Books, Mystery/Thriller Review, Uncategorized

28th February 2021 – Book Review – Killing the Girl by Elizabeth Hill

Killing The Girl: A story of murder and redemption by [Elizabeth Hill]
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This book is all about Carol, the girl. We are introduced to Carol as an impressionable teenager and one of the main leads Frankie as a devil may care playboy who attracts Carol’s attention and they become lovers after a very short courtship where the reader can clearly see that Carol is young, naïve and way out of her depth while for the very experienced Frankie, this is not his first or last relationship. We are also introduced to Sarah, Carol’s childhood friend, her brother, Matthew and Perry, the neighbour’s son and Thora, another neighbour and also Frankie’s long lost mother. We are also introduced to Schmidt, who is Carol’s teacher and is suspected as a paedophile around the village.

This psychological thriller sketches Carol’s life through the years from the 1960’s where she is a teenager who gets pregnant with her boyfriend Frankie’s child and whose relationship with Frankie ends with the death of Frankie through to the year 2016 where she marries Perry who had actually helped her bury her dead boyfriend. Carol experiences a lot of heartache, and after many twists and turns and a sojourn to the hospital for the mentally ill, she inherits a large estate from Thora, who has learnt about her pregnancy and wanted to make sure that her estate was left to Carol and Frankie’s unborn baby.

The major factor in this novel is that the protagonist, i.e. Carol is also the perpetrator and that kind of leaves the reader with bad taste in the mouth, because you feel sorry for her but at the same time you are frustrated at some of her behaviour. It is very apparent to the reader that Frankie is a player and he is cheating under Carol’s nose yet Carol is stuck in her fanciful dreams of a future with Frankie just because he spent the summer with her and gave her some jewellery. Frankie also turns out to be a bigamist, which Carol finds out much, much later as she also finds out that he has been philandering with her best friend Sarah

In 2016, when Carol’s Estate needs renovation and she has to move out and stay with Perry, does the matter of Frankie’s disappearance come up again. It was assumed that Frankie died through drowning in France, however his remains are discovered and finally Carol’s deeds catch up with her. As an older woman on antidepressants and painkillers, Carol is much more vulnerable and Perry also does not turn out to be her protector, he is violent, not the reassuring husband that Carol thought she had found. The climax of the book is it’s saving grace and without revealing too much it ties everything up neatly and explains a lot. It involves Matthew, Sarah and Carol and the events that led up to the death of Frankie. Initially it was thought that Schmidt was being blackmailed by Frankie due to his unsavoury activities and he was involved with his death but the climax of the novel delivers a powerful and emotional ending to the novel involving those the most closest to Carol.

It is very rare that I lose interest in a book that I have chosen to review. Unfortunately Killing the Girl is one of those books. The girl, Carol, in most of the book is killing a lot of things but not the girl. The girl survives through most of the book and experiences a lot of highs and lows and there is a certain lack of continuity and my interest wavered a little during the middle of the book. I have rated the book four stars because for me, the middle of the novel did not hold my attention but the end was engaging and involved Matthew’s character, who did not make too many appearances throughout the novel.


A Darker Shade of Pink….Thriller Review – 18th January 2021 Book Review: Trauma

Dear Readers, You have known me for a long time now, extolling the virtues of Women’s Modern Fiction coupled with comedy and romance that is widely known world over as Chick Lit. So it gives me great pleasure to start this first offshoot review of a book classified in the category of Thriller/Mystery and it could not have been a better book than Trauma by Dylan Young.

Trauma: a gripping psychological mystery thriller by [Dylan Young]

The book starts off with our main lead Cameron Todd in a random bar with a bunch of random people plus a man called Ivan and a faceless woman. The scene ends with Cameron and the mysterious girl leaping into the unknown. The first chapter had me hooked! So I kept reading on to find out that Cameron or Cam as he is known to his friends and his doctor girlfriend Emma Roxburgh had leapt into waters of Cirali beach on their holiday in Turkey. As a result, Emma died tragically while Cameron hit land surface and got life changing brain injuries due to which he experiences hallucinations in the form of dissociative fugues, where he is in a confused state and travels physically to strange places.

