Like Casablanca

Rated 4.50/5 based on 4 reviews
What does internet dating and Casablanca have in common? Nothing, unless you go to Rick's Cafe and find out what dating blogger, Cat Ryan, is up to. Cat's doing research for her internet dating blog, and the place she chooses to meet her many dates is Rick's Cafe in Sydney. But what of its disturbingly handsome owner, Rick Blake? What does he think, seeing her with a different man each time? More

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About Sylvia Massara

Sylvia Massara is a multi-genre novelist based in Sydney, Australia, who dabbles in wacky love affairs, drama and murder (or all three) over coffee. Sylvia has been writing since her early teens and her work consists of novels and screenplays.

As with most authors, Sylvia draws on her varied experience in the sometimes puzzling tapestry of life. These days, however, Sylvia has resigned from the human race, and she lives both in the animal kingdom with her kitty cat, Mia, (a much better place to be), and vicariously through the many characters in her head.

Sylvia has a soft spot for older female protagonists with an attitude, who are on the cusp of 40 years and beyond. This is seen in her wacky, romantic comedies and, most recently, in her mystery novels.

An avid fan of classic black and white Hollywood movies of the 40s, including film noir, Sylvia has placed her protagonist, Mia Ferrari, in a contemporary mystery series with a “film noir” flavour. Mia is an older, spunky, smartarse female who works in the international world of hotels. The theme is comedic, sexy, and sprinkled with a little bit of style from the film noir era. The stories are fast-paced and set in the modern day world.

On a more serious note, Sylvia’s work in literary fiction brings forth The Soul Bearers, an inspirational story filled with hope, overcoming fear, loss, betrayal, and discovering the healing power of unconditional love. At present, the novel is under consideration for adaptation into a feature film.

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Reviews

Review by: Parents' Little Black Book Reviews on June 01, 2012 :
When you are a journalist and need a little extra cash what would be better than contributing to a blog. When the subject of that blog is to be internet dating and your singlehood is getting boring, why not? Setting up the rules and putting her photo and information out there is something Cat Ryan had not expected herself to be doing at this time in her life. Plans of a marriage and children having rushed out the door, along with her cheating ex-boyfriend, Cat thinks she might as well give it a chance. After all, if a girl is careful, follows the safety rules and doesn't set her expectations too high she could find love. Couldn't she?

But maybe Cat is looking for love in all the wrong places. Or it could be that she is in the right place but looking at the wrong men. After all, Rick, of Rick's Cafe' has a lot going for him. Single, attractive, financially secure...a man with a plan. While Rick shows interest he is also suspicious of her explanation of why she is meeting so many men for coffee. Sometimes two in the same evening. But is Cat really ready for love or is she still reeling from the announcement of her ex's engagement.

Scotty, best friend extroidinare and part time employer, tries to help her get her life and finances back on tract, but he is on the rebound himself. How can he help her make good decisions when he is unable to do so himself.

A funny, witty romance with easy to identify with characters and situations, Like Casablanca is a great, light read. The protagonist is compelling and interesting, the dialogue is snappy and the story cute and fun. The reference to the classic film Casablanca sets the story up for romance. You can feel a hint of Morocco and almost smell the spices.

Karen Bryant Doering,
Parents' Little Black Book
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Darcia Helle on March 29, 2011 :
I have a confession: I have never seen the movie Casablanca. Yes, berate me if you must. That being said, the references to the movie were few and easily understood by this movie-challenged reader.

In Like Casablanca, we are taken on a journey of broken hearts, friendship, Internet dating and, finally, love. As with all of Massara's books, the characters sucked me right into their world. Reading this story was like sitting down with an old friend, laughing at her antics and commiserating with her difficulties. While this is classified as 'Chick Lit', women and men alike can easily enjoy this book.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: marie giovenco on Feb. 23, 2011 :
Another great book from Sylvia Massara. I truly enjoyed Like Casablanca. Sylvia's writing style is easy to read, has a fast pace and great flow. I enjoyed her characters and felt like I really got to know them and their life. Her advise on dating over the internet was interesting, although maybe adding all that "dating information" was a bit too much. Great work Sylvia, a very good read!!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Dannye Williamsen on Feb. 20, 2011 :
Like Casablanca Is A Tasty Dish!

Cat Ryan, the main character in Like Casablanca, is on the cusp of forty. So, it’s not clear whether this book is Chick-Lit or its older sister, Hen-Lit. What is clear is that it has all the elements of a Chick-Lit romantic comedy. It has a confiding, personal tone, accomplished through compelling first person prose. Cat’s flip, yet endearing attitude toward herself draws you into her story. Her feistiness, while a refreshing quality, could also be her undoing.

Having suffered a devastating breakup with Josh, Cat is at an unsettled time in her life, and it is reflected in her business life. She is working part time in an antiques shop for Scotty, her gay best friend, and trying to make extra money writing a blog on the pitfalls of Internet Dating for her former magazine editor. At the same time, she has promised herself to write her dream book on Renaissance art when she gets around to it!

When her path crosses that of Rick Blake, the handsome owner of Rick’s Café ,she quickly learns that Scotty’s description of the café as being “like Casablanca” was more telling than she could have imagined. Rick is not only mysterious, he is dangerously irresistible to Cat. Unfortunately, fate continually conspires to keep them apart. Will Cat’s cheekiness and Rick’s dispassionate air work against each other? Are they destined to give up the great love of their lives – like in Casablanca?

Told from the first person, Like Casablanca was entertaining and humorous. Sylvia Massara allowed her main character to be real. It was like listening to your closest friend filling you in on all the latest. Cat Ryan wallowed when she felt like it, was a good friend when she needed to be, and struggled to stay above water financially—just like most of us do even if we don’t want to admit it. All the while, she never really gave up hope of finding someone special to share her life.

The biggest complaint I had about Massara’s writing is that she was so descriptive in describing food dishes that I wound up reading this book to the tune of my stomach growling!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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