It Felt Like a Kiss – Sarra Manning

it felt like a kiss

Meet Ellie Cohen, one of the most perfect girls in London.

Ellie manages a swank Mayfair gallery, but it’s her life that’s a real work of art. Great job, really good hair, loyal friends, loving family. It’s only her succession of lame duck boyfriends that ruin the picture.

Oh, and the world-famous rock-star father she’s never met, who won’t even acknowledge her existence.

Then Ellie’s perfect life is smashed to pieces when her secret is sold to the highest bidder and her name, face (and pictures of her bottom) are splashed across the tabloids. Suddenly everyone thinks she’s a gold-digging, sex-crazy, famewhore.

Enter David Gold. Charming and handsome David Gold. On paper he’s even more perfect than Ellie, if only he wasn’t her father’s ruthlessly ambitious lawyer whose job is to manage the crisis – and her. He certainly doesn’t think that Ellie’s the innocent party and she doesn’t trust him at all. So why is it that every time they’re alone together, damage limitation is the last thing on their minds?”

Firstly I’d like to thank Madeline from Transworld Books for sending me an uncorrected proof copy to read and give an honest review.  I’m a big fan of Sarra Manning’s writing (my reviews can be found here) so I was extremely excited to receive her latest adult book and couldn’t wait to get started! When I realised that there were characters from a previous book included in the storyline I was even more excited about it.

The story began in Camden, London 1986 and this was something I hadn’t expected after reading the blurb.  Chapter one was also set in Camden but in the present day – it continued to switch between the two dates throughout the book and it didn’t take long for me to figure out the significance of it.

Getting the low-down on Ellie’s dating history made interesting reading and I enjoyed the moment that her flatmates, Tess and Lola, told her in a brutally honest way that she only seems to date ‘lame ducks’.  An eventful weekend at Glastonbury was the beginning of Ellie’s nightmare – I really liked Ellie so I found myself feeling incredibly sorry for her as she continuously seemed to get kicked in the teeth.

When David Gold was thrown into the equation I couldn’t wait to see how he and Ellie would manage to work together, especially seeing as they didn’t seem to get on very well.  Their banter was so entertaining and I would have loved to have read from David’s perspective because I often found myself wondering what he was thinking.

There were so many great parts of this book but some of my favourite moments included: a penis infestation at the art gallery, an ingenious escape from a hotel, an unexpected guest at a family dinner, a heated argument on the heath and a difficult TV appearance.  I also loved Ellie’s trip to Paris, the descriptions of everything were written so beautifully that I felt like I was there with her!

Towards the end there was a surprising turn of events that only succeeded in hurting Ellie even more, by this point I was feeling very protective of her character and wanted to jump into the book and sort it all out for her.

As always the writing was engaging and pulled me in with the humorous style that I have come to expect and love from this author, I found myself laughing out loud on many occasions and I felt sad when the book was coming to an end.

This was another fantastic read from a brilliant author, a MUST for all chicklit fans!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarra Manning started her writing career on the music paper, Melody Maker, then spent five years working on the legendary UK teen mag, J17, first as a writer, then as Entertainment Editor. Subsequently she edited teen fashion bible Ellegirl UK and the BBC’s What To Wear Magazine.

Sarra now writes for ELLE, Grazia, Red, InStyle, the Guardian, the Mail On Sunday’s You magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Stylist and the Sunday Telegraph’s Stella.  Her YA novels, which include Guitar Girl, Let’s Get Lost, the Diary Of A Crush trilogy and Nobody’s Girl have been translated into numerous languages.  Her first grown-up novel, Unsticky, was published in 2009, You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me in 2011 and Nine Uses for an Ex-Boyfriend in 2012.

To find out more about Sarra Manning click on the following links:

Website | Twitter | Blog

It Felt Like a Kiss was published by Corgi and can be purchased from The Book DepositoryAmazon or from most good book retailers.

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Unsticky – Sarra Manning

Unsticky

“Money makes the world go round – that’s what twenty-something Grace Reeves is learning.  Stuck in a grind where everyone’s ahead apart from her, she’s partied out, disillusioned, and massively in debt.  If she’s dumped by another rock-band wannabe, squashed by anyone else at her cut-throat fashion job, or chased by any more bailiffs, Grace suspects she’ll fall apart…

So when older, sexy, and above all, wealthy art-dealer Vaughn appears, she’s intrigued against her will.  Could she handle being a sugar daddy’s arm-candy?

Soon Grace is thrown into a world of money and privilege, at Vaughn’s beck and call in return for thousands of pounds in luxurious gifts, priceless clothes – and cash.  She’s out of her depth.  Where’s the line between acting the trophy girlfriend, and selling yourself for money?  And, more importantly, whatever happened to love?”

I bought this book because I had really enjoyed two other books by the same author (you can find my reviews here), they were both books that stayed in my mind long after I had finished reading them and I assumed I would enjoy this one just as much.  How wrong could I have been – this was even better and I couldn’t get enough of it!

