Please don’t bake for a living!

The Lucky Dress Book Cover The Lucky Dress
Aimee Brown
Head of Zeus Ltd
August 7, 2018

We all have our lucky dress... an irresistibly hilarious rom-com! Emi Harrison hasn't been feeling particularly lucky lately. Ever since her ex-fiancée, Jack Cabot, successfully shattered her heart into a million pieces. She's managed to avoid him for a whole year, but all that's about to change at her brother Evan's wedding... She will have to face Jack, Jack's sister, Jack's parents, and Jack's new girlfriend: a mean girl that just won't quit. What could possibly go wrong? With her lucky dress on, all bets are off, and maybe Emi will find her happily-ever-after at last? Perfect for fans of Anna Bell, Jo Watson and Sophie Kinsella.

A nicely written and entertaining book with a villainess that I actually liked what she got up to… But it would have been better if the heroine had done it!
However, I am fed up that heroines these days all have one ambition – to open a cake shop/cafe. Or if that is their ambition, at least let it be a multi-site/international company that they found, rather than a local bakery with lovely fattening muffins etc.
I am down-grading this book for this part of the story-line – a lack of imagination as to what our heroine really wants to do with her life. Authors – calling you – please give our girls more ambition in this year of celebrating the English Suffragettes.

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Love out of a Bottle

The Jilted Jinn Book Cover The Jilted Jinn
(The Deadicated Matchmaker Book #2)
SE Babin
paranormal, mythology, romance humour

Katie Harper is in a self-imposed dating drought. After getting dumped at the altar a record three times after she refused to continue granting wishes, she’s done with the men in Midnight Cove.

Done, that is, until her best friend secretly makes a dating tape for her and sends it to the dating agency. Immediately after, men start knocking on her door. Despite her friend giving out her home address and the mass of weirdos begging for her hand in marriage, Katie can’t help but be secretly flattered.

But the man currently restoring her historical home has other plans for her once he realizes what’s happening. And he isn’t going to let her go without a fight.

How to find your mate in a town of paranormals – why use a dating agency. Speciesm not permitted.

SE Babin always writes a good humorous novel with great heroines – you always wish you could speak the way they do! Such great turns of phrase and very snarky.

In this book you find that Jinn really do need to spend time in their bottles to rest – but not that often – and when they are their bottle they are unable to protect themselves – so they must keep themselves well hidden.

They can grant wishes of course – if they want to – unless you just happen to know the very specific turn of phrase that can compel them.

So new information here about a race we know little about. But then we learn a lot in this series…


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RomCom Tropes

Checked Into Love Book Cover Checked Into Love
Bachelorette Party) (Volume 2)
Rochelle Paige
Fiction, romantic comedy
Rochelle Paige
March 28, 2017

Cecily Thompson swore off men a year ago. There’s only been one man who’s tempted her to end the drought… hockey hottie Jason Campbell. He had her rethinking her stance on dating, but a misunderstanding quickly sent her running in the opposite direction. Jason hasn’t been able to get Cecily off his mind. Not a single night has gone by without dreams of the fiery redhead he met in a bar months ago. When he finally sees her again at a friend’s bachelorette party, he’s ready to do what it takes to keep her right where she belongs… by his side.

I recently saw a TV programme where the presenter was analysing the various RomCom movies and he mentioned Tropes.

Now this was a term I’d never heard of before, so decided to look it up and see if it made sense when applied to novels that were RomComs too – and it does…

So here are the Tropes for you, and you can then see how they apply in this particular book and any others as you read them.

  1. The Flawed Protagonist Seeking Salvation

The atom of the rom-com is the protagonist. The bulk of romantic comedies are predicated upon the indisputable charm of an unrefined woman. Perhaps she’s an impassioned lawyer in frumpy clothes  or a Prince-loving sex worker with a heart of gold who can’t tell her salad fork from her dinner fork.  Beneath that tough facade, you’ll find a vulnerable soul looking for her match, even if she doesn’t know that’s what she needs.  Love absolves financial snafus.

Here the female character is a PR person.

  1. The Meet-Cute

Now our woman has to meet her future mate. According to The American PresidentWhile You Were SleepingJerry MaguireWhat Women WantMiss Congeniality, and quite a few others, your best chance to find love is at work. The work is actually secondary to the dating possibilities. This is a particularly convenient storytelling device — dating coworkers is historically tricky in the real world. The nexus of plausibility and relatability is the perfect point of departure for rom-coms. Maybe there’s an inherent power structure to overcome. Maybe the guy has to go back on his word, thereby submarining both professional and personal connections. Maybe the relationship has to be a secret. Maybe they’re work adversaries who find love in a hopeless place. And all of these possible plots don’t even account for the bait-and-switch in rom-coms where the workplace relationship isn’t even the pairing we’re rooting for.

