25/01/2015

Book Review: Shopaholic To The Stars by Sophie Kinsella



MY SYNOPSIS

Imagine This: You are happily married. You have a lovely, but most times annoying toddler daughter. You are more in charge of your credit than you used to… Until your husband takes a job in Hollywood to manage a movies star, then Rodeo Drive has other plans.

You are amazed by the endless shopping made on boulevards, the people who are always a lookalike of some celebrity you know, the celebrities who are spotted going about their daily business with their super-white teeth and very dark sunglasses.

Rehabs are chic. Yoga is a must, staying thin is a competition——which when you lose you succumb to sucking in your cellulite, and whenever you see someone with a too perfect nose, they probably have been under a surgical blade——and you must ask for the contact details of this surgeon, because in L.A no one can have too many perfect nose jobs.

You have the desire to be a stylist. A celebrity stylist. But only if your celeb-ignorant husband would link you up with some of his clients——and only if you would let him to. You have got the talent, the eye for the perfect dress for that perfect celebrity, but only if you would meet any celebrity because these shopping assistants wouldn’t give away any details of their clients no matter how many letters you write to their stores (and of course, the amount you spend in them).

All you have is your husband’s client. But would you she ever stop being a total snob and take one of the coats you’ve purchased for her? All you have is your best friend, but would she ever see how important making it big in Hollywood is to you? All you have is your dad, but would he stay back in London offering an attentive ear over the phone, and not set off to L.A leaving your mum worried-sick with an instruction to water their roses daily?

Would Hollywood ever give you that one, special break you need?

Becky Bloomwood’s life summed up for your delight.

MY REVIEW

Did I love this book? Yes, yes, I very much did. So you know in my review I’d be hauling you out of boutiques and dumping you into Barnes and Nobles to purchase this, don’t you?

Once again, Sophie Kinsella thrills with an amazing storyline. There’s nothing more fabulous than reading a book about a struggling stylist looking for her one, big break among the fashion circles and Hollywood. But in the midst of making it in Hollywood, this stylist gets wrapped up in lots of faux drama in tinsel town and unexpected encounters with paparazzi. Fab storyline.── ★

Becky is back with a bang and lots of shopping bags! Over the years, Becky Bloomwood has become sort of a woman sleuth in time to piece together the best outfit, for people who won’t dress for their body types, celebs who wouldn’t dress for their age, and of course steadfastly watching her own spending. She’s one of those classic chick-lit characters who’d always remain on the minds of readers who cannot get enough of her! Her humorous voice, her tendency to spend over the limit of her credit (without intending to, of course), her ability to put the humour in the most serious of situations. She’s one of those characters you keep banging on your table about and threatening not to eat your cereal if she doesn’t make a comeback (who are you, a two-year old avid reader?). A star to Becky.── ★★

Oh, you would love other characters in this book! Suze, the friend who wants to host an award show for extras (background actors) so they could receive ‘Suzes’. Alicia Bitch Long Legs, who makes a comeback with a deceiving relaxed look matched with yoga habits. Danny Kovitz, whose tendency to put off hiring a grammar assistant to read through all his problematic emails is hilarious. Minnie, the boisterous, over-demanding daughter who wouldn’t quit singing out Becky’s cusses to incompetent drivers at pre-school in a tune of Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star. Sage, the celebrity you’d love to hate for being such a total snob. Aran, the manager who is always suggesting very weird opportunity offers raging from a celebrity plastic surgery reality show to a fashion correspondent on a breakfast show who wouldn’t be offering any fashion advice at all. Jeff, the bodyguard who wouldn’t give you the least attention when all your friends have abandoned you and you just want a nod from him through your rants. Tarquin, Suze’s husband suddenly pleased about finding his inner-peace. And so many other amazing characters. A star to all the characters.── ★★★

The OMG moments in this book make this title gripping. And the humour is just so wicked it would be cracking your ribs.── ★★★★

I loved this book. But comparing it to Kinsella’s other titles, it wasn’t really mega. Perfect as a stand-alone, but when you’ve picked other Kinsella titles, you know this is nowhere close to their literary excellence. (Although, it really isn’t like doing a comparative analysis on all of Hemmingway’s titles and discovering he’d never penned anything great at all).

So my rating: 4.5 stars/5

Shopaholic To The Stars, Sophie Kinsella’s latest, is available on amazon.

I recommend this book to anyone who’s a fan of Kinsella or anyone who isn’t, anyone who loves Becky Bloomwood and anyone who’d hear her name and ask, ‘Becky wha??’, anyone who loves their chick-lit racy and humorous and about the plastic-ness of tinsel town should grab this book too.