He has to take strong medication and most of his memory about the accident is lost to the extent that he does not even remember Emma’s face. Other characters in the novel are Rachael his over protective sister, John, the investigator that Emma’s family hired to investigate Emma’s unfortunate death, Leon, Camron’s gym trainer, Josh, his old friend from uni days, Vanessa, a paraplegic friend of Cam’s and Nicole apparently a friend of Cam and Emma’s. The novel picks up pace as Cam starts a romantic relationship with Nicole and continues to discover new things about Emma. Without giving away the climax and putting in spoilers, all I can say is that this novel is fast paced and worth a read. The novel is set in the current Covid climate so the reader will get a lot of references to the current situation and the terms support bubble and self isolating make appearances.

Things become very complicated when Nicole, after getting to second base with Cam, infers that Emma was having an affair with someone in the medical field. Cam contacts Detective Rhian Keely as he has found something in Emma’s old diary that may be a lead and have something to do with someone in the hospital having contact with Emma and drug dealing. Added to this, Emma’s relatives, especially Emma’s sister Harriet hates Cameron Todd because she suspects foul play on his part, as he became the beneficiary of Emma’s life insurance policy. Emma’s family have even hired John Stamford, a private investigator to get to the bottom of the mystery of her tragic death. So Cam decides to meet him to show him the diary too but does not get too far as they are interrupted by Emma’s sister. Harriet also accuses Cam of creating a fake memorial facebook page on Emma.

Ultimately though, Cam does not give up on the investigation and neither does Harriet or Detective Keely and the climax brings in a brand new character that shows a new twist in this tale that no one saw coming until half of this novel was over. I am not giving up the spoiler but all I am saying is that the character who turns out to be the most duplicitous is Nicole and she is getting absolutely no awards for loyalty!

Go on read this novel, you know you want to. I am giving it a well deserved four and a half because it kept my attention till the end and the twist at the end was very unexpected!

Books, Chicklit

28th January 2020 – Book Review – The Mystery Shopper and the Hot Tub by Helen E Field.

The Mystery Shopper & The Hot Tub: Book One Of The De'ath Family Antics by [Helen E. Field]

four stars clip art

Dear Readers, after a long sabbatical from my beloved blog that you are reading right now, I am back with a very, very small bang, reviewing Helen E. Field’s novel on De’ath family’s antics, on this particular occasion to do with dreams of lounging about in hot tubs to impress their Brentwood, Essex neighbourhood and random mystery shopping episodes. It is a very uncertain and dark time for all of us with the Corona and Covid pandemic and this novel was delightfully funny and fast paced, earning it well deserved four stars.

Brooke and Dean are the ideal couple next door, living in Brentwood, Essex with their little tot Paige. Dean dreams of getting a promotion in his IT Support firm while Brooke, described as a typical Essex hottie wants to be better than the rest of the Essex lot in their neighbourhood and has a penchant for reading Homes and Gardens and aspires to be better than the rest. Dean is very, very endearing as a husband who wants to do the best for his little daughter and Brooke. Brooke is very outspoken in her demands for a Hot Tub and that sets the story in motion.

When Dean applies for a job as a mystery shopper, his main concern is somehow earning enough to get a Hot Tub to impress his feisty wife and his friends and in laws. In the meantime, Brooke also scores a job working as an assistant to a Lady Townsend, a vivacious landed lady who takes a shine to Brooke at their very first meeting. Both of the spouses hide their little jobs from one another and what ensues is a hilarious comedy of errors that features side characters Martin (Dean’s friend) and Dawn (Brooke’s ever suffering friend and babysitter to Paige), Lady Townsend and the couple’s laws.

I especially enjoyed reading about Dean’s mishaps in mystery shopping and how he managed to visit a posh hotel that everyone was in awe of and did the typical ‘new to this kind of thing’ exercise of nabbing toiletries (in this case Molton Brown) for free!! He also mystery shops Burger King and a Golf Club with thieving staff and all of his experiences are worth reading! On the other hand, Brooke attends a posh members only club assisting Lady Townsend with her presentation and the description of the club and its members is engrossing and funny.

The best part is Dean’s role in Paige’s near disastrous birthday party and how well Dean and Martin are able to deal with the ensuing chaos as Dean somehow manages to fit in his mystery shopping task on the same day as his daughter’s birthday party.  I do not want to give any spoilers away, but in the end, both Dean and Brooke are able to realise their Essex dream of owning a beautiful state of the art Hot Tub, although this culminates in another comic situation for both of them. How they get to this stage is what the book is about. I thoroughly enjoyed the fast pace of this book and how the author has painstakingly described each situation and has given the reader a real feel of the Essex area and its customs.



