Read California Dreamers by Belinda Jones Free Online
Book Title: California Dreamers|
The author of the book: Belinda Jones
Edition: Hodder & Stoughton
Date of issue: July 1st 2011
ISBN 13: 9780340994450
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 33.49 MB
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Reader ratings: 7.5
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Make-up artist Stella is an expert at helping other people change their images, but when it comes to transforming herself, she doesn’t even know where to start. So when her new friend, glamorous Hollywood actress Marina Ray, summons her a movie set in California, Stella can’t resist the chance to start afresh – it is the land of sunshine and opportunity after all! But are they really friends or does Marina have an ulterior motive? What is the secret that both women are hiding about the nautical (but nice) men in their lives? And what will it take to really make both of their California dreams come true? In a Pacific Coast journey that takes in Los Angeles, the world’s most romantic ranch and California’s very own castle in the sky – this story of friendship, long-distance love, kissing (and making up) is the perfect escapist read.
Belinda Jones is one of my favourite authors, I love how her books take me to far-flung destinations, destinations I have yet to visit but really want to one day. I really enjoyed Living La Vida Loca last year visiting a trifecta of glamorous destinations. I was pleased to see a new Belinda Jones on Amazon earlier this year although I was a teensy bit disappointed we were re-visiting California again (having already visited California in The California Club). I was thrilled to get a review copy to read although I was incredibly shocked at how small the book is – a mere 303 pages long! I eagerly dove in, excited to have a new Belinda Jones novel to read.
I have a dilemma. While I’d like to say I loved California Dreamers unequivocally, I can’t actually say that because as much as I enjoyed the book there is a ‘but’ in there somewhere. I felt the same about Living La Vida Loca; it was good but it wasn’t amazing, it didn’t blow me away. The California descriptions are top-notch, Belinda is brilliant at giving us a proper, 3d view of a destination, it’s what makes her so appealing to me because I can imagine where the characters are spending their time, I can see it. I also thought Stella was a brilliant character, I loved her very much and I liked the setting of Hearst Castle and I enjoyed the film aspect as Stella finds herself doing the make-up for movie star Marina Ray as she stars in a movie about Marion Davies.
I can’t explain what it was I didn’t like; there wasn’t anything terrible about the novel, and it’s kind of baffling for me to be reading a book and wondering why it’s just not connecting but California Dreamers just didn’t engage for me. Belinda’s novels (before Living La Vida Loca) were about brilliant destinations, yes, but they also had some wonderful romances exploding through the pages and for the past two books I’ve felt that that’s been really lacking. Thankfully there is a romantic storyline in California Dreamers though it’s not as prominent as I expected. Part of the novel is about what it’s like to have a partner/husband/boyfriend in the Navy and while I enjoyed that, I couldn’t help feeling a bit off, as if I was reading Belinda’s own story as it’s mentioned she’s recently married someone who’s in the Navy. It felt off-kilter, despite the fact I know Stella isn’t Belinda and vice-versa. I’d definitely have preferred to have not known before reading the book because it was just really strange wondering how much of it was true-to-life (as I’m sure some of it was).
I feel bad for not enjoying it as much as I wanted to; even worse since I can’t really pinpoint why I felt so lacklustre when reading it. I was so excited to read it, so excited to see the beautiful cover appear out of its envelope but much like Living La Vida Loca, there was something missing for me. Something I can’t pinpoint (which is really annoying – I like to be able to make sense when I’m pointing out good and bad parts of novels). For the first half of the book I did have the strangest sense of deja vu – I truly thought I’d read it somewhere before (but, again, I couldn’t tell you the novel I felt it was like). There was just something about Stella getting the job with Marina Ray and heading out to California so quickly to be working on a movie set that was really familiar. It’s strange to know a novel is familiar but not be able to figure out which book it’s similar to.
If California Dreamers was my first Belinda Jones novel I’d probably think it was better than it was, but I’ve been spoiled. I’ve read The California Club, Cafe Tropicana, Divas Las Vegas and Out of the Blue and for me California Dreamers doesn’t compare to Belinda’s earlier novels. They’re (this and Living La Vida Loca) not as dreamy (despite the title!), not as funny, it’s peculiar. Belinda’s no doubt the same person, writing the same kind of novels, but for me, personally, the magic is missing. I can’t see myself re-reading California Dreamers, not the way I’d pick up Cafe Tropicana again (if I had the time!) or those others I’ve mentioned above. I’ll still read Belinda’s future novels, there’s no doubt about that because there’s no one whose travel writing compares. California Dreamers was good. But it wasn’t brilliant.
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Read information about the authorBelinda Jones was born in Turnbridge Wells, Kent England. At the age of 19 she moved to London, where she resided for the next ten years before moving to California. She now lives in Los Angeles.
Belinda Jones writes books for women which focus around travel and womens issues, particularly relationships. Her books tend to fall into the romance, chick lit and women's fiction categories
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