Tuesday, 11 June 2019


After giving two thumbs up to WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LULUMONS last year I made the conscious decision to revisit THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA (2004, Broadway Books), the novel that started it all. Yes, I could have chosen to dive into the unread sequel REVENGE WEARS PRADA instead but I figured once I re-invested myself with the first book in the series, the sequel would be a doozy to get into. Besides, I wanted to see if THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA still held up after all these years. It did. Re-reading it was like discovering it for the first time since the movie has become so iconic since its release in 2009.

Indeed, having seen the film before reading the novel I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised to find the latter as enjoyable, if not more. The journey of poor Emily, from frumpy ingénue to effective stylish worker is as exciting as anything seen on-screen. Sure, it takes a while before things really start cooking and the subplot involving the protagonist's best friend, though effective, could have been toned down. But as a whole, the novel sure captivates, due mostly to the fine pacing of the narrative. The behind-the-scene roman à clef style also works to its advantage, as does the heroine likability status. Oh yes, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA deserves all the stops, especially for those beach read types who like nothing more than to submerge themselves in the lives of the beautiful people.

Now I’m even more excited in starting its sequel. I have a hunch that the author will try her luck on a fourth Prada novel very soon. If not soon, well, in some distant future. In the meantime, do enjoy this trilogy and the other novels she has successfully written over the years. I’m happy to say that Lauren Weisberger has indeed become quite an interesting author to follow.

Until next post—Martin 

HarperCollins  edition

Friday, 7 June 2019


I’ve never been good at describing the plot of a novel. I always fear saying too much. Like this title from Capricorn Literary in which the content is such intriguing that I feel I need to say as little as possible. But to be fare I will say this: Valerie is a strange girl. She is an aspiring writer in her thirties who not only sees dead people but also yellow-eyed little monsters. And they need comfort food, the human kind.  So not to be part of the menu herself Valerie must find ways to grant their wishes by inviting people over, like renting a room in her home for instance. But is this form of depravity really happening or is it all in her head? Like I said before, Valerie is a strange girl. 

I've been wanting to read WHAT’S WRONG WITH VALERIE? for such a long time, even before it got featured in PAPERBACKS FROM HELL in 2017. I’m what you call a vintage paperback collector. Been doing it for over 25 years, and when the publishers graciously handed me an ARC in exchange for an honest review I just couldn’t pass up the chance of featuring it on this little blog of mine. And let me tell you I had a ball reading this thing: fun, gory, well-written and original enough to be considered very impressive. Not only is this story a fun ride but D. A. Fowler has a way of telling her tale that makes you want to devour (pun intended) the book in one sitting, which I almost did.  

I hope to see more of her books available in the near future. I really want to find out what happens next since WHAT’S WRONG WITH VALERIE? is the first in a trilogy, I believe. Heck. I want to go over all of her backlist and miss nothing. This woman (D. A. stands for Debra) is freaking awesome. She is worth every penny. So get this title and be amazed by her storytelling genius.

Until next post—Martin  
1991 Pocket paperback

Tuesday, 4 June 2019


After giving some well-earned praise to the classic of all classics PEYTON PLACE by Grace Metalious a few years back on this little blog of mine I was very weary of reading the sequel, RETURN TO PEYTON PLACE (1960, Dell). The main reason being I didn’t want it to pale in comparison. ‘Cause let’s face it, Metalious is no Jackie Collins. She’s a very talented lady, but compared to the queen of trash, rising to the challenge may be a difficult task for her. Well, turns out it was, for RETURN TO PEYTON PLACE is fine but overall half as fun as its prequel.

The main problem is the feel of the novel. It seems like a rushed project, as if the author just wanted to be done with it and the faster the better. There’s barely any passion in it. Sure, rekindling with the main character and most of the town’s friends and foes is fun but the excitement factor tires out very quickly when boredom settles in instead. I probably shouldn’t say boredom. Blandness is much a better word. Everything is so bland this time around.

After making a name for herself as a writer in New-York Allison returns to her hometown following the publication of her first novel and faces the hostility of most of its residents who think she has sold their secrets for a quick buck. Things go from worse to worse when the book ends up being banned from the school library and her stepdad gets fired from his job as the school principal. Moreover, it seems that once goodie-two-shoes Allison has followed in her mother’s footsteps and become a mistress herself. Mix it all with a slew of subplots involving an attempt at dissolving a marriage, the return of a slutty character (Betty) now with child, and an acquitted for murder rape survivor (Selena) trying to adjust to her new life as a business woman and you got yourself one tepid sequel that should have been so much hotter.

Yes, I may be a bit too harsh on this one. Then again maybe not. What did come out of reading RETURN TO PEYTON PLACE is the feeling of being cheated, since I was led to believe that the fun would be just as grand. Therefore I stand my ground and give this novel just a meh rating. Only those hardcore fans of the infamous town will perhaps be charmed again by this sequel. As for the rest of us, perhaps her next novel THE TIGHT WHITE COLLAR will do the trick.

Until next post—Martin 

1959 Hardcover