My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads.

19/01/2015

Book Review: Some Girls Do by Clodagh Murphy





Imagine This: You are in your late twenties. You used to dream of a job in publishing. You wished to be a writer. But then your mum’s ailment got you tied down to Dublin as you are the only daughter who cares enough of her survival. Your other brothers don’t.

You have no social life. You are pleased to be working in a bookshop that’s close to home. You are used to a colleague telling you to hightail it and go get a life. But who is she to judge when she’s a trust-fund kid with no sense of direction, doesn’t have a mother who is in bad health, and would sell any dieting book to anyone looking for Jamie Oliver’s latest?

You are just pleased writing a blog. A blog about sex. A blog about your inexistent sex life. A blog that has lots of viewership.

An email from a super-hot guy in the publishing circles who’s been flirting with you since twitter was founded appears in your inbox. His request? He’s thinking of making your blog a book.

You are thrilled. Over the moon. The closest to an orgasm you’ve ever had.
But wait! He wants to meet. And might there be any book deal if he finds out you are not the sexy, cocky girl you portray on your blog? You don’t want to risk that. And it doesn’t help that he seems genuinely interested in you.

You must learn how to suck cock. You must learn how to give a good hand job. You must learn how to transform yourself into the sex goddess you’ve always claimed to be online.

Then you meet Luca. Far more experienced in this sex thing than any escort you ever thought of hired.

Before you know it, you are juggling between a fuck buddy who hates clingy girls and a sorta boyfriend who can’t wait to see your prowess in bed. Thank God for the existence of five-date rules!

Claire’s sensuous dilemma summed up for your enjoyment.



MY REVIEW
Late in September, I found out something. My love for Irish chick-lit. I have read Marian Keyes’ Sushi for Beginners, and Cecilia Ahearn’s P.S I Love You, but those are classics. And would you ever forgive me if I told you I am a total book snob? But then I read Zoe Miller’s A Husband’s Confession and OMG, I had to request more Irish chick-lit!

Clodagh Murphy writes very sensational chick-lit, I found out. This book was released last year and I am so ashamed to put across I’m now catching up on the fun.
I loved, loved this book. So you know in my review, I’d be yelling at you to scout your country’s bookstores and find out if there are still copies available! (If not, go home defeated).

The storyline is fabulous. It’s not fresh. But it’s amazing. Girl has no experience in sex whatsoever. Her first orgasm was inexistent. She writes a sex blog which has been noticed by a doting big-time publisher who wants to get into her pants as much as get her book on the shelves. She meets a man-ho who agrees to give her lessons in all she wants to know and so much more. And what’s more? Make herself confident, and sexy, and sassy, and explore her sexuality. Beautiful! A star to the storyline. ── 

I loved the heroine, Claire. She’s amazing. The kind of girl so shy she spends hours chewing her lip. The kind of girl who’s only bold when she’s behind her computer and online. The kind of girl who secretly hates being referred to as sweet. The kind of girl who has dreams of becoming a writer she cannot yet accomplish because she cannot fathom leaving her mother to die somewhere along the line despite her brothers have managed to abandon her successfully. Couldn’t you relate to her? Sometimes, it sucks to read books about girls who aren’t confident. But Clodagh Murphy doesn’t portray this to irritating levels that make the reader gets put off. You would adore Claire. A star to her. ── ★★

The other characters also make reading this title entertaining. There’s Yvonne, the trust-fund kid who would sell signed copies of Jane Austen novels to a husband who wants to surprise his wife with books of her favourite author on their anniversary. There’s also Espie, Claire’s mum who’s the bane of every nursing home for throwing parties with booze for all the patients. There’s Mary, the arthritis patient who butchers violin classics just because her joints are a bit weak. There’s the nursing home’s director who has the annoying attitude of using the ‘royal we’ and referring everybody’s mums as hers too. There’s Luca, the sex god who would set your knickers on fire (and I don’t even own knickers, so you can imagine!). There’s Mark, the charming publisher guy who’s doing his best to get through Claire’s five-date rule before sex. Oh, yeah, almost forgot, a super-fave, Catherine, the popular Lesbian mummy blogger who blogs about toilet-training her first when she doesn’t exactly have any children of her own. ── ★★★

The humour in this title was excellent. You would guffaw. You would chuckle. Even during the hot sex scenes, Clodagh Murphy tries to inject some amount of humour that would make readers who are not so comfortable with sex scenes (not like me!) desist from flipping the pages. ── ★★★★

My rating: Four/Five stars.

