Reviews

Reviews at Amazon.com
Reviews on Amazon are rated by stars on a scale of 1 – 5
New Beginnings

- by Mardy Grzegorek, 5 September 2010 (4 ★)
This book is fiction but like so many of us who keep journals, it is a peek into someone elses life. Done in journal or blog form, it is real life on the page. Chapters are dated and they read quite fast. That could be because the story is so good you just fly thru it.
We have all loved someone unattainable. Unfortunate circumstances has made Tashas Love for Jamie a reality. Day by day you see the slow path to love. It’s not hearts and flowers. Filled with humor It also shows quiet frustration, awkward moments and painful truths.
The one thing I wish I could read is Jamies side. To peek inside and see the inner workings of his mind as he waded thru love, grief, and then love again.
I am recommending this to all my fellow readers. You will cheer for Tasha and can’t wait to see if there will be more from this author.

- by Kenneth Wayne, 20 February 2011 (4 ★)
Lusting after the boss. A time-honored affair. I like the focus on the blog. This is timely and written with wit and style. I could get into Tasha’s mind almost immediately. She has gone crazy for Jamie, but seems a little too obsessed about him when he has problems with his daughter, who later dies. The emotions in this are very strong. I like what I’ve read, so thought I would share my thoughts. This is well worth the purchase. I love independent literature.

- by T Hewtson Le Roux, 9 June 2011 (5 ★)
Told in diary form, this is the story of Tasha who is in love (or lust) with the unobtainable Jamie – unobtainable in that he is already married, has a daughter, and is an all round happy family man.

When Jamie’s wife dies, he turns to Tasha as one of his reliable friends to help him through his pain and grief.

Tasha, of course, wants to be rather more than his friend, which is the classic ‘will-they won’t they?’ of the story. Can Jamie leave his beloved wife Helen behind and live and love again and, if so, will it be with Tasha?

In many ways this is a very similar to Jillian Brookes-Ward’s Saving Nathaniel where the housekeeper Megan guides Nathaniel through his grieving period, and both books also have some fairly sizzling scenes. The difference is that ‘Saving Nathaniel’ places more emphasis on Nathaniel’s torture, whereas here Tasha is at the centre of the story.

Either way, both books are worth reading, ‘New Begiinings’ when you are in a more lighthearted mood, ‘Saving Nathaniel’ when you want a more gruelling experience.

- by Kristen Stone, 28 June 2011 (5 ★)
I’ve always read action books before and have avoided anything to do with romance. But now I feel maybe I’ve been missing out. I’ve never kept a diary, struggle to understand what blogging is all about, but this book tells us a story by the means of very personal thoughts and feelings. It takes you on a journey, from unrequited love for someone out of reach, to fulfilment via loss, tragedy and compassion. Tasha tells her story by means of a diary/blog (to me it seemed more like a diary but typed on a computer than a blog as she had no intention of sharing it with anyone, but that’s beside the point). The writing and format are consistent throughout. I have read other books that are meant to be journals but somehow they slip into prose. You feel for her and for Jamie, the man she loves but who is so out of reach. The torments he goes through seem believable and very real. Tasha’s support for him make you wish you had a friend like that. After reading this I no longer shy away from the title ‘Romance’. This story is full of strength and hope.

- by Soooz Burke, 29 June 2011 (5 ★)
I love the format that author Joanna Neild uses here. Dated blog entries that take the reader into Tasha’s life, and by extension the lives of all those that touch her own.

The author doesn’t make any attempt to paint Tasha as perfect, thank God for that. Tasha is very real, she is funny, kind, quirky and totally obsessed with Jamie.

Jamie is in her mind walking perfection. Wonderful to look at, sense of humor, great dresser, smells great, and an all round nice guy, he rings the lust chimes bigtime in Tasha. Only one problem…The wonderful Jamie is very married, has a daughter (Beth) who is disabled and appears to totally adore his wife, Helen. So for Tasha its unrequited lust/love from a distance. Her blog entries cover the squirming embarrassment she experiences every time Jamie comes to within 3 feet of her. The author allows us to see just how obsessed, and consequently how vulnerable Tasha is where Jamie is concerned.

Jamie’s wife Helen is killed in a car accident, and Tasha’s world is thrown into chaos right along with his; her kind nature asserts itself, and without the intention of becoming totally necessary in his life; sadly she allows herself to become exactly that.

