6th March 2015 – Book Review and Excerpt : Beauty and the Bridesmaid by Lisa Souza

beauty and the bridesmaid

Dear readers I am back again after a long hiatus to write another book review for a book from that very, entertaining and mostly ‘pink’ genre that is lovingly termed chick lit.

And what a great book to do it with. Yes ‘Beauty and the Bridesmaid is Lisa’s first book and I certainly hope that it is not her last. It would be unfair to merely term this book ‘Chick Lit’ as it is much more than that. The book is about Dorothy AKA ‘Dot’ who is an ugly duckling who never quite turned into a swan. Overweight Dorothy has always been the bridesmaid and never the bride, even playing bridesmaid at her own mother’s wedding which proves to be a turning point for her, when she meets the very camp and very gay image consultant Kennedy J.

After enduring several wedding playing the bridesmaid and a dating self help group, software tester Dot finally has had enough and fed up of being the fat and plain girl, decides to change her image entirely. The make over advice is offered free by Kennedy J which Dot gladly accepts, especially since she has recently discovered that the very handsome blast from her high school past John Miller works at her company Microcosm, and she definitely wants to catch his eye! After undergoing nips, tucks, sadistic workouts, hair and make up overhauls and the like all of which are very graphically discussed in the novel with no rosy before and after scene with the bits in the middle edited out, the newly emerged plastic surgery swan Dot re-christens herself ‘Alana’ and prepares for her new life as a pretty girl. What follows is the story of Dot/Alana’s new life and the twists and turns it brings after her transformation.

The book is very well written is and is at times quite dark with serious themes, so it is not quintessential, fluffy pink material.

Spoiler Alert – serious topics such as rape and death have also been dealt with here, under the guise of this book being chick lit, however this is in no way a criticism of the novel as the author uses a light hearted tone throughout the novel and keeps the reader entertained and engrossed.

Due to her new transformation, Alana/Dot gets plenty of attention, even from the hotter than hot John Miller, who always thought plain and fat Dorothy Lindell was beneath him. Thanks to her new transformation, he does not recognise her and is keen to make her his girlfriend. Enter the odious Jack Weston, John’s best friend and the high school bully who always went out of his way to be especially rude and despicable to Dot. Jack has a dark and sinister secret and some terrifying habits which he is unable to break and which are about to have a very, very detrimental effect on Alana/Dot’s life.

The book light heartedly looks at important relationships and how these can also be fickle and unreliable. People in Dot’s life, that are constantly letting her down. Her own mother is not the kind of caring mother that a girl such as Dot needs, she comes across as very self obsessed and vain. The reader feels for her, when she comes back pain-ridden from her various nips and tucks and the only person there to help her is her reluctant colleague from work who is filled with embarrassment at being roped in to do the several personal tasks Dot needs help with. Help comes from an unlikely source, as Elvira the goth girl from the dating self help group becomes Dot’s carer and confidante and soon becomes a genuine friend. Elviran also has a sinister connection with Jack Weston, which forms one of the key elements of this story.

Without giving too much away, I would urge everyone to read this book, not just fans of the chick lit genre, as it light heartedly looks as several key themes and issues. I read this book in one sitting and was up in the wee hours finishing it.

I read with mixed emotions, anger and frustration at Dot’s mother and so called friends for not standing by her or helping her see what an intelligent and good person she was, cheering her on for her courage to go through the nips, tucks and pain to get the face and body she wanted, rooting for her when she finally gets her man, the high school stud John and sighing with relief when he does not turn out to be the self centred egoistical jerk that she thought he was, feeling her pain and disillusionment when life lets her down and things don’t go as planned and feeling ecstatic when she finds out that her cloud did have a silver lining after all and alls well that ends well.

The author’s story and writing flows and this is an excellent first novel. I do hope that Lisa keeps writing fabulous novels with great themes and story lines such as this one.

The book is available at Amazon and is published by West Coast Media.

Below is an excerpt from the novel, to give you a taste of how great this book is!

John Miller. You rang?” He towers over my desk, and my girl brain does the math, pegs him for maybe six one or so. His name rings a bell somewhere far in the back of my mind. Sparks fly as he brushes the clutter from my desk and ravishes me right there, amid the monitors. I kid, I kid. I shake his hand and scootch my chair over, waving at a similar one stashed next to the wall. With some difficulty he wedges the other chair in and we get right down to it, the business of debugging.

