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Book Review – ‘The One’ by Maria Realf

‘The One’, Maria Realf’s debut novel, was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 22nd March 2018 by HarperImpulse.  I was contacted by Heidi of Bland PR about this book and would like to thank her for my copy to review.  You’ll find out what I thought about ‘The One’ in a minute, but first here’s what it’s about.

 

Book Blurb

You never forget the one.
You’ll never forget this book.

Lizzie Sparkes should be the happiest girl in the world she’s three months away from marrying The One in the wedding of her dreams! But then The One before the One walks back in to her life with a bombshell.

Alex’s unexpected return changes everything and now Lizzie faces an impossible dilemma. Because how can you leave the past behind you, when it’s standing right in front of you….asking you for one more chance?

Fall in love with this beautiful l love story. A must read for fans of Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You and Cecelia Ahern’s PS I Love You.

 

My Review

I am so very glad that I agreed to read ‘The One’. I absolutely loved this book from start to finish. The story has been beautifully told and is very realistic with a number of flawed characters.

Set in Surrey, this story switches between the present and the past giving readers a good insight into Lizzie and how she first met Alex. I thought this worked really well without any confusion. I also liked the way the chapters counted down to the wedding and I loved the build up to it.

I was just as intrigued as Lizzie as to why Alex was back in town and I found myself wondering if the wedding would actually go ahead.

I liked Lizzie and really felt for her. It’s stressful enough organising a wedding without your ex turning up and confusing matters. It seemed that even years later Alex still carried a torch for her. He was more encouraging of Lizzie’s dream than Josh was, something that I really loved about him.

‘The One’ looks at a number of different issues including relationships, illness, death, loss, break ups and marriage. It definitely is a story that will stay with you for a while.

The ending was just so sad but also really beautiful and because of this I am giving the book 5 out of 5. I am looking forward to reading more by this author. Perhaps there could be a sequel?

~~~~~

‘The One’ is available to buy from:-

HarperCollins – https://www.harpercollins.co.uk/9780008278960/the-one/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/One-moving-unforgettable-story-emotional-ebook/dp/B074Z2FGF4/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1523810804&sr=1-1

 

About Maria Realf

Since graduating with a degree in multi-media journalism, Maria Realf has wrked on a staff or freelance basis for many of the UK’s best-known magazines, including The Mail on Sunday’s YOU Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Cosmopolitan Bride, Fabulous, Marie Claire, Now and You & Your Wedding. In her spare time, Maria is also an all-round movie obsessive, theatre lover and karaoke enthusiast. Find out more at www.mariarealf.com.

 

Social Media Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/MariaRealf

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/mariarealf/

 

Blog Tour – ‘Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop’ by Isabella Louise Anderson

‘Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop’ was published in paperback and as an eBook by Chick Lit Goddess, LLC last year. I was invited by Jenny Marston of Neverland Blog Tours to take part in this tour and I would like to thank both Jenny and the author for my review copy of the book.

The owner of a thriving florist shop, Khloe Harper trusts her instincts. She has a strong bond with her family and her best friend, Sharon. However, after being betrayed by her last love she’s kept away from men and romance. But she doesn’t know what is about to hit her when the handsome Derek Thomas walks into her store.

Gabby Lewis, recently widowed, isn’t about to give up on life and love just yet. She just needs to release herself from survivor’s guilt, thus allowing herself to take a chance on finding happiness and companionship again. After signing up to an online dating site for senior citizens, much to her surprise she is matched with Harry, an energetic and loving man who quickly eases himself into her heart.

Frumpy Connie Albright has a faux fascination with an imaginary man called Walt. By sending herself flowers from him she feels less out of place at work amongst the “mean girls” she works with. She soon comes face to face with her possible prince charming, but will she have a happy ending?

As each woman’s story develops through flowers and cards sent from Khloe’s shop during the Fall months, they begin to learn that love can only truly blossom when you trust your heart.

I firstly want to mention the cover which I think is gorgeous. I was really looking forward to this book especially as it had a floral theme. I adore flowers and was delighted to read about the bouquets being made up and the beautiful colours. I wish I could have visited Khloe’s shop and had a chat with her about flowers. I’m not surprised her business was doing so well.

Narrated by Khloe Harper, Gabriella Lewis and Connie Albright who are the main characters, I read their stories with great interest. Out of all of them Gabby was my most favourite. She took a second chance and her life changed for good. I loved reading about her and Harry and his family. Little Andrew was just so adorable too.

I felt sorry for Connie and I could see why she did what she did. Her colleagues at work weren’t exactly nice to her for a start off. Connie was lacking in confidence and was lonely. She really deserved some happiness.

I was a bit disappointed at the end as I presumed the epilogue would give an update not just on Khloe, but Gabby and Connie too. I would really have liked to know how Gabby and Connie were getting on as well. Also, the editing could have been that much better.

Thank you for a lovely read. I might have to buy myself some flowers now.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