Guest Post – ‘Single in the City’ by Rose McClelland

Dear, dear readers…..first of all apologies for being AWOL for the past year (or more)…..been having a few upheavals, revelations and drastic changes in my personal life (but that is another story, maybe I should write a book on that, would make for an entertaining yet sordid tale).

However, it gives me great pleasure to be able to restart my blog with this fantastic guest post by the very talented Rose McCleland. Rose’s book ‘The Year of No Rules’ is out on 17th of October, read more about it on

the year of no rules

So with out further ado, here is Rose’s great article on the real struggle and the surprising joys of being single……

Single in the City

Suddenly single. It has quite a horrible ring to it, doesn’t it? But that’s often how it happens. It’s out of the blue, you weren’t expecting it and those words “we need to talk” suddenly shift your whole world upside down.

But hold on. Before you drown your sorrows in copious bottles of wine and massive tubs of ice-cream, take heart. This could actually be a blessing in disguise.

In my novel “The Year of No Rules”, Sasha suddenly finds herself single. However, if she’s honest with herself, she can see that the break-up was a long time coming. Wasn’t there signs all along that things weren’t right?

It’s easy after a break-up to cling on to hope. To believe that this is just a blip. That soon he’ll realise the error of his ways and come running back.

Well, here’s a tip: give him the space to miss you. Don’t email him. Don’t text him. Don’t even poke him on Facebook. Don’t give him any reminders that you’re still alive. Give him space to miss you. And while he’s doing that, take some time to think about all the wonderful things about being single.

  1. The TV controller is now your own. No more loud football matches. No more having to sit through the latest Guns & Ammo’ part 53 just to appease him. You can watch all the trashy reality shows of the day and not be moaned at.
  2. No dirty socks on the floor. No mess in the bathroom. No empty beer cans lining the kitchen worktops. Your home can be a haven of girlie cleanliness.
  3. Your time, space and money are now your own. Yes that’s right – your money is your own. How often in relationships do us girls pay too much, buy too much, (love too much)? Now is the time to pamper yourself. You want that dress? Buy it. You want that spa weekend trip with the girls? Go! Go! Go!
  4. Your time is your own. Yes, I know I’ve repeated myself but that’s because it’s an important point. Now you have all the time in the world to pursue that hobby you secretly dream about. Always wanted to start a jewellery business? Why not now? Always wanted to write a book? Great! Now you have all the time to do it. I guarantee you that if you get engrossed in this, you won’t have time for any sorry-ass guy in your life.
  5. No head trouble. Now is the time to enjoy the peace and quiet. No more arguments. No more jealousies. No more long discussions about the problems in the relationship. Your head can be a drama-free zone. Which gives you a clearer head to do that hobby in point #4.



I could go on and on – the list is endless. Nevermind a blog post, I could write a novel on this. Oh, that’s right, I have! “The Year of No Rules” is all about Sasha finding herself suddenly single and how she copes with it. Please read it to find out more about her funny tales and interesting adventures!


18th June 2016 – Book Review : Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann




five stars 2

A classic in any genre is a few and far between phenomenon. But when this phenomenon occurs, it endures. It endures through decades and time, inspiring generations, pop culture and even life and the way we live it.

One such classic in women’s fiction and the so-called ‘bonkbuster’/chick lit genre is Jacqueline Susann’s acclaimed classic ‘Valley of the Dolls’. Any chicklista worth her salt will have read this at some point or the other. I recall reading my mother’s copy of the book underneath my blanket using a flashlight (when I read it, it was deemed too ‘forward’ and ‘racy’). So imagine my delight when I found out that Virago was re-publishing the book on its 50th Anniversary and they wanted me to review this as part of the 50th Anniversary blog tour! This book captured the imagination of readers everywhere and exposed the pill popping culture of Hollywood and beyond. On the surface if exposes the sordid and empty lives of the cream of the Hollywood elite but at a more basic level, it unveils the tragedy and the hopelessness of the human condition….indeed it shows us that sometimes when it appears to the world that you have everything…wealth, talent, adulation and admiration of million, you still ultimately end up with nothing.