This book is consumable in one sitting, such is the writers voice. Fast pacing and painfully real characterizations grab the reader by the throat, and we become willing voyeurs on Tasha’s emotional journey; and Jamie’s.

I will not spoil this for the reader, endings are not always that…New Beginnings is an intriguing journey into the heart and mind of a young woman in love, I am so pleased I took this journey with the author. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys not just romance, but clever and accurate characterizations.
Soooz has also posted her review on her own blog, Soooz Says Stuff

- by Sheila M Belshaw, 14 July 2011 (5 ★)
This book ruined my day for anything else. I just couldn’t stop reading it. Nield’s compelling writing style kept my eyes glued to the text. I just had to keep going.

The blog/diary format makes the story appear before your eyes with immediacy and reality. It’s hard to believe it is fiction, and you can’t help empathising with the main character every inch of the way.

I laughed and I even cried. The handsome man Tasha lusts after is married. He has a daughter. When his wife dies, Tasha’s dilemma is doubled. I won’t spoil it for you, but if you like romance or chick-lit that is also brilliantly written, this book is for you.

- by Angelus Kitty, 10 August 2011 (5 ★)
I am not a romance, chick-lit reader, far from it. However, this book grabbed me from the word “go,” and I couldn’t put it down until the very end.

Maybe it’s the blog/diary format, maybe it’s the events in it, maybe maybe… I don’t care. “New Beginnings” is a great book. The characters are very engaging (if you’re like me and you get involved in what you’re reading, you’ll feel like giving some of them a good slap at times), the story is well told and, more than anything, it’s plausible. Something like this can happen.

In short, Tasha is in love with her coworker Jamie, a wonderful man who happens to be married and have a young child. His world turns upside down when his wife dies in an accident, and Tasha and her coworkers (mostly Ben, a fabulous character) rally around to help Jamie cope with life as a widower. I won’t spoil it for you, but things go down some unexpected twists and turns, some of them sizzling hot.

So get the book. Trust me, it’ll be worth your while.

- by Leri, 12 June 2013 (5 ★)
Really struggled to put this book down! Partly I think because of the way it isn’t written in chapters but blog entries – and it just flows and you can’t see the harm of just reading a little bit more …
I loved the being in Tasha’s head and seeing it all through her eyes. Loved Jamie, and found all he had to go through horrendous. Maybe at times it may have been nice to see inside his head too. But this was the way the author chose to tell the tale and I enjoyed both the story and the way in which it was told :-)

Source: Amazon.com

Reviews at Amazon.co.uk
Reviews on Amazon are rated by stars on a scale of 1 – 5

- by Joyce Sumner, 16 June 2011 (5 ★)
I was dubious about this book, despite high recommendations from a work colleague. I don’t often read romance, and I reluctantly expected the same old happily-ever-after boy-meets-girl story that seems so popular in this genre. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Whilst I’m not a fan of the diary style, this is quite successfully done and gives the main character’s voice a sense of realism and immediacy. I found myself not particularly liking Tasha at first, but she grew on me. Jamie, however, seems too good to be true, despite his weaknesses. I’d like to know more about the lesser characters, but their lack of limelight didn’t distract me from the story.
The sex scenes were well written – not too graphic, although perhaps a little more detail than I would prefer – but it’s the emotional scenes that surprised me most – I was simply not prepared for such powerfully moving descriptions.
All in all, I was very pleasantly surprised by this book and will look out for the hinted-at sequel.

- by Kristen Stone, 28 June 2011 (5 ★)
See Amazon.com review (above)

- by Jan Ruth, 22 April 2012 (4 ★)
I liked it!
This book has all the ingredients of a classic chick lit read, and it is not original that the central female character has a crush on her boss, Jamie. However, this novel has hidden depths.
It is written as a blog, so it is in chatty diary form which is rather like a series of gossipy telephone conversations, and it works really well because I felt I already knew Natasha on a personal level.
As the story unfolds and a series of truly awful events happen to Jamie, Natasha is drawn to his side, initially as a friend and confidante, but of course we know there is more to it than that. How can she remain impartial and offer selfless support if she is in love with him? It could all so easily blow up in her face. The emotional spiders web drawn over these two characters is immense and I thought the drawing out of the relationship with all its nuances was incredibly well written and rooted in character throughout. The descriptions of grief and it’s effects were very cleverly interwoven within their growing relationship, although I would have loved more of Jamie’s character to shine through.
The lively writing style kept the (at times) somewhat depressing storyline flowing along, and I read the final third in one sitting.
But what happens next? More please!

