After Wimbledon – Jennifer Gilby Roberts

What to expect:

After 12 years on the pro. tennis tour and four years with her sort-of boyfriend, Lucy Bennett has had enough. She wants real life… and real love.

Her life, her decision. Right? Well, no one else seems to think so. With opinions on all sides, Lucy’s head is spinning. And she’s stumbling right into the arms of long-term crush and fellow player Sam. Shame her boyfriend – his arch-rival – would sooner smash a racquet over their heads than agree to a simple change of partners.

As the Wimbledon Championships play out, Lucy fights for her life on and off the courts. The question is: what will she be left with after Wimbledon?

The author kindly gave me a copy to review, I had a feeling I might like it being something of a tennis nut myself. In an ideal world I would take those 2 weeks off every year and sit in front of my telly with an endless supply of Pimms… It’s by the author of The Dr Pepper Prophecies, just as readable but in a different way.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Lucy’s not your average frothy heroine, she certainly doesn’t obsess about the size of her bum and is extremely fit- as you might expect of someone with one grand slam title under her belt. Unfortunately she knows that a win at this stage of her career is against the odds- especially as she’s not even sure she wants this life any more. Lucy knows what she wants, and that’s the normal world away from the travelling circus of the tennis tour. Of course this being a frothy read Lucy isn’t quite so clear cut with her love life, and she faces many complications over the two weeks of Wimbledon.

Kooks for your Kindle?– Lucy’s American boyfriend Joe is the men’s number one ranked player- but doesn’t rank so highly on her own list any more. He’s spectacularly obnoxious and became Lucy’s boyfriend by accident after they slept together a few years previously and forgot to stop. The couple become the talk of the tournament as Lucy becomes friends with Joe’s biggest rival Sam, once Sam defects from the New Zealand team and becomes the Great British Hope (in a world without Andy!). In this age of paparazzi and the internet there are no such things as private lives for those even a little bit famous.

Lucy’s parents are having their own dramas, thanks mostly to her mother finally facing up to her resentment of giving up her own career once she became pregnant with Lucy years earlier. They run a tennis academy together but probably could have used the occasional break from the sport. Rounding up the crowd are Lucy’s extended family, most of whom work for the academy, and her former-player girlfriends.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– For someone like myself who’s into tennis, chick lit and celebrity gossip this one really was a great eye opener and brings the reader right to Wimbledon.

Nookie for your Nook?– Lucy has none of your usual hang ups about bodies or sex, as you might expect from someone in the sporting world.

Evaluation of your eBook?– I was a little impatient for Joe to be given the boot, for he had no redeeming features, unfortunately it would have been rather heartless timing for Lucy to have done it at the start of such a big fortnight. The story was well paced, keeping the drama going over the two week period, with tennis, men, family and friend dramas all sending Lucy’s stress levels over the edge. There are a few parts where there’s quite a bit of game detail, but it’s not too much and if you’re not really interested in that it doesn’t take away from the story- in the end the tennis results paled in significance with the rest of the mad goings on. Recommended for a gossipy, sporty, chaotic, quick, romantic read.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for only 99p.

US: Amazon for only 99c. Not found on Kobobooks.

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.