The Woman in the Water by Katerina Diamond #BookReview #BlogTour (@TheVenomousPen) @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K @NetGalley #NetGalley #TheWomanInTheWater

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I’m alive. But I can’t be saved . . .

When a woman’s body is found submerged in icy water, police are shocked to find she is alive. But she won’t disclose her name, or what happened to her – even when a second body is discovered. And then she disappears from her hospital bed.

Detectives Adrian Miles and Imogen Grey follow their only lead to the home of the Corrigans, looking for answers. But the more they dig into the couple’s lives, the less they understand about them.

What’s their connection to the body in the river?

Why have other people they know been hurt, or vanished?

And can they discover the dark truth of their marriage before it’s too late?

I’m delighted to be taking part today in the blog tour for The Woman in the Water by Katerina Diamond. My thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon Books for inviting me on to the tour and for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is a book that really made its mark on me this year and is a standout read in this genre. Honestly, I think the author has been so brave in this book in tackling the subjects she does, and does so so sensitively that I found it quite moving and affecting and I was left in awe at the skill and talent she exhibits.

It is going to be quite hard to write the review of this book that I’d like to without including any spoilers, so you’ll have to forgive me if I am a little vague, you really need to pick up the book and read it for yourselves.

The book is shocking and gripping from the opening as a woman is found, barely alive, in freezing water. DS Miles plucks her from the river and, immediately, he becomes closely involved in the investigation into who she is and how she got there. This is a case which stirs up issues from his past and causes tensions in his blossoming relationship with DS Grey, who is trying to understand the effect the case is having on him.

I really loved the closely woven storylines of the police investigation and the personal relationship between DS Miles and DS Grey. This book is as much about the police officers and the effect it has on them as it is about the crime, the victim and the perpetrator, and I think this is refreshing and important because it is very easy to forget that police officers are, first and foremost, human beings with the same problems, hangups and issues as the rest of us and that the things they see and the matters they have to deal with can have profound effects on them and their mental state and they deserve help, support and compassion.

This book is not always an easy read, and may be triggering for some because of its subject matter, but the author deals with the issues sensitively. There are some extremely shocking scenes in the book, even for someone who has not been directly affected by these issues, but they are never gratuitous and always necessary for the story and I applaud the way they are handled, but equally, she isn’t pulling any punches with this book and the reader needs to be ready to be shocked and appalled. This is how it should be, because some things in life are shocking and appalling.

This author is skilled at developing characters we acre about, and the relationship between the two main detectives is one in which her readers cannot help being invested, and I really can’t wait to see where this is going following the climax of this book. She has really upped the stakes for them here, and fans of the author’s books will not be at all disappointed with this latest instalment. If you haven’t read any of Katerina’s books before, what are you waiting for?

The Woman in the Water is out now as an ebook and will be published in paperback on 9 January 2020. You can get your copy here.

Please do check out the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour for more reviews:

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About the Author

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Katerina is the author of the Sunday Times Best Selling Exeter based crime thriller series – starting with ‘The Teacher’ and followed by The Secret, The Angel, The Promise and Truth or Die Katerina is currently working on her seventh novel which is a standalone.

Katerina also runs the facebook book group CRIME SUSPECT with several other crime authors.

Katerina currently lives in East Kent. Katerina was born in Weston-super-Mare and has lived in various places since including Greece, Cyprus, Derby, East London and Exeter. Katerina watches way too much TV.

Connect with Katerina:

Website: https://www.katerinadiamond.com

Facebook: Katerina Diamond Author

Twitter: @TheVenomousPen

Instagram: @katerinadiamondauthor

Notting Hill in the Snow by Jules Wake #BookReview #BlogTour (@Juleswake) @0neMoreChapter_ @RaRaResources @NetGalley #RachelsRandomResources #NetGalley #NottingHillInTheSnow

Notting Hill In The Snow

Delighted to be one of the blogs opening up this tour for the new book by one of my favourite authors today, Notting Hill in the Snow by Jules Wake. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting to me on to the tour and to the publisher for my copy of the book, received via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

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It’s mayhem in Bethlehem…unless they can work together!