- by West Yorkshire, 22 September 2012 (4 ★)
Natasha fancies her boss who by all accounts is very happily married and has a daughter. She admits herself that his appeal is that he is a faithful type of guy.. and he is. Unfortunately disaster strikes and his wife is killed leaving him distraught and struggling to cope with a daughter we then learn, is disabled – I think physically and mentally.

Natasha and Sam from Jamie’s work (he’s the boss) rally around and help him look after his daughter and deal with his grief. It’s not a sad story and I really enjoyed the writing style. I found it intriguing and was swept away in it. Natasha realises early on that she is in love with Jamie but at the same time has no wish to do more than help him in any way he needs it. She is so very good throughout this book that if she was real I’d want her as a friend of mine.

You can tell Jamie has feelings for Natasha and there is definitely passion between them. I don’t want to give anything else away.
I’d recommend it. I read it on holiday and was barely able to lift my head up from it in order to drink my martini.

- by Leri, 3 May 2013 (5 ★)
Really struggled to put this book down! Partly I think because of the way it isn’t written in chapters but blog entries – and it just flows and you can’t see the harm of just reading a little bit more …
I loved the being in Tasha’s head and seeing it all throught her eyes. Loved Jamie, and found all he had to go through horrendous. Maybe at times it may have been nice to see inside his head too. But this was the way the suthor chose to tell the tale and I enjoyed both the story and the way in which it was told :-)

Source: Amazon.co.uk

        New Beginnings: Moving On
- by Leri 3 May 2013 (4 ★)

I felt that I wish I had read this straight after the other one, it flowed straight on, without the (sometimes annoying) recaps you get in sequels by other authors. Unfortunately I had forgotten some of the more minor characters. Soon got into the book though and felt the same about Jamie And Tasha – still love them and wish them well and continued to enjoy the writing style. Going straight in to number 3 now …..

- by P A Lanstone 8 June 2013 (4 ★)
I’ve done very little work this week and I hold this book entirely responsible! I love the way this author writes and found it really hard to stop reading. It’s not often a book has that effect on me, I can usually find somewhere to stop but I just wanted to know more.
Written as an on-line diary (I won’t call it a blog because most blogs you come across aren’t like this, this was a real diary) it defied the convention of show don’t tell, yet in telling the reader what had happened over the last few days it put us in touch with the characters, especially the leads. This was the perfect way to tell this story.
I had no trouble with the fact I read the first part ages ago, but then I’m the sort of person who can read three books at the same time and not get confused with what’s going on. But I promise I won’t leave it so long to read the next one!! But I’d better wait until I have no work to do!

Source: Amazon

Reviews at Amazon.de
Reviews on Amazon are rated by stars on a scale of 1 – 5

- by Nicole Behrens, 30 June 2011 (5 ★)
New Beginnings is very well written. It made me laugh and cry. Just what Im looking for in a good book. Its very easy to relate to Tasha due to the blog format. I loved the whole story. It glued me until the end. I cant wait to see how it goes on. If you like a good book while having a glass of wine get this book. You wont regret it. Its a perfect book for a nice relaxing evening. This book has a lot of heart.

Source: Amazon.de

Amazon reviews – your thoughts
I’ve created a survey on Amazon reviews and would very much welcome your input.
Please take a look – the survey is hosted by Survey Monkey here

Reviews at Lulu
Reviews on Lulu are rated by stars on a scale of 1 – 5

- by Belinda Thomas, 3 July 2011 (5 ★)
Chick Lit for the 21st century – at last!

This didn’t strike me as the kind of chick lit that I’m used to reading – and I’ve read a lot – but that’s not a bad thing.

It makes a nice change to find a story that bucks the trend, and “New Beginnings” does that in several ways.

Firstly, it’s written as a diary/blog, which many authors have shied away from in the shadow of Helen Fielding’s success with “Bridget Jones’ Diary”.

Secondly, it’s not written as a romantic comedy – it deals with very modern issues and dilemmas, and there’s a lot of very emotional scenes where the characters go through some truly heartbreaking events.

