Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Review: This is Now - Maggie Gilbert

This Is NowThis Is Now by Maggie Gilbert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley.

The first thing that interested me about this book is the title. It reminded me of SE Hinton's That Was Then, This Is Now, and there are some similarities, in that the main character in both books are trying to escape from the poverty and hopelessness that surround them and make something more of their lives.

The book is billed as a Cinderella story, and that it is, although it bears far more resemblance to another Cinderella inspired story, Pretty Woman. The author even makes mention of the film, and there is more than one scene that is immediately reminiscent of Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.

Jess and her family live in a run down area of Sydney. The type of place you wouldn't want to leave your car for fear of it being pinched, and where people driving slowly past the houses are probably looking to do a drug deal. She knows only to buy drinks in bottles in nightclubs, and not to put them down for fear of having them tampered with. She is a very real and down to earth character.

Not content with the life her brothers and mother seem to have settled on for her, Jess is going to TAFE (like a community college) in order to get her high school certificate in the hope of going to university and having a real career.

On a night out with her sort-of-friend Anna, Jess meets Anna's brother, Sebastien. Jess is instantly struck by Sebastien's model looks and prodigious talent. Sebastien seems just as enamoured with Jess, but she can't believe he honestly feels the same way; after all, he's rich beyond her dreams, what could he possibly see in her?

Gilbert creates a truly 3-dimensional character in Jess. Not all of the characters are so well developed. The romance between Jess and Sebastien develops rather predictably, but it's no less enjoyable for that. There are some kissing scenes that will make you blush. These two are hot together. And who doesn't love a cello? That is one sexy instrument.

Inevitably class differences threaten to get in the way of their relationship, and it looks like Jess might end up working in her friend's hairdressing salon after all, rather than pursuing her dream of becoming an architect. Will their love be enough to overcome the obstacles between them?

This is Now is quite different from most of the New Adult titles out there. It's refreshing to get a uniquely Australian take on the genre. Jess is no virginal college student, she's a street-smart young woman trying to escape the benefits trap her family is stuck in. Her journey is interesting enough to keep you turning pages to find out whether she eventually prevails.

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Review: The Wrong Girl - Zoe Foster

The Wrong GirlThe Wrong Girl by Zoe Foster
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Published Feb 26th 2014 by Penguin Books Australia

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.

Lily produces a cooking segment on morning television. She lives with a supermodel which means she feels frumpy and inadequate a lot of the time. She drinks, swears lots, and occasionally falls into bed with the wrong person. The latter leads to Lily and her flatmate, Simone, making a pact to swear off men for six months. A guy-detox. It should be easy for Lily, the only man in her life is Jack, the new, highly irritating chef they’ve hired for her segment and she can’t stand him. Although he does seem to be growing on her. Then Simone meets someone at her whole foods store and the detox is off. When this handsome foodie turns out to be Jack, Lily’s Jack, she is faced with a dilemma. Simone and Jack just don’t seem right for each other, but she can’t steal her best friend’s boyfriend, and working with Jack is getting increasingly uncomfortable. Will Jack see that Lily really is the right girl for him?

Zoe Foster has created a smart and funny novel which is a pleasure to read. Lily is witty and likeable and it’s easy to relate to her. I think most people at one time or another have had a crush on a friend’s boyfriend or a colleague. Foster has recreated those uncomfortable moments really well. There were times when I found myself cringing for Lily when Simone and Jack were together. I also like that the book is set in Sydney. I haven’t read a lot of contemporary adult fiction set in Australia, and it’s a refreshing change from the mountains of London based chicklit that seem to dominate women’s fiction.

The Wrong Girl is an enjoyable, light read that will leave you with a smile and a warm glow.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Entangled turns 3.

Entangled launched as an online only imprint publishing romance titles and have expanded to produce some excellent books across several genres, including teen and young adult. They've been kind enough to supply me with a few review copies over the years, so I was very pleased to be able to help them celebrate their birthday.

The Entangled team have provided the following post. Enjoy!

Entangled is turning 3!

Entangled launched in 2011 and we’re celebrating! Two years ago this February, we launched our first category imprint with Indulgence. The Marriage Bargain, one of our first releases in Indulgence, went on to be one of the top selling books of 2012 and catapulted Jennifer Probst to the USA Today and NY Times bestseller lists.  Since then, we’ve grown to have six category romance imprints, as well as single title books for teens and adults in our Select, Edge, and Teen imprints, and have had multiple USA Today and NY Times bestsellers.  We’re in our third year and it’s been a wild ride, and it’s just the beginning.

What better month to begin celebrating our third year than February?

We’re celebrating!  All month long, our February new releases, as well as select titles on our Steals and Deals page, are just 99 cents! (USD)

Yes, you read that right. Every new release will be offered at an introductory price of just 99 cents!

Be sure to join our big Facebook celebration from February 24th-28th with scavenger hunts, authors, games, gossip, and lots of fun! 

Explore our new website and prepare to find romance, because we have something for everyone and join our“Steals and Deals” newsletter.

More after the jump!!