Lying to Meet You – Anna Garner

What to expect:
Does being in a relationship make you a hot commodity in the eyes of would-be suitors? Chloe Lane is about to find out. When her childhood pal, Ethan Webster, asks her to play the part of his girlfriend in order to test this theory, she reluctantly agrees. As a work-crazed fashion designer, boutique owner and soon-to-be reality show judge, Chloe has no time for a real boyfriend, but being part of a faux pair will do just fine. Not that she has any intention of trying to attract someone else.

However… Opportunity unexpectedly knocks when Chloe meets fellow reality judge, William Shannon. Super successful and super sexy, this high-powered entrepreneur inspires Chloe to test Ethan’s theory herself. Now, on top of keeping her fashion business productive, carving out a new role as a television personality, maintaining a fake relationship and attempting to lay the groundwork for a future relationship, she’s lying to William, lying to her friends, lying to her family and quite possibly lying to herself. Will Chloe be able to keep it all together, or are things about to explode?

This is the author’s first true chick-lit novel, having previously released romances under the name of Libby Mercer. Now she’s writing under her real name and kindly sent me this review copy.

Kooks for your Kindle?– Chloe has a solid gang of New Yorker friends, attractive professional women like her, and the self described “token gay friend”, Julian, who likes to intimidate her potential suitors in a fatherly way. Veronica and Isabel are supportive, outspoken and both are a force of nature, especially when they come up with the idea that attached women get hit on more than single women. Then there’s Ethan- who’s known Chloe since they were three, and wants to test the girls’ theory to give him more of a chance with a colleague that he fancies. Ethan’s easy to get along with and adorable, despite his karaoke fixation. Even his family are sweethearts, and have loved Chloe since way back when. The Christmas visit was like a cross between The Proposal and While You Were Sleeping in that Chloe feels terrible for deceiving such a lovely family (obviously I’m not that familiar with Sandra Bullock movies or anything…).
However when Chloe becomes an entrepreneurial reality show judge, she meets William, and their sizzling chemistry can only be denied by their scheduling conflicts. William is the anti-Ethan; unpredictable, unfamiliar, uncompromising and a little dangerous. The kind of guy you have to try, before you can get him out of your system.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Chloe herself takes no prisoners, although she does turn one over to the cops: as demonstrated with an admirable take-down of a shoplifter. She’s a talented, hard working designer with her own modestly successful boutique and is on the verge of cracking the big time, and hopes the media coverage of being on a reality show will push her brand over the edge. Chloe’s Achilles heel is her family’s refusal to validate her achievements, especially when her (southern belle) mother is more impressed with her for bringing home a nice man. Chloe’s try-anything attitude causes trouble, entertainment and creates opportunities. As one would expect, she does all this with sartorial panache.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– At first glance it might seem like a slightly younger Sex And The City setting, but this is a warmer tale and New York seems a lot less harsh here. The friendships are strong, challenging and supportive without being sickly sentimental, and they withstand the usual tests of time when one or two of them disappear into an intense relationship or a career hole for a while.

Nookie for your Nook?– A few steamy interludes, but cleaner than a Sex And The City episode. Of course, a lot of things are.

Evaluation of your eBook?– This is one of those well-rounded reads that stays in your head afterwards with a warm glow. This could be a subjective effect, but I hope other readers take that away from this book too. It could be explained by the fact that I adored both the leads, and the fun way the book is written from Chloe’s sharp, humorous perspective. She’s a good strong heroine who can fight her way out of a mess, but she’s kind and has a softer side. While the romantic outcome won’t come as a huge shock, there are other aspects that did surprise. Good use of foreshadowing throws a couple of red herrings in along the way, but I won’t spoil it for you. Top marks, give it a whirl.

Frothy Ranking: 5/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £1.91.

US: Amazon for $2.99.