Thirdly, there’s sex – realistic sex, not… More > the boring bodice-ripping kind – and the euphoria and anxieties that accompany it. There’s nothing too graphic, but what is there comes across as very natural.

The main characters, Tasha and Jamie, are exceptionally well-written. I very quickly found myself feeling sympathy and support for Tasha, and I think I fell in love with Jamie a bit too.

Even though the story is told through Tasha’s eyes, and is therefore very one-sided, I felt that I easily got to know her and Jamie, and their family and friends.

I won’t give anything away about the story, but I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed it and have been recommending it to all my friends.

Anyone who wants to read a modern romance that has real people in it, instead of swooning maidens and fairy-tale heroes, will love this book.

My only disappointment was the ending: I didn’t want it to finish, and I hope there’s more!

Source: Lulu.com

Reviews at Barnes & Noble
Reviews on Barnes & Noble are rated by stars on a scale of 1 – 5

- by Passionate_ReaderTR,  24 July 2011 (5 ★)
Classy page-turning tale of love amid loss

Told in diary form, this is the story of Tasha who is in love (or lust) with the unobtainable Jamie – unobtainable in that he is already married, has a daughter, and is an all round happy family man.

When Jamie’s wife dies, he turns to Tasha as one of his reliable friends to help him through his pain and grief.

Tasha, of course, wants to be rather more than his friend, which is the classic ‘will-they won’t they?’ of the story. Can Jamie leave his beloved wife Helen behind and live and love again and, if so, will it be with Tasha?

Source: Barnes & Noble

Reviews at GoodReads
Reviews on GoodReads are rated by stars on a scale of 1 – 5

- by Mardy, 3 August 2011 (5 ★)
I first read this book on kindle some time ago. I instantly fell in love with Tasha as she starts a very honest blog about her not so perfect life. Most of us has fallen in love, one time or another with someone unattainable. But unfortunate circumstances suddenly makes her dream come true. What starts out as Tasha helping Jamie see through his fog of grief becomes tentative steps to a real and lasting love. It’s real. It’s messy. Sometimes painful but that is how life is. The author did not make this a fairy tale. Humor offsets this story enough to lift you up and keep you on track.

The first time I read this I wanted more insight in Jamie’s character. I believe the author filled in some of the blanks for me to empathize with him more. Ultimately Tasha is the person I related too. She is warm and funny. Heartbreakingly honest as she blogs about her life and her love of Jamie.

I give this author 5* for this book and I am looking forward to reading more about these two people. I have really enjoyed the journey so far and can’t wait to read More from Johanna Nield.

Mardy posted the same review at Library Thing

- by Jan Ruth, 24 April 2012 (4 ★)
This book has all the ingredients of a classic chick lit read, and it is not original that the central female character has a crush on her boss, Jamie. However, this novel has hidden depths.
It is written as a blog, so it is in chatty diary form which is rather like a series of gossipy telephone conversations, and it works really well because I felt I already knew Natasha on a personal level.
As the story unfolds and a series of truly awful events happen to Jamie, Natasha is drawn to his side, initially as a friend and confidante, but of course we know there is more to it than that. How can she remain impartial and offer selfless support if she is in love with him? It could all so easily blow up in her face. The emotional spiders web drawn over these two characters is immense and I thought the drawing out of the relationship with all its nuances was incredibly well written and rooted in character throughout. The descriptions of grief and it’s effects were very cleverly interwoven within their growing relationship, although I would have loved more of Jamie’s character to shine through.
The lively writing style kept the (at times) somewhat depressing storyline flowing along, and I read the final third in one sitting.
But what happens next? More please!

Source: GoodReads

Reviews at Daily Cheap Reads

- “Top Four Summer Reads” by Tim Roux, 6 September 2011
Another classic Romance of the girl who falls madly in love with a man who is firstly unobtainable because he is very happily married, and then unobtainable because he is grieving. How do you chat up a man under such sensitive circumstances without appearing exploitative and predatory? Johanna Nield handles this tale with great sensitivity herself and a speedy, charming style.

Source: Daily Cheap Reads

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Live Journal
This isn’t a review, but this is how a friend recently (July 2011) advertised my book on her Live Journal blog:

If you want a romantic, girly book, this is NOT it. This is Tasha’s blog – her place to put all of her thoughts and feelings in, good and bad. It tells a story of a girl who wants something we all want – love, financial stability, a rewarding life. And she’ll work hard to get it too. But Tasha’s not perfect; you’ll question her decisions, you’ll sympathise with her and with the man she loves. You’ll travel with her and be caught up in that ride whether you agree with it or not. It’s a compelling read.

