#ChickLitMay #Excerpt Izzy As Is by Tracie Banister

As part of #ChickLitMay , and following on from The Happily Ever After Hop, which will continue over the next few days on all the various Facebook page (to read my post, enter some great giveaways and search out loads of excellent chick lit authors look here  ) where better to go than to Tracie Banister, one of the organisers of the hop, with an extract from ‘Izzy As Is,’ a book I absolutely adored!  (Read review here),

 

izzyasis

Please note that the cover leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: The party is over for bikini model Izzy Alvarez. For six years she’s made a good living by flaunting her God-given assets on runways and in front of cameras, but now as she approaches the big 3-0, the bodacious Latina is shocked to learn she’s aged out of the profession that’s kept her in mojitos, mani/pedis, and designer thongs. What’s a girl with a taste for the finer things in life and no marketable skills to do?

Getting a regular job is too boring to even consider, so Izzy decides to follow in the footsteps of her newly-engaged frenemy and become a trophy wife. Although she’s desperate and too broke to get a chipped nail fixed, Izzy still has standards for her future husband, which means no uggos, no vertically-challenged guys, and no geezers who need to pop a blue pill to perform in the bedroom. Enlisting the aid of her computer whiz nephew and her closest pals, Izzy goes on the prowl for a rich, marriage-minded man, encountering likely candidates in a lot of unlikely places.

The high life she’s dreamed of may be within reach when Izzy meets a charming, successful man who’s not only hotter than a steamy summer night in Miami, but ready to settle down. Now all Izzy has to do is make sure her loud, crazy Cuban family doesn’t scare off el hombre perfecto—oh, yeah, and squelch those pesky, romantic feelings she keeps having for the sweet, cash-strapped guy she’s known forever. Will Izzy’s hunger for money win out, or will her fiery heart demand to be heard?

Excerpt:

As we’re polishing off the last of the appetizers and I’m starting to feel a pleasant buzz from the rum, our conversation is interrupted by a familiar voice. “Izzy! Topaz! Nacho! Oh, my gosh, I haven’t seen you guys in forever.”

I turn to see Silvana Diaz, fellow model, friend (more like rival since we’re Latinas in the same age group and have always been sent up for the same jobs), and . . . I quickly take stock of

the wealthy-looking, pudgy, salt and pepper-haired gentleman whose arm she’s clinging to . . .

new member of the Sugar Daddy Matchmakers service?

“Yeah, it’s been a while. What have you been up to?” Besides hanging out at a plastic surgeon’s office. The once noticable bump on the bridge of her nose is gone, and her lips have doubled in size since the last time we crossed paths.

“Oh, you know, just spending time with my man.” She strokes Middle-Aged Murray’s suit-clad arm and gazes at him adoringly. “He proposed on Valentine’s Day!” Silvana shoves her left hand in my face.

“Woah!” I jerk back in surprise when I see the size of the rock on her ring finger. Has to be at least three carats, and its platinum band is studded with sparkly diamonds, too. “That is quite a ring. You have great taste,” I compliment her fiancé.

“Only the best for my little mango.” He grins up at her. Yeah, that’s right, Silvana is a head taller than her hubby-to-be.

“He calls me that because I’m sweet and exotic,” Silvana explains, and I try not to gag.

“We’re all really happy for you, Sil,” Topaz says kindly. “Have you set a date yet?”

“No, but it will have to be later this year since I’ll be busy through the summer.”

I sit up straight in my chair, suddenly on high alert. “You’re going to be tied up all

summer? Did you get a national campaign or something?” Silvana is only six months younger than me, and she’s not nearly as pretty even with all her new cosmetic enhancements, so she’d better not have booked some big job, or I’m going to start flipping tables Real Housewives-style.

“I’ve retired from modeling. I don’t really have time for it anymore since Harry has to travel to Asia for business every few weeks, and I go with him since we can’t stand to be apart. Plus, it’s not like I need the money anymore.” She holds up her left hand and wiggles her fingers

to remind us once again how well-off her intended is and giggles.

So, Silvana no longer has to work and by the looks of things, Harry (ew, I hope that’s only his name and not an adjective that could be used to describe his back) is providing her with a very nice lifestyle that includes international travel and some very impressive bling. Hmmmm . . .

About the author

tracie

An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O’Hara. Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her 4th grade class performed an original holiday play she penned. (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she also starred in and tried to direct the production.)

Tracie’s dreams of authorial success were put on the backburner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a “real” job in order to pay her bills. Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years. When it ended, she decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. She is the proud winner of the 2017 Independent Press Award (Romantic Comedy) and a Bronze Medal in the 2017 Readers’ Favorite Awards (Chick Lit). Although Tracie swore she’d never write a sequel to any of her books, the character of Izzy Alvarez, who first appeared in In Need of Therapy, would not be denied. Izzy As Is is Tracie’s fifth novel, and she hopes readers enjoy this return trip to Miami.

