Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Twist and Two Balls by Clare London

Title: A Twist and Two Balls (With a Kick Book 1)
Author: Clare London
Purchase at Amazon
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 27,000 words (novella)
Formats Mobi, Epub, PDF

Eduardo Mancini is going to be a star of the London stage and screen. Or that was the plan. His alter ego Eddy March hasn't got further than the chorus and a bit part in a TV series. His parents aren't supportive, his agent can’t place his particular skills, and he's finding it hard to hang onto his young dreams. Things go from bad to worse when he's late for an important audition, hasn't got enough money to pay the taxi fare, and is chased across the streets of Soho by the irate driver.

Eddy reaches what he believes is sanctuary - With A Kick, a store where ice creams are blended with alcohol and imagination, and where his friends can help him. But Nuri the taxi driver is persistent in his steady pursuit, above and beyond the money he’s owed. Despite their very different characters and background, Eddy and Nuri’s relationship goes from a complete unknown to a wary balancing act. There are still mistakes to be made, and hurdles to clear. And both of them have to admit that their life so far hasn’t gone the way they planned.

But maybe being caught by Nuri was just what Eddy’s career needed – both for his job and his heart.

With a Kick must be the best ice cream shop in the world, serving adult flavor combinations spiked with alcohol, along with flavors suitable for kids. Everyone's happy, right? This shop is the backdrop and a unifying element for the series. Eat ice cream, work out lovelife problems… Sounds good to me!

Eddie the aspiring actor manages to fall flat on his face a lot, but in the best way. Not enough money for a cab fare, missing auditions and revising his aspirations, and getting what he wants after all. Once he knows what that is, beyond Nuri the handsome cabbie of Turkish extraction. He’s quite histrionic, able to provide a comparison to every current situation from plays and TV shows. This also slops into his personality, leading one friend to be pleased when he stops acting like “a tragic Shakespearean arse or a blockbuster diva.” This reader appreciated it too, since once he got that tendency under control Eddie got a lot better at adulting.

His chance encounter with Nuri escalates from an unpaid cab fare to being incorporated into Nuri’s big, rambunctious family, who accepts him with open arms. They’re outspoken and if their charm is a little rude, their hearts are good. Eddie needs to be kicked into shape, and Adem, Sadi, Jamal, and the silent but observant grandmamma are just the ones to do it.

Nuri needs some nudges of his own, and this part I just have to believe, because the author knows the British system Nuri’s involved in and I don’t. Still, it’s good to see how Eddie helps Nuri, even if it wasn’t intentional, and very good to see how the family backs their own.

There's a lot of British flavor here, including some slang, but it's all clear from the context, and gives a nice sense of place to Clare London's always pleasing prose.

Patrick and Lee, owners of the shop, have their own simmering story. They’re secondary characters but you can tell there’s something between them aside from differing opinions on gratis dishes. It should be fun to continue the series and find out their story along with the friends they feed with sweet treats and reality checks.

This was a delightful afternoon’s read, and now I want ice cream! 4 marbles

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