My turn on the blog tour for my fellow Fiction Cafe Writer Kiltie Jackson’s second book, An Artisan Lovestyle, today and I am extremely happy to be taking part. Thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and to Kiltie for having me on the tour and for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. There is a great giveaway at the end of the review for you to enter so make sure you read down to the end.
“Are you ‘living’ your life or just living your life?
Elsa Clairmont was widowed barely five years after marrying her childhood sweetheart. She has struggled to come to terms with the loss and, six years later, has almost ceased to live herself. She does just enough to get by.
Danny Delaney is the ultimate ‘Mr Nice Guy’. He’s kind, caring and sweet. A talented artist in his teens, his abusive mother ruined his career in art and he turned his back on his exceptional gift. Now, he does just enough to get by.
On New Year’s Eve, both Danny and Elsa die in unrelated accidents.
Thanks to some poker playing shenanigans, Elsa’s husband Harry, and Danny’s old Art teacher, William, manage to orchestrate a deal with Death that allows Danny and Elsa to live for one more year on the condition they both agree to complete three tasks.
They have until the last chime of Big Ben on the 31st December to fulfil their quests.
If they succeed, they stay in the world of the living.
If they should fail however…
‘An Artisan Lovestyle’ is a story of personal growth and self-discovery as two people find themselves forced to make overdue changes in their lives, changes in other people’s lives, and all with the added challenge of finding true love before their time runs out.
Will they do it?
Can they do it?
After all, it’s a matter of Life or Death…”
Wow, so this is a bit of a departure from Kiltie’s first novel, A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle, which I enjoyed reading at the end of last year. If you haven’t picked up that book, set in the snowy delights of a wintry Salzburg, I can highly recommend it. The author has taken an unexpected turn in the realms of the supernatural this time with the premise that the two protagonists have been saved from death (small ‘d’) for one year by the machinations of their two deceased saviours and their gambling games with Death (capital ‘D’). a situation they could make permanent if they make some drastic changes to their unsatisfactory lives before next New Year’s Eve. If not, it is curtains permanently.
An outlandish idea but boy does she manage to pull it off with panache. This book is a delight from start to finish and I totally bought in to the story and was rooting for both Danny and Elsa to succeed and carve out the happy futures that were eluding them but they both so heartily deserved.
It took my a while to gel with the main character in the last book, but I did not have the same issue this time. I was invested in the story from the off and warmed to both Danny and Elsa immediately. I think this is testament to how much the author has learnt and matured as an author from her debut. She launches into this story with so much poise and confidence this time that you can’t help but be carried along with it to such an extent that even the supernatural elements flow with a naturalness and normality that you can’t help but but in to. It also helps that there is a huge dose of humour and warmth infused throughout that makes it a joy to read.
There are some wonderful characters in the novel. Death is a delight, if that isn’t an oxymoron, and I was chuckling out loud at every scene he was in. Sukie and Peter from book one return, and I really enjoyed seeing how their lives had moved on. Sukie is a brilliant character, so ballsy and down-to-earth, despite her situation (excuse me for being a little cryptic, I don’t want to include any spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read Kiltie’s first book). I think my favourite scene in the whole book was the one in the library at her birthday party. I get the feeling that there may be a little (or even a lot) or the author in this character and you can tell she enjoys writing her, it shines from the pages.
One of the characters, and I won’t say which one but it is easy to know who I am talking about if you read it, is possibly the most appalling, loathsome person I have ever had the misfortune to meet between the pages of a novel but they are also brilliantly written and great fun – we all love a good villain don’t we? All of the characters in this book are a joy to read. Some of them are very OTT, but in a way that fits in with the book, and they all feel like they could exist (well. maybe not Death but I’d like to imagine he could!). The main two characters, Danny and Elsa, were fabulous people to carry a book, likeable but not nauseatingly so, so it was easy to wish them a happy ending. Elsa in particular had enough edge to make her really interesting and a modern woman, not a swooning drip.
There are a lot of relevant themes running through this book. Loss and coming to terms with that; lost chances and it never being too late to do those things you always wished you had; finding out who you really are and working to become the best and truest version of yourself; never giving up hope and grabbing those chances when they come along with both hands because life is short. It gives you a surprising amount to think about for a book in this genre and it left me at the end with a lump in my throat and a very satisfied feeling.
Forget that difficult second book conundrum, this is a assured and successful follow up, even better than the first. Any doubts, struggles and tussles are not evident in the finished product. This is a great book. You feckin’ nailed it, Kiltie, and I’m really, really pleased for you.
An Artisan Lovestyle is out now and you can buy a copy here. The first book in the Lovestyle series, A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle, is available here.
If you would like to read more reviews of the book, you can follow the blog tour below:
To enter the giveaway to win a £40/$40 Amazing gift voucher, please click on the Rafflecopter link below:
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter link above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
About the Author
Kiltie grew up in Glasgow in Scotland. This is a very unique city with a very unique way of looking at life.
When she was old enough to do so, she moved to London and then,
after several years of obtaining interesting experiences -which are
finding their way into her writing – she moved up to the Midlands.
Kiltie currently lives in Staffordshire with five cats and one grumpy husband.
Her little home is known as Moggy Towers, even though despite having
plenty of moggies, there are no towers!
The cats kindly allow her and Mr Mogs to share their house on the
condition they keep paying the mortgage!
She loves reading, watching movies, and visiting old castles.
She really dislikes going to the gym!
Her biggest desire is that one day she can give up the day job
and write her stories for a living.
Kiltie’s debut novel, ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’, was released in September 2017 and won a “Chill With A Book – Reader Award” in December 2017.
She first began writing her debut novel eleven years before it was released but shelved
it as she didn’t think it was very good.
In November 2016 when, having read more on a best-selling author who had begun
her own career as a self-published author, she was inspired to revisit the unfinished manuscript and finally finish what she had started.
Since beginning to write again, the ideas have not stopped flowing.
‘An Artisan Lovestyle’ is the second book in the Lovestyle Series.
Work is due to begin on book three (not yet titled but also part of the Lovestyle Series)
in the Summer of 2018.
She currently has a further ten plots and ideas stored in her file (it’s costing a
fortune in USB drives as each story has its own memory stick!) and
the ideas still keep on coming.
Kiltie now lives her life around the following three quotes:
“I love having weird dreams, they’re great fodder for book plots!”
“Why wait for your ship to come in when you can swim out to meet it?”
“Old enough to know better, young enough not to care!”
Connect with Kiltie:
Facebook: Kiltie Jackson
Goodreads: Kiltie Jackson