So what is a doll? In old school Hollywood terminology, a doll is a pill. If we were to refer to this fantastic book, the pills in question would be Secconols  or when required, Diet pills and the like. Why were these so important? The heroines in this novel relied on these, loved these and ultimately, these brought their downfall. These pills were the main characters in the novel and the novel really revolved around them, although they made an entrance after the first one-third of the book.

The story follows Anne, Neely and Jennifer, three hopefuls who had their own individual goals, aspirations and dreams, all three starting out in the Big Apple NYC aiming high and hoping to reach their ambitions. Anne wanted to escape her New England background and live life on her own terms, Neely, a rare, raw and talented singer/performer wanted to break out of her humble roots and turn into a big Broadway star and Jennifer, with her drop dead gorgeous looks wanted to turn into a big Hollywood star and ultimately bag a rich husband who would support her and love her throughout her days.

So did any of them achieve what they wanted? They did and they didn’t, this my lovely readers is something for you to find out and it is worth finding out, believe me. This lovely book is a page turner, an enduring classic, it always was and it always will be, even in 2016. It is also no wonder this was made into a move in 1967.

Readers will love Anne, for her upstanding principles, her drive, her unswerving loyalty to her friends and her ultimate vulnerability to her one weakness in life, Lyon Burke. Lyon Burke, a grey character, who loved Anne, but not enough. Not enough to give her all of his body, heart and soul as she deserved. Life is kind to Anne who starts out as a secretary to Theatrical Attorney Henry Bellamy but reaches the height of fame as a ‘Gillian Girl’, becoming a cover girl/model, her face being featured on television screen nationwide. Lyon Burke is her Achilles heel, the one chink in her armour and she can do anything to be with him forever. And it is Lyon Burke who ultimately drives Anne to let the ‘dolls’ into her life, she had no choice really….If there is one character that you will love and despair for in the novel, it will be Anne.

Readers will love Jennifer, for the inner child that lives within her, for her lost childhood and dreams of having a husband and family of her own. Saddled with a materialistic parent who keeps fleecing her for any sum of money she can get her hands on, Jennifer is a sad and complicated character with a shady and licentious past which she has kept under wraps. The ‘dolls’ help keep her sane, she realises that she has outstanding beauty, however she also realises that she has zero talent and her beauty will fade and she will only be able to sustain her fame for a limited time. The love of a good (and also wealthy) man and a family is her main goal, and although she turns into a hugely popular Hollywood Star, it is all she has ever wanted. She does achieve this goal, put pays a grave and final price for it all. If there is one character that you will grieve for, it is Jennifer.

Readers will both love and hate Neely. Neely starts out as an eager, excitable seventeen year old, participating in her sister and brother in law’s Vaudeville Shows, innocent in her youthfulness, hope and vigour. If anything, she is the character I felt the most fond of initially, as she had a charm that none of the characters in the novel did and the author gave various clues as to how brilliant her raw and rare talent was. During the course of the novel, Neely, with the help of her most loyal friend Anne, gets a rare break when an old and established star kicks out her under study in a play and the director is persuaded to hire her instead. This launches her career as a huge Broadway star and then later a Hollywood Superstar. At this juncture, the ‘dolls’ enter her life, helping her to sleep at night and lose the weight that the Hollywood studio heads keep wanting her to keep off. The dolls help her achieve the stardom that she desires but also unleash her arrogant, untenable monstrous ego. She turns egotistical and selfish as several other stars with her level of talent and popularity do and like those before her, she starts on a path of wilful self-destruction. Loyalty and friendship mean nothing to her. If there is on character that the readers will both adore and then despise in turn, it is Neely.

I read the book in one sitting and believe that if you love books and are a fan of this genre, it is nigh impossible that you will not do the same. If I could give this book more than five stars I would. Thus dear reader, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary, if you have never read this book, please buy it and read it. If you have read this book some years ago, like me, same advice, please buy it and read it. It is truly one of a kind and comes along rarely!

About the Author:

Jacqueline Susann is a legend in American publishing. Susann was the first

author to have three consecutive #1 books on the New York Times Bestseller List. She was

married to her beloved husband, producer Irving Mansfield, until her untimely death

on September 21, 1974, after a courageously fought battle with breast cancer. Susann’s

intensely private twelve-year fight to overcome the disease was not known publicly

until after death. She was 56.



