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19 June 2015

Blog Tour: 'Among a Thousand Stars' by Jo Bartlett!

They say you'd do anything for love, but what happens when you don't believe it exists?

When her mother turns up naked and proud during her first term at college, Ashleigh Hayes assumes that life can’t get any more embarrassing. Ten years later, with best friend Stevie at her side, and a successful career as a freelance photographer for monthly magazine Glitz, it looks like she might have finally got the hang of things. Only she seems to have inherited the embarrassment gene from her mother and her every encounter with new boss, Tom Rushworth, looks set to send her career spiralling backwards. Getting past their shaky start, Ashleigh and Tom embark on a relationship that was only ever meant to be a bit of fun. But when life, paparazzi and love-sick Labradors get in the way, they suddenly find themselves caught in a roller coaster ride of emotions.

Jo Bartlett's novel 'Among a Thousand Stars' was released by So Vain Books on the 17th of June and I'm really excited to be part of the blog tour for the book today! Over the past couple of months I've had the pleasure of reading several of So Vain Books' romantic comedy releases and I've enjoyed all of them so far, so definitely looked forward to picking up 'Among a Thousand Stars' and giving it a chance! I also have a guest post from Jo Bartlett on the blog today to share with all of you, so be sure to scroll down to read both my review and Jo's own blog post!

Ashleigh Hayes has been friends with eccentric but loveable Stevie for a long time, ever since meeting one another at art school when they immediately hit it off. They now work together as a great team for popular gossip magazine Glitz; Stevie as a stylist and Ashleigh as a photographer. While Ashleigh loves her job, she isn't as lucky when it comes to romance. Her ex-boyfriend cheated on her and she's just not sure she will be able to find someone else who's right for her. When Glitz is taken over by PR company Rushworth Associates, Ashleigh and Stevie also get a new boss, the handsome and difficult-to-read Tom Rushworth. The sparks between Ashleigh and Tom are difficult to ignore, but things aren't that easy when careers, gossip, and life in general continue to get in the way...

'Among a Thousand Stars' is an entertaining and fun rom-com read by author Jo Bartlett; a novel which I really enjoyed from start to finish! The author's writing style certainly suits the genre, it flowed well and made it easy to just dive in and enjoy the story. One of the definite strengths of this novel has to be the friendship between protagonist Ashleigh and the flamboyant stylist Stevie. The two have known each other for years and that becomes evident in the way they treat one another. They are really different characters; while Ashleigh is the quiet one, Stevie definitely knows how to get a party started and they just complimented one another really well. 

I liked the storyline of the book and its main setting, the celebrity gossip world. There was a clear division between Ashleigh's working life in London and the peace and quiet at her home in Kent, near the beach. There was a good selection of secondary characters, such as Tom's lovely dog Bertie, his mother Isobel, and the rock singer and playboy Zac. While the story did seem to lose a bit of its pace and story towards the middle/end of the book, it was still a read I personally really enjoyed. Overall, 'Among a Thousand Stars' is an entertaining, fun, light-hearted read that is worth picking up if you're a fan of chick lit. A promising novel by Jo Bartlett and I look forward to hopefully reading more of her work in the future!

For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Guest post by Jo Bartlett!

What makes a hero

When I was growing up with a sister two years older, there was a bit of sibling rivalry; especially since my sister got the looks, the figure and the sporting ability and, years later, I’m still trying to work out exactly what I got!  The sibling rivalry has long since passed, but I still find it amazing how we could be brought up side-by-side, with the same genes and yet end up so completely different.  Take our taste in men, for example… I’ve always been a beta girl myself, but my sister was attracted to a far edgier sort of man - the kind who you couldn’t be sure were going to turn up as arranged. There’s some excitement in that I guess, the thrill of the chase never quite going away.

With such differences between the opinion of two sisters, it’s impossible to write a hero who’s going to be every reader’s ideal man.  I didn’t want Tom in ‘Among a Thousand Stars’ to be a chest-beating alpha male but, of course, in a romantic comedy, true love can never be allowed to run too smoothly! So Tom ended up as exactly the sort of beta hero I could fall in love with myself – he cares about the people closest to him and keeps the promises he makes – but he’s complicated, wounded by his past.

That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate an alpha hero.  Back in those days of teenage sibling-rivalry, one of the heroes of commercial fiction who has always stuck with me is Rupert Campbell-Black, from Jilly Cooper’s “Riders”.  Yet, if, like me, you read the whole series of novels, you soon discovered even Rupert had his beta-side and as a reader I completely fell for the romance which eventually saw him tamed by true love.

Some might argue that fiction is the only place where such perfect matches exist – the couples who come together and smooth out one another’s broken edges.  It’s exactly the sort of partnership that Tom seems to need, but just can’t accept, in ‘Among a Thousand Stars’. Although I can’t tell you how that ends, of course. 

I don’t buy into the theory that it only happens in novels, though. I think the best relationships are the ones where a couple balance each other out.  As my sister will tell you, perfection is boring.  Whether your hero is alpha or beta, real or imagined, it’s those broken edges and the conflict they create which keep us turning the pages.

Thanks so much, Jo!

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