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What if – to find yourself – you had to run away? Last year was meant to be when Holly got her happy-ever-after. But stuck in a job that’s going nowhere, and a relationship that feels more like it’s going backwards… this year Holly has decided it’s time to change her life. She just has to: – End the relationship with the commitment-phobic boyfriend – Go on a proper adventure What if – to find yourself – you had to run away? Last year was meant to be when Holly got her happy-ever-after. But stuck in a job that’s going nowhere, and a relationship that feels more like it’s going backwards… this year Holly has decided it’s time to change her life. She just has to: – End the relationship with the commitment-phobic boyfriend – Go on a proper adventure – Learn to be herself again – Definitely, categorically not fall in love. Cramming her belongings into her little yellow Mini, Holly drives on to a ferry bound to Spain, to stay at a remote farmhouse near a beautiful village in the Andalusian hills. But the day she arrives she nearly crashes her car into a gorgeous guy on a motorbike. He’s called Matias and their paths keep crossing, much to Holly’s irritation. Because as she learns to speak Spanish from the locals, finally starts laying out plans for her own design business, and sips sangria in the sunlit village square, Holly is beginning to remember who she is and what she wants. So she won’t allow herself be distracted by Matias. Because this year – for Holly – there are more important things in life than love. And she won’t let yet another bad relationship ruin everything… will she? A moving and uplifting romantic comedy about living each moment and learning to trust yourself again, for fans of Jenny Hale, Debbie Macomber, and Sophie Kinsella. Readers love Karen King: ‘Best book I have read in ages. Couldn't put it down... My star rating would be max 10 out of 10. Superb!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars ‘Fantastic from the first page to the last. I really didn't want it to end at all. So enchanting and romantic and about finding your own happiness when you don't think you can… A simply fantastic read, highly recommend it.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars ‘Amazing! This book pulls at your heartstrings... Highly recommend.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars ‘A pure pleasure to devour this book, I just didn't want it to end, I was enjoying it so much… Wonderful.’ Rachel’s Random Reads, 5 stars ‘Such a cleverly written, hilarious and fun book with bucketfuls of drama. Absolutely loved it!’ The Writing Garnet, 5 stars ‘I loved this book, it was fun, easy to read with lovely characters and a fab story.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars ‘Romantic, edgy, dreamy... Loved it from start to finish.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars ‘[A] stonking great read that will leave you wanting more.’ Goodreads reviewer ‘Contemporary women's fiction at its best. Utterly charming.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars ‘I would heartily recommend this book to anyone who likes a good escapist read.’ Whispering Stories ‘Worth far more than five stars… I was hooked from the first page… Full of romance and heartbreak and families and doing what is best.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars


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What if – to find yourself – you had to run away? Last year was meant to be when Holly got her happy-ever-after. But stuck in a job that’s going nowhere, and a relationship that feels more like it’s going backwards… this year Holly has decided it’s time to change her life. She just has to: – End the relationship with the commitment-phobic boyfriend – Go on a proper adventure What if – to find yourself – you had to run away? Last year was meant to be when Holly got her happy-ever-after. But stuck in a job that’s going nowhere, and a relationship that feels more like it’s going backwards… this year Holly has decided it’s time to change her life. She just has to: – End the relationship with the commitment-phobic boyfriend – Go on a proper adventure – Learn to be herself again – Definitely, categorically not fall in love. Cramming her belongings into her little yellow Mini, Holly drives on to a ferry bound to Spain, to stay at a remote farmhouse near a beautiful village in the Andalusian hills. But the day she arrives she nearly crashes her car into a gorgeous guy on a motorbike. He’s called Matias and their paths keep crossing, much to Holly’s irritation. Because as she learns to speak Spanish from the locals, finally starts laying out plans for her own design business, and sips sangria in the sunlit village square, Holly is beginning to remember who she is and what she wants. So she won’t allow herself be distracted by Matias. Because this year – for Holly – there are more important things in life than love. And she won’t let yet another bad relationship ruin everything… will she? A moving and uplifting romantic comedy about living each moment and learning to trust yourself again, for fans of Jenny Hale, Debbie Macomber, and Sophie Kinsella. Readers love Karen King: ‘Best book I have read in ages. Couldn't put it down... My star rating would be max 10 out of 10. Superb!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars ‘Fantastic from the first page to the last. I really didn't want it to end at all. So enchanting and romantic and about finding your own happiness when you don't think you can… A simply fantastic read, highly recommend it.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars ‘Amazing! This book pulls at your heartstrings... Highly recommend.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars ‘A pure pleasure to devour this book, I just didn't want it to end, I was enjoying it so much… Wonderful.’ Rachel’s Random Reads, 5 stars ‘Such a cleverly written, hilarious and fun book with bucketfuls of drama. Absolutely loved it!’ The Writing Garnet, 5 stars ‘I loved this book, it was fun, easy to read with lovely characters and a fab story.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars ‘Romantic, edgy, dreamy... Loved it from start to finish.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars ‘[A] stonking great read that will leave you wanting more.’ Goodreads reviewer ‘Contemporary women's fiction at its best. Utterly charming.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars ‘I would heartily recommend this book to anyone who likes a good escapist read.’ Whispering Stories ‘Worth far more than five stars… I was hooked from the first page… Full of romance and heartbreak and families and doing what is best.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