Her blog is open to friends only, so I will not be providing a link here.
Thank you, K x

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Book Club review

In early September 2010, “New Beginnings” was read and reviewed by a book club in Buckinghamshire.  This is their feedback:

There was a general feeling that the book was written in a kind of reportorial style, detailing a chronological order of events . . . given the nature of the book i.e. a journal. . . there was also a reportorial quality in Hemingway’s work so that’s no bad thing. I liked the sentence fragments you used which allowed you to vary your sentence length and helped to make your writing sound conversational. Reading sentence fragments gives the reader the impression you are talking to them in your own voice and style.

It was a very detailed account of events and everyone, including me, felt that some of that detail could have been eliminated since it served no purpose. Some details did not move the story forward or develop the plot in any way and often I felt that it impeded the original harmony and rhythm of your writing which flows naturally well.

On a similar theme there were often little asides such as ‘he he he’ etc which tended to distract the reader and interrupt the flow of dialogue and don’t really add anything to the story.

Very often you explain who is talking, “He (Ben) . . .” again this becomes distracting and is not necessary as it is quite clear who is speaking.

The book raises some quite hefty issues . . . child abuse, disability and the ravages of a deep bereavement. You deal with the child abuse of Jamie’s wife towards the end of the book as part of his grief and that works really well but the reader is not at all sure just what is wrong with Beth and most of us felt that a little more detail of her condition might be a useful signal for the reader. I know I had a lot of questions buzzing around in my head as to just what might be the problem there, particularly when the hair tugging incidents were mentioned so often.

Most felt the verb ‘said’ was overused and that alternatives would improve the dialogue for the reader.

Some felt that the introduction of Jamie’s wife’s death was somewhat sudden and needed more of an introduction.

Others pointed out some awkward phrasing such as . . . “he had radio one on” again it’s about the interruption of dialogue cadence.

As Tasha is the narrator the reader is limited to what she sees, thinks and feels and therefore what is written could tend to become somewhat subjective. However, we felt that you aptly described Jamie’s character through her feelings and she maintains her consistent point of view/opinions/feelings/actions throughout the book.

It is a progressive plot in that after a brief background; conflict is introduced and this is then developed, eventually reaching a climax which is followed by resolution. The conflict could possibly be intensified in parts with less of the more superfluous detail mentioned earlier.

There is complexity within the plot and this both contributes to the plot and helps develop the characters. The resolution is credible.

Excellent character development of both Tasha and Jamie through her thoughts and feelings as well as how other characters respond to them both.

The primary characters are well rounded and developed. There is an excellent dynamic between Tasha and Jamie and this changes and develops over time and is the crux of the story. Characters are realistic and credible.

Secondary characters help to develop the plot and the primary characters.

Events shape the main characters by letting us see them as they really are – warts and all.

The book is written in a distinctive, easy, style which flows well (even better without unnecessary asides).

We all enjoyed reading Tasha’s Journal and hope the comments made will be useful to you.

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Authonomy

Below is a selection of reviews and comments posted at Authonomy in response to the portion of my novel that has been uploaded there.

Jehmka wrote:
Excellent!!!
To say, as Amy R. has, that New Beginnings is “light, real, and endearing,” only covers the first chapter, in my opinion. Tasha (the MC) may come across, on the surface, as light and endearing, but she’s portrayed so beautifully realistic, it’s evident that she is as complex, confused, selfish, and messed up as the rest of us. There is a subtle depth to her psyche which is more hinted at than stated… between the lines, as they say… that’s where you’ll experience her suffering. To fully appreciate Johanna Nield’s skills, you need to read beyond the first chapter. The second chapter knocked my socks off. I vividly felt Tasha’s shock, and Jamie’s pain. This is amazing writing! When I pick a book up to read, I hope that, at the least, I’ll be entertained… to have the story provoke a smile or, better yet, a laugh is a nice bonus, but to be genuinely moved—to experience the full gamut of emotions; the pain, suffering, jealousy, joy… etc. such as I did while reading New Beginnings… this is what keeps me going back to the book store… the hope of stumbling onto such a book. To say Johanna’s story feels real seems like an understatement, but I can’t think of another way to say it. It feels real… as real as any story I’ve ever read.