Viola Smith plays the viola in an orchestra (yes really!), but this year she’s been asked to stretch her musical talents to organising Notting Hill’s local nativity.

Nate Williams isn’t looking forward to Christmas but as his small daughter, Grace, has the starring role in the show, he’s forced to stop being a Grinch and volunteer with Viola.

With the sparks between them hotter than the chestnuts roasting in Portobello market, Nate and Viola can’t deny their feelings. And as the snow starts to fall over London, they find themselves trapped together in more ways than one…

Apologies for posting this a little late in the day but a combination of an Irish road trip, a flat iPad battery and unreliable hotel Wi-fi have led to this situation and I hope it is a case of better late than never.

This book is a follow up to Covent Garden in the Snow insofar as it has some of the same characters, but it is a whole new story with the focus on a new set of main characters and is easily read as a standalone book. However, you should definitely use this new book to catch up on the previous one which is a great book and one of my favourite Christmas reads of the past few years.

Did this sequel live up to the previous book? Did it ever, and then some. This is an absolutely perfect Christmas story with a cast of warm and wonderful characters, a gorgeous wintry setting and an enticing story line to hold it all together.

Oddly, following on from yesterday’s review, this book also centres around the staging of a school nativity play. This time we are following the story of Viola, a musician at the London Metropolitan Opera Company who is tasked with helping out a a school as a favour to a patron. Viola could do without the added stress at a busy time of year when she has work and the demands of her own, rather inconsiderate family, to deal with. However, working alongside handsome and charming lawyer Nate takes some of the sting out of it and when you throw in some cute kiddies, Viola finds herself losing her heart in more ways than one.

Jules Wake’s writing is as approachable and engrossing as ever in this book and the story really held my attention all the way through. Jules has created a character in Viola who immediately steals the heart of the reader and draws us to her side and into her story from the first page. The situation she finds herself in with Nate and Grace really moved me, and was such a relevant and contemporary scenario, totally relatable to so many people, I was captivated from start to finish.

This is a rewarding and charming festive story that repaid the time that I invested in reading it. It left me feeling moved and warmed and satisfied. Fans of this author will not be disappointed and anyone new to her books will have the delightful prospect of catching up on her back catalogue. Lucky things.

Notting Hill in the Snow is out as an ebook now and in paperback on 12 December and you can buy a copy here.

Make sure you follow the rest of the tour as detailed below:

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About the Author

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Jules Wake announced at the age of ten that she planned to be a writer. Along the way she was diverted by the glamorous world of PR and worked on many luxury brands and not so luxury brands. This proved fabulous training for writing novels as it provided her with the opportunity to hone her writing and creative skills penning copy on a vast range of subjects from pig farming and watches, sunglasses and skincare through to beer and stationery.  

She writes best-selling warm-hearted contemporary fiction for One More Chapter as Jules Wake and under her pen name Julie Caplin, she writes the Romantic Escapes series.  

Between them, the two Js have written twelve novels, Notting Hill in the Snow being the latest. 

Connect with Jules:

Website: http://www.juleswake.co.uk

Facebook: Jules Wake

Twitter: @Juleswake

Instagram: @juleswakeauthor

One Christmas Star by Mandy Baggot #BookReview #BlogTour (@mandybaggot) @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books @VickyJoss1 @NetGalley #NetGalley #OneChristmasStar #Christmas

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Emily Parker is set to have the worst Christmas ever!

Her flatmate’s moved out, she’s closed her heart to love and she’s been put in charge of the school original Christmas show – with zero musical ability.

Disgraced superstar, Ray Stone is in desperate need of a quick PR turnaround. Waking up from a drunken stupor to a class of ten-year-olds snapping pics and Emily looking at him was not what he had in mind.

