After Wimbledon by Jennifer Gilby Roberts

wimbAfter 12 years on the pro. tennis tour and four years with her sort-of boyfriend, Lucy Bennett has had enough. She wants real life… and real love.

Her life, her decision. Right? Well, no one else seems to think so. With opinions on all sides, Lucy’s head is spinning. And she’s stumbling right into the arms of long-term crush and fellow player Sam. Shame her boyfriend – his arch-rival – would sooner smash a racquet over their heads than agree to a simple change of partners.

As the Wimbledon Championships play out, Lucy fights for her life on and off the courts. The question is: what will she be left with after Wimbledon?

This book has been at the top of my review request book list for a few months now but I kept having to push it back because of ARC deadline books, and the fact that I couldn’t wait to read some sequels (Frostbite, Scarlet, Insurgent), but in a way I’m glad it took me this long to read it.

Not because it was bad (at all!), but because After Wimbledon is what I’d refer to as a seasonal book. It was such a perfect read for a sunny May bank holiday, I raced through it in two sittings! And also because I’m a British tennis fan, Wimbledon is one of the highlights of my year, and there’s nothing like the first warm days of the year to get me in the mood for that…so waiting a bit longer to start this book really paid off. I am well and truly excited for the summer now!

I think Lucy Bennett is a protagonist that most female twenty-somethings can relate to. She’s approaching thirty and having a bit of a premature mid-life crisis. Tennis is her life, but she’s had enough. Even Wimbledon, the greatest championship of all (even if I do say so myself) has lost its magic.

And it’s not just her career, she’s in a relationship that seems to be going nowhere, and the more she thinks about it, the more she realises how wrong they are for each other.

Enter Sam, who is everything Joe, the current (rubbish) boyfriend isn’t. Not only is he swoon-worthy, and Lucy’s long-term crush, but he too is planning to retire from pro tennis, and coach at Lucy’s parents Tennis club.

I couldn’t help but compare this book to the film Wimbledon, which isn’t a bad thing as it’s one of my guilty pleasure films! I loved the growing relationship between Lucy and Sam, and the drama that them spending more time together created, given that he is her boyfriend’s main rival on the tennis tour. And from my albeit limited knowledge, I thought it portrayed quite a realistic view of life as a professional tennis player. I was especially impressed with Roberts’ simple but effective description of Lucy’s matches and of Wimbledon itself.

That being said, there is also a lot to like about this book if you’re not so keen on tennis. The romance was sweet but not too cliched, and I liked that there were enough complications to keep the story interesting. The cast of characters surrounding Lucy are diverse, and all added something to the story – I especially liked Libby the journalist. And, I couldn’t fault the writing, it’s such an enjoyable read!

I’m totally excited for Wimbledon to start now. Roll on June!

unicorn rating 4

Disclosure?: Yep, I received a copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an HONEST review
Title: After Wimbledon
Author: Jennifer Gilby Roberts
Details: Kindle; Paperback; 264 pages
Published: December 4th 2013 by Createspace (first published November 29th 2013)
My Rating: 4/5

If you like the sound of this, you can also read Jennifer’s inspiration behind the novel on a guest post she did for my blog earlier in the year HERE.

Blog Take-Over!

Jennifer Gilby Roberts: The Inspiration behind her latest novel After Wimbledon

Did I ever mention that I love tennis? Oh I thought so…so you'll understand how thrilled I am to hand over my blog today to Jennifer Gilby Roberts, author of Tennis Romance, After Wimbledon.

Continue reading for Giveaway details!

The Inspiration Behind After Wimbledon

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Naturally, for a novel by an English writer about the Wimbledon tennis tournament, After Wimbledon was born in Australia. For the tennis fans: it is the Laura Robson of chick lit novels.

I was taking some time out after finishing my degree. Having fried my brain by studying physics, a light-hearted romance was all I was good for. I arrived in Melbourne halfway through the Australian Open and spent most of the next week hanging out in Fed Square watching the action on their big screen. That was fabulous because it was right in the middle of the city and anyone could just wander down. I even sat in the Rod Laver Arena (the equivalent of Centre Court) for one day. Since I was travelling alone, I managed to grab an odd seat right in the front row. I heard Roger Federer swear, that’s how close I was. (RFed swears!? I am shocked!)

At the same time, I was struggling with a decision. I’d been dating someone for a couple of years before I went away and had left him back home. In a twist on the classic tale, he was sure we were for keeps and I was uncertain. I was only 23 when we started dating and wasn’t expecting to get serious. Marriage was something for my thirties, if it happened at all. One morning, in a shower stall at the hostel, I broke it off over the phone. It was Australia Day, but the fireworks seemed rather out-of-place.

