Beyond The Lens (Lucy Mitchell book 1) by Hannah Ellis

beyond

Please note the cover image leads to a Universal Amazon link for the book

What they say:

Who says the camera never lies?

When twenty-six-year-old Lucy Mitchell loses her job, she
momentarily loses her mind too and agrees to take part in
a reality TV show. Before she knows it she’s jetting off to a
piece of paradise on a beautiful Spanish island.
Much to her surprise, Lucy makes new friends and has
the time of her life, even indulging in a behind-the-scenes
romance with a hunky cameraman.
Convinced the production will never make it to the screen,
Lucy is on cloud nine, but she soon finds that things are not always as they seem

 

The Review: You’ll remember I reviewed Friends Like These by Hannah Ellis (read review here  ) and My Kind Of Perfect (review here and extract here) and was thrilled with how warm and relatable her characters were, and how easy it was to fall into the story lines and accompany said characters on their journeys. This book, I’m happy to say, also ticked the box in this regard, plus so many more.

We meet Lucy Mitchell, shocked by the fact that she’s just lost her job, and in the mood to rebel just a little:

‘I’d never stolen anything before in my life. I couldn’t even bring myself to take a mint from the bowl beside the till at the hairdresser, so I was quite proud of the stapler in my handbag. At first, I’d considered returning it. I’d actually retraced my steps, sure I couldn’t live with the knowledge that I was basically a common thief.’

And that’s Lucy. Someone who has the hint of a rebel inside her that has tried to conform as much as possible. I warmed to Lucy straight away, as I did with most of the characters and smiled very early on in the book as Lucy realised that she was going to take her Mum’s, who’s motto surely is ‘seize the day,’ advice and do just that. I accompanied Lucy on holidays, again, as with Ms. Ellis’ other books, walking alongside her, grinning as events unfolded, and wondering where this journey would take her personally. I enjoyed the pacing, which ambled along in a book full of warm, light hearted banter, with friendships and romances blooming all around. There was everyday, easygoing action, as the contestants completed trials to get prizes, with comedy interspersed.

I must admit I then wondered what we were catching a glimpse of when hints of mystery were flashed at us. I knew that there was something coming, and was not prepared for the twist that arose. When I saw ‘part 2’ and things began to speed up, I was beyond surprised. The twist was great, and I began to question everyone ‘we’ had met, including Adam, which came as a surprise to me. This gave me my only issue, because although I had enjoyed the first part and was taken along with it, when the pacing picked up in part 2, I did wish that part 1 had been that bit more snappy and part 2 had been prolonged, just a little.

The characters were great, ones I look forward to meeting again, the romance was every gorgeous shade of perfect, and the comedy, warmth and mystery definitely satisfied.

Rating: 4/5

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Extract: My Kind Of Perfect (Book 3 in the Friends Like These series) by Hannah Ellis

MyKindOfPerfect ebook cover1

Hi everyone! Just wanted to share an extract from My Kind of Perfect,’ the third book in the ‘Friends Like These’ series by Hannah Ellis, which I reviewed yesterday (see review here.)

Please note, as always, that the cover image leads to a universal buy link for Amazon.

The Extract:

“Well, I won’t be dancing at work.” I managed to keep a straight face as I watched Jason shimmy up to Anne with some dirty dancing moves. “It’s very unprofessional if you ask me.”

“Told you!” Anne said to Jason.

“Told him what?” I asked with the distinct feeling that I was walking into a trap.

“I said there’s no way you’d dance. I know you so well. It’s okay! Some people aren’t as good at letting go as others.”

“I said I bet you had some moves,” Jason winked at me.

“I do, as it happens!”

“Prove it,” he challenged. The song ended, and as the next song kicked in, I reluctantly rose from my chair and began an awkward dance toward the middle of the room. Anne gave a little cheer and moved towards me, shaking her shoulders so that her sizeable bosom bounced in front of her. I did a little twirl in order to move away from her, and laughed at how ridiculous my morning was. I relaxed and found myself getting lost in the music, suddenly not caring that I looked like an absolute lunatic. I let myself go and it could easily have been a Saturday night on a sticky dance floor somewhere.

I laughed out loud as I stepped up onto the chair and then my desk. Technically, Anne and I shared a desk. It was one long table, which curved down the length of the room like a wave. Anne and Jason cheered me on and I danced my heart out, strutting my stuff along the entire length of the desk. I was flinging my arms around wildly when I noticed Greg standing in his office doorway, watching me. His arms were folded against his chest and one eyebrow was slightly raised. Greg was a serious sort of guy but he was also a big softie. I knew I wouldn’t be in any trouble with him but he could definitely put an end to the fun with just a look.

