Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Review: Familiar Ties by Naya Nikki & Author Interview

As I mentioned before, I had two ongoing tours this month and I had received the book for this one a long while back. So, FINALLY I get to share with you guys my awesome read! Also, I should point out that this is my first ever Author interview so, again, I hope I am doing it right. Enjoy!

Now onto review:

Title: Familiar Ties
Author: Naya Nikki
ISBN 13: 9780985011567

Goodreads Synopsis:
Max West is a widower raising Phoebe, his four-year-old daughter. Phoebe has to live with the fact that the day she was born is also the day of her mother's death. As her fifth year without her mother approaches, Phoebe finds solace in her godmother, Amy Riley, and her daughter, Grace Crawford, another single parent family.

Amy Riley is a successful fashion designer who spends most of her days raising her four-year-old daughter, Grace, while her wayward boyfriend is travelling the world making the next best film. As the fifth year without her best friend looms she finds comfort in her ex-boyfriend, Max, and his daughter, Phoebe.

These two “broken” families have a tough week to face as the dreaded day approaches. However through their past, present and debatable future will their choices affect the outcome both parents clearly want and are simply denying? Or will Phoebe and Grace lose the only “whole” family they have ever known?

So let's start with the first thing that catches your eye with this book: The cover! I absolutely loved it, even before I knew there was a vacancy in the book tour, the book had fascinated me and made me want to buy it anyway.

The plot was really interesting, the troubles of modern life families and how people cope with it and with loss, though the Anna, Amy and Max love triangle reminded me a bit of 'Sarah's Child' by Linda Howard.

As to the characters, I love how Max and Amy are the perfect parents. Amy being super mom, pulling it all off alongside her career, though are there such parents that think there's no such thing as a bad moment in raising a kid? At some point there must be one. Sure you could love being a parent, but diaper changes and sleep-deprivation, balancing it all, cleaning, I am certain she could have been good at it, but there has to have been some bad moments. Though I like the easygoing relationship they ended up with for the sake of their girls. I got so emotional alongside Max and Amy with their separate crisis and how they helped one another. I really disliked Jack though, but I guess that was the main aim of the story, and I guess it does happen. What I didn't like about Amy was how she attempted to appear so strong, independent and pulling it together, yet still going back to Jack no matter how bad he treated her. There's a heck of a lot of crap Amy could have called him on, but for some reason she never did. It was like he was deliberately obtuse and she doesn't help matters by confronting him. But again some women do that, not to mention maybe she wanted something to work for her daughter's sake?
As to the kids, I loved Phoebe. She was the perfect character in this book, I could just see her as the four/five year old character she was meant to be. She was the most plausible, mistakenly calling the only mother figure she had as mom, it does happen and is a part of the wishful thinking of a child that had lost her mother. Grace on the other hand I did not like. Her character was not plausible at all in my opinion. I can't believe a four year old - no matter how much time she spent with her 'professional' mother would talk or act that way. It was a weird mix between a small child wanting to go home and a mature one that understood the hidden meanings between 'loving' and 'being in love'.

I also disliked how Max and Amy always talked about how the other child reminded them of the other person, it got kind of annoying after a while, since sure, they're close, but they weren't meant to be in love. Yet. I don't get how they could be such close friends after he'd dated her best friend, or how Amy had allowed it or thought it alright to date her best friend - the man she was still in love with. The best friends' relationship alongside the flashbacks got confusing. Who was best friends with who? And who knew who? How? When?

However, ignoring all of that, because YES once you get into the story you can ignore anything you didn't like, you can be angry alongside the characters, happy with them sad with them, frustrated, even laugh. I cried, and got so emotional throughout this book and enjoyed it immensely! I hope you guys get a chance to read it and enjoy it as well!

Rating: 4/5

Author Interview

1)      How about we start off with a small summary on you.

I am a British university student who splits her time between writing, studying, going out and spending time with her parents. Reading and writing have always been a passion of mine so it made sense when I decided to do an English and Creative Writing degree.

