Review of ‘Cameron’s rules’ by Baxter Brown.

After an accidental meeting in which writer Julie Carter spills coffee on corporate lawyer Cameron Kassen’s clothes, Julie gets hooked and invites her on a date. But Cameron lives in Toronto and Julie in San Diego and the distance between them isn’t just physical…

One of the issues I have with this book is that, in my opinion, it is marketed completely wrong. I have three reasons to support my argument: first, it is under the romance category while it should have been categorised as general fiction. Second, the cover suggests a light read which is completely the opposite. Third, the book blurb is misleading, again suggesting a playfulness that this novel lacks. It’s not wise to mislead the readers as it can backfire when the expectations don’t meet reality. The proof is in the reviews, don’t take my word, see what other readers say.

‘Cameron’s rules’ is written in first person from the point of view of Cameron which gives the reader a prime access to her headspace. To say that Cameron isn’t a lovable character is the lesfic understatement of the year. In 90% of the book she comes across as a self-centered, manipulative and irredeemable person. She would be a great evil character. Unfortunately, she’s not very good romance novel material. Being in her headspace for long feels a bit claustrophobic but luckily there is a story inside the story that it’s written in third person from Julie’s point of view. Not enough to balance things out but at least to give the reader a break.

The book is not badly written, as a matter of fact, it’s a very good standard for a debut novel. The balance between showing and telling is fine, the dialogues sound natural and the characters are well rounded. However, in my opinion, if the author was trying for a romance, the plotting and the characters’ development should have taken another direction. Unfortunately, 90% of the book is spent on why the characters couldn’t be together. So much so that the author successfully convinced me that they shouldn’t. Not the best of ideas for a romance. I’d downright call it anti-romance.

As much as I appreciate the effort that the author put in her work, I found this read unrewarding and, unfortunately, I cannot recommend it if you are looking for a romance. However, I’d read another book by this author in the future as I see talent and potential in her writing.

Overall, 2.5 stars rounded up to 3.

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

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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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