Developers don’t make me nervous as a general rule and few resemble George Clooney. Okay they never do. They look like Bill Gates or Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons: they have bad hair cuts, and questionable hygiene. They hug themselves, and rock back and forth. They wear ugly shoes and are significantly overweight. And most are super bright, very competent types. Wait…I just described myself. Maybe I should consider a move into development? What little I can make out of jMiller, however, breaks the mold. At least as far as I can discern in the eerie glow of a computer monitor. He also looks vaguely familiar, like I know him. Miller’s a common name… “Didn’t mean to freak you.” I inhale deeply, trying to re-oxygenate my tired mind. That proves a big mistake. A whisper of some very male cologne tickles my tired nose and slams into a weakened side of my brain, practically knocking me from the chair. Holy cow he smells good. “You just caught me off guard, is all. Sorry to hassle you at this

hour, but Greg says anything that crashes the build – ”“I know, I know. ‘When you crashes da build, you misses da milestone.’ Greg thinks he’s quite the wit.” He grins, flashing movie star teeth. “Stupid catchphrase has been burned into my brain. It’s like that Head-On commercial where they just bore it into you. I could slap the crap out of him.” His eyes skim over the monitor. “Don’t sweat it. I have a pretty good idea where it failed. That jackass Samir probably forgot to rename his module to the new naming specs, so when I instance it here – ” he points at a line on the screen, “I’m doomed.” “Doomed!” I chime in. Too tempting. Can’t be helped. It cried out for repetition. “Doomed!” He quickly follows up. We grin at each other and he shows off the superstar smile again, teeth gleaming in the dark. And again, familiar. Some dim, lizard part of my brain recognizes him. With those teeth, maybe he’s done a TV commercial. He types furiously for a few minutes then hesitates. “Do you have source control on

this machine?” I get up to stretch. If he didn’t smell so fabulous, I’d collapse for certain, but now I have a mini adrenaline rush. “I have Source Safe but I don’t have security access to do check-ins.” He nods, and net connects to his machine, stops, looks up again, “You don’t mind me using your machine? Saves me running over to another building.” “Heck no. I’ve just been sitting too long.” He glances over at the romance novel cracked open on the desk and smiles at the monitor. “Power reading?” I grimace. “Don’t start with me. This test has been running since… well since forever. Pay me overtime or let me read my trashy romance in peace.” “As you wish, sis.” He returns his attention to the issue at hand. The two fingered typing style works for him: his hands fly over the keys. “So easy. Seconds to compile…and done. I’ll just check this in. I’ll log it so Greg doesn’t blow a hemorrhoid.” He stretches. Fun to watch. I sense the presence of many muscles, so foreignto computer scientists. And to me personally. “I better phone Jaime to restart the build,” he says. I stare at his shoes, as that is a safe place to look. Converse. Basic white. Old school. “He’s going to kill you, you know.” I caution. “Oh no doubt, no doubt.” He gets to his feet and the light from the hall illuminates him fully. I risk looking up. “But we’ve enjoyed our little midnight romp long enough. When I call Jaime, I’ll redirect responsibility on Samir. He will in turn, point at Raul for changing the naming conventions midway through a project build. I will be the genius who averted disaster.” He closes his eyes briefly, lowering the high beams. “You may as well head home. You can’t retest till the next build.” That clinched it. I know him, all right. I swallow hard, shake my head slowly. “No bus at this hour. I’ll crash here.” “Poor transportation choice. Stay and Greg will have you rerunning the entire regression test in a couple of hours. Think this through.”

I try and smile sadly. “The trials of a software tester. I knew I should have stuck with my first career choice: high priced hooker.” He snorts a laugh. Oh, the things which emerge from my mouth when I’m nervous. “You need a ride? I can give you a lift.” My quota of stupid comments is not quite up. What comes out is, “That’s nice of you, but I live clear out in Monroe.” “That’s not a drive. That’s an adventure.” His turn to yawn. “Well you can’t say I didn’t offer, sis. I’m gonna book. See ya.” “Later jMiller.” He leaves. When he is definitely gone, I will Google him. But I wait for a few minutes, because I need to know for certain he won’t make a surprise return. Because if my guess is correct… Invisi-gal, Googling. When I track down the correct John Miller, I put my face in my hands, shake a little, take a few deep breaths. So much for Prince Charming.’


30th November 2014 – Book Review ‘Its Not Me, Its You’ by Mhairi Mcfarlane


four and a half

After bring us some great books such as ‘You had me at Hello’ and ‘Here’s looking at You’, Mhairi McFarlane is back with a bang! I have loved reading Mhairi’s books and when I received this book for review, I say unreservedly without exaggeration that I was very, very excited at the prospect of getting my hands and indeed my eyes on this one!

‘It’s Not Me It’s You’ is about the unique, irrepressible Delia, our ginger haired, retro fashion loving Geordie heroine who is living a fairly mundane existence with her bar owner boyfriend Paul, working as the local council’s PR  and pretty much hiding her bright, shining light under a bushel, so as to speak. Things get a little bit interesting when the council starts getting ‘cyber trolled’ by someone called the ‘Peshawari Naan’ and it falls on Delia to find the culprit. Added to this, after ten years with Paul, Delia, understandably pops the question, with an expectation that Paul will whole-heartedly accept her marriage proposal and be as ready to make a lasting commitment as her.

To her (and also the reader’s) dismay, Paul is for want of a better word ‘underwhelmed’ and on the very night Delia accidentally intercepts a text meant for Paul from the woman that he is cheating on her with. This sets off a chain of events that change Delia’s life forever. Leaving the unfaithful and ungrateful Paul, who has been cheating on her with the much younger Celine, Delia leaves in tears, seeking refuge with her parents. After this, a particularly trying day at work, she finally decides to leave her old job at the council and departs for London, to live with her successful lawyer friend, Emma, planning to put all the events that transpired behind her and embarking on a new life.

In London, Delia finds work with the slightly shady and dubious Kurt Spicer, owner of PR agency Twist and Shout along with fellow newbie team mate Stephanie. Alongside this, she keeps in touch with her old enemy turned cyber friend ‘Peshawari Naan’ and tries to get accustomed to the London life, one day at a time. Enter Adam West, a journalist who seems to have an agenda against Kurt and ‘Twist & Shout’. Thinking that keeping on Adam’s good side might be beneficial for the agency, Delia agrees to meet him one day and after a particularly disastrous meeting, leaves her client folder behind, giving Adam perfect fodder to blackmail her.

What transpires after this is what makes up the rest of the story, where we find that things aren’t always what they seem, people can be helpful in ways that we cannot imagine and our spirited, fiery heroine is capable of a lot of things which she herself did not realise. I do not want to give away more of the story here, as, dear reader, I would want you to discover the the rest of the tale yourself! However, this book has some amazing characters, especially our brave, humorous, talented and supremely gutsy heroine Delia. Delia also has a hidden talent, she is an expert caricature artist, who loves to draw and write comics in her spare time and has been working on a comic called ‘The Fox’. All credit goes to Mhairi for writing this brilliant book and interspersing ‘The Fox’ into various situations in Delia’s life.

I was also particularly impressed with the development of Adam West’s character, he came in as a slightly suspect character who was ‘posh’ and a little bit superior in his attitude, all cynicism and looking down his nose at the red haired Geordie girl with the questionable fashion sense, but as the reader got to know him, they couldn’t help but fall a little in love with him. He really, really redeemed himself, especially towards the end of the novel and that letter! Oh that letter that he wrote to Delia….swoon…. Some justification for Paul’s appalling behaviour and his cheating ways is also given and although as a reader I still did not sympathise with him, I understood what drove his behaviour.

Kudos to Mhairi for writing another winner! This book made me laugh, cry, sigh and read until the wee hours of the night! I loved the story and apart from the heroine Delia, I also loved the other characters and their quirks! The reclusive but witty Peshawari Naan, Delia’s shy, gamer brother Ralph, the posh journalist Adam West who hid a heart of gold, the successful lawyer Emma who has Delia’s best interests at heart, Stephanie who is Delia’s coffee buddy, confidante and partner in all crimes (justified or otherwise) and Kurt, the seedy, two-faced boss who likes to live the London life and work with dodgy, immoral celebrities.

This book gets a rightful four and a half star rating and I hope Mhairi keeps writing more of her fabulous books for us readers! I, for one am keenly waiting for her next masterpiece!


3rd October 2014 – How to unmarry a millionaire by Billie Morton Book Review and Excerpt



five stars

Let me say unreservedly that I read books to escape the mundaneness of real life and there is no better escapism than reading a bonkbuster novel where larger than life people live amazing lives and do fantastical things!

Everyone loves a good bonkbuster, all of us have been guilty of reading these sneakily. Billie Morton’s ‘How to unmarry a millionaire’ is a cross between a quintessential bonkbuster and chick lit. This is Billy Morton’s first novel and as fas as I am concerned, she nails it!

‘How to unmarry a millionaire’ reads like a good juicy gossip magazine, exposing the life of the rich, the famous and the spoilt rottens and the gold diggers who pursue them.

