Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Reaching for the Stars - Janice Horton - Review and Author Interview

'Reaching for the Stars' tells the story of a celebrity chef, Finlay McDuff, who has achieved his dream restaurant rating of three 'Golden Stars', and has attained celebrity 'rock-god-chef' status in the eyes of the media and his many fans, but whose personal life has been anything but golden for a long time now. He has put his career before everything else: 'ambition had been his mistress.' Currently on his third failed marriage, and desperate not to lose this wife, Gina, without a fight, he decides to take drastic measures and make major changes to his life. 

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Edinburgh, budding reporter Raine Sanderson is searching for a scoop that will clinch her dream job at 'The Thistle' newspaper, desperate to prove her skills to boss Veronica. Raine is up against the underhand tactics of rival Ross Campbell, who is just as desperate for a star reporter role, and he ends up at rival newspaper 'The City News'. When chef McDuff disappears, there is a media frenzy, with the two papers trying to constantly outdo each other. Another strand to the story involves chef Anna James, currently working in Paris, who has a history with Finn, back when they were teenagers, and he worked for her chef father Gordon. Anna is returning to Edinburgh and looking to base her professional future there, and expecting this to involve Finn and his restaurant. 

I really enjoyed the rivalry between reporter Raine and her competitor Ross, which builds well as the story progresses. Raine is a likeable character who stands by her principles and wants to give Finn a chance to set the record straight. Finn takes a step back from his life and is able to take time to learn where he has gone wrong in the past, being so career-driven, to discover what he really wants from life, and what needs to change in order for him to find some happiness. The novel gives a good insight into the way someone such as Finn can be hounded by the media to the detriment of any happy personal life. The author portrays a sympathetic, flawed man who has reached a point where something has to give, and he escapes to try and find a happier life. This is an entertaining and enjoyable story with a good mix of humour and intrigue.

Thank you very much to the author for providing a copy of the novel to read and give an honest review. 

Available as an e-book from Amazon now, click here to be taken to the page.

Janice Horton is one of the authors involved in the loveahappyending project. Find out more about this here.

Interview with the author, Janice Horton!

Are you a keen cook yourself? 

I love to cook. I have lots of cookbooks and like to follow recipes. I also like devising new ones myself and trying them out on my family – they are usually complimentary about my efforts! I have taught my three sons to cook over the years and now that they live away from home most of the time (as students) at least I know they can feed themselves properly and on a budget. The research needed for ‘Reaching for the Stars’ - my newly published novel about a celebrity chef – took me into the professional kitchens of top chefs and that was great fun as well as informative.

Do you watch TV cookery shows?
I don’t normally watch very much TV but make a point of seeing TV cookery shows. I love them all!

Who is/are your favourite 'celebrity' chef(s)?
I have several favourites actually and I like to think of Chef Finn McDuff (the hero of Reaching for the Stars) as an amalgamation of them all. Interestingly, I recently ran a popular poll on my blog to find my reader’s favourite celebrity chef and Gino D’Acampo came out one point ahead of Jamie Oliver!

When Finn escapes from the city, is the place he goes to a favourite area of yours?
The setting for Chef McDuff’s fictional hideaway is indeed a place very close to my heart and to my location in real life.

Do you have a favourite book?
Yes, that’s easy – it’s Riders by Jilly Cooper.

What are you currently reading?
Right now I’m reading Satchfield Hall by fabulous author Pauline Barclay, but with dozens and dozens of unread books on my Kindle, I really have some catching up on in 2012!

Do you have a favourite or special place where you like to write/read?
I’ll read and write anywhere as long as it’s warm. On the sofa by the fire, in bed, whist sunbathing with a cocktail to hand (okay, that’s my favourite!) I take my Kindle out with me in my handbag so I’ve always got a book to read whenever I get an opportunity.

Thank you so much for your time, Janice!


  1. Great review and interview Lindsay! I'd love to read this book.

    Megan @ Storybook Love Affair

  2. Thanks for a great review and interview with Janice. I really enjoyed Reaching for the Stars.

  3. This is fabulous! I love Janice's writing style and will look forward to reading this book. I also love the title, it's very appropriate. Well done, Janice.

    CJ x

  4. Great review, have added this book to my wishlist.

  5. Lovely review, thanks so much Lindsay--and great interview too, well done both of you. I adored Reaching for the Stars, too! XX

  6. I am currently reading the book and enjoying it very much!

  7. Great review and interview, but Janice writes good books and is also a very nice person.

  8. Thank you Lindsay, for reading Reaching for the Stars and for writing such a detailed review! Thanks everyone for the lovely comments which I really appreciate.
    Janice xx

  9. I loved Riders! Great review and a fab concise interview! Now, no fighting me for it guy's, but I won the cook's hat! (Well, I like to think it is :)). I read Janice's Bagpipes and Bullshot, too. Really enjoyed it.

  10. I am looking forward to this one


  11. Fabulous book by a fabulous author! Love the post.

  12. Thank you very much everyone for taking the time to visit and comment!

  13. Great post and interview



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