A few weeks later, I decided it was time to write another novel. My first, The Dr Pepper Prophecies, had been completed five years earlier. Suddenly, I had something to write about again: tennis and major life confusion. And out of those things After Wimbledon was born. The first draft contained much angst. I reckon I cut out about 30,000 words to get to the final version. I’m just counting that bit as therapy. It’s a much better read without it!

And the boyfriend I mentioned? Reader, I married him. Only happy endings here…

After Wimbledon

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After 12 years on the pro. tennis tour and four years with her sort-of boyfriend, Lucy Bennett has had enough. She wants real life… and real love.

Her life, her decision. Right? Well, no one else seems to think so. With opinions on all sides, Lucy’s head is spinning. And she’s stumbling right into the arms of long-term crush and fellow player Sam. Shame her boyfriend – his arch-rival – would sooner smash a racquet over their heads than agree to a simple change of partners.

As the Wimbledon Championships play out, Lucy fights for her life on and off the courts. The question is: what will she be left with after Wimbledon?

After Wimbledon is available on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, other Amazon sites and Barnes & Noble

Giveaway!

You can win an e-copy of After Wimbledon, and many other great ebooks, in the Chick Lit Ebook Giveaway on Jennifer Gilby Roberts’ blog, 1-14 March 2014.

Find Jennifer Gilby Roberts on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LibraryThing, Wattpad and Amazon.

I can’t wait to read this, look out for my review in next fortnight. Huge thanks to Jennifer!

An Alcoholic, a Teashop and an Angry Vampire Ex!

Kissing with Fangs by Ashlyn Chase

fangs Claudia Fletcher has her MBA and a stellar resume, so when the bar she manages burns down, she could easily move on to bigger and better things. But something about the bar owner, Anthony Cross makes it impossible to leave.

Anthony has never let on to the general public that he’s a vampire, and most of his staff members have no idea Boston Uncommon was a safe gathering place for supernaturals of all kinds. Now that it’s nothing but ash, the tentative peace among warring factions is starting to crumble. The last thing he wants to do is put Claudia in danger, but he also knows there’s no way he can let her go…

Anyone who knows me will probably be surprised when I say that I’ve never actually read any Vampire Erotica before. No, seriously. Unless you include Slash Fiction…which I don’t! 😉 So when I saw this on NetGalley I thought I’d give it a go, and although I didn’t LOVE LOVE it, I’m glad I did.

The story isn’t bad, and the writing isn’t bad either, it’s just a bit too…shallow…for my liking.

Vampire meets girl, girl is an alcoholic bar manager so Vampire coverts bar into teashop. Vampire’s Vampire ex is a crazy stalker bitch who doesn’t like girl very much. ‘Paranormals’ are being experimented on, so Vampire and his ‘Para’ friends must stop them which is quite difficult when all he wants to do is have his wicked way with girl.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of light-hearted trashy lit now and again, and this did satisfy that but I wanted more. More than anything, I wanted Anthony to be a better, hotter vampire. I mean he seemed pretty good at Teh Sex, but he was a lame vampire. There was no mystery or danger about him, in fact, if I hadn’t been told, I wouldn’t have believed he was a vampire at all. He didn’t drink anyone’s blood, he didn’t have any bloodlust, and he didn’t even see fit to do away with his stalker ex who was threatening to kill his ‘beloved’. Rubbish.

But, I did enjoy parts of Kissing with Fangs. It was a quick read with some nice touches (err hello, Merman!) and I definitely wouldn’t be put off reading more in the series/from the author (just less of the ‘she worried her lip’ please!).

unicorn rating 2

Disclosure?: I received an Advanced Review Copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley. Many Thanks!
Title: Kissing With Fangs
Author: Ashlyn Chase
Details: Paperback, e-book, 384 pages
Expected publication: March 4th 2014 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
My Rating: 2/5

Come With Me Now on a Journey Through Time & Space: The Corporeal Pull by Sara B. Gauldin

19046365The Corporeal Pull is a story of love that transcends both time and the mortal plane. Terra, a guiding spirit of the Tweens, was content to manage her corporeal charges on Earth and help them towards their divine purpose until she was faced with Liam. The strange attraction she feels towards this lone entity forces her to reexamine the narrow perspective she has held for centuries. Suddenly, the relevance of soul mates is thrust into the forefront of her thoughts, and she cannot deny their relevance.

When Terra realizes that Liam’s intended path is one of incomprehensible suffering in the mortal world, it is already too late. She has let herself become entangled in his fate. Terra is faced with an impossible quandary; how can she knowingly send her love to a human lifetime where he is meant to be sacrificed to slow the flow of evil in the world? She realizes that without Liam, her immortal existence will become one of never-ending pain. If Liam cannot continue his existence; than neither will she. Things do not go according to her plan!

This epic tale of good versus evil seeks to answer the age-old question of “why me” that all earth-bound travelers must eventually ask about their own life experiences. This action-packed love story will invite you in and leave you breathless!

