Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

C U @ 8 by Cindy Vine (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Virtual Book Tour Cafe, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Cindy Vine, author of C U  @ 8!

Author Guest Post

Why Do We Write?

Being a writer is not an easy undertaking. It is not glamorous and you do not find your bank account suddenly rolling in cash. Friends and family do not always understand your need to write. Some of them may even look down on you with pity. You know that look. "Poor Cindy. You know she has THAT hobby." Well actually, writing is not a hobby. It's a part of me, a part of who I am. It's one of the things that makes me tic.

This was brought home to me last week when I was rushed off to the hospital in Nairobi. As I lay on my hospital bed in a private room as I was in isolation because I had MRSA, surrounded by emptiness and loneliness, I thought what a good time to make a start on my next novel I'd been carrying in my head for the past few months. I was in a foreign country, no family and friends anywhere near, no internet, my phone was dead as in my dazed haste I'd forgotten to pack the  phone charger. But I did bring along my laptop with the outline of a story on it. I had no control over my body it was doing its own thing, plugged into IV lines and monitors. But I did have control of what I was writing and that little bit of control in some area of my life gave me hope and strength. So I guess one of the reasons we write is to have control of a life. We can dictate what is going to happen, how they will cope with adversity. We can give a happy ending, or not. We can't necessarily do that in our own lives.

We write because we want to entertain and have a message to share with the world. We have all these words in us dying to be heard. I've always seen things like movies. It's like I always have a movie playing in my head. I used to joke that whenever I went to sleep it was like I was going to the movies. In meetings and while traveling, I'd play those movies in my head so that I'd never be bored. Crazy? Maybe a little.

Writing has a purpose. In Fear, Phobias and Frozen Feet, writing was cathartic as I explored how to break the cycle of bad relationships in your life. Stop the world, I need to pee, was also very cathartic. Fiction loosely based on my escape from my abusive marriage. The Case of Billy B was based on a true story about a father and son who were harassed and abused by the caregiver. Not Telling is a story about a young woman who rises above adversity and has to make the most difficult decision of her life. Defective was inspired by the famous Scissors murder in South Africa in the 1970's. Survival Tips for the Suddenly Single is lighthearted practical advice. C U @ 8 is fun and a story my eldest daughter and I came up with after she was looking after me after my last bout with breast cancer. When we consistently write about the dark it's good to once in a while venture into the light. Hush Baby is the novel I'm currently working on. I reckon it'll be the best yet. For Hush Baby I have ventured back into the dark.

I write because I enjoy it and it gives me a feeling of satisfaction and achievement. It's a way to unwind and relax after a stressful week. With writing you can cut yourself off from your worries and transcend into another world where you have control. A world where you can solve problems. A place where you can escape.

About The Author:

A teacher, writer, mother - Cindy Vine was born in Cape Town, South Africa and has lived and worked in many different countries around the world. She currently resides in Tanzania at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. Cindy has three children, two of whom have already left home. Writing and reading has been a passion of hers since she was a young girl.

Cindy Vine's C U @ 8 Virtual Book Tour Page On Virtual Book Tour Cafe

Book Review

C U @ 8 by Cindy Vine
Published By: CreateSpace
Release Date: March 21, 2012
Format: Paperback - 220 pages / Kindle - 290 KB
ISBN: 1475020325
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Chick Lit / Women's Fiction


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Virtual Book Tour Cafe.

Book Description:

Do your kids ever really leave?

Fenella Fisher and Suki Rabinowitz are middle-aged single mothers whose children have left home and started on their own lives and careers. But Suki’s son Josh is a cocaine-addict who supposedly fathered a baby on a visit to the UK; and Fenella’s daughter Kirsty has just been dumped and is feeling miserable. Fenella and Suki decide they need to step in to help their children and hatch a plan to sort out Josh’s mess and find Kirsty a suitable man, with some hilarious consequences. After interviewing prospective husbands for Kirsty at Waves Restaurant and Bar, they discover that a good man is hard to find.

Book Excerpt:

                                                  Chapter 10

‘Fun-loving, creative free-spirited young woman looking for a life partner. Travel, art and adventure are my middle names. Conservative is out and not in my repertoire. Control freak does not feature in my life dictionary. Cheap and miserly are not welcome in my universe. If you are intelligent with a sense of humour, a stable job and a six pack, then please contact me so I can get to know you.’

