Tag Archives: chick lit

Book review – Build a Man by Talli Roland

Blurb (from Good Reads)

The perfect man is out there . . . he just needs a little work.

Slave to the rich, rude and deluded, cosmetic surgery receptionist Serenity Holland longs for the day she’s a high-flying tabloid reporter. Unfortunately, every pitch she sends out disappears like her clients’ liposuctioned fat, never to be seen again. Then she meets Jeremy Ritchie — the hang-dog man determined to be Britain’s Most Eligible Bachelor by making himself over from head to toe and everything in between — giving Serenity a story no editor could resist.

With London’s biggest tabloid on board and her very own column tracking Jeremy’s progress from dud to dude, Serenity is determined to be a success, even going undercover to gain intimate access to Jeremy’s life. But when Jeremy’s surgery goes drastically wrong and Serenity is ordered to cover all the car-crash goriness, she must decide how far she really will go for her dream job.

My thoughts

I’ve been a follower of Talli Roland’s blog since I joined the blogosphere, and her books have been on my to-read list for quite some time. I expected Build a Man to be a light read with liberal doses of romance and humour throughout, and my expectations were pretty much on the money.

However, I wasn’t expecting to be quite so irritated by the main character, Serenity. She makes so many selfish decisions and her justifications are more transparent than glass. Honestly, I just wanted to reach inside the book, shake her and say, ‘Wake up to yourself, woman!’ Thankfully, the plot did that for me. I won’t say any more so I don’t spoil the story, but I was pleased to see Serenity being forced to wake up to herself. In saying that, I thought Serenity’s character growth was a little too easy, kind of like flipping a switch.

But, overall, I still enjoyed Build a Man.  There’s great variety in the personalities of the support cast, and some of the scenes at the cosmetic surgery clinic had me giggling and raising my (non-botoxed) eyebrows. The descriptions of London were really well crafted and made me feel like I was right there on the street or in the pub beside Serenity.˜ I’m looking forward to reading the sequel, Construct a Couple, and hopefully seeing some of my favourite plot lines from Build a Man develop further.

(On the subject of reviews, Andrew Leon of Strange Pegs has written some thought-provoking posts on the importance of honest reviews – including negative ones – for self published books, called “Is It Better To Be “Nice” Or Honest?”. Have a read and let me know what you think. I agree with him, to a point…)

My rating of Build a Man


3.5 stars

What’s your opinion?

Have you read Build a Man? If so, what did you think? If not, do you plan to?

My 1-5 scale
1: Terrible. I couldn’t finish it.
2: Dissatisfying.
3: Good but not great.
3.5: A solid, enjoyable read but still some elements not working for me.
4: Really enjoyable with very few flaws OR flawed, but I loved it anyway.
4.5: Unputdownable. Close to perfect. I’ll rave about it to anyone who listens.
5: Perfection (i.e. pretty much unattainable).



Filed under Book review, Reading, YA fiction

Talli Roland in the HOT SEAT

Talli Roland stumbles into the room and when she sees the HOT SEAT, she begins to giggle. Yes, that’s right. Giggle. A half-drunk bottle of wine slips from her hand and smashes to the ground. The poor dear. She’s resorted to dutch courage. 

Hope it helps, Talli. But I doubt it. Let the  games begin. 😀 

What genre(s) do you write, Talli?

Talli Roland

Gday, Talli!

I write light women’s fiction . . . also known as romantic comedy, also known as chick lit. It’s a fun and entertaining genre, and I really enjoy writing it. Can I add here that chick lit is not just cupcakes and high heels? It can also feature strong, independent female characters relevant to modern life. (Mini-rant over!)

[CJ: Obviously a subject close to your heart! :-)]

Tell us about your latest book in 25 words or les.

My most recent novel is Watching Willow Watts, about a country girl who discovers that fame can cost a fortune. It’s my second novel.

[CJ: Oooh. Intriguing!]

Most of us write part time. How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?

I’m one of the lucky few who can write full-time [CJ: very lucky!], and it’s taken over my life (in a very good way). When I’m not writing, I’m usually blogging or tweeting! Or drinking wine. The day must end with wine.

[CJ: I couldn’t agree more. I recently went for two weeks without a glass of wine (for dental reasons). It was far, far more difficult than it should have been!]

Tell us a little about your writing process.

Coffee. Writing. Wine. I’m usually at my desk by 7:30 or 8 a.m. I need to sit down a.s.a.p. in the morning, because once I start the procrastination, there’s no end. I write until lunch plus an hour or two afterwards, then I answer emails and do other promo stuff.

[CJ: Best thinking time in the morning, hey? Me too. My brain goes to mush after lunch until about 6pm. Just ask my work colleagues!]

Who or what are your biggest writing inspirations?

Margaret Atwood is one for sure – not only is she an amazing writer, she’s Canadian (like me). And she’s on Twitter!   

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a writer?

Hm, I think the biggest one has been learning to accept that you can’t please everyone. Publishing is so subjective and no matter how hard you try, there will always be people who don’t like what you’ve written.

[CJ: That’s a tricky one, isn’t it? As writers, we want all readers to love our work. But the unique perspectives our readers bring to the table (or the chair) is part of what makes it so wonderful, so I guess you’ve got to take the good with the bad, don’t you? :-)]

Time for the HOT SEAT questions!

Hot Seat

*Insert scary music here*

Gimme some wine; I’m very afraid . . .

What are your secret fears as a writer? How do you stop them from taking over? 

Secretly, I fear that I will misspell a very common word, and everyone will highlight it and tweet about it, and I will be uncovered as someone who cannot write let alone spell! To overcome this, I use spell-check obsessively (not that it helps me with blog comments, where I am the typo queen).

[CJ: The thought of it alone is enough to make me break out in a cold sweat!]

Watching Willow Watts cover

Talli's latest book

Finish this sentence from your character Willow’s perspective.

Something most people don’t know about me is…  After tasting kumquat marmalade for the first time, I was sick in Belcherton’s fountain. 

[CJ: Tee hee hee. Oops!]

Now finish the same sentence from your own perspective.

Something most people don’t know about me is… I lived in Poland for two years and plumped up on pierogi! Yuuummmm…

[CJ: Loving that alliteration :-).]


If you’d like to hear more from Talli, check out her blog or follow her on Twitter.

If you’d like a turn in the HOT SEAT, let me know in the comments and I’ll schedule you in for a buttocks burning. 😀


By the way… I’m on holidays road tripping around Sydney and Northern New South Wales for the next ten days, so this will be my last post until I return. I’ll still respond to comments and check out my fave blogs on my mobile though! 🙂


Filed under Hot Seat, Writers, Writing