The novel follows the fortunes of Ricky Hart, a small town blonde who although seems that she may not have the highest IQ, has truckloads of native cunning and ambition. Ricky’s idol is Basia Johnson, the gold digging chambermaid who married the heir to the Johnson and Johnson fortune. Ricky loses no time in finding herself her own ageing millionaire in form of Sandford Sandy Keane, an Arizona Copper Baron. Ricky, a nurse by profession wheedles her way into Sandy’s affections while nursing him back to health after a life transforming heart transplant.

The other protagonist in the novel is Sandy’s very gay nephew Boy’s ‘beard’ of a wife, the money grabbing Suzanne Nelson-Drummoyne-Graff-Carmel. Suzanne has been married several times and is very unapologetic and nonchalant about it. This is the way of life for her and Boy is just another one  in the line of loaded husbands that she has had. Boy’s mother, the once upon a time celebrated beauty and trophy wife Phillippa is adamant that her son get married and produce and heir. For Boy and Suzanne their marriage is a convenient arrangement where each of them get what they want, Boy getting a convenient cover for his very, very gay lifestyle and a wife that will satisfy his mother’s scrutiny and Suzanne loads and loads of money and all the luxuries it can buy her.

Life gets complicated when Ricky starts getting suffocated with her ageing paramours obsessive attentions and Suzanne falls for Philippa’s attractive and successful nephew Zel Anders.

This book is an amusing take on the fortunes of these two unapologetic gold diggers and the trials and tribulations they face in their quest for money. A warming to the reader – none of the characters in this novel are very likeable, or indeed, for most of us relate able. However, having said that, I really, really enjoyed this novel. The story has an amazing pace and reads like a soap opera with some really hilarious moments, punchy quips and anecdotes! The bitchy interactions between Suzanne and her mother in law Philippa and Suzanne and Ricky are laugh out loud funny, I had to stop myself from giggling out loud at some of the insults that the women trade. To make the story even more entertaining, while Suzanne, Philippa and Boy are on a visit to Sandy and Ricky in their Arizona estate, all the women get kidnapped on way back from a visit to a spa by a gang of land conservationists who oppose the unethical practices that Sandy Keane is employing while making his copper fortune. A shocker is delivered to the reader at this stage which makes the story even more engrossing.

A redeeming point also is at the last quarter of the novel, one sees a new and more humane side to Ricky where she realises that there is more to life than just chasing after money and millionaires and decides to pursue more worthier causes. It is an about face which is a little bit drastic given what we have seen of her in the novel but I think it will redeem her character in the eyes of the readers!

All in all, Billie, I love your writing style and you are an expert storyteller! This is one of the best bonkbuster style novels that I have read in a long time, in the great tradition of Jackie Collins, Tilly Bradshaw and Jilly Cooper. This writer is one to watch and I will definitely read her books! Thus, after a very long time, I am giving this book a full five out of five rating.

Below is an excerpt from ‘How to unmarry a millionaire’ to give you a taste of this highly entertaining novel:

Ricky had a new word.  Luxe.                                                      


         It was her first French word, but you wouldn’t find it posted on the wall next to her bed because she wasn’t in that bed any more. And she didn’t need any reminding what it meant. Every morning when she opened her eyes she had all the reminders she needed right there in the big circular bed, in the big circular room, in the biggest circular house in the western United States.  And if she woke up, as she was training herself to do, facing east, she could lie there and stretch against the one thousand-count Egyptian cotton sheets and think about how she was going to maximize her day because the fact was she had a whole lot to work with.  But if she had been tossing and turning in her sleep and woke up facing the other way, then chances were she was going to get what her momma would call “a rude awakening.” And if it wasn’t wearing boxer shorts, chances were it was going to be one hell of a rude awakening! He might be seventy years old, but Sandford Keane the Copper King from Cottonwood, Arizona, had one like an elephant’s trunk, and it wouldn’t have surprised Ricky to see it snake clear across the bed, pluck her up and hurl her out the window straight into the infinity pool just for the hell of it.  Ricky and Sandy had been married for six months, and she was nearly worn out from that damn thing. 

         In fact, she’d given it a name.

         Doctor Evil.                      

         But let’s face it, she reminded herself, if it weren’t for that gnarly old piece a gristle I wouldn’t be here in the first place watching the pink light creep over the mountains to kick-start a new day at Stillwater Ranch. So quit whining.

         Trying to make sure she didn’t stir the beast, Ricky eased her legs gently over the edge of the bed and tiptoed across the terracotta tiles into the bathroom. Her own bathroom.  She shucked off the white cotton camisole Sandy liked her to wear to bed, stepped into the ginormous shower, and let the ten jets of water knock her into shape to face the day. It was going be a big one. Today she was having her first flying lesson.                                  

