review: Hyacinth Girls by Lauren Frankel

The Blurb

A stunning debut about a young teenager on the brink and a parent desperate to find the truth before it’s too late.

Thirteen year old Callie is accused of bullying at school, but Rebecca knows the gentle girl she’s raised must be innocent. After Callie is exonerated, she begins to receive threatening notes from the girl who accused her, and as these notes become desperate, Rebecca feels compelled to intervene. As she tries to save this unbalanced girl, Rebecca remembers her own intense betrayals and best-friendships as a teenager, when her failure to understand those closest to her led to tragedy. She’ll do anything to make this story end differently. But Rebecca doesn’t understand what’s happening or who is truly a victim, and now Callie is in terrible danger.
This raw and beautiful story about the intensity of adolescent emotions and the complex identity of a teenage girl looks unflinchingly at how cruelty exists in all of us, and how our worst impulses can estrange us from ourselves – or even save us.

The Review

Hyacinth Girls was another book that I chose to read because I found the cover interesting. Fortunately, the content of the book was equally as compelling.

The story centres on Rebecca’s relationship with her godchild Callie. Having raised Callie from a young age due to the death of both of her parents Rebecca finds that as Callie gets older the less that Rebecca knows about parenting.

Things take a turn for the worse when Callie is accused of bullying. Not wanting to believe that Callie could do this Rebecca becomes defensive and protective only to be faced with shocking consequences.

What is really special about Hyacinth Girls is that Lauren Frankel understands of the cruelty of school children. She accurately describes the torment that can take place in the school environment. Frankel brilliantly keeps the reader on their toes throughout the book and constantly pulls the rug from under your feet. With each chapter you develop an opinion only to have it kyboshed in the next.

You see how difficult it can be for both of the protagonists and you empathise greatly with them both. You also see the shocking behaviour people can (and do) display over social media. Dealing with some dark and disturbing issues makes Hyacinth Girls definitely an interesting multilayered read.

Hyacinth Girls by Lauren Frankel is available now.

Happy One Year Blog Birthday :)

Well hello lovely people of the internet,

Today is exactly one year since I uploaded my first post on LisaTalksAbout.com and I just thought I would celebrate that by writing a little blog post.

I started writing a few years ago. It started as a way to get into the music industry but by playing to my strengths. I started writing for a music website called More Than the Music; an all female staffed website that encourages women in music. I was writing album reviews and getting sent to gigs to write live pieces. Before I knew it I was promoted to sub-editor and had my own weekly news column. Last year I was promoted again to the post of Live Reviews Editor. It has been a great ride and I work with some amazing ladies who are contributing to the music/journalism industry.

During my time writing for More Than the Music I was taken on as Music Editor for Different Scene; a lifestyle website targeted at gay men. Sadly, Different Scene is now defunct. Some great things came out of working for Different Scene, mainly it was through writing for them that I met my boyfriend – we were both the token straight people on the writing staff.

My blog started last year when I was signed off work for six months. I became seriously ill due to medication I was taking to help control my Ulcerative Colitis. Throughout the years I had many people in my life telling me to blog it or write it down but it was my boyfriend that encouraged me to set up my own blog. Being signed off work was awful but I couldn’t really do much of anything but read. I was too weak to go out most of the time and after half an hour of doing pretty much anything I would have uncontrollable shakes. Ergo, the logic was to read and review books. Besides music, reading had always been a passion of mine so the fit seemed logical.

There have been some ups and downs of blogging about books. I have made an enemy of the postman. He hates delivering me books and has actually laughed at me when my post wasn’t literature based. I also think he may be stalking me because he now gets my mail (which is addressed to my home address) redirected to my work address. Strangely, this hasn’t stopped me buying books. Ahh, bygones.

The ups of book blogging are the lovely people in the book blogging community. Before I set up my blog and before I got sick I had done a few reviews for Shaz’s Book Boudoir and I am so very grateful to her for affording me the opportunity to do so; Sophie at Reviewed the Book is so lovely and always charmingly honest in her reviews; Jenny in Neverland is someone whose opinion I really admire. Her reviews are really well written. However, my favourite book blogger and friend has to be Clare from A Book and Tea. She is such a lovely person and her I Want it Wednesday posts are some of my favourite.

