Book Review: ‘Dance Like You Mean It’ by Jeanne Skartsiaris

Title: Dance Like You Mean It

Published: 10th February 2017

Publisher: Black Opal Books

Author: Jeanne Skartsiaris




What if you wrote a steamy, erotic novel that was so hot bookstores couldn’t keep it on their shelves? What if you couldn’t tell anyone you wrote it?

At night, nurse Cassie Calabria pens a bodice-ripper novel, using an alias. She sends it to a few agents, then forgets about it. She’s more than surprised when she gets an offer for a publisher to include her book, Wild Rose, in a “summer-of-love special.” Wild Rose becomes a blazing bestseller. Suddenly she realizes she can’t let anyone know that she wrote it. What would her children think? Or her own mother, who “taught her better,” and, worse, her husband who would question her made-up fantasies of sex on the beach. How could she be thrown into the “red-light district” spotlight and still be a good mom?

Unless she went incognito.



Goes down as another off my 2019 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book you can finish in a day. Well this was a fun read to storm through in a day, almost like a two for one deal too.

So Cassie is middle-aged ER nurse supervisor who feels like she needs a change. To do something new and exciting comes to mind after seeing an article in a newspaper saying that everyone has a story in them but few write them down. Looks like she is about to.

The starting point is always the most fun as its where you decide who the characters are and what they do. She is building a life for her characters to do things that she may not have had the confidence or will power to do in her real life. Almost like her main heroine is her alter ego coming to life. Rosemary is a fun, strong, carefree, adventurous character who lives life by the day but still wants that connection with the right someone. Can she find it or will tragedy strike? Well I guess that all depends on how Cassie feels. She gives Rosemary a few options to choose from, will you guess correctly?

‘Wild Rose’ is the name of her book, set in the 70s where sex and being carefree was the norm. Rosemary’s a photojournalist, which just happens to be something Cassie always wanted to be. It’s interesting to have parts of ‘Wild Rose’ put within the ‘real’ story itself so you can see how Cassie grows as a writer. It’s like a story growing within another story. These parts are what Christine is proofreading for her, along with giving notes. Theirs is a great friendship, one where you can see how she will be there for her when she needs her most, and not just to do with the book.

Her writing became a form of escape to get away from her relationship with Mitch. They used to be so close when they were younger but have grown apart in the last few years. She doesn’t see it at first so is completely blindsided when he says he wants to separate, all because he’s not her sole focus. Selfish prick comes to mind. You have a family to look after and you are feeling left out because you’re not the sole focus of your wife’s life. He took her and their children for granted but can he make it right? He might not be their only problem either with trouble brewing around their daughter.

Now to begin with writing the book was just something that she wanted to do for herself with her friend Christine proof reading the result. She fears that if the book got picked up and people found out that they would look down on her for writing a sexy romance book. She solves this by writing under Cardia Loving. Fears at the ready when her book gets added to a trilogy set, one that happens to take off like a rocket with the focus turning to her. Get ready for a bit of fame and people wanting to know you’re now a writer. Shock to see the book in shops, so much pride but also worry that someone will find out she wrote it. Seems a book tour is in her future so be ready for it. An extra load of make up and hair gel might be a bit of a disguise but not for long.

Fun well rounded characters that draw you into both stories. You are drawn to Cassie and how she creates Rosemary. Evolving her character and letting her grow to the person she is truly happy with. Cassie’s life has a few twists, turns and heartache along the way. The story was therapeutic in a way and gave her the outlet she needed. When all is revealed she almost wonders why she kept it hidden for so long. Coming full circle and seeing things with fresh eyes old feelings come to the surface and renew what was once thought lost. Seems trying something new and exciting was the best decision she ever made, for her and her family. Mitch showed his true nature after fearing he would lose it all. Ashley was the classic stroppy teenager but did grow after all she went through and Gabby was the innocence childlike energy needed. Interesting humorous read that you should check out.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author via PR contact for my honest review.

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Filed under Contemporary Fiction, Reading Challenges, Reading Nook Blog Posts

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