         “Flying lesson!” Pearl nearly busted her eardrum when she called home to tell them her new scheme. “You? You can’t even tell right from left. How you ever expect to navigate a frickin’ plane?”  

“Well,” Ricky huffed, scooting across a little on the massage table so the masseuse could get at her better, “I managed to navigate myself here to the goddamn Stillwater Ranch, didn’t I?” And even Pearl couldn’t argue with that.        

         It had taken five years and a whole lot of visits with Saint Theresa, but she was exactly where she’d said she would be, and no one could take that away. Not if they valued their life anyhow.  Everyone said that Sandy was a whole nicer person since Ricky came along, although Sandy himself said it was the new heart beating inside his chest that came from a nicer person.  All Ricky could think was she was glad she never knew the sonofabitch before he became nice, because she might just be looking at twenty-to-life for shooting his wrinkled old bad-tempered butt.                                               

         “It’s the steroids. They give everybody really bad mood swings,” her agency, Haven Home, had warned in advance, terrified that like all the nurses before her she was going to quit before the week was out.                            

         “It ain’t nothing I can’t handle,” she told them. She knew a bully when she met one, and Sandford Keane was known to be mean as a rattlesnake. But she knew too, that like all bullies, he’d crumble if anyone ever had the balls to stand up to him. She was itching for a chance to put her theory to the test.

         It came the first day she arrived at the two thousand acre ranch near Wickenburg, Arizona.                         

    Sandy Keane had been a very sick man waiting for a replacement heart for a long time. When it finally arrived, courtesy of a stranger from Phoenix and the motorbike he was riding when it collided with a big rig from Albuquerque, he was whipped into the hospital and split open like a carcass in a slaughterhouse.  Eight hours later, his over-sized old worn-out pump was gone, and in its place was a young, strong heart pumping away inside his chest.  Eight days after that, feeling like Superman, he was well enough to wander the hospital, and a few days later was allowed to go home on condition he had a round-the-clock nurse.            

         Like the agency said, Mr. Keane had a pretty horrible history with nurses. Before he went into the hospital and was surviving on twenty- four-seven oxygen, hardly able to walk across the room, he’d needed constant care. The first nurse had fled the ranch trembling when he tossed a bronze horse at her head. The second was so nervous in “The House from Hell” where everyone tiptoed around on egg shells, never knowing what mood the old prick was going to be in from one minute to the next, she started vomiting violently all over the tiles and was taken away in an ambulance. Now freshly home from the hospital, his new nurse was all set to be a girl called Mandy – that is until Ricky had the foresight and compassion to step in and save the poor thing from a nervous collapse, or worse.                               

         Ricky knew Mandy from nursing school. They had shared a cheap little apartment, pasta dinners, and had studied hard. When they both ended up with matching diplomas the girls got themselves signed straight-up with the fanciest high-end home healthcare agency in Tucson. Soon Ricky was looking after a spoiled-rotten rich bitch in Sedona whose face-lift looked like it had been done in Tijuana. Mandy was happily in charge of a kid recovering from a bad accident in some posh new townhouse at the other end of town.

         Mandy was a cute little thing with a butt shaped kind of like a bedpan, and big thighs that she was always rubbing anti-cellulite cream into. But they hadn’t stopped her snaring herself a doctor from the intensive care unit at Tucson General, and that’s when Ricky started taking a special interest in the ICU.   

         “Who’s he got in there today?” She pumped Mandy for information about her boyfriend’s patients, and what they were hooked up to. Mostly it was nothing to get too excited about, but one day she hit pay dirt.           

         “Guess who Kev’s got in Intensive Care?  Sandford Keane. He just had a heart transplant.”

The name didn’t mean anything to Ricky, but she didn’t want to look ignorant. “Oh, yeah.” She yawned. “That’s nice.”                      

         “Nice!?  He’s only the richest man in the whole state! Owns all those copper mines that went out on strike last year.”                                                                     

         And while Ricky was digesting this, and trying to keep breathing normally, Mandy dropped a big one.                  

         “And guess what else? Cause I’ve got the inside info, I got a jump start. I already contacted the agency and got the job nursing him when he’s discharged outta there in eight days!”                                           

         “But what about that little kid you’re nursing?” Ricky asked, all concerned.                                      

         “Oh, that’s the kicker! His family is moving to Phoenix to be nearer the father’s new headquarters. They’re leaving the day before Mr. Keane goes home. How perfect is that?”                                                 

         “Have thermometer will travel.” Ricky winked at her, her mind spinning.                                            

         “I heard Keane’s a bastard, but I also heard he’s real generous to his staff if he likes them. Gives them humungous bonuses,” Mandy said, trying unsuccessfully to encircle her thick ankle with her hand.                                    