Clodagh Murphy’s 2014 hit, Some Girls Do, is available on amazon.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to get something to boost their sex life but cannot get over the embarrassment of moving to the sexual literature section of their bookstores. Anyone who wants a book with a heroine they could so relate to. And anyone with writing dreams or owning a blog of any kind. 


My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads.

13/01/2015

Blog Tour: Twin Piques by Tracie Banister



The lovely Tracie Banister (best-selling author of In Need of Therapy) is releasing yet another (from the looks of it) exciting title. Tracie is one of the pioneer chick-lit authors I reviewed on this blog, so, hell, yes, I am happy to be part of this tour announcing her latest release:





Blurb

Forensic accountant Sloane Tobin and kooky pet psychic Willa may have the same face, but that’s the only thing these identical twins have in common.

How she can read the hearts and minds of animals has always been a mystery to Willa, and her rotten luck with men is equally baffling. Although she’s been looking for “The One” for what feels like forever (A teenage marriage to a French mime and dating a guy named Spider seemed like good ideas at the time!), optimistic Willa refuses to give up on love. When she meets Brody, the handsome rose expert hired to save her grandmother’s garden, she’s instantly smitten, but why does he keep sending her mixed signals? Does he return her feelings, or is their attraction all in her fanciful head?

Unlike her twin, Sloane has zero interest in romance. Her passion is her job, where she uses her gift for numbers to take down slimy embezzlers and asset-hiding spouses. When she’s assigned two high profile cases, Sloane feels confident the promotion she’s been angling for is within her grasp. But will her plan to climb the corporate ladder be thwarted by difficult clients, her co-worker-with-benefits, or – most surprisingly of all – her own sister? And how’s she supposed to stay focused on the drama at work when her childhood friend, Gav, moves in next door and the spark between them becomes impossible to ignore?

To get what they both want, can Willa and Sloane band together and rely on each other’s strengths? Or will their differences drive them apart once and for all?


Author Bio



An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O'Hara. Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her 4th grade class performed an original holiday play that she penned. (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she also starred in and tried to direct the production.)
Tracie’s dreams of authorial success were put on the backburner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a "real" job in order to pay her bills. Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years. When it ended, she decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. Twin Piques is her third Chick Lit release. The pet psychic character in this novel was inspired by Tracie’s rascally rescue dogs. She’d love to know what goes on in their heads!

Buy Twin Piques: (Amazon)


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12/01/2015

Book Review: I'll Take New York by Miranda Dickinson



MY SYNOPSIS
Imagine This: Your boyfriend, no matter how perfect, is known by your friends to stand you up. A LOT. Anniversary celebrations, he stands you up. Time with the girl pals, he stands you up. But you really do not mind, because even if all through your five years together he’s never been on-time to a single date (give or take three hours after), you overlook his flaws. I mean, isn’t that the essence of a long-(forget healthy)-relationship?

Until he’s known to stand you up by your family, one incident after inviting them all from England for something ‘special’ and he never shows. You are so furious you decide it’s over with him. But would he even show up for the breakup date?
So now you are single. In New York. Focusing on your bookstore. Becoming the successful woman you’ve always dreamed of. Putting love on the back-burner and having one only true love: New York City.

Then you meet a guy at an engagement party. You two are the only singles present. He’s recently divorced. After going on and on about how being in a relationship sucks, you two make a pact. The Pact: You would never be in a relationship again. Even if it’s with each other no matter the sizzling chemistry shared between you two. The beginning of a friendship and a three way with the city.

But except your friends do not believe you two could be friends by setting you up on blind dates. The city doesn’t believe two people who share as much chemistry could take on Wolman Rink and still be friends.

Heck, sometimes you don’t believe you two could be just friends. But there’s one thing keeping you guys apart, that is, even if you tried taking the next step: The Pact.

Bea James’ chaotic life summed up for your delight.

MY REVIEW

Have you noticed any tale about New York goes with you cheering, “Woo-hoo”s within reading intervals? Well, I have anyway, and I’ll Take New York is one of those.

Woo-hoo! Don’t you just love books set in New York? The city (and the sex), the rush, the people, the Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind. I am one of those unpatriotic fellas who wears an ‘I Heart NYC To Bits’ t-shirt on (my country’s) Independence Day. And can you ever go wrong with a chick-lit set in New York City with the city embodying a character on its own? Miranda Dickinson certainly didn’t. ──

Woo-hoo! Bea James and Jake Steinmann, the main characters in this tale were adorable. Bea James being your typical Brit who’s fallen in love with New York since arriving in Columbia. She loves books, loves Brooklyn, and owns a bookstore in Brooklyn. You would love Bea James for being a redhead (score one for the gingers!), you would love her for how often she loves to explore the city, and her emotional connection to the iconic Pond in Central Park. Jake Steinmann was also written well. I did love his point-of-view. Mostly, I hate contemporary romances because most writers portray their male leads as dark, broody, uptight, and very virile–––eek! I love that Jake’s POV wasn’t that dark, broody kind that made all men seem sexists and so into ourselves–––so refreshing! A star to both characters. ── ★★

