Monday, 24 October 2016

"The Queen of Blogging" Therese Loreskar























"The secret to maintaining a successful blog is to be personal, but not too private. What's the difference? How should I know since my blog is pure lies?"

Thank you so much Sarah Hardy (@sarahhardy681) from bytheletterbookreviews.wordpress.com for recommending this book on your blog! Sarah's praise for this light, entertaining and funny read caught my eye. I downloaded it and there and then, pushed aside my amassing TBR pile and started reading it straight away.

Yes, it is very light, yes it is chick lit, yes it is a little clunky or cliched in places, but do you know what? For a few hours it was a very welcome breath of fresh air. It made me smile, it made me want to read bits out to my friends and it was a chance to look at life less seriously for a bit - and who doesn't need that in their week!

Obviously this will appeal to bloggers, but it will also appeal to anyone who uses social media at all. It will also appeal to the new generation of Bridget Jones' out there, any young women making their way in the world as well as mothers and wives - to be honest it will appeal to anyone who enjoys a fast paced, energetic and comic read.

Here's the blurb from Amazon:


Kajsa runs Sweden’s largest Health and Fitness blog. There’s only one small problem; it’s all a big lie. Between her blog entries on healthy nutritious porridge and flashy running shoes, she lies on the sofa watching TV and eating sweets. Her only exercise is using the remote control.
Her life seems perfect: A beautiful house in an attractive suburb of Stockholm, three children, a loving husband and loads of money.
However, things start to crumble when she accidently writes on her blog that she is best friends with a famous Hollywood personal trainer. The problem is he’s never met, let alone heard of her.
An ambitious journalist, who doesn’t believe Kajsa has been honest about her blog or her friendship with the personal trainer, sets out to destroy her.

And here's a snippet from the prologue - which is at which point I knew me and this book were going to get on!

"Blogging. For some people, it's a hobby. For me, Kajsa, it's a way of life. ....I used to think that a little white lie here and there wouldn't hurt anyone, least of all my readers.....that is, until I make the biggest mistake of my life. So, how did it happen? Well, let me start at the beginning."

I did like Kajsa. Her children are frequently "locked into a screen of some sort", she fills her blog with healthy recipes and photos of meals she finds online "which she has apparently made today" to uphold her reputation as a domestic goddess. She breaks into a private gymnasium with a handful of designer sports clothes she has been given to take random shots of her "participating" in gym classes, before she gets kicked out, which she then stores and uses sparingly on her blog posts to give the illusion of a fitness professional.

Her narrative is fast, informal, entertaining and ironically very honest, despite the fact her whole life is a bit of a charade. She's a character you can quickly engage with and the pages hurtle along with enough laughs to make it very readable and enough intrigue to make you want to watch the almost slapstick events spiral into chaos even when you almost want to hide behind a cushion and cringe on her behalf. There were a few moments when the quality of the writing slipped but, on reflection, I wonder if this is deliberate to mimic the style of modern written communication on social media and the often short, snappy style of blog posts, as well as reflect the slightly naive and straight forward character of Kajsa.

There were moments when my sympathy for her was a little tested as she is prone to being a little selfish and often takes advantage of her husband's good will, but as she is a woman essentially 'living a little white lie' I can't expect her to be the most reliable of narrators or perhaps the most dedicated of mothers and wives! Some of her comments I could relate to, like the fact when the husband gets up with the children there is so much noise she can't relax, but at some points her behaviour was a little too exaggerated and perhaps less plausible. But hey, this is a fun novel and half the fun was watching situations unravel with more insight and emotional intelligence than Kajsa; she is fallible, she is flawed and she is essentially a little bit of a caricature. But she is at the same time very likeable.

"The hubby got all angry when he came back into the kitchen and realised I hadn't even started dinner. What was I up to while he got the kids bathed and took the dog for a walk? I don't think he gets how hard it is to keep up with all these videos [posted online]....." 

Actually the relationship with her husband and his over attentiveness becomes a more important part of the sub plot as the novel unfolds - in fact, it's glaring obvious to the reader that something is amiss but Kajsa is just grateful to exploit his enthusiasm to spend time with the children while she can indulge in whatever "research" she is currently obsessing about, so she fails to really see what might be happening until it's too late. Well, even then, it takes a while for her to really put two and two together!

Having said that, Kajsa can be very quick witted and imaginative. She is able to creatively get herself out of many tight situations online - I particularly liked her invention of the "Gothenburg Marathon" and how she was able to redeem herself amongst her followers with her "training". And happy readers means a higher advertising revenue! As a business woman, she is not daft!

Anyone who is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest will enjoy Kajsa's description of her blogging:

"I scoffed some leftover sweets from the kids, followed by a cup of coffee for my breakfast. No way I can show the truth, not when I'm being paid a ridiculous amount of money to blog about my workout trips and healthy recipes. Finally the breakfast entry is complete. I sit back and look at the image I uncovered of super healthy, flaxseed porridge, topped with fresh blueberries, along with a carrot and ginger juice. Everything is immaculately displayed on beautiful china. Thank God for random pictures on the web." 

And for lunch:

"My Googling uncovered a nutritious spinach soup, crowed with half an egg and low fat Quark to grace the lunch entry. Even Weight Watchers would be proud of this lean lunch. Of course, in reality, no one would be full for any prolonged period of time after eating that. They would need to follow it up with a KitKat."

There are a whole string of hilarious and ridiculous scrapes and situations that Kajsa and her friend Rebecca find themselves falling into. Their inventiveness is impressive and entertaining. They are vivid characters and the pages are full of life and energy. There are some more serious aspects to the plot but essentially this is an entertaining and comic read about our current obsession with social media and the personas we can project through them.

I am wavering between a 3.5-4 out of 5 star rating because this book was one of those right-time-right-place-just-what-I-needed-today kind of books (yes, that is an official genre, didn't you know?!!). It was a little breath of fresh air. I read it almost in one sitting. It made me smile. It entertained me. It made some comic observations on our use of social media. It gave me the same pleasure as watching "Bridget Jones' Baby" and "Bad Moms" has at the cinema recently and for this I think it deserves that rating.

This is a Friday-night-film kind of a book. It will undoubtedly be very popular and is guaranteed to bring a bit of a giggle to anyone's day. Recommend!

Thanks Sarah for bringing it to my attention. Please follow her on Twitter for loads more excellent recommendations and see her review of this book here:

https://bytheletterbookreviews.com/2016/10/18/queen-of-blogging-the-unmissable-laugh-out-loud-read-by-therese-loreskar/

 And when I purchased "Queen of Blogging" (Oct 2016) it was only 99p. I mean, who can say no to that? It's cheaper that a bowl of granola or a carrot and ginger juice!

For more reviews and recommendations from me, follow me on Twitter @katherinesunde3 (bibliomaniacuk)

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