Jason moved to stop the music as Greg’s presence killed the atmosphere, and I was left feeling slightly awkward as I stood on the desk looking down. Greg’s stern expression didn’t change as he held out his hand and passed a five pound note to Jason who then turned to high-five Anne.

“He didn’t think I could get you to dance,” Jason beamed at me.

“I argued that you were far too professional to dance at work.” Greg remained unsmiling as he looked up at me. 

“It’s because I’m so dedicated that I did it!” I protested. “I was totally against the idea but Jason told me about the article about increased productivity…” I glared at Jason as I stepped down from the desk. “You made all that up didn’t you?”

I went back to my chair as he and Anne collapsed into fits of giggles.  

“I only did it to improve productivity,” I repeated to Greg who was still hovering.

“So you think you could be more productive?” he looked at me seriously.

“No! Of course not… but…” I realised I was digging myself a hole so I stopped talking and turned on my computer. “See, I’ve got work to do. I’m not standing around giggling like some people.” I glared at Anne and then looked up to see the corners of Greg’s mouth twitching before he disappeared into his office at the back of the shop.

“You were right,” Jason grinned at me. “You do have some moves!” He snorted as he re-enacted some of my dance moves, making Anne even more hysterical.

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My Kind Of Perfect (Book 3 in the Friends Like These series) by Hannah Ellis

MyKindOfPerfect ebook cover1.jpg

What they say:People-pleaser Marie has a lot to contend with:

• Her fiancé Brian is a workaholic who mysteriously snubs his family
• Her best friend Grace is being demanding and unreasonable
• Her wedding plans are non-existent
• She’s accidentally acquired a personal trainer

Despite all this, Marie manages to stay upbeat. Thankfully she has her Fat Club friends to keep her entertained with things like wedding crashing and piggyback races.

Can Marie fix her friendship with Grace, solve everyone’s problems and have a perfect wedding? What is the perfect wedding anyway?

Please note that although My Kind of Perfect is the third book in the Friends Like These series, it can also be read as a standalone novel.

The Review: There’s a lot of phrases thrown about in relation to books that people don’t think are literary-they’re fluffy, bubblegummy, not too taxing on the brain. You will find these descriptions in reviews that accompany a 2 or 3 star read, but I’ve always wondered why they’re in these reviews as opposed to a 4 or 5 star. I shake my head (and sometimes my fist;)) at such reviews. If I was to sit down after a long day the first thing I look for is as described above (fluffy, bubblegummy, not too taxing on the brain). This relates to both books and television. And why not? Gilmore Girls, Bridesmaids, Die Hard (s;)). THESE are not too taxing on the brain and they’re perfection! It means they’re comfortable, and you’ll sit through the whole thing, and THESE descriptions are how I’d describe My Kind Of Perfect (I got there in the end, sorry about that!)

Now this is book 3 of the ‘Friends like These’ series, and unfortunately I missed book 2 as it was a Christmas one (albeit a novella so I should really have read it, I may go back) and I was bogged down with Christmas books last year, but I did hugely enjoy book 1 (which I reviewed here- it’s called Friends Like These, appropriately enough!) and loved sitting down with all the characters I remembered so well. My Kind of Perfect revolves around Marie and her not very conventional group of friends and all the little binds they get themselves into. There are a fair few characters in this book, but it reads in such a way that you just follow it along, as if you’re walking  with the main character as she tries to figure why her fiance, Brian, isn’t moving that little bit faster to get her up the aisle. Add to this that her best friend, Grace, is having issues of her own and has decided she finds Marie a little bit too easy-going, leading to a few stand offs (which I really looked forward to and enjoyed), and I was happy out!

My Kind of Perfect is a hard one to describe, it’s a kooky, oddball type of chick lit, with a few  of the things that make chick lit, well, chick lit, thrown in- a whole room clapping when someone does something romantic, that sort of thing. It is more dialogue than descriptiveness , which works well, however, this means that a lot of the book reads like a series of madcap capers put together as opposed to a story that unfolds. I’ll admit now that I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as book 1 (just a smidgen less-imagine me holding my thumb and forefinger pretty much next to each other and this is what I mean), but, saying that, I looked forward to sitting down to it in the evening, was nervous that Brian was on the way out, mad about how Grace treated her best friend, and, all in all, took my time over it so I could just chill out and enjoy.

This book can be read as a stand alone or as part of the trilogy, but to be honest, if this is your type of book then you should go for all three (there’s an excerpt on Wednesday so you’ll see yourself or else check the ‘look inside’ option on Amazon). A very light read that was extremely enjoyable. Thanks to the author for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Note: As always clicking the image leads to a universal buy link for the book on Amazon.

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