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.

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