Woo-hoo! Other characters you would love(to-hate) are Otis, Bea’s ex who never shows up for anything unless it’s something that has got cheap all over it; Desiree, Jake’s P.A who’s always missing the point; Russ, Bea’s co-owner of the bookshop and friend who has an aversion to men wearing suits in Brooklyn; Rosie and Ed, sister-in-law and brother of Jake who keep setting Bea and James on blind dates. Aunt Ruby, who’s so concerned about eating at home before attending an invite from Bea’s ex to dine for something ‘special’.  Grandma Dot, who always has a book popped in the mail to explain something significant (mostly about love and relationships and her first-true love) to Bea. ── ★★★

Woo-hoo! Humour in this book isn’t the laugh-out-loud, crack-a-rib kind, but the chuckling moments are constant. ── ★★★★

My rating: four-point-five stars (4.5/5 stars)

Miranda Dickinson’s latest, I’ll Take New York is available on amazon.

I recommend this book to any fan of Miranda Dickinson as she doesn’t disappoint in this title, anyone who loves romantic comedies, anyone who loves romantic comedies set in the City That Never Sleeps, and anyone who wants a book that would keep them awake (says my mum, who spent hours gazing at the stars on the cover and declaring them hypnotic).


My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads.

Book Review: Daughter by Jane Shemilt



MY SYNOPSIS
Imagine This: You are the mother of three hormonal teenagers. And a surgeon whose job demands she spends little time with her kids. A neurosurgeon for a husband who’s good at sneaking into your bed late at night for some good-loving at a bad timing––when you just want to doze off. You wish you could spend more time with your kids. You wished your eldest daughter wouldn’t be watching you with eyes that say, you have no clue whatsoever. You wished the oldest of your boys wouldn’t stare at you with so much distaste. They want their independence, you keep consoling yourself. They would appreciate you more when they get older and attempt to strike the perfect work-family balance like you have.

Your life isn’t perfect. But you are working on it.

Until your daughter gets missing, adopted, raped, murdered, does anyone have the answers? She’s just nowhere to be found, and amidst the fear and the worry and dealing with the police who keep looking in all the wrong places, you keep asking yourself whether you’ve got the whole motherhood thing wrong from the start.

Everyone seems to be lying. Everyone you thought you could trust. If anyone knows what happened on the night your daughter, their daughter, their sister disappeared, they are not saying.

And as if that isn’t enough all the blame is being shifted to you for being the bad guy when all you want to do is help the police find your daughter and keep your family from gradually falling apart as a result of this crisis.

What’s more, the police’s findings keep coming up. And you should be relieved because they are always one-step-closer to finding your daughter. But the closer they get with these findings, the more you are sure this couldn’t be the daughter you raised.

Jenny Malcolm’s dilemma summed for your delight.

MY REVIEW
Another great storyline for a psychological thriller to keep you on your toes (seat, whatever position you prefer when reading). What’s so different about this title from just every other title with a character disappearing is how differently Jane Shemilt penned this. The presentation of flashbacks at appropriate moments whilst telling life a year after the character’s disappearance is what makes this title special. Throughout the opening pages you’d be on your toes (again, whatever position you prefer) to know if the main character found her daughter in the present day’s account. Another feature that makes this title different from others is how confused the main character gets as the police discovers details about her daughter, details she’s just so sure the police might be mixing up someone else’s missing daughter with hers. Fab storyline. ──

Jenny Malcolm is a character every mother out there would relate to. Jane Shemilt portrayed her main with the exactness another mother going through the same predicament would react. The kind of character who could win an actress an Oscar. The paranoia, the fear, the dreams, the visions, the moments when you want to keep it together but just don’t find the courage to when your daughter is out there being battered to death, raped, buried alive, all the worst case scenarios you see on Medical Detectives. You would adore Jen’s strength, her perseverance, her will to cast aside various shocking lapses of other characters to focus on finding her daughter. Throughout the novel, you’d be the hand reaching out to pat her on the back, sympathizing with her.  A star to her. ── ★★

Other characters you would revere are Naomi, the missing daughter whose smug smiles keep flashing everywhere you cannot help but wonder if she planned this whole ordeal; Michael, the cop heading the investigation; Theo, the only son who sees his mum as a super-hero, Mary; the old woman next-door filled with self-deprecating wisecracks to make her audience chuckle. A star to these characters. ── ★★★

The suspense in this novel is unsettling, way too many plot complications, too many useless leads going nowhere, enough to keep you glued to your seat. The ending was also… different and mind-boggling (not in the confusing way, the thought-provoking way) ── ★★★★

My rating: Four-stars. (4/5 stars).