30 review for The Year of Starting Over

  1. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    If somebody gave you £30,000 and a year to spend this money on reinventing yourself, where would you go and what would you do? Holly grew up with a loving example of her grandparents’ marriage. When she inherits 30,000 from her grandfather, she wants to spend it on a wedding with her boyfriend of two years and possibly a deposit on a house. Unfortunately, he seems to be more interested in spending time with his mates than committing himself in a marriage to Holly. Suddenly, Holly realizes she’s b If somebody gave you £30,000 and a year to spend this money on reinventing yourself, where would you go and what would you do? Holly grew up with a loving example of her grandparents’ marriage. When she inherits 30,000 from her grandfather, she wants to spend it on a wedding with her boyfriend of two years and possibly a deposit on a house. Unfortunately, he seems to be more interested in spending time with his mates than committing himself in a marriage to Holly. Suddenly, Holly realizes she’s been taken for granted for too long and has made too many compromises. She leaves Scott, moves back to her Mum’s, and starts thinking seriously about changing her life. Holly draws up a list of things she would like to do in the upcoming year. Her friends Fiona and Pablo have just bought a house in Andalusia. Aso ne of the things on Holly’s bucket list is living abroad, Holly sets off on her journey to help her friends turn their house in an artists’ retreat and at the same time figure out what really makes her happy. Love isn’t something she expects or wants at this stage of her life. What I loved about this book is that, although there is a love story, it isn’t central. It is something that happens to the main characters Holly and Matias as they sort out their lives, face their fears, engage in meaningful interactions, and discover themselves. Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion. My reviews can also be found on: https://readingtonic.home.blog/

  2. 5 out of 5

    Zoe

    Warm, cheery and romantic! The Year of Starting Over is a charming, uplifting read that takes us into the life of Holly as she leaves her dead-end relationship and boring job behind and heads to the Spanish countryside for a holiday to rediscover herself and find true happiness armed with a dream list and an open mind. The prose is light and descriptive. The characters, including all the supporting characters, are quirky, engaging, and authentic. And the plot is a delightfully entertaining tale ab Warm, cheery and romantic! The Year of Starting Over is a charming, uplifting read that takes us into the life of Holly as she leaves her dead-end relationship and boring job behind and heads to the Spanish countryside for a holiday to rediscover herself and find true happiness armed with a dream list and an open mind. The prose is light and descriptive. The characters, including all the supporting characters, are quirky, engaging, and authentic. And the plot is a delightfully entertaining tale about life, love, hopes, dreams, family, friendship, community, self-discovery, and contentment. Overall, The Year of Starting Over is an amusing, refreshing, enjoyable treat by King that, ultimately, reminds us that life is truly an adventure! Thank you to NetGalley, especially Bookouture, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    Things are about to get a lot different for Holly. After her boyfriend, Scott, stands her up yet again, she’s finally had enough. No longer will she mold herself to make others happy. Instead, she makes a list of all the goals she wants to accomplish— a full year’s worth. In no time, with her yellow Mini packed, she sets off for a farmhouse in Spain. As she settles into her new life, though, she’s soon distracted by her neighbor, Matias. But one of her goals for the year certainly isn’t to find Things are about to get a lot different for Holly. After her boyfriend, Scott, stands her up yet again, she’s finally had enough. No longer will she mold herself to make others happy. Instead, she makes a list of all the goals she wants to accomplish— a full year’s worth. In no time, with her yellow Mini packed, she sets off for a farmhouse in Spain. As she settles into her new life, though, she’s soon distracted by her neighbor, Matias. But one of her goals for the year certainly isn’t to find love … right? The book opens with Holly at such a low point in her life. Her grandfather has recently passed and the earliest scenes in the book are her attempting to deal with Scott, a wholly unlikable boyfriend who takes advantage of her. Even so, she justifies their relationship, and these moments are honestly painful to read. Holly seems like a character completely content to be miserable. Yet, if this sounds depressing, it shouldn’t. Author Karen King has masterfully crafted such a sorry beginning for Holly that when she snaps and creates her goals for the year to come it’s such a rejoiceful moment— she finally reflects on her own happiness. And these aren’t your standard resolutions. In a whirlwind of moments, she cruises off to Spain. It’s a country she’s only been to once. She doesn’t speak the language. She just has two friends offering a place to stay, a lot of cash, and the drive to find out what she wants in life. But, of course, romance has to complicate things. Matias is a perfect foil. When they first meet, there might be attraction, but there is no love at first sight. Instead, King goes for a beautiful slow burn, allowing the two to get to know each other by diving into complicated pasts. It’s effective, and the budding relationship between them feels completely organic. Toss in some missed signals and tension and … well, how on earth is a girl supposed to focus on her sangria with a guy like Matias walking around? King also has crafted such a wonderful village in Spain. The locale feels deliciously real, marking such a beautiful area for Holly to complete her goals (often with the help of Matias). There’s really no better place to try fifty different flavors of ice cream or to go snorkeling. It helps that King has populated the area with a small but charming cast of secondary characters. There aren't a lot of external forces complicating the plot for Holly, but King more than manages to make reading about pool parties or simple dinners compelling because the people and place feel so real. For a fun story that tackles personal growth, there aren’t many as solid as The Year of Starting Over. Note: I received a free ARC of this book through NetGalley.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I really can’t begin to tell you how much I adored this book. It is ideal escapism at it’s best. Holly is very brave, daring to go to another country to live for a while to mend her broken heart and to start full filling a list she has created of things she wants to do. I’m sure it is something we have all fantasised about at times but have either never dared or had the finances to do it. There is so much to fall in love with in this story. The fabulous Spanish setting, the gorgeous Matias as well I really can’t begin to tell you how much I adored this book. It is ideal escapism at it’s best. Holly is very brave, daring to go to another country to live for a while to mend her broken heart and to start full filling a list she has created of things she wants to do. I’m sure it is something we have all fantasised about at times but have either never dared or had the finances to do it. There is so much to fall in love with in this story. The fabulous Spanish setting, the gorgeous Matias as well as a cute little dog called Luna. It really has so much going for it. I also loved Holly’s dream of being self employed and pushing her design business. I was fit to burst with happiness as Holly starts ticking off her list. The Year of Starting Over is an absolutely fabulous read that I couldn’t put down. It’s very much about friendship, family and most importantly, putting yourself first. Definitely going to be one of my top reads of 2019! My thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rona

