Monday, October 10, 2011

Sex, Gossip and Rock'n'roll by Nicola Marsh

In all her time as premier tour manager to Australia's stars, Charli Chambers has never had someone as infuriating—or delectable!—as successful businessman Luca Petrelli along for the ride. He might always be in the gossip columns, but there's no way she's letting him claim VIP status!

But Luca's wicked eyes are just too tempting. In spite of herself, Charli's soon attending after-parties—just for two. She wants to believe this is one duet that's about to go platinum, but in spite of Luca being unprintably good in bed, can she ever get close enough to the real Luca for their fling to be more than just a one-hit wonder?

One of the great things about hanging out on Twitter is that you get the chance to interact with other readers and sometimes authors too. And sometimes that interaction leads you to think that maybe you might try one of the author's books! Of course, the danger is that you won't actually like their book which might be a bit awkward. Nicola Marsh is one of those authors for me. She is a local Melbourne author. We have never met, but occasionally we chat.

This is the first book I have read by Nicola Marsh. I will say that it won't be my last but there are some reservations.

The two main characters are Charli Chambers and Luca Petrelli. Charli is a publicist/tour manager who works for one of the biggest men in the Australian music business - the same man who is Luca Petrelli's estranged grandfather. When Charli is given the job of chaperoning a somewhat faded star through country Victoria she is also told that one of the conditions of the job is that Luca Petrelli comes along as the money man. He is basically in the country for a few weeks and then he will head back to his fabulous lifestyle overseas. Charli is distrusting of Luca - worried that he is going to hurt his grandfather emotionally, and also worried that she might lose control of herself due to the instant attraction that she feels for him.

I liked the idea that the author is trying to come up with new and unusual scenarios around which to build her romance, but I did find myself wondering about the logistics of the kind of tour that was portrayed in the book. Would there be someone along to take care of the financial side? I am not sure. Would there be a huge tour bus? Again I don't know. I guess it was something that you just have to go along with for the sake of the story.

Both Luca and Charli have had difficult backgrounds and therefore have issues that they need to resolve both for themselves and with each other before they can truly commit, but you know that it is going to happen. At times I found the emotional baggage a bit overwhelming - or perhaps overplayed is a better description.

One thing that I did really enjoy about this book was the use of Victorian towns and tourist destinations within the narrative! Towns like Bendigo, Ballarat and Echuca are all places I have visited before for one reason or another, but I was reminded of how fun it can be to be a tourist in your own town so to speaks. After reading this book I was inspired to start looking at maybe going on a day trip which I ended up doing yesterday. I took the train to Bendigo and visited the Chinese Dragon Museum which is mentioned in the book and a couple of other tourist destinations as well.

I also really appreciated that the text still sounded quite Australian. There was only one occasion where I was thrown out of the story because there was a word used that we just wouldn't normally use. There may have been others, but that was the only one that was really jarring for me.

Whilst I get quite annoyed at people who judge readers for reading genre fiction, whichever genre it might be, I must admit that at times I find myself being a bit of snob when it comes to Harlequins/Mills and Boon type category romances. I am not really sure why that is because I have read some really good category romances over the last year or so, and all of them have been by Australian authors like Sarah Mayberry and Marion Lennox. Having said that, over the years I have found that these types of books can be very hit or miss for me. This book was somewhere in the middle. I am intrigued by the sound of Nicola Marsh's next book, Busted in Bollywood, and so will hopefully get to read that one soon after it comes out.


  1. As you know, I'm not much of a romance reader but I like the idea that this one feels very Australian to an Australian!

  2. I do really appreciate your honesty in this review, Marg. It can be so hard to be forthright when you are friends with the author, but I think you balanced your judgement of the book wonderfully.