18th March 2016 – Guest Post by Rosa Temple, author of Natalie’s Getting Married

imageI am extremely pleased to introduce this lovely guest post on all things wedding by one of my favourite chick lit authors Rosa Temple, author of Natalie’s Getting Married, I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did!

Inspiration to Write Natalie’s Getting Married
By Rosa Temple

As strange as it may seen, when the character of Natalie first popped into my head, her getting married was one of the last things I envisioned her doing. I knew from the start I wanted to write a romantic comedy and I wanted to write a heroine who could appeal to lots of women, mostly because they could relate to her.

Straight away that told me that, like the rest of us, Natalie has got to make mistakes and she mustn’t be perfect – who is? But I wanted her to have the likeability factor. I wanted readers to want to be her friend and be there for her through all her ups and downs and give her a jolly good shaking when she was so obviously messing up.

I guess the idea of setting her in the context of getting married made her decision making that much more important to the reader; getting married, or not, is one of the biggest things we’ll ever do in life.
Originally I intended for this book to be a series of novellas that looked at the various aspects of Natalie’s life and came up with series titles like: The Gap Year and Natalie in Paris. (If you read the book, though, you’ll know she never ends up in Paris, but LA instead).

So once I got my character in my head and the various characters that would support her, I did what I usually do – get my notebook and pen and start writing. Today I looked at the early drafts and saw how differently the book could have gone. As I continued to write I got swept away to the point of no return and so consumed by what was happening with Natalie that the story was unfolding before me without me planning it and the inspiration to keep going came from a need for me to know what happened next.

So I guess it was Natalie herself, and her supporting cast that inspired the story. I just listened to them and tapped away on my laptop.
In the end the story was a three part novella series that I sent out to lots of beta readers so I could get honest feedback. I was pleasantly surprised by the response – beta readers loved the story, they related to Natalie and fell in love with one particular character (I also love him).
I put it to the beta readers that I might just make one novel out of the three part series and they all agreed. Thus, Natalie’s Getting Married was born.

Some early readers have commented that they can’t wait for the sequel. I don’t have one planned. I think Natalie’s whirlwind of a life has worn me out – and that’s before I even got any wedding cake!

My Top 5 Wedding Locations – in no particular order 🙂

1. Many of you will know that I’m a big fan of old movies and musicals, a la Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers and Audrey Hepburn. I have this picture in mind of Audrey Hepburn starring in Funny Face with Fred Astaire, in a scene where they push off on a raft that floats along a beautiful river with blossoming trees and flowers on either bank and they are dancing on the raft. Well, imagine a massive floating raft carrying all your wedding guests along that river, the bride in the wedding dress Audrey wears in the film and no one gets sea sick, and the raft stops by the river bed where there is dancing and a big cake. A bit out there, I know, but definitely one I’d consider if my hubby ever wanted to renew our vows!

2. The next one was not only a dream, but a reality – a Caribbean wedding just like the one I had on the island of Dominica. (Not to be confused with the Dominican Republic.) If you don’t know Dominica, look it up and get married there. You won’t regret it.

3. I like the idea of a themed wedding, something that shows the personality of the bride and groom. For example, having your guests hike to the top of a mountain if you are an explorer or underwater if you love to swim. Guaranteed to cut down the number of guests if you want to keep it small!

4. Another wedding destination would be Westminster Abbey. Yes, you guessed it – a royal wedding, along with millions of spectators from all around the world, cameras following your every move and the a killer dress to make everyone jealous.

5. Lastly – and going the complete opposite to the above – how about returning to the place your man first proposed (provided it’s legal and isn’t for adult viewers only). For me that would be the Italian restaurant my husband and I had our first date. Not long after that, he proposed to me there. How suitable would the place you first decided to get married be for the wedding itself?

And there you have it – my top 5 places to have a wedding. What are yours?

About Rosa Temple

Rosa Temple began writing romantic comedies and chick lit because of her passion for what she calls the ‘early chick lit films’, like: Sabrina, Barefoot In the Park and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. She honed her skills as a ghost writer, gaining experience writing romantic novellas, both sweet and on the slightly steamy side. In her notebooks, she constantly jotted down story ideas of her own and she eventually completed her first novella Sleeping With Your Best Friend and now, the full length novel, Natalie’s Getting Married.

Rosa Temple is a Londoner and is married with two sons. She is a reluctant keep fit fanatic and doer of housework and insists that writing keeps her away from such strenuous tasks. She spends her days creating characters and story lines while drinking herbal tea and eating chocolate biscuits.