Suki had said short and sweet was better. Men on dating sites couldn’t be bothered to read long diatribes; they were in too much of a hurry to meet their ideal woman. So Fenella had complied. With quite a bit of eye rolling and laughter, the two had bandied about words until they were satisfied. “Leave it to stew for 24 hours before we check for any bites,” Suki had suggested and Fenella had done just that. Twenty-four hours had passed. Throughout the day Fenella had kept looking at the clock on the kitchen wall. Since the invention of cell phones she had stopped wearing her watch. In fact, she had no idea where it was or where she’d last seen it. It had been a gift, she couldn’t even remember who’d given it to her. It had been about a decade ago for a birthday, she thought.

Suki was late. Before she left the day before she’d made Fenella promise not to open up Kirsty’s profile page and look at the replies. She wanted to be a part of the action, which Fenella supposed was only fair seeing that this whole internet dating thing had been her idea. Where the hell was Suki? Fenella was just about to succumb to temptation and open up the webpage when the doorbell rang.

“976 replies! I told you!” Suki had an excited sparkle in her eyes. She looked quite animated, Fenella thought, feeling less excited herself. Well, maybe she was a little excited, but quite a bit apprehensive as well about the whole damn thing. “So what we need to do first is delete the weirdoes and creeps.”

“I thought you said there weren’t weirdoes, creeps and psychopaths on this website!” exclaimed Fenella feeling rather naïve about that kind of stuff.

“Um, not really, well some but sort of. They are far less weirdish and freakish on this site than on some of the other sites,” said Suki clicking on links and deleting emails at quite a pace. “Yuck! Yugh! Ugggg!” Fenella peeped over Suki’s shoulder only to see a picture of an erect penis filling her screen. “And you were saying?”

“Some creepos still slip through, like that one. So what we do is reduce these responses to our top few hundred.”

“Few hundred? Few hundred!” Fenella was in shock. There was no way she was interviewing a few hundred young men. “I’m not sure about this Suki. I’m not sure if it’s worth it. These interviews…I don’t think I can do it.” Falling back onto her chair Fenella began to fan herself. A panic attack seemed to be developing as the heat started from her head and seemed to spread down to her toes. It was either that or a hot flush and the start of menopause.

Suki sat upright on the dining table chair glaring at Fenella with her hands on her hips. “Do you or do you not want Kirsty to give you grandchildren and make you a granny?

For someone who wasn’t that tall Suki could be quite intimidating. “I…er…do want Kirsty to have children one day. But Suki, there has to be another way. I can’t sit through a date with a few hundred men and interview them. My school holiday doesn’t last forever and I don’t want to use it all up on…this!” Fenella pointed at the computer screen. If she didn’t go and fetch herself some ice water from the fridge she was going to self-combust.

Suki folded her arms and scowled. “You may be right. Logistically and time-wise to set up a few hundred dates is improbable. You wouldn’t be giving each applicant the attention they deserve. And if we do a rush job then we won’t get the best. Let me think a minute. We probably need more coffee,” said Suki draining the dregs from her mug. Fenella had hardly touched hers. Coffee was the last thing on her mind. The last thing she felt like doing was pouring more heat into her already overheating body!

“You want that special blend again?”

“Yeah, that East African one again. I love the taste, the aroma. Can’t believe you never brought me back a bag!” The truth was that Fenella had spent ages dithering about what to buy Suki. It was so hard to buy a gift for a woman who had everything and was fussy to boot. She often criticised Fenella’s style choices, although to be honest, baggy t-shirts and track pants were probably on the unflattering side. After wandering around browsing for what seemed like hours, she’d settled for an ornately carved wooden box similar to the Swahili carved wooden doorways she’d fallen in love with. It was always risky buying Suki jewellery as she tended to only wear pieces completely out of Fenella’s price range. So a box it had been but in retrospect coffee would have been better. Fenella hadn’t even thought about coffee as a gift.

With the coffee brewing and the machine making its happy sounds, Fenella joined Suki in front of her laptop at the dining room table. “Any bright ideas yet? Or should we just delete this profile?”

Glaring at Fenella Suki leaned forward to hug the keyboard protectively. “No don’t touch! No deleting, I have an idea as surprising as it may sound.”

Fenella gave an eye roll. “Seriously Suki, covering up my keyboard like that. How old are you?”

“Never trust a woman who tells you her age,” Suki countered. “I know what we are going to do. It’s perfect. In fact so perfect, I think I should patent the idea.”

Fenella groaned. This wasn’t sounding good. It was building up to one of Suki’s hare-brained schemes she could tell. “Okay, stop keeping me hanging in suspense. What’s the idea?”

Suki gave a little shake of her shoulders and sat up straight. “We,” she paused dramatically for effect, “Are going to set up a mass date.”

Groaning out loud Fenella held her head in her hands. “Don’t tell me you are suggesting what I think you are suggesting.”