         “How old is he?”                                        

         “Seventy, but he’s still a real vital man. Kev says his mistress comes up to visit all the time, and she’s only in her thirties or something!”                                              

         “What about the wife?”                                        

         “A wife? I didn’t think to ask him about any wife. Maybe there isn’t one.”                                         

         “Yeah, who cares?” Ricky moved her chair to get a good view of Mandy’s legs. “Hey, is it my imagination or you been putting some weight on your thighs?”                              

         “What! Do they look fat?”       

         “Not really. It’s probably just fluid,” Ricky reassured her quickly. “But I’ll tell you what, I’ve started doing this kick-ass hike over in Big Oak, and lemme tell you, I’ve noticed a big change in my own legs since I been doin’ it.” She pulled up her skirt to show Mandy her slim, tanned thighs.                                                 

         “Could I start coming with you?” Mandy pleaded.       

        “Sure,” Ricky smiled, real magnanimous. “I’ll give you a holler next time I’m going.”

         And she did.

         Three days before Sandford Keane was due to leave the hospital.

         They’d hiked about five miles through the beautiful pink canyon before Ricky suggested stopping for a rest under a big oak. She’d packed some snacks in her backpack and had added a baggie of honey, for extra energy. They were sitting on a lichen-covered boulder munching on their health bars when Ricky’s baggie slipped clear out of her hand, and landed all over their laps.                              

         “Lord, I am soooo sorry!” she yelled. As Mandy tried to wipe off the sticky ooze Ricky dived into her backpack. “I always carry a change of clothes when I’m out hiking, cause you just never know.” She thrust a clean pair of shorts at her friend. “Here, they just been laundered.”      

         “But what about you?”                                        

         “I’m fine,” Ricky said. “Honestly. It was my fault, and I’d feel so bad if you had to hike home dripping honey all down your legs.”  

         But not nearly as bad as Mandy was about to feel.  The shorts had just been laundered, like she said, but then Ricky had added a little botanical boost to the water they’d been rinsed in, and it wasn’t lavender. More like poison ivy.     

         Three days later, when Mandy was supposed to be reporting for duty at Sandford Keane’s ranch, she was scratching and jumping around so hard she must have lost at least a pound off each thigh. Ricky felt so bad she rushed to the rescue and offered to help her out by going to the old man’s bedside herself, and filling in till she was all better.  It was the least she could do.                           

         If things worked out she would send Mandy a bonus big enough to get a thigh transplant. In the meantime she would go visit Saint Theresa and pray for forgiveness. She would light some candles and say extra Hail Marys.                                                    

         On her first morning Ricky caught the bus to Wickenburg, a little western town sunbathing between the Vulture Mountains and the Hieroglyphic Mountains in North West Arizona. At the terminal she hired a taxi to take her out to her new place of employment. “Nurse Hart” sat up front with the taxi driver and offered him half of her Subway. He was the chatty type, and she was in the mood for chat. Local taxi drivers always knew everyone’s dirt, and this one was happy to fill her in on the happenings at Stillwater Ranch.  Some of it she already knew because in the last few days she’d been busy Googling the Copper King’s ass.                                      

         Sandy Keane might have a made his fortune out of copper but at heart he was an old cowboy, and after a lifetime making money, had semi-retired to one of the most beautiful ranches in the west to raise grass-fed, hormone-free cattle. Stillwater Ranch was twenty thousand acres and home to Sandy, his two grown up kids, a mistress called Trudy, and a thousand head of Black Angus cattle.         

         Well, Ricky thought as the taxi bumped its way along the forever-long dirt road and finally drove through huge stone pillars bracing a big sign that told them they were entering Stillwater Ranch, I can rope a steer and handle a couple a spoiled kids, and I ain’t never met a bully I couldn’t deal with. But it’s the first time I’ve ever had to come to grips with a mistress.                        

         MISTRESS – A woman filling the place but without the rights of a wife.

         “So where’s Mrs. Keane?” she asked the driver.            

         “Isn’t that something we’d all like to know, because she was a real nice lady.  But she’s gone. Divorced. Disappeared after thirty something years, and the new one’s moved in. Miss Texas.” He made an ugly noise at the back of his throat like he didn’t think too much of Texas or its beauty queen.

