‘The new fabulously addictive read from No. 1 bestselling author Sheila O'Flanagan. As TV's favourite weather forecaster, Lainey is good at making predictions. But what she doesn't foresee is that her own life is about to hit a stormy patch. With a string of failed relationships behind her, surely history isn't about to repeat itself with her beloved Ken? To add fuel to the fire, her estranged mother announces that she's returning to Dublin. Deanna has always been dismissive of Lainey's choices - particularly in men. And Deanna's lectures are the last thing Lainey needs now. Yet is there more to her mother than she knows? Uncovering some long-concealed family secrets, Lainey begins to reassess her life. Is the happy-ever-after she's always dreamed of really what she wants after all?’
Meteorlogist Lainey is distraught when her beloved boyfriend Ken breaks up with her. The last person she wants to deal with in this distressed state is her mother, Deanna, who’s returning to Dublin for work. Deanna’s parents brought Lainey up whist Deanna was busy forging a name for herself as a prominent feminist, and she’s never understood how a daughter of hers could turn out to be such a hopeless romantic. Lainey is in no mood for another of her mother’s feminist rants, but if the two actually give each other a chance perhaps it’s possible they could finally form a proper relationship.
My main problem with this book was that I found a lot of the speech very stilted: women friends just don’t speak to each other the way Lainey and her pals do! There didn’t really seem to be much flow to the conversation, and everyone came across as more than a little blunt.
Lainey drove me half crazy: she was obsessed with her looks and with getting married and seemed to spend most of the book preening herself. I thought her job as a meteorologist was interesting, but could have been made more of by focussing on the research side, which, after all, was supposed to be the part of her job she was most interested in. As it was, most of what I saw of Lainey at work was just her preparing to do the weather forecast. I also didn’t like the way Lainey was always harping on about her past engagements. Yes, she’d been engaged twice before, but that’s hardly the most unusual thing in the world. Also, you’d think she’d have learnt from these experiences, she is in her thirties after all.
Lainey’s friend’s marriage made an interesting sub-plot, and her relationship served as a comparison with what Lainey expects from married life. I liked the way that the author seemed to let her characters’ voices really shine through, without allowing any opinions of her own to overshadow theirs. Of the main characters, I especially liked Deanna’s mother, Madeleine. I enjoyed her interactions with Deanna: after many years she’s more than capable of dealing with her often difficult daughter.
‘All For You’ sounded pretty good from the blurb, but didn’t really live up to expectations for me. It was a little slow to start, and, though the pace did pick up after a while, not a lot really happens and the ending seemed very abrupt. I also found the mystery of Lainey’s father a little too soap opera-ish for me, it seemed totally far-fetched and not really in keeping with the story. On the plus side, I thought using the feminist movement as a backdrop was clever and original, and I liked seeing how being involved in it had shaped Deanna’s character.
2 and a half stars
‘Blow Me is the story of three single women - Skylar, Dawn, and Chloe - hovering precariously close to forty, and stuck in a lifestyle that they have long outgrown. Each woman is desperate in her own way to achieve some sense of stability. Skylar, a hairdresser/executive assistant who lost her job and burned down her apartment, is living out of her car; Chloe, a struggling actress/real estate agent with a heavy French Canadian accent who has never sold a house and doesn't have her SAG card, is searching for a way to stay in the United States; and Dawn, an MBA-educated dating service matchmaker who can't find a decent guy, is hedging her bets against the ticking clock by freezing embryos. They haven't achieved any of their goals, their lives are in complete chaos and their only hope is to be rescued through marriage. Situated in the shallow world of Los Angeles, this provocative novel in the style of Sex and the City provides a humorous, edgy look at aging, dating, and being single in the new millennium.’
Skylar, Dawn and Chloe are three women disillusioned with their lives in Los Angeles. They’ve been fed the great LA spiel that you can have it all - great husband, beautiful children, gorgeous house and a fabulous career. Unfortunately approaching forty has brought it home to them that they don’t have any of this.
The reader follows the escapades of these ladies as they attempt to sort out their lives and follow the American dream. For Chloe this means making it as an actress, for Dawn, it’s deciding whether or not to freeze some embryos and Skylar needs a job and a place to live.