Ray needs Emily’s help to delete the photos, and she needs his with the show. As they learn to work together they may just open their hearts to more than a second chance…

Delighted to be taking my turn on the blog tour for the new Christmas book by Mandy Baggot, One Christmas Star. My thanks to Vicky Joss at Aria for inviting me to take part, and for my digital copy of the book received via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

It’s no secret that I love a book by Mandy Baggot. Her writing is so approachable and comforting that I defy any fan of romantic fiction not to be charmed by her books.

That being said, this one stands out as being something particularly special. Much as I am a huge fan of romance novels and will fight to the (metaphorical) death its many ill-informed detractors, even I sometimes find Christmas romance books a little twee. Not this one. Despite the fact it contained all the usual elements readers expect to find in a book of this genre, this one felt a bit different. It really crept under my skin and into my heart and I was totally enchanted by it.

I have been trying to put my finger on exactly what it was about this book that made it particularly stand out. I thought it might be the central character of Emily, about whom I loved absolutely everything. She was fragile and vulnerable, but also brave and determined, as well as kind and considerate. We meet her as she has been through the mill and is dealing with a good many challenges, but still finds it in her heart to try and help people around her, for no reason other than it if the right thing to do. I think maybe I have made her sound a little sickly sweet, but that’s really not how she comes across in the book, she is not perfect but very down-to-earth and likeable.

Maybe it is the handsome heartthrob, singer Ray Stone, who has all the requisite attractions for a leading romance hero, but is oh so much more. Damaged and deeply vulnerable, he is the perfect foil for Emily and I defy any red-blooded woman not to fall in love with him. However, so far, so standard for a romance novel, so what made this one stand out?

The setting, in a wintry London in the approach to Christmas, is everything you would want and Mandy brings it to life beautifully. Emily’s job as a primary school teacher prepping the Christmas show gives us a cast of cute kiddies who provide comedy and drama and emotion in equal measure (fans of Nativity! will love this book). Emily’s parents are lively characters who create some cringe-worthy moments, and provide the perfect contrast to Ray’s more down-to-earth family. All of these elements add to the book’s appeal.

However, I think what made it extra special were the issues dealt with in the book. They are relevant, current and tricky dilemmas that are often shied away from in this genre of book, but which affect thousands of people on a daily basis and Mandy manages to weave them into the story with sensitivity, understanding and a lightness of touch that perfectly addresses the problems without making the tale too heavy for the genre but not making light of the seriousness of the issues either. It is skilful, truthful and moving and I was really impressed by how she achieves the balance.

Everything about this book comes together to make the perfect Christmas romance for people who want more than a fluffy read for the season, who are looking for a real story that will both move and entertain. I applaud the result wholeheartedly, a really rewarding and satisfying read.

One Christmas Star is out now as an ebook and will be published in paperback on 14 November and you can buy a copy here.

Do check out the rest of the blogs on the tour as detailed below:

About the Author

Mandy Baggot

Mandy Baggot is an international bestselling and award-winning romance writer. The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance, her romantic comedy novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016. Mandy’s books have so far been translated into German, Italian, Czech and Hungarian. Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, white wine, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor. Mandy is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.

Connect with Mandy:

Website: http://mandybaggot.com

Facebook: Mandy Baggot Author

Twitter: @mandybaggot

Instagram: @mandybaggot

Let It Snow by Sue Moorcroft #BookReview #BlogTour (@SueMoorcroft) @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K @NetGalley #NetGalley #LetItSnow #Christmas

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This Christmas, the villagers of Middledip are off on a very Swiss adventure…

Family means everything to Lily Cortez and her sister Zinnia, and growing up in their non-conventional family unit, they and their two mums couldn’t have been closer.

So it’s a bolt out of the blue when Lily finds her father wasn’t the anonymous one-night stand she’d always believed – and is in fact the result of her mum’s reckless affair with a married man.

