Author: Jo Bartlett
Published: June 17, 2015 by So Vain Books
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 spiraling 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.
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In a nutshell: I loved this novel! It was filled with important lessons about life and love. I loved the characters and the writing, and the entire story had me laughing from start to finish.
Among a Thousand Stars had me laughing from page one! Many people grow up thinking that they have the most embarrassing mother in the world but in hindsight realize they weren’t that bad. In this case, Ashleigh’s mother takes the cake as the one of the most eccentric and embarrassing mothers I’ve ever heard or read about! Throw in an amazing gay best friend named Stevie who has ‘champagne tastes on lemonade pockets’ and a crush on her new boss that’s engaged to a woman he doesn’t love, and you’ve got yourself an entertaining mix.
There’s an undeniable budding chemistry between Ashleigh and Tom and it’s about more than just a physical attraction. The two have more in common than they first realize and they begin to feel comfortable enough to share things with one another that they normally keep bottled up inside. Tom doesn’t believe in love [as a result of his parents’ relationship growing up] and Ashleigh isn’t very good at the whole relationship thing, though she wants more than anything to find true love. They’ve decided to have a bit of no strings attached fun, though it’s clear that Ashleigh wants more and it’s only a matter of time before something will either bring them together or break them apart.
The main theme threaded throughout this story was love; searching for the love that her parents had, dismissing love in order to not get involved or hurt, a budding romance, and ultimately finding love in unexpected places. There are also themes of life, loss, pain, grief and dysfunctional families leaving a mark; Among a Thousand Stars is a beautiful reminder of how fragile life really is and how important it is to embrace love and life. Although you should allow yourself to be open to the possibility of love, you can’t rely on someone else for your own happiness. You must look inside yourself and be happy with who you are before you can find love in a relationship with another.
Tom was always putting work before his personal life, that he ended up not really having much of a life. Why are you working so hard for a life of luxury, if you don’t have friends and people that care about you to share your life with? Tom finally comes around and realizes what’s truly the most important thing in life; love, the love you have for another, the love you have for your friends and family. You cannot live your life by being too afraid to get close to anyone. You can’t pretend love doesn’t exist and you certainly shouldn’t throw it away when you do get lucky enough to find it.
“If you’re going into this thinking it might be love, then I have to tell you that I don’t believe in all that. I like you and I’m really attracted to you, but I don’t make promises I can’t keep.”
‘Her reaction was to search for the love that her parents had never had, but Tom’s had been more clinical – deciding to dismiss even the possibility that it might exist.’
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
About the Author – Jo Bartlett
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About the author from her website:
William W. Purkey once famously said:
“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
For years I wrote like no-one was reading, because they weren’t! I wrote for escapism and enjoyment but never did anything with it. It was only when cancer gave me a kick up the proverbial and I had a few months off work as a result that I decided to do something more with my writing. I joined the Romantic Novelist’s Association after reading an interview with one of my favourite authors, Jill Mansell, which mentioned them. When I eventually sent in the manuscript for my first novel to their New Writers’ Scheme, it turned out they thought it was worth submitting to publishers and I have now found a home for it.
My debut novel – ‘Among A Thousand Stars’ – published by So Vain Books is now available for pre-order as an e-book, with the paper version released for pre-order on 2nd June. I also have a pocket novel, published by DC Thomson, coming out on 18th June – ‘No Time For Second Best’ – which will be available from WHSmiths and most supermarkets, for two weeks, and then as an ebook from Amazon. In addition, I released a novella – ‘The Gift of Christmas Yet to Come’ – in November 2014, which has topped one of the Amazon download charts and received some really positive reviews.
I’ve met some wonderful people over the last couple of years since all this began, including some of my heroines of writing, either in real life or in the wonderful virtual world of social media. Jill Mansell, who sort of started all this in a roundabout way, is a friend on Facebook, which is frankly amazing! Best of all, though, I have picked up nine brilliant writing buddies along the way, who blog together as The Write Romantics and we keep each other going throughout the highs and lows.
So this is me with an author picture which is a bit David Bellamy escaping from the undergrowth, but mostly an attempt to look a bit thinner, younger and better looking than I am, which didn’t work all that well because sadly it looks exactly like me!
Thanks so much for your lovely review of ‘Among A Thousand Stars’ Arielle. Although I have to say that I am blushing slightly at having my photo on the same page as someone as stunning as you – will definitely be following your blog, as I could do with picking up whatever tips I can!