I give this my highest recommendation… listed in my profile.
And, again, don’t stop at chapter one… you’ll be rewarded.
Rodney

Amy R wrote:

Light, real and endearing. Reminiscent of Bridget Jone’s Diary for the multimedia world in a good way, you present her in a soft but edged manner which makes her very realistic. Well written and back.

Good job and good luck!
Amy

NEW BEGINNINGS: I cannot resist a story that has such a believable MC. A person with strengths and faults comes across as close to real life and catches the eye and the heart of the reader. The pain she feels seems to filter in to the mind through very subtle writing.
Backed with pleasure and I look forward one day to reading it all.
Raven Scott

Famlavan wrote:

New Beginnings

What an absolutely great structure to build a book on, very good.
You have a very creditable character in Tasha, good bits/not so good bits idiosyncrasies of life that make up true characters, and you have captured her so well.
You push the readers emotions with her infatuation with her boss and then the car crash, it kind of makes you introspective in thinking what emotions would be in play. – Great story – well told.

New Beginnings:

Johanna,

Tasha, though at times impulsive, grew on me for her spontaneity and love of life. She has her foibles but is likeable in her vibrancy and her embracing life as it comes.
She seems almost a victim of her own enthusiasms and I felt drawn in to the storyline by the very natural dialogue and readable prose style which is a feature of the recognisable ‘voice’ in which you write.
AI felt for Tasha who, besotted with Jamie does not quite have her enthusiasm returned and then her emotional tuirmoil is compounded when Jamie’s wife dies in the car accident.
There are conflicting emotions throughout and yet it is just that conflict which fires interest in the fates of your central characters and made me want to read on to see how this resolves for Tasha.

Backed.
Ray
(A Child from the Wishing Well)

An entertaining, lighthearted and humorous read with a very likable main character! I can see people getting ‘hooked’ on this and wanting to read on… I personally like diary-style accounts as they possess a certain ‘naked’, honest appeal. Great job!

silvafox wrote:

I love the character of Tasha as she comes across as likeable and very honest about herself. I admire your writing style too. Its fresh and interesting. Good luck. Jennie (Lies and Betrayal)

Sly80 wrote:

Refreshing writing, very much like the blog it is mimicking, chatty and informative with no pretensions. Tasha is a bit of an airhead over J, that is until his wife is killed, then the tone changes completely. There are still moments when she needs a good shaking if she’s going to be any use to him at all.

I rarely read blogs or chick lit, except for here, but this one has a very compelling element, in that it seems to have something of the ‘beware what you wish for’ to it, and the reader is constantly asking whether Tasha’s help will be good for J and Beth, and for herself in the long run. Very original … backed

Possible nits: The opening paragraph has 2 gives and a given. ’so much better than Barry was as a manager … he’d only been there for 3 months before I started’ both of these refer to J and can’t both be true? ‘got upset … got a bit fidgety … got there in the end’. Break up some of the longer paragraphs to make reading easier.

jamesmac wrote:

First of all, I like your style Johanna.
New Beginnings has a style all of it’s own. I certainly haven’t come across it on here.
Witten in very laid-back – almost chatty fashion – very appropriate.
I never read Bridget Jones’ Diary, but I imagine your book would have a similar feel to it, for some reason or other. I felt as though I was prying into Tasha’s private diary – sifting through her undie drawer almost – hehe.
And she likes Haggis – poor girl.
And the guy you described “J” sounded very scarily like myself in parts (except for the gorgeous bit)
I really like this – it’s unusual enough to hold my attention, and it demands nothing more of me than that I sit back, read, and enjoy.
Your style of writing, plus the material itself gives the reader a naughty, slightly guilty feeling, that they should not be there evesdropping on this woman’s private innermost thoughts — and that Johanna, is the very reason why they’ll want to keep reading more.
Well done – it was really good.

A couple of things I thought might help.
The blogs themselves, I felt, would have maybe come across even better if they’d been split into months;
Jan, blogs – chapter one
Feb, blogs – chapter two etc.
just to pull it in, give Tasha’s writings more structure.
Another thing struck me ( something I do not do myself, I have to admit,) was the near absense of ‘blogger-speak’ – you know – u for you, and—- I don’t know any more of them myself lol – but you get the picture. Just a thought…
Oh and when Tasha was writing about the death of J’s wife – the paragraphs could have been split up a little maybe – into smaller chunks. Helps the details to stand out on their own better.
But that said, you have a great idea, and a great way of telling a story Johanna.
I wish you well.
James.