Confused, but determined to discover her true roots, Lily sets out to find the family she’s never known; an adventure that takes her from the frosted, thatched cottages of Middledip to the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland, via a memorable romantic encounter along the way…

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for this wintery delight, Let It Snow by Sue Moorcroft. My thanks to Sabah Khan from Avon Books for inviting me on to the tour and for my digital copy of the book, received via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This book surprised me from the off by tackling a situation I have never seen addressed in this type of book before so I knew I was in for something a bit different from this novel from the beginning. We are thrown straight in to the extraordinary life of Lily and her start riding the wave of her unusual circumstances along with her.

Once I got past the dramatic prologue and in to the story proper, I was enchanted by the setting of Middledip and the community that centres around The Three Fishes pub. Sue has created a cast of characters that are immediately warm and enchanting people to spend time with, and it was a joy to spend time here, learning about their lives. By this point I was in love with Lily and desperately wanted things to work out for her, and was delighted when the delicious Isaac came into her orbit, but of course the path of true love never runs smooth…

The inclusion of the snowy trip to Switzerland, with carol singing and Christmas markets, gives this book the perfect Christmas flavour and made me want to jump on the first plane to Zurich in a set of sexy thermals. My favourite romance books always include a wishlist travel experience and this book did not disappoint in this respect. I defy any reader not to be yearning after Swiss chocolate and cuckoo clocks by the end of the novel.

Aside from the Christmassy flavour and the lure of armchair travel, the heart of this book is the story of love and family. The family you are born into, the family you create and the family you find in the hearts and company of the people you choose to have around you. The story is warm and enchanting, addressing some difficult and unusual topics in an approachable and sensitive way, and giving the reader that warm, fuzzy, contented feeling we have come to expect from a Sue Moorcroft novel.

The perfect book to curl up with on a cold, autumn evening and escape into for a few hours. Fans of the author and the genre will not be disappointed.

Let It Snow is out now and you can buy a copy here.

If you would like to read some alternative reviews of the book, please visit the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour:

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About the Author

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Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author, an international bestselling author and has held the #1 spot in the UK Kindle chart. She writes contemporary fiction with sometimes unexpected themes.

Sue has won a Best Romantic Read Award, received two nominations at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards and is a Katie Fforde Bursary winner. Her short stories, serials, articles, columns, courses and writing ‘how to’ have sold around the world.

An army child, Sue was born in Germany then lived in Cyprus, Malta and the UK. She’s worked in a bank, as a bookkeeper (probably a mistake), as a copytaker for Motor Cycle News and for a digital prepress. She’s pleased to have now wriggled out of all ‘proper jobs’.

Connect with Sue:

Website: Sue Moorcroft, Author

Facebook: Sue Moorcroft Author

Twitter: @SueMoorcroft

Battle Beyond the Dolestars by Chris McCrudden #BookReview (@cmccrudden) @farragobooks @NetGalley #PublicationDay #BattlestarSuburbia #NetGalley

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Time for the Machine Republic to Kurl Up and Dye

It’s a year since the Battlestar Suburbia broke free from Earth and the human rebellion is hiding out in the asteroid belt. Their leader, Admiral Janice, is assembling a fleet she hopes can topple robot rule – except on Wednesday afternoons when she can do you a half head of highlights for 30 quid.

Janice has given Darren, now the reluctant captain of the teenage starship Polari, a critical mission, to open up a path back to Earth by bombing the Martian Gap Services. But when it goes wrong and Darren and his crew are chased deep into the solar system, Janice has only one hope left, back on Earth.

Here, sentient breadmaker Pamasonic Teffal is resisting the human–machine war the best way she knows how: by running for office. Until a distress signal from Janice persuades her to get her turbo-charged alter ego Pam Van Damme out of mothballs, that is…

Can Pam save the solar system and rescue Kelly from the clutches of her nemesis, the crazed smartphone-turned-cyborg, Sonny Erikzon?