~~~~~

‘Flowers From Khloe’s Flower Shop’ can be purchased from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/search/ref=x_gr_w_bb?keywords=9780991416721&index=books&linkCode=qs&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21

 

Giveaway

To coincide with this blog tour there is a competition being run.  The winner can choose from an eBook copy of either; “The Right Design,” “Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop,” or “The Hollywood Setup.” by Isabella Louise Anderson.

To enter just click on this link Rafflecopter Giveaway.  This competition is open internationally.

 

About Isabella Anderson

Isabella Louise grew up with a book in her hand, and to this day nothing has changed. Aside from writing, she focuses her time on featuring other authors on her blog, Chick Lit Goddess, along with sharing book reviews. Isabella Louise is also a member of the Romance Writers of America.

She lives in Dallas with her husband, enjoys spicy Indian and Mexican food, margaritas, and red and white wines. She loves spending time with family and friends, and cheering on the Texas Rangers. When Isabella Louise isn’t working on her next release, her attention is also on her Scentsy business, where she’s a consultant.

 

Links

Website – http://www.isabellalouiseanderson.com/

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/ChickLitGodess

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29923543-cards-from-khloe-s-flower-shop?ac=1&from_search=true

 

Interview with Rory Dunlop

author-picture

‘What We Didn’t Say’ is Rory Dunlop’s debut novel and it’s out today in paperback, published by Twenty7.  I had the pleasure of interviewing Rory.

 

Can you tell me a bit about ‘What We Didn’t Say’ please?

It’s a novel about a marriage, told by the husband and the wife.  They love each other but they separate because of a series of misunderstandings and miscommunications.  Then, two years, later they meet up.  They want to get back together but they’re each hiding secrets from the other.  It’s written in the form of a diary by the husband, with comments from the wife.

book-cover

Where did you get your ideas from for this book?

I’ve always loved unreliable narrator books, like Lolita or The Sea, the Sea.  I enjoy, as a reader, seeing things the narrator can’t.  I thought it would be fun to have two competing unreliable narrators telling the same story.  I’d never seen it done before.

 

Do you see yourself in any of the characters?

There’s a fair amount of me in Jack, the husband.  He’s a bit more insecure and anxious than me but it wouldn’t take too many changes before I found myself thinking like him.  There’s also rather a smug and insensitive barrister who appears briefly.  I don’t see myself in him.  It’s the opposite – he’s the person I try to avoid being at work.

 

Would you like to know any of them for real?

Yes! Absolutely!  I identify with Jack, I think Laura’s cool and I have a particular soft spot for Adam, who is very similar to one of my best friends.  I sent an early draft to a publisher who said ‘I love the concept but I can’t stand Jack and Laura.  I suspect Dunlop intended this but…’  I was horrified.  I hadn’t intended it all.  Jack and Laura were meant to be flawed but likeable – that was how I saw them.  I had to do an exhaustive re-draft after that.

 

Are you currently working on any other writing projects?

No.  I’m trying to earn a living!  Literary fiction is not all that well-paid and I have two children.  I would love to write another novel but I’ll just have to see how this one does.  I have a plot in mind – a courtroom drama.

 

Would you like to see ‘What We Didn’t Say’ made into a film?

