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Will you be going to see the movie? (warning: music on site)

I must admit, I’ve been looking forward to seeing this, ever since I heard they were making the movie.

Myself and my best gal friends had yet another Sex and The City fest earlier this month (we’ve had many of these). We watched the entire Season 6 DVD, to prepare us for the movie. It was like seeing old friends again.

Of course we went through the obligatory ‘Which SATC gal are you most like?’ I think I’m most like Miranda. Cutting, sarcastic, a tad bitchy, but very loyal. None of my friends owned up to being like Samantha, but we agreed that her *ahem* liberal attitude to sex was enviable. *g*

Which SATC gal are you most like?

The second Dorothy Koomson book that I read this week was The Chocolate Run, and oh my, it was good. Actually, it was better than good, it was bloody fantastic.

Amber Salpone keeps ending up in bed with her best male friend, Greg, who by his own admission is a bit of a tart. The veritable ladies man, who’s never met a woman he didn’t want to have sex with.

When they first met, Amber was convinced he was an asshole, but little by little, they became the best of friends, and Amber became the person he rang whenever he found himself in a spot of bother. (usually when  trying to extricate himself from yet another clingy woman, who didn’t realise that all he wanted from them was sex.)

Greg was the quintessential womanising bastard who really shouldn’t have been likeable, but oh my, I loved him to bits.

Amber had never thought of Greg like that before they ended up in bed, but to her consternation, it was the best sex she’d ever had. After they’d done the deed (many times) they vow to never repeat the event, and pretend it never happened. The problem is, they just can’t keep their hands off each other.

They decide to keep getting horizontal (and vertical come to think of it), but Amber insists on keeping their nocturnal activites quiet from their best friends, Matt and Jen.  Jen is Amber’s best friend and Matt is Greg’s best friend.

Amber feels very guilty about keeping her friend in the dark about her fling with Greg,  but she doesn’t expect it to last beyond two weeks, so she launches herself into the affair, fully expecting the other shoe to fall at any time.

Amber is a commitment phobe who doesn’t believe in the sanctity of marriage, and she assumes that Greg feels exactly the same way. The problem is, Greg has secretly been in love with her for the last two years, and has been waiting for the perfect time to get his hands on her. Now that he’s got her, he wants to keep her, but he has to be underhanded about his intentions, because he knows that he’ll scare her if he makes any sudden moves towards making their relationship more permanent.

Whilst Amber struggles with her growing feelings for Greg, she’s conscious of the fact that there seems to be a gulf between her and her best friend, Jen. She feels guilty for not telling Jen about her affair with Greg, but she knows that it will cause friction between them if she does.

Amber wants to find a way back to her best friend, but fears that she may lose Greg in the process. What she doesn’t realise, is that there are secrets, that when revealed, will test the strength of all their relationships.

The Chocolate Run was one of those books that hooks you from the first page, and keeps a stranglehold until you finish. I started reading it at about twelve o’clock midnight (after another insanely busy day), and didn’t put it down until I’d finished.

Once again, as per all of Koomson’s books so far, The Chocolate Run is told from the heroine’s point of view. I enjoyed Amber’s thought processes immensely, and I loved the way she equated the people she met to different types of chocolate.

Oh, I may not have mentioned it, but Amber was a chocoholic. She had a habit of running to the supermarket (especially when going through stressful periods) and systematically looking for the perfect chocolate to buy at that moment.  This was generally done by conducting a highly scientific sniffing test. These moments were highly amusing.

One thing I loved about Amber was how humorous she was. I found myself laughing during her self-analysis phases, something that she went through quite often. She had a self-deprecating type of sense of humour, which appealed to me.

As for Greg, well I simply loved him. Yes he was a womanising swine, but this reader could see that Amber was his world. He realised that he’d have to work extra hard with Amber, seeing as she’d witnessed first hand the devastation he left behind after his affairs went sour, but he wanted to take that challenge, because for him, she was The One.

Greg was warm and humorous, but could also be madly jealous and clingy. I loved that this confident, notorious lothario could be brought down low, with just one thoughtless word from the heroine. I liked that he wasn’t as secure with her, as he was with other women. For me, it proved that she was special to him. What can I say, I love that dynamic in my romance.

One of the most moving moments was towards the end of the book, when he fears that he’s going to lose Amber and he begs her to stay with him. He cries in that scene, and oh my soft little heart really felt his pain.

The secondary characters in the book were also superbly written,  and none of them were surplus to requirement.

Something else I loved about the book, was the setting. The Chocolate Run was set in Leeds, and it was wonderful reading about places that I’m familiar with. For instance, I attended a graduation ball at the Queen’s Hotel in Leeds many years ago, and myself and some friends got very drunk in Yates’s pub, whilst on a pub crawl. It gave me such a thrill to read about shopping on Albion Street, and walking into the Virgin music shop.

The Chocolate Run is at heart, a friends-to-lovers romance, but with so much more depth than your average traditional romance. It examines the vagaries of friendships, and how they evolve over time. It was an extremely smart, well-written, witty, deliciously poignant book, that both elevated my spirits, and sunk me low. I mostly laughed, then I cried, and then I laughed again.

Having read Koomson before, I was fearful that the book wouldn’t end the way I wanted it to, but luckily this time, I got my happy ending.

What more could this avid romance reader ask for?

You can read an excerpt of The Chocolate Run here, buy from Amazon.com here, and Amazon UK here.

BTW, how lovely is that cover?