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review 2018-01-21 21:46
A fun revenge story, set in the world of acting. Recommended if you’re looking for a light read set in London.
Faking Friends - Jane Fallon

Thanks to NetGalley and to Penguin for providing me an ARC copy of this novel that I freely chose to review.

This is the first time I read one of Jane Fallon’s novels, and I’ve realised she has quite a following, and this is not the first novel she writes about revenge.

In this case, we have an actress, Amy, (not a big star, but an actress who has struggled from bit-part to bit-part until she managed to get a regular role in an American crime series. Well, or so she thought) who goes back home to surprise her childhood-friend Mel for her birthday, and she is the one to get a nasty surprise when she discovers her fiancé, Jack, is having an affair and somebody has taken her place. It does not take her long to discover that her supposed best-friend has stabbed her in the back, and rather than confronting both, her fiancé and her friend, she decides to try and get a new life and show them that she can make it on her own, before letting them know she is aware of their betrayal. This creates many awkward and difficult situations and a complex net of lies and deceit that will keep readers turning the pages.

The book is narrated in the first person, mostly from Amy’s point of view (who alternates what is happening in the present with the story of her friendship with Mel), although towards the last third of the novel we also have a few scenes when we follow Mel’s point of view, and that gives us some insight into her plans (more than her feelings, that we don’t know in detail, other than her wish to give Amy’s her comeuppance) and a different perspective on Amy’s relationships. (Sometimes both points of view might alternate in a single chapter, although it is easy to tell them apart).

Amy is a likeable character, although her reaction to the betrayal and her insistence in carrying on with her revenge plans for months and months and dragging others into it (including her friend Kat and Kat’s husband, Greg, two great characters, and Simon, a new love interest she meets when she moves back to London) make her less so at times, and she appears immature and too dependent on Mel’s friendship. Although both, Mel’s current behaviour, and what we learn about the history of their friendship, shows Mel in a very negative light (she is full of herself, self-aggrandizing, self-centred, vain, shows clear narcissistic personality traits, and is jealous of Amy’s good fortune, never giving her any credit and ruining her other friendships), sometimes, when Amy fights fire with fire, she goes so far that we have to wonder if they are not as bad as each other. Eventually, though, Amy has some scruples and there are lines she won’t cross, and it is easy to see that her friendship with Mel has made her doubt herself and lose her confidence. When a friend dismisses everything you do and only uses you to make herself feel better, she is not a friend, as Amy discovers.

There are a number of other characters (university friends, relatives, love interests, agents, etc.) that create an interesting and varied background, and London also provides a realistic setting for the story, from the difficulties of finding an affordable apartment, to the landscape, shops, food, and transportation. I particularly enjoyed the insights into the acting career (that the author has good knowledge of), that go beyond the glamor and big successes we are used to in films and books. Amy is a working actress who has to fight tooth and nail for tiny parts (woman in park, woman in pub), who is no longer young, and who has dedicated plenty of time to the career because she loves it, not because she thinks she will become famous and make it big (most of the time she can hardly make a living out of it). The fact that Mel, who also wanted to become an actress, and who was the more attractive and popular of the two when they were younger, never made it is a particularly nice touch.

The novel is enjoyable, full of lies, deceit, and twisted individuals, but it is a pretty light fare. There is some suspense, but it is not difficult to guess some of the events; there are some pretty funny moments, and some cringe-inducing ones too. Although the book exemplifies a toxic friendship, it is not a treatise in psychology and it is not a guidebook or a serious treatment of the subject (there are true memoirs and books written by experts if you are interested in the topic), but a light revenge novel, whose final message is a hopeful and positive one. Although the character goes through much heartache during the book, she learns from the experience, and she discovers who she really is and who her true friends are. (And, to be honest, she seems to be much better off without Jack, as there does not seem to be much love lost or chemistry between them).

Fallon’s style is fluid and the novel is easy to read and moves at good pace, although I don’t think the main characters will stay with me for long. A solid chick-lit book, set up in the world of acting, and one I’d recommend to those of you who enjoy revenge stories (and might have fantasised about your own).

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review 2015-10-13 00:22
Her Last Words Jo Barney
Her Last Words - Jo Barney



Every summer four old friends flock together at Madge's seaside house to swap stories and sip wine. Throughout divorces, children, and new marriages, only the beach house and the sisterhood that comes with it, hold constant. This time, though, something is different.


Madge, a writer  who brought them all together, asks them for a risky, unthinkable favor.

She has a good reason for her request.  Her friends, once they learn it, must decide with misgivings and sadness what they will do.  Madge has a gift for them, no matter what:  her take on tgheir lives over the past forty years, her last novel, stories which will change their lives.




This is a book about a friendship. Friendship that lasted many years despite many differences. Have you ever been in a situation where a friend asks you to do something you are not comfortable with? Well, the situation that is presented I this book is one that many people would not be able to handle no matter how deeply they love their friend. On the other hand, how to tell a friend you love so deeply no. Would you be able to help a friend plan a perfect deah, her death? This is exactly the situation that one woman puts her three friends in.


This book reminds me so much of the movie The Devine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood. You have a group of friends that are very different from each other, but some how they have made it work for quite some time. There are parts of this story that will make you laugh, cringe, and cry. Sometimes all at once. 




There are some adult situations that I don't think are appropriate for younger readers such as sexual situations. I do think that some people may have a strong difference opinion to the happenings in this book. Read with caution. I personally thoroughly enjoyed this book. I will admit that I think this will be more appealing to an older audience because the character's of the story are in their sixties. Also, this was published before under the title UPRUSH by Jo Barney.


I recieved a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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review 2014-10-29 00:56
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe - Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle “Ari” is a fourteen year old loner with hardly any friends in school.  He has hardly any relationship with his father, and resents his family for acting as if his older brother who is in prison did not exist. Like many boys his age, Ari is unsure of his own identity and often feels that he has lived his life according to everyone’s rules and expectations. But his life takes an unexpected turn when he meets a peculiar boy who offers to teach him how to swim. Ari is taken aback by Dante’s optimistic view of life and admires the relationship he has with his father.  As their friendship grows, Dante helps Ari discover the mysteries of the universe as each find their true identity. There are several clues that foreshadow the resolution of the story as Ari often refers to his friend as beautiful and their interactions hint to a budding romantic relationship. This book explores the internal struggle among both teens as they try to come to terms with their feelings and worry about their family’s reactions. Saenz writing style correctly portrays not only a teen boy’s emotional state, but also the hate and violence that troubles our society. One of themes this book deals with making the bonds of a family stronger as Ari family learns to speak and share feelings that have long been pushed aside. Saenz does a great job a displaying how a friendship can turn romantic regardless of gender.  


Saenz, B. (2012). Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe. New York: Simon & Schuster BFYR.

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