Book Review: Married Lovers by Jackie Collins.

married-lovers-by-jackie-collins

No. of pages: 464 pages

Publisher (Date): Pocket Books, April 16, 2009

Setting: Hollywood, Los Angeles

SynopsisThree high-powered Hollywood couples, two hot affairs, one underage Russian ex-hooker, a passionate murder—and the players’ lives are changed forever.

Cameron Paradise, a stunningly beautiful twenty-four-year-old personal trainer, flees Hawaii and her champion-surfer husband, Gregg, in the middle of one of his abusive tirades and makes her way to L.A. Tall, blond, with a body to die for, it doesn’t take Cameron long to find a job at an exclusive private fitness club where she encounters LA’s most important players. She has plans to open her own studio one day, and while every man she meets comes on to her, she is more focused on saving money and working hard than getting caught up in the L.A. scene of wild parties and recreational drugs.

Until she meets Ryan Richards, an extremely successful independent movie producer. Ryan is married to overly privileged Mandy Richards, the daughter of Hamilton J. Heckerling, a Hollywood power-player son-of-a-bitch mogul. Ryan has never cheated on his demanding Hollywood Princess wife, but when he meets Cameron, all bets are off, especially since she’s seeing his best friend Don Verona, the devastatingly attractive talk-show host and legendary player.

In her latest sizzling blockbuster, internationally bestselling author Jackie Collins explores what happens when lust and desire collide with marriage and power—and the results lead to murder.

Reader’s Verdict:

What followed was a heady sensation of orgasms and a barrage of lies and betrayal. It also serves to remind you that your past will catch up with you when you least expect it.

It was a huge relief for me after I finally completed Jackie Collins’ Married Lovers last night. Not that the book was bad but because I’ve fallen behind in my Goodreads Reading Challenge of 30 books for the year 2017. The last I checked, I was 3 books short of the actual number I should be at by now.

Married Lovers was exactly just that and what we can expect from Hollywood. Three high powered and equally famous couples were thrown into the spotlight after a web of lies were exposed.

Character Breakdown

Ryan Richards, a successful and independent movie producer, was married to Mandy Heckerling, the spoilt and rich only daughter of Hamilton J. Heckerling. Ryan came from a close-knit family background but Mandy had a string of stepmothers and how he had dealt with it all was beyond him. At first, he had believed that she tried to be the best that she could. Eventually, however, he didn’t think so anymore. He knew their marriage was a sham but he wasn’t the type to hitch and ditch just for the sake of it. So he stood by her through it all until they reached the boiling point.

Phil Standard loved his wife Lucy Lyons so much that he couldn’t stand other men ogling her or wanting to touch her. But the same rules didn’t seem to apply to him. He fucked whatever that had two legs and a pussy (pardon the vulgarity here). Yet he was the best scriptwriter and one of the richest men in Hollywood, and no matter how much Lucy hated his lascivious gut towards other women (and likewise, how much Phil hated the fact that his wife is desperate to make a return to movie-acting), there was no way she could leave him.

Don Verona could have any woman he wanted and in Hollywood, there was definitely no shortage of women either. Yet he still made a beeline for Cameron Paradise anyway, the personal trainer and co-owner of Paradise, the sports gym in Hollywood. Being in the limelight (and the flashbulbs of the paparazzi) isn’t Cameron’s idea of romance but being seen in public with a gorgeous, big-time talk show host comes with the package. Besides, she was running from her past and who better to help her forget her abusive husband than a hunk of a lifetime?

Conclusion

Seriously, the book was full (and I really mean full!) of lust. Politics certainly played a role too, especially since there were so many powerful players in the plot. But lust and sex hadn’t escaped the clutches and it permeated all throughout the chapters, hidden in every line and paragraph, waiting to be discovered by readers. Phew.

Now I’m ready to tackle Glass Geishas by Susanna Quinn. And hopefully, close the gap of my reading challenge.

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Book Review: The Far Side of The Sun by Kate Furnivall.

the-far-side-of-the-sun-book-review

When I think of beaches, I think of the sun, sea, sand and surf. The soft white powdered sands sifting through my fingers. The blistering heat of the sun bearing down on my back. The warm sea water on my skin. The surf that has the children screaming with joy and happiness.

Not quite the idyllic notion the book left in my head. On the contrary, it was filled with murder, lies and betrayal. Well, of course that would be the case since they were the backdrop of the book. Blood money, dirty gold, rival gangs, American Mafia, secret affairs and so much more. This book packed so much bang that even though I don’t often read thrillers, this one “thrilled” me til no end that I found it hard to put it down. It was worse on weeknights when I had to sleep early for work the next day but the book just kept calling out to me.