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Driving on the Left by Gail Ward Olmsted

 

drivingontheleft

Length: 262 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: 

A trip of a lifetime and a love that changes everything…

Becca Colby was not expecting to fall in love while vacationing in Ireland with her mother, yet she falls hard for sexy tour guide Sean Donovan. He’s everything she never knew she wanted, but a summer fling is a complication that she really doesn’t need right now. Becca’s got a life waiting for her back home, but Sean may be just too good to resist.

Her mom Jackie knows all too well how a seductive stranger can change the entire course of your life, so how can she advise her daughter to resist Sean’s charms? And besides, Jackie has a problem of her own. She needs to decide just how much she is willing to sacrifice for the man she loves.

Driving on the Left celebrates the unbreakable bond between mother and daughter: two women with only one week to make decisions that will affect the rest of their lives as they travel through the beautiful Irish countryside.

The Review: I actually read this a long while ago, in an early iteration and promptly put it on my list to review as soon as it was released. Needless to say it languished in my ‘tbr’ (to be reviewed) pile and today it’s up  along with the greatest of apologies to the author for letting it slip through the net.

From the blurb this is the story of Becca, a young girl on a trip to Ireland with her mother, but actually I’d put this more as Jackie’s story, as she muses over her own past love life, and watches her daughter grow up. I loved both characters, but was thrilled to have an older character to follow, as for a while there all I seemed to see were twenty and thirty somethings and I began to wonder what I’D read in the future (approaching thirty eight now and am starting to see many more light reads with older characters /mothers).

This is an Irishy road trip, with light humour and interesting characters as the pair follow a trail, taking in Irish countryside and meeting people as they go. The people on the bus are easy to warm to and provide a lot of entertainment. I’ll be honest, Sean wasn’t totally my cup of tea but I liked what his presence led to. Actually, it was a book I thought of a few times after I finished, picturing the bus of characters chatting and laughing as they wound around scenic roads. This was a very easy read, that rambles along with many enjoyable moments. Definitely recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5

#BlogTour The Story Of Our Lives by Helen Warner

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for The Story Of Our Lives by Helen Warner

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Length: 400 pages

Please note that the book image leads to a universal buy link for the book

What they say: Four friends. Twenty years. One powerful secret.

Everyone remembers where they were on 31st August 1997, the day Princess Diana died.

Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa certainly do -– a beautiful cottage in Southwold, at the start of an annual tradition to have a weekend away together.

Every year since, the four best friends have come back together. But over time the changes in their lives have led them down very different paths. And it’s when those paths collide that the secrets they’ve been keeping come tumbling out.

One Day meets Big Little Lies in this unputdownable read about four friends, one long-buried secret and the histories we all share.

The Review: I saw this on a number of blogs and headed over to Amazon to buy but before I did for some reason I stopped and went into my email. And what was there? An email asking if I’d like to review this very book! Was I happy? Well I actually did some form of a happy dance and said ‘yes please,’ straight away!!

I’ll tell you straight off this is definitely a book that should accompany people as a holiday read this year. As you can see above it follows four women over twenty years. Each chapter starts with the defining event of that year-Princess Di dying, the Twin Towers attack, the London bombings, and each one sent a chill as, yes, I remembered where I was. It also did the job in cementing you into their story, although for the most part I’d have preferred the event to also have been threaded into the story, but that’s just me. To be honest the only issues I really had was that at four hundred pages I found it a little bit long, which sounds pernickity of me, but I think it could have been shortened to make it a bit snappier in places, plus there was some repetition of words that may slightly jar.

The characters, the tensions, the jealousies and envies, as well as the ‘thank God it’s not me’ aspect that always exists between a group of friends, were woven in expertly, and you actually felt like you were there as life moved on and people got married, had children and unearthed secrets. The secrets, the suspense that was building was perfection, and at (many!) points I was actually really nervous as to what was going to happen. This is a light read, and some will find it too light, but for me it was very well done and I really enjoyed it. Thanks so much to the brilliant Isabel at HQ and to Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

 

About the author

Helen Warner Author Photo

Helen Warner is Director of Daytime for ITV where she oversees a wide range of programming from ‘This Morning’ to ‘The Chase’. Previously, she was at Channel 4 where she was responsible for shows including ‘Come Dine With Me’, ‘Coach Trip’ and ‘Deal or No Deal’.

She lives in Essex with her husband and their two children and she writes her books on the train to and from work.