    Glorious escapism with the most perfect ending, which left me with a smile on my face and a warm, fuzzy feeling that all's right with the world. The Spanish setting was sublime, as was Matias. Ahem. I enjoyed getting to know him! And Holly was an absolute delight as the main character. The story follows her as she digs herself out of a miserable situation and spends some time finding out who she is and what she wants out of life. All with the help of her arty friends who run a retreat in the And Glorious escapism with the most perfect ending, which left me with a smile on my face and a warm, fuzzy feeling that all's right with the world. The Spanish setting was sublime, as was Matias. Ahem. I enjoyed getting to know him! And Holly was an absolute delight as the main character. The story follows her as she digs herself out of a miserable situation and spends some time finding out who she is and what she wants out of life. All with the help of her arty friends who run a retreat in the Andalucian mountains. The story flowed along at a lovely place and I could visualise everything so clearly I was there, having fun with Holly while she ticked things of her list. Fabulous stuff! This is my first book by this author, but I'll definitely be reading more.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Monica Mac

    I thoroughly enjoyed this story! Holly was in a bit of a rut - she had a boyfriend that she had to act a certain way around, had to dress a certain way around and who took her for granted. The opportunity came up to go to Spain and help out her friend Fiona, and she decided to take a chance. She got a list together of all the things she wanted to achieve, and men being the distracting creatures that they are, were not on the list. This book was all about being the best person you can be, Holly we I thoroughly enjoyed this story! Holly was in a bit of a rut - she had a boyfriend that she had to act a certain way around, had to dress a certain way around and who took her for granted. The opportunity came up to go to Spain and help out her friend Fiona, and she decided to take a chance. She got a list together of all the things she wanted to achieve, and men being the distracting creatures that they are, were not on the list. This book was all about being the best person you can be, Holly went on a lot of adventures, she got out of her comfort zone, she gained in confidence and I was cheering her on, all the way. I loved her friends, the setting in Spain where she stayed and the fact that she was her own person, and enjoying her life. Such a fabulous story!!! Yes, there was a romantic aspect to this book, but there was also a cute dog :) The best part was that Holly was front and centre, and trying to figure out what she wanted out of her life etc. She was such a lovely character too. Give this book a chance, I am sure you will enjoy it. 5 well-earned stars from me. Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stacy wilson

    I have never been big on chick lit, but this author... I love! I shall definetly be reading more. loved this book so much. So heartwarming.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    The Year of Starting Over is a delightfully refreshing wholesome read. I enjoyed every single second of reading this book and found the characters to be well developed and not over-rehearsed. First of all, where is my friend that owns a finca in Spain that I can move into?? If anyone wants to sign up, please let me know! Holly is a relatable MC who is on a journey to discover herself after losing herself in a terrible relationship. She is stubborn, creative, carefree and just an all around good pe The Year of Starting Over is a delightfully refreshing wholesome read. I enjoyed every single second of reading this book and found the characters to be well developed and not over-rehearsed. First of all, where is my friend that owns a finca in Spain that I can move into?? If anyone wants to sign up, please let me know! Holly is a relatable MC who is on a journey to discover herself after losing herself in a terrible relationship. She is stubborn, creative, carefree and just an all around good person. Matias is the irresistible, standoffish (initially), beautiful Spanish man who just keeps popping up everywhere she turns. I was expecting this to be a challenging dynamic where Matias challenges Holly to be the best person she could be, but it was a nice change of pace for it to be a supportive dynamic. I think anyone that enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love will definitely enjoy this. I also got Me Before You vibes (though not as upsetting) from this book too. Lou and Holly would be great friends, I think. If you’re looking for a light-hearted, enjoyable read – I would give this a go! *thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gaele