“We email our top few hundred, say something witty, hook them further. A little saucy repartee. Not all will reply, but many will and then we suggest a meeting. We give all our short list the same date and time to be at a venue we pick.”

“A few hundred doesn’t sound like a short list to me!”

“Oh stop being negative,” Suki pouted. “Then we casually wander among them and check them out. We can take a notebook and make notes. We might even strike up some idle chit-chat with some of them.” “Are we going to introduce ourselves and tell them why they’re there? Some of them might be pissed to find they’re part of a mass date. I’m not sure about this.” Fenella chewed on her lip. Suki’s plan sounded very flawed to her ears.

“No silly of course not! We’re not asking for trouble. We check them out like we just coincidentally happened to be there at the same time. They’ll think their date stood them up. We can make up some excuse when we email the ones we liked later. Do you think we might need a checklist for our prospects?”

Suki was on a roll and Fenella knew she would not be deterred. This plan would go ahead even though Fenella had grave reservations about it. “So where will we meet them?”

Suki threw her arms around Fenella, giving her a suffocating hug. “I knew you’d come on board! I was thinking that new restaurant/bar on the beachfront we’ve been going to. Waves. It’s quite big inside and should accommodate all our prospectives. We should get the owner to give us commission as we’ll be increasing his business on a normally quiet week night. Don’t look at me like that I’m just joking. About the commission part, that is.”

Fenella gave a thin smile. She felt quite drained. This reminded her of why she hated dating and was content to remain single. It was just too much hard work and unnecessary stress. No wonder people elected to stay in bad relationships. “Let me pour that coffee. You sure this will work?” Suki nodded, grinning and humming to herself as she turned back to scroll through the responses to the ad on the dating site. In a way Fenella was glad that finding Kirsty a man had made Suki’s other problem with that woman in Cornwall, take a back seat. She felt bad keeping Kirsty’s news about Josh a secret from her friend. But then again, she was sure that Suki had kept secrets from her about Kirsty she’d heard over the years. Lying by omission. It was something everybody did to protect those they cared about.

My Book Review:

Two 50 year old single mothers ... two adult problematic children with too much drama and issues in their adult lives ... two worrisome moms who come to the rescue ...

Fenella Fisher and Suki Rabonowitz have been lifelong BFFs since the age of two. When their two eldest children find their adult lives are in a mess, the worried moms hatch a plan to sort out their children's lives.

Suki's son Josh has been known to be a liar, owes money to several people, is a cocaine addict and possibly had an affair with a woman in Cornwall, UK which resulted in a pregnancy.

Fenella's twenty-eight year old daughter Kirsty is an artist who has a needy streak that requires asking her mother "the relationship guru" for advice about her relationships. Her latest on again / off again boyfriend Grant has dumped Kirsty and left her in a tizzy.

Suki and Fenella hatch a crazy plan to find Kirsty a man on an internet dating site that leads the two ladies on an adventure filled with crazy antics. They also try to solve Josh's problem with the possible birth of his child in the UK.

Can the worried moms fix their wayward kids' lives?

C U @ 8 is an entertaining story about two worried moms whose eldest adult children can't seem to get their lives together. Written in the third person narrative, the reader follows along with the quirky fifty year old single moms Fenella and Suki as they try to fix their kids' lives through some really funny antics. There is a lot of humorous and quirky sides to these two ladies, in a time in their lives when they should be enjoying themselves, their needy adult children fill their days with worry and they feel the need to step in and help them out.

There are a lot of laugh-out-loud moments in this entertaining story with these two characters that will keep you in stitches as you read about their adventures and crazy antics. Fenella is the more serious type of woman, who just wants to get rid of her frequent migraines, travel to exotic spots and live a peaceful life.  Suki on the other hand is redefining her life after the death of her ultra conservative orthodox Jewish husband's death. Put these two lifelong BFFs together and you have a duo that are determined to help their kids, and while they're at it they get themselves into some pretty funny situations!

C U @ 8 is a lighthearted entertaining story about the special bond that is a mother's love for their child. If you want a fast paced fun read full of quirky humor and crazy antics, then this is the book for you!

RATING: 3 STARS *** (My Rating) / 4 STARS **** (Amazon Rating)


  1. Great post and review. Thank you for hosting Cindy today. :)

    1. Thank you for the opportunity to read, review and host Cindy's virtual book tour event. :)

  2. This looks like a real good read. I like that there are LOL moments in it, but I'm sure (based on the synopsis, as well as your review) that it's heartwarming as well.

    1. Hi Nikola! Thank you for stopping by and commenting. If you get the chance to read the book, it is a fun read! :)