To find out more about Rosa and to catch up on all her musings please join her here on




 It gives me great pleasure to reveal the cover of Clutch by Lisa Becker, a chick lit romance chronicling the dating misadventures of Caroline Johnson, a single purse designer who compares her unsuccessful romantic relationships to styles of handbags – the “Hobo” starving artist, the “Diaper Bag” single dad, the “Briefcase” intense businessman, etc. With her best friend, bar owner Mike by her side, the overly-accommodating Caroline drinks a lot of Chardonnay, puts her heart on the line, endures her share of unworthy suitors and finds the courage to discover the “Clutch” or someone she wants to hold onto.  
Author Bio

In addition to clutch: a novel, Lisa Becker is the author of the Click Trilogy, a contemporary romance series comprised of Click: An Online Love Story, Double Click and Right Click. She’s written bylined articles about dating and relationships for “Cupid’s Pulse,” “The Perfect Soulmate,” “GalTime,” “Single Edition,” “Healthy B Daily” and “Chick Lit Central” among others. She lives in Manhattan Beach, California with her husband and two daughters. To learn more, visit 


Cover Reveal – Clutch by Lisa Becker


3rd August 2015 Book Review – Starstruck by Ruby Preston

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4 stars

I believe my lovely readers that we all love a good drama/soap opera/musical show from the stateside, all those you watch the Nashvilles and the Empires and the Glees yell ‘yay!’ now or forever hold your peace. With my own penchant for watching US shows of this bent and going down to London to watch musicals featured at the West End, when an opportunity to review Starstruck which is written by actual Broadway producer Ruby Preston came my way, I was very, very eager to read and review this to say the least. As per the premise of the book, the reader does learn what goes on behind and in front of the scenes at a Broadway show and also learns the hidden politics, drama and intrigue that occurs when production is under way.

The story follows Scarlett Savoy, a young up and coming producer who is finally launching her play ‘Swan Song’ at Broadway and has hired as her leading lady Hollywood super-diva Bliss, who is an old pro at the Hollywood game but is in over her head as far as the Broadway life is concerned. This is her first foray into the world on ‘live acting’. Added to which, Scarlett and Bliss have a bone of contention, in form of Scarlett’s semi live in relationship with her financer Lawrence who also used to be Bliss’s ex.

Bliss, in accordance with her spoilt Hollywood diva personality wants to hog the lime light and wants the play to be all about her and does not seem to hold any respect for the cast and crew of ‘Swan Song’ or for the matter the young producer, Scarlett. In fact, one, as a reader, questions several times, Scarlett’s choice in hiring someone like Bliss to head her show when she already has the extremely talented and professional understudy Kelly, who could have been Scarlett’s choice of heroine the first place. This gives the reader a good idea of how shallow the business could be where real talent is sometimes forcibly cast aside in favour of the glitz, glamour and the crowd pulling ‘kaching!’ of Hollywood. Bliss means big bucks and huge crowds for ‘Swan Song’ thus the whole cast and crew of the production, including the show’s no-nonsense publicist Karen have to put up with her diva antics.

Added to this already explosive mix, comes in Marco as Bliss’s ever-suffering publicist when Bliss has a bit of a wobbly opening night. Marco also just happens to be Scarlett’s ex-flame and it seems both of them still have some unfinished business….

I felt that I as a reader (who has not read the previous two books in the saga and is reading this as a stand alone) could have been given a little more background on Scarlett’s past faux relationship with Graham and current arrangement with Lawrence, whom as a character, I found extremely charming. Who would not want a Lawrence in their lives, the dinners, the massages, the encouragement! We also know that Scarlett had history with Marco, but I would have liked to have known a bit more of their past and how they became as close as they obviously were.

However, what makes this book very readable and stand out for me are the glimpses the reader gets into the world of Broadway show production, the struggles of the cast and crew, the blood, sweat, tears and damage limitation that goes on backstage coupled with the faux image of perfection and glamour that the whole cast, headed by the producer Scarlett, portray to the media and the audience. Indeed, you feel for both Scarlett and Marco, both of whom are being manipulated and being stretched to the very limits of their patience by the arrogant Primadonna Bliss who after realising that she was struggling with hitting high notes on her songs and acting live rushes off back to LA, leaving the show sans the lead actress.  The trials and tribulations that come Scarlett’s way after this form the rest of the story.