    Having read Snowy Nights at the Lonely Hearts Hotel by King and loving the nuanced characters, opportunities for self-discovery and growth, I wondered if she could create a similar magic with new characters and an entirely new setting. I needn’t have worried though, the character of Holly was everything that one could hope for: and her opportunities and ability to share her own growth and happiness with those around her was enchanting. Having spent a few years in a relationship that was wholly o Having read Snowy Nights at the Lonely Hearts Hotel by King and loving the nuanced characters, opportunities for self-discovery and growth, I wondered if she could create a similar magic with new characters and an entirely new setting. I needn’t have worried though, the character of Holly was everything that one could hope for: and her opportunities and ability to share her own growth and happiness with those around her was enchanting. Having spent a few years in a relationship that was wholly one-sided, and ignoring her own desires, comfort and even the basic respect one should be able to expect from her partner, she’s had enough. She’s always felt that Scott was with her because she’s compromised everything, and ignored his immaturity and selfishness. But when he expects her to collect him at the airport after a ‘last minute’ jaunt to Amsterdam, she’d had enough. It wasn’t bad enough that she was still grieving from the loss of her grandfather, but feeling as if she was drifting without any real purpose. Her best friend suggested a list of ‘what you want to do’, and giving herself a timeframe to accomplish them – and with a bequest due from her grandfather’s estate, nowhere to live after leaving her partner, and no real ‘ties’ to anything in England, she takes an offer from a friend who relocated to the Andalusian region in Spain to help them renovate their house and outbuildings before starting their artist’s retreat in a few months. From the moment she arrived, Holly has been spreading her wings: learning Spanish, painting and varnishing, expanding her own designs to create her own fabrics, meeting the neighbors little dog and meeting the neighbor, Matias. Well, they both got the wrong end of the stick – Matias thinking Holly is simply like all of the other women he knows – grasping and wealth obsessed. He’s renovating his aunt’s cottage for resale as she’s moved into an apartment in town, and he’s splitting his time between that and his gym – a gym he’s opened in lieu of (and to the consternation of) his parents – his father wanting him to join the family firm of attorneys. Matias doesn’t want to solely practice law however, after a serious accident left him depressed and it was the physical trainers who got him back to health and happiness – challenging him when nothing else did. The rift between he and his father bothers them both, and he’s not quite sure how to remedy it. But, Holly has a lightness and way about her that makes him want to help her – spending time with her is something he looks forward to, and enjoys despite his repeatedly stating he wants no relationship. Slowly but surely King takes us through Holly’s steps to completing her list – a huge step requiring a ton of bravery that didn’t really occur to her – and we get to revel in the delights as she comes to fully grasp and grab at her own life and confidence with both hands. Not only the designs, but the little town, the vistas and even the weather come alive, and everyone seems to bloom and blossom in the story. From the success of Holly’s designs to her growing connection with Matias and the retreat having many satisfied customers – there is growth for everyone here and it will leave readers with a touch of jealousy in wanting to have the opportunity to do what Holly did, but smiles and everything feels very possible and plausible. A lovely read that is just the ticket for days when the winter days too long. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. Review first appeared at I am, Indeed

  10. 4 out of 5

    Els

    While I am writing this review, a wintery mix is falling outside. But then my eyes are drawn to the lovely and warm cover of this wonderful story and I feel all warm inside again. There is only one thing better than reading about Spain and that is being in Spain, but because that’s not possible I will gladly settle with second best. Was it second best though? No, because the author was able to create the entourage in such way you really felt the sun on your skin and I was almost putting my bikini While I am writing this review, a wintery mix is falling outside. But then my eyes are drawn to the lovely and warm cover of this wonderful story and I feel all warm inside again. There is only one thing better than reading about Spain and that is being in Spain, but because that’s not possible I will gladly settle with second best. Was it second best though? No, because the author was able to create the entourage in such way you really felt the sun on your skin and I was almost putting my bikini on to take part in the pool party or dive into the bleu water of the Mediteranean. I also loved the fact she wrote about villages and place I have visited as well and it brought back pleasant memories. You could call it a story about escapism and in a way it’s true, but Holly does not bury herself in misery. She takes, encouraged by a few good friends, her future in her own hands and embraces it wholeheartedly. This book has everything I like : sun, sea, love, friendship and I liked the way Holly became Holly again and not the Holly some people liked her to be. I would love to have a sequel to this one, because I have a feeling Holly’s life only just started now. 5 stars. Thank you, Karen King, Bookouture and Netgally for the review copy https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pelusa Rivera

    We meet Holly who has been pleasing others all her life and she wasn't living her potential. When her carefless boyfriend takes off with his friends without even telling her and then has the gall to call her for help she wakes up from realizing he totally took her for granted and that was the straw that broke the camels back, and I was clapping for her good for her get rid of dead weight. She moves to a new country and start bettering her life and then we read all about it, I liked that she did We meet Holly who has been pleasing others all her life and she wasn't living her potential. When her carefless boyfriend takes off with his friends without even telling her and then has the gall to call her for help she wakes up from realizing he totally took her for granted and that was the straw that broke the camels back, and I was clapping for her good for her get rid of dead weight. She moves to a new country and start bettering her life and then we read all about it, I liked that she did that but I got distracted I tend to like more excitement but I did appreciate that she cared enough about herself to be able to change her situation.. Rcvd and ARC at no cost to author..(netgalley) voluntarily reviewed with my own thoughts and opinions.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    The Year of Starting Over is a light, wholesome, fairly quick read about a girl who decides to move to Spain for a few months to find herself after breaking up with her long-term boyfriend in the UK. She makes a list of 12 things she wants to do over the next year to take her out of her comfort zone and figure out what she wants from life. While I love this premise and it is exactly what it promises to be, I was pretty underwhelmed. The writing is probably what kept me from being invested enough The Year of Starting Over is a light, wholesome, fairly quick read about a girl who decides to move to Spain for a few months to find herself after breaking up with her long-term boyfriend in the UK. She makes a list of 12 things she wants to do over the next year to take her out of her comfort zone and figure out what she wants from life. While I love this premise and it is exactly what it promises to be, I was pretty underwhelmed. The writing is probably what kept me from being invested enough to enjoy it more. Most of the dialogue felt forced and unnatural and then when there wasn't any dialogue, the book does the typical telling-not-showing thing which just made me feel completely disconnected from everything that was going on. I would've loved the plot in itself if it was executed in a way that I liked more, since almost everything that happens is objectively what I'd like to have happened, but I just didn't feel any of it. The main character on several occasions irritated me mildly and made me want to roll my eyes because she was being annoying. For example Matias (the love interest) had hurt his wrist and needed to have someone check up on him so he didn't hurt himself, he had told her it was lucky it wasn't his left wrist since he was left-handed. So after having exchanged numbers so she could check up on him, she asks him to "prove to her that he's left-handed" because she doesn't trust he can take care of himself enough. He's a grown man and they barely know each other at this point and who even asks someone to prove that they're left-handed?? All in all, I think I enjoyed it but I'm not completely sure since I don't know if I really felt anything at all. The story was nice and I'm happy with how things went, but I wasn't invested in it very much. (2.5 stars)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Arielle Jagow

