London Bound by CJ Duggan

london bound

Title: London Bound

Author: CJ Duggan

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: 28th March, 2017

Format: Paperback

Pages: 322

Price: $17.99

Synopsis: Like so many of her university friends, Kate Brown is London bound, but unlike her friends – who had the chance to enjoy the beer, sights and attractions of the UK – Kate is instead visiting her grandmother (who may or may not be the devil).

Wanting nothing more than to be a normal, independent twenty-something living it up in ol’ London town, Kate finds herself a prisoner in her grandmother’s Kensington terrace, daydreaming about the holiday that could have been. But when Kate is almost run over by the ridiculously good looking Jack Baker, it leaves her wondering if being out and about is such a good idea after all, especially when she catches herself laughing at his jokes.

One thing Kate knows for sure is that she has to avoid Jack at all costs. But with her balcony facing his, you can pretty much guarantee Kate’s London adventure is going to be anything but boring . . .

~*~

aww2017-badgeNovels that centre on a romance aren’t usually what I enjoy reading, but C.J. Duggan has managed to balance the romance aspect with character and plot development well. In London Bound, Kate Brown has moved to London to experience the city for herself, and work on her blog. Living with her grandmother, who seems to be the devil incarnate to Kate, she has several encounters with neighbour, Jack, who holds back much of his life as he gets to know her. When Kate stumbles across her grandmother’s secret room, she is inspired and begins to flesh out her blog, showing it to Jack and watching it grow. Inevitably, a romance develops and they hit a rocky moment, that is quickly resolved, and like many romance novels, results in a happy ending.

Whilst the romance factor in this book didn’t capture my interest, it was the London setting and Kate the writer that made the book enjoyable for me, even though I could guess how things would be resolved at the end. Jack was a more interesting character than I anticipated, and he was rather entertaining in the bar and at other moments, and during his interactions with Nana Joy.I found that each character had their own growth within the story – whether it was realising something about themselves or other people, or a combination of both, and to me, that made it more than just a romance, it had a romantic love but also a familial connection and love and a friendship.

Kate and Jack’s romance and subsequent relationship didn’t happen as soon as they met, or as soon as the novel began. Instead, it slowly developed along with the plot and Kate’s imagesblogging plans, and her desire to see more of London than the rooms she occupied.

The refreshing thing about this book was the meat to the plot and characters. The mysterious male figure was a bit of a trope but at least Jack had a pleasant side, which made him likeable. I’m still not a total fan but it was an enjoyable and quick read, and suited for fans of the author and genre.

Booktopia

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New York Nights by CJ Duggan

new-york-nights

Title: New York Nights

Author: CJ Duggan

Genre: Fiction/New Adult

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: 31st January 2017

Format: Paperback

Pages: 306

Price: $17.99

Synopsis: Sarah Williams is a spirited, independent Aussie who has always dreamed of New York City. So when a job opportunity arises to become an au pair for a successful businessman in the heart of Manhattan, Sarah jumps at the chance to follow her dream.

What she didn’t bet on was a beautiful newborn and a distant, abrasive man whose eyes hold a million anguished secrets. Determined to care for his daughter and face the challenges of the impossible Ben Worthington, Sarah was always prepared to follow her heart; she just wasn’t prepared to lose it to a complicated man like Ben.

~*~

As someone who steers away from romance as much as possible, mainly because it’s not a genre I tend to enjoy unless there’s more to the storyline than a man and a woman chasing each other around without any obstacles or complications that make the plot more interesting, this was my first encounter with CJ Duggan, and my first encounter with what is referred to as New Adult, a classification that comes after Young Adult, aimed at people perhaps in their twenties. In New York Nights, we meet Sarah, an Australian who has travelled abroad to become an au pair for a single father and his newborn daughter, Grace. In a house and family filled with secrets and a seemingly cold greeting from all but Nikki, the one sister, Sarah is isolated in the Greenwich Village apartment with Sarah.

As Sarah and Ben grow closer, secrets are brought into the open and the very real possibility of betrayal starts to emerge. It was the lingering secrets and mystery, and the conflict these caused within the family that intrigued me more than the romance. On the surface, one might say this is just a romance, but go a little deeper, and it is about a scarred family, trying to recover, and doing so through hidden secrets and cold facades.

It is the sort of book that can be read quickly – a good summer read for a beach day, or just for when you want something quick and easy to read in between everything else and between heavier reads. I may not be heading off to read this again, but there is an audience out there for these books and this author. I hope that these readers enjoy these books as much as I enjoy books by my favourite authors.