The opening chapter set the scene well, it caught my attention fully and made me want to know more about Grace and the mysterious Vaughn.  As I read on I decided that I really liked Grace, she had been dealt some difficult blows and didn’t always handle her problems in a good way (hiding overdue credit card bills in a box and ignoring them is definitely not the best way forward), there was something about her that I liked though and I found myself hoping everything would work out well for her.

Vaughn was an interesting character, not only was he a sexy, rich man but he was also moody and bossy – I guessed there were parts of his life that had affected the way he treated and reacted to others. Grace referred to ‘Vaughn World’ a few times and I felt this summed it up perfectly – it was like he lived in a bubble (an expensive bubble!).  I became concerned over the whole agreement/contract idea but I was pleased to find out that it didn’t go down the route I began to think it would and it ended up being a fascinating part of the book for me.

Like the other adult books Sarra Manning has written, this was quite sexual but in a very good way – she really knows how to write sexy and write it well, it didn’t seem to overshadow the actual storyline in any way.

I loved the fashion side of the book, designer handbags, heels and sparkly dresses helped create the expensive feeling that ran throughout.  I found myself swept along by Grace’s crazy life, there were times when I laughed, times when my eyes filled with tears and times when I felt rather angry, this book caused a rollercoaster of emotions within me.

Towards the end there were some unexpected twists and turns so that I wasn’t sure which way it was going to go.  I just loved every minute of this book and even though there were 562 pages I still didn’t feel ready for it to end!  Grace and Vaughn are a couple who will stay in my mind and I would love to read more about what happened next for them.

This book was completely unputdownable, I would definitely recommend it and I look forward to reading more from this fantastic author.

Unsticky can be purchased from The Book DepositoryAmazon or from most good book retailers.

To find out more about Sarra Manning visit her website.

Nine Uses for an Ex-Boyfriend – Sarra Manning

“Hope Delafield hasn’t always had an easy life.  She has red hair and a temper to match, as her mother is constantly reminding her.  She can’t wear heels, is terrified of heights and being a primary school teacher isn’t exactly the job she dreamed of doing, especially when her class are stuck on the two times table.

At least Hope has Jack, and Jack is the God of boyfriends.  He’s sweet, kind, funny, has a killer smile, a cool job on a fashion magazine and he’s pretty (but in a manly way).  Hope knew that Jack was The One ever since their first kiss after the Youth Club Disco and thirteen years later, they’re still totally in love.  Totally.  And then Hope catches Jack kissing her best friend Susie…”

Having previously read and loved Sarra Manning’s You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me (review here) I was looking forward to reading more from her so I couldn’t wait to get stuck into this one.

I certainly wasn’t disappointed because this story had me at the very first sentence “It was obvious it wasn’t the first time that Hope’s boyfriend and her best friend had kissed”, I knew then that I’d struggle to put this book down.

Hope is a really interesting character, she’s hot headed and feisty which made for some interesting reading after an eventful dinner party changes her life forever.  She had so many ups and downs during the story that I really had no idea which way it was all going to go (even if I did have a strong opinion on which way I thought it should go).

I enjoyed reading about Hope’s job as a teacher of 6 year olds, being a mum of a child the same age I found it really interesting to see it from a teacher’s point of view and found myself laughing out loud as I pictured some of the funny classroom situations she found herself in.  This story had plenty of laugh out loud moments that weren’t to do with her school teaching though and it also had some more serious moments that made me feel desperately sad for Hope.

Wilson was a great character, a quiet mysterious type who I seemed to like and dislike in equal measures.  Jack annoyed me but that was probably because of the way he treated Hope and the rest of the characters were all likeable (yes even Susie) and seemed to fit well in the story.

This is a funny, sexy book that entertained me to the last word.

You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me – Sarra Manning

 

This book was an impulse buy – I hadn’t gone to buy this book in particular but I loved the pretty cover (I’m easily won over by a nice cover) and when I read the back I knew it was my kind of book.

It follows a girl called Neve, she is currently slimming down for a guy called William who is a friend that she fell for before he moved to LA.  Nothing had ever happened between them but she developed a huge crush on him at university and thought perhaps he might reciprocate her feelings if she lost weight.  He’s been gone for three years now and Neve has dropped quite a few dress sizes but to her it’s not enough, she still feels like a fat girl which just wouldn’t be good enough for the wonderful William.  The weight issue is something I could really relate to, I’ve always had insecurities about my weight and reading this story really did make me look twice at parts of myself that I thought were bigger than they actually are.

One night Neve’s younger sister Celia convinces her to go out to a club because she thinks Neve needs to practice being with a man before William returns from LA.  Neve feels really out of place and uncomfortable at the club but stays anyway and this is where she meets Max who is Celia’s work colleague.  Max is a wonderful character, he’s a sexy, cheeky jack-the-lad and after a few interesting twists in the story he ends up becoming Neve’s practice guy.

I laughed out loud so many times while I was reading this book and I really enjoyed joining Neve on her path of discovery. While I was able to predict the outcome of the story, I wasn’t able to predict the details of how it would happen and there were certainly quite a few surprises in store for me.

This is a fun, sexy story that had me captivated from start to finish, I’ll definitely be reading this one again.