    'The Year of Starting Over' is a refreshing take on making the most of all of the wonderful things life has to offer. One of the most important themes of the story is that you should always be true to yourself. You can't expect someone to fall in love with you if they hardly know the real you and you can't possibly live a happy life if you can't be yourself around the people you love. 
I would classify this as a women's fiction novel with a sweet modern touch of romance and I highly recommend it 'The Year of Starting Over' is a refreshing take on making the most of all of the wonderful things life has to offer. One of the most important themes of the story is that you should always be true to yourself. You can't expect someone to fall in love with you if they hardly know the real you and you can't possibly live a happy life if you can't be yourself around the people you love. 
I would classify this as a women's fiction novel with a sweet modern touch of romance and I highly recommend it to all. If you're looking for a fun story that will inspire you to embrace change and love life, then this is the story for you. When I finished this book I was a bit sad that it was over and I'm sincerely hoping that there's a second book in the works because I'd love to see what adventures lie ahead for Holly!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Angela Petch

    Escape to a dream I enjoyed being transported with the heroine to her new life in the mountains of Spain. It was fun to experience her ticking off the items on her wish list and even more fun meeting the hunky Matias - also on a mission to change his life. I read this in a couple of sittings. A light-hearted, escapist read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Smitha

    Holly has been a pleaser all her life. When her boyfriend Scott, decides to swan off for a weekend to Amsterdam without letting her know, she knows she has had enough. She has a steady job in a care home, but she knows that she needs to follow her heart. The book is all about how Holly takes control nof her life and lives it for herself. A wonderful feel good book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chrisann

    I am a big chick lit fan and after reading the synopsis of this book, I was excited to read it. Unfortunately, it was just not my cup of tea. While Holly is a great main character, the rest of the characters didn't feel well-developed and the story moved thru things too quickly. It was too fluffy and a little too predictable as well. The idea behind this story is great (who doesn't like bucket lists being settled in Europe?), but the implementation left me wanting more. I could see fans of Eat, I am a big chick lit fan and after reading the synopsis of this book, I was excited to read it. Unfortunately, it was just not my cup of tea. While Holly is a great main character, the rest of the characters didn't feel well-developed and the story moved thru things too quickly. It was too fluffy and a little too predictable as well. The idea behind this story is great (who doesn't like bucket lists being settled in Europe?), but the implementation left me wanting more. I could see fans of Eat, Pray, Love enjoying this book. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the free review copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    Holly is sick and tired of trying to please her boyfriends. They all seem to like her to doll herself up and strut her stuff. She’s a token in their pocket, but it isn’t the way she really wants to be. She thinks she is in love with her boyfriend Scott, but really he has no appreciation for who she actually is and no appreciation of what she does and wants from life. He goes out with his friends and acts like a single guy. When he doesn’t come home after a night out with his mates and has the ch Holly is sick and tired of trying to please her boyfriends. They all seem to like her to doll herself up and strut her stuff. She’s a token in their pocket, but it isn’t the way she really wants to be. She thinks she is in love with her boyfriend Scott, but really he has no appreciation for who she actually is and no appreciation of what she does and wants from life. He goes out with his friends and acts like a single guy. When he doesn’t come home after a night out with his mates and has the cheek to phone up from Amsterdam asking for her help, she finally realises that there will be no happy-ever-after with Scott, so she moves out and moves on. Things are going to have to change a lot and she’s going to give up on men and do things that will make her proud of herself. Once the decision has been made, there’s no going back. She might as well go the whole hog! She moves to Spain to help her friends with their dream of opening an artist’s retreat in their brand new home in the mountains. She makes a memory book and writes down the things she’d like to do to challenge herself. She will give it a year and then see where she is. She must live outside herself, be brave and learn to love herself. This is her story of new beginnings to boost her self confidence and make choices that will surely influence the rest of her life, all the time fondly remembering her grandparents whose legacy would enable her to be independent. Holly’s story is one of determination, courage and bravery. She is in another country so she learns the language. She mixes with the locals and learns about their country, their customs and culture. Soon she feels more Spanish than English. She amazes herself. She is strong, she is talented and I loved her character. I read on wondering what would happen at the end of the year, hoping that Holly would keep true to herself. I enjoyed this uncomplicated story. I received a complimentary copy of this novel from publisher Bookouture through my membership of NetGalley. Thank you for my copy, sent in return for an honest and unbiased review. I liked the friendships, the support for each other and the importance of family. It’s a 3.5* review from me

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lynn (Ellesea Loves Reading)

