Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Guestbook by Holly Martin

I have enjoyed reading Holly Martin’s One Hundred Proposals, One Hundred Christmas Proposals, as well as Tied Up With Love (Holly Martin wrote this book under her pen name, Amelia Thorne) that I did not hesitate to buy The Guestbook on Amazon.

Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:

The Guestbook coverWelcome to Willow Cottage – throw open the shutters, let in the sea breeze and make yourself completely at home. Oh, and please do leave a comment in the Guestbook!

As landlady of Willow Cottage, the young widow Annie Butterworth is always on hand with tea, sympathy or strong Norfolk cider – whatever her colourful array of guests require. A flick through the messages in the leather-bound cottage guestbook gives a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of everyone who passes through her doors.

This includes Annie herself – especially now celebrity crime writer Oliver Black, is back in town. He might grace the covers of gossip magazines with a different glamorous supermodel draped on his arm every week, but to Annie, he’s always just been Olly, the man who Annie shared her first kiss with.

Through the pages of the Guestbook Annie and Olly, along with all the guests that arrive at the seaside retreat, struggle with love, loss, mystery, joy, happiness, guilt…and the odd spot of naked rambling!

Forget sending postcards saying wish you were here – one visit to Willow Cottage and you’ll wish you could stay forever.

The title of the book says it all. The content and the way the story is written vividly represent what a guestbook is all about. Visitors of Willow Cottage can write anything they want to express their thoughts and feelings about their experiences during their stay. Annie, then, would sometimes comment back or leave messages for the intended visitor to read. The guestbook eventually becomes a message note to some, while it also becomes a diary to others.

Turning the book to its first page makes me feel anxious at first. While the premise of the story looks promising, this is the first time I encounter a book with this kind of format. I find myself worrying how Holly Martin would deliver the story well – maintaining the consistency in the plotline while the story is being executed differently and written in multiple points of view.

The first few pages have been a slow start. I’m having a hard time getting into the story as I feel distant to the main characters. It is only after reading through the guestbook entries that I get to witness the growing relationship between Annie and Oliver. I guess I am looking for a show more than just telling. I want to be more involved than being just a spectator. Nevertheless, as I read through the book, I slowly get the hang of it and begin to enjoy the story. The people who write in the guestbook have their fair share of vulnerabilities and happiness. Despite expressing their innermost feelings and personal matters on a guestbook, it has been a fun experience to be allowed to get a glimpse of their lives. The Guestbook provides readers an opportunity to become open-minded as the entries show different opinions from people of various ages – be it old or young, or somewhere in between.

I appreciate the fact that Holly Martin manages to portray Annie’s character well and although her struggles and conflicts are shown in the book, her character development could’ve been progressed further. I yearn to be in Annie and Oliver’s minds and to be able to feel their emotions. On the other hand, I still enjoy how the other people perceive the couple as they encounter things beyond their expectations. Holly Martin’s impressive narration through the eyes of diversified characters has me laughing at one point and rolling my eyes the next. The Guestbook offers its readers a mixture of sadness, anger, humor, and giddiness. Surprisingly, I end up enjoying the book more than I expected. This will not be the last Holly Martin book I’ll read.


Tied Up With Love by Amelia Thorne

I’d seen this book being promoted in Twitter for quite some time. After checking the book description and reviews, I was convinced by the high praises it received and decided to buy a Kindle edition on Amazon.

Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:

Tied Up With Love cover‘We’re from KMW. Do exactly as you’re told and you won’t get hurt…’

Being grabbed off the street, blind folded, tied up and thrown into a van was not what Izzy expected to happen when she stepped out the door that morning. But when an accidental kidnapping at the hands of the sexy Ethan Chase and his ‘Kidnap My Wife’ sexual fantasy business leads to just that, Izzy seizes the chance to turn her misfortune into a brilliant new job opportunity…

Since then, life has been one big tangle of new client meetings, fake kidnapping pick-ups, and handling the temperamental, but drop dead gorgeous ‘bad boy’ Mr Chase. But, as liberating as being tied up in Ethan’s life is, Izzy knows the time is fast approaching when she must make some decisions and take charge of her future. The only question is: will Ethan allow himself to be a part of it?

At the beginning of the story, I’m already impressed by Amelia Thorne’s narration of a kidnapping scenario. She manages to capture the feelings Izzy or any person would’ve felt during the moment of capture. The fear is there and the chance for escape is slim. But of course, this is not a normal kidnapping case being executed by the characters. Amelia Thorne adds an entertaining twist that will make this book more fun and enjoyable to read.

The concept of Kidnap My Wife may seem disturbing at first, but both parties involved have already been oriented and the task has been planned out with the knowledge of the mastermind and the “victim”. This type of business clearly caters to couples who wish to spice up their love and sex lives. While this is in play, Ties Up With Love centers on the undeniable attraction between Ethan Chase and Izzy.

Ethan and Izzy have created a roller coaster reading experience for me. Amelia Thorne portrays them with many imperfections which allow them to reveal their vulnerabilities at times when all seem to be perfect already. The love-hate Ethan and Izzy feel for one another is one heck of a ride. While there are times when I wish to slap them to get some sense out of them, I still find myself rooting for their happy ending. The emotions in the book are at their extremes. I could feel the love and affection pouring out of the main characters and at the same time, the boiling atmosphere when they’re having numerous arguments and giving each other a cold shoulder. The complexity of their characterization makes them even more realistic and I like the fact that Amelia Thorne allows room for the characters to grow as the story progresses. I have also grown fond of the supporting characters as they have their fare share of interesting and loving personalities.

Overall, Tied Up With Love is a highly entertaining read full of sexy scenes, humor, and heartfelt feelings coming from the characters. This book has my eyes glued to it as I anticipate what will happen next. Be it on the bus or on the plane, nothing keeps me from pulling out my iPad Mini to read the book. Amelia Thorne definitely delivers the story well. Tied Up With Love is a perfect escape from my stressful schedule. This certainly does not disappoint.