All three women have failed to achieve anything in their lives, but seemed determined to blame anyone or anything other than themselves for this fact. I really didn’t like the way they wanted to be ‘rescued’ by men from their problems and debts. All they seemed willing to give in return for this magnamity was their bodies, and they appeared to think that any man should be grateful for this. I couldn’t help but liken them all, but Skylar in particular, to prostitutes. Having said all that, some of their dating adventures were very funny and certainly unexpected!
The friendship between the heroines didn’t quite ring true for me. In fact they really didn’t seem to like one another at all and I couldn’t work out why they were friends at all other than that they were all single. The characters were not at all easy to relate to, and could be very unpleasant, childish and self-centred. Dawn was the most likeable of the three and had some redeeming qualities; I enjoyed reading about her once she started getting her life together.
‘Blow Me’ certainly has an extremely attention grabbing and memorable title, which obviously makes it stand out from the crowd. The storyline, protagonists and relationships were all very superficial which put me off slightly. However, the ladies certainly got up to plenty of amusing mischief and the tale was a very honest portrayal of at least part of the modern dating world, nothing was sugar-coated. The writing flowed well and the book was very readable and rather entertaining, even if I did want to throttle the main characters most of the time. I can imagine ‘Blow Me’ gaining quite the cult following given the chance.
2 and a half stars
"Fast approaching her 30th birthday and finding herself not married, not dating, and without even a prospect or a house full of cats, Renee Greene, the heroine of Click: An Online Love Story, reluctantly joins her best guy pal on a journey to find love online in Los Angeles. The story unfolds through a series of emails between Renee and her best friends (anal-compulsive Mark, the overly-judgmental Ashley and the over-sexed Shelley) as well as the gentlemen suitors she meets online. From the guy who starts every story with "My buddies and I were out drinking one night," to the egotistical "B" celebrity looking for someone to stroke his ego, Renee endures her share of hilarious and heinous cyber dates. Fraught with BCC's, FWD's and inadvertent Reply to All's, readers will root for Renee to "click" with the right man".
‘Click: An On-line Love Story’ follows New Yorker Renee Greene’s experiences when she’s talked into joining a dating website by her good friend Mark. During the next few months Renee meets a wonderful assortment of nutcases, rock stars and swines, but will she eventually find her happy ending?
The tale is told completely in the form of emails, either between Renee and her friends or between Renee and the men interested in her on the dating site she joins. The emails were generally kept short and chatty, which is of course the nature of on-line communication, but this meant that the story’s flow was quite broken and the continuous emails did feel a little repetitive. A nice touch might have been to add the profiles of the men emailing Renee from the dating site – I’m sure they would have been very funny and it perhaps would have broken up the uniformity of the emails a little.
It’s not the first time a book has been written using some form of correspondence, be it letters, diary entries or emails, but in this case I didn’t think it was particularly effective. The whole feel was a little too jumpy for my liking, and after a while I found it a touch annoying that every few lines I had to check the headings of each email to find out who was writing to whom.
Becker portrays the characters well during their email conversations, although the little hints that are dropped about past relationships and why Renee isn’t very self-confident just weren’t enough for me: I wanted more detail!
I approved of Renee as a protagonist, but I would have liked to have seen more of Mark, a character who seemed far more interesting than either sex-obsessed Shelley or prudish Ashley. Why is Mark so cautious about everything, and how did he become friends with these women, who’re all so different to him? Having answers to these sort of questions would have made Mark a more rounded character for me.
Renee’s dating adventures were certainly very amusing, however I wanted to get more of a feel for the rest of her life. I was left a bit frustrated that this funny, intelligent character was obsessing about her love life when she has so much more that she could be focussing on: she has hardly any social life, doesn’t see her family and spent her working day emailing her friends about her latest disastrous date – not the sort of feisty, independent female that I’m used to reading about nowadays. She was however, a very loyal and fantastic friend, and I found that I was really rooting for her to find a man who deserved her.
‘Click: An Online Love Story’ is a very easy read with some entertaining moments and a lovable lead character. It was effortless to get into but sadly a little too light for my tastes; I wanted to know more about the protagonists’ lives and histories, and in particular why Renee was so lacking in self-confidence, something which might have explained a lot of her behaviour during the book. Becker has a talent for writing humour, and I’m sure that this very modern love story will appeal to many readers. I only hope that the research for this book didn’t entail too many of her own dating disasters.
2 and a half stars