Monday, 26 March 2018


If you want to lose yourself in the privileged world of the elite, TOO DAMN RICH (1996, Signet) by Judith Gould (pen name for Nicholas Peter Bienes and Rhea Gallaher) is far from being a bad choice. I remember the exact moment we caught glimpses, the novel and I. I was on another book hunt somewhere near my place, and there it was glowing proudly with its big lettered title and diamond sheen. I already had too many unread books in my possession but I just couldn’t take my eyes away from this one. I mean look at this baby. It was doing everything in its power to lure me into buying it and I did, of course. I had already invested happily in SINS (the authors’ first novel and later on a miniseries) a few years prior and I certainly thought that the time had come for me to immerse myself yet again into one of their best-selling efforts.   

TOO DAMN RICH centers on a high-class auction house called Burghley’s where a bunch of colorful characters battle for the chance to win, amongst the many sought-after artefacts, the happily ever after pill so coveted when love is involved. In between this quest and the many business affairs of the rich we get sins from the past, unforeseeable futures, but most importantly a Machiavellian plan underway via the people at Burghley’s. All told in the Judith Gould’s signature approach, meaning a lot of champagne and caviar and sexual situations. Gould’s three main heroines (Dina, Kenzie, and Countess Zandra) do their best to stay above water despite a school of dark-clothed sharks roaming their turf. And not once did I find myself bored with their soapy but so intricate cosmopolitan lifestyles. 

In fact, TOO DAMN RICH seals the deal for me as a must-read when it comes to the Judith Gould’s name. Though a hefty treat (624 pages), the time just flies by at the hands of this effective duo team. Glamour is their game and kudos to them for still sticking with it. Yes, some of their characters are more developed than others, and love does unsurprisingly conquer all by the last page but it’s the unapologetic goings-on of these protagonists that really are the showstopper. Besides, how much fun it is to lose oneself in wealth and have a story crackling with dedication, plot twists and effective narrative; a sure-fire combination that will definitely leave fans of the sub-genre wanting more.

You can still catch TOO DAMN RICH wherever digital books are sold.  

Until next post—Martin 

Tuesday, 13 March 2018


Many months ago, after a hectic year reviewing books for NetGalley, I decided that my blog should re-focus solely on ‘80s trash. It seemed the safest way to go since I found myself completely way over my head. However, something unexpected happened later on, something that made me rethink the whole situation: my fervent addiction to more current releases. Yes, despite my profound love for books of yesteryear my sudden attraction to anything newer had made a topsy-turvy out of the whole blog thing. But what is safe to say, however, is that what started as a total devotion to vintage trash has now evolved to anything goes. So to continue on in the same league, expect the unexpected in 2018, dear readers. What you’ll see may be older or it may be newer—but it’ll strike your fancy just as much as it’ll strike mine. At least I hope it will. This brings me to this week’s title, OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE from bestselling author Lulu Taylor. This one comes directly from my pile but it’s a more recent release (2012, Arrow), one that could easily have been from NetGalley.  

Let just say right away that OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE reads exactly like a ‘80s novel. It has glitz and glam written all over it. There are two central characters. One is from a posh family whose vast wealth is mostly invested in hotels and villas. She is daddy’s favorite among two other half-siblings who despise her; the other is from the lowest class imaginable. Party seems to be her middle name as she can’t help herself boozing-up and doing drugs in between striping performances in seedy joints. As you can imagine both women have nothing in common and will never cross path. Or so you think. In a space of 600 plus pages divided into four parts their lives will intertwine to the point of having to reinvent themselves just to survive. I don’t want to give anything away but let’s just say that their ways to fulfillment include lies, heartaches, double-dealings, cringe-worthy confrontations but most importantly late in the plot girl bonding. And that’s what makes this novel a cut above, the way the author manages to patiently flesh-out her two heroines before coming to their inevitable get together. In other words, all the right ingredients to make OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE a glittery treat.  

Lulu Taylor is no amateur. She’s been at the writing game for quite some time now. This particular title is her fourth novel—with secondary characters from her previous three—and you can feel the confidence in her delivery. Sure, the narrative could have been a tad richer and some of the plot twists are less impressive than others, but the overall effect is quite enjoyable, as are the prerequisite romantic affairs of her main protagonists. If you’re on the look-out for an easy but still impressive offering Miss Taylor definitely is the author for you. She may barely reinvent anything with this Cinderella take of making it with or without daddy’s money but the dedication with which she serves her dish makes OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE a very fine novel indeed.

You can still catch OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE wherever books are sold.  

Until next post—Martin 

Wednesday, 7 March 2018


For me, the mid-90s were great years for book hunting. I remember vividly how much fun I had perusing the aisles of many bookstores around the globe. I couldn’t get enough of trashy novels, to the point of collecting anything that struck my fancy. And that meant a lot of searching; and a lot of titles. One of which was this featured novel by JoAnn Ross which I found in Saint-Tropez, of all places. I knew zilch about her at the time, unaware that she was already an established author in the romance field. Judging from that book cover and the back synopsis, however, I knew I was going to enjoy the ride, and I obviously did since I’m babbling about it here today.

SECRET SINS (1991, St. Martin’s Press) tells the tale of two sisters who, throughout a rocky relationship that starts at a young age, end up being at each other’s throats, especially when one of them has a chance to make it big as an executive in Hollywood. Like any well-handled trashy read her path to success leads her to danger zone which involves past sins and unknown affairs. Of course there’s a big, big secret which ultimately is revealed with double gasp effect (not really, for I am an old pro at this game after all) but what precedes it is one heck of a ride. SECRET SINS is fun, an easy read to glamour city that focuses mainly on the possible romance between Ms. Executive and her hot actor slash screenwriter. And to tell you the truth I really didn’t mind all the lovey-dovey going on, for both turn out to be very engaging characters.

Not long after I was done I recall mailing a request to the publishers about other possible titles available by this author. Remember, this was before the easy accessibility of the Internet. I got a response a few weeks later saying that Miss Ross (yes, let’s call her that) had many titles under her name as the accompanying documentation suggested. I was floored. There were about a dozen titles, if not more. I’d love to tell you this was the start of a passionate relationship between the author’s work and I but other reads beckoned and I, like the trashy guru that I think I am, followed happily. Yes, SECRET SINS turned out to be the only title I buried myself in, but don’t let me stop you there. Since then the author has published many novels that I’m sure are as engaging as this featured one. It’s just that I’m not as hard-core of a romantic as I would like to be when it comes to my reading choices. So pick up SECRET SINS (still unavailable digitally) and indulge. You’ll be reminded of the late Jackie Collins and that’s certainly not a bad thing.

Until next post—Martin
1990 Hardcover