Anyone who follows the blog will know the Battlestar Suburbia was one of my Top Ten Books of 2018 (you can read my review of the book here), so I am extra excited to be reviewing the sequel, Battle Beyond the Dolestars, on the blog today, which is its publication day. Happy publication day, Chris, and my thanks to the publisher for my digital copy of the book, received via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

There is always a risk with a sequel to a book that you have loved as much as I loved Battlestar Suburbia that it isn’t going to live up to expectations. The ‘difficult second book’ syndrome. I am delighted to report that any such fears are unfounded with this book, it was every bit as mad, funny and clever as the first one and I enjoyed every minute of revisiting the Battlestar Suburbia-iverse (NB. must think of a snappier reference.)

The first book was a such a hit with me because it blended together my love of the works of Douglas Adams, a nostalgic nod to Red Dwarf and really, really bad puns. I absolutely love a really, really bad pun. This book has all of that, plus a great interweaving of subtle, and less subtle, references to the total shambles that is our current political situation. I’m not quite sure how Chris does it, but all these things which should probably end up being a huge soupy mess actually blend together really well and flow like a well-oiled machine to make a book that it sharp, funny, clever and thought-provoking, all at the same time. Did I mention the truly terrible puns?

I really, really love the characters in these books and it was fascinating to see how they have all developed in the year since the last story ended. Janice, the reluctant leader of the resistance is finding that the demands of leadership weigh heavily on the shoulders of a hairdresser who hasn’t really had dealings with people for decades, except three ancient cyborgs formed from the bodies of cantankerous, elderly customers. She’s much rather be left alone in her salon, instead of being forced to try and out spies using ingenious hairdressing techniques.

Darren also hasn’t quite worked out how to fit comfortably into his new role as space hero, particularly the costuming part, but he’s doing his best. Pamasonic Teffal continued to be my favourite character, although she actually ends up being more than one, due to her schizophrenic approach to the resistance movement. Her escapades in the world of the social hostess particularly made me laugh. There were also some great new characters to get to grips with and the whole thing was just a joyous smorgasbord of silliness and science. Honestly, there hasn’t been anything quite like this available for a ,long time, it is such a clever blend of madness and brilliance, I really can’t sing the praises of the series enough.

I’m really hoping that this is not the last we see of the Battlestar Suburbia-iverse (damn, failed to improve on it), because I have really grown very fond of its quirkiness. Maybe Chris will do an Adams and give us a trilogy in five parts as an homage to a writer who has to have been an influence. But, even if this is the end, I really look forward to seeing what he produces next because he has a very unique way of looking at things that I am keen to see more of.

Battle Beyond the Dolestars is published today and you can buy a copy here.  The book is the sequel to Battlestar Suburbia, and you can get a copy of this first book in the series here.

About the Author

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Chris McCrudden was born in South Shields (no, he doesn’t know Cheryl) and has been, at various points in his life, a butcher’s boy, a burlesque dancer and a hand model for a giant V for Victory sign on Canary Wharf.

He now lives in London and, when not writing books, works in PR, so in many ways you could describe his life as a full-time fiction. If you like science fiction, graphs and gifs from RuPaul’s Drag Race you can follow him on Twitter for all three, sometimes at once @cmccrudden.

 

We Met In December by Rosie Curtis #BookReview #BlogTour (@karamin) @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K @NetGalley #WeMetInDecember #NetGalley #Winter

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What if you couldn’t get away from the one who got away?

Unlucky in love Jess is following her dream and moving to London. It’s December, and she’s taking a room in a crumbling Notting Hill house‐share with four strangers. On her first night Jess meets Alex, the guy sharing her floor. They don’t kiss under the mistletoe, but as far as Jess is concerned, the connection is instant. She lets herself imagine how their relationship will grow over the following year.

But when Jess returns from a Christmas holiday, she finds Alex has started dating someone else – beautiful Emma, who lives on the floor above them. Now Jess faces a year of bumping into (hell, sharing a bathroom with) the man of her dreams… and the woman of his.

