Monday, 22 July 2013

"A MODEL SUMMER" BY PAULINA PORIZKOVA

 

A while ago, I sent former supermodel of the world Paulina Porizkova a Tweet acknowledging her beauty inside and out. I had just seen her on TV in the now-defunct Jeff Probst Show talking about inner beauty where she was all real and fun, and I felt the urge to connect. Ever since laying eyes on her in the wonderful 1987 film ANNA I have been following her career on and off. I was aware of her modeling days but it was this film that made a greater impact on me. Of course, seeing how she was no dummy during post-movie interviews probably helped as well. But anyway, I’m happy to say that she Tweeted back. She thanked me and added that she was hard at work on a second novel. Oh, I forgot to mention that I also brought up in my Tweet her first work, A MODEL SUMMER which is an impressive piece of contemporary fiction.
 
 

The plot revolves around a 15 year old who, after being discovered by a model scout, embarks on a wild journey of sex, sin, first love, and ultimately self-discovery. The semi-autobiographical novel takes you into the gritty world of the fashion industry where everything is far from being all glamorous and chic. But that’s only half the fun in reading A MODEL SUMMER. The other half is finding out how strong the narrative actually is. In a 300-odd pages span Paulina successfully manages not only to flesh-out her main heroine, but to put a new spin to the whole girl-in-jeopardy storyline. Finally a character who is flawed, who makes as many mistakes as any real person would, and who in the end manages to somehow flourish despite the odds. The melodrama is kept to a minimum, focusing instead on the true-to-life route, which for Sleaze Factor is quite unusual considering its over-the-top prerequisites. But the rewards, just like the novel, are exceptional, if not grand.

 

The author kept away from ghostwriters to write A MODEL SUMMER, choosing instead schooling and hard work as means to deliver a full-fledged manuscript. To me, that’s freaking amazing. In a Hollywood world of phonies, opportunists and quick fixes what a breath of fresh air it is to actually focus on someone who’s the real deal. Someone who could easily be my new BFF if she cares to ask. So here’s to you, sweet Paulina. Hope I get to read more of your work in the years to come. And if you feel like acknowledging me in your next novel or the next after that, go right ahead. I won’t hold it against you. But it will go to my head, that I promise you.





 
Until next post—Martin




 

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

MIXED BAG: DEVIOUS MAIDS, SCRUPLES, GOOD LUCK, MISS WYCKOFF


 
 

Yes, DEVIOUS MAIDS, the new prime time soap created and executive produced by DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES’ alumni Marc Cherry and Eva Longoria for Lifetime is funny, upbeat and totally twisted (thanks in parts to evil socialite Rebecca Wisocky), but somehow it still fails to capture my full interest. Blame this on its carbon copy way of delivering the goods. The series feels totally recycled, like it’s another variation of Cherry’s last hit. It would have been so much nicer to see something different from him this time around, if only to prove that he can spew out real originality if he sets his minds to it. As is, one can only wonder if he’ll be stuck in one trick pony La La Land forever.

 


 

Judith Krant's mega-hit SCRUPLES is back in the spotlight. After a failed TV pilot last year (I’m still reeling over that decision, ABC!) co-produced by Academy Award winner Natalie Portman, the 1978 cult classic that really started the chick lit craze has returned for another trip down the publishing aisle via Sphere Books. British journalist and author India Knight (MY LIFE ON A PLATE) lends a hand by penning the book’s intro. If you have yet to grab Krantz’s classic, I urge you to do so ASAP, for it is one heck of a satisfying read, I’m telling you.







 


As I mention here, GOOD LUCK, MISS WYCKOFF is finally going digital. The controversial film will finally hit the street on August 13th 2013 by Vinegar Syndrome. The Blu-ray/DVD combo will feature a slew of DVD supplements (Theatrical Trailers, TV Spots, Reissue Cut "THE SIN", Thoughts On Author William Inge...) and will even include the soundtrack CD as a bonus. Now that's what I call a good deal. So don’t miss the chance of owning this highly-entertaining gem.



 
 
 
 
 
Until next post—Martin








Wednesday, 10 July 2013

MIXED BAG: COLLINS, ROBBINS, SHELDON/BAGSHAWE




OK, I’ve decided to do something a little different this time around, to kick start what I think could be a real doozie if everything goes as plan. Since I don’t always review novels and films like I should, I figured why not ramble on anything connected with sleaze in between real reviews. Cool idea, huh? Soooooo… let’s start this shingding by talking about Jackie Collins.


