Tuesday, April 14, 2015

REVIEW: Before We Say Goodbye (+$50 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Before We Say Goodbye
Author: Julie MacLennan
Series: N/A
Pages: N/A
Date Published: February 3, 2015
Publisher: Smashwords
Format: Kindle
Genre: Fiction
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
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Four strangers are brought together on a train journey just before Christmas.

They come from very different backgrounds but they all share one thing in common – they have reached a pivotal moment in their lives and after this journey nothing will ever be the same again.

From the sorrow which follows joy, the love which turns to betrayal and the rejection which finally finds the door to acceptance, each will discover that the only journey which really matters is the one which leads to survival.

~My Thoughts~
The story kind of reminded me of The Holiday, in as much that there were four people, and they were all sort of figuring things out in their unhappy lives...also it happens during the holidays so that gives you all the warm and fuzzies that you need. Damien is the jaded in love character, not allowing himself to really feel love because of past hurts. He also seems to be a successful business man, so he may have the whole Christian Grey thing going on as well. Deirdra is heading home for Christmas, but it's not an experience she's looking forward to. When a favor for a friend results in Damien coming into her life, neither of them are prepared for their train ride to York. 

The settings and locations were all very nice. There's just something about the British Isles during Christmas time...whether it was London or Scotland or the other various places, you just got the awesome vibe from the characters and the settings that lifted the tone of the piece and gave it some energy. 

A small note of irritation was the gross misuse of quotes throughout the text. As an editor, I couldn't make it through any section of dialogue without cringing internally and wondering how in the world this got past an editing team. Aside from the punctuation, the grammar, formatting, and spelling were immaculate so it drove me that much crazier to see such mistakes detract from the book. 

If you're able to overlook quotation weirdness, this is a good book. It's poignant and meaningful, and really gives a good look into the human perspective. I liked knowing the nuances of these people's habits and styles. Particularly Deirdra was a nice character to stick around with, and I enjoyed her eccentricities and journey the most perhaps. A good read for the Christmas season or all year round! 
~Try an Excerpt!~
‘I’m leaving you!’

The young woman at the end of the phone screamed in fury as Damien Hunt calmly rose from his desk and walked towards the window.

The late afternoon sun was slipping silently below the horizon in a last brilliant blaze of crimson defiance. The irony was not lost on him as he witnessed the magnificent rays disappearing from sight at exactly the same moment as Stella Milner was doing her best to elicit a response, any response, from him.

‘Do you hear me? Are you even listening? What’s the matter with you?’

She was almost hysterical now and he could tell that his continued refusal to answer her was only inflaming an already volatile situation. But not for the first time he recognised it as his escape route and said nothing.

‘Damien? Damien! Will you answer me?’

The silence on the line was deafening and Damien could hear her start to cry.

He closed his eyes. There was a part of him which felt guilty, responsible for the situation in which they now found themselves. But only a part of him.

Mostly what he felt was a dreadful and overwhelming weariness.

It was a feeling which was unfamiliar to him and yet it had crept up on him lately, invading his thoughts during random moments and making him doubt everything. Including himself.

And now it was telling him that there was no point in prolonging this conversation.

He let the phone fall to his side as Stella continued to rage against him.

They both knew that she was right. She wanted only what she deserved. There was only one problem.

He couldn’t give it to her.

Couldn’t give her the commitment and the stability that she hadn’t cared about in the beginning but seemed now to crave. He couldn’t give it, and more importantly he didn’t want to give it. Not to her. Not to anyone. Not ever.

Her voice became louder now and he reluctantly raised the phone to his ear again.

‘Can’t you even speak to me now, Damien? What do you think I am? Some little tramp? A one night stand? You really think that you’re better than me, don’t you, Damien?’

Still he remained silent.

When she spoke again, her voice was lower and she sounded more in control.

‘Okay, if you won’t speak to me on the phone, you leave me no choice. We’ll just have to have this conversation in front of everyone in your office. I’m coming round.’  

‘No, Stella. You’re not! This isn’t getting us anywhere. I’m trying not to say the things I should say at this point but if you push me into it, I’ll hurt you. And I don’t want to do that.’
~Meet Julie!~ 
Julie MacLennan lives and works in Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland.

This is her first published novel although she has been writing for as long as she can remember.

Some of her earliest memories are of sitting by her grandfather’s chair and being fascinated by the books he read. Later, encouraged by her grandmother’s gift for writing and her mother’s imagination, she began to transfer her own short stories and poetry to paper.  

Her shared love of football with her father inspired her to write the poem “Farewell, Our Friend” which was read out and televised around the world at George Best’s funeral in late 2005.

More recently, she was honored to be asked by the Royal British Legion if they could use another of her poems, “The Promise”, as part of their commemoration of the First World War.

She is now working on her second novel.
Julie will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


  1. THE HOLIDAY is a favorite of mine, so that's a good point.

  2. thank you for the excerpt, i enjoyed reading it

  3. I really enjoyed the excerpt! Damien seems like just the kind of guy I like reading about!

  4. I really enjoyed the excerpt. This sounds like a fascinating story.

  5. I liked the excerpt, sounds like a good read.

  6. The outstanding cover is what I like most from the post.

  7. Thanks for the giveaway! I like the excerpt. :)

  8. Thanks for the excerpt and review.

  9. Thank you so much for your review and comments. I really appreciate it and will take it with me into my second book. Julie MacLennan x

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Apologies everyone for sending the same comment twice..doh! I have now deleted the second one. You might have guessed that I am new at this :-)

  12. "... she began to transfer her own short stories and poetry to paper." Hmmm. *I* write poetry and I'm sure my friends would consider my emails to be short novels. Coincidence? LOL.

  13. My favorite part of the post is the author bio. Best of luck on your second book

  14. Enjoyed reading the excerpt and the review.

  15. I liked the excerpt and also enjoyed your thoughts on it as well :)
    Lori H

  16. I loved the excerpt and review.Thank you

  17. Thanks for sharing the blurb about the author! Always so fun to "meet" the person behind the book!

  18. I liked the excerpt and the characters sound interesting, gritty and real

  19. I love the authors mini bio to me it is fascinating to read and capture a wee peek into their lives and inspiration