Of course!  Then I could definitely justify taking the time off work to write another one.

 

Do you have a favourite place where you do your writing?

Not really.  Just not on a laptop, otherwise it does my back in after a while.  The key thing with writing, I think, is having the time, rather than the place.  You can’t, or at least I couldn’t, write a novel in the mornings or evenings before or after work.  You need weeks at a time with nothing else to think about.  I’m extremely lucky to be self-employed and able to find that time.

 

What’s your advice to anyone wanting to pen their first novel?

Two things: get help and, if you enjoy doing it, don’t give up.  The first is the most important.  I thought, when I started, that it all had to come from me, that creative writing was an inherent talent you either had or didn’t have and that tuition was cheating.  That’s all nonsense.  It’s a skill, like any other, and there are tricks and techniques.  Go on Arvon course.  Do an MA.  Find a creative writing tutor.  I learned more about writing prose in 15 minutes with Jim Crace than in a lifetime of reading novels.

 

What made you decide to write?

There are so many reasons that made me want to write: because I love reading, because I don’t express my feelings often enough, because I’m terrified of death etc.  The novels I love most are the ones which make you think about your own life – the ones where you can see, perfected into sentences, ideas or thoughts that have fleeted through your mind.  There’s so much all of us think about that we never express.  It’s a joy to try to tease those half-thoughts out into words.  If you don’t try, there’s a part of your personality that no one will ever know, that will disappear forever when you’re dead.

 

What else do you enjoy doing? 

I love playing most forms of sport: cricket, football, tennis, golf etc.  Now, with a demanding job and two kids, I don’t find time to play cricket or golf or tennis and I’m down to one game of 5 a side football a week.  The guy who organises it, on whom we all depend, is having a baby and we’re all terrified it will come to a halt without him.  If you’re reading this, and you fancy playing football in Acton on Tuesday nights, get in touch on twitter!

 

Has social media been useful for you?

It’s hard to tell.  You put something out on twitter and you just don’t know how many people read it or how many of them take the trouble to buy or read your book as a result.  The main impact of social media, to be honest, has been to make me feel jealous.  When I read newspapers I skip over the book reviews as all the 5 star reviews for other people are a downer.  Now, on twitter following lots of writers and book bloggers, I can’t avoid it.  Every time I look, there’s ten more novels that I’m told are brilliant and topping bestseller lists.  It feels like my novel will be lost in the deluge.

 

What type of books do you read?

I like novels that have beautiful prose.  If they can make me laugh, that’s even better.  For example, I’ve recently got into David Szalay and Joshua Ferris – they’re both incredible prose-writers and very funny.

 

‘What We Didn’t Say’ is available to buy on Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/What-Didnt-Say-Rory-Dunlop/dp/178577042X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

‘The State We’re In’ by Adele Parks

The State We're In

I was very kindly sent a proof copy of this book by Headline Publishing Group.  A novel very much talked about, ‘The State We’re In’ was published on 4th July 2013.  I really wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a bestseller.  This is the first time I have read any of Adele Parks’ novels and I am so happy that I was given the opportunity to review this book.  I loved it, loved it, loved it!

Two strangers meet on a plane going from London to Chicago.  They are the total opposite to each other.  For a start off they come from two very different family backgrounds.  Jo is a true romantic who remains forever optimistic that she will find true love, whereas Dean due to his childhood finds it very hard to put his trust in people.  It’s an unlikely association but as they get to know each other on the plane, they discover that there is a connection between them.  Dean even finds himself pouring his heart out to Jo, something he has never been able to do preferring instead to keep his past private.

This is a wonderful story which looks at relationships, marriages and broken families.  It shows what a small world this actually is and reminds us that no one is perfect, that these things happen.  Each chapter has been narrated by the main characters Eddie, Clara, Jo and Dean.

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘The State We’re In’ from the start and I found it so very hard to put down.  In fact I was up at 7 a.m. this morning reading it as I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next.  I really liked Jo and just wanted her to find happiness.

This novel has been tenderly and beautifully written and will stay with me for quite a while.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

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