I enjoy the set up of your book, its very intriguing and unique…it’s a fresh look on a novel, something few of us have gotten the ability to be exposed to. I like it! Some things to improve on:
1) Your pitch…it’s a bit weak and doesn’t neccessarily draw me in.
2) Your writing is a bit chaotic and seems like the main character is trying to sum up her entire life in a matter of paragraphs…you should try slowly introducing the reader to her background instead of throwing it at us in a “Here it is, take it all” manner.
Things I enjoyed:
1) I, like I said, love the format. It’s fresh and new. It’s something I can see reading every once in a while…something that doesn’t require much thought and scrutinizing.

Good Job (:

-Jessica S.
Life (as Told By Camille)

Johanna, I love your writing style and I think the diary approch is brilliant; allowing us to get a real clear picture of tasha while allowing us to get emotionally attached to her. Your characters are strong and interact well.

You paint a picture so we become part of the story which is so important. It is a page turner because where anxious to see where this emotional rollercaster winds up.

The only thing I find strange is that we don’t know whats wrong with Beth. I just finished what you posted and without saying to much that was a shock and just upt the level of anxiety. I LOVE this

Hi Gail, I’ve read two chapters and really enjoyed them.
We are informed quickly of Tasha’s liking for J and that he is a married man and you fill in some details of tasha’s life, especially pertaining to her relationships. By the end of chapter one, I’m thinking of Fatal Attraction and detecting a certain obsessive shadow spreading across her thinking. After all, she thinks of him whilst having sex with Darren and finds it increases her pleasure.
Chapter two hits us with the car crash and Helen’s unfortunate but opportune demise. I think you may have to explain more about Beth’s disability, as it sounded rather odd, slipped in after, ‘I don’t think she’s badly hurt. It’s just that she’s disabled.’ I linked the two with the crash initially, until I’d read more.
So, I’m thinking, here’s the rub. Will she pull herself together? Or will she find J’s loss her gain and go for it like a terrier?
Initially, you keep us guessing. She is very concerned and helpful. She cries and feels genuinely sad. But she gradually allows her real feelings to surface again. Quite quickly, actually. She’s still attracted to him, even as he grieves. Then, and apparently without any provocation on his part, she announces that she loves him. This is clearly a woman with a problem… Wow! Good stuff.
I’ll read more, when I have some time. I still don’t know which direction it will take, but it certainly hooked me in.
I wondered why you had not mentioned 14th February (Valentine’s Day). Her blog entry on 15th February states she went out with Darren — could that have happened a day earlier? Just a thought.
Anyway, well done. This is a very interesting and well-written piece of work.
Backed with pleasure, Barry
Little Krisna and the Bihar Boys

Burgio wrote:

I like books that are written as journals or blogs; these are short entries so they’re not only interesting but easy to read. Tasha is a sympathetic character because she’s so human; has so many of the same problems that all of us have. Makes this a good read. I’m adding this to my shelf. Burgio (Grain of SAlt).

NEW BEGINNINGS:

Johanna,

This is like a breath of fresh air. The prose flows like a mountain stream. So natural and appealing, and jolly well written. I couldn’t find anything wrong with it. Not that I was looking, because I was so captivated by the story that all I could think was – This is great.

I used to write romances before I moved on to thrillers, so I’ve read a lot of them, and I think you have a winner here.

Backed, with pleasure.

Sheila Mary Taylor (Pinpoint)

Something made me read the whole four chapters. I warn you now, I hate chick lit, so I was a little surprised.
I started and just kept going. It’s an easy read and I think it has potential. Maybe a little too fast at times and there’s a little too much self indulgence (Typical chick-lit) where there could be a lot more compassion for Jamie and Beth. For instance, the Mothers day card. It all came back to how sorry she felt about her mother, when I think it should have been more about little Beth and Jamie and their feelings. But I read it all, so I must have enjoyed it. :o) I’ll be interested to see what other reviewers say. I’m not sure whether I particularly LIKE the main character, but I found her fascinating.

These reviews, and many others, can be read here

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