Saturday, 6 December 2014

I'll Take New York - Miranda Dickinson

About the book...
The author of the Sunday Times bestselling Take a Look at Me Now, returns to New York with her most heart-warming, romantic story yet.

Have you ever given up on love?

When her boyfriend lets her down for the last time, Brooklyn bookshop owner Bea James makes a decision – no more. No more men, no more heartbreak, and no more pain.

Psychiatrist Jake Steinmann is making a new start too, leaving his broken marriage behind in San Francisco. From now on there'll just be one love in his life: New York.

At a party where they seem to be the only two singletons, Bea and Jake meet, and decide there’s just one thing for it. They will make a pact: no more relationships.

But the city has other plans . . . 
About the author...
Miranda Dickinson has always had a head full of stories. Coming from a creative family where stories and songs were always present, it was perhaps inevitable that she would end up adoring words. A songwriter for over 15 years, Miranda has successfully penned over thirty songs, delivering both live and recorded performances in a range of venues across the UK and Europe. Her first solo project album, About Time is due for release this year. To hear her music, visit - and be sure to leave a message if you like it!

Miranda began writing in earnest four years ago with her first novel, Coffee at Kowalski's - a romantic comedy set in New York's Upper West Side. This was spotted on HarperCollins' site for unpublished authors, at the end of 2008 and was released by Avon (part of HC) as Fairytale of New York on 12th November 2009. She has also written several short stories, scripts and novel excerpts, many of which are published on Miranda is also a regular contributor for writing a range of local interest articles for the Birmingham area and national film and festival reviews
My thoughts...
It gives me great pleasure to be part of this blog tour organised by the lovely Liv Wilson at Avon Books and what better day tour date could I have been given than today - as it's my birthday :)  I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review which I'm more than happy to give.  I've been book blogging and reviewing for just a year now and have read several of Miranda's previous books before I started reviewing and loved each of them so when the opportunity was offered to review I'll Take New York I jumped at the chance.

The two main characters Bea and Jake both are sworn singletons.  Bea because she is fed up of being dumped on by her now ex-boyfriend Otis and Jake because his wife suddenly decided to end their marriage for no apparent reason.  They meet at an engagement party, that appears to be solely attended by couples. Both of them trying, unsuccessfully to blend into the background.  They share a drink at the bar before both sharing their thoughts on couples and declaring a pact between themselves to stay single and avoid commitment at all costs.

What is there not to love about this book, firstly the cover, the bright jewel colours and New York skyline just begs you to pick it up and within the first few pages Miranda introduced Bea, a character that I instantly loved.  She is kind hearted and loving, always trying to see the good in others and always putting everyone before herself.  It would have been so easy to have portrayed her as weak and a bit of a doormat but the early impression I got was one of someone who was too nice for her own good and one that usually goes with the flow to keep the peace, a person who deserved happiness and to find her very own Prince Charming.

Enter Jake, he finds himself back in his hometown of New York from San Francisco, facing divorce after his wife decides to end their marriage out of the blue.  The last thing he wanted to do was to organise his brother and future sister-in-laws engagement party but does so with a fixed smile on his face only letting his guard down when finding himself sharing intimate thoughts on relationships with Bea.  Jake comes across as a lovely bloke who doesn't deserve the dish he'd been served and I instantly wished a happy ending for him.

This truly is a delicious book, that emphasises the power of friendship, trust and love born from it.  Each and every character was necessary and just added to the story.  I love the protective, almost grumpy ways of Russ, Bea's best friend and business partner who only wants the best for Bea but doesn't always manage to portray that.  Ed, Jake's brother and Rosie his fiancee are so loved up they want stars, lights and love for everyone and provide much support and friendship to both Jake and Bea.  Everyone seems to have an opinion to share, want it or not but the constant in Bea's life is her grandmother Dot who resurrects an old tradition just when Bea needs it most - the first introduction to Dot and the tradition brought a tear to my eye it was so sweet.

Anyway a pact has been made and a new friendship is in the making. Bea and Jake set out as friends to show each other their own favourite parts of New York.  A city that never sleeps and has it all, corners that buzz with life, others that offer calm and tranquility and everything in-between.  I just love New York and was eager to read about the various places that were important to them both but, without spoiling the story the first Sunday outing organised by Bea had me guessing out loud what Bea was going to show Jake and when I found out I wanted to hug her - my daughter dragged myself and husband to the very same spot on her first trip to NYC.  Whilst I planned my shopping and sightseeing my daughter buzzed with anticipation about visiting that place.

I loved everything about this book, a perfect read that warmed my heart and made me smile, the descriptions of New York were so vivid and accurate and the characters were so lovely, people I'd like as my friends.  Everything isn't all plain sailing though, there were a few what I'd call "shout at the tv' moments when I dearly hoped Jake and Bea would keep their heads and stay strong, not slip back into their old selves.  This is a gorgeous book, that'll make you sigh with contentment - a romantic, feel good book that doesn't follow the traditional format.  I loved it, loved it, loved it and now I want to book my next trip to NYC!

Thank you so much Miranda for a huge slice of escapism that has left me gagging for more. You have on your hands another successful novel that has hit just the right spot, like hot chocolate and marshmallows on a cold winters day.

A seriously well deserved 5/5*'s

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