The Cocktail Bar — a review


The Cocktail Bar

Rock star, River Jackson, is back in his hometown of Glastonbury to open a cocktail bar… and the locals aren’t impressed.

Seductive Georgina is proving too hot to handle; band mate, Angelic Alice, is messing with his heart and his head; his mum is a hippie-dippy liability; his school friends have resorted to violence – oh, and his band manager, Lennie, AND the media are on his trail.

But River is armed with a magical Mexican elixir which will change the lives of the Three Chosen Ones. Once the Mexican wave of joy takes a hold of the town, he’s glad he didn’t lose his proverbial bottle.

Pity he hasn’t taken better care of the real one.


The Cocktail Bar by Isabella May sounded really humorous and campy…so I jumped on the chance to read and review it.  It turns out, there really is a lot more going on here.  The characters are simultaneously caricatures and so full of depth that you get a bit of whiplash trying to figure them out.  This just adds to the allure, though.  The way you are introduced to Georgina makes you wonder if this is an enemies-to-lovers storyline…but she’s a bigger piece of work than that tiny bit of a trope can hold.  River…I always get the impression that he’s much younger than he is.  I’m not sure if that’s unintentional or if it’s on purpose and a reflection of his lack of maturity from being a rock star for the past decade.

There were parts of this story that really made me uncomfortable.  I can only give props to May for this because in order for things to be uncomfortable, the writing either has to be terrible (trust me, it’s possible to be embarassed for an author) or it has to be good enough that you’re embarassed and upset for the characters.  This is definitely a case of the latter when it comes to The Cocktail Bar.  It’s so easy to place yourself in almost any of the characters’ shoes, despite the fact that you are not, in fact, a vindictive psychopath or a hippy or a former rock star following the directions of a lady you met in the middle of an agave field.  There’s this sense of immersion that comes with reading this story that you can’t help but embrace, while hoping you get some distance soon.

The storyline can be a bit slow.  I found myself wishing for more action every now and then, but this really is a character-driven story…and the introduction of a cast that is mind-boggling intense and heart-warming takes place over the entire book.  This is a story that is about finding yourself, having faith in family and friends, and realizing that you are just as important as the next person.  It is a book that speaks a lot about a phrase I actually adopted in college, but lost sight of over the years.  “Que será, será.”  The belief that we can hope to change the future, but that we’re really just passengers along for the ride of life.  May spends a novel explaining something I struggled to verbalize in regards to this phrase:  this is not a fatalistic view on life, but a view that accepts that we can only do so much…and some things must be admitted to being beyond our control.  I very much enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from Isabella May in the future.

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon AU



The Cokctail Bar Author Pic.jpgIsabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. Having grown up on Glastonbury’s ley lines however, she’s unable to completely shake off her spiritual inner child, and is a Law of Attraction fanatic.

Cake, cocktail, and travel obsessed, she also loves nothing more than to (quietly) break life’s ‘rules’.

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