2)       If your life was a book, what do you think are the most unforgettable plots?

I think coming to university. I am just finishing my first year and have been reflecting on everything that has happened. University has helped me to grow and become the person I have become. As well I have made the most amazing set of friends I do not think I could ever live without.

3)      When was the first time you had your ‘oh hey, I should be a writer’ moment?

Not sure, as a kid I was always writing short stories, and English was my favorite class. I think after I’d written Familiar Ties for the first time I thought I’d take a chance and send it out and see what response I got and to be honest it just went from there.

4)      Assuming you could travel in time, which era do you think you were born to live in?
Hands down 1930s I love that era! They had the most amazing dresses, so classic and beautiful.

5)      Is there a book you could claim changed your life?
Does Chicken Soup count? I got a copy for my 13th birthday and I take it everywhere with me, it is so touching and I always look to it when I am feeling down and need to smile J

6)      Who was the most author that influenced you?
It is a tie between Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott and Jodi Picoult. I love all of Austen’s books and Little Women is one book I have never gotten bored off, however Jodi Picoult’s novels have changed literature, I think, and I am in awe of her writings.

7)      Name three things you’d consider your gravest weaknesses and three things you’d consider your greatest strengths.

Weaknesses: I trust too easily, I can contradict myself a lot and I can be overly critical.
Strengths: I love making friends, I am determined and I keep my promises

8)      What inspired your book ‘Familiar Ties’?

I am complete sucker for a good romance book so I was happy to write a cute romance novel that went how I wanted it to, so by the end of the book I wasn’t complaining that ‘this should have happened’ or ‘they should have got together.’

9)      How did it feel having your book come to life; seeing it all in print?

It still weird’s me out slightly. I have to get people to pinch me to prove it’s real. But it feels like a dream come true, and I am really happy about it all. I got to work with an amazing team of people who were really helpful and in some cases even read my mind...haha

10)  Were you intimidated by the fact that you’re relatively young whilst launching your writing career as an official author?

Never, two things that have never deterred me in life are age and gender, just because I am a woman and I am a student doesn’t mean I cannot do things that others can. It makes me more determined to get them done and in this case I was adamant I wanted my dream to come true whether it be now or in 10 years time.

11)  Looking back at your book now, are there things you wish you could change?

I try not to look back because I don’t want to feel like I missed things and I want to be happy with how successful the book has been, and I am so grateful for the amazing response. But yes there probably are things I would go back and change because I have matured a lot since writing the book and I feel I could input a lot of that into the book…maybe next time?

12)  Which character from your book do you think you accidentally poured a bit of yourself into?

Amy and a bit of the girls as well. Phoebe’s relationship with Max is identical to mine and my dad’s so in that way she’s got that side of me. Grace’s determination definitely comes from my need to achieve my dreams and complete my goals. Amy’s trust issues come from my past and I know a lot of people have those issues as well and so I put these in to show people that they aren’t alone in this.

13)  If tomorrow you were declared queen, what would be the first thing you’d do?

That is a hard one…I’d probably just proclaim more holidays because you can never have too many of those

14)  What message would you like to relay to your readers regarding your book?

Please read it and give it a chance, I know it looks like your stereotypical romance novel and up to a point it is…but is that always so bad?

Ways readers can reach you:



  1. Hi there! Came here from Book Blogs! Thanks for the welcome! :)

    Following you now! :)


    1. Hey Leah, I absolutely love your blog! I am following you back :)


  2. Great review! Although I have never done an author interview, I think you asked good questions. Just thought I would let you know that I like the questions you asked, since you said this was your first. :)

    1. Aww thanks! That made me feel good about it :) I've been worried!

  3. Hi there Aliaa,

    Just came across from blogaholic network... I'm now a newbie follower! (yay!) It's a lovely blog, the banner is very eye-catching!
    To start with, I didn't think that Familiar Ties would be a book I would pick up, but I really enjoyed the reveiw and author interview so I would have to think again!

    1. Aww thank you!
      I am now following you too :) it's such a pretty blog ^^