         “What’s she like?” Ricky asked, sounding bored.

         “A bitch.”

         They bumped over a hill and in the distance, perched on a bluff, looking down over a drop-dead valley, sat one of the wonders of the world.

         Red Canyon House.

         It was three stories high, made of stone and glass and completely round.

         “Welcome home,” Ricky whispered to herself as she paid the driver and freshened up her lip gloss.

         “Here, take this.” He handed her a battered old card.  “Be sure to call me if you gotta get outta here fast.”

         “I’ll do that,” she said with a smile.  “But it won’t be all that fast.”  She took off her coat and placed it demurely over her arm. Her white nurse’s uniform had been bleached and starched to within an inch of its life. She smoothed it down to just below her knees and checked to make sure her boobs were working for their keep right around where the last button was open. The driver handed out her bag and looked her up and down.

         “How do I look?”

         “Like that bitch’s worst nightmare,” he said, grinning, and drove off back down the road. 

‘How to unmarry a millionaire’ is published by Booktrope Editions and you can purchase it on http://www.amazon.com/How-Un-Marry-Millionaire-Billie-Morton/dp/1620154021


25th September 2014 – Book Feature and Reader Participation – Saving Grace by Jane Green

It gives me great pleasure to announce that the lovely Jane Green’s brilliant new novel ‘Saving Grace’ has been published today by Pan MacMillan

The cover and book blurb are as follows:

Saving grace jane gree

From the number one bestselling author of Tempting Fate and The Accidental Husband comes Jane Green’s stunning new novel about a shattered marriage and a devastating betrayal

A perfect stranger wants her perfect life.

Grace Chapman has the perfect life, living comfortably with her husband, bestselling author Ted, in a picture-perfect farmhouse on the Hudson River in New York State.

Then Ted advertises for a new assistant, and Beth walks into their lives. Organized, passionate and eager to learn, Beth quickly makes herself indispensable to Ted and his family. But Grace soon begins to feel side-lined in her home – and her marriage – by this ambitious younger woman.

Is Grace just paranoid, as her husband tells her, or is there more to Beth than first thought?

This book is about problems faced by a previously happily married couple and to celebrate the launch, on behalf of Pan Macmillan, I would like to invite all my readers (single or otherwise) from around the world to share their tips for a long and happy marriage. Whether you are hitched, in a relationship or single, please let us know what you think it takes to make a relationship work, long term by filling out your tip in the personalisable e-card below:


You can then post this on your Facebook and/or Twitter account. Don’t forget to add @girllovespinkbooks to your tweets!

I will be hosting a give away soon for readers to win a copy of Jane Green’s ‘Saving Grace’ as well as a gorgeously scented ‘Saving Grace’ themed candle, so watch this space….


Book Review : To Catch a Star by Romy Sommer

to catch a star

4 stars

After a long hiatus (thanks to a very, very hectic day job and kiddo’s summer holidays), I am back, doing what I think I do best, writing book reviews!!

This time, the book of choice is Romy Sommer’s ‘To catch Star’, a tale of a high born ice princess who falls for a long lost prince charming with questionable lineage.

Tessa is a scion of Westerwald nobility, raised with high aspirations and a firm sense of what is proper and ladylike. Her well-ordered existence comes into disarray with the entry of Christian Taylor, Hollywood heartthrob, made famous for his hot body and high octane action roles. There is huge chemistry between the two, and things become even more complicated as Tessa’s father, responsible for Westerwald’s state security, sets her the task of spying on Christian by taking on the position of his PA, as he is in possession of a precious article of jewellery that has from generations only been kept by the highest of Westerwald royalty.

Christian although outwardly is a charming, outgoing, flirt, he has hidden depths. He faced the taboo of being an inter-racial child who was raised by a single mother and does not know the identity of his absent father. He fights his ever-growing attraction to Tessa, who seems to be as impervious and frigid as ice.

To Tessa, Christian is forbidden fruit, he represents freedom and a life away from rigid routines and the need to keep up appearances. Tessa is engaged to be married to Stephan and she does not need a complication like Christian in her life.

The was keen to read this novel as I love a tale of opposites who attract and the start of the story was very promising, when the two protagonists almost meet by accident in a car! However, I found that the story did drag a little in the middle and it only managed to get my attention back when things started to hot up between Christian and Tessa in Paris.Also enjoyable were little Hollywood related qips and quirks that you would expect.