    I was drawn to this novel because it screamed to my inner wanderlust and definitely satisfied my thirst for escapism. Stuck in a dead-end job to supplement her work as an artist, Holly is living with her boyfriend Scott. The problem is, Holly wants her happy-ever-after and Scott doesn't appear to share her enthusiasm for making their relationship permanent. Treated like a doormat, she decides to leave him, moves out and plans a trip with money she's inherited from Pops. With determination and an I was drawn to this novel because it screamed to my inner wanderlust and definitely satisfied my thirst for escapism. Stuck in a dead-end job to supplement her work as an artist, Holly is living with her boyfriend Scott. The problem is, Holly wants her happy-ever-after and Scott doesn't appear to share her enthusiasm for making their relationship permanent. Treated like a doormat, she decides to leave him, moves out and plans a trip with money she's inherited from Pops. With determination and an action plan, she heads to Andalusia to help and work with friends she met at college. Only, the change of scenery acts as a catalyst for Holly to finally realise her dreams. Mathias is moody, prickly and handsome … when a British tourist driving a yellow Mini on the narrow mountainous road nearly resulting in an accident, he's angry at her lack of road sense. So when the dog he's caring for ends up outside the neighbouring finca he's not happy to see the gorgeous woman driver fussing the animal. However, as time progresses he overcomes his reservations and gets to know this British woman and in doing so, heals the rift within his family too. I read this in one sitting as I couldn't put it down. The narrative flows effortlessly and I enjoyed the contrast between Northern England and Southern Spain. Seeing Holly embrace her new surroundings and consciously thinking about how she can kick-start her career and life is inspiring. She may have been afraid of heights during the drive up to Las Mariposas but it's soon crossed off her travelling to-do list as a fear to conquer. The frenemy to lovers romance between Holly and Matias is a slow burn. It takes time to build trust but once they become friends, I liked how the author slowly built up the chemistry and sexual tension between them. With a wonderful picture in my mind of the Beautiful Spanish backdrop, all isn't plain sailing for the protagonists as all decisions are not clear cut on their rocky road to falling in love. With a friendly collection of secondary characters to help set the scene, the overall effect is charming. This is definitely a novel which resonated with me and even a couple of weeks after I finished reading it, it remains fresh in my mind. It's the first time I've read a novel by Ms King and look forward to picking another one soon. ***arc generously received courtesy of the publisher Bookouture***

  19. 5 out of 5

    v

    Perhaps one of the best, if not the best aspect of reading fiction is the sense of escape you get. And who doesn't want to escape to the countryside of beautiful sunny, Spain? Especially when you add in a gorgeous property with an equally (if not more) gorgeous neighbour? I think the thought or fantasy, rather, that many of us might have is to completely start over somewhere new, with all different people, a chance to do everything over again. It's always great to see a character develop through Perhaps one of the best, if not the best aspect of reading fiction is the sense of escape you get. And who doesn't want to escape to the countryside of beautiful sunny, Spain? Especially when you add in a gorgeous property with an equally (if not more) gorgeous neighbour? I think the thought or fantasy, rather, that many of us might have is to completely start over somewhere new, with all different people, a chance to do everything over again. It's always great to see a character develop through a situation like that. Holly is stuck and in a bit of a rut - so she decides to take this year as the year of starting over - she has a list of things she's going to do, one of them being living in a different country - what better than Spain? She's even committed to not dating, although her stony neighbour Matias might change that... Overall, what a lovely book. It's always fantastic to see characters grow and mature, figuring out who they are and exactly what they deserve. Holly was such a likeable character to read about and experience her journey with. A gorgeous setting doesn't hurt either. Matias was perfectly charming and handsome - although if I had one complaint it would simply be that he changed almost instantaneously from being so stern to being a charming host and helper for Holly to complete her dreams. Perhaps the transition just was a bit too quick.. But, that doesn't change the fact that he was absolutely swoon-worthy, with quite a lot of depth actually. A great story from start to finish, would highly recommend to anyone who wants a bit of escape. Congratulations to Karen King on a lovely summery novel! Note: I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher and author via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lghiggins

    I don’t know any honest person who won’t admit, at least to themselves, that there is something that they wish they had done differently. Since there are no “do-overs” in life, I am grateful for second chances and that is what The Year of Starting Over is all about. Its subtitle is A Feel-Good Novel about Second Chances and Finding Yourself. In Karen King’s novel, Holly is confronted with both the need and opportunity to hit the reset button on her life when it becomes apparent her relationship I don’t know any honest person who won’t admit, at least to themselves, that there is something that they wish they had done differently. Since there are no “do-overs” in life, I am grateful for second chances and that is what The Year of Starting Over is all about. Its subtitle is A Feel-Good Novel about Second Chances and Finding Yourself. In Karen King’s novel, Holly is confronted with both the need and opportunity to hit the reset button on her life when it becomes apparent her relationship with boyfriend Scott will never lead to the type of loving marriage her Nanna and Pops enjoyed. Her job as a care assistant for the elderly is not the path to fulfillment for Holly as an artist. Holly is left money by her Pops giving her a chance to change those circumstances and begin living for herself. Holly has to sort through relationships as she reinvents herself in this gentle romance. She travels from England to Spain to help her friends, Fiona and Pedro, establish an artists’ retreat. With an adventure in another country, the interesting characters, and a female lead who steps out of her comfort zone, you may well be pleasantly reminded of Under the Tuscan Sun. The plots play out differently, but the feel-good aura is present in both. I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Bookouture for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stacy Walton

    I am a huge fan of Karen King's work, so when the opportunity to read her latest book came about I jumped at the chance.  This book is everything that I hoped it would be and so much more. Books have that magical ability to pick you up and transport you to far off locations and spending several hours in the sunny climates of Spain was the perfect pick me up for a bleak February day. Holly is one of those characters who you instantly feel a connection with. Stuck in a relationship where she is tak I am a huge fan of Karen King's work, so when the opportunity to read her latest book came about I jumped at the chance.  This book is everything that I hoped it would be and so much more. Books have that magical ability to pick you up and transport you to far off locations and spending several hours in the sunny climates of Spain was the perfect pick me up for a bleak February day. Holly is one of those characters who you instantly feel a connection with. Stuck in a relationship where she is taken for granted I was willing her on to take a stand......and boy did she do that. That light bulb moment was simply magical and I whooped for joy when she took back the reigns and started the ball rolling to change her life. One year, one list and one path to lead her back to happiness. The plot welcomes you in like a big warm hug and I fell in love with the idyllic backdrop of sunny Spain which was the perfect setting for this story. Holly and Matias's chemistry gave me such chills and I loved the frustrated suspense created around the 'will they, won't they' realise their true feelings for each other. The Year of Starting Over is everything you could possibly want and more from a book. I loved every moment of my time spent with Holly on her adventures and I know you will all love this book as much as me. So download your copy today - you won't be disappointed.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tali

