Review of ‘In fashion’ by Jody Klaire.

Darcy McGregor is a fashion stylist who hosts a successful UK television programme called ‘Style Surgeon’ featuring women in need of restyling. Kate Bonvilston is a security guard with little sense of style and a broken heart. When her mother volunteers Kate to feature in the show, Darcy finds in Kate not only a challenging fashion makeover but someone who can get dangerously close to her heart.

This book features the popular romance trope of an ice-queen, in this case in the fashion world, possibly inspired by Devil wears Prada. Written in third person from the point of view of both main characters Darcy and Kate, the story is set in Wales and London. This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I have to admit that her writing style was for me sometimes hard to follow, I was confused reading some of the dialogues and her sense of humour didn’t appeal to me. The use of social media hashtags which is quite central in the book (for example, #embracedesigner), will probably make this book outdated in a few years time.

Darcy is the epitome of an ice queen, a very closeted lesbian with a young daughter and a lot of baggage. Kate is unfashionable but lovable, relaxed and loyal to her family. They say that opposites attract and it should be true for Kate and Darcy but I couldn’t feel their chemistry or empathise with their feelings, specially Darcy’s choices regarding her sexuality. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get into the story, some parts felt close to a melodrama and, for me, it was almost a ‘did not finish’.

Overall, an ok read if you are into ice-queens in the fashion world with a bit of melodrama at the side. 3 stars.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Review of ‘Food for love’ by C. Fonseca.

Jessica Harris is a successful professional cyclist recovering from a serious injury who is forced to travel from Britain to Australia in order to sort the inheritance of her estranged brother. Down under she meets chef and single mother Lillian McAllister, Jessica’s brother close friend. After an initial antagonism both women start enjoying each other’s company, but Jessica is only temporarily in Australia so a future together isn’t an option, or is it?

This is Ms. Fonseca’s second novel, both set in Australia, which is beautifully described. ‘Food for love’ is a slow-burn burn romance inspired by the author’s childhood memories of cooking with her family. The story partly focuses on the sensuality of food and Jessica’s journey to its enjoyment, lost since her mother’s death. Lili plays a bigger part beyond her role as a romantic interest, she is Jessica’s link to Australia and to her estranged brother. Additionally, food plays a big part in her reconnecting with her Indian roots and life’s small pleasures.

Having said that, the book dwells, in my opinion excessively, on too many culinary details. Maybe the author’s purpose was to emphasise the importance of food but the level of detail seems to create the opposite effect. I’m a food lover, but for me the story dragged in some parts and lost focus. In this case, less would have been more.

The main characters are well written and there is good chemistry, kudos for presenting an interracial couple which isn’t so common in lesfic. The child character is very realistic, which is also uncommon and it’s a pet peeve of mine. The secondary characters are mostly well rounded, with some exceptions like Lili’s ex girlfriend who seems a bit stereotyped. All in all, this is an ok romance with very little angst and an almost complete certainty of where the plot was heading to.

Overall, a good romance if you are a food enthusiast and you don’t mind loads of culinary details. 3 stars.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Review of ‘Decree absolute’ by W.A. Cooper.

When divorce lawyer Jessica Barron discovers that her husband is cheating on her with their children’s nanny, she throws them out of her home. In urgent need of a new nanny, she finds the perfect replacement in Renée Arden, an enigmatic French woman owner of a childcare company in need of a temporary home after a recent breakup. After a rocky start, their relationship develops into mutual attraction but will they act on it and what will be the consequences?

This is a slow-burn romance by debut author W.A. Cooper, written in third person from both main characters’ points of view. It took me a while to adapt to her writing style that, in my opinion, interrupted the reading flow. For example, the story is presented in short-ish scenes cut with a text break without transitions. Additionally, the dialogues are often interrupted by long sentences about what the character is thinking and incidentally there is also a good amount of tell but no show.

Regarding the plot, I found it at parts unrealistic – for example, in Jessica’s coming out – and some other parts on the melodramatic side. While both main characters are well rounded and kudos to the author for featuring main 40 somethings, some of the secondary characters seem a bit stereotyped, specially the villains. All in all, the story didn’t appeal to me but I’m not that interested in plots with lots of drama and angst but I’m sure other readers will enjoy it more.

Overall an ok read from a debut author, specially if you are interested in dramatic fiction. 3 stars.

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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