Getting Lucky Part II

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to win a competition on Christina Courtenay's blog, and received a nice little goody bag of books from Amazon: Nell Dixon's 'Just Look at Me Now', Sue Moorcroft's 'All That Mullarkey' and of course Christina's 'Trade Winds'. My to-read pile has been shrinking more slowly than usual during November thanks to NaNoWriMo. However, I've now read all three, so it's time to report back on some great romantic reads...

'Just Look at Me Now' was first up, and I loved the sparky, surprising heroine Tia. Tia is the glamorous fashion editor of Platinum magazine, but she has a big secret, in the form of a past life as fat, frumpy Barbara. When school bitch Juliet shows up at Platinum and sets her sights on Tia's gorgeous boyfriend, it's a no-holds-barred catfight to the death. Tia and Josh make an adorable couple, but Juliet is one determined lady and so far life has dropped pretty much everything she's ever wanted straight into her perfectly manicured hands. So Tia, aka Barb, has her work cut out to keep hold of her man, her job and her hard-earned new identity. The glamorous setting makes this a must-read for glossy magazine lovers, while Tia's ill-fated attempts to cover up her past are reminiscent of some of the more enjoyable Shopaholic moments. For me, this book was Nell's strongest yet, and definitely sets her up among the stars of the chick-lit sky.

'All That Mullarkey' was another enjoyable read, this time in a slightly more grown up way. The heroine, Cleo, is a married woman - until one day her husband Gavin announces the end of their marriage by writing her a message on the bedroom wall. Stunned, Cleo responds to his bizarre behaviour by descending into almost equal childishness - going out for a drunken night on the town and falling into bed with handsome, irresponsible Justin. At first I found it hard to empathise with Cleo's childish act of retaliation, but as her feelings for Justin developed, I was soon gripped by this modern twist on a classic love triangle, and the story carried me along to a surprising but perfectly satisfying conclusion.

I'm not usually a great reader of historical romance, but I fell in love with the cover of 'Trade Winds' as soon as I saw it. With a clipper ship and an antique map promising new worlds to explore, and gilded scroll-work hinting at the exotic flavour which takes over from the initial dour Scottish setting, it suggests the wide-ranging, detailed historical stories of the early Phillipa Gregory more than the demure, domestic regency settings that seem to be all the rage at present. When I opened the book, I fell in love all over again, with the strong, independent hero Killian, determined to prove himself a success in his own right despite the disapproval of his wealthy grandfather. Killian meets his match in Jess van Sandt, an equally independent woman struggling under the oppressive regime of her new step-father. With a romantic sleigh ride worthy of Dr Zhivago, a clipper voyage so realistic I almost felt sea-sick myself, and an unexpectedly dramatic denouement in the Far East, the book richly delivers on the promise of the cover.

All in all, three great reads - I definitely got lucky there! Thanks, Christina.

P.S. Just the other day I got lucky at Minxes of Romance, so I have a copy of Christina Hollis' 'The Italian's Blushing Gardener' on its way too. Watch this space!


  1. Thanks, Stephanie, I'm so glad you enjoyed all three books and thank you for the lovely comments on Trade Winds!

  2. You're welcome. I enjoyed it so much - and the next one has an equally lovely cover too. You must be very pleased with them.

  3. Hi Stephanie!

    Glad you enjoyed All That Mullarkey. The book after the one I'm currently writing (for 'currently writing' read 'wondering if I'll ever get to the end' is going to star Cleo's sister, Liza, who seemed too good a character to leave on the sidelines.

  4. Oh, I'm so thrilled you liked it! Mwah!

  5. Hi Sue and Nell. Thanks for stopping by!
    I'm glad Liza is coming back. She is fascinating. I know what you mean about wondering if you'll get to the end. I started a novel on 1 November for NaNoWriMo - currently at 27k and I'm liking it too much to rush it, so have had to revise the deadline to Christmas!


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