Glitterland by Alexis Hall

17727137Title: Glitterland

Series: N/A

Author: Alexis Hall

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: Novel (248 pages)

Publisher: Riptide Publishing (August 26th, 2013)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Thommie

Blurb: The universe is a glitterball I hold in the palm of my hand.

Once the golden boy of the English literary scene, now a clinically depressed writer of pulp crime fiction, Ash Winters has given up on love, hope, happiness, and—most of all—himself. He lives his life between the cycles of his illness, haunted by the ghosts of other people’s expectations.

Then a chance encounter at a stag party throws him into the arms of Essex boy Darian Taylor, an aspiring model who lives in a world of hair gel, fake tans, and fashion shows. By his own admission, Darian isn’t the crispest lettuce in the fridge, but he cooks a mean cottage pie and makes Ash laugh, reminding him of what it’s like to step beyond the boundaries of anxiety.

But Ash has been living in his own shadow for so long that he can’t see past the glitter to the light. Can a man who doesn’t trust himself ever trust in happiness? And how can a man who doesn’t believe in happiness ever fight for his own?

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Review: The moment I started reading this book the first thought that hit my brain was “oh no”. I had a moment of panic there talking myself into abandoning the book because depression? Meh, been there done that, and frankly couldn’t be arsed to dive into that haze again. But even as the book starts with a sad, sad scene, it was nearly impossible to stop.

With an exquisite approach, the author introduces us Ash. This character is not a merely depressed one – which in itself is a very serious illness – he is also bipolar and well, insane. His world rests now between insanity and waiting for it to happen. He has no hopes, no dreams, and no expectations whatsoever. He is a writer and the only reason he is one is due to his stubbornness to not fade away into nothingness. Everything he once was before it hit him is gone, and he understands that golden child, that young man with the bright future is never coming back. If only his friends saw that too.

Ash is such a solid character. He drags you in his live want it or not and you can’t fail to relate in some way, however small, with him. In addition, he’s also the stereotypical Englishman for you. That snark, irony, and self-sarcasm, the peculiar sense of humor, all are there to entice you and make you laugh even through some really dark events. I won’t deny everything about Ash is appealing, even when he becomes a real jerk – and that had nothing to do with his illness, rather a habit born out of self-preservation – you feel for him, care for him, makes you want to yell at him and shake him up. Yeah, Ash evokes strong emotions all right.

As for Darian, oh my, what a charming one he was. Hilarious and funny, Darian takes Ash from the grey haze effortlessly and takes him flying to the clouds of normalcy and joy and happiness. While he’s not the brightest star out there, his optimistic attitude in life doesn’t fail to make Ash smile. But Ash has been in a self-destructive path for so long that it has now become a habit, a hard one to shake.

Lovely, lovely journey indeed. Everything was portrayed beautifully, the good, the bad, and the ugly. It made for an enthralling read and I couldn’t be happier to read it. I felt sad, I felt happy and I felt joy along the way with the characters. The plot was brilliant. It ended in the classic HEA, but there was nothing stereotypical about how it approached it. The characters were gorgeous and lovely, even Niall whom I wanted to strangle at some point. And it takes place in England, with absolutely charming Englishmen. Now what else do you need? Strongly recommended.