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Prosecco Christmas (Pot Love Book 3) by Sylvia Ashby

proseccoLength: 274 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

Family is where life begins.
And what better time to spend with your family than Christmas week?

Ashley and Giacomo go to Upper Swainswick, a postcard village ten minutes’ drive from Bath, to stay with Ashley’s mum and stepdad. It’s their last visit before the arrival of their first child.

But babies have a habit of being unpredictable.

So when Ashley goes into labour on Christmas Eve, three weeks ahead of schedule, it takes everyone by surprise.
She’s not ready! Her perfect Birth Plan is packed away in her hospital bag two hundred miles away, she has no going home outfit, and she has a live event planned for New Year’s Eve for her YouTube channel, The Sinking Chef. People have been signing up for it for weeks. She can’t possibly disappoint them on the last day of the year. What is she to do?

The tinsel gets even more tangled when Giacomo’s parents decide to fly from Italy to meet their first grandchild. Hotels are fully booked, so everyone has to stay under the same roof.

Would eleven people in the house, not counting the baby, turn out to be simply too much for Ashley?

The review: You’ll remember I adored The Treachery of Trains (review is here ), gobbled up Pot Love 1 (review here ), hosted an extract of Pot Love 2 here and gushed about it  here so I was thrilled to see this on Amazon and jumped for it.

We’re back with the brilliant Ashley and the lovely Giacomo who are preparing for their first child. As you can see they are prepared, but all their preparations have gone slightly to pot (pun intended!), as Ashley ends up in labor far away from everything she felt she needed to give birth. This is a mini review as I devoured this as my Christmas read, but as a result feel I need to review before the new year, as some people will still be looking for the book to accompany the end of their festivities.

Saying that this is actually a book you could read after Christmas without any grievances- the family mayhem is indicative of that of a family home at Christmas as they get visitor after visitor and yet a lot of it could be any family gathering, especially given that you’re so enraptured with the beautiful cooking (recipes are still a part of this offering, yay!) and taken up by the drama unfolding and the excellent, excellent humour (special mention for Paolo’s letter declaring basically that he’s off!), that I’d have read this any time of the year.

Saying that the descriptions of a sharp winter’s night are perfection as they bundle into a car to get Ashley to the hospital on time, the craziness is epic (we’ve all had ‘just one more thing’ to get in the shops on the worst day of the year to be there), the romance is varied and beautiful, the characters brimming with quirks and the food delicious. Right up my street and very much recommended.

Rating: 5/5

#minireview It Doesn’t Show Signs of Stopping by Geralyn Corcillo

itdoesntshowLength: 71 pages

Please note as always the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: In this 12K short story, Los Angeles jazz club owner Dan Allport has been flirting with Tanya Diaz via text for months, ever since he met her that one day she was in town last fall. But she had to fly back to New Orleans, where she runs a center for troubled teens, and it seems so unlikely that they’ll ever get to see one another again. But then on Christmas Eve, Tanya gets the chance to go see Dan. If she can make it through a storm up from the gulf, an unexpected adventure with two teenagers, and the unpredictable calamities of flaming rum punch, she just might get to do more than texting with Dan this Christmas.

The review: I  read ‘4 In The Afternoon,’ a gorgeous collection of short stories, before (review here), and A Drackenfall Christmas last year (see review here and actually it’s FREE at the moment!) and fell in love with the wistfullness and beauty and yet strength of Ms. Corcillo’s writing. As a result how excited was I to see this, a short story ‘It Doesn’t Show Signs Of Stopping,’ at a time when I was a bit snowed under (purposely done!), with books. (This is not a bad way to be but sometimes a short can just rejuvenate a little!).

I read this, as all Christmas reads should be, by the fire on a particularly cold night when the kids were in bed. Given the length, I flew through, smiling, nodding and biting my lip at the story of Dan and  Tanya’s meeting and the subsequent whirlwind romance that took place long distance. We see a chase that is true chick lit perfection, with insights into the great characters of Tanya, who is polished and yet also kick-ass, and Dan, a jazz club owner that was, well I can only say dreamy! I spent the whole story wondering how they could make it work, got sidelined with unexpected action and swooned at the gorgeousness and yet sass of it all. Totally my type of short! My only regret is that I still haven’t got to the first books of this series, although I will go look them out and feel I didn’t need to read them first!

Rating: 5/5

Joe and Clara’s Christmas Countdown by Katey Lovell

joeandclara

Length: 339 pages

As always please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

As Christmas approaches Joe Smith knows he should be celebrating with friends and family, making the most of the season. But for Joe, Christmas only holds painful memories. Ones he can feel crushing his heart, a reminder of a time he can never forget.