Besides making friends with some bloggers I have also had the privilege to converse with some amazing authors – Kirsty Greenwood, Juliette Sobanet, Andy Miller, Nikki Moore and Nicola Doherty to name a few. Furthermore to this, it took less than a year for one of my reviews to appear in a published book. My review was published in Girls on Tour by Nicola Doherty. That was a highlight for me.

One year in and I still love blogging as much as I did when I first started doing it. Here is to the next year.

Happy Blogging Birthday to me!

Ooooh as a side note, you can now follow LisaTalksAbout on Facebook. Please hit the like button 🙂

Love L x

Review: Faking It by Leah Marie Brown

The Blurb

Haven’t you ever told a little lie in the name of love?

Vivia Grant couldn’t be happier. She has her dream job and is about to marry her dream man. Does it really matter that she’s led him to believe she’s a virgin? After all, being in love makes every experience feel like the first time anyway! But an unexpected encounter with an ex-lover is about to expose her embarrassing lie…

When Vivia’s fiancé discovers the truth, he ends their engagement—via text—and uses his connections to get her fired. Unemployed and heartbroken, Vivia begins planning her new future—as a homeless spinster. But her best friend has a better idea. They’ll skip the Ben & Jerry’s binge and go on Vivia’s honeymoon instead. Two weeks cycling through Provence and Tuscany, with Luc de Caumont, a sexy French bike guide. Too bad Vivia’s not a big fan of biking. And she’s abysmal at languages. Will she fib her way through the adventure, or finally learn to love herself—and Luc—flaws and all?

The Review

I’m going to be really honest with you, I requested Faking It from NetGalley based entirely on the book’s cover. I’d never read anything by Leah Marie Brown before and on the cover was a picture of the Eiffel Tower and since I am a bit of a Francophile I decided that I wanted to read it. This is one of those serendipitous moments in the life of a book lover because damn this book was really good.

Faking It was a quick light-hearted read that constantly left me with that feel good feeling. It follows the adventures of Vivia who has recently been dumped by her fiancé, Nathan. To get over Nathan she decided (well is encouraged by her best friend Fanny) to go on the honeymoon to France. Vivia had many expectations of her trip to Europe but none of those expectations included falling for fit cyclist Luc, learning things about herself and having a life epiphany.

In hero Luc, Brown has created the most fanciable male in a story that I have read in a long time; I send Leah Marie Brown many a kudos for sending him into my life.

If I’m honest there was one small thing that did bother me about the book. I felt that there was an awful lot of product placement that was unnecessary. This didn’t bother me enough not to read the story and it really is just a personal preference. I would still implore people to pick up Faking It because it is a really entertaining read that is damn good fun. Vive le livre!

Faking It by Leah Marie Brown is available now.

Follow Leah Marie Brown (@leahmariebrown) on Twitter.

Faking It

Review: Ibiza Nights by Lucy Lord

Title: Ibiza Nights

Author: Lucy Lord

Pages: 32 Pages

The Blurb

A short story from the hilarious author of A Girl Called Summer – find out what Summer was up to before her Ibiza adventures!

Summer has been seeing her boss, David, on the sly for a few months now. But while David is keen to make things public, Summer isn’t quite so sure. With a night out with old friends on the cards, Summer needs to decide whether she can take their relationship to the next level, or if she needs to break free for good…

A cracking short story that takes place just before the events of A Girl Called Summer.

The Review

After three previous short stories (LA, New York and London Nights) we finally meet Summer in Ibiza. Ibiza Nights focuses on main character Summer who lives, loves and works in Ibiza. She is a writer, she runs a crèche and sometimes she caters for the rich and the fabulous but she doesn’t feel good. Part of Summer feels this way due to her seedy relationship with her employer, David. She enjoys him but doesn’t want to be with him. Unfortunately for Summer, David wants the opposite.

Ibiza Nights is another short story chock full of exposition; it is preparing us for the full length novel A Girl Called Summer. Once I pick that up to read all the threads of the previous story will come together.

In Summer, Lucy Lord has created a likable character who you want to find out more about. Ibiza Nights leaves Summers story of a cliff hanger. Nothing overly dramatic but you do want to find out more. I will definitely be picking up A Girl Called Summer to get me ready for my own (possibly rainy) summer.

Ibiza Nights by Lucy Lord is available now.

Follow Lucy Lord (@LucyLord1) on Twitter.

Ibiza Nights