    A free copy of this book was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Year of Starting Over is the story of Holly, who after inheriting some money from her grandparents decides to ditch her boring boyfriend and think about what she really wants from her life. She makes a list of everything she wants to achieve over the next year and then takes a trip to Andalusia where her friends have set up an artist's retreat. There, she has a literal run-in with their handsome neighbour Mat A free copy of this book was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Year of Starting Over is the story of Holly, who after inheriting some money from her grandparents decides to ditch her boring boyfriend and think about what she really wants from her life. She makes a list of everything she wants to achieve over the next year and then takes a trip to Andalusia where her friends have set up an artist's retreat. There, she has a literal run-in with their handsome neighbour Matias. I love a good finding yourself story and this book fulfills that nicely. Holly is an engaging character and you really want her to complete everything on her to do list that will make her happy. I loved the tales of her getting used to daily life in Spain and I especially appreciated that King didn't make everything absolutely simple for her from the start, which you so often see in books where people move abroad. I also really enjoyed that although the book has romance in it - Matias is a great leading man - the majority of the book deals with Holly's work to make herself happy and it's great that that ends up being the focus rather than the romance. By the end of the book, I was really rooting for her. A great summer read about starting over and making yourself happy. This was a lovely book to spend time on holiday with. 4.5 stars.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Simona

    Book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review We meet Holly when she is still with her boyfriend Scott. He never has time for her though and does stupid things. That’s why she breaks up with him and her year of starting over starts. She comes up with a bucket list and moves to Spain for a while to see her friends and help them with their business. She wants to be herself again, do what she loves and just follow her heart. In the Andalusian hills she meets Matias. They are off a Book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review We meet Holly when she is still with her boyfriend Scott. He never has time for her though and does stupid things. That’s why she breaks up with him and her year of starting over starts. She comes up with a bucket list and moves to Spain for a while to see her friends and help them with their business. She wants to be herself again, do what she loves and just follow her heart. In the Andalusian hills she meets Matias. They are off a rocky start, but their paths keep on crossing. They start spending more and more time with each other, he helps her with her list, but somehow he is also a distraction. Both of them don’t want to be in a relationship, which complicates things. They had wonderful chemistry from the start and I loved their scenes and moments. Karen King found a beautiful way to build up their relationship, add some drama, lots of feelings and memorable experiences. I really liked Holly as a character. She is really relatable, inspiring and just lovely and so are her friends. My fave has to be Matias though. Book boyfriend calling… The setting and atmosphere of this book were amazing. Karen King is a very talented author, who captured it all in a unique, modern and fresh way. I felt like being there with the characters. I was sad when the book ended, I think I need a second part!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Gilbey

    A story about making the most of a new situation, and of taking a year away from your regular life to follow your dreams. Holly manages to come up with a list of 12 things over the next year to complete, from riding a motorcycle, to trying 50 different flavours of ice-cream, to larger ones such as being herself and living abroad, and conquering a fear. I love how she moves to Spain for a few months to help her friends set up an artists retreat, while also expanding her online design business. I A story about making the most of a new situation, and of taking a year away from your regular life to follow your dreams. Holly manages to come up with a list of 12 things over the next year to complete, from riding a motorcycle, to trying 50 different flavours of ice-cream, to larger ones such as being herself and living abroad, and conquering a fear. I love how she moves to Spain for a few months to help her friends set up an artists retreat, while also expanding her online design business. I would have loved to have seen all of Hollie's designs as they sounded impressive. I loved this look at Andalusian life in the countryside, high up in the hills, and seeing how Holly is able to integrate herself into life there. Her new neighbour Matias is rather sexy and they are both adamant that they don't need romance in their life... but their friendship is really good to watch. I loved reading about Hollie's year, the new friends she makes, her attempts to accomplish everything on her list, and just her courage to start her life over and try to enhance it the best way she can. It's a really enjoyable book, and had me really entertained for a few hours. Thank you to Bookouture and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily,