I liked Tessa, as regardless of the impositions that her noble blood put on her, she came across as a very self-possessed, confident woman and I liked that hero, Christian fell head over heels for her. I also enjoyed Tessa’s development from someone who was imprisoned by her noble duties to a woman put her happiness and desires first. The question of Christian’s parentage is also resolved to a happy conclusion in the end.

This book can be read as a standalone novel or as a companion to Romy Somer’s ‘What Stays in Vegas’ as we see some of the characters making an appearance in this novel.

This is an enjoyable read, being published by Harper Impulse on the 25th of September 2014.


28th July 2014 – Blog Tour Special : Book Review of You had me at Merot by Lisa Dickenson (Parts 1 to 4)

4 stars

I know that it has been quite a while, my lovely readers, since I have posted a book review, however in atonement for my sins, I am posting a review of this charmingly refreshing, holiday and wine themed (for all you wine enthusiasts out there) romantic comedy You Had Me at Merlot by Lisa Dickenson.

My review is an amalgamation of all the parts of this story and I do recommend to the reader to read all the parts of this series to truly enjoy the story with its colourful characters and various anecdotes and depictions of the lifestyle and the charms of an Italian winery.

The story follows workaholic heroine Elle and her image obsessed friend Laurie on as they embark on a wine and romance themed ‘You Had Me at Merlot’ holiday to an Italian winery Belle Notre. Elle is very happily single and prefers working at unsociable hours rather than going out to meet the love of her life. She is persuaded by her equally single friend Laurie to accompany her to this holiday so that she can help Laurie meet that special someone.

Once at the Bella Notre, Elle and Laurie encounter some interesting characters including an old, loaded but flirtatious American, some Italian lotharios, one of Elle’s company directors and even a love rival! Added to this, Jamie, the handsome but the ever so slightly unapproachable son of Sebastian and Sophie (the winery owners) stirs long dormant feelings in the very single Elle that she does not want to admit to. When it is revealed to Elle that the vineyard may be in financial trouble, Elle cannot help but want to use her substantial skills as a marketeer to help the business out of its slump as she may be falling in love with the owner’s son….

In all honesty, I enjoyed this book a lot. I loved the descriptions of the Italian countryside, the various foods and wine, the references to Vespas (a preferred mode of transport in Italy), the grape squashing exercise that is a feature of all vineyard trips and the ever present account of Michaelangelo’s David without which this book would have been incomplete. Elle and Laurie are hugely entertaining is well, the reader will enjoy the disastrous Botox episode, the eavesdropping by the windows and toilet cubicles (don’t ask, just read), the chilli wine and dark chocolate tasting and last but not the least the nearly disastrous trip on the Vespas.

Jamie, as the hero of the novel is quite likeable, (although admittedly not my most favourite chick lit hero). Elle, our heroine is feisty, independent and wholly relate able as is her friend Laurie and her company director boss Donna, who appears to be as hard as nails in the beginning but is actually quite a normal, fun loving person who has a heart of gold. Elle and Jamie’s relationship forms slowly and steadily and the pace of their romance is believable and realistic as is their chemistry and compatibility as a couple.

The only part of the story that I could not relate to was the inclusion of a love rival at the end, I could also not comprehend why the hero acted the way that he did, as I felt the whole ‘misunderstanding at the end’ bit could have been avoided and the story would have still been as complete and appealing. However, no spoilers here, you must read all four parts of this amazing tale for yourself.

So go ahead, lose yourself into the pleasures and joys of a beautiful Italian wine yard, some lovely summer sunshine and a bevy of entertaining characters in this humorous tale of wino, Italian food, romance and happy endings. A well deserved four stars to this talented author and I do hope to read more of her books soon!

You Had Me At Merlot (Parts 1 to 4) is out now and is published by Sphere.



20th July 2014 – Celebrating The Page Girls Blogoversary !!!

This week I would live to give a huge shout out to an up and coming online mag which has done great things for women’s fiction the world over called ‘The Page Girls’ who are now celebrating their first birthday week.

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The Page Girls (www.thepagegirls.com) is a new online mag with an emphasis on books, cocktails, and female friendships. Each week, they publish a themed issue containing short stories, book reviews, personal and funny essays, videos, cocktail recipes, and more. Some sample issues include The Craziest Thing I Did For Love and LYLAS (Love You Like a Sister).
From July 21-25, as part of their birthday week ,The Page Girls will host giveaways every day plus other goodies. See details of the giveaways below:
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Sign up for The Page Girls’ weekly newsletter to get notified about new issues, and be sure to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

In addition to the above, I will also be hosting an ebook giveaway soon to celebrate The Page Girl’s momentous birthday week so watch this space!!