I was quite charmed by old-timer and producer extraordinaire of the times past, Fay who not not only offers Scareltt valuable advice through the course of the novel but who also in the end turns out to be Scarlett’s very own mentor and fairy godmother in disguise, helping her to finally make her brand spanking new Broadway show a success and gives the reader the ‘alls well that ends well’ happy ending which we all love!

This book gets a well-deserved four stars and is worth reading just to learn more about the all the creative aspects and technicalities of producing and presenting a Broadway show. Additionally, this is absolutely perfect as a summer/beach read.


27th June 2015 – Book Review – I Followed the Rules (And Then I Broke Them) by Joanna Bolouri


4 stars

All my lovely readers, its seems that summer is finally here!! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the car rooftops are down and the sunnies are out. The lovely weather would of course not be complete with the huge variety of summer reads that have recently been released for our reading pleasure.

One of these reads that will be hitting the bookshelves very soon is Joanna Bolouri’s ‘I Followed The Rules (and then I broke them).’ I must admit that this was an ideal, easy, summer read and I finished this in a day! The book features Catriona ‘Cat’ Buchanan, a journalist and single mother who is juggling motherhood and a career and as a result of this, has totally neglected her love life. The outcome of this is that she has been single for the past six years.

When her previously popular column as ‘Glasgow Girl’ for the Tribune starts to lose readership and ratings, inspired by an experience of one of her happily married colleagues, she decides to follow ‘ The Rules of Engagement’ written by Guy Wright, a book that she is secretly highly critical of as it is requires women to change themselves entirely in order to ‘ensnare’ a man. Her main goal is to prove that the ‘rules’ actually don’t work and the book is, to put it mildly a load of rubbish!

What follows is a tale of how certain preconceived notions meet their demise and how wrong stereo-typing can be, especially where gender roles are concerned. Cat is a strong, woman of today who is juggling a fairly successful, semi-freelance career while raising a bright, happy and confident child. She was acrimoniously dumped by her ex husband Peter, which she has still not quite gotten over, as the rejection still rankles and needless to say, they are still not quite on the best of terms. She speaks her mind quite often and quite eloquently and her language can be colourful at times. All these traits make her a very normal and relate able heroine. There is nothing ‘holier than thou’ about her.

The fun really starts when she starts to follow Guy Wright’s book and the subject of this man-snaring/book shaming experiment is her sister Helen’s drop dead handsome dentist Tom. There are quite a few comedic moments when Cat struggles with inner monologue while trying to be the anal prototype of the prim and proper lady that the book wants every woman who wants to keep a man in a permanent, lasting relationship to be. The tips given in the book on how to behave are the exact opposite to Cat’s actual personality and how she behaves in reality. She is an open and gutsy person, almost a modern day Bridget Jones, prone to bouts of swearing, a love of horror movies and country music and over-sharing, whereas the book advices her to be a closed up clam. The best part is that the book actually starts to work on the slightly old-fashioned and stuffy seeming Tom, who has the looks of a movie star but seems to be too straight-laced for the feisty Cat. The man does not even want to know about Cat’s daughter and the book actually advices her not to talk about children!

To make things more complicated, Cat meets Dylan, the attractive and charismatic owner of the local movie house and after a few too many drinks, things get seriously hot and heavy. Later to her dismay, she finds out that he is her own arch nemesis, the writer of the book that she has been following and criticising on her column. As part of column, she is asked by her boss to interview Guy Wright and get further tips from him to make her dating project a success. What follows makes this book the entertaining read that it is, as a war of wits ensues between Dylan and Cat, tips are shared, insults are traded, a rather tasty Italian dish is prepared by Dylan and some amazing chemistry is created between the two!

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and loved the very ‘real’ and ‘unapologetic for being herself’ heroine Cat with her ready wit, use of questionable language, taste for slasher/horror flicks and a penchant for country music. She is a good mother, with a humorous outlook on the rewarding, but often times challenging task of raising kids single handedly. Her relationship with her matchmaking sister Helen is endearing and she shares a great friendship with Rose and Kerry. She eventually comes to terms with her unresolved feelings on how badly her marriage ended with her ex husband Peter and even gives him her blessing when he re-marries.

