Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

Does working out really work out for you?

Lately, all this talk of getting ready for the summer and getting beach-body ready has become quite silly. Yes, I too like to look nice and feel fit, but let’s be honest – it should be done always, in order to be hwalthy, and not rushed in panic and through starvation. Anyway, trying to achieve physical perfection when it is just not your thing has reminded me of a chapter section from my light, carefree, unambitious romantic comedy Average Daydreamer. Perhaps some of you may even recognize yourselves:).

Average Daydreamer

Chapter 3 – Rock’n’Roll

“The zumba lesson with Petra went pretty well! Although zumba was a bit too unstructured and wild for my personality, I did try to make myself enjoy it, telling myself all the while that it would boost my immune system, make me feel good about myself and maybe make one of those ‘oh-I-wish-there-was-such-a-thing’ perfect guys notice me.

Feel good about myself I did, right until the moment I finally managed to grasp the dance routine and stopped looking at the steaming hot blonde leading the course. And then I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I had been so psyched into seeing the new Shakira-Priscilla shaking off the stress with sexiness, and oozing a sparkling cocktail of self-confidence, mischief and charm! Alas, major letdown! My expectations and reality were in such an oxymoron that it pained me to put it in thoughts, let alone words! So I’ll keep it brief here – my sexy just wasn’t happening. Period.”

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DANCING QUEEN by Charlotte Roth – my review

This book took me a while to get into, and, when I finished it, it took me a while to decide how to review it. Here is why.

The story of Fiona, an overweight 35-year-old girl stuck in a boring job, and her colleague and semi-accidetal friend Stu, who struggles with being skinny, is a warm one, written with heart and introducing some memorable characters as their friends, family members and dance competition.

What originally drew me to the book was the title, and having loved dancing all my life, the possibility of Fi and Stu changing their lives through dancing showed lots of promise. Along the way, the author also shows us the difficult family situations and past secrets which haunt them both, and manages to develop a deep and lovable friendship, not just between the two of them, but more people than they may have expected. Fiona’s growth as a person is a commendable motive and leaves the readers with a sense of accomplishment and optimism. References to popular music and descriptions of dance costumes added a light touch to the serious issues which are resolved in the second half of the book. This is not a light chicklit with the promise of a romance, although there are funny situations, fun and friendships throughout. The silly, kind-hearted aunt stuck in the 80s, a best friend with a sweet-tooth ritual, Fi’s brother-in-law living in the shade of his ambitious wife – they all add to the charm and are the best part of the story. 

However, this feels more like a family drama for me, and would have been much more if treated as such all the way. As it is, the book does not live up to its full potential. There are some inconsistencies in character speech patterns, several vulgarisms which do not blend in but stand out as unnecessary, the buzz word ‘like’ is used too often, and certain relevant plot twists could have been introduced with more pace and care (avoiding spoilers here). Telling the story in first person is also a tricky thing – the author’s opinion sometimes blends into the character’s, and there are times when you are not quite certain if it’s the character thinking something or actually retelling it. I missed some of the characters from the beginning of the story in the end; it seemed logical they would be there. The tone changed from witty to dramatic abruptly, as if changing genre mid-book. Having dropped hints sooner, about some deeply rooted issues the characters deal with, would have made them more relatable, the plot more convincing and the story would send its otherwise wonderful message (of chasing dreams and not giving up) with much more impact than it does for me.

So why bother writing a review if I decide to be this picky? Well, because I kept reading to see what happens in the end, because I am sure there are girls out there who will be motivated by Fi’s story, because I love how the author plays with the detail of the dancing shoes (linking past, present and future), because Stu and Lance are just so lovely you’d hug them, because I could see Annie in her legwarmers and I could hear the music. So yes, this book shows a lot of promise. It may not be perfect, but then again – none of us are. It has heart, it has charm, it shows promise.

This review was written for Readers Review Room and its potential earned it a blue bookworm from me.

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STYLING WELLYWOOD by Kate O’Keefe – my review

Just went through the basic elements of a proper chicklit with some friends. Here is the unofficial list: romance, sex, humour, drama, fun, friendship, intelligent and relatable heroine, at least two cool guys, interesting setting. So let’s go through the check list with Styling Wellywood. (Neat title, by the way.)

Romance certainly blossoms in this book, on more levels than one, as the heroine is challenged to reinvent herself, fall in love with her hometown, deal with her friends and family and their relationships (some surprises there;)), not to mention finally admitting who is right for her. Check.

Sex is there, quite steamy although with… aah, no, no spoilers in this review. Let’s just say you will find it, quite soon in the book, although it does not drive the story. Check.

Humour stems directly from the authors witty writing style, charming similes, and of course, funny situations developing from the ridiculousness of human inability to communicate emotions clearly. Not laugh-right-out situations, so no fear of choking on your beach cocktail, but enough to give you a cheeky smile which will attract some attention of those checking out you and your book. Humour – check.

Drama – there is an underlying dramatic plot which may not be evident from the start, but which unveils itself, connecting new friendships and old ones. It gives the story a serious touch, but it is justified. And the friendships are not only of the galpal kind – the male-female motive is there too, and so is a charming development with the heroine’s parents. So drama, family & friendship – check.

Fun abounds all around. Parties, events, dates, family get-togethers… What I was intrigued by was how the personal stylist career of the heroine evolves, and although related to shopping and looks, the author also shows the confidence booster element behind this particular profession. The clients’ list is charming, but no spoilers:). Fun, check.