In this novel the guy is a Hockey player and she has sworn off them due to past bad mistakes. The relationship needs to be kept a secret from her boss as otherwise she would be pressured to use him for business purposes.

  1. The False Start

If the relationship is founded upon an unlikely circumstance, it only follows that there would be at least one moment of dissolution. There’s such a huge gulf to bridge! Ultimately, the couple will find its rhythm two-thirds of the way through the movie. By this point, the best and least predictable elements of the movie are over. The last section is a perfunctory 25- to 35-minute period during which the couple we have already fallen for realize they’ve fallen for each other. More time should probably be dedicated to understanding how these people forgive each other. No one would fault these people if they needed some time for reflection.

Yes, there is a problem to be resolved here in this book – otherwise there really wouldn’t be a good story would there?

  1. The Grand Epiphany, and the Grand Declaration

After the relationship temporarily stalls when one party makes an idiotic mistake, he or she who commits the error suddenly realizes that they cannot be without the other. As soft pop music plays, the epiphany strikes. This is when the movie’s momentum picks up again. The long autumn of the couple’s separation is coming to an end. We can feel the reconciliation coming. It’s incumbent upon the aggressor to assess his own loneliness, inevitably leading to the realization that he had been mistaking general discontent for a specific void. Finally aware that the void disappeared while the hapless woman was in his life, he has to run out immediately to win back the love of his life.

The grand epiphany is essential because it gives way to the final act: the grand declaration, arguably the apex of all rom-coms and the greater world of cinema. The elite rom-coms include a monologue a 14-year-old girl will want to memorize with the hope that something similar may be uttered to her one day, or that she’ll have the chance to deliver such a soliloquy.

So we reach the happy ending.

Now you may be saying that I didn’t enjoy the book, well I did, but once you realise just how much of a formula there is to a RomCom,  you, or me, in this case, will start looking for a deviation from the norm. And, I’m afraid that there really wasn’t in this book. The style of writing was as you would expect and there were no surprises or unexpected events.

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Make those skills work for you

contemporary fiction, romance, humour, mystery
Pantera Press
(28 Mar. 2018)

A missing rockstar, a suspected murderer on the run, and a chase through some of the world’s most romantic destinations

Sarah Burrowes is left with a shattered heart and a huge mortgage after the love of her life abruptly runs out on her.

An aspiring journalist, Sarah spends her days slaving away at a gossip magazine—far from her dream job.

Heartbroken and fed up, Sarah decides to take her career by the reins and lands herself the assignment of a lifetime in Europe. But there’s a catch—her boss pairs her with gorgeous but egocentric photographer, Nick, who just happens to be her ex’s best friend.

But when Sarah’s assignment takes a darker turn, she discovers there’s more to this story than meets the eye. Is she ready to risk everything to get the scoop?

A kick-ass heroine here in a really nicely written fun story. So our heroine is exiting – still – a bad relationship with a not so good guy, when she finds herself travelling for her work – being a journalist.

Except that her boss doesn’t really think she is suited to the job as her previous career experience (despite her degree) had been in beauty therapy ie hair-dressing, and that was her current writing slot at the mag.

She gets sent abroad to investigate with a really hot camera man and things take the usual course. But are complicated by the rock star she manages to befriend and various shady activities. Nothing goes right, but works out well in the end.

Based in Australia, it makes a nice change of dialect for me, and brings back memories of my visit there too.

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Not that clumsy surely?

The Clumsy Clairvoyant Book Cover The Clumsy Clairvoyant
(The Deadicated Matchmaker Book 3)
S E Babin
contemporary fiction, romance, humour, fantasy

Grace Banner can’t date.

Well, she can, but it isn’t any fun because she can see the future and occasionally hear the thoughts of others. Plus...she’s an enormous clutz. As in she can barely even lift a glass without disaster striking. In desperation, Grace turns to the mysterious woman at The Deadication Dating Agency who promises to find her a match.

Lucas Marsh isn’t interested in dating, but when his brother purchases him a membership to a dating agency, he humors him. Just once. But when he meets Grace he can’t help but be interested. Until he finds out about her powers. And her complete inability to walk without running into something. Lucas is a man with secrets and dating a clairvoyant is out of the question. He ditches her on their very first date, leaving Grace alone and rejected.

But one thing Lucas doesn’t know is that the mysterious force behind the town’s agency isn’t ready to admit defeat. Her spotless track record isn’t going down just because of a few little secrets...

I really like

SE Babin’s writing style, especially her snappy speech for her heroines when they meet douche bag males!

But for our heroine it is not always good to know when bad things happen. Even worse for you to black out and not remember what you said.

Especially as it seems you are prophesying that some bad things are going to happen to this magic own that Portia established. This fun town where all sorts of fantastic species meet and fall in love to a design that only Portia knows, and which is why she has established the dating agency that this series is based around.

Babin is currently one of my favourite authors.  And I am reading lots of her series.

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