Clara O’Connell loves Christmas. For her it is the most magical time of the year. And she’s determined to make Joe love it too! She knows he’s hurting, but maybe she can help to ease his pain. Her plan: One special gift every day to remind Joe just how loved he is.

But the clock is ticking. Will the Christmas magic wear off at midnight or will Clara’s Christmas countdown be the perfect gift to heal Joe’s broken heart? And in doing so, maybe she will get a gift in return…Joe’s love for Christmas and forever…?

The Review: You’ll remember I reviewed The Singalong Society for Singletons (review here) and raved about Three Men and A Maybe (read here ), and knew that Katey Lovell was sealed in my head as someone who’s Christmas reads were to look out for, thanks to sparkly, magical, warm settings that enveloped me like a warm blanket. And so to this-Joe and Clara’s Countdown, a book that did the same in terms of glitter and magic, but didn’t quite hold my attention in terms of drama or lead characters, which was a pity.

So we come into this book knowing that both Joe and Clara have issues, Clara has been cheated on and Joe has had something in his past we need to find out about plus issues with stress. I liked both characters, plus loved that Joe didn’t like Christmas while Clara loved it. And so Clara is charged with changing Joe’s opinion of Christmas. So far, so yay! It was a very descriptive book, which I’m not normally a fan of, but so magical, dreamy and faraway in terms of Christmassyness, that I was kept interested and smiling as we followed Clara’s journey to convince Joe of the majesty of Christmas. And this book had it all in terms of the festive season, people would be hard done by to not find themselves warming at all the traditions, some I knew, others I didn’t, as Clara and Joe manned Christmas at The Club Around The Corner, a youth club in bad need of funding, with the brilliantly forward Deirdre.

To be honest I missed any sense of urgency surrounding the plight of the club, and missed finding out a little bit more about the kids, which would have helped me feel for it a bit more. This seemed to be my problem throughout actually, as although I wanted to delve into Joe’s past, I didn’t feel any sort of a ‘will they, won’t they’. Instead I found myself wondering what was taking them so long, and even when their reasons were revealed, I just didn’t connect with them, and I think that was my problem.

I loved the references that were right up my alley, with X factor and Simon Cowell mentioned, Take That, Foo Fighters, Blink 182, Morecambe and Wise Christmas special, Gameboys and Morrissey having me nod along! All in all I think people who like light romance with some beautiful Christmas description. Conversely the people who generally skip descriptiveness, might not enjoy this as for me I was more invested in the magic of Christmas as opposed to Clara or Joe and their story or relationship. Saying that I am still a huge fan of the author, and will definitely look out her next book and hopefully it will strike the same chord as the two previous to this.

Thanks so much to Harper Impulse and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 3.5/5

Fall Into Magic by Melissa Baldwin

fall

Length: 128 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

After a devastating breakup in the middle of her summer vacation, Summer Peters knows she needs something to distract her. What better than the arrival of fall, Halloween, and a new client? Though she assumes that Alexander Williams will be a hands-off client, she is surprised to find him very down-to-earth. She’s immediately drawn to him, much to the dismay of his overprotective assistant. When it becomes obvious that he feels the same, she begins to wonder if their meeting was meant to be.

Just when she thinks she could be ready to move on with her life, her ex-boyfriend Jake returns for a second chance. She’s in for even more of a surprise when she learns her nosy, meddling neighbor is actually a psychic pushing to reveal details of her future.

Summer doesn’t know which way to turn as she feels like she’s being pulled in different directions. Between Alexander, his assistant, and her ex-boyfriend, she fears she may not be ready to move on after all. She considers turning to her neighbor for advice but the fear of knowing exactly what the future holds is more frightening than not knowing.

The Review: From Christmas to Autumn (or Fall as it is known across the seas) and onto a another book I’ve been waiting to review for too long. This is part of the Seasons of Summer Series (see books on Amazon here) This follows Summer Peters, who has been dumped on holiday. Summer is lost and returns home to work away on ‘Summer Interiors.’ Here we get to meet Alexander, a new client, and I looked forward to the interior design aspect, which I’m always a big fan of in books.

We also meet apsychic, Mrs Rothera, and I was very intrigued as she dispensed advice that made me wonder what may lay in store for summer. Actually as this was so short I should just have read on and so I really have to get back to this series to see just how accurate Mrs Rothera was, with ominous warnings for Summer’s heart! Both comedy and drama were light and enjoyable and I liked the characters that were seemingly likeable and glowered at the characters who seemed to be troublemakers! I would have liked to have a bit more of the FEEL of Halloween and Autumn, but saying that it was still a warm, enjoyable and satisfying read and I will definitely look forward to reading on!
Rating:4/5