I'll Take New York by Miranda Dickinson ~ BLOG TOUR!

"The only author of Bea James' life story should be herself."

Title - I'll Take New York
Author - Miranda Dickinson
Publisher - Avon
Publication Date - 4th December 2014
Format - Paperback (Provided via publisher)
Pages - 416

The blurb

Have you ever given up on love? 

When her boyfriend lets her down for the last time, Brooklyn bookshop owner Bea James makes a decision - no more. No more men, no more heartbreak, and no more pain. 

Psychiatrist Jake Steinmann is making a new start too, leaving his broken marriage behind in San Francisco. From now on there'll be just be one love in his life: New York. 

At a party where they seem to be the only two singletons, Bea and Jake meet, and decide there's just one thing for it. They will make a pact: no more relationships. 

But the city has other plans...

Becca's thoughts

I'd like to begin my review with a very heartfelt thank you to the fabulous Olivia Wilson for inviting me along on the blog tour & for sending me across my very own, beautiful paperback copy of I'll Take New York by Miranda Dickinson. I also need to thank Miranda Dickinson herself, for whisking me away to the stunning setting of New York, and for providing me with such an inspiring, uplifting story, I was wiping away tears when it came to an end. Miranda Dickinson's I'll Take New York was astounding.

Sadly, it's been a while since I've dipped into one of Miranda's wonderful worlds, so I was over the moon when Olivia got in touch and asked whether I'd be interested in joining in with Miranda's blog tour. Of course, I replied with 'yes' immediately, and once the book was in my hands, I couldn't wait to get stuck in. If you know me, then you'll know that I am a complete sucker for an eye-catching cover, so I'll Take New York was stroked longingly for quite a while, and also turned from side to side beneath my bedroom light so that I could watch the gold, shimmery lettering glint. *I'm a weirdo, I know* The purples, the golds, and of course Bea's gorgeous character sipping on a glass of champagne with New York City in the background was almost too much to bear. You've also got the gold twinkly stars peppered out across the purple night sky... Let's just say,, the cover was a winner with me instantly. 

Miranda begins Bea's story by opening with a particularly tense scenario, where poor Bea has, yet again, been stood up by her long-term boyfriend Otis. As Bea sits and hopes to God that Otis will turn up, surrounded by her squabbling family, Miranda immediately sets the tone. It was evident right there and then that things were not well in Bea and Otis' relationship. As Miranda continues to reveal the sorry past that Bea has had to endure, we find out that this isn't the first time that Otis has failed to keep a promise, and when Bea calls it a night, and also ends her and Otis' relationship, her story truly begins. As Miranda's characters lives begin to mingle and intertwine, Bea's path stumbles across Jake's, and during their swift first meeting, a pact is made. Both had been burned by love, and both are adamant that they will never go there again (there being messy relationships that never seem to work out). And from that pact, one of the most magical, heart-warming and ultimately pleasing friendships that I have ever had the pleasure of finding, begins to blossom. 

