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Category: ROF - Belinda Jones

  1. Kat's Review of Winter Wonderland by Belinda Jones

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    Belinda Jones Winter WonderlandMy Rating: 3/5

    I am a huge Belinda Jones fan and was extremely pleased when I received an early copy of her new release (out early November 2012 in the UK) Winter Wonderland. The front cover is slightly different to her usual style but certainly no less appealing. The synopsis of this book explains that travel journalist Krista is attending the Winter Carnival in Quebec, Canada. With the temperature plummeting, she discovers that there is a lot more to this part of the world than snow.

    I actually liked the fact that the synopsis was pretty short and sweet and as I tucked into the book I was looking forward to finding out more. The first thing I was surprised about was the intro to the book. We see the main character Krista wakes up in the Ice Hotel. This may sound like a strange point, but part of the attraction of Belinda's books for me is the build up to the travels around the world. With the intro being already at the location, it kind of threw me. Undeterred I carried on as I got to know Krista and what brought her to Canada.

    I have to be honest and say that at a quarter of the way through I just couldn't connect with Krista. Her escapades start very early in the book, yet I just felt like it was all a little bit di-jointed. At around the halfway mark I started to warm up to Krista and the other eclectic characters. One thing that Belinda Jones certainly does well is describing the places in such detail that you begin to wonder whether you can squeeze a quick holiday in to your own life. The magical was she described the areas was as usual absolutely spot on.

    For me though, this was where it stopped. The story itself was okay and at three quarters of the way through I was a lot more interested in what was happening to other characters in the book such as the very mysterious Jacques who has very dark skeletons in his closet. There are certain elements of this book that were pure Jones, such as the husky riding and the very laughable attempts Krista makes trying to ride the Husky Sleds. Aside from that there was definitely something missing for me.

    I am still an ardent Jones fan and will always eagerly await her new releases. However, I just don't think I connected well enough with the characters in this book, and therefore thought it wasn't as good as some of her other books. On the plus side, if anybody is considering visiting Quebec, just read this book and I guarantee you will finish it and be down the travel agents within a matter of hours.

  2. Kat's Review of California Dreamers by Belinda Jones

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    Belinda Jones Caligornia DreamersMy Rating: 4/5

    Belinda Jones is very popular in the world of Chick Lit. She has an ability to take you on her travels without leaving the comfort of your own home. I have read all of her books and her last release `Livin' La Vida Loca' was a true journey through three different countries. It is clear from each and every one of her books that travel is the key to her heart.

    At the very start of the book we meet Stella and see her surprise introduction to Marina. You can't help but really like both of them from the very beginning. Belinda Jones makes the job of loving the characters very easy as there is an easy way about each of them.

    The change in Stella's job happens very early on and as a reader we are taken along for the ride on her journey to the west coast of America. One of the additional characters added to the mix very early on is Milo, Marina's leading role opposite her in her new movie. He is very easy to like too and there is a good mix as the three of them get stuck in to making the movie.

    One of the things I loved about this, and something I love about every book she writes, is the journey itself. She has a way of writing about the places, and even the journey there, that makes you feel like you are right there with them. Her writing is so brilliant, you can almost picture being in the beautiful scenes she is describing. The characters and story are funny and it is a very enjoyable read.

    The only thing that I found a little bit lacking in this book was the ending. It was okay, and the story moved along okay, but I just thought in comparison to her last book it wasn't as good. I rated her last book a solid 5/5. I liked the idea behind this story and the characters were great but the ending seemed a little unfinished if I am being completely honest. It certainly wasn't terrible, but didn't wow me quite like some of her other stuff. In any event her books are still so easy and enjoyable to read and I certainly wasn't disappointed.

    Her books are a fantastic choice for a beach read, and have the ability to take you away from anything. If you haven't read her books then maybe give them a try and allow yourself the pleasure of pure escapism with a capital E!

  3. Kat's Review of Living la Vida Loca by Belinda Jones

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    My Rating: 5/5

    Belinda Jones has finally released her book after a gap of two years. She has written in total ten books, two of which were non-fiction. She is without a doubt a classic `Chick Lit' writer and I personally have been a fan since she began with her debut novel `Diva Las Vegas'.

    Belinda Jones started out as a magazine journalist and travel editor. It is clear from each and every one of her books that travel is the key to her heart. She has successfully made herself a firm favourite amongst us avid readers as she somehow portrays her love of travel into every book she produces. Her latest effort is no different.

    We meet Carmen and Beth who are best friends. Carmen works in the same industry as Beth but more behind the scenes. Whilst Beth is up there struggling to be noticed for her natural talent as a dancer, Carmen is the one who not only creates but adjusts the costumes.

    Carmen is currently working her way back to being a happy single girl as she recently split from her boyfriend Lee. Beth meanwhile sees the perfect opportunity for both of them. A TV advert is placed looking for somebody to learn the Tango in Argentina, the Flamenco in Spain and the Salsa in Cuba. There's only one catch, they need to be a dance novice.

    When they find themselves on the plane and en-route to their first destination they realise that this is the beginning of more than a reality TV show. The question is what will they discover along the way As usual Belinda Jones manages to write a fabulous book in which you find yourself immersed with the story. The characters Carmen and Beth are complete opposites but both are written so that you love them just the way they are. The journey they take has all the right ingredients, fun, glamour, romance, emotion and a slight teary eye. Belinda Jones has created a recipe with the perfect ingredients and has produced a book that not only tells a story, it takes you along for the ride.

    Her love of travel is evident in a huge way, and she has a special `something' with how she describes places and scenery. The actual story itself is very funny in places and you find yourself rooting for both Carmen and Beth. We also get to see what has happened to Carmen and her boyfriend in the past and how Carmen deals with it going forward.

    The length of the book was just right and some of the characters I loved even though they weren't perfect Rick the TV producer being one of them. The crew that are filming the girl's journey also become part of the story and we meet Simon the sound man and Dan the cameraman. There are many locations and different dance partners but all in all the story threads are simple and well thought out. I read this over the course of a day and a half and loved every single chapter. There was only one thing that was slightly unusual and that was the fact that with any other Belinda Jones book, I am hooked from chapter one, but with this it developed a little slower. I found myself warming up once I hit chapter 8 or 9.

    What I did find surprising was when I reached the end of the book. I had finished the story and enjoyed it, when I realised there was a short Q&A from the author at the back. I was surprised to learn that Carmen's relationship issues are something that came from the authors own experiences. All in all I would recommend this book for what it is, a light hearted but wonderful read.