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Some Like It Hot (2011)

This follows the lives of five very different women who come together every week to spice up their lives with curry and confidential confessions. Their curry club offers a lifeline to ladies who usually keep private matters exactly that - private - but when presented with the opportunity to discuss those things generally best left unsaid, the women jump at the chance to share their innermost thoughts and secrets - as long as nobody knows who those thoughts and secrets have come from. From one bowl a curry is served while in another, five anonymous questions sit tightly folded until just one is drawn out for discussion. Each question drawn brings with it excitement and heated opinions - with everyone wondering just whose life is being dissected this time round. And these ladies have plenty to hide and confess in secret, if only the others around the table knew it. Elegant, poised Jude has it all from the outside - the looks, the family, the lifestyle - but turning her back on her own career aspirations to support her husband's rise to the top has left her feeling emptier inside than anyone could ever imagine. Sexy Sophie uses and abuses men while she builds her business empire, but is an unthinkable secret driving her devil-may-care behaviour? Helena is stuck in a passionless relationship. Just how far will she go to get out of it and make a new life for herself? Filthy rich, stuck-up Roni feels trapped by her dull, safe existence with her husband Peter. When Peter hires a handsome young man to teach Roni how to swim, the way to spice up her life becomes obvious to Roni - and it doesn't involve curry. Fitness freak Kath is fond of alcohol and getting physical - in every sense. But although her married life is a happy one, that doesn't mean her family life is. Each week, one of the women gets free advice while keeping their problems completely confidential from those around the table. It's an intriguing premise and one that gives the reader a strong insight into the development of each character as we unravel the women's secrets and desires. Keeping the momentum up in a book when there are five main characters can be difficult, but the author carries it off with the aplomb of a much more experienced writer. The book overall marks a big departure in style from the author's debut, Crystal Balls, but Amanda's trademark risque scenes are prevalent in Some Like It Hot too - as you might expect from a book of this title! (SBB)

Crystal Balls (2011)

Tina Harding doesn't believe in the psychic world, yet when she is dragged to a psychic fair by her employee, Chantelle, she is surprised to find that the allure of knowing your destiny is hard to resist. After sitting with a psychic with a crystal ball that holds all the secrets to Tina's future, the hard-working businesswoman feels like she has found a quick and easy way to know exactly what is going to happen before it actually happens. After years of putting her painful past as a failed actress behind her, Tina is thrilled at the prospect of having a head start on her future, love life and her career. As Tina soon finds out, things don't always go to plan - even when you have the help of a crystal ball. Her flirty liaisons with the gorgeous real estate maven, Brian Steen, seem to run out of steam before they even get going for one reason or another. But, no matter what, the crystal ball is always right...isn't it? Tina is an entertaining character and the storyline flows along easily while not losing itself along the way. At the end of it all, whether you're a fan of psychics or not, this book is sure to entertain you and make you laugh until you cry. (AS)

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