Jess is determined to move on and survive the next twelve months… but love has a way of hampering even the best laid plans…

I am excited to be taking part in the blog tour for my first wintery book of the season, We Met In December by Rosie Curtis. My thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon Books for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my ecopy of the book, received via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

I thought this was going to be my first Christmas book of the year, but this actually contains only passing mentions of Christmas. However, it is a lovely book to read at this time of year, as it does feel very…autumnal…. to me, something to do with the change of the season heralding new beginnings and new challenges, which is one of the themes of the book.

We meet Jess and Alex as they are both undergoing big changes in their lives. Jess has moved from Bournemouth to London to start a new job in the city she has dreamed of living in. Alex has made a drastic career change, a decision that led to seismic changes elsewhere in his life that he is still coming to terms with. They both end up with rooms in the same house share and have an instant spark of attraction, but the path of true love never did run smooth, as we know.

This is a really, sweet, gentle and heart-warning story. it is told from the dual perspectives of Alex and Jess, and gives a great insight into how two people can get in a muddle when they don’t articulate their feelings and make assumptions about how the other person is feeling. It is a totally authentic portrayal of trying to negotiate the tricky world of romance, as anyone who has been young and besotted with be able to tell you. We’ve all been there, so the story is universal and everyone will be able to relate to parts of it.

The two main characters are both easy to like and relate to, so they carry the reader through the story effortlessly. I cared what happened to both of them, and really wanted things to work out, which is the make or break hook for a romance novel. This one worked really well. The story, whilst seeming ordinary, was very touching and true. Rosie also peopled the book with a host of other attractive characters to assist the plot along, the whole thing just meshed together perfectly.

The one thing that set this book a little apart from the mainstream of romance novels was its passionate portrayal of London. The author really brings the city to life, you can feel what a love story of London, as much as Jess and Alex, this is and she pretty much captured how I feel about the city. This was a London I recognised and love when I visit, and I really enjoyed experiencing a visit to the capital via the pages of this book. It did have a very ‘Richard Curtis movie’ feel about it, which no doubt was deliberate given the mention of Jess’s love for them, so if this is something that appeals to you, as it does to me, this is a great book for you to pick up.

This book was a very easy, pleasant and satisfying read that is perfect to carry you through the cooling days of autumn and towards winter. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a heart-warming romance to while away a few happy hours.

We Met In December is out now and you can get your copy by following this link.

To read some alternative reviews of the book, check out the rest of the stops on the tour:

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About the Author

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Rosie Curtis was born in the Highlands of Scotland, and now lives with her family in a 150 year old house by the sea in the north west of England. She loves travel, happy ever after stories, and daydreaming. Her favourite book character is a toss up between Anne Shirley and Jo March. Rosie also writes adult and teen fiction as Rachael Lucas.

Connect with Rosie:

Website: https://rachaellucas.com

Facebook: Rachel Lucas Writer

Twitter: @karamina

Instagram: @rachellucas

The First Time I Saw You by Emma Cooper #BookReview (@ItsEmmaCooper) @headlinepg @NetGalley @RNATweets #NetGalley #TheFirstTimeISawYou #FictionCafeWriters

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Lost:
Six-foot-two Irish man who answers to the name Samuel McLaughlin.
Has weak shins and enjoys show tunes.
If found, please return to Sophie Williams.

Before Sophie met Samuel she saw the world in grey.
Before Samuel met Sophie, he never believed in love at first sight.

When they first meet, something tells them they are meant to be.
But fate has other ideas.

Now they have lost each other and can’t see a way back.
But they’ve already changed each other’s lives in more ways than they ever expected…

I am delighted to be sharing my review today of The First Time I Saw You, by the author of one of my Top Ten Books of 2018, Emma Cooper. My thanks to Headline for my copy of the book, received via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

I am probably not alone when I say that I always approach follow up books to ones I have loved with some trepidation. When you have loved a book as much as I loved Emma’s debut, The Songs of Us, you want the next one to be just as good, but there is always the fear that it will not live up to the heights the last one achieved. I fell so in love with the story of Melody and her family and the book had such a huge impact on me, I really could not see how The First Time I Saw You was going to match it.