The Dr Pepper Prophecies – Jennifer Gilby Roberts

What to expect:
25-year-old Mel Parker has a few tiny problems:

  • Her job is terrible
  • She’s been dumped yet again
  • Her ex is now her boss
  • Her parents think she’s a loser compared to her perfect younger sister
  • All her efforts to improve her life seem doomed to failure
  • There just isn’t enough chocolate in the world to make up for the above.
  • The one good thing in her life has always been her best friend Will, who has seen her through every crisis from lost toys to pregnancy scares. But his girlfriend (who’s prettier, better-dressed, more successful and secretly evil) is determined to replace Mel as the woman in his life and how is Mel supposed to compete?

    So what do you do when you’ve pretty much given up on your own life? Help others, of course! After all, what’s the worst that can happen? Well, Mel’s about to find out.
    Worse still, her misguided efforts seem to be driving a wedge between her and Will. Can Mel live without her best friend? Or is he the man she loves…?

    You might find the plot familiar as this tale is a reworking of Emma, but being London based it feels more Bridget Jones than Clueless Cher. The singular title is a reference to an old Dr Pepper ad with the tag line “What’s the worst that could happen?”- a question that goes through Mel’s mind with alacrity and alarming regularity prior to each disaster.

    Kooks for your Kindle?– Mel starts out with impeccable timing by ditching her awful boyfriend just after she gets him a job as her boss. Martin then proceeds to turn into a nasty version of Mr Brittas and makes her life hell. Old mate Will is the Mr Knightley character in more ways than one; he’s known Mel since childhood and they are totally in sync, way past familiar. His taste in women leaves something to be desired, leaning towards evil, pushy ones like Natalie who try to turn him into something he’s not. I suspect he hangs out with Mel for a breather.

    Mel has an interesting assortment of girlfriends; bestie Sharon who’s moved to New York, antithetical colleague Cynthia, and mysterious flatmate Beth. The latter two each become unwilling and unfortunate victims of Mel’s meddling and matchmaking. Mel’s parents and sister are a bit of a nightmare, so she avoids them as much as possible.

    The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– I sometimes lose patience with a story when the lead character lets herself get walked over for a large part of the book, but it’s immediately apparent that Mel is a loose cannon, so it can only be a matter of time before she snaps. It’s worth the wait, and while she may lack assertiveness in some areas, she makes up for it with boldness in others. She single-handedly supports the chocolate industry and makes epically bad decisions with good intentions, frequently requiring a bail-out by Will. It’s always Will of course, because it’s no spoiler to let you know that Mel has a thing for him- even if she’s oblivious to the last. Although it’s been a while since I’ve read Emma, Mel certainly has all of her faults, especially blindness and taking meddling to new heights.

    Provoking your Inner-Pedant– Pleasantly low on errors, this can be rare in self-published work.

    Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– Mel’s world feels a little bit Bridget Jones inasmuch as all the main characters are in their twenties, not yet established in a career, and living in London as cheaply as possible.

    Evaluation of your eBook?– I felt that the main strength of this book is Mel’s commentary, told from her first person point of view it veers towards stream of consciousness at times and is very funny and sharp. She’s so likable that it’s possible to overlook the choices she makes and go with the flow. The supporting cast of colleagues and friends were nicely done, although I found Mel’s parents and sister to be a little hammy at first, especially her rigid father. It’s a relatively quick read, and highly entertaining.

    Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

    Can be obtained from:

    UK: amazon for £1.99, although it’s sometimes on special for less.

    US: Amazon for only 99c.

    Wicked Wives – Anna-Lou Weatherley

    What to expect:

    Sometimes it just feels good being bad… A tale of intrigue, revenge and excess….. Playboy Casino owner and serial gambler, Tom Black, leaves a trail of broken hearts behind him wherever he goes. So when he disappears, it’s no surprise that foul-play is suspected.

    The finger of suspicion points to three women from his past; Eleanor, the beautiful socialite with a dubious past, Loretta, the fame-seeking gold-digger, and Victoria, the glamorous, bestselling author.

    Bound together by one man and his mayhem, it’s not long before secrets begin to surface, forcing the three women to take the biggest gamble of all. But in the game of love there can only be one winner – and the winner takes it all….

    Firmly aimed at the Bonkbuster market, it’s inspired me to make a tag for this genre- they’re still out there, and still wildly popular.

    Kooks for your Kindle?– Some are down to earth- albeit rich and well dressed- some are almost caricatures, especially Loretta the aging Italian diva. She even wore a turban in one scene, you can’t ask for more than that. Ellie was easier to relate to, she just wanted to open a dance studio, she had the talent and her husband’s billions, but Tom wants the same property- and he knows about her past. Ellie’s spoilt daughter Tess is turning eighteen and wants to be famous, unfortunately it could turn out to be for the wrong reasons. Victoria is friends with Ellie, and mourning the daughter she lost in infancy; she’ll do anything to get pregnant again before it’s too late, but she could be barking up the wrong tree. Tom is a gambling addict, and on the whole he cares for no one but himself and money, although Ellie is the only one he ever loved, so long ago, and she’s still in what’s left of his heart.

    The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Victoria has a brush with this when she feels the need to do something silly to clear up a mess- thankfully most of the time all the characters are strong to the point of toughness, and not afraid to make things happen.

    Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– The action is on both sides of the Atlantic, but the majority of the main characters are Brits. There’s plenty of opulent detail for your escapist needs, from a high-end casino in Vegas to a private yacht in Antigua and billionaire homes around London.

    Nookie for your Nook?– Even that’s larger than life!

    Provoking your Inner-Pedant– I’ll assume Loretta intended to veer off into Spanish and French in places and is multi-lingual. On another topic, I’m familiar with Bahrain and can tell you the nationality should be Bahraini, but couldn’t possibly comment on the subject of vulgar taste.

    Evaluation of your eBook?– The author’s previous offering, Chelsea Wives, was pretty over the top, but this one pumps up the glam factor even more. It’s hilariously far-fetched, as it should be, and well fleshed out when it comes to the luxury and name dropping- I imagine it was fun to research! I must confess to guessing the whodunnit earlier than I wanted to, but really, Tom is such a nasty one that it could have been anyone. Definitely good for a summer read, or anytime you want to feel like you’re on the beach.

    Frothy Ranking: 3.5/5 cocktails.

    Can be obtained from:

    UK: Amazon for £1.99

    US: Not currently found on Amazon, but Kobobooks have it for $7.29.

    Sealed With A Kiss – Rachael Lucas

    Along a similar vein to Pink Wellies And Flat Caps, our heroine gets dumped by her long term chap and heads off into rural obscurity to find herself, and tangles with the local landed gentry. The similarities end there though, as we are on a little Scottish island and Kate is immediately in her element with a cottage to herself and a project to throw herself into. Lord of the manor Roderick might drive a Land Rover and manage his own estate, but he’s down to earth and wants to modernise the place. He tasks Kate with renovating a couple of cottages and barns to rent out to tourists for income, and to improve the island’s economy. Incidentally, I realised the difference in reading something on kindle when I finished the book and only then had a good look at the cover- and caught the double meaning of the title! That could be sleep deprivation on my part though…

    Kooks for your Kindle?– Roddy makes a good leading man, although the story is well balanced with the other locals making up a large portion of the story. Tom the gorgeous gamekeeper, and his wife Susan (AKA Lady Chatterley) are of Kate’s generation, while Roddy’s housekeeper Jean and Kate’s horsey neighbour Morag are older, but all are friendly and boozy enough to help Kate settle right in. Finn the Piper is another one of the bounty of hot men on the little island, and an irresistible distraction. The only bad guy (girl, in this case) is Fiona, Roddy’s scheming ex who comes back to have another bash at becoming lady muck despite being wildly unsuited to the job. Kate’s new puppy Willow and Flora the rescued seal make up the furry contingent.

    The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Kate was refreshingly game for anything in her new life, and took it all in her stride. It was good to see her find her calling as a property fixer-upper (I expect someone can tell me the proper title for that job!) and marketing whiz. The decision to accept the end of her relationship and move on from her staid ex had the maturity of someone older combined with the impulsiveness of someone in their twenties, and it doesn’t get more final than moving away to another island!

    Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– This book probably does as much for Scottish tourism as Kate’s fictional exploits, it sounds lovely. Auchenmor is a rugged island with amazing wildlife such as seals and giant birds of prey. The quaint shops and wild beaches sound wonderful, if a bit nippy out of season.

    Evaluation of your eBook?– The plot may sound almost familiar, but it’s not your typical formula- Finn was not the big hiccup I expected, he turned into quite the ally. There are some nicely created characters, even the ones Kate left behind in her home town- Her mum is a challenge and her friend Emma is especially likable. I found it a charming and original take on the tale of ‘girl moves to small community and meets lots of local eccentrics and hot men’ theme that I enjoy quite a bit. Definitely recommended for a warm and fuzzy read, and a good price too.

    Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

    Can be obtained from:

    UK: Amazon currently has it for £2.05, although it was only 77p a few weeks ago, so click for the latest.

    US: Amazon for $2.99, not found on Kobobooks.

    Millie and The American University – Annabel Scott (AKA Anna Bell)

    We’ve reviewed this author before, but now she’s changed her name, due to a well deserved book deal. This is a prequel to Millie and the American Wedding, Millie being an English lass with a fondness for all things american who went to her college friend’s Manhattan wedding. Now we get to flash back ten years to the year she spent at Kendry college in Pennsylvania, only an hour and a half from New York City and with a reputation as a party college. As we know from the present day book Millie never turns down a night out and has a cast iron liver, so pretty soon she’s gone native, playing beer pong, and is up to her ears in dramas with friends, men and sororities.

    Kooks for your Kindle?– Jen and Casey are the first to take Millie under their wing and introduce her to the party scene. They’re a hybrid of the ugly stepsisters and Mean Girls, and try to push Millie into dressing like them, dieting and fitting right in. Kristen is their antithesis and soon becomes a much better friend to Millie as well as the only person who can rein her in on wild nights out. Rob is the strangely familiar guy she repeatedly runs into without fully recognising, the most interesting of the men on campus (and more appetising than Phil The Gangster).

    The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Fortunately Millie doesn’t stand for the Mean Girls’ behaviour for long, but the damage is done when they take a hit out on Millie’s reputation.

    Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– I was expecting this story to be reminiscent of my own time on an exchange at a little private college (in Indiana), but our parties were more randomly organised because there wasn’t what they call the Greek system- the fraternities and sororities which you all know about from the movies. I’m quite glad about this as they seem pretty terrifying, with the pledging, hazing, bitchy cliques and nightmare guys. As it is, this is a great introduction to the system as seen through Millie’s fresh eyes. Incidentally it’s a definite bonus to be over 21 so you don’t have to dive out of windows when the parties get raided by the police!

    Evaluation of your eBook?– It’s definitely the same boozy Millie from the other book, the romantic situations here are the same ones that are referenced at Kirsten’s wedding ten years on, although this doesn’t cover as far as the nasty situation with Millie’s boyfriend’s snobby mother. It’s probably more suited to the YA generation as Millie’s dramas here are all friend, boy and social media related, but if you’re a little older and had a thing for Sweet Valley High books as a kid then you’ll still find it a guilty pleasure. Obviously if you enjoyed Millie and the American Wedding then it’s a must read to see where it all started.

    Frothy Ranking: 3.5/5 cocktails.

    Can be obtained from:

    UK: Amazon for £1.53.

    US: Amazon for $2.99.

    Midsummer Magic – Julia Williams

    I meant to have this done a month ago at the appropriate time… never mind! Harry is a journalist with aspirations to travel until he suddenly finds himself engaged to his lovely girlfriend Josie. Josie’s manic wedding planning takes a turn for the extreme as they and their best friends Ant and Diane all take a weekend away at Josie’s wealthy parents’ house in Cornwall. Ant and Diane were expecting to meet for the first time- it turns out they used to know each other well until a betrayal tore them apart.

    In one eventful weekend the group meet two television illusionists whose star power convinces all four of them to undergo hypnosis for a dare at the site of a local tradition. On midsummer’s eve by the standing stones on the cliff top, if you plight your troth, you will have true love, so the legend says. If this sounds familiar, yes it is a modern retelling of a midsummer night’s dream. This becomes especially apparent with some of the names!

    Kooks for your Kindle?– There are a few familiarly named supporting characters here, Auberon (Bron), Freddie Puck and Tatiana are a little past it in professional years, but Tatiana is trying to get back on stage in a production at the local open air theatre. Josie’s well-to-do parents have an old fashioned dynamic, he earns the big bucks while the little woman looks after him. Small wonder Harry finds his prospective father-in-law intimidating. The four leads are in their twenties and quite different to each other- although neither Ant nor Diane are the committing type, both flitting through life for the same reason.

    The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Josie knows she’s led a charmed life; only child; wealthy parents; men falling at her feet; but even when she’s obviously more into the wedding than Harry is she fails to see the signs. Harry isn’t really the strong silent type, he’s just silent at first, wondering how he ended upon this runaway train and how he can get off it. Fortunately midsummer’s eve offers just the chaos he needs.

    Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– One of the book’s strengths was the vivid portrayal of a summer weekend in the west country (if you’re lucky with the weather), with the heat, the cliffs along the coast, sitting outside a pub of a summer’s afternoon; it made me quite homesick!

    Evaluation of your eBook?– I suspect we all know a couple where the bride-to-be got a teensy bit carried away and ended up with a massive wedding- or no groom! Josie was not especially likable at first, fortunately the weekend contains lessons for her. The hypnosis element was interesting, and a new take on the Shakespeare tale, but it did lead to an awful lot of back and forth (I love him, no not him ,him!) and running up and down cliffs having Enid Blyton style adventures. The older supporting characters were showbiz luvvies, entertainingly so. It wasn’t as predictable as you might imagine, for there are real possibilities for people to end up with other partners so I won’t tell you whether it follows A Midsummer Night’s dream in that respect. Not quite as good as the last one we reviewed by this author, but a pleasant summer read, no need to have read the original Shakespeare, and a good price (in UK at least, if it remains 99p).

    Frothy Ranking: 3/5 cocktails.

    Can be obtained from:

    UK: Amazon for only 99p.

    US: Amazon for $3.79 and Kobobooks for $7.29.

    Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan

    There’s a lot of buzz about this book at the moment, and it certainly is a summer frothy read- but complex, hence the review nearly as long as the book! College professor Rachel is an American with Chinese origins, having left there with her mother at a very early age. Her mother raised her alone and made a comfortable life for them with her career as a real estate agent. But none of this has prepared her for a summer in Singapore with her boyfriend Nick, his family and friends- for they really are crazy rich asians. Rachel didn’t even know Nick had that kind of family money, but as they prepare for his best friend’s wedding Rachel discovers it’s actually the society wedding of the year- with all the scandal, gossip, bitchiness and opulent overspending that goes along with it. In the meantime Nick’s family are wondering who this girl is, who her family are, and how they can break the couple up!

    Kooks for your Kindle?– Now i’m reasonably well read on Chinese recent history (well ok, Wild Swans is one of my favourite books, but that’s educational right?), but I had no idea that a lot of Chinese families with old money escaped China when communism was on the rise and went to nearby Taiwan/Malaysia/Singapore. So these families have been around for so long that there is a certain amount of snobbery, at least in some of the characters portrayed here, as such it echoes the snobbery you might expect from the British or American old-money establishment.

    Anyway suffice to say there are some crackpots here, Nick’s mother Eleanor and her cronies go all out to find out Rachel’s heritage and scheme to pair him with a more well-bred young lady. Nick’s cousin Eddie is a monster, overwhelmingly concerned with his social standing, appearances and the exact temperature of his closets (55 degrees F for cashmere and fur, 75 for leather…), and not remotely interested in the wellbeing of his wife and children. Cousin Astrid is down to earth and married to Michael, a regular guy who runs his own company- but his annual bonus equates to only one of the many couture dresses that his wife splurges on a few times a year with her own money. She thinks all is well and that he doesn’t know about all the family properties placed in her name by her parents while they live in a modest flat on his income. But all his resentment has to come out somewhere…

    Finally Peik Lin is Rachel’s old college friend from Singapore, glad to finally have her friend come to visit her homeland, and stunned at the scene Rachel has entered into. Minor characters include Oliver, another cousin who likes to observe from outside with some gentle gossip and a little meddling. Kitty Pong sounds like the name of a performer in a seedy bar in Bangkok, in fact she’s a gold-digging Chinese soap opera actress, trying to hide her mainland accent and pretend she’s from Taiwan. There are many more fascinating characters, way too many to keep straight!

    The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Our heroine is blindsided by the situation she’s dropped into. Instead of a relaxing summer travelling around Asia in flip-flops, she’s presented for judgement to a very intimidating family; involved in the Asian wedding of the year; and thoroughly set up by all those against her. Fortunately Peik Lin is on her side and has the resources to make sure Rachel is sartorially equipped, even if she is socially out of her depth. I’m happy to report that Rachel keeps her dignity, even while whisked away on the hen weekend from hell with a bunch of catty women she doesn’t know (yes, even a free trip on a private jet to a beautiful island can be a nightmare it seems!). She puts up with a lot for Nick’s sake, but as befits a self respecting modern professional woman in her early thirties she puts her foot down when it gets too bad. Nick, by the way, is a lovely chap whose only sin seems to be neglecting to prepare Rachel for Singapore. Admittedly that was quite a biggie.

    Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– If living vicariously with the rich and famous, with over the top name-dropping luxury is your thing, you’ll love it. I’m not one for brands, but can appreciate the impressive detail. It’s a whole other world with the private jets, massive houses, wardrobes (women’s AND men’s), and crazy amount of money. If you’ve passed through the far east it’s easy to see where these people might shop- although it’s more likely to be Paris- but they move in totally different circles, with private dining and country clubs. The storytelling here gives an amazingly vivid image of Singapore, from the food markets to the upscale locations, all well done.

    Evaluation of your eBook?– For such a superficial theme there is surprising depth and heart in some of the characters, especially in Astrid and Michael’s struggle, and Nick’s best friend Colin is certainly more than your typical playboy. I loved the ending, which wasn’t at all predictable, neither was it neatly tied up. The fast-paced gossipy style is fun but a little hectic, with brand names and character names flung around with abandon, but it’s not essential to keep up with the minor characters. Some of the characters are deliciously over the top, with one flinging a rejected thirty-nine carat diamond into snow never to be retrieved, and others totally down to earth and relatable. Definitely a fun, escapist summer read.

    Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

    Can be obtained from:

    UK: Only 79p on Amazon.

    US: A little more on Amazon, at $12.99, but only $1.44 on Kobobooks!

    Starstruck – Portia MacIntosh

    Sorry for the lack of frothiness over the last couple of weeks, I have one excuse- Wimbledon! Anyway, it’s music festival season, so what better way to get in the mood than with Starstruck, the tale of Nicole, a young British music journalist who loves hanging with the bands and aspires to Paris Hilton levels of fame. Be careful what you wish for though, because her friendship with megastar Dylan puts her firmly on the front pages of the trashiest newspapers with him looking misleadingly like he’s cheating on his new wife with Nicole. In the meantime somebody else has it in for Nicole and makes it look like she’s spreading nasty rumours about the bands that she’s interviewing, jeopardising her journalistic reputation to boot. What’s a girl to do? Head off on tour with another favourite band, drink far too much and get an ego boost from having all the band members fight over you, that’s what! If Nicole can clear her name, get revenge and stop her mates doing too many drugs, even better.

    Kooks for your Kindle?– There are a lot of rockstars within, and they’re easily confused, especially when Nicole’s with the band Two For The Road, but Luke is the main one there, he adores Nicole but is fighting demons of his own. Dylan is Nicole’s best mate, and massively famous. He seems the adorable screw-up type, shagging his was around and needing a good friend to keep him out of trouble. Unfortunately Nicole wasn’t able to prevent Dylan impregnating a vile WAG-type creature and doing the proper thing by marrying her. It’s worth reading just the see the baby names of the twin girls. Nicole’s hometown colleagues include the overly naive Emily and the resentful Vicky. Potential love interest Charles seems great only at first, but it took Nicole a while to hear the same alarm bells that you’ll hear.

    The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Nicole had all the decision making skills of an early-twenties fangirl, as a result of this she gets into frequently avoidable scrapes. But she’s not too silly; she doesn’t touch drugs or sleep with entire bands. I also liked the way she stood up for herself and spoke her mind in the TV interview, and the way she exacted revenge on her nemesis at the end. I found her fame role model of Paris Hilton to be a couple of years past relevancy, I would have thought today’s equivalent would be someone heavily featuring the letter K (whose name shall not darken my pages, you know the one).

    Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– I get the impression the author is a bit of a groupie herself and has worked some disguised true stories in here. If you want the gritty truth of what it’s like to be there on the tour bus and backstage while the fans are throwing themselves at the band, this is quite an insight.

    Provoking your Inner-Pedant– There were a few little errors, but no more that are commonly found in a self-published book. It didn’t seem in need of a big edit though, the structure and pace were both great.

    Evaluation of your eBook?– I suspect this book would be best read by the twenties and late teens market, for it did make me feel a little old- if you are no longer able to do shots the entire night, wake up from two hours sleep and function the next day then you might not identify very well with the heroine! Despite that she’s a (mostly) practical girl with a lot of initiative who knows what she wants and takes good care of people. The book was fast paced, gossipy, warm, can be devoured in a few hours, and very well priced for a good fun summer read.

    Frothy Ranking: 3.5/5 cocktails.

    Can be obtained from:

    UK: Only 77p on Amazon.

    US: Only 99c on Amazon.

    Perfect On Paper- Maria Murnane

    Meet Waverley Bryson- no, that’s not the name of an 1800’s Mississippi steamboat, she’s an american twenty-something PR account manager. Really, what’s with the surnames as first-name thing, it’s spreading across the Atlantic too! But that’s beside the point, for she’s been jilted dangerously close to her wedding day and dreading rejoining the ranks of the Dating Woman. Fortunately she leads a full life in San Francisco with a stressful job in national PR for endorsed sporting products and she has good friends to egg her on. Waverley exorcises her romantic disasters by using the inspiration for writing greeting cards called Honey notes, and as her romantic life continues to flounder the Honey Notes take off, opening new opportunities for her.

    Kooks for your Kindle?– Waverley’s best mates, McKenna (don’t get me started again) and Andie are lively enough, and the kind of girls you’d need in the aftermath of a breakup, they allow no wallowing. The girl chat is real, not cheesy, and frequently oiled with plenty of good booze. There’s a nice selection of characters both in and away from work, from all walks of life. Waverley’s Dad is a trial, but he means well.

    The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Waverley does seem disproportionally distressed by her failed engagement to Aaron, whom she dated for only a few weeks before his proposal. I think it’s more the disappointment than the guy himself, as she didn’t know him very well. Her romantic endeavours are admirable, even going so far as to attempt the occasional blind date- these go as disastrously as you might expect from a frothy read. She has a habit of befriending the famous people with whom she comes into contact through work, although not exploiting those connections.

    Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– Anything set in the picturesque city of San Francisco will hold my attention, especially when interspersed with glamorous trips to New York. But the morning walks/runs through the hilly streets overlooking the bay really took me back to one of my favourite cities.

    Evaluation of your eBook?-The plot skips along with various work/romantic/social events, but it wasn’t until I wrote this this that I realised nothing huge happened in the middle of the book. Despite this the pages kept turning, possibly because the characters are so likable. When Waverley’s career escalates towards the end of the book things do become a little far-fetched (People magazine!). The author clearly knows the world of PR and gives an interesting insight. The ending leads the way to a sequel, It’s a Waverly Life, followed by Honey on Your Mind. It’s an enjoyable read, and certainly frothy without being mindless. The lead character is immensely likable, if a little bit Bridget Jones with the klutzy disasters.

    Frothy Ranking: 3/5 cocktails.

    Can be obtained from:

    UK: Amazon for £3.49

    US: Amazon for only $2.99.

    From Notting Hill With Love… Actually – Ali McNamara

    In what might be a case of nominative determinism (scarily big words), Scarlett O’Brien followed in her mother’s footsteps and became obsessed with movies. Her mother named her for the film character she resembled, but abandoned her a couple of years later. Scarlett’s father did a good job of bringing her up alone, and in her twenties she’s on the verge of marrying a suitable man. David is a little on the sensible side, but he’s from a wealthy family whose chain of cinemas could really help her family popcorn business. Scarlett’s downfall is to daydream about movies- and what better way to prove to her father and fiancé that it’s not a silly obsession than to house-sit in Notting Hill for a month, right where all her favourites are set. In addition she can get some distance from her frugal fiancé, and make sure she’s making the right choice- a choice complicated by her new neighbour Bond, Sean Bond, as well as the eerily movie-inspired turns her life then takes.

    Kooks for your Kindle?– Scarlett’s Dad comes out with all the clichés for why she should settle down and stop dreaming; filling her head with silly ideas, soppy films, head in the clouds etc, but really he’s just worried about her making the same mistake as her mother and regretting her choices. Fiancé David is clearly the Wrong Man; even though he’s caring, he’s desperately conventional and not at all suited to lively Scarlett. Her temporary life in London brings with it some entertaining new friends, namely instant GBF Oscar and his friend Ursula who also happens to be the sister of… Sean. Sean begins life as a curmudgeonly neighbour, and turns into a supportive friend who ends up helping track down Scarlett’s mother. But is he as suitable as David?

    The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Our heroine is young and still finding herself, but she’s adamant in her belief that the magic of movies is real and can be found out there- and she proves it. Scarlett makes all the mistakes you would expect from a young woman living in a rom-com world, but you can’t say she doesn’t know how to create a dramatic finish to the tale!

    Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– The book captures the feel of its main influences- the movies Notting Hill, Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’ Diary, as well as some american movies, mainly of the Nora Ephron variety, in addition to Pretty Woman and the classic An Affair To Remember. I must confess to a love-hate relationship with Richard Curtis’ movies; Bridget and Four Weddings were fabulous, but them I got tired of the ‘insert random American into a movie with a bunch of posh Brits’ format. But other that that I’m such a movie lover that I enjoyed all the references. Even if you’re not, it works as a frothy read on it’s own and shows London in a good light.

    Evaluation of your eBook?– So, not just for movie lovers, but you’ll get more out of it if you get most of the references. It’s a sweet tale, the outcome of which was not a complete surprise, but the journey was fun, it even included a drunken trip to Disneyland Paris! The characters of Scarlett’s friends were easy to love, David was easy to… dislike, and Sean was something of an enigma, I kept thinking that a big secret was being hinted at, but he was a lovely chap. Recommended for rom-com lovers of all ages, especially if you know your Hugh Grant from your Colin Firth- someone that does know this is my lovely mate Jackie who pointed me at this book, so thanks! I’m a bit behind the times with this author; there is a sequel already, From Notting Hill to New York . . . Actually which I look forward to.

    Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

    Can be obtained from:

    UK: Amazon for £4.56, although a couple of weeks ago it was £2.99, so do check.

    US: Amazon for approximately $10.09 but click for the latest, or $7.99 on Kobobooks.