Summary

The Far Side of the Sun by Kate Furnivall was about Dodie Wyatt, an orphaned girl who made her mediocre living as a waitress in the Arcadia Hotel after a string of failed attempts to find a job (no thanks to her past that labelled her as a slut even if it was hardly her fault). She led a blissful and quiet life until one night, when she decided to help a mysterious stranger who was stabbed in an alley and left to die. That fateful act of kindness left her two gold coins, a dead man in her hut (despite trying to save his life), an American hellbent on protecting her and a truck-load of troubles that she was pretty damn sure she didn’t want.

Background

Set in the tropical paradise of the Bahamas in 1943:

Young Dodie Wyatt hoped to escape her turbulent past when she fled to Nassau. Peace was sporadic as the world was at war and what little peace that she had created for herself in her life came to a sudden halt when she found a man dying from a stab wound in an alleyway. Dodie was left to pick up the pieces after the man dies in her hut despite her futile attempts to save him.

Elegant Ella Sanford is married to Reggie Sanford, a prominent British diplomat and assistant to the Duke of Windsor, Governor of the Bahamas. Her days are luxurious with a maid by her side and a personal bodyguard when a scuffle broke out in town between the black colony and the white supremacy. Ella may lead a comfortable life but even the wife of a diplomat can have secrets of her own; ones that threaten to tear apart her safe and ordered life.

However, when Ella’s organised lifestyle collides with the haphazard one of Dodie’s, the two women find themselves caught in the midst of violence and greed that rip through Nassau. Ella finds herself drawn towards her charismatic bodyguard who happened to be a detective in a murder case, while Dodie falls deeply in love with Flynn Hudson, the mysterious American man whose ties with the murdered man she helped only led her through even more trouble than before. Together, Dodie and Flynn fight to uncover the truth behind the gore and bloodshed while struggling to keep each other alive.

Aspects

On one hand, The Far Side of the Sun is loosely based on the unresolved brutal murder of Sir Harry Oakes, a rich and famous member of the top Bahamian society whom the dead man Johnnie Morrell had business dealings with. How far the conspiracy went was anyone’s guess and the two women knew that whoever was behind it would do anything to stop them from asking too many questions. It is a story that looks at love and betrayal, courage and cowardice, at the same time, portraying a forceful bond of friendship that shapes the lives between Dodie and Ella.

On the other hand, the murder mystery behind Morrell’s death and the suspects involved in covering it up is intertwined with the love and lust of Dodie and Ella for their strong and handsome lovers. Ella’s love story is imminent as her sex life in her marriage with her diplomat husband is anything but exciting. When her husband insists on a personal bodyguard, she seizes her chance for a few stolen moments of rough, unbridled sex with him at any given time and day.

Dodie’s love life with Flynn, however, is more of a TV soap series. Flynn refuses to reveal everything about himself and only does so bit by bit when Dodie herself refuses to back down. He was a stranger when she met him at the burning of her hut, yet no matter how odd this may seem and instead of running for the hills, she finds herself falling in love with him. Who wouldn’t, I suppose, if you suddenly have this guardian angel popping up at the most opportune moments to save your skin?

Blogger’s Thoughts

This was my first time reading dark historical fiction and thriller with a main course of the American Maifa, betrayal and treachery, and a side of the sex, lies and secrets. But of course it has to involve 2 damsels in distress. And there’s also the cuckolded husband. It’s hardly about love, even less so for Dodie and Flynn. Saved by a stranger and ending up in bed with him is so typical Hollywood. But I guess Dodie has no choice. She’s stuck with Flynn for now; the man who saved her from being beaten to a pulp, who promised his dead friend Johnnie Morrell that he’d keep her safe from harm. He’s the only companion she has for now.

But there are a lot of hidden surprises. So much so that given my desperation to find out what the heck is going on, I had to suppress the urge to flip to the last page and find out who was the real killer!

But when I did get to that part, I certainly did not see it coming. It was like a scene out of Bonnie and Clyde! The great husband and wife team, dirty lawyer Hector Latcham and his drunk good-for-nothing wife Tilly, who manoeuvred and masterminded the whole thing! From the murder of Johnnie Morrell to the beating of Dodie Wyatt to the arson of Dodie’s beach hut to the murder of Sir Harry Oakes to the false imprisonment of Flynn Hudson to the kidnapping of Dodie and Ella Sanford to the accidental murders of Detective Sergeant Dan Calder and finally, his own wife Tilly. Phew! That’s a hell lot of dastardly deeds done in one book! And a real gripping read too!