Heroine and the guys. Yes, all there. Agree or not with some of her decisions, eventually the heroine will justify your trust and make you proud, and although she can be gullible, hormone-smittened and stubborn, she is a positive girl, after all, and you will connect with her. The guys are colourful – I know my favourite, and you will definitely pick yours.

As for the setting, the little town in New Zealand will quickly grow on you as you fall in love with the comedy and drama of its inhabitants. The final scene setting is cute and quirky, and many a guy and girl may have dreamed of it, although it is not predictable. Check.

Overall, this chicklit has all the spices you might expect, with a charming set of characters, twists and turns, and will make your holiday fun. It might even inspire a romantic streak; you never know!

This review was written for the Readers Review Room and earns the author a goold bookworm.

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Have you smiled today?

I thought you might enjoy this sneak peek into a funny romantic comedy I wrote.

Ocean waves gently caress the sandy shore as I remove the immaculate, semi-trasparent curtains from the wall-to-wall windows.
I hear his breathing change. His husky voice calls to me.

‘Good morning, Mrs Bronson!’

I turn around, proud and in love, my bare feet savouring the deep, fluffy white carpet. 

Oh what a heavenly man! And all mine.

He stretches like a powerful tiger across the white sheets and his naked body makes me tremble. The mischief in his eyes is irresistible! My lips quiver and my knees feel like jelly. My thumb strokes the wedding ring from the inside of my palm.

I smile, conveying to him everything he already knows and feels himself, and more. My throat goes dry as I feel myself pulled to his muscular torso like a magnet. 

He taps the bed gently. My tongue draws a wet layer over my lips. 

I can’t wait. I step forward and…

***

‘Thump,’ I fell from the tram seat, my face gluing itself flat on the floor, next to a set of smelly, overworn sneakers, my hands too busy clutching on to my purse instead of protecting the face.

Reality check! A major one! 

I spit the filth and drool from my mouth, and struggled to unglue my forehead from the floor.

   The chewing gum, which had been there for just enough time to get that semi-dry quality, had obviously been waiting to serve this particular purpose. I got up, mercilessly removing the gum from my skin, and it resisted my efforts, sneaking underneath my nails. Cheeky sod! Wet wipes helped, I hoped. 

I fixed my hair and adjusted my clothes, mumbling something like ‘low blood sugar’ to save face, deluded into thinking anyone in the tram cared. 

Gotta love cities – full of warm, caring people! Come to think of it, if anyone had tried to help, I might have gone to second base with them, mistaking them for my dream doctor.

#Read yourself into a #fun, #relaxing and #romantic #Sunday!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/author/anita-kovacevic/id911847279?mt=11

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Why authors ♡ their characters – by Anita Kovacevic

Why I love Priscilla Parker

To start off the series of posts by guest authors I admire, let me share one of my own favourite characters from my books. Mind you, as every author will say, choosing your favourite character is sort of like picking a favourite child, but this will do for now. Apologies to all my other, well-loved characters who wil get their turn.

Priscilla Parker is an average young woman from my light-hearted chicklit, romantic comedy Average Daydreamer. She is a smart, funny, kind, silly, self-sufficient romantic; all in all, a contradiction in terms just like most of us.

She came to me one summer, after I had just finished writing a very difficult novel (which is still cooling on my shelf), and she was the complete opposite to what I had been writing by then. She kept whispering in my ear, saying: “I know I am just an ordinary girl, but give me a chance, relax, smile, let me fall in love, let me live, and I promise I won’t haunt you.” And then she kept haunting me till I started writing her out of my head. The first ten chapters were on paper in ten days, believe it or not. She was relaxing, made me smile, laugh and find the charming feeling of falling in love again.

Priscilla is funny, clumsy, ambitious, insecure, charming and slightly self-delusional, but she knows the true value of friendship, family and love. She made me feel good about myself and the world, which is so difficult in these times. And I love her for it.

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Daydream?

Here she is – all fixed and spruced up and now in paperback too. My old-fashioned romcom has been called charming, fun, funny and delightful. I do hope Priscilla is pleased.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/anita-kovacevic/average-daydreamer/paperback/product-22926522.html

http://www.lulu.com/shop/http://www.lulu.com/shop/anita-kovacevic/average-daydreamer/ebook/product-22929892.html

Priscilla is happy being a successful, single, business woman. Or is she? With her best friend’s wedding approaching, she finds herself constantly daydreaming about romance with perfect men – doctors, firemen, secret agents, sexy chefs. Aiming for perfection, she ignores an ordinary guy she sees every day, although he makes her feel… something. When perfection finally comes, she finds herself torn between her dreams and the reality. Perhaps dreamy perfection is just not something that ticks all her boxes. Are couples supposed to be perfect or are average relationships the stuff of life? 

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Dreams are worth it!

​It pays to dream;)! I have just been informed by the #SIBA organizers that Average Daydreamer has been nominated in the #romance category for the #SIBA #book #award. Absolutely happy about this silly girl, I am!

Average Daydreamer on Amazon

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Average Daydreamer in the Penalty Box

What do you do when you are granted 5 minutes in Jeremy Croston’s Penalty Box? You talk his head off! Thank you for having me over for an interview!

Author Spotlight – Anita Kovacevic has 5 Minutes in the Penalty Box! – http://wp.me/p57a1a-Q9

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Average Daydreamer Quote

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Average Daydreamer visits Books&Tea

So happy my latest romantic chicklit novel is touring so many blogs! Cindy K. Chen is my host at Books&Tea today! Check out her gorgeous blog and a bit about Average Daydreamer here!

The book is now available on LuluiBooksAmazon.

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