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on 3 December 2010
I was sucked into Welcome To My World immediately as the full extent of Harri's problems isn't immediately told to us. All we know from the first paragraph is that Harri is not the type of person to lock herself in a toilet, yet that is where she finds herself. We then travel back to the fateful day that sets the night in question in motion and from then on, at the beginning of each chapter we get a snippet about Harri's present situation before diving back into how it all came that Harri found herself locked in a toilet stall. I thought it was such a clever way of writing the novel as it really built up the suspense over why exactly Harri had seen fit to lock herself in a toilet. I'm not the most patient person in the world, and used to have a habit of skipping to the back of the novel to learn how it all ends, and you have no idea how desperate I was to do the same with Welcome To My World. However, I kept my patience in check and was handsomely rewarded come the end of the novel.

But what Miranda really excells at, is that she manages to make her characters so real and she connects us to them so well. I fell in love with Harri from the first line, and she's such a wonderful character that I truly hoped the story would end well for her. The fact that she's a travel agent who has never actually travelled made me feel so sad. I wasn't entirely convinced by Rob, Harri's boyfriend, because he worked away a lot we barely get to see him, and I admit he did seem nice at first but I always had a few doubts about him. The main man for me, though, was the lovely lovely Alex. I loved how he fed Harri's travelling addiction, and I loved how easy-going their relationship was. For me, that was my favourite part of the novel. Alex's mum Viv is a prominent character and really sparkled and Harri's best friend Stella and Aunt Rosemary (who you may recognise from Fairytale of New York as she's Rosie's mum!) add to the cast nicely.

I must admit, I did worry that Welcome To My World wouldn't live up to my expectations, and wouldn't match the fantasticness that was Fairytale of New York but I am very happy to announce that I was wrong. Welcome To My World was just as good as Fairytale of New York. It's true, there's not a lot going action-wise, but for me, I read Miranda's books for the story, for the unravelling of the plot, not for cliched action scenes that appear in a lot of Chick Lit novels. Miranda has a very distinct writing style, and a distinct way of telling a story and for me it's a huge hit. You have no idea how sad I am to have finished the novel as it means a wait of another 12 months before Miranda's next one It Started With A Kiss, but believe me, it will definitely be worth the wait.
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on 5 February 2011
Love it. Can't wait for her third. Where does she get her ideas from? What an imagination. Don't normally read books like this but as she's locally born I dug in and read her first book and got hooked. This book is as good as first. Well done Miranda.
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VINE VOICEon 15 January 2011
I was soooo looking forward to reading this, after having thoroughly enjoyed Miranda's debut novel, Fairytale of New York.

This is an even better read than Fairytale and I pretty much gobbled it up in one sitting. Welcome to my World tells the story of Harri, a travel agent who hasn't actually been on holiday anywhere outside the UK yet, which is in stark contrast to her best mate, Alex, who has recently returned home to the Black Country village of Stone Yardley, after extensive travelling.

I loved the structure of this book. When the book opens, something has happened to make Harri take refuge in a cubicle of the ladies' toilets at Stone Yardley Village Hall. Each chapter returns to Harri in her cubicle and then goes onto reveal more backstory until it leads up to the present and takes you from there on to the conclusion. It's an unusual device but one that really works well and each time it lets you digest what's happened to date before the story moves on.

Miranda excels at writing characters, and not just when it comes to the main ones. You get a whole village of them here. She is also very clever at bringing a place to life within her books and making it a character in its own right, something she did exceptionally well with New York in Fairytale of New York. While reading the book, the villagers and vilage of Stone Yardley felt so real that it was almost as if I knew them and was living among them.

As with Fairytale, I felt that the ending was a little rushed, although that could have been partly due to me frantically turning the pages to find out how it was all going to end for Harri!

I cried, laughed, shouted and giggled my way through this and now can't wait to read Miranda's next book, It Started with a Kiss, which is out in November 2011.
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on 14 October 2011
I'll be honest, I didn't love this author's first book and I only bought this because it was ridiculously cheap at the time. I am a massive fan of this genre, so I knew what to expect when I started this, and I like to think I'm not overly picky when it comes to this genre- but I did find this a bit dull and overly predicable. I can't really put my finger on what it was I disliked about this book- on paper it sounds pretty great- but it was just nothing special and instantly forgettable. It's a shame really- I would have liked to have seen that this author had developed a bit from her debut. Unfortunately she hasn't- if you've read her first book and like me you thought it was a bit so so then don't bother with this one as you end up with the same feeling after this one too. On the other hand, if you're a fan of this genre and have never tried anything by this author before then you may as well give it a go if it's still selling at the same price as a bar of chocolate. I've certainly read a lot worse in the cheap price bracket on my kindle than this. If the price has gone back up to something resembling a bookshop RRP though then I definitely wouldn't bother- there's plenty of other great stuff in this genre available on kindle to choose from. I feel like this author could write something great in the chick lit genre, but just hasn't quite managed it yet, so I'll probably still keep my eye out for her future work in the hope she improves with practice.
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on 26 March 2011
i liked how each chapter started with harriet in the cubicle, in the present tense.. about the only thing that kept me reading the first time, second time it was sheer determination!

