11 March 2017

Book Review: Secrets and Fries at the Starlight Diner by Helen Cox

"What brings Bonnie Brooks to The Starlight Diner? And why is she on the run?

As the front-woman in a band, Bonnie is used to being in the spotlight, but now she must hide in the shadows.

Bonnie only has one person who she can turn to: her friend Esther Knight, who waitresses at the Fifties-themed diner. There, retro songs play on the jukebox as fries and sundaes are served to satisfied customers. But where has Esther gone?

Alone in New York City, Bonnie breaks down in front of arrogant news reporter, and diner regular, Jimmy Boyle. Jimmy offers to help her. Can she trust him?

When the kindly owner of the Starlight Diner offers Bonnie work, and she meets charming security officer Nick Moloney, she dares to hope that her luck has changed. Is there a blossoming romance on the cards? And can Bonnie rebuild her life with the help of her Starlight Diner friends?"

Rating: 4/5

This is the second book in Helen Cox's 'Starlight Diner' series, and one I have been keen to read for a while after loving the first book! This one picks up where the previous book left off, introducing us to a new character to headline this story, but does keep the familiar faces from the first book too. However, this would work well as a stand alone novel too as the main storylines are completely different, so while I'd recommend you'd read Milkshakes and Heartbreaks at the Starlight Diner first, this can be enjoyed without doing so.

Bonnie is on the run, and not exactly happy about it. She has run away from Atlantic City, and has no-one to talk to except her old friend Esther, someone she hasn't spoken to for a while. Of course Esther can't turn her friend anyway, and ends up offering to help Bonnie. Bonnie ends up working at the Diner, meeting all of Esther's friends and family, and also local journalist Jimmy, who isn't exactly Esther's favourite person. So when Bonnie gets some really bad news, she has to use her new friends around her to help her before her life is changed forever...

I don't want to give too much about this book away because for me a lot of the fun was reading it, and finding out what happened as I was reading it. Needless to say, it was quite an exciting book, and the story within isn't exactly what the cover advertises the book as! I expected something a bit light and fluffy, romantic perhaps, but that definitely isn't the main crux of this book at all. Bonnie and her "adventures" were certainly eye-opening, and I enjoyed reading what happened to her as the book progressed. It was also nice catching up with all the characters I had read about in Helen's first book too.

The setting, as usual, is perfect. The Starlight Diner sounds so brilliant, I wish I could go there myself because it sounds like a little corner of Heaven over in New York. The book has some good twists and turns along the way, it certainly kept me turning the pages late into the night, and I was desperate to get to the end and find out what was going to happen, there was certainly a good amount of tension in those last few scenes! Bonnie herself was a very likeable character, caught up in a horrible situation, and because I cared about her, I wanted everything to work out, but you just never know!

I'm not sure if there is a third book to come in the 'Starlight Diner' but I really hope so because the two I have had the pleasure of reading so far have been really enjoyable, and totally unexpected reads for me! I think Helen Cox has a real talent for a gritty story, one that draws you in, with a cast of loveable characters and a great setting to boot. Her writing is brilliant, capturing the emotions, the scene, the tension so well, so much so that I found it hard to put the book down once I had begun reading it again. Definitely recommended, I loved it!

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