Jane Shemilt’s psychological thriller with all the features akin to huge Hollywood motion-pictures is available on amazon.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves their psychological thrillers thrilling enough, anyone who wants a book with a main character and an issue they could absolutely relate to, and anyone who wants a title that keeps them intrigued as (or even when) the plot keeps unravelling.


My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads.

Book Review: Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill




Back Cover Description: In a world in which baby girls are no longer born naturally, women are bred in schools, trained in the arts of pleasing men until they are ready for the outside world. At graduation, the most highly rated girls become “companions”, permitted to live with their husbands and breed sons until they are no longer useful.

For the girls left behind, the future – as a concubine or a teacher – is grim.

Best friends Freida and Isabel are sure they’ll be chosen as companions – they are among the most highly rated girls in their year.

But as the intensity of final year takes hold, Isabel does the unthinkable and starts to put on weight. ..
And then, into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.

Freida must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known. . .


MY REVIEW
For every title I review I do write my synopsis before I go on to the review. But I tried my hands on this and I realized writing my own synopsis would give out so many spoilers I wish to keep to myself. The book’s back cover description is just enough to keep you starved for more.

I liked this title.

Fresh, new, quirky storyline that would keep your brow lifted throughout (might want to get that eye firming cream you’ve been putting off for long). It’s chick-lit in a world where feminists are banned from existing, where the ability to survive is thanks to several flicks of mascara, where the fattest you could get is less than a Kim Kardashian (––Meghan Trainor can go suck her bass), where the only asset is your beauty and anyone with less fortunate looks is cast aside. Beautiful storyline! ──

Freida is a well-developed character. Imagine yourself in high-school, less-confident, always wondering if you are fat enough, trying to stay out of way of the mean girls and looking for ways to step up into the spotlight even if you are considered by most too boring. Much like we adults, always that niggling doubt you are not perfect enough, thin enough, hot enough when others outside your body see you and wonder what you’ve got to be worried about if you are not contending with a quadruple chin. I could see lots of teenage girls relating to her so. A star to her. ── ★★

I found this book suspenseful. Especially the countdown to when the ‘boys’ come and you find yourself asking ‘so what now?’ after their appearance halfway through the book, then you realize the fun doesn’t stop there. Lots of surprise moments. ── ★★★

I did love the hi-tech fictional environment O’Neill created. A world that leaves the reader thinking lots of what-ifs. A very thought-provoking read touching on lessons of feminism, sexism, body image issues, and other issues I could bring up but serve as huge spoilers. ── ★★★★

I’m really not sure how I should categorize this book. But the string of what ifs I kept asking myself made it fantastical (without being over-the-top absurd), and besides sheer entertainment I kept wondering if the writer meant it satirical (Calling on all book clubs!).

I do see a movie to this title receiving much popularity amongst teens hitting the high ranks of the Twilights and Hunger games-es

My rating: Four-stars (4/5 stars).

Louise O’Neill’s great debut (and should there be a sequel?) is available on amazon.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants something different, anyone who wants to immense themselves in a world that keeps them squinting into the distance in thought, anyone who wants the next controversial title to be centrepiece in their book club discussions.

My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads.

05/01/2015

Release day Book Review: Before I Go by Colleen Oakley




MY SYNOPSIS
Imagine This: You are in your late twenties and already your life is perfect. With your adorable nerdy husband who never cleans up after using the kitchen, or washing away his pubic hair in the tub after shaving, or messing up his clothes you’ve neatly folded and ignoring them, you could really say your life is what you’ve hoped for. But it’s almost perfect. Because even though you have a dog, you don’t have kids.

But no big deal, the kids would come after you both finish your PhDs in a few months’ time. It’s not like you haven’t got all the time in the world. Plus you would have more alone time together than newlyweds to engage in all the romance in the world before a baby comes in and shatters everything.

Except Cancer is a step ahead before the baby. Cancer you beat three years ago. Cancer who’s proving to never give up. And this time Cancer has not only taking over your boobs but your entire body too. Chemo or radiation is no use.

You are dying in four to six months.

This has not been the moment you’ve been waiting for all your life, but if dying in six months isn’t the Universe’s way of telling you to carpe diem, what else is then? Except you cannot leave because this is real life, and you don’t just bolt.

