Monday, July 28, 2014

Review and Guest Post: The First Time We Met by Pippa Croft

Rating: ★★★★★ stars
Date Published: February 13th, 2014
Publisher: Penguin
Synopsis: The First Time We Met is the first novel in the sizzling new Oxford Blue romance series from Pippa Croft.

Senator's daughter Lauren Cusack is leaving Washington behind for the dreaming spires of Oxford University - and she's ready for a challenge. Now a fully-fledged Master's student, Lauren is determined to make the most of every single minute.

But then she meets Alexander Hunt, and everything changes.

A devastatingly handsome English aristocrat, Alexander is as brooding and enigmatic as they come. Lauren tries to resist his advances, but he has his sights clearly set on the young American, and what Alexander wants, he gets.

Caution soon gives way to mind-blowing passion and Lauren is drawn into Alexander's privileged world of glamour and status. But all that glitters is not gold - for Alexander is a man with a dark past, and desire may not be enough to conquer all else . . .

What I Thought:

This is Pippa Croft's debut novel and the first in a trilogy.  The second book is already available as an eBook and the third will be available in October.  I can't wait to find out what happens with Lauren and Alexander next.  I had high hopes for this book and all of them manifested.  I read this 360 page book in about three and half hours.  It's safe to say I devoured it.

Lauren is a sweetheart.  I love how she wants to be independent and true to herself.  She's been hurt in the past, and not much has been revealed about that, but it's affecting her relationship with Alexander.  Opening up and letting Alexander in is hard for her.  Alexander has his own issues which aren't dealt in full either.  He doesn't open up at all.  Things are revealed here and there, but Alexander and Pippa have managed to keep me guessing.

I was hooked from the first page.  The chemistry between Lauren and Alexander is explosive and the book is hot.  I love how the majority of the book is focused on Lauren and Alexander adjusting to each other and their issues, and not just them falling into bed together, although I enjoyed that part too.  For all the American readers, please know there is lots of British lingo in the book.  I didn't see a glossary or index, but the good news is it's not too hard to figure out what is being referred to.  

Another warning, the book does end on a sort of cliffhanger.  It was enough to make me mentally scream and think, "Oh my goodness!  What happens next?!  I have to know!  Where's the second book?"  Pippa Croft has written a fantastic new adult novel.  I can't wait to get more Lauren, Alexander, and the rest of the gang excluding Rupert, Valentina, and the General.  I could definitely do without them!  I can also tell you right now these books with their gorgeous covers will be going onto my keeper shelves. I do believe this is the first truly British new adult novel I've read and I love it.  I want more books like this please!  

Purchase Links:

Right now The First Time We Met is 0.99 Pounds on Amazon UK and the sequel The Second Time I Saw You is only 1.99 Pounds!  This is for this week only!  Get your books now!
(I'm totally jealous these aren't on sale here in the US!)


I had the opportunity to ask Pippa about how she got to know her characters.  Below is her response and it's very informative.  


Thanks for having me on the blog, Chanpreet and asking me how I get to know my characters.

Every author has their own way of doing it. Some compile detailed characters profiles before they write a single word – some even have Excel spreadsheets and colour coded files.

I don’t do that – I tend to write my way ‘into’ the book, occasionally stopping to make notes if I think a character or story should move in a new direction. I do keep a new A5 notebook for every novel for those moments when I have a ‘light bulb’ moment about a character’s back story. I then scrawl  pages of ‘train of thought’ notes to remind me, although often I can’t read my writing – but it works, because the essentials have burrowed into my mind by then.

Usually, my heroes are more fully formed than the heroine at the start of the book. I often feel I know the male MC instinctively before I’ve started, although the conflicts and challenges he faces, may change.

I tend to work harder on the heroine’s back story and development. Even when I’m giving the hero’s POV, the heroine is the person though whom the reader ‘experiences’ the story and drives it forward. Heroines need to be likeable in some way, at least by the end of the book if not the start, but it’s far more interesting for reader and author if them make mistakes because of their personality or because they’re put in an impossible situation. It can be incredibly exciting when you see them heading for a car crash moment – as Lauren does in The Second Time I Saw You!

The Oxford Blue series is unusual because it’s my first series written in the first person which of course means there’s no POV from Alexander. All my other books have the hero’s POV and I’d always wondered how I’d manage to show Alexander’s complexity and depth of character but actually, it made me work harder on showing his reactions and he certainly seems to have come to life very vividly for readers, who have reacted to him is many different ways!

Writing in the first person has been a challenge but now I’m hooked on it; I hope it’s given a fresh intensity and pace to my writing and I’d definitely do it again.

I’ve loved writing Lauren so much, and it’s hard to stop experiencing the world through her eyes. Even though I’ve now finished the series, I often find myself thinking ‘what would Lauren  do or say?’

Thank you Pippa for this lovely post.  I often find I can't read my own handwriting, so I'm glad to know it's not just me who has that problem.

About the Author
Pippa Croft is actually Phillipa Ashley.  You can find out more here:

Author Links:

* A copy was provided by the publisher via Netgalley.  All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for them in any manner.*

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