Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Only Way is Up - Carole Matthews

I really like Carole Matthews. Some of her books don't resonate with me as much as others, but she's always a fun, unpredictable read. THE ONLY WAY IS UP is probably one of my favourites. I don't know what it is about the "from riches to rags" stories that I find so alluring.

From the book jacket:

Lily and Laurence had it all: the money, the car, a beautiful home in the Buckinghamshire countryside. Then Laurence loses his job and everything disappears. With nowhere to turn, Lily and Laurence are forced to take their two young children and move to a flea-ridden council house on a notoriously rough estate. As they try to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives, Lily constantly dreams of returning to her old, luxurious life. Will her dream come true or will she learn that money doesn't alway buy happiness?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Welcome to the Real World by Carole Matthews

Welcome to the Real World by Carole Matthews was an enjoyable read. It's a romance, but with enough layers to pass for chick lit. It's warm and touching, humorous and poignant. Predictable, yes. But so is the whole genre.

From the blurb: Fern Kendal dreams that one day her talent will be 'discovered' and that singing in the local pub with her oldest friend Carl will be nothing but a distant memory. There again, in the real world dreams like that never come true. Or do they? 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Foreign-language romances

We're missing out by only reading mainstream romances. While I have nothing against Harlequin's very broad definition of romance books (historicals, paranormals, urban fantasy, steam punk, modern Greek tycoons as well as sex-and-the-city situations), I still feel there's a niche that needs filling.

This week, I was privileged to read a Polish contemporary romance. Katarzyna Grochola's "Houston, we have a problem" does not feature an alpha male. It does not feature a pathetic male, either. It's a story of a man coming to terms with a breakup. He's a genius at his job (film making) but cannot get a break. He drinks too much at parties, he rows with the neighbours, he gets irritated at him mother's Chihuahua... which doesn't stop him from taking his laundry there (his girlfriend moved out with the washing machine). In other words, he's human. We can sympathise or empathise with him. We can admire his genius. We can shake his head at the idiocy of his romantic decisions.

I'd like to read more such books. Harlequin, do you copy, over?