You are all your husband has and if you pass away, he will be so helpless and lonely and probably wither away too. So you’ve got to stay.

At least, if not to fight this disease, find your husband a wife before he has no one to clean up after him.

Daisy Richmond’s moving dilemma summed up for your delight.

MY REVIEW
I loved, loved this book so much you know in my review I’d be throwing bricks in your direction till you run off and go get it.

Fantastic storyline! Girl is dying in six months, Girl puts an effort into living life normally as though there was no cancer, Girl wondering how her husband would cope if she dies, Girl vowing to find her husband a wife if it’s the last thing she does. Beautiful! I mean, how can you go wrong with a cancerous tale having this plot? A star to the storyline. ──

You would love Daisy, the heroine. I adored her voice. It’s sort of that funny memoir-esque voice. That brilliant bloggy voice that makes you feel the speaker is communicating directly to you and only you. Sort of a celebrity auto-biographical voice (think, Amy Poehler? Nah, too funny. Joan Rivers? Nah, too bitchy and biographical. Chelsea Handler? No, too raunchy and inappropriate. Colleen Oakley? Just the right person!) you pick up and instantly reels you in. I love the way she (Daisy) goes on about random stuff and relates it to her ‘Lots of Cancer’ in clever ways that surprise you. How she clings on to her boobs even though doctors advise it’s a losing battle. Her degrees in psychology also make her point-of-view so insightful it’s not hard to pick up lots of important, moving lessons. You could even hate daisies as much as I do and still warm up to her. It’s a plus she hates Sarah McLachlan too! I loved her. A star. ── ★★

The supporting cast in this title are also amazing. There’s Daisy’s mom who’s not your ideal cancer-patient-sitter for being a constant crier. There’s Kayleigh, the friend who doesn’t mind she’s not an overachiever and even an underachiever at all, balancing her time between teaching kindergarten kids, dating nineteen year olds and being super-supportive to our lead in the weirdest ways. You would also take a liking to Jack, the scatter-brain husband who always forgets to make reservations for the cancerversary nights yet is so adorable and present even though our lead is being difficult sometimes. There’s also PW17 on checkmate.com who seems like the perfect wife for Jack. Oh, and my favourite, one Dr. Patrick who’s a respiratory therapist and sometimes forgets the respiratory part to give crappy advice to his patients. Fabulous characters. ── ★★★

Now if I am writing this review. There lots of things I’d leave out for my ego sake. Like the intervals between which I slammed this book down to take control of my tear ducts. Like the laughter through tears for when our lead makes a funny comment. Or twitching uncomfortably for fear that suddenly I might be declared having six months more to live and not bearing our lead’s gusto for life. All these achieved through Colleen’s excellent portrayal of the themes of loss, ailment and trying so hard to stick to your normal routine even though you know you might be dying within days. ── ★★★★

Humour plays a major part in this title to draw in the reader. Not too over-the-top to render this book comic and losing its edge to communicate its dense, emotional themes. The humour is so laidback you relax into this title and wonder when cancer became this soothing. Mostly, I’d ‘Ha-ha’ then fall back in line when I go on to the next line and see, dying. ── ★★★★★

My rating is definitely a five/five stars. (Very abnormal for lots of debuts but Colleen is a star!)

Before I Go, Colleen Oakley’s sensational debut is available for grabs on amazon today.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to start their New Year with something moving, dense and funny. Anyone who is a cancer survivor or not could pick this title and totally relate to it. Anyone who just wants to be reminded life shouldn’t be lived wasted without, the ones you love and the things you love.

I still dream about this book.

My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads.


04/01/2015

Festive Book Review: Christmas In The Snow by Karen Swan




MY SYNOPSIS
Imagine This: You are in your thirties––and as one rival puts it, single, lonely, bitter. You are the only female president in a male-dominated environment. You are a workaholic. The only home you know is your office. It’s always jetting to have a meeting in Zurich, having lunch with some potential investors in Paris, and reading the Financial Times on a flight to Vienna. All in one day.

At the peak of your fast-paced career as a hedgie, you are about to make it to the board––the peak that blunts all other peaks, and standing in your way is just this one account you’d have to secure. Except these clients are Chinese and traditional, so although they see, your brilliant pitches and you nursing the strains in your neck every time you curtsy, they are not moved the slightest.

So when on a flight to meet with these clients at Zurich, you encounter a devastatingly handsome guy who you would love to ram against a wall and do all sorts of dirty to. Yet all you can think of is, I can’t afford to be distracted.

Zurich was good. Fun. The meeting with the clients went well. You’re back in London, thinking what happens in Switzerland, stays in Switzerland.

Until a work crisis leaves you haunted by your immediate past. And suddenly all you have worked so hard to achieve is about to fall into the hands of this immediate past. But there’s no way you are going to allow Immediate Past to shatter all you have worked for, you are never going down without a fight. Only the universe can’t think of a right timing for you to receive a call from Swiss police…

And suddenly, you have more skeletons (meant literally) to deal with this Christmas than a one-night-stand turned messy.

Allegra Fisher’s dilemma summed up for your enthralment.  

MY REVIEW
I have never really been a fan of festive holiday reads. I am terrified to open them because if I do end up not liking them so much it would put a damper on my festive mood.  But… but who am I kidding? You sensed a ‘but’ even before I started this review…

I loved, loved, loved, loved, loved this book so, so, so much! So you know in my review I’d be yelling at you to go tell the nearest Barnes and Nobles shop that if they do not have it they should contact their insurance company since they rarely do(because you would be slamming your head against the glass windows)!
(I actually snorted when I read the blurb, then flipped the book to see Karen Swan’s name big and red on it, then I knew I was going to fucking like the way Karen presented an old storyline) I mean, who hasn’t read a book blurb about dark, family secrets and voiced teasingly, “Ooh, spooky.”? But the way Karen wrote this was off the hook! Dark, family secrets my arse! This book was way more than something old. It was something old made refreshingly new and leaving the reader to free-fall into uneasiness and wonder, ‘Oh, when do I break my spine yet?”. Amazing old storyline with so many twists and turns (most reviewers use these two words lightly but I do not) you are marvelled all the way through. And isn’t it amazing a book about dark, family secrets isn’t all about (not-so) dark family secrets? A star! ──

(I watched the second instalment to that Spartan movie and I have always fantasized about rough sex––I am human I have needs too!––with cold-blooded ice-princess women) I loved, loved Allegra Fisher. Never have I wanted a character to pick me so badly since watching Angelina Jolie in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. There’s something so sexy about women who have it all under control and are fiercely independent and won’t settle for less (or even settle at all!)… but sometimes I find that majority of my audience are women and do not understand a thing I am saying at all(?) You would love her! Love how she’s a die-hard feminist and wouldn’t stand for the slightest discrimination at her workplace or anywhere (much like you!). Love her whiplash attitude and how brutally blunt she is. Even if you do not, you would understand her reasons for being who she is and show some show sympathy towards her (as I show some sympathy towards you). It’s just so fun that you realize everything she does is what someone who is totally like her would do and no action of hers is really out-of-place. You would realize Karen Swan really did her What Would Allegra Fisher Do? Homework well. A star to the characterization. ── ★★

I love that this book is out of the norm of festive reads. You know, I pictured Karen Swan sitting in that Festive Reads conventional train with her laptop and jumping out when that train was always going there (––no stress on the word, you would have noted the difference if I meant, ‘there’). And I was thrilled she jumped out of that train to produce something totally different! A star to being a nonconformist and succeeding at that! ── ★★★

Oh, the other characters in this book? You might give up thinking there can be no perfect book! (But if you already think there is a perfect book why don’t you pick this title and rate it again when Karen releases another?) All the characters played roles in synchrony to help this title achieve a solid, unifying plot! You would love Isobel, the sister who criticizes Allegra for not owning a toaster and not being homely. You would love Cinzy, the personal stylist who always silently tells Allegra to dress like a woman (with ruffles and feathers––Allegra’s worst fears) with her (Cinzy’s) choices for her. You would love Maasi, the billionaire Italian who went to Harvard yet makes millions out of a shocking trade and gives salient advice from the words spilling out of his mouth at rate of a thousand per minute. There’s also Pasha who’s as thick-headed as the bottle blonde wife of a millionaire would be. Pierre, who reminds you of the boss you admire so much. Lots and lots of characters I really wished I could go on and on about. (But if you corner me too much I would… thanks for your persistence) Julia, Allegra’s Alzheimer’s mum. Barry, Julia’s nurse. And other characters you would love to hate like Sam*. A star to all the characters. ── ★★★★

Humor––sometimes laugh-out-loud, most times find-what-you-should-laugh-out-loud-about. This book isn’t what I’d tag a downright laugh-out-loud read (and you know how particular I am about humour in a title). But I can tell you it’s a downright suspenseful book. I really did take a slight hatred to Karen for this feature. I mean, what’s a book that could give you coronary thrombosis when such disorder isn’t genetic in your family? I don’t quite understand why an author would put so much effort in making your heart stop beating when she needs you to revere the ending of her novel to pieces. It’s not how Karen drops an OMG Moment in this title. It’s how she presents the OMG Moment that makes the OMG Moment actually say an OMG to its OMG Moment. A star! ── ★★★★★

Yet if I do give this book a four/five star-rating you would be so shocked. Because it’s a six/five star-read (and please I have had enough education to assure you this grading oversight is an emphasis of how phenomenal this book is!)