i just think it got too narrative (the irony of it!) when it went back to explain how it all went wrong.

i didn't particularly warm to harri much.. she seemed like a bit of a bridget jones to me in places.. and her boyfriend Rob should have been chucked very near to the start of the story!

and it seemed a little rushed to get to the happy-ending in the last chapter.

i'm sorry but it was probably my worst-ever read.. :|
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on 6 January 2012
I am only 30 percent through this book and I just can't face another page, it's been a real struggle to even get this far. I keep thinking that something will surely happen to grip my attention but alas No! Books very rarely beat me but I have found myself scanning the text and reading a couple of words on each page and, truthfully, I'm not missing anything by doing this. Very disappointing because the book has great potential with likeable characters but the author just fails to deliver.
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on 13 December 2010
Harri is locked in a toilet cubicle in the village hall, hiding herself away from everyone (as she is feeling a bit sorry for herself).

Each chapter starts with Harri in the toilet cubicle. You then go on to Harri's life and how she has got where she is today - sitting in the toilet cubicle.

Harri works in a travel agents and has a lovely boyfriend Rob who she totally adores and is in love with. You have her best friend Alex who can not get a girlfriend, so his mum Viv puts an advert in a magazine and Harri has to try and find the right girl for him. You also have her anut and a few other aswell.

The book does centre a lot around Harri and Alex and it keeps you hooked as you want to know if any girl is every going to be right for him. Also Harri's love life plays a big part in it and in some ways you just know what is coming.

Really good book to cosy up with on a cold night - really enjoyed it and would highly recommend.
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on 17 February 2017

I enjoyed this story, it was an easy read and I enjoyed the writing. Sometimes, though, the characters actions didn't ring true - which made them unbelievable as human beings. For example, at one point the main character 'slumped in her doorway' OUTSIDE her house and sobbed after being handed a Chinese takeaway. Why wouldn't she just walk inside and cry in private? The ENTIRE Chelsea storyline felt like a plot from a different story, and felt very far removed from what the character that had been built up would have done. No way would someone described the way he was 'fall head over heels on first sight' within someone described the way she was.

Overall though, enjoyable.
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on 24 August 2015
I have enjoyed two previous books by this author and like her storytelling style, although this one started off a little differently. The first paragraph of each chapter is set in the present, from which we know that our heroine Harriet has done something a little stupid as she has locked herself in the loo. We are kept guessing as to what exactly has happened, as we read on and find out about Harri, her friends and her life.

Something of a slight tear jerker as well; Harri has lost both her parents tragically, and appears to be a nice, normal young woman with a great boyfriend, Rob, and plenty of friends in her village in the Midlands. The irony is that Harri is a travel agent, but hasn’t actually been anywhere other than UK resorts on childhood holidays and camping with Rob, who refuses to travel abroad. She books holidays for other people but never goes on these trips herself! So she has to be content with being an armchair traveller, but feeds her addiction by watching travel shows, reading travel books and having regular Wednesday evenings with her old friend Alex who seems to have been everywhere it is possible to travel to. Harri lacks the spontaneity and courage to get on a plane and see anywhere by herself and refuses to go to her favourite place in the world, Venice, because she feels she should be taken there by her boyfriend.

I was somewhat confused why such a kind person would attract people in her life whose treatment of her falls far short of what she deserves; her best mate is utterly selfish, her boyfriend seems more interested in his job than his relationship and even perfect Alex has his moments. Not all is what it seems to be though, and the holiday-related twist at the end which makes Harri wake up and smell the coffee fizzled out too quickly – more could definitely have been done with that. And there was no explanation, rhyme or reason for this behaviour. I thought too the friendship with Emily could have been developed more fully.

This book is a paradox because it seems that not much happens, but yet a lot does. Alex can’t settle down with the right girl and all his girlfriends have been nightmares, so his interfering mother asks Harri to help her find Ms Right, which leads to a whole lot of complications, comic moments and heartache. The storytelling and the dialogue are excellent and this leads to the plot and the story unfolding at a slow enough pace to really be appreciated.

I can relate to Harri actually; snuggling up on the sofa with the cat, being a bit soft-hearted, missing her parents and being grateful for what you have.

Overall this is a great book with some lovely moments (the wedding towards the end is fabulous!) and I would love the recipe for Chocolate Crispy Bakewells!!! A good 4.5!!!
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on 3 January 2011
There were many good reviews for this book, which is why I bought it. But I found it slow to start, slow in the middle, and far too long. Several times I badly wanted Harri to go with her anger, but she never did. She was badly let down on a number of occasions and I was willing her to retaliate ... but it wasn't to be. The ending also wasn't strong enough for me. It seem to fizzle out.

Pity, because the structure of the story was very good. Sitting in the loo, looking back over events, was an unusual setting.
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