Yes, the queen of sleaze is putting the finishing touches to her latest, CONFESSIONS OF A WILD CHILD (Simon & SchusterUK). If you think this one is all about Lucky Santangelo, then you’ve guessed right. The novel focuses on her earlier years, which means every important characters should make an appearance, including devilish Olympia Stanislopoplous whom I LOVED in CHANCES. The book is already set for pre-sale in the UK until its September release. No words on when the US/Canada version will hit the stands and e-readers. But based on her earlier outings, it should not be that far in between. Meanwhile, check out her sizzling short story THE ROCK STAR AND THE LIFEGUARD (originally written for Rolling Stone magazine) wherever e-books are sold.



The Mass market paperback edition of Harold Robbins THE CURSE (Forge Books) written by Junius Podrug is set for a New Year’s eve 2013 release. I must admit  that I’m way behind on my Robbins/Podrug reading, but like any former novels of theirs, this latest looks mighty tasty. All about art, fake artifacts and sex—of course. Meanwhile, if you own an e-reader, you can download most of Robbins’s back list, including his posthumous ones. Again, just visit any e-book stores for more info.









Speaking of dead authors, Sidney Sheldon also got a book out in print (hardback) and in digital by HarperCollins Publishers. It’s called THE TIDES OF MEMORY and like his former last outings, it is also written by best-selling author Tilly Bagshawe of FAME fame. Here’s the novel description:

The members of the formidable and captivating De Vere family of London live enviable lives in the world’s most powerful and desirable places, from London’s poshest neighborhoods to influential boardrooms. But when old secrets begin to unravel and threaten everything the De Veres have worked for, the ramifications are deadly.

What can I say. I’m sold already. Though I have to admit that her/his second to last novel, AFTER THE DARKNESS, didn’t do the trick for me. Too many “you've got to be kidding me” situations. But let’s hope this one delivers the goods.



what I'm reading:









Until next post--Martin






Monday, 1 July 2013

J.J. SALEM’S “TAN LINES”




Ever since I came across J.J. Salem’s first bonkbuster TAN LINES in 2010 I’ve been dying to venture into his world of the beautiful people. But sometimes life takes you on a different path, one that barely involves trash fiction. Oh, do not worry, I’m sure Mr. Salem knows exactly where his work stands. Fool of me to ever think of insulting him. Anyway, as I was saying, I sometimes go without reading trash for months, preferring horror novels of all kind. And by trash, I mean anything that resembles this author’s work: a fast-paced plot with a hint (or two or three) of sex, scandal and sin. But I’m happy to announce that the wind has finally turned and I’m more than ready to embrace my love for this genre again. And that’s all thanks to J.J. and his TAN LINES, since his finely tuned tale of glamour and fame made me realize just how much I’ve missed the old days of guilty pleasures in print.


TAN LINES begins on a high note that involves the murder of one of the main characters. Her body is found lying in a lavish Hampton beach house; a house, we come to learn, she’s been sharing with two other women, both in the biz as well. Then it’s flashback time with sex as a main dish, and we’re talking big bold one-on-one encounters. Girl on boy. Girl on girl. Boy on boy, you name it. No one is spared. But underneath all the sex lies a novel with a heart, and that’s the main force of TAN LINES. J.J. Salem manages to concoct a tightly woven tale that goes deeper than meets the eye. You do come to care for these three troubled ladies. You want them to find whatever they’re looking for. But as we already know, life in bonkbuster land is never easy, especially when you’re young, hot and talented like these three heroines are.


Of the bunch, I’d say Alex is the more messed up character. She boozes, she snorts, she bangs... She’s what you call a self-destructive rock chick, trying to make a come-back after her last album bombed. She’s high-maintenance but underneath it all lies a little girl crying out for help. But the way she treats people… Makes you wonder how she ever became friends with the other two ladies. But Salem explains it all quite nicely, and furthermore, it even makes sense. Not that the novel is the down to earth type. We’re talking about an escapist read here. So you have to put some realness out the door and go along for the ride. But you’ll find the other two women a bit more grounded. One is a sweet and beautiful would-be starlet being kept by a rich cold-hearted older man. She wants to cease ties with him and start all over again but is just incapable of doing so. The other is a popular TV personality, a feminist whose straight talk not only pulls in ratings but makes her the target of a deranged person. Is she the one who ends up dead? I’ll let you figure it out all by yourself. One thing’s for sure, though, if you’re anything like me, you’ll devour this novel and demand more in the end. I’m so glad that I have yet to read Salem’s second novel THE STRIP. Just the thought of starting it puts a big smile on my face. So go on, indulge in TAN LINES and come join the fun.





Until next post—Martin


US hardcover edition
UK hardcover edition