One  thing that I would have liked to see in this book, however is more development of Dylan’s character, as although the reader does find out a lot about his character and personality, not a lot is shared about his background, his family and what makes him the person that he is. As a reader, I would have definitely wanted to know more about his background and what made him write the ‘rules’ book.

Overall, quite a great read and worth reading for the witty repartee between the lead characters, the comic mishaps that occur when Cat follows ‘The Rules of Enagement and to learn how, after six years of singledom, Cat finally gets her happy ending. ‘I Followed the Rules’ is published by Quercus and is out on the 2nd of July.


14th May 2015 – Book Review – Beautiful Liar by Tara Bond

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four and a half

Summer is nearly here and the lovely book people (yes, this means the delightful authors, book publishers, book publicists extraordinaries) have lined up a bevy of amazing, fantabulous books for all of us book nuts to enjoy.

Simon and Schuster in particular have some amazing offerings this season and one of them is Tara Bond’s ‘Beautiful Liar’. I must say the cover of the novel did intrigue me, it got me thinking could this be one of those Fifty Shades of Grey inspired novels? I must say I am not into those, apologies to those who are, I definitely do not judge you, its just not my cup of tea!

However, I was very, very wrong. Beautiful Liar is a New Adult novel, however I feel that all of us chick lit fans with enjoy this tremendously as well. This is my first foray into reviewing a novel aimed at the ‘tweens’ and I was definitely impressed with the author’s writing, plot and well fleshed out characters.

This story is about Nina Baxter, a nineteen year old girl with the weight of the world on her tiny shoulders. Her widowed, single mother is an alcoholic who keeps getting into trouble and one day when she accidentally sets fire to their apartment, her world comes crashing down as her 14 year old sister April is taken into care. Nina who feels like the responsible one is their dysfunctional family, sets about trying to get back the custody of her sister and the only way she can do this is to find a way to earn money…..lots and lots of it.

Now before you start getting any naughty ideas, Nina has a plan. She approaches her dead father’s old employer, the filthy rich Duncan Noble for a job and he gives her one in his private, exclusive members only club Destination. Enter the enigmatic, handsome and riske’ Alex Noble, the black sheep of the Duncan family and his older, straight-laced brother Giles Noble.

Nina knows Alex is bad news, as he is no stranger to recreational drinking or drugs and he definitely does not play by his father’s or brother’s rules. Nina fights her growing attraction to Alex, while sending her alcoholic mother to rehab, adapting to her new job and trying to console her sister April who is stuck in a foster home. To further complications, Nina’s mother took a loan from a local thug and it falls upon Nina to repay this.

Nina has a hidden talent, she is great at playing poker and one day Alex Noble discovers this. He offers Nina a rolling job as dealer at his secret Poker parties which the rich and the suitably rotten frequent and offers her a handsome sum for her efforts. She grudgingly accepts as she needs to return the loan money. As Nina begins to work for Alex, he learns more about Nina’s tough past and the current problems that she is facing. One day when thugs ransack the dinghy room that she is renting, he offers to clear the loan and a room to stay in in his own apartment until she fulfils all her dues to him. Nina accepts reluctantly and from there on we see a fiery, tumultuous and at times beautiful relationship between Alex and Nina develop. However, all is not straightforward and there are many secrets in Alex’s past which have the power to hurt Nina and drive her away from him.

No spoilers here, as I would like you, my blog post reader, to go and read the novel. However I can promise you this, you will not be disappointed. What I like the most about this novel is that your hero is not a perfect, holier than though character. He definitely has some negative not so perfect traits to him. These make him very, very human. And he is willing change for Nina and change he does. There is a huge twist in the tale at the end which had me going ‘I so did not see that one coming!’. This novel also describes in great clarity the difference between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. The contrast between Nina’s downtrodden, sleazy and downright creepy neighbourhood and the glitzy, shiny and glamorous world of Mayfair that the Noble family inhabit is stark.

Lastly, our heroine Nina is admirable. You can almost be forgiven for thinking at times, is she only nineteen. You root for her when she overcomes all odds and gets her family back together and wins the battle against the social services and provides her sister with a happy home and her mother with a new and improved life. Nina’s mother comes across as a selfish, thoughtless alcoholic who has put the lives of her daughters in jeopardy but the reason for her downward spiral into alcoholism is explained amply in the end.

A well-deserved four and half stars for this lovely gem, I urge you to read this novel.