Chicklit Club
 

BARBARA OLIVERIO

 

Love on the Lido Deck (2014)

 

Keira Graham used to work as a system analyst but then decided to follow her heart and her passion, resulting in her own event planning business. She is offered the chance to take on her biggest job yet, namely organising a cooking workshop program on a big Caribbean cruise. Keira can not only take her best friend and well-known chef Alexandria D'Agostino with her, she's also invited to bring along her own family and the D'Agostinos to enjoy the cruise. As soon as the group sets foot on the cruise ship, the adventures begin; from Keira trying to find peace with her mother's new boyfriend, to her continuously bumping into the slightly annoying but handsome cruise director Brennan McCallister. Love on the Lido Deck is just as fun and entertaining as Barbara Oliverio's debut novel. I loved the setting of the book; I hadn't read any novels set on a cruise ship before and it was the perfect location for this particular cast of characters and their adventures. In the first book we were introduced to Alexandria D'Agostino, while in this one the focus lies on her best friend Keira. It was great to get to know some new characters, but it was also wonderful to read more about the D'Agostino family. While this novel can definitely be read as a stand-alone, I do think it adds something if you already know some of the characters and their background stories. I love it when many different storylines are explored and brought together in a novel, and this was definitely the case for this book. Lots of topics are touched upon in a light-hearted way, such as family, friendship and of course a touch of romance as well. A nice little extra is the collection of delicious recipes at the back of the book. Overall, Barbara Oliverio has again delivered a fun, easy-going and thoroughly enjoyable romantic comedy and I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next. (JoH)


 

Love on the Back Burner (2013)

 

Alexandria D'Agostino, who works at the marketing department of Media Resolutions, comes from a tight-knit Italian-American family and it is clear in almost everything she does that she embraces her roots. Especially her cooking skills are brilliant, but so far this hasn't particularly helped her in finding a man. Yet, Alexandria believes, partly based on the advice of her colleagues, that the way to a man's heart has to be through his stomach... Right? So, she embarks on a culinary dating journey encountering various men with various backgrounds, while at the same time trying to ignore the new temporary IT guy, Cameron, who seems to pop up everywhere she goes. Grabbing a chance to escape from it all, Alexandria goes back home to her family for a couple of days, but this trip only forces her to start thinking about her life and what she really wants. The cover of Love on the Back Burner describes perfectly what you can expect from his novel: a tasty romantic comedy. Food plays an important role in the book (there is even a collection of delicious recipes at the back) and it has all the ingredients for a romantic comedy. Barbara Oliverio has created an entertaining mix of characters, with a fun heroine in the form of Alexandria. I really enjoyed following her on her journey to find the perfect man and to discover what she really wants to do in life. The author has her own distinctive voice; her easy-going and humorous sense of writing, with both Italian and American influences, results in a quick-paced read that kept me entertained for several hours. Love on the Back Burner is a light, entertaining debut novel, perfect for lovers of romantic comedies. (JoH)

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