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    The Year of Starting Over - Karen King I absolutely loved this book. Having never read anything by this author before I didn’t know what to expect. I can tell you I was not disappointed. The story was fabulous. It was a lovely escapist story as well as being relatable. I imagine most people have dreamed of just leaving and going to start a new life or have a break from life in a new country. Is the grass always greener? Well Holly’s story tells you one girl’s dream and the possibilities it can lea The Year of Starting Over - Karen King I absolutely loved this book. Having never read anything by this author before I didn’t know what to expect. I can tell you I was not disappointed. The story was fabulous. It was a lovely escapist story as well as being relatable. I imagine most people have dreamed of just leaving and going to start a new life or have a break from life in a new country. Is the grass always greener? Well Holly’s story tells you one girl’s dream and the possibilities it can lead to. I devoured this book in 1 sitting, it was so easy to read and didn’t take me long to connect with Holly and want the best for her. The story made me laugh and happy and also made me feel sad with despair and not just when it ended. The story flowed really well and didn’t make you have to think about the story line you could just enjoy it. I loved being able to picture in my mind all the scenery that was described and being able to almost feel the Spanish air on my face. It was so easy to escape into that world. I didn’t want the story to end and I would love to read a sequel to this book. Karen reminds us that it is never too late to start over and do whatever we want and I will definitely read more books by her.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    I received this ARC through Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Netgalley.com, to Bookouture, and to Karen King for this opportunity. Holly's life isn't going in quite the right direction lately. Her boyfriend seems to be more interested in hanging out with the guys than in spending time with her. A future together seems more and more out of reach. She needs to reinvent her life. Armed with a list of adventures and achievements that she hopes to achieve within the next ye I received this ARC through Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Netgalley.com, to Bookouture, and to Karen King for this opportunity. Holly's life isn't going in quite the right direction lately. Her boyfriend seems to be more interested in hanging out with the guys than in spending time with her. A future together seems more and more out of reach. She needs to reinvent her life. Armed with a list of adventures and achievements that she hopes to achieve within the next year, Holly sets off for Spain to help her friends get their retreat ready for visitors. The freedom to do as she pleases in the beautiful country is just what she needs. She keeps running into her gorgeous neighbor, Matias, and, although he is quite irresistible, she is determined to keep love off the table while she focuses on her new business and on being her true self. This was a light, fun read that was just purely delightful. The characters are lovely and I was sad to see them go when the story ended. I will be looking for more books by this author in the future. Highly recommended!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lucia

    Holly has had it with her current boyfriend Scott, who is oblivious to how much she loves him and wants to marry him. When he takes an unplanned trip with his buddies out of the blue and asks her to pick him up at the airport the next day, she packs up and moves back to her mother's home. Luckily, Holly is due to inherit a sum of money from the sale of her recently deceased grandfather's house. This helps to fund her very own personal "year of starting over". She goes to Spain to visit a friend Holly has had it with her current boyfriend Scott, who is oblivious to how much she loves him and wants to marry him. When he takes an unplanned trip with his buddies out of the blue and asks her to pick him up at the airport the next day, she packs up and moves back to her mother's home. Luckily, Holly is due to inherit a sum of money from the sale of her recently deceased grandfather's house. This helps to fund her very own personal "year of starting over". She goes to Spain to visit a friend and winds up making new friends, starting a business and meeting an exciting new man. In addition, Holly has created a list of things she'd like to accomplish in the upcoming year and as the story progresses, she checks them off, one by one. This was a cute, light read. It is perfect for a trip or day at the beach. I came across some inconsistencies in the story line, but hopefully these were corrected before the book was actually printed and released. Definitely recommend. Thank you to Netgalley, the author Karen King and the publisher Bookouture for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Altherr

    What a fun read! I ended up really enjoying this book! It started out a little slow for me, and it took me a little bit of motivation to get into it, but when I got to the halfway point I couldn't put it down! I felt like the beginning of the book was weighed down with details of the renovation project Holly, the main character, and her friends were involved with. I was wanting more personal interactions and details about the characters' personalities. Once the halfway point hit and we got to kn What a fun read! I ended up really enjoying this book! It started out a little slow for me, and it took me a little bit of motivation to get into it, but when I got to the halfway point I couldn't put it down! I felt like the beginning of the book was weighed down with details of the renovation project Holly, the main character, and her friends were involved with. I was wanting more personal interactions and details about the characters' personalities. Once the halfway point hit and we got to know Matias more, the storyline picked up and I really enjoyed where the story flowed. Living in a landlocked state in the middle of USA, I was fascinated to read about the beaches, mountains, and caves of the Spainish countryside! This is such a fun, light read and would make a great summer beach book! Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for gifting me an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review! The book will be available February 7, 2019 and is available for pre-order now on Amazon!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Gray

    Holly's had it. Her life isn't going too well and her love life- well that's just rotten. She packs up her stuff and heads to Spain, where she's going to help her friends create an artists' retreat. What a lovely option this is- and a terrific setting for a romance. Matias, the smoldering and at times sullen, man next-finca, is definitely someone to keep an eye on. You know he's going to be Holly's chance at a good relationship but how they get there is the key. King has created a nice group of Holly's had it. Her life isn't going too well and her love life- well that's just rotten. She packs up her stuff and heads to Spain, where she's going to help her friends create an artists' retreat. What a lovely option this is- and a terrific setting for a romance. Matias, the smoldering and at times sullen, man next-finca, is definitely someone to keep an eye on. You know he's going to be Holly's chance at a good relationship but how they get there is the key. King has created a nice group of characters in the small town and two delightful ones on Holly and Matias. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. Good happy rom-com.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Felicia Botelho

    I loved the premise of the story. The backdrop of an artists' retreat in beautiful Spain sounds wonderful. The love story was cute. I liked that the main character realized she wasn't being treated well by her ex and decided to take her life into her own hands. But the story to me didn't have a ton of conflict or enough interesting events. The writing as well seemed a bit wordy. The conversations and dialogue didn't sound realistic; it sounded to formal and unnatural. Maybe better editing is nee I loved the premise of the story. The backdrop of an artists' retreat in beautiful Spain sounds wonderful. The love story was cute. I liked that the main character realized she wasn't being treated well by her ex and decided to take her life into her own hands. But the story to me didn't have a ton of conflict or enough interesting events. The writing as well seemed a bit wordy. The conversations and dialogue didn't sound realistic; it sounded to formal and unnatural. Maybe better editing is needed in the future. Overall I gave this 3 stars. I see potential in this author for sure. * I read this through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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