Book Review: Confessions of a Karaoke Queen by Ella Kingsley

A fluffy read with plenty of cheesy humour with an interesting concept.

First things first, I absolutely love chick lit. It’s relatable, it’s easy to read, and it’s funny. In fact, my first attempt at a novel (a part of which ended up being a piece for my degree) was chick lit, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So when my friend Jane sent me a copy of Confessions of a Karaoke Queen in a much needed care package (thank you!) I was absolutely thrilled.

Confessions of a Karaoke Queen tells the tale of Maddie Mulhern, who is the daughter of Rick and Sapphy, or as they’re more commonly known, 80s pop duo Pineapple Mist. As a result, Maddie has been raised around awards, crazy outfits, and the constant shadow of Pineapple Mist’s one hit wonder playing at every party she has ever been to.

In a very quick turnaround of events, Pineapple Mist decide to embark on a comeback tour with other 80s acts, and Maddie is left with no choice but to run their karaoke bar Sing it Back. The club is outdated, and in an awful financial position, and all the implications of that are left to Maddie without so much as a moment’s notice, despite her having her own life and career.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the premise, though I wish the author had written more about Rick and Sapphy as characters, as it felt quite rushed at the start. Maddie always says that her parents were supportive growing up and always put her first, though the handover of the club seems very uncaring and thoughtless, especially as Maddie is an adult who no longer lives with them, and has responsibilities of her own.

In her desperation, Maddie and the staff at Sing It Back see an advert looking for clubs to take part in a reality TV show. She signs up almost immediately, in the hope of her financial prayers being answered and giving the club a much needed face lift. From there, a whirlwind of a story unfolds, with plenty of laughs, but also some more sinister characters emerging as the reality show starts broadcasting, and the whole of the country starts to tune into the day to day events at Sing It Back.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of this book, but after that, I did struggle in parts to follow along. There are many secondary characters in the story, all unique in their own way, but it seemed that each had their own complex arc, and that made it a bit difficult to keep up with.

However there is one secondary character that the author creates, who everyone can relate to. He is the old man that sits at the bar in silence every week, orders the same drink and leaves at the same time. The author has created this man, but added a weekly painfully bad rendition of Bat Out of Hell, earning this old man the nickname Loaf. He saved the story in places for me, and I found him very memorable, partially because I’ve worked at a bar myself in the past and could fully relate to him.

It is probably wise to note that this book came out in 2011, so some of the pop culture references are outdated, but that is not a fault of the book. I think this book would also be best suited to someone who enjoys 80s music, especially as each chapter title is a hit from that era. There is also a playlist guide at the end along with karaoke tips, which I thought was a great touch.

The name Ella Kingsley is a pseudonymn of a women’s fiction author apparently, and despite reading other reviews and interviews, I could not find any hint as to who she is. I have my suspicious based on similar books I’ve read, but nothing concrete! No further books have been released despite an interview when Confessions of a Karaoke Queen came out, saying that we had not heard the last of Maddie Mulhern. It’s a shame really, as despite some issues regarding arcs, I did enjoy this book and would happily read further.

3 out of 5 stars

2021 Reading Challenge – Book 10 out of 50.

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