Monday 21 July 2014

✪ Hooked On A Feeling ✪ Ainslie Paton ✪

© Bianca Janeane

• 274 pages
• release date - 1 August 2014
Escape Publishing Australia


5 Stars

A groovy romance about changing times, growing up, breaking out and second chances. Set in Sydney in 1975, when pants and collars were wide, hair was big, eyelids were blue and neighbours shared each other’s lives.

There’s a sexual revolution going on, but not in Gayle’s life. She’s never felt so old, so unattractive, and so helpless. Your husband asking for a divorce could do that to you. Now she’s the scandalous new neighbour, the single mum, the divorcee, who needs a job but doesn’t know how to balance her own cheque book.

And then Steve and Ray arrive in her life, the former with chocolate hair and hurt eyes, the latter with a tomboy daughter and an uptight attitude. Suddenly, being separated doesn’t feel so shameful. This is the story of how Gayle lost her home to find true friends; her marriage to find a new life; and her husband to find love.

Australia 1975.

Gayle has just left her husband and her safe life in a nice suburb of Sydney. He doesn't love her anymore and he's having a baby with his girlfriend.
So Gayle and her son Dean were graciously allowed by her husband Max to move into a little house on their own.
Remember this is 1975 - so it's not an everyday thing that a single mum moves into the neighbourhood.
Scandalous!!! o.O
Even her parents won't talk to her - they blame her for everything!!

But Gayle quickly finds friends in her new neighbour Hazel - a young teaching-student who's in love/lust with their very hot neighbour Steve.
Phew - Gayle is totally in lust-at-first-sight.
Which is something completely new for her - she's practically a virgin after being married to Max for eight years.
Then there's Steve's brother Ray - who's the father of Kim - who's the new best friend of Gayle's son Dean.
Ray! ♥ They kind of can't stand each other at the beginning!

this is kind of my idea of a mix between Ray & Steve ☺ I couldn't find a hot 1975 guy!

Lots of new people - lots of new opportunities - maybe a much happier future?

But Gayle's ex Max is still controlling everything - he's the one paying for the house after all - and he's the one who can legally take away Dean if he feels like it!

And the new men in Gayle's life - Steve and Ray - they're not without their own problems either.

The story is told from Gayle's, Ray's, Hazel's & Dean's POVs - that way we can hear everything they think and feel.
How little Dean loves it in this new neighbourhood - he loves his new friend Kim, but he kinda misses his Dad. But Steve and Ray are totally cool too.

Poor Hazel has been in love with war veteran Steve for years. But he's such a (sexy) womanizing idiot!

Ray is fighting to keep his life on track - his PTSD brother, his little girl and the annoying - and hot - new neighbour.

And Gayle. She doesn't really know what she wants. What she could have now that she's a single mom.
She has dreams and wishes but wouldn't it be safer and better for Dean if she wouldn't have left her husband?


 NOPE..... I'm not telling you ☺

I don't want to spoil anything!!!


This was such a beautiful story!
Sydney 1975 - I was a bit worried about that at first. But you don't really notice it that much - ok - there are lots of seventies brands and bands and cars mentioned, and nobody has ever heard of feminism - but I really loved the book.

Such an amazing group of people - Gayle & Dean - Ray & Kim & Steve & Hazel.
And all their lives pretty much start anew when Gayle and her son move into the street.

It was so adorable to watch them struggle and fight and love and have fun....

I felt like I was right there with them - maybe like an old TV-Show or Movie - coloured, but a little bit faded like an old photograph - which doesn't make it any less wonderful - maybe it makes it all even better.
Everything is described so beautifully and vividly. I wanted to move in next door to Steve or Ray - to be the one who could save them and make them happy again!

I think I spent the last third of the book crying - it was soo moving and sad and beautiful!

Was there something I didn't like??
Hm - maybe the moustaches the guys had on their faces! I hate that - but I can't blame Ainslie - it was the seventies - guys did have those back then - I think I will blame Tom Selleck or whoever started that horrible face-hair-idiocy ☺
But don't let the "1975 in Australia"- thing stop you from reading this beautiful Love Story!

HOOKED ON A FEELiNG was such a beautifully romantic, adorable and moving seventies Love Story!
You will fall in love with Ray & Steve & all the others too!!!

Thank you Ainslie Paton for giving the the chance to relive my childhood whilst reading Hooked on a Feeling!

Although maybe not so many thanks for making me feel old!!

Seriously, it was like I was reliving growing up in the suburbs of Sydney.  Be warned non-Aussies that there are quite a few product names and brands mentioned, but they are mainly at the beginning, and I see it as payback for all the American brands and names I always have to read about!!

I loved the story of Gayle, newly separated and trying to make do on her own for the first time ever, along with her son Dean. At first her shame at being dumped by her douche of a husband is palpable. 
But then it is like a switch was flipped.  It is like she finally started to live her life when she moved into the quite suburban street.

The whole neighbourhood seems to come alive when Gayle and Dean move in.  And she does not escape the notice of the single men in the area either.  Ray and Kim, Steve and Hazel didn't know what hit them!

I loved the brothers Ray and Steve, each in their own way.  Steve is a flirtatious, hands on kind of guy, while Ray is more standoffish, brusque, mean kind of guy. Or is he?

So who will get the girl?  Will there be a happy ending?

Nope, not telling.

This is such a different kind of book to the others that Ms Paton has written.  It is beautifully descriptive, heck I could almost hear the waves at the beach, feel the sting of a summer sunburn, hear the cicadas echoing down the street.

It is a sweet, romantic book - even if it did make me cry for a big portion of the last half!  My heart broke for more than one character in this book as their stories came to fruition.  There was so much heartache and trouble for so many of them at different times in the story.
I have to agree with Bianca up there about the moustaches.  Hey, I know it was the style at the time, but my grandmother always said "don't trust a man with a moustache, he has something to hide".  But boy did these boys rock their pornstachios - I swear all I could picture was 70's porn staches!
Ms Paton has written  a sweet, beautiful book about love and loss in a time that felt so near but so far away - and thankfully not a hippy in sight.  She has not disappointed me in the past, she has not disappointed me with Hooked on a Feeling, and I am sure she will not disappoint me in the future.
 So get groovy baby and read this unreal book!


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 Ainslie Paton is a corporate storyteller working in marketing, public relations and advertising.

She’s written about everything from the African refugee crisis and Toxic Shock Syndrome, to high-speed data networks and hamburgers, and for everyone from George Clooney to Barry Humphries—as Edna.

She writes cracking, hyper-real romances about strong women and the exciting men who love them.