Well, Emma is a clever thing because the way she did it was to make this one feel completely different, but in a way that was still compelling and affecting. At least, that is how it felt to me. I found The Songs of Us extremely funny, whilst still being heart-breaking and plumbing real emotional depth. The First Time I Saw You is a horse of a different colour, with less of a comedy element but the same complex familial relationships, the same emotional rollercoaster and the same examination of personal relationships between two flawed people, put under strain.

It took me no time at all to fall in love with Samuel (it may have has something to do with  him being Irish, I may just have a little bit of a thing for Irish men). It took me a little longer to warm to Sophie. In fact, the situation was pretty much a reversal of the way I felt about the male and female characters in the last book, but this was very important for the story development. One of the most riveting parts of the plot for me was the development and softening of Sophie, the way she changes throughout the book and how she, and we, uncover the reasons she is the way she is, how her history has shaped her and how the events in the story shape her going forwards. Damaged characters, flawed characters, complicated characters – these are the things that gives books richness and depth and make them extraordinary.

Samuel’s plot arc, for me, was both devastating and uplifting. Because I fell in love with him from the first chapter and was totally on his side, what Emma did to him almost broke me, and seeing him go through his ordeal and claw his way back to where he wanted to be was excruciating. I lived every trial, every setback, every disappointment as if he were a real person I cared for deeply. I was willing him on, wanting him to get his happy ending, mentally begging Emma to help him. It is a rare gift for an author to be able to make characters come so alive and matter so much to readers in this way, and Emma totally has this. It is the thing I love most about her writing, what embeds it in my heart.

This book left me deeply affected, just as the last one did, but in a very different way. Despite the fact that this book turns out very differently (I am desperately trying to get my point across without spoiling either book for people who have not read them yet), in some ways it was a more difficult and melancholy read for me. That may not make any sense to people who have read them both, but it is how I felt. Some people may be disappointed that this book perhaps wasn’t as lighthearted as the previous novel. I say it shows bravery, diversity and a complexity of ability that makes Emma a talented author, who will continue to surprise and push her readers and I, for one, cannot wait to see what she does next.

The First Time I Saw You is challenging, heart-breaking and uplifting and will not disappoint anyone who recognises talent and enjoyed Emma’s previous book. New readers should grab both and indulge themselves in some excellent writing tout suite.

The First Time I Saw You is out now on Kindle and available for pre-order in audiobook and paperback and you can get a copy here.

About the Author

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Emma is a former teaching assistant, who lives in Shropshire, with her partner and four children. Her spare time consists of writing novels, drinking wine and watching box-sets with her partner of twenty-four years, who still makes her smile every day.

Emma has always wanted to be a writer – ever since her childhood, she’s been inventing characters (her favourite being her imaginary friend ‘Boot’) and is thrilled that she now gets to use this imagination to bring to life all of her creations.

The Songs of Us was inspired by Emma’s love of music and her ability to almost always embarrass herself, and her children, in the most mundane of situations. She was so fascinated by the idea of combining the two, that she began to write Melody’s story. Working full-time with a large family meant that Emma had to steal snippets of ‘spare’ time from her already chaotic and disorganised life; the majority of her novel was written during her lunchtime in a tiny school office. She never expected to fall so deeply in love with the King family and is overwhelmed that others feel the same.

She has three loves in life: reading, writing and her family…oh, and music, cheese, pizza, films – Maths is not one of her talents.

Connect with Emma:

Website: https://emmacooperauthor.wordpress.com

Facebook: Emma Cooper Author

Twitter: @ItsEmma Cooper

Instagram: @itsemmacooper