I'll Take New York was stunning, in so many ways. One thing that never fails to grab my attention when I'm lost within one of Miranda's books is her gift at bringing the descriptions of a setting to such a vivid, authentic image in my mind. She gets it spot on, each and every time. In this case, New York. I'm not one of those people who have been lucky enough to travel to, and experience, New York City, but believe me when I say that, once I'd finished I'll Take New York, I felt like I'd been there on a week's holiday and seen everything that Bea and Jake had. Miranda touches upon your senses so beautifully, describes the minimal details yet adds so much depth and style to them that you're right there with her. From the towering skyscrapers to the busy, bustling paths, everything was exquisite. One thing I've noticed is that each time I close a book by Miranda Dickinson, I have such a strong urge to go and see the places where she sets her stories. I want to re-live the worlds that the author presents with me, because quite honestly, Miranda is an artist with words, creating such beauty and magic, I'm left fascinated, always. 
Another aspect that added more glitter and sparkle to I'll Take New York were Miranda's characters. The story was split into two narratives; the first being Bea's, and the second being Jake's, adding an extra heap to my enjoyment. I've said it before and I'll say it again. There is nothing more satisfying that being able to see the same story, but from a male character's point of view. The fact that Bea and Jake were leading two completely different lives just excited me even more. I loved hopping between the two, catching up with their isolated lives, and trying to guess at what point their lives would finally collide. It kept me hanging on the end of every word that was written on the page, guessing at every turn and chewing my lip in anticipation. Bea was fantastic, which I expected, because not once have I been disappointed with any of Miranda's previous heroines. She was lovable, determined to succeed, and a lover of books (which made me love her even more!). She'd rarely been single since seventeen-years-old, hopping from relationship to relationship, until settling down with Otis and finally feeling there was a chance of something more real and lasting. Bea was genuine, down-to-earth, and utterly trustworthy. I loved reading about Bea's love for books, her love for family, her past before she'd moved to New York. There was so much depth to her character which made her feel completely real to me. I could quite happily stroll into Hudson River Books, have a coffee and fall into general chat with Bea. I'm sure we could talk for hours on end! There was nothing that I wanted more for Bea than for her to find a very real, a very special, happy ending. Jake Steinmann was just a complete heart-throb. After having his wife Jess declare that she was no longer interested in their marriage, Jake had been left bruised and with a broken heart. So of course, when his and Bea's paths crossed, he was more than ready to swear off relationships for good, hence the pact. He was in a serious profession, but was so much fun to read. He was down-to-earth guy, full of life and, when with Bea, happiness. I was gutted for Jake when the details of his failed marriage were revealed, but felt an overwhelming surge of joy when him and Bea became friends. It was fate, how they came to be in each other's lives at exactly the right moment, and it gave me shivers. Alongside Bea and Jake, there was a whole circle of warm, engaging characters who I grew to love quickly. There were Bea's friends Russ and Imelda, there was Bea's family, her brother and his wife Celia. And then on Jake's side there was Rosie and Ed, Ed being Jake's brother... And, despite there being such a fabulous collection of characters to get to know, I took to them all like a duck to water. After just a few meetings with each of them, they felt like dear friends to me, and it was absolutely wonderful to lose myself in the story in that way. Pure Miranda magic. 

Miranda's books all seem to contain bucket loads of charm. Within I'll Take New York, the places involved in Bea and Jake's lives became dear to me. First of all, Hudson River Books. Not only because it's a bookshop, which I adored, but because I could feel how much it meant to Bea to be working there. Her and Russ had been planning their dreams since their university days, and the bookshop had been their dream. What a beautiful dream it was! Within that bookshop, there was so much of Bea, and again, it just added to her character. Hudson River Books began to feel like my second home. Central Park was another place that held me rapt when Miranda swapped the scenery. Such an iconic place, and made even more so by being a favourite of Bea's. Another aspect of the story that I couldn't have loved more was Bea's grandmother Dot. Gosh, I welled up whenever Bea received one of the gorgeous parcels, filled with wisdom and secrets and always with something that would help Bea along the way. These were emotional, life-affirming moments that I grew to treasure and I found myself looking forward to each parcel that was due to arrive. There was also Rosie's beautiful florist shop Kowalski's, and Imedla's shop Beads n' Beans. There were so many things to fall in love with, and I think I fell head over heels with each and every one. 

I'm sitting here cross-legged on my bed now, eyeing up my paperback of I'll Take New York that's sat beside my laptop as if it's a great thing of wonder. As I stare at it, I'm trying to find the right words to hit you with to make this review earth-shattering. And do you want to know the only thought that comes to mind? I'm astounded. Absolutely astounded. Because by reading this book, I've been taken on such an incredible journey alongside Bea and Jake, and I'm lost for words. Miranda Dickinson is one of those authors who has the power to take you anywhere in the world, the power to create you friends out of paper, and to make you fall in love and smile and laugh and cry... I'll Take New York by Miranda Dickinson is receiving FIVE BEAUTIFUL CUPCAKES from Becca's Books. I cannot recommend this stunning story of self-discovery, love, and New York City enough. Everyone must read it. Everyone. Because if you don't, you're going to miss out on something extra-extra-special. Miranda, thank you for such an amazing journey. I'm going to miss Bea until we meet again.

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