Karen Swan’s latest, Christmas in the Snow is available on amazon. (And you know I am only providing the link just in case B&N in your area runs out of copies AND YOU DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH FUEL TO DRIVE TO ANOTHER STATE TO GET IT).

I recommend this book to anyone who loves not only a good book (because that would be the biggest understatement of the year for this title) but a goooood, goooood book. Anyone who wants something adrenalin-pumping should grab this title too. And just anyone, anyone who wants to read a book about dark family secrets that actually have dark family secrets alongside a sub-plot that brutally competes with a main plot to thrill the reader. Plus if you are ski demon this is your perfect book.


Hurrah (I find this more bourgeois-irritating than ‘hurray’)! I am so glad this book ended 2014 for me. My work not done here. Off to post my review on goodreads.

Book Review: The Italian Girl by Lucinda Riley




MY SYNOPSIS
Imagine This: You are eleven and envious of your older sister. She has everything you want to have but do not. All the men are crazy about her. If someone would just notice you for once. Despite your brother’s encouragement that you are special, you are not seeing it. Except you are hiding an extraordinary talent you’ve not been brave enough to show the world, or your little Italian town.

Until He enters your life. The first day you spot him in your dad’s cafĂ©. He’s not everything you’ve dreamed about before today but you are certain from this day onwards you would be dreaming about him ALL THE TIME. Then he sings, and you know this is the guy you have to marry. He hears you sing after being shoved into the spotlight. And for once everyone notices you. But who cares about everyone when He notices you. Except he has eyes for your sister and there’s nothing your eleven-year old body has to contest with THAT.

Though he puts down the name of a teacher for you to go train your voice.
Years later, you have mastered the art of opera and can hit the low and high pitches as though a murderer has a death grip on your neck and is alternating between throttling you and losing his hold. It’s off to Milan for you to go sing at La Scada.

He has become quite a big name and finally he notices you when you make your debut. When you two sing it’s magical and even the audience with the toughest tear ducts shed a tear or two. Backstage the chemistry between you two is magical.

Too magical it’s obvious you two must belong together.

But too much chemistry could be dangerous. Especially when He has a reputation with the media that doesn’t fit with your good girl image and a past with a dark secret he might be hiding away from you.

Yet nothing can severe the indestructible bond between you two.

Rosanna Menici’s life involving opera, exotic locations and very obsessive obsession.

MY REVIEW
The worst kind of fiction is fiction that proves to be fact. Fiction that leaves you with that niggling doubt an author can create something so fictitious yet so real. Fiction that would leave you up all through dawn researching characters and pulling titbits from the internet that would prove events described in a title are based on true-life events. But really, it’s this worst form of fiction that stands to be the greatest form of fiction. Fiction that is so believable it crosses the threshold of fact. A star to the storyline. ──

Now I am not going to list off all the attributes of this book I loved and give them stars. Because mostly if I do such, it stems from my extreme love for the lead characters. With this title, I didn’t think I loved, loved the main characters (Rossana and Roberto). But not too much the opposite. It’s just that most times I felt like strangling the two for some of their choices, actions and I wondered why an author would want to pen a book with leads that could put readers totally off. But then, I realized there was no way I could bear such loathing towards the main characters without being totally engaged in the story. This love-hate relationship I had with the mains come to think of it, is a part of the author’s intended emotions to invoke in the reader. Not all mains have to be likable. And as long as that’s intended by the author, as much as I hate it, they deserve a star. Brilliant characterization. ── ★★

The supporting cast I did like. From Luca, the very supportive brother whose sub-plot with an Abbi, Rosanna’s best friend, is captivating. There’s also Donatella Bianchi, one scheming cougar you’d love to hate. There’s Carlotta, the sister who keeps a secret she’s battling so hard not to reveal. There’s also Marco, the needy father who craves company to the extent of ruining his children’s futures. ── ★★★

There’ just not enough to say about this book besides the fact that it’s engaging, thought-provoking and brilliantly phenomenal! ── ★★★★

My rating is definitely five/five stars.

The Italian Girl by the talented Lucinda Riley is available on amazon.

I recommend this book to anyone who’s a lover of the opera. Anyone who just loves singing (until their voices peters out into something resembling screeches of chalk on board) should get this title too. If you are a fan of soaps, and very intricate love-stories too you’d adore this.


My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads.