Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Build A Man by Talli Roland

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 499KB
In Paperback: 308 pages
Genre: Humorous Romantic Fiction
Publisher:   Notting Hill Press (5 Nov 2011)
Source: The Author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
First Sentence:  'If I see another set of boobs, I'm going to loose it.'
Review QuoteBuild A Man had characters I really, really cared for, it had an inspired plot (Talli is a plot genius!), it had warmth and humour . . . I can't recommend it enough.  --Chick Lit News and Reviews 
My Opinion
: Talli has a talent for humour.

This is Talli Roland's third novel and the third one that she has kindly sent me for review. I am always happy to oblige, I am probably somewhat older than her targeted market. If though you consider yourself young at heart, then like me you may well enjoy her writing.  I find she writes well and that I enjoy her novels, despite the fact that I doubt I would ever have picked them up from choice in a bookshop.  Sometimes it is good to step outside our comfort zone, you will see from my previous reviews of her earlier books, that I have come to rely on her novels to provide me with a laugh. My high ratings of her novels are worth it for this factor alone.

The Hating Game     Watching Willow Watts

This time although I did find myself laughing, I felt guilty about it due to the issues involving cosmetic surgery that are so brilliantly covered in Build A Man.  After all Botox is not really a laughing matter!

Serenity Holland aspiring journalist is working for her boyfriend until she finds her dream job. Unfortunately she hates her work as receptionist for Peter's cosmetic surgery practice, where she is mainly treated badly by his rich and vain clientèle.  An opportunity comes up for her to use one of her boyfriend's more normal patients as the subject of an article that the tabloid press will be unable to resist. Her ploy works and she struggles with her conscience as she starts to secretly write about this bachelors desire for cosmetic surgery, believing it will change his life.  
The reader will quickly realise that Serenity is in the wrong job and possibly has not made the right choice of relationship either, however it takes a disaster for her to make changes in her life.

A light and entertaining read with characters you will maybe empathise with or at the very least care about. If you care enough,  there is more to come as the sequel Construct a Couple is due out very soon during June, which apparently starts with the future looking much brighter for Serenity Holland.

Author Profile

Talli Roland, has three loves in her life, romantic comedy, coffee and wine. She lives in London, on a street with two Starbucks and, at last count, three other cafes that constantly temp her outside her cosy flat. She has a secret crush on Lord Sugar and if she was forced to wax a man's hairy chest it would have to be Simon Cowell, clearly she watches a lot of reality television. Talli trained as a journalist but soon found she preferred making up her own stories with happy endings.

Biographical, other information and photo are with thanks to the following links where you can find out more about Talli Roland.   

Amazon Author ProfileGoodreads - Author Profile,  Talli Roland - Blog,  Talli Roland - Official Website

Thursday, May 24, 2012

French Lessons by Ellen Sussman

Paperback: 242 pages
Genre: Romantic Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books 2011
Source: Gift from a blogging friend over at Normandy Life
First Sentence: ' Brilliant sunlight spills through the windows of the Vivre a la Francaise language school.'
Review Quote: 'What a delicious read! With sexual tension that crackles on the page, French Lessons is a literary page-turner I truly couldn't put down'. Lolly Winston, Author.
My Opinion: Emotional and Erotic.

I am not sure what I was expecting from this novel but it was certainly not the emotional and erotic read that I found within the pages. It was a surprise but not an unpleasant one as this was a touching read of hopes and expectations and so much more than a romantic story set in Paris.

Paris takes centre stage as we visit the city for just one day in contemporary times, in the company of six people. Three of them Nico, Phillippe and Chantal are language tutors and the remaining three are their students. We follow the six of them in three different stories within the novel  all excellently intertwined as the characters inner most thoughts are revealed to us. Each story covers the day the student and pupil spend together in Paris, which incidentally comes alive on the page with the authors great descriptions.  The stories are not surprisingly character driven, there is no plot as such but that for me was part of what made it a different and unusual read.

First up was the tutor Nico, a young and handsome poet who is somewhat of a surprise to his pupil Josie, a young American French teacher who hopes to heal a broken heart in Paris. The second story, remember covering the same day is with tutor Phillipe, 'he's tall and gangly with wasted rock star good looks', to quote the author and he obviously considers himself a real ladies man. His pupil is Riley a young expat wife and mother who is having problems settling into her Parisian lifestyle. Finally we meet Jeremy, the quiet husband of a famous actress accompanying his wife on location, yet feeling remote from her. His French Lessons with the beautiful Chantal were a Wedding Anniversary present to him from his wife!

Intrigued, enough to want to read more about these six as they explore Paris, uncovering each others secrets and giving in to unexpected passion?  I recommend this to those of you looking for something different, with either a love of Paris or wanting to discover more about this beautiful city.

I would like to read more from this author and having just learnt from her website that the film rights have been sold for this title, I also hope to see the film some day.

                                             French Lessons : A Novel by Ellen Sussman.

                                                               Uploaded by  on Jun 9, 2011  

I found this video on YouTube of the author discussing how she came up with the idea for this novel. Do watch if you have a few minutes to spare as I think it will make you smile and there are no spoilers.

Author Profile

Ellen Sussman was born in Trenton, NJ and has lived in Boston, Philly, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Paris and Northern California.  She has two daughters and lives with her husband in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has worked at many jobs including tennis instructor, restaurant manager, and college teacher but through all the transmutations of her life she has been writing, since the age of six, stubbornly, persistently, with great cockiness and wild insecurity, through praise and piles of rejection letters. She has given up her writing career many times, but only for a day or two, and her family has now learned to ignore her new career choices. She is a writer, an almost daily writer, a writer who actually loves to write. 

The biographical information, photo and the video used in this post are with thanks to the following websites:    YouTube    Goodreads Author Profile     Author's Official Website

I have chosen to read this title as the letter F for The A - Z Book  Challenge which I have decided to attempt to achieve in alphabetical order. I have a good selection of titles to choose from our bookshelves, it will be interesting to see how far I can get before I get stuck. You can follow my progress here. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Slightly Foxed by Jane Lovering

Paperback: 282 pages
Genre: Romantic Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd 2010
Source: Gift from the author in return for an unbiased review.
First Sentence: ' I fell in love, in the bath, with a man who had been dead for a century.'
Favourite Quote: Alys You're like - like a kind of book, where the pages are just open enough to read some of the words, but you can't get the whole story.
My Opinion: A laugh out loud read.

This is the second title by Jane Lovering that I have read and reviewed here and that is because Jane found me, rather than me discovering her writing for myself. I am so pleased she did as otherwise I may never have read one of her books. The first one was Reversing Over Liberace which I reviewed here last October,  I am pleased to say that I enjoyed Slightly Foxed as much if not slightly more, as it was realistic, the last one I found somewhat farcical.  I also like the title of this one very much it seems relevant to the book store setting.

I was drawn into the story straight away as the author's witty way of writing about believable characters that lead ordinary lives had me feeling happy, also sad at times though as Alys the protagonist gets herself in a romantic tangle. A single parent, with a teenage daughter, working in a bookshop in York, who feels that vital something is missing from her life. That vital something is of course, a significant other to love, a romantic disaster Alyce is searching for love and happiness. The cast of characters that cross her path in her day to day life are exactly the sort of people you may recognise from your own life. Her daughter Florence, Piers, who is Florence's father's stepson, her work colleagues Jacinata and Simon and Leo who comes into her life because of a poetry book!  Does Alyce gets herself romantically involved with someone or as she fears does her chance of happiness slip away from her?  What is love, has she ever been in love and will she recognise love for what it is?

I think this novel will appeal to those of you who are fans of romantic contemporary fiction because it will make you laugh and provide you with a few hours of relaxing entertainment.

I am grateful to Jane Lovering for encouraging me to read and review her work by kindly sending me three of her published titles. I am certainly looking forward to reading the next one,
Please Don't Stop The Music - 2011 the third one she sent me soon.  Star Struck - 2011.  A new title that is due out in August.  Vampire State of Mind - 2012  I am undecided about reading  this one, as it is a fantasy vampire novel which is not normally the sort of read I am attracted to.  

On My TBR shelves

On My Wishlist

Author Profile:

Text From Jane Lovering Author Profile at Amazon

Jane was, presumably, born, although everyone concerned denies all knowledge. However there is evidence that her early years were spent in Devon (she can still talk like a pirate under the right conditions) and of her subsequent removal to Yorkshire under a sack and sedation.
She now lives in North Yorkshire, where she writes romantic comedies and labours under the tragic misapprehension that Johnny Depp is coming for her any day now. She is prevented from running away to join either Johnny or a circus by her five children, four cats and two dogs, and her husband.
Jane's likes include marshmallows, the smell of cucumbers, words beginning with B, the smell of the understairs cupboard, and Doctor Who. She writes with her laptop balanced on her knees whilst lying on her bed, and her children have been brought up to believe that real food has a high carbon content. And a kind of amorphous shape.
Not unlike Jane herself, come to think of it.

You can find out more about Jane ( should you wish to, of course) from her blog and website at

The following link will take you to her Blogger Profile also amusing reading.
Information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites.