Thursday, December 1, 2016

12 days of Clink Street Christmas Event: Review & Guest Post Yana Stajno

Today I’m excited to participate in the first day of the 12 days of Clink Street Christmas Event. For the next 12 days Bloggers and Clink Street Authors are celebrating their love for Christmas and books with reviews, Christmas themed guest posts and more.

 The following authors are participating in this 12 days of Clink Street Christmas Event.


For the first day of the event I reviewed ‘Rules for Thursday Lovers’ by Yana Stajno. I'm also super excited to share Yana's Guest Post 'Fiona's Christmas'.

About the Book:
When old school friends, Angie and Fiona, bump into one another at a rather drunken timeshare event aboard a barge on the river Thames, their reunion will prove to be auspicious. Bored with her life, Fiona insists they both need some excitement. Their marriages have grown stale; their previous hopes and dreams confined to the top shelf, just out of reach. Both women crave romance, not a timeshare apartment. Timesharing a lover; now that would be interesting... Auditions are swiftly convened at London Zoo, with hopefuls including a language student, an opera singer and a pickpocket. Their advert also falls into the hands of a young lawyer called Jake, a colleague of Angie's solicitor husband on a sperm-ownership case. To make sure they each play fair, the women create a list of rules by which they will court and enjoy a man of their mutual choosing. But when has love ever been fair, especially amongst friends?

The Facts:

Publication Date:
July 16th 2015
Women’s Fiction
eBook, Paperback
Available at:

My Review:

When I read the book description of ‘Rules for Thursday Lovers’ I knew this would be a different kind of book then my usual reads. But since that was what I was looking for at the moment I decided I really wanted to give this book a try. And don’t you just love that cover?!

In ‘Rules for Thursday Lovers’ we meet Angie and Fiona, two old school friends. Both woman are kind of bored and frustrated with their lives. One alcohol involved evening Angie and Fiona share their stories with each other and soon a plan is formed. Angie and Fiona will be looking for a lover they can timeshare. An hilarious journey starts.

To be completely honest, it took me a little while to really get into this story. I think this was because I needed to get used to the writing style. Especially in the beginning the story felt a little all over the place. Not necessarily in a bad way, but I had some trouble figuring out what was going on. Thankfully I got used to the writing and I could really start enjoying the story and the characters.

I really enjoyed the friendship between Angie and Fiona. It was fun to read and really entertaining. There were definitely some really funny moments which made me want to keep on reading this book till the very end. The best part for me was reading about how different both Angie and Fiona’s character were. I found reading about them very entertaining.

The one problem I had with this book was the whole looking for a lover, while being married part. I don’t understand how people can do that, and it definitely made me opinionated about this read. I tried to get past my personal feelings, and although I think I managed to see past it more than I thought I would, I still feel like I wasn’t completely able to get past it. And because of that I didn’t love this book as much as I wanted to.

Still, ‘Rules for Thursday Lovers’ is definitely an enjoyable read. 

My Rating:

Fiona's Christmas by Yana Stajno:

St Mary’s bells chimed. Snowflakes dusted the window. A pigeon hopped along the gutter of roof opposite, then flapped off in the direction of Tower Bridge. Fiona tied her new Santa piny over her negligee and headed for the kitchen.

It was strange to have it to herself. Guy had taken most of his shiny pinging and whirring gadgets and all of his recipe books, so the room seemed awfully echoey and empty. The oven was only there because he couldn’t fit it into his small white delivery van.

She lifted the scarf off the bucket. The turkey looked a sickly bald grey but wouldn’t you, if you’d spent all night in brine? She covered it up again and made herself a strong coffee. Then she surveyed the table where Marzena had left the potatoes beautifully peeled and soaking in water. She was much too talented to be a cleaning lady; she should run the Savoy Grill. The brussel sprouts were arranged in a pyramid; the carrots and parsnips were laid out in competing rows like arguments in Fiona’s divorce. And the bandaged Christmas pudding was ready – for what exactly? Boy, it weighed a ton. She decided to boil it, plonked it into the top part of double boiler, added water to the bottom pot and switched the hob on to a low heat.

So, how difficult could cooking a Christmas dinner be?  She’d wolfed down scores of them in posh hotels. They’d tasted pretty much the same. All you had to do was roast and boil everything and fling gravy over it. Easy peasy.

She didn’t actually know how many of her invited guests were coming. Frederick said he would travel all the way from Greifswald on a bicycle to see her. So that must count as a ‘yes.’ Hopefully he wouldn’t bring up his on-going study of British sexual customs in front of Daddy. But then Daddy had grown deaf and kinder since moving into Vetchlings Old Age Home, so he might not make a scene. He was making the journey in the Rolls he hid under a tarpaulin behind the Home’s chicken coop. His man, Derek the crook was driving it. She was certain he was siphoning off Daddy’s fortune. Daddy liked crooks. He felt at home with them.

And then there was Angie. Fiona had left messages on her phone, sent emails and written her a letter. Apologising. Well, sort of.  Angie had to see that ‘love’ and all the craziness that went with it could not be allowed to stand in the way of a friendship that went back to childhood.

Fiona rummaged in the cupboard, found the roasting tin, lifted the turkey out of its watery tomb and tipped it onto the metal. She found salt, butter and an old jar of herbs with the label so faded she had no idea what they were. They were powdery green and smelt okay. She slathered the tepid flesh of the dead bird with salt, butter, herbs and added the contents of an old bottle of HP sauce for luck. Then she tossed all the vegetables around it, doused them with lashings of olive oil, covered the pan with foil, placed it in the oven and switched on a button that said ‘slow roast.’

That was enough cooking for a lifetime. She went upstairs, drew a bath, filled it with bath salts and sank down to soak out the week, and, actually, the year. She felt drowsy. She was back at school, cold; the rain clattered onto the loose roof tiles. She wished she could tiptoe down the dark corridor to Angie’s dormitory, just to find a little human warmth.

The doorbell woke her. The water was icy. She leapt out, threw on some leggings and a T-shirt and raced downstairs past the burning smell to fling open the door.

Daddy stood there, in a suit and tie, flanked by Frederick with his bicycle on one side, and Derek, the crook, on the other.

‘Oh,’ she said, ‘you’re awfully early.’

Derek gave her his usual steady sneer.

Frederick chained up his bike, wiped his forehead and grinned. He was exactly as she remembered him - very gingery, sweaty and young.

Daddy scowled. It was directed at the woman climbing off a moped next to him. She removed her helmet.

Fiona’s heart leapt, but she tried not to show her excitement. Instead she took hold of the bottle Angie was offering and proffered a cheek for her to kiss.

‘Lunch isn’t remotely ready,’ she said. ‘But let’s drink this.’

She turned and walked back into the flat, wondering if they would follow her into the smoky air and wondering what she would do if they did.

About the Author:

Born in Zimbabwe and educated in South Africa, Yana Stajno enjoyed an artistic and eclectic start to life. Graduating in English and Drama at Cape Town University, Stajno was politically active, joining the anti-apartheid movement where she met her future husband in the middle of a riot. Leaving South Africa for a damp squat in Camden Town, she studied acupuncture and Chinese Medicine before becoming an artist and teacher. Stajno has written plays including Postcards from the Swamp and short stories Ten Plastic Roses (published in the Bristol Short Story Prize, 2010) and Flash in the Park (published by SelfMadeHero, 2012); this is her first novel. Yana can be found in her artist studio at the Chocolate Factory, Wood Green, where she happily splashes paint and hosts workshops for children of all ages with the Booster Cushion company.

For more information about Yana please visit her website. Or visit her on Facebook and Twitter.

The Advent Calender:

I received this book from Authoright in exchange for my honest review.

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