Woah.

I can honestly say I’ve never read anything quite like this before.

The Corporeal Pull is is two parts Fantasy, one part Romance and a whole lot more. It is the kind of book that throws questions at you left, right and center and invites you to think about the world and our very existence in ways you never have before.

Terra (I love that name btw) is an immortal spirit in charge of guiding corporeal entities through their transformation into a life on earth. It’s also Terra’s job to follow her ‘charges’ lives and keep them on the path they are destined for, no matter how good, or bad that path may be.

Enter Liam.

The start of this book was so promising I found myself highlighting passages ferociously, knowing that I’d want to remember them. I found the way Gauldin explores the themes of creationism, divine intervention and soul mates in a Supernatural/Fantasy setting unique and thought-provoking.

However, the romance between Terra and Liam unfortunately didn’t work for me which put a bit of a dampener on an otherwise great story. It was a bit of an Insta-love thing going-on, which was probably intentional given the emphasis on them as soul mates but I couldn’t muster any emotional connection with them, which is a shame.

The Corporeal Pull is such an ambitious book and I’m glad I read it even if the romance element was a let down. Being a Young Adult/Fantasy fan, it’s not everyday you come across a book that makes you think about your own existence and spirituality. It’s full of big ideas: Reincarnation, love transcending mortality, the origins of Evil to name a few, so it’s hard not to recommend it despite some shortcomings.

Here are a few of the passages I highlighted to whet your appetite:

From a mortal perspective, an individual has always been destined to become the person that they are. It seems evident to those on Earth that a person’s soul and body belong together. They seem predestined for one another; two parts of a whole. In fact, this could not be further from the truth.”

“The Scourge comes in many forms. It is the evil force that spreads acts of hate and depravity among mankind. It uses mortal shortcomings and physical pitfalls to trick charges into becoming willing participants.”

All sentient beings are created, except for ‘The One’. He has no beginning and no end. Therefore he was not created, he is as he always has been and will be. The rest of us have a starting line to cross.”

unicorn rating 3

Disclosure: I received a copy from the Author in exchange for an HONEST review.
Title: The Corporeal Pull
Author: Sara B. Gauldin
Details: E-Book, 288 pages
Publication Date: November 29th 2013
My Rating: 3/5 (More of a 3.5 if I could bring myself to chop a unicorn in half)

WWW Wednesday (18/12/2013)

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Happy Wednesday guys! As always, thanks to Should Be Reading for hosting. Click the image to visit.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

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Currently Reading: I’m still reading A Breath of Frost but almost finished. It has been good in places but it hasn’t really kept my attention to be honest.

Recently Finished: Starry Night. When I was about 150 pgs into A Breath of Frost I made the mistake of picking this up. I couldn’t put it down – it was just what I needed, a fluffy, cheesy, festive read. Review

Up Next:The Night Before Christmas – another fluffy cheesy festive read. I don’t mean that in a disparaging way by the way, I love these kind of books! Good fluff!

Leave a link to your post so I can check them out!

*Fangirl Alert* The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass

I can’t lie, when I saw this last night I did a proper fangirl squeal. WANT. NOW!

Why is it not out until May???

Oh You Pretty Thing...
Oh You Pretty Thing…

Title: The One
Author: Kiera Cass
Expected Publication: May 6th 2014 by HarperTeen

The Selection changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. And now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen.

America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.

From the very first page of The Selection, this #1 New York Times bestselling series has captured readers’ hearts and swept them away on a captivating journey… Now, in The One, Kiera Cass delivers a satisfying and unforgettable conclusion that will keep readers sighing over this electrifying fairy-tale long after the final page is turned.

Kiera has also announced that The Selection Stories comprising of novellas The Prince (The Selection 0.5 previously released online only), and new story The Guard (2.5) will be released on the 4th February in paperback.

Worthy of another squeal, I feel.

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I will stop now.

Source: Goodreads. Click the images to visit!

Coming Up: Daughter of Camelot (Empire of Shadows #1)

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Title: Daughter of Camelot (Empire of Shadows #1)
Author: Glynis Cooney
Details: Paperback, 421 pages
Expected Publication: September 24th 2013 by Mabon Publishing

Filled with terrific suspense and budding romance, Daughter of Camelot is a fast paced adventure set against the turmoil at the end of the Arthurian era.

Raised in the shadow of a fort dedicated to training Knights of the Round Table, Deirdre thirsts for adventure.

Instead, at 14, she is sent to court to learn the etiquette and talents of a young woman.

Court life, however, is more fraught with danger than she expected, and Deirdre finds herself entangled in a deadly conspiracy that stretches deep into the very heart of Camelot.

All Deirdre thought she knew and believed in—loyalty, love, bravery—is challenged when she embarks on a quest to defy Fate and save the King.

Synopsis & Image from Goodreads. Click the image to fly there.